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Are You Being Served?

June 8, 2016

Today’s originally scheduled post is being preempted to bring you a special report.

Actually, I wasn’t entirely sure which post you would be getting today anyhow. It may have been about another ridiculous day of eating, even while I still contend I’m on a diet (which is going just fine, thankyouverymuch). It could have also just have easily been about the first CSA delivery of the season (so excited to have seasonal slaw and pesto in my future). But I might have chosen to plug the upcoming Sip for TRIP benefit on Thursday that Yelp is sponsoring (hope to see you there).

Instead, I’ve decided to honor a reader request from the comments section yesterday. The note came in response to a critique from Steve Barnes. Apparently Steve felt like I was doing my readers a disservice, so I’ll also take a moment to address that too. But I could not ignore the plea of WCF who wrote:

I really wish you or Steve would clear the air regarding what happened to your relationship. As i remember Steve even had your Blog on his list before it was removed.
You and Steve are very important members of the local food scene and this falling out is confusing to the rest of us without some facts or context. Unless of course its too personal which would be understandable.

I’m happy to lay my cards on the table.

First, know this. I have no beef with Steve Barnes. None. Zero. Sure, that wasn’t always the case. When I first moved to the Capital Region, his blog seemed like the best place to air my grievances on the food scene in the area. And at the time, I felt like he bore some of the responsibility for the local state of affairs by propping up the status quo.

But that was years ago. Since then, I’ve come to learn a lot more of the complexities about the history of food and culture in the region. And I also recognize that the Table Hopping Blog serves an important function within the community.

I’m glad he does it. I wouldn’t want to do it. I’m quite pleased with what I’m doing, which is decidedly different.

Steve and I seem to approach food blogging from different angles. I think his blog would be better if he were more like me. I get the sense that Steve thinks my blog would be better if I were more like him. He’s a reporter, a journalist. And that provides him with a certain perspective and code of ethics. I’m a commentator, and proud of it. I have strong opinions and I want to convince more people to see things the way I see them.

Do I have ethics that guide my behavior? You bet.
Are they the same as a journalist’s? No, they are not.

Mostly because I’ve never worked as a journalist, I’ve never studied journalism, and I’m not aspiring to be a journalist.

But I pride myself on my transparency, integrity, and consistency. Which isn’t to say I can’t grow and be convinced to see things another way. I’ve definitely grown and matured over the years. Hopefully, you can see that for yourself in the pages of this blog. And presumably, if I were lacking these critical qualities, the FLB would fail at its mission of attempting to improve the food culture of the Capital Region.

Hey…weren’t you going to talk about the falling out with Steve?

I’m getting there, because it deals with journalistic ethics. If memory serves I think our rift had something to do with when it’s okay to quote someone and when it’s not. It was all a long time ago. But I do remember consulting some journalist friends, and coming to realize I was wrong. So I apologized, and did my best to make amends.

And then “lettucegate” happened, which to this day is one of the weirdest scuffles I’ve ever experienced. Did I go too far? Perhaps. But I do recall after the dust had cleared, that I tried to smooth things over the best I could.

Maybe it was too little too late. Maybe it was unforgivable after my earlier transgression. Who knows. Maybe Steve isn’t upset with me and just hasn’t gotten around to putting me back on his blogroll. I really don’t give it much thought.

Anyhow, that’s where we are. Frankly, I’m amazed that anybody cares.

We should recall for just a moment how the FUSSYlittleBLOG came into existence. This is a mental sanity project for me. Period. It was literally the direct outcome of my psychotherapy sessions to battle a nasty bout of depression.

All the writing happens late at night. I often don’t start typing until midnight. I write almost every post just hours before it goes live. Sure there are rare exceptions, but they are few and far between. Since I write blurry-eyed and half-exhausted, Mrs. Fussy in her infinite generosity reads the posts every morning, fixes the commas, and lets me know if it makes any sense at all.

Usually it does. Sometimes it doesn’t. Some nights I fall asleep at my keyboard while I’m writing.

On those days when the internal logic of the posts trails off, I’ll tighten it up early in the morning while eating my granola and yogurt. There really isn’t time to send people emails and wait for a response to get a quote.

I try to focus on ideas anyway.

Sure, at the surface level, yesterday’s post could have been seen as a case for a business to change its model. But the idea is that there is another way. The idea is to show consumers what they are getting under the current model. The idea is to demonstrate that other businesses have in-house whole animal butchers. The idea is to reveal how an owner’s passions and actions can come into conflict.

The FLB is an open forum. And whenever I mention a business, I make sure to alert them via social media. If they want to respond, I’m happy to share their side of the story. But I don’t think the readers of this blog need that information to get value from the posts.

If one person gleans any value from any of my posts, I’d say that was a good day.

Hopefully all of this helps to put everything in context. I don’t want to be in a feud with anyone. I’m a nice guy. I just care deeply about stupid things, for which I’d be willing to fall on a sword. Like the wrongness of blue cheese stuffed olives in a martini. I’ll deal with that one later.

And in the meantime, just so nobody thinks I’m holding a grudge, I’ll put up links to both the Table Hopping blog and the Times Union beer blog, the latter of which I have been mysteriously prohibited from contributing. Presumably, that’s another story, but I don’t have the time to have that conversation either.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. WCF permalink
    June 8, 2016 10:18 am

    Thanks for the information, it certainly cleared up the mystery.
    I still hope with the passage of time you and Steve can patch up your disagreements as you both clearly love and are invested in the local food/restaurant scene.

    Hope springs eternal !!!

  2. June 8, 2016 11:22 am

    The fact that our crown jewel is a throwback steakhouse and that Steve felt the need to defend it highlights how far behind the regions food scene really is.

  3. June 8, 2016 12:36 pm

    Inside baseball indeed. Tragically, I recently visited La Mexicana for the first time and forgot to note whether there was lettuce on the tacos. I will stipulate there was and was not.

  4. June 8, 2016 5:30 pm

    Really – we love it when you tussle!

    There’s nothing like a little bitch slap now and then to liven up the place.

  5. Billy permalink
    June 8, 2016 6:03 pm


    You don’t need to defend yourself. Your post was reasonable and well considered.

    Mr. Barnes is a fan of 677 Prime (it’s my understanding he visits there at least on occasion if not regularly) and he was obviously perturbed that you slighted them. His bias is palpable.

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