Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Through this door
you enter a Paradise

Which only a logical mind
like its creator
can figure out


I used to have that poem posted above my door at home when I was growing up. It also inspired me to write some other "Through" type poems as well:

Through this man you find:
a mind as wide and varied as the universe:
a heart that is as kind and generous as itself

And through this man
you discover love


Through a friend you find:
a warm compatible companion through any stage
a lasting relationship that grows with age

And through this friendship
you discover love


Through this door you discover:
a paridise
where love shall reign
and fear shall be restrained


Monday, April 27, 2009

Do you have that new myPhone yet…

Until the brown paper parcel landed on my welcome mat
Even the pretty secretaries who wouldn't even
All recognize my handwriting
And return to sender as a matter of fact

Lately I've been receiving mail indicating that I have won a new cell phone which got me to thinking… What if they actually sent you the phone instead? I currently do not have a cell phone— nor am I going to fill out those forms to get the one I just won. Of course you have to realize that many new phones have GPS built in for E-911 tracking purposes— which makes you wonder what else is being tracked. I'm curious what would happen in a world where they forgo the application form and just send you the phone instead…

Come jump in my adjective dementia dimension machine and I'll take you to that world.

When I got home from work my wife lets me know that there is a package on the front stoop with my name on it and jokingly asked if would I please take it inside before the neighbors call the bomb squad again. As I open the box it appears to glow from under the packing peanuts. I start reading the promo letter that came with the package:

Congratulations, you have just won a new mePhone.
There is no need to activate this phone because it has already been activated for you. Service is free to all mePhone subscribers. All we ask is that you use our service and enjoy your new mePhone.

I try to empty the box of the packing material and accidentally spill the phone on the floor. My wife picks it up and says I broke it and hands it over to me. Instantly the green glow reappears the moment it touches my hand and the glow starts to pulse as well. I quip back… "it's not broken— it's just sleeping".

I snickered a bit when I saw "11G" on the case (3G is so passe— I guess it goes to 11 now). I made a call to test out the reception and got the following automated message: "******** is currently on the phone with ******… if you want to leave a message, press 1… If you want to page this person, press 2… If you want to leave a text on their phone, press 3… If you want to locate this person, press 4". Intrigued, I pressed 4 and was instantly displayed with a map. Not only that, but the balloon indicator was moving rapidly across the map as if the person was in a car traveling along. Unwilling to continue, I hung up.

A few minutes later, I got a call from the person who I tried calling earlier…
Friend: Hey, I didn't know that you got a new phone
Me: Uh, I didn't even leave a message—
Friend: That's OK, pretty cool how it said it was you and that you were looking for me— how sweet.
Me: Yea, just trying to figure out the phone.

I hung up and was instantly asked to give an audio prompt to identify this caller for future reference. I spoke their name and pressed save and turned off the phone. I then wondered how it knew how to find this person and instantly the phone came back to life and proceeded to ask If I wanted to find ********… and repeated the name I just spoke using my voice. It was at this point that I knew something strange was happening.

If I were you I'd change my name again
They don't care what they do to you believe me

I put the phone down and decided to take the dog for a walk. Funny how I kept seeing a plain colored Civic with a strange tripod on top silently turning the corner every time I walk down another street with the dog. And why is it that all through my walk I kept thinking the phrase: "If you would like to make a call— please pick up and try again"… I think I'll return the phone now.

I'll write this story down, but you'll never guess the
Final Twist
Blow the whistle on the whole design
As they find my name on that fatal mailing list
I hear the clatter of a typewriter
Another rookie eating up the reams
I think it's time to place my feet under the desk

1, 2, 3 Excerpts from the Elvis Costello song: "King of Thieves" from the album Punch the Clock.

Friday, April 24, 2009

F2: Fallen Star

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be talking about a restaurant. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast, click on Mr. Linky below then leave a comment so I and others can know of your contribution.

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

Recently my wife and I took a trip up to Milwaukee for the day. There is a restaurant on the drive up that we always stop at called the Star Restaurant. Much to our surprise the restaurant was closed. We probably should have suspected something was up when the resturant wasn't listed on the exit sign.

