Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Paddy's Day Rant

So I'm doing my usual daily rounds of the interwebs, which includes a site called tastespotting.com, it's like a big gallery of recipes, great, and I notice sooo many for Paddy's day, or at least claiming to be, I mean since when did adding Guinness or something green make a recipe Irish?! I'm outraged.

Also, what's the big fascination with corned beef?! As a typical Irish person, I've never eaten the stuff in my life... Seriously. Cabbage and Ham, yes, Cabbage and Corned Beef, eh, no, what fucking Ireland do you think exists, one that has actual leprechauns and pots of gold?!

I mean soda bread, yes, that's Irish. Irish stew, yes, but it's not Irish stew if you make it with beef, you moron, then it's just beef stew, and then you think adding a can of Guinness makes it Irish, who the fuck puts Guinness in stew?! No sane Irish man or woman would waste good stout in a stew! And Shepard's Pie, don't even get me started, for one it's a British dish, for two you can't make things "Irish" by adding alcohol, for three you made it with beef and it's therefore Cottage Pie NOT Shepard's Pie...

As for this - ["Irish" for a day, corned beef on rye.], there are so many things wrong with that sentence, not to mention the picture, where's it's covered in that "traditional Irish ingredient" - mustard...

And then there are those who abbreviate incorrectly to St Patty's Day... eh, who?!

Sigh. Bloody Americans, it's bad enough they all claim Irish heritage, but then they have to stomp all over our day with misconceptions and ignorance.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Joys Of Tutoring - Or Rising Failure Levels


Having just finished a batch of assignment correcting, with what seemed to be an unusually high bunch of failures, I decided to check out if it really was a higher set of failures.

Unfortunately I have no basis for comparison... Yet. I can't consider this week to be my baseline, since the assignment seemed to be beyond the grasp of a considerable number of students, so I am planning to use next weeks assignment as a baseline, as if I recall correctly this is one of the easier assignments of the year.

What I've discovered so far :

Of my 101 students, only 55 actually handed up the latest assignment. I have no way of determining which students do not take the course the question, but I will endeavor to find out.

I have 4 classes, one of which is based in Arts, the other three are in the Science discipline. The Arts and Science course is the same, however they do have different lecturers. I will make a comparison here.

Of the 55 assignments which I had to hand to correct, 24 failed, that is achieved a mark below 40%.

The analysis :

Well, it's only a basic analysis as yet, but here's the figures :

Class : Failure / Total Handed in , Failure + Not handed in / Total class size

Arts : 8 / 19 , 11 / 22
Sci 1 : 7 / 11 , 26 / 30
Sci 2 : 4 / 12 , 16 / 24
Sci 3 : 5 / 13 , 17 / 25

All : 24 / 55 , 70 / 101

What it means :

Well, nothing as of yet. I intend to continue looking at the failure rates for the rest of the semester, Arts having 5 more assignments and Science having 3. Hopefully in a few short weeks, I'll be able to see what this means, if in fact it means anything at all.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lombardi's - A review

During my NY trip, I decided to pop along to Lombardi's one lunch time, to see what all the fuss was about.

The atmosphere :

The restaurant is warm and inviting, the staff were friendly, but all this is to be expected from any run-of-the-mill restaurant in this day and age. But I digress, it was nice at first glance.

I was seated at a small table directly in front of this wall :

On the wall were many awards and accolades, I was excited.

The menu :

The menu is simple, with few choices, as would be expected from a restaurant with such highly acclaimed food. The choice of pizza toppings were basic, nothing spectacular. The only exceptional seeming item on the menu was the seafood pizza, unfortunately I'm not a seafood fan.

The food :

I ordered a raspberry seltzer soda, and this was the least disappointing part of my meal. It had a good raspberry tang, and the cream added a little pizzazz, but it was just a drink...

I decided on bruschetta to start, expecting something amazing. The tomatoes were piled high, a little too high in fact as it led to soggy bread underneath. It lacked that something special that I was expecting, but I held my breath for the main, since pizza was what they were famous for. "Best pizza in New York"...

I ordered my pizza with a topping of mushrooms and homemade meatballs. It was spectacular in only one respect - it was spectacularly disappointing. It looked like any pizza from any average pizzeria, it was far from the "best". In fact, I'd go so far as to say I've had better pizza from Irish takeaways. The meatballs lacked any excitement, and left a tangy, unpleasant aftertaste in the mouth. The mushrooms were tasty, as was the mozzarella, but even the base sauce was unimpressive. The crust was thin, yes, crispy, yes, tasteful - oh hell no. It was, by far, the most boring and underwhelming pizza I've ever had, with the possible exception of frozen pizza, and I've had quite a few pizzas...

The final thought :

I definitely would not return to Lombardi's, and I certainly won't be recommending it to anyone. As pizza places go, the only reason I can see for it being the "Best in New York City" is if every other pizzeria is utter crap.