looka, <'lu-k&> dialect, v.
1. The imperative form of the verb "to look", in the spoken vernacular of New Orleans; usually employed when the speaker wishes to call one's attention to something.
2. --n. Chuck Taggart's weblog, hand-made and updated (almost) daily, focusing on food and drink, music (especially of the roots variety), New Orleans and Louisiana culture, news, movies, books, sf, public radio, media and culture, Macs, politics, humor, reviews, rants, the author's life and opinions, witty and/or smart-arsed comments and whatever else tickles the author's fancy.
Please feel free to contribute a link if you think I'll find it interesting. If you don't want to read my opinions, feel free to go elsewhere.
Page last tweaked @ 2:19pm PDT, 8/27/2003
If you like, you are welcome to send e-mail to the author. Search this site:
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2002: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2001: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
2000: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
1999: Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec.
Regime change for America, 2004. How to donate to this site:
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Friends with pages:
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KCSN (Los Angeles)
"Down Home" playlist
Live MP3 audio stream
Subscribe to the
"Down Home" weekly
playlist email service
WWOZ (New Orleans)
Live audio stream
Grateful Dead Radio
(Streaming complete shows!)
KPIG, 107 Oink 5
KRVS Radio Acadie
Mike Hodel's "Hour 25"
(Science fiction radio)
Radio Free New Orleans
Raidió na Gaeltachta
RTÉ Radio Ceolnet
(Irish trad. music)
WXDU (Durham, NC)
The Sazerac Cocktail
(A work in progress;
Martin Doudoroff &
Alcohol (and how to mix it)
(Gary & Mardee Regan)
DrinkBoy and the
Community for the
(Robert Hess, et al.)
DrinkBoy's Cocktail Weblog
La Fée Verte
(All about absinthe
from Kallisti et al.)
Mr. Lucky's Cocktails
New Orleans Menu Daily
The Making of a Restaurant
Mise en Place
à la carte
Chef Talk Café
The Global Gourmet
A Muse for Cooks
The Online Chef
Pasta, Risotto & You
Slow Food Int'l. Movement
So. Calif. Farmer's Markets
In vino veritas.
The Oxford Companion to Wine
Wally's Wine and Spirits
The Wine House
The Wine Spectator
Reading this month:
The New American Splendor Anthology, by Harvey Pekar et al.
Our Cancer Year, by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner.
Listen to music!
Chuck's current album recommendations
La Bottine Souriante
The Old 97s
The Red Stick Ramblers
Miles of Music
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
San Francisco Celtic Music & Arts Festival
Appalachian String Band Music Festival - Clifftop, WV
Long Beach Bayou Festival
Strawberry Music Festival - Yosemite, CA
A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans (Joshua Mann Pailet)
American Museum of Photography
California Museum of Photography, Riverside
International Center of Photography
Paul F. R. Hamilton
Clarence John Laughlin
J. T. Seaton
The Mirror Project
Bloom County / Outland,
by Berkeley Breathed
Bob the Angry Flower,
by Stephen Notley
by Aaron McGruder
Calvin and Hobbes,
by Bill Watterson
by Garry B. Trudeau
Electric Sheep Comix
by Patrick Farley
Get Your War On
by David Rees
L. A. Cucaracha
by Lalo Alcaraz
by Peter Blegvad
by Al Capp
The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green,
by Eric Orner
by Ted Rall
This Modern World,
by Tom Tomorrow Xquzyphyr & Overboard,
by August J. Pollak
Films seen this year:
The Pianist (****-1/2) Chicago (****)
Lookin' at da TV:
"Six Feet Under"
"Malcolm In The Middle"
"Star Trek: Enterprise"
The Food Network
Weblogs I read:
The Carpetbagger Report
Ethel the Blog
Follow Me Here
Ghost in the Machine
Hit or Miss
The Hoopla 500
The Leaky Cauldron
Little. Yellow. Different.
More Like This
Neil Gaiman's Journal
News of the Dead
Q Daily News
Real Live Preacher
This Modern World
What's In Rebecca's Pocket?
Matthew's GLB blog portal
New Orleans ...
proud to blog it home.
AlterNet.org (progressive politics & news)
Borowitz Report (political satire)
The Complete Bushisms (quotationable!)
The Deduct Box (Louisiana politics)
The Fray (your stories)
Izzle Pfaff! (my favorite webjournal)
Landover Baptist (better Christians than YOU!)
Maledicta (The International Journal of Verbal Aggression)
The Morning Fix from SF Gate (news, opinions, extreme irreverence)
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The Onion (news 'n laffs)
Whitehouse.org (not the actual White House, but it should be)
The Final Frontier:
Astronomy Pic of the Day
ISS Alpha News
NASA Human Spaceflight
Locus Magazine Online
Déanta: This page is coded by hand, with BBEdit 4.0.1 on an Apple iBook 2001 running MacOS X 10.2 if I'm at home; occasionally with telnet and Pico on a FreeBSD Unix host running tcsh if I'm updating from work. (I never could get used to all those weblogging tools.)
"This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York island,
From the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me."
-- Woody Guthrie
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Les Américains sont de grands gros porcs. Okay, so the French eat lots of cheese and butter and cream and foie gras. Why aren't they big, fat bastards like us Americans? 'Cause they understand the miracle of portion control, that's why. As Ted Allen of The Fab 5 says, "Eat more or less what you want, just don't eat so damned much of it."
We'll batter and deep-fry anything that isn't nailed down. It appears that New Orleans has some competition for the deep-frying capital of the world, and that challenge comes from the Scots, who are battering and deep-frying everything from Mars bars to haggis. Still, though, it's hard to compete with Jacque-Imo's deep-fried roast beef po-boys, and I'm still looking for that place in Da Parish that supposedly batters and deep-fries entire muffuletta sandwiches. That's just wacked ... true twisted genius.
Email of the day. Apparently James advocates the death penalty for people who don't like tripe.
From: James Curtos <email@example.com>Gee, will I now be targeted for death by the People's Front of Sardinia because I'm utterly revolted by their famous casu marzu cheese? Nope, no ruminant stomach lining or maggot-infested rotten cheese for me, thanks.
To: Chuck Taggart
Date: 27 Aug 2003 20:42:05 -0000
I just read your webpage and let me tell you that you are a fucking idiot and you desserve to die fucking american!!!
Monday, August 25, 2003
The Cocktailian. This week the Professor goes exotic in Gary Regan's biweekly column, giving us a taste of The Tao of Love.
I've been learning about myriad champagne-based cocktails recently, which usually aren't on our in-house cocktail menu. We tend not to keep much sparkling wine around routinely. Hm, maybe we should. Thing is, ya gotta finish it once it's open.
I love you like a pig loves corn. Sorry, "Cajun in Your Pocket" guys, but you can't copyright the sucking of crawfish heads. (Thanks, Jordan!)
Grammy-nominated rapper Mystikal did not break copyright laws when he used two Cajun sayings in one of his songs, a federal appeals court has ruled.I'd bet "Shake Ya Ass" would make a great segue from Spinal Tap's "Lick My Love Pump".
Emanation Inc. sued Mystikal's record label, Zomba Recording Inc., in 2001 claiming it owned the copyright to the phrases. Emanation makes a hand-held toy called "Cajun in Your Pocket" that plays several Cajun phrases, and got a copyright for the word arrangements on Dec. 13, 2000.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that Mystikal, whose real name is Michael Tyler, did not infringe on the company's copyright in his 2000 song "Shake Ya Ass."
The appeals court agreed with a district judge, ruling that the sayings "We gon' pass a good time, yeah, cher," and "You gotta suck da head on dem dere crawfish" are not original and therefore are not protected under copyright laws.
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
The California recall requires cash. For everything else, use Mastercard. (From today's Los Angeles Times)
Now here's something we hope you'll really like! I think it's quite possible that I'll only be able to truly appreciate t his fantastic show now that I'm an adult. I'm sure that as a kid a fair bit of it went over my head.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
One of my favorite euphemisms is the term "Cajun pâté", which is what I use to describe hog's head cheese when I serve it to non-Louisianian guests (and some Louisianians, too). Invariably they love it, raving about the great flavor and perfect brow sweat-inducing pepperiness; then later on I tell them that back home we really call it "hog's head cheese" and the reaction tends to be one of horror. Hey, you ate it, you liked it, it tasted good ... get over it!
Forget that vile gray stuff you see in the supermarket, simply labelled "head cheese." Head cheese? Whose head?! They don't even tell you! It could be anyone's! No, insist on good, fresh, Louisiana-made hog's head cheese, and realize that the euphemism is not a lie -- by classical culinary definition it's a coarse, country-style pâté, molded and chilled in a terrine and served thinly sliced. If you ever have the opportunity to try the good stuff, run with it. There aren't too many things that are better than good, peppery hog's head cheese, served with crackers and ice-cold beer. Oh man, that's good eatin'.
The pinnacle of art. Pure genius, this: artist Brandon Shimoda is currently putting on his second annual Bacon Show, featuring his work along with 24 artists and writers, plus, of course, the constant beautiful gorgeous aroma of bacon hanging in the air (brought about by the artist frying it up on the spot, and setting a bowl of it out for the show's visitors). Now that's what I call art.
However, I'm not sure if conceptual artist Richard Morrison's bacon head made it into Brandon's show, although it certainly scared the shit out of a burglar.
Oh what fools these bigshots be. Disney chairman Michael Eisner has declared that "2-D is dead", and is scuttling traditional animation at Disney in favor of 3-D computer animated projects only. He's shvitzing big-time over the fact that while Pixar's "Finding Nemo" has become the highest-grossing animated film of all time (and one of the best), Disney's "Treasure Planet" went down like the Hindenburg. Mr. Eisner should know better; what he doesn't get is this:
Disney only has two pictures left under its current deal with Pixar, and Pixar's terms for a proposed extension include paying Disney nothing more than a distribution fee -- eliminating Finding Nemo-sized paydays for Disney, whether it retains Pixar or not.That would seem to be patently obvious. How does someone get into an enormously powerful CEO position and not realize this?
With Pixar insisting their offer is firm, Eisner realizes he needs a backup plan -- and he's seen how the average 2-D animated feature has fared versus the average 3-D offering.
What Eisner, et. al., is missing is that the most important factor in the success of an animated features has always been its story. A great concept, terrific characters, catchy music are important, too. The medium is absolutely the least important.
Friday, August 15, 2003
Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff. I had an opportunity to see an advance screening of the new film American Splendor, which opens today. Since then I've become a born-again Harvey Pekar fan, acquiring as many back issues of American Splendor comics that I've been able to find (and afford), plus the anthologies. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, just go to the cinema and see one of the best movies of the year. Trust me.
Sit down and be you silent. Thanks to a link from Lyn, I've found my favorite new weblog, written by a minister in south Texas under the nom de plume of Real Live Preacher. What caught my eye (and blew me away) was a hair-raising, goosebump-inducing, fiery and powerful sermon directed at those who would use the six (very flimsy and/or ambiguous) verses of scripture that mention homosexuality to condemn, hate, oppress and discriminate against millions and millions of human beings:
Sit down CHRIStian. Give me that bible you're waving before you hurt yourself. I'm going to resist the temptation to snatch it from your hands and beat you with it. I am your worst nightmare, a Texas preacher who knows The Book better than you do.Wow. Just ... wow.
You cannot wave your unread bible and scare me. I know its larger story and I will tear you a new biblical asshole.
Show me your scriptures. Show me how you justify condemning homosexual people.
Show me what you got, Christian. The Sodom story? That story is about people who wanted to commit a brutal rape. Let's all say it together, "God doesn't like rape." You could have listened to your heart and learned that, Christian. Move on. What else you got?
A weak-ass little passage from Leviticus? Are you kidding me? Are you prepared to adhere to the whole Levitical code of behavior? No? Then why would you expect others to? What else?
Two little passages -- two verses from Romans and one from I Corinthians. There you stand, your justification for a worldwide campaign of hatred is written on two limp pieces of paper. I know these passages, both their greater context and the original language. I could show you why you have nothing, but there is something more important you need to see.
Come with me to the church cellar... There, do you see the iron furnace door, gaping open? Do you see the roaring flames? Do you see the huge man with glistening muscles, covered with soot? Do you see him feeding the fire as fast as can with his massive, scooped shovel?
He feeds these flames with the bible, with every book, chapter, and verse that American Christians must burn to support our bloated lifestyles, our selfishness, our materialism, our love of power, our neglect of the poor, our support of injustice, our nationalism, and our pride.
See how frantically he works? Time is short, and he has much to burn. The prophets, the Shema, whole sections of Matthew, most of Luke, the entire book of James. Your blessed 10 commandments? Why would you want to post them on courtroom walls when you've burned them in your own cellar? Do you see? DO YOU SEE? Do you see how we rip, tear, and burn scripture to justify our lives?
The heat from this cursed furnace rises up and warms the complacent worshippers in the pews above. The soot from the fire blackens our stained glass so that we may not see out and no one wants to see in.
Do you smell the reek of this injustice? It is a stink in the nostrils of the very living God. We are dressed in beautiful clothes and we wear pretty smiles, but we stink of this blasphemous holocaust.
Every church in America has a cellar like this. We must shovel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, because every chapter and book we ignore must be burned to warm our comfy pews.
And you come to me with two little scraps of scripture to justify your persecution of God's children?
Sit down, Christian. Sit down and be you silent.
Make sure you hit the link and read the whole thing, then read everything he's ever posted. I really, really like this guy.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Is it just me? It may well be. Tell me.
In 1985 Rockin' Sidney (aka Sidney Simien), a former blues, soul and R&B musician who hadn't had much success, released his second zydeco album (his first came out in 1982). It contained the song "(Don't Mess With) My Toot Toot", which, as everybody knows, became a huge, monster smash hit.
I hate that song.
It's awful, just a stupid little novelty song, one of those songs where you just can't quite understand why it's so popular. Dopey lyrics (although people seem to find double entendre in there), a drum machine ferchrissakes, and one that sounded like a $29.95 Casiotone at that; not bluesy, not driving, insubstantial. It was an anomaly, a fluke, and stands out like a sore thumb in the context of what true zydeco music is, both now and then. It's the Macarena of Louisiana music. It sold millions of copies anyway. It's the biggest zydeco song ever, and it's also just about the worst. It's barely even zydeco.
