Gentle Readers, for months, perhaps a year, we have been putting you off and have let this once-heralded blog slip into near obscurity. Today, we return and not only that – we return with our original name.
We remain uncertain as to whether we were trying to protect ourselves or trying to get laid when we changed the words ‘substance abuse’ to ‘substantial abuse’.
Too much information on one’s pattern of substance abuse can put low on the list for certain social invites. The fact remains that, as a result of being fed beer regularly as a baby (imagine yourself sucking from a beer bottle as tall as yourself…but just on weekends…), the editorial we naturally became alcoholic. We missed out on all the fun of gateway drugs – ha, ha, as if such a thing exists. We are not Hippies because we were born too late but we did manage to ingest LSD in every decade since the seventies, inclusive, and still keep the old neuro-plasticity working well enough to keep your attention!
We thank all the people who kept reading old entries of the blog while we were out of action.
We also thank Paul Krassner – for inspiration. We contacted him regarding some Beatdom business. Although he influenced us greatly over the years, from MAD to High Times magazines, we felt a pang of guilt when viewing his bibliography. He never shies away from a topic. He is fearless. He wrote a lot about drugs and put them in the titles of his books. He has integrity. We were afraid we would never be able to get laid if we had to explain our substance abuse issues…a pretty lame excuse, looking back.
Mr. Krassner helped change the course of American history to a degree. His activities during the sixties – his outspokenness, sense of humor and respect for Truth – allowed many others to open up with their personal views. Somebody always has to break the ice in a repressive situation and he melted minds. Conversely, The Realist allowed so-called ‘broken minds’ to melt the ice of the oppression of the time through humor. We remember how you Dear Readers love illustrations, so here is the book to look for……if you do not buy it and read it, you will not know what we are writing about when we refer to it in future important dispatches.
Anyway, there is a lot to learn about him and we encourage you all to pick up copies of his books. The best place to find them is on his website, http://www.paulkrassner.com
So, with all that being said, we shall now resume the blog as it ran a few years ago, three to four times a week. We will try to be more politically-minded and will try to be less silly. Things have gotten a lot more serious since we reported Governor Christie getting stuck in his gubernatorial bathtub and being pried out with two boat oars and a handy few pounds of butter from the larder….ah…”larder”… We thank the Gov for allowing us to resurrect an old word! May we gain from his girth.
Another reason for our return lies in the excitement we feel as we explore new lands. Native to New York, we left the east coast and drove west this past summer. After a lifetime in the Eastern Standard Zone except for vacations and other excursions, we find great novelty here in the State of Washington. We knew the diversity of topography to be extreme but the last thing we expected was to wind up stuck in a desert, much less the scablands. Everybody said it rains all the time here.
We never experienced such pesky sunshine in all our days. Sun, sun, sun…nothing but sun, all summer. Like Bob Dylan asks a recent LP, “Don’t you know the sun can burn your brains right out?” Speaking of Dylan, we can’t help but compare the area to the locale depicted in the film Masked and Anonymous. With all the Native Americans, Mexicans, sand and abandoned junk cars, the resemblance strikes us as uncanny. In fact some areas here are so bleak as to resemble Afghan mountain ranges; so much so that troops bound for that bloodbath got used to the elements by training near here.
Fall arrived and clouds followed and as the sky got darker, things got brighter. We love rain! The first good rain to come in brought our first dust storm along with it. A fantastic sight! A cool thing to view from the safe confines of a car with rolled-up windows.
There is so much here to discover in Washington, we didn’t know where to start so food is never a bad idea. Crossing the US, we noticed portions of food increasing in size as we pushed westward. True, we settled for road food but it actually tasted good and we had to start comparing fast foods, just to see the cultural anomoly we are faced with.
It started at the ‘Steak’N’Shake’ somewhere in Michigan. Years passed since the last fast food burger touched my lips. It came down to ‘eat or starve’ so we went with Steak’N’Shake. It was amazing! The first thing that freaked us out was the whipped cream and cherry on the milkshake…we remembered that from soda fountains in the distant past. When we opened up the burgers, a cornucopia of veggies stuck out from the bun. While we chose our move to a liberal land where pot is legal, as is same-sex marriage and assisted suicide, liberal portions never occurred to us.
So amazed were we, that to push the idea to the limit, we tried a McDonalds…we must report that our two kitties, along for the trip, actually ate some of the ‘meat’. We tried the same thing in Pennsylvania and they shunned it. Finally, even McDonalds had a cherry on top of the shake.
Now here is the rub.
It is sort of like Lenny Bruce’s ‘Jew vs Goy’ bit…only it seems like Lenny was wrong on that one. He said anybody who lives in New York is jewish, whether they are goyim or not. While admittedly goy to the catholic degree at childhood, we can’t help but feel that the whole northeast seaboard, as well as points as far west as Chicago, create the true demarcation.
Try to find some real foods, foods we grew up with and now we seem to have entered a weird zone of culinary depravity. Perhaps being in the east, where European immigrants first landed, exposed us to a variety of victuals. Ethnic foods spread out from immigrant neighborhoods as they became popular with other cultures.
Brie, capers, anchovies, hummus, halvah, Finlandia or Jarlsburg brand swiss or Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil from Italy, couscous…mention these items and prepare to be met with a blank stare. Other seemingly unbotchable staples – pizza and bagels, for instance – get ‘the treatment’. To find a simple slice of pizza (crust, sauce, cheese and spices) the closest option is to send out for a Papa John or Domino imitation pie and cut it in the shape of a slice…or make your own. The concept of an italian pizza shop where you can walk in and buy a slice is exactly that, here on the eastern part of the state, a concept. It is an idea that does not exist. Maybe you can get it in Seattle but we have not gotten that far yet.
Forget bagel shops…but the street tacos rule!
We admit to enjoying a bagel at the most fabulous hotel we could find this side of the Cascades, The Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Here, birthplace of Crab Louis (after Louis Davenport), they referred to the smoked salmon as lox and knew well enough to put capers on the plate. For as many salmon as swim through here every year, we expected that most people would be familiar with lox. Maybe they are better off. I did see a number of big fish float belly up in the Columbia River just around migration time, when the state warned residents not to eat the local fish due to dangerous levels of pollutants in the filets.
Hordes of homeless tweakers who live under bridges and eat these fish since a little added protein never hurts a meth binge, are likely unaware of these warnings. A lot of homeless drifters hang here, though, so that makes us feel welcome. Hitch-hikers spot the roads, too. We hadn’t seen one since 2003 in Ireland. No wonder the serial killers like it here.
There is so much to say, so much to compare, so much to type that we will hold it for another day, tomorrow maybe…
Sorry for not really promoting the substance abuse this time. We did drink beer while driving across most of the states, though. We shall make up for this in due time.
Thanks all, for coming back to read this blog, and it feels good to be back!