Sunday, February 28, 2016

Odd Car Ads

Two recent ads, both for cars, have struck me as being odd. The first begins with a group of bank robbers with pink ski masks discovering that their getaway car has been stolen or towed. One of them says that they should have left someone to mind the car...they run away from the bank...another says that they aren't going to take a cab...they then steal a red Prius, well not exactly steal because they leave a bag containing some of the stolen money with a thankyou note attached....last we see them driving out of town with police in pursuit but also with crowds of people apparently cheering them on.

What is the message here? It's OK to rob banks? Priuses are great getaway cars? Priuses are easy to steal? Fashionable bank robbers wear pink ski masks? If you want to be seen as a Robin Hood-type character then steal a Prius for your getaway car?

The second ad is really sentimental, right down to country music in the background. It depicts a sympathetic-looking bearded character with a 14 year-old dog (we know the dog is 14 because his owner has bought him a birthday cake with 14 on it) going through a bucket-list for the dog which includes some kind of game involving lots of tennis balls, hanging out together, tracking down the dog's old girlfriend and going to the beach, to name but a few. All very soft and squishy and set to country song about best friends and being there till the end.

So, what are the takeaways and what on earth does it have to do with Subarus? Has the dog just been diagnosed as being terminally ill? Does he have an appointment to go to the vet's to be put down? Why else the rush to complete the bucket list? Why the Subaru? Are we saying that the owner has to have a reliable car to complete the bucket list? Is it implied that Subarus last longer than dogs? Every time I see a Subaru now I am wondering if the owner is embarked on a bucket-list treasure hunt or perhaps taking time off from working on the bucket list. I pity the poor dog whose owner comes home with a brand new Subaru - "Oh no, not the bucket-list!"

This is all very different from another current Subaru ad which shows a (female?) lab driving around at night with her puppy in a child-seat in the back, presumably being rocked to sleep by the movement of the car. It kind of makes you wonder that if Subarus can be driven by dogs perhaps the old guy (dog) should be doing his own bucket list or at least some of it but that wouldn't quite have the same emotional "pull" as the whole master/dog thing.

And for something completely different? Here's are pictures of a cute tufted titmouse and a pine warbler - both on a bird feeder here in Tillson, New York.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Some recent culinary adventures....

These are not in any particular order....just posting a few dishes, recipe links and photos. The first is a recent dinner party dish Thai pork tenderloin salad which worked out very well. Because the marinade was so rich and flavourful I cooked it and served it on the side to add to the meat or salad.
As an additional vegetable I served cauliflower, roasted with anchovies, capers and drizzled with olive oil, a delicious side-dish. Surprisingly (for me) none of my three dinner party guests had ever eaten clotted cream and so, to rectify this, I had decided to try my hand at making scones (a first for me) and serve them with a small jar of Devon clotted cream and a mixed berry jam, both purchased from Adams at Kingston. My scones were a little crumbly but everyone liked them. Following this baking success a couple of days later I decided to try savoury scones, reducing sugar, substituting yoghurt for fresh cream, adding cheese and swapping chopped sun-dried tomatoes for raisins. As a further experiment I made two of them with capers as well as the sun-dried tomatoes. The mix was a little 'sticky' and hard to work with and the scones themselves came out quite crumbly but they tasted good. The first picture is of the ones with just sun-dried tomatoes, the two in the other picture have capers also: From late 2015 here are two of my creations: the first, a quiche with bacon, cheese, red onions and yoghurt - Last, not least, is a 'light' Italian cheesecake made with Ricotta cheese which was on (very) special at Shoprite for just $2.99 for a 32 oz tub. It is topped with fresh raspberries and pomegranate seeds: