Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not one, but two year end lists

At the end of the year it is traditional for the year-end summaries, lists of popular songs (c'mon how many of you taped the year end countdown off the radio onto cassette - Anyone? Just me? OK, moving on), top movies, big news events (was there one this year?). Herewith is a list that popped up not long ago with a list of the Top 10 Most Annoying Phrases that came into the language this year, seen among others, here, here, here, and here.
  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally (It's not personal . . . it's about me, of course it's personal)
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect (If you hear that, be prepared for something disrespectful)
  6. Absolutely
  7. It's a nightmare (not anymore - just three more weeks of the current nightmare)
  8. Shouldn't of
  9. 24/7
  10. It's not rocket science (well sometimes it is)
Following that list is the one promoting the top buzzwords of 2008 seen first on kottke:
  1. Fail
  2. Malus
  3. Change (well, duh)
  4. Caribou Barbie
  5. Obamanation
  6. Frugalista
  7. Staycation
  8. Digital cliff
  9. Skadoosh (from this movie)
  10. Phelpsian (was Spitzian ever on the list?)
  11. Gas-sipper
  12. Joe (you know, like that plumber-guy)
  13. Greyjing (making it hard to be Phelpsian)
  14. Fish pedicure (I would like one of these)
  15. Sister wife
  16. Lipstick on a pig
  17. Photobombing
  18. DWT (Driving While Texting)
  19. Age-doping
  20. Pregorexiz
  21. Throwie
  22. Hockey Mom
  23. Twitt- (and its roots, tw- tweet-)
  24. Plutoid
  25. Futarchy
  26. Maverick (and no, not him or even him)
  27. Quake lake
  28. Recessionista
  29. TBTF (Too Big To Fail - hah!)
  30. In the Tank
  31. Twi-Hard (rhymes with this movie)
  32. Naked Shortselling
  33. Nuke the Fridge (the new "Jumping the Shark" from this movie)
  34. Edupunk
  35. Stag-deflation
  36. Longphoto
  37. Burrowing
  38. Terrorist Fist Jab

If you want to show off your Internet skills with people, you can always tell them, hey, "Let me Google that for you."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weekend Wrap - Christmas Edition

Back from New York for a Christmas weekend. Here's the wrap-up.

Let's start with the Loot List:
  • Stephen King's new collection of short stories, Just After Sunset
  • A few other books, Jeffrey Toobin's book on the Supreme Court, this Bill Bryson book, which I haven't read, and a sports writing anthology
  • Bananagrams, a new game
  • A new mag-lite, as mine had gone missing
  • A new canister for holding my coffee beans (perhaps Mrs. BA is tired of looking at the plastic Folger's can?)
  • A great puzzle of a map of baseball stadiums (Thanks C in DC!)
  • One of the books I got from my MIL will work well with the above as it is "Watching Baseball Smarter."
  • As a treat for having NJM over for Christmas Eve dinner, I now have a new supply of official NJM fudge sauce (and thanks for the dinner treats, NJM - Lobster rolls - GOOD)
We headed for the Big Apple on Friday and made it in a relatively easy five and a half hours. LBA was a great trooper, informing us as we were passing the Vince Lombardi rest area that he had to go potty, in time for us to stop for him (because after that it's no stops until Grandpa's house). SBA did well on the trip as well. My brother was there when we arrived as was my father and his new girlfriend. We all decompressed from our long drives (my brother traveled from Maine) and then my father took us all out to dinner at Boulder Creek Steakhouse.

On Saturday, my brother and my family got up and headed into "the city" for what might be referred to as "Midtown Christmas Tour A." Both LBA and SoBA enjoyed their first trip on the Long Island Rail Road. After arriving at Penn Station, we headed across 34th Street toward Fifth Avenue, passing the window displays at "the World's Largest Store." The theme, as you might expect was, "Miracle on 34th Street." Along the way, Mrs. BA ducked into Old Navy to buy a vest as it was colder than we thought when we started out.

Upon reaching 5th Avenue, we turned north, stopping at the window displays at this New York institution. From there, we pushed on to catch sight of the tree at Rockefeller Center. Shortly thereafter, LBA announced he needed a potty break, so we headed across the street to find a rest room in Saks Fifth Avenue, which had its own window display, but the other need was more pressing. So we made use of the mens lounge (on the 6th floor, if you need it) and went across the street to St. Patrick's Cathedral. LBA had a small meltdown leaving there (he didn't want to put on his coat) - so we managed a compromise and he promptly fell asleep in the stroller before arriving at our final planned destination, FAO Schwartz. SoBA enjoyed the store from start to finish and finally LBA awoke and nearly lost his mind at the world he had found himself in. Thanks to Uncle David for some birthday money so everybody got to leave with a new toy.

Then it was time for lunch. We had no planned destination and started back in the general direction of Penn Station, walking down 6th Avenue. We finally spotted an Au Bon Pain and figured it was a good place to stop. I set the family up at a table and headed back to get some food for everyone. I get back to the table and Mrs. BA is deep in conversation with the couple behind her. I try several times to get her attention but she doesn't come back to the table until the couple has finished, gotten up and left the store. I ask her, "Who have you been talking to?" She responds, "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped." I suddenly realize that she has been in engaged in conversation with Prince Humperdinck and his wife, the lovely Joanna Gleason. It was a very New York moment.

After that we headed back to Penn Station walking through Times Square. Thanks Rudy, for cleaning up the porn shops, but chains have rushed in to fill the void. It's a little jarring. I did note in the news today this story, but there's still a lot going on there. All in all a great trip to NYC.

The rest of the weekend was spent working with my father on helping him to divest himself of his many treasures. If you're in NY and in the mood to build some models, he's got a lot for sale on Craig's List. Yesterday we headed home, with a horrendous drive - traffic was everywhere - my SIL was kind enough to rescue us, we stopped at her home for dinner before taking care of the final leg of the trip.

Speaking of legs, I screwed up mine carrying a sleeping child into the house. He didn't get hurt, but I managed to twist my knee and get a bad cut. But I'll live. But I might whine about it.

2008 will come to an end tomorrow and we will have our traditional fondue evening with Mr. and Mrs. OSG here at the Brave Astronaut launch pad. I've already loaded a post for you tomorrow and I am working on one that might concern some resolutions for 2009. For now, a very Happy New Year to you all and I thank you for coming by now and again.

Monday, December 29, 2008

God Save the Queen's Dinner

With Boxing Day just a few days ago, this is an appropriate time to throw out a good English recipe. Toward the end of October, Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema reviewed a new restaurant in the DC area, CommonWealth. You can get all the standard British pub fare there, but not Toad in the Hole, which was highlighted in a subsequent post to DCist later that week. That is one dish that I could get behind. From 101 Things Every Cook Should Cook.

Toad in the Hole

  • 8 pork/beef or vegetarian sausages (get nice ones, you’ll thank yourself)
  • 2 fresh eggs
  • 125g plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 150ml/5fl oz milk mixed with and 50ml water
  • 1 tbsp mustard (I use Dijon)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lard (LARD!), dripping or oil
To make the batter; whisk together eggs, flour, milk, water and mustard. Whisk it well so that it’s nice and smooth with no lumpy bits and it’s about the thickness of runny custard/cream of mushroom soup/double cream (pick a comparison you like). Season with salt and pepper. Set it aside to rest for at least half an hour. This is so that the flour absorbs the liquid properly and relaxes and the whole thing comes to room temperature.

Now get the oven nice and hot - 220C/450F/Gas mark 7. Put the sausages in the baking tray and stick them in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes without turning them over until the tops are brown. This means that you’ll have one brown side and one pale side.

Take the sausages out of the baking dish and set them aside. Put the lard into the baking tray and put it back in the oven. Wait 5 minutes or so until the fat is really, really hot and sizzling and then quickly remove from the oven and pour in the batter. It’ll sizzle pleasantly. Quickly pop the sausages in the batter, pale side up, and put it straight back into the hot oven.

Leave it for 25-30 minutes. Resist the temptation to open the oven door, the cold influx of air may make the batter collapse. After 25 minutes, it should be all puffed up and golden brown. Serve it immediately with some gravy and maybe some greens like peas or cabbage.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A List of Firsts

I'm on the road today to spend a few days with my father for the holiday, so here's a list of firsts, that I "borrowed" from my Canadian friend, Stinkypaw.
  1. When was your first kiss? Well I was known as the "kissing bug" in elementary school for a reason.
  2. When did you first start buying holiday or birthday gifts for other people and stop thinking about what people would buy for you? An interesting thought, but not one that I have ever really contemplated. I like to buy things for people.
  3. When was the first time you thought of yourself not as a kid/teen, but as an adult? Who says I think of myself as an adult now?
  4. What do you remember about the first time you drove a car? Drivers Ed in high school. I think the teacher is still pounding on the passenger brake.
  5. Tell me about your first pet. There were always cats and dogs around the house. But Tonto was the first pet that was really "mine." He had a brother, Tarzan, together they were TnT. Tonto lived to a ripe old age, despite having been hit by a car and nearly dying. He used to lie around my neck like a stole and be quite content about it. And he liked to eat cicadas.
  6. What was your first job? Delivering Pennysavers, then Newsday. Then I got an "indoor job" working at the Syosset Public Library.
  7. Who was the first teacher to make a positive impact on your life? Mr. Izzo, fourth grade, Baylis Elementary. But the model of the teacher I wanted to be was Mr. Gaudino, Social Studies, high school.
  8. If you’ve lived in more than one house or apartment as an adult, tell me about your first one. The first place I lived on my own was in Poughkeepsie, a one bedroom apartment in a house converted to apartments next door to a funeral home. Occasionally, you could watch the people "arriving" by the side door.
  9. What was it like the first time you got drunk (assuming you remember). Well certainly, they all start to blend together. But one of the better (more vivid?) memories is on the beach with friends, the night I lost my high school class ring. I was pretty hammered that night.
  10. Did you marry your first love? Inconsequential. I am in love with the one I am now married to and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future."
Here we are on Christmas Eve (are you tracking Santa?). I am spending it with my family and NJM. My mother would be proud, because she hated when people were alone on holidays. We're having a nice dinner and I have kept my father's tradition of making homemade potato chips with dinner. Later NJM and I may go to Midnight Mass, which will take place at 10:00. Then it will back home to meet up with Santa and finish wrapping presents. There are still cards to be mailed to. Honest, yours is in the mail, really.

Tomorrow morning we will have a family celebration and then we are off to my MIL's house for Christmas dinner. Then it's off to NY to spend the weekend with my father (and his new girlfriend) and my brother, who will be down from Maine. We are planning an excursion into NYC to blow LBA's mind with a trip to FAO Schwartz and the Rockefeller Center tree. We will try to take in some of the windows on Fifth Avenue as well.

I leave you with a story about a popular Christmas tradition and my heartfelt wishes to all of you, my faithful readers, for a blessed holiday season and health and happiness in the New Year. I have posted here before, one of my favorite stories about Christmas, and as Clarence remarks in "It's a Wonderful Life," "Remember, no man is a failure who has friends."

The OSG family and the Brave Astronaut did not get out to cut down our own trees this year. We settled on some nice conifers from the local Lowes:
  • On Christmas Trees - Although the Christmas tradition of adornment with floral decorations has been traced back to the Roman festivities of Kalends, the Christmas tree has more modern German origins. Records indicate that Christmas trees were sold in Alsace in 1531; in 1605 a German citizen wrote: "At Christmas, they set up fir trees in the parlours . . . and hang thereon roses cut out of many-coloured paper." Folklore has long associated Martin Luther as an early champion of the Christmas tree – crediting him (probably erroneously) with inventing the practice of lighting trees with candles. The British love of Christmas trees is usually linked to Prince Albert who, in the 1840s, did much to make the tree part of the British Christmas. Records indicate, however, that Queen Charlotte had a Christmas tree in Windsor as early as 1800. The most famous Christmas tree in Britain is that which stands in London’s Trafalgar Square. Presented by the people of Norway each year since 1947, the tree is a symbolic gift of thanks for the role Britain played during the Second World War, and the sanctuary King Haakon VII was given in 1940.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Birthday Bash Weekend

I was back at work today after a flurry of events to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. First let me give some shout-outs to some great gifts. That Ed guy in Pittsburgh has renewed my subscription to Golf Magazine although I'm beginning to wonder if it is going to help my game or the information overload will completely destroy what little game I have. Mrs. BA and sons gave me a great gift - a griddle, complete with warming tray.

No one gave me a city for my birthday - or Christmas, as General Sherman did for Lincoln on this day in 1864, but that's OK, where would I put it?

So how did I spend my weekend? On Friday night, I was invited out to a evening of drinking. Which I did. A lot. I hurt myself. I guess I really am getting too old for this. Although I had a very good time hanging with the Capitol Lounge Rovers. My downfall was most assuredly the brown liquor (free Irish whiskey) that I put on top of the several beers that I was drinking. I am not a fan of the brown liquor. I should have listened to OSG's voice in my head "Beer then Liquor, never sicker."

On Saturday, I moved slowly for most of the day, cleaning up the house in anticipation of Mrs. BA's family on Sunday. But Mrs. BA and I did get out to the Georgetown - Mount St. Mary's basketball game at the Verizon Center (Thanks to Rob for the tickets!). Watching "the Mount" made me think of the days when I was a season ticket holder for Marist College basketball, watching the bow-tied clad Jim Phelan patrol the sideline for the Mountaineers.

Sunday was the day set aside for Mrs. BA's family to come to the Brave Astronaut launchpad for an early Christmas celebration and birthday celebrations for my two boys. LBA will turn 4 on Christmas day and SoBA will be 1 on the 30th. I got several more gifts from them, several books and a sweater from my MIL. All nice stuff. The highlight of the event was the Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole (Bon Appetit, April 1990) made by Mrs. BA. She considers it a success whenever her BIL, a trained chef, eats several helpings. The recipe appears below the description of the final event of the weekend, dinner with Mr. and Mrs. OSG at Belga Cafe.

By then, I was ready to dive back into the Drinking Pool, so I had one of these and one of these (or at least that's what I think the second one was, I wasn't paying attention - it was just good). Both the OSGs has fruit cocktails - Mr. with Bourbon and Mrs. with Champagne.

As is their wont, both Mrs. BA and Mr. OSG had the Foie de Canard, while Mrs. OSG and I opted for the garlic dishes, she with the snails and frogs leg stew, me with the mussels gratinee. Mr. OSG had the Duck breast for dinner, Mrs. BA had the Belgian steak, which could be cut with a fork. Both Mrs. OSG and I had lamb in various formats. As the birthday boy, I went for dessert, choosing the creme brulee sampler platter (one raspberry, one pistachio, and one vanilla - decadent). A lovely evening and a perfect capstone to a great birthday weekend.

My thanks to everyone who sent me wishes via Facebook and various other electronic means.

Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole
  • 8 white bread slices, cut into cubes
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage, crumbled and cooked
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
  • 10 large eggs
  • 2 cups milk (do not use lowfat or nonfat)
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper
Grease 9x13-inch glass baking dish. Place bread in prepared dish. Top with sausage and cheese. Beat together eggs and next three ingredients. Season with pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake casserole until puffed and center is set, about 50 minutes. Cut into squares.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's my Birthday and I'll Type if I want to

Today I turn 41. As previously noted here and here, my birthday is cause for celebration. But since it's my birthday, I get to write about pretty much whatever I want here today. So the topic I have chosen is typewriters and death.

Martin K. Tytell, Typewriter Wizard, Dies at 94

What's the point of posting about an obituary that appeared in the New York Times in September? The article has archival content insofar as Mr. Tytell was a typewriter repairman, serving the likes of David Brinkley, Dwight Eisenhower, and many, many others. The article was posted to a professional bulletin board that I read. It also later appeared here. I happened to click on the link and began to read the obituary.

That's when I saw Mr. Tytell's birth date. December 20, 1913. Suddenly, I felt like Josh Lyman in that episode of The West Wing, Noel. Josh snaps when he learns that a missing pilot shares his birthday. Not that I'm planning to put my hand through a window or anything. But it was a little freaky. The scene below is one of my favorites from the show. I know that if I'm in a hole, there's always going to be someone to help me out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

100 Skills That I Should Know

Tomorrow is my birthday and both of my sons will celebrate theirs in the next two weeks. I should get started on making sure they know all of these. Seen on Buzz Feed and kottke, from Popular Mechanics. There's a quiz there also. I've put in bold the ones in the list that I feel I have the skill.

    1. Handle a blowout
    2. Drive in snow
    3. Check trouble codes - although my middle name is trouble . . .
    4. Replace fan belt
    5. Wax a car - "wax on, wax off"
    6. Conquer an off-road obstacle
    7. Use a stick welder
    8. Hitch up a trailer
    9. Jump start a car - so far, so good
Handling Emergencies
    10. Perform the Heimlich
    11. Reverse hypothermia - ooh, body heat!
    12. Perform hands-only CPR - is that the Bee Gees I hear?
    13. Escape a sinking car
    14. Carve a turkey - something I learned from my father
    15. Use a sewing machine - if I have to
    16. Put out a fire - heh, heh, fire
    17. Home brew beer
    18. Remove bloodstains from fabric
    19. Move heavy stuff - remember lift with the knees, not with the back!
    20. Grow food
    21. Read an electric meter
    22. Shovel the right way - remember lift with the knees, not with the back!
    23. Solder wire
    24. Tape drywall
    25. Split firewood
    26. Replace a faucet washer - call the plumber, right?
    27. Mix concrete
    28. Paint a straight line - except while drinking
    29. Use a French knife - I'd have to know what a French knife is, but I'm not usually supposed to touch sharp things. Someday I'll tell you about the scar on my wrist.
    30. Prune bushes and small trees - well I can prune, but is it right?
    31. Iron a shirt - used to do it all the time, now I just put on a sweater over it.
    32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
    33. Change a single-pole switch
    34. Fell a tree
    35. Replace a broken windowpane
    36. Set up a ladder, safely
    37. Fix a faucet cartridge
    38. Sweat copper tubing
    39. Change a diaper - um, yeah
    40. Grill with charcoal - but I prefer the gas
    41. Sew a button on a shirt - sure, and most times it won't come off again
    42. Fold a flag - every day when I worked at the public library, we had to go out and get the flag and fold it
Medical Myths
    43. Treat frostbite
    44. Treat a burn
    45. Help a seizure victim
    46. Treat a snakebite - this of course, leads to this joke
    47. Remove a tick
Military Know-How
    48. Shine shoes
    49. Make a drum-tight bed
    50. Drop and give the perfect pushup
    51. Run rapids in a canoe
    52. Hang food in the wild
    53. Skipper a boat
    54. Shoot straight
    55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
    56. Escape a rip current
Primitive Skills
    57. Build a fire in the wilderness
    58. Build a shelter
    59. Find potable water
Surviving Extremes
    60. Floods
    61. Tornadoes
    62. Cold
    63. Heat
    64. Lightning
Teach Your Kids
    65. Cast a line
    66. Lend a hand
    67. Change a tire
    68. Throw a spiral - Nelson Rockefeller, Jr. likes to tell a story about how his father told him the only way to throw a good spiral meant you had to take off your overcoat.
    69. Fly a stunt kite
    70. Drive a stick shift
    71. Parallel park
    72. Tie a bowline
    73. Tie a necktie
    74. Whittle
    75. Ride a bike
    76. Install a graphics card
    77. Take the perfect portrait
    78. Calibrate HDTV settings
    79. Shoot a home movie
    80. Ditch your hard drive
Master Key Workshop Tools - as mentioned earlier, I'm not allowed to use power tools unsupervised unless 911 is on speed dial
    81. Drill driver
    82. Grease gun
    83. Coolant hydrometer
    84. Socket wrench
    85. Test light
    86. Brick trowel
    87. Framing hammer
    88. Wood chisel
    89. Spade bit
    90. Circular saw
    91. Sledge hammer
    92. Hacksaw
    93. Torque wrench
    94. Air wrench
    95. Infrared thermometer
    96. Sand blaster
    97. Crosscut saw
    98. Hand plane
    99. Multimeter
    100. Feeler gauges

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Love the President

Wow, did I really say that? And I at lest like him a little more than the Iraqi journalist he encountered this past Sunday. But he has been very good to us federal workers of late:
Executive Order: Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on Friday, December 26, 2008

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. All executive branch departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Friday, December 26, 2008, the day after Christmas Day, except as provided in section 2 of this order.

Sec. 2. The heads of executive branch departments and agencies may determine that certain offices and installations of their organizations, or parts thereof, must remain open and that certain employees must report for duty on December 26, 2008, for reasons of national security or defense or other public need.

Sec. 3. Friday, December 26, 2008, shall be considered as falling within the scope of Executive Order 11582 of February 11, 1971, and of 5 U.S.C. 5546 and 6103(b) and other similar statutes insofar as they relate to the pay and leave of employees of the United States.

Sec. 4. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

December 12, 2008.

Monday, December 15, 2008

100 Southern Foods to try Before You Die

But that assumes you can get through the entire list without needing the paddles . . .

From Garden and Gun Magazine (really?). And there's an interactive map. OSG, the floor is yours. Christmas is around the corner so no recipe this week, just the list, enjoy! OSG is traveling to his people's land for Christmas, let's see if he can knock a few of these off on the trip.

  • Beef Jerky, Bourgeois Meat Market, Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • Burger with Gin Sauce, Pirate’s Cove, Josephine, Alabama
  • Catfish of Pork, B.E. Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Lexington, Tennessee
  • Cheesy Western, Texas Tavern, Roanoke, Virginia
  • Chicken Liver Pâté, FIG, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Chicken Salad and Saltines, James Food Center, Oxford, Mississippi
  • Chicken Stew, Midway BBQ, Buffalo, South Carolina
  • Chili-Slaw Dog, Nu-Way Weiners, Macon, Georgia
  • Conecuh Sausage Dog, Conecuh Factory and Retail Store, Evergreen, Alabama
  • Cornish Game Hen, Cozy Corner, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Cuban Sandwich, Kool Korners Grocery, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Fried Chicken, Willie Mae’s Scotch House, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Fried Rabbit Livers with Pepper Jelly, Cochon, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Hash and Rice, Neal’s Barbecue, Thomson, Georgia
  • Hot Fried Chicken, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Hot Sausage Wrap, Southside Market, Elgin, Texas
  • Hot Tamales, White Front Café, aka Joe’s Hot Tamale Place, Rosedale, Mississippi
  • Inside-Out Hot Brown, Wallace Station, Versailles, Kentucky
  • Mutton Sandwich, George’s Bar-B-Q, Owensboro, Kentucky
  • Pig Ear Sandwich, Big Apple Inn, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Pimento Burger, Kingsman Restaurant, Cayce, South Carolina
  • Pork Chop Sandwich, Snappy Lunch, Mt. Airy, North Carolina
  • Pork Neck Bones and Rice, The Sands, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Pork Rinds, Kim’s Processing Plant, Clarksdale, Mississippi
  • Porterhouse Steak, Doe’s Eat Place, Greenville, Mississippi
  • Redneck Taco, Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Nolensville, Tennessee
  • Ribs, Archibald’s Bar-B-Q, Northport, Alabama
  • Roast Beef Po’boy, Parasol’s Restaurant & Bar, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Scrambled Hot Dog, Dinglewood Pharmacy, Columbus, Georgia
  • Slaw Burger, R.O.’s Bar-B-Cue, Gastonia, North Carolina
  • Sliced Pork Sandwich with Slaw, Craig’s Bar-B-Q, De Valls Bluff, Arkansas
  • Soul Spaghetti, Collins Dream Kitchen, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Spread, McClard’s Bar-B-Q, Hot Springs, Arkansas
  • Stew Dog, Harold’s Barbecue, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Stewed Oxtails, McKinley’s Bar-B-Que & Soul Food, Ensley, Alabama
  • Whole Hog Plate, Scott’s Variety Store, Hemingway, South Carolina
  • BBQ Crabs, Sartin’s Seafood, Nederland, Texas
  • Boiled Crawfish, Hawk’s Restaurant, Rayne, Louisiana
  • Campechana Extra, Goode Company Seafood 1, Houston, Texas
  • Crawfish Fried Rice, Hank’s Cajun Crawfish, Houston, Texas
  • Deviled Crabs, Wall’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant, Savannah, Georgia
  • Fish and Chips, Avenue Sea, Apalachicola, Florida
  • Fried Mullet Gizzards, Chet’s Catering and Seafood Restaurant, Pensacola, Florida
  • Fried Red Snapper Throats, The Bright Star, Bessemer, Alabama
  • Fried Shrimp, O’Steen’s Restaurant, St. Augustine, Florida
  • Grouper Sandwich, Seagrove Village Market Café, Seagrove Beach, Florida
  • Hot Fish Sandwich, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Oyster Po’Boy, Bozo’s Seafood Restaurant, Metairie, Louisiana
  • Oyster Stew, Speed’s Kitchen, Shellman Bluff, Georgia
  • Pan-Fried Trout and Scrambled Eggs, The Greenbrier, Main Dining Room, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
  • Roasted Oysters, Bowens Island, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Rolled Oysters, Mazzoni’s Café, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Salmon Croquettes, Watershed, Decatur, Georgia
  • Shrimp Buster, Herby-K’s, Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Smoked Mullet Dip, The Wheelhouse Café, Apalachicola, Florida
  • Thick Fried Catfish, Taylor Grocery & Restaurant, Taylor, Mississippi
  • Thin Fried Catfish, Middendorf’s, Manchac, Louisiana
  • Trout Caviar, Sunburst Trout Farm, Canton, North Carolina
  • Beans All the Way, The Bean Barn, Greeneville, Tennessee
  • Deviled Eggs, Sally Bell’s Kitchen, Richmond, Virginia
  • Egg and Green Olive Sandwich, Trowbridge’s, Florence, Alabama
  • Fried Black-Eyed Peas, Ashley’s, Capital Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Fried Green Tomatoes, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Nashville, Tennessee
  • Grits with Butter, Zada Jane’s Corner Café, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • House Salad with Comeback Dressing, Mayflower, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Italian Salad, Mary Maestri’s, Tontitown, Arkansas
  • Kool-Aid Pickles, Eastend Grocery, Cleveland, Mississippi
  • Krinkle Kut Fries with Milo’s Sauce, Milo’s Hamburgers, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Macaroni and Cheese, L.D.’s Kitchen, Vicksburg, Mississippi
  • Okra Soup, Bertha’s Kitchen, North Charleston, South Carolina
  • Pimento Cheese and Crackers, Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
  • Pot Likker Soup, Mary Mac’s Tea Room, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Red Beans (and Drumsticks), Frenchy’s Chicken, Houston, Texas
  • Red Rice, Hominy Grill, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Soufflé Potatoes with Béarnaise, Galatoire’s, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Sriracha Remoulade, Reef, Houston, Texas
  • Stewed Tomatoes, Niki’s West, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Sweet Potato Casserole, Weaver D’s, Athens, Georgia
  • Turnip Greens, Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta, Georgia

Friday, December 12, 2008

New York City Buildings That Need to Go

I heard something on the radio a while back about how Washington DC was designed to salute Italian architecture, with all its columns and grand boulevards. New York did not have that option, confined to an island, and grew in various eras. And some of the buildings that have appeared have long ago worn out their welcome. Here's an article from the New York Times (that I first saw on kottke, of course)

I'm from New York (well the suburbs) and I've been to most of these buildings and I wouldn't miss any one of them in the slightest. Discuss.
  • Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station - despite the fact that my beloved Rangers play there, the Garden is a pit. And the rabbit warrens of Penn Station underneath it are even worse. Build me something new, please.
  • Trump Place - this relatively new residential complex, which is only slightly larger than The Donald's ego, is a nice place, but I don't want to live there, which is part of the problem - people are heading elsewhere. Remember - less is more, OK, Donny?
  • The Javits Convention Center - It took me a while to make my first visit here, partially because it's on the Hudson River and very hard to get to. And it's ugly. And cavernous. Big Jack should have a more fitting building named for him.
  • Annenberg Building, Mount Sinai Medical Center - it's the ugly brown cube in the middle of this picture.
  • 375 Pearl Street - home to the Verizon empire, hey can I help take this one apart?
  • Astor Place - this patchwork building bears the stain of several architects and sits atop a lobby filled with ATMs.
  • 2 Columbus Circle - designed by Edward Durrell Stone, who also designed this place where I went to school - he's got a thing for the big ugly concrete things, doesn't he?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An 80s Recipe

In keeping with last Friday's post on the Music of My Life, here's a post from another spot that highlights the "Top Ten Uniquely 80s Foods." And yes I am a day late with this. I'm still recovering from my trip to my fathers.

