On Cooking


I’ve become a fair to middling cook in the last year, due to repetition. Chopping, mincing, sautéing, grilling. Watching how heat changes and destroys something. Learning to control the destruction. That’s what cooking is. Controlled destruction.

It’s tactile. If you mainly work with words and other brain figments, attempting to distill air into digital bits that will be inked on a pulverized tree weeks or months down the road, or left as bits, doing something tactile and physical is welcome. The simpler tasks in preparing food can be meditative and unwind a worded-up brain much like drinking alcohol. You’re doing something with your hands that’s tangible and multisensory. It can start and end in the same slice of day. It produces a result that you can hold and taste, one that hits the first slab on the Maslow pyramid. Cooking is what writing isn’t. Read More »

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Seven Humble Pleas to the General Contractors of Earth

ManHammeringNail copyIf I’m trying to get a project bid from you, I’d appreciate it if you would…

Get a fucking website. It’s not 1975 anymore. I’m going to look you up after someone gives me your name or I find you on HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack or any of the other referral services. You have no website? Game over. I’m not gonna hire you for anything important. How fucking serious could you be? Okay, maybe “you have so much work you don’t need one.” Keep in mind you sound like some 70-year old fool who said he didn’t need a telephone in 1960.

Refrain from only sending out the fucking sales dude. I know, you’re paying a commission to this guy with the polo shirt and brochures to be your front man while you’re off working and earning money. I get it. You can’t be doing estimates all day. So I’m here talking to Cliff or Joe or Derek and wondering if anybody tells him he wears too much cologne. Thing is, I know I’ll never see this schmoe again. I want to talk to the guy who’ll be swinging the hammer. Or onsite telling somebody else to swing the hammer. Until that person comes and looks at the job, I won’t take your bid seriously. Read More »

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When Common Sense Kills

Pope2Pope Francis arrives at the Tacloban Airport in the Philippines on January 17, 2015. Image: Wikimedia Commons

I like Pope Francis. It’s hard not to like him. He’s folksy. He goes crowd wading while his security staffers piss themselves. He’s got a smile that’s both kind and a little devilish. I’d like to have a beer with him, to cite the ultimate good-human test.

The breathtakingly stupid mom-slur analogy he made on January 15, during the press session on a plane heading to the Philippines, even underscores why I like him. (Translations vary mildly, but he took a shadow jab at some hapless papal stooge and said something close to, “If my good friend Dr. Gasbarri says a curse word against my mother, a punch awaits him. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”)

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Let’s Quit the Fake Spartacus Statements

spartacus-movie-clip-screenshot-i-am-spartacus_large copy

The early backlash to the “je suis Charlie” phrase began hardly a day after the eight Charlie Hebdo editors and illustrators (plus four additional people) were murdered by terrorists in Paris on January 7. Several contrarians painted it as a hypocritical, beer-muscled line mostly being parroted by people who would never display the reckless courage of the Charlie Hebdo staff, don’t have a clue about the newspaper’s editorial point of view and likely wouldn’t be nearly as broken up about the identical slaughter of people who, say, were gunned down for drawing caricatures of Jews or blacks. Or maybe Americans.

Of course, “je suis Charlie” is just the latest iteration of the “I am” rallying meme that starts going around after a bloody event. For example, “I am Trayvon Martin,” “I am a Jew,” “I’m Michael Brown,” etc. By now, some people have closets with nasty identity disorders. I get that the broadly intended meaning of this Swiss Army slogan is “I’m united with the persecuted party” or “when you hurt them, you hurt me.” But I’m pretty tired of hearing it from people who are in no way similar to the entity they are supposedly boldly supporting.

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Chart: Probability of Insanity vs. Comment Posting Frequency


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Cecil the Cursing Cat, 1/7/15


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Cecil the Cursing Cat, 12/12/14

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Cecil the Cursing Cat, 11/18/14




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The Martian Invasion of 1938

War of the worlds4

Image: Wikimedia Commons

How old were you when the Orson Welles War of the Worlds radio broadcast was aired?

“I was little. If it was on Halloween in 1938, then I was four years old. I was little but I have some vivid memories from that night. We were in my grandparents’ farmhouse in Ferrell, New Jersey, and my grandmother and grandfather were listening to the radio as usual. Their names were Mary and George. They were my father’s parents. All of a sudden there was a lot of confusion in the house and the next thing I know we were down in the cellar. But it wasn’t a normal cellar, it was just a dug-out hole. It was all dirt. Not just the floor, everything was dirt. I don’t know what it was used for. I had never been down there before. I left that house in the fourth grade and I never went down there again. The house is still there.

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1905 Reporter, 10/25/14


Your Horo-Scope Fortune

January 20 – February 19
You’ll encounter another unusual request. Such as being asked to jot fortune-telling lines akin to those on cards dispensed by a scale in Piggly Wiggly.

February 19 – March 20
Try bathing but once every three days to perhaps stop stenching of perfumed agents that offend the nose and eye.

March 21 – April 19
Endeavor to reduce. If you must remain corpulent, dress as a dignified stout person would.

April 20 – May 20
Stop walking about in your night clothes.

May 21 – June 20
Be certain that you are not wagering much of your pecuniary existence on a small portion of your trade that can absconded by a few university cock o’ the walks. Or one fellow named Craig.

June 21 – July 22
Your confidence in your water is frightful. Have processed ale on the offer at every meal for those who do not share it.

July 23 – August 22
You overuse the zipper. The contrivance must not replace buttons or latches or laces on every single thing that can transmute a seam. Carry no more than one about you at any given time.

August 23 – September 22
Request “leave” or “holiday” or “days of absence” from your employer. Asking for “personal time” sounds as if you are bedeviled by some distasteful matter of hygiene.

September 23 – October 22
Carry a pocketknife. Engaging in a battle of might with every third carton you touch insults our species.

October 23 – November 21
If you are a man, do not embrace another non-blood man as a greeting unless that person has just saved the life of someone dear to you.

November 22 – December 21
Do something about “convenience stores” without toothpicks.

December 22 – January 19
Do not become angry at a curious soul who disassembles your ringing device.

– 30 –


1905 Reporter was brought back to life by an unnamed newspaper to save print journalism from extinction. Email him at 1905reporter@themintyplum.com. ©1905Reporter

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