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Archive for the ‘Personal Observations’ Category

There, Their, They’re…

there-their-theyre-difference

Why is this so hard, people!?

Theyre-Their-There

I mean really!

there-their-theyre-peanuts

But use them properly… and I just melt!

aa-kendo-kanji-red

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Sitting at the Dock of the Bacon!

Well, boys and girls… bacon-eggs

Here we are again.

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The American and Canadian obsession with bacon!

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Now that Halloween is over…

monster-bacon-loafAnd with American Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon…

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The  popular imagination turns to thoughts of ham…

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And more specifically… bacon.

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The thought of a world without bacon gives some people the heebie-jeebies!

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Some people try to pit bacon against wealth.

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Some people try to mix bacon with other physical pleasures!

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And some people try a fusion of bacon and Art.

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Many history buffs do not ignore bacon’s glorious past.

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Some people have gone so far as to threaten roughhousing at the thought of having their bacon burgled.

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And then, there are the hopeless romantics.

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Those of us with a fondness for and/or an attachment to The South have our own way to put a cultural spin on things.

chickenfried-bacon(Chicken fried bacon)

And to some, thoughts of bacon are as ingrained as thoughts of sex

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So whether you like your pig candy as a bold fashion statement

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Or not…

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… until next time, I will leave bacon where it best belongs…

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On a plate, waiting to kill you.

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Thanks a million to my readers and myriad alleged friends who continue to send me bacon-related photos, videos and articles.

I can only say… You’re all sick and need to seek good professional help! 🙂

aa-kendo-kanji-red

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The other day, I was at my friend’s house minding my own business when he arrived from a visit to the local produce store.

With a flourish usually reserved for yanking rabbits out of silk toppers, he produced a bag of fruit and placed it on the table before me.

I gave the specimens the quick once over and came to the obvious conclusion.

“You sat on the bag, didn’t you?”

Apparently not.

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They were Saturn Peaches.

I understand that they are sometimes called Donut Peaches.

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Originally from China, Saturn peaches gained popularity in the US in the 1990s. They are smaller and flatter than a regular peach. Their skin is yellow and red, and they are usually less fuzzy than ordinary peaches. Their flesh is also a lot firmer, sweeter [1] and more fragrant (a subtle almond scent) than a regular peach.

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If the Earth was ever invaded by a fruit-based intergalactic alien life form, I suspect their spaceships would look like this.

A good selling point is the fact that, if you should drop a Saturn Peach, it does not roll around. It stays put. If you (or your kiddie-winkers) ever inadvertently unleashed a fuzzy peach avalanche, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I like them a lot, especially since I find regular peaches too fuzzy and nectarines too firm, relatively flavourless and lacking in sweetness.

I hope the Saturn Peach producers grow a freestone variety. That would make them perfect, in my view.

Run out and buy some! Just make sure they’re not miniature spaceships from the planet Fruitonia.

aa-kendo-kanji-red__________________________________________________________

[1] One might say ‘Flat-Out Sweet’ but I wouldn’t be surprised if one would also be in violation of a registered trademark somewhere. Darned intellectual property lawyers! 😉

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On Monday, I arrived in Israel for the first time in my life after so many years… decades… of waiting, hoping, praying.

I came alone.

I knew it was going to be emotional. I knew it was going to be intense.

I was prepared… or so I thought.

It was like being prepared to be hit by a bus… compared to actually being hit by a bus.

When the plane touched down in Tel Aviv, I began weeping. [1]

I could barely stand. Other passengers grabbed their carry on bags and headed out. I was in a daze.

I made my way through a blur of tears. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. I moved as if in a trance. Was this really happening? Am I in one of the thousands of dreams and daydreams I’ve had over the last 30 or 40 years?

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I was nervous about being questioned by Israeli authorities. Who was I? Where was I from? Where was I born? Why was I coming to Israel? Was I Jewish? A Jew with an Italian name? Were my parents Jewish? Did I convert? What rabbinical court converted me? My daughter lives in Israel? She immigrated to Israel? Where does she live? What is her address? Is this my first visit? What prayer does a Jew make when he embarks on a trip? Recite the first line. Do I wear tefillin? When do I wear them? When do I NOT wear them? What was the Torah reading for last Shabbes? What’s the Torah reading for next Shabbes? Was I married? Did I have an aufrufen? Did I read from the Torah? What was the Torah portion? Can I recite the first line from my haftorah portion? What holiday is coming up in 2 weeks? What book is read? Recite the blessings that are read before the book is read. Can you read the first few lines from that book? Do you know the melody that goes with that reading?

I had heard so many stories about Israeli security. I was nervous. I stepped up to the customs officer and handed her my passport.

“What is the purpose of your visit?”

I explained that this was my first visit to Israel and that I came to see my daughter who made aliyah (i.e. emigrated to Israel) a year ago.

“Where does she live?”

I told her she lives in Ramat Gan.

“How long are you going to be in Israel?”

I said I was staying for two weeks, returning on February 25.

The customs officer looked at me for a few moments, sizing me up.

She smiled and handed me back my passport and told me to proceed to baggage claims.

I walked to the baggage claim area and searched for my luggage. A plain black suitcase. My dear friend (and international travel guide) Tracy suggested I attach some brightly-coloured masking tape or cloth to make it distinguishable. I found it. Both wheels were broken off.

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I extended the handle and dragged the suitcase behind me as I moved out into the main lobby. I felt numb. It all seemed so unreal. I couldn’t help feeling that I was going to wake up at any moment.

A tall handsome young man with a wide smile. Tomer. My daughter’s boyfriend. He waves and comes to me, giving me a big warm tight hug.

And then I see my beloved daughter. I’ve not laid eyes on her in over a year.

I cry again. I can’t help it. Tomer helps me with my crippled suitcase.

We walk out into the fresh air. I breathe it deep into my lungs.

I’m here. I feel I’ve finally come home to a place to which I’ve never been before.

aa-kendo-kanji-red_________________________________________________________

[1] Actually, I started crying as soon as I heard the landing gear lowering. 

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I saw this the other day and I had to post it here.

punctuation

It reinforces for me why punctuation matters!

A very happy new year to everyone!

aa-kendo-kanji-red________________________________________________________

Check out Facebook.com/grammarly and Grammarly.com!

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If you’ve spent any time in The South, I’m fairly confident that you will have heard your fair share of “sirs” and “ma’ams,” and in a culture and society where civility and common decency… let alone chivalry… are becoming all but extinct, this is breath of fresh air.

Etiquette… manners, for lack of a better word… is still taught in many segments of The South.

In polite circles, gentlemen still stand when a lady enters the room. Gentlemen nod with perhaps the slightest of bows when they take their leave of a lady. Doors are opened for ladies. Chairs are pulled out and tucked in. “Ladies first” rarely needs to be said… it is a given.

The old saying is that if a woman’s car breaks down at the side of the road, all she has to do is lift the hood and stand by her car. Not 5 minutes will go by before some gentleman… even a truckload of them… will pull up and offer her a hand. My dearly beloved friend from Arkansas, Danielle, confirms this. “Hell… they LIVE for that kind of stuff!”

In grocery stores, gentlemen routinely allow ladies to go ahead in the checkout line. If a lady needs a shopping cart (or buggy, as they are often called), a gentleman will offer to give her his own.

While not born or raised in The South, I’ve adopted the practice of calling just about everyone Sir or Ma’am. I get mixed reactions, to be sure. Some girls think it is quaint or cute. Some women take it as a remark that they look older than they are.

One lady, I believe at the post office, smiled wistfully and said to me, “I can’t remember the last time someone called me Ma’am!”

She patted my arms and said, “Don’t ever stop doing that.”

I do not intend to!

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I’ve given this a lot of thought and have come to two conclusions.

One: most people don’t know how properly to flirt. This is because…

Two: most people don’t know what flirting is.

Flirting is as complex as it is fundamental.

Flirting is about communicating with a person through a careful procedure that involves a little curiosity, a bit of brevity and laughter, and some meaningful glances and smiles. While it can be aggressive and obvious, I personally put this overt style of flirting in the ‘hitting on someone’ category.

To me, flirting is quiet and subtle. A look that lingers a moment longer than it otherwise would. The tiniest of smiles. The most seemingly innocent double entendre or Freudian slip. A meaningful exchange of glances in reaction to what a third person says. The most subtle of body language. Ideally, only the most observant of bystanders would even know there was any flirting going on at all.

One popular fact that gets tossed around a great deal is that scientists believe there are as many as 52 “flirting signals” used by humans around the world.

I don’t know how or where the scientists picked up such information but speaking strictly for myself the Number One Undisputed Capital of Flirting, bar none, is The South.

There is something about the flirting that goes on south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Flirting is not merely a skill way down yonder in the land of cotton… it has been elevated, refined and transformed into an Art!

It is through the art of flirtation that people in The South experience the pleasures of interacting with the opposite sex.

Flirting can be a means by which to get into a relationship, of course. It is certainly an enjoyable way to get to know someone initially.

But to me, flirting is an end in and of itself. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere else. To me, flirting is its own reward.

And when flirting with a Southern Girl… the rewards are immeasurable.

It’s been 12 years since I went down to The South. It’s been 12 years since I’ve experienced Flirtation as Art.

Nothing compares. Nothing comes close.

I miss it.

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