When I was a bookworm of a kid I loved to read books from the Choose Your Own Adventure series. The books were unique in that at the end of each chapter you were confronted with 2 choices. The alternatives would be things like, “to attack the dragon turn to page 10” or “to challenge the dragon to a dance-off turn to page 15”. You’d pick an option, then read the results of that selection before facing another pair of choices. Depending on the writer, if you chose the dance-off, you and the dragon might end up as Solid Gold dancers, or you’d be a crispy noodle in Chinese dragon stir-fry.
When I’d reached the end of the book, or the end of the sequences I’d chosen, I would go back and read the book again, picking the other alternatives (fainting goats/epileptic sheep). Sometimes I would peek ahead all along. Often a different result was better. Occasionally worse. Sometimes the alternative was just different.
Saturday night, instead of going to a birthday party with friends, I stayed home sick and built an Erector set. I’d never built one before, but received one as a gift last Christmas & didn’t crack it open until last night. It was fun and not terribly difficult to build.
Invented 100 years ago, Erector sets use nuts, bolts, pulleys, and gears and I had the option of building 4 or 5 different things (that’s why I had extra parts left over). I’ve seen some cool antique Erector sets at antique shops & almost picked one up once. I may do it yet.
For a long time I’d wanted to build one like the legions of children through the years. It’s cool to think of this old cultural bit of playtime that included inventive and industrial components. At least when I built mine, I was away from the tv and internet for a bit, so I do have some degree of self-control and completion. Even though it looks like Frankenstein’s airplane, it’s swell and I’ll have to build another set soon.
by Jonathan Butterchurn Perry
(This is an excerpt from my forthcoming eBook which might have a title something like The DB Presents: Tacos in the Night Exchanging Cheeses (probably not that at all). Maybe closer to The DB Presents: Cooking at Gunpoint (ok, I kind of like that.). Also, Behold! Here’s an awesome animated video I made for the subject at hand.)
You’ve seen it happen before: at the Super Bowl party some regular schlub makes a really great chunky salsa and all the lovely fresh-faced Betties keep fawning and asking in strange English accents, “Who made this delicious salsa? It’s Brilliant! I really do love it so!”, and some observant freak impersonating James Cagney says, “Why, old George made it in his cellah using his Civil War buttah churn while singing to those old classic yodeling records.”, to which a random hot chick says, “Wow! That’s specific. Well, I’ll just have to get his recipe! Oh, and …Brilliant!”, whereupon Civil War butter churning re-enactor and budding yodeler, George, emerges from the mist, ignores the annoying British overuse of the word ’brilliant’, and produces his sacred and secret salsa recipe to great female adulation. Phone numbers are exchanged and private butter churning yodeling lessons a-go-go are scheduled for the 147th anniversary of the battle of Antietam and a hot time on the old town tonight is set in motion all because George spent some quality time learning to make a tasty, but easy, chunky salsa (‘Tasty, but Easy’ is also what we call George‘s sister. Also ‘Chunky‘.). Why he used a butter churn to make salsa, I do not know, but it hardly matters. Brother, that could be you giving private butter churning salsa lessons to an eager young lass in a dirndl and making her yodel! Yodelay-HE-HOO!
I was going somewhere with this…oh, yeah! I don’t have the saucy salsa recipe at this particular moment (that‘s in a secret prison in Spain awaiting extradition), but I do have a delicious Guacamole recipe you can totally rip off and pass off as your own. You’re welcome! You think you’re lucky now with the guac, but I also have a crazy awesome cheese ball recipe that not only tastes, but looks, fantastic! (I’ll withhold that now for a bit, but you can totally find it my upcoming eBook. Wink 😉 Wink Nudge Nudge). I know, you’re counting your lucky stars, green clovers and purple horseshoes and don’t know whether to thank me with butterfly kisses or to transfer $10 million to my offshore bank account quickly now before your bank notices, but just knowing I’ve helped some sad single wretch such as yourself with a series of mild chemical imbalances is all the thanks I need (really, though, get on with the account transfer or there‘s a bullet with the name Vincent on it).
So, without further ado, let the dip-making begin!
Gringo Guacamole a la Sherry
(This serves 2 people. Learn multiplication.)
½ tsp lemon juice
Mayo (approximately equal to the amount of avocado. Add to taste…)
½ tsp soy sauce (adjust to taste)
Garlic powder (a little)
Chopped Onion (some)
Salt (taste for amount)
I know, you saw Sherry in the title of the recipe and became disturbingly excited thinking there was cooking and/or drinking Sherry included in the list of ingredients, but that’s just not the case. Sicko. Sherry just happens to be my mom’s name (some observant person might remember that my last name is Perry, thus believing my mom’s name to be Sherry Perry, and it is. Way to go. You cracked the code. Yeah, laugh it up, buddy.).
When I got this recipe from my mom, it was odd because some of the ingredient amounts were pretty vague, like ‘a dash of this’ or ‘a heaping spoonful of that’, and everything usually ended in ‘add to taste’, so that was useful (note the sarcasm). It’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but the pool is filled with Jello…that you made! And you made it slightly wrong! I kept asking “Really? Really?” after each unnatural measurement was given. Was I being taunted by an unkind mother who was really mocking my feeble attempt to make a completely unnecessary food? No, motherly mockery is reserved for other things, like my attempts at songwriting. It seems this tendency to not use proper measurements is a kooky device cooks use sometimes. Apparently, they get so used to making a recipe that they can kind of ‘eye it’, knowing just how much to put in by sight and by taste. Also, they may be lazy or cocky. Every so often these daredevil cooks decide to pay attention to how much of an item is used and write it down, so that next time they won’t have to guess or keep tasting (hint hint).
