Ira Carmel

July 1, 2007

Post #2511 – 20070701

Dear Daniel,

When I was in sixth grade, our teacher Mr. McCollough would read to us in class every Friday in lieu of class. He read such books as Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, but by far the best book he read to us was Alan Mendelsohn the boy from Mars.

Mr. McCollough was an excellent teacher, and one of the things he encouraged students to do was to build a Gluck Box. He described a Gluck box, as a box of a certain size made of wood with a specific sized circular hole in the top. The whole box was sanded and varnished, and you would fill up your bathtub with water and then quickly submerge the box making a “Gluck” sound. This was the soul purpose of a Gluck box. Mr McCollough was exactly NOT the kind of teachers that Walter, Winston, Rat, Leonard, or Alan experience. I feel very lucky to have had him in my life.

For years, I couldn’t remember these things, and something about living in Sacramento brought them back to me. I could barely remember the name of the great book, but it came to me one day, and I managed to get a hold of it and a bunch of your other great stories. Better than ever.

Most of Sacramento is lame, and at first I thought it had no Old Town qualities to it. However, I found out that there is a city underneath the actual city, just like you describe in the Baconburg Horror. There are also secret coffee shops of high quality that my wife and I stumble upon while driving around. Later we go back to find them, and they aren’t there, but driving around in a meandering fashion allows us to eventually find them.

Sadly the quality of the restaurants in Sac is usually subpar, you can’t get a good cheese steak in the town, so I’ve built up my own kitchen to be able to make them. I spent much of my time perfecting what I call American dim sum (food of the heart.) Like perfectly grilled Nathaniel’s hotdogs in long buns with diced onions, pickle relish, ketchup, mustard, and horshradish. You can get this kind of stuff on the east coast, but here in Sunny world, it is not so easy. Everytime I perfect some recipe, my wife Lisa groans, and says “Oh great, now we can’t go out to eat this either.” I recently perfected Chicken Tikka Masalla, artisan french bread, waffles, hot dogs, and cheese steaks. If you’re ever in Sacramento, stop by, and we can have a lunch. Some day I hope to open some kind of restaurant inspired by your books.

I’m emailing you because I recently bought a do it yourself guitar pedal effect kit from BYOC (Build your own clone.) The name of the effect is the Rat. This immediately brought to mind Rat and her Klugwallah SRS 850, so I drew up some pictures of what it looked like for the graphics on the guitar pedal. If you’re interest I’ll scan some pictures of it when I’m through.

Hope you are well,


Ira Carmel.

Daniel replies:

So, is it the climate or the absence of cheese steak sandwiches and other such delicacies that accounts for the comparative better health of people who live in Sacramento? Be careful with that stuff--some people can survive it, and some can't.