Manny’s Deli or Jersey Mike’s?

My message to Manny’s Deli. I believe that they have responded poorly and lost a customer.

How is it possible that my $20 purchase from Jersey Mike’s beat a close to $100 purchase from Manny’s Deli in Chicago?

The other day we were all excited about the delivery, via Dwell Social, of food from Manny’s Deli in Chicago. We ordered several Reubens, a corned beef on rye, two latkes, and some Matzoh ball soup. I know that often things don’t ‘deliver’ as well as others but I thought we were in the clear. The other thing is that Dwell Social seems to be up on what it takes to make sure to assure that our food is a close to being in the restaurant fresh, as possible.

Out of the order, here is our take:

Corned beef sandwich: decent rye bread and the corned beef was beautiful and had great taste. It was also capable, being extremely lean, of choking a person. I guess I somehow missed the fact that I was getting the leanest selection of meat. As much as I believe in being healthy, when I eat corned beef, which isn’t often, I want to opt for the ability to swallow. I eat it infrequently enough that I believe that I can afford the fat.

The Reubens were the same. Our son said it was the most delicious corned beef ever, the sauce was great, but the meat was very dry.

The next day we had the latkes and the Matzoh Ball soup. The Matzoh balls were very tender but had some spicing I had never noticed before in a matzoh ball. The soup was delicious but oversalted. The latkes were pretty good, but we felt that the amount of onion flavoring was not enough.

I went on Facebook and messaged them with the information and our disappointment. I even, politically, said that perhaps it was my fault to not have looked for a way out of the lean corned beef. Their response, «Sorry to hear that. »

So, today, we had Jersey Mike’s sandwiches. I had a Philly Cheese Steak and Mary Kay had a Portobello Mushroom sandwich. The first thought I had when I took a bite, was, OMG, what a sad comparison I am making. This is so much a better experience than Manny’s Deli.

Lesson learned…

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Mike Embley and the BBC World News


Mike Embley in a report from 2003. The man does not age.

Sometimes, celebrities surprise you. Okay, let me qualify that. I think it may depend upon where the celebrity is from and what the situation is.

I am blown away, for example, by Lin-Manuel Miranda and his responding to my daughter-in-law’s message to him asking him if he could acknowledge her twelfth birthday. He was late, but not by all that much, and he did respond. That, to her, was an all time high note as she loves the actor and all that he does and she already loves Hamilton.

My surprise was, when I sent a question to a BBC World News’ Anchor, Mike Embley, that he responded at all. I thought, someone of his caliber, demeanor, world renown, and the organization for which he works, make it highly unlikely that the very busy man could respond.

I was wrong. He did.

I had a question about the weather being offered at the end of the world news segment as it gave temps for all over the U.S. but never even hinted at the existence of Chicago. As it happens, just after I questioned Mike, the segment seemed to have disappeared. Once again, I wonder if my questions provoked its removal. I was responsible, after I had given my honor French students the job of finding mistakes in a new version of a fabulous French textbook, for the subsequent removal of the book. Mike did respond however, and frankly blew me away.

The other day this week, Mike Embley’s last newscast happened. We are heartbroken as he has become an evening fixture in our house where, due to the sensationalist news reporting of the U.S. networks, we jumped ship to the BBC.

I sent him a message of congratulations last night (April 16th) and this morning I found an e-mail response.

There are decidedly times when I wish that our two cultures could meld together even better than they already have. I think that our people could learn a thing or two. Just as in Canadian theatre where I believe that actors are really into the acting and less about the fame they might gain, television celebrities in the UK are more about doing their jobs well than securing a spot in a glorified city on the west or east coast.

Thanks, Mike Embley, for a job well done. We will all miss you!

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Cold, Sunny, and Pandemically Affected

Freshly Stained.

I just keep thinking about March of 2020, our last time in a restaurant, having lunch with a wonderful friend from Hyde Park that we met in Stratford, Ontario. She is a medical doctor and I remember talking to her about the ramifications of the Pandemic and how we were all going into confinement. At that time, she thought that we would be in for about six weeks.

Sometimes, we know so little.

This Pandemic, a Caligula-like disease, attacking willy nilly here and there, one never knowing how it is gong to behave, and affecting us in unbelievable ways, changing our lives forever.

