Bathroom Break!

Dear Friend, Fond Relation, and Gentle Reader:  Welcome back!  I’ve been away a while. I’ve missed a few marks and notes; I missed commenting on my birthday.  Yes, I missed commenting on your birthday, also – sorry about that!

But I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the state of America’s underpants. We seem to have them twisted, bunched up, slightly damp, and certainly uncomfortable. We can’t stop talking about what’s in who’s pants and what we need to do about it – particularly in the bathroom.

So, in my capacity as the final arbiter of sanity, good taste, decency, and gender equality in this country, and speaking as a Real Man, I figured it was my civic duty to take a break from this semi-retirement and assist the country as it grapples with the deep, penetrating question of who should use which bathroom.  What could go wrong?

Without further ado, and in the interest of the complete objectivity for which I am known, I give you the answer to the Great American Bathroom Debate:

The men’s room is for Real Men.

It’s that simple. If you’re a Real Man, use the men’s room.  Now, I know that not everyone knows at a glance if someone is or isn’t a Real Man.  (Someone else, that is.  If you’re not a Real Man, you probably know that.  If you’re wondering whether or not you’re a Real Man, you’re not.  If you are a Real Man, the question just doesn’t occur to you.)

Just as a handy checklist, here are a few things that differentiate a Real Man:

  • A Real Man will ask what you need, not what he can do for you. There’s a difference.
  • A Real Man does not use the words “I promise” lightly.
  • A Real Man cries watching True Grit, but not at the part you’d expect.
  • A Real Man will have a 20-second imaginary conversation with his broker when a 3-yr-old child hands him a plastic phone and says, “It’s for you.” Even if he doesn’t have a broker.
    • This is a particularly American phenomenon:
    • An Real Italian Man will have an imaginary conversation with his mother.
    • A Real British Man will talk to an imaginary member of the aristocracy.
      • If he *is* a member of the aristocracy, he’ll talk to someone above him in station – a Baron will have received an imaginary call from an Earl, the Earl a call from a Duke, the Duke a call from the Queen.
        • It is unknown if the Queen has ever been handed a plastic phone by a 3-yr old, but I think it’s safe to assume she would answer it.  The Queen may or may not be a Real Man, but the Queen is a badass.  A very, very polite badass.
    • A Real Frenchman will have received an imaginary call from his cheese monger.
    • A Real Russian Man will pretend to listen to the phone in stony silence for 20 seconds, say “Nyet!” and hang up.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a piss,” he’s a Real Man.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a wicked piss,” he’s a Real Man from Boston.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a fuckin’ wicked piss,” he’s a Real Man from South Boston.
  • If he walks in and says, “I gotta take a fuckin’ wicked fuckin’ piss, get outta the way,” he’s a Southie and he’s drunk. You really don’t want to ask him about what’s in his pants, because he’s gonna fuckin’ show ya, ya chucklehead.
  • A Real Man is known for complete objectivity.
  • A Real Man walks in like he owns the place, regardless of where he is.
  • A Real Man is only interested in what’s in your pants if he’s hoping to get into them.

You can always tell a Real Man – he’s using the men’s room.  After all, it’s a guy thing.

You might notice that none of these things are affected by physiology, size or shape of genitalia, or sexual orientation. Those things don’t matter, any more than color or religious beliefs matter – not in the bathroom, and especially not to a Real Man.

So, if you’re in the men’s bathroom and you’re wondering if the person next to you is a Real Man, you’re the one in the wrong bathroom. Real Men don’t care.

 

 

The Making of the True Reuben

5 February, 2016 | | 1 Comment

It has been explained to me several times in recent days that I have neglected you, gentle reader, and that I should be ashamed – but more than ashamed, I should be writing.

In an effort to make amends AND stay current, I will tell you about the Reuben sandwich I had last night – a Reuben, I must add, of my own making.

You see, it starts with good corned beef, yes, but it cannot end there.  If you have it in you to corn your own beef, so much the better – and more power to ya, I don’t have that kind of time.  So, spend the extra 50 cents per pound and splurge on the meat.  You won’t regret it.

But the True Reuben is not just meat.  Oh no.  There is also sauerkraut.  and on your sauerkraut, you can aim as high or as low as you want – of course, you can make your own sauerkraut at home as well, and again, I envy you your obviously superlative time management skills.  The only thing in my house that I can find time to pickle is my liver, and that’s only because I can multitask while drinking.

Back to our sauerkraut.  It doesn’t matter what kind you buy.  You’re going to put it on the stove, in a pot or saucepan, with all its juices.  You will then add about a quarter of the caraway seeds you have left on the shelf, assuming you haven’t used any of them for anything else.  If you’re below half the jar, use them all.  Boil that.  Yes, you can add some beer, but it won’t help.  and besides, weren’t you going to drink that?  Doesn’t matter.

The important bit is that you have your pans set up, your rye bread – you got rye bread, right?  We’re not doing this without rye bread – buttered on both sides, and your Thousand Island (or Russian dressing, which is another name for “that oddly tasty orange oil slick some people put on salad’) close at hand, with a basting brush handy.  And the Swiss cheese, at least halfway decent, the kind you wouldn’t be ashamed to serve to your grandmother, assuming she was from the old country and would know better in the first place, but you don’t have to break the bank for it.  Get someone to slice it pretty thin but not really thin.  If you can read the paper through it, thank a teacher, but it’s too thin.

Ok.  You’ve got the best corned beef you can afford, some generic sauerkraut that isn’t going to know what hit it anyway, good rye bread – I like the pumpernickel swirl, but then I like Jackson Pollock paintings too, so who the hell am I, you know – and you’ve got at least two, maybe three pans on your stovetop, staying warm.

You buttered the bread, right?  Both sides?  Real butter?  Yes, real butter has salt.  No, margarine doesn’t count.  If you have any margarine in the house, throw it out.  That’s not food.  If you have a heart condition that dictates your butter consumption, you shouldn’t be eating Reuben sandwiches in the first place.

OK, take the first two slices of bread, put them on a pan, buttered-side down.  That’s a joke, they’re buttered on both sides.  Take a good whack of the sauerkraut, and how much is going to depend on the size of your bread, and put it on another pan – you’re going to cook off the juice, and it’s going to love you for it.  Now put the first sandwich-worth of corned beef on a pan – could be the same pan as the sauerkraut, doesn’t matter.  This pan will be a little hotter than the one with the bread.   Cook the individual strips of corned beef until they’re shriveled a bit, then flip them.  Now’s a good time to flip the bread, too.  Once flipped, pour a good dab of the Thousand Island on one of them, baste it all over, and spread the excess on the second one.  Just enough is enough.  Then, move the corned beef on top of the first slice of bread, then the sauerkraut on top of that.  Next, put your tools down and add two slices of the Swiss cheese.  Picking your tools back up, put the second slice of bread on top, orange-side down.  (That’s not a joke.)  Stare at it for a moment, thinking about the proper ratio of meat to kraut and wondering what’s become of the life you dreamed of when you were young, and then flip the sandwich onto the hotter pan.  When you see the cheese melting like Frosty in the summer sun, you’re ready.

Here are the tricks, the things you only find out later:

  • You have to have enough corned beef to tell the sauerkraut to fuck off. If you let the sauerkraut have its way, you don’t have a Reuben, you have a pickled cabbage sandwich with orange-flavored meat on it.
  • You have to have enough Thousand Island to tell the Swiss cheese to go to hell as well. You don’t want to overdo it, but the Swiss are bastards about their cheese, and it will shine through like a stripper at the office Christmas party.
  • You have to toast, technically fry but it’s more politically correct to call it toasting, the rye bread into submission – but without burning it. You need to make it understand that it’s no longer in charge, that it lost all control when you buttered it and that its sole purpose is to support the meat.  Not the sauerkraut, the meat.  If you let the rye bread get in too tight with the kraut, you’ve already lost control of this sandwich.
  • Your first sandwich will suck. Expect to toss it to the dog.  Not only will it fall apart, but the first one sets up the seasoning for all the rest.  With the second sandwich, your pans already smell of butter, of sauerkraut and corned beef, of love.  If you don’t have a dog and you’re making Reubens for several people, decide now which one you love least.  Being allowed to eat first is not a blessing in this case.

