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all my daughter’s future exes live in texas because we’re moving here.

23 Jan

Something really interesting about blogging in Texas is that it’s nearly impossible to do with a piece of pork in one hand and a beer in the other. And while I typically blog at night, and could perhaps aim for an AM writing session, the bacon/beer scenario still holds true mere minutes after we’ve arisen. Luckily today Harry’s food coma seems to have been a little more severe than mine, so I’ve bought myself some writing time before we head into Hill Country to explore hidden BBQ pits and donut places and backyard brewers. What I’m trying to say is that all I plan on focusing on for the rest of my life (or until it happens) is bothering Harry about moving to Austin. You should come too, Mom and Dad!! But enough about my goals and aspirations, let’s talk about the food!

As I may or may not have mentioned, Harry and I headed to Austin with the intention of eating, drinking and stealing enough good ideas to open 100 new restaurants in NY. Also we came to hang out with Nicole, one of my oldest dork friends from Elementary School. She moved out here some years back and now carries a handgun in her Burberry bag, as well as about a dozen calligraphy pens and sometimes a puppy. She quilted my babygirl a blanket and made jewelry out of bullet casings from the gun range that she frequents on the daily all in the same week. Her most admirable qualities are that she’s really held her own with me and Harry’s eating marathon this week, she shot the FUCK out of a target when we went to the gun range (I shot a Glock! I’m a girly spaz!) and she is designing a tattoo for me to get while I’m here with some of her new fancy pens.

Shit man, I keep getting distracted from food. Maybe it’s because I know that if I write just how much we have consumed over the past 3 days, you will vomit and never read this shiz ever ever again. So I’ll just stick with the highlights (which will still  be vomit inducing so just let that be known. Read this by a bathroom.)

We ate 1 pound of fatty brisket, 5 ribs, 2 sausages, pulled pork, 1 side of cole slaw, 1 side of potato salad and 2 slices of white bread after waiting in line for 2 hours at a place that was declared by Bon Apetit magazine as the best BBQ in the world. And guess what. It was. (We had leftovers so shut up)

We ate at Uchiko, where Nicole is a regular, so she brought us on a culinary tour through the place. The most hardcore Brussels sprouts ever known to man, kale chips with candied quinoa and trumpet mushrooms. A yellowtail hand roll that I had a sex dream about. Some jar of duck that when it was opened at the table, shot us with a blast of rosemary smoke that lingered for like ten minutes. Bourbon and birch dippin’ dots with other shit on a plate. Heavenly meal.

We ate at a hot dog place where Harry had a bacon infused bloody mary with a piece of peppered bacon, chunk of cheddar cheese and other shit on the side of it, and a hot dog stuffed with cheese, rolled in bacon, fried and topped with cole slaw. I ate a freshly made sausage with a whole bunch of shit, topped with spicy BBQ mac & cheese and served on a pretzel roll. It was called the Notorious P.I.G. That’s why I ordered it.

We went to a gastropub to steal ultimate ideas for the new place. Chicken fried chicken egg. WHAT??? You don’t even know. Trio of pig – pork loin, bacon, pig face sausage. Yeah, pig face. All of it. We asked the chef at this particular place (you sit at a counter and watch the kitchen, so we were next to him while he put out all the food, it was very very cool) why he didn’t have any beef on the menu. He told us that he couldn’t find cows as much as he liked the lambs of this local woman, but he’s working on it.

We ate at the food truck of Paul Qui, that dude who won Top Chef Austin. It was in the back of a college bar where I got carded 3 times.  It was also mere hours after we inhaled ridiculous amounts at Uchiko, but all decided that we had digested enough to give it a go. Ramen noodles with a fried egg, pork belly and REAL corn (no dehydrated foods to be seen in this puppy!!). More off the hook Brussels sprouts!

We ate at a doughnut burger place (and watched Syracuse win!!) where we got donut burgers and donut desserts.

I’d say I’m gonna go on a diet the day we get back to NY, but that’s not going to be possible because my stomach has stretched to the size of John Goodman’s. It might take a few weeks to ease back into less than 4000 calories a day…..

In conclusion, I have a tummy ache.

