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Astros on a roll, not leaving Las Vegas, re-living the elephant woman: The fun filled update for Oct. 12


Filling in for Barry Laminack today, who had a big comedy show last night. Congrats on that, bud…

The Astros will face off with the Yankees, who won their series with the Indians last night. Dallas Keuchel will pitch Game 1 and Justin Verlander Game 2.

You heard it here first: The Astros will beat the Yankees in 5-6 games, then go on and beat the NL reps and win the World Series. It is their year.

It’s an exciting time in Houston sports. The Rockets added Chris Paul, The Astros will win the World Series. Deshaun Watson is a superstar.

Time to enjoy the ride.

Tough times: It’s been more than a week, and I admit I am still affected by the events in Las Vegas. I had two friends in the middle of it, and a neighbor who was nearby, and was in lockdown in a room in a casino for hours. They are still all dealing with the aftermath.

I was just in that complex for the Mayweather fight, and spend a lot of time in that area and in the Mandalay itself. I can’t fathom the horrors people went through. Reading the bios of the victims was heartbreaking, but necessary.

I’m big on the idea of living your life and not being afraid of the monster under the bed. But this was some monster.

On to happier things…

I have not told this story in a while, but the elephant woman is always good for a laugh. This is basically how it once appeared on my old Freddy’s World blog several years ago. So here we go…

Zoo people: OK, so we all have drunk stories. (Well, not me. I have never done ANYTHING I regret because of alcohol. At least that I can remember. Or will admit).

I have said before I am a freak magnet. Dig back on my old blog far enough and you will find the wheelchair prostitute story. Anytime I go out of town, I attract weirdos.

The greatest story ever, however, was the elephant woman. And yes, it is sort of a drunk story.

I was in Orlando, Fla., for APSE judging. That was where sports editors from all around the country come together and judge other sections. At the time, it was a very big deal. It was the academy awards of our business.

The whole trip started out strange. We were staying in a hotel that was next to a giant mermaid. (No, she wasn’t hot). So anytime we went out and got lost we just had to drive up and down the road until we found the giant mermaid.

We spent most of the time locked in small rooms judging other newspapers, then a few hours at the bar, then back to work.

As an aside, I miss the hell out of contest judging. The camaraderie with the other editors, the friendships that developed…it’s irreplaceable. If I could have one thing back from my journalism career, that would be it. (Well, there are a lot of people I would like to work with again that left the Chron years ago, including a few of you who read this blog. You guys know who you are. And yes, a few of you who are still there, too).

Anyway, back to our story. We had been judging for two days, and frankly, it was grueling work. Results from the contests were starting to trickle in, and our section hadn’t won anything yet, which is a different kind of stress.

One of the young men I was judging with was Jeff Rosen, who I would eventually hire at the Chronicle. We were both pretty wiped out when we got stuck on an elevator for a good 15 minutes.

With a bunch of “zoo people.”

It turns out that besides APSE, the hotel was also hosting a zoo convention.

There were zookeepers, vets, animal freaks of all kinds.

And the hotel was going through a sale, so the customer service was shoddy. They weren’t in much of a hurry to get us out of an elevator, even though 10 of us were stuck on it (two journalists, eight zoo freaks). The hotel never answered the alarm; we finally got help by calling the front desk from cell phones and screaming at them for 20 minutes.

After that experience, I needed a drink.

We hit the bar, and I noticed a young lady sitting next to me. She kept creeping closer and closer, like she wanted to talk.

She seemed friendly, and she was attractive. After a few minutes, she started talking to me.

(My freak alarm did not go off, even though she said she was one of the “zoo people.” Maybe it was because she was attractive).

She seemed very interested that I was a sports editor. We chatted briefly about why I was there and what I did.

But the conversation quickly turned to her.

She offered that she was there to do a session on antelope mating and artificial insemination of antelopes.

At that point, my freak alarm started to beep quietly.

Then, unsolicited, she offered this: “But the most interesting thing I have ever done is take semen from an elephant.”

At this point, I see Rosen, who had been sitting next to me, on the other side of the bar, laughing. He had abandoned me.

I, on the other hand, was trapped. And a little scared, especially when she began describing the process in great detail.

“It takes two people to get elephant semen,” she said with enthusiasm. “My assistant put on a large rubber sleeve, shoved his arm up the elephant’s rectum and began massaging the elephant’s prostate.”

Her tone was clinical, matter of fact.

“This, of course, made the elephant erect.”

Of course.

“My job,” she said, becoming more animated, “was to be the catcher.”

Before I could comment, she added, “The catcher’s job was to stabilize the penis, then collect the semen.”


“But the problem was stabilization,” she said. “During the process, the penis would spasm, up and down. I would reach my arms around it and try to prevent that from happening.”

She then showed me how she did it, her arms over her head.

“But I am only 5-foot tall and 103 pounds, so it was a struggle.”

She then to began to jump up and down, mimicking the struggle.

Of course, I had to ask the obvious question. Journalistic integrity, of course.

“How big was it?” She repeated my question. “Five feet long and three feet wide!”

After she bounced a few more times, she said, “then the elephant ejaculated!”

“And,” she said, “I collected TWO liters.”

At this point, I was looking for the exit. The visual of two liters of elephant…um…well, I had lost my appetite for food, alcohol and zoo people.

And I should have anticipated her next question. “Do you want to know the weird part?”

“Oh…” I said. “I HAVE to know the weird part.”

She looked around to make sure no one else was listening, and whispered quietly.

“It was kind of sexy.”

“So…” she said after an uncomfortable silence. “A bunch of us are going to go dancing later. Would you like to go dancing?”

The image of the bouncing zoo person in my head on the dance floor was too much to take.

“Um, er, no, I have to go to a meeting,” I said, glancing quickly at my watch.

“What kind of people meet at 9:45 p.m.?”

“Oh,” I said numbly. “Sports Editors. We are night people.”

She seemed disappointed. “Well, if you change your mind, I am a hell of a dancer.”

“Yes,” I thought to myself. “I am sure you are. But I don’t think I can manage two liters.”

All of my female friends who hear that story insist she was trying to pick me up.

My question is OK, if that’s the case, why an elephant? Who can compete with that?

Why not a chipmunk? Even an antelope?

But an elephant? Not a chance.

Zoo people.


“I like my stationery to be funnier, like, ‘Here’s my note, and it’s an elephant with a lady smoking a cigarette on top.’ “

— Kate Spade



How is this for an elephant woman?

2 Comments on Astros on a roll, not leaving Las Vegas, re-living the elephant woman: The fun filled update for Oct. 12

  1. Fred, this was so well written, I’ll never get the images out of my head. I’ll also be laughing my ass off the rest of the day. This may go for story of the year from HS&S!


  2. hearing the elephant story again, it would be a treat for new Blitzers to hear AJ’s telephone call to his mom!!
    Donna R


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