Lifestyles: Columnists

Jun. 17, 2014 @ 09:20 AM

Fire up the grill

As I cleaned my grill in preparation for regular summer use, I started thinking about the history of backyard grills and grilling in general.

Believe it or not, some Chicago back yards are the epicenter for the creation of backyard barbecue grills; not Texas, or Georgia or even North Carolina. Two of the grills most of us use today were invented in Chicago’s suburbs.
The 1950s were a hotbed for grilling. In 1952, George Stephen invented what we now know as the Weber kettle grill by taking half of a marine buoy, welding three legs on the bottom, opening up vents underneath and pounded-out a vented, domed cover (at that time, Stephen was a welder for the Weber Company Metal Works). The story goes that his neighbors called it a "sputnik" after Russia's first space ship.


Jun. 17, 2014 @ 08:59 AM

Get shorty

Some things just aren’t worth the darn effort.

 

Jun. 15, 2014 @ 02:42 PM

A ‘Bull City Summer,’ in photos and film

Play ball! It is that moment when the teams have taken their positions on the field, the pitcher winds up and the game begins. It is summertime in Durham and for 72 days the Triple A Bulls will play at home to big crowds, folks who love baseball and all the fun and hoopla organized around it. 
The summer of 2014 has also turned into a Durham Bulls museum event. Last year, 10 photographers were commissioned to document the 72-game season. It was the 25th anniversary of the best all-time baseball movie ever, “Bull Durham.” 


Jun. 10, 2014 @ 09:16 AM

Food chat: board of ed(ition)

It’s something that happens, but no one ever talks about: we do have favorites. It’s true, people in retail have favorite customers.

Years ago, when The Kid was in preschool, and everybody was doing the Macarena, I worked at a small neighborhood bookstore for my friend Bosco. 

We had lots of regular customers. Some of them we dreaded. Most we did not.

 

Jun. 09, 2014 @ 02:42 PM

Desperate for effective lice treatments

Q. My grandchildren started scratching their heads several weeks ago. Upon careful examination, we discovered they had lice.
Their parents have been diligent in using lice shampoo, combing out nits and washing the bedding, to no avail. Are there any more effective strategies besides over-the-counter lice shampoos? My daughter is desperate.


Jun. 04, 2014 @ 11:28 AM

Toilet paper triggers nasty skin reactions

Q. I have a number of allergies and chemical sensitivities. Here's the latest reaction: Every time I use an airplane toilet or a Port-a-Potty, I have very uncomfortable swelling of my privates. It happened to me today after using the restroom in a local big-box store. Friends have told me of the same reaction.


Jun. 05, 2014 @ 09:19 AM

Get ready for food label changes

The Food Fact labels we've all become accustomed to have been around for 21 years. Those labels have gone relatively unchanged throughout the years except for eight years ago when the Food and Drug Administration started requiring food companies to include trans fats.

Those familiar Food Fact labels are about to change again, and in some significant ways. Before we take a look at what's proposed, let's understand why.


Jun. 03, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

It's in the bag

If our house ever caught fire, after I made sure Petey, The Kid, and our pooch Riker were safe, I’d go after a few material things.
I’d grab my computer, my awesome gray suede boots, and a very special bag.
It’s not a Kate Spade, a Burberry, or even a Birkin bag.  This bag may not be as pretty as any of those dream purses, but its versatility can’t be beat. It’s actually a plastic bag that I keep in the fridge.


May. 27, 2014 @ 10:08 AM

Ooh Mommy

Picture two different guys, say “Star Trek’s” new Captain Kirk, actor Chris Pine, and the new Scotty, accomplished comedian and writer Simon Pegg.  The first face elicits an “Oh yeah!” and the second, “Oh well…”
They both have eyes, nose and a mouth. But there’s something about the size, shape and facial arrangement that makes a huge difference in the overall aesthetic. It’s an ineffable quality that’s hard to put into words, but known instinctively.


May. 26, 2014 @ 02:08 PM

Gazing and grazing at food-centric ‘Agfest’

Let me tell you, Romeo and Heathcliff have nothing on Petey in the romance department.  Friday he took me on a dream date.  We went out of town, and had lunch at a local landmark.


May. 20, 2014 @ 10:40 AM

Contemplating a diet? Experts rank 32 of them for you

Break out the shorts, T-shirts and swimsuits, warmer weather's here and some folks are doing their best to figure out how to be both healthy and look their best.

Here's some assistance.


May. 15, 2014 @ 09:56 AM

Memory and nostalgia in two Stamer exhibits

Damian Stamer (b. 1982) is into nostalgia, not just with his images, but the way he paints those images. His canvases are filled with dilapidated barns and sheds buckling under debris. The surfaces are blurry, hazy and sometimes spotted with what seem to be droplets of rainwater. He insists we see things he remembers from his childhood or things that are slowly deteriorating in front of his eyes. And we must see them as he does, in the fog of memory. In the gallery handout, he writes about returning over and over to his past, that there is comfort in familiarity. “Time passes slowly as things fall apart,” he writes, and painting is the only way to describe these places, which he confesses exist more in his mind than on earth.


May. 13, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

That’s how I roll

I just turned 50 last month, so I now have the legal right to say this: Kids these days don’t know what they’re missing.    

Foods like Hydrox cookies, chocolate-peanut butter Oompa Loompas, Mickey D’s McFeasts, and Fruit Float; they’re all but a memory. 

When I was little, in the freezer section of most supermarkets was an ice cream cake.  


May. 08, 2014 @ 11:25 AM

Tar Heel connections at national Arkansas exhibit

It was the spring of last year. The idea was impossible: Find a young energetic curator to help identify 100 American contemporary artists whose art is exceptional, but have no national recognition; borrow their work and mount a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the United States.  The show will open at Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas, on Sept. 14. They found their curator, Chad Alligood, a 29-year-old with super art credentials, and by July 9, 2013, he was on the road.
East of Bentonville, in Durham, in October last year, Jeff Whetstone opened his computer and found a message from someone at Crystal Bridges asking if he would be available for a studio visit in the next few days. In a telephone conversation Whetstone and I talked about that visit. “I have lots of studio visits and I had heard about Crystal Bridges so we fixed a date and after thinking about it, I decided to show my weirdest stuff, so I pulled out photographs and a couple of my videos.”


May. 06, 2014 @ 03:02 PM

Is there plastic in your pills

Q. I take vitamin supplements. Can you tell me about the safety of the plastic capsules I ingest on a daily basis?