Portland, ME - The New Slogan

Portland unveiled a refurbished slogan in 2013, "Portland, ME. Yes. Life's good here." I do not love it. Not only is this slogan vague and oddly pleading — needing to affirm itself before the thought is even stated, "Yes. You like Portland. Yes?!" — its halting structure catches on the tongue. I'm guessing the runner-up option was, "Portland, ME. Sturdy. Indeed, a goodly-fine city. Very nice thank you."

Since I have already reviewed Portland as favorably as one can, I thought I'd throw a couple slogans of my own out there to see if any stuck.

Below, enjoy nine, Drunch-approved slogans, mocked up and ready to be appropriated by the greater Portland community. You're welcome!


Slab - Portland, ME

Oh Slab, your Sicilian-style “Hand Slab” is formidable. For this beautiful and delectable addition to the pantheon of things-we-Portlanders-want-to-eat we must thank Stephen Lanzalotta and his pizza-ing skills.


No, we cannot simply thank chef Stephen. We must also thank the robust cooks of Sicily, through whose rugged individualism this fusion of Italian and Arabic flavors was born.


But that is not enough. Let’s go back to around 997 AD and thank the first chef — contested though his/her identity may be — to put tomato and cheese on bread and call their creation a “pizza.”


But then, why not just thank the first person, nearly 28,000 years back, to mix ground cereal grain with water and forget it on a particularly hot boulder, inadvertently creating the world’s first flat bread? Without the knowledge that grain could be eaten, and preserved, in such a portable, tasty way, there’s little chance the farming revolution could have ever taken root (as it were).


Actually, it might make more sense to go forward a bit and thank the Sumerian farmers of Mesopotamia back around 3100 B.C. who discovered that diverting streams to rain-starved portions of land tempered the soil, creating irrigation as we know it. We raise our pizzas in thanks to these early hydroscientists for irrigating modern civilization to more reliable and bountiful crop yields. Thus making grain and tomato and basil — the essential building blocks of pizza — available to everyone.


And if we’re thanking irrigation we should probably also thank the nameless Egyptian handy-man brilliant enough to create the Ard: early civilization’s proto-plough. Without that first beast-drawn wedge, we couldn’t till rocky soil nor make seed drills in any significant number or consistency. Thanks, Ard, for blowing the doors off farming by creating an easy and tremendously effective system to replace what had previously been the uncoordinated labors of malnourished, hob-footed, stick-wielding peasants.


Well, that actually leads us to thanking the first hominins, 30,000 years ago for thinking up the idea of using durable tools at all. Their manufacture of stone implements, like knives and hammers — rather than just disposable sticks and rocks and bones — ushered us into the modern age.


That being the case, we must also give a nod and wink to the first chimpanzee ever to pick up a twig and think, “hmm, I can use this to ‘fish’ for termites!” That little simian’s ingenuity was a watershed moment in mammal tool-use for certain.


In reality we should just thank primitive autonomization of the first carpometacarpal joint — otherwise known as the development of the thumb — which existed 70 million years ago in early primates. Without that thumb, we’ve got no tool-use. So thanks thumbs. Good on you.


Rather, let’s not thank thumbs. Let’s thank the first amniotes to crawl onto land and lay their eggs. Without their ingenious breeding tactics — namely, being the first mammal with the ability to lay eggs on dry land rather than in water — they staked our mammalian claim to dry land itself, allowing for all the glorious rest to unfold.


Yet, while we’re thanking amniotes we might as well salute prokaryotes, the single-celled grand pappy/mammy to every consciousness walking, squawking, swimming, hopping, digging, slithering or straight photosynthesizing on earth. If our prokaryotic parents hadn’t survived (and flourished) during the shelling of earth by asteroids 3.6 billion years ago, there’s no way we’d be sippin’ ‘Gansetts in the shade of Slab’s outdoor seating area.


In actuality we probably should thank the early atmosphere, consisting of mainly nitrogen, carbon dioxide and inert gases (and some hydrogen left over from the solar nebula which was pretty much just a bunch of dust left over from the sun’s formation) that created the necessary conditions for life to form, by giving us water almost 3.8 billion years ago.


Really, though, we have to thank the sacrifice of early stars that went supernova, exploding and expelling vast clouds of gas, dust and radiation at up to 30,000 K/per second. It was this star material — molecules heavier than iron — that mixed with elements from the Big Bang itself — like hydrogen, helium and traces of lithium — that managed to find its way into the gravitational thrall of our precious yellow dwarf star we call The Sun, and, with the power of gravity, swirl itself into a nearly perfect sphere upon which every single living being — that we have ever known — has lived their life; a small rock that found itself the optimal distance from a source of heat in its randomly generated orbit whose gyrations still allow for hospitable growth and love and livelihoods and existence as we know it, this lovely, confusing, hallowed, fragile, crowded, lonely, miraculous place we call Earth.


Thanks stars. Thanks for giving us the Hand Slab.





4.0 Stars

There are quite a few menu items that delight, but the Hand Slab (spiritual and physical successor to Micucci’s Sicilian Pizza) is a delicious, and nearly unrivaled, piece of pizza.


Hit and Miss

The Hand Slab is wonderfully priced. You certainly get bang for your buck in that delicious, puffy, fall-apart brick of pie. The rest of the menu is solid, taste-wise, but I’ve seen a couple dishes that are more expensive (by double in some cases) that serve up less actual food than the Handel’s Mcslabberson. It’s up to you what you’re in the mood for, but don’t let a higher price convince you that you’ll be getting a massively larger helping of food.


