farse_sm.jpg EneryVIII.jpg

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Grim Weeper

S-BathosSm.jpgURE, IT SOUNDS LIKE The Life: laying prone on the couch barely moving for a week, having the whole household running circles to satisfy every gnarled and gnashéd whimsy; steady cornucopious supplies of cleansed cherries and dark grape juice - how decadently Roman, how fittingly hedonist for this, the End of Civilization?

These are indeed End Times.

I'm not that old, dammit - really I'm not: I'm only forty feching two. Answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, all that? But I've surely crossed the threshold, been seduced by the down side. My lumpy corpus certainly seems to think so.

I've been flat on my back for more than a week, with a knee and an ankle bloated and swollen and burning and spreading. Arthritis from ancient sporting injuries, supposed to be - happened a hundred times before, random selection of the same four inarticulate albums - just never two of them at once. Part and parcel, Remains of the day, Things we just have to endure in this our veil of tears, blah-di-blah-di-blah. But No, not just. The beast has darkened, has evolved, is become [--*--] The great unmentionable. Blokes dahn the pub are nodding their heads and wagging their fingers now, grimly intoning: Rich man's disease. I much prefer to consider it a local instillation of malevolent humours.

Fat C**t, Bearded. What did you expect?

I could protest my innocence of the feloney charges - I'm not obese, I'm nooooot - but what would be the point? You'd never believe my excuses: not when you correctly point-out that I've enjoyed a six year hedonists binge since landing here in the Golden State. My heart, my life, my ample belly, my pockets too, have all been filled with brimming gold all spillin' over like some champagne cascade - one long unfettered Wheee-hee-heee! of over-indulgence - all too true.

As one grows older one comes to appreciate that for many of the Good Things in life there are windows of opportunity during which they may best be enjoyed. These windows do not open properly until one reaches a certain age: who, honestly, can claim to have enjoyed a glass of whisky before attaining thirty years? Plenty young men will try it, for sure, in an attempt to prove their manliness, and loudly proclaim both its delights and their toughness to gathered brethren at the bar, but that's all for show. None of them honestly can stand it - its smell, alone, is enough to make one's gorge rise. Until the age of thirty, thereabouts, upon which time even in its basest form, there is nothing to beat an unadulterated short of whisky. Add water or ice or, lord help us, mint, and all bets are off. I learned from my visit to New Orleans last year that Mint Juleps are an abomination, and I mean that in the Biblical sense.
"What have I done?", he said. "Can that be you?"
"Tee Hee!", quoth she, and clapp'd the window to.

Windows open, windows close: usually with a thump of embarassment. Or at least, one embarassment too many. And Bearded, so fortune framed the farce, put up his lips and...

Now, for almost the first time in his hoary life, Bearded is condemned to diet: to regulate the foods he eats. This is quite wrong, and totally contrary to his most closely-held beliefs. He must eliminate the purines, the ones festooning all his favored foods - red meats - wondrous rare steaks, kebabs of beef or lamb; white meats, roasted chickens and turkeys; shellfish - Nooooooooo! - lobsters, shrimp, scallops, mussels; most fish, delicate chilean sea bass prepared in tasty sauces are out, only steadfast tuna and salmon may remain; fatty cheeses GONE! and with them cheesie mashed tatties, though tatties themselves are alright; and get this all his favorite vegetables - asparagus, spinachk and peas peas peas. All out, all to be drastically reduced, almost to the point of elimination. Almost. I reckon if I can reduce my purines substantially during regular days, there's room for a once-a-month binge. Well, whether there is room for one or there isn't, an occasional binge there will be. And pork - trusty pork, not ham nor bacon - pork is clean. Chops and ribs, baby, chops and ribs.

The good news is that I can not become vegetarian or hated granola-chomping vegan either, because beans and lentils and their ilk are amongst the very worst offenders, but eggs - sainted eggs - eggs are allowed. And this being summertime in California, praise be, it is possible and even desirable to avail oneself of a very good Caveman Diet, comprising nuts and berries - cherries in particular - hunted and gathered from nearby pretentious Pavilions. If only we had a Gelson's closeby... but whatevs, we make do.

I do not expect to lose weight. I tried that many, many years ago under doctor's orders - you know, regulating calory intake, all that - but the doctor quickly determined that dieting for weight loss was useless. "Some people, Mr Bearded," he said, "Some people are just built big, and that's the way they are."

Good job too. In anticipation of the upcoming holiday - a slagfest here in the Xenoverse in which our manliness and heritage is challenged every year by the colonial contingent - in anticipation of said event my wife has just bought me a huge feching barbie for the back yard, to replace the other that has lately crumbled away. I still have to cook the good stuff for them. All because I bought her a new kitchen, a new floor, new furniture, and a new puppy. We are told that, rather like the war, it'll all be over by christmas.

All of which I'll be writing about soon... once I've found my feet again, and caught-up with a week's worth of work.

In any event: we are not yet at all sure what new window shall shortly present itself to us. We must remain vigilant. We remain convinced, however, that there is no such thing as a "Tofu" window, but we are keeping our eyes peeled for anything else...


Blogger DarkoV said...

When your doctor stated that "Some people are just built big, and that's the way they are.", was he
1) Looking you eye to eye?
2) Looking up at you?
3) Looking at you with a wry smile, while you were seated on that naugahyde exam table with your backside slipping through the thin envelope of the paper examination costume?
Just wondering. Position is integral to interpretation sometimes.

Hope the berries and cherries keep you regular. Have a great weekend acting as the designated indentured barbecue servant. A little lovetap to the derrierre of anyone who eats your meat and makes derogatory remarks regarding the performance of the Brits in the late 1700's.

5:40 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

Well, even when I was at my absolute fittest and fastest - which at one time was pretty bloody fit - I was, um, husky. Along the lines of a certain famous scottish rugby full-back. It was a mix of (1) and (3) I recall. My kind of doctor.

Asfor the upcoming, I hope to write about it. I get the full double-whammy: I get it for being a defeated brit, but also for being a subservient scot.

But hey, on Bonfire Night back in Blightey the police do not confiscate your $100 stash of legally-purchased fireworks, as they did to us last year, just as one of the kids lit their first sparkler. We even had to put that out.

"Land of the Free" my arse.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous stephenesque said...

Might I humbly add the Mojito to your list of injured man's cocktails.

8:43 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I've never tried a Mojito - but rum, unlike whisky, is an emanently mixable spirit.

Favored cocktails here are ever-refreshing Margaritas, toned with a splash of Midori; and my wife is partial to Cosmo's. I would be too, were it not such a girlie drink. But in the privacy of one's own backyard, such pejoratives are not tolerated.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

I think Dalwhinnie made a whisky convert out of me at 27 or so. It's a fortunate thing it's so expensive out here, otherwise my liver would be getting an even tougher workout than it already is.

10:21 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

It was exactly the same back there - single malts were prohibitively expensive - upwards of 40 quid a bottle. Bit like here, where they are upwards of $40, except people have more dollars than brits typically have pounds.

Cheapest place to buy it was France. Like an idiot I'd bought a bottle "Duty-Free" on the ferry for, like, thirty quid, then found it selling for something equivalent to ten in the French quickie-mart at our vacation destination.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

The French! Every fall a bunch of us gather at a cottage to swill single malt(s) and tell fish stories. One of us is French (Canadian). He's a frequent flyer, and found himself in Scotland last summer. He dispatched a group e-mail to let us know (there was no shortage of exclamation marks on his french computer) he'd scored a particularly valuable single malt for our next gathering: a 12-year-old Laphroaig! We made a point of bringing three more bottles to let him know there was no lack of this rich-in-character but (relatively) cheap-in-price hootch.

4:09 PM  
Blogger -jkg said...

first i must confess i do taint my scotch with soda and ice. of course by 'soda,' i am talking about the clear, tasteless, unobtrusive variation. not the colas or fruit based refreshments that are the preteen poison of preference. no. not those sodas at all. they rot your teeth.

your diet doesnt sound like a complete prison, and if you were to compare it to such a constrictive environment, it would surely be a minimum security joint. with pilates classes and tennis courts. conjugal visits and omelettes for breakfast. its not so bad, at least you get cherries.

i know that helpless feeling though. laid up, nothing to do. everyword thats been written has been read. every song listened to, even the birds chirping sound like repeats.

all to familiar my friend.

4:13 PM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I noticed your "scotch and soda" just yesterday, -jkg, but I forgive you since you're a foreigner who doesn't have a thousand years of horrified ancestors shouting in his ears at the sacrilege.

They say - distillers in Scotland - that it is permitted to add water to a single malt, but only water from the same burn (stream) that feeds its home still.

But, how the hell are you supposed to acquire that outside the Vistor's Room? They sure don't ship it and sell it in supermarkets. Would be funny though - The Macallan, The Crystal Macallan, The Glenlivet, GlenlivetHead Spring, ...

I don't like anything that kills the fire , but that's purely my personal preference based upon substantial experimentation.

I'm more of a Speyside person, WP, than Islay - the Islay malts are even more of an acquired taste, being derived from peat-smoked malts that suck the moisture out your body when you drink them, and tend to leave me shrivelled like a prune. Tallisker and Bunnahabhain are well-worth trying as gentler introductions to the Islay form.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Whisky Prajer said...

I'm quite fond of Tallisker, but Bunnahabhain is new to me. I'll be sure to keep my eyes peeled and my rainy-day money at hand.

All the best with your condition, FCB. That diet sounds like a corker.

4:09 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

Along with Jane, I am an ignorant slut. Well, ignorant as it comes to malt. The only malt I can enthuse about is the specail malt I request at our local ice creamery. It's lucious and it leaves a toasty brine on my mustache that I suck on for the rest of the day. So all this single malt conversation has me salivating. Most of my drinking friends sverve towards wine and I sverve with them.
I'll have to visit the local non-wine shops this weekend. Aside from the peat-smoked and bog-aired whisky, is there haggis-ized whisky?
Just joking....I think.

8:21 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

I'm sure if there were a haggis-smoked whisky that you would be forbidden its delights in this, the Land of the Nannied Brave? Haggis itself is confiscated at Customs, with a stern rebuke, since the US Government has deemed it "unfit for human consumption". Fact.

9:14 AM  
Blogger DarkoV said...

In "researching" the pleasures of single malt, I came upon this site

where one commentator noted "Damn! i just spilled some Bunnahabhaim on my lap and hade to go change my pants. It went straight through and my balls are on fire now.... argggg! clumsy me! .... so exspensive stuff too! icon_redface.gif the bottle cost 44 €uro´s ( about 44$) ".

I didn't realize drinking single malt could be this dangerous. It almost sounds as iffy a task as drinking slivovitz or ouzina (An Australin concoction of 1/2 ouzo and 1/2 retsina). Luckily, I'm past the fathering stage, so it should be o.k.

10:46 AM  
Blogger F.C. Bearded said...

It comes in a very distinctive wee green bottle with a cheery wee green mannie on it. Well worth the money.

Goodness knows how many "single malts" there are, but I've been in heavenly bars whose gantry runs fifty or sixty along its length. Over time, tried to try them all at least once. The attraction is that every one has its own unique taste, although they share certain group properties: Speysides are smooth and sweet, but never sickly (unlike Drambuie, a liqueur, say) while Islays are peaty and smokey and very very dry. They vary in flavor and fire and effect, but are almost all smooth and relatively kind to the palatte.

Blends are much, much cheaper - priced with other spirits like vodka or gin or rum - and are in general an awful lot rougher when they go down. But they remain emanently drinkable, and again come in varying degrees. Deluxe blends like Chivas or J&B aim for smoothness of malts. But Grouse and Bells are the everyday fare.

Dammit. My wife is saddened that I stopped drinking the stuff, and has been quietly pushing me towards having one or two on the odd occasion. But it's like cheese puffs - once you begin, you can't put them down. Or I can't. We'll see. Used to be, my widower years, I'd do the weekly ironing to a quart of Grouse. Became a euphemism amongst my pals.

11:51 AM  
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2:46 AM  
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4:40 AM  

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