Monthly Archives: January 2008

Tony Gonzalez wants to know if you’re going to finish that asparagus

Pax Arcana 

Between Michael Pollan’s newest book, In Defense of Food, and this article in the New York Times, some might start believing that meat is on its last legs, so to speak.

The Times article, by astute food writer Mark Bittman, seeks to draw a parallel between American dependence on fossil fuels and our dietary dependence on animal proteins. The numbers say we are consuming more dead animals than ever, but that might change as a result of rising food prices. And reducing consumption of animals might make us healthier, Bittman says:

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.

Pax Arcana does not buy this for a second. I’m not the type for breakfast sausage or hamburger lunches, but like a lot of Americans, I start to get a little quakey — and a little angry — if I go too long without protein. And the most efficient delivery mechanism for protein is meat.

tony_gonzalez_broccoli.jpgBut according to this WSJ article, NFL superstar Tony Gonzalez doesn’t have that problem. Apparently Gonzalez was turned on to veganism by a fellow passenger on a flight. After failing in his initial effort (he lost 10 pounds in three weeks and had regressed in the weight room), Gonzalez worked with the Chiefs’ trainer to customize a mostly-plants diet with a few servings of fish and chicken thrown in:

After a preseason practice, he accompanied Mr. Hinds to learn a skill he believed as important as blocking techniques: how to shop for groceries. Mr. Hinds showed him nutritious fish oils and how to pick out breads dense with whole grains, nuts and seeds. “The best bread for you,” says Mr. Hinds, “is if I hit you with it, it hurts.” Mr. Gonzalez also learned how to make the fruit and vegetable shake he drinks each morning. He stocked his pantry with tubs of soy protein powder and boxes of organic oatmeal; soy milk and Brazilian acai juice crowded the fridge. His favorite dessert became banana bread topped with soy whipped cream from the vegan cafe near his home in Orange County’s Huntington Beach. Mr. Gonzalez soon recovered his lost pounds and strength.

As 2007 champion of my fantasy football league (Jersey Turnpikes represent!), I am honor-bound to refrain from criticizing my starting tight end. But I will say this: It’s probably much easier to adhere to a plant-based diet when you’ve got personalized consultants and chefs to help you out. For most of us, though, meat will remain the best mechanism for consumption of protein because A) It has a lot of it, and B) It tastes awesome.

So unless you’re planning on making meat more expensive — or letting Father Scott cook it for you (zing!) — my guess is rumors of meat’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler [New York Times]
The 247 lb. Vegan [WSJ]

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Save PIAB Update: PIAB has returned

Like a glowing Phoenix alighting from the embers of the eternal flame of awesomeness, the slap-fighting girls at Perk is a Beast have returned.

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But the real question is: Did their Web site freeze-out mellow the chaps at all? Did spending a full quarter on the sideline dampen their will to play? Has a steady diet of leftovers quashed their appetite for fresh blood?

Not bloody likely:

On Sunday, we wanted to punch out Hedo Turkaglu and bemoaned the fact that we didn’t have a platform to once again take a giant shit on the toothless Orlando fans, who were undoubtedly thinking they had accomplished something. Let me remind you yokes that beating a team at home on a last second shot when they are missing their best player is more of an indictment on your poor play than a victory.

The Beast is back.

Perk is a Beast [Official Site]

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The food children of Georgia shall have their revenge

Pax Arcana

As has been documented previously, Perry Ellis and the yogic and tolerant Mrs. Perry Ellis will soon bring forth a child into this world — and like all parents they must now endure the emotionally fraught process of naming their spawn.

Pax Arcana does not have any specific ideas yet, but I do suggest taking a look at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s database of every baby name doled out in Georgia since 1990. There you will find ample examples of how not to do it right.

My favorite section is the Food and Drink category, in which we discover that among the 7,500 Jasmines and 711 Brandys on Georgian playgrounds lurk Capers (3), Chardonnays (19), Melbas (8), and Farinas (2).

These children are not only hilarious. They’re also delicious:

You could make a hillbilly margarita with Ice (1), Lime (1), and Tequila (46).

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From left to right, Nacho, Barley, Ramen, Taffy, and Gin enjoy the monkey bars before looking for work as strippers and bookies.

You could make beef jerky out of Kobe (330) or Mignon (6) that comes in both Kipper (2) and Teriyaki (1) flavors.

Make a stew out of Lamb (1), Vidalia (5), Thyme (1), and Kale (56). Of course you’ll need to make a Roux (1) first.

You could sweeten your family with Dextrose (1).

You could add an exotic twist to your family by naming your kid Chutney (1) or Masala (1).

Or you could just straight up murder your kid’s sense of self-worth by naming him Taco, as one Georgian parent did.

Seriously. Taco.

Georgia names since 1990 [AJC]

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Save PIAB!!

Pax Arcana

I’m not sure if questionable grammar can actually blow up a Web site, but the greatest Celtics blog in the entire universe has been down for a few days now.

perkisabeast.jpg
My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw PIAB pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.

The proprietor of the site tells me they’re working diligently to root out the issue and get their ship righted. In the meantime, if any of you geeks has some serious WordPress skillz and might be able to diagnose the problem, send me a note at paxarcana [at] gmail dot com and I’ll put you in touch.

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It was 20 years ago today…

Perry Ellis

…that the best member of the best band of the 80s cut the cord. But he’s not looking back in anger.

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How the Mets gave Yo La Tengo their name

Pax Arcana

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Seriously. Is it baseball season yet?

The sport of baseball has overlapped with the arts more than any other American pastime. There exists a body of great baseball literature, for example, and throughout history even a number of baseball-related songs have made their way into our shared cultural experience.

No other sport really comes close in this regard (though boxing has inspired a number of great writers and great films).

So it’s not really much of a surprise that my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, would intersect on some plane with one of my favorite bands, Brooklyn-based Yo La Tengo. In this video on the band’s site, Ira Kaplan shares the story behind the band’s name by interviewing Mets great Ed Kranepool.

Here’s the story in a peanut shell:

Kranepool was on the Mets during their inaugural 1962 season, in which they were one of the worst teams in the history of baseball. Centerfielder Richie Ashburn (a future Hall of Famer) and shortstop Elio Chacon had difficulty communicating on several shallow pop-ups because Chacon spoke almost no English. Another player suggested Ashburn learn the phrase “Yo la tengo!” which translates to “I got it!” in Spanish, to avoid collisions. Soon after, a pop-up to shallow left brought Ashburn screaming in toward the infield, shouting “Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!” Chacon backed off, but Ashburn crashed hard into leftfielder Frank Thomas, who did not speak Spanish and had no idea what Ashburn was yelling about.

In college we had a Japanese guy who didn’t speak much English, either. Instead of learning the Japanese for “I got it!” though, we just let him get everything. Man, that kid worked hard for his roster spot.

Kaplan’s Korner [Yo La Tengo Official Web site]

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Best. Lede. Ever.

Pax Arcana

There are probably few journalism jobs more hilarious than the crime beat at a tabloid paper. Witness my former colleague, and current Boston Herald crime reporter, O’Ryan Johnson’s take on a knife fight at a Brighton IHOP last weekend:

A knife duel between two workers at a Brighton greasy spoon turned the eatery into the International House of Pain.

If only Tom Brady’s boot was involved, this would be the lede of the year.

Employees’ knife fight has Brighton eatery hopping [Boston Herald]

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The real LT was a lot tougher

Man, those were some scary dudes back then. Angry, fast, and more chock full of cocaine than a seaplane out of Colombia.

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Succumb to your Evil Urges

Father Scott

Bastion of all that is good Paste Magazine reports My Morning Jacket has announced the name of its upcoming album: Evil Urges. The album is due June 10, but unfortunately Paste has no more information about song titles or any quotes from the band about sonic path they’ve gone down. (The band’s site provides nothing at all. Lame.)

Sounds like a pretty righteous album name, certainly better than the predictable and dull title Z from 2006. Musically who knows if Evil Urges and compare; Z was one of my two favorite albums of that year (along with Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine). 

Paste also passes along that MMJ sold out their upcoming Radio City Music Hall show in 22 minutes. With good reason: MMJ is awesome live. Their sound is big on CD, but it’s huge live. I was front row when they played the Avalon in Boston last year, and I think my knees are still shaking from the bass in “Wordless Chorus.”

And since there’s no other information available to comment on, suffice it to say that Father Scott expects this to be the best album of 2008. No pressure, boys.

Now check this clip of them performing Letterman with the Boston Pops:

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Jr. Europe cover band is not my reason for living

Pax Arcana 

GOB Bluth would not approve.

(Hat tip: The incomparable Shef)

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