Thursday, June 26, 2008

Four Acquired Tastes Worth the Time to Acquire

Trust me, folks. If you peruse this list with an open mind your life will be better for it.

1. Tom Waits. It is because of this evil madman genius that Toots and I roadtripped 700+ miles -- again -- to go see him. He sings with a wheezy, raspy, throaty growl that sounds like he took Shemp Howard's advice and gargled with old razor blades. Yet he's provided some of the most beautiful music that has ever graced the world. He will make you laugh, make you think, even make you cry. Run right out today and get a hold of three vital discs: Heart of Saturday Night, Small Change, and Rain Dogs. From there the adventure begins.

2. NHL Hockey. Go to ONE GAME in person where the home team plays well and wins. That's normally all anyone needs. Breathtakingly fast-paced, physical play - lots of fun. It's a mystery to me as to why the US is losing interest in hockey. I do hear from some old-timers that the game has changed radically and while I agree with that statement on its face I think it's a bullshit argument as to why nobody's watching. I've seen lots of old games (I'm from Boston, where the Bruins had glory days in 1970 and 1972) and all I see is a bunch of slow Canadian forwards with no teeth shooting at slow Canadian goalies with no teeth. I'm not saying today's game doesn't have some holes in it (bring back the hitting, please, this ain't the ballet), but these are subtleties that as a newcomer to the game you probably won't observe.

3. Sushi. Yes; you are usually eating raw fish. Get over it. Think about it: when was the last time someone said "I have no problem with raw fish, I just don't like sushi?" The acquired taste in this case is a bit of a misnomer; you have to LOSE something, namely an unfounded revulsion against eating raw fish. When you clear that hurdle and put a slice of tuna in your mouth, and let yourself actually taste it, you'll be hooked. Besides, let's be honest: Sushi is fun to eat. You got yer wasabi, yer soy sauce, lots of little dishes and chopsticks and a dozen different varieties of this-n-that on your plate - it's nothing but a good time.

4. Homestar Runner. A semi-episodic Flash animated world where absurdity is the only constant. Hip but never blue, never takes itself too seriously, lots of running gags, and that rare combination of whip-smart and flat-out stupid that makes me like Family Guy and Scrubs so damn much. It has a tutorial, for Christ's sake. Should be easy to get up to speed.

What are some of YOUR acquired tastes? I'd be interested to hear.


  1. Great piece and I like the topic. Which made me ponder some aquired tastes that I have aquired. In no particular order, they are:

    1. Parenthood - We waited 10 years to have a child, and I was never sure I actually wanted one, and the lifestyle that went with know to be a decent parent, selfishness pretty much goes out the window. And selfishness isn't a bad thing. I used to have quite a bit of it, and truth be told there is a little remaining. But when you become a parent your entire mindset changes, and selfishness is a luxury of the past. Everything revolves around the care, and nuturing of your little bundle of joy (and poop). Showers become a poop an spit up is a daily activity that one quickly becomes desensitized to. So you can see how this is an AQUIRED TASTE. However to see love shining in a little ones eyes, just for you, is something that has to be experienced.

    2. Guacamole. I've lived for 40 years with an abhorrance for avacadoes and guacamole. Both my husband and sister can't get enough of it. Over the years I've tried it a few times and found it yucky. But guess what happened last year? I tried it and I liked it. And now I've grown to love it. Creamy and a little bit spicy, it has now become one of my favorite things.

    3. Pat Conroy. He's a writer of books such as Lords of Discipline and Prince of Tides. I had no interest in reading his work, till a coworker of mind suggested him and raved of his writing. I said no thanks, I don't like those kind of books about the military, yet I borrowed Lords of Discipline and it hooked me. It's about boys attending the citadel in south carolina, and the writing just takes you there. I felt like I couldn't put it down till I finished it.

    3. Gary Jacobs - i'll write about this little aquired taste in a bit.

  2. 4. Aquired Taste - Gary Jacobs: Okay, so he's not for the faint of heart. Yes, he always insists he's right, and yes, when he feels he's losing an argument his "go to" skill is to shout louder than God. And yes, he has hair almost as long as mine. Once you get past all this, you'll find someone who can keep you laughing so much you'll do spit-takes. You won't find a better friend in good times or bad. Oh and he's a mediocre poker player.