Red Meat: my favorite strip

Red Meat is an alternative and very dark strip by Max Cannon. It’s just twisted enough to give me a good laugh when I’m feeling down. Apparently, however, his online archives are not complete, and some of his strips are difficult to find. For those looking for “nine-foot-long outhouse ladle,” here you go.

Through a glass darkly

I suspect God’s viewpoint would strike us much in this way, could we experience it.

The Old Wolf (and Max Cannon) have spoken.


“I’m in your dispos-all.”


Some time ago I posted some information about “The Electric Pig,” an article which came out in the early days of the garbage disposer.

I was interested to see an article at The Atlantic entitled “The New Alchemy of Waste,” in which the ecological benefits of disposers was flogged in terms glowing enough to make you feel like a traitor if you didn’t use one. I thought that was significant, until I noticed that the article was sponsored content written by Emerson, the makers of the InSinkErator.

Apparently the debate continues. Many cities have banned disposers altogether – New York, for one, although it rescinded the ban for private residences in 1997. Much of the support, of course, comes from disposer manufacturers, including shilled “science” articles, and it’s not easy to cut through the marketing noise. That said, it’s important to remember that funding source does not automatically invalidate research.

I was able to find a 2008 article over at Slate that seems to discuss the competing factors in a balanced way. Their consensus? Compost if at all possible, but otherwise a disposer seems to put less net ecological strain on the environment than landfilling, with the caveat that you should check first to make sure your community isn’t running out of water.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Whistleberries and hounds, a pair!

If you’ve ever heard that hollered by an overworked server to a harried cook at your local greasy spoon, you might have just ordered a pair of franks with baked beans.


Welcome to my stream of consciousness morning.

A recent article at the Sydney Morning Herald provided a fascinating insight into coded language used by healthcare professionals, flight attendants, butchers, and others. (For example, COPD can not only stand for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, but also “Chronic Old Person’s Disease.”) The article is a fascinating read.

That led me to think of diner slang, a subject lovingly researched by John Clarke, the husband of a dear friend of mine whom I knew for over 60 years and who recently left this world (far too soon, I might add.) I’m not sure where his research is at the moment, but I know John has dedicated a good bit of time to exploring the ins and outs of this fine art of colorful communication.

I reproduce below, entirely without permission and acknowledging copyright ©2003 by John Clarke, a diner slang quiz which appeared in the Spring 2003 edition of Gastronomica, the Journal of Food and Culture, but which deserves much wider appreciation. Answers below: Don’t peek!

America’s original quick-bite places – the main-street soda fountain, the corner lunchionette, and the roadside diner – shared a special, often secret, culture of language. During the Golden Age of slinging slang from 1925 to 1945, waitstaff and kitchen workers communicated in colorful shorthand.

How good is your slang? See if you can match the twelve sassy term in Column A with the classic American home-style desserts in Column B.

Bonus Question: “Give me Eve with the roof on, a crow slab covered in spla, maiden and tar, plus a stretch with frost and sissy sticks!” What’s being ordered?

1. Ant Paste A. Apple pie
2. Bellyache B. Chocolate pudding
3. Chinese wedding cake C. Custard pie
4. Gold fish D. Cruller
5. House boat E. Banana Split
6. Matrimony knot F. Fudge
7. Magoo G. Bowl of strawberry gelatin
8. Ploughed field H. Ice cream sundae
9. Shivering Liz in the hay I. Sliced peaches
10. Slab of sin J. Rice pudding
11. Snow White on a stick K. Turnover
12. Windbag L. Vanilla ice cream cone


1-B, 2-H. 3-J, 4-I, 5-E, 6-D, 7-C, 8-F. 9-G, 10-A, 11-L, 12-K

Bonus Question: Apple pie with a top crust, chocolate pie covered with whipped cream, cherry pie and a mug of coffee, and a large Coke™ with crushed ice and two straws!

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet which rarely forgets, here’s a list of diner slang assembled by Dave Hutchins over at Discuss Cooking – the list has been alphabetized and edited a bit for clarity:

A blond with sand: Coffee with cream and sugar
An MD: Dr Pepper
A spot with a twist: Cup of tea with lemon
Adam & Eve on a raft: Two poached eggs on toast
And cinnamon: Dropped in a bowl of milk
Angel: Sandwich man
Baled hay: Shredded wheat
Balloon juice: Seltzer or soda water
Belch water: Alka Seltzer
Billiard: Buttermilk
Bird seed: Breakfast
Black and white: Chocolate soda with vanilla ice cream
Blood hounds in the hay: Hot dogs and sauerkraut
Blow out patches: Pancakes
Blue plate special: a dish of meat, potato, vegetable also daily special
Boiled leaves: Tea
Bossy in a bowl: Beef stew
Bow Wow, Ground hog: A hot dog
Bowl of Red: Chili con carne
Break it and shake it: Add egg to a drink
Breath: Onion
Bridge Party: Four of any thing (from the bridge game)
Bubble dancer: Dish washer
Bullets or whistleberries: Baked beans (because of supposed flatulence)
Burn one: Fry a hamburger
Burn one, take it through the garden: Hamburger with lettuce tomato, onion
Burn the British: Toasted English muffin
Cackle fruit: Eggs
Canned cow: Evaporated milk
Chopper: Table knife
CJ: Boston Cream cheese and Jelly
Cowboy or western: A western omelet or sandwich
Cow paste, Skid grease, Axle grease: Butter
Creep: Draft beer
Crowd: Three of any thing (as in, “Two is company three is a crowd”)
Customer will take a chance: Hash
Dead eye: Poached eggs
Dough well done with cow: Buttered toast
Drag one through Georgia: Cola with Chocolate syrup
Draw one in the dark: A Black coffee
Draw one or a cup of mud: Cup of coffee
Eighty Six: The kitchen is out of the item ordered
Fifty-five: A glass of root beer
Flop two fry:  Two eggs any style
Frenchman’s delight: Pea soup
Frog sticks: French Fries
Fry two, let the sun shine: 2 eggs with unbroken yolks
GAC: Grilled American cheese sandwich
Gallery: Booth
Go for a walk or on wheels: it’s to go
Grave yard stew: Milk toast buttered toast sprinkled with sugar
Gravel train: Sugar bowl
Hail: Ice
Hemorrhage: Ketchup
High and dry: A plain sandwich with nothing on it
Hockey Puck: A hamburger well done
Hold the hail: No ice
Hot top: Hot Chocolate
Hug one or squeeze one: Orange juice
In the alley: Served as a side dish
Jack Benny: Cheese with bacon )Named after Jack Benny)
Java or Joe: Cup of coffee
Keep off the grass: No Lettuce
Lady Bug: Fountain man
Life preserver: Doughnut
Light House: Ketchup bottle
Looseners: Prunes
Lumber: tooth pick
Machine oil: Syrup
Mike & Ike or the twins: salt & pepper shakers
Million on a platter: Plate of baked beans
Mississippi mud or yellow paint: Mustard
Moo juice, Baby juice, Sweet Alice: Milk
Mystery in the alley: Side order of hash
No cow: without milk
Noah’s boy on bread: Ham sandwich
Noah’s son: Slice of ham (Noah’s second son)
One from the Alps: A Swiss cheese sandwich
Paint it Red: Put ketchup on it
Pair of drawers: two cups of coffee
Pin a rose on it: Add Onion to a order
Put out the lights and cry: Liver and onions
Rabbit food: Lettuce
Radio: Tuna salad sandwich
Sea Dust: Salt
Shake one in the hay: Strawberry milk shake
Shingle with a shimmy and a shake: Buttered toast with jam or jelly
Shoot from the south: Coca Cola™
Smear: Margarine
Soup Jockey: Waitress
Stack or short stack: Order of pancakes
Sun kiss or oh gee: Orange juice
Sweep the kitchen: Hash
Throw it in the mud: Add Chocolate syrup
Two cows, make them cry: two hamburgers with onion
Vermont: Maple syrup
Warts: Olives
Wax: American cheese
Whisky down: rye toast
Whisky: Rye bread
White cow: Vanilla milk shake
Wind mill, Adams ale, city juice, dog soup: A glass of water
Yum yum or sand: Sugar
Zeppelin: Sausage

I got a big kick out of “Put out the lights and cry” – I’m a big fan of liver and onions, but apparently many others are not.

These terms can be very regional and original, so there were likely to be many terms for the same item around the country. A more comprehensive list should be forthcoming when I have the time.

In the meantime, wreck two and make them cry.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Would you like to work for the goverment? (Scam)

It’s safe to say that there are as many ways to scam as there are scammers.

From: “Abranco” <>
To: <>
Cc: <undisclosed recipients>

Subject: Government Job Offer

Dear Sir or Madam

Would you like to work for the Government organization and participate in
the development of the United States?
Perhaps it is your talent the country needs at this moment.
Requirements – U.S. citizenship and minimum age 21
We invite you to work closely, anyone who does not care about the life of the state.
If you are a student, military, businessman, retired – we’ll be happy to listen to the opinions of everyone and take help from you.
Please send a brief summary to the human resource assistant on the and you will be assigned to interview

Naturally I never responded to this illicit offer, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the response would have somehow involved wiring funds via Western Union to someone in Africa for “interview fees,” or perhaps lead to a mail forwarding scam.

In the 1st quarter of 2015, spam accounted for almost 60% of all email traffic, according to this excellent article from SecureList. Have a look at the very top of my Spam inbox:


Even if these emails are not directly criminal in nature (that is, loaded with malware or phishing attempts), my rule of thumb is this:

 “If a company spams you, avoid them at all costs.”

It’s a virtual certainty that their “offer” is fraudulent or, at the very least, a bad deal for you and a good deal for them.

Be careful out there.

 The Old Wolf has spoken.

The Story of Draper Hall at George Washington University

So it turns out that my uncle, Courtney Rogers Draper, had a building named after him for as long as it existed.

Courtney Rogers Draper 150 (2)

The Story of Draper Hall

In the GWU Mail Call, 2 July 1946
Volume 1, No. 3

If you will walk over about a block to 22nd and G streets, you wil notice a two-story barracks-like building that looks uncomfortably like an amputated part of an army camp.

Your first impression will be corrected swiftly, however, when you walk into the spacious inviting lobby, and watch the easy-going, friendly dormitory life that opens out upon it.

No, the Army flavor is all gone. It’s civilian life, and civilian life at its best.

Perhaps that is why it is called Draper Hall. You see, Courtney Rogers Draper typified in his life, as in his death, the finest in American life.

He was the son of a Salt Lake City lawyer, with three sisters, one employed in the office of Gen. Elbert D. Thomas of Utah, here in Washington, and a brother, attending the University of Utah. This was the institution Courtney attended before he came to Washington, and to GWU.

In Washington, he was secretary to Gen. Hugh S. Johnson, administrator of the NRA, and then served as an auditor in the General Accounting Office here.

While working, e received the Bachelor of Laws degree from George Washington Law School in 1937.

In April, 1936, he was appointed as a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps. Although instructed as an artillery officer, Lt. Draper was assigned as an assistant adjutant at the presidio in San Francisco, upon entering active duty in July, 1941.

In August he was sent to the Philippine Islands attached to the air force, and was at Clark Field at the outbreak of hostilities with Japan.

Captured at Mindanao, where he was in charge of defending forces, Lt. Draper rejected an opportunity to escape and remained behind to attend to the removal of nurses and other flying personnel. He learned the Japanese language and served as prisoners’ liaison officer at Mindanao until 1943 when he was transferred to Cabanatuan, and later to Bilibid.

Courtney Purple Heart

As the steel ring of MacArthur and Nimitz drew ever closer to the Philippines, he was placed aboard a Japanese ship bound for Japan. American fliers sank the vessel in the China Sea in December, 1944. He was 31.

Today, although he is not here to enjoy the fruits of his sacrifice, that spirit in Courtney Rogers Draper which made possible such things as low-cost veterans’ housing and the many other things he would have wanted to see in contemporary America — that spirit is exemplified in the cooperative attitude and the zest for life that you can see in the 126 young fellows who inhabit the 86 rooms of Draper Hall.

