Monday, January 3, 2011

Alec Baldwin Japandered* My Hometown!

I come from Rochester New York. What's that? No, it's not near the city, and yes I know that by 'The City' you mean New York City. There is, in fact, an entire state called New York full of millions of people who are legitimately called New Yorkers.
New York: The Finger Gun State

Compare and be amazed!


I think people who live in New York State, but not New York City have an inferiority complex. Rochestarians (yes, that is what my people call themselves) certainly do. Don't get me wrong, it's a great place, but like everywhere else in the world that isn't New York City, it is not New York City. In fact, pie charts like the one to the right would indicate that 99.9% of the world's cities are not, in fact, New York City. Yeah, suck it Boston. So why then does Rochester have such urbis envy? (It's latin for 'city,' thanks internet!)

I suppose it would be like being Jesus's brother Steve. What's that? You never heard of Steve? That's because I made him up to illustrate a point, so just deal with it, ok? So anyway, Steve H. Christ was a perfectly competent carpenter, but his brother founded a religion that dominated western civilization for 2000 years. No matter what Steve did with his life, it would pale in comparison.
Steve: "Check it out bro, I'm gonna build us a sweet new porch."
Jesus: "That's great Steve, I'll give you a hand after I finish healing the blind."
The Dollar Coin is the
Golden Globes of numismatics.
So back to the inferiority complex. If you ever meet someone from Rochester, ask them to tell you about it. Watch their eyes light up, it's like asking a geek which is the best Star Wars (since you ask, it's Empire). Despite being the home of Frederick Douglas, Susan B. Anthony and National Museum of Play, the following Rochestery things are probably what you're going to hear about. You know, now that I'm thinking about it, these are mostly food related...huh, I guess we like to eat.

Tastes about as good as it looks.
White Hots. According to the Wikipedia article, white hots were invented as a low cost alternative to hot dogs. Yeah, they started out being made of things not quite up to snuff to make it into real hot dogs. Today of course, they're made of recognizable parts of the animal (pig, in case you were wondering) and subject to the FDA, but if you ever try one, remember as you bite into its milky white albino casing that the spices you taste once covered the flavor of pig rectum. Enjoy!

Believe it or not,
this is the 'before' picture.
For a real Rochester experience, order your offal-stuffed pig intestine as part of a Garbage Plate-a grease soaked platter of myocardial infarction. Beans, potatoes, macaroni, chili and some kind of meat on a plate. They're actually kind of good if you don't really care about seeing the year 2030. Technically, it's only a Garbage Plate if it comes from Nick Tahou's. It's like how Champagne has to come from the Champagne region of France or else it's just sparking wine. Because of this, other local restaurants have their own versions, usually called something like: Refuse Plate, Trash Plate, Heartburn Special. God, I wish I was making this up.

Hey, here's something Rochester has that you can't put in your mouth (or at least shouldn't): George Eastman. He basically pioneered modern photography. After founding Kodak, he devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy and enduring the excruciating pain of a chronic disease. He left behind his house which is now an awesome museum, and a suicide note reading: "To my friends, My work is done, why wait?Wow. He was the father of modern photography and went out on a great one-liner. 
Of course they're pissed, photos took like three hours back then.
Good thing there wasn't a Luger handy, one of them would have Eastman'ed themselves.

Our old slogan was:
"you probably won't get murdered!"
When you come from an oft unheard of city, there's a tendency to seize upon any pop culture reference to it. It's like we're looking for outside confirmation that we do in fact exist. For example, we will sit through any movie or television show if it has a even a slight connection to the city. I once watched a movie called 'The Alphabet Killer.' It's loosely based on Rochester's second most famous serial killer (yeah, we've had a couple) after this guy and is quite possibly the worst 98 minute movie I ever sat through twenty minutes of. But I endured it (or at least part of it) because it was filmed near my house.

One of the biggest 'hey we're a real place' boons came recently when Beetlejuice (what? I like Beetlejuice) star Alec Baldwin filmed a couple of ads for Wegmans. I should probably explain that Wegmans is a supermarket chain that started in Rochester. It is, and I say this without irony, awesome. I now live in Northern California and shop at a Safeway which, by comparison, blows.

"$6.25 for a cup of coffee?
God I hate living here."
My favorite is this ad in which Baldwin manages to tell us about Wegman's $6 'Dinner Solutions' whilst simultaneously capitalizing on Rochester's seething jealousy of New York City: "A healthy, delicious, chef-prepared meal for $6? I can't even get a cup of coffee in New York for $6." Hey New York, fuck you and fuck your first-rate universities, world class sports teams, vibrant culture and unbeatable night life, we've got a fancy grocery store. I am almost not kidding. Almost.

*Not my word, but in fact, a real thing. Observe this link! Technically 'to Japander' something, one has to shill for money which Alec Baldwin did not do in this case. He did these ads for free, because his mom likes the store. Awesome.

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