QotD: I wish I could…

Play any instrument or speak any language, which do you choose?
Question submitted by cruftbox.vox.com.

Do you get to pick one language/instrument or is it all of them? Being an omniglot would be pretty sweet, as would being a one-man symphony. With the former you'd be practically a superhero, with the latter you're a winner on a reality show.

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QotD: Weekend Wrap-up

What was the highlight of this past weekend?

A tie.

In this corner, the Battle of Atlanta/Taste of East Atlanta festivities, where I got to learn about the central role my neighborhood played in civil war history, the advantages of British Enfield Rifles over Austrian pos'es, the various bone saws and techniques employed in battlefield amputations, and how General MacPherson met his untimely end at the end of my block. I also volunteered at the Taste of East Atlanta, which makes my second "taste of a city" event in as many months. I've found that cities generally taste pretty good.

And in this corner, putting together the second adirondack chair for my backyard. And reaping the rewards by setting a spell.

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The snob and the idiot

"Pretension is a problem because it can be mistaken for knowing a lot about something. Someone who genuinely knows about something can come across as a rather pedantic know-it-all. He can't help knowing things, either. I see the other side of the coin, If you're on the bus and an old woman says, "I hate spiders. I hate all insects." You don't say, "You're an idiot. It's an arachnid." Likewise, there are points when you do have to say, "Actually, that's not strictly true." It's that fine line of knowing when to show you know something and when not to. I'm not saying I suffer from it, but they do it on "The Simpsons" a lot, where Lisa Simpson is burdened by intellect in a world where it's not really being looked up to. I like both sides of that coin. I like a snob being brought down to earth, and I also can laugh at people who are totally ignorant and revel in it."

-Ricky Gervais, from an interview in issue 26 of Stop Smiling magazine.

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QotD: Scents & Sensibilities

What's the strongest association you have between a scent and a memory?

I don't know if it's the strongest, but recently on a foggy morning I smelled slightly burnt gasoline, and that took me back to memories of vacationing on a lake in Maine when I was little. We lived in a tiny house on a tiny island for 2 weeks, and I remember bringing our boat back to the mainland and filling the tank from the pump at South Arm campground. Based out of that same dock was a pontoon boat that would make a run to deliver mail to the shores and islands of the lake at dawn and dusk.

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Ready Slice Culture

Pizza is one of my favorite food groups. I lived in Boston for a long stretch before Atlanta, and slice transactions were much more efficient there. I became accustomed to having slices ready to go at to any neighborhood pizza shop. You walk up, you say "slice of cheese", and drop between one and two dollars, and before the money hit the counter you'd have a delicious and greeky slice of pizza on a paper plate where your money once was.

They did custom slices too, but it was just *assumed* that many walk-ups would want a slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza, so they had the good sense to keep slices of those varieties hot and ready for sale.

In Atlanta, many pizza joints offer very good customized slice solutions, maybe even better than those in Boston. But they all involve ordering and waiting and drinking lots of sweet tea in the meantime, no matter what the slice. That's all well and good, but should you have to wait for the likeliest item on the menu, a slice of cheese pizza? Grant Central in East Atlanta, I'm looking at you. But in fairness, the problem appears to be universal.

Now you may protest that a slice made-to-order is always fresher and tastier than one that's been sitting there all tarted up under a heat lamp, waiting for some sad sack to take it home for the night. But this is simply not the case. There are ways. Sit a pizza pie or two on top of the pizza oven instead of under a lamp. Rotate the stock for freshness. If you were Johnny-on-the-spot with the cheese and pep slices and gained a reputation for that, you'd be able to afford throwing out a stale pie or two because the slice lines would be out the door. I'm not suggesting they ditch the custom slice model; I'm asking for a permutation — do both.

If Boston can do it, Atlanta can do it. Who's with me?

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