I have sort of a dark appreciation for warning instructions found in owners manuals of household products. I like to watch clowns suffer debilitating injuries while falling from fast-moving vehicles, too. I'm that kind of guy.
So when I got a set of NapaStyle kitchen knives recently as a gift, (Which I love, incidentally. A laser-sharp knife is a joy forever), I just had to read the admonitions.
Oh, this should be good. I don't want to say it's wordy and boring, but it looks like the opening title crawl from "Star Wars."
No, these instructions are to indemnify your company in case Jeffrey Dahmer comes back to do a little carving.
I mean, let's at least be honest with each other, knife company to newly gifted knife owner.
Thanks for the advice about the hand and fingers. Who do you think is using these things, Seth from "City of Angels"?
Sing along with me, Perry Como fans...
"Catch a falling knife and put it in your pocket..."
Jesus Jones on a jump rope. How stupid do they think we are? If a knife falls, I'm not catching. I'm dancing. Like a frog on a hot plate.
Good lord. What other nonsensical babble are they going to foist?
Guess whose son cut himself on Daddy-O's new knives?
You guessed it; Son of Salad.
Hey Bode, the choking is worse.
Holy hell, man. Grab the reins.
Gwen Knapp had a great column in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle about Miller's no-show performance at the Turin games.
"I just did it my way. I'm not a martyr, and I'm not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here,'' Miller was quoted by Jim Litke as saying. "... It's been an awesome two weeks. I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level."
How would he know? Were there judges present?
Bode Miller hasn't been a genuine Olympian since Salt Lake City, where he won two silver medals and finished a grand 25th place in the slalom, 11 seconds off the lead. Miller, close to the lead after his first run, missed a gate on the second, destroying his chance for the win.
But Miller didn't leave the mountain. He hiked back uphill so that he could make the gate, out of respect for the Olympic experience. He wanted every bit of it.
Where is that man now? What happened to the innovative athlete whose idea of rebellion was designing his own exercise equipment?
Where is he now? I don't know.
Five years from now? My guess is he'll be drying out in the drunk tank at Steamboat with two pulled hammies after a day of guiding toddlers on the bunny slope.
But I could be way off.
And now, a lesson in the dangers of search engine page ranking:
Apparently the Salad is No. 1 in Yahoo for the search phrase, "Labiaplasty in Tampa."
Thanks for that one, Karla.
I think I've found the image for this year's Christmas card.
Well, you get what you pay for. And what you get when you pay $120 a night for a room on South Beach is, well, damn near Amish in technological capacity. I think I got the room Hymen Roth used to have.
I had planned to blog here and over at my Officially Sanctioned Professional Food Blog. But since that would take three oxen, a plow-wheel, four butter churns and Abe Lincoln chin whiskers, I'll only be updating over at The Stew.
Join me, will you?
People tell me I have the best job in the world writing about food.
They're exactly right.
Another reason to hate me: I'll be spending the next three days covering the 2006 South Beach Food & Wine Festival in Miami Beach.
Rachael (Ray) will be there. So will Emeril (Lagasse) and Alton (Brown) and Bobby (Flay) and Giada (De Laurentiis) - along with about
30,000 of their closest culinary friends.
Throw in fine wine, gourmet food, sand and the hedonism of a tropical setting along with those celebrity chefs and the drawing power of the 2006 South Beach Food & Wine Festival is obvious.
Now in it's fifth year, the festival, which kicks off today and runs through Sunday in Miami Beach has become, "spring break for chefs,'' says founder and executive director Lee Schrager. "You put people in a resort area with beautiful weather and beautiful people, and things really loosen up.''
Uh, yeah. One chef I've talked to said they spent half of last year's festival frolicking in the surf, which is only a few yards away from a gigantic tent that is erected on the sand of South Beach.
There'll be a tribute to the Salvador Dali' of Spanish cooking, Ferran Adria. There'll be after-parties and dessert delicacies in abundance.
And I'll be there blogging the festival, taking photos for an online gallery and writing about the event for the Tribune on Sunday.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I will.
Only days after its launch, Al has written a nice post about teaching a neighbor's daughter how to ride her bike:
We took a second lesson about a week ago and on Henry Avenue's sidewalk I released my hand from the bike seat and heard Laura's joyous victory yell from beghind as she watched her kid pedal down the sidewalk for the first time solo for about 40 feet or so.
"You go girl," Laura yelled and it was a proud moment.
Then came today and let it be known for the record that around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2006 Sofia Starkey took off on her bike and flew solo for the real deal. Not just 30 or 40 feet but for as long as her legs would hold her up.
My heart began to race seeing the kid take off without a care in the world.
Al is no stranger to the Salad. His Hudsonian site was a great regional Web site for the Hudson Valley and his cycling related reports featured here - including the 160-mile jaunt he took from New York City to Albany last year, was among the Salad's most popular items.
We wish the Ambassadorial Cyclist well in his online touring. May the blogging hills be few and the seat extra-padded.
As an aficionado of All Things Stupid, I can admit to being a longtime fan of the Archie McPhee line of novelty products. But even they may have gone too far with their latest product:
Uncle Oinker's Gummy Bacon
These succulent strips of Gummy Bacon are so realistic you'll want to fry some up and serve them with an egg and a side of hash browns. But please don't. Gummy Bacon should only be savored raw. Each illustrated window box contains four 20 gram slices of strawberry flavored gummy meat sealed in a plastic bag.
Then again, this is the store that offers bacon bandages, bacon gift wrap, bacon air freshener, a T-Bone air freshener, the "I Love Meat" sticker collection and meat shower caps, (which almost insists that you purchase a meat shower curtain.
The fun doesn't end there. Coffee lovers (nee addicts) can worship their dealer by purchasing a barista action figure, complete with snooty green apron and interchangeable head.
If nothing else, I'm sure the cops at the gate of your next professional sports outing will at least get a hoot when they frisk it off of your person and confiscate it for their own usage.
Maybe because they're kind of accurate.
If it's February, it must be time for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
When I was 13, this was a big deal. These days, I'm far from 13, so the issue tends to sit on my counter for a while with the other mail. Last year's issue wasn't touched for a week. Damn thing was thicker than some of the models who were posing inside.
Anyway, I looked at this years edition last night. First, it's fascinating that someone would think it was a good idea to ask Petra Nemcova to go back and pose on a beach less than a year after she and her boyfriend Simon Atlee were swept away by the tsunami that hit Phuket, Thailand. The woman lived by clinging to a floating palm tree for eight hours, for god's sake.
News reports at the time said:
Rescuers in Phuket, Thailand, took her via stretcher to a local hospital. She was eventually airlifted to a hospital in Hat Yai, 150 miles southeast of Phuket.
"I was so broken, I couldn't walk," Nemcova told the Daily News. "There were so many people with horrible injuries, with blood everywhere. It was like a war movie.
"There might be pieces of bone stuck to my organs."
I guess the idea is that life is short, Petra has to move on, it's been a year, and there are good causes to support. In fact, Rick Reilly writes in this year's issue:
A portion of her income - including her work for this issue - goes to the foundaton she started for orphaned Thai children: the Hapy Hearts Fund. Nemcova has one of those, too, now - a happy heart. But, yeah, she has flashbacks. She'll be at some shoot, posing on some beach, and suddenly she will be flung back there, into hell. Simon's face. The palm tree. The screams.
Mmmm. So sexy.
My other issue with the issue: the lackadaisical depiction of food safety.
I mean, look at these photos taken, respectively, at Pann's Restaurant & Coffee Shop and Pink's Famous Hot Dogs:
Shouldn't they be wearing a hair net or something? Was the health department notified? Whatever happened to no shirt, no shoes, no underwear, no dignity, no service?
Then there are these shots:
After looking at the dirty food prep area in that top photo, I'm reminded of the phrase McDonald's teaches its employees: If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean.''
As for the suggestiveness of the photos, I can just imagine the swimsuit issue maestro session:
[ Photo editor walks into conference room, glasses dangling from her neck by a cord. Photographers, editors and magazine designers gathered at the meeting table anxiously await her directions. ]
Editor: "Okay, the see-through fishnet, the topless chest cupping, the forest of nipples, the palm-tree straddling, the squirting sunscreen bottles, the body painting and the wet t-shirt shots are getting a little long in the tooth. We need to sex this up with fresh double entendres.
[ Room goes silent for several minutes as the group brainstorms ]
Photo assistant: We could have one of them sucking on a candy cane.
Editor: Too far from Christmas. Anyone else?
Designer: A brass stripper pole would work.
Editor: This isn't Cosmo, fer crissakes. Next!
[ Silence returns to the room ]
Photographer: We could do the Lady Godiva shot on horseback.
Editor: Seen it. Done it. Come on, people. We're not shooting Gwyneth Paltrow here. We've got the high-octane sex of Heidi Klum at our disposal. You can do better than that.
[ Dejected silence returns. Then someone meekly raises a hand. ]
Intern: There's a great place in L.A. that sells hot dogs. We could pose them there holding a weiner.
Editor: Hmmmm :::scratches chin::: Nice, but too subtle.
Intern: The place is called "Pink's." Oh, and we could have the model suck her finger in one pose.
Ironically, the best food-related photo in the magazine is an ad for milk featuring Elizabeth Hurley:
The main message here: Milk... it does a body good.
The underlying subtext from the tiny footprints and sand pail: Got MILF?
If Saturday Night Live has a collective brain in its collective head, it'll bring back Jon Lovitz on Saturday to make fun of the Dick Cheney shotgun incident.
Lovitz did a hilarious skit once with Danny DeVito in which they played Mexican bandits and...
I'll let them tell it (this transcript is from an SNL highlight show):
Danny DeVito: It's very difficult to keep a straight face on stage with most of those people, let alone hit your mark and know the lines or whatever.
[ cut to Mexican Bandit (Danny DeVito) firing shots in a saloon in "You Shot Me", 12/03/88 ]
Victim: Ouch, ouch, ouch!
Mexican Bandit: What, what?
Victim: Oh, you shot me!
[ cut to Danny DeVito ]
Danny DeVito: There was this skit I did with Jon Lovitz, where he says, "You shot me. You shot me."
[ cut to Victim (Jon Lovitz) lying in bed as Mexican Bandit (Danny DeVito) stands vigil in "You Shot Me", 12/03/88 ]
Mexican Bandit: Maybe we both are at fault, Senor.
Victim: No, no, it's all your fault. You made me dance, and then you shot me! In the foot! You shot me!
[ cut to Jon Lovitz ]
Jon Lovitz: There wasn't any laughs except for saying, "You shot me." So, I just started adding a bunch. And he started laughing, so then I just kept saying it. Then, I was trying to make him laugh, going "You shot me!"
[ cut back to Victim (Jon Lovitz) lying in bed as Mexican Bandit (Danny DeVito) stands vigil in "You Shot Me", 12/03/88 ]
Mexican Bandit: I am sorry, okay?
Victim: No, it's not okay. You shot me!
Mexican Bandit: Do you not accept my apology, Senor?
Victim: No, I don't accept your apology!
Mexican Bandit: But you must accept it.
Victim: You shot me! You shot me!
[ cut to Danny DeVito ]
Danny DeVito: I was on the floor with the audience.
I can so see Darrell Hammond as Cheney and Lovitz revising this skit...
A special edition of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is out. We got a beret in the press kit promoting the release.
And since it's been a while since we did a photo project, the Beret Project seemed like a fine idea.
Every year I think I've found the right Valentine's gift and every year someone thinks of something more creative. And bizarre.
They're not like us, the Southern Californians.
Take the way they deal with Valentine's Day.
""Keep yourself busy almost to the point of exhaustion,''
says a news release touting Beverly Hills, Calif., psychiatrist
Charles Sophy. ""When you are not in a relationship, you often
forget about what really matters and can make yourself sick
that you're the only one in the office without roses on her
It's just a stupid holiday. Who's to know you didn't get
something more practical … like chocolates or underwear?
A couple days later, another press release arrived, also
from Beverly Hills, that seemed to explain this mysterious
angst. ""With Valentine's Day just around the corner, plastic
surgery has become one of the most sought-after gifts this year
… and the labiaplasty is at the top of that list.''
That seemed to explain it. If you're a woman in L.A. and you
have no roses on your desk, your coworkers will all be
whispering, ""Look who got labiaplasty for Valentine's Day.''
That could be embarrassing.
Is it me or is life getting closer to "Nip/Tuck" every day?
Still looking for that Valentine's trinket that says, "I love you enough to look insecure by dropping big coin on you?"
Have I got an item for you:
From the Neiman Marcus Web site. It's a cheesecake.
But not just any cheesecake. It's a Bright Circles Cheesecake, whatever that is.
Here's the copy describing it:
Hot spot—experience a vibrant array of chocolaty browns and lime greens with this fun, sassy work of art.
Okay. I'm down with vibrating hot spots. Especially on V-Day.
Wait. There's more.
• Pistachio butter cake and chocolate decadence cake with pistachio butter cream and orange chocolate ganache.
• Wrapped in Belgian chocolate paper.
• 6" square.
• Serves 10-12.
Okay. Still good. They even throw in a French word - ganache.
What's the bill?
Elegant Cheesecakes Bright Circles Cheesecake Price $190.00 Shipping Only: $27.00
Are they high? For $190, they better come out and wax my truck.
I like the shipping line; Only $27.
Wait, there's more.
To ensure freshness, perishables cannot be delivered on Sat, Sun, Mon, or Holidays.
So, you're going to ream my wallet and you're only giving me four days out of the week for delivery?
If this kind of nonsense is for you, click here to order.
Hat tip to Kat.
Would you like an apple pie with that?
Hearse so good.
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.
...I wrote a centerpiece story Wednesday about Rachael Ray, the culinary cupie doll who has become the face of Food Network. I had a fun time doing the story and talked to some great people.
In the story, I refer to the photos that she posed for in FHM magazine. We couldn't link to them in the paper, obviously, but with the magic of blogging, I can do so here:
A new technique for cleaning a strawberry, perhaps?
Turkey looks a little dry, m'dear.
Dishwashing liquid, Madge? Yes, you're soaking in it!
So I get a little bored sometimes. So the Salad Dogs, Abraham and Lincoln, take the brunt of it. So take me to doggy court.
I decided Thursday night to reward them for having not urinated in the house for 7 continuous hours by throwing them a little whipped cream.
That was not intended to be a Valentine's Day hint, by the way.
Don't make me send you to Betty Ford, bud.
It appears that Graydon Carter got his wish and found the third- and fourth-whitest humans on the planet to pose for his magazine. I guess he couldn't get Johnny and Edgar Winter to commit to being nude on the cover of Vanity Fair. Albinos can be so touchy that way.
What exactly is coursing through the veins of Scarlett Johansen and Kiera Knightly to make their skin this transluscent? Ponds cold cream? 2 percent low-fat? Forty bricks of Philly Cream Cheese?
As Defamer put it:
“We did a few twirls around to make sure you weren’t seeing anything you weren’t supposed to be seeing,” she told reporters; unfortunately, the thing you really “weren’t supposed to be seeing” – an aging, nighttime soap star clawing at the spotlight in an outfit that says, “Hey, everyone! Look at me! I’m in my underwear! Isn’t that outrageous?!” – was still clearly visible to the naked eye.
Hey, Sly? Brian Wilson called. He wants his crazy back.
It was our distinct pleasure to be a guest Thursday evening on Tampa Bay Media Talk, which bills itself as, "an entertainment and educational radio and webcast program dedicated to serving the needs of the Tampa Bay area's creative, cultural and business communities.
The weighty media topic we were invited to discuss?
I'll let the show's newsletter describe:
It was quite the esoteric dissection of media and all its fallibilities as a communication device. At least where frozen pizza is concerned.
They sometimes archive the Web casts. If they do, I'll post a link. They supposedly post podcast versions on iTunes on Fridays. I'll link to that as well if it turns up.
Anyway, the best part was I got to talk to some interesting people, including Marilyn Esperante Figueredo, Vienna LoCicero Santisteban and Lisa Figueredo, who put together a magazine called Cigar City. I had met them once before at the Ybor City Cigar Heritage Festival. They were great to talk to. Their second issue is out and has a great story about Cuban sandwiches. If you can, check out the magazine. It's a great read.
Something about this post's photo headline speaks to me. Don't know why. Maybe it's the Mexican hat reference. Maybe it's the back tat. I don't know.
In a quasi-related story, don't ever run the phrase "sombrero and sex" through the Google image search engine unless you're prepared to see this. It's a photo found on this page of disturbing photo links under the heading, "101. Dwarf wearing sombrero mimes sex with "bootylicious" singer." Which, you know, you have to appreciate for it's honesty.
A guy who goes by the name Eric John Yakus-Francowas tried to eat like Elvis Presley for a day. The guy's Web site seems to indicate he's the sort who enjoys faking his own death and pretending to amputate his limbs. Also working against him: He was featured briefly on "American Idol" last night.
I might be wrong about this, but not even The King himself ate like this:
Statistics of this day:
- lasted just over 6 hours (2 shy of the planned 8)
- over 300 photos taken, and 2 1/2 hours of footage
- Timed vomit sessions, for every 30 minutes (to prevent probable death)
- It was required that Eric dance, and sing along with " a little less conversation" during the 4 or 5 minutes of puking.
- part of the menu:
- 20 Double cheeseburgers
- Fried Banana + peanut butter sandwiches
- Three Dozen eggs
- 2 Lbs. Bacon
- Apple Pie + Cake
- 12 Pack of pepsi
- Full Bucket of fried chicken
- Bread Pudding
- Potatos + apple and cinnamon pudding, or something like it.
- Dozen donuts
- Lots more than that too!!!!
- At the end of the Day, Eric could not grasp "what time was" ...
he had thrown up 17 Pounds of food in 6 hours.
Nice. Don't bother clicking if photos of projectile vomiting bothers you. Otherwise, bon appetit!
So Salad Wife and I give Salad Boy to Salad Mom last night and decide to go to the movies for the first night out in forever. It's a big deal for us. I don't want to say that time alone is infrequent, but we only really go out every time the Catholics change popes.
Anyway, we go to dinner, have a nice time, then look in the paper for a film to go see.
1. Gay cowboy movie
2. Suburban transvestive movie
3. Vampire movie
4. Sequel to unfunny comedy about a man in a fat suit pretending to be a woman so he can score babes
5. An interacial love story
6. A fictionalized international terrorist assassination movie about a real-life event that was dramatic enough to not need fictionalization
7. A biopic about a lisping, baby-voiced crime novelist
8. A Woody Allen movie
9. A horror movie in which a cell phone is the main method of psychological torture
10. A children's film featuring a snaggle-toothed hag
11. A children's fantasy film about kids who can't stay out of their father's wardrobe
12. A Jim Carrey movie
13. An esoteric, thinly veiled-propaganda film about the Naval Academy
14. A tepid black-and-white biopic about a chain-smoking, monotone TV documentarian in the 1950s
16...... oh, nevermind. It just gets worse from there.
We even considered going back to see the overblown, turgid gigantic ape movie, we were so desperate.
