Pittsburgh's North Shore walking trail along River Avenue has some scattered mulberry trees. And much to my newly discovered yinzing chagrin, these trees produce mass quantities of mulberries.
I'm currently 44 years of age and to the best of my knowledge have never consumed a mulberry. Not sure if I've ever had a huckleberry either. Turns out, it's the state fruit of Idaho. And with that tidbit of knowledge... I can peacefully die.
Anyway, whenever I hear the term "mulberry" my mind immediately drifts to this movie clip. An excerpt from one of my all-time favorites, Donnie Brasco.
Mafia portrayals by Pacino and Depp? The Bonnano and Trafficante crime syndicates circa the 1970's? With the exception of Good Fellas, it doesn't get much better.
So can you name the five burroughs of New York? Even if you've never been to NYC, I think this knowledge is worthy of possession. The answer will be revealed in time.* It's a little more important than vegetable and fruit trivia. Although I do think it's critical to be aware that tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene. Potassium in bananas? Uhh, not so much. For the most part I find bananas offensive. However I do like the dehydrated banana chips from Trader Joe's. I've also maintained that reduced fat Cheez-Its are superior to regular Cheez-Its. Same rule applies to Marzetti dips. The low-fat versions actually taste better. And thick asparagus is for losers. One wonders how I manage to integrate all this meticulously specified crap into a functional existence.
Back to the mulberry story. We went down and picked for about an hour. Behold the awesome rewards of Mother Nature.
Gigi has this grand, gelatinous aspiration to produce mulberry jam. FYI --- I'm not a big Smuckers fan. And the mere sight of a tray of jello shots leaves me visibly annoyed. I can't stand Bill Cosby with the puddin' either. All of this is true, despite the fact that I actually sold jellies and preserves for 5 years. That's right! I was a renegade telemarketer for a shady operation called the Bears Against Drugs Program back in the early 90's. We'd call just about everyone and everything in Northern WV and Eastern Ohio and pester them into supporting the "West Virginia Troopers Association." Our mission was to hock these overpriced Hickory Farms-like gift assortments. The products were manufactured by a clandestine shell company called Smoky Mountain Secrets allegedly located somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. And delivered straight to your door by a triumphantly, creepy pedophile in a Dodge Caravan. "Hello there, ma'am. We got yer jellies!"
I went to google this shit and there's absolutely nothing. It's as though the whole operation never existed. What a fucking racket! The Bears Against Drugs program eventually succumbed to numerous consumer fraud complaints and eventually disbanded after the launch of multiple state investigations in tandem with the Better Business Bureau. Ahh, is it any wonder they targeted the street-smart savvy citizens of Appalachia?
Now in addition to the notorious jellies and preserves, we also peddled steak sauces and seasonings, various mustards and gourmet salad dressings. In its final year, the "gift box overlords" tried to salvage this solicitation nightmare with the introduction of something new, something different. FRUIT SYRUPS. That's right! Apricot, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and plum. For you Jews out there, that's $34.95 to schmear on your blintzes. And for you morbidly corpulent gentilian Baptists, it costs the same amount to smother your stack of flapjacks (and eggs and hash browns). Fruit syrup goes good on whole plate.
Aunt Gemima and Quaker Oats related subsidiaries --- Know. Your. Role. And shut your mouth!
Now here's the question. Who on earth could have conceived of this scurrilously lascivious jelly-vending extravaganza? Answer: Kevin O' Leary. That's right! The sophisticated bean counter a/k/a Mr. Wonderful on ABC's Shark Tank. He was the original investor and brainchild of the Bears Against Drugs Program!
I love this guy. He is the show. That stinging tinge of playful arrogance. The clever insight. The economic acumen. Those timeless refrains --- show me the money, this isn't a business... it's a hobby, you're dead to me. Don't you ever dare forget. All roads lead back to Mr. Wonderful.
So by now, you're probably wondering what's the connection between mulberry jam and Kevin O' Leary's sordid financial history. Drum roll please...
For the past year, I've been trying to appear on Shark Tank. My sales pitch is a total win-win. For me, the sharks and humanity at-large. Newsflash: I'm not in it for the money. My offer...
Regrettably, my books are about the next possible 9/11. And nobody's allowed to talk about it --- a dominipede (multiple, simultaneous stadium stampedes likely impacting the NFL 1 o'clock slate).
sonofsaf.com, dominipede.com, theimmaculaterejection.com
Here's some additional background info on my arsenal of literature...
His heartfelt observations on a wide array of topics: art, labor, leisure and music will take your breath away. His thoughts on people, politics, religion and sports will leave you gasping for air. His ominous predictions will suck the life right outta yer lungs.
For Christ sake, enough with the innuendo. The book's about an asymmetric national security issue --- artificially generated stampedes. Give it a shot. If anything, it's free.
The entire NFL 1 o'clock slate of games will be impacted. But it was all just a malicious hoax. Everything was based on a lie. Society will be transformed. Everything will change.
You'll be left permanently exasperated. Is it real? Is it fiction? Could it happen? Will it happen? When will it happen? History and humanity will judge the author. But should they? You decide. A book like this is free... of course.
The Immaculate Rejection is the disheartening game day tale of a Pittsburgh 5th grader wishing to improve stadium safety. An overly optimistic Jewish boy from Squirrel Hill tries to shed light on an undiscussable subject --- the prospect of an artificially generated stampede at Heinz Field. But nobody wants to listen. Sid and Miss Priddy find things quickly spiraling out of control, resulting in what many will come to view as the next 9/11. Based on a true story... and a black swan.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and several billionaire owners want this book "removed" from the internet but cannot acknowledge its existence. Quite the conundrum. Making matters worse, the book is free.
So did anybody catch the overriding similarity with all 3 books? Yep, all of them are free. You heard me right!
Personally, I prefer this old school pic of The Fonz. Granted, it's a tough call.
Think about it. Am I really asking that much?
I'm just an atheist Jew from Pittsburgh willing to give away all of my future projected revenue to a bunch of billionaires.
All I want is a platform to warn people that... LEGITIMATE venue emergency evacuation orders would NEVER be delivered via their personal cell phones. If something like this were to happen, it's almost certainly a malicious hoax designed to create a stampede.
All I want is to make people aware of the modern, technological equivalent of shouting fire in a crowded theater. Sounds like some good, common sense information if you're heading to a stadium, ballpark, arena, amphitheater, motor speedway, political convention, etc.
Because if an artificially generated stampede, or worst case scenario dominipede were to strike, you don't get a second chance. There is no preseason. No dress rehearsal. No mitigation.
All I want... is to prevent the next possible 9/11.
All I want... is to be heard.
All I want... is to tell people the truth.
I almost forgot. If you require closure and truly wish to kick out the jams, here's a final pic of the March to Mulberry Madness.
* Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx.