Rare fossil excavated from late Oligocene/early Miocene basaltic gravels in bed of North Santiam River and named by adventurer and savant Devon Scarfe. These jolly little beings must have struck a rare spark of humor in the era ominously portending the cataclysmic volcanism that would create the Columbia plateau of blazing miles-deep lava (see Ellen Morris Bishop, In Search of Ancient Oregon, chapter 9). From the Laffasaurus’ dentition scientists infer that it subsisted mainly on chicken soup.

¶  Note to my fellow American writers: What a gutless pack of invertebrates you mostly are. What a fawning groveling writhing genteel array of courtiers (male courtesans)—gutless temporizing trimming poetical-rhapsodical fence-straddling castrated gelded neutered craven equivocating tepid vapid insipid timourous timid high-minded low-bellied spineless cool hip crafty cowardly moral jellyfish you are! Banana slugs of literature! A living slime-mold on our intellectual life! --Edward Abbey, Journal XX (Confessions of a Barbarian), 343.

¶  In the first two years [1919--] that [Davidson] Black [anatomist at Peking Union Medical College] was in Beijing he threw himself into the job of organizing and building up the medical school, particularly the anatomy department. . . . One of his jobs was to obtain cadavers for the medical students’ dissection. The Beijing police were only too happy to oblige and one day sent over a number of headless corpses of executed criminals. Shocked, but always diplomatic, Black visited the police and explained that he needed intact bodies. The police chief listened and then nodded. Some days later a line of shackled prisoners arrived at Black’s office with a note saying “kill them any way you like.” –Noel T. Boaz and Russell Ciochon, Dragon Bone Hill, 14-15.

¶  I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. Our highway system is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted Social Security . . . has been looted and neglected and destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who brought us Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and ignominious defeat all over the world. . . .Our armies will never again be No. 1, and our children will drink filthy water for the rest of our lives. –Hunter Thompson

Rama said . . . “this will be more of a battle than we have dreamed, Lakshmana. I can feel it in my body: a million lives will be put out on these shores. . . Uncanny visions rise in my mind: of timeless evil, and a battle older than the earth, which has been fought before on countless worlds, in forgotten ages. Even after this battle [against the evil empire] of Lanka, the war shall be fought again and again; until time ends, and dharma and adharma with it.” --The Ramayana, retold by Ramesh Menon, 384.

¶   This story was passed on to me by e-mail, and I cannot vouch for its authenticity. . . . Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution stationed in the Antarctic would sometimes organize games of football on one of the ice air strips near the base. Penguins are intensely curious, and the researchers were amused to discover that their games attracted a crowd of penguins who followed the action intently. One day the scientists arrived to discover that the penguins were already on the field. The birds would line up in two rough groups, and then, according to Doug White, who first posted this story, they would “start squawking and running around, bumping into each other. After a bit of this, they would pick themselves up, and start the process all over again.” According to White, they didn’t use a ball, but who knows what would have happened had the researchers left one behind. — Eugene Linden, The Octopus and the Orangutan, 66.

Salsa Fresca

Put a tablespoon each of olive oil and lime juice (I'm cheating in the photo with presquoze), and a dash of salt, into a jar or bottle with a mouth wide enough (a plastic ex-peanut butter container works fine) to take your hand-held blender. Add a serrano or half a jalapeño chopped fine, then diced purple onion, ripe tomato, and fresh cilantro leaves. Push the blender down in and give it a short burst, just enough to get a thick curd mix but not make liquid. Shake and cool. Great on corn chips, for sure if you make your own by crisping tortillas de maiz in pig fat, or with any antojitos. Even tastier with the weird little harmonies of Bartók's Mikrokosmos studies, streamed on Naxos Music Library, and of course a tankard of Spatenbräu.

