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Opinions

The more things change

Food for Thought

...the more they stay the same. Even though I was in junior high when people in Iowa first got television in their homes, I didn’t see much of it until I was in my early 20s. We lived in Knoxville. The closest broadcasting station was in Ames. Reception in Knoxville was poor and some people put up tall, expensive towers for their antennas and still had to often settle for shadowy pictures wavering through the snow and static-punctuated sound that faded in and out. Dad decreed that he would wait until reception was good enough that it would be a pleasure to watch rather than a frustration.

Poultmanteau

Walkin'

Things in the old hen house have been a bit topsy-turvy lately.
One of the original five chickens, Jezzabelle, turned out to not be all hen, but half hen and half rooster. A hooster or roosten. We knew Jezz was different from the start as he/she had the spurs of a rooster on one leg. We also suspected that she wasn’t laying eggs and was never found on the nesting box. The final, irrefutable telltale came when we began hearing crowing in the morning.
In other words she was a henaphrodite.

What’s in a name?

Food for Thought

I’ve always thought it interesting that things without names seem to be somehow more fascinating, mysterious, or just plain scary than things that have names. Names serve a variety of functions: some are descriptive, such as, waterfall, fireplace, sweet corn, football field. Those give us an image of the thing and explain its use. Most names, of course are simply nouns that provide basic information but can cover a wide range of similar ideas. These are things like teacher, vehicle, building, toy and moisture.

Sign, sign everywhere a sign

walkin'

I’ve added a couple of new signs to my collection this summer.
The signs are not physically collected; just the verbiage.
To date, my favorite is the one I ran across on a fishing trip to northern Minnesota several years ago. While taking a break from angling I went for a walk down a rural road and came across this gem: “No shooting/children at play.”

...and he huffed and he puffed

Food for Thought

The old farmhouse was torn down a couple weeks ago, and I couldn’t help thinking about the story of “The Three Little Pigs” and how easily B. B. Wolf destroyed their little houses of straw and sticks. This particular little house stood for around a century and wasn’t so easily gotten rid of.

Not born Sicilian

Walkin'

We arrived at my cousin’s place about 1:30 p.m., perfectly timed to share the late and expansive meal Sicilians have about two in the afternoon. A small, fun party was held that evening. The next day we traveled to the reception site, an elegant seaside resort about an hour’s drive along the coast, to help tie ribbons on the chairs in the already elegantly decorated banquet room. My guess is that Suzzie’s to-do list for the wedding ran to about 100,000 and this was number 979,533 or something.

Looking for the answer

Food for Thought

Some time ago, a friend was telling about the request she made for her 55th birthday. In lieu of cards or gifts, she asked her friends and relatives to celebrate her double nickels by doing five good deeds and praying for five other people. She said it made her feel good to think of all those kind actions and loving thoughts going out among so many people at her behest.

Vic the Sicilian

Walkin'

Victorio Tripoli was the youngest boy in a family of three girls and three boys raised in Bagheria, Sicily.
His mother gave birth to all the children at home, and in Sicilian tradition they were named after relatives. Victorio was name after his uncle, who was a mechanic. Until his uncle passed away, family called him Victoruccio (little Vic). The naming was foretelling as Vic liked working on cars, and as a child helped out in his uncle’s shop.

Misconception confession

Food for Thought

A recent television program that included wonderful views of Mt. Rushmore reminded me of a niece who once confessed that, for years, she believed that the carvings on that mountain were a natural phenomenon. We all had a good laugh at the time and recalled some of the equally silly mistaken beliefs we held as children.

Suzzie and Sicily

Walkin'

We travelled to Sicily to attend the wedding of Katrina, the daughter of my cousin Suzzie and her husband Vic.

Bread and beer, the wonder of yeast

food for thought

Early mankind gathered grains, pounded the kernels to flour with stones, mixed it with water, sometimes adding other ingredients such as fat and salt, and baked it on a rock in the heat of the sun. The Egyptians were the first to bake leavened bread, and that was probably more or less by accident. We speculate that some Egyptian housewife left her bowl of bread dough sitting too long before baking it, and it collected wild yeast from the air, causing it to form bubbles and swell up a bit.

Final days in Rome

walkin'

Ancient walls flanked us as we rolled out of Rome and then into Acquedotti Park. Here we passed along the remains of Aqua Claudia, an aqueduct commissioned by the Emperor Gaius in 38 A.D. Gaius is also known as Caligula. He is infamous, among many things, for ordering his guards to throw an entire coliseum section of the crowd into the arena during intermission to be eaten by animals because he was bored.