listening to baseball

I grew up listening to baseball on the radio. Those familiar voices of Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett were an integral part of my summers. In those days we saw maybe a half dozen games on television. Certainly no more than ten or so. It was via the radio that I learned about baseball and learned to love the game.

These days Terry and I can watch the Angels on television, but our provider does not offer the channel that carries the Dodgers. (That’s a long-standing issue and sore point here in Southern California.) We don’t like to watch TV in the evenings anyway. When we are sitting with our feet up we like to listen to jazz.

I do, however, have the MLB At Bat app on both my iPhone and my iPad, and I have my iPad in front of me each evening after I have read the paper. That means that I can check the score of Dodger game at any time. If it’s getting close to the end of the game and the Dodgers are leading sometimes we’ll turn off the music and I’ll pull up the game on At Bat. We will listen to Charlie Steiner along with Rick Monday call the last couple of innings.

Just like listening to baseball on the radio.

Sacred Music Friday: Lux Aeterna

Lux Aeterna, Sir Edward Elgar, sung by VOCES8 at the Gresham Centre in London. This is a group I have never heard of before, and they are marvelous. Nor have I heard this piece set to words before. I believe the instrumental version of this is Elgar’s “Nimrod” from the Enigma Variations.

another annoying Food Network trend

If you have been reading this blog for a while you know that I have long been unhappy with the predominance of competition shows on Food Network. Yes, I admit that I really enjoy Cooks vs.Cons, as does Terry. But overall my feeling is that competition shows crowd out actual cooking shows.

Food Network logoThere is another trend that I don’t like. That is the rise of food travel shows. Sister network Cooking Channel heavily promotes Man Fire Food, in which the host travels the country in search of grill, barbecue, or anything else that uses an open flame, and Cheap Eats, in which Ali Kahn tries to eat in a city for a day spending only $35.

But Food Network proper is heading the same direction. Damaris Phillips of Southern at Heart fame has a new show, Super Southern Eats (which mysteriously disappeared after one episode), where she doesn’t cook but rather travels the South in search of good food. Another new show, with a host whose name I don’t recognize, premieres on my birthday where she casts about looking for interesting dishes. All of this is in the venerable tradition of Diners Drive-ins and Dives, but it also takes up time slots that could be devoted to cooking shows.

I would much rather that Damaris had kept the cameras at her beautiful house in Kentucky and shared with us the fine art of Southern cooking.

Ah, Linda Ellerbee, you had it right: “And so it goes.”


compiling a dictionary: an art, not a science

I have been enjoying Kory Stamper’s new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries. She writes about her life as a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster. The book is thoroughly delightful.

Merriam-Webster logoStamper quotes an article discussing a fundraiser held by Barbara Streisand at her home. The article hyphenates “fund-raiser.” Kory writes that this is an example of the transition of a phrase from an open compound to a hyphenated compound.

But wait. I always thought of fundraiser as a single word. I confirmed that by checking out my go-to dictionary, the American Heritage. One word. Then I checked the free online Merriam-Webster, which is based on the M-W Collegiate Dictionary. It showed only the hyphenated version.


I had occasion to sign up and pay for the full, unabridged Merriam-Webster, not on account of this quest, but because of the work I was doing for a client. I looked up the term in the unabridged. It is an interesting entry. The main spelling is two words. The second spelling is one word. The third spelling is hyphenated.

This reinforced for me something that I have long known but often forget. Dictionaries are not created by some omnipotent Language Being. They are compiled by real people making human decisions. While each dictionary publisher has its own rigorous rules and guidelines, producing a dictionary is an art, not a science.

grilled Moroccan chicken kabobs

This recipe is from Weight Watchers so I don’t have a link for you. If you’re a member you can likely find it on the Weight Watchers web site.

It calls for a marinade with orange juice, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper. Instructions say to marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for six hours, but I ended up marinating overnight as our plans changed and we had this on Sunday instead of Saturday. I used orange/peach/mango juice as that is what I had in the fridge. The recipe specifies zucchini and onion on the skewers, but I used zucchini and bell pepper.

