Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Sunday, January 13, 2019


KRODMAN, Steven Barry Krodman, 66, Woodstock, GA died Friday evening, January 11, 2019 from a rapidly moving form of ALS. He was lovingly surrounded by his family. Steve was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1952, son of Eli and Bernice Krodman, and spent his formative years in Massapequa, Long Island (down the street from the Baldwin brothers). Steve taught himself to read at three, stapled his thumb at four, and at age 14 built a model rocket that took pictures of his town. Steve graduated from Princeton University cum laude in 1974 with a BSE in Chemical Engineering. Looking uncannily like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, Steve went on to work in Plastics, "Toiling away in 'the Great Corporate Salt Mine"' of the petrochemical industry (Exxon, later ExxonMobil). Steve's first job brought him to Houston, TX where he met his beloved wife, Donna, on a New Year's Eve blind date in 1975. They went on to have two girls Melissa and Jocelyn who grew to inherit Steve's offbeat sense of humor and artistic impulses. Steve enjoyed a fruitful career for over 35 years, moving his family to several different states in both the south and northeast. He travelled for work extensively, throughout the US and internationally, fueling his love of global culture and interesting people. But it was after his retirement in 2009, that Steve blossomed. It was then that his already invested-in interests were able to be fully enjoyed. He was an avid cook (whose culinary abilities rivaled professionals), and a prolific writer whose blogs (Blog d'Ellison, Lost in the Cheese Aisle, and The Concentrated Mind) enjoyed a vast and committed audience, and he occasionally wrote for Like the Dew and McSweeny's. Blogging, which began as a hobby in 2004 became a passion and source for community, with Steve becoming close "IRL" friends with many fellow writers. Steve was heavily involved with Jewish life for many years. In Georgia, as a member of Etz Chaim, Steve attended morning services daily (and subsequent breakfasts at Bagelicious), was a Gabai on Saturday mornings, and served as a member of the synagogue's board. Steve's biggest Jewish life passion was the Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs, serving as president of the synagogue's chapter president of the Anshei Darom region, was on the board of directors for FJMC, chairman for the Leadership Development Institute, and was co-chairman for the 2019 FJMC Biennial Convention. His beautiful voice lit up congregation Etz Chaim as chazzan (canter) for high holiday services as recently as this October when he led a portion of Rosh Hashanah and chanted the Kol Nidre. In addition to his accomplishments, Steve had a passion for his family and friends. He was the kind of man, who with genuine interest, would talk to anyone about anything. He cultivated a lifelong eclectic love of music, cartoons, science fiction and other Arts & Culture output. He was a voracious reader and seeker of knowledge. He radiated warmth and was filled with humor and vitality. Survivors include his family: wife, Donna Krodman; daughter, Melissa Krodman, (Emmanuel Taati), Philadelphia, PA; daughter, Jocelyn Krodman, (Andrew Molleur), Kingston, NY; brother and sister-in-law, Daniel and Erica Krodman, Wantagh, NY; granddaughter, Naomi Taati-Krodman; mother-in-law, Cecilia Canter, Fort Worth, TX; brother-in-law, Aaron Boardman, Fort Worth, TX; brother-in-law, Morry (Rebecca) Boardman, Denton, TX; niece, Madison Boardman and nephew, William Boardman, as well as a large and varied community of devoted friends. Pallbearers will be Aaron Boardman, Morry Boardman, Steve Dix, Gary Feinberg, Sid Milstein, Andrew Molleur, Emmanuel Taati, Eric Simonds, and honorary pallbearer Don Zugel. Sign online guest book at www.edressler.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Steven Krodman Men's Club Scholarship Fund. Funeral services will be held Monday, January 14, 2019 at 11:00 am at Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Pkwy NE, Marietta, GA 30068. Rabbi Daniel Dorsch officiating. A private, family only committal service will be held at Arlington Memorial Park. Arrangements by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, Atlanta (770) 451-4999.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Jan. 13, 2019

Saturday, January 12, 2019


Dear Esteemed Readers,

Here's a post we dreaded writing. Last night at 5:55pm, just as the sabbath (the day of rest) was arriving, our fearless leader took his Great Rest. We surrounded him, holding his hands, expressing our love as he took his final breaths. "Expressing our love" just doesn't capture it. There are no words to articulate how much we loved/love our dad. Whether you've been a long time reader of his posts and never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, or whether you had the privilege of being both a reader and a friend, you can imagine why we consider being born into the world with him as a dad as the most amazing gift, and why losing him is beyond painful. 

Our father spent so many hours of his adulthood working in (his words) "the great corporate salt-mine," but he had the spirit, mind, and gifts of an artist. When he discovered writing as an outlet, his passion took over. Things were never the same again. Suddenly - and finally! - a repository for all of his warped humor and twisted rants. Suddenly - and finally! - an audience for his schtick beyond his nuclear family. Over the years this creative outlet grew from a little hobby (rightly self-proclaimed as "exercises in time-wastage and self-aggrandizement") into a fertile space for him to mould his rich internal life and tremendous stores of knowledge into beautiful and humorous pieces. We believe he got to know himself more greatly through writing this blog. It, along with family, friends, and Jewish Life, gave him purpose. We also believe that he was/is a man worth knowing, and so we are glad he found a way to generously share himself.

Esteemed Readers, thank you for being as entertained by our Dad as we always have been. Thank you for caring for him and for adding to the meaning of his life. 

For any of you who are interested, the funeral will be held Monday in Marietta, GA. Details can be found in his obituary which we will post tomorrow. 

Our Hero bids farewell to the life he's known so well
And charges forward toward the Great Unknown. A most magnificent and wondrous place. 

Elder Daughter and The Mistress of Sarcasm

Monday, December 31, 2018


Hello, Esteemed Readers. I apologize for the infrequency of my posts here of late. Those who are aware of my situation are reading my third blog, The Concentrated Mind. And those who are not will get to see my usual end of year greeting because how could I end the year without a greeting?

This has been an unusual year. Suffice it to say that it has had the most wonderful of blessings and the most difficult of challenges all rolled into one - like the Forrest Gump chocolate that you never would choose to bite into. As I write this, my Elder Daughter sits in front of me holding our six week old grand-daughter, a little package of love that arrived in November and showed up at our veriest doorstep on Thanksgiving Day just as we were about to chow down. Being unable to drive her own-self, she was accompanied by Elder Daughter and Elder Daughter's partner (hereafter known as E-Man). So there's something very new in our lives: Dee and I are actual grandparents, a status we had always hoped to achieve and were gifted with before the year's close.

Another major change: after almost twenty years at Chez Elisson (Marietta) we are now living nine miles up the road in Chez Elisson (Woodstock). After several years of pestering on Dee's part I finally yielded to the inevitable. Early in 2018 we managed to pull off the amazing feat of both selling our old house and replacing it with a much more size-appropriate town home, with the closings being conducted on the same morning. How about that for tap dancing, huh? It was a brilliant maneuver for which I am forever grateful to Dee and her persistence. We now have successfully removed most of our old crap, replacing it with a whole assortment of new crap - but more about that later.

One of the biggest surprises was that my sweet younger brother, The Other Elisson (hereafter to be referred to in these pages as Uncle Dang) has pulled off the remarkable feat of marrying someone who not only seems to be his absolute soul mate but who also may be familiar to those who read these pages - the irrepressive, effervescent Erica Sherman! This perhaps is one of the amazing and unpredictable events of 2018, despite the fact that Uncle Dang has had a whole stadium of people cheering him on to this happy and inevitable conclusion. Think of it! By the time you read this, the happy event will be safely in the past with a broken glass to commemorate the occasion. (If I were the wedding planner, we might have used a plastic Death Star, but let that go.)

But now we have the elephant in the room to discuss. In March of this year I began noticing some ominous physical symptoms, which led to a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). At least Lou Gehrig managed to squeeze a baseball career out of life before being hit with this shit, but not this boy. As I sit here dictating the contents of this post to you it is almost exactly six months after having received my diagnosis and my case has been moving like a freight train. I wear a breathing machine almost every minute. I am almost completely immobile, my limbs being virtually useless. I cannot stand up, much less walk. I spend all of my days either in a power wheel chair or in my bed. My speech is reduced to a whisper. At this point in my journey, I've been under 24-hour care several of the past weeks, and while it's impossible to know the exact time table in cases like this, it means it's a good bet that I won't be at the fucking Kentucky Derby next year - nor at my 45th college reunion, which is something I actually had hoped to attend. I need assistance for every task I do, including writing and composing this post.

Having ALS is a very unpleasant situation, but it does carry with it a few silver linings. One of the most important is that it has given me a renewed appreciation for my family and friends - and anyone who gives care to others. Without them, I could not survive - nor would there be a reason to.

It's with tears in my still alert eyes and a break in my weakened throat that I acknowledge the relentless, gentle, and constant presence of my first and foremost caretaker - my Mistress of Sarcasm - without whom I wouldn't be able to do anything. This is where it gets difficult to dictate these posts - because she is the one who has to write them. She dropped everything to come down here and spend every day of her life with her deteriorating old man. Of course, the Mistress of Sarcasm is not doing this all by herself: she has been helped by Elder Daughter and Dee, the latter of whom this whole bloggy exercise would have largely been a miserable and pointless adventure. I am in this way perversely blessed, but it is indeed a blessing. The things - the physical detritus - mean nothing to me now, but family, as they surround me with their glowing love, they mean everything. And you, my esteemed readers, who have given me the gift of self-aggrandizement and useless time-wastage for all of these years, you do too. May this next year bring you all the blessings of success and health that you care to have, all without limit to any good thing. Hopefully, I will be around to enjoy some of them with you, but if I am not, know that it was a hell of a trip.

Friday, August 3, 2018


The friends stood trembling before the great door of the Wizard’s audience chamber. Oz, the Great and Powerful, had promised to grant them their wishes once they had returned... but only if they brought with them the Wicked Witch’s broom.

Dorothy had slain the Witch, albeit inadvertently. She gripped the broom.

Alas, Oz turned out to be a fraud, a Nebraskan huckster borne to Oz in a rogue balloon.

Dorothy wailed. She’d never get home. Nor would the Scarecrow get brains, the Tin Man a heart, and the Lion courage. And the Bronze Man could forget about his fucking kidney.

Thursday, July 19, 2018


Obi-Wan Kenobi:

“The way your Daddy looked at it, that lightsaber was your birthright. And he’d be damned if any stormtroopers were gonna put their greasy white gloves on his boy’s birthright. So he hid it in the one place he knew he could hide somethin’. His ass. Five long years, he wore this lightsaber up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the lightsaber. I hid this uncomfortable hunk of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the lightsaber to you.”

- Luke Skywalken, The Early Years

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Atlanta lay in ruins. Visitors to the city who had been unaware of the War would have been shocked to see the sepulchral remains of what had been one of the great metropolises of the South.

The General had wiped out all opposition. Now, ahead of him lay the corridor to Savannah. His march to the sea would be merciless.

Somehow, the Savannah city fathers prevailed upon him to spare their beautiful town. Nevertheless, between the coast and Atlanta lay a white wilderness. Every house, every building was completely wrapped in toilet paper...

...the legacy of General William Tecumseh Charmin.

Monday, July 9, 2018


Damn, thought Charlie.

Three dives, each with the same disastrous results. If this kept up, he would start attracting sharks.

Getting his certification was turning out to be a horror show instead of the walk... err, swim in the park he’d expected it to be. His instructor was patient, but Charlie suspected that that patience would be wearing thin in a big hurry. Understandable, too: The pool cleanup bills were mounting.

A visit to the gastrointerogist confirmed his worst fears. The painful explosive diarrhea he suffered every time he strapped on his tank and mask was due to scuba diverticulitis.

Friday, June 22, 2018


Everybody knows about Atlanta roads. All of their names include some variant of Peachtree.

Peachtree Street.
West Peachtree Street.
Peachtree Corners.
Peachtree Parkway.
Peachtree Battle...

... plus at least fifty others. (There are, in fact, seventy-one roads here with some mention of Peachtree in their names, according to Wikipedia.)

The number of roads bearing mention of some sort of bridge, ferry, or mill are also legion. This makes perfect sense given the both the geography and history of the area. You have numerous rivers, which historically were used to power mills for producing flour or cloth. And to get across those rivers, you needed bridges and ferries. (Tunnels, not so much.)

Another thing you learn about roads in these parts is that they’re often named for where they take you. For example, there are two different Roswell Roads: one in Sandy Springs that goes north-south, and one in Marietta that is mostly east-west. They’ll both take you to Roswell. And the same road that’s called Roswell Road in Marietta becomes - wait for it! - Marietta Highway when you get to Roswell. If you don’t know about this, you can get completely farblondjet (lost) when driving here.

But my favorites are the ones with the oddball names... names like Trickum Road, Hardscrabble Road, and (one of my personal favorites) Scufflegrit Road. All three are just a short drive from our new digs in Woodstock.

Trickum. That’s a great name for a road. It’s also a great name for a law firm: “Dewey, Trickum, and Howe.” I would love to know more about the history of that road and how it got that name.

Hardscrabble. Another great name. The word refers to a place that is barren, barely arable, and where one can barely eke out a meager living. Impoverished, piss-poor, miserable. You’d think a road by that name would be paved with gravel and turds. (This one is not, but may have been when it was first constructed.)

Scufflegrit. This word evokes images of the cloud of dirt surrounding Popeye and Bluto as they are engaged in beating the shit out of each other... or perhaps the crusty material on Tyler Durden’s face. It’s practically romantic.

