Thursday, July 27, 2006

Just Shut Up

I am obsessed with ESPN radio. I frequently have to go out of the office for work to do stuff that I hate (closings. blech.) but the bright side is I can listen to more ESPN radio.

Anyway, Mike and Mike in the morning have the "Just Shut Up" segment once a week for whoever is annoying them in the sports world. I would like to offer up Michael Kaye this week.

Why? It's the A-Rod thing. Look, I'm not one of the fans booing him, but I am so tired of Michael's incessant yelling on his radio show about "how dare the fans boo him?" Ugh! Michael, it's a part of the game. And if A-Rod is so damn fragile that he can't handle it, he can't hack it in New York. Last year Giambi was one the getting booed, but did you defend him? Did he fall apart? No, he got back on the juice and elevated his game.

Is A-Rod objectively a great player? Sure. But right now he's sucking and I'm sorry, but unless you were a part of World Series win streak, you won't be immune to boos when you suck (obviously Jeter, Posada and Bernie are given massive leeway, and for good reason).

So stop it, Michael. Just shut up.

The Light Show at the Parachute Jump

Two weeks ago, on a hot and sunny Saturday, I opted to drive into Brooklyn, pick up Philly, Emily and Jason, and head off to Coney Island for the Siren Festival. Siren is a hipster music fest that the Village Voice puts on every year. My knowledge of hipster music is limited (though it has grown thanks in large part to Philly, and of course, also to Jeeves and Jason and their blog) and there's the small part about me really not liking hipsters. But I do love Coney Island, hot dogs, the Wonder Wheel, the ocean, and this was an excuse to enjoy those things.

The lineup of bands was extensive, but we really only cared about seeing Art Brut and the Scissor Sisters. I had never seen or really heard too much Art Brut. But Philly took me to see Scissor Sisters for my birthday this year, and they are a lot of fun. But they wouldn't be on till later in the day, so we opted to head over early and get some Nathan's.

What can I say about Nathan's that I didn't say last year? Nothing. It was excellent as usual, and still a great deal on the beer - bucket (like a large soda at the movies) of Killian's for $4.50. I think my recent disappointment with Gray's Papaya was because I had eaten Nathan's a few days before.

Unfortunately it started to rain, but as luck would have it, we managed to get a table with an umbrella. Wooo! Eventually the sky cleared and we headed off to the batting cages. Some slow pitch for the ladies, medium for the gents, and we all gawked at the fast pitch (over 100 mph) and the dude who managed to make contact every time.

Next to the grossly overpriced Wonder Wheel - best view in Coney Island, even if it does cost $5. Eventually it was time to wander over to the stage to catch Art Brut. While there was a great breeze off the ocean and it's easily ten degrees cooler in Coney Island, it still get hot smooshed in with all those hipsters. As usual, the sceney kids were dressed in clothing that I can't imagine is terribly comfortable while standing around in th heat all day. But I guess that's the 80-year-old in me. Art Brut was a lot of fun, as were the Scissor Sisters, though by 8pm (when the Sisters went on) I was feeling pretty pooped and my footsies hurt.

As we walked back to the car, we got to see a crazy and interesting mix of locals, white dreadlocked kids with a sign that read "Hungry hungry hobos," and hipsters. As for the Parachute Jump, which was recently hooked up with all sorts of lights and you can allegedly see from Long Island, the lights weren't really on. Or if they were, I'd say that is one disappointing light show.

We made our way back to Brooklyn Heights for dinner at the Waterfront Ale House, which was enjoyable as usual. Except for the fact that we were all pretty much exhausted. Poor Jeeves, whose original plans got cancelled, found a group of geriatrics after his long subway ride out to Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure I was the crankiest of the bunch, which was definitely on parade as I drove home, cursing every cab driver all the way back to Jersey.

But the sleep was coma-like. And Coney Island is definitely worth turning into a grumpy pants.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Times Miscellany

A couple of articles in the Times I wanted to point out.

The Dining Section does an interesting piece on Austrian wine. Have spent a little time there last summer, I must agree with their raves about gruner veltliner.

And Bon Jovi was in NJ for his tour - he sold out three shows at Giants Stadium. Can we take a moment and consider that it's pretty damn impressive to sell out three shows at an 80,000 seat stadium? Anyway, Times reviews his show, and clearly enjoyed themselves (an encouraged my Jersey pride in the process). I think the reviewer hit the nail on the head when he wrote: "There is something comforting about his undying relevance, as if as long as he is advising fans to 'hold on to what we’ve got,' there will always be small-town men who marry their high school sweethearts, sell 100 million records and live in chateaus in unfairly maligned states." Whoooaaaa, we're half way there!

And lastly, this article about a painting Janet and I saw at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna last summer - Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, by Gustav Klimt. The painting recently fetched the most money ever at auction (an arbitration panel ruled that the painting should be returned to Bloch-Bauer's family, who said the painting was stolen from them by the Nazis). Thankfully, the painting was purchased by Ronald S. Lauder, for his museum, the Neue Gallerie in New York. Now all of NYC can appreciate her beauty. And she is certainly a sight to see.

I Feel Love

My original plan for July 18th had been to go see the New York Philharmonic in Central Park play Beethoven's 5th. But then, late last week, Jeeves got word that he had scored a pair of tickets through work to see Madonna at Madison Square Garden. Woohoo! I had never seen Madonna in concert before, and like all girls who grew up in the 80s and early 90s, I have a soft spot for her.

Evening started off doubtfully – I wound up having to ride the elevator to the parking deck at work with the managing partner… and I had changed into street clothes. I hate it when that happens. And of course, it was a sauna outside. I had some time once I arrived in NYC to grab a bite to eat – I had been planning on checking out the 38th St. Restaurant. But on my sweltering walk up there, I got distracted by Gray's Papaya and decided a Recession Special was just what I wanted. I must confess – I think Gray's is a tad overrated. Maybe that's cause there was a thick white string running through one of my dogs. It might also be because I just ate at Nathan's on Coney Island last weekend. I hoped to run into Mr. Softy on my walk back to MSG, but he was nowhere to be found.

Jeeves and I met up at Rose Pizza in the LIRR wing of Penn Station, as per Philly's recommendation that they have the best beer prices. He was right – 32 oz Heineken for $5, and much cheaper if you wanted Bud or Bud Lite.

The concert was technically scheduled for 8, but Jeeves had heard that the Material Girl didn't go on till 9pm on other nights. So we headed upstairs around 8:40, got situated, and only had to wait a few minutes before the lights dimmed and the music started.

The show was a great time – what can I say, the lady knows how to entertain. She played a lot of stuff from her newest album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, but there were definitely decent amount of old hits, mostly remixed. The old(er) stuff included "Like a Virgin," "La Isla Bonita," "Live to Tell," "Music," "Drowned World," "Lucky Star," "Erotica," and "Ray of Light." In terms of Madge's 80s hits, I personally prefer "Material Girl" and "Dress You Up." And I prefer "Human Nature" to "Erotica" but hey, that's me. For my money, it doesn't get better than "Ray of Light" and she really killed it (in a good way). Of the new stuff, my personal favorite is "Jump" which was great, but "Sorry" was also a lot of fun. But I think it was definitely a highlight of the night when she came out singing "Future Lovers" and it morphed into a cover of Donna Summer's classic "I Feel Love."

Jeeves kept remarking that she was dancing up a storm, and yet still singing without being remotely out-of-breath. And yes, she really was singing - no lip-synching here. It must be all the pilates - the woman is in amazing shape, looked completely beautiful and is teeny tiny in real life.

There's not much more to say - I just can't think of anyone else, who at the age of 47, can come out in a Saturday Night Fever-style white suit and do a remix of her own song, "Music" to "Disco Inferno" and just sell it. The loudest thing in MSG that night wasn't Madge - it was the scream of her fans. And rightfully so.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Birthday, Butterstick

Since K left, there are only two other female attorneys where I work and I wouldn't say I am friends with either of them. But one of them shares my affinity for baby pandas in general, and the DC panda, Tai Shan, in particular. She sent along this picture of Tai Shan celebrating his first birthday.

Jim, while once walking through a grocery store with me and watching me cluck with joy over miniature coca-cola cans, premised that girls really seem to love short, fat things. Short and fat reminding us perhaps of babies. I had dismissed him, but as I have gotten older, I tend to think he might have been on to something. Baby pandas are no different, though it should be said that I know a guy or two who love baby pandas as much as any girl.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I've got a sweet love hangover, and I don't need no cure

Okay, so actually it was influenza and a cure would have been swell. Monday, late afternoon, while sitting in my shitty, windowless office, my back started to really hurt and I felt feverish. Also, I had been crying at really stupid stuff, which happens when I start running a temperature. The last time I had the flu, I started crying because I became convinced that I had a leg infection, they would have to amputate my leg, and no one could ever love someone with a stump. Yeah. What do you want? I was delirious!

So I was out of work for two days. I wish I could say it was all fun and games, but the first day was mostly spent sleeping, whining to Abbott about how much my back hurt, and feeling massively guilty about missing work. On the second day, my Battlestar Galactica DVD came from Netflix, and that's when life drastically improved.

Back in the day when Kate had cable, she would watch the new shows and tell me what was worth watching. Thanks to Kate, I watched West Wing and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two favorites from my college years. Kate no longer has cable, but does have a Netflix subscription, and she probably watches more TV now than she did when she had cable. Anyway, thanks to Netflix, Kate has started watching some of the shows that I recommended. But it's a two way street and I knew I couldn't keep getting her to watch my stuff if I didn't watch some of her's.

She had been pushing BSG (the new version, for the record, not the 1978 version) for awhile, but finally piqued my interest when she said, "Bart loves it and you know he hates sci-fi!" It's true. I hadn't really trusted Kate on BSG because she's also a Star Trek fan and I hate that shit. She assured me that it wasn't a normal science fiction show - sure it took place in outer space and there were robots and stuff, but really, it was more political, religious and social commentary with some really exciting espionage and good character development.

