Davy Jones, R.I.P.

I was sitting at my desk when I heard the news.  Where were you when it happened?  Say what you like about Al Green, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye, Davy Jones had an appeal all his own that went to the heart of the music industry.  No Jones, no Bieber.

The rather incredibly tasty falafel and hummus “sandwich” on pita I had from Rami’s–thank you, Mr. Groupon, wherever you are–was poor solace for the loss I felt when I heard that DJ was now a Monkee in the sky.

Still, we must go on.  We must.


I Need To Get Out More Often

Holed up here for most of the winter, building fires and being held hostage by dogs, it came as a startling revelation, which is akin to a dull revelation, but has sparks, to find that two big events are taking place in Boston.

Here’s what happened:

A Swiss friend of a Swiss friend showed up: Grand Tour.  Fort Point Channel, Seaport, The North End, what’s left of the West End, the Financial District, South Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge.

In South Boston, Sully’s opened this weekend: HALF PRICE dogs!  One everything, and a loop around the Fort on the Hill, and I was happy again.

While over in Cambridge: Area 4, a restaurant opened by Michael Leviton in 5/11, that now serves lunch.  Pizzas, salads, and sandwiches, a bar up front: This is the kind of setting Boston excels in.  It was truly an upscale version of the Irish pubs that still dot the city.  Packed with MIT graduate students and an array of people from all of earth’s corners, we were in and out for under $30.

The week ahead is fish, fish, and more fish, thanks to New Deal: Sword belly, red grouper, hirame, albacore.  Wait a sec…that means I’m back indoors!

I’m Alive Again

I’m alive again.
Yesterday I saw 11 people in Hyannis and drove 5 hours r/t.  Exhausting: Opiates, alcohol, low I.Q., trauma.  “Nice….,” as Santos would say.
Drove through a forested area–Blue Hills–on the way home, in the rain, with the younger of my two dogs.
The radio played the new Springsteen: If he was any more bombastic, he would be operatic.  I kind of like that, actually:
“BRUCE!” now showing at the MET.  Better yet, Broadway: “BRUCE!”  It really would make a great musical.
Remember: You heard it here first.
Once home: Made garganelli with jowls: Amatriciana.  Martini, a fire, then the first twenty minutes of the very dreadful, poorly written, shopworn “Hoover,” and I’m down for the count.
This A.M., at eight, off to a psychiatric hospital to consult on a woman who wants drugs for an attentional disorder.
She has an I.Q. of 55, drinks like a fish, and loves crack cocaine.
This is not a person with an attentional disorder.
Good news: Three people are going to give big bucks to Project Hip Hop.  One of them owns a certain restaurant
and is offering food for our fundraiser.  Is this the real meaning of the 1%?  Stay tuned.
For the rest of the day, I’ll edit, run, and seek pizza, and the while thinking of you.

Booked & Banned

In the PLUS column, signified here by the symbol of a “+,” which can be found in Sumerian texts alongside fabulous recipes for brewing beer, is a piece in Improper Bostonian (2/29/12) on my upcoming book. Originally titled, “Best Beach Book Ever,” my book about chefs and restaurants then underwent a revision to a title that might reflect better what it is all about.  “Best Airplane Book” ever did not meet the approval of Marketing, however, so we’re calling it: “In the Weeds: The Psychology of Chefs and Restaurants.”  At present I am negotiating with Beyonce to write the introduction, no joke.

In the MINUS column, signified here with a “-” symbol, which is rooted in the cave drawings recently filmed by Herzog, is what seems to be the fact that a certain newspaper in a certain city has certain editors who, though they once read and even published–that’s right published–my work no longer respond to my emails typically or, when they do, it’s to say they are backlogged.  How did this turn of events come about?  Oh, Heraclitus, honey, you is right again!  Character is fate!  I’ve only myself to blame.  I mean: What was I thinking when I made fun of certain employees of this certain paper on this uncertain site?  Was I wrong to make fun of the restaurant reviewer, food editor, and a couple of recipe writers?

Some days I feel like Bugs Bunny.  Other days?  Daffy Duck.  Most of the time?  Chico.

Why, we even look alike!


Jerk Chicken: The Right Way

I was disappointed by the jerk chicken I had in Jamaica so I decided to see if I could get it right by doing the version I’ve been doing for some decades.

First, catch a chicken.  Kill it: Knife, stone, shock, doesn’t matter.  Just be humane and sustainable and wear something natural.  Boil and then pluck it.


OK, so buy a small bird, preferably kosher, as it’s already brined.

Cut the chicken into about a dozen pieces.

Put the chicken in a bowl.

