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January 23, 2005

Rick's Picks: Artisanal Pickles

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Ginia Bellafante, who usually reports on fashion for the New York Times, on January 12 strayed over to the Dining In section, where appeared her mouth-wateringly enticing article about the pickling sensation who's taking Manhattan by storm.

He's one Rick Field, a graduate of Andover and Yale who lost his job as a producer for Bill Moyers last winter and decided to start a small pickling business.

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He's from a long line of academics, both his father and grandfather having taught at Harvard, which makes his choice of careers even more striking.

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Having for years made a hobby of pickling a variety of vegetables in experimental brines, emboldened by his showing at the 2001 Rosendale International Pickle Festival, where he won "Best in Show" for his Windy City Wasabean (string beans in a soy-wasabi brine), and with an additional 10 ribbons won at the festival since his spectacular initial foray, he simply decided to call a cucumber a gherkin and get on with it.

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He personally sells his pickles at the Green Market in New York's Union Square, and they're carried at specialty stores around the country.

But guess what?

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You can buy them online from Rick's own website for $10.99 a jar.

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Which I just did, spearing all seven (of ten on the site) varieties currently available.

Oh, am I excited.

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I mean, Phat Beets (beets with tangy shards of Bermuda onion and a sprig of rosemary); the aforementioned Wasabeans; Bee 'N' Beez (bread and butter pickles made with much less sugar than usual, with the addition of dried cherries, coconut and ginger); and four other varieties – I'm in heaven just thinking about that big box that's shipping out Monday....

January 23, 2005 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Victoria's [Dirty] Secret

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That's the headline for the full-page ad (above) which appeared in Friday's New York Times, purchased by ForestEthics, which objects - quite strongly, it would appear - to the number and type of trees being used to make the paper for the over one million catalogs a day - yes, a day - sent out by Victoria's Secret.

That's a lot of catalogs - and paper.

Anyway, taking a leaf (!) from PETA's very effective guerrilla marketing campaigns of recent years, ForestEthics tricked-out a model with angel wings, lingerie and serious shoes, then placed an outline of a chain saw over her picture.

Not as eye-catching as the PETA ads, but still a definite change of pace as you make your bleary-eyed way through the Grey Lady.

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ForestEthics also created a website called - surprise! - VictoriasDirtySecret to press the point home.

January 23, 2005 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Strawberry Field [to close] Forever

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The children's home which inspired John Lennon to write "Strawberry Fields Forever" is to be closed.

The Salvation Army, which owns and runs it, plans to shutter it in 2007.

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The institution opened in 1936; its grounds were a favorite haunt of Lennon when he was a boy.

He enjoyed playing there along with the orphans who resided at the home.

Today the home is visited by thousands of Beatles fans every year when they make a pilgrimage to the group's home city.

Members of the British Beatles Fan Club have asked Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, to intervene in order to save it from closing.

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The classic song named after the home reached number two on the singles chart in February, 1967.

January 23, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

RootCellars.com

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Elliston, on Trinity Bay in Newfoundland, Canada, was officially declared "Root Cellar Capitol of the World" in 2000.

The town boasts 135 documented root cellars (of which two are pictured above), some of which are nearly two centuries old.

The website is chock full of things root cellar-related: there are links to Frequently Asked Questions, Cellar Folklore, The Root Cellar Report, Root Cellar Construction, and a virtual Root Cellar Tour.

What's keeping you?

Get on with it.

My interest in the subject was occasioned by Barbara Damrosch's informative January 20 article in the Washington Post.

In it, she noted that the best introduction to the subject, including building your own root cellar, continues to be Mike and Nancy Bubel's 1979 book,

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"Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables."

Amazon sells it for $10.17.

January 23, 2005 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Life Virginia With Bill Murray

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A strange thing happened to the movie star last Wednesday.

He was driving through Roanoke, Virginia, minding his own business,

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when he threw an apple core out the window of his black 2000 Mercedes E55 while driving on U.S. Highway 220,

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which somehow caused him to run into a curb, "messing up his alignment and causing other minor damage to the car."

That resulted in his bringing his car into the Roanoke Mercedes-Benz dealership for repairs and realignment.

No one knew what had brought Murray to southwest Virginia.

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The actor took the workers at the dealership out for a drink at Four Nineteen West.

He told them he found driving to be a stress reliever and that he preferred to travel at night and sleep during the day.

I must say, I prefer the headline the Roanoke Times used for their story when it appeared this past Friday to the one I made up.

Theirs read: Apple Core Incident Stalls Star in Star City

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You need to know, in order to understand why Roanoke residents found it amusing, that Roanoke's nickname is "The Star City."

January 23, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Verticals

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[via artlebedev.ru]

January 23, 2005 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Using a hallucinogen to treat alcoholism

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Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) report in the new issue of the Journal of Neuroscience that ibogaine, an unapproved drug (in the U.S.) that is both a hallucinogen and used for addiction treatment in other countries, appears to work effectively in an animal model for alcoholism.

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The Food and Drug Administration forbids ibogaine use in the U.S., but many American alcoholics go to clinics in Mexico and elsewhere for treatment with it.

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The drug is derived from a West African shrub and has long been used in traditional ceremonies and medicine there.

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It was popular in the 1960s drug culture because of its hallucinogenic effects.

The substance appears to work by increasing the level of a brain protein known as glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor.

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The UCSF scientists are now attempting to find the precise mechanism of action for both the anti-addictive and psychoactive effects in an effort to bring to market an effective and approvable treatment for alcoholism.

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The powerful aversion by government to substances which might be pleasurable or consciousness-altering stems, I have long believed, from a conviction that the uninhibited pursuit of such states might shake the very foundations of the work-based, Calvinist/Puritan ethos that undergirds Western economies.

[via Clive Cookson and The Financial Times]

January 23, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Game (face) time II

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Here we go again, even better than last week: is there anyone on the planet who would argue that we are not now down to the best four teams in pro football?

And that today's games, for the conference championships and a berth in the Super Bowl, aren't the highlight of the season?

On top of which, we get the two best announcing teams in football - Simms and Nantz on CBS, then Buck, Collinsworth and Aikman on Fox.

And both games - the first, Atlanta at Philadelphia at 3 p.m., then New England at Pittsburgh at 6:30 p.m. - likely be played in snow and sub-freezing temperatures, making it football as it was meant to played in January, on the frozen tundra (even if it's not on Green Bay's Lambeau Field, may Brett Favre and the Packers R.I.P.).

I mean, we get Michael Vick, who even the greatest players in the world say is "in another dimension"; Philadelphia, with the monkey on its back of year after year collapsing in the NFC championship game;

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the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots

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and Bill Belichick's demonic defensive schemes

against unbeaten Steeler rookie Ben Roethlisberger.

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It doesn't get any better than this.

So don't bother calling or stopping by between now and tomorrow morning, 'cause I'm putting on my game face right now and it's staying on the rest of the day and into the night.

Or, to paraphrase the memorable bumper sticker from back in the day,

    Don't bother knockin', cause I ain't unlockin'

January 23, 2005 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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