This shirt was so much more hilarious on Saturday morning than on Saturday night.
Sunday's a big day. The excitement, well, it's almost palpable.
Yes, it's the day the Devil Rays lose their diablo.
Media reports have revealed the team's new name will be the Tampa Bay Rays, but team officials wouldn't confirm that Friday.
It will be the first time in more than 40 years that a professional baseball team has changed its name without moving to a new city. In 1965, the Houston Colt .45s became the Astros in honor of the local space industry.
Some Tampa Bay sports fans never warmed to the nickname of the nine-year-old expansion team. A few took issue with the less-than-pious nickname. Others disliked the name because that breed of ray (manta birostris) isn't a regular visitor of area waters.
Among sports fans, the team's string of losing seasons turned the Devil Rays' name into a euphemism for failure.
'There's so much negative associated with the name,' said Howard Bloom, who publishes the Web site Sports Business News. 'The image can't get any worse than it has been, so the name change can only be a positive.'
For critics of the old name, the trouble started in 1995.
Former principal owner Vince Naimoli drew 7,000 suggestions when he asked the public for help choosing a team name for the new franchise.
'It's like naming a baby,' Naimoli told The Tampa Tribune at the time. 'This is our new baseball baby, and we're going to give all the aunts and uncles the chance to name it.'
Yeah, it was a Naimoli's baby, alright. Rosemary's Baby.
What happens when Lou Piniella has nothing else to yell about? Does he grumble that the champagne isn't Korbel? If it is Korbel, does he kvetch that it's not another brand name bubbly? Does he still find some way to throw his hat and choke a child? We may never know the answer, because we're too lazy to ask anyone. And at this hour, it would be rude to ask the Cubs anything, other than what they want for breakfast, because they're all tuckered out from winning the NL Central last night.
I say all this to show how displeased I am with the current condition of the University of Florida Gators game against Auburn, which at this moment in the third quarter is 14-3 in favor of the Tigers.
You know the game is bad when I break away to do a crap Devil Rays post in the middle of it.
I've interviewed plenty of celebrities during my career. World famous chefs. Music superstars. Super Bowl coaches and quarterbacks. NASCAR racers. Presidential candidates. The last guy to step on the moon. The guy who lit the Olympic cauldron at the L.A. Olympics. This guy. This guy. Dave Thomas from Wendy's. Wendy herself.
But only once has someone famous told me a joke about a duck fart: John Hillstrand, Alaska King Crab fisherman from the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch." (John's on the left. Andy's on the right. They insisted we pose for a photo.)
"Know how you make a duck fart?" John said with a voice that sounded like it had too many cigarettes in it.
He moved in closer for the kill and lowered his voice to a purr.
"You squeeze him."
I met the brothers - the self-proclaimed Bad Boys of the Bering Sea - last night at the opening of the new Council Oak steak house at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. They'd been in town for a week doing media interviews and riding Harleys with fellow fisherman Phil Harris from the show..
Their Discovery Channel bio describe them thusly:
Brothers Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand share the skippering duties on board their family-operated vessel, the Time Bandit. Designed by the Hillstrands' father and custom-built by the brothers, the boat features luxuries unheard of on other crab boats, such as staterooms with queen-sized beds, a four-person sauna and a dishwasher.
Johnathan is the captain during king crab season. He runs a tight ship and is not afraid to speak his mind. When he's not embracing the elements at sea, the Homer, Alaska, resident enjoys a zest for life on the edge that includes riding a Harley that is rigged to rocket to 120 mph at the touch of a button.
Andy Hillstrand is skipper during opilio season and also runs the business side. During the off-season, Andy spends time at his ranch in Indiana, where he engages in his other passion -- training horses.
The youngest of the brothers, Deckhand Neal Hillstrand is responsible for prepping the boat at the start of each season and serves as the cook. Deckhand Nathan Vandecoevering also returns to fish on the Time Bandit.
I asked if there was such a thing as "crab groupies." They confirmed that there were.
"He gets them all," Andy said.
"Must be the backwards hat, the goatee and the saving-guys at sea thing," I said.
"Yep," Andy said. "The saving guys thing was big."
Here's a clip from the show:
"This is my best friend in the world," Andy told me.
Their other brother, Neal, is the cook onboard who rarely gets on the show. They said he was an amazing cook. But both Andy and John like to cook as well.
We sort of hit it off after I told them I had lived in Alaska and had gone crab fishing off Nome on the Bering Sea while I was covering the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 1991.
"You went out on the ice?" Andy asked?
Yeah, I said. A guy I roomed with for the end of the race in Nome took me out a couple miles on his snow machine on the frozen Norton Sound during the Iditarod to pull up a trap. I had to hold the rifle in case a polar bear showed up. We lost sight of land at one point when a ground blizzard blew the horizon out of view. Our compass froze over. We made it home okay, but I can confirm that you don't want to lose your bearings on the Bering Sea.
"We don't like hard water," John said.
Makes sense. During one show last season, the Time Bandit was nearly crushed near Dutch Harbor after the crew unloaded the boat's catch.
"The only hard water we like is in our drinks," Andy said.
I asked which they were more tired of, crab or that damn Bon Jovi song the show uses as the theme in the opening credits.
"We love Bon Jovi, man!" Andy said.
"They called and asked if we could autograph some shirts," John said, sounding shocked. "They called us!"
An interesting note: Andy said that back in the '80s, he put that very song to some home video of them hauling in crabs. Andy was especially stoked Thursday night because he had just met Robin Zander of Cheap Trick.
"He said he's a big fan of the show," Andy said. "I was, like, Robin Zander, dude. No way."
Where was the worst place they've ever been pinched by a crab?
"I was pinched once on the penis," Andy said. "And that was with the crusher claw."
What they hate: crab cakes.
"Crab cakes can kiss my ass," John said.
They'll be selling fresh-packed crab direct to fans starting in October from their Web site.
When I asked if they ever thought crabbing would make them famous, they both shook their heads.
"Nobody should get famous from crabbing," Andy said.
When I can clean up the audio - we recorded what I hoped would be a podcast, but the only semi-quiet place we could find was in a plexiglas wine room that sounded like an echo chamber - I'll post a link to it here.
Until then, check them out this weekend on my buddy Tony Fatso's On The Grill radio show at 3 p.m. Saturday on WFLA AM.
I was in the Wild Oats market on Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa the other day with a colleague checking out a few items at the store.
But we noticed that a lot of the food – even at this place which is heralded as a bastion of healthier eating – still wasn’t very local.
The capper was that they had a freezer box near the checkout touting all-natural cocktail ice cubes.
I thought, “This would be enough to give Alice Waters an anyeurism.”
Yesterday, I had the thrill of speaking with Waters, founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., for a Table Convesations podcast. Since her restaurant opened in 1972, Waters has been credited with revolutionizing American cooking during the past three decades. with her emphasis on using local ingredients grown seasonally by farmers who are committed to sustainable, organic agriculture.
The New York Times once said about her, “More than any other single figure, she was instrumental in developing New American Cuisine — an adventurous, frequently improvisational use of the finest American ingredients, and a simple and straightforward approach to their preparation.”
Waters was a delightful conversationalist during our interview. When I first called, I made sure she knew I would be recording our chat for a podcast.
"Well," she said, with a slight hesitation that made me think she might back out. "I guess I better be articulate."
Her ninth cookbook, ''The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes From a Delicious Revolution'' is being published on Oct. 2 by Clarkson Potter. The book, which includes more than 200 recipes, has been described as a primer for anyone who is interested in making delicious food.
My other Alice Waters anecdote:
I was in Berkeley at a multimedia fellowship a few years back, about a week after I started covering the food beat full-time. Another fellow who knew I was a food writer bragged he was going to Chez Panisse that night with a friend to meet Alice Waters. I, of course, had no idea what a Chez Panisse was or why it was important, much less who Alice Waters was. He was sufficiently unimpressed with me for the rest of the fellowship. I don't know that I blame him. I couldn't have been a bigger food noob.
At that moment, I was maybe – maybe – about six blocks from the restaurant.
In the years since, I’ve absorbed just about everything I could find out about her, including watching the Sundance channel episode of "Iconoclasts" that showcased her friendship with Mikhail Baryshnikov.
I'll always regret not being able to eat her food.
To hear the podcast, click here.
* Cross-posted at The Stew.
Sunset. Tampa, FL. , 7:04 p.m. Sept. 24, 2007
PREVIOUS MOMENTS OF ZEN
It's hard to believe, given how big a fan I am of all things stupid, that it's been more than two years since my last hardcore Crap Safari, and it was kind of lame at that. The previous one I went on at the Ruskin Flea Market was much more productive.
Anyway, so when Salad Wife and Salad Mother-In-Law mentioned going to Southern Hospitality Furniture & Decor in Plant City last weekend, I jumped at the chance.
SoHo, as they call it, is chock full of stuff you always fear will end up in your house when you're too elderly to still have taste.
Its main redeeming qualities: you can find good prices on unique furniture and inexpensive stuff to decorate with. The place has a decent frame shop as well. And more candles than the Vatican. Oh, and the staff is helpful and nice.
But if you go, go for the kitsch.
I call this figurine, "Bambi's Sweet Revenge."
I love that the 10-point buck is wearing a cammo hat as well.
Count the conceits with me, will you?
1. Baby dolphin swimming next to dissected mother dolphin.
2. Mother dolphin has an entire undersea diorama in her thoracic cavity.
3. Mother dolphin's diorama includes an entire seabed ecosystem with sand, coral and underwater plant life.
4. Mother dolphin's diorama also is inhabited by a miniature dolphin, as well as a clam, snail and two other reef fish.
Dead baby angel. How quaint.
It's more than a ceramic shoe.
It's the ugliest potpourri burner ever.
Talk about value-added!
:::Putting on my best Ricky Bobby voice::::
"Dearest 8-pound, 5-ounce Musical Baby Jesus..."
I love that they mix the Old Testament story of the ark with the New Testament nativity tale.
Where's Noah? Pushed overboard, no doubt.
Nozzle placement was key on this one.
Oh. My. God.
A screaming eagle mounted on a buffalo skull with two feathered dream catchers?
I have found my crap grail.
It should shock no one that when I found out this was out of stock, I special-ordered one.
To see the rest of the SoHo crap safari, click here.
No subliminal goatse for me today, thank you.
So, I'm still trying to absorb the news nugget from yesterday that, apparently, Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady from "The Brady Bunch") has written a memoir in which she allegedly describes a brief bit of exploratory sexual spelunking with Eve Plumb, who co-starred on the show as Marcia's sister, Jan.
This is the third sexual bombshell to come from the show, if you include that Mr. Brady was gay in real life and that Florence Henderson and Barry Williams once went on a date. There's no word yet on whether Cindy Brady explored the "lethbian" side of the street with her Kitty Karry-All doll.
The Marcia-Jan thing, though, has rocked me to my core. All this time I had been focused on the boy-girl thing between the oldest Brady siblings. Truth be told, I was still processing the Alice/Sam the Butcher combo platter. Didn't even occur to me to head the other direction. So much for straight man's gaydar.
Considering how bad my perception is on this sort of thing, it got me to thinking about other shows I grew up with. Perhaps I had missed other possible combinations.
ANALYSIS: This makes more sense than most from a character standpoint. First, because both were hot enough to melt the face off that Nazi in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." But think of it from their standpoint; if you were these two, what are your other options?
* An obese, easily frightened sailor whose weight problem probably makes him a Cialis candidate.
* An anorexic moron who wears long sleeves in the tropics.
* A Dockers-wearing brainiac who'd rather make a battery with six coconuts and a bicycle.
* A wrinkled, married millionaire who sounds like Mr. Magoo.
Not exactly a Chippendales revue on that buffet. (Lovey, my friends, is not up for discussion.)
Couldn't blame Mary Ann if she buzzed around with her fellow Honeybee. After all, you can't wait for Kurt Russell to show up as Jungle Boy every week. Sometimes when you're on a deserted island, you just gotta.
HOTNESS QUOTIENT: 8
ANALYSIS: The opening credits were a tipoff: An inference that three women were swimming nude in the water tower. (Remember how they had to pull their dresses back over the side to get dressed?) Oh, and they lived in "Hooterville." The hottest guy in town was Sam Drucker. The only thing that kept this from turning into a '60s version of "The L Word" was that dog who was swimming with them in the water tower. That he pulled a dress back over the side hints at more weirdness than we care to imagine.
HOTNESS QUOTIENT (minus the dog): 5
Ponds cold cream that goth makeup off DeCarlo and you would have found a scorching hot MILF (Monster I'd Like ... well, you know the rest). That Pat Priest as Marilyn could parachute into this house and not make Grandpa lose his vampiric mind set off bells in my head as a kid that all was not well at the International House of Munster. Still, the older funereal matriarch/blond bombshell thing doesn't really light any matches now, does it?
HOTNESS QUOTIENT: 1
ANALYSIS: Long before Ellen and Portia, there was Miss Jane Hathaway and Ellie May Clampett. Stay with me here. Homely meets beauty... No? Okay. You're right. Something about Ellie May didn't work for me. Maybe it was the rope belt. Maybe it was the lighter-than-ether Coal Miner's Daughter accent. Maybe it was because she was dumber than a bag of rocks. Whatever. That and the fact Nancy Kulp looked like half the nuns at my Catholic elementary school makes this pairing less than palatable.
HOTNESS QUOTIENT: - 5
ANALYSIS: You're kidding, right? This was automatic. The Bailey Quarters/Jennifer Elizabeth Marlowe hookup tumbled in my head through the pubescent wheelhouse years of 13 to 17. Both had a little something I liked at the time; one was bookish and smart and cute, while the other was half-naked on a poster in the display case at Spencer Gifts that was in the back of the store with the black lights, wave machines and marital aids. That qualification went very far with me back then. That both women were on the same show saved me a lot of time.
How hot was Smithers? Warren Beatty even took a run at her at one point. Not that this is a huge compliment, considering Beatty attempted to mount everything in town during that span of time. But still, that gives her some sexual street cred, if only because she was a hotter version of Diane Keaton and Jill Clayburgh and, you know, they were probably busy the night Warren settled for her. Before there was Pam on "The Office," there was Bailey Quarters.
As for Loni ... well, all I can say is that she was fifth on Teen Years Depth Chart behind Ronstadt, Tiegs, Ladd and Erin Grey from "Buck Rogers." A couple years ago, I interviewed Loni for a story and she still looked gorgeous in that hyperplastic, Peroxide-ish, trophy wife, what-the-hell-do-you-call-that-bony-valley-between-her-boobs-that-Tori-Spelling-has-too kind of way. Stacy's mom still has got it goin' on.
HOTNESS QUOTIENT: 8.5
DAPHNE AND VELMA FROM "SCOOBY DO"
ANALYSIS: When you examine the clues to this mystery, you can see this absolutely could have happened. First, they were always crawling around in the dark. Second, they had access to a van, which, back in the '70s, was like driving around in Hefner's Jacuzzi. Remember, the popular phrase wasn't, "If the AMC Pacer is a-rockin', don't come knockin."
Still, there were plenty of obstacles to prevent experimentation. Riding around with Shaggy and Scooby had to be the ultimate buzzkill. And then there were all those scarves Daphne wore. Jinkies, those were ugly.
These two probably could have got it on if it wasn't for those pesky kids snooping around.
HOTNESS QUOTIENT: 3
RUE MCCLANAHAN AND BETTY WHITE FROM "THE GOLDEN GIRLS"
So, the New York Times opened up it's archives back to 1981 this week, a move I wildly applaud. Every newspaper, as a public interest, should do this for their communities. In doing so, the Times editors have invited users to go digging through the vault to see what they can find.
Anyway, I decided to do some archive mining to see the earliest references in the Times for some of the best-known food names and trends during the past 26 years:
RACHAEL RAY: (Feb. 15, 2002)
Rachael Ray Host of ''30 Minute Meals'' on the Food Network
My old chipped Le Creuset pot is the one thing in my house that I would grab if there were a fire. I remember being on my mother's hip and watching her stir everything in that pot with a big wooden spoon. My grandfather would often begin playing cards with his friends in the kitchen, and I must have had 120 cousins who always ate with us. That pot is magical. It's really like a scrapbook for me. Every time I use it, all those memories come back. When I moved to my little cabin out in the woods, my mother gave me the pot along with a wooden spoon. I spend all my time in the kitchen -- my living room must hate me -- and that pot is always out. My favorite thing to make is called minestra, which is a thick soup made from white beans and bitter greens. The pot is now all blackened on the bottom and it's about three different shades of red and orange. It has a lot of scars, but I can't imagine not having it.
PAULA DEEN: (March 7, 2004)
WHAT'S DOING IN; Savannah
By ANDREW JACOBS
In November, Paula Deen moved the Lady & Sons to this four-story temple to grits and greens, at 102 West Congress Street; (912) 233-2600. This was supposed to cut down on the waiting time. Fat chance. Hungry patrons still clog the front entrance, so reservations are advised. Go for the buffet, and the endless helpings of catfish, sauce-slathered ribs and the Lady's Cheesy Mac. If possible, save room for the sweet-potato gooey butter cake and peach cobbler. Lunch and dinner daily; the all-you-can-eat buffet runs $12.99 for lunch, $16.99 for dinner, $14.99 Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MARTHA STEWART: (Sept. 23, 1981)
COOKING FOR 1,500: SECRET OF A CATERER
By FLORENCE FABRICANT
''I PREFER big parties,'' Martha Stewart remarked. By big she means several hundred, maybe a thousand guests. And what she enjoys about them would probably send most people running in the opposite direction. She prepares the food.
FOOD NETWORK: (May 5, 1993)
Rating TV Chefs: Cooks Beware
By BRYAN MILLER
COOKING programs are the soap operas of the 90's, in which poaching supplants passion. Since the mid-1960's, when Julia Child warbled her way to America's hearts and the Galloping Gourmet demonstrated that clowning and cooking did indeed mix, these broadcasts have steadily grown in popularity. On any weekend, dozens of cooking shows saturate the airwaves, showing everything from Amish cuisine to Zen vegetarianism.
The rewards are significant for those involved in the most popular shows. Today's whisk-waving television heavyweight is Jeff Smith, whose program, "The Frugal Gourmet," has been among the top five programs on PBS for five years. Aside from the money "The Frugal Gourmet" earns from commercial sponsors, Mr. Smith's books related to the show have sold in the millions. And cooking programs have a long life, as they are bought and sold by cable-television companies that keep them in reruns for years, and as they resurface for sale on videotape.
Moreover, industry spokesmen say their growth is certain to continue. In November, the new Television Food Network will debut, featuring eight hours a day of food-related programming, including cooking shows. In New York City this fall, WHM Communications Corporation plans to introduce Foodday Television, six-day-a-week, one-hour food and cooking packages that it hopes to syndicate to independent television stations around the country.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN: (April 12, 1995)
By MARY B. W. TABOR
A Chef Who Can Write
The recipe went something like this: Two years of partying at Vassar, then dropping out. Training as a chef. A sprinkling of trial testimony from Gotti underboss Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano. Pressure from an old roommate turned businessman. And a generous dousing of talent, luck and mayhem.
The result is the blossoming writing career of Anthony Bourdain, 38, whose first book, "Bone in the Throat," will be published in June by Villard. The novel follows the story of an aspiring chef who ends up working in a kitchen in Little Italy. But one of the specialities of the Mafia-run restaurant is chopped mobster.
"I dropped out of school with no idea what I wanted to do," said Mr. Bourdain, who works by night as the executive chef at the Supper Club, a 40's-style nightclub in Manhattan's theater district. "But I liked the swashbuckling camaraderie of kitchens, and once I got out of the Culinary Institute of America, I found it was easy to get work as a chef." His Vassar roommate, who knew of his gift for writing and who runs a licensing management company, approached him three years ago and urged him to write a book. Now that roommate, Gordon Howard, is Mr. Bourdain's agent.
Villard Books has also bought Mr. Bourdain's second book, "Gone Bamboo," in which the chef takes refuge in the Caribbean where he opens his own restaurant.
MICROGREENS : (December 8, 1999)
Diaphanous Dressings For Light, New Greens
By ELAINE LOUIE
THE salad, a mix of baby lettuces like red oak, frisee and lolla rossa, arrives at the table, looking stark naked. Appetizing, yes. Dressed, no. Hold a candle under the greens, and there isn't a glint of oil.
Enter the stealth salad dressing, invisible to the eye but evident to the tongue. It is the reason that many salads in restaurants these days have a delicious yet elusive quality that may puzzle diners trying to replicate them at home.
Five to 10 ingredients, few of them predictable, go into the subtle, light and tasty dressings that are blended by the chefs at restaurants like Nobu, Palladin and Local.
The inspiration for these new dressings are the baby lettuces and fragile microgreens, like sunflower and buckwheat sprouts, that have come onto the market.
SMOOTHIE: (Feb. 28, 1993)
THE $500 WEEKEND; In Tireless Pursuit of Key West
By SARAH FERRELL;
... After breakfast the next day, we say goodbye to Duval Street. We stop to split a smoothie, a Key West specialty of mixed fruit juices blendered up with wheat germ and served with crushed ice; today's special, orange-strawberry-peach, is a lovely rosy color, costs $3 and tastes better than you might expect.
PANINI: (Sept. 22, 2007)
Q. On a recent visit to Italy my husband and I dined on a fine bread called panini. It was a small round roll served with marmalade for breakfast. Are you familiar with this bread and can you tell me how it is made?
A. I found a description of panini in an old regional Italian cookbook. It is a specialty of the Easter season in the Friuli region of northeastern Italy and, the book notes, it is rarely made today. It is a sweet bread made of yellow corn meal, yeast, sugar, butter, milk and raisins with a slight flavor of lemon.
The actual name of the bread in my reference work is panini di pasqua. I could not find a recipe for it in any of the Italian cookbooks that I own, all of which are written in English.
TOM COLICCHIO: (Feb. 26, 1989)
New Jersey Q & A: Dennis Foy; Testing the Limits of Traditional Cuisine
By FRED T. ABDELLA
Q. Who in the food industry has influenced you?
A. Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill; he's a purist and runs a very large kitchen impeccably. Thomas Keller of Rakel; he has intelligent, clean ideas. I admire these guys for their restaurateur skills, which supplement their cooking skills. They are very involved in the management of their restaurants in addition to the kitchen.
Tom Colicchio, the chef de cuisine here at Mondrian, has clean ideas from conception to realization. The ideas are not muddled with things you end up taking away later. Idea, technique, presentation are all there.
GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL: (August 16, 2000)
THE DEMOCRATS: THE FAMILY CONNECTION; A Daughter Becomes a Valuable Adviser
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
Karenna Gore Schiff reached into her purse and pulled out a clump of typewritten pages. They were pockmarked by harsh X's through several paragraphs, dashes through words and arrows to the margins.
''It's a mess!'' she lamented. ''Here it is. It's like this, and I'm trying to figure out this, and I do it down here, and I cross out, and then I've got all this and I'm not sure if I should add this, and maybe it's too long, and I'm going this afternoon to type it up again and ask someone to look at it, whoever has time.''
Ms. Schiff was going through a few unsurprising frantic moments as she prepared to do something no other young woman has done: introduce the roll call that will formally nominate her father for president.
... Her ease of manner, the elastic band she slips around her wrist when she shakes out her ponytail, and her exuberance at extolling the virtues of the George Foreman grill, as seen on late-night infomercials, all lend her an air of authenticity that the campaign hopes rubs off on her father. The not-so-subtle thinking: If Mr. Gore can have a daughter who seems natural and appealing, he must be a good guy himself.
Bethany over at The Blog of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks has posted a link to my post about the, well, unnecessary punctuation that showed up on a colleague's going away cake.
The quotation marks, I suppose, you could explain away since the people are saying it, not the cake, but the parenthesis????
A commenter notes:
All that punctuation, yet it's still missing the comma...
TBOUQM was a Yahoo! Picks site of the day earlier this week, which, you know, is the height of geek cool.
It's hard to belive that next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray's death.
As longtime fans of the Salad Bowl may remember, Harry is the genesis rock of what eventually became The Sombrero Project. For that, he will always hold a special place in our heart. For the better part of five years, I've let my OCD run rampant in pursuit of All Thing Sombrero, all because Harry took the time to point it out during a Cubs game. As the years have passed, I've infected my friends with that fascination. They've become my enablers, sharing with me all manner of things related to the Hat of All Hats.
Just last night, my friend Anna sent me a camera phone photo from California with this message:
Snapped with cell phone while breezing through an intersection. Poor, poor quality out the window while driving but can ya make it out? Far left in the shot?
It's a dancing human advertisement at the intersection wearing a sombrero.
Such is the dedication of my legion of friends that they remain ever vigilent for such sightings.
To honor the fact our hero has been at room temperature for almost a decade, we offer this humble patch of Harry Haiku and a video clip that shows his enduring legacy around the world.
Dead almost 10 years.
Boston won a World Series.
The Cubs? Not so much.
Somewhere in heaven,
It's closing time at the bar.
You're slurring, "F--- that."
You were a Cub fan,
And a Bud fan, but mostly
You were a Bud fan.
Ozzy Osbourne sang
"Take Me Out To The Ballgame."
Be glad you were dead.
One question, Harry:
Did you get a chance to look
At God's sombrero?
Everyone needs a little approval pick-me-up every so often.
Now you can rely on the ComplimentBot 4000.
What a nice thing to say.
Awww. That's sweet.
Okay, that's just creepy.
5:27 p.m., Sept. 20, 2007
5:27 p.m., Sept. 20, 2007
What's your favorite part?
What would you say if you only had one last lecture to give?
Carnegie-Mellon professor Randy Pausch took that challenge. The task had even more resonance because he has liver and spleen cancer.
Watch. Listen. Learn.
For the full lecture, click here.
Join me as I weep for the bruised masculine soul of food writer Paul Levy, will you?
Seems that Paulie is horrified - aghast, even - at how testosterone-choked the world of food writing has become.
He attempted to tag what he says is an unnecessary level of extreme food writing that wasn't around when he started in the business.
Levy writes on the arts for the Wall Street Journal Europe, co-chairs the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and edited The Penguin Book of Food and Drink. And, if you can believe his Wikipedia entry, he coined the term "foodie" along with writers Gael Greene and Ann Barr. For that word alone he should be prosecuted at whatever the culinary version of the Nuremberg Trials is. Seriously. After all, a wine enthusiast isn't called a "beveragie." Foodie sounds like something you massage your feet with at the fairgrounds.
But I digress.
Anyway, Levy remembers on Slate today the misty, water-colored days when he got to run roughshod over the tender "ladies pages" back in the day:
Roughly 30 years ago, when I began writing a weekly column about food for a British national newspaper, the Observer, I was competing in a marketplace that was monopolized by women (and a few token gay men) who wrote recipes. My brief was to write essays about food—not recipes—for the women's pages that were written from the point of view of the eater as much as the cook. Put another way, I was to present a masculine perspective, and—guess what?—the paper's surveys showed that I garnered a male audience, in addition to the usual female readership. Clearly men took an interest in eating, if not in cooking.
At the annual round of food writing awards the next year, the column cleaned up, much to the dismay of the ladies at one prize-giving lunch, whom I recall actually hissed when I won the restaurant-writing category, as well as the food-writing award. But perhaps the women were right to protest: I was only one of the first fellows invading what had been their territory. Surveying the lay of the land now, the scenery has altered again.
Food writer in Britain, huh? Was this a one-page section? After you do your annual bangers and mash double-truck, what's left?
In his mind, food writing has descended into some "Lord of the Flies" tribal vowel movement:
The food writing that's in vogue today consists chiefly of a bellow of bravado. It's a guy thing, sure, but (with a few honorably hungry exceptions) these scribblers mostly ignore what's on the plate. They view themselves as boy hunters and despise sissy gatherers, thrive on the undertow of violence they detect in the professional kitchen, and like to linger on the unappetizing aspects of food preparation. The gross-out factor trumps tasting good as well as good taste.
When I think about how I'd have to rewrite some of my earlier pieces for today's market, I feel queasy.
His specific case against Bourdain:
The rawest chronicler of foodie lowlife, Anthony Bourdain, not only tells tales of bad-boy kitchen behavior, such as the consuming of softer drugs, but also assumes this prosy pose in his writing: "You've made meat loaf, right? You've eaten cold meat loaf, yes? Then you're halfway to being an ass-kicking, name-taking charcutier."
So, to recap: A little masculinity is okay in small doses as long as you can use it to clean up against inferior female competition, but it quickly becomes uncouth when unleashed in all its hairy chested, Maileresque fury.
If you're going to throw the high fastball at Bourdain and his ilk, you better aim for the temple with more than weaksauce Nerf insults like "prosy pose" and "chronicler of foodie lowlife."
Times change, Paolo. Food writing is a living, breathing animal that morphs as the subject it documents morphs. If only Julia Child was here to pull an Ike Turner on your onion-skin literary sensibilities.
Go snap into a Slim Jim or something, will you?
* Cross-posted over at The Stew.
I'll admit it; I'm endlessly fascinated by the yutz who got "tazed" at the John Kerry appearance in Gainesville right after instigating a confrontation and then begging the campus cops in frat-coolspeak, "Don't taze me, bro."
If ever there was a voice for our times, it's this goofball.
I used to have to turn to MTV to watch this stuff on "Jackass." Now all I have to do is turn on CNN.
All of which prompted this rhetorical question: I wonder if Tazer Boy made an O-Face when he got zapped?
It's Talk Like A Pirate Day.
No better time than the present, really, to review the pirate alphabet.
THE PIRATE ALPHABET
A -- The favorite word of Canadian pirates, ey?
B -- B stands for Beer!
C -- Da ting we sails da boat on
D -- Das beer! German pirates
E -- 'e needs a beer
F -- 'f only I had a beer
G -- Gee, I wish I had a beer
H -- H'aightch and everone one of us should have a beer
I -- I wish I had a beer
J -- The guy who sells us beer
K -- Jay's wife, she's a looker!
L -- Da place where bad pirates goes when dey dies!
M -- 'em folks needs beers
N -- 'nother beer
O -- Oh I wish I had a beer
P -- (*long pause*) Self-explanatree!
Q -- A French word meaning 'line for beer'
R -- A pirate's favorite word, Arrrh!
S -- What you fall on when you drink too much beer
T -- Why we beat the British
U -- You should have a beer
V -- Vikings! Svedish pirates
W -- You and you should have a beer
X -- Jay's former wife, she no longer sells us beer
Y -- Why not have a beer
Z -- Ze beer! French pirates
All of which reminds me...
...there are only 122 more days until Gasparilla starts.
If I accidentally backed into your car and you and I lived next door to each other and your car was a leased vehicle and it needed repair and it was a hassle to get it done but it had to be fixed perfectly before you could turn it back in, would you be angry with me and never speak to me again or would you go out of your way to get the autograph of Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Joey Galloway on a sports section when he came to your workplace one day so that you could give it to me, the guy who hit your car, because you knew I was a huge Bucs fan and would enjoy having that as a souvenir?
My next-door neighbor Tony had that choice. He chose the latter.
I mean, how cool of a guy do you have to be to do something like that?
Blew me away.
Dear Bayer Shering Pharma,
I just saw your commercial for Yaz, the birth control pill you manufacture that claims to alleviate menstrual symptoms.
First, allow me to congratulate you. It's comforting for me to know that even after achieving 99.9 percent effectiveness on your primary mission, you're still working on the formula. We could use more of that kind of initiative and stick-to-it-iveness in this world.
Second, as I'm sure you're aware, you have appropriated the nickname of one of my boyhood baseball idols, Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski.
Although I fully understand the need your pharmaceutical company satisfied in creating a catchy brand name - it's not like 3 mg drospirenone/20 mcg ethinyl estradiol exactly rolls off the tongue! - this letter shall serve as a cease and desist order on behalf of everyone of my age group who loved watching No. 8 play in left field in front of Fenway Park's Green Monster for 23 seasons. No one of Mr. Yastrzemski's athletic stature should be associated with the name of a birth control pill or the nagging symptoms generated by shedding of the uterine wall.
We have every confidence that you understand this dilemma.
While we're at it, and so as to avoid any future conflict, the following is a standing list of other baseball nicknames from my adolescence that you also should avoid in the future when naming other menstrual- and/or birth control-related remedies:
The list of approved names and/or euphemisms is as follows:
Very Truly Yours,
PREVIOUS OPEN LETTERS:
Karma Is A Bitch Edition
Paging Mr. Freud Edition
Imitation Is Not Flattery Edition
I Ate A Baby Edition
Andy Samberg Edition
Personal Technology Edition
Crazy Nordic Singers Edition
An Inconvenient Poop Edition
There's really no way to top Ken Levine's brilliant and spot-on analysis of last night's Emmy Awards show, so I won't try.
Still, Ken missed a few scraps that I thought I'd clean up.
Rhetorical question: When will someone finally out Jeremy Piven's hairpiece?
You played a flying nun on TV.
You were Gidget.
You were in Smokey and the Bandit. Part 2.
Sit down, Sally.
Just because you got an award doesn't mean you have to go through primal scream therapy in public.
Jon Stewart. Stephen Colbert. Steve Carrell.
You're friends. We get it.
Christina Aguilera, furry marsupial.
What is wrong with me, people?
It's just super-hot oil. There's nothing magical in that, right?
Maybe it's genetic. Maybe there's a recessive trait that makes me susceptible to the allure of cooking appliances.
Maybe I just like making delicious food.
Is it me, or is that a beautiful sight? All those paper-thin slices of potato roiling in their little peanut oil Jacuzzi?
It's almost enought to bring a tear to your eye.
Okay, now I'm openly sobbing.
It's like Ricky Fitts says in "American Beauty": Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.
Well. That may just be the starchy tubers and peanut oil talking. But still.
It's not like anyone could resist them after I coated the batch with Island Rum BBQ seasoning by Caribbean Essentials. It's a mixture concocted by my friend Greg Hurley.
And then, well, you know how it goes. You throw a couple batches in. They crisp beautifully at 375 degrees. They taste amazing. And you get a little cocky.
Before you know it, you're dragging the mandoline slicer out that you bought for your wife last year as a present. You prop that bad boy up and, before you know it, you're making crinkle-cut (nee ruffled) chip slices and watching the ends curl as they cook.
All the while, I might add, that a Buccaneers victory is at hand on the tube.
Yes, I ignored the best football day in about a year for the Bucs so I could make homemade potato chips.
That's how strong the pull is.
As I said about the smoker I fell in love with, Hallmark doesn't make a card for such a moment, but it should.
As longtime readers of the Salad Bowl know, my buddy Drew (above, second from left) has been deployed to Iraq as a battalion commander since August of 2006. He's scheduled to come home by the end of the year.
Drew checks in at the Salad on occasion, which blows me away since he has so many overwhelming obligations to oversee. Maybe reading about Ronald McDonald's O-face or seeing me shopping for pig uterus gives him a little mental vacation, I don't know.
Anyway, about two days ago, I got a note from him detailing all the successes his battalion had achieved. They were so numerous, it was almost breathtaking.
The note read:
"We have not slowed down our offensive approach as our time here in Iraq is coming to a close. The opposite has been seen and felt by all. Of note, Hawijah has just received a new power substation from the Kirkuk Province. Not one penny of US Funds was used to make this happen. We have invested valuable time in making the Hawijah District Government work hand-in-hand with the Kirkuk Province in getting the Provincial Government to support the people of this district, and the Iraqi Army and Police delivered the new Substation yesterday to Hawijah untouched by the terrorists that want to destroy this great country. Within 30 days, the people of this area will once again see improvements to their quality of power. This time all resourced and funded by their own Government! Other Projects almost complete for this area includes:1. Irrigation of the Zab Canals to repair over 35 years of neglect is almost complete. This will improve water quantities by almost 50% and feed this agricultural area crops and produce the best growing season they have seen in decades.
2. With an increase in crops, the neglected Corn Mill was also in desperate need of repairs and improvements. This project will open next week and improve their ability to store and process this year's improved crop by double the previous capacity.
3. Crops need to get to the Processing Center. Repairing the roads will solve the problem initially, but not solve the long term problem. The Asphalt Factory of Hawijah has not operated in over 10 years and is in its final stages of repair. Now, Hawijah will not only be able to repair its own roads, but maintain and improve the entire districts ability to move safely.
4. With bigger crops and better roads, industry is beginning to take root in this area. Business men want to invest in Hawijah's future, and the government must support these men to create even more jobs for their people.
The biggest incentive the city can give these investors is a safe and secure Industrial Park for the businesses to flourish. The Hawijah Industrial Park is also in its final stages of completion and will employ hundreds of men in the not so far future.
Through all of this, the Iraqi Army and Police has become a fixture to this areas security. They are doing incredible work as the Patriots of the New Iraq. My counterpart just received 42 new Armored Vehicles for this areas security. They fight side by side with us and routinely conduct unilateral operations to rid this area of the death and destruction that the terrorist offer. The fight is not over, but they are clearly in the lead.
That Drew's letter came the same week that this ad (right) ran in the New York Times angered me in a way that I can't even describe. They thought they were being cute, I remember thinking. What they've done instead is angered anyone who has someone with boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was a slur against everyone in uniform, not just Petraus. There are ways of protesting the war that don't include personal attacks. Petraus represents everything that's gone right with this effort. He represents Drew and all the danger he and his men have endured. He represents the ultimate sacrifice our servicemen and woman have made. Whatever his country asked, Petraus and his soliders have answered and then some. And this is the reward?
How dare they, I thought. As Joe Welch once said to Joe McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? "
Then, this morning, I got this note from Drew from the front lines.
It's a note that, I fear, was inspired by a comment left here on the Salad.
Nonetheless, it's a breathtaking letter. I'm constantly amazed at Drew's endless resolve to do his job and finish his mission, despite the hollow support he hears from people back home. What he wrote - and the fact he did so at a time of great triumph and great sadness - deepened the awe I have for him and his soldiers.
Drink it in deep, folks. This is about as pure from the source as it gets:
15 SEP 07
Family and Friends of the Wolfhounds;
Today we paid our final respects to another fallen Wolfhound who gave the ultimate sacrifice on 9 SEP 2007 as part of a large-scale joint operation with the Iraqi Army in Hawijah. All of the success we have achieved in this district has had a lasting toll on all of us but we remain steadfast and strong in our purpose to rid this world of radical extremists who only want death and hatred to prosper.
Sergeant Alexander U. Gagalac was an incredible young man that did his duty willingly simply because he believed in our cause and our nation. His sacrifice as well as the sacrifice of all of our fallen brothers will be a permanent scar that we will all bear for the rest of our lives as a high price for our Freedom and Liberty.
I received an email regarding one of my many comments about the war that our nation and the world are currently fighting in. This email accused me of blaming all of Islam for what started on 9-11 and compared my views to blaming all Germans for the Holocaust or every Japanese for Pearl Harbor. Though this individual may have misunderstood my comments, I found his ignorance of who we are and what we represent to be insulting.
I am not blaming every Muslim. I have too many Muslim friends here in the Hawijah District that are beautiful people who want their children to grow up in a safe and prosperous country that lives under the Islamic Religion of love and peace. They work, fight and sacrifice every single day to make their homeland whole again. They are fighting the same people I blame for the unjustified hijacking of Islam. I blame the 5 percent of Islam that wants to twist this beautiful Religion into one of hatred, oppression and destruction. As long as there are people like this in our world, our job will not be finished. Regardless of his misunderstanding, the assumption he made in his email that we have some level of religious hatred towards an entire society is absurd. His message indicates that he not only misunderstands our mission, he also carries a deep ignorance of what the Wolfhounds and our Nation stands for. Nobody understands our purpose better than our Soldiers. Yes, terrible things happen here every day. Thank God that our Wolfhounds can see through all this violence better than he can and continue to show Iraqis the compassion they need to unite and ruthlessness towards the 5% of fanatical Muslims that want to destroy it. Osama Bin Laden stated in his most recent message to America that, “the state of Islam at this present time makes me cry.” For once I agree with him. His hijacking of the true nature of Islam and his twisting of the Muslim faith into one of anger and destruction is directly responsible for the misunderstanding that most of our world has about the Muslim Faith.
Despite the relatively short time we have remaining here, our team will continue in the offensive nature of helping the people of the Hawijah District gain their freedom from the clutches of evil. We know that the enemies of God’s supreme law will not stop until we hunt every single one of them down. We will not rest until we are back in the arms of our friends and families back home. SGT Gagalac and the other 17 fallen Wolfhounds would demand that of us. Their sacrifice was not in vain and Hawijah District will never forget the sacrifice and honor that this Regiment has bestowed upon them in their support.
After 14-months here at FOB McHenry, the enemy has failed to realize the magnitude of our strength and unity. Our 106 years of ruthlessness in battle and compassion towards the innocent CAN NOT and WILL NOT be denied. Their cowardly acts will not turn us into the same murderers and criminals that we have sworn ourselves to rid this world of. Our Wolfhound legacy remains firmly intact simply because of the discipline, honor and integrity of the brave Wolfhounds I have the privilege to lead. There is no difficulty we are afraid to face and our battle cry remains loud and strong throughout our entire area of operations: NO FEAR!
Please keep the family of Sergeant Alexander U. Gagalac in your prayers. We pray that God gives them the strength to endure this loss and the understanding that the entire Wolfhound Family stands with them forever. Pray for and take care of each other during this time of need. Seek out and help each other during this final stretch of the deployment as the love and support of our Wolfhound Family is undeniable. Finally, pray for the strength of our team of Deployed Wolfhounds and know that we fight on in the names of all of our fallen Wolfhounds from our 106 years of discipline, honor and integrity.
NO FEAR ON EARTH!
DREW R. MEYEROWICH
Commander, 2-27 Infantry “Wolfhounds"
PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM IRAQ:
Excerpt from Soldier magazine.
'Not the same Hawijah.'
Time out for toys.
Coffee and sunsets.
Get your motor runnin'.
"Wolfhounds don't do anything small."
Thanksgiving in Iraq.
"What sacrifice for the sake of freedom feels like."
"I am amazed by them every single day."
It's who you know.
Month two of deployment.
I'd walk a mile.
Boots on the ground.
Once more into the breech.
Christmas came early today.
Can you imagine the damage I can do with this thing?
First up: homemade kettle cooked potato chips.
Side Salad best wishes go out to to "Iceman" Patrick, who is seen here wearing his 33rd birthday sombrero.
You and your Mach 3 shaver are very, very ... dangerous.
Sorry I broke the chair in the middle of your Black Panther party. You can be my wingman anytime.
Had a front-page story in today's Tribune about football fans in exile cheering their teams at local pubs and sports bars.
The folks I interviewed were great. It's always fun to meet people who are that wound up for their team.
"Packer Deb" (pictured above with her Packers helmet tattoo) invited me back to the Varsity All-American Sports Bar & Grill whenever I like:
Come sit with us at the VC anytime, but wear your green n gold
Ronald McDonald's O-Face.
It's almost as disturbing - but not quite - as this clown face.
That kid will be in therapy her whole life.
You have no idea, pal. You have no idea.
PREVIOUS SEARCH ENGINE POSTS
Lots going on blogwise among my friends online lately.
Bike Stories, written by my dear pal Alan, announces that the Bashboard he pedals around promoting the Bicycle Bash by the Bay is back for another year's touring. Alan about pedaled his legs off last year promoting the event, which was a great success. My favorite was when Fox 13 got up in a helicopter to get aerials of Al biking across the Gandy Bridge with the damn thing in tow.
Dave at The Daily Dave 2.0 is back and blogging with a vengence.
Pat over at Mr. Doodle's Dog has cranked up the blog after a lengthy hiatus to offer the unique and highly entertaining take on dogdom and art through the eyes of her dog, Gimlet.
This Matisse-influenced portrait she did is reason enough to visit:
Rommie over at Couch Potatoes writes about reviewing the new CD by Brooklyn indie-pop-rockers Bishop Allen, which plays The Social in Orlando on Monday. You can hear samples of the music by clicking here.
Rommie and co-blogger Stephen Hammill do a great podcast twice a month. You can hear it by clicking here.
Jolie has pledged allegiance to the Brit, for which she (wobbly) stands.
