Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anticipation

When was the last time you looked forward to an event and it lived up to your own self induced hype? I mean I look forward to sporting events all the time and many times they are epic battles, but did they live up to what I had envisioned? How many times have I gone out for a game and it went into extra innings. Sure the walk off home run got me off my chair at 1am, but I had to check the box score the next day to make sure I wasn't imagining this, because I was so drunk the night before that I had no clear memories.

How many times does a dinner engagement live up to the preconceived thoughts about it. The company is great, but the food is off that night, and while a good time was had by all, maybe you got stuck in two hours of traffic afterwards. What about the Thanksgiving dinner where you stuffed yourself to the gills only to get sick later that night. It's happened to me twice and it's my favorite holiday.

What about that girl that you can't believe your with? In the heat of the moment everything is perfect and then when the moment arises, it doesn't quite live up to the billing it received in your porn movie critics review perverted mind. Maybe it was you, maybe it was her, maybe it wasn't meant to be. It's life's little unfair joke that when men are at their sexual peak they are dopey older teens and when women reach theirs they are starting to lose their desirability (no offense all you cougars out there).

What about little things, like the never ending morning, where you finally sit down to eat your breakfast at 11am. A nice hot cup of coffee and a bagel, when the the phone rings and you get caught in a ten minute conversation with someone who obviously doesn't have anything better to do. You watch the steam dissipates and by the time you take your first sip the thrill is gone. Or the ice cream cone or milk shake that gives you brain freeze. Anticipation meets Pain. If you're a masochist, you still probably hates this.

I remember in high school a friend of mine sat eating around the center of a Boston Kreme donut. Every little bite he left the gooey center, just waiting, savoring ever last bit until the climactic last bite. We all sat watching almost mouthing his chewing motion, wondering when he would succumb and put the last piece in his mouth. And then, as quickly as lightening strikes, a bump of his shoulder and splat. The custard filled center lay on floor. One small tear formed in the corner of his eye. This was the start of a bad day. On another occasion a group of friends went to the Bronx to buy beer. As we sat in the 30 degree weather, we took off our gloves to fully experience the golden deliciousness of the 40oz of Olde English 800 that we were about the partake in. In a flash the bottle slipped, in slow motion he let out a scream. "NOOOO" echoed through the school yard. An hours pay, an hours drive, and for this? Another Saturday night ruined for a underage drinker.

So what am I getting at with my tales of heartache in the wake of anticipation? It's my newly found belief that as we get older things just don't excite us anymore. Going on vacation is fun, but how many of us need a vacation from that vacation. We realize now that we expend more energy relaxing than we do in our every day lives. Every Friday we hear the people exclaiming Thank God It's Friday. Only to hear how the rain washed away the fun, or the game wasn't that great, or the food wasn't what we thought it would be. Poor us. Optimists everywhere (OK, I have about 10 readers) are wrinkling their brow and saying to themselves that I am nothing but a curmudgeon, but I disagree. I do not want anyone to think this is my way. I just have a different outlook on the anticipation of my life.

As many know from reading an earlier blog that I hate the phrase It is what it is. To me this is a cop out. When I pay $200 for dinner it better be a little better than when I spend $40. It is what it is would have you believe otherwise. Here's what I do in almost every situation. I go in with the lowest possible expectations ever. A $10 bottle of wine. I go in with the thought that this will be crap and that any $20 bottle is better. When that $10 bottle turns out to be special, it makes it all the better. When the family get together proves to invoke memories I had all but forgotten and the old "how've you been" turns into "let's do this again" I am ecstatic. When the wedding turns out to be different from your run of the mill conga line/electric slide and features a band that has some chops, I'll even cut some rug. When the game goes into extra innings and I'm drunk as a skunk, but I'm sharing the moment with special friends, it's like an epiphany that these moments should be acquired with much more frequency. The reality is that they aren't. When we raise the level of expectations and we anticipate greatness we are usually let down. I have learned through experience and sometimes heartache that just anticipating being there is enough to make the time a little better. I believe those of us who prepare for the the least gain the most. I know I'm thankful for all those times I find special, but realize they are few and far between. Those who find every event special, probably have very sad and lonely lives. They call me a pessimist. I call myself lucky. Lucky that at one time in the past I had a time that meant that much more to me than they have ever had.

I anticipate greatness from one thing. My memories!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ideas for Future Blogs

I don't have the creative juices flowing today, so I thought I'd list some titles I've been going over in my head and a summary of their content.

Youth in Asia - Mercy killing or a cute giggling girls in school girl outfits?

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush - shouldn't we have known if we stuck a dick into a bush administration, somebody would be getting fucked?

General Tso - China's answer to Colonel Sanders?

Strip Malls - not exactly as advertised.

Pieces of Me by Ashlee Simpson - would have so much more meaning if she was a leper.

Well maybe I'll get a little more in depth at a later date

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Just the facts, ma'am

When did the facts in an argument become so unimportant? Was it during the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction? Was it earlier when Bill Clinton lied about having sex with "that" woman? Was it even earlier when Bush Sr. said "read my lips. No new taxes!" Was it when Reagan lied about funding illegal wars in Central America or selling arms to terrorist countries? Now this isn't a political conversation, I'm just trying to make a point. It seems that facts don't seem to hold much weight these days.

I recently had an ongoing political debate with an acquaintance on facebook and it occurred to me that the younger generation is even worse than mine. The younger generation believes that he who yells loudest and makes the last statement wins. They don't take much time to prove their point with facts, because to them, it is unimportant.

Let's get away from politics for now. Let's look at every day conversations. Steroids, for instance. Players know they are bad for their bodies, but they hear they can play better, so they ignore the facts and take them. Some do perform at a high level, but so many do not. What about global warming. Despite some Al Gore haters (I am one myself), the man has a point. When ice caps are visibly smaller, when mountaintops that have always been covered with snow are now barren, there is a problem. So many people look at the current spring and debate the facts. The past two decades have been two of the hottest in nearly 400 years. Montana's Glacier Park has decreased in size by 80% in the last one hundred years and something warm must cause that.

I have had arguments with people recently about all kinds of things. Sports comes into play and my Yankees fan friends say stuff like "26 rings." They seem to forget they haven't won in almost 10 years. This is fact. Their delusions of grandeur is fiction. The facts are the Red Sox have two World Series wins in this decade and the Yankees have one, which was the first of the decade. Robinson Cano is better than Dustin Pedroia? The facts is, Dustin won the MVP last year. MVP. He's better, fact!

Now when it comes to movies I go nuts. Most people like crap. Sadly that is a fact. Listen, I don't like Shawshank Redemption, but I kind of know that is my opinion since so many critics love it. I admit my utter dislike of Stephen King novels and Tim Robbins acting ability leaves me to a very small minority. I'll even add I am sick of Morgan Freeman. It may be a fact that I am a jackass when it comes to this movie, among other things. The facts is, there are very few people I know who walk this earth (who don't watch movies for a living), that have seen the number of movies and the wide variety of movies that I have seen. I have probably watched more foreign films over the past 10 years than most people have watched in any genre. The fact is, I know what I am talking about with movies. Chris Klein is not a good actor, neither is Ethan Hawke. You may not like Sean Penn's politics, but don't not see a movie with him in it because of this, because he's one of the best actors of our time. Hey you went and saw Shawshank, and Tim Robbins, agree with him or not, is an asshole when it comes to personal politics. My point is the facts get a little fuzzy when personal opinion is added.

The easiest way to prove my point would be to look at the Reagan Era and dispute fact from fiction, but I will avoid such controversial topics, because I'll lose sight of my own focus. Plus some readers, if there are any, will disagree based on political affiliation, not based on facts.

So for my argument I will use the price of gasoline. We just got out of a period where gas was almost $5 a gallon. I guess in some places it was. Now it's at $2.50 and there are no complaints. I find this odd, but still, is it really that crazy. The price of a subway ride is cheaper, but seriously, who rides almost 20 miles a day. A gallon of gas in a decent car will get you at least 20 miles. My point is, why shouldn't gas be that much. Maybe it should be more. A 16 oz bottled water is $1.50 but we don't complain about that. A pizza is $15-20 and costs the pizzeria about $2 to make and we don't complain. We'll go to our favorite pub and get a $9 six-ounce hamburger, when a lb of ground meat and eight buns costs less. When you bring these things up, people dispute it and scream about the war and terrorism and all that, but the reality, the facts are that we are charged that much because we are willing to pay that much. We are willing to go out and spend $1.50 on a bottled water and $2.50 on a gallon of gas and all these other things. If we weren't, they wouldn't charge this much.

Don't like the money analogy. Date someone. Pick anything and argue about it. Tape record the events and then listen to it back. I guarantee that somewhere along the lines one of you, if not both of you, forget facts completely. Everyone here has been with someone who says "I'm going to go to the gym on Wednesday and then out after." Two days later you call them and say "hey what are you doing Thursday night?" They say, "I told you, going to the gym and then going out....you never listen." The fight ensues and the facts is that one person said something they believe to be true and the other heard something they believe to be true. The fact of the matter is it doesn't matter, because neither party will be right. I won't get into the statistics of how many times a woman forgets about the facts in relation to how many times a man does. This ratio might be skewed by my having balls, but let's just say it ain't equal....ladies.

I don't know when the facts became secondary in arguments, conversations, debates, but I do know that more people these days pull information out of their ass than ever before. Just remember: Just because someone claims to know what they are talking about, doesn't mean they do. Ask them to verify it. Ask them where they heard this information and don't be lazy. If you had the energy to debate the topic, look it up. Chances are, if you're the one willing to double check it, you are the one who was speaking factually.

A side note about the title. If you ever say just the facts ma'am while speaking to a woman. Either duck or get ready for some serious silence. Estrogen outweighs facts. That is a fact!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Looking Back At School

In today's world we have so much more information at our finger tips, it's only logical that today's kids are smarter than yesterdays. Only problem is, they aren't. What is happening? If I had the Internet in grammar and high school, I would have spent about a quarter of the time writing papers. Even in college, I had some serious hours logged in the library. Why are kids getting dumber?

It seems to me that in my father and mother's day, work ethic was stressed in every day life and especially in school. Kids learned at a very early age that hard work equaled success. This isn't necessarily true, but it is a pretty solid foundation in which to raise your children. Today's kids don't have a care in the world. I know kids today who are in high school and college who not only don't want to work, but refuse to work. In my generation, I'd be thrown out of the house. In my parents generation, a pretty nice belt mark would be emblazoned on a child's back. I'm not condoning beating your kids, but "by any means necessary" does have it's benefits.

What I find even more disgraceful is what is being taught. If the curriculum that is being taught in today's schools was taught in my day, nobody would have ever scored lower than an 80. In my father's day, none lower than a 90. I remember reading a students A+ paper and almost crying from laughter. It was five paragraphs and totalled approximately one and a half pages, double spaced. When I was in school, that was my introduction. Five paragraph essays were a memory from 6th grade.

It gets worse. I went to college eight years after I finished high school and I had professors who for the sake of an unbiased grade would ask that we not sign the papers but put our social security numbers atop of projects. The first paper was returned and the professor nodded in approval and said my paper was wonderful. I asked how they knew how it was mine and they replied "It was concise, it was well written, and it was the only paper with footnotes and a bibliography." How sad is it that a professor knew that I would know these things because I was only 6-8 years older than my classmates.

Now we have schools (especially Catholic schools) who are not teaching true curriculum's, but teaching to the SAT college entrance exam. It has made the test almost all but useless and it deprives the children of a true education. Reading Hamlet is much more important than spending three weeks exploring how to understand synonyms and antonyms for roughly 40 questions on a test you'll take once. Just a note. A synonym is not a spice used in mulled cider, but you saw that one coming, didn't you? The SAT and the regents exams are absolute jokes. I was a horrible English student in high school, not because I was a rebel with a cause, but because in our English classes, we mostly read books I had already read. Listen all you high school teachers out there. Yes, Catcher in the Rye is a wonderful book, but it's not a junior or senior year book. Sadly, I read the thing in 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grade. That is ridiculous. It's just not that good or that complex. My point is, I cut class almost every day and scored a 99% on my English regents in 11th grade. My average grade for the year, given to me by the always lovely (insert ironic tone here) Miss Curry...a 60.

The SAT is even more of a joke. The night before the exam, many of my friends crammed or stayed home (the test was given on a Saturday morning) to rest. I went out on a nice 10 hour bender and as the sun rose, I found myself in the doorway at the high school, wreaking of booze, and not in any shape to think of anything other than sleep. I entered the room. Listened to the rules about how to take the test, how not to proceed to the next part until the time was up, and how when we were finished we were not to speak. So the test is handed out and I began. Forty minutes later I was finished with the entire test, ignoring the directions I went up and handed it in. The proctor scowled and returned me to my chair, where I snored for the next two hours. 1140. Not bad for being drunk and finishing in two thirds of an hour. I later took the test as a goof when I was sober and scored 1260. The thing that always got me about this test was how it was explained. Why was it schools, Kaplan, Peterson or any other professional test service always told you the important rule - DO NOT LEAVE ANY ANSWER BLANK! This is the worst advice and the root to all SAT evil. In case you don't know the test is scored on a scale based on the correct #of answers. You get 400 points for writing your name and it goes from there. What they don't tell you is that you get 1 point for each answer that is answered correctly and -1/4 for each answer that is incorrect. This gives students the misunderstanding that if they don't know they should guess because it's only 1/4 of a point. Here's the thing...if you put this format to a regular test consisting of fifty questions you get some scary results. Say you know forty answers and don't know ten. You answer the forty and leave the others blank and you receive an 80% grade. If you guess and you get all ten wrong that would be -2.5, giving you a 37.5 or a 75%. That's a big difference. The reason they tell you to guess is because in guessing you have a one in four chance of getting it correct. This is why they tell you, when in doubt guess C. To me this isn't logical. What if the questions you don't know just happen to not be C. Plus, why would a test score in a way that the most important exam of your life is a guessing game? Silly in my opinion.

This leads us back to intelligence. Why is it that the average kid doesn't know who the vice president or the speaker of the house is? Why don't they understand any geography? Why do they believe that if you do the bare minimum, you get a car. If you do less, you get college paid for. So many parents are going into debt to send their kids to college only to have their kids get out of college and work in fields that do not require any. My brother is a prime example. Four years at Keene State and Ithaca College and he became a police officer. Not to say that the education was a waste, but honestly, did taking freshman English help him with his career or his life any more than freshman English in high school?

As I look back on my school years I can honestly say that the grade I learned most in was 6th grade. I took Latin which helped me understand word etymology. I took English with a woman named Ruth Chapman who opened my eyes to Shakespeare. It was 6th grade and we read at least three Shakespeare plays, Animal Farm, 1984, Catcher in the Rye and Of Mice and Men. Most kids don't read any of these until high school. By then they despise reading due to the lack of intelligent literature they have had crammed down their gullets that they close down and refuse to read, or at the very least comprehend.

