Turkey Smash

Sunny’s homemade turkey smash burger: half a pound of 99% lean ground turkey breast in three patties; two thick slices of fresh white onion; two tablespoons of Walden Farms zero-calorie Thousand Island dressing, all on an Albertsons Signature Kaiser roll.

Goodbye junk food.


Cuttlefish. Photo: William Warby

Some years ago, after diving on a wreck in the Philippines and getting her first glimpse of cephalopods in the wild, my wife was writing about her experience and she spelled “cuttlefish” as “cuddlefish.”

When I pointed out her error, she smiled and said, “well, it’s an honest mistake. With all those arms, what fish could possibly cuddle better?”

Eighteen years later and I can’t think of a reason she’s wrong. Clearly, the spelling needs to be changed.

NB: is calling a cuttlefish’s appendages “arms” too anthro-normative? Would love a ruling from the anti-Speciesism crowd. I would never want to offend: as a scuba diver I prefer cordial relations with our cephalopod friends.

Entering Phase V

When I was twenty years old, I wanted to be a scholar. I wanted to read, to study, to write, to live a life of the mind like the professors and authors I admired. I wanted to teach, to learn, and to be a part of the grand conversations that form the intellectual fabric of our civilization.

Yet I was plagued by the unemployment rate among twentysomethings with doctorates, by the fact that at the end of ten years of higher education lay no reasonable assurance of a job, just the prospect of being another fish in a pool of Doctors of Philosophy fighting over adjunct professorships in obscure colleges. Overeducated and underemployed, I would spend years seeking a place in academia, overeducated and underemployed, and perhaps for life.

It would be nice to say that I cast all of these fears aside, knuckled down, pushed ahead with my dream, and built a respectable career as an historian/political scientist. But it would be a lie. Lacking the requisite confidence and courage, I ran away from my dream.

So I cooked up a new one: I would go into business. It was the early 1980s, after all, and our heroes were boardroom cowboys. I carried a briefcase, I read the Wall Street Journal, I was a 6’7″ version of Alex P. Keaton.  I went to a decent business school, got a job with the firm of an old family friend, hooked myself into China as its economic boom began, and held on for dear life.

And here I am, 37 years later, and every day, the dreams I left behind come back with greater urgency. My wife and son can tell. They sit me down and remind me that life is short. They tell me I don’t need to put off my dreams any longer. And I can no longer hide from the truth in their words.  It is time time for the dreams to rise again.

We all look at our lives in different ways. I see mine have gone in four phases. First I was a child, then a student, then I built a career, then I built a family. Now it is phase five. Now I chase my dreams. In 16 days the to-do list gets set aside, and I begin living my life by my bucket list.

Sports for Me

Class ‘A’ Baseball, San Jose, CA. 2004. (Photo: Rdikeman at the English-language Wikipedia)

While spectator sports will not consume much of my post-career life (PCL), in-person attendance once or so a year at the following will pepper into my plans. At any time you may see a post from the bleachers of the following:

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers. Why? I have, for whatever reason, been a Dodgers fan since before I could walk. They had only been in LA a half-dozen seasons when I was born, so in a way we grew up together – or, at least, became Angelenos and Californians together. Give me a choice of any sporting event in the world, and I would choose a normal weeknight Dodger game over any other. 
  2. Arsenal F.C. Why? The LA Dodgers of English football. They’re either winning big or breaking hearts, and they are in their history and in their game an embodiment of all that is good about both sport and soccer. 
  3. UC Davis Aggies. Why? I transferred to UC Davis from UC San Diego for my Junior year, and I have a deep and abiding affection for the University Farm. Mostly a Division II team, it feels more like rooting for your team at a midwestern liberal arts college than a major research university, and that completes the picture of Davis. Go Aggies!
  4. UCLA Basketball. Why? My dad was a Bruin. My son is a Bruin and a basketball nut. I grew up watching John Wooden coach the Bruins from Lew Alcindor to Coach’s retirement. Ergo sum: there will be UCLA hoops.
  5. Minor League Baseball. Why? I love baseball, but I do feel like something like something essential is missing when the game becomes about egos, contracts, and very big business. Minor League Baseball is filled with players who are in it for hope, for a dream, and for the love of the game, and the difference shows in the style of play. What is more, MiLB ballparks have become comfortable, smaller-sized versions of their Big Show counterparts, and tickets are cheap. Minor Leagues are the soul of baseball.

I also have two or three sports-related bucket list items I will be sharing soon, and there might be an essay coming. 

Quest Support

During my fitness journey, @questnutrition for me has been more than just a source of nutrient-balanced meal-substitutes: they have been a source of inspiration, opening my mind to the possibility that food that was good for me actually could TASTE better than food that is bad for me.

Quest has been a lifesaver over the last week, helping me add 87g of extra protein to my diet each day – essential when subsisting on Scout summer camp food that is typically higher in carbohydrates and fats than proteins. 

All this and Kosher, too. Thanks, Quest. 

The Air Over There


As I sit under a pop-up panting in the summer heat of at the arid but alpine Lockwood Valley, I console myself with the thought that all too many of my summers past have been spent in pressurized aluminum tubes with a view something like the above, hurtling around Asia for work, weathering turbulence, thunderstorms, and tourists.

I will always be grateful to have had those times in my life, but I am just as grateful to have given up planes, taxis, hotels, and and endless parade of conference rooms for this modest view of pine trees, tents, squirrelly Scouts, and gruff Scouters. 

A breeze picks up, blowing tent flaps, kicking up dust, and offering a brief respite from the heat. A jet passes far overhead. I breathe deep, and smile. 

A Cooling Moment

Sitting in the heat of the summer at high altitude, I pulled out this picture I took eighteen moths ago of the West Glacier stop, formerly the Belton Station on the old Great Northern Line in Montana. It’s still hot outside, but this cooled me down.

These days, when somebody says to me “I’ve got a bad flu,” I ask for a clarification.

“You mean ‘bad flu’ as in ‘I am going to be sick as a dog for the next week,’ or ‘bad flu’ as in ‘by the fourth day I will bleed out and die?'”

After this last pandemic, there is no such thing as a trivial flu anymore.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