24 January 2009

Of Napkins, Noodles and Kung Fu (Potty Style)

ITEM the 1st*: A Glut Of Napkins

“This is absurd” I tell myself for the millionth time, “I can’t even get my cell phone out of my freakin’ coat pocket because its full of NAPKINS!”

Picture if will, an ordinary-looking white sort of male-type person sitting in his car. It is a rather ordinary black four-door ‘sedan’ of the less expensive imported lineage type car. From the mirror hangs a sun-faded soccer pennant emblazoned with the logo of the United States National Soccer Teams. Nothing terribly unusual about this scene. Except for the flailing.

The ordinary white male (henceforth known as OWM) is thrashing about in the driver’s seat of the car, one hand on the lapel of his jacket and the other is jammed deep into the inside coat pocket. Muffled invective could be heard by passersby, assuming close enough to the car. The OWM is currently engaged in a struggle for dominance over his cell phone; the phone has apparently decided to hide from the OWM by turning sideways and getting lodged under a thick wad of napkins. Napkins of the sort found in affordable eatery type establishments, the purveyors of large burritos or poultry fried golden-brown-and-delicious to be “nuggeted” or stuffed between buttered buns (with pickles, yum.) The OWM has an almost pathological inability to eat in said establishments without grabbing a stack of napkins sufficient to wipe the hands of a school full of 7-year olds. Thenceforth, they end up in pockets and other places.

Finally, after much spasticity and cursing, the OWM triumphantly holds the errant cell phone aloft with a hearty “AHA!”. A light dawns in the OWM’s head: transfer the pocket napkins to the glove compartment! Brilliant! The OWM gleefully opens the compartment, paper goods in hand. The door flops own, and pile of napkins springs out like a jack-in-the-box, spilling onto the floor. The OWM curses, stuffs all the napkins back into the compartment, hurriedly shutting the door.
Fortunately, no one saw him. He thinks.


ITEM the 2nd: Noodles On My Noodle

Noodles, man, what is it with the noodles**. I gots noodles on muh brain. First, I’m reading some Chinese cookbooks, and they've lots of noodles in them. Long noodles, slurpy noodles, noodles of many flavors. Noodles in bowls and stuff. Noodles with lots of Chinese food type goodness on them. It is making me hungry.

So we get a great deal on a new DVD, “Kung Fu Panda”, courtesy of a gift card and an online coupon. Total price 99 cents. Awesomeness! It arrived Wednesday in the mail. Of course, Wee Lass*** wants to watch it right away. I’m in the mood for a little animated kung fu action, so I says “Right on, my girl!”. DVD in, ass on couch, eyes on screen. And guess what? NOODLES! Po the Panda is the son of a duck**** who runs a noodle restaurant. Noodles famous far and wide. Dammit, man, I’m trying to dig the cool kung fu action (and the action sequences are AWESOME!) but all I can think about is some dan-dan noodles, or ‘Mr. Xie’s Sea-Flavor Noodles’. But then Wee Lass gets scared by the bad guy and I have to lay on some calming, protective daddy-like stuff. Movie over, it’s time to review the ‘Special Features’.

Wouldn’t you know it, there is a feature called ‘Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop’, a short bit about…noodle-making! It’s hosted by Alton Brown (of ‘Good Eats’ fame) and takes place in a L.A. restaurant called ‘Mr. Chow’s’*****. They bring out a master ‘pastry’ chef to demonstrate the fine art of turning a blob of dough into a gazillion strands of noodles. All by hand, this master (and master he really is!) takes a volleyball sized ball of the dough and basically turns it into what looks like angel hair pasta. The Chinese name of the noodle type escapes me. It was amazing, just by swinging and folding and hitting it on the table, that he could end up with a set of noodles that was about 4 feet long, without tearing or breaking. Truly amazing, and it made me even hungrier. And of course, Alton Brown gets to sit down to a big plate of those noodles cooked in broth and slathered with some delicious looking sauce. Bastard.
I also realized that could be my next career: noodle maker. Yeah, I could get into that. I think it would be cool to be known as a master noodle maker.


ITEM the 3rd: Kung Fu Toilet Dance

Setting: bagel shop, Friday morning a week ago. Wee Lass and I are tucking into muffin and bagel per standard operating procedure. Then she starts doing the tell-tale potty dance and grabbing her crotch. I choke down a bite of lox-spread-on-supreme and we skip off to La Toilette. Wee Lass parks her Wee Buns on the throne. I stand in the corner, arms folded, staring at the ceiling. She yells.

Me: “What, what’s wrong?”
WL: “There’s a bug! Aiiiee, aiiie, there’s a bug trying to get me!”
Me: “Where?” She points to a spot about 30 inches in front of her, mid air.
WL: “There! There!” I don’t see anything, and tell her so. “Daddeeee, it’s right there! Aiiiee!”

Finally, I see this…gnat…flying slooowly in circles near the toilet. Oh, for god’s sake. A GNAT?

Me: “You mean the gnat?”
WL: “Yes, get it before it gets meeeeee!”

So I start flailing at the gnat, karate chopping at it to no avail. Wee Lass starts to snicker. I crouch and do my best imitation of The Crane from ‘Karate Kid’. I swat at the gnat and go ‘HAAIIII!” Wee Lass bursts into laughter, and that’s all I need to hear. I start chasing the gnat around the toilet room, chopping and kicking with all the kung fu moves I can think of, plus a few I’m pretty sure aren’t actual kung fu styles (Flying Architect Style? Silly Daddy Style, anyone?). Wee Lass was really enjoying the show. I was too, as I pondered the absurdities of a 43 year old man crane hopping around a toilet, while his daughter sits on it and laughs, laughs, laughs. Man, I would do just about anything to hear it.

I never did get that gnat. I guess I need more practice. HAAIIII!

*Many thanks to That Baldy Fella at Tales of Squire Kirk the Elder for the tagline format. Please check it out, and his other blog, NickNackBlogAttack. The footnote sense of David Foster Wallace, the silliness of Monty Python: a heady combo indeed.
** Even
Captain Dumbass is in on the noodles! Check out the sign in the pic.
***Apropos of nothing, she decided that her favorite member of ‘The Furious Five’ is Tigress. That’s my girrrrl!
****Panda is the offspring of a duck? Huh? Don’t think about, just watch.
***** Chow’s? Chow – a slang term for food. Good, recursive, very post-modern. Chinese civilization may be ancient, but still manages to be ahead of the times. I dig it.


  1. First? Alright I'll go read now!

  2. I could totally see you going Kung Fu on that gnat. It totally deserved it.

  3. I have convinced my kids that Ramon Noodles are authentic Chinese food. : )

    I wish I had someone to swat the gnats away from me. Those things are a pain!

  4. Um, you totally had me at burrito.

  5. My friend, have you ever tried Pho? It's Vietnamese noodle soup. It comes in a bowl as big as your head and that's the small size. Google it for a full description, but it is soooo good. Asian comfort food. If you're paying more than $5 for a bowl you're getting ripped off. Wait, I don't really know the ethnic mixture of Baltimore so I shouldn't say that. Whatever.

    Now it's 10 minutes later because Supreme Leader and I needed to do a UN intervention between the People's Repubic of Connorstan and the Principality of Liam. What the hell was I talking about?

  6. I am a compulsive squireller of napkins myself. I daren't reach into my jacket pockets sometimes for the explosion of serviettes and receipts that may ensue...

    Thank you most kindly for the double shout out, sir! I can't take credit for the "Part The First" format, though - I stole it from Douglas Adams who stole it from Lewis Carroll*. So it's got good pedigree. (And thanks for the Python comaprison - naturally, they're massive comedy heroes of mine.)

    *Although they used "Fit The First", etc.

  7. i was gonna leave a really witty comment, but got to the gnatty kung fu, potty style, part and totally lost it .. hysterical!!

  8. Walking around Chi-town, right before the Man. U v. Bayern match, completely twisted and sideways, eating at most every Noddle bar we saw.

    Almost as good as the trip to Phiily to see man U and Barca. Sideways again, and couldn't walk 3 block without stopping for a Cheese steak.

    Damn you. Now I'm hungry.

    -and, yes. That was Lagavoulin.

  9. The noodle story reminded me of when I was a kid. My german grandmother would gather the entire family together which consisted of 10 children and 60 odd grandkids. Our mission was to make noodles. Noodles were laid on every available surface. Sheets were laid out on the floors for the noodles to dry. Then we would all be put to work making butterballs.
    Now I have a serious hankering for noodles and butterballs. Dammit!

  10. Why don't you use your noodle and think about us poor women who have to find our cell phones in a purse that also holds at least 50 pounds of make-up, credit cards, and tampons! It's like trying to squish a gnat in a restroom. . . by the time you find it, it's no longer buzzing!

  11. i was waiting for the punch line about something sliding between buttery buns, but then I realized you do a relatively "PG" blog - heh heh....oh, and I had me sum noodles last night my own self...at fo ying....best chinese food on 8th avenue...No fo'ying!! (get it)

  12. So glad you didn't injure yourself in your Kung Fu combat with the gnat.. them little buggars are dangerous!!

    And, yeah.. I've heard good things about Pho. J used to get it for lunch frequently when we were in CA - good stuff (though, I never got to try it.. being a stay at home mom for life and all.. my diet largely consists of chicken nuggets, and pb&j..).

  13. I confess...I horde the napkins too. Unfortunately, I end up stuffing them in my pants pocket, only to wash said pants and find peices of napkins littered through out the washer when the spin cycle is done...I hate that!
    And now I really want noodles...with chicken, broccoli and garlic sauce....

  14. It could be worse I suppose - it could have been napkins and a surplus of ketchup packets. I had this crazy, still convinced it was the depression all the time, aunt, who had a purse full of butter and honey and hot sauce all the time. She could never find the mustard, or her phone!

  15. Hi Gumbo
    I need any kids to be gummed up with napkins. Hay fever does it just fine.
    June in Oz

  16. This post reminds me of when I was a professional wrestler. I was "The Architect" as fate would have it. My signature move was the "Flying Butress". Son of a duck those were good times.

  17. @ SBA - Aren't Ramon Noodles a latin dish? Man I am on fire tonight! ...sorry

  18. Kat: Go, girl! Yeah, he did deserve. Bee-yotch gnat…

    Sarah: You mean they aren’t? uh, oh…

    Steenky bee: Yeah, all the ladies tell me that ;)

    Captain: It is on my To Do list! A pho joint just opened in B’more, I’m planning a raid.

    TBF: I keep finding them all over the place, they’ll be in my underwear drawer next. And you are most welcome! Know wot I mean, eh? Nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat!

    DC: Snap! I have a reggae song on my iPod, called “Natty Kung Fu”, that would have been PERFECT for the title! Oh, if I had some video of it, I would have posted it :)

    cIII: You saw Man U vs. Bayern AND Barca? Bastard. I hate you. No, wait, sorry I take that back. You have Lagavulin. Hey, bro, any left in that bottle?

    Michelle: Awesome! That’s sounds delish! But is a butterball exactly what it sounds like?

    Flutter: If you can snatch this pebble from my hand, grasshopper…

    Lizspin: I did, that’s why I don’t carry lipstick and tampons anymore…uh, that didn’t come out right…

    SSP: I resisted temptation this time. Don’t worry, I’m no stranger to the gutter.

    CPM: Training, it takes good training. Try some nuggets with Ramen!

    Sweet Cheeks: So that’s why I keep getting speckled dark shirts back…

    Rachel: Ha! My grandma was kinda like that, although she didn’t have to worry about a phone.

    June: Hey! They have come in quite handy when Wee Lass has the sniffles. Perhaps the Boy Scout in me was thinking ahead…

  19. Mister: *snort* Hose him down, the senor is en fuego, indeed! that fly buttress crack, I gotta remeber that one! And 'Ramon' noodles? SNAP! Good one!

  20. You have inspired me to go try the noodle soup at the Vietnamese place down the street. Fun post.

  21. I love the Kung Fu gnat story! That's exactly the kind of thing that kids remember forever - lucky kid.

  22. Just wondering if OWM has heard of O-C-D?

    Ha! :)

  23. 1st, OBF (ordinary brown female) has a bit of a napkin necessity too, but not as bad as OWM

    2nd, .....noodles....mmm
    (alton brown always makes food seem yummy, he even gets me into raisins man, RAISINS!)

    3rd, I hope to kung fu kick a bug's ass to hear my kid laugh one day, awesome

  24. Hiii-ya!! LOL Your Wee Lass is so lucky to have a daddy who'll go all kung-fu on those pesky potty gnats.
    Now... I'm off to find some noodles.

  25. I'm with the Captian on the pho soup.

    Your mind must be going a mile a minute Irish.

  26. LOL! Re the cell phone? Mate, someone ALWAYS sees you!! OK now I'm going to read the other 2 ;)))

  27. Mum & me laughed and laughed at that. Especially the Kung Fu antics, and the napkins - mum says that's what happens to folk when they become parents. Mum knows that whenever she's with friends who have kids she can rely on them for a tissue, or a wet wipe, or in fact anything to clean stuff up with or deal with bodily fluids. She says parents can be very handy. Not like mum who has never had kids and so is never prepared. I've known her have to blow her nose on a big leaf once when we were out walking, but don't tell anyone xxx

  28. OAM: Let me know how it is, that in-pho could be useful. Get it? inpho? I slay me…

    Vic: ‘Kung Fu Gnat’ is my idea for a new Nicktoons show.

    24@Heart: What’s OCD? What’s OCD? What’s OCD? What’s OCD? What’s OCD?...

    ItsAllGood: Always know where your napkins are. And Alton has the magic touch!

    Chris: I trained for years for that moment. HAIIII!


    Braja: It was quite phunny, I’m sure. Hey, I made another pun: phunny! Ha!

    Henry: Mum is correct. And that leaf thing, she’s quite resourceful! Did that all the time as a Boy Scout.

  29. Frankly, I think you should refer to yourself as EWM - Extraordinary White Man.

    No OWM could take out a gnat with Kung Fu. No, sir.

  30. MD: The title would honor me! plus I would get something good to eat out of it.

    JAN: Thank you! And that gnat, he had it coming I tell you...

  31. dude - that Gnat-Karate-Chopping routine wuld have been a riot at my house!! LOL - so need to catch that on video next time - snas the Wee Lass sitting on the throne of course (I wonder, why do we call it a throne?)

  32. Krystal: I'll bring my little camera next time. And we call it a throne, because there is a princess on it! :)


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