Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Beethoven For Babies," OMG That Stuff Actually Works MIRACLES!!!! Eighteen Years Later, Here Is The Proof...

In early 1997, before my son (pictured above) was born, my then-wife, Tina, heard about something called Beethoven For Babies. If you followed the instructions of Beethoven for Babies (so the program promised) your child would have a good chance at developing an aptitude for math and science BEFORE THAT CHILD WAS EVEN BORN...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

As If There Isn't Enough Advertising On Television, An Applebee's In Minneapolis Puts Advertising ON THE TELEVISION...

Blog Utopia Photo

A couple months ago I was at Applebee's in Stadium Village, Minneapolis with my son, where I have to admit the half off happy hour appetizers are pretty hard to beat. But all was not perfect with my Applebee's appetizer experience...

If Some Kid Tries To Sneak Into An R-Rated Movie, Will That Result In A "NATO Airstrike?"

Blog Utopia Photo

Recently, I brought my son to the movies and I didn't quite know what to make of this notice posted near the ticket booth. I figured "NATO" must mean something different than the "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" but what, exactly?

Turns out "NATO" is also the...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Staples Rewards Program Rocks, I'll Be Drinking Off My Rewards Points For Days...

Photo, blog post by John Hoff

There are very few customer "loyalty rewards" programs I like or make use of; the majority want way too much loyalty in exchange for too little reward. But the office supply chain called Staples may have won me over.

I'm a fanatical recycler in a lot of ways. I'm not a perfect recycler, but somehow that only increases my fanaticism. As one result of my recycling fanaticism, I've gotten in the habit of turning empty ink cartridges over to Staples simply because this is a way to properly recycle the cartridges. 

I never really thought much about regaining some actual value...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Real Close Encounter With The Green River Killer At A Seattle Bookstore!

This is a true story. This happened. I am not making this up. What prompts me to tell this story is the recent discovery of a skull thought to belong to a victim of the Green River killer, click here for news story.

In the late 1990s, I and some of my co-workers were prolific readers of "true crime" books. In the course of our discussions, we concocted a theory about where we might run into the Green River Killer. So we went there. And, yes, we ran right into him...

"White Fungus" Finds A Better Name To Market Itself!

I love to go shopping in Asian stores where exotic foods can be found. Exotic, I should say, to me. In Asia these foods would not, of course, be exotic. This is what I tell myself when I try something new: to somebody in the world, this is normal food and there are MILLIONS of people who have judged the food and decided it is good to eat.

So, relying on the collective judgment of unknown masses, I am happy to try almost anything, even silkworm larvae, click here.

But I can see some Asian foods have names that don't translate very well for an American audience. For example, the word "fungus." This is not a word Americans embrace when it comes to their food. It is a word we associated with filth or disease. And yet Asian stores consistently sell ingredients packaged as "white fungus" and "black fungus" which are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes.

A few days ago, however, I went into Bangkok Market (one of my favorite stores in North Minneapolis) and I saw this product for sale: Dried Tremella.

I recognize the product as one-and-the-same with "white fungus," but it's clearly somebody has figured out "dried tremella" is a much more marketable name than "white fungus."

The next logical question would be: What to call black fungus? The names I looked up on Wikipedia are not very appetizing: Cloud ear fungus, hairy wood ear, tree ear or (my personal favorite) ear fungus. Clearly, something more creative (yet accurate) will be needed to package this common Asian cooking ingredient for American tastes.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Clemantines Are A Fast, Easy, Yummy Treat

Here's a treat that's yummy, kinda healthy, and so easy to make: chocolate dipped clementines. My girlfriend made some of these and brought them to Thanksgiving dinner at her grandmother's, and also a dinner event sponsored by grateful residents of North Minneapolis (NoMi) for officers of the Fourth Precinct. 

My girlfriend prefers to use real "melting chocolate" which comes in coin shapes, especially Trader Joe's brand. You can also use some kind of quick-hardening chocolate dip like Magic Shell  by Smucker's. Chill the clementines to help the Magic Shell work, arrange attractively, and serve! If you use melted chocolate, chill the clementines AFTER you dip 'em. Either way, the last step is to EAT 'EM!

While you do this, be sure to sing Oh My Darling Clementine.