Sunday, January 30, 2005

Oh Kate, where are ye?

I came to thinking the other day, "What in the hell happened to Kate Bush? Where is she?". Kate Bush is one of my favorite musical artists and I own all of her albums. She released her last album, The Red Shoes, in 1994. It's been eleven years and I've never really bothered to find out what happened to her. I went online and discovered that in the last eleven years she has had a son and raised him. Good excuse. But I also discovered, to my merriment, that she will be releasing a new album in 2005. Outf'instanding! I'm really looking forward to it and I'm curious to see how eleven years has affected her voice.

This also got me to thinking about some of my other favorite female vocalists. I've decided to put together a list of 10 of my favorite female vocalists. These are singers that I think are amazingly talented and have truly beautiful voices. I will be excluding obvious choices such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Vaughan, Nina Simone, Etta James, Jessye Norman, and Kathleen Battle (and all other opera singers). The singers listed above have proven their talent and ability to the world, but it would not be fair to the rest of them. Here are 10 of my favorite singers in no particular order (based solely on their voices).

1. Joni Mitchell (Okay, this one is in order. Joni's voice is stunning and the her range in the early years was incomprensible.)
2. Sinead O'Connor (Say what you will about her, but her voice is amazing. Listen to The Lion and the Cobra and her range, passion, power, and subtlety will floor you.)
3. Bjork (Her solo stuff is great and everyone knows that she's got a dynamic range, but listen to Life's Too Good by the Sugarcubes and you'll scratch your head and say "Holy crap!".)
4. Kirsty MacColl (Truly underrated. She should have been a huge star, but her untimely death prevented any chance of that. An awesome live performer.)
5. Etta Jones (Sweet, soulful, and the definition of a female jazz vocalist. A powerhouse. Her version of "At Last" will make you weep.)
6. Annie Ross (A great female jazz vocalist. She's solo now, but used to be in Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. Imagine a female Tom Waits. She has a sexy smokiness to her voice.)
7. Kate Bush (Duh! Listen to the Hounds of Love and free your mind. Her vocal range is amazing!)
8. Buffy Sainte-Marie (Warm and comforting with mindblowing vibrato!)
9. Marianne Faithfull (Soulful and sexy.)
10. Jane Siberry (Another truly underrated performer.)
11. Kristen Hersh (Go back to her early days in the Throwing Muses and listen to House Tornado or Hunkpapa and you'll see why she's on this list.)
12. Sarah McLachlan (Simply a great vocalist. I used to be really into her, but I don't listen to her as much as I used to. The talent is still there, though.)
13. Tori Amos (Another amazing singer that I don't listen to much anymore. Her singing is truly passionate with power and subtlety.)
14. Laetitia Sadier (Soothing and warm. Her voice is comforting like a warm blanket. She's in Stereolab in case you don't know.)
15. Exene Cervenka (A punk priestess who can actually sing. Powerful and focused.)

Okay. I lied. That's fifteen. Sue me.

Today's wine recommendation- 2003 Parson's Flat $39.99
This big red is a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and comes from the Padthaway district in South Australia. It's made by the dynamic wine-making duo of Sarah and Sparky Marquis. The nose has impressive notes of blackberry, licorice, raspberry, and dark chocolate and it's laden with dripping black fruit on the palate with notes of anise, dark chocolate, and vanillin. This wine packs a whollop! Great stuff! Try with grilled lamb chops, short ribs, or venison with a blackberry sauce.

Until the next bottle...


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Letting go...

...of old concert T-shirts. There's this really great girl at work that's unbelievably cool. She's very talented in the artsy/creative/clothes designing sort of way. She said something about designing stuff with old concert T-shirts. I've got a closet full of them and I don't wear them anymore as most of them don't fit any more. I don't see myself doing much with them in the future and I figured this is a great opportunity to clean out the closet a bit. Although it makes perfect was still a little tough. The shirts brought back a lot of great memories (Bettie Serveert, Einsturzende Neubauten, X, Gary Numan, Bauhaus, the Damned, Stereolab, Midnight Oil, Sonic Youth, Geggy Tah, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, etc.). Those shirts represent a great time of my life. I could keep them and take up space...or I could be strong...and let them go. I didn't come to tears, but I did stop to reflect a bit. My concert-going has slowed down exponentially as my free- ticket and backstage pass days have long since disappeared. There was a time in my life when I used to go to at least a show a week (really). The college radio days are gone and I've gotten older. It takes a lot more to get me to go to a show these days. Partially, it's because there are far fewer shows worth seeing these days. Largely, though, it's "I have to work in the morning", "I just got out of work", "Tickets are how much?", "Who's opening?", "When do the doors open?", and most importantly, "Are there seats?". I've gotten to the age where I'd much rather sit for a show than get crushed up front by f'in 18 year old moshers and stage divers. I can still completely "rock out" from a sitting position. In fact, I think I'm more likely to capture that moment of musical bliss from a seated position. I'd prefer if I could see the stage, but as long as my ears are tuned in on an ethereal show it doesn't really matter anymore. I've been to literally hundreds of concerts, but I didn't buy many T-shirts. The shirts I bought were typically from favorite and bigger acts. Acts that meant something to me at the time. I've already gotten rid of a few shirts, but most of them were just worn out. I've also passed my days of "wearing concert Tees everyday" phase of life. I may whip one out on occasion. I might even be that lame guy that wears the shirt of the band he's going to see. But it's different now, as far as I'm concerned.

I went to see "X" about a year and half ago at the Emerald Theater. I wore my shirt from the "Hey Zeus" tour about 10 years prior. I saw a few "older" folks in the crowd with the same shirt. We gave each other a respectful nod and enjoyed one of punk's greatest bands reunited while the "new school punks" thrashed around to a band they've never heard or heard of before. Bloody f'in wankers! There was the obligatory mosh pit filled with a bunch of just-post-pubescent tossers spazzing around like epilectics on Ecstasy (no offense to epilectics). The type that slam-dance to Ashlee Simpson (she's so punk), Sum 41, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, and the rest of that drivelous shite. We old-schoolers could so kick your ass if wasn't for the effort involved and the beer we don't want to spill (there's no sense in being wasteful). (There was a similar scenario when I was at the Limelight in New York in 1994. In this case I noticed how Detroit moshers/slam-dancers were a lot tougher than New York moshers/slam-dancers. We Detroiters do have a reputation to uphold, you know.)Don't get me wrong...I listen to tons of new music, but the "new" punk is pure pablum. It's pop. It's poop. Luckily there are still some dinosaurs around (ie. Mission of Burma) to teach the youngsters a lession in "Shut the fuck up!".

Okay...I rambled a bit. Back to the T-shirts. So, I've officially retired many of my concert T-shirts like a pro-athlete retires his/her jersey. Does that make me a grown up? Don't be embarassed to be that guy/girl who wears the shirt of the band they're going to see. It officially makes you "old school" and allows you to sit down for a show. (Although, I was front row, two feet away from Billy Zoom for the "X" concert. It was "X" for chris'sake!) I still have my wicked-cool painted leather jacket from "back in the day". I'll hold on to that forever with the rest of my rock n' roll memories.

Today's wine recommendation- 2003 Clos de los Siete $14.99
This is an awesome blend of 40% malbec, 20% merlot, 20% cabernet sauvignon, and 20% syrah from Mendoza in Argentina. The project is managed by the wholly capable and talented Michel Rolland. The intriguing blend has a beautiful nose of blackberry, dark chocolate, violet, and pencil lead. This full-bodied red has expressive notes of blackberry, black currant, mineral, and espresso with subtle leather and loam. The tannins are firm and the finish is moderately long. This blockbuster red has lots of backbone and is a steal for it's very modest price. This is one of the few "inexpensive" reds that I think will hold up to long-term cellaring Buy at least a case and hold on to a few bottles for 5 or 10 years for a fun vinuous experiment.

Until the next bottle...

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Thaaaaaaaaaanks Johnny!

One of the true geniuses of the twentieth century died yesterday. Johnny Carson died at the age of 79. I will surely miss him. I truly believe that Johnny Carson was one of the great geniuses of our time. Not a genius in the vain of Einstein or Stephen Hawking, but a genius in the company of Jim Henson and Charles Schulz.

I grew up watching Johnny on the Tonight Show and also re-runs of the Best of Johnny Carson. His interview skills will never be rivalled and his humor will always be remembered. I haven't watched the Tonight Show since Jay Leno took over. It's not funny. I may tune in on random occasion to see a specific guest or guest band, but I can't watch the whole thing. It's painful. I used to watch the Tonight Show just to watch the Tonight Show. I enjoy Conan O'Brien and will watch a whole episode and occasionally David Letterman, but I can't sit through a whole Tonight Show anymore. As much talent as Letterman and Conan may have, they will never touch the genius of Johnny Carson.

Johnny appealed to everyone. He was a gracious interviewer with a quick wit. He could relate to celebrities just as well as "regular" people with potato chip collections. His sketches were funny, especially if he was in them. I'll never forget such great characters as Floyd R. Turbo, Granny, and Carnac (The answers have been hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnell's porch). His moments with Jack Hanna were priceless. It's funny, I was actually thinking about him the other day and how no one will ever claim the late-night throne from the king. He was apparently a very private person off the set, which is something to respect. I didn't grow up watching Steve Allen or Jack Parr, I grew up watching Johnny, and I'm sure glad I did. He was one of the funniest people in America with broad appeal. He was everything that television should be...respectful, smart, funny, and ENTERTAINING! I mentioned before that I've met a lot of celebrities, but one of the highlights was meeting Doc Severensen. The chemistry between Doc, Ed, Tommy Newsome, and Johnny was electric. The chemistry was special and real. No one has been able to capture that since and I don't know that anyone will. Johnny did his last broadcast in 1992, but his memory will live on forever as all of the current late-night hosts will rightfully nod with respect to the ONLY one that really mattered.

The final curtain may have closed on the life of Johnny Carson, but his legacy will live on in the hearts of millions. I hope that there's a golf-course wherever he is. Thanks for the laughs. Thanks for the memories. We'll miss you, Johnny.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Australia: Day One...

As requested I'm going to write about my Australia trip in more detail. So here's how it begins...

Sunday, October 5, 2003
My parents drove down from Caseville just so they could drive me to the airport. They knew how much I'd always wanted to go to Australia and were quite proud. I got there with plenty of time to spare. I don't want to take any chances on a huge international trip. I get checked-in, wave goodbye to my parents, and wait in line at the X-ray machine. It takes a while because of the new higher security and I've got to take my boots off. I decided to wear the boots on the plane so I'd have more room in my luggage. This makes things more difficult at security points, but it makes everything else easier. So I get past security and find my gate. Did I mention that I'm flying Northwest? I've got a few hours to spare so I find a bar and begin my vacation with a couple of beers (which will be a common theme throughout the trip). I figure that I've spent enough on airport beers and find a seat at the gate. I've got a book to read (Crush by Max Allen) so I'm good for a while. Okay, the flight was supposed to leave at 7:28PM and arrive in LA at 9:28PM. My Qantas flight was supposed to leave LA at 11:45PM. It's 7:30 PM in Detroit and there's no plane yet. Another half hour goes by and still no plane. Turns out the great folks at Northworst Airlines can't find the plane. How can you not find a f'in jet? I'm starting to stress out big-time because I don't want to miss my Qantas flight. The Northworst flight finally leaves about two hours late. I'm paranoid for the entire length of the flight. The entire flight takes place in darkness and all I get is a shitty sandwich and a glimpse of the Vegas lights. I finally deboard and have to figure out where I'm going. My checked luggage was supposed to be put on the Qantas plane and I didn't have time to worry about that (it made it, luckily). Turns out that LAX is shaped like a horseshoe. Turns out that my arrival was at one end and I had to get to the other end (the longest distance possible). I didn't see any straight line. You can't walk/run the distance indoors either. You've got to do the entire thing on the sidewalk (none of those fancy moving sidewalks). I had two carry-ons and I'm out of shape. I had about 40 minutes until my flight was supposed to leave. It took forever, but I finally arrived at the international (Qantas) terminal sweating and completely out of breath.

I find the Qantas check-in and they were very accomodating. I had another security check in and then I was on my way to the gate. Luckily the terminal was pretty empty. I made it to the gate with about 30 minutes to spare. I'm sweating and panting and about to meet some of my co-travelers for the first time. That's always a great first impression. I'm looking around for anyone with a sign, but to no avail. The gate is packed as the flight is full. Luckily I'm wearing my "Got Wine?" T-shirt and I'm approached by a few people wondering if we're in the same group. Yup. The first people I met were Brittney from San Diego (retail), Trudy from Chicago (restaurant/corporate buyer), and Nathan from Phoenix (retail). My first impression was, "Cool. I'm gonna love these people." We talked for a while and we were all obviously very excited. The plane boards and we're not sitting next to each other, but that's cool. Qantas is an awesome, amazing airline! The amazingly attentive flight crew were the most professional I've seen since Swiss Air many years ago. Great job guys! They've got to be good because the flight is BRUTAL! Don't ever get a window seat for the LONGEST DIRECT FLIGHT ON EARTH! I learned that the hard way. I always loved the window seat when I was a kid, but that was when my ass had plenty of room to move around in the seat. Times, like my ass, have changed. The couple sitting next to me were Australian (he was an Aussie rules football player and the entire team was on the plane). They played some sort of exhibition game in LA or something. They were nice enough, but slept an awful lot. I cannot sleep on a plane! I was up for all 16 hours. I didn't want to wake them up if I had to go to the bathroom. I'd grab any opportunity to get up and walk around or go to the loo when they were both awake. We had a fine dinner, a snack bag filled with goodies, and a fantastic breakfast (by airline standards). The cool thing about Qantas in economy class is that there are flat screen moniters in all the seats. We could watch all sorts of movies, shows, videos, or play video games. I played a bit of Tetris. Any distraction helps when you're trapped in an aluminum tube being hurled through the air. I also did the recommended leg excercises in my seat so that I may not get a blood clot and die. You can also watch the progress of your flight on a map on the moniter. That was pretty neat. We flew very close to Hawaii, but I didn't see anything. The fantastic flight crew had three uniform changes during the flight. Classy! Turns out that you don't fly over ANYTHING when you fly to Sydney. Just water. In the dark. Nothing to look at except for the very rare ship light. We flew for about 14 hours in complete darkness. The sun started to come out as we approached Australia, but there was still nothing but water. The blinding blue was a nice change from the black, though. We finally reach Sydney and the very cool and competent pilot did a loop around the Sydney so that everyone on the plane can get a view of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 7, 2003
We land in Sydney at approximately 7:30AM on Tuesday. What?!?!? That Internationl Date Line thing is kind of confusing. I deboard the plane stiff and tired, but excited as hell. I finally made it to Australia. I couldn't believe that I finally made it to the continent of my dreams. I go through customs and find Jan (the amazing and very able President of the Australian Wine Bureau). She leads me to our bus and I finally get to meet the rest of the crew. Philippa (the amazing organizer of the trip from the AWB), Sara from Ocean City, MD (retail), Shayn from Seattle (sommelier), Nichole from San Francisco (restaurant), Eric from Tampa (sommelier), Tim from San Fran (wine writer and music attorney), and Jordan (wine writer). I picked up right away that this was going to be a fantastic group of people. We took the bus from the airport to our hotel in The Rocks district (with a very friendly tour guide pointing things out and giving us a brief history lesson of the city). We were staying at the Holiday Inn in The Rocks. It was very nice and I really liked my room with great view of George Street. We had a few hours to ourselves and they recommended that we do not take a nap as it may screw us up. I settled into the room and took a shower and got out of my nasty flight clothes. I felt so refreshed. Now it was time to conquer Sydney!

I stepped out of the hotel and made my way down George Street. It was cool and sunny outside. Very refreshing. October in Australia is Spring. Our hotel was just about a block away from Circular Quay and the most amazing view of the Opera House on the right and the Sydney Harbour Bridge on the left. Wow!!! The Opera House is really breathtaking when you get to see it in person. What a perfect day! There's lots of water traffic in the harbour (mostly the big yellow harbour ferries that dock at Circular Quay). I took a bunch of pictures and then wandered around the historic The Rocks district. I found a nice little cafe and ordered a "short black" (espresso). Wow! This is better than any espresso I ever had in the U.S., I thought. It was my intention to buy some opals for a couple of friends while I was in Australia. I didn't know if I'd have the opportunity later in the trip, so I figured I'd better jump on it now while I had a little time. Luckily I found any amazing opal shop called Flame Opals on George Street. I found a couple of really nice items for my friends that were somewhat affordable and made the purchase. The saleslady was the most professional that I've ever encountered. Amazing customer service! What a great country! They had some truly amazing opals that were way out my price range (solid opals that were over $100,000). I wandered around some more and found the oldest pub in Sydney and took a picture.

I had to meet back at the hotel around noon and we then took taxis to Nielsen Park Kiosk at Vaucluse for lunch and a wine-tasting. We didn't have time to go to the Hunter Valley so the winemakers came to see us. We had a really nice tasting and an amazingly fresh lunch that included some great local oysters on the halfshell with lime. They also had some fantastic smoked salmon (smoked that day on the premises). Nielsen Park Kiosk primarily serves Italian food, but we had quite a selection of seafood, beef, pasta, and salad. Also a very nice homemade gelato. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day. We were right there by the beach and had a great view. It was heavenly and the perfect welcome to Australia. After lunch Michael Hope from Hope Estate Winery and a rep from Pikes Winery volunteered to drive us to Watson's Bay for some beer. We sampled some of the local wares including Coopers and Cascadian. We sat there for a couple of hours enjoying each others company and the hospitality of our hosts while the sun was slightly setting on the beatitul harbour. The view we had from our outdoor table at Watson's Bay was stunningly surreal. This is the first time on the trip that we had to relax together and get to know each other a bit. It was fantastic. It was time to head out and we were able to get a water taxi to go back to the hotel. Sydney is sprawled out across a very large and winding harbour. It's actually sometimes quicker to get around by boat than drive. The sun was setting and the view of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge was absolutely breathtaking. The boat captain/driver was kind enough to occasionally stop for us so we could take pictures. The colors in the sky behind the Opera house were indescribable. Heavenly! The boat docked about a block from our hotel and we had the evening free so we had to come up with a game-plan. Nichole went off on her own to go on a guided ghost tour of Sydney and Shayn went to see a production at the Opera House with his girlfriend (she flew in with us, but then went out on her own until she met up with him later to go to the Great Barrier Reef). The rest of decided to walk around and find a place to eat. We walked around a for quite some time as no one was being very decisive and we settled on a nice Chinese/Malay restaurant. We shared some appetizers while we chatted and enjoyed some beer and wine. It was a nice bonding experience and we had shared a great afternoon together. I was having a ball. We started to head back to the hotel, but then Sara and Tim and I decided it was too early to retire and we found a nice pub and had a few beers together. My stress from the Northwest flight of course had completely dissapated at this point and I was fully relaxed. We returned to the Holiday Inn and called it a night. I still couldn't fall asleep as I was high on adrenaline so I watched a little Aussie TV in my room (and a little South Park). We had to meet in the lobby at 8:00AM, Wednesday morning to have the world's greatest breakfast...
(to be continued)


It's chilly. Let's have some chili...

This is going to be a short one. I haven't posted in the last few days as I've been dang tired.

I must say that this has been almost a true Michigan winter. It's been pretty darn cold and we've gotten a fair amount of snow this year. It seems like we've gotten a lot more of the white stuff this year than we have been. Although it snowed last year I think it snowed fewer times and stuck around longer because of the cold. I think we've had more active snow days which just makes it seem like a real winter.

I mad a big-ass pot of chili the other day. I'm thinking of naming it "Asses Ablaze Chili" or "Assquatch". I've been toying with the idea of using the word "Assquatch" for something, but I've discovered that it's already been trademarked. Damn! I don't follow any recipe for the chili and it's a little different every time, but it's always good and HOT! I didn't think it was that hot until I offered some to someone once and they started to tear up. Sometimes I'll tear up myself and develop a runny nose. The meat ingredients always change, but I always use lots of spices. This batch was not quite as hot as usual, but tasty enough. Some of the things I did use were cumin seeds, cumin, 4 jalepenos, guajillo chili powder, arbol chili powder, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, chili powder, Sambal Olek, a dozen cloves of garlic, 2 chipotle peppers, adobo, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, beef stock, lime juice, black beans, a large onion, a whole green pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, and Valrhona chocolate. Good stuff but it makes for a brutal week.

Dubya was sworn in again today. That really sucks! A lot!

My parents informed me that my aunt in Switzerland has been reading my blog. Apparently she's requested more details about Australia. I've decided to write about my trip in detail. I'm going to write about it one day at a time, but I'm going to space each day out a bit. I'll post about Day One tomorrow morning/afternoon.

Some of my good friends are leaving for a cruise on Saturday. I'd like to wish them an amazing and safe trip. Enjoy the sun, y'all.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Random stuff and the top 75 songs to dance to...

I hope that everyone had a great Martin Luther King Day. I know that a lot of people had the day off. No such luck for me.

I watched the first half of the Ken Burns special on Jack Johnson (the first black heavyweight boxing champion) on PBS tonight. It was very well done. I can't wait to watch the second half tomorrow.

I went out to dinner last night with friends in Livonia and afterward we decided to stop by the new Caribou Coffee that just opened. It was empty except for one person when we got there. We were eyeing the comfortable couch seating by the fireplace as we placed our order, when all of a sudden three young college-aged girls came in and sat down in the couch area. One of them had a Starbucks coffee in her hand and the other two didn't order anything in the approximately 45 minutes they were there. I'm sorry, but those girls deserve to be slapped. It was a good thing Bruce Banner wasn't there.

I also noticed last night that it was a beautiful, clear, starry night. I don't notice that much these days. The Big Dipper was right there ready for me to grab so that I might ladle something. I often forget how much it sucks to live near the big city because of light pollution. I really haven't noticed the night sky since I was in Coonawarra gazing at the Southern Cross. It was kind of odd in the southern hemisphere in that I would look for the Big Dipper as a reference point, but it wasn't there.

