RSSAuthor Archive for M. Toole

Le Travailleur Nomade dans Paris

Oklahoma’s favorite Francophile, Monsieur Roy Bob Le Blanc, wanders the streets of Paris, pompously impressing himself with his mastery of the names of hundreds of landmarks, streets, markets, wines and classic dishes. It’s probably better that he talks to himself since no one else can understand his pitiful French.

He cannot even properly pronounce Au revoir mon cheri or Merci beaucoup. Nonetheless he is in heaven. It is the heaven of blissful pomp and circumstance. He shops for French fries and naughty lingerie for his wife back in Lawton. After hours of cooking school he still cannot make crepes.

Whenever he speaks people look up annoyed and often angry at the linguistic slaughter going on within earshot.

Agenda du Jour

8 am breakfast at Cafe La Ferronniere

9:15 a stroll on Champs-Elysees past The Opera and through the Arch Triomphe and then on to the Eiffel Tower.

10 am: for another coffee and a croissant at Cafe Lateral.

And now I’m fueled for the morning, he says.

11:00 am Will you look at the tranquil taxi stand, quieted after rush hour. I will take a quick spin to Pate Petén, Rue Marmot, and Place du Venisonne to read their posted menus for tonight.

Noon: Luncheon at the Les Crepes de Louis Marie over at 1 Rue de l’Arbalete.

2 pm The first race is at 3:30 at Auteuil Hippodrome. I don’t want to miss it. Damn, now I can’t find an empty cab anywhere. That’s all right with my instincts and knowledge of the City of Light I can walk there. Maybe I’ll pass Jim Morrison’s grave. Isn’t it in that cute little cemetery off Avenue Victor Hugo? Or is it Chemin des Dames…No that’s up north.

3 pm Hmmm. I don’t see Avenue Montaigne. …Rue de Rivoli, Passages Couverts, or Boulevard de Clichy. …Where have they gone?

4 pm I have misplaced Claret Rioux. I seem to be turned around.

5:30 Now what has happened to my Paris map? I must have taken a wrong turn at the Louvre Museum this morning. This shabby neighborhood is not mentioned in my book…I don’t recognize these the street signs. I’ll just duck down this alley and take a shortcut. I will simply double back to Avenue de L’Opéra.

6:30 But which way is the river? Now I believe I’m lost and it’s getting dark.

“Lost you say monsieur. How can you be lost in Paris? Maybe I can be of assistance,” says a beautiful, young woman passerby in a navy pencil skirts and horizontally striped blue blouse. “Come with me. I will relieve you of your worries and your burdens. Do you like my city? Have you been to L’Avant Comptoir Wine Bar or Macarons? …I work there sometimes. You speak beautiful French you know…

“I love Paris and I am well versed in its delights…it’s landmarks and history…”

“Oh?’ she smiles. “We shall see.”

The young woman leads him along three tiny streets, through an open-air market and down a long flight of steps to where her accomplices are waiting. They tense up as he smiles a greeting. Is this the Gendarmerie, or is he just another stupid tourist mesmerized by Paris?

“Give us your wallet and cell phone or we will dismember you and throw you into the Seine!” says the largest one, a cigarette dangling between his lips.

“We will throw you off the Eiffel Tower,” he continues. “See how you like that.”

“Take off those shoes too,” demanded another, “and that map, that stupid map.”

He dismissively throws the map into a litter barrel in the alley.

“Ah, the Seine,” sighs Monsieur Le Blanc. “Gore de Lyon, Place de Vosges…”

“No, those are sites are near the Bastille. You must be thinking of Pont des Arts or maybe the Sainte Chapelle,”said the woman.

“Your hotel is near Montmartre?” asks the second thief. “We know the neighborhood very well. Come, we will walk you there. You never quite know about who you might meet in the dark.

“My name is Monet and my associate here is Renoir. The lady is Joan of Arc, or was that Marie Antoinette, dear?”

– Pierrot

Dumber than the Horseshoe

Here’s a portion of the reel nuze from out there…

Bovine domino effect cow trips, player hurt

(Ankara, Turkey) Ethem Sahin thought his friends were kidding when they told him how he ended up in the hospital. But they witnessed the cow fall through the roof of the coffee house where they were playing dominoes and knock Sahin unconscious.

     “My friends told me later what happened. I couldn’t believe it,” Sahin told the Anatolia News agency.

     Sahin was treated in the hospital for a broken leg and needed seven stitches in his forehead after the freak accident Tuesday in the central Anatolian city of Nevsehir.

     The cow apparently wandered from the hillside where it was grazing onto the roof of the coffee house, which was built into the side of the hill. Its status is unknown.

     “Freak accident, my sit-downer,” said one of Sahin’s friends. “This kind of thing happens all the time.”

Child cited for putting P in park

stolen from the New York Daily News

(New Jork) Three-year-old Harry Branch-Shaw really, really had to pee. So he did what most kids his age would do–he found a tree and let go.

     Then a city parks officer did what most cops probably wouldn’t: He gave the tyke a $50 summons. Actually Harry isn’t old enough, so his nanny was cited instead.

     “The whole thing seems so absurd,” said mom Gigi Branch-Shaw.

     The pee pee crime spree unfolded Friday when Harry and a friend decided to have a play date in a park on a sparkling summer day. Harry is potty trained but all of the excitement must have made him ignore nature’s warning signs. As the crisis progressed the pre-schooler actually started for a nearby public toilet but his nanny realized he was not going to make it in time.

     “It was either that or wet his pants,” said his mom, who works as a sausage packer over in Brooklyn.

     The nanny, who demanded anonymity, had barely finished helping the boy pull up his pants when the parks officer walked up and started writing the ticket.

     The officer, whose name appears on the ticket as “J. Perez” , demanded the young woman, a legal immigrant from West Africa, show him some identification. She refused then relented when another cop politely explained that she should cooperate.

     “She’s lucky we don’t call in social services,” said a police spokesman.

     As for Harry, “He thought it was a fun thing, with the two police officers,” said Gigi Branch-Shaw. It is unlikely Harry will be placed on probation unless he is deemed a potential repeat offender.

     The family doesn’t plan to take the tinkle transgression lying down. Harry and his mom plan to contest the matter.

Study: Booze, tobacco pervade cartoons

(Waukegan IL) A study of 81 G-rated animated features from 1937 to 2000 found that nearly half show characters using alcohol or tobacco–some to excess.

     The analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health was published in the June issue of the journal Pedriatrics. The authors said the review is not meant to suggest that such films should be avoided, but that it could be used by parents to discuss the dangers of alcohol and tobacco as their children watch. Often negative roll models are already in place within the family unit, acting as bad examples, and kids can watch them too.

     The review suggests that the use of alcohol and tobacco in animated films may be declining. Of 20 recently made films 12 contained no tobacco use, compared with nine in an earlier bunch.

     “It’s a relief to know that in at least our analysis, we notice a downward trend, said Fumie Yokota, one of the authors of the study.

     Still, she added, parents should know that a significant portion of the movies available on video do not portray the long-term consequences of using tobacco and alcohol.

     “Let’s face it,” said another author. “These cartoons are just a bunch of drunks. Why can’t anyone make a children’s film about the delirium tremors or lung cancer. Imagine Daffy Duck on an iron lung or Woody Woodpecker watching rats run up the curtains, restrained in his hospital bed.”

     In the review 15 of the 38 films showing alcohol use (40 percent) suggested excessive use or abuse through hiccups, staggering or flushed faces. 13 of the 35 films showing tobacco use (37 percent) showed a physical effect such as coughing or turning green.

     The films ranged from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937 to “The Tigger Movie” last year.

     Included were such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (26 seconds of alcohol use and 23 seconds of tobacco use); 101 Dalmatians (26 seconds alcohol, 6 minutes and 27 seconds tobacco); and The Little Mermaid (7 seconds of tobacco).

     So that’s what they’re up to over at Harvard.

     One critic of the study, Dr. Efram Pennywhistle of the University of Downtown Delta had this to say about the matter:

     “Have these academians nothing else with which to fill their daylight hours? There are leaves to pick up in the park and weapons to clean. What nonsense. They didn’t undress the subject of nudity (Donald and Daisy Duck for instance) in Disney films, nor did they approach the subject of anger management (ala Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam) in Warner Brothers cartoons. Sadly, we must conclude that these cartoon examiners must be aliens, possibly from Neptune or Pluto. Don’t they realize that there is nothing funny about sipping and puffing. The humor has always been retrieved by how the character responds. I hope this study didn’t cost much.”

– edited by Kashmir Horseshoe

     

January Duels #449

“Sir! You offend the feminine gender of the state of South Carolina with your crude and careless talk of hoop skirts! I challenge you to a duel!”

And with the slap of a riding glove in Charleston, Count Marcourte set into motion a series of January duels unprecedented in American history. His opponent, a rank industrialist from Boston, was shot squarely through the forehead the next morning as seconds and a sellout crowd observed from a nearby hill.

The victim’s name was never clear. It was either Hazelrod or Hazelbloom, or something designating yellowish brown. Count Marcourte had won the day and he reveled in his lopsided victory, as winter turned to spring in this coastal redoubt.

“No Yankee can hold a candle to a Southerner when it comes to combat,” said Marcourte. It was early June 1860.

The victorious count fought three more duels that year, winning all of them in the fine fashion displayed on that Charleston morning. In 1861, with the attack on Fort Sumter, Marcourte joined the Confederate Army and soon after lost an arm at Fredericksburg. After the war, he returned to the sport he loved so well and became a local legend as the finest one-armed dueler east of the Mississippi.

Finally, on Christmas Day 1879, Marcourte was struck between the eyes by an insubordinate arrow of unknown origin. He lasted only moments.

WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY?

A short quiz that allows our reader to stretch his/her literary legs before leaping into mounds of stimulating text. Please answer the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge.
1.) WHO won World War II, you so smart? (Stolen from Firesign Theater)
2.) WHAT exactly do sociologists mean when they refer to the “ski culture”? Where is the bubble? Is it in tune with the Protestant ethic?
a.) The term refers to a popular brand of Yogurt produced by Mormons in Park City. I can’t read music.
b.) A feudalistic system that demands daily worship of Moguls. I can’t read music.
c.) What about the Catholics?
3.) WHEN was the last World Series played?
a.) 1893
b.) 1993
c.) 2019
4.) WHERE did the term “Deep in the Rockies” originate?
5.) WHY can’t penguins fly?
a.) They don’t have insurance.
b.) Where would they go?
c.) Small wings, big butts.
– Dolores Alegria

Clases de manejo en la nieve ofrecidas para trabajadores latinos

(Gunnison) El condado de Gunnison comenzará a ofrecer clases de manejo de invierno el martes con la esperanza de que los vecinos visitantes del sur de la frontera puedan mejorar sus habilidades en esta área. Las clases, que son gratuitas para el público, legales o de otro tipo, se centrarán en la operación segura de vehículos en tormentas de nieve y clima helado.

 Las sesiones se llevarán a cabo en inglés con improperios en español para efecto. Los funcionarios del condado no mencionaron un aumento particular en los accidentes que involucran a personas de México y América Central que carecen de experiencia en la negociación de condiciones invernales.

 

“Si las cosas parecen demasiado difíciles de entender, les da ganas de cagar”.

– Lewis Black en Boobus Americanus

The Dog Bar

The Dog Bar

The surfers had enough trouble honing their skills on the less than crashing waves without their dogs tagging along to Ditch Plains. So they’d just leave them, incrementally at first, at Jimmy’s bar “just for a few minutes” in the morning.

Jimmy O’Dea, the proprietor was a good guy and not stupid. He knew that some of the surfers were taking vantage of his kindness but that most were loyal customers and spent a good deal of money in his establishment. In addition, unlike a few of the hodads from down the island, they never started trouble and tipped his employees most of the time.

It could be quite the scene some days when there was an offshore wind and healthy beachbreaks. The concrete floor of Jimmy’s bar looked like a canine Penn Station with labs and collies and shepherds and retrievers scattered about making it difficult to walk from the bar to the pool table. When nobody was looking Jimmy would bring them water and treats. He was their favorite, like an eccentric uncle who let you get away with things that your parents would never allow.

He warned the surfers that he ran a tight ship but the dogs already knew that. They loved the place and their manners reflected that affection. They also knew that good behavior was imperative and that Jimmy was a soft touch. All they had to do is conduct themselves as “ladies and gentlemen” and they’d never spend the day out in the rain or snow. On hot days the concrete was cool and on cold days there was the little potbelly in the corner.

But what was the most amazing is that there were never dogfights. Almost never. It was if the mongrels understood the perplexities and nuances of Jimmy’s tavern. Tact and refinement was the order of the day. Dogs, although they may not exhibit much logic, are quick to learn with a nose for reality and instincts that people don’t possess.

Most days in winter one could pass by and look through the window at Jimmy and his patrons. Lots of tails wagging. Lots of sniffing. Lots of hanging out waiting for their owners to show back up, thank Jimmy and slam a beer or two before going home. Doggie Day Care at it’s finest.

No growling would be permitted. No accidents on the floor or leg lifting, a very impressive display of excellent manners. Share the water. Share the treats. No aggressive behavior would be tolerated at Jimmy’s.

Then one day a spacey surfer, who looked worse than the mangiest of breeds, left his dog Max at the bar. Poor Max was a mess just like his owner. Max was smaller than most of the other hounds and one uptight asshole. The first day he tangled with Mona, a no-nonsense Rottweiler. He got pinned to the floor and nipped on the nose before retreating to a neutral corner, ostracized by the rest of the day’s pack.

“Don’t be sniffing Mona,” said Jimmy to Max, who would not listen worth a hoot.

Jimmy later warned the surfer who brought Max to the bar telling him his dog was disrupting the peace and interrupting the cosmic flow. He would give the dog one more chance but if he misbehaved he would be 86ed (That’s 602ed in dog years). The surfer nodded and stumbled out of the place, an oaf with Max on a leash when maybe it should have been the other way around.

The next day was a Saturday when Jimmy often hosted a full house until he threw the mutts out in the late afternoon. He would never really throw them out but you had to pick up your dog in the early afternoon of risk losing preferential status. There were tourists from The City in town and the cash register would be humming. These folks didn’t appreciate slobber on their designer footwear or climbing over dogs to use the facilities. Some were even afraid of the dogs when these teapot refugees probably should have been afraid of each other.

It was on a Saturday that Max blew it. Moments after his dippy owner dropped him off he started it with a German Shepherd named Alfonso who was not about to take any guff from the insolent Max. The smaller dog circled and Alfonso nailed him. That was it. Max was banned.

No matter how much the oafish surfer whined Jimmy would not budge.

The Dog That Smokes Saloon in Montevideo, Uruguay

“Rules are rules,” said Jimmy.

The canine congregation seemed to nod their heads in approval. Max was history. And still to this day Max sits across the street under a salty sun waiting to be reinstated and trying to figure out what went wrong.

This was some years ago and Max is no doubt six feet under. But the story still circulates in Montauk warning bad dogs and bad owners that the spoils of comfort and joy are earned not handed out like kibble.

As the years went by Jimmy got old just like the dogs. He retired and left the place to his daughter, Fiona, who carried on the tradition until the bar began serving food and all dogs were kicked out. On his retirement day Jimmy received a remarkable gift from the surfers who had enjoyed his kindness and hospitality for a good many years. It was a felt painting: not of Jesus or Elvis but from a long-closed bar in Montevideo, Uruguay called El Perro Que Fuma. The painting (above) now hangs in a place of distinction in a small cabin on Jimmy’s Boston Whaler.

– Connor Sturgeon

Visiting El Jardin, Antioquia

Tips from the self-propelled experts at Dip Advisor

Don’t step in dog poop.

(Actually these towns are far cleaner than most places in the world. People here are very good about cleaning up after their pets. The problem often rests with a few patos (jerks) and an assortment of free-lance canines that rarely carry around those plastic poop gloves. The absence of paw thumbs also poses a problem for even the most conscientious mutt).

Never wear shorts unless you want to.

(Despite what the guidebooks say nobody gives a damn what you wear or do. As I said to a friend on the street in Andes: “You are just jealous. If you had legs like mine you would wear shorts too”.

Engage

Since there are few gringos here you may get a stare or two from the locals. The best panacea is an enthusiastic greeting which generally calms their fears. (They’ve seen us on the TV crime shows after all). Like everywhere else in the world there are those who have yet to develop socially. It’s not about you but it could be.

Don’t step in horseshit. (Hey it’s a cowboy town. C’mon)

Dig los frijoles.

The aroma of beans cooking in the morning is a secure experience. It’s good for your mental health.

Tell the locals how much you love their town. They won’t be surprised but they’ll take it as a compliment. After all, it is a rare Andean jewel.

Tranquilidad.

Always tranquilo. Noise be damned. Nothings, is perfect. The acoustics are part of the landscape. You’ll get used to it after 10 years or so.

Always greet people before beginning a conversation. It sets the tempo.

Use your GPS to find the closest bano.

And suggest that the local people refrain from using electricity so that you can take that perfect photo without overhead electric wires everywhere. You may get a laugh or a stare depending on the depth of your conversational partner

It’s perfectly natural to talk to dogs. Everyone here does it. Just keep in mind that most don’t speak English. Add food to the conversation and they can translate.

Don’t step in llama shit

Play tango in the morning. The louder the better.