Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Still more stuff that should be in the dictionary but isn’t.

Long-time readers of my previous site may recall the Blog d’Elisson Dictionary, installments of which may be found in that site’s Archives. For other entries in the Cheese Aisle Dictionary, simply click on the sidebar link for Cheese-Dic.

Our latest entry:

epoophany [eh-poo-fa-ni] (n) – A sudden intuitive perception in which one realizes that the horrifying red color of one’s stool is due to one’s having consumed beetroot the previous evening and is not, in fact, the result of a massive intestinal hemorrhage.

[This one occurred to me yesterday evening as I was consuming a beet salad. Really.]

Monday, November 28, 2016


Dead Mouse

Walter walked the studio grounds, lost in nervous concentration.

He needed a new character. Mickey had been packing theatres for years – not bad for a lousy cartoon short! – but rentals had begun to sag.

Face it: The Mouse was a victim of his own success. Originally a mischievous trickster, he was now good-natured and bland. Booooring. What he needed was a foil. A character with a rotten disposition, to create dramatic tension. But who?

He almost tripped on the duck’s carcass. It lay by the side of the pond, half-eaten. Hmmm...

Two months later, Morty Maggot opened to rave reviews.

[An earlier version of “The Cartoonist” was originally published at Laurence Simon’s The 100-Word Stories Podcast, where you can also hear an audio version.]

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Naw, you don’t have to waste your pamphlets on me. I’ll be voting the Green Lady, just like last time.

I’m old enough to remember having my first Starbucks coffee, on a chill winter’s day back in 1991. So I guess you could say I was a Party man from way back... a whole lifetime ago, seems like.

It was the Citizens United decision that changed everything. Once corporations were considered to be people for the sake of funneling money into the political process, it was only a matter of time before they were considered to be people who could actually hold political office. At least, so said the post-Trump SCOTUS, and nobody felt like arguing. Argumentative folks had a way of disappearing.

Hell, we didn't even need a Constitutional amendment to do it, according to SCOTUS... and they had the final say-so. As long as a corporation was founded in these United States and was at least thirty-five years old, it could hold political office. Well, it wasn't long after that we elected our first corporate President. ExxonMobil, it was.

It didn’t take too long for folks to figure out that the old parties had stopped making sense any more. The Dems were the first to shutter their offices, but the GOP followed suit just a few years after. No point having political parties in a corpocracy. The corps fed us our news, made sure we had food, allocated our medical care, and decided which wars we needed to fight. Good times.

No, really. It was good times. Anything would have been better than the mid-teens, when the Western-Islam wars started. Only good thing you could say about the Pence-Huckabee Crusades was that they helped take our minds off the world economic collapse. Seems that nobody in the Trump administration remembered Hawley-Smoot from 1930. Jacking up tariffs and starting trade wars is like throwing gasoline on a burning dumpster of an economy, and things had already gone south after the Haircut Act.

Everyone remembers the Haircut, I guess. The Cheeto Jesus boys must’ve thought it would be a great idea to renegotiate interest on our national debt. But a sovereign nation’s obligations are a touch more serious than corporate bonds. China practically shit their collective pants, on account of they held so much of our paper. When they eighty-sixed their dollar holdings, the whole damn thing tanked. It was like the world was a great big casino, and ol’ Don knew how to run those... right into the ground. When the Dow dropped below 2,700, there were a whole lot of unhappy people. Donnie Boy and his crew ended up getting it in the neck - the scene in the Trump Tower bunker was right outta May 1945, I hear.

Thank PopeCo the wars ended when we elected ExxonMobil. Peace with the Arabs (and the Iranians, and the Turks) was the only way they could keep the oil flowing. Ceding most of Europe to the Caliphate wasn’t too high a price to pay, and the economy started to come back.

And now that the Starbucks administration has been running things, we have plenty of coffee to drink and muffintops to eat. No, those aren’t raisins, do you think I’m a department head? Roach-nuggets. Lotsa protein, and they’re crunchy.

Now it’s election time. McDonald’s is running (again!), and Facebook is mounting yet another third-party campaign, but I think I’m gonna stick with the Mermaid. We’ve had it pretty good for the last few years... you would be amazed at how hard people can work when they’re jacked up on Flat Whites and mochaccinos.

So keep your literature for the next fellow: You don’t need to convince me. Yeah, I’m a Starby guy. Good times, right?

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Leonard Cohen, z''l (1934-2016). Barukh dayan emet.

And who by fire, who by water,
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial,
Who in your merry merry month of May,
Who by very slow decay,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate,
Who in these realms of love, who by something blunt,
And who by avalanche, who by powder,
Who for his greed, who for his hunger,
And who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent, who by accident,
Who in solitude, who in this mirror,
Who by his lady’s command, who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?

 - Leonard Cohen, “Who by Fire”

Leonard Cohen has passed away at the age of 82.

His song “Who by Fire” (lyrics above) is a rough paraphrase of U-netaneh Tokef, a prayer from the Jewish High Holiday liturgy which enumerates any number of the fates that may await each of us in the coming year. This, alas, was the year when fate caught up with Cohen... as it has with so many other beloved names in the music business.

Cohen’s songs were often covered by others (for “Hallelujah” the total may run into the thousands), but his unique gravelly voice provided the definitive texture for so many of them.

Fare you well, Lenny. You will be missed... and may your family and fans be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


A few days ago, I saw something truly horrific in the local Food Emporium... loathsome enough for me to prop it up and photograph it. Feast your eyes:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Peeps. Yeef.

It is telling that I found these on the “We Are Desperately Trying To Get Rid Of These Items And So We Are Selling Them At A Steep Discount” table. But some things are so nasty, they have negative value: You can’t pay people to take them. These is they.

Peeps - the basic yellow, blue, or pink kind - are inconsequential enough. Marshmallows shaped to look like little birdies. I suppose that if you love either (1) marshmallows, or (2) little birdies, they are inoffensive. And you can amuse yourself with them if you are of a perverse frame of mind. Float one in your hot chocolate and imagine it peeping in horror as it realizes that its hindquarters are dissolving! Pop a flock of ’em in your microwave and watch ’em expand!

But now we have Peeps in various flavors, the classic shelf-space grab. Candy corn flavor. Red velvet cake flavor. And ((shiver)) pumpkin spice latte flavor. Feh. Even the peeps themselves hate it: Look at the disgusted expression on the little guy in the center, like an old man who has been given a bad diagnosis.

What happens when Peeps grow up.
Finding those Peeps made me wonder: What other confections are out there that inspire fear and loathing? For me, it’s things like Jujubes, Necco Wafers, and Circus Peanuts. “Heritage” treats - the kind that you find at the Crapper Cracker Barrel - are a mixed lot. The same Nik-L-Nips that I loved as a kid are vile to me now, perhaps because I’ve outgrown my taste for little wax bottles containing a few drops of tooth-shatteringly sweet fruit-flavored fluid.

Hard candies of any kind are, to me, difficult to love. Root beer barrels? Fuck’m. On the other hand, anything with chocolate - real chocolate, not that palm kernel oil shit - is eminently desirable.

What say you? What candies did you despise when you were a kid? And what candies do you hate today?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Darth Elisson

People sometimes ask me, “Elisson, what is up with you and those stupid fucking colanders that you are always putting on your empty noggin?”

My answer is severalfold.

First, my noggin is not - despite all evidence to the contrary - empty. Research has shown that there is an actual cauliflower in there.

Second (and this is the real answer to your question, by the bye), this is why.


He was a bold man that first eat an oyster.” - Jonathan Swift
“Oyster, schmoyster. He was a bold man that first eat an etrog.” - The Bard of Affliction

This time of year, after the whirlwind Red Sea Pedestrian Holiday Season is concluded, we inevitably face a decision: what to do with the leftover etrog.

The etrog (pronounced esrig in Ashkenazic Yiddish) is a citron, the “p’ri hadar” (beautiful fruit) mentioned in the Bible. It is used as a ritual object during the observance of Sukkot, the fall Feast of Tabernacles, a time when exceptionally lovely specimens command astonishing prices amongst  communities of observant Jews.

A sunny yellow etrog.

After the Sukkot festival concludes, though, the etrog’s utility as a ritual object drops to nil. It’s too beautiful (and usually, too costly) to merely toss in the trash, so the reasonable question is: What do we do with the damned thing it?

It turns out there are plenty of things you can do with it. (Whether any of ’em make sense is for you to decide.)

First and foremost, you can just simply let your etrog sit around until it is thoughly dry. Unlike the thin-skinned lemon that will eventually rot, the etrog has a tiny amount of flesh, an appalling number of seeds, and a thick hide. As a result, instead of getting nasty and moldy - like that stupid pumpkin you still have on your front porch - the etrog simply shrinks and becomes rock-hard. You can then use it to pitch at the neighborhood kids (“Get off my lawn!”) or simply put it in a suitable container. Eventually, you can have a collection like mine. (Keep in mind that, until recently, I also had collections of shoe horns, matchbooks, hotel shoe polishing cloths, and hotel soaps and shampoos.)

My slowly growing pile of dried-up etrogs.

I wonder whether there’s any flavor to these babies. A few minutes with a Microplane and I could be the next Yotam Ottolenghi, huh?

People with more patience than I will sometimes poke holes in their etrog and stud the fruit with cloves. When the whole affair dries, you’ve got a wonderful pomander with which you can scent the inside of your drawers. (The ones in which you park your clothes, not your butt - although the latter presents a simultaneously fascinating and loathsome possibility.) I tried this once, and all I ended up with was a rotten etrog and a lot of wasted cloves. Fail.

There’s also a nifty recipe for etrog-infused vodka floating about. I may try it sometime down the road... because vodka needs help.

Some folks will make marmalade from their etrogim (that’s the Hebrew plural, if you’re curious). But I chose to slice mine up and cook it down in a sugar syrup, much as I would do with a quince.

Etrog slices in syrup. All they need is a maraschino cherry.

These jewel-like babies had a fascinating sweet-sour flavor with a lingering bitter finish. The consensus amongst my taste-testers (thanks Dan and Erica!) was that they were an acquired taste... a polite way of saying “Feh.” But I think they may work well as a cocktail garnish. A sliver of candied etrog on a toothpick would be a fine enhancement for a Negroni!

Postscript: It’s official. I have now created and field-tested the Etrogroni... and it is amazing.


Our kitty is a sculptor,
A most creative beast:
Her new designs are mighty fine
Carved once a day, at least.

She puts them in a little box,
A present for her Dad -
She never, ever buries them,
For that would make her sad.

They’re parked upon a pedestal
Composed of kitty litter:
A veritable Cat-Rodin,
Her works, they almost glitter

Like golden idols, worshiped
By assorted pagan tribes.
They give forth aromatic fumes
Which some have called “good vibes.”

Our kitty’s sculpture garden,
It grows a bit each day.
As long as we keep feeding her,
She’ll ne’er run out of “clay.”