Sunday, February 26, 2006
My taste of Cuba
When I was on vacation in January, I ran across two interesting culinary treats from Cuba. I realize that my “discoveries” are likely as exciting as someone discovering burnt ends or barbequed ribs on a trip to Kansas City. However, growing up landlocked in the center of the United States, and not being exposed to Caribbean culture until our recent trips, I really had not experienced the food of the islands. I take that back. I ran across some Jamaican cuisine when I was in England. I discovered the wonders of jerk chicken and ginger beer at that time.
The night before our cruise, I noticed a sandwich called the “Cuban” in the hotel restaurant. I wasn’t sure if it was just a colorful name or a traditional sandwich. I discovered that it was the latter. What I got was a grilled and pressed sandwich on pannini bread with melted cheese, ham, pork and pickles. It really was a taste sensation. I capped the trip with another Cuban at Casa Bacardi. Last weekend, I found that “Cheeseburgers in Paradise” (the Jimmy Buffet Caribbean themed joint in Kansas City, Kansas) also serves Cuban sandwiches. Of course, I ordered one! This is my new favorite sandwich. I suspect that I will have to order one whenever I find one on the menu. Cuban cuisine isn’t very common in cowtown.
Another item that is much more common is the Mojito. Our friend, Sarah, told us that this drink was all the rage among the beautiful people these days and we resolved to try one on the cruise (note: you can see my first Cuban sandwich in the foreground). The first time we were able to try one was at Bacardi in Puerto Rico. We learned that it was one of the first mixed drinks in the world and first created in Cuba. It uses water, soda, limejuice, rum, and crushed spearmint leaves. It is very tasty, but very “old school.” In a day with seventy different martini flavors, this really is a throwback. It is very refreshing.
Here’s to my “discovery” of Cuban foods.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
I want my D.V.R.
You know, Dire Straits sang, “I want my MTV” several years ago. I really can’t imagine life without my DVR! In fact, I was watching a movie with my mom and wife today and really wanted to rewind it to see the scene again. One problem – we were sitting in a movie theater!
The ability to pause and rewind life programming is such a great thing. I don’t have to wait for a commercial break to refill my coffee. If I really want to hear that idiotic comment from a Bill Maher’s conservative guest, I can rewind it and see it again, and again, and again. A good friend of mine purposely starts watching NFL games 30 minutes after kickoff so he can skip commercials. Between running his own instant replays and the natural time delay, he tends to catch back up to “real time” in the 3rd quarter or so.
The DVR is a great invention. If you don’t have one, queue up the music for “Money for Nothing” and sing a lot.
I want my
I want my
I want my D.V.R.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Good Night and Good Luck
I was very excited to learn about the new movie, “Good Night and Good Luck.” I know several people who are journalist groupies. I’m not exactly there. However, Edward R. Murrow is certainly in my pantheon of heroes.
Murrow was very important in the creation of television news. Unfortunately, I think he’d be ill over what now passes as “news” in America. In fact, I think he saw the hand writing on the wall during his lifetime. Of course, in his lifetime, there was the Twenty-One scandal. Don’t get me started on Fox News.
Murrow was amazing. His coverage of the Blitz, Hear it Now, See it Now, and even Person to Person were very important in the history of news programming. It is amazing what he did to check McCarthy ... at a time when Eisenhower and the "real" Republicans just sat on their hands. We really could use a few more Murrows today. People need to be able to question the status quo without being called a communist, terrorist, or unpatriotic.
As for the movie, I really want to see “Murrow” again. I saw that movie on HBO several years ago. As I left the theater after seeing “Good Night and Good Luck” I felt really under-whelmed. Now I really want see the previous biopic (Murrow).
Oh...BTW the "battle of the bulge" is going very well. I'm down 12 pounds.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Thank heavens for Michael Scott (and David Brent)
The parenthetical comments translate for a British audience
I watched The Office on NBC this week and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. Michael’s constant attempt to participate in the “Women in the Workplace” seminar until being banished from the entire office by Jane was hysterical. Then, when Michael went to the warehouse and wound up wrecking the place and accidentally pushing the employees unionize, I could not stop laughing. Then, I realized something. Of course, given my position, I am much closer to Michael Scott (David) than to Jim (Tim). Is that a bad thing?
As I was thinking about Michael Scott (David Brent). Then I started to think about the Sprint/Nextel commercial where the executive explains that his phone plan is “his way of sticking it to the man” only to be reminded that he IS the man. I think it is clear that, like it or not, I am much more close to being “the man” than I was fifteen years ago…at least at MCPL.
What has always frightened me is becoming a man like Michael Scott (David Brent). What makes me enjoy The Office so much is that I know that while I may be “the man” I am not becoming “that man.” So, I guess it is still alright to laugh.
Besides, the show is damn funny!
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Visiting the Capitol
For the last several years, I’ve visited the Missouri State Capitol in February. Several librarians descend on Jefferson City toward the start of each legislative session every year to inform the legislators about how their recommendations might affect libraries in Missouri. That’s the work.
What I really enjoy is visiting the Missouri State Capitol. I’m a native Missourian, and I feel a real connection to the site. Most visits, I visit the exhibits on the ground floor. I haven’t visited to the Thomas Hart Benton murals of Missouri’s history in many, many years. I really must go view them the next time I visit.
We typically stay at the “round” hotel. It’s been known as the Monroe, Quality Inn, and is now Hotel Labella. I really like the updates that they’ve made in the rooms. They now have small refrigerators and microwaves in the rooms. They closed the restaurant upstairs. I think this may be both good and bad. The restaurant always had very slow service. In fact, one year, they didn’t have a server at all. We wound up serving our own coffee, water, etc. Now, they have free continental breakfast, and no other meals. So, it is still self-serve, so to speak.