Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 86 - November 2007

I’m sure you will all remember a few months ago that I included within the Ramblings an encouragement for you all to sign the petition to make Pete Seeger a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I’ve subsequently received the following letter from Steve Willett and I’m printing it here in its entirety.

The petition to nominate Pete Seeger for a Nobel Peace Prize has grown rapidly; there are over 7600 signatures and you are one of them. The comments on the petition web page attest to how deeply Pete has touched our lives, from our parents to our children and grandchildren, and helped shape our sense of human responsibility.

In response to this initial outpouring of support, we have launched a new website, specifically to support this campaign. While it is still under development, we are asking you to take a look, and to publicize its existence to others who might want to support this campaign. The site can be reached at:

http://nobelprize4pete.org

We are actively seeking additional help in building this campaign. Of particular interest would be organization endorsements of the campaign that we can publicize. If you are involved in such an organization, please ask them to endorse this effort, and have them send email to that effect to:

info@nobelprize4pete.org

Another goal of ours is to collect additional materials to support this campaign. Because Pete is such a private person there is little besides what's on his record jackets that fills in his life story. Everybody has a little tale to tell about when they first met Pete or when he sang at their camp or school. Others may have photographs of Pete or of activities he has been involved with. It would be nice to collect those memories. He is essential to so many people.

Below are some of my thoughts on this campaign that you might be able to use in convincing others to join in!

Eleanor Walden
eleanor@nobelprize4pete.org

==== some thoughts ====

The fact that Al Gore won the Peace Prize award this year encourages our effort for Pete Seeger for 2008! I hope this recognition helps the environmental movement and increases ways to protect the planet that is our home. I hope it makes more of us aware of the chasm we endure between rich and poor, between obscenely rich and obscenely poor. I am also encouraged that it was through an art form, a film, that Al Gore got his message around the world so quickly and won such acceptance. How tired I am of having the arts referred to as “artsy/fartsy”, how insulting to have the Universities cut back programs in the “humanities”, and music and arts enhancement in grade schools be the first to go for budget cuts.

The folk music revival movement that spread around the world encouraged young people to learn to play an instrument, give poetic voice to political opinions, and find appreciation for the carriers of the folk tradition who had kept those jewels of music alive in their families and communities. One of Pete’s most important contributions to our consciousness was that he always paid homage to the lineage of folk traditions and was one of the first to see that folk music, was not cute and quaint, but was a form of protest against oppression.

Pete Seeger is an ambassador for Peace and Social Justice and has been over the course of his 88-year lifetime. His work shows up wherever you look in the history of labor solidarity, growth of mass effort to end the Vietnam war, ban of nuclear weapons, work for international diplomacy, support of the Civil Rights Movement, for cleaning up the Hudson River and for environmental responsibility in general. Pete knit the world together with songs from China, the Soviet Union, Israel, Cuba, South Africa and Republican Spain. We learned that Crispus Attucks, born a slave, was the first man to die at the opening of the Revolutionary War, that the Farmer-Labor party in the mid-west had a socialist philosophy that lasted well into the 20th century, we learned that anti-slavery movements were often inspired by songs that indicated a map of escape, such as “Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd,” he popularized many of the IWW songs that helped in CIO organizing, and spread the Civil Rights Movement through promoting the SNCC Freedom Singers and making songs such as “We Shall Overcome,” known all over the world.

When subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy, Pete defended himself on the basis of the First Amendment, the right of an American citizen to free association, not the Fifth Amendment, protection against self incrimination. When he was boycotted from earning a living and practicing his craft on a national scale Pete appeared at union meetings, summer camps, Jr. High and High Schools, and Colleges. His pay at times was as little as $5, but his value was priceless!

Pete also had his mentors: among them Paul Robeson, who said: “The Artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery...” It is time that a cultural worker receives the acknowledgment that, as Bertolt Brecht points out, “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” The cultural workers who know the power of the arts for social and political change, also know how difficult it is to gain recognition for cultural creation without either trivializing the art or somehow qualifying for designation of “high art” selected by an elite.

Pete Seeger always held to the principals that people’s music is not only “good art” but is representational art through music. Thus “folk music” was a living, vibrant form of culture.

Culture, in essence, means to honor our forbears. In the words of the Eastern European writer Milan Kundera: “ the struggle for people’s power is the struggle for memory and against forgetting”. Pete’s talent, sense of decency, and inalterable belief in, as Anne Franke said, that, “at heart, people are basically good”, were uniquely his, but he has never been alone in his work; the support of his wife Toshi and his family gave him the opportunity to be all he could be. We all stand on Pete Seeger's shoulders in a manner of speaking. We share Pete Seeger as a "father" of cultural, social, and political movements, as much as we share our parental DNA.

It is time that cultural work receives the recognition that the arts have great influence and global reach, that it is not only a medium of entertainment but of education, compassion and action. It is the desire of the committee that Pete Seeger be recognized as a beacon of integrity and principle in a time, and in a country, more defined by the absence of those qualities than by their honor.

Eleanor Walden
www.nobelprize4pete.org
Eleanor@nobelprize4pete.org
[mailto:steve@nobelprize4pete.org

If you’ve not yet signed the petition – there is still time.

I find it truly amazing that a war criminal like Tony Blair can become the Ambassador for Peace in the Middle East; whilst we have people like Pete, who has done more for peace in our time than any body else, is ignored until good people like Eleanor Walden and Steve Willett take up the challenge. The very least we can do is to add our names to the list.


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It’s very obvious to me that Gordon Brown does not read the Ramblings! Perhaps he should!! A few months ago I wrote “It will be interesting to see how he fares, it’s lucky for him that his ratings are still very high. Perhaps the next couple of months would be a good time for a snap election before the mass electorate finds him out. Inspiring he is not.” Unfortunately for him and the Labour Party he left it just one month too long and he now has considerable egg on his face. It will be interesting now to see how the mood of the electorate swings in the next 18 months. Bringing troops back from Iraq will help, bringing them all back even better. George W was the inspirational brain behind this awful mess and as such I’m tempted to let the Americans sort it out. However, whilst by going in in the first place they’ve already proved themselves to be more dysfunctional and stupid than the rest of mankind, this nation is within a gnats whisker, as guilty as they are. At least I, along with a million other people, have the satisfaction of having marched in the mass rally in London against the war. But Blair’s lies about Iraq’s capacity to strike with nuclear weapons within 20 minutes sent the British population into apoplexy with the resulting consequences that we are all now living to regret. Had the Tory party had the gumption and good sense of the Liberal Democrats and argued against the war sense might have prevailed. But if there’s one thing the Tory party loves above anything else it’s a good war! Why they even prefer a bad war to no war at all. So before you dash out in 18 months to put your blue crosses on the voting slip remember the Tories are as guilty as the socialists (well there’s a misuse of a word if ever there was one) because this mess is almost as much the responsibility of the right as it is of the so called left. Why even I feel guilty and I’ve spoken out long and loud now for 5 years or more. I’m feeling a bit like the British Broadcasting Corporation who appears to relish a bit of self flagellation! British politics is a load of flabbergasting flapdoodle don’t you think? I do so love the ‘F’ words.

Obesity is a subject much in the news recently; which is odd because I was intending to say something about it myself this month anyway. I’m coming from a ‘Holier than thou’ situation actually having lost almost 42 pounds since the middle of May. But six months ago I weighed 19 stone 4 pounds (270 pounds or 123 kg) which at the tender age of 66 was tempting quite a few fates including heart attack and diabetes, not to mention the strain it was putting on my knees; one of which was awaiting surgery. I was indeed obese, and although I stand almost 6 feet and four inches in height I am actually still slightly obese today at 16 stone. I’m hoping, indeed I intend, to come down to a weight under 16 stone – perhaps 15 stone would be ideal if I stick at it. I’m sure when I have recovered from my knee operation and can actually walk again that 15 stone is a very reasonable target I should reach without too much anxiety. But the big fat tummy has already disappeared, my wrist watch is looser on my wrist and I find climbing stairs considerably easier than I did six months ago.

I remember when I first toured America in 1979 being fascinated almost to the point of obsession by the enormous people I first saw walking the streets of Philadelphia. I would run around with my camera catching as many fatties as I could find. Today there are many fatties in Britain who compare favourably with the enormities I first witnessed almost 30 years ago. However I no longer find them fascinating. In all honesty I find grossly overweight people disgustingly repulsive. I have this great fear that one day I’m going to have this huge smelly overweight individual sitting next to me on a flight to some far off destination and I’m going to be powerless to do anything about it. I want to walk up to fatties when I see them to advise them that not only are they a killing themselves (or their children which is an even worse obscenity) but they are spoiling my day. Just looking at them makes me feel queasy. Of course I don’t do anything of the sort and if people want to look ugly and lead themselves to an early death – well that’s their prerogative I suppose, although they are putting a strain on the National Health and by doing so are putting a strain on the money in my pocket.

Is losing weight any more difficult I have to wonder than stopping smoking? It’s a question I find incredibly difficult to answer myself as I’ve done both in my time without any anxiety or trouble whatsoever. I simply tell myself I’m going to do it. Lay out a plan of operation and stick to it. I just think that people who can’t stop smoking when they say they want to, and people who can’t lose weight when they say they want to are either lying, fooling themselves (‘cos they sure aren’t fooling me) or they are simply weak willed.

I don’t think I have abilities above others; but when I wanted to stop smoking I simply stopped buying cigarettes. I refused to buy cigarettes and as a consequence I stopped smoking. I didn’t find it difficult at all. I suppose I must be the exception to the rule, for whilst not actually being unique in this respect I do seem to butt the trend. (Please excuse the deliberate pun).

So, Mr Clever Dick, how did you lose weight?

OK. I have a very healthy breakfast to start; and I don’t actually eat that breakfast until lunch time. For breakfast (which I eat sometime between midday and 2 O’clock – depending on my hunger or daily timetable) I eat a fresh fruit salad comprising oranges and grapes with either strawberries, pineapple chunks and/or any other fruit in the fridge. I put this conglomeration of fruit on top of cheap Tesco muesli that comes in a brown box containing maple syrup and pecan nuts. Its official title is ‘Maple and Pecan Crisp’, apparently it is high in fibre and low in salt. (Of course any form of muesli will do). I soak this generously with pure orange juice and consume with a very large spoon. I then eat nothing until tea/dinner time when I have either fillet steak, or lamb chops, or baked salmon, trout or maybe chicken with new potatoes and salad. That’s four/five days sorted out. One evening maybe two I eat out in my local pub. I still drink alcohol because I like it! One has to have one or two little foibles (another nice ‘F’ word) after all.

I avoid consuming cream, cheese, cakes, chocolate, butter, milk and anything else that obviously contains a high fat content.

That’s all you have to do to lose weight. It’s dead simple. Just use a little bit of self control. Oh………. And get as much exercise as you can. Walk somewhere rather than use the car. I remember in 1980 a friend in Philadelphia using his car once to cross the road! Needless to say this friend was overweight.


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Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

2007
Nov 18th (KM) The Open Door Folk Club, The Royal Oak, Werneth, Oldham.
Nov 25th (KM) The Works, Sowerby Bridge. (6pm start)
Dec 8th (Joe) Sixmilebridge Folk Club, Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Eire.
2008
Jan 10th (KM) Topic Folk Club, The Cock and Bottle, Bradford.
Feb 2nd (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. (Matinee and evening).
Feb 6th (Joe) Menston Men’s Forum, Main St, Menston. (Valparaiso).
Feb 24th (KM) Southport Folk Club.
Feb 25th (Joe) Rossett School, Harrogate – Valparaiso round the Horn
Feb 29th (Joe) Ripon Heritage Centre – Life + Times Paul Robeson
Apr 3rd (Joe) Bishop Stortford Folk Club, All Saints Church Hall, Bishop Stortford.
Apr 6th (Joe) Walthamstow Folk Club, The Plough Inn, Walthamstow. (Robeson lecture)
Apr 20th (KM) The Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. 5pm
Apr 26th (KM) Halifax Playhouse Theatre – recording ‘live’ album.
May 9th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 10th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall Folk Festival, Alwinton, Northumberland.
May 14th (Joe) North Bradford Retired Men’s Forum - Life + Times Paul Robeson
Jul 4th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 5th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 6th (KM) Cleckheaton Folk Festival
Jul 10th (KM) Darlington Arts Centre
Jul 17th (KM) Gregson Lane Folk Club, Village of Gregson Lane, Preston.
Sep 5th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 6th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (Joe) Leeds North East Probus Club, Oakwood – Valparaiso round the Horn
2009
Jan 11th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional
Jan 12th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional
Oct 25th (KM) Scrag End Folk Club, Shoulder of Mutton, Oakthorpe, Leicestershire


Letters


Hi Joe,
I loved your recount of trying to pee in hospital and the fact you restrained from blaming Pete Seeger for your predicament.

I too had a similar hospital experience last year in Spain following a horrific car crash when I broke my back. After 2 days of hoping to pee I eventually filled the bottle to capacity and then had to try and find a cunning way of leaving it on the bedside table without it spilling. Fortunately my childhood experience with building blocks came in useful and I deployed a mass of tiny chocolate bars to good use!

Having a poo was a different matter as it's not something broken backs like and my Spanish for 'can I have a laxative' only produced two fearsome pointed tubes of clear liquid which the nurse intimated should be inserted into my anus. Having used one I resolved to keep the other to render any relevant mischief when I returned to the UK.

I can thoroughly recommend most of the treatment I got in the hospital though. They treated me to an MRI Scan whose sonic tones would surely procure a whole suite of Kraftwek compositions. However the mental torture of smelling delicious roast chicken brought in to other patients by visiting families was countered by the blue boxes of food left temporarily on the table at the bottom of my bed which I was unable to reach and were swiftly removed when the food remained uneaten! The Spanish workmanship was a bit shoddy too! Having been flat on my back for 3 days I tried to lever myself up by grabbing the rack used to suspend my drips and oxygen bottle - only for the whole thing to come away from the wall and leave me like a pole-axed weightlifter!

One salutary lesson though, if you have a road accident the cost of medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC!


Mark Ringwood
Roots Around the World
The Barn, Fordwater Lane,
Chichester, West Sussex UK PO19 6PT
www.rootsaroundtheworld.info

Hi Joe,
Thanks for the good advice regarding Knee replacement ops. I'm having mine next Monday (Oct. 1st) and will remember your excellent tale.
All the best,
Jim Mageean

Hello Joe,
Thanks for your Ramblings of an old Codger. I love to read about your adventures in the hospital...
I have sent it forward to Rudy Sunde of "The Maritime Crew" (New Zealand)
Have a nice weekend.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Ad van Eijk
Trossen Los (Radio Ridderkerk)


Dear Joe,
You have ruined my life. Why did you send me the RAF test? I am hopelessly addicted, I am regularly getting 18 seconds, but am glued to the computer, I haven’t eaten for three days and have got a psychiatrists appointment, because I think I am a spitfire aero plane.
Yours
Biggles
Aka Dick Miles.


Funnies

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE (BBC2)
Jeremy Paxman: What is another name for 'cherrypickers' and 'cheesemongers'?
Contestant: Homosexuals.
Paxman: No. They're regiments in the British Army who will be very upset with you.

DANNY KELLY SHOW (RADIO WM)
Kelly: Which French Mediterranean town hosts a famous film festival every year?
Contestant: I don't know, I need a clue.
Kelly: OK. What do beans come in?
Contestant: Cartons?

BEG, BORROW OR STEAL (BBC2)
Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn't my strong point.
Theakston: There's a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester.

BBC NORFOLK
Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with What a Wonderful World?
Contestant: I don't know.
White: I'll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm.
White: Correct. And if you're not weak, you're...?
Contestant: Strong.
White: Correct - and what was Lord Mountbatten's first name?
Contestant: Louis.
White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What a Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

LATE SHOW (BBC MIDLANDS)
Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy?
Contestant: France.
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let's try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don't know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris.

THE WEAKEST LINK (BBC2)
Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

BEACON RADIO (WOLVERHAMPTON)
DJ Mark: For 10 Pounds. What is the nationality of the Pope?
Ruth from Rowley Regis: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

THE WEAKEST LINK
Anne Robinson: In traffic, what 'J' is where two roads meet?
Contestant: Jool carriageway?

UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE
Bamber Gascoigne: What was Gandhi's first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM (Bristol)
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963?
Contestant: I don't know, I wasn't watching it then.

RTE RADIO 2FM (IRELAND)
Presenter: What is the name of the long- running TV comedy show about pensioners: Last Of The ...?
Caller: Mohicans.

RICHARD AND JUDY
Q: Which American actor is married to Nicole Kidman?
A: Forrest Gump.

RICHARD AND JUDY
Leslie: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er . . .
Leslie: He makes bread . . .
Contestant: Er . . .
Leslie: He makes cakes . . .
Contestant: Kipling Street?

FORT BOYARD (CHALLENGE TV)
Jodie Marsh: Arrange these two groups of letters to form a word - CHED
and PIT.
Team: Chedpit.

LINCS FM PHONE-IN
Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona.
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know the names of any countries in Spain.

RADIO 1 EARLY MORNING SHOW
Presenter: How many toes would three people have in total?
Contestant: 23.

NOTTS AND CROSSES QUIZ (BBC RADIO NOTTINGHAM)
Jeff Owen: In which country is Mount Everest?
Contestant (long pause): Er, it's not in Scotland, is it?

THE MICK GIRDLER SHOW (BBC RADIO SOLENT)
Girdler: I'm looking for an island in the Atlantic whose name includes the letter 'e'.
Contestant: Ghana.
Girdler: No, listen. It's an island in the Atlantic Ocean.
Contestant: New Zealand.

NATIONAL LOTTERY (BBC1)
Question: What is the world's largest continent?
Contestant: The Pacific

ROCK FM (PRESTON)
Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

THE BIGGEST GAME IN TOWN (ITV)
Steve Le Fevre: What was signed to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta.

JAMES O'BRIEN SHOW (LBC)
O'Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth ... er ... er ... three?

NATIONAL LOTTERY
Eamonn Holmes: There are three states of matter: solid, liquid and what?
Contestant: Jelly.

RICHARD ALLINSON SHOW (RADIO 2)
Allinson: What international brand shares its name with the Greek goddess of victory?
Contestant (after long deliberation): Erm, Kellogg's?

BLIND DATE (ITV)
Girl: Name a book written by Jane Austen.
Boy: Charlotte Bronte.

CHRIS SEARLE SHOW (BBC RADIO BRISTOL)
Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna?
Caller: Japan.
Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn't hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er ... Mexico?

DOG EAT DOG (BBC1)
Ulrika Jonsson: Who wrote Lord of the Rings?
Contestant: Enid Blyton

PAUL WAPPAT (BBC RADIO NEWCASTLE)
Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (after long pause): Fourteen days.

NATIONAL LOTTERY
Eamonn Holmes: Dizzy Gillespie is famous for playing what?
Contestant: Basketball.

NOTTS AND CROSSES QUIZ
Jeff Owen: Where did the D-Day landings take place?
Contestant (after pause): Pearl Harbour?

DARYL DENHAM'S DRIVETIME (VIRGIN RADIO)
Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland?
Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland? Ireland?
Denham (helpfully): It's a bad line. Did you say Israel?
Contestant: No.

PHIL WOOD SHOW (BBC GMR)
Wood: What 'K' could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er . . .
Wood: It's got two syllables . . . Kor . . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . .
Contestant: (Silence)
Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . . .
Contestant: Walked?

NATIONAL LOTTERY
Dale Winton: Skegness is a seaside resort on the coast of which sea: a) Irish Sea, b) English Channel, c) North Sea?
Contestant: Oh, I know that, you can start writing out the cheque now, Dale. It's on the east coast, so it must be the Irish Sea.

THE VAULT
Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

LUNCHTIME SHOW (BRMB)
Presenter: What religion was Guy Fawkes?
Contestant: Jewish.
Presenter: That's close enough.

BREAKFAST SHOW, RADIO 1
Chris Moyles: Which 'S' is a kind of whale that can grow up to 80 tonnes?
Contestant: Ummm . . .
Moyles: It begins with 'S' and rhymes with 'perm'.
Contestant: Shark.

STEVE WRIGHT IN THE AFTERNOON (BBC RADIO 2)
Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loincloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus?

£££££££££££££££££

A lawyer (stockbroker, folksinger, whoever) is sitting next to a beautiful blonde woman on an airplane, and tries desperately to start a conversation, but she is tired and just wants to be left alone. He persists, and finally gets her attention by proposing a game.

"I'll ask you a question about anything, and if you can't answer, you pay me $5," he explains. Then you ask me a question, and if I can't answer, I'll pay you $500".

She agrees, so he asks her, "How far is it from Earth to Mars?" Not knowing the answer, she reaches into her purse, pulls out a $5 bill and hands it to him.

On her turn, she asks him, "What goes uphill with three legs and comes back down with four?"

He pulls out his wireless laptop, tries Google, tries ASK, checks the Library of Congress, but cannot get an answer. Finally, defeated, he hands over $500 to the blonde, which she promptly puts in her purse. Then she turns away from him and goes to sleep.

After about a half-hour, totally frustrated, the lawyer wakes her again. "Ok! I give," he says. "What goes uphill with three legs and comes back down with four?"

Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, pulls out a $5 bill, hands it to him, and goes back to sleep.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$44

CHILI COOK-OFF
This is apparently an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas.

Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas, you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around, so this account at this time is very topical. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park. Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL.

Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 - MIKE'S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI
Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

CHILI # 2 - AUSTIN'S AFTERBURNER CHILI
Judge # 1 -- Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 -- Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 -- Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI # 3 - FRED'S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI
Judge # 1 -- Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 -- A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 -- Call the EPA. I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all of the beer.

CHILI # 4 - BUBBA'S BLACK MAGIC
Judge # 1 -Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 -- Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 -- I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb woman is starting to look HOT ... just like this nuclear waste I'm eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

CHILI # 5 - LISA'S LEGAL LIP REMOVER
Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

CHILI # 6 - VERA'S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY
Judge # 1 -- Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 -- The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 -- My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I'm worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can't feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

CHILI # 7 - SUSAN'S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI
Judge # 1 -- A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 -- Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 -- You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing it's too painful. Screw it; I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8 - BIG TOM'S TOENAIL CURLING CHILI
Judge # 1 -- The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 -- This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he'd have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 - No Report


Keep smiling, keep singing.


Joe Stead