Friday, December 27, 2013
After weeks of searching at Food Lion and Farm Fresh, I finally found a can of the chips that would lead to this assignment: Pecan Pie. When I first saw a picture of the peculiar Pringles posted on Facebook, my initial reaction mirrored those from many consumers: "GROSS!" Sure, I love a slice of pecan pie with whipped topping as much as any diner, but the thought of that taste in a potato chip was rather unsettling. Peeling back the flavor seal, I took my first few bites. The unwarranted "GROSS!" from pre-trial became, "Hey, these aren't too bad." Indeed, the pleasantries of pecan pie were evident from the jump. The saltiness of simulated nuts blended well with the chips' sodium content, while the backing of dried molasses sold the pastry-in-a-can pitch. I'm not one of those dipping- fries-in-a-Frosty dudes, so the urge to coat Pringles in Cool Whip was kept in the closet. Had I ended the test after fifteen chips or so, the surprising mark would've been a "B." Emptying the can in one session, however, resulted in food fatigue. Those last few Pringles hit my tongue like someone had poured a packet of maple syrup onto each one. Heavy, man. Which is why I have to lower the count to a B-minus.
In a parlor game of oxymorons, "white chocolate" would probably be referenced within your assistant supervisor's third sip of non-alcoholic beer. Maybe he or she has made a pretty ugly scene in the recent past by attempting to put away four dozen jumbo shrimp served over dry ice before the end of happy hour. White Chocolate Pringles, huh? Was the Veggie Burger brand deep-sixed? Compared to the first chomps of these crisps, a plain Boca on a bun seemed like an exciting endeavor. Sure, the familiar Pringles lines were on the sheet, but a faint footnote of Nestle Quik somehow managed to sabotage the script. Who let that cartoon rabbit on the set, and why's he so stingy with the spoonfuls? I mean, Wavy Lay's drenched one of its products in enough good stuff to make Willy Wonka wave the white flag. Less than twenty chips into the test, the can was almost placed in the 13th file and a grade of "D" (for dull) was recorded. Three days later, that mark was amended to a "C." Why? The White Chocolate Pringles became a bit more daring in the second stage of trials and transformed into its alter-ego: Dark Vanilla. Armed with less than 2% of Sweet Cream Powder, the can donned its "P" cape and paraphrased Mighty Mouse-via-Andy Kaufman's clarion call: "Here I come, and I'm OK." Sound the silent alarm. White Chocolate/Dark Vanilla is OK by me.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch? One of the greatest cereals that's ever been poured into a bowl. Cinnamon Twists? A fine addition to any "fourth meal" from Taco Bell. Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles? Not in the same class with the other two, but its potential for greatness was evident on every chip. Much like the breakfast treat, each crisp was sweetened by obvious sprinkles of cinnamon. True, the cereal and twists had a greater proportion of spice than the Pringles, but there was certainly enough dusting to satisfy most snackers. You certainly wouldn't serve Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles over milk, but a glass of moo juice with the chips should curb children's after-school cravings. (This might be the first time I've endorsed drinking milk. Personally, I only use it to keep cereal wet. Last night, I chugged Coca-Cola with the crisps.) Due to a better balance of ingredients, it was easier to slam a six-stack of Cinnamon & Sugar Pringles than the other dessert choices. I got to the bottom of this can with relative ease. I'm bestowing a "B" upon these chips.
Was I too generous with grading for the seasonal selections? Perhaps. Since I'm not the kind of teacher who likes failing a kid on the day after Christmas, I used a liberal scoring system. Also, Pecan Pie Pringles threatened to purposely fail its upcoming Standards of Learning (SOL) test, thus putting the school's accreditation in jeopardy. I know how the game is played, PP. Hope you had a Merry Crispmas!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Pat Robertson's favorite number is said to be 700,000,000. I'm uncertain if that figure aligns with his net worth, but the hefty bankroll would've been able to purchase roughly 125 Family Channel-branded airships. During the blimp's heyday in the early 1990s, it was the only aircraft of its type to illuminate at night. The powerful internal lighting system was utilized for tracking endangered right whales off the Florida coast. Other Sunshine State flights over the Daytona International Speedway on NASCAR's biggest day and Polk County for a Special Olympics promotion contributed to over $5 million of spin-off media value in the first year of operation. My first and only sighting of the IFO (Identified Flying Object) occurred at the Military Circle location of Putt-Putt Golf And Games circa 1998. While practicing trajectories on the course facing Virginia Beach Blvd., an unusual dirigible suddenly appeared amongst the puffy clouds. Indeed, the Family Channel-tagged behemoth was headed in the direction of the nearby CBN headquarters. Mouth agape, the first question I silently posed about the airship was pretty obvious: Was Pat Robertson on board? Maybe his sidekick Ben Kinchlow and Operation Blessing buddy Mr. T were also seated in the cabin. Later the same year, the irreverent home of Bart Simpson acquired the television property and renamed it Fox Family. Who knows what became of the blimp? Did it retire to stud a la Secretariat in a hangar behind the Regent University campus? Is it parked on a used lot somewhere in Chesapeake alongside one marked Blockbuster Video? Did some neo-hippie with a trust fund win it for a bargain-priced bid at an auction and have the thing shipped to Colorado? Hopefully, the Phish Phace or Spread Head kept the original logo intact, 'cause fifty stretch limos from Jay-Z's stable wouldn't come close to the entrance power of P-Rob's old ride. Pimp my blimp, Xzibit!
In 1982, WAVY-TV became the first station in Tidewater Virginia to cover local news via helicopter. The "Chopper 10" of today, a Bell 206 Longranger, has been in service since 2000. It can attain a maximum speed of 160 mph and costs approximately $1.5 million. The helicopter's registration form contains one of my current favorite words: airworthiness. I'll refer to longtime pilot John Massey by his noble title: HIs Most Airworthiness. At this very moment, Chopper 10 is on assignment at various area high schools for WAVY's renowned "Friday Night Flights" segment. The closest run-in I've had with the 'copter was in April 2008. Assessing damage from the tornado that had touched down about a mile from my home, the Longranger countlessly flew over the cluster of impacted Suffolk neighborhoods for nearly a week. Due to the unfortunate situation, any hope of grabbing a prized WAVY mini-football tossed by Katie Collett or receiving a big hug from Mary Kay Mallonee was nullified. As a consolation gift, unintentional comic relief came in the form of ex-WAVY big-shot anchorman Les Smith. Resigned to reporting for competitor WTKR- TV (NewsChannel 3), his addresses to a new camera were laced with uneasiness. Even worse, Smith came across like a total turncoat in his NewsChannel 3 collared shirt. Much like Karl Malone in a Lakers jersey, some things just don't fit no matter how much they're forced. "Nothing hits home like Chopper 10," announced WAVY-TV's legendary "Voice of God" in old spots for the station. I'm betting the deep-voiced gentleman I've heard on broadcasts since the late 1970s has taken a trip on the 'copter. NASCAR great Ricky Rudd, a Chesapeake native and friend of WAVY's veteran sportscaster Bruce Rader, would be my choice for the only person who has ever boarded both the Family Channel airship and Chopper 10.
Should the long-odds lottery ticket scratch out a miracle, add me to the roll call of the helicopter's passengers. Sorry, P-Rob. The blimp's got flow, but it goes too slow.
Monday, October 14, 2013
"Don't be afraid of comparing the luscious lump to a heavenly Hot Pocket encrusted by the godliness of a Golden Corral dinner roll." This was my status update on Facebook yesterday. It's also a layman's description of the go-to choice from Glory's Bakery. Immune to blight, natural disasters, World Wars and Crusades, the crown jewel of Woods Corner has been plating tasty Filipino fare such as pancit and lumpia for over 25 years. The prime factor for its 93% urbanspoon mark, though, is the incredible pepperoni bread. A soft loaf stuffed with copious amounts of said meat and stringy cheese, the generous portion certainly tops 93% of the pizzas I've ever sliced. Additional fillings such as sausage and meatballs are available, but I'd recommend your first order remain true to form. $3.99 is what you'll hand over for the bread, and $2.50 more will earn you four rolls of lip-smacking lumpia. Because of Glory's limited seating and lack of restrooms, most customers opt for the to-go Styrofoam boxes. Take that, McDonald's! Six weeks ago, my sister Shannon and I couldn't stop raving about the once-familiar offering that's now become an occasional treat on the car ride back to Peanut City. We agreed that the bread itself was worth the four bucks, and I downgraded the still-superb Golden Corral rolls to an A-minus. Sauce packets went unused, because they were a tricky proposition in the backseat. As for the lumpia, Shannon liked it well enough, but she stubbornly preferred her own take on what I've called the "best game-day food ever." Having devoured at least four dozen of Shannon's samples, I'll concede her point and posit Glory's deep-fried delight as #2 in Tidewater. The pepperoni bread, however, has no challengers for the title of "Signature Taste of Kempsville."
I regret not dining at Glory's Bakery more often when I lived about a mile from the establishment. The lure of CiCi's cheap grub was an irresistible temptation. Now that it's shuttered, people won't have the lesser option to deal with anymore. Sometimes, choice can be a bad thing. Stay away from Subway's supposed meal deals and spend only a fraction more for exponentially increased quality.
Glory's pepperoni bread: Makes me want to shout the title of a Leonard Cohen song. Well, almost.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Flashback to Marty McFly and the Delorean: Along with the aforementioned Nikes, I was fitted for a pair of black suede/red stripe Pumas at a store inside Military Circle Mall. Brian, my fellow CJHS prisoner and brother, had earlier opted for the Oakland Raiders- inspired shades of black and silver. Prominent figures such as Pele, Boris Becker, Usain Bolt, Jack Black and Rickie Fowler have touted Puma footwear throughout the decades, but no one has ever truly rocked the "Big Cat" like CJHS' own "Fookie." Sure, other inmates like "Mann" and "Pooh" drew numerous catcalls and whistles with their respective Air Jordan and shell-toed adidas togs. The mighty "Fookie," though, made them appear to be modeling Pro Champs. Seriously, it seemed like the legend had over two dozen pairs of Pumas. Following the "rules" of fashion, he never wore the same style on consecutive days. "Fookie" also complemented the chosen shoes with similarly hued Puma warm-up suits and appropriate Kangol head coverings. One morning at the bus stop, he was bedecked in enough purple to make both Grimace and Prince look colorless. If I recall correctly, "Fookie" owned the low-cut Ralph Sampson signature model in gray, light blue and maroon. It's too bad that Puma didn't reissue the version in a limited run when Sampson was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year. Did "Fookie" have the foresight to save a new pair in the box for a future date? I'll ask him at the CJHS 30th reunion. Or not.
