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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

County Votes on Changing Era Milestones

County Votes on Changing Era Milestones

“Before Marie and After Marie”

(Ridgway) Long-accepted era abbreviations BC and AD may soon become BM and AM around these parts if voters here have their way. The new designations, honoring the late Marie Scott, a legendary rancher in Pleasant Valley, will be adopted immediately if the referendum passes.

The proposed measuring tools BM (Before Marie) and AM (After Marie) are expected to have an impact in a community where the many of the new residents are not familiar with the generous Scott who ran a tight ship, managing her large ranches hands-on. In so many ways she lived a lifestyle akin to the 19th Century.

“If she liked you, you could have anything she had,” said Bill Domka, a former neighbor who grew up around Scott. “If she didn’t like you, you best not come onto the property.”

The icon of it all, Marie Scott outside her home near Ridgway  the 50s

The secular time capsules, indicating centuries before and after the Christian era are generally well balanced. The new eras are lopsided since Marie wasn’t born until 1896. (She passed in 1979). Before and during her life of Ridgway was still a wild place. Then, following her death it began to change – some for the good – some not, depending on one’s perspective.

“That’s only 83 years to the outsider but when one considers the impact she had locally it all makes sense,” said another rancher who worked with Marie for over 6 decades.

It is hoped that the new era milestones will encourage newer residents to embrace the rich local history of the region rather than settling for a transitory status in a poor man’s Telluride. Woman in particular don’t have to look far for inspiration. No saint, Marie exhibited the qualities necessary for survival in what was certainly a world and vocation dominated by men. She was tough enough to win and kind enough to help a lot of people along the way.

Those of us who knew her remember her fondly in her cowboy duds with that red hair and rouge on her cheeks. She wore Levis or Wranglers but never washed a pair. When they got dirty she simply bought more giving the old pairs away or throwing them in the garbage. That was her very own brand of extravagance, her luxury. Not the least bit eccentric she talked to her dog a lot, delivered steaks from Safeway to needy families at Christmas, and loved to drive her red jeep all over her land, checking cows, inspecting ditches and giving the forest service hell for one thing or another.

A classic original, she and her world will never be replaced.

– Kevin Haley

 

US Airlines Continue Descent

(Denver) Major carriers, calling the United States home have taken further measures to increase traffic and profits in 2020, while even the FAA has arrived at the departure gate, aping a dubious eyebrow.

The primary dogfight, implemented in January, has quickly riveted consumer activists who claim that flying on most airlines is a brutal experience that leaves the passenger wondering why he didn’t “take the bus”.

We are, of course, referring to the well-publicized industry plan to construct wooden livestock fences at airport gates and in some extreme cases inside “coach” as well. The use of dogs, water cannon, tear gas and branding of travelers has reportedly been discussed but not yet put into practice.

“Isn’t commercial flying in this country dehumanizing enough already?” asked a woman half-asleep during an 11-hour layover in Miami. “I’m only going from Tampa to Jacksonville. I could have driven. Last year my Uncle Mary got stuck in Denver for most of the ski season while attempting to get to Disneyland. Only a short-lived romance with a third-shift janitorial assistant allowed her a window of escape.”

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“Isn’t commercial flying…dehumanizing enough already?” asked a woman, during an 11-hour layover in Miami

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Another seemingly disoriented passenger in Chicago quacked, “Quite candidly, the airlines and the airports have created a landscape chocked full of anger and frustration. Even the beer is a rip-off, unless one is traveling with an expense account. The same people are outright pricks at airports are often kind and considerate when they are not subjected to herding, bad speakers and small spaces. Some even love little kittens.”

Other airlines, based in South America, Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan do not carry this scarlet letter. Is it greed or just insensitivity here in the home of the fleeced?

Southwest Airlines, one of the few human carriers based in the US is the exception while Icelandair has consistently been ranked at the bottom due to rude employees and dwindling amenities, despite the presence of tall blondes providing the essentials onboard.

“Try writing an email to the Icelandic customer service department,” said the woman in Miami. “You’ll get a response on the day that hell freezes over. Icelandair should change its name to Disappointment Air.”

