The Karate Kid: An Actor’s Inconvenient Truth

Karate_Kid_(2944550918)There have been many movies that have had a lasting impact on what would seem like an endless landscape of the pop culture horizon; but none have been as impactful as The Karate Kid. The 1984 classic (which resulted in many sequels and a remake) centered Pat_Morita_1971_publicity_photoaround a bullied teenager from New Jersey; who was having trouble fitting in to his new California home. Daniel is befriended by the handy man that works at theapartment complex that he and his mother have recently moved into. The handy man turns out to be a skilled martial artist and agrees to train Daniel to help him protect himself from the cluster of teenage hooligans that have tormented him. The bond ends up being the best thing for both the teacher and the student.

 

The movie’s emotional highs and lows, comedic fun and action have caused most of the world to have fallen in love with what is now an 80s classic and one of the most beloved movies of all time. One specific truth to this movie, as well as many movies and TV shows is that the actors that portray certain characters (and act in certain scenes) have the storyline hit too close to home. This is the case for the titular character of Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid franchise. As a Japanese American, despite his sickness early on in lossy-page1-595px-Photograph_of_President_Truman_and_other_dignitaries_saluting_during_the_President's_review_of_the_442nd_Regimental..._-_NARA_-_199387.tifhis life, joined his Japanese American family in an interment camp in the United States during WWII. During this time, many Japanese Americans were confined to internment camps while members of their family were fighting for the United States Army in Europe, Italy, southern France and Germany. The 442nd Regiment Combat Team infantry unit was composed almost entirely of soldiers who were Japanese Americans (primarily from Hawaii). With the motto “Go for Broke”, you can see why the 14,000 men that served in the 442nd Regiment earned 9,486 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, and found 21 of its members receiving Medals of Honor.

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Most of the Japanese Americans that fought in WWII were Nisei. A Nisei is a term in the Japanese language used in America to specify the children born in the US to Japanese-born immigrants (which were called Issei); while their grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei. These terms are based on the the Japanese words representing the numbers 1 (ichi), 2 (ni), and 3 (san). The immigrant males, shortly after DensonRelocationCampUmbrellaGirlthe Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (December 7th, 1941), were initially categorized as 4C aka enemy aliens (who were not subject to the draft) which was followed months after the attack on Pearl Harbor by President Roosevelt giving the military the authority to create internment camps for people of Japanese ancestry. This forced relocation from their residences to guarded relocation camps where more than 110,000 people from the West Coast (where two thirds were born in the US) were housed and set up martial law in Hawaii (due to the large population of citizens of Japanese history).

In the movie, Mr. Miyagi reveals that he served in the 442nd Regiment Combat Team ofthe United States Army (receiving many medals during his service). This was revealed when Daniel showed up to his house and found a drunken Mr. Miyagi celebrating an ‘anniversary’. It was revealed to be the anniversary of the dual loss of his wife and newborn son due to complications that arose during her childbirth at the Manzanar interment camp while he was in Europe serving in the 442nd Infantry during WWII. This extremely deep moment, brought a deeper reality to the Miyagi character but on the deeper scheme of things, shined a depressing light onto the reality of not only war but the interment camps which are a truly dark part of US history.

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Images:
Featured Image: The Karate Kid image by and accredited to Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland – Karate Kid, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33780803
Pat Morita 1971 publicity photo by and accredited to George E. Marienthal Enterprises – eBay item photo front photo back, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25183341
President Truman and other dignitaries saluting during the President’s review of the 442nd Regimental image by and accredited to Abbie Rowe, 1905-1967, Photographer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._National_Archives_and_Records_Administration”. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration”, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain.
USS Arizona attack during the Attack on Pearl Harbor image attributed to Unknown – This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 295992.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43702
Denson Relocation Camp (Umbrella girl) by Tom Parker – Photograph by Tom Parker for Department of the Interior, War Relocation AuthorityThis media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the National Archives Identifier (NAID) 539345. Converted from .gif to .jpg and border cropped before upload., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4482065
Ron Howard and Pat Morita Happy Days press photo by and accredited to ABC Television Press Relations – http://www.ebay.com/itm/HAPPY-DAYS-RON-HOWARD-PAT-MORITA-JIUJITSU-ABC-TV-PHOTO-/350265543197, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25235637

 

 

Just in the Nick of Time: A History of Interesting Idioms and Colloquial Phrases – Part 6

Today’s journey into the heart of idiom country will find us in the South. And by South, I do mean the deep South. Most of the colloquial phrases that we will discuss today are phrases that we associate with people from the South. You will hear these exaggerated phrases in movies and TV shows where the person portrayed is from the South. You’ll also hear these colloquial sayings if you hang around your Southern grandmother for any extended period of time. Today we will explore the origins of: Close but no cigar, Break the ice, Finer than frog hair, Lord willing and/As long as the creek don’t rise, Bleed like a stuck pig, and Slicker than whale snot/slicker than snot on a door knob.



