Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rice-A-Roni The San Francisco Treat

The Inventor of Rice-A-Roni has died

Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr., inventor of Rice-A-Roni has died, he was 92. This from the New York Times:

"The DeDomenicos invented their signature product in 1958 after watching a sister-in-law mix a can of Swanson’s chicken broth with rice and vermicelli, according to an account in “Napa: The Story of an American Eden,” by James Conaway (Mariner Books, 2002). They concocted a version that used dried soup.

Rice-A-Roni transformed the business of the Golden Grain Macaroni Company, which was started by Mr. DeDomenico’s father, Domenico. After leaving Sicily in 1890 at 19, he settled in San Francisco, initially starting a vegetable store, then opening a factory that sold pasta to Italian stores and restaurants.

Vincent DeDomenico was born on Sept. 29, 1915, in San Francisco, the fourth of six children. He joined the family business, eventually becoming president, controlling the company with two brothers, Tom and Paskey.

In 1964, Golden Grain bought a famous and more historic San Francisco icon, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, which was founded in 1852 by Domingo Ghirardelli, also an immigrant from Italy. In 1986, when Golden Grain had grown to $250 million in annual sales, the DeDomenico family sold it to Quaker Oats for $275 million".

End Snippet

Cultural Ownership and the Perception of Jingles and Commercials In Early Childhood

Vincent M. DeDomenico Sr. wasn't just the inventor of Rice-A-Roni he was also responsible for creating the "Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat" jingle which I remember from my early youth. As a child you watch, and listen to many things on television, as well as in other aspects of life. When you are very young of course you do not know the origin of this, or that piece of experience which comes to shape your experiences - you just experience them.

Even as adults we simply have too little time to fully source each experience back to its source. We may see a nice looking automobile, and think "Wow, Detroit finally got one right!", or we may hear a jingle on television, and know that it is designed to manipulate our feelings, and think, "Wow, that advertising agency is doing a good job". Those are adult thoughts we occasionally apply, but so much is left unfiltered simply due to the pace of modern life.

However, with children there is little cognition, little in the way of complex thoughts to which to apply to all the incoming experiences. As a child you hear a jingle, and you see a simple image of a box of Rice-A-Roni, and a street car atop a hill, and you don't give it much thought, simply because you don't know what makes Rice-A-Roni unique, or what a street car is, or the topography of San Francisco. You simply hear the jingle over, and over again - and see the box of Rice-A-Roni.

And that is how I remember the jingle from my early childhood. I never understood it - the product. Even when the product would find its way to our table I never linked eating it to the Jingle, as I was a child, and never bought the product, or prepared it until I was an adult.

So now the great revelation is that by mixing two distinct products, RICE, and MACARONI, we have RICE-A-RONI.

If someone had told me that as a small child I might have found it interesting enough to remember that each and every time I saw that commercial, or heard that jingle, and I would have "known" what Rice-A-Roni was all about decades before, but no one ever did.

Like so much of life I find myself playing experiential "catch up" as an adult - to so many things that I experienced as a child.

It is so much like taking a photograph from your childhood out of an old shoe box, blowing off the dust, and rediscovering something unique which you never understood before.

And so now I take the Rice-A-Roni early childhood memory out once again, and place it into an adult context - one which now includes knowing who invented it, and that they bought the same chocolate I love to eat. I also know that the family made a fortune selling their company to Quaker Oats.

But in a few months will I even remember any of that? In the age of information overload - despite having written this little essay on Rice-A-Roni I doubt I'll recall much about any of this, and so what was just a childhood memory of a jingle will once again become just that.

Note: Google Results on Rice-A-Roni Videos = ELEVEN PAGES OF RESULTS!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FireStorms - Reaping What We've Sown

Southern California Burns - A Trip Down 101 - Fall Firestorms 2007

As the droughts continue the plants historically tied to the region die off, and will be replaced with desert plants. Sadly, as global warming changes world climate many of those areas which were arid, but not desert will in fact become desert areas.

These YouTubers drive down Route 101. It's like driving on Mars!.

