Thursday, December 30, 1999

Jimmy Takes a Vocation.

Jimmy was a fairly alright, upstanding boy; posture was okay, went to the Cirkus each year when his summer job allowed. Jimmy would work as Deputy Ditchscrubber for enough jingle to buy gas and airplane glue, but he didn't always have the right tools for a Licensed ditchscrubber, so it's that much more impressive that his posture was as good as all that.

Jimmy's task would have been worlds easier had he simply re-invested some of the jingle he earned into the ditchscrubber-on-a-stick industy rather than the inhalant industry, and his back would have thanked him for it. But despite this, the old back continued, at least for now, to provide wonderful support for Jimmy, the kind of support his daddy and even his personal supreme being could never provide.

This summer finds Jimmy, once again, on his hands and knees in a ditch, scrubbing it side-to-side (never longwise) and chanting to himself, "Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy, side-to-side, Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy, side-to-side..." Always chanting to himself in this fashion when jazzed up on inhalants, he's had to start chanting louder and louder in recent years to outvolume the evergrowing ringing in his ears. "Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy, scrub scrub scrub..." He's only had one tube of airplane glue today. Any more than that and he'd find himself scrubbing the same part of the ditch for hours, till it was gleaming, shiny white. Jimmy knew better than anyone that most ditchowners don't like their ditches clean enough to eat off of, clean enough to see their reflections in. In fact, many ditchowners were ugly enough to not even own a mirror, let alone a stainless steel sink or a sparkly shiny ditch.

Anyhow, J.P. Bahrnamus, famous owner of the Bahrnamus Bros & Stockhausen & Sons Combined Cirkus and Underworld Menagerie, was nearly screaming at Jimmy when Jimmy finally took notice.


"I said 'good day' my boy, and stop scrubbing that ditch for a moment."

"Buh..I get fired..."

"S'alright, son. I'm here to offer you a job promotion. You like that? Son, have you ever scrubbed a whaleopotamus?"

"Uh, uh... maybe. What that?"

"Wonderful! You have a job!"

Jimmy hadn't heard or understood half of what the worldfamous promoter and showman had said, nor had he grasped just who the man was, but he dropped his ditchbrush on the spot and never scrubbed another ditch again.

Jimmy died in 1937.

Bonefish Sam has won countless awards for literature.

Jimmy Eight/Nine Fingers.

Jimmy had five days to save his dough.
Jimmy had six ways to play in snow.
Jimmy had nine fingers on one hand.
Jimmy makes castles and eats up the sand.

He picked up a hammer, and, alas
the hammer's weight kicked Jimmy's finger's ass.
He placed the blame of the event on a midget
who soon went to jail for the loss of the digit.

The midget was pissed and sat in his cell
thinking of Jimmy and his entrance to hell.
Revenge was in order, a scheme had been planned
for Jimmy who counts up to eight on a hand.

The midget has five days till he's out on parole.
Jimmy has six days to pray for his soul.
The midget has two knives covered with rust.
Jimmy eats sand and soon bites the dust.

Bonefish Sam is a retired Bahamas prize fighter.

Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Grass Jelly Drink Review (by Gus Mellobar)

Well hello there, gentle Boschville readers! Who am I? Oh, you know me. I'm a friend of your mommy's. Sure......she sent me to give you a ride home from school. You shouldn't be afraid of li'l ol' Gus, now. You may even know me from other fine local publications that you were either too good for and/or never took the time to read. What am I doing here, you ask? Good question, young Boy Scout. I am here to bring you sporadic installments of an appetizing cooking related column that I am durn near certain will soon become your favorite. What? You say that you already have a favorite Bosch feature? "Ask the Tuna Can Man?" "Komics by Khris?" "Neighborly Advice from Bonefish?".....Screw that trash!!!! "Cookin' Wit Gus" is the only game for you now! Ah, yes, but why should it be so and (more importantly) just what are my qualifications? If you must know, it just so happens that I am cookin' up a particularly savory batch of Coconut Ginger Rice (complete with a few of Gus's special, secret in-greed-a-mints) as I write this. So enough with the questions already, monkeyboy!

