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Friends, My childhood corn field meanderings were inevitably followed by the dreaded process of removing small black splinters from my socks and pants. The culprit: a small weed in the undergrowth known in these parts as shirán. Its slender seeds were equipped with two sharp prongs whose diabolical design included a myriad barbs that latched onto fabric like Velcro. Minutes that felt like hours were spent tediously plucking these little devil seeds off one by one. Now shirán wasn’t all bad. The small white flowers were pretty enough, but the immature seed stalks were the best part. If you gathered them at the right development stage, they made perfect darts. Their tips stuck to clothing on contact, and unlike their older selves, held together very well, so they didn’t make a mess and you could reuse them many times. Countless unaware adults walked away with these darts clinging to their coats or sweaters, to the delight of mischievous youths. Who would have thought seeing this plant ag
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Wakey, Wakey!

Friends, There's something awkward about wakes and funerals. The strange combination of sadness and ritual, combined with the gathering of an eclectic mix of people make appropriate behavior a challenge. Family, friends and complete strangers you probably should recognize come together to pay their respects. The air is filled with a blend of silence, uncomfortable whispers and the occasional inappropriate laugh -- after all, the best gossip and jokes are overheard at the wake. While we'll all miss the deceased, it's hard to gauge the pain the closest relatives are in, so appropriateness is a moving target. Contributing to the unease is the fact none of those attending has actually ever been dead -- that would be weird. It's odd that one of the few common experiences we will all eventually share, is so inscrutable. For now the inevitable conclusion to our own lives feels like a distant shadow, something you know to be true but struggle to accept. So you make small talk a

Grateful for the Little Things

Friends, I’m grateful for life, family and friends (yes, that includes you). I also appreciate the little things that make me smirk. Things like: Subconsciously associating Sam Bankman-Fried (jailed crypto boss being sentenced) with Sam Altman (ousted AI boss being reinstated) Thinking of Sinn Féin (left wing party of the IRA) every time they mention Shawn Fain (left wing union leader at UAW) Silly sounding phrases such as “the inpatient grew impatient awaiting attention” or “I just ate so I can gestate my next big idea” Speaking of eating, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, surrounded by loved ones. I also hope it’s not too soon to suggest you have a donut to top it off, after all, they say we have a separate stomach for sweets. Happy Friday! P.S. Another little thing that makes me smile: Verizon is still using MCI matchstick fiber markers 17 years after the acquisition.

The Big Questions

Friends, I like to ponder the big questions. Like, if Red Robin has bottomless fries, why not topless fries? Or, when someone says something is f*ing good , can they really like KFC's finger-licking good food so much as to abbreviate their tagline? And, if America runs on Dunkin', does France run on disdain for Dunkin'? Lately I've been wondering whether I think sunsets are beautiful only because of their rarity. At sunset, the light and colors shine differently than the rest of the day. But what if the sky looked like a sunset all day long. Would it become mundane? Would we think more highly of a featureless cloudy sky? Perhaps. Some questions may never be answered. All I know is that it's time for a donut run -- perhaps to Dunkin'... Happy Friday!

Politics vs. Pastries

Friends, If wealth passes for happiness, sex for love and good looks for good health, why is it so disappointing to see those vying for the presidency try to pass-off charisma as character, style as substance and personal attacks as preparedness for office? After all, nations get the leaders they deserve and there’s a reason politicians have always been an easy target for disdain. Still, every four years I find the selection process among those contending to lead the world’s largest economy underwhelming. Surely, better qualified individuals exist. Some combination of the stigma placed on politicians and the flawed nomination process appears to weed-out the good humans from contention, leaving deformed narcissistic caricatures pandering to our base instincts in hopes of getting elected. Perhaps the collective low expectations placed on politicians are a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Whatever the reason, we’re headed for another disappointing primary season with zero great choices —

Scenic Overhear

Friends, Iguazú falls is an amazing place. Splitting Argentina from Brazil and spanning nearly two miles, it’s hard to put all that awe-inspiring magnitude into words. I suppose that’s why the braille sign at the “Crag Overlook” caught my eye. Something about it felt like a cruel joke. How do you do justice to the view? Then again, if I was blind and willing to brave the stairs and slippery boardwalks of the four mile loop trail to hear and feel the power of the big water, I might also want to learn something new about the place while I’m at it. Maybe don’t call it an overlook —more like “overhear.” Happy Friday!

Paper Rich

Friends, Wanna feel rich? Come to Argentina! The discrepancy between the official (i.e., wishful thinking) peso at 350 ARS to the dollar, and gray market (i.e., real) exchange rate of 1,000 ARS per dollar, means cash is king — after all, who wants to pay nearly triple for the convenience of using their foreign credit card? While the largest note is 2,000 pesos, they are as rare as two dollar bills. The workhorse of the economy is the 1,000 peso bill (worth about a buck), so you’re gonna want to walk around with one or more 100K ARS wads in your pocket — unless, as established, getting gypped on the exchange rate is your thing. As a side note, the smallest circulating note is 10 pesos, or as I like to call it the one penny bill. So you walk around the Paris of the Americas spending tens of thousands, all the while you feel like you’re getting a screaming deal on everything — probably because you are. Tonight as I head back to the states I will bring home a grateful heart, a ton of great