"I tripped into lifeboat" will go down in history, & Cheeseburger invented Pasadena?
It's a little funny. And quite tragic/sad, too.
First, the captain of the ill-fated Costa Cruise ship that ran aground in Italy said he ran over rocks that weren't on his chart. Then he finally admitted he had gone off course on purpose but thought it would be okay.
Really? Can't you just see it? There he is, sweat pouring down his cheeks as he lifts up old men in wheelchairs and hands them over the railing, gently placing them in the bow of the lifeboat, when, wham, the boat tilts and there he is, nestled into a comfy corner of a boat. I mean, he's right. What could he do? Clamber back onto his ship? No, the lifeboat was heading to the safety of shore - damn it - and he simply had to make the sacrifice.
Admirable, really. Quite admirable.
I could sit around for four days dreaming up excuses for abandoning ship and come up with at 1,473 better things to say than that. I mean, really. He'd have been better off saying, "I found this really hot chick in line for the lifeboats and I couldn't resist hopping into the sack, I mean, the raft, with her." Shoot, that's what Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister, would've said. Right?
If David Letterman didn't do his top 10 reasons last night on the captain's lame excuses, I'd be shocked. By tonight, at worst. It's just too good to pass up...
My heart goes out to the victims. Nobody deserves a clown like this in charge of a ferry boat to Toronto Island, let alone having him at the helm of a ship darting through rock-strewn waters in the Mediterranean.
THE LITTLE OLD CHEESEBURGER FROM PASADENA?
I grew up in California and went to university in L.A.. And, until yesterday, I don't remember ever hearing that the most famous food in all of the United States of America, the humble cheeseburger, was invented in Pasadena.
But there it was on Wednesday; an email in my inbox from the folks at Visit California telling me that this is Pasadena Cheeseburger Week.
The Internet is replete with stories about the invention of the hamburger. It could've been a guy in Wisconsin or maybe Ohio. Perhaps Texas, but they say they invented everything. The mystery around the cheesburger is just as thick - and tasty. The story out of Pasadena is that Sternberger was working at his family's shop, The Rite Spot, in the mid-1920's and either by accident (???) or, just for kicks (there wasn't much to do in Pasadena in those days) dropped a slice of American (ugh) cheese on a sizzling patty.
I went on Wikipedia, of course, as today that's allowed. (In case you missed it, Wikipedia was protesting yesterday about U.S. anti-piracy laws and apparently was dark for much of the day. I posted a note on Twitter to suggest that 8.5 million high school assignments were thus unavoidably delayed, but I was probably erring on the low side). Anyway, wikipedia suggests that topping a hamburger with cheese "became popular in the mid-1920s to mid-1930s."
They cite Sternberger ("Sternberger-cheeseburger" - sounds like a Letterman Academy Awards monologue) as one of several folks with claims to inventing the American national dish. "Other restaurants say they invented the cheeseburger. For example, Kaelin's Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, says they made up the first one in 1934. A year later, apparently, a trademark for the word "cheeseburger" was awarded to one Louis Ballast (fitting name for a guy eating cheeseburgers) of the Humpty Dumpty Drive-In in Denver, Colorado.
It's all a lot of hooey, if you ask me. Surely, some person SOMEWHERE in the world, perhaps at a cafe or maybe in the privacy of their own home, took a slice of American cheese or brie or havarti and dropped into some meat and stuck it between two slices of bread. Then again, one can never know these things. And the history of business is replete with folks who've gotten onto a good thing faster than the next guy. It's the American way.
Two towns in California for years were fighting it out over which one could be called "Surf City, USA." Santa Cruz, an hour or so south of San Francisco on the north shore of Monterey Bay and a personal favourite of mine, was called "Surf City" for years.
Then, the folks from Huntington Beach, also a great town but down in southern California, took out a patent, as I recall, for the words "Surf City USA."
(The resentment continues up in Santa Cruz, but northern California has had it in for folks down L.A. way for years, mostly owing to their continuing use of northern Cal's precious water supplies.)
As for cheeseburgers, I guess SOMEONE has to claim the invention of something this famous. May as well be Pasadena, although you'd think that having the Rose Bowl and that great weather and classic shops and outdoor cafes in January and towering palm trees and views of the mighty San Gabriel Mountains would be enough for one city.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF DAY FOR NEW YORK CITY
Here's an intriguing deal from www.jaunt.ca - a shopaholic bus tour in the Big Apple. For $389, including taxes, you get:
- A February long weekend in New York City with travel to New York via Deluxe Motorcoach departing from Vaughan, Ontario Friday February 17, 2012 returning Monday February 20, 2012
- Note: Other pick-ups available at Scarborough Town Centre (7pm), Square One (8:45pm), Stoney Creek (9:45pm)
- 2 night’s accommodation at the Holiday Inn Newark Airport
- Includes 2 Breakfasts and 1 Dinner
- Professionally guided tour of New York City – stopping at many of the popular city sights and attractions!
- Includes complimentary parking at Sarracini Travel, located at Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre
- $25 Future Travel Voucher for Omega Tours from Target Vacations
- Prices include all taxes.
Some conditions apply, but it's worth checking out if you're a Big Apple fan on a budget.