Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Phillyist: Why Kids are getting stupider - response

( #Phillyst, #PhiladelphiaMagazine )

Yesterday, I got my Philadelphia magazine in the mail and the cover asks "Why Kids Are Getting Stupider". I felt the hairs on my neck rise and reading the article didn't do much to calm me down. Phillyist was kind enough to let me write a response to it.

Phillyist: Is Philadelphia Magazine Right - Are Kids Really Getting Stupider?

Wikileaks - Who Cares

( #Wikileaks, #Lame, #MeanGirls )

I have been reading a few of the wikileaks and articles fanning the fires in my free time—to me, most of the leaks seem to be centered on political types talking shit on other political types. Besides the Syrian weapons leak and the post about not being able to get the uranium from the Pakistani reactor, everything else was shit-talking.

The Government is upset because they got caught getting dirt on their "friends"—but they all do it—so who cares? I don't know if getting this information out there is good so we can see how juvenile politicians are (not just American), or bad because we can see what they are focusing their energy on.

This whole affair reminds me of Mean Girls when the diary gets out - can't find any clips - but this will work...



And then...


Read more about this public slap fight...Top 10 Wikileaks Revelations

Atlantic City - 1911

( #AtlanticCity, #TheBand )


CREDIT: Shorpy


CREDIT: The Band - Atlantic City

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories: Mean Joe and Kid Rock

( #KidRock, #Thanksgiving )

On Thanksgiving, recovering from eating to much at my parents house, I am half passed out on my parents couch and not paying attention to the television. I notice the football game is on and could care less. It is half time....



Out of the blue, my old man says "Thats Kid Rock right?" This is coming from a man who doesn't watch TV, read magazines, surf the internet, and doesn't listen to the radio... how the hell does he know who Kid Rock is? To put this in further perspective - Bonnie Raitt is the last artist to be added to his sparse musical collection - like 15 years ago.

This might not mean much to you my readers, but that little interaction blew my mind. Just giving you a little family insight, Lombardi-style.

Further Mean Joe Reading:

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 03

( #SundayLeftovers, #JulieOcean, #BreadPudding )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This is the most leftover Sunday of the year - how much food do you have sitting in your fridge right now? Don't worry, we have a recipe to help you take care of that. That being said, lets open the damn fridge and see what is actually leftover...

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Julie Ocean - My Revenge

[Recipe of the Week: Savory Bread Pudding]
Credit: SFGate.com

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons fresh cranberry sauce or cranberry chutney (see Note)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar + more if needed
1/4 cup finely diced red onion, green onion or shallots
2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1 teaspoon finely diced garlic
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or mayonnaise
-- Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cups shredded green cabbage (about a 2-pound cabbage)
3 to 4 cups shredded turkey
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:
Place the cranberry sauce in a large bowl and use a potato masher to mash down any large berries. Add the canola oil, vinegar, onion, mustard, garlic, yogurt or mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water, or enough to thin the dressing so it will coat the cabbage evenly. Add the cabbage and toss until well coated, then add the turkey with more salt and plenty of pepper to taste. If it's too sweet, add a little more vinegar.

Place the salad on plates and serve, topped with the almonds.

Note: If using canned cranberry sauce, which is sweeter, start with a smaller amount and add more vinegar to taste.

[DIY of the Week: Martini Kit]

My wife found this and insists I set this up for her....



Here is a complete guide for everything you need.

[Video of the Week]

NOTE: This video is NSFW (it contains harsh language). Assuming you can get past that, it is very cool editing.



[Conclusion]

Okay, we are done for the week - I have some leftovers to deal with. If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Second Hand Smoke

( #Smoking, #Cigarettes )

Smokers have it hard: the government keeps taxing and raising the price of their vice, they have that terrible cough in the morning, nasty yellow teeth and skin, and non-smokers look at them with disgust.

Hi - I am one of those people that look at you like that.



There are a couple of good smokers out there that peel off and smoke privately—like dogs going off to the woods to die alone—then there are the rest of you. The new kids that never learned how to do it right, blowing smoke out of their mouths like dragons. Looking pissed off because they have to be out in the cold. Or what about the lazy moms driving a carload of kids in her mini-van with a cigarette in her mouth (seeing more of those every day).

For all of you people, second hand smoke kills 600,000 people a year (NY Daily News)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sir Paul's Mashed Potatos

( #PaulMcCartney, #Thanksgiving )

Musical Legend Paul McCartney shows you how to make Mashed Potatoes. (I don't think anything else needs or should be said)

Commercial Turkey = Poison?

( #Thanksgiving, #Turkey, #Poison )



The good people at Boing Boing shared a holiday buzz-kill this morning: It seems that most commercial turkey contains arsenic due to pesticides. The arsenic also has another unsettling feature - when absorbed into the turkey's bloodstream, it makes the skin pinker, thus looking fresher.

Enjoy gorging on poison today, I know I will!

Happy Thanksgiving

( #Parade, #Thanksgiving, #Spiderman )



Credit: Happy Beau

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Really... this is their #1

( #Hipsters, #MusicVideo )

In a follow-up to this morning's post about that Twin Shadows Video....

This is the Number 1 video of 2010 or so says Gorilla vs. Bear



It certainly looks nice - but this is average at best. If we accept and praise average as outstanding, everything will always be mediocre.

Great Video? I think not....

( #TwinShadow, #Hipsters, #Terrible )

Music Blog Gorrilla vs. Bear published their list of best videos for the year. I haven't made it two spots because I saw this...



I don't understand how anyone could say this is a great video. Cheap? Yes. Since it was cheap - functional? Yes. Good for the band that this shit went viral and they only spent $2.00 on electricity. It looks like this guy is about the get raped from the cameraman. Has 70's porn become "brilliant" now?

I hate hipsters! :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Netflix vs. Hulu Plus

( #netflix, #hulu )

vs.

Last week I signed up for the Hulu Plus service and I decided to share my experience. I have been a Netflix customer for years and I am very happy with the service. Since the stream service has been getting better selections, I rarely watch actual DVDs anymore. I decided to drop my 3 movie per month package to 1 and unlimited streaming. With the money I saved, I signed up for Hulu, so I am paying the same price.

Hulu is not available on the Xbox (it is coming in a few months), so I set it up on my PS3. If the image does not look good on the PS3, it is not going to look good on anything. After I signed up, I found that the Hulu web interface is not nearly as polished or easy to navigate as Netflix. Adding things to their queue system is not simple and requires going deep into the selection to save it (or I am missing a button somewhere which is just as bad).

The interface on the PS3 is no joy to navigate either and it drives me nuts that there isn’t a search feature since their queue system kind of sucks (but in Hulu’s defence, until the recent upgrades to Netflix’s console dashboards, navigation was not so great either). Once you select a show, the picture quality is very good (for HD). My wife and I watch 30 Rock and Outsourced over the weekend and the picture was great. There is a big but... the service is glitchy and skips a few seconds ahead sometimes. Netflix does not do that (even when dropping signal rate). I assume they are working the bugs out, but it is very annoying.

My other major beef is the commercials. This is a pay service, there should not be commercials. I could forgive one at the start of the program but not during. I suspect that Hulu won’t be doing away with that feature which is making me rethink keeping the service. Hulu’s catalog of TV shows isn’t nearly as robust as Netflix, but where they beat old red is posting shows within 24 hours of airing. You have to wait a week for Comcast on demand for many shows, and who knows how long with Netflix.

Overall it is a solid service at a good price ($7.99 per month), but they are going to have to get their back catalog expanded very quickly, fix their bugs, and ditch the commercials for me to think about keeping the service. I will give them a few months to see how the service evolves. If you are deciding on the two, Netflix wins hands down (especially if you already have cable). Neither services are a full blown cable replacement yet.

UPDATE:
Looks like Netflix is offering an $8 streaming only plan and they are bumping up DVD costs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 02

( #SundayLeftovers, #Cranberries, #ThePope )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This week we discuss the Pope, the history of cranberries, and make something gratin. Lets open the fridge and see what is Leftover...

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Steve Young - One Car Funeral Procession

[The Story of Cranberries]

From io9 and Physorg.com
Although there are a few plants that migrate, the vast majority of them are stuck in one place. This saves on energy, but has many disadvantages. One of those disadvantages is the lack of any ability to stake out a territory for one's young. Seedlings that drop directly below the plant end up competing with their progenitor for survival. Having a family battle itself is not the way to perpetuate a genetic line, so more successful plants adapted a way to disperse their seeds. They buried them in tasty fruit; fruit that animals would both enjoy and derive nourishment from. When the animals snapped them up, the seeds were either scattered immediately, or carried in the intestinal tract, through the world until they, uh, dropped, far from their parent plant.

To discourage animals from eating the fruit before the seeds matured, much unripe fuit is loaded with tannin, a chemical that makes the fruit taste sharp and dry. As the fruit matures, out comes the sugar, and the fruit begins to smell and taste sweet to hungry mammals.

Cranberries developed quite another strategy. Although the berries are edible, and at one time would have relied on mammals to disperse their seeds, they jettisoned that idea. They stopped adding sugar to their berries, and started pouring on the tannin, discouraging animals from eating them. In order to spread their seeds and relied on the forces of nature. Cranberry bushes thrived by the edges of streams, and their berries developed little air pockets that allowed them to float. Once they were ready to set off into the world, the berries dropped into the water and floated until they could wash up on another shore.

So why do we eat them? Because they loaded up with tannin and float in water instead of being devoured by animals. The tannin made them useful through the ages. Tannins stop bleeding in cuts, cure leather, prevent infection, and dye clothing. And, throughout history, sour food is still better than no food. Now that there are new ways to do most of the above, the main reason cranberries are still eaten is they are easily farmed. They float, so instead of time-consuming days of picking berries from their stems, farmers can flood their fields, temporarily, and skim the cranberries off the surface of the water.

[Religious Breaking News]

The Pope is now considering condom usage being allowed to stop the spread of AIDS. Wow - thanks Mr. Pope - I guess the hundreds of thousands of Catholic Africans that you helped contract AIDS with the church's antiquated birth control policy was keeping you up a night. Sleep tight sweet Prince.

PS: I love how the article is praising the guy for doing something he should have done right away (and he still hasn't done a damn thing except admin that the policy is wrong).

[Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato Gratin]

CREDIT: Kitchen Daily

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into1/4-inch thick crosswise slices
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into1/4-inch thick crosswise slices
1 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 425F. Arrange potato slices, alternating between sweet and russet, in a buttered 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Whisk together cream, broth, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Pour over potatoes in dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake in middle of oven 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove and discard foil. Stir together breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over potatoes evenly and dot with butter. Return to oven and bake until crumbs are crispy and liquid is bubbling and reduced and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes more.

Let stand at least 15 minutes before serving.

[DIY of the Week: MP3 Player Portable Speaker]

WHAT YOU NEED:
Parts:
* Radio Shack Phono(RCA) Jack 274-346 $3.99
* 4 small nuts and bolts.
* Radio Shack DC Power Jack - 274-1576 $2.59
* Any old 8-12V wall wart that fits the power jack. $Free
* Radio Shack project box 270-283 $3.99 .
* Velleman 7W Mono Amp K4001 $10.00

If you make the portable model
* 2 9V snap connectors 270-324
* 2 9v batteries $5.00
* Power switch 275-612 $2.99
* 470 ohm resistor
* LED
* Army Surplus box (Inventor used a signal light box.)
* Old computer speaker
* Old earphones or some old 1/8" stereo jack headphone jack.
* Piece of screen
* 4 nuts and bolts

Tools:
* Drill
* Soldering Iron
* Tin Nibbler
* Screw drivers
* Wire strippers
* Needle Nose Pliers

Full directions are over at INSTRUCTABLES

[Video of the Week]

I love stop motion from chloe fleury on Vimeo.


[Conclusion]

That's all for this week! If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spread the Dead

( #TheWalkingDead, #Zombies, #money )

I am totally whoring out my blog, twitter, and facebook to win some Walking Dead prizes - I could care less about the money - I WANT TO BE ON THE SHOW!!!! You could win up to $5000.00 if you sign up and coming in first place!

CLICK ON THE BADGE TO GET INFECTED (but not Mike Bannach style)....


If that doesn't work: CLICK HERE

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Phillyist: GTT Interview?

( #Phillyist, #ClassicalGuitar )



The Phillyist published an interview with Tom Amoriello, some of you might know him as GTT. Tom was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss the Philadelphia Classical Guitar Society.

Give it a read: Phillyist Interviews... Tom Amoriello

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

MBA: The First Six Months

( @wgu, #MBA, #education )

[Background]

In the summer of 2009 I decided enough was enough - it was time to finally go back to school and get my masters degree. My big hurdle was the GMATS (standardized test similar to the SATS for graduate school) - I completely forgot how to do the math. Back in 2007 I enrolled in a very expensive 10 week prep class at Drexel University that was terrible. I will admit to being distracted due to looking for a house and planning for a wedding. I decided to put the MBA on hold until after the wedding.

Back to summer of 2009 - I still had not started school. I realized if I did not start soon, it wasn’t going to happen. Mentally, I felt like I was losing a step; work was getting repetitive and I just felt “bla”. Since I wasn't looking for kinky experiences, I had excellent success finding actual teachers on Craigslist (hi GTT!). I quickly found Adam (I don’t have a fun nic-name for him yet) and we spent a year on and off getting me ready.

As the economy imploded, I was reading books about politics, the economy, and education (Adam and I met at a library for our classes, so I borrowed dozens of books during the year). My cousin Vince was about to start college as well, so hearing what his issues and concerns were 10 years after I went through it made me even more motivated to research. I concluded that the entire educational system was broken. If you don’t want to read the article, I basically call out the high cost and poor quality of the education. Families are being saddled with insane costs and there is no guarantee that there will be a job waiting for little Johnny when he graduates anymore.

A few of the books that I read mentioned Western Governors University as a model for how education should be. The school was accredited, cheap, online, and rewarded you for knowledge you already had (you could test out of classes). After a few weeks of research, I decided “what the hell” and enrolled.

[Choosing the School]



WGU did not require students to take the GMATs, but an evaluation was needed. It was basic knowledge and did not present a problem. If you are going to ask me if I wasted my money with the GMAT tutor, I will say no; even though I did not take the test, prepping for the GMATs got me in the mode of doing homework and thinking critically again. I needed that boot camp to get ready (and I made a friend).

As soon as I expressed an interest, the school assigned a contact for me (actually two) and they answered my questions. Before I enrolled, I checked several message boards to see what the negative feedback was about the school. There wasn’t much, but there seemed to be some complaints about grading. I threw these questions at my contacts and they did a reasonable job of answering. Bottom line: with any remote school, at some point you have to say “screw it” and just sign up or move on.

One of my other concerns was “I never heard of this school, is this for real or is it just a diploma mill?” I found an article by Time Magazine proclaiming WGU “the best school you never heard of.” I felt better and found out that Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested in the school as well.

[WGU]

Once I was formally enrolled, I was assigned a mentor (Jim). He was a fast talking, no BS kind of guy and I liked him right away. He got me enrolled in the intro class (how the school functions which is important since it is online) and set up a weekly call moving forward.

As I progressed through the intro and added more classes to my schedule, I was shocked how the courses were directly linked to what I was doing at my job. My classes in supply chain, strategic direction, and even HR were giving me tactics that I was immediately applying. Since the school uses a combination of text books and recent articles, I am forced to read about trends in the economy and my profession that I would have ignored. The supply chain class helped me have an educated conversation with the new director of my department a few weeks ago. Like I said, very timely.

The way the MBA classes are organized work for me - no tests, but a lot of reading and long papers (I know undergraduate classes are structured differently). I could see how that might not work for some people who are looking for a more traditional experience. Since I am a fast reader and I like to write (hence this blog), it is a very natural fit. The school also utilizes online training modules that my employer also offers (skillsoft) - which feels familiar, but I am not a fan of the technology (the screens are too slow, I like to skip around and then go back and focus on important things), I usually try to find articles in the library to supplement the modules.

I started in July and managed to complete 6 classes (including the intro which does not really count). Since I have never been enrolled in another MBA program, I can’t compare it to anything else, but in comparison to my undergraduate experience at Drexel University, I am very satisfied with the knowledge being transferred and the methods being used.

[Conclusion]

I have been skirting around on of the major questions surrounding higher education at the moment - do you really need an MBA? Honestly, I don’t know if having an MBA will do much for me in my current job (in terms of requirements) - but it has been helping in indirect ways as I mentioned earlier. I certainly understand my job better and since I have been taking the courses, I feel like I have been implementing a more strategic approach to my areas of influence. Should I leave my current position, I suspect having a graduate degree would make me more attractive to a new employer.

Since WGU is relatively cheap, it won’t take me a decade to complete (at most two years), and I am getting exactly what I want from it, it makes sense for me. I also want to teach part time at community colleges (just for fun) so having a graduate degree will help me with that goal. So far, I really like what WGU is doing (there have been a few hiccups, but certainly less than at Drexel) and I would recommend it to any working professional that wants to get a graduate or finish an undergraduate degree.

If you have questions about my experience, you can email me at “blog at joeylombardi.com”. It seems like WGU has not built a strong reputation in the East Coast yet:



I am happy to help get the information out there because I think it is a great school and should be a model to address many of the issues with the system today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A View from Space

( #space, #ISS, #earth )



Here is an awesome picture I found on Boing Boing featuring astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson looking out of the port window of the International Space Station...Insane.

Joey - WTF?

( #joey, #WTF, #clowns )





Source: Mostly Forbidden Zone

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 03: Issue 01

( #SundayLeftovers, #RyanAdams, #GianniTV )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! This is the first issue of Volume three, which marks the beginning of my third year to commit to posting at least once a week on this blog (which is becoming somewhat of a weak mission statement). Sunday Leftovers has evolved over the years into a sort of digest of things I encountered over the week instead on opinions or commentary - which I have been turning in as separate articles. With that being said, it is time to open the fridge and see what is leftover...

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Ryan Adams - Dear John

[Recipe of the Week: Porchetta]

Don't freak out, I am still going to do recipes, but I found this during my browsing this week and I really appreciate the production value for being home-made.



Text Directions from Giannitv

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Ingredients
2-pound pork loin. Have your butcher butterfly it to about ½ inch uniform thickness.

For the paste filling
The leaves of 1 branch of fresh rosemary
6 leaves of fresh sage
12 fresh flat Italian parsley leaves
3 large cloves of garlic, smashed
1teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the roasting dish
1 fresh rosemary branch
6 fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs of parsley
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO}
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions
Finely mince the herbs and the garlic. Place in a small bowl. Add the EVOO and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Roll out the butterflied pork loin. Evenly spread the herb/garlic paste to cover the entire surface of the loin. Don’t go too close to the long sides, leave about a 1/2 inch border. Tightly roll up the pork loin. Tie with string to keep the paste from leaking out and to maintain the shape of the pork loin roast. Rub the outside of the roast all over with some EVOO. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper all over the outside of the roast.

In a roasting dish or pan, put the herbs and garlic to form a bed for the roast. Place the pork loin on top of the herb garlic bed. Pour in the wine and water and drizzle the liquids with EVOO.

Put the pan on the middle shelf of the oven pre-heated to 425 degrees. Roast for about 15-20 minutes or until a golden crust starts to form on the roast. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and roast until the internal temperature of the roast is 145 degrees. Take the roast out of the oven and let it rest. The temperature of the roast will continue to rise to about 160 degrees.

Pour the liquid in the roasting pan into a small pan. Use a wire mesh to catch the herbs and garlic. Skim out any fat on the surface. Simmer the sauce on a low flame.
Slice the porchetta into ½ inch slices, top with some of the warm au jus or pan gravy and serve.

[DIY of the Week: 360 Loud-Speaker Array]

Here is a DIY that will let you pump out the music in every direction....

WHAT YOU NEED (from the inventor):
The goal of this project was to be as cheap as possible. You'll want eight (8) loudspeakers. I would have used these speakers:

$7.50 speaker

The important considerations were an impedance of 8 ohms (which is normal for home stereo speakers) and good frequency range. (in this case 70-10k Hertz). Sound localization is more acute at higher frequencies, so response >1k Hertz is especially important. It would be better to add a sub-woofer to make up for thin bass, than to have no high end.

While at All Electronics, get some Speaker Terminals .

I used four (4) "quad" terminals, but the four-pair ones look good.

