Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As confessions go this one is weird. But it's mine.

I have a Jones for Graham Crackers and Cream Cheese. I capitalize the title because they are just that good.

I realized I had a problem years ago, but I've been rationalizing for a long time. One of the big problems with this particular addiction is that the name is long and combines two mundane things. To get any respect, an addiction has to be short and punchy. Booze. Crack. Sex. Boggle.

Because the name is so long, people ignore it. By the time you were done reading "Cream" you were thinking about something else.

But not me. I'm concentrating on every loving word.

And thinking of when I'm getting my next fix.

Last two nights I've been on a bender. Right now I'm feeling good off the high. I ate about a quarter slab of cream cheese with a pack of graham crackers. By lunch the high will wear off. And I'll be irritated. And sad. And wondering why life is so crummy.

And thinking about how I can slip out and buy another slab, so Mrs. EO doesn't notice the last one is gone.

A "slab"

"Slab" is junkie talk for the 8 ounces of white heaven in a tin foil wrapper that talks to me every time I open that refrigerator. It's sitting right on top, in the door, looking innocent. But I know better.

I woke up bolt upright at 4:30 this morning. I knew I had to stop. The rationalizations, the benders, the calling out from work because I'm sick from eating cream cheese.

Late at night, wiping the crumbs off my T-shirt. Wondering if that pain in my left arm is the big one, where my heart just gives out under the strain.

Volunteering to go shopping so I can buy extra cream cheese and hide it.

All the signs are there. I know who I am. And still I don't stop.

Like any addict, I can't imagine life without a slab and a pack.

A "pack"

It's easy for you. But for me, that slab and pack are jammed like an ice-pick into my brain and my heart and my life. The lie is so deep inside me that I can't even guess who I'd be without a slab of cream cheese on an endless series of grahams. The triptophan, the sugar, the fat content, the sense of dreamy peace.

You tell me "just quit." I say quitting is easy. I've quit a hundred times. Anyone can quit. But try staying quit.

That's the tricky part.

So today I'll get up. I'll drink a lot of water, some green tea, eat a salad, get on the bike for 45 minutes. Take my Omega-3 supplements. I'll dress nice, go to work, look just like you.

But deep inside I know who I am.

Thank God for Lent.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


First let me say that I think dogs are wonderful. Cats too. Birds, rabbits, hamsters and lizards, all have been pets over the years. Once long ago EO shed tears watching "My Dog Skip" with his middle daughter (MD). MD did much better, happily munching on her popcorn while EO leaked and got snotty watching Skip die.

I will blubber buckets when Cookie's gone.

Now to the subject at hand. This weekend I read that pet insurance has become quite the vogue here in Hotville. A quote from an article caught EO's eye:

"No one would want to be in the horrible position
of not having the money to save their beloved animal."

Au contraire, EO is deliberately positioning himself to be in that position. So the quote is palpably false, since it says "no one."

Here's another quote from the article:

"I love my dogs" she said. "They are my family,
and I want to know they will be taken care of."

Help me, please, I think I am going to puke.

They're like my babies.
Photo credit.

Sorry, but my family consists of human beings. Dogs are genetically excluded. Wasn't my call.

EO tries hard not to be cranky, but merciful heavens, what is wrong with this country?

EO being cranky.
photo credit

As you may be aware by now, EO is not a fan of mandatory health insurance for America. Read about his cranky views here. Having worked closely with the federal government for 20 years, he is nervous about the government's unbridled growth and inefficiency, and our concomitant loss of freedom.

But PEOPLE. Get real. We have tens of millions of human beings that don't have health insurance. People eating cat food and taking pet antibiotics. Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare are going broke.

Could we maybe use the bucks we are paying for Tricky Woo's oral surgery to pay for people insurance?

Tricky Woo, classic symbol of pet pampering from
"All Creatures Great And Small."

While we are on the subject, we kill off 1 million American humans each year through abortion. But we are buying pet insurance so we can pay for surgery for our "beloved animal[s]" when they run in front of a car?

"It's just a dog" says Cesar Milan.

There is something bad sick about a society that pushes pet health insurance, yet has 40 million uninsured human beings and 1 million abortions a year.

Look, it's not my money. People want to buy health insurance for their dogs, that is their business.

But for the love of God please don't write happy-slappy articles gushing about how we treat our dogs better than our poor people and our babies.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


This quote, from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies website:

In total, average global temperatures have increased
by about 0.8°C (1.5°F) since 1880.

You could look it up. That is the number. Mind boggling, eh?

Chart of 2000 years of temperature estimates.

EO prefers to use the 1.5 degree figure that we can actually document. There has been a lot of ferment lately about the famous "hockey stick" chart, which became an iconic symbol of global warming during the late 1990s, but which has been taking some scientific head shots recently. Apparently the "hockey stick" smoothed over or ignored significant evidence of previous temperature spikes and dips. Compare the two charts, above and below.

The iconic "hockey stick." Turns out not to be so accurate.
So we will just use 1880 as a base line, because that is when we started keeping serious records of temperatures throughout the world. From 1880 to the year 4 billion B.C. we are not so sure about how cold or hot it was around here, except for hints like tree rings, which don't tell us much about where the tree was not. Average global temperature doesn't translate well into tree-ring thickness. That's why no one uses tree rings anymore, and everyone's been using thermometers lately.

Before you get angry with our forefathers for screwing up something this important, just know that prior to 1880 people were distracted by their death rates from cholera and bubonic plague, so they failed to organize reliable global temperature measurement societies. It's no excuse, I understand.

Now let's do some math. From 1880 to 2010 is 130 years. For discussion purposes I am rounding that to 125 years, which will slightly overstate the speed of global warming.

If we continue at this rate, by the year 2130 - about 250 years from 1880 - the average global temperatures will have increased by a total of 3.0° F. Just to understand the scope of this disaster, say an average May day in 1880 in Hotville, where I live, was 80 degrees. Right now that day is 81.5 degrees. By the year 2130 it will be 83 degrees.

83 degrees. In May. In Hotville.

By the year 2400, about 500 years from 1880, that comfortable 80 degree day in May will have jumped to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

How we will look in 2400 A.D.
(photo credit)

Now you can see why global warming has kicked up such a fuss.

Parenthetically, as I understand the Book of Revelation, the whole earth winds up even hotter than 86 degrees by the end of time. Which is sobering.

As a result of global warming, our best estimate is there will be a significant net increase in the land available for crops and for human habitation, as much of Siberia and Canada become more "user friendly."

Since cold weather kills many times more people than hot weather, a lot more people will be living longer in the 6 degree hotter weather in the year 2400. So societies will have to adjust to more people, more food and more land.

No way can we adapt in just 500 years. Think of how little our technology has advanced since the year 1500, for instance, and you see my point.

Right now even the most expensive fixes can only avoid a fraction of that 3 degree climb by 2130. So the bottom line is we need to spend tens of trillions of dollars to set up international global warming bureaucracies to make sure that the average global temperature only goes up 2 degrees in 250 years, instead of 3 degrees.

Already we can see the impact of global warming in this winter's monster blizzards on the East Coast. With every year that global warming goes unattended, the world as a whole gets a little bit colder and grayer. Like Cleveland.

Southern dogs trying to figure it all out.
Hotville had about 6 inches of global warming recently.

I know it's all upside down and crazy. That's why it is so darn hard to figure out.

I say we call it "Wobal Glarming," so people don't get confused by the cold weather. With a name like "Wobal Glarming," we know it is a crisis that's here to stay, whether we wind up in a New Ice Age or the Worldwide Saharan Scenario.

And how about an anthem for Wobal Glarming? Maybe Pete Seeger and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"

"when will they ever learn?"

Probably too old. Besides, didn't Seeger get all pissy with Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival? I've never understood that.

How about Martha and the Vandellas and "Heat Wave?"

My head's in a haze
It's like a heatwave
burning in my heart

It's hard to hate the Vandellas. On second thought, "Heat Wave" could be confusing, if the blizzards keep coming.

I know the perfect song, by REM:

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it
and I feel fine.

Okay now, EO's done the hard part, making up a new name and finding an appropriate anthem. You go ahead and shovel that Wobal Glarming off your sidewalk. Take some aspirin before you go outside.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


My daughter, known as Prose to her sisters, decided to become a marvelous chef after watching the movie "Julie Julia," a delightful little slip of a movie starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

Movies About Food: Next Best Thing to Eating.

Prose has succeeded in becoming a wonderful cook in 4 or 5 months. So last week we decided to have a house party for some old friends visiting from out of town. It turned into a 4 course meal. Let me list the courses, because I am still savoring the meal and the evening in my mind.

Appetizer: Puffed Pastry with tomatoes and seasoned ricotta cheese - delicious!

First Course:
French Onion Soup, with Dry White Vermouth and Jarlsberg - luscious!

Second Course:
Classic Greek Salad - ah the colors, the warmth, the variety!

Third Course: Salmon with a spicey marinade and a variety of sauces - succulent!

Oh King Salmon! Oh giver of Omega-3 Fatty Acids!
Fourth Course: Spaghetti with pesto sauce and an idiosyncratic romanoff sauce - exquisite!

You Haven't Had Pesto?? Get Off My Blog!!

Dessert: Fruit sorbet - bananas, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries - with homemade almond biscotti and shortbread -- hypnotic!

We had a delightful Sauvignon with the Salmon and a warm and wonderful Chianti with the spaghetti. We talked, laughed, ate and drank for about 2 hours at the table with our 4 long time friends, all of whom have known Prose and her younger brother Hawk since they were toddlers.

After dinner, as Hawk cleaned ALL the dishes (God bless your soul), the EOs repaired to the living room with the Four Friends, where we talked for another hour or so.

When you mix old friends with wonderful food and wine, a good life becomes enchanted.

Old Friends Right Before Dessert.

Thank you, Prose, and thank you, Hawk. Thank you, Mrs. EO, for these wonderful children you've raised.

Thank you, Good Friends, for enjoying our company and sharing our lives.

And thank you, God Above, who made friends and food, wine and laughter.