October 31, 2007


Less so, of course, since they lost a couple games.

But still, they were crazy enough a couple weeks ago to do this at a fall festival in FishHawk:

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October 29, 2007


Patty FezStick around in the newspaper business long enough and you'll probably leave the newspaper you work for. On average, probably a half-dozen times. You have to. Unless you start at the New York Times or a paper of that size, it's the only way to make significantly more money and improve your job title. It's a sad reality, but it's true.

Anyway, we lost one of our best last week. My former desk neighbor Patty Kim, who wrote and produced and edited the 4You health tab in the Trib, left to go work for Moffitt Cancer center. As a journalist and a fellow University of Florida alum, I was greatly saddened by this.

Yes, she was a valued colleague. Yes, she was a dedicated journalist. Almost to the point of renal failure. Blah, blah, blah.

More importantly, Patty was, without exception, always willing to be photographed in the most ridiculous situations. That lack of shame truly is a wonder to behold. And rare to find.

But I digress.

Read All About ItThe tradition in the newspaper business is that when someone of great standing leaves that paper, a joke front page is created with spoof stories and headlines and all the goofball photos you can scrounge. When the person is so upstanding and respectable that you can't scrounge any, you Photoshop their heads into embarassing photos. When the person is an upper-level executive, you disregard actual photos and find the best Photoshop-capable artist in the building and let them work their magic. Unless you want a job from that person at the next paper they go to.

Dozens of copies of each page are made and passed around as the newsroom gathers to eat crappy going-away cake. Folks from sports, who work almost entirely different hours from the rest of the staff and thusly have almost no connection to anyone in metro, features or business sections, show up just for the cake.

It's the circle of newspaper life. It binds us all.

The end result? Everyone has a good laugh. Person leaving acts surprised at the gesture. Editor sending him/her off looks magnanimous. Life goes on. People go back to work. Pages are kept forever.

One guy at the Palm Beach Post I used to work with, Charlies Keefer, used to keep them on his wall like a page-a-day calendar. Last I saw, he had dozens. He'd been there that long. And, you know, back then the Post spit out great people like Pez. It was the place you worked when you wanted to leapfrog next to a great paper. It had that reputation for grooming. Taking someone who was headed for the Miami Herald or the Washington Post down a peg was almost a duty. If only to make yourself feel better about having not left yet.

I took great pride in crafting pages for people. Really went all out. Friends, enemies. Didn't matter. The one they made for me when I left the Post was so chock full of embarassing photos taken while on the job, (porn stars reaching into my pants, dozens of lorakeets perched chewing on my head, me wearing a nun's costume), they felt the need to label each frame as a "NON-PHOTOSHOPPED IMAGE." After pegging people for so long with my own efforts, I knew this was coming. What did I do? I went on offense and made my own going-away page that mocked the paper. And myself, of course. People were stunned. It's still talked about to this day.

A couple weeks ago, Patty's friends Corrie and Emily came to me to pitch the idea of doing a multimedia send-off instead. Made sense. Patty was the queen of multimedia. Great idea.

We sculpted grand plans. Emily and Corrie created a Web page. I schemed to create a Wikipedia page (didn't happen). I also pitched the idea of doing farewell videos. Emily decided to do a music video, complete with choreography, called "P.K. Rocks."

Great idea. Fun idea. For Patty, the sky is the limit. Really. She's that kind of person.

We sent out an e-mail to the staff asking for them to come by and tape a farewell. And I pulled a few ideas out of my sleeve.

Anyway, I busted out the video camera and went to work creating a channel for Patty on YouTube called PKayVision. Wound up shooting and editing 11 videos in 10 days.

I can't tell you how much fun this was.

One of my earliest efforts featured my colleague and occasional partner in video crime, Ryan Bauer, in a spoof of "The Office.":

Then I shot and edited one that spoofed Patty's fascination for yoga:

Then there was this one, which makes me wince just looking at the makeup:

My favorite, though, may be the simplest. Phil Morgan, who lives to channel the spirit of Elvis, asks the future-perfect question of Patty: "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

As I e-mailed to Patty after her farewell party, "If you didn't know you were beloved after this weekend, you weren't paying attention."

