Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cookin' with Coolio

Cookin' with Coolio: Five Stars Meals at a 1 Star Price
Atria, 224 pages, 2009

My score of the day at the Baltimore Book Festival was this cookbook ($5 at the Daedalus Books booth!) by rapper-turned-"ghetto gourmet" Coolio. And yes, I was sold by the cover, where Coolio's manning his combo stovetop burner/turntable (where can I get one? Home Depot? Soundscape?). How can you resist a book that starts off, "I can take a cow out of Compton and make it taste better than Kobe beef at your favorite steakhouse...I'm the ghetto Martha Stewart, the black Rachel Ray. I am the kitchen pimp who won't hesitate to fillet Bobby Flay or send my posse after Emeril Lagasse."

Coolio continues: "Let me be clear, I have seen the burning bush and I have spent forty days and nights preparing to guide you on your journey of pimpification from here to the Promised Land...Learn it, love it, live it bitches! Shaka-Zulu!"

Coolio Cuisine stresses that presentation is everything, and the way he uses his verbal skills to present his recipes is a thing of beauty. Like the term "Shaka-Zula," which Coolio explains is his waying of describing something that "tastes better than your momma's nipples."

Feast on a sampling of his descriptions of some favorite meals:

Backyard Grass Salad:
"I call this the grass salad because it's fresher than a girl in booty shorts on the first day of summer and cleaner than your momma's forehead."

Oil My Mussels:
"Damn, baby, you lookin' so good. I know you're lookin' at me too. That's right, it's your man, Coolio. I know you're hungry, and I know it's not just for food. Get your ass over here and oil my mussels. We'll be enjoyin' a meal together in no time."

Karate Meat:
"This dish ain't just called Karate Meat because it's got an Asian kick to it. It's called Karate Meat because it will beat you up like a pigeon in prison. This is straight up Blasian cuisine - all the delicacy of Asian cooking with all the attitude and flavor of Coolio's very own kitchen. Perfect this dish and you'll see yourself turning from Ralph Macchio into Mr. Miyagi."

Tricked-Out Westside Tilapia:
"Your lady loves Moby Dick but you've never caught a fish on a rod and reel? Take a chance, make her some Tricked-Out Westside Tilapia and you'll be watching them panties come right off. Zoom! Knocking over lampshades and shit. Shaka!"

Now that's what I called (Gettin' On) Down-home cookin!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soccer Talk Live: Worst Show on TV?

Kyle says, "Hey folks, how do you like my hair?"

In the wake of Fox Soccer Channel’s decision to cancel Fox Football Fone-In, its weekly soccer call-in program (which improved leaps and bounds when the straight-talking Eric Wynalda joined the always-excellent co-host Nick Webster), Fox now offers up something called Soccer Talk Live with host Kyle Martino. The wheat has clearly been separated from the chaff, with the chaff winning. As far as soccer infotainment programs go, Soccer Talk Live is the worst show on TV. In terms of talent, content, set design, and production values it comes up short even when compared to shoe-string budget public access television.

It starts with the host Kyle Martino, who typifies the Fox aesthetic when it comes to its onscreen talent: form over substance. Martino, a 29-year-old mediocre former MLS player (13 goals in 141 appearances for the Columbus Crew and L. A. Galaxy), is an affable, good-looking guy with great (Novak Djokovic-esque) hair, but totally glib; his patter would make good Happy Hour banter, but that's all. But Fox always values looks (and British or Scottish accents whenever possible, as per Fox Soccer Report) over content, a point further hammered home by its embarrassing embracement of Temryss Lane as its would-be "sidekick soccer babe" futbolita.

Temyrss puts the T in T&A

This Latino-Lite Looker (she's actually of Native American-European descent) technically qualifies as a female jockette - she played soccer at Arizona State University and the third-tier pro soccer club Ajax America Women - and is the lone carry-over from the late Fox Football Fone-In show, but continually looks lost the minute she opens her mouth and is asked to do more than strut around in tight-fitting leggings and knee-high boots. Fox has repeatedly tried to come up with things for Temryss to do, from answering e-mails on FFF (she looks like she's never used a laptop!)...

Ms. T says, "Send e-mails suggesting something for me to do"! doing painfully lame road segments and locker room "interviews" - a typical locker room interview had her doing jumping jacks with male players so the cameramen could capture all her baby-fat jiggles and wiggles. She has no gift-for-gab, zero onscreen presence (beyond her outfits, that is) and you can tell by her looking-right-through-you demeanor that she's not really interested in the people she "interviews." But on Fox, image is everything.

"Hey look, Kyle; I can jump up and down some more!"

Don't get me wrong: Kyle Martino seems like a likeable guy, I just think he's in way over his head. Sure, he's an ex-MLSer, but he's still just a young American with little international experience. (For my money, the best American ex-jock soccer analyst is still Christopher Sullivan). Fox should concentrate on getting more Brits (and less know-nothing Scots like Bobby "I Picked English Premiere League Champions Chelsea To Finish 4th Last Year" McMahon) on its soccer shows (like Nick Webster and the Fox Super Sunday Plus team's Christian Miles and Keith Costigan). I mean, the Brits invented the game and know a thing or two about it (except, apparently, how to win international competitions!). Keith Costigan actually has shown up a few times on Soccer Talk Live and even corrected Kyle's mispronunciation of Italian Serie A football club Sampdoria! (Tip to Kyle: If you're gonna be a soccer talk show host, get to know the teams outside the USA!) At least guests like Costigan add some gravitas to the show, which otherwise tends to book all-fluff, no-stuff "celebrity guests" like Kyle's girlfriend Eva Amurri's mom, Susan Sarandon and Elisabeth Shue (I guess because her brother Billy, formerly of Melrose Place, played in college and her current beau is retired L. A. Galaxy and U.S. international Cobi Jones).

Other than that, Soccer Talk Live 's "content" is just a capsulized rehash of Sky Sports News and the British sports tabloids. That is, without the content, insight, or charming accents.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dave Cawley!

September 6, 1961 - Present

"Well preserved, eh?"

Happy birthday to Dave Cawley! In his last year of 40something eligibility, Dave gathered with friends - carnivores and vegetarians alike - at the popular downtown pan-Asian eatery XS. We sat at upstairs at an out-of-the-way cubby hole table because Dave - quoting Adam West as Batman when he refused to dance the "Batusi" in a go-go club - said "I shouldn't wish to draw attention to myself." (Yeah, right - Dave Cawley the Wallflower!)

Dave received many wonderful presents, including DVDs of Britpop band Supergrass and his beloved Looney Toons cartoons (recommended for ages 5 and up) and a book about contemporary alternative cartoonists, but his fave present may very well have been Amy Linthicum's crossword puzzle-wrapped gift of three Buzzcocks CDs that - stop the presses! - avowed Buzzcocks completist Dave Cawley did not own! Yes, Amy's package included the Howard Devoto-era Time's Up recordings, as well as two live bootlegs, 30 and French.

"Gee, is this pour moi???"

"Should I finish the puzzle before unwrapping?"

"Three Buzzcocks CDs; I'm a lucky boy!"

"You might wanna write this down, Dave."
Skizz helps Dave determine the date of his next birthday.