Willie Drye, author of Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and commentator on the History Channel's "Nature's Fury: Storm of the Century" episode of the series "Violent Earth," has joined us online at Drye Goods. His blog is a mixture of a little history and a little hurricane writing. (If that isn't a unique concoction, I don't know what is.) Willie recently won the first place public service award - the Charlie - from the Florida Magazine Association for a series of stories he wrote for Key West Magazine about how rescuers on the island would respond in a Category 5 storm like Katrina. You can read the stories by clicking here.
And speaking of awards, my college buddy Steve's tremendous blog, Stuck in the '80s, is a finalist in the 8th annual Online Journalism Awards, honoring excellence in digital journalism. The awards are handed out by the Online News Association and the USC Annenberg School for Communication.
Steve and I have shared many an evening that neither of us will ever remember. Including this one, which I had to be reminded of by our mutual friend Carrie a while back.
In an odd twist, Steve's up against another friend of mine in the same category: Ryan Cormier at Pulp Culture. I met Ryan during a Knight Center fellowship at the University of Maryland a couple years back. The photo to the right (Ryan is sitting in the middle) was taken in the back of a taxi on the way to a bar in Hyattsville. Believe it or not, I had not been drinking when this photo was shot.
But should either of my friends win an online journalism award, you know I'll be toasting either one.
So, I've taken the precipitous step of starting to video blog. I now am the proud owner of my own "channel" on YouTube. Which is a fancy way of saying that it's where I'll park all the video I upload.
The first uploads are a series I shot while I was doing the Tampa Underbelly Tour with chefs Greg and Michelle Baker and Larry Cotton:
Yes, you'll see the video of us downing the Mexican tripe soup. You'll meet Lucky, our Caribbean food Sherpa. You'll get to see Big John's Alabama Barbecue. And you'll see us soothe our innards with Pabst Blue Ribbon at The Hub in downtown Tampa.
Mostly I'll be doing food stuff on the channel. (Gotta pay the bills, you know.) You can also find the Valentine's edible underwear and candy bra video I did for TBO, as well as my state fair bit and the Easy Bake Oven Thanksgiving spot.
But there will be some other content there eventually. Like this one I shot months ago of a woman who brought her poodle to Lowe's decked out in a dress and nail polish:
Feel free to subscribe on the channel page for updates as to when new videos are available.
Oh, and send in requests. I'm at your video beck and call.
There are days when I think we haven't come very far as a society.
I read the news like everyone else and see plenty to disturb me. We Chicken Little every 30 seconds, it seems. The more control technology gives us over our lives, the more we seem to come unglued at the seams over little things. We glorify the inane. We venerate that which should be vilified. We revel in moments that bring temporary joy in return for long-term soul stains. We lunge at each other when we should be attacking the real targets that inflict pain in our world.
Occasionally, however, I get an indication that all is not lost. I realize in those moments that there is hope. That the species has a real chance to elevate its collective spirit and redeem its existence.
That happened for me today when I thumbed through an old stack of comic books from 1978 and came upon this ad:
It was then, after I scanned the ad, that I realized we have indeed evolved into a slightly more advanced culture.
I mean, hell. Grizzly Adams? A sex symbol? Jesus Jones on a jump rope, what were we thinking? The dude had more hair than the bear he hung with. He had follicles in places monkeys don't. The guy was like a human chia pet, albeit a chia that had a penchant for blow.
At least our sexual compass isn't that screwed up anymore. We've got that going for us, which is nice.
Saw this motorcycle on I-4 in Orlando a few evenings ago.
That helmet is gonna look really cool after I hit it with my bumper.
PREVIOUS ADVENTURES IN TRAFFIC:
I'm your private antenna dancer.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Welcome to Springfield.
Orange you glad you're not this guy?
Everything's better when it sits on a Ritz.
Porn as a windowshade.
Jonathan Livingston Redneck.
Buc off, pal.
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.
"Mind if I sit with you?"
Salad Boy had a bowl of cereal in his hand. I was sitting at the dinette table. I was reading through a catalog of magazine titles. It's subscription drive time again. He's raising money at school. The more titles he sells, the closer he gets to earning a prize or two. He's locked in on 14 subscriptions. That gets him a ride in a Hummer limo.
"Of course not," I said. "I'd be thrilled."
We talked a little about school, about how he was apprehensive about the running he'll be doing in P.E. today. We talked about the Bucs and about who won the Monday night football games. I chided him for the umpteenth time when he tried to put a pair of dirty socks on instead of going and getting a fresh pair.
What didn't come up? Specifically, the anniversary of 9/11. I'm sure it was somewhere hiding out in the backs of our minds. He told me the night before that a teacher had postponed something in his class because of 9/11 activities at his school. He also had flipped on "Flight 93" earlier in the morning when he climbed into our bed while I was out of the room.
So it was there. It always will be. But it wasn't ... there.
I didn't make him take his cell phone to school, just in case something happened and his mother I needed to hear his voice. I didn't think to bring the anniversary up. I hadn't even recalled until about an hour ago that I had posted this on the anniversary a couple years back.
This household has that luxury, I guess. Tens of thousands of other families who lost friends and loved ones in 9/11 and in the resulting combat do not.
Which is why I'll always cherish mornings like today.
Some might argue that AN,YMOB has been mean-spirited and cruel. Well, we've done some internal accounting of our soul and determined that if anything, we've taken our foot off the accelerator more often than not. Simply put, there was too much pulp to cram into the tree shredder.
Marry your childhood friend for 50 hours? We can do that. Choke back a ciggie on the porch without your makeup on? Certainly that's fair game for a celebrity. Pose for photos that make you look more lifeless than you already are? Giddyap, horsey.
But there's only so much matter this universe can absorb. We can't document every time you call your kids a mistake. Or every time you call your baby daddy a mistake. Or the too-many-times-to-count incidents in which you decide to let the girls breathe free. Or the multiple infractions from when you try to park the car.
Seriously, there aren't enough terrabytes to process all the stuff you generate in the blogosphere. No reason we should add to the heap.
So we'll be discriminating in what we document. We'll keep the sifter on "molecular." And we'll let friends like Jolie tag you with their brilliance whenever you get up and wobble at the MTV Video Awards:
If you're going to lip sync at the VMAs (and it's ok, everyone is doing it) you need to dance your face off to justify that decision.
p.s. You may want to lay off the valium/xanax/boone's farms cocktail you've clearly been knocking back at a fast clip of late.
Jolie is to Britney as Cronkite was to Vietnam. Once you've lost her, you've lost the country, babe.
PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS OF
YOUR MOMENT OF BRITNEY
No carpet, no drapes, no problem.
Now, with a breathable cotton panel.
K-Fed cornrows. Bad idea.
Gallery of the Absurd.
Brit and KFed, the ill-advised reality TV series.
Lights, camera, Britney.
Britney wears the glamorous life.
Britney takes a palimony suit.
Something old, something new.
Britney takes a groom. Again.
Britney defends her latest love.
Britney marries a childhood friend. For 50 hours.
Britney swaps spit with the Rosetta Stone of Skank.
Britney poses for photos that make her look even more plastic and lifeless than she already is.
Britney, as she would look if she hit the all-you-can-eat Seafood Lovers Special at Red Lobster every night for six months.
Britney runs a restaurant into the ground.
Britney has an evil twin available for parties.
Britney and George cut a rug.
Britney proves the axiom: Beer affects the way males respond to females.
How'd you spend your weekend? Did you have a good time? Get to relax? Hang with the fam?
I ate Mexican tripe soup.
It was delicious. Once you got past the part where you realized you were eating honeycomb pork intestine and veal knuckle, of course.
New friends Greg and Michelle Baker, private chefs who operate Cooks & Company, and my News Center colleague Larry Cotton went on a Tampa Underbelly Tour all day Saturday in search of something exotic and new and delicious. (Greg and Michelle liked my pork uterus post. Who knew that porcine lady business could bring friends together?)
We were not disappointed.
From the biscuits and gravy and the plate of fried catfish, scrambled eggs and grits we ate at Martha's Place to the Columbian Brevas con Queso (figs and cheese) and Hen Soup we ate at La Cabana Antioquena, it was a great culinary adventure. The frothy, gooey aloe drink made for us by Cephas in Ybor City? I'd say that the jury is still out. (Okay, we disliked it greatly. I likened it to pteradactyl semen.)
You can see photos of the entire tour (including some great sausage at Big John's Alabama BBQ, by clicking here.
Hard to believe, but it's been a year since I took a tumble in the Titan.
I still remember everything about the accident in minute detail. The cliche is true; all the events take place in slow motion. I recall seeing the teenage girl look out her driver window as I swerved to avoid her when she pulled out in front of me. I recall the sound of the tires as they scraped sideways on the asphalt. I recall the rollover, how things in the cab of the truck floated past me, just like how the bloodhound and the Dapper Dan cans float by in the flood scene from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" I recall thinking, in mid tumble, "So, this is what it's like to roll your vehicle." I recall how the EMTs and firefighters couldn't believe that I could walk. I recall the cars that slowed down to take a look at me as they went past the ambulances and fire trucks. I recall the thrill of finding the sombrero by the side of the road when I went back tto the crash site a couple days later. And finding a digital voice recorder embedded in the mud that still played the interview I recorded the night of the crash. It's all still pretty fresh.
But the soreness in my ribs is long gone. I don't have any scars from the scrapes. Hell, I had a new truck that looked just like the old truck in under two weeks. In a way, it was like it never happened.
But there are times when the flashbacks whack me around. Like the afternoon we went to see "The Bourne Redundancy" or whatever the hell the last one was called. There's an amazing chase scene where Jason Bourne winds up scraping his Toureg on a barrier wall and crashing into an abutment. I don't know if the sound designer for the film had ever been in a crash, but he might as well have been recording the interior of my truck that night. It was that real. The glass shattering. The lining of the roof crunching. The particular thunder made by metal collapsing on itself. Hearing those sound effects was like hearing a song you haven't heard in a long time and then recalling it note for note.
Did I learn anything from it all? Yes and no. I at first took it as a sign that I needed to thin the schedule a little. I was running way too hard. But then that stopped. Like today. I'll be back in Orlando doing a story for the second time in two days. What the hell is that all about?
But I'll be fine. I'm driving the new Titan.
We called it the "Oh-Mobile."
Perhaps if I had videotaped it and likened it to a "Star Wars" character, it might be famous by now. At least on the Internet.
ENTIRELY RANDOM THING NO. 1 ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
Much like the guy in "Titanic" who jumps off the stern when the ship gets to a 45-degree angle only to cartwheel after pinging off the propeller, everyone with fingers and a keyboard is picking the Bucs to finish either last or damn near close to it in the NFC South division.
The latest to join the panicky jumpers is The Hater Nation, which, admittedly, does so with a very soft hammer and a small measure of pin-up softcore in its Super Bowl Buzz Kill:
Now, long-time readers of The Hater Nation know that the Buccaneers preview provides a perfect opportunity to talk about Carmella DeCashowdidyouscorethischick? And you’re right. This would be a perfect opportunity, but the truth is, there is a lot of love for Jeff Garcia. And one of the THN patron saints, Jon Gruden. So it’s hard to talk about this team.
And let’s not forget about The Captain. Not the fruity mascot from the 1970s, but an actual fan that we drank beers with prior to Super Bowl 37 in San Diego. A dude we ended up hugging after that glorious Buccaneers victory.
Well, hopefully he was a Buccaneers fan and not some dude in an eye patch, because that would be like, totally embarrassing.
But back to the matter at hand, the Buccaneers aren’t going to win the Super Bowl. And they aren’t going to the Super Bowl. The unimaginative football sites can poke fun at the Bucs quarterback position, noting that Jake Plummer would have rather retired than play in Tampa Bay. And that’s lame.
But there might be some truth to it. Not that Jake wouldn’t want to compete with Garcia and Chris Simms and that polish guy, but who the hell is going to catch the ball on this team? Boise State has a more reliable group of receivers. Seems that maybe instead of picking up quarterbacks the way homeless pirates in San Diego collect bottles and hugs, the team might have gone out and addressed that glaring need at receiver. A position so bad, that Buccaneers fans are reminiscing about the Keyshawn Johnson era.
Sorry Tampa, much love for you, but it just ain’t happening.
ENTIRELY RANDOM THING NO. 2 ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
In this photo I took of Paris Warren's ankle break...
The best part: I had no idea he was in the stands.
ENTIRELY RANDOM THING NO. 3 ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
Don't ask me how - because I don't remember - but I stumbled on a photo in Flickr that shows a very young and muscular Jon Gruden with his shirt off.
Ladies, you can thank me later.
ENTIRELY RANDOM THING NO. 4 ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
ENTIRELY RANDOM THING NO. 5 ABOUT THE TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
They need to do something to train the alcohol-soaked fans in the stands how to respect personal space.
I say this after attending last week's game against the Houston Texans.
For the better part of two quarters, the gentleman seated in front of me in red - a man who could have been a dead ringer for an offspring of former Tampa mayor Dick Greco - did everything but sew himself to his friend to the left, whom I dubbed Combover Joe.
How bad did Mini Greco make it for poor Joe?
See for yourself:
In case you missed it two frames above, this rather clingy gentleman was smoking a cigar at both ends. That should tell you just about everything you need.
Hard to believe, but I've already clocked 11 Table Conversations podcasts in my brief stint online. I've bantered about Good Swift Kick In The Nuts candy bars with Janeane Garofalo, pushed the limits of personal space invasion with Paula Deen and talked about FHM photo spreads with Cat Cora.
The podcasts are a lot of fun to do, probably because I know that almost no one is listening. There isn't as much pressure to make them perfect, so I can ask whatever I want and raise the ass quotient to it's highest possible level. Plus, audio services director Lisa Reuter compensates for my many deficiencies. What that woman can do with audio editing software is nothing short of miraculous.
During our chat, DeVito talked about the food he grew up with in Asbury Park, N.J., about how his wife Rhea Pearlman converted him to carnivore from vegetarian and about how he came to be in the restaurant business.
Oh, and he talks with real awe and lust-filled reverence for the chance he had to rub up against Michelle Pfeiffer's vinyl-covered bod when he played the Penguin to her Catwoman in "Batman Returns."
I was thinking as I walked behind this woman on Sunday at the Brandon mall...
... "That shirt is so August 27."
Now, the Larry Craig t-shirts like the ones people keep mailing to Fishbowl DC? Timeless.
The Vintage Comic Book Ad Project had a new infusion of content over the weekend, including several Saturday morning cartoon promotional ads that the networks used to run. (This was before Nickelodeon and Cartoon Planet, kids).
My favorite: this one for CBS, which was anchored by, of all people, Richard Pryor:
Then there's this one from NBC in 1984 that includes "Mister T," (I always thought it was Mr. T), and a small plug for David Hasselhoff:
Lastly, there's this one anchored by The Fonz, who I guess had a morning cartoon in the early 1980s when "Happy Days" was really big:
The entire project, now 67 ads strong, can be found by clicking here.