Tweet of the Day: @TheAtlantic

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My Latest High Fidelity Moment

Back in January, I wrote a post titled I Lived High Fidelity Before High Fidelity Was High Fidelity, about how I and a couple of friends of mine, friends I’ve had since we were in high school together, have been strikingly similar to the three primary male characters in the book High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby, and the film based on the book, by Stephen Frears, since WAY before the book was written.

(I’ll wait while you read the post from January…hint, hint, nudge, nudge.)

So, I was sitting at work yesterday, when I received an email from one of those friends, an email that set off our latest High Fidelity moment, an exchange I felt was entertaining enough to share:

Keith: WFUV is playing R.E.M.’s Belong. Holy Crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a brilliant song. I haven’t heard it in forever, plus a couple days.

Me: There I was, happily listening to Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album, but upon receiving your email, Keith, I immediately had to open Spotify and start playing Belong.

LOVING it!

That Out Of Time album was the peak of R.E.M.’s so-called “sellout” phase, which started with the previous album Green, but I never considered them a sellout.

Yes, their music became much more Pop than Rock & Roll, but it was some of the best Pop music out there in a sea of crappy Pop music.

The only song that I really still don’t care for, is Shiny Happy People, and I guess I’ve heard Losing My Religion too much on the radio, so it’s hard to fully enjoy that one.

Mike: I completely agree! I’m listening to the album now and am loving it, yet the two songs I don’t like are Losing My Religion and Shiny Happy People. I actually don’t dislike the latter one, I just don’t need to hear it. But I’m not a fan of Losing My Religion. How that became the single for the album makes no sense to me.

Me: Ok, I’ve moved on to other songs and I’m on my third time through Country Feedback

Fucking.Awesome.Song.

Keith: I’m listening to Belong the rest of the day. I don’t have time for the remainder of the album.

Mike: Everyone knows that listening to one song 10 times saves a lot more time than listening to 10 songs one time. It’s the time-song continuum.

Me: I would challenge you on your theory, doctor.

The time-song continuum is, indeed, a very real phenomenon, but I assert that it functions in a manner opposite to the one you describe.

My Theory of the Time-Song Continuum: Listening to the same song 10 times consecutively actually uses up more time than listening to 10 songs, one time each.

Argument: Any song that compels one to listen to it 10 times in a row is a song of great power, a song that resonates on a quantum level, a song that actually draws the listener into another dimension, whereby the listener loses all connection with the dimension they normally exist in, and while in that other dimension the listener’s functionality, and by extension their productivity, by the time they’ve listened to the song approximately three times, has been brought to a state of inertia.

Upon completion of the 10th listening of the one song, the listener inevitably finds him/her self in a state of disorientation, followed quickly by the receipt of an email from his/her supervisor, requesting to meet on the subject of a mounting backlog of work.

With all due respect,

Dr. Long Strange Trip, MST (Master of Space & Time)

Keith: Dr. Trip, I had to read your message ten times just to start to understand it.

And now, the R.E.M. song, Belong, that started it all off:

Shrooms & Friends

Sehome Arboretum II

Brandywine Kitchen: Locavores Rejoice!

I LOVE discovering a new restaurant with certain characteristics that keep me coming back on a regular basis. Those characteristics typically include: a nice, friendly ambiance; unique, well-prepared food; healthy options alongside more indulgent choices; some measure of organic and local ingredients; and, particularly in these tight economic times, reasonable prices.

Bellingham, Washington’s own Brandywine Kitchen simply nails it on all accounts! And while this post may seem to only be relevant for folks here in Bellingham, I actually think it speaks to a fairly universal business principle.

Now, I’m a total proponent of paying extra for organic, locally produced food. Consider it a tax I gladly pay to support a more sustainable future.

That said, it seems to me that most of the locavore restaurants that I have been to — eateries that feature locally-grown and organic food — have been of the high-end, fine dining variety. And while I like that experience from time to time, on special occasions, for instance, I simply can’t afford to eat like that regularly, and neither can most people.

Enter, Brandywine Kitchen! Their tagline: From Seed to Plate

Founded originally as a small, organic heirloom tomato farm, owners Azizi Tookas and Chris Sunde then started selling prepared foods at the Bellingham Farmers Market, and eventually opened up the restaurant last year.

The space is elegant without being stuffy, and the first economizing element you notice upon entering is that there’s no wait service. Customers simply walk up to the counter, order their food, receive a number, visit a smaller counter for napkins, water, or fountain drinks, and then select their own table. On the tail end of the dining experience, customers are asked to do their own busing.

The most expensive entrée on the menu is $10.95, and several entrées and most of their sandwiches are $8.95 to $9.95. And while this could make for a pricey lunch, it’s hard to find a good restaurant that serves dinner for less than $12.00, and locavore restaurants more typically run as high as $15.00 to $25.00, not including starters, beverages, and desserts.

So, this business principle that I was speaking of is the recognition that 99% is much, MUCH bigger than 1%, and therefore it makes more sense to cater to the 99%, with affordable prices and a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The other notable thing about the Brandywine Kitchen menu is that it is supremely accessible. Instead of fancy, nouvelle cuisine, with tiny but gorgeous fusion concoctions, the Brandywine serves recognizable favorites, such as Mac & Cheese, Fish & Chips, and Chicken Pot Pie, all made with the best, healthiest ingredients available, mostly coming from a list of local farmers and other vendors, whose names are listed proudly on a chalkboard near the front counter.

I had the special, a bison meatball sub, and unlike most restaurants, the special was the same price as most of the other entrées. The sub was absolutely delicious!

Again, this is the kind of food that most people eat on a regular basis. It’s a brilliant, sustainable business formula, the place is packed with people raving about it, and I wish the owners continued success, for very selfish reasons, of course.

Sehome Arboretum

Video Fridays: Jimi Hendrix Plays Bob Dylan

I’ve been listening to a LOT of Bob Dylan lately, and in today’s Video Fridays installment I’d like to feature one of the greatest Dylan covers of all time.

This version of the classic Like A Rolling Stone, performed by Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, is remarkable in a number of ways.

Hendrix, as he’s introducing the song, tongue firmly in cheek says, “I’d like to bore you a little bit for about six or seven minutes…” I don’t have any evidence for this, but I think there’s a good chance that he might be referring to the fact that there are so many words in the song. Some Dylan detractors thought his wordiness bordered on tedium, and let’s face it, most people at Monterey were there to hear Hendrix’s virtuoso guitar playing.

Jimi, himself, seems a little conflicted. He can’t even make it through the introduction, and unexpectedly says, “Excuse me for a minute and just let me play my guitar, alright?” It’s a funny moment, but it’s also a moment of complete abandon to the music. He literally has to stop talking because the guitar is begging him to play it.

Then he steps on the breaks long enough to finish the intro, before launching into an unbelievable, commanding performance, his lush, layered guitar licks mixing resonating chords and melodic fills that drip with honey, honey so sweet that you don’t even notice that he uncharacteristically does not do any extended soloing.

Anyway, enough words.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy!