Ghosts In The Machine

logo-facebookAccording to a Facebook notification, Saturday was my friend Jeffery’s birthday. At least it would have been if he were still alive. On this site, I’ve referred vaguely to a “talented chef” on many occasions as the source for various culinary tendencies or revelations. There is a coterie of professionals from whom I take inspiration, but the bounds of my aesthetic bear Jeffery’s influence more than any other.

I also get an electronic reminder when it’s my friend Daniel’s birthday. He endured an astonishing ten year battle versus recurring brain tumors before succumbing. Another Jeffery, brother of my brother in-law, fell to a heart attack in his early thirties while jogging. Jason’s motor cycle stood no chance against a truck on a rainy Oklahoma highway. I sent Chris home for being high during his shift. He was fired and died of an overdose two weeks later. CJ’s life as an evangelical ended with ALS. Can a guy pull off the nickname “Spanky” into his late thirties? I knew one who could – father and all – until, again, heart attack. All still inhabit either Facebook or Google Contacts. Continue reading

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A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Queen Anne Pistol Creative Commons“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” goes the phrase often, and likely erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson. It’s most likely an abbreviated version of Ireland’s apparently dreamy John Philpot Curran‘s “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

Whatever it’s provenance, the phrase is meant as a warning to the citizens of a free state to jealously guard and protect their freedoms against any government encroachment as the natural tendency of government is to slide toward tyranny. The state of New Jersey, bulwark of the American way and whatnot, has a different reading of things.

Lately it seems that it is the power of the state to regulate in absolute terms, with no regard to mitigating factors or mercy, the behavior of those unlucky enough to find themselves within it’s jurisdiction that New Jersey busies itself to jealously protect.

The current threat to our republic on the receiving end of The Garden State’s eternal vigilance is 72 year old retired English teacher, antique collector, and alleged illicit gun owner Gordon Van Gilder.

What is alleged is not whether he’s guilty of carrying a concealed weapon with out a permit. As to that, Van Gilder told National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke, “I did break the law – to my shock.” And according to the state’s archaic gun laws, he is correct. What is alleged is that the object he was carrying, a Queen Anne single shot flintlock pistol manufactured in Belgium circa 1760, would meet any modern definition of a weapon. But for having the antique in his possession, scofflaw Van Gilder is being charged with a second degree felony and faces a minimum of three and a half years if found guilty in a court of law. The maximum sentence is ten years, no doubt a comfort to the 72 year old. Continue reading

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“Well, she was wearing an awfully short skirt.”

Placed under my wife’s windshield wiper while she was shopping at the local supermarket:

Bham Police Flier

There is nothing wrong with the flier per se. The advice listed amounts to no more than a reminder to use common sense. But there is something unseemly about the local constabulary evaluating the citizenry as potential marks. Is there an insinuation that if you don’t behave in a particular manner you are asking to be a victim? Maybe it’s just me.

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On Made Up Holidays

NPD 1Forgetting an important occasion can lead to embarrassment, so you can understand my relief when I came upon a tweet posted last Monday by @BHamRestaurantRaider which read, “So today is #NationalPizzaDay Where will you celebrate?” Thus was avoided a repeat of the National Pasta Day Fiasco.

Properly reminded and informed, I celebrated National Pizza Day (February 9, not to be confused with November 12 which is in fact National Every Thing but Anchovies Pizza Day) where all the great holidays should be celebrated: at home with family. We kept things simple in the spirit of the solemnity of the day; a pepperoni pie for the children and an anchovy one for us. Continue reading

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How to Dominate Social Media and Influence People

Twitter Logo 2I’m not certain why websites run international stories in their regional editions, but that’s just what the International Business Times did. In their Australian edition they ran a story about Twitter earners which claims that according to Forbes, over the course of a year, one third of Lady Gaga’s $52,000,000 haul was earned via Twitter related activities. The Australian edition of an international website may seen like a roundabout way to find out what an American performer makes according to an American magazine, but there it is.

So how did La Gaga weaponize her tweets to the tune of $17,333,333.33? As far as I can tell she runs paid advertisements. It’s that simple. A brief glance at her feed reveals no theme or relationship between her and her clients, but I’d like to think that on occasion she let’s her 44.1 million followers know that when the truly fashion conscious decide to wear a dress made entirely from meat products, “Hormel® Black Label® Bacon is the only brand that makes everything better.” Continue reading

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It’s National Signing Day!

Arie Kouandjio CaptureIt’s National Sign… but then you already know that from the title. Barring a meteor strike it looks like my beloved Crimson Tide will be reeling in another top ranked recruiting class. The cocktail hour may come early today.

Limited eligibility is one of the many (many, many, many) things that make college football great. Programs wax and wane. Fortunes change and success or failure are always right around the corner. We love to see the new guys, but recruits coming in means known and often beloved players leaving.

Over at we took time to look back on the careers of our graduating seniors. Here’s my post on Arie Kouandjio. I do love brutal offensive linemen.

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Hello to All That

Quesadilla from Tortilla SoupAlthough I’ve allowed it to meander from the proscribed path, this blog has its roots in the appreciation of food and wine and in the proper preparation and enjoyment of the same. In keeping with that idea, let me perfunctorily mention that chicken, corn, and black beans from left over tortilla soup combined with fresh chopped onion and green beans with grated cheddar and some taco sauce make a brilliantly good quesadilla.

So now this post about things that interest me and my desire to write about them is partly taken up with, for lack of a better description of the above, a recipe. So will this blog be going forward. There will always be recipes, wine reviews, commentary about restaurants, and the like, but posts on those subjects will in the future be interspersed with, well, whatever interests me at the time. Continue reading

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The Greatest Movie Ever Made

Groundhog DayIf I were trapped on a desert island with only five movies I would likely choose a series of documentaries with titles like How to Survive on a Desert Island for Dummies, How to Purify Salt Water, The Idiots Guide to Making Sun Screen from Coconuts, Fish, and Banana Leaves, and Spear Fishing 101 but that wouldn’t be in the spirit of the question that supposedly entertained our pant suited forbearers as they listened to Astrud Gilberto tunes on the hi-fi.

I’m a capricious guy, so my list of favorite movies is always subject to revision, but there are two films that have earned a fixed position in the top five: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Groundhog Day. Since it’s not Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Day, I’ll focus on the Bill Murray and Harold Ramis picture. Continue reading

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Perfunctory Football Related Post

Screen CaptureNow that Ohio State wrapped things up I’m beginning to get over the Sugar Bowl. Congratulations to all the Buckeye fans I met in New Orleans. Enjoy the title. One exception. There was jackass wearing a number ten jersey who sat three rows in front of us who kept turning around to call us motherfuckers before kick off. We have no idea why. I guess for some people the thing to do at a football game is to find some nearby opposing fans and start yelling “Motherfucker,” at them. I hope he missed the championship game for dysentery related reasons.  Continue reading

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It’s Just Baffling

Fuzzy PumpkinRecently I wrote on these electronic pages about the peculiar abundance of abandoned pumpkins in and about my neighborhood. Today I came across another one. Is this just a normal feature of most suburbs that I have somehow managed not to pick up on for forty-one years?

The picture to the right is today’s find. They were spotted along a path by the creek that I take all the time. I’ve walked by that fence at least three times since my previous pumpkin post. They were not there before today.  Continue reading

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