A recent video I produced for a local water and sewer system taught me a lot about grease. The subject was proper grease disposal in restaurants to educate newly-hired employees. But it contains lessons for all of us.
While you’re cooking, grease is in liquid form. But if you pour grease down a sink, it’s eventually going to cool and harden, forming a clog somewhere down the line. This might surprise you if you had a mother like mine. She told me that you could pour grease down a sink as long as you ran hot water at the same time. Turns out, that’s false.
You may be thinking that compared to a restaurant, you produce a lot less grease. That’s true. But you still have your own sewer line to consider. So here’s a few tips for proper grease disposal.
Don’t put fats, oils or grease (FOG) down the drain. Use a scraper or disposable towels to remove FOG and food residue from cookware or plates before washing or putting them in a dishwasher. Dispose of towels in the trash can.
Always use sink basket strainers and empty them into the trash can. This is for my teenage daughter, who assumes she can just force food particles of any size down the sink drain with just enough water pressure.
If you’ve got a lot of grease, put it into a container until it hardens and then throw it away or put it in a recycling container. Some sewer departments have grease recycling containers for customers to take and return once filled. That grease is reused for a variety of purposes.
Don’t put liquid foods like gravy or batter containing fat, oil or grease down the drain. Who knew? Every southerner worth their salt puts a lot of fat and oil (and salt) in their gravy. Scrape it off the plate and put it in the trash can.
If these practices seem like too much trouble, remember you’re responsible for your sewer line until it meets the sewer main at the street. A clogged sewer lateral could result in sewage in your yard and a pricey visit from a plumber. That thought alone is enough to make me rethink my mother’s grease advice.
This week, I finally added a favicon to my website. You may not know what that is, but if you look up at the tab on your browser on this website you’ll see a tiny PC next to the words Portman Creative.
A favicon is a miniature company icon or logo. But it’s one of those finishing touches that sometimes fall through the cracks when you’ve been working so hard on your website and you just want to get it launched. But it’s an important detail, subtle brand reinforcement.
Here's a few you might recognize. (No explanation needed for these well-known brands.)
Prior to my PC favicon, I had a blue W next to the words Portman Creative. That’s W for Weebly, the website service I used to create my website. Kudos to them for slipping in some advertising I was paying for because I was in a hurry.
If you have created a site from a web service like Weebly or Squarespace, you may well have their logo next to your company name. Don't give them that free advertising. Take a minute to complete your web brand.
Recently, I was reminded of the late Dr. Randy Pausch, whose 2007 talk entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” became a viral sensation. Pausch had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was aware that his days were numbered.
In the lecture, Pausch shared the most important lessons he learned in life, including, “If I only had three words of advice, they would be, “tell the truth.” If I had three more words, I'd add, all the time.”
Sometimes the truth is hard to discern. In this era of fake news - and frankly, fake news in the form of yellow journalism has been around a long time - how do you know what’s fake or real?
Here’s some tips from FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.
Consider the source. Look at the URL, which is often a dead giveaway. They cite a story from abcnews.com.co. It’s close, but it’s not the actual URL for ABC News.
Read past the headline. If a provocative headline drew your attention, read a little further. An example - an article headlined “Jimmy Carter: Medical Marijuana Cured My Cancer.” It includes an alleged quote from Carter that says, “I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night, I smoke two joint in the afternoon, and it makes me feel all right.” Really? Would a former president say this?
Check the author. Another tell-tale sign of a fake story is often the byline. If the story seems bogus, or the bio is a little too grand, google the author’s name and see what comes up.
Consult the experts. If you’re suspicious of the content, check out FactCheck.org, Snopes.com, the Washington Post Fact Checker and PolitiFact.com.
But even the “experts” get it wrong sometime. The revered New York Times has unwittingly spread misinformation in their rush to get a story out. So my advice boils down to use your judgment.
I am learning to play the ukulele. When I mention this to others, the response is usually a snicker, and depending on that person's age, they invariably mention that homely, long-haired Tiny Tim who “Tip Toed Through the Tulips” and married Miss Vicki on The Tonight Show.
However, the ukulele has gotten a little more respect lately because of 12-year old singer/songwriter Grace Vanderwaal, who sang and strummed her ukulele into the hearts of viewers and all the way to the title of the America’s Got Talent competition. Who wasn’t totally charmed by this kid?
In the course of learning this instrument, I’ve consulted numerous YouTube videos with instructions as to how to tune, strum and play various songs on the ukulele ranging from Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” to Leonard Cohen’s anthem “Hallelujah.” I am amazed that some of these videos have well over half a million views - some more than that – yet many are downright poor from a production standpoint.
Some of the subjects are seated on their overstuffed couches, hair and clothes askew, strumming their ukuleles. The accompanying audio sounds muffled or hollow. A roommate or spouse or cat may wander through the frame, yet that doesn’t seem to matter. Zero production values and well over 500,000 views. These people are making money.
But as they say, content is king. If the content is compelling enough you’ll watch it, no matter how poorly it’s produced. But it wouldn’t take much to make them a little better. Decent lighting. A real microphone instead of the camera or phone’s built-in mic. Taking a moment to clean up the area behind the subject to remove that pile of clothes or uneven stack of books. But that’s me, and as a writer and producer I like both good content and good production values. However, these videos are serving their purpose as I attempt to master this quirky little instrument, the ukulele.
Of the many Super Bowl ads that are being promoted. one of my favorites is Honda’s Yearbook ad. In this :60 commercial, photos of Tina Fey, Amy Adams, Jimmy Kimmel, Steve Carell, Viola Davis, Missy Elliott, Magic Johnson, Stan Lee and Robert Redford when they were young appear to “speak” from the pages of old yearbooks.
I happen to be a Honda owner and fan so I’d watch a Honda commercial regardless of how clever it was. But this commercial was not only clever, it was funny and inspiring and full of cool effects from ad agency RPA and director Angus Wall.
In an article in AdAge, RPA Creative Director Jason Sperling outlined the process of making the ad, starting with choosing the talent. The agency approached the four main Hollywood talent agencies with the idea and budget, and the company who put together the best group got their stars in the spot.
Once the celebrities were chosen, RPA obtained their school photos, which were placed into shots of real yearbooks. According to Sperling, the process of making the photos speak was a trial-and-error process that involved a 3D camera, witness cams, and lookalike stand-ins delivering the celebrities' pre-recorded voiceovers. As for the words themselves, the agency wrote the lines and the stars improvised from there.
I wondered how they got permission to use the photos of the individuals that surround the celebrity photos, and it turns out it was an inside job. Honda and RPA used photos of staff and their families under fake names to fill out the page.