Saturday, August 08, 2009

Well, hello!

Y'know, I never meant for this blog to go into hibernation. I'm not making any promises, but I'll try to update here at least an little more often. I cannot guarantee "quality" or any actual "content."

Case in point: The other day me and Lopez grabbed something to eat at Wienerschnitzel and then I start obsessing about an old commercial from the 90s. I can't remember all of it, but it was part of the "Wienerdude" campaign and it ended with a mom and her daughter sitting at a table and the little girl asks, "Mommy, is Billy a wienerdude?" And the mom says, "Wellll ..." while the camera pans down and there's this like two-year-old kid sitting in a Big Wheel wearing biker leathers with this total shit-eating smirk on his face.

I always found that fucking HILARIOUS.

Oh, and then the voice-over was a weird guy voice mixed with a guitar riff going, "Wienerdoood!" Awesome.

Anyway, this isn't that commercial. As much as I'd like to share it with you, I just couldn't find it. Instead here's a commercial that's pretty funny and, since it was never used, shows how uptight we Americans tend to be — bah and humbug, I say!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Firefly fans - activate!

To me, fellow Brownshirts!

NASA is naming Node 3 of the International Space Station, and the agency has opened the options up for a vote. So what's one of the possible names for this piece of space-faring hardware?


I think you know what this means, so get crackin' Firefly fans. When I went to the NASA site Serenity already had 86 percent of the vote, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't cast your own ballot. Do you really want to be the one keeping Serenity from reaching space? Do you?!?

(What?! Two posts in one day? Four in a month?!? I know, right?)

Death of a newspaper


I don't necessarily advocate for the death of newspapers — though I do think they have failed to adapt and evolve, and are victims of natural selection and hubris. But it saddens me to see papers slowly dying, especially when I hear a newspaper like the Rocky Mountain News is shutting down.

I haven't kept up with The Rocky for a while, but at one point it was one of the best small newspapers in the nation. Unfortunately, with all the things negatively affecting the industry right now, The Rocky may be one of the first fatal victims of the current newspaper crisis. Worst of all, I don't think they'll be the last.

As I've told other people, I think journalism — vital and necessary — will survive; I have my doubts about newspapers.

It's a hard thing to admit. In a lot of ways, I still think of myself as a journalist, even though it's been years since I've worked at a newspaper. Many of my friends continue to work at a paper, and I'm sincerely worried about them. But do I think papers deserve to survive? That's the hardest question, and my answer is a solid, "I don't know."

Papers can survive, but only if they recreate themselves to the point they're almost not newspapers anymore, not in the traditional sense. Newspapers, essentially, haven't changed much since movable type. It's time for newspapers to reinvent themselves.

You can read more reactions to the death of the Rocky Mountain News at Editor & Publisher, the Washington Post and Poynter, which goes the extra mile by offering the staff of The Rocky a helping hand. As an interesting sidebar, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a story yesterday about the value of newspapers and the idea of Seattle as a "no-newspaper town." It's a painful, but necessary, concept to consider; otherwise, newspapers will just be continuing to bail water out of a ship that's already sunk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Heinz sours on famous pickle logo

Pickle news!

The H.J. Heinz Co., famous for its 57 varieties and various picnic condiments, decided last month to yank the famous gherkin logo from its bottles of ketchup.

What do you mean, "What famous gherkin logo?"

For the last 110 years, Heinz products have featured a tiny image of a pickle on its labels, hearkening back to the second — and arguably, most famous — condiment the company made (horseradish was the first, but who wants to look at a bowl of horseradish?). But now, Heinz is replacing the gherkin on its ketchup bottles with a tomato and the phrase, "Grown, not made."

I have no problems with tomatoes in general, but there's something to be said for tradition. And what bugs me most is the idea that a tomato is supposed to somehow translate to "organic" AND that marketers think we need a picture to remind us of what's actually in a bottle of ketchup.


I'm not going to become suddenly confused when, while squirting the red stuff on my hot dog (not a euphemism), I see a pickle on the bottle. "Oh, no!" I'll cry, "Somehow this condiment that even two year old children recognize has transformed into a bottle of pickle sauce. How could this be? Oh, why didn't I see that pickle warning label sooner?!"

Bah. Do you realize the gherkin was synonymous with Heinz at one time? Some folks know this and have launched a no doubt doomed-to-failure Facebook push to save the pickle. It's a nice thought (and at least they're doing something about it), but I doubt Heinz will backtrack. Pickle-haters.

I'm not really upset that the logo is changing — it'll still be on other products — but what bothers me is just the dumbness behind it. Once upon a time, the company used to hand out little "pickle pins" to people so that when they saw a pickle, they'd think of Heinz. Now when I see a tomato on their ketchup labels, I'll be thinking of who to throw one at.

(And yes, I also wanted to use the phrase, "yank the famous gherkin.")

Friday, February 06, 2009

Phrase of the day

From a conversation with Lopez:



Thursday, January 08, 2009

All my favorite restaurants need to come to me

It's been a while, hasn't it?

Sorry about not posting more often; I could give you a bunch of excuses, many of them reasonable, but let's just say I've been flaking and leave it at that.

As most of you know, Lopez and I just came back from a two-week stay in New York City, and it was fun, incredible, beautiful and grimy, exhilarating and exhausting. I'll put together a better report later, but for now let me tell you about the most fun restaurant I've probably ever been to.

A few blocks from where we were staying, on the hazy borderland between the Lower East Side and Greenwich Village, there are four tiny Indian restaurants side-by-side and stacked on top of each other, so there are two on the basement floor and two on top of them. The person we were renting an apartment from told us to ignore the guys trying to usher you through their particular door and recommended the top-left. That turned out to be Milon.

Glancing in the windows later, I'm guessing the other three eateries are similar, but I can tell you Milon is maybe about six and a half feet wide and maybe 15 feet long (not including the kitchen). Tables are crammed along the sides, leaving a narrow strip that is like a runway for the waiters that need as much poise and flexibility as your average model. And the ceiling - my God, the ceiling - is low and covered with red chili pepper lights, garland, twinkle lights and every other gaudy doodad ever strung on a wire. Going hand-in-hand with the disco fever dream is Indian dance music blaring non-stop from unseen speakers hidden somewhere in the tangle overhead.

It was completely awesome.

I'm a big guy, and my overcoat itself is a monstrous beast to be tamed, so you can imagine what settling in to our table was like. But once we were sitting it was comfortable, cozy even, and the service was attentive and top-notch. And the food itself was delicious, fresh and flavorful.

Eating at Milon is definitely an experience, an event as much as a meal. Lately it seems that whenever me and Lopez travel we end up finding one restaurant that we fall in love with and wish we could go to on a regular basis, dragging our friends there so we can spend hours eating and talking and hanging out. In New York, Milon was that restaurant.

OK, before I go completely into my old restaurant review mode, here are some pictures. Keep in mind that I took these, 1. without a flash, and, 2. pretty much at eye-level and from the very rear of the place. I had to duck when I walked through the place, so I'm not exaggerting when I say it was small. But again, it was cozy, not claustrophobic (shit, there I go again - pictures!).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'm too overwhelmed to say anything that truly expresses how profoundly happy and proud I am that Barack Obama has been elected president of the United States — I'm not sure I'll ever be able to really put it all into words.

But let me just say that, for the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful. This election has renewed my faith in this country, and I feel a rediscovered sense that we have direction, one based on the ideals representing the best aspects of our national identity. Obama will have a tough task ahead of him thanks to the fallout from the worst administration the United States has ever seen, but I'm not worried. We will now have real leadership in the White House and I can't wait to see where it takes us.

I'm very aware that today is draped in history. We've not only rejected the policies and power-plays desecrating the laws this country is founded upon, but we've also given ourselves a mandate. By simultaneously turning our backs on the extremism of the current administration and voting for this country's first black president, we are saying that we want — we need — to be better. To paraphrase a commentator on one of the news channels, tonight, hundreds of years after the birth of our imperfect nation, we have elected a black man to the highest office in our country and in an instant have become that more perfect union.

Let me finish by saying this: I've been lucky enough to see Barack Obama speak twice in person as a Democratic candidate for president. Tonight, I was privileged to watch him on television when he delivered his acceptance speech as the president-elect.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hey electorate, can you do me a solid?

Dear America,

Tomorrow is Election Day, and I have a few favors to ask:

Don't be stupid.

Don't be racist.

Don't be hypocritical.

Don't be petty.

Thank you.