Monday, October 23, 2006

Show and Tell
(October 22, 2006)

Just a couple of notable food-related items, because we don't have anything really urgent to talk about at the moment.

EXHIBIT "A" -- Triple XXX Family Restaurant -- West Lafayette, IN

A gen-u-ine drive-in just off the Purdue University campus, they prounounce it "Triple-ex", and not "Triple triple-ex", which would indeed be more correcter. Or, simply, ninety. The name comes from the root beer, which is brewed in Texas. And though the root beer was good (although Mug-n-Bun is still the champ for us), it was the Duane Purvis All-American burger that stole the show. To quote the menu:

"A burger for the more adventurous! A 1/4 lb. of 100% ground sirloin with thick creamy peanut butter served on a toasted sesame seed bun with melted American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. A very special treat!"

Can't say it any better than that. And it was a very natural taste combination. If you've ever had Thai beef satay, that's kinda-sorta what it tasted like (if you added American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion to it). It totally worked, both of us found it to be quite teh tasty, and later we had very special belches.

EXHIBIT "B" -- Aptly named snack food -- Eight miles high

This little bag of goodness was served in one of those conveniently overpriced snack boxes they now offer on air flights.

Yes, someone finally branded their tortilla chips as "Stoned Classics". Until now it had only been a dirty little secret that bong and bud-toting Americans with the munchies constituted 75% of the baked & fried snack market. Well, it's right there on the table now, isn't it? "Natural"? You bet!

That's all we got for now. Keep on truckin'.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Randy Newman Tolerates Us for a Couple Minutes
A View From the Audience, For a Change
October 10, 2006

No matter who you are or where you are in your life, nothing will make you feel like more of a bumbling dunce than meeting one of your heroes (even when you're semi-kinda "underground famous"). And so it was that we had that wide-eyed five-year-old feeling when we went to see Randy Newman at the Birchmere last Tuesday.

The show was, of course, great. Our admitted bias aside, Newman is arguably one of the greatest living American songwriters, and his songs have only improved with age. But this post isn't really about the show, but afterwards...

There were were, standing outside the stage door after the show, hoping that maybe, just maybe we'd be able to say "hi". We had passed our CD back to him through a helpful bouncer, who gave us a kind but firm "I promise it will get to him" -- the unsaid but implied words being "now get the f*** out". And as we waited hoping to meet Mr. Newman, unlikely scenarios ran through our heads.

You know. His road manager would come out, holding the CD and looking very excited. She'd say "Mr. Newman is very eager to meet you!" We'd enter the dressing room, and he'd be sitting there with a portable keyboard (because of course he plays piano all the time) singing our "Randy Newman's Theme from 'Lord of the Rings'". And oh, how we'd all laugh and laugh and laugh!

"Boy, you fellas sure must understand my music well to have distilled many of its signature elements into a satirical yet respectful parody that, honestly, I wish I'd thought of myself," he'd say.

And we'd say, "Aw, shucks! Most people think you're just 'Short People' and 'Toy Story', but we like 'My Life is Good' and 'Dayton Ohio, 1903' the best." Then we'd sit over beers for an hour and a half talking about songcraft, our families, and the state of the world.

Then he'd be like, "Saaaaay, boys...I'm tiiiired of not having an opening act. Why don't YOU open for me up there at Carnegie Hall tomorrow night?"

And we'd say, "Yeeeeeah...yeeeeah...."

But reality was of course much more...real. The gathering outside the Birchmre included another band, a few longtime fans, and an energetic young aspiring songwriter with a baritone ukulele. Yes; a baritone ukulele. And while Mr. Newman was kind enough to come over to say "hi," we realized that we were just two more dollops of jetsom and flotsom standing between him and a well-earned night's sleep.

It turns out that Mr. Newman and his manager did get the CD we'd sent back to them, and they remembered seeing it on another occasion (we'd sent "Opening Band" to him when it came out.) Even still, it was all we could do to mutter a few words of praise and smile for the camera.

Which, at the end of the day, was plenty enough. Paul headed back up to Philly, Storm scooted his five miles back home, and we both fell asleep with the strains of "In Germany Before the War" in our heads.

Pleasant dreams,


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lazy Musicians Ignore Blog for Months
Few Notice, Fewer Care
September 4, 2006

So it's, um, been a while since we posted here, eh? Yes, we missed you too. What's new with you?

And us? Well, we've been here & there this summer. Here's some of the highlingts, though:

We're working on two new CDs: one will be your standard "CD full of original new songs," which we started recording in August, and hope to have released in very-early 2007; and one will be a compilation of songs we wrote and performed for our mostly-weekly "News to Us" segment for the Bob & Tom Show, which we expect to have available mid-next month (October).

We had a relatively light summer, performance-wise, but had a few memorable shows, including:
- another appearance with the Bobs at the Sellersville Theater in PA
- Darlene's house in WI (and yes, we rooted through her underwear drawer as promised)
- two awesome shows in IA as part of the "Friends of the Bob & Tom Show" tour
- and a rockin' good time at the Arlington County Fair in a rare full-band appearance with our favorite backup musicians, Groovelily.

Also, Storm got married, and is on his honeymoon in Alaska as we speak. (He promised to bring me home a bear; we'll see if he's as good as his word.)

And finally, a very cool fan of ours named Erik Truelsen made this little video to accompany our "Fresh Step Kitty Litter" commercial. Now we're multimedia!

So we promise to take less time between this time and next time than we did between last time and this time. Or something. And next time will have cooler content. Maybe.

Happy Labor Day,

Paul and Storm

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Some Nice Exposure - USAToday & the Netherlands
(May 16, 2006)

Thank you to "Sue T." for passing along our "John Mellencamp's 'Theme to 24'" to a major mass media blog. (Here's the permanent link) Although they didn't mention our band name (details, details...), they did put in a number of links to our music, bumping up our traffic quite a bit. It's a nice feeling to at least register as a blip on the pop culture radar.

And while we're at it, we've also been linked this week on a Dutch Rolling Stones discussion group. (Scroll down a bit, you'll find it) They apparently mostly like our little children's song about Keith Richards. And if you plug the site into Babelfish, you can see a really bad translation.

Very creative, is possible there, however, to laugh,

Paül und Størm.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Trip Report: Cambridge and Saratoga Springs
April 20-21, 2006

This was really more like a Part II to the Ottawa trip, except that we happened to come home for a few days in between the gigs*. An added bonus to the home layover was that it meant that our trip up to Cambridge would take us past...

FOOD REVIEW: U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV - Hartford, CT
Rating: +1

Another fine meal at the Chowder Pot, a favorite and consistent performer. Prime rib? Tasty as ever. Lobster bisque? Brisk. Garlic-cheese bread? A delight. Salad? Very salad-y. Fried seafood platter?

Ah! The one true flaw of the meal. Storm's platter was supposed to have a variety of seafoods, including whole-belly clams***, but what the waiter brought only had the clams. Not that this was tragic (as Storm was starving, even after the salad and cheese bread, and would have eaten a battered moose if presented to him), but just as he'd finished the clams, the waiter brought out the platter he was supposed to get. This had two distinct and negative consequences:

1. It meant a huge plateful of food went to waste****
2. It meant that the restaurant billed us for the larger platter instead of just the smaller one

Again, this is hardly a dealbreaker for us, and will in no way diminish our glee when we see Hartford on our future routes. And we've been long accustomed to their no-free-refills policy.

Fat and happy, we trucked the rest of the way to Cambridge just in time for soundcheck. Show was jam-packed with a mix of fans, and we had a great set, even if it was longer than it had any right to be. Between Paul not watching the clock properly and Storm knocking over the Worms' instruments, it's a wonder that they didn't kick our asses. But, no, they're from Canada, so in typical Canadian fashion they offered to let us break their arms*****.

The Worms' performance was no less enthusiastic for the 130 or so at Passim than it was for the thousand-odd in Ottawa. It's fun to watch them dig into new tunes like "The Guy With Computer Know-How", though we were disappointed they didn't perform "Christmas in Ignace". Not that there's any reason they should have.

We had our quick Herrell's fix and spent the night at Neale Eckstein and Laurie Laba's Fox Run house, which is every folkie/singer-songwriter's home away from home. Someone clever and/or insightful once said that if you stood on a corner in Times Square for long enough, you'd eventually see everyone you'd ever met in your life. Well, if you stayed at Fox Run long enough, you'd meet everyone who'd ever played at Passim, Falcon Ridge, Philly Folk, Newport Jazz, and halftime at the Superbowl. You'd also meet us.

The next morning Paul swapped gossip with Laurie while Neale nearly killed Storm by taking him on a little bike ride through the woods******. Slightly bruised*******, we headed out for...

FOOD REVIEW: Thai Avenue Takeout, Sudbury, MA
Rating: 0

All of the classic dishes were there, the service was plenty good, and it was nice and spicy. So why not a +1? Two reasons: salt and sugar. Although a pinch of each can be most efficacious, and a dash is still within bounds, there is a limit. But this little restaurant blew right threw the stopsigns.
Maybe the chef (and more importantly, his/her taste buds) were hung over that afternoon. Still, it was good enough that if we were in the neighborhood and had a hankerin' for Thai, we'd go back.

Arrived in Saratoga Springs early and had some time to relax at the club, Caffe Lena. Wonderful, storied coffee house with a great bunch of people running it. And we're not just saying that because they gave us double portions of cake and cookies (though it helped). We were pleased at the turnout, considering it was our first time in the neighborhood, and it was a pretty free-wheeling show. One panty was thrown, tossed by the director of a Methodist church youth choir. Indeed, the entire church group that came from Utica was a total hoot, and the rest of the audience joined in on the sassing. Prizes were given to the Minister, who we mistook first for the Mayor and then for the Town Drunk of Utica, and to a man in the front who shared details of his sex life with his wife with the entire crowd. The images are still burned into our brains. Thanks for that.

We felt the love, hung out for a while chatting it up afterwards (with, among others, friend from the a cappella world Seth Golub and his family) , and hope they'll have us back again in the not-too-distant. Cup of coffee in hand, we headed out around 10:45 PM for the overnight drive.

Until we report on the shows with The Bobs,

Paul and Storm

* which really makes it a seperate trip**
** which is why it's a seperate blog entry
*** not AT ALL the same as clam strips
**** not entirely true; we gave the leftovers as a prize at Passim
***** we politely declined
****** Storm has been in better shape
******* ego, that is
Trip Report: AH-twah
April 14-15, 2006

Candians aren't different from us United Statesmen just because they wear "toques" on their heads, play games like "hockey," and eat something called "donuts". No, as much as we like to think of their snow, oil, and trees as ours, they are, in fact, a different country. A country called "Canada."

And its capital? The very-much-far-away-from-our-homes town of Ottawa, pronounced not as "OTT-oh-wah" as we've come to learn, but as "AH-twah."

Who knew*?

Getting there was not nearly half the fun. Basically, we got onto I-81 North and kept going until the toll booth attendants were polite*. Long drive. But at the end of the line we found the middle of nowhere. The Arrogant Worms' Mike McCormick's house, to be more precise. Had a very solid sleep at his and his family's modern log cabin home, sharing news and gossip that only fellow novelty acts would find interesting. Among the tidbits was a certain restaurant that Mike told us is an Ottawa must-see...

FOOD REVIEW: Moe's World Famous Newport Restaurant - Ottawa, ON, Canada
CATEGORY: Elvis-themed Diner
Rating: +2

Elvis is not dead. He's alive and living in the town of Tweed, just an hour and a half from this classic diner in a hip section of Ottawa. (Yes, Ottawa has a hip section) This is the belief of the Elvis Sighting Society, which is headquartered at the Newport.

You'll find all of Elvis' favorites on the menu, and there are about a billion pieces of memorabilia on the walls. Elvis always watches over you at the Newport, and it will freak you out. Oddly, it seems that the King enjoyed Lebanese food, as the served up a wicked sampler platter with such Memphis favorites as tabouleh, hummus, and pita. Hamburgers were much more Elvis-like, as were the fries. Milkshakes were a bit on the milky side, but maybe that's the way Elvis liked them. Maybe. Timely, sassy service was a big plus.

The show that night was at the Centrepointe Theatre in suburban Ottawa (yes, Ottawa has suburbs.) Incredible arts house, with a seating capacity of nearly 1,000, and every seat was filled. The Worms' crowd was amazing, making this one of our most memorable shows. There were more kids in the audience than our typical crowds, but a few minor content tweaks helped to minimize the potential mental scarring**. One of the highlights was midway through our set when an enthusiastic fan threw a sock up onto the stage. It wasn't panties, but we appreciated the sentiment. After setting things up with our opening set, the Worms knocked 'em down with their high-energy show. The matching sock made its way to the stage during their first set. Afterwards in the lobby it was all smiles and love, deepening our growing fondness for the Great White North.

The next day's long drive home was punctuated only by...