Just for the sake of comparison, I’ve compiled a list of places on Long Island that are as serene as the lakeside ledge on which I’m composing this post:

The lakeside ledge is so serene, in fact, that Harry referred to it yesterday when we spotted it from the pool as “the perfect place that someone would dispose of a body.” Naturally it was where I decided to head this fine morning, knowing that it is the ultimate place to feel inspired, second only to a crowded Starbucks. It took me twenty minutes to find it, and I passed zero people which means that nobody knows I’m here. On my way there was a door decorated as a reindeer, so probably nobody has even walked down the hallwayI’m so far below the hotel that the wi-fi isn’t even an option on my laptop, and the seats are sopping wet with morning dew and my ass is FUCKING FREEZING.

Speaking of the pool, it’s a multi-tiered infinity number, which he used as a “sea lion act” and rolled over the top ledge of into the next pool down subsequently throwing me over the side of it and giving me a boo boo because according to him I’m much heavier than him and didn’t contort into the proper rolling position, which duh, Harry, how am I supposed to do when you are literally forcing me against my will? And so what if I’ve gained a few pounds while I’m here? IT WAS WORTH IT.

Oh man, a boat is coming to destroy my peaceful existence. Luckily the fog is so thick I can’t see twenty feet in front of me, so my view is still unobstructed. However I no longer have feeling in my ass and I’m starting to wish Nicole were with me because the trees are rustling and I feel naked without a firearm. Talk to you later when I may or may not have a tattoo and a new pair of (larger) jeans.

Addendum: On my way back up from the lakeside ledge I realized that the rustling was a deer! It’s a good thing Nicole wasn’t there after all.

suck it, wine. there’s a new bottle in town.

28 Nov

Something really interesting about the restaurant business is that I fucking hate wine.

For like however many years, I’ve been acting like I give a shit about the wine list, but the truth is, I really truly honestly completely don’t. There’s like a mute button on the remote control of my life, and, like clockwork, it immediately detonates anytime vino comes up in the convo. For instance, the chick who sells the wine for the liquor company. She comes in and talks to me about blah blah blah barrel aged blah blah dry blah blah blah. And she pours me a sample and  my response is always “I’m pregnant” and then she lays off and rubs my belly which is in actuality just filled with iced tea and Today’s Soup. I feel sorta bad for restaurant people in my boat who don’t have ovaries and various other necessary reproductive organs, and therefore have absolutely no excuse as to why they can’t drink stupid wine.

The reasons wine totally blows are sort of endless. Some highlights:

  • Wine is not refreshing. Nobody* says “Ooh, that shit is spicy! Let me wash it down with a lukewarm glass of water!”
  • Wine is high maintenance. You need to let it breathe. You can’t leave it too long or you need to throw it out. You need to constantly check its legs. It is positively far more difficult to drink a bottle of wine than it is to raise a 2-year-old.
  • Wine bottles are really big. That’s like a serious commitment. Beer is like a few sips and onto a different one. Iced tea is free refills. Wine? It’s like Chinese takeout – no matter how much you have, there’s still a bunch left. The only time that changes is after you’ve finished the first bottle and then it just goes down way too fast and you do silly things like strip karaoke to “Don’t Stop Believin'” at a gay bar or drunk dial your mom to thank her for “just everything” while sobbing like a bipolar madwoman. Or madman.
  • I burned my taste buds on a hot piece of Toaster Strudel when I was in high school and it destroyed my ability to tell the difference between a cabernet and a merlot. It’s a sore subject and I really don’t want to talk about it, ok? Just lay off.
  • There is no way to taste wine without either looking like or feeling like a total schmucko. I naturally feel and look like a schmucko on the regular without any involvement with fermented fruit, so why participate in more awkwardness?
  • No matter how much you know about wine, you don’t know anything about wine.
  • I would rather pay my mortgage than drink wine. If we could all take an honest vote, how many of us can truly (stop lying to yourself, yo) tell the difference between a $42 bottle and a $15,000 bottle. Oh don’t go acting all high and mighty, you’re just saying you can because nobody is testing you. Watch your back, I may just call your bluff.
  • Have you ever gotten lost and somehow ended up by the vines on an Italian vineyard and stolen a few bunches of grapes for a yummy afternoon snack? That shit is nasty. Unlike my cougar mom, grapes simply do not improve with age.

In other words, I switched to beer.

More on that another time, though. (Like maybe tomorrow or something)

Don’t get the wrong idea. There are lots of things other than wine that I hate about the restaurant business. :

  • Mussels.
  • Grammatical errors on menus.
  • Servers with dirty aprons.
  • Customers who get physically abusive upon learning that we don’t have matches. We’re not a 1950s catering hall, ok?
  • Missing the Green Day concert at Giants Stadium because there was a big reservation and I felt guilty about leaving the place understaffed.
  • Ugly people who sexually harass you.
  • Cold garnish on a hot dish.
  • Drinks made with Blue Curacao.
  • Cilantro.
  • Anonymous Yelp! reviews from disgruntled douches.
  • People who try to stick their empty pack of cigarettes in the slot on the ashtray that’s clearly meant only for cigarette butts and maybe a peppermint wrapper.
  • No-shows on parties larger than 6.
  • People in general.

In conclusion, if we go out to dinner please don’t ask me my opinion on the bottle of wine we’re all sharing, because I probably hate it and have absolutely nothing intelligent to contribute to our conversation. Unless it’s Manischewitz on the rocks and it’s Hannukah or Passover or frankly just a Tuesday, ’cause that is one YUMMY GLASS O’ WINE.

*Note: Some people in Europe may prefer lukewarm water to ice water, but that’s just because there’s no ice in Europe.

ultimate showdown: brooklyn v. long island (surprising results!)

19 Feb

Blogger’s Note: Yesterday I was approached by a reader who commended me on how well I communicate how miserable I find most things in life, including everyone I know. “That’s how you see me? But I’m so happy-go-lucky!!! I like road trips and the Olsen twins and the color pink!!” So I have declared this coming week (as in, starting tomorrow)Sunshine Week.During Sunshine Week I’ll only be writing Shiny Happy Shit, unless someone does something unnecessarily irritating like have ugly shoes or send back a martini because it’s too strong, in which case I can’t make any promises. I’m going to try and focus on the people who have made my life a better place. Like that guy who changed my flat tire this summer at the park when I was with Riley and didn’t have my AAA card or cell reception or the ability to change the tire myself. Sir, I don’t know where you are, but I appreciate you! I hope you’re reading this because I think about you all the time! Ok, anyway, positivity doesn’t start ’til tomorrow…

Today Riley and I went to Williamsburg to visit with my sister-in-law’s sister (what do you call that? We can’t decide) Missy and her girlfriend Bethany who are hipsters to the core. Like so hipster that brew their own moonshine in their apartment and split pairs of shoes from the thrift store with their across the hall neighbors. Ok, that’s a complete exaggeration but let’s just say that all their friends we ran into were wearing bowler hats and vintage fishnets and assorted body piercings, and they were smoking hand rolled organic cigarettes most likely farmed on the rooftop of their apartments. Riley dressed the part in Harajuku Mini slip-on sneakers that say “I Love Nerds” and skinny jeans and a side braid, but was nonetheless accused of not enjoying hipster music, which really pissed me off because I think she has like totally openminded taste and is definitely hipper than many other babies her age. Additionally, at work the other night one of my waitresses INSISTED that I am the most hipster person at work. I wanted to tell the so bad, but I felt like identifying myself as one is exactly the oposite  of being one. So I refrained. My Manhattanite brother Brad (who smartly does not participate in the family business) and his adorable yet terrifying-because-she’s-a-lawyer wife Jen joined us even though they are not hipsters either (we’ll debate Upper West Side vs. Brooklyn another day, although I think Brad and Jen can tell you here and now that UWS wins against ANYBODY).

The music accusation got me thinking about how cool hipsters think they are, and even though we all live on one happy island, they’re total haters of all things east of them. So I decided to compare the two worlds the best way I know how. Through food. The following are my dining experiences today:

  1. Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten – Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Yes, we brought a baby to a biergarten. Missy explained that this would be the most accommodating for a stroller, because nobody really goes there for brunch (Red flag? No, not us!). Riley’s stroller is the size of a small tractor trailer, so I was down for whatever if it was spacious and on the ground floor. The menu was (obviously) in German, and there was only 1 tv, which was really annoying because the Knicks were playing at the same time as Syracuse and I didn’t want to disturb those Linsanity people by asking them to change it but luckily in Brooklyn people are way too cool for basketball, so nobody cared that I asked for NCAA instead of NBA. Missy told us that they have really good potato pancakes (Naturally, we Jews have quite high standards so I was trusting). We ordered with the barmaid/waitress by pointing because none of us speak German, and settled in with our coffees and waters and Missy got denied her bloody mary because they were “out of mix” but then suddenly Barmaid found one so everything was good. Riley provided comedic entertainment (my brother sent work emails and I watched the hipsters. I mean the game.) to Jen, Bethany and Missy by spilling glasses of water, and shaking Splenda packets until they opened and poured onto the table, and dancing to the hipster music. She did this for over an hour. Because our brunch decided that it didn’t want to make an appearance. We spend 20 more minutes making jokes about Brooklyn being so cool that they don’t have to serve food for a restaurant to stay in business, and that they only had one pan in the back so it just takes a really long time to serve 6 people, and then, after 1 hour and 30 minutes, we got up and left with heavy hearts and empty bellies. “Is it still brunch if there’s no food?” Jen pondered. Brooklyn was not showing us the love thus far.
  2. The Bedford – Williamsburg, Brooklyn – A short schlep later, we found ourselves at this cute, typical little spot and we immediately noticed 2 things that Loreley didn’t offer us: high chairs and food on people’s tables. So we were down. We ordered in about 45 seconds. Me, Brad and Jen ordered Huevos Rancheros. We all figured that because the list of ingredients was the longest, it would be the most food. I got Bluebery Pancakes for Riley because I didn’t think eggs would be enough for me (The key to parenting is getting to eat your kid’s leftovers). I ordered an iced tea. Life (and Brooklyn) was good. For 2 minutes, when the waitress came back to tell me that they ran out of the iced tea. “Do you have hot tea?” I asked. “Yes!” “Do you have ice?” “Yes!” “Just making sure. I’ll have a Diet Coke.” She returned with a brown semi-fizzy liquid that tasted like booze. Missy said they prob brew it in the basement. Fucking hipsters. We all cheered when the food hit the table until we had the chance to look at it. The Huevos Rancheros were about the size of Riley’s palm, and maybe 1/4″ high. It was one litle tortilla, 5 black beans, one egg over easy and a puddle of salsa. Jen scowled. Brad started to cry. I almost got sad but remembered the pancakes. Riley was the only satisfied customer because Missy gave her 2 olives out of her bloody mary and ate a radish off of Bethany’s plate. And so went “The Great Brunch Debacle of 2012….”

    blueberry pancakes.

  3. Dixie’s Smokehouse – Kings Park, Long Island – I’m not going to lie when I say that I was really nervous for another fail of a meal. Especially because the dining scene on the Island as compared to hip hip hip Williamsburg is pretty dire. Me and Riley met up with Harry and Charlie at this little hole in the wall BBQ place and when we were told that there was a 30 minute wait, we sadly retreated to the car. But then we realized that it smelled REALLY GOOD in there, so we went back in. The owner noticed. “Thank you so much for coming back!” A table got up and 5 employees dashed to clear it off and clean it for us. We felt like VIPs. I mean, we are VIPs, but I thought that was more of a secret than a known fact. We ordered one of everything on the menu, and it came fast, and Harry’s Diet Coke tasted normal, and they weren’t out of iced tea (the lemon slice was a little chinsy but you can’t have it all). The brisket was smokey and the mac was cheesey and the coleslaw had the best juice for dipping Harry’s waffle fries in and while it’s possible that an afternoon in Brooklyn completely lowered my standards, I think we had a really really good dinner.

The so moral of the story is, Missy, Bethany, Brad and Jen, it’s my turn to choose where we have brunch next. And maybe Long Island isn’t as shitty as it seems.

The Jacket.

30 Jan

Last night Charlie and I went for a drink to another one of those beer bars. We ordered our usual “whatever’s on tap that tastes like water” and settled in next to the jukebox, which is totally stressful because you dictate the mood of the the ENTIRE BAR and pretty much can control whether someone gets dumped/wasted/laid/naked by the tap of a screen. The stools were occupied by scruffy 20s boys and their comrades, most of whom would have been thrilled with live Dave Matthews Band tracks or the Killers. We chose some top notch showtunes, “Don’t Stop Believin” fourteen times in a row, and Cindy Lauper’s greatest hits, but unfortunately we forgot to inform the barmaid that we put money in the machine, so the owner’s iPod prevailed and either saved or destroyed the evening for the handful of other patrons. We discussed Charlie’s future and how he’s a really really bad driver, and about my continued desires to be a weed dealer and have an Asian baby (catch 22 – I really want to wear maternity clothes one more time but the only way for me to get an Asian is to adopt…). We complained about the bar’s lack of snacks, and talked smack about the barmaid for not shutting off the iPod and for having the audacity to try to give us useful information about the beer we were drinking, like the name, which we obviously didn’t care about based on our criteria for drinking it.

And then we saw it.

Slung limply over a barstool a few feet away from us. A black jacket, which wouldn’t be alarming in any way, were it not for the Rastafarian stripes around the collar and sleeves.

“What the fuck is that?”

We didn’t know. I mean, yes, we knew it was a jacket. So maybe it was more of a question of “WHY?”

Charlie and I each developed theories of The Jacket’s owner. My theory was that he went to his first Phish show and it was in New Paltz and he went to a head shop and excitedly purchased the cheapest typical/wannabe/so-not-a stoner thing he could find. Charlie said that the owner proudly spent at least $70 on The Jacket, and purchased it in the same trendy place where he gets his jeans. We stared at the coat until the owner retrieved it and put it on. Scruffy 20s boy, decent haircut. I told Charlie I was altering my theory. “Guy sells weed! He’s a weed dealer! It’s like his calling card! Genius!!” And then…..

Charlie: Excuse me, are you a weed dealer? My friend thinks you might be.

Me: Because of your jacket.

Weed Dealer: I knew I shouldn’t have bought this jacket! It was such a good deal though!

M (obnoxiously to Charlie): Told you, bitch!

WD: It was only $140! Marked down from $280.

C (obnoxiously to me): Told you, bitch!

M: Well it’s really cool that you’re a weed dealer. I totally want to be a weed dealer too!

WD: I’m not a weed dealer.

C: Are you sure?

WD: I thought this jacket was so cool. Look! (closes jacket) It even says Oakley across the chest when you close it!

M: So you bought it for the mountain.

WD: Well yeah (obviously doesn’t snowboard, judging by hesitation in voice)

M: Well maybe you should only wear it on the mountain. I think you’d get better feedback there.

WD: Thank you, I will take that into consideration.

And that was that. The Jacket got ready to leave the building, presumably to smoke a cigarette or get a bagel at the 24 hour bagel place next door (we’re not the only ones who complain about the lack of bar snacks, it’s a serious problem). He started walking, but slowed and turned around.

WD: If you really wanna sell weed…

M: (wide-eyed, super excited for the secret to my future success)

WD: Don’t. You won’t make money. Sell coke. Don’t do it.

M: Ok, thank you, stranger. Wholeheartedly. I will not do coke. Because of you.

CD: No prob.

The moral of the story is that when you’re out with Charlie, don’t let him talk to strangers. But always let him pick the music!

 

This week I’ll be blogging about Grocery Shopping for Restaurant Owners, Avoiding People You Haven’t Seen in Awhile Unless You’re Having an Amazing Hair Day, and many more pressing issues.

How to deal your way to success.

23 Jan

If you’re prone to heart attacks, the restaurant business really isn’t for you. I often find myself clutching my chest in agony, wondering how I managed to make it to the point in my life where I get to clean up after Tweens Gone Wild in the Ladies Room, or carry cases of beer up and down flights of stairs in heels and a short skirt. Ok fine, neither of these things give me chest pains, but they do make my mind wander to far off and fantastic places where some people get to earn their livings. Like PR Firms in Manhattan and psychiatric hospitals. Here are a few paths I could have chosen in life, but stupidly and/or smartly did not:

  1. Wedding Planner: I really think of myself as a top notch party planner. And that’s being like really really humble (did you have a log flume at your wedding? I didn’t think so). I was sure for many years that my calling was in creating memorable nuptials. Until I started talking to this wedding planner who I knew, and I realized that many, many brides like baby pink bridesmaid dresses and jordan almonds as favors and shit like that. And I was like “NEVERMIND.” I have no patience for conformity. What would my slogan be? “Want to wear white satin slingbacks and a rhinestone tiara? DON’T EVEN THINK OF DIALING MY NUMBER OR I’LL HANG UP ON YOU!” And so, for lack of better slogans, I disposed of my wedding planner dreams.
  2. Camp Counselor: I have every intention on making this dream career a reality for myself for at least one more summer of my life. I kicked ass when I was a counselor. I only wrote “REDRUM” backwards on the mirror twice, and stopped after I made the third girl cry. I got lectured only ONE time for rewriting the lyrics to “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” by The Offspring into something inappropriate for ten-year-olds to sing. Whatever, only weirdos would have taken it as sexual innuendo. Get your heads out of the gutters! I still have a lot of leftover stationery from my sleepaway camp days, and I don’t want to waste paper. I’ve gotta go back.
  3. Screenwriter: I’m just saying this because I went to school for TV and film and I don’t want my parents to be pissed off that they wasted their money on a path that I had no intention on following. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, I promise you I’m going to write that Academy Award Winning screenplay about a whirlwind romance that takes place in the walk-in refrigerator of a restaurant and live in LA and thank you profusely for rearing me to be a Supergenius. Or at the very least, I’m going to watch the Academy Awards every single year. On your couch. And cry when I realize another year has passed that I forgot to submit (or write) my script.
  4. Gap Sales Associate: This was my very first non-restaurant job. It was actually GapKids. I folded velour mock turtlenecks ALL DAY LONG because they were slippery and tipped over anytime a passer-by breathed near them. I got to use a shirt folding board. I learned how to make even piles of jeans. I learned that the Husky boy’s jeans have hidden elastic in the back so the chubby boys don’t have to feel badly about themselves. The worst part of my life at that point was the velour mock turtlenecks, and it quickly disappeared when the price got reduced and they got put on hangers. I would wholeheartedly love to deal with those stresses once more.
  5. Hotel Owner: I’m really gung-ho on this one. Everytime Harry and I go to Lake George we explore the abundance of FOR SALE signs along the road. But then it comes down to staffing, and suddenly you’re dealing with a 24 hour schedule full of employees who need off to take their brother-in-law’s puppy for pre-op and/or elective plastic surgery. I don’t think my weak heart can handle such a daunting task.
  6. Weed Dealer: I realize that in many states, particularly the one in which I reside, this isn’t necessarily legal. But don’t worry, I’m not nearly organized enough to pull this career off. Plus I heard that there’s an insanely low profit margin unless you’re dealing in massive quantity. And also, at the end of this season of Weeds, Nancy Botwin may or may not have been shot dead, so she really isn’t the greatest inspiration at this juncture.

I don’t think the perfect career for a girl like me is something that actually exists. Perhaps there are jobs out there that are fitting, and I just haven’t stumbled upon them as of yet – Professional Jeopardy! Player, Googling Expert, Mix Tape Maker, Analyst of Teen Movies. Until the day comes that a camp owner comes to recruit me to plan all of the discos and square dances by day, and sell weed out of the laundry room by night and then write a book about it, I’ll just stick with telling food allergy people that we can gladly accommodate their every need, ordering a new filter for the cappuccino machine and hoping my heart holds up long enough to force Riley to become a movie star or 3rd grade teacher.

Taylor Swift is cooler than you so stop lying to yourself.

9 Jan

One of my favorite hobbies is pushing my highly opinionated music theories on bar patrons. Most often it begins because an Amy Winehouse song starts to play and some FOOL says something like “I’m just not a fan” or “I have no respect for people who drink and do drugs like that.” Ok, first of all? YOU’RE SITTING AT A BAR. The only difference between you and her is how big your glass is. Oh, and that she’s like ridiculously talented. And I bet when Bruno Mars and Adele come on you’re gonna be like “Ooh this song is rockin!'” Well guess what, my friend, you can thank the late great Ms W for even being exposed to that shit, because they’re her contemporaries.

OK. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her music from the beginning of her career because I liked her backstory (and I secretly wondered if after the song “Tim McGraw” came out he slept with her…I think no, although if you saw Country Strong you may be a little skeptical). All these people dump on the chick, who is clearly just a Geek Girl Gone Right. I mean, ew. What a freak… She writes her own music, is a poised and eloquent role model, has great hair (it dries naturally like that, people) and adorable dresses, makes her personal experiences RHYME and is taller than most of my guy friends. Ok, the tall part is a little nuts, but other than that, what’s the big deal? Because she acts surprised when she wins every award she’s nominated for? See, Tom Hanks ruined it for people like Taylor Swift. Somewhere along the way, maybe the part where he talked to that volleyball for 3 hours, Tom Hanks just became the guy who was gonna win. And he was suave and witty and well prepared. What the fuck is wrong with being surprised that you’re better than Adele and Lady Gaga according to a group of educated people (or tweens)? I’m pretty sure that if someone told you that you were the greatest entertainer in the world, you’d be a little enthusiastic as well. And if you weren’t, then give me that Golden Surfboard because it’s really fucking cool, and you clearly don’t appreciate it enough.

I’ve got lots and lots of qualifications for these compelling arguments, so don’t think that I’m just arbitrarily coming to conclusions. For example, in third grade, the chorus teacher said I have really good pitch. Gavin Rossdale signed my t-shirt once, and I saw Dave Matthews in an airport in Italy. And I played the viola for like twelve years (Yes, I was in the orchestra in college, which I used to meet guys. Haha just kidding, that is obviously not a brilliant social plan. In fact, I invited my stand mate to a Halloween party the year I was a Slutty Angel and he vomited in my friend’s car) and I have a really expensive instrument sitting in my closet. I arrived at college during the dawn of Napster, so basically I’ve heard every song ever recorded (even if the every track on the Counting Crows Hard Candy album was on a loop of the first line, it still counts). I know more Bossa Nova than “The Girl From Ipanema” and one time I was at a Phish show in Vegas, and they covered a song and nobody knew what it was and I said “Hey, this sounds like Stevie Wonder!” and sure enough it was and everyone there (other than the people who were passed out or tripping) was very impressed with my mad skills. Last but certainly not least, I dreamt about Carol Channing the other night (Google her, young ones) where she forgot the words to “All That Jazz” and I sat next to the stage and reminded her. So see? I definitely know my shit about music. Sometimes I feel like if I dumped all the lyrics I know out of my brain, I’d have a real capacity for remembering other things, like the difference between a Republican and a Democrat, or how to subtract without using my fingers, or what I ate for breakfast.

I’ve decided to reveal my biggest secret last, because I didn’t want to destroy my credibility for 90% of you. I am hugely into country music. Not just like the ONE Lady Antebellum song and ONE Band Perry song that play on Top 40 radio. I mean, like I know every song on the Billboard Top 100 Country Singles. And I have dragged Harry to a multitude of country concerts (although he “had to go to the bathroom” for the entire first and second acts at the last concert, and missed the part where the singer guy said that he loves Jesus and I cheered in the spirit of the moment even though I’m a Jew and don’t really have any particular feelings either way for him/her/it). As a celebration of the start of my blog, I made a playlist on Spotify (by far the greatest creation of our time) for your listening pleasure. The Official Shelbytown Playlist

Awesome country songs as determined in about 7 minutes by the most well rounded music fan in the history of the world:

1. Beautiful Mess, Diamond Rio

2. Our Song, Taylor Swift

3. That’s the Way That the World Goes Round, Miranda Lambert (except the weird feedback during the first verse which I am not a fan of)

4. Stay, Sugarland

5. Don’t, Billy Currington

6. Summertime, Kenny Chesney (seasonally inappropriate but whatever)

7. These Days, Rascal Flatts

8. Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde, Travis Tritt

9. Devil Went Down to Georga, Charlie Daniels Band or even better, the cover by the Zac Brown Band (which I can NOT play on the viola)

10. You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn

11. Who’s Your Daddy, Toby Keith

Side note: I own Jackson’s in Commack (which is delicious and I highly recommend it for all your eating and drinking pleasures). That is NOT the restaurant I was referring to that is closing. The restaurant I was referring to (still no confirmation so I’m still not saying the name) is the one that I was raised in by my parents who are in Atlantic City right now if you’re looking for them, and they sold it from under me in 2001, leaving me floundering for a career path. Not that I’m bitter or anything.