Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Little House I Used To Live In

the cottage

Well, periodically.

Flip Cafe would indeed be the best cuisine in town if its chefs weren't so darned scared of NaCl.

I ordered and omelet with something called "flip potatoes," which is just hash browns, but they partially steam them somehow so they come out downright fluffy. Or maybe they rice them. I don't know; there is a quality to these potatoes that are just a bit more luxurious than an eater is accustomed.

The omelet was a spinach and tomato affair topped with pepper jack cheese. It was technically excellent; fluffy, well-folded, the spinach still retained a nice bite. Not to mention: The toast is sliced from a homemade loaf.

The only thing missing was seasoning. Until I picked up the shaker, no sodium had touched my plate.

This might (and that's a BIG might) be okay for my Mom's dish, a little dish we like to call "Egg." I mean, someone who orders scrambled may not be looking for a more seasoned dish and may not mind adjusting with the salt shaker if needed.

An omelet, however, sigh. A little snowing of kosher salt sometime during the cooking would have been helpful.

Despite this overlooked detail, it is safe to say the best plate in the 'boro these days is Flip. My new goal is to try its lunch offerings.

It was a nice visit, a fine way to cap off my summer. I got to see Auntie and Uncle from Big Bear and got marched all around and up and down the Lake by my Mom. Got to see my Gramma to boot, and I finally got the friggin' Roku set up for her. Now she can watch Frasier to her heart's content.

We also took part in the human tradition of driving up to a rock in the ground with a person's name on it and saying nice things about that person.

the cottage

Yeah, that was a pretty nice week.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together

(I thought before that I knew how to use the iPhone's panoramic lens. I didn't. Until today. I was holding the phone incorrectly! This is pretty much the full view from the back deck of where I get to stay in Edinboro. This image is clickable to a larger view. Just click on it!)

The great musical movement that partially was born in my high school a generation behind me was called Devo.

That of my era was called The Twist-Offs.

It was fun to go to a Twist-Offs show and jump up and down a lot. They made music that was excellent for jumping up and down. But not only was it good for jumping up and down. It was good music. Well-considered arrangements. Horns. And actually thoughtful, imaginative lyrics. I am a Twist-Offs EVANGELIST. And if I still lived in Kent those boys would have had to put up with my funny face and my set list thefts now for decades. I think they play periodically in Northeast Ohio, but these guys had a real live indie record deal. I even heard one of their songs played as background during MTV's The Real World once.

Anyway, I think they were playing KentFest once or something, and they were handing out some tchotchkes. These:

Get it?

I owned two of these. One was orange, and that one I made the mistake of using as a keychain. The band's logo wore off. Luckily, my Dear Mother was in possession of this one all these years, and it has remained unblemished. She released it into my possession today, along with a boss collection of 45s (including some old joints from Illinois Jaquet and other Apollo artists, records I've been hunting down for years) and a rather interesting edition of the Akron-Beacon Journal from May 24, 1970 that I may mine for blog entries later.

So Mama brought me a treasure chest to Edinboro. Thanks Mama.

Speaking of legends who attended the same high school as did I, John Uhrich was and is one of the best drawers with whom I have shaken hands. You should visit his blog, Duck-Duck-Gorilla. The guy has apparently just started drawing comic strips to "brush up on [his] digital inking skills." (Cough HUMBLEBRAG) Watch out, Pastis!

Edinboro needs cuisine. Badly.

This is the Sunset Grill at the Edinboro Lake Resort. As you can see, it does what it says on the tin.

Serves sammiches in baskets with chips. Which is fine, and the sammiches are good, but one would think the food could match the stellar ambiance. Still. I love this place.

The Crossroads Dinor has dropped the "Dinor" and seems to do everything it can to shy away from being a diner although it has the diner car. Oh to walk in there and be able to order an open faced roast beef sammich with fries flooded with gravy. But that ain't on the menu.

No shit on a shingle for you.

And you don't want these fries. The place prides itself on fresh-cut fries, but they don't really know how to cook them.

My suspicion is that they're circumventing the step of soaking the taters first to leech out some of the starch. These fries are rubbery and weird.

Get the applesauce instead.

