Green Potatoes 6: Night of the Living Spuds 🥔


Are you with me so far? I bet you thought I forgot about #GreenPotatoGate. Maybe you had, and wish I had. I think this may be it, as I’m never going to get a full response from Giant Eagle, and I did get some coupons! First, are you all caught up?

Had enough? Of course you haven’t. Read on, brave soldiers for spuds and titans for tubers!

As promised, I did receive some coupons from Tasteful Selections. Way to stand behind their products! There was a cool ingredient card too, so I may check that out. I do like purple potatoes.

Giant Eagle reached out with a DM on Twitter, then nothing. 🦗🦗🦗

And…

I submitted some shenanigans to Shop ‘n Save via webform, but haven’t heard anything back via email.

Although, I did get a Facebook message:

That was anti-climactic. They didn’t comment on the maze or the green potatoes.

I did, however, get one super awesome response to a positive message that I sent out about some potatoes from The Little Potato Compnay that I bought at Shop ‘n Save. I reached out like this:

From: Me <me@nunya.biz>
Date: Sun, Jan 1, 2023 at 10:44 PM
Subject: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: <feedback@littlepotatoes.com>

Salutations Spud Specialists!

I just wanted to reach out to thank you for your tremendous tiny tubers, or your perfect potatoes if you will.

Saturday I picked up a bag of the Terrific Trio style spuds from Shop ‘n Save in Heidelberg, PA, …and they were all fantastic.

You may think it’s odd to be so elated with a perfect product, but lately I have been on a crusade of sorts as I feel that nearly ¼ of all my purchased potatoes are green and arguably poisonous.  Albeit very slightly poisonous.

I eat a lot of potatoes.  So I buy a lot of potatoes.  It seems like no one is immune to the great greening that has taken place iver the last few years.  Yours were absolutely delicious though.

If you would like a window to my spiral into spud shenanigans, please feel free to catch the saga as it has unfolded so far at my blog:  

https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/tag/green-potatoes/

I’m sure that I’m up to at least 2 readers semi-regulartly that aren’t me or AI bots.  Well, I think.

I draw mazes.  I sent mazes to some of your competitors as a means to get their attention, and perhaps stand out among all rhe other missives.

I am sending them you you as a thank you.  Please, enjoy them and pass them along to your potato people!  I would love if you got a chuckle out of them and if you took the time to try them out.

I really appreciate your multiple avenues of contact, prominently displayed right on the packaging, and a super easy to navigate website.  I need to poke around the recipes!

I hope the new year brings you many new opportunities, great joy, & happiness.

Auld Lang Syne

-Eric

PS – Also attached is a photo collage of breakfast home fries with those fantastic tri-color delicious beauties.

And attached this photo (along with my potato mazes):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wp-1672606172129.jpg

And I got this response:


From: Feedback feedback@littlepotatoes.com
Date: Tue, Jan 3, 2023 at 12:21 PM
Subject: RE: Thank you for a great product! 🥔
To: Me me@nunya.biz

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for the aMAZEing feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed your Terrific Trio home fries!

Don’t hesitate to check out our website at https://www.littlepotatoes.com/en/recipes/ for recipe ideas and upcoming contests. Also feel free to check out our Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/LittlePotatoCo ) to watch our video recipes and share with other The Little Potato Company lovers.

Have a terrific day!

Madison Marano | Consumer Service Coordinator

direct 587.460.2095 | main 780.414.6075

email madi.marano@littlepotatoes.com | web LittlePotatoes.com

11749 – 180 Street | Edmonton, Alberta | T5S 2H6

Neat!

I will be looking for more of their products too.

I think we can all agree, if you start seeing less green potatoes in the grocery store, that was clearly all my doing.

Please try to solve the potato mazes if you’re into that.

New Year’s Day Pork & Sauerkraut


There are many traditions used to celebrate the new year. One we always did was have pork.

Roast Pork Loin Rib Half
Good Luck New Year’s Day Pork Roast AiXeLsyD13-style.

Generally, I cook it in the crock pot, but this year I tried it in the roasting pan in the oven. I’m posting my recipe/method here so I can refer back to it. Hopefully you might like it too, and you may want to check out my other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 lb. pork loin (The one I got this year said “pork loin rib half”.)
  • 2 bags of sauerkraut (Beware, “Bavarian style” is a secret code meaning it has caraway seeds & tastes like royal ass. Unless you like caraway seeds or royal ass. I avoid it for diverticulitis reasons anyway.)
  • 1 bottle of beer. I used Straub Amber, but I also like to use Yuengling Traditional Lager. (You could also use Penn Pilsner, Stoney’s, Shiner Bock, or Smithwick’s Red Ale.)
  • Apple Juice (Maybe ½ cup?)
  • 2 Apples (I like Golden Crisp or Honey Crisp)
  • 1 Spanish Onion (Or a sweet or yellow onion or whatever you like.)
  • ½ teaspoon-ish Minced Garlic
  • Salt (or Season All / Seasoned Salt)
  • Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Paprika
  • Mustard Powder
  • Brown Sugar (Maybe ¼ cup?)

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Drain & rinse the sauerkraut, unless you’re in need of an intestinal cleanse.
  3. Sear the pork roast on all sides. I used a large fork to control it along with some tongs. I used a hot pan with a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil & a pat of butter. You just want to sear the outsides, not cook the meat. I did add a bit of seasonings first.
  4. Pop it into your roasting pan. Add some of those spices to taste.
  5. slice the apples & onions then place them around the sides, cover it with the rinsed sauerkraut, bathe it with that glorious beer & apple juice.
  6. Put some more spices on the roast again because you just washed them off. Don’t measure them. Live dangerously.
  7. Put your food thermometer in, put the lid on, & pop it in the oven. You have a food thermometer right?
  8. Cook it to 145° F according to the FDA, 160° according to my thermometer with the numbers beside the pig icon, or 203° if you want it to fall apart.
  9. From what I read online it could be anywhere from 20 to 30 min per lb. Instead of popping it out & checking with an instant read, get a thermometer that can stay in.
  10. Let it rest a bit when you pull it out. That’s just good life advice in general.
  11. I mixed the brown sugar into the sauerkraut after I pulled the roast out. I didn’t measure. I read that was to prevent it caramelizing & burning too much… but I think it would have been fine in there the whole time.

Tips:

  • I put onion powder on the apple slices and garlic powder on the onion slices… because why not? Does anyone else do stuff this?
  • You could probably do this at 300° or 325° if you felt like it. Cook to temperature not time.
  • You could throw all this into the crock pot (if it will fit!), or go with a smaller roast to do the same. I’d guess low on 8 or 10 hours would do it. Again, that’s what I usually do. Maybe go half the bottle of beer & drink the other half for breakfast.
  • Thinking back, I think I put a half a bit of ham bullion (or better than bullion) in there too. I do that instead of salt sometimes.

What’s the deal with all the other not pork on that plate?

  • Steamed green beans with a bit of garlic, butter, & parmesan cheese.
  • Boxed mashed potatoes – I used buttermilk instead of milk. While nothing beats the real thing… I like the boxed potatoes because I like potatoes with a consistency that you could use to mortar bricks together, or build a structure like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Those Bob Evans microwave potatoes might as well be potato soup. Also, buttermilk is the best.
  • I tried those hot dogs in the air fryer for the first time. I put slits in the top, then did 6 minutes at 400° and they were awesome. I did the bun for 2 minutes at 375° because I read some stupid blog, and that may have been to hot or too long. That should teach you a lesson about following recipes on a blog.
  • I served the hot dog on that bun (brushed with a little melted butter before air frying), with yellow mustard & some of the sauerkraut & pulled pork. I had one the next day & it was even better. That may be better than chili dogs!

I think the family liked it, or they pretended to. The 9yo liked the sauerkraut, the 7yo did not. Funny because the 7yo has been digging mushrooms and onions as of late, and he’s my dude that digs buttermilk. It may be a texture thing? I am weird about some textures.

Tell me about your pork recipes or new year’s traditions in the comments!

I always thought we were a bit German, but my Ancestry DNA test does not agree with that. We must have picked up the traditions from German or “Pennsylvania Dutch” friends & neighbors here in the region.

I’m glad this is not a tradition.

Also, if you like your sauerkraut without the brown sugar, I get that. If you like it with caraway seeds, I’m sorry your taste buds are broken.

If you line this recipe, you may like these:

Green Potatoes 5: From Russets With Love 🥔


Well. The garden plot thickens. Or something. I have a few more potato-related emails. All signs point to the grocery stores being at fault, and funnily enough the grocery stores have not replied, at all.

This happened, and we got a refund from Instacart. It’s not green potatoes, but they definitely weren’t ready to just toss into the crock pot with a roast.

Tasteful Selections - Organic Golden Potatoes Sprouting Eyes

If you’re wondering what the hell I am talking about, you must have missed the saga as it uprooted…

And that brings us to the following…

Dear Eric,

Thank you for reaching out. It’s always great to meet another potato enthusiast! As you may know, while we don’t represent any one brand, Potatoes USA works on behalf of more than 2,000 potato growers and handlers across the country to promote the benefits of eating potatoes. We’re happy to provide general feedback, and the individual brands and retailers can tell you more about their practices.

As far as green potatoes go, you’re correct that the color signifies the build-up of solanine. It’s a natural reaction to the potato being exposed to too much light. If there’s slight greening, you can cut away those green portions before cooking and eating. Generally speaking, you’re unlikely to ingest enough solanine to do you any harm.

However, I know you’re a potato skin fan (and rightly so). One bit of good news on the nutrition front is that the only nutrient significantly lost when the skin is removed is fiber. (A medium (5.3 oz) potato contains 2 grams of fiber with the skin and 1 gram of fiber without the skin.) Potassium and vitamin C are found predominantly in the flesh.

