Apr 242017

Here is a much better look at what we’re getting for our trade-in of Madison Square Mall to the universe. (If I figure out whether the video can be embedded later, I will.)

No doubt this looks very appealing, and it’s amazing how well they can bring it to life with current technology, isn’t it?

If this project really is going forward, then it’s reasonable to presume that solid market research supports the decision to build and open it. It certainly does seem like a bunch at one time for the area, though. (And Lea wondered about parking. Good question.)

Now we need a monorail circuit, using existing rights-of-way wherever possible (which really should be most of the route), connecting MidCity Huntsville, the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau, Parkway Place, Lowe Mill, Huntsville Botanical Garden, the new development at Gate 9, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, and Bridge Street.

I have done a detailed cost analysis of this monorail and determined to my complete satisfaction that it will cost more than I have to give to fund such a project.

However, there are many people in Huntsville with more than $90, and I’d think they’d be highly approachable to help fund such a tremendous and technological legacy for the technological center in which they made their fortunes. I mean, I’ve listed eight stops. What should the naming rights for those cost? What about the legs between them? What about the trains themselves? What about the project in general? That’s closing on two dozen super-donors right there…

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Apr 212017

This is part of an ongoing series reviewing hot wings in the Huntsville area. Visit #HsvHotWings for a comprehensive linked list.

tbwings0(Edited from the original post below to include review of new hot wing lineup. Strikethrough denotes obsolete material.)

I just did a full-up review of Toy Box Bistro at Rocket City Mom, and enjoyed it very much. I went back for wings yesterday for lunch. This is where Beauregard’s used to be on the southwest corner of Jordan and Holmes.

At Toy Box Bistro, the hottest wings listed on the menu are simply “hot.” When I asked if those were the hottest, I got “nope, we have ghost pepper butter too.” Ah. Yes, please. You can order six, twelve, or twenty wings. I did twelve, which turned out to be eight flats and four drums. They were served with a few carrot sticks, and they were $14.16 before tip. Our server Joseph did a fine job.

Quality: 9/10. These were lovely wings of considerable quality. They were meaty, uniformly sauced and cooked, and served at ideal temperature.

Flavor: 6/10. These are not buffalo wings, but they don’t really fit into any ready variety. There is a basic flavor profile here of chili peppers and sugar that doesn’t ever really change. They’re fine—I ate them all—but they’re very simple.

Heat: 4/10. Well, shoot. We’re regressing on heat again. There is a small but immediate punch, so I’m thinking something else accompanies the ghost peppers in this sauce. The back side heat comes online quickly, but unfortunately peaks much too soon, never getting above a smolder. The tingle is on the lips and tongue. I didn’t need a drink.

These are the prettiest wings I’ve had so far, but they could use a little passion. Double the heat, or maybe a good shot of garlic? Or both?

The new hottest wings in the Toy Box Bistro lineup are known as B.Y.F.O., which I expected to have a much less tasteful meaning than Bite Your Face Off (what it actually stands for). I partook with the family last weekend. Ask for Kayla; she did an awesome job.

Quality: 9/10. We have here supplier and best practice continuity. As with the earlier wings, these were plump, meaty, and came out ready to devour.

Flavor: 7/10. Building much more of a story here, with flavorful peppers grounding onion and garlic notes. There might be a hint of celery salt? There is a melody here, where before there was mostly a rhythm track.

Heat: 6/10. Yup, these are slappin’ the bass a little bit. I suspected habanero, which was confirmed, as well as a little ghost pepper powder. I never had any significant discomfort, but C. chinense lag-then-build is unmistakable.

Toy Box Bistro’s B.Y.F.O. wings are a solid offering indeed. Now, if you’re feeling daring, and Bill is around, ask him if there’s anything hotter in the house…

 Posted by at 9:00 pm
Apr 202017
  • If you feel led to contribute, you can help with Ashleigh Jones‘ medical expenses here. It must surely be a blessing she’s made it this long. I hope we hear some much better news soon.
  • Tad Cummins has been arrested, and Elizabeth Thomas is safe!
  • After a validation visit today, I am ready to say that the pho tai at Viet Cuisine on Jordan Lane is the equal of the pho tai at Saigon in Madison. Great stuff, both places.
  • Slaughterhouse-Five was a good place to start catching up on the classics. I didn’t realize it was so short. Love Vonnegut’s way with a phrase.
  • Well, there’s already a substantial breeding population of Burmese pythons in southern Florida. Shall we try for the monocled cobra next?
  • Part of what’s made it unnecessarily difficult to work on our bathroom remodeling has been the sorry state of the garage (and the shop portion therein). I’ve begun reclaiming the space in earnest.
  • Watch for a couple of review updates soon, including a word or two on the Cacao variety of Soylent and a revamped hot wing lineup for a local eatery.
 Posted by at 12:48 pm
Apr 192017

Pulling for East Limestone second-grader Ashleigh Jones tonight, who darted back into traffic after getting off her school bus with her brother and was struck by a car yesterday afternoon. She was airlifted to UAB, where she remains in critical condition as I type.

It can go so wrong, so quickly. Prayers for her and for her family. Please get better, Ashleigh.

 Posted by at 9:36 pm
Apr 172017

My parents divorced six months after MTV went live. I was not quite 11 years old. And Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, J.J. Jackson, Mark Goodman, and Nina Blackwood were my foster-parents. I’d lie in my dad’s black beanbag chair in his den and watch/listen nonstop for eight and ten hours at a stretch.

And there Greg Kihn always was, you know?

At that age I never jumped out there and identified myself as a huge fan, but I knew I dug the hell out of “The Breakup Song.” That live video that MTV played so much was just how I thought live music ought to be: true to the album recording, but more. Hey, you’ve already sweated all of the details in the studio getting it just right, so don’t suddenly distrust that vision…but give it more. A little crunchier. A little harder on that snare. A little more growl.

I’ve said for years that if I ever have a rock ‘n’ roll band, we’re opening with “The Breakup Song.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be too long before he’d have his huge FM and video hit “Jeopardy,” with its infectious riff and zombie video (decades ahead of its time, it turned out).

Now here comes Rekihndled, the first all-new Greg Kihn Band recording in a presidential administration or three. And it happens that Mr. Kihn and I follow each other on Twitter, so I got to hear about it. I might have missed it otherwise. I’m sure glad I didn’t, because I love this record. It’s my favorite of 2017 so far.

The common thread is, perhaps, the one you’d expect—honest, guitar-based rock, solidly infused by a love of the 1960s. Any of these eleven songs will sound fantastic live, with big, singable choruses seasoned with an occasional spicy riff. There is also impressive range, though—pushing the envelope without losing the narrative. Songs like “Cassandra” and “A Place We Could Meet” have an almost British quality (Nick Lowe? maybe even a splash of Graham Parker?), while the album opener “The Life I Got” is toe-tapping heartland power pop. I think Cheap Trick fans will find that one near and dear quickly.

With other titles including “Big Pink Flamingos” (the first single), “The Brain Police,” and “Trained Monkey,” you can rest assured we don’t have a record that gets lost in its own pretention. “Flamingos” and “Monkey” are as much fun to blast on my morning commute as anything in the past several years. And listen for a little Lizard King vibe in the “Brain Police” vocal. I don’t know whether it’s on purpose or not, but it’s tasty indeed.

Speaking of blastability, longtime readers may remember that I’m sensitive to overproduction. I’m delighted to report that Rekihndled gets it right. This is rock ‘n’ roll, not a debutante ball. Get rid of the boulders, if any, but the occasional pebble tells me it’s real. Bravo! Just the right level of dirt, with nearly completely unmolested rock the primary deliverable. This record could have come out 20, 30, or maybe even 40 years ago sounding just like this, and I mean that as a substantial compliment.

I’ve had the record on for three days straight. Another week or two is likely. It’s fine work, with a lot of midnight oil burned. Any rock ‘n’ roll fan is going to find this a fine use of a few dollars. Go get it now.


 Posted by at 11:19 pm

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