Sunday, April 26, 2009

My wife, the streetwalker

My wife, and longtime friend, recently became a streetwalker.

She tries to walk the streets every day after work, and says that she enjoys the experience. Most of the time, she feels much more energetic afterwards.

Before your mind wanders too much in the wrong direction, let me clarify what I’m talking about.

For more than 30 years, I’ve been a very active bicyclist, and our children have also caught the disease. Our daughter makes a living as a bicycle tour guide for Bobby’s Bike Hike in downtown Chicago (which rates as #2 out of 504 attractions in Chicago), and our son owns THREE bicycles.

On my wife’s side of the family, though, the “E” word (exercise) has never been a favorite topic.

Totally out of the blue, Sharon recently joined a local group called W.O.W.(Women Out Walking), which was organized and sponsored by the City of Evanston in order to highlight the importance of physical activity in women.

At the start of the 12 week program on March 21, participants were issued pedometers and walking journals, and received information on various health issues facing women.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that there are similar groups in other countries around the world, which you can read about at the link below:

strolling in Merry Olde England

If your local community does not have a similar program, there are a variety of places where you can buy your own pedometer, and start logging your steps on your own.

For a number of years, Sharon has subscribed to Guideposts magazine.

The featured contributor for the January, 2008 issue was a woman named Leslie Sansone, and her article was titled “Walk This Way and Find Happiness”. Unlike most of us, she actually walks for a living, as well as for recreation.

If you’re REALLY ambitious, you may be interested in participating in the JFK 50 mile walk/run on the Appalachian Trail, which has been held every year since 1963.

If you’d like to learn more about the Appalachian Trail, and have a good laugh at the same time, I’d recommend reading Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”.

I’m delighted that Sharon is EXCITED about strapping on a pair of walking shoes and strolling through the local neighborhoods, but I would like to see more of “my fellow Americans” doing the same thing.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), 33% of American adults are obese, and obesity-related deaths have climbed to more than 300,000 a year, second only to tobacco-related deaths.

If you decide to take up walking for the purpose of improving your health, and your route takes you past a donut shop, keep these words in mind:

In closing, though I try very hard never to give unsolicited advice, I’ll leave you with these closing words:

“Hey, buddy, take a hike”.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Since this is my thirteenth entry onto this site, it seemed appropriate to talk a little about Triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) and a few other superstitions.

The number 13 has been considered to be an unlucky number since at least the time of the Vikings, and possibly even earlier.

Over time, the general population became less superstitious, and at the close of the 19th century, Thirteen Clubs were formed all over North America:

In 1881, an influential group of New Yorkers led by U.S. Civil War veteran Captain William Fowler came together to put an end to this and other superstitions. They formed a dinner cabaret club, which they called the Thirteen Club. At the first meeting, on Friday 13 January 1881 at 8:13 p.m., 13 people sat down to dine in room 13 of the venue. The guests walked under a ladder to enter the room and were seated among piles of spilled salt. All of the guests survived. Thirteen Clubs sprang up all over North America for the next 40 years. Their activities were regularly reported in leading newspapers, and their numbers included five future U.S. presidents, from Chester A. Arthur to Theodore Roosevelt. Thirteen Clubs had various imitators, but they all gradually faded from interest as people became less superstitious.

Fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia, and it’s a date that has been considered unlucky since roughly the time of the Knights Templar in the 14th Century.

On our honeymoon, our car was hit by a deer on Friday the 13th as we drove home towards St. Paul, but that didn’t deter us from acquiring a small black kitten (which we named Chester) as soon we moved into our first apartment in West St. Paul, Minnesota (just up the road from Highway 13).

Other numbers are considered to be unlucky in other cultures:

Tetraphobia, fear of the number 4 — (phonetically similar to 'death') is very common in Korea, China, and Japan. When I worked in Guangzhou, it wasn’t unusual to be in buildings that did not have a 4th floor. In one of the buildings that I lived in, the four apartments on the 1st floor where I lived were labeled 101, 102, 103, and 108

17 is Italy's unlucky number, because in Roman digits 17 is written XVII, that could be rearranged to "VIXI", which in Latin means literally "I have lived" but can be a euphemism for "I am dead".

Cesana Pariol, the bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track used for the 2006 Winter Olympics, had turn 17 originally named "Senzo Nome" ("without name" in (Italian)), but the turn was renamed in 2007 in honor of luger Paul Hildgartner.

Black cats have long been associated with bad luck.

In the time of the ancient Hebrews and Babylonians, black cats were considered to be serpents, coiled on a hearth.

During the Middle Ages, many Europeans held the belief that the devil took the form of a black cat on a regular basis. As a result, black cats were hunted down and burned on holy days, such as Easter. In the 17th century, black cats also became associated with witchcraft.

For cats fortunate enough to live during the time of the ancient Greeks or Romans, life was pretty good, because both cultures considered cats to be sacred. In Egypt, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death.

In modern times, there ARE a few isolated places where black cats are looked upon favorably, but they are definitely in the minority.

For practical reasons, most of us avoid walking under a ladder (especially if you’re walking under the guys pictured below), but very few people are aware of the fact that the superstition itself dates back to the time of the early Christians, and is tied to religious beliefs.

Whether you’re superstitious or not, though, enjoy the rest of the day.

And don’t take any wooden nickels.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gypsies, tramps, and thieves

When Cher first released the song with the title shown above, it’s difficult to imagine that ANYONE could look more like a gypsy than she did in the video shown below:

What the general public is not aware of is that she actually IS a gypsy,
or at least is descended from relatives who were gypsies.

Cher’s father was an Armenian refugee truck driver, and her mother was of mixed Cherokee, English and French heritage.

The exact number of gypsies that live in the world today is difficult to determine accurately, but the link below will give you a rough idea how many live in the various countries that have them living within their borders:

a world full of gypsies

The largest concentration of gypsies is estimated to be in Turkey, where as many as 5,000,000 live today. The country immediately east of Turkey is Armenia, where Cher’s biological father was born.

In the United States, there are FIVE distinct groups of gypsies who live someplace in the area from “sea to shining sea”:

Katie, bar the door!

Although some gypsies settled in eastern Pennsylvania, and others in the southern states, the majority of them settled in New York or Chicago.

I’m not sure who Cher was thinking about when she wrote her song, but I would argue that NO PLACE in America fits the song title better than “the hog butcher for the world”, the home of the world’s tallest building (twice), or the future home of the 2016 Olympics.

Almost by definition, a Gypsy comes from a group of people who wander, and utilize “squatter’s rights” to establish their territory. In downtown Chicago, the most expensive real estate in the city sits on land that was originally occupied by a squatter named George Streeter. The territory where his boat “hit a sandbar” just off the shoreline in the 1880’s eventually became known as Streeterville, and its reputation has been cleaned up considerably in recent years.

On the near south side of Chicago, two sisters (Ada and Minna Everleigh) opened a brothel in February 1900, and operated it until it was closed in October 1911.

Early on, the sisters understood the revered tradition of “paying to play”.

By 1902, the club expanded, and the sisters were making donations to the First Ward Aldermen, "Bathhouse" John Coughlin and Michael "Hinky-Dink" Kenna to ensure their continued leeway. After the Club was closed, Minna Everleigh claimed in testimony that she "always entertained state legislators free in the club."

The clientele of the Everleigh House included captains of industry, important politicians and European nobility and royalty. Among their clientèle were Marshall Field, Jr., Edgar Lee Masters, Theodore Dreiser, Ring Lardner, John Warne Gates, Jack Johnson, and Prince Heinrich of Prussia.

Chicago may have had its tramps, but it’s safe to say that they were the most famous tramps in the world for a period o time.

Both the late Mike Royko and John Kass of the Chicago Tribune have done a good job of keeping the public informed about the shenanigans that go on at city hall.

One of the most outrageous examples of theft by a public official was the case of John “Quarters” Boyle, who stole $4,000,000 from the Illinois Toll Authority, but was subsequently hired for a cushy city job by Mayor Daley (aka “Mayor Chuckie”):

how much does $4,000,000 in quarters weigh?