Good luck, P.K. Moffitt is lucky to get you.

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October 26, 2007


...I love you.

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October 24, 2007


Salad Boy had his 7th Grade band concert the other night.

The music was great. I'm constantly amazed by the band director's ability to get all the kids playing together in something that not only resembles music, but which actually sounds damn good. It's gotta be like walking 100 dogs on one leash.

Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the music, I was more amused by the antics between songs:

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Sometimes you get glimpses into your own marriage that indicate perhaps the match is too perfect.

That happened for me when Salad Wife sent this e-mail on Monday:

Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 4:52 PM
Subject: Here's how

sick I am...I have an apple with butt cheeks and I photographed it and can't bear to eat it until you see it.

As longtime reader(s) of the Salad know, I have a fondness for food that looks for other things. So does Rommie.

So I mention this phenomenon to him.

His reply:

Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 5:12 PM

I hope it’s not a Granny Smith.

Good point.

When I got home that night, I was stunned at the gluteal verisimilitude.

Here's the apple in question:

Apple Bottom

Damn if she wasn't right.

Of course this inspired Salad Boy to jokingly discipline the fruit.

Apple Bottom Spank

Clearly, the apple bottom doesn't fall far from the tree.

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October 21, 2007


One of my favorite events of the year is the Fishhawk Fall Festival held in Park Square of the massive Fishhawk development in south Hillsborough County.

We went last year for the first time, and while it was a charming event, it was nothing like this year's gathering. There were thousands of people in attendance. There was a great 'fro-wearing disco band belting out the tunes, and lots of games and activities for the kids.

Racks of gourds

The highlight is the lighting of the giant assembly of pumpkins that line the park perimeter. Near the back of the park is a riser with racks and racks of carved gourds. Every one of them is different.

Fishhawk Fall Festival

This year, thousands of people packed the park and carved pumpkins, most of which were lit from inside with tiny white lights.

Intoxicated pumpkin

Ferocious pumpkin

Calvin and Hobbes snowman head pumpkin

Two Eyes pumpkin

Ghost pumpkin

Disco Ball pumpkin

My favorite of the hundreds that we saw?

Pumpkin Pi

Pumpkin Pi.

You can see a photo gallery of all the pumpkins I shot by clicking here.

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October 20, 2007



Been seeing a traffic bump this week as a result of linkage by Alex over at Neatorama, who kindly mentioned the Asian market shopping field trip I took with Jaden a while back. (Alex picked up the link from Miss Cellania.)

Speaking of which, Jaden's blogging for Steamy Kitchen from China. Very cool stuff. She posted a bit about steamed rice after climbing a section of the Great Wall of China.

I know how she feels. I climbed the ladder in my garage this week to get down the Halloween decorations. It did not inspire a food post, however.

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October 17, 2007


Pizza Ticket Managed By Christ

Someone ordered pizza at office the other day.

Managed By Christ

Wonder what he got on his last eval.

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October 16, 2007


Why does this item for sale make me laugh so much?

Tampa Bay Devil Rays Women's Baseball Top Touch by Alyssa Milano

What's next? Tony Danza modeling Joe Maddon eyewear?

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October 15, 2007


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October 14, 2007


I've had dreams like this:

I suddenly have the urge to watch this:

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October 12, 2007


So I was at home writing a story on my laptop at the kitchen table the other day. I had the outstanding new album "Twelve" by Patti Smith on iTunes playing while I wrote. She was singing a great version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World."

Then I noticed Lincoln was having a dream on the pad in the living room.


Only Lincoln knows for sure.

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The phone rang at about 7:20 a.m. on Thursday. I hate it when the phone rings that early. It rarely means anything good.

On this day, it did.

On the other end of the line was my buddy Drew. He was calling me from an airstrip in Tikrit. He and the last of his regiment were about to deploy from Iraq. After 15 months, he was coming home.

He sounded exhausted. He wasn't looking forward to 36 hours in an airplane flying west across Europe, the Atlantic Ocean and the U.S. mainland before heading home to Hawaii. But he knew that his beautiful wife and adoring sons would be waiting for him. That was more than enough to keep him going.

