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by David Todd McCarty | Wednesday, November 4, 2015

There is nothing more satisfying, more perfect, or even more mystifying, than a perfect slice of pizza. When done properly, pizza contains the perfect blend of chewy textures, combined with salty, acidic and smokey flavors, all in a food you can eat with your hands. And it’s cheap!

However, finding that perfect slice is much more daunting than you’d think. It’s such a simple food, with only a few ingredients, that you would think it wouldn’t be so hard to find, but if you really believe that, you’re probably from the Midwest and you’re wrong.

The great thing about truly good pizza is that it’s still a mystery. Is it the water, the dough, the oven, the cheese, the sauce? Yes. And at the same time, a resounding no.

At its most basic, pizza is dough (flour, water, salt, yeast) tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. But a lot more goes into it than you’d think.

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by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We live in a loud world.

The music. The traffic. The colors. The entertainment. The styles. The music. It’s all deafening.

Kanye and Kardashians. Big egos and asses. Poster children for the era we currently find ourselves in. All hype. No humility.

Even the written word seems to have gotten loud. John Stewart doesn’t make a joke. He destroys. Obama doesn’t make a point. He annihilates the Republicans. She’s not pretty, she’s stunning. You didn’t find something amusing, you can’t stop laughing. It’s not mildly interesting, you won’t be able to believe your eyes.

There is no cool anymore. Just hype.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, November 2, 2015

“Our kids don’t really know how to play independently, seldom get lost in their imaginations, and are always two feet away from us. It drives us nuts. You’d think we spoiled them rotten but it sure doesn’t seem like we did. I’ve written about this as a cultural phenomenon of “narrowing worlds and great expectations” for parents but I can’t believe everyone struggles with this to the same extent as us. If you do, let me know! I don’t remember needing my parents so much in order to play. We didn’t access our parents so much when we were kids. We went outside and played and didn’t want to come in. Shouldn’t kids want to be away from their parents to not be watched so closely? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I can’t help but think we are blind to something we are doing to perpetuate this.”

My brother wrote this a few weeks ago and I’ve thought a lot about it since then and I’ve come up with one very simple truth that defines the difference between parents today and our parents a generation ago. We were afraid of our parents. Your kids aren’t.

I’m not talking about an abusive relationship, but there was a distance. They were adults. We were children. We didn’t expect them to come play with us. They had different lives that frankly, we weren’t invited to be a part of. If we weren’t outright afraid of them, we were at least a little intimidated by them. Now everyone tries to be their kid’s best friend.

There are other factors of course. We grew up in a time where it was perfectly acceptable to leave the house and be gone all day with zero supervision. I’m talking like 6-12 years of age. Try doing that today. Even if you wanted to, you’d probably get locked up.

When I was in the first grade, we lived in Edmond, Oklahoma. I would go play on the playground at the elementary school a few doors down. Sometimes, me and a friend would walk the two blocks to the local grocery store, and if we had money, buy a candy bar. I had to wait at the light and cross the street. This wasn’t a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It was a typical suburban neighborhood.

I also remember being able to ride my bike to the local Five and Dime, a Woolworths. I honestly don’t remember how far it was, but far enough. At least part of it involved a trail between two houses. I would go buy BB’s for my Wrist Rocket, a high powered sling shot that was strong enough to break bottles. I would bring money, and buy bb’s, which even then the clerk had to get out of a locked case.

I was six.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 29, 2015

“It’s almost that time of year when underaged kids get into costume and traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells and begging for treats.”

When it comes to Halloween, I believe the world is split into two groups: those who love Halloween, and those who think it’s a pointless waste of time and money spent trying to recapture your youth and somehow simultaneously dressing like pimps and whores.

I’m in the second group.

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Episode 8.0. In which my last remaining Uncle, Alan Newell McCarty comes to visit and tell stories. When I was a kid, we knew him as Alan, but at some point in his adult life, he decided to go by Newell. Alan is 67 and my father’s youngest brother. We lost the middle child some years back.

This is a long one; over three hours. We’re Irish so we’ll talk about anything. God, politics, the environment, the afterlife and of course, the Irish. But then we also spent a lot of time talking about his life. I was really going to edit it, but since so much of it is a retelling of his life, from childhood on, I decided not to…for posterity.

We were getting a little warm in the studio after awhile, so at some point I opened the window, so there’s a lot of road noise. Deal with it. Also, there might be one point where leave Alan talking and go freshen up my drink. Oh, and we might have been drinking. Just a wee bit.

So sit back and enjoy some Irish storytelling. Mostly Alan telling stories, and my mostly interrupting.

Three hours is a long time for me to sit quietly.

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by David Todd McCarty | Monday, October 19, 2015

 

Nostalgia (n). 1. A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

When looking through old photographs, we often say things like, “Look at this picture of me from when I was younger.” But as my wife would tell you, all pictures are from when we were younger.

Time marches on and nothing ever stays the same.

Nostalgia is more emotion than truth. We look back through rose-colored lenses at a time when we believe things were better. That’s just not always accurate. We choose to remember the good parts, and leave out the bad parts. Than can be a very healthy thing in the right hands. But it can also lead to damaging results.

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by David Todd McCarty | Thursday, October 15, 2015

 

My wife Jane thinks it’s silly to talk about having a fire in the fireplace.

“Where else would you light a fire? The sink?” she’ll say.

I guess she has a point, but it sounds strange to simply say, “I think I’ll start a fire” then walk into the other room.

I grew up with a fireplace and I have one today. It’s glorious.

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by David Todd McCarty | Friday, October 9, 2015

 

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. It was the second time I’d heard the song, but the first time I didn’t look up who it was. I was on my way to get a haircut in my rental car, so I was listening to the old fashioned radio instead of satellite. It was a local alt rock station, which to some is still just corporate rock, but I’m almost fifty years old, so it’s often all new to me.

At first listen, it seemed like a strange style of song to be on this station. Kind of bluegrass, a little country. Even for a station that plays bands like Mumford and Sons. It definitely had a throwback sound, and I was digging it.

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