I have to say I'm really honored that he would do that. Maybe because I didn't really think I was doing a true photo blog. But, in retrospect, that's probably a more accurate description of the Salad than, say, Best Middle East Or Africa Blog or Best LGBT Blog. (If you have to ask what a LGBT is - this would be you, Mom - you don't want to know.)
I doubt that I'll make the finals. Hell, there are 37 other nominations, so that makes for a pretty full menu.
As for what happens from here, I'm somewhat in the dark, although the FAQ does shed a little light:
Q: How will finalist be picked?
A: To understand how 15 finalists in each category will be picked you first have to understand how they were nominated. Since you're reading this you're probably aware of the call for nominations for all of the award categories. In 2004 there were about 3000 nominations for the various categories, and we expect more this year.
For the most part if a site is not nominated it wont be considered as a finalist in a category. For everyone who will complain that we "missed" one site or another, our question to you is, "did you nominate them?" We don't have ESP here at the Weblog Awards, though it a oft requested feature.
Q: I nominated XXX, but don't see them as a finalist. Why is XXX not included?
A: Several thousand blogs will be nominated. Of the hundreds nominated in each category there's at most 15 up for voting. Many, many excellent blogs are not going to be finalists, so prepare yourself for disappointment. It should be noted that
You are, of course, free to disagree with the finalists we choose, but denigrating the sites selected will not be tolerated. Calling such and such site "shitty", "lame", etc. is a pretty cruel thing to do, especially since many of the sites nominated didn't even know they would be included. If you don't like the choices available don't participate.
Q: No offense, but some of the nominations in Best XXX suck. Those are not the best XXX... YYY and XXX are much better.
A: See the previous entry. Offense taken. Throwing backhanded insults at nominees or finalists is not a good way to enter the discussion....
Anway, I'm being honest in saying that I'm touched by Josh's thoughtfulness. The Salad isn't something that gets a lot of notice beyond my small tribe of irritable poets. But I appreciate it entirely. And I'll keep you updated if anything comes out of it.
In case you missed it, we did a big blowout today in Flavor on the 100th anniversary of the toaster.
We also included a mention of Heywood Banks' "Toast Song." It was a real thrill to talk to Heywood for the story after all the years of mental torture he's inflicted upon me through his comedic music. I love "Wiper Blades", but for all its initial charms, it really should be played at Gitmo.
It's worth the click to watch the animated version of his song. You can see it by clicking here.
When people never ask me, "Jeff, why do you bring your camera to work?" I never say to them, "Because, you know, the entire 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleading squad may show up in bare midriff Christmas outfits to film a holiday video and I want to be prepared."
Never. I never say that. Because, you know, what are the chances of that ever happening? Seriously.
"Chances arrrrrrrrre 'cause I wear a silly grinnnnnnn...."
Speaking of which, seriously... compare the cheerleaders you just saw above barely tolerating my presence and compare the Panthers' cheerleaders, Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley.
It's not even close. The Cheerleading Squad Formerly Known As Swash-Buc-Lers wins in a landslide. Plus, I don't think they'd be skanktastic enough to hookup in a restroom stall at a bar. At least I don't think so.
This online Goth shopping site - Gothic Plus, for your plus-sized Goths - got me to thinking: Someone should open a Goth discount shopping warehouse and call it Gothco.
Just a thought.
Today is the last day of hurricane season. Thanks Christ.
Uh, Tropical Storm Epsilon? It's closing time. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
But that doesn't mean that the 26-storm season hasn't left us with some lovely parting gifts. Like a still-devastated South Florida (with apologies to a probably-will-be-devastated-for-another-generation New Orleans).
Side Salad cycling and Major League Baseball spring training correspondent Alan Snel took his annual 128-mile bicycle circumnavigation around Lake Okeechobee on Friday. He does this every year (you can read last year's story here).
He found an alarming amount of destruction compared to what he saw in 2004.
Hi everyone. Hope all is well. On Friday, I renewed a November tradition -- bicycling around Lake Okeechobee. It's a time of year when the weather cools in south-central Florida and there's still enough daylight to pedal some 120 miles around one of the most amazing lakes around.
It's old-time Florida. This is where local folks call their nutrient-rich, sugarcane-loving soil ``black gold.'' The Belle Glade welcome sign declares, ``Her Soil Is Her Fortune.'' It's stuff you never see in glossy brochures or TV shows or Disney commercials. This time around, I saw some bad damage inflicted by Hurricane Wilma in the small west Palm Beach County towns of Canal Point, Pahokee and Belle Glade.
A rowboat sitting in the middle of a bicycle trail bridge...
...piles of rubble mixed with trailer debris and tree limbs; BellSouth disaster phone trucks repairing lines after four weeks.
Photos show the beauty and distressed images of The Big Water.
We have a lot to be grateful this season.
An update: Willie Drye filed this dispatch on the end of the hurricane season for National Geographic.
Whenever I think about disputing the fact that newspapers are behind the times and remote and out of sync with the mainstream and desperately clinging to a past notion of journalism that is no longer relevant in our times, I'll pull this story out, read it, and then keep my mouth appropriately shut:
ARE DVDs RENDERING VHS OBSOLETE?
By RICK BENTLEY
The Fresno Bee
FRESNO, Calif. … "Star Wars'' fans headed to local retail and video stores Nov. 1 to pick up the latest film in the epic space series, ""Star Wars: Episode 3 … Revenge of the Sith.''
There on the shelves sat stacks of DVDs in widescreen and full-screen formats.
Where were all the VHS copies?
Like Yoda at a pretty baby contest, VHS owners simply were out of luck. The blockbuster movie was not released in the VHS cassette format.
VHS has become the ugly duckling of the video industry. The explosion of DVD rentals and sales since the format was introduced in 1996 has pushed VHS to the back shelves of many retail and video stores.
Like Yoda at a pretty baby contest?!?!?!?!?!?!?
::::deep cleansing breaths::::
Whew. Better now. Back to the story...
Where were all the VHS copies?
AT THE FLEA MARKET, FER CRISSAKES!!!!!!!!
::::deep cleansing breaths::::
::::additional deep cleansing breaths::::
::::additional deep cleansing breaths followed by meditation, two Percocets and an elephant tranquilizer self-darted into my neck::::
I'm going to give Rick the benefit of the doubt on this one. Because I've worked for papers in the past - some of which are no longer printing - where editors have tripped across long-established - nay, even borderline ancient - phenomenonae that they were previously unaware of, deemed them newsworthy and then forced some poor schmuck to cover the story as if it were breaking news. Alas, I've been that poor schmuck who's had to hang my name over a story that I knew was 10 years late. Not the editor's name. My name. As an editor, I've tried to protect my reporters from having to suffer that fate by calling bullshit whenever a "You know what I noticed yesterday?" turd has rolled out of a news meeting.
But dude. Seriously. You didn't have to write it like this. Especially 27 days after the movie was re-released.
VHS or DVD?
Arguments, for now, can be made for both sides. But all signs point to the VHS format fading away.
The emergence of one technology over another is nothing new.
CDs have almost pushed vinyl albums aside, though some still are made.
That's one of the many problems with too many newspapers today. We're wayyyyy too good at telling you about something that "is nothing new." They ought to change the media genre to isnothingnewspaper.
Oh, and copy desk folk. I know "rendering" is a nice, active verb. It sounds cool and probably filled out the headline just dandy, but "making" would have worked fine.
Only one day left until the return of the Calendar of Disturbing Santas, your daily visual marker of All Things Grotesquely And Inexplicably Santa, Santa-Related And, At Best, Tangentially Santalike.
Govern yourself accordingly.
Somewhere in Heaven up above, Keith Moon is looking down, seeing this beverage on the store shelf at Publix and vomiting on his cloud.
So Debra LaFave has pleaded guilty and been registered as a sex offender. Talk about your bad weeks. But the plea deal keeps her out of doing any hard time. The worst she'll have to do is stay home for a while. Which, you know, is what got her in trouble in the first place.
On the positive side of the cultural ledger, she also has won Nearly Legal magazine's first annual Teacher I'd Most Want to Have Sex With in the Back of a Ford Bronco contest. (Go Debbie, it's yer birfday...!)
Anyway, it got me to thinking about who will be playing her when the movie gets made on WE or O! or Lifetime or any one of the chick channels. The title no doubt: "Too Pretty For Prison."
The perfect actress would exude a stunning visage on the outside while cloaking the tawdry desires lurking within. She'd have to look good in a blue bikini while, logically, riding a motorcycle, as well as demure enough to carry off a wedding scene.
You'd have to believe that she was outwardly pure and lovely while being full of vile and offensive urges, someone duplicitous and sexy and vivacious and evil. She'd be able to display lifeless doll's eyes one moment and a flash of flirtatious energy the next. She'd have porcelain skin and vermicelli-straight hair. She'd be the portrait of a victimized ice queen, and the embodiment of every schoolboy's dream.
The leading contenders, as I see them are...
You can vote for your favorite here:
My comment: "Maybe now I'll get some sympathy."
When you're past your prime, you take your glory where you can get it.
At least that's the message of this heart-warming holiday tale from Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2005 11:11 PM
Subject: Thanksgiving three-pointer
I have a 10-year-old nephew named Johnny Morrow who lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Johnny's showing some real promise as an athlete, and for the past few years we've passed a few hours at family holiday gatherings by throwing around a football, kicking field goals, and shooting hoops.
This year's Thanksgiving family gathering was down the coast in Wilmigton at Jane's mom's house. Johnny and I had an hour or so to kill Thursday afternoon while his mom and dad, Jane, and her mom (i.e., the grownups) were getting dinner ready. So we went out to the concrete driveway where, like most homes in this state (or so it seems), there's a basketball goal.
A full-size, 10-foot-tall basketball goal is way offscale for a fourth grader -- it would be like one of us shooting at a hoop that's about 20-feet tall -- but Johnny was still managing to sink about one out of three. Which was better than I was doing. I'm an old guy now and it's been a long time since I was hitting two out of three jump shots from my favorite spot just to the right of the foul circle. I was hitting maybe one out of six or eight. But finally I realized that my left hand was way out of position when I released the shot, and that's what was causing me to miss so many. Still, it took me a while to make the readjustment.
Johnny asked me how far from the goal is the free throw line, so we got a tape measure to determine the distance. He hit a couple from there, and I threw up a brick or two. I was getting frustrated.
Then he asked where the three-point line would be. So we did some more calculating with the tape measure and got an approximate distance. From Johnny's perspective, it was a long way and he was impressed as only a 10-year-old can be. He asked me if the NBA three-point line was farther away, and I said yeah, a couple of feet farther. So he asked me where the NBA line would be, and I stepped back a few steps and scraped my toe against the concrete and said, Right about here, I'd guess.
So Johnny eyed the distance between my toe and the basket and asked me if I could hit a jump shot from there. I said, well, you know, I used to could, but that was a while ago and I'm not as good as I was then. And he said, "Oh," and I said, Well, gimme the ball, and he threw me a bounce pass and I caught it and dribbled a time or two and put up a jump shot without thinking about it too much.
And I knocked the bottom out of it. It was perfect. A long, arching shot that didn't touch anything except the bottom of the net, and it made that sweet "shik" sound that a basketball makes when it goes through the hoop without touching any iron and only pauses briefly when the twine holds it for a moment before it drops on through the net. It felt great, and for a moment I thought, Well, maybe I'm not so old after all. Then I thought, But nobody had a hand in your face and you weren't down by two with the buzzer going off.
Then I glanced to my right and got a look at Johnny's face, and that made the moment. It was a perfect example of 10-year-old astonishment. Wide open mouth, eyes wide, no affectation. I couldn't have impressed the kid any more if I'd gotten a running start and leaped over the backboard.
So, yeah, I know, hitting a 25-foot jump shot ain't that big a thing but I got a helluva kick out of it, more of a kick than I ever got from any shot I hit when I played high school basketball, and it's nice to know that an old guy can still impress a kid once in a while. And that look on Johnny's face was great.
As a 40-year-old man, I can say that these moments are rare, but when they happen, they are delicious.
Earlier this month, I posted about how I bought a Hostess Cupcake Oven and used it to bake Twinkies and Cupcakes at my desk at work.
But since we quickly ran out of batter and icing, in subsequent weeks we decided to try new menu items. We successfully made Easy Bake Nachos, Easy Bake Breakfast, Easy Bake Sausage Sandwiches and Easy Bake S'mores (using pancakes, Holiday Marshmallow Peeps and Leftover Halloween Candy).
A couple weeks ago, I mentioned to my fellow pastry chef, Rommie, that it might be fun to try and bake an entire Thanksgiving dinner in it at my desk. He thought this was a grand idea.
So we set off across the street to the Publix on Bayshore Drive to shop for the best miniaturized foods we could find. Some $42 later, our menu was assembled:
Turkey (chunk, canned), yams with marshmallows, green bean casserole, Stove Top stuffing, Idahoan mashed potato flakes, microwave gravy, individual pumpkin pie slices, cranberry sauce, Toll House cookie dough and Asti Spumante.
The end result:
A lovely dinner with a waterfront view at Chez Tribune.
Rommie even had to apply the one-finger vom corking technique after less than a dozen forkfulls.
And, let's face it, mistakes in judgment were mad with the Parkay Squeeze Butter:
If I ever decide to become a rapper, my handle should be Squeezy-E.
To see a photo gallery of how we pulled it off (along with an auxilliary backup Easy Bake Oven I found at Goodwill and some emergency hardware modifications in mid-meal), click here.
A cooking series done only online. Very cool. Figures that the Food Network would be doing it first:
13-Part Original Broadband Series Launches November 21 on FoodNetwork.com
To Spotlight Latest Food Trends, Kitchen Gadgets and Cuisine Crazes Across The U.S.
NEW YORK, NY – Coming soon to a computer near you — Alligator sausage. Jurassic salt. Edible menus. Four-star gourmet “pop rocks.” The edgiest and most innovative trends across the U.S. will be spotlighted in Food Network’s first-ever web-exclusive series, “Eat This With Dave Lieberman.” One of the most popular food and cooking sites on the web, FoodNetwork.com, will launch the series on Monday, November 21.
Hosted by the critically-acclaimed young chef, author and host of “Good Deal With Dave Lieberman,” each of the 13 episodes will visit several of the hottest spots in five major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Miami to focus on hot new trends and crazes in cuisine — everything from science-influenced food (in such famed places as NYC’s WD-50 and Chicago’s Moto) to specialty meats (alligator, kangaroo, elk) and flavored salt (smoked, Hawaiian red and Maldon) to spicy sweets (chocolate truffles and bars flavored with curry, goat cheese and basil.)
In addition to the videos in the web series, FoodNetwork.com will provide a travelogue of all the places, with additional educational information and related links, as well as showcasing the most popular and unique eateries in those cities.
Beginning November 21, FoodNetwork.com will post three new episodes each week. Each episode will be 3-5 minutes long, and bonus footage will be provided for all key points in the clip, allowing users to navigate in and out of the episode and into supplementary clips. Shorter 60-second versions of these episodes will air on Food Network.
The URL for the series is: http://foodnetwork.com/eatthis.
“Good Deal with Dave Lieberman” airs Saturdays at 1:30 pm ET/PT on Food Network. In “Good Deal,” Lieberman keeps things quick, easy and inexpensive, giving viewers practical tips on keeping quality up and costs down.
But I think I may have found a new focus for my OCD: cake toppers.
The genesis for this fascination:
Pat brought to work the Beatles cake toppers she bought on eBay, complete with microphone stands.
The detail on these things was astounding. They even had Paul playing left-handed Rickenbacker bass.
Time for the Beatles roll call...
Standing off to the side: Brian Epstein.
They probably had his topper for cupcakes or something.
The most amazing part of Pat's toppers: She bought them for $10.
Subject: From our friends at the National Transportation Safety Board:
How'd you like to have been a passenger on this puppy. "Hey pilot! This is the tower. You forgot to lower your gear!" Whoops.
NTSB Identification: DCA06WA006
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of USAirways, Inc.
Incident occurred: Sunday, November 06, 2005 in London, United Kingdom
Aircraft: Boeing 767-200,
On November 6, 2005, at 0745 local British time, the flight crew of a USAirways Boeing 767-200, registered in the United States as N653US, failed to lower the landing gear until notified by the air traffic control tower to go around. The tower controller then observed the gear extend and amended his instructions to allow the aircraft to land. This is being investigated by the British Air Accidents Investigation branch as a serious incident.
Yes, I know. Blogging has been light in the Salad Bowl of late. Guilty as charged.
As I've mentioned before, this is the rainy season for me when it comes to writing words for The Man.
This includes my interview with Julie Powell, author of the book "Julie & Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen."
I also was honored last Friday to help judge the Desserts First event held by the Girl Scouts of the Suncoast Council. The task: to sample gourmet desserts made by chefs from the Don Cesar Hotel & Resort, Kalupa's Bakery, Maggiano's, the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St Petersburg, Roy's, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Side Bern's, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, The Tampa Club and the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel and then decide who made the tastiest one. Then they served us prime rib and a smooth Australian shiraz.
It was a lot harder than it sounds.
Oh, and then on Saturday I went to the Ybor City Cigar Heritage Festival on the weekend (photos to come later) to do a story that should be out in a couple weeks. Got to spend the afternoon puffing on a Fuente and sipping a Yuengling beer. That didn't suck.
Other than that, life's been pretty slow.
Finding yet another way to whore out The King of Rock 'n' Roll, you can now purchase Elvis Coffee for the holidays.
Bet it tastes great with a Percocet and a jelly doughnut.
I like to think I'm an educated man, a deep thinker, a human being who wonders about his place in the world, the confounding issues that define our age and the solutions that mankind needs to achieve so it can set a bold path for the future.
I think about the spiritual thirst that resides within us all, about the way we search for meaning, about the struggle between destiny, ambition and desire. About what makes us whole, what lights our candle of intelligence, about the universe and the simple power of one, solitary action within it.
I like to think that about myself. But I can't fully commit to that distinguished self concept because I've had this running through my head all week:
What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps. (Check it out)
I drive these brothers crazy,
I do it on the daily,
They treat me really nicely,
They buy me all these ice-ys.
Dolce & Gabbana,
Fendi and then Donna
Karan, they be sharin’
All their money got me wearin' fly
But I ain’t askin,
They say they love my ass ‘n,
Seven Jeans, True Religion's,
I say no, but they keep givin’
So I keep on takin’
And no I ain’t taken
We can keep on datin’
I keep on demonstrating.
My love, my love, my love, my love
You love my lady lumps,
My hump, my hump, my hump,
My humps they got u,
She’s got me spending.
(Oh) Spendin’ all your money on me and spending time on me.
She’s got me spendin’.
(Oh) Spendin’ all your money on me, on me, on me
What you gon’ do with all that junk?
All that junk inside that trunk?
I’ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
What u gon’ do with all that ass?
All that ass inside them jeans?
I’m a make, make, make, make you scream
Make u scream, make you scream.
Cos of my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps. (Check it out)
I met a girl down at the disco.
She said hey, hey, hey yea let’s go.
I could be your baby, you can be my honey
Lets spend time not money.
I mix your milk wit my cocoa puff,
Milky, milky cocoa,
Mix your milk with my cocoa puff, milky, milky riiiiiiight.
Rev. Joe Kendall, star of the show "Pastor Cop" and 1996's Crimefighting Clergyman of the Year, filed a dispatch on Sunday from Baltimore, where he's attending the CCC '05 (Crimefighting Clergymen Convention '05).
One house of worship he visited had an interesting advertising technique to lure members to the congregation:
Anyway, the right reverend had time to go tooling around through the countryside of Baltimore County (and, probably, about 15 other surrounding counties, if our estimation of his cycling routine is accurate).
He filed some lovely environmental portraits that showcase the lovely colors of late fall that can be found in the mid-Atlantic states this time of year:
Finally got around to uploading a ton of pics I've taken this year of Tampa's professional sports teams (notice I didn't say St. Petersburg's).
I work with some interesting people. The photos you see in the Salad should tip you off to that.
One of those is Albert Owens, who works in the building for WFLA NewsChannel 8.
On game day, this is Bert's usual getup:
Even when the Stanley Cup came to work for a visit, Albert couldn't help but spread a little Buc flavor on the cup:
As the Weekly Planet recently wrote about him:
Anyone can be a fan, but it takes a special surge of energy to be "Fan-omenal." Albert Owens, who prefers the name Bucified Bert, is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' "Number One Fan-omenal Fan," a title he bestowed upon himself in honor of his extreme devotion to football and community works.
Owens sees himself as a role model, a man who can inspire kindness and friendship everywhere he goes. He attends every home game in an elaborate get-up of his own devising. The look is part action-figure, part Buc-nut, and he's not afraid to change elements of it if he thinks it will help his team.
This season, Bucified Bert is wearing his traditional pirate ship hat, a molded helmet with a crown that looks like it would be fairly seaworthy on a larger scale. Atop the helmet flies an American flag. The rest of his outfit resembles loungewear, but he soups it up with bold Bucs logos. The ensemble is pulled together with the addition of a wide, red flag emblazoned with another Buccaneers logo. The sunglasses - red and black, of course - are both a functional touch and the key to the superhero look. The shielded eyes lend an air of mystery, forcing you to notice the beaming grin with the shining gold tooth.
"Bucified Bert is the originator," he rhymes. "Not the duplicator! Without my lead, they'd have nothing to heed. The standards are high. I cannot lie. There is no fan as excited as I."
For the record, Bucified stands for Be Understanding Citizens, Identify Friendly Individuals Every Day.
Know it. Love it. Live it.
Anyway, I saw Albert in the elevator on Friday. We exchanged pleasantries about the Bucs and the Lightning (I was wearing my new Bolts jersey. Albert was in his usual Bucs garb).
And then he showed me his latest point of pride and joy:
This isn't exactly new for Albert. In June 2004 during the Lightning's Stanley Cup run, he carved a lightning bolt across the top of his dome.
Albert said this one took 2 hours for a guy to do and cost $55 to have done.
I asked him if he thought it could be done in my hair.
"Absolutely, man,''' he said. "Absolutely."
I told Albert that he should pick up The Bucified Ride. He was all excited until I told him it would set him back 24 large.
I met Keith "Big Nasty" Kunzig a couple years ago when I wrote a profile of him during the Bucs' Super Bowl run. I thought he was a great guy. When I'd see him at games, he'd take time to say hi. Even posed with Salad Boy last year. It's not every day that you can say you know someone with their own bobblehead doll.
He does a lot of charity work, so I thought I'd pass along this press release about a shindig he's contributing to.
THIS WEEKEND “BIG NASTY” AND AUTHENTIC TEAM MERCHANDISE HELP KIDS' DREAMS COME TRUE
Tailgate Party and Raffle Benefit the Children’s Dream Fund
CLEARWATER, FL – The Authentic Team Merchandise/Buccaneer Heaven on Wheels Merchandise Trailer will be at Gold’s Gym’s Third Annual Tailgate Party and Raffle this Saturday, November 12, 2005 to benefit the Children’s Dream Fund.
Proceeds from the tailgate party will be donated to the Children's Dream Fund to help fulfill the dreams of children who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses.
It all takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Clearwater Gold’s Gym, 1580 McMullen Booth Rd. All Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are encouraged to attend.
Official Authentic Team Merchandise/Buccaneer Heaven spokesperson and hall of fame fan Keith Kunzig, a.k.a. “Big Nasty,” will be on hand throughout the event to greet and entertain fans.
Beverages and other refreshments will be available along with fun for the entire family. There will also be kids activities including face painting, Clearwater Fire Truck tours and special appearances by professional wrestlers.
The party is free and attendees can purchase $2 raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes, including Outback Bowl and Buccaneers tickets, autographed helmets, jerseys and footballs, Tampa Bay Lightning tickets and memorabilia, and much more.
For more information or to make a donation to the Children’s Dream Fund, call 727-791-8550 or log on to www.childrensdreamfund.org.
I've had these screen captures of Bobby Brown and Mike Tyson singing "Monster Mash" on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in my photo archive for almost a week. I didn't know what to say about them. I'm just going to put them out there and let them scar you like they scarred me.
It's been a busy week for Tyson. He attended the premiere of the ultraviolent gang film "Get Rich or Die Tryin," walked with Argentine children during a visit to a shanty town in Buenos Aires, Argentina, played soccer on a TV show with superstar Maradonna and finished things off with an accusation by a television cameraman that the former heavyweight champion assaulted him outside a nightclub.
Even so, the Kimmel appearance tweaked the ire of longtime supporters. Over at Tyson Talk, I found this posting by a disappointed fan:
Re: Mike Tyson to be guest at Jimmy Kimmel show Monday, Oct. 31
by blaq101 on Tuesday, November 01 @ 10:39:19 PST
Now I am a huge Tyson supporter and have been for about 20 years now, so I make this comment in pure observational form. But what was the deal with Mike on the show last night. Now before everybody gets their panties in a bundle, he seemed either high on something other than weed, punch drunk or just plain drunk. I hope that wasn't an example of things to come for his future. I don't know maybe it was just me but I couldn't understand half of what he was saying, granted he could of taken the teeth out during the interview. He was a little further out there than normal.
If you're looking to punch yourself in the eyes and ears, click here to see the video.
If that's not causing enough drain bammage, you can find more screen caps by clicking here.
For the love of all things holy and sacred, why did this have to happen?
Got a nice e-mail yesterday from Addison, a reader I hadn't met before.
He threw me a link to a Web site, writing:
I knew you’d appreciate this.
Thanks for the great blog, keeps me laughing.
I'm a total addict when it comes to reader-recommended sites, so of course I had to click.
He was right. I appreciated the humor of it.
It was a link to a site (his site?) called Gay Redneck Outerwear.
As Larry the Cable Guy might say: "That's funny. I don't care who you are."
My favorite was the rainbow confederate flag. God, I was in tears when I saw that. There are some seriously hysterical T-shirts on the site, too. Including this little sleeveless number.
Takes a pantsload of confidence to adorn yourself with something that's going to piss of soooooooo many people in one fell swoop.
Addison and I traded a couple e-mails, after which he sent me a photo of his truck.
With that note he wrote:
"I was thinking about getting Ronda Storms one of the stickers for her drive out to Brandon. Any opinions to offer?"
No, sir. I think that statement speaks for itself.
Snap, snap, snap.
On a totally not unrelated note, my friend, former colleague and fellow Gator alum Paul sends along this e-mail attachment, titled only, "Hunting Dogs Of The South."
Again, I have no further comment at this time.
Goody Goody is closing in a couple weeks. Seems they've sold the land to condo developers for a pretty penny. They might reopen somewhere else, but for now, the former drive-in is planning to shut the doors on Nov. 30.
Rommie and I met up with Tommy at lunchtime and we had a nice chat over some highly greasy-yet-satisfying burgers, fries, onion rings and chocolate shakes.
(Turns out Tommy and Rommie and I have almost crossed paths before, bloggingwise, Bucswise and employmentwise. Tampa is a very, very small place.) Yes, we had the special sauce on the burgers. Why go to Goody Goody without trying it, you know?
The fries were crisp for the most part. The onion rings were not. But that was okay. We weren't really there for the food. It was more to absorb the ambience of another Tampa haunt that's going by the wayside.
We had to fight off half of the Old Lady Hat Club to get in. There were walkers with tennis balls on the legs leaning up against the walls. Seems that there are people so old in this town that it's a mood elevator for them to go to a place that's going to die before they will.
Yvonne Freeman, the 77-year-old manager who has worked there since she was a carhop in the 1940s, said there were no menus to be had. "We had a batch printed up but people have been taking them."
"I used to come here when I was younger,'' one elderly woman said as she was waiting in line to pay. I know this will be what I will say when I get to be her age. I hope people tolerate it when I do. I'm not making any bets that they will.
For more photos from the restaurant, click here.
Comedian Lewis Black did a couple standups last night in the middle of the Weather Channel's usual evening weathercasts. It wasn't as hilarious as I thought it might be - mostly because the spots were too short and too infrequent.
It was more than a little weird to see the car-dealer-slick Dave Schwartz introduce a "special guest." But Black found his rhythm, announcing that Schwartz had the easiest job in the world. "If I knew that guys like Roker and Willard Scott would break out, I would have gone to meteorology school instead of theater school."
He also delivered a travel report on airport delays. "Logan Airport in Boston is listing zero minutes. That's a lie."
If you didn't have DVR and the ability to fast-forward through all the bland forecasts and bad jazz, it would have been frustrating to watch. But with the remote, you could zap ahead. It was well worth it just to see Schwartz juxtaposed by the rumpled and barely-keeping-it-together Black.
At one point, he asked Black to give the atmospheric moisture report.
Black turned to the green screen showing the flowing moisture patterns and reported:
A lot of people would call this atmospheric moisture. Where do they get this from? Where does this map come from? This is actually a sonogram. That's right. They go to hospitals and they get sonograms of infants.
Now if you look here, see where this green, see where it's moving around here? If you look closely - it'll come around again - that'll be a baby boy.
Got this promotional catalog from the Leifheit housewares company:
Wow. That's a lot of energy for someone holding a pasta strainer. She looks like she's hoisting the Stanley Cup.
That's gonna be one helluva bowl of pasta.
Don't need wood for the fireplace as long as you have a Java Log.
What's the allure?
The Java-Log is the world’s first and only fire-log made from recycled coffee grounds. Throw a Java-Log into the fire place and then sit back, relax, and enjoy up to 3 hours of long lasting beautiful flames that emit more heat, a slightly sweet aroma but no coffee aroma, no chemical smell, and less carbon dioxide than traditional fires.
Somewhere right now, Juan Valdez is laughing his Columbian ass off.
A pet project of mine and Rommie's has finally hit the page. The Golden Spork Awards came out today in the paper, celebrating great achievements in food design.
This story came about one day when Rommie and I were talking about the stuff we noticed that helped you enjoy the food you ate without being obtrusive or invasive. We came up with a list and then set about to research each item.
Then a year or so passed before we actually executed the idea. We kept coming back to it, though, as we accumulated more stuff. Needing a story for the Flavor cover, I finally decided to pull the trigger with the help of Rommie, who jumpstarted things after finding a patent filed by the lady who invented the "pizza table."
Anyway, the story was intended to be a jumping off point for doing other stories later about stuff that he and I never even thought of.
Have something you'd like to nominate? Click here. I can tell you that we're already jonesing to do something on the perferated salt and pepper containers they give you in the drive-thru at fast food restaurants.
While you're at it, drop on over to The Stew. I've reheated some of the Salad's greatest food bits, as well as added several new posts.
Is this big news? I don't know, but I do know the hysterical reaction it got when I mentioned having seen it on the wires late Monday:
The Weather Channel tries to loosen up by bringing in comedian
NEW YORK - The Weather Channel forecast: a high-pressure system of comedy.
The cable channel will feature Lewis Black … known for his rants on Comedy Central's ""The Daily Show'' … in a handful of segments starting Wednesday night.
He's the first in what the Weather Channel hopes is a series
of celebrity guests.
""We're going to try a few segments to spice things up a little bit,'' said Terry Connelly, the network's senior vice president and general manager.
Black gets the chance to try out some of the network's forecasting maps and chat on camera with weathercaster Dave Schwartz. He also gets to deliver a few comic riffs on global warming and airport delays, Connelly said.
Connelly quietly put out the word recently, asking celebrities to drop by if they're near the company's Atlanta headquarters. Black, a closet weather fan, was quick to reply.
I was pumped when I heard this. I'm a big fan of Black's comedy. It'll be interesting to see how apoplectic this guy goes, since his weather rants are legendary. They're going to need a six-year delay button for this one.
Some of his weather-related material:
They've gotta stop reporting wind chill, that's nonsense. It really is. I don't know where they came up with it, why they came up with it, but it's a lie. They come on, 'well, it's 27 degrees today, but with the wind chill, it's minus 3.' ...well, then it's minus 3 asshole! I don't need to know what the weather was like if the conditions were perfect!
* * *
[On the coldest winter ever]
No, it was the coldest winter, literally, that I can remember in my life. It was really nice weather if you were a fucking moose. If you had fur on your nuts, it was a festival out there. It was an absolute dog-shit winter. And dog shit would've been better because it's warmer.
* * *
"I don't know what's more nuts...weather or the weathermen. A few years ago here in New York City, we had a blizzard. 36 inches of snow. I guess you Midwesterners would call that a dusting. Well, our weatherman at the time, Al Roker, predicted we'd have 4 - 12 inches of snow. Well, giving him the benefit of the doubt, that stills leaves him 2 feet off. This was an emergency condition. Now if you were a roofer and you built a roof and it was 2 feet off, you'd still be serving time.
Now, what's meteorologist mean in English. It means liar. And what's the best job you can have in the world. It's being the weatherperson in San Diego, CA. It doesn't get any better than that. You're on TV for less than a minute. You've got a 6-figure income. They're like, "What's the weather going to be like, Lewis?'' "Nice....back to you.''
Now the weather can be just as crazy. This past December in parts of the country where it should have been cold, it actually got into the 70's. What was that about? The 70's, in December? Do you know what that means, it's going to be in August? About 312. You're going to come home from work, the sun will be beating on your little heads, you'll be sweating like pigs, you'll go to the refrigerator, open it up to get something to drink and the eggs will be done. And then you'll think back to this moment you heard me and you'll think 'well, that guy wasn't that funny, but he was a prophet.'"
All was well with this story until I got to the part of the article where it discussed the Weather Channel's plans to vary its format:
The Weather Channel hopes occasional celebrity guests liven what's often a staid presentation. The network has begun experimenting with a weekend morning show that puts the weathercasters on couches instead of behind desks, and is considering a weekday show that Connelly called a cross between "The View'' and Martha Stewart's daytime program.
Oh, man. You had me at Lewis Black. did you have to go to "The View?"
"Hello and thank you for calling Cruise Planners, Tampa's No. 1 cruise travel booking agency."
"Um... yeah... I'd like to cancel a reservation for Mr. and Mrs. ... um, Smith. Yeah, that's right. Smith."
Longtime readers of the Salad will know that we have a morbid appreciation for food items that resemble naughty human body parts. Or at least circus freak food aberrations.
I hereby announce a new addition to the family...
Patrick found this a while back during a sit-out one Friday night by a fire pit in my driveway. Of course, he was dressed like this when he found it, so, you do the math:
I've always wondered what I'd look like with a fake mullet and no eyebrows, too. I just haven't let someone snap my photo while doing it.
You know what they say... it's all over when the leg goes up.
Side Salad is the fourth most-popular Web site on the Google image search engine for people looking for the term "ass." (Do not click if you're easily offended.)
All because I posted this photo.
Somewhere out there, my mama is crying tears full of pride.
In the grand tradition of such press kit tokens as the pink wig, the feather boa and mask and the mullet, the mud wrestling mixture, the advertising urinal cake and the CPR dummy comes a new item of glory:
Rommie got this gigantic steel helmet in the mail last week as part of the promotion for the new game Spartan: True Warrior.
I walked in one day to see it perched on my desk like this.
Karla said, "We thought it had your name all over it."
I couldn't have been more proud of that declaration.
So, of course, I had to try it on.
Mitch warned me, "Be careful. That thing is sharp."
But what is danger when glory lurks just beyond.
It was more than a little snug. And claustrophobic. It flattened my nose like a pug until someone instructed that the tab in the front could be pushed out.
At that very moment, the Spartan Helmet Project was born.
The thing had a life of its own. As with the Sombrero Project, the helmet was proving that everyone looked better as a Spartan warrior.
It brought out John's inner gladiator. Here, he's pictured giving the Sphincter Power Salute.
Ben reflexively dropped into a Backstreet Boys pose and started singing, "I wannnt it thaaaaat way."
Backstreet's back alright.
Wes chose the moment to accept a Golden Spork Award that never really belonged to him in the first place.
After Wednesday, everyone will want one of those things.
Howard, of course, came bounding over with his own sword. This sounds ludicrous until you realize the man has a gas mask on his desk hanging from the mailbox shelves that used to reside on the set of "Homicide."
The man knows from props.
He looked not unlike the warrior from the Spartan video game:
As if things weren't stupid enough, we started a game of, "Let's See What Magnets Stick To The Helmet."
Over the weekend, I tested out the helmet's aerodynamic properties in relation to a delicious Cohiba cigar.
I don't want to say that the helmet was a poor conduit for smoke and instead trapped it inside the head adornment and threatened to aesphyxiate me.
I will say, however, that if I ever decide to enrich a mullet fillet with the intense aroma of mesquite charcoal, I have just the device in which to smoke that mother to oblivion.
For more photos from the Spartan Project, click here.
Did anyone see the Fox NFL Sunday pre-game show? More specifically, the weather segment with Jillian Barberie featuring "guest meteorologist Pamela Anderson.
The reason I ask:
Could someone please explain the Frankenipples signaling for help under Anderson's blouse?
We were watching at our house when a woman watching with us who shall remain nameless noticed the protrusions pointing in asymmetrical directions and asked, "Are those her nipples?"
I made my best estimated guess but figured that if someone who actually owns the enhanced version of the equipment couldn't get a bead on them, it was a deathtrap for me to even attempt an answer. (Barberie here seems to be nonverbally telling Anderson that one of her compass points is indicating southeast while the other is decidedly aimed northwest.)
The only thing I could muster:
It's usually at moments like this that Salad Wife and I are walking through the mall. We'll see something of this ludicrous magnitude, exchange glances, giggle immaturely and do our best Bronson Pinchot as Serge in "Beverly Hills Cop":
Coincidentally, Anderson is breezy and mild and showers late.
She's also 59 percent humid and has a temperature of 74 degrees.
UPDATE: Anderson's appearance was so eventful that Richard Sandomire of the New York Times covered it.
This wasn't just any ordinary Fox star strategically positioned in the stands for a promotional hi-de-ho during the World Series. This wasn't Bernie Mac, Mischa Barton, Jeffrey Tambor or Nanny Stella.
This was Miss Pamela Anderson, working overtime for Fox.
Oh, the corporate imperatives that viewers endure to please networks. Last season, Nicollette Sheridan's bath-towel striptease for Terrell Owens opened ABC's "Monday Night Football" to serve the insatiable needs of "Desperate Housewives" - and of many desperate men in front of their giant screens.
"Fox Pamela Sunday" is part of the fabric of televised sports promotional inanities like the AOL icon sprinting through baseball games, Joe Buck calling Robin Williams in a box seat during a postseason at-bat to peddle Sprint, and the ESPY Awards, the apotheosis of network self-love.
To observe Pam Anderson in Fox's pregame studio locker room - and not in an Internet-circulated sex video - is to grasp how far we have traveled since the pregame days of Brent, Irv, Phyllis and Jimmy the Greek.
How long were we expected to wait until a network showed the mindless chutzpah required to connect a blonde bombshell to our national sports passion?
Fox Sports is accustomed to favoring the use of the buxom in its N.F.L. studio; since 2000, it has assigned Jillian Barberie, a mini-Pam with a purse full of double entrendres, to give the weather, a special position that would be unnecessary without her, regardless of how trim Al Roker gets.
Anderson and Barberie delivered the goods: two giggling girls at Fox's football pajama party, as if Mae West and Theda Bara had crashed a World Series radio booth. All that was missing was a pipe-puffing Rupert Murdoch in a silk robe, flanked by the cooing Coors twins.
Here were Pam and Jillian, joking about barometric frontal systems (as Pam posed in profile), primping each other's hair and getting stoked about the continuing voting for Fox's sexiest man in the N.F.L. poll.
In this capacity, they provided more than Terry Bradshaw and his pals could; they spoke of the "sexy Freak Jevon Kearse," Michael Strahan's smile, Coach Herman Edwards's older-man charms and Lawyer Milloy, about whom Pam expressed a desire to cross-examine.
Along the way, the word "stacked" was cited seven times and a 55-second clip of the premiere was shown. Last season, the six episodes of "Stacked" produced the 50th-ranked prime-time rating; imagine the boost it will receive from Anderson's campaign stop in the studio's testosterone stew.
Here's the situation:
Final seconds of the game... Kansas City Chiefs have the ball on the Oakland Raiders 1-yard line. There's time for one play. A kick would tie the game but a touchdown would win it. There are no timeouts left.
Your coach, Dick Vermeil has decided to lay it all on the line and put his faith in his players. In essence, he's put the game in their hands.
When faced with that situation, there's one rule to remember if you're an NFL player competing in a nationally televised game:
According to The Rocky Mountain News, sombreros are now part of an alternative arts lifestyle. (The above photo of Ben does should not infer that Beno, nor that particular sombrero, is represented by this story.)
Party on board
Part cult attraction, part carpool, art bus makes rounds of galleries with offbeat crew
"It feels good not to wear a shirt," says the man attired in nothing but briefs and a sombrero.
He's sitting next to me, happily chatting away, and I'm trying to act cool, like I've spent my life riding buses filled with shirtless, sombrero-wearing men.
Across the aisle, a burly, bearded passenger (sporting a magenta, cream and orange tutu covered by a lacy, black robe that looks like it came straight out of a Frederick's of Hollywood catalog), leans out the window with a megaphone.
"Jesus saves, but Gretzky scores," he yells to surprised bystanders on the street.
My new bare-chested sidekick is hoping for a more enthusiastic reaction.
"Sometimes people flash us," he says hopefully, staring out the window.
But when we pass a fire station, the strapping men outside simply wave, staring with broad smiles at the roof of our vehicle, where costume-clad revelers shake their booties to a live band pounding out a hypnotically alluring beat.
I find myself waving back, proud to be part of this mobile spectacle.
This is one ride I'd been eager to take.
I had spent months trying to figure out how to catch the art bus, an eclectic party on wheels that makes the rounds to local art galleries on the first Friday of the month when gallery owners typically extend their hours.
Painted silver, retrofitted with a steel, rooftop canopy and filled with art lovers seeking a counterculture experience, the refurbished school bus is designed to attract attention.
"We're breaking the homogeny," explains veteran rider Dmitry, who - like many art bus regulars - asks to be identified by only his first name. "These days, people get their culture from what's sold to them on TV."
Many of the passengers are "burners" - devotees of Burning Man, the hedonistic art festival held in the Nevada desert every summer. Burning Man is a spectator-free zone devoted to self-expression, and Dragon Daud, the performance artist who owns the bus and leads the monthly art tours, strives for the same.
"Each month, expression is encouraged to convey a theme through costume, performance, music or any other media," writes Daud in his e-mails announcing the event, known formally as Art@Art. "Your 100 percent participation is needed for this project to succeed."
Daud bought the bus as a birthday present for himself in May 2000, with the intention of using it as a community resource. The idea to use the bus for art-gallery outings came out of an early trek to Burning Man.
Speaking of sombreros and seasonal festivals, I saw this for sale at Dillard's last night:
It's beginning to look a lot like sombrero Christmas.
About six months ago, I contemplated doing a story on the 75th anniversary of Twinkies. Every other food section in America was doing it, I figured. Why not mine?
While trying to figure out how to do it, I cruised on over to the Hostess Web site in search of material. Once there, I clicked on the link to the Twinkie Shop. Lo and behold I witnessed an object I had to have:
Roughly three weeks and $19.95 (plus shipping) later, it arrived at my desk at work.
I didn't really show too many people I had it. At the time, I wasn't in the frame of mind to bake snack cakes at my desk. It was a fun idea and it made me happy to buy it, but once it arrived, the allure had worn off. I tucked it under my desk and figured I'd stash it away until my appetite for frivolity returned.
Then a couple weeks ago, I told Rommie it was under my desk.
It was all she wrote.
Before I knew it, we had that bad boyout of the box and we were warming up the lightbulb inside, getting ready to make us some snack cakes.
We didn't really have any baking utensils or bowls, so we did the best we could with some Styrofoam cups and plastic knives. Hostess provided the baking pans and the mixes for the cake and icing, but they boned me on the Twinkie part of the promise; only mix for cupcakes was included in the box.
Regardless, we poured the mixture into small cupcake and Twinkie-shaped forms. The smell as they baked filled the newsroom.
The directions called for putting icing on top of one of the cupcakes and then placing another on top to double its size. But since there were two of us, Rommie and I decided to just adorn each one with filling and icing on top.
As I said, we lacked the proper utencils, so a Ziplog baggie with a hole in the bottom had to be improvised for a pastry icing bag.
Actually, it worked quite well.
I'm not sure if someone on the Hostess staff was smoking some incredibly potent Sao Paolo North Slope tripweed the day they designed the kit, but they grossly overestimated the size of the looping icing form for the cupcakes.
The improvised pastry bag worked quite well on the Twinkie-shaped cupcakes, giving us plenty of room to adorn them with icing.
After a nibble of cupcake, Rommie posited on the treat's flavor qualities and found them not to be lacking.
Co-workers belittled their size and mocked the results of our baking. One rude colleague even poked her finger into one of them as an insult, not unlike the way you'd poke a dead bird by the side of the road with a stick.
They derided us as "defensive" when we attempted to defend the desserts' honor. We chalked it up to their lack of access to such delicacies and a deficit of forethought to provide their own baked goods.
Jealousy never shows a pretty face.
This photo captures the only moment in my existence on this planet that I failed to immediately engulf something this sweet and delicious. I think it would even be fair to say that I savored the experience.
And the world suddenly tilted off its axis.
Emboldened by our experiment, we went to the grocery store in search of other items we could cook in the oven. There has to be, we guessed, more out there in the culinary spectrum just waiting to be cooked.
Next episode (pictured above): Nachos and quesadillas.
Editor's note: I am taking requests for what you would like to see cooked in the Cupcake Oven.
Halloween seems a natural time to bust out the mullet wig and add some photos to The Mullet Project. So much so that my neighbor Patrick asked to borrow it for the evening. A mullet rental, as it were.
I asked what he was dressing up as.
"You know how rednecks are always getting hot women these days?" he said.
Uh, not really, I said. But go on.
"I'm going to dress up like a redneck and she's going as the hot woman,'' he said, pointing at his bride.
How could I stand in the way of a concept like that?
Anyway, here's what the end result was:
Color me naive.
The wig has gotten plenty of wear around the neighborhood lately, including on the head of:
Somebody lost a bet.
Personally, I was impressed by the kid's testicular fortitude, although this photo reminded me of the "Seinfeld" episode where Kramer goes to Calvin Klein to complain about a fragrance they stole from him and is asked to pose for an underwear ad. ("His buttocks are sublime!")
I asked the kid if he had gone to school today like that. he said, "uh, no."
Here's something you don't see every day: a cop pulling over a speeding hearse.
Reminds me of the Dennis Miller rant about the cool irony of spending your entire life obeying traffic laws and then being allowed to run all the red lights on the way to your funeral.
"Hey, I'm dead, but I'm early!"
PREVIOUS ADVENTURES IN TRAFFIC:
Drive fast, take chances.
Riding with Fab the deejay.
Beware of the Death Explorer.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right.
My other car is a rocket-propelled grenade.
Live long and prosper. In an Altima.
Just two good ol' boys.
Nicotine is my crash helmet.
Jazz hands moms.
Ugly lug nuts.
My honor student can kick your ass.
Horse and buddy.
Saw this story on the UPI wire:
Some of the weirdest work outfits
MENLO PARK, Calif. - Some U.S. workers have showed up at the office in a clown suit, a Cat in the Hat costume or a disco dress and it wasn't Halloween.
The Creative Group, a staffing service that provides marketing, advertising, creative and Web professionals on a project basis, asked 250 U.S. advertising and marketing executives to describe the weirdest outfits they've observed at the office.
The survey found some workers have been seen wearing bedroom slippers; pajamas; fur skirt, straw hat and sombrero on the job, while others appeared in Sumo wrestling gear and dressed as a full-body banana peel.
"Professionals in the creative industry often enjoy some freedom when it comes to office attire, but these examples show it's possible to go overboard," said Tracey Fuller, executive director of The Creative Group. "Employees should dress in a way that ensures their ideas -- not their fashion choices -- stand out."
First, a fur skirt, a straw hat and a sombrero aren't weird. They're the building blocks to any sensible wardrobe.
Second, these people clearly hadn't interviewed My Muse, who fits in the category of someone who dresses normal but accessorizes with impromptu objects in ways that are unique.
Like, say, these two pomegranates that arrived in a press kit:
Succulent. Sweet. Perfect in every way.
And in the hands of most people, they look like this:
But when the Muse holds them for an extra second or two...
They become... well...
Have you ever witnessed someone experience so much innocent, delicious pleasure from his own joke?
It's what sets him apart, makes him unique in the workplace.
Simply: He knows how to accessorize.
Weird is in the eye of the beholder, my friends.