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, November 28, 2006

Roxy the Wonder Dog

Roxy was groomed today. They did a pretty good job. And it is a lot less expensive than when we get Zak the Yak groomed. And you think it is bad when a wet dog shakes out its coat. Try standing there when a yak comes out of the tub!

I'm often asked: "Swami, what kind of dog do you recommend that we get to herd our yaks."

"Well," I answer, sheepishly, "a Shetland Sheep Dog or Sheltie."

It is the perfect dog for all occasions. Swami and Swamette have had three Shelties. Some people complain that they shed too much of their long hair. Look at the bright side, once you have your yaks housebroken and your yaks begin shedding on your couch, you will already be used to it.

Roxy is a great dog, she gets along with Quagmire the cat and Zak the Yak. Roxy does get a bit jealous when Zak sleeps on the foot of our bed.

The seminar today was actually pretty useful, but I refrained from offering the presenters any hay.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yak Training By Yak Trainer

The Swami will probably not be blogging for a couple days since he has to attend two day-long seminars. I'm not sure, but I'm hoping it has to do with advanced yak-herding techniques.

The reason that I am fairly opimistic that the seminar is about yak herding is that the photo below is one of the instructors. Obviously this is one of those dressy sessions where you have to wear a tie.

I do not know if I can get bonus points with our instructor by taking my birthday yak hand-puppet with me. I sure hope so, I need all the help I can get. About two years ago we invited the instructor's cousin Boris over for Christmas dinner. He was one of the best dinners we ever had, but I think the rest of the family may still miss him.

Perhaps it would be better if I just happened to have a bale of hay in my attache case and I could share that with him.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Birthday Highs & Lows

The Swami had a very enjoyable birthday dinner with his family today. The Little Swamettes, Isabelle and Lorelei, were there along with all of the other tykes and tykettes (can your children still be tykes at 36?). What am I asking? Of course, they can!

Kevin and Rachel's card showed a Far Side prehistoric band that they thought had probably played at Swami's prom. Actually, I believe that band had gone into retirement before then. Geoff and Susan's card had a loon on the front, I think they were trying to make some link to the Swami, but I don't know what that could possibly be.

Most of Swami's other birthdays have been very enjoyable as well. There was one birthday, however, that was most distressful.

Swamette and I were traveling in Europe and wanted to be sure that before we returned home that we saw the world-famous yak museum that some friends had told us about. Plus, Zak wanted us to bring back photos from it so he could learn more about his heritage. We were somewhat surprised by the fact that such a museum would be in London instead of, say, in Mongolian or New Mexico.

Anyway, we had decided the yak museum in London would be a great place to visit on my birthday. We exited at the Baker Street Underground station and headed for Marylebone Street. So, filled with anticipation, we rounded the corner and there it was ......Arrrrrrggghh. Oh no, it was NOT Madame Tussaud's Yaks Museum!

From Shopping Horror To Yak Ecstasy

The first part of this post was begun Friday. The last part after Mary alerted me to the Nov 24 post on Julie Zickefoose's blog.

Swami joined the Swamette at The Hall of Horrors, ...oops, I mean the Mall of Sales Friday morning. We accomplished a lot of our Christmas shopping and if the sedatives don't run out I should be recovered by Christmas.

We did save a lot of money though. In fact, I did a couple of quick calculations and at the rate we were saving money, if we could have shopped for a few more hours we could have saved ourselves right into poverty.

The Swami feels that it is his moral obligation to try to easy the tension of Christmas shopping. You are at this very moment probably wondering what will I buy for all of the people on my list.

First stick with quality. Don't get careless and buy a counterfeit product when, for example, what you really want is a genuine Chia Yak.

Buy something that the person would not have gone to the trouble or spent the money to buy for them self. Who wouldn't love a combination gravy ladle/shoe horn or the ever-popular folding toothbrush and earwax removal tool. And how about a heavy-duty hair brush that you and your yak can share (it helps you bond, as you begin to smell similar).

Yes, yes , yes (no, no, no, not that kind of yes). This is a yak yes. We can now all observe to see whether Julie begins a slow transformation from painting birds to painting yaks. Soon she will be letting the birds fend for themselves as she is too busy grooming and housebreaking her yaks. Then she will take up spinning so she can cloth Bill, Phoebe and Liam in yak hair sweaters.
They will all be toasty as they go out this winter to herd the yaks.

I know that the previous paragraph is not likely to happen, since Julie will probably want to housebreak her yaks so that they can join the family in the house. Trust me, this will be a life-changing experience.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Family Photo

We were very fortunate this Thanksgiving. As you can see from the family photo The Swami took earlier today, despite an unexpected sandstorm, our family and friends arrived on time.

As you can probably tell some of them had come very far, some even from the untamed regions of Indiana and southern Ohio. As is obvious, everyone had worn their newest and most fashionable clothes.

Since most of our guests were only able to stay until late afternoon, it was somewhat of a rush to service and lube their transportation for the return trip. The Swami was able to offer a couple of back-up yaks. In truth, however, one should always be very careful when backing-up a yak.

Swamette is a wonderful cook. However, her idea of how much food to prepare is apparently based upon what it would take to feed a royal yak battalion. This means Swami will still be eating Thanksgiving leftovers as we celebrate the summer solstice.

Swami and Swamette hope that you too had much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Giving Thanks...For Swamette

The following is an absolutely true story [you should not infer from the previous statement that ALL my other posts are not absolutely true,...but you get the idea]:

About eight years ago Swamette, who is an RN (you probably figured out already that The Swami should be under constant medical supervision) was in charge of an orthopedic unit of a local hospital. In the course of a conversation with an older female physician, Swamette learned that the lady would be alone on Thanksgiving and so Swamette invited the woman to join us for dinner.

The Thanksgiving meal was delicious as always and everything went very well. That year we had a total of eleven people (we are expecting 16 this Thanksgiving with new additions to the family since then).

After the doctor left, most of our family members were still around and we were teasing Swamette about inviting "a stranger" to dinner and I said to her, "who are you inviting next year, a yak herder?"

I cannot say with certainty that that had anything to do with the subsequent development of Yak Herder Central, but perhaps.

I think that the moral of this story might be that wherever you find the lovely Swamette, you will find the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Give Thanks To Your Turkey

About this time every year Swami is always asked the same question: "Swami, how come we always have turkey for thanksgiving dinner and we never have yak?"

Well, first, there is the long explanation: over the years we really grow to feel and treat our yaks like members of the family. Ask yourself, would you want to roast Uncle Roscoe for dinner? Actually, no, I was not speaking to you, Mr. Dahmer. And perhaps crazy old Uncle Roscoe was not a good example.

Think of it this way, it would be difficult to look Zak the Yak in the eye one day while petting his nose and then munch on his brisket the next. Perhaps you dog-lovers can imagine the trauma of seeing Bowser on his back on the serving platter with a poached kumquat in his mouth. Yeah, I thought you'd get the idea.

Then, of course there is the short explanation for why we do not serve yak for Thanksgiving: have you ever tried to baste a yak!! I thought not.

Also, this time of year it would be difficult to find fresh yak in your local supermarket. Do you think Swami is just making this up? Okay, tomorrow you go to your local grocery and ask if they still have any fresh yak in stock. Oh, yeah, and afterward don't go calling The Swami whining about needing bail money.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This Just In!!!

Apparently Rupert Murdoch has canceled the O.J. book and Fox TV show. It must be due to the previous blog posting!!

No doubt.

New O. J. Book May Contain Bombshell Revelation of "Real Killer!"

The new book and interview with O. J. Simpson may contain the bombshell revelation of the "real killer." O. J. Simpson has long said that after being acquitted of the murders of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman he would devote his life to finding the "real killer."

O. J. has always claimed that they were murdered by a deranged golf pro, and therefore devoted most of his time to searching golf courses. More recently, however, he has come to believe that they were stalked and murdered by a more sinister, more mysterious beast. (You can see what's coming already can't you?)

In recent months O. J. has concluded, and may be prepared to reveal, that the horrific crime was actually committed not by O. J. but by a pair of demented yaks who were high on weapons-grade yak milk that had been smuggled into the country by Mexican "mules" who were being paid by an Iranian dissident who was on the payroll of the Swiss navy.

Swami knows that some of you many be a little skeptical, but do not be too hasty to dismiss this explanation. If you really think about this, with a completely open , unbiased mind, you will probably realize that the above explanation is far more plausible than the conclusion reached by O. J.'s jury. That, my friends, is a fact!

Yet, there is a flaw. The yaks would be willing to take an FBI lie-detector test, O. J. is not. Plus, all known yaks are more trustworthy than O.J.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Lazy Yak Herder Caught Plagiarizing Himself

All right, I confess, most of what follows was copied from a Comment post that I made on the blog of "Susan Gets Native."

I was doing fine, no need for extra meds,....UNTIL I read -llm's post about: "the retailers..." ARRRRrrrrgh..."

Some of those knuckle-headed, money-grubbing swine (am I getting carried away) put up Christmas [oops, they generally call them "holiday"] decorations in October or earlier. Yesterday Swamette and I had an "interesting" retail experience. We went into a Macy's to look for shoes for Swamette. Locally this store used to be Shillito's, which became Lazarus, which then became Macy's.

The Lovely Swamette has some difficulty finding comfortable shoes since she has somewhat WIDE feet, that I believe came directly from the old country (Calabria, Italy). Still, Swamette had often been able to find a few wide styles at Lazarus. This was apparently the first time she had looked for shoes there since the the local Lazarus was converted into a Macy's. After looking at most of the displays and finding nothing, Swamette asked a lady who worked in that department if they had any shoe styles in wide.

The saleslady said that Macy's [at least at Dayton Mall] does not carry wides, only mediums. This was a case where the person said something, but their demeanor added an entirely different, additional meaning. She seemed to be saying: We are too upscale to cater to peasants with wide feet. If you are going to shop here you should either have medium feet or have enough money to get your feet made into mediums.

You would be annoyed also if you could see how frustrating it is to Swamette when the only thing in most shoe departments that fit her feet are the empty shoe boxes. I have to admit that it is also somewhat embarrassing when we go to the grocery and Swamette has to shuffle down the aisles wearing shoe boxes, and when she runs while playing tag with the grandchildren. It is not a pretty sight.

Well, I guess that we will have to go back to getting Swamette's shoes from a blacksmith.

Have to stop now to do some deep breathing and relax.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Crack Yaks From History

In Thursday's post Swami mentioned several illustrious yaks from the past. That caused me to remember some other facts I learned when studying history many years ago.

You might have, understandably but incorrectly, assumed that the yaks on the "Mayflower" were the first yaks in North America. Wrong-o, bison-breath.

Long before that, a yak from an area of Mongolia known as Huan-ka (which the yaks referred to merely as "ka") had made the first solo crossing of the Atlantic in a small boat.

Even to this day this kayak is remembered the world-over for his boating skills.

Another yak that is known to many, and is almost god-like in the eyes of oriental chefs, is Terrance D. Yak. Terrance, at a very young age, became tired of chowing down on the same old weeds week after week, month after month, year af....--you get the idea. So, for a few of his closest yak friends he began preparing much finer cuisine. Soon the yak herders were copying his recipes, as were others as far away as Japan. They did give credit to Teri (as he was known by his closest yak and yak-herder friends). You may have even had a Teri-yak type dish. Or perhaps one that his sister Suki later developed.

Finally, Swami has been asked many tim..., ah, a couple of times, ....well, actually Swami has often wondered if there are yak related medications that we should be taking. One of the most widely used yak meds is made by cooking down a couple of vats of yak fat until it is very thick. Then it is sun-dried and ground up into a fine powder.

This is not for everyone, so "Ask Your Doctor if Yak Crack is Right for You."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Patriotic Yaks

Here is the photo that Blogger would not let me post last night. I'm sure you agree, it was well worth waiting for.

As you can clearly see, there is a Tree Yak that all these people are looking at. The yak is near the center of the tree about 12.7 ft up the tree. It is somewhat difficult to see since it is about three-quarters of the way into its nest.

Tree yaks are very shy which is why it is so rare to see them.

With Thanksgiving just a week away, we should pause to reflect on some of the reasons we should be giving thanks to our yaks and yaks from the past.

It is a (very) little known fact that George Washington's yak accompanied him when he crossed the Delaware on December 25. 1776. Had it not been for the help provided by his yak we might all be pledging allegiance to Prince Charles, and eating steak and kidney pie.

We also owe much to several brave yaks who helped drive the Taliban from Kabul during Operation Sleazy Weasel. Well, it looked like they were driving them since the yaks were in the cabs of the pickup trucks the Taliban were fleeing in.

Finally, a recent linguistic study of documents relating to the Pilgrims revealed a surprising "yak fact." Many of the passengers on the "Mayflower" were dyslexic. This caused several of the early chroniclers of the Pilgrim's voyage to mis-transcribe the actual name of the ship, which was Yak-flower, as Mayflower. The ship had actually been christened for a lovely female yak named "flower." Be sure to teach your children this so they will amaze (or is dumbfound a more appropriate word) their teachers.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yak Watching Festival

[Because of Flogger, er... Blogger, Swami was unable to include an image of a tree yak]

I've noticed that birders are always talking about getting together to go somewhere and watch for rare birds. Yak herders of the world, you are not forgotten! The Swami is considering organizing a yak watching tour to spot some of the rarer specimens of the yak family.

