Rough week in the Northeast and now more snow is on the way. A lot rougher for some than for myself as I miraculously never lost power. I like to credit clean living for such phenomena, but a bit of luck probably plays a small role. The only thing I had to deal with was a few days without internet and trying to find a passable route out of Phoenixville. I expected a little more out of the trees. It’s easy to blame Peco, but it’s not a real honorable stance to take and really, how about a little help from Mother Nature? How about designing a tree that can withstand a little ice? The thing can convert sunlight into energy, but a half inch of ice and it’s going down with a whimper? Let’s engineer some tougher trees. Anyway, in case your actual mail man has the work ethic of Newman, here’s a bit of a mailbag…
Q: Please rank the following non-essential kitchen items in order of how badly you’d like to have them: Pizza oven, full size stove top griddle, hot fudge dispenser, and restaurant grade deep fryer. Knute Healthee, Dallas, TX.
A: Wow. If I must…
4. Restaurant Grade Deep Fryer. I feel like you can’t just have vats of oil/lard sitting around and still lead a normal life. Your whole house would smell like a french fry, which is both tantalizing and terrifying. And, this is an instance where I am not lured by scale. I’m very rarely trying to satisfy the lunch rush at McDonalds.
3. Hot Fudge Dispenser. I think this is within reach. Maybe you’re thinking how often would you REALLY use this thing? Well, perhaps you’d be inspired if you had a vat of hot fudge sitting right there. MOVE OVER traditional condiments. You know, I once had one of those devices that heated up shaving cream and I used it pretty often. Take that, haters, I’m not as unmotivated as I look.
2. Pizza Oven. Every time someone talks about how good their homemade pizza is, I want to cut their tongue out. Oh, I make my own dough and sauce. I use 34 artisan cheeses. It all means NOTHING. You do what you do, I’ll take the doughy frisbee advertised under the name Boboli, squirt some ketchup on it and throw on a few slabs of string cheese and it will DOMINATE what you make if I have access to a real pizza oven. The only reason this doesn’t win out is because getting pizza out is a pretty good time and plenty of places do it brilliantly.
1. Full-Size, Stove Top Griddle. Come on down. The griddle is a magical device. I’d like to have a cheap-o, two square foot one that plugs in, but they take up a bunch of space and don’t really get the job done anyway. I want that crazy surface area. I want to make an entire breakfast on the same canvas. I want to be able to serve pancakes to more than one person at a time (it’s impossible to keep pancakes warm or fresh). I want to chop the hell out of a pile of shaved rib-eye. Dare to dream.
Q: Last night I had a dream about a specific beer. I saw the label and got all excited. This is the first time I remember this happening. Do I have a problem, or am I just an awesome dreamer? Frosty Mugg, Allentown, PA.
A: Was the beer Red Dog? Because then you have a very SERIOUS problem. I’ve never had a beer craving dream. There has been one or two times when I am very thirsty in a dream and I wake up and I am very thirsty in REAL LIFE. Mindblowing, right? But, I can’t even remember many dreams I’ve had where alcohol was involved. I don’t excel at dream recall and often times I’m a very boring dreamer, unlike yourself who may be awesome. I don’t want to rule that out. I don’t think you have a problem. A beer is mostly harmless, right? You didn’t run over a stroller with your car to get to the beer did you? Commit any other horrific acts? I think you’re fine and I commend you on dreaming about something you actually want. Every once in a while, when I’m feeling a good bit of WHIMSY, I’ll try to usher myself off to sleep with thoughts of dreaming about something thrilling. When I close my eyes, I’ll enter a world where….IT NEVER WORKS.
Q: Am I the only one who is bothered by this: Progressive commercial, “Flo,” is singing, “Why is a strike bad in baseball when it’s good in bowling?” It get’s progressively (yep, I did) more annoying from there, which I suppose is the point, but what I’m saying is, a strike can be good in baseball. You know, like, if you’re the pitcher? D. Tails, Pawnee, IN.
A: These things bother me a great deal. And, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of Flo. One time I was watching a TV show streaming online from an Australian source (DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT) and I saw an Australian Progressive commercial. They had their own version of “Flo,” but she had a different name and wasn’t nearly as abrasive. I guess Australians have different tastes when it comes to Insurance pitch women. Anyway, this incorrect generalization about baseball bothers me, as does the fact that the song somehow gets stuck in my head on occasion, which is maddening and then embarrassing when someone hears you mouthing, “Then someone told me about a basketball strike…” I don’t like when people get involved in sports and then don’t take the time to make things right. It’s like when you see a blatant inaccuracy in a sports movie. I just saw a story the other day that someone is wearing the new Eagles logo in “Invincible.” You’re making a movie about football, about the Eagles, and there isn’t one person around who can put a stop to that? Inexcusable.
Q: How often do you think a hairdresser makes a huge mistake during a haircut that they then have to “salvage?” Lil’ Ofdatop, Austin, TX.
A: I already don’t like getting my hair cut and then you bring up something like this to send a chill down my spine. Every time I walk into Super Cuts or Value Shears or Oh You Don’t Have That Much Money Do You, Shaggy?, I get a little worried that the person cutting my hair will be totally incompetent. Maybe they had a bad night. Maybe their boyfriend broke up with them and my luscious locks are going to take the brunt of their anger. I guess it’s a trust thing. You’ve just got to say f*ck it, DIP A TOE, see what happens. I’m also very bad at describing how I want my hair cut. This is because I went to the same person for a long time and she just cut my hair without asking me anything–IT WAS GREAT. Now, it’s all guesswork. I don’t go very often and so you can’t even see my old haircut in there anywhere. It’s not like retracing the lines on some buzz job you did two weeks back. Anyway, I think this probably DOES happen, but not that often. If your hair ever ends up shorter than you wanted, or maybe a little TOO highlighted–something–it’s a chance it was a coverup for some butcher job. This is why I only risk it about three times a year.
Q: Is it legal for Girl Scouts in Colorado to sell marijuana, you know, to boost cookie sales?
A: I saw a table of Girl Scout cookies collapse at Acme the other day and it took my breath away. Were any Thin Mints damaged? I’ll give them a SAFE HOME. I actually haven’t had a Girl Scout cookie yet this year, because I’ve been on a dessert streak since Christmas that you couldn’t imagine. I can’t escape it. Worse problems to have, I suppose. I wonder sometimes if the Girl Scouts will ever get out of the cookie racket, but your idea of supplementing with marijuana sales is pretty inspired. I saw what weed did to kids at college and their subsequent trips to Tom’s Mobil Mart or T-Hill. The Scouts might have to adjust their hours of operation. I did some quick research on the new Colorado rules and it still looks like marijuana is off-limits for the youth. Maybe in another twenty years.
Q: Any chance the Phillies hired Jamie Moyer as a broadcaster just to mess with you personally? Kris Wealer, Newtown Square, PA.
A: Well, technically Comcast hired these guys, but I see what you mean. When the job first opened up I was actually encouraged by the lack of support Moyer seemed to have among people who SHOULD HAVE BEEN in the know. Moyer, a known egomaniac, perhaps still wanted to pitch? There’s a great Seinfeld scene where George wants to announce for the Yankees and Jerry tells him that they usually give those job to “former players, or you know, people IN broadcasting.” Well, Comcast didn’t hire a lot of experience, instead falling back on two World Series winners, but not exactly A-listers. Here’s the issue in my mind, as I venture a guess with no evidence to speak of. Comcast didn’t want Mr. Phillie, Chris Wheeler, so they canned him without securing his replacement. They probably assumed they could throw some money at someone–they inexplicably wanted Brad Lidge–but they were consistently turned down. No Kruk, no Mitch, no Lidge. It’s a troubling sign for baseball in Philadelphia. Can’t even get the broadcasters you want, let alone the players. I actually have more hope for Stairs–at least he’s Canadian. That quirk alone could carry him for a while. I think Moyer will talk too much, too obtusely and alienate a fan base that inexplicably likes him. I won’t be listening, of course, I’ll just trust you all to tell me he’s terrible.
Q: I’ve finally found something people care about as little as other people’s fantasy football teams–other people’s problems with school snow days.
A: That’s absolutely true. People are constantly talking about their kids being off from school and how this is the worst thing that has ever happened to them. I understand that parents count on school to occupy their kids’ time, but you talk about deaf ears…You cranked out the little sh*theel, what do I care if you can’t find a babysitter? What you should really be worried about is how your kid not being in school impacts OTHER people. It seems to me that kids roam freely these days anyway, but you get a snow day or two and suddenly they’re wandering into stores at 11 am, walking down the middle of the street with their sleds, just BEING AROUND. It can be very aggravating. Of course the underlying issue here is that people are mostly selfish and self-centered. They like to talk about themselves and things that are going on IN THEIR OWN LIVES. The next time someone walks up to you and gives you twenty minutes on how Briannelynn thought it would be fun to build a snowman IN THE DEN, feel free to walk away mid-sentence.