Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 200

… I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding of my family…

The newest visitors to SE Wisconsin have allotted one full day of getting familiar with the lay of the land (and lakes) and several varied combinations of Polly Pabst meals and country wisdom. Over liters and quarts of caffeine fortified coffee, they get answers to their most prominent questions…

“The name “Pabst” is everywhere around here, are you…” Connie begins to place people to places and places to history.

“Yep. I used to run away from it, unlike my brother Davey, who loves the family business and racing cars. But when I opened this diner, I would have been foolish not to take advantage of the name branding.

“I saw the Pabst Blue Ribbon neon sign in the window.” Ace has been known to sample adult malted beverages on occasion, so Pabst Beer has passed by his lips before.

“I don’t live out at the mansion. I have a small house nearby.”

“We took a long drive,” he uses hand signals, “counterclockwise around Oconomowoc Lake and Pabst Farms is the first thing you run into. You know, I didn’t know that cows made beer.”

“What else do you do with 1200 acres, Ace? Hops do not grow well above the 40th parallel, but corn and dairy cattle do nicely.

“There isn’t a better area in the country, it has it all; fresh water, oak forests, fertile soil, friendly people and all this only 30 miles from a major city like Milwaukee.”

“God certainly outdid Himself here, that is for sure,” adds Constance from her two day perspective. “I don’t know if we mentioned it, but we are going to get a tour of Danforth Lodge tomorrow. I hear that it is magnificent.”

Polly has perspective of her own, having grown up in a moneyed family, with a long storied legacy, “That is a good example of what happens when the patriarch senior, then junior get older and all that ostentatious construction makes less and less sense; the kids sell off and divide up the riches, without mom or dad to make a fuss. After Valentine took over Danforth, the luster of the Roaring Twenties and the money island that brought them through the Depression had faded into the past. Property like that just doesn’t make sense any more.”

“You are a bright woman, Polly, I’m impressed. What keeps you tucked away in Eagle?”

“I am tucked, but productive. You may not realize it, but we cater far more food, to wedding and banquets, than we serve out here. There are twenty people in the back getting ready for a party this weekend.”

“This building must be bigger than it looks!”

“It used to be a textile factory, an example of the shrinking manufacturing base in the United States.”

She may be tucked away, but an entrepreneurial treasure nonetheless.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 168

Not Your Granddad’s Christmas – WIF Customs and Traditions

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Unusual Christmas

Traditions From

Around the World

In the United States, Christmas is celebrated in ways that are, at least to Americans, fairly banal by now. America and a lot of Western countries with extremely similar traditions (many of which are provide the origin of US traditions) have a Santa Claus figure who brings gifts to the good children, many people go to church, and of course, there’s all the delicious food and time spent with family. However, while these traditions are perfectly enjoyable, many other countries or cultures have Christmas celebrations and traditions that many Americans might find quite zany, but would also likely consider to be a lot of fun.

10. The Japanese Eat KFC On Christmas

In America and many Western countries, Christmas dinner is usually an absolutely ridiculous affair. Aside from a giant turkey being fairly traditional, people will also go to great lengths to make side dish after side dish, sometimes spending the whole day (or even days before) preparing the meal. However, in Japan, things are done a bit differently. Now, people in Japan don’t really celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday (most Japanese people are Shinto), but over the past few decades, they have made up their own Christmas tradition that they are now quite wild for.

It started out in 1970, when the manager of the first KFC in Japan, Takeshi Okawara, heard some Americans talking about how hard it was to get a turkey in Japan for Christmas and how much they missed that, and he had a light bulb moment to bring Americans who had moved to Japan a taste of Christmas. He created what he called, at the time, the KFC Party Barrel, and it took off with the Japanese public — even those who knew little or didn’t care about Christmas. Nowadays, people reserve their KFC Christmas order weeks in advance, and lines on the day of stretch out the door, often reaching 10-times usual sales. These are not your normal KFC boxes, either, as they often contain things like chocolate cake and champagne as well.

9. The American Jewish Tradition Of Eating Chinese And Going To The Movies

In recent years, a meme has been passed around showing a sign written — supposedly by the Chinese Restaurant Association of America — saying they don’t understand why Jewish people eat at Chinese restaurants on Christmas, but that they appreciate the business all the same. While the meme is of dubious veracity, the tradition itself is certainly real. It stretches all the way back to 1899, when Jewish newspapers would criticize Jewish people for eating at Chinese restaurants, for fear of breaking Kosher.

Today, most American Jews do go out for Chinese on Christmas, and often go to see a movie as well. This isn’t because Jewish people have a religious reason that forces them to eat Chinese on Christmas, as the alleged meme suggests, but because it’s the only thing that is ever open. Of course, when it comes to doing something besides eating, you are pretty much just left with going to the movies, which has also become a very common tradition for American Jews. It’s a way for them to not feel entirely left out, or at least stuck inside, on a day where most places shut down.

8. The Catalan Poop Log

Some people may think Mr. Hanky from South Park is bizarre and gross, but oftentimes truth is actually both stranger, and grosser, than fiction. In the Catalan region of Spain, people still celebrate the holidays with a traditional poop log. The log isn’t made out of actual poop — it is made out of wood. However, the log is made up to look kind of like a sentient poop log, and is brought out on the feast of the immaculate conception. Children spend the days up until Christmas Eve ritually “feeding” the log every night, and even go so far as to make sure it’s tucked in with a nice warm blanket.

On Christmas Eve, the children beat the fake poop log with sticks and sing songs about having good bowel movements, before finally removing the blanket to find treats and gifts underneath the log. This is may sound disgusting to most people, but to the people of Catalan, it is a tradition that goes back a long way, and has its roots centered in wishing(s) of good health. Another strange tradition in Catalan is a man named Caganer, who is depicted as a statue of a man squatting and defecating, often by the nativity scene. While some may consider this disrespectful, it is really just a ritual to bring fertility in farming for the next year.

7. The Chinese Sort Of Celebrate Christmas, But In A Very Different Way Than Most Countries

As many people know, China isn’t exactly all that friendly to religious people. While laws restricting religion have relaxed somewhat over the years, it is still not easy to be religious. If you want to join the Communist Party, and have any real power in the country, you have to entirely denounce religion. Christmas is observed by many non-Christians in China, but the observation is much more secular, as China has had a real war on religious celebrations for quite some time.

However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun time; you just cannot expect it to have the religious solemnity or significance you are used to. Chinese people celebrate it more like a holiday where you go out and spend time with friends, instead of staying at home to be with family like many do on Christmas. In China, Santas will show up at the mall — typically in groups — with several of Santa’s “sisters” instead of the usual elves. The sisters are usually good-looking young women dressed vaguely like American “elves.” Giving away apples on Christmas is also a common tradition, often decorated with various well wishes since the word apple sounds close to the greeting for Christmas Eve in Mandarin.

6. In Venezuela, They Roller Skate To Church On Christmas Day

As a country, Venezuela is going through a rough patch right now, but their economy and government were in a much better position not even that long ago — they’ve recently had a dramatic drop in oil production that’s had an enormous impact on the nation. Despite the toll the oil drop has taken on their economy and political stability, the country still has a certain sort of whimsy about it, and there are some Christmas traditions that will likely live on even in the worst of times.

One of the strangest traditions in Venezuela is that they like to roller skate to church on Christmas Day. In fact, the government is so used to this happening that they close the streets until about 8 a.m. on Christmas morning to make the roads safer for the ridiculous amount of people who go to church as a family… on roller skates. Some of the priests are not particularly enthralled, and will attempt to get their congregations to refrain, but it hasn’t seemed to have slowed down the tradition in the least.

While no one knows what the reason behind the tradition is for sure, some suggest it may be an alternate to sledding or other winter sports often enjoyed around that season, as Venezuela does not have the climate. As well as riding around on roller skates, Venezuelans (if they can afford it) like to repaint their houses before Christmas, and firecrackers and other noisemakers and fireworks are a common sounds and sights on Christmas Day.

5. The Night Of The Radishes Is Celebrated The Day Before Christmas Eve In Oaxaca, Mexico

In Oaxaca, Mexico, every year on December 23 the town celebrates the Night of the Radishes, or Noche de Rabanos. This tradition sounds particularly bizarre, but it has roots (er, no pun intended) in practicality. Merchants back in 1897 were trying to find a way to attract shoppers going to and from church services, and started carving their radishes into crazy shapes, or making radish people or other ornaments. The mayor at the time was so pleased that he decided to make it an official celebration from then on.

People sometimes queue up for very long lines just to see and buy all the various radish sculptures and carvings that people have made. As the years have gone by, the radishes have become increasingly elaborate and large, but it isn’t size that really gets you the prize. The radishes are carved into figurines, or have scenes from the nativity or traditional Mexican culture carved in, and the very best artistic design gets a 12,000 peso prize. Now, these radishes aren’t really meant to be eaten, and go bad pretty quickly since they’ve been carved (you wouldn’t eat a Jack-o-Lantern, after all, right?, but the tradition has now become more about a celebration of art and culture than actual food.

4. La Befana — The Italian Christmas Witch

While some in the United States and other countries celebrate St. Nicholas Day or the Epiphany, only certain countries display particular reverence to them, and very few actually place more importance on either than Christmas. To most countries, these are sort of auxiliary holidays that are part of the “extended Christmas.” However, some countries don’t believe Christmas really ends until the Epiphany, and Italy in particular actually treats more Epiphany with more importance than Christmas itself, at least in terms of gift-giving traditions.

They do have a Santa figure named is Babbo Natale that is starting to catch on a bit more, and he’s pretty similar to most versions of Santa. However, their Christmas Witch, known as “La Befana” and the Epiphany Holiday she holds sway over is still much more popular. Her legend goes that the Three Kings were heading to the infant baby Jesus to give their gifts, and getting others nearby to go with them when she gave an excuse of being busy cleaning up her house. She realized her mistake the next day and rushed, still holding her broom to bring the baby a gift. But alas, it was too late. In order to make up for missing out on giving the newly born savior a gift, she has roamed the Earth ever since on her broom, giving toys to all the good little boys and girls, and coal to all the bad ones.

3. The Story Of “The Boy Who Ate Santa’s Cookies” Is Of Completely Unverifiable Veracity

Another tale that has been passed around is one the internet claims to originate from South Africa, and it tells the story of a boy named Danny who mischievously ate the cookies that were left out for Santa Claus. In the morning, his grandmother was so angry that she beat him to death. Seems a little harsh, but hey, she worked hard on those cookies. Anyway, now parents in South Africa tell this as a cautionary tale to their children so they won’t eat Santa’s cookies. In some versions of the tale, the boy comes back as some kind of ghost in order to haunt children who eat Santa’s cookies.

Now, while it’s an interesting (if horrific) story and definitely something that could be told by parents as a morality tale to their children, we were unable to find any verification online that the story is actually a real South African fable, or if it was made up whole cloth on the internet in order to troll people, or simply to amuse. Regardless, it is an interesting legend, and even if South African parents are not telling this story to their children, it does bring up some amusing questions. If Santa were real, what would he do if he found out you ate his cookies? Would you immediately make the naughty list? And just how naughty would Santa find you to be for your crime? And if you’re from South Africa, please let us now… is this a genuine fable? And do your grandmothers really get that made about cookies?

2. The Tradition In Spain Of Eating 12 Lucky Grapes And Wearing Red Underwear

While Spain has many normal Christmas traditions that, like many Western countries, place a great emphasis on the holiday, they also have some rather strange ones. Now, the strangest, and some of the oldest traditions in Spain technically occur during the New Year’s celebration, shortly after Christmas — but still during the days of Christmas. On Old Night, the day before the New Year, everyone gathers around their TVs or in Puerto De Sol in Madrid, and prepares for the clock tower to count down for the New Year. First, the bell rings four times, and then people wait for another twelve chimes that signal each month of the year. Fair enough, that’s pretty close to what Americans do on New Year’s Eve.

The quirky difference, though, is that on each chime people attempt to eat a grape, and the goal is to eat twelve grapes — seeds and all — before the last chime ends. If you can manage this feat, you will have good luck for the coming year. Another strange part of the tradition involves wearing red underwear under your clothes for luck, and it is said that if you got the underwear from someone else as a gift, it will make you even luckier. And we say if you’re getting red underwear from someone else, chances are you’ve already gotten quite lucky. High five.

While this tradition may seem strange, it’s completely harmless (well, unless you choke on the grapes), and helps everyone ring in the New Year, and enjoy the Christmas Season, in a festive and silly way.

1. The Ukrainian Story Of The Spiderwebs And The Christmas Tree

Ukraine and many of the surrounding areas of Eastern Europe have traditionally had less wealth and prosperity than their neighbors to the west (though that’s been changing a bit in certain countries). In fact, for most people living in Eastern Europe, much of their existence has been marked by a long and unending struggle. For this reason, it probably does not surprise many that the type of Christmas legends to come out of countries like Ukraine are often rather grim. One of the most famous stories from Ukraine tells the story of a spider, and how it saved one family’s Christmas.

In some stories the mother of the family is a widow, and in others there is still a father, but the family — which includes a boy and a girl — is always desperately poor. They are so poor that they cannot afford anything to decorate their Christmas Tree, and they lament it the night before. In order to give them a good Christmas and boost their spirits, a spider in the house hears their plea and overnight, spins webs on the tree in order to beautifully decorate it for the family. When the family wakes up, they go to the tree and it is decorated beyond their dreams. To make things even better, when the sun shines on the tree, the webs turn to silver and gold, and they never need to worry about money again. In some versions the webs turn to precious metals because of the spider, and in other versions because of divine intervention. But in every story, the spider is a benevolent figure trying to help a poor family have at least one good day.


Not Your Granddad’s Christmas –

WIF Customs and Traditions

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 123

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 123

…Constance’s “friend” Fanny is back home in Tallahassee working on a case referred to CCPI by attorney  Moore…

“Dr. Sapp speaking,” the Havana Florida doctor awkwardly answers his own office phone. Staff nurses have not made the smooth transition to office secretary, so he does not force the issue.

“My name is Fanny Stanwick from Jacksonville and I have been referred to you by our family physician.”

“Always happy to help my fellow doctors, what is your situation?” Had he not just dealt with a Jacksonville teen not all that long ago? Must be a coincidence.

“It’s not me,” Fanny does not lie about that, but she is no more a mother than a bull moose. “My daughter Millicent has missed two cycles and we are afraid she may be with child.”

“How unfortunate; has she ever missed before?”

“Well she is only…….,” she makes up a number, “…. 14.”

“That is awfully young Mrs. Stanwick.”

“It is Miss Stanwick doctor.”

An unmarried mother has a pregnant teen; if that isn’t a recipe for disaster. If he had a dollar for every white girl that had come a beggin’ to end her pregnancy, he would be rich by now. But he is rich and he has gotten many a Caucasian parent off the embarrassment hook. But he is old and he is tired of risking his retirement doing something that the state of Florida has deemed a felony.

“I’m not accepting new patients, but I do have names of good doctors who do abortions, most of them are in South Carolina though,” he is trying not to overuse that Alpha Campbell over at Laura Bell Memorial Hospital in Tallahassee, but he sees a desperate mother’s big puppy eyes and relents. “There is a Doc Campbell; he is black, but very proficient in the field.”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 108

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 60

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 60

…the Pope was not going to be upstaged by a charismatic preacher from the Bible belt of the United States…

Pope Pius the Twelve has willfully isolated himself in the bowels of Vatican City, Rome, Italy. The inherent claim of having a direct ongoing conversation (pipeline to) with God has lead him to believe that he is in danger of being overtaken by the Devil, he has that clear and present sense that his office, as well as the Church he leads, is under attack. The suspicious death of Ernesto Pacelli, his one and only blood brother, has added unwanted fuel to the spiritual fire. His trust in God is strong, but keeping a wary eye out is prudent, just in case.

Born Eugenio Pacelli (Pope’s brother), the Pope has taken a hands-on approach to leading the Church. Societies around the globe are suffering from religious malaise, an apathetic position kinbrought on by peace and prosperity. Even among his normal blindly obedient flock there has been a slow bleed, not a sufficient amount to cause the body (of Christ) to fail, but enough to weaken the spirit (Holy).

He had sent his own kin over to the Tolentine Summit to be his advocate in matters concerning the assault on creation and God’s role in it. It isn’t often that religion gets a seat at the scientific table and he was not going to be upstaged by a charismatic preacher from the Bible belt of the United States (Billy Graham). Within those borders resides the most prosperous Roman Catholic population, by country, in the world.

Ernesto reported back that the Holy Father’s opinion on both the cumulative age of the planet and its relation to Creation was heard loud and clear. All the saints and martyrs, who died for the cause of Jesus Christ, were honored by that official stance, backed by the prayers and beliefs of a billion souls across the globe.

Like a politician building a strong coalition, Willard Libby came to Tolentine to fully understand how the theories he is prepared to take to the world stage, mesh with religious leaders; that growingly unpopular philosophy of intelligent design (creation vs evolution). He came away with proper perception and newfound clarity which jive with his newly postulated science.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 57

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 34

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 34

…“Looks like you made a friend, Fanny?” who is giving her the “he’s married” look…

“It looks like we’re close to home.” Martin is relieved that Eddie has gotten them back in one piece..

 “Don’t forget, the walls have ears,” warns Constance.

 Kimbark 6137But before they can re-enter those 50 year old plaster partitions, they spy 2 some-ones sitting on the front stairs, who were hoping upon hope that William would show his elusive self and let them in out of the late-day chill.

 “Should I drive around to the alley?” Eddie asks.

 Constance jumps out of the stationary vehicle, a half block from the front door.

“Fanny!!!!!!!!!” She blasts past the person sitting next to her to apply a world-class hugs to a once lost partner. None of them expected such a swift conclusion to Fanny’s abduction. She Schneiderdoes acknowledge the stranger seated beside her, “And this would be?”

“Frank Herman. I do long hauls for Schneider Trucking, out of Wisconsin.” He extends his hand in friendship and does so in parting, “You’re safe now Miss Fanny, I’ll be on my way.”

“He gave me a ride back,” simply put. She points out at 61st Street and the big orange truck too large to come down Kimbark.

“Thank you Frank Herman. I guess Fanny will fill the blanks, but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I was not expecting to see that one for… a while,” she stops short of saying forever. “Can I give you something for your efforts?”

“I have your address in Tallahassee. I’ll stop by the next time I get down that way.”

“I’m sure Fanny will make up some of her famous fried chicken for you.”

“I’m counting on it.” The modest hero moves on down the road.

“Looks like you made a friend, Fanny?” who is giving her the “he’s married” look.

Eddie's Cousins-001Eddie, for his part, escorts his road warrior brother back out to his truck, “My cousin Jimmy (cousin #3) drives a White Freightliner, part of the million mile club, but he drives forth and back to New York twice a week, has to go through Ohio. Do you drive in Ohio? Make sure you watch out for the speed traps… well any way he……”


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 33

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 7

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 7

…This is going to be a long drive. Eddie has more tales than a book of short stories…

“You are so kind Eddie, but our friend is in the academic field. He is a scientist and a professor.”Eddie's Cousins-001

“An egg head, eh? My 4th cousin Wilfred, yeah I know… what a name… is really smart. He invented the paddle board.” He demonstrates how, when a rubber band and ball is attached to a ping-pong paddle, it keeps coming back.

This is going to be a long drive. Eddie has more tales than a book of short stories and he is determined to regale the girls with every single one; each stoplight seems to trigger one to the next.

The Yellow Cab mercifully makes a right hand turn off 55th St onto one-way south Kimbark and stops in front of a two-story gray stone much like the others on either side. He stops the cab, gets out to open doors for his passengers and opens the huge truck to take out their luggage.

“Could you hang to our bags Eddie? We don’t know how long we will be here.”

“Your friend ain’t much for guests? Figures. I’ll turn off the meter for 1 hour, seeing this will be my last fare. I’m too close to home to go back out to Orchard Field.

“Orchard?”

O’Hare, whatever they want to call it now. I have a bungalow over in Englewood that me and the Mrs. bought a couple years ago, just ten minutes away.”

“One hour?”

“One hour and then the meter starts up again.” He squints at the device mounted above his rearview mirror. “You are looking at 12 buck and change so far.”

Escalating cab fare will not be the determining factor in how much time they spend here.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 9

The NULL Solution = Episode 192

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The NULL Solution = Episode 192

…Without probable cause, Ekcello expires on the spot. His spirit wafts unto his offspring, but his corporeal presence ceases…

Imagine the surprised passengers of the wayward NEWFOUNDLANDER, when Ekcello pops in with Celeste. And they are accompanied by a toolbox of technology in the form of a Null; a naughty Null at that, unbefitting his status as representative to Harmonia.

True to his word, at the sight of his {former?} friend, Sampson wastes no time attacking Skaldic, his still strong hands wringing the life from the co-conspirator.

“Stop!” Ekcello has facts pertinent to the well-being of the victim. “Skaldic is here to restore control to the navigation.”

Sampson backs away, “In that case I’ll kill him after he undoes his handiwork.”

A good wife supports her husband. A better wife rights his wrongs. She pulls him aside, “Ekcello is behind the glitch, not Skaldic. Let them work and we can be on our way.”

A dagger stare at Ekcello replaces clenched hands on Skaldic. Ekcello is acutely aware of the disdain that Sampson is sending his way. Normally aloof and above the fray, the Eridanian is feeling pressure from all sides. He has not taken the radical changes to his world in stride. He is given to fits of erraticism. His power of influence has been neutered. He is experiencing humiliation for the first time. His beloved Cerella and Joyner, the 2 main sources of his anxiety, remain at a distance, unsure how to act toward him.

Without probable cause, Ekcello expires on the spot. His spirit wafts unto his offspring, but his corporeal presence ceases.

Cerella crumbles in a heap.

Celeste rushes to his side.

Joyner is feeling ill.

Skaldic completes his task.

The ship turns around.

The people are stunned.

Without the aid of Ekcello, there is no returning for Skaldic the Null. If Celeste escorts him back, she will be forced to stay on Eridanus, her trans-migratory capabilities unable to stand on their own. All she can do is to forge a telepathic connection with Fortan to give her the news that Ekcello will not be returning.

Oh the irony of it all. He wanted his daughter back and now he is with his daughter, in spirit only.

Ironic in its own way is that Skaldic gets what he really wanted; to be with Deimostra, in proximity only.

However, from Lorgan’s Harmonia galactic view, Skaldic remains the Eridanian delegate, which means his life is not completely his own. Somewhere between Orion Nebulae and the Terran system, he is called away for greater galactic business, which is the end result of The Null Solution.

As for the rest, it will be the long way home.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 192


page 187 (end Ch. 20)