Here's the list:
  1. Capri Sun - the predecessor to the ubiquitous juice box
  2. Lean Cuisine - still around and still bad
  3. Tab - making a comeback
  4. Artificially Flavored Fruit Snacks - some things were better off not coming around.
  5. Equal - my parents were original Sweet and Low people, so the blue packet never gained ground at our house.
  6. Orange Julius - still a classic, though I was more of a Strawberry Julius kind of guy.
  7. Tri-Color pasta salad - easy and quick. And the recipe is below.
  8. Cool Ranch Doritos - One bad drinking experience and to this day, Doritos make me a little wobbly.
  9. The California Raisins - one of my son's favorite snacks
  10. Jawbreakers - with my teeth, I should have avoided these at all costs.
  • 4 1/2 lbs. noodles, cooked & cooled
  • 3 c. mayonnaise, thinned with olive oil
  • 1 1/2 c. pitted black olives, sliced crosswise
  • 1 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 c. fresh herbs (parsley, marjoram, basil)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Toss pasta with ingredients. Season and serve.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Music of My Life (at least High School)

I'm on my way to NY for the weekend to pack up my father's belongings as he prepares to move in with his girlfriend. So here's a list to make you remember days gone by. Me, I'm just scarred from the whole experience . . .

Borrowed from the Curious Child's Library Wanderings . . .
  1. Go to Music Outfitters and type in the year you graduated from high school (or first year, if still in high school) into the search function.
  2. Retrieve the top 100 songs from that year.
  3. Strike through the songs you hate(d), italicize the songs you like(d), bold the songs you love(d) and leave alone the ones you either don’t remember or don’t care about.
  4. Annotate at will.
The Year was 1985. Here's the list. An (i) indicates the song may be currently found on my iPod:
  1. Careless Whisper, Wham!
  2. Like A Virgin, Madonna
  3. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Wham!
  4. I Want To Know What Love Is, Foreigner
  5. I Feel For You, Chaka Khan
  6. Out Of Touch, Daryl Hall and John Oates - I have a friend who reads this blog and is sure to have a comment on Hall and Oates - Skate Factory, Lana, little "Private Eyes"?
  7. Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Tears For Fears
  8. Money For Nothing, Dire Straits - The video is stuck in my mind, those cartoon characters
  9. Crazy For You, Madonna
  10. Take On Me, A-Ha - C'mon who doesn't like this song, it's catchy and the new, literal version is hysterical
  11. Everytime You Go Away, Paul Young
  12. Easy Lover, Phil Collins and Philip Bailey
  13. Can't Fight This Feeling, REO Speedwagon - I have a friend that I wrote out the lyrics to this song for her one day - it was along the lines of a profession of love (i)
  14. We Built This City, Starship - I have seen references to this being the worst song every put out. But it's a little catchy
  15. The Power Of Love, Huey Lewis and The News - Back to the Future anyone? (i)
  16. Don't You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds - Only because of the Breakfast Club.
  17. Cherish, Kool and The Gang
  18. St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion), John Parr - I saw this movie long after putting Demi Moore on my list. If you have to ask, you didn't see this movie or remember the scene.
  19. The Heat Is On, Glenn Frey
  20. We Are The World, U.S.A. For Africa - I had the 45 and used to "identify" the singers as they began to sing. I could also do some imitations of them. Stop Laughing.
  21. Shout, Tears For Fears - Shout, Let it Out.
  22. Part-Time Lover, Stevie Wonder
  23. Saving All My Love For You, Whitney Houston
  24. Heaven, Bryan Adams
  25. Everything She Wants, Wham!
  26. Cool It Now, New Edition
  27. Miami Vice Theme, Jan Hammer
  28. Lover Boy, Billy Ocean
  29. Lover Girl, Teena Marie
  30. You Belong To The City, Glenn Frey
  31. Oh Sheila, Ready For The World - not ready for me
  32. Rhythm Of The Night, Debarge
  33. One More Night, Phil Collins - Someday I might tell the bad associations I have with this song, but not today.
  34. Sea Of Love, Honeydrippers - Come with me, to the sea. If you stop to think about it, a very dirty song.
  35. A View To A Kill, Duran Duran - this song is forever ruined for me by the startling image of Grace Jones in the Bond movie.
  36. The Wild Boys, Duran Duran
  37. You're The Inspiration, Chicago - For many years, they were. Now, not so much (i)
  38. Neutron Dance, Pointer Sisters
  39. We Belong, Pat Benatar
  40. Nightshift, Commodores - this song appealed to the history geek in me and taught me about Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson.
  41. Things Can Only Get Better, Howard Jones - they could, and this song would help.
  42. All I Need, Jack Wagner
  43. Freeway Of Love, Aretha Franklin
  44. Never Surrender, Corey Hart - please, surrender
  45. Sussudio, Phil Collins - there was a running joke about campus while I was in college, that he was really saying, "ssssSunyA!" for SUNY at Albany.
  46. Strut, Sheena Easton
  47. You Give Good Love, Whitney Houston
  48. The Search Is Over, Survivor - yes, yes it is.
  49. Missing You, Diana Ross
  50. Separate Lives, Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin - My girlfriend in college, who was later my first wife, use to sing duets like this, a la Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in "Dirty Dancing." Stop laughing.
  51. Raspberry Beret, Prince and The Revolution
  52. Suddenly, Billy Ocean
  53. The Boys Of Summer, Don Henley - We had a lot of Cadillacs on Long Island, but very few with Dead Head stickers on the back of them.
  54. One Night In Bangkok, Murray Head - really?
  55. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free, Sting
  56. Obsession, Animotion
  57. We Don't Need Another Hero, Tina Turner
  58. Material Girl, Madonna
  59. Better Be Good To Me, Tina Turner
  60. Head Over Heels, Tears For Fears
  61. Axel F, Harold Faltermeyer - only because of Beverly Hills Cop
  62. Smooth Operator, Sade
  63. In My House, Mary Jane Girls
  64. Don't Lose My Number, Phil Collins - Rikki, do you have it? Is the number 867-5309? Is Jenny there?
  65. All Through The Night, Cyndi Lauper
  66. Run To You, Bryan Adams
  67. Glory Days, Bruce Springsteen - yep, they were (i)
  68. Voices Carry, 'Til Tuesday - not only do they carry, they hurt a little bit.
  69. Misled, Kool and The Gang
  70. Would I Lie To You?, Eurythmics - "Would I say something that wasn't true?" Nope, not me.
  71. Be Near Me, ABC
  72. No More Lonely Nights, Paul McCartney
  73. I Can't Hold Back, Survivor
  74. Summer Of '69, Bryan Adams - This evokes more college memories than high school (i)
  75. Walking On Sunshine, Katrina and The Waves - Possibly one of the catchiest tunes ever issued (i)
  76. Freedom, Wham!
  77. Too Late For Goodbyes, Julian Lennon - Where have you gone, Jule?
  78. Valotte, Julian Lennon
  79. Some Like It Hot, Power Station
  80. Solid, Ashford and Simpson - yep, like a rock
  81. Angel, Madonna
  82. I'm On Fire, Bruce Springsteen - "Hey, little girl is your daddy home?" Not cool, Boss.
  83. Method Of Modern Love, Daryl Hall and John Oates - M-E-T-H-O-D!
  84. Lay Your Hands On Me, Thompson Twins
  85. Who's Holding Donna Now, Debarge - who cares!
  86. Lonely Ol' Night, John Cougar Mellencamp - who? Mellancamp? John Cougar? John Mellancamp.
  87. What About Love, Heart - I had a friend in HS who really, really liked Heart.
  88. California Girls, David Lee Roth - Don't mess with the Beach Boys.
  89. Fresh, Kool and The Gang - stale
  90. Do What You Do, Jermaine Jackson
  91. Jungle Of Love, The Time
  92. Born In The USA, Bruce Springsteen - C'mon, it's the anthem! (i)
  93. Private Dancer, Tina Turner - Um, sure, nice legs, but Ms. Tina has never been my thing.
  94. Who's Zoomin' Who, Aretha Franklin
  95. Fortress Around Your Heart, Sting - Hey, I had "Dream of the Blue Turtles on vinyl, baby!
  96. Penny Lover, Lionel Richie
  97. All She Wants To Do Is Dance, Don Henley (i)
  98. Dress You Up, Madonna
  99. Sentimental Street, Night Ranger
  100. Sugar Walls, Sheena Easton

Monday, December 1, 2008

Forget PETA, Let's Form PITH*

PETA is in the news again. I have hesitated on this post for a while, because it's really just a little too icky to contemplate. But here goes. PETA lobbied ice cream makers Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield to replace cow's milk with human breast milk. With a press release titled "The Breast is Best," the organization, which also pushed the idea on their blog, pointed out that a Swiss restaurant owner is replacing 75% of its cow's milk with breast milk from nursing mothers. OK, all together now, EWWWWW!

So instead, grab that Ben and Jerry's flavor you love best and whip up some Creme Brulee.

Arnold's Ben & Jerry's Organic Crème Brulée

  • 1 pint of Organic B&J Vanilla ice cream ( other flavors may be used. Smooth flavors work best. Break up chunks if using chunky flavors)
  • 2 Organic eggs
  • 2 tsp. Organic sugar
  • 1 tsp. Organic vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Organic sugar, reserve for "burnt sugar crust"
  • 4 oven proof ramekins for custard
Soften ice cream to a liquid state. You can empty the pint into a bowl and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours. Do not heat at high temperatures to melt ice cream.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees

Place four ramekins in a pan with water half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Beat the eggs only until well blended, no more then 15-20 seconds. Pour eggs, sugar, and vanilla into softened ice cream and stir until well blended. Pour crème mixture into ramekins. Place pan with water and crème mixture into oven for 1 1/2 hours. Custard is done when top is firm and jiggles slightly in the middle when shaken. Remove pan from oven and cool custard to room temperature. Note, you will see holes on top of the custard from the air in the ice cream having escaped - this is normal. When completely cooled, cover with food wrap and store in the refrigerator.

To create burnt sugar crust:

Immediately before serving, pour a liberal amount of sugar on the top of the first custard, pouring any excess into the next ramekin. Continue until the tops of all four ramekins have a thin layer of sugar. Caramelize the sugar by placing the ramekins under a broiler on the top rack or by using a small culinary flame torch. Note this step goes quickly, remove when sugar on the custard turns golden brown. Serve immediately.

* PETA is of course People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - PITH would be People for the Inhumane Treatment of Humans (especially PETA members).