It’s an odd life, as I say from time to time. I’m walking down the street, and I hear a familiar voice - John Hines from CCO radio, broadcast on loudspeakers to the sidewalk. Okay, well that means I’m going to be broadcast to the sidewalk in a few minutes, since I’m walking to the building where I’ll be on the radio.

I wouldn’t have conjured this scenario back in the 80s when he was pushing out the power pop on the FM station, and I was in my car nodding along to the songs. Back then I was with the free weekly, and he was with the Top 40 station; now he’s with the venerable WCCO and I’m with the Big Paper. Back then we watched the old guard in the media fade away, and I think if we’d been honest at the time we would have been entirely satisfied to know we’d be Old Guard some day. But of course we’re not old. Not like those guys were.

Usually we’re in studio - but it’s Super Bowl Week, so we’re doing it in a showroom for an expensive brand of countertops owned by a guy I know from several Caribbean cruises. Like I say: ODD. LIFE. The showroom is on the ground floor of the radio station’s HQ, but technically, it’s a remote. Everyone in the radio business hates a remote. You live your life in the studio, and it’s like a womb, and then OH GOD YOU’RE BORN and IT’S BRIGHT AND COLD! and you just want to go back to the warm slosh of the amniotic sac.

But we had fun. I always like doing his show, and here you go: should be the top entry.


A while ago I mentioned the burger chain that couldn’t get my hamburger done correctly, and kept giving me gift certificates. When the free burger was overdone and fell apart, they gave me more. I kept going back because we had the gift certificates, but also because I was the only one thus cursed in the family: daughter’s chicken was fine, wife’s burger was fine. Well, I went back, and this is what I got:

When I get a burger like this - which used to be common, if you wanted it that way - I immediately assume “it’s full of e.coli,” and I do so because A) I’m paranoid about food poisoning, and B) since everything is supposed to be cooked past pink, I also assume the staff is incapable of following basic cleanliness procedures, and everyone hawks a hepatitis loogie on the grill when it needs oiling.

The restaurant also annoys me with its slogans. If they sell T-shirts and caps, it’ll say GET THEE SOME FLAUNTABLES, because they’re going for that particular market that finds “dilly dilly” so unfreakinglyunbelievably hilarious. Not because it’s intrinsically funny, but because their cohort has deemed it a tribal signal. This is what we laugh at now. The restaurant will also have signs that say “Buttered buns? Oh we went there” or something like that. The napkins have a sign about how we offer these to you as a testament to napkin goodness, or something like that. You get the idea. That elevated talk that’s meant to indicate fun! because no one talks like that seriously.

From their website:

At MyBurger, we see tastebud trust as earned, not given. So we’ve kept it simple, with burgers good enough to bring a man-tear to your eye. And if getting fries right is a science, high school chemistry wasn’t a total waste after all.

Whether you opt for the humble Single or loaded-up Double, it comes your way on a just-puffy-enough, locally-baked buttered bun. Two parts oniony. One part ketchup-mustard-pickle-y. All real good-ly.

So stop in, order up, grab a fistful of napkins and slide into your favorite seat for a griddle-seared quarter pound patty of you’re welcome. We’re here for you, buddy. And we gotta say, we kinda miss you between visits.

Oh, shut up.







A couple of notes; nothing big this week. Again, not reviews, really; who cares? Just observations and advice.

The Alienist is based on the book of the same name, a murder mystery with a sort-of-Holmsian Profiler, a man who uses the new school of Brain Study to solve crimes. Watched the first ep, was not dismayed by anachronisms - but as seems de rigger (that’s what my spellcheck did to the French phrase, and I’m leaving it as is) the exterior shots of New York are all blue and desaturated. They were too poor to afford color in the early 20th century.


The fellow who plays Teddy Roosevelt is all wrong - as I tweeted, it’s as if the director said “Play this role like you’re imitating Gary Oldham as Commissioner Gordon and you’re not able to do it well, and it frustrates you.” No sense of TR at all, and of course they can’t do the voice or people would snicker.

Trek: Gah. I was surprised and dismayed: after less than 10 eps, Discovery went to the Mirror Universe. Okay. So: let’s contrast the real Discovery crew, who don’t get along and snipe at each other and exist in a constant state of broadcasted animosity to a parallel universe where everyone doesn’t get along and snipes at each other and exists in a constant state of animosity. Mary Sue Cadet gets to pretend to be captain because we’re supposed to squee because she’s just like us! Awkward and unsure but super super smart.

The only character I like is Lorca, and supposedly he’s a damaged untrustworthy jerk, but as far as I can tell he’s the only one who has focus and a sense of perspective. He has this crazy idea that there’s a war going on (there is) and it should be won (it should) but the show demands that our attention be focused on the Brilliant Logical-but-not-entirely-Vulcan rebel who has two modes: eyes wide and intense, and eyes really wide and very intense.

No, that’s not fair; she also has wide-eyed / looking away while processing information, intensely.

Anyway: in the Mirror Universe a multi-species “Resistance” is fighting the Terran Empire. The choice of terms can’t be accidental. The Resistance is a glorious rainbow! Except each of these cultures - Andorian, Klingon, Tellurite - is monolithical and hermetically sealed, and their own cultural constructs are not examined. In “Enterprise,” the Andorian dude regularly called Captain Archer “pink skin,” which told you what you needed to know about him, and also put his heroic interspecies heroism in context.

UPDATE Saw another ep. Oh for heaven’s sake

Also, personal bugaboo for starship set design: the more cruel the culture, the larger their pointless ceremonial spaces.

Yeah, that's what I was hoping for when i heard Trek was coming back.



It’s 1941, with a TV Tuesday Tie-In!

I have one simple question: was coffee often found to have bad last drops?

It’s possible to make bad last drops of Maxwell, if you make it wrong in the first place. If it’s impossibly bitter because you used 3X the usual amount of grounds, then that last drop will be bad - and probably cold, too. The last drops are usually cold if you’re drinking coffee slowly from a wide-mouthed cup.

Mr. Joel Cheek is credited in the copy with overhearing TR’s remarks - and by the way, this is one of two instances in which remarks credited to TR’s were turned into ad copy, the other being his theatrical endorsement. Wikipedia:

In 1884 Joel Cheek moved to Nashville and met Roger Nolley Smith, a British coffee broker who could reportedly tell the origin of a coffee simply by smelling the green beans. Over the next few years, the two worked on finding the perfect blend, and in 1892 Cheek approached the food buyer for the Maxwell House Hotel and gave him 20 pounds of his special blend for free. After a few days, the coffee was gone, and the hotel returned to its usual brand until hearing of complaints from patrons and others who liked Cheek's coffee better, the hotel bought Cheek's blend exclusively.

Cheek later formed the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company. (With Mr. Neal.) (As you might have thought.)

But did TR say it?

In 1915 Cheek-Neal began using a "Good to the last drop" slogan to advertise their Maxwell House Coffee. For several years, the ads made no mention of Theodore Roosevelt as the phrase's originator. By the 1930s, however, the company was running advertisements that claimed that the former president had taken a sip of Maxwell House Coffee on a visit to Andrew Jackson's estate, The Hermitage, near Nashville on October 21, 1907, and when served coffee, he proclaimed it to be "good to the last drop”. Later, Maxwell House distanced itself from its original claim, admitting that the slogan was written by Clifford Spiller, former president of General Foods Corporation, and did not come from a Roosevelt remark overheard by Cheek-Neal.

Then Wikipedia says this:

The veracity of the Roosevelt connection to the phrase has never been historically established. In the local press coverage of Roosevelt's October 21 visit, a story concerning Roosevelt and the cup of coffee he drank features a quote which does not resemble the slogan.[ The Maxwell House Company claimed in its own advertising that the Roosevelt story was true; in 2009, Maxwell House ran a commercial with Roosevelt repriser Joe Wiegand, who tells the "Last Drop" story.

Eh? What did TR actually say, then? Footnote: “He is quoted as saying: "This is the kind of stuff I like to drink, by George, when I hunt bears.” The link 404s. But:

In October 1907, during his second presidential term, he and a group of state and national dignitaries gathered in East Carroll and Madison parishes in northeastern Louisiana for a traditional bear hunt.

One of the hunt’s organizers was the guy who made Tabasco, which is also good to the last drop. It’s possible they put the words in his mouth because of his stated reasons for his trip - or TR said those words, focusing attention on the reason for his visit.

Let’s look at the picture of Mr. Bully:

Henry Patrick Raleigh, once regarded as the best illustrator in the country.

Raleigh was born in Portland, Oregon in 1880, into a broken family and a life of poverty. He began working at the age of 9. Selling newspapers to support his mother and sisters. By 12 he dropped out of school and found work on the docks of San Francisco for a coffee importer.

As a young man he found his way into journalism, sketching trials and morgue corpses.

The San Francisco Examiner happened to be American publisher William Randolph Hearst’s favourite newspaper. Discovering Raleigh’s work in the pages of the Examiner, Hearst asked him to relocate to New York City to work for The New York Journal. In just nine months of moving to New York and working for the Journal, Raleigh was offered a position at their rival paper, The New York World.

With a large salary increase, his new role only required him to work three days a week. Assigned to illustrate Special Features, he covered high society events, drawing the well-to-do of New York.

The poor boy from the wrong side of the tracks was now the court artist of the gilded age. He made a ton of money, pulling in 100K a year, turning out a constant stream of work - but in the 30s the commissions began to slow, as tastes changed. He went bankrupt.

Killed himself in 1944.

There’s a gallery of his work here.

I like to chew my coffee!

Anne Franklin Smith. No mention of her on the internet.


Can’t find anything about her father, either - although I’m sure it’s in some newspaper archive somewhere.

Doesn't mean Mr. Smith was there when the statement was made, by the way.

From the same year, a woman asks herself if she’s frightening away men with loud, serial climaxes:

If you’re that good looking and they never come around a second time, yes. It’s you.

This just isn’t right.

I like the illustrator - look at those eyes! - but the swabbie's all wrong. He appears to be too dumb to grasp what is happening, or he’s possibly the cause for her sudden thrashing. I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD WE GOT A TELEGRAM

And that's not all! Let's head back a hundred years and see what's up Scoop, the Cub Reporter.



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