The Phyne Dyner talks about “stuff” (Part Deux)

In Lifestyle on July 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

It has been a few months since we talked about “stuff” here on Phyne Dyning.  The published blog is a little less than a year old and the concept crossed the one-year mark several weeks ago.  We are still here and still writing about the Phyne Dyning lifestyle.

Since the past few months have brought new followers to the chosen lifestyle of Phyne Dyners, maybe this is a good time to sum up the Phyne Dyning philosophy?

(Photo credit: Brad Marakian)

Phyne Dyners do not merely march to the beat of a different drummer.  A true Phyne Dyner marches to the music of an entirely different band.

Poke around the blog a bit and find out for yourself that Phyne Dyning is not a “foodie” blog…it is so much more than that passing fad.

Dying media

The local newspaper, The Des Moines Register, continues its struggle to remain relevant.

Newspaper readership (nationally for all pubs) continues to slide by nearly 10% every year.  The Register’s racks at my local mass food retailer are as ignored as the laxative aisle, except by a few octogenarians who buy both.


Future home of the Des Moines Register

Now in its death throes after sacking writers (?), the Register frantically tries to attract readership, any readership, with its online format.

There, they treat their online readers to a cornucopia of banner ads and crawls which readers swat away like mosquitoes.

It its bid to encourage civility, the Register conducted a purge of “offensive” online comments (and commentators).  The effort was well intentioned, but stories now enjoy comments numbering in the tens, by the same dozen or so online Register-approved regulars.

If the Romans took the gladiators and wild animals out of the Coliseum, nobody would have attended their games either.

I wish him well

On hiatus, but still a better read than the Register, is The Cookauthor of the dining and food blog at

The Cook now wears the owner/chef hat at a new vegetarian/vegan eatery in the downtown Skywalk.

He and I share many similar attitudes about food reviewers, food carts/trucks in the late-night downtown, and many other issues.

I wish him the very best with his new place and hope he finds time to pound out a few thoughts on his keyboard from time to time.  In the meantime, poke around his blog archives.

A tip from Mrs. Phyne Dyner

Potato salad is a big hit at our house when the weather turns hot.  We are not huge fans of air conditioning and would probably entirely disdain it, if not for our elderly hounds.

When I left for a paying gig last weekend, I told (plaintively begged) Mrs. PD to whip up a big bowl of ‘tater salad so we could use up our supply of big baking potatoes.

Rather than boiling the aforesaid ‘taters for twenty minutes, she popped them into the microwave and “under” baked them.  After letting them cool, she slid the skins off and cut them down for the salad.

No added residual heat from boiling pots!

Hound update

Long-time readers know about our brace of elderly greyhounds.  (Lord) “Jack” has been slowly slipping away, but remains happy to be with us.

Now, “Abe”, our most-senior hound has joined Jack in a final race.  As with Jack, I also carry Abe outside so he can lurch about the garden.  One of my daily chores is to deal with his pile of wet nappies.

Abe (L) and (Lord) Jack (R)

Despite all of this, both old men seem to enjoy their lives.  They wildly careen about at mealtimes and then collapse on their beds in front of a fan.

Most painful for us are “well-meaning” comments from people who “know best” that it would be better if we “put them to sleep” (the euphemism for “kill”) so we “can get on with your lives”.

The old boys will let us know when the time comes.  Killing them for our convenience is not an option.

From the “What in the heck are you thinking?” desk

One of my morning coffee pals was grousing about his employer the other day.  He works in a small company with about fifteen other workers.  There have been no raises for workers for well over five years and “Christmas” bonuses were eliminated while the company, according to the owner/boss, “tries to remain competitive”.

As everyone who works for a living knows, prices have gone up.  Despite “no inflation” (?!), things cost more than ever and worker’s wages have remained flat.  The mantra of many employers has become, “Be damned grateful you have a job.”

One of my pal’s coworkers has a house facing foreclosure and another coworker has daily fencing matches on the telephone (at work) with a credit card company.  They have not been “irresponsible”.  Up until two years ago, they were just like everyone else.

The boss, who knows not the word “raise” and who eliminated holiday season bonuses without notice, is going to tour some of Africa on his upcoming vacation.


The end result of "Let 'em eat cake" philosophies

He circulated a sheet of paper to collect email addresses from his workers, “So I can send you pictures from our vacation.”

 But wait! There’s more!

Last month, the boss invited his workers to go out to the parking lot and “check out” his new car.


The elitism continues downtown

The battle against food carts in late-night Des Moines continues.

Food carts provide a portal for entrepreneurship in food service.  While the carts are not a grand investment on par with a brick-and-mortar restaurant, their (up to) $20,000 price tag for a mere pushcart is not mere falafel crumbs.

What does “Duh Moynes” do to encourage these entrepreneurs?

It forces them to move off (not merely stop serving food) promptly at 1:30am…when bar patrons begin pouring (literally) into the downtown streets.

Injustice rules long before closing time…

The bladders of patrons, full of beer consumed in the downtown bars, become the responsibility of food truck vendors who are required to provide toilet access within 500’ of their wheeled eatery!

The local police, anxious for a lighter workload, have labeled food carts and trucks “violence magnets” and the peacekeepers clamor for the carts to vanish.

It begs a question or two…

Why are the coppers tolerant of brick-and-mortar places that sell food after 1:30am?  Why doesn’t the city shut down all cafes and restaurants…why just the food carts?

Of course, the problem must be the carts…not the mass quantities of beer, well drinks, and drink specials consumed in downtown bars.

Des Moines doesn't bother with's more subtle.

If collections of people around carts (or anywhere) promote violence, why are people permitted to congregate by the thousands at the Iowa State Fair?  Why do the police tolerate I-Cubs games?

Left to the wisdom of police leaders, to prevent violence, Iowans will be allowed to sit quietly at home with their hands neatly folded in their laps.

It boggles the mind.

And that is why I am not only a Phyne Dyner…I am the Phyne Dyner!

Thanks for reading!







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