5 Oct, 2006 @ 04:49
5 mins read

The Amputee – Issue 9

WHEN God finally gets back to earth the first thing he is going to ask is what we have done with his dinosaurs. At least this is what my friend Bernie C tells me. Bernie is a born-again venture capitalist and a devotee of Swami George Soros.

These people believe that God will return one day and make very important announcements like: “Get rid of your Microsoft stock!” God is not very happy with Bill Gates, who he thinks is trying to take over his job.

There are many sects in the world at the moment and most of them have impressive websites. They accept all major credit cards. Some sectarians hang their hats in Órgiva and drink fruit smoothies at the Barraka. A few of these groups believed that, according to ancient manuscripts, the world would finish on the first day of the new Millennium, Y2K. It did not, as far as I know, but it certainly seems to have got weirder. George Bush is a good example.

A much earlier sect than the Sorites were the Shakers, officially called The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. They also called themselves the MillennialChurch, as the first description did not fit on their business-cards. The Shakers were an offshoot of the Quakers known as the Shaking Quakers, and their founder was Ann
Lee (1736 – 1784) – not Saint Vitus as you might have thought. Ann, daughter of a
Manchester blacksmith, was once examined by four clergymen of the Established Church, and “spoke to them for four hours in 72 tongues.” Spare a
thought for her poor husband.  Ann was instructed by a celestial voice to take her group to
which she did in 1774.  They got Green Cards and settled in
New YorkState at a place called Mount Lebanon. The sect supported itself tanning leather, selling herbs and making apple-sauce.

I ran into the Shakers on the Internet recently and oddly enough they are still making apple-sauce. They are also
making a whole lot of other goodies and own a popular restaurant in
Shakertown, Kentucky. A descendant of Ann Lee has produced a cookbook, which will be translated into sixty-five tongues. One of their recipes is offered below (from
The Shaker Cook Book by Caroline Piercy). They claim their lemon pie is heavenly.

Shaker lemon pie

  • Two large lemons
  • Two cups of sugar
  • Four well-beaten eggs
  • One nine inch pie-crust (top and bottom)

Slice lemons as thin as paper, rind and all.  Combine with sugar; mix well. Let stand for two hours, or preferably overnight, blending occasionally.  Add the beaten eggs to the lemon mixture; fold in well. Turn into nine-inch pie shell, arranging lemon slices evenly. Cover with top crust. Cut several slits the near centre.  Bake at 450 degrees F (230C) for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 (190C) and bake for about 20 minutes or until a knife inserted near edge of the pie comes out clean. Cool before serving. Give 10 percent to the church.

Steroids are a load of anabolics

Not so many years ago the only performance-enhancing drug takers we heard about were weightlifters from Bulgaria who could lift really heavy objects like Dawn French above their head. I do not know whether drugs had anything to do with it, but every-time these Bulgarians were allowed to leave their homeland to compete overseas, they defected. Many Bulgarians with unpronounceable names ended up in Australia, where they won medals for their new country for a few years and then opened gyms.

We did suspect that there was something odd about East German female swimmers in those days as well. Not only did these women have shoulders like a Clydesdale but they had to shave twice a day as well. The word “steroid” came into general use around that time, though my mother still thinks it describes a crewman from the star-ship Enterprise.

Currently, everyone vaguely athletic is suspected of taking drugs and most of them apparently are. Not only Tour de
France riders and Olympic athletes but cribbage players, ten-pin bowlers, pinball wizards, dart throwers, line dancers and croquet teams. Many have tested positive for anabolic steroids, or performance-enhancing stimulants. Sporting
events now have more medical personnel in attendance than competitors, and testing laboratories are on the recommended buy-list of most stock-brokers. Certain athletes have been blood-tested so many times that they have anaemia. A certain Michel Smith from
Ireland has been banned because they found whiskey in her urine sample. I
would not have thought there was a urine sample in all of
Ireland that did not test positive for a drop or two of Bushmills.

For whom the bill tolls

Had lunch last week at a classy restaurant on the outskirts of Palma de Mallorca. I was over there for a few days to check out what super yachts the rich are upgrading to these days in case I win the Euro lottery. Usually at lunchtime I take a Menu del Dia, or a big Mac (McEwans) but this particular day I felt like something a little better, especially as my ex-wife said she would pay. She wanted to take me to lunch to explain to me why she is marrying the lawyer who represented her at our divorce settlement. I do not know what sort of a husband he will make but he is certainly a good lawyer. He even contested my visiting rights to the dog. The judge ruled that, apart from all the money I had to hand over, I could only have the dog for four weeks in summer. The dog was not very happy about the arrangement and has moved into a canine commune somewhere near Soller.

When we got to the restaurant my ex-wife decided that I was getting fat so we should just have one course each. I am not really getting fat, this was just her way of avoiding an expensive tab. Besides, I did not want to argue in case she decided to come back to me. So we both had bacalao, something or other. I had it pil pil, where they saute the fish in olive oil until the juice exudes amalgamate magically with the olive oil and produces a rich mayonnaisey sauce. My ex had it a la Riojiana, which is Spanish for a sauce of tomatoes, onions and red peppers. Each of these dishes was 25 euros each. We had a bottle of the house white and one small bottle of water, which came from southern Italy.

Amazing the common market: here we were in Mallorca, Spain, drinking water that was drawn from a spring in Abruzzo, bottled in a container that was made in Portugal, capped by a plastic do-dah that was produced in Greece and bearing a label that was printed in Belgium. It had been trucked half way across Europe by a German pantechnicon, stored for two months in a warehouse in San Castello owned by a French supermarket chain and is delivered on the first Tuesday of every month by a local carrier to a restaurant near Palma.

My wife was figuring the bill in her mind: two fish at 25 euros, one bottle of wine at say 15 and the imported bottle of H2O at three or four. Probably 75 euros, including tip. “We should do it more often,” she told me. The bill came in at 110 euros and she immediately cancelled my future invite. Before she paid the bill, she checked each item on
her palmtop calculator and found that the covers, bread, water, service and taxes had added 30 per cent to her assumed total. She even called her fiancee on my mobile to check on the legalities. I offered to pay for the water but she didn’t think that was funny.

Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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