Inhuman Swill : Cringeworthy

Don't bully my seer!

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5 November 2013, Chicago, IL

Dear Overlords at Munster Taverns:

Let me preface this email by saying that Lady Gregory's is one of my favorite places in the world.

This afternoon I ordered a Daisy Cutter with my burger. When my beer was close to the bottom, my server Jose offered to bring me another. I gladly accepted.

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What goes up must come down

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Dear Miz Manorz,

I find myself flush with discomfort, and I hope you'll give my predicament a swirl.

At my shared workspace, a sign over the privy clearly requests that writers of the male persuasion put the seat down when finished, yet at least one of my upstanding colleagues consistently leaves it up. I'm about to flip my lid! It not just the effrontery that peeves me so. It's also the idea that my female colleagues, in toto, might judge me the culprit!

In loo of direct accusation, please advise me how I might call this breach of manners to the men's attention without upsetting the honeypot. Your priceless advice is of the first water, and I would be greatly relieved should you bowl me over with your insight. I can handle it, and I don't want anything to hit the fan.

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Green at the 'Leaf

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Hopleaf menu: entrees
Laura and I had dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants this evening, Hopleaf. It's a Belgian place, with a bar out front specializing in Belgian and Belgian-style beers. It's always packed, and if you don't show up early you can wait an hour and a half for a table.

We showed up early and were rewarded with a quiet, secluded table on the balcony overlooking the main dining room. Laura had a bottle of Chimay Red and I a pint of Bell's Two-Hearted Ale while we perused the menu. Laura was there for the moules frites, Hopleaf's speciality. I ordered the duck reuben. It was amazing.

This is not a story about our wonderful evening, or our wonderful meal. This is the story of the poor rich kids in their twenties (three girls and a boy) who were seated at the table next to ours shortly after we ordered, and how we winced at every loud interaction they had with our rather curt mutual waitress.

"Can I start you off with some drinks?"

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Rat carcass in alley this evening. Tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

Sad when you almost step in vermin, and the first panel of Watchmen is the thing that leaps to mind. At least I didn't skid in it, like once before.

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Humans 5, Mice ?

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So, we came back late Sunday night from a weekend away to find another mouse snared by one of our traps.

This one was in the pantry, and it had been sitting there untouched for a couple of months. I came in from bringing the last of the luggage from the rental car and Laura pushed plastic bags, paper towels, and industrial cleaners into my arms. "There's something to clean up in the pantry," she said.

She had found it when putting Ella's food supplies away. The trap had caught the mouse right across the top of the head, nearly bisecting the poor thing's skull fore and aft. There was blood pooled a few inches away, as if the trap had jumped upon snapping, the mouse had thrashed hard while dying, or the blood had just flown through the air in a massive gout. Maybe it was all three.

I was half afraid the mouse's head would fall apart when I picked up the trap—the front of its head tumbling free, the back of the head following the limp body to the floor—but miraculously it held together long enough to get it in the plastic bag without having to pick up the body directly. Scrubbing the floor was as pleasant as you can imagine.

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Give the people what they want

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Okay, for everyone who thought they did indeed want to see the flattened mouse, here you go. I guess it really isn't as flat as all that, but it's certainly flatter than a mouse should be.

(There's a little blood in the picture, just so you know.)

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Humans 3, Mice ?

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The other night, Laura and I were startled by screaming and running sounds from the apartment upstairs. I was up to my elbows in cleaning, so Laura investigated. Turns out the three roommates up there had spotted a mouse. And had named it Ernest.

When our landlord started renovating the apartment upstairs (and he's still not finished), the cockroaches moved downstairs to ours. Just as we were getting them under control, the mice showed up. We killed one mouse within an hour of laying out our first traps. It took a couple of weeks more, plus a long trip out of town, to kill our second. We've spotted other mice at various times, and Ella has even chased one to ground beneath the oven.

When I was done cleaning, I took a couple of traps upstairs to the girls and set one for them. But as I was leaving for work yesterday morning, I spotted Ernest or one of his doubles trotting down the front entry hall. He scurried into the space where a long, heavy section of unattached baseboard, meant for the apartment upstairs, leaned against the wall. I lifted one end of the board. Exposed, the mouse came scurrying back my way to attempt an escape beneath the door to the basement.

I dropped the board flat on him.

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More useful travel hints

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When you get back from a trip, check the mousetraps immediately. Don't wait a couple of days.

I waited a couple of days. One of the mousetraps, way back underneath a large piece of furniture, was, ahem, occupied. It had flipped over in the process of snapping, and said occupant was, er, stuck to the floor.

Let's just say that disposing of that little installation and cleaning up after it was not the most fun I've had in recent memory.

Well, at least we didn't have a roach bomb explode on us, like some of our fellow Astorians apparently did.

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Stand back. Way back.

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I have a zit the size of Vesuvius growing on the side of my nose. Dogs snap and young children run in terror when they see it coming. If you don't want archæologists to find your perfectly-preserved, sebum-encased, fœtally-curled body 5,000 years from now in the ruins of Nyorksitty, for God's sake RUN NOW!

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Who moved my tepee?

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People, always remember to check the paper situation before committing to a stall. I'm only sayin'.

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