Fall 2007 - Pepperdine University Students Watch Fires Advance

CNN Reports that a quarter of a million people in California have had to flee from the firestorms baring down upon their homes. This from CNN:

"Hardest hit was San Diego County, where 250,000 people have fled from five fires. One person was killed and 18 were reported injured in the county, including five firefighters. Local officials said the fire situation had worsened throughout the day, prompting new evacuations.

"We have a very dangerous, unpredictable situation," said Ron Roberts, chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. "We have some of the highest temperatures, some of the driest landscape conditions and some of the most powerful winds -- all the ingredients for a perfect firestorm.""

The incidence of massive firestorms will increase. Ancient forest will give way to deserts, and there's nothing human beings will be able to do, but learn to adapt. We are after all simply reaping what we have sown.

Pepperdine University Students Cover The Firestorm

These YouTube Posters, presumably students from Pepperdine University were awoken by their smoke alarms, and couldn't get back to sleep. So they filmed this little video.

YouTube: Ventura, California - October 21, 2007

This YouTube Poster lives fifty miles from Malibu. As the video illustrates there's plenty of smoke for everyone to breath. That may not seem like an important issue as the more dramatic line of fires racing across the country sides is more exciting, but when all the numbers are crunched many people with lung problems will have died as a result of these fires. And hardly anyone will have noticed.

Video: October 2007 - Southern Californian Readies To Flee Firestorms

This YouTuber provides us with a view from her location. She concludes by saying she's going in to pack - just in case. I wonder what the cost of dislocation will be? Must add up into the hundreds of millions of dollars. And that doesn't include property damage either!

Video: October 2007 - Smoke and Ash Over Camarillo, California

There's also the psychological, and social disruption which takes place as the result such an event. This young woman expresses her concern while video recording shots of the sky filled with yellowish smoke, and ash. It certainly looks like the end of the world doesn't it? It's a natural reaction to any disaster.

Video: Firefighting Helicopters Fill Up With Water At Pepperdine

Then there's the cost of fighting the fires. Living in, and along the desert adds an enormous responsibility in terms of fire preparedness Some question the wisdom of people building enormously expensive homes atop hillsides covered in dried out brush. Who will pay in the end for such arrogance? Taxpayers, and those paying premiums on property insurance all over the nation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sick As A Dog

Not sure where that "sick as a dog" saying came from, but I know it describes my situation over the weekend.

I had a three day weekend, and it was totally ruined.

I'm not entirely sure what it was, but I have my suspicions.

On Friday I picked up some uncooked chicken, and fried some up. One of the packages of chicken I bought was marked at twenty five percent off. I was hesitant to purchase it, but I thought why not save a dollar or so.

I opened up the other packages and they smelled fine, but when I opened the specially discounted chicken it had a somewhat less than fresh smell. I couldn't tell if it was bad so I washed it off with the other raw chicken, and smelled it again. Smelled about the same as the other chicken after I had washed it off.

I went ahead and cooked up all the chicken. Everyone seemed to love the fried chicken I made.

No one got sick, but me (I must have cooked the chicken right, but goofed on washing my hands).

And boy did I get sick.

Severe gag reflex, and vomiting. Some Diarrhea. A low grade fever, and aches, and pains. Weakness.

Last night I was close to going to the hospital, but I'm a stubborn type, and didn't go.

I'm certain this was food poisoning.

I usually buy my chicken frozen, and at a much less expensive price. From now on I'll stick to the frozen variety, and thaw it out myself. One of the most expensive food stores in town stuck it to me - and in a product they're known to have a good reputation in.

Right now I feel very sore. I woke up this morning with my throat burning from the stomach acid which I had tossed up.

My chest, and sides are so sore from all the up chucking.

And going back to work Monday is going to be pretty tough. My job is very stressful, and I feel as if I'm exhausted going into a new week.

It's as if I didn't have a weekend at all.

I'm half tempted to call in sick, but just like I tend not to go to the hospital, or doctor, I tend not to miss work - unless I'm so sick I can't.

Anyway, I am too tired to come up with anything else to blog about.

email jp






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