Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Monday, June 30, 2008
Happy Birthday, Human Perfection
Baltimore's own Michael Phelps looks set to bust open Mark Spitz's long standing accomplishment of 7 Gold Medals in Beijing after last night's Olympic Trials, and may break the record for the most gold medals ever won by an American in Olympic history. The Tiger Woods of swimming.

I forgot to blog about running into him a while back when he was in town on a rare visit home in between trials and training. I was running errands on a Saturday getting ready for a party at a friend's house later that day and I stopped in to Whole Foods in Mt. Washington.

And there he was, all 6'4" of human perfection. He had just come from the Meadowbrook Swim Club across the street, where he swam enough laps in that pool while he was growing up to circle the globe a few times. I think he had appeared at some pre-Olympic pep rally for his old swim team and was signing autographs. At Whole Foods, his hair was still wet, tucked under a baseball cap with a T-shirt, soccer shorts and flip flops. There is not a molecule of fat on the guy, it is all sinew and muscle.

There are probably only a few hundred people on earth in as perfect physical shape as this guy is at this moment, and most of them will be in Beijing in about 40 days. It's stunning. And yes, I stared. How could you not?

Today is his 22nd birthday - happy birthday Michael.

image courtesy of Brittanica: TM and © Speedo, all rights reserved/PRNewsFoto/AP Images
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:45 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Bundle of Joy??
I've always wondered about this, and now what seemed to be a biological statement of fact, has instead been shot full of 21st century reality. It's no surprise that the demands of today's high tech, fast moving, more expensive lifestyles are the cause of much of this change.
"....parents are about 7 percentage points less likely to report being happy than the childless.

The most recent comprehensive study on the emotional state of those with kids shows us that the term "bundle of joy" may not be the most accurate way to describe our offspring. "Parents experience lower levels of emotional well-being, less frequent positive emotions and more frequent negative emotions than their childless peers," says Florida State University's Robin Simon, a sociology professor who's conducted several recent parenting studies, the most thorough of which came out in 2005 and looked at data gathered from 13,000 Americans by the National Survey of Families and Households. "In fact, no group of parents—married, single, step or even empty nest—reported significantly greater emotional well-being than people who never had children. It's such a counterintuitive finding because we have these cultural beliefs that children are the key to happiness and a healthy life, and they're not."
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:45 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Ode to Cousin Adji
I was perusing, looking for a vegetarian Moroccan dish I could make in my tangine. The reviewer comments on many of these recipes hold valuable tips for making the dish better, altering it to meet specific tastes or nutrional requirements, or warning you that it may in fact sound better than it is.

I don't know whether or not this comment was for real, but there is very little bogus commenting on these recipes - I mean, what's the point? But this one just cracked me up. And she even gave it 3 out of 4 forks. I may have to make in honor of cousin Adji....
11/ 08/02
Baba from US Territories
Good food, but my cousin Adji died suddenly during the supper. I believe that it was his gout and a combination of small shoes. Pushbawa, his widow, insisted that it was that the coriander was not cut in small enough pieces. To avaoid family quarelling, we have chosen to never make the dish again. In turn, Pushbawa will agree to remain in black for 12 years in honor of my cousin. Win/win
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:48 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The Dalai Lama's Brother
This is a fascinating read. I had no idea that the Dalai Lama had a younger brother, much less one that is bipolar and has anger management issues.
"Tendzin Choegyal is the Dalai Lama’s youngest brother. Aside from being related to one of the holiest persons alive, TC is a rebellious soul who dropped out of college, spent a couple of years as a paratrooper in the Tibetan contingency of the Indian army, survived alcoholism,and found peace through a blend of Buddhism, lithium, and reading the news on the Internet. When I met him at his home in Dharamsala, India—the Himalayan town that houses the Tibetan government-in-exile—we talked about reincarnation, war movies, Steven Seagal’s crazy outfits, and the preservation of Tibetan culture."
posted by Broadsheet @ 4:08 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Katy Couric and an old high school classmate are kidnapped by architectural terrorists (don't ask). After 4 years, I discover them, they are rescued, and there is a big parade with awards. On the way to the parade I get lost in Heathrow Airport which just happens to have a huge shopping mall where wild animals roam free and there is an amazing white water / river raft type of ride down the Amazon.

What did YOU dream about last night???
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:46 AM   2 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 22, 2008
One step forward, two steps back
This was the first free weekend I've had in more than a month, and the last three weeks have been flat out hectic with work and travel. As usual, with an entire weekend stretched out before me, I make a list of things to get done that is hopelessly optimistic.

This weekend was no different, and was compounded by the fact that my knee is acting up and was really painful. I took extra non narcotic pain killers yesterday, but today I had to resort to an ice pack and a Vicodin nap on the sofa when I got back from the grocery store. I think I need to call my orthopedic surgeon tomorrow and see if I can get another corticosteroid fix, and make an appointment to get a little arthroscopic surgery.

Things that got done:
- Unpacking from last week's trip to Portland.
- Laundry - not all of it though
- Clean up the kitchen, run the dishwasher
- Damp mopped the floors
- Picked up clutter and put things away
- Clean the litter boxes, empty trashcans for trash pickup tomorrow
- Grocery shopping - all I had in the fridge was condiments - literally.
- Dropped off the dry cleaning and picked up stuff to take to the cookout.
- Made an awesome mushroom bolognese sauce to pour over tagliatele pasta for dinner, and leftovers to freeze.
- Blogging, paid bills, caught up on correspondence, did some League work
- Attended a great BBQ party with some great friends.

Things that didn't get done:
- Deadheading the roses, weeding the garden, and cutting the grass
- Going to the gym (bad Broadsheet)
- Fixing the back gate. I bought the hardware, but never got to fixing it.
- Washing sheets and towels. Too many trips up and down the stairs for my knee to handle.
- Reseating the hard drive from the desktop computer and transferring files to the laptop.

So far, I only have two evening commitments this week - a crab feast on Wednesday, and our neighborhood Band Concert on Thursday, so hopefully, I'll get caught up in time for next weekend.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:29 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
"Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants"
I am a huge fan of food writer Michael Pollan. He's the only person I know that can make the sex life of corn plants riveting literature.

I just finished his latest book "In Defense of Food", and I think I'm going to embark on a little experiment this summer. I'm going to give vegetarianism a try. If you've read any of Pollan's books - you'll understand why. The rapidly increasing cost of corn for bio fuels is driving up the cost of all other foods. Corn prices are rising faster than oil prices. A lot faster. That, and our primary source of protein in this country, chicken and beef - were never meant to eat a corn based diet. Cows are ruminants - they are designed to eat grass, not antibiotic laced, hormone fueled, corn feed.

Now, I'm not gonna get all militaristic about this. This is a choice for health reasons, not ethical ones. Hell, I had some awesome BBQ ribs at a friend's cookout last night, and if you offer me some grilled chicken or steak - I'll be happy to take you up on that. But at home, for meals I prepare myself, I'm going to focus on whole grains, veggies, and pasta for a few months and see how that goes.

My mom gave me Mark Bittman's vegetarian bible "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" for Christmas, I have the Moosewoood Cookbook, and I have a couple of traditional Indian cookbooks that contain mostly vegetarian recipes in them. I'm also a big fan of the food blog "101 Cookbooks", a vegetarian weblog, and Heidi's recipes are just stunning for their creativity, flavor and downright prettiness. I will still enjoy fresh eggs, and organic milk and cheeses - I could not survive a cheese free diet, and the occasional strip of bacon for flavoring may come into play - because what is life without a good piece of bacon? But I think the good old days of a huge piece of protein surrounded by skimpy sides of a starch and vegetable are over.
posted by Broadsheet @ 1:12 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
"In an octopus's garden in the shade"
I don't think this is what the Beatles had in mind when they wrote that song. Here in Maryland, amongst the resurgence of Victory Gardens, and the growing popularity of Farmer's Markets and eating local, seasonal items (which is all too easy to do here with the bounties of the Chesapeake), there is a growing trend of home oyster gardening. More than 1,600 Maryland homes are taking part!

Though the Chesapeake oyster is at an estimated 1 percent or less of its historic bounty in the bay, a victim of water pollution and sediment runoff from development, the nonprofit environmental group (Chesapeake Bay Foundation) and its volunteers have put roughly 7 million oysters in sanctuaries since 1997.

''They're dirty little guys, and they don't smell good, but you always feel really good after you plant them,'' said Tiffany Granberg, a CBF employee who loaded up several dozen buckets of homegrown oysters Thursday on a boat docked outside the group's Annapolis headquarters.

Volunteers pay $75 for four oyster cages and a seminar on how to raise them. In the fall, they get several thousand ''spat'' -- baby oysters the size of the nail on one's pinky -- and instructions on how to raise them. The volunteers tie the cages to docks, leaving them a few inches below the water, and haul them out twice a month or so to rinse them.

Under home owner's docks or tied to ladders, the baby oysters take 9 months to grow and then are returned to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where they are seeded on oyster sanctuaries in non commercial fishing areas in the Bay.
posted by Broadsheet @ 12:40 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Good News
This is a welcome announcement. I really don't see that NBC had any other logical choice given the importance of an election year and the gaping chasm that Tim Russert's loss has created in their news division.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:56 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Images of Oregon
A few more images from Portland, OR.

The Japanese Gardens:

Japanese Splendor

And in Chinatown, a bit of reverse Chinglish:

Hung Far Low

And if you've ever wondered why Oregon beef tastes so good? There's a reason:

So - THAT's what happens to cows in Oregon!
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:37 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
A rose by any other name....
The Rose Garden in Washington Park, Portland Oregon.....

This is "Rainbow Sorbet"
Rainbow Sorbet

"American Beauty"
A rose by any other name

"Cherries and Cream"
Cherry Cream

And, although it's not a rose, it sure was pretty - a Poppy that would make Georgia O'Keefe jealous.
posted by Broadsheet @ 11:31 AM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Two of my favorite people
....were awarded the United States highest civilian award today, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dr. Ben Carson, a Baltimore legend and former Hopkins colleague, and Dr. Donna Shalala, who was once the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, and is now the President of the University of Miami.

I knew Donna as the UW Chancellor, and then later when she was Health and Human Services Secretary for the US under Clinton. She attended a number of UW events I hosted for the Alumni Association, and for the Wisconsin State Society events in DC.. I also met her mother on a number of these occasions - including an away game at Penn State. A formidable woman in her own right, Edna Shalala is a lawyer who was in her late eighties when I first met her, and still playing tennis. Edna was a USTA national champion in both singles and doubles in the women's 80s and older category. Now well into her nineties, she was present today when Donna received her medal.

Congratulations to both of them - well deserved.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:47 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Portland Oregon
I had never been to Portland, OR and had always wanted to visit there. Therefore, an invitation to represent the State of MD at the National League of Women Voters Convention (also known as the national "Chicos" meets "Cold Water Creek" meets "Talbots" convention with a liberal dose (pun intended) of "LL Bean" and "Eddie Bauer") was a welcome opportunity.

This is perhaps the most common perception of Portland:

Au contraire!!! The weather was exquisite during our entire stay. Sunny, cool and beautiful. The air was SWEET. You could literally taste it. The light was brighter, and the air was cleaner by a LOT than on the east coast. Despite this, sadly, you could still make out a brown haze around Mt. Hood in the distance. This photo was taken mid day on perhaps one of the clearest days of the entire year. Welcome to global climate change.

Portland is definitely a city of contrasts. From their pioneering, independent spirit, to the current alt.indie culture, to the influx of Japanese and other immigrants, it is the perfect city for people watching.

We received a flyer under our hotel room door the second morning we were there, notifying us that the streets around the Hilton would be closed for a few hours for the "Portland Pride Parade".

What do you get when you mix 1,000 feminists and a Pride Parade? A lot of happy, enthusiastic spectators. Our entire convention emptied out into the streets to cheer the parade and march with them.

The parade opened with the "Dykes on Trikes" delegation (there are so many entendres in that statement, I don't even know where to begin), and was followed by the "The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence". Always a crowd pleaser at any LBGT event.

Sister Anna Wrecks Ya and her posse:

Now the cool thing about Portland was the amazing turnout from the entire community for this event. Families with strollers, old people, young people, etc... It was like any turnout for any major parade in any major city. Face painting, balloons, clowns, etc.. OK, so the Furry element was a little too fetish, but the kids just thought they were mascots.

