Thursday, June 27, 2013

Weezer - "Pork And Beans" (2008)

Another good side dish for the sandwiches.

ZZ Top - "Bar-B-Q" (1972)

My brother cooked steaks for them. Or so I am told.

Mimicking McRib

McDonald's habit of making the long-popular McRib sandwich an irregular part of their menu has been the biggest tease in fast food for many years. Compare this in-and-out strategy to the numerous adverts for the already-pulled Angus burgers. Regular customers of the Golden Arches failed to be seduced by the sophistication of the higher-priced hamburgers and continued ordering sloppily prepared Big Macs and Quarter Pounders. Count on these same folks to repeatedly check McRib locators on the Web and immediately line up at registers whenever the tempting treat is brought back into circulation.

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

Scott Miller & The Commonwealth - "Goddamn The Sun" (2007)

I'm also partial to cloudy days.

Witchfinder General - "Music" (1983)

"I need music..."

Switching Stereos: A Jukebox For Jennifer Beasley


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.

Your pal,