December 06, 2012
I'm amused that our left-leaning City Council thinks that in hard times like these, a music hall is worth spending public money on.
That's because the Left in America, supposedly the voice of the people, the protectors of the poor, the defenders of the oppressed, are in fact almost invariably the most elitist section of our society.
With so many people hurting, with houses in foreclosure, with jobs in short supply and many people un- or underemployed, they really plan to spend public money – from taxes or donations – on a performance venue?
Let me put this in perspective. I run, walk or drive along the North Elm bus route almost every day. I see who is waiting at the bus stops, who gets on and who gets off.
The only attribute these people have in common is that they either don't own enough cars for everyone in their household, or they can't afford to drive the cars they have.
In Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, where I also walk, run and drive, most bus stops I've seen have shelters. They have walls on three sides, for protection from wind and driven rain. The walls are transparent, for safety. There's a roof for shade and for shelter from rain (or, in Salt Lake City, snow).
In Greensboro, where we have so much extra tax money that we can afford to build a music hall to please the city leaders' elitist friends, the people who ride our buses stand out in the rain and wind and snow, or blister in the heat. Here and there we offer a bench, but most places, nothing.
If there were a dry, sheltered place to wait, maybe more people would ride the bus. That would be good for business and for jobs, because more people could afford to get to work in distant places; it would be good for the environment, because it might save a few car trips.
It would also show that our local government actually cares about the poor.
Meanwhile, I'll keep attending musical events at UNC-G or War Memorial Auditorium or Carolina Theatre – whose existence shows that Greensboro is not exactly desperate for a music venue.
I can hear some people curtly saying, "Well, Card obviously cares nothing about the arts."
My entire career is in the arts, and I have spent thousands of unpaid hours on theater and music productions.
But I have never taken tax money to pay for my books or my plays or musicals.
Tax money is taken by coercion. And donated money has many possible uses. In my moral universe, such money should be used for actual needs. Like shelter for people waiting for the bus.
But no. Our city government thinks it's a much higher priority to build a music hall. While the poor are left out in the cold.
What with Whole Foods moving into Greensboro, and Fresh Market continuing to live up to its name and well-earned reputation, I worried that Earth Fare (on Battleground, just south of Lowe's) might be doomed.
Instead, Earth Fare's management has stepped up their game. The store is sharper-looking than it used to be. The produce is fresher. And they are doing a better job of offering a wide variety of high-quality goods.
Earth Fare is still the only store where we consistently find the best potato chips in the world: the Greensboro-made Good Health brand Avocado Oil chips.
But now, though Fresh Market and Whole Foods have carried it in the past, Earth Fare is now the only store in town where I can get Wallaby brand dark chocolate yogurt, without which my life would be only barely worth living.
One of my favorite things about Fresh Market has long been – and continues to be – their constant exploration to find cool new products to offer in point-of-sale displays.
Well, Earth Fare has now started a similar practice during this holiday season.
The bad news is that they are already completely sold out of their supply of Angie's Dark Chocolatier Sea Salt Holidrizzle Kettle Corn. And they aren't getting any more – the chocolate-drizzled masterpiece is sold out at the manufacturer.
I have one bag left, and I'm not sharing.
But Earth Fare still has Angie's Holidrizzle Kettle Corn in the white chocolate peppermint flavor.
I hope Earth Fare realizes that Angie's should not be just a holiday thing. They sell other wonderful flavors of kettle corn, and I'd rather buy them at Earth Fare than order them online from http://shop.angiespopcorn.com
It gets better. Walking down the holiday display between the freezer cases at Earth Fare, we found Le Chef Patissier All Natural Fleur de Sel Caramels. Now, I'm a caramel snob. See's and Fannie May make caramels that I would give as gifts. Besides them, only my mother makes caramels that good.
Well, these Le Chef Patissier caramels join the list. They're darker and a little chewier than the See's and Fannie May caramels – more like my mom's. The touch of salt in them is only a slight overtone; the balance is perfect.
I have saved the best for last. When it comes to chocolate-covered cashews, I'm an addict. But even addicts can distinguish among products of varying quality. And I have now found the best chocolate-covered cashews ever.
Taza Chocolates are made in Massachusetts, but they buy all their chocolate from Mexican farmers and prepare the chocolate according to Oaxacan traditions.
The result is an extraordinary dark-chocolate-covered cashew. The chocolate coating is very thin – a veneer, almost as if it's sprayed on, it's so thin. But the chocolate is so pure and strong and delicious that you don't want any more.
The cashew under it is also very good, and you can taste the cashew more than with any other brand. The result is an exquisite balance.
In the juice department, Earth Fare offers two miracles.
Ever since Tropicana stopped offering their legendary Valencia orange juice, I've been searching for a comparable O.J. No luck, until last week.
I was picking up some orange juice for an early-morning breakfast, when I noticed that Odwalla – long a favorite source of blended juice drinks – was offering pure not-from-concentrate orange juice. Naturally, I picked up a jug of Odwalla orange juice to bring home and try out.
Not only did my wife and I love it, but so did everyone at the breakfast who tried it. We didn't point it out – they just started saying, "Where did you get this orange juice? What brand is it?" And, just so you know, these were teenagers. When teenagers notice a quality difference in orange juice, you know that it's seriously good.
On that same shopping trip, I noticed, on a higher shelf, a bunch of small bottles of Noble tangerine juice.
Now, I'm skeptical. I've tried commercial tangerine juices before, and usually what they do is use juicing machines that scrape every last bit of juice from the fruit – which also means digging into the rind so deeply that it turns all the juice bitter. That ruins the whole batch.
So before buying more than one, I took one off the shelf and sampled it on the spot. I would buy it, of course, whether I liked it or not.
But I liked it. No, I loved it. Noble was not over-scraping the fruit; there was no bitterness. It was pure, beautiful, delicious tangerine juice....continued on page 2