I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

I'll have what phil's having

Last night I watched the final episode of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, a food and travel show on PBS. I recorded it on the DVR as it aired a few days ago. In the six episodes that comprise season one, Phil Rosenthal, a creator, writer and producer who is best known for his work with Ray Romano on Everybody Loves Raymond, traveled to and ate the cuisine of many cultures included that of Tokyo, Japan; Hong Kong, China; Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain; various locations in Italy; and lastly, Los Angeles, California, his adopted hometown.

I don’t want to do a review of this show but wanted to share a few things I find fascinating with this series. Phil is great. He comes across as an everyday kind of guy, one to which viewers can relate. He isn’t pompous about the places he visits and the food he eats and genuinely enjoys the company in which he finds himself. On top of it all, he is a very funny individual.

Last night, Phil highlighted Homeboy Bakery in Los Angeles, a well-known bakery that is run by and helps former gang members and at-risk women. They are producing excellent breads, rolls, sandwiches, and many other confections while learning new skills and keeping themselves out of harm’s way. Phil was genuinely humbled to be visiting their production site, working directly with the bakers and other workers, and allowing them to share their life experiences with his viewing audience. Phil was emotionally touched by the good that Father Greg has done with his flock of former gang members and former miscreants turned humble, successful, and thriving members of society.

Phil has one of my dream jobs; traveling and eating. I have been to all of the places Phil has traveled to except Hong Kong but would love to go back to all of these locales and retry the food about which Phil is so passionate.

So get out there and travel, eat, and if you can do good for someone else less fortunate than you, all the better.

If you’d like to check out the six episodes of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, click HERE.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Uncategorized


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BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front

I’m looking for a new job in the Greater Boston area working in any industry as a risk analyst (think security, not financial), intelligence professional, instructor, or other related or complementary job title, and break into middle management with a path to the upper echelons.  There, I said it. My BLUF.

When I was in grade school, middle school, high school and college, I was taught to write out a topic sentence or thesis statement, something that we were going to prove. Then we were encouraged to lay out two to three examples and finish with a conclusion derived from the topic sentence.

When I got to the “real world” they told me that all the stuff I learned about writing topic sentences and thesis statements and putting the conclusion at the bottom of the paper was all backwards. They, the royal they that is, told me that I had to put the Bottom Line Up Front, because nobody would have the time to read or care to read my entire article or thesis, to MAYBE learn something new. They wanted the conclusion up front, accessible, easy on the eyes and in bold. If they liked what I saw then they might read through some of the piece.

Why do I bring this up when my BLUF was job search related? Twitter seems to follow this lesson. Tell us about your cat or your coffee or the weather in 140 characters or less. If we like it, we’ll open the image or click on the associated story or watch the video. Then we’ll tell our friends about it in 140 characters or less too. But what happens when you have lots to tell and you don’t know what your listener wants or needs to hear? How does one tell a potential employer all about your skills, abilities, global travel experiences, impressive ability to prioritize, and the time you stayed up all night at your first grown-up job making copies for an attorney in the World Trade Center in NYC listening to the building creak as the wind swayed the tower back and forth, in 140 characters or less?.

A resume is supposed to highlight your skills or your previous duties, hopefully aligned with the job to which you are applying. The cover letter is supposed to summarize the resume addressing specific needs of the employer and how you might be the best fit for the position. Is there not a better way?

If you know about it, please let me know. I’m wasting too much time on the computer, typing, emailing and connecting with no tangible results. I’ve got multiple versions of my resume. Which one do you want to see? And, see the BLUF.

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Posted by on November 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


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New Etsy Shop Shill

Hello friends, family, and all others,

It has been a hugely long time since I’ve written but I’d like to take this time to share with you the GRAND OPENING of my wife’s Etsy shop. Located in the greater Boston area, she has made a name for herself planning children’s birthday parties, baking specialty cakes, cookies and other sweet treats. Yesterday, she began a small Etsy shop to sell labels, perfect for tying around a Holiday or birthday present. They are festive, colorful, and handmade. If you find these type of handmade goods exceptional like I do, please pass this link along to your friends and family worldwide. If you have any special requests, I know that Jessica can handle them.

So, without further ado, here is the live link to the Aqua Sotto Etsy Shop.

Aqua Sotto Etsy Shop

Thank you for your support.

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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Uncategorized


Close But Far From Modernity

A few weeks ago I visited Tombstone, Arizona. Have you been there? It is a sleepy place that at first seems like a town stuck in time. Horse-drawn carriages roam the street; Wood planked sidewalks creak underfoot and one must dodge the horse manure in the dirt streets. The permanent residents of Tombstone, of which there are approximately 1,300, have taken great care in preserving the town made famous by Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and friends and will forever be known as ‘that place where the gunfight at the OK Corral took place.”        Tombstone, AZ stagecoach20140915_162712

On second glance however, the townsfolk have turned the dusty, sleepy middle-of-nowhere town into a tourist trap. All the old saloons, brothels, movie houses, restaurants, thrift stores, etc. have been converted to gift shops with most of the items made in China and t-shirts saying “I shot the sheriff.” Nothing but class. Living on the strength of a 30 second event in 1881. In fact, in two weeks, it will be the 133rd anniversary of the gunfight. Oh sure they’ll have major reenactments and all the kids in town will want to be Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday for Halloween. But it is still a dusty, sleepy place that would be part of the desert if tourists didn’t leave their dollars behind to prop up the local economy.


What I took from my visit to Tombstone was the fact that 1881 Arizona was only about 20 years from in the invention of the automobile and the airplane and modern medicine that may have saved the lives of several of the characters after the gunfight was over. Yet the OK Corral was still a place where grown men killed each other if another looked at them in an odd way or if another tried to pick up his girl. Let alone that prostitution was legal and rampant, everyone in town had a gun, or two or three, and that Tombstone is close to Mexico and rather hot, desolate, and dusty making all the inhabitants of town all a bit cranky. 20140915_161603

Yet some things don’t change. Men still get mad with each other over silly things and the sign above could apply to today’s politicians.

But at the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves “Did we do anything worthwhile today?” Wyatt Earp thought so. “What can I do tomorrow that will be worthwhile?” And whether it be New York City in 1881 with all its modern conveniences or Tombstone, Arizona  in 1881 during the time of Wyatt Earp, the sun will still set and another day will begin tomorrow.


Keep Traveling!!


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Civil Rights by Flight

First White House of ConfederacyI am finishing up a three day business trip to Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of two events that could not be further apart. In 1861, Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy lived in this town and his home, featured above, became the first white house of the confederacy. The home smells as if it has not been cleaned since then either but is a fantastic remnant of a time long past in our country we often gloss over. The first white house of the confederacy has 11 rooms and 10 fireplace, no kitchen and no bathroom (no running water in 1861). The house was moved from its original location about 10 blocks away piece by piece in the early part of the 20th century and expertly put back together like a residential puzzle. From this home, the confederate army during the Civil War, or as the Southerners called it, “The war between the states”, was directed. As the battles were primarily in Virginia at that time, Jefferson Davis moved to Richmond for a variety of reasons, one of which was that he and his generals could process the war more effectively, as it was taking too long to relay information from Virginia all the way down to Montgomery, Alabama. Jefferson Davis’ legacy remains heavy in the south especially in Montgomery.

Rosa ParksThe second event, diametrically opposite the southern civil war president’s home, was the instant Rosa Parks decided to sit her ground and refuse to get up from her seat on the bus in the face of an extremely segregated city. In December 1955, Rosa Parks has been credited with igniting the start of the modern civil rights movement. While Rosa Parks lived to a ripe old age, many individuals protesting the treatment of minorities, did not live so long and gave their lives for a cause in which they believed. The Civil Rights Memorial and Museum tells their stories so others will not forget their sacrifices. I highly recommend the Rosa Parks Museum located at the exact site of where Ms. Parks refused to arise from her seat, as told by the historical marker above.

Dexter Avenue ChurchA few blocks from the Rosa Parks Museum is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, now called the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. This church was the home base of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While I was unable to go inside and view the church (Do not go on Mondays. It is closed), standing in the shadow of American heroes was a great experience. Learning about their lives, their struggles, their hopes, their letdowns, their fears, their sacrifices, and ultimately, their greatest successes, at the very sites in which they fought their demons, was a significant learning adventure for me.

Today, I fly out on a Delta flight back to the Boston-area but get to feel the sun, heat and humidity on my shoulders in Alabama just a few moments more as my flight is delayed by an hour. You’ve heard of “island time” I am sure, but there is also “southern time” or “Bama time” here, where life is a little slower and nobody is in a great rush to do most anything. This is a good thing. It allows us to stop and look around once in a while, and think about where we stand and where “we” have come from. From the birth of the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, Montgomery showcases it all.

Keep traveling!!

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in Advice, Humor, Personal Dissection


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Locals vs. Tourists

What’s the difference between a tourist and a local? Not much it seems other than where they sleep at night and where they go to work during the day. Both put their pants on one leg at a time too. But really, that’s about all the similarities I can find or have found over the last three days here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

PhillyPhanaticI’ve been to both typical tourist and typical local locations. Both are great for their own reasons. I spent my first night here at a Phillies game and got seats in the third row on the first baseline that would have cost $200+ back home in Boston at Fenway Pahk. Most of the folks sitting around me were locals, cheering on their home team who ended up winning in the 15th inning 2-1 over the near cellar-dwellers Houston Astros. Funny though, the guy sitting immediately to my right was from Boston. Small world. There was a lot of different types of food representational of the locals including Crab fries (I didn’t ask further), big Bavarian-style soft pretzels, and of course Yuengling beer, a favorite brew of Pennsylvanians for decades now. I even saw the Philly Phanatic whose costume has become iconic in the world of sports.

 Tony LukesI ate lunch yesterday at Tony Luke’s whose classic Philly cheesesteaks have made them a legend in the culinary world of street food. I got the cheesesteak with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. Delicious! It wasn’t the cheesesteak that made my lunch, although it was excellent, it was the knowledge that the other customers were generally, to the best of my knowledge, locals. I saw construction workers, cops, guys in suits and ties, more guys with hard hats on, and mailmen (mail-persons, excuse me). I knew I had the best the local flavor could provide when I went to a place that has been featured on food shows and travel shows worldwide and where the locals continue to return day in and day out. Always trust a local for a food recommendation when you ask him or her where the locals go to get the best (insert your favorite cuisine here).

You may ask about the tourists…don’t trust them unless you’re discussing their home town. Walking through the Independence Hall and Liberty Bell area, all I saw was fannie packs, sun burns, strollers, cameras, backpacks, and I heard many foreign languages. I love that these folks come to see where my great country was founded but wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them for any advice about the best of the city in which I stand.

When visiting a city outside of my home territory, I prefer to be a traveler, and not a tourist. If you have to ask the difference, you’re a tourist. If you know already, you can be counted among the travelers. Travel on…



People People Everywhere!

I am finishing up a three day-er to Cleveland from my home base near Boston. I arrived in Cleveland yesterday morning via Charlotte (guess which airline I flew?). While I was walking through Charlotte-Douglas International Airport heading to my connecting gate, I realized why I like traveling so much. It may be a cliche, but seems to be true. It is not the destination, but the journey. And on my travels, I really enjoy meeting different people and watching people doing their thing as they move from here to there or there to here.

Let’s go through some of the interesting folks who have crossed my path on this trip.

1. Obese women waddling through Charlotte-Douglas with too short too tight shirt that did not cover up the muffin top. Obese woman was trailing three children, each of which was toting a small piece of child’s luggage. The woman turned around and saw me watching the scene and pulled her shirt down on one side, leaving the other side exposed. The struggles of flying are numerous and with three children, a parent must be stressed to the limit. I hope this lady found her way and did not suffer too much. I so wish I had a picture of this scene.

2. Here in downtown Cleveland there is a casino attached to the hotel at which I’m staying. I went over this evening to get some dinner and check out the scene. I did not, repeat, did not gamble a single dollar but saw way too many people who looked like they shouldn’t gamble either, putting more and more coins into the one-armed bandit or at least flashing their frequent gambler card against the machine that continued to take their money. The best part was that they were smiling and laughing and cheering as the wheel went round and round.

3. “I see dead people” – Today I got a behind the scenes tour of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank. I saw the largest vault door in the world whose two hinges each weigh 72 tons but balanced to perfection so that two people have no problem moving the door. I saw two robots, named Laverne and Shirley, move around thousands or millions of dollars in the secure vault area. I also saw a $100,000 dollar bill. Guess who is on the bill? Woodrow Wilson, hence the dead people reference. 

Traveling provides lets me see folks from around the country. I cannot wait to fly home tomorrow night and see who crosses my path. Travel on…

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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Humor, Personal Dissection


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