Potato growers take a number of steps to reduce greening, including maintaining enough soil cover over potatoes in the field and storing harvested potatoes in facilities with minimal light.

If you aren’t already, I’d encourage you to store your fresh potatoes in a cool, dark place. If you’re finding green potatoes upon returning from the store (or after Instacart delivery), you can often return them.

Thanks again for your note. We hope you have a spud-tacular holiday season, filled with plenty of potatoes.

Cheers,

Btj

Bonnie Johnson, MS, RDN

bonnie@potatoesusa.com

Director of Nutrition + Industry Relations

O: 303.873.2328

C: 702.217.3055

3675 Wynkoop St.

Denver, CO 80216

PotatoesUSA.com

So, of course I replied.

Hello Btj,

Thank you for your response!  I really appreciate your time and the imparted potato knowledge.

In my reaching out to several potato producers, it seems that they all want to lay the blame on the distribution and storage by the grocers.  

So, the “all the vitamins are in the skin” that I got from my grandma when I was a kid was just potato public relations? 🤣

No matter, I agree they are delicious.

Please, enjoy the attached mazes with your friends, family, & co-workers!

I hope you enjoy you have a pleasant holiday season and a happy new year, and a great going season next year.  I know I am looking forward to planting some potatoes myself.

I may leave out some potato candy for Santa, if I don’t eat it all!

Tuber-ular Tidings to you & yours!

-Eric

I sent the mazes again, like an idiot. Ha ha. I forgot I had sent them previously. No reply or acknowledgement this time.

This came as response from Tasteful Selections, which are the ones pictured above:

Hi Eric,

Thank you so much for contacting us. I am terribly sorry for the poor experience you had with our product. I can assure you that the quality you saw is not our standard, and for this I apologize.

We strive to ensure that every package of potatoes that leave our farm is handled with the utmost care in order to deliver a quality product to our consumers. Unfortunately, sometimes temperature changes and changes in light make potatoes break down or decay faster than they normally would. 

The greening you’re experiencing occurs when potatoes have been exposed to too much light, either natural or artificial, that gives the potatoes a sort of “sunburn.” While greening is a result of light exposure, the visible greening can be delayed. Potatoes exposed to light may be packaged and continue to green beyond our last inspection point. We make every effort to avoid this, however, in your case we were not successful. You can cut the green out of the potatoes and use the rest (although that’s a bit tougher with small potatoes), but eating the green portion of the potato can give a very bitter flavor.

Here’s some additional information if you’d like to see more: https://www.potatogoodness.com/potato-greeningfact-check/

I am sincerely sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. We stand by our products and you should not have had to have an experience like this. I would like to make it up to you by offering you a product voucher to hopefully help compensate you for your troubles.

If I may please have your mailing address, I would be happy to send you a product voucher straight away. Again, my personal apologies for the frustration this has caused you. 

Sincerely,

Jenny

RPE Inc. support@rpespudassist.freshdesk.com

TastefulSelections.comimage

So, I wrote back:

Hello Jenny,

Thank you for your response!  I have been exasperated lately with the amount of green or sprouting potatoes from the grocery store.  It is a consistent issue across brands and stores, and whether we use a service like I Instacart or pick a bag ourselves.

I understand, from your reply among others, that the issue is most likely occurring after it leaves the potato farm.

Can retailers like Aldi, Giant Eagle, or Target be better educated about potato shipping and storage?

Instacart already refunded us for the purchase of the recently sprouting spuds as that was clearly a shopper error.

If it was spring, I would just plant them!  You have a delicious variety of golden potatoes, perfect for home-fries!

Sometimes, the green potatoes don’t reveal themselves until you crack open that bag about to prepare a meal.

I would just like some sort of solution going forward.  What can the potato industry do to hold grocers accountable?

If I wanted the gastrointestinal distress and discomfort associated with eating green potatoes, I would just dine at Taco Bell or Pizza Hut.  Right?

My mailing address is…

     Eric AiXeLsyD

     #### Nunya St. 

     Bidness, PA  #####-####

…but again I’m not really looking for free potatoes, I just want to get what I pay for.  

I appreciate you reaching out, and pride in the quality of your product.  Please find my gift of the attached potato mazes, and share them with your co-workers and friends if so inclined.

Have a very starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!

-Eric

And I got a reply:

Hi Eric,

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I definitely understand your concerns. Our sales & business development team are already working with Produce Managers and providing resources for storing and caring for potatoes. We’ll continue to do our part, however, it ends up being the responsiblity of Produce Managers to not only train their staff, but also make sure they are following through with the potato best practices. 

I have a few coupons headed your way. 

Sincerely,
Jenny

I like free potatoes. I will be on the lookout for potato vouchers!

Now, I have reached several road-blocks with getting a message to Aldi. They apparently do not like to give out email addresses.

I dug up some email formats & corporate names on teh Google mosheen and sent this, also to no avail (so far):

Greetings My Frugal Friends,

I hope you are gearing up for a pleasant, festive, and relaxing holiday season!  I appreciate your role in bringing food & other goodies to our homes.

I write to you today with some tuber related shenanigans I have noticed over the last few years.  I have submitted a missive to your contact form at the Aldi website to no avail.  I have been checking my junk/spam folder too.

I also tried reaching out via Facebook and Twitter… only to be told that your social media teams are unfathomably unable to forward messages to your customer service team or provide an email address.  I had to do some Googling, and I pray to a higher power that this reaches a live intelligent and empathetic human being.

I love potatoes.  At rhe risk of sounding like Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba droning on about shrimp…

I love potatoes.  I like home fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, cheesy potatoes, hassleback potatoes, scalloped potatoes, potato candy, potato soup, lyinnaise potatoes, potato filling, tater tots, potato salad (hot or cold styles), shepherd’s pie, and sometimes even potato pancakes.  Twice baked potatoes are a fantastic treat too.  I hear potato vodka is good too, but I am not much of a drinker.  Perhaps a potato beer would be more my speed if such a thing exists?

Nearly every bag of potatoes that I have purchased from your and/or your esteemed competitors over the last few years has had an alarmingly large amount of green solanine-filled potatoes.  Glycoalkaloids are not our friends!  On the mild end, eating green potatoes would be like chasing a Taco Bell meal with a laxative.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was one night at dinner when ready to bake 8 potatoes as a side to chili… 2 of the potatoes were totally green on the outside.  They had been delivered by Instacart, but the green potatoes were not evident upon eying the outside of the bag.

That’s ¼ of rhe potatoes unusable for their intended purpose.  Yes, I could have peeled away the green, but who wants a baked potato with no skin?  That’s just craziness.  Do I get ¼ of my money back?

I have written to and received replies from quite a few potato farms, and they all seem to point the finger at the end retailer… which in some cases is Aldi.  They cite importer handling and storage… specifically exposure to light and longer than optimal time frames.

Perhaps the powers that be within your fine organization can put their heads together, asses your handling of these tiny starcchy underground gifts from heaven, and come up with ways to prevent waste?  It may need to be a highly coordinated effort with logistics, distribution, shipping, and warehousing.

As an effort to aid exercise in meditation and clearing your thoughts, I have attached some potato themed mazes.  Mazes and labyrinths have a history of assisting people to achieve a zen like state.  Perhaps this will provide the needed clarity to prevent ultra violet potato decimation.

You have a fantastic business and I appreciate your effort to bring quality goods to the more budget-concious among us.

If requested, I can even forward my original (perhaps lost?) message.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts on the matter!

Let’s root for a starchy Christmas and a tuber new year!
-Eric

So, maybe that will get something. Maybe not. Giant Eagle hasn’t bothered to reply either.

Oh well. Do you think I’ll ever get a meaningful reply from Aldi or Giant Eagle? I am starting to doubt it.

I know we have received green potatoes from Target too. I’ll have to bark up their tree next.

Green Potatoes 3: Probably Not The Last Crusade🥔


Well, the replies are starting to come in. While this certainly isn’t an issue as pressing, depraved, or salacious as the lady who put the pee in potato at Walmart that one time, it does seem to resonate with people.

What am I talking about? The story so far:

Also, to prove and share my love for potatoes, check out these recipes:

My post on Nextdoor had some strong opinions in the comments. My favorite implied that like bananas, I should just let the green potatoes ripen. Oops.

First, I wrote back to Alsum:

Hello Christine!  

Thank you so much for your prompt reply!  This was a 5 lb. bag of Russet potatoes, I believed purchased at Aldi via Instacart.  Unfortunately, I disposed of all the packaging.  I cooked the whole bag!  Well, everything that wasn’t green.  It would have been purchased at the Aldi in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania… earlier this week.  I really don’t want a rebate or anything.  I just want to stop getting green potatoes.  Can you imagine if 3 out of every dozen eggs were unusable?  Or 5 slices of every loaf of bread just moldy?  I may have to reach out to Aldi regarding their shipping/storage practices… and Instacart about their selection process.  I am sure you take great pride in your potatoes.  I know how I feel with a back yard garden, and I’m only feeding a family of 4.  You guys must feed millions.  I, really though, am going to reach out every time I get green potatoes, no matter the producer.  We, as a society, can’t afford to not get the most value out of a dollar.  I hope everyone can work together to get perfect produce into our kitchens.

Thank you for your time!

-Eric

And, they wrote back to me:

Hi Eric,

These are unique potato mazes! Thank you for sharing along with where you recently purchased your Alsum 5 lb. russet bag of potatoes. I’m hopeful the hands shopping for your produce through Aldi can be educated to remove from the store shelf any green potatoes to prevent this poor experience going forward. It might be worth the call to bring this to the retailers attention to help everyone have a good potato eating experience and use the bag in full.

As a consumer, I couldn’t agree more we need to stretch our food dollar, and it’s important from farmer to retail grocer to work together to provide a quality product.

We hope you give us another try.

Take care,

Christine

I wrote back once again:

Thank you Christine,

I have reached out to Aldi via web contact form and Facebook, but they are not nearly as quick as you with a response.  I am sure you, like all of us, feel the pressure of stretching a dollar lately.  I will most certainly give Alsum and Aldi (and even Instacart) another try.  Hopefully they can adjust their potato handling process.

Thank you so much for your quick, informative and warm response.  I hope the mazes can bring a smile to your co-workers’ faces!

-Eric

Then, my mass email reached Sterman Masser Potato Farms:

Good Afternoon Eric,

You have a knack for writing, I enjoyed your email!

I am very sorry to hear about the many “green potato’s experiences”  you have had.    This particular purchase does worry me, we have not supplied potatoes to Giant Eagle since Sept. 29, 2022.  So if they are our spuds, they were packed over 9 weeks ago and they would most definitely be green or breaking down.   (We suggest a 4 week shelf life).

You are correct in saying eating green potatoes can be harmful, that is true but only if consumed in very large amounts.  To play it safe, we tell everyone just to peel the green away or just throw it out. 

Do you happen to have the kwik lock (plastic tie) to seal the bag? If so, can you tell me what the 6 digit numbers are?  I am sorry I cannot be of much help on this one, but I would let the produce manager know so he or she can clean out their out of date bags on their produce shelf.

Thank you for your message,

Rachel

That was via webform, so I sent the potato mazes and this:

Hello Rachel,

Thank you for such a quick informative reply!  I hope the attached mazes can entertain you & your co-workers.  I believe I will follow up with Giant Eagle and other local grocers about the green potato issie.  It seems that no potato farms are letting green potatoes out the door, but improper storage may be leading to green toxic tubers.

I must confess I have never put much thought into the choice of brands of potato.  I just go with whatever is on the produce shelf.  I will have to seek out Masser Spuds with intent from now on.  

I don’t believe your product specifically was one that has recently been GOA (green on arrival) or turned quickly once it reached my home.  I had some issues most recently with Alsum.  In a bag of 8 total potatoes, 2 were green and unusable as baked potatoes to go along with the delicious chili that my wife made last week.  It’s delicious because she follows my recipe although taking some unnecessary liberties on portions.  The kids are crazy because they say hers is much much better than mine.  I agree with them, because I may be crazy, but i am not stupid.

I also spotted an entirely green bag of Side Delights potatoes at the aforementioned Giant Eagle yesterday.  It lends credence to the theory that Giant Eagle may need to take more care of their precious potato produce.  A lot of people may not understand.  I posted on social media asking if others had noticed the issue.  On Nextdoor someone suggested that like bananas, I just let them ripen at home. 🤦‍♂️

Sadly though, the problem does not seem limited to any one store or potato farm.  The Alsum bag with one quarter of the bag unusable was just the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  I feel like for the last 2 years, I have been getting a much greater number of green potatoes from Giant Eagle, Shop ‘n Save, Aldi, Walmart, Target, & even BJ’s Wholesale.  It is usually only with bagged potatoes… not ones that I would pick fresh.  There is the convenience of ordering from Instacart or Target home delivery.  Arguably they should be picking better produce, but it is hard to see the whole bag.  

Potatoes usually don’t last long here before they’re consumed.  We grow our own in the summer, but they cannot fuel our entire consumption.  Our small yard and time available are limiting,

If only Mythbusters was still a thing, perhaps they could tell us how much green potato we could safely consume before it felt like we had one of everything from the Taco Bell menu with a side of possible neurological complications.

Thank you once again for your time, and I do hope you enjoy the mazes.

Thank you!

-Eric

And that’s about it for now, other than some standard auto-replies, like this one from Aldi via Facebook Messenger:

I know you’re absolutely riveted by the saga and glued to the screen with anticipation of a solution to the great green potato crisis. Try the potato mazes while you wait!

Metallica – “Lux Æterna”? I like it.


So, I’ve written about Metallica before (twice). I can see all this shenanigans about the new single. Honestly, I like it. Hating on Metallica has become low hanging fruit at best to edgelording or gatekeeping at worst, As fans, we all poke fun at our favorite stuff. I’m looking at you, Star Wars and Danzig people.

Metallica Fans:  We want more sounds that sound like Kill 'Em All."

Metallica: [Releases "Lux Æterna"]

Metallica Fans:  NO, NOT LIKE THAT!
Lux Æterna

I found the new one to be a banger. It feels thrashy like KIll ‘Em All, with pop sensibilities like the black album.

I recently posted a reply to a comment of my posting of the video on Facebook, but the original comment was deleted by the author and my subsequent reply has been lost to the 1’s & 0’s I guess.

The gist of what I was getting at was as follows…

To say metallica has lost or hasn’t been good for decades? I get it, and it’s certainly a valid opinion. People have been saying they “sold out” since Ride the Lightning.

Metallica didn’t hit my radrar until …And Justice for All came out. I hadn’t listened to anything much beyond Top 40 radio or oldies at that point. I worked backwards and was caught up in the magic of Kill ‘Em All and Master of Puppets. I wasn’t aware of the punk scene in 1977 when I was born, but I wouldn’t call myself less of a Misfits fan because I wasn’t around? You could probably assume with great certainty that each Metallica album brought in new fans upon it’s release.

I could also argue that Metallic’s output is quantifiably better than most when compared to their peers or contemporaries.

Say in sheer influence in heavy music, Black Sabbath comes the closest. (OK, maybe Led Zeppelin too, but I’ll go with Sabbath here as Zeppelin ended.) You could say that there drop-offs in interest post-Ozzy & again post-Dio. Does that mean that Iommi and Geezer are any less lauded in the riff lord category? I don’t think so. Their early output is so epic and influential, they could release an album of pip farting on a snare drum and it shouldn’t detract from their legacy. James still writes killer riffs. Kirk is still a master of stringing together wah-fueled madness. Lars is a great arranger and cunning businessman. I wish they hadn’t done Newsted dirty, but Rob seems like a great fit.

In 1991/1992, Metallica and Guns N’ Roses where arguably the most lucrative and widely known hard rock acts on the planet. They were two of my favorites at the time and I still have fond memories of that epic show at Three Rivers Stadium. Look at what both bands have put out since then. Sure, Metallica dropped a Lulu turd in the sandbox, but you can scoop that out and keep playing. Guns N’ Roses pissed into the swimming pool with Chinese Democracy and everyone had to get out of the pool. This is coming from a guy that liked The Spaghetti Incident?. I liked Death Magnetic & Hardwired to Self-Destruct. Even St. (B)Anger got better with time. James, Lars, Kirk, & Rob seem on top of their game. Maybe the rhythmic chugs are more of a gallop these days. Slash has improved so much over time, Duff got sober. Axl’s voice went out the window with his grasp of reality & last vestiges of sanity. I couldn’t even tell you who else was in the band, to the end that I actually just miss Velvet Revolver at this point.

Megadeth? Sure, Dave Mustaine can arguably play guitar better than James or Kirk… may be better at writing or arranging songs… has definitely put out more albums in the same timespan… But who has heard them? There have been a revolving cast of players, each successively thrown under the bus, probably the same Greyhound that drove Dave from NYC home to San Francisco. Seriously, the only press that they have received in the last decade that wasn’t Dave commenting on Metallica has been Dave Ellefson’s whacking it on webcam. This led Dave M. to discount all of the former’s contributions over the years.

AC/DC can make the same album over & over again for decades and it can be great… but not everyone can get away with that.

I’m anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments. What do you think? I’m looking forward to the new album. Will I still poke fun at Metallica? You bet I will. Will I enjoy the rest their new stuff? I sure hope so.

Check out my Metallica related playlists. I had a good one on Spotify that I am in the process of rebuilding for Amazon Music.

#OKBoom a.k.a. #PGHBoom


On New Year’s Day at approx. 11:25 AM or 11:26 AM EST, there was a sonic boom in Allegheny County or Washington County Pennsylvania.

Immediately, Yinzers took to social media to ask what was going on. Some armchair experts already had all the answers.

The first link shared was from a website called Volcano Discovery. It posts user reported incidents before they’re certified as seismic events before the USGS. At least it’s a url right? It’s on the internet. It must be true.

The next thing that circulated was a phone screenshot of a news story from 2010 about detonating munitions at the airport. The date was left out. No link. Just a screenshot. I saw it all over the place.

Then, the meteor theory started to come out. A blip on an image from a satellite meant to detect lightning showed a flash in an area with no discernable storm systems. A known asteroid being close by for a meteor shower to peak in our area on Jan. 3rd, my be related. I read somewhere but can’t find it now that a chunk of the asteroid most likely entered our atmosphere (now a meteor) at twice the speed of sound, and burned up… resulting in the sonic boom & shockwave.

Yinzers on social media immediately forgot elementary school science class, put on their tinfoil hats, and stated emphatically that there was no flash or no crater, so it could not have been a meteor… therefore had to be anything from top secret military testing of airplanes, to subterranean bomb testing, to nefarious manufacturing at any number of local industrial businesses, to fracking, to gas buildup in mines, to extraterrestrials, fireworks (Yinzers do love their fireworks), and of course… to flatulence related to consumption of the Pennsylvania Dutch classic Pork & Sauerkraut dish as is new year’s tradition. So many fart jokes. Some blamed themselves, some blamed their significant others, one even blamed a cat.

I’ll give you a skyquake or guns of the seneca as also unexplained phenomena (that also may be this same exact thing).

I am fascinated by the videos that people shared form their Ring/Blink/Nest/etc. It sounds like the footsteps of Godzilla. (Mad props to Foley artists everywhere!)

I’m also sort of mad that I didn’t notice it. I was apparently at Sheetz at the time. Good to know I will not see any cataclysmic apocalypse coming. I’ll be taken out before I even know what happened.

Thanks to all the credible sources that reported on this and pieced it together. Thanks to the people who shared video. Thanks to the Illumi-nutty for the wild baseless yet endlessly entertaining fart jokes speculation.

If you want to go down the rabbit hole, let me at least turn on the lights…

Then, these… These are the greatest minds of our time speculating:

I’m sure this is just the tip of the iceberg too.

(To be fair this is the kind of shit I post on local FB groups and Nextdoor.)

Happy New Year!

Marked Safe From Loud Boom in Allegheny County

The story of the Dewey Decibel FlipOut guitar.


Bert - a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD - rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.
Bert – a.k.a. ERiC AiXeLsyD – rocking the Dewey Decibel FlipOut Lit Cigarette model.

OK. So, you probably know I like weird guitars. Someday I will have profiles up of all of them on another blog. You may have even read about my Dewey Decibel FlipOut before, or have seen the FlipOut before (or even the knock-off Flipped brand). While the Galveston BB Stone certainly started my weird guitar obsession, the FlipOut solidified it. Sadly, I came to it after AiXeLsyD had been done for a while, and I think even after Gasoline Dion. It some incredibly small and ancient circles I will always be known as ERiC AiXeLsyD. I did, get to gig out with the FlipOut, quite a lot, with Ernie and the Berts.

A while back, I had the opportunity to reach out to Jimmie Bruhn about the Indy Custom Flycaster, and way way back I did some research on the BB Stone. (I have to try to recover all the stuff that used to live on SquareGuitar.com, all those links are now dead.)

I thought it would be fun to try and track down Dewey Decibel (a.k.a. Joe Jerardi – or is it Joe Geradri? Stage names are fun.), and get some insight on the inception and production of one of my favorite axes!

After some emails exchanged, here’s the story from the man himself!

Line of FlipOut guitars & BottomOut basses from the Dewey Decibel website.

Hi Eric,

I’m awfully sorry there was a delay on getting back to you.  I honestly have had my hands full this year, and it slipped my mind.  Just for your patience, I can offer the most information I’ve shared about my FlipOut days to this point.  And thanks for asking.

I was performing solo in NY back in the 90s, playing CBGBs and many of the NY clubs. My stage name was Dewey Decibel, and I always performed hooked up to an IV pole.  Just a thing I did – never mentioned it on stage.  Played electric guitar, with synth sequencers for backing, plus voice. 

One day I thought of this backward guitar – Its just wood I thought – so it would play the same, just super unsettling, and deeply rock and roll to my mind.  I found one shop out of all the NY guitar techs who would follow my instruction. It was Rick from Carmine Street Guitars.  I love him because he didn’t even blink, just said “sure, I can do that”.  I went on to form a band called… Dewey Decibel, and kept doing shows, and finished up my third album “Unnecessarily Beautiful” with those guys, great players Jon Howard, and Martin Miller.  We did good work.  I always played the original FlipOut, which started its life as a Fernandes brand Strat.  I always had the IV drip by my side.

Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!
Back cover for the Dewey Decibel album Unnecessarily Beautiful | Original FlipOut prototype of a modified Fernandes Strat copy pictured!

We did no real promotion for the album, for any of my albums, so they reside in resplendent obscurity, rarely to surface.

Here is what exists online, though there are 3+ albums and an EP somewhere:

https://deweydecibel.bandcamp.com/

Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Guitar & Vocals) ● John Howard (Bass)
Dewey Decibel | Unnecessarily Beautiful | Pictured: Martin Miller (Drums) ● Dewey Decibel (Voice/Guitar/Keys) ● John Howard (Bass)

At shows, my guitar got so much crazy attention I conceived of the nutty plan to use a release of these guitars to bring attention to my band.  In 2003 I went to the NAMM show on the recommendation of a friend, to look for a manufacturer.  There I approached many confused factory reps from Asia, and ended up having luck with a Korean group who were ready to please.  I ordered some prototypes during that year, and tweaked things.  Then at 2004 NAMM I introduced them to the unsuspecting earthlings, took orders, and started shipping out of San Francisco once the container ship arrived.  That first NAMM show was funny funny stupid funny. 

Dewey Decibel - FlipOut & BottomOut
Art from the Dewey Decibel website.

The stupid part was that Fender lawyers sent me a letter on the opening day of my NAMM  launch that I was in breach of their trademarks.  This is a much longer story but I ended up licensing with Fender later, which was great for name dropping and demonstrating to folks that it was a quality guitar.

I was living in a warehouse with boxes of these guitars and my drum set.  It was a time of odd existence, taking orders, shipping, doing R&D, and lining up reviews with the big guitar magazines.  The FlipOut got strong thumbs up reviews in Guitar Player as well as Guitar One.  I did care about the feel of the neck and the pickups.  It’s self evident I think when you handle one.

I was moving forward on the BottomOut bass, having received a few prototypes which worked nicely.  Even took orders.  The problem was that the whole business had me working in too many directions, and exhausted.  I’d gone to Europe, and did a bunch of sales, there and in Australia too.  I was overworking, and getting wiped out.  This was all on my own, and I’d been living with some fantasy that these cool guitars would elevate the music, and demonstrate my sovereign rock and roll whimsy.   But alas, the FlipOut project ended at around 500 guitars because I was exhausted, the R&D was too slow, and I couldn’t parlay the thing into working for another manufacturer.  I was too much of a lone wolf for them.  So I went back to graphic design and animation.  I’m an animator today living in incredible San Antonio. I also continue writing and recording a new album, to be released secretly into thrift store bins.

The guitar colors were just my favorites at the time, the names were inspired by memories. Barry Leventhal was I think a kid I played in little league with.  Austin really had cabs colored like the guitar.

I’ve seen the FlipOut rip-offs coming from Europe/China, and they look ridiculous, all backward and stuff.  Just joking – I guess it was inevitable someone would cash in.

Hey thanks for your interest.  Hoping it fills in some detail. 

Thanks

joe

For the Raging Guitar Houdini in you!

(ddB)™

What led Dewey Decibel, Brooklyn's recording enigma, to do what he did to his guitar that night? Frustration. His friends had snubbed him, his car had been totaled, but worst of all, his reading comprehension was way down, and he could feel the stares when he entered a room. That fateful night, Dewey did grab for his guitar, slamming his bedroom door, not to emerge for countless weeks (though he did leave once to go to a class on "Appalachian Fingertip Dancing"). It was during these weeks, through a period of painstaking research, made even more difficult by an ill-fitting lab coat, Dewey did travel to the edge of insanity. But once there, decided he'd rather be at the brink of madness, so he quickly switched when no one was looking. And when at last he did emerge, witnesses reported he held in his hand something resembling a guitar on muscle relaxant. Dewey Decibel's FlipOut™ was in their midst. And now, it is in yours.

www.flipoutguitar.com Write to us at flipout@deweydecibel.com

The guitar design configuration of Dewey Decbel's Flip Out™ is a trademark owned by Joe Gerardi of Dewey Decibel Inc. Any replication of this trademark is prohibited by law.

Dewey Decibel
Until now, this is pretty much all that was out there on the FlipOut!
Dewy Decibel FlipOut models | Invisible, Lit Cigarette, Barry Levelthal, Austin City Cab, Scandalicious, Shameless.
FlipOut models & colors

How cool is that? The entire story from the man himself! I urge you to go check out the music of Dewey Decibel.

The only mods I had done to mine is the inimitable Aaron Hutzel drop in some GFS Lil Killer rails. This was not a kock at all to the original sound, but the humbuckers are more my thing.

Check out the Facebook fan page if you’re a fan, would like to share photos of yours or you with it in action, have one for sale, or are looking for one: Facebook | Dewey Decibel FlipOut

I would also, of course, love to hear from you in the comments!

If you want to see me and my FlipOut in action, check out the stuff below this list of links.

Also, check out these links if you’re looking for more:

Ernie and the Berts “Toybox”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Everybody Poops”:

Ernie and the Berts – “Kate Winslett” (A poor cover of The Silver Brazilians):

Ernie and the Berts – “Ikea”:

Me just rocking this one in the basement in 2016:

Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

New pickups for the Annihilator!


This is a copy of the Annihilator guitar developed by Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein and his brother Jerry Only of the legendary horror punk band, the Misfits.

Annihilator copy from AliExpress - A copy of the infamous guitars of Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein.

I ordered it from AliExpress. It seems to be a copy of the Oktober version. I think Jerry & Doyle originally worked with Rand to build the guitars… then Oktober made a run but Doyle has publicly and often decried their quality. Word on the street is that Dean will be making a production model. Doyle’s have been made from wood, graphite, and metal… with bolt-on sides since he can be a bit rough on them.

I had my go-to guitar guru (the inimitable Aaron Hutzel of Empire Music) recently do a setup and drop-in some Dragonfire Crusaders humbuckers. It sounds glorious through my Orange Micro Terror & a Laney 2×12 cab.

Here is a video of me playing it:

Here’s a short version of the video with annoying filters and stickers on TikTok:

I love it. I know its not “real.” I know it’s ridiculous. It’s fun. I’m too punk rock and too old to care what anyone thinks of the look, legitimacy, or irony of it all. Ha ha.

You can read about my first impressions here: My Guitars | The Annihilator Guitar

You can get one here if you have mad patience and expectations that match the sub-$200 price point: $189.0 US | Factory custom unusual shape Bat body Electric Guitar with Rosewood Fretboard, Bat inlay, Black Hardware, offer customized

Check out Empire Music if you want to see some really nice high-end Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor, & more guitars. Check out some of Aaron’s work on his Instagram, he gets to see some beautiful axes! If you’re in or around Pittsburgh, I highly recommend him for all your guitar repair, revision, and setup needs.

Check out a bunch of my weird guitars here on the blog and here on my playlist:

I may eventually set up a website just to catalog/showcase my collection. I have it, I just need to populate it. Would anyone be interested in that, or just me?