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The 'Homeless Man with a Golden Voice' Gets a Third Chance

One year ago, Ted Williams drank away a new lease on life. But not everyone's given up on him yet.


In January 2011, we first told you about Ted Williams, the so-called "homeless man with a golden voice" who'd fallen on hard times after promising career in radio collapsed under alcoholism. A happenstance run-in with an Ohio newspaper reporter resulted in swarm of media attention focused on Williams, which in turn turned his life around overnight. He was offered myriad voice-over jobs and lucrative sports announcing gigs, and it looked like he was about to be set for life. But then it all went to hell almost immediately.

Unaccustomed to all the attention, Williams, who had been fighting to remain sober for years, snapped under the pressure, spiraling once again into alcoholism and losing out on all the deals dangling in front of his eyes. At the time of his unraveling, I said I hoped he might be able to have a comeback to his comeback. "If there's such a thing as a second chance," I wrote, "there should be a third chance, too." As luck would have it, it turns out someone agreed with me.

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Deep under Springfield, Missouri, lies a cheese cave of industrial proportions, a 2-million-square-foot refrigerated warehouse called Springfield Underground. Since 2008, Kraft Foods has rented 400,000 square feet of the repurposed limestone mine as a massive distribution center, from which to ship 680-pound, Velveeta-bright barrels of Oscar Meyer meats, Philadelphia cream cheese, Velveeta pasteurized processed cheeses, Jell-O, and Lunchables.

Unlike traditional cheese caves, which can impart the particular flavors of time and place—the unique combinations of bacteria, yeast, and mold that cheese makers call terroirWired magazine explains that in the case of Kraft's cave:

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Food for Thinkers: Panic In Aisle Five

Feedlots and chicken fried steak: James Reeves on the moral grey zone at the heart of his relationship with food.

James Reeves is a man with a passion for Panda Express, a professional interest in the Divine Right of Louisiana Fishers regarding riparian servitudes, and an abiding regret for the terrible coffee he sold as a teenage gas station attendant. He is also a writer, designer, teacher, and partner at Civic Center, whose first book, The Road to Somewhere: An American Memoir, will be published by W. W. Norton in July 2011. I read his blog, Big American Night, and follow him on Twitter, and was delighted when he agreed to join in Food for Thinkers week.

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