I am a history professor who grew up in Western New York, but now find myself teaching in Western Montana. My primary areas of interest and research are in American cultural history, especially in relation to the intersection of popular culture and politics. This blog is primarily to help me keep in touch with my far-flung family and friends, and give me the chance to spout off a bit on whatever happens to be on my mind.
Dr. John's Record Shelf is my weekly radio program on KDWG, 90.9 FM broadcast from the University of Montana Western. My goal is to offer an eclectic mix of various styles, genres and eras, focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on music that you won't hear anywhere else on the dial (at least not in SW Montana). My co-host, Art Vandelay and I (with the assistance of station flunky Rico Muckman) also provide some additional bits to liven up the show, including Three People I Know (where I mention three people I know), The Cultural Corner (where we engage in lively banter on art, literature and poetry), Dr. John's Top Five (where we take a shot at ranking almost anything), and Record Shelf Theater (where we re-create a scene from some famous movie, play or TV show). If you find yourself in Dillon, tune us in; otherwise, below are some lists of songs that have been aired on recent shows:
Dr. John's Record Shelf 121104
Bill Fay, "This World"
Steve Goodman, "Turnpike Tom"
Ani DiFranco, "Which Side Are You On?"
Bruce Springsteen, "We Are Alive"
Decemberists, "Don't Carry It All"
Carole King, "Pleasant Valley Sunday"
Bruce Cockburn, "Wondering Where the Lions Are"
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, "Oh Susannah"
Bob Dylan, "Soon After Midnight"
Charms, "American Way"
Belle & Sebastian, "I Want the World to Stop"
Krayolas, "Find a Girl"
Beatles, "Tomorrow Never Knows"
Neko Case, "Things That Scare Me"
Avett Brothers, "Will You Return"
Craig Finn, "New Friend Jesus"
Dr. John's Record Shelf 121028
Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues"
Golden Shoulders, "I Will Light You on Fire"
Spoon, "Finer Feelings"
Girls, "Just a Song"
Devandra Banhart, "Shabop Shalom"
Gaslight Anthem, "The '59 Sound"
Those Darlins, "Mystic Mind"
Son Seals, "I Can't Hold Out"
Johnny Ace, "Pledging My Love"
Charlotte Gainsbourg, "Dandelion"
Aimee Mann, "Borrowing Time"
Elliott Smith, "Between the Bars"
Carpenters, "It's Going to Take Some Time"
Hayes Carll, "Girl Downtown"
Fiery Furnaces, "Even in the Rain"
Billy Ward & the Dominoes, "Chicken Blues"
Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause, "You Think You Know Me"
Sophie Zelmani, "Most of the Time"
Dr. John's Record Shelf 121021
Cabaret Voltaire, "No Escape"
Us3, "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"
Hank Mobley, "The Break Through"
Rodriguez, "Sugar Man"
Mary Weiss, "My Heart is Beating"
Pete Shelley, "Think For Yourself"
Buddy Holly, "Take Your Time"
Raincoats, "No One's Little Girl"
Detroit Cobras, "Ya Ya Ya"
Public Image, LTD, "Public Image"
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, "Bad Reputation"
Love Is All, "Wishing Well"
Louie & the Lovers, "I KNow You Know"
Forty-Fives, "The Devil Beats His Wife"
John P. Strohm, "Better Than Nothing"
The Naysayer, "Currency"
Sir Douglas Quintet, "Who'll Be Next in Line"
The Seeds, "Mr. Farmer"
Dr. John's Record Shelf 121014
TV on the Radio, "Second Song"
Can, "Oh Yeah"
White Stripes, "300 MPH Torrential Downpour Blues"
Mary Lou Lord, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"
T-Bone Burnett, "The Murder Weapon"
New Bomb Turks, "Statue of Liberty"
Ramones, "Surfin' Bird"
Paris Sisters, "Dream Lover"
Lee Dorsey, "Ride Your Pony"
Michael Hurley, "Sweet Lucy"
Gary Numan, "Cars"
Neil Diamond, "Delirious Love"
Undertones, "We All Talked About You"
Shadows of Knight, "Shake"
Cub, "Magic 8 Ball"
Rilo Kiley, "The Frug"
Terry Allen, "Lubbock Woman"
Kinks, "Lincoln County"
Dr. John's Record Shelf 121007
Corin Tucker Band, "Summer Jams"
Go-Betweens, "Too Much of One Thing"
Feelies, "Change Your Mind"
Billy Bragg & the Blokes, "Baby Faroukh"
Marcia Griffiths, "Don't Let Me Down"
Velvet Crush, "Hold Me Up"
Chris Mills, "Calling All Comrades"
Insect Trust, "Hoboken Saturday Night"
Broken West, "So It Goes"
REM, "Exhuming McCarthy"
Dire Straits, "Twisting By the Pool"
Tom Rush, "Urge for Going"
Paul Westerberg & Joan Jett, "Let's Do It"
Fred Astaire, "Cheek to Cheek"
The Who, "I Can See For Miles"
Liz Phair, "Uncle Alvarez"
Steve martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, "King Tut"
I can't remember the last time a movie irritated me as much as Extremely Loud and Dangerously Close. It's one of those films where certain elements are really good, raising expectations for the movie as a whole. But they are separated by passages that are incredibly stupid, maudlin, or hamfisted and the charming bits are ultimately left in the dust. I suppose it deserves a little credit for trying to concoct a story about the implications of 9/11 that doesn't come at the story from an obvious angle-- or anyway, the novel on which the film is based does (maybe the author pulled it off). But you can't really afford to assume the audience will remain on your side just because the plot unfolds from a widely shared tragedy-- that empathy only goes so far, especially since the film tends to make it seem like it the effect on the main character (a boy who lost his father) is the only one that matters. When you're going for precious, it really doesn't help to have a kid who is uncommonly obnoxious at the center of the story. It's disappointing because, as I mentioned above, there was something to work with here, but it just doesn't come off and some fine performances (by Jeffrey Wright and Viola Davis especially) go for naught.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) is possibly the best known American photographer of all time. Here's something he said that I agree with:
"Millions of men have lived to fight, build palaces and boundaries, shape destinies and societies; but the compelling force of all times has been the force of originality and creation profoundly affecting the roots of human spirit."
Here's another of those bands who've been flitting around the margins of the mainstream of popular music for a number of years who really deserve a breakthrough to greater attention. Maybe it's their name that's holding them back, as they call themselves the Silver Jews. Regardless, this is one of their many entertaining songs:
From his classic novel Call of the Wild, here's a great line by Jack London (1876-1916):
"There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive."
I believe that in years past I would post some comments on which films/performers/craft people I hoped would win Academy Awards. This year, it completely slipped my mind. In fact, it wasn't until the program was three quarters over that I remembered and turned it on to watch. My impression of the win by The Artist as Best Picture kind of confirms some comments I made here after seeing it awhile back: voters obviously were charmed by its gimmick, because anyone with a memory (or some interest) in movies made prior to about 1980 would know just how derivative it is. It's a mystery to me how something so unoriginal can be worthy of an award. Yes, it's effective as entertainment, and I don't mean to take that away from the movie, but I'm at a loss about how anyone can see it as anything more than that, especially when it was up against something like Tree of Life, which was so startlingly original (well, as original as any movie that could garner an Oscar nomination could be). Even Hugo, which mined pretty much the same theme was more innovative, making the contemporary technology of 3D compatible (even essential ) to an understanding of early cinema. If The Artist truly is the best movie of the past year, than it ought to stand as one of the all-time great silents, and I don't think it's even close to being in the running. That's no reason to avoid seeing it, of course; but if you like it, then go out and find some classics by Buster Keaton, F.W. Murnau, King Vidor, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, etc. etc. and see if they don't really bowl you over.
I've been working on some photos I took in Italy a few years ago, and experimenting with some of the "painterly" effects available with PhotoShop. These four seem to have turned out pretty good, so I thought I would post them here.
Obviously, I was somewhat enamored of the canals and the gondolas, which is a big part of the draw in Venice...
... but I wish I had concentrated a bit more on street scenes like the one above, of which there are only a few among the hundreds of shots I took. If I ever get back, I'll definitely try to balance them a bit better.
I've heard better versions of this song, an early Gram Parsons composition, but this is the only one I could find on YouTube. It's not bad, considering its sung by an actor moonlighting as a singer-- the Easy Rider himself, Peter Fonda:
In honor of the start of Spring Training last week, here's a classic Peanuts strip by Charles Schulz. It's a rare one where Charlie Brown is the catcher rather than the pitcher (that position held down by Shermy).
It appears that author John Steinbeck (1902-1968) read some of the same books I have, based on this comment:
"A book is like a man: clever and dull, brave and cowardly, beautiful and ugly. For every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet and mangy mongrel, and for every looping flight a tap on the wing and a reminder that wax cannot hold the feathers firm too near the sun."
Here's one of the all-time great soul classics from the sixties, by the largely unsung Howard Tate who recently passed away. Luckily, after years of struggle, he enjoyed something of a late-life career renaissance. How he never became a huge star is beyond me when I listen to songs like this...
You may notice the new logo photo I put up today. Anyone care to guess the name of the band? A few hints: they are British, had a string of hits in the seventies (though the picture depicts a reformed group with only one of the main figures from that era), and... well, I'll leave it at that for now. I'll post additional hints until someone gets it, but in the meantime, put your guesses in the comments section.
I don't know how much of the appeal here is the ultra-cool music (by Henry Mancini), and how much is actually the antics of the characters, but I enjoyed watching this Pink Panther cartoon which I probably haven't seen in about forty years. Maybe you'll like it too:
I find this statement by the English writer John Milton (1608-1674) to be rather insightful:
"Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"
Yo La Tengo is one of those bands that's hard to summarize-- they're just good at everything they try (and they seem willing to try pretty much anything). Here's a performance from the the old Conan O'Brien Late Show back in 2000:
You'll notice there's a theme to today's family pics. Here are Gerik, Marenka, and friend Christine. This must go back to the Fourth of July 2006. I know I say this a lot here, but how could it be that long ago?
Hey I finally had a truly outstanding cup of soup in Dillon-- the Calico Bean and Ham at the Milk Pail. That's one of the two places I've mentioned recently without naming, but they definitely deserve some credit for this concoction. Very hearty, with a variety of beans and huge chunks of ham that was so tender it was falling apart on the spoon. I can't recall the last time I had such a good cup of bean soup-- it may go back years and years to when it was a staple at a defunct chain in Buffalo called Bagel Brothers (I'm smacking my lips at the memory). But where their version had a ratio of beans to ham of about 80/20%, the Milk Pail's was easily 50/50. I'm a little worried that they've raised the bar so high with this one that I'm likely to be disappointed the next time I go in there, but I guess it's a chance I'll just have to take.
Today's quote comes from the South African activist and politician Nelson Mandela:
"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
A lot of people think of the early 1970s as a kind of golden age for Hollywood movies, a period of immense artistic accomplishment, largely driven by a bunch of "Young Turk" filmmakers who were unconstrained by longstanding traditions (guys like Francis Ford Coppola, Marty Scorsese, Bob Rafelson, Brian DePalma, Monte Hellman, and a bunch of others). Movies of that era were often marked by a gritty look and cynical themes-- very much a reflection of the times, when most of the various sixties dreams were crashing in real life. After Jaws and Star Wars, the industry took a turn, embracing shallow commercial values over artistic expression, and evaluating quality in terms of opening weekend grosses (an oversimplification, sure, but not inaccurate). Good movies still got made of course, but it really didn't seem like Hollywood was interested in promoting the kind of talent that emerged in the seventies, nor giving filmmakers the kind of free rein they seemed to have back then in picking their projects. The reason why I bring that up is that I've been trying to think of a movie of the past few years that so directly draws on that early seventies model as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, both in its look and its message. It's directed by Tomas Alfredson, a Swede apparently making his first English language movie, and it would've fit right in with the likes of The Conversation (Coppola 1974), The King of Marvin Gardens (Rafelson, 1972), Charlie Varrick (Don Seigel, 1973), The Parallax View (Alan J. Pakula 1974), just to name a few. Visually, it's grainy and dark, befitting its plot of duplicity and deception in the highest levels of the British intelligence service. To be honest, I found the narrative much too convoluted to know for certain what was happening with every twist, but that seemed secondary to grasping the ultimate message that no one should be trusted. In fact, the point seemed to be that the whole spy business is largely predicated on generating suspicion where none necessarily is warranted-- a condition that is exploited by nearly everyone, more in pursuit of private gain than out of some sense of national interest or ideological purity. Gary Oldman is outstanding as George Smiley, the one character who seems to maintain some kind of moral foundation, though his motives too are open to interpretation. I should mention that the story is set in the seventies, when the Cold War was still the central fact of international relations, so it was appropriate for Alfredson to adopt the look of movies from that generation. It's certainly good enough to inspire imitators, but let's hope they embrace the general aesthetic of that earlier generation and pursue originality and not just the style evident in Alfredson's film.
I could not have said this any better than George Orwell (1903-1950), but I totally agree with him on this point:
"Scientific education for the masses will do little good, and probably a lot of harm, if it simply boils down to more physics, more chemistry, more biology, etc to the detriment of literature and history. Its probable effect on the average human being would be to narrow the range of his thoughts and make him more than ever contemptuous of such knowledge as he did not possess."
Ever notice how rare great Beatles covers are? I mean, lots of people try their hand at Lennon-McCartney and Harrison compositions, but how many actually live up to the originals? Richie Havens version of "Here Comes the Sun" is pretty good... and I can't think of another off the top of my head. Compare that to Bob Dylan covers, which are often as memorable as the originals (if not more so). Anyway, here's a contender from an unlikely source: Sandie Shaw doing "Love Me Do."
An interesting observation from the English adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh (c1552-1618):
"According to Solomon, life and death are in the power of the tongue; and as Euripides truly affirmeth, every unbridled tongue in the end shall find itself unfortunate; for in all that ever I observed in the course of worldly things, I ever found that men's fortunes are oftener made by their tongues than by their virtues, and more men's fortunes overthrown thereby, also, than by their vices."
Back in the summer of '09, Ben, Natalie and I went to an event at the old New York Central Terminal in Buffalo. It was a fundraiser to generate funding to restore the old building to its former glory (a massive job after years of neglect), so there were a number of vendors and a swing band providing music. It was a great opportunity to take some pictures, which I only recently discovered on a card I hadn't previously downloaded to my computer. So here are a few of the shots I took that day (a couple were originally in black and white, and I converted the other two to make a set).
You can tell that this was a grand place in its heyday (opened in 1927, if I recall correctly), and its still fun to wander around on the rare occasions the place is open.
Here's hoping something will be going on there the next time I'm in town-- I'm kind of curious to see if they've made much progress on the restoration.
I've been a fan of James Garner since I was about three years old and used to watch Maverick reruns every morning while I waited for my sister Sally to come home from kindergarten so we could have lunch. Watching that show is one of my earliest memories, though to be honest, back then I was a bigger fan of Jack Kelly who played the slightly more traditionally heroic of the Maverick brothers. When I rediscovered the show in late night reruns when I was in high school, I was amazed that my toddler memories of its quality more than held up. Of course, by that time I was regularly watching, and enjoying, The Rockford Files, in which Garner essentially played Bret Maverick as a modern day private eye. Around that time I also noted that Garner popped up in a lot of movies I liked, such as Support Your Local Sheriff, Marlowe, and Skin Game. In other words, he's been a favorite actor of mine for a long time, and I was kind of looking forward to reading his memoir when I saw it on display in a bookstore back before Christmas, and was gratified when I received a copy as a gift. I was mostly looking forward to reading behind-the-scenes stories of Maverick and Rockford, and each receives a chapter. There are also sections on Garner's hobbies of driving fast cars and golfing, and a lot of commentary about his perspective of the entertainment industry. The best parts are those about his childhood, which was uncommonly rough, even for a Depression-bred kid, and the effect that had on how he looked at the world once he became an adult. All in all, it's a decent book, but it starts with something of a disclaimer by Garner that he never really thought his story was all that interesting, and there are long stretches where it seems like he's kind of hellbent on proving the point (or at least not going out of his way to make his story more exciting). He mostly has generous words for those he worked with, and the exceptions are not dwelt upon. Throughout his career he was often accused (or maybe complimented) for just playing himself on screen, and while that's ultimately condescending to his craft (his conclusion too), I think the modesty and self-deprecation on display in this book are genuine and they kind of undermine the overall impact of reading it. But, despite that, I kind of appreciate that Garner was true to his feelings, and didn't glamorize a story that he doesn't see in those terms. Where that leaves a potential reader I guess depends on whether you are a fan to begin with or not. I am, and so I'm glad I got the chance to read his story, even if it didn't exactly knock my socks off.
This is from a speech given by President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) in 1953 to the American Society of Newspaper Editors:
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
It's a mystery to me as to why Belly never became huge. I guess it's a common story, but with tunes like this, and a dynamic lead singer in Tanya Donelly it seems like they should've been bigger stars. Oh well, at least we have the memories...
Right Around Home was a full page panel done for Sunday papers by the ingenious Dudley Fisher starting in the late 1930s and lasting until the early sixties (though cut down in size by that point). There was always a lot going on in these scenes; they even remind me of the crammed-full paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (see an example here). Be sure to click on these to blow them up so you can see all the details and read the dialogue.
Way up there on my list of things I love to hear: pitchers and catchers report today! Despite the generally mild winter it's still a thrill to realize that Spring has arrived, and to start thinking happy thoughts about a summer in the grandstand (or in front of the TV) enjoying the national pastime. I received my Kindle edition of the 2012 Baseball Prospectus a couple days ago, and it occurred to me that since I'm on sabbatical (and already planning a trip to Southern California in a couple of weeks) that I can visit one of the Arizona camps this year, which would be a huge kick. Definitely one of the best days of the year to date.
You'd be hardpressed to name a better rock and roll songwriter than Paul Westerberg back in the eighties. As he suggests in the opening comments here, this may be a bit overproduced, but its greatness is evident to my ears nonetheless:
It's been awhile since I posted an episode of Wacky Races, so you you go. This clip looks especially sharp, probably even more so than it did on original broadcast back in the late sixties (way before high-def TVs):
Here's Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus Three (essentially REM without Stipe or Mills) with a live rendition of the Soft Boys classic "Kingdom of Love." Of course, Hitchcock was a member of that group too.
Okay, so I have some early returns on the two places that opened recently near my house that are offering homemade soup on a daily basis (well, almost a daily basis). I've now visited each place several times. They are both about six blocks from my house, only about a block away from each other, so I've gotten into the habit of taking a lunchtime stroll that loops around by one or the other and picking up a cup. The first comment is that, unfortunately, one has been closed on a couple of occasions when I came by, and the other has been out of soup on a couple of visits-- so they aren't entirely a sure thing. The next point is that the place that is sometimes closed offers a choice every day of two standbys (chili and chicken dumpling) and a soup du jour (so far though my experience is that the du jour has only two options in rotation: French Onion and bacon corn chowder), while the other has only had one choice, though I've yet to see the same thing offered twice (though again, several times they've been out by the time I got there). The first place takes longer to serve-- I suspect they are microwaving-- while the second place fills my cup from a pot on the stove within moments of placing my order. Another difference: the warmed over soup is a buck less per cup, and comes with a variety of cracker packs (four or five per visit), while the competition didn't even include a plastic spoon (I generally get a cup to go and eat at home, so that's not really a big deal). Of course, in the final analysis, none of these factors is really all that critical, if the soup is good. In terms of quality, I'd rate them pretty much identical. I think the best cup I've had so far from either place was the potato chowder at the more expensive place, but the bacon corn chowder from the other place was pretty close. By the way, I haven't mentioned the names because in the unlikely event that the proprietors of ether see this I don't want them to think I'm knocking them (at least in relation to the competition). Taking all factors into account, I expect to be a regular at both places and hope they are around for a good long time. They don't seem poised to match the soup nirvana that Fables Cafe was a couple years ago, nor the place in Tacoma with the endless daily menu of exotic options, but for a small town like Dillon we're pretty lucky to have them.
