Friday, July 09, 2004

Jeff and Me

Back in the early ‘80s, when I was a TV critic in Seattle, I got to know Jeff Smith fairly well. He was a minister in the Tacoma area who used to intertwine cooking into his ministerial work and became somewhat of a local celebrity. I met him when he started doing the occasional cooking spot on one of those local morning talk shows on KING-TV, then the local NBC affiliate. KING had great PR people and always had me there talking to and interviewing someone.

We met a half dozen times or so and I wrote a few stories about Jeff. He appreciated the stories and always thanked me for them. He had an offbeat sense of humor and didn’t appear to take himself too seriously, which to me is a trademark of someone who has a chance to break through the TV clutter.

Later Jeff went on to do the “Frugal Gourmet” PBS show (originally taped in Chicago and then later in Seattle. He wrote books, and one of my best keepsakes is an autographed copy he gave me at a PBS convention. He inscribed it with: “To Allen, who’s allergic to everything but (insert wife’s name here).” My wife was with me at the time and got a kick out of it. By the way, I am allergic to everything, and Jeff had remembered that odd fact.

A few years later, the food editor of the paper told me she had heard rumors of Jeff Smith and some illicit activity with some young males in his parish. The rumors grew, and while he was never charged with a crime, I understand there was a cash settlement to keep the scandal quiet. The incident ended his career.

Yahoo! News - 'Frugal Gourmet' Chef Jeff Smith Dies

More On Finger Poking

Lucky me, I just got a new BG (Blood Glucose) monitor.

Thanks to my insurance company, I now have, free of charge, a new BG monitor. It’s my third in five years. The first one was a big, clunky one that took huge strips and required a lot of blood to get a reading. The way it works is you poke your finger with this trigger device, draw blood and then put it on a strip which then goes in the monitor where a reading mysterious appears in a few seconds.

Yes, it hurts.

Monitor two said it required less blood; I suppose that’s been true. I only have one or two misfires in 10. Monitor two also said you could draw blood from your forearm. Hello? That sounds awful. No matter how swollen and sore my fingertips might be, I’m not jabbing my forearm.

I have had all sorts of BG readings in five years. I once had a 42, which is too low. I had used a new insulin pen whose dial was miscalibrated. An hour after the shot, I was in la-la land and drank orange juice to raise my sugar. I think the highest reading I have ever had is 250. That’s not good, but it’s not nearly off the chart. High normal is about 110-20, so figure it out for yourself.

So, monitor three will wait till I get home from vacation. It appears to be smaller and the directions say it requires less blood. It also says you can put the blood on the strip outside the monitor and then put the strip in the monitor. I say, big whoop.


Yahoo! News - Entertainment Photos - Reuters

Thursday, July 08, 2004

I Thought He Was Kidding

Mike told me about a Grady Little bobblehead doll that was for sale at the Brockton Rox team shop.The joke was that the head does not bobble, but the left arm does. It’s a reference to Little’s failure to pull Pedro Martinez out of the playoff game that ended the Red Sox's hope to get to the World Series.

I am not meaning to call those in the Red Sox Nation dumb, but they are. Pedro got manager Grady Little to that point in the season, and depite his faltering in the game, I say you have to go with the man who got you that far. Also, Pedro is known to be a temperamental player (as in his fight with Don Zimmer). If Little were to take Pedro out of the game, and the Red Sox (heaven forbid)were to get to the World Series, it could have hurt Pedro’s confidence. Let’s face it, Pedro does not have the stuff he did a few years ago.

Fans are too quick to distill an entire game into one play: Buckner’s bumble, Eck’s home run pitch to the Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers in the WS, etc. The game is nine innings of individual brilliance; only bonehead Bosox fans would see things so narrowly.

Brockton Rox

Martha's Post-Prison Home

Yahoo! News - Florida to Let Former Felons Vote

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


I have mentioned before about the three-month sabbatical my wife and I took in 1985. We traveled throughout South America with one of the highlights being our two weeks in Rio. It was the only part of the trip we really planned in advance. In fact, it was the only hotel reservation we made in advance (see above).

We stayed at a small hotel in Ipanema, which is much safer for American tourists, that neighboring Copacabana. We took every precaution, such as leaving our jewelry at home (in the U.S.) and even wearing wooden wedding rings in place of our gold bands. The hotel was in the heart of Rio’s gem and jewelry sector with such stores as H Stern. I bought a ring from a shop on the same block as H Stern, but for far less money.

Rio is something to behold as a city of contrasts. The beach at Ipanema is breathtaking with an oceanscape that appears to be painted on the horizon. The beach is alive with beautiful bodies, vendors, peddlers and much more. We would sit on the beach for hours and drink in the scene. Because I did not bring a good camera to Rio, my photo memories are somewhat light. Believe me, though, I could close my eyes and remember every second we were there. Especially Carnivale!

Even Without Jerry Lewis!

Yahoo! News - French Flock to 'Fahrenheit'; Critics Balk

A Dad, Just Like He Was In "Big Daddy"

Yahoo! News - This Just In...Jon Stewart a Dad!

They Haven't Been To My House

Yahoo! News - Recycling levels begin to droop

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Wonder Where Kermit Washington Is These Days?

For anyone who's been around the NBA for a while, the name Kermit Washington evokes memories of him sucker punching Rudy T and bashing Rudy T's face in. Given that Rudy T has come back from that incident and cancer, coaching the Lakers is nothing.

ESPN.com - NBA - Lakers' deal to hire Rudy T 'basically finished'

Southwest Airlines To The Rescue

Last night marked the second season of A&E’s program, “Airline.” The half-hour show is a day in the life of Southwest Airlines seen through the eyes of some of its ground staff. There are a few recurring characters such as a customer service supervisor at LAX and supervisor at Midway (Chicago) and some other assorted support people at BWI.

I have mixed feelings about Southwest Airlines. I actually won’t fly the airline anymore for a few reasons: for one, my company’s travel agency won’t book flights on the airline, but I rarely use the company travel agency, so that’s only a partial reason (at best). I don’t like the open seating concept. I also don’t like the pre-board policy. Just about all other airlines have eliminated pre-boarding for people traveling with children; on Southwest, long lines of passengers with 15-year-old kids pre-board. It’s just silly and everyone abuses the privelege.

On the other hand, a major shout-out for Southwest. Today, my daughter was flying solo to camp on Southwest. She was to be met at the gate by camp personnel. We went through all the scenarios in case the camp staff was not at the gate. Mind you, my daughter has flown all over the world and knows airports and all that goes with them. Still, she has never flown alone. So, she gets off the plane, and the staff was not there. The phone rings at our home and it's Southwest and they noticed my daughter was alone and trying to use a payphone to call us (I told her 1800COLLECT). Apparently, the phone had the number blocked, so the airline called me and we quickly got the camp on the phone and resolved matters. (They claim the camp person was in baggage claim as they would not let him go to the gate). Whatever.

Way to go Southwest. Sorry, you still won’t get my business.

The Ultimate "Good Eats" Souvenir

eBay item 4310812113 (Ends Jul-30-04 11:55:50 PDT) - Awesome Atlanta / Buckhead home "Good Eats" Alton Brown


Someone at the NY Post's editing desk is looking for new work.

New York Daily News - Breaking News - Kerry picks Edwards as veep

The Case For Registration

Looking at the big picture, without registration information, a newspaper's Web site cannot be of benefit to readers or advertisers. That said, there should be some elements (such as some aspects of travel, entertainment and obits) that should be open to all.

LA Times online policy cited for staff exits

Critics of the Los Angeles Times' decision to require registration for access to its CalendarLive Web site say it may have contributed to brain drain at the paper, owned by Tribune (TRB). Four arts writers have recently left to join The New York Times. A report in the alternative LA Weekly suggested the subscription arrangement may have been behind the exodus. It said the Calendar staff was known to have grumbled about the required registration. One writer was described as very unhappy that her architecture reviews were "cut off from the world."

For Those Who Doubt The Power Of Blogs

Yahoo! News - Parties to Allow Bloggers to Cover Conventions for First Time

Monday, July 05, 2004

Spiderman 2

Having been a movie reviewer in a former lifetime, I am not one to gush about a movie. “Spiderman 2” is awesome. My daughter and I went to the early show at this supersized theater in our neighborhood called the Cine-Capri. It has the largest screen in Arizona and ear-popping sound. The theater used be in the central part of the city, but it closed down in disrepair and eventually re-opened up in what used to be the boonies but now is one of the fast-growing parts of the city.

The show was scheduled to start at 10:50 am, but we arrived at 10:15 to get a good seat. Hello? At 10:15, the theater was 70 percent filled! It was also amazing to see people eating huge sacks of popcorn, soda and nachos (with cheese) at that early hour. This is not an area known for its health consciousness.

So, this was our farewell event before my daughter heads off the camp tomorrow. It will be her first solo trip on an airplane. Luckily, I have a busy day.

From Cop Killer To Cop

Here’s an interesting about-face: Ice-T, once the rapper who did a song called “Cop Killer,’ now stars as a cop on “Law and Order: SVU.” He also played an undercover cop in the film, ‘New Jack City.”

What other song comes to mind? “For The Love of Money.”

IHT: Beyond 'Cop Killer': Ice T and the 7th Deadly Sin


One of the great things about our home is that it backs up to the desert (It’s called a NAOS, whatever that means). On July 4th, because of our location, we can see fireworks from every angle of our backyard. Most prominent are the fireworks from Rawhide, a funky pseudo Western town (tourist trap) a mile south of our home.

Rawhide recently was sold to a land developer. What that means for next year’s fireworks remains to be seen. Perhaps the new supermarket that no doubt will land in that spot will host fireworks.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

The Carefree Lifestyle

I don’t know about you, but my idea of a good time is taking a car ride when it’s 104 degrees outside.

We ventured up the road to the towns of Carefree and Cave Creek. They are about five minuets north of our home, but a more laid-back lifestyle. Cave Creek is known for motorcyclists and art galleries (an odd combo); Carefree is known for The Boulders, a world class, five-diamond resort. It is nestled into the rocks and features The Golden Door Spa, which has its origins in Texas.

Normally, I don't take pictures of street signs...

This is how The Flintstones told time

Carefree also is noted for its plaza with an oversized sundial located on Easy Street. I think my parents once told me if they won the lottery, they’d be on Easy Street. I don’t think they meant this one.

There are some great galleries in Cave Creek. We wandered into the Norby Gallery which is home to one of our favorite artists—Robert Ransom.

After a few hours, even the most inrepid Arizonans begin to wilt. We headed home.

The Good Old Days Will Be Back

We'll be riding bikes on the OC Boardwalk in a little more than a week.

Bike Rentals in New Jersey

Rik Smits Started It All

Yahoo! News - My, how the Dutch have grown

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