Tuesday, August 19, 2008


On the television, there is a dorky news girl with a rain coat, standing at the beach, breathlessly carrying on about the impending doom of 'Tropical Storm Fay'. The unfortunate thing is that so many people have fallen for the hype. Schools are closed, tolls have been suspended on the turnpike, and people have descended on the Home Depot and grocery stores to stock up on supplies for the coming cataclysm. Meanwhile the reality of it is, we have a gentle rain, with occasional heavy rain, and a slight breeze of nine miles per hour, and this is the worst it is going to get. I will never understand why people buy into hyperbole designed to get you to do things that otherwise make no sense. It is no wonder these news shows are all sponsored by Home Depot and Publix grocery stores. They make a killing during storm threats, and want the news shows to keep up the good work.

Mark is one of those people who can be swayed by someone on television telling him that something is so wonderful he must try it. Every Saturday morning, Mark watches all the cooking shows on the local PBS station. The chefs on these shows are like superstars to Mark, and whenever we travel, if we are in the home town of one of them, we have to eat at their signature restaurant. In Savannah we tried to get into Paula Deans restaurant, but the four hour wait was way beyond my tolerance.

Last week in Chicago, after three previous attempts failed, we finally got into Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill. If you are not familiar with Rick Bayless, he does a show about gourmet Mexican cooking on PBS, and he makes refried beans look like caviar. At least it looks that way on television. The reality is different. After lining up in front of the restaurant like cattle, you are herded into the Frontera Bar where you get to spend ten dollars on a margarita. When we finally got seated to eat, I ordered the 'Enchiladas de Mole Poblano'. What I got, was an expensive, better presented version of the same crap that I can get for a fifth of the price at our favorite Mexican/Cuban restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Basically it was beans, rice, plantains, and beef. Marks dinner wasn't much better. He got the brisket, and to demonstrate just how common tasting it was, Mark reproduced it at home, only better.

I'm glad I don't get swayed by hype and TV hucksters, but just to be sure, I am on my way out now to get a case of batteries and twenty gallons of water for the coming storm.


  1. Its the same here in the UK Al when there is snow forecast, I think here its a little more of "hey lets bunk off work/ratrace" thing though really rather than actual fear and panic hehe

  2. A slight correction. Here at the height of the 'storm', the wind has increased to 17mph with gusts up to 25mph. Being from Chicago, I consider that to be a pleasant breeze.

  3. Boy, that guy does look like a young George.