For our first trip into the wiley world of semi-edible foodstuffs, we will be examining a fine product from the ever mysterious Orient. My first choice for this review was to subject myself to the twin wonder and horror of Texaco sushi. That's right, at one time, Texaco featured sushi nestled in amongst the deli sammiches and the like. However, that dream seems to have died with the availablity of that particular product. As a result, I soldier on and submit the following report on Mong Lee Shang Grass Jelly Drink.

Dark was the day that I heard the legends spoken by Bonefish (in a hushed whisper) of the Grass Jelly Drink. It was said that neither he nor Admiral Kludge had actually tasted this perplexing "beverage", but they could confirm that it appeared quite vile. As with many things (such as the Slim Goodbody record), I was instantly repulsed, yet strangely attracted. I knew that the gauntlet had been thrown.

After a bum lead or two as to where to purchase the substance in question, I finally managed to score what appeared to be the only can in a small Korean market and perhaps the whole city. One look at the picture on the can and I knew that I had to drink it immediately. The container pictured a wine glass of sorts filled to the brim with very evil looking brown, gelatinous cubes and a straw sticking out for extra "drink me, I taste good" appeal. The can was well refrigerated. I projected that the warmer this stuff got, the harder it would be to choke down. As it turns out, I was right. True to pictorial billing, the can did indeed contain brown jelly cubes with honest-to-golly blades of grass sandwiched in them. The only reassuring thing here was the ingredients listed: water, grass, jelly, cane sugar, corn starch, and honey. That can't be so bad, can it?

As for the taste itself; I was pleasantly surprised. As I had already vowed to consume the entire 11 ounce can, I was certainly prepared to become violently ill at some point. Thankfully, I found the actual flavor to be much like the delightful Thai Iced Tea served at the Bankok House. The texture of the drink, however, was enough to induce gagging. Imagine swallowing jellied spiders. You can feel the hairy legs tickling your throat as their lumpish bodies slide down coated in a thick, mucous like goo. Yes, there was actual blades of grass here. This drink was exactly as advertised. As I said, were it not for the somewhat pleasant flavor, I surely would have puked several times over. As I had suspected, the brew did indeed become less and less palatable as it warmed up. The last swallow was about room temperature and that was certainly hectic enough for me. Heat this soup up to nice and warm and it is surely nasty business. Even as I write this now (hours later) I can feel bits of grass lodged in my throat. Aaaaaaah, the drink that sticks with you!

Gus notes that any references (veiled or otherwise) that the reader suspects are for or about them probably are. Gus is a retired rodeo clown and currently lives in the state of Denial.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

The Wonk Contest

Jimmy holds the pipe wrench high,
swinging 'round his head.
Nearby a weighty candelabra,
a knife beneath the bed.

"I seen you once, I know you're there.
I'm counting from one to ten.
I knew you once, I know you're here."
He threatens once again.

"I'm aware of what you said
'bout how I couldn't wonk.
Next you'll speak of drowning fish
or geese that couldn't honk.

"Come out now, we'll have a showdown
right here in my room.
First you wonk and then I will
My wonk will be your doom.

Jimmy grabbed and turned the doorknob
ready for a duel,
but then he saw the room was empty.
So Jimmy played pocket pool.


The Artist's Comments on 'The Wonk Contest'

This was the first in a series of Zahnpasta poems I did in 1999.

The use of lowercase in the word "zahnpasta" and my name effectively reflected my lack of pretension and the lack of pretension inherent in Zahnpasta art at that time.

The concept of 'wonk' was intricate to the movement, and the word can be found throughout the diverse works of the Zahnpasta members. Being a word that would adapt to any situation, "wonk" was the obvious choice in this case. The fact that 'wonk' at the time was a verb of uncertain definition to most readers (until the short-lived Wonk Music fad of 2002), one is left with a slight feeling of uneasiness, in spite of the jovial tone of the piece. As "wonk" was a verb used by the Zahnpastists to adapt to any situation, "Jimmy" was the proper-noun equivelant.

