Who’s Got the Partridge?

If you know “The Chickens are in the Chimes” at all, you probably know it from Dr. Demento. We, on the other hand, know it from the local AM station growing up, where it was easily the most-requested song during the holiday season. It’s the best Stan Freberg song that wasn’t done by Stan Freberg — credit belongs to Sascha Burland and the Skipjack Choir.


Hee. As a kid, I always liked the MAD Magazine carols better than the originals.

Happy Fill-In-The-Blank-Dec-Holiday to all.

I have no idea what any of this means.

@Benedick: You’re only missing out on carol variations like “Jingle Bells, Santa smells. Rudolph laid an egg.” I know mothers who are being driven insane by the incessant repetition of these things right now.

RIP: Original catwoman Eartha Kitt died today at 81.

Back from the folks for Xmas Dinner (Ham, no turkey.)

Success! My parents didn’t pound me on the head over my bachelorhood. I didn’t piss off my parents by being a smart ass. In fact the only person put out was my sister who wanted me to bring something food wise to the Xmas table but did not (as there would have been no place to put it.)

Considering what has happened before, I can live with minor casualties.

Now time to do… laundry. Sigh. It never ends.

@Mistress Cynica:
That is terrrrrrrrible.

The Batsignal is at half mast (?) tonight.

@Mistress Cynica: Oh, sadness. Eartha Kitt. When my brother was a toddler, I took him to hear her read a children’s book at some carnival shindig Penn was having for the local kiddos. She had an amazing voice, and I thought it was awesome that she spent time with the West Philly children.

Speaking of the departed, I’m on a DFW kick right now. His commencement address at Kenyon was amazing. “This is water.” Yes, it is.

@ManchuCandidate: Foodwise, by Correher, I think, is a great great cooking book, not a cookbook, a cooking book, it gives a recipe, then describes the science, the chemical reactions, and the effect that variations in ingredients and technique would have, hotter oven, beat it longer, add an acid, add a base, add starch, reduce the starch, and so on, all described in terms of the chemistry involved, wonderful wonderful book.

@JNOV: Thank you so much, JNOV, he was a fucking genius and I would have loved to have really experienced that mind, he is so quick and aware on so many levels simultaneously. Oh, its all about “meta,” not just observing and describing, but observing himself observing and describing, and going off in long parenthetical excursions which touch further layers describing how his memory and emotions and life experiences add to, are evoked by, what he observes as he observes him self observing and communicating his observations, but with DFW, its not a technical exercise in post-modernism, its actually very naturalistic, its just honest and straightforward description of the way his mind works as he goes about living, a display of a mind so so so fucking AWARE of every interaction involved in the interplay between consciousness and objective reality and the never perfect constant effort to communicate your consciousness to other consciousnesses despite the futility of perfect communication. I flatter myself to think that that last sentence is something like the way he writes, but not really, I just gave you my thoughts, not what I think about my thoughts, except I just did that, too, didn’t I? Fucking genius. So sad.

@Promnight: Yeah, I miss him. I was reading the NYT magazine, and they had some obits from the past year, but they didn’t highlight DFW, so I’ve been reading about him on the web. Harper’s has all of his stories available online. I’m going to read about his cruise ship experience next. I wish I could find his lobster piece.

ADD: There’s a link to the free pdfs of his Harper’s stories. I just gotta find it on the Gawker tribute thread.

Here’s the link to the free stuff: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/09/hbc-90003557

@Mistress Cynica: The original Catwoman was Julie Newmar, but yeah.

@nojo: Eartha Kitt was so much more than Catwoman.

@JNOV: In my youth, from the age of 14 to 25, I worked for a small chain of restaurants called “The Lobster Shanty.” It wasn’t a chain, I guess, it was one guy, Jack Baker, who owned them, either entirely, or, when times where bad, with shadowy “partners” spoken of only in whispers. All told I guess he had opened about a dozen of them, but never were there a dozen at one time.

The Flagship was in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, where I started at 14 as a dishwasher, my older brother was the kitchen manager, my father was prep manager, and my mother ran the Sunday Brunch and made muffins and did some prep of salads and such. Yup, one big fishy-smelling family. As he opened more restautants, my father, my brother, my other brother, one of my sisters, all would up managing outlying restaurants, and I was manager of a seasonal outdoor bar-restaurant overlooking the water, for one summer, till I was fired for general obnoxiousness. Before that I spent my last two high school years and all four summer years in college, oops, I mean five, as head cook at one or another restaurant. I smelled of fish for a large part of my life. During one of my early jobs, for a summer, I was “shrimp guy,” I peeled shrimp all day long, all day long, 8 hours peeling shrimp. You cannot get that aroma out after it has soaked in for 8 hours. 200 pounds in a day.

But killing lobsters, that was a major part of my life. We occasionally ran “all you can eat” lobster specials, fresh, live, boiled lobster, all you can eat, can you imagine what people did, all you can eat lobster for $29.95?

These were big restaurants, factories, almost, the biggest day ever, it was always Mother’s Day, in one restaurant, we served 2,400 dinners.

But the real slaughter was the all you can eat lobster days. We had these enormous steam kettles, they held from 30 to 50 gallons of water, steam jacket kettles, steam provided the heat, you would get 50 gallons of salted water boiling, and throw in a bushel of lobsters at a time, about 50 or 70 of the things. Alive. One bushel after another, all night, Lobster Buchanwald.

When someone wanted a broiled lobster, you would take a live lobster, lay it on its back, and plunge a knife into its mouth, then smash down through the body all the way to the end of the tail, you cut almost, but not all the way, through, then grab it and splay it, open it up like a book. Then we would grab the viscera and pull them out, and you would often be able to pull out the heart, still beating, and hold it in your hand, and watch it beat, for quite a while.

So in one sense, I worked at a slaughterhouse, killed living things in huge numbers. But on the other, they are fucking bugs. I could not kill a cow, or even a chicken, unless I really had to, like, survival depended on it. But lobsters, meh, I still have no qualms, after all those years, they are still my favorite food, though I am impossible to please, there is an enormous variation in the quality of lobsters, even if you buy them alive, depending on the time of year and the time in their moulting cycle that they are captured, the meat can be paltry and watery, or it can burst out of the shell when you crack it like popcorn. We got better lobsters in the restaurant than I have ever been able to buy at retail fish markets or supermarkets. The owner guy, when he was flush, bought a small fleet of boats to go out and catch the lobsters for his restaurants, that might be why; I have told the story of going out lobstering on one of these boats, when I was 14.

I am a believer in the quick coup de grace, plunge a knife through the top part of the head, right behind the eyes, where there is a brain-like structure. It makes me feel better. It does not seem to matter, they still thrash in the boiling water for a minute or two. But still, I think they are bugs, really big bugs, with no emotional life, no conception of anguish or fear of death, even if their nervous systems respond to trauma.

I would like to see what DFW would have said after spending a day at a cattle slaughterhouse, the lobster situation is not a strong case.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment