Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You asked for it: The New BlogFreeSpringfield

Hamburger Helper Potatoes Stroganoff

You will need:

1 lb. hamburger meat

1¼ cups milk

2 cups hot water


Brown hamburger meat in 10-inch skillet; drain.

Stir in milk, hot water, Sauce Mix and uncooked Potatoes.

Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

Remove from heat and uncover (sauce will thicken as it stands).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Crap Tablet (edited) (updated)

Here's my latest SJ-R column. I liked it, by then again, I'm a partial to my own musings. If I were to be objective, I'd say that you could probably skip it and not miss much.

Update I was remiss in not linking to another SJ-R article, written by Chris Young and focused on local historian, amateur photographer, and keeper of massive amounts of trivial knowledge, Russ Friedewald and his Springfield Rewind Web site. No profanity was used in the making of that article.

Thanks to everyone who filled out the user survey. I haven't done an extensive analysis of the results yet, but a cursory glance suggests that most of you would prefer that I shut up about music and politics and just provide recipes suitable for a family on a budget. I have to admit, I'm a bit surprised as that's not what I thought BFS was about But I'm nothing if not accommodating so look for a "2,000 Ways to Make Hamburger Helper Work for You" feature to appear on a regular basis.

I'm "this much" closer to having a BFS T-shirt to give away to those who want one, but not everyone. Russ designed several killer logos and we have a shirt in the works.

The Firefighters Club trivia night is next Saturday. It's proven to be the most entertaining of trivia nights and emcee Allen Reyne is a local treasure. If you 'd like to come and compete for second place, click here for details.

I've never embedded a video before, but all the cool people are doing it, so I thought I'd give it a go. This is a totally captivating video by a cool chic goes by the name a' Feist. I'll leave you with this. Look for bigger and better things ahead.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You won't want to miss out on this!

There’s still time to take the BFS User Survey. I forgot to mention it earlier, but if you make a wish before taking it, and then answer all ten questions, then your wish will come true or something. Don’t ask me how, but it works.

BlogFreeSpringfield User Survey

Monday, November 05, 2007

Take our survey . . . Please!

AT BFS, we’re committed to occasionally providing you with something to read when you’re bored at work. To better attune ourselves to your interests, we’re asking that you complete a brief survey that can be accessed through this link.* There are nine multiple choice questions and a tenth where you will be asked to comment on how we can better serve your blogging needs. Feel free to be blunt, our feelings aren’t easily compromised.

Take a moment, won’t you, and complete this important survey. All entries will be eligible for a prize, although you’ll have to be content with just being eligible as there are no plans to award prizes at this time.

With your help, we can build a stronger BlogFreeSpringfield.

BlogFreeSpringfield User Survey

*(The survey is hosted by Survey Monkey, by all accounts, a reputable concern. You can access it without fear of corruptive intrusions or inappropriate content. Trust me on this.)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

. . . in which I confess to the Almighty Gods of Rock.

Over yonder at Slate, they asked some authors to name the book they feel most guilty about having never read. Most of them picked a title that is generally considered to be a classic, written by an author generally considered to be a big dog in literary circles.

Many of the people interviewed have actually started to read the book at issue and they offer a litany of reasons for why they haven’t finished it. It’s interesting that none of them said, however, what is probably the real reason: they just don’t care for the book.

It’s not easy to admit that you don’t appreciate a work that your aspirational peers admire. There can be a certain shame involved because you end up not faulting the work, but your own inability to grasp its greatness. Perhaps you’re too simple or shallow. Maybe you went to the wrong schools. Maybe it’s genetic. Whatever shortcomings you lay at your own feet, it’s best to keep them to yourself and go along with what your “betters” have established to be true.

All of this set me to thinking about things I should like, but don’t. Not a guilty pleasure, but a guilty annoyance, if you will. For the interest of this blog, I’ll concentrate on music, since that seems to be a favorite topic of suggestion.

Some in my set like Dave Matthews, but I don’t feel guilty about finding him insufferable. I’ve run with some Deadheads in my day, but despite a brief dalliance (I once owned American Beauty), I don’t feel the need to pretend that I enjoy their incessant noodling. Then there are the authentic rockers like Tom Petty or Eric Clapton, who portray none of the preening or pretentiousness that I despise, yet who, with few exceptions (American Girl), still fail to move me with their music and can even be the source of great annoyance (Jammin’ Me. Lord do I hate that song.)

I can stand by my dislike of these musicians without feeling unhip or stunted in some manner. It’s much harder for me to admit that . . . that I . . . I . . I don’t like the Beatles, OKAY!

Just keep walking, boys.

Well, perhaps don’t like is too strong. But I can no longer count myself as a Beatles fan.

Now let’s be clear about one thing, I have the utmost respect for their talent and their body of work. There can be no doubt that they’ve written some great songs. They are one of the most groundbreaking bands in the history of popular music and their influence is beyond measure. I’ve enjoyed listening to them in the past, but for some reason, I don’t anymore.

What’s troubling is that I don’t know why.

Some might suggest that I’ve forsaken the past for more modern sounds, but if that were the case, then why do I still love the Kinks? Clearly, I can commit to a long-term relationship with a band, even after younger, more attractive bands start to catch me eye.

Others might say that I’m a music snob and am thus put off by the Beatles massive mainstream following. I’ll admit that my CD collection contains few top Billboard artists, but I can assure you that even in the deepest recesses of the indie rock world, there is no cachet to be had by dissing the Fab Four.

The only reason I can come up with, and this probably doesn’t really explain it, is that I’m not a big fan of Lennon or McCartney as vocalists. Again, this is no indictment on their abilities, it’s just that you either like a singer’s voice or you don’t and it may have nothing to do with his range or tonality.

It’s perhaps revealing that my two favorite Beatles songs aren’t Beatles songs, they’re George Harrison songs. What Is Life is in heavy rotation during our weekly dance parties and My Sweet Lord is one of my favorite inspirationals. Clearly it’s not an anti-Liverpool bias that drives my indifference to the lads, so perhaps there is something about the group dynamic that I subconsciously find off-putting.

Could it be that I resent the second-class status that Ringo was laden with? Was it the mockery that became of the Lennon-McCartney collaboration? Was it Yoko? Linda?

I’ll probably never know. But what I would like to know is what is your guilty annoyance? What band just doesn’t rock you like you think that they should?