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My 15 Minutes with Donovan and his bats.

August 7, 2006

Last November Donovan presented a rare solo acoustic concert at the Kent State Folk Festival. Earlier that afternoon during the informal workshops, an Irish gentleman stopped me. He suggested that If I get a chance to talk to Donovan that I should ask about his bats. Soon I realized we weren't discussing baseball. Apparently, he has bats living in his attic. This did sound like an icebreaker, but wait till you find out about what lives in his basement.

Let's fast forward to 15 minutes before showtime. I'm backstage alone with Donovan. I'm going over my introductory comments. He's enjoying a glass of red wine. I thought to myself: "When am I going to get 15 minutes alone with Donovan again?"

I asked him: "I understand you have bats in your attic."
He almost spilled the wine: "Why yes, How did you know that?"

The ice was definitely broken. He then went on to tell me that he thought there
were around 12 bats because that's all he ever saw. A naturalist went into his attic and informed him there were 127 of them. He only saw 12 at any one time, and thought they were always the same 12. They're actually quite harmless creatures and absolutely beneficial because of all the harmful insects they eat. He is thrilled to help them out.

We then proceeded to talk about music, the music business, and meditation. He loved April Verch who played right before him. He was fascinated by her stage presence, her fiddling, and her dancing. He was very curious about Folk Alley. I told him about the entire staff, and all the hours we put in, and all the risks. He took a particular interest in me. He spotted the workaholic in me and asked:

"Do you wake up and immediately make lists as to what you're going to do?"

"Yes," I said, "and the list is always longer that the number of hours in the day. And I keep seeing things to do beyond the list, so I find myself growing impatient.

Donovan looked almost right through me and said: "You need to meditate - daily. I'm not talking about drugs and a long haired guru. Its a skill that requires a little time. You need to learn how to do it. You'll learn to separate yourself from your stress, and your attitude will improve. You must do it Jim."

I thought only my mother has ever said those last 5 words. Mostly I felt embarrased that he was so concerned about me. We talked up until he had to go on and I had to introduce him.

Following his perfomance, the audience rushed the stage (at his urging, I might add). As they were courted off, he decided to do one more song if they would leave peacefully. I saw his road manager and asked him:
"Does this happen often?"
"Trust me bloke," he said, "this is a one-off."

That was English for "no." He then added: "Stick around, Donovan would like you to come on stage with him for his encore."

I froze. I wondered if I knew all the words to "Mellow Yellow." I think I could recite the "Summer Day Reflection Song" but it didn't matter, because I would not be asked to sing. Instead he wanted to acknowledge me to the crowd. I wasn't very comfortable about it, but I felt like an 'everyman' representing the whole crew of us who put the festival on, and who work to put Folk Alley on the air (or on the net...).

I will not soon forget my 15 minutes with a guy who was good friends with the Beatles. A guy who read me like a book (or a short story) in that amount of time.

Will I take his advice and meditate? I guess first I'll have to learn how. Any tips? Oh, and if you've been waiting - aside from bats in his belfry, he has rats in his basement. He didn't have time to tell me about them, except to say that they were welcome too. Suddenly my 6 cats and 3 dogs don't feel like a load after all...

Jim Blum

Posted by Jim Blum at August 7, 2006 5:20 PM


Comments

Well Jim, to meditate effectively, first you are going to have to let the dogs out.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 7, 2006 5:52 PM

Yep. A dear client and mentor, a couple years ago when I was in a serious pit while doing a major mural project, suggested that I learn the art and discipline of "detachment". I don't meditate in any formal and consistent way, but I have learned not to angst. I have learned how to "seize the moment of reflection" in the midst of exigencies. I wrote and recorded a poem about existential awareness, regret and exigencies. It's not Folk but if you would like to hear it, I'll shoot you a link.

Posted by: Richard Schletty at August 7, 2006 5:54 PM

Why is there no link to Jim Blum in his introductory remark above? Webmaster/mistress?

Posted by: Richard Schletty at August 7, 2006 5:56 PM

I think he's busy enough!

Jim - sit quietly and count your breaths, breathing in and out slowly and relishing each breath. Let the air fill your lungs and concentrate on the feeling of your lungs filling and emptying. Count each slow breath until you reach ten, then go back to one and start again. If you start thinking about anything other than your breathing before you get to ten, go back to one and start again. Once you can get to ten without thinking about the dogs, your lists, if your feet hurt, what you're going to have for lunch etc. go back to one and start again. Start to imagine all the extraneous thought in your head draining out of your body and earthing into the floor. Do this for about ten minutes or until the phone rings.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 7, 2006 7:33 PM

Of course ol' Donovan probably did some of his breathing using some kind of herbal infusion of some sort. Possibly.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 7, 2006 8:05 PM

I used to have raccoons in the attic - had to evict them all, which was a difficult affair, let me tell you.
But it was the only way. There can be no meditation with even one raccoon in the attic - they play hockey up there, you know.
Dogs and cats go down for naps mid-morning and mid-afternoon. All is quiet, and turn off that phone ringer for the duration!
I find walking meditation of help too. That perpetual rhythm in motion frees my mind.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 7, 2006 8:25 PM

I know about making lists! I've learned to prioritize and at the same time accept the limitations of the workday. I also allow myself to take the time to enjoy moments that charm me . . . yesterday I watched a small puppy playing with a cat! She tolerantly allowed him to chew on her ear, and he was gnawing Gently!
Meditation: My mind seized on the subject of Donovan's bats and had to follow the scenario to a logical conclusion (I'm a carpenter, so I can't help myself!) Bats mate all year 'round . . . bats poop constantly, in large, ammonia-scented quantities . . . attics are filled with insulation in between the ceiling joists . . . over time, insulation becomes heavy because it is wet . . . is the ceiling gypsum or plaster . . . ? Eventually, ceiling caves in . . . . . . . . . .

Posted by: Robin Roderick at August 8, 2006 8:42 AM

You'd have trouble remedying this in the UK - bats are so protected, you can't do anything if they move into your roof. My bro-in-law actually makes some of his living advising people on how to encourage them to move out - usually by building a better, dedicated bat-roost nearby.
Quick Robin - to the Batcave...

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 8, 2006 9:44 AM

I don't think I'd care for bats in my attic, although I do know they are 'beneficial'. Still, from what I know about him, this sounds like a Donovan story. And nice to know you get some credit, Jim. Are you trying to meditate?

I know for SURE that I wouldn't allow rats in my basement.

Posted by: Lynn Oatman at August 8, 2006 9:48 AM

Rats are intelligent creatures, and actually quite charming when you get to know them...but not wild and in your basement. When they're in your basement, they're actually all over your house! Perhaps Donovan is on the road a lot and doesn't notice?

Bat roosts are all over here, and there's a very large colony in a natural subterranian cave on private land just north of here (Bracken Cave in Texas). http://www.batcon.org/home/index.asp?idPage=56
They're very beneficial for insect control. A side benefit is that their decomposed guano is a rich source fertilizer, harvested by regularly mining it by scooping it up from cave bottoms where it collects. But this must be done by wearing a special filtering O2 mask, else the high concentrations of amonia would ..well, let's just say - you'd never sing again!
You can imagine what having a colony in your attic must smell like...not too great for asthmatics.

In the old days, there were large towers built in this area just for bat colonies - to help with control of agricultural pestilence and so forth. Those have gone by the wayside with the use of pesticides, but, even though the bat population is down a bit, it manages to find a place in caves and under bridges and in buildings and attics and such. Austin, Texas has their Bridge Bats..a stinky affair, but worth sticking around 'til dusk to see the great swirl.
Just be sure to wear a large brimmed disposable hat..

Now, just knowing that we have helpers in the animal kingdom to take care of pesty things should make for a better meditation experience, even in the out of doors, Jim.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 8, 2006 11:27 AM

Only Jim Blum could prompt a discussion of bat guano. And Richard - I don't know why the links to posters aren't live, but we get covered with an E-mail any time someone comments to something we put up. That's how I start my day - reading everyone's comments.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 8, 2006 11:41 AM

Just got caught laughing at my desk - bad form.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 8, 2006 11:46 AM

Right back at ya' pal!

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 8, 2006 12:03 PM

;o)

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 8, 2006 7:12 PM

Oh, and once, while taking biofeedback, the technician gave me a bunch of colored spots to place around in places I was sure to see throughout my day - the bathroom mirror, the car, etc. They were to remind me simply to...breathe.

Making lists is what I do...I'm a hard taskmaster. But learning to live with the unfinished business and applying it to another day's tasks and still being able to sleep at night...a learned skill.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 8, 2006 7:35 PM

Life is really easy to live. Like falling down a flight of stairs. Every step hurts, but sooner or later you get where you're going.
I've always lived without lists, I forget things, I don't wear a watch, I tend not to ask people to repeat things (if it was at all important, they'd've spoken more clearly). I've never had much money, but I've never been fitter than when I was reduced to living on chick-peas and tuna.
A huge amount of the stuff we worry about is rubbish, not worth writing down.
Actually, I'm about to go camping with a three year old - now that's going to result in a huge list. So hostages to fortune notwithstanding, a huge amount of the stff we worry about...

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 8, 2006 11:36 PM

I meant stuff - sorry it's 4.40am here! I should be asleep.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 8, 2006 11:37 PM

If I wake up sober, I go to work. If I wake up drunk, I still go to work, but a lot more reluctantly.
I had a list once, taped to the top of my guitar. Might still be there, not sure, can't find the guitar this week.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 9, 2006 12:06 AM

I like the lists left on the kitchen table by loved ones with "Love you - be well, be safe, hugs, see you tonight!" scratched on the bottom.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 9, 2006 1:47 AM

Jim - generally, play lists are taped to the top of the guitar, aren't they? Or do you play off an audiences responses, list be dam*ed?

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 9, 2006 1:49 AM

Uhm - I just read on yahoo or MSN that bedbugs are on the rise. Meditate on that!
Are there any Folk songs (alegories included) about those nasty little creatures? Will we see any on Open Mic, I wonder...

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 9, 2006 2:11 AM

They died out in London during the Blitz. Everyone moved out into the shelters leaving the blighters to starve. They need a blood-meal to reproduce. They're coming back, but having a difficult time re-establishing themselves.
Paul Downes used to claim to write the name of the town he was playing on the back of his guitar. "It's great to be bere tonight in (tilts guitar forward) Barnet..."

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 7:50 AM

Oy, I have to make lists or I'd forget half of what's supposed to be in the AlleyChat (which is only one of four newsletters I write over here - there's some overlap, I'm confused a great deal of the time). If I don't make lists I spend most of my time worried that I'm forgeting to do something (and, oddly enough, I do a lot around here, so someone might notice - or not, I was gone for 3 weeks and the world didn't come crashing down).

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 9, 2006 9:47 AM

I used to use play lists. Then my eyes got bad, the guitar would have to be two feet wide to hold writing large enough. So now I play off the audience.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 9, 2006 10:21 AM

I saw Grant Lee Phillips in concert Friday and he was sweating so profusely that his playlist turned to mush (it was pretty warm). But there were plenty of my favorite yahoos in the audience to scream endless suggestions in a room the size of my kitchen. Maybe I need meditation. Or mediation.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 9, 2006 10:31 AM

"It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile..."
Loose Ties, out of Sting

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 11:48 AM

Huw - "Sting" as in the obscure English Poet, Gordon Sumners?

Evidently, bed bugs are making a big comeback in sizable cities, such as Atlanta and New York, according to the thing I read. Something to do with more frequent international travel these days.
Seems the buggers are making themselves at home in mattresses in hotels across the globe, and stowing away in patrons luggage. I suppose not all matresses are treated with boric acid these days.

Yeah, Ann...I find lists quite freeing myself. Mostly now they're kept posted on a giant calendar in a place (a-chem) where I can't miss it. It doubles as a daily journal after the fact. Very useful system for me. One stop shopping for my little grey cells, and I can then move on to the fun part of the day - naps!

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 9, 2006 12:45 PM

Bedbugs in the luggage!!! I'm definitely camping from now on.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 5:00 PM

Sorry JoLynn - Sting wrote Englishman in New York - a very fine version of which, by Loose Ties, was being played this erm... afternoon - late morning for you. I was reading about Ann's Yahoos as that line came over the web at me.
As for the lists, it's more of a girl thing I think - Partner makes endless lists, often in French.
She even has a computerised shopping list which you print off and take to the pantry, strike off everything you've got, then you go out and buy everything still on the list.
This is scary to me.

My woman done organised me
she's got a list twelve pages long
[Repeat]
But it's the thirteenth page that scares me
I know that Judas page will do me wrong

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 5:12 PM

Sorry JoLynn - Sting wrote Englishman in New York - a very fine version of which, by Loose Ties, was being played this erm... afternoon - late morning for you. I was reading about Ann's Yahoos as that line came over the web at me.
As for the lists, it's more of a girl thing I think - Partner makes endless lists, often in French.
She even has a computerised shopping list which you print off and take to the pantry, strike off everything you've got, then you go out and buy everything still on the list.
This is scary to me.

