Mexican Granola and Other Crap

May 22, 2007

Pardon me for being effusive, scattershot and probably tangential. And also lightweight.

But I’m going to be.

You see, ever since I’ve been doing this blogging thing, I’ve accumulated notes-filled paper scraps about stuff I want to write about here at Gravy Bread.

And the ideas—and the little sheets of paper—have outpaced my ability and time to address it all.

So in this super post I’m going to sort of “bullet-point” some of these nagging bits and get them, and the sheets of paper, out of the way.
That won’t leave much room for essay-like detail or probing analysis.

Maybe another time.

I start with something we all like and sort of need: food.

100_0338-10.jpgHere we have a new product: Nature Valley Crunchy 100 percent natural cereal with granola bar pieces, made by General Mills—an attempt to morph its popular granola bars into a mini cereal version. This ain’t a review, but for the record the cereal would be better with just the flakes and without the much-touted granola bar pieces, which are way too sweet. So I’m not recommending…
What really disturbed me about the product, though, was a little info offered at the bottom on one side of the box. I think you can read it. It says: Product of Mexico. That’s right. Somehow, I always assumed that major, everyday brand-name flag-wavin’ and ‘Merkin as apple pie General Mills food products like this would always be made in the USA. After all, how is it efficient for a US company to make a food product and then have to ship it all the way back into the country?100_0342-10mex.jpg

So, now food has gone the way of other manufacturing, jobs and everything else that corporate America has shipped away. I don’t think we can last long as a nation of burger flippers or paper pushers trading stocks on the internet…producing nothing but electronic zaps of hope and greed. As for food cleanliness standards abroad, do the words, “pet food” sound any alarms? Then again, we had our own self-inflicted dirty spinach fiasco of last fall, and e. coli and salmonella scares all the time, thanks to our severely screwed-up, de-toothed, de-balled and underfunded inspection system.
So, in conclusion, add General Mills to your list of corporate American traitors…

100_0528-103rdeye.jpgIf you’re out there on the road on a bicycle you might want to get past the initial sticker shock of paying $15 for a tiny 1-inch mirror and go ahead and get it anyway. That’s because the Third Eye Pro bike helmet mirror is one of the best safety investments I’ve ever made. I picked one up at Bardstown Road Bicycles, slapped the little two-sided glue sticky slab onto the oblong attachment surface, placed it onto the left side of my helmet just above and to the side of my eye and now have a great view of everything behind me. No more dangerous and nerve wracking head-turning every few seconds to see what’s doing in the rear, as it were. The alternate idea of100_0526-15-3rdeye.jpg putting a mirror on the handlebar is a bad one, I think, (rattles around, interferes with hand movement and grip, prone to theft and breakage, etc) compared to this compact and easy helmet solution.

I love this thing and find it indispensable out on the dangerous streets. Plus it makes you look like the Borg and is thus a great conversation starter. I’ve noticed that women seem fascinated by it, for some reason.

labrea-breads.jpgSmart shoppers know that checking the deli bread area at Kroger every few days can pay off, because the expensive artisan breads often get slashed in half or more in price as the expiration date looms. Which means the chance to try expensive products I might otherwise overlook. So when I saw a “$1.05” markdown sticker on something called “La Brea” honey rolls. I gave ‘em a shot. They’re packed in a yellow paper sack with a plastic view window (nice to make sure there’s no mold). There are about six of these three-inch rectangular semi-hard buns in the bag. I ate a couple of them at room temp with cheese and was not too impressed, but when I heated them for a minute or two in the toaster oven and schmeared some real butter on ‘em they were kickass delish! (OK, so this time I didn’t “buy local;” they come from California.)

100_0524-60moon.jpgGood grief, I’ve already run out of energy and there’s still dozens of little sheets of paper. Sorry this ended up sounding like a bunch of product reviews. But in that vein, here’s a shot of the moon I took about 6:40 a.m. two weeks ago, with a lowly Kodak EasyShare digital camera. Not bad, considering…

Anyway, the super post will continue when we meet again…

–EG ( who made no money on any of these endorsements!)

Dead Fish in a Parking Lot? Beats Me

May 4, 2007


Dead fish in a parking lot.


I have no friggin’ idea. While biking to work this morning I turned off Louisville’s Third Street bound for Kroger with the intention of buying some foodstuffs for lunch and nearly ran over these critters scattered in the lot.

I wonder why anyone would go to the trouble of capturing these poor things only to trash their bodies on a city street. They look too small to be eating fish, so I doubt a produce/meat company truck dropped them. They look like something a Bill Dance-wannabee redneck might have caught for “fun” and then just decided to dispose of. Who knows?

There’s something metaphorical about the times in this: the waste and the senselessness…

Other than that, happy Kentucky Derby weekend to all!


The Perfect Day

April 2, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007 in Louisville, Ky., USA was a perfect day. 76 degrees F; 24 celcius. Low humidity. Clean air. Nice breeze.

This was “hibernation-is-over” day. A day for biking and busting and turning sod in the backyard garden. I cleaved and turned the earth till my back and muscles ached all over. Ached oh so good.

Biking in the neighbohood and environs, I snapped a few shots:





Fixed My Bicycle in 2 Minutes

March 13, 2007

My bike is creaking and squeaking. I just had the bottom bracket and back axle replaced a few months ago. Surely those weren’t broken again.

Not that they were major expenses. $30 for the bracket (parts and labor) and $25 for the axle (likewise).

In other words, the kinds of repair costs I can live with and gladly pay now that I am sans auto. In auto-land, parallel repairs get into the $500 and up range.

I told Carson Torpey my dilemma and after a second of hesitation as he thought about my scenario, he said, “Bring it in; we’ll give it look.”

Torpey owns the Bardstown Road Bicycle Co. at 1051 Bardstown Road just south of Highland Ave. in Louisville, Ky. (a couple storefronts south of Wild & Woolly Video). The shop was recommended to me by a colleague and I have never gone wrong with their friendly, affordable and good old-fashioned personal service. They are another example of why going local for your service and goods is best.

This is not some paid ad, BTW. In this world of big corporate suck-ass service at every corner, I just wanted to share one place that still does it right.

Torpey, shown here in the pic with my bike, threw my cycle up on some vice-like diagnostic doohickey and repaired my bike in about 2 minutes. Something to do with the pedal and the brakes. I was out the door in less than five. No charge.bardsbike1_100_0199.JPG

I should have taken some snaps of the shop’s beautiful interior showroom and its choice selection of bikes and gear, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

Instead, here are a couple of the exterior.




Fucking Retarded Drivers

February 15, 2007


intersection-in-prog-3zbb.gifNot one but two incompetent drivers endangered my life this morning by pulling sudden, illegal maneuvers as I biked south on the painted cycling path down Louisville’s Third St. on my way to work. My Road Hogs page tells the nearly-gory details (offline at present while  blog renovation is under way). In the first incident, a driver on my left pulled around and in front of me to make a right hand turn, cutting me off as I headed into an intersection.

In the second case, illustrated here at left, the stupid broad in the auto (on a goddamned cell phone, of course) actually momentarily braked at the stop sign as shcell-driving.jpge was supposed to in order to await passing perpendicular traffic (me—with the right of way—as represented in the little biker icon tooling up the bike path). She pulled out slowly into Third Street and stopped a little more, presumably waiting for me to pass. Then, unable to stand the idea of waiting one more second for me, she suddenly darts out right as I reach the intersection. I had to swerve hard left into the next lane to miss her. Needless to say, if another car had been to my left (like the other guy this morning), I would have been toast. What is it with you inconsiderate assholes?

Thblind-willie-crumb.jpgus, I dedicate today’s Rapidshare-linked tunes to you idiots of the infernal machine. The first is Blind Willie McTell’s 1930 recording of “Broke Down Engine Blues.” I hope that all you reckless road menaces—like our poor ole bluesman—find yourselves wailing and moaning that you “ain’t got no driving wheel” anymore. Also, django-colorized.jpgappropo our artist’s sightlessness is the blindspot that auto jockeys have for cyclists. The next tune, “You’re Driving Me Crazy,” comes from the primetime 1937 period of the great Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. It’s a bouncy tune, perfect background for nailing hapless pedestrians, bikers and law-abiding motorists.