Coyote Nose Volume #1; Issue #08

Spic and Spam

Shoulder of pork and ham. Yupper, them’s the primary ingredients of a can of Spam, and also how it got its world famous name. When Jay C. Hormel invented Spam in 1936, a big hold up was what to call this new potted meat thing. “Chopped Ham” was the original idea, but that was far to plane a name for this tasty new product. So it sat on the shelf for several months until the Hormel’s decided to throw a “naming” party for the can of lunch meat, and this columnist would have loved to have been there with scratch pad in hand to capture some of the doosies that must have been thrown around. I mean, what the hell would you call it?! Maybe “Potted Pig Paste” or something. Well, anyway, the winner of the whopping $100 first prize was a local actor named Kenneth Daigneau who simply condensed “Shoulder of Pork and Ham” into Spam. Hope he didn’t spend the hundred bucks all in one place. Well, this puts my mind to ease that it was untrue what my buddy told me long ago that Spam was really a mixture of sperm and ham, but the Coyote New that wasn’t true.

Hell yea! We were out there on the work ranch last weekend, cookin’ Spam on mesquite and hickory, smokin’ cigars, poppin’ corks, and even danced a few jigs. And most of all, we relaxed our shoulders into the swingin’ hammocks of a job well done. We had some good ole’ fashioned reason to celebrate, and that was because we had passed the federal BLM spring site inspection with the best scores ever!! Yeeee-haa!!

For many burners, Black Rock City ’02 ended when the Man burned.

For many others it ended when the Playa was cleared in the fall.

But if the truth be known, last year’s city doesn’t truly give up the ghost until that spring inspection when the passing grade is determined by the inability to find her. It is spick and span out there gang!

Well she didn’t get up and just walk away, and it’s funny how this circular season called Burning Man finds its start and finish in the business of picking up litter and debris.

So come on there, ladies and gents, how ’bout a round-a-plause, round-a-plause! For the embedded bruisers who’ve been out there raking up butts to cover our butts.

These guys are like the magic mushrooms that grow up out of an old tree stump.

And a special back pat for Mr. Caleb Schaber. It’s a good feeling to just hand a job over with confidence, and it gets done. And also gotta spotlight the Bubble Gique and Wild Bill Carson for ferreting out the hot spots and being the solid scouts! These guys really do have the playa on the backs of their hands – (or at least mapped out on their lap tops.) Who ya gonna call?
Methinks that they’re are many who could use this good news pint of fresh blood, so I’ll say it again: either way, the man will burn!

Thank you – thank you very much.

Speaking of leave no trace, can you imagine what it was like to live, say, 500 years ago as a Dakota Indian, perhaps, where your world abounded with hostile enemies that only needed to track your trail as you roamed, to wipe out your entire tribe and make off with your scalps? I guess you could say that it would give a whole new meaning to “leave no trace”! I’m betting that they didn’t travel with too many boa feathers, or eat too many pistachios. These people would break a camp of a hundred and fifty in the middle of the night and even pack the fires along, and not even a blood hound would have known they were there.

Once, I was at an Indian Pow Wow that was hosting “fancy dance” competitions where a dancer was immediately disqualified if any part of his costume fell to the ground during the dance. This was, again, because in the old days, he could have been tracked and killed.

Broken costume parts are in the top ten kinds of litter found in Black Rock City.

I know it’s tempting for a few, but scalping the participants probably isn’t the solution. As always, information is the key.

Was having a Pow Wow with Larry Harvey an the Jack Rabbit the other day concerning the nature of MOOP (material out of place – or litter) and we came up with some basic catagories:

1. Hand Moop: The most abundant and most frustrating – the things that simply leave the hand and hit the ground. This is the candy wrappers, cig butts, bottle caps, etc. The most frustrating because it’s the most avoidable.
2. Set up and Tear Down Moop: More with tearing down because of the rush to escape. This is all the construction shit. Wood chips, zip ties, curly-Q drill bit shavings, nails and screws – oh, and did I say NAILS AND SCREWS? This is frustrating because it can be avoided with a little for-thought and in some cases, a simple tarp.
3. Accident Moop: The necklace that breaks during the DPW parade. The bottle that fell off the deck of some crazy backward boat at sunrise. It’s not likely that someone’s gonna jump ship and moop it up on the spot.
4. Art Moop: – Leaves, twigs, grass, bits of metal and welding slag, sequins, beads, and mirror ball glass. You get the idea.
5. Blow away floaty Moop: Ash, plastic bags, an entire tent once, wood chips, etc. This stuff actually floats on the winter lake that forms on the playa, and prevailing winds pushes it to the north fence line, where it becomes embedded into the clay. It creates a “shore line” if you will. Most difficult to be rid of.

For the most part, the city is amazingly spick and span before we even get started in Sept., and it would be impossible to clean without our citizens’ awareness, but last year slipped some and we need to keep trumpeting out the message. It must always be in our minds and actions to remember the basics: Never let it hit the ground. Never let it leave your mind. Leave no trace. And this year’s new one –

CLEAN AS YOU GO! That way, when the annual after-burn dust storm hits, the dust will be covering an already clean camp. Hey, man, it could happen!

Did you know that glow stick goo was really radio active Mountain Dew? Who knew?

Now that we’re on the subject, our fearless DPW leader, Will Roger was talking about proper Porta Pottie practice. Of course this had to do with some of the crazy and frightening things that shouldn’t but can make their way into the tank of a Porta Pottie. Mike Enos, (or “Turd Burglar” out on the playa), who operates “Jonny On the Spot”, (now there’s a hero!), once was talking about some of these things. He said that one night they even had to tong a pair of blue jeans out of a tank!!

Coyote doesn’t know the story on this one and doesn’t want to!

Well, understandably this has annoyed the vendor to the point of rethinking contracts, so we have to trumpet the message there, also. The criteria reads that it simply MUST pass through your body before it hits the tank. So as Will puts it, if you’ve passed them through yourself first, you can leave a pair of Nike’s in there if you want!

Any takers?

So don’t forget, all you cats and kittens – Clean as you goes!

Coyote Nose

About the author: Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet

Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet has been coming to the desert to build and strike Black Rock City since 1996. A professional musician for over twenty years, Burning Man culture was an easy shift for him. He co-founded the Department of Public Works of BRC in 1998 and has been the City Superintendent ever since. Known as the “Bard of the Desert”, telling stories around the campfire is among the things he does best. He has been blogging under the moniker of “Coyote Nose” for many years, and he is Burning Man’s first Storytelling Fellow.