Sunday, May 02, 2010

LOU REED AND THAD’S SWEET JANE & LONESOME COWBOY PETE

When I eat scrambled eggs in the morning, I usually put some fresh ground black pepper on them. Sometimes, if I am feeling a little plucky, I put kosher salt on them, too – or if I feel like I want to get away from it all, sometimes even a spot or two of Texas Pete Hot Sauce.

I wonder if a man named Pete invented Texas Pete. From what I know of Texas, he probably did. There is a gruff, straightfoward honesty to the working man of Texas, particularly in days gone by. A workingman’s ethic that is rare to come by these days, and yet, every bit as welcome then as it is today.

You can taste the honesty in Texas Pete. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. Or in this case, the red and yellow bottle with the little red cowboy on it. Sweet, and extremely delicious.

Now you might wonder what all of this has to do with Lou Reed. Nothing, really.

SO IT’S A LIE

Texas Pete? Try Texas Thad instead. Better yet: Winston Salem, North Carolina Thad Garner, he of the Dixie Pig Barbeque Stand. There’s so little about it that is Texan, that I want to go back to bed leave my scrambled eggs on the dining room table but I won’t because they harden and are blasted difficult to clean if you wait too long.

Interesting fact: in the Renaissance, painters used egg in ‘tempera’ painting for this very reason: its stick-to-it-iveness. If it weren’t for eggs, we would be missing some of the finest paintings of naked religious people and babies and animals and whatnot in the world right now.

Still, that’s little comfort when I want to go to bed and cry. And leave my scrambled eggs on the dining room table.

MORE THAN A LIE, IT IS A TRAVESTY

Texas Pete Hot Sauce, and I use the word ‘hot’ guardedly and also ironically even though I hate irony but Texas Pete leaves me no choice: yes, Texas Pete Hot Sauce measures 747 on the Scoville Heat Index.

That’s not much heat.

I mean, just breathing in Winston Salem, North Carolina registers about 850 on the Scoville. THE STORY OF O, which is a stupid porno movie, registers at least 900. Even I AM CURIOUS YELLOW, with all its political mumbo jumbo, clocks in at about 1000.

I like looking at Bhut Jolokia peppers. They look like huge red spermatozoa. They make me laugh. They are so hard to eat, they are so hot. 850,000 worth.

But if you want to pull out all the stops, forget about Bhut (850,000) and Habañero (350,000) and all of that–go for law enforcement grade pepper spray: 15,000,000!

Yes. 15 Mil.

It was nice to not think about Texas Pete for a minute.

If I ever have a cocker spaniel, I am going to name him Bhut Habañero Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand.

I am not going to name him Texas Pete.

Too many bad memories.

Same with Mexico Joe.

Bad ones. Seriously bad.

I will explain this later.


ALL ABOUT MEXICO JOE

So one day, and this was during the depression, somebody who is dead now said to Thad:

“Why not name it Mexico Joe? After all, using ‘Mexico’ will suggest the spicy flavors of poblano and habañero peppers, so often associated with Mexican cuisine” explained the now corpse.

“Nothing doin’” said, Sam, Thad’s Dad, who is as dead as you can get when he heard about it, who said this when he was still alive and kicking. “It’s got to be American, because that’s what we’re doin’here–American, Americano!”

Thad, who, sadly, died afterwards, agreed with his father.

For American it was, and American it should always be–American Hot Sauce, until it is clutched to Abraham’s bosom, after having purchased the farm, as we all do, some dreadful day, hopefully far away at that.

And so they named it “Texas Pete” after their brother Harold, the one guy who nobody in the Texas Pete family talks about much, and who lived for a while, quietly, almost invisibly, and then did the usual, and brought home his last dinner pail.

Back then, they all lived in North Carolina in a little shack dealy.

••

COWBOY SILHOUETTE

I always understood that a silhouette has no features. Well, they say the reddish Texas Pete Cowboy silhouette has this smile, it’s not that grotesque, Francis Baconish smile, but still, it’s a smile that doesn’t make any sense, and a little bit hidden beneath his ten gallon, and he is lassoing a big red pepper, or maybe he is just lassoing himself. So I don’t understand why the silhouette has a smile, and I don’t understand how a pepper gets up in the air, and I don’t understand why you just wouldn’t grab it with your hand if it was in the air, or why you would lasso yourself if you were about to be beaned by a giant pepper, and I don’t understand why you would go to all the trouble of taking out a lasso in the first place and doing some cockamamie cowboy maneuver knowing that everyone is going to look at you like you are a crazy cross-dressing silhouette red cowboy guy with huge and scary red peppers floating in the air above him in the middle of the street doing weird things that other people would never dream of doing in Winston Salem, North Carolina, in 1929 especially.

••

WILSON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA, 1929

Lou Reed is standing on the corner. He his holding a suitcase in his hand. He sees Jackson in the distance – he is wearing some sort of woman’s garment, a frilly little thing, very pretty, very chic. Jane, also in the distance, but somewhat closer, is wearing some sort of man’s garment, one which covers her ample bosom very snuggly. That bosom! How ample!

They seemed to be quite happy, Jackson and Jane. And Lou was too. Lonely, perhaps, but happy to play in a really neat rock n roll combo. Honey.

Or at least he thinks he remembers it that way. After all, it was almost forty years ago.

1 comment:

Bhut Alex said...

Great post, chilli & Lou Reed!!!

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