Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jobo Battles God: Death of a Refrigerator

Though it may be hard to believe, the Wolf is a deeply spiritual man. Over the course of his life he has developed a unique and compelling collection of beliefs. At the heart of this theology lies the certainty that God is a bitter and spiteful deity singularly concerned with making his life more difficult than it should be.

Though he is uncertain about exactly what he did to incur God's wrath (the Badger isn't), he believes that this anger manifests itself in the seemingly endless string of electronic and mechanical failures that afflict his household appliances. The Lobo's propensity to bemoan these trials and tribulations has prompted some of his associates (once again, the Badger) to refer to him as Jobo, a reference to the suffering endured by the biblical character Job. It is thus to the Badger's great and profound satisfaction that I introduce the beginning of a series that will document the Wolf's daily struggles with God's will.

The first post of this series will address Lobo's refrigerator. Understand though, that this is no ordinary refrigerator. No, he brought this refrigerator to Mexico from the United States. Not only does it accommodate all of his cooling and freezing needs, but it also smartly compliments the icy sterility of his kitchen's aesthetic. There is not another refrigerator in the whole country that could possibly replace it. And then God decided to punish the Lobo by breaking it.

An Ode to Culinary Magnificence, Rendered Useless

That in itself is not such a pressing matter. The Wolf has long grown accustomed to dealing with God's vengeful hand reaching down and smiting his appliances. He faces these scenarios with a sort of fatalistic acceptance. In the event of a failing object he will simply call his most trusted Mexican mechanic and arrange for a spare to be delivered while the primary unit is being repaired. In especially trying situations he might even smile and shake his fist in the direction of the heavens.

But today there is no smiling. For in this specific instance God seems determined to repeatedly break the refrigerator just when the mechanic believes it is fixed. Three times the Badger has watched smugly as the repaired refrigerator is delivered to Lobo's home. Three times he has seen them return it to its spot in the kitchen and take the spare unit away. And three times he has laughed as the mechanic arrived the next day to pick up the already malfunctioning machine.

Hardly a Worthy Substitute

On this, the refrigerator's fourth trip back to the house, the Lobo has had enough. For it is one thing to rankle the Wolf with petty inconveniences, but it is another to deprive him completely of the ability to cool food in a setting unmarred by the aesthetic incongruence of a spare refrigerator. Remember, this is a man who likes his salads cold and his chocolate milk colder. And perhaps most importantly this is a man sick and tired of swapping an immaculate stainless steel refrigerator for a rusty white one.

God Wants This Bounty to Spoil

Yet Lobo knows that all of this is well removed from his sphere of influence. His relationship with God is not a complicated one. What the Lobo fixeth, the Lord taketh away. Even if the refrigerator works today, there is no certainty that it will tomorrow. He thus can only prepare for the eventuality that it will once again fail him.

But in the meantime there is always hope. There exists the eternal dream that God might one day tire of raining malfunction and misfortune down upon the Lobo. That there will be a day in the future when the Wolf won't be forced to wonder if a crisp head of lettuce or a bowl of ice cream will be his last (Future posts will most likely dash this dream for all but the most optimistic readers). Until that day though, he'll keep the spare fridge running in his gym.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Badger Battles.....Slothly Stasis

Jungle living can be difficult. After walking and swimming and surfing and chopping weeds with a machete the Badger often needs a rest. For this he relies upon his trusty hammock. Situated beneath a palapa roofed ramada and beside a palm trunk table, it offers the perfect combination of shade and easily accessible beer.

Badger Break

There can be times, however, when the siren song of the hammock calls even before the daily chores have been completed. Times when the temptation of ample back support, a gentle swinging motion, and a frosty beverage create the potential for a perfect storm of idle frivolity. These instances are perhaps the most dangerous to the Badger. For just as Odysseus understood the deadly ruin beckoning from the rocks, the Tejon knows the implications of a life devoted solely to hammock time.