(NB: If all electronics doesn't have these anymore. Try Parts Express or Radio Shack )

The other major elements in this project are the bowls. They cost $5 at IKEA:

Reda Bowls

Insanely cheap. Get two (2) sets because you need two of the biggest bowl. They also come in white. I imagined using one of each color, so this project would look like a big fishing float. Ultimately, though, solid red seemed best.

UPDATE: These bowls are no longer sold by IKEA. Sorry.

Finally, the miscellaneous hardware. 8 speakers x 4 mounting holes = 32. My local Ace hardware provided 32 machine bolts, locking nuts, and washers. Also, pick up 8 small nuts and bolts for the terminals. Most of the speakers were fine with 1/2" bolts, but the top and bottom ones needed longer (1 1/2") ones, as you'll see later. This may vary, if your parts are different.

Also:
- weather stripping
- speaker wire ( I had some 18 gauge stuff lying around the house, the project only needs a few feet.)
- heat shrink tubing
DIRECTIONS:

Instructables: Spherical Speaker Array

[Video of the Week]



[Conclusion]

Thanks for reading! I need to get myself cleaned up to check out my buddy "GTT" and his classical guitar performance (if all goes well you will reading about it on The Phillyist) If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

Twitter | Facebook

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cleveland responds to Lebron

( #Cleveland, #Lebron )

Normally I don't cover sports related items because I just don't care, but whoever put this together is awesome.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Conan Tonight!

( #ConanOBrian, #TBS )

Just a reminder that Conan start his new show on TBS tonight. I mention this my readers because I can't stand Jay Leno and the whole approach to the late night talk shows. I hope Coco does well in his new home.

Nashville: 2010

( #Nashville, #ThirdMan, #Hermitage )

Last week I spent a lovely weekend in Nashville. This was my 2nd trip to the city, my first was documented right here. This time we traveled with friends (Rob and Lisa) to see an Avett Brothers concert. We ended up repeating a few things and doing some new stuff. Here is the breakdown.

[Bellmead Plantation]
Website: http://www.bellemeadeplantation.com/

I knew our friend Lisa would really enjoy the Bellemead (which we visited last year). There didn’t seem to be much damage from the floods and overall was a good experience, but I am not going to re-hash.

[Cheekwood Gardens]
Website: http://www.cheekwood.org/

We also visited Cheekwood Gardens again to check out the new Chihuly glass exhibits. Last time we were there, we had to rush because they were closing, this time we walked around on a great sunny day.

The grounds were beautiful and worth checking out, but the Chihuly glasswork was “meh”. If you see one, you have seen them all.

[Bars]
Our first night in Nashville we went around the downtown area popping into as many bars as we could to take in all the bands. Most bands did mixes of country and pop tunes to appease the tourists like me. My friend Rob is a huge nerd for country music, so he really enjoyed himself.

All of the bars are essentially laid out the same in the downtown area - stage by the door, long narrow room, bar close to the stage. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

[Loveless Cafe]
Website: http://www.lovelesscafe.com/

The next morning, we were all planning on going to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast (another repeat), but the line was around the corner, so we opted for the Loveless Cafe. Allison had found about this place and the famous “Biscuit Lady.” I didn’t think we would have the time to go, but I was pleased that the Pantry was packed because the Loveless was excellent.

We opted to get a sit down all you can eat of breakfast meats, fruits, and of course biscuits. I won’t lie - I ate way too many of the famous biscuits and felt sick for most of the day, but screw it, it was worth it. The cafe is a little commercial, but if that’s what it takes for them to say in business, so be it.

[Third Man Records]
Website: http://www.thirdmanrecords.com

I wasn’t going to Nashville without checking out Jack White’s music store. As we approached, they were setting up the front for a private Halloween party (which sounded like an awesome time from the news I read last week).

Third Man Records was much smaller than I had expected, but it was charming and I am glad it is doing business. I pick up some interesting vinyl while there, which I will review at another time.

[The Hermitage]
Website: http://www.thehermitage.com

Our friend Lisa wanted to check out the historic home of Andrew Jackson. The grounds were spectacular and the staff was friendly. Touring the house and the garden was educational and very interesting.

As I mentioned in my 2009 Epilogue, Nashville struggles with their past as a Southern state with slave history. They use soft super politically correct terms to refer to slaves and they try to make it seem that the slaves lives weren’t so bad. The Hermitage tour incorporate the slaves like they were friendly characters from a book. While it is good that their stories are a main part of the tour, it seems to make their experience less harsh.

[Avetts/Ryman]

We closed out our time in Nashville with an excellent concert (that I already reviewed here). The Ryman was an excellent place to see a show.

[Conclusion]

We packed in a lot of activities for 2 days, and like any good town, Nashville had me wanting more when I left. Looking forward to the next trip to the city of music, where I might just keep driving to Memphis too.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Sunday Leftovers: Volume 02: Issue 52

( #SundayLeftovers, #PaperAirplane, #Frenchonion )



Howdy true be-loggers, welcome to Sunday Leftovers! Welcome to the final edition of Sunday Leftovers for Volume 2. I have been toying with the idea to suspend SL until the start of the new year so the issues synch up with the calendar - feedback is welcome! This has been one of those work heavy weeks, so I spent the morning getting reconnected with the things that I missed. I will get to that in a moment, so let's open the fridge and see what is leftover....

[The Back Window]





CREDIT: Joao Gilberto - Chega di Saudade

[Politics]

Mid-term elections are over and the Republicans have taken the house. The political shift has happened in every modern election cycle which shows that the balance of power will occur one way or another. My hope is that the United States does not have a government that is stalled because of bickering and flawed ideological foundations. Democrat or Republican - these people were elected to serve the citizens of this country, not special interest groups.

I honestly don't understand why the issue of foreign military action hasn't come up more in this election - it costs money to keep our military on foreign soil, cries of healthcare costs and jobs lost are being shouted in the streets, but has anyone discussed the true cost of our actions in the middle east? What could that money be used for on our land? Infrastructure improvements? Less cuts in the schools?

There are too many things that need major overhauls right here, right now. Elections are over, now is the time for real work. Will the newly elected work for improvements or will they want to point fingers like lazy, mindless, career scumbags? We shall see...

On the plus side, Christine O'donnell lost :-)

[Office Politics]

Since this was a heavy work week, I tend to think too much about the state of corporate work. I will boil my experience down to this: Saying you can't too something, that there are not enough people to start doing the right thing, you like the old broken way better because it is easier - it will just help you join the ranks of the 9.4% unemployed right now. My job, your job - they could go away tomorrow, trying to protect your "job" by being lazy and unresponsive - just costs your company money, money that could have saved your job. A good worker will find a way to stay or get a new job innovating.

I used to be a "computer guy", that was my identity - it isn't anymore. I don't stay attached to anything except improvement and there is plenty to be made. A one person shift could change your whole identity and function at your job, so learn to be liquid and focus on fundamentals. Hanging on to the past just creates baggage. Look at where you work, your decade old tools, old browser and operating system - and look at the things you can do at home for free - why is there such a lag? The lag is there because of self-interest and lack of vision. A change is coming because it has to.

[Recipe of the Week: Joey's French Onion Soup]

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 stick of butter
5 large Spanish onions
40 oz of beef stock
Crusty bread
Swiss Cheese (shredded)
1 bay leaf
1/3 tablespoon of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup of apple cider

DIRECTIONS
1. Cut the onions into half moons and set aside
2. In a large pot, melt on stick of butter on low heat. Add the onions to the pot.
3. Place a piece of butter on top of each onion, add salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium and cover for 3 minutes.
4. Add the apple cider and cover for 3 minutes.
5. Uncover the onions and stir every five minutes for 35 minutes.
6. When the onions are brown and delicious, add the beef stock, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil and then drop down to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
7. Place the soup in a crock, add a nice piece of bread, and cover with cheese. Put the crocks on a baking sheet and place in an oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

[DIY of the Week: Paper Airplanes]

Since this is the last Sunday Leftovers in Volume 2, I will dedicate my DIY to the person I am generally thinking of when I do these - Ryan. He and I were trying to come up with a good paper airplane a few months ago, and I happened upon this tutorial from the current world record holder...

Paperplane.org

[Video of the Week]
This is a longer one... a documentary about being free on the sea....

Hold Fast from Moxie Marlinspike on Vimeo.


[Conclusion]

Thank you for another great year. If you need to reach me, you can do so via email at: "blog at joeylombardi.com". As always, don't take shit from anybody.

Smell You Later,
~ Joey

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