Sunday, April 15, 2018

[letter to an anonymous person about life’s lessons] writing exercise

To Whom It May Concern
I write this as a way of perhaps expressing those few things I’ve learned in life and wish them to be passed on. A message in a bottle would be a bit of a romantic idea, I suppose, but maybe it really is just the ticket, too. Imagine the possibilities.

(The fine print.) I do indeed presume to suggest that what I have learned over the years are, in my opinion, of particular wisdom. You may follow all or a few or none of these. It’s your life. This is a compilation of a just a few hints, ideas, and bits of advice from an old man. (End of fine print.)

In no particular order or importance:
Read your Bible;
Avoid smoking;
Keep on the lookout for love in yourself and in others;
Eat curiously;
Travel whenever possible to anyplace;
Learn, be curious, be intellectual, be skeptical;
Do good things and think good thoughts;
Be positive;
Practice the Boy Scout Law;
Know your commandments;
Go to school;
Be smart;
Never stop dreaming to be better but be careful about wanting better;
Be forever cognizant of who you are;
Know thyself, say the Greeks, and avoid extremes.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

writing lessons: the greatness of sandwiches

I like a good sandwich which means I have to list the ingredients of a good sandwich but experience says that the personal touch is more important than the ingredients. Your mother would say the same thing.

Generally I like whole wheat store-bought bread. This is probably criminal in some minds but I am not a fan of the over-sized hoagy nor the artisan bread that has rocks in it. My fillings get tired of the latter and my jaw tired of the former. I generally like deli-cut meats: roast beef, most hams, BBQ but sauce on the side. I like a sprinkling of lettuce, cheese (almost any kind), horseradish mustard, sweet pickle, and onion but not the oils. For something like a Philly, a grilled sandwich, I go for extra mushrooms and onions, all kinds of peppers but forget all the rest of the stuff. Well, maybe a few tomato slices. All grilled together.

I am not too picky. Really, I’m not. I’ve had some really good sandwiches at roadside diners and some really lousy ones in the the so-called finer restaurants. It isn’t as much as a list of ingredients as it is freshness, a little bit of care, and human intervention. Corporate sandwiches generally do not cut it. I like to be able to add or subtract on a whim. I’m not bragging but I’ll give a lot of leeway and I have tried some sandwiches at places I might not have tried before. But, sometimes you just get so lucky!

The best sandwiches I think hold together, physically. I don’t like having chunks of bread on my plate and me holding the sandwich between the meat and the lettuce. I have begun here later in life to avoid mayo which raises the eyebrows of a few counter people but they get over it pretty quickly. Mayo has been replaced by the horseradish mustard. Much better tasting. A variety of tastes, if I recall rightly, is very good for your system.

Strangely, enough, I remember a grilled pimento cheese sandwich which should not be all that noticeable but it was at a little diner in Hadleyville, SC, while we were out birding. The sandwich was good, the little shop with 24 seats where we took 18 of them was even better. Maybe that was part of the enjoyment. Changed my thinking about pimento cheese. I don’t recall all the details but it was good!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Writing Assignment: A Favorite Moment in a Film

Nicolas Cage, in The Lord of War, plays an arms dealer who operates on the scale of armies instead of gangsters. The movie is a pretty good movie with lots of tight spots and quandaries for Cage’s character. In one scene he lands on board a plane on a dusty road in Africa and is captured immediately by the cops. The cops, hoping to break him, chain him to a box, and leave him for the rest of the day and the night sitting near the plane.

Before the cops return the next day, the natives strip the plane completely to the point there is no plane left, just Cage sitting on his box.

The scene is done in stop action and is quite impressive. It almost takes away from the story but makes for an interesting few minutes of movie watching.