Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something to Get Rid of Headaches

I have discovered a new headache dispersant: solfeggio. "Solfeggio" is an Italian musical term that means "go away." It is used by opera singers to clear their lungs, but it can also be used to clear away other things.

You do not have to be able to sing in order to use solfeggio. I know, for I am not a singer (in fact, as a lad in Sunday school I was asked NOT to sing, just mouth the words so the other children didn't flee), and I have tested this method myself and found it to work. Simply chant the seven musical notes of the diatonic musical scale (or whatever seven notes come to mind) loudly and repeatedly. You will find that the cause of your headache disperses.

This cure generally only works in cases involving crowds or problem customers, but sometimes that's all you need.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fire and Flood

Chicago Fire 1871The Great Chicago Fire of '71 just missed St. Patrick's church on West Adams Street. Some folks say it was divine intervention, but I'll tell you the truth -- it was the Devil and a beer pump. A few years before the fire, the owner of a brewery located further down the block decided to open a drinking establishment next to the church.

Well, old Scratch favored this arrangement. He could have a drink in the saloon during services, and keep an eye on who was coming out early. He liked it so much, in fact, that he covered the cost of running a pipe directly from the brewery to the saloon. The place soon became known for its cheap, reliable supply of beer, both winter and summer. It didn't hurt that one of its regulars, who smelled slightly of sulphur, also often treated churchgoers to a pint or two.

I used to stop by there on business trips. Scratch was always up for a card game, didn't mind sharing his clients, and I knew enough not to bet anything I couldn't easily replace. The Sunday night that the fire broke out, he'd strolled out with a parishioner named O'Leary, and I was left with a room full of gaming enthusiasts.

About an hour later, one of the patrons spotted flames and shouted a warning. When it became clear that the fire could not be contained, most of the customers fled. The owner asked me why I did not panic as had the rest. I replied, "Because sir, the means of your salvation is at hand."

"I have yet to see you enter that church," said the owner, "I did not take you for a religious man."

"It doesn't take a religious man to see the practicalities of this situation," I replied. "My Wizard Water© is super-saturated, you know, and will more than double any liquid it is added to. And you sir, have several large tanks and a pumping mechanism at hand."

"A few bottles?!" he cried. "I'll buy all you've got!"

I advised him that two bottles would be enough, but he insisted on purchasing my entire stock. I sold it to him, but the look in his eye worried me and I left the premises as quickly as possible.

I was about three blocks away when the flood caught up with my wagon. My suspicions were correct -- the owner must have added every bottle to his brew tanks. The foamy water raised the wagon as high as the rooftops and carried it for several miles, until I was able to lasso the town hall steeple in Cicero, to the south. St. Pat's, built of solid brick and mortar, survived intact and in place. The wooden brewery and saloon survived too, but floated free. They are now situated about five miles south of the church. The pastor regards this as one of the few blessings caused by the great fire.

Scratch was not pleased. It was bad enough to have his favorite tavern relocate without his say-so; even worse that the credit went to Someone Else. I'm afraid he suspects that I had something to do with the removal. I could argue that Scratch was not entirely blameless in the matter, either, but he is disinclined to look kindly on the truth. Maybe that's why we get along.

Still, I'll wait until St. Pat's has another beer vendor for a neighbor before going back. Sharing affinities with the Devil is not a good enough reason to visit Chicago, unless you're running for office.

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

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring Tonic

herbal tonicNow that winter is nearly over, you are probably preparing to make or take a spring tonic. Spring tonics are an important health aid that reinvigorate the body after it has spent long months indoors. All families have their own recipes, but if you want to guarantee a good effect, remember that adding a little Wizard Water© to your regular ingredients is the most effective way to revitalize the blood, energize the heart and stimulate the kidneys.

If you are contemplating a tonic but not satisfied with those you have used in the past, you may wish to try one of my own:

  • For children under the age of five, boil a pound of ramps or new onions in a quart of water. Let it cool, then add a cup of cod liver oil, a drop of Wizard Water© and serve by the tablespoonful.
  • For adults, boil five pounds of nettle leaves in two quarts of water. Cool, then strain the water into Mason jars. Add a quarter cup of kerosene and a drop of Wizard Water© to each jar, and let the jars sit for a day. Serve by the tablespoonful. You may add molasses to improve the taste.
  • For horses, cows and mules, the recipe is the same as for adult humans, but add a cup of pine tar soap shavings and triple the dose.
  • Do not try this on chickens.
Any of the above tonics will cure indolence. They will, in fact, get the weakest creature to move faster than you have seen him move in a long time.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras 19th centuryI’m back from New Orleans and very glad of it. It is Mardi Gras season in Louisiana, and it takes very little to encounter trouble. I saw a man who was dancing get cut in two by a careless reveler who was wielding a sword. No surgeon was immediately available and the populace appealed to me for help. Thinking quickly, I glued him together with sealing wax. Then I instructed one of his companions to cover him with blankets to keep him warm. His friends went in search of some gin to ease the pain. Before they could return though, the wax melted, and his legs ran away.

I hope the legs are found, or they return of their own accord. I can’t say what the final outcome was. I decided to head home right after that, as I did not want to be held accountable for half measures.

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