Food, Music & Sports    

     My New Stereo


The secret of cooking is to experiment and try new things. And good cooks know that spices are the other secret to great tasting food.

One of the most surprising things I discovered was that natural foods, taste different every time you shop. I've tasted really spectacular carrots, and carrots with no taste at all. Apples come in a half-dozen types and each one has a distintive flavor, but you'll also find that apples of the same type can taste quite different. Even the same brand of milk can taste different each time you buy it.

Food is never boring. Did you know that in addition to all the types of apples, there are a score of salad dressings, dozens of cheeses, countless spices, each with a different flavor. Here's a website that gives 26 different apple varieties

Grow Your Own

Pick Your Own

  • Plant a Grocery Garden If you have a chance, be sure to pick your own fresh fruits. You'll be amazed at how much better they taste than what you buy from the grocery store.
  • Butler's Orchard
  • Rock Hill Orchard
  • Homestead Farms
  • List of Maryland farms where you can pick your own fruits or find a corn maze.

    Eating Healthy - The best tasting food is fresh - picked from the garden or just caught, courtesy of our neighbor Paul - I've never tasted a fish as good as the Rockfish paul gave us earlier this year (2007). And Helena knew how to cook it! So glad I married her.

    If you have the time, it's a joy to cook your own food from fresh natural ingredients rather than processed food from the store. If you know what you're doing it will taste a lot better.

    Junk food & Candy - Humans have a taste for sweets and fat. Candy French fries Tastes so good, it's almost addictive. Lots of calories but no nutrition. "Empty calories"

    Processed food - The food companies know how to appeal to our taste buds, fat, salt, sugar, and color - yes the color of a food, will change how it tastes to us! These foods are almost addictive and the companies want them that way so they can sell us more. The problem is it's not healthy - so many additives. Take a look at the list of ingredients. You need a degree in chemistry to know what those things are!

    The Omnivore's Dilemma Great book haven't finished reading it. Mindless Eating Another great book - on the danger of eating without paying attention.

    One problem you'll worry about when you get older is that the stuff that tastes great is fattening, and low cal food is tasteless.

    101 Quick Meals
    More Quick Meals
    Even More Quick Meals
    Shopping for One
    The 11 Best Foods You Aren't Eating


    If I like music more than I like food, shouldn't I weigh less? Maybe not, because I can listen to music while I eat. However, to really appreciate music you need to sit back, close your eyes, and let the music take you away.

    When doing schoolwork, music without words may help you concentrate.

    Music is like art -- you'll know instantly whether you like it or not. And the more you listen and learn, the more you'll like it. But there are many music styles and within each style are more styles. There are college classes devoted to each style. Here's a quick list:

    Classical - there's so much here - some is awful, some is wonderful. And you'll have to listen to a lot of music before you'll really know what you like. I like Baroque (a type of classical music) and chamber music. Listen to it at Otto's Baroque Musick" on 1.FM and click "Broadband (128K)" Under the "Tune in" logo near the bottom of the page.

    Jazz - I don't care for this, although I find light jazz relaxing.

    Opera - Can't stand it, but your mom likes it.

    Acid Rock, Punk, and Heavy Metal - The louder, the better!
    No, No, I was just joking! Turn that shit down! It's as bad as opera.

    New Age - Haven't listend to much of it, but I love Enya - an accidental discovery because someone gave a CD of hers to me as a Christmas present.

    Folk Music - Emphasis is on the words, with only a few instruments. I don't like the voice of Bob Dylan, but I like most of the other artists.

    Rock and Roll - Each decade has a different sound. I like the 70's.

    Country and Western - Sometimes, but not if the singers and instruments have too much twang - Hillbilly music, yuch. But light country crossover I like - Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Ann Murray.

    Bluegrass - I love instrumental Bluegrasss. Discovered it accidently because my officemate at work is in a Bluegrass band and your mom and I went there with Annabelle in 2006.

    Reggae - I like it. Bob Marley is the best.

    Hip Hop and Rap - Don't care for it.