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Close but no cigar” – 

Origin: You’ve probably heard someone say ‘close but no cigar’ or its variant ‘nice try, but no cigar’ from your Uncle if you’re from the American South or perhaps from anyone else from around the world after the popularization of the phrase. The origin of the phrase is not defined to one specific place and time but in the mid-20th century; fairgrounds, bars, and stores had nickle games that gave out cigars as prizes. The phrase was put in print in Sayre and Twist’s script of the 1935 film of Annie Oakley: “Close, Colonel, but no cigar!” After this it appeared more and more in US newspapers and other publications; causing an increase in popularity throughout the world.

Meaning: Not reaching the successful outcome and thus will get nothing for your efforts.



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“Break the ice” – 

Origin: The earliest meaning of the idiom “break the ice” was ‘to forge a path for others to follow’, but the significance of the idiom lies on the water. Well water covered in ice to be more precise. In polar expeditions, there would be a lead boat that was equipped with strengthened hulls and more powerful engines that were used to ‘break the ice’ so that the other boats could follow behind. The term ‘ice-breaker’ began to be a socially used term in regards to initiating conversations with strangers and was even used by Mark Twain in Life on Mississippi: “They closed up the inundation with a few words – having used it, evidently, as a mere ice-breaker and acquaintanceship-breeder – then they dropped into business.” Thank God that Sir Thomas North ‘broke the ice’ in 1579 when he (the first known person to use the term in writing) says in his translation of Plutarch’s Lives on the noble Grecians and Romanes, “To be the first to break the Ice of the Enterprize.” Better yet when Samual Butler used it in Hudibras (1678), “…(a)t last broke silence, and the ice” and popularized the term as it used now.

Meaning: To remove the tension at the opening of a party, once first entering a room, etc.



Finer than frog hair” –

Origin: The idiom ‘finer than/fine as frog hair’ is about as country as you can get. It was one of my late grandfather’s favorite sayings. The idiom dates back to before the mid 19th century and was first in print in C. Davis’s Diary of 1865 in an entry where it is said, “I have a better flow of spirits this morning, and, in fact, feel as fine as frog’s hair, as Potso used to say.” Of course this is merely an ironic reference because…frog’s don’t have hair.

Meaning: Something that is extremely fine; delicate, slender.



“Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” – 

Origins: The origin for the idiom “as long as the creek don’t rise” or “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” seems like it should be an open and shut case but like most things, we’ll need to let the proverbial wheel roll around a couple more turns until we find the leak. You would think that it is a simplistic reference to the fact that you will be able to do something as long as the water doesn’t rise up and block the bridge that you would have to travel back through; but we would be wrong in thinking this. The idiom has two possible origins. One more complicated than the other. The more complicated is in reference to a quote from Benjamin Hawkins (a Georgia native that lived in the United States during the American Revolution). Hawkins response to the President’s plea for him to return to the capitol was supposedly that he would return “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”. The significance of this supposed statement is that he was supposedly not referencing a specific body of water but was referencing the Creek Indian nation participating in an uprising in that specific part of the country in which he was acting as Superintendent of the Tribes of the Ohio River. There is no proof that he actually said this but it sounds like a spectacularly exciting explanation of the idiom but more than likely the origin is relatively simplistic. The idiom gained popularity in the Appalachian mountains of the United States where occasional and unpredictably rainfall could leave one rural neighborhood or home inaccessible on many occasions.  I’m guessing that the saying was meant to sound something like “I’ll see you next week; as long as the good Lord is willing, and as long as we don’t have an immense amount of rainfall that washes away the bridge or path that connects these two areas” but by dialects ended up sounding something like “Lort willin’ an’ th’ crick don’ rise”.

Meaning: An expression in reference to something happening as long as unforeseen events don’t take place.



“Bleed like a stuck pig” – 

Origin: The idiom “bleed like a stuck pig” has one of the most cut and dry (no pun intended) origins of all. It is literally a reference to the fact that when you cut the throat of a pig set for slaughter with an extremely sharp knife, the cut severs the main arteries (the jugular vein) that disperse blood throughout the body; thus causing the pig to bleed out rapidly.

Meaning: To bleed heavily.



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“Slicker than whale snot/slicker than snot on a door knob” – 

Origin: This is another one of those colloquial idioms that do not have a definite origin but is immensely popular in the South of the United States. The two variations are both used but have different, equally disturbing meanings. The first variation “slicker than whale snot” is more than likely in reference to the greasy consistency of whale blubber oil (which was used to make oil for lamps, soap and margarine before the banning of whaling). The second variation, “slicker than snot on a door knob” is literally a quite nauseating way of comparing how ‘slick’ something is to ‘human snot’ being on a solid object. I uh….I am not to fond of that one. Blah.

Meaning: Comparison between a slick surface and that of snot/whale oil to express the extent of the slickness.



Images:

Feautred Image – Square Deal Dice Popper Cigar Vintage Gaming machine image courtesy of ChadsCoinOp.com – http://www.chadscoinop.com/picgallery/Square%20Deal%20Dice%20Popper.html
Pilot Boat near Helsinki image by and accredited to Sean Biehle from Cincinnati, OH, USA – Ice Breaker, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4646130
Bottle of Whale Oil photo by and accredited to Chris Linardos – http://www.flickr.com/photos/chris-linardos/5386324261/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23623619

 

Time Machine Time: Top 10 Concerts

I have always been proud of my eclectic musical taste and the live performances that I have been blessed to see over the years is the proof in the pudding.  I’ve seen everyone from Metallica to B.B. King to the Celtic Women to the Wu Tang Clan to Big & Rich. To me, the live concert experience is like none other and therefore there are regretfully many concerts or live performances that I was not able to see (mostly because they happened before I was born or where in a different country). So if the Doctor just happened to visit me or Doc Brown and Marty McFly loaned me the Delorean there are many things that I would love to do or see. A big part of that list would be to go back and see certain human events like the Wright Brothers flying for the first time, to see Jesus perform miracles, to walk with Ghandi, or to hear the wisdom of the Buddha. Among the list of amazing human feats that I would love to see many things. How awesome would it be to see the Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” fight; see Gladiators fight in the Flavian Ampitheatre (aka the Roman Colosseum); or to have been one of the 93,173 attendees in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan back on March 29th, 1987 when Hulk Hogan body slammed Andre the Giant and when ‘The Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat had one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time.

But…we’re here for music. SO with that being said, here a joint blog representing both the Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10 and Time Machine TimeConcerts (representing the Top 10 concerts that I would love to be able to go back in time to see).



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Honorable Mention: Rammstein – Parkbuhne Wuhlheide, Berlin (1998) – Despite their participation in the ever popular Family Values tour (with Korn, Limp Bizkit, etc) in 1998, the solo European tour in 1998 was Rammstein’s finest. The music paired with the wild pyrotechnics must have been a site to behold.

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10. Bob Marley – Kingston, Jamaica (April 22, 1978) – After the Smile Jamaica concert; Bob and his band, the Wailers, exiled themselves in London for about a year. They wrote an album while in England and rightfully so named it Exodus. During their exodus in London, the turmoil in Jamaica was dying down and to prove that they needed Marley to come back to help unify the country; rival gang leaders flew to London to convince Marley to come back. He flew back and put on a free concert in Kingston. The beautiful music, paired with the political unification that Marley brought by bringing together both rival gang members, as well as the opposing governmental factions earned him a United Nations’ Peace Medal. What a completely amazing concert that that must have been.

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9. Fleetwood Mac – Nashville Municipal Auditorium (5/21/1977) – The radio poured out the hits of Fleetwood Mac during the Summer of 1977. The Rumours world tour which took place in two parts went on for almost a year and a half. The tour celebrated the release of the band’s eleventh album (of the same name). The band went everywhere: from all over North America to Europe, their native UK, Japan and Oceania. I have always been a Fleetwood Mac fan after hearing the albums when I was a kid. I was not lucky enough to see them in their prime and the performance at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium would have been a fantastic place to catch the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees at their prime.

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8. Beethoven – Theater an der Wien, Vienna (April 1803) – Before he went def, Beethoven had been appointed composer in residence at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna in the early 1800s. In the spring of 1803 Beethoven led the Symphony in a concert where the audience heard the First and Second Symphony, the Third Piano Concerto, and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives. To be able to experience some of Beethoven’s greatest works, live from the man himself…would be more than I could bear. Tears would definitely flow.

Robert-Plant

7. Led Zeppelin – Madison Square Garden, New York (July 27-29, 1973) – Led Zeppelin performed three-sold out shows at Madison Square Gardens to close out their 1973 North American tour. The filming of these live performances were filmed for a motion picture that was released in 1976. The on-stage theatrics, as described by Jimmy Page, were as far as they could make them and they most definitely took the audiences experience into account. The set-list consisted of songs that will go down as some of the greatest rock songs of all time. Years later, ‘the songs remain the same’ and the DVD allows us to experience, but I would count it an immense blessing to have been able to experience this spectacle in person.

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6. Jimi Hendrix – Woodstock, Bethel, New York (August 18, 1969) – I would have braved the mud and the 400,000 potentially drugged out hippies to witness (who is in my opinion) one of the greatest performers of all time at the infamous festival. The Woodstock Festival is listed as one of the 50 moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll and with Jimi Hendrix joining a lineup including Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, and many others…who could imagine that it wouldn’t. Hendrix’s now infamous “Star Spangled Banner” performance was just a drop in the bucket compared to the over 60 minute set. I could definitely have dealt with the 3 days of peace and music as long as I got to hear Jimi Hendrix.

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5. Metallica – Tushino Airfield, Moscow, Russia (Sept 28, 1991) – Despite seeing Metallica multiple times already, I regretfully have missed some amazing performances that I think could have been more epic than the concerts that I was blessed enough to witness. One specific concert was a specific concert on September 28th, 1991 in Moscow. The Monsters of Rock Festival was one of the biggest concerts in the history of the world. The attendance during the Metallica show was slated to have ranged anywhere from 500,000 to almost 2 million fans. This could easily be one of the most epic live performances of all time and to feel the feedback from over a million people would have just been breathtaking.

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4. Queen – Wembley Stadium (11/07/1986) – As many of the concerts from this list, the moments were saved by releasing the video via VHS/DVD. In December of 1990, Queen at Wembley was produced and the DVD version has gone platinum five times in the US alone. Audience members have stated that the energy in the crowd was breathtaking and we as viewers of the DVD since then can attest that Freddie Mercury and Queen presented us with one of the best live performances ever.


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3. Metallica with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – Berkley Community Theatre (April 21-22, 1999) – Yes, I know what you’re thinking; “gosh Chris, two Metallica concerts on your top 10 list of concerts that you would go back in time to see?” The answer is unequivocally, yes! Metallica is my favorite musical group/band and I most definitely would want to see these two events. I have seen the DVD but was unable to fly to San Francisco in 1999 to experience this concert in person. Back in 1999, Metallica was trying to find themselves after so many years of being together. They were/are the biggest rock/heavy metal band of all time and taking a cue from their late guitarist Cliff Burton, intertwined classical music and heavy metal to bring about something truly magical. Taking clues from Deep Purple’s 1969 Concerto for Group and Orchestra (in which Deep Purple performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra), did a concert with the additional symphonic accompaniment of Michael Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony orchestra (hence the name of the album: Metallica: S&M). I am not afraid to admit that when I first watched the DVD of the concert, that I wept during the performances of “Bleeding Me” and “- Human”. These two songs, along with the 19 other tracks, brought a total of over 2 hours of complete melodic perfection.


 

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2. Nirvana – Sony Music Studios, New York City (November 19, 1993) – The American Grunge band Nirvana changed music forever. Some people view it as a bad thing, and some people view it as something that set a pace for music. On December 16, 1993, I was viewed to the TV and it dared not be turned from MTV. As part of the infamous MTV Unplugged series, Nirvana performed an acoustic performance where they covered their lesser-known material and cover versions of many of their favorite bands. The album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, was certified 5x platinum in the US by 1997. The performance won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and posthumously it is Nirvana’s most successful album. The performance of many of the songs have gained notoriety throughout the years. The song “Where did you sleep last night?” (which was arranged by blues musician Lead Belly) is regarded by many as one of the greatest live performances of all time; whereas Nirvana’s rendition of David Bowie’s classic “The Man who sold the world” (specifically Kurt’s playing) is listed by MTV and Rolling Stones as one of the greatest acoustic performances of all time (despite his use of foot pedals and an amp). To have been one of the select fans that got to witness this concert first hand would have been an amazing adventure to behold.


 

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  1.  Pink Floyd – Earl’s Court Exhibition Hall, London (June 17, 1981) – Pink Floyd puts on an amazing show. The lights, the theatrics, the larger than life stage show, and the extra nuances that make them great are only shadows on the wall behind the amazing performers that they are. The Wall is one of my favorite albums of all time and to be able to hear David Gilmour’s “Comfortably Numb” guitar solo in person could quite possibly be one of the closest things to perfection that you can find. There isn’t much to say, except….a Pink Floyd live experience would be just that….a truly awesome experience. The Wall was not a traditional traveling tour. It was a complete theatrical experience. The experience is more than just music and emotion….it was a spectacle.


Images: Featured Image: Pink Floyd 1973 Retouched photo by and accredited to TimDuncanderivative work: Mr. Frank (talk) – PinkFloyd1973.jpg, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10703646
Fleetwood Mac Trade ad for Rumours by and accredited to Warner Bros. Records – Billboard, page 86, 25 Jun 1977, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29477518
Beethoven in his home painting by and accredited to Carl Schloesser – http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuva:Beethovenhome.JPG
Engel by Rammstein image accredited to http://www.flickr.com/photos/closeto94/ – http://www.flickr.com/photos/closeto94/6932258453/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22797146
James Hetfield concert image by and accredited to wonker from London, United Kingdom – James Hetfield, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41529767
Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant image by and attributed to Dina Regine – http://www.flickr.com/photos/divadivadina/465006384/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8022602
Jimi Hendrix’s Guitar Strap photo by Sam Howzit – CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44052647
Queen’s Freddie Mercury image by and attributed to Carl Lender, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5904129
James Hetfield image by and attributed to I, Flowkey, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2427494
Nirvana Unplugged logo attributed to http://theriveranswers.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/nirvana-unplugged_in_new_york.jpg
Pink Floyd “The Wall” logo by and attributed to pink floyd – http://www.seeklogo.com/files/P/Pink_Floyd_The_Wall-vector-logo-15898F56FA-seeklogo.com.zip, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38936704

The Nacho Legacy

NachopostWhile watching Nacho Libre the other night, I started hitting up google (as I usually do) trying to find out information about the real Nacho Libre. Well as you usually do, on Google, I found out more than I bargained for. Nacho Libre is a movie starring Jack Black but the forename ‘Nacho’ means something in the gastronomical world. Nachos are usually a simple snack food that we all know derived from Mexico. This simple dish is now made by taking tortilla chips and plopping melted cheese down on top of them. Some ballparks, concert venues, restaurants and bars are kicking it up a notch (to steal a line from Guy Fieri) by elevating the snack food to a full blown main dish by adding ground beef, ground pork, chicken, beans, olives, jalapeño peppers, sour cream, guacamole or any other misc topping that your heart could desire. So why has this dish, that many people in America label nachos as a cheap ballpark snack or when souped up, view it as a to-be-shared bar or restaurant appetizer, become synonymous with snacking? Does this simple chip delicacy deserve to be known as more than a chip snack covered in fake cheese?

The nacho itself began life in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico; which is just across the 640px-Piedras_Negras_SignMexican border from Texas. The town teamed with people in 1943 because the U.S. soldier’s and their families stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass would come to Piedras Negras to shop. On one specific shopping trip, a group of U.S. soldier’s wives arrived a restaurant in town after a day of shopping but they arrived just after the kitchen had closed down for the day. To not turn away any business; the maitre d of the hotel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, concocted something for the ladies to eat utilizing what he had left over in the kitchen. As he looked around the kitchen he could only find left over tortillas, cheese and pickled jalapeño peppers, so he cut up the tortillas into triangles and deep fried them. He took these crispy tortilla ‘chips’ and covered them with cheese shredded cheddar cheese and melted the cheese in the oven. As they were still piping hot from the oven, he sliced the pickled jalapeño peppers on top before they were whisked away to the table.

The ladies loved the dish and when asked what the dish was called, the quick thinking Nacho says, “Nacho’s especiales”. From there the legend was born. Word continued to travel and somehow along the way, the apostrophe was lost or the pronunciation was lost 640px-Sausage_sandwich_with_nachosin translation but the ladies told everyone that they must try the “Special Nacho” instead of Nacho’s Special. The popularity of the dish skyrocketed, despite the miscommunication in the name. Nacho began working at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras but eventually opened his own restaurant, Nacho’s Restaurant. Nacho’s original “Nacho” recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook leading to the dish spreading throughout all of Texas and all of the Southwest….and the rest is just history.

Waitress Carmen Rocha took the recipe from a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas with her to Los Angeles where she introduced the dish at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959. The dish continued in popularity and a cheapened version of the dish was marketed in 1976 by 640px-Flickr_jennerosity_3399911471--NachosFrank Liberto at the Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This version which utilized a zesty cheese sauce and premade ‘tortilla chips’ became known as what we call ‘ballpark nachos. During a Monday Night Football game, Howard Cosell a sportscaster working a Monday Night Football game, mentioned the new dish in his broadcasts which introduced the dish to the dish to a whole new demographic. Over the years has led to many varieties nachos being found on menus all around the world.

So whether you like your nachos the old fashion way with homemade fried tortilla triangles topped with cheese and pickled jalapeños; Mexican restaurant style topped high with ground beef, pico de gallo/salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, sour cream and lettuce; gastropub style made with heirloom tomatoes and roasted duck; or the cheap, quick and easy ballpark version, just remember to tip your sombrero to Ignancio “Nacho” Anaya and yearning to never turn away a customer.

Well….I think I’ll go now, because now I’m hungry. For some nachos of course. 🙂

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Images: 

Nacho Libre image

Piedras Negras Sign Image by and accredited to Mquirarte – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17937208

Sausage Sandwich with nachos image by and accredited to jeffreyw – Uploaded by Fæ, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23104887

Featured Image – Nachos image by and accredited to Jennifer Feuchter from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9803156

Nachos with beef and beans image by and accredited toRenee Comet (photographer) – This image was released by the National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health, with the ID 2646 (image) (next). https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1635390

 

 

 

Life Hack: Car Headlight Restoration

If you’re like me and your finances force you to keep a vehicle for long enough that you have to do more than the normal amounts of maintenance and repairs, then this life hack is for you. Sometimes, cosmetically, your aging car needs some TLC. This was literally shown to me before my very eyes the other night when I was driving my 2006 Honda Ridgeline. I was driving back home the other night when my wife asked if I had my headlights on, to which I honestly had to check and make sure. My lights were on but my headlights were so dim that it appeared that they were not.

I walked outside the next morning and found the reason that my headlights were so dim. img_1627The headlight was old and dull. It looked like someone had taken sandpaper and scratched up the whole thing. Over the years of being a car guy, I knew that they made headlight restoration kits and while I was in O’Reilly Auto Parts buying parts, I decided to check out the ‘kit’. The kit that they were selling, need I say ‘minimal’ and definitely not worth the $9.99 price tag. (Besides the negative reviews that I read about the product online.) So I decided to do a little DIY investigation. Turns out the more expensive kits have an abrasive compound and something to apply it with. My wife and I pretty much simultaneously thought, ‘abrasive material = toothpaste’ and what better applicator than an abrasive dish towel and elbow grease.

So I went to the dollar store and purchased a $1 tube of Crest toothpaste and a $1 pack of dish cloths. I brought a galloon of water to help rinse everything off. to make a long story short, after a minute and a half of scrubbing the headlights with the toothpaste, the headlights look good as new. So save your  money and use a little bit of elbow grease and $2’s worth of items and you’ll improve the appearance of your ride by 1000%.

Manic Monday and Top Cat’s Tuesday Top 10: Top 10 Most Common Annoyances/Pet Peeves

So the other day I was reading the incredibly popular and inspiring information website Huffington Post and found an article that they had published on a topic that hits close to home for me: Pet Peeves. We all know that I have an affinity for writing about them: Here, here, and here are some examples. The article from Huffington Post showcases a chosen 76 Incredibly Accurate Pet Peeves That Will Drive. You. Nuts. After reading this article, I realized that not only do I feel good about the particular Pet Peeves that I have; but I’m pretty sure that 75% of the population is walking around with a vein popping out of their forehead due to the stress that is being inflicted by our pet peeves. So to make the people afflicted by these pet peeves feel less alone (and the fact that I guess I’m addicted to making Top Ten lists), I’m reviewing this article and integrating two of my blog types. So here are my Top Ten Pet Peeves that are Guaranteed to Drive You Nuts! 

10. When you let a car cut in front of you and they DON’T WAVE TO THANK YOU!!!! Same goes to you ‘Ms. I stopped at the cross walk even though I didn’t have to so you could walk across the road at the mall/Walmart’.

9. People who talk over you when you’re clearly still in the middle of a sentence.

8. Slow drivers who stay in the ‘fast lane’ and don’t allow you to go past them. This also goes for groups of people or people in general who walk slowly or stop suddenly in the middle of a sidewalk or aisle. MOVE!

7. People who constantly say ‘no offense’ as if it takes away from the extremely mean thing that you just said!

6. Strangers who listen to their music through the phone’s speaker, instead of headphones.

5. People who purposely use bad grammar and do not correct their spelling.

4. People who don’t cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.

3. People who smoke cigarettes or use electronic cigarettes around non-smoking. And your e-cigarette or ‘vape’ is still smoking. Smoking is smoking.

2. People who scuff their feet as they walk down the street, especially if they’re wearing flip flops, boots or UGGs. AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

  1. Loud chewing, or people chewing with their mouths open. This also covers people who chew gum loudly and attempt to blow bubbles in confined quarters.

*Maybe this list will make you and your quirks feel a little bit ‘less weird’. Don’t feel ostracized by your pet peeves. You can’t help that you want to smack your friend in the face when she’s chewing her gum with her mouth open. 😉

Thor’s Thursday Tour: Mama Dips of Chapel Hill

carolina-thorInside one of the three corners of the Research Triangle Park in the piedmont region of North Carolina lies a quaint yet legendary southern food restaurant that has been serving Chapel Hill since 1976. Thor had heard of the legend from fan’s of his favorite college football team: The North Carolina Tar Heels. The restaurant has been an after game ritual for many Tar Heel fans and Thor had to experience this himself.

Thor sadly witnessed his beloved Tar Heels lose at the hands of the much-loathed Duke Blue Devils; so he and his fellow Tar Heel Fans were in need of some food that would bring happiness to tattered hearts. mama-dips-logoIt was a good thing that Thor was within walking distance of Mama Dips. The southern food restaurant was waiting with open arms to greet the defeated Tar Heel fans and the smell of their home made sweet potato biscuits permeated the air as they walked through the door. Thor ordered their juicy fried chicken and as many fixings as he could imagine. The delicious home cooked taste warmed his heart and refueled his Godly body. Thor devoured his meal and two baskets of those delicious smelling sweet potato biscuits which he liberally slathered with butter.

mama-dips-foodAfter his meal was disposed of, his waitress brought forth a platter of deserts to assuage the sweet tooth that he thought could never be satisfied. Upon his request the chocolate pecan pie covered with a heavy dollop of vanilla ice cream satisfied any assuaged sweet tooth. An opportunity to experience such stupefyingly delectable fare brought joy to his defeated heart and made the Tar Heels defeat taste a little better in his mouth. He flew back to Asgard to tell his brethren of the goodness that he had experienced at Mama Dips. He knew that he would return as soon as his next group of adventures relented and allowed him the free time to wander his beloved Earth realm once more.

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Thor was called to wield Mjolnir into action due to one of his compatriots trying to steal his sweet potato biscuits. 

That Breathe of Fresh Air doesn’t always have to be taken Outside.


Most of my Monday posts are my manic complaints about how aggravating that the things around me can be and my Tuesday’s are riddled with my lists of things that I love; but today I figured that I would take a different approach.

It wasn’t too long after the first that I met my wife, Chastity, it was very evident that she had a green thumb. She hit it off well with my grandmother whom I always said had two green thumbs because my grandparent’s closed in garage was not for my grandpa’s Mercury; the car port was for my grandmother’s deep freezers (full of food to keep her family fed) and tables overflowing with beautiful plants and flowers of all shapes and sizes. So that I don’t reminisce too much, I’ll just say that I knew about the benefit of some plants before I met my wife through my grandmother. Have a sun burn? Break off a piece of the aloe vera plant. To liven up a stuffy house during the winter months? Bring inside your snake plant. It wasn’t until the beginning of the school year (a couple of years ago) that I was about to start and I wanted a plant for my classroom that I truly started to realize the positive impact that having a ‘plant’ inside can have on your life. Funny what happens when you actually start listening to your spouse when they know something.

office-plants-1I feel that it would be a travesty to not share something that could be pivotal to your health. So, the air quality of your office building, apartment or upstairs bedroom might not be your number 1 priority but it should be something to think about. Air quality of enclosed spaces is important enough that NASA itself does an immense amount of research on the topic. The indoor air pollutants that we encounter every day is staggering. The indoor environment does not have the freedom that our outside environment does (think wind blowing away dust, fresh air, rain washing away pollutants, etc). The stagnant indoor environment is a breeding ground for contaminants. Being that most adults spend about 90% of our working hours indoors; it is a good idea to care about good quality air. The

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Picture credit NASA’s Plants, for your Health study.

furnishings, upholstery, building materials, cleaning products and various machines can emit a variety of toxic compounds like formaldehyde, house bacteria and mold and cause contaminants like trapped car exhaust. The fact that most of the office buildings, schools, or anywhere else is made worse by small spaces and poorly-ventilated spaces. For example; that upstairs window that your mom painted shut last year that you never fixed. Or how about the exhaust fan to the attic that they have never gotten around to replace? So the beauty of our current predicament is that God gave us a way to inflict Rambo-like force upon the disgusting stuff that is in the air that we breathe, and it comes right from nature. That’s right….I’m talking about plants.

SO you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Chris, how in the crap do you expect me to believe that putting a potted plant in my bedroom will help me sleep at night?” Well friend…the answer is simple. Plants absorb most of the particulates in the air. They ‘breath’ in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. BUT that’s not all!!!! The microorganisms that are present in the potting soil, and the microbes there in also contribute to the cleansing. And besides…..plants just make people feel happy. For example, why do you think that we bring flowers to people to show that we love them? BECAUSE PLANTS AND FLOWERS ARE AWESOME. Why do you put plants in hospital rooms? Because hospital patients with plants in their rooms have statistically been more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels. It is also statistically proven that indoor plants will make you smarter by allowing you to stay more alert and reduce your mental fatigue.

I admit that I have always been afraid of killing plants. I admit that my wife is by far one of the most intelligent people that I have ever known and her knowledge of plant life astounds me but if you don’t have one of these people in your life, just look at the little label or tag that is stuck inside the soil of the plant or printed on a label on the container that the plant is growing inside. Remember some plants need to be repotted over time. Some plants need new potting soil every now and then. Some plants need to be watered. Some plants need to see sunshine from time to time. It’s really not that hard. 🙂

So here is my list of plants that are beneficial to your life just by having them in your enclosed space. I am giving you my preferred list of what they can do for you and also if there are any specific troubling things that you need to know.  Please note that I am not a horticulturalist nor am I an expert. SO don’t sue me if you don’t like having an aloe plant in your basement.

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peace-lilyPeace Lily – The peace lily is my wife’s choice for best inside plant. The peace lily blooms fragrant flowers throughout the summer and can grow in shady areas. It can not be in direct sunlight but indirect light from inside the room is great. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the area. It’s small but powerful air-cleaning ability overpowers the downfalls. Like all flowers, the flower of the peace lily will contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air which you may want to eliminate having too many of them in one room. Other than that…enjoy their beauty and benefits.

 

 

Chrysanthemum aka the garden mum – The chrysanthemum is my grandmother’s 
chrysanthemumfavorite flower and I even got it tattooed in part of my half sleeve in memory of her. Besides being beautiful the inexpensive flowering plant can be planted outside if need be but if placed inside is an air-purifying champion. It removes ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air. Like the Peace Lily, you will have a small amount of pollen during spring but this will not be a problem as long as you don’t have too many in one place.

Aloe Vera – The aloe vera plant is not pretty but it will remove formaldehyde from the air. Besides its pollutant removing qualities, it probably isn’t safe to be around small children. The greatness of the Aloe plant is multiplied by fact that the aloe plant is AMAZINGLY easy to take care of is amplified still by the clear fluid that hides within its leaves. The leaves are full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes up for anything that you may think about the prickly plant. It is amazing to use when you have sun burn and has been known to be useful for people who suffer from psoriasis.

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Snake plant aka Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – The snake plant is something that I remember my grandmother having in her collection of potted plants. She prided herself on the size of her snake plant. Despite preferring to be in drier conditions, needing a little bit of sun and an occasional watering; the snake plant is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. And it will be worth whatever trouble that it may cause because it removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene from your indoor environment.

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Bamboo Palm – When you think of the bamboo palm, you more than likely think of Japanese culture or part of the selective diet of a panda. What you don’t think about is the fact that this benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene filtering palms thrive in sunlight and the bigger that they get, the better addition that they are to your inside environment. They can be really big outside and can grow as high as you will let them inside your home.

 

 

boston-fernBoston Fern – The Boston Fern is what you usually think of when you think of a fern. The Boston Fern likes to set up shop in a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. So that hall bathroom would be a perfect spot for a fern. While the fern removes formaldehyde and xylene from the air, you will need to check its soil almost daily to ensure that the soil is moist.

dracaenaDracaena – The Dracaena is an easy addition to your home or office. Their gorgeous looks are only multiplied by their pollutant removing powers. The dracaena can remove benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene. My grandmother had a dracaena that she had kept alive since my father was a child (my dad hasn’t been a child for over 50 years by the way). My cousin now has this plant in her home and it is still thriving and doing well. The only downfall to the dracaena is that the leaves are quite toxic to cats and dogs. So….pet owners might want to steer clear of this wide leafed plant.

ficus-weeping-fig

Ficus aka Weeping Fig – Okay, so I know that ficus sounds like something that you cough up when you’re sick with the flu but a ficus is actually a tree that originally came from southeast Asia. The low maintenance plant can grow up to ten feet tall. The ficus can be taken outside during the summer months and brought back inside when its cold to remove benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Guess this silly sounding name packs a big punch.

 

Thor’s Thursday Tour: Holland’s Shelter Creek

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frog-legsSometimes you want to break away from the norm. Sometimes you want to go somewhere where everyone knows your name. Sometimes you want to experience something that you have never experienced before. Sometimes that something is frog legs. Well not just delicious golden brown, deep fried frog legs but fresh, delicious seafood in general. When you’re the God of Thunder, you can go anywhere in the known universe but why go to Jotunheim to eat popsicles with the Frost Giants or play miniature golf with the Dwarves of Nidavellir when you could eat seafood beside of the extremely photogenic Northeast Cape Fear River while watching hummingbirds drink sugary water from feeders hung at precise locations on the outside of your eating establishment? That’s right, you wouldn’t. You would travel to Burgaw, NC to eat delicious seafood.

The God of Thunder needs a break from time to img_0601time. And sometimes the breaks that he needs is from the hustle and bustle of his busy and sometimes chaotic life. Someone on one of his last trips to Eastern North Carolina told him about some of the best seafood that they had ever had being right down the road. At that point, Thor had to get back to Asgard (and Iron Man said that he was trying to watch his fried food intake) so the seafood trip was saved for another day. But luckily for him that day was today. Thor entered the rustic establishment and made his order at wooden tables with old fashioned ladder back chairs. He had to have a seafooddelicious bowl of spicy catfish stew with a plate of frog legs, cajun spiced fried catfish,  big pile of sea scallops piled upon a mountain of crinkle cut french fries. As he dipped his last hushpuppy in butter and drank the last sip of his southernly delicious sweet tea, he walked past through the eclectically decorated restaurant past the stuffed grizzly bear and again joined the outside world. He held his hammer into the sky as he called for Heimdall to bring him back home to Asgard. Heimdall’s only issue was that he realized that Thor had forgotten to bring him a cup of clam chowder. There is always next time Heimdall…always next time.

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