Monday, August 15, 2005

More Buffoonery

America, the Beautiful
Originally uploaded by Rozanne.
Hasn’t my blog improved, like, 300% ever since I got my binky-little digital camera? I think so. That’s because I can now subscribe to the fashion-photographer technique of photography in which you snap photos just as fast as the shutter will allow. And when you do that, you sometimes get unintentional brilliance, as in the photo to the right (click to enlarge and get the full-on effect). I call this photo “America the Beautiful.”

Some background. Saturday B and some friends and I went to the world’s biggest Elephant Garlic Festival in the tiny town of North Plains, Oregon (about 20 miles west of Portland), where the elephant garlic crop is, apparently, a major contributor to the local economy. The photo above was taken during a somewhat poorly attended parade. Other than a couple of old school, frighten-the-children-type clowns—the kind who ride in golf carts as opposed to Portland’s own tall-bike-riding Alberta Clown House clowns*—there were a few homemade floats including this rather alarming float and even more alarming sign—it doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

Back to the backsides. What are those folks flanking the clown doing? They're picking up some of the excess candy that the clowns and float people and garlic kings and queens were pelting the sparse crowd with. It was like dodgeball, but with candy—including these, which, as we all know, are the worst candy ever invented and, therefore, lethal. I nearly got beaned by these things (as well as root beer barrels and starlite mints) several times.

The parade was something of a letdown (not a single marching band!), but the real reason we went to the festival was for the food (of course). In case you’re not familiar with elephant garlic, here’s what it looks like. B’s fist provides scale.

Elephant Garlic

Almost immediately upon entering the food area, a strolling garlic eater with a handlebar mustache sliced off a poker-chip sized hunk of raw garlic for each of us and insisted that we try it. He did not move on until he had witnessed that we had all ingested some. Now I am not the kind of person who normally eats garlic raw, but I have to say that it did seem to live up to its reputation of being bigger, milder, and sweeter than “regular” garlic. Still, I was relieved that cooked garlic was also available. In addition to predictable and pedestrian offerings such as cheeseburgers (with garlic), pizza (with garlic), and Thai noodly thing (with garlic), there was also garlic ice cream and garlic wheat beer. I tried the garlic wheat beer and it was pretty good, but that may have been because it really didn’t taste like garlic at all. Sadly, they ran out of garlic ice cream before we got around to it.

Despite the modest scale of the world’s biggest elephant garlic festival, I must say I had a good time. The entertainment was cornball (and probably cornpone, too)—dunk tanks and a steel-drum band consisting of five white people pretending (embarrassingly) to be black, but the food was yummy and the utterly unpretentious, small-town atmosphere was great, even though we saw a toddler that looked eerily like George W. Bush (complete with a shorty [and just as bulgy] version of that infamous green flight suit). Extremely unsettling.

I’ll leave you with this.

Old School Clown

Am I a clown magnet or what? As soon as this buffoon saw that I had a camera, he slithered up to me and got right up in my face, forcing me to take a picture of him with my “PhD camera.” (?)

*Speaking of the Alberta Clown House—Dingo Dizmal of the Alberta Clown House e-mailed me to let me know that he has been inspired (by me?) to start a blog, Da Dingo Dizmal Digest.


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