Posted in Food

Like Alfredo? Eat This!

My 11-year-old has taken a keen interest in cooking and one day announced he wanted to make fettuccini alfredo (these pronouncements have come often of late..always something new.) So we did. What we didn’t expect was how incredibly delicious it would be. It is, by far, the best I have ever had and this coming from someone who in younger years actively sought out a better and better source of fettuccini alfredo…some search for ribs, for me it’s flat pasta in cheesy cream sauce. And it’s finally here. At last we can get that silence which comes with the main stream media looking around and asking themselves, “what now?” And as you watch the returns or if you are reading this after things have been written in stone, I have something for you. It is a symphony for your tongue, a celebration of flavor, a soothing of the soul. If…

Posted in Humanity

Without Our Memory, We Don’t Really Exist

I brush my teeth with my right hand. I eat with my right hand. I shave with my right hand. I am considering writing with my right hand and I am left-handed. In Buddhism, part of the belief system centers around the precept of the present. They speak about being in the moment, focusing on the present, being present. The present is all there is since the future hasn’t come and the past has been left behind. In the movie Momento, the protagonist has no long term memory due to an accident, but knows his wife was killed. His entire existence is focused on finding who took his wife from him. The only way he can remember the facts he finds is to tattoo them on his body (presumably he couldn’t remember where he put that piece of paper he’d written them on and at some point came up with…

Posted in Damage

Damage III

In the end, it’s all about either making yourself better or stronger or more fit or just more of something than you were. All that means is staying around a little or a lot longer because when it come down to it, we’re here to either make more of us, survive or both. All the rest is just window dressing. And don’t be fooled. It’s not the person who dies with the most toys who wins, it’s the person who dies last. So we join health clubs, buy home gyms, make buckets of money for those morons who stick two aluminum poles together, rivet a braided steel cable to it and call it “the greatest weight loss machine eva.” To what end? Lighter bank accounts and larger bellies. But sometimes a person will hit upon something that works, something they can both feel the passion for and actually manage to…

Posted in Humanity

Foot Traffic

Imagine this! You’re walking North on Wilcox heading to dinner at the Castle Cafe, or maybe breakfast at B&B. About half way down the block a new business is setting up shop. They have boxes and equipment outside up against the front of their store. It’s mostly moved out of the way, but there’s a lot there so it’s kind of crowded. Because the sidewalk is not very wide and there are parking meters at the curb, the path to get by has become just wide enough for one person. The pedestrian traffic is not all that heavy, but there are a few people on the walkway. As you approach the narrowing of the sidewalk you move to your left to pass the store front and avoid running into their stuff, you suddenly sense a presence off your left shoulder and before you can think, someone has cut in front…

Posted in Damage

Damage II

You can recover mostly from trashing yourself skiing. Or at least after taking down a few pin up calendars from the wall; but sometimes things just keep coming back once you’re to that place called Damage. The human shoulder, for example, is the one joint in the body that moves the most. It is mandatory that it be flexible enough to handle the wide range of motion required of it. The compromise price we pay is the large number of problems not faced by other joints such as the hip (that just blows out and requires replacement later on down the road). A little more than a decade after the mountain shook me loose and a decade before my hands went partially numb (what?…later), I worked at a sports supplement company. It was the company in the industry at the time and known as the gold standard of product lines…

Posted in Damage

Damage I

When you’re young, you do whatever you feel like. You are ten feet tall and bulletproof and nothing can stop or touch you. At least that’s the perception…and maybe it was just my perception. I haven’t taken a poll but from what I have observed, I am not the only one who rowed that boat. So you go out and drink a lot, eat very spicy food as much as you want, play any sport that strikes your fancy and generally do things that tend to put you on your backside every so often. But back then, you could dust yourself off and go chase down the mutt who knocked you flat for a little payback. All in good fun and sport. There are few second thoughts about what effects these things might have on you later. Whether consciously or not you believe your physical endeavors aren’t supposed to have…

Posted in Big Numbers

Do You Really Know What a Billion Looks Like?

Unless you live under a rock you’ve no doubt heard of the work the U.S. government is doing to stop the bleeding in the financial system. The number most bandied about is seven hundred billion which everyone knows is a large number. But do we really understand how very large that number is? It seems it starts sounding like 200 billion or 800 billion or 500 billion. All those zeros kind of run together in one’s mind. A few weeks back I wrote a piece about having everything and nothing in which I mentioned the odds of winning the lottery. Those odds pretty much approached zero which is a really small number. That’s not hard to conceptualize. You have some money, it gets syphoned off by greedy executives running some company, you have zero dollars. Simple. Hey, Bernie Ebbers, prison going ok for you? No? Good! But what about the…

Posted in Family

Who Knew? A Tale of Irony and Coincidence

I didn’t know him at all, but from what I have heard, life for Joseph John Janson was not all that kind to him.  Before he was married. Before he had two sons. Before he tragically slipped and fell in a bathtub, drowning at the age of 57, and before life had thrown its curve balls, he was just a young man of 22 years, living his life when he took to the open road. I grew up in an old Victorian house on the Main Line of Eastern Pennsylvania. It was the “wrong side of the tracks” but it was still a nice big house with lots of cool places to hide. A few years ago, I was rummaging around in the third floor storage room and I happened upon three old black journals. They were the kind that were flimsy and bound with thin, black leather. About the…

Posted in Big Numbers Humanity

Having Everything and Having Nothing

We were passing through Vail the other day on the way to a camping trip and stopped off at a 7-Eleven to stretch our legs and see what the big 7 had to offer (not much). On a whim, while purchasing a few comics for the boys, I threw two dollars on the counter and said “two, quick picks.” This is a silly but entertaining thing I do maybe once every 2 years. Part teaching opportunity, part mental exercise, the purchase of a lottery ticket always sparks conversations that evolve in interesting ways. This year, with the hurricane in Texas, I was able to think in two realms. Having a lot and having nothing. Having a Lot Being able to buy anything you want is always — or at least most times — the fantasy of those purchasing lottery tickets. I would venture to say most people aren’t walking away…

Posted in Essays

A Victim of the Murderous Mob

“Dear Father, I don’t know that the sun will ever rise and set for me again, but I trust in God and his mercy. At eight o’clock, I sit in court. The mob have me under guard. There is no cowardice in me, Father. I am worthy of you in this respect. I am, in this one respect, like Him who died for all: I die, if die I must, for law, order, and principle; and too, I stand alone.” My family and I, one Saturday when we were looking for something different to do, decided to head to the cemetery on Wolfensberger Road. It seemed a peculiar thing to me, the whole burial ritual being a bit of a mystery, but my boys had heard about people doing rubbings of epitaphs on markers and having just acquired sketch pads, they wanted to give it a try. So it was…