Sunday, December 06, 2009

Omani Mountain Barbecue

Abdullah is opening the charcoal bag, while Mr Trail Safety watches, photo by Richard Gassan.

“I forgot the cooking pot”

We silently considered our situation. Camped out overlooking the epic Jebel Shams Gorge in the Omani Hajar al Ghalb, we were up a very long dirt road from the last village. We pondered the options. Pasta was out, now we were looking at a rapidly fermenting bread, dates, some hard cheese, and maybe some other goodies.

The loaf was sliced, I had some of the hard cheese, while Richard smeared honey on his slice. We’d make it. The wind was cool and steady, and deathly cold by Omani standards.

Looking around, there was a family camped several hundred yard away, a merry fire blazing in the draw. Behind us was a dome tent, and a RAV-4.

We began to hear male voices joking in Arabic. We both began to wonder if they were going to spend the night drinking and breaking shit, but it was too early to tell.

“May I ask you men a favor?”

We looked up to see one of our Omani neighbors.

“Would it be possible to heat up some water, as one of my friends is very cold?”

Richard and I laughed. We told him that we’d love to help, but we forgot the cooking pot, and only had an espresso pot to make coffee.

“I’m Abdullah, but you can call me Joe”

We replied that Abdullah was workable. Abdullah smiled, we chatted, and he invited us to join him for a fire. And so we did.

Abdullah, Younis, and Haddad come up from Muscat to camp out. They were going to build a fire to barbecue some chicken. Looking at the scenario, I suggested the best place might be a shallow rectangular trench in the rocks overlooking the edge of the gorge. They liked that idea.

Younis began to build a fire, but it was long on flung matches and petrol from a plastic bottle. Finally, debating cultural sensitivities, I suggested that perhaps I could help them. The Omanis looked at each other, Richard laughed, waved his hand and told them “don’t worry, he’s a complete fire-bug”. They said OK, and I went to work.

Within several minutes, the fire was going, but I still didn’t see where they were going to BBQ. Abdullah went to the car, came back with a woven plastic feedbag full of charcoal. Now we’re talking. I fed these into the fire, and a half-hour later were the beginnings of a charcoal bed.

All the while we were discussing the merits of Bluetooth, African women, Oman, Arab pop music, Baluchi cuisine, heat, and how cold they were going to be when bedtime rolled around.

Meanwhile Younis had produced a chicken, sectioned it, rolled it in a spice-blend, wrapped them in tinfoil and laid them on the coals. Just before the chicken was done, they wrapped some flatbread in foil, and they went on the coals.

“Here, join us…”

Delicious! The sky was lightly overcast with a full moon, and the deep crevasses of the Jebel Shams were implied behind us. The ruddy red coals were rejoined by the original aromatic log we’d pulled off it earlier. We were also joined by five or six shaggy Omani goats that appeared out of the darkness, wandering through the campsites, looking for anything edible.

Chicken bones went into the fire, and we all were lost in our respective thoughts. As we cleaned up, we invited the Omanis for morning coffee before they left. We all said good night, and made for our campsite.

The next morning dawned, with more goats, followed by raggedy children, and then an elderly woman selling trinkets. They moved on over the ridge, back towards their village several click away, down off the road, on a flat pan in the mountains.

The Omanis popped out of their tent, and we got a cheery “Good morning!” from Abdullah.

“Hey guys, don’t leave without having coffee!”

“We were cold…were you?”

“Not really, just comfortable” I’d been on an Ensolite pad and 3-season bag, sleeping more or less fully dressed and fuzzy hat. Richard had an air mattress, quilt.

The espresso roared into the pot. We poured shots into their plastic cups. We clicked cups, and drank up. Their eyes bugged a bit at the strength, I don’t think they drink it like that, but didn’t mind.

Eventually, we parted, and they waved a cheery goodbye as they headed down the mountain. We stayed for a while longer, taking pictures from various points on the edge of the gorge. Indian families came up from the Jebel Shams Rest House just over the ridge to look, take pictures, and enjoy themselves.

Driving slowly down the mountain road revealed amazing vistas in reverse; towering buttes, sawtoothed ridgelines, villages with soccer pitches surrounded by steep dropoffs, school-bus stops shaded by matted shelters, all defined by harsh clear light.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Boy Scouts Retroactively Issue New Merit Badge

August 18, 2009.

The Boy Scouts Of America National Council voted this week to retroactively issue 50,000,000 Onanism Merit Badges to all surviving Boy Scouts who had been members from 1910 through 2008. The vote passed 69-12, as the council members squinted through thick glasses and raised hirsute hands.

Reaction at the announcement was swift. Social conservatives were enraged, with Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity decrying the move as "weakening the moral fabric", and "a stain on the nation's honor". Ann Coulter flippantly suggested that the Boy Scouts were "Taliban Butt-boys", while Sarah Palin suggested that the Boy Scouts had "given in to terrorists". Lou Dobbs intoned that his sources definitively pinpointed the origins to southern Mexico, in any era. Rush Limbaugh was conspicuously silent, having never been in the Boy Scouts.

Liberals took a different tack, suggesting in large part "get over it", according to Bill Maher. Rachel Maddow read the news and kept a straight face with difficulty, adding that poison ivy was a greater hazard to most scouts.

A delegation of mortally-offended Eagle Scouts marched on the National Council Headquarters to throw their Eagles, along with several Stars on the steps. The protest was somewhat leavened by prankish Tenderfoots and Second Class scouts who brought up the rear making arm-pit farts, generally treating the occasion as an excuse for practical jokes.

The badges are being mailed out this week, with a considerable assist from the Genealogical Services Bureau of the Church Of Latter Day Saints, who were able to locate many of the deceased scouts. LensCrafters and Rogaine helped the Boy Scouts with logistical support as primary corporate sponsors.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Team Land-O-Lard Sponsored Runner!


















I am now a sponsored runner for Team Land-O-Lard. I'll be making mall appearances here in Southern California, ready to ignore your questions and giving enigmatic training suggestions. Have your credit cards at the ready, or at least your PINs.

Mahalo for being you, have a nice day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Trail Porn: The Secret Of My Success







































Trail Porn®™ Can Label. Courtesy of D&L Industries 1995


People have asked me "how did you train back in the day, and keep your strength up?" The secret ingredient: Trail Porn. And now, for the first time, the ingredients are visible for all.

Load Up Like A Peasant, Light Up Like A King™

TrailPorn®™ has been America's Number One Favorite free-range pre-race loading and unloading dietary supplement for as long as we've been making it. Now the same great taste and chewy mouth-feel is here in the new, modern TrailPorn Lite®™.

This nutritionious, savory, and versatile product is a virtual-reality accompaniment to every part of your culinary experience, from pickled cabbage to vanilla ice cream. Look for the single-serving tetra-packs!

Preparation: Serve either hot or cold, as a first course or canape supplement or appetizer. Stove top, micro-wave or tail-pipe friendly.Some settling may occur as this product was packed at full-volume
while you wait. Hey now!

Ingredients:
  • 92% more Free-Range Heat
  • 69% more Organic Dust
  • Stove-pipe Dreams (wet & dry),
  • 12.45% more Cheese (head, anecdotal, soy, other)
  • channeled past-life letters to Penthouse FORUM
  • Nitro-Charged Funny-Car Testosterone
  • Cooper Canyon Methane byproducts
  • near-Genital Poison Oak clusters
  • Free-radicalized Estrogen essential sauces & vapors
  • Hydrogenated LPE (Limbaugh Paranoiac Extract 3%USP)
  • Rancid Nipple Lube
  • Fermented Mangoplex Extracts
  • topically-applied SPF-40 Weasel-Jizz
  • “alternative life-style” musings and speculations
  • Power Bars shaped into even funnier little animals
  • Vincent Gap Aid Station Glacier Ice
  • Cindy Crawford’s WonderBra (.0001%)
  • Dumpster Diving Road Kill
  • Baden-Powell Repeats (why are 20,000 Boy Scouts lost?)
  • Recovered-Memory TV-show Jingles 2
  • Organic Inert solids (2%),
  • Inorganic Inert gases (2%)
  • Other Gases (12%), a zesty blend of Earthy Spices, Natural flavors, Dyes, and Concepts
  • BHT & Glycol added to preserve flavor.
Hand-packed by svelte doe-eyed Indonesian virgin ecofemmes exclusively for D&L Holistic Humour Industries. No animals were coerced, harmed or fudge-packed except as necessary for profits.

Bon Apetit!

PS: The little men on the can? That's me and my home-boy Dave Turner.

"I feel so abused!" >> "... you'll adjust!??"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rings Of Fire: Post WS100 Training Questions


















This post deals with training issues, gear issues, and comes from a guy who doesn't run that much anymore. So, now's a really good time to delete, because I'm going to ask some pointed questions about a lot of things.

There has been a lot of soul-searching and what-ifs, along with 'whistling past the graveyard' post-Western States 100 on the business of near-fatalities caused by dehydration, and spectacular blister pyrotechnics.

I did WS in 93, and spent a good 90min plus at Michigan Bluff. On the way up, I had a pounding in my kidneys, my ears were ringing, my quads had locked up, and people were passing me as fast as they could, completely ignoring my doubled-over ass. I was dehydrating, in deep shit. I got past it, but it added a good 3hrs to my race...

AND IT DIDN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN.

Why? Because that day I rolled out with a rehydration scenario I hadn't trained with. I didn't know it cold.

OVERTURE

I remember a Facebook post made, or at least answered to, when heat was discussed. Specifically, how it hadn't been hot, and was it going to be hot. Somebody else replied: "bring it on".

