Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This Blog Feels Happy

April 9, 2014

Well, I’ve certainly been doing a poor job of keeping up with this. This entry is my first here since December 2011. Maybe going forward I’ll try to maintain this more once again. While trying to write something every day is a cruel taskmaster, I suppose I could do slightly better than once every three years. So for now, this site is not yet ready to go on the cart.


“Nobody Should Be Scared of a . . . Potato Chip”

August 4, 2008
Death Rain Habanero Chips Bag

The Onion’s A.V. Club is apparently going to start reviewing food on a somewhat regular basis. What exactly this has to do with the entertainment theme of that section of the paper is something I haven’t quite pieced together. At any rate, they just reviewed one of my favorite treats to enjoy in extremely sparing moderation, Blair’s Death Rain XXX Habanero Potato Chips.

The chips come in tiny single-serving bags. When I buy a bag, I can eat about a quarter of it. The rest gets sealed up and sits in the cupboard for several days. Then I eat about another quarter of a bag, and the cycle repeats until the chips are finally gone about a week and a half after purchasing them.

The Onion staff was inspired to review these chips on the basis of the repeated e-mail based taunting of some all-caps typing doofus who never learned how to spell, telling the reviewers to “MAN THE F&#% UP” and making profound statements like, “YOU BUY THE CHIPS BUT YOUR [sic] THE ONE GETTING F@&%ING OWNED,” and “NOBODY SHOULD BE SCARED OF A F@&%ING POTATO CHIP.”

With endorsements like that, how can you possibly go wrong?

Anyway, the reviewers managed to pick up on what I like about them, too: “Once you get past the heat, they taste pretty good, but it’s a bit of a struggle to actually find the taste. Also, it should be noted that the heat comes on slowly and insidiously.”

If you are able to block out the heat from your mind while eating them, you can’t help but notice that they are incredibly well-made potato chips. They aren’t just some junk like Lays with a bunch of powdered hot sauce dumped on them. If they had no flavoring added at all, they would taste very, very good on their own.

Being from central Pennsylvania, quite possibly the junk food capital of the country, I’ve found that there aren’t a whole heck of a lot of things like chips and pretzels made places other than here than can hold a candle to our local stuff. These are an exception. Plus, they have the added bonus of lighting your throat on fire and cleaning out your sinuses. Yummy.

My “Desert Island Discs”

June 28, 2008

In an effort to get over a massive, long-running case of writer’s block, for this post I’ve decided to hold my loyal, non-existent audience captive while I harp about something completely silly: a few of my favorite music albums, like a short “Desert Island Discs” list (note to kids: that word “album” means those shiny doodads, also known as CDs, from which you cherry-pick tracks to rip onto your iPods. Believe it or not, some geriatric people like myself actually believe that all tracks on a shiny doodad are best experienced when played together, in the order in which they appear on the disc, the way the recording artists intended.).

  • The Beatles: The Beatles (A.K.A. “The White Album”)

    There’s a special category of songs you know by heart in which, in the course of a mysterious and lengthy alchemy dating from before your earliest memories, they eventually cease being mere songs you know by heart and simply become a part of who you are. Everything on the Beatles’ simultaneously classic and infamous 1968 kitchen sink of a double album falls into that category for me. My mom owned, and I believe still has, this on an old-school vinyl record LP, and I played it incessantly for as far back as I can remember as a child. Many years later, when I first got a CD player, the first CDs I got for it were this album’s two discs. Today, on the occasions when I attempt to sing to my son (emphasis on the word attempt), 95% of the time, without thinking about it, it’s something from this album that comes out of my mouth.

    Oddly, for as long as I can remember my favorite song on this has always been one of its lesser-known pieces, John Lennon’s “Cry Baby Cry.” Amidst a vaguely foreboding musical backdrop interrupted several times by a creepily sung chorus of “Cry baby cry, make your mother sigh; she’s old enough to know better, so cry baby cry,” the King and Queen of Marigold go about their day, eventually culminating “at twelve o’clock” in “a meeting round the table for a seance in the dark, with voices out of nowhere put on specially by the children for a lark.” From there, it segues seamlessly into an equally creepy voice singing, “Can you take me back where I came from? Brother, can you take me back?” and into the ostentatiously weird — but in a good way — musique concrete piece “Revolution 9.” Yes, I was a strange, strange little kid.

  • Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain

    It’s the old question among music buffs: classical or jazz? What this 1960 album, one of the collaborations between Davis and Gil Evans, does is completely dissolve the distinctions between classical, jazz, folk and popular music. Based on Spanish folk music, it’s all of those genres and somehow none of them at the same time. I can’t find words to describe how good the version of Concierto de Aranjuez found here is, and Davis’ solo around which “Saeta” is based simply has to be heard to be believed. All he managed to do in that piece is to take the sound of a woman who has just lost everyone and everything that ever mattered to her, who is gripping the nearest railing until her hands bleed to keep from falling over unconscious from grief, who is wailing out their soul all the while, and funnel that through a trumpet.

  • Tom Waits: Bone Machine

    For me, hearing this 1992 album for the first time was an experience akin to what people must mean when they talk about having a religious epiphany. I had never encountered Tom Waits before, and this was one mind-blowing introduction for an impressionable teenager. I’d never realized it was possible for anything to sound like this before hearing it. Waits has always had a knack for coming up with just the right, and often surprising, musical arrangement to match his impeccably written songs, but I don’t believe that combination is more fully realized on any of his other albums than it is here. It’s probably his darkest album, and the songs “clang and boom and steam” through an aural hellscape that sounds like it’s concocted by a machine made of bones, probably tended by beings who simultaneously possess “a halo, wings, horns and a tail” and spend their spare time shoveling coal inside your dreams. All the more amazing is that despite the grim subject matter and stark sound, it also manages to have a comfortable, off-hand vibe, like something produced by a bunch of guys who got drunk one night and randomly decided to record an album by breaking into a recording studio and banging on shit for fun.

There you have it, the three albums that, if I were marooned on a desert island and could only pick three albums to have for the duration, I would be sure to have with me.

Never mind the fact that if you’re marooned on a desert island, the whole concept of having albums to listen to is irrelevant because you won’t have electrical outlets or an infinite supply of batteries — Why yes, I am congenitally incapable of getting through a blog post without piling on a heaping helping of snark somewhere, why do you ask?

Your Kid Is Never Too Young To Get Into Trouble With The Law

May 16, 2008

Those damn one year-olds, welching on their chiropractic bills. Who do they think they are?!

read more | digg story

“Chupacabra Funk”

May 8, 2008

The following was inspired by a particularly bizarre search engine query that directed some unlucky soul to this site.

Perhaps no other creature of recent uncertain ontology inspires fear throughout the Western Hemisphere as the wily chupacabra. Armed with naught but a bendy straw, some cardboard and a boom box, the chupacabra stalks its prey from the edge of the forest, surveying a nearby herd grazing in the meadow. The chupacabra then spreads the cardboard across the meadow floor and presses the play button on the boom box. The hills spring to life with the sound of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters on vintage cassette. Only then can begin the mythic ritual goat-sucking break-dance of the chupacabra.

At the conclusion of the dance, the chupacabra shouts to the goats, “You just got served!”

“Oh no we di’n’t!” reply the goats, and they commence break-dancing as well, because it is, at this point, so totally on. By carefully observing the break-dancing goats, the cunning chupacabra is able to discern the weakest and most arthritic of the herd. It is in this devious manner that the chupacabra selects its prey.

Pouncing upon the slowest of the goats, the chupacabra rips its head off in one swift motion and begins to suck blood from the goat’s head through its trusty bendy straw, as everything tastes better when sucked from a skull. The chubacabra’s tendency to drink from empty goat heads eventually helped spawn the otherwise inexplicable tiki bar craze, where cocktails with umbrellas sticking out of them are imbibed from plastic cups lovingly mass-produced by some plaster mold to resemble seriously brassed-off wooden heads.

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