Saturday, June 30, 2012

Even Smart Asses Can Be Wrong


Those who have engaged me in even the most mundane of debates, know I value intelligence and truth. And wield them like a Big Ugly Cudgel. That being said, I love learning when I'm wrong...so without further embroidery, here are some new facts that I was wrong on. And the are fascinating.
  • Napoleon was actually about 5'6" – taller than the average frenchman of the 1800s. The whole "little emperor" thing was actually just a term of endearment.
  • Columbus, by the way, thought the Earth was pear-shaped, not round.
  • JFK did not call himself a jelly doughnut in Berlin.
  • George Washington didn't have wooden teeth.
  • Chainmail is actually harder to move around in than plate armor.
  • Iron Maidens were not medieval torture devices.
  • Marco Polo didn't bring pasta to Italy from China. Arabs brought it from Libya in the seventh century.
  • Irregardless is a word.
  • 420 is not a police code.
  • No one actually said "ye" instead of "the" – it's just that the character for Th used to look like Y.
  • Hair and fingernails do not keep growing after you die. Your skin shrinks and makes it look like it.
  • If she said it, Marie Antoinette only said "let them eat cake" when she was 10 – long before peasants where rioting over starvation.

Very cool indeed. All these and more are available in this fascinating book. Happy reading!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Foam is something in a cooler, not on my dinner

I had stood this long enough.  What in the bloody hell is "foam" and why is it being served on my plate? It's like getting the last remnant of a can of Ready Whip, or not-quite-hardened meringue. And if is the pinnacle of culinary expertise, send me back to South Carolina, where I can get a meal to fill me up.  I think sometimes chefs have forgotten that the basic restaurant premise to please the customer, not showcase an obscure state-change skill.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The biggest challenge that Andrew Carnegie faced, by his own admission, was how to disburse his fortune without causing harm.  One solution he pioneered? Libraries. Across the nation.  He felt anyone could improve their life with learning from these institutions.

I am here to day that there is damn little excuse for someone not knowing how to do something.  In the space of 48 hours, I have completely redesigned our website. From scratch. Linked it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And this blog as well.  And everything to do it was available at my fingertips. For free. Wow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


This is rather exciting...with the London Olympics coming up, we have a new project starting this week.  Once of my favourite (note the spelling) cities in the world, London!

We already have dozens of recipes from contributing restaurants. So if you think that merry Old England is cottage pie and bangers, think again!
Sometimes, you just need a little push! Just like Champagne...I am taking the plunge into blogging (Facebook doesn't count).  Perhaps you might find this interesting, or perhaps you might be offended.  But it will be an unabashed look inside the mind of Smoke Alarm Media, and by default, inside my own.

So I hope you will take a look.  It's fitting that today is the first day of BEA in New York, which two of our books are being introduced.  And it will be a crazy year!

Cheers!

Steven W. Siler
Editor in Chief, and Chief Bottle Washer