Returning to 2011, my post-Bobos era commenced with a sneaker deal too irresistible to ignore. The Puma Liga, an indoor soccer shoe, was priced to move at a holiday rate of $33 per pair. Even better, that amount also paid for the shipping and handling. It was tough to choose just one color of Ligas, so I treated myself to a very Merry Christmas and picked two. Did I select red and green as a nod to the yuletide atmosphere? They were strongly considered, but I placed an order for a couple shades that have always ranked in prime slots on my Top Six list. Naturally, I had to go for the classic look of a blue suede/white stripe Puma to atone for the tactical error at Military Circle. An attractive combination of gray suede/blue stripe unlocked the indecision of my "B" pair. Staring intently at the monitor, I spotted several differences between the Liga and its more famous relative. Most notable was the brown rubber sole in place of the white, waffle-patterned one on the original Puma Suede. The Liga's upper tongue was leather, unlike the completely suede portion of the traditional. Lastly, a more defined toe box made for a sharp contrast with the PS' ambiguous part. Transaction completed, the next move was to peek thru the blinds every ten minutes in search of a brown or white delivery truck. What the hell happened to Santa and his sleigh? Oops, I meant to say "heck." Really!
Five business days later, "Big Brown" deposited two cardboard containers on the bench adjacent to my doorstep. The receipts confirmed both packages were from Puma's U.S. headquarters. Now it was time for unboxing! Instead of a regular shoebox, the Ligas were housed in a red, recyclable "Clever Little Bag." Puma's symbolic cat adorned the front and back, while information pertaining to the environment was etched on the sides. Enough about the farmer's market! I finally grasped a blue-and-white "tomato" that smelled of newness and riped with anticipation. Earlier test trials of the Liga at Rack Room Shoes had proved an old line about Pumas "running small" to be accurate, so I made sure to go one full size greater than my usual 9.5 fit. The ten-point-fives felt extremely lightweight and very comfortable during qualifying treks inside the house. Did they perform as well in public? Remembering its roots as an indoor soccer shoe, the Liga and wooden surfaces were a beautiful match made by Chuck Woolery on "Love Connection." On slick floors, though, the worst moments of Roger Lodge's late-night couplings came recurring. I almost cracked my skull on the toilet-in-a-closet at Colley Cantina while barely maintaining a foothold on the drenched tile. To twist an old Alice Cooper album title: Flush the function.
Obviously, this breed of Puma is more about the fashion side of the LP. Recognizing as such, I never wear the Ligas even when it's slightly raining. Sunny days are often referred to as "Puma weather." When not on my feet, they are put back into the "Clever Little Bag" and stuffed with the original, fresh-scented shoe paper. Yes, I occasionally scrub the suede with a toothbrush ... and a brand-new one at that! I've yet to display the maneuver in front of anyone, though.
No more BoBo demotions for this slugger. From now on, I'm in a Liga of my own.
Monday, August 12, 2013
In the early 1980s, discount stores specializing in off-brand fashions were plentiful throughout Portsmouth, VA. Needed a pair of yellow, John Stockton-length cotton shorts for an upcoming basketball tryout? The Zayre location on Airline Blvd. had no shortage of the "panties" in the men's department racks. Sought a striped tank top with a color scheme bright enough to blind Toucan Sam? Bradlees inside Tower Mall bore many fruity sleeveless shirts on its vines. Wanted knee-length tube socks and size-9 Air BoBos to compete the baller look? Murphy's Mart in the Churchland section assisted countless dribblers seeking to be like Mike's poverty-stricken cousin. Those uninterested in making laughable fools of themselves on the hardwood opted for "Totally rad!" gear at Midcity's K-Mart. Via imitation Vans slip-on shoes and Nash- tagged skateboards, the would-be Tony Hawks spent hours upon hours attempting to land just one ollie amid cruel taunts from spoiled, Vision- and Hosoi-pushing classmates. Today, all of these spots are long-gone to the great liquidation sale in the sky. One feisty flower from the Reagan years, however, continues to bloom for a new generation of style posers hopelessly out of season.
Three years before regularly acquiring cassettes from the likes of Tracks and The Music Man, I laid down roughly $10 for Chicago's 17 album at the register inside Roses in Churchland. Did this join an earlier purchase of Culture Club's Colour By Numbers (from Food Lion!) as a building block of my ever-expanding collection? Hardly. Though I mildly enjoyed C-17's "minor" hits "Stay The Night" and "Along Comes A Woman" when the videos for both aired on the WTVZ-televised "Hot" music show, the record was presented to my mom as a birthday gift on September 9, 1984. As proof that "Ladies love Peter Cetera," she still has the nicked vinyl to this day. The Soundesign stereo with turntable, on the other hand, was disowned around 1992 for its "Best electronics" misnomer. Leftover monies from the transaction could've been used for the Mario Bros. arcade machine or a bag of popcorn, but a few more quarters would've covered me in camouflage. If Converse All-Stars are the Ramones of sneakers, then the BoBo versions must be the Riverdales. I'm not sure if Ben Weasel would've given my feet the thumbs- up, but I walked out of Roses one day in a three-dollar pair of camo faux-Chucks. I believe the shoes were worn once to school with Bugle Boy pants and a surf/skate- related T-shirt. Before giving the kicks an improper military burial, I used them primarily for walking in mud and stepping in dog crap. With an impending move to Virginia Beach, this would be the last time I stopped and smelled the Roses in Churchland. Or so I thought.
With my sister and young nephew in tow, reentry to the Roses Garden took place on an appropriately sunny day circa 2008. Absences of the popcorn stand and video game failed to pollute an unmistakable air of familiarity about the store. It felt like I'd bought the camo BoBos last week. You health-conscious types probably sport the popular gray New Balance running shoes marked with a white "N" on evening strolls around the neighborhood. Well, say hello to ... Knew Balance. That's right! Roses' take on a classic look was branded by a "K"! Given the assumed name, I was concerned that equilibrium in a pair would be a thing of the past. Stumbling over a swift leprechaun in the Shamrock Marathon would have to be someone else's misfortune. Balance maintained, I headed over to the electronics section and saw an array of boxed titles for the Nintendo Game Boy. Not the GB Advance, mind you. Available carts for the original "brick" system were limited to third-party "girly" games in the realm of Strawberry Shortcake, Cabbage Patch Kids and New Kids On The Block. More impressive was the lot of brand-new Sega Genesis controllers. I considered getting several with the intention of making a modest profit on retrogaming sites. In the end, I let them continue to "Hang Tough" with Donnie Wahlberg and the bald-headed babies.
Early in 2012, I made two separate trips to the old stomping ground. The first was with my mom, who found a Roy Orbison tape for a buck and five white shirts for a fiver. As a fan of Orbison's since childhood, she absolutely loved hearing his shimmering vocals in her Ford Explorer. The "Made In Vietnam" shirts, however, were the stuff of grandpa's war stories. After just one battle in the washing machine's spin cycle, they splintered into many pieces and inflicted their damage upon other clothes in the platoon. Post-carnage, Mom went AWOL on the idea of ever buying garments from Roses again. Later that year, my pal Pete and I happened to be in Portsmouth for whatever reason. We had time for a quick peek inside the store, so we browsed at possible outfits in the men's department. My four-word summation of the shorts: long, plaid and polyester. One might've been the epitome of sartorial sense at a Bide-A-Wee open-house event hosted by Chandler Harper in 1975, but wearing them in 2013 would elicit loud chuckles from miniature golfers at Pinboy's in Western Branch. As for the shirts, Roses must've been a handler of Heaven & Earth's overstock. No less than eight Christian spoof tees used pop culture to proselytize. Reese's/ Jesus and Sprite/Holy Spirit delivered their sermons with a pronounced smirk. Whatever your persuasion, believe in the power of parody.
"So out, it's in" is an oft-heard expression. Roses should adopt the line as its motto.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Three weeks ago (7/4/2013), I carelessly installed another dim light bulb. Upon passing thru the Thornton Estate's gated entrance door, my first order of business was shaking hands with a filled coffee mug. I'd been the first person to arrive at two earlier Labor Day gatherings, but a dozen or so hungry folks were awaiting the hot dogs and hamburgers already grilling per initial greetings. Because the temperature was in the expected 90-degree range, I limited myself to one cup of java before switching to the more sensible choice of sweetened iced tea. The cooler beverage option paired very nicely with the delicious Carolina-style BBQ and slaw, which was the only thing scooped onto my plate all day. Sure, the multiple bowls of pasta salad dotting the inside table nearly kissed my spoon, but I decided to employ a single-minded consumption strategy. Over mounds of irresistible pork perfection, Matt, Henry, Rebecca, Vic, Teddy and others joined me in roundtable discussions regarding bee/wasp stings, shrimp and grits, the AMC Pacer, bootleg recordings from local bands, long-gone grocery stores and my virtual T-shirt collection. In the midst of a fourth or fifth BBQ helping, I began to feel turbulence via nausea, dehydration, fatigue and inattentiveness. Staring inside the oval office, I expelled a gagging sound but failed to imitate George Bush's infamous vomitive vision in Japan. If the Cantina storm had been graded, it would've received an F3. The Thornton twister's mark? A full-on F5. I needed Helen Hunt to pilot a big chopper over the Sharknado swirling inside me and drop a powerful bomb thru the funnel. Luckily, I had off-screen ground support from a friend with an atypical remedy.
Reaching into her portable medicine chest, "Nurse" Laura Reyes placed two Midol Complete caplets in my hand and instructed me to wait twenty minutes for a possible third pill. Naturally, I had concerns about ingesting a tablet marketed exclusively to combat "women's issues." In a current ad campaign, two lovelies fashioning light-blue Midol lab coats tell an overworked, suffering waitress: "Because you deserve better." Any balding, grease-stained males with equally pounding headaches are left to sweat in a crowded kitchen. Despite this evidence, Laura insisted that the drug is safe for men to use and wouldn't alter my voice in a higher pitch. Debating wasn't going to improve my condition, so I swallowed both Midol Completes with a generous swig of Deer Park water and waited for the unintentional breast enlargement.
Perched in a chair near the salad table, I stared aimlessly at the spread and pondered a drastic change in eating habits from that moment onward. Early in the recovery stage, I lacked the energy to talk, laugh or care about anything in the world. Five minutes after downing the pills, Laura came inside to check on my status and gave me a gentle embrace. Coupled with the Midol, the sweet gesture began sledge-hammering my brick walls in earnest. "Ralph" no longer wanted to cover the floor's canvas in a spontaneous art exhibit. Dry mouth finally dove into the refreshing pool. A team of one searched in vain for cornhole bags. Jason Thornton's enthusiasm for baseball and Kenny Loggins' soundtrack hits was matched by mine. I almost ate another plate of BBQ.
OK, that last one's a lie, but Mr. Blah tasted a TKO when Midol Complete stepped in the square circle. Truth.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Patty Smyth sollte gesprochene Wort für den alleinigen Zweck der verwirrend Menschen getan habe.
2)The Equatorial Guineas are coming!
Spielen zwei Grad der Türkei Speck endet immer mit dem Schweinefleisch Ersatz in der Mülleimer.
4)Put that baby on the floor and get yourself a Slurpee.
West Virginia ist zu Norden einen Teil des Südens zu sein, und es ist zu Ost-Teil der sein Midwest.
6)Emilio Estevez and Judd Nelson's fathers should get together and go bowling.
Emilio Estevez und Judd Nelson Väter sollten sich zusammen und Bowlen.
7)White chocolate is the Black Flag reunion of candy.
40-quart bag of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil onto High Street.
now living on government assistance in Huntsville, AL.
relocating to Georgia is a huge loss for the Tidewater music scene.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Of course, McD's loyalists are often joined by BK interlopers who only visit the Arch-rival to indulge in their BBQ sauce-covered cravings. As part of their summer fare, Burger King recently introduced a familiar-looking Rib Sandwich that has provoked some entertaining comments from video bloggers. One animated gentleman gave passing grades to the bun, pickles and sauce. When it was time to judge the all-important rib component, however, off came his hat and on came the scowls. Likening the meat to a piece of mushy Salisbury steak, it quickly became obvious that his first BK Rib Sandwich would be the last. Taken with understandable complaints about the size (smaller than McRib) and price (nearly $4 at last check) from other sources, Burger King's clone appeared to lack the come-hither charms of its legendary competitor.
What's a guy or girl to do during McRib's off-season? Find a friend or relative with a Sam's Club membership and steer the shopping cart towards the frozen food section. While loading up on free samples, locate the correct box and place it near the front. We'll talk later at home.
To quote the tear sheet, the Pierre BBQ Rib Sandwich is "a tender, boneless, rib-shaped pork patty glazed with barbecue sauce inside a soft, hearth-baked bun." For around $10 per eight- count box, you can enjoy an individually wrapped, savory McRib knockoff with the press of a few buttons. Best bet for preparation is thawing the sandwich in the refrigerator overnight and microwaving it on high power for 70-90 seconds. Once removed from the wrapper, feel free to adorn the patty with cold pickles, chopped onions or even Tater Tots. After kissing her first Pierre BBQ Rib Sandwich, a friend declared it to be arguably better than the McRib (blasphemy?) and offered to commission a painting of the box's cover art for me. I've been on an unplanned McDonald's hiatus for almost a decade, so I'd probably also give the nod to Pierre. Then again, I'm the one who has often cited weekly "McRib Days" as the highlight of my fifth-grade term at Churchland Academy Elementary in 1982-83. Two sandwiches paired with the cool, creamy contrast of red potato salad make for a delectable dinner ... or a light lunch for Major League Eating superstar Joey Chestnut. Those on sodium-restricted diets might want to chomp responsibly, as one serving contains 1020mg of the white stuff. That number adds up to 43% on the USDA score sheet.
Enough of the Dr.Oz-like blabber! Turn on the Pierre BBQ Rib Sandwich locator and simulate those special trips to McD's in the privacy of your man or woman cave. The aforementioned painting will hang alongside a curious work entitled "Mount Rushmore of Norfolk, VA." Faces have yet to be determined. Now, leave me alone and go ask Grimace to define "enigma" for you.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Hey! It's been quite a while since I've talked to you on Facecrack. In the past five months or so, you have made just two posts on your wall: a poem concerning cat vomit and a study-related blurb in reference to your pursuit of a degree in psychology. Good for you! Unlike yours truly, the virtual hangout doesn't drag on your precious minutes like the most addictive brand of cancer sticks. Last week, I set a PR by deactivating my Facebook account twice within a 24-hour period. The flip-flopping was due to being mildly upset with a dear(?) friend who'd seemed to enjoy spending time with me several weeks ago, but whose increasingly busy schedule has put a padlock on any more visits to "my Norfolk home." Since I shouldn't rely on someone to consistently break me out of the jail of my own creation, I'm back in the FB groove until further notice. From this day forward, I will suppress any emotions that have the potential to stain my page and surrender to the light-heartedness of T-shirt pics, Puma footwear and cool song clips from YouTube. By caring less, I shall gain more.
With every play, Switching Stereos: A Jukebox For Jennifer Beasley has proven to be one of the most enjoyable and diverse mixes I've compiled to date. Sorry it has taken so long to summarize the contents, but the original liner notes have gone missing. I'll just write on the fly and see how it turns out.
One of the themes I used for Switching Stereos was your old, bad-ass Cadillac Seville. In the midst of a lovely Norfolk night, your pimp ride appeared to be jet-black instead of the true-blue shine during the daytime. Though Quiet Riot's "Slick Black Cadillac" (Slade's Noddy Holder moonlighting as a car salesman?) and The Nomads' take of "Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache" (Dexter could've done this number at their Tanner's Creek show) suffered from a bout of color-blindness, The Suicide Kings' "Cadillac Boogie" (featuring a pre-Humpers Scott Drake) and Dwight Yoakam's "Guitars, Cadillacs" (a country song even Bart Simpson could love) didn't confuse red for green and kept Allstate's "Mayhem" trapped inside a TV commercial.
