Creativity and Thought Starters The New Utopia Uncategorized

Creativity and more may be suffering

Recently on Facebook, I tried to make a joke about the relationship between Boomers and Millennial’s — but it was misunderstood. So this makes me reflect upon my writing style lately. And this in turn effects everything I post on my streaming TV channels, including my custom edits like my recent video compilation about Star Trek Music.

I think I’m loosing my ability to write creatively, freely and with a naturally flowing “stream of consciousness.” And I think this is because I’ve been closed-up in a house just like so many of you during this virus-crisis.

So I may choose to take a break from writing for a while.

But before I do, I’d like to say a little something about why I think some people may want to lash-out at the political parties, and get-out of the house during a government lock-down.

Some of this may seem obvious, but bare with me please.

1.) You’re running a business and you’re suffering.

2.) You’re trying to make ends-meet and it’s pretty darn hard to make money if you can’t go to work.

3.) You may feel that Democrats are to blame and/or it’s another type of conspiracy.

4.) You may think “why should I listen to an order to stay home when I feel like my personal liberties are being violated.”

5.) Perhaps you have never lived through an epidemic or pandemic before. Or maybe you never learned about the 1918, 1957, or 1968 Influenza pandemic’s. Or you’ve never heard of the Yellow Fever, Tuberculosis, and Polio epidemic’s. And because of this, you feel that this current Virus-Emergency is a imposition on you personally, and the rest of society should follow or at least understand your train of thought.

Okay so those are a few reasons, and I’m sure you can think of many others. You may even have a neighbor like I do who is a senior citizen — and he or she has a few strange sounding warnings to share. Interesting enough, seniors do have a unique perspective. They may be old enough to tell you how people coped with hardships during the Depression and WWII.

The Boomer Generation and their forefathers lived through some pretty rough times compared to today.

I’m a little young to be a Boomer – but even I have worked in a factory building automobiles — and it was very hot and fast paced work. We didn’t have Robotics, we had sweat. The hydraulic press that I operated had a worn out brake, which meant at any moment it could send tons of steel down upon my hands. This was a recipe for crushed hands and missing digits — if my timing was not precise and very fast.

Our seniors may tell you that they stood in line during WWII with a “Ration-stamp” that allowed them to buy only 1LB of meat per week for their entire family — that is, when it was available at the local butcher. Pork and Beef were a luxury. Everything, including general goods like clothing was rationed by the government because the War was a priority. Therefore, folks could only purchase goods like Clothing and Shoes when/if they qualified for a clothing or shoe ration. They lived through it because they respected each other and they loved their country.

Let’s go back to the 1930’s. If you know a senior citizen in their 80’s or older, they may tell you about how they depended on “Government Relief.” During the Depression, many people existed on canned food that was shipped to the U.S. by Australia. It was unlabeled, and usually Mutton (3 year old sheep) or a Spam-like ham-product. Again, the U.S. struggled through it because we respected one another and loved our country. Good People didn’t put their energy into tearing each other down or rebelling.

I know these things because my mother lived through it, and I double-check her recall by reading historical books and watching documentary films. (Bye the way, I do stream military documentaries on my Roku channel Stars and Stripes.)

The boomers and their fathers and grandfathers built the U.S. infrastructure. They built the roads, bridges, and most buildings including the electrical and plumbing systems that we use today. I think it’s important to respect what they have to say.

But perhaps you feel as though the people who are saying these things are judging you or imposing their “old-timer” “boomer” mentality on you. So here’s my explanation, for what it’s worth…

“Young” folks may feel that “older” folks are putting them down or accusing them. However, the reason that an older person (may ) say these things is that they are concerned for the younger generation.

In most cases, older folks just want to protect the future generation — at least, that’s what I would prefer to take away from “boomer” statements, not the negative side of things.

I hope that you take away some positive reinforcement from this article, really I do. I’m especially concerned because I know that my current stress level is effecting my ability to write well. So forgive me please if this article seems disjointed, and feel free to comment if you like. Cheers. (c) Dean Lachiusa

The New Utopia Uncategorized

National Eat Anything you want Food Day

Warning this is an article that has nothing to do with film and TV, and everything to do with going zonko during this virus crisis. I just heard (on TV) that it was “National Eat Anything you want Day.” And while it sounds kinda hokie to me, it did inspire me to think about the foods that I would eat (if) given the chance to eat anything I wanted (without) the side effects. In other words — what if God or Super Cool Aliens from Planet Wonko gave me the power to eat anything I liked with no concerns about salt, sugar, fat, or cholesterol?

So here goes, my list of foods that I would eat if given the chance at total immunity.

A Detroit coney island dog, with onions and mustard. In Detroit, the most infamous local coney restaurants are Lafayette and American — and they sit right next to each other in downtown Detroit, in our reborn city which at one time housed Onassis Coney, Vernors Ginger Ale, and J.L. Hudson’s Maurice salad. If you’re from the D, then you know the history of the Greek family who started a restaurant, and then decided to open rival Coney Island restaurants right next door to each other.

Their hot dog is similar to the East sides most famous chain of Coney restaurants, National Coney island, and the West sides Kerby Coney. These chains use dogs made of beef and pork. It’s a European-style Vienna sausage with a beef, pork, and sometimes lamb or sheep casing.

This is not to be confused with the New York style hot deli dog, which I love when it’s a Sabrett or a Hebrew National. These brands are available with a casing similar to the D’s recipe but with a different sauce. The NY sauce is called a “chili” but it’s not a Texas style chili. The NY chili is a relish sauce made with tomato, and regular or sweet Vidalia onions. You’ll find this kind of topping in Erie, PA and other places too.

When you bite into any kind of a top-quality Coney or “deli-dog” it “SNAPS.” The texture is wonderful and the flavor is just out of this world. There are other styles of dogs that I would put on my virtual plate of must eat comfort food, including coney’s from “Johnny’s Lunch” in Jamestown, NY and the “Varsity” in Atlanta, GA. Perhaps you have your favorite? Like the Cincinatti Chili dog?

Cincinatti is known for a breed of Chili unlike any other in the U.S or Canada. It’s beef without beans, and sometimes cinnamon, and always a bit of chocolate — and it’s NOT SWEET. You can get it at Skyline chili and other restaurants. Below is 4-way Cincinnati_chili. That means, a base of noodles, topped with Chili, onions, beans, and cheese.

If you’d like to experiment with ingredients from the traditional recipe made without beans try the following. 2 pounds lean ground beef. 1 quart water, or amount to cover 2 onions, finely chopped. 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce. 2 tablespoons vinegar and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. 4 cloves garlic, minced. ½ (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate. ¼ cup chili powder. 1 ½ teaspoons salt. 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon. ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper. 5 whole cloves. 5 whole allspice-berries. 1 bay leaf.

Virtually traveling around the Mid-East via my taste-buds reminds me of another New York favorite of mine, the Giant Salted street vendor Pretzel.

This is a unique animal. It’s not any old warm pretzel. The trick to finding the best pretzel is this: Look for a seasoned, experienced pretzel vendor, you can tell they know their business by their age, and they’ll likely be missing a leg or a few digits. (Weird but true!)

Secondly, make sure the vendor is selling roasted Chestnuts too. Not because you are required to order the nuts — no, it’s a seasoning thing. The nuts flavor the salt. So, when you order your Pretzel, ask him to grind the pretzel into the salt on the bottom of the nut/pretzel steamer. Now you can add mustard, and enjoy your carbs 😉

Okay, the next food that I’ll eat if I ever get into the situation where I can eat anything I want without regret is from down South.

The Carolina pulled pork sandwich. The trick here is to order a genuine southern style pit-roasted pork topped with homemade slaw and dressing. The slaw is unique and it is paired with a dressing that is important. It’s a vinegar based dressing — not a tomato/barbecue sauce topping.

A quick recipe for Carolina style pulled pork sauce…

  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

My next choice is related to this, it’s the Kansas City style BBQ roast or sandwich. It’s made with KC/St. Louis style sauce, and this is what I find in my grocery store. I wish that I had my choice of Carolina dressing — but it’s just not available at local retailers. KC sauce is a sweet and delicious sauce that can be found in many different taste-combinations from Bourbon to Hot to Honey. I love barbecue, so I’d love to have a healthy heaping of Beef and Pork Ribs too. As long as I’m dreaming — pile it on!

On the side ,let’s go with some seasoned French fries, with some tater-tots, and a few onion rings and fried cheese sticks.

Ohh, let’s not forget my favorite, Buffalo style wing dings. I’ve sampled them from hundreds of restaurants and bars, and I have to tell you that they really are served best from Buffalo, NY area establishments. If you’re vacationing around Erie PA or Buffalo, NY — then visit Chautauqua County where you’ll find the Casino in Bemus Point, NY or my absolute favorite, BJ’s bar in Fredonia. BJ’s bar has a distinctive recipe — and it’s worth the 45 minute wait.

Why on earth would it take over a half hour to make a batch of wing dings…don’t they just fry ’em and coat them with sauce?

I’ve watched BJ’s cook their wings, and I can tell you what makes the difference is their (2) step cooking process. First, they fry the wings, then they baste/toss the wings with sauce just like any other place. But they’re not done yet. They then put the wings into the broiler, and zorch the sauce into the wings. Delicious!

And let’s not forget the most important part of any Wing Ding — right this down if you have to because this is the testament baby. BLUE CHEESE DRESSING. That’s right, you can dip your wings into Ranch dressing like most restaurants do, or you can do it the way the original Buffalo style Wing Ding was served. With chunky blue cheese dressing and a side of carrots and celery. Ahhh, Buffalo style wings are paradise! 😉

Lastly, I’d like to indulge in a slice of Chicago style pizza.

It’s similar to our Detroit style pizza, which is a thick square pizza made famous by Buddys Pizzeria, the Cloverleaf restaurant, and Mr. C’s deli on the East side of Detroit.

(Hey, if you’re shopping at Mr. C’s – grab an E&B tall-boy beer and have a swig of history ehh? — Kidding!) But speaking of beverages, I really would like an ice cold Faygo Red pop or their Cream Soda.

Aww, geez, it never ends — if I have a soda, then I need a bag of Ketchup flavored potato chips from Canada. Dill pickle chips are okay, and Chicken flavored are weird, but Ketchup or “catsup” is divine. I’m getting hungry for lunch – time to go… (c) Dean Lachiusa

The New Utopia

U.S. you’re hired! China you’re fired?

I have confidence, confidence in the fact that our Government will act out with a gun shot reaction to this virus crisis. An action towards China. China has three (recent) strikes against them. SARS, Avian “Bird Flu” and now this dang Virus. But this kind of thing is not new to the world, really we’ve battled everything from Yellow Fever to Polio. But importantly, we should take note that China has a long history of being responsible for large scale infections including in 1957 the “Asian flu” , and in 1968 the “Hong Kong flu” and also 1977’s “Russian flu.” They have a history of spreading influenza, and now it’s a bad reputation. And because they don’t seem to learn a lesson, I think it’s about time we “fired” China.

But let’s not confuse who is at fault for the virus — it’s not the average Chinese citizen. They’re cogs in a great big wheel. And it certainly is NOT in any way the fault of your Chinese neighbor or the local Chinese restaurant.

It’s time, time to give the U.S. the opportunity to manufacture the products that we used to do so well. Do I sound like an economic expert? 😉 I don’t know a darn thing about how our economy works when compared to the experts out there.

But I do have the life experience to remind you — or tell you for the first time…that there was a day when the United States manufactured things like dishwashers and other household appliances. And these products performed in the American household for years and years without the need for repair. And when I say years…I mean 20 years or more. Imagine a dishwasher, like the one installed in my house 35 years ago. My old dishwasher was made by Kitchenaid. It ran for 30 years, until 5 years ago when it finally started to act funky. It didn’t completely stop working, but it started to make funny noises and it wasn’t cleaning the dishes well.

So, I made the mistake of replacing it with a new Kitchenaid. God only knows where this thing was really manufactured, because the repairman who fixed it just 5 months after I had it installed told me it was NOT anything like my old unit. He said it was “made in China, with parts from all over the place.” “…The computers in these things are lemons…” We discussed it a little further and he said that Kitchenaid is like Sears now…It’s just a brand name that relies on it’s old reputation – but it is not the same quality, it’s all made in China.

Sears was a cornerstone of American craftsmanship, including their Kit houses.

I’m sure you’ve heard this kind of talk before. It’s the “scuttlebug” that we’ve been churning out for years now. And in a large part it’s our fault, right. I mean, we love to save money, we love a deal. And how many of us shop at the dollar store on a regular basis? We all know that it’s cheaper to buy a new toaster or coffee machine than to repair one. And in the end — who doesn’t like a bargain?

But we need to break this model. We, the U.S. citizens need to understand that it might be difficult, but we have to find a way to break away from these cheap products, and instead make our own products again. Made by us, bought by us.

This may be a Utopian train of thought. Maybe it’s just too difficult to do this. But right now, we’re forced to be inventive. We have to find a way to manufacture medical masks, gloves, hand sanitizers. And we have to find a way to deliver locally made goods to each other. Because, we are each others customers. We have to learn to depend on each other, to trust each other like we did “back in day.”

I’d like to make this article feel complete by suggesting that I do believe that we’ll have a cure for this virus soon. I think that some laboratory will come up with a vaccine or at least a anti-virus cocktail that will prevent lung inflammation and Pneumonia. I have faith in this because I know that the company that comes up with a solution will make a ton of money. So there’s an incentive.

Meanwhile, if you want to make a nice chunk of change…come up with a solution for a need in your community. What needs are not being taking care of? It can be anything. Think about it.

For example, the other day I watched an advertisement by a Pizza company for their new solution to curbside pickup. A kiosk. Make the pizza, drop it in the kiosk, then the customer walks up to it, opens the Kiosk and takes home their pizza. Nice, but to really work safely it needs to be installed so the customer may access it from outside the building.

Hmmm, I hope all restaurants can do this kind of thing – – that would be full coverage of their curbside and “hands-off” idea. But only (if) the restaurant workers are doing their part inside and out of the business. And I won’t go into great detail, but obviously we have to trust that a manufacture of any product or good is wearing gloves and masks, and following all the safety guidelines.

Ohh, that’s a thought — do we have new food-safety guidelines for restaurants? Are we, the consumer depending on each business that we order from to implement a system that is safe? Hmmm. Call your governor? Or perhaps, start an organization that puts together the rules and guidelines for operating a business during a pandemic. Too much? Think about it in small steps. What would you like to see, what do you need, and how can you fill that need.

To put things into context with this website, I have made my Film Festival an Online Venue, and I support the fest and filmmakers by streaming the winning films on my connected TV channels (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Android.) So you see, I’ve gone entirely virtual/digital in order to best service my audience and the filmmaker.

I hope that I’ve given you some optimistic thoughts and ideas here. I hope that I’ve brought you a little more hope. Blessing and Cheers to you!(c) Dean Lachiusa