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Everywhere I go I find a pal

Everywhere I go  I find a pal Everywhere I go  I find a pal

Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review

We don’t give enough credit to side dishes to make a great meal.

We’re all about the steak, but forget the important role the sauteed mushrooms play. Or the French fries piled next to the hamburger. Or the hash browns sharing the breakfast plate with some bacon and eggs.

I came to recognize the vital role of “sides” in putting together a Jewish deli meal on Saturday of pastrami sandwiches.

We had homemade pastrami. We had home baked pumpernickel bagels. We had kosher baby dill pickles. And we had thought to just throw together any old kind of coleslaw to go with it all.

But that was totally wrong. You can’t put German oil and vinegar coleslaw next to pastrami. That’s for fish fries. And you can’t put buttermilk style coleslaw in a Jewish deli meal. That’s for fried chicken.

So, we did our research. We went to the Jewish Food Society website (yes, such an organization exists) and borrowed a six-generation coleslaw recipe. It was basic and foolproof. Cabbage. Mayo. Sour cream. Apple cider vinegar. Salt. That’s it.

The meal was fabulous. The pastrami was hot and steamy and worked great with the tangy pumpernickel bagels. The pickles were crunchy. The slaw played a great supporting role, doing its job but not grabbing the stage.

Together, it was a great ethnic dinner.

It was made possible only after understanding the importance of “sides.”


The modern American poet Wallace Stevens talked about the “pressure of reality.” By this he meant the news of World War II, the daily chronicle of battles and death and liberation and atrocity. This past four years, all of us have dealt with the pressure of irreality. It was the stream of consciousness from President Donald Trump communicated in 140-character Twitter blips and magnified and echoed through the news media, cycle after cycle.

Some of it was silly. Mostly not. It was mostly alarming.

But then on Jan. 6 Twitter banned Trump from its platforms. Other internet providers soon followed suit.

What that decision has produced is this silence, a wonderful silence. Trump doesn’t tweet. That means the rest of the news media can focus on other stuff.

I know some people like Trump, others hate him.

From my perspective, I can say that not hearing daily from a most outrageous President has been welcome. The pressure is off.


My guitar body is done, finished.

This was an important milestone to create a first jazz archtop guitar in my workshop carved out an old wooden barn.

The last step in the guitar body work was cleaning up the fretboard and polishing the frets. This was putzy. This polishing left oily fret metal and polishing compound all over the fretboard. You clean this stuff up with big red erasers. They work great.

My next job is to solder together the guitar electronics and, with a schematic in hand, I have been trying to do this. My soldering is terrible, messy. This is not good, because I have a very small area to work in.

I wish I knew more about this world of potentiometers and capacitors, but I don’t.

I just hope the final product sounds good in the end.