The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks

Posted on January 19th, 2008 by george.
Categories: food, humor, photography.

One of my photos is famous! Props to Erin for the suggestion to submit it.


What does it take

Posted on January 7th, 2008 by george.
Categories: food, humor, life.

To get a cone in this town?

There are no less than four McDonald’s within five miles of my house. Much like Wal-Mart, it is my express endeavour never to travel there. But once in a while, a guy gets a hankerin’ for something unhealthy to eat. I while I will never again eat any of their beef, there’s nothing quite like the soft serve they…serve.

So over the past week (since New Year’s Eve, actually, when the craving first hit) I have been trying to get my grubby little paws on an ice cream cone from Mickey D’s. The 24-hour establishment in Cape Canaveral claimed their machine is down (I’ve since checked back and it’s still down). Something about the only guy who knows how to service it being on vacation.

That same night I figured I’d try the McDonald’s down the street in Cocoa Beach, but they were closed. Added bonus: I got an erroneous speeding ticket on the way back home. In the long and sordid history of me and Johnny Law, this will be the first citation I show up in court to protest. It was New Year’s Eve, people. There were cops everywhere. I categorically deny even flirting with the speed limit. I honestly think the cop pulled over the wrong guy, or was just fishing. My radar detector didn’t go off. Not to mention she pulled up behind me with her lights on while I was at a red light. Stopped. And she claims I was doing 50 in a 35. Um, no.

Anyway, the ice cream! So two nights ago I figured I’d try my luck with the Mickey D’s on Merritt Island, also a 24-hour joint.

“Welcome to McDonald’s, can I help you?”

“Yes, I’d like a cone please.”

“A what?”

“A cone.”

Ten seconds of silence.

“I’m sorry, our machine is down.”

“That’s funny, so’s the one in Cape Canaveral. What’s going on here?”

“Um, I don’t know?”

“Well when are you gonna have it fixed?”

“I’m sorry sir, I don’t know.”

Fine. Thanks for nothin’.

All this brings us to this evening. As I mentioned earlier, I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. But my new roommate Antonio (a co-op student from Puerto Rico) needed new flourescent lights and a shower curtain for his bathroom. What are ya gonna do? On the way there it dawned on me. Aha! This Wal-Mart has an in-house McDonald’s, for maximum this-is-the-depressing-state-of-America effect! My cone! I could almost taste sweet, creamy victory.

I should have taken a picture of the plaque with the photo of the manager. There are few more dispiriting things I have seen in this town. I waited ten minutes for the people in front of me (one guy was running the show, register, iced coffee, grill, fries and all), only to find out…

“I’m sorry, we don’t have an ice cream machine.”

“Well then what are the Oreo and M&M hoppers for?”

“We sell McFlurries here, but they arrive frozen and we have to blend them. They’re not like soft serve. We’re not like…a…real McDonald’s.”

It must not be in the stars for me to get this ice cream cone. Perhaps a few days from now the headlines will read:

Salmonella Outbreak in Merritt Island

CDC Sends Specialists to Pinpoint Origin

Dairy products suspected


Potraits for brekkie

Posted on September 23rd, 2007 by george.
Categories: food, photography.

I was absolutely transfixed by this photography project, sent to me by photojojo. You’ve heard of people resembling their dogs. Well how much more telling is it to see what they eat for brekkie? I found myself inventing entire life histories for these portraits that are at times haunting, spare or funny, but always expertly captured. They feel so intimate; it must be the slanting morning light, the sleep still in the faces, the blank stares. Oh, and of course, the brekkie. Props to the brilliant creator, Jon Huck. I’m curious how he knows so many interesting characters, especially those that will share brekkie with him in their homes (or on their morning commutes) and let him take their picture so early in the morning.

Also: did you know there’s a website called Mr. Breakfast? Sweet!



Posted on September 17th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, food, friends, fun, future, history, life, love, music, prayer, synthesis, travel.

Fere, Farah and Sarah

If there’s one thing I’m learning about writing it’s that when inspiration strikes, you must strike back, while the iron is hot. Some of you are probably wondering after the whereabouts of that potentially controversial essay I planned to write on Thursday, the day Lazi got into a car accident that left her and her friend upside down, hanging from their seatbelts. Don’t worry, she’s ok. But you see how easy it is to get distracted? Now it’s three a.m. after a life-changing weekend and my head is full of five pages that I can’t afford to sacrifice sleep to commit to words. God forgive me, but I feel I must resort to the dreaded bullet list. Behold: as many highlights from the weekend as I can remember. Rest assured there are hundreds more my poor brain is already forgetting as the cup overfloweth.

