Ask me: Many questions from Michelle, a few answers....

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Michelle has many questions for the proprietor of Giant Midgets! These questions demand many answers!

Allison Krauss or Emmylou Harris?

My Mom is a huuuuuuuuuuge Emmylou Harris fan and Emmylou was a constant presence growing up, so it's not really even a fair contest. Though, to be honest, I probably didn't warm to Emmylou until I was in high school--I think it was probably Bluebird that really made me a convert, though Cimarron is probably my favorite Emmylou album.

Batman or Ironman?

Okay, first of all: "Ironman"? Really?

Again, Batman versus Iron Man isn't really a contest: (1) overall, I'm probably more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy; (2) if you go back to the really early Batman comics versus the really early Iron Man comics, you're talking about going back to some really classic pre-code 1930s iconic shit versus going back to what was always really, let's be honest, an early '60s B-lister (I mean, I know Iron Man has his fans, but he was never a Hulk or Spider-Man, and, let's also face it, he pretty quickly ended up in a group comic because he wasn't exactly a great center character for a solo title).

Now, there are various little points you could come up with for-and-against. For instance, Batman comics in the '60s really blew chunks, and the TV show with Adam West was pretty awful. And while the Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" doesn't have anything to do with the Marvel character, it's not like there's anything as boss as a Sabbath song called "Batman." The Tony Stark-is-an-alcoholic storyline was actually pretty strong and innovative; on the other hand the '70s back-to-basics Batman comics by O'Neil and Adams are pretty underappreciated. (Frank Miller's contributions to Batman are officially a wash now, with "I'm the goddamn Batman" pretty much zeroing out The Dark Knight Returns, ouch.)

Now, this is assuming you meant, like, in the real world. If you mean who would take whom in a fight: Batman would totally kick Iron Man's ass, are you kidding? I mean, seriously? Do you have to ask?

Penne al la Vodka or Shrimp Scampi?

Not a huge fan of Italian food. I guess I prefer white sauces to red and I like shrimp, so, I'll have the scampi.

Your favorite 80s pop band? Alternatively, your favorite disco song?

I'll see if I can answer both.

The second one is easier: I think I'd have to go with "Stayin' Alive," maybe "Jive Talkin'". Probably seems sort of cheesy to go with the Bee Gees, but those fuckers could write a hook, and the harmonies? Shit. Though their really incredible stuff was pre-disco, you know? "I Can't See Nobody" is just a phenomenally good song (though part of that may be that I love Nina Simone's cover of it; ditto for "To Love Somebody").

As a possible aside: if you look at the "Reading" sidebar, you might notice I'm reading Larry Harris' And Party Every Day: The Inside Story Of Casablanca Records; not because of any special fondness for disco, but because Casablanca Records represented some legendary messed-up shit back in their day. They really took excess to the next level. Or maybe that's why you asked the question: "He's reading about Casablanca, does he really like disco?" I don't hate disco, and I think it's probably unfair that disco has become a music-history punchline. But of Casablanca's legendary roster, which included Donna Summer and The Village People, the only act I was into as a kid was KISS and the only act I'd still spend time on now would be Funkadelic.

Eighties pop act is harder because the question comes up, "What do you consider pop?" And then the other question, really, is how do you pick one? And maybe a related question to these, too, is what about acts that were kind of both pop and non-pop--e.g. you could make a case that R.E.M. and U2 were alternative acts that became pop by the time the decade was over (R.E.M. with Document, U2 with The Joshua Tree; Unforgettable Fire just has too much weird experimental stuff to be a breakthrough, although "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" was obviously a breakthrough hit). The Go-Gos come to mind as a personally-beloved act that a lot of people would probably label "pop" and that I'd label "surf-punk"; really, again, they were the latter and then kind of became the former (and then disintegrated).

Which probably doesn't answer your question. Maybe if you suggested some records that you thought were pop and I could say whether I hated them or not?

Anyway, that was fun and thank you! Tomorrow we'll find out if I'm David Hasselhoff! (Spoiler: maybe.) Keep the questions coming, gang!


Random Michelle K Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:11:00 AM EDT  

Well, the reason for Batman vs Ironman is that the two of them are self-made men without special powers, except those they create themselves. After all, Batman vs Superman hardly seems fair.

And as much as I love the Christian Bale Batman movies, I have to admit that the Marvel movies tend to be more *fun* to watch. Not better movies, but more fun.

Not a huge fan of Italian food.

Wait, I can't possibly have read that correctly. I don't think it's possible to arrange those words in that order to create that meaning.

U2 and REM both qualify as pop IMO, because they were pop but the late 80s.

Though I have to admit I was really hoping for a secret passion for "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (for which I harbor a not at all secret passion, as it's a fabulous song to dance to).

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:31:00 AM EDT  

As readers of The Dark Knight Returns know, Batman can defeat Superman. I realize some would say he can only do it by teaming up with Green Arrow, but (and I hate to dis the Arrow, who I love) honestly, if GA hadn't been available, The Bat would simply have had to find a less direct way to get the Kryptonite into Supe's system.

* * *

I don't dislike Italian, as some of my friends probably believe. But I could never eat it again and not miss anything, and odds are good an Italian restaurant would never be my choice for dining out, unless you're counting pizza (which I don't).

* * *

I'll give "Wake Me Up" credit for having a catchy hook, but no, no secret passion. WHAM! kind of sucked in a way--well, I mean: objectively speaking, George Michaels has a solid voice and what's-his-face wrote decent hooks, so in one sense WHAM! didn't actually suck suck, but from a more subjective perspective, WHAM! was the worst kind of lowest-denominator bland bubblegum and "Wake Me Up" (for instance) would be completely forgotten and forgettable but for its ubiquity during a chunk of a decade recent enough for everyone of a certain age to be passingly-familiar with the tune. (Unlike, I would say, some of the bubblegummy-but-better-crafted tunes written by Boyce and Hart for The Monkees, although I guess time will tell on that score.)

Here we find an example of the disconnect between one's hips and head: intellectually, I have a mild detestation for "Wake Me Up" and it irritates me, but I'd probably be lying if I tried to claim I'd never reflexively tapped my foot or rocked my head to it.

Megan Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:48:00 AM EDT  

Shall I enter your response into the Being David Hasselhoff Contest? :)

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:08:00 AM EDT  

My response may or may not qualify--I still need to formulate it. :)

Carol Elaine Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 11:26:00 AM EDT  

I don't dislike Italian, as some of my friends probably believe. But I could never eat it again and not miss anything, and odds are good an Italian restaurant would never be my choice for dining out, unless you're counting pizza (which I don't).

This leads me to my question:

Were you dropped on your head as a baby? If so, how often?

Because Italian food is one of my favorites. While I don't know if I could eat it everyday, I couldn't imagine life without good Italian food. Then again, I'm a huge fan of marinara sauce and marinara-based sauces. Especially if it's been slow-cooked so that it has a deep, smoky taste. That's some good eats right there.

Leanright,  Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:33:00 PM EDT  

You're sure getting a lot of mileage out of that picture, aren't you Eric.

Leanright,  Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:37:00 PM EDT  

And yeah, not being a fan of Italian food leads me to believe that you've been fooling us all along.

I expect martians to land on earth and say "Take me to your best Italian Restaurant".

It's that good, really!

It's up there just slightly ahead of mexican food...Carol Elaine, as a California, I expect you to back me up on this one;-)

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:54:00 PM EDT  

No, Italian is far behind the deliciousness of Mexican food in all of its many forms and varieties. This is simply true in much the same way as 2+2=4 is true.

* * *

You know who didn't get much mileage out of that picture? The children in it. Their schoolhouse may have been a converted railway car, but it was, sadly, parked, and those kids were going nowhere.

What would have been awesome would have been if their school was like "The Wanderer" on Wild Wild West, being sent on missions by President Grant and having to defeat Dr. Loveless and so on.

Matter of fact, I think I just got an idea for the best television show not featuring a motorcycle-riding dinosaur who fights an evil mad scientist who is also a great white shark ever.

* * *

Ha, ha, Carol Elaine, very funny: as far as I can remember, I was never dropped on my head as a baby at least three times and also the time I fell off the monkey bars when I was five shut up I already mailed it.

Leanright,  Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:34:00 PM EDT  

On your future trip to California:


These are far and above Orange County's best.

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:02:00 PM EDT  

Thank you for the recommendations!

Random Michelle K Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:28:00 PM EDT  

I'm having trouble comprehending what you possibly could have been eating if you don't care for Italian. I mean, "Ragu" totally doesn't count.

Italian is fresh veggies sauteed in olive oil and garlic with some oregano (I prefer it to basil) thrown in, and tossed with some fresh fettuccine cooked to al dante, and served with a loaf of fresh bread,

Now I need to go home and have dinner.

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:03:00 PM EDT  

::rolls his eyes::

I suppose you're going to go on and on and on and on and on about it if I say that I can take or leave pasta in general, too.

Italian I don't care for one way or another but I could do without it. Ragu I don't like and will actively avoid (not counting those strange times you get some kind of weird infantile craving for a manufactured food that is inevitably disappointing, though the disappointment may be mitigated by how drunk or hung over you still are).

I do not much care for Italian, Michelle-you-are. I do not much care for it al dente, I do not much care for it sauteed gently. I do not much care for it on a train, I do not much care for it on a plane. I do not much care for Italian, Michelle-you-are!

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:04:00 PM EDT  

(And if it helps comprehension: some people like different kinds of food from other people. Ask John.)

Random Michelle K Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:19:00 PM EDT  

I just answered my other question, didn't I?

Leanright,  Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 6:24:00 PM EDT  

If you ever find yourself in Mi Casa, in Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area, no need to ask for extra cheese. If you dig long enough, you'll find your chili relleno under there. Under that, you'll find more cheese. Cheese....mmmmmmm. Okay, I like Mexican more now. Start your evening with a drink in their exquisite bar, the "Burro Room"....

Make sure you have a server well versed in CPR. If the food doesn't stuff you to death, you may need some compressions when you're done. Angioplasty can be found right down the road at Hoag Hospital.

If you survive the dinner, you'd be well advised to check out Hi-Times accross the street, where incidentally, I'd picked up your six-pack of Ruination late last year. If Willie Wonka catered to adults as opposed to children, I'd venture to say that Hi-Times would have been HIS idea.

You can probably find your golden ticket under a bucket of cheese at Mi Casa.

Carol Elaine Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 7:53:00 PM EDT  

Leanright, I may have lived in Southern California for a large part of my life, but, while I like Mexican food, it's not even close to my top foods. First of all, authentic Mexican food isn't exactly vegan friendly, what with all the cheese and lard and stuff. And while I can find good vegan Mexican food that my taste buds enjoy, my digestive system may very well revolt.

But yes, good Italian food is some of the best stuff on Earth. A little penne arribiata or a nice putenesca (minus the anchovies) or a deep smoky mushroom marinara...

Excuse the drool, please.

Michelle, what you suggested sounds good too (though with basil - I loves me some basil).

I think I know what I'm having for dinner tonight...

Eric Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 8:13:00 PM EDT  

Amazingly enough, it looks like Dave and I have found something to agree upon other than quality beer.

Sorry, Michelle, sorry Carol Elaine. I respect the vegan and vegetarian issues, but give me a good Mexican restaurant any day of the week.

Random Michelle K Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 9:48:00 PM EDT  

Oh, don't get me wrong. I also love Mexican food. There's a place up the road that makes fabulous vegetarian fajitas. I also like American food. And the only red meat I miss eating is fresh Jewish corned beef. And seafood. I love fresh seafood. And pastries, which are French, I love those. And I love Chinese food. And I love Thai food. And I like Japanese food, though I'm too squeamish for sashimi...

Mmmm.... food.

Leanright,  Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 11:35:00 AM EDT  

This proves that the US Congress could achieve bipartisanship if they'd just "hold court" over three-item mexican combos, and Cadillac Margaritas.

I can't believe this took so long to figure out.

Eric Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 12:04:00 PM EDT  

In all seriousness, Dave, there's more to that than you might think: some would say that one of the reasons the Senate has become so dysfunctional is that Senators no longer know each other. Whereas in earlier eras, Senators spent a substantial amount of the year living in Washington, sharing meals in the Senate cafeteria, going to dinners at each others' homes, attending social parties, etc., Senators now spend much of their time out of D.C. and what time is spent in the capitol is segregated by party (caucus breakfasts and lunches have replaced everybody just having a meal at the same time). There are no longer rules in place that require a Senator to be around as much of the time, so Senators spend quite a lot of their time (for better or worse) back in their home states. Campaigning has become a near-constant activity, and fundraising along with it.

The thing is, and maybe you were joking about "holding court" over a good meal and drinks, it's harder to be attack someone you've broken bread with or dismiss someone when you've been a guest in their home. Even if people agree to disagree at the end of drinks, they still had to engage and maybe in engaging they find some common ground or at least come up with a backscratching deal that benefits their constituencies.

There was recently a great piece dealing with all of this in The New Yorker. this page, if you scroll down, talks about the fact that Senators no longer have lunch together and dinner parties have become increasingly rare. The whole article's worth a read, but at least check out that page.

Carol Elaine Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 12:20:00 PM EDT  

There's a place up the road that makes fabulous vegetarian fajitas.

Mmmm, vegetarian fajitas...


Seriously good stuff. Especially with black beans, flour tortillas, pico de gallo and guacamole.


Leanright,  Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 2:39:00 PM EDT  

Very timely....,18250/

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