>Being old and senile, I could not remember when I went to Israel for my friend Hanah's wedding. I swore I blogged about it while I was there, but that would mean that I did not go to her wedding in August 2005, as I didn't start CUSS until October 2005. The best way to find out was to check the archives, and lo and behold, there was a trip to Ocean City, NJ, and a trip to visit my sister in Iowa, but nothing on Israel. (Hence the wedding was August 2005, not 2006.) Still, I'm glad I checked because some of my old posts cracked my ass up! I think I was funnier when I was miserable at work and hated my life, before I had a book and went back to school to learn to be literary and shit. For example, here is my three post re-cap (conveniently combined into one, for an extra long treat) of the Iowa State Fair:

On Saturday, my sister, my brother-in-law (BiL), and I set out for the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, which is about an hour and a half drive from their house. As we left a bit late, we were too hungry to wait to get to the Fair for lunch, so we stopped at a roadside Subway attached to a gas station. Kum & Go is also known to locals as “Ejaculate & Evaculate.” Ha ha ha. I love it.

After ingesting a low-fat sandwich, Diet Coke, and Baked Lays for lunch, I met my healthy obligations for the day and was ready for some serious Fair eating. Pork chop on a stick? Count me in! Taking BiL’s advice, I put a little bit of Cookie’s BBQ sauce on the chop, and an equal amount on my shirt. YUM! It was tasty on the chop. (Not sure about my shirt, though.)

After the chop, we headed over to the Agricultural Building. Sister and BiL assured me that there were many samples to be had. We tried various jellies and honeys, which were delicious. I bought a Dark Sweet Cherry jam, which Sister must ship to me because I could not bring it onboard the plane thanks to the terrorists. The Ag Building also housed the butter sculptures. Does anyone else find the butter cow slightly disturbing? I think it is the veiny udders and prominent ribs. I don’t hang out around many cows, so maybe I just don’t know what they truly look like, but this one is like some weird starving cow on the Ganges or an anorexic bovine. I just never picture cows with their ribs sticking out or bulging veins when I think about them. I like Superman and his butter bulge much better than the cow. (Sacrilege, I know!) Insert your own “melt in your mouth” joke here. I’m not sure who Mr. State Fair is, but he rounds off the troika of butter sculptures nicely. For some reason, I think he has something to do with the Riley of “The Life of Riley,” but like the anorexic cow, I could be making that up. On a final note regarding the butter sculptures, I was amused to see a book about Norma “Duffy” Lyon, the woman who has sculpted the butter statues at the Fair since 1960, was available to purchase.

The butter sculptures were not the only food art on display. Oh no siree! [Here's] the chocurkey. I actually think that this looks a little like a turd molded into a turkey shape placed on a spray painted gold cardboard disk. Gobble gobble!

These are just cute.

No state or county fair is complete without ginormous vegetables and animals. Iowa did not disappoint when it came to the veggies.

The rabbits, however, were not so impressive (although they were damn cute!!!). I mean, sure slightly under 18 lbs. sounds big for a rabbit, but last year at the North Carolina State Fair, I saw a 25 lb. Flemish giant. Tycho, my New Zealand white, is 13 lbs. of sleek fur and muscle. I think Tycho can totally take down that lame ass “Big Betty.”

The final highlights from the Iowa State Fair was spotted in the general store and in the Various Industries Building. As illustrated by this photo, the death penalty is not only barbaric for humans, but also for dolls. Is this not freaky? If I were a five year old girl, I think seeing a doll hang from the rafters of the general store in a noose would give me nightmares. I’m surprised that it didn’t give me nightmares now. On the other hand, every home (or apartment, even if it is a 200 square foot studio like my first one was) needs an “Infrared Health Cabin.”Hmmmm… is this not also known as a sauna? I like how they claim it can “balance” blood pressure (what the hell does that mean?) and lower your cholesterol. Is sweating your balls off really a way to lower cholesterol? If so, Husband, Brothers-in-Law (both of them, Sister’s Husband and Husband’s Brother), and various other men I know must have some of the lowest cholesterol known to man. At least it achieves something other than generating tons of laundry as they sweat through everything they own and change four times a day! Now if only sweatiness would reduce noxious gas emissions, they’d be set…

State fairs are supposed to be all about fun. People go to them to see the latest in tractors, ginormous vegetables, impressive animals, the projects of overachieving 4-H kids, and most importantly, to eat things that are fried or on a stick, or even better, both fried and on a stick. We do not go to them to be brainwashed. Or at least I don’t.

Imagine my horror when I passed by this scary booth: Worse, it was innocuously wedged between a display of whirlpools (for some reason, there were many such displays – hot tubs seem to be the coolest thing in Iowa after tractors and combines) and vacuum cleaners in the Varied Industries Building!!! What does crazy zealot brainwashing have to do with industry? Unless, of course, the state of Iowa is suggesting that the business of denying scientific evidence like has grown into an industry. (And they would be correct in that suggestion.) I was completely offended. If I want to be offended, I watch Fox News. I don’t need to see this shit at a fucking state fair! I want pig races and other entertainment. Bah.

Just as I was calming down about the religious nutjobs, I saw something even worse: You can imagine the scene I wanted to cause. First, I wanted to point out that if you are printing ginormous, factually incorrect propaganda, get your fucking punctuation correct. The asterisk that footnotes whatever bullshit study you invented does not go before the 94%, it goes after it. Stupid fucks can’t get anything right, can they? I was tempted to tell them that there was a booth selling fried aborted fetuses on sticks, and that the teensy skulls have a nice crunch to ‘em. Then again, you never know how these life-loving loons might react. I could easily get shot and killed. I have found that folks don’t have great senses of humor. Saving souls is fucking hard, serious work, you know? Maybe they should be outside the general store, protesting the hanging of the doll.

Speaking of the death of thousands of innocent people, I found this attraction at the carnival section of the fair to be in rather poor taste, albeit hilarious: I don’t think it is clear, but the kids climb up the middle section of the angled, sinking, inflated in a section marked “first-class only” and then slide down the deck. Who the hell thought of this? I admit it is sort of genius, although the class issue annoys me. (All the steerage folks of course were locked underground and drown like rats.)

Also on the offensive yet funny side: Sure, you can get a nice fountain, but why not go for broke and put your very own statue of a Vietnam vet on your lawn? (That is what the sign identifies this extremely white soldier as.) He's fending off the gooks for you and making the world safe for the George W. Bushes of the world to fuck up. What scares me are the people who actually do think that this is a great lawn decoration. They are usually those militant types I try to avoid, not to stereotype or anything.

Thus concludes my overview of my time at the Iowa State Fair. It’s been fun for me, and I hope you feel the same.