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Dead monkeys and self portraits

my studio, cleanOne of my mom’s best friends was a carney. We called her the Monkey Lady, on account of she had a monkey act. Duh. When Mother adopted her, she was old and retired and lived in a burnt-out bar down by the river, and her five big evil monkeys spent every waking minute working at the bars of their cages in an effort to free themselves and — she devoutly believed — chew through her jugular vein while she slept. Shitting you not. But they were still her precious furbabies.

Well. I didn’t like her, either.

Somehow, Mother got guilted into arranging to have these beloved psychotic homicidal monkeys gassed. I’ll tell you the whole horrible story some day, but you’ll have to get me drunk first.

The general plan was, the Monkey Lady would leave the house and come back some hours later to a peacefully monkey-free zone. Only, when she came back, she found one of the vet’s assistants had left a choke harness behind in the middle of the floor.

Dun-dun DUNNNNN!

I feel a bit like that. I went through all the stuff in my studio, picked through thirty some years of old letters and bad self portraits and selected only the juiciest morsels for posterity. I fully expected to come back and find all the rest had been whisked away while I rolled about the countryside, madly gay, roasting champagne and drinking chestnuts.

And so it did come to pass, I thought as I arrived home late last night.

Until I left for work this morning and found the lot, neatly packed and stowed in the garage. I guess my ragpicker couldn’t believe anyone would give up such awesomely fantastic junk.

Albatross? WHAT albatross?

my garage, not clean


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 8, 2008, 8:14 pm

Weazel – you can solve the “apparatus” problem quite easily if you don’t mind getting up early a few mornings on the weekend.

Simply type (do NOT write) up a note saying something like, “Sorry I borrowed it so long!! Thanx!” and print (do not xerox) a bunch of copies. Scribble some illegible signature at the bottom. Better yet – get a cow orker or accomplice to do it.

Next – drive around early in the morning and find a house (some distance from your own) with porch with no lights on. Place one of your selected “objects to be got rid of” on said porch – along with note – and leave.

They may spend years trying to figure out:

a) did they actually lend the item?
b) to who?
c) of not, where did it come from?
d) what to do with said object?

And Weasel – even if they don’t, you’ll never know, so pretend they did and giggle about it.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 8, 2008, 8:37 pm

Do you know, McGoo, I’ve come to the realisation that you are one of the wickedest people I have ever encountered.


Comment from Gnus
Time: January 8, 2008, 8:59 pm

Welcome home, SWeasel.

McGoo, that is some serious evil. I like it.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 8, 2008, 10:06 pm

Thank you!

I’d like to think I have enriched lives in strange unfathomable ways. For me, that’s enough.

Remind me to tell you how to take wonderful advantage of garage sales. Weasel, it’s especially apropos regarding your excess “stuff” situation – and is rousing good fun, too!

Comment from porknbean
Time: January 9, 2008, 2:38 am

I want to hear about the monkeys.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 4:09 am

PnB: long story short, we tried to bury them in the back yard. Not nice.

I’m going to go absolutely SPARE in this house! No carpets on the floors, no curtains on the windows, no books along the walls. It’s like living in a giant tin can. I can hear the cats padding around downstairs. I can hear the air inlet valve in the basement ticking over like some huge dripping faucet. I’ve been awake since midnight.

Not good.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 9, 2008, 4:35 am

What in the name of all that’s holy (Kelly Brook’s jugs) is ‘High Gravity Lager’? Was it designed specifically for the purpose of being able to get shitfaced as you’re being pulled into Jupiter?

Man, I wish those plastic tubs weren’t thousands of miles across a massive body of water away. I could use those to grow spuds in.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 5:07 am

No idea. The beer boxes aren’t mine. The *vodka* boxes are mine.

Do you have a Dunkin’ Donuts anywhere near? If they’re supplied similarly to the US, the jam for jelly donuts come in five gallon buckets just like those. We used to give them away to the asker.

Yeah. That’s right. I did a stint at Dunky. Mine has been a rich and colorful career.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:58 am

There’re Dunkin’ Donuts in Blighty now? Why wasn’t I informed?

