Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Hi all you awesomely lovely online pals,
I, CP, have a theory that your true spirit comes out when you are drinking. My brother gets mean when he drinks, meaning he is a bastard. My mom turns into a total uncontrollable mess. 'Nuff said. I, on the other hand, turn into a gelatinous ball of love when I'm on the bottle. Real life friends of the CP can surely attest to this.
One time when I was on the phone with Mindy during a night of partying, I heard her utter the words "Hey KC! Pick up the extension! Tom's on the phone, drunk and gushing sentiment!"
You see, Gentle Readers, when you get right down to it I'm just a loveable guy.
Ok, so to set the scene, I was running around the greater NY metro area all day today, and when I got home I was required to make myself dinner because George bought fresh fish yesterday - meaning I had to cook lest the fish go bad. (George is at a music rehearsal right now, leaving me to fend for myself.)
One of my best friends, Sarah, was a good friend of Julia Child, because Sarah's mom, Sue, was in the "industry" with her. (Sue helped found the Food Network.) Anyway, both Julia and Sue have strict rules about cooking: the cook is entitled, if not required, to have a glass of wine or a cocktail at hand at all times. Who am I to buck the system?
So tonight the kitchen of the CP features pecan crusted filet of turbot, braised cabbage with prosciutto and a Mediterranean salad of cooked escaraole. Oh, and three appletinis.
I KICK ASS!!!!!!!
Then, since I had no one to eat with, I set my computer to play, on shuffle, the "40 at40" collections of both me and Mindy June. (Sharon & Lulu, I would've included yours too but they are not on this particular computer.)
So I'm completely engulfed in the entangled music of Mindy June & me right now, tipsy (ok, drunk) on appletinis, eating George's reicipes (he taught me everything I know) and reading all your blogs.
I am SO in love with all of you right now. Enjoy it before I come down.
Love & stuff,
Monday, October 30, 2006
For once it looks like I'm exactly where I ought to be. Who would've guessed?
|You Belong in Brooklyn|
Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.
Dale threatened to sic the Baby Jesus on me if I didn't follow his lead and post 5 (or so) Things You Don't Know About Me. So here goes:
1. I have no puzzle-related stories to tell with respect to skipping grades or being held back a year. But I did almost cry in second grade when I played with a puzzle of the fifty states ten minutes before the end of recess and was told by the teacher, harshly, that I had better have the whole thing put back together before the bell. Three friends had to help me, but we got it done.
2. I often prayed for my parents to give me away for about 8 months. Unfortunately, it never happened.
3. My body is free of tattoos. And piercings too, for that matter.
4. CPW members, you aren't even wondering about number 2, are you? I know. My regular readers have already surmised my upbringing was like Ordinary People meets The Addams Family.
5. Sometimes, I end up having sex in the middle of laughing. This is especially inconvenient when someone tells a joke during a meeting at work.
6. Bonus thing because #4 doesn't really count: I wish I knew what glib meant. I think it means something akin to smug, but I've never really been sure.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Legacy CPW members may recall earlier discussions of my brother Rich and some of the stress he causes my family. Today I would like to share more information about my esteemed brother Rich, and his hero, our Uncle Richard.
We didn't get to see my mom's brother Richard all that often - maybe once every other year at most. Oddly enough, my brother Rich took after our uncle in all ways possible. They shared the same name. They looked alike. They talked alike. They had the same mannerisms. They were both raging alcoholics. They even had similar handwriting. It was downright strange.
(The description above is written in the past tense because Uncle Richard passed away a few years ago, on account of his alcoholism.)
Uncle Richard was a career Navy man, so my brother Rich couldn't wait to join up the second my parents allowed it, which was at age 17 since it was the only way they were going to get him to finish high school. Unlike our uncle though, Rich only stayed in the service for five years. My mom, in her never-ending quest to make excuses for my poorly behaved brother, insists that his penchants for meanness, foul language and alcoholism stemmed from his years in the service.
Anyway, I didn't intend to get into a full fledged compare/contrast exercise regarding my brother and uncle, other than to point out that they were two peas in a pod. There were some important differences, such as my uncle's willingness to remain employed, support his family and not rely on his relatives for handouts. But we're not going there right now.