In the midst of the crisis, Singapore, Qantas, Lufthansa, Thai, Eva Air and KLM have announced a cooperative plan to harness the sun rather than rely on expensive and polluting jet fuel to power their flights.

“It only makes sense,” said Meghan O’Healy, an executive high altitude sommelier at Qantas. “We’re already up there in the sky…you know, closer to the sun. Couldn’t we take the next step and make flying cheaper and cleaner for everyone. We could put solar collectors on the wings. We could hang windmills from our many spy satellites already in orbit.”

Meanwhile a rumor circulating at United Airlines suggests that the corporate giant begin charging passengers to use the restroom while in flight. Tagged “Operation Captive Audience” the move could generate an estimated $400,000 per year, enough to cover greens fees and lunches for selected airhead brahmans and the emerging royalty caste within the above ground conglomerates.

Most American carriers are far too busy telling you how nice they are to have the time or inclination to be nice. Those phony smiles are practiced over and again in flight attendant school. Those pseudo-happy faces would crack if they actually felt anything behind the grins. The few that actually embrace a human approach are not often rewarded for the effort.

We really don’t like most passengers,” said a veteran flight attendant on American Airlines. “All they do is ask for pillows or water all the time. Can’t they just leave us alone? Don’t they know that we have been anointed by the Boneland Security Agency? If you don’t obey we can throw you off the aircraft.”

Signelle de Bushe

Did Trump Promise Kim He Could Meet Elvis?

Did Trump Promise Kim He Could Meet Elvis?

(Pyongyang) Donald Trump reportedly told Kim Jong Un that he could arrange a meeting between the North Korean leader and singer Elvis Presley. The pledge, which was never put in writing, outlined a foggy scenario that stunned top dogs in Asia and put relentless pressure on the White House staff to cough up the details of the alleged get-together.

It was not clear if the North Koreans had figured out that Elvis passed back in August or 1977, seven years before the Korean strongman was born. They have remained mum on the issue since it was first suggested back in September. Political analysts in South Florida fear that the much maligned peace talks may have been terminated due to a loss of trust.

It is common knowledge that Kim and Donald, in an apparent departure from national security, consult with the same psychologist, a very secretive little man in Geneva who, fearing for his future well being, was not comfortable commenting on private sessions with either of the powerful world leaders. However a therapist in his employ hinted that any madness detected had much to do with hair.

Or does Trump think he’s Elvis?

“Donald and Kim certainly exhibit interesting hair. That is for sure,” said the aide who begged animosity. “I am not privy to any conversations but I have observed what can only be called obsession with hairdos. Kim’s locks look to be a poor copy of styles popular in the NBA while the President of the United States walks around in what can only be called pre-pubescent tresses.”

Both men sport what many barbers say are fake haircuts, the scissor men contending that both men are bald. No one knows what the elaborate bouffants are hiding within the skulls of these two privileged bullies. Trump prefers big hair while the Korean boss uses pomade gel made in the Soviet Union. It is believed that Trump colors his hair while Jong Un, who is quite a bit younger, does not.

Oddly enough recently exhumed memoirs conjure up long-held views that The King may have entertained fantasies about his hair as well.

Getting back to the preposterous rendezvous, insiders outside the White House insist that their burger-chomping demagogue never uttered the offer denying their boss ever cross-referenced Johnny Cash, Billy Holiday, Bob Marley, James Brown or the Big Bopper over the course of the negotiations with Kim.

Meanwhile Trump blamed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who he said were soft on immigration, communism and household spreads.

“Why all the hate?” asked the President on his way out to the driving range.

-Kashmir Horseshoe

Trousers Falling Down Syndrome Cripples Millions

Trousers Falling Down Syndrome Cripples Millions

Curse of ages or just gravitational pull?

“I’m a workin’ man Lawd, and a good un’ too. Why me and the boys built some of the finest roads in Georgia…”

  Chain gang song, 1894.

There are plenty of theories as to the instability of older men’s trousers – why their pants often fall down when they are engaged in physical labor. Too much belly and too little butt are common explanations as are wardrobe malfunctions and geometrical inattentiveness. Unsecured restraints have been linked to fit, level of exertion, material used and even to misdeeds in past lives. Most men, and a surprisingly small number of women, have experienced this bothersome status even if they don’t like to talk about it much.

As part of our ongoing mid-depth coverage of life’s classic annoyances we present the final segment of “Get Over It Big Mama and Little Daddy” where we dissect the often sensitive issue of TFDS*.

These men could use some suspenders, (also known as suit braces), long strips of fabric worn over their shoulders with the purpose of holding up trousers. They attach to common  pants with either suspender clips or suspender buttons.

The average older man suffers more than a temporary  inconvenience and a mark against self confidence when, while stacking wood, bucking hay or simply carrying groceries, his pants drop down, sometimes all the way to his bony knees. Is he less virile than his fellows? Is he still a viable force in attempts to complete beneficial physical movement? Is he still marginally attractive to women?

Belts that used to work are often abandoned at the waist. They used to function pretty well in the younger days but now they are worthless and better used around the neck or as visible threats to misbehaving grandchildren.

Experts say that daily squats help relieve the downward trend facing the older yet energized mini-project manager. Surely he can practice his primary gymnastics out of eyeshot of the more judgmental segments of society and reach true enlightenment. Walking is good too, they say, although it promotes friction which can lead to an unstable relationship with ones’ hips (see hip hop).

Some foods beneficial in creating a larger, almost designer butt, promote side effects like bloating and skin irritation. Directing the destination of calories from sweets and starch does not pose a problem since these energy values go right to the rotund region and cause many people to resemble hard-boiled eggs.

Physicians on loan from the prestigious Mao Clinic could not agree on all the symptoms much less a corpse of treatment. They remain united in the philosophy that higher elevations are unjustly blanketed with superstition since the mountain dweller’s pants do not fall any farther than those of an amateur lawn mower at sea level or a rookie retiree looking to pass the time more productively in the safety of his own backyard.

“Hey, it’s get our priorities straight here,” said surgical bellwether Marcelo MacTanife, whose herbalist tendencies landed him in the Carcel de Naturales back during the Hickenlooper Dynasty. “We have people with credit cards waiting for treatment and yet we focus on these whiners. Why can’t they stay inside and watch television or buy better underwear to prevent  public humiliation? Why do you think so many popular cartoons characters appear without pants despite moral scrutiny and exclusion from the better restaurants? They may be only ink, but they often exhibit the classic freedoms that many of us only pine for under the lilac trees.”

Efforts to reach out to rappers, who originally legitimized the pants at half mast culture (Cultura de Trosieres Hermanos les Banderas Cortas), have fallen short short since urban Blacks no longer practice this odd behavior, yielding to its popularity in among White kids in the suburbs. These pathetic parrots can afford better boxers. Most interviewed said they had no interest in discussing the pitfalls of rural males of any color.

“We are not and have never been prepared to bore the already shell-shocked masses with a lengthy commentary on belly to butt ratios and a complex physics addendum,” said Dr. Ginny Export, who earned her degree in Divinity by reading cereal boxes and amassing the largest collection antique kneeling pews east of The Vatican.

Most people realize that the misuse of suspenders can be dangerous. Our reader is reminded that strap accessories are not intended as ropes, lariats, extension cords or skeletal devices. An elderly friend of ours recently spent three days tied up in his suspenders before the trash specialists responded to his pathetic pleas, found him and set him free.

As writer Robert Bacal puts it “I know. I know. There are bigger problems in the world. There are probably bigger problems in my own little life space. But damn it, I’m exhausted at the end of each day, after all the pulling and tugging at my trousers to keep them covering my SpongeBob boxer shorts from showing.” He continues his rant:

“My pants fall down. All my pants fall down. My jeans fall down. My sweat pants fall down. I tighten my belt until my belly flops over my waist band. My ankles hurt. I can no longer breathe. No go. That works for a few minutes, and then down they go. I’m old but I’m still fast. I still have the reflexes. So I’ve managed to avoid embarrassment and arrest so far. But only so far.”

Research repeatedly indicates that sitting on one’s easy chair, drinking beer and watching football avoids the same adverse slippage or and rarely presents the unsuspecting “laborer” with any chronic suspender maneuver. It may be the most logical course of action for the majority of aging handymen or affluent do-it-yourselfers.

The Suspender Line was first crossed by the radical thinker, Dr. G. Woelk of Cal Amari Institute. While noting that elk and moose almost never suffer from pants falling down syndrome (PFDS), he wrestled with conflicting maxims then tediously developed a postulate that embraces three realities: Gravity, the horizontal nature of the gluteus maximus, and padding above the belt. His somewhat juvenile, though grudgingly accepted formula is: C12H22O11.

THE BREAKTHROUGH INTRINSICALLY COORDINATES C TO O WHILE PASSING THROUGH H 22 TIMES. THE SUM THEN EQUALS THE APPROXIMATE TIME FOR PANTS TO FALL FROM THE WAIST TO THE SHOE LEVEL. IF ONE DIVIDES THE FINAL FIGURE BY THE NUMBER OF GAS STATIONS BETWEEN ANTONITO AND TAOS HE CAN DETERMINE HIS IQ WITHOUT LENGTHY COUNSELING AND/OR THE PAIN OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH FOOL INJECTION.

A distinct curve, that follows a similar pattern as the Horn of Africa, accentuates gravitational pull. As one can clearly perceive from the above graph it has more to do with age than beauty.

Without losing sight of the social ills associated with this impropriety, diminished productivity at the workplace threatens to snuff out any of the scant progress chronicled since the election of Ronald Reagan (The Great Suspender).

Flat butt – culo fattee puffe proteges will be pleased with their elevated status while the great unwashed may continue to pull their pants up at every turn, privately complaining that “My ass isn’t holding up the rest of me.”

Yes, knuckle-dragging elements, still hinged to drawstring dogmas and fairy tales about wind resistance have been thoroughly discredited. Gas is not a help or hindrance in keeping pants in place, nor is spontaneous seduction.

And, as poet Jennings Lederhosen put it: We shall soon bear witness after bars close at night, to fraudulent boasts unmasked in dawn’s light.

EGGSACTLY. Whether you show up in clean bibs, kilts, a union suit or even if you put on your clothes with a pitchfork (insert canned laughter here) you can’t fight gravity. It lurks in every life, at every turn. It affects every gender. As one outspoken female source in Ouray explained it: “I already wear a damn bra. I’m not wearing suspenders too!”

In closing, writing stupid articles does not affect my own pants to waist status. Rarely do my pants fall down when I am sitting at my wormwood desk drinking a tumbler of Absinthe and coke from a tart filet of Calabrian wineskin. On weekends, papaya-laced vodka concocted from smart wool socks and the bark from a seeping hogshead bush (old English) goes a long way toward cementing incredulous beliefs that my gov’ment is competent and that it cares for my welfare.

PFDS is most common where most of the work is done with more progressive states often undressing the issues before the entire population is contaminated.

If nothing else, at least credit this account for not subjecting sound byte consumers to indiscreet photos of plumber’s crack or quick fix CBD (chronic butt delirium). In addition, we did not employ the word buttocks in this windy epistle, (preferring to let a sleeping marmot lie), and in crisp recognition that buttocks has become a fleshy target of standup comedians since Lenny Bruce and Caligula.

Issues to watch for now or in the immediate future: 1. the trusting reach 2. the two bag free carry 3. the Vaudeville stance 4. the hand to chainsaw drop 5. the alley-oop  6. the bend and drop  7. the fly tie ascension. We will discuss these curious standings in our next episode.

Endorsements

“Your article was amusing and informative but my pants still fall down all the time. Despite its impotent recommendations, impulsive gramar and imprudent advice I carry it with me everywhere I go.”   

– Mr. Spleenjeans, Eldredge, Colorado

“Try duct tape. Try dynamite. Don’t be such a putz. If those don’t work consult Dip Advisor.” 

– Peg Slacks, Gunnison.

Elliptically speaking, the right angle of one’s derrière’ must be more than the compilation of belly pressure multiplied by the metric distance from the belt to the shoes. It’s quite simple really. In light of this, your article was nothing but elitist, scholastic double-talk.”

– Wolfgang Pockette, LaSal Junction.

Paisas, the Mountain People of the Colombian Cafetera

Paisas, the Mountain People of the Colombian Cafetera

RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH AN ANDEAN CULTURE

The Departments of Antioquia, Caldas, Quindío and Risaralda identify as Paisa. These mountains are home to the hearty coffee-growers (and sometimes gold miners) who have called this spectacular place their home for centuries. Proud, smart, funny and generous, these friendly folks might check you out for a moment before smiling an approval.

In this respect they resemble the mountain people from the Rockies.

Always time for tinto

They take pride in colorful chivas. They don straw fedoras and ruanas, dote on their Andalusian horses and are certain their rum is the best on the planet. Everywhere the Paisas congregate tinto is the fare and ample time is set aside to sip Caldas or Medellin Rum. Years ago the two rums were distinct to two regions but now they are available in most of country. Residents claimed their particular rum was far and above the best, yet they coveted the other rum, you know, the one they couldn’t get down at their corner cafe.

“No prisa. No Prisa. No rush. Don’t hurry life,” they say in a variety of ways that culminate as a distinct language of its own. One day I was overcharged for a beer in the high altitude city of Manizales. My response was a resounding Ave Maria! at the escalated price. The kid behind the bar was surprised that I had such a dramatic command of the local lingo and a little embarrassed that he had tried to squeeze another $30,000 COP out of this gringo. He dropped the price to the usual one dollar, his hand still stuck in the cookie jar. I left the full fiscal modification as a tip.

Speaking Castilian is fun but talking Paisa is even better, if a bit challenging at times. Here is some of the more prevalent slang one might hear on the street:

chevere – nice, beautiful

charro – funny

la farra – the big party

pato – a stupid guy, a putz

guaro – short for aguardiente, an anise-flavored liquor literally translated as firewater

amanar – to be comfortable

bacano – an outstanding or pleasant situation

chimba – cool, nice

pola – beer

parce – dude

sizas – yes

Que mas? Literally What more? Translated as What’s up?

Uttered the morning after a night of drinking: No vuelvo a tomar! (I’ll never go back to drinking) to which the answer is usually Ja oilo (a kind of “I can’t believe it or “Hello? Wake up to reality”) from the Basques, a far-flung population well represented in Paisaland.

You’ll make more friends yakking in Paisa than in asking questions about Pablo Escobar, cocaine or civil wars. Have some respect for feelings here. Try not to be a pato and remember your own national dirty laundry is out there swinging in the breeze as well.

Now that we can talk…let’s eat!

Bandeja de Paisa. Desert anyone?

By far the most popular dish here is Bandeja de Paisa, an extravagant yet customary dish (see photo) for campesinos and moradores urbanos (country folk or city dwellers). It consists of carne molida (ground beef), avocados, morcilla (black pudding), chicharron (fried pork belly), chorizo, platano maduro (ripe plantains), beans and rice, and a vigilant arepa, all toped off with un huevo frito (a fried egg) and hogao (a delicious Colombian Criollo sauce). Buen provecho!

Keep it up and you’ll look like one of Colombian artist, Botero’s sculpted fatsos in no time at all.

A diverse musical experience graces the coffee region with salsa, merengue and cumbia on the dance card.

It’s difficult to say whether anyone is in the dancing mood after such a feast but it’s all waiting in the wings in the Land of 1000 Rhythms. Salsa, merengue and cumbia lead the pack. Favorite local pop musicians include Juanes and Lucas Arnau from Medellin, Andres Cabus from the coastal city of Barranquilla and Dolcey Gutierrez, a concertina virtuoso also from the Caribbean coast. The loco Gutierrez video “Pasame la lengua por los huevos” should not be missed.

Although these latter two entertainers are not really Paisas please don’t tell anyone here. Gutierrez explains it all in his rendition of “Ron por todo el mundo” which really doesn’t need further translation.

-Kevin Haley