Puya Berteroniana, a Rare and Exotic Plant, Blooms in the UK

Wednesday June 19th, 2013 was an exciting day for plant lovers. Puya Berteroniana, an exotic plant that belongs to the Bromeliad family (a relative of the pineapple), bloomed for the first time in the 11 years at the Ventor Botanic Garden in the United Kingdom. It was an unexpected surprise, especially since it can take up to 100 years for the plant to bloom! But fortunately for visitors to the Ventor Botanic Gardens, they didn’t have to wait long to see ...

Seeing the light

Hello, it’s great to be here early for once instead of rushing around at the last-minute. I hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and Monday off, when I will try to catch up on some of my writing projects (she says with fingers crossed) Thanks to Renee Heath for the photo prompt this week and a special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her continuing support, diplomacy and encouragement. Copyright Renee Heath Genre: Historical Fiction Word Count: ...

Indulge – Weekly Photo Challenge

My first thoughts were of chocolate or a long laze in a bath full of soft scented bubbles…… Then I looked through my photographs to see what indulgences I could find there and it’s not always what you have in mind that jumps out at you from the screen.  So, here are my photos for this week: I love Sushi and I have never seen so much in one place at one time……. I had dreamed of going to Egypt ever since my first ...

What To Give An Eighty Year Old Man

I was cleaning out my chest of drawers the other day and I came upon a pair of pajamas, still in their package. I don’t wear pajamas. Mrs. Chatterbox and I had purchased these as a Christmas present for my dad. He passed away unexpectedly five years ago. Mom was finally cleaning out his things and had been about to donate the PJs to the Goodwill when I grabbed them as a memento. My parents seldom celebrated special events or holidays, ...

How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden

More and more people are growing indoor herb gardens. In fact, you could  might even say it’s a trend. Herb gardens are a great way to bring some colour and life to your home. They will freshen the air with a wonderful aroma! And most importantly, you can use these flavourful herbs to create the most delicious dishes! An indoor herb garden is great for beginners! Herbs are easy to grow and don’t take up a lot of space. All you need ...

Happy Chinese New Year: Ten Blessings & Ten Things To Know…

“Days are too busy; Hours are too few; Seconds are too fast; But there is always time for me to say; Happy New Year!” Chinese New Year Quote Happy Chinese New Year: Ten Blessings & Ten Things To Know... New Year Dragon Happy Chinese New Year: Ten Blessings & Ten Things To Know... Traditional lion dance Ukulele Video: US billionaire Warren Buffett sings for Chinese New Year ♥ The Mythology of The Chinese New Year According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New ...

Weekly Photo Challenge – Sunset

This photo holds a special memory for me.  It was taken a few years ago,  at a time when I wasn’t sure which path to take. I took some time out to be on my own, to try to make up my mind what I wanted to do.  The sunset was just so magical and being near the sea lifted my spirits, made me feel calm and able to make my decision.

Musings: What Have You Discovered?

"What you get by achieving your goals is as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Zig Ziglar Musings: What Have You Discovered? Derek Sivers: Keep your goals to yourself Recently, I took a moment to watch two relatively short TEDxvideos. Derek’s was about the importance of keeping our goals close to the vest and not dissipating the momentum or energy of the goal by over-sharing it with others. The second video (below) spoke about that all consuming word – Passion. Larry suggests that we make excuses about pursuing our passion or ...

Living With Clumps!

Sometimes life can rub you the wrong way. Like petting a cat from tail to head…it just doesn’t feel good. The cat will let you know if you’re annoying it by answering with a growl and a slash, but what’s a person to do when life gets tough. How many frustrating things can happen in a day? Rhetorical question, but it seems when one thing turns blotchy and sour, it can spread to other things. In short, I believe that ...

Best Blog Posts of 2011 – #10

Through January 3rd, 2012 I’m going to share with you the 10 most popular posts as determined by readers of this blog. I hope you enjoy these and find them to be interesting or funny. With that, here’s the 10th most popular post from The Daily Retort for 2011: Top-10 Traffic Pet Peeves City Traffic Jam - courtesy of Wikipedia For whatever reason, climbing behind the wheel of a car transforms the average rational individual into a self-absorbed idiot. I’m not immune to ...

The Catchiest Song of All-Time (so says science)

It's happened to all of us. We hear a song and then we're humming it all day and can't get it out of our minds. According to a recent study out of the University of London, there's a scientific reason for it. According to a recent news release issued by the university, music psychologists have identified the scientific properties that give certain melodies the 'sing-along-able' factor. The research monitored the behaviour of thousands of people as they sang along to more than ...

7 Questions With an Author: Danny Bader

Author, blogger, speaker: Danny Bader This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here. Today’s featured author is Danny Bader. Danny is an international trainer and speaker,  who uses his exceptional interpersonal skills and enthusiasm to help people really understand themselves and create a powerful vision for their lives. His passion and energy are contagious. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, three children and their dog, Nova. ...

Searching for Magic

As I rode the night train up the east coast to North Carolina I was definitely a stranger in a strange land. I felt a little like an actor in a foreign film, (Europeans are always riding trains) and I was tempted to re-invent myself, become Lily Ormond, a sulky poet with an obsession for gum drops, or Julia Van Helsing, the wife of a mad doctor escaping a nightmarish marriage. I decided to remain a struggling American author breaking ...

Not Every Curse is a Curse, Nor Blessing a Blessing…

Broken leg x-ray - hidden blessing? I learned a lot from my grandfather growing up, including the single most important lesson in my life – which I wrote about here. However, another profound insight he gave me, that I continually lean on as an adult, is this following bit of wisdom: “Things are not as bad or great as they first seem.” Those 11 words are packed with profundity and truth that I see proven on a regular basis. I recently read a fable ...

Book Marketing, Part 6

Image by Liz West / Muffet on flickr As within a family of raccoons, communication is practically instantaneous when someone finds a good book. I just experienced a great example of the marketing technique of “word of mouth.” First, a friend of mine posted on Facebook today a personal recommendation. As she said, it’s very unusual for her to do that. Because I think of her as one of the brilliant people, I immediately checked it out, thought it looked like ...

7 Questions With an Author: Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting, author and writer This post marks another installment of my “7 Questions With an Author…” series, where I ask published authors an unchanging set of questions and share their responses here. Today’s co-featured author is an online acquaintance of mine named Joe Bunting. He’s a first time author but an accomplished writer who blogs regularly at his popular site, www.thewritepractice.com. Here are 7 Questions With an Author: Joe Bunting 1. Tell us about your book? 14 Prompts is half book and half workbook. It’s basically ...

Please visit the authors blog by clicking on the link below!

Tor Constantino - The Daily Retort
June 1, 2011, 3:33 pm

Yet Another Reason I Hate Funerals….

Nondescript Casket

My immediate family spent the majority of last week at my in-laws home in New York because my wife’s grandmother passed away.

While I think it’s extremely important to celebrate the memory of the deceased; support and sympathize with the survivors and offer a degree of closure for the living via the various death-induced services and rituals – I hate funerals.

As a former news reporter, I had to attend dozens as an uninvited gawker amidst grieving strangers and then trying to speak with someone on camera – yuck. Within my own family, the funerals for all my grandparents and both my parents further soured an already distasteful experience – double yuck.

However, the latest funeral affront I experienced last week was the seemingly unending cavalcade of culinary creations that crammed every inch of table and counter space at the in-laws single-story rambler.

As an aside, death is a natural part of our existence but I’m convinced that the ritualistic events around death make most people uncomfortable. They frequently don’t know the unspoken etiquette to engage grievers – it’s not something you can practice for in advance or take an online class titled “Funeral 101: communication tips.”The awkward nature of attending a wake, memorial gathering, funeral service or graveside burial adds a layer of stress to a stressful someone that you’re “Sorry for their loss” or “Quite a lovely eulogy the pastor delivered.”

After a point, conversations experience a metaphorical death of their own – and the easiest thing left to talk about is the food that everyone brought. Apparently death brings out the inner sous chef in all of us.

And what types of cuisine do people bring the grieving???

Comfort food.

Don’t get me wrong, the care, love and attention that people pour into food preparation for such events is humbling and appreciated. However, they also tend to pour in tons of sugar, shortening, oils, salt and butter to ensure maximum calorie density in an effort to assuage the pain of loss.

It’s ironic that the very foods that people tend to prepare for post-mortem funeral gatherings are overloaded with the cholesterol-raising, heart-stopping, clot-forming, artery-hardening, stroke-inducing ingredients that medical science continues to urge us to avoid in an effort to extend our lives.

I don’t know whether such food prep is an unconscious attempt to thumb a nose at the Grim Reaper, or an unspoken ethos to unabashedly indulge in the edible extremes that life has to offer – because life is too short – but I hate it, because I ate most of it last week.

Which brings me to this week’s WeightWatcher weigh-in, where I apparently gained +5.0 lbs in seven days. I have no one to blame but myself, but I am focusing an accusatory eye toward the strawberry trifle, twice-baked ziti, home-style chicken and biscuits as well as various baked in which I partook last week.

Damn, I hate funerals!

Assuming that all of my relatives can make it through the week this side of eternity – I’m hopeful that there will be less of me to write about after next week’s weigh-in.


Tor Constantino - The Daily Retort

A topical blog that focuses on issues of faith, family, finance and fitness. I have more than 20 years experience as a former journalist and current PR practitioner. Additionally, I'm a father, husband, marathoner, writer and believer.

Leave a Reply





You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>