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Trapped In My Own Body

Over the past few years, I’ve become healthier. I exercise and I make better food choices. My weight is down, I sleep well and I feel great. I’m going to live as close to forever as possible.

But I had a terrible experience this weekend.

My wife and I took a short road trip, but that wasn’t the terrible part. We checked in to a Bed and Breakfast and then walked in to town for dinner and drinks.

I Digress

Let me pause here to speak to those of you with the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive that inn-keeping requires.

This place would be a good Bed and Breakfast. It would be a better Soup and Snooze (image by AstaPro5 CCbySA4.0)

Bed and Breakfast isn’t a new idea. Everyone who lives in an old house in a quaint town has thought about opening an inn with this concept. Many of those who’ve thought about it followed through on the idea and have become successful. Places offering a good night’s sleep, followed by a breakfast of English muffins, hard-boiled eggs and orange juice are easy to find.

If you want to open an inn with a fresh idea, consider serving dinner instead of breakfast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wolfs Versus Wolves

I meet a lot of nice people. I’d take credit for that, but the truth is that I meet those nice people because of my wife. She is very social and a magnet for good people. I am not similarly gifted. I’m only good at speaking with people who are dangerously, criminally insane.

My gift isn’t as useful as it was before I retired. We don’t typically socialize with the criminally insane. That means that my skill set is wasted upon the non-hostage taking people we spend time with.

Meet The Wolfs Wolves These Nice People

What if these wolves last name is Wolf? (image by vargar CCbySA2.0)

So it was through my wife’s graces that we recently came to know yet another couple who are neither dangerous nor criminals. Their last name is Wolf. They’re friendly, older and we see them often at our favorite restaurants.

I’m trying to become better at talking to normal people while de-emphasizing my tendency to build rapport with angry, heavily armed folks. I’m seeing results from my efforts. I am getting a lot more comfortable in social situations. There have been times that I’ve held my own in a conversation. I’ve even introduced people to each other.

And introductions are where that nice, friendly, older couple whose last name is Wolf comes back in to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »


What Is A Rhizome?

My friends and family would tell you that I am a picky eater. There is some truth in that. But I’d contest the idea a little too. I just have a higher than average number of things I won’t eat.

But there are things that I will eat, to the surprise of everyone around me.

For instance, just the other night, my wife and I had dinner with another couple. We met at a Thai restaurant because I like Thai food. See? I’m not hard to get along with. I’m fine with different cuisines. If there are dishes without fish or mushrooms, I can find something that I’ll enjoy.

Do you think that’s free-range serpent? (image by Thomas Brown CCbySA2.0)

Our group sat, chatted and looked over the menu. The conversation turned to what everyone was having. I settled on a chicken dish with an unpronounceable name. Fortunately, it was also labeled D16 for people like me who don’t speak Thai.

I was a little concerned about my decision. Though Unpronounceable Chicken D16 didn’t have mushrooms or fish among its ingredients, it did have something called rhizomes.

“Do any of you know what a rhizome is?”, I asked my table mates, “I’m pretty sure I recall the word from fourth grade science class, but I don’t remember what it is.”

There was general agreement that we’d all experienced the word as part of vocabulary tests in our youth, but no one knew exactly what it meant. An opinion was advanced that is was somehow biological in nature. I found this last point reassuring because there was a good chance that I would be eating it.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine.

They’re Usually Good For Some Advice

“Let people eat what they want. It’s none of our business.” Clarence Darrow, 1926 (image public domain)

You know, I like attorneys. My wife is one.  So are both halves of the couple we ate with. Attorneys usually give great advice, like “don’t sign that” or “don’t say anything”. But none of the three lawyers I dined with said anything to dissuade me from ordering a dish with an ingredient we could not define. There are a lot of classes in law school about things folks should not do and how to advise them not to do those things. That education apparently does not extend to guiding others to a wise menu decision. Lawyers aren’t trained to say “don’t eat that”.

So I ordered Unpronounceable Chicken D16, rhizomes and all. We also ordered some appetizers, which gave me time to become more concerned about my order. I wondered if I’d made a mistake by being too adventurous. Where was that picky eater version of me when I needed him? How many rhizomes would there be and should I ask for an extra plate to push them off on to?

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

The Rise Of The Rhizomes

This is a rhizome. Not my rhizome. I wouldn’t have eaten this one. (image public domain)

So I was tense by the time our entrees arrived at the table. There, among the chicken and assorted chopped vegetables on my plate, were my rhizomes. At that moment, I learned that rhizomes are not any sort of animal.

These particular rhizomes were tiny, light-green spheres on little stalks.  There were about twenty spheres on each two-inch stalk. They put me in mind of grapes, if you had a whole stalk of those freakishly tiny grapes you sometimes find in a bunch of normal ones. I don’t know if mine were representative of all rhizomes; I’m going to assume that they were for the sake of this piece.

“So, these are my rhizomes. How do you suppose I should eat them?”, I asked. My wife said, “yeah, that’s probably them”. The other two at the table were equally helpful.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define.

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem.

Think I’m A Picky Eater? I Know A Rhizome That Would Disagree

We all started eating and continued chatting. The company was good and so was my Unpronounceable Chicken D16. But I avoided the rhizomes. I left them alone until I felt certain that I would not be noticed, and then I cut one of the little green spheres from the stem. It fit between the tines of my fork.

And when I bit into the rhizome sphere, it crunched. It was nothing like a grape, once I got past first impressions. It was neither sweet nor juicy. There will probably never be a market for rhizome wine, or jelly. In fact the overwhelming flavor of the rhizome was…nothing. It was a tiny, crunchy bite of nothing.

Rhizome (rahy-zome), noun: A science vocabulary word sometimes found in Thai cuisine. Rhizomes are known to cause elevated stress levels in some humans who consume them. Lawyers are immune to the stress effects of the rhizome because they are bright enough to not eat things which they can not define

Rhizomes are not animals. They grow in bunches on some sort of plant and are very much like that one tiny green grape at the bottom of the stem. They are just like that tiny grape in a bunch of normal grapes, if that grape is hard and flavorless. So it is not like the tiny grape, because we all know the tiny grape is one of the best of the bunch.

And so the evening ended. I gained a little knowledge about people who practice law, and even less about rhizomes. I also proved that I am not a picky eater.

I apologize to my fourth grade teacher, if she is still alive, for not knowing if a rhizome is a plant or an animal. I was paying attention. No, I was not daydreaming, I probably just forgot what you told me. For what it is worth, I’m pretty sure that sharp kid who you were so sure was going to law school doesn’t remember either.

Did you find this page while you were looking for the real definition of rhizome? Sorry to have wasted your time, but you really should have figured out that I don’t know what I’m talking about long before you got down here. Anyhow, you can find that definition here.

Welcome to all who found this post through Freshly Pressed. Thanks for coming. Have a look around. Tomorrow, a complimentary continental breakfast will be served.


Everyone Fits Somewhere. We All Fit At The Deli.

It was a busy day. I spent the morning running writing and running errands. Hitting everything on my to do list felt great. I’d finished the list, except for the thing on it that I’d been looking forward to – lunch.

As I drove, I considered my options. Pizza was a possibility. Some really spicy Thai food would’ve hit the spot. I hadn’t had Chinese food for days. There was a great burger joint close by. And then I decided to try something completely different.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

To be fair, the food was good, but maybe not this good. (image public domain)

Not far from our house, there is a little local deli that I’ve never been in. The place is in an older, interesting looking building that I’ve wanted to get a look at. It always looks busy at lunch. I took that as a good sign and gave the joint a shot. Read the rest of this entry »


The Finest Blueberry Pie There Is

Some who read my blog know my friend, John. I think those who do know him would agree on this point – we’re sad for those who don’t.

All of us agree that he is someone everyone should know, but disagree on why. Some would point out that John talks with a funny accent and that makes him wicked fun to listen to. And that would be right. Who talks like that, y’all? No one.

Others might point out his fabulous wife as a reason to know him, and I’d agree there. You could also mention his noble profession, his fine sons, his charitable deeds or his taste in music. Read the rest of this entry »


Smokey Bear Is A Jerk

I was driving along a rural road on Saturday. It was a pretty ride, through a heavily treed area. It was at the entrance to a fire road, appropriately enough, that I saw the sign with Smokey Bear’s image on it. Next to Smokey was his famous slogan:

“Only you can prevent forest fires.”

Back off, bear. (image public domain)

Over the next few miles I considered how awful forest fires are – the trees and animals that are lost; the cost in destroyed property and lives. I’m a live and let live kind of guy. But if you asked where I stand on forest fires, I’d say that I oppose them.

It’d probably be a safe assumption that someone who is against forest fires is also pro-Smokey Bear. That’d be a safe assumption; but in my case it’d be a false assumption.

I think Smokey Bear is a jerk. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Do We Say That Someone “Let The Cat Out Of The Bag”?

A wise old man once told me that two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. He didn’t live that long after that. Because of that, I’m a little on edge letting you in on his secret for keeping a confidence. I’d be more concerned about it if I wasn’t pretty sure that smoking had a lot more to do with his demise than telling secrets.

If two living people have a secret and one of them reveals the secret we often say that person “let the cat out of the bag”. Let’s explore why we might say that.

Don’t Get Caught Holding That Bag

Unless the secret is “I have a cat in this bag, don’t tell anyone”, we can say with confidence that the bag and cat situation is a metaphor for telling a secret.  It is an unfortunate metaphor that, I imagine, came from someone who’d been involved in such a despicable act.

Putting a cat in a bag is cruel and wrong. I’d suppose that getting the cat’s co-operation isn’t easy; someone who’d do such a thing deserves whatever damage their cat might inflict while they’re putting it in to a bag. But the image of a frustrated and confused feline rocketing out of that bag pretty accurately represents the energy of being shocked by a big secret being told. Read the rest of this entry »