November 30, 2007

AND NOW HE'S DEAD: EVEL KNIEVEL

I was a freak for Evel Knievel. So hearing today that he had died was sad news.

As a kid born in the mid-'60s, I came of age right about the time Knievel's popularity reached it's height in the late 1970s.

Evel got a perm. I badgered my parents so I could get an Evel Knievel stunt bike. I whined until I got the Evel Knievel RV and towing platform to go wtih it. For a while, I only bought comic books that had ads for his toys inside.

All the kids in the neighborhood took turns skidding black patches on the sidewalks through Bear Creek Elementary, seeing how close we could come to sliding-but-not-smashing-into the brick wall at the end of the hallway. We'd take turns falling off to mimic how Knievel fell at Caesar's Palace.

Because of Evel Knievel, I got a Graco BMX bike for Christmas that looked like a motorcycle. Damn thing was almost too heavy to pedal. One day in a winter headwind on the way to school, I threw it to the ground in a tantrum and walked the rest of the way. My older cousins Harry and C.J. got to ride motorcross motorcycles. They won loads of trophies. I thought they were the coolest guys on the planet. Me? I had an anchor that looked like a motorcycle.

This was the decade of Bigfoot and Nessie and UFOs and D.B. Cooper jumping out of a jet airliner with a bag full of money. It was the decade Reggie hit three home runs on three swings. George Willig climbed the World Trade Center. Nixon quit. Wallace got shot. Elvis croaked. Billy Jean beat Bobby Riggs. Astronauts played golf on the moon. Someone made a baby in a test tube. For a while, it seemed like everything took turns being bigger than life.

And Evel was bigger than them all. At least in bursts and flashes.

He'd brag about having broken every bone in his body, and then he'd get on the bike and do it again. There was a very real sense that he had no idea what the outcome would be. That's what made it great. Here was a guy who obviously didn't enjoy what he was doing, a man who knew every ride could be his last and yet he couldn't stop his ego from pushing him to do it again. When he climbed into the Snake River Canyon sky cycle, you could see it in his eyes: this is a one-way ticket. It was almost nauseating to watch someone roll that big a pair of dice. When he lived long enough to say he would never do it again, it was almost a relief.

Sure, there were other daredevils back then.

But for me, Evel was the king.


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November 29, 2007

UH, HOY


Tampa Bay Rays Stadium Rendering

I might be way off on this, but I think it's very thoughtful gesture for the Rays and St. Petersburg to consider spending $450 million to give the Yankees and Red Sox a nicer place to win their pennants.


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November 26, 2007

A MOMENT OF SILENCE: KEVIN DUBROW


Kevin Dubrow

There's very sad news to report to longtime Salad Bowl readers. Kevin Dubrow, lead singer of Quiet Riot, has died.

Quiet Riot Lead Singer Kevin Dubrow Dies

LAS VEGAS Kevin Dubrow, lead singer for the 1980s heavy metal band Quiet Riot that scored a hit with "Cum on Feel the Noize," was found dead in a Las Vegas home. He was 52. The cause was not immediately known.

A neighbor summoned police and paramedics Sunday to the house where he was pronounced dead, police and coroner's officials said.

There was no forced entry, and no suspicious circumstances were reported, police Officer Jose Montoya said Monday.

Quiet Riot was perhaps best known for its 1983 cover of "Cum on Feel the Noize." The song, featuring Dubrow's powerful, gravelly voice, appeared on the band's album "Metal Health" which was the first by a metal band to reach No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

DuBrow recorded his first solo album in 2004, "In for the Kill," and the band's last studio CD, "Rehab," came out in October 2006.

"I can't even find words to say," Quiet Riot drummer Frank Banali wrote on his Web site. "Please respect my privacy as I mourn the passing and honor the memory of my dearest friend Kevin DuBrow."

Determination of the cause of death was pending an autopsy and toxicology results, Clark County coroner's spokeswoman Samantha Charles said.

I met Dubrow in 2003 at the opening of The Kitchen restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando.

He was among a handful of B-grade rock celebrities and quasi-foodies who showed up to bestow their good graces on the new venture.

As I posted in the Salad at the time:

kevin.jpg
Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot is a huge cook.

When he heard I was from Tampa, he was pumped. He's spent some time here.

"I love Shells!" he said. "We don't have an inexpensive seafood chain like Shells on the West Coast. You can oyster up there until you're blue in the face."

Did he eat the peanuts from the barrel in the lobby?

"HELL YEAH! Ya gotta eat the peanuts!"

Next question: If "Cum On Feel The Noize" was a dish, what would it be?"

He thought about it. Then he grabbed his crotch.

"My meat and potatoes."

Later, I wrote a story for the Tribune. Here's the DuBrow portion of the story:

On the night of The Kitchen's Oct. 30 opening, the restaurant was filled with rock stars past and present. Harry Casey of '70s disco group KC and the Sunshine Band hobnobbed with '90s boy band star Chris Kirkpatrick of 'N Sync and heavy metal rocker Lita Ford.

Kevin DuBrow, lead singer of the '80s metal band Quiet Riot, dined on a plate of drunken sea scallops while he and his girlfriend watched Ford, Hagar and Sugar Ray lead singer Mark McGrath cook another batch with Percoco's help.

DuBrow says some of the culinary impulses musicians feel come from a distaste for garbage food that bands feel forced to eat on the road between tour stops.

"Some of the guys in my band were so cheap, they'd eat Taco Bell all the time," he says. "I prefer spending more money and eating something better. To me, your health is the most important thing, and going on the stage with indigestion is not a good idea."

DuBrow says that there is a hierarchy of road food that helps him appreciate the great meals he has at Emeril's in New Orleans or the Coyote Grill in Las Vegas or in his own kitchen.

"If it isn't Taco Bell, your options are Cracker Barrel, Applebee's and Red Lobster, none of which are really the best thing in the world," he says. "You've got Waffle House ... that's always iffy. God bless Waffle House. I love the taste of it. But it haunts you all day."

When the big money starts to roll in, a taste for fine dining is cultivated, he said.

"The more you are exposed to it, the more you expect," he said. "Chicken-fried steak is fine, if that's all you know. I, for one, can't stand it."

That doesn't mean the food has to be expensive. During a stint in the late 1990s while he was mixing an album in Tampa, DuBrow fell in love with the Shells seafood chain. He even ate the peanuts from the barrel in the lobby.

"I love Shells!" he said. "We don't have an inexpensive seafood chain like Shells on the West Coast. You can oyster up there until you're blue in the face."

I gave Kevin my card and he gave me his e-mail address. "Let's keep in touch," he said.

To my surprise, he actually did.

I'd get random press releases about drummers joining the band. Or when he'd release an album. Or when he'd take a shot at reforming the band. Or when a European tour was afoot.

It saddens me to know that Kevin is gone. Getting an e-mail from him was a vicarious thrill. He was a genuinely nice man when I met him. Plus, he loved food. How could you not love someone like that.

Here's a sample off Messr. Dubrow's work:


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2007 CALENDAR OF DISTURBING SANTAS: DAY 3

Usually I try to pad the Salad Bowl a little between the CODS entries, but I'm a little under the weather today, so back-to-back posts will have to do.

Besides, this beats everything else I have today:


PREVIOUS DISTURBING SANTAS

Up against the wall, Kringle.

Santa's got that not-so-fresh feeling.

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November 25, 2007

CALENDAR OF DISTURBING SANTAS: DAY 2


Santa Pine Sol

Santa's got that "not so fresh" feeling


PREVIOUS DISTURBING SANTAS

Up against the wall, Kringle.


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CRAP SAFARI:
HOLIDAY EDITION

Last time I went on a crap safari, I found my crap grail.

So it was with a sense of optimism that I embarked on yet another expedition yesterday after I dropped a couple items off at Goodwill in Brandon.

Little did I know the cornucopia of crap that I would find.

Uh...

I call this "Bollywood Mardi Gras."





Soothing Vibrations Bouncer

Finally, a toy mommy and baby can enjoy together.





Titanic The Board Game

They called it the board game of dreams.

And it was.





Merry Midget lights

Excuse me, but I believe "Merry Little Persons" is more appropriate.





Dilapidated Lava Lamp

Lava lamps are much less exciting when they're filled with cream of mushroom soup.





Little Bo Peep

What Little Bo Peep has lost in sheep, she's gained in anthropomorphism.





Best One Night Stand Ever

Been there, done her, got the t-shirt.





Scary porcelain clown

If this was any scarier, the clown's name would be Hannibal Lecter





Ugliest Christmas Decoration Ever

You can make a Mr. Hankey, too.





Donkey Konga

Methinks these will not be compatible with "Rock Band."





