Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Are the meds workng? Moose Turd Pie

Unbelievable. After increasing my Zyprexa dose for two nights I feel better, though certainly not out of the woods. I didn't weep yesterday.

I'm having trouble getting to sleep, however, because the drug makes my legs twitch, not to mention that I increased the Wellbutrin dose as well. I'm maxed out on my meds, and if they don't work, I'll have to drive four hours down to San Francisco to see a good psychopharmacologist.

I don't want to say anymore about my kilorat wattage for fear of jinxing myself.

Instead I'll share a joke I heard on Dr. Demento. It was told in the first person so I'll try to do it justice from memory, full well knowing that a written joke is never as funny as a spoken one. It might be better to read this aloud to a friend.

"Back in Alaska, working for the railroad, I was a Gandy dancer. You know what that is? We had these long-handled shovels, Irish banjos, and we'd stick 'em under the railroad ties or rails and then bounce on the handle end to raise the tracks, so the other workers could shove gravel and dirt under the ties. Anyway, that time passed and now they'd send three cars to work on a stretch of track: a bunk car, a tool car, and a kitchen car. But the company never sent a cook. So what happened, and I was a newbie, was that whoever complained about the cooking would have to become the cook until someone else complained. Not knowing the ropes I was naturally appointed cookd.

"Now I hate to cook. So I bethought myself how to get out of this responsibility. I was walking out in the woods when I saw a huge moose turd, I mean really big. So I rolled that puppy back to the kitchen car and decided to make a pie out of it. Someone was bound to complain.

"I covered a big pastry pan with dough, pinched it, put in the moose turd, covered it with fancy strips and a little mint on top and shoved it in the oven. When it came out it was a thing of beauty. I set it down on the table for the hands.

"Big Jack came in and sat down, he was a mountain of a man. Immediately he dug in to the pie. A strange look passed across his face and I thought he was going to wallop me. But after swallowing the first bite, he said, "Moose turd pie! Not bad."

Thine in hope and haute cuisine,



  1. thanks for the smile (the joke)!

    I took your lead and in my blog yesterday, went ahead and wrote about part of my mental illness (the anxiety part). It was the first time I did more than just allude to it.) Thanks for giving me the strength to do that. I feel, for some reason, it is a good thing.

  2. LOL... gosh loved the joke. "moose turd, yuck" I think that I would become the cook.

  3. CE,

    Just stopping by to say hey. I try to read your blog when i have a free moment. what's going on with your novel manuscript?


  4. Glad you ladies liked the joke!

    Strange, Jim,

    I was just thinking about you yesterday and intended to write.

    The novel is on hold; I'm 60,000 words into revising the second draft, but the plot needs some re-structuring. I will undertake it after some other things I'm wrapping up; two more manuscripts of poetry, one of which I just sent out to two contests. I know, I know, I'll never win unless the judge leans toward my preferences.

    Been reading Robert Hass-- he's good.

    I'm relieved that Melic's over, but it's strange, having been the editor I find people were often overawed by me and now I'm just one of the gang, which is better.

    I'll link to your blog now.

    And how are you doing?


  5. I'm doing ok....hanging in there (to become a cliche).

    Haas is good, although the only book I have by him is Praise -- which is pretty old. Are you reading his essays or poetry? Here is one from Praise --


    All the new thinking is about loss.
    In this it resembles all the old thinking.
    The idea, for example, that each particular erases
    the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
    faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
    of that black birch is, by his presence,
    some tragic falling off from a first world
    of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
    because there is in this world no one thing
    to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
    a word is elegy to what it signifies.
    We talked about it late last night and in the voice
    of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
    almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
    talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
    pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
    I made love to and I remembered how, holding
    her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
    I felt a violent wonder at her presence
    like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
    with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
    muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
    called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
    Longing, we say, because desire is full
    of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
    But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
    the thing her father said that hurt her, what
    she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
    as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
    Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
    saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

  6. Ha! I just read that one, as the only volume at our library was Praise. I love blackberries. There are millions around here to harvest in August/September.

    A pleasure to read this poem again.

    Keep in touch,

    Craig Erick

    (For any who don't know, Jim Zola was managing editor and webmaster for Melic for many years, and only sometimes got paid and not much--a pittance compared to his labors that would stretch into the wee hours of the morning.)

  7. Anonymous7:29 AM PDT

    The last line of the Moose Turd Pie story needs a slight correction. It should be:

    MOOSE TURD PIE!!!!!!!!!!! It's good though.

  8. SpecialKinNJ7:27 AM PDT

    Here's a variation on the moose-turd theme, from memory after hearing it quite a few years ago on the radio:

    Moral: Though it be of less than "sterling" quality,a thing may nonetheless call for praise.

    Moose-Terd(sic) Pie
    As railroads spread from east to west, large and ultimately hungry work crews led inevitably
    to a shortage of qualified cooks--not only in sheer number: given the demands of feeding large numbers of crude and unappreciative persons, and the vicissitudes of life around the road gangs, very few qualified cooks were
    willing to serve.

    This led ultimately to the practice of simply recruiting (usually by fiat) one of the crew to serve as cook. The principal ground rule was that anyone who complained about the food had to take over the onerous job of being the COOK.

    Various devices were used by incumbents to generate complaints. This story has to do
    with one such device and how on at least one occasion it failed to work.

    As the story goes, Zeke was really unhappy as cook. He thought carefully about ways to evoke a complaining remark --ways that hadn't already been used, of course.

    He looked around one day and, Eureka, he thought he had found just the proper
    solution. Large, generally round and dry moose-turd)sic) patties were prevalent along the right
    of way. So for supper one night Zeke carefully
    selected one of the largest and roundest patties, placed it in a correspondingly large pie shell which he had very carefully, even lovingly, prepared, and covered the whole with a
    beautiful topping--to all outward appearances, a
    wholly delectable dessert, fit for a king,
    not to mention a jaded crew!

    Naturally he was certain that someone would complain after biting into his portion--very
    likely the first person to bite would do so.
    Then, that poor soul would have to take over as cook.

    The scenario Zeke envisaged was almost perfectly enacted that night. The first to try the outwardly appealing pie was a grizzled old
    giant of a guy who had spent several tours as
    cook, but had temporarily forgotten about his previous use of the same ploy to elicit a
    complaint and thus relief from the cook's job.

    The old fellow took a big bite, preparing to savor the experience by rolling the bite around his palate before swallowing. As he did so, he became increasingly aware of having been served what he now recognized to be a clearly undesirable dessert.

    So much so that he stood abruptly, almost instinctively beginning to voice a loud complaint as he rose:

    "My God," began his shout, "that's moose-turd pie."

    Almost simultaneously, however, remembering the implications of complaining, as recalled by all and sundry--to Zeke's great dismay, the full
    utterance emerged as follows:

    "My God, that's moose-terd pie! It's good though!"


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