Saturday Potluck

Posted on August 20, 2011


How much does my wife miss me while I’m away in Edinburgh?  This week we were talking on the phone and I asked, “Do you miss me?” and she didn’t answer because she had fallen asleep–a response I could only interpret as measuring very low on the missing scale. 

The only time I can call her is after my show gets out and because of the time difference it’s always very late in Shanghai and she falls in and out of sleep while we talk.  She feels this should also excuse the conversation when she said,”I love you…I think.”  She tried to explain that the “I love you” and the “I think” were not part of a connected thought.  She suggested she had said, “I love you”, then fallen asleep, woken up, said “I think”, then fallen asleep again.  I want to believe her.


My wife is a great cook and is constantly creating new dishes.  If she worries the kids won’t like it, she gives it a fun name she hopes will help sell it: “This is Robin Hood Stew.  This is just like the stew Robin Hood and his Merry Men used to eat.”  My oldest son and I have been vegetarians for years and we never get sick of the same recurring joke at dinner–I’ll say in an apologetic voice, “I don’t want to be any trouble, but does Robin Hood Stew have meat in it?  You don’t mean it contains pieces of Robin Hood, do you?  Because I don’t eat meat.”  And Optimist Prime will add, “Oh, I don’t eat meat either.  Does this have meat in it?  I’m sorry you went to so much trouble.”  Then the two of us exchange a smirk while we wait for my wife to pretend to get upset because of course she knows we’re vegetarians and she wishes we’d get a new joke.

My wife is now a vegetarian and no longer prepares meat at home.  The Fonz is not a vegetarian and eats meat during school lunch or when we go to a restaurant.  This means The Fonz’s time at the dinner table is spent picking at protein substitutes like beans and lentils and it’s a battle to get him to eat anything he can’t pronounce like quinoa.  My wife recently introduced a new dish and asked us to suggest names.  The Fonz immediately suggested, “Let’s call it the Eat-It-Or-Mother-Will-Be-Unpleasant dish.


One day left to submit a caption in the caption contest.  Perhaps winning the caption contest could help assign your life the direction your ex-wife always said it lacked. 


I was so excited to see the last Harry Potter movie here in Edinburgh, but my enthusiasm slowly faded as I sat through an epic 32 minutes of previews and commercials.  That’s not a misprint: 32 minutes! 

I’ve seen movies in the US, Germany, China, Thailand, and Taiwan, and I don’t think any of them had previews lasting over 10-15 minutes.  All films in Thailand contain a 90-second tribute to the King and everyone is required to stand, and I think they should show a similar 10-minute tribute to the Queen of England, although I expect that might not go over well here in Scotland. 

I always wonder about the economics of how movie theaters make money, and I guess these UK theaters must do well on these commercials because they could probably add another showing of the film each day if they cut the preview/commercial duration. 

Maybe they could dedicate one entire screen to previews and commercials all day, every day and anyone who wanted to come to the theater specifically to see commercials could buy a ticket and sit in that commercial theater for two hours.  I’m thinking the best way to suggest my idea to the movie theater industry is through a 20-minute commercial to be shown at the beginning of each movie. 

Posted in: Columns