Friday, 6 September 2013

Reviews of Books I've Never Read

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Just another day at the sacrificial virgin and iron ore smelting factory.
First off, let me say I saw the movie and it's nothing like the book I've never read. Secondly, I rarely read authors whose names I can't pronounce (e.g. Chuck Palahniuk, Michel Houellebecq, J.M. Coetzee, Maurice Chevalier, Dean Koontz, Boris Flinkbrot), but I am willing to make the exception and I heard this Eugenides fellow really puts out a tense page-turner, like John Grisham but not as sexy with the characters unless you like them malnourished and with the pallor of Cornish game hens before cooking. Well, I wasn't to be disappointed because as it turned out, this guy had me up to the wee hours of the morning, although my weak bladder and paranoid delusions also helped. The fact that he was able to blend mystery with literary leanings was kind of like using the meat of an extinct species for a fondue pot bubbling with Velveeta cheese. When I say extinct species, I'm not kidding. For this book is really about virgin sacrifice, not suicide as the title would suggest (you can't judge a book by its title or its remainder sticker price) and these days, that concept has about as much foothold in contemporary society as a rock climbing dodo or Mahatma Gandhi at an NRA rally.

The book opens in a seemingly terrific suburban enclave in Michigan, or maybe Wisconsin, I'm not sure which because the descriptions of lawns and mowing machinery would seem to suggest Grosse Pointe but then sometimes a buffalo or bison comes walking across the grass, so your guess is as good as mine. Although the leaf blower portrayals lean heavily towards the eastern side of Lake Michigan, down Bloomfield Hills way, almost spitting distance from downtown Detroit unless you're spitting hot lead from a Glock 26, in which case it's a little closer.

Mr. Eugenides relaxing on his ranch in downtown Detroit where he raises buffalo for Buffalo chicken wings and plays high stakes Parcheesi with other glittering literati. Here he's pictured with his favourite buffalo, Melba, who he has claimed was a major inspiration, along with his beloved lawn mower for this book. What a buffalo and a lawnmower have to do with five suburban virgins destined for sacrifice is a mystery and when asked in an interview Mr. Eugenides replied, "Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it," which only deepens the mystery. The ranch is open to the public every second Wednesday of the month and buffalo birthing gloves are supplied to all the kiddies.
I have to say that for a thin book and first novel to boot, Mr. Eugenides (pronounced "Eugene, at
ease," but if you bark it like a marine drill sergeant with a dolmades stuck between his teeth you'll come very close to how it should sound in the original Greek), has created not only a novel that has an inherent creepiness in its themes and situations, but is equally adept at crushing creeping silverfish that would dare feed upon its very pages while you sleep. Let me just say that a lot of silverfish died virgins beneath the impact of this book, impressive for something that weighs in at barely half a pound. A lightweight in the world of heavyweight tomes but a K.O. artist when it comes to going the distance on the ropes.

Now let's get to the nitty-gritty of this suburban noir literary mystery and to do that we must start with the virgins. And I'm not talking just one or two but five, count'em, five virgin sisters romping through the pages of Mr. Eugene-At-Ease's pastoral and yet psychologically bleak landscape. Honestly, you need a bunch of virgins to keep people reading this morose thing. Of course the author is pretty smart sticking virgins right up there in the title because, let's face it, virgins sell like balloon animals at a swinger's party. As P.T. Barnum once said, there's a virgin born every minute and pair them with the suckers also being born every minute and you've got a marketing marriage made in heaven. Think of all the stuff with virgins. A virgin Caesar, virgin Shirley Temple, Like a Virgin, the Virgin Mary, the Virgin Islands, a virgin bride, Virgin Airlines, really you can't swing a dead cat without hitting some virgin thingamajig but Mr. Eugene-At-Ease uses his virgins for a higher calling. Namely as sacrificial victims to the god, Balalabub, a great and evil forgotten Aztec deity reborn as Hymie Kugelman who lives a few doors down from the virgin sisters and whose thirst for fresh virgin blood can never be sated except on Sundays when he's happy to just take his Cadillac out for a spin and maybe later watch a movie and have a nice grilled cheese sandwich and some sweet bread and butter pickles on the side, maybe some potato chips too although this sometimes gives him indigestion.
The great Balalabub (a.k.a. Hymie Kugelman) in all his radiant glory. Even cacti cower at his feet and virgins faint dead away as he takes them back to his suburban hideaway where he drains them of their blood and sometimes fits them for brassieres, not necessarily in that order.
Okay, here's how the plot pans out. The five virgin sisters, Rickie, Nickie, Mickie, Vickie and Rhonda (nicknamed Hickie because she lets all the boys suck on her neck), are the daughters of Renaldo and Pinky Lingmire. Renaldo is a sewer systems engineer and Punky teaches kazoo to neighbourhood children out of their home to bring in some extra cash. It's an affluent neighbourhood and close-knit community where everybody knows everybody except for some of the people they don't know and then some of those people don't know some of the other people so does anyone really know anyone or what they're doing in their rec-rooms, especially in underwear and easy access to a bubble machine? That's where this novel takes off like a jet plane in a whiny folk song and introduces the major themes of alienation, the pressures of social uniformity, the dark secrets of seemingly functional families that turn out more dysfunctional than that guy down the street who practices home taxidermy on neighbourhood cats, how the demands of a ten-pin bowling league and obsessive Hummel figurine collecting has affected that family psychology and the heartlessness of youth, especially regarding etiquette on escalators at the mall and the ridiculing of people's badly hemmed pants. Throw a washed-up Aztec god into the mix and you've got a recipe for meatballs in mole sauce along with a pretty good novel to boot.
Introduce a bubble machine into a rec-room setting and the sky's the limit. Unfortunately you can't always predict the outcome and, as in the case of Flip Minchford of Balousie, Mississippi pictured above, he was transformed into a gorilla suit-wearing deviant with a makeshift space helmet that helped him to recycle his own revolting fumes that he breathed constantly in his rec-room cave, inciting him into fits of rage and the urge to lick the bunions of elderly nuns. I mention this  to illustrate that just when you think you know your neighbours they go ahead and do something crazy like fornicating with bread pudding or selling top secret government information to Romanian gypsies. Just a word of warning next time your neighbours invite you over for some hors d'oeuvres and a game of Twister.
It's a intriguing narrative in that the story is told by a chorus of rutting teenage boys so it's not first, second or third person point-of-view but something I call twenty-second person perspective, give or take a couple of kids who disappear to summer camp or to the cottage for the holidays or come down with a bad case of food poisoning and aren't able to narrate the story because they're too busy vomiting into wastepaper buckets. Are any of these narrators reliable? Well, sure, though not around liquor cabinets or automobiles. Or virgin daughters for that matter. But their narrative descriptions are both sincere and somewhat innocent, tinged only here and there with depravity and singed with the spit of backyard BBQ hot dog grease. But what each of these narrators have in common is a fascination with the Lingmire sisters. If their understanding of the sisters is lacking, dictated by a skewed and hormone-swollen subjectivity where beauty is in the eye of the beholder except in the case of Chip Sundstrom, who has a glass eye and so, with the light reflecting off it he couldn't tell beauty if it hit him in the head with a two-by-four, at least they are still able to speak freely, lending an urgency to the characters' thoughts and desires, but as teenagers we are led to understand that they're still too stupid to comprehend the urges of the great Balalabub and his insatiable need for fresh virgin blood not to mention that it's an unemployed Aztec deity that is the driving force behind their community. New baseball diamond for the Little League team? Yep, that was Balalabub's doing. Bake sale to raise money to send odor-eating shoe inserts to poor children overseas? Balalabub again. In fact, there's no charitable organization or cause Balalabub didn't have a hand in or oversee. Though the community only knew him as just dopey old Hymie Kugelman with the bad toupee, always knocking on people's doors and asking for money, the smell of mothballs wafting off him stinging their nostrils as he stammered under their porch lights. Little did they know that the blood of virgins stained his shag carpeting.  
So many suburban backyard BBQ accidents involving grease-spitting hot dogs could've been avoided with the simple addition of a wiener rotisserie like the one pictured above. Why fill the emergency wards with teenagers spattered with wiener grease burns when with this simple and cost-effective appliance a community can be safe and happy again.
Who are these sisters, really and why do they keep disappearing one by one, their blood-drained bodies turning up behind Fortunato's Yogurt Silo with torn school yearbook pages stuffed in their panties? Is it a symbol of rampant consumerism, prevalent in the suburban landscape, that blood can be gulped up like so much fruit-flavoured yogurt with even a little left over to feed your overweight dachshund? And do the yearbook pages implicate the sisters' many teenage admirers as the perpetrators of these horrendous sacrifices, as Detective Horst Vactate believes over the course of his feeble investigations? But as every investigator knows, the focus should begin at home yet somehow Detective Vactate overlooks the obvious because he's a complicated man, twice divorced and taken to holding lederhosen parties that no one attends except for his idiot cousin, Gruenschveltz who thinks he's a Luftwaffe captain and regularly stuffs bratwursts up his anal cavity and dances polkas with an inflatable sex doll he calls Marie.
The author's fictional use of a yogurt silo works as both an excellent metaphorical device for intimating the fine line between abundance and gluttony along with adding some veracity to his story since yogurt silos such as the one pictured above have been popping up in strip malls all across the United States and are popular with both young and old alike. In this picture, Titus Blanchard, originator of the Yogurt Silo franchise, stands at the site of his first Yogurt Silo in Des Moines, Iowa. Behind the silos are the feeding tubes where for $1.89 a customer gets ten minutes unlimited feeding time. As Titus likes to say, "You can't get more natural than this. It's like sucking the yogurt straight from the cow's teat, without the fruit flavouring of course."
It is precisely Detective Vactate's shortcomings that lead him on a wild goose chase (literally, because for a while he believes that a crazed wild goose with a sharpened beak has been attacking and draining the blood of the virgins) when really, the answer is lying right under his nose but because of allergies and bad sinus congestion, we are led to believe that Vactate wouldn't know a rotting sardine from an apple blossom no matter how far you shoved them up his nostrils. For in the end, and this is the shocking truth, it's actually the father, Renaldo Lingmire, who offered up his own daughters to Hymie Kugelman (a.k.a. Balalabub) for sacrifice. How could a father do such a thing to his own children? Again Mr. Eugenides insinuates the moral complexities of the seemingly ideal suburban lifestyle and upbringing and the scenes involving Renaldo and his leaf blower that he uses to drown out his own miserable thoughts and motivations are especially poignant. In fact, it is Mr. Eugenides' economy of language and his attention to the mundane that makes this book so riveting. Take this passage for example:

"The day almost amplified the idea of mid-western life in its fetid breeze and pale sunlight that dappled the foliage where a raccoon had recently died after eating poisoned cheese. But this was of no concern to Renaldo as he strapped the leaf blower to his shoulder. Raccoons were one thing but sacrificial virgin daughters were a whole new ball game. The 30cc engine had the weight but the shoulder pad bore it well as it vibrated through Renaldo's body in the waning summer heat. The machine had a 485 CFM air volume and an air speed of 180 mph. Add to that a variable-speed trigger throttle and you weren't just blowing leaves, you were executing them. Much the way the Great Balalabub sacrificed virgins behind the naugahyde bar in his rec-room. If Renaldo listened closely, just beneath the thrumming of the leaf blowing machine, he could almost hear the voices of his lost daughters and likewise all the daughters in the community, offered up to Hymie Kugelman who oddly used denture cream to keep his toupee in place, a fact that he had hid from all three of his wives, even after they had divorced him because he felt a man who has lost both his hair and his teeth was really broadcasting his lack of virility, especially when some good-looking broads were on the menu that evening. But if guilt were a three-piece suit worn by a moribund salesman peddling flange gaskets for a phosphate mining factory, then you could easily put Renaldo on that sales team and book him into a motel on the outskirts of Kapuskasing where a hooker is still the same price as a dozen doughnuts from Tim Hortons and a man's word is as good as the blood that floods his mukluks after a snowmobile has crushed his feet. Still, in Wisconsin, the buffalo continue to roam, their snorts and mucous drips and the mighty swings of their scrotal sacs holding sway over the warp and weave of the prairie grass and the inhabitants feel the weight of the land and sky pressing to their temples like an ice cream headache. Renaldo blew the leaves to hell and back somehow wishing that it was himself that he was blowing to the underworld instead, so great was his remorse and his soul felt under the waning Detroit sun, misted with the vaporous debris from the automotive factories, as stained as Satan's underpants after a Szechuan buffet."

Whew! I don't know about you but when I read that passage the blood drains from me like a chicken under the knife of a kosher butcher in Poland, circa 1883. By 1884 the chickens weren't as tasty and by 1885 you couldn't find a decent chicken in Poland if your life depended on it. It wasn't until 1939 before any good chickens returned to the country but then the Nazis arrived so that's the end of that story. Anyway, the interplay of soul-stirring prose and semiotic coldness is as much a structure for the author to hang his carefully chosen words on as it is a warm, cozy bathrobe that Renaldo Lingmire likes to wear when he's down in the sewers drawing up new blueprints for his engineering firm. What everyone doesn't know, except for Renaldo of course, is that he owes his job to the Great Balalabub who got him an interview at Corky's Sewage Engineering and Pipe-Fitting, thus facilitating his happy upper-middle class existence and all the trappings that a bubble machine and a fancy cheese tray can bring (besides supplying Balalabub with sacrificial virgins, Renaldo also poisons all the neighbourhood raccoons as the above passage describes, using a lovely combination of Roquefort, Wisconsin cheddar and a Trappist monk hard cheese that he orders directly from the Our Lady of the Bleeding Gums Abbey in Berryville, U.S.A. and for this he has no regrets as his mother was killed by a family of raccoons when they tipped a load of bricks on her head as she was spying on one the workmen doing renovations to the family mansion in Montauk where she suspected him of lolling around naked, smoking cigars, eating corn dogs and drinking whiskey when he was supposed to be building a wall, and so she had slid beneath some scaffolding, which required that she too had to remove her clothing so as not to snag any fabric on a stray nail and there they were both found, naked as jaybirds and the family of raccoons chittering merrily over their crushed skulls). So Renaldo has made a pact with the devil, or balding and toothless Aztec deity in this case and when Balalabub begins demanding fresh virgin blood, Renaldo offers up his own daughters for sacrifice. Then, once they're gone, Renaldo must continue to procure more virgins using his Margaritaville Minivan Tour as enticement and sometimes when he can't find any girls he lures some teenage boys and dresses them up in wigs and yoga pants after he knocks them out with a large, frozen salami he keeps under the front seat of the minivan next to the Margarita mix and Balalabub, who really likes his peppermint schnapps, doesn't seem to notice after six or seven shots. And Detective Vactate continues to believe each one of these cases is a suicide instead of a sacrifice plus, to complicate matters, he's also fallen in love with Pinky Lingmire, which just goes to show you love is blind, especially when that love is unrequited and the object of your affection throws hot pork dumplings at your eyes. It's not completely Vactate's fault though working the suicide angle because Renaldo, once Balalabub is through with the bodies, poses the corpses over various sewer gratings in such a way and with certain objects that makes suicide look like the only deductive option. And even when Pinky Lingmire discovers her husband's indiscretions and murderous abetting ways, she so much loves the leather seats of her Lexus that if she were still of child-bearing age, would definitely continue to procreate to provide more virgin daughters for the great Balalabub and thus maybe trade up her Lexus for a Maserati not to mention upgrading their home entertainment system and kitchen appliances.
An Aztec Vienna Sausage Harvest Season hat as worn by the high priests during the gathering rites. The ceremony originated when the first wave of Viennese sausage-making refugees washed up on a raft in the Gulf of Mexico, escaping a plague of psychiatrists that had descended upon the Austrian capital, accusing the cocktail wiener makers of acute penis envy coupled with an Oedipus Complex that would make any mother blush. The image is courtesy of Al's Aztec Party Hats and Ritual Sacrificial Supplies, Fort Wayne Indiana.
As for Renaldo, his semen is still seaworthy when it comes to navigating the uterine lining and so Balalabub urges him to carry on various illicit affairs with married neighbourhood women in order to keep up a steady supply of virgins for future sacrifice, no mean feat when those women know you make your living crawling through sewer systems in a bathrobe that's covered in rat feces. Fortunately Balalabub bestows upon Renaldo his ancient purple sparkle hat, once worn by Aztec high priests during Vienna Sausage harvest season and no woman can resist its shimmering charms and hypnotic effect. Thematically, the novel follows some very well-trod post-modern tropes, trod in hiking boots I might add and so there is a heavy-handed or more precisely, heavy-footed plotting afoot along with some theoretical shenanigans that insinuate themselves into the narrative like an unwanted house guest who shaves over the kitchen sink, the paradigms shining like kidney stones passing and plunking into a well-lit toilet bowl, but Mr. Eugenides makes these muddied trails his own through his own particular brand of dark humour and some imaginative uses for barbeque tongs. Really, this novel would just be another Stephen King door-stopper but in the adept hands of Mr. Eugenides it becomes an in-depth examination of the American Dream gone sour like a block of Wisconsin cheese left too long in a barn on a back road long forgotten by farmers and poets, politicians and torque-wrench salesmen and all sense of control by a nation gone awry has been left in the palsied hands of aging and decrepit deities who nevertheless impress us with their dusty and denuded plumage like peacocks parading through a delicatessen, their now paltry feathers reeking of corned beef and pastrami while somewhere a group of virgins lick Total-Care toothpaste off the eyelids of perfectly posed dead Civil War re-enactors. That's the kind of dream Mr. Eugenides is talking about and if this puts you ill-at-ease then perhaps you should crawl back to your Socrates (pronounced Sock'R'Tease) because obviously Mr. Eugene-At-Ease is not the kind of author you're looking for. 
The author taking a break from a hard day of writing, spending a little quality time with his beloved buffalo and his partner, Mitzi, wearing her famed buffalo horn cocktail hour headdress.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense: Part 2

As proof of how invaluable the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense is, since Part 1 of this post I have had the unfortunate occasion to have to use my defense system twice. It just goes to show you the amount of evil that awaits you on a daily basis whether it be liquored up punks, crazed beekeepers or depraved marionette makers with unaddressed Geppetto complexes and an obsession with lie-detecting elongating wooden noses that make castration anxiety seem like the innocent daydream of your local butcher and penis envy just another night on the town for your community centre Zumba instructor. Granted, the first time was defending myself against my neighbour, Litvack's crazed guinea pig, which has grown so big and fat and, I suspect, has developed a taste for human flesh, that I feared for my life as the beast went for my neck. Litvack claims that that's impossible as Mr. Carruthers, as Litvack calls him, is so obese he can barely walk from his food bowl to his bed of wood chips (which is only inches away as Litvack also likes to remind me since the incident), but I saw the psychotic look in Mr. Carruthers' eyes and took the necessary steps to defend myself and deter what would no doubt have been a very bloody event. The fact is, with its long hair and corpulent body, Mr. Carruthers very much resembles Alfred Hitchcock in drag and with his psychopathic eyes, one is very much put in mind of that great director's most frightening movie, Psycho. In the world of guinea pigs, Mr. Carruthers could very well be a middle-aged Norman Bates and with his two, long front teeth, not unlike a couple of fillet knives, he would have made mincemeat out of my jugular in no time. Litvack was not happy that I karate chopped his guinea pig but because of my Haltiwanger self defense training I was able to temper the blow using the Haltiwanger half-chop to merely stun the rodent when I could have just as easily crushed him like an overripe mango. That Litvack then took back the hot plate he loaned me for cooking up some of my gourmet feasts (be aware that some of the finest gourmet foods can be found in the fifty cent unlabeled dented can bin at your local grocery store and that it's creativity that makes the dish, not the price of the ingredients or their discoloration, smell or alarmingly soft texture due to the past due expiry date), is inconsequential to me and honestly, Litvack is the loser here since he was the recipient of so many of my culinary conquests. And if Mr. Carruthers bears me any ill will after I karate chopped him, so be it. That guinea pig would no doubt eat an innocent baby in its crib if given half the chance. Test his droppings and I'm sure you'll find human DNA.
Mr. Carruthers in all his psychotic glory. This picture was taken before I karate chopped him and wiped the evil gleam from his eye and made him think twice about adding human flesh to his diet.

And this is how I'd like to see Mr. Carruthers if I had my way. Roasted with potatoes and maybe served up with a nice Riesling or Chardonnay. Looks like the only thing those two front teeth are good for now is scooping up guinea pig gravy.
My second run-in occurred when a monkey allegedly mistook my head for a coconut. Where exactly are you living, you might ask? In what North American city might such a thing happen? Well, I'm getting older and no doubt balding but never has my head been mistaken for a coconut before. A cantaloupe maybe, even a small seedless watermelon, but a coconut has never been my head's forte in the resemblance department. The monkey in question actually belongs to Litvacks's cousin, Maurice, an unemployed organ grinder and the fact that Mr. Carruthers and the monkey, Bonga, are best friends only makes me think there's a conspiracy afoot. I'm positive that Mr. Carruthers informed Bonga of the karate chop incident and as I was leaving my rooming house a few days later, Maurice and Bonga were sitting on the stoop of Litvack's rooming house next door to me. This is the conversation that ensued.

