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The Hogs That Ate Everything

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Dem Hogs

There are some things in life that you can count on.  Some things that you just know are going to happen.  Some things you can set your watch to.  One of those things is my father.

When I was growing up, it was not uncommon to look for one of my siblings around the house.  ‘Dad! Have you seen Biffie?’  Dad’s pat answer, his go-to response, his réponse générale was ‘He got to close to barn and the hogs ate him.’

Many nights I would lie in bed cursing myself for falling prey to that answer.  You would think that after hundreds of times, I would learn.  Lamentably, no.

One evening I, right after I made the standard blunder, I asked my father why he kept saying that.  I think he could hear the irritation in my voice.  He paused and his eyes grew distant.  Having known my father for the better part of my life, I could tell that I had triggered some basal emotion and, being predicable, I knew what to expect.  His eyes squinted slightly and when he spoke there was a catch in his voice.  He asked me to sit down next to him and he proceeded to tell me the whole story…

My father was raised in Owensboro, WA.  The three biggest exports of that little burg were tobacco, hogs and plutonium-239.  Each of these exports were produced in a separate part of the city and they only commingled as they were leaving town.  As you can imagine, the storage requirements for crops, livestock and nuclear fuel carried unique requirements, posing a daunting problem for the city’s sole engineer.  Each of these was transported from the city by rail, and in a town the size of Owensboro, there was only so much room for such a facility.  The decision was ultimately made to create a giant rotating dock where the various cargo could be unloaded in a segreated way.  I did some digging at the Benton County Hysterical Society and I was able to find a copy of the engineers original proposal:

Even to my untrained eye, there is an obvious fatal flaw in this layout.  Everyone knows that when you are organizing Hogs, Tobacco and Fuel, the order must be clockwise pattern of T-H-NF, not H-T-NF.  (Before you ask, yes, I know about the NF-T-H permutation promulgated by  Black and Merton, but I think Merton is a jackass.)

The first few years of the switching yard went smoothly.  Tobacco, Hogs and Nuclear Fuel were loaded into the trains and shipped off to the four corners of the globe.  The tobacco went to Greece, the hogs to Denmark and nuclear fuel went to an undisclosed location.  It was not until the late 50’s when the sun spot activity, seen below between the double pipes, approached it’s zenith that the magnitude of the error was made evident:

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Following the marked crest in 1959, a breech occurred in the wall separating the hogs and plutonium-239.  The fuel was partially consumed by the hogs and they started grow to gigantic purportions.  The hogs, now even more hungry than before, could sense the organic matter behind the tobacco wall and promptly used their now-super intellegence to knock over the wall.  Frankly, I think their gigantic size had more to do with it.  How smart do you need to be to knock over a wall?  Seriously.  Anywho, we now had gigantic radioactive pigs who were eating tobacco.

It took all the effort that the Washington’s Naval Reserve (America’s 17th line of defense, right between the Cub Scouts and the League of Woman Voters) to subdue the beasts.  Look to someone else for a description of the awful slaughter.  I can never repeat what dad told me.  But I can show you a video of the destruction.  Needless to say, the hogs, fuel and tobacco where wiped out.  Or so we thought…

Now, if you have ever known a smoker, you know that when the craving hits you had better get out of the way.  Nothing is going to stop them from getting their nicotine, particularly nothing as trivial as being vaporized in an atomic blast.  The pigs somehow managed to reconstitute themselves and come back to life.  Like I said, these were smart little piggies.  The newly reanimated super turbo action pigs quickly used what was left of the rail yard and constructed a humongous fortress.  A barn actually.  To the surprise of many, the hogs made a demand of a telephone so they could communicate with an unknown party.  Two brave soles from the navy reserve stepped up to take the challenge, Nicholas Bergman and Benjamin Knack.  Since the railroad was still intact enough to a handle a hand car, Nick and Ben were sent to the scene.  This particular hand car, nicknamed ‘the paddy’ was older and it would not pump well, so Bergman and Knack had to whack it with some steel rods to get it moving.  When the day arrived, Nick and Ben loaded the phone equipment on the hand car.  There was some obvious hesitation on their part.  They were being ordered to go into a hog-infested, radioactive and nicotine laced  site.  It looked as if they would not go when their Sargent started screaming, ‘Nick! Knack!  Give the paddy a whack and get that hog a phone!’

They did.  And what happened when they got to close to the barn?  That’s right.  They delivered the phones and were on their way.

Now, having a barn full of atomic hogs who were jonesing for a smoke is not all bad.  It did provide some tourist opportunities.  The constant military presence ensured a constant stream of low ranking government officials who made token visits.  As I said, it was not too bad.  They even set up a alternative fuel plant to convert the hog waste into energy.  As Pop used to say, ‘That smells like money!’  Really, it didn’t.

Years passed away and at last one day came a squaw with a story strange, of a long desert line of traps way back in the bighorn range.  Of a little hut by the great divide with a white man stiff and still, lying there by lonesome self, and I figured it must be Bill.  (I’m sorry.  I went into a Robert Service trance.  Won’t happen again.)

After four or five years of co-existing, the solution was dropped on our laps by none other than the King of Pork, Mr. Jimmy Dean.  The Dean family had been trying to figure out  a way to combine the the rich goodness of pork sausage with the rich goodness of tobacco.  Since the FDA rejected his application for tobacco flavored sausage, he turned to the town to provide them with tobacco-fed pork.  The problem was getting the hogs in a permanently deceased condition, on account’a their tendency to come back to life, don’t cha know.  The solution was to come from right under their noses…

As everyone knows, it is common to use boron to slow nuclear reactions.  They had all these power plants that had all this boron, so the logical step was to start to flood the hogs with boron.  That process started in the mid-60s and was finished by 1972.  The hogs had lost their radioactive glow and were now fit for slaughter.  Mr. Dean came in himself to stick the first hog.  It was quite a party.  As the Dean staff winnowed through the herd of hogs, they slowly approached the barn strong hold.  Step by step, they slaughtered and processed, slaughtered and processed.  Then they slaughtered and processed more.  Now they were within inches of the barn.  The doors started to creaked open, showing only a razor thin beam of light.  As the door swung ponderously, the remaining hogs started to march out in a very deliberate pace.  There they were, face to face, the hogs and butchers.

It took many years for commission to finally establish what went wrong.  The report was over 500 pages, so I’ll just boil it down for you: The butchers got to close to the barn.  The hogs, despite their reduced girth, still maintained their super-intelligence.  No one had counted on that.  The lead pig started to bark commands (well, grunt, really).  The pigs circled the hapless butchers, teeth bared with an evil vengeance in their eyes.  Revenge would be theirs today.  The butchers got too close to the barn.  With squeals of triumph, the pigs lunged forward, eager for their meal.  The butchers pull out their knives to defend themselves.  But it was too late.  The butchers had got to close too the barn.

And the hogs ate them.

My great-grandfather was one of the butchers who lost their lives that day.  At the wake, they served Mr. Dean’s tobacco fed pork sausage, which my father felt was in poor taste.  I mean literally, it tasted awful.  People died for this?  It was on that day that my father coined his phrase, more as an emotional protection than anything else.

No one ever did find out what the phones were for, or if they were even used.  I supposed we should worry.  What’s the worst that could happen…

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My fathers shoulders dropped, signifying the end of the story.  A deep silence permeated the air.  Could this have really happened?  Why was this the first time we had heard about it.  Had the history books been wiped clean?  We all stared at my father with a mix of respect and horror.  Unsure of the veracity of the story, we all pressed him to tell us the truth.   To this day he has maintained the story.  Sure the dates, people, location and variations of plutonium changes, be the story’s core message is constant:  Don’t talk to dad when he’s been drinking.

And so it goes.

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Rossman

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So one of my best buddies, Ross, was in town.  It has been about two years since I saw him last.  He, along with two others and myself form a mysterious and secretative group call The Bookhouse Boys.  Let me tell you about it.

In 1992 or so, my friends Matt, Ev and Ross decided to go out drinking.  Nothing new there.  What else are a group of high school seniors and recently graduated kids going to do?  Here in Sacramento, it rains a bit.  This was one of those nights.  Long story short, we got our Mickey’s and headed out to Prarie City.  As I said, it was raining and being wet and drunk is not as fun as being dry and drunk.  We decided to go and knock on the door of this house owned by older couple.  My buddy Ev knew them.  We asked if it would not be too much trouble to into their old woodshed and drink.  They said, much to our surprise, go ahead.  There is some wood down there.  Just don’t burn the place down.  For the next five years we did almost all of our drinking down there.  Other than the four of us, only five or six others ever joined us during those days.  We had all sorts of great rules like, you have to bring at least two beers no one has ever had before.  We downed over 200 different kinds of beer.  Here is the best part.  We never removed a single bottle.  No joke, there must be over 1000 bottles down there. 

Where did the name Bookhouse Boys come from?  That is a blog for another time.

Anywho, Ross is on his way to take a new job in Tacoma.  Yeah!  At least he is on the west coast again. 

For those of you who read Dog Blog, Cassie seems to be doing better.  I don’t think she is going to get any better, but she has stablized.  I’ll keep you all posted.

And, I know you are all wondering, which beers did they have down there.  Here are all the ones I remember off the top of my head:

Airship AleAlleycat Amber

Aktien-Brauerei Hell

Amberbach

American River Oatmeal Stout

American River Vienna Amber Lager

Anderson Valley Boonville Boont Amber Ale

Anderson Valley Boonville Poleeko Gold

Anheuser-Busch Black And Tan

Ayinger Jahrhundert-Bier

Bass & Co. Pale Ale

Becks

Beesting Honey Ale

Belmont Brewing Co. Strawberry Blonde

Big Red Ale

Big Rock Magpie Ale

Black Dog Ale

Black Dog Honey Raspberry Ale

Blueberry Ale

Blue Herron Pale Ale

Brasseurs Originale Beer Of Paris

Budweiser

Butte Creek Rolands Red

Buzzard Breath

Carmel Wheat Hefeweizen

Cerveceria Del Pacifico

Chimmy Cingcents

Chimmy Premier

Coors Original

Coors Tail Fin Ale

Copperhead Pale Ale

Corona Extra

Corsendonk Monks Brown Ale

Cowboy Lager

Damm Fine Beer

Devil Mountain Black Honey Ale

Die Blauen Squirrel

El Dorado Ale

Elk Mountain Amber Ale

Erdinger Weissbier

Estes Park Longs Peek Raspberry Wheat

Estes Park Wild Honey Wheat Stinger Ale

Eureka Black And Tan

Faust

Fischer D. Alsace

Fram Boise Lambicras Ale

Full Sail Ale

George Killians Wilde’ Honey

Georgia Wild Raspberry

Ginneus Extra Stout

Goldengate Wheat Ale

Goose Island Blond

Goose Island Honkers Ale

Goose Island Kilgubbin Red Ale

Grants India Pale Ale

Grolsch

Grolsch Amber

Hassongs

Haystack Black

Heckler Brau

Heineken

Henry Weinhards

Henry Weinhards Blackberry Wheat

Henry Weinhards Honey Hefeweizen

Henry Weinhards Ice Ale

Henry Weinhards Red

Henry Weinhards Walnut Stout

Holzhausener Landbier

Holsten Premium

Hoopla Fischer Amber

Humpback Ale

Humpback Premium Honey Wheat

Ice House

Jamaca Brand Red Ale

Jet City Ale

Kokanee

Labatts Blue

Labatts Ice

Lagunitas India Pale Ale

Lagunitas Tacaloma Amber Ale

Lake Tahoe Hefeweizen

Lake Tahoe Kristall-Weizen

Lake Tahoe Red Ale

Lifemanns Frambozenbier

Lost Coast White Beer

Mac Tarnahans Amber Ale

Mallard Bay Red Ale

Maudite Ale

Michelob

Michelob Winter Brew Spice Ale

Michelob Honey Lager

Mickeys

Mickeys Ice

Mickeys Red

Miller Genuine Draft

Miller Original

Miller Lite

Miller Red

Mississppi Mud

Molson Export Ale

Molson Gold

Molson Ice

Moosehead

Mrs. Pluckers Malt Beverage

Muenchener

Murphys Irish Amber

Naked Aspen Raspberry Wheat

Napa Valley Ale Works Red Ale

New Amsterdam India Dark Ale

Nor Wester Blacksmith Porter

Nor Wester Raspberry-Weisen

Octoberfest

Old Feziwig Ale

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Oregon Blackberry Brew

Oregon Hefeweizen

Oregon Honey Beer

Oregon India Pale Ale

Oregon Wheatberry Beer

Pacific Ridge Pale Ale

Pacific Ridge Berry Wheat Beer

Paulaner Munchen October Marzen

Petes Wicked Ale

Petes Wicked Maple Porter

Petes Wicked Octoberfest

Petes Wicked Pub Lager

Petes Wicked Strawberry Blonde

Petes Wicked Summer Brew

Petes Wicked Winter Brew

Phatboy

Pinkers Munster Ale

Pyramid Apricot Ale

Pyramid Hefeweisen

Rainer (Old)

Rainer (New)

Rainer Ale

Railyard Ale

Raincross Cream Ale

Raspberry Redrum

Ravensbrau Porter

Rays Amber Lager

Razor Edge

Red Bone Red Lager

Red Dog

Red Hook Double Black Stout

Red Nectar Ale

Red Stripe Lager

Red Tail Ale

Red Wolf

Rino Chasers American Ale

Rino Chasers Lager

Riverside Christmas Brew

Riverside Pullman Pale Ale

Riverside Seventh Street Stout

Riverside Victoria Avenue Amber Ale

Rods Rebble Rippin Beer

Rogue Dead Guy Ale 1995

Rogue Dead Guy Ale 1996

Rogue Dead Guy Ale 1997

Rogue Old Crustatian

Rowdys Perfect Amber Ale

St. Ides Gold Premium

St. Paulie Girl

St. Stans Red Sky Ale

St. Stans Whistle Stop Ale

Salvator

Samuel Adams Boston Lager

Samuel Adams Creme Stout

Samuel Adams Double Bock

Samuel Adams Summer Ale

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout

Samuel Smiths Taddy Porter

Samuel Smiths Winter Welcome Ale

San Andreas Earthquake Porter

Saranac Adirondac Amber

Saranac Black And Tan

Saranac Pale Ale

Saxers Lemon Lager

Schnider Weisse Bier

Scotts Ale

7Th St. Stout

Shamnie Sine Sance

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Sierra Nevada Porter

Slo Brewing Co. Brickhouse Extra Pale Ale

Slo Brewing Co. Cole Porter

Slo Brewing Co. Flying Dog Ale

Spanish Peaks Honey Raspberry Ale

Sparkys Golden Ale

Spaten

Spaten Optimator

Spaten Premiere

Spring St. Patrick Old English

Spring St. Patrick Stout

Star Raspberry Wheat Ale

Stinelager

Sutter Creek Powder House Ale

Thomas Kemper Weizenberry

Thomas Kemper White

Timberline Blake Street Honey Ale

Timberline Colorado Amber Ale

Timberline Lemon Wheat Ale

Truckee Amber Lager

Truckee High Sierra Pilsner

Tsintao Beer From China

Two Dogs Lemon Brew

Wacsteiner Premium Verum

Watneys Creme Stout

Watneys Red Barrel

Weihenstephan Hefeweizen

Weihenstephan Korbinian

Weltenburger Kloster Asam-Bock

Weltenburger Kloster Hefe-Weizen Hell

Wheat Berry Beer

Widmer Hefeweizen

Wild Boar

Wild Boar Special Amber

And so it goes.

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