July 2011

I’ve always been irritated by places touting craftsmanship from other places.  It seems like an insult to where you are.  Specifically, the whole “New York does everything better” claim is one thing, but it’s annoying when a place like where I live advertises NY-style food as if our own food isn’t good enough.

Since it’s a giant city that is the drop off point for other countries and has a big enough population for an Ikea, NYC can probably claim the best things.  I don’t know personally.  The bulk of my NY experiences have been 24-hour trips with my family where my dad would spend the day at an optical convention and the rest of us would go to Times Square, and we’d all eat someplace like the Hard Rock Cafe.  With the exception of some good meals last summer during our Brooklyn visit, I had never experienced the best of New York-style anything other than what places out of the city claim.  New York bagels, New York Pizza, New York Yankees, New York Philly Cheese steaks — foodwise, it’s probably not so much a New York-style but Old World recipes that were adapted by people who ended up in New York.

These feelings come from a place of bitterness because I have lived in Richmond all of my life and the only thing we do better that any other city is generate “best of” lists in local publications.  We’re a city that needs constant attention from ourselves, where as a city like New York needs attention from everyone else.  Where are some cities we can live one day that are modest but interesting and will only tell you where the best place for brunch is when asked?

VA State Fair NY-Style Pizza

p.s – wait, are there other cities in the US where 90% of local restaurants serve macaroni and cheese?  M&C as a side dish on every other menu might be a Richmond thing, too.  Maybe I should have my own travel show where I go to other mid-sized cities and see if those cities also have the same 10 musicians/restaurants/bloggers that pop up all the time in local news.  Do other cities have Internet celebrities?  Oh, Richmond.

p.p.s – my associate made NY-style pizza that had the best sauce ever and was best on other accounts, too.  That’s what had me thinking of this.  I don’t know why I’m fighting that NY is home to delicious pizza.

– Finished making sherbet from last night

– Looked up childproofing products on Ikea

– watched the new Rebecca Black video “My Moment”

– got sad that I spent time watching that

– sent four e-mails

– did laundry

– worked on your novel

– opened the Word document of the novel

– looked up Simpsons clips for an unpublished blog post about the Simpsons (I wanted a clip of Marge saying “Here comes the Shaq Attack!”)

– thought about getting an audio tattoo of Marge saying “Here comes the Shaq Attack” if audio tattoos were a thing you could get

What an hour.  Now it’s time to get ready for tomorrow.

Please note that the past hour has been the longest that I’ve sat at my computer without reading & bookmarking a recipe.

I could draw the appropriate Post-it size illustrations to go with it, but I don’t have a scanner or the time to draw a turtle doing a bunch of things.  So as you read this just picture a turtle being depressed, determined, and then happy.


Mr. Turtle was on his way to the park and it was taking a long time.

All of his friends passed him.  Mr. Fox, Mr. Dog, Mrs. Abandoned Housecat, and Dr. and Mrs. Raccoon were all faster.

“Wait for me,” he shouted as they walked past him.

“No,” they said, “You are too slow, Turtle!  If we wait for you all the fun will be over.”

That night he tried everything to be faster.

He tried lifting weights (this illustration would have been funny), jumping rope, and eating protein shakes.  But when he got to the park the next day all of his friends were just leaving.

“We thought you would be faster today, so we waited for two hours,” they said.  “But you are just TOO SLOW, TURTLE!”

Mr. Turtle thought of other ways to be faster: roller skates, catching a ride on a cat tail, or getting a tiny car built for one turtle.  But it was no use.  With the economy the way it was, by the time he could afford roller skates all his friends would be dead.

The next day Mr. Turtle thought he’d try one more time to get to the park to play with his friends.  He got an early start, and by the time he walked the first block they had all gone past him.

“Too slow, Tur –” Mr. Fox started to say.  But before he finished he was shot through the neck.

Later the police questioned everyone at the park.  No one had seen anything.

Not Mr. Dog. Not Mrs. Abandoned Housecat.  Not Dr. and Mrs. Raccoon.

“We were just going too fast,” Mrs. Raccoon said.

“We’re you all going too fast?” the policeman asked.

Just then Mr. Turtle walked to the playground.  He was so happy to see everyone.  He finally got to the park in time to play with his friends.

“Hello,” said Mr. Turtle.  “Did you see that asshole Randy just shoot Mr. Fox?”

Everyone laughed.

“That happened hours ago.  You are too slow, Turtle,” they said.  “But you will be a key witness in a murder trial and will help bring a criminal to justice.”

Mr. Turtle was glad for once that he was too slow.  Though he felt uneasy about walking home alone so the cop gave him a ride.

I cannot wait to read this to all of your children.  My Mr. Turtle voice is super good.