Along with Draper Hall itself, the University housing development includes another section of 48 rooms on H. St., as well as a family section, in which ten veterans’ families are living.

This was the first veterans’ housing development of any university in Washington, and its construction was due to the constant cooperation of University authorities with the federal agencies responsible for such developments.

The serious lack of furniture is helped being met by an anonymous gentleman from Virginia, whi is arranging to send up furniture from surplus government vessels.

Draper Hall was demolished in 1956 to make way for newer structures, but during its tenture it bore the name of an honored American soldier.

GWU Mail Call 1  GWU Mail Call 2

The GWU Mail Call from 2 July 1946

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Warren Burger on the Second Amendment

An image has resurfaced on Facebook lately highlighting a quote from former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger:


I did a litte digging just to make sure this wasn’t Snopes-worthy, and it turns out that this quote came from a PBS News Hour interview in 1991 and is correctly attributed to Chief Justice Burger.

With two school shootings in two weeks, (Oregon last week, and Arizona yesterday), it seems only right to be asking questions. The article below, originally published in Parade magazine in 1990, asks some really good ones (highlighted in bold below), and I submit it here for consideration.

Article originally published at which is no longer available.

The Right To Bear Arms

A distinguished citizen takes a stand on one of the most controversial issues in the nation

By Warren E. Burger, Chief Justice of the United States (1969-86)
Parade Magazine, January 14, 1990, page 4

Our metropolitan centers, and some suburban communities of America, are setting new records for homicides by handguns. Many of our large centers have up to 10 times the murder rate of all of Western Europe. In 1988, there were 9000 handgun murders in America. Last year, Washington, D.C., alone had more than 400 homicides — setting a new record for our capital.

The Constitution of the United States, in its Second Amendment, guarantees a “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” However, the meaning of this clause cannot be understood except by looking to the purpose, the setting and the objectives of the draftsmen. The first 10 amendments — the Bill of Rights — were not drafted at Philadelphia in 1787; that document came two years later than the Constitution. Most of the states already had bills of rights, but the Constitution might not have been ratified in 1788 if the states had not had assurances that a national Bill of Rights would soon be added.

People of that day were apprehensive about the new “monster” national government presented to them, and this helps explain the language and purpose of the Second Amendment. A few lines after the First Amendment’s guarantees — against “establishment of religion,” “free exercise” of religion, free speech and free press — came a guarantee that grew out of the deep-seated fear of a “national” or “standing” army. The same First Congress that approved the right to keep and bear arms also limited the national army to 840 men; Congress in the Second Amendment then provided:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
In the 1789 debate in Congress on James Madison’s proposed Bill of Rights, Elbridge Gerry argued that a state militia was necessary:
“to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty … Whenever governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia in order to raise and army upon their ruins.”
We see that the need for a state militia was the predicate of the “right” guaranteed; in short, it was declared “necessary” in order to have a state military force to protect the security of the state. That Second Amendment clause must be read as though the word “because” was the opening word of the guarantee. Today, of course, the “state militia” serves a very different purpose. A huge national defense establishment has taken over the role of the militia of 200 years ago.

Some have exploited these ancient concerns, blurring sporting guns — rifles, shotguns and even machine pistols — with all firearms, including what are now called “Saturday night specials.” There is, of course, a great difference between sporting guns and handguns. Some regulation of handguns has long been accepted as imperative; laws relating to “concealed weapons” are common. That we may be “over-regulated” in some areas of life has never held us back from more regulation of automobiles, airplanes, motorboats and “concealed weapons.”

Let’s look at the history.

First, many of the 3.5 million people living in the 13 original Colonies depended on wild game for food, and a good many of them required firearms for their defense from marauding Indians — and later from the French and English. Underlying all these needs was an important concept that each able-bodied man in each of the 133 independent states had to help or defend his state.

The early opposition to the idea of national or standing armies was maintained under the Articles of Confederation; that confederation had no standing army and wanted none. The state militia — essentially a part-time citizen army, as in Switzerland today — was the only kind of “army” they wanted. From the time of the Declaration of Independence through the victory at Yorktown in 1781, George Washington, as the commander-in-chief of these volunteer-militia armies, had to depend upon the states to send those volunteers.

When a company of New Jersey militia volunteers reported for duty to Washington at Valley Forge, the men initially declined to take an oath to “the United States,” maintaining, “Our country is New Jersey.” Massachusetts Bay men, Virginians and others felt the same way. To the American of the 18th century, his state was his country, and his freedom was defended by his militia.

The victory at Yorktown — and the ratification of the Bill of Rights a decade later — did not change people’s attitudes about a national army. They had lived for years under the notion that each state would maintain its own military establishment, and the seaboard states had their own navies as well. These people, and their fathers and grandfathers before them, remembered how monarchs had used standing armies to oppress their ancestors in Europe. Americans wanted no part of this. A state militia, like a rifle and powder horn, was as much a part of life as the automobile is today; pistols were largely for officers, aristocrats — and dueling.

Against this background, it was not surprising that the provision concerning firearms emerged in very simple terms with the significant predicate — basing the right on the necessity for a “well regulated militia,” a state army.

In the two centuries since then — with two world wars and some lesser ones — it has become clear, sadly, that we have no choice but to maintain a standing national army while still maintaining a “militia” by way of the National Guard, which can be swiftly integrated into the national defense forces.

Americans also have a right to defend their homes, and we need not challenge that. Nor does anyone seriously question that the Constitution protects the right of hunters to own and keep sporting guns for hunting game any more than anyone would challenge the right to own and keep fishing rods and other equipment for fishing — or to own automobiles. To “keep and bear arms” for hunting today is essentially a recreational activity and not an imperative of survival, as it was 200 years ago; “Saturday night specials” and machine guns are not recreational weapons and surely are as much in need of regulation as motor vehicles.

Americans should ask themselves a few questions. The Constitution does not mention automobiles or motorboats, but the right to keep and own an automobile is beyond question; equally beyond question is the power of the state to regulate the purchase or the transfer of such a vehicle and the right to license the vehicle and the driver with reasonable standards. In some places, even a bicycle must be registered, as must some household dogs.

If we are to stop this mindless homicidal carnage, is it unreasonable:

  1. to provide that, to acquire a firearm, an application be made reciting age, residence, employment and any prior criminal convictions?
  2. to required that this application lie on the table for 10 days (absent a showing for urgent need) before the license would be issued?
  3. that the transfer of a firearm be made essentially as with that of a motor vehicle?
    to have a “ballistic fingerprint” of the firearm made by the manufacturer and filed with the license record so
  4. that, if a bullet is found in a victim’s body, law enforcement might be helped in finding the culprit?

These are the kind of questions the American people must answer if we are to preserve the “domestic tranquillity” promised in the Constitution.

What is clear is that in today’s society, the domestic tranquility is not being preserved, nor are the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. School shootings appear in the news regularly, but less-reported is the daily slaughter in our inner cities and elsewhere, for example the recent murders of a dog walker and a backpacker by three drifters in California. Articles like this surface, are news for a day, and are then forgotten, and nobody seems to care that gang-bangers are killing each other and innocent bystanders with reckless abandon. For the victims of such acts of violence, somehow those inalienable rights are failing to apply, and it must stop.

The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment can be summarized by two flags that I’ve seen flying in my own neighborhood:


Molon Lave


both of which echo the “cold dead hands” sentiment originated by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and popularized by Charlton Heston.

One of my European colleagues asked, at a Facebook discussion of this issue,

You do realize that, seen from abroad, you all seem to have taken leave of your senses?

A libertarian friend of mine responded,

And from an American’s perspective, … you appear to be incredibly vulnerable.

These are the views from the polar opposites. We have to find a middle ground, and we have to stop the carnage. Not to do so is to sacrifice our humanity at the altar of death. With the words of Warren Burger ringing in my ears – and it’s to be remembered that he was a conservative justice, not a liberal one – the questions he asks appear both valid and sane.

The Old Wolf has spoken.