So the jam for jelly donuts comes in 5-gallon buckets. What about the jelly for the jam donuts?

Those buckets look like they might be useful for keeping the blood drained out of a corpse in too. Theoretically, I mean.

Comment from Lokki
Time: January 9, 2008, 11:00 am

Gibby –

The right kind of jelly can look a lot like blood drained from a corpse, particularly if you’ve been into the high gravity lager a bit. However, I’ve heard that hallucination can swing both ways, so be a bit careful what you put on your toast, eh?

And I don’t know about growing potatoes (at home we used imported Irishmen to do that) but here in Texas the “in” way to grow tomatoes is to just buy a plastic bag of earth from the store, cut a big x in the side, and plant the tomato plant right in the bag.

However, if soaking up blood and not growing blood-red tomatoes is the real problem, I recommend the big bags of peat moss. From what I’ve heard those big bales are very absorbent and the contents can then be scattered over the garden where the plants will grow like crazy. By the way, bone meal is very good for “bulb” plants like tulips and daffodils, etc. You can buy it, but if you have a Sunday where you don’t have anything better to do, you can make your own! In a pinch, I suppose monkey bones would do. Just sayin’

Comment from Anonymous
Time: January 9, 2008, 11:18 am

Kitty litter. Soaking up unpleasant fluids is its job.

Just…don’t buy a bunch of bags at once in a single store. Trust me.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 9, 2008, 12:28 pm

Yeah, I guess buying a bag of compost and cutting an X in it is pretty much similar to sticking your tomato plants in a grow bag (http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/758/405973.JPG). Cheaper too probably.
I’ve used those before, but not for a while. I grew my tomatoes (San Marzano and a few Moneymaker) in large plastic pots in the small polythene greenhouse thingy which is valiantly resisting the wind right now outside. I’m not sure if they were baked through lack of ventilation or if they all had disease because they looked ill and yielded poorly.
This year I’m going to grow the bastards outside and in the ground. They should just be able to survive the British summer.
Never grown potatoes before (which, interestingly are of the same genus as tomatoes), but I’ve got my small mind set on the idea of piling a few bald tires on top of each other, flatwise, filling the cavity with dirt and shoving some chitted King Edwards or Maris Pipers in those – see what happens.
As far as I’m aware fish, blood and bone is the only bone-mean-type soil additive you can still get without being attacked by Animal Rights activists (ironic how the most generally lazy people in society like to call themselves activists). So I use that.
Are all bones good? I can get cow bones for free from the butcher. Maybe if they were to be dried out, scraped free of gore and them pulverised, they might make a good fertiliser.
Oh, and by the way, it’s probably the right time to say: I’m not a murderer. I’ve not killed anybody and I don’t intend to. Not yet anyway.

Comment from Dawn
Time: January 9, 2008, 1:14 pm

Is that a star in one of those buckets? I see a bed frame, a chainsaw, and a mirror? All this was in your studio

I had a garden in my other house. Most expensive hobby ever. Potatoes are hard to grow in Arizona, by the way.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 9, 2008, 1:39 pm

Did you feed your tomatoes, Gibby? They’re notoriously hungry for potash. And did you check for red spider mite? It’s a bastiche in those polyhouses. Actually, come to think of it, it’s a bastiche anywhere.

Growing spuds in tyres works well, too but, again, they’ll need feeding. BFB is good stuff, but a bit hard to apply in that sort of situation. You may have to resort to chemicals!

I can’t wait to get going at Badger House – but first we need the entire drainage system rebuilding and the planning permission is taking forever. Still, the first of the bulbs are up and I have witch hazel in flower so Spring’s on the way!

