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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

He drove 1,400 miles for Stoughton pizza

By Amanda Cedrone, Globe Staff

Town Spa Pizza

Is it really that good? An image of Town Spa Pizza, where the pies are made that David Schuler and his family craves.

Sure, there’s nothing like a good pizza -- it’s a sublime symphony of crust, sauce, and cheese. But is any pie worth a 1,400-mile drive?

David Schuler thinks so. He drove 1,400 miles from Mississippi to pick up 150 of them from Town Spa Pizza in Stoughton.

A Stoughton native until age 13, Schuler grew up eating at the pizza place – then his family moved to Jackson, Miss.

“The only pizza we ate growing up was Town Spa Pizza,” he said. “I just assumed pizza was like that everywhere. We got to Mississippi and pizza here was just horrible.”

Schuler and his siblings began to get competitive – every time someone went back to the Boston area to visit family, they would see how many pizzas they could get back to Mississippi.

His sister started with five. His brother brought back 10. His sister went again and brought back 15. Then Schuler decided to give it a try. He bought a suitcase that he filled with pizzas, and that cost him a baggage fee of $87 to fly home from Logan Airport.

Schuler decided there must be a more efficient way to get the pizzas back to Mississippi. After a few fits and starts, he figured it out

“If you buy them frozen, you can’t get them back quick enough,” he said. “The crust gets soggy and there’s no way to get it out.”

Instead, Schuler buys the pizzas half-cooked, seals them in vacuum-packed plastic, and places them in coolers with ice packs. Following this method, the pizzas are just fine when he gets back to Mississippi.

“I’ve got a good system,” he said.

For 150 pizzas, it took Schuler four coolers, cramming the pizzas in like vinyl records on a shelf. He even had room left over for some Funny Bones and Yodels. You can’t get those in Mississippi, either, he added.

Schuler isn’t the only customer who comes from long distances to get Town Spa Pizza, said Richard Phillips, general manager of the pizzeria. Others have come from places as far away as Hawaii and California.

Customers are so loyal to the family-owned restaurant because of its consistency, he said.

“We’re in our fourth generation here,” he said. “We make it consistent. It’s the same pizza it was 50 years ago. It’s the same sauce we made 50 years ago.”

When he arrives back in Jackson, Schuler’s first stop was his mother’s house where he stores the pizzas in her deep freezer. He distributed the pizzas to his sisters, nieces, and nephews, who are always appreciative.

My sister “was in tears when I handed them to her,” he said.

Schuler has no plans on stopping his thousand-mile pizza delivery route. Next time he’s looking to pick up 200.

“I’m getting myself psyched up,” he said.

Obama checks in to Foursquare

President Barack Obama addresses the Seed Savers Exchange on Monday in Decorah, Iowa, as part of a Midwest bus tour.
President Barack Obama addresses the Seed Savers Exchange on Monday in Decorah, Iowa, as part of a Midwest bus tour.

(CNN) -- Social-networking app Foursquare has snagged perhaps its highest profile user: President Barack Obama.

The commander in chief has joined the location-based service and will be using it to highlight places he visits and what he does there, the White House announced on its blog Monday evening.

Obama's check-in coincided with a three-day bus tour of Midwestern states.

The mobile platform has seen astronomical growth as users turn to it to find out where their friends are hanging out and what they recommend you do when you get there.

On Monday, the White House posted its first tip -- from a town hall meeting at a riverside Minnesota park in Cannon Falls.

"President Obama discussed ways to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class with a crowd of 500 people at Hannah's Bend Park on the first stop of his economic bus tour across the Midwest," the White House said.

Foursquare is just the latest foray into social media for the president. He's already on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

To find and follow him, one will have to go through the White House's page on the site:

Searching for "Barack Obama" on the app will pull up a man in Salt Lake City and one in London.

One appeal of Foursquare is to check into a site so often that you can oust someone else to become the "mayor" there.

For Obama, that raises a question though: How appealing is "mayor" when you're already president?

Is that a sunflower or a beanstalk? 'Eiffel Flower' soars to 23ft in back garden and heads for world record

By Luke Salkeld

It hasn’t exactly been a blazing summer, but this sunflower doesn’t seem to have noticed.

It has shot up to a height of 23ft despite a distinct lack of the sunshine on which its species famously thrives and without any special treatment.

With no sign of it slowing down, the giant bloom could soon break the world record height for a sunflower of 26ft 4in.

Healthy height: Keen gardener Eve Fielding, of Kent, was shocked to see her sunflower grow to 23ft

Healthy height: Keen gardener Eve Fielding, of Kent, was shocked to see her sunflower grow to 23ft

The sunflower towers over the back garden of Eve Fielding who expected it to grow no bigger than the 12ft her other efforts have tended to reach over the years.

When it passed that mark and kept going the 48-year-old grandmother, who is herself only 5ft 2in, nicknamed it the Eiffel Flower.


  • The flowering head of the sunflower tracks the sun’s movement, turning from east to west during the day, a phenomenon known as heliotropism
  • The oil from sunflower seeds has been used as a treatment for warts, snake bites and sunstroke. One sunflower can contain up to 2,000 seeds
  • Before more modern materials were available, the pith within the sunflower stalk was used in life-jackets to provide buoyancy because of its extreme lightness
    The sunflower is the national flower of Russia and Peru, and the state flower of Kansas

Mrs Fielding from Margate, Kent, had sown a handful of sunflower seeds as part of a light-hearted competition with her four-year-old granddaughter, and planted this one as a spare.

She said she has watered it every day, but cannot explain why it has outgrown her other plants.

Mrs Fielding said: ‘It’s enormous – I really can’t believe it’s grown this tall. I planted a few seeds with my granddaughter so we could have a race to grow the biggest one.

'This was one of the leftover ones so I thought I might as well sow it and see what happened.

‘I watered it every day, but I didn’t put anything special in the soil or anything daft and it just carried on growing. This is by far the biggest sunflower I’ve ever had – usually they’re around 12ft.

'My neighbours and visitors have all been quite surprised and shocked at the size. They think it’s a beast.

‘I’ve heard of people talking to their plants to make them grow and I’ve never done that, but I have started telling it how well it is doing since it got really big.’

According to Guinness World Records, the tallest sunflower to date measured 26ft 4in on August 17, 2009, and was grown by Hans-Peter Schiffer in Kaarst-Voorst, Germany.

Her secret? Eve puts the sunny coastal weather, a sheltered spot and warm south facing wall down to the incredible growth

Her secret? Eve puts the sunny coastal weather, a sheltered spot and warm south facing wall down to the incredible growth

Rodman Delivers Emotional Hall of Fame Speech


In advance of Friday night’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, we told you that Dennis Rodman planned on arriving in Springfield, Massachusetts by way of helicopter, and that he had a brand new pair of exclusive HOF kicks. Even though other notables, such as Artis Gilmore and Chris Mullin were being enshrined as well, most of the focus was on Rodman.

When it was time for his speech, I didn’t know what to expect. Rodman is probably one of the most unique individuals to ever play professional sports, so the anticipation alone was enough to tune in. But I certainly didn’t expect what I saw Friday night. I don’t believe we have ever seen him open up the way he did during his speech. It was a complete 180 from the antagonistic player that he was. But, it was very refreshing to see him in that light.

Solar Roadways to build solar-powered parking lot


Solar Roadways CEO Scott Brusaw.

Solar Roadways CEO Scott Brusaw.

(Credit: Solar Roadways)

It looks like roads that use solar power to melt snow are one step closer to becoming a reality--at least for a little stretch of Idaho. Solar Roadways received a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to build a parking lot paved with solar panels.

Last year the green infrastructure company demoed a 12X12-foot prototype of its solar road as phase 1 of this new technology. The prototype was made up of solar panels, heating elements, and a grid of wireless LED lights encased in durable glass that has the same traction as asphalt and doesn't cause glare. The panels generate a total of 7.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day that can be used to melt snow and ice, spell warnings for motorists, or be connected to weight sensitive panels that illuminate a crosswalk when activated. The solar road can also be connected to a smart grid to power nearby homes and businesses, or even electric cars.

With the concept vetted, the company wants to see how its technology will work on a larger scale. With the money from the FHA, it will construct phase 2 of the solar road project in the parking lot outside of its electronics lab in Sandpoint, Idaho, according to an article in The Spokesman-Review. By building in Solar Roadways' own backyard, it will be able to monitor the technology 24 hours a day in a controlled environment and under several load scenarios. If phase 2 is successful, company founder and CEO Scott Brusaw envisions the technology being used in sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots. The last stop on the technology road map would be solar highways.

Source: BusinessWeek

The Best Microbrew Beer Labels

One nice thing about the booming microbrewery trend is that it gives drinkers a chance to appreciate a ton more label art. What follows are eleven of our picks for the coolest, sexiest, weirdest and UGO-iest beer labels on Earth.

