Well, one of my loyal fans won’t like this, but this edition will be a little short on food again. Somehow this weather kind of stifles the desire for dining, and only then something light like fish or a salad.. So before we do the food related reporting a couple of short comments on …… sports.
And to my (unusual) credit, it will be mostly positive! No rants. In years past, I would go off on the Little League World Series which concludes today. The championship game is between a team from New York and one from South Korea. The brackets are “rigged” such that an international team and an American are guaranteed to meet for the championship. Maybe that’s fair, but sometimes the second place International team looks to be better than the American champion.
Back to positive.. I kind of got caught up in the tournament this year, it somehow didn’t seem as silly as it appeared to me in previous years. No sobbing kids after striking out, rather it looked like they all had fun and didn’t take themselves too seriously. There were a few pitchers that could really bring it. Fun to watch. Of course parents will always be parents and there were still the usual cadre of “moms” decked out and acting silly in the stands. One covered her eyes on every pitch when her kid was at bat.
I seldom watch MLB games at all, but found I was a fan of John Kruk as a “color man” in the booth. Had clever things to say and generally would not sugar coat anything. Plus, he's kind of a food guy.
And while we’re being positive I have to admit that I am becoming a fan of Soccer. I enjoy watching it on TV, primarily the international teams. I don’t watch the “pro’s” here in America, just the big boy leagues in Europe and Great Britain (Manchester United, Real Madrid, etc.). As I mentioned to my BIL who was a referee for a while, I think I might like it for mostly odd reasons..
· Continuous action, very little commercials
· I really enjoy the foreign announcers, very entertaining
· No stupid “sideline” announcer women (sorry, it’s just that females seem to be the norm in the US) asking penetrating questions like: “what was going through your mind when….”
· The candid shots of the fans in the stands
· The enthusiasm of the fans themselves, singing, wild costumes, etc.
· And, I am getting to appreciate the skill level shown in the higher leagues. Crisp passing with a strategic plan and not just kick it as far down the field as you can and hope for the best…
· What I still DON’T enjoy is the falling down, rolling around, looking in mortal agony until there is no foul called, then get up a trot away (yes, there are occasional real injuries or at least ouchies). But apparently it is an accepted part of the game.
The game seems to be growing in popularity here in the US, as evidenced by today’s “Sports on TV” table in our local paper. The listings for today revealed:
3 NFL games; 4 MLB games (plus two little league); 6 Golf events; 2 WNBA; 2 Auto Racing; 1 High School Football; 1 Beach Volleyball, and…11 Soccer games spread over 7 outlets (including beIN, which I don’t get). Not sure if there’s a statement there or not.
And maybe it’s time for Tony Romo to begin thinking about retiring..
Okay, back to food.
Alert readers will know that I rail (or rant) against the invasion of Chains in our county making it harder and harder for independents to survive. Well, in one of the little news blips I get there was an encouraging article the other day containing some interesting statistics. It quoted some July data that showed chains had a 1.4 percent drop in sales, while independents produced a “robust 5-percent gain”. One of the reasons proposed was the previous to the “social media” explosion, chains could afford extensive and aggressive marketing, which the independents could not match. But “the social media era may have created a powerful new resource that levels the playing fields for independents: review sites like Yelp.” A Harvard Business School professor looked at the effect Yelp reviews had on both types of restaurants. He found a significant impact for independent restaurants, but no relationship between Yelp ratings and revenues for chains, and Yelp causes demand to shift from chains to independents.
Of course the hazard with things like Yelp and TripAdvisor are that any schlub such as myself can get on there and give an unfair review maybe based on a bad day. One kind of has to consider the volume of comments to hopefully get a true picture of a place. Anyway, I thought it an interesting piece.
Speaking of Chains, this caught my eye the other day:
"Diners across the country will have one fewer salad bar to peruse with their lunch or dinner, as Ruby Tuesday announced it will close nearly 100 restaurants by the end of the year.
Tennessee-based Ruby Tuesday revealed in its fourth quarter report on Thursday that it will close 95 under performing locations by the end of the year as part of a “Fresh Start Initiative.”"
The location here in First Colony was not on a list of potential closures...
We are now inside our month window (Yikes!) from our trip to Cornwall. The organizers of our trip (Cole Travel) have gone to a model of staying at least two nights in the same location. Generally we have a dinner at the Hotel one night but are on our own for another night. Which of course drives the Feeder to such sites as above (Yelp and TripAdvisor) to ferret out likely spots. Great fun, but also a lot of work. We will be free one night in Salisbury, Exeter, and Falmouth. If perchance some of the readership has any suggestions, they will be considered! I have nailed down two of the three, but still am working on Falmouth. In future postings I’ll reveal my choices.