What technology you can not live without?
As much as I think this is a cliché answer, I have to say the smart phone. As my job takes me out of the office to meet with clients, anything that links a calendar and contact list with a phone is wonderful. I did not get my first cell phone until late 2001, early 2002. I remember long stretches of time where I wasn’t reachable by phone. For example, I was in Tokyo on a business trip. My wife discovered she was pregnant soon after dropping me at the airport. I was out of reach for 24 hours. I remember the phone ringing in my hotel room, scared me to death. A cell phone would have changed the wait time to find learn of my new status as a Dad.
What’s a pet peeve you would correct if you could?
The amount of media attention paid to things with no possible value. We are bombarded with negative information about health, finances, politics, etc. None of that information is really intended to make you happier, smarter, or safer. It is intended to sell ad space. Nothing wrong with ad space, but our culture gets confused sometimes. We mistake the noise for the signal.
What is the most memorable gift you were ever given?
A ceramic mug from my uncle Ron. I was probably 14. We had a family gift exchange where you drew one person and got them a gift. I had started drinking tea the summer before, and Ron remembered. I still have that mug. It went to college, and has survived several moves.
What is a favorite college memory?
I had a professor in Chinese History named Sally Hart. I ran into her on campus two years after I had taken her class. We talked about China, and Japan. Somehow, the conversation led to an invitation to come have lunch at her house. I arranged a ride with another student of hers, and we drove to Dr. Hart’s house in Minneapolis. She had made a traditional dim sum meal, with about 11 pounds of steamed dumplings, and one bite dishes of things I still don’t recognize. During the lunch we talked about China. I asked questions about a civil service exam in China in the Tang dynasty. I remember thinking how amazing it was to be able to learn about a subject I was interested in, just by asking questions. And the food was amazing.
What is on the menu for your favorite meal?
A spaghetti sauce from my uncle John. He learned it from a janitor in college near Boston. It involves pork chops, sweet sausage and pepperoni. Everything is slow cooked in tomato sauce for hours. The house smells fantastic. It works great for a quiet Saturday cooking. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. The best part of the dish is how well it serves a group. It’s pretty easy to add another pork chop and another link or two of sausage. I always make way too much spaghetti anyway.
How do you spend a perfect day off?
This image always starts with breakfast. I’m not sure why. I would say breakfast with a good friend. Follow that with some time in a coffee shop to complete the caffeine dosing from breakfast. This is valuable time to think, and maybe read without the phone ringing, or anyone yelling for “Dad.”
Next I guess I have to decide if I’m making dinner at home, or going out. If I’m cooking, it will be something that takes time. Weeknights turn into short order cooking. I like the 15 minute meal concept, if they could just do them in 7, it would work better. Friends over for dinner, or out to eat together.
Pleased to Meet You writer Celeste Lewis is out there getting Lexingtonians, from long-timers to new arrivals, to know one another a little better by gently probing their personal interests, recollections, tastes and aspirations. Have a good prospect for this feature? Your suggestion is welcome. Just dash off a note with “PTMY” in the subject line to