Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

October 27, 2011

TIM PRESTON: An odd bucket, tablets, flowers and fish

ASHLAND — There is no real point to this first story, although it has provided some interesting moments for a few of us and taught many here among us a lesson about what is and isn’t available on the Internet.

It started as a simple, “Do you have any idea what this thing is?” mystery that ended up causing emails and telephone calls from Ashland to California and ultimately to Japan.

A neighbor, who was moving, dropped by with what appeared to be a seriously oversized ice bucket from the 1950s or 1960s.

The unit, labeled a “Top Jar HS-6” and made by the Zojirushi corporation, appeared to be a massive Thermos-style container, with a removeable inner sleeve that has holes in the bottom.

I showed it to many people and theories ranged from “It’s a rice cooker,” to “It’s a coffee maker,” although the complete lack of an electrical heat source, or even a lip for pouring liquids, ruled out those theories.

While all agreed it was either made for keeping cold things cold or hot things hot, or both, none came up with a realistic suggestion about the product’s intended use, or the purpose of the sleeve with the holes in the bottom. Collectively, we used Google for every imaginable combination to crack the Top Jar code, but had no luck whatsoever.

Eventually, several of us independently contacted the Zojirushi folks (who continue to manufacture a respected line of kitchen appliances), ultimately reaching a gal named Chico in California.

Chico asked for and received photos and serial numbers from the heavy bucket before also concluding she had no idea what you would use a Top Jar HS-6 for. She also confirmed the item, or anything remotely like it, won’t be found in the company’s current catalog.

Undeterred, Chico got in touch with the Zojirushi folks in Japan and found out we were all pretty close on our first impression. The HS-6 Top Jar is a big ice bucket.

The inner sleeve prevents chunks of ice from cracking the vacuum-insulating barrier, and allows water to drip from the still-frozen stuff when the ice is removed from the container.

Flowers (and fish talk!)

My baby and I celebrated our 21st anniversary last week and I was fortunate enough to have a gift certificate for a dozen red roses contributed by Country Garden Florist & Gifts in support of a recent benefit event for AARF at Smokin’ Tom’s near Walmart in Cannonsburg.

I called and got owner/operator Bonnie Davidson on the phone and she cheerfully took my order and asked when I wanted to pick the flowers up.

I got to the shop across from Helton Auto Parts sometime after lunch and Davidson had a breathtaking bouquet awaiting. Davidson truly lived up to her motto “Floral quality that can’t be store bought.”

 Rick “I’m-the-boss’-husband” Davidson was also there and it didn’t take long for the two of us to start trading fish stories, at least after he explained his wife is the one with the talent at the business and he’s the guy who takes care of pickup and deliveries.

Rick said he takes off for Christmas, but otherwise has a hook and line in the water “51 weekends a year.” Needless to say I automatically liked the guy, and we spent several minutes discussing some of our favorite sweet spots, even though I’ve hardly wet a hook in three years.

So if you find yourself in need of anything for weddings, proms, funerals, gift baskets, fresh and silk flowers/wreaths (or if you just need advice about where to find the best largemouth bass populations) visit countrygardenflorist.com or call (606) 928-3208 or (800) 944-3208. And, yes, they deliver.

Tablet time

I received a note from the nice lady at Verizon who has been kind enough to lend us Droid phones to reproduce our aging archive of old photo negatives and she asked if I have any interest in the new “tablet” devices available.

Considering I’d had several people show me their iPads and other devices before proclaiming “This is what you need,” I told her I would indeed be interested in learning more.

I met assistant manager Brian Tomblin at the Verizon Wireless store next to Five Guys Burgers and Fries last week and he gave me a quick demo of some of their more affordable models, along with some of the most-advanced units available.

With 4G service on the horizon, Tomblin said the Xoom and Galaxy 10.1 models are certainly of interest to those who want “Bam! It’s there” speed. I’ll admit my eyes kept falling to the new iPad, and Tomblin said it has many built-in functions including synching with compatible devices (if you buy a song on iTunes, for example, it is shared with your other Apple devices). He also pointed out models in the $199 range, such as the Samsung Galaxy, which are ideal for new users.

Perhaps best of all, even a techno-caveman like myself can jump in and quickly figure out how to make it do some pretty neat things.

“It’s a visual product. You can just scan through it and tap on what you want to work. No owner’s manual required,” Tomblin said with a smile, adding the store does host monthly classes and sessions for both Apple and Android based devices for anyone with questions.

As testament to the durability of the tablet-style communications devices, Tomblin said he often trusts his in the hands of his twin 7-year-old sons.

“They download more apps on my tablet than I do. It has lots of educational uses,” he said with a chuckle, adding the device is “great for the car” because it allows him to set a movie for the boys to watch, and adjust their speakers.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to drop by the Ashland Verizon Wireless location from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday or noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, where Tomblin says they will be assisted by someone who can offer expert advice about anything they have to offer. For more information, find the store on Facebook or call (606) 326-9837.

Finding Andy

Someone recently joked that Ashland’s version of the “Where’s Waldo?” series could be called “Where’s Andy?” while discussing the loyalty of fans who are willing to follow chef Andy Moore wherever he goes.

I spotted a smoker next to a small building next to the car wash by the Walmart in Cannonsburg last week and was pleased to read a banner on it stating “Andy’s BBQ, Coming Soon, (606) 585-4089.”

I called the number and Andy reported he is now awaiting inspections and hopes to have the new place open within two to three weeks, offering pick-up and delivery only.

Moore is building a fire-brick pizza oven from one of his smokers and will be adding his special pizza to the menu, along with “savory cheesecakes” which he described as having the texture of a cheesecake, although the contents tend to be heavy on meats.

“It’s really good stuff. Oh. I’m telling you,” Moore said while describing the savory cheesecakes he plans to serve up along with his brand of barbecue and country cooking. “It should be an interesting concept. You can get pizza, brisket, ribs and maybe even a steak.”

Moore said the new restaurant will have a new number, although he encourages anyone interested in holiday orders for things like smoked or deep-fried turkey or pork products to call the number listed above.

“We do those turducklings (also known as turducken) too,” Moore said, making it clear he thinks the combination of turkey duck and chicken with layers of different stuffing in between, is a great flavor and texture treat.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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