Some ferrets, especially males, secrete a musky odor from skin glands and from scent glands located near the anus. You can help control the odor by having the anal glands surgically removed, a procedure that's often performed at the same time a Pet is spayed or neutered
Regular bathing with a high-quality shampoo will also help control odors and can prevent dandruff. If your ferret still smells unpleasant, we can help you select commercial ferret deodorizers that you can spray or rub directly on your Pet.
Male ferrets are called "hobs"; female ferrets are called "jills"; and a group of ferrets is called a "business."
--From the pamphlet, Keeping Your Ferret Healthy, by the people at The Banfield Pet Hospital
My friend Cromwell, down the road, has a huge mottled green bird that still squawks "Off with their heads," a dim memory from the time of Madame DeFarge and the madness of the French Revolution. The filthy, ageless animal was hatched in the slums of Paris and came over on a boat with a servant who was indentured, at the time, to Benjamin Franklin.
It is weird to stare into the crazy black eyes of a savage yet well-spoken old bird who can remember snatches of conversation between Ben Franklin and Aaron Burr, and sometimes even George Washington. You never know for sure, with these beasts, but lying is not in their nature and most smart people take them seriously. When the thing starts screeching and babbling about a thunderstorm over the Hudson River on Wednesday night in 1788, it is probably telling the truth.
Nobody knows what it means. Old Ben had a queer sense of humor, but he definitely understood the weather. Thomas Jefferson kept ferrets, which gnawed on his body at night, and eventually poisoned his blood.
--From Generation of Swine : Tales of Shame and Degradation in the '80's, by Hunter S. Thompson
When it comes down to it, the crux of my complaint howls at the domestication of the music I love. People like Kenny, Shania, and Lonestar are really just poodles, kitty cats, and bug-eyed fish in a boring, yet expensive aquarium. They know where to piss and shit, they throw fits if they don't get the proper amounts and types of exercise and food, and they'll sniff any crotch that has a treat in its pockets somewhere.
Alt Country is the ferrets, iguanas, snow leopards, and the occasional mountain gorilla, found chained to the frame of a '78 Camaro in a poll barn in Coon Rapids: you can spay or neuter it, tear out its anus, and bathe it in luxurious shampoos, but it's just a ferret, and it would really rather be eating field mice and pissing on your begonias, than taking a nap in your great aunt's spacious lap while she watches Oprah.
Thank God, then, for The Gourds from Austin, Texas. If I'm obtuse with my tortured metaphors, it's because of them. There's basic method and technique to everything they do, each one being an accomplished musician...after that, all bets are off. For whatever reason, they stretch twang music in all the directions I want it stretched, and their latest record, The Gourds Present Heavy Ornamentals, Si el problema es no corregido, pulls the taffy of country to its tastiest limits, while pulling back close to the vest at times to honor the tradition properly.
I was standing around in Kansas City's Westport area one fine March afternoon, discussing The Gourds with a bunch of 20-nothings, the band scheduled to appear that evening at Davey's Uptown down the street from where we were. One maladjusted youth in the crowd who had seen one String Cheese Incident and one Yonder Mountain String Band show, each, in his life, piped up, "oh yeah The Gourds, they're a jam band." If I could have reproduced Dalton's seminally violent moment of ripping Jimmy's throat out in the vastly underrated cinematic gem, Roadhouse, I would have.
This is a hillbilly boozehound junky rock band of some sort. But their songs all clock in around 4 minutes, radio friendly, and "tip your bartender" relative. They get the "jam band" label because their lyrics aren't about the class reunion barbecue at the state fair where you find out your high school sweetheart has a disabled daughter who's about to become an angel playing with her puppy near the ice cream stand...or in other words, every song that's come out of Nashville in the last 20 years.
Just imagine a bouncy, almost cajun kinda dance song, with an accordion and everything, then throw in these lyrics:
Yer full of wine and meat, throw yer bacon in the street
Yer long white hair is covered in blood
And I'm singing to the roaches and puttin' pecans in my pie
My tears are fallin down, I got something in my eye
Hooky Junk-Hooky Junk
If I had to throw dice, I'd like to say that's about heroin, but, it could just as easily be about making a pot pie in the microwave. Who knows? Who cares? The song is infectious from start to finish.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I write ridiculous letters to my college roommate Bill in this space quite often. Bill left a lasting impression on me and I measure a great deal of the things I do against his sense of right and wrong, I never want to let him down. The beauty of the thing though, is that there's a running roommate joke going that really starts with Catcher in the Rye:
For a while when I was at Elkton Hills, I roomed with this boy, Dick Slagle, that had these very inexpensive suitcases. He used to keep them under the bed, instead of on the rack, so that nobody'd see them standing next to mine. It depressed holy hell out of me, and I kept wanting to throw mine out or something, or even trade with him. Mine came from Mark Cross, and they were genuine cowhide and all that crap, and I guess they cost quite a pretty penny. But it was a funny thing. Here's what happened. What I did, I finally put my suitcases under my bed, instead of on the rack, so that old Slagle wouldn't get a goddam inferiority complex about it. But here's what he did. The day after I put mine under my bed, he took them out and put them back on the rack. The reason he did it, it took me a while to find out, was because he wanted people to think my bags were his. He really did. He was a very funny guy, that way. He was always saying snotty things about them, my suitcases for instance. He kept saying they were too new and bourgeois. That was his favorite goddam word. He read it somewhere or heard it somewhere. Everything I had was bourgeois as hell. Even my fountain pen was bourgeois. He borrowed it off me all the time, but it was bourgeois anyway. We only roomed together about two months. Then we both asked to be moved. And the funny thing was, I sort of missed him after we moved, because he had a helluva good sense of humor and we had a lot of fun sometimes. I wouldn't be surprised if he missed me, too. At first he only used to be kidding when he called my stuff bourgeois, and I didn't give a damn-it was sort of funny, in fact. Then, after a while, you could tell he wasn't kidding anymore. The thing is, it's really hard to be roommates with people if your suitcases are much better than theirs-if yours are really good ones and theirs aren't. You think if they're intelligent and all, the other person, and have a good sense of humor, that they don't give a damn whose suitcases are better, but they do. They really do. It's one of the reasons why I roomed with a stupid bastard like Stradlater. At least his suitcases were as good as mine.
--by J.D. Salinger
Yeah, that's a long way to go to make a small point, but twice now, in the psychotic ferret world of Alt Country, we've gotten a great "roommate" song. The first was "Nine Bullets," by the Drive By Truckers on Pizza Deliverance. The second is Jimmy's "New Roommate" on this record, a litany of the problems with a succession of 5 new roommates, that instantly reminds of me of the greatest roommate of all time. I'm going to learn it on guitar and sing it at his son's bar mitzvah in January of 2018.
They take simple things and make deep songs out of them. There's nothing wrong with deep in Country. "Weather Woman" is fucking brilliant:
Weather woman what's the call?
We just don't need you in the summer at all
My grass is dying and my bills are so high
Make like a cartoon and go poke the sky
I saw and erubescent sky turn black
I knew that funnel cloud was on the attack
My barometronic pressure was high
How exactly does your Doppler apply?
Do you think it rains when my weather girls cries?
I shit you not it was softball size
I live for shit like that.
"Burn the Honeysuckle" and "Pill Bug Blues" are perfect songs for making a large crock of chili on a Monday afternoon. You have to pulse up some boneless beef and pork in your Cuisinart, then brown them with onions and garlic in a large skillet. When that's done, put 3 big heaping tablespoons of real Mexican chili powder over it and let it seep in. Meanwhile, fill a warming crock with a chopped onion, 2 chopped bell peppers, 3 chopped jalapeno peppers, anywhere from 3 to 15 chopped cloves of garlic, a can of drained diced tomatoes, a can of pinto beans and a can of kidney beans. Add the meat mixture, stir together, and set on high for about six hours. Hit the repeat key on your CD player and burn the paint off your copy of The Gourds Present Heavy Ornamentals, Si, el problema es no corregido. Make some cornbread.