Ode To A Chocolate Spread

nutella.jpgWhile living in France I had the chance to sample all sorts of different foods. There was the simple, cheap joy of a beef and lamp kebob, the hearty warmth of a traditional Alsatian plate – Sausage, bratwurst, ham and potatoes. The crunch softness of a real French baguette, filled my soul like nothing else. And the pastries were nothing short of heaven.

But the one treat I loved about all other things was the “French peanut butter,” rich, sweet, smooth, chocolate Nutella. For those who have never had it, Nutella is a smooth chocolate spread that you can put on bread, crackers, or really anything at all.

It is truly divine.

You actually can find it in the States, if you look hard enough. It’s fairly expensive, and you don’t get much of it, but it’s worth it all the same.

This morning, having a rather hard time of it – various personal issues – I decided to have a little Nutella toast for breakfast – well, I ate it at 11:30, but it was the first food I digested this morning (which isn’t all that rare for me, I tend to forget to eat sometimes – but don’t let that discourage you food lovers out there, for when I remember to eat, I eat a lot.) It was the perfect thing. Comfort food. Warm and sweet and so fulfilling.

Now I’ll go back to packing, for we’re going out of town this weekend. So, this is it for the posting until Monday, or possibly Tuesday.

Yes, that means no Fresh Tracks this week, even though it is a weekly column, and one that I just started. I did actually get some new tracks this week, but I’ve been busying myself with actually getting all my music onto the iPod (up until now it has been a completely sporadic, and unusual affair) and thus the new music is away in the piles of CDs laying around my flat.

This will also mean no TV diary, which is actually ok, since I didn’t really watch much TV this week, and I’m trying to wean myself off of it anyways.

Until next time.

DVD Pick Of The Week: For Your Consideration

for-your-consideration.jpgThis week is not quite as interesting as the last, but still there is a pretty good selection of pictures to choose from. For a bac-o-bit of information that you neither asked for, nor need, nor has anything to do with this article, I’ve only just this week discovered Curb Your Enthusiasm. Love It. It’s a little early, but I’m even going to go as far as to say I Lyle Love-It. Larry David doing some very Seinfeld-esque bits with lots of dialogue, and for HBO audience rudeness. But it is brilliantly hilarious.

Enough about that (or at least until I write a separate article on it) and onto the pick of the week. This week I had to really choose between a very good picture I have already seen, and a not particularly well received comedy I haven’t yet watched. The haven’t yet watched won out and here it is, this week’s Pick of the Week:

For Your Consideration

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Random Shuffle – 02/19/07

billie holliday“Embraceable You” – Billie Holiday
From The Complete Commodore Recordings

I often say that Montgomery, Alabama, a place where I lived for a number of years, is the buckle of the Bible Belt. It is, to put it kindly, a very conservative place with about two churches on every corner. While there, I met a beautiful young lady named Melanie, through my friend Jamison, whilst enjoying a scrumptious Tropical Sno-Cone.

During our dalliance with the delectable treats, Melanie proceeded to tell me that she had seen me and some friends perform the previous fall. That particular piece was a bit of performance art that we had had a small run with, and that I was quite proud of. It is impossible to describe but involved music from Jello Biafro, Pink Floyd, Richard Strauss, lots of black lights, and a juggling giant.

It was Melanie’s opinion that our performance was a danger to society, decidedly un-Christian and should never have been allowed public performance. We had a nice long debate on it, and I left thinking she was a bit nutty and that we’d never speak again.

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Televison Diary: February 18, 2007

Ok, I’m sorry. I forgot this was due yesterday. Can’t say that I was busy then, mainly just sat around the house too afraid to step outside into the cold misery. Really, I did forget and I said I’m sorry, what more can you want? Blood? My soul? Ok, ok, you can have those too, just let me write this dern thing.


The Simpsons – “Little Big Girl

This episode went back to straight story telling, and on the surface, the episodes looks like it could be classic. Bart’s prank of using all the school’s fire extinguishers as a means to propel himself inadvertently puts out a massive fire. As a reward he gets his driver’s license.


However, Homer uses this as an excuse to make Bart his personal chauffer, and fleeing that hassle he drives to North Haverbrook where he meets the 16 year old Darcy (Natalie Portman.) They date, she proposes marriage due to being pregnant (from another boy) and Bart agrees (!) They rush to Utah where a lad so young can marry, but are saved by both sets of parents.

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Fresh Tracks – 02/16/07

For those of you with long memories, or an extended curiosity of my sidebar, you may know that I used to write a regular article entitled “Fresh Boots”. This series was dedicated to the new bootlegs I had acquired over the previous week. It was a good piece, I thought, and it isn’t exactly discontinued – it’s just that I haven’t been downloading many bootlegs these past few months.

Today, I have decided to create a similar series entitled “Fresh Tracks,” being a list of non-bootleg albums that I have acquired during the previous week. And yes, acquired is an intentionally vague term as to not get myself into trouble. I’ll try to do this every week and talk about the new music I’ve gotten my hands upon and either do a quick review or (more likely since I probably haven’t had time to give it a good listen) a small little blurb about why I acquired it.

live-from-mars.jpgLive From Mars – Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Back in the day, before Ben Harper was much of a blip on anyone’s radar, I caught him open for the Dave Matthews Band – go ahead make your jokes, I’ve heard them all before, and I’ll hear them again. Yes, I dug the DMB for a time, and have shed no guilt for it. Dave put on a pretty good show, but we were all pretty much knocked out by Harper. He laid down a version of “All Along the Watchtower” that left a trail of burning rubble from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.

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Worst Commercial Ever

A friend of mine and I used to toss around the idea of creating our own local advertisement agency. The local part of that never really mattered, since anywhere you go the commercials for the local places are god-awful. We figured we could do a better job of it, and as such could make a killing. After watching this commercial, I believe a blind, retarded squirrel could do better.

Valentine’s Day Advice

kitsch_bougcupidlg.jpgBeware the Ides of February kids, and remember the Man in your youth, or the crap that you done back then will bite you in the arse. That’s Shakespeare, right there, he wrote the Bible, so he knows a few things about love.

Fathom my surprise when upon looking at the little kitty calendar that resides upon my refrigerator that I realized tomorrow is Valentines Day. The day of love and romance, and little bitty pieces of candy that say things like “Be Mine” and “True Love” and “Don’t Forget To Take Out The Trash, You Bozo!”

It is a day that brings up cursing for me. For when I was but young, and foolish, I thought the day was special and treated it as such. These were the days before marriage, when I was but courting my sweet, precious wife, and we lived miles apart – her being in graduate school in Indiana, and me working diligently in Oak Ridge, TN.

During those days of yore, I was unable to be with my sweet, dear one, for the big day of love and mushiness, nor would I even be able to visit for the few weeks before or after. It was then I hatched a plan so romantical, the world would never believe it.

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CD Pick Of The Week: Lucinda Williams – West

west_lw.jpgI’m giving the CD Pick of the Week another shot. It really helps things along when a fellow Blogcritics gets his list of CDs being released for the week out on time. Otherwise I have to go to other sources and they never format things properly.

Lucinda Williams: West

How the crap did I miss Lucinda Williams releasing a new disk? Must have been all that lusting over Norah Jones. You don’t have to look very far to find my love for all things Lucinda. It’s a very different love than that for Norah. Where with Norah I want to take her out to fancy dinners, shows and romance her, with Lucinda I just want to put on some Hank Williams, pour a beer and, well, that’s enough of that picture painted.

I’ve been slightly disappointed with her last couple of albums, only in that they were a little slower than her previous, and a whole lot sadder. But worry ye not, I shall be buying this and loving it.

The Flying Burrito Brothers: Honky Tonky Nights

Word on the street is that any lover of folk, country and Americana ought to love the Flying Burrito Brothers, especially considering they include bloody Gram Parsons, but I gotta admit, I aint never heard a note. I suppose I should get on that, real quick like.

Van Morrison: At the Movies: Soundtrack Hits

There is nothing really new here, in terms of Morrison’s music. You probably own all these songs. I do. But I like the idea of accumulating all his movie songs in one place.

Sting: The Journey and the Labyrinth: The Music of John Dowland

Not sure where this falls in the Sting does classical, romance music, but the bits I’ve heard on NPR and Studio 60, are making me rethink his solo career. And yeah, that’s a good thing.

DVD Pick Of The Week: The Departed

There are lots of great movies to choose from this week. It’s really almost impossible to choose just one. I have to go back to the whole concept of my pick of the week. There have been several weeks now where the pick was really easy, but it didn’t necessarily mean that I had actually seen that film, or even that I went right out and picked up that DVD. Looking back there are several films that made it as Picks but I have yet to watch, and have passed up several times at the local rental joint.

So, you say, what’s the point? I guess I’m trying to highlight films that I love or have heard that are interesting, or that I want to see. But my viewing life is such that you have to take a number and sit around awhile before I actually get to the films in question. Like recently, I have been catching up on The Sopranos in my spare time. That doesn’t really qualify as a movie, or even as a pick since Season Two has been out for a long time. But what am I supposed to do? Watch Saw III instead just because I picked it for the week?

Ah, whatever. Here’s this week’s pick:

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