September 30, 2010

Lonnieburger Baskets: Gaffiti Burger (Columbus)

Calen and I were up in Columbus for a material science workshop.

Second-year material science workshop...'cause we're hardcore like that.

Yes, we were asked to come back and help out next year as trainee instructors, but that's not why I'm here today.

While we were in Colubus, instead of hitting up Pizza Patt's place ('cause we forgot it even existed until we got back in Cincy), I rooked Calen into helping me out with BurgerQuest 2010 (and probably '11, too).  So, on the recommendation of Restaurant Widow, we took a little jaunt over to Graffiti Burger's location in Granview kinda near the main campus of an Ohio State University.

So, let's see how Graffiti Burger stacks up to the the best of the Cincinnati area...

  • That thing right there is a regular Angus Burger.  It's a half pound of - according to their menu - Angus beef.  (I'm not entirely sure whether Angus beef is anything more than bunk, by the way.)  At Graffiti Burger, their regular is a two quarter-pound patties making for an admittedly sizeable burger for $4.99.  It's also nicely fried on the griddle, but it didn't taste like much of anything special.  It's a good patty, and it's well made, but it's neither crisply enough griddled nor thick enough to keep the center moist.  Good but not great.  Burger - 6

  • Go back and check out that first photo up above.  The cheese isn't melted there.  Seriously, how the heck do you not throw the cheese on the burger with enough time on the griddle to melt the cheese?

    Sorry, general, I wasn't a fan of the toppings at Graffiti Burger.  The lettuce was shredded.  The onions were fine and dandy.  The tomato was a good one but not a high-quality summer tomato.  The pickles were, however, pretty tasty - nice, long slices of garlic dills crossed over the burger.  The bacon should've been crisper but did have decent flavor. 

    The bun was decently fresh and nicely griddled before being slapped on everything.

    I can't speak to Calen's cole slaw topping there.  I'll let her throw in her $.02 (I miss the cent symbol on the keyboard) in the comments.  Toppings - 5

  • They're freshly cut and nicely fried.  Little on the greasy side of where they should be and a little less done than my choice would be.  Could use a little more salt.  I like the homestyle thing with the skin still on and the fries nice and long.  Good stuff but not quite perfect.  Overall, a solid side dish.  Fries - 6

  • I can't speak about all the Graffiti Burger locations, just the Grandview one, and thankfully some other folks took pictures inside because I forgot to.  The last one there isn't actually the Grandview location, but it's about the same style and shows the general feeling of the place I went to.  The graffiti style works overall.  The place is clean - except that the floor had a weird slipperiness to it - not necessarily greasy but slick.  It bugged me.  Graffiti Burger had a strip-mall feel overall.

    I like the graffiti.  I don't feel much for the overall feel.  Ambiance - 5
  • The burger is $4.99 (though I'd feel good getting the smaller, $3.99, single-patty version).  I went for 1/4 lb of fries for $1.79.  The diet Coke was $1.79, too.  I added in $1 worth of bacon to the burger, but it was - supposedly - applewood smoked bacon.  That brought my total to $9.57.  No tip needed, though, because it's an order-at-the-counter kinda place. Cost - 5
Other Stuff
  • Love the strong ties to OSU in a Columbus restaurant but more than just hanging up a jersey.  I combination of freaky, evil Tressel and South Park Tressel is awesome.  The Golden Bear, too.  That's strong stuff.  +1
  • The cheese wasn't melted.  I don't know if you could tell, but that bugs me. -2
  • Go back and check out all the graffiti photos.  Did you notice that one of them shows a cow with a straw drinking out of it's own udder?  I'm guessing that's because their milkshakes are supposed to be pretty good.  That's frickin' sick, man.  Every time I see a pig advertising for a barbecue place, I'm icked out, but I like this one.  +1
  • The other thing that Graffiti Burger is known for is milkshakes.  I can't speak to them but the woman who went with me and Calen said it was pretty good.  They're freshly made with each order which is certainly a plus.  +/- 0 because I didn't try one myself
So, our total is 27 points for Graffiti Burger.  That puts it smack in the middle of a bunch of other places that aren't anything special.  Yeah, it's a decent burger, but this isn't one that I'll crave or that I'll be clamoring to return for.  I'm a little doubtful about how the heck Restaurant Widow thought this placed earned 4.75 fries (out of 5) when Terry's only got a 5 out of 5.  If this place is a 4.75 on a 5 scale, Terry's is a twelve out of the same five.
  • Terry's Turf Club - 45
  • Cafe de Wheels - 44
  • VanZandt - 34
  • Quatman's - 32 / 34.5
  • Graffiti Burger - 27
  • Sammy's - 26
  • Arthur's - 26

September 29, 2010

Movie Icons

Stumble[d]Upon this panoply (yes, that's correctly used - see definition #3) this past week...

I need a couple of these cute little movie icons identified for me.  My thoughts after the jump...

September 28, 2010

Alphabet game: Y is for artists

The penultimate playlist in the series, and I promise they're all Y artists - even that one listed as "The Band"'s really Neil Young playing in front of The Band and backed by Emylou Harris at The Last Waltz.

September 27, 2010

Nilsson Schmilsson

I Stumble[ed]Upon this documentary recently, and it made me think how neglectful I've been in not posting some highlights from Harry Nilsson's career.


Do yourself a favor and grab the double-disc Personal Best or the single disc Greatest Hits.

September 26, 2010

Great quote..

Just heard this on a promo on the local sports talk radio station:
LeBron was supposed to be the next Jordan. Now he's just the next Pippen.
From the Stephen A Smith Show...spoken by Xzibit.

September 25, 2010

What was it we were remembering?

The mind begins to wander to...

Yeah, that's it for this week.  You gotta problem with that?

    September 23, 2010

    Update: 3D Ping Pong it...

    3D Ping Pong...sort of...

    I'm down with this game even though I don't have any time to waste today...

    An uglier screen cap but my actual high score...

    September 22, 2010

    Brutus gets laid out

    Apparently Brutus got laid out and OU is regretful about it.  The mascot guy, however, had it all in the plans.

    From another vantage point...

    September 21, 2010

    Alphabet game: X is for artists

    This week took some cheating since I only had one artist - XTC - starting with the letter X.

    So, instead, I'm going with artists with an X in their name, not necessarily in the first position.  Tried to make sure I didn't repeat anything from previous lists.

    September 20, 2010

    Lonnieburger Baskets: Arthur's

    That right there is what the burgers at Arthur's in Hyde Park are supposed to look like.

    I know because I stole those two pics from their homepage.  It's part of the rotating group of pictures that they have up on their landing page.

    Big pieces of bacon...cheese nicely melted...big piece of lettuce with pickles and onions kept separate from the hot part of the burger until you put it together.


    That's why food photographers make a decent amount of money.

    'Cause it's certainly not what we got when we went to Arthur's on Labor Day Eve, taking advantage of the off day on Monday to try their Burger Madness special that's available on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  Plus we had a Groupon to get $20 of food for just $10.

    At $7 for burgers and fries with a coupon basically getting one of our burgers for free, that's not too bad.

    Let's look at the tale of the tape, though, to see how Arthur's burgers stack up...

    • Nothing special to speak about here. The meat was, indeed, beef, but it didn't have any spice or special quality to it.  The burger was on the rare side of the medium that I ordered but lacked the strong beef flavor that I would've expected in such a case.  There wasn't any deep crust on the burger either.  It wasn't a bad beef patty, it just didn't have a single thing to separate it from other burger that you can get at any other restaurant around the city.  Burger - 5
    • One of the selling points of the Burger Madness event (check Arthur's menu about two-thirds of the way down that page) is that you get a bunch of free toppings: American Cheese, Cheddar Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Provolone Cheese, Blue Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Banana Peppers, Sautéed Onions, Sautéed Mushrooms, Sautéed Green Peppers, Jalapenos, Bacon, and Chili (their capitals - I'm just too lazy to do more than copy and paste that list.  I went for sauteed onions and banana peppers in addition to the standard lettuce and tomato.  The onions were lightly sauteed, not given much time to develop the dark, rich flavors that we got from Cafe de Wheels's rich, dark balsamic onions.  The peppers could've also been sauteed (as were those from Terry's).  All in all, there wasn't anything wrong with the toppings, but there weren't a lot of things right.  Their point above average here come because those toppings are free during Burger Madness.  Toppings - 6.
    • Straight out Sysco.  These didn't have any spice - not salt nor pepper nor anything.  No breading, no hint of potato peelings still around, no anything to distinguish them.  They were served hot and cooked to a decent golden.  Fries - 5

    • I didn't take any pictures of the inside (it was packed the night we went) or the outside (it was dark when we got inside) of Arthur's so we'll have to depend on the two pics from their website to back up my observations.

      Arthur's selling point is that it's a neighborhood bar.  It's been in the same place as Arthur's since the 1970s and as some sort of restaurant of the same style since 1947.  The current owners started there as servers and bought the restaurant but have kept it largely as it was. 

