Yak Herder Central

Yak Herder and his trusty(?) altered ego, The Swami, are content to provide little content of their own, but delight in providing "helpful" commentary to the blogs of others ....ALL THE NEWS THAT'S FAIRLY UNBALANCED

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Traditional Halloween

Well, another year another successful haul. As for the past several years The Swami went trick or treating leading two of his faithful yaks. Each yak had a large sack hanging from each of its horns. People always seem to give us extra portions of candy. I don't know whether it is because they think we have such convincing costumes or because they are just anxious for us to leave. They won't know what to think when they find the hoof prints in their flower beds.

Swamette stayed home and passed out treats. Swamette and I did have a few tense moments yesterday when we had a little spat over what to give the trick or treaters. I knew that Swamette had already purchased candy for the tykes. But I was concerned about their little teeth and was willing to sacrifice by eating the candy myself so it would not be wasted. But Swamette was in a very unreasonable mood and refused to see the wisdom of giving the children baggies of nice fresh spinach. [That would have had the added benefit of reducing the number of urchins, er...children returning next year].

We got home just in time to play a couple of Halloween games with some international visitors from Kentucky. One of their family favorites, Bobbing for Possum.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Yak Litter-ature

Swamette & I celebrated mini-Swamette, Isabelle's, birthday Sunday. The party, company and food were very enjoyable, but as usual Isabelle and Lorelei's sweetness was so great that it caused cavities.

We had to rush back home afterwards, stopping on the way at Yaks R Us to pick up a couple of pallets of yak litter. It was Swamette's turn to change the litter today. The litter has to be changed three times a week, and it is Swamettte's turn on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Swami decided to add to the country music yak-herding genre by writing a few verses about an incident that happened a few weeks ago as Swamette and I were bringing in the herd. We will leave it to others to set this to music. [All country music, of course, is based on actual experiences]:

We were driving the yaks down the valley you see
Just Swamette, nine yaks and me

We were really a movin when we heard a roar
The rumble was as fright'nin as Swamette's snore

A yak had jack-knifed, roundin the bend
For that poor yak, it was the end

(repeat and fade out into a yak-milk induced stupor)
For that poor yak it was the end....

Although this is no doubt heart-wrenching and has probably left you in tears, just remember we now have at least a six-month supply of yak jerky.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Night Out In Yakistan

Swami was in New York on Monday and Tuesday, and could not post, or leave inane comments. I was able to brush up, pretty much, on my language skills. I'm sure most of you know that in New York taxi drivers are not allowed to speak English. Well, at least not any version of English that anyone brought up in an English-speaking country has ever heard.

In fact, Swami felt very confident after returning that he could take the lovely Swamette to dinner to celebrate his return --- and order in the local dialect. We,...er,... I chose a quaint little Yakistani bistro just down the valley from where we winter the yak herd. They have a very good selection of vintage fermented yak milk and we wanted to dine on their Thursday special: Three-Cheese Weasel.

I felt confident enough after my taxi-tested Yakistani language refresher that I complimented the owner on the appetizer he prepared: a yak fat smoothie. Unfortunately, Swami forgot the distrimulative case that is used with the dialect spoken in this 17 hectare area of Yakistan.

Instead of saying, "The yak fat is exquisite,"
my comment translated as:
"This tastes exactly like week-old bloated hyena, and your wife looks like she was traded for a herd of rabid camels in an unregulated bazaar."

After a somewhat hasty departure, Swamette fixed us a traditional home cooked meal of stuffed camel. If you would like the recipe, which Swamette whips up frequently, it is here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Blazing Yak Saddles

The Swami was considering putting in his "two-cents worth" on Julie's blog earlier today when he learned of an unexpected connection between Mongolia and The movie Blazing Saddles. In the movie which is a favorite of mine, one of the characters is Mongo, played by Alex Karras. When checking to see the exchange rate for "two-cents" into the Mongolian currency, I found the following in Wikipedia:

The tugrug ("төгрөг" in Mongolian) (MNT, Tugrik, ₮) is the official currency of Mongolia. It was historically subdivided into 100 mongo. Any country with a currency called the mongo gets bonus points. (even if the currency is no longer used for anything except souvenirs).

The Swami does not usually give "hot tips," but when there is an opportunity to get in on an emerging fad right at the outset, there seems to be an obligation to let people know so they can get in on the ground floor. Based upon recent news stories Swami is looking for partners to open an exclusive shop on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. The new shop, Bi-pedal Pets, would sell Afican infants to Hollywood stars. They would come with complete instructions for the nannies, who would actually be taking care of the child, er.... bi-ped.

It should be comforting to my readers to know that I am seeking treatment for a severe case of cynicism.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Nut Cases & Nuthatches

After considerable thought, it is obvious to The Swami that there are not enough sources of 24/7 news available. This is the result of long and logical thinking while imbibing fermented yak milk. Specifically, there are not enough unbalanced sources of information, so where better to get your unbalanced news than Yak Herder Central?

Why go to one of the networks or The Drudge Report and be overloaded with stories when you can concentrate on just a couple of tidbits or even occasionally, like today, a groundbreaking scoop.

Drawing on our nutwork, uh, network of confidential sources we have discovered the explosive revelation that Reprentative Mark Foley had a long-running cybersexual relationship with North Korean Madman [that is his complete, official, title] Kim Jong Il. It was apparently in the middle of one of those interactions that Kim fell off of his chair and accidentally hit his nuclear button.

Staying with news from North Korea, bird lovers will be interested to know that there have been sightings of several pairs of nesting Eurasian nuthatches living in Kim Jong Il's hair.

According to a search of our records, as well as a strip-search of Swamette, this is the first recorded instance of a nuthatch nesting on a nutcase.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

World Peace & The Plain Dealer

Don't worry the logic of the title escapes me too.

In view of the constant stream of disconcerting news from North Korea, Iran and West Virginia, it seemed like the appropriate time for Yak Herder Central to do its small part to make the world a safer place. We are in the process of contacting Secretary of State Condo-lease Rice. No, not to lease a condo, but to advise her that we are voluntarily agreeing to sign a yak non-proliferation treaty.

We have done this because our research has led us to to the conclusion that, even as recently as last night, some of our readers were having sleepless nights worrying about countries such as North Korea getting ahold of yak delivery systems. You can now sleep soundly knowing that The Swami has done his part to make the world a wack...., er, safer place.

We will soon be investigating how to protect your communication devices from a self-confessed serial phone murderer. [Please do not confuse this with the "cereal phone murderer" who is believed to be either Snap, Krackle, or Pop].

And now for a public service announcement/link: Julie Zickefoose's book reviewed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Support Your Local Mom & Pop Yak Milk Shop


In looking at some of the responses to my Tuesday post about Country music, I have become very alarmed. Based upon the comments of several readers that they are doing Google searches for "songs about yaks," I believe that these readers must have gotten a bad vat of yak milk. That can cause bizarre behavior [OK, let's not make any gratuitous comments about The Swami]

Be sure that you are obtaining your yak milk directly from your own yak or from a reputable local market or a national yak milk specialty shop. Be wary of the big-box yak milk retailers as there are concerns that their yak milk may be coming from sweatshops in the Himalayas [attention readers: It would be the milkers, not the yaks, that are sweating. A loyal reader pointed out that yaks apparently do not have sweat glands].

Such information is the reason that soon you will probably be able to qualify for a college degree just by reading this blog. We are planning on waiving a portion of the normal tuition for such degrees.. We want anyone with the ability to take out a six-figure home equity loan to be able to get a degree in yak herding.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We Need More Country Music About Yaks

The Swami got to thinkin' today. Ok, two points of note: Yes, The Swami often refers to himself in the third person. Well, get over it! If it's good enough for Bob Dole it is good enough for "The Swami." Besides, in a few years The Swami may need to be getting some medical advice from Bob Dole.
Secondly, yes, occasionally thinking does take place.

The Swami was wonderin' why thar t'aint more country songs 'bout yaks. It's a real wonderment.
Swami seems to remember just a few lines of a country song by Swami Bubba that I heard on the wood-burning Victrola as a child:

"The yaks they were a feedin, an' things were goin' fine
'til my turban got twisted 'round the windmills of my mind"

We all loved that song, but we had to play it very softly, lest the yaks stampede. Well, I'm sure that this has brought back a lot of memories for all of you too.

Just be sure to keep singing those words over and over and over, so that you too can pass them down for many generations to come.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Taking Umbrage to New Heights

More proof that animals are much smarter than we normally assume. I saw a headline today, "Buffalo still fixing powerlines after snow blast." Well, as any true yak herder knows, a yak is far more intelligent than a buffalo. Just ask one. A yak herder, not a buffalo, you ninny! Yaks, as most people realize, are probably the smartest house pets you can have. The Swami would take umbrage with anyone saying otherwise ---- except that my yaks have cleared the nearby meadows of the last umbrage to be found, save for the umbrage provided by my turban.

