Funny you shoud ask that question

The other day, I went out and saw a scary movie, and when I emerged from the theater, someone emerged from the darkness and started shouting at me (and the crowd of people walking with me.) One of the things he said was, “Has any of you ever eaten a cactus??? Don’t try it!! Don’t try it!!” At first this really freaked me out, for obvious reasons. But it turned out he was only talking about peyote.

The scariest burger I’ve ever seen

If you’ve done a significant amount of backpacking, you know what it’s like when you hit a supply town. You will eat anything. Globs of peanut butter. A gallon of ice cream or a 17.6 ounce Trader Joes Pound Plus Chocolate Bar in one sitting. One time, after hiking in the backwoods of eastern Kentucky, I was so hungry that I ate a double patty special from Wendy’s — and when I was done, I realized, with disgust, that I had eaten the paper and foil wrappers along with the hamburger!! But someone recently sent me a link to a burger that I could never eat, even after a long slog through the wilderness. Available only in Japan, the McDonald’s “Mega Tomago” has three sweaty beef patties, two big hunks of bacon, three buns, large gobs of cheese, and, to top it off, a big, wiggly, hockey-puck shaped egg. So…

Lots of Books

I’m very busy lately, but I’m making time for books. Don’t miss these recent (or fairly recent) titles. Lorrie Moore, A Gate At the Stairs. Tragic, surprising and strange. The slow-food-restaurant-from-hell scene was an added bonus. Rick Wartzman: Obscene in the Extreme. Thought-provoking book about the banning and burning of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which turns 70 this year. I reread Grapes this month to mark the anniversary. Philip Roth. The Humbling and Indignation. I admire Roth’s epics, such as American Pastoral, but lately he’s been writing these pitiless little books that hit very hard. The Humbling is about a once-great actor on the skids, and the unexpected romance which might put him back in business or put him out of commission for good. I won’t spoil the ending but if you’ve read Roth, you know he can be merciless with his main characters. Also by Roth: Indignation…

They Might Be Giants free concert in the Haight

If you’re on a budget and have a kid and want to see an interesting free show, make sure to go to the They Might Be Giants kid-friendly concert at the Booksmith on Thursday at 4 p.m I know they have quite a cult following. I must admit that I don’t know much about this band, except for the ABC educational song “King Weed” and of course the one about the birdhouse. Also, I look like them. This concert is just one of a whole slew of free concerts in my historic neighborhood. In the past few months, everyone from Elvis Costello to Ghostface Killah has made appearances out here.

The world’s least ambitious juggler

I just saw the world’s least ambitious juggler. She was standing near the Haight/Ashbury intersection, juggling a single ball! (If you can even call that juggling. Really, she was just throwing one ball in the air and catching it repeatedly.) Pretty bad. On the plus side, she was balancing a pumpkin on her head, which takes a certain amount of skill, especially when you are tossing a ball up and down and catching it in your hand.

Reader finds collectible “Cactus Eaters” Bigfoot paraphernalia

A close reader of the book has found one of the homemade Bigfoot dolls mentioned briefly in the latter portion of the book. This particular Bigfoot is made out of glue, fake fur and binder clips borrowed from a high-tech corporation where I used to be a temp. I worked on this art project 13 years ago while I was doing legal research for the company. (priorities, priorities.) If I can get this person to send in a photo, I’ll blog it right here.