Anyway, the recipe is fairly straight forward, once you get the hang of all the adjusting to taste. For those unfamiliar with the evils of avocados, know this: The avocado has a hard outer peel and an even harder pit in the middle. Do NOT eat these! Also, when selecting your weird green fruit thing at the farmers market it’s important to get to 2nd base with it first. Squeeze it gently and if it gives a little, it’s about ripe. Also, the skin should be a little darker, kind of a purplish-blackish-greenish mix. Like a Martian’s bruise. Buy a couple so you can feed more than 2 people.
Once you’ve gotten your avocado(s) home and rinsed and peeled and pitted it(them), mash up that green fruit, then mix in the other ingredients with an eye to tasting it a bunch to get it right. Go forth and serve your special guac with corn chips at a Super Bowl party at someone else’s house and be awesome.
The Secret Word is Brilliant.
More Consumable Goodness
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Last Sunday I climbed off a cruise ship after a fun week of rocking (and extreme rolling) and still felt the waves for 5 days afterward despite the solid stuff beneath me. The cruise included a mission-y element and I met with some of my former college classmates and various church gang members as we traveled around the Caribbean getting our cruise on. It was my first cruise.
The plan was to do projects at most of our ports (for schools, orphans, sick people, people needing new roofs, etc), while we enjoyed the weirdness of life at sea on a fancy boat with an everlasting buffet. However, because of bad weather (high waves and wind measured in knots) the boat couldn’t stop at the 1st 2 ports (including Jamaica), vases broke, & some folks got sicker than dogs. Still, we were able to complete our planned projects in the Cayman Islands & did a few ad hoc things on the ship, so it wasn’t a complete foul up. In fact, I really enjoyed my time and met some cool people in shorts who played Catchphrase in December. I even got to climb a Mayan pyramid in Mexico. That was awesome!
I might extrapolate deeper meaning from it all one day, but for now I just wanted to give a shout out to my Cruise With a Mission peeps. So, hey. Yo. Miss you guys. Merry Christmas!
And Merry Christmas to you, my fine goat-readers.
The secret phrase is motion sickness
by Jonathan B. Perry
An important part of becoming a Domesticated Bachelor is being a Jack of All Trades. Being a Jack of All Trades isn’t quite the same as being a know it all. Or a jackass, though they can, and often do, overlap. It means being able to function moderately in most broad areas of knowledge. It’s being well rounded, knowing a fair amount about Russian literature, Biblical carpentry, snake oil sales, and Congolese kayak repair, but not being enough of an expert to really excel or do much with that knowledge.
Being a Jack of All Trades still comes in handy because you’d know a little about most subjects and would be able to converse superficially about Congolese politics with your Congolese cleaning-lady before your cultured dinner party starts (she’s the exiled Congolese president‘s estranged goddaughter who’s cleaning your kitchen drain boards) or you could avoid major embarrassment if in a situation that requires minor skills, like changing a golf cart tire near the twelfth hole or planting a row of miniature fruit trees or naming your polo team after a Nabakov novel (the Hammered Lolitas!). You can become a Jack of All Trades by dipping your toe a little in each subject. This is best done by reading the first ten pages or so of several books. Also, you could spend 6 or 7 years in college taking, or at least starting, many courses, perhaps changing your major several times along the way. If you need real help doing any of this stuff in an actual skillful way you can always look up instructions online or buy one of those Dummies/Idiots books. I suspect you might need several.
Best of all, being the Jack of All Trades Dude that you are, you might make a decent Jeopardy! contestant because, even though your knowledge might not be very deep, it’s grown very broad. Broad knowledge is key to excelling in multiple Jeopardy! categories and since there are 13 of them in each game you‘re well on your way. Being on Jeopardy! is a major signifier of intelligence and will help cement your Bachelor Domestication, potentially acting as an aphrodisiac to at least a few disturbed women, especially the cute librarian types best depicted by Shirley Jones in The Music Man. Then you might get to meet Alex Trebek, who’s grown back his mustache, and talk to him about the role of Congolese political art in Russian Orthodox literature while changing a golf shopping cart tire in the middle of your golf-course-dwarf-pomegranate-orchard-cemetery game, where the motto’s always been ‘Play through or die!’ Don’t be too long because the Hammered Lolitas play next.
Read the first 5 steps:
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Anagrams are pretty excellent. Rearranging letters of a word or phrase to make another word or phrase is a lot of mindless fun. Popular with mystery writers, anagrams have worked their way into some bestselling works.
The Davinci Code has one (So dark the con of man is an anagram of Madonna of the Rocks). I believe there was a Sherlock Holmes story that used anagrams (but I can’t find it). J. K. Rowling sort of used it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but cheated (Tom Marvolo Riddle is an anagram of I Am Lord Voldemort, though it‘s really backwards because Tom Marvolo Riddle is the clue, but no one would ever guess the answer as Lord Voldemort with the I am at the beginning. I feel better having said that.).
Now, instead of having to do anagrams by hand with your own brain, there are anagram generators! Yay! One I like is the Internet Anagram Server.
Check out the anagrams I’ve made below. Make your own and leave your favorite anagrams in the comments. We might post some of the best. Or not.
A restitched cab loomed
A cab ceded hotter limos
Tom decried a hostile cab
a cab directed Tom’s hole
Rape Rat Johnny (I haven’t used this nickname in years)
Orphan Jay Rent
A horny pent jar
John, retry a nap
Jonathan Bryan Perry=
Thy ornery Japan barn
Horny Japan Bra Entry (Japan, huh?)
Try Nearby Japan Horn
A barren party Johnny
Jab near thy yarn porn