Saturday, April 19, 2014

Resurrection (May Contain Blasphemy)

It's been a cow's age since I anticipated a new record as much as I do this month's Old 97's release. Twenty years since the band's first album, Most Messed Up is being hyped as a return to its roots, a rollicking, raunchy mess. I mean that in the most positive way possible.

Various reviewers have described the record as "a boozy, blurry whirl", "balls-out, country-fried rock", and "blistered, blasted, and brilliant". After a run of releases that were perfectly good, hook-heavy pop offerings, the work of a rock quartet maturing in and out of the studio, the band's long-time fans are thrilled by the notion that the 97's may be returning to Too Far to Care's barely-on-the-tracks vibe.

The record comes out on April 29. It's the first one I've ever pre-ordered, so I get my first listen next Friday. Until then, here's 97's frontman Rhett Miller with a solo version of the title track. It's most definitely NSFW or for children's ears.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Double Duty

It's a G:TB tradition, born of laziness and lack of new ideas, to replay our ode to playoff hockey at this time of year. And that still may very well happen.

But it's also NBA playoff time, and something came across our desk yesterday that made us stand up and take notice of things roundball.

Troy Daniels is a rookie for the Houston Rockets by way of VCU, where he owns the school's single-season record for made three pointers. He drained 124 triples in his senior season, including 11 in one game against East Tennessee State.

Daniels has spent most of this season in the D-League, where he's averaging 21.5 points per game, shooting 40.1% from deep. His long-distance acumen has translated from college to the professional level, as he's making five three-pointers per game, and 78% of his shots come from behind the arc. He takes 12.5 threes a game in D-League play. He was named a D-League All-Star, and has led the Rio Grande Vipers to a berth in the playoffs, while setting a D-League record for three-pointers in a season with 240.

He also caught the attention of the Rockets brass, who signed him to an NBA contract in February and brought him up to the League in March. Daniels has played in five games for Houston, taking advantage of starters resting in the season finale to score a career-high 22 against New Orleans on Wednesday night.

He dropped those 22 just a few days after playing in a Vipers D-League playoff game and a Rockets game on the same day. On April 12, Daniels started and scored 30 points in 44 minutes as the Vipers fell to the Iowa Energy. He got on a plane (with Vipers teammate Robert Covington) and traveled to Houston, where he played 12 minutes off the bench. You can forgive him if his legs were a bit tired, as he only made one of five shots in the Rockets' 111-104 win over the Pelicans.

Daniels has earned consideration from Rockets coach Kevin McHale for a spot in Houston's playoff rotation, something that seems inconceivable for a rookie with five games of NBA experience. McHale said after the season-finale, "He's very diligent, he plays hard. He's a bright kid. He knows what we are trying to do. I like him."

If nothing else, the 6'4" Daniels has earned a look next season. But only if he's held to one game per day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peeple Get Ready

This one is aptly entitled "Everyone peeps"
Earlier this week, as I prepared a memo for the G:TB staff regarding our participation in The Washington Post's annual Peeps Diorama Contest, it came to my attention that the contest was actually already over, and that the Post team had chosen winners.

I find this as much of an outrage as you do, but consultation with our lawyers reveals that we have a very tenuous argument on the facts, and that standing outside the Post's offices screaming, "I object" is more likely to get us forcibly removed than to get them to address our grievances.

So it is with great regret that I must inform you that, once again, we've failed to win. Next year, lads. Next year.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Norge Gheorghe

From the Norwegian art collective Kreativiteket (like you don't know from Kreativiteket), comes among the more Gheorghey works of public art in recent memory. The village of Orje, Norway is the unlikely keeper of the legacy of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.

Flights to Oslo start at a reasonable $1309 from DC. I think we owe it to ourselves to make this happen.

(h/t to The Dish)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gheorghe: The Travel Guide Presents OKC in Pictures

While I'm not quite the baller Rick Steves is, I do get to do a tiny bit of traveling in my gig as a small cog in our country's great big financial machine, albeit to the oil and gas production centers of this country (ie, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City). One of these trips was two weeks ago, when I spent a sunny and slight boring 36 hours in Oklahoma City. I got into town a day ahead of a client trip to a very entertaining Thunder-Spurs game and subsequent meetings with companies. Here's how it went. 

There is one "jewel" (speaking in a relative sense, of course) in Oklahoma City and that is Bricktown, a quaint synthetic downtown walking neighborhood with a man-made river that has bars, shops and a surprisingly cool minor-league stadium around it. It looks like this:

And it has rad bars. Like this one (Toby Keith's I Love THIS Bar & Grill):

I ate at a New Orleans-themed place, rolling the dice on ordering blackened catfish in Oklahoma. It was pretty good. 

As you  get away from Bricktown, you can see roads named after famous local Oklahomans. Like this guy and this musical group: 

And in case you're wondering, Flaming Lips Alley is really an alley. Not too exciting.

And there are other celebrities with roads named after them. Like this guy:

And especially this guy:

In fact, the Mick is plastered all over the place in OKC. There is a Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse, the aforementioned road and a big to-do at the minor league stadium, which looks larger than its 13,000 capacity. It is the home of the Oklahoma City Redhawks, Houston's AAA affiliate, and looks like a sweet place to catch a game. I bought a shirt for myself and a pair of them for the kids. Here is the tribute to the Mick outside the stadium:

There is also a tribute to Warren Spahn, but there was a pair of tourists mingling there and I have the attention of a fruit-fly, so I did not get a photo. But Spahn's legacy is even more amazing than I knew. All I knew was that he won 363 games. I did not know that he did not get his first win until the age of 25. After a mixed start to his career under Casey Stengel at age 20, he was sent down to the minors and then served three years in the military, getting his first win in 1946. Sounds like he was a solid dude. He died in 2003 at the age of 82 and lived in OKC for most of his post-baseball life.

A couple more interesting tidbits about OKC. We are in the Bible belt, so apparently signs like this are needed for local offices:

Also of note is that my hotel was next to the Chesapeake Energy Arena. It was my second time seeing a game there.  The crowd there is so into the team that I don't feel all that bad for the city of Seattle. Maybe that's short-sighted, but this team is such a part of the fabric of the community. The Spurs-Thunder match was a huge one, with the Spurs riding a 19-game win streak. From start to finish, the fans were LOUD. Of note is that they never cursed at fans in Spurs jerseys, which a New Jerseyan like me found very amusing. Here is the outside of the arena:

As you can tell, they really like their players.  All of them.

And in case you're wondering, you can't bring your gat inside here either:

Before the game, we met with an energy honcho at the Petroleum Club, a swanky set of lounges at the top of a high-rise a couple blocks from the stadium. It had a urinal that was so complex and high-scale that it gave me stage-fright. It was water cascading onto ice cubes in an open, floor-level trough about ten feet wide, offering views of the city from about thirty floors up. I took one photo that wasn't great, but it didn't feel right to be snapping too many photos in a strange public restroom. So I took this one and quickly hopped into a stall to TCOB.

OKC - Go get some.

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Good to Be the King

Breasts. A tradition like no other.

Friday Filler

Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, has a terrific new album out. You should listen to it.

She also performed 'Lithium' with the surviving members of Nirvana last night in celebration of the band's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (we'll save the snark on that institution for Clarence's lengthy exposition on the topic).

Here's some really lousy video captured by some idiot who had no idea who she is:

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Don’t Throw Away the Chicken Carcass

Has it even been a month since the last recipe? Who knows. But we welcome all content here. Besides, it's a semi-recurring bit now, and those are few and far between for us. So here's your next G:TB Recipe of the Month.

Whether you bought a chicken roaster at the grocery store or you roasted one for Sunday dinner, don’t throw it away. Make soup. (from the carcass) No its not soup season. I probably make more soup than anything else. My freezer is full of little containers labeled with the type of soup it is. Soup is one of the easiest things you can make, the cheapest, and can be popped out of the freezer for lunch, easy dinner, etc.

Asian Chicken Soup

Chicken carcass
Swiss chard
Soy Sauce
Cayenne Powder
Udon noodles (not to be confused with national title winning Uconn noddles. - lame ass TJ joke)

Cover a chicken carcass with tap water
Simmer until the bones and meat are falling apart.
Drain the liquid and save it in a bowl. You now have a poor man’s stock. (real stock would have onions and vegetables in it, but you will add those to your soup)
Pick out all the meat and toss into bowl with stock and discard bones and skin and fatty parts. Or have your kid do this.

Sautee 1 large onion or 2 small onions and a few cloves of garlic in the same pot you made your stock.
Add in your stock/chicken you saved in a bowl. (depending on how much water you added you might not need all of it—you can save some for other stock uses—it freezes well)
Add in chopped swiss chard or other greens (bok choy, spinach, kale)
Add in chopped mushrooms
Add in soy sauce to taste. I used the annoying little packets that were floating around in the back of the fridge.
Add in spice—cayenne, chili powder, a dash of thai chili paste, etc
I didn’t have ginger, but ginger would be good here.
If you are eating carbs, add in udon (uconn) noodles.

Top with cilantro, lime juice.  

The awesome thing about making chicken soup is you can have a completely different recipe with the same process if you add in carrots, celery, peas, and turnips with thyme and oregano and take out the veggies and soy sauce above. Super traditional chicken soup. Or add in black beans, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and onions for a tortilla soup. And they all give you a lot of soup to eat/freeze with something that could be easily be tossed.