Thanks to Andrea and via Cindy, we’re going to try a participatory thing today, a meme about a letter of the alphabet and what it means to you. Here’s how it works: You leave a comment on this post, and I’ll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on.

For Eternity, let’s say.

When I commented on Cindy’s post yesterday, she game me the letter E. A few things came to mind immediately, but it took a little thinking to fill out a list of ten.

So let’s begin. With skiing.


06-c-0221Epic. Yes, the primary meaning of this word has to do with narrative poems; for my purposes, we’re going to use a much narrower definition. When conditions warrant, the Ski Patrol at Aspen Highlands pulls out a flag they fly just a few times a year — the Epic flag. Skiers know they’re in for a full day of fun when they see that flag. I’ve been lucky enough to get in a few epic days out west; the first was during my senior year of high school, when Juan and I skied Arapahoe Basin, above the treeline, during a dump, and most recently on the powder day I wrote about on our last trip to Snowmass. Note that epic conditions are relative. An epic day at Seven Springs can be very good, and although it ain’t gonna match an epic day in Colorado, you’re still pretty happy to be there.

Erin. This is my sister. She’s a great sister, and a great wife and mother. She’s also apparently her neighborhood’s social instigator. I can’t wait for her family to get up to Pittsburgh — now that they have a place to stay — for a few days this summer.

Estimated > Eyes. One of my favorite Grateful Dead song combinations, in part because of how neatly it illustrates the differences between rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia. “Estimated Prophet,” the Weir song, is all quirky angles and abrupt turns. Its reggae background is wedged into a bizarre time signature, and it has a built-in peak towards the end, a bombastic instrumental section that Garcia didn’t always take advantage of. “Eyes of the World,” the Garcia song, sounds and feels much more organic — it flows like a brook trickling down a hillside. It can reach monstrous peaks as well, but those occur if and when the boys feel like getting there. It’s always a cool juxtaposition to hear them back to back. And yes, I’m counting this entry as two.

Enchiladas. I like ’em all, but I’m especially fond of the stacked enchiladas with chicken, tofu and black beans at Casa Nueva in Athens, Ohio. I haven’t had once since 2005, I think, and I miss them — and everything else about Casa — terribly.

East End Brewing. Despite a couple of recent closures, Pittsburgh has a thriving craft brewery scene, and East End is the best of the bunch. Owner/brewer/lone employee Scott Smith consistently nails the styles he tries, and comes up with excellent results when he’s working on something new. Next time you’re out, ask your bartender if there are East End products on tap; if they have something, be sure to give it a try. Or head out to the brewery, in Homewood, and pick up a growler. You won’t find better Pittsburgh-brewed beer anywhere.

Epicurious. A great cooking and recipe site. This is where I found the recipe that served as the starter for my crabcakes. You haven’t had my crabcakes? Ask me nicely and I just might make them for you.

eMusic. One of my favorite sources of digital music. eMusic is a subscription service that’s heavy on independent artists — not the ones you’re going to hear on commercial radio. It’s my go-to source when I come across a band I’m not familiar with; it also features an enormous classic jazz catalog. The basic service costs $12 a month; you get 50 tracks a month for your money. It’s also free of DRM restrictions; when you buy a track, it’s yours.

Editorials. For one year in Athens, writing the editorial for The Post was one of my primary responsibilities and I haven’t done nearly anything in journalism that’s been as satisfying since. The editorial runs without a byline; it is the voice of the newspaper and its editorial board — in the case of The Post, all the staff editors get a say. As managing editor, I switched off days with the editor in chief; on my days, I tried to bring a fully-formed idea to the daily budget meeting and sell everyone else on its merits. Sometimes — not often — I was voted down, for another issue or, a few times, in favor of a position that contradicted my own. And that’s an exercise in persuasive writing, boys and girls — putting together a convincing opinion piece that pushes an opinion you don’t support. But the best part was always overhearing discussions about the eddy the morning it runs. I know from listening to those discussions that I wasn’t able to convince everyone to agree with the newspaper’s position, but I loved the fact that they were talking about what I was writing.

Employment. If you work in my business and you still have it, you’re thankful every day.

Want a letter of your own? Leave a comment, and I’ll hook you up.


  1. Oooh!!! Fun and exciting things to distract from Brufest! Wahoo!!! Here’s my comment!!! bring it on!!!


  2. Annoyed Angel: Because you don’t have enough to do already, you get the letter K.

    Gina: Your assignment: W.


  3. i don’t agree with any of this, but as a fellow home owner and lover of homemade sausage, i support your efforts.


  4. Y’all: you can write out your answers and paste ’em in here; Facebook would work well too.

    Fred: N.
    Amy: B.
    Sister: M.


