December 31, 2008

Holiday Tidings

Part of the joy of the holiday is giving and getting Christmas cards.

On Christmas Eve, I look forward to pulling the stack out of the ancestral guy family card-holder (a painted sleigh driven by Christmas mice), and reading them all at once.

Part of the ritual of discussing the cards after we've read them includes lamenting the more notable cards that used to come every year that we no longer get. The two that got away, so to speak were the card from a friend who owned a beauty school (it always contained a hairdo of the month calendar), and the one from Harry's Jewelers, in Hong Kong (bearing a holiday greeting, their business address, and the famous quote "Come directly to the second floor. Pay no attention to the Pakistanis down the hall.") Can you imagine?

In my dotage I have come to love the holiday letter. I used to disparage them, but now I get it. And they are as different as people are.

My first friend to send one was the scientist. He would send four pages, single-spaced, front and back, directly pasted from his diary. Thought it was really a bit much until I got a mention one year. We know people who always manage to pass the overshare barrier (salary issues, horrors of/wonders of childbirth), and then there are the people who have done it so long that they just get it right. We aim to be one of those people. And when you get that Christmas card next year, you'll know which style I'm referring to.

In the meantime, Happy New Year to all. Grandmammoo guy is on her way over to see the new kitchen, teach me a family recipe and ring in the new year with us :)

December 29, 2008

Finally! A Mash-up for Me!

There is now a Google Maps mash-up for people who like manhole covers.

My people!

When I was in library school we were asked to create a database that could adequately describe a visual collection. I had suggested that our test collection be a collection of manhole covers. 

Snuggles, my partner on the project, insisted that we use a selection of Walker Evans' Farm Services Administration photographs. This was a more complicated choice and we ultimately learned more for that reason.

But I like manhole covers.

Here are a few from Japan:

No, this is not the same manhole cover. Please look closely :)

To see everybody else's photos, visit the mash-up here.

December 25, 2008

Some 1954 Pillsbury Bakeoff Winners

Santa brought me a vintage Bakeoff cookbook.
Interesting how tastes change over the years:
  • Licorice Lemon Cake
  • Watermelon Tea-Ettes*
  • Pineapple Sparklers
  • Date Cheese Charmers
  • Crisp Chocolate Tweedies
  • Cheese Round Abouts
  • Lemon Larks
  • Blueberry Boy-Bait
  • Lima Cheese Pie**
  • Thifty Giblet Meal
  • Perky Pear Cobbler

* The secret ingredient in these cupcakes is diced watermelon pickle.
** I would update this recipe with edamame and serve it to my people. No offense to the lima.

December 21, 2008

White Elephant Goodness

Objects seen at a white elephant exchange:

The second autobiography of Leonard Nimoy (mrguy's dept. party)
A package of Pocari Sweat mix (H.U. party)
A Billy Bass (Forklift Development dept. party)
A handkerchief set, containing note of well-wishes "from Grandma" (mrguy's dept. party)
A stack of old baseball cards (H.U. party)
A glasses holder, in the shape of a nose, painted as if Peter Max had a bad day (H.U. party)

December 20, 2008

Dock Ellis

Pitcher Dock Ellis passed away this week.

He was a complicated fellow, and the world will be less colorful for his absence.

  • spoke his mind
  • wore curlers during practice
  • pitched a no-hitter on acid
  • beaned players I don't like
  • beaned players I do like
  • was the subject of a biography written by a future poet laureate
  • went to rehab and got his life together
  • helped others to do the same
For a good read, try In The Country Of Baseball.

December 17, 2008

Quincy Jones is a Genius

O.K., so we all know this.

But not all geniuses are this interesting.

He speaks like a lot of people who can craft a compelling story and *might* be stretching the truth when it comes to their history. But he's the real thing. His life is punctuated by decade after decade of accomplishments and milestones that are not only his milestones but the milestones of American music and American history. Not bad!

Check for the upcoming broadcast of his interview with Ben Fong-Torres here

December 13, 2008

Japan 2008, the ride home

The trip ended too quickly. It's the rule.

The breakfast buffet was o.k., but my current favorites remain the Shinkobe Oriental in Kobe or the Mitsui Urban in Tokyo. Mrguy didn't really get to see savory Japan in action.

We said goodbye to the Inari shrine, and took another long pleasant cab ride in one of the be-doilied taxis of Japan. We had planned to take the train to the airport, but our hosts insisted otherwise.

At the airport I looked for the restaurant where AV-san coached me on my noodle-eating technique. It was not open, so we went straight to the ANA Sky Lounge.

This lounge is a tiny slice of airport heaven :) It's a very chill place to listen to slinky jazz and eat complimentary sushi and drink a Carlsberg, perfectly poured by the beer machine.

We were not sad to be at the airport early.

On the flight home they fed us another tremendous meal and I fell asleep watching Hawaii Five-0.

Surprising to note that the meal helped me out with my Omnivore's List. Notice the tiny abalone on my plate?

In the City of Pride and Purpose, taxis have no doilies.


December 11, 2008

Japan 2008, Day 7

I've probably neglected to mention that we had jet lag the entire trip. It manifested itself as euphoria all the way until after my presentation, and then cheerful but penetrating fatigue the days in Tokyo.

We woke up a little later on that last full day and met with a young friend and colleague from home. By this point my idea of planning and even conversation were failing me fast. It was delightful and I hope she forgives my poor manners.

Coffee did give us a lift enough to get to Shibuya. At one of the stations I saw this sign, which I can loosely interpret as "Do not offer your finger to a small crab."

We found Shibuya but could not for the life of us find Mecca (i.e. Tokyu Hands). What we found instead was that within four blocks of Shibuya Crossing, there are little neighborhoods where you can't even hear the din. Places where I would totally live. That was unexpected.

We did find T.H. after a bit, and it was wonderful. Within seconds we located two shelves worth of pigeon repellent. This is one of the better examples:

I found my favorite discontinued Moleskine books, and pointless, stupid gag underwear. At what occasion are hot pants with a faucet attached to the crotch considered appropriate? And stuffed Totoros and thermohygrometers, and a huge array of beautiful signage. Mrguy said (as he did everywhere) "This place is amazing!!" I told him that if I die first, he is to cremate me and surreptitiously sprinkle my ashes in the aisles of Tokyu Hands.

After a while he started looking like his eyes were rotating in opposing circles, so we went in search of food. Not far away was a basement cafeteria whose line was just long enough for us to figure out how to order. The clerk said my sprout was kawaii, which is one of the few non-food or sumo words I understand. Much appreciated! A little tempura lotus root and some udon and we were back in action.

Mrguy had some record stores he wanted to find, and our pursuit of them took us places we wouldn't have gone otherwise. First we explored windy streets with little hippie storefronts displaying Tibetan textiles and incense. Kinda Santa Cruz-like. And nearby were straight up dorm buildings from the 1960's with small specialty record stores.

Manual of Errors was in one of those buildings and was accessible only via an external hallway.

Visiting this store was like visiting the dollar bins in record stores at home ten years ago, only the records are $165 apiece. The owner happens to specialize in oddities, which tends to be my taste. Some of his oddities were too odd and *not* my taste (so that's where all those Rudy Ray Moore records went!!), but he had some great stuff. I fell in love with a sweet record by JR and his Soulettes, and wanted to buy it. He said I could get it at home and wouldn't sell it to me. You can hear a little bit of their music here.

At this point I wanted to go find the flea market at a temple in Shinjuku. Mrguy got us to the neighborhood, but we never found the temple. There was a small stage near the station where a lady bellowed into a microphone about something...wait!! They were shilling for Calbee, my favorite potato chip brand. And they were giving out samples. I love them for their creative flavors but it turned out later that they've finally come out with plain potato chips. Irony in action.

Mrguy attempted to navigate us toward the temple, but we were so dead tired by this point and a little navigationally challenged. The good people of the red light district left us alone as we navigated their streets with our tired tourist faces and Tokyu Hands bags. I didn't even realize that this was a sketchy neighborhood until I saw a sign for "Slut to Slut." Whatever.

We walked for miles and saw some awesome stuff.

By now I was dying to see the last hour of the sumo basho. Ama and Hakuho were tied and Ama was up for promotion to ozeki, and somehow I just...felt like having a pint at this english pub instead. Can't quite explain. I just needed a break.

But in the last *half* hour we hurried around Shinjuku trying to figure out who might have a tv going that would be showing the tournament. Again, our travels took us to crazy places as we were emboldened by pursuit of some strange interest. Again, the people of Tokyo were amused by a lady with no Japanese language skills looking for sumo on television.

We headed to the train station but somehow found Kinokuniya instead. The Kinokuniya where I live has sumo magazines. The Kinokuniya in Tokyo does not. What's wrong with this picture? But mrguy got a fashion magazine and a Happy End singles cd.

I told mrguy that if we didn't go straight to the Hawaiian restaurant I'd be done for.

He insisted on going back to the hotel. I got in the bed with all my clothes on. I was done.

November 29, 2008

Japan 2008, Day 6


We woke up and got to the sumo stadium before the gift shop opened. It was absolute heaven. There was so much knick-knackia of a sumo nature! Flags and shirts and cards and fans and Hello Kitty in a mawashi.

The saleslady was so nice. I think she was mildly perplexed that I had no language skills other than sumo nouns. Sorry! I saw the old stadium cushions in the back room and asked if I could buy one. They're experimenting with replacing them with double cushions that are harder for fans to throw during tournaments. She would not hear of selling one, but it was worth a try.

Then we went on an adventure in Ueno, wherein mrguy found the store he was looking for that sells Japanese denim.

Then off to meet acquaintances who took us to a forklift factory and gave us a tour of their machine room.

They handed us off at Shibuya Station to wonderful friends from the Japanese tour of the forklift exhibition, and we got to spend the rest of the day with them. Sweet!!

They took us to a formal garden that had colorful maple trees and a gorgeous lake filled with big funny koi (am I the only person who thinks that carp have a sense of humor?) and herons and egrets and beautiful stones. As night fell, Ms S noticed that a building right next to the footpath was actually an apartment and they were watching sumo (Baruto vs Dejima). Good eye!

We took the subway to Rappongi, and had the culinary experience of a lifetime. Mr H identified our spot as a "Robota" restaurant. The ingredients were all laid out before us like a Japanese version of a Dutch still life. The chefs cooked everything to order, and our every move was shouted to the entire restaurant. Mrguy has been joking that when we had the tasty little salad with shirako in vinaigrette, the waiters and chefs were probably shouting "The Americans are eating shirako!!" I tease, but the shirako was tasty (anything in ponzu has my vote). However the texture was a little wiggly for me :)

I know this isn't a food blog, but I need to geek out a bit. We ate the largest oysters I've ever consumed. I'm not a fan of big oysters, because I've never eaten a delicious one. This oyster was a Pacific oyster of some sort and every piece of it was that perfect "crispy" texture and fresh-fresh-fresh. It took three bites. And the eggplants were that inky indigo color that you only find in Japanese eggplants in Japan. All of us were right about the hairy tubers by the way. I said they're taro. Our hosts said they're potatoes. According to the world wide intertubes, they're "taro potatoes."

The whole time we were with our friends I could *not* get over how delicious it was to be with them and for mrguy to finally meet them. Sometimes you meet people and just feel like you're supposed to be friends and hope that feeling is mutual.

Awwwww. It was sad when we had to say goodbye.

After all of this fun I could not stay awake on the subway. On Friday I had had the experience of being the gentle pillow for a sweetly sleeping school boy. Now mrguy was mine.

Japan 2008, Day 5

We started the day in Chiba. Packing took some time, and then we were off. During the ride our taxi driver fed us candy, tangerines and asked us if we wanted to make a stop to use the restroom. Now *that's* service. As a point of comparison, during the taxi ride from home to the rail station the driver *accelerated* down the hill and ignored most of the stop signs.
We got to our hotel (good choice, mrguy!) and found that we were across from the Inari Shrine. So pretty and peaceful, with the statues of kitsune and bells and incense.
We found a restaurant a few blocks from the hotel, where a local woman encouraged us to eat, took us in, asked for our likes and dislikes and ordered for us. I wish we'd exchanged name cards. She was so kind. If you're ever in Akasaka, eat here:

They'll make you a gorgeous chirashi sushi salad thingie that'll blow you away.
Then off to Yanaka to take a walk suggested by our guidebook. It's peaceful and suburban. Lots of cemetaries and shrines, where ravens make gargling sounds and cats sun themselves on large monuments.

Our next stop, the sumo museum, was closing in an hour. It also took three subway lines to get there. Studly mrguy got us there in 20 minutes. It was fabulous. The vintage kesho-mawashi were beautifully constructed, and an oval photograph of the 25th yokozuna laying down at home was very tender and dear. They don't allow photography, but here are the murals at the stadium:

Then to Beer Club Popeye to try some of their 40 beers on tap. They had a large tv or two, which allowed me to watch the sumo tournament in real time. Patient mrguy!

Our friends from the forklift factory met us, and we had a great night with them, eating chanko-nabe at Yakitori Bar Toriyoshi. I now know that certain chrysanthemums are edible. Yum.

November 25, 2008

Japan 2008, Day 4

Today was the big day, but something was wrong. My innards were not right. Neither were mrguy's. After he ducked out to find us a pharmacy, I fingered the culprit: it was the Dundee Cake and its hundreds of raisins. The moment passed, so to speak.

I played the uke to calm any nerves. I met the translators, and my fellow panelists. One was famous enough to get several double-takes in the restaurant where we ate lunch.

The presentation went well, the other presentations were interesting, the whole sessio
n went over by an hour and a half, and I was BEAT! But wait...another reception on the 35th floor of a hotel in the area. It was cozy to hang out with our hosts and look at their cat pictures and eat Japanese pizza and see the far away Tokyo skyline where we'd be tomorrow.

We gathered more swag, and mrguy took me to an arcade, and then to the grocery store.

My favorite vacation pastime. I bought beer and Japanese cheese weenies and ice cream and CalBee chips. Outside the supermarket, I considered sleeping on the sidewalk from exhaustion.

Japan 2008, Day 3

It's all about the rosette.

A Japanese ribbon cutting ceremony is the height of cool. A long red ribbon is held aloft by chrome stanchions and is studded with ribbon rosettes. In between each rosette stands a white-gloved person wearing his or her own rosette, waiting for the cue to cut. Simultaneously, each dignitary makes his or her cut with a pair of golden shears.

I'd seen it done before, but this was my day. The gloves, the rosette, the was awesome.

I was under strict instructions from another english-speaking person that I was to wear the rosette at all times on this day, especially at dinner. I felt even more conspicuous than usual.

After the keynote presentation by our colleague we ate by ourselves at The Plastic Wasabi.

After our second colleague's presentation, which included the thoughtful proposition that one of the stakeholders in any company is the environment, we went off to the exhibits. My favorite? The people who make big colorful buttons that light up. Their website doesn't do justice to how beautiful their switches and buttons are. I'm such an analog girl.

The sounds in the exhibition hall were multitudinous and deafening. The rosette was noticed by every single person we passed. The stimulation was intense.

We found an oasis of calm at a booth manned by a fellow ribbon cutter. He served us tea and Dundee Cake and we chatted with yet another ribbon cutter who had spent his entire afternoon in interviews. The forklift company doesn't allow interviews, so I was in luck.

Then we made our way to our room to practice the presentation one last time. Having nowhere else to go, mrguy stuffed his ears with earbuds, turned on his iPod and put a pillow over his head until I was finished.

Dinner was at a banquet hall in the convention center. Hundreds of people stood around round tables drinking Suntory whiskey and water and eating gorgeous sushi. Each of us presenters and our hosts made an appearance on stage (this is the reason you need to wear the rosette), and at the end of introductions and kudos and shout outs for people who have worked hard to make this happen, we on the stage simultanously clapped once, on cue. This signified the almost halfway point of the exhibition. We have no equivalent gesture in America.

After the banquet we considered eating this:

but ate ramen out of the vending machine instead. Soooo tired.

Japan 2008, Day 2

This is where the fun begins.

Just like in the movies, a nice man with a sign saying "mrs guy" met us at the airport and took us to our hotel. Japan started happening in front of us and it was all I could do to keep my focus. If only I'd taken a picture in the airport of the large, free-standing plastic hot dog squirting catsup onto himself, my life would be complete.

Moving on, we had a little time to relax before work began. I got to watch sumo on tv, and was a happy girl. Our evening's activities included meeting our hosts and fellow presenters, eating and drinking and taking turns hooking up our presentations to work out any bugs.

Left to our own devices, mrguy and I found the vending machines and bought beer and snacks.

Japan 2008, Day 1

I should just title this "The Foods of ANA".

Flying on ANA is so heavenly that nobody in their right minds wants to get off the plane. The flight attendants lavish you with attention and food. I was stuffed when I got to Tokyo.

First there was champagne. And then shochu. I chose the type made from barley, and mrguy chose the one made from sweet potatoes:

Then came the ANA Signature Amuse, featuring the best cheese sticks in the entire world. I have craved those cheese sticks for two years:

Then the first course, featuring the best daikon flower I have ever eaten, lovely surf clam, salt-grilled saury, hoshigaki and many other taste treats.

Then the second course. Fish and vegetables in a delicate broth, served with pickles.

The meal ended in an enormous parfait that guilt prevented me from refusing. Followed closely by the offer of after dinner drinks and truffles.

Because of the girl band back home, I watched a movie about a girl band in Japan, then I woke up and studied some for the forklift presentation.

November 23, 2008

What we didn't do

Tomorrow I will commence the Japan blog, but before we go, our list of the things we didn't do:

Nakano Broadway Mall (including the store that sells stuff people left on the subway)
Flea markets
Golden Gai
Kiwaya Ukulele Museum
Ukulele Weekend
Sumo basho
Art/history museums, but especially the Edo Tokyo Museum
Coco Palms / Mehana (Hawaiian restaurants)

I can't think of any food items that I especially craved that I didn't have.

Looking forward to coming home, eating a burrito and resting.

November 22, 2008

I know what you fed me

If u r reading this, I know what that is now.

You said "it's part of a fish".

It isn't really part of a fish, but is more like what makes fish in the future and isn't an egg, if you get my drift. Some call it "white children".

Another blogger says this of shirako "It was something like a high quality silky tofu. Yet, it has the umami that you would not find from tofu." I cannot disagree. However mrguy says:

"Ooooh, Mommy!!!"

November 19, 2008

How the Mighty Have Fallen

After a day of being secretly famous I am eating Cup O Noodles in bed, with mrguy's used chopsticks, and am completely happy. Maybe I should have thrown down for a meal in another eating establishment in the hotel (the storm petrel nest soup with crab seemed a bargain at $36.00 for a cup), but I kind of love the dissonance of starting the morning with a face full of cameras and ending it eating chez vending machine. I have suggested to mrguy that tomorrow perhaps we should eat at AM PM.

If only I could find *one* english speaker in this country who likes sumo...

November 18, 2008

The Punchline

Is that we got to our hotel room just in time to see the last 5 matches of day 10 (?) live on tv.

How cool is that?

November 15, 2008

Bidet 2008

One reason mrsguy has been relatively silent lately is that the creative juices have been diverted to a presentation I'm giving in Japan about forklifting and how the factory sets out to make those forklifts so nice.

And because of the timing, certain celebrations are being observed early. The first wave was last night. Ms scandiwaiian and mrguy and I went to see our friend's piece exhibited in a museum. And since we were together, I got some niiiiigh birthday swag:

Check it out. Coin purses in the image of the amazing cassette tapes I have owned. The first is Wow Booty Shake Vol. 2, a tape I bought just for its title. Every song is vile, catchy and funny in an awful way. I sang along with it so much that I ended up having a dream that I had found Wow Booty Shake Vol. 1.

The second tape is Funny Tape. You may recall this from mrsguy. Again, fabulously commissioned for me by ms scandiwaiian for my birthday. I am honored.

We came home from our adventure (o.k., I picked up my car from work, and took a detour to give a ride to a damsel in distress), and there was a box waiting in the hallway. omg. A gift from that nice boy: two bottles of pear eau de vie, two bottles of kirsch, two bottles of raspberry eau de vie.

Bidet is off to a nice start :)

A Last Election Note

Joe the plumber, like Willie Horton before him, will soon be a person we only discuss every four years in the fall.

Last week while driving past a famous sex novelty store in the big city we saw this marquee and paused just long enough in the intersection to snap this photo...

November 5, 2008

Election Bunker in Action, Part 2

I can't believe that I woke up and it's still true.

Yes, the potholder candidate went down in flames. But the biggest carbuncle on the flank of our city council got enough votes to last for another four years. His anti-yoga mailer (I'm not kidding), intended to harm one of the other candidates, did not work. That candidate got the most votes.

In other political news, The Sun has scrapped its "Page 3 Girl" today for Barack Obama.

November 4, 2008

Election Bunker in Action, Part 1

In 2004, mr middleguysis ate a record number of slices of pizza, perhaps as many as ten, in protest of the unfolding election returns. I think this year he might be able to eat more lightly. And this may be the first time in years that I've been asleep at a reasonable hour knowing what happened.

Regardless of whether you're happy about how things turn out today, one thing we can all get behind is how many people went to the polls and voted. Here's how I saw it...

I was out there at 7:30 this morning. I was so excited to see that I had to stand in line. I remarked on the turnout to a poll worker, and she told me that during the February primary only 140 people in my precinct voted...shocking!

I don't know about you, but I like to vote. Let's keep it up, people! That's how we change the world.

November 1, 2008


This morning mrguy took me to Carrows to help feed my cold the egg breakfast it desired. We returned to find our mailbox full of rain-soaked campaign mailers. Why couldn't the mail carrier get them all into the box?

I felt one of the envelopes, a puffy envelope marked "a gift for you"...


I am now the proud owner of a potholder from city council member M., up for reelection. His potholder wins my affection, but not my vote. I'm no fool.

"Hardworking Joe C.," however, totally got my attention a few years ago by sending us gardening gloves emblazoned with his motto. How funny!

Back to the potholders, though. I wanted to know more about the tradition of the campaign potholder. From info on the Internet it appears that Gerald Ford gave out promotional potholders when running for Congress. Calvin Coolidge may have also used the promotional potholder. And Magi claims to have started the political potholder trade.

There is little hope that city council member M. will not be re-elected. That may be sad, but I'll buoy myself with the thought that the next time his term is up, there may be a potholder in it for the guy family.

October 31, 2008


It's been an action-packed Octvember.

First there was Oktoberfest. Low on costume ideas, mrguy and I went as
Heino and Manager of Heino again. Our nephew, mr randommeats, named a beer after us (Heino's Dopple) and our pictures from last year graced the tap. mrguy made a stikke alt for the occasion and won best guest brew.

Later in the month it was ms scandwaiian's birthday. We spent an evening suffering through mildly competent surf bands until God in his Mercy rewarded us with Laika and the Cosmonauts.

The Reagan administration would have declared this beverage a fruit. I stuck to beer.

Later in the month we got a new stove for a blissful few days before the dining room became the kitchen, the walls went away and came back, and the rice cooker became our burner.

October 16, 2008

Josephine the Plumber

On the way home to watch the debate with mrguy, I was stuck in traffic behind a woman whose car had a Yes on 8 (restore marriage) bumper sticker. She was weaving in and out of her lane, while text messaging at the wheel. Then she brushed her teeth.

Once ensconced in the happy Guy home, I heard a lot about Joe the Plumber.

I'd much rather talk about Josephine the plumber. She was my favorite advertising character in the day. In commercials she talked out of the side of her mouth, wore lipstick, and taught you how to get stains out of your sink with Comet.

7 years ago I saw her (the actress Jane Withers) at an event in LA. She looked amazing. She was wearing a bright colored blazer and her hair was in a bouffant. She reminded me of my favorite co-workers from the diner, out for a night on the town.

If they'd been movie stars.

September 28, 2008

H. Gladiatorum

While searching for sumo news this evening, I learned of a new study about a variety of the herpes simplex virus that affects athletes in contact sports like sumo.

Laymen call it "scrumpox", and doctors call it Herpes Gladiatorum. As a person who loves language, I find either name entirely satisfying.

September 20, 2008

A Message From Squirry

I am in your base, eating your lemons.

Squirry is a sly little fellow, and a creature of habit.

He steals our fruit, takes a single bite and leaves it on the fence where we can see his handiwork.


September 13, 2008

Hakurozan and Roho

Wakanoho's arrest led to drug testing of all of the top sumo wrestlers.

Hakurozan and Roho, brothers, tested positive for marijuana in two separate tests, but maintain that they are innocent. They were also ousted from sumo this week.

Here they are in Los Angeles in June.

Roho's in pink, Hakurozan is in blue.

The September sumo basho begins tomorrow.


The contradictions behind the scenes in the sport of sumo are playing themselves out in the media, as Wakanoho, a foreign-born wrestler, sues for reinstatement in the sport after having been fired for pot possession.

His complaint is that wrestlers have done far worse things and continued to participate in sumo. He's right, of course, but that doesn't matter. He seems ungrateful that his position in sumo spared him a prison sentence. He seems unremorseful that his behavior caused others to lose their jobs (his oyokata and a high official in the sumo association). And he's putting foreign rikishi and sumo in general in a bad light.

Hinkaku is a word that is invoked in the world of sumo. It's a specific kind of grace or dignity that is required of a sumo wrestler in larger quantities he attains higher rank in the sport. Some believe that foreigners are not capable of this quality. Don't look for it in Wakanoho any time soon.

Using his current spotlight to bring reform to sumo would be a selfless and redemptive act.

But suing his way back in on the "you're as dirty as I am" defense is not.

More as it develops.

August 31, 2008

Only Pretty Things

Last week when Meathenge was on vacation, I wandered over to I'm Mad And I Eat.
There Cookiecrumb posted her answer to the Omnivore's 100, developed by Andrew of Very Good Taste. I wanted to know how my score would stack up against that of a foodie, so I answered it myself. Not bad. My score is 73. What's yours?

[Note: since the original post I have eaten durian and abalone. I'm now up to 75]

[Note: as of 9/2016 I've also eaten fugu]

According to the originator of the list, here's how the Omnivore's 100 works:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. (below I've colored the things I *haven't* eaten)
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I have no underline, so I annotated)
4) Optional: Post a comment at Very Good Taste
, linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp (
I really like carp too much to eat them) 

9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans (sold RBR daily at a NO-style restaurant)

25. Brawn or head cheese ("it's got eyes and lips and ears and nose and everything I like except the tongue" -- Psychotic Pineapple)

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (NEVER. NOT INTERESTED)

27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters (again, worked at an oyster bar)

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (go Giants!)

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut (ask me about Meeter’s kraut juice)

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar (yawn)

37. Clotted Cream Tea

38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo (Worked at a N.O.-style restaurant)

40. Oxtail (I’m sure that Knorr’s oxtail soup doesn’t count)
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects (breakfast buffet in Tokyo)
43. Phaal

44. Goat's milk (When I was a kid. I’d like it better now)

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more
46. Fugu (9/2016)

47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone (ate it for the first time on All Nippon Air)

54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (maybe 30 years ago?)

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini (I'm a gibson girl, if anything)

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine (can’t wait!)

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin (hasn’t everybody?)

64. Currywurst
65. Durian (I had a durian pearl tea drink recently)

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings or andouillette (five-spice intestines eaten with caramel corn in 2010)

71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost or brunost

75. Roadkill

76. Baijiu (Yum. Tastes like if you made alcohol out of beef jerky)

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang Souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom Yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare (does rabbit count? I think it does)

87. Goulash (one bite last Friday. Timely!)

88. Flowers

89. Horse (I think I ate horse salami in Mantova in 2013)
90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano (probably have, but I’m not sure)

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

August 30, 2008

Election Bunker 2008

'Tis the season. It's the happiest time in a boy's life: Election Bunker 2008.

During the season mrguy settles into a steady diet of debates, monologging, anticipation and then (at least for the last long 8 years) disbelief. Me too, although I don't get quite as into it as mrguy.

I am hoping that this season doesn't bring us the same cycle of disappointment.

I was looking forward to a fair-ish fight and good debates by strong thinkers. Now I'm thrown for a loop with McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as vp running mate. She's a better fit to be his *constituent*, than to be his running mate.

With the wealth of talented Republican women in the US, I'm shocked by the choice.


[redacted version]

August 24, 2008


Tis the weekend to:

Figure out the vocal arrangement for "Freedom"

And then

Make that necklace for a wee one
And finish two necklaces for the precious ones


Watching the cool documentary that a friend lent us so long ago

And starting those two books that have been lent to us

And remembering that turkey carcass for a friend

Much better!

Balderdashia, Glorious Final Russodad 2008 edition

Three years ago at Russodad I realized after playing Balderdash that it seemed like the most creative thing I'd done in a long time. That was a bit of an awakening. I'm happy to say that this is no longer the case. Soon after that year's vacation I joined the uke band, and then mrguy encouraged me to do mrsguy.

I still pine for Balderdash when my People are far from me :)

Answers from our previous game:

Crawthumpers [Definition]:
3) Religious fanatics

Rattled [Movie]:
1) Hundreds of rattlesnakes crawl down from the hills after their home is disturbed by a construction crew

Whickflaw [Definition]:
3) The skin located under the fingernails

And gleanings from our final night's play:

Keep Off My Grass [Movie]:
1) Is the first of the Dennis the Menace films, in which an exasperated Mr. Wilson attempts to keep young Denni and his sheepdog puppy off his new lawn.
2) The drummer from the popular 60's band "The Monkees" stars as a Casanova-type guy.
3) This sports-themed documentary follows the trials and tribulations of the head grounds keeper at Pebble Beach, as he attemts to re-sod six fairways, between tournaments.
4) A musical comedy romp involving two neighbors who band together to combat stray dogs.
5) The grounds keeper of a golf course fights mysterious creatures who burn hieroglyphics on the putting greens.
6) In this coming-of-age drama, a suburban divorcee discovers that the neighborhood boy who mows her lawn has become romantically obsessed with her.

Sortita [Definition]:
1) The act of pretending not to hear someone's faux-pas.
2) A small sack for carrying salt in Guatemala.
3) The first part of an opera, sung by one of the principle singers.
4) In Spain, an affectionate tern used for "house maid".
5) A South American flowering shrub whose bright yellow pollen is used for ceremonial body-coloring.
6) A Venezuelan children's game in which players attempt to strike each other in the head with cobs of corn.

In New York It Is Illegal To [Laws]:
1) eat menudo on a city sidewalk.
2) eat animals bought at a pet store.
3) eat garlic bread on the street, north of Canal Street.
4) mollusks in months whose names end in the letter "R"
5) wheat products imported from New Jersey.
6) soup with a fork.

Russodad Roundup

As we came off the bridge and headed toward town on our way to Russodad, we passed the mini golf course. The conversation went something like this:

"The cannibals still there?"
"Yeah, but I think they're wearing pants."
"THAT'S not right."

We look forward to mini golf but rarely drive into town to do it. This year, Grandmamoo guy began agitating for it the day before we left, so a small group of us sallied forth to the golferie.

Our local establishment has two 18-hole courses, populated by funny creatures and obstacles made out of chicken wire, cement and Bondo. A small dark pinball room is the only other amenity. They have speakers that broadcast a single song every twenty minutes. The kids who work there are sweet. The sounds are mainly those from traffic and the day care center. I wish I owned this place. It's so much fun. I did not win. I did not lose.

I would not have repainted the cannibals.

They used to wear loincloths.

August 18, 2008

Who Moved My Cheese?

I am over Cheez-its.

This is a shocking statement, as Cheez-its have long been a prime component of my food pyramid. However Sunshine has changed the formula and I no longer have the craving.

The entire guy family feels the same way. Multiple discussions have been had while we're together on vacation, and we all kinda agree. Cheez-its don't taste any better than Cheese Nips or Twigs.

I had been hoping that this was just a single bad batch, but months have passed with no improvement in flavor.

I think I'm gonna have to pass.

August 16, 2008

Balderdashia, Game 2

The results from Game 1

Bob Leach [Peculiar Person]:
2) Went over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but later slipped on an orange peel and died

Fangs [Movie Title]:
6) An old guy who raises snakes gets revenge when the townspeople turn on him.

Henri Charpentier [Peculiar Person]:
6) A chef who accidentally invented Crepes Suzette when his dessert caught on fire in front of a girl named Sue.

And last night's offerings:

Crawthumpers [Definition]:
1) Colloquial term for raccoons in the southeastern United States
2) Colloquial term for those who fish for crawdads
3) Religious fanatics
4) Slang term for larger pea gravel
5) Champion clog dancing group from Idaho

Rattled [Movie]:
1) Hundreds of rattlesnakes crawl down from the hills after their home is disturbed by a construction crew
2) A newborn baby's rattle is the lightning rod for supernatural forces in this horrifying thriller
3) A dark comedy about a midwestern dairy farmer who is bitten by a rattlesnake and develops a deep fear that he will have to turn to running a whale dairy to make ends meet
4) A National Geographic special film on the life cycle of the diamond back rattlesnake
5) An accident at a biochemical facility releases rattlesnake pheromone on an unsuspecting community. Rattlesnakes terrorize the townspeople in this suspense thriller

Whickflaw [Definition]:
1) An indentation left by a rocking chair in the boards of a front porch
2) A flail made of hemp rope and magnolia seeds, used primarily in the American South
3) The skin located under the fingernails
4) A three-tined pitchfork used exclusively for bailing green hay
5) A plant indigenous to Madagascar. The whickflaw blooms once every seven years

August 15, 2008

Balderdashia, Game 1

The Balderdash gauntlet has been thrown. Answers in this space later:

Bob Leach [Peculiar Person]:
1) hopped on one foot from Philadelphia to Boston in 1974
2) went over Niagara Falls in a barrel, but later slipped on an orange peel and died
3) made more than three hundred thousand dollars selling fool's gold to unwitting prospectors during the California gold rush
4) Chicago tailor who invented the zoot suit
5) found an alternate use for his failed fruit leather recipe by inventing edible underwear
6) former mayor of Lawrence, Kansas who left office to raise chinchillas

Fangs [Movie Title]:
1) This film, based ona true story, chronicles a fundamentalist church in Arkansas whose healing services incorporate the use of poisonous snakes.
2) A family of vampires that owns a car wash in small-town Georgia struggles to live a quiet life. When a beautiful stranger enters their lives, trouble ensues.
3) This documentary captures the three year rise and fall of a Chinese restaurant in a small North Dakota town.
4) A CHIPS-style drama about the Federal Air National Guard Service and their fight against crime in the skies.
5) Cheap thriller set in a small town where a misfit bank teller breeds rattlesnakes in the bank's vault and turns them loose.
6) An old guy who raises snakes gets revenge when the townspeople turn on him.