So many classes today are a waste of time in my opinion, regardless of whether I liked them or not. English, Math, History and Science are obviously important. Career Ed, Sociology, Accounting and Economics are all useless. I would throw art in there because if you don't have artistic ability by high school, you probaly won't eve. If there is art history, kudos. If I ran a school I would require political science so that children who are about to graduate and become voters understood the political processes and even the voting process. I would require speech communication. Public speaking, even for job interview purposes is incredibly valuable. I would require 30 minutes a day of exercise (not gym). I would also have school only four days a week from 9-5. The other day children that weren't required to be in class would have some sort of job at the school. This would acclimate them to work. They could cook and serve food, clean the school, do landscaping, assist teachers in grading papers, etc. During this "day 0ff" I would also have group tutoring by the students themselves. I know from experience that people learn more quickly when things are explained by a peer than by someone in a position of authority.

Finally, and this is a big one. Some responsibility falls on the parents. Parents today are not doing nearly as good a job as our parents. Too many kids and their parents sit and watch shows like Survivor and Lost together, but don't discuss their days. Listen, I like lounging around and watching movies and sports as much as the next guy, but if I had a child in school, the TV would not go on until all the homework was done and choirs were finished. That would go for me to. If I'm going to teach my child a lesson, it's hypocritical of me to sit and do nothing, when I know there is probably something better I could be doing....like teaching my kid about something maybe I know that his teacher doesn't, because chances are his teacher was one of my classmates who didn't know how to footnote or write a bibliography and still doesn't.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A few random thoughts

One would think insomnia would provide someone who is a procrastinator the extra hours needed to accomplish stuff. For some reason I just think of more reasons not to.

A decent steak costs $15 at the supermarket. I will not pay $25 for a good steak, but I will pay $45 for a great steak.

For anyone who may be a lawyer. Can you advise me on how to sue the Internet for my weight gain and lack of motivation?

When little girls start to develop they get a training bra. Some women are obviously just quitters.

I wonder if any girl has told her man "it's not the size of ship, it's the motion in the ocean" and then threw up on him.

The other day when it was hot out I didn't wear socks. My sneakers got pretty smelly. I thought this was a bad thing, but have you ever noticed that stinky feet smell exactly like original Doritos?

People that go on crash diets so they can speed date have obviously not learned their lesson.

If the Internet has taught me anything, it is that I must go to Japan one day. Every female wears catholic school girl outfits.

Winnie the Pooh once said "if you live to be 100, I want to be 100 minus one day so I never have to live without you." I have to believe Winnie the Pooh probably had a life expectancy of about 10 and that is only if he didn't get diabetes from eating all that honey.

When was the last time an ugly celebrity's sex tape was leaked?

If someone ever tells you they want to do something before they die and they die doing it. Laugh at the irony.

One of the many things the Jehovah's Witnesses aren't allowed to do - buy girl Scout Cookies. WTF?

Why is it that ugly people have cute kids but dumb people have dumber kids?

Last week I worked a total of 34 hours. Last week I spent a total of 45 hours at bars or restaurants. I truly need to stop working so hard.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

That Kindergarten List

Remember a few years back that dopey list came out titled Every I ever really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten? Well I happened upon it recently and realized it's complete horseshit. Let me break it down.

1. Share everything - this sounds good, but you will be called a socialist or fascist and people will hate you. He with the most toys at the end wins. Isn't that what Bill O'Reilly would have you believe this country was founded on?

2. Play fair - playing fair never seems to work. Somewhere, someone is cheating and they are benefiting from it. If you want to get ahead, cheat. It works for politicians, baseball players, CEO's and illegal immigrants. Why shouldn't you cheat to get ahead like everyone else?

3. Don't hit people - sorry, some people just deserve a smack.

4. Put things back where you found them -especially when you're rifling through someones drawers looking for money. The only time this is true is if you lift a child up. Put him back, because the crying will eventually drive you crazy.

5. Clean up your own mess - if this was true maid services, laundromats, and car washes would be out of business and that would raise the unemployment rate....oh wait, none of the people doing these jobs is legal. Never mind.

