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April 15, 2008

World-Class Ribs — From Chili's?



A friend in Texas told me their ribs were great and so I set out to try them last night.

My local Chili's is 1.46 miles from my house.

I called and ordered the following:

1 rack ribs — Memphis Dry Rub

1/2 rack ribs — Brown Sugar Chile [sic] Rub

2 sides (included) — Sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell peppers; Cinnamon apples

"Ready in 30 minutes," said the guy and I was there on time to pick up my order, which cost a grand total of $23.58 including tax.

Then straight home to try 'em.

The verdict: As good as 99% of ribs I've had at the very best emporia in the U.S.

And I have made many a long road trip in search of great ribs.

They easily past the ultimate test, to wit: BBQ sauce is not only unnecessary, it would detract from their excellence.

The only place that instantly comes to mind as being better is the iconic Charlie Vergo's (whose charcoal-grilled dry rub ribs are pictured up top) in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.

There are over 1,000 Chili's restaurants, mostly located in the U.S., offering their sensational ribs.

I'll be back.

Note: I've tried a number of frozen mail-order ribs, including those from Charlie Vergo's.

Don't waste your money.

Ribs simply cannot survive the freeze/thaw/heat cycle and result in anything close to the real thing as served at their various BBQ pits and restaurants of origin.

April 15, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

423 — with a bullet

Wikio - Top Blogs

Last Friday I received the following email from Melissa over at wikio.com:


    Wikio, an aggregator of online news and blogs, has recently kicked off our own blog ranking where your blog bookofjoe stands at number 423. Check it out by clicking directly on this link: www.wikio.com/blogs/top.

    So how does our Top Blogs ranking work?

    The position of blogs in our Wikio ranking depends on the number and value of links that other blogs point toward them. The value of these links depends on the ranking of the blog publishing them. So in our algorithm, the value of a link published on a highly ranked blog is more important than a posted link on a blog with a lower ranking. This way, we hope to produce a ranking more representative of a blog's influence.

    I wondered if you would be interested in a badge allowing you to display your ranking on your blog?




Pictured up top is my badge.

Wikio noted that I'm up 87 spots from my previous rank of 510 — hence "with a bullet."

April 15, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

'La Femme Nikita' speaks — at long last

Early this morning, while I was sleeping, I received the following email from reader Tamra Donovan:

    Hi Joe,

    As a rule I hate dubbed movies, but since you mentioned "La Femme Nikita" (I agree it is great, especially in its original French [above]), I just thought I'd mention that I did Anne Parillaud's voice in the English-dubbed version. It was fun actually, so if you want to laugh, (especially since my voice sounds entirely different from hers), rent it, if you can find it, and tell me if you think I did a passable job of matching words to mouth movement. Tricky stuff that. Au revoire,



We are everywhere.

April 15, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Assistant grasp here'


Seems pretty straightforward, what?

I mean, anyone who can fog a mirror and read English ought to be able to follow the instructions.

Well, that's where you'd be wrong.

The cardboard tag pictured above is attached to the end of a long, narrow strip of paper that ties up a surgeon's (or scrub nurse's) gown.

First, though, whoever's wearing the gown has to spin around, then grasp the top (white) part of the tag so as to remain sterile, unlike the assistant.

Whenever there's no one else in the room and I'm the only one available to play the role of "assistant," I get very anxious because even after many years of watching thousands of individuals gown, I'm still not sure exactly what it is I'm supposed to do to not mess up the sterility of the operation.

In fact, having to assist in gowning up makes me more anxious than giving anesthesia.

Go figure.

April 15, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cuneiform — by Brooks Haxton

The wedge sank five times into the clay,

and a word, which had been spoken in a breath,

lay still until the gods' names were forgotten.

Then, when the strangers took the tile in hand,

while stars sailed into the dark

beyond the world, the dead tongue

in the clay began to speak.

April 15, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MorphWorld: Anna Heidegger into Natalie Portman


The Austrian model, represented by Hamburg's Mega Model Agency, was photographed (above) coiffed a là Louise Brooks for a fashion spread that appeared in the April 11, 2008 Financial Times "How to Spend It" magazine.

Ms. Portman (below),


whose film career began at age 13 when she appeared in Luc Besson's 1994 "The Professional," sported that throwback look in her debut but since then seems to have tried every other look — from bald to long-haired vixen — imaginable.

April 15, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New bookofjoe anti-procrastination tool flops (kinda sorta)


So I'd been putting off for three days an expedited file review that would require at most an hour of my time.

Then the penny dropped and I thought, I know, I'll put on my running watch (above) and set the alarm for five minutes from now, then reset it every five minutes when it goes off while I'm laying there all comfy reading other stuff (story of my life).

That went on for about an hour or so, maybe ten cycles of stupidity, until I finally got my lazy butt off the couch and gathered the file materials for review.

Then I got sidetracked doing this and that (paying a bill, cleaning out my coffee grinder, you know the drill) and about a half hour elapsed until I finally began the file review, which itself was kept moving along nicely with my previously-described anti-procrastination tool which, as it turns out, performs much better keeping me on task than getting me started, the real bugaboo.

In any event, the review is done and the use of the running alarm watch failed.

Didn't it?

I mean, it was supposed to move me direct from the couch to the file but it didn't, what with my digressive transgressions.

On the other hand, I did do what I needed to do, even if it wasn't as ideal and direct a course to completion as I'd have liked.

So maybe the jury's still out on this one.

Best give it another go soon, then I'll report back.

Meanwhile, no reason you shouldn't give it a whirl.

If it fails, I will cheerfully refund every penny you paid for this advice.

Because that's the bookofjoe way.

Casio's F-91W watch costs $9.

April 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Pumpkin Seat


That's different.

Jane Owen reviewed this inventive take on a garden chair in the March 28, 2008 Financial Times, as follows.

Garden Gear: Pumpkin Seat

It's possible to buy a pied-à-terre in the Dominican Republic for about £20,000. For about the same amount of money it is also possible to purchase a garden seat. Fletcher & Myburgh's copper "Pumpkin swing" retails at £18,000 — minus the stand, which costs an extra £1,200.

The glittering pumpkin, 1.4 metres high and the same wide, is designed to be left to "grow into the space where it is put," according to its designer, Steve Myburgh, who has created a range of top-end swinging seats.

"The patina of the copper is important. It does not corrode so much as pick up what is around it. In urban spaces it adopts shades of reds and purples as the pollution reacts with the metal and in rural areas it turns more verde gris."

Inside the sphere a light gives a cheery glow while the whole thing reverberates with sound thanks to a wind-up music box set into floor of the seat.

Little windows (which are optional) carved into the sides of the seat can be designed in keeping with the windows of any nearby garden building or house and night-light holders can be slotted into alcoves.

Regulars at the Chelsea Flower Show might have spotted the seat being used by its creators, the husband-and-wife team Caroline Fletcher and Steve Myburgh. Most of the pair's chairs are enclosed and provide an escape from the elements. The one exception is their airy "Bubble swing" [below],


ideal for anyone on a slightly tighter budget. It sells for £5,000 minus the stand.

April 15, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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