Friday, July 18, 2014

random friday

I could have called it chalk and cheese. 

I have two tales to relate that lack a common hook.  But I still wanted to share them with you.

You all know I love books.  I became a Kindle addict out of necessity in Mexico.  With a bit of ingenuity, it is possible to order hardbound books (real books, as a Morelia blogger calls them) for delivery.  I simply find it far easier in my travels to buy and store books in my portable Kindle library.

But I also love book stores.  I seek them out wherever I go when I am trekking the world. 

On this trip, I browsed through the shelves of books at the Bend and Portland Barnes and Noble stores.  It brought back many years of memories of opening books.  Reviewing graphs.  Feeling the texture of high-quality paper.

If I lived up north, I would most likely rely upon my Kindle for most of my reading.  But I would still buy the occasional hardbound book -- because some books simply are not available on Kindle.

I recently read an article in one of my magazines that book store owners have ganged together to lobby the government to fix the prices on books -- no electronic book could sell for less than the hardbound copy of the same book.

In effect, it would fix the prices of books in favor of a small minority of special interest readers at the expense of the electronic book-buying public.  Essentially, stealing money from the general public in favor of a diminishing minority.

At first I was shocked that any American would support an idea so contrary to the free market system.  It is the same logic that buggy whip makers used in their attempts to control the mass advent of the automobile.  Or that Blockbuster could have used to protect its investment in VHS tapes.

And then I saw the source of this little donnybrook.  It is not an American story -- it is a French story.  The home of a lot of well-cooked food and half-baked political ideas.  And it is a very good example of why the French political and economic system is in the shape it is.

There will always be a market for hardbound books -- whether online or in stores.  And people who are nostalgic about the village book store are certainly welcome to open one and to find an appropriate customer base.  Customers are far wiser at making choices than are government functionaries.

After all, Barnes and Noble seems to manage.  Where else could I find a Homer Simpson notebook for the bargain price of $25.


My brother is an incredibly talented cook.  As is his wife.

Wednesday night they invited Mom and me for dinner at their now-listed-for-sale home.  Some plain old-fashioned and tasty home-cooking.  Roasted and smoked chicken breasts with lemon.  Steamed fresh green beans with bacon.  Smashed new potatoes.

The potatoes have a real body to them.  Darrel leaves the red skins on during the smashing process.  In the process, he adds sour cream, butter, sometimes horseradish (not that night), and grated cheese.

If you have read Mexpatriate for long you will know that I have a great distaste for dinner guests attempting to modify a menu I have prepared.  You also know that I do not like cheese in my cooked food.  Calling rule number two into effect, of course, makes me a violator of rule number one.

Contradictory?  You bet.  But that is how the cheese crumbles.

My brother, being the saint that he is, left the cheese out of the potatoes.  Instead, he prepared a plate with freshly-grated parmesan on one side and cheddar on the other.  It was about as pro-choice as a dinner can be.

I dished up my cheeseless potatoes, some chicken, and a serving of beans.  While adding the beans to my plate, I noticed the parmesan cheese.  That triggered an exception to my no-cheese rule in food.  Parmesan on green beans is OK.

It was not until I sat down that I realized what I had done.  Instead of sprinkling the parmesan on my green beans, I had mixed it into my potatoes.  The very potatoes that my brother had left uncheesed at my request.  I may as well have blabbered on all night about my exercise regime and my "numbers."

A good laugh was had at my expense.  And you may now join in.

This may explain a lot about why I found it so easy to take the wrong medication for almost two months.

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