31 January 2008

3. Tom Waits: The Piano Has Been Drinking

So this one shouldn't need an explaination, yet I feel compelled to offer one.

This is a clip of just the song from a longer interview/skit. I used to really be into early Waits; not so much anymore. I find his whole presentation too focused at that point in his career. He knows it's a gag, but I am unsure of whether he realizes that we realize it's a gag.

But, like Charlie Chaplin said: " In the end, everything is a gag."

That said, I think his work from Swordfishtrombones on up to the present -- especially his collaborations with Robert Wilson -- comprise the best American (pop?) music of the late-20th / early 21st century. The Black Rider alone is -- along with Robert Ashley's later work -- the most inspired opera of our time.

And that said, I look back on this video and I see a guy who was more idea than anything else -- not yet near his prime; but from whom often very beautiful things came. And the lyrics to this little ditty -- in all their obvious Bukowski homage -- are word by word things of beauty.

30 January 2008

4. The Kinks: Alcohol

And the countdown of the Greatest Booze Songs Ever Recorded continues...

And what a fantastic song and what a fantastic performance. Yes, that Demon Alcohol has ruined many a poor lad; but all in the name of art, no?

Ok. So if #4 is this good, you have to imagine that the top three gotta really be something!

Fiery Demons

Let's take a little field trip over to theCity Paper and learn a little bit about food poisoning...

And don't worry, they'll be another post today with the next song on our list!

29 January 2008

5. Joni Mitchell: A Case of You

Ok. Now it's getting serious. We're in the Top Five of the Greatest Booze Songs Ever Recorded.

This song is proof that Canadian beer and Canadian Ice Wine produce more than drunk hockey fans.

28 January 2008

6. The Champs: Tequila

For those of you who have stumbled upon this list midway, we are trying to chart the Greatest Booze Songs Ever Recorded. Here's a one-hit-wonder from 1958. The guy who says 'tequila' was named Daniel Flores, but went by 'Chuck Rio' on stage.

Whatever you call him, he scored with a #1 hit and places at #6 on my list.

This clip, BTW, just happens to be from one of the greatest films ever made. A work of stupifying genius.

And for the kids reading this, that thing Pee Wee is talking into in the beginning of the clip is called a 'pay phone'. Google it.

26 January 2008

8. Leonard Cohen: Closing Time

One from the Master. As much about life, death, and God as it is about whiskey and dancing.

24 January 2008

10. Loudon Wainwright: White Wine

I think it was when I was in the hospital...

I got sucked into an awful television program about the greatest Country and Western Booze Songs ever written. And I remember thinking to myself, with all the great Booze Songs out there, I can't believe they actually put together a list this godawful.

So, anyway, I've taken it on as my duty over the next ten days to present to you my version of the 10 Greatest Booze Songs (country and western or otherwise) Ever Written.

Here's number ten. A song that makes me think about my own mum.

20 January 2008

Cloned Meat! Finally!

The FDA has approved CLONED-MEAT!!! Yes! Finally!

Now all of America can put on their dinner tables what been served in high school cafeterias, hospital rooms, and on British Airways flights for years! Talk about egalitarianism!

My question is, if they can clone a cow, why not just clone a hamburger? That way we could do away with the whole nasty business of the slaughterhouse and all that.

Yum. Cloned meat. Finally something I can feed to my cloned cat and cloned fish.

19 January 2008

The Nerve!

I'm having very mixed feelings right now.

As most of you know, I have been a devout propagandist for Stonewall's Jerquee since day one. You could say I am obsessed with the stuff. [Just finished off two packs while I was thinking of what to type in that last sentence.]

Well, what do you know... Stonewalls goes and redesigns their packaging. And they don't even bother to ask me what I think!

You'll notice on the right, here (in my left hand) the red package that screams: "Jerky Substitute!"

But what's that in my right hand? "The Tasty Vegetarian Snack"?

It's bad enough they go with the wimpy orange-fade background. But to change the slogan from "The Incredible, Animal-free, All Natural Jerky Substitute" to "The Tasty Vegetarian Snack"?

Pretzels are a "tasty vegetarian snack". Stonewall's Jerquee is supposed to fill a jerky-shaped void in your life. I don't know what to make of this. How will I go on?

I can't go on eating jerky substitute. I'll go on eating jerky substitute.

18 January 2008

The Cheese is Sweating

Okay. So, how many of you recognize this scenario.

Your workplace is throwing some sort of function revolving around food. Not a big, fancy thing like a banquet or anything like that. Just lunch. Or even worse... breakfast.

Our correspondent in the field -- Todd of Baltimore -- files this report.

"Whenever we have a work function around 'breakfast' time, we always have the same thing: a pile of breakfast desserts, muffins and danishes and bagels, and an as-yet-unnamed and wholly incongruous pile of dairy and second-tier vegetables. Now, I am not a delicate flower when it comes to food. I started down this road by eating fish eyes around age three. I think I can say that I might eat any part of any non-human animal if served with the right sauce. But this dairy pile freaks me out. The ham-fisted mash of cream , swiss, and muenster cheese with green pepper and olive foliage make me nauseous (yet hungry), as if my brain and my stomach were like the poles of a magnet."

I'm fortunate enough to work at a place that's got a relatively decent catering service. Though in the early days, it was tough times as a vegetarian -- food options as they were. Basically you had a choice between two entrees: salt and pepper. But, times have changed and these days, I eat like a king -- a king with a thing for salad and dinner rolls, but a king nonetheless.

I still have one gripe, though.

I don't understand what these caterers have against green peppers.

Maybe I just haven't heard about the great shortage of condiment vessels, but I don't get why they go about boring holes in nice plump green peppers just to fill them with mustard and mayo. Have you seen this? Is this a widespread practice? A sign of cult involvement?

Some secrets are too deep to bother wading into. Anyhow, I've got nothing to complain about. Todd, on the other hand... his cheese is sweating.

17 January 2008

Dinner Music presents "Snacks"!

Dinner Music -- for better or worse, it's a new idea in cooking shows!

In this, the premiere episode, we meet Tom Boram and Dan Breen in the kitchen for a demonstration of how to make 'Bacon Crispy Treats'!


16 January 2008

Tell your friends and relatives

Tomorrow's post is going to change your life.

This is just a head's up.

13 January 2008

Sushi, Birthdays, Tom Brady

Took the boys out to dinner for their birthday.

Sushi at Matsuri! And can I just say, "Wow, how that place has really become the premier Japanese restaurant in Baltimore."

Seems like just yesterday Cross Street was a haven for indecency and projectile vomit and now here it is offering wine bars and dynamite rolls.

Actually, to be fair, Matsuri is a mainstay and has both been a source of inspiration for the growth of the neighborhood as well as a regular in all the "Best Of" lists around town for a decade [a decade?!?]. I guess it's just that my frame of reference places Federal Hill closer to the market than what surrounds it (like I played at the 8x10 when it was still actually 8x10).

Anyway: the boys.

Sushi has long been their favorite dish. Eons ago when they were born in Boston and the whole family communed as fans of the Pat's second stringer -- a guy named Tom Brady -- we used to go to a joint in Brookline called Mr. Sushi. And, let me just say: Mr. Sushi of Brookline may well have been the greatest sushi-house to have ever existed.

We used to carry the twins in these car-seat / rocker like contraptions which you'd never even consider until you have children and we use to put these things right on the table. And so the four-month-old connoisseurs used to barf and fart right there in the midst of great Japanese cuisine, surrounded by both sushi and sashimi (and should never the two be confused).

And so, here we are seven years on and the boys are able to devour massive pieces of wasabi and Tom Brady is leading the Pats to the greatest season on record.

Funny what time can do.

09 January 2008

Dulces Vero

My friend Susan is from Houston. She recently brought back some candy with her.

This is not any ordinary East Coast candy I'd ever seen. This is candy with designs to bruise you.

Vero Elotes is the name and twisting the East Coast tongue into shrapnel is its game. But then, who wouldn't love a strawberry flavored lollipop both filled with and glazed in straight-up chili pepper?

Susan swore by these things. And I'm apt to trust her. She's got great taste in enchiladas and music. But when it comes to chili pepper encrusted hard candy... who can you trust actually?

Well, I must admit: this is the first candy of the new year to force me to live up to my pledge of eating dangerously. And in that vein, I can honestly say to you dear reader: get yrself a stick of Vero Elotes paleta de caramelo macizo acidulado sabor fresa cubierta de chile and may your tongue get its tastebuds whooped... yum!

08 January 2008

Round Table

We had a round table once. Bought it at IKEA. No knights, though.

Notice how the fruit is kicked around in Camelot. With abandon bordering on deliquency. Yet one more reason why you can never trust a knight.

06 January 2008

Yum Yum

Speaking etymology here, folks.

So some online hacks will have you believe that 'yum yum' is a phrase indicative of baby-talk and first came into usage as an interjection in the later Victorian period. I'm having trouble believing that.

The American Heritage Dictionary (probably the best portable book on American usage) says 'yum' is onomatopoeia, presumably having to do with the sound induced by gastro-olfactory hypersensitivity. I think this more likely.

However, there is a third rail.

The Indo-European root 'yeu-' is the source of the Latin word 'iuventis' and the Germanic words also meaning 'youth' or 'vigor'. Now, I realize from an etymological point of view that it is highly unlikely, but wouldn't it be nice if the word 'yum' was a generations-removed derivation from the very ancient Indo-European word meaning 'possessing youthful vigor'.

Would that be the case, perhaps it would suggest that yummy food is indeed the source of the fountain of youth.

04 January 2008

Nice Dump

Went to the dump three times today. Had a lot of junk to get rid of and recycle.

There's a long road once you get onto the property of the dump. It leads for about a half mile up to the entrance to the dump proper. And about half-way there, along the side of the service road, there is a gazebo and a picnic table.

At the dump.

So, I am asking, would anyone out there like to book an oom-pah band and have an afternoon picnic with me at the dump?

What's good dump food anyway?

02 January 2008

Polyglottal Pierogies

Starting the new year off right... a great dinner and a blog post.

This evening's dish: Palak Paneer Pierogies!

Served with marinated Seitan, a side of minced ginger, and a milk chocolate garnish. And of course accompanied by an Alsace Trimbach Riesling!

Nothing says 'yum' like polyglottal pierogies.

Hmm. Where does the word 'yum' come from?

01 January 2008


Greetings, fellow eaters;

I hereby decree, with the power vested in me by me, that 2008 be the Year of Eating Dangerously.

No more 'tasty' food. I want confrontational food. Food that challenges you to eat it. Food with a bone to pick (but, boneless of course).

I don't want food to 'satisfy' me. I want food that kicks my gastrological senses into overdrive. I don't want nice food. I want food that holds my head to the plate and says, "I dare you to eat it, Food-boy." I want Klaus Kinski in the role of appetizer and a first course of Harvey Keitel on crack.

This is the Year of Eating Dangerously, and dear readers, I promise to be your point-man on the Gunship FieryTongue.

Happy New Year,