Note: This culinary magic first appeared on Aug. 28, 1998 in the Appalachian News-Express. Yes, I was paid for it. Heh.
Another fine outpouring from the poet laureate of stupid people:
Cheese, cheese, I like cheese.
Got some Kraft singles? I’d like one, please.
From Camembert to Roquefort to Fontina,
It’s a great source for my proteina.
I once went out with a girl,
but could no longer date her.
She wouldn’t let me grill cheese
on my radiator.
That sweet dairy delectable,
I get lost in,
I should have been born
in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Just give me some chips and a diet cola,
and a big ‘ole hunk of that Gorgonzola.
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, Cheese,
I wish that yellow stuff would grow on trees.
Went to a five star joint, but I won’t go back.
‘Cause they couldn’t hook me with some Monterey Jack.
Cheese can even make me laugh all day,
when I think Swiss is made in the U.S. of A.
Cheese got to the top, passing every hurdle.
And to think, all it is is milk that’s curdled.
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, Cheese,
It’s the world’s one and only great malphease.
It is often best served at room temperature,
It brings out the flavor, that’s a hundred percent-for-sure.
It doesn’t take long to cook and food tastes better,
when it’s topped off with some melted cheddar.
You can grill it, deep fry it, bake it or eat it raw.
Leave some Colby out and I will eat it all.
There’s nothing like some bread and a slice of baloney
topped with a big block of Provoloney.
There’s Stilton and Muenster and even Ricotta.
They can be eaten cold, but I like ‘em hotta!
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, Cheese.
I’ll say, “Bless you,” when you sneeze.
If it gets a green spot, you can just cut it out.
A green spot is just Cheese with the gout.
I can eat more than a simple allotage,
whether it’s Brick or Edam or just plain Cottage!
My girlfriend’s sister-in-law does not like Cheese.
When I found out all I said was, “Geez!”
She thinks Cheese eaters just get stupider.
That’s O.K., though. She’s from Jupiter.
There’s nothing better to cheer up a fella,
than some pasta topped with some Mozzarella.
Cheese just seems to float my boat.
Even the kind that comes from a goat.
You’ve got to keep it refrigerated and really cold,
or it will go bad and start to grow mold.
If it smells rotten, just get rid of it…
Except Limberger, it always smells like …
Shih Tzu puppies and cheese are so fine,
To get Commodity, you have to stand in line.
Eatin’ more Cheese … I just gotta,
get my dirty hands on some fresh Ricotta.
There’s Blue, American, Cream and Gouda.
Put some kind of Cheese on all your fooda.
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, Cheese.
I’ve got chiggers and my cat has fleas.
I like it on my taters or on my Spam.
Hey! Cheese even comes in a can.
Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, Cheese.
Demi Moore looked good in the movie “Striptease.”
Put it on crackers.
Put it on chicken.
If they made Cheese Ice Cream,
I’d be lickin’!
In a breeze,
with a wheeze,
100 or 20 degrees,
it has to be … gotta be … give it to me … CHEESE!
Jason Falls is very, very ill. “Falls, off the rocker,” often contains satire and makes me very hungry.
November 26, 2013 Leave a comment
Note: This column first appeared in the Appalachian News-Express on June 26, 1998. I thought it fun enough to regurgitate.
When I was a little kid my friends and I had a stupid word game we would play which made us laugh a lot. Anytime someone would use one of the inquiry words (who, what, when, where, why and how) we would respond with witty repartee involving the word “chicken” and a body part.
Jason: Hey Chad, Did you blah, blah, blah the blah, blah?
Jason: Chicken Butt!
Both: Hysterical laughter
There was also, “Why … chicken thigh,” “How … chicken brow,” “Where … chicken hair,” and, “Who … chicken poo.” Fortunately for the free world, we outgrew this phase and moved onward and upward into more sophisticated circles of humor.
In fifth grade it wasn’t so much what you said which made everyone laugh, but the noises you made otherwise. By this I mean it was not funny unless it was associated with a burp, a fart, or (preferably) both. One friend of mine, whom I will protect from embarrassment by not mentioning his name, became socially acceptable when everyone at the fifth grade lunch table learned he could drink and entire container of 2% milk at once, then burp for approximately three minutes and 42 seconds.
I would rush home from school ready to pass along the funny stories of the day, only to find my cornball sense of humor mother waiting. After explaining, and badly demonstrating, my friend’s guttural superiority, my mother would smirk and lock me in the closet.
She would always say, “There is nothing amusing about bodily functions.”
Perhaps my maturity level never grew from the time I was 11, but I still laugh at burps and farts. I think everyone, including my mother, does as well. They are just too caught up in thinking they have class to admit it.
At any rate, my elementary school chums and I elevated our senses of humor beyond the elementary level once junior high hit. It was now into the seductive underground world of filthy language and dirty jokes.
My junior high colleagues and I used words our parents had never heard and we knew what they meant. We uttered phrases and syllables which would make George Carlin blush. Adults thought we were whispering about “cute girls” and “innocent kisses” while we were cracking each other up with how many four-letter words we knew.
I know the adults of those days were quite unsuspecting from a first hand basis. In seventh grade math, Mrs. Newsome kept calling me down one day for talking. I, never the mischievous lad, was in a terrible mood that day and hadn’t uttered a sound. A classmate of mine, sitting in front of me, was snickering back and forth with his then girlfriend. It seems Mrs. Newsome just assumed I was to blame based on her past experiences.
When she finally screamed out, “Jason Falls, if you don’t shut up, I’m going to send you to see the principal,” I returned with an exclamation which vaguely rhymes with “duck glue.”
Mrs. Newsome was never the same.
Fortunately, my classmates and I moved on from the dirty jokes and bodily functions and developed adult senses of humor. Most of us appreciate cleverness over vulgarity now days.
It is with this in mind I’ve reflected upon what I am doing writing a pseudo-humor column in the newspaper. I’ve asked myself …
“Does anyone really read. the crap I write?”
“If so, does anyone think it’s funny?”
“Do I lose credibility as someone with no credibility if l revert to old behavior and talk about bodily functions?”
“Am I ever going to be an influential writer. .. one who smokes exotic cigars, sleeps until noon, never dresses up, drinks oddly named liquors and wears funny hats?”
I suppose we all question our purpose and our importance on this earth now and then. And, since the only people who write letters to the editor about me normally refer to me as loitering adjacent to the inner circle of hell, I don’t quite feel encouraged to, “keep up the good work.”
I called an old friend of mine the other day and was boring him to tears with how I didn’t think I would ever accomplish more as a writer than I had as an opera singer. I declared, “What I really need to do is write something profound!”
He said, “Like whut?”
… Chicken Butt!
Jason Falls will pass messages on to any dead relatives you think may have had a hard time getting past the gates. “Falls, off the rocker,” contains his opinions and observations, which are funnier when you’re drunk.
November 16, 2013 Leave a comment
The 88th running of the Hambletonian is Saturday. Odd that such a horse crazy state would read that sentence and say, “What’s the Hambletonian?” But a lot of you just did. Harness racing’s Kentucky Derby for trotters has been called, “The greatest horse race many people may not have heard of,” by Hambletonian Society President Tom Charters.
At least they know they have an image problem.
The first horse race I ever attended was a harness race. My friend Kevin and I used to spend a couple days a week at The Red Mile in Lexington one summer in college. I cut my teeth on $2 show bets there and even walked out a winner a couple of times.
The only bad part was a nesting Canadian Goose would attack us when we returned to our car in the late afternoons. We parked in the same spot and apparently never learned – even when it pooped on Kevin’s windshield one day while we were at the track.
I’ve always enjoyed harness racing because there’s a little more strategy involved than the thoroughbreds. Think about it. The horses are all trotting at about the same speed. So it’s more finesse than speed or power. On Saturday the entrants will have to race twice in one day to win. It sets up a day of drama, speed and endurance and is quite unique. Because of the common pace, the last quarter mile of almost every harness race is as exciting as the best thoroughbred races.
And unlike thoroughbreds who don’t go much faster than they did a generation ago, trotters continue to drop in time as the breed improves. Expect that they’ll do a mile close to 1 minute and 50 seconds on Saturday, or 40 seconds faster than the standard of 1879 (and about 200 lengths difference).
Thoroughbreds and harness racing also have something else new in common. They’ve launched new social media marketing efforts to help introduce the sport to a new generation of fans. Applying social media to such ancient sports is really quite compelling and it will be interesting to see how it plays out over time.
In fact, the team that working on social marketing for The Hambletonian reached out to me last week to see if I would be interested in helping them spread the word about the race. Being in Kentucky, I thought it might be an easy job. We love our horses, even when they aren’t champions. On Saturday, we can watch one three-year-old become one and expand our appreciation for the vast world of horse racing – the one that exists beyond the first week in May.
The Society is rolling out trivia on Facebook and Twitter (follow them @hambletonian13), a Tumblr blog (http://hambletonian2013.tumblr.com/) and an Instagram account (http://instagram.com/hambletonian2013). You can follow the conversation by searching Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr for the hashtag #hambo13, too.
And on Saturday, ask the barkeep to throw it over to the CBS Sports Network from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and give the race a watch. Or dial it up online! I’m laying some dollars on Smilin Eli. And not some silly $2 show bet, either.
Sure, we’re thoroughbred folks for the most part here in Louisville. And it’s no secret that horse racing of all types could use some attention and visibility as well. Perhaps one of these days both sports will recognize they have more in common than not, and partner together to benefit the brand of “horse racing” overall.
And if you do love horses, as I do, the Hambletonian is one of those sports traditions that us horse fans ought to get behind each year. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Except when referring to Canadian Geese. They suck.
IMAGE: Smilin’ Eli (Mike Lisa photo from Hambletonian.org)
August 1, 2013 4 Comments
Here’s a test post to show off the new Press It button from CafePress. The rest of this text is just here for fun. But you can highlight any of it and the highlighted text will be added to products in a carousel that pops up when you click the Press It button!
You should also see a green, PressIt button atop the image here. Click and you’ll see what it does.
This is a neat way to produce revenue from your content — images, art or photographs; or even your writing — without having advertisements on your site. The content is yours. You are just making it easy for your audience to grab it and put it on a product.
So, if you’re Tweetable — i.e., you come up with pithy quotes like:
My web dev kid ate your honor student!
Your audience can highlight the text and make products from the pithiness!
Pretty neat, eh?
April 28, 2013 Comments Off
On my recent trip to Belize for vacation, I had the fortunate/unfortunate experience of playing passenger in a Cessna, 8-passenger sling shot plane. We got on the first one in Belize City and, with several other passengers aboard, Nancy say to me, loudly over the buzz of the engine, “Isn’t this the kind of plane Buddy Holly was on?”
Anyway, they didn’t make any announcements … just flew. So I filmed some stuff. Here’s our landing in Dangriga, Belize, on the way back from our resort island stay. Buckle up.
The takeoff video is much less climactic. It seemed easier to elevate off the sidewalk than nail the landing like a Russian gymnast. Enjoy watching that one over and over.
April 9, 2013 2 Comments
As of tomorrow morning, it will be two full weeks since I had my ass shot full of testosterone in a desperate attempt to not become a woman. Not that I wouldn’t ever want to be a woman … or offend women … but, well, I wouldn’t ever want to be a woman. Y’all go through way too much trouble for my lazy ass.
And in an ongoing effort to provide you men and women with an inside look at what it’s like to deal with hormone therapy as a strikingly virile, masculine, manly man, I’ve been keeping a bit of a journal for you.
