Very much not New York pizza

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A recipe for pizza toast in Atlanta starts out as cold comfort, then provides a path forward

By: Julia Bainbridge/

I checked the weather app on my iPhone as soon as my plane touched the ground in Georgia. It registered 89 degrees. Hours before, I finished a cup of coffee in a drizzly Manhattan and hugged my friend goodbye, and when I discovered the app’s findings, I texted her a screenshot. “Jealous!” she responded.   I abhor the heat.

Rummaging through the refrigerator in the apartment I’ve lived in for just over a year, I found sliced sourdough bread, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese that I had shredded and stored in a plastic container. I toasted the bread and then layered on the tomato sauce, which I mixed with a tablespoon of an Indian-style tomato condiment that another friend makes (and sells through her company Brooklyn Delhi) and then the mozzarella, which I melted under my oven’s broiler. It was a kind of pizza, I guess; pizza toast, let’s call it. It was fine. It was dinner that night.

Four nights earlier, I had ordered a New York pizza. It was a New York pizza in style — generous in diameter, with a thin, crisp but pliable crust — but also in fact. I was in New York and I ordered a pizza. It was a New York pizza because it was baked, sliced, delivered and, ultimately, devoured in New York. Hundreds of pizzas were simultaneously being delivered within a couple miles of me, and they were all New York pizzas.

This particular one arrived in a 20-inch cardboard box via a slender man named Weiqun. The time was 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and as I stood on the sidewalk in my silk pajama set waiting for Weiqun to unzip his insulated carrying case, I noticed a handsome brown leather briefcase to my left. Following the navy pant leg of its owner up to his face, I saw a late twenty-something man leaning against the brick facade of my friend’s apartment building, wrapping up a phone call about some business deal or another. Whether or not he does so ironically, I was charmed to discover that at least one millennial carries a briefcase to work.

For 30 seconds, Weiqun, the millennial financier and I were subjected (happily, in my case) to the synthesizers in Rihanna’s ragamuffin-style “Rude Boy” trilling out of the speakers of the boombox affixed to the back of Weiqun’s bicycle seat and onto Thompson Street. Once the pizza box reached my hand, off I went to the fifth floor.

As for the aforementioned devouring, it was done properly, by New York standards: My right-hand thumb and pinkie finger pushed together the two vertices on either side of the crust edge of each cheese-topped triangle, folding it in half lengthwise. I ate three slices, standing at my friend’s kitchen counter while streaming a Netflix documentary about early 90s-era club kid (and criminal) Michael Alig on my laptop.


I thought of that pizza as I plodded around my kitchen in Atlanta and ate my pizza toast in silence, watching the sluggish sway of dogwood trees billowing with flowers through my living room window. Visions of Weiqun came to me, as did flickers of Rihanna’s steel drums. My pizza toast tasted better after the first three bites, as I remembered my New York pizza and the scenario involved in acquiring it. Sometimes pleasure can be had in eating something so unlike the other that, in comparing the two, they’re both with you. The tomato achaar’s black mustard seeds revealed themselves, then the fenugreek. Tamarind! Gosh, I haven’t cooked with tamarind for a while, I thought as I reached the center of the slice. By the time I finished it, I was searching for tamarind recipes on my laptop. The next night I used the fruit’s pulp in a warming and garlicky chickpea curry, something I’d never made before.

New York City, where I lived for ten years, is a dirty, difficult place with endless potential for magic. About once a quarter, most New Yorkers wonder aloud where else they might move. I could have a yard in Nashville. I could afford a second bedroom in Portland. I could own a bed and breakfast in Maine. I could run an heirloom squash farm upstate. In the end, they usually stay. A piece of the reason why is that they feel a part of a phenomenal and phenomenally twisted club. Loving New York for the energy it provides and the willingness to sacrifice so much else for that energy is a very specific taste. Are you wacked enough to immerse yourself in it? So am I. Let’s play.

I left, and I’ll probably return. I say “probably” because, in this year away, a year that forced me into saying I’m in my mid and not early thirties, I’ve grown used to the ease of being able to seat eight guests comfortably at a table in my dining room. I’ve enjoyed the company of less rapacious men, men actually seeking committed relationships. And I’ve had the room to, instead of hustling to pay rent, try new things, like making chickpea curry from scratch. Twenty percent of me still isn’t sure I want to return to carrying my laundry two blocks once a week or engaging in months of flirtatious texts that lead nowhere over and over again. Another thirty percent of me is curious to see what else I might get up to with the time I have now, time that used to be taken up scraping New York’s dirt off of me at the end of each day.

I’ll spend the summer touring Minneapolis, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco and most places in between as I research for a book. Pizza toast will appear here and there to fuel me, I’m sure. Maybe in Philadelphia, I’ll make it on a hoagie roll. Maybe in Los Angeles, I’ll get my hands on some of that tomato achaar and make a version that’s close to my Atlanta original. I’ll think of my kitchen in Georgia and all of other the things I cooked there. And I bet when I order New York pizza, those flavors will be with me.


Pizza Toast

Serves 1

1 slice sourdough bread

1 tablespoon tomato sauce (or whatever your desired amount for spreading)

Shredded mozzarella cheese (usually about 1/4 cup, depending on your mood)

Optional toppings: flaky sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes or dried oregano

Place bread on a sheet pan. Broil on both sides until golden.

Spread one side with tomato sauce and top with cheese. Broil once more until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.


Is Chrysler Dead?

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Could it be true?  An American Icon gone?

Walter Chrysler founded the car company bearing his name over 100 years ago.   Like General Motors, it absorbed other car companies Plymouth, Maxwell, Desoto,and Dodge.  In 1987, it merged with American Motors Corporation which owned Jeep.

1998, it merged with Daimler (Mercedes Benz)  that marriage ended in 2007.  In 2014, the US government arranged a shot gun marriage with Fiat. For many years Ram Trucks were apart of Dodge.  In 2010, it became a separate division.

Chrysler was the companies luxury division, competing with Lincoln and Cadillac. At its peak it had 8 models.    Today its down to two.  The aging 300 and Pacifica Minivan.  The sucessful Pacifica most likely would be rebranded as a Dodge.

There have been rumors about the two original divisions Dodge and Chrysler for some time.  The Jeep and the Ram Divisions are the profitable divisions for FCA.  Chrysler basically sells one car all based on the LX platform that dates back to 2005.  T


FCA denies they are killing Chrysler, we may learn its fate, later today.



Hybrid Envy: Driving for $5.00 a week?


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Silly Wabbit, Trix or low gas prices are for kids.   A few years ago a gallon of gas in the Golden State was less than $2.50 a gallon at the same time in Mississippi, I bought gas for less than a $1.60 a gallon.   I never trusted Opec (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries)  or the US oil companies.    Here in California, if someone catches a cold at a refinery, fuel prices jump twenty thirty cents a gallon.

No matter how attractive, a gas guzzler or SUV was never in my sites.  It never made sense to me to buy a car getting 12 miles to a gallon.  No matter how much a car cost, the label or the pedigree, you drive it to dinner, work, to the supermarket.

This memorial day weekend, rising gas prices has become part of the conversation.   On a talk show a man says he isn’t affected by gas prices, he said ,he spends a little over five dollars a week for gas.  Five dollars?   I expected him to say, he owned one of those ugly space age Toyota Prius’s.  Nope, he drives a Kia Nero.  He lives 6 miles from his job and because he isn’t on the freeway his car runs on EVmode or electric Power.   After a little research I discovered most hybrids operate in EV mode, some up to speeds of  forty miles an hour.

For those people who think a hybrid is a small Prius like car, think again.   Toyota and its Lexus division builds midsize, full size hybrids and compact and midsize Suv hybrids .     The very popular midsize Toyota Camry hybrid gets 51 mpg in the city and 53 on the highway.  The Chrysler Pacific Hybrid Minivan can drive up to 33 miles on EV mode.

Now if you one of the millions of freeway warriors commuting from the suburbs to the central city you’ll spend considerably more for fuel.    The premium for a hybrid can range from from $2500 to over $7000 depending on the vehicle and you’ll have to weight the costs.


Interesting Comparisons 

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2019 Chevy Traverse 20/27


2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid 40/39

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The Avalon Hybrid Savings @ 2.97 a gallon  $860

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2018 Mini Cooper 28city/38highway


Lincoln Mkz Hybrid 41city/38 highway

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 The Lincoln will save you $200 a year

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2019 Nissan Altima 25city/40 Highway


2018 Nissan Rogue 26City/33 Highway

The Larger Altima would save you nearly $400.00 a year over the Rogue

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Two Round Trips Tickets to Paris 


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If you traded your Chevy Suburban, Ford Excursion, GMC Yukon for a Toyota Camry Hybrid your saving would amount to nearly two round trip tickets  (you’d need to pony up a measly $300 ) from Atlanta to Paree.

100 miles per day based on the current gas price of 2.97 a gallon the difference would be nearly $1800.

Fuel Prices,It’s Serious


White women like me, we need to talk (about not calling the police)

(CNN)   Did you hear about the white woman who called police in Memphis earlier this month because a black man who wanted to buy a house was trying to take a look at it first? What about the white people who called the police on black people simply for sleeping in their own dorm lounge at Yale, barbecuing at a park, shopping at Nordstrom Rack, waiting in a Starbucksor … the list goes tragically on and on.

Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

White women like me, we need to have a talk. Enough is enough and we need to make ourselves part of the solution. You. Me. The woman next to you in the grocery store line, at the bus stop or on the soccer field. The writing is on the wall. We’ve got to stand up and speak out because right now, we’re part of the problem.
Click on the Link Below for the Rest of the Story

Why I call my male freinds king


By:Malcolm-Aimé Musoni/Washington  Post

Male friendship is often mocked, in the many “bro culture” memes and the jokey way we invoke the word “bromance.” For both men and women, it’s easier to laugh and ridicule than to accept that genuine love between male friends is real, and can be wholesome and completely devoid of toxic masculinity.

My male friends are some of the most supportive and loving people I know. They have given me jobs, told me when my fly was down, checked in on me when I ghosted them, let me know when I put too much Vaseline on my face, given me space when I’m wyling out, texted me when I’m anxious, talked me out of dumb decisions and held me when I cried. But more than anything else, they have loved me and appreciated me. Which is why my male friends and I have been following the newish trend among black men to call one another “king.”

Male friendships are appreciated in some areas of pop culture. Judd Apatow has made an entire career out of movies about them. If you were a white man in the mid-2000s and wanted to be an actor, you could go audition for one of his movies that featured Seth Rogen and hope you were cast opposite him as his white best friend.

Jay-Z and Kanye West are on-and-off best friends who made a monumental joint album in 2011 about their brotherhood and being successful, famous black men at the top of their game. The biggest rap group in the world right now is Migos, made up of Quavo, Takeoff and Offset, a trio of best friends who also are related to one another, rap together, make money together and love each other.

These are some areas of pop culture that I look to as models for what friendship can be. But ultimately I do things my way. Last week, my best friend Isaiah was dealing with a tough personal issue, and it hurt me that he was hurting. I woke up the next day, typed a beautiful text to him in which I called him a king, offered to buy him Chick-fil-A, and told him that I loved him and would be there for him if he needed to talk that day and every day that followed.

Sometimes “friend,” “buddy,” “pal” or “bro” doesn’t suffice. “King” is a word that goes a step further than others in proclaiming your love and appreciation. It’s like: I see you out there. You’re doing your thing, and we may not agree on the best song off Frank Ocean’s “Blonde,” but you are a king.

When I’m calling you a king, I’m admiring your sauce and trying to remind you that you do have that sauce. I’ll see a homie on Twitter feeling down, and I’ll text them four words: You are a king. I’ll be on Instagram and see that my friend Stephen just got a new haircut, and I’ll respond to his story with one four-letter word: king. I’ll greet my friend Alston at his birthday party with “Happy birthday, king.” I’ll be going through something stressful, and one of my homies will tell me: “You got this, king.”

Men calling each other king isn’t a new phenomenon. In the black community, people have been calling one another kings and queens for decades as a term of endearment and to support the idea that black people collectively descended from African royalty. Writer Damon Young pointed out the issues with this in a 2016 essay arguing against the practice, saying: “If you’re from a place where kings and queens existed, there’s a small chance you actually directly descended from them. And a much, much, much, much, much, much, much larger chance you descended from people who were ruled by them. And, if history is any guide, if you happen to be from a place with an unfathomably wealthy ruling class, that unfathomable wealth most likely ended with the ruling class.”

But many songs still perpetuate this idea. A 2013 Jay-Z song opens with an intro from Pimp C’s last interview, in which he talks about black people originating from kings. Despite the historical inaccuracy, calling each other kings and queens is simply a reminder of black Americans’ history in Africa before slavery, something that many in this country don’t know much about.

In the past year, “king” as a term of endearment among black people has become more popular and taken center stage on Twitter. There’s no specific meme or tweet from an account with several thousand followers that started it, and no BuzzFeed article full of tweets from people calling each other king to explain it. Rather it’s happened organically, the way many things do on Twitter.

However, with the resurgence of king-calling, it is understandable that some black people are not pleased that non-black men have co-opted the term.

“They always latch onto black endearment,” my friend Guled told me. “You don’t qualify.

I’m a black man with tortoiseshell glasses and a nose ring, and I live in Brooklyn, so I do have white friends. However, we live in a patriarchal society where white men are the most privileged. They have been looked at as kings for centuries, and at this point I’m just not in the mood anymore to say what has already been said systemically. I would rather devote my time and breath to telling those among my male friends who will always live in a world that really doesn’t want them that they have that sauce and are the masters of that sauce.

Self-confidence fuels everything we do as human beings. Do you have the confidence in yourself to quit that weird marketing job and pursue your passion for cooking? Do you have the confidence in yourself to get that new haircut and proudly rock it? Do you have the confidence to just be you all the time and never sacrifice that for anyone? In 2018, there are so many things going on that affect our self-confidence and perception of ourselves as men, but when your kings got you and let you know that they love you and will always have your back? There’s nothing you can’t do.

There’s no good Mother’s Day card for a not-good mother

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By: Mary Elizabeth Williams\

My mother isn’t in my life, but I can’t forget her on Mother’s Day

It’s my little annual Mother’s Day tradition. I stand in the greeting card aisle, surrounded by paper images of flowers and butterflies. I pick up one card after another, shake my head, and put them back. They don’t make great cards for not-great moms.

My mother and I haven’t had a conversation in almost two years . She has seen me — and her two grandchildren — only once in the past dozen years, at a family funeral. She didn’t stay long. In those twelve years, I’ve published two books, had serious cancer twice and watched my firstborn spend a week in the ICU. I’ve passed the milestones of holidays and birthdays and school plays. My mother lives an hour away. She doesn’t answer her phone.

I typically send her three communications a year, unless there’s an emergency — for Christmas, her birthday and Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is the hardest. There are lots of safe cards for the other two celebrations — humorous ones, ones that don’t assume intimacy. Mother’s Day cards are different. Because they’re for your mother, the person who ostensibly raised you and took care of you and loves you unconditionally. But those “You’ve taught me so much by your beautiful example” and “When a daughter grows up feeling as cherished as I did, she’s bound to love her mom with all her heart” sentiments just feel a little . . . off for me, you know?

My mom’s own track record with cards isn’t the best. For my birthday last year, I got a nautical-themed card “Wishing you the very best” and a $20 bill. It was signed, “Mom. Hi.” For my daughters’ shared birthday in January, they got a Christmas card with “Merry Christmas” crossed out and “Happy Birthday” written underneath. I never get a card for Mother’s Day, so at least it’s not like I need concern myself with matching her tone this time of year. Yet here I am, scouring the Hallmark racks for something like a gesture anyway.

The practice of buying a thing made of paper, signing your name to it, sealing it in an envelope, putting a stamp on it and dropping it down an actual mailbox feels insanely old-fashioned — which is probably why people still value it. Plenty of us don’t even make the effort to talk on the phone any more, or write out words in a text when a smiley face or a heart will do. Any communication that takes more than five seconds feels like a declaration of devotion. When, last week, a card with no other purpose except that it was funny arrived for me from a friend, I practically wept with gratitude.

Illustrator Emily McDowell  calls cards “the most special way to communicate.” She notes, “We have 57,000 ways to communicate with each other, but they’re all electronic. They’re ephemeral. You don’t keep a text on your refrigerator. Greeting cards have stood the test of time because they’re something people can hold on to and save. You have someone’s handwriting in it. Nobody’s typed anything.”

“You used to get a lot of stuff in the mail,” she adds. “People sent letters all the time, so your mail was something to look forward to. Letters have kind of gone away, so you only get bills and junk mail and stuff you don’t want in your mailbox. Getting a card in the mail is like, ‘Oh my God, a good thing!'”

Despite how cherished cards are, the supposed imminent death of their industry has become a perennial subject of retail speculation. In 2015, Hallmark ominously began shutting down its Connecticut distribution center and announced it was cutting 570 jobs. A former Hallmark designer and marketer told NPR at the time.  “The personal expressions industry is facing something, kind of like climate change shift.” Yet retailers like the Chicago-based Paper Source have managed to stay afloat — and expand — by offering cute, millennial-friendly merchandise and craft-making classes along with what describes as  “that quirky card, chic personalized stationery, elegant invitations, and the beautifully wrapped gift that you are looking for.” People still want to get mail.

This holiday, as I was once again feeling stumped for the appropriately neutral message of “It’s Mother’s day and you are, technically, my mother” to send, I decided to consult Emily. As the creator of Emily McDowell Studio, she knows that often in life, there is no good card. That’s why she co-wrote a book called ” There Is No Good Card for This: What to say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful and Unfair to People You Love.”

Three years ago, McDowell earned international attention when she created a line of “empathy cards”  to offer, with heart and humor, supportive messages for people going through grief, illness, infertility and more. Sample sentiment: “If this is God’s plan, God is a terrible planner.” On the Mother’s Day section of her site, currently, one can purchase witty and sweet messages for moms and “honorary moms,” as well as her all-purpose classic, “I know this day really sucks for you.”

When I asked her recently what the hell kind of card to get my less-than-World’s-Greatest-mother, McDowell said, “The is actually the perfect use for the blank card with the flower on it. If you have a relationship that is in name only, where you have a mom or a dad and you are sending the card out of familial holiday obligation, the basic ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Happy Father’s Day’ is a benign message that checks the box, I think rather than trying in a store to find a card that is appropriate to send that person.”

McDowell’s thriving business, meanwhile, is a resource for, as she puts it, “the casualties of shitty people: the shitty adjacent people.” She says, “We make a lot of cards for non-traditional parent child relationships. But they are less for what to send your shitty mom and more about what to send your friend who has a shitty mom and hates Mother’s Day because they feel left out.”

She acknowledges that this holiday is so tough for so many. “It’s not just people who had a shitty mom,” she says, “but people who had miscarriages or people who want to get pregnant and can’t and have any kind of bad association and get triggered by the mother-child celebration. We focus on supporting each other, and recognizing the reality of what we’re going through that may not be reflected in greeting card land.”

The distance between my own mother and me grows wider with every passing marker of the year. I no longer send her gifts or attempt to call her, and I recently told my teenage daughters they shouldn’t feel obliged to send her cards if they don’t want to. When Mom’s birthday rolled around this winter, I toyed with the notion of ignoring it altogether. I was in throes of a deeply painful period in my life,  and her conspicuous absence from it felt uniquely cruel.

It took a few days to make up my mind. I had to get to the place where I didn’t want to do something purely out of guilt or tradition. But I didn’t want to not do something, out of spite or hurt feelings, either. So I reached down deep for the love I still carry for her, the gratitude for the love she has given me and for the happy memories that nothing can ever erase. I sought to do something thoughtful, with no expectation of reciprocity. That’s what a card is supposed to do. It was an exceptionally cold day. I had just come out of the hospital, where my daughter had been fitted with a heart monitor. I went to the drugstore and found a card that said, “Happy birthday, Mom” on the front. I wrote “I love you” inside.

And now, because they still don’t make cards that say, “You probably did your best, given your limited emotional range” or “I turned out OK anyway,” this weekend I got my mom a card that reads, “Wishing you every special thing Mother’s Day can bring.” I don’t know what those special things would be, but I wish them for her anyway.

I won’t include my older daughter’s yearbook photo, or the image of her sister singing at Le Chat Noir in Paris. I feel like it would seem like I’m asking my mom for something, and I’m done asking. Instead I’ll just sign my name. The name she gave me. The name that’s half hers. In two days, it’ll travel to her mailbox and into her house. She’ll recognize the return address on the envelope. She’ll open it and see the butterflies on the paper. She’ll read a message from a daughter she no longer knows. And then maybe she’ll put it on her refrigerator.

F-Kanye up? Come on now!

A rapper with alleged ties to Snoop Dogg called on the Crips to F.up Kanye West.  The order came over Sunday morning in an Instagram video, according to CBS Los Angeles.

This is all over Kanye’s public support of President Donald Trump.

The video has since been taken down.  The problem is, some misguided person, just may try to take Kanye West out.  We’ve seen this with our current President, who’s I said that, but you got to wrong has resulted in attacks on Muslim’s and other brown skinned people.  If he is associated with Snoop Dogg, we can only hope Snoop will denounce the message.


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