Book Review: Food – A Love Story

Food: A Love StoryFood: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tend to overload my reading with theology and devotional books. Occasionally I read through a fiction book. After reading Jim Gaffigan’s FOOD: A LOVE STORY I’m going to have to try to read more humor books.

Supposedly there are good fats and bad fats. I like to think of myself as a good fat. It helps my self-esteem when I look in the mirror.

Especially Jim Gaffigan. What I like about him both in writing and on stage is that his talk is not peppered with profanity (rarely) and graphic sexual content. He’s a dad and married to a devout Catholic and I think he really keeps his family in mind when he’s writing his material. They are there, present in all of his bits … and that tells me he’s not only a comic, but a husband and father who loves his family.

I struggled through my twenties and thirties, and then one day I looked in the mirror, saw my belly, and said, “I give up. It’s all over.” It wasn’t defeat as much as it was acceptance. I figured, I got a hot wife. If she leaves me for getting fat, that means she’s shallow. “Honey, do you think looks are important? No? Good. Now pass the gravy.

Another reason I enjoyed this book is that I’m as fanatical about food as Gaffigan is and his unabashed love affair with food had me laughing and agreeing all the way through.

These pompous responses are because no one admits they go to McDonald’s. McDonald’s sells roughly six billion burgers a day, and there are only three hundred million people in this country. I’m not a calculus teacher, but I figure some of these people are lying.

Yes, I believe we need to do a lot of serious reading but every once in a while it helps to just smile a little … enjoy an outright laugh … and realize the Scripture is true that laughter is good medicine.

I’d never want my last real meal to be a kale salad or a PowerBar.

I’m with Jim.

View all my reviews

Fifty Shades of Grey Matter

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If you have been out from under your rock lately, you know that there has been all matter of hand-wringing about that dirty movie…Fifty Shades of Grey. There is a lot that should bother us about those books, the movies, and the mothers and grandmothers of America who are not only interested in it but buying it for their young daughters. I consider that child abuse…but that’s for another post.

What is bothering me today, though, is that this book has rocked the literary world in a way no one seems to notice. And that is no one knows how to spell grey. Just about the time everyone is going with GRAY … out comes this tome of trash and swings everyone back over to GREY. I’m tortured by the decision every time I want to write it. I just end up saying something not as black but darker than white. Now who wants to read that? Nobody.  I almost had an eye spasm reading it.

So I did a search on the great marketplace of Amazon to see which way manufacturers are going with this dilemma. I was amazed to see…

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Yes, Amazon asked me “Did you mean ‘grey'”. No! I meant GRAY… and do you see that the first entry in my search was a book named GRAY! The third entry? Fifty Shades of GREY. So we se that the world is confused on this …this… gray area. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t stop myself.)

So thanks to E L James, who has become wealthy at the expense of class and morality, the English language is embroiled in bondage to a conundrum of greater magnitude than her filthy books.

The Grammarist tells me that either spelling is acceptable. If I were in England, I would more likely be comfortable with grey (the spelling, not the demented abuser of virginal women). If in America, more likely gray. I just wish the world could come together on this matter one way or another.

I can buy Grey Flannel cologne, but I will watch Gregory Peck in The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit. I plan to read John Grishom’s Gray Mountain: A Novel, but not watch Liam Neeson’s The Grey. I’ve never watched Grey’s Anatomy Season 11 (or any season), but now that I’ve noticed the spelling… I’m sure I never will. The Crayola people, whom I consider experts, use the terms “Gray, Gris, Gris”… I’m not sure why gris gets the double mention, it’s neither of the spellings we are examining! (I wish I had had this when I was a kid: Crayola Ultimate Crayon Case, 152-Crayons)

You get the picture. The universe is confused about such matters. I decided the best way to solve my dilemma was to go to the Creator to find out if there was a clear answer.

The beloved King James Version of Proverbs 20:29 says:

The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.

So I checked the old, yet reliable, American Standard Version.

The glory of young men is their strength; And the beauty of old men is the hoary head.

OK. I have to admit that GREY is better than HOARY. (Though when reading descriptions of the Fifty Shades book a word similar to hoary does run through the mind.)

Thankfully newer translations use GRAY. But culture is like the wind, never settling for long on anything. Hopefully someone will come out with a best selling movie or book and set the record straight on the matter. Until then we will have to just remain accustomed to seeing GRAY and GREY … unless off-black catches on. Which I doubt.

Thanks for reading, JD.

Two previous posts of a more serious nature:

Fifty Shades of Objection

Fifty Shades of Shame

Grocery Connection

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Today as I carried my Christmas-themed reusable totes into the grocery, some ideas occurred to me to help our local store (and believe me, I’m feeling like less of a man for the beginning of this post!). See, across the street from our local grocery store a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is about to open up. It’s like David and Goliath. Except our grocery is a part of a large chain based out of Tyler, Texas, but still Wal-Mart is a behemoth!

It’s easy to be frustrated with the grocery store. You go in and buy $25 worth of products and when they ring it up it costs $95. I don’t know how that happens.

As the primary grocery purchaser in our home, I use those re-usable bags because they are easier to carry, hold more, and I get a .5 cent discount for each one. So even if I’m only getting a few things I carry in two bags. They give me my discount for both even though they only use one. I wonder if I brought twenty if I could get a dollar off? You have to know how to work the system. So now that I’m .10 to the good, I thought I’d offer some  help to my grocery store.

*Don’t let people double dip on their reusable bags! I know you’ll ignore this entire post, so I’m ok with saying that.

*Stop giving out mile-long receipts … who reads all of that? How much paper do I really need to tell me what I bought, how exorbitant and unreasonable the price was, and the total? A person could trip on those things… or accidentally hang themselves. If you keep doing this people are going to stop buying toilet paper. The trees of earth have asked me to pass this along.

*I’m not going to call your survey number. Do you know how many solicitation calls I get? Why would I volunteer for one? No, I’m not going to the website and tell you that everything went well…even if it did. If something goes wrong I may call and in that case maybe Haji in India, going by the name ‘Fred’, will pass that along to you.

*I don’t like scanning my card and letting you know everything I’m buying. The biggest reason is that you often take items I frequently buy off your shelf. Then when I call to tell you I’m missing those items (Yes, I’ve done that!) they re-appear at a higher price. I’m not going to buy that. If you’re going to track me at least keep my favorite foods on your shelf at the same price.

*Can you please electrify the freezer doors? When some customer is standing there with the door open,  mind-numbed and unable to choose from the plethora of frozen food delights, several sections of doors tend to frost over. There should be a 30 second timeframe to get your frozen pot pie and then you get a little jolt. At 45 seconds you get a little stronger one. At 60 seconds….well, you get the idea. This way the next person who enjoys a pasty microwave frizzled concoction for a meal can chose by actually looking through the glass doors.

I’m PROBABLY going to be loyal to you. After all, I’ve tolerated your removing products I buy from your shelf, you knowing my total buying history (do NOT reveal this to my Weight Watcher leader!!!), and the fact that you are only expanding your store because of the competition. I will be loyal because I consider this ‘my store’ and I know the checkers and the managers. I recognize and talk to the kids who bring the basket out to the car. And I know where everything is (until you expand).

I’m hoping some competition will do us all some good. But if you don’t take care of some these small details, the Wal-Mart monster might swallow you up! Maybe some of my readers have some other ideas that will help you out! Do not ignore the consumer!

JD

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Precious and Jackson’s Guide to Life

We have just concluded 40 Days of Prayer, so I thought I could post something on a lighter note. Yes, while other blogs are bearing down on the new year with resolutions, Bible reading plans, guilt complexes and regrets from 2014, we shall not. We will learn what we can from the lower species. Here is a guide to life from my two favorite canines, Jackson and Precious.

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Jackson’s Guide to Life

1. Never worry about snoring, humans think it is a beautiful sound. I can tell by the way they try to replicate it. That’s so cute.

2. Wimper often for snacks. I don’t know how they know, but they do. Wimper until they just walk away. Humans LOVE to eat and they will feed us fake bacon because they feel bad that we cannot enjoy cheesecake and chocolate.

3. Going outside is good. Going outside multiple times within an hour is great. You don’t need a reason. The humans love to get up and open that door. I don’t really know why.

4. Going outside in the rain is torture. Just wait it out. If they try to make you go outside in the rain, just turn your head and sit on your rump. Humans have very little patience and will leave room using language I’m glad we cannot speak – and then you can pee on the floor.

5. Asleep is better than awake. I’m barely awake as I type this. Maybe I’m dreaming.

6. When human’s hands approach, roll over for belly rub. They will be disappointed if you do not. I’m not sure why they like to do this, but as much as they do for me I’ll be happy to accommodate.

7. Visit kitchen floor after the humans do their meal preparations. Smorgasbord.

8. If humans accidentally bump you or brush against you while walking by, yelp like you’ve lost a limb. Belly rubs as a bonus if you are convincing.

9. When Precious or one of the humans move, always go lay down in her place. They have some saying about moving and losing. Personally, my favorite place on earth is on a cushion just warmed by a human rump.

10. Sniff everything.

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Precious’ Guide to Life

1. Don’t look at me. Are you talking to me? I don’t think I gave you permission.

2. I’m not going to look at you. Especially if you pet Jackson. I will turn my head away. That will teach you.

3. I do not go out at the same time as Jackson. I deserve my own grand exit.

4. Sack out all day in deep sleep. When put in kennel at night, whine continuously because … well, who can sleep?

5. If it thunders, fake a seizure.

6. Nibble at your food bowl at meal time. When Jackson wanders off, gobble at his food bowl.

7. Never stay outside longer than absolutely necessary. That’s for animals.

8. I like baths. Bet that surprises you.

9. When Jackson moves, always go lay down in his place.

10. Sniff everything.

______

It was really hard to get them to sit down and write that out, but I’m glad they did, aren’t you?

By the way, if you’re starting at Genesis 1:1 today do two things:

*Ask God to help you gain new insight for your life in this very familiar reading.

*Make up your mind now that when you get there, Leviticus will not stop you from your goal.

Thanks for reading, JD.

Devil Problems

devil's food cookiesWe all have devil problems, I know.  But my big devil problem at the moment is related to food. Devil’s Food cookies.

I am the original cookie monster. On my journey with Weight Watchers I have determined the ‘point value’ of many cookies. And most of them are too big a percentage to be included on any kind of regular basis.

Except these Devil’s Food cookies. They have saved me some evenings when I just felt the need to have something sweet. And you can buy the Snackwells brand all day long at almost any store for $3.50 a box. But these Great Value brand (Wal-Mart) and other store brands are usually about $1.30 per box. That’s a big difference.

And you can almost never find them. In fact whenever we do see them, we wipe out the shelf. Yes, people are looking at the crazed cookie people with ten boxes of the same kind of cookie piling out of their baskets … but I’m beyond being ashamed.

I have no earthly idea why there is such a price difference in the same product. But the bigger mystery is why they are never available. I would say it is RARE to find the store brands on the shelf. You can’t buy it online from Wal-Mart.com, either.  There are some in the Amazon Marketplace … for NINE DOLLARS A BOX!!! Yes, these are desperate times all across America.

So of course, like any intelligent human being, I’m thinking it is a conspiracy.  I’m trying to find out if the store-brand devils food cookies are driving the climate change debate? Maybe they are a threat to covert operations in Wehateamericastan. Maybe the Girlscouts have something to do with the disappearance of these cookies. It could be even more sinister, perhaps the Keebler Elves are holding Nabisco CEOs hostage?

Here’s to  hoping some pulitzer prize-winning reporter will chase this story down. Or at least some cookie-deprived dieter with a sweet tooth.

I know some of my readers will note that this is not real food, it is a pre-packaged boxed up sugar bomb with no nutritional value. It has ingredients that cannot be pronounced and as a processed food does your body no favors. I do get that, thank you.

Have you ever tried to take a bone away from a snarling dog?

OK, internet sleuths and fellow cookie devotees … shall we storm the halls of Congress? Begin a letter writing campaign to Wally World?  Get Ted Cruz to stand up and talk about it for 28 hours in a filibuster?  Create an off-brand devil’s food cookie internet meme? Does the Great Value Devil’s Food cookie have its own Twitter yet?  When the zombie apocalypse happens, will anyone be counting their food points then? Priorities.

Thanks for reading,

John

FOLLOW UP: Linda Green suggested trying Dollar General and Family Dollar stores. Dollar General had a whole shelf of these cookies with the Clover Valley brand. Win!!! $1.75 a box! Thanks Linda!

Weekend Game Break!

jongFor all you non-preacher types it is the weekend and time for a break. I know a lot of you are not high on Facebook games, but I like them  fairly well.

There are two lies in the preceding paragraph, the main one being that if you like the games you are not waiting until the weekend to play them! The other being I’m crazy about Facebook games. There, I said it!

I know some of you just blah blah blah on and on about not wanting to receive game invites. Then you post something that’s intended to shame those who enjoy the games into thinking that they are doing something that is a poor choice. Well, maybe so. But getting the game invites is YOUR fault because you control what notifications you get. If you haven’t figured out how to stop the game invites, just

ccs

google it. Most of the time those playing the games do not have much choice about sending them out. You could unfriend me, but I’d be candy crushed.  You see what I did there, don’t you?

Most of the time I’ll quit one game if I want to start another one. Or I’ll loose restraint and be playing several at one time. That’s not usually a good thing. So I do try to limit myself. Most of the time.

I just want you to know that I have no problem at all admitting how much I like several of these games.

That’s a lie.

So  you are aching to know which games I like the most so that you can make me your friend and play along with me? I knew it!

Probably my favorite right now is Candy Crush. I played a while, then hated it and gave it up for several months. For some reason one day I tried it again. It is the most fun played on the iPad… much more so than on the computer.

I also like Mah Jong Trails. This is also a game that I quit several times then came back to later. I’m on a particularly challenging board which means I’ll either break through soon or quit it.

Zuma Blitz is a long time favorite. I played Zuma off of Facebook (Hey … did you know there are games that are NOT on Facebook? Wowza!).  So I was happy to see it start up here a long time ago.

And I guess I have to admit I like to play Hay Day on the iPad. So that’s what… four games … I may have a problem.

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I’ve quit a lot of games along the way as well. I played all the levels of Zombie Lane. That was fun. But even if they added some levels I wouldn’t play it any more. Probably. OK, if you hear about that, don’t tell me.

I also do not play any Solitaire games at this time. Maggy likes Solitaire Blitz. I do not play any farming games on Facebook – I tired of those after the initial fun. I liked Farm Town and Country Life, but the whole world went Farmville … and now FarmVille2 (which is dreadful, not that I’ve played it). I seldom fire up Bejeweled, but it is a classic and it’s there on my iPhone waiting for it’s turn.

By far the funnest computer game I’ve played isn’t on Facebook in it’s full incarnation.

2Plants Vs. Zombies is the best and most fun game I’ve played. I don’t know why but zombies make great game themes. I think there is some PvZ version on FB that I did not like. I’m a purist.

I’ve always liked games … board games, card games, and anything that didn’t involve running, jumping, hiding, or basically being outside.

Anyhow while you’re taking your weekend break (wink) what games do you like the best? If you hate games and you feel tempted to write some scathing rebuke of those who enjoy these games, then go ahead. But be careful. We’re a creative bunch.

There’s something about a season of Lent starting this week. Maybe I’ll give up a game. A game. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading,

John