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  • 11/17/2018 A neuroscientist at the University of California was posting photos of everything he ate on his Facebook page. The expression “feed your face,” took on a new meaning. This professor claimed that revealing your food choices to the world will motivate you to eat better.
    Dr. Garcia included daytime snacks, late-night raids of the fridge, and even the doughnuts he had stuffed in his glove compartment. He had uploaded 9,000 pictures onto his Mac, which included a few dozen Big Macs, I might add. 
    I’m not sure this is a totally new idea. Unlike the good doctor, I’ve been uploading meals and then downloading them onto my dress shirts for more than 60 years. It is not uncommon for people to ask me about certain food choices I have posted on my clothing for all my friends to see…
    “Looks delicious, Dick. Wasn’t that the special at the Olive Garden last week?”
  • 11/10/2018 We are blessed with a beautiful forest behind our new home. The problem is that the trees need a bit of trimming, and that means I need to get out the chainsaw, a device I am only familiar with because of R-rated movies.
    I had a chainsaw at our old house but found it to be a very inefficient tool.  I took it back to the dealer and I told him it took me hours to cut down one little limb. “Let me give it a try,” said the clerk, and then he pulled the cord.
    VAROOM!
    “Geez, what’s that loud noise?” I asked him. “It never did that before.”
  • 11/3/2018 I just read on AOL that coffee first thing in the morning is bad for you. Hard to believe, isn’t it?  No, not the coffee part, the fact that I still have AOL. Apparently, you mess with your internal clock when you drink java on an empty stomach. Coffee decreases your cortisol levels (which keeps you alert). So a lot of times that morning cup of coffee can backfire and make you feel sleepier and grumpier. Has no one noticed this in 400 years?
    Here’s another piece of medical advice. A woman who keeps quiet during an argument with her husband is four times more likely to die from heart disease. This study was originally published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, a publication I don’t read—but that’s okay because I’m sure my cardiologist saw it in USA Today.
  • 10/27/2018 While I was visiting family on the East Coast, my sister took me to a bagel shop knowing that the treats in this classic tiny New York City fixture would soon be throwing a party for my mouth (to quote the great Mel Brooks). When I stepped inside the deli it was clear that I was witnessing a phenomenon I had never encountered before. People weren’t eating traditional bagels—those rings of hockey-puck-shaped dough that have been boiled and then baked to a perfect brownish sheen. Instead they were eating something called a flagel, also known as a Shmagel.  Shmagel/flagel, whatever. They looked delicious.
    So, what are they? Well, they are bagels that have been shmooshed (in Yiddish you would never say something as boring as “flattened”) into the size of 45 rpm records before being baked. One flagel or shmagel (a combination of the words either flattened and bagel or smashed and bagel) might not always fill up your stomach, but it pretty much fills up your plate.
  • 10/20/2018 Mary Ellen and I decided today to make a reservation somewhere for New Year’s Eve. I usually wait a bit longer to make this important decision. Last year I waited until Dec. 31. That may seem like last minute, but I did leave a voice message first thing that morning.
    I called one restaurant and they were still planning the menu. The manager said: “Please call back after November 1, but don’t wait too long. Some loser called last year on New Year’s Eve morning.”
    Just for fun, the other night my wife and I sat down and tried to see if we could remember what we did every New Year’s Eve since we were married in 1980.  We went backwards from 2017 and we were doing surprisingly well until we hit 2000.
  • 10/13/2018 Last week I looked back on our longtime handyman who became a good friend. When he passed in 2005 of cancer, I wrote this:
    I once told Steve he was the greatest handyman east of the Mississippi. Steve said he could easily be the best handyman west of the Mississippi, also. I think he considered moving to Utah just to prove his point.
    Steve’s approach to fixing things was methodical. He would analyze the problem, list the options, mull over the alternatives, formulate a plan, and fix the broken item.
    Here’s how I would approach the issue: analyze the problem, list the options, mull over the alternatives, formulate a plan, and call Steve. As you can see, our approaches were almost identical.
  • 10/6/2018 We have a great fix-it guy. His name is Randy. If your name is Randy, there is some kind of unwritten law that you must become a handyman. Handy Randy has a lot to live up to. Our last handyman died 13 years ago this month.  It’s taken us that long to find a replacement for Steve. And a replacement for the missing hallway floor tile, and the bathroom faucet handle, and the bulb for the refrigerator.
    Here’s a memory of Steve from 2005.
    When Steve comes over, we sit and chat about his kids and his grandkids. Then he gets around to his infirmities and then his wife's cousins who are overstaying their visit. Then what's new at the temple. And finally, how things are going at his regular job—which, interestingly, is just talking to people on the phone about their problems. And he's not a therapist: he's an acoustical engineer.
  • 9/29/2018 While opening boxes after our move to our new home, I found several stacks of old news articles, many sent by friends, plus some cut out by me and saved.  I am always looking for ideas for my TV segment and newspaper columns. I found one clipping that bears repeating, about how much time people spend kissing.
    In this article, no experts are quoted. There is no scientific polling, no international study referenced. But the people from a well-known breath mint/gum company claim the average person spends 20,000 minutes in his or her lifetime kissing. Again, this is simply an average. Your smooching may vary, depending on whether you attend a lot of Greek weddings or have more than 15 grandchildren.
  • 9/22/2018 “What’s in here?” I asked Mary Ellen as I started to open still another carton the movers had deposited in the lower level of our new home.
    “What does it say on the box?” she asked.
    “It just says STUFF,” I said.
    “Well, that sounds like your kind of labeling system, Dick. A few years ago when we got new carpet, you did the packing alphabetically.  The cat ended up in the same box as the computer.”
    Before she finished her sentence, I realized this was not a box from our current move, but a box still unopened from two moves ago in 1985. I apparently hadn’t missed whatever was in it for almost 35 years. Anything called “stuff” couldn’t be that important, anyway.
  • 9/7/2018 The Wolfsie house is for sale, as we have settled into a new home just a few blocks away. This was a moving experience, to be sure, but there was nothing settling about it. In fact, it was the most stressful experience of our lives.
    Prior to closing on the new house, we did something our builder calls a Celebration Walk, where we had the opportunity to nitpick every paint blemish, wobbly cabinet door and crooked electric socket right before we coughed up the last portion of our down payment. My wife was well prepared, having researched what to look for before we took possession. She wanted to know about the soundness of the structure, whether there was any leakage, or if there were any strange sounds or odors that might be a concern. This kind of scared me—because I’m not sure I could pass that test.
    We have been very conscientious about our house over the past 35 years, but it proved somewhat embarrassing when we started removing furniture and appliances from against the walls. It wasn’t surprising to find old keys, pennies and Bic pens everywhere, but there were dog biscuits way under the couch, and we haven’t had a dog in five years. When the movers found a diaper (clean, I swear) behind the washing machine, I autographed it and gave it to our 31-year-old son. I don’t think he ever missed it.
    Moving day was anxiety ridden. The movers worked 10 hours while Mary Ellen and I mostly just followed the guys around and said, “Put it there” about 200 times. An entire day of pointing is exhausting at my age. When I had no idea where something went, I just pointed at the basement door and said, “Put it in the crawlspace, down there.”
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Monday, November 19, 2018

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