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 9, 2008, 2:07 pm

I use horse shit tea, stinging nettle tea and worm piss, uh tea as fertiliser, i.e. organic fertiliser, and it’s funny you should mention it Badger, because the first thing I did when the leaves started going yellow and the veins grey was to cut the feed. I mean – and bearing in mind a lot of pests, diseases and fertilising problems unhelpfully all exhibit the same symptoms – yellowing leaves are commonly a sign of nitrogen deficiency, but nettle tea is renowned for being high in N, so I initially assumed I was overfeeding them.
I didn’t have any pest problems either.
Assuming I haven’t got the right mix of organic fertiliser or it’s not just pathetically impotent, I came away with the conclusion that there was some sort of root issue, a fungus maybe.
Anyway, this year the suckers are going in the ground in the sunniest spot in the garden and I’m going to companion plant basil and maybe marigolds to attract ladybugs.
I can’t wait for spring, but I reckon winter is going to throw a few more punches before it goes away yet.
Is there a greenhouse at Badger House, and if not do you intend to build one?
Also – what about compost? I’ve just finished building a 1m^3 hot compost bin out of spare wood and chickenwire. Looking forward to using that too.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 9, 2008, 2:24 pm

A greenhouse was budgeted for, Gibby and I still intend to have one. But until I’ve seen a final bill for the drainage, I won’t know whether that intention will come good.

I’m in two minds about a compost heap. In my last place I managed to produce really good quality stuff from a plastic bin, contrary to what some people say about them. So, yes, I’ll be making compost, but I haven’t decided how yet. Most probably, I’ll be building a couple of wooden bins, too.

Tomatoes outside should be fine down here in t’soft South but I admire your bravery taking it on in Yorkshire.

Hahaha! Gardening on Weasel’s blog.

Weasels don’t garden. Pointedly.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 9, 2008, 2:41 pm

Well, you never know unless you try. It certainly can’t get any worse than last year.
I’ve never heard anyone negatively criticising plastic composting bins. I think the key to good compost is basically not just using grass (which inevitably turns into black sludge) and turning it regularly, the type of container not being so important.
Reading that last comment of mine, it appears I wrote ladybug rather than ladybird. That’s never happened before. I wonder what that means?
Anyway, sorry to all the non-gardeners; I’ll shut my trap now.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 2:55 pm

What can I say? My mama told me I have a purple thumb; every plant I touch dies.

That’s a yeppers to the star and the chainsaw and the bedframe, Dawn. Curiously, none of those things belongs to me. Yes. Alien junk is now appearing in my garage. As my ragpicker seems like a pretty good specimen of the breed, I’m not worried about it…but I wouldn’t mind knowing the backstory.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 9, 2008, 3:03 pm

Some ‘experts’ claim that plastic bins never get hot enough and that you get far better insulation from wood. They maybe right in theory, but my last plastic one was excellent. The only downside was that it was hard to shovel the lovely, friable product out of the bottom.

The secret to good compost is getting the carbon/nitrogen ratio right. That’s why grass on its own is useless. It’s not actually hard to do but people often seem to think that all you need is the soft, green stuff.

Good luck with the tomatoes!

Yes… let’s change the subject. Umm… anyone seen any runny babbit arses around here?

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 3:23 pm

I knew it!

Weaz’ place is infested with Space Aliens – and they’re storin’ their shit there while they draw up their nefarious plans.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 3:28 pm

Aw, go ahead and talk gardening, Uncle B. I’m in kindofa ‘pulling the wings off flies’ mood at the moment, and SOMEbody might as well be posting something here.

Man, I’d forgotten how much this “job” thing sucks!

Comment from A Space Alien
Time: January 9, 2008, 4:37 pm

I said ‘Take Me To Your Leader’ so why am I standing here talking to a weasel?

This planet is crazy!

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 6:57 pm

That wooden box? The one next to the rear 5-gal bucket?

Would that be – mayhaps – a wine shipping box? With a sliding lid?

Those are sooooo handy for packing precious things for long voyages.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 7:20 pm


I just got an e-mail from a lady-friend in Colorado – who got an email from her friend in AZ – who (I think) got an email from a friend here in StL – who was ON the other bus that stopped and helped the bus victims!

No kidding. I told no one that I knew someone in the Net who had relatives on that bus.

Small world.

….And a LOT of my friends snow ski.

I hope they’re getting better.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 7:22 pm

That is – I hope YOUR family is getting better, Dawn.

Comment from porknbean
Time: January 9, 2008, 7:28 pm

Speaking of tomato plants and aliens. Look at the little bastard I found on my cherry tomato plant this summer. Little creep couldn’t just finish off one tomato at a time, no, he had to take a bite here and a bite there like they were a box of chocolates.

Tomato worm. About 4-5 inches long and as thick at a finger with a pokey horn thing on it’s butt.


Comment from porknbean
Time: January 9, 2008, 7:31 pm

Tomato worm mug shot. Just look at those creepy finger things to push tomato meat into it’s piehole.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 7:48 pm

PnB – You found that here in StL? That thing could chew off an arm!

That settles it. I’m leaving.

*wanders off mumbling about aliens with pieholes*

Comment from Dawn
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:25 pm

McGoo, My husband’s cousin Joel was readmitted to the hospital with 2 crushed vertabrae and a bleeding heart. His wife, Jessa is still in the hospital after surgery for her leg and she has a cracked skull. Someone from every other row except theirs died in the crash. Jessa’s dad is the only one who wasn’t thrown from the bus and he is not doing all that well. The town of Farmington is just being angelic. The Red Cross has been very helpful. Strangers have been bringing them food non stop and one of the stores gave everyone clothes and shoes gratis. They lost their shoes during the crash. My aunt thinks everyone involved is a hero.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:27 pm

I love those wooden wine boxes, McGoo! I’ve squirreled away several of them at Badger House, which I shall cut up into…tiny shelves and pencil cases or summat.

That there is a cheap pine CD storage rack, however. I might move it to the ‘keeper’ pile — depends if I have to buy a whole container’s worth, or if I ship by weight.

Comment from Dawn
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:27 pm

I think the worm is kind of cute. It’s a vegetarian! The worms that scare me eat meat.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:28 pm

Bleeding heart! I didn’t know there was such a condition, for real. That sounds…awful.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 8:47 pm

Yeah, Weaz. I thought bleeding heart referred to liberals only.

Not to make light of Dawn’s fambly’s condition, of course.

I love those friggin’ wine boxes, too. I’ve got cherished possessions stored in half-dozen right now. There’s a really snotty wine store not too far away that’s owned by a neighbor. His wife has been taking care of my box needs for couple of years now.

That didn’t come out right. Oh, well.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 9, 2008, 9:07 pm

Sorry to hear how bad things are, Dawn. I wish you all well.

Comment from porknbean
Time: January 9, 2008, 9:08 pm

Holy crap Dawn, sounds like they didn’t evaluate him very well the first time if he went back for crushed vertebrae and a popped heart! He’s lucky that didn’t kill him straight off.
I hope they were able to stitch him up.

McGoo, yep, them tomato worms are pretty common and good at camouflage. I almost fainted when I realized I had almost touched the thing. Best thing to do is pick them off the plant and cut them in half. Then you gotta look over the plant for babies (they look like inchworms). Blech. I had to have Mr. Porker remove it for me but he wouldn’t chop it…he flung it.
*shudders – I dislike worms and the thought of touching one*

I think the tomato worm is where they got the idea for Heimlich, fat little hungry bastard….was that in a Bug’s Life?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: January 9, 2008, 9:10 pm

Oh, and that worm?

I’m having The Weasel fumigated when she finally decamps to old Blighty. God knows we have enough bastiche pests here as it is, without importing things like that !

Umm… I meant the worm.


Comment from porknbean
Time: January 9, 2008, 9:21 pm

Unless she brings an infested tomato plant with her, I think England will be safe. Though if you are anything like my husband, you will probably insist on a strip search, in which case, depending on her mood, she will either oblige or knock you upside the head.

While the worms appetite can do some damage, it adds insult to injury by pooping as it consumes – A LOT.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 9, 2008, 10:31 pm

Oh, yes. Badger, I’m confident a strip search will definitely be called for. Harrumph. International travel, foreign contagion, and all that. What!

It’s the only way to be sure…

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 10, 2008, 3:57 am

That ‘worm’ (looks like a caterpillar) is beautiful but scary-looking. I have a ‘worm farm’ (see: plastic bin full of household vegetable waste, corel, shredded from-the-middle-of-the-toilet-roll-cardboard, tiger worms and a wine-box-type plastic tap to drain of the delicious worm wee-wee) and the worms in there are men with bolt-action rifles and holes in their boots to that thing’s (the Tomato Worm) M1A2 Abrams.
In that second photo you can almost imagine it saying, ‘Yes, I’m eating these tomatoes. And you are?’
I think these badboys are the real reason napalm was invented.
Since the start of this comment, I’ve wiki’d Tomato worm, and wouldn’t you know it? the reason they look like caterpillars is…because thy are. They turn from a beautiful caterpiller into a drab, poo-coloured moth, which admittedly, is still quite fetching, but merely a shadow of its former self.
I think I might’ve encountered their cousins, the Tobacco hornworm eating its way through my tobacco plants. And I can testify a good way of getting rid of them is to quickly pick them out of your plant and whack them into next door’s garden with a tennis racket.
Thoughts to your family Dawn.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 10, 2008, 5:56 am

Tennis racket? That’s what I used to use to get rid of toads in my back yard and pool long ago.

I still chuckle at the image and sound of a toad being “twanged!” over the fence into the neighbors pool (with the trusty aluminum racket I’ve owned for about 20 years and have never – repeat, never – played a set with).

My neighbor asked me if I got a lot of toads in my pool and I shook my head innocently and said, “Never. Why do you ask?”.

It’s questions like that, from my victims, that are just icing on the cake.

Comment from Gibby Haynes
Time: January 10, 2008, 10:15 am

The Tennis Racket Back Toad. Marvel in awe at its geometric patterns, scrath your head in puzzlement as it flies a short, neat inverted hyperbolic cosine curve into somebody’s swimming pool.

Comment from quark2
Time: January 10, 2008, 11:49 am

Ah, good morning all.
Such a nice refreshing thread, worms, toads, and
alien junk appearances.
Prayers to Dawn’s family that all recover and
have long life with good health.
Yesterday I was attending a lovely funeral for a 90
year old family member in a 200 year old cemetary in
Fayetteville. She is among very good company.

Now speaking of worms I had one of the bestests worm piles,
earth worms, when I lived in Santa Fe Texas. I should have
upended them and brung them along to the present farm.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 10, 2008, 3:18 pm

q2 – you were gone, and now you’re back!

Texas earthworms. They are mighty….

First time I saw one I thought it was a baby snake. Of course they have to be big and strong to get through that Texas soil.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 10, 2008, 5:43 pm

Weaz! I’ve decided that I am fascinated by that room’s non-euclidean angles and planes that hint at other-worldly dimensions. I want one.

So I need to find a house with an attic room? Or is that a second-story room? Or is there a difference?

Shit – maybe I should just buy yours! I’d be buying a sure-fire celebrity home just as soon as your employer discovers the embezzlements (and bodies) and the DoD finds out about the missing nuclear weapons.

And – just think – I’d be close to Elijah, the stewbum and raconteur over in New Bedford, so I’d always know what you’re up to. And Lovecraft’s grave is nearby for those moments of contemplation.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: January 10, 2008, 8:10 pm

It’s positively non-euclidean, McGoo. I’ve always liked that room; it’s in the front, upstairs. Under the sloping roof.

This is a classic New England cape house, small and rather sweet. It’s in a shit neighborhood, though. I’ve always thought if I could pluck it up and plop it down on a couple of acres someplace, it would be a lovely home to grow old in.

I’ll see if I can rustle you up a picture.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 10, 2008, 9:07 pm

I would love to see a photo of it, but I don’t want to be too nosy. DON’T UNPACK ANYTHING TO GET AT A PHOTO.

Comment from porknbean
Time: January 10, 2008, 9:18 pm

If she takes her camera outside, she won’t need to unpack a thing.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: January 10, 2008, 9:33 pm


That was rather pathetic of me. But I meant well.

Comment from quark2
Time: January 12, 2008, 12:07 pm

The worms were raised in upgraded ‘gumbo’ and
horse apples (used), and they were awesome.
I coulda got rich off of them boogers.
Where we are now is sandy loamy soil. Hrmmmm wonder
how they’d do in it.
Could I get filthy dirt rich, ya think? LOL

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