Friday, June 27, 2008

'stache #36 - duck moustache

“A wealthy man without duck on his lip is poor indeed.”

According to tradition, the duck moustache was first worn by the Chinese peasantry in the 6th century B.C. In 1266 A.D., Marco Polo’s discovery of the fowl lip-fringe in the court of Kublai Khan sparked an international duck craze that revolutionized global trade routes. It is now worn on six continents. Prized for its crispy skin and fatty texture, the duck ‘stache is truly a tasty delicacy. Peking duck, the national moustache of China, is carved and served with spring onions and hoisin sauce in a thin pancake. Keep an eye out for this moustache as a locus of controversy this summer in Beijing; human rights protesters are petitioning athletes not to ‘stache duck at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Dorcas ‘stached this sweet duck morsel, bathed in a traditional Japanese sukiyaki sauce, Wednesday night at Ten restaurant in Charlottesville, VA. Oishii! A waterfowl, duck is worn by omnivores, confused pescatarians, and liberal commie pinkos.

Theodore Roosevelt and his Pigs, Pigskin Library, and Swinefights - A Historical Porkmoustache Interlude

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, historian, naturalist, explorer, hunter, author, soldier, and all around tough guy, was also a taxidermist and lover of swine. TR was known for his heartfelt letters to his children, such as this one from Keystone Ranch, Jan. 29, 1901:

Darling Little Ethel,
You would be much amused with the animals round the ranch. The most thoroughly independent and self-possessed of them is a large white pig which we have christened Maude. She goes everywhere at her own will; she picks up scraps from the dogs, who bay dismally at her, but know they have no right to kill her; and then she eats the green alfalfa hay from the two milch cows who live in the big corral with the horses. One of the dogs has just had a litter of puppies; you would love them, with their little wrinkled noses and squeaky voices.

Delightful! And another, later from the White House to his son, October 17, 1908:

Dearest Kermit,
Quentin performed a characteristic feat yesterday. He heard that Schmidt, the animal man, wanted a small pig, and decided that he would turn an honest penny by supplying the want. So out in the neighborhood of his school he called on an elderly [man] who, he had seen, possessed little pigs; bought one; popped it into a bag; astutely dodged the school—having a well-founded distrust of how the boys would feel toward his passage with the pig—and took the car for home. By that time the pig had freed itself from the bag, and, as he explained, he journeyed in with a "small squealish pig" under his arm; but as the conductor was a friend of his he was not put off. He bought it for a dollar and sold it to Schmidt for a dollar and a quarter, and feels as if he had found a permanent line of business. Schmidt then festooned it in red ribbons and sent it to parade the streets. I gather that Quentin led it around for part of the parade, but he was somewhat vague on this point, evidently being a little uncertain as to our approval of the move.

After his term in office ended, TR and his son Kermit took off for east and central Africa, and it is quite difficult to imagine the man who wrote so fondly of Maude was the very same stalking and felling elephants and hippos. But here is evidence, from this letter from On the 'Nzor River, Nov. 13, 1909:

Darling Ethel,
Here we are, by a real tropical river, with game all around, and no human being within several days' journey. At night the hyenas come round the camp, uttering their queer howls; and once or twice we have heard lions; but unfortunately have never seen them. Kermit killed a leopard yesterday. He has really done so very well! It is rare for a boy with his refined tastes and his genuine appreciation of literature—and of so much else—to be also an exceptionally bold and hardy sportsman. He is still altogether too reckless; but by my hen-with-one-chicken attitude, I think I shall get him out of Africa uninjured; and his keenness, cool nerve, horsemanship, hardihood, endurance, and good eyesight make him a really good wilderness hunter. We have become genuinely attached to Cunninghame and Tarleton, and all three naturalists, especially Heller; and also to our funny attendants. The porters always amuse us and lug around our giant collection of books we felt we might want to read at some point or another on our trek around this great continent, while resting under a tree at noon, perhaps beside the carcass of a beast I have killed, or else while waiting for camp to be pitched. In total, the collection weighs about four tons but they say that it does not bother them in the least to carry it all. Did I tell you that the library is protected in the skin of dear little Maude and her pups and grandpups? I giggle to myself thinking of the great works of Tennyson and Shelley and Milton wrapped up in our piggies’ skins. When there is no clean water for washing our hands Kermit and I generally read Browning…

It was in these days that it became clear to everyone close to TR that his mental health was waning and his relationship to pigs was getting all too strange (and that Kermit was a dandy). TR's swiney emotional state began to affect all parts of his life. The famed 1911 rift with Taft — said to be based on Taft’s unwillingness to attack big business — ended with TR shouting, “Taft, you are such a pussywillow of a man. I do think you might wear hair on your lip! And I am as tough as a Pork Moose!” And from that day on, our nation’s great Rough Rider was known to wear giant pork chops hanging above his mouth.

'stache #35 - sugar snap pea moustache

A moustache of the poor, the sugarsnappeastache long marked the perimeters of urban decline and false promises...until, of course, irony and cultural referents brought it back to life. The first recorded use of the sugar snap pea moustache was, not surprisingly, in Stephen Crane's Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, a notable work of fiction based on kinda true occurrences of the late 19th century Bowery street urchins. In the story, Maggie's little brother Tommie, at age 4, 'staches what little dinner the family has to look the ripe age of 12 so he can pay rent at the flophouse one night when father is drunk and beating the children. In an interview in 1895, Jacob Riis mentioned that the snap pea was popular among the "other half" but they refused to be photographed wearing such a poverty lip legume. The shame was understandable, and the reasons why the real 'stache will never get in the books are well studied. It was the 1890s. The frontier had just barely closed, the government gave Americans free land and free gold, and, in the cities, a great deal of wealth was expected. So it was until a young Joan Didion, working diligently at Vogue, 'stached a pea here or there, that the sugar snap pea moustache quickly found fame amongst the waify girls and boys of urban centers.

This is a summertime 'stache. It should be noted that Fats Domino was a huge fan of this moustache.

'stache #34 - burrito moustache

For a truly mysterious 'stache with a south of the border flair, look no further than the burrito moustache. For centuries, the young and old have delighted in guessing the content of this 'stache, which historically could range from simple seasoned rice to all manner of pricy exotics. Indeed, burritostach guessing reached its peak in popularity in the 1940s, when no fewer than 35 burrito moustache mystery clubs could be found in the Mexico City phonebook. While x-ray technologies and flimsier burrito wrappers largely ended the craze, the burrito 'stache remains fun and mysterious.

For instance, can you guess the contents of the burritos pictured below? Chicken? Perhaps beef?

Sorry, friend. It’s halibut with mango salsa. You owe me 2 dollars.

Being relatively heavy, the burrito moustache is rarely worn outside of the home.

'stache #33 - french fry moustache

Perhaps the most variable of the all the tuber 'staches, the french fry moustache ranges from limp and oil-soaked to twice-fried crisp. Popularized during the War Between the States when the then-stylish potato moustache became simply too decadent for such trying circumstances, crafty southern soldiers were able to make upwards of 30 individuals moustaches out of what once would have been a single lipstripe. While the frying made for an exceptionally delicious 'stache, it was originally intended as a means to ward off insects, mosquitoes and horseflies notoriously repelled by fried starches.

Upon returning to their often devastated southern communities post war, the downtrodden southern soldier was often heartened to find much of the town wearing the 'stache in support of their brave boys. To this day, many south of the Mason-Dixon Line view the fry 'stache as a form of quiet rebellion.

The french fry moustache remains such a loaded symbol, we are hesitant to advise on its suitability for wearing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'stache #32 - green pepper moustache

A true Depression-era 'stache, the green pepper was the only moustache to emerge from the reign of the sloppy, gin-soaked lime moustache days of Prohibition. The green pepper -- thin, hungry, watered down, but crisp and robust -- was seen 'stached everywhere from the bread lines in New York City to the Deep South tenant cotton farmers. In the outtakes of James Agee and Walker Evans' heady tome, there are several Evans portraits of Floyd Burroughs donning the green pepper moustache with a middle finger raised. Agee's caption simply reads, "New Deal, my ass. Eat my 'stache, Frank."

The green pepper moustache should not be worn.

'stache #31 - avocado moustache

In the 1960s, when young Californian men began hauling their surfboards south in search of the most killingest waves in the world, Belize was still under Guatemalan rule. En route to "hang ten", these gentlemen of the North often found enjoyable nights filled with cheap, delicious beer and voluptuous women in Antigua. Though the women giggled at their white skin and funny talk, they often complained about the lack of bigote, or lipcover. So, the Californians, acting as Californians are wont to act, quickly 'stached slices of avocado. The avocadostache, not to be confused with guacstache, has sustained as much notoriety as the Beach Boys; sometimes one might catch an occasional 'staching by a Patagonia employee.

The avocado moustache, like white linen, should be worn in tropical and semi-tropical climates only.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

'stache #30 - peanut moustache

Within the bailiwick of nut ‘staches, the peanut lip stripe—-an uncouth cousin of the cashew moustache—-is a classless classic. Allegedly of gypsy origins, the peanut ‘stache made its New World debut in nineteenth-century circus tents, balancing on the painted lips of clowns and carnies. Briefly popular on the stages of the Chicago burlesque scene at the turn of the century, it is now relegated to the sidelines of sporting events and monster truck rallies. The Republican National Committee, attempting to capitalize on the peanut stache’s blue-collar appeal, unveiled the GOP mascot sporting this nutty trimming at the 1984 presidential convention.

Peanut ‘stachers are sometimes derided as “monkey nuts” or “goobers,” derogatory terms considered obscene in polite society. This moustache is worn only by men (and monkeys).

'stache #29 - takoyaki moustache

Under Emperor Hideyoshi, 16th century Japan had become a pale, colorless land. But in 1598, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who despised Jesus and blandness, took power and ushered in the country's first Cherry Blossom festival in Kyoto and relegated the small Christian population to the dingier, less colorful city of Osaka. The next spring, Jesus lovers began shrinking the Pentateuch into tiny octopus capsules, or takoyaki, that would be worn as moustaches and later unraveled to reveal His Word. Tokugawa bedded down the lippy clandestine revolution in 1616 by outlawing all fish-based moustaches, and the style was thought to be lost forever. Until General Douglas MacArthur, of Little Rock, Arkansas, attempted to revive the octopus-ball style, and Christianity, in 1947, but quickly abandoned the look, having grossly miscalculated the smell of day-old octopus.

Christianity, one should note, also failed to take root, do in large part to Japan's love of Kawaii, or cuteness. The takoyaki 'stache may be worn only on grey or rainy days. This Arkansas native stached this octopus ball at Otafuku on East 9th Street in Manhattan.

Monday, June 23, 2008

'stache #28 - apricot moustache

The healthiest of all moustaches, the dried apricot 'stache is the conflict-free diamond of haute edible lip couture. Its popularity dates back to the wheatgrass and lycopene craze of 1980s Los Angeles when it is said to have first been 'stached by David Hasselhoff in 1983 when a mere two days of sobriety abruptly ended with a vodka-tonic binge and his daughter found him on the kitchen floor covered in health food. He picked up a lone dried apricot, pressed it to his upper lip and said, "ah, come on, honey, jump in my car!" It is still popular in some circles, but up against a fresh apricot or peach, dried apricot moustache is just, well, passé. But it's possible it could enjoy a renaissance by hipsters not unlike the American Apparel ugly glasses comeback of late.

The dried apricot moustache can be worn all year but its peak season is May to August.

'stache #27 - bánh mì sandwich moustache

The Bánh Mì Sandwich Moustache was first reported in or near the southern colony Cochin China, in the 1860s when the French defeated the Vietnamese army and gained control of area. In 1859, it is said that the French colonists arrived in this land of Khmer people waving baguettes, yelling for fancy cheeses, and complaining about being so le tired. So, as a form of grassroots resistance, the Vietnamese snatched up the silly French bread and created their own, made of a combination of rice and wheat flour. Inside they stacked their roast pork, marinated for days in fish sauce, with mayonnaise, pickled carrots, daikon, cilantro, jalapeños, and cucumbers. They flaunted this moustache to disrespect the French culinary sensitivity. More Bánh Mì Sandwich Moustaches appeared in seemingly unrelated events in Gia Dinh, Bien Hoa, and Dinh Tuong until it became the formal pièce de résistance of the colonized. In the 1980s, its cultural referent as a guerrilla tactic was lost, when the moustache was exported to the United States, unsurprisingly popular among the same groups of coffeehouse liberals that greet each other with "namaste", extol the benefits of Buddhism, worship Tom Robbins, and don Tibetan prayer flags on their porches.

This moustache should be worn indoors, but is often found at drum circles, generic festivals in east coast cities, and not surprisingly, directly outside the Bánh Mì Saigon Bakery.

George Washington and his Salty Lip - A Historical Porkmoustache Interlude

While it is common knowledge that GW sported a powdered wig and dentures, few Americans are aware of their first president's proclivity for the pork moustache. Indeed, the tree-chopping fable in which GW declared "I cannot tell a lie" stems from his fondness for the savoury-sweet flavor of cherry wood-smoked bacon. Although Martha Custis Washington burned their correspondence after GW's death, in accounts of family lore their courtship was fraught with bacon; George, as a young suitor, wooed Martha by donning a salty slab above his upper lip. As a Revolutionary War General, Washington sported an elaborately trimmed pork-stache and demanded that his officers present themselves similarly accoutered. In his presidential years, GW thought it fitting to wear a crispier 'stache.

'stache #26 - Fenway frank moustache

It was a hot day in June 1946 when slugger Ted Williams first 'stached the plump pork beauty of Fenway Park. A lone red seat high above right field now memorializes the spot, and Red Sox pilgrims journey from far and wide to honor the memory of that great day. Always en vogue among New England natives, the Fenway Frank ‘stache has enjoyed a resurgence of national popularity in recent years. Wearers of this meaty mouth trimming can be found amassed atop the Green Monster usually clad in some color combination of red, blue, and (occasionally) green. The list of notables who have sported this 'stache is impressive and too lengthy to detail in full—suffice it to say it includes Ted Williams, JFK, and Neil Diamond. Many politicians have been spotted with this John Hancock on their lip; indeed, it was while wearing the Fenway Frank ‘stache that FDR delivered his famous address promising never to send American servicemen into foreign wars. This failed campaign promise was often quoted by his critics after sushi-'stached sailors bombed Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War.

Wearers, be warned: sporting this ‘stache too often may result in a gastronomical malady commonly referred to as the Curse of the Bambino. The Fenway Frank moustache is never worn in winter months.

'stache #25 - hot dog moustache

One of the most enduring and popular of the twentieth century food moustaches, the hot dog moustache proliferated in the U.S. after thousands of soldiers returning from World War I came home wearing the frankfurter moustache common among German men.
Briefly rechristened the “Liberty meat tube moustache” as anti-German fervor rose in the 1940s, the compromise moniker “hot dog moustache” was decided upon at a 1948 committee meeting of stylish young American nativists and the primarily German-born frankfurter moustache vendors of the day. Today’s hot dog moustaches almost never contain real dog.

The hot dog moustache remains a winning, if slightly staid, food moustache. Wear it in the summer. Disclaimer: the hot dog 'stache is worn bunned by women only.

'stache #24 - BBQ chicken pizza crust moustache

Evidence of the fusion ‘stache craze sweeping the country in the late 1990s, the BBQ chicken pizza crust stache is one of the few surviving examples of a best-forgotten era. Once considered a cutting edge ‘stache, the barbecue chicken moustache lost its cache as its acceptance grew. Jim Belushi’s wearing of this particular stash at the 1999 Emmy awards is widely considered the final nail in its crusty coffin.

Although still worn in some midwestern suburbs, this is just not a cool ‘stache.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

'stache #23 - pineapple moustache

European sailors first came into contact with the pineapple moustache in the seventeenth century, returning to their homelands with outlandish tales of the “diamond corn” the native Hawaiian peoples wore on their lips. Of course, wiser generations would soon discover that the tropical fruit was not “diamond corn” at all, but, of course, a “pine apple.”

Those lucky enough to have a pineapple moustache should wear it at all times.

'stache #22 - apple moustache

In a the 1800s, a heated and hateful rivalry between John “Johnny” Appleseed and Robert, “Bobby” Pearseed sparked the greatest Apple tree planting binge in recorded history. Ironically, John Appleseed did not approve of the apple moustache, deeming it “gauche.”

The apple moustache may be worn year round, but is at its peak in late fall.