Have you ever . . . ?

I found this on someone’s blog recently (sorry – I can’t remember which one), so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Generally speaking, I hate this kind of meme; I mean really. . . 150 items? On the other hand, blogs are often narcissistic, and this one’s no different. And that’s part of the fun with a meme like this: it’s not about expecting readers to meticulously plod through all the items, pondering the many things the blog writer has and has not done. Rather, it’s about the inward journey you take in thinking about your own experiences vis-à-vis the list.

So here, for no one’s enjoyment but my own, is my “Have you ever . . .?” list. Bold means “yes, I’ve done that.” Not bold means “no, I didn’t do that” (although in a few cases I came really close).

Have you ever . . .

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink

02. Swam with wild dolphins

03. Climbed a mountain

04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive (I swear the dealer would have let me take it . . . until he smelled all the booze on my breath . . .)
Read more Have you ever . . . ?

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Gruncle Blork

My niece, Donna, popped out her first baby on Friday. Lily was born July 21, weighing in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces. Mom and pop and baby are reportedly tired but doing well.

They live in booming Calgary, where Lily missed being that city’s one-millionth citizen by just a few days. Too bad, because she would have looked fine in that “Calgary 1,000,000” toque! No matter – she’s number one with us!

By the way, in case you weren’t paying attention; that means my sister is a grandmother. My sister is a grandmother! What does that make me? A gruncle?

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Anthony Bourdain in Beirut

Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain was in Beirut when the bombing started. He and his four-person crew were filming an episode of his Travel Channel show, No Reservations.

I was standing with a Sunni, a Shiite and a Christian when Hezbollah supporters started to fire automatic weapons in the air celebrating the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers. As a few supporters drove by the three people I was with all instantaneously took on a look of shame and embarrassment as if a dangerous and unstable little brother had once again brought the whole family into peril.

Bourdain has been back in the U.S. since July 14, so he missed the worst of it. But he did see, among other things, the Beirut airport being bombed – he watched it from his hotel room balcony, about a mile away.

This morning, The Washington Post put him online in a live chat channel to talk about it. You can read some excerpts here. It’s an interesting quick read – he talks about food, the people of Beirut, the Marines who evacuated them, and the fact that until a few weeks ago the city had pretty much reclaimed its status of being “the Paris of the Orient.”