By K. Thor Jense

Microbreweries have a leg up on the big breweries when it comes to their consumer-facing identity. Free from the constraints of stuffed-shirt marketing teams, microbreweries are able to go over the top with their beer labels; offensive images, parodies, girls, whatever they want to do, they more or less can.

We present to you the best microbrew beer labels we've scoured from our searches across the Internet. A bold list that includes Satan, Satan ripping parts of male testicles and oh yeah, girls. You don't need a bland label with mountain ranges or fields of wheat when you have companies willing to let actual artists design beer labels. These Davids in a world of Goliaths show their love for their brews by putting extra care and attention on the outside of the bottle. So next time you're picking up a 30-rack, take a moment to browse the shelves and take in the sights beyond mass-produced beer.

Enjoy the best microbrew beer labels and if you think we missed an awesome one, comment below and attach a link. We want to see your favorites.

Ruckus Hoptimus Prime
Credit: Ruckus Brewing

Ruckus Hoptimus Prime

What better way to start this list than with a beer that pays tribute to the mightiest of the Autobots? New York-based Ruckus Brewing Company needed a powerful name for their new Double IPA, which packs a veritable Allspark of hop tartness. Five different hop varieties and a two-week dry hopping process are required to build this bad boy, so the concept of a Transformer of beer is more than appropriate.

Clown Shoes Brown Angel
Credit: Clown Shoes Brewing

Clown Shoes Brown Angel

The folks at Massachusetts brewery Clown Shoes actually got a lot of flack from the craft beer community over the label for their Brown Angel double brown ale, which only proves that beer nerds have too much time on their hands. This rich, dark ale has a strong presence, with hints of coffee and chocolate balanced out by citrus from the hops. The label pictures a mighty foxy mama doing a hot squat while wearing a pair of the brewery's signature oversized red and white shoes. Looking at hot chicks is one of the most traditional beer-based activities in the world, so why not save time and just put one on the bottle?

Unibroue Trois Pistoles
Credit: Unibroue

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

Canadian brewery Unibroue is well-known for their truly epic beer labels, which feature paintings of bizarre occurrences in Canadian history. The best is the art for their Trois Pistoles Belgian strong dark ale. The small town of Trois Pistoles was having problems building their new church. The pastor bound Satan in the form of a huge black horse held captive by a blessed bridle, and the horse hauled all of the stones from the river to the construction site. But when a villager felt sorry for the beast and removed the bridle, Satan escaped before hauling the final stone, and the church is still missing that one stone. The painting depicts the evil horse fleeing back to Hell. Awesome.

Left Hand Wake Up Dead
Credit: Left Hand Brewing

Left Hand Wake Up Dead

Colorado's Left Hand Brewery recently redesigned all of their packaging, and it was a change for the better. Hiring different local artists to tackle each beer was a smart move, and all of their labels are pretty great. Our favorite is the seriously metal design for Wake Up Dead, their awesomely heavy stout. Cellar-aged for four months, the beer has tastes of raisins, coffee, licorice and chocolate. Plus, hoisting a bottle of this makes you look like a serious badass.

Wasatch Polygamy Porter
Credit: Wasatch Brewing

Wasatch Polygamy Porter

You have to have big balls to open a brewery in Utah, what with the Mormon-run state's draconian alcohol laws that prohibit drafts over a certain percentage of alcohol. You have to have even bigger balls to name a beer after the Church of Latter-Day Saints' biggest shame. And yet, Park City's Wasatch Brewery did just that with their saucy Polygamy Porter. A medium-bodied ale with rich, layered flavors, the label mocks the old-school Mormon's drive to secure multiple wives for the Kingdom of Kolob or wherever they go.

Nils Oscar Lundgrens Lager
Credit: Nils Oscar Brewing

Nils Oscar Lundgrens Lager

As much as we try to fool ourselves into thinking that we're civilized creatures who enjoy wearing pants, every man is actually a filthy Bigfoot waiting to be unleashed on the world. That's why we love the hilariously ghetto artwork from Swedish brewer Nils Oscar on their sadly no longer produced Lundgrens Lager. One of the best Swedish pilsners, this golden lager is eminently drinkable, and the more of them you toss down, the more likely you'll resemble the hairy chap on the label who just doesn't give an F about society.

Nimbus Dirty Guera
Credit: Nimbus Brewing

Nimbus Dirty Guera

Let's cleanse our palate with another hot chick, OK? The babe depicted in the buff on the label for the blonde ale produced by the Nimbus Brewing Company out of Tucson, Arizona sure has everything we're looking for in a label model - long, flowing blonde hair, dangerous curves, spectacular skin - oh, and you can see her face reflected in the little mirror. Look at that. Oh my god, that's a monkey's face. We got boners over a monkey lady. Just go on to the next one, okay?

