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Friday, July 31, 2015



I can't believe I almost let the week pass without acknowledging the observance of National Eat Your Vegetables Day, which is celebrated on June 17th. As holidays go, it ranks just below Athlete's Foot Awareness Day but above Politician Appreciation Day. Somers has the perfect weather for growing a little "victory garden" with lettuce, beans and spinach. After a siege by bugs, birds and bunnies, ours went down in a resounding defeat.

I think that if people knew what was actually in vegetables they would think twice about extolling their virtues for an entire day. For instance, Did you know that Broccoli contains folic acid? Picture that stuff eating away at your insides. Carrots contain something called zeaxanthin. Look it up on Wikipedia- it looks exactly like that caterpillar that ate all my rhododendrons.

What do you think the first Belgian who noticed something sprouting out of the ground in Brussels did? He stuck it right in his mouth, although it tasted awful. He probably didn't even know that it contained sulforaphane, which sounds like one of those drugs that they sell you to cure pimples, but in a low voice at the end of the commercial tell you will probably kill you. "Do not take sulforphane if you are pregnant, know someone who is pregnant or just look pregnant." (By the way, there is a drug for people who are always pregnant, but don't take it if you have pimples.)

Americans love to overdo something, and recently it's kale. Every party we go to I have to set ten minutes aside so my wife's friends can fawn over their kale salads and how much they love kale. A year ago no one ever heard of kale, and this year it can just about cure cancer. I don't want to upset the kale community- everything has its own community these days, and if you say something disparaging they rise up in a twitter rant as if they were Charlie Sheen. But the bottom line is that for all the fuss, kale looks like something that you should pull out of your lawn before it takes over the place.

I don't think a banana is a vegetable but I feel it is my public duty to warn you away from this offensive little item. I read somewhere that the banana has a high concentration of plutonium. Or was it potassium? What's the difference- whatever it is is the same junk that turns the smelly thing pitch-black after it sits on your desk for fifteen minutes. I actually slipped on a banana peel once and it wasn't as funny as I thought it would be.

Even the most popular vegetable in America is not immune to the perils of dangerous additives. I tried to buy a bag of potato chips recently at the supermarket, and all they had was sour cream and onion mesquite barbecued kettle-fried sea-salt jalapeno cheddar-flavored extra-vinegar with recycled carburetor parts potato chips. But they were gluten-free I must admit.

All this is more than enough evidence that vegetables should be removed from the bottom of the food pyramid and replaced with beer. If I went to Egypt to see the pyramids, and saw that they were constructed using vegetables, I would be sorely disappointed. However, if I found out that they built using beer, I would hardly be surprised.

Monday, July 20, 2015



I can't think of anyone who enjoys Father's Day more than good ol' Dad. Wait- yes I can: the kids. The third Sunday in June was the one day I could be sure that Dad would be otherwise occupied, and too busy to focus on whatever it was I screwed up that day. Dad was something of a disciplinarian, and the something that he used to discipline most was ME. His child-rearing mostly revolved around my rear end.

Corporal punishment was in fashion back then, especially if your kid was a Major disappointment or a General pain in the derriere, pardon my French. Sometimes we were put on the rack or drawn and quartered, at least that's the way I remember it. Dads aren't around as much as Moms are, so it seems like their punishments are administered in concentrated form.

There were no "time outs' back then, which is too bad. It's the perfect opportunity to take a breather and discuss strategy. Then when the fight resumes, you're energized and clear on the game plan. If I played things correctly I would hear the magic words, "GO TO YOUR ROOM!" You mean that place where all my toys are? Okay, but it's not necessary to raise your voice.

There were other methods of torture, such as sensory deprivation. I distinctly remember being sent to bed with no ice cream for instance. There was water torture, where I was compelled to take a bath even though I could see no evidence of dirt on my body. There was The Chair- I distinctly remember being told to sit in it and keep my mouth shut. I was able to defeat the punishment by coaxing a variety of sounds from other parts of my body, sometimes in Morse code.

My dad was particularly obsessed with me learning how to ride a bicycle. Perhaps he figured that with this skill I could get farther away from him in much less time. His style of instruction was to find a place with a hill and no witnesses, and push me down it atop the bicycle until I reached the bottom either on two wheels or a stretcher. Another not so fond memory was him teaching me how to take a pill- why that was so important to him I have no idea, but I must say that aspirin did come in handy, especially after the bicycle incident.

I was coerced into indentured servitude at an early age, pushing a lawn mower in defiance of child labor laws. I was made to take out the garbage and perform other tasks of drudgery. Later on he forced me to attend an expensive university and left me there unsupervised until I emerged with a college degree. In his insidious way, using advanced mind control techniques, he filled my unsophisticated head with ideas like "work ethic" and "values." Concepts that I still have not been able to shake off.

I don't have any kids so I take great pride in disciplining my dog. He only sits or stays when there is nothing good to steal from the laundry hamper. I assume he sell these things on Ebay because we never see them again. I can't even get him to mow the lawn; he eats a fair quantity of grass, but it never has a happy ending, trust me. I have no way to pass along what I got from my father, and I'm including asthma in that.

So all you Dads of Somers: don't make the same mistakes your fathers did. Think up brand new ways to make your kids think you are making their lives miserable. And the day they realize that they are perfectly capable of making their own lives miserable without you helping is the day you will know that they have finally grown up. In the meantime, my lawn still needs mowing.

Monday, July 6, 2015



I read an interesting story in Forbes Magazine that reports that the Chili's Restaurant chain is spending big money to make its food more photogenic. The idea is that people now routinely take pictures of their orders at restaurants and share them on social media. This is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more common as people attend events not for their inherent value, but to show off to others what a good time they are having without them. And by the way, if you are having a good time with your food at a restaurant, I want you to imagine what BETTER time you would be having if me and MY food were there.

Anyway, Chili's reportedly spent almost a million dollars for an egg wash that makes their buns glisten. Or was it the other way around? Certainly an egg wash for their eggs would be a great idea also. They are going to serve their fries in stainless steel containers. I guess the regular containers had stains on them. There is a Chili's at the Somers Commons, and I would love for you to email me a photo of you with your shiny buns, for the purposes of comprehensive journalism, of course.

So people are snapping photos while they are snapping up dinner. This all begs the question: Does this burrito make me look fat? The answer is: yes, eventually, and you didn't even have to beg the answer.

Can you invite your own food onto your Facebook page? Can you email your smoked quail? Can you hashtag your hash browns? Can you Instagram your glazed ham? Can you tweet your meat? I'd like that last sentence stricken from the Record, I'm not sure why.

I'm not sure I want to "friend" my French fries just yet. I consider some foods "frenemies," depending on the ingredients and calorie count. If you photograph that steak with a macro lens you can see the actual LDLs lining up to get a crack at you.

If my food is going modelling, it's going to have to ramp up its game. Extensive hair and makeup for both of us- assuming that my food has hair in it. What is my side order's best side? My porkchop is looking a little porky these days- time to hit the gym! This salad- can you BELIEVE the way it's dressing? That meatloaf is going to need some liposuction- LOOK AT YOURSELF!

We're going to need to bring in a lighting director, a stylist and a set decorator. WHERE IS THE STUNT BURGER?

I am not on social media, for obvious reasons, but if I was, I would clog up the internet with photos of me and my food, and leave it to you to discern which is me and which is the food. Here is a picture of me with a blackened whitefish. Here is a shot of me with a whitened blackfish. Here is a black & blue redfish, I had to rough it up a bit. Here is one of me and a pig with an apple in its mouth. Just before this pig was killed and roasted, he tweeted a picture of himself with this great apple that he was just about to eat.

At some point the food is just going to start communicating with each other, and cut us out of the loop. That is just the natural progression of things. Entrepreneurs will step into the fray. There will be Fritter Twitter, and there will be Snackchat. And when that happens, get ready, because our food will be revolting.