Monday, December 5, 2016
The word “kebab” comes from an Arabic root meaning to burn or roast. In Turkish, “shish” means skewer. Alrighty. But wait. In Turkey, in the mid-19th century, somebody started rotating a cone of meat on a vertical spit. “Doner kebab” means “turning roast” because the Turkish word for turning is “dönmek.” The Greeks liked this food, but they hated the Turks, so they substituted their own word for turning, “gyro.” Think I’m done? I’m not done. Turkish has another word for turning, “çevirme.” So in Arabic the same food is “shawarma.” And here’s my favorite: In Persian, it’s “kebab torki.”
Monday, November 28, 2016
Yesterday afternoon I was working in the shed, doing a little wiring to improve the lighting, and I had this great idea for today’s rant. It was so good. I pretty much wrote the whole thing in my head, basically, and I probably should have written it down right away. But I was up on a ladder and I wanted to get done so I could switch the breaker back on because if it got dark I would not have been able to finish without running an extension cord from the house. “I’ll remember,” I thought. I did not remember.
Monday, November 21, 2016
It can stay warm for so long that you forget winter is sure to show up sooner or later. That first frost arrives and you’re like, oh crap, I gave all my sweaters to Goodwill. Because for some reason you thought the mild weather was permanent. Time to bundle up, buddy. Clean your flues, dig out the quilts, stock your pantry. Of course, if you see somebody out in the cold, you have to bring them into the warm. Beyond that, pretty much all you can do is throw another book on the fire and hope for an early spring.
Monday, November 14, 2016
The House of Hapsburg ruled most of Europe for about 300 years. They acquired power through marriage, and they kept it by only mating within the extended family. Three centuries is a lot of generations; they got to where they actually shared more DNA than most siblings. The last of the Spanish Hapsburg rulers, Charles II, was his dad's great nephew and his mom's first cousin. He couldn’t feed himself or keep himself clean. He died at 38, and the autopsy stated that he "..had a single testicle, black as coal, and his head was full of water." Just sayin’.
Monday, November 7, 2016
From 1978 through 1999, Oklahoma averaged 1.6 earthquakes over magnitude 3.0 annually. Then, they had two in 2008, 20 in 2009, 35 in 2010, 64 in 2011. By last year, the count was up to 890. We’ve come to expect this sort of behavior from California, but historically Oklahoma has been pretty reliable about simply staying put. It’s a big selling point. In fact, “Oklahoma: It Just Lies There” was once seriously considered as a license plate motto. Now one of the state’s primary attributes is in jeopardy, and the data clearly points to a single culprit: The Obama presidency.
Monday, October 31, 2016
This flaming orange narcissist sociopath may actually assume the highest office in the land. The Cleveland Indians are leading the World Series. And so I’m feeling a sense of unreality, like time and space themselves are coming unstrung. Last night I had this dream where I was walking on a bridge over a huge river. I was walking a dog that kept talking to me, giving me advice. I was carrying a duffle bag full of plumber’s tools, which I had just stolen. Of course, I was naked. And it all seemed normal compared to what I woke up to.
Monday, October 24, 2016
So this guy Polonius gives with a famous list of wise hints for living and is rewarded by being stabbed through the arras, which sounds excruciating. Nelson Algren follows up with his own advice, which is funnier and probably more useful. I figure I must have picked up some wisdom by now, and I’m ready to pass it along. So. Um. Tin your leads. Try the sweet potato fries. Never go anywhere in shoes you can’t walk home in. That’s it, I guess. Okay then. Oh, this final score just in: the Monomaniacs have beaten the Minimalists, one to nothing.