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Comments Off on Our Town – March 9, 2017

Our Town – March 9, 2017

| Environment, Our Town | March 9, 2017

The Soupster discovers that he who smelt it had not, in fact, dealt it.

“Ouch,” said the Soupster, as gaseous billows reached him. “You cut the cheese, Doc?”

“Beg pardon?” said the esteemed doctor of philosophy, Gerrit van Schmenken, visiting the Soupster from South Africa. “Cut what cheese?” van Schmenken said, looking around the Soupster’s study, where he saw there comfortable chairs, walls of books, a sleeping cat and a half-sized statue of W.C. Fields. Certainly no cheese.

“You know, did you send me `a message from below?’” the Soupster pressed.

“What?” said van Schmenken.

“A `bottom belch?’” the Soupster continued, unabated. “`Did you `step on a duck?’ Are you `starting a vapor feud?’”

“Oh, `Baff,’” said Dr. van Schmenken.

“I don’t know what that means, but I don’t like it,” said the Soupster.

“No, you don’t understand,” said van Schmenken.. “In Johannesburg, we say `baff’ for a `trump.’ No — `trump’ is the British term. I’ve got it — `farting’ – that’s what you Yanks and Aussies say, isn’t it?”

“Not in polite company,” said the Soupster.

“What do you say in polite company?”

“Well, `breaking wind’ or `passing gas’ are the most acceptable terms here,” the Soupster answered. “If you were in the right crowd you could also say `Oops! I just let Fluffy off the leash.’”

“And the less polite?” van Schmenken asked.

“Revolting release,” said the Soupster. “Creaky floorboards. Thunder from Down Under. The Y2K Problem.”

“So these colorful American names can be attached to your `imposition on the atmosphere?’” van Schmenken said.

“Good one,” said the Soupster.

“He who smelt it, dealt it,” countered van Schmenken.

“I thought you didn’t know American,” said a surprised Soupster.

“We have the roughly the same saying – it’s the same idea anyway,” said van Schmenken.

“Don’t try and shift the blame, Doc,” said the Soupster. “That was your `gut bubble’ wasn’t it? Didn’t you have to take some kind of oath of truthfulness to be a philosopher?”

“We’re still arguing about what truth is,” said van Schmenken.

“Well, if it wasn’t my `Little Orphan Onion’ and it wasn’t your `bench warmer,’ whose was it?”

“Not W.C. Fields,” said Dr. van Schmenken.

“There’s no one else here, but…” said the Soupster — then he and van Schmenken realized immediately.

“Cat baff!” said van Schmenken. “Gross!”

Originally published Feb. 26, 2004

 

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Whole Soup – March 9, 2017

| Whole Soup | March 9, 2017

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Whole Soup – February 23, 2017

| Whole Soup | February 23, 2017

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 23, 2017

Our Town – February 23, 2017

| Airplanes, Flying, food, Our Town, Travel | February 23, 2017

The Soupster eats more fruit.

The Soupster didn’t like sitting in the bulkhead or emergency exit rows on the airplane, so he had selected an aisle seat — Row 23, Seat C — on his flight home to Our Town. He liked to sit in a regular row, so he could stow his day bag – normally filled with must-haves and goodies – underneath the seat right in front of him.

Today his day bag was pretty empty – the Soupster didn’t have time to load the bag with treats. Oversleeping badly, he missed both the airport shuttle and the motel’s free breakfast. By the time he caught the next ride, he ran very late. The security lines seemed endless, the gate a long, long walk.

Like some others, the Soupster was old enough to remember when the airlines fed their passengers as a regular thing. Edible, sometimes pretty good, food was served in square plastic bowls that interlocked securely on the tray. Salad, entree and vegetable, even dessert.

Back in those well-fed days, the Soupster had once been served both breakfast and lunch on the same 5-hour cross-country flight. No sooner had the cabin attendants removed the breakfast refuse then their compatriots started serving lunch at the other end of the plane.

The food kept the passengers docile and in their seats and also provided entertainment. No such distractions now, the Soupster thought. Any food a passenger munched onboard these days was strictly do-it-yourself. The Soupster usually nabbed some snacks in the stores lining the concourses. But running late meant he had to skip the stores today and he boarded his flight empty-handed.

The Soupster took his aisle seat. He threw his bag under the seat in front. A middle-aged woman with a bulging carry-on bag stopped at Row 23 and indicated she had the window seat. The Soupster stood up and she squeezed by with her bag. A stout woman, she and her things seemed to fill both her seat and the seat in the middle. She immediately fell asleep.

But the Soupster was distracted. His one last chance for decent vittles on the flight was to purchase one of the airline’s snack boxes, which came as either “Fruit & Cheese,” or “Old World Snacks.” The Soupster liked the fruit and cheese. The old world snacks — olives and salami — not so much.

Unfortunately, the passengers in rows 1 to 23 preferred the fruit and cheese box, too. As a horrified Soupster looked on and listened in, passenger after passenger purchased the fruit and cheese. By the time the flight attendants reached the Soupster, the fruit and cheese was sold out.

A dejected Soupster bought an old world snack box with slight dread. His mouth wanted to be refreshed, not marinated. He lowered his tray table and opened the box. He took out a package of whole grain crackers and some salami slices. He took out a small bag with two or three kinds of olives.

Looking over his repast, the Soupster sighed. He opened the olives. As soon as he did, the woman by the window began stirring. She opened her eyes.

“Oooh, look at that food,” the woman said. “Those olives look scrumptious!”

She lifted her bulging bag onto the middle seat and rifled through it. “Maybe I could trade you for some of your olives and salami?” she said. “I have fruit.” She removed a sizeable Tupperware and peered inside.

“Would you like grapes, mango or pineapple?”

 

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Whole Soup – February 9, 2017

| Whole Soup | February 9, 2017

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 9, 2017

Our Town – February 9, 2017

| Airport, Our Town, Travel | February 8, 2017

The Soupster faces off with old wisdom.

The airline passengers staggered out of the open doorway, blinking with disbelief that they had finally made it home. Each had a different story to tell. Collectively, the passengers had been spread over several towns as dense fog and stiff winds grounded planes throughout the region.

The passengers greeted their loved ones and wandered over to the baggage claim area. After only a moment, the yellow light at the airport started spinning and the luggage started coming around.

In the crowd waiting for bags, stood the Soupster. He sidled up to George “Thread” Cabot, known throughout Our Town as a speaker of brief, familiar comments. Both men scanned the passing luggage for their bags.

“Thread,” the Soupster greeted him. “You been traveling, too?”

“There’s no place like home,” Thread said. “Home is where the heart is.”

“Got that right,” said the Soupster. “Seems like ages since I’ve seen you, Thread.”

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Thread said.

“That’s nice of you to say,” said the Soupster, truly pleased. “Oops!” he said suddenly and reached across Thread to snag the first of his two bags.

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” Thread said, smiling.

“How many bags are you waiting for?” asked the Soupster.

“Two and two do not make five.”

“Four bags,” said the Soupster. “I’ve only got one more to grab.”

“To each according to his needs,” said Thread. Then he lunged forward and piled two cardboard boxes, one after the other, onto the floor. Each was labeled with Thread’s name.

“Think outside the box,” said Thread, anticipating the Soupster’s curiousity.

“Thread,” the Soupster said. “Why do you always talk in cliches?”

“Sticks and stones…” began Thread.

“Now don’t get riled up,” said the Soupster. Thread reached over and grabbed a large suitcase that blended well with the cardboard boxes.

“I’m not criticizing you.”

“Every bird loves to hear himself sing,” said Thread.

“Well, now we’re only waiting for one more bag each,” the Soupster added. In a moment, they appeared — first Thread’s, then the Soupster’s. Thread piled his four items onto a rolling cart.

“All good things must come to an end,” Thread said.

“Such an enigma!” the Soupster thought, looking at Thread..”Say, Thread,” he said. “Why are you named `Thread?’”

“A thread in time saves nine,” said Thread.

“That’s `a “stitch” in time saves nine,’” said the Soupster. “I’m sure of it.”

“Then it’s George `Stitch’ Cabot,” said the former Thread. aloud.

“Doesn’t bother you?” asked the Soupster.

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” said Stitch.

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 15, 2016

Our Town – December 15, 2016

| Christmas, Holidays, Our Town, Parody | December 15, 2016

ourtown_dec13_2012

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Whole Soup – December 15, 2016

| Whole Soup | December 15, 2016

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 1, 2016

Our Town – December 1, 2016

| Fall, Our Town, Rain, Seasons, Weather | December 1, 2016

The Soupster hears about seasonal remedies.

