Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions

  • Buy thinner cards. 
  • Never roll up sleeves during a poker game. 
  • Keep glue away from gravy, and vice-versa. 
  • Be a friend to all, especially those who can’t read. 
  • Always reward the stableboy for news of the sheriff’s whereabouts. 
  • Keep all pockets in good repair. 
  • Urge wife to bake more pies. 
  • Teach Bleb how to play Five Card Stud. 
  • Teach Bleb to keep a poker face when he gets a good hand. 
  • Learn to speak better Pig Latin. 
  • Invent a cologne that appeals to miners. 
  • Eat steak more often. 
  • Increase influence over the laws of chance.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Loan With Interest

If a fellow named Kris Kringle ever asks to borrow your mule, say no.

I was snowed in at the Swannanoa Hotel in Asheville and passed the time in a friendly game of chance with Kringle. Suddenly, the old fellow looked at his pocketwatch and muttered, “It’s half past December. I must get to Nova Scotia!”

Well, Kringle is prone to saying things like that. You never know if he is serious. Once I overheard him ask a post office clerk if he could forward all his mail to Nykarleby, Finland “until the reindeer finish grazing.” Hah.

So when the fellow mentioned “Nova Scotia,” I thought it was just his way of saying that he had a train to catch. I offered him the use of my mule Bleb in exchange for a small monetary consideration.

He accepted my offer and left. I had no doubt that he would return Bleb in the care of a stable hand. After three days, however, Bleb was still missing.

I filed a complaint with the police — that will tell you how seriously I took the matter, for I do not generally like to bother them. On the fourth day, the hotel concierge paid me a visit.

“Are you the gentleman who reported a missing mule?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Can you identify him?”

“Certainly. His name is Bleb. He can count to fourteen and favors banana bread and tar paper.”

“In that case sir, the management will thank you kindly to remove your animal from the roof of this establishment.”

“The roof?”

“Indeed, sir.”

I thanked him for his trouble and found my way up to the roof. Sure enough, there was Bleb. How he got there, I have no idea. I managed to get him down, though not without considerable effort and expense. He refused to use a ladder, so I had to purchase a rope and pulley and rent a piano as a counterweight to help lower him to the ground. Once he was on terra firma, the concierge informed me that Bleb had eaten some of the tin shingles. That was reflected on my bill as well.

I asked Bleb how he got up there, and where Kringle was, but all Bleb did was shake his head.

I learned one thing from that experience, though: never loan your mule to a guy who vacations with reindeer. I plan to bill Kringle, but I doubt he will respond.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Lack of Politicians

I once stopped in a town that had no politicians. Three fellows were running for mayor, but one of them swore the other two were liars and the other two agreed. The election ended in a tie because no one could be certain which candidate was the least truthful.

The local government had to be suspended. That cost the town a railroad contract, since there was no one to manage the bribes and poker taxes. The situation was not resolved until the next horse-trader came to town and promised to handle all the double-dealing.

This is the trouble that honesty can get you into, at least in government.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Modern Conveniences

Men who herd cattle live rough for long stretches of time. After months on the trail, cowboys will sometimes treat themselves to a fancy hotel room to wash the trail dust off as thoroughly as possible.

I once stayed at such a hotel in Big Piney, Wyoming. The owner decided to modernize and installed a piped, heated water system – the first in the region. Well, a cyclone came through. It destroyed the hotel and all the buildings around it. I survived by hiding in the root cellar. When I emerged, I heard a strange sound. I followed it to find a young man sitting in a bathtub amidst the remains of the hotel. There was wreckage all around him. He sat there wearing nothing but his birthday suit, oblivious to the devastation, talking to himself.

"Modern plumbing, modern plumbing!” he cried over and over.

 “Are you alright?” I inquired.

“Never again!” he exclaimed. “Never again! I heard about these new-fangled heated baths, so I thought I’d try one. Cost me fifty cents. Filled the tub from a spigot, nice as you please. Then when I figgered to leave, all I did was pull the plug."

"Well you seen what happened," he continued. "Doggone if the whole room didn't just drain away!”

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Cursed Cook

I was once asked to remove a curse from a frying pan. The pan belonged to a chuck wagon cook named “Salty.” "Salty" was renowned for his beans and bacon, and also his bad temper. Though Bleb and I were a little short on rations when we met "Salty" on the trail, he made no effort to share from his well-stocked supplies. Not long after we met he ran into a spate of bad luck.

“You remember that old Indian who was poking around the wagon the other night,” he said, “and how I swung my pan at him?"

"Yes," I said.

"Ever since, nothing cooks right in that pan. Food either burns or undercooks or tastes like something the steers left behind. I’d get me a new pan but I don’t get paid until the end of the drive. Know anything that will help?”

“It sounds like you angered a desert spirit,” I said. “The Indians expect hospitality and you broke their law, which still applies out here. Getting a new pan won’t help.”

“What should I do?” said "Salty."

“I’d offer a meal to the spirits through an animal representative,” I said.

“What kind of animal?” he asked.

“Well,” I said, “mules are known to descend from a desert breed, and are more kindly disposed to humans than coyotes. I’d start there.”

“I ain't gonna spoil my team,” he protested. “It might give them ideas. You reckon yours will do?”

“I don’t see why not,” I said. “I’ve seen Bleb deal with wild spirits before.”

The cook pulled out several Dutch ovens and set to work. Inside an hour he’d prepared a pot full of grits, a dozen biscuits with sorghum syrup, half a pail of beans and salt pork and six helpings of fried apple pie. Bleb ate it all.

“That ought to do it,” I said.  "Though you might want to test it on a human.”

“You!” he shouted at me. “Try these eggs and bacon and cornbread and fried potatoes!”

I obliged, and after a couple plates I pronounced them edible.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes, though I was pretty sure earlier,” I said. “My mule normally won’t touch grits. It binds him up.”

Bleb and I continued eastward while the cattle drive moved west. I heard later that the cook got a job with Delmonico’s in New York City, so I guess the curse was truly broken –  plus there was no more manure tea in his frying pan.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Tiff in Tombstone

There was a fracas in Tombstone yesterday. I was engaged in a friendly card game, minding my own business, when a fellow ran in and asked if I would please hold his pistol for him, as he had urgent business in Texas. I told him of course I would, for a small fee. He hurriedly pulled out a wad of bills from one pocket, said, “keep the change,” and skedaddled out the back door.

I happened to have a fine set of aces within easy reach at that moment and planned to double his largesse, but gunfire suddenly erupted outside. I sought cover. A minute or so later Marshal Earp strode in. He pulled me by my coat collar from under the table and demanded to know if I’d seen anyone run through. At first I denied seeing anyone, but he recognized the gun I was holding. He searched my pockets. When he found my holding fee, plus the tip the fellow had left, he put me under arrest. The marshal claimed that the man I’d assisted was really a cattle thief and I was in league with him. I denied it, of course. The marshal promised that I would hang.

I worked out a deal, though. I will show the marshal and his men the direction in which the fellow ran, and the marshal will release me – after deducting a small holding fee. It is not an exorbitant charge -- it exactly matches the amount that fellow paid me, plus the tip. I’m glad to know my prices are level with this area’s marketplace.

I expect to explain that later today when folks ask me about the price of Wizard Water©.

[Thanks to the Booth Western Art Museum Cowboy Festival for another great event!]

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Gold Rush Days...again!

