The Great Plotnik

Saturday, December 31, 2005

BZ and The Big E 2

BZ and the Big E
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
You may have to be a scholar of plotzketball history to remember the first Big E, back in the days of Kareem Abdul Jabbar-nik, but now there is a Big E2. Last night The Big E2 and The Great BeezyWeezy accompanied Plotnik and Ducknik to Pazzia, where they hadn't been since Mushnik's birthday. The story of pizza as an appetizer and more pizza for a main course was told. Then, the four ordered pizza margherita, pizza gorgonzola, cappelini with sun dried tomatoes, rigatoni with sausage and gnocchi in a meat sauce. Tiramisu followed.

Tomorrow, New Year's Day, BZ and E2 leave for PD and 5H's house in Stiletto City, after which they'll camp for a few days in Joshua Tree. Both kids really had their lives changed when they were at Biosphere in Tucson, Arizona. They have the desert in their blood now, and seek it like Plotnik and Ducknik search out the perfect creme brulee.

Tonight, New Year's Eve, is normally a time of great reflection, but The Great Plotnik got all of that out of his system before October 26. Tonight will probably involve making home made ravioli and feeling thankful for uncountable blessings.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Lady Shutternik is on The Team

Danielle, Staci
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
The Great FiveHead and Lady Shutternik have been friends for decades. Shutternik, in her advancing years (she might be as old as 25), has become a jaw-dropping photographer. She brought wonderful photo presents for her hosts when she sat at her accustomed corner of the Christmas Eve table to drink gewurtztraminer and eat Cuban Chicken.

It's nice to have Lady Shutternik on the team. The idea is that Team Plotnik should eat Christmas Eve dinner together for the next 100 years or so. The meal can change, slightly (perhaps Kentucky Cherry Pie next year instead of Lemon Meringue Pie), and people can skip a year or two, as long as they are traveling in an exotic country, and there can always be more chairs set out for future mates, new best friends or any surprises that may arise.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mummy Plotnik's Cookie Jar

She holds a giant cookie jar on her lap. Would you guess she is 91 years old? Now the trick is: how soon will she fill it up with cookies?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cafe Tropical

Cafe Tropical
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
African music blaring in his ears, The Great Plotnik stares at the photo he took last week at Cafe Tropical in Stiletto City. Plotnik and Ducknik discovered the Tropical when they first moved back to Stiletto City in 1977. It was the site of the first story Plotnik ever submitted for publication, which led to meeting Mistress Domin-nik and then to TIAPOS and relationships with so many wonderful people who have enriched his life.

In the days when Plot and Duck first found Tropical, it was run by right-wing Cuban refugees who had photos of Castro on the walls with a bulls-eye painted on his nose. Now, the old chain-smoking right-wingers have sold out to young left-wing hipsters who have removed Bulls-Eye Fidel and put up a large photo of Che Guevara. And so it goes.

The coffee con leche is still the best in Stiletto City, and the guayaba con queso pastry on the right is better than ever, and so are the little round empanada con queso and the croissant, which is not pronounced 'kwa-sant' but 'croy-son.'

You can probably still get a birthday cake made with plastic Smurfs on the top if you tell the baker that your daughter, with whom you come to the Tropical every Wednesday morning before Pre-School so she can have a huge round cookie with sprinkles plus another for her lunch box, loves Smurfs.

The Great PunkyDunky and The Great FiveHead now live only a few blocks from the Tropical. PD orders in Spanish and helps Plotnik bring the pastries and coffees and fresh squeezed orange/carrot juice to the table.

The world turns, fights break out in one place and are snuffed out in others, holidays come and go and people remember what is truly important, until they get distracted and forget again. A cup of cafe con leche and a guayaba con queso at the Tropical bring it all back to square one, órale Chachito. Life is still flaky, hot and sweet.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Lemon Mirengue

Lemon Mirengue
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
The Plotnik family has long been split over whether The Great Ducknik's lemon mirengue pie, sour cream lemon pie, apple pie, pecan pie or Kentucky cherry pie is best. For most of The Great Plotnik's fortunate years with Ducknik, he has placed pecan first. The rest of the family, however, rates Kentucky cherry Number One, followed by all the others tied for second, and since we're not really all that sure why don't you just make them all?

The two Lemon Mirengues on Christmas Eve were indeed spectacular, as was the rest of the meal: chicken roasted in mojo criollo, salmon pan broiled in the same mojo, Persian vegetarian pot pie, cabbage salad, sweet potatoes roasted in their jackets and red beet quarters in mustard and sour cream. A very nice Gewurtzaminer topped it all off, and then these two lemony mirenguey spectacular babies.

Today, Mrs. Mushnik met Mummy Plotnik. It's been a wonderful holiday so far.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Love and Smiles

A gift of love and huge smiles from Plotnik, Ducknik, BeezyWeezy, PunkyDunky, FiveHead, Mummy Plotnik, Schmeckl, Little Bearnik, Nefnik, Fefnik and Vashnik. Plotnik is currently between Cuban Chicken and Beaujolais Beets, with lemon meringue pie on the horizon. Santa needs brandy. Love to everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Christmas Music Door Slams Shut

Plotnik got all the way to yesterday at 10:30AM before his Christmas Music Door slammed shut. He was standing in Trader Joe's staring at the shredded wheat when some soul singer decided to scat her way through yet another version of En Belafontis Dayo, and Plotnik couldn't stand it any more. "Shut your F---ing Mouth!" he exploded, at the shredded wheat, before he realized what he'd just said. Then he began apologizing, to the crunchy wheats and the healthy bran and all the people who were staring at him. "I'm sorry," he said. "I've just had it with Christmas music. I made it this far."

Once he said that, everyone knew he wasn't a crazy person, and smiled and nodded and went about their business.

Plotnik only heard 'It Must Have Been the Mistletoe' once, though that's probably because he managed to stay out of malls.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Accordion Heaven

Accordion Heaven
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
This is a portion of one wall at Smythe's Accordion Shop in Smokeland. Some of these beauties are antiques, some are brand new, some are from Germany, some are from China, some are big, some are small, some are cheap and some cost plenty. It's a paradise of a place, though it's not easy to find.

Kid virtuosos prance through the door, along with grizzled Latino tejano players, polka fans with tattoos and the assorted Accordion Playing Leader of a D-Minor Western Religon.

It's an unexplained phenomenon at Smythe's Accordion Shop that people who have listened to nothing but Metallica for the past 25 years strap on an accordion and immediately launch into a waltz or a polka.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hot Water Christmas Tree

Hot Water Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
The Great Mushnik asked to see the Great 2005 Seasonal Conifer (nee Christmas Tree) at the Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Meatball Kitchen. Well, yesterday was the day Plotnik INTENDED to take his trusty axe and cull a noble fir with lofty branches, but INSTEAD he and Ducknik spent the day with Darren the Friendliest Plumber in the World. Why do appliances always wait until Christmas to fail? How do they know?

So, no tree this year for the Plotniks. No presents either. Everyone is getting copper water intake valves and metal earthquake straps.

And now the pantry has to be rebuilt. The Plotniks told themselves, 12 years ago, when they placed the hot water in this spot, behind the pantry, that the day would come when they would have to replace the hot water heater and to do so they would have to take the pantry apart. Well, that day was yesterday.

Today is get-tree day. AND, Beezie comes home.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Tall, Beautiful T.A.

Sensei, T.A.s, Purotniku
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
Kanji class is over. The Final Exam was this morning at 8AM. A significant percentage of Plotnik's readers have asked to see the tall, beautiful T.A. She is not hard to spot.

TGP-san studied hard all weekend and was well prepared for the Final. He was the last person left in the room, but finished at 10 on the dot.

Now he has to go to Kaiser this afternoon. He would rather take five more Japanese finals.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A New Medium for Wood Carving

Yesterday was Plotnik's first day volunteering in Mr. 543222's music classroom at Local Middle School. It's a really tough assignment for the poor teacher, a studied musician, whose job it is to teach, get this, violin to three classes of middle schoolers, none of whom is interested in learning violin. The school has no money, but it got a grant so it went out and bought 30 violins. They are cheap, so they go out of tune easily, plus none of the kids has the slightest idea how to tune them, or what tuning them means, or why they need to be in tune, or why violins shouldn't be used to push other kids out of the way, or to see what happens when pennies and quarters are dropped into the f-holes, or why they shouldn't have dueling contests with their bows, or, while they're at it, why they shouldn't carve gang grafitti into the faces of the violins with blunt knives, or why they shouldn't tell the teacher he's jacked, man, and storm out of the classroom, or why they shouldn't laugh constantly on their cellphone in class, or bring fried chicken into the middle of the class session, or else stare out into the street bored out of their minds.

Mr. 543222 tries concentrating on the girls in the front row who are vaguely trying to hold their violins correctly, but the noise level in the classroom soon escalates, so he shouts FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWOOOOOOOOO....! Usually, by 'two' the screaming wanes slightly, but not always, so sometimes the teacher has to go all the way to ONE I'M WARNING YOU ONE COME ON ESTEBAN ONE MARIA PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE ONE....

What happens if he gets to ZERO is unclear. The last teacher lasted exactly one month and was fired after disintegrating into a raft of racial name calling. Mr. 543222 is the first teacher's midterm replacement, as if it weren't enough having to spend a full class period every day in every class doing nothing but tuning and retuning cheap violins and counting from five backwards down to two.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Burnt Caramel Ginger Heart

The Great Plotnik, currently masquerading as The Great Choco-nik during his assignment to review and photograph all the great chocolate shops in Saint Plotniko, yesterday afternoon went to the Upper, Middle and Working classes of Chocoholicism.

Upper class: Recchiuti Confections, in the Ferry Building Downtown. Michael Recchiuti is a friendly and fascinating guy, who started as a pastry chef and now creates special truffle lines for Williams-Sonoma as well as having his own retail shop. The Burnt Caramel truffle, his signature piece, is to fall over dead with a smile on your face. It puts many other more famous Saint Plotniko truffles to shame. Boxed chocolates come in at around $50 a pound, including one flecked with French sea salt that sounds gross but isn't.

Middle Class: Ghirardelli Chocolates in Ghirardelli Square at the Wharf. The manager could not have been nicer, seeing as he has to deal all day with whining tourists: "It's COLD down here!" Ghirardelli chocolate is a Saint Plotniko tradition, starting when Domenico Ghirardelli and James Lick were neighbors in Peru before they came North in the 1840s. But the choc isn't all that great -- anything you can buy in every supermarket in America can't be all that special, and it isn't. Maybe it used to be, when Fisherman's Wharf still had fish.

Lower Class: The ladies at See's Candies still wear those white smocks with the oversized black bow ties and name tags. They're oversized themselves, or undersized, or in some other way slightly off kilter, maybe a limp, maybe one eye pointing to the dark chocolate and the other to the milk chocolate, and they're grouchy as ever and still hand you the obligatory free sample like you're collecting their taxes. But the Scotch Kisses are still chewy and delicious, oh and the lollipops, and the Mocha Crisps, and don't forget the Krispys and a full FIVE POUND box of hefty, tasty See's chocolates is only $68 -- less than one pound in some of the fancy shops. Five pounds of chocolate contains all the saturated fat for your entire life. And it's good, dude! It's still very, very good. It ain't Recchiutti. But Recchiutti ain't Mary See, either.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Helen Reddy was right!

The other day in Plotnik's last Kanji class before his Final this upcoming Monday, Matsumura Sensei sent her beginning Kanji students to the blackboard. She sat behind them and called out Japanese words, for which five of the six students drew perfect Kanjis, using strong, sure strokes. The sixth student, who has a severe Japanographic Learning Disability, which does not enable him to think up to down and right to left, to say nothing of forgetting E V E R Y damned thing when he's at the blackboard, drew out his wimpy Kanji with lines that looked like overcooked linguini, and waited for Matsumura Sensei to say "Purotniku-san!"

But she didn't. And it wasn't because he was getting things right, but because she was very busy and wasn't paying attention. Plotnik could see he had drawn his Kanji incorrectly, but she wasn't saying a word. It was a baaaddd sign, and far worse than being publicly upbraided for being a Bad Bad Kanjiboy. Now, he could tell she no longer had any hope for him.

Worse yet, when he got home he realized she was just calling off the same Kanji from the work sheet he had already turned in last week. He had known them all when he was writing them down. Now, he couldn't remember any, 10 minus 10, the inside of the bagel, and not only that: he couldn't remember he had just written three pages using these same Kanji.

The Great Plotnik is not a stupid man. He is not an idiot. He is not a brainless snail. He is not a creeping foosack.

Helen Reddy was right! Plotnik is STRONG! He is INVINCIBLE! He is KANJIMAN!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


177 mae
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
This is the Kanji for 'before.' Plotnik is supposed to have learned 169 of these Chinese characters this semester, plus the Japanese pronunciation (bottom line) and Chinese pronunciation (second from bottom line), and the exact proper stroke order (ten little boxes in middle) one must use when writing.

To Plotnik, the Kanji for 'Before' is known as 'Two Hat Month Ri,' because it has a hat on top with two points, the Kanji for 'month' on the bottom left and the alphabetic sound of 'Ri' on the bottom right. Two Hat Month Ri equals 'before,' as is obvious to everyone in the world except for Plotnik The Great Unworthy Miserable Insect.

The Final is Monday. Plotnik is SOOOO doomed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This morning, Plotnik and Ducknik went to the orientation meeting for volunteers at Local Middle School. They learned the students are primarily Latino, with blacks, whites and Chinese making up most of the rest of the population. They learned never to get in the middle of a fight. They learned three check marks lead to a referral. They learned it's no fun to go on a bus trip with fifty 13-year-olds. They learned these are good kids, but...well, it's Middle School.

Sounds good. Now all Plotnik and Ducknik need is a TB test. Local Middle School needs help everywhere. Though TGP knows children armed with violins can be hazardous to the ears, his are shot already anyway so he hopes to be able to help the music teacher put together an orchestra. He may also volunteer in the computer lab. He may also go stark raving mad. Just think: Kanji on Monday and Wednesday, augmented by squabbling 7th graders. Baba dooji wooji babble.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Moonlight over Saint Plotniko

The Great Plotnik can cook, he can drive to his left, he can nail one board to another board and he can play the accordion, but he can NOT shop. This is not helpful in December.

He is having profound difficulties figuring out presents to buy for one person: The Great Ducknik. He knows it has to be really nice. She keeps talking about jewelry, but she doesn't really like most jewelry, and when they were in Africa all the jewelry Plotnik thought would be perfect for her she said she didn't like and the normally hard-as-nails Plotnik feels small and helpless and it's harrrddd and whine whine whine.

Still, the lights looked pretty darned nice last night as Plotnik and Ducknik cruised Union Rectangle, though it's sad to see FAO Schwartz dark again on Christmas. You can't buy a simple sweatshirt that says Saint Plotniko in Saint Plotniko, even on Powell Street, unless you want fleece.

Look closely and you will observe the moon is in the seventh house, and STILL Plotnik has not found a good present for Ducknik. Help, he says.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

What Rambles Down the Line 2

The other day, The Great Plotnik was searching through his Cabinet of Horrors, and came upon a yellow plastic container. It is skinny and has a good top, which is why he must have saved it from wherever he got it. He even used it recently -- put some leftover cole slaw inside, then washed it out and put it away, not thinking about it any more.

Until last night, when he read the intro of a story written by The Great BeezyWeezy, using her pen name Bronwen. She sent the story, all bound and snazzy, to her father for his birthday. It is the first story she ever finished, she says, and it is ostensibly about living in The Big Shmapple and riding the subways, but it is also about growing up, and observing things going on around her the way a world traveler does, the way a writer does.

The Great BZWZ says a few things that made The Great Plotnik sit up in bed last night, open his eyes wide and smile so hard he had to use the sheet to wipe away huge drops of gooey pride.

He doesn't have to wonder where he got the yellow container any more. Here is her intro:

I sat in the grocery cart
snuck Nestle Quik into the basket
hid it under the wheat germ
and hippie peanut butter.
You pretended not to notice,
and still use the old Quik container
like Tupperware.

for pop

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chocolate for your Spiritual Advisor

Even though The Great Plotnik is the titular head of a spiritual movement that is growing by leaps and bounds...ok, make that fits and starts...ok, so it's not growing, awwright? but it has potential, OK? Every day we get many, many hits. OK OK! So the SAME people read the DANG blog will you get OFF it?

As The Great Plotnik was saying...although he is the Chief Cheese, he still has to work. Fortunately he has a great job, when it's not stultifyingly boring. Sometimes it's fun, and occasionally it gets world class, such as this whole past week when Plotnik has been photographing chocolate shops and interviewing their owners. Much chocolate tasting has been involved.

"Ah, you woood laike to semple mebbe Belgian raspberry truffle weez hazlenut and ganache?"

"Oh, I shouldn't! Oh, I couldn't! HAND it over!"

Special marks must be given the chile dark chocolate nut bark from Chocolate Covered in Shnoe Valley and of course the amaretto and Earl Gray truffles from XOX Truffles in Shnorth Beach. The other truffle places, ehh -- sorry, old friend, and you know who I'm talking about, but you're just a glorified Hershey bar now. XOX is the best, end of sentence.

Truffles notwithstanding, the hot move in chocolate circles, as it is in wine and cheese, and always has been in girlfriends, is to get your chocolate from a single, unique source. Stores have sprung up in Saint Plotniko who handle only the world's best chocolate confections, made by so and so in Meulan, France, from chocolate grown in the Ivory Coast by Farmer Mbwane. All of these single source shops sell wonderful chocolate, but for TGP's taste the best by far is Cocoa Bella on Shmunion Street. The above box of chocolates from Cocoa Bella is not cheap, but WOULD make a wonderful present for that special spiritual advisor on your Christmas list-nik.

Of course, he would give all the chocolate to charity (his family), so you would need to buy two boxes. For that, you would need an extra part-time job.

Can't close without another mention of that chile dark chocolate nut bark. The chocolate is great and there is no taste of chile at all. Ten seconds after you swallow it your throat goes "Aiii-yeeee! Mas! Mas!"

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
Yesterday was December 7 and Plotnik heard little about the date. How soon we forget. Similarly, two weeks ago November 22 came up without the least fanfare. Plotnik was not alive on December 7, 1941, but he does remember November 22, 1963.

He was a freshman at MSU (Mariosavio University). He had already discovered the beauty of living on one's own, and looking forward saw limitless possibilities, if only he could meet a few women. Walking home from class that sunny afternoon, a roommate screamed out the window that President Kennedy had been shot, but that he'd be OK, and soon that he wouldn't be OK. Much chaos followed. That night Plotnik and a bunch of people he didn't know very well went to the movies, everyone wondering where the country would be the next morning and the next year and what would happen to us all now?

As momumental a day as that was in The Great Plotnik's life, it is strange to say he forgot all about it when his daughter, The Great BeezyWeezy, went off to college in The Big Shmapple in 2001, and five days later woke up to September 11. This event was scarier than November 22, but it left BZWZ with many of the same questions, as she, too, was far away from home for the first extended time, with no family around to help answer the unanswerable: where will the country be the next morning and the next year and what would happen to us all now?

At this writing it is four years out from 9-11-01, and 42 years from 11-22-63, and 64 years from 12-7-41, and what amazes The Great Plotnik is that our country endures desperate times as positively as it does. Key dates define our lives, and they are exciting while they provoke fear, awe-inspiring as they make us question what we stand for. When all the smoke has cleared, we stop sweating the small stuff, like whether The Great DipStick is pure evil or only a dim bulb, and then we roll over and get about our business of trying to make things better.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No One Can Kan Like The Kanji Man Can

The Kanji Man Can Kan. Perhaps The Kanji Man Can Can-Can. Now (apologies in advance), IF the Kanji Man was a Crip, would be be Gang-us Kan?

Note Kanji Man's collar. One point up and one point down. This is a new style sweeping Kanji classes on campuses across the country, where The Great Plotnik is somewhat of a James Dean figure. "So!" they say. "Jay-me-su De-ee-nu!"

The young hipsters who flock to these classes think the one-up one-down style refers to 'One plus One minus One equals Enlightenment,' but The Great Plotnik knows the style is based on Mischief's ears.

Note as well the picture Plotnik has drawn on the blackboard next to his head, which is the Kanji Plotnik is designing for himself. It shows a frowning little boy with an arrow shot through his skull.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Jasper Before

The Great Plotnik is not sleeping tonight
He is searching
for the long view
the time frame of stars
billions of years, light traveling endlessly
Look at it that way
at where we were
and where we'll be
as we inch our way
along the tightrope
surrounded by other tightropes
each heads off in a new direction
that you can't see from here
And our way is only one way
And there are so many other ways
And so many other worlds
And so many other lives
that one life
can't really
amount to all that much.

This long view
is the one The Great Plotnik seeks
As he tries to make sense
of a strong young man
barely more than a boy
with a little
on his
that no one pays any mind to
until one day that little
on his
has spread to his
and his parents fly into action
try everything
talk to everyone
consult with the best
the medical men
the shamans
the Eastern
the Western
the greatest minds
in the profession
and then they hurl lightning bolts
they bring low the mountains
upon that little
on Jasper's
and in his
and then they wait
what is one more day
in the unfathomable, unknowable, uncountable?
and yet
in that tiny
smidge of time
that little
on Jasper's
and in his
has now jumped
into his

And his parents have already tried everything.

So they do it all again
everything they know
and the L.A. doctors know
And the Denver doctors know
they raise the oceans
verily, the sands under the oceans
and all the powders from the holy rocks
and all the medicinal demons
in anyone's knowledge base
they hurl all these weapons
at the
on Jasper's
and in his
and in his
and then


Time is relative
astrophysical time
star time
planetary time
billions of years
enough time
for an amoeba to become a physicist
a pterodactyl a 747
They wait

But in much less time
than all that
in Aspen, Colorado
his parents hear
all their medicines
and all their machines
and all their lighting bolts
and all their thunderclasps
and all their chemicals
and all their poisons
have only made the
on Jasper's
and in Jasper's
and in Jasper's
and stronger
and there are more bumps now
and now
now they truly are out of medicines
they are out of lightning bolts
they are out of chemicals
but they are not out of ideas
for they still have hope

And so when The Great Plotnik gets an email
and he sees attached a photo of
the beautiful boy
he says to himself
what shall I do
with this photo
of this beautiful boy
who is fighting so hard?

So he looks at the photo
and again
and again
and he remembers
that Jas was supposed to be better
that's what everyone told each other
last week in L.A.
eating pizza at Casa Bianca
making jokes
even making plans
when Jas is better
we'll travel
we'll enjoy time
and ourselves
and each other
that was then
and this is now
and this isn't good news
and there is never enough time

This is why
The Great Plotnik is not sleeping tonight
he is staring at that picture
and searching
for the long view
the time frame of stars
to make his friends feel better
that will ease their broken hearts
as they see their boy
slipping away
and all it was
a bump
on Jasper's

Monday, December 05, 2005

Rocks, Duck

Rocks, Duck
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
Plotnik and Ducknik just returned from a morning carbo-load with their friend, the noted author Rocks In Her Socks. The meeting was held at Carb Crackhouse at 9AM, and the weapons of mass consumption were Almond Croissant, Morning Bun and Cheesy Brioch-y Thing.

Miss In-Her-Socks showed P and D the latest progress of her new children's book, and Plotnik showed it to a small child sitting on her mother's lap, who got completely absorbed in the pictures and howled when the book was taken away. This is a very good sign.

The coffee was delicious. The sun is shining and the sky is blue. But now The Great Plotnik gets to go to Kanji Class, which is like volunteering to be flailed with a carp.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Message from G_d in a Ba_el.

Continuing yesterday's revelation:

Joseph Smith is said to have received God's word scrawled on gold tablets. The Great Plotnik is said to have found his scrawled on a bagel. Of course, Plotnik is the one who said it, and the message was not easy to read, due to the cream cheese, chives, tomato, cucumber and onion pictured above. Nonetheless, here it is:

If yesterday's Choice One is correct, we have no alternative but to battle each other to the death for religious dominance, EVEN THOUGH it is obvious to anyone with a brain larger than a pickle that the moment one religion establishes total dominance and acceptance on Earth, some wise guy will get ticked off about something SMALL which will grow into something LARGE and before long a new religion will emerge, energized by overzealous new converts, and they will kick a fat hole in the old religious order. If you can believe any one thing about human nature, this is that thing.

But maybe (said Hegel, or was it the bagel), this eternal struggle is THE WHOLE POINT. Maybe human society can only evolve by struggle, the strong must always battle the weak in order to push their genes forward, and religion is one very clever way to pull it off. ASSUME THIS IS SO.

Well, then, explain Dr. Jason Katz. Everyone has been trying to kill off the pesky Katzonians for thousands of years, and yet today you just about can't get sick without going to an Internist named Dr. Jason Katz. If only the strong survive...explain Dr. Jason Katz.

Forget the 'chosen people' bushwa. The whole paradigm doesn't wash. The fact is the strong survive, ALONG with the weak, and they continue to teach each other valuable lessons. Establishing total dominance is an idiot dream. It's hopeless, even though nimrods like the Six Foot Five Inch Arab Nobody Can Find, and his buddy Dubya The Dipstick would have us murder each other in our sleep to prove otherwise.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Squirrel Will Keep You Warm

Squirrel God
Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
Squirrel Will Keep Your Feet Warm

The Great Plotnik, spiritual leader of a religious movement as crunchy and delicious as a box of Cheetos, went riding on his Plotkicycle yesterday. Naturally, the wind blew in his face wherever he rode. As he came down Folsom the wind blew up Folsom. When he turned and came up Folsom the wind blew down Folsom.

While on his journey, much like Paul on his road to Tarsus, if Tarsus was Rainbow Health Food Store and Paul had been riding on a Plotkicycle, Plotnik had this revelation about religion:

Choice One: Either there is a practically limitless set of Gods -- you know, the Muslim God, the Jewish God, the Christian God, the Hindu God, the Vegan God, the God Who Loves The Yankees, the God for Squirrels and the God for Hamsters -- and each of these Gods has only one purpose, which is to convert the entire Earth to His way of thinking, regardless of the cost, which is basically the way life has gone since the first unicellular being morphed into Billy Graham, OR...

Example Two: there is only one God, and the other guys are just his generals, and God is smart enough to allow his generals to run the army the way they see fit, seeing as God has already decided it's OK to have as many religions as are necessary to make every person on Earth be able to get comfortable in at least one of them, sort of like being a Presbyterian or being a Buddhist is no different than some people like blue socks and some people like white socks, and the important thing is not what color their socks are but that God likes it when he can help keep everyone's feet warm.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by thegreatplotnik.
The tall, beautiful T.A. is the subject of much conversation amongst the students in Kanji class.

"She'd be a handful," one guy says.

"How do YOU know?" says another.

"Does anyone know her name?" says Plotnik.

"Whose name?" says the woman who sits next to Plotnik.

The guys all stare at her. "Whose name? Who do you think we're talking about?"

"Oh," says the female classmate. "That one."

Yes, that one. The tall, beautiful T.A., though appearing to be unaware that her beauty transcends the importance of how to write "used car" or "green tea," has probably been the topic of Japanese conversations since she was three years old. Where the other T.A.s look directly at the students, as they have been taught, the tall, beautiful T.A. can often be seen staring out into space.

She seems to be very nice. She might not know what she does to those jeans. But Plotnik thinks she does.

"Purotniku-san," she says, getting ready to correct his pathetic Kanji blackboard smudges, but Plotnik is thinking: "There may not even be a Kanji for tall, beautiful Japanese women. But if there is, it has to start with the radical for 'statue.'

"Purotniku-san," she repeats.

"I wonder what the kanji for 'statue' looks like," Plotnik dreams. "Does it have big eyes and..."

"Pu-RONTIKU-san!" she says a third time.

Plotnik grimaces, smudges out 'statue' with his fist and tries to remember 'used car.'

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Great HypochondriPlot

The Great HypochondriPlot needs to stop reading articles that begin: "Prior studies and a systematic review of large, randomized trials have shown that percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in the acute phase of myocardial infarction (MI) is superior to thrombolytic therapy (TT)."

Articles like these make him wonder if there isn't something new he should be worrying about? Like, if he should ever suffer, like, MI, would they give him PCI or TT? I mean, clearly, like PCI is, like, you know, better, right?...that is, if TT isn't, you know.

The article goes on: "It was an open-label, 1:1 study that randomized patients to either full-dose full-dose tenecteplase (TNK-tPA) plus PCI (facilitated PCI) or to primary PCI with unfractionated heparin."

Well, duh. It's, like, SO hella obvious.

The article concludes: "Time intervals, place of enrollment, and lower than expected reperfusion rates in the facilitated-PCI group provide some insight into the results of this study" and then there's something about fibrinolysis.

Plotnik isn't even sure what he's supposed to worry about here. He spent half an hour digesting an article he doesn't understand, AFTER he spent an hour plodding through Japanese writing that he can't read.

And anyway, as far as the medical article goes, there probably wasn't one person of the 38 gathered at the Plotnik family Thanksgiving table who couldn't have spoken conclusively about MI and TT and PCI, IF we all hadn't been chortling 'til milk came out our nostrils about Larry David and the seder and the sex offender.