You know, that song mentioned in Jimmy Eat World’s “Kill.”
We talked of the other worlds we’d discover
As she gave up her body to me
And as I chopped up her mainsail for timber
I told her of all that we still had to see
—Josh Ritter, “Another New World”
This might be the greatest non-traditional love song of all time. It is a captain and his ship and their final adventure together. He has nothing in the world that means anything to him. Not his crew, not a wife. Nothing. And when his adventure into the frozen seas of the North goes horribly wrong, it costs him the only treasure he’s ever had.
There’s a tenderness between the captain and his ship. At the very end of her life, he speaks to her the way people speak to relatives on their deathbeds. We’re not done. This isn’t over. You’re going to get up and we’re going to see the world together. It’s naked denial and scripted reassurance in the face of a certain end and if there’s anything more heartbreaking than that, you’ll have to tell me.
Now, I realize that this is going to come as complete blasphemy to some of you, but I honestly prefer the way Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers cover this song on their EP, Ahoy! Ritter’s version is dreary and brooding throughout, perhaps meant to mirror the captain at the end of the tale, drowning in alcohol and broken dreams. The Punch Brothers make it much more dramatic, letting it build, gathering steam toward the tragedy, only to let it fade and blur into clashing sounds of strings.
There are plenty of songs about love out there and nearly all of them fail to convey the strength of that feeling when compared to this one.
—Written by Grant Goodman
BETHUNE, S.C. - Local psychic and toaster repairman, Charles Plymouth, released a statement Tuesday proclaiming intimate knowledge of the true intentions behind a grocery list his father left behind. Henry Plymouth, Charles’ father died forty-three years earlier due to lung cancer and while not much remains of his estate, a hand-written grocery list he left behind has caused great debate amongst Plymouth family scholars ever since.
Make sure you wear your best suit or dress when you visit Charleston, because chef Cindy Wolf and her staff are going to make sure that whatever food leaves the kitchen is the finest they can offer. When you’re dining here, in Harbor East, you can approach the menu on the chef’s terms or on your own. There is a suggested seasonal menu of four courses (plus an amuse bouche and a dessert course), but there is also a long list of items that you can mix and match to make your own menu. If you feel especially carnivorous, you could go for all meat and seafood dishes. But then you’d miss out on some spectacular variety that Wolf and crew put out.
The current seasonal menu (January 2013) includes a foie gras soup, a spinach and pear salad, a medallion of turbot, and a portion of grilled squab.
On the night I was there, the first plated dish for every guest was a tiny porcelain mug of creamy mushroom soup, accompanied by a diminutive pastry puff. If it had been a menu item, I would have put in for a full order of that soup, which was unbelievably rich and full of deep mushroom flavors that were absolutely perfect on a January night.
The foie gras soup was rich in a different fashion. The broth contained the French trinity of carrot , celery, and onion, and a lobe of seared foie was bathing in it. The whole dish was also covered with a puff pastry dome that, when soaked in the broth, was unbelievable.
While I had never—not once—in my life ever been impressed by a salad, the spinach and pear salad that arrived next completely changed that. A fan of red barlett pear slices were arranged along the bottom. The spinach leaves were tossed in a citrusy vinaigrette and then molded into a puck. The whole thing was topped off with chopped pecans. It was—and probably will always be—the only salad that I have ever raved about to the rest of the table.
Turbot arrived next, blanketed in a velvety lobster beurre blanc, framed by sprigs of fresh herbs. A side of white asparagus and fava beans rounded it out. The fresh herbs, especially the dill, were the star of that plate.
My final dinner course, a cut of roasted squab, was plated atop a fingerling potato puree and coated in a cognac reduction. If you’ve never had squab, this would be an excellent starting point.
Dessert was a vanilla bean creme brulee that was almost cloud-like. The presence of fresh vanilla was impossible to miss.
I’d also like to point out that between every main course, you are offered mini rounds of French bread (think silver dollar size), slices of raisin bread, or pieces of cornbread. The corn bread is amazing, with a mild sweetness and a delicate crumb. I’ll just say that I went for that every time.
If wine pairings are your thing, you can do that, too. And, if you want, in between your final course and dessert, you can have some cheese and port.
What I’ve learned is that no matter how many courses you have there, they’re all going to leave you smiling.
—Written by Grant Goodman
A band name so terrible you can’t forget it. A song so great you can’t forget it, either.
This Week’s Question: What is the proper way to treat a book throughout its ownership?
Grant: Books make great coasters, especially for extra-sweaty pint glasses. Those pages are just magnificent when it comes to sopping up spills, too. Of course, not everyone likes to balance their drinks on a bunch of dead-tree sheets. If that’s not the path for you, don’t fear. Books make for great stress relief objects. Grab the bottom corner of the cover and fold it, really crease that sucker. Then, all along the edges of random pages, rip them so the edges are all ragged. You’ll feel better after thoroughly mutilating someone’s collection of thoughts, dreams, and struggles (which often take years to produce and finalize).
