Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the category “Dinner”

Thank God Texas Has A Lot Of Room

TAKE ME TO THE BUTTER CHURN is a cry I hear on a regular basis when we go south to visit family. “The Butter Churn” is a restaurant/feeding station aka buffet just a waddle or two away from the family home in Sinton, Texas. And every time we visit, along with an assortment of several generations of nieces and nephews, we go to The Butter Churn.

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Throwback Thursday from March 2016 – “One Person’s Trivia…”

One Person’s Trivia Is Another Person’s McRib

mcd firstSOMETIMES THERE IS A BENEFIT when the conversation takes a turn to something boring. This morning over coffee one of the Usual Suspects started to talk politics. My brain glazed over and my eyes began to wander. It was then that I saw a teeny-tiny mention of no import.

 

“McDonald’s opens restaurant in 120th country.”

Sonovagun. I never would have guessed it was that many.

While voices muffled by politics faded in the background I read on.

The newest nation to allow Ronald the Clown to cross their borders is – (Fanfare!)

KAZAKHSTAN.mcd kazak

I do have to admit that my knowledge of Kazakhstan is rather limited, but as a McDonald’s stockholder for the last 30+ years I feel obligated to learn what I can. So, here goes.

Mcd pres

Nursultan Bazarbayev

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked nation on earth (ergo: not much of a navy).

It has a population of about 18 million souls, and now, 1 McDonald’s.   The Capital city is Astana. The President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Bazarbayev. He is generally considered to be an authoritarian ruler (read “dictator”). It is unknown at this time whether or not he likes the McRib mcd mcribSandwich.     

That’s it. That’s all of the relevant information about Kazakhstan I could dig up.

McDonald’s, with its new restaurant in Kazakhstan, has well over 36,000 sets of Golden Arches worldwide. They employ 1.9 million people. I would wager that most of them are either teenagers, senior citizens, or people who were just not Taco Bell material. I may be wrong, but my personal observation of the McD’s here in Terre Haute (That’s Kazakh for “Where’s my Shamrock Shake?”) tell me that I’m not wrong.

In my own personal experience I have been in McDonald’s all over this country and in Ireland. I have no intention of trying to visit all of them. There are people who try to do that, traveling all over the map in a quest to visit them all. These are people who will eventually work at McDonald’s. Who else would hire them after looking at a resume with a twenty year gap during which they ate breakfast, lunch and dinner next to Ronald the Clown.

In an effort to gather information for this snippet of reality I went to the McDonald’s Corporate website to learn more about their worldwide operations. Fascinating.

mcd irelandMcDonald’s has blanketed Europe. There are more than 50 Mickey D’s in Ireland. While I’m there (leaving for Dublin in just a few days) I may visit one to satisfy my need for fries (chips), but I think we will eat at home most days.

I learned that there are 11 McD’s in Lithuania, ancestral home of my mother’s side of the family. Europe is definitely well served.mcd lith

The one glaring gap on the world map is on the continent of Africa.

There are about 23 McDonald’s in Egypt – more than I expected.

There are 200 stores in South Africa. That is way more than I would have guessed.

That’s it. Egypt on the north coast of the continent and South Africa at the other end. In between – nada.

If you live, let’s say in Burkina Faso (another landlocked country) and you have a craving for an order of Chicken McNuggets – you are SOL – Snack Out of Luck. You are going to have to hoof mcd burkinait across the Sahara to Egypt or, if you’re not in a hurry, pack a sandwich and head south, way south.

 

I admit that I have not delved deep into the subject to determine if there might be a Burger King or even a Subway (Sans Jarrod) in Burkina Faso. If there is – all I can say is “You deserve a break today. Boy, do you ever.”

mcd nuggets

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

joy1HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!

The sun is back rising in the east. Up is up. Down is down and Baseball is soon to reappear and…

My favorite little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant is open again. It was closed last August when two “youths” decided to burn down the Dollar Store next door. A brilliant move it was not. Not only did the fire gut the Dollar Store, but smoke and water damage destroyed my favorite little family run restaurant. All of this just a bagel’s thrown from St. Arbucks. But now…

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Puppies And Kittens And Snakes, Oh, My!

schroedingers-cat-is-alive-deadLIFE IS A SERIES OF CHOICES. The choices that some people make mystify me. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have the right to make their choices – I just don’t get the why and the how sometimes.

What I’m talking about today is People and their Pets.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I love pets. I have been a pet owner many times and cried like a baby when they died. I’ve had dogs, cats, fish, and, for a short time, a parakeet. That bird and I just didn’t get along. I’d give him seeds and he’d throw them back at me. I got him to perch on my hand only once. He called me an obscene name, bit me, and went back into his cage, slamming the door. I gave him away to a friend who owned a cat.

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Throwback Thursday from January 2016

Throwback Thursday from January 2016

Cereal Killer On The Loose

Coupons 2TOO MUCH EDUCATION CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING.

I know a person with a graduate degree in finance from an Ivy League school. He can squeeze so much value out of a dime that it makes FDR get up and walk.

Now, I like saving money as much as the next guy – maybe a bit more even. I grew up poor with cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes. Even today, at an overripe old age, I still wince whenever I spend money. But, the fellow of whom I speak has elevated money-saving to an Art.

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I Am Leftovers

food1YOU WOULD THINK THAT AN ENTIRE WEEKEND would be enough time to recover, but I still feel like that beached whale. I am still giving thanks – only now it is thanks that I’m still alive, having survived my gluttony.

By this time of life I should know better and be more into a Zen-like state where I don’t engage all of my senses in a spate of overdoing it at the dinner table.

“Oh, Grasshopper, you are personally responsible for the famine in Asia. Because of you millions of people will go to bed without any pumpkin pie. The children will never know the meaning of Kool-Whip.”

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An Encore Presentation  – “Hey, Butterball!”

Throwback Thursday 3

On Wednesday . ..

From November 2015

 

Brace yourself, America! It’s that time of year again when,a39f71f4-51bf-4f24-8b9e-4fe70b5801cb all across the country, people will be preparing Thanksgiving Turkey Dinners by the millions.

For most it will be a joyous chore to feed family and friends, but for many it will be a challenge comparable to trying to fly to the moon in a lawn chair powered by some helium balloons from the dollar store.

Despair not, help is available!

This year, as it has for the past 34 years, the fine folks at Butterball will be running their Turkey Hotline to answer questions and help salvage those Thanksgiving dinners for the less than expert chefs. Not everybody can be Julia Child – nor would you want to be – she’s dead.

Over the past 34 years the folks answering the calls at Butterball from mystified cooks have had to both give clarifying information and not scream or laugh out loud at the same time.

“I carved my turkey with a chainsaw. Is the chain grease going to adversely affect my turkey?” The answer is YES, don’t serve it or it might kill someone. I can’t think of a worse way to top off Thanksgiving dinner than having the diners keeling over at the table.

“How do I roast my turkey so it gets golden brown tan lines in the shape of a bikini?” The recommendation was “strategically placed foil.” I really don’t want to know why they wanted this information. That is between them and their therapist or defense lawyer.

And then there was the man looking for a quick way to cook his turkey who put it in the oven in the self-cleaning mode. While that certainly would be quicker than recommended by Butterball, so would napalm or a thermonuclear explosion.

Finally, there was the woman who called the Hotline for advice on how to get her Chihuahua out of the turkey. Let’s not go any further with that one.

Most of the calls to the Hotline are, Thank God, rather mundane, such as:

“How long do I cook it?”

“How long does it take to thaw out?”

Thankfully, there are very few questions that are matters of life and death. But as one generation of cooks learns the ropes, along comes a new crop of would-be Emerils to pull the pin on a turkey grenade.

In the last decade or so the concept of deep frying the Thanksgiving turkey has caught on. Unfortunately, it seems to be most popular with men who think that, since they can change the oil in the pick-up truck, they can deep fry a turkey. It’s just a different kind of oil. Right?

Deep frying a turkey brings its own set of caveats, warnings and instructions, none of which bear any resemblance to servicing the Ford F-150.

The Butterball people list them on their website and instruction #1 hints at what must be a recurring problem among deep frying novices:

#1 – Before deep frying – take the wrapper off of the turkey!

Really? You mean I shouldn’t leave the little net bag and plastic wrapper and labels on the bird? Why not leave it in the plastic bag from the supermarket as well?

When you try deep frying your first turkey it is firmly suggested that you wait until the bird is completely thawed – unless you actually want a geyser of hot, and possibly flaming oil, launched over you, the kitchen and, eventually, the smoking ruins of your house. If this happens you might ask the firemen who will be putting out your house fire if they know the way to the nearest Denny’s or IHOP. Both places will be serving Thanksgiving dinner all day long.