We all know what happened the last time that phrase was uttered. I read that and thought "Mr Murphy is going to rip you a new asshole, and not stop until he comes out your eyes."

I saw the results the finish line. Let's do some forensic probing here.

HEAT

Its a matter of honor for the canyons to be nice and hot on Race Day. They run south by southwest; perfect parabolic heating convection ovens. Always. Doesn't really matter what the high country is doing—besides, that's just foreplay for the Main Act.

Some of you may come from places where there was no heat that season. All the more reason to pay real close attention to the next part of the show.

HYDRATION

Here's a twofer: Are you getting enough electrolytes? Are you carrying a bladder pack?

I'm going to be heretical here. If you answered yes to both, you've just compounded your problems.

There is NO WAY that you can suck the amount of fluids you need thru a straw. Ever. Then you get to wrassle the thing off your back, fill it, be a freight-hauler to the next destination, have this thing trap heat, slowing down the cooling process, and you also have a Petri dish on your back.

I dare you to do a chug contest vs somebody with 28oz hand-bottles. Post the video to YouTube.

Back to electrolytes. If you ain't gittin' them, then your kidneys will shut down. If you aren't getting your nutrients in a liquid form, you are asking your body to do several things at once. Optimize your nutrients by pounding them down in liquid form. Optimize electrolytes so fluids do what they're supposed to—instead of sloshing in your gut, avoiding your kidneys, giving you brown whiz, and a probable trip to the CCU.

BLISTERS

Are the blisters expected? Like perhaps you aren't getting your money's worth?

People! Foot issues are critical, and should be settled and done with well before race day.

Sound harsh? I was at Kamp n0Rm back in '92 or so when I met an old-school, chill tough guy—no brag or bullshit, just calm authority. He told me that with proper training, blisters wouldn't happen. His comments informed my training for the rest of my short ultra career.

The whole shoe-foot-blister thing has been pervasive at WS for so long, and it's making me wonder what people are doing to train. All blisters mean to me is that they are not doing enough miles, in the right sox, right shoes, and that the training is not building toughness.

For the record, I trained in Thorlos. Yes, cotton poly. Come race day, it was a liberal, and I mean 'trowelled-on liberal', application of Cramer Skin Lube on the feet. Skin-Lube, for those who may not have used it, is Vaseline with a serious attitude. A very high melt-point. Pitch the sox after the race.

I had problems of my own, but guess what, none of the wake-boarding, geyser-esque monster blisters I've read about.

=========
GEAR
=========

Do you wear a hat? Not a visor, but a hat?

Yes, Hal Koerner doesn't wear a hat, he wears a visor.

So fucking what.

I love Hal, been following his career from behind my camera for the last five years.

But guess what, Average Ultra Runner—you don't have Hal's talent or kidneys. And 90% of you are out there long after he is. Some of you are into your second sunrise, and the attendant re-dehydration.

Classic example: WS '93. I pass Delmar Fralick who's having a very bad day at Dusty Corners. No Hat, but his Visor is snappy. Only problem—Delmar is in a chair, wet bandana on his head, trying to cool off.

I look at him and said "Damn, Delmar, you know it gets hot down here, why aren't you wearing a hat? "

He wanted to look like Twiet. Guess what? He didn't have Twiet's kidneys, metabolism, and a host of intangibles that made Twiet's accomplishments amazing.

SFX: CRICKETS AND TUMBLEWEEDS

A hat, or a cap at least, protects the 7% of your body mass that is in direct contact with Mr Sun. A hat, or cap with any kind of shade creates a dead-air space insulation between you and sunstroke. The base of the neck is where it needs protection. Once I figured that out, my life became a lot happier.

I mentioned the bladder-pack. You know, the heat sink on your back.

You are a racer now, not a freight-hauler. Every ounce carried turns into tons by the finish line. Bouncy-bouncy adds up to lost time and energy spent dragging this training device from point to point.

A fanny pack is arguably a faster bottle swap, you carry less dead weight, and it lets your back wick off heat and moisture.

Are you wearing synthetics? Are you wearing tight-fitting synthetics?

Again, heat transfer to you is more profound if the clothing is tighter, darker and skimpier. You are being pounded by heat, UV, IR and merciless light.

Look at traditional Berbers, who most closely approximate Europeans. They're covered up, insulated to a large degree from sun and heat. No, I don't count Eritreans, Somalis, Australian aboriginals in this mix. Their skin, hair, noses have all adapted to ferocious sun and heat.

My suggestion for WS runners, is that cotton is still your best bet. Oh yes, WF & LT100 runners: hypothermia, lightning storms, epic downpours, and other typical mountain weather make very good arguments for poly-pro. But here, in a desert-like heat, Cotton is very, very good. Wicks away heat, perspiration, and furthermore, loses the stink when you wash it.

PENALTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

When I co-RD'd Baldy Peaks 50k with Andy Roth, I got to explain to people why I was a dick on the subject of hydration. Rhabdo is a bitch. It will kill you. I've met several people who nearly died, but didn't.

THEY WERE LUCKY.

Do not presume the same for yourself. One of my very good friends, ex-100 training partner, Dave Turner is now an RN. He looks at dialysis patients on a daily basis. Dialysis is a harsh end to a carefree life, where suicide rates are generally higher than the general despairing populace.

If you fuck up, and you get yourself into rhabdo, and you are at a remote location, and perhaps is not caught in time, you might get to be a dialysis patient. Forever. Unless of course you die before being evacuated.

Post-Mortem

We live in markedly different times from when I entered the world of ultras as a dewy newbie twenty years ago. I came from the world of back-country travel, where 'self-insert' meant 'self-extract'. I learned the hard way what getting lost, and then un-lost really meant.

However, the society that currently produces runners is overwhelmingly urban, and suburban. Class and cultural notions of immediacy, consumption, accomplishment and involvement are stirred right into the mix. Unfortunately, a 100-mile race is not the time or place to hit RESET or UNDO. Its a done deal.

Nobody gets off on this one. Nature bats last, and will always get its due.

<>>

Listen up! This message is being sent by or on behalf of Mr Trail Safety. It is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed, excluding non-specific incarnations and bardo-state entities. It contains concepts that will challenge you. You may adjust. Insofar as as this communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged or confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure, it is certain to cause cerebral flatulence and conceptual infarctions among the simple-minded and comedy-challenged, perhaps even *You*.

If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it; including channelling the forementioned fabulisms to spirit-bodies, Chinese-made Native American Dream-Catchers, Heritage Barbie Dolls or Dale Earnhardt Collector plates. But go ahead, live dangerously, drive left-of-center and give it your best shot.

If you have received this message in error, you deserve it--you'll have subsequent incarnations to work out the kinks. Or simply prostrate yourself in front of your Thos. Kinkade Heritage Reproduction while making a Burnt Offering.

Here, have some salt.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

AC100 Training Stories, Pt I

























Jim O'Brien setting the course record in 1989. This iconic photo was taken by Stan Wagon, then editor of UltraRunning Magazine.

We once asked Jim O'Brien if he'd ever bonked on an Angeles Crest training run. He said "on every section".

GEAR FETISHES


The current gear-item to have right now is a bladder-pack. Originally designed by and for guys-n-gals who were running long distances in very hot places like Arizona, Utah and so on, where there was no water for big miles.

Look at what Jim is carrying. Nothing except for 2 small bottles. Doesn't that tell you something? He's a racer, not a freight-hauler.

[Just a thought for all the racers out there humping along in their multi-pounded vests with the petri-dish bladders...]

Training is one thing. Race day is another. People get used to carrying all that stuff. I remember Jimmy saying on each stage "carry only what you need". I know that on my first AC, my fannypack was 20lb of junk—and I wasn't carrying a Walkman!

Have a seat. I'm going to tell you a couple of stories about training on the AC100 course.

1991: One Day In the Endless Summer

I remember an especially stupid day when a marathon dick showed up at one of the official training runs. One bottle, no cap, no shirt. The day's run was Short Cut Saddle to Millard Campground. He wanted to know how come there weren't "aid stations like at Western?"; you know, chocolate-covered strawberries and all, like at the Memorial Day WS Camp. I told him that this was AC, and we did things differently——this is a DIY show. He wasn't too happy.

The descent into the West Fork was an east-west convection oven.

We got to Chantry, I refilled my bottles, and booked. Just below the Mt Wilson Toll Rd somebody says "...he's got no water".

Guess who? Yep. Everybody looks at me w/ my 4 bottles. I shared it out w/ him. It only got better. Now he's spooked. Its way hot, even in the shade.

The Upper Winter Creek Trail at that time peaked out on Manzanita Ridge. We are now in blazing, ion-pelting mid-afternoon sun. He's babbling about its 'only 9 miles to Millard'. I told him to shut the fuck up, to conserve water in the heat, and also to rein in his fear. The Toll Road contours down and west, picking up shade on the way down. Pretty soon we're down in Idle Hour. Fortunately there was water in Idle Hour Creek.

He said "its only* 5 miles to Millard now", like it was a sidewalk exercise.

"No, these are mountain miles..."

I gave him some dried apricots, put his ass in the creek to cool off, and told him to drink, and wait for the others. Then I took off.

Uncle Hal was sweep that day. This sad dick hung on to Hal's coat-tails. Later Hal told me he got to the truck and 'just laid there for at least an hour...' When Hal does that, you know its bad.

Yes, that was the summer of '91 just before my 1st AC. Another reason I credit my priors in backcountry travel and backpacking in the necessity of 'self-insert/self extract', aka Libertarianism That Matters.

1996: Make Your Plans and Pick Your Friends Carefully

My favorite bonk session was between Idle Hour and 3pts Labor Day Weekend '96.

Day 1: 40 miles
Wrightwood to Three Points. I'd made the mistake of believing Another Group Of Runners that they'd have water waiting. Only problem, I outran them. I was dry from Cloudburst to 3 pts. I got to the car, and drained a couple of jugs. Fell into my car, drove down to Chilao Campground, where I was camping out that weekend, same as the Other Group Of Runners .

Got cleaned up, made dinner, getting ready for Sunday. The Group Of Runners straggled in. Watched them eat chips and screw around, then eat in the dark. I was in bed and done. Several tried to get me to run from Chantry to Finish. Declined.

Day 2: 35 miles
Up at 0430. Gone by 0515 to 3pts. Ran to Chantry, met a friend as per pre-arrangement. Heard that somebody stood the Group Of Runners up, and they drove around trying to figure out what to do. My day—fulfilled. Their day—unbilled.

Day 3: 25 miles
Long story short: made my own plans as some guy's wife in the Group Of Runners decided she didn't want to give me a ride from Finish Line to Chantry like she agreed. Why? The queen bee of the Group Of Runners decided she wanted do an out-n-back from Chilao to the bottom of West Fork, and the rest of the group fell right in line.

I raced to a pay phone, and called my girlfriend, who gracefully agreed to meet me at the Finish Line at 05:45, to schlepp my ass to Chantry. She'd still make her 8AM tennis match. Save!

When I left Chantry I was dead meat. It had been a long weekend. By the top of Mt Wilson I started feeling better. I'd heard that Ben Hian, Tommy Nielsen and some others were somewhere behind me. I ran like hell. Saw them on Echo Mtn, took off. Never caught me. Figured it would never happen in a race, so why not?

That weekend I ran the entire course just the way I had it planned out. Best confidence builder ever. I buckled three weeks later in 23:50, paced by my coach, Jim O'Brien.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

My Favorite Gun-Show Things




















Beef jerky and do-rags, and dorks all in camo,
Reloads, factory and off-caliber ammo,
AKs and Mausers all tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things!

Marpat and feldgrau and ebay’d Nazi doodles,
T-shirts shriek slogans from famed right-wing poodles,
Conspiracy theories that fly on brown wings,
These are a few of my favorite things!

Hot babes in heels are not often seen here,
Mainly paunchy white guys who are mostly has-beens peer,
Musing sour reflections on a trigger spring,
These are a few of my favorite things!

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Friday, May 15, 2009

Grab A Cadaver: 2009 Update

Parts Is Parts!

Selling body parts is an evergreen scandal. There's always a need, and supplies are limited. More or less.

We here at Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci always believe that recycling is good for everybody. So if you missed this original commentary from March 2004, you're in for a treat. Its still fresh and tasty.

Human behaviour has a long shelf-life. Dig in!

I am and remain,
yr Humboldt Obliviant Idiom Savant

Erasmus Binkster Rfp, SoQ, AMf
Chancellor Emeritii
Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci
Hellmouth CA




Update: May 15 '09!

Businessman found guilty in UCLA's willed body-parts program scandal

Body broker Ernest V. Nelson, top, with defense attorney Sean McDonald, listens as he is convicted of selling cadaver parts for $1.5 million to private medical research companies.

The body broker collected $1.5 million by selling cadaver parts to private medical research companies. A juror also faults the university for 'allowing something like this.'


Read more on this at the InjuryBoard.com website, which makes the LA Times look like the Weekly Reader its become in recent years.

[h/t Mary C for forwarding the InjuryBoard.com link, and who knows one or two things about the dark side of human behavior]
==============

Mar 10, 2004
A satiric comment on the current body-part scandal at UCLA.


Grab A Cadaver
[with no apologies to the Steve Miller Band]

I heat up, I can't cool down
You got me chopping
'round and 'round
'round and 'round, and 'round it goes
At UCLA, with these donated bones

Every time I get the call,
I pack my bag, I'm roaming the halls
Bodies donated--to science and more,
There's green to be had--deep in the gore!

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I drive on campus, a monkey paw
Sack of tools, a power saw
Dead people wait to feel my love
I get a grip with a rubber glove.

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I start work, I make a mess
I hate working under duress
Muscle and tendon, gristle and bone
Get paid by the piece by working alone

There's magic and romance in those eyes
Each one of them goin--to different guys
What the hell! the heart is blue
Buy the whole set and the liver goes too!

Grab a Cadaver
I wanna reach out and slab ya
Slab-a Grab a Cadaver
Grab a Cadaver

I work a chop shop, call it by name
Makin' my rent by the midnight flame
Burnin flame, like my van's bald tires
I'll be through any minute, I'm old and I'm tired.

Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes
Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes
Choppin bodies, at UCLA
Partin out parts, that's how it goes

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Kent State / Jackson State

Ohio National Guard in Athens Photograph.This photograph of Ohio National Guardsmen marching in Athens, Ohio was taken in May 1970. Ohio University closed on May 15, 1970. Anti-Vietnam War protests increased in Ohio after President Richard Nixon announced that United States troops had entered Cambodia on April 30, 1970. Riots erupted at many college campuses, including Kent State University, where four students were killed on May 4, 1970. By the end of May, all of Ohio's public universities except Bowling Green State University were closed. The photograph measures 4" x 6" (10.16 x 15.24 cm). 
May 4, 1971
I was fourteen, living in Athens Ohio, home of Ohio University; when we got news of the shootings at Kent State.

The Kent State shootings convulsed the campus, leading to riots, the closing of the University, and then a 14-day occupation by the Ohio National Guard. The iconic Carl Fleischhauer photo shows a Guardsman standing guard on Court Street under the Varsity Theatre marquee, which was showing "Z" the night the riots erupted. The picture shown above is here.

The leadup to the shootings had been preceded by monumental demonstrations against Nixon's Cambodia Invasion, which widened the war.

The events at Kent State were posted teletypes on the window of Koon's Records, a local record store owned by a guy who liked his news fresh, hence the teletype. As each update came in the mood got worse. The two-day teach-ins that had accompanied the invasion were overtaken by the news of the shootings.

That night the rioting started. Pitched battles between "heads", opportunists, "Greeks" and then the local police began in earnest. By the end of the night I'd witnessed people getting their heads knocked in, random looting, small-town police cars racing through the streets firing shotgunned tear-gas canisters as bricks rained down on them.

I got home at 1:30 in the morning, I ran in, breathlessly telling my dad that "the fucking pigs are tear-gassing everybody".

He'd been in the Varsity Theatre watching "Z". The lights came on halfway through the picture, when the theatre manager Mr. Powers walked out on stage. Mr. Powers announced that the rioting was starting to intensify, and that it would be a good idea to go home. The theatre was dark for the next three weeks.

My dad looked at me and started shouting: "You little shit! I've been calling the morgue, hospitals and jails to find out if they'd gotten any minors! Now shut the fuck up and go to bed! NOW!"

The Young Revolutionary, smacked down.

The next day, everything was closed. We drove out of town to Cincinnati, and watched convoys of National Guards rolling into Athens. The town was under curfew for 14 days afterwards. The NG bivouacked at the football stadium. Periodically a Huey gunship would circle over the town.

Athens was remote, and the story has been pretty well forgotten. Nobody got killed, and certainly no white people died.

With the shootings at Jackson State, it made sense that nobody particularly cared. After all, Mark Hampton of the Panthers had been shot dead in his bed the year before. The draft had been hoovering up poor blacks, whites, and other left-behinds of the Great Society. Future luminaries like John Ashcroft, Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney all took exceptional advantage of deferments at this time.

Col David Hackworth's book "About Face" described the Cambodia invasion as strategically correct, but a colossal mistake, being at least five years too late. From the standpoint of a guerilla war, he is correct. He also understood clearly that by 1969, the notion of a "winnable" war was a grotesque lie and air-conditioned fantasy.

As a footnote: "Four Dead In Ohio" by CSNY was banned by the Ironton, Ohio City Council shortly after it began being played. I wonder if the ban still holds.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Don't You Want Me, Baby?" Revisited


a duet, as reinterpreted by a drunken, jobless fund manager

You were working as a stripper in a Christian Bar
That much is true
I picked you out, I pumped you up, and turned you out
Spun you into someone new
Now five years later on you've got your bitchaz on your tweet
Success has been so easy for you
But don't forget its me who put you where you are now
And I can outsource you back down too

Don't, don't you want me?
You know I cant believe it when I hear that you wont see me
Don't, don't you want me?
You know I don't believe you when you say that I'm drunk and needy
Its much too late to find
You think you've changed your mind
You'd better change it back or we will both be sorry

Can't I beat you baby? don't you want me — oh
Don't you want my teabag baby? don't you want me —oh

and his soon-to-be ex-trophy wife

I was working as a stripper in a Christian Bar
But so were you
But even then I'd be sitting on a better face
Either with or without you
The five years we have had have been such good times
I still owe you
But now I think its time I lived my life on my own
I guess its just time to say "fuck you!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

VeloMania: I Build A Front Bike Rack


I wanted a front rack on my urban MTB, but did not have a lot of money to spend on either a really good or really bad rack. This is how I built it.

There are several DIY sites out there on how to build a bike rack.

Materials used:

[3] 36 x 1 x 1/8" aluminum bar stock

1 length of bar stock will be the horizontal box, overlapped and pop-riveted together.
1 length of bar stock will be both down-struts.
1 length of bar stock will be the deck w/ backstop.

[2] 1" hose clamps

[2] 3" double-stick foam tape, for each fork

Pop rivets or stove bolts, as necessary for assembly

I used a pop-rivet gun to secure the struts to the rack, and the deck to the assembled rack. You could easily use stove-bolts, I just had the pop-rivet gun handy.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

This is all DIY improvised, based on available materials, and trying to get as much out it as possible. Your measurements will vary.

BOLT ASSEMBLY ON FORKS


Here is Mr Hose-Clamp/Strut Support. Take care when drilling the hole for the bolt--it has to clear the hex-slot head, not interfere with the wheels, and be accessible. Wrap the fork where you want the pipe clamp with the double-stick foam carpet tape.

Wrap forks and seat the clamps, with bolt facing outward, same angle as the axle. The closer you can get to this, the better. There is some play, but not much.


BENDING THE STOCK FOR THE MAIN DECK ASSEMBLY



Mark your center on the first 36" piece. Make all your bends from the center out! You will wrap the remainders to the back, where they will be pop riveted or bolted. Then drill the center hole through both thicknesses for the hex-head carriage bolt. This is a great way to hide your mistakes.

Bar shown bent and ready for drilling. I used a small wood-vise I picked up years ago at a swap meet. Score bar lightly with w/ a hacksaw at the desired bends.

Attach completed box assembly to bike frame, shown below:
This will give you a far more precise measurement for your struts. Once again, this was in the "improv" zone.


DOWN STRUTS AND ATTACHING TO THE FORKS


1 length of bar stock will be both down-struts. Measure, cut on angle, file the ends. This way one cut yields 2 correct angles. File edges w/ 14" mill file, round-overs so you don't shred yourself. Hand fit each strut. There will be slight variances.

Rule of thumb suggests that the strut at it narrowest can be 3x the width of the washer head for strength and stability. More is better, but I had to accomodate the hose-clamp bolt seats.


Below: Rack assembled, struts pop-riveted to deck assembly.


FINAL DECK AND BACKSTOP / SECURING AND DRILLING

1 length of bar stock will be the deck w/ backstop.
Piece has been bent in the other small vise I had. Small angle faces front, down on the main assembly.

Piece has been bent in the other small vise I had, in an angular "S"configuration.

Here the long and the traverse sections are c-clamped together for drilling. The un-punched pop-rivet is shown in the first hole, prior to being punched in with the pop-rivet gun.

Final finishing will be a scrap length flush to the top of he longer bend. Make sure to secure it to the front of the upright.

A C-clamp helps enormously. Vise grips would do nicely also.

Yes, this was all done in my kitchen. I miss my wood-shop.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Question Posed


"...the road to Genovia leads through Gevalia".

I delayed putting in a fresh sheet in as I pondered this hard fact. My espresso got cold. The phone, an enigmatic onyx sphinx, remained silent.

“Zastava Smackdown”, p 241.
by Giovanni Nessuno
Rome, 1991

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hurricane Island: H37, Aug 1971


I was admitted to Outward Bound as a probationary candidate. I was seriously underage. The normal minimum was 16-1/2, but my 16th birthday was 3 days before the end of the course. My dad was not enjoying watching me smoke lots of dope and becoming another white social parasite. I knew I needed it, and agreed. The weeks in New York before leaving for Maine were a swirl of overcast humidity and Lebanese Blonde.

The ferry left Rockland in the fog. I was standing on the deck in a pea coat, dress pants, and leather street shoes, slippery on the steel plate. Pulling into Hurricane, we were met with our first surprise of many surprises. The instructors counted us off into our respective watches, and told us to find our tents. For the duration of the course, you had a number. Mine was 13. This was a device to make sure everybody was accounted for at all times, especially if the boat capsized and so on.

PT in 45 minutes. Fetch!

Thus began 26 days of basic training. Every day was an uncomfortable discovery where embedded beliefs and personal mythologies collided with the requirements of teamwork and new skills. Outward Bound found your faults with unerring accuracy. Physically buff but socially abrasive? Socially coordinated but with the muscle index of a zucchini? Self-righteous? Apathetic? You got served. We all got served.

I was in Jones Watch, after John Paul Jones, commander of the "Ranger" during the American Revolution, and later a Russian Admiral against the Turks. We all thought it was pretty hilarious, "jones" also being synonymous with getting loaded.

Our watch had a strange brew. Merrill from Connecticut; I'd seen his picture on the front of one of the New York papers wrassling a cop during a violent anti-war demonstration. Only now his hair was very short. Jack, the incredibly abrasive and beastly-powerful longshoreman from Southie, in Boston. Cobe from Baltimore, a reserved black guy who'd never been on a body of water bigger than a park pond. "Beetle", a sweet guy, 6'8", 250lbs, and soft as the day is long. He never stopped trying. Randall, an epic stoner from Georgia, who mumbled a collection of LPs from track 1/Side A all the way to the end. Andy from DC, whose dad was something at the Smithsonian, and found out late in the day he was suddenly vegetarian after looking a furious rooster in the face. Then the guy whose name I've forgotten; a Portuguese kid from Connecticut, wiry, glasses, a scrapper. Michael, orginally from South Carolina, serving a sentence at Rikers after a car he owned illegally was parked in a Harlem fire-lane. Only problem there was a fire, and several people died. Eric from Falls Church, VA. For starters.

In the beginning, Jones Watch couldn't show up on time to save our lives. Our instructor Fred Beames got fed up with all of it. He ordered us to link up by our monkey-lines. We did everything connected except shit and shower. All went sort-of-well until the first lunch call. Hoots, cat-calls, insults and jeers rained down on our heads for being such complete losers.

It hurt, and it began to make a point. Jones Watch started to pull it together. To our amazement, other watches were not the golden children we thought they were. We saw as different leadership was rotated in, just like us, and the internal dynamics changed. Everybody got to make mistakes, and maybe learn from it. Some units started high and ended low. We were fortunate in that we ended in a better place than we started.

Outward Bound taught me that everybody has at least one necessary skill, somewhere, in an unlikely place. It also taught me that being a social parasite was not a sustainable life-option.

Outward Bound also connected me to my ancestors who'd gone to sea, and come back. It plugged me into what I now know as my core values, which are not defined by narrow sectarian, political, ideological categories. It also gave me a very short fuse for idiots and assholes, which can be problematic in a corporate environment.

One of our national mythologies touts rugged self-reliance. Some of that is true. But it is meaningless without disciplined, informed cooperation. Yes, Fred showed us how to sail, tack, and moor a pulling-boat single-handedly. But all of us went further when we got over ourselves and learned what it took to work together.

As a final postscript, I have a direct link to John Paul Jones. No, not by blood. My maternal grandfather Lawrence Harvey graduated from Annapolis in 1917. One of his classmates grew up in France, the son of a naval attaché in Paris. Jones' body was exhumed from the he former St. Louis Cemetery for Alien Protestants in 1906. It laid in state for a brief period before being transported back to Annapolis. The boy's father was present at the ceremonies.The boy, seeing that Jones was in relatively good condition, and nobody was watching, surreptitiously shook Jones' hand.

Fast forward to 1965, when my grandfather told me the story. With a twinkle in his eye, he said "Shake the hand that shook the hand, that shook the hand of John Paul Jones!"

And I did.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jobs Still Elude Some Bush Ex-Officials: Text Analysis

Original article appeared in the Feb 21, 2008 WSJ

Text Analysis by Erasmus Binkster Rfp, SoQ, AMf, and Bucky Kibble III, Esq

The jobless rate is hanging high -- for many of the roughly 3,000 political appointees who served President George W. Bush. Finding work has proved a far tougher task than those appointees expected.

No shit. You got appointed, and didn't have to apply online with Monster.com

"This is not a great time for anyone to be job hunting, including numerous former political appointees," said Carlos M. Gutierrez, Mr. Bush's commerce secretary. Previously chief executive of cereal maker Kellogg Co., he hopes to run a company again because "I have a lot of energy."

read: "home life sucks, my kids hate me, and my girlfriend wants money"

Only 25% to 30% of ex-Bush officials seeking full-time jobs have succeeded, estimated Eric Vautour, a Washington recruiter at Russell Reynolds Associates Inc. That "is much, much worse" than when Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton left the White House, he said. At least half those presidents' senior staffers landed employment within a month after the administration ended, Mr. Vautour recalled.

Q: Have you ever been convicted of a felony? If so, please state below:

A handful of Bush cabinet officers have accepted academic appointments. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson joined Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies as a fellow. Condoleezza Rice, previously secretary of state, resumed her Stanford University roles as a political-science professor and senior fellow at its Hoover Institution think tank.

Given the GOP's deep love for higher education, I'm surprised that Liberty University and Patrick Henry College didn't step up to the plate. Would've made those grad-level symposiums mo' bettah.

J. Michael McConnell, the ex-director of national intelligence, also rejoined a prior employer. He resumed work this week as a senior vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, the title he held when he left the management consultancy to become U.S. spy chief. Last week, Fidelity Investments named Anthony Ryan, a former acting Treasury undersecretary, to head its asset-management strategy.

Now that Fido's pie has shrunk to manageable proportions, he'll be at work by 10, done by 3.

Some high-level Bush appointees say they are in no rush to be re-employed. Michael Leavitt, previously secretary of Health and Human Services, said he will spend a few months trying to align his interests with opportunities. Meanwhile, the former Utah governor continued, "I'm writing some about the past [and] I'm giving speeches about the future."

Econ 101: A speech pay's 50gs a pop. You do the math, Nimrod.

Mr. Gutierrez is keeping equally busy during his job hunt. He said he recently signed up for a speakers' bureau and collects $25,000 to $50,000 per lecture about issues such as global business. Last week, United Technologies Corp. named him a director.

Mad money, mothafuckah!

Mr. Gutierrez would like to stay in Washington, which he acknowledges could impede his search for a corporate CEO role. "I don't want to go anywhere" because "public policy makes a difference," Mr. Gutierrez explained. He said he may ultimately consider businesses based elsewhere.

"public policy makes a difference" especially if it serves a select public, not the public stuck on a bus.

Senior Bush aides keen to work again "have to look broader than Washington," said Nels B. Olson, a recruiter for Korn/Ferry International. Mr. Vautour agrees. A number of former officials are now saying, " 'I'll look anywhere' " because they realize the Washington job market "is very tough," he said.

Oh yeah. Unemployed, 50+ white men. Feel the love, ass-hat.

Washington think tanks, charities and trade associations long provided fertile ground for ex-political appointees. But many lack interest in hiring high-profile Republicans when Democrats control the White House and Congress. Mr. Bush's low approval ratings at the end of his term don't help, said Leonard Pfeiffer IV, a Washington recruiter for nonprofits.

Especially when non-profits took it in the shorts these last 8 yrs.

Former Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has told acquaintances he would like to run an industry trade group but hasn't landed a position. Mr. Kempthorne, a former Idaho mayor, governor and U.S. senator, said he is discussing employment "with two major and well-respected organizations."

Hmm. Oh yes, the Cyanide Leaching Trade Association and the Mountain States Clear-cut League.

--------------
Erasmus Binkster Rfp, SoQ, AMf, is Chancellor Emeritii of Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci, Hellmouth CA

Mr Bucky Kibble III, Esq, is senior partner at Pogey Baitte & Marroone: Admiralty Law in Extremis, and Chief Counsel for the Christian Topless Bar Trade Association (CTBTA)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Further Inquiries Into The Matter Of The Great White Fur-Bearing Freshwater Shark


(notes from the Estate of Dr Quadde, all rights reserved)

Further Inquiries Into The Matter Of The Great White Fur-Bearing Freshwater Shark
By Roccardo “Dick” Quadde, Rfp, SoQ, AmF.

The waiting stack of arcana was irresistible. I began reading at the beginning.

This Shark features prominently in the folklore of the indigenous Maeomo-Lipkat peoples: an enigmatic tribe who were regarded as peculiar by their Paiute and Shoshonean neighbors. Consequently little mixing occurred outside of trade. They were linguistic isolates, and spoke a language utterly unlike any other. They left little more than curious petroglyphs in isolated canyons.

The first verifiable sighting of the Great White Fur-Bearing Freshwater Shark by a European came on August 25, 1787. Antonio Fuego de Culo y Ruidoso was lost in the High Dorkoliths while looking for a mountain pass that was the most direct route between Mojave and Tulare. His royal charter required him to note
"all and divers Fishes, Fowles, Beastes, Birdes & such that would Please and Delighte the Heart and Praise To The Higher Glory Of God His Most Catholic Majesty Carlos III, King of Spain, Sardinia, The Indies, Viceroy of Mexico, Being Likewise Vicar Of Christ, Protector Of the Faith, etc".
Mindful of his charge, Fuego de Culo noted in his journal that:
"...our savage porters paused in their passage on the sandy shores of this uppermost lake in this damnable and remote landscape with shoutes of fear and huzzahs of consternation as they witnessed the surface of the waters break in a moste remarkable Manner. For as it was my Misfortune as a Loyal Servant of Jesus Christ to witness ; A Satanic Abomination to Appear before Mine Eyes What Appeared To Be A Grinning Ghastly Tiburon Barbudo seemingly Replete with Glossy Fur That covered the entire Fishe's Body from the Gilles to the Tail. The Monster was easily two Ells in Length, & of Substantial Girthe. One of Our Party, a certain Juan Camarone, began to laugh uncontrollably at the sight of this Monstrous Fishe. The Beaste did turn in the direction of the Offending Voice and Leapt Forthwith Into the Aire, and did snare the hapless Camarone betwixt it's razor-sharp jaws and released him from all Earthly Sin and Bondage. May his soul now Rest In Peace. We made camp by the lake and caught several dozen large trout, and praised God for His Bounty in This Devil-Ridden Landscape."
There are no further mention of anything like this in his journal.

The balance of the expedition was devoted to keeping the press-ganged porters in line and alive, their sullen demean just this side of mutiny. After several feats of spectacular corrective navigation, the gaunt and hollow-eyed party stumbled into the Tulare mission on September 16, 1787. Fray Geronimo Moiree and the other padres fed the starving party. They listened politely to what they later described as 'a degenerate fabulism'.

Fr Moiree was faced with a dilemma. After a closed-door consultation, Fuego de Culo was clapped in irons and sent to in the secure custody of four sizable lay brothers to the sinister Inspector General Elijio Marquezas in Monterey. The following letter describes the situation:

To: His Sublime Excellency Elijio Marquezas
Inspector General, Superintendency of the Territories
Bureau of Heresies
El Presidio de Monterrey
Alta California, ViceRoyalty of Mexico, New Spain

Your Excellency:

Greetings and Salutations!

I am Fray Geronimo Moireé, in the fiftieth year of fullness of life and service to my Master the Lord Jesus Christ; here at the Mission de los Tulares Mojados being in the Great Valle Central de Alta California, of the Vice-Royalty of Mexico. This sordid tale is being dictated to Brother Cedro, on the 20th of September 1781 Anno Domine.

On the seventeenth of this month, after the third bell of the afternoon, our humble mission was visited by a group of stumbling and starving wretches who only bore a slight resemblance to civilized Spanish gentlemen. The leader of this improbable band was one Antonio Fuego de Culo y Ruidoso. He claimed A Royal Charter from Our Most Excellent Sovereign Carlos III. So saying, and swaying somewhat, he produces from his tunic a tattered parchment. And there to my wondering and aged eyes were the official wax seals of the Viceroy Himself, acting as agent for Our Most Excellent Sovereign. And thus commenced a fabulism of the highest order.

He proceeded to relate that on the 15th of July of this year, he had set out from the hot and dusty collection of hovels that is known as Mojave, with the express intention of finding the most direct pass through the mountains to our fair valley. His party consisted of 45 Spaniards, 30 mules, and accompanied by 60 nearly savage porters, but whose souls are now safely commended to the care of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The initial progress was reasonably good, given that they were scaling increasingly higher mountains and encountering snows that were likewise deeper. The mules were weakening and failed to revive under the rain of blows and curses administered with utmost propriety by Fuego de Culo and his party. The snows were not melting as fast as had been expected, and this was causing some anxiety in the expedition. The expedition was also suffering from the unexpected departure from the savages, who lost no opportunity to slip away under cover of night and unhobble as many pack mules as they could.

Thus diminished, Senor Culo de Fuego compelled the 4 remaining bearers to portage the essential baggage which consisted of several Large and Fancy Brass Astrolabes, Fine Amsterdam Telescopes, a 12-Hour Sandglass and other scientific tools. They were not pleased, but were forbearing in the light of Sñr Culo de Fuego's Christian persuasions.

It was on August 15 that they made the sighting that is the point of this communication. For, as it so please Yr Excellency, this mountebank and rascal Fuego de Culo claimed that he saw at the uppermost lake in this wretched hostile Diabolic Mountainous Wilderness he did see with his own eyes Ghastly Apparition, una Tiburon Barbuda, a pale monster of a Fish resembling a Sharke. He went on to claim that the Horror of It was that it was entirely covered in Fur, from its gills to its tail.

Your Excellency, I was hard put to stand still when I heard this Heresy. As is known to all the finest members of the Academy of The Indies and The Americas, this is purely a folly and a jape to amuse his seedy and thievish compatriots as they despoil themselves in the company of others similar to them in wineshops and brothels!

So, after a consultative interval in prayer, whilst Sr de Fuego and his ilk were falling like locusts upon the corn, beans and barley placed before them, I came to a decision. I clapped the knave in irons, dismissed his retainers and I now send him in the care of 4 sturdy lay brothers for your detailed examination.

I am and remain, your most Humble and Obedient Servant, as Our Heavenly Sovereign Breathes His Wishes,

Fray Geronimo Moireé

Fray Geronimo Moireé was to be tried for Idolatry and Incompetence. Little else is yet known about Fuego de Culo's eventual fate and disposition.

Fur-Bearing Freshwater Sharks Rumored In Mtn Lakes


(LA Times, July 22, 1990)

by ELWOOD MARKWAYS III
TIMES STAFF WRITER

COPROLYTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, near Hellmouth, CA:

The discovery of Giant Fur-Bearing Freshwater Sharks was announced today by State Fish & Game naturalists in conjunction with Dr Roccardo “Dick” Quadde, Prof. Emeritus of Hellmouth Amalgamated PolySci, Hellmouth California.

State Fish & Game naturalists did not confirm or deny informed questions as to the exact location of these enigmatic creatures.

Giant Fur-Bearing Fresh-water Sharks had been well documented on the Upper Agua Mojado further to the eastern edges of the Coprolyte National Monument, where the Agua Mojado drainage meets the confluence of the Chorizo Altiplano as it descends through the porous rugosities of the Stoeff-Topp strata.

Freshwater sharks (s. aquafrescum) had been rumored but not seen in at least a generation, and the fur-bearing sub genus (s. hirsuticum) had not been adequately documented. Prior specimens had been exceedingly rare due to rampant poaching and over-hunting in the last century. They previously had been listed as extinct due to overhunting for their prized pelt, which found its way into fashionable vests and winter-weight underwear in the last century.

