Sunday, March 16, 2008

J. G. Melons

Huge. 8oz of juicy ground beef. J. G.’s has an open kitchen across from the bar, so we watched ‘em being cooked while we were waiting for a table and it was all I could do to keep from slobbering. Unfortunately my bacon cheeseburger had no flavor – no charbroil or seasoning – and it was just a large patty of meat. It’s what you’d get if you squished two handfuls of beef together and put it in a frying pan at home. It’s a big burger, but that’s all it is.

Crinkle-cut, round, cottage fries that were probably sitting under a heating lamp for too long. Points for doing something different with the shape, but they gotta be fresh to be good.

No onion rings on the menu. But chili was and just seeing it being dished out planted the seed for me to get some. Once again, there was no zing or zest in the bowl and nothing that mom couldn’t have served up to feed the kids.

I just had Bass, but the bar was well-stocked and I could have found quality in whatever type of alcohol I wanted.

The waitress seemed to miss a couple of requests for things, but she was pleasant enough. The place was busy and booming for a Friday night. And I actually liked the watermelon theme throughout the place.

Probably. I’m surprised it’s made so many best lists, but that’s probably because of the size. But when it’s said and done I felt like J. G. Melon’s would land just north of average on our best burger list.

Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy)

A couple of friends of mine recently started on a burger quest. We didn’t really set out on a “quest,” but one Friday GJ said let’s grab a burger at BLT Burger and we did. Then the following weekend we found ourselves at a joint in Alphabet City and then it became an almost weekly thing.

So our burger crusade has become a nice conversation starter because even a vegetarian is on the lookout for a decent veggie burger (though they’ll never find that out here!). And once you tell someone what we’re doing, they inevitably ask, “so where’s the best one?” and “are you writing reviews?” Well it’s too early in the search to say where the best one is yet, and with my poor memory, it’s bordering on too late to write them up.

But it’s clear you can’t start a mission like this and not document it, so here’s my feeble attempt. Please note that these are not really reviews. I don’t know much about food and probably couldn’t tell ground chuck from sirloin. And I can’t find a non-stilted or clichéd way of writing a restaurant review – so I’m not going to try. When I wrote music “reviews” I always wanted to find a way to make the music pertinent to your life. Thus my goal was to give you a sense of whether a record would appeal to your ears. Who better to judge the quality of music then the listener and the maker. And so it goes with burgers.

However, these write ups include the thoughts of the 3 main participants. I pulled out what’s important to me and threw a few words down about those things so that you could decide for yourself if you want to go. But my counterparts have a different interest in food. GJ would never be so pretentious to describe himself as a “foodie,” but Fish and I have no compunction about describing him as such. And Fish is a former chef who’s run kitchens in some very popular restaurants around New York City. So he gets the “chef” designation and brings that knowledge to our journey. Me? I once described myself as a food pedestrian – meaning my taste buds are not well developed, but I know what I like and don’t like (which could be anything from Taco Bell to the Union Square Café).

If you’re in town and want to join us on one of our burger treks, say the word. Otherwise heed these words and enjoy your next hamburger.

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy,
I. got love in my tummy,
That your love can satisfy;
Love, you're such a sweet thing,
Good enough to eat thing
And sweet thing, that ain't no lie.
I love to hold ya,
Oh love, to kiss ya,
Ooh love, I love it so.
Ooh love, you're sweeter,
Sweeter than sugar.
Ooh love, I wont let you go.

--Ohio Express

Monday, June 11, 2007

(Just My) Imagination

I thought the conclusion of the Sopranos was great. With the super annoying "Don't Stop Believing" playing in the background, Meadow walks in the diner and black goes the show. It ended on a dime. With Tony nervously watching everyone who came through the door. With mean looking strangers lurking and AJ spouting off about enjoying the good times like Tony once told him. Were they about to be murdered? Doubtful - it goes against the mob code to harm member's families. A happy ending because Tony survived? Not in my book. The dude's gonna get indicted, his family and his life are still in jeopardy and paranoid is the operative word for the rest of his life.

For some reason though, I've heard people are unhappy with the ending. I'm not sure I understand that because if you've watched the show for much time you know they don't always give you a nice, neat and tidy story line that wraps with a happy ending. Life sucks and often leaves you hanging. Just like the Sopranos.

I remember people bitching about previous season endings of the show, with the gripe generally being there wasn't enough bloodshed. So I suppose most people watched this show for some other reason than why I watch it. But my love for The Sopranos was due to the contradictions - namely the creation of a sociopathic killer that you actually root FOR. And I guess the acting, writing, family theme and black humor had something to do with it too.

So get over it you naysayers. The ending David Chase gave us allows you to imagine any kind of ending you want. So stop complaining and let your imagination run free.

Soon we'll be married..
and raise a family.
In a cozy, little home out in the country
with two children, maybe three.
I tell you, I can visualize it all.
This couldn't be a dream for too real it all seems.
But it was just my imagination -- once again --
running away with me.
I tell you it was just my imagination
running away with me...
--The Temptations

PS - did I ever tell you I sat behind Agent Harris (Matthew Servitto) at a Yankees playoff game? It was in the upper deck in left field and I felt good that the best seats he could get were near mine.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Freak of the Week

So what did I miss over the past week? Well let's see....

Dennis Kucinich was on Bill Maher's show
last night. When asked, I've been saying if I had to vote today, I'd vote for John Edwards, mainly because I visited the candidates' issues sections on their websites and his was the least full of shit. But the truth is, Dennis The Menace is the man who is most closely allied with my goals, with our main point of agreement being universal health care that doesn't involve subsidies to the insurance industry. So I need to get over my problems with his weirdness and/or viability and get on board the Kucinich train. Because it's the only one that's gonna take me where I wanna go.

Wired had a good article about a site called MAPLight that lets you "follow the money." Do you think corporations aren't influencing how our political reps vote on legislation? Search on your topic of interest (defense, finance, telecommunications, whatever) and these guys will let you know how much money your rep got and then you can decide whether it influenced their vote. (Note - right now MAPLight only tracks the California legislature, but they're expanding to follow the federal government soon.)

My Yankees had a terrible week, losing 7 in a row. According to Fox Sports, there's talk of firing Joe Torre, but frankly, the only big mistake he's made this year is pulling the infield in when Mariano Rivera was pitching. Mo is not a ground ball pitcher and generally, the most likely way to get a hit off him is a bloop hit. While bringing the infield in in a close game is the correct "by the book" move, it's pretty stupid when Mariano is pitching and surely you'd think Joe woulda figured that out after the 2001 World Series.

Over the years, Slate has a done a great job tracking the Sopranos by having a dialogue between TV critics, mobsters, lawyers, shrinks and Sopranos writers about each episode of the show. For the final season, Tim Noah and Jeffrey Goldberg are going back and forth trying to figure out if and how Tony Soprano is going to die. They touch on some great Godfather references that may foreshadow what happens next. But I was slightly disappointed that they didn't see how the fade out on Junior Soprano at the end was reminiscent of Michael Corleone's ending in GF 3 (I said slightly because the 3rd installment certainly wasn't crucial viewing). Personlly, I don't think Tony is gonna get rubbed out. I think AJ is the tragic character in this show and whatever happens is gonna involve him. Anyway - the Slate takes are good reading if you're a fan of the show.

I'm a dancing interpretation of the meaning of syncopation
She's a big freak, (great big freak) going to be freak of the week
Gotta be freak of the week
Gotta be freak of the week


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Welcome to the Terrordome

I've got so much trouble on my mind - refuse to lose - here's your ticket - hear the drummer get wicked.

Yo. So I'm back in the blogosphere and hoping that I'm going to feed this beast on a regular basis.

For now, let's say these things up front. I'm Figy and I live in NYC. I've worked in government, the music biz, the media and now the non-profit world and none of the views expressed here necessarily represent their views. They're just my own and I'm speaking for myself. Citizen Figy if you will.

Public Enemy is a favorite of mine and from time to time I'll appropriate a line, a pose, perhaps some prose to 'splain the rain that everybody else already knows. The lyrics that are reprinted here are not my own and I share them to help make a point or just because they're cool. I make no money from these postings, so resist the urge to sue. Just cease and desist.

I might know a thing or two about sports, politics, music and "culture", so that's probably what you'll be reading about here. And I'm a bad-ass bass player who's played bass, guitar and hopefully not drums in the bands Spitball, the Bastion of Sillyness, Eating Betty, Guilt Complex and the Rationalizations (aka GC & the Ratz), Skreech, the Trip and most recently, the ACEtone ALLstars and Buddy Hell and the Bleeders.

Welcome to the Terrordome.

--Rhetoric said
Read just a bit ago
Not quittin' though
Signed the hard rhymer
Work to keep from gettin' jerked
Changin' some ways
To way back in the better days
Raw metaphysically bold
Never followed a code
Still dropped a load
Never question what I am God knows
Cause it's comin' from the heart...

Known as fair square
Throughout my years
So I growl at the livin' foul
Black to the bone my home is your home
So welcome to the Terrordome...

Never to say I never know or had a clue
Word was heard, plus hard on the boulevard
Lies, scandalizin', basin'
Traits of hate who's celebratin' wit satan?
I rope a dope the evil with righteous
Bobbin' and weavin' and let the good get even
C'mon down
And welcome to the Terrordome.
Caught in the race against time
The pit and the pendulum
Check the rhythm and rhymes
While I'm bendin' 'em
Snakes blowin' up the lines of design
Tryin' to blind the science I'm snedin' 'em
How to fight the power
Cannot run and hide
But it shouldn't be suicide
In a game a fool without the rules
Got a hell of a nerve to just criticize...

I don't smile in the line of fire
I go wildin'
But it's on bass and drums even violins
Watcha do gitcha head ready
Instead of gettin' physically sweaty
When I get mad
I put it down on a pad
Give ya somethin' that cha never had controllin'
Fear of high rollin'
God bless your soul and keep livin'...
--Public Enemy