Of course, I had to represent the 757 with a quartet of local greats. Death Trip's Germs-y "I Can't Love You" will always transport me back inside the cactus-era Colley Cantina during their Hardcore Norfolk open-mic introduction to Ghentiles who "get it." "She knew she'd always be an actress/She bruised her back in her last screen test" forever positions Tango Storm's twitchy "Teenage Queen" (from 1980!) high on my countdown of Greatest Songs from Tidewater Bands. Because of its JAMC/ BRMC leanings, Cobra Spa's "The Way We Play" received the most spins via Pete Overstreet's system in his Mazda. Rip Dizzy's triple-set performance at Hilltop Brewing Company circa 2002 remains one of the best gigs I've ever attended, and "Babyrattle" shakes the band's seamless blend of power pop, punk rock and surf with an encapsulated excitement of that evening.
In a similar vein as Dizzy, The Figgs add an atypical Lenny Kravitz-like lilt to the vocals on "Hobbie Skirt (In Erie)" that surprisingly jells. Scott Miller And The Commonwealth wake up the oft-sleepy side of Americana with a powerful Mellencamp/Steve Earle mule kick on "Goddamn The Sun." Breathless intonations on Kirsty MacColl's "Patrick" lend themselves to be loosely tagged as "proto-Lush." The Hookers' "Universal Superstar" is suggestive of The Candy Snatchers with a more metallic side. From Hershey, PA, The Ocean Blue pack tons of Buzzcocks-ish Krackel crunch on "Whenever You're Around." I've owned the demo version of The Zillionaires' "She Went Pop" since 1997, and the " 'Joe Strummer, what a bummer,' she said/She don't even get The Knack" lyrical train has never once gone off-track. Jack And The Rippers' riff-punk gem "No Desire" caps a bit of 'tude seemingly at odds with their Swiss neutrality. Canadian godhead Gordon Lightfoot prefers pop over per-usual folk on "Someone To Believe In." The Ugly Beats from Austin are very reminiscent of the Lyres from Boston and make one wonder if there's a "Bee Line" between the two cities. Psychedelic-laced spoken passages from XTC alter- egos The Dukes Of Stratosphear ("Vanishing Girl") humorously segue right into the Keith Morris-helmed OFF!'s minute-and-change hardcore anthem ("I Don't Belong"). Husker Du's "Some Kind Of Fun" is the best studio outtake from the Up In The Air bootleg and brings a usually disguised Ramones-esque order to the Burger King register. Residing in the same city (Birmingham, England) as their legendary heroes, Witchfinder General's "Music" is a four-star salute to simplicity ("I need music/Oh, yeah/I do/I need music/ Every day").
I'll forward this piece to your Facebook PM, Jen. Hopefully, you'll give it a once-over around Thanksgiving or thereabouts. On second thought, maybe it's better if the story doesn't find your eyes. People like you, Greg Wise, Charles Grant and others who turn a blind eye to social media are the true mavericks in a teched-up society. I oftentimes feel like a Luddite for having never owned a cellphone, but who in the hell would want to call me anyhow? Collecting digits from Facebook buds would turn back the calendar to 1986, when I asked mere acquaintances to sign my purple yearbook. As soon as access to borrowed technology becomes denied, perhaps I'll learn how to gallop off the grid. 'Til then, I'm off to browse images from yet another event graced by my absence. Take care, Jen.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Saturday mornings usually signify one mighty meal for my starving nephew: two chicken biscuits and eight Chick-n-Minis from the efficiently operated Chick-fil-A restaurant in Downtown Suffolk. Already towering at 6'1" and sporting size-13 Air Jordans, fourteen- year-old Nolan can finish the formidable feast in a matter of minutes. When an Adam Richman impersonation isn't part of the A.M. talent show, he takes more time to savor each tasty morsel and hits the proverbial food wall with a biscuit or box of Minis left untouched. In the past, I often devoured the remaining portion as either an appetizer for a later Papa John's order or as part of an existing set-up involving other chicken products. Lately, Nolan has been saving the extra items for gloomy Sundays ("Never," huh?) and groggy school days. Though I've seen a surplus of five or more biscuits stored in the refrigerator's bottom tray during Saturday night inspections, the drawer has always been emptied by Monday morning. While grabbing the iced tea pitcher earlier this week (Wednesday), I spotted something unusual in the lower compartment. Three chicken biscuits had checked into Hotel Frigidaire on the previous Saturday. Upon my room examination, they were enjoying their fifth comfortable day inside the spacious Ziploc bag. Relocating the guests to an adjacent trash bin was never an option, for I'd dealt with lingering leftovers on an extended stay plan many times before. Roughly twenty years ago, I accommodated a vacationing pot of seasoned taco meat for 7-9 straight days. Regarding present company, I had a couple introductions in mind for the upcoming social mixer.
Microwaving two biscuits for the randomly chosen time of 1:11, second-hand scents engulfed the air with an unmistakable poultry perfume. Hot to the touch, several cracks in the architecture caused scattered separation throughout the plate. While gluing the crumbly pieces back to their main mounds, a packet of Burger King Zesty sauce was poured onto the chicken offerings. Before being placed inside each biscuit, the juices from two Vlasic pickles liberally coated the meat. Ironically, the Zesty/Vlasic combination resulted in a McDonald's- esque taste. To my puzzled palate, the tandem came across like a Big Mac sans beef and the triple-layered bun. Eating pickles might seem rather peculiar at the breakfast table, but lovers of the rounded ridges should have no problem connecting with the first-meal curveball. Due to an increased firmness, the afternoon biscuit was the best one of all. The stability almost required no need for a plate, as the residual crumbs were kept to a minimum. Maybe I'd warmed the earlier biscuits on the wrong setting, because the chicken from the P.M serving seemed less soggy. Or perhaps I didn't drench the dang thing in a pint of pickle juice. Whatever the case, I hope to revisit this successful experiment in the near future.
Had I sampled the Vlasic/Zesty pairing on a proper (and fresh) Chick-fil-A sandwich, the mark would've been an "A" all the way. Final grade for the leftover biscuits: a solid "B." That "B" for breakfast is good enough for me.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Since women are on my mind, let's start with one I had the great pleasure of seeing on July 4, 2002. Technically, I could've used Joan Jett And The Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" on GSB and been within the rules. The original version comes from the U.K. group Arrows, who are of no lasting import. Being Captain Obvious ain't my style, thus Joanie's inspired stroll along the avenues of Gary "U.S." Bonds' "New Orleans" gets the nod. In any form, the song is a slice of perfectly pure R 'N' R. One of the biggest surprises of Hardcore Norfolk weekend (8/20/2011) was witnessing Bonds and the reunited Ant Man Bee excite an already-pumped audience with a new "New Orleans." JJ would've loved seeing an old friend having a blast on a stage in his hometown. Bagpipes and all, AC/DC's "It's A Long Way To The Top..." is one of the biggest jolts from High Voltage. Lucinda Williams chooses to harness its electricity with a slowed-down, Bonnie Raitt-ish blues that's more in keeping with the wine-drinking set. Apparently, Lucinda's performance at Town Point Park years ago contained more expletives from her mouth in two hours than Acca Dacca had uttered in thirty years. How's that for Mom-rock irony? The words "ABBA" and "crunchy" might seem like strange companions, but the Swedish quartet's awesome "Hey Hey Helen" is packed with more "CHOMP!" than a three-pound Nestle bar. U.K. noise-pop mistresses Lush add a creamy center to the candy batch, and their beautifully echoed tones balance the sugar rush from the buzzy guitars. The Cowboy Junkies would've done some fast horse-trading for The Textones' hat-tip of Smokey Robinson's "I Second That Emotion." Post-swap, Margo Timmins would turn into an Indian giver and moan about an inability to hit those high notes. Only low 'n' slow cookin' for her.
The New Bomb Turks tapped Wire, The Rolling Stones, Pagans, Hawkwind among many others to pad their multitude of stellar 45s. For whatever brain-dead reasons, I wasn't able to find room for one of the Turks' delightful re-creations. Many of their "gunk-punk" comrades, however, have eager hands tucked into the pockets of Granny's seersucker. Electric Frankenstein, creators of a monstrous mound of recorded material, piece together random arms and legs on a walking-dead waltz of Vox Pop's "Just Like Your Mom." The non-"Stomp The Yard" stepping continues with The Slobs making a glorious mess outta The Dovells' "Bristol Stomp" -- which I once heard at Fuddrucker's in between burger bites and shake sips. Regarding Fudd's, ostrich was the meat from a final main course I consumed at the now-departed Va. Beach Blvd. location. Australia's Cosmic Psychos and The Onyas certainly know how to properly grill and season the big birds. On their respective patties of L7's "Shove" ("Some girl just pinched my ass!") and The Chords' Now It's Gone," the dudes from Down Under brand their marks with more spatula skill than a twenty-year employee at Hungry Jack's (the Aussie equivalent of Burger King). Any cookout worth its weight in charcoal should offer bottles, cans and kegs within an index finger's reach. Point at The Pleasure Fuckers, pouring Gang Green's "Alcohol" into red Solo cups, as the crew with the cactus juice. Last week, Reg Presley of The Troggs succumbed to the crippling effects of a cruel cancer. I placed "From Home," the B-side of "Wild Thing," on a Dirty Sheets comp, and The Fluid's flowing mixture of "Our Love Will Still Be There" also raises its glass in tribute to a mighty man who made our hearts join him in song. Billy Childish released a Clash pisstake entitled "We're Selling Jeans For The U.S.A." on a single I picked up at Camp Zama for a buck or so. In Thee Mighty Caesars, he opts not to damn The Damned's "Neat Neat Neat" and keeps the tweed trousers fairly unwrinkled.
At Hardcore Norfolk's first open-mic night at the OLD Colley Cantina, local guitar slinger Pete Overstreet made the spontaneous decision to tackle said Damned cut in an acoustic fashion. With the pretty Sue Panique holding a lyric sheet and an outstanding harmonica player whose name escapes me, Johnny Galecki's twin brother won over several fried pickle eaters seated stage right. On Overstreet's self-released demo disc, he applies a similar unplugged-punk coating to Tom Waits' "Going Out West" that's loaded with enough salt strings and whiskey pulls to fortify a brand-new flavor of potato chips befitting the former Lay's pitchman. I often refer to Johnny Rock as "the one who brought a lil' bit of New York to Norfolk." The subway rider is equally comfortable on a stagecoach, as evidenced by steady galloping on Hank Williams' (1st edition) "Mansion On The Hill." Upholding the terrific tradition of the M-80's and Nightcaps, the Sambone-led Horehounds remain the best band who's ever played at a bar in Kempsville. Their handling of "Death By The Gun," a Radio Birdman obscurity, empties its chamber with righteous riffing that matches center targets with Deniz Tek's original kill shots. To my knowledge, Norfolk's beloved Waxing Poetics are the lone Tidewater band with an entry in one of the Trouser Press Record Guides. Ira Robbins himself described their version of Wreckless Eric's "Semaphore Signals" as "ominous." Couldn't have said it better. Actually, that's not true, but I'll let him have the collar.
To hear what The Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man" would've sounded like had it been penned by the New York Dolls, place your $26 in Slaughter And The Dogs' hands and cop on the Ziploc filled with the addictive magic of Thunders-esque guitar. For a youthful, Wire-informed wink at the burgeoning straight-edge scene in 1980s Washington, DC, the Teen Idles' playful rigidity on The Stooges' "No Fun" flies over the collective heads of folded-arm fuckers wearing permanent scowls. I've never owned a Grateful Dead album, but The Pontiac Brothers' Stones-y jump-start of the dirty hippies' "Brown Eyed Women" has me looking past the pot plants and patchouli for a well-worn copy of Workingman's Dead. Intensive care is the doctor's order on The Townies' rub of the Vaselines' "Molly's Lips," and the nu-college rock heals chapped skin more effectively than Nirvana's earlier haphazard balm. Anti-Nowhere League's addendum "I'll show you something that'll make you really sick!" adds an unexpected page to the travel brochure of Ralph McTell's folk chestnut "Streets Of London." A compilation of the best Bob Dylan covers must include Richard Hell And The Voidoids' Mick 'N' Keef-inspired reading of "Going Going Gone" to be taken seriously by the average busker in Greenwich Village. Philly underdogs The Hooters jab and uppercut Love's "She Comes In Colors" with the skillful confidence of Rocky Balboa's second fight with Clubber Lang. Mr. Overstreet needs to take possession of the V-shaped guitar signed by members of Molly Hatchet and strum a shit-hot rendition of The Valentinos' "It's All Over Now" to reclaim the roots from his adolescence. While vacationing in Iceland, Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman selected Helmet's heady grasp of "Primitive" over Metallica's backwards-cap deconstruction on "The Wait." Jeannie C. Riley's "Harper Valley P.T.A." was more than a little bit country, but Hoodoo Gurus' after-school band practice of her lesser-known "The Generation Gap" bridges a whole lotta punk rock. The video for The Embarrassment's shameless version of Led Zep's "Immigrant Song" showcases hyena-style vocals and multiple time signatures that are otherwise enjoyed by a dancing Janet Wood-type clad in physical education shorts. Tom Petty was said to have been greatly perturbed by Husker Du's louder-than- 10,000-decibels demolition of The Byrds' "Eight Miles High," though I'm sure the Heartbreakers' lead axeman Mike Campbell raved about the jet noise to his drinking buds stationed in Jacksonville.
I've run out of starch, so I should stop here. To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen: "Well, I'm looking for an artist who will take one of my songs and cover me."
Monday, January 14, 2013
I failed to show up for my senior yearbook picture, but the photographers from Olan Mills had been directly responsible for a grade-school highlight: LICE TREATMENTS!!! At one session, hundreds of nattily attired, Churchland Academy charges were being prepped by the OM staff and other adult assistants. In addition to adjusting collars, straightening ties and tucking-in shirts, Olan Mills made sure each child's hair was neatly in place. Pretty standard stuff, huh? What became evident shortly afterward was that OM had used the same comb on almost every kid prior to their "Cheese!" snaps. Which, of course, led to a lice outbreak at Churchland Academy. The search for little bugs in the auditorium wasn't fun on the level of an all-day arcade visit, but the home-applied solution would be an entirely different tale. Damn, that special shampoo glistened like Head & Shoulders multiplied by 50! My scalp had never felt so vivacious! Compared to the strong chemicals found in the tingly, egg-killing ambrosia, agents such as Prell and Johnson's Baby flavored like weak sauce. Those infected children were lucky, because they probably received multiple cleansings with the manna. Too bad I couldn't locate that guilty comb, for I was ready to start a lice farm with the sole purpose of slaughtering the stock at bath time.
While not completely measuring up to the intensity of the prescribed potions, Pert Plus 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner is a practical way for your strands to party like it's 1979. The greatest hits collection of -ate, -ide and -one compounds will ring your scalp's bell and send refreshed hair to the top of the charts. Anita Ward and I like how Pert Plus 2-in-1 doesn't have the build-up of other shampoo/conditioner tandems. A simple rinse is all it takes! For those who change hair colors more often than Kat Von D replaces beaus, it's gentle enough on your latest dye -- or guy, in Kat's case! Like all conscience-aware products, Pert Plus 2-in-1 isn't tested on animals. As for experiments on Sarah McLachlan, results are unavailable at press time. Since the word "INVIGORATING" appears on the bottle, perhaps I should use it in a sentence. You know what? I just did. OK, here's one in Churchland Academy-style: "My teacher told me to use the word 'INVIGORATING' in a sentence."
Kid, who needs learnin' when you've got lice treatment? Soak it up!