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Let’s Do Lunch

deer2WHAT’S FOR LUNCH TODAY? If you’re anything like me it is a last minute decision about some form of organic matter on a plate. After a quick scouting mission through the kitchen I usually end up with something that falls under the general heading of “Leftovers” – also known as “Muzgos,” – as in “If we don’t eat this today – it Muz Go.”

This morning while driving down to St. Arbucks Sunrise Service/Brewing I heard something on the radio that might change the concept of Lunch for millions of people.

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Throwback Thursday – from November 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

Two Lobes, No Waiting

I’M FEELING IN A MAGNANIMOUS MOOD TODAY.

I feel like reachingFB_IMG_1444792041486
out to my fellow bipeds and seeing if I can be of help. So, I have declared that today is officially:

FREE BAD ADVICE DAY!

For today – and today only – I will be dispensing free bad advice on a wide range of topics.

Let the games begin!

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Fiction Saturday – And Pull The Hole In After You – Continued

Fiction Saturday – Continued

pull-scotts-seafoodChapter Fourteen

 

The fog was in and the dusk was stealing the colors out of the day.  The neon signs in the Marina cast a fuzzy light.

By 7:45, most of the tourists had retreated back to the Fisherman’s Wharf area where the huge restaurants were shoveling frozen crab and other dubious bits of overpriced seafood into the folks from Iowa.  The Marina was now safely in the hands of the locals. Herbs and spices were mating to produce wondrous flavors that the tourists would never get to taste.

Dinner was scheduled for eight p.m. Davis had called Scott’s restaurant from the Safeway parking lot and made the reservation.  He didn’t want any snags.

He couldn’t explain it, but he felt like a teenager again.  He hadn’t been this excited about going out with a girl since his junior year in high school when one of the cheerleaders finally said “Yes.”  He hoped tonight would go better.  He double-checked the seams on his trousers, just to be sure.

It had been almost twenty years, but he could still feel his face redden at the memory.  It leaves deep and permanent scars when the seat of your pants splits open in the middle of a Bob’s Big Boy Restaurant on a busy Saturday night.

Why not just kill yourself and get it over with? he thought then.  You have embarrassed yourself by showing off your boxers in front of every kid in the school.

His date, the gorgeous cheerleader, was embarrassed because she was with the doofus who had just flashed his ass at the world.  Of course, everybody in the place had  laughed, partly out of all teens’ inborn sense of cruelty and partly out of the self-conscious knowledge that it, just as easily, could have been him or her with their polka-dotted butt hanging out for all to see.

Davis checked his seams one more time.

***

Sitting in front of her tiny makeup mirror Laura prepared for her new birthday dinner date.  Date?

“My God, am I going on a date?  No I’m not!  It’s just dinner.”  She shook her head, pushing the idea of a date out of the picture.  “It’s just dinner.”

She dressed in the nicest outfit she could put together from her shallow closet.  She wanted to look good for a dinner in a nice restaurant.  It was going to be a bit chilly out with the fog being in, but she refused to wear the denim jacket.

It was only a short stroll from her apartment to Scott’s restaurant, so she felt no need to rush.  She didn’t want to get there first.  She didn’t want to appear too anxious, although she was, terribly so.  It would be good to let him cool his heels for a few minutes.  He had made her break into a sweat in the supermarket, so a little turnabout would be fair play.  Let him think he’d been stood up.

No, she decided, he seems like a decent guy.pull-revolver

She flipped off the lights as she closed her door, checked the lock twice, made sure the safety was set on the revolver, and started toward the restaurant.

It’s just dinner.

***

 

He picked at his Dover Sole and she herded her scallops around the plate like they were little breaded sheep.

“Are the scallops okay?  We can send them back and get you something else,” said Davis, noticing her lack of interest in her dinner.

“No,” she replied.  “They’re fine.  I guess I’m just not as hungry as I thought.”  She looked at his plate.  “You’re not doing much with your sole there, I see.”

He looked at his fish and set down his fork.  “It’s really good, but I must not be all that hungry either.  Oh, well.”

Laura put down her fork and said, softly, “I want to thank you again for your help with that man on the street last week.  That took courage.  You didn’t know.  He could have been armed.  Thank you.”

Davis blushed a bit.  “I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines.  You’re welcome.”

“And…,” she continued, wanting to get all of this out, “I want to apologize for the way I treated you in the supermarket today.  I was rude to you and it was uncalled for.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”

She picked up her fork again and tasted a few grains of the golden saffron rice.  She avoided looking at Davis.  If she had looked up she would have seen him gazing at her with a thousand questions in his eyes.

“Laura, it’s me who should be begging for your forgiveness.  I should have just let you have that ice cream instead of making a federal case out of it.  I don’t know why I behaved like that.  I didn’t mean to upset you.  Please, accept my apology.”

Laura lifted her eyes to meet his.  “Apology accepted.  Now we’re even,” she said with a shy smile.  She shook her head and said, “You must have thought I was crazy.”

“Well, for a second there, I thought you were going to go postal on me,” he said.  She didn’t hear him.  Her mind was searching for the right words to explain to him what happened.

 “It’s just that – It’s just that I – I’ve had some bad experiences with men and I overreact sometimes.  I’m sorry.”  That was as good as she could allow herself to say.

“I won’t pry,” he said, “but if I can help in any way or if you ever just want to talk, I’m in the book.”

“I don’t have a phone.”  She had thrown her cell phone into a storm drain in Boston.

“Then,” he answered, reaching into his inside coat pocket, “here is my business card with my address.  I’m either there or at the donut shop on Chestnut, most times.” He extended his hand across the table.  Laura hesitated, then took the card and propped it up against the edge of her bread plate.

“Thank you.  That’s very sweet of you.  I don’t want to be a bother,” she said, looking at his card, noting that his address wasn’t very far away.

“No bother.  I’m a good listener,” he replied.

In an effort to change the subject, Laura slipped the business card into her bag on the floor next to her chair.  It leaned neatly up against the pistol.  She then turned the focus away from herself.

“Well, Davis Lovejoy, accountant and late night hero to damsels in distress, tell me about yourself.”  She smiled and reached for the bread basket.

“Me?  There’s not a whole lot to tell, I guess,” he said, and for the next twenty minutes he gave her his life story.  She stayed silent except to offer the occasional, “I see,” or “Really?”

pull-steel-mill-1Davis began with how he had grown up as an only child in a lower middle class home in Cleveland, Ohio.  His father was one of the last of the lifelong steelworkers, a man who went to work in the mills looking for a decent wage and job security.  By the time he was 55, there was neither for him.  Thirty-five years inside the hellish world of the mill had taken his strength and his health.  The only job he could do anymore was as an inspector and his failing eyesight was letting through too much flawed product.  By his fifty-seventh birthday he was on full disability and lost in the oddities of idleness.  By age sixty he was dead, in a sense by his own hand.  Because he could no longer produce, he consumed.  Alcohol finished the job that the Hot Mill had started.

Davis’s mother had doted on “her boys” for decades.  She loved her husband and missed his presence in her life.  She confided to her sister that she felt that she never saw her husband because of the hours he was working.  Later, when he could no longer work, she saw his body at home on the couch, but it wasn’t the same man she had married at St. Columbkille’s church when she was young and three months pregnant.

The Lovejoys were decent, hard working people, reliable to a fault.  They loved their son more than they had words to express.  They were determined that his life would be better.  That was the bedrock of their existence.

“No son of mine is ever going to set foot inside a steel mill,” vowed his father.

“I’d like Davis to be a doctor or a lawyer,” hoped his mother.

Dreams are promises chipped in whipped cream.

There was a needlessly long steelworkers walkout when Davis was 17 and a senior in high school.  The lost income was just that: lost, never to be recovered, no matter how good the eventual contract raises were.  The strike crippled the family’s finances.  Plans had to be changed, dreams deferred.

Davis had to get a job and the only work for a young man that paid above minimum wage was in the mills.

There were a lot of young boys looking for work with the steel companies, but having a relative already on the inside was the only sure way onto the employment rolls.

Four days after his eighteenth birthday Davis and his father went out for lunch and made two stops on the way: the first at the post office where Davis registered with Selective Service, and the second at the union hall to get his card.  A week later Davis was operating a ten-ton crane loading steel pipe onto rail cars and big rig haulers.  He was making fourteen times the wage his father had made when he’d first walked through the mill gate decades earlier.

On Davis’ first day, his mother saw her two men off to work.  She had packed them identical meals in their matching lunch boxes.

When they pulled the Dodge out of the driveway, she proudly waved goodbye to them.  When they turned the corner and headed down into the valley toward the mill, she went into the bedroom and cried like a new widow.