Outdoor Sweeting

The indoor area has a cool vibe with poured concrete and a two-tiered layout. However, the outdoor area, smothered in orange, authentic German Bier Hall style tables is the place to be. As the weather turns to winter, outdoors won’t be an option. But during the summer and what little is left of our fall, there are few places more pleasant to crush a slab.


Hard Knocks

The servers are generally nice and prompt. Indeed I’ve had some great experiences. But twice of my five times to Slab, I’ve had underwhelming outcomes. Once, when I was alone, it took me about fifteen solid minutes to get visited by a server. After that initial wait it was a generally well-paced service experience. The second occasion was with some buds and one of our cohort had no U.S. identification, just his “I’m from Somewhere in Europe” I.D. card. He was not allowed to buy beer. Now, there was no question he was over 21, in fact he looks about double that age. And I (we) understand that Slab has regulations on which cards they can take or not take. Ultimately it’s a judgment call on staying completely safe (from a regulation standpoint, in case an inspector were somehow present), or keeping your previously-happy customers happy. By choosing the former, Slab earned the dubious company of Binga’s Stadium as the only other place in Portland to not accept that “I’m from Somewhere in Europe” I.D. card. With that last experience, Slab, unfortunately, lost a couple customers.



That unfortunate event withstanding, I will still eat at Slab. The Hand Slab is just that tasty. And I know Slab doesn’t necessarily need my patronage, nor that of my friends, since business looks to be in business. However, what was once an immaculately excellent place to go now has a blemish, which, unfortunately, will not soon fade.





Blue Rooster Food Co - Portland, ME

Looking through the verdant swaying foliage from the panoramic window in my bedroom, I almost convinced myself I didn’t have any animal hybrids at all — as if it were just solitary me in the midst of wild ocean on a tropical haven of solitude.

            Peering from under the sheets of my egg-shaped water bed, I realized that the previous night was one of the first good sleeps I’d had since the whole electrified wolfverine escape. I felt good. It’s interesting, when you forget what it feels like to just feel good, to not feel put-upon and heavy with problems that you can’t directly solve. This island, BloodSpew Cove — my island — is kind of a handful.

            The electrified wolfverine mishap was basically just a miscalculation on my part. Who knew they would be strong enough to gnaw through their steel enclosure’s bars? After devouring Ken Klatch, a really nice lackey, they absconded to the wilds where they’re now vigorously procreating. Looking on the bright side though, having giant, vicious, electrified quadrupeds isn’t the worst form of security against would-be snoopers.

            Unfortunately, I can’t spin the Tasmanian Marlin Man imbroglio. The three maimed interns aren’t going to dole out very good reviews after that one.

            To make matters worse Gloria Languardo, my unflappable assistant, was worried by this week’s gen-mod forum presentation in which I unveiled the SARS AIDS Cheetah.

            “What, exactly,” she said, “is the benefit of the fastest land-mammal imbued with both SARS and AIDS?” Well, she stumped me with that one. I was just thinking, check out this badass cheetah, y’know? Needless to say I tabled that project along with the invisible sentient Alzheimer’s cloud.

            I’m not all blunders thought. I mean, yeah, my Dad, Dr. Inferno, gave me this island. I named it BloodSpew Cove. The whole idea of filling it with heinous genetic mutant abominations was purely my initiative. I realize that the idea wasn’t anything particularly new — yeah yeah Dr. Moreau got there first — but I still brought it all to life.

            The actual problem — besides all these little mishaps — is that the third annual board meeting was coming up and all the investors would be here in a week. That means Professor Knife, Bill Hates, Señor Deathface, The Gay Phantom and the head of the board, my father, Dr. Inferno.

            This is the problem with our capitalist shackles; it allows no room for blue sky innovation! True progress — not to mention the entire structure of scientific inquiry — requires you to chuck a couple concepts against the wall and see what sticks! But nooooo, you have to be saleable, scalable, profitable and marketable from day one. No grace period, no try it out period! No, hey maybe in retrospect that radioactive crow-bear wasn’t the best idea. Just bam! Profit, profit, profit.

            BloodSpew Cove actually started off swimmingly; my fireproof mice were basically the hottest seller in 2011. They helped as an early-warning for stuff like carbon monoxide or actual flames. Only problem, of course, was that they were also bullet-proof, ageless and humped like mad, which any idiot who read the fine print would have known. Luckily, those lawsuits are still pending.

            In better news, Horatio, my chickenrhino wrangler, sang the praises of my new herding dog: the taser hound. Keeps the chickenrhino’s charge-pecking to a minimum, which means food bills go down. Great stuff.

            It’s hard enough to run an island in the middle of the pacific. Try adding vicious, crafty, ungodly critters to that mix. And then try to make it profitable. This is no banana stand operation.

            Supply-wise this island is a money suck. We used to ship everything out on my forty thousand cubic foot nuclear submarine, the Arc Too. But that’s been out of commission since 2010. I’m convinced that the more money a vehicle costs, the faster it breaks. Currently, we get all our supplies from Amazon.

            Six days out from the meeting, my father came for a preliminary inspection. His goatee, as always, was waxed to a full point.

            “So, you want to give me the run down?” he said. I hemmed and hawed that I was still in early stages of the presentation and wouldn’t want to divulge an unfinished draft.

