I was researching tourist information for a possible upcoming trip to Pittsburgh when I came across a bizarre news story from WPXI: “Avalon Restaurant Criticized For ‘Black on Black Crime’ Hot Wing Flavor.” A hot wings restaurant named Big Shot Bob’s House of Wings apparently decided to name a new sauce flavor “Black on Black Crime.” The owner stated that the negative reaction to the name surprised him, and he excused his bad business decision by saying that a loyal “African American” customer came up with the idea. I should like to have been privy to that colorful interaction.
The story gets better! After the public outcry, Big Shot Bob’s altered the sauce’s name to “Big Fine Woman 2000.” The shop allowed the woman who made the initial complaint to rename the sauce, and “Big Fine Woman 2000” is what she decided. Oh, artifice does not hold a candle to truth!
In reviewing online reactions to the story, I encountered much handwringing about black on black crime. If only we could stop black on black crime! Left unsaid is whether the ongoing plague of black on white crime remains joyfully accepted. I suppose that a better wish would be for the end of widespread black crime, or, even better, the end of crime simply.
I am not a devotee of Malcolm Gladwell, but I did find his article on the mall in The New Yorker quite interesting: “The Terrazzo Jungle.” Gladwell recounts the vision of the mall’s creator, Victor Gruen, as well as his disappointment in what became of his idea. Gruen wanted the mall to be a commercial centerpiece to an extensive, planned development that would create an orderly and beautiful community in suburbia. Such did not occur, though attempts at integrated commercial and residential space continue as the new urbanism refuses to submit before the American cult of the ugly and haphazard. Gladwell also explains how tax policy resulted in ghastly commercial developments largely disconnected from a community’s shopping needs, which thereby facilitated the American wasteland of suburban sprawl. Also of interest is mall designer Alfred Taubman’s commentary on the mall’s commercial strategies. The article is delightful pop anthropological candy. Enjoy.
I maintain an extensive garden list of the species that I have in my yard. It is obviously incomplete, but I work on it when I have free time. I often use Google’s image search to help identify plants, and the pictures often take me to helpful and interesting sites. The quest for cultivars has also introduced me to some weird horticultural zones. This week, I came across one of the oddest—Ty Ty Nursery in Georgia. It is so outlandish that I doubted that it was a real store. However, it seems that the Ty Ty folks really do sell plants, though the web is full of complaints from disappointed customers. I want to ask these disgruntled buyers what possessed them to order plants from a nursery that advertises its stock in such a perverse manner. Ty Ty’s site has the aesthetic of sleazy television commercials that run in the middle of the night. You have to visit the site to grasp just how bizarre it is. Do not forget the videos.