Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Helps a sore throat feel less like a goat

* This time of year must surely bring the highest sales for cough drops, mustn't it?
* In my pocket, I currently have two "Honey Lemon with Echinacea" cough drops. What's your favorite cough drop flavor?
* Though their name implies that they are used to treat coughs, I'd bet that cough drops are most often used to treat sore throats. Why is the term "cough drop" more common than "throat lozenge"?
* Winter or not, may you be blessed with a throat that feels more like a koala bear than a goat!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sunrises and sunsets are among its effects

* Can you imagine if the earth did not turn? In some places, it would always be night. In some places, it would always be day. In some places, it would always be dusk. To "see" a sunrise or a sunset, you'd have run very fast around the surface.
* This past weekend, I was at a retreat atop a mountain in West Virginia - a great spot to watch the sunset on Saturday afternoon. The next day, I went for a jog along the ridge and turned the other direction for a sunrise. But it was too early and I had to return to the retreat before the sun actually came over the horizon. (Even before the sunrise, though, there is an exciting glow that signals that the day is coming.)
* The days are getting longer! After yesterday's winter solstice, I am excited to think about how sunrises will be getting earlier and sunsets will be getting later for the next six months.
* The longer days are also an exciting reminder that Christmas will soon be here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Many things in one load requires fewer trips down the road

* Five days ago, I drove a 14-foot truck from Maryland to Tennessee to help my sister move. This 800-mile trip takes a long time. Having a moving truck rather than, say, a minivan or a sedan was very valuable. Otherwise, many more trips may have been required.
* In general, is it better to take more things at once or to take more smaller trips? One time, I tried to carry all of my groceries in a cardboard box in a single trip to my car. I didn't realize that the bottom of the box was not fully secure and halfway down the sidewalk it collapsed. A milk jug exploded, a jar of apple sauce broke, cherry tomatoes rolled in every direction. It may have been the largest mess that I have ever made.
* When you are trying to carry many things at once, how do you improvise? Do you carry multiple bags in a single hand? Do you put things in your pockets? Do you balance things on your head?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Facial protection from every direction

* A woman or even a man may wear a scarf as a fashion accessory. For me, though, a scarf is definitely part of my "winter gear." The other morning, I took a predawn jog in subfreezing temperatures. Having a scarf to fasten around my nose and mouth to block the cold air was invaluable.
* Keeping a scarf fastened throughout the rhythm of a jog can be difficult. But I have developed a trick that usually works well. First, I wrap the scarf around the bottom of my face. Then, I secure the rest by tying the ends around my head, completing a figure-eight pattern. My brother thinks that the top part looks like a turban.
* Scarves can also be helpful substitutes for forgotten hats. In the same way that you'd wrap a scarf around the bottom of your face, you can tie it around your head, covering your ears. This too can be invaluable in the winter.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Even when hacked, they always grow back

* If we cut our hair, it grows back. If our toenail falls off, it grows back. Do we have any other body parts that regenerate on their own?
* In another type of miracle, techniques have been developed to synthetically replace other lost body parts. At the lab where I work, for instance, there is a lot of research on prosthetic limbs which can be controlled directly by the recipient's brain.
* About a month ago, my housemate and I went on a ten-mile hike in the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. It was a very rocky trail and I slammed my big toe time after time. As the blister beneath the nail grew, so did the pain. At last, my toenail snagged on a pair of pants and fell off, gaining significantly improvement.
* During a subsequent visit to the podiatrist, he reassured me, "The rest of the nail is going to fall off. It's perfectly normal and the nail will grow back."Sure enough, I now have a new nail slowly regrowing. Apparently, it takes about six months to grow back in full.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Offering insight to get recipes just right

* How many meals just don't turn out as they should due to imprecise measurement? I know that until I brought my measuring cup to work, I had a horrible time trying to get the right amount of water to go with the right amount of oatmeal. Too little water made the oatmeal gummy. Too much water made the oatmeal too soupy. I botched it almost every morning.
* On the other hand, sometimes when I'm cooking I like to ignore exact measurements. For instance, when I make homemade mashed potatoes, I know that I just need to add "enough" milk, butter, and salt. In a sense, cooking this way adds "adventure." How many dishes are there where having the right "feel" is better than having the right recipe?
* Whether you're a measuring cup fan or not, happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


More valuable than gold, the means to grab hold

* According to Wikipedia, a thumb is opposable if "is capable of bending in such a way that it can touch all the other digits on the hand." Interestingly, very few species have opposable thumbs.
* My friend Nicholas pointed out the benefit of opposable thumbs the other day (providing the idea for this simple miracle). He commented that without them, our hands just be like flippers on a seal or fins on a fish. We could swat a fly or paddle through water or pin things together using both hands. But holding an object with a single hand would be quite difficult.
* An opposable thumb is valuable for holding objects such as coffee mug handles.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Beverages warm to sip without burning our grip

* Think of the mug that you fill with water and put in the microwave in preparation for a cup of tea. The water becomes very hot. Your mug becomes quite as hot not. If your mug became as hot as you want the water to be, it would be much harder to carry the mug, or even to hold it.
* The handle, of course, is not the only aspect of a mug that makes coffee-carrying conceivable. After all, many fast food restaurants distribute coffee in cups without handles. A good mug will be made out of material that won't get as hot as quickly as the liquid that it contains. But some of the heat from the liquid will inevitably be passed to the mug itself (in an amount that depends on the mug's insulation properties). But it takes longer for the heat to get to the handle than it does to reach the rest of the mug.
* The weather has been colder during the past few days in Maryland. So coffee mug practicalities are all the more important.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Boasting a bloom which chill does not doom

* The landscapers both at my office building (Laurel, MD) and at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, DC) seemed to plant the same purple and violet pansies. Maybe they even obtained them from the same greenhouse or grew them from the same seed.
* A friend of mine once commented how pansies are misnamed. Unlike the colloquial connotation of a "pansy" being weak and quick to fold, pansies are among the heartiest of flowers.
* Our part of Maryland has come very close to its first frost. Will the pansies survive the frost? Can any flower survive a frost?
* When I was in college, I decided that it would be "a good life skill" to be able to identify flowers by sight and enlisted my sisters' help. I became very proficient at distinguishing begonias from petunias or even salvias from lilies. Admittedly, this skill has waned for me in recent years. But perhaps I could still identify a pansy, using this simple rule. "If a flower is still growing in November, it very well might be a pansy!"

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Repetitive indication of one's next destination

* Even if a driver does something that other drivers don't like, using a turn signal is a way to cooperate. It would be nice if drivers could say, "We agree that this is the way that we will drive." But often, people drive in different ways. But at least drivers are able to say, "We agree that this is the way that we will communicate while we drive."
* As technology increases, will turn signals ever become obsolete? For instance, will vehicles have devices that send out laser messages when they are turning that are holographically projected onto other vehicles' windshields? Perhaps a robotic voice will accompany. "Vehicle on the right is turning right." In the meantime, turn signals are a good, old-fashioned way to communicate.
* Four-way blinkers are a very interesting use of turn signals, I think. A right turn signals means, "I am turning right." A left turn signal means, "I am turning left." But both a right and left turn signal mean, "I am not going anywhere." Indeed, if one tried to go both right and left at the same time, they probably wouldn't go anywhere.
* How easy it is to not use one's turn signals? (I do it more often than I am willing to admit.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A tiny speck that offers hope for the trek

* For the once-trapped Chilean miners, ascending a lengthy tunnel, how remarkable it must have been to see the first speck of daylight!
* In western Pennsylvania, it is a familiar experience to go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and emerge to a panorama of all of Pittsburgh. What a sight!
* Can it be said that, "What is in sight can be reached"? In high school, as I would go for a jog, my motto was, "If I can see it, I can run to it." Fortunately, we didn't live close to any tall buildings.
* Thanks to my mom for suggesting this simple miracle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Assisting one's awaking without caffeine-taking

* Are you like me, struggling some days to stay awake during the day? How much easier would it be for me if I had gone to bed an hour earlier or slept an hour later?
* In extreme cases, I will drink a cup of caffeinated tea, e.g., if I have an important meeting at work. But I have only begun that recently. I still have no taste for coffee.
* Thanks to Dan Meola for helping to suggest this simple miracle. Dan mentioned how "a consistent sleeping schedule" has "all the benefits of caffeine to start your morning but you can remain listening to your body and if your really good about it you won't need an alarm clock any longer to wake up!"
* If I could get a good night's sleep and do it consistently, then would I ever be set!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Very behooving for furniture moving

* I helped two different people move last week. The first person was moving into a house with narrow doorways and staircases. When one brings furniture to such a place, they ought be prepared for chipped paint and battered walls. The second person moved into a house with broad doorways and staircases and moving was much easier.
* When I was younger, I used to climb up the doorways in our house by propping one foot on either side. This is more challenging when the doorway is wider.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Leaving mouths ajar with tiny light from afar

* Thanks to my mom for indirectly suggesting this simple miracle. Recently, she wrote, "I just had to double check that number. [Reaching number] 98 is very impressive. # 100 is certain to require a stellar theme!"
* Because of the ambient light, it is hard to see stars when close a city. I went to college close to Cleveland, where we often had this challenge. I would often remark, "How exciting, just to see one star!"
* I envy those, like my sister Missy, who know the different constellations of stars.
* Here's how you can tell the difference between a star and a planet: As they told us at the nearby Uni. of Maryland Observatory, "Stars twinkle. Planets don't."
* What an even greater gift to see a shooting star! "The Heavens declare the glory of God."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Vehicular repair can show that you care

* In the Washington DC area, there are an alarmingly high number of people that drive cars with dents in them. To me, it is a sign of contentment with wrecklessness and disorder. It is as though they are saying, "I run into things and it's not a big deal. I might get in another accident and get another dent, so why fix the first dent?"
* On the other hand, driving with dents could be a sign of contentment with simplicity. Are drivers of such cars actually saying, "My car has a dent but there are other more important things in life about which to worry. I don't need to have a perfect car."
* This summer, I was hit by a deer (in the rear passenger door) and another car (in the rear bumper) and recently had both dents fixed. It is amazing how the body shops can make your car look as though nothing ever happened.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


An outside connection while still in protection

* Hooray for the fresh breeze blowing into my bedroom! Hooray for the familiar sounds of train whistles and birds! It is a wonderful time of year when there is summer warmth but not so much that we turn on the air conditioning and must shut our windows.
* When I go to sleep with the window open, it's almost like sleeping outside - without worrying about attacks by wild animals, nosy neighbors, or sudden thunderstorms.
* When I was in college, I liked open windows so much that I would leave my window open even in the winter.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Just the right view for art old or new

* My sister Gina is an artist. She has repeatedly pointed out that having the right frame is very important to bring out the best in a painting.
* During visits to art galleries, such as the National Gallery of Art near my home, it is interesting to take note of all the different kinds of frames.
* I can think of other things besides paintings that are framed to accentuate what is in the middle - photographs, windows, eyeglasses.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Permits corner-round-going without needing slowing

* When I reach the end of one flight of stairs, I grab the railing and swing around to the next.
* If there were no railing, I think that I would have to slow down, catch my balance, then speed up again. My office is on the fourth floor at work. So how much time do I save during each work day by using the railing?
* At work, of course, it is necessary to not swing too wide and run into colleagues.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Cooking without haste for spectacular taste

* A major advantage of crockpots, as you may know, is that there is very little need to monitor the cooking. Last night, I turned the crockpot to "low" around 11:15 PM and awoke around 7 AM to find the potatoes soft and the cabbage cooked through.
* Crockpots seem to be particularly suited for cooking without recipes. In all, last night's "stew" included potatoes, cabbage, carrots, kielbasa, red onions, a can of wedding soup (in place of chicken broth), and a can of chicken and wild rice soup.
* Last week, I made chicken breasts with spaghetti sauce, sliced peppers, and basil. The chicken was deliciously tender!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


With a pit to spit and a taste that's a hit

* There are lots of things that I like that include cherries: Cherry chocolate chip ice cream, oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookies, cherry yogurt.
* Where are acceptable places to spit cherry pits? My friends thought that it was a great idea to spit pits at a recent cookout. My officemate squirmed a little when I suggested that we set up the garbage can by the door and try to spit in the cherry pits. Katie and I had a great time with her housemate trying to get the pits into the garbage can in their kitchen.
* It seems that it is good to eat as much of a food that can be eaten. But there are also a set of foods that just have something "left out": corn on the cob, egg shells, apple cores, banana peels, cherry pits.
* In response to
my struggling tomato crop, perhaps I should start a compost. Could cherry pits be added to a compost pile?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Gentle sprinkle to thwart garden wrinkle

* Katie saw me admiring her watering can last week and decided to get me one of my own. "New technology!" I exclaimed, when she presented the bow-adorned gift. How much more effective will a can be than my previous jug which merely dumped a stream of water onto the base of the plant?
* This summer, I am once again trying to grow tomatoes and peppers. So far, one tomato plant has yielded many tomatoes but all are consumed by a mushy blight as they turn red. The other tomato plants have yet to yield any tomatoes and are actually looking pretty wrinkled already. Is there any hope?
* If the state of my tomato plants improve, will it be because of the new can watering technique or because I am excited to have a can and water the plants more diligently?
* Though this is my third summer of trying to grow tomatoes, if I successfully grow five or more tomatoes, it will be my largest harvest ever.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


A day that's blessed and good for our rest

* "Happy Sunday!" is something that I like to wish to friends and strangers alike. I reason that it may not be as straightforward as "Christ is risen!" but that I hope that it still reminds others that Sunday is a day that is special from the rest.
* On Sundays, I try not to do shopping or housework. Therein, I try to make Sunday a day of rest from work that I would otherwise do. But there are also extra things that I try to do to salute Sunday's festivity: eating ice cream, writing postcards, playing sports. What do you do to celebrate your Sunday?
* What a great balance it is to work during the week and celebrate on Sunday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


It just seems to taste better

* Does new toothpaste really taste better? Does it taste any different? The other day, when I made the first squeeze out of a new tube, I thought, "This tastes really good." Was I just imagining a difference?
* Toothpaste, in general, is a little simple miracle: "Applied rapidly with a brush, keeps our smile from turning mush."
* How many other things seem better with their new? I think of freshly baked bread, the smell of a new car, the perkiness of a just-picked flower.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Transportation simplification

* When you are walking to your destination, you don't have to wait at a bus stop or ensure that the gas tank is full or buy a ticket ahead of time.
* During my first year of graduate school, I didn't have a car and consequently went many miles with "walking shoe transportation." If the distance was longer, I might use "running shoe transportation."
* Even today, it can be exciting for me to reach a place on my own two feet. It brings a sense of accomplishment.
* I'd like to salute my friends who are currently walking from Maine to Washington DC to spread the Gospel. I was part of the same Missionaries of the Eucharist walkers in 2006.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


If at first you don't succeed, give it another try

* I think that "mulligan" is a term that is most common in golf. You take a shot, it doesn't go well, you declare that you're taking your mulligan, then you shoot again from the same place as though the first shot never happened.
* Last week, I forgot to post a simple miracle. It was a "bad shot." So I've taken my mulligan and this week I'm trying again.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Keeping things together, preventing slips

* I recall advice when I was applying for colleges: Use a colored paper clip when attaching your documents because it helps make yours memorable.
* In addition to holding documents together, paper clips have many other uses. For instance, this week, I fixed our toilet with a paper clip. The hook on the valve cover split, leaving the chain attached to the lever to slip at every flush. But I stuck one end of a paper clip through the rubber valve cover and the chain through the other and now it works fine. I was very proud.
* Years ago, I used to keep spare paper clips in my wallet, just in case the need arose.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Keeps the cold from the hot and the warm from the cold

* On the way to work, this morning I went to Mass, and when I returned, my car was very warm. "Oh no," I worried, "Will the hamburger left over from Monday's barbecue that I was going to eat for lunch be spoiled?" Thinking about the adverse stomach effects of the ferocious bacteria that thrives in warm weather was not encouraging. But then I checked my insulated lunch bag and - the hamburger was still cold!
* My housemates and I say that our house is "poorly insulated." But, in reality, when we turn on the furnace in the winter or the air conditioning in the summer and shut all the windows, it feels much better in our house than it does outside.
* A similar simple miracle ("thermos") was originally coined by Phil List at NCSU during my last year of graduate school (2006-07).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Lest in descending we reach our ending

* At the end of the workday, sometimes I just want to go immediately from my fourth floor office to my car. But it is importantly to not make the trip all at once. In a way, staircases allow me to take advantage of gravity gradually.
* I could, I suppose, take the elevator. But when I was a freshman in college, I broke my ankle and had to use the elevator many times and grew to despise it. After a few weeks, even with crutches, I was using the stairs.
* As an alternative to a staircase, I might use a parachute jump. But then how would I get back up? I guess that I would need a large and powerful trampoline.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


To share some joy with one unknown reminds us that we're not alone

* Thanks to Katie, who inspired this simple miracle. A few weeks ago she gave me a copy of Sarah McColl's "101 Small Pleasures you can enjoy every day" and its #44 made me smile.
* Regularly, I am amazed that when I smile at someone that I don't know, they smile back widely in return. "Who is this person?" I might wonder. "Have they been waiting all day for someone to smile at them? Have they been waiting to smile at someone?"
* I've participated in several
mission trips that have passed through New York City. With so many people, it is a place ripe for conversation opportunities to tell of Christ's love. But more than once, as I've waded down the busy Manhattan sidewalks, I've thought that to go to there and simply smile and wish "Good morning" would be mission enough. In a place that's big, bustling, and impersonal, what a difference a smile can make!
* Can greeting strangers be carried too far? When I was younger, my sisters and I would take a walk down River Road. Since it's a popular spot, we'd pass many other walkers - and I almost always tried to say hello. But sometimes I'd get in trouble with my sisters. "Phil," they'd explain, "If someone is already having a conversation, you can't just interrupt them." Is this really true?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Particularly when done for another

* This simple miracle is specially dedicated to my Uncle Mark, who retires this week after close to 25 years of service in the United States Air Force.
* How indebted we are to all those military men and women who have sacrificed time and safety for our freedom and safety!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The incomparable cookie companion

* When this simple miracle first appeared at CWRU in the spring of 2004, the caption was "Ahhhhhhh!" That's the usual sound after the glass is empty, isn't it?
* My housemate Dan could probably tell you a familiar story: At about 11 PM, I'll appear in our living room. He'll be reading a book. I'll declare to him, "Do you know what time it is?" He doesn't know. "It's time for a tall glass of milk!" Then I bounce with excitement into the kitchen.
* In college, my good friend Lowell and I decided that we would like to be the kind of guys that weren't afraid to go to a bar and, rather than order a glass of beer, order a glass of milk. I have tried this, but unfortunately most bars do not have milk.
* Now that it is the Easter season, there is another treat to which milk is a very good companion. Here's what I do: Eat a mug of ice cream, then fill the empty mug with milk to rinse out any ice cream that is left and drink it.
* In fact, to how many dishes is milk "an incomparable companion"? I can think of turkey sandwiches, peanut butter, graham crackers, mashed potatoes, steak, a hearty piece of wheat bread and a slice of cheese ...
* Interestingly, I do not like milk with my cereal. Instead, I prefer to eat it dry.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


To earth from space, done with such grace

* Have you seen the landing that occurred this week?
* To imagine the coordination that is necessary to safely land a shuttle - between the engines, the parachute, the landing gear, the pilot - is remarkable.
* When something very miraculous (e.g., a shuttle landing) is made to look very simple to us perhaps that is a simple miracle in itself.
* Thanks to my mom and sister Missy for suggesting this simple miracle.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A friendly pledge that we make

* To receive a firm handshake from another can be very reassuring.
* How do we decide to whom we give a handshake? Do we only do handshakes with our friends?
* A handshake that I learned in New Hampshire has become popular in North Carolina: The "Trinity handshake." Here's how it works: A regular handshake to salute God the Father (i.e., a handshake that your father would give you); a handshake where your arm is at an acute with the other person's to salute God the Son; and then a release and flutter of the fingers while keeping thumbs interlocked to salue God the Holy Spirit (i.e., as if your fingers where the wings of a dove, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit).
* Have you ever had a "secret handshake"?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