Caligula stands out in my mind. I learned about Caligula through French literature. One of my favorite authors, Albert Camus, wrote a play of the same name in 1938. The Roman emperor, for whom one day you might be a favorite and then the next day executed, behaved in a very odd manner. I think that this play is one of the most valuable lessons I have been taught.

In my life, I have met numerous Caligula-like people. The most recent is frightening in demeanor: powerful and unpredictable, and yet sad and tortured. The only thing one can predict is the extreme vindictiveness and lack of empathy.

This person mirrors the former POTUS and the Coronavirus, itself, who all managed to keep us under control by seemingly lacking any sort of plan and doing nothing than meeting their own, self-aggrandizing needs.. Nature itself has provided us with many a Caligula-like weather happening, what with tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, and hurricanes. The earth too, has recently been plagued with so much of this. Take a look at Australia alone, and you have more than enough evidence.

We have all had to learn to deal with a lot these days and now we are dealing with the violence that people somehow believe that they have license for. Our earth and its people are out of control. In the earth’s history, there have always been periods like this, so this too shall pass, it is just a question of when.

I am ready to move beyond all of this.

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Curb appeal, lawns, Hibiscus Midnight Marvel, Ergynium, and dandelions

Freshly Stained.

Freshly stained and painted. The Passion flower is waiting to adorn it.



It has been a busy week.

Monday through Wednesday, we had painters on the Koerner estate, notice the small ‘e,’ and they had been busy staining the upper portion of our house after power washing and other preparations. They were amazing. It is hard to believe that I can have a group with brushes and nary a complaint about how they did their job. They were hardworking and polite and did a great job. We even had them repaint the mailbox and the playhouse, which is now nicknamed the ‘Orangerie,’ since it houses my citrus and hibiscus as I am transitioning them to the yard.

I am thrilled.

I now feel we are ready to move on in this Pandemic and prepare to have more outdoor time as the weather warms up. The yard is shaping up nicely. I have been very pro-active about getting things going and doing things to avoid later disappointments in the yard and how it looks.

Today I ordered a perennial hibiscus, named ‘Hibiscus Midnight Marvel, a flowering bush with almost nine inch blooms that are deep red and among maple shaped leaves that are a deep purple. The new ‘hibiscus’ is in the mallow and Rose of Sharon family. Given the fact that I want to have more curb appeal, I think it will be a nice addition. I also bought several plants of ergynium, a deep blue, thistle-like flower. I am making it my plan to get something growing in front of the house in the flower bed in the northern part of my house that faces west. Traditionally, it gets a lot of sun.

The grass is very green and the dandelions have made their appearance. I have already pulled about eight to ten dandelions from either the front or the back yard. I am curious to see how many more show their pretty, but annoying, faces to me. I wish I liked them or at least ate them. Somehow, I cannot get beyond my prejudice against them as lawns in my home town were not supposed to have them. The northeastern Ohio lawns were supposed to look like Malbor’s lawn, a sterile patch of pure, chemically induced green that harbors one kind of grass and no other. They were to be perfectly edged and have no brown.

The cold snap continues and I look forward to getting on my patio again.

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Fresh stain

Given that we have to spend more time at home, despite being completely vaccinated and two weeks beyond the date of the last dose, it will be nice to enjoy our house and yard. We bit the bullet and got someone to stain the upper portion of our house. I was apprehensive, never having had to resort to someone doing the exterior (other than my youngest who did it a few years ago). My apprehensions were unfounded.

The crew and the man in charge were stellar. Moises was amazing from start to finish and I have to say, he destroyed my usual tact of not going with the least expensive. I liked his personality, his demeanor, the fact that he is local and lives in Deerfield, and my intuitions and instincts about him were right on the beam. They started right away in their weather window that began at 8:00 am on last Monday. It is Wednesday, and if they are not done (they are cleaning up now), they have very little to do tomorrow. The house is nicely stained with the first latex stain it has had in my tenure here (two coats of Sherwin Williams Woodscape Krypton stain) and it all went without a hitch.

The crew of two worked very diligently and even brought a microwave to warm up their nice lunch that they enjoyed on our patio. There was no wasting of time, little mess, no plantings damaged, and it was as if we were just having a normal day in April. They power washed the house, stained the upper portion with the Krypton color and painted the white trim and even the shutters and mailbox (which we asked them to do at the last minute as I realized I would have to do it, so did it look out of place with the wonderful fresh look found elsewhere.

So now we go into the summer with a house that, as I sit outside, can look at and not think, why, oh why, did I not get that done?

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