Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stuffed olives, Rebecca, Pop, the OED and knives.

Don A, the other Don A who is now down in Florida for the winter, sent me a bunch of information about stuffed olives after seeing my little taunt about the very good appetizer Rebecca made for Christmas Eve.

Rebecca said her appetizer was "stuffed olives"; but actually it was little meatballs stuffed with pitted olives. Then she proceeded to argue that her little meatball recipe was the authentic one and that my memory of the olive being on the outside of the meat filling was faulty. This article sent me by Don is one more proof that she was wrong:

I suppose it's not surprising that Rebecca stubbornly maintained and defended her mistaken view despite the evidence, for Grandpop L used to periodically tell a joke that went like this:

Question - What's worse than having a dead body in the living room?

Answer - Having a stubborn Marche' knocking at the door.

The implication, of course, is that Marche's in general are a stubborn lot, impossible to get rid of. And Rebecca, of course, is three-eighths Marche' by the following calculation.

Grandmom and Grandpop L were both Marche's from Ascoli Piceno, as was Grandpop A. That makes Rebecca's dad three-fourths Marche. Grandmom A was not from Ascoli Piceno - she was born "a Muro Lucano" according to her birth certificate, which is in the L side electronic picture file I sent you a couple of years ago if you had a need for the family pictures.

"A Muro Lucano" means - well perhaps that will be your homework assignment. I figured out what it means many years ago before Al Gore invented this internet thingy, with the help of a librarian, much to Mom's irritation. Find and rattle your family own skeletons if you want to.

Speaking of family skeletons, there is evidence in the family picture album of at least two instances that prove Shakespeare was very right for all the ages when he wrote the best known line in Troilus and Cressida.

Now to other matters:

It's as cold as a brass bra on a witch's tit out there, as Pop and a friend of mine from Missouri named Randy often used to say at this time of year. A very useful quote which will stay useful for a lifetime.

Pop also used to say "another year shot to hell" each year on or after New Year's Day just as he would always say "another summer shot to hell" on or just after Labor Day each year. Not that he brooded on those things. Pop was a very optimistic person, perhaps the most naturally optimistic person I've ever met. Also just after New Year's Day, regarding the cold winter, which he most definitely did not like he always used to say "we're over the hump, it's all downhill from here." Pop managed to see the light at the end of every tunnel of life earlier than anybody else could see it. And he was optimistic about that light even after it became clear that the light might be an approaching train.

Don't go through life brooding about the approaching train that's gonna get you in the end no matter what you do. Most of the time the light is actually the other end of the tunnel, and even when the light is a train you may as well meet that train in a good mood, enjoying life until the moment it gets you.

I generally make my dentist appointments for 8:20 in the morning in part because the dentist usually has on the Philly radio station that has played the Monty Python song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life at about 8:30. Life is too short to go through as a brooding mope.

In other news: Samuel came by last evening Samuel to give me and Linda a presentation on the knives he's selling. A very interesting presentation, and we bought some of his knives to complement the very fine ones Alex and Christina gave us for Christmas. After his presentaion we spent some time over coffee and discussion of David Serdaris's books and of the Oxford English Dictionary, of all things because Samuel said he was interested in books that contain interesting historical information, so I pulled out The Profession and the Madman to give to him.

The madman in the book made the best of his unfortunate situation, being in an insane asylum for life due to an unfortunate crime or two, by making himself the most prolific contributor to the OED. The professor in the book, on the other hand, spent twenty years of his life being grateful for the many contributions being made by mail by a certain fellow and didn't learn that the fellow was in an insane asylum until he decided to visit the recluse and thank him in person.

Here's a piece of advice for you younger married folks. There are a lot of things one must tolerate in life because they're impossible to avoid. And then there are other things one tolerates because of sheer foolishness. We, for instance, have been using a drawer full of annoyingly dull knives all our life because we were too foolish to buy decent knives way back when. This doesn't mean you have to spend a ton of money all at once on good knives. But it does mean you should judiciously accumulate good quality stuff in those areas of life where you can purchase something that will truly last a lifetime.

If anybody is interested in books send me an email detailing the kinds of books you like along with your mailing address. If I have a book or two or a dozen that I think you will like I'll either put it aside for you or mail it to you - media mail is very cheap. My email address is sully(mylastname) at AOL dot com.

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