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Happy Boxing Day

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So what did you think about the NBA’s latest foray into Christmas marketeering? We knew about the new jerseys, but we didn’t know the players would have the option of wearing candy-striped socks. Most of the Nets’ players wore them, but I’m not sure any of the Knicks or Heat wore them (little help..?), with most of the other teams falling somewhere in between. As you can see above, they looked particularly, uh, vibrant on the Nets, due to the white/black contrast.

Over at ESPN, I’ve provided an fairly in-depth look at the good and the bad from yesterday’s NBA uniforms — look here.

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Culinary Corner: I love my Mom and my brother, but I also love my friends. So every year I tell my Mom, “You can have me for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but not both.” This year, as usual, she chose Thanksgiving. That left me free yesterday, so I had a couple of friends over for Christmas dinner.

My original plan was to buy a boneless leg of lamb and have it tied into a roast, but I waited too long to order it and my butcher had run out of leg o’ lamb. But they still had a small (about 2.3 pounds) boneless lamb loin roast. If you’re not familiar with that cut, look at this, and then imagine the bones being removed from the center. That turns the meat into a V-shaped wedge, so the roast has to be rolled and tied to keep it cylindrical. After the butcher did that, here’s what I had to work with (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

I decided I wanted the roast to be stuffed, so yesterday morning I removed the butcher’s string and returned the meat to its V-shaped state:

Then I made a stuffing. I was doing this more by feel than by exact measures, but I think I took about 10 cloves of garlic, half a cup of fresh rosemary leaves, half a cup of fresh thyme leaves, half a cup of olive oil, some salt and some pepper, and put it all in a food processor, where I turned it into a paste. Then I stirred in maybe a third of a cup of chopped pine nuts and the zest from one lemon. This was my stuffing, which I slathered on the exposed inner surface of the roast:

Then I used some string to tie the roast back up. It looked pretty much the same as before, only now there was a vein of stuffing running through it:

One secret to a good roast is searing the exterior before the meat goes into the oven, so I put a teeny bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and browned the roast on all sides:

Then I put the browned meat on a wire rack. I had some of the stuffing left over, so I applied that to the top of the roast. Then I scattered some new potatoes around the base of the roasting pan:

The meat went into a 350 º oven for about an hour. While it was doing its thing, my friends and I enjoyed a small spread of cheeses, pretzels, Marcona almonds, kumquats, and a Thermos of Irish cream:

Soon it was time for dinner. The meat turned out beautifully, and the accompanying potatoes, green beans, and salad made for a very festive-looking Christmas plate:

For dessert, I made a cherry crisp (from the recipe featured in this earlier installment of Culinary Corner). The photos didn’t turn out great, but the crisp itself was wonderful:

I was left with a full belly, happily sated friends, a shitload of dirty dishes, and the satisfaction of having created a very successful holiday meal. Huzzah!

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Short Ticker today, so we’re going with the old format, beginning with the news that Bleacher Report — or at least one of their primary NFL writers — appears to be boycotting the ’Skins name. ”¦ Ever wonder what it would be like if the Browns lived up to their name with a brown helmet? Turns out the team gave us a sense of what that would look like on the cover of their 1961 media guide (from Leo Strawn Jr.). ”¦ According to this story about Texans DE J.J. Watt’s upcoming plastic surgery, Watt “got a different helmet before Sunday’s game against Denver and ”¦ plans to use the helmet again [this weekend].” ”¦ Check this out — Cooperalls vs. Cooperalls! That’s the Whalers and Flyers from Jan. 9, 1983 (big thanks to Jordan Lazinsk). ”¦ We already knew Michigan State would be wearing green jerseys in the Rose Bowl, but now it looks like they’ll also be wearing green pants. ”¦ In predictably cringe-inducing move, Marshall will be desecrating the flag in the Military-Industrial Complex Bowl (from Jay Abbott). ”¦ Meanwhile, here’s Maryland’s jersey for for that same game. … Here are Notre Dame’s shoes for the Baseball Cap Bowl (from Warren Junium). ”¦ Under Armour has created what the company claims to be the world’s fastest speedskating suit, which will be worn by skaters at the Olympics. … Holy moly, check out this bowling shirt for a barber shop team, with barber pole striping on the front! … SF Giants skipper Jim Davenport was wearing a snapback/adjusta-strap cap in this 1985 game (good spot by David Taub).

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Comments (53)

    DG being characteristically observant. Full quote:

    “… Holy moly, check out this bowling shirt for a barber shop team, with barber pole striping on the front! … ”

    I do love the shirt. The establishment in question is “Vision City Barbers.” Where is Vision City? I presume it’s a place where they manufacture (or once manufactured) eyeglasses. A lazy stab thru Google revealed no US city with such a nickname, but there is a Vision City Barber Shop in Longview WA. I had to squint, but it appears that the name of the shirt’s owner does not end in a vowel. Hence either the bowler was a non-Italian kegler on a team sponsored by an Italian barber-proprietor or (more likely) a non-Italian barber or invitee in a part of the country where most barbers weren’t Italian at the time in which the shirt’s wearer was actively bowling. Longview would fit, I would guess. But still the mystery: what links Longview with the term “Vision City?”

    Seems to me there’s a natural onomastic connection between Longview and Vision City, but I can also see why it didn’t catch on.

    Nifty to see Longview mentioned as it was home to my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Dave in their last years and to a former boss of mine when he was a little boy.

    I really was turned off by the sleeved jerseys. Some combination of the sleeves, the goofy 4th alternate logos, and the form fit (rather than a more blousy fit of a standard jersey, made me feel like they just forgot to wear the jerseys over their t-shirts, and that these might be the same shirts they woke up in to open presents around the tree.

    The idea immediately sprung to mind that this would be a great way to raise the price of an already exorbitant $25 t-shirt, into the stratosphere of a $200 “authentic collection” jersey.

    The striped socks didn’t match anything else on the uniform, either, creating a jarring effect. I’ve read elsewhere that they look like middle school girls’ uniforms, and I can’t say that’s too far off. Ass-ugly and hopefully not to be repeated, although considering the press they’re getting, I have a feeling we’ll see them again.

    They looked rushed, sloppy, and definitely bush league. Perhaps the most poorly executed pro uniforms I ever saw. A pity, since the potential promised something so much better!

    The jerseys do look pretty awful, but I wish the NBA would allow players to wear their jerseys over short-sleeved T-shirts, as the colleges do. To my eye, at least, no male human being on Earth looks less than icky in a sleeveless top, much less good.

    Personal Uni Watch heresy #2: I detest most holiday- or other occasion-themed unis in any sport, but LOVED the NBA Christmas socks. Don’t ask me how I can maintain aesthetic consistency here; I don’t think I can. There was simply something charming about it.

    Second paragraph gets at an important distinction: “Do I enjoy it” is not the same question as, “Is it good?” Plenty of uniforms I think look great aren’t actually very good, and plenty of very good uniforms don’t do anything for me. This happens to me most in the NFL, where the uniforms I like most and the uniforms I think are the best designed have basically no overlap between the lists.

    Sort of like, I could listen to Def Leppard’s Hysteria all day long. Love that record. But I’m fully aware that it’s not actually very good music.

    Those aren’t the shoes Notre Dame will wear in the game; they don’t have cleats and their uppers are a suede-like material you wouldn’t use in a shoe you’d wear during a game. They’re the “travel shoes.”

    Those definitely look like fashion sneakers a la Nike Dunks. Unless ND is planning to shoot some hoops before they take the field…

    It wasn’t just a festival of Cooperalls – check out that glorious lack of advertising on the boards/ice!

    Kevin, one of the spares from my afternoon hockey group, finally gave up Cooperalls in 2013 and is now wearing blue Rangers patterned hockey socks.

    Here’s a pic from 2012 in the Cooperalls:

    I think one of the players from another group I used to play in still wears them – he had stockpiled more than a few pair from yard sales and thrift stores over the years.

    I think the big problems with the NBA Xmas uniforms was the silver logos and the template stripes. The sleeves are a bit weird, but you could get used to them, but every team having a silver logo just made them all look like a church rec league or something. Render the logos in their proper colors and don’t force every team into the same style of striping, and they could work for a couple teams. As they were, however, they just screamed Marketing Ploy so loudly that you couldn’t hear the announcers.

    The meat went into a 350º oven (not “over”).
    Say – Is that at New England Frozen Lemonade cup in the corner of one of your delicious meal photos? I grew up in RI, where New England Frozen Lemonade & Del’s (also with a classic paper cup design) call home.

    Yes, that is indeed a New England Lemonade cup. I have a Del’s cup in that same display. Fond of both products, and their cup designs!

    Seems unfair, from a uni-watching perspective, that alone of all sports, boxing gets its own day, especially in midwinter. Minor League Hockey Day would be more like it.

    You jest, but this morning, during the soccer bacchanalia on NBC Sports, my kid said, “they call it “Boxing Day” because that’s when all the fights were scheduled, right?”

    Reading about feet and stuffing your face with cherry crisp….. I think that’s how Quentin Tarentino celebrates Christmas, as well.

    Boxing Day is not about the fight game. It’s when the servants in Britain got their presents from the master. In boxes. It’s a national holiday over there across the pond. Full slate of English Football games today.

    I didn’t pay much attention to the Knicks’ jerseys…before the game, I bet my little nephew 5 bucks the Knicks would lose by 30. It was an exciting game for us down to the wire, as they lost by 29.

    In the Bulls game, as others said yesterday, the Bulls looked orange on the screen we watched on.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my brother, making what I believe is his first Uni Watch appearance (and who clearly didn’t realize that arrScott was joking).

    Hi, Roy!

    UPS originally made a holiday for Dec 26th but Canada refused it and returned it to sender when we saw the enormous brokerage fee attached.

    Back when the ABA was established, they introduced the revolutionary red, white & blue ball and the three point shot to draw attention to themselves and away from the established NBA.

    Now, with these sleeved practice jerseys, it seems the NBA is trying to do something similar. Only, it’s not a rival league they’re up against, but growing public indifference to their product.

    I was wondering who would notice that (and am not surprised that it was you, Jim). Those are all from the 1960s. Picked them up at a flea market two years ago. Interestingly, Current Podiatry was published around the corner from my house at the time, although that’s not why I bought them. A nice bonus, though.

    I hope the rest of your Christmas was as wonderful as your meal was for you and your guests.
    I’m sure they appreciated the work that went to your spectacular-looking Christmas dinner, as I appreciate the work that goes into Uni Watch.
    Do you think that recipe will translate well if a boneless pork roast is used (it’s my turn to host New Year’s Day dinner, and that’s what is traditionally served by my family as the main course, and I’ve grown tired of crock-potted pork dishes my family’s been serving up the past few years)?
    PS- The Irish Cream I whipped up per your instructions was well received by my neighbors. Thanks for sharing that again!

    You can definitely stuff a pork roast — I’ve done it many times. But I wouldn’t use an herb/garlic stuffing for pork. I suggest something with dried fruit. Start by sauteeing some minced garlic and chopped onion in butter and then stir in some breadcrumbs and some combination of raisins, dried apples, and dried cherries. Hydrate the dried fruit in hot water for 15 mins before using it, which will help it plump up a bit.

    Dried raisin-style cranberries. Throw ’em in a small skillet with a shot or two of Knob Creek smoked maple bourbon on medium-low heat until plumped up. Add to anything you’re putting in or serving on the pork.

    Another problem with the sleeved NBA jerseys is that low V-neck, which really makes them look more like women’s workout tops. Between that, the homogenized templates, and generally jarring effect of seeing NBA contests being played by guys in t-shirts, yesterday’s games were unwatchable.

    the lady huskers looked better in the 80s than the NBA did yesterday


    and no one did it better than the La Tech lady techsters


    Having the option to still have my mom so I could say either Christmas or Thanksgiving. (sigh)


    You might appreciate a Christmas gift I received this year:

    The Ginger Pig Meat Book. A “cookbook” from a Farm/Butcher in the UK.


    Dissapointed to hear that you do not want to spend Christmas with your family. Yes friends are important, but remember your mother may not be around as long as your friends. You probably see your friends a lot more than your mom. Remember where you came from.

    It’s hard to imagine what could possibly be less your (or anyone’s) business than a stranger’s family relations.

    What could possibly lead you to post something so completely rude, ignorant, and inappropriate?

    Has it occurred to you that my family has established routines and protocols (just as yours probably does), and that those routines and protocols have served us well? Has it occurred to you that you know nothing – NOTHING – about me, my mother, or my brother and are therefore in a singularly poor position to cast judgment upon how we choose to interrelate? Has it occurred to you that you know nothing – NOTHING – about what Christmas does or doesn’t mean to my family are are therefore in a singularly poor position to cast judgment about how big a fuss we choose to make over it? Has it occurred to you that it is the height of vulgarity for you to reference my mother’s eventual death in any context whatsoever, and even more so to try to leverage that as some sort of motivator for my behavior?

    It’s hard for me to express how angry your post has made me. So instead of trying to express that anger, I’ll offer you the following deal: I won’t tell you how to deal with your family, because it’s none of my fucking business. In return, you’ll post an apology, because that’s the decent thing to do.

    I’m waiting.

    No thanks to color vs. color games. Any time I see that, I turn the channel. White (or yellow) uniforms just offer such nice balance to the darker colored jerseys. Color vs. color is painful to watch, even when the colors contrast sufficiently.

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