Groggy Fidgets Blues

Abilify all upside my head
Oh lord, all upside my head
Abilify all upside my head
Got them groggy fidgets blues
A man’d be better off dead

My doctor say a man’d be bp
Yeah, my doctor say I might be bp
Got them groggy fidgets blues
Sure could  use some sympathy

Oh the rage and  the prinks
And all the risk taking, too
Oh, the rage and the prinks
And the hypersexual too
When’s the next time the 2:19’s comin’ thru?

I’m not sayin’ ‘d be better off dead
No, not better off dead
I’m not sayin’ ‘d be better off dead
No, not better off dead
But some lonesome railroad line
Sure’s wailin’ for my head.

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A Rose is a Rose is a Rose. What About ‘Indigo Rose’?

By including manic depression, AKA bipolar disorder, within its purview, the writers of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have finessed the issue of whether bipolar disorder is an illness, i.e., a mental illness, or a disorder, i.e., a mental disorder. They seem to be favoring the ‘disorder’ label even though within the DSM they refer to it often enough as a mental illness. So which is  it, a disorder or an illness? It seems to me that we who are atrabiliously disposed should be the ones to decide this, this our affliction. our condition. Some professor at UCLA, whose name escapes me at the moment announced to the scientific world couple of years ago that in fact it isn’t an illness. I apologize for not being able to remember his reasons for saying that, but never mind. I think the writers of the DSM favor this view, too, for within its pages they often put quotes around the designation mental illness.

I recently ran across yet another name for it in Howard Becker’s “Outsiders”, in the chapter on labelling theory. He used the term “mental difficulty.”  “We see that activities thought deviant often require elaborate networks of cooperation such as could hardly be sustained by people suffering from disabling mental difficulties.” Other possibilities abound:  disease, infection, complaint, condition, affliction, malady, sickness, illness, ailment, infirmity, irregularity. Malady has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? It has about it connotations of suffering, no? And I find that most satisfying. Some others don’t mince words:  derangement, insanity, madness, unbalance, but these seem so negative to me, so tainted with stigma. The fact that the DSM long ago finessed this whole issue by labeling it a “disorder” has occurred to me, of course, but for the moment I’m choosing to ignore that.

At a recent pdoc appointment, I looked across the desk at my pdoc and announced to him that I was “insane,” something that only recently occurred to me. I wasn’t expressing an opinion as much as I was testing the waters, so to speak. I wanted to see his reaction, for I expected, or  half expected or hoped anyway that he’d demur at it, that he’d reassure me that I wasn’t insane or words to that effect. but no, he didn’t. He just nodded his head in agreement, with maybe a faint smile glimmering there for the briefest of moments on a face which is usually devoid of any expression that could be construed as judgmental. I was disappointed. So, dear boys and girls, what say you? What shall we call this thing, “this hidden impulse, this incalculable force –this thing [we] care for and [don’t] talk about—oh what is it?” This last is a fairly accurate paraphrase of something Virginia Woolf wrote in “Day and Night.”

Well, in the end, to quote Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So, then, instead of referring to it as bipolar disorder, what say we refer to it as the “indigo rose?” A mighty smiting thing, this indigo rose, for sure.

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Alternate Universes—Alternate Mes

‘They’, the ubiquitous they, my favorite ones being the ones at UCLA. Why UCLA? Well, the UCLA they are always saying things that appeal to me greatly, e.g., they said that manic depression shouldn’t be regarded as an illness; it’s not, and that it’d be a sad, sad day for humanity the day that some other they figures out which genes are involved with the end result that fetuses, the world over, that have the bipolar genes would likely be aborted, because, as everyone knows, bipolar children are such a pain in the ass to rear, with the consequence that there’d be no more Beethovens, or Mark Twains, or Sylvias. No more Brad Delps or Brenda Fassies. No more walls of sound or James Joyces. Anyway, I digress.

This they that I introduced in my opening paragraph claim that there are multiple universes, an infinity of them. Given what an egocentric sod I am, the first question that came to my mind upon hearing such good news was, “Will I be present in any of them?” Yes, I will. I will be present in a subset of this infinitude of universes. While this subset with me in it won’t be as extensive as the set from which it is derived, nevertheless it will, of course, be infinite in extent. Fine. I look forward to it. I can hardly wait and am just beside myself with anticipation. But hold on there a minute: will I still be bipolar in this infinitude of alternate universes, in some of them? I hate to break it to you this way, kids, but manic depression transcends infinity. Every last single alternate you will have an unquiet mind. There is no escape. Take heart, dear ones, in knowing that God has singled us out; He has grand plans for us, no?  For in this universe, the local universe, all the freaky people make the beauty of the world, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

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¡Loquacious! ¿Moi?

