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a silent salute: The audience "claps" at Joke Night during Deaf Awareness week. Click Arts&Life for a link to story. / Photo by Leah Lopshire

Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Callaway's might be heaven, or at least spaghetti enchantment

By Ashley Zarate

November 7, 2008 | If I could find a way to make sweet love to Callaway's spaghetti, I would. It is borderline perfect. It makes my mother's taste like dog shit, even though hers tastes that way normally. I started my trek to Smithfield Tuesday evening to eat my life away and then write about what my mouth was experiencing. Tragic I know, but it was my cross to bear.

Before I start wowing you with talk of green goddess dressing on side salads and chilled merlot, keep in mind I'm a professional eater. And by professional I mean that I have been eating approximately two meals a day for the last 23.9 years of my life. That, my friends, is around 17,208 meals in my lifetime. Now I'm not really into bragging, but that's a lot of food. Considering that my mother can't cook and makes spaghetti at least three nights a week, I would have to consider myself a spaghetti expert. This is just the facts. Science if you will.

Back to Callaway's. I ran one helluva train on their breadsticks. They are tricky little bastards and I almost didn't try one. Thank God (debatable) I did. They resemble an alien-like finger. E.T.'s finger, minus the light on the tip and the finger's flexibility. Regardless of their outer appearance, the breadsticks are ridiculously delish. I had the brilliant idea (duh) of dipping mine into a little bit of heaven also known as Balsamic. Good call on my part, per the usual.

During my breadstick affair, another lover of mine stepped up to the plate. My relationship with a good glass (glasses) of wine is the only relationship I have been able to fully commit to. Wine doesn't cheat or bitch about your skirt being too short, it simply loves. Plus, if you're feeling elegant, you can get all that toothsome flavor in a box. With a spout. I wouldn't lie to you.

A box was not on the menu for me this evening (sigh), so I settled for somewhere between three and eight glasses of a flavorful merlot (only old women count). Not dry. Not harsh. Decent I would say. The third glass might as well have been water considering that I burnt off all my taste buds when my pasta came out. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate it at an "It got the job done."

In between the waitress being a huge buzz kill ( i.e. "you really want another glass?") and my realization that my date had a monster nose, I was served a side salad. This is the part where I discover what a gem the green goddess dressing is. The salad is simple but it won me over with quality romaine and black olives.

Our waitress (she seemed boring) kept teasing me by bringing out everyone else's food and not mine. A deep hate for her started to burn inside me until she decided to stop being such a Debbie Downer and finally brought me my entrée. Spaghetti enchantment ensued. It may have been all the sweet nectar of the earth (read: merlot) I was downing, but I'm a quality 98 percent sure it was the promised land.

Since I'm an architect of taste buds, I opted for angel hair pasta with the original spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Another good call. I was four balls deep into my noodle dish before I realized how full I was. My first instinct was to puke and rally but being in public, I decided against it. I respectably decided to get a box (not the wine kind) and take the remainder home for one of my obese and vaugely pathetic roommates.


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