The movie we wanted to see, the Academy Award-nominated movie that should have been in theaters, "Walk The Line?" Nowhere to be found without having to drive through Hell and half of Georgia.
In the end, we drove 30 miles south to shop for bargains at an outlet mall before coming home and ordering "Wedding Crashers" pay-per-view. Best first-half of a movie we've seen in a while. The end was so slow, we fell asleep.
That means we didn't pay for overpriced movie tickets. We didn't buy the grossly expensive movie popcorn and beverages. We didn't buy the soundtrack to the film. We won't be buying the movie and then never watching it ever again when it comes out on DVD.
And Hollywood wonders why its losing money?
I have nothing against gay cowboys. Seriously. I'm a big fan of the Village People's work, and that covers about 6 different gay professions, including suede-chapped livestock handlers.
I have nothing against transvestite movies. "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" was a great flick. Terence Stamp should have won the Oscar that year.
I'm not asking for 50 versions of "The Sound of Music." I don't want pablum for pablum's sake. I just want a movie I can go see that doesn't make me feel like I'm being lectured to, lied to, talked down to or ripped off. I'd even settle for a "Porky's" or "Police Academy" at this point. Something in an "Ishtar" or a "Heaven's Gate" looks real appealing right now, if only for the car-crash-by-the-side-of-the-road allure.
But throw me a frickin' bone here, people. There's a reason I watch "Shawshank" every time it comes on. (Which, knowing TBS, will be every three hours for the next 35 years.) There's a reason I can't pull away when "White Men Can't Jump" comes on in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. I can't remember the last time I walked out of a theater and thought, "I'm glad I just invested two hours and $30 of my money to sit with strangers who don't know how to shut up or shut off their cellphones." Was it "Batman Returns?" Was it "Wallace & Grommit?" Hard to say.
Have your people call my people, Hollywood. We'll do dinner and a movie. Just make a good one, for crissakes. That's all we ask.
Until then, I'll stick to cable.
To quote Mr. Ed: "There's only one thing worse than a talking horse, and that's a talking man."
A man, who just so happens to be driving a horse through a fast-food drive-thru and teaching him how to fetch him a beer.
Hell, I can't even get my dogs to come in out of a driving rainstorm, much less fetch me a brewski.
So, like I said, I've been busy writing words for The Man.
But I've not been too busy to conduct a Super Bowl of Frozen Pizza.
I was dispatched to create such a contest in my new role as food writer for The Tribune. So much for my desire for a career in manual labor.
Anyway, Rommie and I did our advance work, scouring the aisles of a local grocery store that rhymes with the word "Ublix" and decided to pit eight pizzas against each other in a lights-out culinary cage match.
The ultimate pizza grail: The Boyardee Trophy.
Hey, it was the best I could do with a pizza cutter, a red pepper shaker, a hammer and a flat-head screwdriver.
We crammed some Totino's in the barrel of it to give the thing some color.
You normally have to go to a strip club to see men with faces this serious.
Or so I've heard.
That's one small slice of Freschetta Three Cheese and Bacon pizza for a man, one giant slice for mankind.
Tampa hasn't seen judging this intense since... well, I have to go back to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship.
Speaking of which, the slice of Celeste supreme pizza I ate did give off the faint flavor of dachshund. I'm sure it's just me.
Albert "Bucified Bert" Owens lent the tasting a bit of his celebrity. Up until he started judging pizza on the merits of their similarity to Tampa Bay Buccaneers colors.
A sad note: We learned after the tasting that the Tony's mascot had been wiretapped and later detained as a "person of suspicion."
If you're gonna eat pizza, you've gotta come Gramatica-ly correct.
Our finalists: Freschetta Sauce Stuffed Supreme Pizza With Grilled Vegetables versus Red Baron Classic Special Deluxe
Not to be missed: the NFL Films-style video we shot of the playoff. You get to see a grown Salad Man wreck his knee for professional purposes.