Sunday, January 30, 2011

Texas Travel

You cannot cross Texas in less than a week. For one thing, the state is wider than four Eastern states strung together, and longer from north to south than six Sundays. For another thing, the storms out there are so fierce they keep moving the border. I once took a train from New Orleans to San Francisco, and outside of Abilene we ran into a cyclone so fierce that it pushed the city limits to the east side of the Mississippi. To make matters worse, the winds turned the tracks around, so the engineer had to run the train in reverse all the way over the Sierras. Even with Wizard Water© in the boiler to speed things up, we didn't reach Sacramento until the previous Friday. I was early for an appointment, with no good excuse.

My pocketwatch ran backwards for weeks after that, too. It didn't start ticking forward until I visited Boston. Even then it moved about one minute for every five of actual time. They say that time stands still in Boston, but the truth is it just mimics what's happening in Congress.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Device to Improve Milk Production

cowI have invented a device guaranteed to produce milk from a cow. My "Electric Milk Inducer" consists of a small treadle-operated generator with a wire extension attached to a metal clamp. Before milking, simply attach the metal clamp to one of the cow's ears, taking care that it remains connected to the generator by the wire. Take the cow's udders in both hands and begin milking. If milk is not forthcoming, move the treadle up and down with one or both feet. This will generate an electrical charge that will be relayed to the cow's ear via the clamp. The cow may jump, but it will also produce milk.

Be prepared for some noise on the part of the cow. For that matter, you may feel a shock yourself as you hold its udders while operating the treadle. To avoid this, you may wish to wear my patented shock-proof mittens. They are heavily quilted, and contain thin wood chips in each quilt panel to shield the wearer against electrical excess. They are available at a nominal additional cost. Owing to their bulk, the mittens may interfere with the milking process, but only slightly. If they heat up, remove them immediately. Also, after the first day's use of the Inducer, do not warn the cow that you are coming.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Advice for Those of Limited Means

I was playing poker with some cowboys out West, when one of them accused me of betting with counterfeit $100 bills. I asked him to prove it, and he pointed out that Bat Masterson was a Canadian and not eligible to be depicted on U.S. currency.

I respectfully disagreed, but nevertheless offered to play with lesser, more common notes. Everyone thought this was best, so we continued the game with $75.00 Buffalo Bills.

All went well, and I eventually walked away several hundred dollars richer, less my initial stake.

If you should ever find yourself short of funds, it is best to improvise. I considered betting with corn, but most cowboys don’t believe in the stalk market. In situations such as these, I have found that a lot of bull usually produces the most chips.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mountain Music and Medicine Show Begins Its Tenth Year

Ugly CousinI'm back from Dahlonega, where they celebrated the tenth year of The Mountain Music and Medicine Show. I'm not sure which is more amazing -- that folks are still coming to the show, or that the sheriff keeps allowing me back in town.

Last night we had the music groups Mist on the Mountain, Fool's Gold, Ugly Cousin, and Mrs. Nix's cousin Frankie. Frankie was sort of a last-minute substitution. We had a terrific act planned -- a human cannonball -- but he had to cancel at the last minute. You might say he went out with a bang. He was not the caliber of performer we normally employ.

Luckily Frankie showed up, sang his heart out, and folks overlooked the fact that he was from New Jersey. I hear that in New Jersey they favor the marching music of John Philip Sousa, and boil their bread dough before baking it into something called "bagels." I suppose in a crowded place like New Jersey folks want to make sure their music is heard and their bread is safe to eat. Down here we prefer banjos and fiddles over tubas and trombones, and boil our corn before drinking it. We want to make sure we have fun.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Nix's Store

Nix Store exteriorI will be up in Dahlonega again next Saturday for the Mountain Music & Medicine Show, but before I arrive I would like to heartily recommend Mr. Nix's grocery store.

Mr. Nix's grocery store always has the finest quality goods at the most reasonable prices. Mr. Nix gets his corn meal straight from a nearby mill on Yahoola Creek, and imports flour, sugar and coffee direct from Gainesville. He stores it all in solid tin bins or oak barrels that seal securely, so you know what you buy will be fresh and mostly bug-free. Likewise the eggs are never more than a week old, and hardly ever hatch before you get home. He stocks the most popular kinds of candy: licorice, horehound, and molasses. His loaf bread is prepared with the finest sulfur of copper to preserve the dough. In the fall and winter you can take your pick of locally smoked hams; they are tied securely to the rafters so you need not fear any falling on you. And all the cans are labeled.

Mr. Nix also endeavors to make the latest scientific products available to his customers. Just last month he purchased a new soda water dispensing machine. He sought my advice on the least expensive way to operate the device, the better to offer his clientele the lowest price. I not only supplied him with a formula that would produce the gas needed for beverage carbonation, but also a recipe for a novel and stimulating liquid refreshment. The former involved a simple corn-based recipe developed by the Buzzard Mountain Boys; the latter a unique mixture of caffeine and nitrate. I told him he could concentrate the carbonation with jolts of electricity borrowed from the hotel a few doors away.

That was last week. I had to hurry home for the holidays and did not see my suggestions implemented. I just heard from Professor Grant, though, that there will be a slight delay in introducing the dispenser. Mr. Nix had to order another one from Chicago, plus new front windows and a skylight. It seems that the original dispenser was shoddily constructed, and split apart on its first use. Mr. Nix is cleaning up now.

Do not let such inconveniences deter you from patronizing Mr. Nix's grocery store, though! He has a special deal right now: canning jars are half price if you bring a third of them back filled with something edible. They should also be labeled.

I look forward to presenting my medicine show next week in Dahlonega, and to hitching the wagon in front of Mr. Nix's store as usual. I'm sure he looks forward to it, too.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.