Come to Atlanta! We have all kinds of fascinating roads for you to go get lost on.


Doctor where’s your remedy?
I’ve got enough to pay the fee
Can’t you see I’m awful sick?
I’ll pay you well to do the trick

Doctor, doctor
Doctor, doctor
Doctor, doctor
Doctor, doctor
Doctor, doctor
Doctor, doctor

Doctor where’s your magic box
There’s no one here to count the cost
Name your price and make the sale
There’s no-one here to tell the tale

Doctor, doctor...

Doctor please don’t lock your door
I’ve never troubled you before
Just a pinch to ease the pain
I’ll never trouble you again

Doctor, doctor...

Just a pinch to ease the pain
I’ll never trouble you again
Just a pinch to ease the pain
I’ll never trouble you again

- Procol Harum, “Robert’s Box”

Friday, June 15, 2018


Every once in a while, in these days of ever more appalling events, there comes along a little News-Tidbit that is so far beyond the pale that it causes even my jaw to drop. And my long-term Esteemed Readers - assuming any of you are still around - know that I am not easily astonished.

Let’s set the stage.

Many of us - probably all of us - have, at one time or another, been angered by the actions of other drivers on our public highways. (Let’s face it, pretty much everyone on the road is a douchebag except for you and me.) Many of us will react with a few Vile Oaths, shouted within the sealed cabin of our automobiles... or even an outstretched middle finger in especially provocative circumstances.

But there is always a certain amount of risk attached to an outward display of anger. When especially hot-tempered individuals are involved, anger can escalate into an actual Road Rage Incident. Such incidents can range from simple stoplight shouting matches through open windows, to fist fights on the side of the road, to people getting brained with tire irons or golf clubs, to drivers opening fire on one other.

None of this should be surprising in a well armed and increasingly contentious country. And yet a recent incident in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania brings Road Rage to an entirely new level. Kicks it up a notch, in the words of Emeril Lagasse. BAM!

Yes, Lehigh County, where two guys got out of their cars after one cut the other off in traffic. A roadside argument ensued, during which, according to the news reports, one of the drivers defecated on the other... presumably ending the argument. Mic drop? Hells, naw - Deuce drop!

So many questions beg to be answered.

Just how angry do you have to be for you to take a shit on someone else?

How does one manage the logistics? It’s unimaginable that one could convince a hot-headed driver to stay still long enough so that one could drop trou and let fly on him.

Did the incident take place on a busy interstate or a quiet country lane?

A couple of these questions are answered by follow-up news reports, which have the offending driver laying (heh) blame on his IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). (You’d think that he’d give the other guy a warning, but I suspect he took advantage of an opportunity.)

So: Now that the precedent has been established, be careful about calling another driver to whom you are party in a dispute an asshole. He just might choose to show you that he has one, and he knows how to use it.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


They call me Mister Coffee
‘Cause coffee helps me go
Whenever there’s a job to do
Mister Coffee makes it so

The first thing every morning
I have my cup of joe
Its effect upon my system
Is anything but slow

I take my coffee with me
In savanna or in bush
And when the morning sun comes up
It provides that needed push

My Go-Juice keeps my innards
A-ticking like a clock
I’m never, ever suffering
From any kind of block

Those times a Big Job must be done
Mister Coffee is your man
I’ll run (not limp) to drop or crimp
And keep you on your plan

They call me Mister Coffee
‘Cause coffee helps me go
Whenever there’s a job to do
Mister Coffee makes it so

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Despite my being old enough for Medicare, I am like most grown men in that there lurks inside me a prepubescent male with a prepubescent way of finding humor in Gross Things.

I have done my share of shitblogging. I have written sonnets - yes, sonnets - about bodily functions and fluids. I have gone so far as to write a post about my own earwax when said wax fell out of my ear in the form of a chunk the size of an English pea.

All of this is revolting, sure, but even I have my limits.

Dee - my beloved missus - had had occasion to use a public facility the other day. It was a one-holer, and a small queue had formed. Eventually, the lady in front of her went in, and as Dee waited outside, she could hear a veritable Hiroshima of hawking, hacking, and nose-blowing. Then it was Dee’s turn to use the rest room.

After the obligatory Positioning of the Paper Seat Protector, she sat down, whereupon her horrified attention was drawn to a pile of Rope-Snot on the floor, just out of range of her feet.

I dunno ’bout you, but to me, leaving a giant snot-wad on the floor is almost as revolting as dropping a deuce in the shower. As Mister Debonair would say, “It is the sort of thing that one simply does not do.” And Dee was unsure about the appropriate course of action. Should she pick it up in a paper towel and discard it? Photograph it?

As it turns out, she did neither. And that is fine with me. Going anywhere near it would have been nasty, and to photograph it would’ve been equivalent to photographing a turd on a dinner plate.

I have been guilty of many horrible things, but even I have my limits – and apparently Dee does too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


Getting an MRI is unlike most people’s daily experiences... unless one’s day consists of lying uncomfortably supine while being shoved into a narrow tube and being subjected to an array of buzzing, clanging, and whanging sounds that would do Edgard Varèse proud.

It’s not much fun, but at least it doesn’t involve having objects inserted into various Bodily Orifices. So there’s that.

And it’s an opportunity to demonstrate one’s ability to take a nap under adverse conditions. If people can snooze on the New York subways, how hard can it be to sleep in what may be likened  to the bastard offspring of a casket and a giant metallic doughnut?

As for results, we’ll just have to wait, won’t we?

Postscriptum: As my friend Mr. Bogner points out in the comments, I may not have had an object inserted in me, but I was, rather, inserted into an object. I suppose one could think of it as the metaphysical inverse of a colonoscopy.

Saturday, April 14, 2018


Everyone has, buried deep in the crevices of his or her brain, a well of childhood Food-Memories... and for many of us, those memories involve some kind of hot cereal.

Whether you called it hot cereal, porridge, or mush - the latter having a decidedly negative connotation - it was (and is) a completely different experience than the typical cold cereal-with-milk breakfast. Cold cereal is quick and easy. Hot cereal is work-intensive - a morning meal more suited to lazy weekend mornings or snow days.

Oh, sure - there are plenty of “instant” hot cereals. Instant oatmeal. Instant grits. Tear open the packet and add hot water: Bingo! But those are beneath contempt. A proper bowl of porridge takes time.

So let’s take a look at some of these cerealic delights, shall we?

Grits. Grits are made from hominy, alkali-treated ground maize. I consider grits to be in their own category, more of a savory dish that can be served with breakfast than a breakfast by themselves. Grits can be doctored up with cheese and other tasty components, but sweetening a bowl of grits is an act that is committed only by Northerners who are inexperienced and ignorant of the Way of the Grit.

Farina. Farina is a form of milled wheat, popularly sold under the brand name Cream of Wheat. It has a mild, innocuous taste. In my Snot-Nose Days, I thought Cream of Wheat was pretty nondescript, but I actually learned to appreciate its mild, wheaty flavor as I grew older. Best augmented with a bit of butter and/or cream and your sweetener of choice.

Cream of Rice. This is a proprietary brand of coarsely ground rice. That’s it - just rice. It’s probably the only cereal I can think of that’s even more bland than Cream of Wheat... perfect for invalids. Add a little butter and milk and you have a hot breakfast even a toddler can appreciate. Throw in some scallions, a piece of fish, and maybe some chili oil, and you have a passable version of congee, AKA chuk, the ubiquitous Asian rice dish.

Oatmeal. Many of us in America grew up on rolled oats, which take all of fifteen minutes to cook. Quicker cooking versions are available, but the tradeoff is the loss of oatmeal’s characteristic texture. And - speaking of texture - steel-cut oats have a delightful nubbly mouthfeel, which comes at the expense of a longer cooking time. The Mistress of Sarcasm introduced me to the pleasure of steel-cut oats with a spoonful of peanut butter stirred in, and they’re also great when cooked with some Earl Grey tea.

Maltex. Now we head into the realm of the obscure, with this semi-superannuated cereal made of a blend of wheat and malted barley syrup. It’s still around, but not a common supermarket item. All I can say is that I liked it when I was a kid.

Maypo. Those of us of a certain age will remember the ads for this maple-flavored oat cereal, in which one Marky Maypo (voiced by an actual four-year-old) would insist, “I want my Maypo!” to the eternal consternation of his Dad. I was never a fan: The stuff was too sweet and mushy for my taste.

Wheatena. This one is also pretty obscure, but your local Superdupermarket might actually carry it. It’s a wheat-based cereal (as is obvious from the name) with an assertive flavor that is a million miles away from the bland Cream of Wheat style. A hot bowl of Wheatena transports me back sixty years in time like few other breakfasts can do.

So: What’s your favorite hot cereal?

Postscriptum: This morning I made myself a pot of Earl Grey steel-cut oats. First I steeped the tea in hot milk, then cooked the oats in the scented milk. A little Irish butter, some Demerara sugar, and Bob’s your uncle! Magnificent. Try it!