Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"A Little Dab'll Do Ya..."

Lookin' good is an adolescent pre-occupation which diminishes, but never entirely disappears with age. I don't have enough hair left on top to swaddle a flea, so hair products are of only academic interest to me.
In my youth, there were three basic kinds of masculine hair management products.
There was "Tiger Sweat" and it's imitators, which was basically pink, semi-soft paste-wax that was used to prop up the prow of "flat-tops." If you stuck a wick in it, and lit it, it'd probably last as loing as an Advent candle.
There was Brylcreme ("A little dab'll do ya...They love to get their fingers in your hair," so the jingle claimed) which was basically the consistency of hand lotion and held hair in place with oil, and was probably, mostly, glycerin. It left an oily residue on the pillow case and a slick like a hemorrhaging tanker in the swimming pools of my youth
And there was Vitalis, which was basically pure alcohol and caused hair to freeze into a stiff helmet-like condition. It was also (allegedly) passably potable, if passed through a loaf of bread.
I was reminded of this by a conversation with G Al Awlaki Meyer and a recent, inadvertent, trip down an unfamiliar aisle in the local grocery where once there had been baking products, but now held "personal" items.
Just for the memory banks...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Better with Age: Mistel, de Nuevo mexico

An old Santa Fe acquaintance posted this on Facebook With the admonition that, since it takes about two weeks to "mature, you need to start, basically, yesterday.
"Chimaja root" is also known as arrowroot, the same as is found in babies' teething crackers.
She writes:
Back in the 1970s and 80s when the Christmas eve walk along Canyon Road and the Acequia Madre area was much more locally oriented, the house owners used to set up little tables and provide biscochitos and tiny cups of warm mistela. I loved that tradition, but when I came back several years later, after moving to Montana, I was apalled at the "tourista" feeling of the stroll and found that the house owners didn't even come outside any more. I still do a traditional New Mexico Christmas up here and make both sangria (Corky Lusk's recipe) and occasionally mistela. I'm attaching a photo that shows you how to make it, but you need to start soon as it takes two weeks to "cure." I think its worth it and that you will enjoy it as a special traditional treat.
Bueno! Salud y pesetas y amor y tiempo para gustarlos.

Ahorita, La Noche Antes de Chreesmas!
"La Noche Antes de Chreesmas! "

T'was the night before Christmas and all through the casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! Que Pasa?
Los Ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
(Some in long underwear, some in pajamas.)
While mama worked late in her little cocina,
El Viejo was down at the corner cantina
Living it up with amigosone a gavacho!
Todos MUY contento y PO-quito borracho!
Stockings were hung con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that El Santa would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos Y malos,
A nice batch of dulces y otros regalos.
Then, outside in the yard, there arose such a grito
That I jumped to my feet like a frightened cabrito.
I ran to the window and looked out afuera,
and who in the world do you think? Quien es era?
St.Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!
And pulling his sleigh, instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching valados.
I watched as they came, and this quaint little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre:
" Ay, Pancho! Ay, Pepe! Ay, Cuca! Ay, Beto!
Ay, Chato! Ay, Chopo! Muraca y Nieto!"
Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho,
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly, like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chiminea.
Then, huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala,
He filled all the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the ninos had been very malos.
Then, chuckling aloud, seeming muy contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone como el viento,
And I heard him exclaim-Ese, this is verdad
"Merry Chreesmas, A todos, Feliz Navidad!"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Extra-Curricular Activity

This is the time--the WEEK--of the semester which college/university profs and teachers dread the most: Whine Week.
That's the week just after Thanksgiving in the Winter (and before Memorial Day in Spring) when the grades start being inevitable, and students begin to schedule office hours appointments to plead for, or negotiate--and sometimes even DEMAND--higher grades than their efforts and exertions over the previous 12 weeks actually merit.
They can be ingenious with excuses; reasons for dispensations abound. Grand-parents by the score have died since September, or are perishing at that very moment. Equipment failures proliferate: electronic devices explode inexplicably, printers fail to print. Automobiles become wholly unreliable. The pressures of OTHER coursed have intruded. They can be piteous and/or they can be amazingly manipulative.
In my time in the Binness (about 20 years), I had only one occasion on which an "improper" advance was offered to me. 
(Dare I say "Quim pro quo?")
It happened thusly:
My one, true, authentic, grade-change temptation was presented as an alternative to the supplicant falling into disrepute in her sorority, at a "great, Southern university," where that life occupied the highest rung of student aspiration for many. At that University, the frats and sororities celebrate Lee/Davis Day on the MLK holiday.
One year, there was a pretty, spoiled, indulged, wealthy 'sorority sister' who mostly didn't come to class, mostly didn't do well on exams, and blew off her final project. The week after T'giving, she made the expected office appointment, after the next  (and last, except for the final) weekly class meeting.
She arrived at the appointed time with a penitent attitude, in a fetchingly low-cut blouse and a short skirt, and a holiday gift-bag. She made her plea--how important it was for her at her SORORITY to get a passing grade-- as she handed me the gift-bag.
I opened it. Inside were her panties. I said: "Wow, thanks, but i don't think they're gonna fit..."
She flushed about ten shades of red and fled.
And flunked...