My woman done organised me
she's got a list twelve pages long
[Repeat]
But it's the thirteenth page that scares me
I know that Judas page will do me wrong

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 5:12 PM

Weird - double posting - couldn't be the word [repeat] could it?

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 5:14 PM

Apparently not.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 5:15 PM

Huw-- Does your partner speak French? Or does she just like being Continental. My lists are barely in English. And, sometimes it takes awhile to decipher my own "code."

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 9, 2006 5:21 PM

She was born in Mauritius - visiting the inlaws was hell! Three months stranded in a tropical paradise, with no overheads, a good brewery, a stock of very fine export gin, the best food of five continents, miles of deserted, sheltered beaches, lizards on the ceiling and the temperature never drops below about 22 degrees (when they all put on coats and hats). Biting insects commuted from all over the island to feast on my celtic blood, but I was too miserable to notice.
Mauritian cyclone warnings are in about 10 languages, French and English being the first two. Veronique can swear in all 10 and order food in most of them. Nobody listens to the cyclone warnings because all three have a theme tune which makes them identifiable from the outset, it takes ages to get a warning out.
Curiously, my Mauritian bro in law married a Welsh girl and my sister found herself an Irish Mauritian creole partner. Go figure.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 8:23 PM

Oh - just to stay on message - they have fantastic bats in Mauritius - which they eat.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 9, 2006 8:24 PM

EEEeeeeeeewwwwwWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Robin Roderick at August 9, 2006 8:35 PM

Fruit bats, Huw?

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 7:31 AM

Well you wouldn't go eating carniverous bats would you?

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 8:39 AM

Other Mauritian recipies include: Monkey curry No.2, Roasted Madacascar hedgehog, deep fried wasp grubs.
Chef Guy Felix recommends sending the kids up after the wasp nests as they have "a nasty bite".

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 9:17 AM

Personally, I'm big on the wasp grubs. Sago palm grubs are sweeter (and fatter) but wasp grubs will do in a pinch.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 10, 2006 9:41 AM

Mmmm... grubs!

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 10, 2006 10:13 AM

I do think there's a Gary Larson element to sending children out to harvest wasp's nests. They can't be any less appetising than locusts in honey (rather nice). My Mother in law claims to have been at a banquet where monkey brains were consumed from the open skull of the monkeys, a la Indiana Jones, but I think she's BSing me.
I've seen monkeys being cleaned for curry, like small skinned children - not for the faint hearted. Someone asked Vero if the monkeys wouldn't die out if they kept eating them. "there will always be enough monkeys" she replied darkly.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 10:29 AM

I had calf brains at a French restaurant in New York (oddly enough, not in France - by the time we got to Paris we were tired of eating and mostly went for salads and croque monsieur). The consistency was much lighter than I expected.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 10, 2006 11:10 AM

I think eating monkey would be a bit like eating buffalo - mostly so you can say you did it. But maybe they have more monkeys than, say, chickens in Mauritius.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 10, 2006 11:12 AM

I had cow face soup in northern France after the eclipse in 99. Delicious, but the nostril was offputting.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 11:22 AM

Of monkeys - Guy Felix says that "we like nothing as much as our like" meaning that monkeys are as close to eating humans as you can legally get. I can recommend a book of his, but it's translated from Creole into English by someone who speaks neither.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 11:24 AM

And you can't get cow-brains legally in Europe because of the BSE.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 11:25 AM

Gosh...I was going to say something serious a while back, but after catching up with you guys....NO WAY!
I imagined sitting in an open air cafe, overhearing two friends just liesurely chatting away, a la Monte Python matter-of-fact style (or Sibyl from Faulty Towers on the phone with her friend), my eyes widening in degrees with each subsequent sentence! What a surreal blog this has become....

I'll only consume grubs if:
1) they've been well roasted, preferably with a little garlic
2) their crawly and cheeky bits have been removed first
3) I can spread them on toast or cracker

Last time I had calf brains was with scrambled eggs when I was a teen. The texture was a bit softer than I'd prefer, and needed something...spice perhaps...unsafe to consume now in any case.
We talked Mom into making green eggs and ham for us once, but that was good...and fun!

Huw - what kind of celebration exactly was this banquet your Mom-in-law attended supposed to be for anyhow??

Talk about off-putting food items....I went with friends recently to Mexico, and had pickled pig skins.
Was surprized to discover that they were actually deliciously spiced! Little bite-sized squares, only, my cup was filled with...nipples! We joke about "tough titties" (an expression)...ha! they ARE!