¶   One morning [in1948], soon after Miró had left, a special-delivery letter arrived from Kahnweiler [Picasso's agent] in Paris. Enclosed with Kahnweiler’s letter was a cable from New York. We had been hearing wildly fantastic stories about American congressmen fulminating against modern art as politically subversive—the kind of rabble-rousing speech that Hitler used to make in the thirties and that the Russians go in for now—the only difference being that the American congressmen saw it all as part of a Communist plot and the Russians call it “bourgeois decadence.” The resistance to the lunatic fringe on the American subcultural front apparently centered about the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the cable was a real cri du coeur from the stoutly pumping heart of that center of resistance. It was signed by the painter Stuart Davis, the sculptor Lipchitz, and James Johnson Sweeney, at that period director of painting and sculpture at the museum. It was addressed to Pablo in care of Kahnweiler’s gallery and read:
Attached to the message was a prepaid reply voucher. I translated the cable for Pablo and then read him Kahnweiler’s letter. Kahnweiler had read the cable before forwarding it—“delirious” was his word for it. As far as the mounting wave of animosity toward free expression in art was concerned, Who cares? Kahnweiler asked; nobody worries about people like that, he said. On the other hand, maybe he was wrong and Pablo would feel it was necessary to emphasize the necessity for the toleration of innovation in art.
Pablo shook his head. “Kahnweiler’s right,” he said. “The point is, art is something subversive. It’s something that should not be free. Art and liberty, like the fire of Prometheus, are things one must steal, to be used against the established order. Once art becomes official and open to everyone, then it becomes the new academicism.” He tossed the cablegram down onto the table. “How can I support an idea like that? If art is ever given the keys to the city, it will be because it’s been so watered down, rendered so impotent, that it’s not worth fighting for."
-–Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso (1964), 196-98.


Stravinsky had already had to employ Tyrwhitt’s [diplomat friend] good offices to get the Picasso portrait sent to him in Switzerland [where he resided since 1914] in the diplomatic bag, after the Italian border police had insisted on regarding it as a plan of fortifications, when the composer tried to export it in person. –Stephen Walsh, Stravinsky v.I, 278.

==Those Italian police were on to something.==

¶  Chuck Traynor (wife: “Linda Lovelace”): We’d do a turkey raffle, but it really wasn’t a turkey we were rafflin’. On Friday evening, everybody came in, paid a buck, got a ticket, and drew a number out of a hat. Then we had a drawing, and if you won a number from one through seven—that stood for each one of the seven girls—then you got the girl you drew.
You got her for whatever you wanted her for. I was selling five or six hundred dollars’ worth of tickets a week. But if we didn’t know you, if we thought you were a cop, then you got the turkey.
You could always tell who the cops were, and we’d bring ‘em this old dried-ass-up turkey out of the refrigerator.

And he’d go, “What’s this?” I’d say, “It’s the turkey you just won.” He’d say, “Well, I thought . . .” I’d say, “You thought what? What’d you think?”
We got away with that for a long, long time. But the cops were always after my ass. –Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osborne, The Other Hollywood, 18.


While tracking grey whales in Baja California in 1979, the cetologist Bruce Mate and a colleague got a little too close to a breeding pair. . . . The cow took advantage of the small inflatable research boat, swimming upside down beneath the Zodiac.  The male followed, his penis arched above the surface, and the researchers scrambled as the whale probed his penis into the boat. The female was using the rubber boat as a diaphragm. --Joe Roman, Whale, 199. 


Enchiladas Rojas y Verdes

Fry chopped shallots and a chile serrano in pig fat, then add ground buffalo (or whatever you can catch and kill), salt, and a dusting of ground comino. Fry until meat is well browned. Put aside. Melt butter in the pan and fry several handsful of fresh spinach leaves, just until they wilt. They will shrink alarmingly, so make plenty. Put with the meat mix. Melt more pig fat and fry tortillas de maiz just until soft. As you put each in a baking dish, fill it with meat mix and spinach, and roll it up. Cover them all with a checkerboard of cheddar and mozzarella or other meltable white. Sprinkle with chopped onions and pickled jalapeños. Cover with thin tomato slices. Pour on a small dose of cream and a bigger dose of salsa verde (canned tomatillo sauce). Put in microwave to melt cheese. Serve with your favorite local microbrew and the Domenico Scarlatti Sonatas. Dubravka Tomšic does some of them (there are dozens) resonantly on Pilz 160 106.

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