There was a long line of people waiting at the airport, but none of them were flying that day. Instead, they waited to submit their names in the annual Customer Commensuration Event, where the airline awarded pairs of unrestricted tickets to three writers of the best essays titled, “Why I Need to Leave Our Town This Fall.”

Ah, autumn in Our Town, the Soupster thought, as he waited in line clutching his essay. A dark and wet autumn in Our Town, indeed. Like trouble piling on itself, the rain caused there to be more rain.

“It doesn’t rain, it pours,” a wise man once said.

“Oh, it gets better after Thanksgiving,” said Shirley “Bo” Burley, standing behind the Soupster and reading his mind. “Once the Christmas lights go up and cut the gloom, our mood lightens, too.”

“True, Bo,” said the Soupster. “To me, the absolute worst is the day after they change the clocks and instead of it getting dark at 5pm, which you’ve just gotten used to, it’s dark by 4pm, which is an unreasonable time for it to get dark.”

“Never lived up north, have you?” Bo asked.

“No,” said the Soupster.

“Wimp!” said Bo. “How would you like to go through a couple of months when the sun doesn’t make it over the horizon?”

“You’re just determined to lighten up my mood, aren’t you, Bo?” said the Soupster.

“Here’s a good `Coping with the Fall’ story,” said Bo, barreling on and accepting the Soupster’s implied consent. “You know Cleon, the computer guy?”

The Soupster nodded.

“He used to make house calls and one day, in the doldrums between Alaska Day and Thanksgiving, he got a call from that cute many-sided house out the road,” Bo explained.

“So Cleon strapped his small repair case to his bike and set out. Cleon loved his bike, but only a few minutes into his ride, he questioned his decision to take it. The temperature hovered right around freezing —  depending on the microclimate Cleon traversed, the rain passed back and forth between liquid water and some snowish kind of thing. You know how it is, Soupster.

“As a shivering Cleon mounted the stairs to the house, he could hear music. Jimmy Buffett. Margaritaville. The door opened to a big, sweating guy wearing a toga. Inside, it was 90 degrees. There were people sprawled all over the sand-colored carpet. All their drinks had little bamboo umbrellas.  A cardboard palm tree had been erected and a stuffed parrot perched on a corrugated branch.

Without a word, the big man showed Cleon into his office where a computer sat on the desktop. Cleon got to work. After about a half hour, Cleon stood up and stretched, another cyber problem solved.

Just then, the big man returned with a large can of tropical punch and two glasses. Cleon told him the machine was all fixed.

“Good job, fine fellow!” he said to Cleon. “I am the ruler of my Kingdom. I control the weather here. And now, thanks to you, I can also surf the Internet again!”

“So,” the man said with a wink. “When it rains, I reign.” He held up a glass and dispensed from the can of punch. “And when it pours, I pour.”

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Whole Soup – December 1, 2016

| Whole Soup | December 1, 2016

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Comments Off on Our Town – November 17, 2016

Our Town – November 17, 2016

| Animals, Our Town | November 30, 2016

The Soupster theorizes about bear behavior.

The Soupster heard an incredible bear story the other day. It seems his friend Eddie was bicycling to work and, unbeknownst to him, was being chased by a brown bear. A very alert driver saw this and pulled into the parking lot to head the bear off. Eddie never knew he was being chased by a bear until he got to work, when someone came in and told him.

This bear had been a recurring problem in the neighborhood for a few weeks, and there was even talk of euthanizing the animal. The Soupster had his own theory as to why this particular bear was so hungry and bold.

The Soupster’s summer walks had always included the bridge over the river inside the park. And this year, like always, he had closely monitored the humpy run, while striking up conversation with tourists in the park.

So the Soupster, with his daily monitoring of visitors and humpies, is here to tell you that it was a normal-to-very-good run this year. To the delight of the tourists – er, visitors – the river was plugged with humpies this summer, and there was plenty of water to get them upstream as far as they wanted to go. In early August, there were lots of humpy carcasses on the riverbanks for the birds and bears, going all the way down the trail down to the mouth of the river, where it empties into the ocean.

For further proof that this year started out as a normal run, the Soupster noticed that the smell test at the post office was normal. In a normal year with a west wind you can smell the rotting humpy carcasses at the post office. With a southwest wind, you can’t. By mid-September, in a year with a good run, you can smell them way past the post office, all the way to the auto parts store.