Talking Ozzy Osbourne doll

If the audio on the Ozzy Osbourne doll were to go bad, how would you know?

For ages 3 and up? Send this doll with Suzy to daycare and watch what happens.





Kodak Disc camera

I might be way off on this, but I think the Kodak Disc camera is gonna be bigger than the iPod one day.





Sin Kills

Not if you do it right.





Janay the Ultra Tan Dol

Janay's Malibu Tanning Bed sold separately.





More damn clowns

Don't bother. They're here.





To see more from the Safari Collection, click here.



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November 24, 2007

THE WINDOW SAYS IT ALL


Tebow Is A God



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CALENDAR OF DISTURBING SANTAS: DAY 1

There's a lot of pressure each year when I start the Salad Bowl's annual daily Calendar of Disturbing Santas.

Especially when the previous year was such an abysmal failure.

Last year, I started strong, but only got 13 deep before I got bored and quit.

In 2005, this image set the palate quite nicely. But then, again, I only got halfway to the promised land.

This year? Things will be different. I swear.

To prove it, I'm starting neither strong nor weak. Somewhere disgustingly in the middle:

Day 1: Santa wall
.
Ahhhhhh. Feels good to be back in the Santa saddle again.

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BLACK FRIDAY LEFTOVERS:
HOLIDAY BREWSKI


Where does beer come from?

Beer globe

Antarctica, of course.

That's why it's always so cold.


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BLACK FRIDAY LEFTOVERS:
SACRELIGIOUS BAND NAME


Fashion crucifixes

Mood Crucifi.


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BLACK FRIDAY LEFTOVERS:
NOW ON SALE AT HELL'S ACCESSORIES DEPARTMENT


Come fly with me, come fly, come fly away

You are the chintz beneath my wings.


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BLACK FRIDAY LEFTOVERS:
JEWELRY COUNTER OF THE BEAST


Jewelry Counter Calculator of the Beast

Jewelry counter calculator of The Beast

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November 23, 2007

BLACK FRIDAY:
NOW ON SALE AT HELL'S MERRY-GO-ROUND


Debbie Gibson's Jeans

Debbie Gibson called. She wants her jeans back.

Shocking bit of context: These were not found on a clearance rack.


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BLACK FRIDAY:
NOW ON SALE AT HELL'S BROOKSTONE


You confuse need and want. You always have.

i couldn't care less.


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BLACK FRIDAY:
UP ON THE ROOFTOP, ICK, ICK, ICK


Santa in a wetsuit

Another image I'll need mental Brillo pads to erase: Santa in a form-fitting Body Glove.

Reminds me of the time Harvey Fierstein dressed up like Mrs. Claus for the Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

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BLACK FRIDAY:
NOW FOR SALE AT HELL'S VICTORIA'S SECRET


Coming soon to a MySpace page near you:

Well, if you insist

Well, if you insist, Ms. Lohan.


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BLACK FRIDAY:
NOW FOR SALE IN HELL'S GIFT SHOP


Bob Dylan charm bracelets made by Lucky

Ah, charm bracelets.

Wait, what kind is it?



Bob Dylan charm bracelet made by Lucky

I'll always remember where I was when Dylan went eclectic.

What's next, Joan Baez lingerie?




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November 22, 2007

WE'RE OFFICIALLY 'THAT FAMILY' IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD

My youngest sister-in-law, Ruth, sent us an early Christmas present:

Yes, we're officially "that family" in the neighborhood


It plays seven songs and synchronizes flashing lights inside the snowmen to correspond to each song's beats and musical inflections.

I feel like I've won the airblown inflatable lawn decoration lottery.


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November 21, 2007

GAME ON!


Think of it as a turkey Jacuzzi

I'm brining and smoking a turkey this year for the first time. I've been tempting fate by frying them in previous years, but I was wisely advised that I had to choose between the two methods. The voice of reason is faint in my head. It helps to have it amplified for me.

Which reminds me; it's been two years since Rommie and I did our first Easy Bake Oven Thanksgiving. And it's been exactly a year since we miserably failed to recreate the magic for video:


Ah, one never forgets a desperate attempt to fill holiday news hole.

To keep tabs on whether or not I give my family food poisoning, click on this gallery throughout the weekend.

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November 20, 2007

HELLO, AND WELCOME TO JEFF'S NEW OBSESSION

Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians.

warren_beatty

Warren Beatty. Actor. Director. Famed foe of Bobby Riggs. Former BFF of Carly Simon.



