"Crap! I wish I hadn't seen Ricky on the sidewalk."

"You will be fine for 31 minutes. You will be dead in 32 minutes."

Sunday, May 11, 2014


The other day I found an interesting book, the kind of book people leave wide open on their coffee table. 

Not the everyday coffee table in the den or family room. I'm talking about the coffee table in the room that nobody is allowed to go into, the room that's supposed to be kept clean for company even though company isn't really allowed in that room either.

It's a big, fancy-looking book called Our Islands And Their People. That's actually not even the whole title.

Our Islands And Their People As Seen With Camera and Pencil
Edited and arranged by William S. Bryan (N. D. Thompson Publishing, 1899)
The book happens to be the first of a two-volume set describing the people and exotic locales that became American possessions after the U.S. victory over Spain in the Spanish-American War: Cuba, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

The book is large, heavy as hell, and the illustrations are pretty amazing.

When I was younger, it used to drive me crazy when people walked into the bookstore holding a swatch, looking for an art book that matched their sofa. Didn't matter who the artist was, just needed to be, you know, kinda mauve.

Or when people would come in looking for an "important looking dictionary" as in "my son or daughter just graduated from law school and I need something for their office." 

This book isn't mauve, but it is important looking. 


I've been eating a lot of fruit lately.

I've never been a big apple guy, a big orange guy, a peaches and pears guy. Some fruit, yes. Who doesn't like bananas?  Who doesn't eat grapes? 

When I was working out a lot, going to the gym every day, I liked coming home to a can of chilled mandarin oranges. That's what I did, that was my routine. Cold mandarin oranges, straight out of the can.

The whole fruit thing sounds crazy, I know, but the produce here is so good. It changed my whole opinion of fruit and farmer's markets. I had some great strawberries the other day. Gorgeous red strawberries, abnormally large, like something out of a science-fiction movie. I bought some navel oranges for no money at all. Juicy as hell.

I don't want to hear about the skin of an apple. I know that's where the fiber is, where the vitamins are. I don't like the way the skin feels against my teeth. Peeling apples is fun, that part I like. I sat at work the other day with a potato peeler and a knife, peeling my apple and slicing it up. 

The farmer's market has more than fresh produce. You can buy flowers and goat's milk and bee's honey and garlic naan. 

There's also a guy selling spices, but you have to be careful when you walk past his booth. If you make eye contact with him, if you admit to cooking protein at home, he will launch right into his spiel. He says things like, "if you slice it, we spice it" and "if you eat it, we treat it." He made me smell the pork rub, had me try a whiff of the lemon pepper.  

I asked him if he'd ever been convicted of assault.

The spice guy looked stunned and stopped talking mid-sentence.

"Don't you get that a lot?" I asked. "I figured people made that joke all the time." 

Apparently, the spice guy doesn't have much of a sense of humor. He screwed the top back on the pork rub and we moved quietly to the next booth.

The farmer's market is a great maze. We bought some leeks and some broccoli, some carrots and kale. I was coerced into smelling some flowers, but I made no move to buy them.

As we headed out, we couldn't avoid passing by the spice booth. "Hey," the guy said, trying to catch my attention. "I just figured out what you said before."

I looked at him and nodded. "I'm going to have my boss put that on a shirt," he said. 

I told him that sounded like a good plan.