It seemed that, no matter how tight things got, the one bill that his father made sure got paid was the monthly premium to Met Life.  The insurance was always there, “just in case,” he said.

Davis stayed on in the mills after his father died.   He died in his sleep on the couch, in front of the television.

For the first time in thirty years in the Lovejoy house there was money enough to live on without worrying about strikes or imported Japanese steel souring the market.

Davis decided it was time to go to college.  His standing in the union and with the steel company helped him get reassigned as a “swing man.”  He became a part-time worker who would be called on to cover different jobs and different shifts as needed.  This would give him some free time to go after an education.

The idea of doing both things at once didn’t bother Davis.  Hard work was a family tradition.  Plus, he didn’t want to continue the other family tradition of being crushed and shattered by a lifetime in the mill.

His mother was proud and happy that he was going back to school.  It was the only part of her dream left alive.

Davis enrolled at Cleveland State University as a twenty-three-year-old freshman.  His plan was to major in Accounting.

He’d always seen the company’s white-collar employees going into the red brick office building just outside the mill gate.  When he saw them leaving at the end of the day their shirts were still white.

He imagined them to be the accountants and the metallurgists that were at the heart of the company.  He knew nothing about metallurgy, he thought, although most veteran steelworkers are practical metallurgists, almost chefs.  Making steel is done by recipe, adding specific amounts of this or that element to obtain the properties needed in any particular “heat” of steel.

The life of the accountant seemed more attainable.

In time, the concepts of credits, debits and creative mathematics took hold and his grades marched upward towards the Dean’s List.

The other students were curious about the “old guy with the filthy fingernails” who often came to class exhausted, but who always had his assignments ready, and who never whined about the workload.

During Finals Week,  just before Christmas, in the middle of his junior year, there was an accident at the mill.

Davis and two other men were loading oilfield pipe onto skids for shipment to Oklahoma.  One of his coworkers was a new kid, a local football “phenom” who had managed to flunk all of his classes at Ohio State.  He was so lost in the classroom that even the head coach couldn’t save his athletic scholarship.  Now the “phenom” was working in the mills, just like all the other men in his family.

The new kid was adjusting the slings on the crane that would hoist the forty-foot lengths of black, oil-covered pipe up and into position.  When it was ready, he gave the signal to proceed.  The steel lifted slowly and moved toward Davis, who would finesse the pipe into place.  Within seconds, the load began to spin slowly to the left.  The kid had not centered the load properly and it was starting to slide out of the sling.  At this point, there was nothing anyone could do.  Six forty-foot long steel pipes were going to fall fifteen feet to the concrete floor of the mill.  All hell was about to break loose.pull-steel-mill-2

Davis yelled out a warning and ran toward the young football star hoping to rescue him before it was too late, but flying steel blocked his path.  The nineteen-year-old stood transfixed at the sight of the tonnage now headed straight for him.  He never moved until the steel blasted into him, sounding like a million church bells.  He disappeared underneath what looked like a giant’s game of pick-up-sticks.

Davis went to class that night.  He had an exam to take.

He graduated with more than respectable grades, and was given a transfer by the steel company out of the mill, and into the red brick office building.  There he learned that there are other ways to die on the job.

He went to work every day in the Accounting Department doing billings on the steel pipe that he used to make.  He wore a white shirt and took care of his mother.  It was the hardest job he had ever had in his life.

After his father’s death, Davis saw his mother’s life unravel.  No matter how many people dropped by to visit her, she was by herself too often, and in the end, she died of loneliness.

For the first time in his life, Davis Lovejoy was on his own.  No one needed him.  There was no reason for him to hurry home after work.  There was no reason for him to go home at all.  There was no home.  There was only a house on a side street, in a neighborhood too close to the steel mills.

After one more bitter winter of being alone in his childhood home, shoveling snow and watching the old neighborhood rot, he decided to make another change in his life.

He wanted to be where the sun shined more, where there was air that didn’t carry warnings, and where there was no snow to shovel.  He used his vacation time to scout out likely cities.  When he got to San Francisco he felt comfortable at once.  The cool breeze off the ocean carried a salty tang and the warm sun let everything blossom.

So, at almost thirty years of age, Davis said goodbye to what was left and planted himself in the town that proudly referred to itself as “The City.”

“So, I’ve been here almost five years now.  I guess that’s pretty much it,” he said with a small shrug.  “I hope I haven’t bored you to death.”

“Not at all.”  Laura looked at him and felt safe.

