Sunday, January 16, 2011

Major American football game this week if you live in the Northeast. The New York Jets vs the New England Patriots. People have parties with "buffalo wings"--chicken wings baked in hot sauce, which they dip in bleu cheese and then eat celery to cool their mouths.

At football parties we eat tortilla chips dipped in "layer dip", and "onion dip"--Lipton onion soup mix mixed with sour cream. We order out pizza and "subs"--huge sandwiches with meat, cheese, dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, oregano, salt, and hot peppers. In America, pizzerias will usually deliver pizza and subs to your house. You should tip the delivery person--three or four dollars is appropriate for a party order. The delivery person makes part of his living from tips; he is only paid a small wage by the pizzeria that employs him.

At football parties we watch our teams and cheer them on--for the jets the cheer is "J-E-T-S! JETS JETS JETS JETS!"

Here's video of "Fireman Ed"--an unofficial Jets mascot leading fans in a Jets cheer.

Some people even have home theaters with huge television screens where they watch the games. We drink beer--Heinekin, Budweiser, or Coors are good brands.

We also have a tradition in this country of "tailgating" at American style football games. "Tailgating" is when fans of a team gather in the parking lot of the stadium before a game and set up huge grills and portable cookers and cook chile, hot fries, ribs, po' boys, crab sandwiches, barbecued chicken--everything and anything goes at a tailgate party. It's rowdy and raucous--a place to really let down your hair. (To "let down your hair" means to get rowdy and act wild). Tailgate parties often involve competitions for the hottest chili or the best ribs.

Tailgating got its name because of the "tailgate" of a pickup truck--people would drive their pickup trucks to the game and put their cookers and food and everything in the bed and sit on or serve food on the lowered tailgate. Tailgate parties are a great time for fans to meet up with each other and generally enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow team lovers.

Note: if you ever go to a tailgate party, you are expected to bring some kind of food yourself--meat is best but if you can't, a selection of dips, salsas and *plenty* of chips and drinks will do. You have to remember that you are feeding a *huge* number of people. It's also a good idea to bring beer--but be *careful* who you give it to. In America, the drinking age is 21 and it is ILLEGAL to provide alcohol to anyone under that age, and the consequences are SERIOUS.

All right? LETS GO JETS!

(The Jets are winning the game going on right now Sunday evening...if they go all the way to the Super Bowl at the end of January it will be their first time since 1969. Jets fans used to be referred to as "long suffering"--the Jets were famous for opening the season big and then falling apart. No more. Last year they made it all the way to the conference championships, one game before the Super Bowl. This year it is conceivable that they could go all the way and maybe even win it.)

All right? All right? Catch you later! LETS GO JETS! ;-)

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to get your snow shoveled or your car shoveled out...

In America, particularly on the East Coast, it snows a *lot*. If you are from India or Southeast Asia, or somewhere tropical and warm, you might not be used to the snow or know how to handle it. What do you do when your car gets stuck and you can't go anywhere?

Remember how I mentioned a few posts back that kids sometimes in the fall will go around the neighborhood seeking small chores?

Well, often in the winter those same enterprising kids come to shovel cars out. Now, this is a situation where you *must* not bargain or try to get the job done inexpensively. In this situation, the kids have the upper hand and here's the reason: There's plenty of work--if they can't work with you on price they'll leave you stuck and go somewhere else. People get desperate in the snow, when they can't go anywhere.

The going rate in NJ is about $30-35 to shovel out a car so it can move on to the road--in other words, to get it completely unstuck from the snow. Driveways are more expensive--between $50 and $80. Bear in mind that the kids work quickly and the work is backbreaking.

If you hire a crew of two or more kids, then the going rate is $20-25 per person, flat rate for a car or $40 per person or so for a driveway. What you are paying for is speed. A three man crew should have a car completely unstuck and a parking space carved out and able to move in half an hour or less. It's in their best interests to move fast--their goal is to move from job to job to make as much money as possible.

DO NOT hire a crew or a worker and then attempt to pay by check. First of all, most kids can't cash a check--they have no ID and no bank account. This kind of work is ALWAYS paid for in cash.

All right? That's how that works. Kids are taught from an early age in America that if they want money or anything else, they have to be willing to work for it. SO they work for it. However, if you live in a wealthy neighborhood, the kids might not come shoveling because they don't need to. It depends on the circumstances.