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Luke Melia


I used to just think that tsunami was a cool word. Today’s news puts some somberness into it. Here’s a first hand account: An Experience Of Living Through A Tsunami.

  As we watched it became apparent that the sea was behaving very oddly. Waves were not breaking as normal. The sea appeared to be surging. One such surge practically emptied what we could see of the bay. This was followed by the sea moving repidly back into the bay and reaching right up to the promanade area (and possibly beyond). Usually the sea is a good 50M away from theis area. At no time could we make out any people.

  The whole scene had a surreal feel to it. There were people, like my wife and myself, gazing on the scene from our balconies. There was no panic. No one seemed to believe what we were seeing. Around 10:40 I went down to reception and asked what had happened. Again there was no panic, just puzzlement and the explanation of a ‘big wave’. It just seemed as though this was something that happened every now and again.

And here’s a blog entry from Phuket, Thailand, where I visited a couple of years back.

Modern Love

Looking back on 2004, it’s without a doubt defined for me by one thing. And, thankfully, it’s not the presidential election…

Getting married was a great evolution of my relationship and partnership with my wife. The Times today had a piece that made me reflect on my journey to the proposal: Modern Love: Hear That Wedding March Often Enough, You Fall in Step

I do know one thing: Those 27 weddings had a lot to do with it. They were joyous, righteous, nup-tastic affairs. (As Woody Allen said about orgasms, “the worst one was right on the money.”)

The idea of putting our own personal stamp on a tradition we’ve now seen take so many shapes and forms — including but not limited to full masses, lobster bakes, white doves, exploding huppahs, gigantic soap bubbles, freezing-cold skinny dipping, and one quasi-orgy — has become more appealing, not less, with each one.

A real heartwarmer. Worth a read.

Isabella’s Family Meal

Tonight, after an extravagant Christmas Eve dinner topped off by amazing tofu canolis, my sister Isabella showed us some of her college essays. I asked her if I could publish this one. The topic is: write about a meal with your family…

I smell frying tofu. My family trickles into the dining room to sit around the big wooden table as we do every evening. There is a big cast-iron frying pan full of tofu teriyaki. In a blue and white dish that used to be my maternal great-grandmother’s is kale with garlic and oil. The pressure-cooker full of brown rice sits on a trivet made from corks — a gift from my aunt.

My family and I are vegetarians, practically vegan. We do not eat meat, eggs, milk or dairy products, except for a little cheese once in a while (and that’s only because my dad is Italian). A lot of people are shocked when I tell them I am a vegetarian. “What’s left for you to eat?” they exclaim. Well, when you have an Italian father and a Jewish mother who love to cook, you eat a wide variety of things.

As I look around the table, I can see that my siblings are each unique. Luke is still dressed from his volleyball tournament earlier in the day. Willie is tanned from the California sun. We miss him a lot, but he likes living there. Jess has an AFL-CIO pin on her shirt. She organizes unions for a living. Monica loves to play the guitar, as the calluses on her fingertips show. Luke, Willie and Jess have a different father from Monica and I. However, we were all raised in the same house by the same woman and we share the basic values of delicious food, a passion for life and, most importantly, family.

Heavenly Manna

Once upon a time, I guess it was back in the summer of 1999, I had an experience I will long cherish. Manna Bake Restaurant, Kodaikanal I was living in India with my girlfriend at the time and had recently recovered from typhoid fever. We took a weekend trip to Kodaikanal, a hill station some 250 miles southeast of our home base in Bangalore. A hill station is simply a town atop a hill. It warrants a special term in India because temperatures at hill stations are mild when the surrounding country gets unbearably hot.

Kodaikanal was nice enough. It was actually quite cold. I remember buying a beautiful reversible wool jacket that I still wear. I remember walking along a road carved into the side of the mountain and seeing clouds at eye level. I remember the town having more of a British influence than many. I remember the impressive building that I read was a reknowned international music school.

But most of all, I remember Israel Bhooshi.

Israel Bhooshi's 'microwave'

I had never heard of Israel Bhooshi before, but our Lonely Planet guidebook touted his restaurant, “Manna Bake,” with an arrow pointing off the map. The morning before we left, we followed the map’s arrow and climbed a hill into a completely residential neighborhood. The houses thinned out and more than once we considered turning back. At one point, a older woman’s nod told us we were heading in the right direction. Then I saw a sign hanging from a branch, most of it obscured by the lush leaves of the tree. The sign said “Manna Bake.” And there was an arrow.

My eyes followed the arrow to a small stone house that looked like anything but a restaurant. We walked the front path, climbed a few steps and knocked on the heavy wooden door. After a moment, the door swung open and Israel Bhooshi greeted us with a smile. He fed us delicious freshly baked whole wheat bread (a treat so unusual in India it’s known as brown bread!) and amazing healthy fare. After these years, I don’t remember exactly what I ate, only that it was great, and that I wanted to order everything on the menu.

Mr. Bhooshi is a tall, roundish man with a big beard a gentle way about him. His manner instantly put me at ease, and he seemed to enjoy our company to no end. We talked about where we had come from and where we were going, and about his restaurant. He showed us his guestbook, full of travelers who had visited, ate, and from the looks of the comments, enjoyed tremendously.

At one point he asked if I would like to see the microwave. I did a double-take, and he laughed. His “microwave” was a handmade woodburning stove where his manna is created.

I was cleaning off my desk tonight, and I came across Israel Bhooshi’s business card and his bright green and yellow sticker advertising Manna Bake on Bear Shola Falls Road. I imagine a steady stream of backpackers making their way through the doorway of that stone house, each one tasting a little bit of the pure and simple joy this life has to offer.

Israel Bhooshi's 'microwave' If you find yourself in Kodaikanal, please tell Israel Bhooshi that Luke Melia from New York says hello, and be sure to try his apple pie.

Military Garb

Roger Cadenhead has some pics and quotes on the military jacket Bush wore today giving a speech to marines. I’m of two minds on this. First, it’s really dumb looking. It’s got the presidential seal (made so small as to look like a dark blob) over one breast, and the words “George W. Bush Commander in Chief” over the other. The words are in a goofy fat serif font that looks neither commanding nor presidential. Second, though, it’s scary. What kind of leaders wear uniforms? Military dictators.


My friend, former business partner and web consulting client, John David Mann, recently published an editorial that evoked our wedding. Cool!

I just attended my friend Luke Melia’s wedding and came away moved by something he did. Smack dab in the middle of the ceremony, Luke read to us from a document that read like a diary entry—written some 50 years in the future.

The Podcast Petri Dish

I’ve been sampling some of this podcast thing. My primary listens have been Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code, American Public Radio’s FutureTense, some DotNetRocks, and the occassional Morning Sedition from Air America.

In a nutshell, the way it works is that you use a client like iPodderX to subscribe to some podcast feeds and then the podcast tracks get downloaded and moved into iTunes behind the scenes automatically in the background. Each time you sync your iPod, you get the latest podcasts from the feeds you’ve subscribed to.

Tonight, I added a handful of new feeds and listened in the kitchen (via AirportExpress – yay awesome wedding present!) while making gingered apple squash soup and all-natural chocolate chip cookies. I can highly recommend Coverville‘s Thanksgiving Day show (an hour of Beatles covers from various artists) and Lawrence Lessig’s session from BloggerCon III.

Podcasting is a young phenomenon. The technologies are in rapid flux, though it’s worth noting that it’s built primarily on open standards. The technical shoulders the upstart stands on are RSS and RSS aggregators, which themselves have yet to become well-known even among many casual bloggers. The New York Times ran a story on podcasting and the BBC just aired a piece as well.

It’s fun to watch the culture sprout up around podcasting, as with lots of new web/net technologies over the past several years. This time, though, we get to hear the voices that go with the handles.

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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