Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Regular readers of CoffeeSpoons will undoubtedly have noticed that I have been having an on-line dialogue recently with Andrew "White Rabbit" Keogh. Andrew is a London barrister who discovered my blog and began to comment on it; he maintains a fine blog site of his own, and we've been exchanging comments and observations over the past couple of weeks.

The exchange has been fun. It has become obvious that, despite the similarities between our two countries, there are different customs and terminologies that sometimes interfere with our understanding of one another. This became obvious when Andrew posted an interesting commentary about the dearth of good salads in the United Kingdom. I responded, noting that one of my favorite salad ingredients is garbanzo beans. This was a term previously unfamiliar to Andrew. When I told him that they are sometimes referred to as chick peas or hummus, he immediately knew what I was talking about.

In further discussing the differences in terminology and customs, one of Andrew's regular readers quizzed him as to whether he knows what "cilantro" is. Of course, as one who loves Mexican food the way that it is served in the United States, I was immediately familiar with the term. It turns out, though, that the substance that we call "cilantro" in the United States is referred to as "coriander" across the Atlantic.

If I understand correctly it also appears, to my surprise, that those in the United Kingdom sometimes put mayonnaise on salads. I've never seen that done here.

In his most recent comment on CoffeeSpoons, the White Rabbit asked me several questions. These pertain more to me personally than to anything dealing with our culture generally. I answer them now for the edification of any who may be interested.

Question 1: What on earth is a garbanzo bean?

Answer: See above.

Question 2: Can a vegan eat honey? I suppose it's a kind of animal product.

Answer: I think that you are right. While I doubt that a true vegan would eat honey, I don't feel qualified to answer this question. I am actually a vegetarian, but not a vegan. I don't drink milk or eat eggs by themselves, but I do consume some animal products. I discovered early on that it is almost impossible to completely avoid them. Accordingly, I do eat cheese sometimes and, undoubtedly, I occasionally consume some items that have milk and eggs in them.

Question 3: Why has a vegan (vegetarian) got the handle "Meatbe?" I can't see past the 'meat' bit.

Answer: That is funny, isn't it? The nickname actually has nothing to do with my dietary habits. It goes back to when I was in junior high school. I went by "Matt" in those days, and some of my buddies changed it, for whatever reason, and started calling me "Meat." It evolved into "Meatbe," but there's really no great story behind it. My oldest friends call me Meat or Meatbe to this day. One blogger in my home town suggested a year or so ago that they should now change it to "Vegbe," which I found to be a very clever suggestion.

Question 4: I'm curious to know what the sporting event in the background in your profile pic is. Having said that, sport causes even more transatlantic confusion than food methinks.

Answer: In the picture, I am attending a college football game at the University of Illinois. There were almost 60,000 fans at that particular game. College football games are very fun and festive events here. If you ever have the chance to go to one, I would highly recommend it.

Thanks for your questions, my friend. I look forward to continuing our conversations.

--Matthew, a.k.a. the Meatbe

Friday, January 18, 2008


While most of Cardinal Nation was busy cheering the U of L men's basketball team to a victory over Marquette last night, my son Collin Matthew and I were engaged in other pursuits. We were taking advantage of an opportunity to see The Tempest at Actors Theatre of Louisville. We had been looking forward to seeing the show, and I'm pleased to report that we were not disappointed in the least.

The Tempest is a wonderful, imaginative play. It is generally considered to be William Shakespeare's final solo work. The play is a "magical comic romance," filled with poetic imagery and powerful evocative language.

Having been banished to a deserted island the protagonist, Prospero, conjures up a storm to exact revenge upon those who have betrayed and banished him. Collin and I both felt that the cast did an outstanding job of creating the story, using all available theatrical tools to great advantage. We felt that Henry Woronicz was very compelling in the role of Prospero. Overall, the cast was strong, and the performance was memorable.

Special thanks go to Susie and Mike Stewart (who were busy attending the 'Ville game) for making the tickets available to us. This was a special evening for father and son. I loved getting to share the experience with Collin, and I won't soon forget it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It isn't every day that my mug appears on the front page of the Indiana section of The Courier Journal, but it happened back in September. The occasion for my appearance in the limelight came as a result of the unexpected closing of the gym where I had worked out regularly since 1992, The Fitness Zone on Spring Street in New Albany.

No one was more surprised about the gym's closing than I was. I showed up at noon one Monday, ready to work out as usual. To my dismay, the gym was locked. A terse hand-written sign informed me that the facility was being closed indefinitely because the owners had lost their lease. There was apparently no way for me to recoup the dues that I had paid in advance for my ongoing membership. A C-J reporter, Ben Zion Hershberg, happened to be there investigating the closing. He interviewed me and snapped my photo for the story.

I was very dismayed about the closing of The Fitness Zone. It was a great gym. Those who worked out there were generally pretty serious about their training. It was close to my office, and I had many friends there.

The day that The Fitness Zone closed, I began looking for a new gym. Working out is something that I cannot do without. If I go more than a day or two without hitting it, I begin to feel like a slug.

I ended up settling on Total Fitness & Wellness. It is Dr. Stanley Schooler's gym, located on Charlestown Road behind Kohl's. It's a nice place. It is much smaller than The Fitness Zone, and much less convenient for me to travel to from my office, but it is clean and the people there are friendly. I've been hitting it four or five times per week, and I've kind of gotten used to it now. It doesn't feel like home yet, but I'm getting more comfortable there.

I really miss The Fitness Zone, and I wish that it were still open. I'm looking forward to checking out the new YMCA at Scribner Place when it eventually opens, and I can envision joining there if it fits my needs. For now, I am happy to have found a suitable place to work out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The city of Louisville has reinstated its smoking ban, and I couldn't be happier about it. Now, without exception, patrons are barred from lighting up in public venues, including bars and restaurants. Once again, we can go in and have a beer and/or a meal without having to worry about someone else's smoke invading the air that we are trying to breathe. I enjoyed that very privilege yesterday, going into a Louisville establishment to enjoy the NFL playoffs in a busy bar that was delightfully smoke-free.

To me, the smoking ban makes absolute sense as a public health measure. Some say that it should be left up to the individual bar or restaurant owner to decide whether he or she wants to permit smoking on the premises. I strongly disagree. Why should it be permissible for anyone to be allowed to emit a dangerous carcinogen into the public breathing space? Why should workers be forced to endure a dangerous and unhealthy working environment?

I hope that the city of New Albany will join the rest of the civilized world and enact a similar ban soon. To its credit, the city of Jeffersonville does have a smoking ban, but it unfortunately does not extend to bars--at least not yet.

This is not an issue of civil liberties. Those who wish to smoke are entitled to do so within the confines of their own homes. They are not, however, entitled to invade the space of others and pollute the public air.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Tonight, I participated in a meeting of the Sherman Minton chapter of the American Inns of Court. The Inns of Court is an organization in which lawyers and judges have monthly meetings to socialize and share legal education programs for the betterment of the local legal community. Participation is voluntary. All of the local judges are members, though, and so most of of the leading lawyers in Floyd and Clark counties are members as well.

Each month, a different team of members is responsible for presenting a continuing legal education program. It was my team's turn to present the program this evening. My team is comprised primarily of litigators, and so it was our assignment to present a program relating to the requirements for introducing evidence at trial.

I think that the presentation went very well. My particular topic was "Impeachment by evidence of prior bad acts." I researched and wrote a paper on the subject, and then gave a talk about it during our meeting. Some debate was called for, and I was enthused that Judge J. Terrence Cody, Judge Dan Donahue, Judge Jerry Jacobi and trial lawyer extraordinaire Jim Bourne all participated in some spirited discussion on my topic. It was fun.

My group was led by Dick Mullineaux, a good friend and a very well-respected veteran of many jury trials. Dick did a great job of getting our group of attorneys organized to present a cohesive and beneficial program. Dick and I were both very close to Sam Day, who passed away almost five years ago now, and we share a special bond because of the bereft feeling that we share at his loss. Indeed, Sam and I presented several Inns of Court programs together. I suppose that I will never attend a meeting there without having his memory evoked.

I think that Sam would have enjoyed tonight's program. I wish that he could have been there.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Today marks the one-year anniversary of the day that I last tasted meat. Since January 10, 2007, I have not gnawed on an animal carcass or nibbled on dead animal flesh of any variety. I have not swallowed a teaspoon of milk or eaten a deviled egg. Steak, chicken, and fish of any kind have been off limits. Not one piece of shrimp, no chicken nuggets, and most definitely no hamburgers. And I must tell you that it feels great. I feel a great sense of accomplishment at having been strong on the vegetarian front for a full year, and I'm full steam ahead with that program for the foreseeable future.

Many people cannot understand my conversion. I have explained several times on this blog why I decided to eschew the consumption of animal flesh. For me, it was primarily a decision to strive for healthy living. After battling high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure with limited success, I decided to take control of the situation. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Bryant Stamford, a professor at Hanover College who (via his C-J column) turned me on to The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell.

In The China Study, Dr. Campbell debunks the myths that we have been fed about nutrition in our society. Contrary to popular belief, animal proteins are bad, bad bad for us! We have been sold a bill of goods, encouraged to drink milk and eat fish and other meats, not realizing that these substances are killing us. And this important health information has been kept from us because billions and billions of dollars are being made courtesy of our blissful ignorance. The dairy industry, meat producers and most especially the pharmaceutical companies to not want us to discover the truth that we are killing ourselves by consuming animal proteins.

I did not come to this realization easily or lightly. For 45 years, I drank milk and ate meat every day, convinced that those foods would cause me to be healthy and strong. I couldn't have been more wrong.

A diet consisting primarily of whole foods, fruits and vegetables is the key. The evidence is clear that in societies where milk and other animal products are not a substantial part of the diet, and where whole foods, fruits and vegetables are emphasized, there is a much lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other devastating health problems. It also turns out that the consumption of slaughtered animals is injurious to our environment--in case anyone cares about that.

I would urge anyone within the sound of my voice, or within the reach of these written words, to read The China Study and decide for yourself.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Today is the seventeenth birthday of my youngest child, Collin Matthew Jones--or, as I have affectionately called him for many moons, the C-Bear. Collin is a true delight, a source of absolute pride to me, and a character who brings smiles to the faces of all who know him. Collin is a true renaissance man. He is an accomplished actor who is as comfortable with Shakespeare as he is with modern day comedic writers. He has been a varsity football player and wrestler, while at the same time honing his skills as a musician on the piano, the guitar, the cello and, more recently, the ukulele. While taking breaks from his studies at Providence High School, he writes poetry and short stories. He'll be visiting France for the second time this spring. He also has a lovely and delightful girlfriend, Sarah.

Happy birthday, C-Bear! I hope that it is a great one for you. I'm especially pleased on this January 5th that the Cards were able to deliver a big win in basketball over our rival Blue Bellies. (O.K.--I understand that this win is much more significant to me than it is to you, but I trust that you are psyched about it as well. Hoo-Yah! Go Cards!)

My dear C-Bear, I hope that this is a special and fantastic year for you. When 2008 ends, you will be a senior, well on your way to your college destination, wherever that may turn out to be. You have some big decisions ahead. I hope that you know that, wherever your path may lead, I will always be with you. I am proud of you and I love you.