Friday, December 13, 2019

It could be worse... or is it?

Something evil this way comes?
Today is Friday the thirteenth. A rare event -
our only other this year was in September.
For some reason the concurrence of thirteen
digits and this last day of a work week is
considered by many to be "unlucky." While
some folks are unnerved by said timing -
others have a phobia about the number itself.
So much so that psychologists have given it
an official name - "triskaidekaphobia." Such
a term causes at least this writer to pause as
it's obvious that some experts must have too
much time on their hands. Anyway, suffice it
to say that this day rattles some folk's cages!
Never ever on a Sunday?
As with most myths - it's virtually impossible
to trace the origins of this superstition. Some
claim it's all to do with the thirteen who were
at Christ's last supper. Others think it started
with King Philip IV's arrest of the Knights of
Templar on a Friday the thirteenth in 1307.
The list goes on and on. In Greece and Spain -
Tuesday the thirteenth is deemed the worst of
days. In Italy - Friday the seventeenth is their
day of reckoning. Thus whether one is lucky
or not seems to depends on where you are and
on what day. That said, the question is whether
any of this fuss about the date really matters.
Safety in numbers
In 1993 the British Medical Journal published
a study showing "a significant level of traffic-
related incidence on Friday the thirteenth. In
2008 the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics
stated that there were fewer accidents on that
date because people were "more cautious due
to superstition." In contrast - accident rates in
most major US cities increase dramatically on
March seventeenth and December thirty first.
So, can one assume that St Patrick's Day or
New Years Eve are equally unlucky at best?
Might the best approach be to drive safely
three hundred and sixty five days each year?
Double indemnity
Rather than accept responsibility - it's much
easier to blame everyone and everything else
for our trials and tribulations. However rarely
are things truly beyond our control. The truth
is almost any challenge can be traced back to
some self-imposed source. Therefore like it
or not, we invariably have nobody to blame
but ourselves for whatever is wrong in our
lives. Often it all depends on one's outlook.
Hence as I was born on the thirteenth (not a
Friday) I consider said double digits lucky.
Meaning that at least for today I'm assuming
that things are going my way!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


All you need are
five easy pieces...

Some approach interior
decoration with much
fear and trepidation.

Terrified that they'll
be forced to live with
an expensive mistake.

While your options are
endless, home is where
the heart is. Thus in the
end it's all about you.

C+V HOME is ready
to help you put things
in their proper place.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


Fry day special
Not raised a Catholic, I really didn't understand
what all the fish Friday fuss was about. Nor was
I forced to endure fish sticks served by the baby
sitter. Both of this boomer's parents loved fish.
Hence they didn't need any excuse to dine upon
it at least once a week. Oddly unlike most other
culinary ingredients - my Mother liked it fresh.
So whenever she could catch something good
at the grocer it was served that night. Be it fresh
halibut or salmon steaks, filet of sole, flounder,
clam or cod chowder. All of which I loathed
with a passion. Until later when I realized how
special it all was.
Off the hook
For much of my life I lived close to an ocean
or large body of water. Fortunately I grew to
love all fish food. Living in Manhattan we had
our pick of the sea whenever we craved it.
Seasonal specialities such as soft shell crabs,
oysters, and clams on the half shell. Exotic
fare like sushi, octopus, and calamari. Along
with delicatessen goodies such as white fish,
lox, and pickled herring. While in Chicago we
enjoyed deep fried smelts and perch drowned
in butter a la Phil Smidt's in nearby Hammond.
Both fresh caught from Lake Michigan. And
all delicious, regional, and very special!
Hook, line, and sinker
Here in central Montana our options are more
limited. Some of the best trout in the state can
be hooked nearby. Our favorite local eatery -
The Mint - dishes out quality fish specials on
a nightly basis. Our grocer Albertsons offers
up a limited but decent fresh fish assortment
including lobster, shrimp, and crab. Plus they
have a sushi counter that's actually decent. So
there's no excuse to not take a deep dive on a
regular basis. Frozen varieties tend to be the
"freshest". But should you purchase "fresh"
you must choose wisely. And most important,
you must literally stick your nose in it.
Fresh caught
Ultimately when it comes to fish less is more.
Especially as it relates to cooking time. Little
is worse than a piece of overcooked and hence
dry fish or rubbery shrimp. And nothing will
make it any better if it smells to high heaven.
While anything from the farm is great (fruit,
vegetables, meat, and poultry) it's simply bad
crowd sourcing when it comes to seafood.
Reasons enough to stick with "wild caught."
Cooking a piece of fresh cod, salmon, or
halibut is easy.  Simply rub it with olive oil
and season to taste. Then roast at 425 for 5
to 10 minutes. Trust me, you'll be hooked.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Safety in numbers?
Amidst our current constitutional crisis I've
heard this excuse many times - "Everybody
does it." Which means exactly what? Should
one assume there is safety in numbers given
many of us do the wrong thing on a frequent
basis? Since assuming office Mr.  Trump has
uttered at least 13,000 falsehoods thus far.
Hence it's fine to lie? Can we now freely rob
each other given over 300,000 thefts occur
annually within our shores? Is it OK to kill
another given more than sixteen thousand
Americans are murdered each year? When
did doing wrong become perfectly all right?!
Right or wrong?
There is a reason we have laws. Nobody wants
to live in a free-for-all world. One where both
the good and bad get to make their own rules.
Extremists aside, the majority of folks try to do
the right thing. So why would anybody condone
any other doing the wrong thing? Other than
because they can't admit they made a mistake.
Or will do anything to insure they hold onto
their power. Hence the mess we're now in. My
question being, can we the people separate fact
from fiction, truth from deception, right from
wrong?! Or are we witnessing the collapse of
our American democracy as we know it?
Friendly persuasion
Per recent reports - Rudy Guiliani has made
millions via leveraging his friendship with
Donald Trump to his advantage. Ultimately
interjecting himself into America's foreign
relations behind the scenes. To the benefit
of his clients and self interests. Is that right
or wrong? Years ago Martha Stewart went
to jail because she used insider information
to feather her nest. In doing so, she did not
endanger others. Rather she simply used her
competitive edge to her advantage. Was that
wrong? And should she now be pardoned by
her former boss on NBC's The Apprentice?
Equal opportunity
It's a fact that Donald Trump withheld house
approved financial aid to the Ukraine. It's a
fact that he then asked its President to do him
"a favor" and investigate his political foe.
Using his competitive edge to his advantage.
Right or wrong why should he be allowed to
do so?  What gives him the right to leverage
his presidential role for his political gain and
endangering millions? Does "everybody" do
that? What would happen if you were caught
in the same act? Would a jury of your peers
make excuses for you? Or would they hold
you accountable? Nobody is above the law.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Old enough to know better

The rules of the game
No matter how we try to avoid conflict, it
seems somebody gets hurt in the process.
Deep within us all lurks an evil force. One
which drives some to do truly awful things.
Hence it must be kept in check. The golden
rule and laws of most lands being in essence
guard rails that help us to avoid accidents.
However even with the best of intentions
there are rogues amongst us. Those opt to
break all rules. To satiate their needs, wants,
and desires. At all costs. And inevitably to
the detriment of those who know them best.
Punished for crimes they know not of.

The devil is in the details
Selfishness is at the core of self indulgence. It
skews the odds in one's favor. When focused
solely on me, myself, and I it's all too easy to
become self-consumed. Leading to a dead end
that some may consider a perfect opportunity.
Enabling martyred "victims" of circumstances
to blame anybody but themselves. Along with
providing ample excuses which enable them
to inflict hateful pain on others in the name of
retribution. However rarely if never do two
wrongs make things right. Thus the end result
is equal or worse to whatever original sin is
fueling their hate. Therefore nobody wins.
Enough already
Contrary to Nancy Pelosi's recent retort -
everybody hates somebody. The devil is
in the details. All of which provide little
purpose beyond warping our perspective.
We all have been wronged by another.
Our only difference being how we deal
with injustice. Once the deed is done,
the choice between being a victim or
victor is yours alone. Some allow hatred
and resentment to fester and poison them.
Others move on. Walk away. Forgive and
forget. Living in the past deters forward
momentum. Isn't it time you grew up?!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

7th Day Surprise: Pretty Soon

What are you dreaming of?

The holidays are two weeks away.

While many are losing sleep -
I doubt as of yet they're falling asleep
with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.

Anyone can opt to rebel against
the traditional holiday red and green.

Hence while you've still got time enjoy some