FOOD REVIEW: Dragon Garden - Pulaski, NY
CATEGORY: Chinese (takeout/sitdown)
Rating: +1

Naturally, the only restaurant open at 2PM on Easter was a Chinese takeout/sitdown place. And damned if it wasn't good. Friendly family atmosphere, plenty of zip to the food, and generous portions. Did its job--to feed two weary traveling musicians, and to not be McDonalds--admirably, if not exceptionally.

Next entry coming quite soon,

Paul and Storm

* we didn't.
** for the kids, not us.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Trip Report: Peoria
(Thursday April 6 - Sunday April 9)

We meet up in the Peoria airport in the early evening and do a quick sound check at the venue, Jukebox Comedy Club. We make it as snappy as possible, because dumbass Storm managed to not eat all day*. And so...

FOOD REVIEW: Sizzling India - Peoria, IL
Rating: +1*

Both of us have a real jones for Indian food, and something about this storefront across the street from Bradley University gave us the good vibe. We were richly rewarded for our wisdom. Lamb vindaloo brought a whole bagful of spicy, chicken tikka masala was rich and velvety, and palak paneer (a kind of creamed spinach with cubes of fresh cheese) was smooth and flavorful. Side orders of naan (flat bread similar to pita, but without the pocket)--one keema naan (bread with ground lamb baked in) and one garlic naan (take a wild guess)--were fresh, hot, and tasty. Service was unobtrusive, though despite drinking at least a gallon of water between us, our glasses were always topped off to the brim.

Bellies full, we made our way back to the club for amateur night, and the handful of comics we saw were quite good. Performed a short set at the end as a teaser, which went well. Crept back to the hotel and slept like the dead.

The next morning we had a pleasant surprise when we went to do morning radio. Hosting the Top 40/Adult Urban station where we hung out for an hour or so was a DJ friend we knew from when he was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, "Big D". Also did a local spot that was played during one of Mancow's breaks, and weaseled our way onto a third show by serenading them ("Scott & Gin....whyyyy do you hate us?.....") BONUS: Friday is Papa John's day at the station complex, when that chain** brings pizza for the DJs and have their product pushed. The real beneficiaries? Yours trulies. It was also a promotional day for Budweiser, but our DJ friends were slightly less than generous with that booty.

Having gorged ourselves on the fruits of John Schnatter's labor, we had no need to get breakfast or lunch, and napped instead.

Woke up, checked in at the club, and just had time for a quick bite before showtime...

FOOD REVIEW: Lonny's Dairyland - Peoria, IL
CATEGORY: Ice Cream Stand
Rating: 0

In brief, it did the job of sating our hunger, but we wouldn't go out of our way -- EXCEPT to get one of their butterscotch shakes (+1). To be fair, we judged the place in part on the jumbo dogs we had, which are not what you typically go to a drive-in style dairy bar for. Doggers had a nice hint of smoke and were served in a poppyseed bun, but they were prepared in a microwave. Gak. Hot fudge sundae was decent, but nothing special. Ice cream didn't have a ton of flavor, though the fudge sauce was better than typical.

Our feature act was a very funny young guy named Chris Schlichting, and he did a great job with the audiences. Among others, he's got a great bit about his childhood generic Teddy Ruxpin called "Gabby Bear". Early show, though smaller, was much more wired to have a good time, but we had fun with the late show just the same. Introduced two new live songs, "More Than Two" and a version of our "Kid in a Stripclub" song (we actually haven't given that one an official title yet).

Didn't eat after the show (it was after 1PM, anyway) and went straight to bed.

Next day featured sleeping in and...

FOOD REVIEW: La Bamba - Peoria, IL
CATEGORY: Fast-serve Mexican
Rating: 0

Basic reliable fast Mexican, a la Chipotle but not as chained-out. Also not quite as tasty. But good nonetheless. Big points for their salsas, which were fresh and peppy. Ground beef burritos did the job, hot and made to order. Nachos were a slight disappointment, as the chips were cookie-cutter and the cheese sauce tasty but with the consistency of Elmer's glue***.

Killed some time at Guitar Center, where Storm shopped around guitar. Found quite a few, and probably going to settle on a Fender Standard Telecaster (MIM) soon, unless someone has an extra just laying around...

[...waiting...waiting...looking around...anyone?....Bueller?...anyone....]

...but probably not.

Early show at the Jukebox was teh r0x0r****. Over 170 people made for a raucus house, and we were so pumped that we barely screwed anything up, including "More Than Two", which got an even better reaction than the night before. Felt like superstars. Badly-dressed, slightly doughy superstars. Second show was tougher, as we were both coming off of the high from the first show, and our voices were about shot from three nights in a smoke-layered room. Still, the crowd gave as good as it got, and it was just as fun as the first show, though in a different way. For the weekend we played to a little more than 400 people, and probably talked to half of them after the shows.

In all, it was a real word-of-mouth-generating kind of weekend. Starting to feel like old times.


Paul and Storm

* Storm turns into something of a beast if not fed at regular intervals.
** which happens to be our pizza chain of choice.
*** don't get us wrong. We love ol' Elmer's. We spend hours coating our hands with that junk, letting it dry, and peeling it off like dead skin. Who says we don't know how to party?
**** that means we enjoyed it very, very much.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Bagels and Robots
(Saturday-Sunday, March 18-19, 2006)

Although we've been nice and busy doing our weekly "news" wrap-ups, we haven't strayed far from home. Which tends to make us a little stir crazy. Our solution was to book a quick weekend mini-tour: Saturday opening for our old friend and certified folkie nutjob Vance Gilbert in Northampton, MA; and Sunday in NYC with a recent "discovery" -- singer-songwriter-all-around-smart-guy Jonathan Coulton.

First stop, the neo-hippie capital of the eastern US, Northampton, MA. A decent crowd turned out for the show at the Iron Horse Music Hall, and it's always nice to see the look on people's faces when they see us for the first time. No panties were thrown, but we did make a lot of new friends, including a very nice couple who are taking our music home with them to Denmark. Also, the end of the evening featured all three of us singing a rendition of "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" as Kermit the Frog, Aaron Neville, Yoda, Henry Kissinger, Stevie Wonder, and Paul-as-Vance Gilbert; we're still not quite sure how that happened, but there it was.

Finished up early enough to go to....

FOOD REVIEW: Teapot - Northampton, MA
CATEGORY: Asian (post-gig)
Rating: +1*

We keep coming back to this Japanese/Chinese restuarant for a number of good reasons. 1) fresh, thick-cut sushi 2) champion scallion pancakes, General Tso's, and dumplings, and 3) they're usually open late enough for us to chow down after a show at the Iron Horse. Service is usually indifferent at best, but then again we usually show up less than a half hour before closing. If you ask for spicy, you get spicy, and the portions are fair for the price. Despite being quite full, we still slinked around the corner after our late repast to our other Northampton favorite...

FOOD REVIEW: Herrell's Ice Cream - Northampton, MA
CATEGORY: Ice Cream Parlor
Rating: +1

Even though we got there too late for shakes or mix-ins, their ice cream is so dang good that they still get a +1. Truth was, we were so full from dinner that anything more than a small cup or cone would have a-sploded us. Burnt sugar and butter ice cream never fails to deliver the goods.

The next day we had a quick breakfast with our friend (and order fulfillment guru) Patty**, and trucked on down to NYC, arriving early enough to wander around a bit in the East Village. Upon stepping out of the car, we were almost immediately run over by a drove*** of hipsters rushing to the used CD store to sell their copies of the latest Sigur Ros disc before it becomes uncool. Later, we brushed right by Adam Sandler as he was preparing to film a scene for the upcoming movie Empty City. Stifled the urge to walk by him with our shoes on our hands, yelling "Lookit me, I'm Mr. Crazy-Shoe-Hands-Man, gimme some candy!" in that dumb-ass man-child voice he used to do all the time.

All of that star-gawking made us hungry, so we stopped into a little place we'd seen just down the street from the movie trailers:

FOOD REVIEW: Mini Thai Cafe - New York, NY
Rating: +1

We weren't hungry enough for a full-on meal, but still did some damage on an order of pad Thai (beef), a nice 'n' spicy red curry, and tart and delicious soups (tom kha gai and another in a clear broth with shrimp). Service was fast and friendly, prices were low, and they didn't pull their punches on the heat. Added bonus: our seat in the front window afforded us a great view of the Village's never-ending parade of interesting-looking people. Saw a dude walk by who may or may not have been George Carlin. Left the restuarant quite contented.

The show went off great at the nearly-sold out, 75-seat Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction, a room with a great vibe -- the stuff of beat generation poetry readings/Lenny Bruce diatribes, with a little bit of subversive coup plotting mixed in. Rather than lots of individual small tables, the room had three long tables running down the walls and center of the room, giving it a "Great Hall from Hogwarts" feel, albeit smaller and with fewer wizards.

Coulton went first, and we sat in on a couple of his tunes. Jonathan has a real gift for writing from the perspective of the underdog. It's not easy to make a mad scientist who kidnaps a woman and attempts to woo her with genetic hybrids a sympathetic figure, but Coulton pulls it off. Throughout the set, the audience could be heard letting out that sympathetic "awwww!' sound, even as he described out-of-control robots taking over the earth. And his Flickr video song/presentation is pure genius.

Like the night before, our set went well, despite a little bit of leftover rust. (Before this weekend, it had been about 2.5 months since our last show, after all) Panties were thrown--though both were, in fact, men's underwear. (Thanks for that, Quigleys) Gonna put together a "Hall of Panties" whenever we get around to revamping the website****. Jonathan joined us for our new tribute song "Nugget Man (Robert C. Baker)".

Hung out a little bit after the show, but had to drive home that night. Still, we had enough time to make one stop before heading out:

FOOD REVIEW: H & H Bagels - New York, NY
Rating: +2

Nothing else is a New York bagel. Period. And at the top of the list is H & H. Fresh off the line around midnight, these big, beautiful babies had that magical, chewy texture that both Jew and goy crave. Bought four dozen between us, including several bialys. Winner of the night was the bagel covered in sea salt, making it kind of like a big, circular, bagel-y soft pretzel.

All in all it was good to be out in front of living, breathing people again. We'll be out there again in a week or two, so if you check our schedule and see that we're going to be near your town, please tell us where the good local food is.

Oh, right...and come out to the show.


Paul and Storm

* go here for an explanation of our food review scale
** no breakfast review, because Patty made breakfast--home cooking does not get reviewed (but for the record, the omelets were delicious, and the things she does with strawberries!)
*** a group of hipsters can also be called a "flight" or a "murder"
****that is, whenever one of our fans with mad web skills says "I'd love to redo your site in my spare time for free!"

Monday, March 13, 2006

Belated Oscar Gripe (and gripelets)

Okay, the Oscars may have been several days ago, but we have a bone to pick. Actually, there are several little bones we take issue with, but most of all it's this one big bone* -- a peeve that's grown from a pet into a pit bull in just four days.

We didn't mind that the Hollywood nabobs couldn't put their egos on a leash for just three minutes at a time during the ceremonies, which would have been long enough for them to realize how friggin' spot-on funny Jon Stewart was**. But that wasn't unexpected, what with the Academy Awards being the film industry's big annual orgy to its own self-importance***.

And to be fair, it was a pleasant surprise to witness the return of horrible, overwrought, and artsy dance production numbers. Because who in America doesn't yearn for the golden age of the Hollywood musical?

No, the major malfunction was the annual tribute montage honoring the film industry greats who passed away during the previous year. We take no issue with the tribute itself. It was actually one of the night's more genuine moments. The problem was a couple of omissions -- one in particular.

No Don Knotts.

Sure, they'd probably completed the edited sequence before the man died. But after a career like his, the least they could have done was slip in a two-second frame from The Apple Dumpling Gang, or even The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again. Did they snub him because he owed most of his fame to the small screen? It didn't matter to Scooby Doo, who was happy to solve mysteries alongside him, just like he did with other greats like Vincent Price, Abbott & Costello, and Mama Cass Elliot. And I'm sure they wouldn't have left them out of an obituary montage****. Was it because he was mostly loved by children? That may be, but I doubt they'll leave Roman Polanski out of their little montage when he kicks off.

So where's the love for Barney Fife? How about a moment of silence for Mr. Furley? I know they all saw Pleasantville, which also featured a certain gal who took home a golden homoerotic paperweight on Oscar night -- Reese Witherspoon.

Unjust. Unfair. And just plain wrong. If Reese had known ahead of time that the Academy would be rudely kicking Mr. Knotts to the curb, I'm certain she would have declined the "honor" of Best Actress******.

And don't even get us started about Darren McGavin. All in all, it adds up to a gigantic "shame on you" to Hollywood. And if they make it to heaven, I pity them if they need help from the sheriff's office.


Paul and Storm

*that didn't come out right.

**and we're not just saying that because we want to be part of the Daily Show writing staff.

***and how self-important was THAT statement?

****except for maybe Mama Cass*****. She was certainly great, but not an actress.

*****contrary to popular myth, she did not die after choking on a ham sandwich. That's just well-intentioned but misguided ironic pathos.

******maybe not, but she would have at least done that unbearably cute lippy-pouty thing.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

If there's one thing we love here at Paul and Storm Central Command, it's planes. Planes are cool: they fly all over the place, they make that cool zooming sound, and when you look at them from the front, they look like they're smiling, but still look like badasses at the same time.

And if there's one thing we love more than planes, it would be snakes. Snakes are even cooler: they slither around all silent (except when they rattle), they come in cool colors and patters, and when you look at them from the front, they look like they're smiling, but are still badasses at the same time.

So imagine our delight when we found out several months ago that a new movie would be coming out in 2006, and that movie was called Snakes on a Plane.

Snakes. On a plane.

Snakes. On. A. Plane.

That is so awesome in so many ways that it can barely be comprehended. Not the least of which is that the title says, in four words, everything you need to know about the movie. Which got us thinking about other movies in which the title spells out the entire concept:
- The 40 Year-Old Virgin
- The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
- Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster

...and all of those movies are great, so there's no reason to think that Snakes on a Plane will break the streak.

And yet, it gets cooler still; because who's starring in the movie? Only Samuel L. Jackson! Only the coolest, baddest human being on the planet. (And beyond)*

And even though this movie doesn't come out until August, it's already got a heck of a following on the Interwebs. Here's a sampling of some of our favorite sites dedicated to the best high-concept film of 2006:

- Snakes on a Plane Wikipedia entry (A good starting point)
- screenwriter Josh Friedman's blog, an "insider's" perspective (The rest of the blog is quite interesting and funny as well)
- Jeffrey Rowland's Overcompensating (I find myself quoting this in everyday conversation, much to the chagrin of others)
- Snakes on a Blog (By someone with even more too much free time than us; includes poetry, lyrics, fan art, songs, and links to several fan-made trailers)
- Another Snakes on a Plane blog
- The best movie poster ever
- Snakes on a cake-plane

So join us in our quest to make this the highest-grossing non-summer-tentpole B-movie ever. Join the hype!

We Got Mother*!!%$#in' SNAKES,

Paul and Storm

*Okay, maybe there's one cooler person, but if so, he's a very close second.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Back to School

No, neither Paul nor I will be taking classes or otherwise seek formal edumacations any time soon. And, no, I haven't purchased one of those little plastic pencil boxes or a cartoon-themed lunch box (though I do have a mighty fine "Krofft Supershow" thermos, vintage 1976).

It's just that each Thursday, when we put together our "News of the Week" segment for Bob & Tom, I'm reminded of certain school-days experiences. More specifically, coming up with an original and (hopefully) funny song every week feels like the night before a paper is due, or cramming for a big exam.

In our case, the text book is whatever is happening in the news, which completely dictates the approach we take and what kind of song we do. We've only been at it for three weeks so far, but our system is starting to take shape.

Here's how it works:

Step 1: Culling. On Wednesday, we gab a bit over the phone about what the major news items seem to be, and try to guess what will still be remembered on Friday. Sometimes, the prominent news item is self-evident; usually, though, we have to rattle around a lot of possible different news bits. Of that news, we sift through to try and identify items that are innately funny. Our soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq? No so funny. Dick Cheney blasting a lawyer friend in the face? Unfortunate for the human skeet, but unquestionably funny. It's a fine line, really.

Step 2: Framing. By Wednesday night we decide what kind of song we'll write. The genre we gravitate towards depends on how deep and dense the news is. The more notable items there are, the better chance there is of coming up with a tight, rhyme-filled nugget of joy. Whereas a slow news week is more likely to produce a song about how slow the news week was*.

Step 3: Stewing. All day Thursday, we put together little building blocks that will come together, Voltron-like, later that evening. Musical framework is fleshed out, key phrases crafted. Household responsibilities fall by the wayside.

Step 4: All-niter!: Sitting down at our respective cockpit-like recording command posts, we start putting the beast together. We work with machine-like precision, a model of efficiency that would have made Henry Ford as green as a toad accidentally dropped into a bushel of snow peas. It's tough work, but the cocaine helps**.

Step 5: Collapse: By the time we finish at three or four in the morning, we no longer care if the reverb should be "plate" or "small room", and the song more or less lets us know when it's done.

Step 6: Wake up and putter around, nervously hoping that B&T play it, and that it gets laughs. Through the miracle of modern technology, we can listen in despite the fact that the show isn't available in either of our cities (Philly and DC), if we happen to be awake. If not, they have an archive that has a synopsis of what they did that day, downloadable hour by hour.

Step 7: Revel in triumph and pat each other on the back, or mope around all day thinking about how much we suck. You'd think after more than a dozen years, we'd have really thick skins when it comes to feedback. And I suppose we do. But when something you worked really hard on doesn't get the reaction you hoped for, or isn't played it all, that first moment is tough. Of course, the victories are more abundant than the flops, and the successes tend to breed more of the same.

Step 8: Lather, rinse, repeat. Win or lose, the new week starts fresh again, and we hope that the news will be even more "not-strange-funny-but-ha-ha-funny" than the week before.

Hoping that someone will do or say something really, really stupid at the Oscars,



**not really. We've been using it for so long*** that it has no effect on us anymore.

***not really. Paul only started three years ago, and I took it up several months after him, after he assured me that I'd be a "better cocksman" if I took it****.

****not really. He actually said it might make me "less of a dork", but the real reason I took it was to try and get him to stop*****.

*****not really. I'd been dying to experiment with it ever since I saw "Scarface" in college. I used to run around my dorm with bags of baking soda, slurring profanity at my roommates and inviting them to say hello to my little friend******.

******not really. I lived in an on-campus apartment, where I fell asleep every night dreaming about the day when I'd get to try cocaine*******.

*******not really. Neither Paul******** nor I have ever tried cocaine, and I imagine we never will.

********to the best of my knowledge.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Queen of...Nice?

There is a "gentleman's club" in Morrisville, PA that I pass by every so often when I drive into New Jersey via Route 1. It's called "Sugar 'n' Spice". Lord knows I've never been in there, but something about the place has intrigued me for some time, and I could never quite figure out what it was.

Finally, yesterday, it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks...

It's good to see that Rosie O'Donnell has found some work. And that she let her hair grow out again. I thought the earrings were a bit much, though.


P.S. Here's an unsolicited plug of what I'm listening to these days: Jonathan Coulton ( Come for his David Wilcox-ian cover of "Baby Got Back"; stay for his smart, well-written and often subtly hilarious Fountains-of-Wayne-plus-two-parts-TMBG-ic pop songs, like "Ikea", "Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance" and my personal favorite, "The Town Crotch" (which is easily the most touching song ever written with the word "crotch" in the title). Enjoy, and tell him Paul sent you.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The One That Got Away

Although we've been busy little beavers behind the scenes, if you've been coming to our website to see when we're coming to Your Town, you've probably noticed there isn't a heck of a lot happening.

There's a reason for that.

Every once in a while, you get an opportunity to do something exceptional. A monster project that will be fun, provide an opportunity for great exposure, and pay pretty well to boot. In fact, that gig is so great that it would be worth dropping everything and blocking off 2 1/2 months of time on the chance that you'll get it.

The Hollywood ending is that we got just such a gig, and this blog entry is to tell you that we're now on the fast track to fame and fortune. We're talking at least Federline fame, if not "Where's the Beef" big. We'd be saying how grateful we are to all of the fans who supported and believed in us, and that we would never forget that.

Alas, life is not always like the movies. But here's a script we'd love to pitch:

Let's say there was a musical/comedy duo, and they were contacted by some very nice people who were thinking about putting together an internet ad campaign for a major consumer internet product. Why don't we call the parent company "Doodle", and the product they want to promote is called "dmale". The specifics really aren't important. In fact, the only details the music/comedy duo knows are that it will involve traveling on the west coast for 3-6 weeks starting in January. And that they'd be followed around by a camera man the whole time.

Anyway, everyone involved, most especially the music/comedy duo, really, really, really thinks they're a good fit for the gig, and that the chances of it happening are pretty good. So they decide to roll the dice and put off all of their booking plans. No, there were never any promises made. But hope, she is a tough mistress. Not quite the whips-and-chains variety, but a rather saucy tart nonetheless. They're told the deal will likely happen quickly, maybe even a meeting in December, and the music/comedy duo and their management wait by the proverbial phone and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

You remember that scene from "Swingers", where the main character goes through an entire relationship with a woman's answering machine? It felt a lot like that, mixed with the 5 stages of grief:

1. Denial - "They're just waiting for the mucky-mucks to green light it" and "It hasn't been that long"

2. Anger - "If they don't hire us, they're just stupid stupid-heads" and "We'll write a song about them"

3. Bargaining - "Maybe we asked for too much money" and "What if we offered to give them our redundant organs, like one kidney apiece, our appendixes, and possibly a toe or two"

4. Depression - many milkshakes were had

5 Acceptance - this blog.

So what does it feel like to be here at big step 5? It's not bad, actually. Because even if that dream died, our sassy mistress Hope is still standing by with a feather tickler in hand. And we're sure that there's still a "Rocky" ending in this for us. Or at least "Rocky III". Maybe "Rambo". Possibly with a little dash of "Rudy."

Heck, even "The Jerk" had a happy ending.

Coming to Your Town soon,

Paul and Storm

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wrapping Up 2005, Plus Some Panties

We have been falling woefully behind in our trip reports, for which we apologize. Once again, rather than cover the remainder of 2005 in excruciating detail, we'll grab some of the December highlights and hold them up so everyone can get a good look at them.

But first, the panties.

For those of you not intimately familiar with our entire oeuvre (and shame on you if not), our song "Opening Band" contains the following lyric:

We don't got a whole lout of fans
Nobody asks for our autograph
And sad to say, as of today, no panties have been thrown

Now, when we wrote that last line, we giggled together like a couple of 8th graders (or, for you Canadians, grade 8-ers) about how cool it would be if people got familiar enough with the song and that, at some point, someone did throw panties at us when we sang that line. At our Jammin' Java show on November 26th, in Vienna, VA, the inevitable became the actual. Several times over. And then twice more at Cafe Montmartre in Madison, WI three days later. The fact that almost half of the panties thrown were done so by males was an unsettling combination of flattering and disturbing, but as Wordsworth once famously wrote in an 1801 letter to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "panties is panties."

And so, we proudly present the first installment of what we hope to eventually build into the Paul and Storm Rogue's Gallery of Lacy Underthings...

The Basic Black Panty; appropriate for any occasion.

These look disturbingly like the old gym shorts Paul had to wear in junior high. (With a little more lace, though)

Something a little more colorful--looks like it was made out of the extra fabric from one of Mrs. Roper's muumuus.

This pair was larger than the others, and we think they were thrown by a guy. These two facts are not necessarily related.

Our first thong. Thong tha-thong-thong-thong. Man, but this looks uncomfortable.

And while it's hard to top panties for excitement (did we mention that one of them was a thong?), there have been a number of memorable experiences that at least rival it:

11/28/05 (morning) - Back on Bob & Tom
Of the new material we debuted, our latest Schoolhouse Rock tune, "Count to Ten", worked the best, as well as our improvised song about Chick. Our personal favorite, "Gumbo Pants", was less successful. We'll have to see how it plays at live shows. As usual, it was great hanging out with the entire B&T gang and the guys at Static Shack. No steak dinner with Kristi this time, but...

11/28/05 (evening) - Paul and Storm Jump on the Colts Bandwagon
This time it was Tom who put the cherry on top of the visit. When he called Monday afternoon and asked if we liked football (and, of course, testicles = enjoys football*), we're thinking to ourselves, "Cool...Tom is having people over to watch the (then 11-0) Colts on his 80-kabillion inch-screen TV, and we're invited!" But that didn't happen. Nay-nay. In fact, he had two suddenly-available-at-the-last-minute tickets for that night's game against the Steelers, which turned out to be about 15 rows up and on the 47-FRICKIN'-YARDLINE**...

Never mind that Storm is a Redskins fan***; never mind that Paul has a Joe Paterno action figure**** on his shelf at home. With much careful preparation, studying, and the purchase of a few choice garments, we would (for the night) become COLTS FANS!

Before and After:

The Colts won and Storm got drunk, so the night was pretty much a success.

12/8/05 - "Wakin' Up with the Wolf" in Albany
The "Wakin' Up with the Wolf" show has been regularly playing our stuff for a while (and our DVN material before then), but we somehow never got around to getting on their show until now. Other than meeting the cast, the highlight of the show was probably the fact that their long-suffering engineer spent a good 15-20 minutes hooking Paul's keyboard up to the system--radio studios are not usually pre-set for musical guests, and he had to hook up an extra line, and haul in some equipment to make it all work properly. So the poor guy is climbing over us, under the table, etc.--all while we're on the air. So, of course, we ended up not using the keyboard at all that morning. We're betting that, after we left, the engineer made a little Paul-shaped voodoo doll and started stabbing it with a 1/4" plug.

But we had no time to dwell on bizarre religious practices, because we had our own to attend to. Specifically, we had to get to Syracuse to re-visit our current favorite-est barbecue restaurant, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. We gave this place a full review previously; this time around, Paul had the big pile of food, while Storm dove into the REALLY big pile of food.

12/9/05 - Buffalo: Shredd & Ragan, and Music to Clean Up By
Working our way across NY one morning radio show at a time, we made it through a Buffalo snowstorm in time to do a few tunes for Shredd & Ragan. That evening, we had a gig where we were supposed to sing for a company party at 8:30 p.m., after the "formal" event had ended. Problem: everyone had already left by 8:15. Sang for the caterers, bartenders, promoter, and for ourselves. Bonus: met Lazlo***** from the Moxy Fruvous song "Lazlo's Career", and he's every bit as interesting as you'd imagine.

12/10/05 - Niagara Falls and Toronto: Arrogant Worms, The House of Trevor and the Littlest Worm, plus P&S Meet Canada
Stopped for an hour at Niagara Falls. It's big. Huge. Trump huge. (And in mid-December, frickin' freezing.) It also afforded us the chance to recreate our favorite old vaudeville routine (see photo). Two hours later, we arrived amidst TV sitcom holiday special snowfall at the house of Trevor Strong, one of the three maniacs who comprise the Arrogant Worms. Met his most manly, one-year-old offspring, Owen, who has the uncanny ability of knowing when a train will pass by the house. (Which is often, as they live near the subway) During our stay, we taught Owen to say "cool," and we understand he now says it once every 28 seconds now. You're welcome, Trevor.

Trevor also treated us to a whirlwind "greatest hits" walking tour of downtown Toronto. All the usual suspects were covered: the CN Tower, the no-longer-the Skydome, the underground walkways/malls, a clever meaty confection the locals call "back bacon," and most importantly, Tim Hortons...

FOOD REVIEW: Tim Hortons - Toronto, ON, Canadia
CATEGORY: Donuts (chain)(Canadian)
Rating: +1

It has been written that donut-making is "The Sweet Science". Actually, that's boxing. Not important. What's important is that Tim's donuts were really damn good. On a cold Friday night in December, the place was packed. Despite the crowds, the cheerful and effiencient staff made the line move faster than a butter-coated skunk shot from a catapult. Yes, it was that fast. And the fried treats (double chocolate for Storm, toffee glazed for Paul) were as fresh and tasty as you'd find at Dunkin' or Krispy Kreme. On top of all that, they were CANADIAN donuts, which we think means that they're cut from a different part of the pig. Hot chocolate was both hot and chocolate-y. In fact, it was McDonalds lawsuit hot, but we still managed contented smiles even after burning our lips and epiglottises. (Epiglotti?)

12/11/05 - Hughs Room, Toronto, Ontario, CANAD-I-A
The two shows opening for the Arrogant Worms at Hugh's Room were the whole reason for heading for the frozen tundra in the first place, and it really was everything we'd dreamed it would be. Both shows were jam-packed full of music/humor enthusiasts, and we're happy to say that we now have a lot of new Canadian friends. Best of all, we were finally able to see the Worms in their natural habitat, and them there's some funny and talented guys. By the way; next time you see Mike from the Worms, ask him, "How's your truss?" He'll thank you for it.

12/31/05 - "Friends of the Bob & Tom Show" Tour, Michigan Theatre, Jackson, MI
Long have we wanted to make the leap from "Acquaintances of the Bob & Tom Show" to become full-fledged "Friends"; and we finally got our chance on New Year's Eve. (And for those who don't know, the "Friends of the Bob & Tom Show" Tour is an ongoing series of concerts, each featuring 3-4 different comedians who appear regularly on the show) This particular show was at the Michigan Theatre in Jackson, MI--a town known for its, um, hospitality. The beautiful old 1500-seat former vaudeville & movie house built in 1930 (just in time for the death of vaudeville), while still undergoing renovations, had a great vibe to it: wood paneling, ornate chandelier, balcony ready to be packed with rowdies, and so on. And the show had been sold out well in advance.

And with good reason: the remainder of the bill included Tim Cavanagh (a very funny music-comedian whom we had met previously but never seen perform live) and Mike Birbiglia (another great comedian whom we had not met at all). And the evening was started off by the famous-among-Bob-and-Tom-fans "Donnie Baker," a unique, colorful character known for his strongly-held opinions, hatred of his boss, and inability to sell his boat.

From our perspective, the show could not have been better: everyone's set was top-notch (Donnie was like a redneck buzzsaw; Birbigs' showed why he's going to break out huge in 2006; and Cavanagh closed the show with Dennis Eckersley-style command), we had a great time with the audience (our largest to date), and it was the first theater show we've ever seen with beer vendors strolling the aisles. (Yes, really.) That, and the whole thing was over by 10:30 p.m., so we made it back to the hotel in time to watch the ball drop. A nice capper to a great year. Here's to 2006, y'all.

Happy New Year,

Paul and Storm.

* Descartes' 29th corollary
** Actually, Storm was on the 47; Paul was on the 47-1/2. It was like watching two completely different games from those vantage points.
*** Although, living in Maryland just as he was becoming interested in sports, Storm would have become a Colts fan if a certain team owner hadn't packed them up and shipped them out of Baltimore in the middle of the night way back when. Not that he's still bitter about that or anything. He's not.
**** Not a doll.
***** Yes, we had a groovy time with him.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Where in [Deity]'s Name Have We Been?

The short version: Paul's laptop, a.k.a. Old Melonsides, decided to basically take most of November and December off, with several mostly-complete trip reports lodged firmly in her belly. Luckily, the fine shipwrights at Dell have salvaged her hulk and she's back upon the waves.

This does, however, leave us with a good two month's worth of backlogged trip reports. So to save everyone (but mostly us) time and effort, we'll just post some highlights...

November 11 - Radio and Barbeque in Syracuse, NY

Back in the Da Vinci's Notebook days, one of our favorite radio shows to visit was the Beaner & Ken show in Birmingham, AL (Tuscaloosa, technically; but we won't tell if you won't). Lo and behold, come 2005, Beaner & Ken are now in Syracuse, NY--and syndicated in Birmingham as well. (Radio is a strange place; we prefer to ask as few questions as possible.) We were in the area that week for a convention, so we finally had an excuse to drop by. Songs were sung, laughs were laughed, and Ken went waaay nuts on the sound effects. (In a good way, though)

While it was fun enough to hang with B&K, the biggest and best surprise of the day came at lunch...

Dinosaur Barbeque (BBQ) – Syracuse, NY
Rating: +2

This is the food that makes you proud to be an American. Or, if you’re not a United Statesman, this is the food that makes you want to *be* an American. At first blush, Upstate NY isn’t where you’d expect to find a honky tonk filled with smoked pork goodness of the finest quality. But get within four blocks of this gritty joint and your nose will tell you you’re not imagining it.

It’s all here. Décor is not faux roadhouse, manufactured by corporate HQ. No, it really is a roadhouse, complete with live music most evenings. At 1:30 in the afternoon on a Friday, we waited half an hour shoulder-to-shoulder with fifty other potential diners, every one of us with a stupid grin on our face. It was like waiting in line for the latest, greatest rollercoaster--the anticipation is part of the ride. And the trays of down-home delights passing under our noses or over our heads was like a coaster full of screaming passengers whizzing by.

Finally it was our turn to strap in at our tabletop next to the bar, and a friendly waiter came by for our drink order in no time at all. Saranac root beer on tap, creamy and deep. We started with hot wings and fried green tomatoes, and both were first rate. When the wings came to the table, we thought that they’d brought us drumsticks by mistake – they were that chubby. We had a choice of four of their house hot sauces, and we opted for garlic-chipotle-pepper. We chose wisely. Smokey and pungent, with enough kick to make it interesting.

In hindsight, though, we really shouldn’t have ordered any appetizers at all. Here come the ribs. The ¾ rack of pork ribs landed on the table with an intimidating “thud”, stopping all conversation. They had that classic deep red, glossy look, straight out of a barbeque magazine. But these babies weren’t just about good looks. Succulent meat came off the bones neatly, but retained its firm and juicy texture. Smoky through-and-through, the taste was straight from Texas.

Oh, that over there? Those are the side dishes that completed the scene. The mac and cheese would have been a fitting lunch in its own right, with a homemade sauce smothering little pasta shells. Little diced veggie bits added extra interest. Mashed potatoes with brown sauce more than held their own. Also present was a pulled pork sangwich, which was every bit as tasty as the ribs, except that it was on a bun. Sweet and tangy, there was more shredded meat than the bun could contain. Such a pity to have to mop it up with the coarse Texas-style cornbread.


November 27-28 - Human Ping Pong and a Magic Mountain

Traveling out to the Midwest, to go back on Bob and Tom and tour a little. The plan was for Paul to fly from Philly (where he lives now for those of you who didn't know), Storm would fly from D.C., and we'd meet up in Moline, IL for a night of bad pizza and writing music.

That was the plan, anyway; the nasty string of thunderstorms cutting across middle-America had other ideas. Paul managed to make it to Moline okay (barely making it out of Chicago before things started stacking up); Storm was not so lucky, however, and his hub (Detroit) was all kinds of gnarled. Long story short, he was bounced down to Memphis, where his flight to the Quad Cities was cancelled. All hotel rooms were booked. Consolation prize? Air mattress on the concourse. It’s the kind of thing that sounded like it would be fun and exciting when you were nine years old, like getting trapped in a shopping mall. It was the opposite of fun. Thankfully, the good people at the in-airport Arby’s extended their hours to accommodate the stranded travelers...

Arby’s (Fast food) – Memphis International Airport
Rating: +1 (for being open late)

God bless you, Arby’s. You served Storm with a smile, handing over to him for a small fee two overstuffed Beef and Cheddar sammiches when no one else would give him as much as a French (freedom) fry. Processed, high-fat, and sodium-filled? Yep. Tasty sustenance for a weary musician? Yep, yep. Roast beef was fresh-sliced, juicy and garlicky. Cheese sauce oozed together with the added Horsy Sauce to form a third, super-powered, mega-vaginous* treat.

Fell asleep with a bellyful of beef, only waking up every ten minutes when the airport loudspeaker reminded everyone to look after their luggage. Thanks for that. Would have forgotten about it otherwise.

Paul, on the other hand, was living easy on his solo adventure of discovery, cruising cable TV and sipping on an Orange Julius.

Orange Julius - Some Mall, Moline, IL

Rating: +1

Orange Julius is a favorite taste from my childhood, and I go back and have one every couple of years to relive my long-lost youth. Big, semi-orange-flavored whipped drink, lots of froth...delicious. And yes, I got a big Orange-Julius moustache, just like the old days.

After ping-ponging once more the next morning--this time to Atlanta--Storm finally arrived in Moline, stinking like thirty hours of himself. Only one thing to do...

Ross’ 24-Hour Diner – Bettendorf, IA
Rating: +1

Back to the scene of the crime! We reviewed this joint on our Yahoo! group, but for the benefit of thems who didn’t read it, Ross’ is one of those city traditions. Where people of every stripe meet to eat good, basic eats.

In this case, the claim to fame is the Magic Mountain, which is a grand tour of the world’s great carbohydrates. Take a plate. Slap down some Texas toast. Top with ground beef. Smother with French (freedom) fries or hash browns ($0.30 extra). Douse in cheese sauce. Top with onion “snow” (optional). Step back and stand in awe of it. Eat it. Regret it later? Maybe. But live for the moment.

Paul’s hamburger…. Especially tasty were the homemade potato chips, fried up just before landing on the plate. Service was very friendly and quick.

Step back in time with us now…a time before entrees…a time when appetizers roamed the earth. Out of this primordial funk rose a plate full of sticks. Cheese sticks. Pepperjack cheese sticks. And they were good. Very good. Spicy beyond what you’d expect at a diner, and served with cold marinara sauce. Not an especially good sauce, but just the thing to go with those firecracker sticks. Hot-cold-sweet-salty, it had it all.

That'll do for catching up, I think. Coming up next: 47-yardline tickets to the Colts game and "It's December; what can we do for fun? Hey, I know--let's go to upstate New York and Canada!"

Paul and Storm.

*Have we mentioned this word before? Everybody knows the new popular word “ginormous”, which is a combination “gigantic” and “enormous”. But we all know that the appeal of the word is that it sort of sounds like “vagina”. Hee-hee! I can say something that sounds like “vagina” and get away with it in polite company! Well, we call bulls*** on that word. You might as well just go to the source. So we are thereby coining the adjective “vaginous” to mean anything big and/or awesome. Someone please call the OED for us.