When in your car your keys you lock, a spare is much better than taking a walk

* I assert that claiming a spare key is also a better option than breaking one of your car's windows.
* Yesterday, I locked my keys in the car for the first time in three years. Coming out of morning Mass, I checked my left pocket, checked my right pocket - neither had my keys. Instead, I could see the keys laying on the passenger seat in full view - and dutifully, I had not forgotten to lock the doors. However, it took only a quick bus ride, a trip upstairs to retrieve my spare, and a ride from a housemate, and I was on my way in less than a half-hour.
* In addition to having a spare key, it is also important to only lock your keys in your car when you are fairly close to home. For instance, the last time that I made this mishap, my landlady had to drive fifteen miles at 11 PM to bring me my spare key.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


What a funny tradition?
* Are you the one to play the joke or the one on whom the joke is played?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Far easier for eating stew than a fork or a shoe

* How many other things would be near impossible to eat without a spoon? This morning, I thought of this simple miracle while eating cereal. Can you imagine eating cereal with a fork?
* A fork can hold solid food but not liquid. A straw could be used for liquid, but might spell disaster with solid food. Only a spoon can handle both.
* I like to use a large spoon with my breakfast, but a small spoon with my ice cream. The smaller the spoon, the more you might patiently enjoy what you're eating.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


All the instruments, all together, all at once

* A few days ago, my mom suggested this idea to me for a simple miracle. (Thanks Mom!) How, she wondered, does a composer manage to imagine all of the different instruments' parts, being played simultaneously? For a common man, it is sufficiently daunting to think of composing a piece for but a single instrument!
* Usually, I post a simple miracle after I have recently experienced it. Perhaps this simple miracle will be an anticipation of an experience to come. It has been a while since I have been there, but there are some terrific symphonies at the Kennedy Center in nearby Washington DC.
* At college in Cleveland, I enjoyed attending symphonies in Severance Hall, adjacent to our campus. If the music department still had extra tickets on Friday afternoon, a stray student like me could go for a mere two dollars! It was there that I first learned to appreciate the symphony.
* I can recognize a symphony by Aaron Copland or by Anton Dvorak, but not many others. What symphonies can you recognize, just by hearing them?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Kitchen relief on a busy evening

* How it happens, I do not know. However, I often do not return home until 8 or 10 PM. In addition to being tired, I'm usually hungry! I think, "Awww, mannn, what am I going to cook?" Then I remember, "There's leftovers!"
* This week, I have eaten leftover Spanish rice that I made for our young adult group on Sunday. Wrapped in a heated tortilla with red pepper hummus, it's delicious.
* I suppose that I began to learn to like leftovers when I was a graduate student and cooking for myself for the first time. Sunday, I would make an entire pound of spaghetti or a full pot of rice and beans and spend the rest of the week eating it.
* Now, when I go to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I think that my mom counts on me to clean the refrigerator of leftovers. "If it's there," I figure, "Someone's got to eat it. We can't just throw it away."
* Leftover soup was always a favorite at Grandpa's house. What leftovers do you think are the best?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


My grandpa's specialty

* What kind of soup do you make in your biggest pot?
* Lately, my sister Maria has been trying different varieties of lentil soup.
* My mom likes to make full-size servings of homemade wedding soup.
* But the most memorable soup was made by Grandpa Koshute. Every Saturday morning, he would use a huge cut of meat, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, and other vegetables to make what my sister Missy calls "a whole meal in one bowl." Even for a large family, he made a big enough pot to last for the whole weekend. Every time that we would visit, we knew what we were eating: "Papa soup and halupkis" (while listening to polkas).
* Michael Koshute, our grandpa, died this past Monday. He was 93.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

74. 28 CENTS

All you need to send a postcard anywhere in the country

* Sending a postcard to anywhere in the world isn't that expensive either. When I was in Australia for World Youth Day, it cost less than a few U.S. dollars to send a postcard from there.
* It might be argued that the way that a postcard allows us to send correspondence to such far places is lessened by the correspondence capabilities provided by the Internet. I assert, however, that a postcard's appeal is fundamentally different than that of something like an email, for several reasons: (1) The sight of another's handwriting, (2) The chance to physically hold a piece of correspondence, which was also held by the sender, (3) The special thought and effort required now that postcards have become so rare, (4) The unique combination of picture and story.
* Sometimes, I buy extra postcards from a famous place like New York City, then months later send postcard narratives that have nothing to do with that place, but merely save money on postage. Do you think that this is wrong?
* When I write postcard, I try to include as much detail as possible. In turn, I use as much available space has possible. My mother responds with comments like "Do you think that the mailman is really going to be able to find the address on that?" and "Are you going to include a magnifying glass with that?"
* In the spring of 2003, a similar Simple Miracle appeared at CWRU. Back then, "23 cents" was all that you need to send a postcard anywhere in the country.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A spot from which we can catch a slice of life

* Thanks to my mom for suggesting this simple miracle. She pointed me to a blog which asked whether the view was better from a skyscraper or a sidewalk.
* Recent blizzards in Washington DC have left many sidewalks covered with snow. Instead of walking on a sidewalk, pedestrians have had to use the road, causing significant traffic slow-downs. Even as drivers, how we take sidewalks for granted!
* In college, I took a class on Urban Economics and did a project on sidewalks. How many communities in greater Cleveland had sidewalks? How closely did they monitor their condition? During this project, I spoke with urban planners who touted sidewalks for "promoting exercise" and "connecting communities."
* Indeed, it was very exciting to realize that there were sidewalks on some of the bridges near my house in western Pennsylvania. I could go for a run across the river, through multiple towns, connected by sidewalks!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Pushing the snow to where we would like it to go

* The Washington DC area, as you may have heard, had received extensive snowfall in the past week. Sunday afternoon, I wanted to go visit a friend two miles north and to a Super Bowl party a mile south. But our street was still covered with several inches of ice and snow, making it nearly impossible for me to drive anywhere in my Chevrolet Prizm. Could I really walk that far in a few hours? Then, though, to our complete surprise and delight, what came down our street but a plow - a plow, a plow, a wonderful plow!
* Even more amazing than a plow for a truck are the drivers of the truck. These folks have been working long hours to try to make our streets clear. Would I ever want to be a plow truck driver?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


A whole-hand hooray that we proudly display

* "High-five" to you for checking my blog!
* Have you ever tried a high-three or a high-four instead? Isn't a high-five so much more natural?
* Saturday night, when our team won the board game, Sequence, we all did high-fives. I also remember high-fiving when the high school basketball starting lineups were announced or when I did well on a test in college. What makes you high-five?
* Why has a high-five become so much more popular than a low-five?
* I am excited that the Olympics will begin next weekend. Which nation will have the first high-five? Are high-fives more popular in some places than in others?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Making "doing the dishes" very delicious

* If I had to pick between a regular cake cone and a waffle cone, oh boy, I would definitely pick the waffle cone!
* How many other "dishes" can be eaten? Many years ago, our family liked eating at Italian Oven Restaurant, where hollow raw noodles were used as drink straws. They probably were not meant to be eaten, but we did anyway!
* Taco bowls are often edible. Almost exactly one year ago, I had a flying taco for lunch, just north of the Mexican border. Tortillas, too, could be considered a dish.
* For ideas of what to put inside of an ice cream cone, consider Simple Miracle #67.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

69. DADS

We wouldn't be here without them

* In two days, scores of thousands of Americans will gather in Washington DC to sorrowfully recall the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that federally legalized abortion in 1973. This simple miracle is intended to be a salute to all fathers who have provided support and encouragement when their child's mother considered abortion, as well as a prayer for all fathers who bear the painful regret of a child killed by abortion.
* Compare this simple miracle to one in the past. Hooray for our parents!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The pain-free solution to putting on new boots

* When my old friend from college, Nick Hill, suggested this simple miracle to me (Thanks Nick!), I didn't even know what a shoe horn was!
* Apparently, its name suggests its application and origin: Years ago, animal horns were used to help people fit their feet into their shoes without ruining the shoes. Nowadays, materials like wood or metal have replaced actual horns.
* How many extra months or years could I have gotten out of some of my favorite shoes, if I had but had a shoe horn!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Of course!

* Do you know anyone who doesn't like ice cream? Is it possible to not like ice cream?
* My housemate Tobias wondered what it would be like to introduce ice cream to someone who came from a culture that did not have ice cream? How overwhelmed would they be?
* Happy New Year! Last week, I decided that I would try to start a tradition of eating ice cream every year at midnight on New Year's Eve.
* For my first bowl of ice cream of the new year, I had spumoni. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

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