December 30, 2007


I'm not a gourmet, nor even a cook. I seldom ever have to cook anything as my wife holds down that job just fine. So for me to be writing anything about food is surprising even to me. But equally surprising to me is that I have developed this craving for coffee (again) after all these years. Sometime many years ago I became turned off on coffee of all kinds for no good reason.
Then came the Starbucks type of coffee which seemed to me to be too much trouble or indeed expense.
Untill recently that is I switched from tea to coffee, satisfied but not completely. I used to drink it black, but this time I took a liking to the coffee creamers ala coffee-mate. But still it was still not right. I took a trip to a coffee shop and bought a few different blends. I seem to have a taste for cinnamon in my blend. Since I settled on Snickerdoodle a blend of columbian coffee and cinnamon and another blend they have called Stickybun. Then I saw on television a commercial for ground coffee put out by Dunkin Doughnuts and happened to run across it in our supermarket. We picked up a pound.
Shaazamm, is that ever good. It's good even without using it as a chaser for the doughnuts. I have tried several pots of this stuff and it is the real thing.
Today my wife came across a post from WebMD saying that now they think coffee is good for you. Can you believe it. It's a marriage of my tastebuds coupling with something that's good for me.
Back in an old version of THE PUBLIC READER, I had a regular contributor named Jerry Vilhotti who supplied me with stories combining Greek gods or was it Roman gods, and baseball. I really liked them, some I must confess I didn't understand, but Jerry does and I enjoy them regardless. Jerry has sent me a new one hot off the Vilhotti press. Again I don't understand it all, but I still enjoy them. Perhaps he will send some of his baseball and the gods poems to me again. I will post them from time to time if he does.

By Jerry Vilhotti

Almost all the Greek gods thought that Elysium was not located in the Underworld
but on Gaea's once pristine earth in such playing pastures called " Youse
Bums","Aolean Winds" , "Where Polo Horses Frolicked", "Ruth's
House Moved to Hudson River Paid by Barnum's suckers", Black Sox Shoeless
Joe Stadium, Goat Jinx Field, El Busto The Decider's Red Neck Stadium, Endrun River Grounds, Al Burton's Eating Factory Stadium and "The Green Monster" where Zeus found his beloved
Bambino, whose favorite song was "Deep Purple" which he sang to the many
prostitutes he was Zeusing in all the eight towns and suburbs in the junior circuit,
only to have him sold away for a Broadway play entitled "Calla da Moodanda Nanette"
that so angered the great god, beaner of his father Kronus freeing his brothers and sisters
inside the big man's stomach, that he put a curse on the
Beantowners - not allowing them to win another World Serious for many many years
in this thing stolen from mortals who once dyed their bodies blue and then became colluders
with colonies and founding fathers - who owned slaves - that once were part of their
caste empire drowning in the River Styx.

Written by Jerry Vilhotti

December 25, 2007

Well it's here, Christmas Day. The day when I was a kid that topped my social calendar, a day of much happiness. Enjoy the day, the new toys, the great food, worry about the extra pounds this season has piled on tomorrow.

December 22, 2007

Those who look in on The Public Reader from time to time know that I really am a fan of the INTERNET. Like anything that is open to anyone who has a gripe we sometimes have to endure complete claptrap. On the other hand there is an awful lot of really good stuff. One example is THE THOMAS JEFFERSON HOUR. The actor historian Clay Jacobson is interviewed in character as Mr. Jefferson for an hour on many topics. I believe they have produced over six hundred shows so that's a lot of subjects so far. I have it on my Ipod, but I also have it on my personal homepage. Since it is an audio production I find it convienient to start it out and minimize it. I can browse and listen to Mr. Jefferson expound. The best of both worlds. I recommend the show.

December 20, 2007

I wish to make a confession. A confession designed to be read by grandchildren I have and those yet to be born who will not know me other than the grandpa who lives in Ohio.

I would like them at least to know that I too was a child once and the excitment of this season now upon us was almost too much for me to bear. I was an only child, I had no brothers or sisters. I guess my mother decided after having me that she could do no better or, and this is more likely, she said, Oh no I'll have no part in bringing another one like him into the world.

I liked it. If I ever thought about it, it didn't take me long to decide that I was absolutely happy being an only. The one thing it allowed me to do was let my imagination soar free. With a brother or sister I would have been criticized for being stupid, or a dreamer.

So I could let my imagination fly, and around Christmas time, I sure did. I loved the holidays from Thanksgiving through Christmas. I would get so excited on Thanksgiving that for years I would get sick on the big eating holiday. But I quickly recovered and started carefully preparing my gift list for Santa Claus. Advantage for the only child. Unless you asked for something really dumb, like a real airplane, or a horse, you get the idea, I had a pretty good chance of hitting the jackpot.

Now here we get into some sticky territory. I was a true believer when it came to the legend of Santa Claus. But just in case I had gotten some faulty information I tried to cut my losses and would tell my mom what I had asked Santa for.

Now I am going to tell you a secret. A secret that only Grandma Hazel knows. On a Christmas eve night, I was trying very hard to fall asleep so the morning would arrive, and I could get to the serious business of gift receiving. Kids at the age I was had not yet learned that the idea of the season was to foster the exchange of gifts which originated with the Magi's bringing gifts to the newborn Jesus. But like most all the children in the world I was not into that part of the season yet. That came later in life, but at least it came.

It was late and it was a Christmas card night, it had snowed, but the night was clear with the moon and stars bright against a black December sky, as I got out of bed once again. I was not allowed to leave my room on Christmas eve after I was sent to bed, so I got up to get a book when I glanced out of the window and couldn't believe what I saw. I saw in the distant sky the familiar scene emblazoned upon millions of children's minds, Santa Claus and his reindeers high in the black star bright night flying away toward the full moon. I don't remember what I thought or did, except I never told anyone before except Grandma Hazel and now you our grandchildren.

I never knew why I was allowed to see this magical person, most kids don't you know. Perhaps it was because children and grandparents share a common experience, the experience of discovery. The discovery that there are things out there that we don't exactly understand and maybe never were meant to. Some things just have to be taken on faith. So enjoy the discoveries and have a wonderful and happy life. It will make grandma and grandpa very happy if you do.

December 19, 2007

I used to love going to my corner store in the forties, and buying one of these out of an ice filled, no coin slot pop machine and use it to wash down a twin pack of Hostess cream filled cupcakes. It's a wonder I still have my own teeth more than a half century later.

December 17, 2007

I was browsing through e-bay and came across these comic books for sale. The asking price is pretty darn high. If I remember right we bought these off the newsstand for a dime a copy. There are people who kept them I'm sure,but not for future financial windfalls. Certainly not my crowd. Be honest, how many of us ever once thought of money or it's origins? If I wanted something I just asked my Mom and maybe I'd get it or maybe I wouldn't. It usually worked out though.

I would suppose these type of comics would fall under the category of propaganda, but unless the country was planning on version two of the hundred years war, they were banging on the wrong door. I just enjoyed the comics.

December 15, 2007

Another painting I admire is by Turner. It is called Burial at sea-Peace. It's said to depict the burial at sea of a painter friend of his. The bright light is the nighttime torch from the ship. Turner said his only regret with the painting was he could not paint it blacker.

December 14, 2007

I received this in my email this morning. The sender knows, of course, that I can afford to own this little beauty but, of course again, am too egalitarian to drive anything so flashy. hahahahahahahaha, joking of course of course of course. But this is really so cool, or should I say sexy? I can't get all the slang straight.

December 12, 2007

It's time again for a not to be missed moment with Snapples Real Facts:

Did you know that the average raindrop falls at the rate of seven miles per hour.

Did you know that a ten gallon hat holds less than a gallon of liquid.

Did you know that Holland is the only country with a national dog.

More on this amazing fact:

Holland's national dog is the Keeshond, also known as Wolfsspitz (in Germany), Chien Loup (in France), or Lupini (in Italy). Originally, the Keeshond was a watchdog on Dutch canal barges, riverboats, and farms, and it is still often used for this purpose today.

And now you can face the day more assured of your ability to know certain things that your neighbor doesn't. Huh?

December 7, 2007

It's not often that I am impressed by how the rich live, BUT Aykroyd's view is impressive. Let's see, 7 million, hmmmmm. Maybe if we cut back a little on food and new clothes....

$7 M for Dan Aykroyd's Stunning Manhattan View
Comedian Dan Aykroyd has put his 3,400 square foot apartment on the market in Manhattan. The four-bedroom penthouse occupies the top three floors of a post-war high rise on the Upper East Side. The residence has fireplaces in the living room and master bedroom, a private elevator and a terrace.
• Listing Price: $7,000,000
• Bedrooms: 4
• Bathrooms: 4.5
• Now, Live From the West Coast
• Listing
• Actor Dan Aykroyd lists his triplex penthouse in Manhattan for $7M

This video show film and animation of the attack that day 66 years ago today.

December 5, 2007

How old are you?

Lord, lord, I didn't realize how old I am. I was born in the year 1937. This little film illustrates what was going on when I was hatched. There were many ominous things happening across the oceans that also changed the world very soon after 1937. Enjoy the show from Youtube and I will try and distance myself from the fact I was born the year they're talking about.

December 4, 2007

If you play chess, you have to find this funny.

I wrote this a couple years ago but thought I'd recycle it using the enabling excuse that the joke at the end is kind of Christmasy, isn't it?

A song by Gale Garnett starts like this:

We’ll sing in the sunshine

We’ll laugh everyday.

Along with your one a day everyday vitamins, and your slug of orange juice, a great way to start your day is with a dose of good humor. I do believe that in order to get through this life without having a flare up of mental misery, you need to have a sense of humor, and along with that sense of humor an ability to be spontaneous, to be able to adjust when things don’t go according to how you think they should.

Being able to laugh at ourselves is an absolute necessity. The moment in our lives when we discover that we are not very important in the grand scheme of things is an epiphany of sorts and a bitter pill to swallow for some. But in a way it sets us free, free from taking ourselves so very seriously. Free from thinking that every word we might speak is going to be taken down and printed in future history books.
Sorry to tell you, but it’s not I’m afraid. I believe that our words will blow away with the wind we generated saying them. But that’s o.k. It gives us the freedom to speak our minds or any other sort of gibberish we want and not have to worry about it being quoted. It’s a load off of our intellectual reservoir, which for most of us may not be too deep.

So loosen up and read this little joke and enjoy your day.

A group of chess players were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse."But why?", they asked, as they moved off."Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."

December 3, 2007

Today starts the baseball meetings in Nashville.

The general managers meet and try to connect the money to the player. Some players will get much richer today or tomorrow. Baseball fans hope that maybe one or two of the big boppers end up in their teams uniform. My favorite team is among the small market teams so our general manager has to be more circumspect with his owners money.

My favorite team has a good farm system, hence lots of mlb ready prospects that some teams want very badly. So the hope of most teams is that they will have enough money combined perhaps with one or two promising young players to be able to land the big bopper or flamethrowing pitcher that will propel us into the lusted after post season.

This is high excitment time for baseball fans. Our dreams have not yet been dashed by reality which is that only about five teams in all of baseball have the money to shop in this very high priced supermarket. But we in the small market crowd will hang around and hope that lightning will strike and we will walk away with casey at the bat or a guy named Hobbes from The Natural or someone just like him.

So good luck all you small market baseball fans, lets hope we win one for all the fans who don't live on the coasts and wonder how it must be to have enough corporate money to buy super talented people like we buy McDonald burgers. Oh well.

I picked up this paperback at a book sale recently. Check out that price. It was published in 1951 and the picture of James Jones on the back makes him out to look like a pirate from a Hollywood B movie. Now all that aside I think I will soon read it once again. It was one of those books turned into a movie where the movie was as good at least as the book. It happens sometimes.

December 2, 2007

The cover for the book THE POWER OF ONE evokes in me the power of imagination in little boys and not so little boys.

I personally had an imagination that would put me into many roles in my future life. That none of them ever became anything other than imagining does not diminish the thrill I got from them at the time.

Imagination is a path to a virtual test course for experiences that most of us will never run in actuality, and that is okay. Imagination usually makes us bigger than life and possessing powers that we will never possess. As we grow we realize that.

The picture from the cover of the book taps into where almost every boy in the forties imagination ran. We were all flying that airplane and doing heroic things.

December 1, 2007

I ran across this and liked the painting and the title they gave it. It seems to be words to live by.

The blurb from the Figge Art Museum on the side is where you can see it in person if you're in the vicinity.

Davenport, Iowa - “David Rathman: Every Day Above Ground is a Good One,” which was organized by the Figge Art Museum, will be on view through Feb. 3, 2008. A philosopher’s look at the West and a photographer’s view of life are the focus of two new exhibitions at the Figge Art museum. A special series of photographs, “The Body and Photography,” will be featured Oct 13, 2007-Feb 03, 2008.

There is no special significance to this picture, except it is a view of Iceland. It also brings to bear the thought that there are places in this world where just hearing the name of the place I would not want to visit. Iceland sounds absolutely, what else, cold. But names can be deceiving. Take Greenland, now that sounds really pastural, sunny, a place where people sit back in rocking chairs napping in between cups of tea. Wrong! Greenland is cold and bleak, not so nice a place to be. Try to figure.