Sniffle Five

So I'm staying home today with the little guy. He's fine, just a bit of a temperature, runny nose, glassy eyes, pale faced and doughy.

Not the kind of symptoms that would keep anyone from really doing anything, but they pack 32 kids in a classroom made for 20 and I'm a reponsible adult.

He doesn't like missing school, and I don't blame him, cause the level of homework that follows is irrational. That . . . and I'm boring company.

I don't do anything fun at all.

Typing typing typing shower lunch music typing.

And I take over the computer for long stretches. And I stare motionlessly for long enough stretches of time that he has to tap me on the shoulder to make sure I'm breathing.

Now when I was a kid, staying home from school was awesome.

I'd take sickness over health in a heart beat . . . 

For starters . . . 

All day ME time:
The entire couch was mine. The entire TV was mine. What ever was in the fridge . . . all mine.

Next was a bellly full of soup, juice, and NyQuil: 
I don't know what it is, but the combination of those things creates such a sleepy cozy day dream opium infused level of warmth and relaxation. I'm too big for that now. Tolerances are too high. But getting back to my inner city roots; That shit was dope.

Game shows:
This was the 80's so we didn't only get network television, we got like twelve other channels too. Now I'm not saying there was anything good on. There is never anything GOOD on. But daytime television is, how shall I put this, exceptionally bad. The soaps, obvious, the home shopping network, kinda scary, there was some sporting event, reruns of even older TV, and of course, gameshows. There's an entire gameshow network now, where you can watch all gameshows all the time, but back then, whoo whee boy, thems was good fun right there.

Hot Baths:
I own pasta bowls that are bigger than my current bathtub, but the old bathtubs were apparently made from old roman designs and could fit six reasonably attractive people. At nine I could virtually do laps from one end to the other and it stayed piping hot for hours. The unquentiable steam would roll up in my nostrils and my brain pan and the snot would melt like butter. Follow that up with some soup and tylenol and you might understand all the lyrics to Magical Mystery Tour.

Honestly . . . need I say more?

TBT: Eat, Drink, and Peter Paul and Mary

It would make more historical sense to do a tribute to something on The Challenger explosion, but I'm not even gonna attempt make that funny, and I'm not in any particular poignant mood.

Anyway, January 29th happens to be the day in 1962 that Peter, Paul, and Mary signed their first recording contract with Warner Brothers, and maybe it's not in the Top Ten of great historical moments, but it does have a certain Butterfly Effect that reverberates to what I do now.

Folk music is kinda weird.

It's born out of . . . well . . . music that regular folks play. Not too many chords. Not too many keys.

There aren't any set rules, but there is usually a banjo player.

The songs are usually allegorical, when froggy goes a courtin', or metaphorical when we wonder where all the flowers have gone, and the format is usually a pleasant ABAB. (Not to be confused with ABBA the Swedish pop group)

 I'm a lover of the ABABCB form, which is far more pop than ballad.

I can blame The Beatles for that.

(Some might consider it AABA, but I think if you are gonna have a separation between verse, chorus, and bridge, you're gonna need a third variable.)

Anyway, returning to the Greenwich Trio, back in the early sixties (I say like I was there), there was a great divide among folk musicians (partisan politics, you might say)

Now either you have the squeaky clean Lawrence Welk acts, or you've got Pete Seeger and the Weavers getting derailed because of the Red Scare. Remember, this was a time when social security was well funded.

So you've got this great divide. Squeeky clean versus dangerous subversive.

Enter Albert Grossman, the man who sees that there is money to be made in the middle.

Co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival, he puts together a music trio, clean-cut, non-threatening, kids next door, who just sorta happen to slip in some Dylan songs in between renditions of "If I had a Hammer" and "Puff the Magic Dragon"

Who's got time for revolution when you're frolicking in the autumn mist?

Does anyone not get misty when Jackie Paper dies?

And no . . . it's not a referendum on smoking pot. Marijuana hadn't been invented in 1962.

Opium. Now there was a helluva drug.

But what's exciting about Peter, Paul, and Mary being signed to one of the biggest record labels in the world isn't the idea that the way to get heard is to be bland-ish, it's about how the quietly subversive souls who walk in the front door and sneak the cool kids in from the back.

Yeah, okay, for every Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, you're gonna end up with like twelve John Denvers.

But that's okay.  Who hasn't caught themselves enjoying a John Denver song?


That's who.

And you can make the argument it is the uncompromising, very vocal, revolutionaries that manifest change.

They certainly influence it.

But it's the kids who play nice who are more likely to move the chains.

What to Eat Wednesday: Super Salad

What to Eat Wednesday is a new Wait . . . Dad? Recipe Series . . . cause . . . you know . . . why not? There will be no rhyme or reason other than whatever tasted exceptionally good the previous week, but you may notice I'm a huge fan of quick easy cheap meals that are high in protein, minerals, and fiber, and relatively low on carbs. I say that with the full knowledge that I will be sharing a cast iron lasagna recipe very soon which meets none of the previously mentioned criteria. Since it's new, please send along feedback about either the format or the recipes themselves or share with me your meals that you want me to try. Thanks . . . 

Super Salad:

Purple Cabbage
Leafy Stuff

Good Olive Oil
Good Balsamic Vinegar
Red Pepper Flakes

Okay . . . so salads are pretty basic. Cut stuff up, put stuff in bowl. Grab a bottle of something from your refrigerator door, don't look at the expiration date, toss and serve. No big whoop.

You can get one in the drive-thru at Mickey Dees.

However . . . most of those salads . . . and I hate to break the news to you . . . well that's not true . . . I love droppin' the knowledge bomb . . . however, none of those "salads" are very tasty, and they aren't all that good for you. In fact, they're kinda terrible for you.

On top of which, if your idea of a salad is some ice-burg lettuce and ranch dressing (which is delicious BTW) you might as well serve chocolate chip ice cream as your vegetable course because cacao comes from trees.

Okay . . . so what makes a great salad? Flavor, texture, color, and healthfulness. You can put those in any order and gravity you wish. You can also add cost. I make about eight of these salads a week for myself and my wife at right around $1.25 per serving. You can't even buy a cup of coffee for that.

Alright . . . lettuce begin:

Purple Cabbage and Kale:
Now . . . you may be thinking I'm gonna dive into all the healthy reasons to eat these . . . well pfffffth. Yeah they have fibre, vitamins, minerals, are low in calories, high in antioxidants, whatever. But I'm all about the CRUNCH. I wanna meal I can masticate. It soothes my inner caveman. Half the reason the whole middle-east is so cranky is because they eat nothing but curry flavored mush. Blechk. Purple Cabbage (Red Cabbage) and Kale are super crunchy, don't wilt before lunch time, and the deep purple and vibrant greens are not only perfect for you Instagram people, they also make you feel like you're chewing up Seattle's defensive line.

Go Patriots.

The two I like best here are kidney beans (for their sweetness) and/or black beans (for their meatiness). Garbonzos and Pinto are okay, I guess. Why beans at all, you ask? Cause . . . well . . . the problem most people have with salads (other than rejecting health food like it was a bowl of malaria) is that they're not filling. Beans fix that problem. A half a cup of legumes hits your gut like a quarter pounder. Feel super fat and poo it out quickly . . . that's my new motto. And they also add in a fair amount of vegetable protein for all my vegetarian readers. (Of which there is one).

For everyone else . . .

Skip this if you're just looking for a good side dish, but for the lunchenours, anything goes here. My hierarchy goes like this: Leftovers (Chicken, steak, salmon, pork chop, whatever). My next go-to is about a half a can of tuna. Try to find the stuff that has dolphin parts in it so that Greenpeace has something to protest. Without cute animal conservation, they might put their energies in campaign finance reform and I like my gas prices low and my corporations evil. Next is any kind of deli meat that you're using for your son's sandwiches (Sliced Turkey) and if you want to throw caution to the wind, dry salami will make you feel like a man and not some sissy dieter.

Now for fashion . . .

The Dressing:
First . . . throw out all of the dressings in your fridge. Not the Ranch. That's a sauce. But everything else must go. And it must go for several reasons. First, they're all expired anyway. You know it, I know it, Santa Clause knows it. Second, with all the sugar and salt and preservatives, they are downright terrible for you. Terrible. Lastly, they really don't taste very good. Especially not when compared with a simple splash of olive oil and vinegar and a pinch of table salt. Anyone who has ever fallen in love with Rachel Ray (guilty) knows that. Drizzle the oil, splash the vinegar, sprinkle the salt as gently as if it were Peter Pan's fairy dust. Be conservative cause you can always add. Tilt your bowl away from you, and with your fork, stir the bottom up and towards you until all the ingredients glisten. Take a big bite and check for flavor. If you haven't over done it, it should be easy to tell if it needs more vinegar or salt.

Carrots, broccoli, bacon bits, handfuls of parmesan cheese, (as you can see in the picture) salads are cool in that you can add to 'em whatever you want. So go ahead . . . add whatever you want. However, the more you complicate it, the longer it's going to take to make. More flavors mushed together to actually produce less flavor overall and if you're a household instead of just a loner, you might end up putting in something that someone doesn't like and then you're screwed before cocktail hour begins. Keep it simple. Keep it crunchy. Keep it real.

Keep it real.

HTT: How to Waiting

So the complete manuscript of my first novel is on a publisher's desk right now, somewhere in the upper regions of Washington State, just kinda sitting there.

I couldn't tell you if it's been read yet, or if it's buried with a hundred other manuscripts, if a very nice rejection letter is being crafted, or if the entire office has been waiting to get their hands on it before they drop a "Happy Bomb" in my eagerly waiting lap.

Or any particular combination of any of that.

I have no idea.

And the waiting is brutal.

At this point I'm not sure if I should be picking out a tie for an interview at McDonalds, reading books on transcendental meditation, or highlighting passages to read for my Fresh Air interview.

Or any particular combination of any of that.

I have no idea.

The way it all works is this: You send off a proposal which includes a brief description, a synopsis, and the first fifty pages. Every publisher gets about a thousand of these things a month, so it's needle in a haystack. You've got to have a good articulate idea, a well crafted storyline, and be able to put enough cool words together to sound like you're more than just a typist.

Generalizations like "It's a coming of age story with a happy ending!" or "It's a love story . . . but get this . . . there are vampires!" will get your email address quickly forwarded to the spam filter and the only writing you're bound to be doing over the next part of your life is answering questions like "Why  are you interested in this position?" and "Tell me why I should hire you."

or . . . you know . . . blogging.

Anyway, after hitting the "Send" button, you get a quick response that says "Gee, thanks, don't call us, we'll call you . . . in 4-6 weeks."

I got mine in the middle of Week 8.

Yes, of course I counted.

And I'm not butt-hurt in the slightest, I got outrageously lucky. They approved of my needle.

The next part is you send off the compete book, and after you hit "Send" you get another quick response that says "Gee, thanks, we'll let you know in 3-6 weeks, please be patient."

But being patient, no matter how close you are to Maharishi Mahesh, is really the one thing you can't do.

It's the middle of Week 6 now, and every time my inbox makes that little "ping" sound my heart drops another 4 inches. I have to keep a good supply of those airport vomit bags within arms reach.

It's like being at the top of a roller coaster ride and you're in a panic because your safety bar never clicked in all the way.

Anyway, I pondered this this morning because I've discovered that both with music and with writing, I've been spending such a vast amount of time waiting for responses, that I've developed a technique for dealing with it without even knowing I was doing so.

So for today's How To Tuesday I thought I'd share a few of my best waiting methods, not that it will ever be easy, but, maybe just maybe, a little easier.

First thing you do after hitting "Send" is to treat yourself to something fantastic. Steak, mashed potatoes, a super hoppy IPA, and if my SO is agreeable, a ten minute foot rub. These are me things. You can go get your nails done, take a day trip on your motorcycle, or pick a fight with Edward Norton. Whatever. All you want to do here is to trick your brain into thinking that every submission is a celebration.

Second thing you do is plan to treat yourself on the day of the response, for good or for bad. I have a cigar I've been saving and before I tell a soul what happened, I'm going to sit out on my porch with an  unreasonably expensive bottle of wine, and remind myself how decadently wonderful life is when you get the chance to stop and think about it.

Next . . . plan for the next step. If it's a "No" the that's okay, you know where you are and you can do it all again with particular ease. If it's a "Yes" then remind yourself to be humble and act like a professional. There are speed bumps coming that you can't even begin to anticipate.

Okay, so now you've tricked your brain into thinking life is good, and you've got a mental roadmap for the day after tomorrow, if ever tomorrow comes, now is the time to keep the crazy at bay.

You gots to get busy.

I'm particularly lucky in the fact that I'm a father, a husband, a house wife, a musician, and an amateur genealogist. There's algebra to learn, backs needing to be scratched, dishes to do, shows to prep for and I still haven't found proof that my great grandmother's claim to being related to the Mayflower passengers is anything more than wishful thinking. I'm never not busy.

Okay, so let's say you've got productivity skills. Next is how to keep those late-night/mid-afternoon demons from messing with your sense of self worth.



Get lost somewhere/someplace else.

Curl on the couch with a hot cup of chamomile and follow Alice down the rabbit hole. Join the fight against Voldemort. Dance with dragons.

Pro tip: Stay away from Nietzsche and Shel Silverstein. Fredrick will lead to excessive drinking, and the Giving Tree will turn you into a bawling mess.

Other things to avoid are Neflix and shopping malls. You don't want to talk yourself into purchasing a leather recliner with a massage function and I somehow breezed through every episode of "The West Wing" only to stand up and realize no one in my house had been fed for four days and the amount of gray in my beard had quadrupled since the last time I stopped shaving.

And last but not least, unchain yourself from your email for long stretches in the day.

I check in the morning with my coffee, the afternoon; in the dead space between rehearsals and picking up my son from school, and after dinner.

Any more than that and you're likely to develop heart palpitations.

As I said, waiting is never going to be easy.

Sorry about that.

It's just something you have to do.

And by "You" . . .

I mean "Me"

Big Screen Debut

A few years ago, during a nice little family visit, my dad took me out to lunch and we decided to leave his dog, Lila, in my backyard while we got some burgers.

Now Lila, not including the exuberances of her youth, is one of the most wonderfully behaved, gentle dogs you might ever meet. Yet . . . we did sorta abandon her in a strange backyard and in her panic she tore a big whole through my screen door.

Not a big deal.

At all.

I honestly couldn't have cared less.

But there was the fact of a big gaping hole in the screen door and somehow, through some strange trick of the psyche, I had gotten it into my head that fixing a screen door was an incredibly challenging process. I must have read something, or heard something, or ate a bad piece of fish.

I don't know.

Because being daunted . . . is not . . . I repeat . . . is not a thing I do.

And it's not like I'm unfamiliar with handy-work. I've got all my own tools. I've built bicycles, rebuilt car engines, erected massive stage sets, crafted furniture, installed flooring, and have a virtual Master's Degree in smithing medieval weaponry for a six year old. In ten years of home ownership, there isn't a single appliance I haven't brought back to life in some way and I've never even considered hiring plumber.

But somehow, securing a little mesh to a metal frame seemed beyond my talents.

And then it got worse.

I went out and priced replacements and found that because out doors are all custom sized, the mega DIY stores didn't carry the screens big enough for our door and even the internet was no help.

I went so far as to price an entire door replacement and saw estimates that ranged from a television set to a mortgage payment, and I just gave up.

For years . . .

I shit you not . . .

YEARS . . .

I have been looking a that big ugly hole and not only have I felt helpless to do anything, I've been aggressively insistent to everyone else that it couldn't be done.


Like really weird.

