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News: Beastie Boys Postpone Album Release, Cancel Tour

News just arrived that the Beastie Boys are postponing the release of their new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 1, and canceling upcoming tour dates. The unfortunate reason is that Adam Yauch, nee MCA, has been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his left parotid gland. Fortunately, it was caught early and it is considered to be very treatable. Yauch had this to say:

“I just need to take a little time to get this in check, and then we’ll release the record and play some shows. It’s a pain in the neck (sorry had to say it) because I was really looking forward to playing these shows, but the doctors have made it clear that this is not the kind of thing that can be put aside to deal with later.”

Books: Q-Tip – Industry Rules

“Industry rule number 4,080: record company people are shady.” So said Q-Tip on the classic Tribe Called Quest song, “Check the Rhime.” Now he’s prepared to expand and expound upon said rule, and presumably many others, as he will release a book called Industry Rules (Ballantine Books) sometime next year.

Tip had this to say: “It was important to me to write a book, because on the whole, I feel we could all be more literate, and as an artist, I’m always looking for ways to do something cool, different, and both light and introspective at the same time. With so many influences, like Duke Ellington’s writing, or the music played by radio DJs in the ’70s, or just what you see hanging out on Linden Blvd., there’s a lot to say, and I look forward to reaching a bunch of colorful dudes and gals with the project.”

Tour Dates: Wye Oak

Wye Oak have a wonderful new album coming out on Merge on July 21 called The Knot. I have a review for Blurt that should be published soon, but in the meantime, listen to this:

And some tour dates:

7/21 – Baltimore, MD – The Ottobar
8/12 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
8/13 – Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
8/14 – Philadelphia, PA – North Star Bar
9/28 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre

Eastbound & Down – First Look

This Sunday night, the new series Eastbound & Down premieres on HBO. I went to a preview screening party last night, complete with hot dogs, nachos, beer cozies and peanuts, in keeping with the shows baseball theme. Simply put, it’s hilarious.

Eastbound & Down stars Danny McBride as the main character, washed-up baseball player Kenny Powers. The rest of the behind-the-scenes crew should clue you into the comic possibilities here:Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, David Gordon Greene, and Jody Hill all play a part in the production. But the real magic of the show lies in McBride’s ability to play a foulmouthed, dumb, hard-on-his-luck, egotistical hick, a distinctly American blend of traits that worked well in films like Talladega Nights, but works even better here.

The first few minutes of the show whip you through Powers’ rise and fall, before the subtitle “Several shitty years later” brings you up to the present. Throughout this montage, Powers is traded from team to team with shades of John Rocker, calling New York “Jew York” and remarking how while he thought the blacks in Atlanta were bad, the gays in San Francisco are even worse. His shoot-at-the-hip stream of conciousness continues throughout the show, as he is forced to move in with his brother, the excellent John Hawkes (Deadwood) and scares the shit out of his kids as he staggers around coked up and drunk. He finds himself forced to take a job as a substitute PE coach at the local high school, where he reunites with his high school girlfriend who happens to be engaged to the nerdy principal. Hilarity ensues.

Yes, it’s kind of a sports show, and yes, it deals in the cliches and shitkicker humor we’ve been seeing a lot of recently. But McBride brings a sweetness to the role, even as he arrogantly shits all over any shot at redemption he may achieve. Given the poor showing that was Summer Heights High, Eastbound & Down will add a new vitality to HBO’s Sunday nights.

Pickles 3 – Pickle Party!!!!

This past Friday night, Hannah and I hosted our first Pickle Party. The selection included:

1) Olive oil pickle chips – cucumber vinegar pickles topped off with a few tablespoons of oil, which helps preserve the seal of the jar, but also adds a nice flavor to the batch.
2) Polish mushrooms – the addition of Allspice nuggets dominates the flavor here, but these button mushrooms were tasty.
3) British pub onions – a malt vinegar pickle. These were a bit too onion-y for my taste, but went well with cheese. I think they’ll be good to cook with as well.
4) Soy-cured beef – a Korean recipe, not really pickled, as such. Basically, this is beef simmered for a long time with soy sauce and sugar. One of my faves thus far.

soy-cured beef

5) Pickled eggs – not as spicy as I would have liked, but this is another fave, pickled in white wine vinegar.

pickled eggs

6) Pickled asparagus – pickled in red wine vinegar and spiced with nutmeg, these were very nice.

asparagus

Beverages included a variety of beer, champagne, wine (Eastern European selections), and, ultimately, as always, some whiskey. Most of the pickles were consumed, so it will soon be time to ferment a new batch. I can’t wait.

Sam's plate arrangement

the spread

Hannah likes pickles

Pickles 2 – Bread and Butter Chips

My second batch of pickles is a jar of bread and butter chips. For these, I sliced up pickling cucumbers and onions and used a warm cider vinegar solution with pickling salt, turmeric, sugar, mustard seed, and celery seed. They turned out to be quite good, although they are more sour than sweet. You have to eat them and not think of them as typical bread and butters, since they really don’t have the sugar content of store-bought b’n’b’s.

Pickles 1 – Half Sours

This past Christmas, my girlfriend, Hannah, gave me The Joy of Pickling. As an avid pickle eater and appreciator, I couldn’t wait to begin micro-pickling. Of course, life being what it is, it took me more than six months to make my first batch. I chose an easy kind, the first recipe in the book, half sours. The results? Definitely not the best pickles I’ve ever had, but not bad for a first attempt. It was quite easy as well. These are brine pickles, so I combined sea salt and water with dill seeds, dill sprigs, coriander seeds, garlic, and a serrano pepper in a mason jar, and left it out for a week. After popping it in the fridge for three days, the pickles were ready to eat. The serrano peppper definitely gave them a zing, but they were crunchy, dill-infused, and pleasantly tart. Here are some pics: