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August 4, 2017 |

Archive for » August 4th, 2017«

Have you tried these 12 new restaurants in Butler County?

Breakfast menu items include egg and griddle specialties, loaded skillets, six kinds of Eggs Benedict, nine omelettes and five breakfast sandwiches. The lunch and dinner menu features more than 80 different dishes, including starters, salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, pasta, steak, seafood, chicken, pork chops, stromboli and Italian dishes.

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How a kitchenware collection won my heart

My one aesthetic goal in life is to live a chic, bohemian lifestyle. It all seemed purely aspirational, until I discovered the affordable Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart (yes, I know—but hear me out).

The Pioneer Woman collection, by the Food Network’s Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, is kitchenware perfect for anyone with an undying love of florals, butterflies, and plastic tumblers stamped with sassy quotes.

The iconic Food Network Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, thoughtfully selects prints and hues, so you can mix and match any part of her collection and still achieve a cohesive look. In the winter, there are poinsettia flowers, and, come spring, expect roses and paisley prints.

So far, my collection consists of a set of tri-colored mixing bowls and floral-patterned plastic food containers that have contributed greatly to my free-spirited-yet-chic-home goals. The mixing bowls in the collection are sturdy, making them perfect for all of my baking needs, while the floral tupperware is easy to wash, and has gotten compliments from my fellow design-minded colleagues.

I also bought the Daisy Chain “kitchen” rug, which hangs out in my bedroom. The 4-by-6-foot rug, which is sadly no longer available, is perfect for lying down and rolling from my back to my stomach without touching the hardwood floors.

I’ve also been eyeing a ton of other pieces in the collection that I desperately need in my life. Take this rubber spatula, spoon, and basting brush set, for example: It comes in three different colors with phrases like “Live, laugh … and lick the spoon!” and “Love is the key ingredient” painted on the handles.

Or, consider the scalloped ramekins that I’ll purchase once my life gets to a point where I can justify buying extremely tiny baking dishes simply for the sake of making my Instagram presence more dynamic.

Head to Walmart.com or any of its brick-and-mortar stores to get your fix.

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I found more than I expected at the World’s Longest Yard Sale

My wife and I try to find a few hours the first week of each August to drive between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg and catch a small section of the World’s Longest Yard Sale.

It’s not that we need more junk. We have too much already, which is why we have our own yard sales every few years.

But this four-day flea market, which will stretch along U.S. 127 between Gadsden, Ala., and Addison, Mich., through Sunday, is more than a place to buy low-end antiques and a mind-boggling assortment of stuff. It is an museum of American material culture where everything can be yours for a price.

The booths of more than 2,200 vendors show a lot about who Americans are, who our ancestors were and what tools, trinkets and treasures our society has used and valued since the late 1800s.

I have bought a few things there over the years, such as the antique lamp on my desk. But I mostly go to look at stuff I have no interest in owning.

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KBF by Audi unveils new Fairfax showroom

After working remotely for seven years out of a series of vans, Jamil M. Audi, head of operations for KBF by Audi Contractors, said he was happy when his company opened a showroom in Leesburg in 2011. Now that KBF by Audi has just opened their second Northern Virginia regional showroom in Fairfax, he is ecstatic.

“This location is larger and ready to service all of Fairfax County,” he said.

KBF’s new Fairfax location held a Grand Opening celebration on July 29 and is currently taking local remodeling orders and inviting the public to come see their new stae-of-the-art showroom consisting of cutting-edge home accessories like steam-showers, custom tubs, ultra-modern kitchen and lighting accessories, and the newest styles of Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) that approximates just about any natural flooring material you can think of; such as coarse grained wood or a variety of textured stone choices, all of which look amazingly real.

“LVT is guaranteed waterproof and fast becoming a standard for lower-level floors in Northern Virginia homes,” Audi said. Other luxury flooring choices, such as engineered hardwoods, are also available.

KBF (which stands for Kitchen, Bathroom and Flooring) provides clients with a complete home remodeling experience. From concept to completion, they design and create unique and avant garde living spaces that are simultaneously beautiful, functional and highly livable. With two showrooms in Leesburg and Fairfax, KBF by Audi is a one-stop destination for kitchen, bathroom, flooring and basement remodeling needs.

A family-owned business with more than thirty years of experience, KBF by Audi’s designers and construction teams like to say that they “transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.”