New England Gandhi-Bot
Credit: New England Brewing Co

New England Gandhi-Bot

We're actually cheating a little bit on this one, because Connecticut-based New England Brewing Company issues all their beers in cans, not bottles. Manybeer fans claim that cans actually improve the flavor of beer, and they are more environmentally conscious than bottles. Whatever the reason, the world may never know why New England decided to name their double IPA "Gandhi-Bot," but they went all the way with the label, which pictures the Indian spiritual and political leader transformed into an awesome android.

Jester King Black Metal
Credit: Jester King Brewery

Jester King Black Metal

For a beer to name itself after black metal, it had better just be as punishing as Hell. Texas microbrewery Jester King knew they were taking a difficult challenge when they developed their 2011 seasonal Imperial stout, which is a brutal draft of 10% ABV beer with incredibly pummeling flavors. The brewery claims that intense metal was played to the beer throughout the entire fermentation process, imbuing the beverage with concentrated evil. The label, with the image of a corpsepainted death lord on it, is just as harsh as the beer inside.

Caldera Vas Deferens
Credit: Caldera Brewing

Caldera Vas Deferens

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to think about when I'm drinking is something going wrong in my scrotum. But leave it to the insane geniuses at Ashland, Oregon's Caldera Brewing to name a limited-batch brew after the little pipes that move your sperm around, and then illustrate the bottle with a cartoon devil ripping them in half. I don't know if this qualifies as a "vasectomy in a bottle," but this Belgian strong style ale made with blood orange zest and orange bitters packs quite a kick in the pants.

Dieu Du Ciel Rigor Mortis
Credit: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Dieu Du Ciel Rigor Mortis

And we close with where we all wind up - in the grave. French-Canadian brewery Dieu du Ciel illustrates most of their labels with lovely, nubile young women, but the Rigor Mortis Quadrupel ale is the exception. This is an incredibly powerful beer, and it's only brewed once a year. Aged for six months before release, once it's gone it's gone. Much like the fragile, temporary dream we call life.

Free Filtered Water For Reusable Bottle Users - The Trend Grows



Free Filtered water station photo

Photo A. Streeter via flickr and Creative Commons.

Certain places hold us captive to buying bottled water - which if you've seen the documentary Tapped you'll likely not want to do. Airports are generally the worst - if you unthinkingly purchase bottles in the terminal before passing through security, your very expensive water will basically go staight into the trash. Adding a reusable bottle to the things we all cart around sometimes feels like a drag, but hopefully a new trend makes schlepping the reusable Kleen Kanteen or other stainless or glass bottle much more rewarding.

The Chicago Department of Aviation has installed filtered water stations especially designed for reusable bottles at both O'Hare (Terminal 2) and Chicago Midway airports. Not only is this a boon to those of us with reusable bottles and a real aversion to buying bottled water. It's also saving CO2 emissions. Yes, a drop in the proverbial bucket, but a start in turning back the massive tide of bottled water that is so damaging to our environment and so unnecessary.

At both the airports, there's a Liquid Disposal Station before security lines, and refill stations are located right next to the regular drinking fountains (a big plus, as it is quite difficult to refill bottles at the regular fountains).

You simply set your bottle onto the station's metal tray and refill happens hands free.

The Dept. of Aviation estimates the water stations, installed after Earth Day 2010, will save approximately 17,000 pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted, and 29 fewer tons of trash from going to landfill annually.

In San Francisco, Virgin Airways is sponsoring a similar filtered water refill station.

Washingtonians are also lucky - the TapIt initiative means there are more than 60 spots in the city, (participating businesses) that will allow you to fill your reusable bottle for free.

Reviewing some of the highlights from the documentary for your water edification:

- A large amount of the water you are buying in bottled water comes from the same sources as tap water.

- Bottled water is more than a $10 billion annual business, with the biggest corporate players being Coca-Cola, Pepsico, and Nestle.

- Approximately 18 million barrels of oil are used each year to transport water for bottled water consumption.

-Eliminating or minimizing bottled water usage would be a huge boon for the ocean where lots of plastic ends up circling endlessly in loops like the Pacific Gyre.

-Storing water in plastic is a very risky business, as toxic chemicals have been shown to leach from the plastic in to the water, especially over time (including bisphenol-A).

And, most relevant for consumers, bottled water costs from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon to purchase than tap water (NRDC source).