Nick Alberico

FRESH OUT THE DELI PODCAST: EPISODE 5, The N64/GameCube Draft

On Episode 5 (!) of the Fresh Out The Deli podcast, Nick Cicale (@nickcicale), Freeman (@JobSeekingNick) and Dylan Cicale (@dylanc97) draft their favorite N64 and GameCube games, including Super Smash Bros., F-Zero, and Mario Kart.

Happy Fourth of July everyone and thank you for listening! More podcasts to come this week, so be on the lookout!

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In Defense of Gaston

by Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

My college career has been a serious exercise in self-discovery. “What kind of man do I want to be?” I often find myself wondering. I look to the great men and women who have come before me for inspiration— Sun Tzu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Einstein, Bach, Martha Stewart—all people who have been enshrined in the pages of history for their contributions to society. One man, however, is consistently overlooked when history’s champions are discussed.

I am, of course, referring to Gaston. (more…)

WWE Fantasy Draft

by Fresh Out The Deli (@FreshOutTheD)

One week out from the 2016 Royal Rumble, we had our our first-annual WWE Fantasy League draft. Scoring is pretty simple; Superstars earn points each time they initially win a belt and every time they continue to hold the belt after a  Pay-Per-View (regardless of if they defend it or not).

  • 3 points for every World Heavyweight Championship
  • 2 points for every Intercontinental Championship, United States Championship, or Divas Championship
  • 1 point for every Tag Team Championship, or a win in a special event like the Royal Rumble, King Of The Ring, Money In The Bank, Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, etc.

Round 1

Brock Lesnar
b_lesnar

Dylan Cicale (@dylanc97): Brock Lesnar has been the most dominating superstar the WWE has seen in years. He rarely shows up to events, but we all know when he does, he won’t settle for just an ordinary fight. He wants the Heavyweight Championship.

Bray Wyatt
bray-wyatt-black-white-1412761531

Alex Perdomo (@TheAlexPerdomo): After seemingly taking the powers of the phenom himself in a bizarre ritual, it seems as if Wyatt and his family have become the spiritual successors to Kane and the Undertaker. With Undertaker possibly retiring this year, we can only hope that Wyatt will have a career half as illustrious. Even 50 percent of the Undertaker is still a great first round pick.

Roman Reigns
roman-reigns

Troy Provost-Heron (@Troy_Provost): The superstar-rebelling-against-authority storyline is a WWE classic. Roman Reigns has been a thorn in The Authority’s side for over a year and will continue to be one while competing for titles. This is as safe a pick as you can make.

Dean Ambrose
dean-ambrose-point-win-600x300

Bryan Cicale (@Bryanc94): With Roman off the board Dean seemed like a no-brainer. He’s one of the biggest superstars in WWE right now, and should be for a while.

Alberto Del Rio
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Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague): Clearly riding a push from the company, ADR is poised to be the WWE’s go-to heel while Seth Rollins is out with a knee injury.

Kevin Owens
kevin owens

Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale): Owens got a push right away when he debuted last summer and it wouldn’t make sense if the WWE didn’t continue to push him in 2016. With all the injuries around the top of the card and Owen’s popularity, he’ll have the shot at the World Heavyweight title at some point soon. (more…)

Staff Picks: Best Music of 2015

Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

Favorite Songs of 2015

  1. Alright – Kendrick Lamar
  2. Reality in Motion – Tame Impala
  3. The Less I Know The Better – Tame Impala
  4. The Blacker The Berry – Kendrick Lamar
  5. Butterfly – grimes
  6. Cry For You (RAK Version) – Hot Chip
  7. Depreston – Courtney Barnett
  8. Elevator Operator – Courtney Barnett
  9. What Do You Mean? – Justin Bieber
  10. Realiti – grimes

Favorite Albums of 2015

  1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

An eclectic album that utilizes many different musical elements, Kendrick Lamar has managed to put together the most engaging and substantive piece of work in recent memory.

Hip-hop’s new champion has demonstrated serious development from his last effort, good kid, M.A.A.D city. Artistically, Mr. Lamar has matured, opting for a less-accessible musical style that results in a more enticing product. While retaining much of the narrative elements of his previous LP, this time around they are significantly more ambiguous and feel less like a recount of events. (more…)

Drafting Star Wars

by Fresh Out The Deli (@FreshOutTheD)

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” being released worldwide Thursday night, Fresh Out The Deli decided to celebrate with a Star Wars draft: six participants, seven rounds, and no holds barred. Whether it’s your favorite character, a magnificent scene or quote that has stood the test of time, or something everyone loves to hate in the prequels, we drafted the things that we feel make the first six Star Wars movies great.

Round 1

R2-D2

R2D2

Nicholas Cicale (@nickcicale): A few of the times when, if R2-D2 didn’t exist, the galaxy would never have been saved:

– Fixes the Naboo cruiser
– Shuts off little Anakin’s auto pilot
– Saves Padma from being melted in the droid factory
– Kills the buzz droids on Anakin’s starship
– Carries the Death Star plans and Leia’s message
– Finds Old Ben
– Stops the trash compactor
– Opens the doors on Cloud City
– Fixes the hyperdrive on the Millennium Falcon
– Gives Luke his lightsaber on Jabba’s barge
– Cuts everyone out of the Ewok trap

Darth Vader

Darth Vader

Alex Perdomo (@TheAlexPerdomo): The American Film Institute ranked Darth Vader the third-greatest villain of all time. The entire saga is about his rise, fall and redemption. Without Vader, there is no Star Wars. From his chilling first appearance on Tantive IV, to his final whispered words “you were right,” Vader entertains, frightens and moves us through the story.

Wedge Antilles

Wedge Antillies

Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague): This ace pilot has the chops to serve as Red Leader in the assault on Death Star II, and is the epitome of first-round talent. With a rock steady temperament and commitment to service, Wedge is most certainly a substance-over-style character who can easily be built around.

Emperor Palpatine

palpaten

Dylan Cicale (@dylanc97): Who could possibly be better than the ultimate bad guy, the mastermind behind all things evil in the Star Wars Universe? Palpatine has the most on screen Jedi kills with 3, and he does this with ease.

Yoda (Puppet)

yoda puppet

Bryan Cicale (@Bryanc94): There’s nothing Yoda can’t do. He gets into fights with robots, and he can lift spaceships out of swamps, even at age 900.

Qui-Gon Jinn

qui gon jinn

Andre Canellas (@AndreCanellas): He’s the only thing keeping the first movie afloat, he’s Liam Neeson, and he’s the first person to back Anakin. (more…)

Becoming a Superfan: Introducing, the Bacon Boys

by Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

Meet Dwayne Bacon, the 6’7” athletic dynamo from Lakeland that became FSU’s first 5-star recruit since Micheal Snaer inexplicably committed to the school back in 2009. A McDonald’s All-American and the 2015 All-American Dunk Competition champion, Bacon led Oak Hill Academy to an unblemished 45-0 record his senior year with a mix of physical dominance, shooting prowess, and swagger. Bacon is the biggest thing to happen to FSU hoops since $1 Hot Dog Day was introduced a few years ago, and is clearly a man–and a name–to be celebrated.

Despite never having the opportunity to see him play in person, Mr. Bacon has the distinct honor of being my favorite player on the team. The freshmen brings a certain confidence and poise this year’s squad needs if it wants to go back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since FSU won the ACC Tournament in 2012.

(more…)

The Death of the Dollar Menu and the American Spirit

by Nick Alberico (@MeadowsLeague)

For years, I’ve been espousing the virtues of McDonald’s and a staple of its Dollar Menu, the McDouble. It, like most of the items on that list, costs only $1 dollar. Three of those, a complementary glass of water, some house buffalo, and you’ve got yourself a nutritious and inexpensive meal. Ever since the reintroduction of the McDouble back in 2008, prices have been rock-steady at just a buck a piece. A harmonious and synergistic relationship was established between customer and merchant, fostering feelings of goodwill and trust in both parties.

