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Today's word on journalism

February 17, 2009

Why I miss my hate mail:

"It's an odd thing to admit, but in a perverse sort of way, I actually miss the wretched river, the rancid flow of puerile, nasty, sickeningly homophobic email I used to receive on a regular basis from the ultra-right and the Christian right and the Mormon right and the Bush-impaired whenever I would post a friendly, pointed column full of tangy liberal attitude. . . . . Oh, I miss all the lovely and positive email too, which outpaced the nasty stuff by a huge margin. But the hate mail was very special indeed, great fodder for live readings, for the reaction of horrified disbelief of anyone who saw it, for the charming reminder of just how ugly and violent and grammatically challenged the human animal can be."

--Mark Morford, columnist, (2/13/09)

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My first time with Mr. Yellowtail

By Kandice Crompton

January 30, 2009 | My first time was in Virginia. Arlington to be exact. I was nervous. I'd heard good things, but I'd also heard horror stories. My parents had warned me. I'd talked with them about it numerous times in the past, but they'd always quickly just said, "No, just don't do it."

I didn't know what to expect. What if I couldn't do it? What if I got sick afterward? My roommate kept telling me it would be OK, that if I was anything like her I would like it a lot and wouldn't be able to get enough. She always wanted it, morning, afternoon and evening.

It turns out she was right. My first time trying sushi was amazing.

My parents don't understand. My dad could probably be convinced to come try it sometime, but my mom, who also doesn't understand my obsession with Indian food, would rather run naked through Wal*mart (her words, not mine) than try sushi.

That first time, the mix of fish, from salmon to albacore, shrimp and crab to yellowtail and squid amazed me. The brilliant combination of colors, bright red, yellow and orange of the fish, the green of the avocado, cucumber and seaweed, all mixed with the white rice and brown tempura created a pallet of colors that I felt was too beautiful to consider touching, let alone eating.

Once I took that first bite though, everything changed. The mix of salmon, rice, cream cheese and avocado all doused in soy sauce slid off the chopsticks and into my mouth like they belonged there. The following meal was heaven. My roommate was right. I would never stop eating sushi.

For me, eating sushi is not something you do quickly. It's not a meal you run and grab on your lunch break. Eating sushi is an event. The different courses must each be enjoyed for what they are. Each bite must be savored. Each roll must be appreciated for its beauty and complexity. The ambiance is as important as the meal. That is not to say that nicer places make for a better meal. Rather, the better the place looks from the outside typically indirectly correlates with the quality of your experience.

I have found that there are certain things to look for in a sushi joint. If the people behind the counter speak English to each other rather than Japanese turn around and walk away. That is not to say that English speakers cannot make sushi, but that if you want the real experience, the Japanese chatter in the background is a must.

Another thing to consider is the fact that sushi cannot be enjoyed with just anyone. You must pick your company carefully, being sure you can spend more than an hour with them. Because if you're going to do it right, it will definitely be more than an hour long event. Once you think you have found comrades to enjoy sushi with however, you need to be sure their level of appreciation is the same as your own. There is nothing worse than planning a great evening out to find out your partner can finish in 15 minutes.

If you're like my mom and have spent your life steadfastly refusing to try one of God's greatest gifts to men and women, you may want to rethink that decision. If you've never had the nerve to try sushi, give me a call and i'll introduce you to your "first time". I'm not kidding I'll even do it with strangers.



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