An Expiration Date Worth One’s Salt

customer comes up to me - a customer service rep at a supermarket - with a can of table salt. Customer: “There’s no expiration date on this.” Me: “No, sir.” Customer: “But how will I know when it goes bad?” Me: “Um, it’s salt. It doesn’t go bad.” Customer: “Nonsense! All food goes bad!” Me: “Sir, salt does not go bad. It’s a mineral.” Customer: “It’s food! It goes bad!”
Read More

Missionary Interrupts Sunday Football

I remember ages ago I was at my cousin's watching football with a few of his friends. At one point I went to the kitchen, which was next to the front door, to get a beer refill when there was a knock on the door. Since I was right there, I answered it, only to find some Elmer Gantry-looking chap. Before I could say anything, he yelled in that tremulous
Read More

A Violinist’s Nightmare

Seems there was an orchestra, with a master Violinist in first chair. In the midst of final rehearsal for a grand exposition of powerful music, a bizarre dissonance was heard. The conductor stopped the piece as he nearly fell off his podium. The concertmaster was heard to say softly, "Apologies, Maestro - there are flies here. One landed on my score and I played
Read More

Jeanne’s Tree Nightmare

My neighbor is a concert violinist and tends to take extended trips during the summer. Among other things, I take care of her garden, making sure the grass and plants are watered, trimming and tending to the shrubs,and so on. Several years ago her red-leafed Japanese maple started its long death spiral. Here follows a series of email correspondence centering mainly on that poor tree. These are basically conversational with
Read More

Package Delivery

I live next door to a lovely lady who is a music professor at our local university. During the year she takes time to lead workshops, give recitals, and appear as a guest artist in various orchestras around the world. I am her designated house caretaker whenever she's traveling, whether it's to Interlochen in Michigan, or southern Italy. Besides tending her plants inside and out, I also collect her mail
Read More

Two Stories on the Death of Camping

Hi Pandora, I enjoyed your post about the outdoor theater. The reference to camping wasn't that farfetched. Check out my article about the death of camping here. We finally gave up on camping when a big RV arrived next to us at a quiet mountain campsite. The couple got their generator going then folded a huge flatscreen from the side of the camper and watched soap operas. Al  Hi Al. Ha ha!
Read More

Armadillos (comments in a news thread)

Heh, made me think of armadillos. Or as I like to call them, nature's speed-bump. They are low to the ground, impossible to see against the asphalt, slow as hell and already have a tire-track across their backs. A lot less damaging though. More nasty cleanup. One of my favs..."Why did the chicken cross the road? To show armadillos it can be done".:) Except chickens get it right... My area
Read More

Fathers’ Frolics

Back in the 50s when I was in Jr. High in Los Altos, the town had a Dad's Club for men. Their main purpose was to put on a charitable musical revue each year called the Fathers' Frolics. The cast was liberally filled with well-known local businessmen, teachers, doctors and regular dads. I really enjoyed going to these and watching these normally-staid and serious men display their musical and comedic
Read More

“Delicately Seasoned”

I want to know exactly what "delicately seasoned" means. As opposed to heartily seasoned? Aggressively seasoned? Daintily seasoned? Roughly seasoned? Does the line cook know the difference when he's got six orders piled up ready to "season" and plate? He probably just grabs the shaker and shakes it a couple of times over the burger without giving a thought as to how delicate his downstrokes
Read More

Hawaii Is Just a Few Miles South of Los Angeles

“You fellas might remember that I was sent over to the IBM facility in Croydon, south of London” I began, as the customary reprobates were sitting around our usual table in The Scruffy Dog. Today there was Little Joe, still hiding from the sheriff, Lois, our guardian angel who helped keep the tone polite, Shortie, who worked at the Bar None ranch out of town and who was sloughing off
Read More