Archive for 'Life'

Foodie Friday: Neighborhood Nibbles–Part One

 

Recently, three good friends of mine (who also happen to be chefs) visited me in Nashville. They came into town for some NFL football, delicious food, and Southern hospitality. They were very clear about what they wanted “food-wise”: They wanted to eat some simple, flavorful Southern-style foods.  And, of course, they also wanted to try any Nashville-specific specialties. (more…)

Posted in: Experiences, Food and Drink, Food Experiences, Foodie Friday, Karaoke, Life, Restaurants, SING

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Wait…not now…

Today's Notable Quote: "If not now…when? If not me…who?

There is a cost associated with indecision. If we decide NOT to act as the result of indecision…we may miss out on an opportunity that will not come our way again. How will we know if this is so? We won't. This is why it is critical to be prepared to embrace the rare "life altering" opportunities that come our way.

Food for thought?

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Blogpost #700: Of Feast and Famine…

It would be difficult to imagine intentionally lining up two such starkly different views of reality than what I experienced first-hand and "virtually" during the past week.

On January 18th, I traveled to San Francisco to attend an event called "The Fancy Food Show", and to speak at a function while in town. The event is a trade show for the food industry -  sponsored by NAFST (The National Association for Specialty Food Trade), featuring gourmet and specialty foods and beverages from 2500 companies around the world (81 countries were represented this year). The show was a feast for the eyes…and the stomach (product sampling is free and frequent).

If this weren't enough, I attended some outstanding evening events–including a tour of San Francisco's North Beach Area led by a local (with my assistance). Meals at The Epic Roasthouse – located on San Francisco's waterfront at 369 Embarcadero near Folsom within breath-taking distance of the Bay and Bay Bridge http://www.epicroasthousesf.com/ , a gathering at the always charming Incanto http://www.incanto.biz/, along with a seemingly endless supply of assorted salumi, cheeses, etc., left me feeling more than sated…to say the least.

Cut to the weekend, during which we decided to attend a showing of "Slumdog Millionaire", a film which presents a grim depiction of life in the slums of Mumbai, India.

As I watched the drama unfold, I couldn't stop thinking about the excesses I had encountered and enjoyed during the previous week. A feeling of guilt, gluttony and gratitude flooded over me as I watched the actors' convincing portrayals of people who would likely never know one meal–certainly not one week of feasting such as the one I had just experienced.

A study in contrasts…of feast and famine…and a reminder to share more frequently and sacrificially of the bounty I have been blessed with.

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Hello 2009…how ya feelin’? (I Feel Good)

Today's Notable Quote: "Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would, now – I feel good, I knew that I would, now…So good, so good, I got you…" – James Brown

Does misery really love company? According to an intriguing Op-Ed by Justin Wolfers in today's online edition of The New York Times, the subjective sense of well-being among most Americans is low. This is based on studies conducted by Mr. Wolfers and others.

Mr. Wolfers' column refutes the views of Sonja Lyubomirsky, published in the NYT on 12/29/08 in which she wrote that subjective well-being has remained high during the recession. According to Wolfers – she’s dead wrong.

Here’s the link to her piece, titled “Why We’re Still Happy”  in which she explains why our collective sense of well-being is relatively high–despite our daily dose of economic, political and international "bad news". You may find the linked article from the "Freakonomics" column of interest.  http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/an-unhappy-year/

It reminded my of a (now deceased) Octogenarian family member who routinely read the obituaries and recounted the most heinous news stories to anyone within earshot.  We were convinced that this person looked forward to – and thrived on the news of other's misfortunes.

Your thoughts?

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Seeking “Resolutionary” Success in 2009?

Today's Notable Quote: “Most of us think that we can change our lives if we just summon the willpower and try even harder this time around,” said Alan Deutschman, the former executive director of Unboundary, a firm that counsels corporations on how to navigate change, and the author of “Change or Die,” a book that asserts that even though most people have the ability to change, they rarely do. “It’s exceptionally hard to make life changes,” Mr. Deutschman said, “and our efforts are usually doomed to failure when we try to do it on our own.”

Far from a mere bleak prognostication, Mr. Deutschman's analysis should serve as a "gut-check" to those of us seeking to make improvements during the 2009 chapter of our respective life stories.  In today's New York Times, he shares 4 key ideas from his book which, if applied, will increase the likelihood of resolutionary success. Simply put they are:

1. Start with big changes a strategy likely to yield immediate, noticeable benefits that inspire more positive change.

2. Act like th person you are trying to become – even if you hit the jogging trail with 30 pounds of flab, think of yourself as the jock you want to be.

3. Reframe your situation – Recovering alcoholics, for example, have a higher chance of success if they reframe their sober life as a divorce from a tumultuous love affair with drinking, because they can then look back at their old life as a romantic adventure, rather than a sinkhole of regret.

4. Don't do it alone – advice that is the bedrock of 12-step programs. A caring community of support and accountability dramatically increases your likelihood of success.

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Thankfulness at Thanksgiving…

Today's Notable Quote: "The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies." – Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

The quote above is the first line from the proclamation issued by President Lincoln which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving.

The poem below is attributed to American poet Hezekiah Butterworth. In the poem, he provides a chilling deptiction of the circumstances in which the early settlers found themselves with Winter approaching–and little food in the common storehouse. It should give we moderns pause as we reflect on our own bounty of material goods.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Poetry: Five Kernels of Corn – Hezekiah Butterworth  

'Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
And the woodpeckers tapped in the clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
there were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to

Bradford

a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

"Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
So

Bradford

cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
and the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
"Lo, the

harbor

of

Plymouth

rolls bright in the spring,
the maples grow red, and the wood robins sing,
the west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
and the pleasant pines sing, and arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
To each one is given Five Kernels of Corn!"

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on thy way,
The west winds are blowing o'er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners' Hill!
"Give thanks, all ye people, the warm skies have come,
the hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

"The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle; rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
and safe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
and the festal world sings the "Five Kernels of Corn."
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

Corncard

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Taming the beast…

Sometimes you (or at least, I) don’t have anything particularly profound to say. Oftentimes when this is the case, I refrain from speaking and/or writing. Not so today. There is too much to be in awe of. I will tame the “beast” of complacency and ingratitude. There are too many blessings in our paths to count. Think, if you would, for a few mere moments of your nearest and dearest relationships. Those who readily accept our failings and odd behaviors, often without questioning. Think also of the modern conveniences–many which we take for granted–artificial lighting, permanent shelter, paved roads, bike paths and sidewalks–hot and cold running water, “portable” musicians and storytellers (who travel with us at our bidding via the mp3 or ipod). On, on, on and on goes the list. For those of us living in the US and many Western countries, we enjoy unprecedented levels of self-determination and personal liberty.


Much to see, do and appreciate on this day after Veteran’s Day.

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You snooze…you don’t lose…

Today’s Notable Quote: "I never used to be a napper. In fact, daytime slumber was virtually beyond a congenitally wired type like me." – Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post

Asleep at the wheel? Snoozin’ through meetings? Running on "Auto-pilot"?

Maybe what you need is a good night’s sleep…or better yet…a good afternoon’s sleep. New research and age-old anecdotal evidence suggests that a brief "siesta" may improve your productivity–and your overall health. Skeptical? Read on…Nap Time

A vigorous 60-minute early morning or mid-day workout or run does the trick for me, though I have to admit to a penchant for the occasional Sunday afternoon nap.

Heart_transplant_surgeons Could a nap-a-day keeps the heart surgeon away?

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Talk, talk, talk…

Today’s Notable Quote: "Even wit is a burden when it talks too long." – John Dryden (1631 – 1700)

In my daily reading and research, occasionally I find that I become "word-weary". Not often…just on occasion. With the explosion of information during the past century–accelerated by the ubiquity of connectivity in recent years, I find that "a veritable plethora of verbiage" is nearly always nearby.

This growing awareness has caused my to "think twice" – and listen carefully before speaking. Whenever teaching, or even sharing a story, I check the facts and relevancy to avoid the "Macbeth syndrome"–i.e. telling a story for the sake of telling a story “It is a tale … full of sound and fury; signifying nothing.”

Author David Shenk sites psychological studies spanning thirty years and lists several of the symptoms which accompany information overload (often related to time spent online):

  • Increased cardiovascular stress, due to a rise in blood pressure,
  • Weakened vision, siting a Japanese study which predicts a nearly universal near-sightedness in the close future
  • Confusion and frustration
  • Impaired judgement based upon overconfidence
  • Decreased benevolence to others due to an environmental input glut (which may very well account for part of the "brusqueness" which is commonly attributed to big-city dwellers)

Neil Postman, in a talk entitled Informing Ourselves To Death spoke about the glut of  information facing Americans: “In America, there are 260,000 billboards; 11,520 newspapers; 11,556 periodicals; 27,000 video outlets for renting tapes; 362 million tv sets; and over 400 million radios. There are 40,000 new book titles published every year (300,000 world-wide) and every day in America 41 million photographs are taken, and just for the record, over 60 billion pieces of advertising junk mail come into our mail boxes every year.

Everything from telegraphy and photography in the 19th century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information, until matters have reached such proportions today that for the average person, information no longer has any relation to the solution of problems.”

So…wanna talk about it?

Information_overload At risk of becoming a human "in-box"?

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