Forum… Or Against ‘em

By County Friedrich von Olsen
Ah, how I miss the Yangtze Restaurant! It was in my estimation the finest Chinese restaurant in the region! But alas, it is gone! They say that someplace in Missouri there was a hamburger stand that sold hamburgers for which Elvis Presley had a particular affection. He would dispatch one of his people in his personal jet to pick up a bag of them and return to his Graceland Mansion in Memphis so he could enjoy a late night feast. I am slightly less decadent. Unlike Elvis, for my gustatory adventures, I prefer to sojourn personally, rather than sending someone to fetch my grub for me. Whenever I would get a hankering for some chop suey, I would have Anthony fire up the Bentley and we would sojourn down from my mountain redoubt here in Lake Arrowhead to the base of the San Bernardino Mountains and then westward and a little further south to Ontario, where we could dine at the Yangtze. The place was closed down in April, which has had an impact on my existence, as I now have little inducement to venture out into the wide world. Instead, I have become sedentary, a virtual recluse, a shut-in, a stay-at-home here at my palatial chalet…
Indeed, about the only reason I get out anymore is to gumshoe around to find something for this column. Just this week I was chasing around, going after something that hasn’t quite panned out yet, though perhaps next week or next month I will be able to illuminate a violation of the public trust you should all know about. Anyway, burning all that shoe leather left me hungry and, lo and behold, just ahead was a Panda Express. Visions of the Yangtze danced in my head. The gleaming, up-to-date decor brought me back to reality, though, and I reduced my expectations to something below the lines of one of the restaurants in San Francisco or Monterey. Even then, the names of the fare – Sweetfire Chicken and Cream Cheese Rangoon – told me that this wasn’t your grandfather’s Chinese restaurant. To be completely fair, the item I settled on – Beijing Beef – wasn’t bad. It acquitted itself, but I would not have confused it with any of my favorites from the Yangtze, to be sure. But here is the rub: for eating utensils I was provided not with chop sticks, but a plastic fork! This is an abomination! I know I am an old man, long past my prime of usefulness at what is of interest or import to the younger generation. Still, I fear that posterity is in danger of losing touch with the finer elements of the world as I know it, the very stuff of life that makes it so interesting. For me, using a set of chop sticks transports me, if only momentarily, to Hong Kong, to Shanghai, to Chongqing, to Taipei, to the faraway places of my younger self. How now, a plastic fork…
Two vultures boarded a plane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess stopped them, saying, “I am sorry but you are permitted only one carrion per passenger…”
A turtle was walking down an alley in a big city when he was mugged by a gang of snails. A police detective came to investigate. He told the turtle to compose himself and tell him exactly what happened. The turtle gave the detective a forlorn look and then with consternation replied, “I can’t really say. You see, it all happened so fast…”

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