Sunday, May 08, 2011

MISC: This And That

Not having a Twitter account, on account of my having a severe case of pleonasm, here are some thoughts that might have been tweets ... if I could have edited myself even more. So, here's some sports, magazine and food observations, ending Mother's Day with an ode to the greatest woman who ever lived.

Was it THREE decades ago that I stood in a cold Varsity Arena in Toronto talking to the wiser-than-his-years coach of the Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association, Phil Jackson? The answer, regrettably is Yes (and more). I was first the announcer for the hometown Toronto Tornadoes and later I covered them for the Toronto Star. Jackson was the former New York Knick, taking his time to coach non-NBA talent and learn the ins and outs of the game before matriculating with the Chicago Bulls and later the Los Angeles Lakers. Even then, he had that bemused look. Enjoy your retirement Phil.

In the only pool I entered this year, beyond the Ed Jovanovski Memorial Stanley Cup Pool that I run each spring, I loaded up with Canucks like everybody else, and Flyers and Capitals. As Keen Eddie was fond of asking, "How's that working out for you?" Ahhh, not so good.

Businesses that are cutting back on the reasons I go visit them, part one: Chapters. Had to get my car fixed last month and the Mississauga Chapters was in the area. So I went to get a pre-NFL draft USA Today Sports Weekly and the latest Time, Newsweek and Maclean's news magazines. Found out the outlet no longer puts newspapers out at all (the riff-raff come in and read them, imagine that!)_and besides, they no longer carry the sports weekly from USA Today. In fact, as an afterthought, I decided to get the current Sports Illustrated. No dice there. And of the three news weeklies, no Newsweek (Jon Meachum has become a favourite of mine over the last couple of years). Since I don't buy printed books any more and I can't get the magazines that have been my only reason for going there in ages, it might be a LOOOOOONNNNG time before I step foot in a Chapters again. (and they're giving away their loyalty cards these days for free. Which still wasn't cheap enough for me to take one.)

Businesses that are cutting back on the reasons I go visit them, part two: Harvey's.The quintessential Canadian fast food joint. Have it YOUR way, they say. But, the chain is starting to pinch pennies. First, I don't eat hamburgers. What I do eat, that sets Harvey's apart from the other chains is hot dogs. On the same trip where I tried to off-set the car repair cost with a treat by going to Chapters for intellectual nourishment, I opted for Harvey's for lunch. Now, it might just be the particular outlet, but I came away with a distinct feeling that I won't be going back to Harvey's anytime soon. Some cost-effective consultant has pointed out to management that you can save 10 percent of the cost of buns by making them 10 percent shorter. Or more. All I know, is that the regular dog I got was hanging out both ends of the bun. That might appeal to some ballpark hots fans, but it doesn't cut it with me. I'm a bun aficionado. Every bite needs both bun and dog. And what's worse, I suspect the bun was made of reconstituted saw dust, or worse, bleached whole wheat. Inedible. If a different location produces the same results in my next visit, I will have to add Harvey's to the boycott list.

Businesses that are cutting back on the reasons I go visit them, part three: Wendy's. That sea salt idea for fries. Question: If sea salt's great, then why hand out extra packets of regular salt to over-salt your fries? Given my increased sensitivity to salt (Thanks to my urologist and the most recent kidney stone attack), I'm watching my sodium intake. I don't really like sea salt on anything I've tried it on. Now, fine salt, the stuff you get at the bottom of an almost empty salt container? An unearthly delight. Forbidden, but ohhhhh so tasty.

Finishing off the gastronomic complaints section: Why must EVERYTHING combine two (or more) flavours these days. Until recently, it was virtually impossible to find Jello Cups that contained all flavours I liked. Orange and Lime. Is that so hard a combination to believe in? Noooooo, it was Lime and Cherry in a pack, Orange and Strawberry. Really, really hate anything red when it comes to Jello. Or blue. Soft Drink Crystals are not immune to the same issue. I like Tangerine. I like Orange. Lemon and/or Lime too. Don't need them combined with berries, mangoes, grapefruit or pineapple. And there's more combos than those misbegotten groupings. Try to find orange crystals other than Tang. Try to find grape (and there's no grape tang to be had anywhere). And puh-leaze do NOT mention Kool-Aid. Orange Kool-Aid, a wonder of my youth, has transmuted into something that tastes of burning sandalwood. Is it just possible, I mean JUST possible, that if I want more than one flavour, I'll buy the two different flavours and then do my own combining? Wouldn't that lead to MORE sales for the company as I buy two units rather than the one unit with the already combined flavours (or, as in my case, no units, cuz I can't find the unadulterated components)?

On the other hand, I continue to say hosannas to the inventors of lactose-free milk, Weight Watcher's Thin Slice White Bread and the Kirkland brand of thick-sliced plain potato chips at Costco. I have to make do with one bag rather than two of the chips, but they are a treat. And to be honest, I scarfed down a bag of moderately warm, buttered popcorn the other day. Too salty to be a regular treat, but I'm still dreaming of the bag from Kernels a week later. Have to say, I'm getting use to the sodium-free, sugar-less soda from Compliments, found locally here at No Frills. The Tangerine's tasty and the Lime's decent. The carbonation is adequate, which is a step up from the overly-carbonated Pure Life sparkling waters, flavoured or not. Gentler is much better.

Lastly, just a shout out to my Mom on Mom's Day. You're the best. And keep the best peanut butter cookies in the world coming. I can see the bottom of the container in the most recent month's supply.

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