Today I just wanted to share with you a few memorable quotes uttered by either my uncle or my brother. This exercise will take place in the form of a quiz, but the answers don't really matter because most of them are interchangeable.
BROTHER RICH OR UNCLE RICHARD?
1. "I never iron anything. I just take it down to the Chinaman on the corner."
2. "Faggot shoes." (in reference to the Sperry Topsider trend of the early 1980s)
3. "What's an albino, you ask? It's like a nigger who's white."
4. "I don't like faggots."
5. "That bitch Hillary Clinton should be gang raped."
6. "Can't anyone take a fucking joke around here?"
7. "He's black, but he thinks he's white."
8. "I don't know why that Dago faggot doesn't just boink that bitch." (in reference to Tony Danza and Judith Light in Who's the Boss?)
9. "Alcohol is just another drug. Might as well be smoking crack."
10. "They're insulting my wife. I take offense to that."
Answers revealed whenever I feel like it. Probably by Monday.
Real-life friends of the CP will be laughing in a just a minute, after I admit to you all that I, Coaster Punchman, actually shed a tear at the end of last night's game. In fact, I may have shed more than one.
Early yesterday afternoon one of my clients called to tell me she ended up with an extra ticket to the Mets game, and invited me to go with her. She is a MAJOR Mets fan, almost to the point of freakishness. But since I am a diehard fan of the Mets' Single A minor league team, the Brooklyn Cyclones, we are a great match. I treat her to at least one Cyclones game every summer out at Coney Island, at a great little stadium right on the ocean. I love minor league stadiums. Cozy. Intimate. Cheap. Unfortunately, I have not been as lucky with the players as Susan Sarandon, but that's fodder for another entry.
Anyway, not to rehash the heartbreak of the unfortunate end of the Mets' season, but.... damn! I would have hated to be Carlos Beltran, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded. Who the fuck could handle that kind of pressure? It SO could have been a Kirby-Puckett-game-six moment.
But alas, it was not to be.
The strangest part of the evening was when, moments after Beltran's tragic strike-out, the crowd sat in stunned silence while the Cardinals ran out onto the field to do their triumphant war dance. Since there was no cheering or any other noise to accompany them, it was almost like watching it happen in slow motion with the sound on the TV muted. I said out loud "look at that! They're dancing around in complete silence!" This guy in front of me turned around and said "I know! Fuckin' weird!"
As annoyed as I get by extreme fanaticism over professional sports, I have to admit I was quite moved by the dedication of these fans. People everywhere were teary eyed because the end of the game had been so intense before the big let down.
As I stood and waited while my client used the restroom, I watched people exit the stadium. At one point a man about my age walked toward me, his arm around the shoulders of a red faced, sobbing boy of about ten. Although the Mets' loss was not a tragedy by any means, the image of this brokenhearted boy remained with me the rest of the night and throughout most of today.
Is this really happening? Could I actually be turning into a baseball nut?
(to be continued)
Thursday, October 19, 2006
For those of you in the mood to waste valuable time, this spelling test is a fun diversion. According to the editor who compiled this list, these are the fifty most misspelled words.
I'm generally a fairly good speller, but I had to wrack my brain over a few of the -ible vs. -able words.
Good luck, and let me know how you do. No cheating, lying or crying.
I also liked her short essay on spelling tips and the virtues of good spelling.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
"Well, I've been enjoying my writing lately," I told him.
"What kind of writing?"
"I have a blog."
"Oh. So how often do you update your blog?"
"Two or three times a week, give or take."
"Well then, you probably don't have ADD. You didn't have it as a child, and you've shown through your blogging that you are able to concentrate on something as long as you find it somewhat interesting."
All I really wanted was some Ritalin and an excuse to keep seeing him once a month. Instead, he's making me go to therapy, and I don't get to see him again until January.
I'd fire him if he weren't so damn attractive. And now that he knows about my blog, I'm going to have to remove any possibly identifying information.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 15, 2006
I have always been surrounded by restaurants I want to try but never make it to. Then, when the restaurants close before I've had a chance to try them, I feel guilty. I always think to myself "if only I had gone in there! Maybe I would have loved it, and it would have become my favorite spot. I would have eaten there every week and kept the place afloat!"
Then I mix myself a cocktail, drowning myself in gin and regret.
As traumatic as that kind of scenario is, what really gets me is when one of my favorite restaurants closes. I feel particularly responsible when that happens.
I was recently telling a friend of mine that for me, a restaurant closing is like being dumped romantically - especially when it happens unexpectedly. I'll be walking down a familiar street, about to pass by one of my regular haunts, when suddenly I am confronted with the sickening clues: dark windows, grey metal shutters and iron gates down, all in broad daylight. It's like my lover just packed up and left me in the middle of the night.
Sometimes my lover leaves a note, in the form of a large posterboard sign. "Closed. Thank you for your loyal patronage." Other times, I am just dumped, heartlessly and with no explanation whatsoever.
Sometimes my lover packs all his belongings before leaving me, but other times he just disappears without a trace, abandoning all the furniture and appliances, causing me to wonder if foul play was involved.
No matter how it happens, it's just terrible. The feelings of hopelessness and despair are overwhelming, and I often want to drop to my knees and beg "for God's sake, don't do this! I'll do anything if you'll just give me one more chance! I'll visit you five nights a week if I have to!"
I've had six restaurant-lovers dump me over this past year. That's SIX. Six times in one year. I'm about at the end of my rope.
How can I go on like this? What am I supposed to tell my out of town guests when they arrive, expecting to be wined and dined in fabulous New York style?
I hate taking people to places I haven't tried multiple times, places that have not yet survived the rigors of my scrutiny. Places where the server doesn't yet know the fury that will be unleashed if the food arrives before the beverage. I always keep in my restaurant repertoire about ten standbys that I can either take people to myself, or direct them to when they request dining suggestions.
It takes months or even years to develop a reliable list of restaurants. And in one year, I lost half my repertoire. The mere thought of it exhausts me.
I don't even remember the order in which the following tragedies occurred, so I will just recount these various horrors for you, in no particular order.
Grange Hall / Blue Mill Tavern
During my New York years, this venue has functioned as two separate establishments. The point to this place was never the food (classic American-Continental) so much as the ambiance. It's done in an authentic art deco style, and features a lot of WWII era posters and that sort of thing. It's also located on just about the cutest, coziest street in the West Village. Mindy June chose this as the place to have dinner on her birthday, which is how I found out it had closed, again. While I don't necessarily mourn the Blue Mill Tavern as a particular establishment, I'm terrified that whoever takes it over will gut the space and ruin it.
Second Avenue Deli
Part of my soul died when I found out about the sudden closing of this New York standby.
Second Avenue Deli, located in the heart of the East Village, was New York's very best kosher deli, plain and simple. I never had one morsel of food here that didn't melt in my mouth. I'm incredibly particular about my corned beef hash, and this was the only place I know of in New York that did it right. (If anyone dares mention Carnegie Deli or (God forbid) Katz's to me, I swear to God I will go crazy on your ass. Don't you dare try to put them in the same league.)
The waitstaff here was fabulous. I was once telling a waiter about how my Norwegian grandpa would never order hash in a restaurant because he was sure they just scraped up all the leftover meat off the customers' plates to make it. The waiter replied, in all seriousness, "oh, we would never do that here. Only the Chinese do stuff like that." (George appreciated that remark.)
As a bonus, you were always presented with a plate of fresh homemade pickles the moment you sat down.
Diary of Not a Rice Person series, Banana Leaf was another local Tom & George standby. We spent many a lazy Sunday night dinner here, and George regularly chatted up the owner-chef, whose menu was pan-Asian with a heavy Malaysian bent. The chef was such a nice guy that we had decided to invite him over for dinner some time.
The food at Banana Leaf was nothing short of spectacular. And cheap, cheap, cheap. Manhattan quality and style at Brooklyn prices. Hard to beat.
We usually started with a succulent roti canai, a fried Indian pancake served with a savory chicken and potato curry dipping sauce. We would follow that up with a green papaya salad in a tangy vinaigrette, and were never disappointed by any of the entrees such as black pepper steaks, seared scallops, or curried prawns, served over coconut jasmine rice. I invariably rounded out each meal with my favorite dessert, a sticky raisin cake with an essence of mango, served with a delicious fruit chutney and topped with caramelized sugar.
I'm starving just thinking about Banana Leaf, despite the big breakfast I just finished.
A standby for tasty and affordable Scandinavian comfort food. They were Swedish, but I didn't hold that against them. Ulrika's was a charming, cozy space on the Upper East Side, where cozy and affordable are not so easy to come by. Thank God we now have Smorgaschef to fulfill many of my needs in this regard.
This closing will be especially bittersweet for Mindy since we just had her birthday there in July. This was the standby for late night dessert and general hanging in the West Village. It was a large, casual place, kind of a classic coffee house environment consisting of two wide rooms filled with mismatched antique tables, chairs and sofas. The service was unbearably slow, but that didn't matter because you went there to hang out and spend time with your friends. It was most popular for coffee and fancy desserts, but the regular menu of sandwiches, salads and continental entrees was delicious as well. And they had a full bar, with which one can never go wrong.
In all seriousness, I honestly don't know what we're going to do without this place. There is no dessert place comparable in Manhattan that I know of. There are smaller places that have a nice environment and good food, but Caffe Rafaella was unique in that there always seemed to be a table available that you could use guilt-free for three hours if you wanted to.
Thank you all, Gentle Readers, for indulging me in my soulful mourning of these lost delights, these true loves of mine. My heart has begun to heal, but it will take time and patience.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Because our blogging friend Pink Fluffy Slippers has put my cyberstalking skills to shame by discovering the identity of Martha Dumptruck, I have decided to delete all my posts about the latter.
Seeing as how Martha is a real person who plays around on the Internets a bit, it could only be a matter of time before she tracks me down and wishes me ill. And, seeing as how she's involved in the paranormal along with her obsession with disaster movies and celebrity deaths, she might best be left alone.
Not to mention that I do in some ways aspire to act like a nice person.
But I encourage those of you who wish to develop your own Martha Dumptruck obsession to visit her by way of Mindy June, who is not troubled by minor things like morals or a conscience.
It's been fun, Martha. Thanks for the laughs.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I clearly remember the first time I visited The Official Site of Grant Miller because the first piece I read was entitled My Cat is a Godless, Killing Machine. What's not to like about a post like that? Mr. Miller had me hooked with the title alone.
Well Grant, I believe your cat Bully has finally met his match. Blogfriends, meet my new hero, Jeff.
Jeff is a stunning orange tabby who guards his outdoor domain with a vigilance worthy of Hannibal Lecter. Nothing on four legs escapes his deadly clutches.
We must get down on our collective knees and worship at his feline altar. Oh Lord Jeff, we beseech thee, have mercy on our mortal flesh. We beg you not to rip our heads off like you did to that snake.
In Jeff's holy name I pray,
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
No offense meant to our blogging friends in the red states, of course...I assume from your writing that you vote with us, anyway.
So instead, we will have a virtual celebration of Thanksgiving for the new United States of Canada. Below are pictures, both taken by Mindy June, of the first Thanksgiving in our refurbished apartment last November. George and I are seated with our wine merchant, Imran, and his lovely wife Emiri (who is also our friend.)
Today I give thanks (in no particular order) for dim sum breakfasts, Abe Vigoda, the French, and all of you!
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The Gentle Readers who already know CP in person may remember the awesome powers bestowed upon him by Mary Tyler Moore.
The relationship between MTM and CP began in 1997 when CP's friend Suzanne had a nervous breakdown and got locked in a mental ward for a few days. After her release, things were touch and go for several weeks while Suzanne recuperated at home and regained her sense of the world. CP kept wondering what he could do to help Suzanne feel better.
Late one night, Mary Tyler Moore came to CP in a vision. Mary said to CP "you need to call Suzanne and play her my theme song on your piano." Then Mary went away, never again to be seen by CP except for in late night reruns.*
The next morning, CP called Suzanne and left his version of the MTM theme song on her answering machine. Suzanne called back later to tell CP how much the message meant to her. Thus began the Coaster Punchman tradition of MTM'ing people during their times of need.
The powers bestowed upon CP have lain dormant for a number of years now, but have recently been revived and are again ready for use.
If someone you know needs to be Mary-Tyler-Moore'd, send CP the party's name and phone number at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So MTM your friends and loved ones today - if they need it, that is!
*The Gentle Readers of this blog may be interested to know that Poor George once appeared in a low-budget independent film with Mary Tyler Moore, entitled The Story of Sissy, which starred drag legend Jackie Curtis. The film never enjoyed a wide theatrical release, and the whereabouts of the masters are unknown due to the death of the film's producer in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, Mary's involvement in the film project was not voluntary. The producers were simply filming on a New York street one day when they saw Mary Tyler Moore approach. They quickly shifted their camera angles so that they could capture Mary's image as part of the setting. Mary probably never even knew she was in the film.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
1) Would you bungee jump? No. In fact, hell no.
2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be? Direct pornographic movies. In color.
3) Your favorite fictional animal? Probably Ralph, the Mouse on the Motorcycle. Or maybe the Cheshire cat.
4) One person who never fails to make you laugh? Mindy, Lulu and Michael J. (who is too important to read this blog.)
5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up? I had my head in my ass when I was 12. Being an adult seemed too far off to worry about such things.
6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Mama Gin imitations. She once told me to come upstairs to get the laundry out of the dryer because she wanted to go to bed. She kept saying “I old. I sleeping.” So whenever I’m sleepy (as I am when I first wake up) I usually say “I sleeping.”
7) Have you ever gone to therapy? None of your damn business.
8) If you could have one super power what would it be? I always envied Samantha Stevens. So I guess I’d be a warlock, except I wouldn't let my husband stop me from using my awesome powers. I’m not sure if that counts as "one" magic power, though.
Another fantasy I have is that I could make the world go in slow motion so that I'd be really good at tennis. But then I always think that someone would figure out what I’m doing, and expose me as a cheater to the rest of the universe. I can’t even have fun in my fantasies.
9) Your favorite cartoon character?
10) Do you go to church? Not as often as I imagine I would like to. It turns out that I like the idea of being religious more than I like being religious. I have a real commitment problem with that stuff.
11) What is your best childhood memory? One time I was at a party at the home of one of my dad’s music friends. I was lying on the couch, and my dad’s friend came over and started petting me like a cat. (It was completely non-creepy, and there were no bad touches. Plenty of people around, too.) I would have purred if I had the ability.
12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? This question is too complicated. It goes without saying that I think everyone should have the same right to marry.
13) Do you own a gun? I think we have a staple gun somewhere in the boiler room where we keep our tools.
14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? In high school I was drunk at a party, and my friend Coleen kept making me laugh so hard that I would slap her on the back. Finally she said “stop hitting me! That is not a masculine thing to do!” Then I felt shame.
15) Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? Many times, more as part of a group than as a soloist.
16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex? I always check for cleft palates and harelips.
17) What is your biggest mistake? Worrying too much about money when I was fresh out of college. For as little money as I made at first, I should have just searched high and low for something really interesting to do, even if it paid minimum wage starting out.
18) Say something totally random about yourself. I have a few Tourettes-like behaviors that are starting to alarm me. Lately I’ve been doing the Peewee Herman spaz hands whenever I’m working in the kitchen. I have no idea why I do that.
19) Has anyone ever said that you looked like a celebrity?
In high school, people said I looked like Matt Dillon.
In college, I became Ivan Lendl.
More recently, a friend commented that Tobey Maguire's mouth and chin remind her of me.
20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you? This guy once drove to my house in
21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? Oddly enough, yes, I do.
I tag: My sister. Tumuli. And I think it's time we hear from the Molecular Turtle.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Within this post lies my entry in the First Annual Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant.
“Where is CP’s childhood photo?” you may ask. Well, Gentle Readers, the picture you are about to see is so disturbing, so graphic, and so hideous that I consider it my solemn duty to provide you with the most dire of warnings. Gentle Readers, you must guard your eyes until you have accepted that you will behold the most unattractive child ever to grace this planet.
At the bottom of this post is a link to my third grade school picture, taken not long after my plunge off a ten-foot wall in front of our church. If my mother had known how ugly I would turn out to be, she might have considered leaving me on the pile of rocks where I had been knocked unconscious.
I did not lose any teeth as a result of my infamous fall, but from the looks of my mouth in this photo I may as well have.
And I don’t know what’s up with the Indian dot between my eyes. I think it's a smudge on the photo itself, but for all I know I probably had a gigantic wart growing right out of my forehead. If I had a kid who looked like this, I’d put him up for adoption.
Now Gentle Readers, after all that I’ve told you, if you still wish to continue you may do so at your peril by clicking here.
(See links to the other contestants on Beth's blog.)