Wednesday, October 31, 2007

There Was So Much More .....

..... to Sir Walter Raleigh, than just a brand of tobacco, and a tired old joke about letting the man out of a pouch.

He was, of course, an adventurer, an explorer and an entrepreneur of the Old World, who helped open the New World. I guess it was the part of my youth I spent in Virginia, and my education there, that emphasized his part in that region's history ..... around here, he doesn't seem as well-known or regarded.

His profile was raised by the release this year of
Elizabeth: the Golden Age, in which he (as portrayed by Clive Own) has a prominent role ..... although filmmakers did take some liberties with that role.

He was also a literate man ..... an accomplished writer of prose and poetry, really, and considered by some to be one of the 'lights' of the Elizabethan era. Here is one of his poems .....

"The Conclusion"
EVEN such is Time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust;
Who in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wander'd all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.
Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900)

According to tradition, the next day - THIS day in 1618 - Raleigh was executed, beheaded by order of King James.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bill Walsh, Eat Your Heart Out .....

Wallace at Streams not only diagrams the play that gave Trinity a last-second Division III football win over Millsaps, but provides a fascinating account of the role he had in creating that play.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Keep the Frankincense and Myrrh .....

..... we'll take the gold! In this post, Eric at Fire Ant Gazette has sent to Santa his Christmas wish ..... a "humble little trinket," really.

Now, I'm e-sending my Christmas wish to Santa ..... and it, too, is gold. There are some differences, though, between his wish and mine ..... I'm hoping that means I don't have to be as good as he does, for my wish to come true!
It's the latest - but not the last - word in the "Civilization" franchise from Sid Meier.

UPDATE: Thanks, everyone, for the heads-up on my link. It has been fixed, and you can now visit a web page devoted to my Christmas wish.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Blog, Blog, Blog .....

It started here with one of the 'Random Thursday' musings by Eric at Fire Ant Gazette. That inspired a comment of mine which, Eric graciously noted, "parted the greasewood and mesquite enough to reveal the kind of serendipitous rabbit trail that, for me, is an entirely sufficient reason to keep blogging."

But that comment of mine was nothing compared to Eric's
follow-up post on the sights, the sounds and the history of what's been called, "one of the definitive songs of the big band and swing era" ..... and would be one of my nominees for greatest American music of the 20th-century ..... keep following that rabbit trail, and check it out.

Some Analysis From Justin .....

..... regarding this post of mine about the low profile one Midland mayoral candidate's website had on Google, when compared to her opponent's website.

"There are many things that could cause the good results for Perry and non-existent results for Sparkman," writes Justin at
Just In Time. "Perhaps Google had not yet indexed Sparkman's site. Perhaps there had not yet been many other sites that linked to Sparkman's yet. Or perhaps it was just a hiccup in Google's system."

"Good example of why it is impossible for anyone to 'guarantee' results in the search engines. Only the search engines have complete control over what they do. You can try your best to play by the rules they provide, and you will normally see good results. But unless you work at Google you can't guarantee anything."

Whatever the reason ..... the problem appears to have been fixed, and both campaign websites now have a higher profile on search engine results.

Some Advice From Jim .....

..... Stikkit.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

307.8 .....


The Late, Great Geoff .....

Frank at Books, Inq. reminds us that Geoffrey Chaucer died on this day, 600 years ago. A.W. Pollard offers this online biography of the man ..... and his work, which demonstrated so ably an important stage in the evolution of the English language - not just as a means of communication, but as an expression of art.

Another good write-up - with plenty of links for background information, additional study, and works published online - can be found at Wikipedia. And, talk about timeless ..... did you know that
Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Want To Know What's Going On? .....

..... in Malibu and the rest of the scorched Southland," asks Mayrav at fishbowlLA. "You could turn on the news, or you could do what you're probably already doing - reading the blogs." Here is the rest of that post. In another post, 'The Future Of Reporting,' Mayrav states, "the LAT's fire blog is exactly what newspapers will be doing with all breaking news coverage some day. And that's not a bad thing." (Photo from Mayrav's post, selected from the LA Times' Reader Photo Gallery)

Here, in West Texas, Wallace at Streams has been keeping in touch, shares the news he has gotten from friends in the fire's path.

Also, this word from one of my favorite Jeffs, a longtime friend and longtime resident of San Diego ..... "Thanks for your concern. We are okay and in one of the few places that’s not burning in San Diego County. The Witch Creek fire is just a few miles north of us and the Harris fire is just south and east. We are in lots of smoke with burning eyes and stuffy noses but no flames ...thanks goodness. I was called in to the radio stations yesterday at 5:30am to report on the fires all day. It was very emotionally draining. Today we are sitting pretty tight and watching the devastation around us on TV and praying our good luck continues. What will be discovered in the days to come is very saddening."

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Am I Missing? .....

Here's a question for Eric, Justin and others who are more-than-just-a-little involved in web design ..... "As I seek to learn more about the candidates in next month's mayoral election, what am I doing wrong when I search for their campaign websites?"

They both have websites .....
Here is Wes Perry's and here is Stephanie Sparkman's.

But I get different results when I try 'googling' them ..... one gives me a strong guzzle, while the other manages barely a gurgle.

When I type in the words 'Wes' 'Perry' and 'Mayor' into Google, then click on 'Search,' his campaign website is #1 on that list, at the top of the first page that comes up. When I type in the words 'Wes' and 'Perry' into Google, then click on 'Search,' his campaign website is #2 on that longer list, near the top of the first page that comes up.

When I type in the words 'Stephanie' 'Sparkman' and 'Mayor' into Google, then click on 'Search,' her campaign website is #I-Don't-Know on that list, not showing up in the first fifty results, on the first five pages that come up. When I type in the words 'Stephanie' and 'Sparkman' into Google, then click on 'Search,' her campaign website is #I-Don't-Know on that longer list, not showing up in the first fifty results, on the first five pages that come up.

So, what's going on here? ..... I get to ask this, in return, because Eric's over at his e-place, asking questions about MY profession.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's About Public Land, Not Private Guns .....

Cowtown Pattie at Texas Trifles is asking everyone to please learn more about the controversy over a decision by the State of Texas to sell public lands in the Big Bend region to private interest rather than to the National Park Service ..... in spite of the wishes of those who donated those lands, the assurances of Texas officials who originally accepted the lands, and the recent interest in acquiring those lands that was expressed by Big Bend NP. I'd like to add my voice - and my encouragement - to Miss Pattie's!

Group opposes sale of West Texas mountain range
The controversial proposal to transfer the pristine Christmas Mountains to private interests continued fueling opposition Wednesday ..... A conservation group criticized Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and launched an online petition drive calling upon Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott to intercede.

Read the whole story by the Fort Worth Star Telegram's R.A. Dyer.

In response to Patterson's decision, Environment Texas is asking you to sign an online petition to Governor Perry and Attorney General Abbott.

And here is another report, from John Waters of the Big Bend Gazette. This one offers some good background on the story.

314.2 .....


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Know the Reason .....

..... but IMHO, it has something to do with good taste on the part of viewers ..... I for one, was tired of this story a loooooong time ago.

TVDecoder reports that Matt Lauer’s exclusive interview with Senator Larry Craig in a prime time special attracted just 5.7-million viewers in its time slot Tuesday, according to Nielsen estimates. The report goes on to day that, among adults 18-to-49, it finished in a tie for last place in the hour with the CW’s "Beauty and the Geek.” Here is the rest of that report from Benjamin Toft.

Get Virtually, Actually Involved .....

Eric at Fire Ant Gazette is asking Midland bloggers to please help publicize the following event. His post goes on to say the goal of the event is to improve voter turnout in November ..... and that sounds good to me!

KMID-TV is hosting all the Midland city council candidates and the two mayoral candidates at the Midland Center on Sunday, from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. Each candidate will have a booth set-up for them to meet the public. You are invited to come and ask questions of each candidate, or show your support for a candidate. They will have an informal forum with each District Candidate, as well as the at-large candidates.

Then, from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. KMID will hold - and broadcast - a live debate between mayoral candidates
Wes Perry and Stephanie Sparkman. Questions will be from those submitted by the public, through the station website.

According to KMID News Director Mel Hudman, they hope to get voters to the polls, and think events such as this may help. For more information, log onto and click on the VOTE 2007 link. To submit questions, fill out the form at the bottom of the VOTE 2007 page.

KMID will also have an online poll during the debate, to gauge viewers' support.

Blog Action Day: Wrap-Up .....

Organizers for the innaugural Blog Action Day are reporting numbers of participants, readers, and so on ..... they declare the event was a success, and are already asking what might be accomplished in 2008.

"Measuring an initiative like Blog Action Day is difficult," they acknowledge. "In 2007 we asked bloggers to register their blogs and a rough count of RSS subscribers. It is worth remembering that RSS subscriber numbers are only one half of the readership of a blog. Many and in some cases all of a blog's readership will simply be visitors to the site. The real reach of Blog Action Day is far greater than the number below." Action Blog's Updates of the Day

20,603 Blogs Participated
23,327 Blog Posts (Google Blog Search)
14,631,038 RSS Readers

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: My Environmental Roots .....

Quick ..... picture an 'environmentalist' in your mind, and what do you see? ..... Who are these people, anyway? ..... And where do they get their crazy ideas?

All too often, people deal with stereotypes formed from incomplete and inaccurate observations. For example, because one totes a firearm (and, maybe, hunts), does that make one some kind of NRA-cold-dead-fingers-off-the-trigger fanatic? ..... maybe not.

Because one is an environmentalist, does that make one some kind of wild-eyed-tie-dyed-bare-footed-tree-hugging-leftist-leaning-granola-eating hippie? ..... again, maybe not.

That's not to say there aren't some individuals out there who might fit those stereotypes ..... but you have to ask yourself if they are the 'rule' or the 'exception' ..... are YOU an environmentalist, even just a little bit? ..... you may be, even if you haven't spent much time at an outdoor concert in Woodstock, Vermont; a commune in Taos, New Mexico, or a revolutionary neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

Me, my environmental roots took hold in very different soil, in lessons learned from my family, my parents and my grandparents. They were people who experienced first-hand the Great War of the 1940s, and the Great Depression of the 1930s. My father's family were farmers, and that provided an added lesson for me to respect the blessings that are the earth and its resources, and to do whatever I can - within reason - to nurture those resources, to use them well and wisely .....

..... to be a good steward. My family had never heard of Gaia (that was something I learned later, in college), but there was still something spiritual - a matter of fundamental faith - in their relationship to the Earth and its resources. They had read in the
Bible (KJV), the Book of Genesis, that their dominion over the Earth and its resources, and their command to replenish and subdue, came from God ..... pretty heady stuff, and a topic that is still the subject of heated debate today.

Spirituality ..... and frugality ..... wasting nothing ..... helping to make limited ends meet by finding a way to use (or re-use) anything and everything before you decide to dispose of it ...... to repair/rebuild/restore the old before having to buy the new - a decision that is taken more and more out of our hands in the modern electronic age, where car maintenance (for example) is not as easy it was in my father's day. And frugality extends to the kitchen, as well ..... recipes my grandma shared with me, and strategies for re-using products, and stretching limited amounts of meat, and serving leftovers in a creative manner, reflected the days when household budgets were especially tight.

Spirituality ... and frugality ... and patriotism. World Wars I and II were fought on many fronts, including the home front, where we were asked (and, in some cases, required) to conserve valuable resources such as gasoline, needed to aid the war effort. In retrospect, it seems to me that recycling efforts of the past thirty years (which I have experienced) were nothing compared to those of the 1940s (which I did not experience, but were described to me by my parents and grandparents). And Victory Gardens (some as big as a house lot, some as small as a window box) provided fresh produce that might be lacking on store shelves.

Spirituality ... frugality ... patriotism ... and good economic/business sense. Take
aluminum recycling, for example. Some are surprised that the process has been used since the early 1900s - it only gained a high profile in the 1960s and 70s as environmentalism became more and more a part of the public consciousness. According to industry statistics, recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy, and a lot less money, than making new aluminum through the mining and refining of ore products. And recycling aluminum (or any other recyclable product), rather than just throwing it away, also makes good sense to taxpayers who have to pay for growing waste/landfill services in their community ..... and even those who make fun of 'tree-huggers' can appreciate anything that reduces our shared tax burden.

Spirituality ... frugality ... patriotism ... good economic sense ... and pride. Environmentalism reflects my love for, and pride in my community and its appearance. And that includes efforts to pick up the trash that others have discarded along our roadsides, in our parks, and around our town ..... more on local efforts, along these lines, later today.

Anyway, that's why I AM an environmentalist ..... and proud of it.