Sources off the record have strongly suggested that the remote Big Quimfire Lake/Bigg-Ayre Falls area, formed by the confluence of the Chorizo Altiplano and the Agua Mojado drainage are the likely home of this endangered species.

Renewed interest in these evolutionary atavisms were sparked by sworn depositions from Officers Fred Hammer and Bruce Sheetrock of the State Highway Patrol. Officers Hammer and Sheetrock had been on the shores of Big Quimfire Lake at dusk one at the end of a hot summer day. They were startled to see the surface break as as trio of Fur-bearing Freshwater Sharks course gracefully through the air, whistling an eerie refrain through their characteristic overbite.

Although other sightings had been claimed, they were discounted by reliable sources as the likely by-product of “too much hot sun and warm beer” according to unidentified locals.

Dr Quadde headed up the team, which used their Sophisticated Image-Detection Equipment/Dual Oscillation GraDIent Effect (SIDE-DOGGIE) for comprehensive visual reconnaissance.

According to local sources who wished to remain anonymous, they did so only after the sharks had caused a considerable amount of panic and property damage prompted by a local fireworks display.

Dr Quadde referred to his extensive library and references, and then consulted with Dr Thaddeous Malpissant, of Big Midwestern University. Malpissant felt Quadde was on to a big lead, and lent his considerable prestige to the project. Dr Malpissant is regarded as the dean emeritus of Dorkolithic Research, and remains fully engaged in spite of his advanced age, estimated by some to be well over 95.

Dr Quadde is no stranger to controversy, having been extensively involved in last summer’s abortive Hellmouth PolySci-sponsored High Sierra Barking Spider Expedition. Six weeks of research seemingly vanished in a freak lightning storm. The academic outcome of the expedition was in doubt, but critical data was retrieved to form the basis of a comprehensive inquiry.

Alone With the Fur-Bearing Great Whites of Big Quimfire Lake

(notes from the Estate of Dr Quadde, all rights reserved)

Alone With the Fur-Bearing Great Whites of Big Quimfire Lake

By Roccardo “Dick” Quadde, Rfp, SoQ, AmF.

Early in the summer of 1969 I was taking a summer sabbatical trip through the Rhümpe-Wrangeling foothills. The slopes were a verdant riot of majestic trees, which extended from their roots through their wooden trunks all the way to the tops. As we wound up the scenic George Murphy Highway, I was listening to the resonate static of the Hellmouth (Amalgamated) PolySci radio station KGFY. Between sibilant hisses of static one could enjoy the melodic strains of Thomas Schnabel’s Divertimento in D Minus For Brazilian Nose Flutes, opus 9 1/2, which I had seen performed live when I was an undergraduate back in my sunny tropical years at the H. Wallace Beddoes Institute.

Today however, I was on a different ichthyological errand. Reports had come filtering out of the chop-sleeved, snuff-dipping, chain-sawed uplands that had caused a major stir in the rarified academic circles I swam with during my stay at Hellmouth.

The cause for this excitement was the persistent sightings of the rumored and fabulous Giant Fur-Bearing Freshwater Shark. Normally we would have not paid the slightest attention but for the sworn depositions filed by local members of the State Highway Patrol. Officers Hammer and Sheetrock had been on the shores of Big Quimfire Lake at dusk one at the end of a hot summer day. The main tourist traffic had died down, with the majority of the 18-wheeled RVs safe in their snuggly campgrounds in Wildweasel, the last town on Highway 86 to the Coprolyte National Monument.

As the mountain light cast it's golden glow on the still shores of the lake, they were startled to see the surface break as as trio of the largest albino fur-bearing sharks they had ever seen course gracefully through the air, whistling an eerie refrain through their characteristic overbite.

The shock was total. Freshwater sharks (s. aquafrescum) had been rumored but not seen in at least a generation, and the fur-bearing sub genus (s. hirsuticum) had not been adequately documented. Prior specimens had been exceedingly rare due to rampant poaching and over-hunting in the last century when the High Dorkoliths were submitted to the ardent foreplay of the relentless steam-driven throbbing-pistoned Industrial Age.

Giant Fur-Bearing Freshwater Sharks had been well documented on the Upper Agua Mojado further to the eastern edges of the Coprolyte National Monument, where the Agua Mojado drainage meets the confluence of the Chorizo Altiplano as it descends through the porous rugosities of the Stoeff-Topp strata. Specifically they spawn and frolic in the perpetual roar of the still-remote and spectacular Bigg-Ayre Falls, the headwaters of the Upper Agua Mojado. I had been most fortunate to have witnessed this remarkable event, albeit through my glasses, darkly. The resulting images were sufficient to cause an uproar at Hellmouth College, as it was known in those days.

I promptly made copies of my report and photos, bound them into a kidskin folio and sent them post-haste to my mentor and savant in matters natural and otherwise, the renowned Dr Thaddeous Malpissant, care of his Well-Endowed Chair at Big Midwestern University far away in the East, well east of the Mississippi.

In the fullness of time an answer came back, which I interpreted as enthusiastic approval. Events were later to prove both of us correct, but far from even close to apprehending the awesome majesty of this remarkable aquatic giant.


Next: Adrift and Amazed: The Quadde Legacy

Spring Fever In the Dorkoliths


(one of an occasional series from the archives of the "Journal for Crypto-Ethnology" Spring 1991)

by Dr. Roccardo F. "Dick" Quadde; RfP, SoQ, AmF.


The long winter passed uneventfully, a slowly leaking bladder full of inert gas. I was occupied greatly by the continuing investigations into the previous summer’s disastrous expeditions to the lofty and distant Dorkolithic spires. But as the days lengthened and the snows began to retreat from the the alpinid meadows, I became anxious and eager seek a remarkable vanished remnant of Hellmouth’s glory-hole days during the fabled Kaopectatum Boom.

The object of this quest was to locate the remains of a startling aeronautical prototype that had literally gone in a blaze of glory from the small mining hamlet of Hellmouth back in the summer of 1909.

Wherefore the shift from coprolytica to aeronautica?

One typically blustery and cold November afternoon I had been doing research in the Archival Manuscript Section of the Hellmouth Tweed-Hanna Industrial Library. While sifting through the stacks, I serendipitously encountered a copy of “Aero-Electrical Gazette and Proceedings” which featured the singular accomplishments of Alonzo Goezinteit.

Mr Goezinteit was a local mechanical engineer of great erudition and academic repute, with esoteric backgrounds in the topical and applied sciences. His past and then-current accomplishments were enumerated in 9 point type on crumbling yellow paper, cheek to jowl with lurid and graphic advertisements for multi-colored driller's mud and ladies' finer intimate apparel.

The author was breathless in his description of a fabulous flying machine that had literally blasted off from the Chorizo Altiplano, and vanished from mortal view in the plain sight of several thousand gaping spectators. Search parties were sent out (after a keg was broached, as it was a hot day), but literally nothing was found of this remarkable machine.

I became more curious about this puzzle. I felt that this was a mystery that had remained hidden from public view too long. As long as there was life inside this garish multi-colored polyester sweater vest, I was determined to bring it the light of day. I soldiered on.

The facts surrounding this remarkable machine are shrouded in the gauzy mists of rapidly receding time and memory, which having passed out of the realm of the living was now relinquished to rapidly advancing depredations of saturnine Time. Captive on crumbling paper and fading ink, a mute testimony to the glories of a bygone age. Such was a similar fate of one Sesostris Doro Wat, the almost-forgotten Nilotic culinary architect of the fabled XII Dynasty; saved for academic posterity in a critically acclaimed monograph authored for the edification of all that followed (Sesostris Doro Wat: Nubian Mystery in the XII Dynasty/Quadde 1961).

I digress.

Young Goezinteit had arrived in Hellmouth late one sweltering August afternoon in 1885, on the Hellmouth, Coprolyte & Rio Mojado Narrow Gauge. This ash-blown, cinder-blasted, soot-specked, bi-weekly mixed freight and passenger run was affectionately known as "Old Thunder- Butt" to all within earshot of its piercing and keening whistle call along its sinuous and winding track, stretching a full 69 miles from roundhouse to roundhouse.

Fresh from his recent graduation at the Bismark Hydrographic Research Institute & Normal Teacher's College of North Dakota, Goezinteit promptly found work as a steamfitter's apprentice. The local machine shops at the outlying kaopectatum diggings always had need of skilled men. His first jobs were learning the trades and keeping the pit-engines in good repair. This eventually palled for the young Alonzo, though he steadfastly continued waiting for the next available opportunity. This active intellect was not stifled in the dense hanging heat that characterized sleepy Hellmouth in the summer doldrums, and carried on a regular correspondence with various technical and popular libraries in New York, San Francisco and St. Louis; thus staying current with the latest breaking scientific developments. His business acumen also found an outlet in loaning for a modest fee certain illustrated fictional works that were extremely popular with the rough and tumble miners, who sweated their solitary shafts bereft of gentler company, excepting the precious moments they saved up for on their Saturday nights in town.

Away from his work-place Alonzo took a room at the Caucasian Gentlemen's Riding Academy & Social Club. He found the accommodations clean and precise as befitted his training as a precision-minded man of the bright new Electrical Age then dawning. Their attention to scientific principles of Modern Hygiene were noted in that vast dusty territory where the dust-devil took his share on a regular basis. Although the lodgings were excellent in their category, Alonzo knew that he needed a small isolated property he could work on ideas that came to him during the day and kept him awake at night.

Fortune smiled one day in March 1897 when he got wind of a foreclosure out at Carpaccio Creek, a short five-mile buggy-ride from Hellmouth proper. He went out to look at the property, and saw that it was good. Making haste back into town he closed the deal at 2:59, and laid plans to begin building a house and the nucleus of his laboratory.

In the mean time, the mechanical world was changing very rapidly. He was now known as Dr. A. Goezinteit, in deference to his increased status and new authority as the supervising mechanical engineer on the newly formed Boehner Potash & Alkali Consolidated Mine Works. This merger had taken over four smaller, money-losing open-pit operations in the scrubby Rhümpe-Wrangling foothills.

The new owner of this small mining cluster was the protean Waldo G Boehner, who had arrived in the kaopectatum diggings in 1882 as a strapping young man from Plummer's Divide, Ohio. Trying his hand at open-pit mining, he realized soon that all he would see would be the backside of the man in front of him, covered in the alkali dust, riven with sweat, and with little to show for his years in the sun. He pondered his options, and pooled his small grubstake with several other disgruntled miners. They began to frequent the assayer's office to keep an ear to the ground regarding likely claims that may come loose from their unwitting owners, so to speak. In this manner he heard about the promising "Little Mary Five-Fingers" claim that had been used as collateral in an all-night poker game. The hand had not gone as planned for the unfortunate miner, and things were looking bleak. Boehner and his "denim-monde" consortium interceded on the hapless gambler's behalf. The debt was paid, and the grateful debtor departed quietly on the next day's freight. The Boehner syndicate was now in business.

Boehner had a bonanza on his hands, and knew that only with the best in modern technology was he going to see the maximum profit from this venture. Proceeding accordingly, he summarily locked out the previous share-holders, posted a picket-line of unsmiling armed guards with Maxim-guns on tripods; hired 2000 Chinese miners as a temporarily expedient stop-gap while he was putting together the necessary financing for a truly revolutionary leap in open-pit mining technology. He was well aware of Goezinteit's technical skill and ambition, his dedication to his craft and sure touch with the massive wrenches when he showed the lead crews the proper techniques.

Boehner asked Goezinteit to meet him at the famous bar in the old Steatopygian Empress Hotel. His offer was short and blunt. One of the old-timers later recalled in a creaky retirement home outside of Visalia that "...In return for complete supervision and procurement, he would work his butt off and get paid lots of money..."

It was well known that Goezinteit was generally abstemious, but on this occasion bent the rules and partook a nip of the branch-water, followed by an inundation of the locally bottled AlkaliFizz. He quit his previous post the next day. His first tasks was to upgrade the hopelessly inefficient home-made donkey engines and head frames of the previous miners.

Over the following months that followed, Goezinteit began to amass the largest collection of steam-powered excavators, pit locomotives, stamp mills, headframes and generally reciprocating turbinalia yet seen in those parts. He had been waiting to use the new technology that he had read about in the current engineering journals, and this provided the opportunity.

The original syndicate that acquired The Little Mary Five-Fingers claim had, by judicious use of telegraphic legerdemain, followed the stock-exchange prices in San Francisco and New York, and with some coin changing hands were able to "prime the pump" on the Paris Bourse.

With a few well-placed words they were able to stabilize in an upward manner the historically inconsistent prices on the world kaopectatum market. Not for nothing had Boehner learned the hard lessons from the collapse of the Chilean Guano Boom in 1868.

This was to prove the big strike that Boehner and his confederates had prayed for all their working lives. The Little Mary Five-Fingers claim was dead-centered on the richest reef outcropping of Kaopectatum that the world had yet seen. The veins went deep into the Rhümpe-Wrangling foothills, and it its prime between 1897 and 1917 produced over 20,000,000 tons of refined premium-grade kaopectatum. It employed over 10,000 men and kept the machine shops humming around the clock. It was well known but little mentioned that at least 2,000 women were likewise kept busy as the shifts changed at the pits. New power-plants were built, and continually rebuilt to feed the expanding electrical appetites of this vast enterprise.

Far from the silk top-hats and cool marbled halls of the major financial districts of the East it was a different world altogether. Hellmouth was a small patchwork tent village of 150 in 1882, and grew to a large and raucous, if perennially dusty metropolis of 50,000 in its prime. It was situated at the confluence of the Rio Mojado and Stinkwater Creek on the Hardepanne Plateau of the Hellmouth Valley. This had been the site of the first Great Kaopectatum Bonanza of 1871.

The initial strike was in an alluvial fan in the surrounding foothills by the Hessian immigrants Joachim Rhumpe and Fritz Wrangling. They had arrived on the same burro in the fall of 1870, and set up their "cousin-jack" dug-out into the side of a hill, following local mining tradition. For several months they prospected, taking samples, until they set to serious digging. One day in March, they realized they had struck the telltale pink mother-lode, and promptly bagged as much as their grizzled burro Pedro could carry.

The story has a somewhat tragic ending as they didn't live to see the fortune that their discovery would bring. As soon as they had taken it to the assayer's office for the weighing, testing and pay-out, they were on their way to Missy Loblolly's Chili Emporium & Recumbent Social Club, snugly astride their faithful grizzled burro, Pedro. Passing down Main Street, they encountered a mule-train laden with fireworks and inflatable rubber novelty items making its way slowly from the other direction. One of the mules took a hostile dislike to their burro, and in seconds a major brawl ensued. The resulting jostling and friction in the melee caused the inflatables to chafe vigorously which ignited the fireworks. In the following explosion, the two miners and a number of the mules joined their celestial maker in a brilliant send-off worth of a deceased Pharaoh or Oriental Potentate. When the smoke cleared, the town went about its business in a manner suitable to any other boom town. They promptly named the previously-anonymous foothills after the departed miners, and appropriated the claims. A perfunctory effort was made to locate relatives, but was abandoned after the traditional brief mourning period. Life resumed its normal cadences quickly in a virile town like Hellmouth.

At its zenith it boasted, like so many other late nineteenth century boomtowns, a fistful of banks, a plethora of saloons, the requisite number of bawdy houses, and the Obligatto Opera House.

The Hellmouth Obligatto Opera House was in itself was an architectural landmark and marvel, designed by the now-forgotten genius Nestor Ersatzi. It was sheathed inside and out by the most artfully worked Java Rubber panelling, which portrayed various classical motifs in bas-relief. The House hosted the finest performers and artists of the era. The splendor encountered by the eye was a prelude to the delights which graced its stage. One such memorable performance in 1902 was by the famed Russian diva Ethyl Murmanskaya; who brought the capacity audience to its feet with a dramatic bel-canto rendition of Ludovico Spaetzl's "Cantata Akronesque". She returned for seventeen curtain-calls, and was nearly a victim of her audience’s fervor as they flung the brilliantly dappled Hellmouth Cactus-flower as a floral tribute.

But for all of the finery, gee-gaws, and wha-dee-doo-dah laboriously brought in over the mountain passes by train from San Francisco, it did little to change the fact that Hellmouth was seen by nearly all of its transient inhabitants as a place to make a quick strike and then get out.

Alonzo did not share that short view. He came to admire, and then to deeply love the stark and imposing lithic skylines that crisply defined the mountain ranges of the imposing Dorkoliths. He had become aware of the shy and reclusive remaining Maemo-Lipkat tribes through a series of unusual monographs.

The most remarkable of the essential monographs by Harry "Hairy" Singh Ramadamanadanapanly's freestanding epic masterpiece "Fifteen Years in Coprolytica: Selected Edited Journals in The Dorkoliths, Schlongbergen & Alte Puttanescas, 1890-1905". At the time, it was still an undeservedly obscure work bearing the imprint of a private academic publishing house in Benares. This was the first pillar to the gateway leading to the Dorkoliths. The second was Malpissant, Wanger & Blindsider's seminal dissertation; Expedition Among The Dorkoliths; which did not find its way into general circulation in an anthologized form until late 1913. Due to vagaries of popular taste it was literally bound in with a suspect and sensational baedaker of horizontal recreational meccas frequented mainly by miners and later by tourist groups from the Eastern Seaboard on the Hellmouth high plateau.

I drift somewhat, but the imperative to lay out all the details in Mr Goezinteit's remarkable endeavors must precede any desire for mere sensation. And the youth of today wonder why their attention span is never more than seven minutes.

The mind reels. In my case, slowly.

The studious Alonzo would prop one of these remarkable tomes on a table, and read the dense and wiggling script while he took his lunch in the sweltering mine-office out at the pits. His attention seldom wavered, as he was avidly diving into the cold briny depths of the scholarly pickle barrel. His mind continued to ponder the eloquent and near-Sufic descriptions of the geology and ethnology of this wild mountainous land while simultaneously working out the minutae of keeping an expanding enterprise well provisioned and stocked.

In this manner, in the deep well of learning, he came to read and learn about the enigmatic Maemo-Lipkat peoples that were the aboriginal inhabitants of the Dorkoliths. The were such a reclusive and self-sufficient people that even the ancient Paiute and Mono peoples had little to say when their oral histories were examined by later generations of ethnologists. It became clear that their language was not even closely related to the surrounding lingual groups, although this was not extraordinary by any standard. They evidently had arrived into the high Dorkolithic plateau well ahead of their neighbors. They hunted small animals, planted small crops where conditions permitted, and traded for small things they would not normally have. In this manner shells from the coast and obsidian from the interior found new owners far from their origins.

Several key peculiarities distinguished the Maemo- Lipkats from their neighbors. They simply had no resemblance, visually, linguistically, or ethnically to their native Californian neighbors. Their enigmatic and terse mythologies posited their origins as a celestial, with references to a sudden fiery arrival from the sky in a far-off time. Researchers from Eastern universities found it difficult to remain somber when confronted with these fanciful tales, but kept poker faces and detailed notes nonetheless. Careers were to be made, and each hoped that they would be the sole inheritor of a surviving tribesman from an earlier Arcadian age; when the implacable iron horse did not spew sparks while shrieking its clangorous clarion call of “Progress!” in the deep echoing canyons of the Dorkolithic hinterland.

Another ethnographic enigma was their religious pre-occupation with calcified remains of certain giant lizards and the fossilized by-products that occurred in abundance in the high valleys. Finally, their close and near-cultic observation of the rare, euphonious, highly aromatic and reclusive High Sierra Barking Spider, as they came to be known in my time. The original Maemo-Lipkatic gloss for this unique creature has been lost to contemporary science, but will surface shortly, no doubt.

The gentle reader and auditor of this screed will no doubt wonder; how do the paths of an ambitious mining magnate, a talented and hard-working engineer, a vanished group of mysterious aborigines, a scarcely-noticed aeronautical wonder that passed from the human firmament in a shattering blast on a bright summer day, and an obscure alpinid arachnid sub-genus intersect? Why had such a mystery laid inert and dream-like for so long?

The same thoughts occurred to me as I began to untangle this tale. Piece by piece I began to realize the majestic plan as it unfolded in this unusual drama. Let us go back now to Dr Goezinteit as he sat at his sweltering foreman's shack out at the vast open pit that made Waldo G Boehner the wealthiest and most feared mining baron in the Far West.

Goezinteit's mind had been pondering several key passages of the Malpissant/Wanger & Blindsider tome. There were enigmatic references to the flammability and combustibility of certain chemically inverted forms of the kaopectatum that occurred in certain conditions. It suggested certain properties that were not completely evident to the casual prospector.

The commonly refined version of kaopectatum was completely inert. Its mineral passivity was well documented in contemporary scientific literature, and was the butt of crude student japes. Modern chemical science had only just synthetically duplicated similar refractory mineral compounds later used in gelatinous dessert confections made popular in mass-circulation magazines after the Great War. The Maemo-Lipkats had evidently made careful note of these properties for their rituals, as the MW&B volume made mention in Latin footnotes to
"...observances involving men in ritual settings, generally involving crudely fermented beverages, making ritualized savage obeisances in the presence of spouting blue flames..."
though not citing specific proximities, relationships, and so forth. These attributes had been noted in modern texts, but had been relegated to meager footnotes and wished away by editors of prestigious anthropological journals far from the blazing sun and still canyons of the Dorkolithic Badlands. Such was the stuff that Alonzo was reading.

By this time the mere mining and finishing of kaopectatum had become a fully integrated vertically integrated monopolistic conglomerate. The previously freewheeling Hobbesian free-market antics of the early years were gone forever. In the place of burly Pinkertons, there well-placed contacts in the state capital and under the national rotunda made sure that things ran without undue interference from nascently troublesome unions, or bespectacled reformist do-gooders.

The product was mined with Boehner labor, shipped on Boehner rolling stock, processed at vast, smoky Boehner refineries, packaged at Boehner factories in boxes with labels litho'd on Boehner presses, and finally sent to markets the globe over in Boehner vessels. The company ensign was a familiar sight in ports as disparate as Anchorage, Bangslap Prang, Zanzibar and Zamboanga on the fabled Mindinao coast.

The business of running a large mining operation from a mechanical standpoint had become routine, and tasks that had been consuming in the beginning were by now rendered in the administrative shorthand necessary for proper maintenance. Wise investments in the Boehner portfolio, along with three successive eight-for-one stock splits had assured him of a generous income for years. He was then able to devote large portions of his time to keeping abreast with accelerating developments in aeronautics and rocketry. The revenues coming into the Boehner coffers were sufficient to keep Waldo B in tall clover, and his long-time mechanical genius associate Goezinteit intellectually diverted. Boehner knew of Alonzo's plans and tacitly subsidized them, knowing full well in his wisdom that it was better to pay now to keep than pay dearly later. He had acquired his hideaway estate, and had constructed a small and comfortable house, with a well-equipped laboratory behind the house about 500 yards away behind an earthen berm that shielded the lab from stray sparks and curiosity seekers. He had begun building a trusted team of engineers that were to synthesize Ancient Wisdoms and Modern Sciences, who started work at dawn and finished well after dark.

In order to bring this vast project to fruition, Goezinteit had begun to hire promising young engineers as they came off the academic assembly lines from prominent universities. He kept an eye out for eclectic and electrically minded young men and women, for he was a firm believer in the random distribution of intelligence regardless of gender. From his boyhood experiences he knew that trouser legs required solid filling in order to stand tall.

While he studied he began planning his most audacious mechanical achievement, the Fully Aerial Reciprocating-Turbine-powered Aeronautical Leviathan. His rough notes envisioned a mighty 24-wheeled, 200 ton cast-iron and steel leviathan powered by a mighty compressive furnace, burning the secret kaopectatum inverted-fuel concentrate. Goezinteit had been quietly combing the archives in search of the key that would launch his incredible machine into the azure skies, aloft in a brilliant blast of light and roar of thunderous smoke that would start rock-slides far above the tree-line.

Teams of men, steam-shovels and feeder-tracks were laid to begin shaping a large ramp that extended fifteen miles up a mountain slope. The work commenced on Monday morning, March 3, 1906. They began from the plateau floor, and proceeded to blast and cut in a westerly direction up the face of Psuedo-Sudanese Pied-Monte (Hall). The exact angle of the slope had been determined to be precisely 12 degrees for the first mile, then dropped into an increasingly steeper decline for the next 13 7/8 miles, where it literally troughed out before assuming a steep upward climb in the last 1/8 mile.

When the ramp was well underway, rail-laying crews would follow up the mountain laying cogged track, which would serve as the ever-lengthening supply line to the alpine launch site, followed by the actual launching track.

The cogged track was narrow gauge, similar to the famed Monte Markham military funicular railway near Dum Aloo in the Punjabi Saag Panir Hill-country. The launching track was specially designed in the Moe-Faux (Extra Wide) Gauge, a full 8' wide. The sleepers were specially cast using the innovative PsychoCeramic/Vitreous technology from a mix of Kaopectatum slag and brewery waste, which by means of a secret proprietary formula produced an inexpensive, porous and fireproof beam capable of withstanding the intense heat and weight that it would have to bear to send the mighty Aeronautical Leviathan on its maiden voyage.

The same technology was responsible for the production of the colorful heat-deflecting tiles on the planned craft. Surviving illuminations show conclusively that these innovative patterns were later appropriated entirely without attribution by various Mid-western plumbing consortiums and home-builders during the “Mission” craze.

While the ceramacists were wrestling with these pyro-aesthetic decisions, the broad shoulders and girded loins of the forge labored to cast, mill, and machine the many thousands of precision parts that would constitute the finished machine. New ground was continually broken in the prototypical wind-tunnel as scale models were tested for their aerodynamic qualities, a term that was scarcely known in those days but intuitively arrived at by hard effort.

The culmination of this plan was to have this massive beast winched slowly up the grade to the distant summit. All fuel and necessary fluids would be stockpiled at the top, arriving in relays. Tons of rock were to be blasted out of the "petra firma", using a house-blend of recently improved nitroglycerine enhanced with synthetic derivatives of the highly unstable vegetable-based Fabarasol-Garbanzolene igneous compounds. The captains of the blasting teams were grateful to the improved substance, as many of their number had acquired rueful nicknames like "Flash" and "Stubby ", and found that their recreational opportunities with the ladies were substantially diminished by previous methods.

The enterprise took shape and substance as velocity gathered and became manifest. And it was hungry. The provisioning was initially handled by the La Rue Sisters, who have become legendary in their own rites and through their descendants here in the Hellmouth Altiplano.

Originally the LaRues had been known only as the Fabulous LaRues, and had won the hearts and golden pokes of miners throughout the Hellmouth Altiplano mainly by their charming talents involving the livelier demi-sartorial and performing arts. Contemporary articles in yellowing newspapers noted approvingly that saloons and large tents were filled to capacity with a devoted male following who "heard them dance and watched them sing" in their trademark act involving a wheezy portable organ and a patient grizzled burro named Pedro.

They were astute enough to realize that the vaudeville audience was fickle, and after so many renditions of favorite classics the world was going to change soon. So they sold the organ to the founding members of the Chapel of the Quivering Orchid, and used the money to buy a used wood-stove and a large tent, under which they all lived. Pedro began his career as a hired beast, carrying large loads over steep trails while the LaRues stayed home and began building a business cooking food that was fit to eat, a rarity in any age.

When they began to provision the vast project underway, they anticipated baking at least 10,000 rolls daily to go with the 5,000 gallons of the favored Hi-Impact Java favored by the crews as they toiled up the mountain slopes laying track for the eventual launch. This was a supplement to the 10,000 eggs, 750 lbs of refried beans, 200 quarts of hot sauce, 50 sides of bacon and several wagons of butter required to round out the plates of the burly diners. They quickly hired on125 additional Mexican women to keep the tortillas coming, who took time out from their chores in keeping the giant stew vats from boiling over.

Before the conclusion of this remarkable enterprise, the twining of fate that brought Alonzo together with the lovely and smouldering LaRue sisters was to have an epic effect on the future destiny of the Hellmouth Valley.