HAPPY MOUTH — July, 2008

This month’s selection, by Ted, of the outing for HAPPY MOUTH SUPPER CLUB came as an accidental surprise. Apparently, when Ted was seeking a place for us to go, someone mentioned Maribelle’s CAKERY, which Ted misunderstood as Maribelle’s TAVERN, which he picked as our destination.

A happy accident it was, too… Situated near the river on the east side of town, this small neighborhood place offered good upscale-bar-type food and beverages at reasonable prices. Everything was plenty tasty! A few mis-steps here and there (some of our party had overcooked food and heavy seasoning on a few items). Accidental or not, it was a good pick, Ted!

Are bloggers taken seriously?

Julie, a blogger over at Wine Me Dine Me Cincinnati, asked in this article if female bloggers are taken seriously. Here’s my reaction:

To be honest, I am not sure the gender of the blogger matters to me at all… Content rules. My selection of blogs to read is not influenced by the gender of the writer (it seems unlikely to me that I’d recommend a blog to someone just because, “it’s written by a man!”. If I recommended a blog to you in such a way, I imagine that your first question would be, “What’s the blog about?” — asking about the content).

In fact, of the blogs I read regularly (I have a giant list of feeds in my FeedDemon) that aren’t specifically gender-focused, I tend not to know the gender of the author in most cases. The content is what’s important and is the ultimate measure of the value of the blog in my world.

Also, though I cannot speak to the motiviations of your friend who said, “Does it really matter?” ;-) , I suspect that he was commenting on the fact that content, not gender, should determine if a blog is taken seriously. That being said, I feel it was short-sighted that the author of the local article did not include female bloggers, or any bloggers other than white males.

My short answer to the question of if female bloggers are taken seriously is the same answer to the question of if male bloggers are taken seriously: No. Bloggers are not taken seriously solely as a function of gender. If the content is good and should be taken seriously, then they are — and should be — taken seriously as bloggers. Regardless of gender.

Do I feel that people should or should not read my blog solely because of my gender? No. I hope to attract and keep them with my (infrequently-updated) content that happens to be written by a male.

The broader question — are bloggers taken seriously? — is a salient one even removing the gender issue. As a blogger of more than 12 years (and sysop of The Cafe’ BBS for years before that), I believe that bloggers are not taken as seriously as “traditional” journalists. And, in my opinion as a long-time blogger, that’s okay. I take my blogging seriously, but do not think that I am doing anything more than sharing my opinion with those who care to read it.

The oldest blogs (not counting “finger” .plans which date into the late 1970′s, but don’t fit into the widely-accepted definition of “blogs”) ON THE PLANET are less than 30 years old (the first “dot com” was registered in 1985). Just one example, I’ve got copies of GOURMET magazine from the 1950s in my house, and they’re not “early” issues! GOURMET was founding in the early 1940′s, I think, so they’re incredibly established and therefore have a longer, more enduring reputation to uphold. It’s far too easy to start a blog — no matter if one has the “chops” or not — and call oneself a ‘journalist’, expecting to be taken seriously.

Do I think this will always be the case? No, of course not. We’re exploring the web and blogging as new media and the validity of bloggers seems to be increasing. But just because one has a keyboard and a blank page, it doesn’t make one a writer any more than having a knife and a pan makes one a chef.

07/16/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

Wednesday, July 16 2008 was a Wine Dinner event at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. It was hosted by Chef Matt Winterrowd and the cooking staff of The Summit restaurant, and they did a great job.

Amuse Bouche
Amuse Bouche

First Course
Scallops with gnocchi and fava beans served with Basa Blanco Rueda 2007

Soft-shell crab
Soft-shell crab

Second Course
Soft shell crab with black beans, avocado, lime and chilies with Vega Sindoa Chardonnay 2006

Roasted Pork
Roasted Pork

Third Course
Roasted Pork with tomatillo, jicama and plaintain with Tres Picos Garnacha 2006

Grilled Wagyu
Grilled Wagyu

Fourth Course
Grilled Wagyu Hanger Steak with Porcini, Polenta and Pecorino and kale with Bodegas Volver Tempranillo 2005 and Altos De Luzon 2004

Cheese course
Cheese course

Fifth Course
Cheese Tray of LaSerena, raw sheep, Spain
Drunken Goat, Spain
Mrs. Quickes Cheddar, England
Bleu d/Auvergne, France
and white chocolate truffle
with Jorge Ordonez Especial Muscat 2005

10 on Tuesday: 10 Memorable Vacation Moments

From this page comes this Tuesday’s question… What are 10 memorable vacation moments? In no particular order…
Please share your comments.
  1. Spending all day building large elaborate sandcastles on the beach, then setting them on fire (with fuel-soaked paper towels) at sunset.
  2. A giant blue heron who appeared at the end of the dock one day, and let us cautiously approach to within 5-6 feet.
  3. Nearly any SCUBA dive I’ve done.
  4. Throwing furniture into the pool (and later, fishing it out and setting it up again) with my brother.
  5. Dinners from Harry’s.
  6. Eating pizza on the beach, sand between my toes, in Punta Cana.
  7. My first (discovery) SCUBA dive with Wendy, on October 23, 2002.
  8. Cabo Roho lighthouse in Puerto Rico.
  9. Bioluminescent bay, also in Puerto Rico.
  10. October, 2007 in Bradenton, Florida.

Keep your laptop cool with Jenga!

Jenga I recently purchased a Dell Latitude XT Tablet PC, my first foray into the world of laptop/tablet PCs. I quickly noticed that the machine gets fairly warm during normal laptop operation, and that it sits fairly flat on my desk, making airflow underneath difficult. Plus the angle of the keyboard was flat and made long typing sessions a bit uncomfortable.

I tried to think of an inexpensive solution to these issues… I’d read about using wine corks to elevate the back of the machine, and even tried small pads of Post-It notes but nothing satisfied me.

That is, until I was cleaning out a closet and came across an old Jenga game. Judging from its position near the very back of the closet, up on a top shelf, it was apparent that it hadn’t been thought of, let alone played with in years. So I swiped a couple pieces from the game and placed them under the back corners of my XT. The pieces are nice and solid, they raise the machine just enough to make the keyboard more comfortable, and very, very inexpensive (you can probably get Jenga games at a second-hand shop for next to nothing — and who cares if the set is incomplete!).

Now, I keep a couple Jenga pieces on the desk in my office and at home, and I threw a couple into both of my travel bags, so I’ve always got them with me and ready to use.