Book, Beer...Grass Eating Mongrel

Besides the painfully obvious health complications that accompany a sedentary lifestyle, there remains the image he projects to the Lobo. While it is important that his adversary see him at rest, it is equally essential that he not be mistaken for a soft touch. He understands the delicate balance between one capable of engaging in periods of quiet meditation and one wholly seduced by a life of unproductive leisure. He further understands just how paramount this balance is in his battle with Lobo.

To achieve this balance the Tejon has developed a complicated, but effective logarithm. To render it in understandable terms would require a computer far more powerful than anything available here. But Tejon has agreed to summarize it for the readers. Here is a window into the vast and powerful mind of the Badger:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wolf Battles Dead Burt: A Lesson in Revenge

It is understandable that many of you may be curious as to why the Badger goes to such great lengths to ensure that his feud with the Wolf remains undeclared. Why wouldn't he just come out and face his adversary in an open field of battle? The answers to this question are numerous and complex. For one, a cold conflict affords him unrestricted access to the Lobo's operational hub. Another is the tactical advantage he gains through his knowledge of Lobo's habits and routines. But there is also an additional, more mysterious reason. This tale from the Lobo's past may begin to at least explain some of those circumstances. A hint for the impatient reader: It involves Bad Mojo.

Long before the birth of the Tejon, before even the arrival of the man who begat him, there existed within this jungle paradise a conflict between two mighty forces. On one side was the Lobo, builder of mausoleum inspired dwellings. On the other was Dead Burt, known then simply as Albert the German.

The roots of this struggle can be traced to the day when Lobo, ever sensitive to the vast stores of electricity needed to run his home, attempted to surreptitiously extend Albert's high voltage power line another mile to his house. There was nothing overtly deceptive or criminal in this act. Lobo had no plans to siphon off or steal electricity from his German neighbor. No, he simply desired to join the line Albert had previously erected. He supplied the nineteen poles, cable, and labor. He made arrangements for the installation of another meter so that no mistake could be made as to who consumed what.

But this action roused within Albert a great anger. Certain Teutonic elements of his character that had laid dormant perhaps for generations poured forth. He decided at that moment that he would crush the Lobo with all the efficient brutality his German disposition could muster.

For we must understand that Albert had a vision. Already a minor celebrity in the world of resort development, he had descended upon the Mexican jungle from the mountains of Canada. He brought with him vast experience and formidable resources. Smartly clad in linen pants and flowing blouses, he set about transforming an empty tropical beach into a vast and sprawling resort complex. That Lobo already inhabited a small corner of this beach was of little concern to Albert. He had a vision.

Dead Burt's Canadian Vision

It turns out that nineteen extra power poles were not a part of Albert's vision. And when he saw them shooting jauntily from the ground he swore that not a single volt of electricity would ever pass through their outstretched arms. Using one of his liaisons in the Mexican power company, he put just enough money into just the right hands to ensure that Lobo would never see the completion of his project.

Dead Burt's Mexican Vision

When Lobo discovered what had happened he was also quite angry. Though it is true that he erected those nineteen posts without speaking to Albert, it is also true that he had really not done anything wrong. Seeking to pursue a diplomatic solution, Lobo approached Albert and offered his side of the story. For his part though, Albert was intractable. He informed Lobo that as long as he inhabited his earthily body and perhaps even after, no electricity would flow from his poles to Lobo's house.

The Sad Tale of a Pole Without Power

At this point relations between the two men eroded rapidly. What had once been a coexistence based upon reluctant respect and a mutual love of outlandish fashion became a communion of seething hatred. The man of the daisy dukes and hiking boots and the German dandy of a million blouses found themselves bitter enemies.

Each man brought a specific set of skills to the conflict. Albert had deep pockets and powerful connections. Lobo relied on vast reservoirs of insanity and determination. The confluence of these tactics created a crushing stalemate. Albert continued with his development and Lobo remained without power.

Lobo did have another tool, however. A tool that most would believe to be a function of his insanity, but a tool nonetheless. He began to hurl bad mojo in Albert's direction. He opened a voodoo faucet and for a year and a half, whether Albert was in Canada or Mexico, let flow a torrent of acid and malignancy. To be sure, it was a slow moving process. But just as we know the glacier will continue to inch unflaggingly forward, Lobo felt in his bones the sweet satisfaction of impending success.