            “You haven’t started yet,” he said, taking off his signature square, bright red sunglasses and rubbing his eyes. “Listen, Nate. This island is an opportunity. I realize that the economy hasn’t been kind to it lately, but the board is starting to get a little worried. You need to show them that next year we’ll be in the red, and not the kind of red we’ve been seeing recently.”

            I kicked some dirt under a lab table.

            “These escapes,” said my Dad. “This island is a death trap. Three maimed interns, Ken Klatch eaten two months ago, three lackeys who now have both SARS and AIDS. The escaped electrified wolfverines roaming the forest making it so Amazon has to deliver to my island for safety purposes? I mean Nate…”

            He stopped when he noticed a tear trace my cheek. He put a hand on my shoulder.

            “It’s OK. Just take care of those electrified wolfverines. Everything else should be fine.”

            His helicopter hadn’t even taken off before the alarms started going again. Another escape. Two decapitated lackeys later, we managed to goad the lobstergent back into his sand hut.

            It took forty eight hours in bed for me to break out of that bout of depression.

            I mean, in the beginning, I’d set out in hopes of conquering the planet with my heinous affronts to God’s plan. Right now? I’d seriously just settle for amusement park status. Y’know, ship in kids by the ferry load, tire the suckers out and then hit their parents' wallets with a gift shop at the exit. Man, that would be the life.

            Three days out from the meeting and things were actually looking up! We had to clean out the Snale tank — a whale-sized aquatic snake — and it went off without a hitch: no deaths. Surprisingly, lackeys are pretty hard to come by these days. They’ve got to be hardy, strapping and bereft of a single individual thought. Also, it helps if they’re of various nationalities; you don’t want to get slapped with the old “Arian Domination” label.

            It’s a great island though. My Dad bought it — along with several other remote, ominously-shaped islands (skull, bomb, middle finger, &c &c) — back in the nineties when it looked like property value would never stop soaring. Then when he got nailed by the market he sold all of them but his island and mine.  

            Two days to the meeting and still no progress on the wolfverine situation, but I had a brilliant thought. If I needed help, why not help myself?

            So, I cloned myself.

            I’m no idiot about cloning, I didn’t make some evil twin or anything. In fact, I added some ant genes to his makeup so he’d not only be more diligent but would take commands from me, his queen. Plus, I tattooed a big 2 on his face so I wouldn’t have to worry about any of those silly gunfight double binds with both of us yelling that we’re the real original at some indecisive lackey holding a quivering pistol.

            Needless to say my clone was a huge help. I gave him one tour of the island, showed him around the different boring jobs I had to do and boom, instant second in command. It’s amazing I didn’t think of it earlier.

            Last day before the big meeting and everything actually came together! Surprising to see. My clone pulled his weight in a major way. He even managed to herd all the electrified wolfverines back into their pit. That ant gene really put some diligent pep in his step.

            I felt good. I was getting things done and that really boosted my spirits. I beamed at the thought of the board getting to see my island then.

            Then the board meeting happened. In short, it did not go as originally planned.

            About an hour before the meeting, I was lounging on the picturesque vista by the praying manatee lagoon and my clone dropped by to give me an update. At least that’s what I was expecting. Instead, this clone had a huge five on his face and started to strangle me. So there I am about an hour before the meeting, beating my clone to death with a pina-colada-filled coconut to the chittering snorts of the praying manatees below. Quite a scene!

            Welp, turns out I put Queen ant genes into my clone instead of just worker ant so that was a faux pas on my part. Basically, my clone was clandestinely pumping out ancillary clones and cleaning up to keep me distracted. By the time the Gay Phantom arrived — he’s always the most punctual — in his invisible submarine, the place was pretty much bedlam.

            Clone 2 was trying to destroy every other creature on the island to make room for his brood of copies — I saw a clone numbered 59 suplex a security guard. I had to text Miss Languardo to get on the intercom and let all staff know that they needed to basically flee or be mercilessly destroyed.

            We ended up having the board meeting in Professor Knife’s Hover-Scythe.

            “It appears our investment,” I said, not even bothering to open the PowerPoint presentation I’d prepared, “will need a longer-term view.”

            My father and the board eventually agreed to a small downsize. Total, eschaton-level melt-down of an evil island was actually covered in our insurance package, so that was great foresight.

            I’m currently looking into office space around the Silicon Valley area. I figure we can have a cool office with like a Ping-Pong table, video games and maybe something edgy like a beer vending machine. That sort of stuff boosts morale. I want to make sure my staff and abominations don’t feel like they’re getting the short end in this deal. They’re the ones who really matter, after all.




Inventive dogs. Scrumptious tots. A great spot for a quick lunch.


Cock-a-Doodle Deal

Wow that is a breathtakingly bad pun (if that can even be considered a pun). You’ll not pay much though.



Sitting inside consists of solely counter space around the outside of the room. Probably accommodates 15 comfortably. Fits the style of food perfectly though, plus the rooster décor is awesome.


Struttin’ Their Stuff

Order from the cashier. Get food from the cashier.



If you’re in the mood for a killer dog, solid sandy or some hot tots (hot in the “popular” sense, not spicy-hot), Blue Rooster will have you crowing. There is now a special nook in hell for me thanks to all these rooster puns.

Little Tap House - Portland, ME

In my youth I found a truth, a vital verity,

It’s not a jab, a blow, a stab to say, “it’s not for me.”


