A Poem, A Radio Show, and a Stove Fire

Oct 9, 2007 by


There’s a good picture of Jamie for y’all, since I’ve been pretty mean in my picture selection of her. Sorry hun.

Here’s the second installment of “The Classic Chronicles” for your listening enjoyment. Make sure you right click, or control-click (Macs only) on this link and “open in new window”.

Classic Chronicles #2

I’ve got some good things this time, in fact, some of them might have to wait until next time. But first I want to try writing out this poem I’ve been thinking about. Here I go.

To Listen

To Listen
You must open your ears
And may your eyes be ears too
And if your eyes and ears be ears
Why not your mouth be too.

And with your eyes and ears what about
The rest of your body too
For your bottom hears best when it’s aloft
Not being allowed to stew

For so often we sit and let our minds wander
As someone is chatting away
We don’t even stop to listen with wonder
What they are trying to say

When we can truly listen and truly report
That we understood that clever retort
Instead of working out the next thing we’ll say
But let the tension just drift away

To listen is golden
To hear is true bliss
Why can’t everyone
Want the world like this?


Ah, that’s better. That’s been rolling around in my head all morning. I must have been bitten by a mosquito that bit Dr. Seuss. (Would I be so lucky?) Anydangway…

I wanted to share a response to the blog with you from my Londoner flatmate. I had made a comment about the radiators here and how they seem very old. Here was her response:

Hannah: “Just because I’ll forget I thought I’d ask… What do you have in America? Every single radiator I’ve ever seen has that knob on it and is (as far as I know) “water pumped” as you said in your blog… ?? What else would a radiator look like? :-s “

Would someone take a picture of some of the different kinds of house heating elements and send it to me at justin.arndt@gmail.com? I’d most appreciate it. Send along what you think about the Londoners and their heating elements and we’ll start an intercontinental conflict over who’s heating is better. Personally, I like the radiators quite a bit. I’m not sure I ever really liked the heating in the US – especially forced air. My nose always dried out.

Moving on to a separate appliance and the story at the heart of this episode (did you ever think we’d get there?) I’d like to discuss gas stoves and cooking with oil.

Many of you may already know where this story is headed, if you’ve ever cooked with hot grease on a gas stove, but for those of you smarter than you look (or just plain lucky – so far) laugh, and learn!

The first weekend Jamie and I were in this apartment we were shown how to use the vent fan above the stove in order to clear out the cooking smells that fill the entire flat when cooking anything other than hot water. We had decided to cook curry this particular Saturday night and we were in for a surprise.

Jamie was still unpacking a bit, and so I volunteered to start getting everything going in the kitchen. Having just gone up the road and retrieved fresh veggies from the small shop, I was excited to start cutting them up and getting ready for our first feast in our new residence. I had also purchased vegetable oil which (completely unbeknown st to me) has a much higher boiling point than any other cooking oil. I put the vegetable oil in the pan and sparked up the gas burner. Placing the oil and the pan back down on the roaring burner I began to chop the vegetables.

By this time Jamie had just about finished putting her things away and had began to ready herself for dinner. Down to the bathroom to wash her hands and then she, too was cutting vegetables.

After about 10 minutes or so we had finally finished cutting everything, struggled with the can (or “tin”) opener and pried the lid off the can, excuse me, tin of curry.

As I looked back at the hot oil in the pan I noticed how glassy the surface of the oil was. I wondered how hot it was, but not for long. When Jamie began to pour the curry into the pan an amazing thing happened. Flames sparked where the curry hit the oil and instantly rose out of the pan, licking the humming vent fan screen. In awe of the disaster occurring in front of our eyes I pulled Jamie away from the stove in order to get at the container of salt but to my further surprise the flames immediately died down.

Either they were afraid of what I was about to do to them, or the fact that Jamie’s steady hand had pulled away instead of dropping the can into the pan, I’m not sure, but the flames were gone. A few deep breaths and our flatmate wandered into the kitchen, completely ignorant to what had just happened. We informed her as to the occurrences and she looked as us with a confused fear – like that look you’d give a grizzly bear before you took off running. She, however, did not take off running and has since become a good friend of ours along with Karol, her boyfriend and his brother Rafal. We’re big, happy, immigrant family with our Londoner mother, Hannah.

So that’s why you shouldn’t let Americans cook in your kitchen. Wait, no… that’s not the moral.

So… that’s why you should use olive oil or sesame oil to cook unless you’re smarter than me. So use whatever you want. That’s moral.

Aww… that’s sad. I just slammed myself for making a mistake. Yeah, well… it was pretty embarrassing.

That’s it for this week. I’m still working on getting pictures of all of us here at the house. I’m sure that’ll happen soon. I think we’ll be getting a dog in the next few weeks, so that should be fun too.

Thanks, as always for the support. Someone send me pictures of American house-heating elements and have a good week!



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1 Comment

  1. ChrissyJ

    Hey Justin, I just wanted you to know that I’ve lived in several places in the US with radiators, including my present house. They are definitely better than forced air, I think the only reason they went out of style is that they take up wall space and aren’t always attractive.