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what’s on my mind
By: Web Designers
rmadeo Giving up sarcasm for Lent. Yeah, right.
I don’t usually re-post things, but the Olympics have me feeling nostalgic. This post originally ran on March 1, 2010.
“Yes. They brought me in to fix the transportation mess with the buses.”
Oh, really? They brought me in to sell chili in one of the parking lots.
In 1980 I was a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh. In February, they closed the school for two weeks and we all got jobs at the Olympics. Since I once served hot dogs for Harry M. Stevens at Roosevelt Raceway, I was hired to manage a food concession stand in a parking lot in Wilmington.
Not the best gig in the world — but along with my job came some true Olympic gold: accreditation that would get me in to every Olympic venue. When I wasn’t working, I was attending Olympic events.
After a few days it was clear that people were not interested in dining in the parking lot. We were consuming more food than we sold, so they eventually shut us down. I was never reassigned, but still got paid for the remainder of the Games — and I got to keep my accreditation. My job became wandering around Lake Placid watching the Olympics.
Security was practically non-existent – but it was impossible to get in to the U.S. hockey games without a ticket unless you really belonged there. I did manage to see the USSR play Sweden for the silver and bronze. That was great, but the best part was what followed: the U.S. team came out and took the podium to be crowned Olympic champs. And like in Vancouver last night, the town went nuts.
In early January, I took a class at Different Drummer’s Kitchen that went over how to make your own sausage, bacon and pancetta. If I’d known how easy it is to make bacon, I might not have bothered with the class.
I’m of the opinion that anyone who can follow directions properly can be a pretty good cook; this more than applies to making bacon.
The bacon adventure started with a trip to Rolf’s Pork Store. A five-pound slab of pork belly is not something you’ll find at Price Chopper; your local butcher should be able to fix you up. Then — and be sure to follow very closely here — you combine
four five ingredients*, rub them into the pork belly and refrigerate for one week.
Once the belly was cured, I smoked it for two hours using my gas grill and foil packages of hickory chips.
The result was a sweet, smokey product that was and tastier and more mellow than the ubiquitous mass-produced bacon you find cin the store. It even seemed healthier since it came from my own hand, which I suppose could be a dangerous attribute.
A visitor to our house asked if it wouldn’t just be easier to buy bacon at the store. Yes, of course! But it wouldn’t taste as good.
I can’t quantify how much of the deliciousness came from having done it myself, but it reminds me of when someone asked my wife why she would bother making her own jam. “Why make your own? You can buy a jar for two bucks at the supermarket.” To me this seems like the classic case of knowing the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.
Here’s a good recipe if you want to try it yourself.
*Sugar, molasses, kosher salt, curing salt, ground black pepper.
Terrible game. Even though I wanted to see the Seahawks win, what I was really rooting for was a dramatic and competitive contest. Thanks for ruining the Super Bowl, Denver!
I was called “old” for being dismissive of Bruno Mars. Yes, I’m old, Old enough to have seen his act done by other people — and done better. The only saving grace were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who were hilarious.
The commercials? Can we finally put the hype to bed? There was some solid work, but nothing spectacular. I could show you twenty better spots that aired in the past year that were better than anything that ran on Sunday.
Having said that, here’s a great spot from Adobe that advertisers should think about:
I love the Super Bowl, but I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate hate Super Bowl halftime shows. There has never been one that I’ve ever wanted to watch, even if a band that I like is performing.
The halftime show is the crown jewel of the mind numbing excess that threatens to smother the game itself — and nothing would make me happier than to see it eliminated.
And it’s not just about hating the show — even though the music usually sucks.
A normal NFL halftime is twelve minutes long — but you can expect Super Bowl halftime to last upwards of 30 minutes. This is objectionable because all year long players get a short breather between halves; why change this for the most important game of the year?
OK, maybe that’s extreme. Perhaps we should allow some time to accommodate the eating and socializing folks like to do at halftime, so let’s compromise and say 20 minutes. BUT NO MUSIC! Instead, let’s have more analysis. More replays. More heartfelt features. Yes, make halftime more like pregame — which in my opinion can never be too long.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I love those I’m Going to Disney World commercials as much as I hate halftime. Here’s the first one, with Phil Simms in 1987:
One of the NPR reporters I hear all the time is Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. Her stories are always good — but there’s one thing that drives me batty: her meticulously correct pronunciation of Spanish words and names.
Her textbook pronunciations are mildly irksome, but when I heard Argentina come out of her mouth as Ar-hen-tina, I nearly choked on my Cheerios. Yes, she said Ar-hen-tina – not fifteen seconds after Steve Inskeep said Argentina in the intro.
Even more maddening, later in the story she uses the word Argentines with the normal English pronunciation. Why wouldn’t they be Ar-hen-tines?
You may think this is intolerant, but I’m speaking strictly in terms of good broadcasting.
For years, the BBC has had a pronunciation unit that sets rules on how its news presenters should say the names of people and places. Here in the US, the AP sends out pronunciation guides every day to help newscasters.
In America, radio and TV news operations should try to use standard American English pronunciations. It may be more accurate to say Arhentina, but it’s distracting – and it sounds terribly pretentious.
Am I the only one who’s sick of hearing about Hudson?
Every time you turn around there’s another Hudson story in a national publication, several of which are summarized here by my friends at All Over Albany.
True, the Hudson phenomena is impressive. I remember when it was a charming wreck, back before the antique shops and overpriced restaurants (like the dreadful Swoon Kitchenbar) took over Warren Street. But now, Hudson has caught a bad case of what’s afflicted Columbia County for a long time: affluent New Yorkers.
Remember in Back to the Future II, how Biff has a copy of Grays Sports Almanac from the future? I wish back in 1993 I could have gotten my hands on some real estate magazines from today. I’d be writing a blog post about being retired at 52.
So what town is next? Catskill? Athens? That may be on the wrong side of the river for folks who want to take the train. Anyway, we should all thank god that Troy isn’t a bit closer to New York City.
I recently saw The World’s End, the latest of Edgar Wright’s Simon Pegg/Nick Frost movies. Thumbs up!
Something that really caught my attention was a very brief clip of the 1990 song The Only Rhyme That Bites which samples the opening theme to the 1958 Western, The Big Country. Give it a listen; it’s one of the most spectacular and iconic pieces of movie music ever composed.
Epic movie themes have fallen from favor recently; when’s the last time you heard a film score that was truly memorable? And while people like John Williams and James Horner have done tremendous work in recent years, it seems more and more films use popular music to help tell the story — and in some cases act as a crutch to a lousy story.
There was a kid in our town that they used to call Bohack Pete.
To those of you who grew up downstate, the Bohack name may be familiar. Bohack’s was a chain of grocery stores; it was along the same lines as A&P, back in the days when groceries were still fairly modest compared to today’s megastores. In the movie The Odd Couple, it’s where Felix Unger goes shopping.
Anyway, Pete wore sneakers that were clearly not Keds or Converse — in fact, they appeared to have no identifiable brand at all. Someone decided that such cheap and generic shoes could only have come from Bohack’s, and so he was christened Bohack Pete.
Did Bohack’s even sell sneakers? Doesn’t matter.
We’ll never know if Bohack Pete minded his nickname. I hope not, because if I remember him being called Bohack Pete, I’m sure he does too. It’s hard to say when kids became brand conscious. This story is from the 1970s — and by 1979 when I graduated high school, canvas sneakers were falling from favor and Puma and Adidas shoes were the accepted footwear.
It’s a small thing, but to kids, small things become huge things. I wish I could go back in time and tell Bohack Pete how in the future his sneakers would be the envy of hipsters everywhere.