DAY ONE OF TESTOSTERONE TREATMENTS
I awoke with a full beard, a Harley tattoo and balls the size of watermelon that cling together like Gold’s Gym weights.
DAY ONE – END OF DAY REPORT
For lunch, I had a Mazda Miata. Complete with the unsuspecting accountant behind the wheel. Kinda like a mathematically inclined pickle spear.
Dreamed I single-handedly built 47 Habitat for Humanity houses in an hour. Woke up and shat a mobile home with a “Carter-Mondale ’80″ sign in the window.
Traveled and became furious I wasn’t picked for extra screening and frisking by TSA. Sat at a bar with six couples in the evening but couldn’t stop wondering what life would be like as a swinger.
Took the bandage off my ass. Neatly left behind was a tat that said, “Bad motherfucker!”
Bacon wasn’t enough. Also ate the griddle.
Ran into Chuck Liddell at a publicity appearance. Beat his ass and made him call me “Massah Jason” in front of his wife.
Got pulled over doing 74 in a 55. Cop said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I replied, “Because your hiding behind the threat of imprisonment to intimidate people in order to overcompensate for your small penis and father’s absence of affection is addictive.” Then I ate his face.
A goose hissed at me in the parking lot at work. I spat fire and fed it to a homeless family. Began hashtagging everything written with #testosteronebitch!
Stood for 45 minutes at the Shell Station selling my urine as high-octane, premium fuel. Made $690.
The good news is that I’m feeling better. The bad news is I’m scaring off friends and neighbors at a higher-than-normal clip. Stay tuned.
April 7, 2013 1 Comment
Depression is something you should take very seriously. Unless, of course, it has anything to do with the failure of a certain sports team, your inability to beat your high score in Angry Birds or the fact your recreational habits have taken a turn for the worse and all you want to do is lay around and smoke weed. In each case, you’ll feel better if you get off the drug.
I’ve had a couple of years of up-and-down moods that I’ve finally given up trying to understand. I went to the doctor and said, “I’m depressed or imbalanced or something. Fix my brain.”
My doctor is an exercise nut who believes the natural approach — diet and exercise — is how you handle your stuff. Since I have an intense fear of being medicated by more than the occasional bourbon cocktail, we get along great, despite the fact I rarely take his recommendations and am still fat, unhealthy and unmotivated. But that lack of motivation, I think, has something to do with this depression thing, too.
So instead of booking me on the Jason Falls International Tour of Antidepressants until we found one that worked, Dr. Bob wanted to test me for hormones. He didn’t explain, but I figured he wanted to make sure there weren’t any from Mexican donkeys flying around my system. (I assured him I only attended that show in Juarez once and was certain I didn’t touch anything, but a little double-check wouldn’t hurt.)
Well, the test results came in and here’s the medical low-down on The Fallsman: I’m apparently a woman. At least hormonally. Yes, I realize this is impossible to fathom … I am the embodiment of manliness. But I have off-the-charts levels of estrogen and dangerously low levels of testosterone in my system.
I asked if this had anything to do with my man boobs. The doctor wasn’t amused. (His lack of enthusiasm could have been leftover from the fact I punched him in the nuts for leaving me hanging on the medical news all weekend, but still.)
There’s a lot I don’t understand yet … But will soon since this is at least 30 minutes worth of material for my first standup comedy album. But my depression and fatigue and moodiness are the direct result of being all femaled up on the inside. But you should see me in there! I’m fabulous!
We cannot, however, account for my lack of incessant chattiness.
(These are far too easy.)
I’ve been injected with my first round of testosterone treatments — big capsules injected into your hip that time release the hormone over six months — and my ass hurts. I’ll start my “don’t be a girl” pills tomorrow to reduce estrogen. Perhaps it will also curb my sudden urges to visit Target for no apparent reason.
Nevertheless, I’m well on my way to once again being a manly man. If this doesn’t work, you should come over for Stich-N-Bitch next month. I’ll roast some brie and whip up a dip with avocado. We’ll talk about our feelings and call ourselves Ya-Yas.
Granted, I don’t know if this is the problem or a symptom, but it’s a start. If this little silliness on my personal blog serves any purpose, I hope its that you now know a man — an inordinately masculine one, I might add — who isn’t afraid to say he’s depressed and get some help to deal with it.
Whether it’s hormone therapy, antidepressants or even therapy, you don’t have to feel helpless, alone or like crap if you don’t want to. If you ever run into those feelings on a consistent basis, ask your doctor. You’re probably not nuts.
But you may be a woman. Hopefully, not that one from Juarez.
March 25, 2013 10 Comments
My son turns eight years old today. It’s not a milestone birthday, per say, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the world has changed for me and my family in the last decade. Obviously, having Grant and Katie are the big bangs in that timespan.
I’ve also realized that the my focus on my career, the opportunity presented by writing a couple of books and the like has adversely effected my attentiveness to my family. To boot, the busy-ness of parenting has had a similar effect on my attentiveness to my wife.
I’ve realized recently that I’m successful professionally, but quite the failure personally.
Balance is hard. It takes in-human effort to produce humane results. While I’ve prioritized providing for my family, I’ve neglected being there with and for my family. That has to change.
I have no idea how to do this. But I know it’s going to take a fair amount of work. I don’t want to let off the gas pedal on one side, but know I have to press down on the other pedal at the same time. The complexity of being present at home while being present at work may overwhelm me.
But being a better father and husband is the best gift I can give my son. Here’s hoping I don’t mess this up any more.
March 21, 2013 2 Comments
New York City in 1996 was a neat place to live. I was young, single and eager to live the fast life. Of course, reality set in and I lived the stationery life watching all the fast life folks pass me by.
This did not mean the experiences weren’t worthwhile. And the occasional one taught me valuable lessons, like the one night I learned that in essence, we’re all the same.
A good friend and I both worked in Manhattan but lived outside the city. We would meet in Times Square each evening and have a few drinks or dinner , typically at the All-Star Cafe, then jump on our respective trains home. While the All-Star Cafe wasn’t exactly a “locals only,” off-the-beaten-path pub like I prefer, it was too close to the common transportation hub for our commutes home. Besides, not only did the bar area feature a circle of big screen televisions showing every major live sporting event concurrently, but it was new and trendy enough — even aside from the tourists — to attract women more likely to be interested in sports-minded lads like us.
We were probably there 2-3 nights each week for a couple of months and developed a pattern. Every other night, my buddy would hit on a fellow patron and wind up ditching me for the excitement of whatever happens when you leave with a different woman. The one-night thing was never very appealing to me, so I would finish my drink and sulk off to the subway, alone.
One night, he left with yet another bar angel. I shook my head and asked for my check. The lady sitting 4-5 seats down from me — who had been there before and struck up the occasional small talk — looked my way and said, “I think that’s four out of five nights he’s left you here alone.”
“Yeah. He’s a wild oat sewin’ SOB, I guess.”
“Never been into that myself.”
“Wanna go home with me?”
March 4, 2013 Comments Off
A carefully worded email is always bad news. I got one today, as did all the other Maker’s Mark Ambassadors, from Rob and Bill Samuels Jr. The email informed Ambassadors that due to rising demand and lack of supply, Maker’s Mark would now contain less alcohol content. What that means is they’ll water it down (with mineral water, most likely) to spread the supply of bourbon around and produce more bottles than originally possible.
The exact wording of the explanation was this:
We wanted you to be the first to know that, after looking at all possible solutions, we’ve worked carefully to reduce the alcohol by volume (ABV) by just 3%. This will enable us to maintain the same taste profile and increase our limited supply so there is enough Maker’s Mark to go around, while we continue to expand the distillery and increase our production capacity.
We have both tasted it extensively, and it’s completely consistent with the taste profile our founder/dad/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr., created nearly 60 years ago. We’ve also done extensive testing with Maker’s Mark drinkers, and they couldn’t tell a difference.
