Monthly Archives: December 2010

Lame Adventure 144: Back in the Snowy Apple

Flying JetBlue out of SFO five days after Christmas was a far less stressful experience, once I finally located hidden underground gate A1A, than my narrow escape from a body cavity search conducted by Francina, the JFK TSA screener who had half the poise and none of the cheer of a concentration camp guard.  At SFO I was subject to a full body screen, albeit not one of my favorite joys in life.  Yet, when I compare that indignation to being pat down by a woman resembling Don Knotts cross-bred with Lassie I welcome being viewed front and back in naked x-ray by a cluster of bleary-eyed strangers.

On my return flight, my seatmates were 8-year-old Wyatt and 6-year-old Adelaide, two California kids who were visiting their Uncle Travis in New York City.  At first, when I saw that I was going to be flying six hours across country with unaccompanied small fry, I thought:

Me:  Ugh, kids.

Very Considerate Woman, who was seated adjacent from me, looked back, smiled and said, “They’re so sweet.”  I considered replying:

Me:  Wanna trade seats?

I reasoned that my young seatmates would be completely preoccupied with the excellent in-flight entertainment system.  Therefore, I’d be able to read my book, Tinkers, essentially undisturbed.  Then, a member of the flight crew announced:

Member of Flight Crew:  Folks, we’re real sorry to have to tell you this, but the in-flight entertainment system is not working on this aircraft.  We’ll give you a $15 voucher for the inconvenience.

Immediately, I revised my thinking:

Me:  Jesus Christ, I’m going to fly six hours across the country with two rugrats denied Nickelodeon!  This is cruel!  This is torture!  This is inhumane!

Adelaide:  Does that mean the TV doesn’t work?

Me:  Yes.

Adelaide:  Will they fix it so we can watch it later?

Me:  I don’t think so.

Wyatt:  Are we not gonna have TV when we fly back?

Me:  Let’s hope that you’ll fly back on an airplane where the TV works.  JetBlue has a lot of airplanes, so hopefully, when you guys fly back, you’ll be on a better one.

Adelaide:  I hope so, too!

Following that exchange, the three of us hit it off quite well.

For a while Wyatt, who is a very artistic, somewhat shy boy, drew in his diary, and he also made a paper airplane with nice lift, but we only flew it amongst ourselves.  Child expert me laid the ground rules:

Me:  Let’s not do anything too stupid that gets us in trouble, but a little stupid’s okay, all right?

We were all in agreement and I was Marshall of Stupidity, a role I was born to play.

Adelaide, who has endless personality, confided that her brother’s nickname is “Quiet Wyatt” and she’s “Applelady Adelaide.”  I resisted the urge to deliver a boring lecture about Wyatt Earp and the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls featuring a character called Miss Adelaide.

Adelaide wove a worm into her wooden apple toy during take-off.  We played with Wyatt’s stuffed blue dog, Spots, and Adelaide’s elephant, Stuffy.  I pointed out that Stuffy and I had comparably sized noses.  I taught Adelaide the word ‘tomato’ off the beverage card.  I got one of the crewmembers to give airplane-loving Wyatt a copy of Popular Mechanics to peruse, but explained to him that the $7 in his pocket was not quite enough to purchase the $54 million helicopter that caught his eye.  They used their useless headphones to play racecar.  Adelaide had the card game War in her backpack, but they converted it to Go Fish and cheated each other ruthlessly, reminding me of when I played cards with my brother, Axel.

I regretted not buying a fresh pack of gum when I picked up a New York Times pre-flight.  I always purchase fresh gum when I fly, but I still had a few pieces of the stale stuff from six months ago, and figured I’d make due since I am not a gum chewer.  I felt selfish sneaking a piece into my mouth as we took off, but when we were descending Very Considerate Woman offered her gum.  I handed it to the kids.  Wyatt took a piece and shouted, “Thank you!”

Adelaide the Alpha took four pieces, prompting me to gasp in a voice worthy of Dave, the Chipmunks handler:

Me (as Dave):  Adelaide!

Adelaide (as Alvin):  They’re for my uncle!

I mouthed “real sorry about that” to Very Considerate Woman.

Very Considerate Woman:  It’s fine.

Upon landing, Adelaide announced triumphantly:

Adelaide:  I was bored the entire time!

I was primarily focused on the kids throughout the flight, but I did notice the guy sitting across the narrow aisle from me praying silently and deeply into the religious medallion around his neck during takeoff and landing, prompting me to think, “Like that’s gonna spare us from doom bub.”  Possibly, Adelaide noticed him, too.  I am by nature fatalistic, except when Adelaide asked me if we could crash.  Then, I dug out a degree of moldy optimism that had gathered cobwebs in my mind over the course of the last 40 years, dusted it off and assured her:

Me:  We’re going to arrive New York safe and sound.

Apparently, Very Considerate Woman glanced back at us so often, it prompted Adelaide to ask me:

Adelaide:  Is that lady your mom?  She keeps looking back at you!

Very Considerate Woman was easily five or ten years my junior.  At that moment, I felt so flattered I would have voted charming little pistol Adelaide for mayor – and I am sure she would have taken the recent epic snowstorm that buried New York City far more seriously than a guy named Bloomberg.

Welcome home.


Lame Adventure 143: Francis Ford Coppola, a Man and his Food, Films and Wine

Whenever I visit The San Francisco Bay Area, aside from seeing my family, I always make time for my best friend from college, Bat Pat.  I’ve known her since I was a teenager.  Back in those days, the Seventies, we shared many a Lame Adventure and for me, many firsts.

My first memorable first with Bat Pat is eating my first lobster at a restaurant in Ghirardelli Square called the Hungry Tiger.  This adventure turned into me eating two lobsters, or possibly the first one run under the tap and reheated.  When I tried to crack my first lobster I  dipped my less than nimble fingers into the butter sauce, and created a mini oil slick.  My red-shelled crustacean  went flying and crash-landed under our table.  Upon reflection decades later, many free-flowing glasses of Chardonnay might have also contributed to that situation.  Now, I hold my liquor better, and my food, the little my gastroenterologist allows me to eat at this stage in my decay, remains in place — at least on the plate.

On a very rainy Tuesday in late December 2010, Bat Pat and I embarked on our latest Lame Adventure when we visited Francis Ford Coppola’s Sonoma County winery located in Geyserville.

Entrance gates through rain spattered windshield

Check in here, now.

Check out WPA-style mural designed by Alex Tavoularis and Dean Tavoularis, painted by Paul Swendsen for Coppola's film Tucker: The Man and his Dream.

As any lover of Coppola’s film, The Godfather, might expect, this is an epic production.  The facility opened last July.  The wine tour is essentially a tasting, followed by several ooh and ahh moments while recognizing the many familiar movie props peppered throughout, as well as stops by the movie memorabilia display cases followed by a brief visit to the bottling plant.

Gleaming stainless steel bottling plant.

Apparently, Coppola wines use grapes from neighboring Alexander Valley vineyards, so if you want the full wine tour experience where you’re walking through miles and miles of cellars past stacks of oak barrels, you will not see that site here.

Yet, if you want to see the desk that Marlon Brando sat at then he played Don Corleone, as he stroked a kitten and listened to a distraught father’s woes, this is the place to visit.  If you’d like to ogle Coppola’s Tucker Torpedo car decorated for Christmas, just travel down a short flight of stairs.  If, as you drool over the car, you realize that you’re hungry, Francis has built a very nice (what else?) Italian restaurant on the premises he calls Rustic.  It’s decorated with his extensive olive oil can collection.

The desk from the iconic film that financed this venture.

Detail of Godfather desk.

Godfather chair; sit here and prepare to be slapped silly by the ghost of Don Vito Corleone. (Note: chair is brown; flash turned it this ugly shade of mustard.)

Page 4 of personal note from Marlon Brando to Francis; no idea what he said in pages 1-3 but it's likely that Sacheen Littlefeather was not on Marlon's mind at that moment as he was competing hard for the role.

Godfather cast list. F Troop fans will notice that Frank DeKova was third choice to play Don Corleone under Brando and Laurence Olivier. Asterisk might be Francis's way of saying, "I will kill myself if I have to cast Chief Wild Eagle."

Second draft of Godfather screenplay.

Michael Corleone's shiny phone that he used while wearing his shiny suits.

Godfather trophy case.

The envelope, please.

Coppola's Tucker Torpedo dressed for Christmas with a Menorah inside -- next year Kwanzaa, too?

Tucker side-angle. Note: personal license plate 22 Gio is tribute to Coppola's son Gian-Carlo who was killed in a boating accident at age 22.

Gourmet foodstuffs for sale.

Dracula costumes on display enroute to restaurant, Rustic.

Cocktail glass that held Nastassja Kinski in Coppola's One From the Heart outside the restaurant, Rustic. Note: the hostess informed us that I was the first person to know what film this prop was from. Thrilled, I asked, "Does this mean I get a free glass of wine?" No.

Inside olive oil can decorated Rustic, where the food is very fresh and well prepared under Francis's specifications.

Closer view of olive oil cans from Francis's collection of 4000.

Apocalypse Now props and costumes.

More Apocalypse Now props and costumes.

Apocalypse Now surf board suspended from ceiling.

In summer when temperatures can climb over 100 degrees, kids can play in the swimming pool, as their parents lounge nearby enjoying the mini cafe.

Not a day for swimming.

I was not sure if Neil, our tour guide, was joking or serious when he said that Francis was thinking about having smoothie tastings for the small fry, but this entire facility is so well designed, it seems possible.  For anyone interested in film design, Coppola’s frequent collaborator, the production designer, Dean Tavoularis, also creates the labels for the reserve wine bottles, no doubt to Francis’s specifications.  The posters are available for sale, $450 unsigned; $900 signed.  We contented ourselves with taking a photograph.

2010 reserve wine label poster designed by Dean Tavoularis.

Lame Adventure 142: Après Christmas

I am still vacationing in Marin County, thousands of miles away from blizzard smothered Manhattan, where I refuse to worry too much about leaving the window open in my humble abode …

Usual view outside my window following a blizzard. I hope this is not the same view inside my apartment at this moment.

As soon as the clock struck midnight Christmas Day, while I was assisting my sister, Dovima, with setting up presents and as I imagined falling thunderously into the fireplace, waking the entire household and setting off the dog, Thurber, I sneezed four times.  Sixteen minutes later, I sneezed twice more.

Always looking for trouble Thurber.

Fortunately, as we opened gifts later that morning, my sneezing took a reprieve, but it returned with a vengeance at 10:47 am when I sneezed an additional twenty-five times through the course of Christmas proper until I exhausted my supply of sneezes at 11:01 pm.  As I sneezed a final three times at that moment, this exertion prompted my sister to ask:

Dovima:  What was that a million?

Me (disappointed):  That was only 31 for today.  At least I made it to thirty.

Dovima:  Now you can shoot for forty.

My niece, Sweet Pea, found this exchange hilarious.

I have been counting my sneezes since my birthday last May 4th, and I intend to count them through May 3rd since I start what I finish, no matter how inane, useless and absurd.   With the 31 I accrued on Christmas day, I am up to 372.  Après Christmas I have returned to a modest number of sneezes again, four on Sunday and zero thus far today.

Dovima was baffled why I had such a sneezy Christmas.  The house is clean.  Tangy, the cat, lives outdoors which is great for me since I am deathly allergic to the kitties, but if there was one cat I’d love to pet, it’s super cool Tangy.

Mellow Tangy keeping warm on my brother-in-law's carhood.

Thurber, Tangy’s nemesis, the pampered prince of a dog Tangy finds pathetic, is a hypoallergenic Poovanese (poodle-Havanese mix).  Back in early 2009, then 14-year-old Sweet Pea, either in an act of supreme self-sacrifice or obscene sibling rivalry, was willing to donate Thurber to the Obamas before they adopted Bo.  This was coincidentally during the period when Sweet Pea and Thurber had rather frosty relations.  I am pleased to report that they have since made amends and are now on much better terms.

Best buds Sweet Pea and Thurber chilling together on Facebook.

Lame Adventure 141: Fear of Francina

I am illustrating this episode of LA with images of Christmas trees thanks to Francina, the shining light of the TSA who personally made sure that every traveler unfortunate enough to walk through JFK’s T5 Jetblue terminal Lane Eleven, her lane, to undergo passenger screening, suffered.  Had I taken photographs, I am certain I’d be spending Christmas in Guantanamo.

My brownstone's 2009 Xmas tree planted in front yard before heading to Rockefeller Center in 2040.

Francina, a hardy woman built like an early 20th century fireplug, but with a less cheerful demeanor, was a meticulous screener.  Nothing explosive, sharp, or shiny would possibly get past her.  In that respect, we need thousands more screeners that share Francina’s level of attentiveness, but then we should also prepare to arrive at the airport at least half a day early instead of the suggested two hours.  Her line creeped along in inches while passengers in lanes ten and twelve whizzed through at lightening speed.  Stuck in Lane Eleven, I suffered stoically, but was relieved to see that no one was ordered to go through a scanner nor were they subject to a pat-down.

Martini Max circa 1960 Xmas tree courtesy of Reynolds Wrap.

Then, the back-to-back wheelchair women arrived.

The most effective way to leapfrog to the head of Francina’s lane is to arrive via wheelchair.  The most effective way to ensure that the upright masses in Francina’s lane feel further punished is to subject them to waiting for Francina to screen anyone in a wheelchair.  This process alone easily shaved a half hour off the clock.

The first woman traveled light and the TSA agent that assisted her spread the pain; she had her belongings, not much more than a clutch bag and hat, screened in Lane Twelve.  The second wheelchair woman, a woman traveling with her husband carried a stunning number of carry-on bags; I counted at least eight and groused to my compatriot, the patient and calm woman standing behind me:

Me:  I thought you were only allowed to carry on two.  Look at this, they’ve unpacked the Winnebago.

My brownstone's 2010 ornament collection with a spot of tree.

Second Wheelchair Woman’s TSA assistant placed all of that traveler’s luggage, as well as her husband’s, ahead of mine.  Their load filled both metal tables.  Francina suspected their carry-on contained the weapons of mass destruction we could never find in Iraq, so she screened it repeatedly.

Twenty minutes worth of solid screening.

When I was finally given the clear to allow my duffel bag to go through, I noticed that Second Wheelchair Woman’s husband digging through his wife’s suitcase, full of pink clothing, as another TSA agent hovered.  Eventually, they were cut loose – and then probably missed their flight.

My sister, Dovima's perfect tree, that she finds light-deficient.

Francina glanced at me, and resisted the urge to spit.  I walked through the screener, no bells or whistles rang.  I thought:

Me:  Yes!  Home free at last!

Francina (thinking):  You’re dreaming, Bozo.

My jacket with one boot, exited the scanner in its tub, and so did my personal carry-on item with my book and wallet.  Yet, my white MacBook, in a tub with my second boot, brought the screening process to a screeching halt.  Francina’s no-nonsense face went even more dour.  She glanced at me with contempt, and then I made the fatal mistake, I returned her scowl and yapped:

Me: What?

My fatal use of “what?” immediately atrophied into “oh, shit” when she slowly slipped a rubber glove on her left hand.  A fear shot through my entire being as I assumed the worst:

Me (thinking):  Digital cavity search here I come.

Anemically I asked the patient and calm woman waiting behind me, whose flight was about to board in three minutes:

Me:  Do you think she has an issue with Macs?

Patient and Calm Woman Behind Me:  I have one, too.  I think I’m gonna be subject to the same fate.

She was, but since she had the brain cells to not follow my lead in the whining department, her MacBook Pro was subject to a less intense scrutiny, she was gifted with a Get Out of Jail Free pass, and hopefully made her flight.  I, on the other hand, was taken aside, and I instinctively knew, “Shut the hell up or prepare to enter Strip Search Land.”

Francina glared at me with complete contempt and then proceeded to elaborately swab my entire MacBook with a white disc that looked uncannily similar to a Tuck’s Medicated Hemorrhoid pad.

Francina:  You can go.  Merry Christmas.

Possibly, she really meant, “Screw you.”

I reached my gate five minutes before boarding.  When my plane was wheels up, I felt immense  relief even though I had to listen to the sounds directly behind me  of an infant wailing across the entire country and a teenager vomiting incessantly into her air sickness bag.  Those sounds were akin to a symphony when I remember the growl of Francina’s stern grade school principal voice.

Bat Pat, best friend since college's, green thumb Christmas tree cut down by a decendant of Daniel Boone.

Lame Adventure 140: To Read or Not to Read?

Most of the time the answer to that question is not to read unless it’s The New Yorker, The New York Times, or New York Magazine but when I’m in the mood for horror, I chuck my all-things New York fixation and scan the sodium content on a food label.  The one time I do read an actual book is when I’m on a plane, especially when the flight is of significant duration.   Soon, I will be embarking on my annual holiday visit to my family on the West Coast, the perfect time to devour a novel.

Before I can board the plane I have to endure my first TSA pat-down; something I dread.  Greg, my sidekick, will be departing Gotham City for St. Louis this evening.  He has a very laissez-faire “go ahead, tug it” attitude.  What is my right-hand man thinking, that he’s going to be dry-humped by a lingerie model?  Men are patted down by men, and women by women.  I highly doubt that my super straight buddy is going to get a charge when he finds himself molested by the second coming of Grandpa Munster.

"Let me give you a hand with that, Greg."

