"Barking or Non-Barking?"
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush recently signed into law a bill that would permit restaurants in the state to set up special outdoor dining sections in which patrons can eat with their dogs (Just Desserts feels a discrimination lawsuit from cat owners coming on...). The animals would not be allowed inside, owners would have to keep them leashed and bussers wouldn't clean up after them.
The dogs would also be prohibited from coming into contact with any servingware, linen or even disposables meant for human diners. In other words, no feeding them from the table.
The law is voluntary, with no restaurant required to accommodate dogs unless it wants to.
Now, if only Bush could get a similar law passed that would apply to kids...
Green Acres, With Barbed Wire
Restaurants marketing a "simple life" theme of traditional "down home" fare are not unusual. Urban types all over the world tend to crave simpler, traditional dishes from their respective cultures. Hence the popularity of comfort food staples even in white tablecloth settings.
But there is a limit to this stuff, and it probably sits at the DMZ, the infamous "De-Militarized Zone" that separates North and South Korea. Since the end of the Korean War in 1953, the South has developed economically to the point that it is now one of the most prosperous countries in the world, a stable democracy with a booming Asian Tiger economy.
As for the North? Well, other than nukes and one of the world's largest standing armies, they're missing a few things...like food, leisure, personal luxuries, political freedom or individual rights. And that's just the short list.
Perversely, this seems to have made the North a sort of prelapsarian hothouse exhibit in the eyes of many South Koreans. They see traditional Korean virtues—trampled by the go-go culture of the globalized South—as being preserved in the "simpler" North.
Hence the slew of North Korean themed restaurants across the South, described in a recent report in the New York Times. Each eatery promises an authentic North Korean experience: pretty country lass waitresses (think Elly May Clampett in a Mao suit), kitschy propaganda posters and "authentic" North Korean cuisine. Of course, the cuisine isn't really authentic, proprietors admitted to the Times, but they reproduce what South Koreans expect North Korean dishes to taste like, which is even better. After all, really authentic North Korean cuisine is a near-starvation diet of rice gruel and fish head soup.
But who'd want to go to a restaurant for that?
Awakening Your Inner Yogi Bear
According to researchers at the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center, the sleeping pill Ambien may cause some users to "sleep-eat" ravenously. Apparently, susceptible people go so far as to fry up bacon and eggs or bake cookies in the middle of the night, all while asleep. In the morning, they find wrappers, crumbs and other debris all over their beds and the kitchen a mess. They don't remember a thing, so generally a spouse is blamed.
The researchers suspect that the cause is a chemical reaction that triggers confusion between two instincts: sleeping and eating. The result: people feel compelled to eat when they sleep.
Sounds like a great excuse for midnight fridge raids: "Don't blame me, doc, I was asleep at the time!"