Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nothing fishy about it - Debrett's has it all covered. More advice

As people who follow or at least read this blog are aware, I'm an admirer of Debrett's, "the" guide to everything etiquette. Advice on the 'how-to's" ranging from planning a wedding reception, decorum when meeting and out and about royalty, holiday deportment... basically a guide on the correct way to conduct oneself.

Periodically, it's good to check in with Debrett's for any updates or changes to their offerings. I mean, one should always be prepared in case an opportunity to meet-and-greet or dine with royalty. It wouldn't be acceptable for a social faux pas denoting a lack of savoir faire when it comes to politesse. Feeling very french today. But I digress.

It is for this very reason that a visual cyber consultation was in order lest one make a blunder in etiquette. Being that I'm not a fan of shell fish and my philosophy is this regard is not to eat a food that stares back at you and requires the wearing of a bib, never noted the section focusing on the consuming of these helpless, gourmet food items. According to the guide and to allow easy access to the flesh, it would be acceptable to use one's fork while holding a/the shell steady with one hand in order to make the task easier. A lobster cracker may be required to remove flesh from the large claws. According to wisegeek.com, a lobster cracker is a kitchen tool designed to help people crack open lobsters. Furthermore, "lobster crackers can also be used on crabs and some nuts as well." One assumes they're referring to the crustacean kind and not the human type.

Having eaten shell fish perhaps twice maybe four times in my life, the arrival of the/a crustacean on a plate with its black eyes staring into mine is just to emotionally overwhelming, especially the sound of cracking shells. Guilt thy name is Eleanor.

There is also a section devoted to the preparation and enjoyment of sushi.  Debrett's is like... so up-to-date on all the latest food favorites. In as far as this popular delicacy is concerned, raw fish doesn't do it for me although the vegetable sushi is acceptable. Its (sushi) texture on my tongue causes an instantaneous ejection of the consumed particle, if you get my drift. Back to the how-to's of eating, soy sauce should be poured into a saucer (or dish/whatever receptacle is on hand for this purpose) and mix in some wasabi. Debrett's advises that it is socially acceptable and even polite to pour some for your dining partner. Go figure!

"Wasabi my dear?"

"How nice of you to ask. Of course. What exactly is wasabi?"

"The partner for sushi. Here - let me pour for you. Say when."

The way to proceed is to dip sashimi or sliced raw fish, into the sauce with chopsticks and then enjoy. Never mastered the art of using chopsticks but they have a section covering the how-to's of mastering this art. It seems that "sushi rolls and nigiri (blocks of rice with fish on top) should be eaten whole; attempting to bite in two can lead to a scattering of debris across the table."

This leads one - me - pondering the acceptable form of collecting sushi debris from a table. Does one or should one attempt to pick it up with chopsticks, or is a fork acceptable? What about the use of fingers, which would ideally handle the task? Is a verbal apology acceptable or does one smile and concern oneself with the task of removing said sushi debris? These are important questions, people!

In any case and just in case sushi aficenados feel so inclined, came across a site that will help in the step-by-step creation of sushi specialties: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/how-to-make-sushi-with-step-by-step-breakdown/ This leads one - me - to ponder as to the best means in which to eliminate the post-sushi taste and odor following a sushi session.

In as far as learning the art of holding chopsticks, the thumb and forefinger manipulates the top of the stick while the middle finger rests between the sticks, while the bottom stick is motionless. It is the top stick manoeuvered by the thumb and forefinger that is used to grip the food and carry it up to one's mouth. Easier said or written than actually accomplished. Having never mastered this art, my philosophy is a fork handles the job so much easier - and neater. I mean, why torture oneself to manipulate sticks when cutlery is designed for this purpose? Debrett's concludes this subject with the advice never to use chopsticks to pass food to people (when you can pick up the food in the first place) and never use them to point at people. A finger is okay for this purpose but not chopsticks one presumes. Chopstick pointing could be dangerous or something.

Nothing fishy when it comes to Debrett's.

NEXT BLOG: We'll be examining how to eat canapes, oysters and caviar and later on, the art of eating spaghetti, and eating soup

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Monday rant: what happened to the client satisfaction factor?

It's been a while since sharing a rant but most likely many people reading this will relate to the experience.

Today as is my habit since we have to eat, visited the nearest - notice the word "nearest" here - supermarket to buy some groceries. The supermarket is approximately a 5-8 minute drive away and hence my reason for frequenting the store. Once per week the supermarket advertises specials to draw in clients and herein lays or lies the problem: the advertised specials are rarely available.

For example, their stock of the moderately-priced fries were missing. Gone. Nowhere to be found. Now a barbeque without fries is like..pickles without the brine. They just naturally go together. This is the second time this has happened and it took a month before they re-stocked the freezer. It was especially annoying since the fries were on special. I like shopping for specials. Don't we all?

"Okay," I remember calming myself down, "this happens. Perhaps they ran short."

So really, it shouldn't have been such a shock when the same thing occurred but it was an annoyance.

Going up and down the food aisles, there were little notes of appologies to customers that they had run out of such-and-such item and I decided to find out what was going on.

Snake bites man - man bites back

This is one of those stories that really makes one (me) shake one"s head in wonder and bewilderment. In the way of clarification, I'm not a snake lover or even liker and take the attitude of live-and-let-live where they're concerned.

According to an article in the Annapurna Post in Nepal, a man who shall remain nameless, chased a snake, the type that most of us would run as fast as our legs would allow us to, in the other direction. We're talking here about a cobra, which the man bit - you read it right - bit as an act of revenge.

Seems that said snake bit him first while he was working in his rice paddy. This act so enraged the man that he physically pursued said snake until he caught it, and exacted revenge by sinking his teeth into said snake.

So I'm thinking here...how did the man know that this was the very same snake that bit him in the first place? I mean, cobras do look alike and what he believed to be the attacker could be another cobra that just happened along. Right? The actual perp cobra could still be out there. Right?

"Eleanor - you've got to get a life!"

Anyway....the man was not charged with the killing of a cobra since cobras aren't endangered species.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canadians hold annual GI Joe Convention - Barbie is indifferent - Ken goes surfing

Although she was rumored be there, Barbie, the vinyl fashionista, did not attend the yearly Canadian GI Joe Convention. Word had it that (GI) Joe was more than a little upset.

The 10th annual convention held on Saturday, August 11th in Toronto, Canada, was established by GI Joe fan, Michael Heddle, whose store was the impetus for the creation of the event. The toy soldier (he  considers himself Barbie's personal toy-boy), who was created by Hasbro in 1964, has been a constant presence in the fashionista's life, much to Barbie's chagrin.

"Like...he doesn't leave my side for a second," Barbie commented when contacted as to the reason for her no-show. "He even stands on guard outside the bathroom when I pee or do - you know - the other thing! I mean, a girl has to have some privacy. I need some alone time!"

The one-day event featured conferences about the toys, which featured a bounty of old and newer Joes.

Seems that Toronto isn't the only location to hold a convention. In the U.S., he will hold center-stage at Coil Con, the mid-west's largest G.I. Joe convention, which has been around for 3 years. The convention will take place in Kokomo, Indiana on September 8th, in case anyone reading this is interested in attending.

"I'm everywhere where there's an enemy that needs taken care of," Joe stated confidently, his eyes darting around the room checking out the faces for signs of an attack.

When asked his feelings about Barbie's not being there, Joe's eyes filled with tears but quickly regained his composure and assumed his knee position.

"Barbie knows I can always be counted on to protect her from the enemy and believe me - she's got a lot of 'em, especially that Blaine dude from Austra-alia-land or wherever the heck he hails from. She needs special protection from him."

When contacted to ascertain the reason for his absence at the convention, Ken, Barbie's ex or current man in her life, seemed vague about the convention, generally.

"Do 'ya like my new surf board?" Ken commented, carressing it from top to bottom. "Is that the ocean I hear? Surf's up! Gotta go!"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Some thoughts about microwaved clothes, Chloe Kardashian and other weird but interesting stuff

It's the dog days of summer on the cusp of autumn and as shared in a previous blog, the silly wind-down of stories that seem to pop up but are worth sharing and maybe a thought or two, at least in my opinion.

Not in the moo-ood for love

It was veally a case of unrequitted love. In order to deflect the advances of an over-amorous bull, a Siberian cow climbed to the top of the stairs in the hope of losing him. The cow was found at the very top of a five storey apartment building in the village of Lesogork, mooing her angst to anyone and everyone within hearing range, including the bull who was waiting patiently bellow at the bottom of the stairs for the object of his affection. Sounds like a scene out of a cartoon. According to a government spokesperson, said bull had heaped a lot of attention on said cow throughout summer, but for whatever reason i.e. perhaps unrequitted bovine love on her part, the cow rejected his amorous advances. The bull for his part must have felt udderly rejected.

In the end and like a scene out of a western movie, firemen roped the cow by the horns and pulled her her down the stairs. No word on whether the bull was waiting. It's a moot point in the end, anyway.

Maybe his clothes dryer wasn't working

So a man living in Weymouth, England, for whatever reason and one presumes he had run out of them, had some (presumably) wet underwear that required drying. No information supplied as to why he didn't use a conventional method or appliance, which would would have handled the job but he didn't. Instead, he decided to use his microwave oven to dry two pairs of socks and two pairs of underwear, resulting in a fire. Duh! Obviously, he wasn't aware that microwave ovens are meant to heat up food and underwear doesn't fall into the food category unless...but I digress.

Upon reflection and even if his action hadn't resulted in a fire, it's kind of blechy bordering on gagging to use the same microwave for cooking purposes after having been used as a receptacle for underwear. The man was led to safety by neighbors. No information as to whether he plans to replace the microwave but it's certain he will buy more underwear. Then again - maybe not. Go know.

Attention master - baaaaad wolf nearby!

Swiss sheep (trying say that fast after a few drinks) may soon be texting a message to warn shepherds that a wolf on the prowl, thanks to a new invention worn around their necks. Sheep are a tasty meal enjoyed by wolves (the four-legged type) who enjoy an quick meal caught easily, but this may soon change. The new device created by a Swiss biologist will alert a shepherd if the heart rate of a sheep suddenly increases dramatically. A lurking wolf could definitely cause this type of reaction.

Faced with the increasing threat of wolf attacks that are occurring with frequency, the sheep break through fences to flee for their lives (wouldn't we all?), especially those that are part of a smaller flock without the protection of a sheep dog. The collars will be fitted with a chip alerting the shepherd via text message when sheep are distressed and presumably, the shepherd would take care of the big bad wolf one way or another.Seems that the big, bad wolves travel from Italy where they attack Swiss sheep. If this proves to be a successful deeterrent, other countries including France and Norway would be interested in using the collar.

"Survivor" stripped down

Love that Huffington Post's weird news, where some some really off-beat articles are shared. This caught my eye. People reading this and living in the vicinity of Chesnee, SC, are probably aware that there's a nudist resort in the area. If not - they know now. Hanging out (in the true sense of the word) without clothes  sets them apart from regular folk and members of the nudist resort, for the shear fun of doing it, sponsor a challenge with a difference. One could and would say that going clothes-less is a challenge in itself but I digress.

For more than three years, the Carolina Foothills Nudist Resort holds a "Survivor - Nudist Style" in which they outwit, outplay and outlast each other in the nude.

Obviously, word of the games has spread and contestants from all over the U.S. of A compete in challenges that include balancing red balls on square pieces of wood, completing a puzzle underwater, water volleyball and the ever popular, bean-bag toss. These are tough challenges people!

Alas, the stakes are not as lucrative as in the real "Survivior" where the winner gets $1 million, since the victor receives a 2-foot tiki trophy. In case people reading this want to find out more information about the resort and/or the challenge, here are the coordinates to the resort:http://www.carolinafoothills.com/

Just who is Chloe Kardashian, anyway?

Perhaps it's an "age thing" but can anybody reading this explain this public fascination with the Kardashians? Somehow and for whatever reason, this name has become a regular presence in the show-biz reports. This leads one - me - to wonder just who are they and what have they accomplished that makes them newsworthy? Anybody? In any case, this story/report sort-of took me by surprise. Seems that Chloe Kardashian is - wait for it - being considered as a panel judge for this year's U.S. "X-Factor". So...like...what attributes does Ms Chloe have other than a well-known last name, that would make her a good judege? Anybody? At least Britney Spears is a singer as is Mariah Carey but Chloe Kardashian? Strikes me that the judges i.e. Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez et al, are getting paid big bucks to promote their latest albums, after which they leave. Can't say that the show has grabbed my attention but then American Idol is slowly making its way in a downward motion. Maybe it's time to say adieu to these shows?

So how was your week?