... A Sour Apple Tree

Your source for fast and/or frozen food reviews, Huntington and/or West Virginia commentary, rasslin' (not wrestling) nostalgia, bad parody, dumb satire, rejected slogans, pointless lists, unreliable sports predictions, and funny local pictures.

Location: Huntington, WV, United States

I'm a 37 year-old guy from Huntington, WV.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

WOWK 13.2 saves area dumbass from minor inconvenience.

13.2, WOWK's Doppler-tastic digital sub-channel just came through, small-time.

I was about to go water the flowers out front, but a quick check of 13.2 alerted me to a storm front that was going to bring plenty of rain in a few minutes.

Sho'nuff. I didn't have to get off of my duff and walk down some stairs, all thanks to 13.2.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Somethin' for all of the teachers...

Being a school teacher has to be one of the most thankless jobs in America. In recognition of the shit that y'all have to go through, the writers of one of ...ASAT's favorite shows, My Name is Earl, produced an episode where Earl tries to make ammends with the teachers that he annoyed and, in doing so, helps them get revenge on a particularly evil group of students.

Click here to watch (link should work until next Friday).

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Dixie Chili four-ways, WV style

One of my all-time favorite dishes has to be Cincinnati chili served as a "four-ways" (spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions). Noticing the massive stash of ramps that my relatives in Richwood had hooked me up with last week, this fondness for the chili of our neighbors to the west gave me an idea on how to eat some of these ramps in a manner that didn't result in my transformation into a temporary pariah at work.

So I whipped up a four-ways using Dixie Chili (I also had Gold Star and Skyline, but I guessed correctly that Dixie's milder flavor would best mingle with the pungency of the wild leek). Feast your eyes on the delicious result:

Could this be the dish that brings peace between the ever-feuding and genetically-linked (I'd say about 1/2 of Ohio's population has at least one grandparent from WV) citizenry of OH and WV together? Probably not, but we can hope.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Maybe he should stick to smoothies.

It is hard to argue that Randy Moss, in terms of pure talent, is the finest athlete to ever come out of West Virginia or to play college sports in the state. It is also difficult to dispute that he has been half-assin' it since he was shipped off to the black hole known as Jokela...er, Oakland.

A user on youtube has been posting song parodies that he writes and records about famous athletes and, in this edition, Dupont High School's finest gets his come-uppin's to the tune of Mandy. Enjoy (and pray that he gets traded).

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ain't no longer "ain't dead yet."

Boris Yeltsin has just been moved from the list of people who I thought were already dead to the list of people who are actually dead. Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta go check on Lady Bird Johnson's status (followup: Johnson "ain't dead yet").

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

And your stupid shield, too...

After seeing a photo of Captain America livin' large with Spidey and Cliff Claven and realizing that Cap had faked his own death to gain sympathy, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), the leader of the pro-government forces in the Marvel Civil War, had a special message for Steve Rogers (the leader of the opposition):

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Favorite movie scenes

Here are some of my favorite scenes from movie:
  • From Clerks II: Randall takes some well-deserved shots at the Lord of the Rings trilogy which, in my opinion, are some of the most boring and overrated films of all-time. In the name of fairness, however, the LotR guys does make some very astute observations about the quality (or lack there of) of Hayden Christensen's "acting."
  • From Casablanca: This is the best scene from arguably the greatest film ever made in English or any other language. Lazlo and the European exiles in Rick's bar drown out the Nazi's with a stirring rendition of La Marseillaise. In their expressions, you can see the consciences of Rick and Capt. Renault starting to rattle them from their selfish neutrality.
  • From Evita: In one of my favorite cinematic musical numbers, Che Guevara (played by Antonio Banderas) sarcastically mocks the adulation given to Eva Duarte de PerĂ³n upon her death. The movie pretty much goes downhill from there, leaving me so bored that I locked myself in a closet and cut my thighs while listening to Skinny Puppy (not really).
  • From Shawshank Redemption: Red finally gets paroled for speaking his mind instead of saying what he thinks the board wants to hear. The scene is a great analysis on the nature of regret and self-rehabilitation.
  • From The Usual Suspects: The final scene of this movie defines complete theatrical pwnage. Do not click here if you haven't scene the flick.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

RIP Andy Barker

About a month ago, I gave a knee-jerk positive review to Andy Barker P.I., the new (now former) sitcom starring one of America's funniest (and apparently unluckiest) comedic actors, Andy Richter. Well, it turns out that I was not the only one that grew tired of the sitcom after a pretty funny pilot. NBC officially gave it the axe a couple weeks ago after due to the fact that the show was drawing some of the lowest ratings in network television history.

There are probably lots of factors that can soak up a share of the blame for Barker's demise. NBC seems to have a culture of failure in its entertainment division right now and cannot really catch a break with any programming in between the Today and Tonight Shows. Prime time cable TV is actually of some quality these days and is drawing impressive numbers, as opposed tot he days when cable meant Revenge of the Nerds movies and rasslin'. There is also the tendency of Americans to only want to watch shows that feature pretty-boys from Seattle that either can or cannot sing (my knowing those facts may indicate that I am part of the problem...AHHHHH NOOOOO! OK, back to normal now. Deep breath.).

In yapping about these cultural phenomena, however, one will inherently miss the real reason for the shows failure: it was not a good sitcom. Sure, there were some laughs (the Miss Congeniality 2 action figure will always remain a classic) and the cast was as solid as any in terms of comedic chops. However, is the concept of an accountant-turned-private dick really the kind of concept that would get anyone to watch 22 times a year for 4-9 years? (Hint: "no.")

I can picture myself in the room where Conan O'Brien and his friends were coming up with the show. I bet they were all at their zaniest and everyone was in the floor laughing because, quite frankly, Conan can make anything (Finnish elections, starring contests, coked-up wearwolves, etc.) funny. Hell, I bet the show would have been funny as a recurring segment on Late Night (akin to Pale Force) . But maybe Conan should stick to what he does best: making me piss myself with laughter whenever I'm up past my bedtime.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Blu-Ray all the way

After reading this story in the Herald-Dispatch about the child of one of the paper's columnists receiving a free vacuum cleaner after his mother wrote about his obsession, I would like to mention that my one-year old son thinks that Sony's Blu-Ray is a superior technology when compared to Toshiba's HD DVD.

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Tim Irr shows his softer side.

Tim Irr recently appeared on Up Late, Marshall University's new late night talk show and showed a lighter side to his personality. He seems down to earth and totally unpretentious from the interview and a special outtake clip that the host put together. He even commented that he never has to go out in public with sunglasses or anything, a possible snark at a certain long-time anchor at a rival station that has been known to do the Jackie O scarf-'n-shades thing whenever she goes to the mall.

Thanks to The Film Geek for passing along the link.


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Friday, April 13, 2007

Wow, I stink.

Well, I just got done frying up a big mess of ramps that I plan on eating over the weekend and, boy howdy, do I smell like the little stinkers. It probably doesn't help any that I kept eating them in every stage of preparation, from raw to perfectly fried.

Oh snap, I forgot that I have to go to a function tomorrow. What do I do?

1) I could put on patchouli, eat mints, smoke a few cigars, drink apple cider vinegar, shower in imported rose water from France, and try to cover it up


2) I can do what any self-respecting West Virginian would do: wear it as a badge of pride. If they don't like it, there is a big river right over yonder that they can swim across until the stink dies down.

Have a good weekend, everyone, especially if your going to a ramp dinner.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

WSAZ's viewer mail thing...

Since WSAZ has to produce 155 minutes of newscasts between 5 PM and 11:35 PM every night, they sometimes have to fill in the gaps, so to speak, when the news comes to a grinding halt. One of the older ways that they've tackled this problem has been to give out "Hometown Hero" awards to people in the viewing area who have somehow worked to better the quality of life in their communities. A more recent addition to their arsenal of time-killers has been to read emails from the public.

Lots of other media outlets do the same thing. They read a sampling of kudos and gripes from people that were compelled enough to actually bother to email there opinion. The usual format is to simply read them with little comment. This, however, is not the route that WSAZ follows. Instead, Tim Irr and Penny Moss are prodded into actually responding to the complaints and, more often than not, the reply comes across as somewhat defensive and "well, we own the station, so there :P"-ish. Even Bill O'Reilly is more diplomatic with his hate mail.

I do not, however, think that it is intentional or anything like that. It is probably them just trying to kill time however they can.

Anyhow, at least it beats some of the soft news time-killer fluff they've ran recently about someone that saw Jesus in a door or something to that effect. I think they'd be much better off giving more local stories to the cub reporters like Will Jones and Michael Wooten instead.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to write an email about Bill Murray's neck tie.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

...ASAT restaurant ranking for 10 April, 2007

Here are my top ten Huntingtonland restaurants for the time being:

1) Panera Bread---The chicken bacon dijon panini is particularly good.
2) New China Garden---The most consistent Chinese food in town. Plus you get a free order of General Tso's chicken if you spend over $30 on takeout or delivery.
3) Jim's Steak and Spaghetti---I know that it ain't "real" spaghetti sauce and I don't care. I could eat it twice a week for 60 years and not get sick of it.
4) M & M Dairy Bell---MMMM. Hot dogs.
5) Sam's Hot Dog Stand (8th St.)---MMMM. More hot dogs.
6) Nawab's---Huntington's cleanest restaurant is always going to be on my top ten list.
7) Hillbilly Hot Dogs (Downtown)---Funnest place to eat in the Tristate.
8) Skyline Chili (Russell, KY)---Kind of far, but it is comforting to know that proper Cincy-style chili is at least that close.
9) Husson's Pizza---Charleston's best pizza is now Huntington's best pizza.
10) Rocco's Ristorante---Great people, even better food.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Local TV commercial round-up: Husson's Pizza

When I found out a year or so ago that Husson's Pizza was finally opened a Huntington location, I was as giddy as a 13 year old girl at a Justin Timberlake meet 'n greet. You see, when I was a child, one of the highlights of visiting my godparents in Charleston was getting to eat a few slices of Husson's goodness from one of their ginormous pies, as my godmother is a Lebanese-American and was and is prone to supporting the Husson family, as they all are members of the same Orthodox congregation in Chucktown.

Before expanding into the Huntington market, many folks in the Tristate probably knew of the place for their light-hearted commercials on TV.

The current batch continue in the tradition. They tend to focus on the adventures of an attractive young couple from Teays Valley (well, its the Teays Valley location that is always in the commercials, so I'll assume that is where they live).

Most of the time, the two are in a hurry or are busy, but a quick trip to Husson's somehow saves the day (Husson's free broadband allows her to work while she eats, they don't have to make food for visiting comapny, it shuts up the unruly brats that she is baby sitting, etc.). All of these commercials are uber-corny but somehow rather entertaining and effective. Yes, the acting ain't great (the guy is better than the woman, for what it is worth) and the production value is exactly what you would expect for a TV market that is anchored by two cities of 50,000 people each. That being said, the point of the ads is never forgotten (like those damn ads with the pink-haired cartoon spy) and the product is displayed in an appealing manner.

One notable installment breaks from the traditional cannon of previous and future adverts, however. It this alterna-verse, the young man is not in a relationship with the woman (or any woman at all). However, he is out for a walk and happens upon Husson's in Teays Valley (oddly enough, that portion of Teays Valley Road is one of the least pedestrian-friendly locations in all of Greater Charleston). Well, as a reward for choosing Husson's, three girls (including his regular squeeze) are all over ol' boy; seductively feeding him pizza and giving him sips of Pepsi. He appears to be well on his way to some hot "three chicks, one stick" action, all thanks to Husson's Pizza. That sort of promise is usually only found in commercials for beer and body sprays.

Overall, I'd have to say that Husson's commercials are a lot like their pizza: pretty good and extra cheesy.

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Great post about ramps...

Be sure to check out this post over at the Charlestonian Blog about the proper way to fix up a mess of ramps.

I was going to do a similar post 'bout cookin' up the li' stinkers, but Charles' beats the crap outta anything that I was going to bother to do.

However, I still may post something about ramps just so my cousins from Richwood don't come down Moneyton way to kick my highfalutin, big city arse from the Guyandotte to the Big Sandy.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Best April Fools Day joke of 2007...

With apologies to Stanton, the award for the best AFD prank of '07 goes to Alanis Morissette for her self-satirizing cover of history's most wretched song, My Humps.

Check 'em out.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

13.2 draws the same ratings as American Idol!!!

Well, in the James household anyway.

While my wife is watching another dreadful episode of American Idol, I'm watching the real action on 13.2, WOWK's digital subchannel that is all Doppler radar, all the time.

As I type this post, a MAJOR thunderstorm is slamming into Portsmouth, Ohio and battering Cincinnati with 60 mph winds. It should be in Huntington by 10:00 PM.

While watching the buildup may be a tad dry, I know the payoff will be big in excitement.

That is more than I can say about the Matrix trilogy.

Wednesday update: Well, the wind turned out to be pretty darn strong with trash cans and screen doors being slammed around all over Huntington. Power was out for some time last night after a 30 minute brown out where the lights were half-lit and all appliances either sputtered or shut down.

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Restaurant safety round-up

Inspired by Stanton's post on the hot dog blog, I decided to nose around the Cabell-Huntington Health Department's website for their inspection records.

I was in for a pleasant surprise. It seems that the eatery that gets the highest marks year in and year out is one of my favorites: Nawab Indian Cuisine. They seem to get perfect scores every single time, unlike many of the other joints in town.

Check back here for more fun facts from time to time about the quality of the kitchens in the Moneyton area. Also look out for posts on the hot dog blog that will cover the ratings of places that sell WV's perfect culinary creation: the sauce 'n slaw ('n onion 'n mustard) dog.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

It ain't called "The Tin Suggestion."

While waiting for my food at Mickey D's today, I was in line behind an obviously affluent tourist passin' through our area. Well, there was a slight error in this persons order which, of course, should have been brought to the cashier's attention in a firm yet courteous manner.

Well, that is not what happened. Instead the person acted as if the employee had personally insulted their mother or their God or their social class. the person was unnecessarily rude and hegemonic even after scoring a free Big Mac and a large Coke out of the deal.

Therefore (at the risk of finger-waggin') I'd like to remind everyone to treat service personnel like human beings. I know that sometimes we are in a rush or a bad mood or whatever, but that still doesn't excuse us from following (or attempting to follow) basic social mores.

It doesn't matter that you or your spouse may make in a day what that person makes in a week or a month. You are not superior to that person just because you are a little older, smarter, well-connected, luckier, richer, or well-educated than that person.

Remember, "do unto others..." and that no matter how big of a bad-ass you think you are, there is always someone that can "do unto you."

Note: in the interest of full disclosure, I have been guilty of this breech of of basic civility and this post is as much a reminder to myself to act like my mama taught me as it is to shame the offender.

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