Famous chefs and short order cooks…

As a card-carrying “meat and potatoes” man, none of my friends will ever mistake me for a fancy eater. But I’ve spent too much time in New Orleans to   claim complete innocence. You’re not allowed to deny your taste buds in New Orleans – especially when you’re lucky enough to shake hands with chefs at such world famous restaurants as Commander’s Palace, Emeril’s, Galatoire’s, NOLA, and a secret favorite of the locals, the exquisite “Cajun-Asian” cuisine cooked for years by my friend Ganesh Ayyenger at Mac Rahman’s Sara’s, tucked away near the bend in the Mississippi river where the streetcars that run from the French Quarter to St. Charles Avenue ring their bells and make the turn on to South Carrolton.

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Joe’s Take: Our Thanksgiving toasts…

You can give your Thanksgiving toast in a dozen different languages and liquids and addressed, whatever your faith, to “the livin’ Gawd that made you”, as Rudyard Kipling put it. But the heartfelt reasons we raise our glasses each year with such profound gratitude differs a bit with each of us. In the main we publicly give thanks for common reasons; our family, our friends, our good luck. The part that’s different we often keep to ourselves.

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Joe’s Take: Sunlight, fairways and lunch…

No matter how much others may admire the stoics who skip lunch in favor of grinding away at the day’s work, I refuse to join their short-sighted neglect of civilization’s better traditions. And I’m happy I don’t have to join those unfortunates who bring a brown bag lunch to work, forced to munch away sitting next to their machines/computers/telephones or other humming, buzzing and ringing gadgets of the modern workplace.

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Joe’sTake: Aunt Tess and Veterans Day…

She walked up the aisle lost in her own memories and thoughts, heading straight for the bank of votive candles where every year she honors her long-dead older brothers and their buddies for the parts they played in the War. No generals or other brass; just regular GI Joe’s taken from civilian life and sent to slug it out with Hitler’s troops.

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Joe’s Take: The enabler…

These words are written just before the mid-term election of 2014. All the polls forecast a Republican win across the board, but pundits admit things are so close they’re not betting the farm on it.

I watched the ads from the Pennsylvania campaigns and elsewhere in New Jersey. Their viciousness turned my stomach. It is to our local incumbent Frank LoBiondo’s credit that his campaign remained above that sort of sleaze. It is much less to his credit that to rise in Congress he must remain an enabler of his colleagues in the Republican Party who promote the worst excesses of partisan gridlock we have seen in our lifetimes – excesses that are destroying the very ability of Congress to address the urgent public needs of the times.

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Joe’s Take: The last cutting…

It’s not time yet. We still have a pretty good chunk of the hurricane season to get through and the heavy rains, and weeks of the great leaf fall that gives Autumn its very nickname of “Fall.” We still have Halloween and Thanksgiving and, some years, right up to Christmas week before the grass calls it quits for the year.

You can sense it coming, that day when the guys with the leaf-blowers and the edge-trimmers and the weed-whackers and the riding mowers pack it in for the winter. They were out there in force this morning, the hum and buzz of their work drifting in my still-open window, reminding me we are on the threshold of the great turning of the seasons.

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