  5. Number 6 – The F
    The F is the beginning letter of many wonderful thing – maybe a few of my favorite things – not to dwell in the cellar, as many F words do – I’ll keep my list above brow – without further adieu:
    • Family: coming from a large family, close family, the basis of this F was set in my early years – Family gives support, friendship and fun. Now as part of my own family, it gives dedication to another, endless joy as a Father, and complete awe in what lies ahead – the challenges will be formidable, but the rewards are the most I could ever imagine.
    • Friends: near and far, new and old – friends make the world a better place – I’m a transplant, many times over, and have made some, not too many, good friends along the way. Many are still near Ohio, I’ve lost touch with some, regained others, and others have uprooted themselves and found a place they want to reside – Chicago, Boulder, Boise, San Diego, New Jersey, Florida, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, New York metro and now even Pittsburgh!
    • Fur: I’m a dog guy – always have been – like to even have 2 at a time –
    o Yoda was the first – Norwegian Elkhound – sweet, loyal and could even smell if someone was a witch or not (true story – I’ll fill you in more later) –
    o then came Kodiak – Alaskan Malamute – came from a breeder in Paw Paw Michigan – what she didn’t tell me was that she was the Devil’s dog – El Diablo – she only backed down once in her life to another dog – a bigger male Malamute – she kicked dogs asses from Chicago, Colorado to New Jersey! She was also a sweet and noble dog to all humans –
    o after we put down Yoda, we got another Elkhound, Blatz – this one from a breeder in NY that used frozen sperm from the grand champion Elkhound in Norway – and it shows – Blatz shows all the sweet characteristics of Yoda, except with a lot more energy. And he needs it, for after Kodiak went to the sky in the heavens (as the girls refer to it as), we changed dog types and went for the quintessential family dog that would be perfect for a house w/2 young children –
    o a Chocolate Lab! CC is her name, goof ball is her game. Great family dog, really book smart, what she lacks, in every sense of the way, is street smarts –
    • Fever: From – ‘I’ve got a fever, and what I need is more cow bells!’ – I think this may be one of the best descriptions of my sense of humor –
    • Fauna / Flora: I’m not an expert, but my wife and I get a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment in working our yard – trimming flowers, landscaping – doing it yourself – most homes in the NYC metro area have lawn services do their work – you miss out on watching the changes of the season, the issues you may have (weeds, varmints) – and you certainly don’t get the feeling of work being done by watching Jose cut your lawn.
    • Fermentation: goes hand in hand with the satisfaction noted above in Fauna / Flora
    • Freedom: I was blessed to be born in the USA – for all of its troubles, I think its still the best thing going out there – it’s not easy nor is it cheap – I may be getting old, but sometimes I start feeling like the US is the Colonel from A Few Good Men – You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall! Thomas Friedman summed it up pretty well for me last Sunday in his ‘Show Me the Money’ piece – I’m getting a little tired of the US paying for the security of other countries – the last 8 years shows we certainly shouldn’t do it alone – others need to get in the act – make the hard decisions – pay for it – okay – I’m off my soap box.
    • Focus: On the good things – with all of the good in the US, there is still a lot of energy and crap spent on the trivial – I know this occurs everywhere – even quaint suburbs like Upper Arlington, OH – but it can be rampant in the suburbs / villages that populate lower Westchester County – I’ve overheard jackasses on their cell phones uttering the following “He’s throwing his life away, I mean, he’s giving up his membership to Siwanoy Country Club, he’s an idiot” – it’s a behavior that is typical of those who are not confident in who they are and what matters to them. Focus on the good – you can’t take all the other crap with you when you’re time is up, anyway.
    • Force: By this I mean the force of nature – from super-cell thunderstorms, to blizzards, to Nor’Easters to coastal storms – the power of weather amazes me and intrigues me – something at a root level – those who don’t understand – refer to us as ‘Weather Geeks’
    • Flurries: On top of the weather interest – I’ve always been keenly excited on snow – taps the inner child I guess.


  6. Nacho Libre: “ When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It’s for fun.”

    NASA: the pictures are cool.

    Narcotics: wisely, infrequently, moderately

    Natatoria – I like swimming

    NPR: I like news that doesn’t assume I’m stupid.

    Neruda – When I was younger, I read poetry. When I read poetry, I liked Neruda. Muy sexy.

    New York/The New Yorker: Love the city and reading the magazine takes me there while I’m in bed.

    Newport Jazz – Specifically the recording of Duke Ellington’s 1956 concert. If you can listen to “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” and not be moved than, Jack, you dead. You can hear the crowd being filled with the spirit and you get the sense of the energy and pandemonium created. If you are only going to own a couple jazz recordings…

    Nordecke – The northeast corner of Crew Stadium where Ohio’s Best Sports Fans (pound-for-pound) congregate. Three separate groups make up Nordecke: Crew Supporters Union, Hudson Street Hooligans and La Turbine. Check them out:

    (Ethel and I are the 2 black spots in the upper deck.)

    No.3 (1967) & No. 14 (1960) – Mark Rothko paintings


  7. Ethel: You’re playing: G.

    Annoyed Angel: Great job! I loved the idea of peppering the post with artwork.

    Kewyson/Fred: Also great efforts outta you. Thanks!


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