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Steaming Aphrodite

I recently bought a trunk at a flea market and was surprised to discover that it had a false bottom. Under the faux cover I discovered a diary written in 1909 by a man named Dr. York Van Landingham. Here is a page:

July 17th 1909

She was from Mother Russia and her name was Svetlana Minsky. She spoke perfect English in an accent that one could not detect as foreign. Svetlana had a penchant for bawdy revelry, and used the kind of language which might make an unassuming male turn burgundy from blushing. I had sought her company while we were aboard a steamboat vessel bound for the shores of North Africa. I was wary of her however, as earlier, I had witnessed her bilk three men of their life savings with a fifth, and yes even a sixth King up her lace sleeve.

In the event that her conniving was discovered, she kept a knife in her garter. Upon discovering the weapon one sultry night in Constantinople I decided to nickname her “Svetlana Switchblade.” As I recall, she only stabbed me with it once, and I remain convinced that it was somewhat accidental, but the piercing occurred after I confessed that I relinquished one of her diamond earrings to get out of a tight spot in Bombay.

The night we met, I caught up with her on the deck as she stared out across the Atlantic Ocean at the purple dusk, her winnings tucked into the folds of her undergarments. She told me she’d first noticed me playing trumpet among the troupe of musicians that kept the passengers and crew entertained. It was someone else that she had seen, but I played along not wishing to disappoint her.

She told me she had been entrusted to discover if there were truths to the legend of the goddess Aphrodite and the potions so named after her. She had journeyed through Greece and was now headed to the barely reachable corners of the darkest continent. Entrusted by whom she never confirmed, but she had alluded to a man named Rasputin.

I knew nothing of Aphrodite and she asked me to join her in her cabin to discuss matters of amour. I hadn’t been invited to a woman’s quarters since my journey began and I lustily agreed. She asked if I had absinthe, and of course I did.

We sipped our pastis and made playful conversation. She pulled a patina box from the drawer and opened it. “This is dust from a rhinoceros’s horn,” she said, offering it to me.

     “And?” I said.

     “You snort it, like so.”

     “Madame, I have ingested many a foreign object in my time but nothing from a beast of such stature.”

“It’s an aphrodisiac.

 “An aphro what?”

“It’s named after the goddess,” she said. “If you take it you will likely want to consume me with desire.”

     “I have never heard of such a thing. Won’t I become ill?”

     “No. Legend says that you will become aroused. Try it.”

      “Hm, do you have any other aphrodisiacs, say something in a chewable form?”

       “Many men have died trying to discover what it is about this and other ingredients that turn us into savages.” She passed a leather-bound book under my nose that she had been writing in. I opened it somewhere near the beginning and read her words. I suddenly felt the urge to regurgitate my lunch.

      “What in the name of Satan’s hot tub?”

       “What did you read? Is it the tiger penis thing?”

        “Yes, of course it’s that!!”

        “That’s usually the reaction.”

         “People actually eat tiger’s penises?” I blurted. She nodded slowly. “I mean I’m adventurous in the kitchen, Svetlana, but there is one ingredient that doesn’t leap to mind when cooking and that is tiger penis. I mean, how does one even discover something like that? Oh, I know, why don’t I try tiger penis in my omelet this morning? But before I can do that it’s off to hunt and castrate a tiger…hope he doesn’t mind having his masculinity severed from him before he’s had his morning cup of tea. Maybe I can find other ways to use tiger penis, since I went to the trouble, maybe as an accompaniment to a cheese plate. Oh what have we got here then? Brie, Camembert, Stilton, Tiger penis…oh, yes, perfect, just fits right in there doesn’t it? Pass the salted crackers; this tiger penis is in need of a bed of crunchiness before I can consume it. Good god!”

        “What is it then that makes man want to consume the horn from a rhinoceros and the genitals of a jungle cat?” she asked with a perfectly straight face.

        “I couldn’t tell you, Svetlana, but if this catches on, these poor things are looking to go the way of the dodo and the unicorn. Oh no, do you think that’s what happened to those doomed creatures? Unicorn testicle flambé ? Dodo Eggs Benedict?”

       She calmed me with her smile and we drank long into the night. At some point she asked if I would be interested in joining her on her mission. I laughed. “As long as you don’t try to get me to snort pelican beak, drink panda bear urine, or inhale a mongoose’s fart. I’ll think upon it.”

      Hours later I awoke under my own bed with a headache the size of the earthquake that shook San Francisco. In my view was a half-eaten plate of oysters and my ears filled with sounds of an accordion melody skipping on the phonograph caught in a three second loop. Oh, Svetlana, I thought, I really must stop drinking that absinthe.

I crawled out from beneath the bed and sought the comfort of some woolen trousers so that I might get some fresh sea air and locate my mysterious Russian adventurer. Tomorrow night we are due to dock in Casablanca. I hope that there are no tigers in Morocco, the temptation might be too great an urge to resist.

Am I Paranoid Or Just Phobic?

I have been told by some of my friends and past and present loves that I can at times be…….paranoid. However, in the words of either Jesus or Kurt Cobain (I forget which) “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

And so, Mr Bay Area Brit, how does this paranoia manifest itself?

I’ll tell you.

Well one: There is the fear that I’m not getting the attention I crave. While some worry that people are talking about them behind their back. I worry that they’re NOT talking about me behind my back.

My paranoid fears are not unrealistic. I don’t worry about aliens taking over the Earth, as much as I don’t fear werewolves attacking me as I walk home by the park late at night. I don’t fear going to Hell because I don’t believe in God. My worries are everyday things like: If I leave the dishwasher running while I quickly go and check the mail will I come home to find it has broken and waterlogged the apartment?

When I’m waiting for a package to be delivered, I fear that the driver will not stop at my building unless he sees me staring out the window at the street waiting for him.

The reason I haven’t had Lasik eye surgery, is primarily due to my concern that my appointment would be at the exact same time a massive earthquake strikes the Bay Area as I wait in the doctor’s chair with Goldfinger’s death ray laser pointed at my eye socket.

I come from the school of thought that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and I will be the one to suffer more greatly than any of you.

I also have phobias, and not the usual ones that normal people have. For example, take “arachnophobia.” The fear of spiders.

Much like Robert Smith, my version of arachnophobia isn’t just a general fear of spiders; it’s specific. My phobia is that a pregnant female spider is going to crawl into my ear as I sleep and hatch a hundred little spiders that don’t know where the exit is, and so they burrow their way through my ear drum, which is of course the gateway to my brain. By morning I will be dead. My head literally eaten away from the inside out. Now that is a phobia you can sink your teeth into; it is also why I sleep with earplugs in my earholes and nuzzle up to a can of Raid at night…..just in case.

There are phobias for everything. Here are some illustrated ones for your viewing pleasure.

That’sAllFolks!!!!!****************************

Feel free to leave a comment because that’s the only way I’m going to know that you’re watching my every move. And you are….aren’t you?

I Love My Cat!

I love my cat, I really do, but I think she’s trying to drive me insane.

If it’s not by pouncing on my bed at 6 a.m. and slowly inching up my chest and nuzzling up to my face, its by placing herself on the edge of the bed and allowing her body to go limp and fall off. As she drifts down and off of the bed the sheet is pulled off of me and then there is a gentle thud on the carpet as she lands. This is followed (of course) by the attempted noisy and clumsy extrication from said sheet before she jumps up on the bed and does the whole thing all over again.

Is this the face of a monster?

This often all happens a mere few hours after I’ve gone to bed. But what am I to do? I tried to lock her out of the bedroom but she attacks the door trying to get back in so she can wake me up. It’s not even a food thing. This morning she was fed and I tried to sleep on after…but no. No, no, no, no, Mr. Bay Area Brit, you cannot sleep I need you up and alert and ready to play with me. What do you expect? She’s not even a year-old.

I love my cat…but she’s driving me cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

She wants to get me up, and I think I understand why. She has no idea what my life is like outside the walls of the apartment. Maybe when I leave to go to the store, she thinks I’m just outside the door the whole time teasing her…which would explain why she is waiting for me just eight inches from the front door when I return.

I often think of a Freaky Friday situation where I switch lives with my cat for a day. Just so she can see how much more complicated my life is compared to hers and why I NEED my sleep. So yeah, what would it be like to be my cat for one day? Lounging around on the bed purring and receiving all kinds of love and affection. Does that sound like hard work? If only she could meow the words “Peel me a grape.” 

Plaaaaaaaaay with meeeeeeee

Maybe what she really craves is something more than the life of a domestic cat. Perhaps inside that mischievous mind there is a complex brain at work. Like humans, some cats are smarter than others. Maybe my cat is the most intelligent feline in the world. Maybe if we switched for a Freaky Friday, she’d get something great accomplished with my life. Maybe on Saturday I’d discover that I actually have money in my bank account, and that overnight people have come to think of me as a sharp, balanced, poised under pressure kind of guy. Or maybe I would just suddenly become addicted to being tickled under my chin and having my tummy rubbed.

