Food Fright, Part 25

Uncle AndrewUncle Andrew
Filed under: @ 6:00 pm

If you own a television you’ve no doubt seen these gawdawful things being advertised incessantly thereon as of late.

The burning, itching, swollen-and-accompanied-by-painful-discharge question that most readily comes to my mind is, how galactically, mind-crogglingly bad must a pizza be before dipping it into a plastic tublet of ersatz Ranch or (insert your favorite quantity of question marks and/or exclamation points here) “Polynesian” sauce sounds like a good idea?

Some food combinations just naturally complement each other, at least for the plurality of Western palates. Pasta and cheese. Seafood and freshly-squeezed lemon. Peanut butter and jelly. Anything not actively toxic and Nutella. And certainly, pizza is itself a prime example of the synergy of certain foodstuffs, a magical congregation of flavors, textures and aromas that has proven wildly popular for so many people. But unless you are a member of a very specialized minority in this great big gastronomic rainbow of diversity that finds anything and everything—from sashimi to sloe gin fizzes—improved by the addition of ranch dressing, there is simply no getting around the fact that a pizza only benefits from the application of same if it was a very, very poor specimen of the genus to begin with.

Using this line of reasoning, every can of Miller Lite should come with a free packet of “Flav-R-Crystals” one might elect to add, to make the stuff taste like something a bit more palatable. Like Rustoleum.

Round Table’s tagline for many years now has been “The last Honest Pizza”. How honest can your pizza possibly be if you need to slather it in something else in order to fix it?

Cheap bastards probably don’t even use fresh Polynesians.

How Do You Listen?

Filed under: @ 9:07 am

So we were watching Elvis Costello on The Colbert Report last Friday.
Elvis performed a song off his new album National Ransom.
As the song concluded Andrew noted “Well that was a bit of a change for Elvis Costello.”
I asked him what he meant and he replied that the song was more upbeat in general than the majority of Elvis Costello’s works.
Now ignore the fact that, despite what Andrew says, I wouldn’t know an Elvis Costello song if it came up and bit me on the ass, I realized that I had no idea, absolutely NONE, what the recently concluded song was about.

It’s no big revelation that Andrew and I have different tastes in music. My interest in much of what is popular peaked about twenty years ago (and I’ve got some ideas about the correlation between my beginning to ignore popular culture and my beginning graduate school, but I’ll leave that alone right now), Andrew has kept up in trends and in bands and is far more aware of any music than I am.
But how could we have both been in the same room, in the same quiet, low distraction room listening to the same piece of music and have come away with far different experiences?

I think it has a lot to do with our tastes in music.
When I listen to music, especially a new piece of music, I listen…. Well I listen to the music. It takes a long, LONG time for me to be able to parse the lyrics to be able to follow the story, as it were, of the song. If the actual music of the song is unappealing I won’t have a chance to understand the story that the musician is telling. A quick glance at my CD rack shows a lot of The Beatles, Joan Armatrading, Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, They Might Be Giants, and almost the entire Steeleye Span collection.
And so my tastes in music run towards the upbeat, the simple, the bouncy, the regular of rhythm, or music that is sad and tragic, but has instrumentation that makes it appealing for me to listen to.
Which is, I think, why I have absolutely no interest in rap or hip hop. To me music in those genres sounds like a bad Saturday night in a cheap apartment complex and I can’t listen long enough to get interested in what the musician is commenting on or the story that they’re telling.
The same for punk, heavy metal, and country. There’s just not enough about the MUSIC involved in these pieces to make me listen to the lyrics.

I won’t make any comment on grunge. I don’t like grunge because I hate Nirvana and I hate Nirvana because I lived next door to those over amped little freaks one year at Evergreen when I was studying molecular and cell biology, and organic and biochemistry all at the same time. To me Nirvana is inexorably linked with biochemistry, cell structure, mitosis, and SOO-sie and I will never be able to shake that. Enough ranting.

I have a friend who can’t stand ANYTHING classical. To me that’s like hating vanilla. How can you dislike something that is so patently unoffensive? But I guess she’s listening for the song, or for the story and I’ve got to admit that there’s not much story involved in classical music. At least not any story that’s easy to pick out of the music.
So do you listen to the song or do you listen to the music? And what music do you listen to?

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