“We are a one-stop business and have basically everything you would ever want to install inside your home,” Audi said. “You can come here and design what you want, choose your materials and accessories, and then we will take it from there. We will order what you need and install everything to your exact specifications. And once we quote you a price, it will not change. We are knowledgeable about contracting but also about what people want. We consistently under-promise and over-deliver”

Jennifer L. Dubbaneh, client services manager and Audi’s cousin, can attest to that.

“We did extensive research on Yelp and other sites to determine complaints about contractors across the country that were being filed there,” she said. “We then made sure not to duplicate any of those complaints into our own business model. If anything, we overcompensate to always make sure our customers are happy.”

KBF by Audi’s Fairfax showroom is located at 3891 Pickett Rd. For more information visit www.kbfbyaudi.com

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My Dad Wrote a Porno: Jamie Morton on Turning Embarrassment into Podcast Gold

Warning: this interview contains spoilers for the critically acclaimed Belinda Blinked erotic novels. Proceed with caution.

Jamie Morton’s dad—penname Rocky Flintstone—wrote a porno. Like, a sex-filled, no-holds-barred, NSFW erotic novel, complete with a rather colorful interpretation of anatomy and a lot of questionable business tips.

The Belinda Blinked series chronicles the exploits of Belinda Blumenthal, the international sales director at the fictional Steele’s Pots and Pans, as she seduces her way to the top of the famously sexy cookware industry. On her journey, she engages in sexual (not quite sexy, but definitely sexual) encounters with both men and women. Morton recruited two of his friends, James Cooper and BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine, to react to the novel in real time as he reads it to them across a kitchen table. The result is My Dad Wrote A Porno, an entertaining podcast with a cult following that is well into its third season.

We chatted with Morton, who, against all odds, is still a functioning human being despite reading his father’s innermost sexual fantasies, about the podcast’s growing popularity, a possible Belinda Blinked spinoff and his own theoretical penname.


Paste:
My Dad Wrote A Porno has gotten majorly popular. Are you ever at the supermarket or just out and about somewhere and someone is like, “Hey! Your voice has been in my ear talking about pots and pans and the flesh of mankind!

Jamie Morton: Do you know what? Yeah. And it’s increasing more and more. Recently it was, “It’s porno guy!” I got that the other day. I was at a festival and someone shouted that. It’s quite complementary.


Paste: This is a question you probably get a lot, but, does it ever sink in that your dad has written this? I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that if their father wrote an erotic novel, they’d have trouble looking him in the eye, but you guys seem to get along just fine. Is it just accepted by you and your mom that this is just something he does?

Morton: It is now, yeah. Initially it was a little bit more challenging. Nothing can ever prepare you for your dad to write porn. But it’s what he does. We’re dealing with it in what I think is quite a healthy way. Like let’s just upfront admit it.


Paste: “Rocky Flintstone” is quite the alias. If you were to write erotica, what would your pen name be?

Morton: I don’t know! Someone suggested I should be Jamie Jetson of The Jetsons. Stay with the Hanna-Barbera theme.


Paste: What was The Flintstones character that was brought up before in the podcast? Like someone’s aunt or something?

Morton: Was it Slaghoople? Pearl Slaghoople?


Paste: Yes! Maybe that could be your mom?

Morton: Yeah she might be Slaghoople. Maybe I should be Bamm-Bamm.


Paste: Rocky is not known for his knowledge of the female anatomy. Does he still believe that one can grab a woman’s cervix?

Morton: I’m not sure. I’m not sure he ever believed it. I just don’t think he knows. I think he was just getting stuck for things to say, and I think he was just digging for another word for vagina. Cervix was close enough, but also not at all.


Paste: If Rocky were to write a spinoff of Belinda Blinked, which character would you like to see it centered around?

Morton: This was actually in a footnote we recorded recently. He wants to write about Sir James Godwin. He made this amazing backstory, like he had had three wives, one of whom died in a parachuting accident.


Paste: What characters in the Belinda Blinked world are you, Alice and James most like?

Morton: I think Alice is probably most like Helga, just because she enjoys her knitwear. James is the youngish man. Elijah Wood will of course be playing him in the eventual movie. Jamie would also be quite a good Tony. I might have to pass on me just because I don’t want to be a character in my dad’s erotic novel.


Paste: There are a lot to choose from, but which is your favorite hookup that Belinda has been a part of?

Morton: The plane one is quite good, with Hazel and “B3.” The Amsterdam shop window with the Countess Zara was quite a good one as well. It had quite a surprise to it.


Paste: We know Elijah Wood, Daisy Ridley, Michael Sheen and Mara Wilson are fans of the podcast. Are there any other high-profile celebrities who you think might be secret Belinkers?

Morton: Well James is fixated on the fact that Adele is a Belinker. It would be nice to think people like the royal family listened, like if Prince Harry was like a secret Belinker. We’ll take anyone. Everyone’s welcome in this perverted family.


Paste: You guys do live shows. You have your biggest live show ever at Royal Festival Hall coming up. Is there a chance we could get a few show dates in the United States sometime soon?

Morton: We are talking about it, yes. We very much want to perform to our Belinkers stateside. We’re actually going to Montreal soon. America is the next step.


Paste: Do you think you can convince Rocky to merge the Belinda Blinked universe with another universe, say, Star Wars or Game of Thrones, for his next novel?

Morton: I mean anything is possible. It doesn’t take my dad much convincing to do anything. And he is continuing to write at a worrying pace. To be fair, he wrote four before we started the podcast, so it isn’t that alarming of a pace.

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Luxury for Less in East Kensington for $499K

2107 E. Dauphin St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 | Photos via Todd Hovanec, Luminous Realty

Do you love Fido as much as you love your spouse? (Or maybe even more?)

Both of them will be thrilled to live in this rebuilt contemporary East Kensington rowhome. (The listing puts this home in Fishtown, but although it’s in Fishtown’s zip code, it’s actually on the Kensington side of Trenton Avenue.)

It’s loaded with spaces and amenities you usually have to spend a good bit more than this to find, and one of those amenities you probably won’t find anywhere else you look, no matter how much you spend.

That amenity is the dog shower in the second-floor hallway. “Fishtown’s best dog shower!” is how the listing on the agent’s website describes it. We’re willing to bet good money it’s Fishtown’s — and East Kensington’s — only dog shower. Your pooch will be so grateful.

You and yours will find plenty of other stuff to love in this home as well. The main floor is a good place to start pointing it all out. The kitchen, for instance, is outfitted with KitchenAid appliances, including a five-burner gas range and a drawer-style microwave oven in the island. Frosted glass cabinets add a touch of flair, the island seats four (great for both casual entertaining and large parties), and the range hood actually vents to the outside.

Out back is a large patio with a gas hookup that’s ready for you to install a fire pit or grill. When the weather’s nice, this will be a go-to spot for relaxing and entertaining.

Then there’s the open seating area on the top floor, outside the master bedroom. It’s equipped with a wet bar with wine fridge, glass rack and a beautiful arabesque tile backsplash. This can serve as a den, a home office, or even a fourth bedroom if you build a wall to close it off from the hallway.

And the bathrooms are also really something, especially the one in the master suite. That bathroom is lined in white ceramic tile and has a quartz-tiled shower with a multi-flow shower assembly and custom doors.

Up above all this is a roof deck that’s wired for sound with outdoor speakers. It also boasts undermounted LED rope lighting and nine wall sconce lights to make it as enjoyable after dark as during the day.

The basement, which has its own powder room, makes a great media room or lounge as well.

With all this, do you really care that it’s convenient to both the Market-Frankford Line and to the Frankford Avenue shopping and entertainment district? Your dog’s wagging tail says you don’t.

THE FINE PRINT

BEDS: 3 (4 per the listing)

BATHS: 3 full, 1 half

SQUARE FEET: 2,500

SALE PRICE: $499,000


























































2107 E. Dauphin St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19125 [Todd Hovanec | Luminous Realty]

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JJ Redick says Sixers in position to grow into ‘one of the elite teams in the NBA’

Since the award’s conception in 1967, four Phillies hurlers have won the NL Cy Young: Two of them are incredibly obvious and two of them are absurdly not. Any fan who’s ever stepped foot inside the Citizens Bank Park gift shop could probably guess Steve Carlton (72, 77, 80, 82) and Roy Halladay (2010), arguably the two best Phillies pitchers of the last 50 years, as the first two. But the next two are not Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Curt Schilling, Jim Bunning, Rick Wise or even Brad Lidge. They are, instead: John Denny in ’83, and Steve “Bedrock” Bedrosian in 1987. 

