Answers the First!

Ask Me Anything!

It’s time to start answering the questions submitted by You Fine Readers in Ask Me Anything!. As always, I’m still open to questions, so don’t feel you have to stop now!

I’ll start by putting Andy out of his misery, who always finds something off-beat to ask. In this case:

When you eat anything with Alfredo sauce do you get a nasty smell that lingers on your lips after you are done?

I am honestly not sure…but this is likely because I consume Alfredo sauce very rarely. I never keep it at home, and the only time I ever have it is if we’re at Olive Garden and I get the seafood pasta. And we haven’t been to Olive Garden in at least five years.

I do know that according to an episode of The Frugal Gourmet, sometimes Italians will, after a garlicky meal, eat an entire coffee bean or two in order to mask and absorb the garlic odor. Might be worth trying. Or just drink more so you don’t care!

So in my annual pilgrimage up north, I see a lot of the old telephone/ electric COPPER wire that the R.Rs ran along the tracks on poles. My question to you is, with the price of copper these days why aren’t the RR companies taking advantage of all of it and arranging to have a crew whose sole purpose is to take it down and arrange to take it to a scrap yard?

Huh. I’m actually unaware of so much copper wire still strung in such a way. I find it hard to believe that they would leave so expensive a commodity just hanging there, so maybe those wires are actually still in use in some way? I also have to think that if they were able to come up with that much copper to recycle or repurpose, those companies wouldn’t rely on simple scrapyards. The recycling procedures would undoubtedly be a lot more rigorous than that!

Andy also mentioned the glass insulators on the cable poles. These are, in fact, highly collectible by railroad enthusiasts. My father once worked with a gent who was a bigtime railroad enthusiast (he had an amazing HO layout in his basement), who kept a couple of those insulators on a shelf in his office, along with some other railroad-related bric-a-brac.

For being ex elite military guys, was it just me or did the ‘A-Team’ shoot A LOT but never hit anybody!!

I tend to think they were missing on purpose, because they were actually extremely good marksmen, and were just trying to get the job done without causing injury or loss of life. That inspires more confidence than assuming that they really couldn’t hit a damned thing.

And you also have to factor in that, at the end of each episode, when they unleashed their home-made weapon upon the bad guys (you know, the ones who said “We’re gonna kill you in two hours, but for now, we’ll just lock you in this warehouse with four vehicles and an entire Home Depot’s worth of tools, complete with welding equipment!”), the A-Team fellows were able to hit anything they wanted with their potato-guns.

Here are three from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous:

The sun is starting to have some heat to it (and days are not so brief), but all this warming is exposing more and more dirt. Is your heart lifted by hints of spring or crushed by all the wetness and extra dirtiness?

Here’s the thing about spring: In Buffalo, spring sucks.

Our summers are great, for those who like that sort of thing. We’re never hyper-hot (although I suspect that global warming will be seeing to that in the next bunch of years), nor are we as humid as the east coast. Autumn here is spectacular. Seriously! Vermont and New Hampshire may get all the autumn press, but our autumns are just wonderful: cool, comfy, and beautiful. And then there are our winters, which are…just fine. I’m not kidding here. I’ll take quite a bit of snow over the endless months of bonechilling winds that dominate the winters of the Plains.



Spring here is wet and gray and damp and muddy and dirty and…well, it’s two months of unpleasantness. And then it takes most of May for the trees to get green again.

Ultimately, I don’t start getting into a better mood, at least about the weather, until mid-May around here.


Do you have a cell phone? Would you ever give up your landline?

Yup, I have a cell. It’s a LG…well, I have no idea what the model number is. It’s a pretty basic phone, though, and not a smartphone. I suspect that our next phones will be smartphones, as it appears that the market is going to be smartphones only (except for maybe a couple of super-basic phones for old folks). No touchscreen, no Internet. I’m rockin’ it, 2005-style!

I do use it as an mp3 player, and it takes pretty nice photos, for being only 3 megapixels. I would use it as a calendar, but that particular function is just cumbersome enough to use that I don’t; I use my tablet and an actual paper calendar instead. I do look forward to joining the smartphone universe, but it’s nowhere near a high priority. We’ll get there when attrition forces us to do so.

But the landline? That’s gone! Who the heck needs that anymore? Bye bye, landline! The only calls we were getting there were telemarketers, so what was the point? It’s history, and we’ve not looked back.

Ever been to any ballet? Did you enjoy it? How about opera? Gilbert and Sullivan?

Ballet: Yes, but only twice. A few more times for opera.

I saw a ballet troupe when I was in high school (our town had a visiting artists series of some sort), and it was really quite wonderful. I saw another in college. I don’t recall the specific ballets performed, unfortunately, but I enjoyed each. I keep thinking that we need to see The Nutcracker one of these years, but somehow I never realize it’s being performed until a day or two before, by which time it’s too late to plan the outing.

Opera: I haven’t been to one since college, which makes me sad, but The Wife just does not care for it, at all, so I’d have to go by myself. I am highly intrigued by the live broadcasts of operas from the Met at IMAX movie theaters, so I may do that, someday. My first opera was in high school, when my sister took me to see The Magic Flute. I saw a couple more in college, most memorably, Madame Butterfly. I never saw a Gilbert-and-Sullivan operetta, though, which is a shame, because I love the music; “Behold the Lord High Executioner!” is one of my standard hum-to-myself tunes, and one of my favorite clever bits of film music comes during the chase scene at the end of Foul Play, when the action music is interspersed with quotes from The Mikado.

On both scores, I’d love to see more!

That’s where we’ll stop for now. Got some good questions going this time, and remember, feel free to ask some more!

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