The Swami knows that there are very few yaks that nest in trees. This means that yak watchers are not as likely to get a pain in the neck as are bird watchers (and occasionally, innocent bystanders).

In order to gauge interest and reserve the necessary space for those with free-range yaks as well as for those of you with pet lap-yaks, please leave a comment letting us know whether you would attend, cannot attend, might attend and how many yaks you would be bringing.

Please let us know if your yaks have any special dietary requirements, e.g. vegetarian, kosher, diabetic. The Swami especially realizes the difficulty of providing for the dietary needs of a diabetic yak.

Attention all lawyers: we will be complying with the Disabled Yak Act which ensures the rights of all yaks including those that are dead, ...er ...metabolically challenged.

If there are any of you who may not have traveled with your yaks recently, remember that under current, more stringent rules your yak will need to have proper ID and no more than one carry-on saddle bag.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Read This, Then Go Brush & Floss

The Swami had a tooth extracted today. Wow, I'm sure you're thrilled to be able to read about Swami's dental work. This will undoubtedly be the highlight of your day. [editorial note: If this is the highlight of your day, Swami suggests you seek professional help immediately].

While this was not a real treat, I must say dentistry has improved a bit since Swami was very young. Some of you may remember when you could see the little cables that ran from the motor to the drill bit when the dentist had to drill out a cavity. The young Swami's dentist had a new-fangled power drill where you could not only see the cables that turned the drill bit, but also the cables that went out the window to where a pair of oxen turned a large wheel to provide the power.

Yes, yaks would have been Swami's preference.

I am glad that I got a second opinion before having this tooth pulled. The initial opinion, from the shaman who also treats our yaks, was that my teeth were fine but the gums would have to come out. Fortunately our primary veterinarian/dentist only pulled one tooth. Swami was in luck tonight. I could not eat anything solid (this ruled out yak jerky) but there was some of Swamette's delicious chili that I was able to slowly eat. Swamette is such a good cook that only his genes prevent The Swami from weighing in at 675 lbs.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Politics & Advertising (So what is my point?)

Now that the current round of elections is over, and we have a too-brief respite from the negative ads, The Swami can cut back on his meds. If only we could heavily sedate the lobbyists and advertising types.

Swami is constantly being annoyed by misleading advertisements. Just yesterday I received two packages of invisible tape I ordered for my tape dispenser. "Invisible tape" my foot, I could see both of them! How can they get away with that?

Of course, one of my "favorite?" ad/marketing maneuvers took place over a several year period with our laundry/yak detergent. The product scoop included in the box was, at least twice, increased in size. Presumably this was so that we would use more of the product, which will remain nameless, but which is made by a huge international conglomerate. It would be nice to see the tide turn so they could take a product and gamble that we could manage with the original size scoop.

One of the best examples of honest, non-exaggerated, advertising ever was a tailor's sign in Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia (about 1977):

I doubt that the we will ever have a return to modesty in advertising. We can only hope.

As the old yak herders used to say: "You can lead a blind squirrel to water, but you can't make a silk purse out of its ear."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Get Out Your Checkbooks

Swami is feeling really great. Just got back from voting. It is so heartening to have such a fine selection of candidates to choose from. I also voted for several issues that will raise our taxes. I feel very good about that though, since I know that all of our tax money will be spent wisely.

NO, no, I can't go on. You can tell I've been on the fermented yak milk again can't you?
Arrrrggh. What choices.

Well, there is only one answer. The Swami and his friendly yak herders are going to form a Political Action Committee: Friends of the Yaks. We will hire the best sleazy lobbyists available to take us on junkets to Mongolia and other fun places.

All contributions should be fully tax-deductible since our goals, in addition to enjoying ourselves, would be to buy political influence by plying politicians with fermented yak milk. The results should be very beneficial to our country. Just think, if we could keep all of our elected officials half-in-the-bag on fermented yak milk, they would be able to do less damage to the country.

I can already sense a groundswell of support for Friends of the Yaks.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Recipes from Eden??

Swami read and thoroughly enjoyed Julie's book. However, I must have read it too quickly because I obviously missed something.

Our trusty (and the word is used very loosely) cat Quagmire is sure that Letters From Eden is a book full of recipes for preparing birds for dinner. I think I must have skimmed over that chapter.

I really hope everyone (all three of you) enjoy this photo
because it took &%#@*^/#*&@ Blogger twenty [yes 20] minutes
and five or six attempts to upload one &#$@*&$/* photo.


Swamette, please get me my meds.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Swami's Inner Artist?

The Swami has visited numerous blogs of birders and artists and has seen many very beautiful paintings. As a result I have gradually felt a rumbling inside me as my inner artist has sought to get out. [Or perhaps it was just gas].

I'm not 100% sure that I have identified the birds correctly, but I think they're right. These would be added to my life list which, including the pterodactyl and dodo, would be up to almost ten. I'm not certain that I want to be a full time wild-life artist although I'm sure you are all marveling [is that the right word] at my unbelievable artistic talent. However, I may not (please do not be too disappointed) be able to pursue my art because it would interfere with my schedule for training the yaks.

The Swami added two more life birds to his list this weekend. Below is the elusive Golden Haired Blue Bird. One of the loveliest birds, matched only by the other life bird I saw.

The second life bird of the day was the Golden Breasted Grinning Cutie Pie. The Swami understands from advanced birders that these two lovely birds are often seen in the same areas. They also often can be found near raptor haunts.

I know that many of you are probably depending upon The Swami to help you with ideas for Christmas gifts. Do not despair Swami will come to your rescue with his usual, well-thought-out suggestions.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Twas the Fifty-first Night Before Christmas....

I know that there are probably a lot of people out there who are already thinking of getting their loved one a yak for Christmas.
The Swami says, "Go for it!"

Here are a few random thoughts:

If this is meant to be a very special occasion, and you are considering not just a yak but a herd, the ideal area for keeping a herd of yaks is about 80 acres.

If you are only getting the recipient one or two yaks, they can be kept on less than 80 acres. With proper training of your yak, even life in an apartment can be exciting. Very exciting.

Also, it is best if you do not use a lot of pesticides. Above all be sure that if you do use a lawn care company, or even plant fertilizer, that none of the products have any of the same ingredients as those in Yak-B-Gone. Yaks, as I'm sure you learned in school are very sensitive animals. In fact, you should never even take them to see a "chick flick" without taking along several cases of Puffs (extra soft with lotion).

If this is your first yak, it is probably worth the extra expense of an extended warranty. The extended warranty will double the standard coverage to a full two weeks. During this period you will not have to worry about your yak contracting Dutch Elm Disease or the heartbreak of mange.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Friends Don't Let Yaks Drive Drunk

I recently mentioned the upcoming holidays. One of the things that I hope none of us have to be reminded of, even though I am doing so, is the danger of drinking and driving. There is also an often unrecognized danger in letting your animals drink and drive.

I can honestly say that I have NEVER given a yak alcohol and then let it drive. However, I once saw firsthand the terrible, tragic aftermath of a camel drinking and driving. (see photo)

[note the late Clyde the Camel lying in the median in the background and the empty whiskey bottle in the foreground]. This camel was absolutely NOT wearing a seatbelt.

Please do not misinterpret my post, I would never want to discourage someone from sharing a friendly quaff or two with the family's quadrupedal pet. In fact, Zak and I shared some yak milk last night. And before someone calls the authorities, Zak is over 21 in yak-years.

To Every Yak There Is A Season

With colder weather approaching it was time today to take some of the yaks in for service. As I waited for Zak the Yak to be lubed and brushed, I walked around the lot at Salim's Sales & Service.

Their motto: Try a Yak and You'll Never Come Back
  • All yaks Triple-A rated (Aged, Arthritic, & Aromatic)
  • Our exclusive Yak-Back guarantee (every yak comes with a back)
  • Some yaks are suitable for mounting (saddles sold separately)
Also, it is never too early to begin planning for the holidays. In fact, if you are planning to have the whole family over, as we are, for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of roast yak, you should probably place an order with your local yak shop soon.

Please do not make the mistake that we did one year and wait until it is so late that you are forced to go out at the last minute and buy a frozen yak. The cashier threw her back out trying to scan the UPC code on the yak, and to make matters worse I did not have a copy of the store's ad flyer with me and I was sure that there was a coupon for 50-cents-off frozen yak (one per customer) in that week's paper. Finally, even if you run cool water over it, it could take up to three weeks to thaw!

As we get closer to the holidays, I'll try to find and share some of the traditional recipes and holiday tips that have been passed down through the family.