    Arkive Music
    Classical Archives

    My New Stereo

    Bach, ahhh Bach... One of my favorite composers. He got me hooked on classical music. I was in Ames, went to the classical music store there, explained the kind of music I liked and didn't like, and asked them to recommend some CD's so I could learn more. She gave me Bach, Vivaldi, and A Baroque compilation. Those three CD's are still my favorites, but I now have a lot more Bach!

    I have listened to the Well Tempered Clavier, but how it sounds depends on who's playing it, whether it's played on the harpsichord, piano, or accompanied with other instruments. It also depends on which key of C it's played in -- C major, C minor, or C sharp minor. Have a listen here:

    See what I mean?

    My new stereo was a bottom-of-the-line component system sold at Audioworks, a high-end audiophile store. The system is now (October 30, 2007) one year old and I'm just as thrilled with it as I was when I brought it home.

    Two days before I got the new stereo system, I bought a new CD player, an NAD C 521 BEE, for $270. And even with the old stereo system and old speakers, I could still here a big difference in how the CDs sounded! I was so surprised because I thought, since the music was all 1's and 0's, what difference could a CD player make - I was so wrong!

    Twenty plus years ago in college, I'd put a component audio system together myself, after doing a lot of research, and wondered how it compared with what I could get today. So I went back to the high-end store with my old speakers, and took Helena along too, since women's ears are supposed to be better than a man's, and we compared the same music, switching back and forth between my speakers and different sets of speakers that the store sold.

    Wow! The store speakers were magnitudes of order better. The sound was amazing. There was a depth and a richness there that was unbelievable. So I shelled out $1,435.50 for a set of Totem Staff speakers (the cheapest speakers Totem sells). I also purchased an amplifier (NAD C 320 BEE) for $360, a pre-amplifier for my turntable, at $119. (A few weeks later I purchased a new cassette player, because I had an extensive collection of tapes, and my old player had recently stopped working).

    Now that I've added up the numbers, I see it's only a $2000 system, but I got 10% off, since I bought the system together, so it's worth $2500 :-)

    Even though this system is over a year old, I'm still amazed each time I listen to a new DVD or a new CD - the CD has to be a good one though. Because with this new system, I hear big differences in the quality of the recording of different CDs. Don't buy anything from the Mad About series, the recordings are poor.


    There are hundreds of sports, hobbies, and activities to choose from. And it won't take much effort to ones you like. You'll practice a few of the most popular ones during physical education classes. It isn't the sport that's important it's the people in it that counts most. Once you have friends on a team, you'll probably enjoy the sport, no matter what it is.

    The Importance of Clubs

    Whatever you enjoy doing, it's even more fun when you find other people that enjoy doing it, too. It's a great way to make new friends, learn from others who are more experienced, and have other people to do it with.

    Whatever hobby or sport you choose, there's a club somewhere where you can meet other people who like the same things you do, and want to talk about it. Even activities that are solitary, like reading or photography, have local clubs you can join.

    If I had my life to live over again, that is the biggest change I would make. The mistake I made was that since none of my friends liked to go backpacking, I thought I had to do it by myself, or not do it at all. It was risky, and sometimes lonely. I didn't have anyone to share a campfire with, or to enjoy a beautiful sunset the next morning. Instead, I should have joined a backpacking club, either in highschool or college, or through a national outdoor organization like the Sierra Club that had a local chapter. In addition, I learned to late, the state forests and National Parks have day hikes and other activities. There you can talk to a forest ranger who will tell you all about the local hiking clubs.

    If you like sports, you'll have no trouble finding a club to join. Soccer clubs exist for all ages. There's baseball teams for all age groups. In high school I was in the chess club, and still have a great friend I made there 27 years ago - Ian Jordan.

    But a club doesn't guarantee you'll make friends. My dad and I joined a Las Vegas bicycle club, and I learned a lot about maintaining my bike, built my own bicycle form the spokes and frame on up, and went for a lot of great rides, including a 100 mile bicycle ride. But since everyone lived all over Las Vegas, there wasn't anyone my age that lived close by. I also wasn't old enough to drive, so that limited my activities in the club.

    Bike Clubs in this Area

  • Potomac Pedalers
  • WABA

    The most important thing about a club is the people in it. If you don't get along with them, you won't have a good time. But the solution is simple - just find another activitiy with a different group of people. A long time ago, I was interested in parachuting but the people in the club were much older than I was, had jobs, smoked marijuana and drank. I was 16, and they were in their twenties. We didn't have much in common.

    And the Boy Scouts really sucked. We were similar ages, but we couldn't have been more different. It was one of the worst experiences of my life.

    Going It Alone

    I'm not suggesting that you do everything with someone else. There are advantages to being independent and doing things by yourself. When you backpack with someone else or a group of other people, you won't be able to do everything you want to do. You'll have to compromise. When to get up, what to eat, when to rest, what to see. But there are the advantages I already mentioned, and if you've got a group of friends, you have the choice of either going with them or by yourself. Without friends, you either go by yourself, or not at all :-(


    Football - The brown skin of a pig, filled with air, is carried and thrown back and forth across a large field by 24 large men
    Soccer - A leather ball is kicked back and forth across a large field by seven men or women running very fast
    Basketball - A large orange ball is thrown back and forth across a wooden floor by 16 men trying to get the ball to fall through a net that's 10 feet off the ground.
    Baseball - A small white ball is hit with a large wooden stick across a large field. Nine men in the field try to catch the ball and throw it back before the man who hit it finishes running around in a circle
    Golf - A small white ball is hit with a stick across a large field by men and women trying to put it into a small hole. This is repeated 18 times.
    Tennis - A fuzzy yellow ball is hit back and forth across a net.
    Polo - A small ball is hit back and forth across a large field by men riding horses
    Bowling - A heavy black ball is thrown down a narrow corridor with the hope it will knock down 10 pins standing at the end.
    Racquetball - A bouncy rubber ball is hit around a large white room by two men swinging racquets.
    Track - Men and women run around in circles but don't carry balls. The one who runs fastest wins
    Rugby - Same as football, but played in England.
    Criquet - Same as baseball, but played in England.
    Squash - Same as racketball, but played with a longer racquet.
    Handball - Same as racketball, but played without a racquet.
    Badminton - Same as tennis, but the net is higher and a ball with feathers on it is used.
    Volleyball - Same as badmintion, but you use a large ball and hit it with your hands,
    Ping Pong - Same as tennis, but played on a table.
    Pool - played on a small green table with 6 holes in the corners and sides. Two people take turns trying to knock 12 balls into the holes
    Curling - Men slide large stones with handles across a sheet of ice
    Croquet - Watch "Alice in Wonderland" to see how this game is played.
    Hockey - Same as soccer, but played on the ice with sticks.
    Horseshoes - .
    Skiing - .
    shuffle board - .
    bocce - .
    jai lai - .

    Sports & Education

    Why are college scholarships given to athletes?

    One of the reasons parents push their kids so hard is to get a scholarship Recent news- 8th grader offered a basketball scholarship to University of kentucky. He's not the first 8th grader offered a scholarship

    If you are really good in one of the first six sports, you can make millions of dollars a year. In other words, a significant amount of money is paid to watch other people move small objects back and forth across large areas of well-tended grass. Some of the people who move these objects are well paid, and millions of people are willing to pay sizeable chunks of their income to watch them do it. Millions more spend an inordinate amount of time discussing these activities and spend even more time trying to convince their sons and daughters to move these objects around, too. Why?

    Sports have been a preoccupation of humans for thousands of years. No other animal seems to engage in sporting events. Unless you think that the females watching the males battle are like the groupies following sports stars. But that's one animal against another. What about team sports?

    Could it be that the success between prehistoric groups competing for resources meant that success went to groups that worked as a team? And that the star of the winning team was given wealth, high status, and women?

    Maybe the evolutionary advantage of sports is a sexual selection advantage conferred on the winners. The high school jock -- big, dumb, bad attitude. Chance are he won't be a success at anything, yet he has no trouble getting girls. The nerd -- smart, a little clutzy. Chances are he'll have a great job. Any luck with the girls is usually bad luck.

    So it seems evolution has programmed a woman's genes for selecting a successful man more than 10,000 years ago -- those that could bring back a mammoth.

    But why the attraction to men who sing?

    So why an interest in sports? Keeps your mind off your problems. Gives you something to talk to others about -- making small talk.

    HomeLast updated: June 20, 2008