The best meal out of the week so far has been at the Empty Keg. Burger. Steak fries, probably from Ore-Ida. Which were delicious.

And, where they served me a true Iron City beer:

Okay, it was a Sierra Nevada. But I have to wonder how many of these glasses walk out of the place under somebody's jacket.

I said best meal "so far." We have yet to enjoy my departure breakfast at Flip. That my friends is the finest food in town. Can't wait.

(When Flip Cafe was opening, my then nearly 90-year-old Grandma DID A SOMERSAULT IN THE AIR in the middle of the sidewalk when we discovered it. She really did. I watched her do it. She jumped up in the air, kicked her legs around, and landed on her feet, and then she gave out this sort of guttural "WHOOP!" Because, you see, her Dad's nickname all his life, or at least as long as I knew him, was "Flip."

Okay, she didn't really do that. But she sure was excited about that particular serendipity.)

The evening ended for some reason with me describing to my Mom and Grandma the famous incident on The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway and the elephant story. I can't do it justice, so here, go see for yourself.

Thus, the title of this blog entry.

I'm sure I'm not done documenting my last summer trek to Lakeside of the year.

Gosh I need to moisturize.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Love Letters Straight From Your Heart

You need something soothing and awesome and darned near angelic tonight, don't you? Yeah, I thought so. Here ya go.

"Love Letters" was one of those cases where the deejays created a hit by preferring the b-side of the record. The intended hit in 1962 was "I'm A Fool to Want You."

Ketty Lester went on to cover the song I think should be our National Anthem: This Land is Your Land.

She had other minor hits but by 1968, her follow-up album met with little commercial success. It was clear she'd have to settle as a one-hit wonder. Ketty Lester later turned to a career in prime time television, most notably (to me, anyway) playing Hester-Sue Terhune on Little House on the Prairie from 1978 to 1983.

But this entry isn't really about Ketty Lester. It's about Joe Walsh.

"Love Letters," written by Victor Young and Edward Heyman, way back in 1945. It has been recorded my numerous artists, including The Elvis, including Boz Scaggs, including Toni Tenille, and Sinead O'Connor.

But Joe Walsh thought to do it up-tempo and kind of Caribbean on You Bought It – You Name It.

The stunning thing to me about this version is that, although Walsh approaches the material somewhat light-heartedly, it still doesn't lose its pathos. That is how well-constructed a work it is. This is up-tempo with nearly a calypso backbeat to it, and yet, the song still retains its anguish, its tortured nostalgia.

What a fabulous song. Just fabulous.

(On the album, the cover in this vein is followed by Walsh's own account of nostalgic longing, "Class of '65." The pairing of these songs is remarkably effective and surprisingly visceral for Walsh.)

That's it. I'm going shopping for the girliest looking umbrella I can find.

SWAT Team Descends onto College Campus in Response to a Man Carrying an Umbrella

Other good music news today as it appears that Prince is done screwing around with limited releases and is ready to release some material that normal Americans can actually purchase and listen to.

There was a time there when you could count on a new Prince release every summer. I considered a part of my summer, going out to get the next Prince CD. Then he got all mad at Warner Bros., and, after that, the releases were more sporadic. Then he found religion. I dunno. I lost track of him, you know?

Hopefully, these new albums will be a bit more accessible.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A James Brown Story

I was reminded today—due mainly to promotion of the new James Brown film ongoing—of what I consider to be one of the best James Brown stories ever told, by one Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling, from the "Music of Howard Stern" special. If any story tells you who the man was, this does it.

[haiku url="" title="James Brown on The Howard Stern Show"]

Must Be Nearly Autumn

For some reason, this feline poses more magnificently near the autumn season.

Anna Banana in a hammock
Photo credit: Ellen Smith

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Look At My Butt

There are currently two (2) hit songs I've been made aware of today that do nothing but celebrate the callipygian nature of the song's protagonist.

And yet, Neil Young still tours.

You know, when Dana Carvey was doing his whole George Michael spoof back then, it was just that.

'Twas a spoof.

I mean do NOT. Let Carole King. Hear "Anaconda." She will break her hip kicking herself. THAT'S ALL I HAD TO DO? THAT? TALK ABOUT MY FAT ASS AND HOW GREAT IT IS? THAT'S IT? She'll be at Gerry Goffin's grave, all like Hey! Gerry! WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO USE ALL OF THAT POWERFUL, WELL-PLACED IMAGERY IN OUR SONGS! ASS, GERRY. THAT'S ALL THEY WANTED TO HEAR ABOUT. ASS.

What's this new song on the radio? "All About That Bass?" NO! CAROLE! Change the STATION! QUICK!

That stuff will just ruin Carole King. Please. Keep her away from it.

In other music stuff: Here is an excellent piece regarding some of the finest music of my adolescence. A really great read. I Know Times Are Changing

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Short Bobby the 14 Shingle

It is, as I had anticipated, a pleasure to be able to hike for .22 miles with an over-sized bag and hike back with a satchel full of victuals.

I first went Friday at the Grand Opening. I was too late to catch Mayor Warren, who was apparently present for the ribbon cutting. I went in first and walked around and even put a six pack of beer in my cart. However, I had a problem.

I hadn't yet eaten.

Not eating can have several effects on me, one of which is to render me utterly unable to make any decisions.

I put the beer back, walked up the street to Matthews, and had a wonderful BLT club sandwich. Then I went back to Hart's, got a cart, and put the beer back into the cart.

Then, a few other things fell into my basket.

Mushrooms. A couple of nice cube steaks. Broccoli. Some russet potatoes.

Day one at Hart's was rather successful. It's a lovely market, though I will continue to pine for the opening of the CityGate Costco (there is a BJs in the area, but why renew that membership when a Costco is approaching?) As it's trying to be of the downtown/upscale variety, you will not find Totino's Party Pizzas here, nor even Stouffer's French Bread pizza, nor much in the way of frozen zza at all. There are a few flatbreads, but not much else. One would still have to drive to Top's if, say, one wanted to stock up on those.

But it is a quality grocery. The meat is good. They have fresh fish, and many items ready to mange on right there (they have a bit of cafe seating) or for take-out. Hart's is also emphasizing local items, so you can pick up Pittsford Dairy milk, Ithaca Farms ogret (which is DELICIOUS), Flour City Pasta, etc...

Yes, I am certainly glad Hart's is here. What it does for a downtown rat like myself is to make it possible to have an entire weekend at home without ever getting in the car, without having to plan out an entire menu ahead.

Day two, Hart's:

(Did I mention their ground beef is excellent?)

Note to self: Immersion blender does not work properly unless it is, you know, immersed. Otherwise it is just a messy blender.

Also managed to solve another problem this weekend. Most of my vinyl was living in a cardboard box! Am surprised the Record Album ad Litem hasn't been knocking. Sokay boff! My records have a home now.

("Easy to assmeble" my ass. 24 screws! Drat!)

Shonda Rhimes to the White Courtesy Phone!

Violinist Plays During Brain Surgery To Help Surgeons Find Exactly What’s Causing Tremor (Elite Daily)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hart's Eve

I have never anticipated a trip to the grocery store as eagerly as I am today.

There has been a certain disconnected sense I've had since I moved downtown, and that's not why you move downtown. You move downtown specifically to be connected. You want to walk downstairs, leave your building, and then there it is, everything in the world you could possibly need. That is the downtown experience I've always imagined. It is what my Uncle Jay and I used to call "The Dream."

But that hasn't been the case. We have coffee shops, bars, nice restaurants, a (sketchy) booze store, pizza, a beautiful gym, and a fine cinema. But we have lacked perhaps the most basic amenity a neighborhood can offer: A grocery.

Until tomorrow.

Hart's Grocery

For me on my work schedule, grocery buying has involved either a midnight run after work or I have to go get my car. I know it sounds like not that much, but I do estimate it's like 15 minutes from my front door to my car. There's no running up the street for that thing you forgot. There are no spontaneous runs to the grocery to grab something for supper.

But tomorrow, friends, is the grand opening of Hart's Local Grocers in the East End. People I talk to frequently are probably tired of hearing about it. But I'll tell you what, this is going to improve the living standard in my neck of the woods by thousands of percents.

Ya'll know where I'll be tomorrow.

I might make a few trips.

Overheard: "Football is so dangerous. I would never let my kids play football."

:: eyeroll ::