The Town of No Return

The Town of No Return is the first episode of The Avengers to air in the U.S. The episode opens with a closeup shot of fisherman on a beach, fiddling with his basket and nets, then cuts to a long shot of a blob emerging from the sea. The camera pulls in closer and we learn that the blob is actually a man encased in what looks like an oversized black-plastic garbage bag. Homage to the opening … [Read more...]

52 Weeks of The Avengers

The Avengers, a British television series, made its American debut on March 30, 1966 on the ABC network. The early response of the American audience (and American TV critics) was mixed but, within 6 weeks, ABC renewed its option for more episodes.* It was probably 1967-68 before I discovered The Avengers. I was 5 or 6 years old at the time, but my parents would let me stay up and watch it. I'm … [Read more...]

A Piece of the Berlin Wall in Georgia

The Berlin Wall today is the symbol of the physical, cultural and social separation of the "East" and "West" during the Cold War era. From August 13, 1961 until 1989, the Berlin Wall was also the physical barricade between East and West Germany. This week's Sunday Sign describes this small section of the Berlin Wall on display outside the Social Science Building at Kennesaw State … [Read more...]

Mae Frances Nelson & Daily Bread Barbecue

When I was a teen, my grandmother introduced me to Mae Frances Nelson, a beautiful person and wonderful cook. Mrs. Nelson is known all around the South for her homemade caramel cakes and other delicious Southern foods she serves at Daily Bread Barbecue in Russellville, Alabama. I don't recall whether Miss Mae Frances had already opened Daily Bread Barbecue at that time in the late 1970s but my … [Read more...]

Cheeky Maiden Soap Co: Naturally Handcrafted in Calera, Alabama

One Saturday morning in early June, I was wandering around Pepper Place Market. The scent of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and cedarwood wafting across the muggy air drew me to the Cheeky Maiden Soap Co. booth, where I found an array of handcrafted soaps and related bath and body care products. I was in need of foot balm that day because I was almost out of Badger Balm. As a runner, I go through … [Read more...]

How to Make Fried Green Tomatoes

I've been in the mood for fried green tomatoes all summer. Finally got around to making them last night for dinner. Here's my take on this southern classic. Note: The quantities I'm cooking will provide two nice-sized servings. If you're cooking for more, you'll need to increase the quantity of tomatoes and, possibly, double the batter guidelines (depending on how many you plan to cook). Step … [Read more...]

Archibald’s Bar-B-Que: The Best Barbecue Ever

I was lucky enough to attend college and law school in the County that's home to the two greatest barbecue joints in the history of the world. Archibald's, in Northport, has always been my favorite. Archibald's is a tiny place. There's a barbecue pit, a refrigerator, sink, a Formica-topped bar and five bar stools inside a building of  white-painted concrete blocks in the backyard of Mr. … [Read more...]

Good for Christian Lopez

Christian Lopez snagged the ball when Derek Jeter hit his 3,000th home run at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Instead of doing the Wall Street thing and auctioning off the ball to the highest bidder, Lopez returned the ball to Jeter. Way to go, Mr. Lopez. Mr. Lopez apparently has a six-figure student loan obligation. I feel Mr. Lopez's pain (and I'm not 23). But life in pursuit of maximum … [Read more...]

Food Culture: Pete’s Famous Hot Dogs & Gus Koutroulakis

I rarely eat hot dogs and I never visited Pet's Famous Hot Dogs in downtown Birmingham. But the story of Gus Koutroulakis and the life he devoted to serving up some of the most popular hot dogs in the country is legendary. And touching. I admire anyone who cares enough about their work to do it for 63 years. I ran across this short film on The Dish, Andrew Sullivan's blog.  The film, by Joe York, … [Read more...]

What You Choose to Eat Matters: Josh Viertel, Slow Foods USA

If you know me at all (or if you're familiar with this blog) you know that food matters a lot to me. I care about what I eat. I care about the food that goes into my body. I care about where it came from, how it was grown, and how it was prepared. I ran across this short clip of Slow Foods USA President Josh Viertel from the 2011 Aspen Ideas Festival. He does a great job of explaining why food … [Read more...]