Maybe this explains the quality of political candidates who seem to rise to the top in contemporary elections. It's a statement from the Chinese sage Confucius (551 BC- 479 BC):
"It is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the mean man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin."
I was once again out at Bannack State Park yesterday, and here are a few of the pictures I took, converted to black and white. As has been true for each of my last three or four visits, I seemed to be the only person in the Park, which really made it feel like a ghost town.
I really enjoyed The Descendents, directed by Alexander Payne and starring George Clooney. That's not much of a surprise really, as those two guys have been respectively working on fairly lengthy winning streaks. While Clooney sometimes gets involved in some high concept commercial films (the Ocean's series, for example, or his collaborations with the Coen brothers), he seems equally comfortable in smaller-scaled realistic films-- like Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton, or Up In the Air-- and The Descendents is definitely in that category. Payne's ouevre exists exclusively on that scale, and he's yet to make a clunker (his resume includes Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, and Sideways). I think it's safe to say that the recurring theme in Payne's movies is that you can't take anything for granted, no matter how set in your ways you may think you are, there will always be some sequence of curveballs that compel you to rethink your place in the world. Since his characters (and Clooney fits this mold in the current film) tend to be basically decent people, the ways they cope tend to reflect their efforts not to give in to worst tendencies, though not always successfully. Here, the Clooney character's life is disrupted by his wife going into a coma and his subsequent discovery of her infidelity. His efforts to keep his family, and his sense of what's right, intact amidst that set of challenges is mirrored by a concurrent professional problem which inevitably becomes entangled in his more personal issues. What makes this work for me is that Payne largely avoids the kind of cynicism or ironic detachment that marks so much of contemporary culture, without falling into the alternative trap of being overly cloying or sanctimonious. It's a bit of a tightrope act, but Payne is up to the task. I should also note how much I enjoyed the fine performance by Shailene Woodley as Clooney's older daughter, and Robert Forster who brings real depth to the role of Clooney's father-in-law, by turns both funny and touching. I wouldn't call it a classic, but I suspect The Descendents will reward repeat viewings.
I had a bit of a snafu with the recording apparatus this week, so once again I'm posting a "classic" edition of the Top Five List. This originally aired on Dr. John's Record Shelf way back in February of 2006. I hope it stands the test of time:
I think there's something to this comment from the eminent actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993):
"Every human being on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up. That he has to leave the nest, the security, and go out to do battle. He has to lose everything that is lovely and fight for a new loveliness of his own making, and it's a tragedy. A lot of people don't have the courage to do it."
I may have posted a video of this song before, but it was long enough ago (and with different visuals) that I think it's okay to put up again. This is one of my favorite reggae tunes, courtesy of the great John Holt:
I finally got a chance to check out the second place just a few blocks from my house that advertises homemade soup every day. In fact I've been there twice in the last week. The first time I tried the French Onion Soup (they offer a Chicken Dumpling and Chili every day along with a rotating de jour selection). It was pretty good-- lots and lots of onions in a just slightly too sweet broth. I got it to go, so the melted Swiss cheese (over croutons) lacked that crisped-on-the-crock quality, but it still added a little bit of chewy texture to the mix. Today I tried the Bacon Corn Chowder. It was good too-- the corn was still fairly crispy, and the bacon chunks, while not as plentiful, definitely added some flavor. The broth was maybe a tad too buttery for my taste, but not enough to wreck the overall effect (this had lots of onion too, almost always a positive thing). I have to go back to the other place to give them another chance, as my first experience wasn't stellar. What they have in common so far is a somewhat intermittent quality: one place has been closed a couple of times I stopped by, the other was out of soup a couple of times. I guess the overall demand isn't great enough to insure soup-on-demand for me, but I think I can adjust as long as I can get it at least some of the time I have a craving.