Monday, June 20, 2011


SO RECENTLY, we had reason to contemplate an actual move to New York City. Not anytime soon, maybe in a year or two, depending on what develops here and what develops there. As anyone who knows me would imagine, I am more than intrigued by the concept, but also, as with anything else, I am wary of possible drawbacks. Then, over the course or the week, and over the course of one very good eating weekend for me, it became clear to me that there are things about Charlotte I would miss.

The Wifey and I were ensconced in our favorite Chinese buffet, where I was busily working my way through my second plate of meat and preparing to take on a plate of the chocolate cake with cappuchino flavoured mousse-- don't ask me HOW this end up on a Chinese buffet, but it does-- it came like a bolt from the blue. "If we left Charlotte for New York, I would miss this place."

The Wifey looked at me as if I had lost my mind, but then let it cook a little. "Of course, it's not like they don't have Chinese in New York . . ."

"Yeah," I said, "but they don't have this Chinese buffet."

Later in the weekend, I was relating this same story to my sister in law while I swam with her kids in the pool at her folks' place, expanding on it-- the local joint I hit once a week, the barbecue joint out south of town, and so forth-- when my nephew Thomas, the eight year old, asked "Which one is the restaurant where you like to get pastrami in New York?"

After an explosion of incredulousness, I started listing places-- the Stage, the Carnegie, Katz', The Second Ave-- and then broke down the fact that there is hardly a block on the island below Sixty Seventh where you can't find deli. In fact, two of my favorites, the joint on Bleeker and the one way down at the bottom of Greenwich Village, I don't remember the names of and haven't been able to find since. But man, the corned beef at the one! And the latkas at the other one! Yowza!

Today's lunch is just pastrami from the Harris Teeter, in fact their store brand, on rye with mustard. I know I would love living in New York, but I am pretty sure I would also miss having your basic deli in the back bedroom office of my house here in North Carolina.

The movie of the day is . . . Well, let me just start out by saying this flick gets a bad rap. I think critics expect too much of it. After all, everybody-- I mean, EVERYBODY-- is in it, it comes from a show of rich comedic legend, it should be a laugh riot from beginning to end, right? But the thing is, everybody played their bit straight, and since everybody was in it, nobody gets too much more than a bit. Besides this, it's every bit as much straight-up weirdness as anyone should expect from that notorious whack job Dan Aykroyd.

Which is also, I think, part of what makes it laudable. All things considered, this is precisely what one ought to expect from the Coneheads concept taken to its logical conclusion. Assume it is possible that three members of an alien race would prove themselves advantageous enough to a community that their physical differences and unusual mannerisms would simple be overlooked, and let 'er rip.

Which is not to say that it is not a deeply weird movie, which it is. Just to say, hell, we really ought to accept and embrace that the folks involved were dead set on making a deeply, deeply weird movie, and see if we can enjoy it for what it is. And my guess is that that set, those of us capable of bolting this particular formula down, is a pretty small one. It is not with any particular pride that I count myself amongst it.

So do I recommend it? Hell, what's weirder than eating deli in Charlotte, North Carolina? We're due for a visit to the Apple before too long. Maybe I'll find that place on Bleeker Street. Hell, maybe it wasn't actually ON Bleeker? And if you see Aykroyd, tell him I said: Dude, what the fuck?

*Which is how a parody of the Bowie number would go if Aykroyd had Beldar Conehead do his own special version of it-- which, for all I know, maybe he has!

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