The kabobs turned out really well. Squeezing a lemon wedge over the chicken kicked up the taste even higher. Definitely one to do again.

Moroccan Chicken Kabobs

50,000 Words

50,000 words coverAt some point in the 1970s I bought a small vest-pocket book called 50,000 words. I don’t remember whether I was still in college or if I bought it shortly thereafter. In those pre-personal computer days I needed something to check my spelling when I was writing. I didn’t need to pull out a complete dictionary; I simply needed to find the correct spelling. It was a handy little thing and I used it a lot.

I haven’t really used it for many years since our computer applications effectively check spelling for us, but I recently had the impulse to pull it out of my center desk drawer where I had kept it for so many decades. It wasn’t there. I suppose I considered it expendable when we were moving.

It’s too bad. The book represented another era in my life. Copies are still around, however. Here’s one that I found on eBay which looks just like the one I had.

Sacred Music Friday: Christ is Alive

This is from my friends at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln Nebraska. The hymn tune is Truro, which was the tune we used for “O Life That Maketh All Things New” at First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City back in the early 1980s. It brings back good memories. Lyrics are below.

1. O Life that makest all things new,
The blooming earth, the thoughts of men,
Our pilgrim feet, wet with Thy dew,
In gladness hither turn again.

2. From hand to hand the greeting flows,
From eye to eye the signals run,
From heart to heart the bright hope glows,
The seekers of the Light are one.

3. One in the freedom of the truth,
One in the joys of paths untrod,
One in the soul’s perennial youth,
One in the larger thought of God.

4. The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view,
The sense of life that knows no death,
The Life that maketh all things new!

— Samuel Longfellow

hearing a familiar voice

Terry and I, you may know, listen to jazz in the evening six nights a week. We listen to the internet stream from KCSM in San Mateo, a station we have enjoyed for many years. For quite some time Saturday evenings were hosted by Michael Burman, a man with a pleasant British accent.

KCSM logoThen early this year he disappeared. First it was someone “filling in for Michael Burman,” but later the shift was officially handed over to someone else. I was disappointed, but got used to it. A few weeks back, however, I was pleased and surprised to hear his voice again. In checking the program grid I was happy to see that the shift is once again his. The station is even doing promos for him during the week.

That makes Saturday evenings just a little more pleasant.

a pair of spicy grilled dishes

Terry and I have been getting a lot of use out of our grill this summer as hot as it has been. And, as you are likely aware, we like our food spicy. So these two dishes were naturals for our dinner table.

spicesOn a recent weeknight I made Grilled Chipotle Chicken. I omitted the okra and tomatoes. Terry and I both hate okra, and Terry doesn’t eat fresh tomato. But I did use the spices as specified. Except that I don’t pay much attention to the measurements, so I overdid it on the chipotle. Still it was a very tasty seasoning, and I would do it again. This would be good on fish as well.

The following Saturday I made Spice-rubbed Grilled Flank Steak. This was a really nice mixture of garlic powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper, and other spices. We used rib eye, I left the grilling to Terry, and it came out great. Another one we’d definitely do again.

more service for less money

A while back I wrote about how I was able to get more service for less money in our cable, telephone, and internet package. I recently had a similar experience with our cell phone service.

Terry and I had been sharing 2 gigabytes of data on our iPhones for a while. But with Terry’s job, she does a lot of sitting and waiting in government offices, not all of which have WiFi. We were coming up against our 2 GB limit and I asked Terry  to limit her non-WiFi surfing.

Verizon Data screen shotI had thought about looking at different plans for a while, but never took action. I had a couple of calls from Verizon about changing my data plan, but they appeared to be offshore calls, and I wasn’t comfortable talking to the representative. I did get a call from someone who sounded like she was stateside, but she wasn’t really helpful. She asked me if I wanted this much data for this much money, but didn’t seem to be able to tell me how that would affect my total bill.

Finally, I logged into my Verizon account and did some checking. I found that I could get 8 GB of data a month for $10 less than we were paying. And the data rolls over, rather than being use it or lose it as on our previous plan. I signed up.

I told Terry that she no longer needs to restrict her non-WiFi surfing. She’s happy.