“It’s not for me,” decidedly is five small words, almost a plea,

Less judgment than confession, see, to express, “it’s not for me.”


For reputation adulation’s best decidedly,

But for the truth, though uncouth, one must speak candidly,

For one man’s meat’s another’s offal, how awful, truthfully,

So when a place isn’t to my taste I must say, “it’s not for me.”


And ill opinions kill when persons take them personally,

But a bad review’s not about you, untrue, “it’s not for me.”


Like movies, games, books, comics and of course TV,

My favorite joint could have you point and say, “it’s not for me.”


So while taste is best kept close to chest, not shouted carelessly,

As I slog through this blog, I must squawk unequivocally,

For a spot resides that oft divides opinions drastically,

Little Tap House, I’m forced to grouse, *ahem* “it’s not for me.”


Its trappings and its wrappings are presented stunningly,

But simply put – mouth meet foot – the food… “it’s not for me.”


Before you bark, “what a lark!” understand the gravity,

Of lambasting a place (risking egg on face) to say, “it’s not for me.”


The Shepherd’s Pie, the Fish & Chips and Lobster Mac make three,

Dishes I’ve tried, that on my hide, were challenged season-ally,

Though well-prepared these vittles shared a flaw resoundingly,

Lacking herb and spice, though cooked quite nice, I say “it’s not for me.”


Now, people rant their burgers can’t be beat (I shan’t agree),

Burgers abound around, I’ve found, so still, “it’s not for me.”


Meet meat.

555, The Front Room, Caiola’s and In’Finiti,

Their burgers all are on the ball, so I scrawl, “it’s not for me.”


It’d be a shame to blame its fame on sheer proximity,

Its service and its feel appeal to tipplers like me,

Meaning for one drink – nod nod wink wink – I’ll go unblinkingly,

But for a munch, dinner or brunch, I say, “it’s not for me.”

The House of Tap gets a good rap from the majority,

In short the seasoning’s my reasoning why, “it’s not for me.”

Were I rootin’ tootin’ drinkin’ hootin’ there’d be no scrutiny,

But sitting down to dine I frown, sorry, “it’s not for me.”


See Portland’s food is beyond good, with true variety,

Which means a space of ample grace and ingenuity,

Whose fare has tracked a certain lack of one necessity,

Is not enough for me to bluff and say, “it’s just for me.”




2.8 Stars

I really wish I liked Little Tap House more. The menu is well laid out and diverse, but in the end I’ve never really been satisfied by a meal there. The burgers are certainly fine, no disappointment there, but they’re not better than so many other burgers in Portland.


Middle Management

With burgers ~$13 and Entrees at ~$22, it’s not inexpensive. Nothing wild for Portland, though.


Urban rustic

A dollop of “Farm-y” touches, meaning hardwood flourishes and some farm implements on the walls. It’s well laid out, intimate and comfortable.


At the ready

A fine wait staff. Good for what ye need.



As good as Little Tap House is for a drink, it just doesn’t stack up for dinner. Mind you, if you go, you won’t leave in a huff. But there are other options nearby in Portland that, for about the same price, (Caiola’s, In’Finiti, 555, Portland & Rochester Public House to name a few) will leave you better satiated.


Kushiya Benkay - Portland, ME

The food of Japan, in order for it to get right for the preparation of sushi, it will require a particularly strict conversion. Up-and-coming chef, he can help you put the wasabi for rice, fish, soy, delicious bite of whatever together. However, in order to create the experience of sushi, the pride of Japan, it requires artistry true.


As can be seen from me the budding sushi lover, I thought tasted all about the same sushi. Sushi itself was cold all the time a little. It was bricks rice, with are draped of the abundant fish. Wasabi and soy sauce mixture, the work of each, dunk and went down all the bits smoothly. Fish was excellent when fresh, but the sashimi of fresh taste for me there was no real knowing. It gives the smell of fish? Sushi right.  You would like, I was rewarded often. Same the sushi all.


Soon, however, scales fell from my eyes away.


I was fortunate enough to study in Japan. The essence of sushi, it was revealed to me there. The United States has not been should cool rice. To real sushi rice, to carry a taste of the entire small vinegar moist, piece the brink of falling apart, it is a little more than room temperature. It was not ambiguous rice to blanket of with fish. In addition, it the fish was to be sitting of the above, exactly slice. Soy sauce, did not mean that it is a birdbath for each. The sushi chef polish each part of the appropriate amount of soy sauce, wasabi. If sushi chef is true, it has happened so far.


Second, the chef, is the best sushi chef to give steamed perfect. As experience, the right sushi is of a meal in awe. Chef, patron saint of sea, cleric of land, he will make the best of his ability in you. It works so you function as a vessel to experience his skills only.


Raw materials is the price of entry simply, to good sushi yes. The fresh fish? The replicate is of nothing. Undeniably good is good wasabi. Is insult bad wasabi. Rice mirin is one in which taste is completely different from the other vinegar.


Key of Japan is the dedication of the chef and patience to delicious sushi of piece. To make sure that you shoo the rice steam always, it does not become sticky. Do they keep the rice at the optimum temperature is it? Uni (sea urchin), Unagi (eel), do sushi chef adhering to the tradition of eggs (egg) closely and be true to them?


If I was trying to get kicked in the flavor face and mouth [Yes].