I told him he looked really thin. He said he at first gained a few pounds when he got to Iraq but that he decided to drop the weight so that he would feel better. It's not exactly Shang-ri-la when it's 130 degrees in the desert.

It was great to hear his voice, but I have to admit that my heart has fluttered a bit in this last week. I think it's only natural when you worry about someone close who is in a forward combat area. You can't wait for the second that their wheels leave the ground. You can't wait for the wheels to touch down again back where they belong.

It's been my pleasure to relay the e-mails and phone calls that I've been honored to receive from Drew during his service at FOB McHenry. As I've stated before, it's amazing and surreal how close technology can bring you to someone so very far away.

The original plan before he left was that I would go and visit Drew and write about his battalion once he got in country. But after he lost the first few men, I didn't want to bring it up. He was devastated after each soldier's death. I didn't want to bring added stress to his life by being there and him being responsible for my safety.

Before he left, he sent out one more letter to the families and friends of his regiment. With his permission, I'm sharing it again today. He continues to astound me with his clarity, his sense of purpose, his candor and the forcefulness of his conviction:

Drew exchanging the colors at FOB McHenry

8 OCT 07

Family and Friends of the Wolfhounds;

Today marks the end of another chapter in the legacy of the 27th Infantry Regiment. I would love to be able to say that this journey went fast, but that is just not true. The Wolfhounds started this misson with a positive direction of hope for the people of the Hawijah District and spent all of 15-months convincing the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Local Government and the people that they do have a future away from the evil clutches of fanatics that have hijacked their religion and only wants to destroy a peaceful and prosperous Iraq. Some have yet to be convinced, but the changes in this area have been immense. Without question, the Wolfhounds gave the people of Hawijah District a vision of hope, peace and liberty. Please keep 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment in your prayers as they assume the mission in this area. Ask for God to give them the wisdom and discipline to show compassion to the peaceful people of this area and nothing but ruthlessness to the twisted enemies of this nation.

Task Force Wolfhound 25th Infantry DivisionI don’t know if I will ever be able to convince myself that our loss of 18 Wolfhounds was worth this journey. I am not a politician and will never claim to be. As Soldiers, we took our obligation to our nation freely. We were given this mission to rid the world of the views of Islamic Extremists not only for the security of a prosperous Iraq, but also for the safety and future of our nation, and every nation that does not conform to the twisted views of sick individuals who have hijacked a beautiful religion onto a path of death, oppression and world dominance. The Wolfhounds made a stand in the Hawijah District and the legacy of our sacrifice will be told by the children of this area, and the children of these children, years from now. The local population’s reaction to our departure tells the tale of our success here. The Wolfhounds fought hard to gain the trust of the innocent people of Hawijah and the fear of the terrorists who faced us. We entered this fight virtually alone and depart this area leaving behind trusted brothers of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police who fought side by side with us for a peaceful and prosperous Iraq.

The future of Iraq must be determined by Iraqis. We have forged an Iraqi Army and Police Force that now understands the responsibilities that they face. We have molded their capabilities in the proud Wolfhound Tradition of distinguished combat service showing both ruthlessness towards a brutal enemy and compassion towards the innocent people enslaved by the terrorist’s cowardly actions. NO FEAR ON EARTH has taken root in their hearts and we leave here knowing that they can accomplish their dreams of a united homeland if they stay true to the simple motto that has served our historic regiment well for over 106 years.

We fought this fight until the end. News of the extension to our deployment from 12 to 15 months struck everyone hard, but Wolfhounds do not sway easily. Instead of consuming us, it served as a defining moment in this chapter of our history. As the Commander of this incredible unit, the drive and determination of every Soldier and Leader under me has left me humbled by their achievements. In the 30-days prior to the arrival of our replacements, these incredible Wolfhounds conducted 10 Battalion Level Operations and over 100 platoon level operations…In our last 30 days here! The results were equally as impressive. Your Wolfhounds were directly responsible for the complete dismantling of one of the two major terrorist networks in this area and the capture of 3 of the top 4 of leaders of the other network. Throughout this deployment, your Wolfhounds captured over 1,200 enemy to include 58 of the 64 Brigade High Value Targets and killed or captured 130 men trying to emplace Improvised Explosive Devices against us. Hawijah District and Kirkuk Province is showing major security improvements on the shoulders of the 27th Infantry Regiment, WOLFHOUNDS!

Today, many of our Wolfhounds are already home safe in the arms of their loved ones. The rest of us will be home soon. All that we have achieved would not have been possible without the love and support of our friends and family. You have been the source of our strength and determination. The countless packages, letters and prayers only served to strengthen our resolve. I will never be able to thank you all enough for all that you have done for us. The American public will never be able to comprehend the magnitude of your support and sacrifice to our nation. You have done more than fly our flag and paste a bumper sticker on your car saying you “Support Our Troops.” Your countless hours of sacrifice out of love for our Wolfhounds will always be known by the Veterans of Task Force Wolfhound, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM V. I love each and every one of you for all that you have done to make our Wolfhound Family strong.

The names and faces of our Fallen Wolfhounds will always be etched in the hearts of every member of this team. Please keep the families of these incredible heroes in your prayers always. The loss of these 18 brave young men is tragic to our nation. They are part of 1/10th of 1% of American youth that decided to make a difference in our world and not just talk about making a difference. It is so easy to criticize anything and everything that anyone does, but it takes intestinal fortitude and courage to actually stand up for what you believe. Our Fallen Wolfhounds wrote a “blank check” to our nation and what we stand for as Wolfhounds. These values don’t come from the streets of America; they come from incredible family values and dignity. The families of our fallen brothers forever deserve our love and support. Though they have lost a son, brother or father, they have gained a family of Wolfhounds that will be with them always.

Between now, Block Leave and the Wolfhound Formal in December, my time as the Commander of this incredible organization grows short. I long to hold my family in my arms again and I look forward to seeing as many of you as I can before the day comes where I must hand over the Battalion Colors. With over 5 years total in this unit, all that it stands for and believes will never leave my heart, mind and soul. We have stared death and destruction right in the face and lived up to our beliefs that we fear nothing on this earth. On a razors edge we have balanced the ability to seek out and destroy anything evil and at the same time show love and compassion to those caught in the middle. This is a truly blessed Regiment and I am humbled to say that I have been the commander.


Respectfully Yours;

Commander, 2-27 Infantry “Wolfhounds”


Saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye to new friends.

Getting the job done.

Excerpt from Soldier magazine.

Walking tall.

Desert sombreros.

'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.

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Looking for something different for lunch?

Might I suggest...

Chicken and Waffles at TNT's Southern Spice

... the chicken and waffle plate at TNT's Southern Spice in Ybor City?

Day-um. This was good. Be sure to order the Ybor Mix to go with it. It's a 50-50 mixture of homemade lemonade and sweetened iced tea. Give my best to Tammy Miller and Toyia Brim, the owners who run the joint and do the catering.

Don't like chicken and waffles? Check out the rest of their menu:

Menu from TNT'S Southern Spice in Tampa

Mmmm. Love me some oxtails.

I found TNT after a tip from reader Martha Bair. She wrote:

They change menu daily so they give it out over the phone. You may want to check it out - oxtails on weekends, Banana Pudding & BBQ on Fridays. Fried Pork chops, chicken, turkey wings, great veggies most days. Parking is very limited so most business is take away.

I usually stop by for take-out end of day as they are open until 7:30 pm. Closed Mondays I think. My favorites? Well, oxtails are good but only avble on weekends; fried pork chop is good. They constantly try to get me to branch out & experiment - I had turkey wings, fried chicken wings with waffle - very weird flavor combo, but I had read about it in Trib write-up about a restaurant in Ybor City, so I dived in. (After all - you are corresponding with someone who ate fried scorpions in China! I am open to new things and do not consider myself a food snob, but have to confess my fave restaurant in world is Victoria & Albert's at Grand Floridian.)


::::ears perk:::::

Thanks, Martha. I appreciate the scouting report.

We used the visit today as an occasion to bid farewell to our favorite health reporter in the world, Ms. Patty Kim, who will be escaping the compound leaving for greener professional pastures next week.

You can watch video of our dining experience. You know, if you're into that sort of thing.

Part 1, in which we are served our food:

Part 2, in which Patty and Domenick, describe the contents of their dishes:

Part 3, in which Domenick explains the particulars of the wonderful batter and seasonings on the chicken:

Part 4, in which Domenick attacks his waffle like a gator dragging a wildebeast into the African watering hole:

And, lastly, Domenick commits a syrup hate crime.

If you still feel like eating at TNT despite watching Domenick do so, check out this map below. Phone number: (813) 247-2540.

View Larger Map


Grandma Flossie's BBQ

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Michael Ruhlman

When I interviewed author Michael Ruhlman by phone yesterday from his home in Cleveland, I joked at the beginning about it being the Year of the Ruhlman.

As the saying goes, it's funny because it's true.

The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman Ruhlman has a book coming out in November called “The Elements of Cooking; Translating the Chef’s Art for Every Kitchen.” It's the cooking equivalent to Strunk and White's writing bible, "The Elements of Style." He's also one of the judges on the current Food Network series “The Next Iron Chef.” (The network put out a press release this week that the first broadcast snagged 3.3 million sets of eyeballs.)

His trilogy of books “The Soul of a Chef,” “The Making of a Chef” and “The Reach of a Chef” are considered by many to be definitive works on how cooks are trained in modern kitchens and how the explosion in culinary celebrity is affecting the food culture. He co-authored “The French Laundry Cookbook” with chef Thomas Keller and “A Return To Cooking” with chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernadin. He also wrote a great book on charcuterie that blew me away a couple years back.

To give you some sense of the circles in which Ruhlman runs, dig this story from last week in the Chicago Tribune (the table shot photo is worth a visit alone):

The center of the gastronomical universe was, for several hours Friday afternoon, seated at two tables at Rick Bayless' Topolobampo.

Lunching at the James Beard-award winning restaurant were chefs Ferran Adrià (far right) of Spain's El Bulli, regarded as the world's best restaurant by Restaurant magazine, and Heston Blumenthal of England's The Fat Duck, considered the world's second best restaurant from that same list. Also at this table were food writer Michael Ruhlman, Trotter's chef de cuisine Mattias Merges, and Adrià's brother and pastry chef, Albert.

Adrià and Blumenthal are two of six chefs arriving in town for, what is possibly, the most spectacular gathering of culinary gods modern gastronomy has ever seen, cooking in celebration of Trotter's 20th anniversary in Chicago Sunday night. The other chefs preparing the $5,000-a-head meal are Daniel Boulud, Tetsuya Wakuda, Pierre Herme and Thomas Keller.

Rick Bayless and executive chef Brian Enyart prepared a special five-course mole tasting, which began around 2:30 p.m. Friday and lasted for several hours. They had only heard about the chefs arriving at 9:30 that morning, and quickly pulled together the menu. 'As far as a cook to cook thing, this is probably the biggest table I've ever served," said Enyart.

Said Topolobampo manager Alan Bochi: "It's like having the Beatles in the dining room."

If that isn't enough to ring your bell, you also might have seen him on Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel series “No Reservations,” including an episode this season in which he gives Bourdain an eccentric culinary tour of Cleveland with comic book writer Harvey Pekar. (The next airing is at 10 p.m. on Oct. 22.)

On top of that, he operates a food blog that's one of my favorites. It's intimate and full of passion and the comments on each post invariably contain great amounts of sturm and drang among the visitors. The blog is how I found Ruhlman's work a couple years ago after Bourdain began posting Molotov cocktail rants and observations. (Note to self: Befriend cranky former heroin addict/Ramones aficionado/author with culinary travel TV show, then ask him guest blog on The Stew.) Their joint venture, the Golden Clog award, is destined to go down in blogosphere lore.

Anyway, we had a nice chat yesterday about what it's like being in the belly of the Food Network beast (my words, not his), why chefs use such convoluted verbiage to describe their cooking and what the nature of his relationship with Tony Bourdain really is. His answer is worth waiting for.

To hear the podcast, click here. You also can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Feedburner.

* Cross-posted at The Stew.


For health information about things like food allergies and other day to day health concerns you can go online and read up, such as medical advice on how to change your diet to help with high blood pressure and more.

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Went to cover the 15th Annual NightMoves Adult Entertainment Awards the other night at Bricktown 54 nightclub in Clearwater the other night.

"Jeff," you're probably not asking, "Why would the food guy be covering an adult entertainment event?"

It's a long story. One I shall tell in due time, my friends.

Until then, I'll share a couple of photos.

First, there was this one, taken after my buddy Rommie and I witnessed one of the event participants sending a message on the windwhield of a Cadillac in the parking lot:

Drive By Twinkie

What was the medium for expressing such hostility?

Drive By Twinkie, Spent

And people said I couldn't find a food angle.

Anyway, you can see other more, uh, adult photos by clicking here. I've made the pics of Kylie Ireland, Bree Olson, Stormy Winters, Mya Devine and Sean Michaels about as safe as possible. There's no nudity, nakedness or unclothed shots - sorry, there are other places online for that - but it's not the kind of thing you want to explain to the kids.

Don't hate me for the cat photos, okay? Or the Ron Jeremy pic, for that matter.


Jimi Hendrix Edition.

Sit on it and rotate.

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.

Patriotic turtles.

Bubba's sidekick.

Goin' mobil.

G'day, mate.

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.

Asshats aplenty.

Nicotine is my crash helmet.

Jazz hands moms.

Ugly lug nuts.

Pretty ballsy.

My honor student can kick your ass.

Garfield mudflaps.

Horse and buddy.

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October 09, 2007


Great quote:

"Our cameras stopped rolling immediately after the blast. The humor of the entire situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere."

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October 08, 2007


Dan over at Planet Dan created the Falling Bush screensaver. He's now updated it with the Falling Hillary version. Oh, and a Falling Hillary in a bikini version. (The shoes are a crackup.)

In light of yesterday's Dolphins game, I suggested he make a Trent Green version as well:

Brutal hit. It was sickening to watch.

I'm a big fan of Dan's Animated Friday posts. They never fail to amuse me.

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October 07, 2007


Task Force Wolfhound 25th Infantry DivisionCan you get homesick from a place you haven't left yet? Is it possible to miss somewhere you never wanted to go in the first place?

My buddy Drew, who is scheduled to leave Iraq later this week after 15 months there as a battalion commander, probably won't be homesick for that little slice of hell, but he does sound a little wistful about leaving the friends he made and turning the page on this chapter of his career.

Yesterday, he e-mailed this note:


It is hard to believe it is almost over. We have worked so hard for the past 15-months that I am finding it somewhat difficult to just let go. Trust me when I say that I am ready to leave, but there is so much my unit knows about this area and what needs to be done that we almost feel like lost souls around here as we watch the new unit grasp for understanding of this complex mission.

Drew at a Ramadan dinner in Iraq

My days have been filled with Farewell Dinners. They are in Ramadan which means they all take place after sunset. They have been stuffing me full of all the great Iraqi Food that I have truly grown to love. I am attaching a few pictures of some of my latest exploits.

Drew with Friends

Drew jokes with a friend in the Iraqi police

Drew gets a gift from a friend in the Iraqi army

Then this morning, I woke up to this e-mail.

I think he's ready to come home:


Despite the fact that it didn’t make my Top 10 List of things I missed the most over the past 15-months, a Bucs home game w/ lots of tailgating and one of those INCREDIBLE CUBANS on the way home would be great!!!

My Top 10 List of Things I Missed Most Over The Past 15-Months:

10. Grass.

9. A quiet neighborhood.

8. Neighborhood arguments that DON’T end in firefights.

7. Running without 100 lbs. of gear on.

6. Family movies.

5. The wind in my face and my wife on the back of the Harley.

4. Time to smoke a cigar.

3. Dog piles with my 3 sons.

2. Coffee and conversation with my best friend (Wife).

1. Driving on roads that don’t explode.




Yeah, yeah, yeah. Big bad warrior misses grass. Whatever.

Attempting to deflate his fantasy, I replied to him:


I've considered your list. I have my own take on this:

Drew's Top 10 List of Things I Missed Most Over The Past 15-Months:

10. Grass (Grass is highly overrated. Especially when your neighbor takes a few months off from cutting his. None of the neighbors in Iraq get upset if you don't groom the sand, I'm guessing.)

9. A quiet neighborhood (Sounds good on paper. Never really happens, though, as long as there are rice rocket cars with 2 millon megawat stereo systems in them racing through the streets.)

8. Neighborhood arguments that DON'T end in firefights (I would actually welcome one of these with the homeowner's association enforcer down the street.)

7. Running without 100 lbs. of gear on. (What is this running of which you speak? Sounds tiresome.)

6. Family Movies (Unless you're the Aadams Family.)

5. The wind in my face and my wife on the back of the Harley. (I miss the wind in my face and your wife on the Harley, too. Oops. Did I just say that out loud?)

4. Time to smoke a cigar. (This should have ranked much, much higher. You disappoint me, Fredo.)

3. Dog piles with my 3 sons. (I have dog piles from two actual dogs. Trade you.)

2. Coffee and conversation with my best friend (Wife). (I'm sure she has this one in reverse order.)

1. Driving on roads that don't explode. (Explode, smode. We have the Crosstown Expressway, pal. It decides to change elevation whenever the hell it wants.)


Saying goodbye to new friends.

Getting the job done.

Excerpt from Soldier magazine.

Walking tall.

Desert sombreros.

'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.

Posted by Jeff at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


It's been something of a nightmare 24 hours here at Casa del Ensalada.

We came home from running errands yesterday to find the house trashed. Limousines were parked out front. Inside was a tableau like I had never seen: poodles dressed up like rap video whores walking around with flutes of Cristal, papparazzi pressing their lenses against the living room windows, helicopters hovering overhead tracking cars that were leaving the driveway.

Then it all made sense.

Yesterday saw something of a coming out party for a member of the Salad Clan.

Lincoln in the Tampa Tribune - full page

Lincoln in the Tampa Tribune

Lincoln got a little inkage in the Trib. It was a photo from his early portfolio, but it still generated an insane amount of media coverage.

In only a few short hours, the notoriety that his photo had generated totally warped his personality. Being a celebridog had clearly gone to his head. Caught up in the maelstrom, of course, was Abraham, who, as he did while still a pup, started acting like Turtle to Lincoln's Vince in a canine version of "Entourage." When we walked in, I caught Abe on the Internet ordering a custom Maserati and a gold chain-link choker on a retractable leash.

We, of course, decided to make the best of a bad situation. We sold these compromising photos of him to Dog Fancy.

Serves him right for turning our lives upside down.

Posted by Jeff at 08:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 05, 2007


Lou, why are you wasting your talents with pre-game analysis? With amazing skills like these, you should be out opening for Starship Starring Mickey Thomas.

Posted by Jeff at 08:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Love this story:

Master Baiter T-shirt.JPGSouthwest To Passenger: Lose T-Shirt Or Leave

TAMPA - Southwest Airlines on Friday was trying to contact a Largo passenger to apologize after an employee forced him to change out of a sexually suggestive T-shirt or risk getting thrown off the plane.

The incident Sunday in Columbus, Ohio, came after Southwest Airlines created a public uproar by telling a woman on a flight in July that her outfit was too revealing for her to fly.

Joe Winiecki, 39, a radiographer at Bayfront Medical Center, said he was sitting in the last row of a Columbus-to-Tampa flight when an employee told him he had to change his T-shirt, turn it inside out or get off the plane.

The shirt, bought in the Virgin Islands, uses sexual double entendre to promote a fictional fishing tackle shop. The largest lettering reads "Master Baiter."

Winiecki argued that the airline was violating his right to free speech but changed rather than risk getting kicked off the flight and missing a day of work.

A couple things immediately strike me about this story.

1. The guy was from Largo. They should have held him off the plane for that reason alone.

2. Southwest wasn't denying him free speech. They were denying him free peanuts.

3. That a guy from Largo would be wearing this type of shirt is not really that big of a surprise. Largo High School's football team is known, I believe, as the Fighting Master Baiters.

4. Buying a self-pleasure souvenir in the Virgin Islands is so meta, I can't even get my mind around it.

5. Without a doubt, Southwest should have asked that he take off the t-shirt. Then they should have made him put on a shirt that read, "FREE LARRY CRAIG."

6. Without a doubt, this has to be the funniest Wikipedia entry illustration ever.

Posted by Jeff at 08:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007


I arrived at my desk the other day to see this on top of it:

Press kit or death threat?


Is this a press kit, a death threat or an offering from the new Santeria bakery?

And this goes with a dough figure ... how?

Ah. A press kit promoting new flavors of Swiss chocolates.

And that relates to a stick-wielding dough voodoo ... how?

Poppin Fresh makes a friend

A doughboy summit. Excellent.

It's important to make friends, I think. Even among baked goods.


And now for the comedy sexual stylings of Yakov Smirnoff.

I'll be your Huckle, berry.

David Beckham, Tara Reid and Smuckers.

Hello, kitty.

Michael Flatley in our midst.

The Martha Stewart of karate.

Nice Judds.

Putting the P in P.R.

Potty training month.

Huckleberry Fink.

Mama, we're all crazee now.

That not-so-fresh feeling.

"It's not a 'Karaoke Kevin' album.''

Posted by Jeff at 08:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007


John and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit

According to John Hillstrand: "Third grade."

That priceless audio nugget and others can be heard on the Table Conversations podcast I did with John and his brother Andy.

Click here to hear the guys from "Deadliest Catch" do their thing.

Posted by Jeff at 08:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 02, 2007


We received good news late last week: my buddy Drew is scheduled to leave Iraq the middle of this month.

Welcome Home 2-27 WolfhoundsSome of his the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry soldiers, the Wolfhounds, have started to return back home to Hawaii. The first group came home on Friday. Another larger group arrives tomorrow. Drew is expected to follow on Oct. 13.

Got a couple notes from him yesterday:

Drew's Moment of ZenJeff;

I have only a few weeks left here and had to put some of this into perspective. I am in the middle of typing my last letter to Family and Friends of the Wolfhounds and with so much to say about what we have accomplished here and the cost of this success; I thought this picture summarized it best.

With a sunset like this, you have to find some possibility of peace and hope for an area that has seen little.

We have many “Old Soldiers” looking down on us happy that we are giving the people of this area a chance at liberty and prosperity. Prayers and support from home is really not that far away …

Talk Soon;


Drew also sent this e-mail and photo:


Meet LTC Fatah, Iraqi Police Chief for the Hawijah District and LTC Abdulrachmon, Iraqi Army Battalion Commander.

Drew with his Iraqi counterparts

We have been working side by side for 14-months…

OK … The start was not side-by-side … I had to use the Drew Charm to get them out working for their own future, but how could they ever resist my sweet, cuddly way of doing business?


Commander, 2-27 IN "Wolfhounds"


Getting the job done.

Excerpt from Soldier magazine.

Walking tall.

Desert sombreros.

'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.

Posted by Jeff at 08:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2007


Hey, it's Side Salad's birfday

So, yeah, it's hard to believe, but Side Salad has been vomiting stupidity upon the blogosphere for five whole damn years. Which, when compared to other things online, makes us feel kinda old and creaky.

When we started this, there was no YouTube. There was no MySpace. AOL was still the big boy online. And we weren't referring to ourselves in the collective third-person royal "we." My how times have changed.

Did we think we would be doing this five years hence? Certainly we did not not. Especially after a variety of hiatuses that took us offline for lack of interest and interesting things to say. That the damn thing came back at all speaks to this powerful cocktail of personal communication, technology, vanity and lack of discipline to channel energy as a force for good.

In previous years, I've offered a list of links that I thought were particularly emblematic of the Salad Bowl experience.

Because I lack the time and resources to think outside of the imaginary box, much less come up with a better non-box cliche, I hereby repeat myself for the fifth time in five years with this link of highlights.

Mmmm. Porcine lady bidness.

What you see is what you get.

Snack cake hate crime.


Wheel of Death.

Freckie Juice.

Cut it out.

3 quarters in the same slot.

Put your damn pants on.

Adjective parade.

Charlie, Martin and Afro Sheen.

("Good Luck Amy")

Our sincere thanks goes out to everyone who reads the Salad and contributes to it in their various ways. We're all very, very appreciative. All of us.

Here's hoping for five more. Days.

Posted by Jeff at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack