Today's Music Moment is about The Smithereens.
The Smithereens formed in New Jersey in 1980, brought together by Pat DiNizio (lead vocals/guitar), whose influences include bands like the Clash and artists like Nick Lowe (two of my favorites--go figure!). Much of their music has a strong sixties feel to it, and although there are only two guitarists, as in most bands, I always thought they had a very heavy, dense "wall of guitar" sound to their music.
They never hit it big commercially, but they did have some minor hits with "A Girl Like You," "Only A Memory," and "Behind the Wall of Sleep," among a handful of others. I love the heavy guitar, but one of my favorites is a more low key one: "In A Lonely Place," sung with Suzanne Vega. I was listening to it at work the other day and trying to figure out what the song and lyrics were conjuring for me. It makes me think of a dark and smoky piano bar, with a performer playing quietly in the corner--or a duet, like the actual song. It reminds me of the Beatniks in the '50's. (That might be because of the xylophone, and Pat DiNizio's soul patch has always struck me as very Beat. Cool, Daddy-O.) It's a melancholy song, and it makes me think of someone going through a breakup, drowning their sorrows with other sad people. This person would be wearing black, perhaps smoking strong French cigarettes. Gee, sounds really uplifting, doesn't it? Ha! Imagine my surprise to find the video on YouTube and to see that that's pretty much exactly what they went for. I guess I'm not the only one who got that vibe from the song.
I love the "wall of guitar" sound--and believe me, The Smithereens can kick it out--but sometimes I like something a little more laid back. I think it's a neat song. See what you think. By the way, The Smithereens are still together (with slight lineup changes) and still playing clubs. Over the years, I've had a chance to see most of the bands I love, and perhaps I'll get to see The Smithereens one day!
Also, isn't The Smithereens a great band name? It's no Sid Syndrome and the Shakin' Babies (that's for you, Greg!), but it's pretty cool, man...cooooool.
Other bits and pieces
I spoke with my stepfather- and mother-in-law tonight, and they're doing just fine. Today was more the preliminary stuff, figuring out where to target the radiation, etc. They both sounded very positive and upbeat, and I think we all know that a positive attitude is very important when dealing with any illness--or life in general, for that matter! Thanks to everyone who sent good thoughts or prayers--keep sending positive vibes!
I forgot to mention that my Colts got knocked out of the playoffs on Sunday. The fact that I forgot to mention it probably shows that I'm not all upset, rending my garments, gnashing my teeth, what have you. I was talking to Brandon at work today--he's a fellow Colts and Notre Dame fan--and he said much the same thing. He just wasn't all that upset, and the Colts didn't deserve to win the game with the way they played. I have to agree. San Diego won fair and square, and I can't argue with fair and square. Brandon said something that I thought was very true, and I agree with him. He said something to the effect of, "It's like Notre Dame colored the whole season of football." YES! That's it exactly. I enjoyed watching the Colts, of course, but after Notre Dame tanked so bad this year, it sort of made other football games less fun, and I just wasn't into it as much as I am some years. So the Colts are out of the playoffs. In the big scheme of things, it's not exactly the end of the world as we know it. I feel fine. <grin>
I'm thinking I have to cheer for the Packers to win it all. How can you not love Brett Favre? I put in for a vacation day on the Monday after the Super Bowl. I always like to do that, because I want to be able to stay up and watch it and not worry about getting up at 5 AM the following day. That's not to say that I don't sometimes fall asleep while the game is still on...but I didn't fall asleep last year, when the Colts won it! Tom Petty is playing the half-time show, so that will be worth watching. And we all love the commercials, don't we?! (My all-time favorite Super Bowl commercial is the Cat Herding one. Note to myself: see if it's on YouTube.)
Did you think I wasn't going to write about food tonight? Bwah-hah-hah-haaaah! Just a few things, and then a recipe. I ran by the store after work tonight, and boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale. Yay! I've got about 10 pounds in the fridge, and I'll separate them and freeze them ASAP. Baby back ribs were also on sale, and thanks to Ken's mom, I got us a rack. She just salts and peppers them, and roasts them in a very low oven for several hours. It's some of the best stuff I've ever had, and when you go to pick up a rib, it's so tender the bone just comes out. I think I'll fix that for a treat for us this weekend. (Even on sale, they're still not cheap, but...they're just so darn good!)
As promised, here's the stuffed zucchini recipe for you, Traci! And for anyone else who has a garden or knows someone who has a garden, this is a great way to use some of that zucchini. I'm not sure how it does in various areas of the country, but around here, we get these alien, monster zucchinis, a foot and a half long and eight inches in diameter. Those big ones are great for this recipe. I don't remember where I found this recipe, but I experimented with it on myself first, when Ken was on a business trip, and when I decided it was okay, I made it for Ken. He's not a huge fan of squash-like vegetables, but he did say that he liked this!
3 medium zucchini, or one whopper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound hamburger
pasta sauce to taste
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
dash of pepper
4 ounces shredded cheese
¼ cup plain bread crumbs (I usually use Italian bread crumbs)
Halve zucchini lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving ¼-inch shell. Finely chop zucchini pulp (I try to remove most of the seeds), onion, and garlic.
In a large skillet, heat 2½ cups of water; add zucchini shells, cut side up (if you're using a huge zucchini, you'll have to cut it in half width-wise to make it fit in the skillet). Cover and simmer just until tender. Remove to baking pan.
Dry skillet and put in a little olive oil; heat. Add zucchini pulp, onion, garlic, and spices. Cook 3 minutes. Add hamburger and cook till no longer pink.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese, bread crumbs, and a bit of pasta sauce. (Just enough to make it tasty, and make it all stick together.) Spoon into zucchini shells and bake uncovered at 400°, about 10 minutes.