Blog Action Day: What If? .....

"What would happen if every blog published posts on the same topic, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices," asks The Action Blog.

Today, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Meme, Meme, Meme .....

What do you think of internet memes? Do you grin or groan when you're tagged? Do you think it's time for the government to establish a 'National Do-Not-Meme Register,' or are you a charter member of - and frequent contributor to - the Ultimate Meme Database?

These questions come to mind following the some of the responses from those I tagged with the "
Four Things Meme" and some of the responses they, in turn, received.

Me? I could take 'em, or I could leave 'em ..... what do YOU think?

Have YOU Read It? ..... Really? .....

Yesterday, October 12, marked the 50th-anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand’s novel "Atlas Shrugged." It sparked plenty of sales and controversy in its day ..... the controversy continues, unabated, half-a-century later. The sales are down since then ..... but they have remained steady. At more than 1,000 pages, it was Rand's biggest work of fiction ..... and definitive, answering once-and-for-all many of the questions raised by earlier works such as "We, the Living" and "The Fountainhead."

Me? I rather like "Atlas Shrugged" ..... I've actually gone through it twice, going back to it again many years, many experiences and many observations after the first reading.

Websites about
Ayn Rand and her novels

Brian Murray of
First Things asks, "Who Is John Galt? And Does Anyone Care Anymore?"

"Atlas Shrugged" coming to a theater near you?

Friday, October 12, 2007

This Will Have Folks Talking .....

..... and maybe we should cover kids' ears as they do. Former Vice President Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize for spreading awareness of man-made climate change, and ways to counteract it. Some ask whether Gore - now with an Oscar and a Nobel - might be drafted for a 2008 presidential bid. Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and host of “Meet the Press,” thinks that's unlikely.

First-Rate Second Unit .....

Eric at Fire Ant Gazette notes with this post that Odessa, Texas has been selected for a branch office of Dunder Mifflin Infinity (DMI), the new online division of Dunder Mifflin, Inc. Paper Company ..... the setting for NBC's much-acclaimed television series, "The Office" .....

One of the comments to that post notes Odessa is already home to another TV paper company - Primatech Paper Co., from
Heroes. In response, Eric suggests that "Friday Night Lights" may be at the root of all this ..... the NBC television series is set in Dillon, Texas - home of the Dillon HS Panthers. But the film and book that inspired the series are set in Odessa.

I think Eric's right ..... I believe it's a location that's become well-known to those within the industry in general, and within NBC in particular ..... you don't really have to know anything about the location - just the name of the town will do.

Do you remember when "Heroes" debuted? Even those West Texans who loved the series had to admit that the location shots for the home of Claire Bennet (an indestructible high school cheerleader) bore absolutely no resemblance to Odessa ..... my own take was that, if they wanted a West Texas location, they should have said she was from El Paso. THAT would have fit in better with the mountains and farm/orchard country in which we first met Claire.

All of which brings me, at last, to the idea of second unit and location work, and what an outstanding job those crews have done for "The Office." Having spent part of my life in the town of Dallas, Pennsylvania, just 25-miles-or-so from Scranton, I am amazed - each and every week - by the level of detail the California-based producers of the show have achieved in creating a 'feel' for that city.

There are the opening shots, of course, showing various sights in-and-around Scranton as the music plays and the cast is introduced. And there are the cutaway shots (the exteriors) that are used throughout the program to segue audiences in and out of scenes in different locations.

But then there are the props used in the studio where the office scenes are filmed. Next time the characters are talking in the break room, look at the bulletin boards on the wall ..... chances are the fliers posted on those boards will be talking about some event going on in the City of Scranton, or Lackawanna County. Last night, while Wayne was working the phones, you could see on file cabinet behind him a bumper sticker for
Froggy 101, which is based in nearby Pittston, but broadcasts a signal around northeast Pennsylvania, including Scranton. In another episode, a couple years back, Michael was calling around to various attractions in town, trying to find an interesting - and cheap! - group activity for his staff. Among the attractions he called was the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour.

On the surface, they may seem like little things ..... but I think they say A LOT about how well-crafted this show is, right down to the most minute detail ..... it truly is first-rate second unit work for a first-rate television program.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oil Patch Environmentalism .....

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future ..... But can such a discussion include longtime, dyed-in-the-wool advocates of the oil and gas industry, and still be meaningful?

I think so ..... and I welcome your input and assistance. I know my readership includes many who earn their living from that industry, or have knowledge that comes from longtime association ..... if you have something to share, I'd like to include it on my postings that day. You can e-mail me with whatever you'd like to contribute ..... of the thousands of blogs and website participating, mine may be one of the few participating in this way

AN ADVANCE POSTING: George at Sleepless in Midland wants to get the word out about an event coming up before the 15th ..... and he hopes you'll join him in participating ..... M
ake a Difference in Midland! Join Keep Midland Beautiful by participating in their Make a Difference Day Annual Fall Cleanup Saturday, October 13, 2007. Groups are encouraged to sign up now by calling KMB at 687-7400 or register online. Area groups, individuals, families, neighbors,Adopt a Spot and Adopt a Highway groups, churches, schools and businesses will be cleaning up their designated areas from 9 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.. You’ll find young and old picking up trash to build a better Midland - they and KMB board members and officials available for interviews. Lunch will be served to all registered volunteers at Hogan Park from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm.

317.0 .....


What's Sauce For the Goose .....

I've lost track of how many times someone from new or alternative media, in general - and the blogosphere, in particular - has chastised us debauched harlots of the mainstream media for overzealous or inadequate attention to facts, apparently to promote our own usually-but-not-always-liberal agenda. CBS/Dan Rather and the 'Bush/National Guard' story is not the only example cited in their argument, but it certainly appears to be one of the most celebrated.

Don't get me wrong, here ..... my profession (as is the case for all professions) is the better for constructive criticism, and the occasional review and house-cleaning prompted by that criticism ..... and if new media (such as the blogosphere) raises the profile of that criticism, and encourages needed review and house-cleaning, then more power to it.

But, what's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander .....

This is what comes to mind as I read the
Time Magazine online article, "The Swift-Boating of Graeme Frost" by Karen Tumulty. The article follows the controversy surrounding a 12-year-old boy who delivered the Democratic Party's Weekly Radio Address. Because of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - Democrats say - the boy was able to get the medical care he needed after a serious car accident caused severe brain trauma, paralyzed one of his vocal chords and put him in a coma. He asked President Bush to sign into law the renewal of CHIP that passed both houses of Congress with broad bipartisan support, but was ultimately vetoed by the President.

The controversy grew with
this post at which questioned the boy's credibility as a CHIP-enrollee, citing among other things his attendance at a private school, and his family's home - recently-remodeled - where a neighboring house sold for almost $500,000.

On the surface, pretty damning stuff ..... but is there more to the story? Are there additional facts, and some history behind those facts-already-presented, that might present a more complete picture?

Tumulty found that the boy does indeed attend a private school, but he does so on a scholarship. As for Frost family's home, Tumulty did some background research on the property and found that they purchased the 1936 rowhouse in 1990 for $55,000. At the time, it was vacant and in a run-down neighborhood that has improved since then, in part because of the improvements that people like the Frosts (the boy's father is a self-employed woodworker) and others made to their homes and their neighborhood ..... those of you familiar with North Texas, will recall similar improvements made in Oak Cliff neighborhoods in the Dallas area, beginning in the 1980s, and the ensuing rise in property values.
Tumulty also learned that, even with those improvements, the home was still valued substantially less than the neighboring home cited in the post.

You could say that, by allowing their child to deliver the Democratic Party's politically-motivated address, the parents were 'fair game' for politically-motivated rebuttal, and all the rough-and-tumble consequences that entails ..... alright, but in playing that game, can't we endeavor to keep it fair .....

To me, this goes to show that new media does have a valid role as a watchdog and counter-balance of mainstream media ..... but only if we continue to make sure that our own house is in order, and that we are every bit as rigorous in researching and presenting the facts, as we demand from our more traditional sources of news.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Count Me In .....

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day
On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

My 'Four Meme' Foursome .....

Last week, Spookyrach at Skewed View tagged me with a "Four Things Meme," and I responded with this post ..... In turn, I tagged Eric at Fire Ant Gazette, Jim at serotoninrain, Cowtown Pattie at Texas Trifles and Janie at Sounding Forth

Here is Eric's response, Jim's and Cowtown Pattie's ..... Janie hasn't responded yet, but she HAS been incredibly busy - even by Janie standards. Here's a day-in-the-life. The fact that she has been blogging through it all is really impressive.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Blogging Will Be Light .....

..... this weekend as family enjoys a trip through the actual world. I'm not alone, though ..... and I suspect Midland will be the 'Tall Empty City' this weekend, what, with NMOGA, Texas-OU, hunting and various other out-of-town ventures. Me? As My Favorite Landman's dutiful spouse, I'm attending the first on that list ..... as is Janie, at Sounding Forth, who is doing a much better job of keeping you all in virtual touch this weekend.

Friday, October 05, 2007

You Are Here .....

Frank at Books, Inq. has been added to the Philadelphia Blogmap, a neat interactive feature that locates blogs in relation to metro transit stations. Frank's at Broad & Locust, get off at the Walnut station.

A Picture Worth A Thousand Words .....

..... or more, judging by the calls, e-mails and letters-to-the-editor of the Roanoke Times. After three years, the photo is still making the rounds on the internet. The Times' Joe Kennedy wrote this on the debate generated by the photo and its caption when they were published in 2004.

For those accusing us of making-up news ..... we don't have to!

Tag, I'm It .....

Spookyrach at Skewed View has tagged me with a "Four Things Meme" ..... so, here goes .....

Four Jobs I’ve Held:
Carhop; Archaeologist; Newspaper Editor; Freelance Writer

Four Films I Could Watch Over and Over:
Casablanca; The Natural; Harold and Maude; Rocky Horror Picture Show

Four TV Shows I Watch:
Top Chef; Doctor Who; My Name Is Earl; Sunrise Earth

Four Places I’ve Lived:
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Dallas, Pennsylvania; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Midland, Texas

Four Favorite Foods:
Carne Adovada (Asado); Brisket; Pizza; Pot Roast

Four Websites I Visit Daily; TVNewser at; Wikipedia; All your blogs, of course!

Four Favorite Colors
Blue; Brown; Red; Gold

Four Places I Would Love to be Right Now
Taos, New Mexico; Manchester, England; Llano, Texas; Lexington/Concord, Massachussetts

Four Names You Love, But Could/Would Not Use for Your Children:
Ian; Gordon ..... that's all I could remember .....

Here are the next four tagees: Eric; Jim; Cowtown Pattie; Janie

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sputnik And I .....

.... both took-off fifty years ago. has this great section on the Sputnik anniversary, and the "Little Moon's" impact on space exploration over the past fifty years ..... I'm still waiting for their write-up on MY fiftieth anniversary!

329.2 .....


Finale of Top Chef: It's Hung! .....

After four months of culinary competition, Season 3 of Top Chef came to an end last night on Bravo TV. All-in-all, I think this year's installment of the series definitely improved on last year's. It is - as always - a show about cooking AND characters ..... face it, when it comes to 'reality' shows, the best way to get more airtime is to be more outrageous in what you say and do - that's show business, even if that's not what you are in real life. This year, though, producers placed a little more emphasis on the cooking, and that helped.

Still, there were characters ..... I noted in my first post on Season 3, that someone who had already established his character presence was
Hung, a sous chef from Las Vegas, Nevada, who happened to be a friend of one of season 2's more memorable characters, Marcel. "Somebody has to be the bad guy," Hung said in early promos for Season 3, "and I am really good at it." But, he was also a really good cook ..... and while he was not a front-runner through much of the season, he remained a strong competitor and - following last night's finale - emerged as Top Chef, serving a four course meal, with one course rated as good, two as excellent and a fourth - Duck with Truffle-Scented Broth & Mushroom Ragout - that 'wowed' the judges, one of whom suggested that Hung keep this recipe as one of his signature dishes.

Finishing a close second behind Hung was Dale. Frankly, the fact that he made it to the finale was a surprise to me, albeit a pleasant one. Rarely at the top of the pack through the season, he still displayed a determination to compete well, and to occasionally push 'the edge of his envelope.' Self-taught, Dale has been a chef and consultant for six years, with plans under way to open his own restaurant. He showed increasing strength towards the end of the season, and he might have won last night's finale, had one of his four courses not been less-than-good. By the way, another one of his courses - Seared Scallop with Purslane & Marinated Grapes - also 'wowed' the judges, and also drew the suggestion that he keep it as one of his signature dishes.