Monday, June 25, 2007

The French Laundry

I recently read another glowing review of The French Laundry, which is a restaurant in Napa Valley by Chef Thomas Keller. There are some people who believe it is the best restaurant in the United States. Apparently, most food critics also believe this or are at least afraid to say anything to the contrary. I feel the urge to add my own French Laundry story to the mix, just to show another perspective - an ordinary person's experience with dining at the finest restaurant in the United States.

My mother's only request for her 60th birthday was to have dinner at the French Laundry. I was put in charge of making the reservations, which is easier said than done. For large groups, the French Laundry gives you two options. There are only 15 tables in the dining room, but there is one big table upstairs for a larger group - it seats 12. You can either have this table for 12 or you can rent the entire restaurant for $30,000. Well, that wasn't exactly within our price range, so we went for the table of 12.

Now, if you want to make a reservation for a normal number of people, such as two or four, you have to call two months in advance. But, if you want to make a reservation for more than six people, you have to call a year in advance. So, I did. I began calling a year before my mother's 60th birthday. And I called, and I called, and I called. I called at all hours of the day and night. I never got to a person or an answering machine. Nothing. The recorded message just said, call between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm to make reservations.

After a month of this, I got creative. I emailed every person who was listed on the website. I was very nice and explained my problem. I didn't get a response. I emailed again, this time I was not so nice. Finally, the PR person contacted me and, after some back and forth about dates, we got a reservation. Incidentally, I had to take my third choice of nights because the other two had already been reserved. I would like to know HOW they were reserved since I tried in vain for two months before a response.

So, ten months later, twelve of us descend upon the French Laundry. And, of course, the food was incredible. Beyond incredible - unbelievable in some instances (such as the kobe beef, which I still have dreams about). But, you expect that when you are eating at a place like the French Laundry. It better be damn near the best food you have had in your life. However, overall, I wouldn't say it was the best dining experience I have ever had. Charlie Trotter's in Chicago far exceeded the French Laundry.

My evaluation is not based on differences in food, per se. The food at both restaurants was outstanding, as were the wines paired with the food. At this level of dining, it is overall experience that clouds or enhances the evaluation. At Trotter's, we ate at the kitchen table, a small table actually in the kitchen. At the French Laundry, we were shoved into a tiny little room, barely big enough for the table and chairs. The service was impeccable at both places, but at Trotter's the service was friendly and warm. You could tell that everyone from the waiters to the sous chefs to the expediter were happy to have us there. We actually met Charlie Trotter, briefly. At the French Laundry, everyone was courteous and professional, no more.

At Trotter's, we got a personal tour of the restaurant, kitchen, and wine cellar. At the French Laundry, we were allowed to peek in the kitchen. At the French Laundry, we were told to keep our voices down when the drink went to our heads. At Trotter's, the kitchen staff laughed and joked with us and gave us more wine. One chef even took on my challenge to serve me some sort of "foam" that didn't look like dog vomit. (It didn't work, I am still not a fan of foams.)

Given the chance, would I eat at the French Laundry again? Absolutely, although I do not believe it is the best in the country. Restaurants should not be rated just by how well they treat food critics and industry big-wigs. They should be evaluated by how they treat every customer. On that score, Trotter's wins hands down.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Kid's Version of Who's on First

I overheard this conversation on my way out of daycare on Friday night. It cracked me up, but I sort of feel sorry for the kid.

Kid: Mom, what did you say?

Mom: Hold on.

Kid: But what did you say?

Mom: Hold on.

(10 second pause)

Kid: Mom, what did you say?

Mom: I said hold on.

Kid: (starting to get upset) But, what did you SAY?

Mom: I said HOLD ON!

Kid: (starting to cry) Why won't you tell me what you said?

Mom: I DID! I said hold on.


Kid: Oh. What did you say before that?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Working in an Office is not All It's Cracked Up to Be.

When I was a little girl, I thought it would be so much fun to go to work at an office like my parents did. I relished the thought of taking phone calls, getting exciting mail, wearing nylons and heels everyday, using office supplies, and making important decisions. I guess I was a weird kid.

This dream continued until I actually started my first real professional job as a lawyer. Telephone calls are more likely to start a whole new batch of problems than fix them. My mail usually consists of a court decision against me, client letters demanding something unreasonable, and court filings designed only to create more work. Nylons and heels are much more trouble than they're worth, although I still like wearing a suit everyday.

Office supplies are definitely not as fun as the TV ads tell you. Staplers jam, pens get ink on your new white shirt, copiers are more sensitive than a group of PMSing teenagers, my computer is tempermental at best, and I get paper cuts at least once a week. Today, after having a fight with yet another paperclip chain, I realized I should have been an artist, screw this professional thing.

OK - I guess I still get to make important decisions everyday. But after throwing a fit related to paperclips, tossing half of them in the garbage, and then taking the rest to my secretary to figure out, I don't really feel capable of making important decisions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

You Know You're an Adult when . . .

There are certain events in life that remind you that you are now an adult. Getting your first "real" job. Buying your first car or home. Buying your first major appliance to put in that home. Spending all of your savings on a new roof rather than on food and drink while on vacation. Having children. Paying a babysitter to watch those children (for some reason, that was a real shocker to me - I was always the babysitter, not the parent leaving.)

Then there are certain events in life that remind you that you are getting older. Not being carded anymore when purchasing alcohol (or responding SURE, THANK YOU!! when asked for your ID.) Remembering the "good ol' days" in the 1980s and realizing children born in 1991 can now legally drive. Being called "Ma'am" at the grocery store. Seriously paying attention to your retirement account. Having your first mammogram.

Yep. There is nothing like having your breasts sqeezed between two hard pieces of plastic by a 2-ton machine that is really just an overgrown c-clamp to remind you that you are no longer a kid. Never in my life would I have thought it was perfectly normal to allow another woman to grab my boobs and shove them around until every last inch is squished flat. I mean, seriously, most people at least have to take me out to dinner and buy me a couple of drinks to get that kind of access.

Certainly, I appreciate my doctor's aggressive stance on preventive health care. I understand that having this boob-squishing at age 35 is meant to provide a baseline for comparison when I have the next one at age 40. I mean, I was all for the baseline EKG at 32. But, then again, that just involved having little sticky thingys on my chest, not breath-stealing force applied to a very sensitive part of my body.

The good part of the whole experience was that it lasted less than half an hour, including sitting in the waiting room. But I was traumatized enough to convince myself I needed a treat afterward, so I went to Starbucks to get a latte and a pastry. Here's the funny part - I wore a shirt that exposed my neck and upper chest. Because I have very sensitive skin, my chest was still really red from the squeezing when I entered Starbucks. The poor guy behind the counter looked at me and said, "Wow - someone got a sunburn!!"

I looked down and said, "Oh, no . . . I just had my first mammogram." He was rendered speechless and simply made my latte without another word. I suppose I should have spared the poor guy from reality, but I am just more into honesty.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Trouble with Grapes

I had been planning all weekend to write a post about SpongeBob SquarePants being on packages of grapes. I did the research and found out TV characters are going to be put on all sorts of produce packaging soon - starting with SpongeBob on grapes. I planned a very good rant on this issue, but it seems someone has read my mind and caused all grapes and grape-related products to gang up on me.

First, SpongeBob grapes. This is all apparently a plan to make healthy foods more attractive to kids and will spread to lots of produce including grapes, carrots, lettuce, and celery. Probably I need to let it go and accept the fact that we live in a marketing-driven world and this is just the next step. One of my problems, however, is that I had no choice but to purchase the SpongeBob grapes - they were the only grapes available at the store. What if I didn't want to support SpongeBob? What if I didn't want my child to love SpongeBob? What if I am morally opposed to SpongeBob? Of course, none of these things are true. I just don't like being forced into buying a cartoon character product if I don't want to buy it.

In the end, I bought the grapes because I like grapes and they are a healthy snack. But my internal rant has caused grapes everywhere to seek to destroy me.

The night I bought the grapes, I had them with my dinner for dessert. Before I could eat them, I had to run downstairs to change a load of laundry. When I came back up, they were gone - stems and all. The only possible culprit was the dog. My son was in bed and the cat wouldn't touch grapes. Plus, the dog was sitting near the grapes trying not lick her chops. Great, but not a big deal, right? I just got another bunch from the fridge and reminded myself to keep them away from the dog.

Then, last night I decided to enjoy my favorite chardonnay - a Smith-Madrone. I opened the bottle, poured myself a glass and settled in on the couch to read a good book. The dog settled next to me. When I was few sips in, I wanted to adjust the air conditioning because it was blowing right on me. I placed the wineglass on the coffee table, reached up and shut the vent. As I was coming down, my skirt caught the wineglass and knocked it to the floor. The glass shattered on my bare feet and wine went everywhere.

So, I was standing there in a puddle of wine and broken glass. Lovely. I cleaned it all up and poured another glass and sat back down. The dog hadn't moved. After a few minutes of reading, I smell this horrible sulfur-like smell. Coming from the dog. Then I hear an audible fart and I am hit with another wave of dog gas. OH MY GOD! It was horrible - what did she eat? A dead bird? A dead rabbit?

No - it was the grapes. It was only when I read today's paper that I was told that grapes cause intestinal problems in dogs. No kidding. I will never mess with SpongeBob again.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tortured by Bad TV

My son recently had to spend the night in the hospital for some testing (nothing serious, just tests). I have never spent a night in the hospital before, so I was a little unprepared for certain things. One of the most annoying things was who controls the TV in a shared hospital room? The answer - not me.

We were admitted at 8:00 am and placed in a room that was already occupied by a mother and her infant. When we walked in the room, I immediately noticed she had the TV on and turned to her side of the room. Fine, I thought, I don't need to watch TV right now. Then I realized what was on the TV and my stomach fell in horror. Little did I know that I was about to be subjected to eight hours of the worst TV programming ever made.

When we walked in, it was "Murder She Wrote," which has got to be the most irritating pseudo-detective show EVER. I hate Angela Lansbury and the show and her pollyanna-know-it-all-ness and bug-eyes. Then another episode of "Murder She Wrote." By this time, I am getting an eye twitch and sending death-thoughts to the TV set and the mother behind the curtain. Utter silence would be better than this.

The good news was we finally got off of "Murder She Wrote" after two hours. The bad news was it was replaced by two hours of "Little House on the Prairie," an hour of "Touched by an Angel," and then two hours of "Matlock." As each excrutiating hour passed, I entertained myself by thinking of various torture tools that would be better than this TV schedule. The rack. Sleep deprivation. Starvation. Electrodes to sensitive body parts. Humiliation. Being stoned. Jumping in a pool of lemon juice and razor blades. Ice picks under the fingernails. Watching American Idol. Listening to George Bush speak in complete sentences (Oh, wait, that might be an impossibility and watching him try is actually pretty amusing).

At 3 pm, she turned to Dr. Phil which turned into Oprah at 4 pm. Thank god, they checked out at 4:30. It would have been only a matter of minutes before I ripped back the curtain, grabbed the controller out of her hand, smacked her with it, stomped on it, and threw it out the window.

Wouldn't a decent person ask their new roommate if (a) she minded the TV being on; and (b) if she had anything she wanted to watch? I'm sorry, maybe I am expecting too much from people. I have such high standards . . . .

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

That Case Tastes a Little First Amendmenty to Me

I know there are millions of people in the world who do not care about this, but the last two weeks of June are huge in the legal world. These are the last two weeks of the Supreme Court of the United States' October 2006 term. Many of us wait with baited breath to see what SCOTUS has in store for us this year.

According to NPR, the Court has many "First Amendmenty" issues on the slate. Seriously. I was listening to NPR at lunchtime today and a legal commentator was talking about the big decisions to be issued in the next few weeks. The commentator, from Slate Magazine, described three cases and said, "Many of the cases have a First Amendmenty flavor to them this term." I am pretty sure amendmenty is not a word and certainly not a word SCOTUS would use to describe their cases. Until today, I would have guessed not even a legal commentator would have used a word like "amendmenty." It sounds more like something Paris Hilton would have said, as in, "Don't I have some sort of Amendmenty rights to get out of jail?"

In other momentous SCOTUS news, today is the 40-year anniversary of Thurgood Marshall's appointment to the Supreme Court. While it is definitely a day of celebration, it is bittersweet for those of us who lament the direction the Court has taken in recent years. While I used to wait for the last weeks of June with a mixture of nerves and excitement, with each passing year, I get a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. The current Court has slowly eroded all of the fundamental rights American citizens enjoy and seems to be set to only continue in that direction.

Right now, that amendmenty flavor leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Being a Cool Mom Starts Early

Upon returning home from work the other day, I turned on the TV so my son could enjoy 15 minutes of Baby Einstein while I changed out of my work clothes and got a start on dinner. I thought I turned on the DVD player as well.

As I am getting the food out, I hear him giggling and squealing from the TV room, and I smile because he is obviously loving the Baby Einstein. Then I listen closer and realize the music coming from the TV is not the usual classical snippets you get from Baby Einstein. As I walk into the room, it becomes clear that the DVD player was not turned on and my son has been watching a rerun of Jackass on MTV. And he LOVES it. I am sure it has nothing to do with the content of the show, as he is much too young to understand any of it, most likely he is reacting to the fast music and moving people and things on the screen.

I let him watch for a few more minutes, mostly so I could listen to the cute squealing and belly laughing, and then turned it off. I held him up and said, "I want you to remember this when you are 15 years old - once upon a time, you had the coolest mom in the world." He rewarded me with his toothless grin and a spot of drool on my shirt.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kill the Wabbits! Kill the Wabbits!

OK - I don't really want to kill the rabbits but they are seriously pissing me off right now and I have declared war.

It all started a few years ago when I moved into this house. My dog at the time, a black lab, loved to chase rabbits. He didn't care about birds or squirrels or chipmunks or cats. He chased only rabbits. Consequently, I had a relatively rabbit-free life, except I had to keep my eye for rabbits on our walks because if he spotted one and I was not aware of it, he could pull me along the ground by his leash chasing it.

Unfortunately, for reasons unrelated to rabbits, that dog passed away a few years ago. Then I got another dog, a yellow lab. She only chases squirrels. She shows some interest in other beings but really doesn't have the motivation. Of course, the rabbits have figured this out and have invaded my yard. It started in the back yard. They dug holes and had babies there. Last summer, while mowing the lawn, I discovered a rabbit nest full of babies. I felt so sick to my stomach because I almost mowed them over. I lay awake at night thinking of the rabbit carnage I almost caused. I felt so guilty I wouldn't let the dog in the back yard because I thought she might eat one of the babies. Then, one day, she got out and actually caught one of the babies in her mouth. She held it there, letting it squeak for dear life, and I shook her head until she dropped it. The baby rabbit scampered off to live a long life, I am sure.

Well, the rabbits are repaying me for my kindness. They are feasting my hostas in the front yard. Only my hostas. My next door neighbor has identical hostas just across the driveway. Do they eat his? NO. They eat mine. Down to the little stems. It looks like I have planted green toothpicks in my flower bed. Do they eat the weeds growing around the hostas? NO. Just the hostas.

I have tried more friendly discouragement. I put some decorative wire fencing around the bed. Didn't work. I read somewhere that rabbits won't go near an area that has dog hair surrounding it. I brushed and brushed the dog and saved all the hair (just over a weekend - I'm not crazy or anything). I spread the dog hair around the perimeter of the bed. Well, that kept the rabbits away. Until the birds discovered dog hair was the IDEAL nesting material and plucked it all for their nests. I have replanted the hostas three times.

So, this weekend, I declared war. I bought the strongest smelling mulch I could find. I looked at three different stores for liquid fence, to no avail. I settled for deer repellent because it is the next best thing. I coated the entire flower bed with deer repellent. Of course, the yard smells really, really bad and it took four hand-washings to get the smell off my hands.

Take that damn rabbits!!

Seriously, I don't want them to die. I just want them to eat my neighbor's hostas for a while.

Friday, June 8, 2007

High Winds Stir Up Local Dirty Old Men

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing my poor decision to wear a knee-length skirt on such a windy day.

As I was walking back to my office after lunch, I turned a corner and saw a man about my dad's age walking in front of me. Just then, a big gust of wind came up and he turned around to shield his eyes. (I was too busy holding down my skirt to bother shielding my eyes.) He looked at me and stopped. As I was passing him, he looked down at my skirt and said, "Mighty windy today!" I laughed and said yes but kept walking. He stood in the same spot until I passed him and then began to follow me down the street. I am sure he was waiting for another gust of wind to blow my skirt up. Nice. Thankfully, I made it back to my office without disgracing myself.

