Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Good Stuff In Ice Cream

Good day to you sir and/or madame. I hope that this finds you well. I'm writing to you in hopes of expressing myself somehow.

Have you ever noticed how much stuff there is in ice cream?! Ice Cream History Dot Net (which you can bet that I will be exploring later) says that ice cream typically has dairy products, milk proteins, sugar, fat, stabilizers, flavorings, air and ice...but, I am not talking about that. I am talking about the good, sometimes weird stuff.

I mean, we all love some vanilla ice cream. The only way to feel more American on a hot summer day is to put it next to mom's apple pie. You might dress it up and throw some chocolate sauce or sprinkles on it, but it is still just vanilla with some dressing on it. What we are focusing on, today, are some weird flavor game changers.

I like ice cream. Always have. It's kind of hard not to. I like gelato, shakes, whatever. I used to be a wuss about it and stick to plain old vanilla, but have expanded my horizons and am happy to report back that I am thrilled with the results. And now is a great time to be alive with ice cream. You hopefully missed out on listeria and in 2018 can buy a pint of ice cream with ALL KINDS OF @#$! in it. Let me briefly highlight a few of those companies that aren't afraid to supply ice cream teeming with ingredients or toppings or mixins or whatever you wanna call them.

If you are from Texas and DIDN'T get listeria, you almost have to buy Blue Bell. They regularly swap out and add to 5 seasonal flavors or their 20+ others. Your standard fare is often present with standouts like "Key Lime Mango Tart" (which I should have NO BUSINESS liking, but I do) and "Cookie Two Step" (Cookie Dough and Cookies). Heck! You can even get a "Pistachio Almond" flavor pretty regularly, which if you have not seen it before, seems buck wild, but has actually been kicking around for a long time. Weird green salty nuts in creamy dairy? Ice cream scientist are some bold dudes. Like I said, Blue Bell is a standard in Texas and if you have it wherever you are, you should check it out.

From a tantalizing Blue Bell tweet on the Twitter

Ben & Jerry's is a special ice cream maker for me. I grew up in New Hampshire and have been to the original Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont. It was really cool and a high point of my childhood. Ben & Jerry's use their ice cream to put the fun in funky, much like their flavors suggest. They have a flavor based on the jam band, Phish, called "Phish Food," which is filled with chocolate fish and yummy. They have a Stephen Colbert inspired flavor entitled "Ameri-Cone Dream" which is of course filled with waffle cones and angry bees. With flavors like "Chunky Monkey, Cherry Garcia, and Half Baked," Ben and Jerry's moves their joint to the other side of their mouth and plants their tongue directly into their cheek with stoner humor and has for ages. One thing that they don't joke about at all, however is political activism. So if you enjoy a side of liberal advocacy mixed in with your ice cream, Ben and Jerry's has got your back. There are so many flavors to choose from, you could put them on a rotation and never get tired of ice cream. I recommend that.

From Ben & Jerry's website

Finally, we must mention an industry giant. I never ate Häagen-Dazs 'til I was over 30. I always thought that it was ice cream for the fat and elderly and did not mess with it. Turns out, fat people eat lots of things on the regular and old people have eaten lots of things over the span of their life, so I should have seen their pallets as refined and adhered to their wisdom. Häagen-Dazs is delightful and their "Rum Raisin" is the oldest man flavor there is. It is also lovely and probably my favorite of all of these. I recommend it, even though my wife denounces it as "gross" and an "irresponsible dietary choice..." Yeah, ok, wife.

There is a lot of stuff that goes into ice cream that is good and not listeria. Ice cream is cold and delicious. If you are super lazy, you can even go to a Marble Slab, Cold Stone, or Baskin Robbins and they will make it easy for you. They might even put marshmallows in it or something and you don't even have to scoop it yourself. It should be no surprise that the good stuff in ice cream is What's Good Scott. Even though it is cold outside, try eating some ice cream and not smiling. Try eating a flavor that you never have. Do it for me.

Friday, August 31, 2018

License To Trill

Welcome to What's Good, Scott? It's been awhile. Things haven't really been that "Good." But, as most things are cyclical, I have come around to a spot where things are "Good" enough to entertain positive thought. Thank you for your patience and patronage.

With this creative endeavor it is my goal (always has been) to highlight good things and celebrate them in hopes of amusing/inspiring/titillating you, the person who takes the time to read this. Today is one that I have been wanting to write for a long time. Today is special. Today we highlight "Trill."

Trill is loosely defined by Google as:

This is when someone really just goes for it and sings with gusto. Their voice is their instrument and trill is the vocal equivalent of a guitar solo. The vibrato (whether natural or forced) makes the journey from the note that the singer started on to the note that they end on feel exciting and even soulful. Trill can be utilized in a short or long fashion. For instance, most Jazz or R&B singers are barely able to sing without a little trill, so those genres often produces soulful, sexy, intentional compositions dripping with trill. This is short trill. A good example of long trill is Mariah Carey's song "Emotions," a song with a particularly memorable line of trill which she uses to LAUNCH HER VOICE INTO OUTER-FREAKING SPACE. Now, that's what I call trill...volume 2. When done properly, a singer can highlight multiple notes in a run and isolate/boost the best ones with power and control.

Good Trill

Singing clear notes without vibrato is great, but trill lets the listener know that you really mean it. It punches up whatever is sung. The closest non-musical thing that I can compare trill to is a basketball dunk. 

So, imagine that there are some basketball teams playing. The conflict has gone back and forth all night with both teams scoring points by way of layups and conventional three pointers...really Larry Bird-esque play. Nothing flashy, just fundamentals. But, the game clock is running down and people have to get points and make statements. You are intently observing as Player A, we will call him Michael Jordan or Lebron James or Muggsy Bogues or James Blake, leaps from what feels like mid-court and comes down with a real strong dunk move, running right into Player B and knocking him down with the sheer force of his dunkitude. These are the hot basketball plays that they make posters out of for children to hang in their rooms. The game has been changed. The statement has been made. The dunk has been executed. The other team knows that they are done for. This is the dunk...slam dunk for the layman.

To me, this is what trill is like. It is a move that you make when/if you can and it has the possibility to change the musical composition and make a statement. Sure, it can be silly. But, it can also be beautiful and that is why it is What's Good....Scott...for today.

The title for this blog post was conceived by Marshal Blessing who would just say "all glory to God" if I thanked him for it publicly, so he doesn't really need this, but I feel compelled to credit him.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"Black Rock" by O.A.R.

Hello and welcome to What's Good Scott.  "I'll tell you hwhat" (Hank Hill voice) things have been getting really ugly lately.  When I stare out into the blackness of night I find that my grim outlook is meeting with the bleak prospects of tomorrow...


Have you ever been to Rockville, Maryland?  I haven't, but I want to.  Besides being the birthplace of Jamshid Amouzegar, the former Prime Minister of Iran and famed film director Spike Jonze, Rockville also has a "friendship relationship" (one step below being a sister city) with Jiaxing in the People's Republic of China.  That's a lot of very strange and intriguing things to be wrapped up in a small city with over 60,000 people.  I want to go to Black Rock, but it doesn't even have to be physical...I want to go to "Black Rock" in my mind.  Let me explain...

O.A.R., or Of A Revolution, is an American rock band that has delighted fans with their "jam rock" style of music for two decades.  There is a casual, yet professional vibe that makes them infectious to me.  To expound upon this, I can tell you that while their music sounds effortless, there are many components.  You can find the same level of musical mastery in the studio as you find on the stage.  I'm rarely left unsatisfied by an O.A.R. jam, but "Black Rock" hits the spot like none other.

When you hear the first version of "Black Rock," recorded on 1997's "The Wanderer," it is somewhat lackluster.  A little bit fast, a little unspirited, and a whole lot of potential fill out the undertones of what would become my favorite song.

But then, as jam bands typically do, they started performing it live and it just got better and better.  There are multiple live recordings of "Black Rock."  They have some things in common, but every live recording has it's own idiosyncrasies and special bits of white guy, reggae magic.  Things in common are as follows: 
  1. There is always the Black Rock
  2. There is always guitars
  3. Fighting alone is always the worst damn way that you can fight
  4. There is always an old man (spoiler alert, his name is Old Man Time)
As these live performances go, they get real funky.  Listen to how sexy this one gets... I mean, he says "Red Rocks" instead of "Black Rock."  Awesome.

