You never know what you'll see on any given day while driving in Tampa.
Like this car.
Looks normal enough, right?
Check out the plate.
There's a "biting your pecker" joke in here somewhere, but I'm not going to be the one to make it. Nope. Not me. I have higher standards.
Heeding to that level of class, there's this vehicle:
His tag is a verbal canvas for his emotions as well.
Buc me??? No, pal. Buc you, my friend. And the horse you rode in on.
Whew. I feel better now that I've gotten that off my chest.
PREVIOUS ADVENTURES IN TRAFFIC:
Such a dirty mess.
How cheep can you be?
I'm super! Thanks for asking.
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'm playing Beep Ball today.
Those who witnessed my cat-like reflexes during filming of the Super Bowl of Frozen Pizza video know there is good reason for fear.
How much would a satanic lemon be worth?
Don't try making this Russian Roulette drink at home, kids.
Or, what the hell... try it. I don't care. Just don't sue the crap out of me for showing it to you when you become the Richard Pryor of bartenders.
Two years ago this time, Tampa was going ga-ga over the Tampa Bay Lightning's run for the Stanley Cup.
This year... eh, not so much.
Sure, people are excited that the Bolts are back in the playoffs. But they're somewhat skeptical about how far they'll go. They didn't exactly surge into the last playoff spot in their division.
Either way, it doesn't matter, because Thunder Bug, the team's mascot, is back on the roof of The Forum That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Just like 2004, he's up there trying to rally fans to buy playoff tickets to Tuesday night's game. He's again pledging to camp out until the games are sold out.
You might remember that the Salad visited Thunder Bug's alter ego on the roof last time around.
We've got another pass to go up again. If it happens, we'll post the photos here.
Anyway, their moving crew showed up. There were four crew members and a foreman.
And Bender the 20-pound Chihuahua.
Bender was quite the specimen.
His owner, the foreman who feels a need to wear his phone like an earring so he's never out of touch with the outside world, takes him everywhere he goes. The dog is only 8 years old.
You get a better sense of Bender's girth from the side.
"One week, he gained two pounds,'' the foreman said.
There was real pride in his voice.
This wasn't a Chihuahua. This was a walking ottoman.
Okay, a very sleeeepy ottoman.
I get this look after Thanksgiving dinner when someone scratches me on the neck. Doesn't happen real often.
Sing along with me now:
Low rider drives a little slower...
Low rider is a real goer...
Take a little trip,
Take a little trip,
Take a little trip and see....
Bender eventually got bored and assumed his usual duty (heh, I said doody) supervising the moving crew.
There really wasn't a great elevation change between Standing Bender and Laying Down Bender.
He also sort of mushed when he hit the concrete.
Reminded me of...
The dimply horse in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Opera Doc."
This was one fat dog.
Last time we took a gander at the dining options in the vending machines (nee "Wheel of Death") at Chez Trib, there were wayyyyyy too many Big Az options.
A lot has happened since then.
Namely, they put in a bunch of new vending machines.
They're lovely. Really. Couldn't be happier.
Now if they'd only tweak the contents.
Let's take a look, shall we?
Mmmmm. I love me some fajitas. My guess is this is going to fall short of the sizzling platter I enjoy at Estellas.
What makes it a "deluxe" sandwich? There are two "fresh" uncooked strips of bacon in each package.
I've always wondered what the uvula dangling in the back of my throat tastes like. Apparently it would only cost me $2 to find out.
What else is for sale?
I wonder, though. What makes it "supreme?"
Them's good eats.
I know, I know. Easter is over.
But my friend Charles sends along this link to Easter's version of the Thanksgiving Turducken. (A boneless chicken that's been crammed into the five-hole of a boneless duck, which is then stuffed into a boneless turkey.)
For Easter, Wordman over at Asteroid came up with a brilliant Doppler modification. He took a Cadbury egg and stuffed it into a marshmallow Peep. He then stuffed that into... well, I'll let him tell you:
The outer layer finally makes good use of one of the more odious culinary travesties, the irritating hollow bunny. As a kid, nothing was more annoying that thinking you’d been given a huge block of chocolate, and it turns out to be empty. To get the egg-stuffed peep goodness into this abomination, first you must open the bottom. Anything worth doing is worth doing with power tools, so take a dremel and cut around the perimeter of the bottom:
Once the hole is made, stuff the now egg-bloated peeps into the bunny. Note that some hollow bunnies suck even more than others, and crack and fall apart really easily, so be careful. Once you’re done, put the bottom back on. The really ambitious might try re-melting the seam in the bottom closed with a crème brûlée torch.
You really owe it to yourself to see the final version. It's so good, I wish I had been stupid enough to think of it.
Been a while since I updated the Side Salad Frappr map.
So far, we're at 52 people and counting - if you include the fake ones a buddy of mine lobbed on there.
Feel free to put one of your place markers on there.
I also have pushed the limits of what could be described as "friendship" online on the Side Salad MySpace page.
Yes, my list of friends is up to 39. I'd be more proud if a dozen of them weren't links to sites that are either bogus (like the one for Hillsborough County Commissioner Ronda Storms) or profiles by celebrities (like the various cast members of "The Office").
One that I'm giddy about? Apparently, Kevin Federline - K-Fed himself - keeps a MySpace page. It's too dumb not to be authentic.
I always wondered how the Easter bunny delivered all those eggs.
I wonder no more. Bob the Damn Bunny explains it perfectly.
...photos of orangutans eating hard-boiled eggs at the Lowry Park Zoo:
They do this every year at the zoo right before Easter. Dee Dee is the one pictured above. The top two photos are of the dominant male, Rango.
Rachel Nelson, the P.R. director at the zoo, writes:
The primate keepers hide about 2 dozen hard-boiled eggs, along with a few “peeps” and some of their regular diet (produce). Most of the orangs (all but the baby) go for the eggs right away. They usually pop the whole egg into their mouths and chew, then spit the colored shell back out. (We use non-toxic dye, of course.) At one point this morning, Rango had 5 eggs in his mouth at one time – right about the time of the earlier photo I sent. Then he spit them back out and played with them for a while. All the eggs are gone at this point, but Easter baskets, bonnets and some toys remain. Like children, some like the “packaging” better than what’s inside.
Oh. Wait. I shouldn't be laughing about this.
There are selections to be made for both men and women, so do me a favor and vote once, vote twice, vote a million times.
The genesis for this Big Question is a trip to Vegas by a colleague at work last weekend for a bachelorette party. Ten women, Vegas, no significant others in the equation. You do the math.
Before she left, she said she needed a "Vegas name" to go by for the weekend. Since she had one on her desk, I suggested the name "Orchid." She liked it and took it along as a handle for the trip.
I guess it must have worked. When she came back, she shared this wonderful photo:
There is so much visual doubloon here:
*The diminuitive bartender.
*His meaty digits straining to maintain purchase on the bottle's neck.
*Orchid's inverted drinking position.
*The fact she has no idea what is being poured into her mouth.
*The fact she appears to be smiling/laughing about what is happening.
*The wad of cash Wee Man is palming in his left hand.
*The whistle perched jauntily between his lips. (As if being dressed in a leprechaun costume on top of a bar didn't call enough attention.)
*His matching pair of Keds.
*The fact this is taking place during daylight hours.
Remember kids, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Until you come back, after which it happens on Side Salad.
When I was about 10 years old - the tender age Salad Boy is now - my Aunt Betty told me three things:
1. All girls look the same in the dark.
2. If you don't like the way a girl looks, put a bag over her head.
3. You can't help who your relatives are.
I'm not making this up.
Anyway, about 10 years ago, when my grandmother passed away, we were going through her belongings. There was clothing with the overwhelming scent of mothballs, handfulls of all kinds of rosaries and reams of prayer cards that honored Catholic saints and miraculous events (the Infant Jesus of Prague was a big hit with her) and, of course, old photographs.
Buried deep in one box was the following photo of my great-grandfather, Bruno Reitano:
Finding this photo was like finding the Rosetta Stone for me.
It explained so much: The fondness for drinking beer in a tropical setting. The reluctance to feel guilt for public displays of tomfoolery. The enjoyment in wearing ridiculous costumes. Clearly this was a seminal moment.
I loved the photo so much, I framed it and put it on my desk at work. People would come by and ask who it was. I'd tell them and they would never believe me.
I didn't try to read too much into the photo, though. I just enjoyed having it there. And it helped me pass down what then became a time-honored tradition.
Then a couple years ago, one of my colleagues at work, Karen, brought me a greeting card with this photo on the front:
This told me even more: My great-grandfather was a man who followed a trend - even when it involved potential scorn and ridicule.
Anyway, I was clearing out some boxes the other day, and I came across some old photos. I also knew Salad Mom had boxes of old photos at her place, so I asked her to bring some by so I could hook up the scanner and preserve them.
In sorting through them, I tripped across this photo. Again, it was a shot of my great-grandfather:
That's right. He's wearing a sombrero.
I'll now pause for dramatic effect.
All I can say is, "Wow."
My Aunt Betty was right; you really can't help who your relatives are. Mainly because your relatives are ... you.
Not only is this an additional clue to the origin of the species buried within a very special episode of "CSI: Salad Man," it also is, without a doubt, the very best addition to The Sombrero Project (and its subsequent parts (Dos, Tres and Quatro and Cinco and Seis).
At this moment, I am a man totally and entirely in awe of natural selection.
It's been a busy week at Salad Central. In addition to Passover coverage (see below), I also wrote about all the food shows popping up on non-Food Network channels.
Included in that was a Q&A I did with Anthony Bourdain, host of "No Reservations" on Travel Channel and author of the culinary tell-all "Kitchen Confidential; Adventures In The Culinary Underbelly."
To get a sense of his essence, be sure to go to this page full of sound clips of Bourdain spouting off.
"India's perhaps the one country where I find myself liking vegetarians and I myself can find myself eating vegetarian for extended periods of time without being unhappy about it."
"When it comes to alcohol, my advice to travelers is, you know, never turn down the offer of a drink. You find out so much more. You make friends quickly. Sometimes that's gonna mean, uh, bathtub moonshine ... cloudy bathtub moonshine in a clear plastic bottle you have to strain the bugs out of. Other times it means the smooth clean taste of the local brew."
"You know, I've given up enough vices already. I've given up some really serious vices and beaten the odds. I think I deserve to hold on ... to cling to the vices that remain. No, I'm not giving up any of them."
"Happy hour 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.? That's a healthy breakfast."
Bourdain is one of those interviews that, at the end of it, you almost feel like you have too much good material to use.
We should all suffer like that.
Hello and welcome to PassOvercompensation day.
Not content to honor the observance with one story in the paper today about tonight's seder, I apparently felt the need to contribute a story about vegetarian Jews and the carnivorous bondage from which they seek to free themselves.
A side note: If you ever get a chance to speak with Kate in a consensual phone conversation, take her up on it. She's one funny shiksa.
Kate is already anticipating the calls I'm going to get. My favorite suggestion:
"A hundred Jews in the Bay area. This is the best you could do?"
So far, I'm good, but the day is early.
Then again, think about what would have happened if I would have followed up this P.R. pitch with a story:
Sent: Tue 4/11/2006 5:02 PM
Subject: New Holiday: Gassover
Those big family Seders and stacks of matzo we enjoy at Passover have an unspoken dark side—one that’s among society’s last taboos: the flatulence that results from gastrointestinal distress.
Instead of reflecting on the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt, we end up struggling to contain the exodus of gas.
Flatulence, irritable bowels, heartburn, indigestion, and growling guts are common Passover conditions that can be treated without polluting our bodies with antacids and other over-the-counter drugs that, for many people, don’t even work.
Interview Bill Downs, one of the world’s foremost experts on diet and digestion, and find out how Jewish families can avoid Passover eating hazards—especially certain holiday foods and treats that have seriously adverse effects on dieters and diabetics.
In a word: Oy.
And now, if you'll indulge me for a moment, I have a presentation to make. (Feel free to join in.):
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Salad Wife.
Happy birthday to you.
To me, you'll always be the adorable little girl vaccuuming in go-go boots with Cocoa Puffs.
...photos of downtown Tampa at night.
There's a nice story today by Dave Simanoff about the demolition of Maas Brothers building in downtown Tampa.
Just remember, you read it and saw the photos here first, ladies and germs.
Courtesy, as always, of T-Shirt Hell:
I've heard of eating your young, but c'mon...
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Picture This Sonogram Cookies are available at www.goodfortunes.com for $27 for 12 cookies.
Best Salad birthday wishes go out to Autumn today.
May your sombrero always provide you shade and may the wind always blow your mullet behind you.
In the first installment of a new nutrition column I'm doing, (go ahead and laugh. It's okay.), I wrote last week about the new Wild Oats Natural Marketplace on Dale Mabry in Tampa.
I mentioned in the column that celebrity chef Tyler Florence would be there and I arranged to chat with him before the preview opening started on Tuesday night, so I thought I'd drop by and see the festivities firsthand.
I've been to store openings before. Lots of them. This one had a whole different feel to it.
A gigantic line snaked out into the parking lot. One woman said she lined up at 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. opening. The parking garage and nearby lots in front Home Depot, Total Wine and an abandoned Toys R Us were filled to capacity.
Guess I maybe shouldn't have mentioned that Tyler Florence would be there. The place was a mob scene.
The store is beautiful inside. (I took this shot before doors opened.) If you groove on the natural/organic/vitamin scene, this is your Xanadu. There's a grill, an espresso and smoothie bar, a bulk food section, meat and seafood and a gigantic cheese section.
The store did its best to accomodate the hoarde, including having staffers at the ready to hand out samples on gigantic platters as shoppers entered.
One thing I hadn't expected to see?
I saw him before the opening talking on his cell phone. I swear.
I did everything I could to get it on film. I was not successful.
It will be my life's main regret.
I asked the woman manning the chocolate dipping fountain how this qualified as healthy. She was at a loss for words.
"Dark chocolate is good for you," I offered.
"Yes, that's it," she said.
Oh, and there were strawberries being used for dipping.
That's the ticket.
But Florence was the main attraction. I interviewed him for about 25 minutes before we emerged from a manager's office. I half expected him to wait for his entourage to escort him to the book signing table or to his cooking stage for the Spaghetti Putanesca demo he was going to do. Instead, he plunged into the masses, making his way through the store before being corraled by handlers and guided to the signing.
At one point, he excused himself as he wedged past a group of women. I watched as two of them waited until he was a safe distance away before they jumped up and down screaming like they'd just seen Bono or something.
A side note: Florence was running late to the opening. Seems that he was doing TV interviews by satellite all afternoon Tuesday and the metal clip that affixed the earpiece wire to his collar to keep it from slipping instead ran down the back of his shirt.
"When it yanked down my shirt, it scratched my back," he said.
An assistant noticed that there was a trail of blood down the back of his shirt, so they ran back to his hotel and changed clothes. His girlfriend Evyn Block, here on the left, even brought a second set for him, just in case.
My food story on Devil Rays skipper Joe Maddon got a nice mention Monday in the Wall Street Journal's online edition. They have a column called the Daily Fix does a roundup of links around the Web. This one was a baseball preseason roundup (subscription required).
You can see an excerpt of the story by clicking here.
A side note: The portion they quoted included a mention of Maddon's hometown. In my story, I misspelled the town's name. It's Hazleton, Pa., not Hazelton, Pa.
So my first mention in the WSJ includes a fact error.
A nice touch, don't you think?
I'm driving through Winter Haven the other day with Rommie and Salad Boy when all of a sudden, Rommie says, "GIMMETHECAMERA, GIMMETHECAMERA, GIMMETHECAMERA."
I frantically fumble around in the center console, come up with the well-worn Canon and turn it on for him to shoot a photo. Of what, I'm not certain. But if Rommie is this excited, it has to be more than worthy. Maybe there's a plane tumbling to the ground. Or a hostage standoff somewhere. Maybe he saw Elvis. I don't know.
I ask him what the intended target is. He points to the Burger King next to us at a red light:
Then he points to the marquee.
Funny. I always thought breakfast was more meatastic or meatriffic than meatnormous.
Because I know so many Salad visitors are connoisseurs of page design, layout and photography, allow me to review some recent pages:
And, in the interest of fairness and balance...
Not to turn this from Side Salad into Sports Salad, but there's a nice mini-profile of new Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon in Sports Illustrated this week. He's listed among "20 To Watch" in the majors. (To see a readable version of the page, click here.)
Maddon is also the source of my favorite food story so far this week. This is from a notes column by Ed Encina at the Tampa Tribune, the new Rays beat writer. Ed's doing a great job at spotting little moments that make the game great:
BALTIMORE - Beanie Maddon packed a lunch for her son for his first day on the job.
She walked down to the corner of the visitor’s dugout at Oriole Park and peered in looking for her son, holding a bag that contained a hoagie with ham, salami, cheese, onions and hot peppers.
Joe Maddon then caught the eye of his 73-year-old mother, who had made the 2 1/2 -hour drive south from their hometown of Hazleton, Pa., to see her son’s first day as Rays manager. His sister, Carmine Parlatore, was also along for support.
The rule, Maddon jokes, is that any visitors from Hazleton - population: 25,000 - must bring a hoagie from the Third Base Luncheonette in Hazleton, where Beanie still works as a waitress, or a steak and cheese sub from Bellhop’s, or some cold pizza from Senape’s.
“Especially if I’m leaving them tickets,” Maddon said.
I railed against some tired Cinderella metaphors the other day.
Now it's time to cry out against bad food metaphors.
Last night, during the pregame B.S. on CBS, host Greg Gumbell asked analyst Clark Kellogg for his opinion on what viewers could expect from the game.
Kellogg then made his first mistake: opening his mouth.
"Let's start with Corey Brewer," he said, referring to the clutch player from the University of Florida.
Cool, I thought. He's picking someone who doesn't get a lot of face time. He's not going for Joanick Noah, the monumentally talented center for the Gators. He's not focusing on coach Billy Donovan. He's going for impact, not flash.
Then Kellog launched this beauty:
"His game is as versatile as a potato," Kellogg said. "He can come baked or hashed, fried or mashed."
WTF do potatoes have to do with this, Clark? And what about Julienne? You forgot Julienne. Is Corey Brewer not a Julienne kind of player? Can you not boil him? What about baking? I bet he'd taste crispy if you wrapped him in foil and oiled and salted his skin, Clark. And don't forget the mayo. I'd hazard a guess that Corey would make a dandy potato salad. New York-Style Red. Mmmm. My favorite.
Jesus Jones on a jump rope.
Not deterred by his own lack of verbal acuity, Kellogg continued, trying to back up his weak-sauce metaphor:
"This guy has the versatility to steal offensively and the size and length defensively to really be a problem for UCLA on the perimeter."
Steal offensively? Length on the perimeter? Wha?
Sorry, but you lost me at the spud, dude.
I was so incredulous at what I'd heard, I went back to the DVR and kept replaying it for 20 minutes, like it was the Zapruder film or something. My son was laughing hysterically. At halftime, I had to go back to the clip. When my friend Larry called from Maryland late in the second half, I rewound the pregame and held up the phone to my stereo speakers so he could hear it. Then I replayed it again for him.
Even worse, after Brewer had a phenomenal game, Kellogg couldn't resist revisiting the tuber theme.
"I told you," he said with just minutes left in the game, "This guy is like a potato."
No, Clark. You're the potato. And whoever dug you up ought to put you back in the ground where they found you.
Very cool idea: the Tampa Blog Tumbler.
What is it?
I'll let Dave explain:
All my favorite blogs are in the Tumbler here, but you're free to submit yours. What you're looking at is the early tier effort but I hope to expand on things there. Asssssss usual, the blogging app driving this site is my own Battle Blog engine, so this is a double-whammy of a personal project.
It's simple to roll through the Tumbler. You'll find it's much easier than "rings" or chains because the controls, thanks to otherwise antiquidated framing technieus (yecch!), stay in one place at the bottom. You'll also find this to be an enhancement to blog aggregation which has you scanning blog headlines and clicking through if you're interested. I love doing that when time is of the essence or I'm just being efficient with myself. But other times I really enjoy sitting down with coffee and just panning through the full content as composed by others. I want to see their headlines, experience their art, their talent for composition and presentation, and everything else overall. That's where the Tumbler really comes in handy for me. Give it a whirl and see if you don't agree!
How 'bout them Gators!
Wow. Wow. Wow. All I can say is wow.
The Florida Gators will be playing for the NCAA men's basketball national championship Monday night.
I knew it would happen all along.
In my Yahoo Pick 'em bracket, I chose the Gators to go all the way:
Okay, so I had them playing Kansas, but I did pick Florida for the finals and for them to win it all.
Which means, of course, that my bracket, nicknamed the Death Ballers, could win it all:
There's only one drawback to all of this hoops hooplay, however: the comparisons between Florida and it's Final Four opponent, George Mason.
See, George Mason shouldn't have gotten that far. And anytime your basketball reach extends your grasp, well, that calls for the nation's sports section headline writers to stretch the boundaries of credibility by overuse of tired metaphors.
Cinderella Chomped: George Mason's run finally ended Temple Daily Telegram, TX
Gators end Patriots' fairy tale
The Journal News.com
George Mason is a true Cinderella
New Albany Tribune, IN
Cinderella bitten by Gator
Put away the slipper, it's meaningless now
Midnight for Cinderella at College Basketball's Big Dance
Voice of America
Wrong ending on the Cinderella story
Send Cinderella home
Times Herald-Record, NY
Gators deny Cinderella a chance
Contra Costa Times
Gators deny Cinderella a chance
Contra Costa Times
Gators end George Mason's Cinderella run
The Palm Beach Post
Gators slam brakes on Cinderella's run
Cinderella's ball is over
London Free Press
Gators gobble up Cinderella
Hot Gators send Cinderella home
Inside Bay Area
UF sends Cinderella home
Gators Use 3-Pointers to Shatter Cinderella's Slipper in Final Four Rout
Florida ends George Mason's Cinderella run, advances to title bout
The Sports Network
Cinderella run finally ends for George Mason
San Antonio Express News
Billy’s club beats down Cinderella
Kansas City Star
Baby Gators end Cinderella's streak
The Auburn Citizen
Florida sends Cinderella home
Cinderella meets the Gators
Cinderella tripped up at the ball
Peoria Journal Star
Sun 'n' surf showdown Noah, Florida send Cinderella home early
Fairy tale ends Patriots fall to Gators, 73-58
Take that, Cinderella!
The Pueblo Chieftain ,br>
Mason took Cinderella to unthinkable heights
Florida writes The End for GMU fairy tale
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Gator fans revel in own Cinderella story
The Palm Beach Post
Cinderella team's win huge for local printer
Fairy tale ends Patriots fall to Gators, 73-58
Cinderella gets dumped
The Columbus Dispatch
Cinderella bitten by Gator
Patriots Suffer Glass Slippage
Los Angeles Times
SEC's Florida shatters slipper of Cinderella
San Diego Union-Tribune,br>
SEC's Florida shatters slipper of Cinderella
San Diego Union-Tribune
Florida strikes 12 (treys) and sends Cinderella home
The Morning Call
Clock strikes midnight on Cinderella George Mason
The Toledo Blade
Florida rewrites fairy tale for Cinderella team GMU
Clock strikes midnight for Cinderella Patriots
The Herald News
Some, however, decided to break some new trail and wear out a few other tired metaphors:
Mason jarred as Gators roll
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Gators ride Noah's ark to US basketball Final Four
AFP via Yahoo! News
This one sounds downright painful:
Balls fall Gators way