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 12:27 PM

Oh yeah...buffalo is good - very lean.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 12:29 PM

(Ohhhh, Sorry Jim B....I realize you're vegetarian..all this talk about eating meat and stuff. Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain with bibs and steak knives...)

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 12:31 PM

Jim P. You weren't kidding about those Sago Palm ghttp://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=sago%20palm%20grubs&btnG=Google+Search&sa=N&tab=wirubs! I had to google that one:

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 12:37 PM

Just from reading this blog, I'm pretty certain Donovan is not the only one with bats in his belfry.
And Jim B - rest assured, no animals are killed or injured in the making of my honey mead.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 10, 2006 12:52 PM

Do we all drink Bacardi Rhum here then?
Jim P. - Mmmmmmead.....:o) I forget...what were we talking about again?

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 10, 2006 12:58 PM

Mmmh? Oh - sorry, dozed off. I'm drinking Young's Bitter tonight, you have to keep waking up to relieve yourself.
Deep fried insects peel like prawns JoLene. I don't know what the banquet was in honour of, but probably of my late (and much lamented) Father in law shooting something or other. He did a lot of that in his very long and extremely enjoyable life. He once presented me with half a stag to cook for Christmas dinner. He used to go out in the dead of night, with a maglight taped to his 12 gauge - hunting for fruit bats.
Pig nipples? You get about ten per pig don't you? I suppose given the likely composition of sausage meat we carnivores have all eaten our share of scary pig-parts. The saying goes - "You can eat everything except the oink"

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 10, 2006 9:17 PM

You can eat the oink too. But twenty seconds later you'll be hungry again.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 10, 2006 11:51 PM

Huw - does the slime ever get off of the cow's nostril/nose when it's cooked thoroughly in soup? My folks are now cattle ranchers (retired Engineer and Teacher) and I've never had occasion to eat nostril before from our own herd.
As far as cheeks and jowls...local Tex-Mex fare makes use of just about every part of the animal.
Now that labels are required for content, I'm discovering some of the most delectible things ar made from jowels and lymph glands, intestines, tongue, eye balls, ears, snout, stomach lining, etc; even feet/hooves.
But, you're probably already familiar with the Scot's version of dining on a full stomach...I adore haggis actually.
And I believe that sows should have, on average, two rows of at least six functioning nipples each side, Huw, to be considered a good average number; 12-14 might be optimal. I don't eat all that much pork actually - don't know why I talk about it so much...kind of an exotic fascination, I guess.
Btw, did you cook the half a stag on a skewer over a pit dug in the yard? The original Bar-B-Que.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 11, 2006 1:03 AM

Eat more lamb..40,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

You know, we're having such a bad drought that coyotes are beginning to forage the near an old inner city quarry area near affluent neighborhoods looking for food and water. Traps are being set for relocation.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 11, 2006 3:04 AM

We have coyotes coming to town here in Arizona as well, JL - a 'yote can jump a six-foot fence with a 40-lb pet (or child!) in its mouth. I was on a morning walk with my dog near some cotton fields and a BIG'un made a run at him. Saw me just before impact, flipped over in the air and disappeared. I have that effect on critters.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 11, 2006 8:35 AM

We don't have enough monkeys in the nearby zoo to satisfy leaping coyotes. Best the schools post game wardens at each gate now.

Maybe you coulda saved me a lot of trouble over the years trying to get those dagnabbit raccoons outta my attic! Just one look from the Pikinator and....*POOF*!

We have some large brown owls here which can easily, with one silent fell swoop, take out a large domestic cat.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 11, 2006 4:16 PM

We get foxes in London, and deer. Muntjac are about the size of a labrador with little tusks (like huge, vampire guinea pigs). A friend of mine actually swore off drink for several days after one exploded out of the bin liners outside his front door and cantered off down the path, clearing the front gate with a single bound.
It's not unusual to see a pimped-up urban-fox selling crack to the young rabbits on Hampstead Heath.
Bro in law hung the half a stag on the washing line and skinned and butchered it with a Deliverance style hunting knife. We marinaded all the meat in a big tin bucket on the bottom of the fridge, in wine, fruit and juniper berries.
On the day, huge cockroaches had eaten the oven, so I ended up doing a traditional sunday roast - in 100 degrees of heat, in a Hitachi mini-oven the size of a shoebox, I did the potatoes by putting them in a baking tin, covered with another baking tin, in the grill of the dead cooker.
Delicious. Swam in the Ocean on Boxing Day.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 11, 2006 4:31 PM

Oh - I think the slime comes off in the soup. I must confess I put the nostril on the side of my plate, triggering a certain number of transactions among the locals sitting in the bar area. I think they's been betting on whether the big Anglais would eat the thing.

