Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Favorite Eats: The Pharmacy - Nashville

One the perks of my job is that I can count on at least one trip to Nashville each year. The thing I like most about travelling to Nashville is discovering fun new places to eat. In fact, there are so many restaurants in the greater Nashville area that you could probably visit a different one each day and not repeat in a year.

I always make a point to try to dine where local residents like to eat and just a few weeks ago discovered a place that will be well worth a return visit: The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden. Tucked away in an East Nashville neighborhood it would be easy to miss if you didn't know where to look for it.

The restaurant's slogan is that it is Nashville's Wurst Burger Joint. In that slogan lies the clue to the other great secret of their menu: their wursts (German style sausages) are fantastic. They are all made by hand, then grilled outside on the charcoal grill before finished indoors an the flat top before being served. We sampled both the burgers and the wursts and found them equally enjoyable.

Another great feature is their old-fashioned soda fountain. My youngest daughter enjoyed a creamsicle soda while my older daughter went for the strawberry ginger ale. My wife decided to try the Mexican Coca-Cola from the bottle (which is sweeter than Coke found in the United States) while I enjoyed a Sprecher Root Beer on tap which was just perfect with our meal.

For dinner we decided to share (which we often do when we can't decide what to eat). We ordered two Biergarten platters (each came with 3 wursts) and were able to sample all six varieties of the wursts they had available. Our personal favorite was the Bockwurst as it was the juiciest of all of them though they all had a good flavor. For our burgers, we ordered the Farm Burger (country ham, applewood bacon, willow farm egg, and maple mustard) and the Mission City Burger (guacamole, pico de gallo, slow-cooked black beans, and horchata crema fresca). Both were very good though the Mission City Burger had the slight edge.

But the best part of the entire experience was dining out in the biergarten. It was a lovely evening, not too hot and the atmosphere was perfect. It would be the perfect place to meet friends and hang out.

We all agreed that this would be one place we would visit again. According to the staff it gets busy quickly so you have to be prepared to wait. We went around 5:00 in the evening and had no problem getting seated but by the time we left at 6:30 the line was already out the door.

Nashville is an endless series of gastronomic adventures. If you are ever there, be sure to add The Pharmacy to your places to visit.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Appreciating Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams turns twenty-five this year. I can vividly remember the first time I saw it in the theater. I cried at the end because it had managed to really touch a nerve. I had gone in having already read W. P. Kinsella's novel on which the movie was based but didn't expect it to pull at my heartstrings as much as it did.

Joe Posnanski recently wrote a fascinating column on the movie. For many, the movie is too overly sentimental. But as he points out, that's the film's biggest asset:

This week, I watched Field of Dreams again. It has been a few years. There were two scenes that struck me. Well, actually, I was struck by a lot of things: the mawkishness of the dialogue (it really is more than I remember); the scenery-eating overacting of the great Burt Lancaster (“by a sky so blue it hurts just to look at it!”); the intrusiveness of James Horner’s overbearing music. It would have been nice to let a scene or two breathe just a little bit without attacking us with the music.
But there were two scenes that struck me most. One struck me because I had the script with me and I was following along. Remember the scene where James Earl Jones is asking people in the town about the ballplayer Moonlight Graham, who had become the town doctor? Jones asked one old guy about Moonlight Graham’s wife:
Here’s what the guy was supposed to say according to the script: “Alicia. She moved to South Carolina after he passed. She passed a few years later. She always wore blue. I bet you didn’t know that.” Here’s what he actually said in the movie: “Alicia. She moved to South Carolina after he passed. She passed a few years later. She always wore blue. The shopkeepers in town would stock blue hats because they knew if Doc walked by he’d buy one. When they cleaned out his office, they found boxes of blue hats that he never got around to give her. I bet you didn’t know that.”
Is the movie version sentimental, cheesy, maudlin? Maybe. I love it. In a way, the difference between the script and the movie is exactly what Field of Dreams is about.  The script is plenty sentimental. She always wore blue. But the movie goes for something more. I love Doc Graham, a good man in that small town, stopping at shops because he cannot resist buying his wife a blue hat. I fall for it.
And, I guess, that gets at the heart of why I love Field of Dreams — it is so unapologetically hopeful. It is so unapologetically optimistic. “Bull Durham” is funnier and “The Natural” is more romantic and “Bang the Drum Slowly” is more poignant and “A League of Their Own” is more layered. But none of them are quite as unabashedly dreamy.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Weekend Playlist - Put Your Records On

There is something about music that can brighten the most dismal of days. That's the message at the heart of Corinne Bailey Rae's hit Put Your Records On. This is a really nice tune that helps set the perfect mood for the weekend. Enjoy.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Book Review: The Israeli Solution

With all the current turmoil in the Middle East one has to wonder whether peace is even possible. Will the Israelis and the Palestinians ever be able to peacefully co-exist? Will the long desired two state solution ever become a reality?

Or, have the Israelis (along with assistance from the United States) been pursuing the wrong policies for decades? Could it be that while the Israelis are willing to do almost anything to pursue peace their Arab neighbors have not? Perhaps it is because the United States has failed to study history to realize what a fruitless effort the two state solution actually is for the Middle East.

These are the issues that are so succinctly addressed  by Caroline Glick in her new book The Israeli Solution. Ms. Glick makes a compelling argument that the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza which have been the subject of negotiations now for many years actually belong to Israel rather than the Palestinians. And although the United States has tried its best to try to foster peace in the region their relentless pursuit of the two state solution has done far more to harm to peace process that to help it.

Ms. Glick is uniquely qualified to make this assertion having previously served in the Israeli Defense Forces and as a core member of the negotiating team that dealt with the PLO during the late 1990s. She has also served as foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Netayahu during his first term in office.

Her case for the one state solution will no doubt cause heartburn in diplomatic circles as even today the U.S. State Department continues to press for a two state solution that is destined to fail. But those same diplomats would be well serve to read this book to gain a better understanding of the historical context surrounding the current conflict and how it can be solved.

The Israeli Solution is an important volume in the continuing history of the Middle East. Anyone who has an interest in better understanding why conflict continues between Israelis and Palestinians would be well served to read this excellent book.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Daily Links 5-6-14

Good morning! A few articles to help you start your day. In today's edition: the problem with seeking God's will, baseball in India, the woman who put herself in the nuthouse, and more.


Matt Papa on the problem with seeking God's will:

I have spent too much of my life, and my prayer life, asking for God to lead me into His “perfect will”.  “God lead me”.  “Guide me”.  “Use me”.  “Bless me”.  While I know that God is a gracious, condescending God who meets us wherever we are, I something wonder if God has been up there saying…. 
“Um…yeah.  I’m Your Shepherd.  That’s what I do.” 
So there’s a problem revealed here.  If I really believed that God was good….that He was my dad who was all powerful and all knowing and all loving….then I wouldn’t be repeatedly begging him to lead me with this certain twinge of anxiety.  I would relax.  Dad’s got me.  Chill.

Hat tip: Challies


Could it be that America's favorite books are its favorite movies?


The new movie Million Dollar Arm (which judging by the previews looks really good) will open in theaters next week. But will the movie spark interest in baseball in India?


A collection of the best C. S. Lewis quotes.


Taking God at His word: an interview with Kevin DeYoung about his new book.


The amazing story of Nellie Bly who once intentionally got herself committed to an insane asylum to expose brutal treatment of the patients.


Monday, May 05, 2014

Daily Links 5-5-14

Good morning. Here are a few links to start off your week. In today's edition: failure and fostering success, things I wish I knew as a college student, the best time of day to do anything, and more.


This is an interesting quote from Pixar Studios co-founder Ed Catmull on failure:

We need to think about failure differently. I’m not the first to say that failure, when approached properly, can be an opportunity for growth. But the way most people interpret this assertion is that mistakes are a necessary evil. Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality). And yet, even as I say that embracing failure is an important part of learning, I also acknowledge that acknowledging this truth is not enough. That’s because failure is painful, and our feelings about this pain tend to screw up our understanding of its worth. To disentangle the good and the bad parts of failure, we have to recognize both the reality of the pain and the benefit of the resulting growth. 


Interesting history: how the King James Bible came about.


This is a fascinating list: 20 things I wish I knew as a college student. I am sure that if I had known at least a few of these things I would have gotten much more from the whole college experience. (Hat tip: Aaron Armstrong)


Once again, science proves something useful: taking notes by hand is more effective than taking notes on a computer.


More great reading: finding the opportunity in every obstacle.


Some useful suggestions on the best time of day to do anything.


This is cool: a few minutes of footage from the 1919 World Series.


Quote of the week:

Friday, May 02, 2014

Weekend Playlist - Fallin' For You

This weekend's song is a really sweet song from songwriter Colbie Callat. It's a great picture of what happens when you meet that special someone. It's not always easy to express into words what it feels like but she does a great job encapsulating those emotions in this song. Enjoy.

Colbie Caillat - Fallin' For You (Official Video) by luanabochechinha

Daily Links 5-2-14

A huge roundup of links for your weekend enjoyment. In today's edition: learning from Calvin and Hobbes, rethinking the grind, moon shots, Disney and God, and more.


What Calvin and Hobbes has to teach us about the medium and the message. Some really good points in this article particularly in how we share the message of the gospel.


Putting things in perspective: how differently famous landmarks look from a distance (hat tip: Challies)


Some advice on how to write about writing.


The power of doing less: how you can increase productivity by saying no more often. I do think there is something to this idea that we have to force ourselves to be less busy and focus on tasks that are most important and most deserving of our time and energy.


Moon shots:: NASA's Lunar Orbiter Recovery Project has been working since 2009 to recover images taken during the the agency's lunar exploration programs. Some very cool photos in this slideshow.


Helpful hints on how to protect your privacy online.


Say it ain't so: is the Oxford English Dictionary disappearing (at least in print)?


Did Disney prohibit the Frozen songwriters from using the word God in their songs? Not exactly. In fact, the real story is more interesting.


Baseball continues to be a fascinating game. In fact, it's remarkable how in some ways it can be so very predictable. 


And then there is this:

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Daily Links 5-1-14

In today's edition: things you're not told about marriage, beggars along the road, how to protect the church in one simple step, and more.


Marriage is not always easy but always rewarding. Part of what makes it difficult is that there is no way to know in advance everything that you need to know in order to prosper in marriage. But this is a good place to start. 


A neat photo gallery that celebrates technological marvels of yesteryear. (Hat tip: Neatorama)

Nate Pyle gets this right: we are all blind beggars along the road.


Just who is this guy Murphy of Murphy's Law?


There is a simple way to protect your church according to Tim Challies: preach.


Need to ask a girl to the prom? No problem! Just get Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez to help you out.