In closing, though, Chicago may well be the land of gypsies, tramps, and thieves, but to me (at least) it will still be “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Give me that old time religion

Due to the fact that Evanston is a “college town” (Northwestern University is just up the street from where I work) a lot of the residents of the town would be considered to be fairly open minded about a lot of topics, particularly when it comes to politics and religion.

Last fall, I saw a LOT more Obama/Biden signs in town than McCain/Palin signs, but I’ve also seen a fair number of “COEXIST” bumper stickers (as well as one that says “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”)

What I like about this bumper sticker (see below) is the respect that it shows for people of a wide variety of religious backgrounds, which is also true of the Baha’i temple just up the road in Wilmette, which displays the symbols of NINE different religions on the outside surface.

Through the help of Google, I also found ANOTHER website that offers some very intriguing designs. By favorite, by far, is the one attached below:

To fully appreciate this design, I’d recommend listening to the rendition of “Old Time Religion” by a group called SAVAE (the acronym is short for the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble):


This group is incredibly talented, and they have also recorded songs in languages other than English.

Yo habla un poquito Espanol, but you don’t need to speak Spanish to appreciate the song shown below:

What’s REALLY intriguing is a song titled “Yeshua Preview" which employs the languages of Aramaic (the language of Jesus Christ), Hebrew, and Greek:

Although the earliest form of “organized religion” dates back to the origin of Hinduism in about 4000 B.C., religion (in one form or another) has existed much longer than that, according to Karen Armstrong, author of A History of God, which I read in the spring of 2008.

Before the “Abrahamic” religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, most cultures were polytheistic.

When Stonehenge was being built (starting in about 3100 B.C.), the ancient Druids who inhabited the immediate area worshiped the sun god and the moon good, as well as a variety of other deities. (If you’d like to learn more about them, I’d recommend reading Stonehenge, a novel by Bernard Cornwell.)

Incidentally, if you use Google Maps, you can enjoy both aerial and ground level shots of the old monument simply by typing Stonehenge in the address box on the top of the page.

Technically speaking, the Druids would be considered to be pagans, a term that is often misunderstood.

The Wikipedia definition below provides a brief description:

earth spiritualist

When I was on my mission to visit all of the churches in Evanston, I also attended several meetings of the local pagan group, which met (ironically enough) at DePaul University in downtown Chicago.

DePaul, by the way, is the largest Catholic University in the county.

What struck me about the pagans that I met with was that they were, um, normal people who drew their spirituality from nature rather than from established religions. I still get email invitations from various pagan groups from time to time, and most of them call themselves “earth spiritualists”.

After a meeting or two, I picked up the book shown below in order to learn more about “paganism”:

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Paganism
, by Carl McColman

Although I won’t elaborate on its contents at this point, suffice to say that the pagans aren’t as scary as you might imagine. There are also a fair number of them serving our country in the various branches of our military.

Apart from Stonehenge, rocks and religion have been connected for a long, long time.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said “ are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”

About 1000 years before Stonehenge was started, the ancient Druids built a burial ground in Northern Ireland that is known today as Newgrange. A video of the structure (which includes the song of the same title by “Celtic Women”) can be viewed below:


Rocks have also played a big role in areas as diverse as Cambodia, which houses Anghor Wat, and Mexico, which is the home of Chichen Itza

The Kaba, a small stone building in Mecca, is the holiest of all holy places for the 1.2 Billion Muslims that live in the world.

The granddaddy of all religious sites, though, is the Dome of the Rock, which has been considered to be religiously significant for Muslims, Christians and Jews at various points of its history.

Although the term “old time religion” evokes memories of Sunday morning Gospel hour in the “Bible belt”, the truth is that old time religion is a lot older than the that, and it has a strong connection to rocks.

The next time you hear “old time religion”, think about the song shown below, which REALLY provides a better description of what “old time religion” is all about, especially if you listen to it on a rainy day:

rainy day woman

Sunday, April 12, 2009

She forgot all about the library like she told her old man, now

The FIRST National Library week in America was celebrated in 1958.

Just a few years later (on January 1, 1964), the Beach Boys released a song titled “Fun, Fun, Fun”, which was inspired by the adventures of a real person named Shirley England, who drove her father’s Thunderbird to the hamburger stand instead of to the library:

I’ll have to admit that I’d probably prefer to go cruising in a vintage Thunderbird than to go to a library, but I’ll also admit that I have a strong emotional attachment to my local library.

This year, national library week will be celebrated from April 12 through April 18.

Each year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the ten most challenged books.

The 10 most challenged books of 2007 reflect a range of themes, and are:

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism
6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7. TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age

I have to admit that I’m a little surprised that Huckleberry Finn (published in 1884) is still on the list, but I don’t make the rules, and neither does the ALA.

In other counties, being on the challenged book list can have dire consequences.

When Salman Rushdie’s novel “Satanic Verses” was released in 1988, it received mixed reviews in England, but it still won the Whitbread award for the Novel of the Year.

In Islamic countries, though, it was considered blasphemous, which caused the Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a “fatwa”, or death sentence, against Mr. Rushdie. Although Mr. Rushdie is still alive and well, at least 38 people have been killed as a result of their association with the novel.

Mr. Rushdie was recently awarded the 2009 Carl Sandburg Award by the Chicago Public Library Foundation

The irony about the Salman Rushdie book (which I’ve read) is that the first group of people in the world to grant freedom of speech was the Muslims.

During the early part of the “Islamic Golden Age”, the caliph Umar declared that freedom of speech should be permitted, and that was in the 7th Century, when Europe was truly in the “Dark Ages”. The forward-thinking Muslims also created the first degree-granting University in the world in the year 859, when Al-Karaouine was founded in Fes, Morocco. It has operated continuously ever since.

Long before the enlightened Muslims created the world’s first University, the ancient Greeks were also well aware of need to acquire knowledge. In the third century B.C., they established what was probably the world’s first public
library in Alexandria.

In America, a man named Andrew Carnegie also recognized the value of public libraries, and he donated enough money to build over 2500 public libraries between 1883 and 1929.

America’s first tax supported library, a Carnegie library, was opened in Pittsburgh in 1890.

A typical modern library in America not only has thousands of books and magazines, but it also has a wide variety of CD’s and DVD’s, and many, many computer resources.

Contrary to what TV aficionados might think, time spent in a library can be fun, fun, fun.

Shirley England doesn’t know what she’s missing.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stick it in your ear

In 1971, I spent most of the year working as the program director for the Minnesota Society for the Prevention of Blindness.

At that time, the company shared space with the Minnesota State Medical Association in downtown St. Paul.

In addition to the glaucoma screenings that the Society conducted throughout the state, they also participated in the pre-school medical survey for vision and hearing.

As a result of that association, I learned how to spell, and pronounce,
ophthalmologist (the eye doctor) and otolaryngologist (the ear doctor).

Any otolaryngologist will tell you that the largest thing that you should put in your ear is your elbow, but that hasn’t slowed the sales of Q-tips.

However, there IS an alternative to Q-tips that can (1) improve your hearing and (2) improve your state of mind.

When Kelly was in China, she used to have “ear candling” done on a fairly regular basis.

She recently performed an “ear candling” on one of my ears.

Truth be told, it was a VERY relaxing experience, and it DID remove a lot of junk from my ear.

Ear candling is far from a recent phenomenon, since it has been practiced in the “Far East” for thousands of years.

The best candles are soy candles, since they burn a lot cleaner than conventional candles.

If you Google “ear candling”, you’ll discover that there is a lot of controversy about the procedure. Almost without exception, medical associations feel that the treatment is dangerous.

Personally, I feel that that particular opinion ..

is a crock.

PROPERLY DONE, there is nothing that is dangerous about ear candling.

Kelly DID manage to burn a hole in one of the towels that she had draped across my body, but that’s a small price to pay for having improved hearing.

According to the directions shown above, the candle should be removed once it is about 3 inches from the ear. If you get closer than that, you are entering the “danger zone”

Although Top Gun pilots may enjoy flying with their hair on fire, the rest of us aren’t going to enjoy the experience.

After having gone through the experience, I’m convinced that it is a worthwhile thing to experience on an occasional basis.

However, if you STILL disagree with me, all I can say is this:

“Hey, buddy, stick it in your ear”

Saturday, April 4, 2009

.. and the Holy Spirit shall dwell among you ..

In the King James version of the Bible, the phrase "Holy Spirit" is mentioned 7 times, and the phrase "Holy Ghost" is mentioned 89 times.

NONE of those readings actually discuss the REAL Holy Spirit that dwells among us.

The story of THAT Holy Spirit is attached below:

Long, long ago, in a land across the sea, an unwed teenage Jewish girl learned that she was going to become a mother.

By itself, that’s not an unusual occurrence, since it’s still happening today in her native land.

In the United States, 40% of our births are to unwed mothers. A few years ago, 80% of the births in Hartford, Connecticut were to unwed mothers, and 25% of those were to teenage girls.

who needs a marriage license?

What separates that pregnancy of long ago from today’s breeding epidemic is the fact that the child that was born of that pregnancy literally changed the world, not to mention the fact that the news of the pregnancy came from an angel, rather than from a doctor.

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego experienced the first recorded appearance of an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary as he passed by Tepeyar Hill, just north of Mexico City. His story, involving the Lady of Guadalupe, can be found on the website listed below.

Mary sightings

Since that first appearance in Mexico, Mary has appeared at hundreds of places throughout the world. There have been 29 apparitions in the United States since WWII.

The one closest to home is in Hillside, Illinois, and it involves a man named Joseph Reinholtz, whom I’ve met personally. His story is listed below:

In recent times, Mary has also reportedly appeared to six children in war-torn Bosnia, an event that has attracted more than 11 million people from around the globe. One such man was Joseph Reinholtz, a retired railroad worker from Hillside, Illinois. He had been suffering from blurred vision and periods of blindness and journeyed to Bosnia to pray and meet Vicka, one of the children who has seen Mary. She prayed over Reinholtz in 1987 and upon his return to Illinois, his sight slowly returned.

Reinholtz returned to Bosnia in 1989 and Vicka then instructed him that he was to look for a large crucifix, next to a three-branched tree. Here, he was to pray. He later discovered this location at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside and began to make frequent trips to the spot to pray. On August 15, 1990, Reinholtz had his first visitation from Mary, and it was repeated on November 1, when she returned with St. Michael and three other angels. Soon, word of the visitations leaked out and thousands of people began flocking to the cross. It wasn't long before complaints about the number of spectators caused the cemetery officials to move the cross to another location in 1992. It is very accessible now, having a paved parking lot next to it.

I’ve been to the cemetery on several occasions, and have seen the rosaries that have turned to gold, as well as the pictures of the “stairway to heaven” that were taken by some of the visitors to the location.

There have also been other “unusual occurrences” in Illinois, which can be viewed at the link below:

prairie ghosts

THE most popular pilgrimage site in the world is the grotto at Lourdes, France.

On February 11, 1858, a local girl named Bernadette Soubirous had a vision of a “lady” in the cave of Massabielle

To date, there have been approximately 7000 miracles at the Grotto, but “only” 68 of them have been deemed to be a scientifically inexplicable miracle by both the Lourdes Medical Bureau and the Catholic Church.

Although the link below has pictures of the grotto and the local sanctuary, modern technology has provided us with another tool that will heighten the experience.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Through the work of our friends at Google, you can now view the entire town of Lourdes from the air, simply by typing in “the grotto of Lourdes, France” into the URL.

If you click on the first link on the left (A) you’ll be able to get to the Street view option, which means that you can literally “walk through” the village of St. Bernadette.

Google Maps

I don't know anyone personally who has traveled to Lourdes, but our friends from Minnesota traveled to Fatima, Portugal in May of 1972 when they were stationed in the Azores, and one of the managers at the dealership where I work (the Autobarn of Evanston) was born in Medjugorje.

If you review the Medjugorge website, you'll discover that the pilgrimages to that town are led by a couple from DeKalb, Illinois.

Naturally, there are also pilgrimages to Lourdes:

Lourdes tours.

There are MANY versions of the song that is known as “Ave Maria”, but the best known version is the one that was written by Franz Schubert in 1825, three years before his death at the age of 31.

There have been thousands of professional singers who have presented the song to audiences around the world since Schubert wrote the song.

Andy Williams recorded a very nice version in 1968, but the BEST version that I’ve ever heard is the one performed by the late Luciano Pavarotti:

By clicking on the link below, you’ll be able to follow the Latin words as he sings, but you can also simply watch the great man perform.

Ave Maria lyrics

In my opinion, though, the BEST way to experience the song is to close your eyes and FEEL it.

The song will become a prayer, your eyes will start to become a little moist, and you’ll find yourself being transformed into a person that you never were before.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with these words:

Rest in peace.

May God be with you.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Schatzki, Schlotzsky - they all sound the same to me

A few days ago, I learned that I may have a body part that I was not aware of previously. That statement may sound a little strange, so I’ll give you a little background information:

One of our managers used to work as the General Sales Manager for a very successful Cadillac dealership in downtown Chicago. Since he’s just a regular joe, I’ll call him Joe to protect his identity.

The company had been in business for more than 50 years by the time he went to work there, and was still family owned and operated. Like many successful businessmen, the owner was a man who wanted results – NOW!!

In her book, The Self Made Man, Nora Vincent would describe that kind of a dealership (and many sales organizations) as a “Red Bull” type of work environment.

Often, when Joe received a phone call from the owner, he found that he would have difficulty breathing afterwards.

After a few too many uncomfortable episodes like that, Joe finally decided to see his doctor in order to determine what the problem was.

What he learned is that most people have what is called a Schatzki ring in their esophagus. MOST of the time, it doesn’t cause any problem. A bad diet, or a stressful working environment, however, can wreak havoc on the ring. In Joe’s case, he had developed DOZENS of them, so it’s a miracle that he is still alive.

Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert cartoon, had similar symptoms, but his were caused by a disease known as Spasmodic Dysphonia. Not only did the disease make if more difficult for him to breathe, it made it almost impossible for him to talk. You also may be interested to know the Katharine Hepburn, unquestionably the GREATEST American actress, was also afflicted by the disease.

Joe’s problem was cured by medication, and Scott’s by surgery, but all of us will have temporary irritable throat problems from time to time, and it’s usually caused by caffeine (either coffee or soda). On occasion, though, stressful work and personal situations can take their toll as well.

There are TWO methods that can provide TEMPORARY relief caused by stress.

One is the “Heineken Maneuver” (not to be confused with the Heimlich Maneuver). In its simplest form, it amounts to simply having a beer (or two) when you get home from work.

A variation of the “Heineken Maneuver” is the “Schott and a beer”, particularly if you have some German ancestors.

One of our former managers was a type A personality who would frequently be eating, talking on the phone, and working a deal – all at the same time.

A few months ago, he was eating a chicken sandwich at his desk, and somehow managed to get a large chunk of chicken stuck in his throat, which cut off his air supply. Somebody called the paramedics, the chunk was eventually dislodged, and he survived to see another day (after he had a cigarette to unwind), but his experience highlights another important lesson:

If you don’t want to choke your chicken at work, or do the death dance with your deli sandwich, slow down.

And relax.

And speaking of eating ..

There’s an old saying that you are what you eat.

When I was in China, I actually saw donkey, bamboo rat, and snake on menus.I avoided all of them, but I WILL admit to the fact that there HAVE been times in my life when I’ve made an ass out of myself.

This week in Oakland, California, there are LOTS of folks eating “Rocky Mountain oysters” at the Testicle Festival

I’m not sure WHY you’d want to do that, but I DO know this:

I live a block away from one of the group homes in Evanston, and I work about two blocks down the street from the other one, so it’s safe to say that we already have enough nuts in this town.

If you happen to be in a high stress work environment, and your bosses seem to feel that working long hours under constant pressure can easily be handled, all I can say is this:

I found that a little hard to swallow.