Loquacity—the quality of talking a great deal—is my middle name, so to speak, for I’ve been a talker all my life, and now at 77 I’m beginning to fear there’s no  hope for it except, of  course, the usual one, and by that I mean that my natural demise will do the trick as opposed to an abrupt and violent patricide, say. by a family member, overcome by my endless palaver and driven by despair therefrom to seek surcease therefrom via the family hatchet, which I  have, foolishly some say, kept handy all these  years, hanging on the wall in the garage nearest the door back into the house.

Usually they don’t come at me brandishing a hatchet or whirling a scimitar. No, usually my listeners just get up, mid sentence, and walk out of the room and into the kitchen where they join in any conversation already in progress amongst those who’ve abandoned me earlier in the evening. I pay it no mind; it only serves to renew and redouble my fervor as I continue on with any survivors.  In my own defense I do finally stop talking when the last listener bails out, i.e., I’m not totally without principles, i.e., some of my fellow manic depressives, when faced with this situation, have been known to feign madness or senility and to commence, without dropping a beat, simply mumbling to themselves. I, however, as I’ve implied, do follow a set of rules, or guidelines if  you will, and over the years, after much refinement, have come to realize how invaluable they are. I’m thinking I should make them available to the general public, or at the very least, to the RNC, as an aid to party members seeking reelection.

• Don’t be afraid to repeat  yourself.
• Do make an effort to breathe, but be quick about it lest a listener take advantage of the pause to    interrupt you.
• Avoid all eye contact with your listener(s), as that will only encourage them to butt-in.
• The ricocheting bullet can serve as a good metaphor for this.    Works equally well whether in your  prose or  your      conversations.
• Don’t be afraid to repeat  yourself.
• Ignore any MEGO reactions on the part of your listeners; counter them with a MEGO of your own.
• If your listener attempts to join in in your verbal stream, however briefly, ignore him/her and just keep
• Never lose sight of the fact that none of what you’re saying needs to make sense; don’t fret over that.
•Your only goal is to free as many words as possible from the fetters of unspoken thought, to fill the
air in the room like confetti from a canon.
• Your train of thought, if any, need not be continuous and is free to jump around—a lot, even.

According to the DSM V, bipolar disorder is often marked by excessive involvement with pleasurable activities, and chatting is right  up there near the top of my list of pleasurable activities, so that sort of explains, not that I feel compelled to explain myself necessarily, my penchant for palaver; one is comforted knowing where such things originate in one. No? Or why. It isn’t enough to just say that I have a bubbly disposition, for ‘bubbly’ doesn’t begin to convey the enormity of what some would call an affliction. To paraphrase Redd Foxx, such loquacity goes clear to the bone; some go so far as to suggest it borders on the pathological.  Who is this ‘some’ I keep referring to, and how is it they have so much to say on just about every and any topic? ‘Some’ ( cf. ‘others’) is a collective noun designating a small, outspoken group of people who surely must suffer from manic depression themselves—some never shut up!

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Parting Words on Being Parted Out

After 50 years or so in the LLNL harness, last week Staff Relations called me into their inner sanctum and asked me to resign my position; they said I’d get a ‘buy out’ if I granted them their request. “This is all strictly voluntary,” they said, “You don’t have to do it, but be aware that a ‘buy out’ may not be offered in the future if you decide to resign at a latter time.” It didn’t look like there was any wiggle room here, so I played the ‘compliant employee’ card and resigned, and in the process composed the following prose:

The Barn Book

Fresh out of grad school, I showed up that first post-cooler day in 1964 carrying my very own copy of the Barn Book (neutron cross sections), with my trusty K&E buckled to my belt—I was 27 years old, neutron savvy and a whiz on the slide-rule.  Johnny Foster was LLNL Director and Sid Fernback was the head of its Computations Department. My only experience with computerized numerical solutions to differential equations had been recently gained in a but one semester class devoted to the subject; the largest program I had ever seen was the one I wrote in FORTRAN, ~100 lines, for a term assignment. Needless to say, I was not prepared for what happened next; I was assigned to one of A Division’s weapons codes, one that consisted of over 22,000 lines of assembly code. Not only that, no self respecting weapons designer would be caught dead without a Marchand electro-mechanical calculator capable of calculating to 15 significant digits. I stowed my Barn Book on my bookshelf, locked my K&E in a desk drawer and sat down wondering just exactly what had I got myself into—I felt so overwhelmed. Fast forward 50 years—still overwhelmed, still wondering.

When I look back over my 50 years of stuff, what leaps out at me is not my accomplishments and I’m almost positive there were some. No, it is the bugs I encountered, the ones that brought me to grief, sturm und drang, and made me doubt myself. Yet it is these I slew, each in its turn leaving the road stretching out behind me littered with their bloody corpses. No milestones here; gravestones is more like it. I could regale you with a recounting of the blow by blow battles I’ve fought over the years, but I won’t—except for one: George Bing, A Div physicist, was using my code to calculate the yield of a very modest device. The expected yield was just a few kilotons, but in trying to get the most detail possible out of his code runs, he had divided his design into a 100 zones. This was computationally the largest size design my code could handle. Up to this point, for most designs, the usual number of zones was significantly less than this to keep the cost of the computation down. Well, unbeknownst to me, the real maximum size computation was 99 zones; not 100. So? Well, at some point during the simulation, once fission was in full bloom, neutrons would begin to reach the surface of the device­—what was supposedly the hundredth zone,—at which point they would magically reappear in the first zone. The yield went through the roof and so did George who was paying for such ridiculous results. This was my very first bug and my very first experience with the confusion that existed just about everywhere over zero-based indexing. Back then, physicists (and FORTRAN programmers) were all wired for 1-based indexing, but assembly languages all used 0-based indexing. But that’s enough about me, for now; next I want to talk about Egbert Gittens.

Egbert Gittens

I think I Egbert’s and my paths crossed sometime during my first year at this place; he was a conspicuous figure, and was so for many reasons, not the least of which was his attire. Female employees were subjected to a strict dress code, i.e., figure hugging attire was verboten and nothing could jiggle., There was no dress code for male employees. Livermore, locally referred to as ‘South Hell’, in the summer time is quite hot, so the physicist who wagged the tail of the LRL dog back then, decided that suits and ties were out, and Bermuda shorts and sandals were in, especially in the summer. And not only that, titles were out, too, and we’d all be on a first name basis with each other. Now while the shorts were strictly hot weather attire, the sandals (always worn with socks) were more or less worn year round. Sid Fernbach was a bit of an anomaly in this regard; he wore expensive suits and bow ties to work every day, but with sandals and socks-white, cotton gym socks.  Egbert wore expensive suits and ties to work every day too, but with proper shoes and socks, and that was one of the first things that brought him to my attention. That, and that he had a very scholarly air about him, a professorial presence. He was not a technical person, but had received a classical education in Jamaica where he was born.  He spoke with a Jamaican accent in a resonant voice that would’ve rivaled that of Paul Robson had Robson been a tenor and not a baritone. So, to sum up, he was a striking person, a resourceful person, and energetic and full of ideas—altogether engaging. It was Sid who hired Egbert. He belonged here.

Somewhere along in the early history of this place, Egbert decided he wanted to write physics codes too, since that was after all the raison d’être of this place. With the help of people like Dick White, he learned enough physics and FORTRAN to be able to come up with a program of some kind, and this he’d carry with him as a large deck of IBM cards in a box. He always had it with him, it seemed. To my knowledge he not only never got any computer to compile his program, it was a rare day that he even got one to read in his deck of cards. (He didn’t understand that it was not enough to  just enter a sequence number in columns 73-80 of each card; the cards had to be in the right order when read in, in order for the FORTRAN compiler to make sense of them.)