In the end Albert died of a heart attack. That he was eighty-five could have been a contributing factor. It's hard to say. But it really makes no difference to the Lobo. It sealed within his consciousness a sense of true power. He had through sheer force of will vanquished a formidable adversary. The crafty German brutality of his enemy was no match for bad mojo. Albert the German came to be known simply as Dead Burt. The jungle slowly began to reclaim what would have been a sprawling development. And Lobo danced a quick jig on his grave.

Dead Burt's Mexican Vision Overrun by Jungle and Graffiti

Make no mistake, the gravity of this story weighs heavily on the Badger's psyche. Though he is a skeptic, he is also a relatively young man. The potential that bad mojo might bring about his early demise is a risk he is understandably not willing to chance. A secret feud, at least in his eyes, remains the best option. Besides, I think we can all agree that Voodoo is creepy.

P.S. Lobo still doesn't have power.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Badger Battles.....Horse!

Many of you may remember the Badger's encounter with what surely was at one time a fierce and savage boa. In that instance he stylishly approached the snake and raised it into the air while an ally captured a quick photograph of the event. To be sure, this was a bold and direct course of action.

There are instances, however, that call for a measured and prudent approach. These scenarios require the Tejon to consider a wide variety of tactical options before committing to a specific path. Often in these cases he utilizes the expertise of those who can bring specific skills to the matter at hand. Though perhaps not as daring or exciting as facing the issue directly, it is here that the Badger exhibits the collected and calculating aspects of his character. For what could be more intimidating to the Lobo than an adversary capable not just of courageous acts but also the strategic recruitment of outside resources?

Trouble Ahoof

We thus join Tejon in the midst of just such a situation. A pair of equine trespassers have compromised his fence line and he is forced to remove them from the property. Faced with the unpredictability and size of the beasts, he recruits the assistance of the Lobo's man-servant, Dario (A potential intelligence asset--More on that in a later post). The video below, though grainy, depicts the two men approaching the horses. While the Tejon watches cautiously from behind, Dario brings his years of experience to the table and confidently tosses a coconut at the haunch of the closest animal. Though startled, the horse reacts just as expected and the visitors vacate the premises forthwith.

A quick note to the readers:
The Badger is in many ways a great and real lover of animals (Thank you, Black Nasty). He has been known to fraternize and frolic with dogs and cats alike. He can count amongst his past pets, rats and hamsters and even an especially cantankerous cockatiel. It is thus that he imparted upon me the importance of warning everyone that only qualified and experienced individuals throw coconuts at the rear ends of animals.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wolf Battles Fashion Forward Past

For many fashion is a confusing and confounding aspect of life. What was fashionable yesterday is rarely fashionable today. But what will be fashionable tomorrow can often indeed be what was fashionable in the past. Different people react to this dilemma in different ways. Some remain consistently relevant. They inhabit the forward cusp of what is hip and stylish. Others with less sartorial savvy plod along a few steps behind the vanguard. They cling to the status quo until what is hip and stylish has been thoroughly amalgamated into the mainstream. And then there are the mavericks, those hearty souls for whom what was worn yesterday will be worn today and again tomorrow. They exist outside of the existential struggle to remain viable and current. And perhaps more importantly they are quite comfortable with themselves.

The Lobo presents himself as just such a maverick. He is proud of his pared down wardrobe. He boasts of a closet that has remained strikingly constant for more than three decades. He wears trunks, or jeans, and a cotton polo shirt. What he neglects to mention, however, is that for at least a small period of his life he rode that forward cusp of fashion with tastemakers and trendsetters alike.

One can only speculate as to the reasons he might keep this era a secret. Perhaps it doesn't jive with the other maverick aspects of his lifestyle. Maybe he feels that the image of a fashion conscious individual might confuse those that look to him as a beacon of unwashed and rugged manliness. His reasons are his and his alone.

The fact remains, however, that this era existed. And while it is true most people who enact a wholesale change of character skate into their new lives without a reckoning of the past, it is also true that those same people have never faced the wrath of the Badger.

Once again the Tejon has ventured deep within enemy territory and using the latest in East German microfilm technology, amassed this collection of photos from Lobo's golden days of fashion. Join Tejon on a trip back to an era of sartorial innovation and invention. An era in which Lobo didn't just socialize with the fashion elite, he was the fashion elite.

Daisy Dukes and Hiking Boots? Check!

Still Life With Speedo

Not a Tan Line in Sight

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Badger Battles.....Snake?

Though it may be hard to believe, occasionally an instance arrives when the badger is forced to set aside his ongoing conflict with the Lobo. It isn't that he is bored of the battle or that he concedes defeat. No, it sometimes occurs that a more pressing matter is placed in front of him. Often the Tejon is forced to address grave and pressing matters concerning the safety of his surroundings. In these situations the daily struggle that typifies his life as Lobo's neighbor takes a back seat to the demands of the present. These occurrences will be documented as an ongoing series. The hope is to offer the reader a window into some of the outside expertise Tejon has developed in approaching his conflict with Lobo, and ultimately assuage any doubts as to who holds the cards in this whole imbroglio.

In this scenario we find Tejon face to face with a large boa. That the boa is already dead is of no import. Rather what is significant is the panache with which he handles the corpse and suavely poses for a photo. Approaching a snake is tricky business and the Tejon has discovered that the most efficient means of dealing with them is to avoid them altogether. However, in the event that a machete wielding Mexican has already smashed its head and left it dead in the road the rules of engagement change. Here it is advisable to advance upon the beast and lift it by the tail while a willing ally snaps a quick photo. This photographic evidence can later be used to impress upon the enemy (Lobo) the masculine virility of his adversary. Take a glance at the video to see the master at work.

Wolf Den: A Dispatch From the Front

Most everyone is well aware of the adage that advises the battle savvy to keep their friends close and their enemies closer. This is for all intents and purposes a foolish and trite sentiment. But what about when those same weary veterans are granted access to their enemies' most inner sanctums? Should they shy away from such privileged access? Should sanctimony trump strategic espionage? The Badger knows that the answer to that question is a resounding no!

Here, for your consideration, he puts forth a series of photographs from deep within enemy territory. And for those of you who might read some kind of homoeroticism into the title of this post, shame! It is obvious that the motif is Roman Bath, and nothing screams heteronormative like Roman Bath. Check your conclusions at the door.

A Striking Edifice

Don Quixote! Is that you, Sancho Panza?

Another Marble Clad Vista

Imagine what Caligula could have done with this place.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lobo: An Improvised Field Dossier

There are many of you to whom Lobo is but an abstraction. He is a construct that exists within the pages of this document and nowhere else. That is understandable. There are others amongst you who can with little effort readily conjure a vivid image of the man. You are those who have broken bread with the Wolf. Perhaps you have even drank deeply from his seemingly endless cup. Yet do you really know him? Are you any closer to the flesh and blood of the man than those who regard him merely as myth? The reality is no. Just as Homer never knew the warrior Achilles, no one can truly know the Lobo.

At the same time few argue that without Homer, we might never have heard the name Achilles. Without the poet their would have been no Aeneas, no Odysseus, and no Troy. Yet who amongst us can bring such elaborate detail to the rendering of a man we may or may not know? I certainly cannot. The Badger has no faculty for story telling. We must look elsewhere for the means to understand Lobo.

Fortunately there exists a parallel tale. The author is unknown and it concerns neither Lobo nor Tejon per se, but tells the story of a man eerily similar to the Wolf himself. I have excerpted a portion of it here. Remember that this is not the tale of Lobo and the author is no Homer, but rather the story brings to life the beginnings of a man from which we can all learn much. The hearty readers amongst you will be rewarded for their perseverance.

The public life of the man once known to those around him as Gary Bolin is predictable and well documented. A pillar of regional industry, he ran his construction company prudently and responsibly. He had a hand in much of the development of the northern Idaho area in which he had settled in his twenties and was well regarded around town for the quality of his work. Though he could on occasion succumb to the baser temptation of drink, these transgressions were largely expected and forgiven of the men in his town. He was, by all accounts, the type of man admired and respected in medium sized western communities, a man of conservative nature with just enough recklessness to disarm the natural human aversion to sanctimony. This was who Gary Bolin was.
But then he was gone. Transformed, as it were, into a retired expatriate, living in Mexico and going by the garish handle “Garobo.” The shift was announced in a widely circulated email penned by Garobo himself. Using sparse, cryptic language the communiqué alluded to the fact that Gary Bolin no longer existed. He had started a new life in Mexico under the moniker Garobo and did not plan on returning. It offered no insight as to motive or inspiration. The conclusion stated that communication was welcome but all future inquiries must be made to Garobo in Mexico, not Gary, not Garobo Bolin, just Garobo.
It is easy to imagine the response in Idaho. Speculation rang from every corner of town. The bars and taverns that Gary frequented were awash in rumor and innuendo. Men and women rumpled their foreheads and scowled over cocktails. Some of the more astute among them pointed out that Garobo means iguana in Spanish. None of this, however, brought them any closer to understanding the truth behind his departure.
His town, Coeur d’Alene, was small enough that most were certain he wasn’t fleeing prosecution. They knew he had no debt, were certain his business affairs were in order, and assumed he was of good health. But what then? What would drive someone away from a successful business, from ensured income, from respect and stability? Furthermore, why Mexico? Why a country saturated with poverty and violence? And perhaps most perplexing, why Garobo?
To be certain those who knew him well saw in his past the potential for just such a transformation. They pointed out he had in his early twenties sloughed off the comfort of his middle class upbringing in Chicago and lit out for the west. They noted how when he first arrived in Coeur d’Alene he hid his Jewish heritage and affected the aire of a rough and tumble western cowboy. Even as they acknowledged that these things were true though, there remained a disconnect between the Gary they knew and their vision of a quixotic Garobo gallivanting around Mexico. And for a few nights out of this logical rift poured frenzied speculation and fiercely imaginative tales of the Garobo’s exploits in wild Mexico. The normally banal happy hour banter regarding work and politics and television was replaced with passionate and creative storytelling. Wild theories abounded and many a beautiful and intricate tale was spun in the wake of his disappearance.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those tales. The reality is that all but a few residents of Coeur d’Alene forgot about the saga of Garobo shortly after he disappeared. The stories dried up. His employees found work elsewhere. His bartenders served the other regulars. And the stories they told were lost nearly the second they were uttered.

We, however, are not subject to such rumor and innuendo. There lies before us a flesh and blood Lobo. That he is not Garobo is secondary. He may as well be. For we will never understand why Lobo is the way he is any more than those in Coeur d'Alene will understand Garobo's departure. Yet while we may not know why he does the things he does, we know concretely what those things are. And besides, none of this really concerns the Tejon and thus it shouldn't concern you either.

Birth of the Badger

Over one year ago a man arrived in the jungles of Mexico. The sun and the ocean and the bounty of the fertile land that comprised his surroundings fostered deep within him a sense of the vast potential of his existence. He stood at the gate of destiny and beamed at the future.

But there was someone beaming back. Rather, there was a bowlegged little man swaggering towards him with a rakish grin. This man explained to him the difficulties of living in Mexico. He complained about his solar system and his batteries and his television and his struggle to bring electricity to his home. He railed against his lawyer and the price of marble and the propensity of Mexicans to defecate in front of his gate. He called himself Lobo and insisted that others do as well.

Most importantly, however, he killed the man who had once been so naively hopeful about the carefree future awaiting him. Yes, that man is dead, but do not despair. For out of his ashes a new man has risen. A man equally optimistic yet armed with the faculties to battle Lobo's corrosive negativity. He is a badger and his name is Tejon.

Like the best battles, this one is being waged without Lobo's knowledge. But make no mistake, a battle it is and this forum will serve to document the intricacies of that struggle. For those prone to anxiety or high blood pressure be advised that much of what will appear will be salacious and shocking. For those of you willing to take a risk I promise exciting and gripping tales of intrigue and deception. Join me if you dare.