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I was a teenage idiot.  I did some stupid stuff when I was a teenager. Nothing horrible, just the usual stupid teenage stuff—underage drinking, staying out too late, having parties at the house when she was out-of-town. When I got older, I must have apologized to my Mom a hundred times for being such a knucklehead.

I’m still doing stupid stuff.  But not as frequently.

As a teenager, it is required by law that you do the exact opposite of what your parents tell you to do. Your parents tell you not to smoke pot, for instance.  For generations, parents have been telling their kids not to smoke pot.  Does it work?

No.  Why not?  Teenagers don’t listen.

We three kids – my older brother, my younger sister and I – lived with my Mom on a dead-end street named Rosebank, in Baltimore, Maryland. When my folks divorced, my Dad went back to New York.  Divorce is tough on teenagers.  You don’t know who’s right, who’s wrong, what to do, or where to go.

The basement at Rosebank was our haven.  It was our safe place.  We decided to fix it up.

Uncle Oscar gave us a pool table.  He had bought it for his son, Johnny.  Johnny and I used to play pool at Oscar’s house.  Johnny and I were close in age and close in general.  He used to come see my band, Momma Max.

Johnny died in an automobile accident when he was sixteen.  It was so heartbreaking for the whole family.  I was crushed.  It was the only time I saw Oscar cry.  He gave us Johnny’s pool table.  It took a bunch of us kids, but we managed to get it in the basement at Rosebank.

The basement walls were made of stone.  Not the good-looking Hollywood kinda stone, these were stones like you’d see on the walls of ancient caves – rough and lumpy and crumbly.  We whitewashed all the walls.  It took a few coats, but we painted them all white. We painted the poured cement floor dark green.

We got a bunch of brightly colored paints and markers and brushes and spray paints.  Whenever anybody would come over – neighborhood kids, friends, cousins – we’d play pool, play music and draw on the walls.  Cartoons, poetry, graffiti, drawings, portraits, quotes – the walls became this mash-up mural of collective art.

It was where my band practiced.  That basement should be in the Slimuseum! It once had a dirt floor and crumbling walls, and now it was all spiffed up, in a hippy-dippy way. My Mom was just glad to have everybody in one place, where she could keep an eye on us dimwits.

The ceiling was really low.  In certain areas, big iron water pipes hung low, and you’d have to stoop under them to avoid busting your frontal lobe.  One time a friend of ours named Bruce made an incredible shot to win a game of pool.  In a fit of joy, he leaped straight up, hit an iron pipe, and knocked himself unconscious.

Did we help him?  No.  We were laughing too hard.  I told ya, we were teenage idiots.

My brother and I used to play tricks on our friends.  They’d come over, we’d hang out in the basement, play pool, and play music.  Then my brother and I would give each other a wink, and one of us would sneak out of the basement.

We’d go outside and move our friends’ cars.  Park ‘em down at the bottom of our dead-end street.  Then we’d sneak back into the basement. When the party was over, our friends would leave, and my brother and I would wait until we heard the frantic knock on the basement door.

“Dude!  I can’t find my car!  It’s my Dad’s!  He’s gonna kill me!”

My brother and I would let the terror go on for a few minutes, and then we’d laugh and tell them what we’d done.  Pretty stupid stuff.  Like I said, I was a teenage idiot.

I think the zenith of my moronosity came when I decided to make some pot brownies.  I put some pot in a blender, put in some brownie mix, and then made brownies in the oven.

My brother and I each ate a piece.  We gave a piece to our sister.  We didn’t force her, she wanted one.  After an hour, my sister told us she didn’t feel anything.   She told us she wanted to eat another piece.  We didn’t think it was a good idea and told her so.  She ate another piece anyway.  Why?

Teenagers don’t listen.

A few hours later she was screaming that she’d never be the same.  She was freaking out, and she kept telling us she needed to go to the hospital.  It’s funny now.  It wasn’t real funny back then. She finally calmed down, but it scared the shit out of us.

That night, I put the brownies in some aluminum foil.  I put a skull and crossbones on them, and hid them in the back of the fridge so no one would find them. I guess I should have thrown them out, but, like I said, I was a teenage idiot.

The next morning I walked downstairs and saw the woman who cleaned our house eating a pot brownie with her morning coffee.

I yelled out her name.

She looked at me like I was crazy, and said,

“What?  What’s wrong?”

I thought for a quick minute, which is rare for a teenager.  Then I said,

“Nothing.  How are you?”

She gave me a funny look.  She’s a wonderful woman, has been a part of the family for years and years.  I’m still very close with her and her family.

But if I told her that she had just eaten a pot brownie, she would have probably freaked out.  If I didn’t tell her, maybe she would just feel a little weird, and not think much about it.

My Dad used to tell me, “Nobody gets in trouble by keeping their mouth shut.”

So I said nothing.  And nothing happened.  She didn’t jump out of a window, or start a religious cult, or join the circus.

After she left, I threw the brownies in the trash.

I guess I was starting to grow out of my teenage idiocy period.  I’m now in my adult idiocy period…


Scallops are for adults only. They’re too expensive to waste on teenagers!

When you sear scallops, it’s real important to use dry scallops.  These are scallops that have not been injected with water and chemicals.

So make sure you use dry scallops — it’s almost impossible to sear wet scallops, because the liquid they throw off screws up the searing process.

When you talk to your fish guy at the market, make sure he knows you want dry scallops. Rinse off the scallops and pat dry with paper towels. Keep patting dry until the moisture is gone from the scallops, and the towels do not get damp.

Searing is one of my favorite things to do with seafood.  It’s quick.  It’s easy.

After you sear a scallop or a piece of fish, you can eat it just like that.  Or you can add a little sauce.

The sauce I made consists of garlic and ginger and honey.

When you cook scallops, figure on three scallops per person.  If you serve two scallops, people will think you’re cheap.  If you serve four, you’ll need to take out a loan.

In this recipe, I seared 6 scallops, perfect for a nice romantic dinner for two.

Me and Batu!

There is enough sauce here for 12 scallops! You’ll only need a teaspoon OR LESS per scallop, you’ll have PLENTY left over—it should keep in the fridge for a week.

One last thing!  Scallops have a little muscle on the side.  Peel it off and toss.  The muscle, not the scallops!


The Sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

¼ cup of soy sauce

¼ cup of olive oil

2 teaspoons of honey (I sometimes use more)

The Scallops

Turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 large dry sea scallops, side muscle removed

Here we go…

Take all of the sauce ingredients, put them in a bowl, and whisk, whisk, whisk. Taste for sweetness, and add a little more honey if you like.

Put half the sauce in a small pot over low heat–save the rest in the fridge for next time. Let the sauce reduce a bit as we sear our scallops.

Sprinkle the top of each scallop with JUST A LITTLE sugar, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.

Get a medium-size sauté pan.  Put the heat on medium-high.

Put a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.

When the butter starts to turn brown and bubble, put the scallops in the pan — seasoned side down.

Sauté for 2 minutes.  As the scallops sauté, sprinkle the top side of each scallop with JUST A LITTLE salt, sugar and pepper. If you’re concerned about splattering, place a piece of foil VERY LOOSELY over the pan.

After 2 minutes, lift the scallops out of the pan with some tongs.

Swish the butter and olive oil around in the bottom of the pan so you’re not placing the un-seared side of the scallop onto a dry pan. You need those juices to sear!

Put the scallops back in the pan, un-seared side down.  Sear for 2 minutes.

Dish it up! Put the scallops on a platter with a sprig of parsley or two. You can also put them on a plate of greens. Grab the pot with the simmering sauce.  Spoon a LITTLE over each scallop—a small teaspoon, and…