Metatalktail Hour: Overlooked! Underappreciated! July 25, 2021 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Happy Olympics weekend, MetaFilter! This week, I'd like to know not your favorite thing, but a thing you like or love that you think is wildly underappreciated or overlooked and more people should know about it and enjoy it! Books, food, movies, sports, dog breeds -- anything you think the rest of the world would enjoy if only they knew about it!

Also you should tell me your favorite random Olympic sport to watch and why. I like rowing, I find it very calming, like little waterbugs skating down the river in a rhythmic fashion.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 9:50 AM (99 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

if you can find it where you are, I am currently eating some Redhill Farms Goat Yogurt (plain, its already so good!!) with some homemade blackberry syrup on it. you guys!!!! its SO good.

don't tend to watch the 'lympics much, but traditionally have really enjoyed the women's gymnastics, swimming...
posted by supermedusa at 9:59 AM on July 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

There is a refreshing green tea with jasmine drink called "Heaven & Earth" which I LOVE both for the flavor but also for the nostalgic memories associated of a hard day's work at the shipyard in Singapore when travelling for work and then relaxing in arguably the greatest food courts in the world.

Coca-cola, in their infinite wisdom, has only made this drink available in either Singapore or Malaysia (as far as I know and have tried to hunt down since I live in Denmark), but, for those interested I have gotten close to a home-made version:

15 gr. sencha green tea leaves
1 liter cold filtered water
1 tablespoon Monin jasmine syrup
0.5 tablespoon simple syrup

Step 1. Mix the green tea leaves and water in a closed container and let then cold-brew in your refrigerator for approx. 4-5 hours
Step 2. Filter the leaves and transfer the cold brewed tea to another container (you should have made enough here for about 3-4 glasses)
Step 3. Fill a glass halfway with the cold brew and add the jasmine syrup and simple syrup. Mix and enjoy!
posted by alchemist at 10:17 AM on July 25, 2021 [8 favorites]

The B-Sides is a podcast/newsletter/Instagram account/Facebook group/zine (I contributed art to the second issue!) for progressives who love pop. It was created to celebrate the underappreciated in pop music while educating about relevant political issues.

They have great episodes about #freebritney and Girl Boss culture and the American national anthem (there's my Olympics tie-in) and music conspiracy theories and so much more! They are very knowledgeable and earnest, and their enthusiasm for pop music is contagious! All the old newsletters are in the archive and are great reads and each one comes with a playlist!

If anyone follows the genius @savedbythebellhooks Insta, that is created by one of the hosts of the show. Highly recommend this as well.

posted by danabanana at 10:26 AM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by aniola at 10:31 AM on July 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

I think my society is built around things that don't smell right, and that this is part of why scent is downplayed.
posted by aniola at 10:33 AM on July 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

One of my favorite smells (since moving back) that California has that Portland has not so much is jasmine.
posted by aniola at 10:35 AM on July 25, 2021 [7 favorites]

I like rowing too! It IS calming, yet also stressful, to watch. I like rowing for physical fitness as well.
posted by erattacorrige at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2021

Having a hard time getting into the olympics for probably obvious reasons, but i've been low-key looking forward to seeing rugby sevens again. Last olympics I discovered and described it as the result of "hockey and soccer having a baby that spent its life growing up with a football cousin".
posted by cgg at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

During the 2004 Olympics I nursed a terrible hangover by watching the marathon. Highly recommended hangover viewing.

Boysenberry is an underrated berry flavor.
posted by HeroZero at 12:55 PM on July 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

I loved the old smell of Elastoplast sticking plasters, but they have stopped them smelling now.

I'm all about the cycling at the Olympics. Looking forward to the velodrome.
posted by biffa at 12:56 PM on July 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

I like the men's gymnastics better than the women's, and I love the swimming and the track and field finals.

But I think about what a wonderful place London was in 2012 when we hosted the Olympics and Paralympics. On my way to work I had to change trains in Stratford (where the Olympic stadium is) and everyone was so upbeat and happy. We embraced the world, and I felt optimistic about our future. Now, nine years on, it's totally different. Brexit has given racists carte blanche to be very public about their vile opinions. The Government has deliberately promoted policies that create division and inequality. The untouchable corruption and incompetence of our so-called leadership is staggering.

I wasn't born in the UK, and I still hold dual citizenship with my home country. I'll be cheering for their athletes in the Olympics.
posted by essexjan at 1:04 PM on July 25, 2021 [12 favorites]

Amazon Prime has some awesome shows that seem to have been completely ignored by everybody. I'm thinking of Patriot and Too Old to Die Young specifically, but there are probably others. (I am not a shill.)
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:07 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think FanFare is tragically overlooked, underused, and underappreciated.
posted by chavenet at 1:19 PM on July 25, 2021 [25 favorites]

a thing you like or love that you think is wildly underappreciated or overlooked

My Metafilter comments! :D
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:23 PM on July 25, 2021 [21 favorites]

Podcasts (I think all discovered via Metafilter):
Finish It!
The Constant
Rachel Watches Star Trek

Bachata dance - Such an approachable and fun partner dance. In my experience much easier to get into and just have fun than more well known dances such as salsa or swing.

Calling it a Creemee instead of Soft Serve, and always ordering the maple, or the raspberry maple twist.
posted by meinvt at 1:42 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Too Old to Die Young

I was really looking forward to this as a fan of both Winding Refn and Ed Brubaker but I thought the first episode was just terrible and couldn't face watching any more. Just nothing about it appealed, and Baldwin particularly put me off. Does it get better?
posted by biffa at 2:12 PM on July 25, 2021

I could list a lot of delightful children's books that are undeservedly out of print, but I'll just stick with one - The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes. It's about two kids whose mother has never let them have a Christmas tree, although they desperately want one. The interesting thing about it is that none of the happy endings you might be imagining actually come to pass. At the end, the kids still don't have a Christmas tree and they still want one. They never find out why their mother is so against it and she never understands how important it is to them. But it's not a depressing book. It's about a family of good people who all love each other and are basically happy and they do manage to hit on a compromise everyone can live with.
posted by Redstart at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Too Old to Die Young
Does it get better?

If you didn't like the first episode, probably not. But I thought it started out really good and got even better, so in a sense, yes.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:39 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Late 60's British Jazz, especially this album, and this one.
posted by Chairboy at 3:41 PM on July 25, 2021 [6 favorites]

Yeah, yeah, WD-40 is great for unstucking things. Everyone knows that. But it's also a superb degreaser for cleaning things that have heavy oil or greases all over them, and stinks far less than kerosene.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:34 PM on July 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

Caspar Babypants! He makes great music, ostensibly for kids.

Spider John

Mary and her Friends


Dark of Night

Disco Hippo
posted by Tehhund at 5:36 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh my Lord, I walk around singing Caspar Babypants songs to myself allllllll the time. "Baby getting up ... baby getting down down!" is a particular fave in our house.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 5:57 PM on July 25, 2021

Alabama style bbq sauce. It honestly seems like a terrible concept, a mayonnaise based bbq sauce, and yeah, it’s got very limited applications (I wouldn’t use it on anything but chicken), but it’s fantastic:

2 parts mayo, 1 part apple cider vinegar, a smidge of lemon juice, a dollop of hot sauce, a heaping spoon or two of brown sugar, some black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, and salt. Mix vigorously.

Grill or smoke some chicken, but either way, make sure you have a hot zone on the grill. When the chicken is cooked through, dunk it in the bbq sauce (I usually just mix the sauce in a deep Tupperware container) and put the chicken pieces over the high heat. You’ll get a mess of flare ups, but the mayo will brown nicely, and add that rich/tangy edge to it. It’s especially good if you used a good spicy rub on the chicken, as it will compliment/tame the heat just a bit.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:01 PM on July 25, 2021 [19 favorites]

I mention this so often that people probably think that my uncle made it or something, but no, I just really love it: They Look Like People. I don’t think a week has gone by since I’ve seen it that I haven’t thought of it at least once. I was so sad that I couldn’t find it on DVD that I finally broke down and begged one of the actors on Twitter if he could send me one, and he very graciously did. So I think I have one of the few extant DVD copies and I’m probably going to put it in a safe deposit box or something.
posted by holborne at 6:36 PM on July 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

I honestly and unironically love Haircut 100, an 80s band that seems to fall off most people's radar. Of course, there's always XTC as well, but I know they've at least got a bit of a following.
posted by mollweide at 6:39 PM on July 25, 2021 [14 favorites]

So... I think the Olympics are overlooked and underappreciated. That seems like a hard case to make today, but wait six months and then mention the name "Allyson Felix" and watch everyone try to pretend they remember who that is. Nobody pays attention to Olympic sports except during the actual Olympics. Even during the Olympics, the competitions themselves are often seen as comic relief. OMG Olympic ping pong?! Yes, try playing high-level table tennis sometime; you won't be laughing long. Every mention of the word "luge" prompts laughter.

I've come to the realization recently that I really, really, really like obscure sports and leagues, and I kind of always have. My dad came to visit a few weeks ago, and he brought with him his archive of my doodlings. Pretty much any piece of paper I'd ever taken a pen to at his house between 1987 (when my parents got divorced) and 1997 (when I got my driver's license and pretty much stopped spending time at his house). One thing that immediately became apparent is that I spent a lot of time thinking about non-mainstream sports: minor league baseball and hockey, pro roller hockey, non-NFL pro football, non-revenue college sports, the Olympics. I can see that a lot of it had to do with where and when I grew up: central Ohio didn't have any pro sports teams, but it was one of the great minor league cities in the country. I was right in between the Columbus Chill and the Dayton Bombers of the ECHL, so I could see minor league hockey pretty much whenever I wanted. We had a team in the World League of American Football (before it became NFL Europe) and the Continental Basketball Association, and of course the Clippers (still one of the best franchises in Minor League Baseball) and OSU (one of the biggest college athletic departments in the country). We had a pro soccer team called the Xoggz at one point. (MLS haters, think about that before you say that the name "Columbus Crew" is silly.) One of my mom's friends was a high school basketball coach, so I cared a lot more about high school basketball teams other than my own than anyone I knew, and my town had a Division III college, so I cared a lot about Division III football just because I could follow it in the newspaper. We got good coverage of the Reds, and the Reds were still good at that time, so I was a Reds fan, and I had a Bengals shirt, but other than that, the Big Four leagues weren't really my thing. Even when I got super into hockey, it was before the NHL had a national TV deal, so a lot of "being super into hockey" was watching random broadcasts of Fort Wayne Komets games on public access, because why wouldn't Fort Wayne Komets games be on public access in central Ohio? Seeing hockey on TV was so rare, even after the NHL-ESPN deal, that I couldn't really be picky. I just watched whoever was on that week. Even today, I don't have a favorite team in the NFL, NBA, or NHL. I follow the Reds, but not fanatically. But like, I'll get REALLY into women's college volleyball, or Super Rugby, or the cycling Spring Classics. That sort of thing is a lot more interesting to me than even a killer NBA matchup. And my dad's archive made me realize that I've always been that way.

The other highlight of the archive was a song I wrote when I was 16, set to the tune of "Bingo Was His Name-O":

There was a person
Who was smart
And Kevin was his name-o
And Kevin was his name-o!

The second verse just repeated "blah blah blah" like twenty times. This was a thought that 1996 Me found so compelling that I had to write it down. The past is a foreign country...
posted by kevinbelt at 6:40 PM on July 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Olympics-wise I like women's diving (individual and synchronized). Mostly... from being a diver in high school and lifeguard at university watching other divers. I'm actually halfway decent at judging. I should like fencing, but it goes too fast for my poor eyes, or maybe the frame-rate of TV just isn't enough. Sigh.

Grand Sumo. At least pre-pandemic and when there are some good yokozuna. It's fun to watch.

Formula 1. When I was in sixth/seventh/eighth grade-ish, my dad and some of his work friends had a side business... a go-kart track. They originally wanted to build a F1 circuit all left/right/hairpin/real-racing track on what used to be an old WWII airport/ammo-dump... the city wouldn't let them so they went across town and build a smaller more oval Nascar (barf) like track. But anyways I raced go-karts a good bit, some even had motorcycle engines and gears.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:41 PM on July 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by aniola at 6:43 PM on July 25, 2021 [9 favorites]

I loved and knew few people who saw the series (starring Bruce Campbell) The Adventures of Bristol County, Jr. It was witty, fast-moving, inventive, and wildly under-appreciated. I’d love if Netflix would re air it, it only ran 23 episodes.
posted by dbmcd at 7:50 PM on July 25, 2021 [14 favorites]

Jasper, the bestest cat I ever lived with, really enjoyed the winter Olympic skiing events. On downhill I would stand him on his back legs and bend him through the turns. On ski jumping I would hoist him in the air. He didn't enjoy mogul though, too bumpy. Whenever he saw me watching skiing he always jumped in my lap to ski along. All the other cats are indifferent to the Olympics.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2021 [36 favorites]

dbmcd, surely you mean Brisco County Jr!

I loved that show. It was so delightfully earnest and fun.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:08 PM on July 25, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'd like to submit Nitte Valo as the most underappreciated metal vocalist. She was the vocalist for the first album of a Finnish band called Battle Beast that I can only describe as more '80's than the '80's. And the music is just fun, partly because of her singing, she can belt out songs and hold a wail like nothing else!

Why I call her underappreciated is after that album, I can find, all of a single EP that comes close to really showcasing her singing well. The band she signed onto next, Burning Point, is lackluster to say the least, and doesn't really make use of what she can do. Which is sad, I want to hear more music from her that actually fits her high energy style.

For TTRPG actual play podcasts, I'd like to put Six Feats Under's To Winter's End campaign out there. It uses a game system called Fellowship that is a lot more collaborative storytelling and world building focused. The people involved are a very sweet and queer/trans friendly bunch and they create a very unique world and engaging story that's very much a joy to experience.

Their main gig is an ongoing and by now quite epic Mouse Guard campaign which is absolutely adorable, but that's a hill I haven't quite been able to climb and haven't got much past the second (literal) season.
posted by Zalzidrax at 9:17 PM on July 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Holding a happy, relaxed rat in your hand. So soft! So cuddly! Such tiny hands gripping your finger. Such small vibrations of happy tooth grinding.

Also, seconding libraries.
posted by Zumbador at 9:39 PM on July 25, 2021 [12 favorites]

Robot & Frank is a charming movie about a retired man living alone. Set in the near future, a robot helper is foisted upon him by his adult children. Frank rejects the robot as a patronizing nanny—a reminder that his children and society at large view him as incompetent. Frank decides to use the robot, along with skills from his pre-retirement days, to teach everyone a lesson.
posted by Monochrome at 9:45 PM on July 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

adopting old pets
posted by aniola at 10:41 PM on July 25, 2021 [14 favorites]

Celeriac/celery root. It's really popular in some parts of the world, virtually unknown in others. In Luxembourg we got it for one euro per kilo, in New Zealand it was $9/kilo. Didn't see it at all in Western Australia, and finding it in the US has been hit or miss. It's great roasted with other vegetables, so tasty when it gets caramelized! Also good in soups, either in chunks or pureed.

Another thing I adore is this cheap Stanley mitre saw I got a decade ago. It's a tool that has no business in a Serious Woodshop, but as an apartment dweller who needed to make some angled cuts in pine 1x2s for shelves and such, it was a reasonable purchase. It has had a much longer and more productive life than a tool that cheap should ever be expected to have. I keep it clean, I change the blade when needed and I don't exceed its capacity, and in return it's given me dependable service and accurate cuts, and it's always a pleasure to use. It's enabled me to do projects I might not have attempted if I didn't have it.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:48 PM on July 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

Oreo by Fran Ross
posted by thivaia at 5:05 AM on July 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

A couple of plants in my free garden are overlooked. I am certain they would be loved by (mostly) everyone if only people tried them. There's a lovely licorice/basil tasting purple fancy thing called shiso that is wonderful in a salad. Also I am thinking of putting a sign (ex: PLEASE EAT ME I SWEAR I'M SUPER TASTY) near the Aunt Molly's ground cherry that is just beginning to fruit in the hopes that people will actually try some of the magical fruit.

I also have so much love for overlooked/underappreciated flowers that other people consider weeds. Last year I developed a love affair with white snakeroot. I also highly recommend getting to know the lovely yellow toadflax AKA butter-and-eggs. Both of these plants have bad reps but they are both actually very useful for traditional medicine and the pollinators love them as much as I do.

As far as Olympic sports go, curling! It's mesmerizing. I love the contrast of the grace and slowness of the throwers with the frenzied moves of the sweepers. But really my favorite part is all the yelling.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:09 AM on July 26, 2021 [8 favorites]

I think the movie Oscar is an incredibly underrated screwball comedy with a terrific ensemble cast.
posted by jedicus at 6:15 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Omg yes ground cherries. Every time I get some at the farmers market I give away a significant portion because I want people to know how amazing they are.
posted by obfuscation at 6:28 AM on July 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

The old radio show Vic & Sade, which is one of the most hilarious things I've ever run across. My favorite episode.

Regarding the Olympics, my favorite events are the standard "popular" ones -- Gymnastics, Swimming/Diving, and Track & Field. But I've felt uncomfortable watching this year. I really don't think they should have been held, and I suspect that they are only being held to satisfy corporate interests. So I am watching reruns of the Rio and London Olympics instead. Here's Sanne Wevers winning the balance beam!!
posted by JanetLand at 7:20 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have not watched the Olympics since they let the Russian basketball team steal the gold medal in 1972.

As for underappreciated, I make the argument that time is underappreciated. TIme should be a function of almost every decision we make, yet it is rarely considered. People often think, "Eh, that will take 3 years to accomplish" and do not appreciate that 3 years is not that long. Or they say, "I am not doing that for my collegue. They should do it themselves, it is their job" when to do it would only take a half an hour, the same half an hour they spend fighting the idea. Even saving for retirement is put off because it is "so far away". As someone near 60, I can tell you that time flies, time does heal most wounds, and time is an overlooked asset.
posted by AugustWest at 7:37 AM on July 26, 2021 [8 favorites]

Wineberries! Originally from Asia, now widespread in parts of the US. In my opinion, they are the best of all raspberries and a top contender for best of all berries or even best of all fruits. (I like my fruits on the tart side. If you don't, you might feel differently.) They don't grow where I live but when I visit family further south and go wineberry picking I'm always surprised by how little competition I have. They're better and fresher than any of the expensive berries in the grocery store, available for free, and yet most people ignore them.
posted by Redstart at 7:37 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Crome Yellow is the book I recommend most often.

It's short and full of biting sarcasm, set basically at Downton Abbey, and is just vignette after entertaining vignette of the lives of these self absorbed rich folks. To me it's just the perfect book for every situation. Need a light, summer read? I got you. Need a good laugh? I got you. Need to feel a bit broody and maudlin? I got you. Need some good chewy prose? I got you. Need to indulge in taking some snooty, snotty folks down a peg? I got you.

And best of all it has entered the public domain.
posted by phunniemee at 7:40 AM on July 26, 2021 [10 favorites]

mollweide, the opening bars of "Love Plus One" are so joyous - that marimba, and then the saxophone coming in with that great melody. How can anyone NOT love that!
posted by essexjan at 8:43 AM on July 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

First, this is a fantastic question.

Second, I propose Steve Reich's Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards as his most underrated piece. You can find it on YouTube. (I have probably mentioned it on Metafilter already ten times.)
posted by wittgenstein at 9:26 AM on July 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

> soil

I used to work at an company that shipped out plants, seeds, rhizomes, and the like. Our warehouse had the most incredible smell of rich soil. I miss that.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:23 AM on July 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

street trees that produce food
harvesting, processing
posted by aniola at 10:26 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

On scents... I was in a rural area recently, and just before we walked outside, my husband warned me that it smelled like cow sh!t outside. After I got out, I realized that I really didn't mind that earthy musk. It reminded me of my days hanging out petting cows in the south farms at the U. of Illinois.
posted by hydra77 at 10:34 AM on July 26, 2021 [4 favorites]

street trees that produce food
My youngest SIL recently returned from Singapore after 20 years as "VP AsiaPac". Shortly after arrival in the East, she rented a spacious apartment : she and her bloke could pluck mangos for breakfast from a tree which grew close enough to their balcony. One day two teenage children of a colleague were visiting and SIL was going on [and on] about this miracle. With great politeness the youngsters said enough with the mangoes already, can please use the swimming pool?.
It doesn't have to be trees, though. The last Sunday in July is Fraochán Sunday here in Ireland. Traditionally, before vitamin C came in a bottle, the whole family would decamp to the hills to pick Vaccinium myrtillus blueberry/bilberry Fraocháns. Yesterday, I dragged our lunch-guest up the hill to smell the heather and scarf a handful of free food as an appetizer.
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:09 AM on July 26, 2021 [5 favorites]

Eleanor Estes

Who also wrote one of my favorite children's books, the absolutely devastating The Hundred Dresses. She was way out in front on the psychology of bullying, and not in the crudely judgmental way.

On scents... I was in a rural area recently, and just before we walked outside, my husband warned me that it smelled like cow sh!t outside.

On a similar note, I like the smell of lanolin, right off the yarn.
posted by praemunire at 11:12 AM on July 26, 2021 [7 favorites]

T. Kingfisher's lighter stuff, like A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking or her "I sketched out this plot while playing D&D" books like Clockwork Boys and Swordheart.

Also seconding:
Brisco County Jr. (I paid $20 for a streaming option during my Covid lockdown, and while parts are dated, the Mae West inspired Dixie Cousins banter on its own was worth the money.)
Rachel Watches Star Trek. I'm not a huge TNG fan so I was ignoring it for a while but just this weekend binged on all their Discovery content. I love Rachel's not-an-SF fan appreciation of the shows.
posted by mark k at 11:59 AM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Japanese acerola juice. Not too sour, not too sweet, super refreshing in the heat.
posted by V'Ger at 1:44 PM on July 26, 2021

Distinguishing between things that nobody else likes because I'm a weirdo and things nobody else likes because they haven't noticed them is a challenge.

Edible wild plants is high on my list. I'm definitely no expert and have never been brave enough to try picking mushrooms. But, the really common edible plants seem easy to recognize and overlooked. I had a group of friends freak out because I casually threw a couple of pink peppercorns into my mouth on a trail in a foreign country, as though anybody could mistake them for something poisonous. (I gather they are poisonous to a small subset of people with allergies.) I think of that as just what you do when you happen to pause under a pepper tree. Same with mustard, mallow, several of the more obvious berries.

I'm tempted to suggest graveyards, as places to visit recreationally. But, perhaps that's not actually overlooked so much as avoided. They're so much nicer and more interesting than parks. And they often have more wildlife and shade too. Knowing local customs is important, but I'll take a graveyard over a monument any day.

When I encounter the Olympics, I pretty much only pay attention to the bits that seem more like really challenging dance: various kinds of skating, gymnastics, diving, etc. Some of the going-really-fast sports look like they'd be a lot of fun to do. I lack whatever impulse it is that makes it fun to watch. Cheers to those who love them, though.
posted by eotvos at 2:15 PM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by clew at 3:02 PM on July 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Random book: Spares

I got it in the Bargain Bin area. No more than $5 back in the late 90s.

Fish Spatula. A serviceable one can be had for $5 in this day and age. I use them so often, it took me 2 days to even think to suggest them.

Olympics? I'll go with curling, but we all know that and it's not the season.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 3:42 PM on July 26, 2021

Amon Tobin, under his own name, as Cujo and as Two Fingers.

Good, reliable, 'plan your journey and don't worry about it' public transport. I moved out of dense London a good number of years ago and I still miss dense, regular and reliable buses and/or metro rail network. I really hate driving to work, and I loved being in the office when we had offices.

And one more thing! The hubbub of an office and being part of something bigger -- especially working in software where the best teams are sociable humans and all the remote tools in the world don't beat being co-located with the people you need to work directly with.
posted by k3ninho at 4:08 PM on July 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Don't know if it's underappreciated, but Becky Chambers (of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet fame) has a new book, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, about a tea-selling non-binary monk who grew up on a post-automation moon making friends with an inquisitive robot, which is the literary equivalent of sharing a really great cup of tea with your oldest friend in the world and just talking about life, or not talking, just sipping your tea and enjoying each other's company.
It's also the first of a series, so more joy to come.
posted by signal at 4:47 PM on July 26, 2021 [6 favorites]

Salmonberry flowers and golden salmonberries
posted by aniola at 7:42 PM on July 26, 2021 [2 favorites]


Eastern European Death Metal Polka Bands!
posted by sammyo at 8:26 PM on July 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

Don't know if it's underappreciated, but Becky Chambers (of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet fame) has a new book,

Oh wow thanks for the heads-up, signal! This is exactly what I need right now.
posted by Zumbador at 8:52 PM on July 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Many fruits and vegetables are wildly underappreciated or even unknown. It always amazes me that people are missing out on things like:

Sweet Limes. The best ones are like lemonade made into a fruit. Just peel and eat.

Hawthorn berries and their unique and wonderful tartness and flavor. A little but of honey cuts the tartness and makes for a rich treat.

Cacao Pulp. This is the other part of the chocolate pod. It has the texture of cotton candy. You pull on it and eat it and it has this great sweet and tropical taste unlike anything else.

Fresh Chickpeas. Most people have only had dried chickpeas and this, to me, removes a lot of the original flavor. Fresh chickpeas are incredible, steamed with a bit of salt. Far superior to edamame.

I could go on and on. But there are worlds of natural, undiscovered flavor out there.
posted by vacapinta at 1:48 AM on July 27, 2021 [9 favorites]

Elderflower syrup is woefully underapprecaited in the US. So is lychee flavored green tea. I also adore Tulsi sweet rose tea by organic India which is a specific tea but I adore it.

That is more than one favorite thing, but all are worth sharing imho.

I tried to introduce my now three year old to Olympics gymnastics and she was so utterly unimpressed I gave up and moved on to other things. Haven't found a sport she likes yet.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:41 AM on July 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

AlexiaSky, my mom was like "do you want to do martial arts?" and I was like "no."

My mom was like, "hey will you go to this martial arts class for a day and see how you like it?" and I was like "yes" and I loved it.
posted by aniola at 9:11 AM on July 27, 2021

Swearing in Canadian French. Very deeply satisfying on a primal level.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:57 AM on July 27, 2021 [5 favorites]

I wish I could swear in 4-part harmony, Canadian French or otherwise!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:36 AM on July 27, 2021

My hummingbird friend.
posted by y2karl at 11:55 AM on July 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

There's a lovely licorice/basil tasting purple fancy thing called shiso that is wonderful in a salad.

You should give green shiso a try. It isn't as strong tasting as the red which makes it more versatile. Just make sure you get actual shiso because sesame leaves/the perilla used in Korean cooking look very similar but don't taste the same at all.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I loved the recent Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance TV series and am still feeling terribly sad we didn't get a second season to resolve things.

I love beech trees. People overlook them because they don't flower, and they're not as iconic as oaks or lindens or pines, but I love their silvery bark and the way the light filters through their thin green leaves. In autumn, they're not as dramatic as maples but they turn a pleasant golden yellow. (I think they were the inspiration for Tolkien's mallorn trees in Lòrien.)

I love the scent of a lavender bush after rain.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:06 PM on July 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

I also came here to appreciate foraging berries and plants. There seems to be a lot of appreciation for this from lots of people. I also like trying random wild apples, there's some really intense flavors out there.

I was actually thinking about going berry picking today and taking a break from work because it's been a while.

I really appreciate my bicycle. In particular there's a thing, well two things, that happens some times when I go ride.

The first one that most people probably know is how it often feels like flying or soaring.

But there's one sensation I really enjoy and that's when my bike feels dialed in and sure-footed. It feels... catlike? Like everything is just right and my connection to the ground through the bike and tires practically feels like I have very sure-footed paws like I'm a big cat or dog on a good run. Something about it is very satisfying in a way that's almost cybernetic or something.

I also really, really appreciate a nice nap or good sleep, because it often can be rare. Conversely, I do seem to enjoy some good insomnia where I wake up and I'm not annoyed about it or tired from it and get to potter around in the wee hours of the night and maybe I get back to bed for a few more hours and still wake up rested.

Related to sleeping, there's a prone or sleeping position I somehow only discovered in the past five years, and it's difficult to describe because it's all about foot position and I'm not even sure how to describe it in text. Basically I'm laying on my side and the ball of my upper foot and leg is nestled into the arch of my lower foot. The upper leg is bent at the knee but the lower leg is almost fully extended, and the rest of my body is comfortable and I'm somewhere between half way on my back or stomach, and everything is sort of neutral and I'm not feeling any pressure hot spots.

The weird thing is is that I can't always seem to get the position right. The other weird thing is that I have experienced the same thing in a wide variety of sleeping positions, like sleeping on a couch, in a hammock or in a good bed.

Something about it is just really satisfying in a weighted blanket or spooning sort of way and sometimes it makes me feel very content, but it's also strangely elusive, like I can't seem to remember or replicate the sleeping position every time. Sometimes I get it just right and sometimes not, and that variable part of it doesn't seem to have anything to do with having random aches or pains or general mood or perception.

Sometimes I find it right away, sometimes I have to settle in and sort of randomly end up in that position.
posted by loquacious at 1:14 PM on July 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

Went blackberry picking on Saturday. Most of them hadn't come in yet -- that particular area is best around the first week of August -- but there were enough accessible to come away with two punnets. A pie ensued.
posted by majick at 2:48 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

IRL conversation.
posted by Oyéah at 3:58 PM on July 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Yeah, well but... in the If Bill Clinton wears briefs and Rush Limbaugh wears boxers, what does Bob Dole wear? sense: Depends.
posted by y2karl at 4:45 PM on July 27, 2021

My son is a fencer, and I spent many, many hours sitting around fencing practice and hauling him around the Mid-Atlantic states to competitions before he could drive himself. So I always try to watch fencing at the Olympics. Lee Keifer's gold in women's foil was a thing of beauty. It's the only Olympics I've seen (and that was YouTube after the fact) due to the inexplicable inability of my TV to pull in NBC, when the antennas are about 12 miles from my house, and the rest of the networks come in just fine. NBC used to come in fine too. I even bought the highest rated antenna on Wirecutter - it was way worse than my existing antenna. I know it has something to do with NBC transmitting on VHF and everything else is UHF, but I've given up on trying to get the station to come in consistently.

In other news, I started a new job Monday and took the previous week off to take a camping vacation with my wife.
posted by COD at 5:48 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

There's something that I frequently tout as an overlooked awesome thing and I'm drawing a blank on what it is.

It may be long-term memory.
posted by bendy at 6:32 PM on July 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Count me in as another jasmine fan ... in tea. Celestial Seasonings actually makes a decaf green lemon jasmine tea under the "Sleepytime" umbrella of teas. It also includes chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass and I really like a cup in the evening in the winter.

My favorite jasmine tea though is the Black Jasmine Cream from New Mexico Tea Company. It is mostly black tea with some green, jasmine, and vanilla. I find in fragrant and not overly sweet (unless you add sweetener). New Mexico also makes a nice Black tea with cardamom.
posted by gudrun at 6:42 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

OMG you people need to be watching Everything's Gonna Be Okay on Hulu...the show is an absolute delight and I don't know why it's not getting more buzz out in the real world. Ted Lasso is only coming out one episode at a time--you need something else to watch the other 6 days of the week!
posted by drlith at 7:39 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Everyone loves the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, but I'm here to tell you to check out her Ile-Rien series.
posted by emmling at 1:31 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Tangential -- Neal Stephenson has a new book coming out and it seems to be about how one salt-of-the-earth rich man fixes global warming by making the hard decisions! I am fonder of his early books than I think most Mefites are but whoa do I think his judgement got ruined by being an insider.

Maybe the blurb does it a disservice.

The Ile-Rien books hold up, though. I also really like _Wheel of the Infinite_. Middle-aged grouchy heroine, plus a lot of someone comes to town, someone leaves town.
posted by clew at 2:50 AM on July 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

In classical music circles there is the adage that Franz Joseph Haydn is both the most underrated and the most overrated classical composer.

At about 40 years of listening to his music, I feel this captures an important truth. If you don't know how to enjoy a string quartet by Haydn, you in some sense don't know what classical music is. However the expressive gulf between his music and that of the youngsters Mozart and Beethoven is qualitative; one of kind and not degree. As if they had made the transfiguring discovery how to make Haydn's language give forth utterances of spirit and soul where Haydn himself had achieved at best joyful wit. Along with his also, negatively, realizing the prudent wisdom there is in foregoing the great and the sublime for the sake of fidelity to the scale of the human intellect.
posted by bertran at 3:24 AM on July 28, 2021 [6 favorites]

In classical music circles there is the adage that Franz Joseph Haydn is both the most underrated and the most overrated classical composer.

Alas, where does that leave Hayden's occasional quartet mate, the poor Vaňhal? He doesn't even manage to get rated at all most of the time and his symphonies are delightful!
posted by gusottertrout at 5:06 AM on July 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm enjoying watching archery at the Olympics, when I can find it and have the time. It's so simple! No bizarre rules! Just pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Pew! Who scored highest? OK, you win!

Well, okay, there are bizarre rules, but I'm an archer myself and already know how set points work.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:56 PM on July 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I remembered another thing that I like that's underappreciated and that's service and volunteering.

And this isn't a humblebrag. To quote one of my favorite absurdist movie lines from Buckaroo Banzai I'm barely holding my fudge. If anything it's from a selfish perspective because I get so much out of it.

But I find that volunteering for something like a food bank helps re-calibrate my perspectives a whole lot in ways that are deeply therapeutic for me because I like to be helpful and useful and it's actually something that's been a reaction to trauma and I'm just spindled like that. And it's humbling.

But I find that it's very rewarding to try to gently take some control of the negative chaos and bullshit of our general existence and do something about it. To see and know you can, you know, actually do something.

I'm very fortunate in that I have a place I can volunteer at and it's good and supportive and easy without a lot of bureaucratic bullshit and we have as much fun as we can doing it.

Being able to hand out free food to hungry people and help them meet their needs or even their cravings for some cookies or something nice is like one of the best things ever.
posted by loquacious at 10:38 PM on July 28, 2021 [7 favorites]

kevinbelt: Nobody pays attention to Olympic sports except during the actual Olympics.

At least I'm consistent: I don't pay any attention to it at any time.

Pu-Erh tea is underrated, at least in my part of the world. I started drinking it at the start of each day, and after dinner, and now I miss it if I can't have it. There's a humble earthiness about it that I really like. And it never gets bitter no matter how long you brew it.

Oh yes, and it has... certain advantages. As in, it can advance... certain things.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:04 AM on July 29, 2021

I have been enjoying canoe slalom. It’s not curling but it’s still pretty great. Mr. Nat says the 3x3 basketball is a really interesting game; pretty short with lots of excitement.

I think cardamom in pastries is under appreciated in the US. Or maybe I’m just sad not to be in Copenhagen. My own attempts at making Danish pastry just haven’t worked yet.
posted by nat at 1:57 AM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

I honestly and unironically love Haircut 100, an 80s band that seems to fall off most people's radar.

Ahh, thanks for that! I'm pretty sure I owned the 7" version back in the day, but had forgotten what pure joy it was. And Nick Heyward! Think I also had some Kajagoogoo in my childhood record collection (takes a while to get going but the chorus is good! And just saying their name is quite fun).

I'm now enjoying an hour of 1983 pop and it's all so light and bouncy :)
posted by penguin pie at 4:55 AM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

I think cardamom in pastries is under appreciated in the US. Or maybe I’m just sad not to be in Copenhagen. My own attempts at making Danish pastry just haven’t worked yet.

If you're trying to get a proper cardamom flavor for Scandinavian/Finnish desserts, definitely get the whole seed (not whole pod) kind from a local Indian grocer or online somewhere and grind it yourself. The powder you find in your average American grocery store just doesn't have that depth of flavor.
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:43 AM on July 29, 2021 [6 favorites]

The rest of my family was watching some Olympic highlights this morning. The kids are starting swimming lessons today so I think they started off watching some of the swimming events as motivation. At one point they started watching clean and jerk and my wife was a bit incredulous that it was an Olympic sport. I just said that it was a category where all the entrants had to weight under 64kg and this athlete just lifted 136kg, more then double her body weight, so even if it isn't a "sport" it's still pretty impressive.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:33 PM on July 29, 2021

The powder you find in your average American grocery store just doesn't have that depth of flavor.

Thanks Zalzidrax, that’s a useful tip. At the moment my failures are much more basic though— of the “this is a pile of butter and flour, not actually resembling pastry in any other way” variety.
posted by nat at 12:56 PM on July 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

Dear Nat! Here is pastry in a nutshell. Mix the dry ingredients well. Especially and including tbe baking powder or soda. Then mix in the olive oil or butter to the dry ingredients. M8x all the wet ingredients together well, add to the drys and oil. Th3n add what ever things that are not basic to the dough, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Then bake according to heat instructions. If you have parchment paper, it is vreat for lining pans. You can make almost any cake or muffin, or sweet bread rise by putting 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder to one cup, of any flour combination.
posted by Oyéah at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites] Singapore when travelling for work and then relaxing in arguably the greatest food courts in the world.

Yes! I have not been to Singapore since I was a kid, in like the late-80s, but I remember that those food courts were the best and were literally everywhere. Happy Plaza and Lucky Plaza are two names that have stuck with me. And the watermelon and sugar cane juice carts! SO GOOD.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:49 PM on July 29, 2021

watermelon and sugar cane juice carts

So I made a really good drink last night, and this phrase reminded me of it, even though I don't know if it means (watermelon and sugar cane) (juice) or (watermelon) and (sugar cane juice) or etc. etc. So last night I had a watermelon that I hunked off a big chunk, like a pound or so, and squished it into submission until I had a cup or so of watermelon juice, then I mixed in a medium-sized glug of Key Lime juice and a small-sized glug of agave nectar, then mixed the resulting syrup with ice and vodka, and the whole thing ended up tasting pretty good. So anyway if you're looking for overlooked and underappreciated then that's a thing.
posted by Daily Alice at 7:02 PM on July 29, 2021 [3 favorites]

That does sound pretty good Daily Alice. Its a damn shame the only ingredient I have in the house is the ice...and on a Friday too. I guess it'll have to be margaritas and beers again.
posted by biffa at 5:20 AM on July 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Lo, it has come to pass. 5.49pm is tequila o'clock.
posted by biffa at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

Meanwhile I gotta wait for 5pm on the US west coast, like a chump.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:16 PM on July 30, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just enjoyed something maybe more mundane than under appreciated. There are a couple of bowl shapes in Japan that are sufficiently standardized that we’ve bought them from many different manufacturers, not all Japanese, and they still stack (a practical requirement chez nous). And we go for ones with some cobalt blue in the pattern, so they look similar from a distance. But they come in all kinds of designs, comical to severe geometric, historical references or not, and we have enough that sometimes I get one I haven’t seen for a while and it’s just so pretty!
posted by clew at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2021 [8 favorites]

I am an ardent fan of Stan Ridgway, the former singer of Wall of Voodoo. His first solo album was released 35 years ago. His songs are heavily steeped in film noir and pulp fiction storytelling. That record is titled The Big Heat, just to underline that influence. He continues to record and tour with his wife, the very talented Pietra Wexstun. Seems like he’s never been the subject of an FPP, so I may have to do something about that.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:31 PM on July 30, 2021 [3 favorites]

Floral flavors

The movie Mary and Max

The band Müm

Being alone in the forest

Fresh mint instead of dried mint for tea

Homegrown tomatoes and lettuces

Doing nothing without feeling guilty

Day drinking in moderation

Finding a signature...anything really. A look, a scent, an art style, a potluck dish, etc. Something that is truly and recognizably YOURS

Enjoying learning about things irrelevant to your life

Being a good, kind, accepting, and generous friend *to yourself*

And I love any Olympics event with horses. I will brag for a second and say I trained two Olympic starting team horses, one dressage and one jumper. Bless their hearts, they are across the rainbow bridge now.
posted by ananci at 3:11 PM on July 31, 2021

Craig Ferguson's three things, which has been mentioned in comments here over the years, comes to mind in the underappreciated department.
posted by y2karl at 2:43 PM on August 1, 2021

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