Being a fan of Maker’s Mark, someone who used to work with the brand (though it’s been four years since I’ve had involvement and a lot has changed) and an informal bourbon ambassador to the social media world, it came as no surprise that several people wanted my take on this development. One Facebook thread I was tagged into was full of outrage about the move. And that reaction won’t be limited.
First, let’s remind ourselves that the laws of supply and demand are hard to manage. In the bourbon industry, they’re impossible since your product is put away in rack houses years before it will ever go to market. Master Distillers don’t have to produce enough inventory to fill the demand today. They have to predict what the demand will be two, four, seven, 10 or more years from now, depending on how long the spirit in question is aged. For Maker’s Mark to have accurately predicted the demand and boom in the bourbon industry five to seven years ago (which is the age range for Maker’s Mark), would be like picking the winning lottery tickets three or four weeks in a row.
That said, there are several different ways to deal with a spirit shortage. You can raise prices and explain that the stuff is so good, you can’t keep up so consumers will need to pay a premium to get it. You can water it down or mix it with other spirits to increase supply, but this typically sacrifices quality. Or you can run out and have pissed off customers. So, Maker’s Mark had to do something that wasn’t going to be popular, one way or another.
So they decided to water it down, but claim to have preserved the taste. It’s not as potent, but their email says, “We’ve made sure we didn’t screw up your whisky.” Until consumers can try the new iteration of Maker’s Mark and compare, they’re just reacting on principle, not fact. So the outrage online is unqualified.
Still, let’s be realistic:
- Most consumers won’t notice or care. The taste differences, if noticeable, won’t be to most people because they mix bourbon. Most bourbon drinkers won’t notice because they’re not complex-palate, taste savorers. For probably 80 percent of the current drinkers of the brand, this change will make little difference.
- The 20% of Maker’s Mark fans (I’m estimating) who do have complex palates and sip the bourbon to savor the flavor will be comprised of two groups: One that tastes a difference. The other that doesn’t but claims they do. Either way, both will be mad about it and probably switch brands until they forget about the change or realize they’re being silly.
- There will be a very small number of people who will boycot the brand or will decide that the 3% makes a difference and they’d prefer another bourbon. They’ll switch and that will be that. They’ll probably settle for Maker’s Mark when it’s the only real bourbon a bar serves, but will otherwise pick another brand.
- Many other distilleries are either doing, or considering doing, the same thing, but probably aren’t as forthcoming about it to their customers. So give Maker’s some credit here.
But that brings us back to the principle of the matter. Maker’s Mark defined the premium bourbon category. It opened the door for all these other premium and super premium bourbons and created a new category of the spirit. It has always been a brand founded on principle. It’s a bourbon so good, you want to share it with your friends.
Now the company is sacrificing quality to sell more bottles. It has eschewed the family heritage the Samuels clan has always been so ardent to hold on to, despite it being owned by a huge corporate conglomerate. That attention to detail and quality is being tossed aside because they have an opportunity to sell more bottles of a lesser mixture rather than raising the price and saying, “Sorry. This stuff’s so good, we’re selling out.” The family name is all over the brand, but the decision here is clearly being made by the bottom line of the big company that actually owns it.
It’s the principle that matters. And by tossing principle out the door, the brand that defined premium bourbon, in many eyes will be premium no more.
As for me, I’ll probably still ask for Maker’s Mark when travelling. It’s more widely available than most other bourbons I enjoy, and less kick doesn’t much matter to me. I don’t drink to get drunk. If the taste is noticeably different, I may switch up my preference from time to time, but I’m not going to be melodramatic and boycot or whine about this change. That kind of rhetoric is about the person in question, not what they’re drinking. The change is what it is and I love Maker’s Mark, even if I don’t like what this decision means from a principle perspective.
The brand will recover from this just fine. They’re too big not to. But the passion many have for it will begin to wane. And that’s too bad.
February 9, 2013 1 Comment