New Shoes in the Rain

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Say "cheese," or not.....

Sorry, but I couldn't help the pun with this entry's title....

I don't like cheese. Never have, never will. With the notable exception of pizza (which I believe is an exception because of the way it's packaged, cheese + tomato sauce + toppings + crust), I detest cheese in all forms. So you can imagine that in some cases it's a little challenging to eat out, when restaurateurs are geared to offer so many dishes, particularly sandwiches, that are loaded with cheese.

Recently my wife and I visited a national sandwich chain and I ordered two sandwiches, one for each of us, and asked that they both be prepared without cheese. There was something of a mixup at the counter and the sandwich maker handed responsibility off to the cashier, who verified that we didn't want cheese.....and added it anyway. I still don't know what she was thinking, but after discovering this and removing the offensive material from my sandwich (thank God it was a cold sandwich), I enjoyed it anyway.

This led to a strange dream in which I ordered sandwiches for my wife and me from a national chain known for their roast beef. Now, remember that this chain has a few sandwiches with cheese, but not all, and those that do come cheese-equipped are named accordingly. So, in my dream, imagine my unhappiness to arrive home with my food only to find that these sandwiches had cheese added and melted onto them! My dream continued with me storming back to the store with the food, making a scene, threats of the police being called, etc.

Thankfully it was only a dream, and I've not had occasion to visit there since awakening.

Well, enough of that.....on to other things.

I must say I was amused that some conservative pundits felt the need to pile onto President Obama and squarely blame him for the International Olympic Committee's selection of Rio de Janeiro, not the Obama hometown of Chicago, as the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. These folks are blaming him for everything but the weather, and I don't think anyone can accuse him of not working, not trying, or not caring. But my opinion doesn't matter as much as those with the bully pulpit of a daily radio or television broadcast.

As the President character states in the movie "The American President," "These are serious times and they require serious people." Hmm....who should we say is serious here, and who's just throwing rocks?

I also read something a couple days ago that reminded me of a loss our literary culture suffered just in the last couple of years. Kurt Vonnegut left us in April 2007 and while he hadn't written a really meaningful work in a long time, I still miss him. To be sure, there are other writers I like and respect (more on them below) but Vonnegut was always my favorite. And so few of my friends and family "got" him, so it was a little like being part of a club when I'd find someone who did "get" his work.

I don't read as much as I used to, despite incessant business travel, as I've found it easier and lighter in weight to carry a small video/audio player than two books for every trip. But when I do read I have what I would consider to be eclectic tastes. For instance, I raced through the latest work by Dan Brown on a recent trip, and simply could not put that book down. That's my favorite form of reading--the "I can't stop" scenario. I also have read virtually every word that historian David McCullough has written, and still like John Grisham's lawyer novels very much (and read those at the same breakneck pace as Dan Brown's).

My other favorite writer is a business writer and observer, Tom Peters, who's currently hard at work on a new book due out during the winter. Something to look forward to!


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