Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Burlington French Fry Conspiracy

Last evening, my friend Pete and I ventured to Burlington to attend a rock show at The Higher Ground. We drove up early, and headed into downtown in search of dinner. Our first choice, Henry's Diner, now closes at 4PM on weekdays. So we decided to check out the Sadie Katz Deli instead. An alleged NY-style deli, the SKD is housed in a great old-stainless-steel diner with google Formica tabletops and cozy booths. It's the kind of place I love.

I decided on a burger, with a side of fries ($1 extra), but when I tried to place my order, the waiter spoke the following words, which I don't believe I have heard a wait person say in any American restaurant, ever: 

"Sorry, but we're out of French fries."

I know you'll want to read that again, so go ahead. I'd imagine that even after reading it for the second time, you are as shocked as I was. First of all, as far as I know, French fries are America's favorite "vegetable." So I would guess that just about any restaurant that serves them always has plenty around. And even if prepared fries are not handy, you can cut your own! All you need is a potato and a knife. Keep in mind that we were in a deli, which featured a number of menu items composed primarily of potatoes. So they must have had spuds somewhere.

In lieu of fries, the waiter offered a latke. So I'm thinking, "OK, it's a NY-style deli. I can do that." But then the latke was delivered. It looked like it was manufactured by Burlington Department of Public Works, Manhole Cover Division. And the taste? Well, let's just say that if the word "latke" means "oily, rawhide-like substance that causes general nausea," then nothing was lost in translation. 

So OK, we survived the meal, (don't go there, honest) but here's the freaky part. We went to The Higher Ground to see the show. There was a fairly extensive bar food menu. And the menu item "sweet potato fries" was crossed out." Conspiracy? You decide.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Here Comes the I'm Not Really Sure What

If there's anything I hate to do, it's get up early. But this morning, I'm glad I did. Driving back to my place from Deb's, I saw the sun rise in a most remarkable fashion—a shaft of light rising vertically from the hilltops, sort of like God's Lightsaber. I didn't have the real camera with me, but shot a few photos with my cell. What's missing in this shot is contrast— the delicate blue of the sky cleaved by the sun's furious torch.

I confess I have seen few sunrises over the last couple of decades. But I have to think this formation is unusual. What atmospheric condition could direct the light in such a way? Perhaps it is a SIGN. Haven't checked the news yet, but did Dick Cheney pop a heart attack and croak?  That might be enough to warrant such a display, had the Gods just hearts and a decent sense of humor. Or maybe Nazis opened the Ark of the Covenant again. In any case, I'm glad I got to see it in person. Did any of our dear readers do the same?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Off Road!

While Gary was watching the snow from his window, I was out driving Wall-e, my two wheel drive Honda Fit and my son to school. We should have brought cramp-ons because the roads were so slick. There were about eight of us on Cherry Tree Hill Road and off it. To the Right, left, and center, we slid and skated. The sander truck with chains couldn't get up the hill to plow and when he tried to back down there was this guy's car behind him. The two of them almost got into a fist fight but then they made up and helped shovel sand by hand onto the road so the guy could back down. The kindergarden teacher at Eli's school went into a ditch and called her police officer husband to take her to school. Eli hopped a ride with them while I waited two hours for the tow trucks to get us all out of there. Robert from Bob's Sunoco in Plainfield saved the day. He towed me back up the hill, just like a ski lift. Another woman and her son tried to make it up the steep incline after the road was finally sanded, in her french fryer 45 mile/gal car (another useless two wheel drive)  but she ended up having to back down again. Finally got home two hours later. Looks like I'm going to have to fork out a a wad for studded snow tires. You would think Vermont Tire would have recommended studs. Wall-e, it's not your fault you're a light weight.


Last week's storm brought us 8-12" of gorgeous snow. Then the misty rain came. Result--a crust even our friends at Morse Farm Ski Touring Center couldn't groom. We tried skiing in our friend Margaret's woods, which was fun but also WORK--chiseling ski tips from under the crust, over and over. But there's good news for all of us who love Nordic--Ma Nature blessed us with six inches of perfect powder last night, and the temperatures are going to stay low. Even our skis are excited. Flatlanders, eat your hearts out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

John Paul Jones

Ten o'Clock. Parenting. Eli stayed home sick today and had to finish a big project on John Paul Jones. If you care to check my high school yearbook (1978) you will find beneath my disgusting photo, my quote: "To the establishment: we have not yet begun to fight." This alluded to my feminist activities at Bronx Science, where I was doing battle over Title IX. Remember that? Integration of sports? Now the girls on Eli's 5th grade basketball team complained that they don't like to play with the boys so all the B-ball teams are separated by gender. Soccer is still mixed though. Other than the fact that I plagiarized JPJ's line, I have nothing in common with the dude and the reason Eli picked him was probably because Jones got to fire a lot of cannons off his battle ships. I'm so wiped out from helping him with his testosterone report, almost as wiped out as I am from finishing my MFA. I'm giving myself 3 stars for being a great parent, even though I am not always appreciated as such. "Mom, whose report is this anyway?!" (He wrote, "Jones, the name the U.S. Navy worship." I tried to tell him Navy was singular and that it should read "worships.") My MFA means nothing around here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today is Clam Chowder Day

Gary and I went to the Uncommon Market today because Monday is clam chowder Day! Peter is the king of soup. Friday is fish chowder day but I prefer the clam. Today he also made corn chowder and so I mixed the two together. (I asked permission first). What a treat. That doesn't happen every day. But they were out of Boar's Head pastrami. Now I have to go shopping and I hate shopping. It requres making a list, which means I need to take an inventory of what is not in the fridge. And dump the rotted leftovers. There must be some way to avoid shopping. I could look for jobs. I forgot. There aren't any. Time for my Celexa.

The REAL Secret Life of Bees

In light of the brutal slanders against bees portrayed in the recent film The Secret Life of Bees, we at The Beehive feel it our solemn duty to speak the truth to power. Herewith, some critical facts about bees:

• Bees seldom, if ever, practice racial discrimination. This resulted, during the 1980s, in a mass exodus of so-called "Africanized Bees" from the regions near Cape Town, South Africa.  
• The antibiotic properties of honey have made it the treatment of choice for Hippler's Calaria, a rare bacterial disease affecting those with genetic predisposition to asthma.
• In 1836, Quaker beekeepers shot a rogue grizzly which had been destroying hives across Montana's Elk Creek County. Government officials cracked down with a severe reduction in apiary permits, and the beekeepers responded with gunfire. The "Honey Rebellion" lasted seventeen days and resulted in the deaths of two federal marshals and one innocent bystander before the beekeepers put down their arms. 
• When performing its mating dance, the common honeybee can attain a flight speed of just over 37 miles per hour--equal to that of a startled mute swan.
• The Gilded Borer Bee of New Zealand is the source of an enameling agent so treasured by artisans that its market price rivals that of platinum.  
• Studies have shown that Orchid Largent Bees can detect tumors in humans as well as the most sophisticated medical scanning devices. 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Welcome to the Beehive

Welcome to The Hive. Gary and Deb are hibernating in Vermont under a foot of snow. Instead of upping our antidepressant dosages, we've decided to reach out to our fellow bees and wasps. I'm premenstrual and Gary is exhausted. Gary will be asleep in five and I'll be up till about 1 am with Callie the cat. She was just fixed but I stopped Gary short of de-clawing her by threatening to leave him. He backed away obsequiously. Gary's already disappointed with our blog and has accused me of having low literary standards. On the other hand he hasn't come up with any original material. Yet. That's what comes of eating Entenmann's donuts just before bed. He should be good to go tomorrow morning, after his coffee.