Sometimes the temptation to wake her up is overwhelming.

The animation by Simon Tofield is hilarious, and is a fair reflection of how it goes down.

 

Feel free to leave a comment or email me at TheBayAreaBrit@gmail.com

 

I Love The French

I love the French. I suppose that’s not a particularly popular thing to say, especially if you’re either English or American…but there it is. A friend just returned from a trip to Paris; she fell in love with it. It happens to the best of us.

Photo by Sheila Star 2011

When the French opposed George W’s 2003 invasion of Iraq they were targeted by a considerable portion of the American public. I wonder what the French word for sheep is? Never mind. At the time, I was working in a bar in San Francisco, and a customer asked me which was the best vodka we had? I was of the opinion that Grey Goose was the smoothest vodka available at that time. So I reached for the bottle.

“Whoa, whoa!!! Hold it right there, buddy!” the man chirped.“ Is that a French flag on that bottle?”

“Yes. Why?”

“I don’t want that shit.”

“Why not? I just told you it’s the best one.”

“It’s French.”

“You don’t want it because it’s French?” I asked disbelievingly.

“That’s right. Fucking French.”

“So I suppose you’re one of these guys that calls ‘French fries’ ‘freedom fries’ then?”

“I am.”  He pointed to a vodka bottle in the well (the contents of which tasted like lighter fluid) and I made him his “French-free” vodka drink.

“You know in France they’re called ‘pommes frites’ and in England they’re called ‘chips.’ Americans are the only people that call them ‘French fries’ anyhow,” I said.

He took a sip of his cheap American vodka and shuddered. He stared at me quizzically and said, “Saaay, where are you from anyway?”

“I’m from England. It’s near France.”

“Well, I suppose you’re okay then.”

“Gee thanks.”

“So you’re English and you’re not mad at the French?”

“No. I love the French, and when this idiotic war is all said and done, the French will likely turn out to be the smart ones. I love French Toast, and I love French kisses. My favorite Gene Hackman film is “Young Franc-en-stein,” closely followed by “The French Connection.” My favorite celebratory beverage is Champagne…a region in France. I like songs about the Champs Elysées. I make my coffee in a French press. My favorite comedy is Napoleon Dynamite, and I don’t say ‘fil-lit’ of fish I say ‘fhil-llaay.’ That will be sixteen dollars, s’il vous plait.”

“Sixteen dollars for cheap vodka?”

“Taxes. Your president’s got to pay for those bombs somehow. What, you think he’s going to use his own money? Now pay up and leave, and don’t let the door hit your derriere on the way out.”

The English notoriously have a love/hate relationship with the French, as demonstrated in this tongue-in-cheek satirical music video below.

Me? I love the French.

C’est la vie!!!!!

The Gospel According To BART

For those not familiar with BART, it is the train system that links San Francisco to Oakland and to other more forgettable places in the Bay Area. This is what it’s like:

Whatever you do with your graffiti, don’t smoke, drink, or eat it while on BART

Also known as Commandment #6 as told in “The Gospel According To BART.”

However, federal law does NOT require that the seats actually be clean enough to sit on.

“Hey, hippy, why does no one want to sit anywhere near you? Are you the reason that the seats on BART are dirty?”

Sometimes while I’m on BART I play, “Hey, Pal, Are You Dead Or Just Sleeping?”

BART isn’t just for homeless people trying to stay out of the rain. Celebrity impersonator sightings are frequent. Depending on which side of the train this John Goodman wannabe sits, there’s a good chance that the train will be leaning to that side.

Clearly this couple thought that they were on The Orient Express. I love this guy’s cane.

This from the BART website: We are asking you to help keep BART safe for everyone by reporting unattended packages or suspicious behavior. What do we mean by suspicious behavior? Here are some examples: 1) Acting nervous, sweating inappropriately. 2) Taking pictures or videotaping in areas of no interest to the general public. 3) Attempting to get into an area that is off limits. 4) Leaving a package, backpack or briefcase and hurrying away from the area………………..The Bay Area Brit: guilty as charged…………Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to eat and drink and maybe smoke some graffiti.

You Eat What???

 

 

It’s hard to defend being British sometimes.

An orgy of Bangers ‘n’ Mash. I mean look at this for God’s sake. If it didn’t already look like it was being made love to by an army of Gurkhas wouldn’t you be all over that?

It’s a sausage in pastry. It’s the perfect accompaniment to warm beer. It’s packaged like a chocolate candy bar because it’s never too soon to get the kids on to the Sausage Rolls.

Black Pudding…made with blood. Delicious, right? And the best part is, it’s not even a pudding.

