Saturday, May 31, 2008

Plab Soap Opera Part 4: Plabnox’s Guide to Brooklyn - Memorial Day

y toward brunch, we came across something that resembled a parade. There were cottage cheese collections lazing in aluminum chairs along the sidewalk, whilst costumed humans frolicked in the streets. The happening impressed us as more than an event, yet less than a spectacle. Inquisitive, we queried the local police officer wielding his state-given power at the end of the street, "What is this occurrence yonder on Russell Street?" "They're getting ready for the Veteran's Day Parade," he replied. Now we know not to take Russell Street until November, for the parade preparations will last six months.

The next curiosity on our odyssey was Turkey's Nest Tavern, a nest-cum-bar. One of its many interesting qualities is the fact that turkeys, who are not nesting birds biologically, will break with the natural order to weave great nests especially for the patrons of this bar.

Below: The nesting tavern. Click for larger image.

At the crossroads of Turkey's Nest and a park, we fell victim to the stalking of the ice cream truck. Its helmsman, a blooming moustache, wooed us with its tinkling siren tune for twenty-five minutes. Suddenly, Thorndike stated that he would download the song from iTunes as soon as he could log on, and Harriet informed us that the dance version is sweeping the discothéques in Europe.

Below: The moustache-commanded ice cream truck halts its stalking mission for wedding photos.

Brunch was sumptuous. I sipped two servings of orange juice, which totaled two tablespoons (each serving was 1T). Despite our satiety, we coveted Memorial Day fro yo: "Take us the nearest fro yo stand!" we directed. S took us to her favorite vendor, which offered the flavors "Drs. Coconut and Green Tea," available by prescription only.

Below: These fro yo flavors are not yet available over-the-counter. The end.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Plab Soap Opera Part 3: Plabnox’s Guide to Brooklyn - Memorial Day

nder the location of the nearest open eatery. He replied that, given the time (2:30AM), there was nothing open in the vicinity. We, however, refused to be dispirited by his words and vowed to overcome this unexpected twist of fate. Outside the tavern, we descried a McDonald's set atop a tor and made a run for it. Alas, it had closed its doors to business. Despite this figure of doom, we hoped the kind spirits of Memorial Day would smile on us in the form of an all-night sub shop or a 7-11.

What we found was not food, but Zeus, a pooch immured by a gilded bronze fence. His male owner had unaccountably stationed himself on the stoop, standing guard during his 3:30AM shift. Whilst Thorndike, S, Weenus and Harriet suffocated Zeus with love, I interrogated the man about Zeus' papers, his infant brood, the age of his cats, and the state of dogfighting in Brooklyn. My voice was barely audible over the din of Thorndike's incessant crying of, "Only kissies, only kissies!" as he lowered his face for repeated bathings. Lines were crossed when S announced her intention to transgress Zeus' fence. The man said it was not a good idea; S rebutted with, "You don't understand." Weenus, in charge, stepped in, "No S, you don't understand." We departed, leaving the man to ponder his brush with our coterie.

Back at S' bungalow, S, unbeknownst to the rest of us, tossed some pitas in the oven and lobbed some pierogies onto the stove, igniting the frying pan on which they flopped, before vanishing into the cavernous recesses of her chambers. A minute passed, and then S emerged, howling and ululating that something was aflame. After we solved the mystery of the burning starches, Weenus fried up the pierogies while chatting me up about yeast infections, antibiotics, and bronchitis.

We arose at 1PM sharp for Memorial brunch. Prior to our awakening, I had ventured to the bathroom only to discover a paucity of toilet paper. Quickly riffling through my purse, I discovered a cache of Kleenex, of which I used one sheet and placed the remainder on the back of the toilet for others' enjoyment. Nay, ere an hour passed before Weenus stirred and encountered the same predicament. I heard her vacate the habitat and thought, "I bet Weenus is going to get some toilet paper." Sure enough, she returned and conspicuously reentered the bathroom. I heard rustling, and then, when I chose to levitate from the futon anew, hours later, my pleasant suspicion was confirmed. I reveled in the rolls, and so was motivated by them that I decided to invest in a shower.
Shortly after beginning the journe

To be continued...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Plab Soap Opera Part 2: Plabnox’s Guide to Brooklyn - Memorial Day

by Hesta

ld last precisely two hours.

En route to S' hovel, Harriet took it upon himself to execute the ceremonial breaking of the Memorial Day bottle of wine on concrete. We left the spilled libation at the scene, outside a park in Williamsburg, and sallied forth toward our destination: Memorial Day Eve. A Cerberus-like moustache of a certain age guarded the entrance to S'. After we gained passage, we crossed the iron-gated threshold of S' mansion. Weenus had been cast in the role of butler, so she led our ascension up the staircase to the top, where S awaited the arrival of her retinue. Greetings were made, Stevie Nicks was turned on, Scattergories was quickly broken out, and rules were laid down by Thorn and me.

After 1.667 rounds, we abandoned Scat in order to discuss politics on S' fire escape-slash-balcony. The discourse involved sharing various techniques to overthrow the government or incite sedition. Views ranged from the placid—retreating to a Walden-like hovel—to the internecine—total assassination of the current cabinet. Auxiliary concerns included the current rampant discrimination against atheists.

Once the political festivities were complete, we moved the party into S' chamber, where she regaled us with her dulcet singing voice and dextrous guitar-playing. The program, keeping with the Stevie Nicks theme, included "Landslide," "Rhiannon," and "Gypsy." Harriet's least favorite piece was a rendition of the atonal Japanese "Sa Ku Ra" performed a capella by me and Weenus.
Above: The patron saint of our Memorial Day revelry.

At 1:30AM, we ruled in favor of taking our celebration to the streets and trekked to a neighborhood tavern. Despite our chill, we seated ourselves in an outdoor patio where the temperature registered at zero degrees Kelvin, and proceeded to order a round of ice waters. The tavern had unfurled a lavish, gratuitous barbecue immediately adjacent to us. Though we carped about our current state of hunger, our brains told us we only had room for tater tots. I asked the man tending the feast if there were tater tots on hand. He said there were, but we'd have to wait. Inside, I questioned the barkeep about the prospect of tater tots. He indicated that the odds were not in our favor by denying that the establishment ever had or would serve tater tots. When I redirected my inquisition to the feast-tender, he seemed oblivious to our conversation of five minutes past, for he claimed no knowledge of tater tots, past, present or future. We were in no mood to solve the tavern's tater tots riddle, so we summoned our last remnants of energy and swept past the edible, aromatic bounty. During our egress, we asked the barte

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Abjection Annals: Pinky Toe

The blister I sprouted from wearing heels in Brooklyn has now reached a pivotal shield-like state. Harriet Griswold urged me to tear it asunder tonight, rending it from my person, but I calmly apprised him of my intent to let it ripen naturally. As a medical doctor, I know its brittle translucency constitutes the penultimate stage prior to total abjection. I also know this because of the abhorrence Harriet expresses when in its ambiguous, boundary-defying presence. For example, when I placed the skin frond a full two feet from his dessert plate in order to let it bask in the radiant lamplight, he shrilled, “Don’t let it touch my cookie!”

Plab Soap Opera Part 1: Plabnox’s Guide to Brooklyn - Memorial Day

By Hesta

Like all upstanding Americans, Plabnox Cures prefers to celebrate Memorial Day in the company of friends, family, wine, cheese and baked goods. To further that cause, Harriet Griswold (my beau) and I traversed to New York for a holiday picnic with Thorndike, S (une chanteuse), and Weenus. Ween hails from Vermont. For the occasion, I composed a traditional Memorial Day dessert: chocolate coconut macaroon bars. However, when Harriet Griswold and I ran our patriotic ship aground at Thorndike’s domicile, I was informed that “picnic” signified quaffing wine in the park near S’s chateau in Brooklyn.

Since the picnic would be devoid of vittles, Harriet and I made an immediate declaration of hunger. We moseyed on over to a diner called “Paul’s Palace.” The meal had but one foible: the waitress, holding the bill to heighten our anticipation, delivered unto us a digressive, circuitous anecdote about how one of her neighbors once under-tipped her, thus embarrassing both of them.

We rolled out of the palace and onto Tokio 7, a consignment store teeming with avant-garde garments. Harriet tried to converse with Thorn and me, but the goods had placed us under their hypnotic spell, rendering us incommunicative. Our next stop was Obscura: Antiques and Oddities. There was a murdered pigeon sighting one block before Obscura; Thorndike considered scooping up the carrion flesh to pawn and marketing it as an “oddity.” He ultimately passed on the idea because the pigeon is a common bird and impossible to sell. Once inside, I tried out a plumed pirate’s hat, determined it would make a good typing hat for work, but then decided against purchasing it for ridiculous reasons. Weenus then telephoned and importunately demanded our coordinates and how long it would be before we reached S’ place. We informed her that our cosmetic preparations, along with fulfilling S’ behest for wine and cheese, wou

To be continued...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Plabnox Travels to Vermont

A fortnight ago, I set out in Jerri, who was still convalescing from her latest injury (see Plablognox post of May 6 2008), for Vermont. I had to swing by Thorndike’s dwelling in Manhattan to pick up that nugget. Jerri was moving at a nice clip until she hit a traffic gridlock 5 miles outside the Holland Tunnel. This, along with the septic air and mid-morning smog, induced a panic attack, which lasted the two hours it took to reach the tunnel. After the tunnel debacle, I encountered a whimsical traffic cop who was “directing” the flow of vehicles near a construction site. He threw up his hands at Jerri, causing her to come to an absolute halt. As soon as she had ceased motion, however, he broke into a frenzy of whistle-tooting and gesticulations for her to proceed through the intersection. This resulted in an onslaught of horn-blowing directed at Jerri. Moodily, I parked chez Thorn while he gathered his luggage. Our exodus from the island was slowed by a trio of Astro minivans, who had colluded to drive 3mph while straddling two lanes.

Below: The lethargic Astro.

Twin equine touchholes heralded our arrival in southern Vermont.

Soon after that auspicious sign, Jerri found herself being tailed by an aggressive Thomas (see Jerri had been flaunting her multi-colored wires for several hundred miles,

so it was only a matter of time before a member of the Thomas species picked up on her musky scent.

It is a well-known fact that May is the zenith of mating season for the Thomas. This particular specimen bore down on Jerri with unrelenting passion. A lady, she evaded his boorish overtures and lost him on one of Vermont’s renowned highway knolls.

After we lost the Thomas, we realized we had hit Vermont during a most inopportune time-- rush hour. A horde of commuters in high dudgeon hemmed Jerri in on all sides.

Below: Rush hour traffic in Vermont.

Thorndike tabulated examples of the Vermont driver by photographing them as Jerri passed. The technique was perfected over a series of experimental trials, during which we lost an Eagle, a rare breed of driver. Yet, as scientists, we realized that casualties are inevitable in any scientific study. In its final version, the technique involved pulling up alongside an unsuspecting driver at a high velocity, slowing to a rate .01 mph faster than said driver to enable Thorndike to snap a clear photograph of the victim, and then speeding away into the landscape.

Below: A montage of the Vermont driver in his various forms.

Before we honed in on central Vermont, our destination, Jerri quenched her gas thirst at a Mobil station. Mobil is our favorite gas purveyor because of its environmentally friendly business policies. We especially liked this Mobil outpost for its slogan, “On the Run,” with which we strongly identified.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stuff Plabnox Likes: #1 – Personalized Private Property

There is certainly nothing more pleasant in life than returning to the City of Brotherly Love after a weekend sojourn in New York and finding that Philly’s denizens have left their special mark on one of your possessions. Their latest parody of Lockean property values left me chortling for hours.

Below: Stills of the satirical performance art.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Physical Examination of a Cat

Every cat owner dreads it. The annual feline physical exam can be an emotionally trying time for both the cat and the human overlord. To avoid the anxiety that inevitably accompanies a trip to the vet, Plabnox's team of doctors have designed a simple exam that can be conducted at home by the average cat owner.

Below: Dr. Prosperina Swinnard (Plab School of Medicine, 2004) conducts the reflex test on patient J, with mixed results.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Plabnox’s Guide to New York’s Lower East Side


By Hesta

This past weekend I decided to relinquish the creature comforts of my Philadelphia apartment and visit in New York City. had generously extended an invitation to assist him in moving from his trendy apartment to a studio with an oblique floor blocks away—at no cost to me. Little did I know what luxuriant accommodations awaited. No sooner had I arrived chez than he invited me to squat with him on his unadorned mattress and view several Futurama episodes which were showing on his ad hoc projection system comprising a Dell computer and a mouse (sans mousepad) set on the floor. I was delighted to find the bathroom bereft of soap and ornamented with a fine layer of his ex-roommate’s hair sheddings. At crepuscule, showed me to my room, which, economically, was where I had sat for the Futurama screenings just minutes earlier. I was given a pillow from the sofa and a fitted sheet in lieu of a blanket, to ward off the night drafts. himself took the dust ruffle and the other sofa pillow.

Dawn heralded moving day, and we accepted the doorman’s challenge when he informed us the elevator would be out of order for the duration of the move. Cleaning duties were assigned: wrestled with the bathroom; I employed a gerbil-sized “Dirt Devil” and used its one-inch square nozzle to vacuum his roommate’s abjections in her spacious boudoir. Whilst I sprouted a hunchback, packed most of his belongings in Hefty’s stylish luggage line of black garbage bags. We headed due north to U-Haul’s headquarters, where they outfitted with a boxy moving van. The necessary paperwork was signed, and we buckled into the mastodon, tuning into the local AM gospel radio station to transport us spiritually and physically to our destination.

Below: U-Haul's powerful marketing campaign

Below: U-Haul's President, Joe, poses in various emotional states

Our return to the apartment was thwarted by a police blockade positioned strategically at the entrance to one-way street. After we circled the block like a falcon, our gypsy informant told us that we should simply back down the street. In order to alert other drivers of our plan, I lowered my window and began shouting, “We’re going to park our car! We’re backing down the street!! OOGA OOGA OOGA!” This allowed others to plan for an alternative route of travel while we monopolized the roadway. As we exited the monstrosity, which we plopped in front of a fire hydrant, the gypsy accosted us and offered his services. We foolishly turned him down, and went up for the first load. When we came back down, the cops were waiting for us at the van, all two of them. attempted to exculpate himself while I placed a surly expression upon my visage and hovered nearby. Since the police denied him counsel, presented his defense pro se. The charge was use of a U-Haul for advertising purposes while obstructing access to a fire hydrant. Before the defendant could deliver his closing statement, however, the inaptly named law enforcement officers reached a verdict and sentenced him to a parking ticket. fully intends to appeal the tribunal’s ruling on a procedural basis, weaving a passionate tale of the erosion of constitutional rights in the American legal system.

After the injustice, we labored for minutes loading up the van. discovered that, like using a dolly, invoking the Continental Shelf reduced some of the load when carrying the garbage bags (see illustration below).

Below: Diagram of the Continental Shelf

Later, fortune smiled on us with an auspicious cat sighting in the window of the clairvoyant who conducts business beneath new manor. The new neighbors must have hearkened to our moans—or caught our scent on the air— as we heaved his belongings up three flights, for the tenant from across the hall came by and introduced herself to a ripe and glistening .

Later, guided by principles of feng shui, we unleashed our decorating powers on the apartment: we placed bare pallet in the center of the room and surrounded it by the black Hefty bags. The arrangement resembles idolatrous worshippers dancing around the altar of a pagan god, or the attraction to the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the Weird Sisters circling a cauldron and conjuring Hecate. In order to show off our home decorating efforts, we invited S, a chanteuse from Brooklyn, to spend the night.

Below: furnished apartment after we bestowed our interior decorating gifts upon it

We lured S to the place with promises of a sumptuous mac and cheese repast. However, our ruse was exposed when the gas stove did not turn on. Our undoing led us straight to a wine bar, where we befriended the waitress and then left her a 1% tip. Our charitable act whetted our appetites, so we entered the nearest greasy spoon. After we were seated, we found, to our dismay, that the menu did not offer cheese fries. Not wanting to compromise the integrity of our food craving, we swept out and on to the next dining establishment, which had more cheese-friendly offerings. After we ordered a trio of grilled cheeses, and I excused ourselves to the single-toilet lavatory, where, once inside, we shouted at the first person who knocked, “We’re never leaving!” Back at the table, S and I engaged in a fencing match with French fries, while played the role of spectator and ingested the remaining fries. At that point, it was time for me to launch a pickle across the restaurant, which the manager witnessed impassively. Sated, we returned to pad and transformed the mattress into a dance floor, bouncing and crooning to Stevie, Celine, and MJ. At 3 AM we screened when the BOUGH BReaKS, starring Ted Danson. Always a gentleman, let S and I share the fitted sheet while he took the dust ruffle. The only low point in the night was when, after we had all dozed off, the DVD returned to its “menu” setting and cycled various quotes from the movie, including “I’m Dr. Delaware, a psychologist” and “You’re going to blow this case, and me, right out of the water!!” This induced S to cry out, “HELLO!” to the rest of us on the mattress, followed by, “Can someone turn that off!” Paralyzed by when the BOUGH BReaKS’ menu montage, S was unable to reach six inches across the floor to turn off the DVD. “Yes,” I screeched, “It’s a nightmare!” saved himself from a potential contretemps by suavely turning off the sound.