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November 19, 2007

YOU GO 24 HOURS WITHOUT A POST,
AND THIS IS THE CRAP YOU PUT UP?

Yes. Yes, it is.



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November 18, 2007

IF I HAVE ONE HARD AND FAST RULE ABOUT LIFE, IT WOULD BE THIS:


Scoops The Ice Cream Mascot

I don't hug mascots who drip.




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SHOWGIRLS AND PINK GORILLAS AND GOTTA EAT, TOO

I caught this tender moment at a food sample table the other day during an amusement parks convention in Orlando:

This is, without a doubt, the true essence of life in O-Town.

I think I just lost a little piece of my soul by calling it O-Town.




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MY GODFATHER-THEMED BREAKFAST WITH ANDRE

BrianAndDaddyO.jpgSCENE NO. 1: INTERIOR, MORNING. A 12-year-old boy eats breakfast as his father cleans the kitchen.

BOY: [sings] Daaaaaa da da daaaaaaaa da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

FATHER: Is there a reason you're singing the "Godfather" theme?

BOY: I just remembered something.

FATHER: What's that?

BOY: Last year, at lunch one day ...

FATHER: Wait. You're telling me a story about something that happened a year ago?

BOY: Yes.

FATHER: See, this is what I mean when I ask you every day, "So, what happened at school today?"

BOY: [laughs] I know.

FATHER: Not, "So, what happened at school last year?" What happened today.

BOY: Okay ...

FATHER: You weren't listening to me.

BOY: Yes I was. Okay, so last year at lunch one day ...

FATHER: [goans]

BOY: ... Victor banished me from the lunch table.

FATHER: Victor? For what?

BOY: It's not important.

FATHER: Of course it's important.

BOY: No, it's not.

FATHER: Any time you're banished from something, the reason you're banished is usually important.

BOY: Well, it wasn't. So, Victor banished me ...

FATHER: [feigns disgust] Okay.

BOY: So I go sit at another table with some other people.

FATHER: Victor has this kind of power?

BOY: No, I was just doing it as a joke.

FATHER: Okay.

BOY: So, I go to the other table ...

FATHER: And?

BOY: Everyone from Victor's table came over and sat with me.

FATHER: Ah.

Godfather Kissing Hand 2BOY: [sings while holding up wrist and kissing it] Daaaaaa da da daaaaaaaa da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

FATHER: [stifling laughter] So, you're saying you're Michael Corleone?

BOY: [continues singing while holding his wrist at his father to kiss] Daaaaaa da da daaaaaaaa da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

FATHER: You bring that wrist over here and it will be the last thing you get kissed.

BOY: [laughing while singing, now standing in front of his father] Daaaaaa da da daaaaaaaa da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

FATHER: [taking his son's hand and bowing toward the wrist, he instead wipes his nose on the boy's sleeve]

BOY: [laughs] I certainly didn't see that one coming.

FATHER: [impersonating the heavy voice of Luca Brasi] And I hope your first child will be a masculine child.

PREVIOUS MOMENTS WITH ANDRE:

Waiting in car line with Andre.

Renaming Andre.

Driving with Andre.

Watching TV with Andre.

Breakfast with Andre.



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YOU GO 10 DAYS WITHOUT POSTING,
AND THIS IS THE CRAP YOU PUT UP?

Why yes, yes it is.


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November 08, 2007

FOOD. WINE. YADDA YADDA YADDA

Here are a couple videos I shot for my StewVision channel on YouTube.


A tripod, a tripod. My kingdom for a full-size tripod.

Quote of the night at Party for the Senses: "You can't say no to goat cheese, right?"




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KRISPY, YO

God, this makes me laugh from a very stupid place:



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TABLE CONVERSATIONS: SAMMY HAGAR

Sammy Hagar

Four years ago, I interviewed musician Sammy Hagar at the opening of The Kitchen restaurant at the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. He was a lot of fun and it was clear that he not only knew a lot about tequila - he started bottling his own Cabo Wabo line in 1999 - he had an appreciation for food and wine. He told me that he collected wine and that he did a little cooking as a chef. He also told me that night that he was a big foodie.

As I wrote at the time:

Cabo Wabo and Waborita

The former lead singer for Van Halen is the proprietor of the Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He also bottles the premium Cabo Wabo tequila, the key ingredient of his trademark "Waborita."

"Chefs are the new rock stars," he said recently at the opening of The Kitchen, a new rock-star-themed restaurant at Universal Orlando's Hard Rock Hotel resort. "They make more money than we do."

It shouldn't be a surprise to find a link between the stage and the kitchen. The image of the rock 'n' roll star has always been about exaggerated appetites. For drugs. For debauchery. For destruction.

Hagar says that buried within the souls of many musicians is a culinary artist dying to get into the kitchen.

The menu at his cantina is dotted with recipes contributed by almost a dozen chef friends. Kerry Simon's Red Rocker Tomato and Shrimp is popular. So is the Fettucini With Cabo Wabo Tequila Sauce by Carlo A. Cavallo. His favorite dish to cook at home: any kind of fish marinated with a margarita and sea salt.

"I have more chef friends, probably, than I do rock stars," Hagar says. "I've always been a fan of that kind of stuff."

And then there was this:

Cooking a feast and writing a song share similarities, Hagar says. Both acts are dependent upon inspiration to make them great.

Hagar even wrote a song, "Red Voodoo" about food. The lyrics came to him after one too many nights of mediocre room service dining on the road.

"Operator help me please," the song starts. "Room service got me on my knees/ They got the same ol' ham and rye/ Give me fillet gumbo crawfish pie/ I want it Red Voodoo style."

When he and his wife, Kari, married about eight years ago, he hired Emeril Lagasse to cater the reception.

The chef cooked risotto with white truffles and crayfish stuffed with blackened filet mignon. He also featured a bar with vegetarian, chicken gumbo and seafood gumbos.

"It was the best meal I ever had," Hagar says. "He shut down his whole restaurant in New Orleans and brought his entire staff to California. I always tell my wife, "We can't ever get divorced because I can't afford Emeril again.' "

I always wanted to do a story with him about the brand and how it came to be, but it never came to pass.

Fast forward to last week, when the publicists for the alcohol company that now owns 80 percent of the label, Gruppo Campari, called about a separate story. They were able to arrange a phone interview from his tour stop in Green Bay, Wisc., so we recorded it for a Table Conversations podcast.

Oh, and for you fans out there, Hagar talks during the podcast about hosting the third annual Cabo Wabo Cruise next April.

FYI: You can see photos from Hagar's most recent Tampa concert in my Flickr gallery. He played the Ford Amphitheater in 2006.

Mi Alto Amigo

This was one of the first things I saw through the gate at the amphitheater. Needless to say, I felt instantly at home.


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November 03, 2007

OFFICE BREAKROOM DECISIONS:
UNDETERMINED PINK STUFF EDITION

Like any office, people bring in food to share with their co-workers.

Unlike most offices, we get all manner of food thrown at us in hopes we'll write about it and give them free publicity. As a result, we see some pretty freaky stuff.

I'm not sure if that explains what appeared in one of the office kitchens the other day.

Benign-looking rolls in the office kitchen

I mean, it looks benign. Tray full of potato rolls... what could be wrong with that?



Uhhhh... What's that pink stuff?

Uh, what's that pink stuff leaking out the side?



Origin of the species: Florida Bakery

Okay... that's a little more comforting. Florida Bakery makes some good stuff...



Mmmmm. Gelatinous Pink Goo.

Okay. Room spinning. Gonna vom.

Alright. Better now.



UPDATE: Okay, here's the thing. I was hungry. And I'm occasionally cheap. Eating random food makes me feel like Matt Henson on the Arctic ice sheet. Doing so in the workplace is like a little vacation.

So, you know, I was repulsed. But I ate it. I went all "Fear Factor" and pushed through that barrier.

And it was pretty damn tasty.

Lesson here: It's okay to be cheap. And culinarily haphazard.

I still don't know what it was that I ate, but maybe that's a good thing.

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BENIGN PHOTOS TAKEN IN THE WORKPLACE THAT LOOK MISLEADINGLY DERANGED

When people come running to me at work saying, "This should be on the Salad," who am I to refuse?

So it was with this series of photos.

I could go on and on how these pictures document actual, real-life, hard-core, public-service journalism in progress.

I could. But that would be a waste of a really good baby doll decaptiation:

IMG_5774


IMG_5775


IMG_5776


IMG_5777


IMG_5782


IMG_5778


IMG_5780


IMG_5779


Hat tip: Dale

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November 01, 2007

FAKE HEINIE/GENUINE ASS


Nice Heiny

Just another tender father/son moment in Valrico, Ef-El-Ay.

For more Halloween photos from Casa del Ensalada, click here.



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