Mac And Hot


I’ve become a big fan of hot chicken.  Nashville is supposed to be the home of hot chicken — or at least one of them — so when Kish and I set out to find a suitable dining venue last night, I kept the poultry option firmly in the back of my mind.  By sheer happenstance, we stumbled upon a place called The Stillery, plopped down at the bar, and checked out the menu.

One of The Stillery’s takes on hot chicken is hot chicken over macaroni and cheese. The bartender gave it an enthusiastic endorsement, and she was right on the money.  Served on a spitting hot skillet, the spicy chicken and creamy mac ‘n cheese complemented each other perfectly.  It’s one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while.  The Gerst Amber Ale was pretty good, too.

Hotel Room Carpeting


There’s a certain skill to picking hotel room carpeting.  It must be louder than the carpeting any rational person would select for their home, so stains won’t show, yet at the same time absolutely generic and forgettable.

Do they teach a class in carpet selection for hospitality management majors?  If so, I bet the person who picked this green pattern got an A.

55 Years Of Cheery Chit-Chat

Yesterday I read a news story that Dick Goddard, a “weather man” for one of the Cleveland-area TV stations, has announced that he will be retiring in November after having been on the air for 55 years.  Goddard, a long-time advocate for animal rights, plans to continue to speak out on animal welfare issues.

dick-paintsIt was kind of weird to read the article, because ever-smiling Goddard was one of the local TV personalities I remember from my childhood, growing up in Akron and watching the Cleveland channels.  When we moved to Columbus in 1971, we stopped getting the Cleveland stations and my Goddard-watching days ended.  I would have guessed that Goddard had stopped broadcasting long before now, so reading that this link to my long-ago childhood is only now getting ready to retire was a bit jarring.  It was like learning that, unbeknownst to me, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans were still doing their show, getting tricked by Mr. Moose and bombarded by ping pong balls, somewhere out in the remote regions of broadcast TV land.

55 years!  Five and a half decades in front of the cameras, gesturing at maps and standing in front of Doppler radar screens, filling people in on annual rainfall and the cold front that’s moving in and then engaging in the mindless, cheery chit-chat that makes local TV broadcasts so annoying.  That’s just an incredibly long time to be doing the same job.  You have to give Dick Goddard credit for sticking it out and establishing a workplace longevity record that most of us can’t even imagine approaching.

The Vanishing President

I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone mention President Obama’s name in daily conversation.  Sure, you see news stories about him from time to time, giving a commencement speech here, issuing some new executive order or federal guidance there, but for the most part he’s just faded from the national zeitgeist.

obama-walking-away-rose-garden2It’s not a phenomenon unique to President Obama, of course.  When Presidents reach the last year of their second term, they always seem diminished, less important, and less vital.  They’re yesterday’s news, and they typically suffer by comparison to the energetic folks out on the campaign trail, all of whom are angling to take the President’s job.  No surprise there, either — the President is working, attending boring meetings and otherwise doing what Presidents must do, whereas the candidates are out jetting from place to place, giving speeches before cheering crowds.

It’s got to be a weird feeling, to be the focus of news coverage and attention and then suddenly . . . not.  You wonder if it’s hard for Presidents to deal with, that sense that they have been marginalized even though they are still in office.  Sure, they still have all of the trappings of Commander-in-Chief status, but they know, and everyone knows, that the country is in the process of moving on.  It’s like a high school romance that dims as the year progresses, until both parties recognize that they’re just playing out the string until summer comes and the calendar mercifully brings an end to it.

The fading phenomenon is particularly interesting this year, because President Obama reportedly is itching to take on Donald Trump.  If true, that might present a tough decision for the Clinton campaign.  The President can still give a mean speech, I’m sure, but he’s identified with the past — and if you’re out talking about change, as presidential candidates always do, the outgoing President is the living, breathing embodiment of what people want to change.  Perhaps that’s why, in my lifetime, outgoing Presidents really don’t seem to have been all that involved, or effective, in campaigning for their party’s chosen successor.  Will this year be any different?

Dog Bites Newspaper

Today the Columbus Dispatch carried a story noting that Columbus ranked number 8 in the country in the number of dog bites of postal workers.  There were 43 dog attacks on postal workers in Columbus in 2015 — more than twice the number of dog attacks the prior year.

ambulldognnewspaperWhat’s weird is that the Dispatch considered this to be news at all.  Literally, it’s a “dog bites man” story, and therefore is the classic definition of non-news.  Dog bites happen regularly in our humdrum, everyday lives.  Postal workers get bitten by dogs so often they train postal workers to deal with it, and they even keep statistics on it.  And when Columbus isn’t even at the top of the dog-bite list, but comes in at number 8 — which is a pretty undistinguished number, too, when you think about it — and trails Cleveland in this dubious category, its clear there is absolutely nothing noteworthy about it.

From the Dispatch‘s publication of this quintessential non-story, I think we can safely assume that today was a slow news day in Columbus, Ohio.  Tomorrow we’ll probably crack open our newspapers to look for breathless front page reports that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

Attempting An Eclogue

For years, Kish has gotten a “word-a-day” calendar as a Christmas stocking stuffer.  The calendar gives you a word, its definition, and its pronunciation, and then uses the word in a sentence, like you’re the contestant in the national spelling bee.  It’s an interesting, relatively painless way to learn new words and build that personal vocabulary to ever more impressive heights, and occasionally — O, happy day! — the word is one you actually knew already.

afghan_shepherd_by_ironpaw1Sometimes, though, the words aren’t exactly easy to fit into everyday conversation.  On Monday, for example, the word was “eclogue.” What’s an eclogue (pronounced ek-log), you ask?  Why, it’s a poem in which shepherds converse, of course.  The sentence the calendar offers to illustrate its meaning is:  “The poet’s new volume offers modern translations of Virgil’s eclogues.”  Even at an erudite workplace like mine, it’s hard to imagine a discussion where you could smoothly use “eclogue.”

Although I can’t see ever using the word in actual conversation, and therefore am likely to promptly forget it, I thought it might be fun to try to write an eclogue, just to give ol’ Virgil a little competition.

A Brief Eclogue

Far out yonder, on grassy plain

Where sheep did graze, were shepherds twain

As they silently did walk

One shepherd felt the need to talk.

Said Shepherd One to Shepherd Two:

“It’s time for dinner.  I brought stew.

The sheep all graze o’er by the lake.

No wolf in sight.  Let’s take a break!”

Said Shepherd Two to Shepherd One:

“I’m sad to say that I’ve brought none.

I’ve got no food, but none the worse.

Let’s use our break, then, to converse.”

Said Shepherd One to Shepherd Two:

“I’d start, but I don’t have a clue

What we’d discuss, or what I’d say.

I’ve been out tending sheep all day.”

Said Shepherd Two to Shepherd One:

“There’s nothing new under the sun.

And what is new I won’t discuss.

Clinton and Trump just make me cuss!”

So shepherds two sat ‘neath a tree

And watched as sheep grazed peacefully

It wasn’t much of an eclogue

But ’twas enough to fill this blog.