And then there were the traditionalists. When I shot the photo of the Sisters, I turned to see this Japanese woman in full kimono dress looking on. This is what she wears every day - she was not in costume.

I'll post photos from the Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and other Portland locations tomorrow.
posted by Broadsheet @ 9:40 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The Joyful Duty of the Honesty of Service
I've missed a few important events here at Casa de Broadsheet over the last few weeks.

Lemme try and catch up, but not perhaps in chronological order.

I flew to Portland, OR early last Friday morning. When I landed, there was a news alert on my cell phone. "NBC 's Meet the Press News anchor Tim Russert is dead of a reported heart attack".

I was shocked. The first thing I said to my travel companion was; "isn't it ironic that he died on Fathers Day weekend - after all he wrote about Big Russ and his son".

Well, I didn't have time to react or watch anything other than a few seconds of CNN in my hotel room over the weekend, or for the next few days, until now.

His son Luke said that "there was never a day that went by that I didn't know my Dad loved me completely". That's the best memory / reality you can leave anyone. Hands down.

I wanted to embed the Springsteen video tribute here, but the best one is being hosted by CNN and I can't embed it directly, so here is the link.

Please go here....
to watch the tribute.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:06 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Karma or Irony?
Look, I don't have any interest in poking fun at the weather related devastation and misery in the Midwest right now, but this article on CNN did raise my eyebrow, and perhaps touched my funny bone as well:
"The storm also destroyed several buildings at Kansas State University, including a wind erosion lab..."
I mean - seriously, a wind erosion lab flattened by a tornado - that's karma.
posted by Broadsheet @ 10:18 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Dells
I spent a lot of time in the Wisconsin Dells one summer in college when I was lifeguarding in Madison, WI and dating one of the water skiiers in the Tommy Bartlett Show , about an hour and a half north of Madison, on my days off. My family even came out from PA one week to visit me and stay in a resort.

The Dells are a very All American summer resort. It's got the cheeziness of the Ocean City Boardwalk and Six Flags Amusement Park, mixed with the Midwestern charm of a big lake and summer homes.

Not so this summer. Lake Delton is gone and the water skiiers are literally grounded.

I have very fond memories of that summer, and the Tommy Bartlett show has been operating for more than 50 years. I hope they can refill the lake and rebuild.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:49 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Turkey Swiss Melt
This is an actual headline on CNN at the moment describing a European Cup soccer match. I think an editor at CNN was having a slow day.....
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:44 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Saturday, June 07, 2008
The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination
Author J.K. Rowling was the commencement speaker at Harvard this year. You might think that the world's most widely published author of children's books is a slightly unusual choice for such an iconic bastion of higher learning.

Until, that is, you hear her speech. Hands down one of the most compelling, and inspirational 20 minutes you will spend.

You can watch the video or read the transcript here. Don't miss it.

posted by Broadsheet @ 2:34 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Bagpipers in Baltimore
Whatever did we do before the Internet? More specificaly - what did we do before Google?

I am co-hosting a going away party this weekend for one of my dearest friends and a neighborhood icon. She's my "Baltimore Mom". I bought my house from her daughter and her husband almost nine years ago, and she has been one of my closest friends ever since. Despite our age difference (she's in her mid 70's), I view and treat her as a friend, and I will miss her terribly.

I couldn't possibly fit the number of people (> 60) that want to pay their respects to her at a party in my house, so another neighbor with more real estate offered their home for the event, and I'm handling the invitations, catering, and entertainment.....

Because we wanted to include all of the people that are important to Baltimore Mom, we had to let her in on the secret to get the invitation list right. During this process, she hinted to multiple people that she would like a Bagpiper at her party to see her out of Bolton Hill (she's Irish - go figure).

Where in the heck would I find such a thing a week from the event?? So that's how I got to my impromptu Google search of: "Bagpipers in Baltimore"

Who knew? I had a full page of Bagpipers in Baltimore ready to hire for any event and occasion, and after a few phone calls - voila!

We have a Bagpiper arriving as a surprise guest to see her out of Bolton Hill with her favorite Irish Ballads.

My work here is done.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:33 PM   1 Editorial Opinions
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Board Bored
I usually have one or two weeknight commitments a week for various business, community, charity, or neighborhood meetings / events. Could be anything from a committee meeting, a monthly Board meeting, or a cultural event. That's nice - keeps me busy.

What I can't understand is why it all gets so out of hand at times. I mean, I have THREE Board "Retreats" this week alone. Must be Spring.

Tuesday, we had an all day "Retreat" for Sr. Execs at work regarding "Dealing with Change", and having "Crucial Conversations" - otherwise known as the "honey we need to talk" conversations. That was fun. FOR EIGHT HOURS.

Honey, we need to talk.

I actually had to skip the carrot at the end of the day (i.e. a small cocktail reception with my CEO and VP), to rush home and attend a FOUR HOUR "Strategic Visioning Retreat" for my community association Board. Yes, 6:00 - 10:00 on a weeknight. Pizza, cookies, soft drinks and a few crazies (oh, excuse me. In my neighborhood, they are called "eccentric"). Determinedly so, I must say.

This weekend, it is a Spring Board Retreat for the League of Women Voters for six hours on a Saturday. This is an organization I am passionate about, but when it comes to meetings, I just wish I wasn't the only member there with a menstrual cycle. We need to work on targeting younger members for recruitment.....

Meetings R' Us.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:06 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
More Neighborhood Goodness
My garden gate requires that I go through a fairly elaborate routine to lock or unlock it. I have developed this routine over time, and it requires a complicated, coordinated, martial arts move of lifting the gate with my knee, shifting it to the right, and pressing the key in - all at the same time. Doing it with one hand is not an option. You have to set down the groceries, briefcase, etc., to accomplish the "Ninja Gate Move" accurately.

So imagine my amazement when I arrived home in between Board meetings last night, and immediately realized that the gate had been completely re-hung with all new hardware, the lock oiled, and it opened with an easy twist of the key - with one hand!

I had a cookout on Saturday evening which included the parents of my neighbors, who are here on their semi-annual three week visit from the Netherlands for the first time since the Dutch wedding invasion last fall. Dutch Dad discovered that my gate was an engineering challenge, and as a retired engineer, took it upon himself to unstick the situation.

He must spent have hours drilling the gate mounts into the masonry brick wall, re-mounting the hardware and re-hanging the gate. I couldn't get him to accept $$ other than to let me reimburse him for the hardware.

Did I mention I love my neighbors?? (and their parents??)
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:30 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Monday, June 02, 2008
You Gotta Have Friends....
Further proof (not that I needed any) that I live in the best neighborhood in the world: I got home around 5:15 PM thanks to an offsite meeting and promptly re-heated yummy leftovers from a Caribbean cookout I hosted on Saturday night for the neighbors. Jerk chicken with mango and black bean salsa, pigeon peas and rice, and fried plantains.

I have had not one, not two, but three offers of an impromptu dinner between then and 6:45. One neighbor simply made a big pot of soup and wanted to drop off a quart for me to have for dinner or lunch at work, another knows I usually work long hours and wanted to know if I just wanted to pop over for dinner on a spectacular summer evening, and yet another - who I had already planned on meeting at 7:00 to plan a party for another neighbor (the soup lady) this weekend, who offered to feed me dinner in the process.

Sigh...I love my neighbors.
posted by Broadsheet @ 6:46 PM   0 Editorial Opinions
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Masz Piwo?
Got Beer?

The summer of Ethnic Festivals in Baltimore has begun! This weekend was the Polish Festival in Patterson Park. My neighbor and I went for lunch today to check it out. Of course, the focus of any good Polish Festival is food. Specifically:

Masz Kielbasa

But there was other food - if you can decipher it...
Pierogis Anyone?

There was also Polish Pottery..

Polish Pottery

And of course Polish Dolls of all sizes and shapes...

Little Dolls

Including this life size doll who was pulling a red wagon around the festival with her Mom on the way to a dancing exhibition.

Big Doll

Anyway, it was a nice afternoon to walk around the park, people watch, grab some good food, and have a beer in the sunshine. Let the summer begin......
posted by Broadsheet @ 3:12 PM   0 Editorial Opinions

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