Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting Back To Normal And A Blue Moon

My life is slowly returning to normal. The Knicks managed to pretty much get blown out by the lowly Nets last night.

Tonight will be a once-in-a-Blue-Moon New Year. For those of you who may not know, a Blue Moon is the second full moon occuring in a single month. And tonight will be the second full moon this month. The last time this happened to usher in a New Year was in 1990.

See, this is why you read this blog, for the totally useless arcane knowledge that you at times, very rarely, glean.

But what does "glean" really mean? Originally it meant the act of collecting leftover crops from a farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested, or in fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. In the case of birds, it means to collect insects from the surface of a leaf. "Dumpster Diving" is sometimes refered to as "Garbage Gleaning."

And, with those parting thoughts, I will leave you with wishes for the happiest of a New Year, or, at least, the happiest in a blue moon.

Now I am off to make Rice Krispie Squares. I find that if you lace them with Vanilla Vodka it takes the edge off the sugar high and keeps my little neices calmer. Of course I also spike their hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps. They love their Uncle Barman.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Could Have Been Killed

Well, actually, that would have been a stretch. However, there was an article in this morning's New York Daily News about a woman who claims she was injured when a moosehead fell off a wall and hit her in the head.

Duck, Duck, Moose!

Woman sues eatery after it falls, hits her

Now this happened in the White Slab Palace, a Scandinavian-themed bar on Delancey St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Interestingly, however, there was something strangely familiar about the picture of the "moose" that accompanied the article. Namely, it wasn't a moose, it was a caribou.

Barman, who has an amazing ability to relate obscure thoughts (but has a hard time following simple directions like put away the dishes), immediately thought of the Good Bar & Grill in Chinatown where he initially mistook a caribou head for a moosehead. And, as it turns out, Annika Sundvik, an art gallery owner, just opened White Slab Palace last February. But, wait, Annika Sundvik also owned, drumroll please, Good Bar & Grill. Sadly, the Good Bar & Grill has closed. To make room for condominiums, I do believe. Sad, so very sad.

But, the very caribou head that appears in my post (back in July of 2005) of the Good Bar & Grill was, apparently, relocated to the White Slab Palace where it, allegedly, fell on someone's head.

655) Good World Bar & Grill

If you missed the sign, and it is easy to do, here is a closer look.

This isn't the easiest place to find, but well worth the effort. It is in the part of Chinatown not as popular, on the east side of the Bowery. Canal Street, the main drag through Chinatown, takes a bit of a hook under the Manhattan Bridge and if you just follow it for about six blocks you come to Orchard. Take a right and go to Number 3 and there you are. This is the perfect place if drinking under the baleful eye of a dead caribou is what you crave. I know, I know, originally I said this was a moose but I was wrong, as many people pointed out to me.

Anna, The Live Bartender, And The Dead Caribou

A black stone topped bar with unusually high, and I do mean high, black metal barstools with black cloth seats. I would hate to fall of one of these babies, but the bartender said it has happened. Light yellow and green painted plaster walls with significant chippage. An old dark pea-soup green painted tin ceiling with exposed pipes for the sprinklers and wiring conduits. Gives the place kind of a funky look. Old greenish white globe lights hang over the bar and the flooring is old wood. There is just a minimal setup behind the bar but they have a surprisingly large beer selection written in fading chalk on the green wall behind the bar. How about a Harvistouns Old Engine Oil from Scotland? Sounds yummy, doesn't it?

They also have a very extensive wine selection and interesting items on the menu such as a rabbit and fois gras terrine with blueberry pickled bok choy as an appetizer. The place is owned by Swedes so they have four kinds of aquavit available and you can buy it by the bottle for only ninety-five bucks. No lutefisk though. Thank goodness for little things. Anna said they would have it but it just smelled up the place to badly. I know for a fact that is true. My father loved lutefisk and I would flee the house on the few occasions my mother prepared it.

Little round tables with orange and yellow chrome and plastic chairs are strewn about the place. Low blank benches with black cushions line the wall opposite the bar and small square tables sit in front of it. There are floor to ceiling windows in the front and a neat little back yard with picnic tables for outdoor eating.

I had a draft Bolleke. This is an everyday beer in Antwerp, easy to drink, and not too bitter, the red-brown ale has almost a cinnamon spice hint to its flavor. Actually, a bolleke is a bell-shaped high-stemmed glass that is used in Antwerp to serve any highly-fermented beer but generally means the beer that I had, which is actually a De Koninck. And, yes, it was served in the appropriate glass.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Life In Disarray

Let's start with the Jets. They actually have a shot at making the playoffs. All they have to do is beat the Bengals on Sunday and they are in. More surprisingly, the early line makes them 10 point favorites. If you would have told me such a thing was possible a month ago I would have told you that you were crazy.

Now, onto the Knicks. I am actually starting to warm up to them again. Granted, they aren't likely to go anywhere this year, but they are playing better and winning more than half the time. And the new coach seems to know what he is doing. I totally agree with him sitting Curry and if Nate doesn't play like the coach wants, then keep him sitting too until he learns how. Nate could be really good one day if he ever settles down.

But, most surprisingly, after last night's Vikings/Bears game I actually felt sorry for Brett Favre. He brings the Vikings back to tie the game (should have been ahead except for a missed point after) with about five minutes to play, Bears then run the kick-off back 59 yards leading to a quick touchdown, and then with just 16 seconds left, Brett manages to tie the game up again sending it into overtime. Sadly, the Bears score first after recovering a fumble by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings lose. Remember, if not for a missed point after the Vikings would have won in regulation.

Now, if someone told me that one day I would actually feel sorry for Brett Favre, I would have said they were not only crazy, but an idiot as well.

Now you can see why my life is in a state of total disarray.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Sawmill Ladies

My friend Tom, who was with the group in Las Vegas, is a regular at The Sawmill Saloon, a bar and restaurant in Virginia, Minnesota. I have been there many times myself, usually on the way to visit my friends Bruce and Donna who live in International Falls.

It seems as though The Sawmill Saloon now puts out a calendar, and Tom wanted me to share part of it with you. Perhaps he will send me a 2010 update.

  • For more information about The Sawmill Saloon, just click on the picture. It is always fun to click on Weather and find out what life would be like if you were living in Virginia, Minnesota. Kind of a balmy 7 above the last I looked, but then that was in July.

    Just kidding, it was actually about 6:30 PM today.

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    Las Vegas At Last

    First, a bit of a shout-out to Jet Blue. I try to fly Jet Blue whenever I can, the are reasonably priced and the service is excellent. Plus they have a brand-new terminal at JKF that is really nice. Plenty of bars that always seem to be open.

    I like the individual DirectTV screens too. You can kind of mindlessly channel surf your way through most trips. And they have Sirius Radio too. On my trip back to New York from Las Vegas the whole TV and Radio thing was having a problem so they had to reboot the system, or whatever they do. The announced in advance that they were doing this and the service must have been out for five minutes at the most, and during the time when the stewardess and pilot are making their announcements anyway. No big dea. So it was a real pleasant surprise to get a $15 voucher as a "gesture of apology and goodwill." Not a lot of money, but how many other airlines would go to all of this trouble and expense for a truly minor problem?

    Anyway, I thought Jet Blue deserved a bit of a pat on the back for this.

    Our first bar that wasn't just a bar in a casino was this nice pub somewhere on the strip. It was affiliated with a casino, or a hotel, or something. I just can't remember exactly where. We were on a bit of a ramble. It was a very nice place with a whole hell of a lot of beers on draft. I am not sure how many but you can get an idea from the array behind me.

    The small round signs say The Pub and there is a picture of a whale on them. The lighting is predominently blue, so maybe it is affiliated with The Ballena Azul in Puerto Vallarta. The decor is similar.

    Barman At Ballena Azul North

    One of my buddies who goes on these now annual Las Vegas treks is my "fishing" buddy. Actually, he is the guy who owns the cabin where we hold the gathering.

    Jerry And Barman

    Three others are Jon (he who will not smile), Tom and Albie. All of these guys grew up in Northern Minnesota in what is known as The Range. How I ever hooked up with these guys is a long and long forgotten story. Suffice it to say that many of us have know each other for almost forty years. Tom is, for me, a relative newcomer. I first met him at last year's get-together.

    Jon, Tom and Albie

    Albie goes out to Las Vegas several times a year and knows the town pretty well. Plus he also rents a car so we can get to some out-of-the-way places, like Frankie's Tiki Room.

    You have to love the lighting in downtown Las Vegas. A lot of it is from old casinos, bars, and what have you that are long gone. They did a nice job restoring them.

    My Kind Of Sign

    The Griffin has become a bit of a favorite of mine since I stumbled into it a year or two ago. It doesn't open until late and has a bouncer so you know it is my kind of place.

    The Griffin

    Just three of us were making the rounds this night. We had gone out to eat and were having a few nightcaps as we made our way back to our hotel.

    John, Laura, Barman and Tom

    I think the bartender's name was Laura. I actually did write it down but then, of course, misplaced my notepad. We chatted with her for awhile and then with another guy at the bar and they recommended that we try the bar around the corner for some classic cocktails. I think they were trying to be helpful. Or, maybe, they were just trying to get rid of us.


    downtown. (not sure why that period is there) is around the corner from The Griffin and down the block a bit. Kind of a deserted side street at that, and the sign isn't all that big. You could easily miss this place, but you should try not to.

    A bit of advice, the actual door is on the left hand side of what looks like what should be a glass door. On the right side is another window that looks like it could be a door. The door doesn't look anything like a door. I guess it is customary for those already in the bar to laugh at the people trying to get in through the windows. People like us.

    I had recently purchased a bottle of Pernod Absinthe to take up to our Annual Fishing Trip (nothing says fishing like absinthe) so it was interesting to see an old-time absinthe dispenser. You load it up with ice cubes and pour in the absinthe. Then you drip the absinthe over a sugar cube into the glass of your choice.

    Now if Gevalia would offer one of these if you ordered their coffee I might re-join their club. I already have enough of their coffee makers.

    The Perfect Addition To Any Home Bar

    We were told this place specialized in old-time cocktails so that is what I went for, an old time Old Fashion. You put a dash or two of bitters on a sugar cube and then muddle that with an orange slice. Then you fill the glass with ice-cubes and bourbon and give it a stir. Garnish with another orange slice and, if you must, a Maraschino cherry.

    The Mixologist At His Work

    It was a very tasty drink, and a very good pour.

    The Old Fashion Barman

    The Griffin and Downtown are two mighty fine bars and a nice change from the casino bars. Although it is kind of nice to pop ten dollars into a video poker game at a casino bar and get your drinks for free. A word of warning, though, if you are in a bar that offers frozen margaritas for a dollar, you might want to skip that option. You won't get a buzz but you will leave with a sickly sweet taste in your mouth and a good chance of heartburn later.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Mary Pickford

    Okay, this post is only tangentially related to Las Vegas, but related it is. My friend Bruce gave me a birthday present while we were in Las Vegas. And a mighty fine present it was.

    A Present For Barman

    I love classic cocktails and this book is full of them. Several of us who were in Las Vegas are also regulars at the annual Fishing Opener in Minnesota. Our motto - Bring The Opener, Forget The Fishing. Anyway, everyone thought it would be a brilliant idea if I was responsible for selecting and preparing a Fishing Opener Signature Cocktail each year. I thought that the first one, appropriate for a bunch of manly men such as ourselves, should be the Mary Pickford.

    A Very Merry Mary Pickford

    Of course it would be remiss of me to just spring a drink on the boys without testing it first.

    The Mysterious Chinese Woman and I went to Armando's for dinner last night and on the way home I stopped by the liquor store to pick up most of the ingredients while the Mysterious Chinese Woman dutifully trotted off to pick up the pineapple juice. What a trooper. A trotting trooper.

    Some Assembly Required

    A quick aside, courtesy of Todd at the liquor store - you can substitute the Marischino Liqour for Sweet Vermouth in most drinks. In fact, according to Todd, who is seldom wrong, the use of Marischino Liquor pre-dates the use of Sweet Vermouth.

    I was concerned about being able to pick up the Grenadine because in New York liquor stores can only sell liquor and wine. No beer, no mix, no olives, nothing. Llord's, however, makes a special version of Grenadine with 1% alcohol and this somehow gets around the law and allows it to be sold in New York liqour stores. Rose's once made a version of their lime juice that way, but I don't think they do anymore. At least I haven't seen it for awhile.

    Mixing It Up With Mary

    And it turns out just like the picture.

    Pretty And Pink

    Of course, the final test has to be the taste.

    Kissing Mary

    A very good drink indeed. Quite refreshing, a wee bit sweet, but nothing cloying. Just as long as we don't start sticking our pinkie fingers out while we slurp them down.

    I promise, a few more pictures from Las Vegas tomorrow. I was very lazy yesterday.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Frankie's Tiki Room - Las Vegas

    I love Tiki bars, always have and always will. And I really like dive bars as well. So naturally I really love dive Tiki bars, and Frankie's Tiki Room fills the bill perfectly.

    Frankie's Tiki Room

  • If you click on the picture above you can go to the Frankie's Tiki Room website which, as you can imagine, is quite interesting.

    Frankie's Tiki Room is not somewhere your average visitor to Las Vegas is likely to stumble upon. On the other hand, if a tourist did find this place, they most probably were stumbling. It is out where the locals live and play, and it is kind of a non-descript white building with a small parking lot next to a gas station. The reason I talked my buddies into going was that I had seen an ad in Modern Drunkard Magazine, the magazine my brother-in-law bought me (along with a subscription) for my birthday.

    Modern Drunkard Magazine is a mighty fine read. Click on the picture below for a link to their website, you won't be disappointed.

  • But I digress. As any good dive bar should be, this place was amazingly dark. When you first walked in you were, for all purposes, blind. There were a couple of small televisions playing cuts from some of the strangest movies I have never seen. They looked like they ranged from the 1930's to the 1960's and the common theme was, well, that is a very good question. Things vaguely Tiki, I guess.

    But what they considered vaguely Tiki seemed to range from Zombie movies, very appropriate, to Hawaiian dancers, also appropriate, to what looked like an early version of Charlie's Angels. A very early version. Scene's from I Married A Genie would have fit in, somehow. Right next to the scenes from I Married A Zombie.

    The drinks ranged from the standard dive bar beer and a shot to the standard Tiki fare such as Mai Tai's, Navy Grog's, and Zombies, to their more eclectic Tiki creations such as the Green Gasser and the Bearded Clam.

    Bearded Clam Glass

    I stuck with the Zombies, which were very good indeed. The bartender said it was someone's original 1956 recipe, and I have no reason not to believe her. They were quite tasty and very rummy.

    The More Standard Tiki Fare

    My buddies all stuck to the standard dive-bar drinks, mostly Rum and Cokes. No sense of adventure. I was also the only one to buy the must-have Frankie's Tiki Room calendar.

    How About A Date

    Frankie's Tiki Room was a great little find and I want to thank Modern Drunkard Magazine for bringing it to my attention. If you ever get to Las Vegas I would strongly recommend that you make the extra effort necessary to visit this place.

    Frankie's Tiki Bar on Urbanspoon

    After we left Frankie's we headed to the Double Down Saloon. Both Frankie's Tiki Room and the Double Down Saloon are owned by the same person, group, or whatever. There is also a Double Down Saloon in the East Village in Manhattan and it too is part of the same group. I will certainly make a point of getting there.

    I will cover The Double Down Saloon and the rest of my trip, if it all fits, tomorrow. Time to watch some football and then meet The Mysterious Chinese Woman and a couple of her Mysterious Sisters for dinner sometime between the end of the Jets game and the start of the Giants game.

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Back From Vegas

    I just got back from Las Vegas and will be posting about my trip tomorrow.

    Have you ever noticed that when you are on an airplane and the pilot makes an announcement that starts "Well folks..." whatever follows is never good? Luckily this time it was simply heavy turbulence as we started our descent into JFK. But it was HEAVY turbulence. Actually, if you have the stomach for it, turbulence can be kind of exciting, like a roller coaster.

    The Knicks have now won four in a row and are talking about the play-offs. Hope blooms eternal, even for a team with an 8 - 15 record.

    Saturday, December 05, 2009

    Birthday Blow-Out

    Ah, birthdays. They only come once a year and there is a good reason for that. I kind of forget what it is, though. Oh yeah, if they came more than once year we would age more quickly.

    The day started out with mimosas and a bagel with lox and raw onions. One of my favorites and the bagel shop just down the block and across the street from me makes some of the best.

    Then later, after boring the Mysterious Chinese Woman to tears by playing about a hundred birthday related songs (thank you Rhapsody) we headed out to lunch at the Mesa Grill in Manhattan. Quite a bit smaller than the one in Las Vegas, but every bit as nice with friendly service to boot.

    Mesa Grill

    I started out with a Mescal Margrita at the bar. Not too bad, but a tad sweet for my taste. I would have asked the bartender to make it with just squeezed lime juice instead of the mixture that they use, but she was really busy. I just didn't feel like it would be appropriate, although I am sure she would have accomodated me. She was very friendly.

    Me And My Margarita

    After a short wait at the bar, which I quite enjoyed, we were seated at our table.

    Beauty And The Beast

    So Many Decisions

    I have always liked the cowboy upholstery here. I wish I could buy a couch like this. The Mysterious Chinese Woman, on the other hand, didn't share this opinion.

    I chatted a bit with the new manager here, Claudia. She hadn't been to the Las Vegas restaurant yet, but I think she said she was slated for a visit.

    Bar Man And Claudia

    The Mysterious Chinese Woman settled on the Red Snapper Filet done up in Bobby Flay's typical Southwestern style.

    Looks Yummy

    And the Mysterious Chinese Woman assured me that it was every bit as good as it looked.

    Me, there was no question. I went for the rib eye.

    In All Its Glory

    About To Dig In

    The steak was every bit as good as the one I had in Vegas. This time I ordered it medium instead of medium rare and it was done to perfection. Now I will have to say that the steak in Vegas was larger, but the one here was more than I could eat, so size wasn't really the issue.

    After our meal we went back to the bar to have one for the road. The couple who was sitting next to us while we ate and who were very friendly stopped at the bar as well and bought me a birthday drink. That was nice of them.

    The bartender, Susan, finally had time to pose for a picture. I have to say, she was one of the most efficient bartenders I have ever seen. She kept everything humming and made all the drinks for the bar as well as for the entire restaurant. Plus, a few people were eating at the bar so she helped them with their selections and served up the food when it was ready. My hat is off to her.

    Susan The Efficient

    We then headed back to Brooklyn where we stopped into Pete's Waterfront Ale House for what turned out to be a few beers and a shot of Sam's Apple concoction. Goes down good on a chilly day and went down mighty fine even on a warm day like this one was.

    Beer For My Men And Whiskey For The Horse

    You know it is a special day when Gaid comes out from behind the bar to give you a hug.

    Gaid And Bar Man

    I think he really wanted to hug the Mysterious Chinese Woman

    Plenty To Go Around

    My friend Arden also stopped by to say hello. You may remember he is the one who had the photography exhibit at the art show in Red Hook.

    Arden And Bar Man

    Even Jim, the most excellent cook, popped out of his kitchen to say hello.

    Jim Out Of His Lair

    Quite frankly, my day should have ended at Pete's. But one thing Bar Man has little of is common sense. For some reason I decided it would be a mighty fine idea to end my day with a beer and a shot at one of the best dive bars in Brooklyn. Although, truth be known, it really isn't that much of a dive bar anymore. Oh, the bar is the same, it is the patrons who have changed. I think shutting down the Brooklyn House Of Detention may have cut into their business a bit. And with the no smoking laws even dive bars seem more upscale somehow. No kids in this one, yet.

    Montero Beckons

    I think I was finally starting to feel the effects of my rather long day. The guy just behind me was in Pete's while I was there and after chatting a bit I convinced him that he too should experience Montero.

    Bar Man On His Last Legs

    Somehow the Mysterious Chinese Woman seemed to be holding up much better than me.

    Eternally Perky

    And, finally, it was time to wend our way home. Where did the day go?

    Holiday Spirits Abound

    All in all it was a mighty fine day. And there was still a bit of Cavas Hill Cava left over in the refrigerator so I could kind of continue my celebration this morning.

    Oh, and both the Knicks and the Nets won yesterday. The odds of that happening are pretty remote. Especially since the Knicks were playing a decent team, the Atlanta Hawks, and the Nets hadn't won a game all year.

    Mesa Grill on Urbanspoon

    Friday, December 04, 2009

    Observations On Turning 65

    You start getting discounts that you could have used when you were much younger and didn't have any money.

    Heading out to Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill for my birthday lunch, then on to Pete's Waterfront Ale House to harass my favorite bartender, Gaid.

    Will post more tomorrow, with pictures, I hope.

    Listening to Warren Zevon's Studebaker. I had a 1950 Studebaker that I entered into a destruction derby. Came in third and sold the car for junk on the spot afterwards.

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Confusion Reigns

    Just got this in my email:


    dec 5th 11PM

    Waterfront Ale House
    540 Second Ave
    New York

    Only problem is that Friday is December 4th, not December 5th.

    Addendum - Just received a message from Sam of Pete's, he said the Black Coffee Blues Band will, indeed, be playing tomorrow, December 4th. Sam blamed the typo on too much eggnog. If you have ever had Sam's eggnog (and if you haven't, you really should) you would understand how that could happen.

    Waterfront Ale House on Urbanspoon

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    How Generous

    I just received an email from Verizon notifying me of a change to my terms and conditions.

    This is the change:

    1. If you are on a term plan and Verizon ceases offering service to your location prior to the end of your term commitment, you will not have to pay an Early Termination Fee.

    Now all that I could think was that before the change, even if Verizon terminated service to your area, you would be charged an Early Termination Fee. I think the change is good, just surprised that it was actually needed.

    Just so you know, I have Verizon DSL, land line, and wireless service and am generally very pleased with my service and their customer service. I just thought that change was kind of funny.

    Slow day, obviously. I need to get out more. Friday is my birthday and the Mysterious Chinese Woman is taking me out for dinner at some secret location. That should give me something to post about.

    Oh, for anyone wanting to send me a birthday card, my address is:

    96 Schermerhorn St. Apt. 2A
    Brooklyn, NY 11201

    I had a nice several days out at my sister-in-law's place for Thanksgiving, spread out over four days. Went out to restaurants three times and had a huge Thanksgiving dinner. No pictures though. I feel kind of awkward taking pictures to post when I am at family get-togethers.

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    But They Love Him In Tanzania

    Well, as you probably know, the Knicks did pass on Allen Iverson. However, if you are ever in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, you might be able to pick up an Iverson Grizzlies jersey.

    It seems as though the Grizzlies were going to hand out 3000 Iverson jeresys at a game, but after they cut him it didn't seem, shall we say, appropriate. Instead they were shipped to the birthplace of their rookie center, Hasheem Thabeet, where they were handed out to improvished children.

    Now, if those kids had access to ebay, they could probably sell them for a nice chunk of change.

    Hey, I wonder how Tiger's wife was going to pull him out of the back window of a Cadillac SUV, even if she did break the window out with a golf club. Or was it both windows with two golf clubs?

    I see where Sprewell, infamous for saying he wouldn't play for the Timberwolves for a paltry couple of million a year because he had to feed his family, is about to lose his mansion in Purchase, New York for falling behind in his mortgage. Last year he lost his yacht. Maybe he should have kept his day job.

    I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I did. But then I started the celebration on Tuesday afternoon and didn't get back home until last night.

    Oh yeah, Brett Favre is having the best start that he has ever had in his entire NFL career, and he is currently the highest rated quarterback in the NFL.

    Just thinking, last year the Jets released Pennington and he then went on to lead Miami to a conference title and a spot in the playoffs. This year the Jets released Favre and he then went on to lead the Vikings to....? And it isn't like the Jets even get anything for these guys.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and congratulations Joe Mauer, AL MVP.

    Go Twins.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    I Can't Help Myself

    Okay, I know, no more banging on the Knicks. But when the New York Daily News starts printing jokes about them, well, I felt compelled to share one with you.

    How many Knicks does it take to change a tire?

    Just one, unless it is a blow-out, then the whole team contributes.

    Hey, I didn't make it up.

    Oh, the Knicks passed on The Answer. Now, of course, everyone is second guessing that decision. Just two days ago, though, everyone was saying what a mistake it would have been to get Iverson. You just can't win. One thing, Iverson would have put a few more fannies in the seats.

    I wonder how many people will show up for this afternoon's game against the Nets. If they were playing in Madison Square Garden it would be announced as a sell-out even if the place was half empty. It is kind of fun to watch how they manipulate the camera angles to avoid showing empty seats.

    Making a Muffaletta New Orleans style sandwich (they serve many) and some Glogg for an indoor tailgate party tomorrow. Maybe Rice Krispy squares too, if I feel ambitious.

    One thing about this afternoon's Knicks/Nets game, someone does have to win.

    Did you hear about the new Knicks cologne? You splash it on and the other guy scores.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    It's Inevitable

    With basketball's biggest headcase, Starbury, out of the game, isn't it inevitable that the Knicks will make a play for the biggest one still in the game?

    Let's all put our hands together and welcome Allen Iverson.

    Okay, nothing official yet, but, if I was a betting man...

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Redskins Safe

    Phew, the Washington Redskins can keep their name:

    "Supreme Court declines to take Redskins' naming case Native American activists had claimed that team's nickname is so offensive that it does not deserve trademark protection."

    I wonder if they will go after Redskin Peanuts now.

    Hey, I know, I promised not to go on about the Knicks anymore, but I had to laugh at a New York Daily News article that referred to the New York Zombies. I guess with Curry returning to "action" that might be appropriate. Curry kind of moves like a zombie, and not one of those fast ones, either. Kind of a "Night Of The Living Dead" type of movement. Actually, with his history of injuries, Curry is kind of like the zombie who falls into the sugar mill in "White Zombie," one of the best zombie movies ever made.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Too Hard On The Knicks??

    There are some of my readers who think that I am, perhaps, a bit too hard on the Knicks. Well, with last night's loss to the Warriors the Knicks now have the worst start in franchise history. That is right, never in the history of the Knicks have they started out 1 and 9. Oh, and did I tell you that the Jazz will get the Knicks 2010 first round draft pick? Think about that, Isiah and company gave up the Knicks 2010 first round draft pick, among other things, for a guy who isn't even playing in the NBA anymore; the self-proclaimed "best point guard in the game," Mr. Starbury.

    A small consolation is that Isiah Thomas is already getting booed at FIU and there were chants of "Fire Isiah!" after they lost their opener to Monmouth 99 to 70.

    As a bonus, a couple of Stephon Marbury quotes:

    "I'm telling you what it is: I know I'm the best point guard in the NBA. I don't need anybody else to tell me that."

    "Don't get me wrong -- I love Jason Kidd. He's a great point guard," Marbury said. "(But) how am I comparing myself to him when I think I'm the best point guard to play basketball? That doesn't make any sense. I mean, how can I sit here and compare myself to somebody if I already think I'm the best?"

    Oh yeah, he made those comments in January, 2005 - that year the Knicks went 33 and 49. Still, that was better than the next year when they were an incredible 23 and 59. Imagine that, and with the best point guard in the game on the team. Oh, yeah, and after improving to a merely miserable 33 - 49 season we managed to have the same 23 and 59 record the next season. And all with the same self-proclaimed best point guard to play basketball.

    Did I tell you that those two 23 - 59 seasons were the worst two seasons in Knick's history? At least up until this year.

    Okay, I am over it now, really, I am.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    Fans Must Wake Up???

    According to Rex Ryan, head coach of the Jets, the fans need to wake up and cheer louder to help their team win. That's right, we need to be prideful because this the fan's football team. The fact that they are 1 and 4 over their last 5 games should have nothing to do with a certain lack of enthusiasm. Personal seating licenses and the promise of higher ticket prices should have nothing to do with fan loyalty.

    Anyway, I decided to submit a Letter to the Editor of the New York Daily News which published several articles and a back page headline about Ryan's ravings. I thought I would share it with you.

    Dear Editor,

    Jets coach Ryan says fans must wake up in order to save the Jets season? Give me a break. I have been going to Jets games and cheering them on since back when they played at Shea Stadium. We had a regular tailgate group that went to all the games. Then the Jets limited the parking so our group could no longer tailgate together. Then they wanted to hit me with a $15,000 a seat PSL fee and said they would raise my ticket prices from $80 a game to $140 a game. Guess what, I no longer go to Jets games and am no longer a die-hard fan.

    Funny how Jets management wants you to cheer the team when what you really want to do is scream in frustration, not only at their poor play, but also at their poor management decisions and total disregard for their fans. This is one fan who did wake up.

    And don't even get me started on the Knicks. I used to have season tickets for them as well. Don't get me wrong, I don't abandon a team just because they have a bad year or two. But when teams seem to have a total disregard for their fans ($15,000 for the right to buy tickets) or their management seems to be totally imcompetent (the Jazz will get the Knicks first round draft pick this year, thank you Isiah, we really needed Starbury) then I will walk away.

    Ah, it is a chilly, overcast, damp day so a good rant kind of heats up the blood. If the letter actually gets published, unlikely, I will be sure to let you know.

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    Yummy Pork Parts

    Monday, it being a nice sunny and fairly warm day, the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I decided to do somthing a little bit different. We went to the Chinatown in Queens. Usually we go to the one in Manhattan that we can walk to, if we are feeling ambitious. To get to the one in Queens is a bit more of a trip involving a couple of subways. First a train to Grand Central, then a switch to the train out to Flushing, Queens.

    We were a bit disappointed, this being the first time either of us had been there. It is, supposedly, bigger than the one in Manhattan, but it is not nearly as picturesque. Much more of a commercial looking area with a heavy Asian influence. I guess that is because it is newer and doesn't have all of the neat little nooks and crannies like the older one in Manhattan.

    Anyway, we didn't stay too long, just took a little walk around and stopped at kind of a neat place for lunch.

    Chao Zhou Restaurant

    There is nothing very fancy about Chao Zhou Restaurant, kind of a cafeteria look to it. But it was doing a nice little business and, always a plus, almost everyone in there was Chinese. It looked like a place where a lot of the people who worked in the area stopped for lunch.

    The Usual Crowd

    The prices were very reasonable, a lot of $5 lunch specials, things like bitter melon over rice with your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp or sliced pork and garlic leaf with preserved meat over rice. Things that the Mysterious Chinese Woman said were typical peasant food. They also had the usual stuff like sweet and sour pork and quite a few fried noodle and rice noodle dishes.

    The Mysterious Chinese Woman had a healthy looking bowl of noodles with vegetables of some kind.

    Eating Healthy

    Needless to say, my attention was caught by a less healthy choice. I mean, How can you pass up a plate of pork parts that includes ears, snout, tongue, and intestines.

    Yummy Yummy Pork Parts

    You know you ordered good when the waitress asks you if you are sure and then gives a glance at the Mysterious Chinese Woman to see if it really is okay.

    I was thinking maybe I would get kind of a pork parts stew, but this was more like cold cuts. In fact I often get the ears like they serve here when I go to an Asian market in New Jersey. The ears from the market are prepared with a chili paste, though, so they are much hotter. They make for a nice chewy snack and go good with beer.

    The pork parts were served with several slices of pickled carrots and some kind of a large white vegetable, a chinese radish, I think, also sliced and pickled. They were quite good and really went well with the pork parts. They did cover up the dish a bit, so here is a bit of better shot.

    Pork Parts Uncovered

    Pork Tongue On Tongue

    If you are a bit adventurous I would certainly recommend a visit to Chao Zhou. You could also order those pork parts sauteed with ginger and scallions. Or you could try the sauteed pig heart with peppers in a black bean sauce or, perhaps, the pig intestine with preserved vegetables in a noodle soup. And how could you not want to stop in for one of their breakfast specials, pork and jelly fish congee, only $3.95.

    Actually, except for the congee, kind of a rice porridge, I like most of this stuff. If this place wasn't so far away I would go back fairly often. I will have to check for a place in Manhattan that serves similar fare. I am sure there are a few.

    Chao Zhou on Urbanspoon