Barbarella
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How about “Pig Supreme?” asked one of the lambs. “No good,” said Charlotte. “It sounds like a rich dessert.” — E. B. White

When my friend Sara announced the impending arrival of her new pet — a miniature painted pot-bellied piglet that would grow to be the size of a large cat — I became dizzy. She might as well have told me that a unicorn, with its glittery horn and the power to grant wishes, was munching on a patch of grass in her backyard. I was geeky with anticipation to see the little porker.

I received the text on a Monday night. Sara and her boyfriend Hanis had returned from a day at the Del Mar Fair and invited me to pop over to meet the newest addition to their clan (they already had the “incredibly growing” desert tortoise and Doogers the rambunctious spaniel). I’d seen tusky warthogs and pygmy pigs at the zoo, but always from a distance on the other side of a barrier. This would be my first time going nose to snout with a pig.

I was there before they’d finished unloading the car. Dropping my tact along with my purse on a chair, I walked right past Sara to Hanis, who was holding the piglet in his arm like a football. I hadn’t expected it to be so tiny. He was lighter than my multiple-rep dumbbells and not nearly as long. “He’s growing fast,” Sara said from behind me, “but even at his largest, he won’t be more than 15 to 25 pounds. He was the runt of his litter, just like Wilbur.”

Hanis set the runt on the grass. Both a chef and farmer, Hanis raises pigs (the kind for eating) on a shared farm in Alpine. Though this little piggy will not be going to market, Hanis named him Carnitas.

The pint-sized hog waddled around straight-legged on his hooves, looking ballerina-like on his tippy-toes. His tail — also straight — wagged like a dog’s, and his rotund tummy was wider than the rest of his body; he grunted as he poked at the soil with his snout, his oinking a testimony to his serenity.

“Can I hold him?” I asked. Sara nodded, and I smiled like a junkie about to land a job as a pharmacist. I reached down and put my hand around his softball of a belly. A piercing squeal filled the air — a desperate, miserable cry more alarming than a hungry infant’s — while itty-bitty piggy legs flailed about. I withdrew my hand and looked to Sara for help.

“He does that when you just grab him,” she said.

“You think?” I said. Sara laughed off my sarcasm and demonstrated how tapping the pig’s bottom would encourage him to bound into my arms. I sat beside him, touched his bum, and Carnitas trotted onto my leg and into my arms. He buried his snout in my elbow, rooting for comfort, driving his nose into my flesh with the perseverance of Sisyphus. It felt as if someone were poking me with an index finger. Hard.

“He did that to me for over ten minutes last night,” said Hanis. “Actually gave me a bruise.”

But I didn’t mind. It was a bearable pain. I was willing to put up with a whole hell of a lot for the opportunity to cradle the exotic creature. Something about him burrowing into my arm kindled in me a latent need to nurture.

I paused from stroking the animal’s back and looked up after Sara mentioned something about Gay Pride 2010. It wasn’t mere talk of the upcoming festivities that had tugged my attention away from the piglet. “Did I hear you say you’re going to be in the parade?” I asked. “And Hanis is going to be working? Does that mean you need someone to watch Carnitas?” It was at that moment — as I envisioned those peewee pig hooves traipsing around on my hardwood floors — that I realized just how boar-besotted I was.

I don’t baby-sit, I don’t dog-sit, I don’t water plants. I don’t feel the urge to volunteer myself to assume other people’s chosen responsibilities. On the occasions that I’ve agreed to look after my niephlings or scoop a friend’s Kitty Litter, it was because I was beseeched as a last, desperate resort. But pig-sitting, now that was different.

“Are you sure David would be okay with him in your house?” Sara asked. “I won’t be able to come pick him up right away; it might take us a while to get out of there.”

“He’ll be fine,” I said. “Won’t you?” I held a wild gaze on David, scaring him into the nod he finally provided. “See? No problem,” I said.

“Well, I just want to make sure,” Sara said. “I know how you guys are. You don’t even allow kids in your place.”

“Well, yeah, not until they’re old enough to hold a conversation or operate a corkscrew,” I said. “Toddlers are like ferrets, they get their little hands into everything. And babies are boring. They just sit there until they scream bloody murder because they need to be filled or emptied.”

“But I thought you didn’t let animals up either,” said Hanis.

“Well, no, not historically,” I said. “Dogs can be destructive.” I looked down at the strange bundle in my arms. “But this little guy, he’s harmless. And entertaining. I’ll take him to the parade, and then he can kick it at our place until you’re ready for him.”

The morning I collected Carnitas, I walked away with two armfuls of Hanis-prepared care packages comprising food, treats, water, spray-on sunscreen, a quilted carrier, and Carnitas’s bed. Hanis appeared ever the fretful father as he watched us leave. I set the pig in his small bed on my passenger seat and tweeted a few photos, my face aching from my huge grin.

After torturing the poor pig with spray-on sunscreen (his sad squeals of protest still haunt me) and then giggling for a while as he scuttled about, failing to find traction on our polished granite counter, I packed him into the carrier and headed out the door with David and my father.

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Comments

Barbarella Fokos July 28, 2010 @ 1:39 p.m.

I apologize in advance for my uncontrollable exclamations in the video. I was under the pig's spell, and had no idea what was coming out of my mouth. ;)

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Founder July 28, 2010 @ 2:52 p.m.

Reply to # 1

-- Pig's Spell --

" I was under the pig's spell, and had no idea what was coming out of my mouth."

Easy for you to say, on the video, if you don't mind listening, if I say so!

One would have thought you'd be dancing a jig, having so much fun with a tiny pig.

Oink Oink

I watched the video twice, it was cute and very nice,

but did you realized while you were narrating in it, that you filmed it at 3.5 OMG's per minute? :-o]

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Barbarella Fokos July 28, 2010 @ 10:21 p.m.

You wanna laugh? Google "Meet Carnitas." Video's going viral. You saw it here first! Founder, I loved your limerick, as always!

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trapin July 29, 2010 @ 9:42 a.m.

He is the man. Breaks hearts wherever he goes. I saw him briefly on Tuesday and I'm already jonesing to get back to see him ASAP.

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Robert Hagen July 29, 2010 @ 11:19 p.m.

Evan handed the valet several twenties saying

"Park it!"

He took off running.

The motorcyclists had already parked their bikes and were charging forward. The valet barely had time to leap out of the way.

Evan took off, but he didn't have enough lead time. One of the motorcyclists put on a surge, riding leathers, motorcycle boots and all. As Evan went to turn the corner, the young motorcyclist tripped him.

A Vespa roared around the corner, with two Buzos. The passenger leapt off the back, tumbled, landed on one knee, and began spraying the motorcyclists eyes with pepper spray with a super soaker.

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Robert Hagen July 30, 2010 @ 1:46 a.m.

The motorcyclists grabbed their eyes. The dismounted Buzo began shoving them down screaming

Abajo! Abajo! (Down! Down!)

The buzo off the bike whirled around and shoved the blinded bikers down, yelling

Down! Down!

The Buzo on the Vespa turned around, and got off the scooter with a mini Uzi.

"Get down on the ground!" he cried.

The motorcyclists got hog tied, right there in the Gaslamp Quarter.

The Buzo levelled his weapon:

"Who is the president of the United States of America?!"

The motorcyclists said nothing.

"Spit it out, who?!" cried the Buzo.

Nothing.

The Buzo circled around, pointing his weapon, and gestured to the other Buzo- 'Wrap em up.'

The other Buzo hogtied them at the feet.

"You 're going to find out! You're going to find out!"

The Buzos took off in a flash.

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Barbarella Fokos July 30, 2010 @ 10:19 a.m.

Here's a video I just posted of Carnitas the piglet playing on a big bed and rolling over to have his tummy scratched, like a puppy!

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nan shartel July 31, 2010 @ 11:05 a.m.

i'd been saying OMG 2 Barbarella...he is in actual fact the cutest pig in the world!!!

and i want him!!!

or one just like him!!!

thanks for the extra links

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Founder July 31, 2010 @ 5:27 p.m.

Regarding #13's squeel:

-- Hey You, Pig --

"i want him!!! or one just like him!!!"

"The cute little pig"

Is how you'd call your new pet

and perhaps it is

named in such a way

to make you so proud to say

My perfect Piggy

+

Extra Links or Pokey the Piglet or Piglicious are just a few, but more important is how the pig would call you!

Oink Oink

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nan shartel Aug. 2, 2010 @ 1:18 p.m.

founder u wonker...meet my soon to be oinker!!!

if i can pry him away from Barbarella

did u look at the other U TUBE video...of piglicious on the big bed....he's like a puppy playing only cuter

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Founder Aug. 2, 2010 @ 2:10 p.m.

-- Oou-ee Sue-ee --

If you get a Piglicious of your own, be sure to not give it a meaty bone,

you should give it veggies instead, so it will not do on your bed!

It's just a tip for you, from me, for your soon to be Sue EE,

then both you and Barbarella could redefine, being just "pen" pals, with both of your little swine.

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Robert Hagen Aug. 3, 2010 @ 7:43 p.m.

The Royal Marines walked into the English pub in Little Italy, with Evan Will. One of them patted the bar with the palm of his hand, and said

"Proprietor, three pints up top."

"Of what?"

"Of a strong Guinness Ale, black as night, and poured long and slow. And some fish and chips behind that, if you please."

Eazy E - Dope Man - Lyrics and Song

Lyrics -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FjLJqPc_Yk&feature=related

Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FjLJqPc_Yk&feature=related

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MsGrant Aug. 11, 2010 @ 7:49 a.m.

Hey, Barb - Carnitas is in the paper today!! Tom Blair's column. And he got the headline!

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Barbarella Fokos Aug. 11, 2010 @ 1:22 p.m.

MsGrant, I noticed that. Interesting that Blair never contacted Hanis directly. All of the information he gleaned was from my video and article, and yet I am not credited. His confirmations were made by calling a coworker at the restaurant, but he did not write, "According to coworkers" when stating Hanis's intentions to raise the pig vegan. It's actually Hanis's girlfriend that wants the pig to be a vegan. Blair didn't do his due diligence.

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MsGrant Aug. 11, 2010 @ 4:30 p.m.

That's not good. Not good at all. You should contact the UT or Mr. Blair directly and ask that he credit your blog in his next column (and not just a correction). I was so excited when I read that this morning because I thought - Hey, I know that pig!! Now I am disappointed that credit was not given where due.

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Barbarella Fokos Aug. 11, 2010 @ 4:33 p.m.

It's all good. I was more noting the poor practice of not verifying information with the subject about whom one is writing than I was griping about not having my name out there. This "vegan pig video," which is likely where Blair first caught wind of this if he doesn't read my column, has 260,000 views now!

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nan shartel Aug. 11, 2010 @ 5:03 p.m.

good going Barbarella!!!

that PIG is becoming a LEGEND!!!

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MsGrant Aug. 11, 2010 @ 5:05 p.m.

I know, but it is your story and not his :)

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