Posts Tagged ‘Archie Fagan’

BOOK 4. A Nip of Nepotism

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

BOOK 4. A Nip of Nepotism  

I was talking with Tuts at Shaky Acres recently, when something in my pocket started to attack me. Rather than a noxious, notorious tropical pocket skink, it turned out to be my trusty telephone, vibrating like a lusty electric jumping bean.

“Allo? Allo?” sez me, and within two words of the response, I’d recognized a voice I hadn’t heard in fourteen years or more, as belonging to one of my favorite people in the world “Jon Mayer, The Jive talking, Piano Playing, Be Bop King of the 13th Galaxy and the world” (I call him that, he makes no such claim, except for the be bop piano player part.)

 He is much more humble about himself than I am about himself, (which may play a part in why he enjoys talking with me) Jon and I have traveled through more than one world of woe together and shared the dramatics of traversing the seemingly endless grey quicksand between the dark and the light in the far in and far out Californias.

He is a very funny fellow and is kind enough to pretend to be amused by the products of my own pitiful wit and my efforts to keep up with him in conversation. After a number of laughs he got my email address and said he was sending me a link to his newest and first video. After viewing it (a beautiful rendition of the classic “On Green Dolphin Street”) I felt an obligation to be frank in my email response, which is copied here.

 “Dear Sir,

I must say I became quite anxious for you while watching the video, I would have thought that in preparation for such an important engagement as one in an official concert hall in a far away and foreign country, you would have learned the whole song all the way through, and practiced it at least enough times to be able to play the blasted melody. 

Why, at one point or another, you must have played every friggin’ note on the piano looking for the melody. And then just when it looked like you’d found it you forgot it all over again, and the guy playing that big “ukulele on a stick” had to take over for you while you tried to find your place.

I was so relieved when it ended and the people seemed not to notice what had happened and gave you a nice round of applause and (because I know that you take a certain pride in your looks)  it was very nice that some of them even whistled at you.

 I’ve been told that the longer one stays away from  food additives and other naughty chemistry the better ones memory gets, however that hasn’t happened for me, because it seems the longer I stay away form the bad stuff, the older I get. And the older I get, the less I can remember. So my advice is that you’d better be real nice to the guy who plays that “ukulele on a stick thingy”, because you’re going to have to rely on him more and more and more.

Your friend and #1 or 2 (depending on how your current wifey feels about you) fan,


 Jon is a real beauty; we were together in California when the “new John Mayer” started to become known. What an experience, it was for him; you work all of your life to get your name out there and bouf! It was really disorienting.

I must say, he responded like the Be Bop Maestro that he is.

I have a little “kinda likea” experience when I google myself or am confused with or accused of imitating some of the folks that imitate me, but dang!

In Mayer’s case because the other lad is fairly gifted too it ultimately reflected well on the name…but can you imagine?

Anyway, I love my friend, Jon Mayer, and if you like Be Bop you will too. I’m delighted to have heard from him. Here’s his link

 Back on the “confused with trail,” some folks get me mixed up with my son “little Scott” who is a writer, a former producer for Dr. Wiel, A Chef and a Caterer in New York City. When that occurs I get demands for more information about “Butch Australia” or natural remedies for Hammer Toe or for my super secret recipe for soup for sixty (I always start by saying “Well…first you gotta scoop ten gallons of Hudson River water into a Zabar’s brown paper shopping bag and”..) (I tell ‘em the same thing for both Hammer Toe AND secret soup)

 I get calls from “Mothers in Laws to be”, insisting that they should come right over to my pad to taste my recipe for “Caribbean Gefilte Fish” or “Langousta de La Sahara” or something else equally intriguing, like Belgian Guacamole over frozen Alaskan truffle fish, (My beautiful Bix makes the most extraordinary (and super delisioso) cultural culinary combos probably because of his family’s Virgin Islands background combined with my own), The boy is a major cris-cross of culture combos himself)

  These “Mothers In Laws to be” ladies, do this in anticipation of hiring me (actually him but they’re confused, Capeche?) to cater their daughters and “sons in laws to be’s” “Weddings Of The Century”. When that happens I always say “Yes yes of course my dear flower plum, but first I’ll have to run over to my fish traps at Hells Gate to see if we’ve managed to catch any Caribbean Gefilte Fish amongst all the funny little Hudson River White Fish in there” That usually gets them off the line in a hurry! 

 The Bix’s mother, the beautiful “Annalee” ah.. I mean Patricia, (here she is telling her story “Betty Crocker and The Mango Tree”)

calls from time to time complaining that the Bix’s business has fallen off, I listen and cluck along with her…”Yes yes, he’s such a smart boy, yes yes, he’s such a handsome fellow, yes yes, he’s such a wonderful Chef.. (I hope it never occurs to her that the problem may begin when people try to contact him and wind up talking recipes with me instead) After all it’s her fault, she’s the one that insisted on naming him Scott, I was going to name him “Little Maxie Whatchamacallya”)

Ah well…I promise you the Bix is a much much much better cook than I am, here’s his link

 (As a matter of fact almost anyone who doesn’t start with ten gallons of Hudson River water is a much better cook than I am)

 And while we are, or rather while I am, practicing nepotism, here’s a link to my beautiful boy Archie’s (no, not Little Archie’s) online comic book.

 and a LINK to my long lost but recently found, beautiful son Stephin’s site

 My little girls have better sense than to let their Dada know any thing about how to find THEIR websites, let alone what the heck is on them. You’ll just hafta google ‘em to find out.

Incidentally, on that Hudson River soup, I just want you to know that you won’t need to salt or season it in any way. That soup base is so fraught with exotic seasonings of every kind that it bubbles before it boils…it’s really quite exciting.

I would say you ought to try it, but there’s no way that I’m going to be responsible for that. It’s kinda like that Japanese Blowfish thing, except I hear there’s an eight in ten chance you’ll survive the blowfish, but if you get a Hudson River White Fish stuck in your throat,  brother you’re gonna have an irresistible urge to hang or shoot yourself within seconds.

 Well, that’s just about all I know about soup, weddings, natural remedies and baked Alaskan ice cubes…


Here is a link to MAAC the collective that I’m hooked up with in the states

And the collective’s performance space, AKA Union Street Blues


Book 3.TINY…

December 20, 2009 1 comment
Book 3.TINY

 Here is another little “Witch Crik” story, from the point of view of my (then) seven year old daughter Twinkle (Lelia). 


 My name is Lily, 

My Mother, my Father, My twin brother and I live on a farm way up in the mountains in California, where my Great Grand Father planted peaches and plums and grapes a long long time ago. 

He built a pond too 

And in the summertime it gets very full of froggies and fish…and little taddy-poles. 

Last summer it got very very hot, and the pond became a puddle. We didn’t know what to do.. 

Everyday after day it got smaller and smaller and the fish got crowded, some froggies just hopped out and watched. 

The puddle got so small that some fishes began to die,then lots of fish began to die 

and then one day, there wasn’t any puddle anymore,and they were ALL going to die. 

We didn’t know WHAT to do. 

Then my Brother or me, I don’t remember who, said “Let’s put some in the sink”. And then my brother or me said “Yeah! An let’s put some in the bathtub”. 

Then our Dada said ” Ooh my Babies, I’m so sorry, We can’t do that, we have to use those places!” 

Then my Brother or me, I don’t remember who, said “What about the bucket? We could put some water in the bucket; an’ they could live in there.” 

Our Dada looked like he was gonna cry and he said, “Ooh my sweethearts, I’m so sorry, I’m afraid these little fishies are done for.” 

And we said, “Ooh Dada, Can’t we try”? And he said “Ooh my Duckies, do you REALLY want to?” 

And we said “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” 

So our Dada said, “Ok Duckies..then we will!” 

So we ran around and found all the buckets we could find and Dada got his snake swakin’ shovel, and off we went to the fishies. 

Man oh boy, it was a sad thing. 

There were hundreds of fishes, and none of them were moving or anything, and millions of taddy-poles.. 

Then my Brother or me, I don’t remember who, said ” Look! Somethin’s flopping around over there!” And we ran over there and Dada scooped it up with the shovel and plopped it in the bucket. Right away it started breathing and swimming around in the water. 

“Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy!” We said. And Dada said “Holy Smokes”. 

Then we saw another one move and another one and another one. 

We ran all over the place, plopping them in the buckets as fast as we could. And taddy-poles too! 

We FILLED up our buckets with FISH, 

Dada said they were CAT Fish. Soon we had so many Catfish, we didn’t know WHAT to do. 

So we dumped them in the rain barrel that Mama uses to wash her hair, And ran back to get some more! 

We got every single one of them that was still alive, And ALL of our buckets and rain barrels were full of Cat fish, and taddy-poles too. 

Then Dada said “Yes my Duckies, If you really want to name them, we could try.. 

We tried to name them all…there was Moby and Tina and Moby maybe..and Tina Two and Sharky the first, and lots and lots of names. That’s when we discovered that we were naming some of them two and three times in a row and that we couldn’t tell who was who, except the littlest one..We named her Tiny. 

And Dada said “Oh my Duckies, they might not live very long in the buckets and in the rain barrels” but that “at least we tried, and that is what’s important”. 

Every morning around 8 O’clock and every afternoon around three, all the catfish would come up to the top of the barrels and go “Turp Turp Turp” all at the same time. 

Boy, there was a lot of them.. We gave them bread crumbs to eat. 

The bread crumbs made the water funny and they didn’t like the bread crumbs anyway, so we went to the fishin’ store in town. 

We got cartons of big fat and juicy worms, which my brother and me didn’t want to touch and our Mother didn’t like to have in the refrigerator. 

Maybe the Cat fish didn’t like them either because, like Dada said, “lot’s of them are beginning to give up the ghost” Until they were mostly all gone. 

We didn’t know WHAT to do. 

Finally, there were only two left, Tiny and another guy…and then School started and we didn’t see the Catfish much, then Mama’s calico cat that we called Meep!, might have gotten the catfish in the rain barrel out by the clothesline. 

There was no sign of Tiny, but the taddies in her bucket were real big so we hoped maybe she was still ok. 

Finally, the rains came, and we watched the puddle become the pond again 

And we said, Oh boy! “Maybe we can put Tiny back in the water soon” And Dada said ” Oh my Duckies..if she’s still alive..” 

We wondered if she was, it was such a long long time. 

Then today, my brother or me, I don’t remember who, said “Dada, Dada, lets put the fish back in the water!” 

And Da Da said “Ooh my babies, we don’t know if their even still alive at all” and we said “Ooh Dada Can’t we try”? And Dada said “Ok my Duckies, if you really really want to, and we said “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! 

So Dada carefully poured the water from Tiny’s big bucket into a smaller one with a handle on it and we watched for Tiny, and looked out for taddys that might spill on the ground. 

My brother didn’t know if he saw her or not or maybe it was a leaf but we did see three taddys fall out. Dada picked them up and put them in the handle bucket and off we went. 

When we got down to the pond it was still very small, But much bigger than when it was dry. 

The water was so clean and so clear and so quiet. 

Then Dada poured the bucket into the pond and the water got all rippled and muddy and we just waited.. 

Then my brother or me or my Dada, I think it was ALL of us said “LOOK LOOK, There she is! There’s TINY! 

And I felt so happy that I cried. And I know my brother and our Dada felt the same way too. 

As we stood by the pond we had a feeling that we won’t ever forget, even when today and tomorrow, go to be a long long time ago.  

The End