Overzealous Recycling 004: That’s up to the gods


I snuck out the last Overzealous Recycling with no promotion, but you can read it here — 

Maybe this is a hedge, but I’m more of a New England Patriots admirer than a fan. I’ve read a few books on Bill Belichick during the past few years because I’m intrigued by how he’s been able to maintain such success in a NFL that turns over so frequently. And Tom Brady is a Michigan man who was never appreciated as much in Ann Arbor as he should’ve been.

Also, a good friend of mine recently moved to New England and is saturated with Red Sox and Patriots talk, as you might imagine. I tend to follow the sports teams wherever she lives, if for no other reason than feeding her watercooler conversation topics.

So I suppose I’m rooting for the Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII. I’d have no problem with the Rams winning, and it would sort of be revenge for the Pats beating the then-St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI (2002). But I’ve always liked to see excellence rewarded, even if it doesn’t make for the most compelling sports story or rooting interest.

During one of my local radio appearances on WISE Sports Radio here in Asheville, I said on the air that the Patriots would win, 31-20. (And I’ll be sitting in as a co-host this Friday for the second consecutive week.) So I should stick to that. But I do have this feeling that the Rams’ fearsome defensive tackles, Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, could disrupt Tom Brady. It might be closer than I predicted.

Musical Interlude

Sometimes, I feel like the people who truly get me in this life are those who share my love of CBS Sunday Morning. If you’re with me, you enjoy that signature theme song and trumpet. The show is celebrating its 40th anniversary and last week ran this feature on that distinct theme.

You Stand Corrected

How many replies did NPR get from Dungeons & Dragons fans (or board game enthusiasts) to post this correction?

Grocery Store Playlist

For the last couple of years, I’ve joked with friends that the best music I hear these days is playing at the grocery store. Songs from the ’80s and ’90s just hit my sweet spot. I probably linger in the aisles longer than I should because I’m enjoying the music, while also fantasizing about eating healthier and cooking more ambitiously.

During my last three visits to the grocery store, I’ve started keeping track of which songs I hear (Shazam helps me with the tunes I don’t recognize) and posting those playlists on Facebook. But it occurred to me that I could share the fun by making Spotify playlists of those songs. Here’s what I heard last Saturday while buying salad ingredients, restocking La Croix and marveling over what’s available in the frozen food aisle these days.

That’s two Musical Interludes for this week, isn’t it?

Meal Plan

I’ve been wanting to include some food content in each (not a) newsletter, and Super Bowl Sunday seems like a good occasion to share some fun dip or snack recipes. But I usually just have pizza or wings. Nothing too exciting.

But I’m thinking of trying Sean Brock’s recipe for pimento cheese this year.

3 large pimento peppers (about 12 oz.)
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
1/2 tsp. vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 cup pickled ramps, chopped, plus 1/2 cup of the brine. (If you can’t find ramps, you can substitute finely-chopped bread-and-butter pickles and brine.)
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater

You can read the prep at Garden & Gun. I’m not sure about roasting the peppers, but know they’ll taste better and mix better with everything that way. Oh, I’m gonna eat way too many crackers…

10 to Read

** We’re probably to the point where Tony Romo is overpraised for his analysis on CBS NFL broadcasts. (“Genius”? C’mon.) But he is really good on TV and it’ll be fun to watch/listen to him on Sunday’s Super Bowl telecast. [New Yorker]

** Journalism should be supported with subscriptions. But should that money be put toward an inferior product? Friends of mine have lost jobs due to the Citizen-Times‘ layoffs here in Asheville, and the current product has very little local news in it. It’s not worth my money. But is that attitude part of the problem? [Washington Post]

** My former colleague Harry Lyles Jr. wrote a fascinating piece on Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood and how it changed irrevocably after the January 2000 incident involving NFL linebacker in which two people were murdered. [SB Nation]

** Information for life, if you ever happen to eat a Lego piece. (Accidentally, presumably.) But a specific kind of Lego piece. Imagine volunteering for this study. [Smithsonian]


** Lost in all the disbelief over Donald Trump serving the national champion Clemson Tigers an array of fast food burgers, fries and salads is that only 15 of the team’s 74 black players opted to visit the White House. That’s 26 percent, folks. [The Root]

** Would you be surprised to learn that Trump’s favorite thing to point out when giving tours of the White House is where Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky spent their… intimate moments together? No, me either. [Washington Post]

** I changed my passwords on a couple of Gmail accounts because I couldn’t remember them. It caused a mess that took me at least a half-hour (it sure felt like longer) to fix. This writer tried to cut Google out of her life entirely and it didn’t go so well. [Gizmodo]

Yes, I know I’m far too dependent on Google and Apple, and should probably do something about that. For now, I’ll accept the consequences for convenience.

** I want to disagree with Drew Magary’s contention that bagel sandwiches are bad because it’s such an unwieldy eating experience. Yet in thinking about how I usually eat bagels (bagels with cream cheese are one of my favorite foods; if only that was nutritious), I almost always deconstruct the sandwich and eat each half individually. Mostly to prolong the joy. [GQ]

** Jumping back to the wasteland of the current media landscape — sports media, especially — there may be no better example of how bad things are than acclaimed sports columnist Ray Ratto being unemployed. Ratto is polarizing because he doesn’t try hard to be liked, but he’s dead-on about so many things in the industry and how sportswriting should be approached. [The Ringer]

** A couple of weeks ago on the Amusement Park Podcast, I highlighted YouTube show Cartoonist Kayfabe as something I’ve really been enjoying recently. I just love the deep dive nostalgia on comic book magazines, artists, characters, and trends. This interview with hosts Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg extends the fun. [Monkeys Fighting Robots]

Weekly affirmation


Not a Newsletter 003: Upward and onward to greater glory


Plenty of important (and concerning) things happened in the world this week, as has become typical in the current political and social climate we live in. But for many comic book and pop culture fans, the big news of the week was the passing of legendary Marvel Comics storyteller Stan Lee.

At 95 years old, we all knew the end was coming sooner rather than later. But it’s still hard to believe that we won’t have Stan Lee alongside us to celebrate the elevation of his creations to supreme pop culture. Yet Lee’s death also prompted more celebration than mourning as we remembered what characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Fantastic Four and so many, many others meant to us through childhood and into adulthood.

Though it didn’t seem like nearly enough, I wrote my own tribute to Stan Lee , praised my favorite creations and movie cameos of his, and we talked about his legacy on the Amusement Park Podcast.

It’s too bad that Lee’s death brought us the nostalgic escape and joy that we needed, but celebrating his legacy certainly provided a welcome diversion — even if it was borne from unfortunate news.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this. Based on my conversations, the holiday jumped on us sooner than expected. But it’ll be nice to have a break, regardless of whether or not you spend that time with family and friends. I have ambitious plans to… watch a lot of TV and movies when I’m not eating. I might have another Not a Newsletter before we dig into our respective meals. Not sure about that yet.

Regardless, I’m certainly thankful that you care enough to stop by. And I’m grateful for both the opportunity to write and express myself. Here’s a Stan Lee quote to take you into this week’s reading:

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Not a Newsletter 001: Don’t become some background noise


Here we go again with a “I haven’t written anything for a while” post. But with the calendar turning to November, it seems like a good time to turn up the output here and provide some proof of (writing) life.

(I said the same thing to myself going into October, of course. Probably at the beginning of September too.)

I don’t get to write as much as I used to (though I almost took care of that with a job I was offered — but had to turn down — this past week), so I’d really like to take care of that with the blog and website that I put the effort in to set up. That includes the Amusement Park Podcast, where I intend to put most stuff on genre and geek subjects. I feel like writing holds me accountable somehow.

(Recently, I’ve written movie reviews for A Star is Born, Halloween and The Old Man and the Gun. Bohemian Rhapsody is soon to follow. I want to do a lot more of them now that we’re in movie awards season.)

And I want to do these Not a Newsletter posts regularly. Newsletters are kind of the new blogs these days (actually, podcasts probably are) and if I thought I could assemble a decent subscriber base, I might do one. (Did I sound really old right there?)

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