Durn tasty bento box ya got there sushi san!

Tradition: It's the world of the sushi true. Every day very new combination of a new roll and a lot of flavor, will be displayed throughout the United States. Cream of cheese such as avocado tuna spicy things - all delicious, please but do not get me wrong -  they are opposed to Japanese sushi they are.


In Japan , you can not find the dragon roll . You will not to find a Philadelphia roll and tempura Ebi-roll. Such is like you find a fourth of July barbecue "lasagna and chicken finger hamburger.” No.


In Japan is a real sushi just tuna. There is your salmon. They will be on top of the rice. Cream cheese go to hell. Yet still the simple will be crushing your heart.


So, Kushiya Benkay exactly not the winner: fresh fish of off, hard cold rice, higher magnitude in the need for soy sauce. They fall into hole of all that above. However, fine just that. In other words, despite all it is showing the beauty of sushi. Bad sushi? Well, it is also a good sushi. Sushi, it is a good meal at the time of always.


So, if urgent, yes go to Kushiya Benkay. There are some average lunch or a very special decent food they. At least, inexpensive. You may go. However, the gods of Japan famous sushi, please do not expect a smile looking down your decision.




2.9 Stars

Really, this is not a bad sushi place. Their fish is fresh (most often). They do pretty solid tempura, yakitori and more. The only unfortunate theme that runs throughout is that indelible touch of “American Sushi Restaurant.”  



Not very expensive, which in most cases verifies certain assumptions about the quality. This is one of those cases.


White Rice

Open seating that never seems to be completely full. I'd treat it more as a takeout sorta joint.  


Eager to Please

While the servers are nice, the wait always seems to be a bit longer than necessary. If you're picking up, no prob whatsoever. But I've sat down a couple times with like 3 other people in the joint and had an hour long lunch.



There are just too many other options in Portland to say that you have to eat sushi at Kushiya Benkay. HOWEVER, their bento box lunches are absolutely worth trying out at least once; they feature an array of Japanese staples likes tempura, miso soup, sushi, gyoza and more -- enough to fill a sumo-sized belly.

Nosh - Portland, ME


“Popular culture,” said the screenwriter to the three immaculately attired TV executives, “is a black hole.” He delivered the statement emphatically, a bit of spit flying from his mouth on the “B” of “black hole.”


In front of him – at the opposite end of a stylishly elliptical mahogany table, nestled into a window-lined boardroom overlooking the sprawling white-and-green-flecked taupe of the valley – the TV executives appeared confused.


The screenwriter – dressed in a suit that fit him not at all – held up a nervous finger, indicating for them to wait, and clicked to the next slide of his presentation.


“Fringe culture is odd,” said the screenwriter. “And it used to start wayyyyy outside, far away from the black hole of popular culture. Nobody knows about it, at first!” The Screenwriter nervously jabbed his finger in the air. “But, as more and more people become aware of this fringe idea, it gets closer to the center of popular culture: the black hole.”


The screenwriter stopped and stared, eyes wide, at the assembled TV executives. One, an old man with cheeks that hung below his chin, leaned back in his chair. The other two – a young man with neatly gelled hair and a middle-aged woman who had had enough work done to look as if she’d had no work done – looked confused and skeptical.


“I’ll continue,” said the screenwriter, obviously shaken by their silence. “Over time the fringe has gotten sucked toward the center…” Another nervous jab. “Meaning, the distance between fringe culture and pop culture has decreased!”



The older executive cleared his throat and put his hand on the table. “So what’s the idea? You want a space show? Something about popular space?”


“Not exactly,” said the screenwriter. “It’s a reality show.” Silence. “A reality mash-up.” All three executives ahhhhed and recline back in their chairs. “I had the idea over a plate of buffalo wings. They were butter-poached, breaded, salted, doused in ranch sauce and then topped with pretzel bits.” The executives raised their eyebrows at this aside. The meeting, as far as the screenwriter was concerned, was going incredibly poorly.


Just noshin'.

Image C/O Portland Press Herald

“Anyway, I just mean to say that because the combination was a bit much and that kind of ties in nicely to my show and– .”


“Go on, but get to the point,” said the young, male executive. “Yeah, I have a meeting in five,” said the female executive, poking at her phone.


“You see, in the future,” said the screenwriter, “what used to be fringe will be pop culture proper. They will merge. But here’s the hook: my idea is from an even further out fringe.”



The older executive sighed and shifted his seat so that the sun wouldn’t hit him directly in the face. The sun then hit the female executive in the face but she pretended not to notice.


“So it’s a fringe-focused, space reality mashup?” offered the older executive, boredom liberally coating his words.


“No,” said the screenwriter. With a click, his presentation star-wiped to the next slide. On the screen was a live feed of the very conference room in which they sat. The female executive cocked her head, the young executive released a clipped “ahh.”


“It’s about this.” Smiling with only his mouth – nerves etched on his brow – the screenwriter reached beneath the table and produced a handgun.


Tension flooded the room.


“That’s not a real gun,” said the young executive.

“Of course it’s not,” said the female executive.

“So, what’s this?” said the older executive.

“It’s a gun,” said the screenwriter. “And this is my show.”


Raising the gun, the screenwriter recited, “This is a Glock 26 Gen4 – a concealed carry staple since 1994.” He then aimed at a floor-to-ceiling window and shot.


Glass exploded outward, raining onto the bustling street below. The female executive screamed, and the two male executives dove for the ground.  The screenwriter crouched, tut-tutting. “Sit up, slide slide your phones to me, or else I will simply shoot you all.”


The executives complied.


Bacon dusted fries. Yes. This is yes.

Image C/O FoodSpotting

“This is the idea,” said the screenwriter, actually smiling now.  Again, from beneath the table he produced a thick bike lock, which he ran through the handles of the boardroom door. “I call it “Death Panel.” And this, lady and gentlemen, is the pilot episode.”


The screenwriter appeared more relaxed than before. It was the calm of a man with a single purpose and goal.  There was no tomorrow for him, no this afternoon or even an hour from now. It was only now, and right now he had a gun pointed at three extremely wealthy white people.


The three executives were grimacing and pale. Their faces appeared, to the screenwriter, to have transformed into white masks covering deflated balloons. Their previous superiority and confidence had been erased.


“Why are you doing this?” said the young executive. The other two looked at him with white-wild eyes. Wind moaned through the hole in the glass.


“Ha ha!” said the screenwriter. “Thank you, my good man.” An aristocratic, creepy joviality crept into his voice. “The same reason anyone does something this drastic: to prove a point!”


“What possible point could come from this?” said the elder executive. “Don’t throw away your life. If you just put that gun away, we can all just leave this situation. No press. No hubbub. Just drop the gun and we can call it even.”


The elder executive’s appeal to reason met with deadly silence. “That’s bullshit and you know it,” said the screenwriter, pointing, one by one, to the security cameras that adorned the boardroom. The elder executive kept his deflated poker face.


A knock on the door. The handles rattled and a large male voice said, “Sir, please open the doors.”


“Nope!” the screenwriter shouted. “You force in these doors, everyone dies.”


“Just be calm sir,” said the large male voice. Another subtle rattle on the doors.


“Stop trying to get in!” The screenwriter said. He swept the gun over and shot two bullets low through the rich, oak particleboard doors. “Holy shit,” said the large male voice, outside. Hurried, leaden footsteps echoed away down the marble hallway.


Turning back to the three executives, the screenwriter smiled, his mustache forming a perfectly flat line above his mouth. “In the comments beside this live video feed, all the viewers are being asked “Who will live and who will die?” The young executive uttered a croaking no. “It’s a crowd-sourced, reality execution show! Get it?”


The board room had begun to darken slightly, shadows stretched across the table and sliced dark lines across the shaking executive’s bodies. They stayed silent.


“Anyway,” said the screenwriter. “On this phone, I will have the final tally. And from the comments,” The screenwriter scanned his phone, his gun still leveled at the executives. “From the comments.” He looked up and hove the black nose of his gun to the young executive. “Looks like you’re the strong favorite.”


The young executive began to cry. Small, peeping sobs that oddly matched the pitch of the wailing, bullet-holed window.


“What’s the point,” said the female executive. The screenwriter raised his eyebrow and shifted the gun’s nose to her. “What’s the point?” he asked.


Is humangus.

Image C/O Foodspotting


“Yes,” said the middle-aged woman, now shrinking into a shirt that had, minutes ago, been far too tight for her artificially engorged bosom. “You said there was a point behind all this.”


Her tone was slow and deliberate, obviously stalling for time. “You’re obviously stalling for time,” said the screenwriter. She, like the elder executive, kept her poker face.


“But that’s just fine,” said the screenwriter. “There is absolutely a point. And this is the part where the ‘evil villain’ gets to air out his grievances. But of course nobody ever listens, and he never gets time to fully explain. But the point…”


Unfortunately, before he could continue, the doors to the boardroom snapped in half with a screaming crunch.


The screenwriter dove behind the table, narrowly avoiding the peppering of bullets that blew out the remaining glass in the formerly whistling window.


 “No!” screamed the writer, scrambling around the table and securing an arm around the elderly executive’s neck. “I was getting to the point!”


At least thirteen riot police emptied into the boardroom. Though only the elderly executive was physically restrained, the two remaining executives stayed riveted to their seats, stunned by the noise and commotion, into inaction.


“Release the hostage,” yelled an officer with a thick, Chicago accent. Saying it like: “release da hostich.” That accent.


“Move and they’re dead.” The riot police stopped their slow march forward.


The Screenwriter composed himself and began to speak.


“The point is that you people are ruining America.” He looked angrily at the backs of the executives’ heads. “I have done the research. The three of you have greenlit shows like: My Dad: My Boyfriend, Meth University, I <3 Dead People, Is It Sh*t?, My 300 Pound Toddler…”


“Sir,” yelled the Chicago policeman again. “Release the hostages!”  


“These shows make people feel good,” continued the screenwriter, redoubling his grip around the elderly TV executive’s neck. The pitter-pat of a helicopter snuck in the blown-out window. Nobody gave up any ground.


“Sir,” yelled the Chicagoan again.


“Listen!” the screenwriter screamed. “People watch and feel excited that they’re not as shitty and backwards and terrible as all the stuff they’re seeing on TV. It’s what they want! But it is not what they need. It doesn’t make them try to be better. It gives them license to be worse. You’re pushing American society to new lows with every show.“


A shot shrieked through the glass and nestled into the wall right behind the screenwriter’s head. The screenwriter emitted an inarticulate burp of rage, cocked the hammer of his Glock and buried the nose deeper into the senior executive’s head-folds. The Chicagoan raised his arm for his men to stay still.


The screenwriter continued his monologue, unfazed. His face was a glowing orb of red determination. His eyes bulged and shot red-hot lasers of accusation onto everything they touched. The sound of the helicopter rose outside and police lights bathed the room with a manic, strobing glow.


“We live in an age of ‘should’ not ‘could’. Our system is regulated by our basest desires, nothing higher, nothing grander. This show! My show is a shock to the system! It is a look into the inevitable future of our society. It’s a gut-check for America. Do we want this? Do we want to murder people on live television? If we don’t, then we must act! We must not continue to accept the next, ridiculous low. We must strive to be better!”


Should you ever need your bacon deep fried and then sauced, this is where you go.

Image ℅ Food Spotting


The screenwriter stopped speaking and his phone dinged. The entourage of riot police’s guns clicked into active readiness. “That’s the end of voting,” he said.


“Sir,” yelled the Chicagoan. “We have a sniper trained on you from that helicopter outside. Release the hostage now, or we will authorize him to shoot… again.”


The screenwriter held up a finger from behind the executive’s exhausted, shriveled head. “One second,” he yelled. “Just one single more second. Read this for me.” He raised his phone to the elderly executive’s eye-level. “Read who should have died.”


The elderly executive, wide-eyed, read the phone’s screen. “Who does it say?” screamed the screenwriter.


“Release the hostage!” said the Chicagoan. The riot police crept forward and now rimmed the edge of the table like eager reporters.


“You,” said the elderly executive.

“What?” said the screenwriter.


“It’s just you.” Exhaustion edged out fear in the elder executive's voice. “There’s a note below the voting. It reads ‘One of you executives needs to pick up this fucking show!’”


The screenwriter let out a chuckle. The chuckle turned into a sickening laugh. Society had chosen, what more was there for him to do?


The screenwriter stood up with his gun to his temple, still laughing. And as the executives scurried away from where they had just been trapped, the shooting began.




3.0 Stars

In some items, it just nails it (like their salt & vinegar fries). In others, it is a pile of gluttonous foolery (their wings). Each dish tastes great on the first bite. But by the third you will be questioning why you are doing this to yourself. The “Smothered Meatload” sandwich boasts: all-natural ground beef, cheddar cheese, sweet grilled onions, ketchup on white bread and the whole rest doused in gravy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty. But eating this gravy-smothered, meat and cheese bomb in one sitting is basically an act of self-loathing.



Sandwiches run ~$12 and don’t come with fries. However, the fries being a tasty! strong suit of Nosh’s, it’s highly recommended you get them. You’ll walk out of there paying a bit more than you would like.


Carefully-appointed Grunge

The tables and bar are situated in a railroad style. You’ll be sitting close to your neighbors. And you will most-likely have neighbors at this heavily-frequented joint.


Yeah Cool

A bit harried at times because of the rush when I’ve been there. But good people who get you in and out with a couple beers (or wines) to keep you lubricated.



Nosh is a place I could only really recommend that you go once. Go to try the ridiculously flavor-packed sandwiches and fries and everything else. But I can almost guarantee that once the glow of “wow what wild flavors!” wears off (plus with all the other high-quality options in Portland *cough* Duckfat *cough*) you’ll find Nosh to be a bit superfluous. It’s not a bad place by any means. They’re just a little too focused on what they can serve, rather than what they should be serving.

Binga's Stadium - Portland, ME

Rich Jerscyzkhein: Hi everyone I’m Rich Jerscyzkhein (pronounced “jason”) and this is the Super Bowl XCLVIII post-game discussion, brought to you live from Binga’s Stadium in Portland Maine.

And oh by the way, joining me is former Super Bowl-winning coach, and current Binga’s spokesperson, Bill Trunt. Beside him is Hall of Fame running back Dayved Nardley. And joining us, as always, is former coach of the Carson City Gamblers, Heck Jonson. The score was eighty-four for the Gettysburg Cavalry and zero for the Carson City Gamblers. Gentlemen, what did you think of the game?


Dayved Nardley: W—


Bill Trunt: First off I want to thank Binga’s Stadium for bringing us out here. Delicious wingas and a wall of beers. Fantastic!

Rich Jerscyzkhein: Any thoughts on the game coach?


Bill Trunt: Textbook annihilation.

Enough screens to play every season of Frasier simultaneously.

Image c/o Binga’s Stadium

Dayved Nardley: That’s putting it lightly coach. I mean… I mean… Marcus Lackey, you look at the stats on this guy… as a QB, he basically put up a season’s worth of numbers in a single game.


Heck Jonson: I don’t even want to talk about it.


Rich Jerscyzkhein: Tell me what you mean coach?


Heck Jonson: What I mean is I want to bury my head in a dry old crick. I’m torn up, Rich. I was coach of the Gamblers when Biff Mandingo started at quarterback. To see his career end like this… It's a damn shame.


Bill Trunt: *muffled chuckling*


Rich Jerscyzkhein: OK, let’s look at the numbers. D’Quayson Figgins, always a force for the Gamblers, came up with a net gain of 2 yards. Both of which came when he tripped and was launched into the air by Cavalry linebacker Fred Zuht.


Dayved Nardley: You also have… you also have the crumbling of the Brick Pillow.


Rich Jerscyzkhein: Right.


Dayved Nardley: Russel Armstank, A.K.A. The Brick Pillow, a perennial pillar of the Gamblers’ defense. He let 25 sacks through his line.


Bill Trunt: Put up less of a fight than a roofied prom date.


Heck Jonson: You’re talking from experience now, Bill?


Bill Trunt: You’re a funny guy, Heck. You know what else is funny? *looks straight at camera* How much I love Binga’s fried pickle chips: crispy, tart and delicious. Mmmm mm!

Hey chickens. Bet you wish you didn't have such delicious arms.

Image c/o Blueberry Files

Rich Jerscyzkhein: The list goes on; Veto Threat Jr. tripped himself during the kickoff return, broke his leg and then his pants fell off. Wide receiver Bret Dillinger dropped ten out of ten reception opportunities and then got divorced on the sidelines. And, Gambler’s coach, Larry Popkiss was last seen rummaging naked through arena dumpsters sporting an unhinged gaze.


Heck Jonson: It was a ten-car pileup on top of a train wreck in a concentration camp. Gall dang! I think I’m gonna start crying again.


Dayded Nardley: Then you take a look at the Cavalry. I can’t believe what these young guys can do. You take… You take Ngube Onukafor. This 21-year-old not only ran for 805 yards but set a world record for scarves knit during a single Super Bowl at four.


Rich Jerscyzkhein: They were tastefully made.


Dayved Nardley: The Cavalry defense… I mean, these guys gained more yards than the Gamblers offense. Sweet mercy!


Bill Trunt:  Sweet is right! Sweet as Thai BBQ Wingas. Only at Binga’s


Dayved Nardley: Wide receiver Gibbs Jacoby literally floated five feet off the ground the entire game. Punter, Sagittarius Arkenstone laced a ball so straight that – for a brief moment – it sliced through the very underpinnings of spacetime revealing, to the entire stadium, the tenebrous clockwork of the universe.


Rich Jerscyzkhein: And let’s not forget tight end Robo Liscious… this guy, in the third quarter he animorphed into a seventeen-foot-tall komodo dragon and started picking passes out of the air with his heinous tongue.


Bill Trunt: *Makes a fervent series of exaggerated slurping sounds*


Heck Jonson: *Lets out a keening wail*


Rich Jerscyzkhein: And oh by the way, you have quarterback Marcus Lackey. Talk about game of the century. Any century. In fact, we were just informed that a coalition of every citizen on earth has demanded that his likeness be laser-etched into the moon.

Heck Jonson: Poor Biff Mandingo. Poor, poor Biff.


Gate F, as in, "F*cking humongous."

Image c/o Local Events Authority

Rich Jerscyzkhein: That’s right, coach. Biff arguably got the worst of it out there tonight. Even in the first quart—


Heck Jonson: Let me do this. I can do it... Biff Mand—*sobs*


Dayved Nardley: It’s OK Heck. I can—


Heck Jonson: Biff… Biff! Mandingo! He was a fine man. A *sniffle* a whip-smart student of the game. We don’t need to trot out all the details, so here are the dang keys. Biff Mandingo’s first throw went out of bounds. So far out of bounds in fact that it flew into the Make-A-Wish Sideline Seats, struck a young Gamblers fan in the throat and killed him. Still can’t believe the little scamp is gone… Biff’s next… Biff’s next pass – a dang rocket of a throw – sailed the length of the field and nicked a gas main, incinerating the Gambler’s entire rooting section. Nobody left alive in the Jackpot. Not a one. And if that weren’t enough, Biff’s last pass sailed out of the stadium as if… as if borne on the wings of fallen angels! Biff's errant pass hit a moving truck carrying, of all things, his own possessions. Biff's aim was so unlucky that it managed to knock the back door loose, allowing a personal safe to eject from the vehicle which, upon striking the pavement, unlocked to reveal three hard drives labeled Child Pornography 1, Child Pornography 2 and Child Pornography 4. Biff is currently awaiting trial in Carson City’s sheriff’s office… That’s… That’s all I can get out.


Rich Jerscyzkhein: Thanks coach, that sums it up. Hard to watch. Hard to stomach.


Bill Trunt: I’ll tell you what’s been easy to stomach: *thumps down an enormous bucket of wings on the desk* Binga’s Fantastic 4lb. party bowl. Stuffed chock-full of wingas.


Heck Jonson: Bill, you are a shilling swine!


Bill Trunt: At least I'm a winner, Heck. Don’t see a ring on your finger.


Heck Jonson: You sonuva… I’ll give you a ring!


*Heck tackles Bill and both disappear behind the bar*


Rich Jerscyzkhein: And that’s our post-game analysis. Tune in tomorrow for more highlights on SportMiddle. From behind the bar of Binga’s Stadium I’m Rich Jerscyzkhein, ESPM.





3.5 Stars

Go for the wings. The rest is certainly solid, but the fact that they’ve decided to create an entirely different nomenclature for their wings (dubbed Wingas) says a lot about their ability to prepare poultry.


Have a time

You can really drink and eat to your liver’s content. As long as the budget isn’t tight, you’ll end up pleased.


Stadium Seats

More flat screens than there are people (it seems). If you came to watch sports, watch sports you will.


Rapid Rounds

Waiters, waitresses and bartenders certainly keep you from drying out. Genuinely nice people by all accounts.



If you’re in the mood for bar grub and a big game night, Binga’s Stadium is a fine location. Just make sure to get there well before your game of choice; many other people will have the same idea (and for good reason).