Quiet

Quiet……

It’s all around me, broken only by the sound of the tapping on the keyboard as I write this. Of course, it helps if you’re doing that writing at four in the morning…….. 🙂 As I’ve grown older, my hours have moved solidly into the “early to bed, early to rise” range. One advantage is that you gain some quiet time if you are up before anyone else. No TV, no phone calls, no errands to run or household chores to do. Just a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere.

If I have paperwork from the office to do, especially if it’s complicated, I try and save it for that time. It’s amazing how efficient and clear thinking you can be with no distractions. Solutions that I have struggled to find sometimes pop in to my head unannounced, like a welcome visit from a friend. Other times, when I’m lucky, it’s time for quiet contemplation. Time to sort out thoughts and emotions, make decisions, and change directions.

Some might say it’s similar to when they sit down and reflect over a morning cup of coffee. Although I can picture this, it still seems a little strange from a non coffee drinker’s perspective. Ingesting caffeine as you sit and relax sounds like a culinary oxymoron to me. I prefer to have a slower awakening, although the long lines at the coffeehouses put me in the minority.

I was reminded of this idea of “quiet” this past week as I listened to NPR (National Public Radio, for those that may not have heard it before). There was a local program on that dealt with police, in the wake of everything that has gone on lately. The host stated that both the police officers association and the police department had turned down an opportunity to be part of the program, so he encouraged any law enforcement personnel to call in (even anonymously if they wished). Everything was low key, reasonable, and somewhat polite.

It was a drastic difference from what is on commercial talk radio, where shouting seems to be the order of the day, and the hosts “talk” to people by cutting off discussions and channeling everything into a repetitive delivery of the opinion of the host. Dialog becomes diatribe. No room for meaningful discussion, no room for an exchange of ideas, and no quiet time for people to perhaps work toward solutions. Just as I can’t solve problems with a ton of distractions and pressure, we as a society can’t solve problems with a ton of noise and yelling in the air. No solutions mean more of the same, and often a hardening of the positions on each side. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

The commercial news, often starved for budgets or limited by corporate policy, has devolved into an attention seeking entity fighting for eyeballs and ears in a noisy world. Evening TV news has a heavy slate of police and fire related stories, accompanied by a surface-deep rendering of the news of the day. Very little that actually provides analysis and understanding, or gives readers and viewers an awareness of the background on events. There’s an old saying in reporting,that you have to tell people the five W’s in your story – Who, What, Where, When, and Why. The general media seems to have left the Why sitting by the wayside, abandoned. While some books and magazines will provide more in depth answers, it’s tougher to find that in the electronic arena (TV, radio, and internet).

With a little more discussion and listening, and a little less talking and noise, we might actually end up with a little more quiet time and thoughtful solutions. Just the thing to go with your morning cappuccino expresso latte…. 🙂

Pancakes

Reading a recent post by Sala, on her grandmother and food, got me thinking about pancakes. Like most boys, my brother and I weren’t really that interested in cooking. We could do cereal in the morning, sandwich at noon, but anything else was strictly in the “where’s Mom? I’m hungry” category. Except for pancakes, an occasional weekend treat at our home. Maybe because it involved a hot griddle, maybe because we’d get to help my Dad cook them, maybe because we’d been up since 6am watching cartoons on a Saturday morning and couldn’t understand why the parental units didn’t jump up out of bed at 7am to get breakfast going (Geez, the nerve of those people!).

In any case, we’d jump to help with the preparation. Flour was first up. That had to be sifted through a hand sifter that had a handle you squeezed to rotate blades inside. There were screens inside the sifter, to not only sift the flour but also probably to protect the fingers of curious kids like us. The flour was sifted onto wax paper to collect it, as well as on to other parts of the counter, the floor, and the “chefs”. Looked like a White Christmas sometimes in that kitchen. Then it went into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, to be mixed with a hand held electric mixer. Since this was a power tool, and we were guys, we did our duty and tried out all speeds and angles. The mixer would occasionally become our “six shooter” that we lifted out of the mix while it was running, and pointed toward our partner in crime in a classic high noon shoot out. Mom usually failed to realize the beauty of our cinematic re-enactments, and we’d soon hear cries of “what are you doing?” and “put that back in the bowl!” ringing out. Having her counters and cabinets decorated by flying dough was an added benefit that she didn’t seem to appreciate either. Go figure…..

Once the prep work was done, the artistry began. Ladling the batter on the grill, we’d vary from big circle to small, long finger to attempted shapes and letters. Any mistakes could be eaten away, and we never seemed to have a shortage of those. When we were full, two hours and 437 pancakes later, we look down at the concrete ball that was now inside our stomach and think, “You know, I think I’ll just sit here at the kitchen table another hour or two until I regain consciousness.”

On some weekends, we’d be at my grandparents’ house (Mom’s side) for breakfast the following day. Accompanied at times by the leftover batter from the pancakes the day before. For THAT, my friends, signified another important event. Second Day pankcakes.

My grandfather was a simple cook, in a way. Having lived through the Depression, he could throw a couple of things in a pan, add some seasoning, and come out with something that was simple yet tasty. Soups or sausages or eggs or beans. Didn’t matter, everything was good. It was relaxing just sitting in the kitchen watching him work, and then eating the result.

For pancakes, he would take our batter, and make pancakes on his own grill. My brother and I kept up a constant commute between the griddle and the kitchen table, waiting for them to cook, and trying not to drool on the floor. He was slow and methodical, or maybe just methodical as I’m sure we were wanting those pancakes done in 15 to 20 seconds. I can’t remember if he ever added anything to the batter, but I still remember the taste of those pancakes to this day. They never tasted like the ones we made at home……Never. They were always better. Whether other pancakes were eaten at restaurants, camping trips, or friends’ houses, they never came close to my grandfather’s. While he’s long gone, those pancakes and memories will occasionally be served up in a Sunday morning breakfast of the mind.

Mother’s Day

Across America, and perhaps a few other parts of the world, thousands and thousands of families are gathering today to pay homage to the shining light they grew up around. One that always provided comfort and advice, taught them about the world, sent them love and laughter, heartbreak and tears.

Uh…….no, it’s not the family TV……….now get away from that thing and put down the remote!

As drivers everywhere try to remember just exactly where she lives nowadays, after fighting through the line at the flower stand, they look at their watch and wonder how long this is going to take. Then they remember…….they forgot the card!…….Damn,…..back to the store…….

Next, it’s time to bundle dear old Mom up into the car and take her to a overpriced, not so good Mother’s Day Lunch or Dinner, at a jammed restaurant full of other people with THEIR mothers.

As the offspring disgorge their gifts, Mom smiles and says thank you.

Underneath, she’s gritting her teeth. You know what she’s really thinking?

“I want my 20 something vagina back, along with a Chippendale with a hard-on the size of Manhattan.

“I can’t believe I gave birth this person. Is it too late to send them back?”

“I wonder if I can try and trade with one of these other families?”

“Did I remember the teeny bottle of brandy in my purse?”

“Uh, oh, is that spilled water or are my Depends leaking?”

“Wonder when I should tell them I blew their inheritance in Vegas?”

“I should have forgotten about having kids and just had a few more dogs.”

“At least if I have to visit them I can steal some extra Xanax from their medicine cabinet.”

“To hell with flowers, I need a good set of earplugs for this bunch.”

If I think back on dear old Mom, one incident stands out. My sister was fully into her headstrong teenager years, and in a full blown argument with Mom. At one point, dear sweet Mom got so mad she picked up a pound of hamburger and threw it at my sister. Now, being the athlete that she was, her arm sent that hamburger about two feet from her before skipping across the kitchen counter toward Sis. My brother and I, usually the troublemakers, watched in amazement. “Wow, Mom’s never done THAT before!” Years later, none of us remember what the argument was about, but all of us remember that hamburger skipping across the counter. Forever embedded in the family lore.

She was also quite Don Quixote-like in her eternal optimism that our family could have a “nice, quiet, peaceful family dinner”. With two teenage boys at the table……..oh yes, a monumental challenge. For us, at times, it was not dinner, but instead an opportunity to work on our class clown routines. My Dad was a relatively easy mark, as he had a good sense of humor and could easily start laughing. My Mom,…….well, that was a tougher nut to crack. First there was usually a polite plea from her to “settle down and let’s have a nice dinner”.

Now, for us, that was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Game On! The next level was to force her up to a Level 2 response, which consisted of her trying to keep a straight face and remain a stern disciplinarian. As the seconds went by, you could see her straining as you increased your rapid fire delivery of jokes and remarks. Sometimes you went down in a ball of flame, but other times you saw the veneer cracking and falling away, then the smile and laugh, and you zoomed off into the stratosphere, another notch on your wings.

One other thing I remember from those high school years is the time I was involved in a school fundraiser. There were about 30 kids in the room, kicking ideas about what food to offer at a benefit dinner. Spaghetti came up at one point, and the amazing thing was that almost every single kid in that room said something to the effect of “My mom makes the BEST spaghetti”. Almost EVERY kid. I still feel that response is maybe less indicative of how well the moms cooked, and more indicative of the love that was served along with that spaghetti over the years.

So Mom, Happy Mother’s Day, and you too, make the BEST spaghetti!

The Friendly Skies

A few weeks ago, my wife and I had the chance to fly through Toronto on vacation, and all I can say is “What’s up with those Canadians?” Every time we stopped, looking up and around at signs or deciding what direction to take, up popped a Canadian telling us, “Follow me”, and leading us onward. They were popping up like gophers, every couple of minutes, complete with wide smiles and friendly voices. Walking out of one area, we found one of those terminal golf cart limos stopped directly in our path. Not to fetch us, mind you, but the driver stopped along her way just in case someone (like us) needed a lift to where she was going next.

It makes me think that if Canada were ever invaded, the intruders would be met at the shore or border, with a pot of hot tea and some scones and cookies, along with maps, blankets, and a chorus of voices asking “is there anything else we can do for you?” This stands in stark contrast to some other areas of the world, where the natives treat those that need some help as either lunatics, idiots, or cockroaches that have crawled out into the light.

The downside of this vacation was air travel, and lots of it. Taking an hour or two hour flight is pretty fun, sometimes even exciting. Taking a 5 to 10 hour flight is quite a different story. Walking off the plane, you pass row after row of empty cups, food wrappers, bottles, newspapers, pillows and blankets, all strewn about. It looks like you’re passing through a war zone. And in a sense you are.

It starts early, with the enemy booking those precious aisle and window seats. The next step is boarding, where various combatants attempt to stuff suitcases the size of Cadillacs into the overhead bins, delaying your entry and in some cases risking damage to your carry on luggage. Once in the air, the enemy will slowly lower their seatback into your territory. Do not let this transgression go unchallenged. Either start pushing the touchscreen in their seatback repeatedly, or lean close to them and say “Where the hell are those air sick bags? I think I might have to throw up”. Victory will see that seatback raised soon after.

You will also have to fight off so called allies, that will smile and sit next to you, but before you know it they are staking claim to the armrest between you. Judas is alive and well and sitting in 22B.

After a few hours, your legs and butt will start to revolt. To stop the pain, you try and shift in your seat, move your legs, stretch…….all to no avail. Waterboarding begins to look like a more comfortable alternative. So you decide to head back to the restroom. Unless you’re lucky enough to be on an aisle, you need to begin by tapping your neighbors on the shoulder, and pointing a finger indicating you need to leave the area. Be sure to avoid using the middle finger, however tempting that may be, as it tends to result in black eyes and spilled drinks. Upon receiving your signal, your neighbor begins the long process of moving out of the way. Drinks put down, earphones removed, seat belt unfastened, book tucked away or video put on pause, blanked removed, pillow placed on seat……it may take 5 or 10 minutes for the process to be completed.

You then proceed to the restroom, hoping to find some refuge, but instead you find remnants of the monkey cage at the zoo. Scraps of toilet paper, fluid on the seat, and maybe a momento in the bowl. Reality crashes down hard. So you clean up a little and do your business. Flush and get up to wash. Glancing down, you see toilet papaper stuck in the bowl. So you flush a second time, and see the tissue stay exactly where it was. Somewhere down on earth, you know the toilet bowl designers are laughing their heads off at your plight. Fighting the temptation to reach down and move it, you wash up and exit. Only to have the cute girl in 17C be standing in line next, entering as you leave. And you know her first thought is, “What kind of pig was in here?”. You find yourself wondering if those emergency exits work in mid air……..

On the plus side, inflight movies are a lot better now, with more choices and individual screens. Except when they’re interrupted by announcements by the crew. About seat belts. About flight time. About food service. About drink service. About duty free shopping. About the weather. About the crew. In English. Maybe in French. Maybe Spanish, Russian, German, Portuges, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and 10 or 20 other languages. Accompanied by the drumbeat of passengers beating their heads against their screens in frustration.

Upon reaching your destination, you walk off the plane and head toward the local gambling hall, otherwise known as baggage claim. Behind the scenes, baggage handlers are shooting a game of craps. “Snake eyes,….damn….okay, that blue bag gets sent out to Honolulu, and I’ll take your New York bag for the next Cleveland flight…….Let’s roll again…..Hey, send some of yesterday’s flight bags up there so the people have something to look at while we figure out where their bags are.”

The Last Outsourcing Frontier

She came up slowly, like a thief in the night. A hint of a sore throat and fatigue. Just enough to start the alarm bells ringing in the back of my head (and no, there was no echo, contrary to what my wife may have told you). Enough time to make some calls and clear my schedule a bit, for this vixen could not be ignored. As she later settled in, the fun began. Her entertainment with the man in the house consisted of giving him alternating hot flashes and occasional cold sweats. Apparent payback for some comment I undoubtedly made in the past about Mrs. Dolphin’s “change of seasons”. This was followed by demonstrations about how quickly the nose can alternate between its rendition of “A River Runs Through It”, and it’s impersonation of the Hoover Dam.

As the Kleenex flew through the air, and my nose began its audition for the part of Rudolph in the nex Christmas play, I kept thinking there must be a better way. If Instacart can do your shopping for you, and TaskRabbit can run errands for you, why isn’t there something for sickness?…….Wait no more!

ANNOUNCING THE 2015 DEBUT OF PARTNERS IN PHLEGM

A revolutionary approach to handling illness. Just load the app into your phone and you’re ready to go. At the first sign of illness, you book one of our specially trained hosts. Within 1 hour, they will be at your door and begin the process. Once both of you are hooked up to our patented high polarity positive ion flux capacitor, they will transfer the virus or bacteria to themselves. You’ll be back to your old self in 30 minutes or less.

Our hosts are carefully selected in their 20’s for high immune response systems. Not only will they suffer less than you would, but they also are building their immune systems up for healthy Golden Years. We also are proud that our program will make a significant dent in the unemployment rate for 20 somethings, as well as provide them a way to pay off those pesky student loans.

Prices are reasonable for the standard colds, while flu is somewhat more. Extras will be charged for any of the following:

Pesky in laws hovering in your home.

Pesky children that want to play with our host.

Food poisoning

Illnesses of more than 4 days

The Plague

Malaria and any other tropical viruses

Cancer

A Beacon of Light

It dawned upon me slowly, like the instant you realize something is different about your wife, but you don’t know exactly what. So you ask her, and hear “You’re just noticing now? I changed my hairstyle 8 months ago?” (Yes…that’s me….guilty as charged). Anyway, I finally realized that the spot on my forehead never really healed. I thought it was just a case of occasionally hitting it on something, and by chance hitting the same spot. You know how you get busy and can’t remember things? I’d think to myself, “Did I hit it again? Or did I hit it 2 weeks ago? Or 2 months ago?” Who knew? So then, in keeping with the glacial pace of all men (page 37 of the man code), I decided I’d go see a doctor.

Looking for a dermotologist reminded me a little bit of looking through the personal ads, trying to figure out the person:

Personality:

“Are they brusque and short with patients, or do they listen and seem to care?” (I’m skating on a thin line here. Too much caring, listening, hugs, and talk of feelings could get my man membership might be revoked….)

Family:

 “How is the receptionist? Does the billing dept curse patients who owe money and show up at their door wielding baseball bats? Does the staff laugh behind our backs and post pictures of botched surgeries to Facebook?”

Education and Skill:

“Did they graduate from medical school? Do patients rave about the end result?” Or is there only a mention of how the doc started out at eight years old carving the family turkey, and later deciding to get into dermatology and surgery, with a new nickname of “Scarface”?

Age:

Are they fresh out of school, full of excitement and enthusiasm, ready to practice……..on YOU!

Or are they about ready to retire, with shaky hands ready to carve zig zags on your face?

I ended up, like a few other men in history, with my mom playing matchmaker, sending me to her dermatologist. So I went. The first visit was to take a biopsy. Walking into the office, the first thing I saw was the huge wall poster declaring “Certified by Benihana!” It had a picture of the smiling doc, yielding a cleaver the size of Nebraska. It was about an hour later that they finally dragged me out of the closet of the dentist’s office down the hall. They claimed I was screaming and leaving claw marks on the rug, but that’s probably just heresay.

Once the results came back positive for skin cancer (slow moving, limited, so hold off on the condolence cards), it was back for the excavation. I never knew dermatologists were such big fans of Black & Decker. As she dug away, she kept smiling and saying, “It’s just like the coal strip mining we used to do in West Virginia!” Stopping just short of providing me with a full frontal lobotomy, she then cauterized the wound. This is when the assistant puts a vacuum hose next to your scalp, as you notice the faint smell of something burning……YOU!!!!!

Once the fire department had finished hosing me down, she followed with some stitching (now I know why docs never buy new socks), and finally a pressure bandage. For those of you who don’t know what a pressure bandage is, it’s a very, very thick bandage that they tape onto your forehead. Sticking a good 2” up, you officially now look like a Unicorn. Put some white flourescent paint on it, and you have a headlamp. Someone asked if I had a transplant done and if now I was going to be an official dickhead. I felt a little bit like Elephant Man, to tell you the truth.

After 32 hours, it was time for the bandage change. Collecting the official list of materials (Gauze, neosporin, non stick pads, tape, Q tips, hydrogen peroxide, whisky, hammer, chainsaw, the full collection of Encyclopedia Britannica, and a roast beef sandwich), I was ready to begin. You first peel off the bandage and tape, doing the man version of a Brazilian wax. Who knew men could scream in such a high pitch? This is followed by the view of your forehead, when you realize that you are absolutely ready for a Frankenstein Halloween costume. So you clean the wound with peroxide, and your pride with the whiskey. Then some more peroxide on the wound, and some more whisky in you. I still don’t understand it, but when the wife came home an hour later, she failed to see the humor in me wallpapering the bathroom with gauze, and playing army with a horde of Qtips glued to the floor…..

A Hairy Situation

I went on a hike last weekend with a few friends as well as a newcomer or two. We headed into Butano State Park, on the coast, about 45 minutes below San Francisco. It’s a nice little place, with a mix of some redwoods and meadows, as well as hills and ridges. The first part of the trail was uphill, and as we neared the upper part of the ridge, it had gotten a little hotter. So a few of us moved to shorts. As we resumed the hike, one lady was in front of me, and as I glanced down to watch where I was going, I saw the legs. And the hair.

My first reaction, was sort of a double take. Did I see right? It got me thinking, in between dodging the poison oak vines and the occasional branch waiting to whack me in the face. I normally associate hairy legs with men and clean shaven legs with women, because “that’s how it’s always been”. Seeing this aberration, part of me had to keep reminding my brain that “this is a woman, this is a woman”. Another part was thinking, “Why doesn’t she shave?” Yet another was thinking, “Is the problem not with her, but with you expecting shaved legs?”

I think if someone asked me, I would always say, “yes, I prefer shaved legs on a woman”. They do (at least in my mind), look nicer, cleaner, and sexier. However, as I walked along, I started to think of what I would do as a woman. Or even as a man if the standard was shaved legs for men too. I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my mind was, “No way I’d shave my legs….waste all that time…. go through all that headache and mess of razors and shaving cream or other machine…..FORGET IT. If people don’t like it, the heck with them.”

So now, with full acknowledgement of her decision being truly understandable, I then started to wonder if I’d be okay with Mrs. Dolphin going the no shave route. (In my case, the Mrs has already stated she is not about to sport hair on her legs, so this thought exercise is a bit theoretical). I’m not sure, as it felt like something I’d have to get used to. Probably no different that getting used to women with nose or body piercing, colored hair, different facial or body features, accents, or cultures. I think that after awhile it would be less of an issue, as I’d most likely be focused on the person, not the package. Which makes me wonder if society as a whole would get used to hair on lady’s legs if all the sudden everyone did it. I’m sure there’d be an uproar initially, and some people would accept it quicker than others, but would things change enough so that in a generation or two it would be no big deal? It’s an interesting question.

Going Back Home

“Driver’s License, please.” A few minutes and a number of keystrokes later, lights flashed, a tiny machine whirred, then gave birth to the object of my desire. My very own library card. It was like getting a book of E tickets at Disneyland, only without the long lines, screaming kids, or that chewing gum you just stepped in. Underneath my calm adult face, I had a smile as wide as the Mississippi river, like a kid on Christmas day.

The library in my old hometown was a two story affair. Upstairs was the adult library, with imposing dark aisles of books that seemed to reach to the sky, and tables filled with serious looking grown ups, none of whom were smiling. Not to mention the fearsome Dewey Decimal System (abandon all hope ye who enter here). Downstairs, however, was the brightly lit children’s library. It was a magical place, filled with adventures to exotic lands, puzzling mysteries, epic wars, and more. Captivating stories that would draw you in and wrap you up in a warm cocoon, as you lost yourself in the words. Time stood still in the outside world while you traveled in a different time zone across the flipping pages.

I still remember one of the captains of this ship, a grandmotherly lady called Mrs. Martin. Pearl framed glasses, grey hair and properly dressed, she was THE librarian. Always welcoming, smiling and friendly, she was fantastic in suggesting books for us to read. Encylopedia Brown, The Pushcart Wars, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were just some of the jewels unearthed. My brother and I would leave the library clutching our stacks of books, eager to get home and dig into our piles of treasure.

As I got older and moved into junior high and then high school, I progressed up into Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, action and murder mysteries, and a ton of books on WW II (always fascinated me for some reason). An afternoon on the couch buried in a good book was still one of the great pleasures in life. By the time I reached my 30’s and 40’s though, it seemed like somewhat a forgotten pleasure. Life always seemed busy, with little time to read a book, unless I was on an airplane or sick. The internet and TV didn’t make things easier either.

From time to time, I’d hear people talking about a good book they’d read, or sometimes about quite a few books they’ve read. I’d be thinking “Where do they get the time to read?”, and I have to admit part of me was jealous. The other part was enveloped in regret, as I realized I was missing out on something special. Then this spring, an epiphany surfaced, like a lone plant through a barren field. Carpe diem, it was now or never. So off I went last month, and got my card. Paradise, here I come, I’m coming back home….

Here’s the Beef

Ran across an interesting article back in 2011, about how they were beginning to use DNA and tracking systems to keep track of where beef came from as it moved through the food distribution network. The technology was more widely used in Europe than in the US, but that appeared to be changing. Originally touted as a means to cut recall times down to hours instead of weeks, it was also going to start being used for marketing purposes. So here’s a peek at what future menus will have:

RALPH’S STEAKHOUSE IS PLEASED TO OFFER THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS:

TEXAS TENDERLOIN:

A monstrous cut of beef, since it’s a fact that EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas. Our cattle are raised on individual farmer owned land. No government handouts, no government regulations, no big corporation pinheads in fancy suits. Our beef is tough, raised out on the open range with no fancy pants barns, and kept lean with our unique Friday Night Football games with local schools. Sure, a player may get gored occasionally, but that’s life, and that’s Texas.

When it comes time to slaughter the beast, Joe Bob gets in his 73 Chevy pickup and hits the open range. The kill shots are delivered by Joe Bob at 200 yards, with one arm tied behind his back and with a blindfold on. From there it may be the chain saw and Bowie knife, or in extreme cases a stick of dynamite for a really tender burger.

CALIFORNIA CUTLET:

From the moment a new calf arrives in our low light birthing room, surrounded by running waterfalls, aromatic candles, and indigenous rain forest music, it is wrapped in a loving, caring process that will help it achieve its full potential. All young cattle are closely monitored for any signs of aggressive behavior, bullying, or unresolved emotional issues with their parents. We have trained counselors available at all times. As the calf develops, we surround it with love no matter what the gender, faith, color, body shape, or heritage it has. Transgender surgery is available if needed.

When it comes time to say goodbye to our dear, loving friends, then all staff members gather in the Farewell Room, to view a slide show celebrating our guest’s life, deliver the final goodbye hugs and kisses, and achieve closure to this very painful, emotional moment. Then our guests are given a final vegan meal with a strong sedative that lets them achieve that final sleep that they so rightly deserve.

KANSAS RED BEEF:

Here in Kansas, we consider ourselves a Red state through and through. We don’t go for any of that Sodom and Gomorrah Blue state stuff. Our cattle are bred from our “Certified Heterosexual Cattle” parents, and raised on good Christian ranches. We prohibit our cattle from accessing the internet, to protect them from all that porn and filth. Each Sunday, all ranches conduct Sunday Services, using bullhorns to deliver that day’s sermon to the animals.

On the day of their Dispatch to Heaven, the animals arrive at our House of Worship, where they are given a chance to confess any sins and re-affirm their faith in the Lord. Then they are dispatched to the World Beyond, unless we have any heathens or homosexuals to dispatch first.

NEVADA BLACKJACK BEEF:

Every 21st package of beef comes with a $1 casino token hidden inside, perfect for starting your vacation fund. Double bonus if that annoying mother in law gets it caught in her windpipe and your inheritance arrives earlier than expected. All beef cuts are stamped with our unique red or black playing card imprint (except for the Clive Bundy Beef, which is red only, no black allowed). In limited distribution areas, we offer our Area 51 beef, which glows a wonderful soft green in the dark. Any E coli contaminated beef is limited to our unlucky 777 beef packets, which seem to be popular gifts to give to the aforementioned mothers in law, as well as rude co-workers, nasty bosses, and those pesky neighbors with the noisy leaf blower.

Our slaughterhouses have a unique feature. As the animal proceeds inside, they step on floor plates that will spin an adjacent slot machine. Should all cherries pop up, the blade swings down, dispatching our friend to their destiny. Any other combination on the machine will let our friend proceed to the next plate. Oddsmakers display odds of the Grim Reaper arriving, and all betting and video is accessible from our Vegas casinos.

WASHINGTON DC BEEF:

Our beef is unlike any other you will find in any other state. Your first surprise will be when you bring it to the cash register, and find your $4.99 package of beef has ballooned up in cost to $345. Next, upon opening it at home, you will find it to be a small piece of beef that is laden with pork. Lots of pork. Pork with the names of your neighbors, fellow citizens, and a few large corporations stamped in it. Once you find the specific piece of beef with your name on it, you will find you paid $345 for an ounce of beef. You also find you owe $35 in beef consumption tax (as listed on the inside of the wrapping), and by unwrapping the package you have inadvertently agreed to send the title on your car and the deed to your house to our Washington Beef headquarters.

When it is time to dispatch our animals, they are ushered into the production facility and met at the door by one of our impeccably dressed and coiffured Congressional officials. Declaring “I’m from the government and I am here to help you”, they proceed to dispatch the animal before it has a clue as to what is happening.