So with winter almost upon us, it is time to teach your yak how to restore power in the event of an outage.

We would highly recommend that you not spend a lot of time teaching your yak how to read wiring diagrams until after you have finished teaching him how to climb an electric utility pole. Also, The Swami would appreciate it if you would contact him immediately after your yak has mastered pole climbing so that I can watch for the two of you on the Letterman Show.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mange on the Range

We had an urgent request to provide our faithful followers with information about "the heartbreak of mange." The Swami and various members of his family have, at various times, felt mangy. However, if your yaks appear to have mange you need to act quickly. Actually, you probably need to act quickly just if you have "yaks appear."

While mange might be caused by mites, mites might not mean mange. Sarcoptic mange if not treated properly could lead to you having to make a sarcophagus. Trust The Management & Staff at Yak Herder Central, you do not want to have to build a sarcophagus for a yak.

At the first sign your yak has mange, you need to take drastic action. Harsh as it may seem, you will need to temporarily move your yaks outside. Burn all of the bedding that the yaks may have slept on.*

As soon as you yaks are back to their healthy, lovable selves, you can bring them back inside and resume your normal training routines.

*Based upon the experience of a number of yak herders, we would also suggest that you might want to take the bedding outside BEFORE burning it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

And the Money Just Kept On Rolling In

Lacking a guitar, a sense of rhythm and the ability to carry a tune, The Swami has forsaken the three-stringed Mongolian Shadaz for the XM-Ra-dio which I have almost mastered. Until gaining sufficient proficiency to go on tour, however, The Swami is looking at a number of ways to pay the expenses for keeping his yaks properly groomed.

If you would like to sign up for any of these opportunities, or would just like to send Swami a very large check, please let me know. These are some of my current ideas.

Door-to-Door Yak Sales & Service
Turban Rewind Shops
Drive-thru Yak Grooming & Detailing
Yak Rent-to-Own (Swami must editorialize here: rent-to-own shops are an unconscionable blight on society, preying on those least able to afford them. However, it is The Swami's firm belief that anyone wanting to rent a yak must have more money than they know what to do with)

Since Swami's parents are both deceased, Swami is an orphan and therefor may consider being adopted. Please forward your financial statements and a good-faith deposit of $6,835,947.18 so you may be considered as adoptive parents. [The receipt and clearing of your check will probably be sufficient indication that you are wacky enough to qualify].

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Semantical Nightmare on a Bad Day

I was going to title this ''A More Unfortunate Misunderstanding," but if the previous post was "...Most Unfortunate..." how can you have more than most? Mostest?

My head hurts. And no, my turban is not too tight.

Why was this a bad day you ask? Of course, you did. Well, it is the fault of Janet's Wednesday Oct 11, post on Julie Zickefoose's blog. Janet not only told Julie to avoid The Swami's yak milk tummy cure, but she questioned whether the Swami had ever had yak milk.

Well, because of the temerity of that question Swami not only ended up battered and bruised but I spent nearly two hours at the constable's office explaining why I was inside a compound at the zoo trying to milk a yak. It was a most embarrassing experience.

Finally, a few words of advice. Never try to single-handedly hook up a yak to a wood-burning milking machine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Most Unfortunate Misunderstanding

It has been brought to my attention that there has been a serious misunderstanding concerning Yak Herder Central.

My deepest apoplexy, er...apology to the numerous visitors who have apparently been spending a great deal of time at Yak Herder Central under the mistaken assumption that the time spend reading and studying this blog would qualify them for continuing education credits in yak herding.

While there is NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER that reading this blog is far more enlightening than some actual continuing education courses, we regret that we have not ---- as yet --- filed the necessary paperwork to qualify for continuing education credits. But, hey, who knows. We are considering self-accreditation.

P.S. Also, we would like to say how sorry we are to the three people we pressed charges against after we learned that you were attempting to matriculate on our website. We did not have our glasses on at the time and we misread some of the words. We are sure that given enough time you too will see the humor in the situation.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Harsh Truth About Boston Terriers

Okay. I've listened to many blithering bloggers bragging about Bostons. And while The Swami can blither with the best of them, we need a dose of reality.

I'm sure that it is fun to watch your terrier running in circles, but don't you often ask yourselves, "Is this really a trait that will enable my dog to herd yaks?" Of course, you look for other "endearing" traits to justify you feeling for pooch. You think of the warm slobbery licks to you face from your little Boston terrier. Well, if you like those licks you'll love getting licked by your very own herd of yaks. University studies have measured yak drool at up to 65 gpm.

Most of you who have read this far are probably already wondering how much of a trade-in would a reputable yak dealer give for my Boston terrier. Well, on the wild chance that there could still be someone that is not ready to trade in their Boston terrier for a Mongolian yak, just how much fermented yak milk does your little terrier give you?! Case closed.

Let's face it, folks. Your Boston terrier, no matter how much love you give it, will NEVER be a yak!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Beauty on the Eve of Apprehension

It was a beautiful autumn day in southwestern Ohio. The clear sky, the mild breeze, just the kind of weather to bring the yaks down into the valleys for their winter pasture, if only we were in Mongolia. Fortunately, were able to take The Girls to an amusement park instead of yakking.

Tomorrow Swamette's mother is making spaghetti sauce and meatballs for dinner for 14 at our house. This requires a bit of background. Swamette's father's family was 100% German, her mother's family was 100% Italian. Anyone who knows Swamette understands that her heritage has resulted in her being 95% Italian. I am probably belaboring the obvious. Since Swamette ends in a vowel, of course, she must be Italian.

Oh yes, the apprehension.

The spaghetti and meatballs are fabulous. People come from miles around. Hey, you think all 14 of these people live in the same yak herders yurt! Over the years Swami has endeavored to eat spaghetti properly, spinning it on his fork. He has gotten pr-e-t-t-ty good at it. Until last spring. Suddenly, as The Swami's fork was reaching about 3500 rpm, the end of Swami's turban caught in the fork. Swami's neck was wrenched as he was thrown over the table and into the next room. By a stroke of good fortune the surgeon's were able to form the cast to resemble a turban.

Not to fear, The Swami is all better now. No, really, I am --- but they do want the meds to continue.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Swami Answers His Mail

A loyal fan of The Swami [Mary in NC] asked how he deleted a comment on someone else's [Julie's] blog.

Obviously, even some of The Swami's fans are not aware of the unimaginable powers of The Swami (nor that Blogger allows one to delete one's own comments as long as you are logged into your Blogger account; not that Swami would need to do it that way).

Swami highly recommends getting a blog of your own. As The Swamette can attest, it has been a long time since The Swami has found a more effective way to wast....ah,..er, while away the hours.

The Swami had second thoughts about another fowl comment he had put on Julie's blog. Certainly, it was not that The Swami chickened out .....Oh STOP, bad Swami, bad Swami!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Second thoughts during dinner

After listening to Julie Zickefoose's NPR commentary and, especially after a couple of the comments on her Oct 3 Big Sit, NPR post, I had to stop on the way home for a bucket of chicken. Mmm, Mmmm, Good.

Tomorrow, me may eat cow.

Swamette, was happy that I stopped to get us a tasty meal on the way home. Unfortunately, as I sat at our table eating I started thinking about some of the things I had read when I went to some of the sites referred to on Julie's blog. Suddenly the food I was eating did not taste quite as good. I looked at it and tried to picture it before it was "processed" for us to eat.

Then, I almost screamed at the maniacs who had so unnecessarily murdered the green beans and potatoes I had been eating. Wheeew, then I took a deep breath and finished off my dinner.

I feel much better now.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Dark Side of Birding

I am shocked, shocked I say. [well, that's better
than..."dark and stormy night."] As I mentioned
in a previous post, I was beginning to read Julie's
Letters from Eden. Little did I realize that I was
about to see the dark side of birding.

Within the first seven pages I read that on Julie's
daily walks she just happened to find dead bodies....

Birding --- and dead bodies? The Swami believes
that he may swoon. The Swami's wife [known
affectionately as The Swamette] was preparing to
fan him with a catalog when up on the rooftop what
should appear... oops, wrong thing appeared. Whatever
appeared, The Swamette said, "LOOK, LOOK."

"WHAT, WHAT," I replied. [there's an echo in
the Swami's cave] . The Swamette had spotted Julie
Zickefoose's name on two items in the Summer
2006 National Wildlife catalog. (see photo below)

So, is Julie trying to conceal these items from her fans.
Me thinks (occasionally) that perhaps she only wanted
her immediate family to be snappily dressed.

The Swami takes solace only in that the sweaters
were not embroidered with half a possum.

And as Pervez Musharraf might say: If you
don't get the previous sentence, buy Julie's book!