Monthly Archives: December 2012

Post Apoca-prep


The Studogger is having an End-of-the-world, Apocalypse party and suggested that I post something along the lines of preparation.

Personally, I think the Mayans just couldn’t find a stone big enough to accommodate the remainder of their ‘long calendar’.  Operative word being ‘long’.  I can imagine the conversation they had:

“What comes after the second time Venus transits the Sun?”
“Who cares? By that time there won’t be anyone left.”
“Besides, we don’t have enough guys to lift a stone that big.”
“You’re done.  Go back to harvesting poison dart frogs.”
“Cool.  Thanks, Chief.”
“No problemo.”

IDK, if the end of the world is coming, I don’t really think you need to run yourself ragged getting things in order.  Then again, if you did (run yourself ragged, that is) it might help with the whole ‘zombie-like’ appearance that is sure to be all the rage.

But the Birdwell is an old Boy Scout.  And the Boy Scout motto is ‘Be Prepared’.  Here are some suggestions:

Defense – A 12 gauge shotgun and plenty of 00 buckshot.  Nothing less than a 12 gauge will do.  No, the Stevens double barrel 20 gauge your old man handed down to you won’t work on zombies.  Don’t you watch tv? Besides, Stevens are little more than pieces of pipe.  A Remington 870 pump is the premier anti-zombie weapon.  And only 00 buckshot.  It seems that those are the only shells left in the post apocalyptic world, anyway.  Throw your birdshot away, it’s useless.

A knife – Everyone needs to carry a knife on their belt.  Not a folding knife, but a fixed-blade, sheath knife.  The larger, the better.  Keep it razor sharp.

Clothing – A good pair of jeans and some sort of button down long sleeved shirt in olive drab green, khaki or some other color that wears dirt well.  Black will always be in style.  Camouflage works well, too.  Not flannel, it’s too soft.  You need some kind of canvas cloth or cotton twill.  A baseball hat, too, or a bandana.

Water – Because you’ll need to stay hydrated.

Canned food – First, most freeze-dried food tastes like crapola.  Second, a 14 ounce can of peas can put a dent in anyone who is messing with you – or your alcohol.

Alcohol – No post apocalyptic preparation would be complete without some booze to quell the late night jitters.  I’m not talking about beer here, folks.  Stock up on something hard, vodka, whiskey, gin or rum.  You’ll get used to the taste in short order.  And it keeps well, too.  Better than canned food.

Salt – Zombies abhor salt.  Pro’ly one of the reasons they are so miserable, apart from being un-dead and all, is that they haven’t bothered to stay properly hydrated.  Salt makes that all the worse.  I prefer Kosher salt, myself, for reasons I have mentioned elsewhere in these blogs.  Come to think of it, loading up a few shotshells with rock salt for zombie blasting might be doubly effective.

Fire – Disposable types will work in a pinch, but if you want to go for ‘best of show’ invest in a silver Zippo.  Those things will set stone on fire.  Next to a blast from your 12 gauge, fire is the next best zombie killer.

Toilet paper = civilization – And salvation.  In the end it will be those who control the toilet paper that make the rules.  The order of importance is pretty much – Food, weapons, toilet paper.  You don’t see much of it on television, but you will still have to go.  And when you have to go, you are going to want tp.  Seems to me that wherever a group of people hold up against zombies, there is usually a good supply of tp somewhere, even if you don’t see it.  It is in that room in the back that no one goes into.

This Public Service Announcement brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Birdwell. It’s the Holiday Season so, stay safe out there.

Fruit Cake


You know, I don’t know what all the fuss was about fruit cake.

I say ‘was’ because the furor has died down in recent years.  All of the nay sayers succeeded in admonishing those who would endeavor to bake a fruit cake.  It is now regarded as a holiday faux pas, a blunder, misstep, screw up, outdated, old fashioned, a backhanded crack to the chops (ker-smack!).

Even the display of a fruit cake is seen as a party foul, to be avoided at all costs lest the yoke of ridicule fall upon one’s shoulders.  (Ha-ha, Granny made a fruit cake.  Ger-osss.  Are you going to eat it?  I’m not eating it, you eat it.  No way, ewww.)

Well, to hell with that bullshitake.  I like fruit cake.  I like the way it tastes.  I like the way it looks, with its glistening sheen, its delectable fruits and golden brown color.  I like the way it feels, heavy, full and dense.  Fruit cake is like the heavy metal of deserts.  A fine topper for a holiday meal.  Its sheer molecular structure helps to push the evening repast down the esophagus.  Likewise, the same qualities make a slice (or two or three) a fine midnight snack.  It sits low in the gut, quashing the pangs of hunger that caused you to arise at some ungodly hour in the first place.  Washed back with a cold glass of milk, you can get back to the task at hand, that being getting much needed rest time.

Both of my Grandmothers used to make fruit cakes.  And what tour de forces they were, what with their abundance of candied cherries, citron cubes and raisins.  Oh what a joy it was to get a whole sliced cherry, green or red, in my piece.  Sometimes Grams would flip me a whole cherry off the top as she was carving up the fruit cake, just like one of the Japanese chefs with their Ginsu knives.  I would gladly snap up the treat like a hound that was tossed a table scrap. (ro-kay, Shaggy).

I’m thinking that the downfall of the fruit cake was that too many came to the table dry, over baked or perhaps without enough goodies inside.  A dry, crumbly fruit cake lacking a decent amount of moist, candied surprises is no treat, copious amounts of spiked eggnog or not.  Grandma’(s) fruit cakes were always moist and delicious.  They were also heavy.  You could easily use one for a football, should the need arise, or a counter-weight.   Of course doing so in their presence would get you much more than a backhanded crack to the chops, I assure you.

My sister has reminded me that both Grandmothers also soaked their fruit cakes in some kind of liquor.  I am not sure which liquor, but rum or brandy sound like compatriots.  Nothing like basting your fruit cake in a cask of rum to keep it moist.

I’m thinking here of the ‘Season of Giving’.  That, and the pesky neighbor or distant family member that you didn’t plan on showing up at a holiday gathering.  What better way to show your disdain then to bestow a fruit cake upon them?

Now, follow me here.  It’s Christmas, you are in the company of many people and you have to keep up appearances.  You hate the fact that you have to give something to the douche_bag, but you have to be cordial.  So, in addition to doing a few shots of cordials (ha!), you bestow upon him {dun-dun-DUHN!} –  a FRUIT CAKE.

Now the tables have been turned.  Now it is he that must subvert, compelled by the restraints of society and good social manners, to be grateful, thank you and put up appearances (even if it is an act).  And it is you, my friend, that sits in the catbird seat, reaching for the bottle of Blackberry brandy and gloating like a fat man in a belching contest.

But I heard him say, ere he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Thanks Easter Bunny

(you mother@#$%&*, you)

As I write this I am indulging in a Cadbury Creme Egg.  You know, the egg shaped chocolate candy filled with some manner of supersaturated sugar ‘creme’ that is strangely reminiscent of that crap Sigourney Weaver had to deal with in the movie ‘Aliens’.

To be accurate, this is a Cadbury ‘Screme’ Egg.  The alien sugar filling is actually tinted green, for the Halloween season.  The better to scream you with, I guess.  I found it incubating at the bottom of my daughter’s Halloween candy basket.

Yes, of course we are still going through the Halloween candy, aren’t you?

Understandably, from both the standpoint of recipient and donor, a Cadbury Creme, er, Screme Egg is a big score.  That is a nice hunk of chocolate to drop into the bottomless pit of a kid’s candy satchel.  Surely the donor is hedging their bet against their car getting egged or trees festooned with toilet paper.  Even if the kid doesn’t see the bowl of eggs wrapped in brilliant foil, they know something good went in.  The Cadbury Creme Egg has definite mass and a molecular weight, about the same as lead.  It lands with a ‘thwump’ snapping the Kit Kat bar in half.

But let me tell you, if my daughter had gotten a hold of this thing it would be my wife and I who would be screaming.  It seems that Swee’ Pea doesn’t metabolize chocolate in an efficient manner.  It compels her into channeling Linda Blair in her starring role – pea soup expulsion withheld, thank God.  But screaming, head spinning and speaking in tongues are all included.  More than once I have ran to get my bell and Bible, full on ready to try my hand at an exorcism.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed until the sucrose coma set in.

So, as a service to both mine and my wife’s sanity, I take the hit on the waistline and consume whatever chocolate there is.  Taking one (or two, or three) for the team.

The only good thing I can say about the Cadbury Creme Egg, Screme or otherwise, is that they are smaller than they were when they debuted.  One of the very few good things to have come out of consumer product downsizing.  I noticed that the ingredients appear to be printed on the foil wrapper, but not in any manner that I can read.  Again, swift marketing.  I am sure the first five or six ingredients are sugar and/or sugar by-products.

Hear this, Easter Bunny:  Come spring, if I catch you leaving one of those things in my kid’s basket you’ll be the one screaming.

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