But I was totally convinced.

And I didn't want to hear another word about it.

So my dad and step-mom pop up for a visit, and like always, he looks at that big hole, gives me a scowl, cause he knows I'm being ridiculous, and offers for the millionth time to get it fixed, either with me, or for me, or in spite of me.

But I can't, I won't, so just change the subject.

Who do you like for the Super Bowl?

So we have a nice visit, say our goodbyes, make plans for the future and I go back to my spot on the couch and try to drown out the rest of the world. Fa la la la la.

Drowning out the rest of the world is a very unhealthy habit I have when I'm working on something and I've reached a particular impasse that I can't fully seem to wrap my head around.

I'm there now. I don't know how I got there, or how I'm gonna get out, but until I do, I'm a bit of a glassy eyed shell of a man.

And I'd like to think that it's an "artist" thing because moping about is a right of passage for writers and musicians . . . but to the people around them . . . it is certainly a dick move.

My wife will only put up with that shit for a day or two, letting me suck the joy out of every room I'm in, and then it's whooping time.

Actually . . . there's no whooping involved. (Though I'm perfectly open minded about experimentation.) No . . . she's found that motivating me to accomplish something else is a remarkable anti-biotic to my creative chlamydia.

Now . . . ladies . . . do not . . . I repeat . . . do not consider this advice to drop a 'Honey-do' list on your man's lap any time he's been on the couch for more than five minutes.

Just because there's nothing good on TV that doesn't mean it's time to mow the lawn.

What I'm talking about is a very specific set of circumstances wherein I'm in a very particular funk and she can tip-toe through my labyrinth and flush out my minotaur with a garden hose.

The garden hose, in this case, being a certain hole in a certain screen door.

"Get up"


"You're taking me to the home store and we're gonna get that screen fixed."


"I'm ready to go . . . like now."

"Alright, lemme just, do a thing."


"I gotta measure the door."

"Fine. I'm ready to go when you are."

And so I got my tape measure out, removed the door from the sill, took measurements, and away we went.

We wandered the aisles for a minute or two, found the screen door stuff, which consisted of exactly three things:

Rolls of mesh.

Some rubber tubing to seat the mesh.

A little plastic tool to push down the tubing.

That's it.

But . . . aha! . . . I was right . . . there's not a single roll of mesh that's long enough to cover our stupidly big screen door.

We'll have to special order something . . . shit . . . which means finding someone and talking to them.

But wait!

What's that up there?

There's a super-sized roll for larger projects. I only need 33" by 90" and that roll up there that I swear I never saw that last time I looked is 64" by 96"

But it's gotta be dreadfully expensive.

But it wasn't.

It was like a whole $12.

Turns out , I've paid more for an over-cooked steak than I did for all the things I needed to fix that screen.

Okay . . . so we get home and there's still about 35 minutes of daylight left and I've got the home project juices flowing, it's now or never baby.

My impossible project?

Yeah . . . that took, like, almost an entire fifteen minutes.

I only took the lord's name in vain once. And that was because the light had faded and I didn't notice a little ripple in the fabric in the upper corner until I had already cut the screen and reinstalled it in the sill.

So there's a little ripple.

So what?

The innards of my house, once again, get to taste the fresh spring air. And at about 2:00am this morning, I solved the allegorical paradox that had been making me an insufferable snot for a week.

So the moral of the story is this:

When things get messed up it's really never cool to blame the dog,

Also, most things in life are only as complicated as your head is interested in making them,

And if you get the chance to marry the right girl, go ahead and do that.

That's a thing you should do.

Wordly Five

So the king of Saudi Arabia died.

Ho hum.

It's the top news story on every outlet this morning except for Yahoo! which is still enthralled by the off chance that Tom Brady has been deflating his balls.

Yahoo!'s got their shit together.

I say that because, yeah, you're gonna hear about Abdula's spending money on education and infrastructure, and how Saudi Arabia is a US ally against ISIS, but let's be honest, it's still a country where a man can divorce his wife by saying "I divorce you." three times. And you can get stoned to death by being a little bi-curious.

But give it time. Once Walmart and Comcast go global, that'll be the end of such nonsense.

Say hello to the new gods.

Small "g"

Anyway, this isn't about the death of an old man, it's about this morning when listening to NPR, and I heard an analyst refer to the dead Saudi dude as "Seeming to be avuncular."


Now there's a word that I would not have even understood a week ago until I wrote an entire blog about it.

It's last week's Friday Five:

Ever notice how a word or idea will pop up randomly and then repeat itself in quick succession? Someone will use a word or phrase, or quote or idea, and then you'll hear that same quote or word or phrase a little bit later in a different space, or context, completely unrelated to the first instance.

I remember that the word "Suss" followed my wife around for weeks.

There was a study done (because of course there was) on this very phenomena, and it was determined that it was a trick of the mind. Our brains are hard wired to pick out patterns and redundancies. We might hear a word like "Suss" all the time, but it doesn't register, until that one time when it registers, and then we can't NOT hear it.

But Avuncular?

It's a cool word with a very specific definition but it only has so many opportunities to be used in polite conversation.

I don't buy it.

Not that I'm saying there is any direct connection between my satirical take on the birth of my nephew and the death of a king, but we're all only a few degrees from each other, so isn't it possible to assume that my blog, having been read by a total of 12 people might have put the word on someone's lips, someone who might have said "Avuncular" out loud at maybe an airport somewhere that happened to be the same airport that a certain snobby NPR analyst was at as well and he's essentially been waiting an entire week to use that term?


It's not that crazy . . . is it?

So let's run a little test.

Here are five cool words that have no real business in most of our daily lives that I selected at random in the dictionary. Your job . . . if you choose to accept it . . . is to let me know if any of these words pop up in the next week or so, cause if I'm right, and they do, well . . . I don't think it'll change the world . . . but it might make it feel like a cooler place.

First Up: Impugn
Impugn means to call into question or to challenge. It doesn't mean to block up. You can't say "That car accident is impugning my commute." And it's only sorta related to the word Impunity, which is to act without question, like a certain dead king. Calling things into question, with a reasonable amount of politeness, has the advantage of keeping us all honest. A little more impugning and maybe Walmart will start offering health benefits and livable wages.

Second Word: Titillate
I actually love this word. It's so onamonopiaticaly perfect. It means exactly what it sounds like, and exactly what you think it means, and really, is there anything more titillating than boobies?

Third Word: Lassitude
It means weariness. I sip coffee and surf the internet in my morning lassitude. If this one pops up, then I will personally change my business card to read "Professional Word Stylist"

Fourth Word: Sanguine
This one caught me by surprise because I assumed it meant melancholy, but it doesn't. It actually means hopeful. Not to be confused with sanguinary which means blood thirsty, but it is possible, as I consider all the writing I have to do today, in my morning lassitude, that rather than being daunted by the whole process, I can be sanguine about it.

The funny will come.

Fifth Word: Beatitudes
If you didn't grow up going to church, then you probably know this word as being something churchy. If you did grow up going to church then you probably have some vague memory about the beatitudes being something that someone said at one point or another. Hell, you may even know exactly what these are and are comforted by that fact, but for those who don't . . .

So this dude Jesus comes back from 40 days/nights in the wilderness and delivers what is later known as "The Sermon on the Mount" (Starting to sound familiar?)

In that sermon he delivers the eight Beatitudes (Blessed are the poor, the meek, the peacemakers, yaddayaddayadda . . . )

You know what I'm talking about.

If you've forgotten, Google it. Won't take long. It's not a proclamation or a set of laws as much as it is a simple plea to recognize the good in one another. A call for social awareness that has been widely acclaimed to be the most delicately kind of all the major philosophies.

Nietzsche is one of the few people to have negative things to say about them. But he was a dick.

What caught my eye wasn't necessarily the beauty or simplicity (though there's that) or even the hard to miss point that Jesus was a hippy socialist (though there's that too), it was the fact that the Beatitudes get so little air time.

In a world dominated by the dogmatic laws of the Ten Commandments and humorless reactions to the image of the Prophet Muhammad, it really answers the question about what's so funny about peace love and understanding.

I impugn you to consider what might be, if a dead, seemingly avuncular king exhibited even one of Jesus' blessed traits?

What might be, if instead of Brady's deflated balls, we had the Beatitudes on the tips of our tongues?

The thought almost titillates me in my sanguine lassitude.

TBT: Bacon Makes Everything Better

On this day, 1561ish, Sir Francis Bacon was born.

This was an important dude.

I'm not gonna list his accomplishments because . . . frankly . . . if you're reading this then you too have as much access to Wikipedia as I do, and legally/morally I should be listing off source when I write these things . . . but daddy ain't got the time.

One thing I didn't know about him is that he is known as the grandfather of the induction method of reasoning, also known as the Scientific Method, and or course also known as the Baconian Method.

My own Baconian method is to place a sheet of eight slices in the oven and bake it at 385 until it looks crispy, but not too crispy, yet that's a theme for a completely different blog.

And a stolen Simpson's line.

See . . . referrences.

Anyway, when I saw that Francis Bacon was born on this very particular day, one thing came to mind and one thing only . . . 

Wasn't he the guy that some people think wrote a large part of Shakespeare's plays?

The answer is yes.

He's that guy.

People who champion the idea are known as Baconians.

I would've chosen Baconites.

No . . . on second thought . . . I would've gone with Baconeers.

The Baconeer theory has long been shelved, even though there are stll those that consider it feasible (chief among the Baconeers is renowned  english actor Derek Jacoby, who you might know as the good senator in Gladiator). So the Baconeers still have boots on the ground. As it were.

The leading explanation as to why Shakespeare is Shakespeare and not Bacon is because bacon, being the father of empiricism, was also an author, an essayist, an orator, a jurist, a scientist, and served as both the Lord Chancelor and Attorney General.

Based on the amount of phallic insinuations in the first act of Romeo and Juliet, Sir Francis Bacon probably didn't have a lot of time for finely crafted dick jokes.

But the Baconeers still insist that it would have required a man of exceptional genius to do what Shakespeare hath done, cause comedy is really, really hard. 

(Note the finely crafted dick joke) 

Actually the nail in the coffin for the Baconeer Theory isn't in Shakespeare's genius, it's in his mistakes.

His historical accuracy was laughable sometimes, and he had a tendency to put cities in places where they weren't. There's a good chance that Sir Francis Bacon actually owned a map of Italy, and being the father of the scientific method suggests he would have looked at it before placing the town of Verona on the Mediteranian Sea.

(It's landlocked in the north, BTW)

And Shakespeare was, how shall we say it, a little countrified in his time. Perhaps a bit provicial compared to his foul mouthed bretheren. His word choice now is undefiably beautiful, but some of it then, was probably considered downright rube-like.

So, it's a tough road for Baconeers.

But . . . for Baconologists . . . the idea of him not being Shakespeare doeasn't have to be a tragedy. The man gave us science as we know it today.

Bacon put people on the moon.

Shakespeare gave us Keanu Reeves as Don Jon.

"I . . . uh . . . I uh would rather be a canker in a hedge, then, you know, like a rose in his grace. Whoa."

Anyway, Sir Francis died of pnuemonia supposedly while studying the effects of freezing temperatures to preserve meat.


Dude gave his life for the safety of backyard barbecues and even though he was English, I think America owes him a great deal of gratitude for that one fact alone.

Now, unfortunately, National Bacon Day, is already a thing.

It's December 30th, BTW.

So, I propose Bacon Week.

Not a full week.

Just the four days following Martin Luther King Day.

No direct connection . . . it would just be easier to remember.

Of course bacon must be consumed copiously . . . but you have to apply inductive reasoning to your convection ovenings.

Using an "If/Then" hypothesis, and documenting your findings.

"Cause if not now . . . then when?"
Hamlet (sorta)

Whatcha Do All Night? Split Pea Soup

What to Eat Wednesday is a new Wait . . . Dad? Recipe Series . . . cause . . . you know . . . why not? There will be no rhyme or reason other than whatever tasted exceptionally good the previous week, but you may notice I'm a huge fan of quick easy cheap meals that are high in protein, minerals, and fiber, and relatively low on carbs. I say that with the full knowledge that I will be sharing a cast iron lasagna recipe very soon which meets none of the previously mentioned criteria. Since it's new, please send along feedback about either the format or the recipes themselves or share with me your meals that you want me to try. Thanks . . . 

Split Pea Super Soup
1 Cup Dried Split Peas
1 Chicken Breast
2 Cups Kale (Shredded finely, no stems)
4 Cups Water

Olive oil
Hot Stuff.

Okay, so maybe Split Pea Soup isn't everyone's idea of comfort meal. In fact, it has all the trappings of room temperature baby food out of those little glass jars. I remember opening those jars and smelling that faint musty smell and thinking "My god, how can this child eat this?" But . . . luckily . . . it was one of his faves before he learned about M&Ms and for a while was the only thing he'd eat. That was nearly a decade ago.

So flashing a bit forward, I was tasked to pick up some lentils in the dried food section of my grocery store and since I clearly think of myself as the kind of person who can easily identify a barrel of lentils without looking at the labels, I came home with a two pound bag of split peas.

They were so vibrantly green, I just assumed they were the freshest lentils available.

And they were so big too.

Big, vibrant green, fresh lentils.

And then I started boiling them, and instead of swelling up like lentils do, these got soft and mushy and fell apart.

I realized I had discovered a new food.

Or these weren't lentils at all. These were split peas.

I don't know how to cook split peas.

But not wanting to back down, especially with an In&Out Burger so close if everything fails, I made it all up as I went along, and it turned out damn good. Like the kind of good that you consider making this a "once a year" kinda meal. But it's so simple, so cheap, and I have a two pound bag of the stuff, so . . . anyway: Here's how to do it.

The Meat: Chicken is pretty straightforward. I like to sear each side in a pan and then place the chicken in an oven safe thingumabob @ 385 for 45 minutes. It's best to overcook chicken, cause . . . you know . . . death. The potential for dryness is why I add it to the soup rather than making it a side dish. The important thing about chicken is that anything that touches anything that touches anything that touched the chicken, in it's raw form, is likely to kill you. And it's not a peaceful death either. Make sure you clean and sanitize everything in a hundred yard area. Have a tank of gasoline and a blowtorch ready as well. Remove from oven, chop into pieces.

The Split Peas: Add water to a pot, bring to a boil, add peas, turn heat to simmer. Wait until mushy. (About 27 minutes and 32 seconds.)

The Leafy Greens: I used to be a spinach man. Squinty Eyed Popeye. But the problem with spinach is that it too can kill you, it wilts to nothing when heated, and I can never seem to get through an entire bag without it getting slimy. Kale does none of that. It's my new bestie. Simply take a stalk, rip the leafy stuff from the fibrous spine, and shred the leafy stuff finely. Toss the stalk. Good to go.

(Warning: Trader Joe's has a bag of pre-shredded kale which sounds like a great idea, but they didn't remove the stalk from the goos stuff, and it has a weird smell. Don't buy it.)

Assembly: Once the chicken is cooked and shredded, mix it into the mushy pea soup (the soup should be a little watery, if not add some) Once the chicken is mixed in, then add the kale on top and cover the pot with a lid so that the steam can soften the leaves. Wait 6 minutes and 13 seconds, uncover, stir and serve.

Additions/Substitutions: You can probably use any meat you like. Pork is a nice choice, as are bacon bits. Especially bacon bits. Fish is probably a bad choice. But "Via Con Dios" Anyway . . . you can use spinach instead of kale, but you'll have to use a lot and it will get super wilty/slimy and split peas have enough gross textures as it is. Add salt wherever you like. You can add it to the water for the peas, you can add it to the chicken before you cook it, you can even add it to the whole pot once it's assembled. I suggest letting people add whatever salt they want. Garlic salt is ridiculously fantastic on this dish.

Also: Hot sauce, pepper flakes, what ever your spicy tolerance is. Again, leave it to the end user to apply such things.

Try not to have any left overs. (I know that sounds counter intuitive) but for some reason, cold split pea soup looks kinda gross and it has to be reheated on the stove (not the microwave) in order to heat evenly. Gross looking and complicated to cook does not make for a convenient lunch.

Serves 4ish (with bread)
Cost per serving: $2.00 (without bread)
Time: Is of the essence.
Via Con Dios means Go With God.

HTT: How to Finger-Nail

I got my first guitar when I was about twelve. It wasn't much to speak of, a battered nylon acoustic with a warped neck and the action (the distance between the strings and the fretboard) was so high it required the strength of an industrial sized C-clamp to make the strings sound like anything more than a dull thunk.

Two things became true on that day.

One, I was never going to have a normal life.

And the second was that from that day forth I've kept the nails on my left hand trim and tidy while the nails on the right grew to hardened claws.

The better to pluck you with, Little Red Riding Hood, the better to pluck you with.

Anyway, it's been right around twenty six years since my first lopsided manicure and I've held true ever since.

Until . . . 

Until . . .

Until I began playing the guitar for money, and forty-five minutes of noodling for friends, became four hour shows for actual people.

I'm not saying that my friends aren't actual people . . . but well . . . you know who you are.

Turns out . . . like my wife is fond of telling me . . . I had it all wrong.

Now there are all kinds of ways to finger nail. Everything from the Howard Hughs to the Nervous Nellie. I happen to fall somewhere between Bored Secretary and Over-The-Hill Porn Star, without all the polish and glitter.

Anyway, you have to make your own finger nail choices, but if you're interested in posing as a guitar player (a real one, and not the one I've been for twnety six years), then follow me . . . 

First is the left hand.
Now I just assumed that the closer your nails were clipped to the nub, the more finger tip meat you have to press those strings down.

Seems fair.

I played lots of shows over the course of the year and yet every night when I would get home my finger tips would be screaming at me. At first I thought it was just unprepared weakness. Calouses that haven't formed for the big leagues, but after about six months of daily practice, I started to get suspicious. I tore apart my whole technique a realized two things; One, I'm playing too hard, which is part nervousness and part growing up with an unresponsive instrument. Two, if I kept a little more nail on the first four fingers, not a lot, but just enough to stop my agressive fingers from pushing flesh to the bone, then they wouldn't ache as much the next day.

I put this theory to the test for my first show this year, and I'll be damned if it didn't work perfectly. Good sound, no pain.

Second is for the right hand.
You ever see the metal claws that banjo players use? A little ring that slides over the very tippy tip and is shaped like a pick at the end? Anyway, my first assumtion was that those nails (when speaking in real terms) needed to stick out like that. Brighter sound? More control? i don't know, it just made sense. But, as I'm sure you could guess by now, not only was it gross looking and tough to keep clean, but when I started playing ForReals, I shredded them up in almost no time at all.

Not only that, but the longer the nail, the less control I had and my hitting of an errant bass note plumeted when I started trimming those bad boys until they just reached the edge of the finger tip.

Clipping, Cleaning, Caressing:
Okay, so clipping frequency may vary. If you're relatively healthy and take your vitamins, consider a once a week routine.

Cleaning needs to be everyday, no matter how little you shower, and then as needed, depending upon what you've done. (When I was in coffee keeping them clean was almost a full time job in and of itself.)

Dirty finger nails are gross.

You might as well just let snot drip out your nose or wipe your butt-hole with single ply.

As for the caressing part . . . after you've clipped the nails down to their lowest reasonable length, scratch your arm. Not too hard . . . but just enought to see if there are any sharp edges you need to file down.

If you are a single male, living alone, who never had a sister and who's mom left him when he was three . . . go get yourself an emory board. (Everyone else has one in a junk drawer somewhere) Do not use the metal file on your keychain, that's for prison breaks, not your finger nails.

Delicately work your way back and forth, side to side, until you have both a pleasing shape and a smooth silky contour. Use your thumb on the opposite hand to feel for edges. This will make you look like a professional guitar player and a master back scratcher, which, most girls dream of.

In fact the levels of the attractiveness of men start at Rich, then Timothy Olyphant, then Back Scratching Ability, followed by Culinary Expertise and Returning Phone Calls.

And finally . . . the pro-tip, this one from my dear old dad.
If your set includes  brutal string beating with Richie Havens covers followed by the delicate song stylings of Dan Fogelburgh, you may find that by the time you get to that soft part of the evening, you have sheared away the tip of your index finger. Have no fear.

For next time of course, what's done is done.

Anyway, before you start bashing away, cut a small square of packing tape, stick it to the nail of your first finger and then use a pair of fingernail clippers to even the edges with your nail.

Works like a charm.

But beware.

Packing tape is your only option. Scotch tape doesn't stick well enough. Electrical tape moves around and duct tape (and this will be the only time I ever utter this phrase) Duct Tape is completely useless.

If you have run out of packing tape, every retail shop in the world has some lying around. You could go to Starbucks and I'll bet you $100 that they have a roll in a drawer behind the counter. They might not even know what it's for, but if you ask nicely, they'll cut you some. They're good people that way.

Anyway, the moral of this How To Tuesday is several fold. Keeps your nails clean and trim. Girls like Timothy Olyphant. And don't think you know anything about anything until you actually do it.


As digital as I like to be, with my iTunes, iBooks, iLife, I can still get lost in a used book store for, like, hours, and I still love flipping through the waxy pages of a magazine.

Flipping this morning I immediately skipped over the ads and editorials, must-lists, and interviews with actors that I had have already heard on Fresh Air, and went straight to the charts.

Now I've mentioned this before, since I go first to the Top Songs (in a desperate attempt to consider myself a relevant tune-smith), and am amazed (slightly) that there are only six artists in the top ten.


Like, of the thousands of commercially produced songs released in the last few months, only six artists are getting the serious airplay.

And then there's the drop to five individual artists when you get to the Top Albums. All the rest are mix tapes.

Gotta say it though . . . mix tapes rule.

Now for the weird part.

Of the Top Ten Movies, seven are sequels/remakes, and the other three are biopics.

Okay . . . so no real surprises there.

John Grisham is still charting in fiction, Anne Lamott in NonFiction, and (God Bless 'Em) The Simpson's still got game.

So after rolling my eyes a bit, I noticed a section on the Top Zines (E-Zines, Pamphlets, actual Magazines) and found a title that I must own at some point in my life:

"How to Talk to Your Cat about Gun Safety"

 Other titles include "Guide to Dating Gangsters Vol 1" and "Smile, Hon. You're in Baltimore." but I'm seriously considering, right at this moment, getting a cat, just so I can talk to it about gun safety.

Felines are also apparently internet gold, now that pistures of my boy are't getting the "Likes" that he used to when he was a baby.

Now, see, the Top Lists are what they are. Probably are what they will always be. The 1%. A heavy handed reminder that we don't really like new things, we like to be reminded of the things that we like.

Give or take a few extremely conservative variations.

But where the real punk artists hang is in the magazine world. Where it's still cheap to produce and distribute, they're set at a reasonable price point, and don't require the commitment of a 700 page novel or flipping vinyl to the other side.

And it can be consumed on the toilet.

Which can't be said of anything else.

Anything else.

Okay . . . maybe a few games on your smart phone, but having several teenagers/twentysomthings in the family, I've seen hundreds of dollars of 4G accesability drop into porta-potties.

yeah . . . looking at you Melina.

(In her defense, of course, she was actually trying to be responsible and set the thing aside, when a series of unfortuneate events jostled the whole thing and alas, an entire Galaxy was no more. A gentle reminder that girls need bigger pockets.)

