10 reasons why popcorn is the funnest of foods


1. SIMPLICITY: In its purest form, popcorn contains only four ingredients: oil, corn, butter and salt. It cooks fast — under 10 minutes on the stove, under 2 in the microwave — and requires few tools. Plus, it’s served in a bowl or bag so you don’t even need to use silverware.

2: VISUALLY STUNNING: Exploding kernels are a wondrous sight.

3. POP! PING PING! POP: Popping corn is edible music.

4. YUM: The smell, my goodness, is divine. And the taste has an addictive quality. You simply can’t eat just one.

5: PORTABILITY: Eat it at home, in a hotel, in the car, at your desk or just out in the world.

6. CUSTOMIZABLE: You can dress it up with everything from bacon to spices to cheese to chocolate, but honestly, homemade popcorn is fine on its own.

7. FESTIVE: You can string it on thread and use it as a Christmas decoration. Alternative, you can pour some popcorn into a tin and give it as a present.

8. NUTRITIOUS: Popcorn is healthy! It has one of the highest levels of polyphenols of any plant food, contains quite a bit of fiber and antioxidants, and according to Joe Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, “It’s the only snack that is 100 percent whole grain.”

9: UNIFIER: Anyone who smells popcorn will want to be your friend.

10. MEMORIES: Popcorn is one of those foods that instantly transports you to a different place: a movie theater, a circus, a carnival, a street fair.

To be fair, popcorn does have two notable — and lamentable — down sides. One, it gets stuck in your teeth, no matter how how you try to avoid it. And two, once it’s removed from the pot, the remaining shells look like burned ladybug corpses. But other than that… popcorn is the best.

–Photo by Linnell Esler

Musical discoveries and walkabouts


As mentioned in a previous entry, my resolution for 2016 was to engage in a series of 30-day experiments. In January, I listened to a new song every day, a feat that was only occasionally interrupted by news.

Here’s what I discovered:

For February, my goal is to walk at least 20 mins every day. Since I work from home, my commute is minimal (quite literally from one room to another) and so I don’t get nearly enough exercise. However, I own a treadmill, decent shoes and a Fitbit, which means there’s really no reason I can’t complete this challenge. I’ll just have to muster up some willpower. Anyone have a bit extra they’d like to spare?

–Photo by LBrakovic

Theme: A lens that levels the laser

Typewriter - Once upon a time

Earlier today, I finished reading “The Red Notebook” (La Femme au Carnet Rouge), a book by Antoine Laurain about a Parisian man who finds a woman’s purse on the street just hours after it was stolen during a violent mugging. As any good Samaritan would, the hero of the story sets about finding the owner of the handbag (no easy task without a wallet or phone).

Upon reading the last page, I looked up Laurain to see what other books he’d written. Turns out he also penned “The President’s Hat” (Le Chapeau de Mitterrand), a story about a man who comes into possession of a hat that was accidentally left at a brasserie by French President Francois Mitterrand. Clearly, the author is drawn to the theme of things that are lost and found.

As I struggle to write more novel-length stories, I wonder what my theme will be. Will my love of obits filter into my fiction? (Yes.) Do I sound too much like a journalist or can I tell a fantastical tale that’s worth reading? (Still up for debate.) Must someone always die? (Yes.) Why are all of my heroes/heroines such tortured souls? (Perhaps because I’m not.). Lastly, should I determine the theme before putting pen to paper or just let the characters share the story they want to tell? (I suspect the latter.)

–h/t to Chuck Wendig for the title. Photo by Brian A. Jackson.

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