Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Bachelor Home Companion

By P.J. O'Rourke

O'Rourke gives "advice" on the bachelor lifestyle, addressing such items as:

  • House Cleaning
  • Home Ownership
  • Cooking
  • Entertaining
  • Home Decorating
  • Home Repair
  • Lawn and Yard Care
  • Children
Much of this book reminded me of something you would find in MAD Magazine. This is not to say it is bad, quite the opposite. It is very funny and enjoyable. To quote just a few of the jokes:

"Bill Clinton was only a microscopic polyp in the colon of national politics, and Hillary was still in flight school, hadn't even soloed on her broom."

"Plus a home gives you something to do around the house. Furthermore, there is no real satisfaction in pissing out of somebody else's window."

"Don't cook steaks in the toaster, even little ones. I've tried this and the fire department comes."

"Stay away from goofier kinds of lettuce. Any lettuce that comes from the store in a form that can't be thrown from third base to home is too exotic."

"The next best vegetable is the jalapeno pepper. It has the virtue of turning salads into practical jokes."

"But yogurt does make good shaving cream."

"Eggs: When something starts pecking its way out of the shell, the egg is probably past its prime."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fields and Pastures New

By Dr. John McCormack

The setting is the early 1960s and John McCormack and his wife and children have moved to rural Alabama for John to start his career as a private practice veterinarian.  This would be a first for the locals too because there had never been a veterinarian in their area before.
Since it was a rural location, a lot of his work would be with farm animals and farmers. Folklore was quite important to these people and folk remedies were the order of the day, with the vet often being called in only when all else had failed. People also relied upon an untrained local man, Carney Sam, who, just like them, subscribed to strange and mostly worthless folk remedies to treat their ailing animals. Like rubbing turpentine on a horse's belly to treat kidney problems. The thinking was that the turpentine would be absorbed through the skin and travel to the kidneys. Total rubbish, but those sorts of treatments were very popular.
But Dr. John is a modern veterinarian and his methods relied upon proven, scientific knowledge. They weren't foolproof, of course, but they were certainly much more effective than the strange and useless cures inflicted upon the poor, suffering critters they were meant to treat.
So rural, backward Alabama got itself a fancy new vet and before long, it was  clear that the community was very lucky to have Dr. John in their midst. And it was clear to Dr. John and his family that they had found themselves a warm and welcoming new home.

This was an interesting read, the memoir of  a young vet establishing himself in his new location, coping with the backwards farmers and the less trying doctoring of the local dogs, cats and other pets in addition to the work with livestock. The author has real feelings of affection for his neighbors and clients and he and his wife and kids become a greatly appreciated part of the community.