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Ask Dr. Salvo

October 31, 1995

Ask Dr. Salvo


Your last article in the Harbinger brought to mind a recipe long filed but never used by me. Perhaps your ventursome readers would also like to try the stew. The other item was on the Religious page of the M.P.R. a few weeks ago. I found most of the responses not very worthy of God's time but #1 struck a chord.


I note in recent editions of Relax that many readers have shown interest in favorite recipes. I want to share one of mine which Mrs. Ludwig and I and a small number of our friends have enjoyed.


One elephant
Two cups salt
Two cups pepper

"Cut elephant into one inch cubes (allow approx. 72 days for this procedure), frequently adding pinches of salt and pepper. Cook over kerosene fire about four weeks at 465 degrees. If more than 3,800 guests are expected for dinner, two rabbits may be added. But, do this only if necessary, as most people do not like to find hare in their stew."

J. Lafe Ludwig, M.D.
Los Angeles, Calif.

Recipe of the Month


I know you are hungry and there are plenty of armadillo. Try shooting one in the head.

Remove the shell, skin and clean. Soak overnight in salty water in the refrigerator.

Cut into pieces like a chicken. Boil for 30 minutes in a covered pan with 1 tablespoon crab boil. When tender remove and brown in butter, then place it in a pan. Coat with a mixture of melted butter, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce.

You will find that it tastes just like armadillo. Now ain't that a nice surprise?

Dear Y.S.A.,

That elephant recipe is a treasure and you and Lafe are to be commended for preserving it. The number of guests to be expected, 3800, sound about like the Republican party in Alabama back in the 30's, as I recall them. Not many people are aware that the elephant in question is a totem -- to be revered and eaten -- not just a handy symbol for the G.O.P.

The 72 days, for cutting it into pieces, is about the right length of time for the new GOP president to divide and count up and bestow all the bits of perqs and patronage that must be dispensed after the election. The other number, 465, is close to correct for the time required for a presidential campaign. Too damn long.

The author is clearly beside himself over this unexpected triumph. He meant to add two jackasses to the stew if needed, but belatedly made it "hare" to disguise his true motives, and to provide an opening for his dubious pun on hair. In closing, this rich man's recipe (the safari alone would be $20,000 or so) is the sort that master chef Lewis Carroll used to end with a flourishm such as "-- and very good, perhaps!" A

Thank you also for the serious recipe for Armadillo BBQ. I am cooking one right now, but not without some twinges of guilt since I don't believe in killing "the little armored thing." It was just an unfortunate accident occasioned by an excessive dose of exercise down at the Y. An elderly gentleman was there doing a stint of jumping rope and an armadillo was ambling over to the jacuzzi and pedicure room. When he suddenly perceived the old ringer skipping about so fancy and all, he leaped straight up 5-6 feet high and landed in the jump rope as it twirled about him. The old cowboy pretended nothing had happened while the armadillo fainted and was driven to the nearest emergency room. I was told that he died with an odd smile on his face. Now you have furnished the wild game and the recipe. Can you guess who the old skipper was?


Readers share their questions for God

Here are more questions for God sent in by Mobilians:

1. God, why did you make men and women so different and expect them to live together in harmony in marriage?

2. You joined us as one May 15, 1954, and took Bill home Jan. 8, 1995. Why didn't you take us both home at the same time? It is so hard being alone. A part of me is gone.

3. Having read the Bible several times, why do you seem to be a strict, and at times, harsh and unforgiving god in the Old Testament but a loving, caring and eternally forgiving Father in the New Testament? 4. What achievement of man are you most proud of?

5. Being a rape victim of five years ago, why can't I get my day in court?

6. God, you created the little animals. Why, oh why, do you let humans abuse them the way some do?

7. What's it like to be the almighty coward? The world is in horrible shape, and you won't even show your face. I've defied you for years. You're a weak God with weak morals.

8. Why are young, morally good people allowed to die, while the opposite people are allowed to continue to live?

9. Tell me about your sense of humor.

10. Why did you take my husband? There was no sign, no warning that we could take to a doctor and see about. He just started feeling bad one night and within an hour he was dead.

11. Why are children capable of procreation before they are emotionally ready for it?

12. I would like to ask God why he chose to send me so much mercy, forgiveness and kindness, when I didn't choose to show him any for so many years.

13. What makes you more sad: the actions of believers, or the actions of nonbelievers?

14. Why did you make teenagers?

15. If homosexuals are born that way, why is it a sin?

16. When will people ever realize that the answer to most of these questions are already here, in the Bible?

17. Why so many different religions? We all serve the same God.

18. Why are people so cruel to each other?

Dear Y.S.A.,

I did not know God had a column in the Mobile Press Register, but if the above sample is the real thing, it is an encouraging trend. I suggest we all chip in some question and if we receive no answer, make some up as preachers do.

I'm a little but let down about His choice of vehicle: I had somehow imagined that He corresponded mostly with the Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor. Well, to our task. I have numbered the questions for convenience.

1) According to Plato, men and women were originally the two equal halves of a spherical superior being. Then something went wrong and now look at them.

Also, just how do you know what I, God, expect of men and women? For instance, if I expected the world to be peaceful and the people sane -- would I have arranged things the way they are?

2) This is a personal document of deep loss and private grief. It is not to be bandied about in public.

3) Well, dear, your kind have been evolving for about 4,000,000 years since you first became a hominid. My mathematicians and astrophysicsts tel me that the Universe has been and still is evolving, and that for 5 billion years. Should God be denied the responsibilities and joys of evolving? Don't ask!

It is of abiding interest that Old Testament values and beliefs are set up for destruction by those of the New Testament. You are thereby given the model of how to grow up and be civilized -- but a shamefully high proportion of you forget the New and cling to the Old. You tell Me: What is so beguiling about being a savage?

4) This is a bit like asking a friend the same thing about a termite colony. A problem of minuscule scale. I'll just say the proudest achievements are: Language Culture History. Skip the Great Wall.

5) Did you go and talk with a rape crisis counselor at the Mental Health Center? They have experienced people there to help, or to be a "guide to the perplexed."

6) This is part of the Free Will argument in bibilical studies. To me it seemed like a good idea at the time. You have the choice, to be beastly or be a brother. I like to see how humans meet the test. I have my own ways of taking care of the "little animals."

7) Perhaps you have forgotten what happened to Job when he challenged God to justify himself? The "problem of evil," as you humans call it can never be really resolved by or in this world. Think it over again after you've been dead a while.

8) Ditto.

9) I'm not sure I have one, though people often say "Isn't it ironic, the way things turned out!" The strong revert to irony when they have given up killing for the most part. Thus spoke Walker Percy.

10) An elderly widow I knew used to revile Me for "taking my John just when I needed him." As it turned out, John had been dead 15 years, and she believed she was living with the Bishop. In sin.

Such are the frailties of your best critical minds, eventually. And one can truthfully say that your husband's departure was graceful, dignified, and mostly painless. Better than months or years of dementia in a nursing home.

11) This was not planned! What happened was, the speed of cultural evolution far outstripped that of biological evolution. This sort of thing affects menarche, the onset of puberty, and of course the development of pseudo- sophistication in children.

12) I appreciate very much you asking and the way you ask. It can be lonely, being God.

13) I seem to see that Group A and Group B are very hard to distinguish at a distance of 100 light years -- I rarely navigate much closer than that. So the same reward for both: foregiveness.

Still, I can't lie about my personal responses: I much prefer a straight up rogue than a mealy mouth "believer" who doesn't even know he is a crook!

14) I love this question, it is so cosmic. It recalls the story of some critic asking a nuclear physicist "What good is nuclear fission?" bacl in the early days at Los Alamos. The physicist replied, "What good is a baby?" Actually, I put teenagers on earth to teach you patience and humility. And, give you a taste of what it means to be powerful and helpless all at once.

15) It is not a sin. Having 12 children when you can support only two -- now that's a sin.

16) I keep waiting. Not much reading any more. T.V. is not meeting the need to think, respond, revise, things that chronic readers have enjoyed for years.

17) Because it makes life more entertaining, for me. I also am not opposed to sniffing ten different flavors of incense in one setting. And if 10 different languages are prayed in, all at once of a Sunday, I skip for joy. God does believe in Occam's Razor, but not for this kind of question.

18) Too much reading in the Old Testament, and too much ready gullibility for its fantastic parts!


Dr. Salvo,

Once again it is time to watch our beloved English language be twisted to suit the needs of ideologues. Yes, it is Banned Books Week once again.

The words in question are "ban" and "censor," both of which are tossed with wild abandon by Norman Lear's People For the American Way.

Censorship is a very serious thing, and it should not be taken lightly. But in almost every case, the incidents cited each year by People For The American Way are NOT censorship. By broadening the meaning of the word, they have made it so malleable as to be meaningless.

When a governing body makes it illegal to read a certain book, that is censorship. When parents push a school to drop a book from a required reading list, that is not censorship at all. To call it such is laughable. It may be a weak attempt at censorship.

The distinction is important, because most of PAW's emphasis is on schools. Parents who challenge a book are said (by PAW) to be trying to "censor" it. This sets up a nice little dilemma for conscientious parents. If they don't get involved in the education of their children, they're dismissed as apathetic. If they do get involved, they're branded as censors.

PAW routinely describes challenges to required reading lists as censorship efforts. In truth, though, books dropped from reading lists may still be read. They are still available, either in the school library, the public library or in stores. They have not been censored or "banned" at all.

The "American Way" as I understand it is that I DO have a right to speak up about my child's education. I DO have the right to ask that he not be compelled to read a book I don't think he is ready for yet. He is my child, and I will raise him -- not the public schools and not Norman Lear.

Like most of the parents who find themselves called censors in PAW's annual report, I have no wish to stop any adults from reading whatever they wish to read, or even what they let their children read. But I do insist on having a voice in deciding what MY child will learn about, and when. If that means asking that a book be removed from a required reading list, then I will do just that.

That doesn't make me a censor -- it makes me a concerned, caring parent.

Steven Curtis

Dear S.C.,

Perhaps I am just giddy from several hours playing the part of God -- but my first response to your description of the PAW's activities, was one of mirth. An old story came to mind, of a little boy who sobbed as he told his papa he had just failed in the spelling bee. Papa said, "What was the word, son?" Son said, "Posse." Papa said, "Son, don't worry -- how could they expect you to spell it when you don't know how to pronounce it? " Same with censor and censure?

Salvo, c/o God

-- October 31, 1995

The Harbinger