Great Auberge - AUBERGE DU CRONQUELET
http://modulosite.opalenews.com/modulosite/app/pagevierge/apercu2.php?id_bouton=2013&fr=0&id_client=262

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 11, 2006 4:51 PM

..and I suppose the fish crawled up on shore and took over for you at the office. Better check your books...fish have a tendency to overspend a bit - they like to reel in investors, then throw 'em back; it's all just sport to them - they really mean no harm (ref. to Boxing Day).
uhm...did I say I haven't slept??

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 12, 2006 2:49 AM

Lovely public house, Huw! Where is this now? This is where you had the cheeky nostril soup? (I love links to pictures!). THe Smithy is no longer working, or is it still an active forge?

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 12, 2006 2:53 AM

I don't think the smithy is working anymore - you'll notice that the site was translated into English from French via Cantonese. It's just outside the town of Montreuil sur Mer in northwestern France. The town features in Les Miserables - Jean Valjean was mayor, before his murky past caught up with him. General Haig coordinated the battle of the Somme from there.
I'm very glad the Auberge is still there, we stopped there in 99 after the eclipse. They had a Yorkshire terrier called Odin. And a menu divided between fabulous seafish and various cow head derivatives.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 13, 2006 9:44 AM

Sounds lovely. Hmmm...I wonder who gets the rest of the cow...

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 13, 2006 2:32 PM

I had a Social Studies teacher named Valjean. Of course, in Indiana we pronounced it Val Gene and he was very bitter.

Posted by: Ann VerWiebe at August 14, 2006 10:13 AM

Hmmm...I've been pondering something, Huw. What happened to the recipe for "Monkey Curry No.1", I wonder...?

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 15, 2006 8:05 AM

I suspect if you asked Guy why he didn't write it down, he'd say something like "Everybody already knows the recipe for monkey curry no1..."

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 15, 2006 11:11 AM

I have this recipe somewhere for a concoction to feed rescued birds for next tmie I'll need that, and one of the components is "monkey chow"....now, where am I going to find monkey chow!? I do not think WalMart has that.

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 16, 2006 3:46 PM

PetSmart has it. Right next to the Iguana collars.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at August 16, 2006 5:46 PM

Jim, stop that!....I am so gullible........

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 19, 2006 8:19 AM

"Lupita", the much beloved Congress Street Bat mascott from Austin, Texas has some great information for all of you BAT enthustiasts, including instructions on making your very own origami bat!
Jim Blum - I'm sure you've heard of the tradition of making 1,000 origami cranes as a form of prayer and meditation...well, why not make 1,000 little bats instead? (I plan to hang mine up in various places around the neighborhood..shhhh, don't tell!)

http://www.myspace.com/lupitadelapuente

Posted by: JL Braswell at August 21, 2006 5:00 PM

Monkey Curry is also known as Curry Number Two because monkeys are regaded as being number two in the evolutionary chain to us. There are certain people we all know who prove the lie to that rule ...

Posted by: Johnny Mindlin at August 21, 2006 7:09 PM

Are you sure about that Johnny? I think we're somewhere below the squirrels some days.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at August 21, 2006 7:41 PM

And where does intelligent design fit in with this theory? Where on the evolutionary scale is a Chicken Tikka Masala? Which came first - that or egg fu yang? Are 1000 year eggs more likely to have come before the chicken?
If intelligent design is real - who was responsible for the giant panda? Was that an early project? An apprentice piece?
FA will repectfully provide no definitive answers to these and many other questions.
Stay tuned guys and don't forget to keep evolving.

Posted by: Huw Pryce at September 13, 2006 11:06 AM

Huw - are you already on those pain killers for the operation?? Just wondering....

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell at September 14, 2006 8:05 AM

Nipples for men? 14 different kinds of finch? The duck-billed platypus?

What's it all about eh?

Nurse...!

Posted by: Huw Pryce at September 14, 2006 10:55 AM

Anyway - maybe Arizona Petsmart stocks iguana collars - you wouldn't want them running around loose would you?

Posted by: Huw Pryce at September 16, 2006 11:15 PM

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