Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Something about the Greeks

Here is my rendition of some of what I have learned about a couple of stories in Greek mythology.

There is this dude whose sole mission in life is to roll a very large rock to the top of a very tall hill.  He works very hard to push the rock nearly to the top when, all of a  sudden, the rock rolls backwards and eventually to the bottom of the hill.  Then the dude has to go get the rock and start all over again pushing it to the top of the hill.  Time and time again the rock rolls back to the bottom without ever making it to the top.  

This is the dude's life's mission and he never is successful.  I am sure that we have all had jobs like that.  In  Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.

The other one is where a very sharp sword is hung by a horse hair from the ceiling of a bedroom and a dude is tied to the bed looking up at the sword suspended on the hair.   The sword is point down and is made to swing back and forth the width of the bed.   Of course the hair will break eventually but the real problem is the anticipation of the hair breaking and the sword falling.  If and when the hair breaks his death will be swift and immediate.  

The sword is the sword of Damocles.  "In the middle of his luxury, as a punishment for a wealthy man, Dionysius ordered that a shining sword, fastened from the ceiling by a horse-hair, be let down so that it hung over the neck of that fortunate man. And so he looked neither at those handsome waiters nor the wonderful silver work, nor did he stretch his hand to the table.  Finally he begged the tyrant that he should be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be fortunate."

I have now fully retired from three different jobs.  Three different pensions from three different employers.  I am now at the point where not having a job has become a job.  I am Sisyphus rolling the stone to the top of the hill every day as an unending task.   I am the wealthy man with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head as I simply wait.

In the past week I have applied for several new jobs in higher education in the Denver Boulder area just to get rid of my rock and hoping the hair does not break.

Friday, June 10, 2011

There is one thing

So after my cast iron stomach blog I will have to tell you a story.

You probably already know this but Mexican food in the US is not really Mexican food.  It is really Tex Mex and only exists in the US and along the border with the US and Mexico. You can also find it in resort cities in Mexico because of all of the Americans visiting and living there.  True Mexican food is not hot. It is pretty bland.  Tacos and Burritos do not exist in most of Mexico.  Taco sauce and green chili does not exist in most of Mexico.  In fact I think that the Genesis of Green Chili is actually New Mexico as they have the very best chili anywhere.  I lived at 10,000 feet in the Andes in Ecuador and lo and behold there was a Taco Bell.  Very popular with the locals.  The food in Ecuador is really very European.

Now back to my story.  I am allergic to wheat/gluten.  I have Celiac disease.  With me it manifests itself with a rash.  It is found in Bran, Rye, Oats and Wheat.  The issue with Oats is more that it is processed in the same place as wheat.

There is one food that I have found that I cannot tolerate.  Chipotle's Naked (No tortilla) Vegetarian Burrito in a bowl.  I really like the way it tastes but do not get between me and the bathroom about an hour after I eat one.  I keep testing this and it is always true.  Don't know why.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Go Ahead and Drink the Water

Fear is a great marketing tool. 

The United States has the best water in the world yet there is a multi billion dollar industry that sells tap water in bottles to the gullible public.  Go ahead and drink the tap water and to hell with the bottle water industry.

I have lived for extended periods of time in Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador under the admonition of "Don't drink the water."   Well I am here to tell you that it is OK to drink the water.  I drank tap water in all three countries the entire time I was there and never had a problem.  The water was fine and I never got sick. 

I have friends  in Mexico who are very wealthy and they have actually given up their garage just to house their water purification system. I have had their water and the water from the tap and they taste the same.  Sometimes having money causes people to lose their good sense.

Another admonition that I loved was about the food.  When I arrived in school in Mexico they told me to never eat the food from street vendors because I would get sick.  Hog wash.  I ate the street vendor food every day and never had a problem.  I especially liked the cups of fresh fruit.  I could watch the vendor actually cut open the fruit and then cut it into bite size pieces right before my eyes.  Yes, his or her hands were dirty but that did not bother me.  

I really liked the kernel corn in a cup slathered in butter.  They would give you a plastic spoon to eat it with.  A plastic fork for the fruit.  

One of the favorite delicacies in Ecuador are Cuy.  Cuy are nothing more than Hampsters or large rats.  They were served grilled on a hot coal spit and were delicious.  You had to get the Mickey Mouse image out of your mind of course.  I wrote about this in my blog four years ago and a young girl commented that I was a terrible person to eat a pet.  My host family actually ordered me a back up meal of roast chicken not thinking I would eat the Cuy.  I ate the chicken too. 

What did bother me was watching cooks in restaurants here in the United States actually spit into someone's eggs or onto some great piece of prime rib or lobster.  Never saw that in my foreign travels.

By the way I never saw that anywhere except in the United States.  Smile and always compliment the server and the chef.   Be careful not to criticize the service or the food because you might end up with a wad of saliva as a condiment.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Food History

I was watching a documentary recently about the history of food.  The commentary included descriptions of how the ancient Greeks and Romans were able to spread various foods throughout the ancient world.  Two examples they used were the tomato and the potato.  I just scratched my head at the poor research.  The tomato and the potato were indigenous to the Americas and were not introduced into Europe until the 16th century.  Hardly anything ancient.  Another example of our failing educational system.