Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ed And The Triffids

First off, I must mention yesterday's passing of the long time co-host of Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, Ed McMahon, here in Los Angeles, from complications of pneumonia and bone cancer. I will always relish the memories I've had while watching that program, off and on, for thirty years. My God, Johnny and Ed hosted the show since I was seven years old, until I was thirty seven. My lovely case manager, Erin, was only eight years old when Johnny ended his tenure in 1992, so I don't expect her to remember Ed much, although he did pop up from time to time with Dick Clarke on the various Bloopers programs, and commercials here and there.
I remember Ed's bits with Johnny as Carnac, the Magnificent, who would take envelopes (as Ed explained) which had been "hermetically sealed and kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnell's porch since noon that day." Carnac would hold a sealed envelope to his forehead, close his eyes, divine the contents and provide an answer to the question written inside. "The La Brea Tar Pits," Carnac would pronounce. Ed would dutifully repeat, "The La Brea Tar Pits." Carnac rips the envelope open and removes the card, and reads, "What do you have left after eating the La Brea Tar Peaches?"
And Ed's famous commercial bits for Alpo dog food, some in which Johnny took part, and one time, when Ed had obviously been drinking something other than water in his coffee cup, and Johnny good naturedly chided him, "Do you really think you're fooling anybody?"
Goodbye Ed. May you rest in peace.
Next of course, the Triffids. They are constantly a problem.
Last Monday I went down to the Garden just before nine. Hardy and I began to rake the leaves that had fallen during the week from the four trees that stand within, or around our garden. It was a little trickier due to the chicken wire fence we had put up last week, but we managed. The fence was working well to keep us from stepping on the small flowers that Erin had planted on the garden's periphery, and they were beginning to thrive.
Erin and Paul soon joined us and marveled at the progress all the plants hade made. Little green Serrano peppers had grown to maturity within the last two weeks, and I harvested four of them, giving two to Paul. Erin does not like spicy foods, so I kept the other two, and ate them with my breakfast of chorizo and eggs. Tasty.
Candice came out and sat on her butt watching us. Robert came out and sat on his enormous butt, and watched us, all the time trying to engage Erin or Paul into conversations concerning himself. Ray came out on crutches, and stood and watched us. I thought about selling tickets!
Ray was standing on crutches because he had recently been mugged.
Although there is no gang activities in the downtown/skid row area, no drive by shootings to speak of, this is a low income area, and there are unscrupulous individuals in all communities who will think nothing of victimizing those who they feel are easy prey. A tall, elderly, inebriated, white guy, walking down Fifth Street at three in the morning would constitute easy prey. Apparently two men snuck up behind him, caught one of his legs with a walking cane, thereby tripping him up face down on to the hard cement sidewalk, wherein they relieved Ray of his wallet and keys, banging up his right knee in the process.
He'll be okay.
Even my friend Ron has been mugged a couple of times while living down here, and he's black! But he insists on running around the streets at two or three in the morning and dealing with nefarious people.
I make it a policy of mine not to go out late at night unless I absolutely have to, and then I make sure I am aware of my surroundings and who happens to be close by. And I get to where I'm going without screwing around. Since I don't drive, I've found this policy to be wise and prudent, and have never had a problem. Besides, I always carry my Bosun Knife.
Security, security, security. I can't emphasize this point enough.
Anyway, Paul busied himself by procuring a wheelbarrow from the maintainence staff, and retrieving some nice garden dirt he had in his truck, which he emptied beside the big pile of horseshit. Erin meanwhile got Candice to help her prune the six large tomato plants that had yet to produce any tomatoes. Paul's theory being that the plants energy was being expended in growing higher, with more leaves, rather than focusing on sprouting tomatoes. One had grown so huge that it had fallen over during the weekend despite the metal support rings we had placed around each of the plants.
Fell over, or was it trying to uproot itself and walk about?
"They may be triffids," I told Erin.
"Triffids? What's that?" she asked.
"Triffids are a highly venomous plant, developed by the Russians, that have the ability to walk around, and talk to each other, first recorded in the 1951 report by John Wyndham. Much more deadly the typical Mongolian Maneater, as it has the ability of locomotion. Its sting instantly paralyzes and kills the victim,wherein the triffid waits for the flesh to rot before it eats it. There was a movie about it."
"Oh," Erin exclaimed, while backing away from the plant she had been fondling.
"Just like the Russians to come up with something as devious as a triffid. I for one are going to keep an eye on these beauties. The last thing I need is to wake up in the middle of the night and find a triffid staring down at me ready to pounce."
"I don't think I believe you, Rick," Erin said.
"I would never, ever lie to you, Erin..."
"... only except in the rare instances when I am merely attempting to distort the truth."
"Oh, well in that case..."
Yes, I will keep a watchful eye on you, my little triffid friends.
Security, security, security. I can't emphasize this point enough.

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