The Really Rich King

[Click HERE to read the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.]

In the ancient Near East, monarchs and potentates employed provincial officials to manage government revenues. A free-handed king might allow one of his collection officers to borrow from the treasury. The official could use royal funds to build up a lavish household of his own and carry on like a little potentate himself.

But the royal accountants kept track of the money.

If someone in the imperial bureaucracy began to suspect that a particular official had borrowed more than he should from the king’s coffers, then a day of reckoning would come.

Our translation of the gospel parable refers to the debtor owing “a huge amount.” The Greek reads “ten thousand talents.”

The current U.S. dollar equivalent would be: $225,000,000.

In the royal throne room, the indebted official groveled pathetically before his master. Again, to translate literally from the Greek: he did the king homage by kissing the royal hands and then prostrating himself on the floor.

Now, this king possessed stunning power and largesse. The extent of his resources made this particular IOU seem small. He knew this poor little spendthrift would never be able to pay him back.

‘Come on, get up, old boy! What’s $225 million among friends? Go home, and give your wife and kids a kiss for me.’

Here’s the question: What kind of king is this? How did he manage to amass so much wherewithal that he could wave off a quarter-billion-dollar debt with an indulgent smile? Who has the power, the confidence, and the resources to act with such otherworldly magnificence?

Continue reading “The Really Rich King”

The Heat

pepperWith Coach Zorn and Clinton Portis publicly bickering, and the Hoyas raining merciless destruction on their feckless opponents, it is time to turn our attention to food.

For some men, eating spicy food is a matter of machismo. For others, it is simply for excitement. For others it is in the blood.

hoyas-sav-stSometimes we eat spicy food by accident, or as the result of a practical joke. Sometimes it is part of a larger “gourmet experience.”

For me, eating spicy foods of various kinds is a good excuse to visit different restaurants I like. Eating certain things takes me down memory lane. And you get to commune with the fascinating cultures of the globe.

It all began for me with horseradish in high-school. From earliest youth, I always liked roast beef. Then, to my astonishment, I discovered that roast beef covered with horseradish was another thing altogether. It wasn’t just good; it was fun and good.

nuclearFirst, though, let’s put things in perspective: We gringos know NOTHING about consuming serious heat.

Our children like to eat peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches. In Mexico, the children eat ham and chili pepper sandwiches. Mexican children consume foods every day that would send our poor children to the hospital.

On the street in Mexico City, they do not sell hotdogs and Snickers bars. They sell mango slices in a plastic sleeve, covered with red pepper flakes. They sell tamales with a negative pH.

Because brevity is the sole of wit, I will just touch on a few items for your consideration.

The first is of course buffalo wings. I know some people do not approve of my favorite wing joint. You may not know that the sauces offered on the wings are: Mild, Medium, Hot, Spicy Garlic, Cajun, Samurai, ‘Three Mile Island,’ and ‘911.’

special-tibsI am a Three-Mile man. I have not had the courage to order 911 wings. Three Mile is pretty frickin’ hot.

To tell you truth, I do not think that buffalo wings are where it’s at when it comes to spice. They are good; they warm the tummy. But the world offers more.

Here’s one: Penne all’arrabiata. (According to Italian cooks, Arabs are apparently very angry.) Or special tibs (at an Ethiopian restaurant). Or larb (Thai). Or even a bowl of pho with half a bottle of Vietnamese hot sauce squeezed into it.

wasabiThis is going to sound lame, because it was trendy about 25 years ago. But my number one prize for favorite spicy food is: Sushi with plenty of wasabi.

Give me a tuna roll with a thumb-size dollop of wasabi, and I will be happy for hours. It excites going down. Then it keeps you company for a while–warm, energizing, thoroughly fun.