There's been more terrorism talk and fear mongering in the news lately. The latest paranoia is that terrorists may place bombs in limos during the Presidential inauguration. The experts attribute this to the fact that they're big and have tinted glass. I hope that only one limo blows up, if you know what I mean.

I caught a little downhill ski racing on CBC late last night from Wengen (Winterthur) in Switzerland. That was fun. I'm not a skier (I went cross-country skiing once in Oregon), but I love to watch ski racing. My mom and I always had a special bond watching cooking shows or ski racing when I was a kid. Being Swiss, I've always been a big fan of the Swiss skiers. The sound of cowbells cheering the locals on is always invigorating. They were hitting speeds of over 150km/hr! That's insane! There was a Swiss skier whose first name I didn't catch, but his last name was Zurbriggen. He must the son of Pirmin Zurbriggen (one of the greatest downhill skiers of all time and my personal favorite). It was fun to watch as the only skiing I've seen in the last few years has been at the Winter Olympics.

Okay. Here it is. Here is a list of the top 75 songs to dance to "back in the day". I certainly don't listen to as much goth and industrial as I used to (with exceptions), but these are the songs that either made me want to dance or even actually do it. These songs stick out from my years of hanging out at 3-D and the Sardine Bar. My friend, the infamous DJ Davo, was responsible for my occasional lapses in judgement. I loved to dance, but didn't have the energy to dance all night like my friend Kathleen. ;) However, any of these songs may have prompted me to get my ass out on the floor and make a fool of myself. Here are 75 songs in no particular order...

1. Swamp Thing - Chameleons
2. Can U Dig It? - Pop Will Eat Itself
3. Cocaine Sex - Renegade Soundwave
4. Theme From S Express - S Express
5. Pump Up the Volume - M/A/R/R/S
6. The Queen Is Dead - Smiths
7. Join In the Chant - Nitzer Ebb
8. Headhunter - Front 242
9. Marian - Sisters of Mercy
10. Killing Joke - Eighties
11. Sex Dwarf - Soft Cell
12. Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling
13. Wonderful Life - Black
14. Atmosphere - Joy Division
15. Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
16. Dead Souls - Joy Division
17. Transmission - Joy Division
18. This Corrosion - Sisters of Mercy
19. Warlock - Skinny Puppy
20. Moonchild - Fields of the Nephilim
21. Crucify Me - MOEV
22. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Specimen
23. I Walk the Line - Alien Sex Fiend
24. Beating My Head - Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry
25. Don't Go - Yaz
26. Desperate, But Not Serious - Adam and the Ants
27. Madam Butterfly - Malcolm McLaren
28. Let Me Go - Heaven 17
29. Fascination - Human League
30. Thieves - Ministry
31. Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
32. Cuts You Up - Peter Murphy
33. Promise - OMD
34. Assimilate - Skinny Puppy
35. Red Right Hand - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
36. Stigmata Martyr - Bauhaus
37. Sound and Vision - David Bowie
38. Dogs of Lust - The The
39. Don't Fall - Chameleons
40. Eloise - The Damned
41. The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight - Dominatrix
42. Supernaut - 1000 Homo DJs
43. Every Day is Halloween - Ministry
44. Burning Inside - Ministry
45. Pretty in Pink - Psychedelic Furs
46. Love My Way - Psychedelic Furs
47. This Is Not a Love Song - Public Image Limited
48. Christine - Siouxsie and the Banshees
49. Spellbound - Siouxsie and the Banshees
50. Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want - Smiths
51. What Difference Does It Make? - Smiths
52. I Got You - Split Enz
53. Suck - Pigface
54. Fuck It Up - Pigface
55. I Sit On Acid - Lords of Acid
56. Virus - KMFDM
57. Whisper To a Scream - Icicle Works
58. I Love the World - New Model Army
59. Alice - Sisters of Mercy
60. 1969 - Sisters of Mercy
61. Go! - Tones on Tail
62. Ball of Confusion - Love and Rockets
63. I Wanna Be Adored - Stone Roses
64. Dawnrazor - Fields of the Nephilim
65. You Spin Me - Dead or Alive
66. Sing, Sing, Sing - Benny Goodman
67. This Corrosion - Sisters of Mercy
68. Black Planet - Sisters of Mercy
69. A Daisy Chain 4 Satan - Thrill Kill Kult
70. Down in the Park - Gary Numan
71. Cars - Gary Numan
72. Lips Like Sugar - Echo and the Bunnymen
73. Don't You Forget About Me - Simple Minds
74. Let's Dance - David Bowie
75. Naked Rain - This Picture

There's a lot more songs that deserve to be on this list, but these are the ones that came to me pretty quickly. It could be a lot bigger if I put more thought into it. I used to dance to this stuff "back in the day", or I'd at least drink to it. Who am I kidding? I mostly drank to it. I probably covered Kimmy, Tammy, Michael, and John's bills with my tips. Those were fun days. I'd probably have a lot more money today if I hadn't gone clubbing, but I met a lot of wonderful people and had a ball.
Tip your bartender!

Today's wine recommendation- Bass Ale (a tip of the hat to the 3-D days)


Friday, January 14, 2005

I accept your challenge...

Okay, here's another survey/poll. Julie challenged me to fill it out and I accept her challenge. (Imagine the sound of a glove being slapped across a face.)

1. Jason
2. Jayce (A lot of people call me this, but I’m not really fond of name shortening or nicknames.)
3. Jay (Same thing.)

1. I pretty much just use my hotmail account, which is essentially my name.
2. My AOL name is mercyseat1972, but I don’t really use my AOL account for e-mail.
3. I’ve used badseed72 a few times.

1. I’m funny (at least I hope I am).
2. I’m honest, if not blunt.
3. I can dress myself.

1. I’m fat.
2. I spend too much money on frivolous things (ie. food/wine, music, movies). But it’s so much fun.
3. Although my self-confidence has increased exponentially, I’m still too shy when it comes to matters of the heart.

1. George W. Bush
2. the religious right
3. tee-totalers

1. Some sort of food-stuff so that I may eat and henceforth live another day.
2. Music
3. TV

1. “Guinness” lounge pants
2. A white T-shirt
3. Black socks

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
2. Joy Division
3. Ride

1. “Atmosphere” –Joy Division
2. “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”-Them
3. “Tupelo”-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

1. Exercising (nah…)
2. Looking for a new job. (Still in the wine business, though.)
3. Asking someone out on a date.

(got 'em)
1. Love
2. Humor
3. A best friend

1. I like milk. A lot.
2. I’ve starred in Danish mustache fetish porn.
3. I bite my nails.

1. I’m a “face” person. A whole combination of things come together.
2. A nice smile.
3. Paler skin and light make-up. I’m not a big fan of excessive tanning, excessive make-up, or excessively treated hair. Keep it simple and natural.

1. Cooking
2. Reading “foodie” books
3. Music/movie collecting

1. Australia
2. Switzerland
3. China

1. Go to Australia and enjoy everything it has to offer.
2. Pull a “Norma Rae” at work this week.
3. Go to bed (it’s late).

1. Go to Australia and enjoy everything it has to offer.
2. Blow a bubble. Damn it I’ve tried, but then again I very rarely chew gum.
3. I can’t blink my left eye shut (unless I shut both of them). I can only blink the right one shut. It’s a good thing I don’t like shooting things as my affliction may hinder me from hitting them (unless I wear an eye-patch). There’s something to be said for pirate fashion, though.

(Any kids? Kids I know? I’ll go with kids I know.)
1. Diego
2. Timmy
3. Mary Cate

1. See Ayers Rock (Uluru) in person.
2. See another sunset in Coonawarra.
3. Have sex again.

1. I belch.
2. I fart.
3. I tell dirty jokes.

1. I love the theatre.
2. I’m not good at fixing stuff.
3. I’ll cry during movies and some TV shows(the last episode of MASH and especially the one where Colonel Blake dies)

1. Julie Delpy
2. Milla Jovovich
3. Audrey Tautou

1. Perl
2. Don Knapp
3. Siegfried (of “Siegfried and Roy”)


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Something to look forward to (if you've got nothing to look forward to)...

I was reading my friend Kathleen's blog and her post about 3-D. Good stuff. I have great memories of 3-D and I'll post more on that subject some other time. I just really dug a few of the analogies in her post...
ie. "faster than Celebration will get white people on the dance floor at a wedding"
and "anything by New Order would get me off the dance floor faster than the Hustle at a wedding"
Well said. I spent a lot of time and a lot of money at 3-D, especially on Wednesdays. I probably paid for Tammy and Kimmy's cars. I had a really high tolerance back then. It's still pretty high, but I'm fatter now. The Sardine Bar was another hangout for a while. Both 3-D and the Sardine Bar had the amazing Davo DJ'ing. Those were good times. I met a lot of great people at 3-D. I run into people occasionally, but the biggest mystery is the disappearance of Cheryl. We actually laid on the floor(the nasty, vile, sticky, disgusting 3-D dance floor) once during "Bela Lugosi's Dead". We were having a ball as we both wanted to do it for a while. It was a Wednesday, and there wasn't anyone there to judge us. The people there were regulars and understood "our moment". Then the frat/sorority-type assholes came in and ruined everything. They thought it would be fun to bounce and pogo around us. They were fucking wrong. Wretched bilious heathens!

I'll post more about 3-D and the Sardine Bar some other time. I think I'll come up with another "Top Songs" list. This one will be the best songs to dance to at 3-D and the Sardine Bar. Remind me.

I watch a lot of TV in my spare time. I get home from work later than the average person and my social life is rather limited by this. I also don't have the energy to go clubbing like I used to. It's fun on occasion, but then I just feel old and out of place. I have gone to City Club a few times in the last few years and the average age is about 12. All they play is Marilyn Manson and some other random new-goth crappola. Thank goodness for the "moving picture box". I have two things to look forward to this week on TV...
Although I'm not a sci-fi ubergeek I do tip my hat to it occassionally. I'm a huge fan of the orignal Battlestar Galactica and I even have the DVD set. I watched it throughout childhood and even to the present in syndication. Yeah, it was the seventies...the hair and the costumes reflected it, but I loved it. Sci-Fi channel aired a "new" Battlestar Galactica mini-series several months ago. It was clearly a different take on the original, but intriguing enough to make me want to watch the new series that starts this Friday. I'll be working at the restaurant, so I'd better remember to tape it. I'll probably give up on it eventually as I'm sure it'll eventually piss me off. I hope it doesn't suck.

I'm also looking forward to the new Iron Chef America on Food Network. It starts Sunday. I'm a massive fan of the original Japanese version. They did one later with William Shatner and Todd English (chef) in Vegas. I hate Todd English. Talk about ego. They did another version later with Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, and Mario Batali as the Iron Chefs and Alton Brown was a commentator. This version was slightly respectable as I like all of them except for Bobby Flay (ego again). From what I can tell this new American version will remain fairly true to the original Japanese production. I have high hopes for it as I caught a glimpse of Rick Bayless as a challenger. Rick Bayless is chef/owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo in Chicago. He's an amazing chef (and his margaritas kick ass)! He's a James Beard Award winner and he closes the restaurants for a week every year and takes his entire staff to Oaxaca in Mexico to pick up techniques and skills from the locals. How cool is that?!? He really worried me last year when I saw him in a Burger King commercial. WTF!?!? Did he sell his soul? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as I have so much respect for him as a chef/educator. Hopefully the new series will be worth watching. I spend half my time watching the Food Network anyway.

Today's wine recommendation- 2002 Borja Tres Picos Garnacha $15.99
This Spanish grenache is pretty damn good for sixteen bucks. It's got nice color for a grenache (they're often pretty light in color, although they're getting pretty extracted these days in Spain and Australia). A rich nose of strawberries, tart cherry, and chocolate dominates and it's fairly dense on the palate with dark cherry, raspberry, milk chocolate, and subtle cigar box/cedary spice. Damn fine stuff. Try with some grilled lamb chops or a pork roast stuffed with lots of garlic.

Until the next bottle...

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"Did you hear the one about the drunken Irishman?"...

I don't know what the hell to post about. Should I not bother posting? I did a hear a couple of songs from the new Marianne Faithfull album on WDET just now. They sounded amazing. Glen blogged about it earlier and he gave it a thumbs up. I'm REALLY looking forward to it after hearing those two songs.

I posted a poll the other day regarding who the uglier singer is...Lemmy or Shane MacGowan? I've only gotten two replies thus far and it's a tie. Speaking of Shane MacGowan I finally got a DVD copy of If I Should Fall From Grace. It's essentially a documentary/biography of Shane MacGowan with excerpts of live shows and videos. It's really something else. I'm a huge Pogues/Shane MacGowan fan and I was fully aware that Shane is a full-on raging alcoholic. But I was taken aback when I saw how bad it really is. Like...holy shit! There was not a single bit of sober interview footage. None. I'm amazed that his wife is still with him. She says that it wouldn't be the same without alcohol. Yeah, she might understand a word that he's saying. It's amazing how such a hardcore perpetual staggering drunk could be such an AMAZING songwriter. Check out the DVD. It's pretty cool. If you thought you knew how bad a drinker he is, you have no idea until you see this.

I picked up the re-issues of Red Roses for Me and If I Should Fall From Grace With God at Glen's the other day. I'm waiting for Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, Peace and Love, and Hell's Ditch to come in. I also picked up a mini box-set from Magazine, a Nina Simone 2 CD anthology, the new Los Lonely Boys, some Yo Yo Ma, a Nick Cave EP, the newest Flogging Molly, and a few other random things.

The new computer system is still being implemented at work. Oy.

Today's wine recommendation- Casta Diva ($35ish for 500ml)
I don't remember what vintage we're currently selling or the exact price (I actually post at home, not from work), but it's damn good. Cast Diva is a fortified muscat from the Alicante region of Spain and it's been one of my favorite dessert wines for years. It has a golden straw color and a beautiful nose of honey, pineapple, white flowers, and marmalade. It has gobs of honey, pineapple, apricot, marmalade, and subtle marzipan on the palate. The finish sails on and on. Try this nectar of the gods with a homemade pineapple meringue pie or with a custard flan with caramelized pineapple.

Until the next bottle...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

In the voice of comic book guy, "Best meal ever!"...

I was sorting through some things the other day and came across a copy of a menu from a couple years ago. I went to Chicago for my 30th birthday with my best friend. I only had one dinner reservation and I also had a goal to go to one of a short list of other restaurants. I went to all of them. We had a nice meal at Bin 36, a good meal at Spiaggia for lunch, an amazing meal at Blackbird, nice tapas and wine at Emilio's, and great lunch at Frontera Grill (best margaritas ever!) all interspersed with random drinking. The best single dish I've ever eaten was actually at Blackbird. Just imagine a 12 hour braised pork belly with fava beans. Absolutely, utterly, skullfuckingly orgasmic! Sorry if that's too vulgar, but it was insanely good. Plus, if you remember, it's my New Year's resolution to swear more and more creatively. Sorry. I heard about the place a couple years before that when the chef was one of Food and Wine magazine's top 10 New Chefs of the Year. He's was also a James Beard award nominee. Well worth the visit. I've also since turned on some foodies to the joint and they are in full agreement. But then there's Trio.

I heard about Trio from the same friends that I turned on to Blackbird. Trio is a small restaurant located in Evanston and it's attached to a sort of hotel/inn. It has apparently recently undergone changes and they have a new chef and pastry chef and have made it a more casual concept. They have changed the name to Trio Atelier and it has become a more accesible culinary destination. Grant Achatz was the chef when I was there. I had also read about it in Food and Wine at one point. Before becoming executive chef at Trio Mr. Achatz was sous-chef at the world famous French Laundry in Napa. Mr. Achatz has also worked under Charlie Trotter, Nobu Matsuhisa (!), Daniel Boulud(!), Alan Wong, and FERRAND ADRIA (!!!!!!) and Martin Berasategui in Spain before working under Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. He was only 27 when he took the job at Trio.I made a reservation at Trio a few weeks in advance for a Tuesday night. We made our reservation early as it was going to be a long night. We got there a little early so we sat in a lounge area of the inn waiting for the restaurant to open. While we were waiting I swear that George Wendt walked by wearing a T-shirt and shorts. He was apparently staying there. It was going to be a long night because I signed us up for the 20 course "Tour de Force Tasting Menu". My friend is actually not a big eater, but I really wanted to do the 20 courses and everyone at the table has to do it. I helped her out. The portions were small. Really. I also decided to pay the extra fee and have wines paired with the meal. The wines were good and fairly inventive pairings, but I don't remember them as well as I remember the meal. I do remember having Lillet, a sake, Chartreuse, Madeira, Sancerre, a Spanish red, etc...

So here's the menu (actually 21 courses)...

Watermelon-Smoky Paprika Ice
Ice Cream Sandwich (extra virgin olive oil ice cream with parmesan cookies)
Shaved Bottarga
"Bloody Mary" vodka mist (a crazy deconstructed bloody mary with worchetsershire gelee, horseradish foam, celery ice, tomato concasse, and spritzed at the table with vodka)
Black Truffle Explosion (An insanely good open-faced ravioli that explodes in the mouth when eaten properly. The server tells you how to eat each course, as per the chefs instructions.)
Sherry Vinegar Sorbet basil, oranges
Sashimi of Fluke flavors of the sea
"Oysters and Beer"
Maine Lobster with Rosemary Vapor (Okay. Imagine butter-poached lobster in a bowl that is set inside a larger bowl that is filled with rosemary. Now imagine the server pouring hot water into the larger bowl. The aroma of the rosemary while eating the lobster is intoxicating. Insane!)
Spoons (four different spoons with different gelees on each)
Atlantic Spotted Skatewing mango, popcorn coulis, curry (the coulis was actually made from POPCORN!!!)
Mole of California Squab chilies, chocolate, seeds (WTF?!?!?! Insane! Okay, try to wrap your brain around this one. On one side of the plate is the squab, the seeds and chilies are in the middle, and on the right is an upside-down martini glass. There is a homeade chocolate sauce on top (the bottom) of the martini glass. Underneath the martini glass is a heated stone with more seeds and chilies on top of it. The server lifts the glass and drizzles the chocolate in the center of the plate with the seeds and chilies. The aroma of the heated seeds and chilies is released by lifting the glass. WTF?!?!?!? Insane and insanely good!)
Spice Water (It's a shooter. It was spiced water with a hazelnut foam.)
Elysian Fields Farm Lamb wild blackberry, beets, anise, red wine
Grilled Ribeye of Prime Beef matsuake mushrooms, soy
Icy Wildflower Honey-Hyssop Broth
Pushed Foie Gras Anjou pears, sauternes, salt roasted pear sorbet
Sparkling Rhubarb Parfait ginger soda, oat wafer (using a straw)
Tea Smoked Chocolate crystallized nori, Asian plums
Sweet Corn Ice Cream candied tomatoes, toasted corn bisquit
Soymilk Panna Cotta arugula

Unfrickin' believable! This guy is a culinary genius! Nuff said! Every course was mind-blowing. I guess he's opening his own restaurant soon in the Lincoln Park suburb of Chicago soon. You only turn 30 once! This was hands-down the best meal of my life. I dropped a gigantic wad, but it was worth it.

Today's wine recommendation... The only thing that can follow that is a Pabst.

Until the next bottle...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

God bless Canada...

I went out to dinner with a good friend and we always seem to end up in a rut. It seems that it always come down to a choice of about 5 places. We usually end up in the Livonia/Northville area because it's "comfortable". Don't get me wrong, we've eaten all over the place, but we've fallen into a boring rut. A new place opened on Haggerty in Livonia so we figured we'd give it a go. I'm generally very skeptical of concept chain restaurants (especially when 2 other concepts owned by the same company open next door). They're about to open a seafood place (Mitchell's Seafood Market) and just opened an Italian place (I've already heard negative reports). The place we ended up at is called The Claddagh. It's an Irish pub/restaurant concept. It's also normally a stupid idea to eat at a new restaurant in the first few weeks. I'll have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn't fantastic or anything, but it was pretty good for a chain. It's certainly higher end and better than Bennigan's. Mind you, Bennigan's is barely a step above Denny's. At least they have booze. It's obvious that a lot of money has been spent on The Claddagh to make it look authentic, which means it looks really faux. It doesn't have the character of the smaller independently owned Irish pub/restaurants, but it'll do. Considering the length of time the place has been open things seemed to be running pretty smoothly. We had a short wait at the bar before we were seated. Our waitress was good and efficient. Not bad for a new restaurant. The food was pretty good too. I don't expect much from a chain Irish place, but the food was respectable. Sure, they had stupid names for things and offered the most Irish of all appetizers...calamari. I had some decent smoked salmon for an appetizer and a fair cup of potato soup. Their "signature" dish was fish and chips. I haven't had fish and chips in years. It's hard to find good fish and chips in Michigan and it's not something I usually order. I must admit that the fish and chips were pretty damn good. Fish and chips have a certain "comfort food" character to them. I was truly satisfied. They even offer Crosse & Blackwell Malt Vinegar on the table. Nice touch. The bread pudding with whiskey sauce was fair. They have a pretty nice selection of Irish whiskey including Jameson's 18yr and Midleton's. My biggest and only real complaint is that their Guinness is COLD. In their efforts to authenticate everything they missed the most important detail. Turn off the refrigeration. Idiots.

When I got home I plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV. I was flipping through the channels occasionally resting on one for a few minutes. There was a movie on channel 9 (CBC) that intrigued me. Unfortunately I found it in it's last half hour. It was a movie about curling called Men With Brooms. I think it must be the curling equivalent of Rocky/Slapshot/Major League/Kingpin/Dodgeball: The Movie. It even had Leslie Nielson in it. Why didn't anyone tell me there was a comedy film out curling on? For those of you non-Canadians and those who don't live in the Detroit area here's a link on curling.

I often take for granted that I live near an international border. I moved back to Michigan in 1987 and discovered CBC Television. I didn't have cable until I got my own place, so it was a pretty big thing to have another channel from another country. There were great international films on Saturday nights and I had early exposure to The Kids in the Hall and Canadian humor. Living in the Detroit area you can actually legally drink at the age of 19. You just have to drive to Canada. Detroiters get a head start on the club scene as there are tons of nightclubs in Windsor whose whole subsistence depends on American teenagers. Ah, the memories...of overpriced Labatt and watered down drinks. Good times. Good times. The place I used to frequent most often is the now-defunct Don Cherry's (named after the crazily-cuffed Canadian hockey announcer/commentator). Windsor's a great city with lots of great restaurants. One of my favorite restaurants in the Detroit/Windsor area, Alan Manor, closed recently. It was an outstanding Turkish/French restaurant located in an old "house of ill repute". The owner is also an actor who used to have his own CBC series. Perhaps the greatest benefit of living in the Detroit area was living within CBC Windsor's broadcast radius. Not only did I get to watch The Kids in the Hall, but I also got to watch Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. These shows rocked! They were about "real" teen life. A lot more real than My So-Called Life (a fine show). Characters like Spike, Caitlin, Joey, Snake, Wheels, Lucy, the twins, and Yick mesmerized me. I have to admit that I had a huge crush on Spike and Caitlin. The shows followed the same ensemble cast from junior high to high school touching on the subjects of AIDS, abortion, drugs, alcohol, abuse, teen pregnancy, vandalism, political demonstration, run-aways, stealing, and goth suicide (Claude shot himself in the Degrassi Hish boy's room). I loved it because there were goth kids and kids in Pogues t-shirts. There were ISSUES. I just found out the greatest news recently. Degrassi Junior High-Season 1 is going to be released on DVD in February. I may be a dork, but I'm looking forward to it. I'll tell you about my trip to Windsor for a Canadian Politics class some other time. It's pretty insane. All that I'll say for now is that it involved the Mayor of Windsor, a silver plated cow chip, naked women, a Windsor City Council meeting, peeing in traffic (not me), Tunnel Barbeque, and lots of beer. I love Canada!

Tomorrow I'll try to post on my best meal ever.

Today's wine recommendation- 2003 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling $23.99
This great dry riesling hails from the Margaret River region in Western Australia. It's a fantastically fresh and lively riesling with notes of lime, wet stone, and white flowers on the nose and a whollup of citrus, pear, liquid minerals, and subtle parafin on the palate. It's delicous and vibrant. A great match with scallop ceviche, Vietnamese dishes, or curried carrot and apple soup. It's also got 4 different really cute "frog" labels. Collect them all.

Until the next bottle...

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A couple random compliments and some celebrity stuff...

I went to get an oil change today and just thought I'd like to pass on a good word about Loveday's Oil Change in Southgate (Northline near Allen Rd.). I've been going to Loveday's as long as I've been driving. It may be a little bit out of the way, but it's a great operation. It's always speedy and friendly. They're family owned and exhibit great pride in the work they do. I'd just like to thank everyone at Loveday's for faithfully servicing me for over 16 years. No pun intended.

That being said, I'd like to thank another Downriver establishment as well. I've been getting my hair cut at Bob's Hair Salon since I moved to Michigan in 1987. The cuts are good, the talk is spirited, and boy howdy is it cheap. It's up to an all time high of $12.00 a cut. Don't let the name fool you. It's a barber shop. It's on Pelham (Allen Rd.) between Ecorse and Champaign in Taylor. Bob died a couple of years ago, but his daughter Renee and coworker Reyna (SP?) both do a wonderful job. I remember when I first started going there in high school Bob used to offer people a beer from the back when they walked in. Times have changed. I haven't been entirely loyal to Bob's, I must admit. I once got my hair cut by Kimmy (a wonderful and kind former bartender at 3D who I haven't seen in years). I hope that she's doing well. I've also had my hair cut by Pamela a few times when she worked next door to the store. Both Kimmy and Pamela did amazing jobs, but they worked in "real" salons and the cuts were a lot more. Kudos to Bob's Hair Salon for shearing me for over 17 years.

I was listening to WDET driving home from the restaurant job and they mentioned that Room Full of Blues will play live on the air tomorrow. That reminded me of a time when I actually waited on Room Full of Blues several years ago at "crappy anonymous small crazy family-owned Italian restaurant without a liquor license". The food was okay, and the pizza was actually great. Too bad it was run by a crazy Italian lady. Anyway...this big group of middle-aged men with long hair and leather came in to eat. It took me about two seconds to realize that they were a band. I asked them if they were and they indeed replied "Yes. How could you tell?". I was impressed when they told me who they were because I actually knew who they were and they were very good. I just had no idea what anyone in the band looked like. The guys were really nice and they made a slow evening at the restaurant more enjoyable. It's always a bonus when a "celebrity/celebrities" is/are nice. That got me to thinking about some other celebrities that I've waited on in the past. It's been a while since I haven't waited tables in over 5 years. Here is a list of some celebrities that I've waited on (with or without comments). You'll notice that most of them barely scrape the "B-List".

David Leisure- Really nice. An absolute joy.
David Thomas (Wendy's)- Not very nice. No wonder he died.
Alan Thicke- Very friendly. Nice guy. Apparently he loves apple pie with caramel sauce (no nuts).
Kenny G- As boring as his music.
Doc Severinsen- I actually didn't wait on him. I was waiting tables at the Henry Ford Estate-Fair Lane Mansion at the time. I was standing in the Butler's Pantry in the kitchen and he poked his head in. He asked a few questions about the kitchen and I gave him a mini-tour of the kitchen and Dining Room. He had his trumpet case in hand. How cool is that?
Hal Linden- DICK!!!!!!!! You were a great Barney Miller on TV, but you're a real asshole in real life.
The guy that played Jason in the Friday the 13th movies- Very nice.
The guy that played "Bubba" in Forrest Gump- Okay.
Pat Boone (during his "metal" phase)- I had to keep from snickering.
Newt Gingrich (when he was Speaker of the House)- I waited on Mr. Gingrich privately in a private room guarded by Secret Service. The Secret Service guys were pretty cool when they realized I wasn't "packing". He was surprisingly nice and appreciative. He didn't eat his vegetables.
Vinnie Johnson- Nice.
Mort Crim- I waited on him a few times. Very nice.
Bill Bonds- Hey asshole! I want the $3.00 you owe me!
Dr. Jack Kevorkian- VERY NICE!!! A warm and genuine person. Pork chops, well-done.
Tom Kite- Pretty nice for a pro-golfer.
Lou Holtz- He was too busy talking to co-diners for me to guage him well. The crowd loved him.
Bill Laimbeer- Nice guy.
Gil Girard- Nice. Where the hell have you been?
John Klekamp- Splendidly nice. I waited on him a few times.'s a pretty lame list. I've met a lot of bigger celebrities than these, but these are the ones I've waited on. The biggest kick was probably meeting Doc Severinsen.

I got an e-mail from my friend Jordan (with whom I traveled Australia with). He's a very talented young wine-writer. He'll be famous some day. Anyway, he commented that I wasn't writing about wine enough in my blog. I sort of stopped because I know who most of my readers are and they really don't care about the wine stuff. I'll try to write more about wine, Jordan. Just for you though.

Today's wine recommendation- 2002 Finca de Luzon $19.99
This big and chewy red from the Jumilla district of Spain is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo, and monastrell (mourvedre). It's rich with dripping black fruit, licorice, cherry, and cigar box/cedary spice. The finish lingers and the tannins are firm. Delicious stuff. Try with a leg of lamb studded with garlic cloves or a thick, grilled ribeye with your favorite spice-rub.

Until the next bottle...

PS- Oh yeah...Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are splits. WTF?!?!?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Detroit in decline...

Detroit once again has been stripped of a proud title. Detroit was America's fattest city in 2004 according to Men's Fitness magazine. Detroit has fallen to number three after Houston and Philadelphia in 2005. Come on guys! We can do it! We can win it back. I have done my part to help retain the title, now it's up to you to start chowing down. Let's make Detroit proud again. Everyone's heard "Don't mess with Texas!", but how about "Don't fuck with Detroit!"?
Watch out Houston! We're aiming for you. Put those steaks down and have a some damn sashimi! Detroit is #1 in bowling, potato chip consumption, and donut consumption (I think). Let's stick to the regimen and take back what's rightfully ours. And Philadelphia? Please... You may have Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, but we'll always have creative combinations of the world's fattiest foods with a sedintary lifestyle. Detroit will win the title back! Watch your backs Houston and Philadelphia. We might eat them if you don't. At least we're still #1 in STD's.

My friend Perl is going in for Lasik surgery. I'd like to wish him the best of luck. In fact here's a little note for Perl to read when he recovers...

"Perl. jlkjfoiasj kledlk klelkew spank lktlkhtr. tjhewoihl turnip fhwoqhpp3! Ha ha ha! jo0iroih Jujubee jlhljawjttlkk antidisestablishmentarianism ooewo eroiyt. Celery oisahokngo lkrhrtfowieh hlh slhr lhoeh thlehlwh hhteo blender. Possum eoijh teh thelhla tehwhtroi elwthwl. oirjajoitj tehl th wehweoq[l? Taoih ao=woop 2nsdng998 thhw mayonaisse tongue. Oijtwoirh Charles in Charge owhtr eoim gtoao eowjll. Olnhle disfunction wohal ewhla ell. Theowhsdl Bengalese tiger asoihoi assless chaps. Ph4eo walrus twaddler lkjot eowoe 8 Mile ohlka. Sardines, oehlah, flax seed oil, lkhelhtlkah, eklal, hoiaweih, hw900lq, and Marshmallow Fluff. Oy. THh'lk Randy Macho Man Savage hktehlk ehskl lemming spank."

Good luck, Perl. That comes from the heart.


Thursday, January 06, 2005 to a really bad start...

I was hoping that 2005 would be a much better year than 2004 and that there would be a noticeable difference right off the bat. So much for that. Turns out that the guy who was murdered in his Ferndale recording studio was a good friend of one of my coworkers. They hung out just a few days ago. Apparently he got a call to meet some friends and he agreed and said that he'd be there shortly after taking a shower. He never showed up. My friend said he drove by the police-tape the next morning. He said that AJ Abdullah (the victim) was one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. That's a very upsetting way to start off the year. My condolences to his family and friends.

Work is absolutely insane. We're implementing the new computer system and it's a nightmare. Don't get me started...

I read a great nickname for President Bush in the Metro Times today that made me laugh...
"President Fucktard"
It's simple, as if a potty-mouthed elementary school kid came up with it, but it's dead-on funny.

Apparently ABC News has declared "us" (bloggers) the People of the Year. Cool. Do we get a trophy or any cash?

I recently heard about some Pogues re-issues (with extra tracks) that just came out. I'm all about that. I hope to pick up one of each at Glen's store. I loves me a drunken Shane McGowan.

Here's a random poll. Who's uglier? Lemmy (Motorhead) or Shane MacGowan? Let me know what you think.

It snowed a helluva lot today. It's still snowing (1:30AM). Oy. It seems that "normal" weather is gone. I remember when I was young and weather was relatively predictable. It seems that no matter what time of year it is there are "extremes". Extreme cold, extreme snow, extreme heat, extreme humidity, extreme flooding...all in random succession. Has "normal" weather gone the way of Steve Guttenberg's career? Perhaps it's a warning of the next "ice age" or the pending, previously discussed apocalypse. "Locusts, and Dubya, and tsunamis..oh my!!!"

Sat on my lazy ass tonight and watched 3 back to back episodes of Law and Order-SVU. Good stuff. I really enjoyed Christopher Meloni in Oz and he's doing a bang up job in SVU. He reminds me of a slightly less intense Elias Koteas.

Hope that your 2005 is off to a great start!


Monday, January 03, 2005

Happy 2005 and all that other stuff...

Hello y'all. Happy 2005! Let's hope that this year proves to be better than the last.

I'm sick and tired (literally). I've got a horrendous cold that really kicked in yesterday and now it's in raging. I'm so stuffed up that it's silly. My head wants to explode. I also haven't been sleeping well for about 5 days and I'm exhausted. But enough of that...

New Year's Eve was a little unusual this year. I worked both jobs this year. No rest for the wicked. It was insanely busy at the restaurant for hours, but then it died. There were probably only about 5 or 6 tables left at midnight. I guess people had better things to do than hang out at Andiamo. Perhaps they were fearful of getting pulled over. There were lots of state cops out. I'd like to say that I slept in on New Year's Day, but seeing as I didn't sleep very well, I just laid there. I made myself some nice braised beef shanks with some pasta and asparagus for a decent New Year's meal. Then I went to Julie and Glen's for a relaxing and fun "sweat pants" party which included our gift exchange. Thanks for Mash-Season 3, Davo. ;) My friends are great for lots of reasons, but I think humor is a key among us. Whether we're rehashing old stories, creating new ones, telling jokes, or making cracks at each other, we have lots of fun together. We laugh a lot. They say that laughter is the best medicine. I guess we've got a good thing going.

Sunday sucked monkey balls. I worked almost 12 hours on my day off trying to implement our new computer system at work. There were LOTS of bugs, which held us up half the day. Needless to say we didn't finish in one day. It was even worse today (and we had customers to boot). Oy!

Resolutions? No thanks. I've never been good at meeting the requirements. Maybe I set the bar too high, ie. lose weight, date more, etc. I should be realistic. I resolve to swear more and more creatively. I really don't need resolutions as long as I live up to certain self-inflicted standards. I try to be a kind, helpful, giving person. It's pretty simple. I guess my mantra should be "Be nice". If I can be a good person in 2005 that's good enough for me.

I posted earlier about Tsunami Relief. It's nice to know that the amount raised on for American Red Cross International fund has been far surpassed. It was almost $7 million when I last posted, and now it's past $12 million. This is just from members. I also donated to two other organizations through a little research and dart throwing. I also gave to the Association for India's Development, Inc. I like what I read about them and I was able to earmark all the money for tsunami relief. I also gave to Direct Relief International. They actually break down what is being shipped and offer pictures. I'm comfortable with the choices I made as far as the money going to the appropriate places. I'm a little skeptical about the Red Cross, but it was easy enough. I went to the Doctors Without Borders site, but they're comfortable with the amount that's already been donated. That's heartening. I'll be sure to give to their general fund. All of these groups do great work. I'm happy to hear about the record-setting worldwide generosity. Something to smile about in 2005, although it follows the largest disaster in recent world history. I think the tsunami puts the exclamation point on the shitty year that 2004 was. I mentioned before that 2004 was "okay", not great, but "okay" on the personal front. It's the national and international headlines that made it such a stinker.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, prosperous 2005. May all your dreams come true! Wishing you a year without Ashlee Simpson, Paris Hilton, William Hung, and Dubya.