The Jinx Factor

When will I learn? I firmly believe, based on decades of real-world experience, that sports teams are peculiarly susceptible to jinxes. So what do I do? I write an innocent post wishing the Cleveland Indians well this season and they stumble out of the gate 0 and 5, with their pitching getting pounded and no light at the end of the tunnel.

So, I hereby declare: The Tribe stinks! They will not do anything this year and will undoubtedly end up in the cellar of their division. And, just for the record: The Ohio State Buckeyes, the Cleveland Browns, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and my golf game also blow!

Recycling Gone To Seed

Today is one of those bright, sunny, but cool spring days that seem to fill you with energy and a desire to do things around the house. With Richard home for the weekend and graciously willing to lend a hand — Thanks, Richard! I know that this is probably not how you envisioned spending your free time! — we’ve been doing some basic, spring cleaning chores. Today we set out to fix up those annoying spots of mud and dead grass in the front yard.

The tools for this chore are simple: topsoil, a rake, water, and “patch mix.” Patch mix is that fluff-like blue stuff that you put down, and then wet down, after you have roughed up the topsoil. I’m not sure exactly of its ingredients, but obviously grass seed and fertilizer are components. It’s also clear that another component is ground up, recycled paper. In fact, as you are laying down the patch mix, you can see letters, and occasionally entire words, on the paper fragments.

As I’ve noted before, I enjoy doing simple chores and the sense of accomplishment when they are completed. When I add the good feeling that comes from doing something environmentally sensitive, like using a product made in part from recycled items, it makes the positive vibes that much sweeter.

Vegetable Week: A Non-Green Life

As I have noted already, I don’t like the taste, texture, or smell of vegetables. Why would anyone want to eat something that is squishy, or slimy, or shot full of seeds? I suspect tht many people, deep down, share these views. Does anyone honestly believe, for example, that broccoli smells wonderful? If they could make an independent, guilt-free choice, would anyone really choose a forkful of cauliflower over a spoonful of Frosted Flakes?

I admit, however, that there is more to my anti-vegetable stance than just my physical revulsion at the thought of eating vegetables. I freely confess that, as time has passed and more people have learned about my curious eating habits, my refusal to eat vegetables has become a noteworthy part of my persona. I’m otherwise an unremarkable person, and at least this trait is somewhat memorable. And I’ve gained some unusual skills — just hand me a fork and watch me use the tines to deftly remove banana peppers, chopped celery, or other botanical foodstuffs from my plate and see if you disagree. I’ve also developed a useful set of rationalizations to help to explain why I’ll eat some items but not others. Corn, for example, is technically a grain, like wheat or barley, so corn on the cob is an approved menu item, and potatoes and yams are tubers, so french fries are okay.

I also enjoy the reactions I get when I explain this all to people. Years ago, when I worked at Alpine Village in Lake George, New York after my freshman year in college, one of my co-workers was a nursing student named Ceal. My eating habits plainly disturbed her. After I told her that I didn’t eat vegetables, she asked what I took for “roughage.” When I told her I did not take anything, she unconsciously backed away from me, as if I might experience an abdominal explosion at any second. So far, at least, it still hasn’t happened.