      And, it has a nice, neighborhood feeling.  The place was packed on the Sunday night that we were there, assumedly with many of those folks being from the Hyde Park area.  The main restaurant/bar room - right behind the entry way shown above right - has a large, not-too-well-lit bar area.  The bar area has one wall painted with the mural you can see above.  I'm guessing it's people who were regulars at Arthur's back in the day.  I don't know them.  We ate in the expanded area to the right with low ceilings, walls painted to resemble a stone cellar, booths tightly packed in. 

      I might be more charitable here if Arthur's was my neighborhood bar, but it's not.  I found Arthur's dark and crowded.  Ambiance - 5
    • I'll include the Burger Madness & Groupon stuff in the Other Stuff section.  For now, I'm just looking at their standard pricing.  Standard burger is $7.50.  Cheddar bacon burger is $9.00 and comes with fries.  The diet coke is $2 even.  That's $11 for the standard: cheddar bacon burger with diet coke.  That's slightly higher than the $9.50-$10.50 needed for an even five. Cost - 4
    Other stuff
    • Burger madness brings the price down to a preferable $9.  I'll give 'em a bonus point for having this regular (ever Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) special. +1
    • The groupon is also a nice option, but that's a one-time thing that probably won't be repeated.  Unless you've been on Groupon for a while, you won't get this one.  No bonus points for this one.
    The total... 26 points...that's about even with Sammy's.  Nothing special here.  Unless you know of another reason to visit Arthur's, I can't give it anything other than a luke warm "meh".  In spite of my 'meh', Urban Spoon gives Arthur's a pretty strong recommendation.

    • Terry's Turf Club - 45
    • Cafe de Wheels - 44
    • VanZandt - 34
    • Quatman's - 32 / 34.5
    • Sammy's - 26
    • Arthur's - 26
    I'm still backlogged with Graffiti Burger from up in Columbus and Kona in Chicago.

    More to come...

    September 18, 2010

    We're still never forgetting

    There are a lot of stupid things on the intertubewebs...this post makes one more of them...

      September 17, 2010

      Phil Hartman

      There are times that I miss Phil Hartman...

      Gonna try putting some of the videos after the joke...last week it didn't work - the videos didn't show unless you went to the full post...don't know what's up with that, but things should work...we'll see this week...

      September 16, 2010

      The with slightly less Homestead...

      See that line there?

      That line to the left of the fence line?

      The line defined by that scrub that used to be along the old fence line between our yard and our uphill neighbors' yard?

      The line that I enhanced with a little red to show you just where it was?

      That's the old edge of the Homestead yard.

      See, a few years back, we bought a shed from Buckeye Barns (one of their garden shed designs).  According to West Chester permit rules, we had to put the shed ten feet from our property lines.

      We'd applied for a permit but hadn't heard back for a while, so we went ahead and told the builder to begin where we wanted the barn.

      Turns out that even though the barn was ten feet inside our fence, it wasn't even entirely on our property.  The fenceline didn't seem to define the property.

      We'd bought The Homestead thinking the fence was the property line.  The uphill neighbors bought their homestead thinking the fence was the property line, but neither of us was right.    The fence between our properties was entirely on their property - two feet from the line at the front and twenty-plus feet from the line at the back of the property.

      So, we had the barn moved to its current location and waited a couple of years before finally splitting the costs of moving that fence to the property line this past summer.

      Check out how much of our yard we lost there.

      See those fence rails leaning against the fence back there in the top photo?  They used to be in our yard - or at least inside our fenced yard.  Now they're twenty feet outside of our fence.

      There's a little disappointment in losing some of our yard and all, but at least that back end was the swampy, yucky part that is such a huge pain in the backside to mow in the spring because it's a bog all spring long.

      There's our storage shed back in the far right.  It's straddling our fence, but it turns out that the back fence isn't on the property line either.  The back fence is like ten feet from the back property line.

      Turns out that the fence on the other side (the side that's behind the house in that photo above) isn't on the property line over there either, but at least it's way inside our line and just has woods past it.

      Clearly the people who put our fence in were stupid.

      September 15, 2010

      Now, that's an entrance...

      Sorry, just couldn't wait until the weekend for this one...

      Mellencamp's newest cash grab/boxed set...

      I'm stupidly tempted to buy John Mellencamp's newest boxed set - the four-cd package called On the Rural Route 7609.  It's the few rarities that are on the set that tempt me: "Jenny at 16", "Jack and Diane (demo version)", "Authority Song (demo)", and fourteen others.  All those rarities would make for an excellent rarities cd.

      Sure, interspersed with three more cds worth of album cuts (mostly avoiding his big hits), they apparently make for a good, thematically-designed boxed set, but even Mellencamp's official website admits that means rebuying forty songs that I already have.  And I just don't need that many duplicate copies of Mellencamp's songs.

      Especially not at $78.19 on Amazon or $89.95 through Mellencamp's official online store.

      At $28.90 through Amazon's digital download store, I'm a little more tempted.

      What I really want, though, is for the library to get the boxed set so I can illegally grab the songs I want.

      Heck, I'd even settle for being able to find the torrent of the boxed set, but not yet.

      September 14, 2010

      Alphabet game: W is for artists

      Tough to not go all wilco all the time this week...they are, far and away, the bulk of my letter W artists on iTunes...

      September 13, 2010

      Spencer Ware touches the ball!

      No matter how much I try, I can't find an online image of Spencer Ware in his LSU jersey.  Even his LSU roster page doesn't have him in uniform.

      I watched the first LSU game of the season (vs North Carolina) and got to see him back to receive a punt as the ABC crew discussed this freshman recruit, but Spencer didn't get to touch the ball that game and didn't get into the box score at all.

      I didn't watch LSU's second game - against Vanderbilt - but Spencer did get into the box score with an eight-yard carry and a twenty-four-yard reception.

      Congrats to Spencer (and to LSU for whomping Vandy 27-3)!

      September 12, 2010

      Gearing up...

      This video is from the good folks at Mason High School near us.  They raised almost $30,000 last year and ended up as the #6 fund raising school in the nation for Pasta for Pennies.

      I love the simplicity of the video and think we may be leaning this way for this year's Princeton vid.

      So pretty...

      It's just so pretty...

      I don't even want to say anything else.

      Head over to this site and watch the embedded flash animation.  It's such a simple design that creates some beautiful patterns.

      I've been watching it for like twenty minutes now.  I'm even starting to dig the simple tune.

      September 11, 2010

      Never forget...never forget...

      And pay tribute with today's links...

      September 10, 2010

      House of the Rising Versions

      There may not be a song that I love more than this one: House of the Rising Sun.

      Not all versions are as straight forward and traditionally done...

      Some are just plain weird...


      September 9, 2010

      Robot Unicorn Attack

      Today's challenge is simple, pilot your robot unicorn through the jumps while ramming the stars and trying to put up with the ear worm that is Erasure's "Always" (slightly remixed, admittedly).

      My best?  25,138 - but you can see that was my best by a decent margin.

      A test...from Grace...

      I got 29 of the 40 80s songs right from their instrumental clips.

      See if you can do better.

      September 8, 2010

      Rob Neyer earns his paycheck

      In "Letter to a 43rd round draft pick", Rob Neyer has penned some of his best prose yet.

      Take a read and figure out why this jersey is important.

      Probably a result of red kryptonite...

      In a recent Ask Chris column, Chris Sims was asked "Who is the best ANIMAL superhero of them all? (Inspired by [the asker] watching the pretty-mediocre "Underdog" film on cable)"

      Sims goes on to meander through Comet the Wonder Horse, and Mr Talky Tawny before making his choice of Detective Chimp.  At the end of the answer, however, he mentions Super Pup and includes this first video.

      As the narrator mentions, the show was called The Adventures of Superpup.  According to Wikipedia, only one episode - a pilot - was ever made, but it was filmed on the set of the George Reeves The Adventures of Superman show which was then a hit but headed off air.  The writers took the Superman mythos, shifted it to a world of dogs instead of people, had the dog heads worn by midgets (ok, 'little people'), and used the same sets as The Adventures of Superman.  Check out a little more of the one episode...

      How have I never known this existed until now?

      September 7, 2010

      Just My Type

      Enjoyable little game today (called Just My Type from Brain Candy) in which you have to match the letter with the snippet of that letter in - I think - Arial font.

      Took me a couple of tried to catch 'em all.

      Alphabet game: V is for artists

      We're closing in on the closing of the alphabet - unless I go back and do solo artists based on their last names, and this week you are graced with the letter V today.

      September 6, 2010

      Update: Pumpkin shortage

      So, The Girl was at The Jungle this weekend and asked about the pumpkin shortage when she saw that Libby's pumpkin (a Nestle brand, who knew?).

      The stocker reported that their Libby's distributor didn't know whether they'd have any pumpkin to ship until after the holidays this year even.  Libby's does have a page up with some basic info about the shortage as well as a quick video and some non-pumpkin pie alternatives.  I haven't heard whether the weather in Morton, Illinois has been any better this year or not, but I'm sure hopeful.

      Other bloggers have been posting about the continuing pumpkin shortage recently, and their suggestion fits into one that The Girl got from The Jungle stocker.  He suggested that the head over to the pet food aisle where they've had no problems keeping organic pumpkin in stock.  Turns out that many dog owners (not us) feed pureed pumpkin to their pets to help keep Fido all regular.  I even found a German Shepherd forum topic titled "What pumpkin shortage?" that suggests this very solution.

      Other sites I've read suggest a couple of other options.  Some people have swapped in sweet potato puree (and cut back on the sugar in the recipe) instead of pumpkin.  One even suggested using baby carrot puree as a substitute.  Another said to try various squashes: acorn, butternut, hubbard, or buttercup. I also saw that some folks say it's easy to split a pumpkin, drizzle it with a little oil, and roast it before making your own pumpkin puree.


      Apparently, if you find any Libby's, you should grab it and stock up.  And if you can't find any Libby's head to the organic section or the pet food aisle to check out other possible sources.

      A spate of spectacular reviews

      Let the media frenzy begin...
      • Adventureland - Man, very little annoys me more about a movie than when the trailer promises a movie that isn't remotely the movie that actually shows up.  Catch Me If You Can and The Informant  both racked me off in that way, and Adventureland has all the stink of another bait-and-switch all over it.  Stupid trailer.

        All that's sort of beside the point, however, as Adventureland is actually a pretty good film.  The set-up is that our awkward main character has just graduated college and is headed to Columbia (in NYC) for grad school after the summer in Europe.  Family finances, however, butt in and take away Europe and force James to work at the local amusement park, Adventureland, for the summer.  There he meets and falls hard for Em while being too early-twenties to take things straight forward.  Missteps and very little comedy ensue.  Instead, it's a nicely touching - if a drastically slow - tale of a young man who finds himself in his first real relationship - this one with a girl who's a little too damaged to accept that relationship easily. 

        The movie is painfully slow at times, and James is painfully awkward, but it feels very honest and real.  The characters are nicely three-dimensional, and Ryan Reynolds plays one of the forces of change with a very casual, studly grace.  The feeling of not knowing how to move a relationship forward, of not knowing whether she wants you to hold her hand or whether she's just standing there watching the fireworks resonated strongly with me, and I'm so happy that I'm not in that position, at that age anymore.

        Give this one the time to grow on you but don't go in expecting a laugh riot.

      • Hot Tub Time Machine - This flick, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to hide.  The is the comedy version of Snakes on a Plane.  It has the stupid, self-referential catchphrase - "this must be some kind of hot tub time machine" - and the over the top style but with way more intentional comedy.  In fact, the tale of three former best friends going back twenty-years in time to what turned out to be a turning point weekend is hilarious from start to finish.  There's nothing cerebral in the least here, not a single lick of anything but over the top, self-aware comedy (one of the characters refers to Chevy Chase as - I'm paraphrasing here - the mystical sage of time travel who's just going to give them cryptic but important clues.)  Heck, there's even the requisite fading in and out of one character whose very existence

        It's a strong recommendation and one that you won't need to turn a single brain cell on to enjoy.

      • The Death and Life of the Great American School System - Caught the author - former undersecretary of education under George HW Bush, Diane Ravitch - on NPR a while back.  She was talking about this, her new book in which she publicly refutes the movement of testing, accountability, and school choice at the expense of the earlier curricular design movement - of both of which she was an outspoken proponent in their times.  Sadly, the book was too boring for me to even make it through more than the first two chapters.  I appreciate the sentiments - check NPR's book review for a decent summary and excerpt, but I simply cannot take any brain cells to focus on why the testing movement - as exemplified by No Child Left Behind - is a bad thing even though I believe it is.  I just don't have the effort to waste on that when I'm teaching in a school that is about nothing but those very tests.  Our success or failure as a school and a district is measured on nothing but three weeks of tests given in the spring, summer, and fall.  Much as that fact displeases me, it is my reality, and I have no time for discussions of why the testing movement actually isn't improving schools in America. 

        If you're not intimately involved in the morass, you might enjoy the book.

      • All-Star Superman vol 1 & 2 - I reviewed the first volume a couple of years back and wasn't impressed.  I gave the two volumes another read through recently and have to thoroughly recant everything that I said about them.  This is a nearly perfect Superman story.  These are the pinnacle of Superman stories.  It takes the archetype of Superman, strips away all of the unnecessary, and leaves us with pure, distilled Superman at his finest.  Yeah, he's flying into the sun.  Yeah, he's bashing bad guys.  Yeah, he's flying Lois around.  But he's the greatest hero, and rarely has a more perfect story of him been told.  If you find anyone who doesn't get why Superman is awesome - and it's easy to think that he's not because he's just some ultimately-powerful do-gooder whose stories pretty much end up with him bashing something with brute strength, give them these two copies and look for their reactions.  If they get it, if they understand the perfection that is Superman by the end of these volumes, keep them as a friend.  If they still don't get it, abandon hope all ye who friend here because they're dumb.

        Marvelous, outstanding, glorious stuff here.  This one's a strong add to the starter comic book series list.

      • Songs of the Civil War -I wouldn't have guessed that I've enjoyed this album as much as I did, but there are a lot of quality songs here.  They're modern recordings of songs that would've been popular during the 1860s: Yellow Rose of Texas, I'm a Good Old Rebel, When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, Run, Mourner, Run - my favorites.  I really enjoyed this one, though I'll warn that it'll be a little country and folks for some tastes.
      • If I Should Fall From Grace of God - The Pogues' third album came my way with me thinking it was a greatest hits compilation.  I knew so many of the titles of these songs and hadn't done my homework, so I thought that one of the only two Pogues cds that PLCH had would have to have been a greatest hits cd.  Wrong, this was the third album that the band released and - according to - the last great album that they made before Shane McGowan's drinking derailed the band's creative awesome.  Bunches of great songs here - though I'd take Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash as a greater collective album.  This is, however, the epitome of modern, drunken, Celtic punk music but with the band stretching out to include Spanish and other world music rhythms from track to track.  It's a hell of a lot of fun.  Check out some of the songs online.  I'll leave you today with the best of them...with some awful lip synching on Top of the Pops...

      September 5, 2010

      Have a good weekend, folks...

      There are reasons that - when I pass - I want to come back as a dog in a household like ours...

      September 4, 2010

      As Witchita falls, so falls Witchita Falls

      Calen, name that movie...

      Niagara Falls in Motion from Matthew Wartman on Vimeo.

        September 3, 2010

        Check me rockin' the hizzouse...

        Ah, the Ugly Dance featuring lucky people...

        The tune's pretty catchy, too.

        September 2, 2010

        September 1, 2010

        A friend's kid gets the call up

        So, The Girl shared a little link and a couple of videos with me this past weekend.  It's all pretty typical pop stuff, pretty vocals sunk by cutie girls over decent little pop grooves.  If it weren't for one little detail that I'll mention in a minute, it's the kind of stuff that I'd be mocking with the standard gags about the group being totally manufactured, and peopled by girl who would end up falling into the seedier side of the music industry.

        But it turns out there's something a little different about The Varsity Girls.  See, I actually know one of the girls.  She's the step-daughter of one of The Girl's best friends from back in high school.  That's the best friend in the picture there.  It's from a few years back when we went to visit them in Massachusetts.  The Girl's the one on the left; the best friend on the right. 

        Apparently the step-daughter, Taylor Lawler - I figure that if she's identified on the Varsity Girls website, it's probably fair game for me to call her by name - has been singing with some friends of hers for a few years, and they've recently been signed to a record company.  Now they're touring the Boston area, singing at local Wal-Marts, Fenway Park, and the Hard Rock Cafe.

        Their first single, "Be You," is apparently getting some airplay on the Boston pop stations, and it looks like the girls are going to ride their singing for a while - still staying in school but starting to head into the professional music direction.

        You can grab "Be You" from iTunes, and I'm gonna give it a buy even though it's not my typical music.  Always good to help out a friend's family.  Their website has three more songs and a few videos of the girls.

        It's interesting to see the group's professional photos on the website.  They're clearing getting professional makeup and clothing and all that stuff, but they still look like little girls, especially Taylor, one of the two 15-year-olds of the five girls.

        Give 'em a listen, would ya?

        Taylor's the one on the far right at the white v-neck on "I'll Be There" the face t-shirt on "No One" the ripped jeans and the darker pink top in their main website photo...

        You can also check the girls out at their old website.  Apparently in the past year they've been Dollhouse then Dollstar and now the Varsity Girls.

        All in all, very cool to know that Taylor's apparently having a blast and doing well.