Best Restaurants in Des Moines (For Everyone)

Note: There used to be a list of restaurants here, but I’ve replaced it with an article from another website to give what I think is a more candid assessment of dining options in Des Moines, circa 2015. There are a few restaurants around here that get all of the pieces right, but caveat emptor is a good general rule when eating out in Iowa’s capital city.

Iowa is a vast agricultural region, so a lot of amazing, fresh food is produced and readily available throughout the state. One might think that Iowa’s restaurant scenes would be spectacular as a result, given the abundance of locally-sourced harvests.

One would (mostly) be mistaken. Dining out involves three factors — food, ambiance, and service experience — and getting just one or two of them right isn’t good, even though that’s unfortunately the norm here, and most Iowans seem to happily accept that.

As do the people who should know better. Regional media figures continually fall all over themselves to declare this week’s trendy new opening to be the greatest thing in dining since the hip new opening they shilled last week. Local food critics routinely repeat how much better things are today than they were ten years ago, in a comforting, mantra-like fashion.

But don’t believe the hype: “improved” is not the same thing as “great,” or often even “adequate.”

How can native and captive Iowa diners improve this situation? By letting restaurants know what is acceptable and what is not, and then voting with their feet and their dollars when offered the latter.

There’s no excuse for mutely accepting inferior service, quality and experience, no matter how nice you are. Stand up for yourselves, Iowans! Don’t wait in long lines and pay too much for restaurant mediocrity!

Here are some real observations — all based on four years of first-hand experience — that I would like to share with current and future restauranteurs in Iowa, on behalf of your customers. Food for thought, please?

  • Iowa has a brutal climate. A curtain will not keep it out, no matter how nice it looks. Build a vestibule, and don’t seat customers directly in front of it.
  • A multi-course meal with wine pairings doesn’t work if wines #4 thru #7 all arrive at once, with small plate #8.
  • “Minimalist decor” and “didn’t put much effort into decorating” are not the same thing.
  • If someone makes a reservation for two guests well in advance of the dining date, it is almost certainly a very special occasion. Do not seat these customers immediately adjacent to a shrieking “girls’ night out” party of twelve.
  • The impact of your locally sourced organic creations is undermined if you make people eat them on plastic tables.
  • There is no excuse whatsoever for not taking reservations on Saturday nights during the busiest dining hours of the week, just to force people into your bar-shaped holding tank.
  • State pride is fine, but that does not mean that you must put Maytag Blue Cheese or LaQuercia Prosciutto in every single cheese and meat dish you offer.
  • There’s a difference between “timely service” and “rushed out the door.” Guess which one customers prefer?
  • If you open a second location for your successful restaurant and send all of your good staff there, your first location will suffer.
  • There’s a difference between “kitschy” and “tacky.” You might want to make sure your designer knows it.
  • A cement slab with a dozen plastic tables on it, up against a busy roadway, does not constitute “patio dining.”
  • If you advertise “tapas” or “small plates,” then each of the servings should not be larger than a human head.
  • “De Burgo” and “Cavatelli” are not actually real Italian foods, nor are “Rangoons” actually Asian, nor is cream cheese a traditional sushi ingredient.
  • If there are only two parties in your large, open, quiet dining room, then do not seat them at immediately adjacent tables for the sake of server convenience.
  • Just because a food tastes good on its own, this does not mean that you should put it on a pizza. Or on a hamburger. Or in a beer. Or on a donut.
  • If your menu is tailored toward drunken 24-year old customers, you may not use the words “fine dining” in your marketing.
  • There’s really no excuse for offering both red sauce and white sauce on the same pasta dish at the same time. Ever.
  • No one is going to record a concert in your dining room because of its great reverb. Dampen the sound. Please.
  • You are not an airline. Don’t overbook reservations just because you can, and don’t routinely run two hours late for “maintenance.”
  • We don’t live in a 16th-century theocracy, as much as it might seem so.  So open your damn restaurant on Sundays.

In Praise of Interpretive Artists

When I was getting paid to be a music critic, one of the more entertaining nights on the job was the annual get-together of all my newspapers’ music critics to compile our “Best Of” lists for the year’s Local Music Issue. These editorial lists were based solely on our own subjective opinions and observations, ostensibly filtered through our superior critical experience, while the separate Readers’ Poll represented the vox populi. It was sort of a “what’s good” vs. “what’s popular” dichotomy, to some extent.

The fact that there was very little overlap between the two lists probably says a lot about how music critics exist in little bubbles of elitism that have no bearing on the lives and experiences of most normal human beings. As I wrote in one of the opening paragraphs of Eponymous, music critics are:

“. . . the deeply demented souls who live in a world where a packed stadium equals ‘lowest common denominator failure,’ while eight of their kind gathered in a space of their own making watching a nobody doing nothing anyone else wants to hear equals ‘artistic triumph.”

One of the things that used to cause particular outrage at the annual gathering of the music critics was the fact that the hoi polloi would routinely vote for cover bands in the “Best Local Artist” category that we gave them in the Readers’ Poll. Can you imagine that?!? Lawks, how much we needed to educate the rabble, to help them rise above the humiliation of dancing in public to bar band versions of “Mustang Sally” or “Brown Eyed Girl,” while (shudder) actually enjoying themselves?!? Forsooth, we must select the most experimental, underground, obscure band we can find to counter their ignorance! Excelsior!

One year, though, one of our own turned on us: a normally dependable music critic came to the annual gathering of the rock and roll gadflies and nominated a duo who primarily played other peoples’ music for the “Best Local Artist” slot in our annual critics’ poll. The duo dug up pop obscurities and then completely reinvented their arrangements, he explained, turning them into something unique and fresh. They offered extraordinary vocals and exceptional instrumental talent. They were socially active, playing at the sorts of benefits that we liked to support, on behalf of the sorts of causes that music critics get excited about (e.g. “Hey! Let’s go to the PETA rally and see if there are any naked women painted as tigers there today!”) They collaborated with others in the community, sharing stages with some of the obscure weirdos that we’d already selected in other categories. Why, he pressed, would we not consider them for the top slot in our regional poll, just because they didn’t write their own songs?

Why? Why?!! WHY?!?!? Because . . . because . . . HERETIC!!! ABOMINATION!!! FREAK!!!! OUTCAST!!!! I won’t go through the details, but suffice to say that voices were raised, fingers were pointed, drinks were slammed, cigarettes were stubbed angrily, words were exchanged, feelings were hurt, alliances formed and broke up, more drinks were slammed, and in the end, we gave “Best Local Artist” to a new group composed of three of our friends who had only played two shows out in public to a total of nineteen people (but, boy, that TEAC Tascam 4-track musique concrete deconstruction of ABBA Gold they sent us was awesome!), while the proposed covers duo was grudgingly awarded a prize in a new category we created especially for them: “Best Local Interpretive Artists.”

These days, honestly, I’m generally happier to go out and dance along to cover tunes played by great local bar bands than I am to go shuffle morosely in a seedy bar, hoping to find the next best thing, and having it fail to show up. I still appreciate the act of songwriting, of course, and I love up-and-coming artists who sing what they write, but I also appreciate the act of performing and connecting with an audience, and some of the better shows I’ve experienced in the past few years have been shows primarily composed of cover songs.

So today, I lift up and celebrate our friends the Interpretive Artists by sharing a list of my Top 20 Favorite Cover Songs Ever, below. Feel free to submit additions to this list in the comment section, and I will make sure that no angry music critics show up to stub their cigarettes out on your arm.

  1. “Young Man Blues,” by The Who (covering Mose Allison)
  2. “Morning Dew,” by Einsturzende Neubauten (covering Bonnie Dobson or Tim Rose)
  3. “Whole Lotta Love,” by Tragic Mulatto (covering Led Zepellin, filtering Willie Dixon)
  4. “Rosegarden Funeral of Sores,” by Bauhaus (covering John Cale)
  5. “Shipbuilding,” by Robert Wyatt (covering Elvis Costello, though technically Wyatt’s version went public first)
  6. “Black Diamond,” by The Replacements (covering KISS)
  7. “Sugar Smack,” by The Hanslick Rebellion (covering the Archies and the Velvet Underground, at the same time)
  8. “I’m Not Lisa,” by Killdozer (covering Jessi Colter)
  9. “Stagger Lee,” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (covering Lloyd Price and 1,000 bluesmen)
  10. “Scumbag Pines,” by The Kamikaze Hearts (covering Beef)
  11. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” by Isaac Hayes (covering Glen Campbell)
  12. “Ray of Light,” by Madonna (covering Curtiss Maldoon)
  13. “The First Cut is the Deepest,” by Rod Stewart (covering Cat Stevens)
  14. “Pablo Picasso,” by John Cale (covering Modern Lovers)
  15. “Going Up,” by COIL (covering the theme song of British TV show Are You Being Served?)
  16. “Love Hurts,” by Nazareth (covering The Everly Brothers or Roy Orbison)
  17. “Yoo Doo Right,” by The Geraldine Fibbers (covering CAN)
  18. “Personal Jesus,” by Marilyn Manson (covering Depeche Mode)
  19. “Viva Las Vegas,” by Dead Kennedys (covering Elvis Presley)
  20. “Kaw-Liga,” by The Residents (covering Hank Williams)

“The Book of Mormon” in Des Moines

Des Moines Performing Arts is one of the most crucial cultural resources in Central Iowa, working tirelessly to offer exceptionally high-quality, often challenging theatrical, musical and educational experiences at their three great downtown performing arts spaces: The Civic Center, The Stoner Theater and The Temple Theater. I’ve already enjoyed many performances through their great work, and look forward to another fabulous experience next Tuesday, when my wife and I will be going to see the Tony-winning play, The Book of Mormon.

It’s wonderful to see the advance enthusiasm that this theatrical performance is generating within our market, and its week-long run will no doubt play to rapt, packed houses, show after show. But, then, as happens with touring productions, The Book of Mormon (musical) will move on to Minneapolis after its exciting run here . . . while The Book of Mormon (first print edition, 1830) remains in Des Moines, in the Salisbury House Library, along with an extraordinary collection of other historic Mormon books and documents.

Just after the turn of the 20th Century, Carl Weeks (who built Salisbury House) was doing poorly. His first business — The Red Cross Pharmacy in Centerville, Iowa — had not been successful, and he had been diagnosed with “tubercular glands” which precipitated three painful rounds of surgery. Imagine how he must have felt when he then learned that his initial diagnosis had been incorrect, and he actually had nothing more than a case of tonsillitis. Needing a reprieve period to recover — physically and emotionally — and following the advice of his brother Deyet, Carl traveled to “Mormon Dixie,” the then-largely unexplored and unpopulated southwestern corner of Utah.

Carl’s time in Utah was clearly both restorative and formative. He returned to Des Moines, met, courted and married Edith, worked with his brothers in their patent medicine and toiletry businesses, and in 1915 launched the Armand brand that made him his fortune. The trip to Utah also instilled a love of the American West in Carl, and from the very first plans for what became Salisbury House, he clearly identified a need for an “Indian Room” where he could display his collections of Native American art and culture.

Carl also came home from Utah with a strong interest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church), and he collected many important books and documents related to its history and culture. Additionally, he maintained a fascinating, lively correspondence for many years with Maurine Whipple, a nationally-prominent novelist and short story writer who lived and whose work was primarily set in Mormon Dixie.

Many of these documents and books remain in our collection today, and in honor of Des Moines Performing Arts’ opening of The Book of Mormon (musical), I share some of them with you, below. At our February Treasures Tour, Curator Leo Landis and I will have The Book of Mormon (first print edition) available for viewing, so if you’d like an up close and personal view of it, come see us! (Click on photos below to enlarge them).

This shelf in the Salisbury House Library is almost entirely dedicated to Mormon literature.

This shelf in the Salisbury House Library is almost entirely dedicated to early Mormon literature, including “A Plea for Polygamy.”

Title page, first edition "Book of Mormon."

First edition “Book of Mormon,” published in 1830 in Palmyra, New York.

1845 "Doctrine and Covenants," published in Nauvoo, Illinois.

1845 “Doctrine and Covenants,” published in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Mormon Church published many immigrants guides to make it as easy to get to Utah as possible.

The Mormon Church and its partner presses published many immigrants’ guides to make it as easy to get to Utah as possible.

Once you arrived in Utah, this book would help you navigate.

Once you arrived in Utah, this book would help you navigate.

Signature of Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Mormon Church. It is from the signature block of a letter to one of his wives.

Signature of Joseph Smith, founding prophet of the Mormon Church. It is from the signature block of a letter to one of his wives.

Letter signed by Brigham Young, who succeeded Joseph Smith and led the Mormon Immigrants to Utah, where he founded Salt Lake City and later become governor.

Letter signed by Brigham Young, who succeeded Joseph Smith and led the Mormon Immigrants to Utah, where he founded Salt Lake City and later become governor.

One of many letters in our archives from Utah/Mormon writer Maurine Whipple, in this case thanking Carl Weeks for advancing her funds to complete a book.

One of many letters in our archives from Utah/Mormon writer Maurine Whipple, in this case thanking Carl Weeks for advancing her funds to complete a book.

Fiat Linx

1. I researched and wrote an article about the Private Press movement of the late 19th and early 20th Century, and posted it over at the Salisbury House blog. Here ’tis, with pretty pictures. If you live in Des Moines, you can actually come see some of these extremely rare books, up close and personal, this Thursday night as we host our inaugural Treasures Tour. Mind blowing, for real.

2. A tip of the cap and a warm “thank you” are due to the folks at the Des Moines Is NOT Boring blog, both for offering this kind plug via their widely-read Facebook and Twitter feeds, and then for giving RAYGUN head honcho Mike Draper the chance to affirm his taste and refinement when evaluating the strength of the local creative community inh is answer to question number six here. Thirteen months since its launch, Indie Moines continues to pretty regularly break its own daily, weekly and monthly readership records, with no marketing plan, no paid advertising (inbound or outbound), and only one grumpy old expat South Carolinian by way of New York providing content for a primarily Iowan audience. So it is satisfying to occasionally receive external validation like this to affirm that the website and its words are resonating with folks hereabouts.

3. I recently finished Bob Carruthers’ 2012 book Jollity Farm: The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which incongruously uses perhaps the most iconic Iowa image imaginable on its cover, despite the fact that the Bonzo Dog Band were about as English as English can get. Go ahead. Click that link. You need to see it. Done? Alright, weird cover design notwithstanding, Jollity Farm was a very entertaining read about a band I’ve long loved, especially their masterpiece albums Keynsham and The Doughnut in Granny’s Greenhouse. One of the glories of the internet era is that many of their television appearances from the 1960s (they starred on a show called Do Not Adjust Your Set with proto-Pythons Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, and also appeared in The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour) are now available for easy viewing. Here’s a live performance of one of my favorites, featuring a legendarily awful guitar solo by Neil Innes, along with all sorts of other tomfoolery by these amazing showmen:

Books as Art: The Private Press Movement at Salisbury House

We have a ten-page typed document in our files with a hand-written note atop the first page reading: “Guide to Salisbury House, by Carl Weeks. Prior to or at the time of ISEA possession.” It is a first person narrative describing many of the important objects in the Salisbury House public spaces. Interestingly, it is not actually Carl Weeks’ telling of the tale, as the unnamed narrator often refers to “Mr. Weeks” when discussing the acquisition, provenance or assessment of particular pieces.

There are elements in the narrative that we now know to be apocryphal or erroneous, so the document often has to be taken with a grain of salt from an historian’s perspective. But some of the anecdotes related therein are so unexpected or unusual that we feel they accurately reflect Carl or Edith Weeks’ very unique perspective on their own collections, perhaps representing oft-repeated anecdotes that our anonymous tour-guide of 1955 heard and found memorable. One such anecdote quotes Carl Weeks as saying:

“There have been three great books printed. The first great book was the Gutenberg Bible. Since a Gutenberg costs about $150,000 Mr. Weeks didn’t buy one, but he did have a leaf out of one of them . . . The second great book to be printed was the Kelmscott Chaucer. One was sold the other day for $1,600 that does not compare with the copy in this library. The third great book was the Oxford Bible, and this is the only copy in existence that has the leaf in it that tells how many were printed: 200.”

Pigskin cover of the Kelmscott Chaucer

Pigskin cover of the Kelmscott Chaucer; click all images to enlarge

Obviously, no one would argue the import and greatness of the Gutenberg Bible, which represented a fundamental change in man’s ability to widely, consistently and quickly reproduce the written word in a (relatively) affordable fashion. Our library contains what is known as a Noble Fragment of a Gutenberg Bible, purchased after a collector dismantled a damaged copy in 1921 and put the intact leaves on the market individually. We also have a 1920s full-sized reproduction of the two-volume, 42-line 1455 edition of the Gutenberg Bible, and it is plain to see that it was clearly a grand and imposing object of art in its own right.

But why would Mr. Weeks have selected the Kelmscott Chaucer and Oxford Bible as peers in greatness to the Gutenberg Bible? (Note that these aren’t their full and proper titles, but I will continue to use them for ease of discussion). Especially given how common their texts are: you can get a copy of the Bible or a copy of the collected works of Geoffrey Chaucer in pretty much any bookstore, in relatively cheap pressings. So why do these particular editions rise to the status (in Mr. Weeks’ estimation) of the Gutenberg Bible?

Title page from the Kelmscott Chaucer

Title page from the Kelmscott Chaucer

The answer to that question lies in the very high regard that Carl Weeks held not only for books, but also for the art of bookmaking. He was an avid reader, so he viewed books as repositories of information or entertainment, certainly, but he also saw beyond the words into the physical elements that make up the book as an object. He valued the inks, the papers, the typefaces, the binding, the illustrations, the design, and all of the myriad small details that can turn even the most mundane of texts into something sublime.

The library that Carl and Edith Weeks built is filled with books that stand alone as works of art in their own right. And Carl and Edith were particularly fortunate to have been collecting such books during the absolute height of what is now known as the private press movement, when many small, independent publishers were producing extraordinarily high quality books in tiny press runs for discerning collectors, like the Weeks Family.

Kelmscott Chaucer, "The Knyght's Tale"

Last text page of the Kelmscott Chaucer

When viewed through the distinctive cultural lens deployed by private press aficionados, then, Mr. Weeks’ choice of the Kelmscott Chaucer (1896) and the Oxford Bible (1935) become more understandable, because in many ways, they mark the alpha and the omega of the private press movement itself.

The private press movement is generally considered to have been launched with the founding of Englishman William Morris’ Kelmscott Press in 1890. Inspired by John Ruskin, the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement, Morris believed that beautiful objects could counteract the negative cultural impacts of the modern, industrial world. He and his many disciples eschewed the cheap, poor-quality, mechanical book production methods that prevailed in their era, and chose instead to return to traditional or classical design, paper-making, printing and binding techniques.  They viewed bookmaking as a manual skill, uniquely suited to human hands, and they considered the products of their presses to be works of art, not just convenient vehicles for the transmission of information.

The Book of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (to give the Kelmscott Chaucer its full and proper title) was illustrated by by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, edited by F.S. Ellis, engraved on wood by W.H. Hooper, and printed by William Morris, and it is generally considered to be the apex of Kelmscott’s work, and one of the most beautiful books ever printed. It was completed in May 1896, a mere six months before Morris’ death. Carl Weeks bought his first copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer from rare book seller Philip C. Duschnes of New York for $600 in March 1942, then in November 1944 traded his version back to Duschnes for an extremely rare (48 copies only), $1,300 version bound by T.J. Coben-Sanderson (more on him below) in pigskin. We still have this version in the Salisbury House Library.

Morris and Kelmscott’s influence was immediate and far-reaching, and the private press movement expanded rapidly in Great Britain and the United States through the first three decades of the 20th Century. The Salisbury House Library is home to many fine, limited edition works from a variety of influential private presses, including such titles as:

  • The five-volume Doves Press Bible (1903), printed by T.J. Coben-Sanderson, who bound the rare Kelmscott Chaucer in our colletion
  • Many books, periodicals and pamphlets published by Roycroft Press of East Aurora, New York, which was founded by Elbert Hubbard, about whom I have written before
  • Nonesuch Press’ The History of Herodotus of Halicarnassus (1935)
  • Numerous works illustrated, written or designed by Eric Gill, now best remembered as the creator of the hugely influential Gill Sans and Perpetua typefaces, many of them issued by Golden Cockerel Press
  • The Revelation of St. John the Divine (1932) and The Lamentations of Jeremiah (1933) from Gregynog Press, which was founded by Welsh sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies
  • The Complete Works of Gaius Petronius (1927) and Ecclesiazusae (1929) from Fanfrolico Press
  • Ashendene Press’ The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, commonly called Ecclesiasticus (1932)
Front cover "alpha" on the Oxford Lectern Bible

Front cover “alpha” on the Oxford Lectern Bible

Bruce Rogers was a particularly prominent figure in the private press movement, achieving acclaim as an illustrator, typographer and printer both for his small press works, and for the high-quality production aesthetic he brought to retail publishers such as Houghton Mifflin’s Riverside Press and the Cambridge and Harvard University Presses. Rogers also later designed books for the Limited Editions Club, to which Carl and Edith Weeks subscribed for 21 years, leaving us a rare complete collection of this legendary publishing house’s offerings.

Back cover "omega" of the Oxford Bible

Back cover “omega” of the Oxford Bible

From 1929 to 1931, Rogers worked at the Oxford University Press in England, and it was here that he received the commission to design a new lectern Bible embracing the best facets of the private press movement. His masterpiece, formally known as The Lectern Bible for Oxford University Press, was completed in 1935.

There were only 200 copies printed of the largest version of this two-volume Bible, one of which was purchased by Carl Weeks for $600 in March 1944, also from bookseller Philip C. Duschnes, who noted that it was a “special copy bound by Wiemeler of Germany”. We can see a tiny impression of the name “Ignatz Wiemeler” in the gold trim inside the back cover of the Oxford Bible, and his exquisite binding work leaves the massive book surprisingly easy to manipulate, its form clearly supporting its function as a working text for church use.

By the time that the Oxford Bible was published, the private press movement was rapidly dwindling as the worldwide demand for such luxury items crashed during the Great Depression. Fortunately, some of the greatest works of that beautiful, brief creative moment — including some of the most magnificent books ever printed — still live with us here at Salisbury House, a lasting testament to Carl and Edith Weeks’ acuity and refinement as book lovers and collectors.

Title Page of the Oxford Bible

Title Page of the Oxford Bible

Nine Facts, One Falsehood (Part Two)

Slight return to an earlier post tonight. Nine of the statements below are facts. One of the statements below is false. Which is the lie?

  1. I earned my first paycheck as a journalist when I was 13 years old. I was hired to write the “Teen Corner” column for the Mitchel Field News, which was supposed to be sort of a social column for the teenagers on a military base. I was fired a few months later because I used my column to write reviews of Steely Dan and Jethro Tull records instead.
  2. On my home office desk (where I type now) I have: a pair of fuzzy dice, a Beavis and Butthead statue, a stuffed frog, a stuffed sloth, Chinese bells, and a Spongebob Squarepants lunchbox.
  3. I have a series of circular scars on my left leg and foot from dropping molten plastic on myself while burning a model airplane. The plastic burnt itself into the flesh, then hardened there and had to be pulled back out.
  4. I haven’t intentionally taken a nap since approximately 1987. I only seem to have enough “go to sleep” chemical to do it once a day, and if I fall asleep during the day, then I stay up all night. So I actively avoid falling asleep during the day.
  5. I never used sunscreen growing up, and in fact was a devotee of tanning oil, which gave me a beautiful mocha tone and (later) two rounds of skin cancer.
  6. When I graduated from the Naval Academy, I had to choose between a variety of staff corps position with schools in Colorado Spring, Norfolk and Athens, Georgia. I chose Athens (Supply Corps School) because my favorite band (Butthole Surfers) had recently relocated there from Austin. By the time I actually arrived in Athens, though, they had moved back to Texas.
  7. Peter Buck of R.E.M. publicly insulted my musical tastes in front of a bunch of giggling sycophants at the Wuxtry Record Store in Athens, Georgia (where he worked, before he was famous) when I appeared at the cash register carrying Einsturzende Neubauten and Fad Gadget records. I knew who he was, but I still said “Shut up, record clerk, and take my money.”
  8. Kim Deal got angry with me during an interview when I asked her about a side project that was actual her twin sister Kelley’s gig.
  9. I listen to Wings albums far more than I listen to the Beatles and John Lennon’s solo albums combined.
  10. I used to bite my nails, but now I keep emery boards at all of my desks, and as soon as the urge to nibble arises: FILE! FILE! FILE! As long as nails are smooth, there is no desire to nosh.