Findings and a Hot Club Sandwich

Scientists described a leaf-eating moth, Antispila oinophylla, that was destroying Italian vineyards and that prefers cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and muscat. Babies who are fed on demand do better on the SAT. Men were not, as previously believed, going extinct. Rich people are likelier to steal candy from children. – Harper’s Magazine

One of my favorite sections in Harper’s Magazine is the Findings. Found objects, things discovered, something you didn’t set out looking for but instead stumbled upon, can be the most charming things. They inspire you to wonder, they lead you down secret, serendipitous paths.

The first noted use of “serendipity” in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1792). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. The name stems from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon), from Arabic Sarandib, from Tamil “Seren deevu” or from Sanskrit Suvarnadweepa or golden island (some trace the etymology to Simhaladvipawhich literally translates to “Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island”[4]). 

Sun-dried Tomato and Serrano Chili Pesto (GF, VG) from the Turtle Bay Cookbook

  • 1/2 pound sun dried tomatoes (or oven roasted)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced serrano or Jalapeño chilies
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled hot red pepper sauce

Combine tomatoes, rice vinegar, and water in a small nonreactive bowl. Let the ingredients soak for one hour, drain. Add the almonds, basil and tomato mixture to a food processor or blender; coarsely chop. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; mix in the remaining ingredients; combine throughly. Refrigerate covered in an airtight container for up to one week.


An acquaintance, Vince Brown, found Greg Ruby for me. In the tradition of Django Reinhardt he plays some great Gypsy Jazz Swing, also known as Hot Club music.


JJ asked me what he should tell his friends about how we met. We didn’t meet in college, in a bar, through a friend, or by a matchmaker. “Serendipitously,” was my answer. I don’t think it matters how we find a little bit of happiness, just that we do.


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