As for me, a woman whose pendulum swings in the direction of her own kind, I welcome being groped by a member of my own tribe.  I’m a veteran in both the giving and getting in this area, but usually under ideal lighting conditions, with music and so much alcohol soaking my brain, even Rin Tin Tin’s mother, who I dated briefly in high school, resembles Gisele Bundchen.  Tomorrow, I envision being brutally felt up by Kirstie Alley’s look-alike spewing garlic breath as she’s suffering raging PMS.  If after surviving that trauma, my flight is subject to the insult of a terrorist attack, my final thoughts following a negotiation with the God I’ve resisted believing in my entire adult life (“please don’t sentence me to roasting on a crowded New York City subway platform in July for eternity”), will be, “The last woman that laid a hand on me was the direct descendant of a rhinoceros and now I’m gonna die.  This sucks.”

Assuming that I survive both the pat-down and my flight, there remains the question of what to read?  Recently, when I returned home from work, someone in my brownstone left a book atop a pillar on the staircase landing.  I wondered, “Hm, finders, keepers?”

The reading material of a Mensa reject.

Quickly, I realized that this tenant mistook the landing for the trashcan.  I brought the book to my building’s vestibule where it rotted for a few days until it disappeared into another tenant’s apartment or was reduced to mulch.

Rotting away.

In recent years, I have been making an effort to read the novel that has won the Pulitzer.  My avid-reader boss, Elsbeth, introduced me to this habit when she loaned me her copy of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  My Lord and Master said:

Elsbeth:  This is an odd, very intelligent story; you’ll like it.

She was right.  Another year she gave me Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lihari, but then I committed the faux pas of requesting the graphic novel, Persepolis.  My boss gasped, “You want that cartoon book?”  The next year I was gifted with a sweater.

For some time I have wanted to read Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but it’s 656 pages long and I prefer to travel light, so I have decided to go with 2010’s prize-winning slender tome, Tinkers, the first novel by Paul Harding.

Over beverages in B Bar on the Bowery, I told Milton that I was going to read Tinkers on my flight.

Milton:  That’s such a beautifully written book!  I couldn’t get past page three.

I stared at my dearest friend in astonishment.

Milton:  The story’s too emotional.  It made me too sad.  It made me think of my mother.

Me:  You have that book!  I bought it off Amazon and paid $3.99 shipping!

Milton sips his Margarita in screaming silence, delivering his droll “you should have asked” look in my direction.  The next time I fly West, I’ll ask him if he has Kavalier & Clay in his library.

A pile of plane reading.

Lame Adventure 139: Vacation!

It’s taken me fifty weeks to get here, but I’m finally on a seventeen day hiatus away from my job as the Minister of Tile, the crowded New York City subway system, bowls of taste lacking twigs for breakfast, and equally boring sandwiches for lunch that I chow down while staring dully at my computer screen when not envying the pigeons outside my window.

"We're free, you're caged!"

Essentially flavor-free, too.

Before leaving my place of employ on Friday, I wrote a list of what I need to remember to do upon my return on January 4th, so I am fully free to completely delete all things tile from my mind between now and then.

The Vagina Tile, I will forget about you! (Not really)

Is it barf or brownie tile, I will forget about you.

As liberating as it is to not find myself subject to Elsbeth, my boss, and one of her four questions that usually start with could you, did you, would you or can you, nor having to issue any dictates to my sidekick, Greg, that I start with “we” even though he knows as well as me, that I mean “you”, my first task this hiatus is to thoroughly clean my sanctum sanctorum.  Housecleaning does not rate very high on my to do list like seeing the Houdini exhibit currently on display at the Jewish Museum.  I so wish I could perform some abracadabra on vacuuming, scrubbing and dusting.

Crummy subway train poster photo of what appears to be a very interesting exhibit.

One bit of procrastination I seized this morning was responding to Zappos request for a product review of the black leather Jack Purcell sneakers I purchased in November.  I seldom write product reviews but since I’m on vacation and have switched gears from feeling sluggish about my get rich slow job to feeling sluggish about housecleaning, I discovered a level of enthusiasm for waxing at length about my sneakers I never realized I possessed.

Good sneaker, but runs a bit wide.

This weekend Milton and I got together for the last time until after I return from visiting my family for Christmas.  We ended our year of theatergoing the way we started it, by attending a work written and directed by one of our favorite up and coming playwrights, Young Jean Lee.  I don’t know what I mean by calling her “up and coming” since she’s 36-years-old, she’s been around for seven years, and has been subject to positive reviews in the mainstream press i.e., The New York Times, The New Yorker, Time Out New York, etc.  I suppose when she writes her big breakthrough hit and is welcome in Utah she will have fully arrived and our interest will have waned.

Meanwhile, Young Jean’s work remains as original, challenging and edgy as ever.  Her subjects range from religion (Church), race (The Shipment), her take on Shakespeare’s King Lear (Lear), to now, feminism.  I am certain that she could create a theater piece around a can opener and we would find it provocative.  Her latest, a work-in-progress called, Untitled Feminist Multimedia Technology Show, recently played for four days between December 16th through 19th at the New Museum.

Closed December 19th, but hopefully will return when further developed.

Following a witty impromptu introduction by Young Jean herself, this ambitious work with an unwieldy title opens with intentionally corny stock footage video.  The show that follows is packed with intriguing and hilarious debate that both mocks and questions what is feminism.  The discourse is interspersed throughout with naked nymphs dancing – some lean, others large, prompting this exchange between Milton and I over beverages afterward:

Me:  I think I’m much too hard on my body.

Milton:  Hell!  After looking at those women, I should tear off my shirt and call myself Clark Gable!

Click the link below to hear Young Jean’s take on the holiday spirit as she sings the wonderfully cynical I’m Spending Christmas Alone (something I highly doubt that someone so cutting edge, cool and creative is doing).

I’m Spending Christmas Alone

In April she’ll be singing at Joe’s Pub with Future Wife.  Milton and I will be there.

Lame Adventure 138: Well Hung Sprouts

Earlier this week I was food-shopping in Fairway when I saw they had stalks of Brussels sprouts.  “Oh happy day!” I gushed to myself.  This is not a very common occurrence.  Just as some may dream of designer clothes, swanky sports cars, or other hard to attain bling, I am so steam rolled by this dismal economy I prefer to keep my fantasies in check.  Therefore, I muse about finding cheap theater tickets, Tom’s toothpaste on sale and food.

Beauty pagent sprouts

Yet, what exactly would I do with this fantasy vegetable considering that I often go out after work, and I try to avoid having vintage foodstuffs growing fur in my refrigerator?  I reflected on my social calendar for the week, and noted that it would be another three days before I would be home to indulge that stalk of sprouts again – if I could possibly fit a tree-branch sized vegetable inside my tiny bar-sized refrigerator in the first place.

My miniscule fridge is primarily packed with beverages and a few condiments, the telltale sign of the stubbornly single who considers take-out cuisine within a three-block radius of home base home cooking.  The last site I want to see as I reach for an icy cold one is a moldy branch of Brussels sprouts that I purchased on a whim like the bottle of Japanese Miso salad dressing I only ate once last summer.  As winter approaches, it is looking a little more like a bottle of a cream-topped toxic cocktail every day.

A few weeks ago I felt disgust when I had to toss one rubbery asparagus that I had fully intended to eat along with its peers had it not entered the vegetable protection program inside my vegetable bin.  I did not realize it was there until I began smelling something turning rancid every time I opened the door.  I am relatively conscientious of my food inventory and could not figure out what had chosen to die inside my refrigerator.  In October, there was a plastic bag containing a few stray green beans that had escaped my food focus until they atrophied into a stiff soup, nothing like any made by Progresso unless they’ve recently added a variety called, “What the hell is that?”

Yet, that stalk of sprouts looked so enticing to me.  For a fleeting moment I considered if Fairway still has stalks of sprouts available next week, I could carry one with me on the plane when I visit my family in California over the holidays, even though both my father and brother-in-law hate Brussels sprouts, and I will probably fall even more out of favor with my niece, Sweet Pea.  I can imagine what my sixteen-year-old heir might say:

Sweet Pea (in a loud whisper to her mother):  Mom, look she brought us vegetables!  Vegetables, Mom!  She’s so weird.

Dovima:  You don’t have to eat them.  They’re good.  I like them.

Sweet Pea:  Whatever.

My life-long supporter, my sister, Dovima, is more of a vegetable enthusiast.  Maybe gifting her with this stalk will make up for once again failing to get her the kirsch-filled chocolate she likes.  Then again, maybe not.

Therefore, I passed on the stalk and bought a small bag of far less sexy loose sprouts that I had for dinner that night.  I’ll also pass on bringing a stalk with me to the Bay Area, if only to stay on my niece’s good side since she does the seating arrangement for Christmas dinner.  I know I am fast approaching crossing the line where she’ll seat me alone in the outdoor patio with the cat.