So, should we be expected to find appeal in a short, childrens-book style poem about someone the reader doesn't know, getting angry over someone else's supposed opinion that he isn't good at doing something that the reader doesn't understand? And then, should we continue to be enthralled when it turns out that the second person isn't even there? The answer of course, is yes. Because this piece represents everything that Zahnpasta, circa 1998, was about. There was a decided lack of original Zahnpasta poetry (original as opposed to apporopriated) at that point, so I was faced with the challenge of packing the essence of Zahnpasta into a small enough area to be read in a casual sitting. Yet I had complete freedom; this being the first work of Zahnpasta poetry, I wasn't locked into following any guidelines of what Zahnpasta poetry was or was not. A full-length manifesto being out of the question for the average attention span, I chose poetry to convey the message, because I consider example, in most cases, to be much more effective than page after page of explaination.

But besides this piece's relevance to the movement, it has something for everyone to enjoy. Tension and mystery are found right in the first stanza. Who is this Jimmy? Why the references to all these objects that could be used as weapons? Without saying it outright, we assume that Jimmy is violent. One also finds humor throughout, from my stretch to use the only word that rhymes with 'wonk', to the bathroom humor of the surprise ending. Laughs abound for the perceptive reader, and yet no prior Zahnpasta education is necessary.

Given a time machine and the opportunity to use it, there is nothing in The Wonk Contest I would want to go back and change.

Bonefish Sam isn't really a "writer".

Jimmy Part Three.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Jimmy?" she said. "How many times?"

Not knowing how many times it had been so far, and being unable to add one to the total if he had been able to figure it out, Jimmy said, "I don't know."

"Well, pick up these bones right now, and don't let this happen again."

Jimmy's head felt like it was in a vice. An airplane glue-depravation vice, to be exact. Before his mom had even left the room, Jimmy had forgotten all about the bones scattered around and was in the process of putting his bathrobe on so he could go shoplift another tube or two. If he had more jingle he'd go for the half-gallon tub of wallpaper paste, but he had lost his job at the circus when he'd overscrubbed the one-and-only oneofakind, see it here for the first and only time in your life Whaleopotamus. Once the ringing in his ears starts, he hears nothing else. He simply scrubs like a madman, off in his own world, and not even the horrible, tortured screams of an overscrubbed Whaleopotamus would shake him out of it.

So Jimmy was fired for animal overabrasion, and had been forced to give up his high-rolling wallpaper paste lifestyle.

Who knows how many times Jimmy had tried to fit a half-gallon of wallpaper paste under his bathrobe? Jimmy sure didn't know, even if he used his fingers to count. He'd try it every time, yet it always resulted in a telltale bulge that even a nearsighted hardware or hobby shop cashier couldn't miss. Best stick with the airplane glue, right Jimmy? You said it.

"Right behind the canvas you'll see the oneofakind Whaleopotamus. Never has there been, never will you see such a bizarre beast, a fluke of nature. God's most horrendous error, yet shined to mirrorlike perfection, the Whaleopotamus will make even the most Holy among you question the sobriety of the Creator. The line is now forming, don't get left out, this might be the last showing of the night. Hurry right up, or miss your first and only chance to see the Whaleopotamus. The shiny beast of the deep..."

Jimmy came to his sense once again on the floor of his toolshed bedroom with a half-full glue tube in a hand and a fully empty one clentched between some of his toes, and the pockets of his bathrobe stuffed of small animal bones. Not the same animal bones as before, but pretty close. He wrenched his hand free from the floor; it seemed to be stuck on there.

He could almost hear him mom now, saying, "How many times do I have to tell you, Jimmy?" But the ringing in his ears was too loud, so he had to read her lips. Then she left the room again. Right away, he couldn't remember if she had really been there, or if he was imagining things again. Sometimes he thought J.P. was around when he wasn't. Instinctively, he started picking up the bones and stashing them under the burlap bag of hay that he slept on so he could glue them together later.

"You do a fine job of scrubbing, my boy, " said J.P. Bahrnamus, world-famous showman. "But you're gonna strip that skin clean off if you keep at it like that. You trying to get at them bones too?" J.P. Bahrnamus laughed. "It's not too easy to build another one of these guys, you know. Don't get me wrong. I admire your dedication to your work. When I was your age, I was cleanin' up a Giant Ape's shitcage. And look at me now. One of these days, son, just you wait." J.P. paused for a moment, looked at Jimmy and frowned. "Godammit, quit scrubbing that guy! What I tell you? Yer gonna hurt him!" Jimmy rolled over on the hay, jabbing himself with an animal rib in his bathrobe pocket, hearing his mom's voice, J.P. Bahrnamus's voice, the voice of the cashier at the hardware store, and most loudly the ringing in his ears. He couldn't tell if he was hungry, thirsty or needed more glue. He pryed open his eyes and saw he was without food, and the rest of the glue seemed to be gone. There was a Mason jar on a bench nearby that was half full of either dirty water or kerosene. Had he not burned off all the smell-sensors in his nose he might have been able to tell the difference. Maybe it's water. Neither J.P. nor his mom was in sight, but the ever-loudening ringing almost seemed to be forming into words he couldn't make out, but the voices he almost could, and the rattling of bones as he rolled over, feeling them jabbing into his skin but it didn't hurt nearly as much as the ringing, which was nearly a screaming like the sound of an overscrubbed Whaleopotamus, thirsty and reaching out toward the Mason jar of dirty water.

Bonefish Sam is an ameteur vacuum cleaner salesman.

Sunday, December 5, 1999

It needs to be stopped.

Holidays are such an interruption to the routines I love so much. If you're a typical Amerikan with nothing to look forward to except retirement, I'm sure they're great. Or if you're a little kid, of course. But I personally would like to see it stopped. Grinch, huh? No, I don't think he would have been doing what he was doing if he fully understood it. Stopping Christmas would be in everyone's best interests. It's just gotten out of hand, and can only get worse.

The day after Thanxgiving, and the Self-Replicating Buying Machines are out in force, wandering around aimlessly, looking for things to buy or eat. Following each others' movements like cattle, and following the flashing lights like moths. They bitch about the crowds and the traffic, while they could have done the same shopping two days earlier and spared themselves the trouble. Do they really lower the price when they have a "sale"? Is the inconvenience of non-sale prices really that much worse than the inconvenience of crowds and traffic? Apparently ev'rybody and their fucking dog thinks so. They'll do this for a whole month.

They hit the roads in a bad mood, convinced that the only way they'll get where they're going is through offensive driving. It's a madhouse out here! I gotta show 'em who's bad! Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile! I'm gonna be courteous to nobody! Then they decide that me and my bicycle are in their way. The way I see it, if I'm travelling the same route I take every day with relatively little resistance, and then all of a sudden it's Shopping Day, and you're crossing my path, then you are in my way. A point I had to prove to several motorists this season, by threatening to scratch their paint job with my bike and body.

Yeah, every shopper out there with an armload of Pokemon shit has complaints like I do, about the traffic and everyone else's bad attitudes. I have more of a problem with the level of Christmastime hate not because it impedes by shopping progress, but because I don't see a good reason for this holiday happening in the first place. How did this thing go from being a simple Christian holiday, to being an excuse for the owners of every local business to put on a Santa suit and say, "Ho ho ho, this is where Santa shops!"? How did people end up making themselves miserable and broke to participate in a holiday that, if they really thought about it, they would realize that they haven't enjoyed in years? The reason is guilt. Guilt engineered by the advertising departments of just about every retailer in the country.

There's a Fred Meyer commercial on for this x-mas season. Their motto for now is "The Joy of Giving". What, are they giving something away? Nope. They must mean, "The Joy of Giving Stuff You Bought From Us". Who can't see through this? People who watch TV for two or more hours a day in an Alpha state. Most of Amerika's population, that is.

So what's this year's Cabbage Patch toy? I haven't actually heard yet. Must be Pokemon crap. Whatever it is, you can bet all the Good Little Boys' & Girls' moms are out beating the shit out of each other to get one. Christmas Spirit becomes a competition. People make themseves unhappy, form themselves into crowds and try to take out their frustrations on each other. Angry robots with credit cards.

I've been becoming interested in this concept of "Holiday Blues". I've seen list after list of ways to beat these "Holiday Blues", and not one of them offers the best suggestion: Quit celebrating Chrismas. Prob'ly one of the biggest reasons this happens is because of the Christmas celebration. The ideal dreamworld in the "Joy of Giving" commercial just doesn't happen. So you have your own life, and then you have a carpet-bombing of this commercial to compare it with. It's bound to be depressing. The realization that it's the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, and it still sucks. It doesn't get any better than this. Heap on top of that the guilt factor, the fact that you're running out of money, your job that's prob'ly twice as hectic as usual, and that the weather isn't even worth leaving the house for. Then someone on TV news drags out the old Christmas filler story to remind you about the "Holiday Blues". You know, now that they mention it, I do seem to get depressed during the holidays. I wonder if it will happen this year. Well, it'll happen the first time you can't find a good parking space at the mall.

Christmas in Boise

It's that time of year again. A tree grows to its fullest potential; its height of glory. Then it gets chopped down and dumped in a landfill. But for about a month in between, it gets decorated, covered with plastic tinsel and maybe some plastic foam (rendering it un-recyclable) and placed in some human's living room for a few weeks.

In Boise, one of the larger of these trees gets placed in front of the Idaho capitol building for you to look at. Is that too far from where you live? For your convenience, three blocks away, in the area called the Grove, there's another similar one. As an added bonus, the Grove tree is always augmented with Plywood Presents. Maybe they look charming from a distance, but get close and brace yourself for knotholes, splinters, warping plywood and a sloppy paint job. Even the "bows" on the Plywood Presents are made of wood.

Not enough dead trees for you? Would you rather pay admission to look at trees? Well, since you're in the Grove already, the Festival of Trees is right through that door over there. If you're not from Boise it might sound like I'm making this up (or it could be a franchised event for all I know). This is real, and it seems like something that only a Boisean could fall for. Here's the general scheme: you pay money and you look at Christmas Trees. That's it. Pay money. Look at trees. It's a tree zoo, except that the trees are dead.

Instead of taking animals from their habitat, we take the trees from theirs. We take the habitat from the animals. Then we make these trees as un-tree-like as possible, show 'em off and throw 'em out. And if you can charge some money in there somewhere, all the better.

One year I remember walking through the Grove during the Festival of Trees, and seeing an ice sculpture in death throes. It was obviously a block of ice that had been shaped by humans, but had melted beyond recognition by unseasonably warm weather. We stood around, enjoying the way it looked, appreciating entropy's influence on the work, while Boise people of all varieties walked by. Each one that stopped long enough to look said something like, "Hmm. Must have been nice, whatever it was." Then they'd move on. Interesting that they'd stop in the first place.

Bonefish Sam has been referred to as a "grinch", yet has been unable to sucessfully steal Christmas. He rides a Schwinn.

Monday, February 8, 1999

From The Idaho Statehouse

Apparently teachers all over the state were asked to force their students to write letters about how wonderful Idaho is to a relative or someone who lives out of state. Then copies of these letters were to be sent to the state capitol where they could be taped to the walls and people like me could read them. I copied this one down.

Feb. 8, 1999

Dear Sister,

Remember the time we tried to get the cookies at Grandma's and Grandpa's house? We ate a lot of sugar cookies and we were stuffed! We got no other dessert. SO we went outside to make a plan. We were so mad. I said, "Lets play a trick on them! We jumped in the mud we looked like brown, muddy, wet aliens. We said, "We are aliens." We got all the dessert we wanted!

Yours truly

Bonefish Sam is a retired Bahamas prize fighter.