I'm back in Dahlonega today for their annual Gold Rush Days. Yesterday I introduced royalty -- the Gold Rush King and Queen, and their court. Today I shall oversee tests of vocality, agility and strength - the hog-calling, buck-dancing and wrist-wrestling contests!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ianuario Bluegrass Festival

Join me Sept. 21 and 22 for the third annual Ianuario Bluegrass Festival at Hurricane Shoals Park near Maysville, Georgia. The festival is held in memory of Tony and Ann Ianuario, two special people who loved bluegrass, handcrafts, storytelling and helping their community. The event is free and held in an open-air amphitheater. Bleb will be over at the mill helping to taste-test the cornmeal.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Serious Note From "Doc" About the Mountain Music & Medicine Show

My good friend Mark Twain -- whom I never met -- once said “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

That same statement could well apply to The Mountain Music and Medicine Show. After 12 years of performances and over 150 shows, we are cutting back a bit.

The show is an all-volunteer effort that takes each cast and crew member anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to prepare for. We put aside personal and professional obligations to invest our time in this production and music that we love. We are all a mite tuckered, though.

October 5, 2013 will be our last regular show of the current season. It is not, however, the end of the Mountain Music and Medicine Show.

We will be back for a benefit show for The Holly Theater on October 4, 2014. We plan to do a minimum of one show a year. You will also still see Doc, the Buzzard Mountain Boys, and other cast members performing around Dahlonega and North Georgia. Bluegrass and bad jokes are in our blood by now, and we aren’t leaving the scene.

We’ll let you know more later as we get a better idea of how we plan to move forward. In the meantime, please join us for some good old-fashioned fun on October 5, 2013, and mark your calendar for the first Saturday in October 2014 at the Holly Theater.

See you soon, and keep taking that Wizard Water©!

- “Doc” Johnson

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hot Music at the Next Mountain Music & Medicine Show

I'll be up in Dahlonega at the Holly Theater on Saturday the tenth of August. The show will include Lisa Deaton and Friends, The Threadbare Skivvies and Hair of the Dog. It should be, as some folks say, "a barn burner." I hope that means all the excitement of a fire, minus the actual flames.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Lesson from Liniment

I once attempted to develop a liniment to ease sore muscles. It contained ingredients not easily available to the average household. Among these were bear grease, camel hump fat, python milk and mint aether. It was so effective in easing pain that it helped individuals who merely stood near the person using the liniment.

Just as I was about to sign a contract with the U.S. government to supply my liniment to the military, war broke out in Tierra del Fuego. I was forced to cease production because I was no longer able to buy Argentinian tobacco oysters. I learned my lesson: always use ingredients that are close at hand. You won’t have to deal with shortages, import tariffs, or escaped pythons.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Patience is a Virtue

If you are ever on a train that is delayed by cattle crossing the tracks, do not attempt to hurry their progress with loud noises. In particular, do not take advantage of cannon being transported on the same train. An artillery engagement will cause the cattle to lurch forward, but the ordnance will lurch backward. The walls of train cars are not built to withstand heavy artillery; if they were then General Grant would have conducted his battles from the comfort of a caboose. If you do happen to exercise such an option, stand well away from either end of the cannon. Or better yet, be nowhere near it after you have lit the fuse.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A New Dictionary

I am compiling a dictionary of medical conditions for common use. The work is very tiring. Here is the first entry:

Exhaustion - another word for not being able to finish a sent

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sound Business Practices

It is better to lead from behind, where setting a good example is advisable, but not required.

Hindsight is foresight with a wider margin of safety.

Always tip your bartender well. He knows when the sheriff likes to stop by, and where the good exits are located.

(c) 2013 Laurie J. Anderson; all rights reserved.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Cicada Problem

Cicadas have emerged from their underground caverns and are noisily announcing their presence in all quarters. I was approached by one nervous lady who had become exasperated by their ceaseless droning.

“It is like living among a convention of fiddlers who know only one note, yet must rehearse that note constantly, backwards and forwards!” she complained, wringing her hands. “What can you suggest?”

I told her of a farmer I knew who rounded up all the cicadas he could find – and he could find them easily due to their noise-making – and sold them to a baker in New York City.

“A baker!” she exclaimed. “Whatever for?!”

“I am not sure,” I replied. “I heard of a ‘bug biscuit’ concocted there as a cheap food for dogs. Perhaps you can locate that baker and profit from your problem.”

“I know some young boys who might be willing to assist me,” she said thoughtfully. “ - if I offer a bounty for each bug. I am sure to recoup my investment.”

She hurried off. I heard no more from her, but I wish her well. I did not tell her that the dogs who were offered such biscuits refused to eat them, and the baker was left with a surplus of insect-enriched flour.

In some countries cicadas are eaten to no ill effect, but whenever I visit that metropolis, I choose my restaurants carefully.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Timely Aid

I was once arrested for selling Wizard Water© on a Sunday. I sold the elixir on a Saturday, but the client applied it to the gears of a broken clock, and the timepiece fast-forwarded a full day. This was in a town so far out West that trains had to set their schedules ahead in order to arrive on time. The clock advance just evened things out, for folks in that town were already late receiving most things.

The pastor had to rush out a sermon, however, mistakenly preached a funeral instead, and was mighty upset. He complained to the sheriff, who put me in handcuffs.

I knew the law, though, and cited it when I went before the judge.

“You see, sir, I conducted the business on a Saturday. You recall for you were there. You cannot convict for breaking the law before it went into effect.” He had to agree and let me go.

I prefer being ahead of the facts than behind them.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Keeping Things Light

I was in Dahlonega again yesterday for another Mountain Music & Medicine Show. Dahlonega, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is renowned as a gold-mining town. Though rich in ore, its inhabitants have few medical options, however, and not much professional entertainment to lift the spirits of the ill or their loved ones. I hate to see all those poor, hard-working miners suffer for lack of Wizard Water or the cheering distraction of a friendly card game. This is why I visit so often -- to lighten their burdens as best I can.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Widows, Orphans and Dogs

Always be kind to widows, orphans and dogs.
The first two will win you friends and attract sentimental customers, and the last one will keep quiet if it discovers you hiding in a haystack.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Pot of Stew

Wizard Water© is a wonderful tonic, but do not use it as the basis for a meal. I had a customer who tried this with a pot of his wife’s rutabaga stew. In lieu of regular water, he emptied an entire case of Wizard Water© into her kettle. He reported to me afterwards that he could not get to the bottom of the pot. His wife was overjoyed, and that winter served rutabaga stew every night. He grew quite tired of the stuff, but she would not hear of disposing of it. He offered the stew to neighbors and friends, and even to bankers in repayment for loans, but the pot continued to produce more stew.

Finally one night, when his wife was sound asleep, he snuck the pot out of the house and far into the woods, and left it there. Upon his return, he scattered utensils about the yard and left the kitchen door open. When his wife awoke the next morning, he feigned ignorance of the matter.

“A bear,” he declared. “A bear must have smelled the food and carried it off.” His wife resigned herself to cooking again.

He thought the problem was solved, but several months later he returned home from a trip and smelled the familiar odor of rutabaga stew.

“Look!” exclaimed his wife. “Look what I found this morning in the yard! Our pot of stew!”

“How can that be?” he asked. He examined the ground. There in the dirt were the distinct impressions of bear paws. The imprints were deep as they headed into the yard, and somewhat shallower as they headed back into the woods.

That man’s wife is still serving the stew. They no longer eat it themselves, though. Instead, the man convinced his wife to open a small rest stop outside their home. There his wife serves weary travellers just the one item, plus day-old bread.

It is quite cheap. If you want some I’ll give you the address.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Advice for Boot Owners

  • Condition boot leather with a good strong oil, such as mink, neatsfoot, kerosene or whale. 
  • If you use whale oil, stay away from sea lions. 
  • If you use kerosene, do not dry the boots by a fireplace. 
  • Clean boots gently. Do not wash them with lye soap or beat them on rocks. 
  • Do not leave your boots outside if it's going to rain, unless you are trying to find out how well they hold water. 
  • Do not leave your boots out overnight when travelling in the desert, because a coyote may carry one away. 
  • Do not stomp your boots at political rallies or cattle auctions. 
  • Always check your boots in the morning for unauthorized guests camping in the toes. 
  • Cow leather is fine, and rattlesnake leather will impress bank managers, but alligator skin floats -- which can come in handy should you ever be thrown off a paddle-wheeler. 
  • If your mother-in-law gives you an excellent pair of custom-made boots with pink stitching, it is alright to bootblack them. If she notices, explain that they frightened the cattle on the last trip you took out West. 
  • Do not put your boots outside your hotel room door in hopes of getting them cleaned. The bellboy may take them for a gratuity. 
  • When playing cards, always make sure your boots have a clear path to the door.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Rains

Spring rains have washed out the roads and made travel difficult.
I parked the wagon under an overhang to wait out a storm; now the ledge above me has formed the framework for a waterfall. If this deluge doesn't abate, I may have to teach Bleb to swim.
On a positive note, I doubt if the sheriff will see us in here.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Showers and Musical Hours

If you missed last night's Mountain Music & Medicine Show, you missed a great show! The North Georgia Children's Choir came out of the rain and sang harmony; they were followed by a band called Playing On The Planet, the team of Ron Hipp and Carol Statella, and the Hobohemians brought their infectious rhythms. I say "infectious" because everyone on stage began dancing! I must figure out how to distill some of that energy and add it to my next batch of Wizard Water©.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Coyote Calls

I just met a cowboy who yodels. It brings the cattle home, he says, and helps to keep coyotes at bay

“How is that?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “All I know is, you howl like an angry female coyote, and those fellas will skedaddle out of there.”

I should have known, but will keep it in mind.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wizard Water Spring Tonic

Spring is here at last! If a long winter of salt pork and beans has given you a bad case of scurvy, may I suggest Doc Johnson’s Wondrous Wizard Water Spring Tonic©. The Tonic has the same ingredients as plain Wizard Water©, but with the addition of sarsaparilla, sassafras, mint and ramps. Sarsparilla treats arthritis and gives you lots of energy. Sassafras clears the lungs and reduces scurvy. Mint refreshes the mind -- and good, strong, garlic-flavored ramps strengthens the body's resistance to illness by keeping people far, far away.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Spring is here, and since the nights are now above freezing and flowers are blooming, it is time to plant Wizard Water seeds. They grow quickly – so quickly that someone needs to remain on hand to harvest the product as soon as it is ready. The plants usually reach fruition within days or sometimes even hours of planting, depending on the outdoor temperature and soil conditions. I tried to get my mule Bleb to watch over the crop last year, but he ate the sprouts before they could mature.
Therefore, I will guard the crop myself, even if it means keeping watch by night and day. If you see me sleeping in a field sometime in the next week, just remember that I am really hard at work.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

An Unusual Stake

I was engaged in a friendly game of cards the other night at a local tavern when a fellow walked in and asked to join the game.

“You are welcome to join us,” I said, “but you’ll need at least ten dollars to start.”

“Ten dollars!” he cried. “I don’t got no ten dollars. Does it have to be cash money?”

“What did you have in mind?” I asked.

“Just a minute,” he said, and walked out. He returned hefting a sack over his shoulder with a large, live animal of some kind kicking inside.

“What’ll you take for this critter?” he asked.

“What is it?” I replied.

“See for yourself,” he said. “Weighs a good 50 pounds at least, I should think.”

“Fifty pounds?” I said.

“Take a gander,” he said, swinging the sack over his shoulder and slamming it on the floor as if he was breaking up a load of walnuts. The sack’s contents lay still. “Only be careful. Don’t let him out.”

Cautiously, I untied the twine and peered inside. There, stunned and insensible, lay the largest rabbit I had ever seen. Its size alone would be cause for remark, but I could not help notice that it was also wearing a red vest and bow tie.

“My good man, do you know what you have here?!” I cried.

“World’s biggest jackrabbit,” he said.

“Yes, but in addition to that! This is the one and only Easter bunny!”

“The Easter what?” he said.

“Rabbit! You know, the one that brings colored eggs to little children.”

It turned out the gentleman, who’d grown up in the back woods, had never heard of said creature.

“Eggs? Rabbits don’t have nothin’ to do with eggs,” he said.

I assured him that this one did.

“Well what’ll you give me for ‘im?”

I was a little short on funds, but a way forward occurred to me.

“I will stake you in this game, sir, in exchange for your rabbit.” He thanked me and sat down to play. The sack on the floor remained immobile.

As it turned out, he drew several poor hands and the game was soon over. I thanked him for his trouble and carried the sack out to my wagon.

“What are you doing?!” a voice exclaimed behind me. I whirled around. It was the sheriff.

“Shh!” I said. “I am taking a present home to my wife and I do not wish to disturb the contents.”

“And what would that be?” he asked.

“You would not believe me if I told you,” I said, “- but we shall never lack for eggs again!”

“I’ll bet you won’t,” he replied. “We’ve had reports of chickens disappearing and I think I’ve found the culprit.”

So saying, he grabbed the sack and began to open it.

“No!” I cried. “Don’t let it loo-“

Heedless of my warning, he un-cinched the sack and shook it. A large white-and-red blur fell onto the ground, kicked up considerable dust, and took off like a bolt of boiled lightning, knocking the sheriff over in the process.

“I told you not to open the sack,” I said loudly when he regained consciousness.

The sheriff did not see it that way. The fine he charged cost me the rest of my winnings. I offered to pay with a case of my elixir, but he refused.

I must look into to getting flashier packaging. You can’t always count on the locals accepting a marvel, whether it comes in a bottle or sack, or other common container.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chicken Salve

I have created a salve to encourage chickens to bathe. Most chickens do not bathe, and this increases the chance of disease. My salve is made of pine rosin, beeswax, camphor, bull steer manure and turpentine. One gathers the ingredients in a certain ratio according to a formula of my devising, and heats it all until melted. The mixture is then applied to the fowl -- either with a house painting brush or a sheet that has been soaked in the salve.

Chickens treated thus will either rush to the nearest creek or, lacking immediate relief, drop all their feathers. Either way, one then need not worry about fowl diseases, as the chickens are unlikely to return home.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Johnson’s Improved Light Bath Cabinet

It has been noted that light of varying strengths affects plant growth and animal activity. It is well known that the weak winter sun slows physical response, whereas the warmer spring sun increases blood flow and plant development. Now scientific research has shown that light’s component parts can increase particular effects. Red, for example, is known for its calming influence. This is why natives of the South Pacific, where sunrises and sunsets are particularly strong in the red spectrum, are of a pacific nature. Blue eases pain such as headache and indigestion. Green stimulates circulation and helps to speed the healing of bruises and wounds, because its thermic nature increases the hemoglobin-carrying power of the red cells. And so on and so forth.

Mechanical advances in the development of the carbon arc-lamp have also provided the means to concentrate colors. The arc-light contains a great number of chemical rays of light, the exact composition and intensity of which varies depending upon the color of the light used.

I recently acquired a complete set of arc-light bath cabinets in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. They are wired so that, by means of a switch, the patient can be treated with light of the appropriate color. Besides their curative powers, they also bake bread.

My travels, unfortunately, take me far afield from modern electrical generators. I believe I can reach more people by being light of foot rather than weighed down with oak cabinets carrying foot lights. I am therefore putting this valuable set of healing tools up for sale.

All reasonable offers will be considered. Serious enquiries only.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention, More or Less

Benjamin Franklin once said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

To which I say, an ounce of Wizard Water© cures what one cannot prevent....unless the matter involves a beehive and a misapplication of gunpowder. In that case, it is better to have placed a bet on the bees, to collect one's winnings quickly and then take the first train to Chicago.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fight or Flight

I hear that the Kaiser has established an "air corps," dubbed "the "Imperial and Royal Military Aeronautical Group."

He apparently thinks that it is not only possible for soldiers to fly, but that it is a good idea.

I am not so sure. I do not see how even a highly trained soldier could efficiently manage a rifle while flapping vigorously enough to hold himself aloft.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Winter's Tale

Winter is a terrible time to face an empty pantry, because weather conditions are not conducive to easy access to victuals. As a youth I occasionally had to hunt game in winter, and I never enjoyed it. One February I trudged out into the ice and snow, hoping to bring home enough for a meal or two, but had little luck. Finally, near sunset I happened on a large number of rabbits feeding on a hillside. They were easy to spot, despite their white winter coats, owing to their position along the ridge of the hill, where they were sillouetted starkly against the setting sun.

I raised my gun, aimed and fired, but the sunlight reflected off my gun barrel and blinded me, and I missed. The shot startled the rabbits, causing them to retreat. They hopped away too quickly for me to hit any with a second blast.

I returned home later that night much disappointed, and explained to my mother what had happened. She showed no sympathy.

"I should have sent your father," she said, exasperated. "You are too young to deal with a receding hare line."

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Advice Regarding Food

Always remember the three B's: beer, biscuits and beans, the key to a balanced meal.

Never eat sand on a bet. Or on anything else, for that matter.

Chili -- in the right hands a sinus aid, in the wrong hands, a weapon.

Bearnaise sauce does not contain bear.

A fried pie can be carried in a coat pocket for later consumption, but should not be laundered.

Beware of shiny meat.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mining Weather

I once placed a gold-mining claim on a cave that was home to multitudes of leathery-winged creatures and insect-eating amphibeans. I tried mining it with explosives, but I had to stop after the townsfolk nearby objected - said they were sick of it raining bats and frogs.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Mountain Music & Medicine Show visited Cumming, Georgia last night, with musical guests The Skillet Lickers, Sawnee Creek, and Spontaneous Cracker Eruption. That last group plays good music, but several people came to me before the show asking why we didn't have a cure for them. I said we did, but we preferred to inocculate people with a sample first.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coming to Cumming

On Saturday, February 2nd, I will emcee a special presentation of the Mountain Music & Medicine Show at the Cumming Playhouse in Cumming, Georgia. The performance coincides with Groundhog Day, which I assure you will not hurt the music in the slightest.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Hunting Story

I had an uncle who emigrated here from Scotland. He liked to relate how he once caught a wild haggis on the moors of Ben Nevis. He was on a fishing trip for tree trout and was having no luck, having only caught a few cullen skinks, when he spotted the haggis in a cairngorm.

Thinking quickly, he threw his fishing net over some overhanging grampians and trapped it. It thrashed about mightily and nearly tore the net apart. Calmly, Uncle loaded his rifle with clapshot. He aimed carefully, fired, and hit the creature dead-on.

This only angered the haggis. Though mortally wounded, it ripped the netting apart and made for my uncle! Looking around, my uncle spotted some heavy stovies on the ground nearby. He picked up two, threw them hard at the creature, and knocked it senseless. Before it could awaken, Uncle finished the job by beating it to death with a cranachan.

My uncle did that out of necessity. Today, with canned food and ice boxes readily available, we need not resort to such desperate acts to survive, and I am glad of it.

Food for thought.

Copyright © 2013 Laurie J. Anderson. All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Frivolous Law

In the state of New York it is illegal for citizens to greet each other by “putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers.” I am glad to know that the lawmakers there believe citizens should not waste time on frivolous activities.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I just returned from another Mountain Music & Medicine Show up in Dahlonega, after hauling my mule Bleb through the mountains of north Georgia. I know that a mule is supposed to do the hauling, but Bleb took fright when a heavy tree branch fell suddenly across our path.

I cleared away the branch but he was taken with a case of the vapors. It lasted until he got back to his stall at home. If I didn't know better I'd think he just didn't want to carry a wagon full of heavy merchandise up to the mountains and back again. I know I wouldn't.

The show went well and I'm mighty glad to be home. Even with Wizard Water© to help, a mule is not a light creature.