January 2012

Paleolithic Age
When: before 14,000 BCE (before common era)
What: Pre-cave dwelling
Why: Ugg and Ock waiting for cave prices to drop, getting by in a month-to-month field.

Mesolithic Age
14,000-10,000 BCE
Cave culture flourishing.
The ‘middle brother’ of prehistoric times, between the Paleo and Neo. Feels overlooked, despite cool primitive stone work.

Neolithic Age
10,000-4,200 BCE
Viva la Revolucion!
This revolutionary period began with the agricultural revolution (next time you eat brussels sprouts you can either
thank or curse the Neolithics) and ended with the development of metal working.
Crops and domesticated animals created a more stable, situated, and sedentary lifestyle leading many of the Early Copper Age to look in the mirror and say: “Boy, the Neolithic Age was hard on my waistline!”
Joke Of The Age: “Where’s Ukuk?…In his crude yurt ‘polishing his tool’! Hahahaha!”
Factoid of The Age: Polishing of tools in crude yurts.

Early Copper-Stone Age or Chalcolithic Age
4,200-3,300 BCE
Copper working slowly replacing stone tools.
A time of healthy exploration where many identified as ‘Bronze curious.’
Before you scoff at this age take note: horses domesticated and rocks wheeled–nuff said.

Early Bronze Age
3,300-2,000 BCE
“Civilization” arises, tea drunk with pinkies out.
Sumerians create cuneiform writing, Egyptians straight up make those fools look like punks with hieroglyphics.
The urbanization of Palestine [anachronism] occurs, old [anachronistic] Palestinians remember fondly: “There used to be an olive tree orchard there.”

Middle Bronze Age
2,000-1,550 BCE
The Egyptian Middle Kingdom
Arguments about who’ll be portrayed by Bella Lugosi.

Late Bronze Age
1,550-1,200 BCE
Hittite Empire
As empires go, “meh.”

First Iron Age
1,200-930 BCE
Assyrians come for dinner, stay to watch “American Idol” and then end up hanging out until like 11 o clock. What’s up with that?
Meanwhile folks in the Ganges River Valley are like: “Dude, we’ve been making iron for hundreds of years. Get over it.”
Dorians invade Greece, leading to Greek Dark Ages.
The Fall of Troy! (Approximately 1250 BCE actually) caused a migration of peoples from Greece and Mycenaean cities and traveled south. These folks were known collectively as “Sea Peoples” and one group were the ‘Peleset’ or Philistines–the name Palestine is derived from this.

Second Iron Age
930-539 BCE
The fall of Israel in 722 to Assyrian king Sargon. Wailing, rending of sackcloth.
The fall of Judah in 586 to Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. Wailing, psalming, beating of chest.

Third Iron Age
539-332 BCE
Persian Empire. As empires go, “not too shabby.”




Back when we was young in Minnesota, life was was in every which way bigger. To the west, North and South Dakota was just One Goddamned Dakota and Canada had several orbital moons. There wasn’t a size long-john any less than an XXL and they came pre-stained with the blood of mammoths. We drank milk from rain gutters since our cows stood at ‘low cloud height’  and sure enough we was all giants and when we was bad we hadda go pull a Tappin’ Tree for our mommas to beat us with. Shucks, the beatin’ wasn’t all that bad really. But pickin’ your Tappin’ Tree was awful. I of course always tried to pick the skinniest tree and it wasn’t until I was older that I figured out that a skinny tree only hurts all the more. I went through lotsa birch to learn that. When we’d plucked all the trees outta the land our elders took to using Beatin’ Lakes where they’d make us pick a lake and they’d scoop it up and slap the water across our bare bellies. Nowadays our kids might be a little bit smaller but they ain’t one whit better behaved and the like might be said about those two Dakotas.

When we was younger we didn’t have no fancy spoons. That stuff was for rich folk. We had to use our hands mostly. Course, since we didn’t have forks either we had to handle all our hot BBQ and we mostly had burnt up hands all the time. Sometimes if somebody got enough BBQ sauce on their hands we’d all just pass their hands around the table and eat ‘em up to the wrists ‘til either we or them caught on that we were splintering ulna and radius between our not-so-pearly-whites. Having no spoons of course when we made soup we’d pour it from mouth to mouth, the cook to the oldest kid and them to the next oldest all the way down to me, the youngest of our litter. Course, my older brothers were hungry something awful all the time and they’d have ate up all that soup long before it every got to me and all I’d get was a mouthful of acid reflux, gingivitis, and belched air. Yeah, we was poor and there wasn’t no shame in it because we was pretty stupid to boot. We just figured everybody burned their outhouse gleanings for warmth and showered in the nearby bakery’s air exchange fan. We weren’t the warmest or cleanest kids on the street but on the good side we smelled heavily of rye bread–and what kid doesn’t love the smell of rye bread? Course on the bad side, we’d all get giant cysts on our faces and legs that burst forth yeast and frosting. We was poor! And we’d all look for extra work to help out the family. Even as young kids we’d be doing our share. That’s the way it was back then–everybody lending a helping hand. If you couldn’t or wouldn’t get a job or steal your fair share we’d tap your arm in your sleep and sell your blood to the Satanist church. A pint could get ‘ya four dollars! That sounds like good money but most of it would go straight into the monthly costs of exorcisms and crucifix tattoos. We was poor alright. I once got hired on by our neighbors the Bjornson’s to dig a hole to bury their horse in. Being poor of course I didn’t have a shovel but I had always been raised to believe that a little elbow grease and a lot of sebum will get any job done and so I said to myself this here hole will be dug come hell or high water! As it turned out, that was the summer of the Great Moose Flood, when a fast moving moose rammed into the dam above town. But sure enough as soon as that water was drank up by the Jorgensenson family dairy cows and the ground came back I got to that hole. To get to the Bjornson’s place, it was a fifty odd mile trek up Shit Creek and of course I hadn’t got no paddle so it took me near until breakfast to get there each morning which is why I would leave at sundown two days early but that wasn’t all too often I had to do that because for the most part I just slept there in a deer bed I found in a stand of pine trees. Anaway with no shovel to my name I just ate my way into that hole but of course as you can imagine by the time I got the hole finished my soil-bloated body filled the hole completely. When winter came around the Bjornsons poured tar over me and sealed me in pitch and all-weather wood sealant. This kept me warm for the most part though I had to put up with animals stumbling into my tar pits and then the wolves coming in and getting stuck when they’d come checkin’ on all death screams of dairy cows going on. When spring came along and then the next couple years’ worth of freezing and thawing I got loose enough to get dug up with a skid loader. By the time I’d wriggled loose that ol’ horse had been given to the elementary school’s Stew Night Fund Raiser and I never did see any money as a payment for my troubles but that was the best job I ever did have. Like they say, its all about the people you work with and I find my company well suitable to my liking. I haven’t got much work since then save the few times I’ve been hired on as a fishing guide. In the winter I’ll drive ‘em out to a flat field where I’ve got a retrofitted outhouse I tell ‘em is an ice fishing shed and tell ‘em they’re on Eagle Lake and I leave ‘em there for a weekend. I don’t get much money to speak of since I work for tips and the bottom of my tip jar’s rusted out and most my clients are too frostbit to reach for change but heck I don’t mind being poor ‘cuz as a Minnesotan I was raised to value the simple things in life: perennial drunkenness and the ability to equally distrust and envy the middle class.

Yeah, some folk do call Minnesota the Land O Ten Thousand Lakes. You know who those people are? Wisconsiners and the Jealous, though that is a bit redundant. We got on hand more than ten million lakes and including the water of our sweaty palmed hands, we got well nigh into the billions. We’re natural born swimmers we are. Most of us are born directly into a lake or at least into the live bait box. Don’t know how many siblings I lost to being mistaken for minnows. We got lakes such that if you’re dry for more than a few minutes, anxiety kicks in and you’d better take a step to the right or left and get yourself into Perch Lake or Lake Arrowhead. I once just about drowned after drinking a few Hamm’s and falling off a fishing dock. I fell like a stone to the bottom of that there lake and when I did what’d I find there but four Mer-people sitting around a lower fishing hole catching tin cans. Nice folks, them. Ended up spending the weekend with ‘em before making a casserole of ‘em.


Mer-People Casserole

Debone and de-trident Mer-people.
Make offering to Neptune (unless serving during Lent or Dionysian Feast)
Crumble Funyuns into casserole dish
Use crock pot
If Minnesotan, you know the rest. (If Wisconsiner, get bent)

A beautiful short film about life:

A few months ago my partner and I flew to Rio. We were traveling in September, which is near the end of Brazil’s southern hemisphered winter, so it was kind of chilly and overcast for most of the trip. An interesting southern hemisphere knowledge morsel: toilets flow the opposite direction, which is caused by what is known as the the Coriolis force, the internet tells me.

Rio is perhaps the prettiest city in the world, nestled between beaches and hills. It is incredibly expensive, as the government is experimenting with the currency to prepare for the next Olympics and World Cup. There are also plenty of investors paying for infrastructure to cater to the promised influx of wealthy tourists. Thus, there is a plethora of income disparity with rich folks flying around town safely and efficiently in personal helicopters, and poor folks that live their lives squatting in shacks on the hillside on dollars a day. These hillside squatter shack neighborhoods are known as favellas, and have to be among the most aesthetically appealing ghettos anywhere. Many are hyper-dangerous to outsiders, as evidenced by the heavily armed police at the entrances keeping misguided tourists out. They are also known for their rawness and their strong sense of community. Recently, sadly, many are getting displaced because of the Olympic/World Cup gentrification and many of the favellas’ appealing proximity to downtown.

For our first few nights in Rio we rented an apartment right off Copacabana beach. OMG, this is an urban beaches worth singing about, breathtakingly beautiful, golden, sunsets to die for, miles and miles of action packed urban paradise! There are folks wandering the beach selling everything liquid, with canisters of putrid tasting coffee served in tiny plastic cups, fresh coconuts opened with hatchets, lots of sugar cane liquor, fresh fruit and beer. The beer situation is odd — the quality of beer doesn’t seem to matter, just the temperature. They serve it in small cups so the beer doesn’t have time to warm, and then they slide the bottle in a fitted beer cooler. The colder the better, so you can’t taste how crappy it is. Fresh juice is HUGE, and around every corner of Brazil is a juice bar. You can get any kind of tropical juice by just pointing at which fruit you’d like, from passion fruit to kiwi to strawberry. They’ll squeeze it for you in front of you. We saw a fellow wander in and order an orange juice. He then proceeded to pour a pyramid of sugar on top, stirred it in and slammed it. Those Brazilians love their sugar.

There is a huge Japanese influence in Brazil, which shows its face with fast food sushi, served in a cone. Apparently, Brazilians love things served in cones, such as pizza. Very strange. All of our meals were too salty, even at fine dining restaurants. There is nothing you can do about it. Even if you ask for no salt, they’ll likely look with their beautiful eyes and then oversalt your food anyway. Our most incredible meal was at a Brazilian Steak House. They had three servers with bow ties who wander around with lamb, pork, chicken or 12 cuts of steak. There are also salad and sushi bars (Japanese influence), and it is all one price. Totally worth it. Never eaten better or more meat in my life. Bonnie doesn’t typically eat much meat, but she ate her weight at this place. Quite the experience and now we know the difference in taste between a cow’s rump and hump! It took more than three hours, allowing time for digestion so we could eat more.

We wandered Rio and experienced an absurd nightclub scene that makes Ybor City look like a Mennonite village. Rio-ites stay up all night, partying in the streets and in clubs with bass bouncing around every corner. Both men and women dance, and Brazilians seem to have laser pin-point precise control over their butt cheeks. Public displays of affection are commonplace, I’m told, which is in contrast to the US. People are deeply making out wherever we went with no regard for our Puritan social norms. Another aspect of this is with some young adult men who wander around with semi-hard ons. You’ll see them periodically flick themselves to keep them semi. Apparently this is attractive in some circles.

Perhaps my favorite moment was one morning, I got up early and watched a purple sunrise over the beach and then went body surfing with a small boogie board for several hours. Then my partner met me on the beach with a fresh coconut. I did so much swimming and relaxing at beaches during this trip. At one point we went to an island where the beach has 15 feet waves. I went into my ankles, which was probably too much. It still felt like I could be pulled out to see at any moment.

Christianity is HUGE, both Catholic and Fundamentalism. We wandered near several churches that seemed like the kind Sarah Palin’s family would attend, with preachers yelling into microphones, people graveling, folks packed in their like sardine cans. Because of this religious leaning, abortion is illegal and the government doesn’t support family planning/birth control. Interestingly enough, there is still a decreasing birthrate. This has been attributed to the soap operas, which are prime time events. Everyone watches them, including men and children. They are in smaller series, lasting only a few months at a time. Recent series over the past years have featured childless women in their 30s, and this influence has spread into the masses. Also, a series had a young girl with lukemia, and that month blood marrow donations increased 50 fold.

Other highlights: we ended up taking an rickety bus ride to a remote hippie beach village called Trinidade where we were treated to golden beaches, enough patchouli to make smoke signals visible from the moon, and some of what must be the finest muqueca (coconut milk stew) on the planet. We also went to an island village with no cars and plenty of monkeys to interact with. Apparently, Brazilians are fascinated with squirrels like we are fascinated with monkeys.