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Monday, June 13, 2016

Good morning crew,

I hope everybody had a safe and fun weekend. As you might remember me mentioning last week, the wife and I spent our Saturday night downtown, celebrating my brother Nino's birthday with him, his wife Marianne, and our cousin Kaz and his wife Debbie (of the annual Independence Day party fame). As congenial a little crowd as you could ask for.

That adventure started off with a train ride downtown at about 2 in the afternoon. I know I sounded a little trepidatious about my first time "hopping a train" in over 20 years, but instead of the hot, sweaty, crowded affair I was anticipating, the reality was only mildly uncomfortable. The cars did lurch and bounce alarmingly a few times, and there was a subtle aroma of something I really hoped wasn't a bodily fluid, but other than that the ride was uneventful.

The restaurant my sister-in-law picked out, on the other hand, was fancy in the way that a commuter train is not. I think it was called Blackhawk, and it was the kind of place with white linen tablecloths and the flowers in the tiny, little porcelain vases on the tables weren't even plastic. A real 5-star joint.

Let me give you an idea of the kind of place it was. Marianne ordered a cheese sampler as an appetizer for the table, and the waiter pushed a cart over to our table with a silver tray loaded with 8 wedges of different kinds of cheese.

He spent about five minutes describing the origin, texture, flavor and pungency of each cheese, offering personal preferences and recommendations, after which he said, "You can have one from column A and two from column B."

Maybe it's a reflection on me as a husband, but I think the wife felt a little out of her depth in a place like that. As we were poring over the menu she leaned over to me and whispered, "Do you think I should get a cup of cream of cauliflower soup?"

"Sure, why not?" I whispered back.

"Because it's $20," she said.

But it was an experience. A place like that doesn't serve turkey club sandwiches and cheeseburgers and fries. We were treated to courses like roast duck breast with foie gras and sweet herbs, and fried frog legs in a fennel and mustard seed sauce. I had just a delicious rabbit groin sausage with a turnip and mushroom salad.

And, of course, everybody shared a little bit of their dinners in a general atmosphere of familial bonhomie.

I think the wife had gnocchi, which is basically dumplings, but when Nino offered samples of his dinner I couldn't resist a bite. It was crispy on the outside, but the inside was creamy, almost sweet, with a melt-in-your-mouth consistency.

"You have to try this," I told the wife, scooping another forkful off of Nino's plate while he wasn't looking.

"What is it?" she asked as she chewed speculatively on the morsel.

"It's called sweetbread."

"Yeah," she continued, "but what IS it?"

"Deep fried calf brains," I said.

I've never seen her drain an entire glass of wine like that before. I think she liked it.

Laugh it up,


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"A clothing company is going to release a $99 wedding dress. The $99 wedding dress is the perfect way to tell your man, 'I do, I guess.'" -Conan O'Brien


"A judge in New Jersey ruled that women can keep their husbands and boyfriends out of the delivery room while they are in labor. When asked if they'd mind leaving the room, the husbands and boyfriends were already gone." -Jimmy Fallon


"A scientist and a chef teamed up to test whether or not lobsters can feel pain. Apparently, the hardest part is getting a lobster to sit still long enough to watch 'The Notebook.'" -Seth Meyers



Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables while you chop.

Avoid arguments with women about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.

For high blood pressure sufferers - simply cut yourself and bleed for a few minutes, thus reducing the pressure on your veins. Remember to use a timer.

A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

If you have a bad cough, take a large dose of laxatives. You'll be afraid to cough.

You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and it does, use the duct tape.

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.

Daily thought: Some people are like Slinkies...not really good for much but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

*-------------- Guaranteed to Roll Your Eyes --------------*

A young city boy visiting a dude ranch wanted to be appear macho, so he went out walking with one of the hired hands.

As they were walking through the barnyard, the visitor tried to begin a conversation, "Say, isn't that fine-looking bunch of cows over there."

The hired hand replied, "Not 'bunch,' it's 'herd.'"

"Heard what?"

"Herd of cows."

"Sure, I've heard of cows!" finished the city boy excitedly, "there's a big bunch of 'em right over there."

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