Blend together in a food processor: About an ounce of fresh ginger, three garlic cloves, one onion, about eight sprigs of fresh thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, a tablespoon or so of fresh allspice balls, a cup of soy sauce, and a cup of white vinegar.  No need to peel anything.

Coat the bird with the marinade.  Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

The next day: Heat coals on grill.  Wait 35 minutes.  Place chicken on grill for five minutes per side.  While it’s grilling, preheat oven to 300.

Coat chicken with leftover marinade.  Place chicken in the oven for 20 minutes.

Total prep: Four minutes.  Total cooking time: 10 minutes on grill, 20 minutes in oven.

It falls off the bone.  We’re talking crazy delicious.  The sweetness, the heat, the crispy texture, the moist interior, the ginger-thyme flavors!


The Upcoming War with Iran

I don’t know what I’m going to wear to the war, but I’m thinking this aging hipster look I’ve got going might work: Stove pipe black jeans, tight black T, dark cashmere sweater, Persol shades.  Hard to say, but I have a funny feeling that I’ll be part of the in crowd in this apparel.

The weird thing is the confusion, I find, about the causes of the war.  Nuclear weapons?  Um, hello?  I don’t think so.  Say Iran gears up and gets bombs, right?  It’s one strike and you’re out.

Oil?  Get real.  We don’t need their oil.  China needs their oil, which is why the Chinese are against sanctions.

No, this war is about caviar.

Did you know–and I bet you didn’t–that Iran is one of the world’s top producers of caviar?  Bandar-e Anzali is the capital of caviar.  North Iran, on the Caspian.  Say what you like about the farmed eggs, this wild version is yum, yum, yum!  Ask any supermodel or rock star!  They’ll tell you!

See, you can get oil from  any number of despotic states: Venezuela, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, etc.

You can shoot down missiles once they’re launched.

But can you get killer Beluga any place that’s better than Iran?  Of course not.

Make this woman happy!



The Space Between

A lull over the battlefields: Cloudy or it could just be that the wisps from turrets have gathered in the morning sky.  I do smell sulphur, but all that means is that the residue of blasts may have combined with precipitation.

One more pass to go on the book before I send it in and that means that there will be a blessed lull until the next Big Project.  I’m thinking it’ll be that book on prominent NRIs, but who knows?  Maybe it’ll be something about tapeworms or the roots of French cooking.

Meanwhile, until the orders are given–advance, stay put, retreat–I’m looking forward to new books by Houllebecq, Englander, and Miller.  Miller is a geezer at U-M Law School who has just written a memoir about getting old, using Icelandic sagas, which he teaches somehow, to inform his viewpoints.

While in The Haas Test Kitchen, we’re talking chanterelles with bucatini; turkey meatloaf; and, chicken parm: These will sustain us!  We shall persevere!


Acts 2:38

Some weisenheimer or maybe even some weisenheimers have been chalking up sidewalks in my neighborhood, the very same sidewalks I walk on each and every day, with one word and three numbers: “Acts 2:38.”

Being ever curious, and not being a cat, hence, having no fear of the consequences of being curious, I looked up the word and numbers to determine their meaning.

It says, in the Bible: “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”

For Pete’s sake, do I come to the neighborhood of the weisenheimers and chalk in my favorite quotes?  Do I scrawl, Duck Soup, 58?

Of course not!

But here it is:

Mrs. Teasdale: Your Excellency, I thought you’d left!
Chicolini: Oh no, I no leave.
Mrs. Teasdale: But I saw you with my own eyes!
Chicolini: Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?


The Thing with Feathers

That’d be me: Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken.  All good, but that doesn’t alter the fact that I have eaten chicken the past four meals and am slated to eat chicken the next two.

Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago has its merits, but more as a place to view than a place to eat.

So I’m happy about the fried chicken that awaits, in tow.  It was marinated overnight in onions, scallions, salt, and pepper.

Oh, happy days!

I wouldn’t say that past week has been restful, it’s been different.  Lots of work done.  Berryman would blame Henry.  I have no such foil.

Tomorrow it’s back to the locked unit: A sex offender who is not responding to depression, a woman who forgets her name after ECT, a schizophrenic who may be low cognitively, a man whose family seeks to be his guardian.

Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck!

Jerked and Fried

Well, not at the same time to the same bird, silly!

Last night it was marinated, jerked chicken.  The marinade overnight and cooking on the grill compensated some for the flatness in the spice.

Tonight it’s fried chicken–crazy delicious–the remains of which will be an airplane picnic tomorrow.

It’s an interesting place, Negril: Dissolute, heavy in contrasts between the educated and the uneducated, the hapless and the aspirant.

All I do is read here or write here.

If it’s reading, it’s about 250 pages a day.

Writing: 75 pages of edit per day.

Not at the same time, silly!