The premise - in some distant galaxy, there are the 12 colonies of man. (The number 12 is very important on the show, and yes, it is most certainly related to the bible). Man creates these robots with artificial intelligence called the Cylons (they look like giant toasters with legs). So at this point, very sci-fi and very Isaac Asimov. One day the Cylons rise against their masters, and there's bloody war, until an armistice is declared. The Cylons go off to find their own home and no one on the colonies sees or hears from them for over 40 years. Then one day they return, launch a massive attack on the colonies and pretty much kill all but 50,000 people, who escape into space. The Cylons, fyi, still look like toasters, but they also have managed to make models that look just like humans. And they have an eeeeevil and diabolical plan for the humans who escaped. It's all very exciting.

Unfortunately, the show starts with a miniseries, which Kate had told me, and I had forgotten. But I hadn't ordered to miniseries. I ordered the start of the regular series. So I was pretty confused. Regardless, the show is a good time. As the New Yorker review stated: "But what interests people who normally don’t care about science fiction is how timely and resonant the show is, bringing into play religion and religious fanaticism, global politics, terrorism, and questions about what it means to be human."

As for my love hangover, it's all for Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama. He's dreamy and he defends democracy!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Food, mostly tasty

I've gotten a lot of remarks over the last couple of weeks about all the cool places I eat. And I respond with "Actually, I've eaten at a lot more places lately than I blog about, but I'm worried that the perpetual food entries will get boring." Then I remembered who my readers are. So I decided to do an entry about all the other places I have been that haven't gotten mentioned yet.

Back in early June, Jim and I finally hit Fatty Crab. I have been excited about Fatty Crab ever since I read it's short review in the Times, and also, Eric Asimov's (whom I have dumped in favor of Frank Bruni) comments on in The Pour. In a word: disappointing. FC is located on Hudson Street in the Village. It's teeny tiny, and as such, there is usually a wait. But there was space to sit at the bar, and so we had a drink. FC's specialty is Malaysian street food, and so, food ought to be shared. We ordered the fatty duck, chicken claypot, short ribs and chicken wings. The claypot was quite tasty, with lots of tofu, which I liked, and the short ribs were tender and had a nice sauce. But the duck was disappointing as compared to Hunan Cottage and the chicken wings were undercooked. Jim says that the practice in China is to undercook the chicken, as compared to here where we burn the shit out of it. I personally prefer the latter method. And sadly, at the end of the meal I was still a bit hungry. Oh well.

As Jeeves was busy being a law student on my birthday, he took me out in June for a belated celebration to Yama, which he assured me would blow my mind. And it did. Apparently Yama is another place where you can expect a wait, and there's not much space inside to stand around, so it's best in good weather. But it is certainly worth standing around. Once inside, we marked off how may pieces of nigiri that we wanted (we had tuna, eel, yellow tail, salmon, mackeral, giant clam and maybe another piece which has subsequently escaped me, along with an eel avocado roll and yellowtail salmon roll). The pieces of sushi were completely enormous - I've never seen anything like it. The eel took me 4 bites to get through. Everything was superbly cut and tender, and the rolls? Heavenly. I daydream about the eel avocado roll - the eel sauce was perfect and the avocado was super ripe.

Other notable city eats - Great Jones Cafe for brunch which serves cajun spins on breakfast food. I had the eggs with ham on biscuits and smothered in gravy with a side of grits. It's pretty hard to find good grits in the northeast and my mom always made the best. But these grits definitely gave hers a run for their money. Creamy, but not too runny. And eggs with gravy? Brilliant. Jeeves swears by the bloody marys and indeed, they use fresh horseradish. And on this past Friday, very late, I went to Florent in the meatpacking district. Think of it as a french diner. I was boring and got eggs and bacon (sorry, but that's my go-to late at night in a diner-type setting), which came with a nice thick multi-grained toast and the bacon was well-done as requested. Jason was more adventurous and had the goat cheese and apple omellette and Jeeves had the veggie burger (which I think is bizarre, especially coming from someone who eats as many hamburgers as I do, but he insists is excellent). Also, I like that it's on Gansevoort Street, mainly because "Gansevoort" is fun to say.

What of New Jersey, you ask? Have I abandoned the food of my home state? Not at all. Wendy and I went to Reservoir in South Orange for her birthday. If you live in the area, you may know of it - great word of mouth. And with good reason. They serve up a nice thin-crust pizza. Wendy and I had one of those, some bruschetta (which was seriously out of this world - thick cuts of toasted bread which were crispy on the outside, but east to take a bite out of, with ridiculously fresh tomatoes and onions and a nice balsalmic maranade). We also had a penne dish which came with an excellent marinara sauce, mozarella and prosciutto. I highly recommend it, and in fact think I will suggest to Wendy that we head back there soon. Also, in typical Jersey , cash-only, Italian fashion, the prices were quite low - all that food for $30.

Well, another weekend has slipped by me and I had intentions of multiple entries, but as it is late, I have a cold... and sadly work tomorrow, I will have to postpone.