Sometimes there is blood pouring all over Mark Roberge, but no matter what happens in the midst of the song...no matter where it takes him, he brings it back to his desire for love to be an all-encompassing force in our lives.  I have great affection for these live recordings and collected them into Spotify and Youtube playlists to share.  I think that you will like them as well.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-eByGml8oVQ7CsZQ3_i9KTDZ4CwutO9f
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/1250455617/playlist/4MZDCvBF9jmDYGyGcQk9sb


So, bump one of these playlists in your car with your windows down or in your living room while you dance like no one is watching...because "Black Rock" by O.A.R. is What's Good, Scott.

Friday, September 29, 2017


2007 was a magical year for a lot of reasons.  Apple released the very first Iphone, revolutionizing how smart our phones could be.  Jared Zabransky, Ian Johnson and the 2007 Boise State Broncos upset Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl using trick plays (more on this later).  And finally, video game developer, Harmonix created a revolution.

Rockband took the idea of "What if we could play Guitar Hero, but with more instruments?" and made it a reality.  Rockband came out in 2007 and featured controllers in the guise of drums, guitars and microphones.  It was ingenious because to play the guitar, you would push buttons in sequence, whilst holding the controller like a guitar or banging on the drums in a pattern reflected on the screen.  This gave the game the ability to conjure feelings in those who played it.  If you always wanted to be in a band, this was your shot (to at least feel like it).  The track listing was varied and offered a little something for everyone.

Groups of friends flocked to this as a new way to game together and it got a lot of play in all different age groups and on multiple gaming platforms.  Harmonix had created a form of in-home karaoke...and people loved it for many different reasons.  You could utilize button pushing skills to feel like you were employing music playing skills and the correlation was strong enough to make even the N00biest basement dweller feel like a rock star.  It was wonderfully new.

Fast forward to 2016, nearly 10 years later.  I am an old man with an Xbox One and play games like Fallout 4 and Metal Gear Solid 5 frequently.  I still like to sing, although not as good at it as I used to be and love music and the celebration of it.  All of these things led me to wondering whatever happened to Rockband.  In moments of internet searching, I realized that a 4th version had just come out and was available!  Now, all I had to do was raise tons of money.

I will sometimes get obsessed with things and pursue them with reckless abandon.  My mind became filled with and fixated on the idea of how cool it would be to have Rockband.  I crunched numbers and no matter what I did, I could not come up with the scratch.  No matter how hard I tried to procure it, Rockband ended up being given to me by our dear friend, Preston as a gift.  We had 3 plastic instruments, a usb microphone, and a bottle of tequila...it was on.

Rockband became a regular staple in our Saturday night hang outs and it was as good, if not better than ever.  My wife shredded the guitar with the precision that she brings to most puzzle games, Preston tossed a couple of shots and rocked the drums sped up on hard mode, and I piled up 100% song completions with the microphone.  It was joyous and not because it was a game or the peripheral controllers were cool....it was because it was simple, interactive fun.  Whether we won or lost, whether we were sober or trashed, no matter what it was a mirthful experience had by all.

Not only was Rockband fun, but it was an informative activity for me.  I could hear new parts of music stick out and tantalize my ears.  Solos that I had never paid much attention to suddenly became physical expressions of how interesting and creative music could be.  Bands that I had never heard of found new ways to impress me.  I was obsessed with .38 Special for God's sakes...

Anyways, if you are looking for a way to unwind with friends or experience music or spend $300+ then Rockband on the current generation systems (Xbox One/PS4) is What's Good, Scott.  Thanks for reading and if you did not read the post before this, know that I am grateful to you for sticking with me.  Be well and I will see you soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Moving Forward

Hey.  It's been a while.  Nice to see you again.  Thank you for your patience during my hiatus.  Some things changed for me with my employment and my financial situation and I haven't seen much that has been good, lately.  My heart was damaged by people that I trusted, my spirit has been broken, and my mind has been consumed by fear and sadness.  The world is very frightening and my place in it is very unstable.  In the wake of all of this misfortune, I stopped listening to my own advice.  The entire point of this blog was forgotten.  My mind naturally/constantly focuses on darkness and this blog was supposed to be a way for me to actively work against it.  Instead, I gave up and lost it. 

So, to be clear....I am still not doing great, but I am here and being here is a pretty decent achievement for some people.  Like Stella, I am going to try to get my groove back and whether I succeed or not, I am still gonna' be here.  I am moving forward and that's "What's Good."  There will be new posts on this blog, because there are still things that are "good."  They might be harder to find, but I will not give up.  I am still here.  Thank you for being here with me.

<  Also, the new HAIM album wasn't great :,-(  >

Friday, June 16, 2017


What is “good Scott”? Hang on, I read that wrong… Wait, where am I? Uh oh…

*turns around* Oh, hello. I’m Hal. I play Scott’s brother and co-admin on his other blog: ComicalMusings. Scott left both blogs open in the same browser window, so I wandered over here because I can do that. But if you’re reading this… then that means it’s an actual post…
 …so I need to talk about something good?

Okay. Let’s do this right. Welcome to “What’s Good, Scott?” (note the comma). I’m not Scott. I’m Hal, but I still appreciate good things. The question is: which one should I pontificate about today? The Talking Heads, the Deep Dream Generator, the book of Jonah… those are all good, but no. I could write about Scott. He’s good. “What’s good: Scott” …nah. Too meta, too meta. Today I think I’ll write about…

Conditioner. Like for your hair? Yes. Surprising? Perhaps, but it is good none-the-less. And I almost missed it.

Like most of us, I formed a lot of opinions and pre-determinations as I was growing up. One of them was that the best shampoo came in a green bottle labeled “Pert Plus.” It was best because the bottle and the corresponding TV ads boldly proclaimed that it contained shampoo PLUS conditioner, IN ONE! My child brain didn’t really understand what that meant, but it sounded like a miracle of modern science. Another misinformed opinion I had in my youth was that only girls needed more than one bottle of stuff to put in their hair. And Pert Plus gave me two hair things in one bottle, giving me twice the follicular benefits while allowing me to maintain my status as a manly-dude-child. It also didn’t hurt that my favorite color is green.

So from an early age, I was aware of “conditioner” as a thing. But I was also aware that shower scientists could mix it with shampoo, so anyone buying it separately was getting played (and was probably a little girly). This worked out fine while I was a husky kid with a buzz-cut, but in middle school I started to grow my hair out. At first, my hair was crispy and gross (almost as if the slogan “shampoo plus conditioner, in one” was just a marketing gimmick).

I don’t remember when, but at some point my mom suggested that I might want to start using conditioner. It was a game changer. I’ve been using it ever since. Thanks mom. (What’s good, Hal? Mom’s advice.)

For real, conditioner made a significant difference. My hair is softer. It smells nicer. But more importantly, it breaks less. This is kind-of a big deal because I grow it out to donate it. (What’s good, Hal? Tooting your own horn.) Look, I didn’t bring it up to brag. It’s not that fancy. When people ask, “What have you ever done to help other people?” saying, “Well, I didn’t get a haircut for a long time,” sounds like a silly answer. But if you’ve ever considered donating your hair, I encourage you to do so. (What’s good, Hal? Helping other people in unconventional ways.) (You know what else is good? Imagining that somewhere out in the world some other person is wearing my old hair. I never really thought about that before. It’s a little creepy, but also good.)

Long story short, my hair breaks less and it’s in better condition ;) so I have better hair to donate. Because if I’m going to give someone else my hair, I want it to be in good shape, not nasty and frizzy.
But even if you don’t donate your hair, if you haven’t tried conditioner, I encourage you to check it out. You might like the results. It’s the small things, ya’ know? If you’re a dude, don’t trip. You’ll still be manly. Some gents even use conditioner on their beards. And I guarantee it is 420% less stupid than “romphims.” (What’s good, Hal? Not romphims!)

This guy kinda' pulls it off...from https://www.romphim.com/

Anyway, my point is: I listened to good advice, I got over my preconceptions, and I found a way to take better care of myself. (What’s good, Hal? Taking care of yourself.) And by doing so, it has been a benefit to others. (What else is good, Hal? Benefiting others.) So take care of yourself. We need you.

I’ll now return you to your regularly scheduled feel-good blog reading, while I try to figure out how to get out of here. I hope I’ll see you again. The next time you see me I might have different hair, but rest assured it will be well conditioned. L’chaim.