6. Don't take things that aren't yours - does virginity count?

7. Say you're sorry when you hurt someone - I thought love was never having to say your sorry. Damn you Ryan O'Neal.

8. Wash your hands before you eat - who cares if you wash them as long as the guy making your food does. I don't feel like having hepatitis, which I am pretty sure you can't give to yourself.

9. Flush the toilet - but not flushing brings out such incredible reactions.

10. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you - my dentist really loved this one. Not to mention the milk made me wet my bed.

11. Live a balanced life - I try, but alcohol messes with this one at least once a week.

12. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work everyday some - what are we in Kindergarten still? I'll accept the learning and thinking, but I'll be damned if I'm going to draw, paint, sing, dance, play and work every day. Sometimes I need a nap.

13. Take a nap every afternoon - amen brothers and sisters. Plus, if you get to take this nap with someone else, it's even better.

14. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together - this almost got me arrested when I was hanging outside the all-girls catholic school the other day.

15. Be aware of wonder and wonderful things - every day I wonder. I wonder how so many people are alive when they are so incredibly stupid.

16. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are still all like that - I don't know what this means. I have no roots. I would like to think that if I did someone would water me every day.

17. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup - they all die...So do we. So if this is true, why do we need to stay in shape, eat right, exercise. Be careful how you use this learning tool. I was very young and didn't understand why we couldn't flush grandpa down the toilet or bury him in the backyard when he died. This really troubled me.

18. And then remember the story book about Dick and Jane and the first important word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! I would argue that in your life there are more times you'll say Dick than you will say Look. Unless of course you are saying "Look at that Dick."

If everything was as simple as saying everything we really need to know we learned in kindergarten, then why when I share my animal crackers with the girl sitting next to me does she not promise to show me her privates? Seriously, in adult life I have to throw a $100 dollar meal down her throat for the hopes of getting a kiss goodnight. In kindergarten it was a slam dunk. Share your lunch, your dessert, or just pull your pants down. Something good always happened. Life truly sucks and they didn't tell me that in kindergarten or I would have got left back!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

All I've heard from people on the radio, on TV, on Facebook, in person is "when will this rain stop?" People, shut the hell up. Rain is a beautiful thing. It makes things grow, it brings us rainbows, and on those special occasions it dampens the spirits of people who are perpetually happy. I hate those people anyway.

Rain gives us opportunities we don't normally have. Just the other day I caught my neighbor attempting to run between the drops, her white button down shirt moistened by the spray from the heavens. As I sat in my car with a Ted Bundy grin, she got closer. I had moments ago cursed the droplets as they pelted me, but they had now transformed this completely average 9 to 5 businesswoman into a dreamlike girls gone wild pixie. She disappeared as quickly as my libido had risen and I drove off thinking about how much I loved this shower of H2O.

Rain also gives us more common pleasures. Is there anything better than curling up on a rainy day with a book or a good movie. Sharing a blanket with a loved one or even a friend with potential benefits. Enjoying the sounds from outside while safe from the elements. Is there anything more romantic than kissing in the rain? Doesn't the sound of drops on the roof seem to be some type of aphrodisiac? I know rainy days and Monday are supposed to get you down, but there always seems to be a lot more going down on rainy days than on the hot sticky days.

I also think back to days where friends would gather on a porch and the incessant chatter flowed as if to remind us we were alive. Suddenly, a clap of thunder, a torrent of rain. Our silence paired with natures fury gave us a moment shared. As the power of the rain slowed and the drops fell from gutters into puddles below, a slight grin, a wink, a sip of a jack and coke and the knowledge that this had just become one of those special days.

Rain gives us the excuse to nap when chores are waiting. Rain gives us the excuse to stay inside and reflect. Rain gives us those extra five minutes before she leaves that matter most. Rain gives us that feel on a summer morning that something new awaits us all.

So why all the complaints? Why the negativity? Why not embrace the rain? Go out and get your hair wet. Hold the hand of a loved one and share an embrace. Lay down and soak it in as you would the sun. Rain won't give you a melanoma. You're not a turkey so close your mouth. Actually, if you complain about the rain, you are a turkey, so shut your mouth! I'm gonna do something fun and blame it on the rain.

Peter Luger's Steakhouse

About five years ago a group of my friends had reservations to go to Peter Luger in Brooklyn. Being a former Brooklynite, I was very excited. The night before we were to go, my mother, who was fighting cancer, took a turn for the worse. I backed out of the festivities and missed what was hailed as the ultimate steak. Two evenings later, my mother passed away. Shortly after my mother's passing I was out with one of the members of the Luger evening and after offering his condolences, pledged that we would make another reservation. Our group decided on Election night. Since that first night, we have since gone to Smith & Wollensky's, Bobby Van's, Jakes, and returned for a second showing at Luger's.

Luger's doesn't look like much when you walk in. An average size bar, a check in area that looks like a betting window at a racetrack and old wood tables with no table clothes. Some say the waiters are surly, but they are probably just tired of dealing with years of tourists who wouldn't know a porterhouse from an outhouse. The first time we went, we knew the shtick and the waiter never even handed us menus. The martinis were flowing a nice bottle of wine was on the table, and we started with a piece of slab bacon that can only be described as orgasmic. Imagine the crispy part of a regular piece of bacon and now widen it to a 1/2 thick and make it twice as thick and twice as long. Dig in! The sauteed spinach, the home fries, the tomato & onion salad slathered in their steak sauce. You're in heaven even before the steak arrives. And then it does.

The sizzle of the steak on the hot plate. The juices from the steak mixed with the drawn butter. The waiter grabs two large spoons and grabs two pieces from the strip side and one from the filet side. Places them on your plate and then pours the juice/butter mixture over it. A dollop of spinach, some home fries and your plate looks almost too good to eat - Almost. The charred crust, the dark red middle and the first bite is a combination of sweet, salty, and savory. The second bite is better and before you know it there is nothing but a bone left, where once laid a steak bigger than most house cats. Desserts are almost as good as the meal and this coming from someone who would usually rather skip dessert and have more dinner.

Last night I returned for my third visit in 5 years. I was with a different crowd this time. The food was just as good. Per couple it was $250, which might sound excessive, but it's not. When you consider that almost 40% of your bill pays for the best steak you will eat in your life. Isn't that worth it? I don't like going out and spending a lot for food, but I will find the time, the money and the appetite for Luger's every time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

BBQ's

Well BBQ season is upon us and I'm excited. Every year I get invited to a number of BBQ's and low and behold, someone of you are going to be shocked, but I have some complaints. No, I'm not complaining about being invited, I'm complaining about the rules that are always broken. Here are my top ten items that everyone should adhere to.

1 - Don't be cheap. Everyone invited should bring something, but should call the host/hostess and ask what to bring. I always get pissed off when we have this hot grill ready for meat and veggies and everyone brings dessert. Who the hell wants dessert at the end of a BBQ? I want MEAT! Sure if someone grabs a fruit platter or a watermelon that is always great, but what's with all the desserts? Also, if you bring a veggie burger, you should immediately be thrown out the door. I'm all for grilled veggies, but no veggie burgers! I don't care if your vegan or Vulcan, no veggie burgers on the grill.

2 - Serving the food. Host/hostesses listen up. You have enough burgers and dogs so everyone can eat two, you have sausage, you have chicken, you have steak. Why the hell do you feel it necessary to serve everything at once. People are going to be at your house for the next 6-7 hours. Courses!!! If it starts at 1:00, you put out the chips and dip until people arrive. Put out some burgers and dogs in the first hour with some salads. Then wait til 3:00 to put on some smaller stuff like wings, shrimp, maybe some sausage. Around 4:00 put out some watermelon or something light and refreshing. Then around 5:30-6:00 put out the biggies. The steak, chicken, lamb, fish, whatever it may be. Grill the veggies, put out some more salads and you're done. Everyone is happy, nobody feels like they are going to burst and most likely you'll have a lot less cooked leftovers.

3 - Cooking. Listen, I don't own a grill and I know things happen and people get distracted, but just because you like things cooked overly well done, doesn't mean everyone else does. I like my burgers and steak still mooing, but I realize that is the other end of the spectrum, I can deal with medium/rare. What I can't deal with is medium/well. Listen, food tastes best when cooked right. When you invite people over they want to enjoy their food. Don't overcook it. If you overcook chicken it dries out. if you overcook shrimp or scallops or most other seafood they lose all of the flavor and tend to get rubbery. If you overcook steak or burgers you should be shot on sight! Also, if you like it extra well done on a grill you are raising the level of carcinogens to unsafe levels. Finally, and this goes for every type of meat and is the most common mistake. When you take the food off the grill, let it sit for a bit. tent it with foil and don't cut it. This allows the juices to redistribute back into the meat and give the entire piece of meat much more flavor and moisture. Along with this goes the fork. Throw the damn fork out when flipping meat. Use a spatula or tongs. If you pierce the meat it loses those lovely juices. Dammit people listen to me, I'm a husky fellow. I know about food!

4 - Music. Nobody wants to hear blaring music. Have music that isn't intrusive and that everyone can tolerate. Nobody wants to hear Slayer at a BBQ. People also don't always like your music, so tell people to bring a CD. If you don't want music that's fine, but have some other distractions such as games to play. Not everyone wants to sit and hear your life story.

5 - Your life. OK, Dinner or the bar is a fine time to let everyone know about your genital warts or your impending death, but honestly, nobody wants to hear downer stories while soaking up the sun and enjoying some grub. Keep your TMI stories to yourself this day. Remember, every day you're one day closer to death, just don't remind me when I've got a hot dog and a beer in my hand.

6 - Adonis? If you aren't nice to look at shirtless, please leave your shirt on. I'm eating and your back hair isn't what I want to see while I'm eating my cole slaw. Hey, if I can conceal my bitch tits, you can too. Ladies, this doesn't apply to you. If you feel the need to go topless, go right ahead. Just leave your significant other at home.

7 - The single friend. Guys, while it seems like a good thing. Don't let your wife or girlfriend invite the single friend who will show up in a thong and want to sunbathe. The repercussions will be horrible. Listen, we're all human and when I'm sitting drinking a cold one and I'm caught trying to figure out if it's a camel toe or a moose knuckle, nobody wins.

8 - Late arrivals. Late arrivals are always good because they throw a little life into the party. Just remember that you have been drinking for 5 hours and these people are just getting started. Leave them alone with your tales of bravery when you put out the grease fire with your hand as you pat them on the back. Let them get into the groove and let them throw some life into the day. Also, they are trying to catch up, so don't put yourself on their pace or you will be "that guy."

9 - The No-shows. Don't talk bad about everyone who didn't show up. This sounds like an obvious thing, but this always comes back to haunt someone. Someone says something thinking why not, and it bites them right in the ass. Also, if you know someone could have come and chose not to. Don't offer up this info. There is no need.

10 - When to say when. Finally, you are not obligated to stay until all the booze is gone. If your host/hostess is asking you if you want a to-go plate wrapped, it's probably a hint that it is time for you to go. Not necessarily everyone, just you. Take the hint and live t fight another day.

Hey I could be wrong about these tips, but I think I've experienced enough BBQ's and eaten enough dried out shit burgers to throw my hat in the BBQ ring. I've also done my share of jumping behind the grill and killing the food, so I am pointing the finger at myself too. I am also not saying anything about anyone in particular, but just a general consensus based on the many of Q's I've attended.

Here's to a great grilling season. Hopefully this post didn't knock me off any guest lists.