Month: August 2014

HISTORICAL HOMIES: Ugolino della Gherardesca

Most Prof. Prattle posts are freewheeling, digressive, madcap. Once in a while, though, we prefer to temper the tangential tendency and train our eye on a single subject for an in depth analysis of an HISTORICAL HOMIE. The first HISTORICAL HOMIE piece (declared as such retroactively) was the compelling story of that legendary daughter of Poughkeepsie, Lee Miller. Today our insatiable knowledge lust demands we go further afield to bring to you a tale of derring-do and double-dealing. Without further preamble, the legend of Ugolino:


No math involved

I’m not teaching a class right now, but I don’t think that necessarily means that my prattling need cease. Especially in light of this past weekend’s exciting news from the Golden State’s capital — the results of the 2014 American Cheese Society competition! I’m a fairly regular reader of both print and online news media, so imagine my surprise at finding an email from Murray’s promoting a collection of “Blue Ribbon Beauties” from the 2014 ACS Competition. Surely such a spectacle, in so splendid a city as Sacramento, would have attracted the notice of the international press? I scanned last week’s Economist* and searched the NY Times archive, but there was no mention of this year’s competition anywhere. In fact, the most recent NYT mention of the ACS competition was back in 2012, in a short piece by Florence Fabricant (whose byline I’m always glad to see, mostly due to residual fondness for Sonmi-451). The winner that year was Flagsheep, made by Beecher’s of Seattle; they had recently opened an outpost in New York City, which probably explains why the Grey Lady deemed the ACS results worthy of inclusion that year.

In any case, the Times was not the only news outlet to neglect this important event. The first item in a Google News search for “acs winners 2014” is this stupid article about a contest to win tickets to The Expendables 3. In fact, the only helpful result from that search was this article from something called, which as you might expect is “an outlet for news about all the perishable categories typically featured in a retail store: Bakery, Dairy, Deli, Floral, Meat & Poultry, Produce, Seafood”. Needless to say, the site is now my homepage. (Though what’s the significance of a homepage these days, anyway? I always just have a bunch of tabs open already. Choosing a homepage has become a largely symbolic gesture, like naming a president pro tem of the Senate (besides the whole 4th-in-line-to-the-Presidency thing) or burning an ex-lover’s clothes (shoulda donated them homie).)

A search of the Sacramento Bee‘s archive reveals that they did publish the results, so maybe Google is more to blame for those lackluster results than the media itself. Looks like the L.A. Times has gotten in on the action, too, which is good to see. In any case, the results are thus: