The History of the Brussels Sprout

14 10 2018

A recent Facebook conversation with my niece prompted me to write the following just to get the record straight.


I have never heard anyone say, “Brussels sprouts? Yeh, they’re okay.” Nope, either you love ‘em or, you hate ‘em. Put me in the hate group. I hated them as a kid and later in life, I thought perhaps I would give them another try, thinking my taste may have changed. No, no, no. I hated them even more so than I remembered. On the other hand, I have a niece who will sit bare-butt on a block of ice for as long as you feed her roasted Brussels sprouts. So, what’s the story of this repugnant crucifer?


The original Brussels sprout is native to the Mediterranean region. The Romans grew them even though they hated the putrid taste and weren’t quite sure what to do with them, or even what to call them, so they just kept them until they would begin to rot, like a little ball of kimchi. They tried everything under the Tuscan sun but never could find a way to make them palatable. But, these ball-like whatever-they-weres had potential, or so they thought. It’s like when I empty a glass pickle jar; I don’t know what I’ll use it for but am sure that one day, I’ll need a jar so, I hide it from my wife along with the other 147 empty jars I’ll need one day.


What is This Thing?

For lack of a better name, the common term “jeest” (ancient Hebrew word meaning “thing without a name”) was used to refer to Brussels sprouts. Eventually, Romans discovered if they left the Brussels sprouts out in the sun to dry, over time, and after the stench went away, they would become rock-hard. They were the perfect size to fit into the pocket of a sling such as the one David used to drop Goliath, so, they began to refer to them as stones. First Samuel 17:40 tells us that on his way to fight Goliath, David “…chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in his shepherd’s bag…” Some Bible scholars believe that when facing Goliath, David reached into his bag and accidentally pulled out a Brussels sprout, or “stone” instead of a rock that he found down by the creek.


When the not-so-well-known Greek explorer, Achilleus (meaning “lipless”), traveled north to explore Europe, he took with him a dozen tow sacks filled with these raw uncured vegetables. The Belgians, known for having a voracious appetite and, like the English, a willingness to eat anything, found them to be quite tasty, albeit, a tad bitter.


Famed Belgian botanist Dietger Jones bought all the sprouts Achilleus had and, in his Brussels lab, began a long and tedious cross-breeding process which eventually resulted in what we know today as the Brussels sprout, hence the name. The king of Belgium, King Willy, then passed an edict proclaiming the Brussels sprout as the national vegetable of Brussels demanding, under penalty of death, that all Belgians be required to eat Brussels sprouts with every meal. But not all Belgians found them to be good-they too were in the hate group-and so many opted for the gallows-a quicker and much more merciful death. It was shortly thereafter that an English-born immigrant, Dewayne Sidelinger, the original Duke of Earl, founded a new company he cleverly name Duke’s and created a concoction designed to mask the flavor of Brussels sprouts. Duke’s became the world leader in the manufacture of what would become known as A-1 Sauce, the recipe for which was stolen by food magnate Baldwin Kraft who turned it into a household name.


So, as the late Paul Harvey would say, “And now you know the rest of the story.” Also see:


Professional Biotics

21 08 2018

I believe it was Winnie the Pooh who said, “Sometimes, I sits and thinks and sometimes, I just sits.”


Recently, I was sit’n and think’n and something occurred to me: are all biotics professionals? I was watching a movie and, for the umpteenth time during the movie, I saw a commercial about probiotics. It occurred to me to ask, where do probiotics come from? What I mean is, you never hear about amateur biotics. Why is that? Do biotics automatically turn pro when they sign up? Or, do they have a farm system, like in baseball, in which the not-ready-for-primetime players work to make it to the big leagues? Do they have a league like the NFL; or, since they independently eat their way through bad bacteria, do they belong to a group like the PGA? The PBA Tour (Professional Biotics Associatation Tour)? Do they have a union such as the Professional Biotics Players Association (PBPA)? And how does a biotic achieve professional status? Are they judged by the amount of bad bacteria they consume?  Just a few gut-wrenching questions about probiotics.



19 04 2014

Tomorrow we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Easter is the day Jesus walked from the grave; and, with that single act, gave a gift to all mankind-salvation. With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins; and, with His rise from the grave, He made us the beneficiaries of the greatest gift ever-eternal life. Now, that said, I hope you will join with me in adding Michael Bloomberg, the guardian of the nanny-state, to your prayer list.

This week, after pledging $50 million of his own money in his fight for gun control, Bloomberg said, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

A very telling comment. It would appear, Mr. Bloomberg thinks pretty highly of his largesse. This comment really shows his ignorance on several levels. In revealing his uncertainty of the existence of God, he makes it clear that he doesn’t know God; for if he knew God, then he would have no question regarding His existence. And if he doesn’t know God, then he cannot get into heaven. Further, heaven isn’t something you earn…it is a gift. Just as with any other gift, it is free. The price has already been paid.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” That passage comes from Ephesians 2:8-9. Michael Bloomberg is the embodiment of this passage, bragging about his donation for what he sees as a worthy cause, and confident he has purchased his way into heaven. It doesn’t work that way, Mikey. The only thing required to get into heaven is to confess your sins, repent and accept Christ as your Savior. When you do that, Bloomboy, you will know there is a God and you will know Jesus on a personal level.

There is no requirement for us to go door to door passing out tracts or sharing a testimony. There is no amount of money we can spend to buy our way into heaven. Salvation is free. It is ours for the taking. If Bloomberg does get to heaven, imagine his surprise when he looks around and sees his limo driver, gun-toting good ole boys, the kid he saw flipping burgers at McDonalds, the greeter at Wal-Mart and so many others whom he now considers beneath him.

I hope the day will come when the ex-mayor will see the light and call upon Jesus, and not his bank accounts, to see God. Maybe he and I can slip down to the Heavenly 7-11 and have a 122 ounce Big Gulp. See ya there, Mike?

Don't worry, Mike, there are no calories in heaven.

Don’t worry, Mike, there are no calories in heaven.

Manhood in a Jar? I Doubt it!

14 04 2014

Well, I’ve seen it all now. Recently, I saw a TV commercial for a testosterone deodorant. That’s right-testosterone deodorant. I couldn’t help but give thought to what might happen if this miracle product was misused. For example, what would happen if someone rubbed some of this stuff on their dog? I considered a number of possibilities. I envisioned the dog lying on the couch, remote control in hand watching Lassie re-runs all night. Shortly, the words began to flow resulting in this:

Every day for several months
Bubba had been depressed.
He didn’t like the way he felt.
Or the frilly way he dressed.

He’d fallen in love with chick flicks
He’d cry at the drop of a hat.
His voice was growing higher
And his middle was getting fat.

So Bubba went to see his doctor
Who ran every test that’s known.
And sharing his diagnosis said
it was low testosterone.

So, Bubba tried everything
that his doctor had prescribed
But his self esteem continued to fall
And his voice continued to rise.

Then one day Bubba saw an ad
For what he thought might do the trick.
It was some new testosterone cream
but you roll it on your pits.

So Bubba went on Amazon
With Master Card in hand
And ordered up some Axiron
And rubbed it on his glands.

After several weeks of daily use
Bubba was still depressed.
His voice grew even higher
And he started growing breasts.

He finally decided that all was lost
And that his fate was set.
So Bubba went to city hall
and changed his name to Bubbette.

The Prince Formerly Known as It

25 07 2013

it's a boyIt’s finally over. The royal kid has arrived and as all the headlines attest, it’s a boy. I don’t know about you but I was growing weary of all the hype and the baby watch. After all, they didn’t make that big a deal when either of my kids was born and I assure you they meant a great deal more to me than His Royal Highness Willie, Jr. And as a bonus, we don’t have to have a name watch. I was afraid that might drag out like the delivery did but they have already announced the name-George Alexander Louis.

I was wondering what the process is for naming a future king. Some folks give long and considerable thought to the name for their kids. That is certainly appropriate since it’s something the kid will have to live with. I’m not sure of the process some people go through. Come on, how much thought went into North West?

Well, what about Kate and William? Does protocol allow them to come up with the name or is there a more formal procedure? After all, they were naming a future king. So, I thought, perhaps it was a more formal process for royalty. I mean they have staff to do everything else for them. Maybe something like this:

Queen: Do tell, William, you know it took a week to come up with a name for you. I don’t feel that should happen again. I mean as much as I enjoy watching the peasants congregate at the gate and place wagers on a name, I feel we should be quick about this. Besides, I’m going on holiday Friday and I want to get this done before I leave. So, I have summoned the Royal Baby-Namer. We’ll have that little booger named before the next James Bond movie comes out.

Prince Charles: Mummy, I thought we might let William and Kate take a crack at naming their child.

Queen: Oh nonsense, Chucky. This is fah too important to leave to amateurs. Children shouldn’t name children. We have a Royal Baby-Namer so let’s just leave the job to the professional.

The Royal Greeter: Pahdon, Your Majesty, the Royal Baby-Namer is here.

Queen: Oh good. Send him in, Jeeves. (to Charles, William and Kate) You’ll like the Baby-Namer. He’s new and he’s from the colonies, I understand.

Baby-Namer (Bubba Wishbone): Hey ya’ll. I’m Bubba the Baby-Namer. Ya’ll can call me Bubba.

Charles: I understand you’re from the States.

Bubba: Yep, that’s right. Born and bred.

Charles: I thought all royal positions were to be held only by Englishmen.

Queen: That’s right Chucky, and Mr. Wishbone is a blood relative of Quincy, the Duke of Burlington. We’ve had a Wishbone in the family since George III. And Mr.Bubba comes well qualified and with high recommendations from the General Motors Company in Detroit.

Bubba: Yes mam, that’s right. I was the director of marketing for Chevy. I chaired the committee that named the HHR. (See post Ha, Ha, Right, posted 8/1/11) I know a thing or two about naming things and naming people really ain’t no different.

Charles: What’s an HHR?

Bubba: That’s a car, Chucky.

Queen: Mr. Bubba, proper protocol demands that you refer to the prince as His Majesty, Prince Charles.

Bubba: Oh, yes mam. I’m sorry about that, His Majesty. I’m so new over here I haven’t had time to finish my protocol lessons yet. So far all they taught me was that bowing thing I did when I came in. Did ya’ll like that?

Charles: That’s quite alright Mr. Bubba.

Queen: Mr. Bubba, have you any ideas for a name for our future king?

Kate: Begging your pardon, mum but will William and I have any say in the matter?

Queen: Oh, well of course, dear. You both will have final approval. The Royal Baby-Namer is just here to offer suggestions. He does the work and we simply give the thumbs up or thumbs down.

Bubba: Well, your royal folks, I’ve been giving this baby naming thing a lot of thought and have come up with a few suggestions I think ya might like. My first choice is William, Jr. and you could call him Willie so’s folks will know when you call him that you ain’t calling his daddy, William.

William: I quite like that. William is a bold name of distinction. Plus, I like the idea of having my son named after me.

Bubba: Oh, your name is William too? William is my real name. People just call me Bubba cause…come ta think of it, I don’t know why they call me Bubba. But, I was naming him after me.

Kate: What else do you have, Mr. Bubba?

Bubba: Well, I got several for ya t’ choose from. Another’n is Claude. I was thinking before he was born that if it was a girl, you could name her Claudine, but since it came out to be a boy, if ya like that name then you can just call ‘em Claude.

Queen: No, Mr. Bubba. The name of England’s future king must be a name that bespeaks of royalty. Something that says, here is a king.

Bubba: Well, hows about Ralph. Ya know like that movie King Ralph? I loved that movie. I got it on VHS and every time I….

William: Go on, sir.

Bubba: Oh, yeh. Well, I thought one real popular name over here is James, ya know, after James Bond and all; England’s most famous spy.

Queen: Mr. Bubba, James Bond is a fictional character.

Bubba: Ya mean he ain’t real? Dang it. I wish you hadn’t told me. Next, you’ll be telling me Ralph wat’n really one of your kings. Okay, another’n that’s good is George, after our first president and leader of the Revolution. He’s a real hero, ya know.

Charles: Yes, Mr. Bubba but not our hero.

Kate: I like George. That’s a good English name. William?

William: Yes, snookums, I like George. Go on please, sir.

Bubba: Okay, so we got George for the first name. Two suggestions for a middle name are Alex and Ur, as in Ur of the Chaldees. I heard that on Saturday Night Live one time. I know it’s a city but it’s got a nice ring to it and it sounds worldly. Besides, the letter U looks good embroidered on a towel.

Charles: Hmmm, Alex and Ur. Alex and Ur. I like them both so it will be hard to choose.

Kate: I like them both too. Let’s use them both. Alexander.

Queen: Brilliant! Now, I need to go pack. I’m going on holiday.

Bubba: Wait a minute, mam. You cain’t name that baby George Alexander. Sounds like a bus driver or a car salesman. It ain’t distinction enough. How’s about if we stick Louis on the end of it. I saw that in a magazine on the plane coming over.

Queen: George Alexander Louis. His Royal Higness George Alexander Louis. Bravo, Mr. Bubba, bravo.

Charles: Smashing, Mr. Bubba. Just smashing. I can’t understand how GM ever let you get away.

Bubba: Smashing-is that a good thang?

Charles: Oh yes. Smashing is jolly good. It’s like you yanks might say…right on.

William: Father, right on is so 70’s and I believe they no longer use that expression in the states. Now they say cool. And if it is really good, they say way cool. At any rate, I like the name. Let’s go spread the word.

Just thinking.

Hong Kong Fluey or Misery Loves Cash!

6 07 2013

Hong Kong Phooey

Hong Kong Phooey

I guess I should explain the play on words in the title of this post for the sake of my younger followers. In 1974 there was a short-lived cartoon titled Hong Kong Phooey, which apparently no one watched since it lasted only four months. Six years before that there was the Hong Kong Flu epidemic. I was a junior in high school at the time and one of the unfortunate ones to contract this dreaded disease. The play on words may not be exactly apropos but I liked the sound and since this is my blog, I can write whatever I wish.

The 1968 high school football season had just ended and I wanted to drop from my normal 145 pounds (those were the days!) to wrestle in the 138 pound weight class. I took off about 10 pounds and was in the best shape of my life when I was attacked by the Hong Kong Flu. It was terrible. I recall being so sick my zits hurt. I actually lost another 10 pounds- weight I could ill-afford to lose from my lean frame.

It was about that same time there was a television program called Dialing for Dollars, during which a local TV personality would announce the amount of accumulated cash in their jackpot and what city he was going to be calling. All you had to do was answer the phone and tell them how much the jackpot was and it was yours. My mother was out running errands and I was at home alone-just me in my misery. The jackpot that day was one thousand dollars…a lot of money for a 16 year-old in 1968.

I could hear from my bed, our one and only television, when the show came on. I heard the host say the jackpot was $1,000. When he said he was calling Wilson, my interest was piqued. As he began to dial, in my mind, I was already spending the jackpot. Just after he dialed the last digit the telephone rang. I knew it had to be him. I was so excited I forgot for a moment that I had, only two minutes earlier, been thinking of what to put in my will and making plans to issue apologies to several of my teachers at school for my many transgressions. I jumped from what I was sure was my death bed and ran to the phone. Here again, young readers, this was many years ago and not only did we have no cell phones, we didn’t have a phone in every room either. I actually had to go to another room in the house to get to the phone.

“Hello! Hello!” I shouted with the excitement of someone who had just hit the Plinko jackpot on The Price is Right.

Imagine my disappointment when the caller, my aunt, asked if my mother was at home. I drug myself back to bed, my misery compounded by my disappointment. Death, here I am. Come and get me!

You Wanna Do What?!

10 05 2013

proctologistWhat do you do for a living and how did you come to do it? What was your career path and how did you decide in the beginning that was the path you wanted to take? For a fortunate few, there is never a question in their minds, from an early age, what they want to do as a career. For most, however, the path is not clear because they don’t have a clue how they want to spend their lives. That’s understandable. It is hard to know, at 20 years old, what you’ll want to be doing at 40. When trying to decide on a college major, one is making, quite literally, a career decision; that is assuming they will be able to find a job in their chosen field following graduation.

For many people, their careers grew from their love and fascination with something. A snake handler probably had a life-long fascination with snakes and has the scars to prove it. An astronomer has probably been enamored with all things spacey for her entire life.

So, what does that say about the proctologist? What is it that clicks in the mind of a medical student that leads him (or her) to one day say, “I think I’d like to give that proctology thing a go?” My goodness, who in his (or her) right mind aspires to be a proctologist? I always thought you had to be smart to get into medical school. This kind of thinking defies logic.

Can you just hear the conversation between the medical student and his parents when he announces to them he wants to be a proctologist?

Here’s the way I see it. During a family gathering, perhaps a family reunion, the son, Steve, has come home during a break. He pulls his parents inside to share his news with them while others are outside enjoying the activities.

Steve: Mom, dad, I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided to specialize in proctology.

[Silence. Mom and dad look at each other then back to Steve.]

Mom: Stevie, that’s wonderful. Maybe you’ll be able to help me figure out why my feet hurt me so bad.

Dad: Oh Martha, that’s not a proctologist. That’s a podiatrist-a foot doctor.

Mom: Well, what’s a proctologist then?

Steve: A proctologist, mom…

Dad interrupting: It’s a butt doctor!

Steve: A proctologist, mom, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the colon and rectum.

Mom: Oh my. Well, son, if…

Dad Interrupting: You’ll be the butt of a lot of jokes, son.

Mom: Oh don’t you listen to him, baby boy. If that’s what you want to do then we’re behind you.

Dad: [laughing] No, Martha, he’ll be the one behind. He’ll always be behind in his work.

Mom: Hush Albert, you pervert.

Steve: That’s okay, mom. I’m already getting used to that. But you know, dad’s right, proctologist are kidded an awful lot.

Mom: That’s okay. Let ‘em laugh. We’ll see who’s laughing when they’re all flipping burgers and you’re making a butt load of…oh, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say it like that.

Dad: [Laughing hysterically]

Steve: It’s okay, mom. Like I said, I’m used to it.

Dad: [Still laughing] There’s one good thing about it- the job is recession-proof because business will always be looking up. [laughing harder]

Mom: You stop that, Albert. Be proud of our boy. He’s done so well. He was working real hard to get himself through medical school while so many other young kids were just sitting on their…oh, I’m sorry, I did it again.

Dad: [on floor laughing]

Mom: That’s enough, Albert. It’s not all that funny.

Dad: I need an aspirin [still laughing]

Mom: Albert, I told you to hush. Now let’s get back outside and share this good news.

Steve: Come on, dad. Let’s go play some corn hole.

Dad falls down steps laughing and breaks his leg.