• Working extra hours in advance to leave work early Friday for Savannah to attend Louis and Shezel’s wedding
• Picking up Sarofsky and Justin in JAX
• Seeing happiness in the eyes of the four parents of the bride and groom
• Meeting Louis’s and his father Michael’s brothers
• Meeting Cara and Rob from Orlando and learning about life at Guantanamo and the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer
• Bonding with Justin
• Bachelor party laser tag
• Gourmet brekkie at the posh hotel downtown, included with the room
• Getting half price on said posh hotel
• Meeting Brittany, the vibrant soul with light in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, spring in her step, and heart in her service, a senior in interior design and our cashier at the sandwich shop
• Hearing the words “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” sung by a local artist at an outdoor cafe the moment we rounded the corner to the sandwich shop
• Making it to the wedding in advance to help set up
• Enjoying the honor of reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13 during the ceremony from the microphone between the bride and groom, their silhouettes framing the faces of an audience brimming with love and support for the couple
• Reuniting with members of my local Brevard County family on the lawn
• Meeting Brenda and Nancy, kindred spirits, by the hors d’oeuvres as the sun went down on a beautiful day
• Sharing tough but enlightening conversations with Ladan and Ramzi and family
• Witnessing the impossibly beautiful blending of the cultures of two different families manifest itself on the dance floor
• Busting several moves on said dance floor before the rug-cutting was cut short
• Listening to Darrell dedicate his poem to his little brother
• Eating wedding cake in honor of Mom (it’s her favorite dessert)
• Throwing Persian “rice” at Louis and Shezel on their way to the limo
• Finishing off the last of the wedding cake
• The Saturday night misadventures of $20 covers at bowling alleys, full car sing-alongs, and visiting the beach at Tybee Island for the first time at 2am, spending hours splashing in the ocean, looking at the stars and talking about the universe
• Waking up late Sunday to bid farewell to so many wonderful new friends (including the third interior designer!) like Navid, Adeeb (my new cousin), Shawn, Mona, Nissa, Cheryl, Sarah, Jalil and Sina
• Eating leftover wedding cake before lunch
• Enjoying lunch on the sidewalk in downtown Savannah with Sarofsky, Farah, Fere and Justin
• Justin’s eagle eye spotting Brittany walking straight toward us from across the street
• Marvelling at the serendipity of meeting a complete stranger twice in two days in a major city, embracing the second time and realizing you are old friends
• Hitting the road like Juan Valdez in order to make it to St. Augustine by 7pm for the once-a-year 1905 Day at my favorite restaurant in Florida: The Columbia
• Arriving at 6:35
• Being informed that no more reservations are being taken
• Sweet-talking the hostess and getting a table for 8:45
• Stepping outside to inform the group that we need to wait two hours and can enjoy the city, the second wonderful historic Southern town to introduce Justin to in the span of two days
• Being caught by the manager just before we set out and being taken to a table right away
• Enjoying the best gourmet Spanish food this side of Spain and paying 1905 prices (Cokes were ten cents, soups fifty cents, salad a dollar, entrees $2.05)
• Paying the tab without blinking and tipping the waiter double the bill
• Enjoying the ride home with my sisters Farah and Fere accompanied by good music
• Thinking the night was over only to be introduced to five religious refugees from Iran, family of local Baha’is who arrived in the United States 10 days ago
• Welcoming them to our community, learning about their lives and their journey, sharing stories and gaining amazing insights about prayer and destiny
• Being blessed with tangible evidence of the undeniable unity of all humans in the form of five brilliant souls
• Mentioning the five sisters and noticing the five-pointed star on Mehrvash’s necklace
• Listening to Siroos translate from Persian to English, and noticing that Kazim used the word “rouhani” several times in Persian
• From what I can tell, rouhani means “spiritual”
• Rouhani is Shezel’s maiden name, bestowed upon her family in the early history of the Baha’i Faith
• Kazim had never heard of the Rouhanis until tonight
• Thanking God for the limitless divine outpourings accrued over what must be recorded as three of the most intense days of my life, three days which are a direct result of the spiritual journeys taken last weekend in Texas
• Witnessing firsthand the soul-stirring, foundation-shaking, happiness-inducing, resolve-solidifying, purpose-endowing power of the Tablet of Ahmad, the Fire Tablet, and the Tablet of Visitation of Abdu’l-Baha



Posted on July 25th, 2007 by george.
Categories: environment, food, life, society.

Gather ’round the boob tube kids, and Timmy, don’t touch that dial:  it’s time for another edition of everyone’s favorite game show, Where Are Your Priorities?

Alright, everyone.  Raise your hands if you’ve heard of Lindsey Lohan.


Now here comes the tough one.  Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Norman Borlaug.

*crickets chirp*

No one?

*someone snores in the background*

Ah well, don’t worry.  He was only just awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  This after already being presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Nobel Peace Prize.  What makes ol’ Norman so special?  Besides being one of only five people in history to garner all three of these awards?  Well, he saved a few human lives.  How many, you ask?  Only a billion.  A few more than any other human in history.

But whatever.  OMG I heard Lindsay just went to jail!


Blog by proxy

Posted on July 14th, 2007 by george.
Categories: food, friends, photography.

I awoke this morning to a text message from my coworker, Kevin. That’s strange. I’ve never received a text from him before. Here’s what it said.

My daughter Tara took this 4 your blog


Awesome. I must have made an impression that time I had dinner with them and took photos of the food. Thanks Tara!