Henri Charpentier [Peculiar People]:
1) was an apprentice to Rodin but was never credited for any of the work he produced, most importantly, "The Kiss".
2) apprentice and long-time compannion of Louis Pasteur who helped invent the process of pasteurization
3) chef who accidentally invented Crepes Suzette when his dessert caught on fire in front of a girl named Sue
4) after a string of failed business ventures, Charpentier opened France's first zoo to great acclain in 1820
5) the man who tight-walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
6) an explorer whose fake narrative of discover of the sources of the Mississippi prompted the Lewis & Clarke expedition

Russodad, Day 2

We hightailed it out to shop fairly early yesterday. Visited the used book store, where our purchases covered the map: silent film and Surrealism for MrMiddleGuySis, jazz improvisation and Gerhard Richter for mrguy, and Thor Heyerdahl for me.

The off to the antikyoo malls, where I bought a beeyootiful pink bark cloth aloha shirt and a postcard to send to a friend. The books at the mall were great. This one seemed an unintended swipe at buglers:

There was also a great book on Bigfoot that logged all known Bigfoot sightings up to that time (roughly 1979). I didn't buy it because I couldn't think of who needed it.

As serendipity would have it, I returned home to an email about the Bigfoot news conference
being held today. Our grandniece is mortally afraid of Bigfoot, so we're referring to it as the John Wayne conference.

More good sleuthing was achieved for the ladies yesterday.

Is it noon yet?

August 14, 2008

Russodad, Day 1

Ahhh :)

The Guy Family has convened, the champagne is open and it is officially vacation season. Dinner began with disclaimers about safety and plumbing, and then thanks. And when the dishes cleared, Cuz came to tell me the research questions the family had gathered for me. 

Here are some of the answers:

Cities named Santa Claus [Big Sis is writing about one]
House of Worth [Cuz has a Worth gown]

Still trying to find an article confirming that Cousin Paul saved someone's life on the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1950's.

No idea how to find out what park MiddleGuySis flew over on Tuesday, but we'll work on it.

In safety news, at random points in the day and night, a stream of scalding water shoots out of an open pipe sticking out near the roof of the house. It sounds like a horse relieving itself off a cliff. I'm just juvenile enough to laugh every time this happens. 

The plumber is on his way. 

August 12, 2008


It's Olympics time again. I usually manage zero hours of Olympics viewing but mrguy and I watched the opening ceremonies last week. They were nothing short of stupendous.

The first summer games I can recall were in 1972. Olga Korbut made every little girl want to be a gymnast. Mark Spitz made every boy want a mustache.

As the games approached this year, I wondered what became of Mark Spitz. Then news of him suddenly appeared at the intersection of celebrity, soap and the law. Yup, he is suing Dr. Bronner for calling him a prophet and referring to him on their wackadoodle labels. Hate it when that happens.

For more on Dr. Bronner, there's a documentary.

Can't wait to see it.

August 5, 2008


Oh Ivar.

It was a classic Pop automotive mantra that used rental cars were a great bargain. They were relatively new and had impeccable service records. So when he decided I needed a safe ride to go to grad school, he bought me a Hertz and fulfilled one of his life's goals.

However I would like to put the brakes on this automotive reverie to tell you a true story about what some people really do in rental cars...

Let's just say we knew someone who rented a sheep for a day and transported it in a rental car. The sheep didn't like the trip and the car was trashed.

Back to Ivar...

After driving my beloved no-seat, loud, paint-lacking Antwan, Ivar was beyond deluxe. I had never had power windows or even a trunk that popped open when you were inside the car. Everything worked. I can't do justice to my sense of pleasure and guilt in owning this car. The novelty did wear off, but we had eleven solid years together.

Ivar was a sheep-free zone.

August 3, 2008

Aloha Festival 2008

I told the newer members of the band that they'd either broil or freeze their okole today. Here's how that story evolved:

The Tahitian guys who went on before us were literally jumping up and down to keep warm backstage. And I've rarely been colder at a gig, but it was sweet and fun and a great time. Auntie Spunky's sister was heckling us from the front row. From the stage there were people as far as the eye could see.

In other news, the beer hat was working its magic. A guy stopped dead in his tracks, pointed at me and said "They selling those here?" Six month countdown to everybody everywhere wanting and wearing them.

Mrguy had one malasada left from his breakfast and kept it in his pocket as his "lucky malasada". This is what it looked like after the gig but I bet it was still tasty.

I cannot show you a picture of the turron.

They are in my tummy.
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