Similarly he didn’t understand that the various steps to be performed in any procedure involving a computer had to be performed in a prescribed order, that it wasn’t good enough to create and follow a procedure of his own design, i.e., one that made sense to him. Consistency was not his forte. So, over the years Egbert would be moved from assignment to assignment, and then when found wanting, moved to yet another. Sid was his guardian angel, and wouldn’t hear of him being let go. I eventually left A Division, but before I did so, I was there during the time that Egbert was the CalComp operator. The CalComp was a computer controlled plotter, one that Lab physicists would use and rely on in their design work. It could produce high-resolution plots in multiple colors of ink on a roll of graph paper that was a meter wide. Its computer would inform the operator when it was time to unload the ink cartridge from the plotter head and insert one of a different color. These ink “cartridges” were basically designed along the lines of a Rapidograph ink pen, i.e., somewhere within the business end of a cartridge could be found a cylindrical lead weight attached to a short length of ridged wire about the thickness of a human hair. By shaking the cartridge up and down vigorously, this wire would slide up and down inside of the tube that delivered the ink to the graph paper. The cartridges had to be shaken up every so often, especially if they’d been inactive for a while in order to get the ink to flow properly again as they had a tendency to clog up. Otherwise the plotted lines would be full of blank spaces or faint gaps when the ink would have temporarily stopped flowing, or blobs and gushes of ink once it resumed flowing again. The CalComp was temperamental, to say the least, but in Egbert’s hands it was positively demonic. It wasn’t good enough for Egbert to just shakeup these cartridges; he had to dismantle them completely and give each one a good cleaning before inserting it into the plotter head. Because he was so conscientious, he would methodically clean all of the cartridges at the beginning of his shift. That doesn’t sound so bad, now does it? Actually, it was the responsible thing to do. However, as Egbert cleaned all these cartridge, smudges of indelible ink of various colors would end up on his fingers, the front of his fancy, starched dress shirt, his expensive tie, and his face, especially on and around the lips. (Some of the ink pens would be so clogged he’d have to resort to blowing through them.) Unfortunately and invariably the finished plots would be festooned with Egbert’s Technicolor fingerprints.  There for a while, each morning would begin for me with a serenade of howls, roars and screams from the physicists on the third floor of building 111 as they unfurled and viewed their ‘decorated’ plots from the previous night’s CalComp production run. By the end of Egbert’s tour of duty at the CalComp, they didn’t just want him replaced, they wanted him dead—most likely drawn and quartered. But Sid was deaf to their laments so Egbert stayed where he was…for a while.

For those of you who never knew him, Sid, more than any other person at this Lab, as the head of Computations, was responsible for ushering in the age of the super computer, because it was he, using Lab funds and Lab computer scientists, who spec’d and then financed their creation and acquisition early on.

The Lab as Sanctuary

Okay, this by way of introduction to what I really wanted to say: the management at our Lab is compassionate, empathic and caring, and committed to seeing that each of us gets a fair shake at what s/he needs in order to thrive in his/her various assignments. I have been here 50+ years and what I am saying here is true, for during these 50+ years I have been the recipient of such largesse on many occasions: once when my wife was being treated for cancer and I was her principal caregiver, management looked the other way when I shifted my hours from day shift ones to night shift ones; once when the DOE revoked my clearance having discovered I am a manic depressive, the very next day NSED management found me an office in an open area and an unclassified assignment for the 9 months during which I had to fight like hell, in court, to have my DOE clearance restored; and once after 7 years in A Division when I came down with a case of scruples and had been asked to resign from the Lab, Sid Fernback came to my rescue and gave me an office and assignment in Computations.

Okay, I’ve dragged my departure out as long as I dare; it’s time to go. The pleasure has been all mine I assure you. I love you all and will miss this place like hell.

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Finding the the L-point(s) in the treatment of manic depression

It seems to me that some smart psychologist or psychiatrist somewhere must have written of this subject, this dilemma: If we suppress the patient’s dopamine levels to quash the symptoms of his/her manic depression, we run the risk of inducing a kind of Parkinsonism (PD) in him/her, the more the more, and vice versa—if we suppress the patients dopamine levels not so much as to leave him/her in some kind of PD state, we run the risk of putting him/her into some kind of perpetual manic or hypomanic state. Is it possible to find that critical mixture of meds, the Lagrange point, where the ‘forces’ of PD and the ‘forces’ of manic-depression are exactly balanced, allowing the patient to remain stable, i.e., stationary relative to each of them?

Wikipedia: The Lagrange points mark positions where the combined gravitational pull of the two large masses provides precisely the centripetal force required to orbit with them. As seen in a rotating reference frame that matches the angular velocity of the two co-orbiting bodies, the gravitational fields of two massive bodies combined with the satellite‘s acceleration are in balance at the Lagrangian points, allowing the smaller third body [the satellite] to be relatively stationary with respect to the first two.

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Hey, Kay! Give me a break, okay?

From Kay Redfield Jamison’s “An Unquiet Mind: “There is nothing good to be said for it [bp depression] except that it gives you the experience of how it must be to be old, to be old and sick, to be dying; to be slow of mind; to be lacking in grace, polish, and coordination; to be ugly; to have no belief in the possibilities of life, the pleasures of sex, and the exquisiteness of music, or the ability to make  yourself and others laugh.”

Gee, Kay. You’ve not given this old codger much wiggle room, now have you? Is this what I, at 76, have soon to look forward to? Of the options you’ve listed, the most devastating will be the loss of laughter in myself and that I could always coax it forth in others, and do so simply by being me.

I can and am prepared to do so, I think, in my approaching dotage, be accepting and accommodating of sickness, impending death, the loss of grace and polish—if indeed I ever was graceful or polished—trolldom, monumental cynicism, unrequited love, and deafness, just so long as my mind—my one unflagging joy—is still with me right up to the very end. I want my last words to be, “Mother of God, what a show! Thank you, Lord, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, bent mind and all.”

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Is melancholy necessarily endemic to an impending dotage, and therefore inevitable?

Last night I slept very well and awoke feeling much my old self, a feeling that lasted into my midmorning only to be gradually overtaken by melancholy by lunchtime. I know, of course, that when I report to the lovely Dr. Furst, this bit about today’s ascending melancholy, she’ll want to know ‘why’ and ‘over what’ and ‘what do you think about that?’ So I might as well take a stab at these now rather than later, say after seeing her next Wednesday:  Just now as I was driving back to Building 233 where my office is located, returning after buying a large cup of Cafe Americano (and a scone of course) at the central cafeteria, my route taking me past much of the history of LLNL, I was taken over by a sense of “utter heartbreak and loss” to quote Malcolm Lowry. And I wondered if that were the fate awaiting all of us aged, especially those of us who feel they’ve outlived their usefulness or that there’s nothing left, and that as George Carlin quipped as how in the bottom of his breakfast bowl was inscribed—instead of a happy face, or ‘Have a nice day,’ or ‘You’re beautiful’— ‘All gone, dummy!’ This sense of loss is palpable.  So is this just par for the game? Is it that a sense of loss is endemic to old age and that that necessarily and inevitably  leads to melancholy, as surely as the seasons cycle each year from Spring into Winter? So, am I blue because it’s Winter now, and my body has become so keenly aware of my arthritis and tendonitis, and their attendant aches and pains, and my mind, of how a sought after, but less than familiar, name or word or even a complete thought will, more often than not, elude me. These serve as a constant reminder that soon simply walking the dog will be out of reach, not to mention caring for Maria’s garden—a sanctuary of sorts for her resident skunks, possums, raccoons and flocks of birds. Although my mind and my fondness for words seem as sharp as ever, accessing and embracing the new, e.g., writing, has become increasingly difficult to pull off. Bugger!

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A Quotation from Malcolm Lowry’s Under The Volcano

The below is a fiercely bipolar piece of magnificent prose, something that needs to and deserves to live forever online.


She had reached the limit of the clearing, where the path divided in two.  She hesitated.  Pointing to the left, as it were straight on, another aged arrow on a tree repeated : a la Cascada.  But a similar arrow on another tree pointed away from the stream down a path to her right: a Parian.  She chose the main path, and the jungle returned, its damp earthy leguminous smell rising about her with the night.

The noise of the approaching falls was like the awakening voices of five thousand bobolinks in an Ohio savannah.  Toward it the torrent raced furiously, fed from above, where, down the left bank, transformed abruptly into a great wall of vegetation, water was spouting into the stream through thickets festooned with convolvuli on a higher level than the topmost trees of the jungle.  And it was as though one’s spirit too were being swept on by the swift current with the uprooted trees and smashed bushes in debacle towards that final drop.

She came to the little cantina El Petate.  It stood, at a short distance from the clamourous falls, its lighted windows friendly against the twilight, and was at  present occupied, she saw, by only the barman and two Mexicans, shepherds or quince farmers, deep in conversation, and leaning against the bar.–Their mouths opened and shut soundlessly, their brown hands traced patterns in the air, courteously.

The El Petate, which from where she stood resembled a sort of complicated postage stamp, surcharged on its outside walls with its inevitable advertisements for Moctezuma, Criollo, Cafeaspirina, mentholatum–no se rasque las picaduras de los insectos!–

In the smashing din she waited outside…  Startled, she took a step backwards.  She had stumbled over a wooden structure close to the Petate that seemed to spring at her.  It was a wooden cage, she saw by the light from the windows, in which crouched a large bird.

It was a small eagle she had startled, and which was now shivering in the damp and dark of its prison.  The cage was set between the cantina and a low thick tree, really two trees embracing one another:  an amate and a sabino.  The breeze blew spray in her face.  The falls sounded.  The intertwined roots of the two tree lovers flowed over the ground towards the stream, ecstatically seeking it, though they didn’t really need it; the roots might as well have stayed where they were, for all around them nature was out-doing itself in extravagant fructification.  In the taller trees beyond there was a cracking, a rebellious tearing, and a rattling, as of cordage; boughs like booms swung darkly and stiffly about her, broad leaves unfurled.  There was a sense of black conspiracy, like ships in harbour before a storm, among these trees, suddenly through which, far up in the mountains, lightening flew, and the light in the cantina flickered off, then on again, then off.  No thunder followed.  The storm was a distance away once more.  Yvonne waited in nervous apprehension:  the lights came on.  There the bird was still, a long-winged dark furious shape, a little world of fierce despairs and dreams, and memories of floating high above Popocatepetl, mile on mile, to drop through the wilderness and alight, watching, in the timberline ghosts of ravaged mountain trees.  With hurried quivering hands Yvonne began to unfasten the cage.  The bird fluttered out of it and alighted at her feet, hesitated, took flight to the roof of El Petate, then abruptly flew off through the dusk, not to the nearest tree, as might have been supposed, but up…she was right, it knew it was free…up soaring, with a sudden cleaving of pinions into the deep dark blue pure sky above, in which at that moment appeared one star.  No compunction touched Yvonne.  She felt only an inexplicable secret triumph and relief:  no one would ever know she had done this; and then, stealing over her, the sense of utter heartbreak and loss.

                                                           Malcolm Lowry

                                   Under the Volcano, 1941-1947

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Proper Saloon Pilot Etiquette

Those few of my readers who do not regularly surf the internet looking for something to eat will not have noticed the rise in popularity of the saloon pilot. Although of Scottish origin, the saloon pilot is now an Hawaiian soda cracker, but one with a difference: the saloon pilot is round rather than square or rectangular and about 4 inches in diameter with a thickness of approximately inch. It is basically what amounts to a survival ration taken to an elegant extreme, i.e., you’re not so apt to break your teeth on them nowadays, i.e., not like they were 100 years ago. You can google on “saloon pilot” and find out all about them and their role as hardtack in the era when scurvy plagued traders plied the seas in dingy, dank schooners.

When first presented with a saloon pilot, one might be tempted to heat it up in the microwave and then butter it, but that is so lame and hardly worth commenting on except to say that this is more or less something a bachelor would regard as a major staple in his/her diet, or if not that, something, like the hamburger helper a desperate homemaker will resort to once the household budget has been exhausted but household members still need to eat. I’ve been told, but have never seen it myself, that some people eat their saloon pilots topped with peanut butter and grape jelly. Now while this treatment sort of has the right idea, it is nonetheless an obscenity and a corruption of the proper way to eat a saloon pilot.

No, the correct way to eat a saloon pilot is as follows: top your saloon pilot with a generous layer of gorgonzola cheese, and then over that add an equally generous layer of minced red onion. Then, once you’ve subjected the layer of minced onion to a liberal sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, you’re in business. This combination is probably an acquired taste owing to the disagreeable stench of the gorgonzola which resembles (I’m told) the foul odor of a teenage boy’s gym socks badly in need of laundering, and may take some getting used to. I know that my Aunt Gladys and I who truly savored this ‘concoction’ would inevitably be banished by the rest of the family who did NOT to the kitchen whenever we sought to enjoy it as a late evening snack in front of the TV. My recollection is that we always ate our saloon pilot treats while standing, there being no dinette set handy in our kitchen, nor stools arranged in front of a dining counter, but this never deterred us.

There’s a trick to eating gorgonzola—as you open your mouth to take a bite of your decorated saloon pilot, don’t breathe.  And while you stand there enjoying, or waiting to enjoy, a mouthful of what for many of us is pure bliss, just ignore the fetid stink in the kitchen Your rewards for doing so will all be in the eating. And always be sure to store your left over gorgonzola in an air tight container in the fridge; this, not so much for the sake of the cheese, but more to prevent someone from throwing it out as they rummage about in there for something to eat.


If you chance to live near a real Chinese market, you can usually find them there, but I have no idea why that should be.

But if you don’t, you can order a box of saloon pilots at this website







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