Writer, Cat Owner


Get the scoop

garden spider.jpg


     It’s definitely spring here in West Sonoma County, that magical period when the weather is perfect and the whole countryside is as green as the fabled hills of Erin. In a few months, the hills will be the burnished gold and brown of the dry season. It rarely rains from May to September. The drought in California? Over. We had record rainfall in these parts.

     On a personal note, the debut of HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS is done. Two weeks of frenzied blog tours, podcasts and interviews. Most of my Facebook friends would be glad never to hear another word of shameless promotion from me, “shameless” being an affectation here. Here’s hoping we won’t have to go through that again. Time to get back to work.


     The other day, Yasuko asked me to kill “a big, ugly spider” that’s been hanging around the bedroom. The poor dear has terrible arachnophobia, which is apparently a genetic disorder because our daughter got it from her, as well as a lovely epicanthic fold and that fierce Samurai bushido that makes me nervous when I see her handling knives.

     I don’t think my wife has thought this through. You can’t go around with a vendetta against spiders based on their ugliness. I’ve read enough Darwin to know if you kill the ugly spiders, nature will just push them to adapt. Killing the ugly spiders could cause an evolutionary shift in the whole population. If spiders start breeding for beauty, there will be no stopping them. I myself have often stared, rapt with wonderment at the beauty of a large garden spider in a perfect web. They’re positively decorative. Beautiful spiders would take over the world.

     Note to self, while I’m on the subject: we should start breeding tuskless elephants. Tuskless elephants would have a tremendous evolutionary advantage. Nobody would have any reason to kill them. It’s sad that things have gotten to this point, but I think the scientists should get to work on this. Or else we should do something about the ivory poachers.


     Yasuko became very excited recently about a Japanese cooking show which featured “aged” canned fish. Of course, the Japanese have a lot more variety of canned fish than is to be found on this side of the Pacific. Apparently, aged canned fish is highly prized by people-in-the-know in Japan. After a few years in can, the fish takes on subtle nuances and textures, with a lot of umami in the flavor profile.

     I’m headed off to Costco next weekend. The wife and me are laying down some tuna for our retirement.