This fast-food détente has come to an abrupt close, however, and a new age has befallen upon us. Off in the distance, you see, a storm is gathering. Somewhere in an ivory tower in the heartland of the American Midwest, Ronald McDonald is leaning back in a big leather office chair, one leg folded over his knee, grinning smugly. Blind to everything the McDouble represents, he has succeeded in changing the price of the sandwich from a very reasonable and evenhanded $1, to an offensive $1.19.

The move is clearly communicating two things. First: Mr. McDonald, Birdie, Grimace, and the rest of the boardroom have declined to continue a storied tradition that represented more than the value of a good. It represented the ideals of an entire nation. Second: Mr. McDonald is not fit to run a bath, let alone one of the largest corporations on the planet.

As a result, McDonald’s has no choice but to abandon the titular “Dollar Menu” listing, opting to tack on the clunky-sounding “Dollar Menu and More”. Doesn’t that just roll off the tongue? When the menu featured items that cost just a dollar, options were neat, concise, regimented. Now, just like the stomachs of those who once frequently enjoyed the simple satisfaction that came with a buck, the menu has bloated to a cumbersome 20 choices, with half costing over a dollar.

Some McDonald’s franchises are now charging $1.19 for the McChicken, another staple of the now-deceased Dollar Menu, which begs the question: in the very realistic scenario where prices creep up even further and nothing on the menu costs a dollar or less, what will it be called then? “Menu and More?” More likely, they’ll to resort to the painfully redundant “Value Menu”, in which Mr. McDonald feels obligated to explain that the foods listed have value to us. Do foods outside of this menu not share this trait? I consider the phrase “Value Menu” an insult to the intelligence of every customer who orders from it.

Other institutions dear to my heart have followed suit. Waffle House’s grilled egg and cheese biscuit, much like the McDouble, was just a dollar only a few weeks ago. There is something special about paying just dollar for the egg and cheese biscuit. Here’s this savory treat with eggs prepared to order, and you can pay for it with just the coins in your car’s ashtray. I can’t help but flash a smile every time I get one. It’s one of those few precious moments experienced throughout a day where I feel like I’m coming out on top, like I just caught a break.

When I stopped by last Sunday, however, I was floored when I got my check. My eyes began to well with tears as my vision darted across the bill, frantically reading the price of the egg biscuit again and again: $1.89. An 89% price increase. I stood up, ambled to the counter, and paid my check. When I got home I went up to my room and locked the door. Sitting at the foot of my bed, I coldly stared at the wall for what must have been two hours.

Joy is fleeting. Things taken for granted, however, will haunt you to your dying day.

Even Chipotle, the darling of millennials like myself, is capable of wrongdoing. In the employee handbook, it states quite clearly that double meat is a modest upcharge, around $2.75, depending on what meat you add. For a growing boy like me, double meat is essential. Employees recognized this, and would often let a double meat upcharge go off the books, recognizing that the positive effects of feeding a productive and industrious member of society vastly outweighed $3 dollars. This saintly practice has gone the way side, another casualty of corporate greed. Like the cheery neighborhood cop or the nurturing mother letting pies cool on the kitchen windowsill, free double meat is just a fond memory now, another page in the American zeitgeist.

Nowadays, I will occasionally reach into my wallet and pull out a dollar bill. I’ll look into George Washington’s eyes. I stare deeply, intently. His image brings an empty, cheap feeling, a reminder of how him and I once had something special, something beautiful. The whole experience is like looking at old pictures of myself with an ex-girlfriend where we were both happy, baking something together or at some party. My gaze moves down to his bulbous nose, his thin lips. His contented look brought comfort to a younger, more naïve version of myself. Now, however, I know just how cruel of a place the world is, with no room or regard for the youthful wonder the McDouble once inspired.

The Dollar Menu is dead. Bury it next to George Washington and the American Spirit.