Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Galternative Lifestyles

Instructive and amusing! Well done, Barry Deutsch, and thanks to my new favorite Facebook group, "Plugging the Gulf oil leak with the works of Ayn Rand." The internet continues to function.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

That Guy, Or Human Southwestern Eggrollipede

This weekend, I'll be eating at TGI Friday's. Or at the very least drinking there. I made a reservation and am very excited! Because it's one of maybe two restaurants near where my friends are getting married, the pre-wedding pre-party -- after which, as you know: hotel lobby -- will be held there. And I'm totally fine with that, because I love whimsical meat appetizers my friends and they do in fact serve beer there.

And in all honesty, I actually have always really loved potato skins -- even though I don't really know if I've ever actually enjoyed eating more than one of them -- and as far as I know TGI Friday's still serves those. They might be filling them with fettucine alfredo now or something, but I believe they're still on the menu. No, the only real issue here is that I could, in some fashion, be seen as supporting Juggalo-ish human photo negative/"food dude" Guy Fieri by patronizing the restaurant chain for which he does commercials. At least, I assume this was intended to be an advertisement for TGI Friday's.

Kind of wound up being an advertisement against hairstyling products and tanning beds and humanity in general, though, no?

Fieri has always been a tough case for me, because the idea of his Food Network show, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," is actually pretty cool. Or I should write, the idea of his first Food Network show, since he's now bringing his burnt sienna magnetism to his own cooking show on the network (I should really start another blog just to detail what that show's set looks like, but in the interest of time: imagine a taxidermied crocodile wearing Oakleys that is also somehow a hubcap with a clock on it? Then fill a whole set with shit like that and proceed to make, like, "Guac Caipirinhas" there) and to a network game show so guilelessly cleavage-leering and sub-retarded that it would stand out for its dumbness on contemporary Italian television. And while there are periodically interesting places featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," Fieri is always there to ruin it -- barging onscreen dressed like a fucking hot rod, sunglasses at the ready on the back of his head, taking some gigantic ketchupy bite of something and robustly high-fiving the startled-looking Greek guy who runs the diner, drive-in or dive in question. The whole weird '90s-fetishizing-the-'50s/"Cruising Night In Upland, CA" aesthetic of the thing is a turn-off, too: the show's general vibe, despite all the interesting restaurants (and, to his credit, Fieri will go to some interesting places and mash some interesting food between his ghastly orange jaws), is that of a nostalgic Route 66-themed commercial for McDonald's. It takes a lot to make me not want to eat a sliced-meat sandwich, but dude does it weekly and still finds time for extra work.

Extra work like designing the menu at his own restaurant, the currently closed-for-remodeling Tex Wasabi's Rock-N-Roll Sushi BBQ in Sacramento, CA. (In re: the website, you should beware of sound effects, nauseating cowboy-on-carp animated .gif, everything else) Beneath the exhausting good-timey tone of the menu -- those aren't really koi fish tacos, j/k! -- and the misspellings and the weirdnesses is a really baffling food sensibility. It's one thing to grill some chicken and dump it on some salad -- call it "Hidden Chicken, Crouching Salad" if you want (he wants), but it's been done and it can only get so bad. But... okay, I'm just going to cut and paste this:

NEW! Screaming Gobbler $7.95
Roasted turkey, jalapenos, pepper jack, avocados, green onions, mayonnaise and sriracha mayonnaise wrapped in sushi rice and tapioca paper. First you’ll gobble, then you’ll scream.

That is just a different thing entirely. And while it's nice that Fieri's innovating (it's not really nice that Fieri's innovating), there's definitely a point at which one should look at oneself in the mirror -- one's automotive-themed, flame-motif, rock-n-roll mirror -- and just be like, "Dude, just because TGI Friday's pays you does not mean that you are obligated to make TGI Friday's look like Le Fucking Bernardin." One would think that one would do that. One would hope.

Also: Tex Wasabi's drink menu is amazing. It's like a Mad Lib. I mean, this particular drink is like a 15-year-old girl's liquid nightmare:

County Fair
This one will bring out the animal in you. 99 apples, vodka, midori, sweet & sour and sierra mist.

But for the most part the drink menu is like a Mad Lib. As I learned during my stay at a friend's place in Los Angeles, it's easy to play this game at home. Name a food item or two, two liquors/liquers and an ill-advised garnish, then put it in a 64oz. glass and jam a twisty straw into it. To wit:

The Hole Ninety Nine Yards
This one will make you regret that humans evolved opposable thumbs! Real Dunkin Donut donut holes floating on a raft of Sweet Tarts set rock-n-rollingly adrift on 64 ounces of 99 Bananas, Triple Sec, Welch's Grape Soda and Georgi Vodka. Cowabunga!

Try it yourself! I plan to order it on at TGI Friday's and see how it works. I wonder how much Apple Pucker a potato skin can hold.

ALSO: No, still not as much as I hate Papa John.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Practice Makes Adorable

SPECIAL FATHER'S DAY WORLD EXCLUSIVE: First footage from the upcoming documentary, "Cleo and Dad: Journey Beyond Schnuzzling."

The struggle:

And the ecstacy of success (spoiler alert):

Basically every day is Father's Day, now. Hats off to two of my two favorite mammals.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Swift Kicks To Wherever

I'm going to fight the urge to provide director's commentary on everything I write, and just link, here, to a new piece I have up at The Awl. The piece is about the odd and unfortunate emotional distance I feel from the rest of the world's wild, loud absorption in the World Cup -- which, as you might've noticed if you've gone outdoors anywhere in the world over the last few days, is happening right now. I'm pretty happy with the piece, if not necessarily at peace with the sentiment that inspired it, both because I want to join the globo-soccer party for real and because my ambivalence about/inability to do so means that I wind up providing a (stunningly well-written, obviously) tour of my own sports navel in the piece. I'm especially wary of putting myself on the Who Cares side of things when it comes to the World Cup, too, since other members of said coalition include Newsbusters asshats and nightmarish human ulcer Mike Francesa.

I may write more on the Cup for The Awl, if they'll have me back on this topic, and I may write more about it here, too. For now, though, I'm about to go take a really long subway ride to watch as much of USA/England as is left when I finally get to Bay Ridge, and that should be fun. Just, you know, not as fun as it maybe is for other people. In the rest of the world. All of the people in the rest of the world. Actually, you know what, pass the Diet Coke, Francesa. Oh... no, it's cool, I didn't realize that two-liter was all for you. Sorry.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

David Rasche's Greatest (Unbilled) Performance, Klaus Kinski's Worst

Los Angeles, man. Everyone's a movie expert out there. They're like, "Yeah, of course, but have you really watched Crawlspace, or just kind of watched it?" And everyone's all giving you these great weird documentaries in which an ill-dressed filmmaker guy delivers a monologue on Klaus Kinski's on-set nightmarishness, with periodic interpolations of same. Literally everyone does this.

What an interesting city it would be, were that so. But while I did only a moderate amount of Kinski or movie-related talking -- with an expert, but still -- I still found Los Angeles very much to my liking. It's hard for me to put my finger on anything I actually accomplished out there that didn't involve driving around, nostalgia, or delicious fast-ish food, but there was so much of that, and so many good people helping me do it, that it's hard to term it anything but a win.

That includes, by the way, the fact that I am doing this particular bit of back-scratching and Kinski-trolling from an airplane, thanks to United's in-flight internet. I can barely believe it myself, but here I am, typing away like the little typer that I am. United is hilarious, too -- very on point and admirably on-time and all that thus far on both legs of the trip, but there are like four tiers of seating on this aircraft, all of them described as "exclusive" in one way or another. Like a big flying nightclub. I'm in "Economy Plus," which is the exclusive club nearest the bathroom. An announcement also told us that the entire staff and crew wished a very special welcome to each and every one of us, which was a nice thought but sounds exhausting. They should've just saved that sentiment for the Platinum Plus Elite Supreme Team Express-Gold flyers, I think. I would just settle for a little bag of Gardetto's mix, and I kind of doubt I"m even going to get that.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Going Going, Back Back

I can't wait to catch up with my friends (pictured at left) in Los Angles this weekend! Which is to say that Brandon Davis (I know his name?) is like a less appealing young version of Robert Evans and if I see him out there I will barf with sadness. But I probably won't see him, since I'm not going to do any drugs or go to any exclusive nightclubs.

But I will be there. So lighter than usual, even, for the next week. Be good everyone! Spago (is still open, maybe?)! Hotel bars! Lindsay Lohan falling down drunk and then claiming her assistant set her up! People who are assistants for people like Lindsay Lohan! This is maybe my favorite type of place.

You know who I would honestly love to meet out there, though? Besides my actual friends, I mean? The D.O.C. Get the whole Fila Fresh Crew guided tour of the city, etc. Also I'd like to meet Greg Dulli and Darren Dreifort and Eric Piatkowski. But I'd settle for not seeing Brandon Davis

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pete Rose Sings

I was too young to appreciate Pete Rose's jaw-dropping comedy value when he was actually playing -- I just thought of him as the old guy with the Dorothy Hammil hairdo who kept hitting singles and later got busted for gambling. But as I first learned from Joe Posnanski's book "The Machine" and then later from a long interview I did with Posnanski (here), the dude was simultaneously incredibly revered and acknowledged as a turbo-charged dirtbag during his playing days. That seems somehow too sophisticated for the current culture, but maybe people just better understood the appeal of a man in uniform awkwardly singing a jingle in those days.

This all came to mind because an internet friend emailed yesterday looking for information on Rose's brief and frankly impossible to imagine tenure in Montreal back in 1984. Because the Sports Illustrated Vault is one of the three or four best things on the Internet, I can link to an article about Rose's Francophone interlude. Lots of good Rose-working-out-on-Nautilus-machine stuff for the ladiez in the opening grafs, too. I don't mean this in a gay way or nothing, but...yummy.