Jared: Stephanie Myers novels make excellent kindling to keep the homeless warm during the winter.
Speaking with my male friends and perusing reviews posted on the internet, there seems to be a huge discord created by HBO’s groundbreaking comedy series. So much so that Lena Dunham has been attacked from every angle by criticisms and hate. But why do men—it’s almost always men—hate Girls so much? Here are the top five reasons that I saw given as support and why the men who say these things are just plain missing the point.
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Three days after I finished book one of The Maze Runner trilogy, I finished book two. The Scorch Trials operates with the same “throw our characters into a pressure-cooker” approach and mostly succeeds. If you haven’t read the first book, consider yourself done here.
***SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT***
Why do people still love this silly old emblem of a sad, sad past?
Next Monday, our nation will usher in the second presidency of the first African American to ever win the office; a true triumph when only a hundred years ago, our current president wouldn’t have even been allowed in the same train car as his second in command. Though before inauguration day will have a chance to be celebrated throughout the country, on January 19th, Confederate Heroes Day will be shamefully championed in Texas where Robert E. Lee’s birthday is a government holiday. Eight other states have similar celebrations, though not all are on January 19th. On these confederate holidays, citizens join together and proudly wave their “stars and bars,” rooting on a tired Southern tradition and showing no care or concern for the rest of the country.
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Thomas wakes up locked inside of an elevator. It’s rising, it’s hot, and he has no idea where the hell he is. Or who he is. There are basic memories kicking around inside of his brain, but all of the specifics—aside from his first name—have been wiped out. He doesn’t even know how old he is.
From there, things only get worse. He’s pulled out of the elevator by a group of boys who refuse to answer his questions. All they can really tell him is that he needs to lie down, shut up, and make it through a few nights in The Glade before anything will make sense.
There is so much mystery and intrigue built into every chapter of this novel. The world that Thomas has stepped into unfolds slowly. Like Thomas, you, the reader, will only pick up information a tiny piece at a time. And each new development tends to be slightly more unsettling than the last. Right after you are introduced to the Maze (not a spoiler, because you read the title), you learn about the things that lurk in it. Right when Thomas learns that the elevator brings up one new boy every month…well, that’s when things start to descend into complete chaos.
There are plenty of questions that drive the novel: why are there only boys placed in The Glade? Why is there a Maze outside of their safe zone? Who put them there in the first place?
This is a novel about hope and friendship. All of Dashner’s characters have enough depth to make them boys that you care about, whether it’s the way one boy drops the g’s from his words (burnin’, workin’) or Chuck’s unending blabbering. It is also a novel deeply tied to identity confusion. Thomas has no idea who he is supposed to be. All of his formative experiences have been wiped out, so, in a way, he can only act on instinct, instead of relying on how he was raised to govern his actions.
I tore through The Maze Runner in three days. Luckily, there are three more books waiting for me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to start reading The Scorch Trials.
—Written by Grant Goodman
You have to order the smoked meat poutine. It is, without a doubt, the best dish of fried potatoes and assorted fats that I have ever eaten. The cheese curds are thick, the brisket falls apart if you breathe on it, and the gravy is thick without being goopy. It is a perfect dish.
While you’re there, you should sample some of the other items offered at this tiny delicatessen. And it sure is tiny. There are maybe six tables and six counter seats, so space is at a premium.
The smoked brisket makes another appearance as part of a superb sandwich. Your $14 sandwich is probably more than you’re used to paying and you might be expecting it come out stacked with a foot of brisket. It’s not a big sandwich, but there’s a ton of flavor. It’s worth every dollar.
If you’re looking to go with something a little less traditional, try the lamb sausage. There’s added zip from harissa and a scattering of fried onion pieces to add to the texture.
While the purple slaw is tangy, I found myself more drawn to the cucumber salad. There’s a ton of fresh dill tossed into the mix and it gives a bright, clean flavor that works well when your main meal is full of rich, fatty meats.
The menu is small and focused and it works: every item I tried was excellent.
—Written by Grant Goodman
Before there was fun. there was The Format.
You may have noticed that the site has been quiet these past few weeks. That’s due to a number of factors. First, this has been an unbelievably busy year for myself and for Jared. In order to make time for what needs to be done, sometimes you have to cut out part of your once-regular routine. For both of us, that has been writing our articles for the site. Second, there’s been this thing called winter break. I took this time to get out of town, see some sights, and get a huge break from the week-to-week schedule that I’ve been upholding since the last week of August.
I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to return to regular updates in the near future.
As Thanksgiving closes out and we prepare to welcome in the new year, America unites together to deck the halls and spread some cheer. Christmas is possibly the greatest empire the armies of Hallmark ever created after staging a coupe against the holiday’s origins. But while we embrace the yule tides and the silent nights, we remain largely unaware of some of December 25ths most troubling truths. Here are a few: