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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"The nipples of mother hope have run dry."

The title of this entry is taken from the 1996 cinematic release, Kids in the Hall BRAIN CANDY, perhaps one of the most disturbingly funny films I've ever seen. It immediately came to me during tonight's mindless web surf as I ran across a site for Moo & Oink, a popular meat market on Chicago's south side.

When I moved to Chicago in 2001, I embarked on an adventure of exploration in one of the greatest cities in the world. I set about learning the lay of the land, including some of the more recognizable landmarks; Grant Park, Sears Tower, Comiskey Park, The DuSable Museum, Gatlins Funeral Home down on S. Halsted... and for fat girl snacks, Kenny's Chicken and Ribs in Hyde Park and Queen of the Sea down on S. Stoney, which is not too far from Moo & Oink.

I first saw the sign as Crofton and I were riding down S. Stoney Island Avenue, on the way to cocktails... I mean communion. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. He didn't have to explain. The specials listed in the windows told the story. I could tell by the packed parking lot that they were busy and by the neighborhood, I could identify the clientele. It was very apparent to me that folks were in there doing a little more oinking than mooing, just because I know Black folks to be pork connoiseurs, with a long list of health issues to prove it. I later learned that Chicago is a meat packing town and folks really don't care if it moos, oinks or squeals. In fact, beef hot links are just as popular, if not more so, than the pork.

Not too long ago when Just Friends came to the east coast to minister, Mother LaVarnga Hubbard, matriarch of the group, was on the phone with someone back in Chicago telling them about something that was on sale at Moo and Oink. Again, I chuckled remembering my first reaction to learning of the establishment. I'm not quite sure what brought Moo & Oink to mind. Perhaps I was fiending for a FGS. In any event, I was bored, which led to my typing them into my search engine. Oh yeah... I was trying to remember on what street a specific Jewel/Osco was located. It just happened to be the one up the street from Moo & Oink. Whew! How surprised was I to be directed to a web site for the company.

It was actually great learning where the name came from. It was the brain child of current president, Barry Levy.

I was about 25 at the time. The founder of Calumet Meat Company, then in his 70’s, asked, “Moo & Ink, what is that suppose to mean?”

“Moo & Oink…you know…mmooooo, oink, oink, like the sounds the cows and pigs make. It’s name recognition; no one could you ever forget a name like Moo & Oink.”

I could see everyone at the meeting saying Moo & Oink over and over again quietly to themselves.

After 3 or 4 minutes of silence, Joe Lezak, my great uncle, who 40 years earlier, had named the company Calumet Meat after the street location at 31st and Calumet, asked, “you really want to change the name of the company to Moo & Ink?”

A smile, a frown, a smile, a sigh,

“okay! If that’s your name, Moo & Ink it is.” Over 6 generations in the meat business and now we are moo and oink. With a name like that, you’ve got a lot to prove.


It was amusing, but I was very disturbed with the discovery that one can buy chitterlings (chitluns) on line. For the uninformed, chitluns are hog intestines. They have become an African American delicacy over the years. Back on the plantation... not that very long ago... when it was hog killin' time, the white folk would get the chops, shanks and loins while the colored folk were left with the less desirable parts, but they made the best of it. They took the head and turned it into souse meat (hog head cheese). They took the skin and turned it into cracklin'. The feet were prepared to be consumed alongside potato salad. And then there were the chitluns, that had to go through a very rigorous cleaning process. One of my great aunts always said, "If you buy 10 pounds of chitluns, 5 are shit." Some folks even refer to them as shitlins. You can usually tell if chitlins have been prepared in someone's house as there will be odor reminicent of foot and ass. If someone tells you they made chitlins and you can't smell it in the house. That's a good indicator that they cleaned the hell out of them and probably all of the flavor as well.

Growing up with country, bama assed Black folk, I have tasted my share of chitluns, but I have always been of the believe that it was something the culture would outgrow. Especially since we now have access to the better cuts of meat. But I now understand that it's all about conscious choice. We eat them now because we want to... not because we have to and having them available on line lets me know that they are here to stay. I'm not sure if I should be happy or sad, but I'm bout to go check my blood pressure.


Posted by Rodney :: 10:48 PM :: 1 Comments:

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Bill Maher is my hero!

Well... not really, but I do love him for letting me know that it was ok to be politically incorrect. I'm so free with my incorrectness that I have been reprimanded twice by the diversity officer at work. The first time was in response to a comment I made about a Jewish person's ability to bargain. It was not meant to be derogatory, but I realize that I was paying a compliment to the entire culture and not the few that actually possess bargaining skills. It was akin to saying that all Black folks are natural atheletes... Okay, bad example. It was like saying that all Black people have rhythm... Oh hell! Forget it.
So I agree that making blanket statements about entire cultures may be wrong, but stereotypes are real. I admit that they are an assault on a person's individualism, but let's face it. There are people who are completely comfortable following the crowd. They adopt the viewpoint of the majority and are quite happy. They express no thoughts that go against the grain and blend into the landscape perfectly. But there are also those who only appear to be that way. Those are the scary people, but I still like them. I like the radicals and revolutionaries who aren't afraid to blend in and f*#k up the establishment from the inside. That's one of the reasons I considered becoming a republican. That, and to piss off all the diehard liberals. I like pissing off people, even people I like. I especially like to see my friends get all righteously indignant when their beliefs are threatened. I just love a good healthy debate. I don't even mind being wrong or expressing the unpopular opinion. So let's consider that my disclaimer as I post this email that I get at least twice a year and get a chuckle each time.

10 TRUTHS BLACK AND HISPANIC PEOPLE KNOW, BUT WHITE PEOPLE WON'T ADMIT:

1. Elvis is dead.
2. Jesus was not White.
3. Rap music is here to stay.
4. Kissing your pet is not cute or clean.
5. Skinny does not equal sexy.
6. Thomas Jefferson had black children.
7. A 5 year child is too big for a stroller.
8. N' SYNC will never hold a candle to the Jackson 5.
9. An occasional BUTT whooping helps a child stay in line.
10. Having your children curse you out in public is not normal.

10 TRUTHS WHITE AND BLACK PEOPLE KNOW, BUT HISPANIC PEOPLE WON'T ADMIT

1. Hickey's are not attractive.
2. Chicken is food, not a roommate.
3. Jesus is not a name for your son.
4. Your country's flag is not a car decoration.
5. Maria is a name but not for every other daughter.
6. "Jump out and run" is not in any insurance policies.
7. 10 people to a car is considered too many.
8. Buttoning just the top button of your shirt is a bad fashion statement.
9. Mami and Papi can't possibly be the nickname of every person in your family
10.Letting your children run wildly through the store is not normal.

10 TRUTHS WHITE AND HISPANIC PEOPLE KNOW, BUT BLACK PEOPLE WON'T ADMIT:

1. O. J. did it.
2. Tupac is dead.
3. Teeth should not be decorated.
4. Weddings should start on time.
5. Your pastor doesn't know everything.
6. Jesse Jackson will never be President.
7. RED is not a kool-aid flavor, it's a color.
8. Church does not require expensive clothes.
9. Crown Royal bags are meant to be thrown away.
10.Your rims and sound system should not be worth more than your car.


Posted by Rodney :: 5:47 AM :: 5 Comments:

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