I'm currently involved in an argument as to whether it should be included in the New Orleans and Louisiana music project I'm working on. I say no, as it's not representative of what zydeco really is, in addition to being a bad song. The opposite argument is that it has to be included in the set because it was such a big hit, quality notwithstanding.
What do you think? Let's hear from Louisianians as well as out-of-town visitors.
Tough call. Although so far it looks like Father Guido Sarducci's got my gubernatorial vote, we can't forget ... there's still Angelyne to consider.
Meanwhile, a Louisiana perspective.
Monday, August 11, 2003
We are such geeks. On Saturday Wes and I decided to be bad and had lunch at Top's, a legendary burger joint in Pasadena. Fabulous avocado bacon cheeseburgers, and their French fries ... well, the small order is the size of a shoebox. As we began eating, Wes pushed the distinctively shaped salt and pepper shakers into the middle of the table and said,
"Quick. What do these look like?"
Immediately I replied, "Daleks."
We are such geeks.
I never thought I'd miss "Vote for the crook; it's important." For the first time in my life, California politics has gotten as crazy and ridiculous as Louisiana politics; it only lacks the true entertainment of someone having been sent to prison (so far). There are some good comments on the whole debacle from xeney.com (via Medley), including:
I don't know how to fix the state. I don't think anyone knows how to fix the state, and anyone smart enough to have an idea for a reasonable starting point is too smart to think that a $30+ million dollar recall election is a good first step. I don't hate Arianna Huffington but I don't want her running my state on a whim, and that's what this is, a whim. For all of them.Read the article and check out what the constitution says. Then wonder why Sec. 15 (c) even exists, and ask yourself what crackhead wrote the provision that a replacement candidate only needs a plurality and not a majority to become governor. Then get very depressed, because there's really nothing else to do.
I am not trying to change anyone's mind or tell you what to think here, incidentally. The recall has just become a major part of what's taken over my brain this summer. I've been trying to read as much as I can about the recall, but so much of the commentary is just stupid, uninformed, or focused on the circus aspects. Back in June, the Sacramento Bee had a pretty good roundtable discussion about the ramifications of a recall, but a lot of that seems irrelevant now. The L.A. Daily News has a section devoted to recall news, as does the Bee, but it's mostly just more stuff about how no one really knows what's going on. The Bee also has an obnoxiously smug weblog devoted to recall news, which is handy for keeping track of developments and also for replenishing helpless and impotent rage if you happen to be experiencing a deficiency in that area. The L.A. Weekly seems to be living in a dream world where the recall is a good idea.
Meanwhile, the California Supreme Court is expected to weigh in today, or to indicate whether and how it plans to weigh in. The legal analysis here seems to be all over the map; I don't think anyone has a clue. Two of my former law professors say the recall laws in California are unconstitutional. Maybe so, but still, I don't think anyone has an idea. We have been discussing the recall over at TUS, and someone noted that the New York Times had come up with a rationale why the lieutenant governor doesn't automatically take over is Davis is recalled, and I have to say, it makes no sense to me. Check out what the state constitution says.
You gotta be feckin' kidding me. Via emails from Ben and Steve, a new action figure for your collection, destined to go right next to your G.I. Joes. This would only be more ridiculous if they also offered a doll of Michael Dukakis riding in a tank. In fact, this is worse; the nausea level of Shrub's propaganda photo-op on the aircraft carrier ("Make sure you spend an hour turning the ship around so that we don't see San Diego in the background!") is much higher than the Dukakis tank incident.
Note that the box doesn't say anything about this heroic so-called "Naval aviator" being AWOL for almost 18 months. Steve adds, "I especially like the last line in the description: 'Actual figure may vary slightly from item shown.' Are they talking about the toy or the President?" Heh.
It gets more and more surreal every day...
Thursday, August 7, 2003
What a farce. The Terminator, Conan the Republican himself, is now running for governor of California. When asked what'll be the best thing about the governor's race, Ah-nold was heard to reply, "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." (Okay, not really.)
Darrell Issa, the shady, third-rate and thoroughly mediocre U. S. representative who paid for this whole mess, has withdrawn from the race. Amidst tears, poor baby, the foolish, spineless mealworm blubbered that he's decided to remain in Congress to help work toward peace in the Middle East. (Such a pile of horseshit; he knows that Schwarzenegger will step on his tiny head and crush his skull, politically speaking.)
Gary "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Coleman, noted security guard and alleged fan-assaulter whose qualifications to run this state include the fact that he used to play laser tag with children on a weekly basis at a now-defunct Pasadena game arcade, is also running for governor. Fox "We Distort, You Abide" News is now reporting that non-comedian Gallagher has secured enough signatures (a whopping 65!) and is planning to run. Self-described "smut peddler" Larry Flynt is going to run, too. And we're only scratching the surface. Thing is, Ah-nold will probably win.
I hope everyone who shoved a recall petition in my face is now happy. (I wish now that I had grabbed it, rolled it up and beaten them over the head with it.) I'll be at the nearest bar, rolling my eyeballs in disgust and quaffing Manhattans.
The Cocktailian, plus! Today Gary Regan takes us on a ride in a Cable Car, the first cocktail Wes and I sampled at the Bellagio's fabulous Petrossian Bar, a quaffery to which we are now completely devoted. As a special added bonus, Gary and Mardee offer us a pointer to their most recent "Cocktail of the Month" column on Amazon.com. It seems that Remy Martin Cognac and Monin Syrups are combining forces to market some new cocktails and asked G & M to create three new ones, and the first offering is the Victorian Secret.
Wow. Nature never ceases to amaze. Today's amazement comes from an underwater video: the camera approaches a piece of coral, and as it approaches an octopus (species O. vulgaris) that was camouflaged seems to appear out of nowhere, as if it were a special effect, and becomes visible. Neat neat neat. (Via Wiley)
Tuesday, August 5, 2003
Pop rocks mousse? While mired in horrid traffic this morning, thanks to some annoying people who insisted I be at work 90 minutes early, I did manage to catch an interesting NPR report on some rather unusual ingredients in some high-end restaurant food these days. While using powdered Altoids instead of mint leaves and garnishing strawberry mousse with Pop Rocks might seem a little strange, the fried calamari breaded with graham cracker crumbs sounded pretty darn good -- anything to keep the squid from getting rubbery.
Blueberry burgers? As Weird Food Day continues, some odd food scientists are adding blueberry purée to ground meat. Why, pray tell? To boost nutritional value, add anti-oxidants, reduce fat content and ... help farmers improve berry sales!
Okay, sure, fine ... bottom line, though, should be "does it taste good?" No mention of that in the wire story. I'll have to give it some thought and see if it's worth trying, but my gut reaction is that burgers taste better without a lot of crap mixed into the meat. Salt, pepper, maybe a little cheese, and that's it.
Monday, August 4, 2003
Big Brother is Watching You. Remember the story of Marc Schultz, the man who was reading an article in a coffee shop on Harry Potter Day, an article apparently so terrifying -- it was about the corruption of the media by corporate interests -- that it caused someone to call the FBI on him? The FBI who later sent two agents to his place of business to interrogate him? (Two appallingly underdressed FBI agents, at that; one of them had a t-shirt on, and the other was wearing cargo shorts. They need Mulder and Scully's wardrobes, or at least a visit from the The Fab Five.)
Hal Crowther was the author of that article, and he tells the tale from his point of view.
As for me, the purveyor of subversion and sedition, I've heard nothing from the FBI--just a friendly nibble from cable news and a lot of encouraging "Give them hell" from fellow citizens, including a pair of congressmen. I would, if I could, overthrow this government by force of argument. I believe from the bottom of my non-partisan heart that the George Bush wolfpack is the most dangerous, least honorable, least sensible gang of thugs and cynics that ever aimed America's Big Gun at a trembling planet. I saw a bumper sticker I endorse--"Any Other Whore in 2004." But the USA Patriot Act has to be retired before the 2004 elections. Stand up, speak out--don't hunker down and wait for those bruisers in the cargo shorts to come looking for your son.(Thanks, Haven!)
Greens, greens, I love my greens, better than chicken and black-eyed peas! (Or something like that ... I have an old song lyric in my head and I'm not sure I'm getting it right.)
Loath as I am to make self-referential ego-boo posts, Dick Chase (he of the wonderful food weblog Simmer Stock) made my gumbo z'herbes (or green gumbo) recipe the other day and loved it (thanks!), so I thought I'd take the opportunity to plug the recipe and affirm how awesome it is. Before the ego-boo gets out of hand, I didn't make up the recipe, but it's one I cobbled together from several traditional recipes and is one I like very much.
For anyone daunted by the prospect of a soup of anywhere from seven to fifteen different kinds of greens, lemme tell ya ... I once made this for a group of non-Louisianians on whom I was taking a big chance. They had never had a dish as Creole as this, and it's not one that most people know about. I was really worried that they'd all end up taking one spoonful, struggling to suppress the "yuck" looks on their faces and would then politely cover their bowls with their napkins. As it turned out, they all went back for seconds and thirds. And if you add some lovely, smoky tasso, they'll have fourths and fifths, I'll bet. This is some damned good stuff (and good for ya, too). Eat your greens!
Ladies and gentlemen ... The Passing Stones! Gee, is that what The Rolling Stones will be changing their name to now that Mick has turned 60?
Actually, my friend Rick Cornell got himself a kidney stone recently and seems to be taking it in rather good humor (I'd be shrieking and whining and milking my pain for all the sympathy and prescription narcotics I could get, me). He approaches the ordeal from a musical point of view, and ends with one of the greatest horrid puns ever, one of which I used quite a bit in high school and college but stopped because the groans from people started to get threatening. Don't forget to drink lots of water every day, Rick!
Friday, August 1, 2003
Jeez, it's August. Where did seven months go already? There are friends of mine I haven't seen since March. Whoosh! Slow down, dammit!
Lies, exaggerations ... and a smidgen of truth! Day before yesterday the Los Angeles Times printed an article about Darrell Issa, the guy who paid for the California recall petition drive and wants to buy the governorship, detailing the vast differences between what he says about his record and the truth (chart via Uggabugga). As for the latter, there's an iota of that, mixed into a couple of truckloads of fertilizer. Issa says these questions about his past are "irrelevant." Mmmkay.
Quote of the day. One of the incredible statements from George W. Bush's recent press conference:
Reporter:Thank you, sir. Since taking office you signed into law three major tax cuts -- two of which have had plenty of time to take effect, the third of which, as you pointed out earlier, is taking effect now. Yet, the unemployment rate has continued rising. We now have more evidence of a massive budget deficit that taxpayers are going to be paying off for years or decades to come; the economy continues to shed jobs. What evidence can you point to that tax cuts, at least of the variety that you have supported, are really working to help this economy? And do you need to be thinking about some other approach?Oh. It was the media's fault. Gotcha.
George W. Bush: Yes. No, to answer the last part of your question. First of all, let me -- just a quick history, recent history. The stock market started to decline in March of 2000. Then the first quarter of 2001 was a recession. And then we got attacked in 9/11. And then corporate scandals started to bubble up to the surface, which created a -- a lack of confidence in the system. And then we had the drumbeat to war. Remember on our TV screens -- I'm not suggesting which network did this -- but it said, "March to War," every day from last summer until the spring -- "March to War, March to War." That's not a very conducive environment for people to take risk, when they hear, "March to War" all the time.
July Looka! entries have been permanently archived.
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, 1909-2003. The last living musician who played and recorded in the 1920s-1930s mandolin- and fiddle-based black string band blues style has passed away at the age of 94.
He still played up until quite recently, and in 1985 was the subject of a "documentary film by Terry Zwigoff (the poster and LP/CD soundtrack covers for which were illustrated by Robert Crumb, subject of Zwigoff's next film). I was lucky enough to see and hear Howard play at Jazzfest a few years ago, and he'll be sorely missed. He was truly the last of his kind.
I'm not convinced. Statements like "I'm convinced," "I strongly believe" and "there is no doubt in my mind" are not answers to questions that ask for actual evidence, Mr. Bush.
That said, Bush's comment after declining to offer an opinion on the California recall, "We don't have recalls back in Texas ... thankfully," was the funniest thing he's ever said.
In other news, Bush's approval rating is sliding, and the number of people who say he's a leader they can trust is now below 50%. Droppin', droppin', sinkin' like a stone. Perhaps the American people are finally pulling the wool from their eyes as to this man's credibility and suitability for office (ya think?). We may not get his down as far as Gray Davis', but there's always hope.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Posting will be thin over the next couple of weeks. Plenty plenty overtime at the day job, plus a rather nice little gig I got on the side -- I'll be compiling a 4-CD, 100-song box set of New Orleans music (more on the label, title and potential release date later). I've gotta have it finished in two weeks, so much of my effort will be going into that instead of this ... sorry, regular readers.
The box set is gonna be great, I think. Instead of being the same old 25 to 50-year-old R&B tracks (not that they're bad, they're wonderful, but a little overcompiled), I'm going to do a set that'll have a grounding in that but will also reflect what's going on in the New Orleans music scene today (for instance, anyone who's going to do a New Orleans box set with the intention of marketing it to people who just went there and had a fabulous time who doesn't include Kermit Ruffins on it is doing a bad job, in my humble opinion). Let's hope the Powers That Be and myself end up seeing eye to eye on this. *cross fingers*
a "Z"an Ex(-husband). Okay, like ... surpriiiiiise, right? Please. As it turns out, we may have witnessed the straw that broke the marriage's back just last night:
Well, it's now official. While their lavish wedding was only 16 months ago, Liza Minnelli has called it quits with hubby David Gest. While rumors were circulating months ago that the 57-year-old singer and 49-year-old "promoter" were on their way out, Liza's publicist has told reporters: "I can confirm that they're separated, but that's all I know."Yep, we were watching a relatively recent rerun of Graham last night, and my eyebrows certainly went up when he said that. She may be his beard, but she's got her pride and dignity, dammit! Le *boot*!
So what exactly drove the stake into the heart of this union? While gossip hounds scurry for a motive, The Sun is reporting that the straw that broke the marriage's back was when Gest spilled the beans about her gaining weight on the British TV program "So Graham Norton." According to the paper, Liza was absolutely mortified when Gest joked about how she became "hugely fat" while ill last year.
(Credit for the headline goes to Wes. Heeeee.)
The Best of L.A. It's not in the Weekly this month, but in Los Angeles Magazine -- in a layout that looks so much like the Saveur 100 that I wonder if they're owned by the same publisher, we're given the magazine's view of 101 great reasons to live in L.A. Some of 'em are too rich for my blood, some of 'em I have quibbles with but others are places I patronize regularly. Let's have a look at some:
1. Cheese plate at Mélisse. As much as I'd love to try this, I don't want to have to take out a second mortgage on the house to eat at Mélisse. In the meantime, I'll head over to the Cheese Store of Silver Lake and say to Chris, "I rather fancy some cheese comestibles. Pick four."Oh, I nearly forgot. As for No. 71, The Abbey in West Hollywood ... they might like the atmosphere, but that places makes the shittiest drinks I've ever had. I ordered a Manhattan there once; there wasn't a bottle of Angostura Bitters anywhere in the bar, the whiskey was watered down, the proportions were wrong, the bartender was a jerk, and it was $10. Never. Again.
11. Creole food at Uncle Darrow's. They've abandoned their original shack location on Venice near Dunsmuir and opened a new, sit-down place on Lincoln in Venice. Perfect fried seafood (especially catfish), and perhaps their Platonic Dish is the "Zeek" poor boy, piled high with fresh-out-of-the-fryer-hot fried catfish and ice-cold potato salad. Sounds weird, but it's a revelation.
Any mention of Creole food in Los Angeles is incomplete, however, without highly energetic recommendations for Harold & Belle's and Stevie's on the Strip in the Crenshaw District and Stevie's Creole Café in the Valley.
13. Ice cream at Mashti Malone's. The world's greatest Persian ice cream parlor, and one of L.A.'s treasures. Besides the Middle Eastern delights of rose, pistachio and saffron ice cream plus the rosewater ice with strands of spaghetti-like "starch" for chewiness, there are also American classics like Rocky Road, vanilla and a perfect strawberry. Ice cream doesn't get any better than this. Ben and Jerry's, Shmen and Shmerry's!
19. Jill's Paints in Atwater Village. Very personal service and advice from Peg and her gang, plus comfy tables, free coffee and, according to the magazine, a wine bar (sheesh, we missed that when we bought all our paint for the new house there). Peggy sat down with us and the pictures of the house, talked with us about our color ideas and choices and set us up with all the rights stuff from the Benjamin Moore Historic Colors collection. "They're idiot-proof," she said, which relieved us. Paints in stock range from the inexpensive to the nice-but-quite-affordable to the shockingly expensive but stunning, plus all the accoutrements you need.
24. Diner breakfast at Rae's in Santa Monica. A truly wonderful greasy spoon to be sure, but right here in my beloved Eagle Rock I heartily recommend Pat and Lorraine's, which not only has cheap and great diner/coffee shop food but was also the diner featured in the opening scene of Reservoir Dogs ("Cough up the buck, ya cheap bastard, I paid for your goddamn breakfast!").
39. Hot chocolate at Señor Fred in Studio City. Never been there, but it sounds good: Mexican hot chocolate thickened with a little masa and made from scratch, not from Abuelita tablets. Bittersweet chocolate, cream, milk, brown sugar and cinnamon, served with five house-made cookies. Wow. So far the best I've had in town is the Mexican chocolate at Guelaguetza, and the thick, rich stuff at Clementine in Century City with three huge house-made marshmallows plopped on top.
46. Pizza at Casa Bianca Pizza Pie in Eagle Rock. Our beloved hometown favorite. The pizza is so good, and I love it so much, that we never go there anymore. Yep, your wait on a weekend night is going to be at least an hour, and at least 20-30 minutes on a weeknight (which is now the only time we ever go). Good, good pizza and probably the most famous eatery in our little town, but I'm too impatient to wait these days. It takes me an hour or more to get home, and the last thing I want to do is stand in line for an hour to have dinner.
49. Guacamole made at tableside at Villa Sombrero in Highland Park. Since we're so close to it I consider Highland Park to be my neighborhood too, and this is one of my favorite Mexican places there. Fantastic carnitas, huge servings and when you order guacamole the waitperson makes it fresh at your table. Impressive ... most impressive.
56. Steak dinner at the Buggy Whip in Westchester. My old LMU stomping grounds, but I haven't been here since I was a student. The steaks are great, if you like steak, and it's frozen in time in 1950 -- red leather booths, "seasoned waitresses and green goddess dressing served without irony." (Hey, green goddess dressing was invented by Chef Warren LeRuth from New Orleans, who was a genius, and there'll be no dissing him in my presence.) We also like Damon's on Brand in Glendale -- it's the Enchanted Tiki Room of steakhouses (without the talking birds and singing flowers) and nice, strong Mai Tais.
64. Mole sauce at Guelaguetza. This needs to be much higher on the list. Guelaguetza (which I discovered before Jonathan Gold, thankyouverymuch) serves cuisine from Oaxaca in the south of Mexico, and it's unlike any Mexican food you've ever had. The moles of that region are more complex and richly layered in flavors than many of the highest creations of the French saucier, the chorizo is the best anywhere and ... well, it's all the best anywhere. By far my favorite Mexican restaurant, because it's so different as well as so good.
74. Lasagna at Angelini Osteria. I haven't had the lasagna yet, but I've swooned over the house-made guanciale. I'd love to eat there again, but I hated the atmosphere -- insanely overly crowded and lots of obnoxious film industry types and their feckin' cell phones. (In a restaurant. Talking on a cell phone in a restaurant. There ought to be special prisons for these people.)
98. French food at Bastide. One day, one day ... I wanted to go there last March for Wes' birthday, until I read that dinner for two with wine can cost $400 (gulp). Maybe after that Lotto win...
I looooooooove L.A. ...
It is to shudder. I don't usually do this, but today I'm going to quote someone else's post in its entirety, rather than just link to it. Kevin writes:
"'How am I a closet Democrat? I'm racist, I love guns and I hate welfare.'" Michelle Goldberg of Salon checks out the college Republican convention in DC, and discovers many of the attendees to be exactly the bitter, troubled, pugnacious, and ignorant children you might expect (and as the study suggests.) "I'm a Republican because liberals make me sick," says one deluded soul, for example, "I don't like whiny people and tree-huggers." (He then proceeds to whine incessantly about how affirmative action and taxes screwed him over.) Meanwhile, the "adults" at the convention spend their time fostering this hate in the name of the almighty buck. "Gene McDonald, who sold 'No Muslims = No Terrorists' bumper stickers at the Conservative Political Action Conference in January, was doing a brisk trade in 'Bring Back the Blacklist' T-shirts, mugs and mouse pads." Scary stuff.I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Dean in 2004.
Friday, July 25, 2003
My new favorite song. "Pig Meat Is What I Crave", by Bo Carter, early 1930s, from the album Banana In Your Fruit Basket, filled with Carter's delightfully risqué songs such as "Don't Mash My Digger So Deep" and "My Pencil Won't Write No More". The first song really is about pork, though (pig meat, that is!).
Don't use (or even say) "the 'M' word." Mar ... marg ... margar ... nnnnnnnnnnn! *shudder*
It's full of trans-fats and bad bad bad for you. Use butter (and in the link read everything you always wanted to know about it, in a nearly book-length treatise). It tastes far better, and it's ... not quite so bad for you!
Learn about the different grades of butter, why you should only use salted butter for spreading and never for cooking, and much more. Even better, try to find European-style or "Plugra" butter, which has 11% less water and more butterfat (ooh). Learn how to churn your own butter at home, and how to make chocolate butter! And, if you like, join my boycott of Challenge brand butter, because when I was at UCLA's part-time culinary program doing my restaurant project and trying to get wholesale food prices to build my menu, they were very rude and mean to me and refused to help me, the bastards (and have therefore lost my business for life, especially if I ever open a little restaurant one day).
Whoo! Pharmacists! I have to thank the horrid traffic on Santa Monica Boulevard on the way to work this morning for this, without which I might not have seen it. The flow of cars was not unlike chilled molasses, and I found myself stopped in front of the famed Troubadour. There was a poster in the window -- behind a broken pane at that, taped together with black tape to obscure at least half the poster -- but I still managed to see that my favorite band of the last couple of years, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, are going to be there next Tuesday. Man, I've been waiting to see these guys for ages.
Quirky, intelligent pop-punk with a very driving beat, hard-edged but very catchy hooks, with Ted's trademark high-pitched vocals and literate lyrics. (My favorite quote is from the web site: "I consider myself a perpetual English major, but I also get into bar fights.") Check out a few MP3s: "Under the Hedge" and "Squeaky Fingers" are on The Tyranny of Distance, and "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone" and "The High Party" are on the new one, Hearts of Oak. If you're an Emusic.com subscriber, you can download the entire The Tyranny of Distance album as part of your $9.99 monthly fee. (Have I mentioned recently how much I love Emusic?)
Seeya at the Troub on Tuesday.
Several of my friends and loved ones (and a few kind strangers) contribute regularly to this weblog. Thanks to Wesly Moore, Mike Luquet, Andy Senasac, Michael Yasui, Steve Gardner, Michael Pemberton, Steve Kelley, Barry Kelley, Eric Labow, Tom Krueger, Greg Beron, Sean Burke, Shari Minton and Barry Enderwick.
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