Aunt Bessie knows what’s up. A little toad… and it’s in a hole. It’s irresistible…and just the way I like it… Oh, Aunt Bessie, you salacious tart, are you hitting on me?

Figgy Pudding: It’s what’s for Christmas. There is enough alcohol in this little bomb of fun to entice a rhino to make lewd suggestions to your grandmother. Can also be used as a weapon by dropping on your opponent from a short-to-medium height.

“Artificially Colored,” Mushy Peas…because peas aren’t quite green enough.

Penicillin Sauce comes in a separate can with prescription.

The Bay Area Brit Is One-Year Old…

…which would likely explain the maturity level of some of the jokes and cartoons.

Valentine’s Day is the The Bay Area Brit’s one-year anniversary. And what better way to celebrate by giving fake awards to Brits who have popped up on the American radar in the last year.

Award For The Funniest And Meanest Way To Get Back At Your Celebrity Wife 

"I'd like to thank my iPhone and Twitter for this award."

Russell Brand exposed his wife, Katy Perry to the TwitWorld sans makeup. Normally this would be a “so-what” situation: a woman without makeup–big deal. I like to see it as the first layer of exposure. Next comes Brand’s homemade audio files of her singing off key in the shower and then of course the inevitable porno tape. Who knows what started it? Perhaps a fight over whose maid should do the dishes, or maybe there was a verbal joust regarding whose 15 minutes would be up first. Either way, we here at the Bay Area Brit commend Mr. Brand’s efforts to prevent boys aged 13-77 from lusting after his wife.

Monty Python: Funny. Jeremy Clarkson: Unfunny.

Award For Putting Your Foot In Your Mouth And Then Not Only Failing To Remove It, But Trying To Cram The Other Foot In There As Well.

Jeremy Clarkson is the host of a popular British TV show called “Top Gear.” On a recent episode, he referred to Mexicans as “lazy, feckless, flatulent oafs” and Mexican food as “refried vomit.” Understandably, Mexicans are angry at the comments, and Clarkson has failed to apologize; in fact he continued to make even more racist comments that he believes is “humour.” To make matters worse, he claims that, “the Mexicans have no sense of humour.” Which is kind of like me taking a crap on his floor and telling him that, “he’s only mad at me because he hates cleaning his carpet.”

We here at The Bay Area Brit think that Jeremy Clarkson’s the one lacking a sense of humor.

Award For Pissing Off Hollywood Celebrities By Making Fun Of Them 

No need to apologize for being funny, Ricky.

Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes for the second year in a row. It’s refreshing to see an awards show host who is secure and comfortable enough to fearlessly make fun of the irritating pomposity that these affairs usually bring. I mean he’s drinking a beer at the podium for God’s sake. He skewered some easy targets but even went after the guy that signed his paycheck that night: the President of the Hollywood Foreign Press. One of his best lines made fun of the Cosmo-swilling cougars from Sex In The City.

“I was sure the Golden Globe for special effects would go to the team that airbrushed that “Sex In The City” poster. Girls, we know how old you are. I saw one of you in an episode of Bonanza.”

The distinction between Gervais and Clarkson is that Gervais targets himself as much as others. Plus, Gervais went for the jugulars of the wealthy and famous, Clarkson cruelly generalized and negatively stereotyped an entire nation.

Celebrities seen here demonstrating outside Ricky Gervais's hotel

Award For Most British, British Movie Star : Colin Firth

Colin Firth: Seen here not dressed as a King

Colin Firth’s portrayal of King George VI sealed this year’s award of being the “Most British, British Movie Star.” Cheerio, pip, pip and all that rot, Colin. Good luck winning a real award at the Oscars for “The King’s Speech.” We are all counting on you.

Award For Best Attempt At Killing Your Career Just As You Were Making Money And Achieving “C”…Maybe “D-List” Status In America

British soccer analyst Andy Gray covered the 2010 World Cup in the United States and received positive acclaim and attention with his excitable, yet no-nonsense approach and analysis. He was recently fired by Sky Sports for making sexist comments regarding a soccer official during the broadcast of an English Premier League game. “Can you believe that? A female linesman. Women don’t know the offside rule.” 

Well done, Andy; women don’t know how to drive a car, change a flat tire, fly a plane, be an astronaut, or lead a country, and they certainly couldn’t possibly understand the complicated offside rule. Idiot!

Happy Birthday, Bay Area Brit, here’s to another year. Oh, and in case you missed it–here you go.

"I'm sorry I called you a stupid, British monkey...Please don't Tweet that pic."