"A man becomes preeminent,he's expected to have enthusiasms.
What are mine? What draws my admiration?
What is that which gives me joy?"
-- Al Capone (Robert deNiro) "The Untouchables" 1987
It was made clear to me recently that not everyone shares my level of fascination with all the things that I'm enthusiastic about. Take, for example, Plochman's Chili Dog Mustard. (September 13, 2006 blog.) To me, it's almost magical. It's mustard.....that tastes like a chili dog! After a couple of days of eating hot dogs adorned with this mustard, my family shrugged and acted like it was no big deal. My brother came to our house to visit, and I insisted that he try it. "Yep, it tastes like chili." I'm surrounded by philistines.
Herewith a listing of some of my other enthusiasms:
Cigars. I realized recently that I've been smoking cigars for twenty-five years or more. When I say cigar, I don't mean your King Edward or White Owl or any other cigar where "paper" is listed as an ingredient. The cigars I smoke are 100% tobacco. Unfortunately, I don't get to the Bahamas or Costa Rica or even Mexico often enough to buy Cuban cigars. Of the three cigars I have smoked that were "Cubans," only one was authentic; the other two were counterfeits. (Isn't it weird that counterfeiting cigars is a big business?) My stick of choice recently has been the Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur No. 3, with the natural wrapper.
Kitchen gadgets. It would be easy to blame this on the Food Network, and I have to admit that Alton Brown has become one of my heroes. Before I ever had DirecTV, though, I had a bunch of pieces of plastic and metal that were supposed to make food preparation easier. Most of them lasted about one use and then broke. Nonetheless, I still want to make a Blooming Onion at home, or curly fries. Nowadays I'm trying to get good traction out of my kitchen purchases, and AB's book really helped a lot. And ingenuity means something, after all. For instance, when Kathy asked me to slice some new potatoes (those little white ones that come in a can,) I didn't feel like messing around for an hour trying to hold the little devils. So I used our egg slicer to slice them; they were perfectly sliced, and it only took me about ten minutes to do four cans of them. God bless Ron Popeil.
The Bob and Tom Show. I enjoy comedy and comedians a lot. Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, broadcasting out of Indianapolis, have been in the radio business for nearly thirty years, and featuring comedians all along. Other cast members are Chick McGee and Kristi Lee, and producer Dean Metcalf. Since I'm up at 5:00 a.m. every day, and that's when their show starts, it's great. Mornings are much more pleasant, and I start my day smiling. Some of my new favorite comedians are Drew Hastings, Greg Hahn, Mike Armstrong, Mike Birbiglia, Augie Smith.....if I ever win the lottery, I'm opening a comedy club in Lubbock. Meanwhile, it's Bob and Tom for me.
Ghosthunters. I've written about these guys before also. (June 1, 2006.) I don't watch much TV, but I've recently tried to carve out 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays to watch this show on the Sci-Fi network. I'm fascinated by the mysteries of the world, and these guys approach the subject with a hard-headed attitude. Make no mistake, they're believers in the paranormal, but they use gadgets and gizmos to prove their case. And once in a while they show something that....doesn't....quite.....look....right. Good stuff.