So what happened? If you recall, later in August, we got a couple days of near torrential rain. The river went up to flood level and – sadly – all the lovely humpy carcasses were flushed out to sea. The late spawners were all that was left. And that was barely enough for the birds, let alone the bears.

The Soupster further theorized that bears are very territorial and that this particular older bear, not finding his accustomed winter’s stash of dead protein by the river, was driven by hunger to committing the “crime” of being too familiar with humans. Thus, Eddie’s bear had a long rap sheet – chasing Eddie to work, charging a man on his porch, knocking over numerous garbage cans, and breaking into two garages and a parked pizza delivery vehicle.

Perhaps mercifully, Eddie’s bear disappeared shortly after his autumn adventures, and did not have to be put down – but had he chosen to stick around, his fate would have been determined by the fact that you cannot have brown bears living in town and becoming familiar with humans. Bears are just too unpredictable.

Humans aren’t?

– Submitted by Ron Rau

 

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Whole Soup – November 17, 2016

| Whole Soup | November 29, 2016

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Comments Off on Our Town – November 3, 2016

Our Town – November 3, 2016

| Our Town | November 3, 2016

The Soupster hears a memorable fish story.

“… and that was the most memorable fish I ever caught,” said a reminiscing Soupster.

“My most memorable,” countered Charles “Chick” Howell III, “never even bit my hook.”

The Soupster signaled to the brewmaster to fill their tasting cups, this being an “Ale to the Chief” pre-election Tasting & Toasting. Every other week, a small, bi-partisan group of Our Towners stopped by the brewery to preview the latest offerings and compliment each other on their political acumen. The group took a two-month break after presidential elections, bi-partisan compliments being difficult to generate any sooner.

“I had just bought my boat,” said Chick Howell, continuing with his story. “And I really didn’t know anything about running it. Nevertheless, my co-worker Sandra asked me to take her visiting father, along with her husband, out fishing.”

“You said `yes’ of course,” said the Soupster.

“I certainly did,” Chick said, laughing softly and looking at his lap. “Even though I didn’t really know how to run the boat, I said yes.

“Well, when Roy and Dennis showed up – Roy was the father and Dennis the son-in-law – Roy got right into telling me he was immensely happy to be going fishing with a knowledgeable person, a ‘real Alaskan,’” Chick continued.

“Roy obviously wasn’t talking about Dennis,” Chick said. “And he was dead wrong about me.”

“Reminds me,” said the Soupster, “that is, what you’re saying does – is how people assume things about you when you say you live in Alaska. A guy on the phone once asked me if I traveled to work by dog sled.”

“Anyway,” continued Chick. “My heart was in my throat the whole voyage. I don’t really know why Roy didn’t notice. I think Dennis did.

“Roy kept ragging on Dennis and complimenting me. I found myself rooting for Dennis. We were jigging for halibut at this time and I brought the first one aboard, about 35 lbs. Roy being from Cincinnati, he’d never seen a fish that size. Now he was sure I was the big Alaska fisherman. He took pictures of the fish on the boat, of me and the fish and of himself with the fish. I figured he was going to show that picture to his friends back in Ohio and claim the fish. Didn’t bother me. I was happy to be part of his little scam.

“But I wasn’t willing to join in on Roy’s ragging of his son-in-law. I tried to be especially nice to Dennis, but he was so miserable. Especially since me and Roy started pulling in fish after fish, while Dennis scored zilch. The fish were all smaller than my first one.

“Hours went by. I started getting sleepy and instead of actively jigging, I held my rod steady and let the rocking of the boat do the work. Roy was sure this was some ‘real Alaska’ fishing secret and emulated me, compliments flying. Dennis looked like if you pushed him overboard, he wouldn’t have struggled.

“’Got something!’ said Dennis, springing immediately back to full blood. Unlike my lackadaisical style, Dennis mightily hauled up the line and reeled in the slack, then did it again. There was no finesse. All the frustration of Dennis’ day poured down that line and into the sea.”

The Soupster thoughtfully sipped his ale. “That was the fish?” he asked Chick.

“Yup,” Chick said. “Not a barn door, but that fish was twice as big as mine – near 80 lbs. Dwarfed anything Roy caught. Dennis’ look of triumph was my most memorable fish.”

 

 

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Whole Soup – November 3, 2016

| Whole Soup | November 3, 2016

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Whole Soup – October 20, 2016

| Whole Soup | October 20, 2016

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