Chick-Fil-A and the Search for Meaning

Some seek novelty; others crave routine. Some go to their favorite restaurant to order their beloved dish; others perk up about the specials with anticipation of a surprise. It could be physiology; it could be habit. Are you the kind of person to eat your cherished chicken parm for the 100th time, or to scan the menu and order something different—searching for a new discovery?

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That’s Disgusting!

Would you eat a bowl of your favorite soup that was stirred with a used flyswatter that had been thoroughly soaked and washed?

Would you drink a cup of water five minutes after you had spit your own saliva into it?

Take the disgust quiz HERE:

Disgust is one of the general human emotions identified by Paul Ekman, a psychologist who studies universal facial displays. He found happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, anger, fear, and contempt are identifiable in many different world cultures. Pixar’s Inside Out only used five of them, but I think they missed an opportunity to let Kathy Griffin be the shocked voice of OMG surprise and Bill Burr contemptuously critiquing everything little Riley encounters, especially broccoli pizza.

Reading facial expressions of emotion
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The Magic of Coffee and Caffeine

I didn’t regularly drink coffee until reaching my thirties. I didn’t need it. People used to make any variety of this faux-joke, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my first cup”, and I thought that was just a nice way of telling me to shut up or go away. It seemed like a bad idea to start habitually using a “drug” that could so enormously impact your day. Continue reading

Italy vs. Korea: Living Life Abroad

I’ve been to 10 countries this year but spent the bulk in either Italy or Korea. I think somehow I’m fully American diluted with Italian and Korean blood now. My roots spread far. Both countries have their pros and cons, but which is the better place to live? Continue reading

NYC Pizza Tour–2012

Bread has been cooked in many ways, in many places and with many flavors. Pizza is essentially bread with toppings. As with most food, Americans received pizza from immigrants, Italian immigrants specifically. However, Italians owe their modern pizza to the New World. Tomatoes were shipped home with (the aptly named) Francisco Pizarro, that famous conquistador of the Incan Empire. Continue reading

31 Flavors of Anxiety

I’ve never been happy with my order at an ice cream store. The one I get is usually the one I’ve sampled and order half out of guiltiness for a free taste and half out of lack of desire to waste more plastic spoons.  The fact that I always have so many choices leads to my apprehension and ultimate unhappiness. When you look in the freezer, and find only one box, there is much less choice and a higher probability of being happy in your decision to eat flavored frozen cream. I’ve even found myself angry leaving the Wendy’s drive thru with a Frosty in my hand thinking, “Damn, I should have gotten the vanilla.” Continue reading

Taiwan by Train

Leaving Taipei:  Tropical trees mingle with dense brush growing through giant, ancient boulders; gentle curving rivers meander below the green landscape in a quiet rhythm of eternity. This is Formosa. This is a busy land of high-speed rail, modern technology and independence. This is Chiang Kai Shek’s land. This is a place made for train travel. Going fast or slow, you will enjoy the old temples peeking out from ledges and the endless, endless green. Continue reading

America and Food

Of all the culinary concoctions and gustatory delights conceived and created in America, we have few originals—Twinkies, cheesesteaks, Buffalo wings and maybe sweet potato pie, but that could be a derivation of an American Indian tradition. Most American foods, as American people, are a consequence of the extreme influx of 18th-20th century immigration. Germans brought hot dogs and hamburgers; Italians brought pizza and pasta; English brought fish and chips; Polish brought water ice, but it melted on the way over and they forgot the recipe—it took years of trial and error before they figured it out again. 😉 Continue reading

To: Ice Cube RE: “Today was not such a good day.”

“In my younger and more vulnerable years” my mother used to read me a book called: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Paraphrasing, it was about some punk kid who was having trouble tying his shoes, got gum in his hair, got yelled at by the teacher, his sister took his favorite lunchbox to school, he didn’t get a toy in the cereal box and perhaps some other little kid problems. At the end, I think he got a hug from his mom, and everything was better because tomorrow is another day is Australia or something. Continue reading