Remember:  the True Reuben is not just about the meat.  The True Reuben is a mastery of perspective, rye and Russian in harmony, corned and cabbage fried together and united by the bonds of Swiss cheese and love.

I hope my little recipe inspires you to aim for your own True Reuben experience.  A parting gift of advice – wear an apron.   The Naked Reuben is a great name for a band – and a bad idea.

Merry Christmas: Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

24 December, 2015 | | 2 Comments

Well, the year got away from me.  I know, it’s been a while, and I’m hoping to be a little more present and active in 2016.  In the mean time, I know that you haven’t forgotten me, since many of you ping me about not posting, and rest assured that I never forget you, dear friend and gentle reader.

In the spirit of the holiday season, and in honor of the many friends who are sharing, with me, the 72-degree Christmas weather here on the East Coast, I give to you a NEW holiday song, a new Christmas Carol, with which to brighten your snowy Yuletide evenings.  (And yes, I’m shamelessly cross-posting from Free Range Poetry!)

It’s called, of course, Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

The holidays are jolly, hanging wreathes and hoisting holly
with the reindeer and the snowmen standing guard
The Christmas season’s calling as the mercury is falling
From Baltimore to Boston’s Harvard Yard

T’is the season to be freezin’ while we shovel ’round our hovels
And we’ll celebrate the Winter, young and old
But the temperature’s not dropping, while we’re out here Christmas shopping
‘Cause this Winter doesn’t seem to like the cold!

Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk! I’ll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn’s riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter’s in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer’s gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

Frosty’s sipping boat drinks, singing songs about the ice rinks
and I guess the weather’s really lost its head
The elves are all in short sleeves and the snowman’s having dry heaves
Won’t someone put this Wintertime to bed?

This Christmas is so green it’s blue, cause Winter’s got the Irish flu
and the snowplows and the road crew’s out of work
The Solstice and it’s 82 / degrees, and I am telling you
Twelve beers has made this Wintertime a jerk!

Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk! I’ll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn’s riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter’s in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer’s gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

Winter’s just might sober up
the snowfall forecast’s climbing
and we might just get some inches after all
It looks like things will whiten up
Shame about the timing
‘Cause it ain’t gonna snow here till next fall!

Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk! I’ll toss your coat back into the trunk.
Autumn’s riding shotgun, cause Springtime has the keys
Winter’s in the backseat with its head between its knees
Summer’s gonna hold your hair / while you toss snowballs everywhere
Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!
Go Home, Winter, You’re Drunk!

 

So, that’s the good news.  The bad news is that I’m writing a dozen more and I’ll have a Big Ugly Christmas Album out for next year!  Happy Holidays to you all, and to all, a Good Night!

 

She Knows Where Her Towel Is!

14 June, 2015 | | 3 Comments

Today, I couldn’t be more proud.  Mind you, I couldn’t be more late in updating this blog, but that’s a different issue.  Right now, I couldn’t be more proud of the Reigning Queen of Pink, Grand Duchess of Fluff, Lord High Protector of Barbies, and Baroness of the Hummingbirds.

RQOP:  “Can we watch Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy now?”
BUMD:  “Yes!”
RQOP:  “OK, I’ll be right back!”  (runs off)
BUMD:  “OK……..”
RQOP:  (having returned with two dish towels.)  “Here you go!”
BUMD:  (blinks)
RQOP:  “We can’t watch without our towels!”

Too bloody Belgiuming right we can’t!  What a cool frood she’s growing into – as a Douglas myself, I am very proud!

 

 

Happy Birthday to Me!

17 March, 2015 | | 1 Comment

And Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.  I know, I’ve been away a while, by which I mean the whole of 2015 to date, but I’m on my way back, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to thank everyone for all the many green St. Patrick’s Day Birthday wishes, and to explain that I have had a decent day all around, and I think this foretells a pretty decent year upcoming.  I certainly hope so.

Some readers, who may perhaps have known me for far too many of my increasing years, may recall that often my sending a short update concluding with “long letter follows” tends to mean that yes, a longer letter might follow, but generally my correspondent was left to write it themselves and then send it to me.  In this case I will not profess that a longer post shall follow, but at least MORE posts shall follow, in the fullness of time, and without too much further ado.  You have missed me – and I have missed you all.  Thanks for hanging in there!