Oh, but he wasn't the only one - they seemed to be out en masse yesterday. Last night, I read this comment from Bill Dennis on one of my posts.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sleep Training

For the last week, we have been "sleep training" at my house. "Sleep training" is basically a nice way to say, "I'm letting my child cry himself to sleep." Other books coach you to say, "I am letting my son learn how to sooth himself, which is a valuable life lesson and important for his development." Truthfully, I am sleep training him because I got tired of fighting with him to rock him to sleep every night.

I know, I know. There are lots of you out there (including my parents) who are not quite behind the whole crying-to-sleep idea. Some people say, "Oh, but I just LOVE to rock babies." Yeah, well . . . I like to rock babies too, but not when the baby is screaming at me, arching his back, and pinching the back of my arm when I am trying to rock him. It is just not soothing for either one of us. Other people say, "Oh, how can you stand to listen to him cry?" It's not like I enjoy hearing my infant son cry for 25 minutes. There are many, many other sounds I would rather listen to in the evening. I get a host of other questions, but mostly I say, this is what is best for him and me. Most of all, I do want to foster an independence in my child and I do not want to be rocking him to sleep when he is 6 years old (or 3 years old, for that matter).

Anyway, we started on Saturday night. I decided beforehand that I would let him cry for 30 minutes before soothing him (the book I am using says to go for an hour but even a hard-ass like me has limits.) The first night he cried for 25 minutes. But since then, he has cried less every night and tonight he really only moaned for 2 minutes. Needless to say, I am very proud of us. We did it!

So, I was feeling very good about my parenting skills when I took him to day care this morning. I proudly informed them that he can now put himself to sleep (implying that his mother was the most wonderful and competent mother in the world). His teacher looked at me and said, "Oh, yeah, he's been putting himself to sleep here for about a month now. He does so well!" Ugh (mental head slap.) I wanted to say, "You know, that's the sort of thing I would like written on his daily information sheet. Sure, I like to know how much he pooped today too, but the sleeping thing . . . much more important." But I didn't. I just smiled.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Honey . . . Those aren't Freckles

I am in Chicago fairly frequently and one of my favorite things to do is have my make-up done at Saks Fifth Avenue at my favorite cosmetics counter. I have a regular guy who does it every time. He is wonderful and makes my skin look absolutely flawless (which it is not) and, of course, sells me wonderful products.

I visited him yesterday and, after washing and moisturizing my face, we had the following conversation:

Him: "We have this fabulous new cream that will take care of those tiny age spots!"

Me: "Oh, those aren't age spots. They're freckles."

Him: "Sorry, honey, they're age spots."

Me: "But you told me last summer they were freckles!"

Him: "How old were you last summer?"

Me: "34."

Him: "How old are you this summer?"

Me: "35."

Him: "Yeah . . . they're age spots."

Me: "Damn."

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Perhaps Bob-Bob Needs a Time Out-Out

I would like to think that my tolerance of misbehaving children in public places has gotten better since I became a parent myself. However, some situations would push anyone over the edge. This is one of those situations. It happened at Target at approximately 5 pm. As I was turning into the diaper aisle, I hear a crash come from the children's clothing area, followed by a cute three year old boy running down the aisle. Then I hear his dad say, "Come here, Bob-Bob . . . Bob-Bob, come here." (To protect the innocent, I have changed the boy's name, but it was very similar to Bob-Bob.) His dad doesn't seem to be too worried, as he is not raising his voice - he is more pleading with the boy to behave.

Bob-Bob did not wish to "come here" and took off down another aisle. For the rest of my trip around Target, I heard variations of "No-no, Bob-Bob," "Oh, Bob-Bob," and "Come here, Bob-Bob," in the same sing-song voice. Both of his parents seemed to be present in Target and both seem to subscribe to the same "gentle" method of child-rearing. For his part, Bob-Bob's behavior got progressively worse (although he did not throw the screaming fit I was expecting) but his parents continued to talk to him as if he were a cute misbehaving puppy. Surpise, surprise, Bob-Bob did not react to his parents at all. I'm not saying they need to scream and yell at him. But, perhaps a deeper tone, or some threat of consequences for such behavior was necessary. Or perhaps a trip to the car for a little time out-out for Bob-Bob.

I lost the family somwhere between the garden supplies and the check out lanes. Just as I was swiping my credit card, I saw Bob-Bob streak by me. By this point, he was set to full tilt and was running around the check-out lanes with one shoe on. Who knows where the shoes he wore to the store ended up because the shoe he had on was dragging its pair and the Target price tags. His mother finally caught up with him near the soda case. She opened it up and took out a Sprite. She said, "Oh, here, Bob-Bob, here's your Sprite. There you go."

She handed a three year old child a 20 ounce bottle of FULL SUGAR soda after 5 pm. No wonder Bob-Bob can't behave himself in public. I hate to think of what Bob-Bob will be like when he is 15.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Church of Fresh Produce

The closest my family every got to worship was attending the local farmer's market every Saturday morning during the warmer months. This is one family trait I was glad to inherit. So, this morning, I was up bright and early to attend the opening day of the Riverfront Farmer's Market. It was so much fun and just purchasing a small amount of fresh local produce makes me feel all is going to be OK with the world.

My mother is the most religious farmer's market goer in the family. In their home town, she knows all of the vendors by name and can give you a rundown of what they sell, when they sell it, and the quality of their products. They all know her by name too, mostly because she can be very pushy (complaining if the baby squash are too large or the apples are too early) and because she is a regular who makes several trips to her car with produce each week. She has a set routine she follows and gets upset when they rearrange the booths. She also works on an exchange system with some of the vendors. She brings back her berry containers, egg cartons, plastic bags, and display vases to the people who need them. She will not purchase anything that has not been locally grown and will call vendors out if they try to pass off outside produce. I try not to be as aggressive, but I will not purchase trucked in produce - only local.

Since it is pretty early in the season, the selection of produce was limited today, but well worth the trip. I got the last pint of teeny-tiny strawberries. They were half gone before I got home. I also purchased lettuce, spinach, arugula, fresh green garlic, radishes, and a bagette. The organic chicken vendors were not there today, so I was very disappointed because they had beautiful small roasting chickens. In any event, we will be eating well tonight!

Friday, June 1, 2007

My Personal Clark Kent

I went to a small liberal arts college in a northern state. When I say northern, I mean it was the type of place where we had snow by Halloween and had to wear long underwear every day from October through March. It was cold, damn cold.

During the winter of my sophomore year, I had an early morning (9 am) psychology class. One morning, class had been in session for about ten minutes when a student walked in and took the seat next to me. I noticed him not only because he was late for class but also because he was beautiful. I thought to myself, "That guy looks like Superman!" He had jet black hair, piercing blue eyes, a strong jaw, and was very tall. I am sure I blushed when he sat next to me because I had been staring at him and thinking unclean thoughts.

This particular professor took attendance by passing a sheet of paper around class and asking us to sign our names. The late guy got the sheet immediately before me and I watched him sign his name. His first name was Clark! After I signed the sheet and passed it on, Clark reached into his pocket and pulled out a pair of socks. He took off his shoes and put the socks on his bare feet. I couldn't suppress my giggle and he looked at me and grinned. He whispered, "I was in a hurry - didn't have time for socks." I said, flirtatiously, "What else did you forget to put on?" He smiled (perfect teeth) and winked.

Thus started my high-school type attraction to/obsession with Clark. He never sat next to be again and seemed to forget our short encounter. Soon thereafter, I realized he was in the same circle of my friends, although somewhat removed because he was a class ahead of me. In the spring of that year, my friends and I found ourselves at his off-campus house for a party. I think one of my friends was dating one of his roommates. I thought this was my chance - I would finally have a chance with him.

Hours into the party, we decided to play Trivial Pursuit as a drinking game. The first question Clark got was about Prohibition. After the question was read to him, he paused, wrinkled his forehead, and said, "Prohibition? Man, I can never remember if that was about anti-drinking or anti-slavery!" The bubble of attraction that I had for Clark burst as I realized he was pretty . . . but stupid. It was over, simple as that.

I don't know where Clark is now. I am sure he is leading a perfectly productive life and has probably figured out the difference between Prohibition and Abolition. I wish him the best.