“Now, let’s hear about you, ‘Laura Smith,Woman of Mystery’,” said Davis, a smile on his face and in his voice.

“Another time, perhaps,” she said.  “But, now, I’d like another cup of coffee.”

to be continued6

 

 

 

 

It Looks Real To Me

imagesYOU CAN’T ALWAYS BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE on the internet. I don’t believe half of what I see and even less of what I say. I do have great trust in Abraham Lincoln and what he says.

You can always believe Abe Lincoln.

Right?

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A Treatise on Lunch

giphyWHY I THINK OF SUCH THINGS I DO NOT KNOW. I certainly could find a better use for my remaining brain cells. There are days when I worry that my gray matter is slipping away by the cup full. Those days are usually Mondays.

The substance of my obsessive thoughts for today is: Lunch

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It’s Only Fair. 

fairIT IS AUGUST IN THE MIDWEST. That can mean only one thing: State Fairs and Deep Fried Food. OK, I guess that’s two things, but who’s counting?

When the gates to the fairgrounds open some people will head to the livestock exhibits, some will rush to get their seats for the entertainment shows, but thousands will head right to the food midway so they can see what’s new on this year’s menu – and there is always something new.

If there is a way to deep fry it – into the fryer it will go.

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The Good, The Bad, And The So-So

skill1I’M GOOD AT GROCERY SHOPPING. I’M NOT GOOD AT DANCING.

Everybody has those little slices of life where they excel and others where they stink like the next morning in a fraternity house. No matter how hard we try to master a certain skill it evades us.

For example:

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Adjusting The Focus

Food5NOW THAT WE ARE HOME, after almost two months in Ireland, there are some things that are obvious only now. We were perfectly comfortable there and had no “When do we go home?” moments. The one exception might be when it comes to food. It was a case of “Close, but no cigar.” It’s just a case of liking the things I’m familiar with.

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Nothing Personal, Jeff

edisonWE RECENTLY SAW A PROGRAM on TV listing what the creators of the show decided were the 100 Most Important Inventions in History It was interesting, although I think that some of their inventions would more likely fall under the heading of discoveries rather than inventions – such as Nuclear Energy and Fire. But they never consulted with us about any of this so – Na, Na, Na, Na Boo, Boo. The show is over and Basic Cable remains the same.

The only reason I bring this up at all is that I think that, in their efforts to sound erudite and High-Techie Nerdo-Hipster, they have omitted one true invention that has changed our lives in a significant and earthshaking Physio-Ecomomic-Gastro-Enviro sort of way. (By “Our” lives I really mean Dawn and myself. I can’t speak for the rest of you.)

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A Tasty Dream

ASHE HAD A GREAT IDEA LAST NIGHT.

We were having dinner, polishing off some leftover roast as “Pork Manhattan.”

For the first fifteen minutes there was complete silence as we stuffed our faces – then my wife, the lovely and entrepreneurially minded, Dawn, unleashed a thunderbolt of an idea.

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Feed Me. I Don’t Care What

4AFTER A FULL DAY of visiting historic Neolithic sites and the 13th century ruins of a Cistercian Abbey we were tired, a bit overwhelmed, and hungry.

The entire trip back to our “Base Camp” in Belturbet was consumed with trying to decide what to eat for dinner. We were exhausted, so preparing a meal for ourselves was quickly ruled out. We needed someone else to do the work and set the food in front of us.

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I Need To Expand My Menu

1I DID NOT EAT CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I did not do that for several reasons – Number one – It is as authentic an Irish dish as Couscous and Lumpia. That meal is an American invention. How it came to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day I have no idea, but there will be no foisting it off on the fine folks of Ireland.

Reason number two – I think it is a terrible, foul smelling way to destroy my appetite 2as well as the corned beef that, by all rights, should belong, thinly sliced, on a slab of a nice dark rye bread with mustard and a “glass tea.”

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Veni, Vidi, I Had A Pizza

pizza poll 3PIZZA IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR FOODS in this country. In MY world it is at the very top of the menu. I know that there are better foods, in a nutritional sense, but there is more to life than sprouts and arugula with a kale chaser.

Recently the highly esteemed Harris Polling Company asked America, “How do you like your pizza?”pizza poll 4

Somehow they missed me with this poll. If they had asked me this question I would have answered with a cheerful, “Within reach.” Giving that answer probably would have gotten me slapped around.

Other Americans answered as follows.

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