Tag Archives: Andrew Zimmern

Aphids, Andrew Zimmern and news – a natural connection …

One would be hard pressed to figure out the connection between aphids and local news. There really isn’t any, but it makes for a good letter to the kids. I’m tardy in posting the April 18 letter but will hop on it later this week.

April 28, 2016

Ellen/Reid: As I polished off a dinner of arugula and romaine from the back yard container pot, I looked down to see crawly things at the bottom of the empty bowl. They were little green aphids – a lot of them, a few dozen – mired in the homemade vinaigrette. It meant that some number, I have no idea how many, were ingested. The lettuce got a watering about 20 minutes before it was picked and my assumption, which turned out to be faulty, was that this was enough cleansing. There was no gagging or anything like that. It was just a non-TV version of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. I thought if he could eat slugs or beetles from Asia, a few aphids wouldn’t hurt me. What the lettuce crop needs is a full-on attack by predatory Lady Bugs to decimate the aphid infestation.

Really having a lot of fun with the Mint Hill Times newspaper job. But it has evolved into nearly a full time proposition which is well beyond the 8 – 12 hours per week originally thought. It’s been 8 – 10 hours per day, with much of it in Mint Hill, about a 20 mile drive away, to drum up news and get to know the towns folk. I really enjoy it, but the hours are killing me. Tuesday started at 9 a.m. and didn’t end until


Even a scarecrow on sentry duty east of Mint Hill, North Carolina is fair game for ‘spot news.’ The problem is, my brain just doesn’t turn off when it comes to thinking about, pondering, or mulling over potential stories. I love the job, but …

1 a.m. Wednesday morning to help with page layout. Reid, I pitched in using InDesign even though I’d never laid hands on it before. I’ve been writing a lot, gladly so, and trying to assign a lot of stories. We are woefully short on local writers. I penned an editor’s column asking for writers to come out of the woodwork and since this week’s issue doesn’t hit the streets until this morning there’s no way of knowing who will answer Continue reading


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The ‘blue funk’ period…

Tahitian Women on the Beach

Gauguin painted Tahitian Women on the Beach. Art historians will be kinder to his funks than they might be to mine.

Art historians are able to detect, name and analyze the stages or periods that famous artists travel through (or endure) on their life journey to find or perfect their style, i.e. Paul Gauguin’s period in Tahiti.  It is beyond reason and highly unlikely that anyone would ever follow me after my demise.  But if they did, that lone misguided soul would dub August, 2011 as my blue funk period.  Their short summation of my work would conclude “…his demise did not come soon enough.”

I am just down.  Maybe the crushing relentlessness of wave after unceasing wave of heat and humidity have exacted a mental toll.  It could be the sheer monotony of the same four walls, same paint schemes, same worn carpeting, same back yard vista, same day-in, day-out routine.  But the malaise is palpable and is as real as it can get.

Perhaps I’m not squeezing enough out of what is there or seizing what should be seized.  On the bright side maybe it is a momentary plateau that is a stair step to another plateau that is ever onward and upward.  It is not so much about absense of fun but of lack of purpose-driven satisfaction.  But there is respite in that to observe Ellen and Reid, neither of them appear to have, nor should they have, such doubts.  They blissfully move on with things at a very good clip.  Perhaps watching them progress and move on is purpose enough.  There is no moping in the letters and one can hope they don’t detect the notes as such.


August 9, 2011

Ellen/Reid: Last night in my writing class last night I put my blog up on the screen as a way to tell my college students that they ought to blog for no other reason than to repetitively practice their writing or to put their oars in the creative waters.  We looked at a few of the most recent letters to you guys, and they razzed me about not mentioning the class to you two in the weekly notes.  To escape their further wrath, this mention will have to suffice.  They can’t attack me as much since last night was the final class.  On the whole they were pretty happy with it, and one of them even gave me a complimentary bag of Starbucks coffee as a parting gift.  My pledge to them is to meet once a month or so for the coming months to see how many of them will actually plow ahead to build their own freelance writing business.  Most will become hobbyist writers rather than full timers.  It was enjoyable for me to teach.  As you know, Ellen, to teach is to learn twice.  If I had to freelance all over again there might be a different way to skin the cat.  A life skill that could come in handy later, I guess.

Betsy had a nice article in the Sunday Observer about the 7’ chainsaw-carved wooden bear at her front door that she dresses up to fit the season or a holiday.

I’ve had Wyoming on the brain the last few days.  Can’t seem to let go of that trip and how much fun it was.  I suppose people will sooner-than-later tire of me rattling on about it but it was really the highpoint of my summer.  I just like the Western lifestyle and atmosphere and will have to retract my ‘I like to visit but wouldn’t want to live here’ statements in Jackson.  If there was a way to affordably do it, that would be marvelous but there are a lot of complicators that would keep it from becoming a reality: affordability, slow real estate movement in Charlotte, the job, a tanking stock market, etc.  But a guy can dream, can’t he?  In a dose of here-and-now reality, I had to submit a bill for food and rental car to the other adults on our journey.  No trip is final until the billing is complete.

I heard from Pat the other day for the first time in a long while.  He was in Atlanta with Mort to get set up for the PGA Championship this week.  I hope he sells a lot of art.  His stuff is still really good.  He’s stuck with it and that’s why Stonehouse is a success.  Time heals all wounds, and the scab has long since covered itself over.  I kind of wish I’d of trundled over there to see him and Mort to how the product is displayed.

Reid, let’s get cracking on the Thanksgiving trip up to St. Paul.  Look at your calendar and give me some firm dates about when you can leave.  I plan to buy our tickets real soon since the price is almost to $400 right now (perhaps less from Chicago).  Just let me know what works for you.  I’m getting excited about it.  Ellen, the odds that Felicia will join us are growing somewhat slimmer.  There is some pressure for her to stay closer to home, which for her is nearby Shelby, otherewise she’d jump at the chance to head north with us.  Shelby is just under an hour’s drive west of CLT.  That’s where her parents and her sister live.  Shelby is largely known for its Liver Mush Festival.  You can look it up.  Liver mush is some sort of ground meat concoction that seems to be roughly the equivalent of spam but is hugely popular in these parts.  You eat it with either mustard or grape jelly.  No kidding.  Andrew Zimmern featured the Shelby festival on his ‘Bizarre Foods’ show.

Well, enough waxing poetic for today.  Reid, let’s talk about T-Day, and Ellen, let’s talk about a tea pot to adorn the new kitchen.


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