The Star is one of those restaurants that has been around a very long time. My wife indicated that she always ate at the restaurant with her mother and her aunt as a child when they used to go up to Milwaukee at Christmas time. We also kidnapped our youngest grandchild one Saturday afternoon to go to Mars Cheese Factory (which is across the street) and ate at the Star. There have been four generations in her family who have eaten there… and now it's gone.

It must not have been closed long since they had a sign which advertised that they have been in business for 70 years. It's an awful tragedy to have something that was such a tradition now no longer a part of our lives. We now have to rethink where we are going to stop to eat on our trips up to Milwaukee.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where's CaJoh…

I have decided to be a contributor over at In The Real World Venus vs. Mars. This means that I am around… but not here today. This site has guest contributors who post about relationships. Since I tend to post about similar subjects, this allows me the opportunity to talk specifically about relationships and give real world examples rather than talk abstractly as I normally would in my personal philosophy posts.

Since I didn't have anything prepared and wanted to contribute right away, I re-posted a previous post that I made that I thought people might like. Please stop by and read my post about The Three Legged Stool— and while you're at it, continue to read as there are several others who contribute with great articles as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute: Changes

The more things change— the more they stay the same…

In honor of Tuesday's Tribute I am tipping my hat to those things which change. As some of you already know, Jay over at Halftime Lessons has taken a leave of absence and has passed the hat over to Angie over at SevEn cLoWn CirCuS. So, in order to keep the tradition alive I thought I would point out some changes in the blogging world.

I noticed that the Blog Stalkers Unite will be closing its doors. Any of you who have visited the site may have used this site to find other blogs to read— I know I have. The good news is that there is a similar blog to take its place called Confessions… of a blogaholic where you can go and be listed amongst the other Blogaholics through the Blogaholics Community site. The format is very similar to Blog Stalkers Unite, but is different in that there are categories where you can be listed. If you are new to the blogging world and want to find other interesting blogs to read, you can go there to find something. Also, if you want others to be able to find you who normally would not otherwise, then sign up to be listed. It is all very new, so you may need to be patient as the site just starts out.

Tuesday's Tribute

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spin Cycle: Posture

In honor of the Spin Cycle by Sprite's Keeper— I have decided to place my spin on this weeks assignment— Manners:

Many times for Lent I tend to take on a challenge that I give to myself. This year was no exception. My Lenten challenge this year was: "Concentrate on my posture without posturing".

Now… what do I mean by that? It's pretty simple: I want to make sure that I don't slouch and keep a good posture— but at the same time I don't want to show off. To me posturing means that you are making a statement. Many times it's with what you say— but in this case it's what's seen by others. If you are familiar with dancing terms, the term "Attitude" tends to describe an emotion or attitude through your movement in the dance. The same can be said about your every day movements as well. You show an attitude through the way you move and hold yourself. I do not want to concentrate on good posture and wind up looking like: "hey look at me… don't I look great".

In the end I failed miserably. I did catch myself a few times, but never kept up my good posture for more than a few seconds. Much like my New Year's resolutions, they don't end after the time is up. I will see how well I can continue to take on this challenge and serve that dual purpose of having good posture without showing off.

Friday, April 17, 2009

F2: Fennel Fish

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be sharing one of my recipes. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

Participants in this weeks Feast are as follows:

With inspirations from petit poisson

Whenever I cook fish in the oven I typically use onions and butter. In order to be more health conscious I have modified this technique to use fennel instead of onions and olive oil instead of butter. This recipe can be adapted for any type of fish… but I would suggest using a white fish such as halibut or cod— as salmon may compete too much with the fennel.

Fennel Fish:
1 large pan with a lid (large enough to hold all the fish).
4-6 fish fillets (depending on size).
1 fennel bulb (stalks included).
2 T Olive oil
1 serving platter (Optional).
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Cut the tops of the fennel off and set aside.
  3. Chop the rest of the fennel into medium size chunks and place in pan.
  4. Place the fish on top of the fennel bed in the pan.
  5. Brush the olive oil onto the fish.
  6. Cover pan and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven.
  8. If you choose to serve on a platter…
    1. Place half of the fennel tops on the bottom of the platter.
    2. Remove the cooked fennel from the pan and place on the patter.
    3. Remove the fish from the pan and place on top of the cooked fennel on the platter.
    4. Place the remaining fennel tops on top of the fish.
  9. … otherwise place the fennel tops on top of the fish in the pan.
  10. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Writer's Workshop: I killed my brother

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I am going to be taking on Prompt #5:
Tell us about that time at the playground when that thing happened.

When I was little we used to live very close to my grade school. So close in fact, that our back yard fence was adjacent to the driveway were the teachers parked their cars. So close, that I could hop that fence and go to school if I wanted to (but didn't because I would have gotten a spanking from my mother).

There was a new tornado slide installed and everybody was playing on it including my sister and I. There must be some temptation built into tornado slides that encourage children to climb up the sides. There must be some other temptation that makes you slide down the slide with your legs hanging over the sides as well. As fate would have it I was climbing up the side of the slide, and my sister was sliding down the slide with her legs hanging over the edge. She knocked me off the slide and I was knocked unconscious.

From what I hear (I was unconscious by the way)… my sister scooped me up and carried me all the way home from the playground. In tears, she then announced to my parents: "I killed him. I killed my brother". Luckily I was only unconscious and the only other injury was a sprained wrist.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Night and Day

In the late 80's I responded to a request to submit a poem for a poetry anthology. It may have been one of those promotions whereby if you submit a poem to the anthology you can get a discount on the entire book itself. I never got the book, so I don't remember what the name of the anthology is. I am including what I submitted— so if you ever find the anthology you can say you know who wrote these poems.

Light shines through the window and sparkles the floor
while shadows fall and darken the old oak door.

Windless howling screams through the night
people awake in bed feeling uptight.

A lightened hall opens gently into bloom
an unlocked door into a fallen room

Though night flows quickly into day
as far as we could say we could see no more.


A reflection off glass finds light anew
as shudders fade into a meaningless skew.

A silence that grows within the hour
as movement stirs under its only power.

The sea of blackness is quickly dispersed
from the night we thought was ever cursed

We awake to find our lives again
and only then do we see the dew.


Monday, April 13, 2009

That happened at my wedding too

Supermommy over at Three Boys One Mommy has a wedding meme going on and I thought I would participate. I am hoping that I can have a series written up about our wedding day and include pictures— but I think I will wait till closer to the day to do so. Meanwhile I thought I would share in the wedding meme by mentioning some wedding disasters I have seen first hand.

I have noticed that at many weddings I have attended that there are certain situations and/or people that usually accompany those weddings. I would have highlighted those things that happened at my wedding, but I figured I would just list them (even if they didn't happen at my wedding) so you can say it happened at your wedding too.

I will try my best at listing them in the order of the ceremony as well as be discrete so as not to offend too much. Much like a party is not successful unless the police arrive— many weddings might not be successful unless some, if not all of these occur:

Someone in the wedding party must faint…
Someone in our wedding party nearly fainted, but I must admit that I was the one who had the fainting spell at my sister's wedding. I must have locked my knees because I started feeling dizzy half way through the ceremony. I had the frame of mind to step off the stage and sit down. Unfortunately I missed the breaking of the glass, but at least I didn't fall down.
Someones always late…
I know that everyone seemed to show up on time for our wedding, but I have heard that loud click of the door when someone was trying to sneak into the church.
The photographer does something stupid…
Yes I know that photographing the moment is important— but why then do you have to have your gigantic tripod blocking the aisle.
You never can find "so and so" for the family photo…
Enough said.
There's always some obnoxious drunk relative at the reception…
Given that many weddings do not have alcohol this may not always be the case— so just an obnoxious relative will do here as well.
The DJ or band fails miserably…
I have seen many a wedding where the DC decides they are done for the evening and leave early. I have seen other times when you request a song and they never play it. One would think that if they have it in their repetoir and you are the groom that they should honor that request.
Someone gets hurt on the dance floor…
I wouldn't say that I actually got hurt, but I did rip my shoes at my Step-son's wedding this past September because I was sliding across the dance floor on my knees. I'll save that story about our dance floor for another post.
There's something wrong with the cake…
Our wedding cake was so delicious that the staff decided to serve the topper. We spent a good hour the next morning looking through the kitchen to see where they may have kept the top of the cake— but later found out that it all was served. Oh well, there probably wasn't room in our freezer anyway.
There's never enough coffee…
I just hate it when the wait staff decides that everybody gets just one cup with the cake and then disappear. I threatened that I would bring my own pot and start brewing at the head table if that happened at ours.

I'm sure there are others that I may have forgotten about. Feel free to write about them yourself and let Supermommy know at Three Boys One Mommy by linking up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

F2: Cooking Inspirations

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be talking about my inspirations for cooking and my logic behind how I list them in my recipe posts. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

For those that read my post on Inspiration and Motivation, you know that many things inspire us to do something— cooking is no exception. So often I pick up an idea from something that I eat and that inspires me to create a dish. I may know someone who is struggling with a dietary change such as being a vegetarian— and want to give them something that they can make themselves. I may have a childhood dish that I remember eating and recreate for my family. Other times I may be cooking with someone and get the recipe from them— or even derive a recipe from cooking that dish. So, in order to give credit where credit is due— I will indicate my inspirations in the recipes that I post.

Given that many people are not as public as I am— they may not feel comfortable if I mention their name in a post. So, in order to get around this I tend to give the person a nickname using my nickname naming conventions so that they can have the credit, but without the direct exposure.

So now when you look at a recipe post of mine you will see who I acknowledge as the inspiration for my recipe. Some you can derive who it is from the explanation in the post— while other times it is only between myself and the inspirer. You can ask… but I may not tell you who it is out of respect for their privacy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What's in a nickname: My nicknames

When I was a sophomore in high school I sat down before class and wrote out a list of all the nicknames that I remembered being called throughout my life. At the time I came up with around forty nicknames. This could be considered a testament to how well liked I was— but since many of them were derogatory, I tend to think it just shows how multifaceted I am. Since that time the number has grown to 53 at last count— so large that I am considering rewriting the list on a new 3x5 card (but don't for fear that the old card will fall into the wrong hands).

At one time I had strict guidelines as to what constituted an official nickname that made it to the list— but I may have become more lax lately since any nickname is flattering to have. Here are some of the guidelines that I used to use:

The nickname must be used by two different people.
I always find that if I hear someone use a nickname, that it must be said by two different people. If it's not, then it's probably more of a pet name and not a nickname.
The nickname must be used in more than one place.
I certainly don't want to be called something at a party and it never be used again. It's always helpful if a nickname is used in more than one locale— but sometimes it only works in one place.
Self promoted nicknames don't count until someone other than myself use them.
In high school I used to answer the phone "Hello, CJ" in hopes that people would call me CJ. It wasn't until five years ago that someone other than myself called me CJ.

Throughout the years I have had many nicknames— from those that my father used to call me as a child, to those that people give me just to identify me from all the other people who have the same name as me. I've had a lot of nicknames created based upon what I was doing at the time, and even those that relate to how I look.

I'm not much into giveaways… but I will challenge you to either come up with some new ones— or tell me a story behind one of my better nicknames if you know them. The biggest challenge should be if you can come up will all 53 of my nicknames. I'll forewarn you that some you may never guess… (unless my 3x5 card has fallen into the wrong hands).

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's in a nickname: Naming conventions

There's a word for it
And words don't mean a thing
There's a name for it
And names make all the difference in the world

I have the interesting knack of giving nicknames to everyone I know. Not only that, but I am the only person I know who has given a nickname to a stuffed animal (aren't they supposed to have just one name if at all)— but I'll save that for another post.

Most people don't like going by their given name. The short version of someone's name is considered a nickname to me. I tend to tell people if they want to address me professionally, then use my full name— otherwise use the short version of my name (because it is the casual form of my name). I sometimes find that some names cannot be shortened, or the short name just doesn't fit— and a unique nickname is in order.

I have been known to take the wrong part of a full name on purpose just to be unique. For example, a lot of people call Julia "Jewels" for short. I would switch it around and call her "Lia" instead. Other times I use the first letter of their name as a nickname. For example, if I knew a Margaret (I don't by the way)— I would call her "M".

If all else fails, I typically use the format "Mr./Ms. First name here" as a catch all. Let's use Margaret as an example again… I would call her Ms. Margaret (not to be confused with the princess of the same name). Sometimes if a person has the same letter for their first and last name I will use the number two after that initial. For example, let's say Margaret's last name was Miller… I would probably then call her M2 (pronounced emm two).

I have no rhyme or reason why I use one convention over another. I guess it all depends on how I know the person— and if they choose to accept the nickname I give to them. The nice thing about the blogging community is that many people have already chosen a nickname to use— so I don't have to come up with one. Many of you have chosen to call me CaJoh— which is fine since it just adds to my many nicknames… but I'll save that for yet another post.

1 Excerpt from the Talking Heads song: "Give Me Back My Name" from the album Little Creatures.

Friday, April 3, 2009

F2: I like fish that tastes like…

Welcome again to Friday's Feast. Today I'll be sharing a food related story. If you don't know what Friday's Feast is all about, please read the Friday's Feast page for a more detailed explanation. If you want to join in on the feast, be sure to leave a comment and include the URL to your post so I and others can know of your contribution.

The other day, my wife and I were watching our grandson. During this time a song came on public radio as a part of The Annoying Music Show that had the phrase "I like fish that tastes like chicken" sung over and over again. Boys will be boys— so by the time we got into the car to pick up his mom, he was in the back seat chiming away at different iterations of the phrase.

Author's Note: These are snippets of the conversation that I remember. I may not be totally accurate as to who may have said what (those darn aliens)— but you get the chicken picture:

  • I like fish that tastes like barbed wire
  • I like fish that tastes like cars

    Pretty clever of him. Then he started to get gross…

  • I like fish that tastes like camels
  • I like fish that tastes like bugs
  • I like fish that tastes like buggers
  • I like fish that tastes like pee
  • I like fish that tastes like Grandpa
  • I like fish that tastes like dirt

    At this point I had to join in the fun…

  • I like fish that tastes like chicken
    (Grandson: no, you can't say that Grandpa…)
  • I like fish that tastes like fish
    (Wife: come on, isn't that obvious)

    His phrases got more and more weird…

  • I like fish that tastes like Elvis
    (Me: A hunk-a hunk-a burnin' fish…)
  • I like fish that tastes like Johnny Cash…

Where that one came into play— I'll never know. Being the Radio Head that I am, I was able to put the hunk-a burnin' fish and Johnny Cash together and started singing a parody on Ring of Fire:

"I fell into a burnin' ring of Fish…". It was at this point that my grandson was the most profound. Here is what he started singing:

I fell into a burning trampoline
It was full of fish so I could eat while I die
And I could have a souvenir in heaven.

If that boy doesn't grow up to be an author or a poet… he'll at least be a comedian.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The lady in white

When I was in high school I was a part of a madrigal singing group. During the Christmas holidays our group sang at various places like country clubs and private parties. During one particular private party one guest must have had way too much holiday cheer. This particular lady was doing things like singing, dancing, as well as flirting heavily with one of our basses who was dressed in the armor outfit. "Oh you're cute" I believe she said once as she poked at his breastplate (which was plastic by the way).

I have no idea as to how long the evening lasted— but it probably seemed to some like it would never end. While changing out of our outfits, our noble knight came up with the following poem— which seems to describe the evening and her antics perfectly:

She's the lady in white
she's out of sight.

She sings
she flings.

She moves
she grooves.

Everybody stares
but she doesn't care.

She's the lady in white.

Web Analytics