Maurice: Hey, Haltiwanger. How is youse?
Me: Hi, Maurice. Hi Bonga. Enjoying the sunshine?
Maurice: We're liking it just fine. Eh, Bonga? Too bad not everyone can be enjoying it today though. Like, for example, take Bonga's guinea pig pal, Mr. Carruthers. He don't wanna come outside on account'a his nerves are shot after some wiseguy gave him a karate chop. Now who would karate chop a cute little guinea pig, a guinea pig I might add who's getting on in years. It's like hitting a senior citizen. I ask youse, what kind'a person would hit an old fat hairy senior citizen? What kind'a louse would do that? Eh? That's what me and Bonga here are wondering. Right, Bonga?
Bonga: Eee, eeee, eeeee! Whooo, whooo, ahhh, ahhhh, ahhhh!
Me: Oh, yeah...well...well, that's really terrible there Maurice. I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Carruthers and his nerves and all. Very unfortunate. Please send him my regards and express my deepest sympathies. I really have to be going now (I must add that at this point I knew the jig was up and Bonga was looking at me with fiery vengeance in his beady little monkey eyes and his tiny, green pillbox hat was tilted at a peculiar angle that insinuated trouble but then maybe I'm just paranoid and out-of-work organ grinder monkeys make me nervous although there is no confusion about what happened next).
Maurice: Sure, sure, have a nice day. By the way, did you get a haircut. 'Cause your head looks kind'a like, well, I don't know, whadd'ya think Bonga but I think it looks a lot like a coconut. I mean I'd say a melon but there's just a bit of this thin, wispy hair sticking up, which really is coconut-like. Like if youse body was a tree and your head was on top I'd climb up that tree without a thought and pick that coconut before it drops to the ground and rots. Just a thought.
Me: Uh, well, that's very astute of you, Maurice. Very goods powers of observation you got there although I'd beg to differ about the whole coconut head resemblance thing, especially because, if you might've noticed, the back of my head is actually rather flat, which is not something you normally see on a coconut. Maybe more like a papaya that's gone kind'a soft and is resting on a counter top so one side gets a little flat due to pressure and gravity and sunlight and fibrous texture and such, so papaya yes, coconut not so much (I might further add that at this point Bonga was pretty much chomping at the bit, trying to shake off his little dress and I noticed that Maurice had subtly unhooked Bonga's chain from the tiny leash around his neck).
Maurice: Papaya, coconut, it's all the same to me. They're fruit, grow on tropical trees and they're both delicious. Am I right, Bonga? Yum, yum.

It was at this point that I turned to go and I'd taken only half a step before I felt Bonga's hairy and slightly piquant smelling body landing squarely on my shoulders as he grabbed my head with his deceptively strong little monkey-handed grip and began twisting my head this way and that, attempting to wrench my noggin from my neck. When that didn't work he began to pummel me with his tiny monkey fists and I believe he also defecated on my treasured Arrow Mach II tailored shirt (luckily the shirt's strong polyester fibers withstood the torrent of monkey fecal matter and made for an easier clean-up process in the end so hats off to all the fabric scientists and engineers at the Arrow corporation). 
All I can say is that if a monkey defecated on Bob, Paul or Steve's shirt they wouldn't bat an eyelash knowing that the scientific construction of their Arrow Mach II shirts are built to withstand any primate's fecal onslaught. Cooler heads shall always prevail as Bob, Paul and Steve easily illustrate and if the confidence in their gaze doesn't take your breath away maybe their shaped shirts, well-groomed facial hair and easygoing yet confident manliness will.
In the flurry of enraged monkey activity I think he also tried to have sex with my ear (it's a known fact organ grinder monkeys' sex drives kick into high gear when they're faced with stressful and confrontational situations which is why, particularly in the city, you can see many of them fornicating with dead pigeons, squirrels, discarded burritos, senior citizens that have fallen to the pavement as a result of over-medication and the odd raccoon that they've just killed in an argument). In fact, it's when I felt that tiny, stiff monkey member enter my ear canal that I realized now was the time to act quickly and defend myself before the monkey, in the throes of passion and at the height of arousal, achieved orgasm and flooded my ear with his beastly genetic matter. I used the Haltiwanger Monkey Evasive Maneuver #4 which entails grasping the monkey's penis between thumb and forefinger while the other hand finds the beast's tail and gives a good tug. This way the animal is being pulled in opposite directions by its two most sensitive appendages and if any monkey thinks his opposable thumbs make him cock-of-the-walk in the concrete jungle, wait until he meets the Haltiwanger Opposable Thumb Double-Tug and Peek-a-Boo Testicle Scoop'n'Squish Defense. Now that you have the beast's attention, release its tail and bring your hand up to your face, fingers splayed so that you're peeking through your digits. You can even blurt a playful "peekaboo" like you would to a baby to make it gurgle and goo. This will puzzle the monkey, causing him a moment's pause whereupon you can take advantage of his bewildered state to scoop his family jewels into your palm (as unseemly as this seems), and give a good squeeze which should result in the monkey looking for coconuts, if those coconuts grew in the dirt and could only be found by falling to one's knees and screaming like a primate that just saw its entire family turned into bush meat. That's the kind of coconuts I'm talking about. Looks like the only organ grinding this monkey is going to experience involves his own organ unfortunately. Or at least the coconuts that hang beneath his monkey tree. Now I'm not a big fan of grabbing any sort of testicles, be they on a man, monkey, iguana or Liberace wax museum figure, but when push comes to shove and your head is in danger of being torn asunder by an evil unemployed organ-grinder monkey with a chip on his shoulder, an axe to grind and an overactive libido, it's best to put your nose to the grindstone and your hand to the testes and put the primate in his place as swiftly as possible so your afternoon is free to enjoy a nice donair on a park bench or hitting the dollar store to stock up on decorative toothpicks for the next time company drops over. In fact that's where I was headed before Maurice and Bonga waylaid me and Maurice so surreptitiously hinted to Bonga that my head might resemble the hard-shelled fruit of a tree. By the time I was through with Bonga I could count organ grinder monkeys as well as guinea pigs as my mortal enemies as news travels fast in the animal kingdom, even if you've been karate chopped or had your testicles crushed and can barely squeak or grunt out the news. Now there's no doubt Maurice will lie in wait for me, looking for that perfect opportunity to seek revenge for what I did to his monkey's testes (not to mention squashing Bonga's little pillbox hat and getting schmutz on his sundress), but Maurice is truly a coward at heart and always cowers behind his monkey whenever there's trouble afoot. I expect no trouble from him or at least not the sort of trouble I can't handle with some of my Haltiwanger self-defense techniques and if all goes according to plan, the street in front of my rooming house will be strewn with primates in pain clutching their reproductive organs while a hand-cranked organ plays Lara's Theme at an abominable tempo and Omar Sharif (aka Dr. Zhivago) rolls over in his grave.  
Maurice and Bonga in better days before Bonga allegedly mistook my head for a coconut and paid the price for it. Don't let Maurice's charming facade fool you for beneath the jaunty hat, colourful bandana and ruddy Alp-climbing complexion lies the complex cogs and wheels turning in the psychological machinery of an inherently evil man. The Nazis in the Sound of Music could learn a thing or two from this organ-grinding despot. As for Bonga, one look at his feral little face says it all. If this isn't a monkey that would crack open your skull and suck out your brains like they were just so much banana puree, then you've obviously been taken in by his fetching sun dress and stylish accessories.  
Now that we've taken care of self defense tactics when dealing with insane members of various animal species (and although I've only described guinea pigs and organ grinder monkeys these defense techniques are easily applicable to all manner of creature, be they lizard, lemur, hamster, halibut, praying mantis or mangy game-park denizen looking to pad out its next measly meal with some human meat), it's time to take a look at another source of attacks from one of the least likely of places, making this type of perpetrator extremely dangerous. Serial killers, you ask yourself? Crazed, balding butchers with cleavers who can't get a date because they smell like pig's feet and refuse to take off their bloody aprons, even at the movies, perhaps? No, I'm talking about fully functional martial arts puppets controlled by withering yellow-bellied wimps who are so afraid of physical contact that they make attack puppets do their bidding. You can recognize them easily as they appear ham-fisted from a distance but as they draw nearer the illusion is revealed as martial arts puppets clutched in each sweaty palm. I have had first-hand experience with these puppet-wielding deviants, the most recent occurring as I was napping on my usual park bench surrounded by cooing pigeons, frolicsome squirrels and mentally-ill men urinating, defecating and/or masturbating in the bushes. There I was enjoying the sunshine and catching a few winks in order to re-energize my constantly put-to-the-test self-defense depleted physique when I felt a flurry of tiny hands and feet pummeling my face and neck. Groggy at first, I snapped quickly to attention once the mucous crust flaked from my eyelashes and I was able to focus, finding myself staring into the evil visages of two of the most devious martial arts puppets to ever walk this planet. Gorblon the Russian and Huch-Huch the Turk, manufactured by Flimbor Industries and discontinued after both were implicated in a rash of attacks on unsuspecting citizens who weren't expecting to have two harmlessly seeming toys rain blows upon their nostrils, earlobes, eyebrows, belly buttons, nipples, toenails, dewlaps, double chins and any part of their thoraxes exposed by revealing summer clothing.   
Gorblon the Russian (left) and Huch-Huch the Turk, ready for business with their special abdominal push buttons that trigger their lethal karate chops and punches. Combined with their kicks, activated by quick finger taps on their spring-loaded blue support stands, these two spell trouble even if they couldn't spell the word trouble if their lives depended on it. 
Now, the key to properly dispatching these two diabolical evil-doers and their fists and well-manicured feet of fury is to not concentrate on the puppets but rather their milquetoast puppet masters. You must strike at the source to disarm their terrible tools of pent-up rage administered by those with personality disorders and incontinence problems, the prime catalyst being inferiority complexes that, if translated into neon signage, would put any Las Vegas marquee to shame. The fear shining in the eyes of these lily-livered malefactors could easily be discerned by astronauts in space, even more so than the Great Wall of China. So, disregard the puppets and lunge straight for the controlling hands and arms of their masters. Chicken-hearted miscreants such as these are easily overpowered if you follow my three easy steps to successful self-defense. First, tear the heads off the martial arts puppets. You do this by grasping the hand of the puppet master, encircling the thin, knobby wrist with what I call the "grip of death," which is really just a regular grip but you squeeze really hard and grimace and growl and perhaps even drool for effect while you do it. You'd be surprised the results this technique gets, especially when dealing with spineless and malnourished crooks whose last meal was a half of a chewed chicken wing, three shriveled French fries and the backwash from a nearly empty plastic bottle of Pepsi fished from the garbage can of a public park. As they stare at you with a shocked face, their hand immobilized by your "death grip," you simply reach out with the other hand and grasping the albeit small but fearsomely bearded and mustachioed plastic head of Gorblon the Russian or Huch-Huch the Turk, you rip their head asunder from their neck much the same way Bonga, the organ grinder monkey wished to tear my allegedly coconut-shaped noggin from my body. Repeat again with the other hand and now the deadly martial arts puppets are just a two headless, inconsequential dolls that not even Barbie would sleep with. As for their master, I promise he will be left standing, mouth agape, spindly wrists throbbing and two headless puppets fallen at his fungus-riddled feet. Count slowly backwards from five and if he hasn't run off or at least begun to back away by this time, use the "Hammer of Thor" side hand blow, so named from olden days when Vikings used it to chop the heads of their freshly caught herring, striking at either the collarbone or the earlobes, two extremely sensitive parts of the human body (a trait also shared by wombats and anteaters). To use the "Hammer of Thor" side hand blow simply keep your hand open and stiff and chop at your attacker while yelling "Hammer of Thor" simultaneously.     
Here is Gorblon and Huch-Huch in action, demonstrating their deadly chops and kicks. But those black belts won't count for much when you pop off their heads and send their puppet masters scurrying for the shrubbery.
Here's another situation you might find yourself in, especially if you fall under the category of human shrimp. I don't mean that you're actually half-human and half-crustacean because that would really work in your favour when it comes to self-defense, especially if you had enormous pincers, but rather than you're diminutive in stature and can be tossed around like a beach ball, even in a strong wind. Here's the premise. A bully or a wise guy who is much taller than you is loaded with confidence but you're about to prove to him that most of it is false. He's living in a fool's paradise but little does he know that you're living on a luxurious cruise ship called the H.M.S. Haltiwanger with enough power to send old Neptune himself running for his mommy. He thinks that because he towers over you, he can defeat you with one big knock-out blow and then go home to watch the Late Show on television. Maybe have a bowl of crispy pork rinds, six or seven brewskies and then pass out while passing vile gas during an episode of Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. Well just let him try it (not the gas passing and beer and pork rinds but the knock-out punch), because you're ready. The photo below says it all. As he grasps your head with his car-wrecker crane sized mitt, give him a convincing fearful human-shrimp like look that says, "please don't hurt me because I don't want to defecate in my pants or crustacean carapace." While he's looking down at you with disdain and maybe even a little disgust at the thought that you might actually soil yourself, you now have the huge ignoramus exactly where you want him. Before he can even strike, thinking he might have the whole situation wrapped up before he even throws a punch, you strike instead with the speed of a rattlesnake that's been disturbed by a lost tire salesman fanning himself with a pork pie hat and singing Ave Maria at the top of his lungs to keep himself company in the corn field he's wandered into after drinking too much schnapps. Using the "Shrimp Finger Thrust," with the hand straightened but fingers flexing like shrimp legs, grasp the goon's waist while driving your shrimp fingers into his abdomen. The bully's pride will be hurt by this point but that's not all. Follow this up with a second "shrimp finger thrust" to the testicles and the tormentor will be licking his wounds, although licking your own testicles or abdomen is no easy feat. 
It may look bad for the shrimp in the shiny underpants but when the big buffoon is laying on the ground trying to lick his own groin wounds we'll see who's doing the laughing.
Next is another shrimp vs. giant scenario except this time the shrimpy fellow isn't you but rather your sidekick. This kind of defense counts on some beforehand preparation and the sense that you're going to get into a skirmish with some giant blockhead at some point during your daily travels, even if you have to instigate it yourself to test the efficiency of this self-defense technique. So, call up the smallest, shrimp-like meekest friend you know and have them accompany you for the day. Saunter the city streets, whistling, humming songs or just spitting on things, all the while keeping an eye out for big oafs looking to beat up on a couple of pipsqueaks like yourselves. Really, this shouldn't take long, especially if you roam a bad section of town and make loud comments like "Get a load of that dumb ox over there," or "Looks like Blimpo the Blockhead escaped from the circus again."
Now here's where things get interesting. No doubt the boneheaded chump is going to take offense at these comments and and make a beeline straight for your jugular veins. One glance at the couple of squirts calling him names and he'll think he has it made in the shade when it comes to putting you and your runt friends' lights out. But this is where you'll surprise him using a trick I learned, interestingly enough, from old episodes of the Three Stooges and is a move I like to call the "Moe Howard Subterfuge." In essence, you'll be offering up your shrimp pal as a diversion so you can hit the big galoot right where it counts. The image below illustrates both the simplicity and the effectiveness of the Moe Howard defense. As the goon approaches, you throw your half-pint pal into the fray head first. The natural reaction is for the big bruiser to grasp the shrimp's hair or ear to move him out of the way, seriously compromising his concentration. Get your shrimp friend to make lots of whimpering noises too, although he might be doing that naturally as the huge buffoon tears out tufts of your friend's hair. Now is the time to act before your buddy is completely bald. Grip the clodhopper's free arm (the one that's not pulling at your sidekick's hair or ear) but entwine your arms in such a way that you're pulling back against his elbow joint. Then apply my patented shoulder pinch on the dolt's collarbone (you may need to stand on a stool to reach it so maybe carry a small stool with you on your travels-your sidekick can carry it), squeezing it like an enthusiastic accordion player. You'll hear the sweet music of "I surrender, dear," from your oafish foe in seconds and your shrimp sidekick should have lost only a slight amount of hair.
It's shrimp fest down at the docks but it looks like this brute is going to get a bruising once you snap his elbow like a dry lasagna noodle and squeeze his collarbone like you're playing Flight of the Bumblebee.
I'm now going to devote a bit of time to a new problem arising on the city streets these days. As you know everything old is new again and that especially holds true for pork pie hats and walking canes. Now the pork pie hats (and the occasional bowler hat too), pose very little threat but those walking canes are something else. Thus, chances are any villain you should happen to meet on the street is undoubtedly carrying one of these canes and though this might give him the air of a debonair gentleman out for a stroll, how many gentlemen do you know wearing sweatpants stained with whiskey, the run-off from nosebleeds and aerosol cheese? Not to mention the snake tattoos on their necks. These are the visual clues that will help you discern the true gentleman from the riffraff. Once you have ascertained that the approaching fellow with the walking cane means to bean you on the bean, followed perhaps by a few stinging strikes to the buttocks and some pokes to the solar plexus, it's time to give this cad a taste of his own medicine. Thus I recommend always carrying a walking cane on your person and if you don't have or can't afford one, a simple broomstick will suffice. Also, regarding pork pie hats, if you want to one-up your adversary I suggest a hat equipped with  armour reinforcement. Now this doesn't mean using expensive metals like Kevlar or lead when easily-found household objects will do the trick. Simply line the top of your hat with pages torn from an old Bible or use deli meat or beef jerky strips. Save up your old teabags and these also will cushion any blow. If you don't own a pork pie hat but feel the need for protective head covering, a good-sized pot lid attached to the head with elastics or string makes an excellent armoured hat. Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty. The three examples below should cover any cane attack scenario.
The pork pie hat and cane attack: Your attacker confronts you, cane at the ready. Perhaps you had a few disagreeing words with him last week. Now he's returned to exact his revenge. Assume the cane-defense position, which means simply stand with legs apart, cane raised and hiss through your teeth, "Suck broomstick you filthy hoodlum." Then lean forward and tap him on the top of his pork pie hat. This lets you know if there's any beef jerky, old tea bags or Bible page reinforcement in the lid. Regardless, the fact that you tapped him on the hat first means you've won the fight. If he persists in his attack you may defecate in your pants, which should confuse him long enough that you can then run or there's a good chance he may run first. If you decide to stand your soiled ground, it helps to remove your hat and use it to fan your stench into your adversary's face. If all else fails, feel free to throw some feces at him.With any luck you'll hit him in the eyes, blinding him temporarily whereupon you can beat him soundly with your cane.

The Mary Poppins Defense: A variation on the walking cane, using an umbrella instead, this self-defense technique asks that before leaving the house you dress like Mary Poppins first. A man, upon seeing you, goes berserk. Perhaps he saw the movie as a child and has bad memories of the experience. Perhaps he just hates Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Maybe his mother sang him "A Spoon Full of Sugar" as she shoved cod-liver oil down his throat. Either way he means business but luckily you have your umbrella with you and are wearing a roomy dress, making it easier to perform sweeping leg kicks. Talk to the oaf in a high voice in order to trick him into thinking you'll be a pushover. Say things like "Oh, please dear sir, do not rob or harm me. I have but a tuppence piece to buy something to feed my squealing pig that, in turn, needs to feed the forty wretched, ungrateful and ugly children in my charge that remain unimpressed by my singing or flying though they do like to look up my dress while I'm in the air and stare at my underpants and perhaps you'd like to do the same, which I will let you do if you are kind to me." His bowler hat is a dead giveaway to some form of armoured head reinforcement, be it past date due deli meats or a block of cheese so avoid a blow to the head and instead ram the tip of your umbrella under the roughneck's chin, followed by a knee to the face and then just get all Mary Poppins on his ass. You can use the curved handle of the umbrella, secured behind the fiend's neck, to drag him to the ground where you can then stomp on him with your matronly shoes. He'll be dead before you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Then squat over his face, hike up your skirt and show your underpants to his lifeless eyes. "How do you like them bananas?" you say, adjusting yourself.
The B.O. Defense: The final example in this cane attack segment requires not bathing for a few days or weeks or even a month or two if you really want to be sure of this defense technique's effectiveness. A ruffian struts down the street, happy as can be in this dog eat dog society. He flicks his walking cane at anyone who dares get too close to him and threatens to get dust on his leotards or in his mustache. You approach in a sleeveless undershirt. He doesn't like the looks of you or the fact your mustache is bushier than his (tip: spend the time you save by not bathing to put your efforts into growing an impressive mustache). His raises his cane and makes a thrust. You lift your arms and let the full force of your formidable body odour hit him square in the face. Too bad his life insurance policy doesn't provide for death by B.O. That's okay. You go to his home, marry his wife and raise his children as your own. End of story.
Next, I'm going to quickly illustrate how an everyday routine can be utilized in your self-defense technique. Notice a similarity in the two images below. One shows a man doing that popular dance known as the Watusi. It's a dance still popular with both young and old these days and I, for one, Watusi at least once a day. Even if it's just with myself in a mirror or looking into the back of a soup spoon. The image beneath that shows one of my prized pupils, Egon Plimpset, leading a class through a series of Haltiwanger self-defense exercises. See where I'm going with this? That's right, the Watusi moves have been integrated into my self-defense system so that your opponent will just think you're dancing while you Watusi his sorry ass all the way to the emergency room. Whether wearing a suit or martial arts outfit, the key is to look convincing and it even helps to sing along with your moves like "Boom de boom de boom, yeah, bumpity boom de bump, yeah," smiling and giving thumbs-up fist pumps before going in for the kill. There's your enemy dancing along and starting to enjoy himself when suddenly you give him the 'kiss and grind' punch that's as easy as blowing a kiss and waving goodbye to a loved one departing on a train or ship. Except you're also hitting that person in the face which you certainly wouldn't do to a loved one unless it was your Aunt Phyllis and she made you massage her dewlaps. Anyway, you'll get the last laugh thinking of your foe trying to do the Watusi in a full body cast.
Just an innocent guy having a little Watusi fun? Think again when he's dancing on your coffin.
"Meow," said the innocent cat. "Wanna dance?"  Don't be fooled because seconds later he'll make you cough up your internal organs like a hairball on the gymnasium floor during the slow dance at prom night. Grrrr! This house cat suddenly became a tiger and you're about to step into his den of death.
Now I'd like to return to some tips I gave in Part I of the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense dealing with passing gas through plaid pants as a self-defense technique. The effectiveness of this approach cannot be underestimated, which makes me want to revisit it with a new set of circumstances. Say you're an attractive woman taking a walk through the park or a well-fenced petting zoo. Suddenly some big galoot with a nice hairline and fancy V-neck sweater decides you're going to be his gal and to drive home this point he grasps you beneath your bazooms. Fortunately, you've taken my suggestion and worn plaid pants precisely for this kind of situation.You've also kept up a good gas-inducing diet over the past few days so that when a situation such as this rears its ugly head (as it undoubtedly will, especially for an unattended woman at a petting zoo), your rear will be ready to pass muster when push comes to shove and fisticuffs turn to farting. The two examples below should prepare you for any attack by some cad in polyester/rayon blend slacks.
In this photo series, the big louse (let's call him Armando because I hate that name) grabs Miss Glinkwurst just beneath her gazongas. "How about a roll in the hay in the pygmy goat display," he slobbers in her ear. No doubt those hairy paws will be making fast work on the hooks of her brassiere under the leering eyes of the pygmy goats and, unfortunately, any children who might be petting them. But not so fast, Armando you disgusting lout because Miss Glinkwurst uses the Haltiwanger "untied shoelace" approach. "Excuse me, sir," she says, "but I believe your shoelace is untied. Let me do it up for you." Armando can't resist, especially since as she bends over to tie his shoe he'll get a riveting view of her rear end. Of course that will also be the end of him. As Miss Glinkwurst bends forward, she releases some lethal intestinal gas that she tested earlier on her pet dachshund, Mumpsy, who was overcome almost immediately (dachshunds make perfect test subjects for these kinds of emissions since their long, sausage bodies make them more immune to blasts from the bowels due to length and circumference). If you own a dachshund you can do your own testing or else visit your local park, find a dachshund and when the owner isn't looking fart in the dog's face and then monitor the results. Because Miss Glinkwurst is wearing plaid pants, the gas is able to spread all that more easily through the looser weave of the fabric and as Armando is hit in the face with the first wave of the deadly odour, Miss Glinkwurst is able to grab Armando's ankle and pull upwards throwing him off balance. A couple of more farts to the kneecap and then a quick buttock chop to the solar plexus and testicles and the only thing Armando will be good for after that is playing the lead part in Annie at an assisted living facility for the elderly where he can try his new soprano voice on for size.
In this second example, Armando is again up to his dirty tricks. This time he's using a frontal assault hoping the shimmer of his polyester/rayon blend slacks will be enough to distract the lady until he has her firmly in his clutches. Unfortunately for him she's on to his devious ways and with some fancy wrist twists to break his grip along with plaid pants, a stomach full of gas and a couple of swift kicks to the genitals and ankles, this guy is definitely off the bowling team, at least until the end of summer. The only ten-pin ball Armando will be lifting is the one in his swollen scrotum.
Moving on, I'd just like to say that in this day and age of vicious degenerates preying on the innocent we must remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unless you're talking about a pound of cured deli meats like, say, pastrami, which needs no preventative and should be eaten immediately. Anyway, here's the situation and how the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense can keep it from escalating. You get into a verbal argument with somebody, perhaps over a parking spot or you both tried to grab the same watermelon at the supermarket or a heated debate over who has the bushiest mustache but regardless of the cause, the result is always the same. Maybe he's a poker-faced wiseguy who likes to poke you in the chest or the poker's cousin, the pusher who likes to push you about. He feels superior, confident, cocksure and as you stand there being poked or pushed, you must anticipate his next move while nonchalantly striking the Spring Attack Avec Mustache Stance. You pretend you're only holding your fingers and sniffing them a little bit but really you are poised like a tiger or the broken coil spring on an old mattress.Your opponent has already sized you up as a patsy so won't he be surprised when you suddenly leap sideways, pivot quickly on the ball of your foot or if you don't know where the ball of your foot is use your heel instead, or simply jump behind your foe and grasp him around the neck in my Haltiwanger Super Coma Mustache Hold (see image below). Note; you will need to grow a mustache to use this technique. Now you've got the blubbering punk right where you want him. Get your mouth and mustache close to his ear while maintaining the coma-inducing hold around his neck. It's best to not comb your mustache for a few days letting plenty of food particles build up in its bristles, which you can then gently blow into your assailant's ear causing him discomfort not to mention the smell of old soup and deli meat grease that he's bound to get a whiff of. If he has a mustache, insult it. Say things like "I think you have some mouse droppings under your nose," or "Hey, Ash Wednesday's over, you can wipe that schmutz off your face." This should enrage him causing him to struggle beneath the arm you've circled around his throat and then all you have to do is merely squeeze and start cutting off arteries and blood flow and whatever else goes up through the neck to the brain but suffice to say your opponent is sure to black out or at least get very sleepy looking and maybe even froth a bit at the mouth. If he does pass out you can shave off his mustache just to let him know who's boss when he wakes up and if he doesn't wake up and you've accidentally killed him, well, in the big city that's what we call results.
It's not only the choke hold that's doing the work here but also the proximity of the mustache and mouth to the adversary's ear, allowing you to both whisper insults to him as you cut off his airway while simultaneously letting flakes of old food particles from your mustache fall like a fine fetid snow into his face. My thanks to two of my former pupils, Vern Chuggers and Gorgon Haupsmeyer for re-enacting this scenario. Unfortunately both have since passed away, Gorgon from auto-erotic asphyxiation and Vern was beaten to death by a couple of drunk funeral directors at an Advancements in Embalming convention.
Finally, I'd just like to say that you shouldn't fall for all those cockamamie self-defense schemes like those Chuck Norris Action Jeans pictured below. It's not the jeans that make the fearless man, it's the technique and the ability to defecate on cue. And this you can do whether you're wearing jeans, a bathrobe, a hula skirt or an Elvis-style pantsuit complete with cape. Of course I still stand by plaid pants paired with built-up intestinal gas as a successful part of your self-defense arsenal and they will stand you in good stead better than some crappy action pants and a couple of feeble leg kicks to go with your sparse, dying grass mustache.
And for those of you who should suffer the same fate as mine with your head being mistaken for a coconut by an out-of-work and disgruntled organ-grinder monkey, take heart. Just like old Chuck Norris there, I too have developed my own special self-defense clothing line specifically for this situation. I call it the Leather Coconut Head Protector and what it does is alters the coconut-like appearance of your cranium so that the monkey is led to believe it's actually a bitter and unpleasant gourd he's seeing. If he still decides to make the leap, the thick leather covering will protect you from monkey paw scratches and any fecal or reproductive matter the primate may release in its excitement. If you think this situation is just an anomaly, I direct you to a recent copy of the Costa Rican Times where the headline read, "Monkey Mistakes Man's Head For Coconut," right on the front page. Al Lumbargo of Minnesota was quoted as saying, "I just got off the cruise ship and was looking at some nice souvenir carvings when this goddamn monkey leaped on my head and began twisting and pulling like I was an Iowa cornstalk. I ain't no ear of corn or banana for that matter but try telling that to this monkey or any of his friends that were cheering him on." Mr. Lumbargo is currently suing the Costa Rica government, the souvenir shop and the cruise line. He's also suing the monkey if it can be found. All of this could have been avoided with my Leather Coconut Head Protector.
My old friend, Captain Blimpy Mycroft modeling the prototype of my Leather Coconut Head Protector. Blimpy liked wearing it so much, to this day he refuses to take if off. That he has a face uglier than a baboon's bottom actually works out in everyone's favour. Some people have a face for radio, others a face for sitting on. I call this the Mycroft Syndrome, a treatise of which I'm still working on.
So, in summary, whether it's monkeys or malevolent human beings you're dealing with, the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense will supply you with all the information and technique you'll need so you can protect yourself with the speed and ease usually associated with making spaetzle mit ham hoofs or a nice apple strudel assembled by a team of displaced Romanian gypsies. You will fear no man, no matter how puny you are and if they're puny, well all the better for you. If you're both puny well, you could charge money and call it midget wrestling. Either way you can't lose and all those beady-eyed punks and mashers and juvenile delinquents and hoodlums stinking of liquor better watch out because once they tangle with you they just might find themselves six feet under washing socks for Satan's army.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense: Part 1

As a man of the mind, many people believe that when it comes to the pugilistic arts they can wipe the floor with me as if I were some kind of mop or maybe a dishcloth that's been so previously soiled you don't mind using it to soak up some spilled chicken blood, your urine from the previous evening's festivities or dabbing the drool from the jowls of your aged and incontinent three-legged dog before throwing said cloth on the dung heap (if you don't have a dung heap check with your neighbours to see if you can use theirs-most modern homes come with a dung heap these days). For instance, just recently as I was combing the alleyway behind my local doughnut shop where they discard the doubly day-old doughnuts in the dumpster, a situation where one must be fast-thinking and fleet of foot to beat the hungry crows and shopping cart pushing derelicts to score the pot-of-dough at the end of the oil and antifreeze pooled rainbow where the dumpster bin wheels tend to rest (fortunately the derelicts suffer from sore and hideously-swollen feet plus their shopping carts, overloaded with everything from hubcaps to dismantled mannequin bodies, slows them down considerably giving me the advantage whereas the crows are a whole different story), a group of ne'er-do-wells in matching soiled tracksuits and alopecia haircuts heckled me with all manner of derisive commentary as I sought to snag myself a few bags from the day-old day-old doughnut treasure chest. Perhaps it was my tweed overcoat or eyeglasses held together with masking tape that gave me away as  man of culture and good breeding, one who has collected academic accolades as if they were gift baskets such as one might receive after a double hernia operation and is flown willy-nilly around the globe to give commanding talks and lectures on topics as varied as the effects of Tiddlywinks on the placement of suburban American strip mall shopping cart return stalls or the movements of jellyfish (specifically the Australian Box Jellyfish) as a template for winning competition arm wrestling tournaments. Either way, these hooligans misjudged me as I was able to swiftly halt them in their tracks using my own soon-to-be-patented Haltiwanger method of self defense. That I defecated in my pants was actually of the utmost importance as it is one of my signature moves that, when combined with the "gesticulating flipper-slap hands of death," attacks not only the enemy's body but also their senses with the ability to render them from unconscious to simply disgusted. Nevertheless, they'll be running for the hills faster than you can spell diarrhea out loud to a group of octogenarians wearing hearing aids by the side of a busy highway. 

Here, the basic mechanics of the "gesticulating flipper slap-hands of death" is illustrated showing all of this lethal move's subtle intricacies. Although this diagram utilizes the arm of an early 19th century fortune-telling automaton (The Magnificent Voltron to be exact), it is completely accurate in the breakdown of a human arm's movements, without of course the "bicep electronic buzzer trigger," (see Nos. 32 & 34), which lets the handler know when the robotic device's triceps ratchets are jammed. Otherwise, expect your arm and hand to work just like this, an efficient killing machine functioning in perfect harmony, and that would make any creature with flippers green with envy (note: some of that green may be due to seaweed or algae as many creatures with flippers are of the aquatic variety but nevertheless, they will be jealous, believe you me).
Now, you may encounter hoodlums and goons such as the ones mentioned above but truly, there are so many different types of thugs out there on the streets and in the alleyways just waiting to get their hands on your money or doughnuts so it's best to be prepared for any situation. With the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense you will be ready, able and confident to thwart any of these deadbeats or at least send them back to the hellhole where they were spawned. If that hellhole is filled up well then, they can always find accommodation in one of the many wonderful albeit run-down motels that line the waterfront or outskirts of your city. How does the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense train you for these eventualities? Easy. First off, it all begins in the mind, not the body. One must simply think of the human brain as a place where a switchboard operator sits at a busy terminus, a bit beleaguered with all the incoming calls and transfers to the appropriate parties as shown in the diagram below. You can make your switchboard operator male or female, it's really a matter of choice and what you feel most comfortable with but I like to make mine a woman and I've named her Nancy and she looks really good in a cashmere sweater, knee-length skirt, low black pumps and lightly tousled hair. Her favourite foods are calamari, beef jerky and salamander paste and on weekends she likes to go water-skiing and spend time whittling birch branches into carrot-shaped magic wands that she then uses to cast spells on the evil mushroom-people that live inside the walls of her basement apartment.   
Here is the magnificent and mysterious human brain at work. In previous times this image might have depicted a semaphore flag signaller or even a Morse code operator but in this technological age a switchboard operator is more accurate. As one can see, the human brain is a busy place and it's a wonder anyone can do anything like, say, figuring out a crossword puzzle while belching simultaneously let alone "flipper-slapping" an opponent to the ground while barking out the ingredients to an apple strudel recipe (Haltiwanger self-defense move #34).
So, with all these various calls and signals and crossed wires and such, it's a wonder that Nancy can get anything efficiently done but the Haltiwanger Method of self-defense trains your Nancy or Bill or Mildred or Phil to keep the circuits clear when danger is near and only use those signals that are integral to your own protection. Thus, for example, some goon is walking towards you on a darkened street and instead of you musing on whether to use chopped onion in your tuna fish salad that you're going home to make or wondering what colour underwear your secretary wears and whether she walks around the house in them with nothing else on when she gets home from work while idly restringing her badminton racket and heating up some egg rolls in a toaster oven her mother gave her for her birthday even though she has no plum sauce, your brain immediately zeroes in on the imminent predicament heading your way and sends nerve impulses to your various limbs, mobilizing and subtly flexing their tendons and muscles for attack mode. That hooligan will never know what hit him and the few splashes of diarrhea that spatter his pants will offer few clues. Of course it's all fine and good to visualize this outcome but besides brain preparedness you will also need to learn my fighting techniques. Much has been made of the martial arts of the East but sometimes even they fall short on the mean streets of North American cities where horribly depraved thugs demand a different, more gritty style of fighting in which all of the body's forces and fluids are called into play. Let's look at the example below.
Many thanks to Gerta Plonken and Bernard Kugleman for this crime re-enactment. As you can see, besides using my patented backwards arm-thrust while hooking one leg behind the amateur apiarist attacker's own Florsheim-shod foot, the real key to this defense move is Gerta's ability to stare straight ahead, a slight grimace on her face as if she were on a vacation with her husband, say to some romantic Mediterranean location or a magnificent sweeping landscape somewhere in central Saskatchewan and her husband, let's call him Morris, is making her pose for a photo which she really doesn't want to take even though he's begging her, cajoling her, whining almost so as to have a nice photo to show their friends and neighbours and though she's not buying it Gerta reluctantly strikes a pose if only to shut him up and set off to find a gift shop. Her eyes are slightly squinted against an imaginary sun glinting on a wine-dark sea or shimmering off waving stalks of endless wheat, creating a fearsome facial expression that only adds insult to injury when you're farting on this assailant's face after he hits the ground while simultaneously punching him in the scrotum while reciting Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade in the voice of Peter Lorre (thanks to your well-trained cerebral switchboard operator that has taught you to multitask, even in the most dire situations).
In this series of images, expecting the unexpected and making your mind and body a finely honed reflexive and defensive instrument capable of inflicting immeasurable pain is illustrated in all its profundity. Here a debauched beekeeper in a homemade beekeeping outfit attacks this lovely young woman waiting at a bus stop. Like many deviants he is attracted to her bazoombas and her striking and form-fitting plaid slacks not to mention her general air of innocence. "Oh, when will the #6 bus to Centertown arrive?" she's wondering to herself, seemingly unaware of the demented apiarist creeping up behind her. One cannot even imagine what depraved and vile suggestions he is whispering into her ear as he grasps her ample bosom, his black elasticized socks already causing sweat rings to form around his ankles with the anticipation of the disgusting acts he is soon to carry out upon her voluptuous body as he rubs himself against her enticing polyester and cotton fiber blends. That he wears only shorts beneath his homemade beekeeping robe, a robe ingeniously crafted from an old tarpaulin such as one would use to cover a barbeque or the stacked shingles for a long-overdue roofing project, is a clear indication of the depths of this man's depravity. It's just less fabric that stands between you and his throbbing stinger. Can this situation truly occur, you're asking yourself as you gaze at the evidence presented to you? Well, have no fear or maybe I should say have plenty of fear because this exact incident happened to my landlady not long ago. It's a fact that crazed apiarists scour the city looking for their queen bee, so to speak, to mate with and thus, in their twisted minds, carry on the legacy of the hive. No kung-fu, judo, taekwon-do or karate course could possibly prepare you for this horrifying scenario but it happens dozens of times a day in neighbourhoods just like yours. This situation calls for the Haltiwanger self-defense move #62 (as described above), but if you really want to finish this piece of scum off once he's fallen to the ground, it's best to then sit on his face and break wind (remember, your backwards momentum is already sending you in this direction anyway and so this finishing touch is as natural as brushing one's teeth, combing your grandfather's toupee or breastfeeding a wallaby). If it's an amateur apiarist you're doing battle with, try to direct the passing of your gas through the small opening of his makeshift paper-bag beekeeper's hood for maximum effect. Remember, when breaking wind gas will pass more effectively through plaid pants than solid coloured fabrics due to the airier weave so wear plaid whenever possible to maximize your anal emissions (the Scottish have known this for centuries and utilized plaid's gas-passing efficiency and eventually they just gave up on the whole pants idea and created kilts so that nothing stood between fart and foe, a little known fact that played a large part in stopping the Roman armies from conquering Scotland when they hit Hadrian's Wall). For best gas passing results, not to mention foods to keep you in tip-top training mode, I recommend broccoli and sardines. Everyone raves about beans but although they do add power to the burst they lack the odour to really keep a thug on the ground.
The gas-passing posture pictured here, as demonstrated by Lyle Blemwolf of the Institute for Intestinal Integrity, is almost perfect but plaid pants would make this rear-end attack all the more effective and deadly.
Now, the above example, although unusual, is nowhere out of the ordinary in most North American urban and suburban settings. As is the next scenario pictured below, showing how even a formidable fighting technique like taekwon-do is absolutely useless against a foe who corners you on a tennis court, although this image would try to convince you otherwise. See if you can spot the mistakes and how this attacker will soon get the upper hand on this poor girl, even if she is showing her underpants to distract her assailant. It might work on the tennis pro but not on a seasoned criminal. Once you give up trying to find the faults, which you will because, unlike me, you probably couldn't sense an attacker coming if he had a rotting fish and a satellite dish strapped to his head, I'll explain how this taekwon-do is almost as useless as throwing jello at a charging rhino when it comes to stopping a ski-mask wearing maniac during a morning tennis match when the morning sun casts long shadows and the starlings are pecking each others eyes out over scraps of sweet'n'sour pork and French fries behind Wing's Lucky Buddha restaurant, specializing in Chinese and Canadian cuisine since 1985.    
What's wrong with this picture? Number one, anyone attacking on a tennis court would of course be wearing a white ski-mask and outfit so as to blend in with the other players. No use letting them know you're coming from fifty yards away. Number two, why would the woman being attacked not hit the intruder with her tennis racket instead of her foot unless she simply wants to show off her underpants, which only incites the fiend's lusty urges and gives him additional strength. 
As mentioned in the caption to the above image, no self-respecting fiend would dare attack someone on a tennis court wearing all black. White is the way to go, from ski mask to ninja pants, except after Labor Day by which time the pickings are pretty slim on the tennis courts anyway due to the colder weather so most tennis court attacks (and there are plenty) are carried out during the summer months. The above image seems to show taekwon-do as some sort of easy solution to a very complicated problem but the fact is the adversary's ski mask is no doubt hiding the fact that he has poison darts made from the secretions of vibrantly coloured tree frogs concealed in his mouth that he can spit with all the nonchalance and speed of a watermelon seed which can then lodge in an exposed thigh, eye or nasal cavity, thus making all your high falutin' leg kicking just so much hot air waving around on an already stifling hot tennis court. This leg kick might look good if you're a Rockette but absolutely useless against a tree-frog poison dart spitting deviant. The tennis racket however, is equally adept at clubbing the attacker and deflecting the poisonous tree frog darts which cannot pass through the stringing. In fact, using my Haltiwanger self-defense move #47, the racket, through my special Wang-Chung wrist twitch that simulates either an air guitar being played on the upstroke or the masturbatory movements of a Borneo adult male orangutan in his declining years when not even a burgeoning banana tree can please him, can actually reverse the trajectory of the poisonous darts and send them ricocheting back into the assailant's flesh, rendering them unconscious and eventually, if the tree frog poison does it work, dead. So you can see how this taekwon-do can be misleading, making one believe that a simple kick, maybe a mistimed punch to the groin, a face that's supposed to say you mean business but really just makes you look constipated and a flash of underpants, can stop a villain in their tracks but really, when you're picking poison tree frog darts out of your forehead, eyeballs and buttocks, don't forget that I told you so.
A quick note of caution here. If you or someone you know has been hit by a poison tree frog dart, immediate action is required. Call the tree frog poison hot line and they will dispatch a trained tree frog poison expert in an impressive hazmat suit who will promptly administer the antidote with an injection to the buttocks. If you find being injected in the buttocks embarrassing, the only other option is having the poison sucked directly from your penis hole. If this too bothers you, prepare to die.
Another seemingly unusual situation that is much more common than you think is the villainous attack on the head librarian in the children's section of your local library (as pictured below). Many normal law-abiding citizens suddenly turn to a life of crime when they realize they've accumulated so many library fines that they're unable to pay. Some turn to robbery, some try to sell their bodies to raise the necessary funds and some just go crazy with rage and head to their nearest library branch to mete out their own twisted brand of justice. Or maybe they've just been banned from the library for peeing or masturbating in the stacks but either way, they're a formidable foe to tangle with. Here are a couple of Haltiwanger self-defense suggestions in case you should find yourself in the midst of one of these deadly confrontations and need to come to the aid of the portly and gentle librarian who is in over his or her bulbous head, or for that matter, if you yourself are a librarian, portly or not, just follow these simple instructions for lethal results.
It's not hard to tell who the villain is in this photo. Dressed all in black, this verminous library scofflaw is under the impression he can make mincemeat out of the pudgy and toupee-sporting librarian, but looks can be deceiving and this dumpy four-eyed bookworm is about to show Mr. Bad that messing with book learning can be a deadly experience. Most of these library lowlifes attack in the children's section because of the more open space in which to try out their various sweeping kicks and punches. Obviously they never anticipated meeting Elmer the Safety Elephant in rolled-up poster form nor did they expect a diarrhea defense or an oven-mitted testicle grip from a guy who looks like he lost his virginity to a sock-puppet he dressed up to look like Virginia Woolf.
  1. Grab an Elmer the Safety Elephant poster off the wall and roll it quickly into a tight funnel shape. "I have had great success with this poster theme," states Skeezus Malchingo, head librarian at the Poison Oak Ridge library. "Thugs really seem to recoil from Elmer's knowing smile and his mighty trunk that can hold a traffic cone up in the air with nary an effort and once you roll the poster up they're really intimidated." But any poster will do as long as it's no smaller than 16"x20" and doesn't featuring cartoon snails wearing bifocals and running shoes.
  2. Begin grunting while loosening your tie or rolling down your pantyhose. This will let the interloper know you are ready for trouble by making animal noises and adjusting your restrictive clothing, warning them that fists of fury and feet of fungus are soon to follow. If you don't happen to suffer from foot fungus you can simply tape a mushroom to your forehead (fortunately the library is full of various adhesive materials for this), so that the criminal knows that there will be some form of a fungal element to deal with and answer to. Just as kung-fu practitioners never go into battle without nunchucks and throwing stars, so should you add mushrooms and efficient gas-passing plaid pants to your list of essential Haltiwanger defense weaponry.
  3. Brandish the rolled up poster in a threatening manner while mumbling the names of characters from Jacqueline Susann novels. The mumbling is quite important here in that curiosity will get the better of the attacker, causing them to lean forward to hear what you are saying, thus letting their guard down whereupon you can smack them soundly with the poster. I've chosen Jacqueline Susann for this scenario because what depraved soul isn't attracted to Valley of the Dolls or The Love Machine. The combination of Elmer the Safety Elephant and Jacqueline Susann at the same time has proven to be a winning combination for self defense success.
  4. The attacker, after this, should be on the defensive, which is your time to strike with even sounder blows than those inflicted with the rolled-up poster. This is also the time, should you be fortunate enough to be suffering from both nerves and an unsettled stomach, to let the diarrhea flow, letting it run down your pant legs and having it pool on the floor around you until it forms something akin to a moat or pond depending on your output. You can add some urine if you wish. Few would dare to cross it, thus increasing your advantage and from this vantage point, you can do considerable damage whether you choose to use the "gesticulating flipper-slap hands of death," or something I like to call the "garlic press," which is what the name implies but think testicles instead of garlic and the press is simulated with your hands encased in novelty oven mitts. Personally I like the ones made to look like lobster claws but many of my students have had equal success with mitts resembling cats, sharks and even moose. You know the old saying, "strike while the iron is hot." Well I like to say "strike while the diarrhea is hot," if the fiend doesn't flee first of course. You'll be saving not only yourself and the librarian, but also the countless children and adults who enjoy the sanctity of the book borrowing system and its welcoming and stimulating environment. And the only price is a little carpet cleaning in the children's section of the library, a place that is no stranger to poop or pee in the first place. Except this poop and pee just saved the library a whole lot of trouble and heartache.

Cute doesn't count for much when you're a criminal sprawled on the floor being beaten by a librarian brandishing a rolled-up poster of Elmer the Safety Elephant. Don't be fooled by this smiling face and frolicsome trunk which can whack the bejeezus out of any ne'er do well in seconds flat. Here's a safety tip for all you criminals out there. Don't fuck with Elmer the Safety Elephant. Enough said.
Here's another scenario that occurs more often than you'd care to imagine. Some human skeleton who's had too much sand kicked in his face at the beach and wants to be a tough guy overnight, heads to his local dollar store and buys a kid's toy cowboy gun and hat. He's not fooling anyone, or at least anybody trained in the Haltiwanger method of self-defense although those not so-trained may cower before his cap gun and tiny flat-top cardboard Stetson. Even if it does make him look like a pencil with a well-used eraser on top (I don't mean to sound disdainful for this man was once me but thanks to my Haltiwanger soon-to-be-patented Muscle-Toning and Bodybuilding System that I will reveal in a later post, I went from a scrawny little shrimp that would barely be enough of an appetizer for a hungry albatross to a virile beanpole with an ass-kicking, harem-grooming mustache, in just six weeks). Nevertheless, this kind of dime-store cowboy attack is carried out many times a day on main streets everywhere in Anytown, USA, robbing old-age pensioners of their social security checks and prescription drug medicines and kids and teens are being taken for their Starbucks money, shiny Nikes and commemorative Chuck "The Rifleman" Connors shower caps. These saddle-less scourges of the city are giving westerns a bad name and the chips on their shoulder are bigger than their heads, meatball casseroles or plastic six-shooters for that matter. But don't be mislead by their diminutive demeanor and physical presence for many of them are capable of both peeing and spitting on you (after they've exhausted their cap pistols of course) with uranium-enriched urine and saliva saturated with toxins from the over-consumption of Maraschino cherries on the many banana splits that they consume daily for keeping up the energy they require to feed their insatiable appetites for irrational and misdirected anger. As for the uranium, they suck it out of the shag carpeting in rec-rooms of retired nuclear scientists' homes that they break in to. So, even in their rinky-dink outfits they are still a force to be reckoned with and the image below, as demonstrated by one of my star pupils, Claxton Menudo, illustrates the proper battle stance and approach, hands at the ready to parry any toxic saliva or radioactive urine not to mention the right hand prepared, if need be, for a good nose pull (which will be discussed more thoroughly in the next segment). Notice also the right leg is cocked and ready, not unlike the hammer on a cap-gun six-shooter, to flick out suddenly and disarm the interloper while the left hand is free to grab the bolo tie, pulling the attacker's face close enough to say, "Hey, nice hat but what's wrong with wearing a ten-gallon instead? Unless you're afraid it'll snap your cocktail-sausage of a neck." Honestly, pulling a cow's teat couldn't be any easier.
Here is my best pupil, Claxton Menudo, demonstrating how to take on one of these toy gun wielding urban cowboy beanpoles who in the old days wouldn't have made a strong enough spoke for the wheel of a stagecoach. Claxton favours the ninja-style black pajama outfit rather than plaid pants but he's a pro and if he showed up to the OK Corral in a tulle tutu, chiffon scarf and a pork pie hat only a fool would dare to comment. All I can say, looking at this picture, is that this sagebrush beanpole is in for a rough ride.
As I've mentioned above, the nose pull is a very effective deterrent when engaging in a serious confrontation. Its success relies entirely on the element of surprise and if you are a portly person (much like the librarian mentioned previously), this may be your only recourse in a brewing fight. The key here is to look your opponent in the eye, never wavering or blinking and then begin to babble in ancient Assyrian. If you don't know ancient Assyrian just make something up like "Gazoonga februm moochka bunga pishvabibble," or something to that effect. No one will ever know the difference. As your attacker is puzzling over this quickly reach up and grasp his nose. Presto! Fight's over before its even begun. Tears of pain will flow down his grubby cheeks. If you want to add insult to injury and they don't put up too much of a fuss, lead your attacker by the nose through the town square or city streets yelling for all to hear, "This is what happens to the scum that eats my porridge." Either way your foe will want to shake your hand afterwards in awe of your formidable fighting talents and knowledge of ancient and forgotten languages.
Here, brothers Sid and Murray Milcroft, demonstrate the nose pull and follow-up handshake. Being that they're both portly gentlemen (it runs in their family), the nose pull is the ideal counter-attack for these two, especially because their work in the fish bait industry leads them to deal with some very unsavory types who are prone to violence when, for example, their shipment of earthworms is late.
The fact is the Haltiwanger Method of Self-Defense is a fool-proof system for protecting yourself from the shady elements that have grown all too common in this world these days, lurking in alleyways, next to Slushy machines or popping out of shrubbery lining the railway tracks. For example, a seedy looking beady-eyed tramp (like the one pictured below from a police sketch) accosts you, using his desire for a hot bowl of soup as an excuse to stand in your way. Well, one look at his painted face and devious eyes lets you know that soup isn't the only thing on his mind. Especially when you can feel his grizzly beard right up against your face. That's too close for any hobo unless you're a hobo wife. Here you could try the nose pull but there's a good chance his red prosthetic nose will come off in your hand so I suggest striking him with an old jockstrap you've carefully concealed in your sleeve while simultaneously barking the passenger manifest for the Lusitania. The only soup this beady-eyed tramp will see is whatever bowl of sludge they're serving in jail that evening.
This police sketch was instrumental is apprehending Muk-Muk Primpsmire, whose gaily painted face was a baffling contrast to his dark personality and nefarious activities. He bilked so many people out of so much money it was rumoured he owned the homeless shelter in which he lived. He met his end at a prison rodeo where he was one of the clowns in a barrel during the bull-riding competition. He was gored so many times they named a new rodeo event after him called the Muk-Muk Gore'n'Toss.
How about this. A couple of punks reeking of liquor try to whack you and your friends with mallets while you're innocently making your way to a doily-making competition. Using two of my tried and true Haltiwanger moves, even the ladies can get in on the fun and the action. As illustrated below, Yerta and Volga are demonstrating the "Bad doggie, now I'm going to rub your nose in the poo-poo you left on the broadloom," and the "Broken wheelbarrow by the side of the barn where Old Man Gunther up and died last July." The picture is self-explanatory. All you need is a few karate chops, a mule kick, a little imagination and some good elasticized socks to really pull this off.
Yerta guides her "bad doggie" towards the imaginary excrement for a good nose-rubbing while Volga rolls the "broken wheelbarrow" into the barn for the rats to nest in.
Speaking of punks, how often has a wild teenager tried to club you on the head? Pretty often I'd think. With skyrocketing juvenile delinquency rates, you can rest assured a wild teenager is clubbing someone over the head every fifteen minutes or so somewhere on this continent, day and night. During spring break topless co-eds roam the streets clubbing innocent citizens with anything from cricket bats to Sears catalogs, mannequin legs to frozen ham steaks. Although there are some who enjoy this activity and would actually pay good money to a topless co-ed to be whacked repeatedly with frozen meat or mannequin parts, the general consensus by society is this is not behaviour to be condoned or encouraged. If you are to encounter one of these roving bands of crazed teenagers, be they male or female and undoubtedly hopped up on benzedrine and extra-old sharp American cheese, teach them the lesson they should have learned at their daddy's knee with two of my most extreme techniques. Move #48 asks that firstly, you must stand firm against their ruffian ways and when you've got their attention through what I call the "Knuckles of Toughness" stare-down in which you make your eyes resemble knuckles attached to the "iron fists of death" (you need not have tough knuckles but only insinuate that your knuckles are tough in which case a bit of knuckle hair helps and if you don't have that consider some knuckle toupees and as for the "iron fists of death," more about them in Part 2 of Haltiwanger's Method of Self-Defense), insult their lapels before delivering a chopping blow to their Adam's Apple and if you can't find that then throw an apple at their neck. This will surprise them at which point you can throw them off balance with a swift ingrown toenail kick while simultaneously striking the nerve centers in their armpit with what I call the "chicken head wrist," where you make your wrist look like a dumb chicken scratching for seeds in the dirt but the real dummy will be your attacker when they feel the searing pain from your "hand-beak." Some people like to gussy up this move by attaching a fake wattle to their forearm or wrist, easily done with an old beige sock and some adhesive tape. It will have your assailant wanting to lick their wounds if only they could get their tongue to stretch that far under their armpit. The chicken head wrist will swiftly turn any attacker into a turkey; beheaded, plucked, cooked and served up for a wholesome family dinner.  Move #73 is called the "Clutch of Satan's Brother-in-Law, Ed Minchler." All you need to do is convince your assailant you want to dance with them and once you've won their trust, begin dancing and then suddenly throw them over your shoulder when they go to kiss you. Or bite you. Or whatever they're trying to do with their disgusting mouths. It works best when combined with the "Knuckles of Toughness." Just remember to repeat, inside your head of course, "knuckles of toughness don't let me down, knuckles of toughness don't let me down, make them frown, O knuckles of toughness, they will drown in the blood of Mitzi Gaynor and Satan's brother-in-law, Ed Minchler." Why Mitzi Gaynor you wonder? Well, some things are best left a mystery. All I can say is just trust me and the blood of Mitzi Gaynor will work in your favour. If you have any doubts just ask Mitzi's co-star in South Pacific, Rossano Brazzi. Except he's dead. I rest my case.
In the foreground, Yerta strikes with a variation on the "chicken head wrist" called the "regurgitating chicken head," where her hand resembles a chicken vomiting on a forlorn bank of the Assiniboine River, very close to the border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba, just after wheat harvesting season. Via the nerve centers in the armpit where the "regurgitating chicken head wrist" blow is struck, this attacker is quickly incapacitated and pretty much on his way to his own funeral. With two ingrown toenails used in her sliding kick, Yerta is essentially an angel of death at this moment. Notice her eyes. If she didn't blink you'd think she had knuckles inside her head. Knuckles of toughness that is. As for Volga, she's about to deliver this thug back to hell where Satan gleefully awaits him. All he has to remember to say is that Ed Minchler sent him. Care of Volga of course. Maybe that way he'll get off easy and just pull septic tank duty instead of being flayed alive for the Deceased Despots' fundraiser picnic and Pol Pot Celebrity Roast.
Before we move on to Part 2 of my extensive self-defense method, I just want to reiterate the cerebral part of the training and how, in fact, you can vanquish any enemy using only the power of your mind. That's right. Not even an eye blink, lick of the lips or twitch of a limb comes into play when you can harness the hidden power of your "switchboard operator" who lives inside your head (as discussed at the start of this post and I hope by now you've given that "operator" a name and attired them in some smart but casual and loose-fitting clothing for the long hours they put in sitting inside the cramped space of your brain with only old liverwurst sandwiches and flat soda pop for sustenance and energy while ensuring that all the right connections are made). As shown in the illustration below, I have taken some of the ancient meditation techniques along with elements of hypnotic states to create the Haltiwanger Animal Husbandry Deterrent Effect. Through intense concentration and inner mind visualization, anyone can conjure up a farmyard animal that will stand in the path between you and your attacker. Imagine their surprise as they reach for your throat only to find a large bovine blocking their way. Or a gruff goat. Or a frothy-mouthed steed. Or a fatted pig. Even a gaggle of geese. How is this possible, you ask? Read on and I will teach you my secret tricks for creating a stereopticon image using your eyeballs as the transmitting lenses and your brain as the conjurer of this highly-realistic barnyard beast.
In this image a man, known as something of a milquetoast in his community, practices some bovine conjuring. The projection is so realistic that if there were a farmer or Swiss national in the room, they would definitely attempt to milk this apparition. How disappointed they would be when, as they went to grasp a teat, they instead found themselves on the receiving end of a swift kick to the face. 
First, you must put yourself in a deep meditative state and you must do it quickly because an attacking hooligan won't wait. To hasten this process you must hypnotize yourself first before you even leave your house or rooming-house or the cardboard box under the bridge that you call home. It's easier than you think but you will need the head of a ventriloquist's dummy. No body is needed so you should be able to save a little money when you make your purchase from the dummy supply shop. This dummy head will be your primary tool for self-hypnosis along with a little mantra that I call a Wangerism, which you'll need to repeat to yourself until the hypnosis process is complete. You will also need to speak in the voice of the dummy head in a kind of light, bantering dialogue with yourself to keep your subconscious burbling at the brain's surface but not completely overtaking your general awareness of the world around you so that you can still walk around, obey stoplights, fold a stranger's laundry or order a hamburger without onions. I've named my dummy head Glimpy Hydrate and I never leave my room without talking to him first. So, begin by staring into your dummy's eyes. Lose yourself in their deep pools of esoteric knowledge. If anyone can convert a traveling salesman's joke into a Zen koan, the dummy can do it. Soon those eyes will become pools of nothingness as you enter a deep meditative, almost trance-like state. Then, to really hammer the last nail into the coffin in this level of consciousness repeat my Wangerism mantra. You can use slight variations but do not stray too far from these words or you might never find release from the dummy's magnetic forces.

"I am not Casper Milquetoast nor am I Casper the Friendly Ghost. I fear no man or giant with my powers shrouded in secrecy. Tears of pain will rain down upon my enemies and I am one tough hombre that makes self-defense look easy, my hands packed with the power of TNT. Forget your hoi polloi, I'm no squeaky dog toy but you'll be squeaking for deliverance from your misery once my fists of fury pummel you until so much artichoke dip. I am a dynamic muscle that will play peek-a-boo with your bowels and turn your Adam's Apple into applesauce. Send your dry-cleaning to Melvin Goldstein. Tell him Glimpy sent you. He'll know what you mean and he can get the bloodstains out of most everything. Don't forget to rehydrate. Ha, ha, catch my drift. Thank-you and goodnight."

Once you've repeated this a few times and stared deeply into your dummy's eyes you should be beginning your entry into a partial hypnotic state. It's now time to converse with the dummy to complete the process. Here's a sample dialogue. Feel free to improvise when working with your own dummy head.

Glimpy: I went to see my psychiatrist today.
Me: Really, I didn't know you were seeing a shrink.
Glimpy: Yes, he said I have some real issues.
Me: Tissues?
Glimpy: I said issues, not tissues, you dummy. Why don't you try talking with your mouth open for a change. And on the subject of tissues, you better stop masturbating before you put the Kleenex factory out of business.
Me: Hey, if you had a body instead of being just a blabbering head, maybe you'd understand my position.
Glimpy: I don't think anybody could understand your position. In fact, isn't that how you lost your first wife?
Me: Don't push your luck or you just might find yourself face down in a dumpster.
Glimpy: Well, at least I'd get a decent meal for a change.
Me: Forget that. What did the psychiatrist say?
Glimpy: He recommended I double my martini intake.
Me: Don't you think that might be too much too drink?
Glimpy: Hey, I have to look at your ugly mug everyday. Maybe I should triple my intake?
Me: Where would you put it? You have no stomach.
Glimpy: I have to stomach you, don't I. Anyway, I like the booze to go straight to my head and when you're all head, where else is it gonna go?
Me: Say, who is this psychiatrist anyway?
Glimpy: Doc Pussel.
Me: He's no psychiatrist. He's the bartender down the street.
Glimpy: Yeah, but he makes a drink called the "Shrink" that'll have you confessing everything. Including that goat you married in Las Vegas last week.
Me: That was no goat, that was my wife.
Glimpy: Don't play dumb with a dummy. I can hear the bleating all the way from the basement when you two have sex. It's like someone's dragging a string of tin cans through the alleyway.
Me: Ah, go soak your head.
Glimpy: Don't mind if I do. In a shot glass preferably. In fact, you better make it a double.
Applause. Lights dim. Some midgets come out and chase monkeys on bicycles around the stage. Fruit salad for everyone.
My best friend and confidante, Glimpy Hydrate, sharing a laugh before I set out to kick some hooligan ass.
Now that you've achieved a semi-hypnotic state, it's a piece of cake for you to visualize in your mind a farm animal of your choice. Once its image is set in your brain, push the creature, shove it, slap it on the behind if you have to to get it moving to the front of your head where you can then push it out of your eyes. Presto! Where once there was empty space there is now a domesticated animal standing between you and your assailant. The image is temporary though so be warned that you must move quickly after this whether you're utilizing the "regurgitating chicken head wrist," the "gesticulating flipper slap-hands of death," the "babbling Assyrian," the "knuckles of toughness" the always effective "diarrhea moat" or the "Clutch of Satan's Brother-in-Law, Ed Minchler." Whatever move you choose to use, rest assured you'll earn the respect from any wisenheimer who dares to cross you. Now, with what I've just described you should be ready to defend yourself in any situation but stay tuned for Part 2 of my self-defense method where I will outline some of my more esoteric and unique moves that will help defend against different types of weapons and also crazed guinea pigs (more on this later). And remember, be prepared and always aware for danger lurks everywhere and evil waits for no one except maybe at the hot dog cart if there's a big lineup and the evildoer is really, really hungry.
They may look innocent to you but these wieners are natural magnets for attracting evildoers from anywhere in the city. By noon there will be a whole lot of evil going down around this hot dog cart. You've been warned.