Denny’s presence on this esteemed list is surprising but explicable. In his first season with the Phillies after coming over from the Indians, Denny was dominant, going 19-6 with a 2.37 ERA, throwing seven complete games and letting up a staggeringly low nine homers in over 240 innings of work on the season. What’s more, he helped lead an aging Phillies squad — the “Wheeze Kids,” you may recall — to 90 wins and the NL pennant. His K/BB numbers weren’t phenomenal, and arm issues robbed him of the chance to ever repeat his dream season, but his profile as a Cy Young winner in ’83 was nevertheless a relatively complete one. 

Bedrosian, on the other hand, is both unexpected and not easily understood. Glancing at his stat line from ’87, one is given the impression of a highly productive reliever that stops just short of being elite — a 2.83 ERA with 74 Ks and 28 BBs in 89 innings, and more homers (11) than Denny gave up in ’83 with nearly thrice the workload. His calling card on the season was his number of saves: 40, a career high and best in the NL that year, though hardly a record-setting number — Dennis Eckersley had 45 for the A’s the season before. He was hardly the secret sauce to any particular Cinderella Phillies season, either: The team finished 80-82 that year, easily missing the playoffs. 

And yet when the BBWAA convened in 1987 to elect the league’s best pitcher that season, it was Bedrosian that they concluded upon. Not that such stats existed at the time, but the reliever’s 2.1 WAR that season ranks him the lowest among all winners of the award. So what gives? 

Well, first you have to put it in historical context and remember that award voters were really, really impressed with closers in the 1980s. More strictly regimented reliever usage in the late ’70s into the ’80s (and the emergence of star closers like Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage) led to closers being used more explicitly in save situations, and racking up gaudy numbers and increased renown that people had never seen before from the role. Consequently, six relievers won the Cy Young in the 13 years between 1977 and 1989, compared to just two in the 28 seasons since. Two of them — Fingers and Willie Hernandez — won the MVP, too.

Still, of those six winners, Bedrosian’s stats from his winning season are easily the least superficially impressive (aside from the number of saves, anyway) and he did it for a team that finished under .500. And if it was a so-close-so-many-times sort of lifetime achievement award, strange dude to honor: Bedrosian never received another Cy Young vote in any other year before or since. There had to be another explanation. 

Indeed, there was: The competition that year suuuuuuuuuuucked. Bedrosian (57 Cy Young vote points) narrowly edged out the award’s 2nd and 3rd place finishers, Rick Sutcliffe of the Chicago Cubs (55 points) and Rick Reuschel of the Pirates and Giants (54), but those guys’ profiles were hardly overwhelming: Sutcliffe went 18-10 with a 3.69 ERA and over 100 walks, and Reuschel had an ERA over 4 with the Giants after getting traded mid-season and only 13 Ws on the year, back when that number still really mattered to voters. 

Other potential candidates were similarly unconvincing with their Win-Loss records: Orel Hershiser went 16-16 and Nolan Ryan (who actually led the league in Ks and ERA) went 8-16 for the disappointing Astros. Dwight Gooden missed about 10 games. Bob Welch — who actually might’ve had the best resume of all these guys with his 15-9 record, 3.22 ERA and over 250 IP, and definitely the best WAR (7.1) — was likely overshadowed by presumed staff ace Hershiser. (An L.A. Times article from the time on Bedrosian’s win was entirely framed around Hershiser being snubbed, with Welch barely even mentioned as a footnote.) 

Indeed, it seems narrative simply favored Bedrosian at the time. 40 saves was a nice round number, and Steve also had earned the distinction that season of being the first reliever to ever earn saves in 13 consecutive appearances — not exactly a DiMaggio-like streak, but enough of a hook to hang a Cy Young campaign on. And though the Phillies ended up finishing well outside of the money in the NL that year, they were actually in the race until early September, before a 1-8 stretch essentially doomed the season — still, close enough for Bedrosian to emerge as an early candidate. Then, of course, there was the super-cool nickname: Bedrock, presumably at least partly inspired by the closer’s fabled reliability. Streak + narrative + nickname… plenty of award pushes have been built on less. 

30 years later, Bedrosian may stand as the worst Cy Young winner in the award’s history, and he’s since been eclipsed in Philly reliever lore (for reasons both good and bad) by Mitch Williams, Brad Lidge, Jonathan Papelbon and maybe a couple others. Nonetheless, he’s in the record books for all-time, a rare glittering prize during one of the most ignominious stretches of modern Phillies baseball, and for that, he’ll always be remembered — even as just the answer to a trivia question — which is better than can be said for most of the late-’80s Phaithful. (Dude, nobody knows who Von Hayes is.)

[baseball card courtesy]

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