Teasing my neice aside, there is an entire universe of possibility in an artist's head from on thought to the next, and "All About That Bass" might be catchy for a few seconds, it really doesn't stand up to more than one or two curious listens.

I will take it over anything Maroon 5, so there's that.

Anyway, it is astonishingly good to see that there is always going to be a place where new stuff can find a voice. Finding an audience for something that isn't directed by Peter Jackson and/or written by Taylor Swift will never be easy.


But it is possible.

Cause it's not all about that bass.

bout that bass.

bout that bass.

My universe screams for treble.

Avuncular Five

Everyone likes an avuncular fella.

So says Merriam Webster.

They mean it in the most congenial way, but the further definition sounds kinda creepy. "A man who is patient kind, and indulgent with someone younger."

They use the Dalai Lama as an example, but it sounds more John Wayne Gacy than Uncle Buck. 

Though the Urban Dictionary considers avuncular to be a negative term. A time at which men cease to be seen as a sexual entity. And yet there I go getting all creepy again.

But that's where the word uncle comes from. Avunculus, the latin for "Little Grandfather."

My newest nephew was born at 2:06am this morning. I got the text around 3:45am and responded at around 8:00am just about the same time I was convincing my own little monster to put on a clean pair of pants.

For anyone keeping track the new tally is now three nephews and three neices.

Six in all.

Ranging in age from 23 years to 7 hours old.

Two of them I haven't even met yet. My neice Izzy on the east coast and of course the brand new addition, who I will most likely be bouncing sometime this afternoon when the exhausted parents need someone to smuggle in a pizza, some single malt scotch, and a few cuban cigars, now that those are legal again.

Patient, kind and indulgent, with just a little illegal thrown in for street cred.

But what if any, are the actual resposibilities of an Uncle?

I mean, the responsibilities of parents are obvious. Food, shelter, clothing, and the occasional field trip to recycling centers. Grandparents are easy: Babysitting, Disneyland, All the candy. And Aunties are either the boring one, or the crazy one, or both.

But what of the Uncle?

See the Father Son relationship is sacred. (I'm not being mysogynistic, it's just all I know). And my brother already has a ton of super righteous father abilities, I mean he already knows how to cook, ride a motorcycle, discharge a firearm, grow tomatos, brew beer, and throw a variety of different balls. 

But there are likely to be gaps. Those places where a non-responsible adult gets to act like educational spackel to the end goal of well roundedness.

That's where the avuncular Uncle comes in.

Yet, since everyone is going to have their own specialties, here are mine, if and when you choose to need them:

If you are a Reader . . . 
I gots books. Lots of books. You will be flooded with Dr. Suess already but I've got the market cornered on Silverstein (not just the sappy ones, but the scary, not for impressionable, ones too). I've got Stephen King for scary, Douglas Addams for laughter, Vonnegut for introspection, and the entire collection of Jane Austen when the day comes that you want to know what women are thinking. Stick with me kid and I can take you through Dick and Jane to the Impossible Lightness of Being in just six easy steps . . . 

If you are a Listener . . . 
Someone is eventually going to introduce you to The Beatles. That someone is me. Fifteen years from now almost all music is going to be electronic or acoustic. All the electronic music you will hear comes directly from Nine Inch Nails (Downward Spiral) which is Trent Reznor recreating The White Album, and all the acoustic music you're bound to hear is going to evolve from Ryan Adams, who in turn evolved from Elliott Smith, who listened to nothing but Abby Road. Everything else is stamp collecting.

If you are a Player . . . 
I've got just one word for you . . . F Chord. Master this and you have mastered everything music. I will teach you how to cheat this. Also, I gaurantee you that I can teach you the songs to play that make girls swoon, and as a special bonus, I will teach you how to hold a Les Paul super super low, like Slash low, without doing permanent damage to your carpel tunnel.

If you are a Dancer . . . 
A man can look like a bad-ass doing just about anything. He can also look like a jack-ass doing just about anything. Either one will get you girls. You just have to commit. Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Interpretive, let Uncle Josh be your stage mom and there ain't no one who will mess with you.

If you want to solve a Rubix Cube . . . 
You can conceivably get all the rest of this stuff from all the other amazing people in your life. But there will be one Christmas where someone's gonna get you a Rubix Cube. And it will sit for years on whatever shelf your mom has created in your room for all the unplayed with toys. One day you're going to pick that thing up and start to fiddle with it. You will be tentative at first, not wanting to go so far as to mix it up beyond repair, but then you will, and you will cry.

Stop crying.

Call Uncle Josh.

Uncle Josh's got skills.

Not really important skills. Not the kind of skills that will win you awards or even look good on a college application, in fact, solving a Rubix Cube will become probably one of the most useless things that ever took you hours upon hours to master.

But hey . . . someday you too will be an Uncle and you're gonna need to know what your avuncular responsibilities are.

TBT: It's Not You . . . It's Me

So this week on Throwback Thursday, I'd like to point out a very special moment in time.

This week in history was the week that Henry VIII decided the the Roman Catholic Laws were really great, except for that whole thing about divorce.

So he proclaimed himself to be the leader of the brand new, right off the lot, Church of England.

Which would be the same as the Roman Catholic Church in just about every way except for the minor point that now he can go through as many wives as needed to give him a healthy son.

That . . . and give William Shakespeare and Herman's Hermits hit singles.

What's interesting about this particular point in history is that we can see that the best way to get around god's laws is to change them, and the best way to get around diet and exercise is bigger clothes.

It's unfortunate that his inability to sire a son was more than likely due to his flaccid spermatozoa than to any disfunction on his wives' part, but science wasn't going to give that that much study for another four hundred years.

Blame the girl.

Blame the church.

Pass the roast beast.

Anyway . . . so this dude is known for a lot of things. The delicate peace following the War of the Roses, Reformation, the Divine Right of Kings.

But what he's mostly known for is his break-up with the Pope, and of course, five of his six wives.

How lovely the sixth wife must have felt when he died prematurely as his poor massive heart valves gave up the ghost.

But considering that he didn't have much of a positive track record when it comes to being much of a husband, what exactly do you think the last few girls must have been thinking?

The marriages were dispatched like this:

Death during Childbirth

Okay, so like the first annulment, sure. Sometimes things don't work out. Anne Boleyn was beheaded next, but that must have been clearly her fault, but then Jane Seymour dying before she could star in "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman." Then another hasty marriage resulting in annulment, and then some adultery thrown in that results in beheading. Maybe Catherine Parr (the last of them) just assumed she had the power to change him.


Who knows?

The point is, of course, that when a man says that it's not you . . . it's him . . . he really means that.

It's totally him.

Also, it's perfectly cool with god if you change the religion around to suit your purposes.

Perfectly cool.

Just as long as the tithing goes to the right people.

What to Eat Wednesday: Pork 'N' Beans

What to Eat Wednesday is a new Wait . . . Dad? Recipe Series . . . cause . . . you know . . . why not? There will be no rhyme or reason other than whatever tasted exceptionally good the previous week, but you may notice I'm a huge fan of quick easy cheap meals that are high in protein, minerals, and fiber, and relatively low on carbs. I say that with the full knowledge that I will be sharing a cast iron lasagna recipe very soon which meets none of the previously mentioned criteria. Since it's new, please send along feedback about either the format or the recipes themselves or share with me your meals that you want me to try. Thanks . . . 

Pork 'N' Beans:
1-1.5 lbs of Pork Loin
1 Can Black Beans
1 Small Cauliflower

Olive Oil
Scoop of Sour Cream

Okay . . . so go ahead and admit it; When you saw the title your mind instinctively went right to the farting scene in Blazing Saddles . . . right?

That's okay.

Just note that when your co-workers ask you what you had for dinner last night (because that's what co-workers do because for some reason they're interested in your life), they are likely to roll their eyes a bit, because you're in your forties and you should stop eating like you're in college.

Anyway . . . in a concerted effort to re-tool a classic, inspired by the absolute ridiculous call in the Dallas/Green Bay Game,  (and because I'm pretty sure we just had five nights of chicken) I thought it's be fun to shake things up. Lean towards a little elegance. Create a comfort food that Dez Bryant can cry into without reducing his chances in free agency.

Consider, for the moment, the other white meat.

The Meat:
Pork loin is both very tasty and remarkably forgiving, along with the fact that it's cheap and easy to cook. First, find yourself a pan that can go in the oven (a cast iron pan works perfectly). Preheat your oven to a blistering 425. (You want it to cook quickly so it stays moist)

Yeah . . . I said 'moist'.

Heat up your pan with just the tiniest bit of oil. (I actually like the smokiness of olive oil, but a professional will tell you to use canola or something wussy like that). Sprinkle the loin with salt/pepper on all sides. You can use a seasoning salt or whatever you like. Drop the loin into the pan and sear the meat on all three sides (about 5 minutes per side). Put the whole shebang in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Almost all recipes will tell you 10-15 minutes and then check with a thermometer for the internal temperature to reach around 155.

Yeah . . . I said 'reach around'.

Don't listen to those jerks. 30 minutes is just fine. You will know it's cooked, and no one's bound to die, and if you pay attention to this next bit it'll come out perfectly juicy.

Yeah . . . I said 'come' and 'juicy'.

Okay, so the next bit is crucial. Take the pan out of the oven and let it sit for at leeeeeeeeast five more minutes. The meat will continue to cook and the muscles will swell up and trap the liquid. Cut into it too soon and you will have dry meat and a very wet cutting board.

After your five minutes is up, move the meat to your cutting board and add a little liquid to the pan, put some heat under it, and scrape up all the roasted bits. Reduce the liquid by half and you've just made sauce. (Yes, you can add a little butter to it, but just because you're eating pig doesn't mean you have to eat like one.)

The Beans:
I like black beans for this, but you can use pinto, white kidney, or really whatever. Just don't get cocky with trying to slow cook for several hours. Open up the can, dump it in a pan, heat until it's hot.

The Cauliflower: 
Now, I am very so very super against trying to make some foods taste and feel like other foods. There ain't no shitake mushroom between heaven and earth that will replace a good burger. And tofu should be banned by the FDA. But . . . and this is a big but . . .

yeah I said 'big butt'. . .

Cauliflower actually does make an acceptable potato substitution in a low-carb-material world.

And I am muh muh low-carb material girl.

I first discovered it for soups and stews and have spent a large portion of my wife's patience trying to get an acceptable 'mashed cauliflower' to go where the russets usually dominate.

I finally discovered the trick.

First, boil the hell out of them. Yeah you lose some nutrients, but it's still vegetable fiber so shut your mouth. Then, add a bit of olive oil, a dash of salt, and here's the kicker . . . a scoop of sour cream. Mash it all up.

But but but, sour cream isn't a wholesome healthy food, you say.

Shush. It's not meth. A dollop won't kill you.

Yeah, it's not as good as a big steaming plate of baby reds covered in butter, chives and bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream and and extra pat of butter just in case . . . but it's good. Like almost pretty good.

The Assembly: 
Drop a fat spoon of the mashed cauliflower on a plate, thinly slice the pork and lay it on the side of the mash in a scalloped pattern (chicks dig scalloped patterns). Add a fat spoonful of beans and then drizzle the pan sauce on the meat and mash.

This is a red wine meal, but a super buttery oaky chilled Californian chardonnay works too.

You think you're gonna maybe want to go with real mashed potatoes, but it would throw everything else off and you'll have to add a veggie side dish and that's too much damn work. So don't even try. You can and should use a seasoning salt of your choice for the meat, you can also add parmesan cheese to the cauliflower mash.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 mildy hungry yoga instructors, or 3 actual people, or that one guy in between World of Warcraft Campaigns.
Cost per serving: $2.50
Calories: Unknown.
Lt. Ripley: MIA (last seen staring at her belly button)

HTT: How To Option

I'm staring at my cup of coffee this morning, marveling, just a little bit, at it's elegant simplicity.

The act of creating such a thing is not simple at all (and I should know), the man hours required from plant to cup would probably stagger you and your perception of how the world works. But none the less, here it sits, warm, toasty, bitter, complex flavors if you want to bother looking for them, simple heft if you don't.

Good stuff.

Why would you want to mess with that?

And the answer is as complex as the olfactory sense that  experiences it.

Add a little milk and you thicken it's texture and soften it's edges.

Add a little sugar and you balance the bitter with sweet.

And this isn't a piece about my feelings towards Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cappuccinos . . . cause . . . well . . . that ship has sailed. I'm just gonna sit on the shore with my black coffee and hope the rest of you all don't get the metaphorical equivalent of scurvy while you search for a direct route to the Spice Islands.

But it did make me think of options.

Options, options everywhere and something something Ancient Mariner.

Cause there are places where a plethora of options is of utmost importance.

Women's clothing for example:

See when it comes to the shape of people . . . men have it remarkably easy. We live in two axis'. Height and weight.

Women . . . on the other hand . . . have to account for seven quantum dimensions just to put their boobs in the right place. And that's just the linear problem. There are other factors of design and color and adjustability . . . frankly . . . it's a miracle that they don't kill more people.

Or maybe they do and they're just more crafty about hiding the corpses.

I should pick up some flowers for my wife this afternoon.

But options aren't just a female phenomena.

I . . . wait for it . . . own eleven guitars. (including, of course two ukuleles, and some finely crafted instruments that my father bought and is never likely to see in his living room again).


Well each one has a dramatically different sound and feel and because . . . shut up . . . they're mine.

And options aren't a new thing either.

In a dry lake bed somewhere in Kenya there is an archeological site that was the manufacturing center of hand axes.

Not exactly ax heads, but a stone tool, wedged shaped, sharpened at one end, used to cut or saw things.

These wedge tools came in hundreds of different varieties, width, length, sharpness, serrated-ness, child-sized and industrial.

Some were so big as to render them virtually useless. They may have just been decorative like a fifty foot doughnut spinning outside a Krispy Kream.

Thing is, the site was in business for . . . wait for it . . . over 30,000 years. It had to supply, not only men women and children, but Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons and Homo-Erectus and a teenaged Dick Cheney.

That's some serious marketshare.

Yet even with a virtual world-wide monopoly, hand-ax purveyors were powerless against the whimsy of customer demand.

I used to tell this story about a guy who walks into a bicycle shop. He goes up to the counter and says he's looking for a bike. The kid behind the counter, wanting to do his best to satisfy the customer, asks the person to describe his ideal bike. The guy says "Well . . . I want really big wheels . . . and I want four of them . . . and I tire easily . . . so I'm gonna need an engine . . . and the engine has got to be really big because I want to take to over some really rough terrain . . . and I'm gonna be traversing water so I need the frame to sit really high." And the boy behind the counter says "Sir, I think your looking for a Hummer." and the guys nods his head and goes "Yeah . . . Totally! Where are your Hummer's?" and the kid behind the counter says "We're a bicycle shop." and the guy stares at the kid blankly and the kid continues "We sell bicycles." and the guy stares blankly and the kid continues "We don't sell Hummers." and the guy is taken aback and says snottily "Okay, whatever, you just lost my business." And then the guy posts a very negative Yelp review and in response, the owner of the bicycle shop makes a call to General Motors.

The moral of this story is that everyone is unhappy and will all die eventually.

No . . . that's not it at all. In fact the moral of this story (and the moral of today's How To Tuesday) is that options are are both a necessary evil and with great evil comes a great responsibility.

The point is is to know where to draw the line.

The customer (you and me) is responsible for knowing, at least partially, what it is that we want and learn the difference between personalization and utter ridiculousness.

The bike shop owner needs to have a little confidence that maybe, just maybe, the customer isn't always right and that maybe, just maybe, if the customer isn't satisfied with the product, maybe, just maybe, that person isn't really a customer at all, and you have to be okay with that.

And the kid . . . well the kid should really consider studying harder and getting a degree of some sort.

Now I know that college isn't for everyone, but like my father (the one who is never getting his guitars back) used to say:

"You don't go to college to learn more things . . . you go to college to have more options."

and then he added:

"But drink your coffee like a man."

Fine Tuning 2015

Okay, so we're about to begin year three of "What Could I Possibly Do if I Had the Time to Possibly Do Things?"

2013 was the year of prep.

I began this particular series of blogs. An essay on Mondays (my usual day off), pictures with silly captions Tue-Thurs, cause it was easy to do on my lunch breaks, and a Top 5 list for Fridays (The Friday Fives).

The goal was to build an audience, familiarize myself with multiple social-media sites, and create the story with which to launch my second album (a first person concept album based on my son's impressions of the world as he learned to fight with his own four year old demons.)

I needed a hub for all the stuff I wanted to try. Something that was unique, memorable, available on all social platforms, and personal.

"Wait . . . Dad?" was born because it was something my son used to constantly say when he had follow-up questions to something I'd said earlier.

And earlier could mean a few minutes to a few days. He would walk into a room, kitchen, studio, whatever; stand with a quizzical look on his face and say "Wait . . . Dad?" and I would say "What?" and then he would say something like "You remember last year when you said that a manual transmission was easier to drive than an automatic?" and I would say "Yes." and then he would say "I think you're wrong."

"Wait . . . Dad?" fit all of my conceptual criteria.

I developed a revenue stream tier, that began with live performance, CD sales, digital sales, digital streaming, potential licensing, ad sales through blog and website, and finally could re-edit the popular essays and sell them directly as a collection.

If I got lucky, and anything went viral, then boom. All I had to do was launch.

2014 = Go Time:

And it started out so good. For two whole weeks I was meeting quota. But then I hit a sizable plateau. I had anticipated to ramp up to an average performance schedule of 10 shows per month (I got all the way up to 2).

Mistake Number 1: It takes a lot more time and momentum to find and secure gigs than I had calculated (My original get was about 5 shows for every 20 inquiries, and after a month it dropped to 2 shows for every 100 inquiries) Quite a drop.

Mistake Number 2: I expected CD sales to reach what they were in 2007 with my first album, about 5-10 per show, but I ended up giving them away more often than not, nobody buys music anymore, like at all. Really good to know.

Mistake Number 3: Digital distribution is so cool. Only, and I can feel how Facebook feels, sorta, but the revenue I've been able to generate through online sales of albums, ads, licensing and books, for the entire year of 2014 couldn't buy me a decent pair of shoes.

Mistake Number 4: Nobody got "Wait . . . Dad?" It didn't make any sense when spoken out loud and required a very long explanation. It also required repeating and then repeating and then spelling out because of the double plosive between Waittttt and Ddddddad. (I'm a lyricist, I should've caught that one) But I'm pretty sure that half of the people who were only mildly interested got lost looking for WayDad.

So no viral.

I tried a video concept for YouTube and learned great deal, but each video took an average of ten hours of concentrated work and revision (audio and video editing I had to learn on the fly) And was impossible to do whenever I was interrupted, which I am, often, which is fine because I would much rather make a sword out of cardboard than stare at a computer screen.

However, the view hits started promising at around 50, then dropped to 20, then to 15, then to 7. It was about that time that I got the hint that these weren't all that compelling and dropped the project after two months.

YouTube will have to wait for the day when I can afford a staff.

And a more comfortable chair.

Show opportunities dried up and I got discouraged halfway through the year and decided to write a novel.

But then I saw an ad for a vocal harmonizer, something that wasn't available in 2007, and decided to give it a go.

And . . . well . . . it revolutionized my sound. Instead of a plunky/chunky guy with a guitar, I suddenly had a reasonably impressive live show almost tailor made for the baby boomer generation that grew up on the Yardbirds and Crosby/Stills/Nash and sometime Young. I didn't even have to change my repertoire.

I discovered that bars might not be my target demographic, but wineries and special events could pay for groceries, and were a whole lotta fun, and I could usually get home before dark.

Win, win. Win win win.

Alright . . .

So now . . .

It's 2015.

The Make-it or Break it Year.

What can we see?

Well, for starters there will be a lot more shows this year, now that I know who to target, how to target, and feel confident with an impressive show. Also, I'm starting to get unsolicited offers which will take time from sitting at the computer and more time playing music.

The blog will continue, it's form is now set

I'll be seeking publishing for my first novel.

I'll be writing another one.

I'll also release another essay collection.

I still have music available for licensing, so you know . . . wing and a prayer.

And I've decided to give up on Wait . . . Dad? (The Website) and move stuff over to:

It's more streamlined (prettier) and organized. (Please check it out and tell me what you think.)

Anyway, there's still a lot of fine tuning involved (And God only knows what kind of deviations I'm gonna make) but it's a lot like my golf game . . . and right nowI'm moving the ball forward.

Dear Dog Five

Dear Dog,

It is 9:47am.

You've been yapping at absolutely nothing since 7:15am.

That's 2 hours and 32 minutes in people time.

In dog time that's like 17 hours and just a little under 45 minutes.

Now, I'm not saying that I care . . . cause I don't . . . but I've finished my third cup of coffee and all my news outlets are dominated by what's going on in France and there is no funny available there, only sadness. Not knowing what to write about I started surfing the net for reasons why little dogs yap the way you've been yapping.

Turns out there are several reasons. First is because you've been bottle fed and coddled, you naturally assume that you're the alpha of your pack and it is your responsibility to protect the entire household from passing cars and leaves falling from the trees. The second is because you're bored. The third you're lonely. The fourth is that you're afraid (cause you're so little and everything else is so big)

There is no fifth reason.

In fact, I had to stretch bored and lonely into two just to get this far.

I searched for an extra fifteen minutes for a fifth reason, but really, it just boils down to 3.5. Which, for someone who is tasked with writing a Friday Five list, is really super annoying.

But then I thought, who am I to judge?

You have your reasons.

All 3.5 of them.

But then I thought . . . well hey . . . I'm an adult male human person with lots of experience in this world, and though I can't offer you kibble, I can possibly maybe offer some alternative activities to yelling at the crack in your fence.

17 hours and just a little under 45 minutes is a long time.

Not Peter Jackson adapting a children's book long . . . but still.

Consider some of these:

First: I heard Yoga is good.
Unkink some of those murderously tight tendons, increase blood flow, splay out those paws, and breathe deep. After a few short sessions you may actually be able to catch that tail.

Second: Day Time TV.
I'm sorry that you were born into a world bereft of Soap Operas. That's really a shame. But just a few minutes a day spent with the kind of people who go on talk shows will give you such a greater feeling of self worth and probably a level of confidence you never knew you had.

Third: Dig an escape tunnel.
I'm not saying that you need to run away, but escape tunnels come in handy. Think about how amazing it will be when you can outflank the gardener and show him who's boss. And . . . maybe you do want to run away. Maybe it's time to go find yourself. Get a car thats much too expensive and a girlfriend who's way too young.

Fourth: Lick yourself.
Cause . . . um . . . you can.

Fifth: Admit that maybe you're just not a morning person.
I feel ya bro. Until my non-steroidal anti-inflammatories kick in and the coffee has worked my heart rate into a tizzy, there isn't a single noise around me that I don't want to punch in the face. Seriously dude . . . sleep in. I know you want to take on the day, put up a fight, early-bird-worm-catching and all, but when was the last time you got some rest? You need you time, man. And those teenagers walking to school this morning, will be walking past you again on their way home. Get 'em on the re-bound.

I promise that a well rested lap-dog is a terror to all those who pass.

You owe it to yourself and your pack.

It's now been officially 18 hours.

And that's a long time man.

A long time.

Your watch has ended.