Stanley Milgram Knows His Stuff

Det. Paul Falsone: You know, I was thinking of printing up one of those bikini calendars. You know, “The Cops of Baltimore”-type thing.
Det. Rey Curtis: What happened?
Det. Paul Falsone: You seen the cops in Baltimore?

Homicide: Life on the Street, “Baby, It’s You” (11/14/97)


So this evening I’d just poured myself a nice cup of tea, and I stepped out back to stand on the deck and call in the dog, when I heard a peculiar sound. It was the sound of an accident that took place on the main road, a couple of hundred feet from my house. What made it peculiar is that it sounded backward: BANG, then screeeeeeech!

The accident being clearly nearby, I grabbed my phone and walked out to the road. The accident was actually almost a block further south than I thought. One car had rear-ended another, and they were both blocking the better part of this four-lane road. Both cars had about a half-dozen people each surrounding them, but it didn’t look like anyone was on their phone, so I made the call to 911 and reported the accident.

Now, it was actually possible for the traffic to squeeze through a single lane, but of course everyone on foot was still hanging around the cars, so I grabbed one guy and told him to help direct traffic for the southbound side, and I’d take the northbound. He and I coordinated this single-lane traffic until the police arrived and blocked off the lane. So now there was no northbound traffic, and the southbound also had nowhere to go, so I started directing southbound cars down a side street.

And kept on directing cars down the side street.

And kept on doing it.

Now, I’m just some guy out there in street clothes. Fortunately my shirt is light colored, because it was pretty dark out there. But I’m standing there in front of an accident, waving at cars and directing them down the road, and they’re actually going for it. One guy in a taxi told me he just had to get over there to that block, and at first he couldn’t get it through his head that there’s glass and car parts everywhere. “You need to go down there and come back around,” I said.

“But I need to get over there,” he said again.

Finally I lost patience. “I. Don’t. Care. Go. Around!” He sighed and complied.

I did this for almost an hour. After maybe a half-hour, a truck drove up with traffic cones and such in the back. As he got out of the truck  I asked him if he was taking over. “Nope,” he said. “I just came to pick up my sign over there.” He pointed to a RIGHT LANE CLOSED AHEAD sign on the sidewalk. But then he broke out about 10 cones and put them across the road for me, telling me to just stack them on the sidewalk when I was done, and he’d get them later. He got his sign and took off.

At one point one of the cops came over and thanked me, because they were short-handed and couldn’t get another car to that side of the accident to block off the road.

But here’s the weird thing. At one point there was a lull in the traffic and I got curious to see whether the person in the car that had been hit was still there. And sure enough, she was. Then the penny dropped. I knew this woman. She was my neighbor from the house behind me. I turned around and her husband was right there. I asked him how he was doing. He told me “Not so good.” Well, sure. He wasn’t in the car, but heard the commotion and came out, like the rest of us. Only in his case, he found his wife in one of the mangled vehicles.

This woman is pretty tight with Wife, so I figured she’d want to know what had happened. Wife had already gone upstairs, so I knew she didn’t have her phone on her, but she probably had her tablet, so I broke out my phone and fired up Facebook Messenger, and let her know.

“XX was just in an accident.”

“How do you know”

“Because I’m at the accident scene.”

“Where”

“Out on YY Road.”

She was outside in about three minutes. By then the neighbor had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and her husband was with the tow truck driver, trying to figure out how to tow the car safely the half-mile to his preferred garage. Meanwhile I’m still directing traffic. Some people stopped to ask about getting back to the main road, a couple whined at me about how their destination was so close by and do they really have to go around? (Yes, dammit.) But in the end, they all just listened to the random guy who just walked out into the middle of the street and started waving at cars, stopping them so others could move through, and so on.

You know, back in 1961, a psychologist named Stanley Milgram did an experiment that essentially measured people’s response to authority figures. People would do terrible things to other people (not really, it was a setup), simply because other people who were wearing lab coats told them to do so. It was a fascinating experiment that was inspired by the Nazi “I was just following orders” defense after the war. And sure enough, these people, who were asked to administer electric shocks to other people, said similar things: “I didn’t want to, but he kept telling me to.” or “I was going to stop, but…”

Somehow I feel as though I was a kind of living example of this experiment.

Here’s the Milgram footage, if you’re curious. It’s fascinating stuff.

Stick It In Your Ears

Penny: So, how many people listen?
Wil Wheaton: Most people download it later, but usually a few thousand people listen live.
Penny: What? A few thousand people listen to you talk about nerd stuff?
Wil Wheaton: Again, right in the ears, straight to the feelings.

The Big Bang Theory, “The Fortification Implementation” (4/9/15)


Note: This post is cross-posted from my podcast’s website, How Good It Is, with a few edits so it makes a little sense. 

A few people have asked me about the what sort of stuff I go through when I put my podcast together, so I figured it would be fun(-ish) for me to take a closer look at the entire process and share it with you.

PART I—THE HISTORY

Image result for wbau -site:pinterest.comI’ve long had an interest in radio. When I was in college in the early 80s I spent inordinate amounts of time at WBAU, the radio station that was run by students at Adelphi University. (WBAU went dark in 1995, and that’s a whole other story). I thought I would go into broadcasting, but a few things, rather ridiculous ones in retrospect, got in the way and frankly I floundered for a few years. But I never lost the bug. And most people agree that you never do.

The other thing I’ve always been pretty good at is telling stories. I’m not prolific about it but I also have a personal blog called Baltimore Diary, where I occasionally bang out pretty much whatever is on my mind. (You know…the one you’re reading now?) The problem with a blog like that is that it doesn’t have a lot of focus, so the audience will always be small. Not that I’m writing for the popularity or the glory, but you like to think that someone other than your immediate circle of friends is paying attention. (I’m going to cross-post this over there, so if you click on the link you’ll just wind up reading this again unless you scroll down.)

So, finding a way of combining the two has been a little bit of a conundrum for me. I’ve been listening to podcasts for several years now. Marc Maron’s WTF was one of the first, and coincidentally I was one of his first listeners, because I started searching for my first podcasts to listen to only a few weeks after he started his podcast. (The Maron thing is a little bit of an aside and I’ll come back to it in a bit.) One of the other podcasts I adopted early on was Cerphe Colwell’s progressive show, which was a couple of hours of music that was pretty much in my wheelhouse. That show moved over to a different platform and I was still using an iPod, so unfortunately we had to break up. But Cerphe’s show was the first inkling I had that I could do a music program, and do it on my own terms. There was another one I listened to pretty much from the beginning, but it got kind of stale and, while it’s still running, that’s largely because it’s got a band of rabid fans that are, frankly, living in the past and haven’t figured out that the show has refused to evolve.

PART II—THE BEGINNING

Life got in the way for a couple of years, what with relatives getting sick and dying, so nearly everything went by the wayside. But a few months ago I started thinking about it again. And it was around this time that I started looking a little more closely at other podcasts to see what they were doing, and how they were doing it, and how they sounded, and a number of other things. I wanted to do something that had a specific focus (unlike the blog), and had a topic about which I could talk knowledgeably. I came up with a few ideas and crowd-sourced it a little bit, and the one that I liked best, AND had the advantage of not being like a lot of others, was this one.

Image result for musicradio 77 -site:pinterest.comI also crowd-sourced the title of the show, which I’d lifted from something I’d seen on Allan Sniffen’s website, and despite this, he was nice to me in my first couple of weeks. A few people came up with alternative names, but what they had was either already taken, or I couldn’t get the domain name. Plus it was growing on me day-by-day.

Image result for doug miles media -site:pinterest.comI also need to give a shout-out to my fellow WBAU alumnus Doug Miles, who DID make the cross over into professional broadcasting. He’s got the Book Talk podcast, and he covers the Orioles Spring Training season down in Sarasota, and he’s got a bunch of other stuff going on pretty much all the time. He took the time to give me a bunch of pointers on getting the thing up and running. Eternal thanks to him for his encouragement.

Some people have suggested that it’s a lot like Song Exploder, and in a way I agree in the sense that Hrishikesh Hirway also concentrates on a single track for each podcast, but he’s got a different format, and he sticks to more recent tracks, whereas I’m reaching back for the older stuff. So, we’ve each got our little corner of the genre staked out.

I did a LOT of planning ahead on this, including mapping out something like the first ten episodes, because if I couldn’t sustain that much, then what was the point? To be honest, I lost the list and had to re-do the advance planning, but being able to do it again, and with largely different stuff, meant that I was probably onto something with the longer-term prospects of the show. I got a format together, I figured out what I wanted it to sound like, and I started shopping for equipment.

PART III—THE NUTS AND BOLTS

The first couple of shows were recorded in my dining room, on summer days when Wife was out of the house and the dogs were outside. I’d have to stop recording every time the air conditioners came on, or shut them off and put up with the heat. I decided, however, that there was still too much ambient noise in the area because my house has a semi-open floorplan to it, and I still sounded kind of “live”.  Plus, I had to assemble everything and then take it apart again after each recording session, and I could see where that would get a little taxing on my cables and such. So I moved the entire setup into my basement, where I could put it together and leave it there.

 

Image result for behringer q1202usb 12-channel mixerMy first purchase was the Behringer Xenyx Q1202 12-channel mixer. It’s probably more than I need, input-wise, but I’ve also got the flexibility I’ll need to implement some ideas I have for future shows. And at about a hundred bucks, it wasn’t breaking the bank. I’d also purchased a couple of Behringer Image result for shure sm7 -site:pinterest.comUltravoice XM1800S microphones, but in the end I didn’t like the way they sounded. (They’re going to come in handy for a future project or two.) Until now I’ve been working with Wee One’s Shure SM-7 microphone. I DO like the way it sounds, but after all it’s not my mic. So this week I ordered one of my own, and I decided to take a step up. Come next week, How Good It Is will be recorded using an Electrovoice RE-20 microphone, which is my favorite of all time. I also Image result for re20 microphone in shockmount -site:pinterest.compurchased a shock mount to go with it, because I’m not going to be in a basement forever, Mom.

I have two other elements that I use. One is to help improve the sound and the other is to keep the production going smoothly.

The first is acoustic foam panels. Wee One got me a bunch of them as a Christmas present, which I mounted to doubled corrugated cardboard, and I purchased a second set and mounted those as well. So I record, surrounded by these two-foot-by-six-foot cardboard panels with acoustic foam on them, to help cut down the ambient noises.

And the other is a pair of laptops. One contains all of my sound elements: the theme music and the audio clips that I use during the show, and that’s jacked into my mixer. The other one does the actual recording, and is connected to the mixer’s output through a USB port. Software-wise, I use a program called Soundboard to store the audio clips so I can fire them at will. The only drawback to the version of Soundboard I’m using is that the clips have to be in WAV format, so I wind up converting some files  before I can use them. I use Audacity to record end edit the show. I’ve learned the hard way that you shouldn’t have other stuff running while you’re recording with Audacity because it can interfere with the recording buffer, creating a “skip” in the final playback product. (My professional tip for you today.)

I’d take a picture of the entire setup, but one of the laptops isn’t attached to the studio permanently; in fact it’s the one I’m typing on now (back in the dining room, am I). So next week I’ll take a photo and post it for the curious.

PART IV—POST-PRODUCTION

The show is very produced compared to other podcasts; I like to have some kind of stuff going on most of the time, which is a holdover from my radio style. That also means that the show is rather heavily scripted, because in many cases I’m timing things tightly. So editing the show usually takes a little while, but Soundboard has cut down on that and lately I’m just stitching together my beginning, middle and end. Once in awhile I’ll screw up and either re-do the entire segment I’m recording or, if I can find a decent point to edit, I’ll go back to that point and start over. I’m kind of proud of the fact that most of my edits are pretty invisible. I was good with physically cutting tape back in the day, and I’ve got a good ear for doing it digitally as well.

Image result for auphonic -site:pinterest.comOnce the show is edited, I upload it to a website called Auphonic for audio. Because the show is short, I can do all of my processing for free. But if it were longer, I’d pay for it because it’s made a huge difference in the show’s sound.

Image result for podomatic -site:pinterest.comFrom there, I upload it to this site, and to Podomatic, where the show is hosted, and it’s from there that your podcatcher gets it. I write up the post for this site and publish it, and after waiting a little while I publicize it on Facebook. The reason for the delay is that I’ve discovered, if I try to post on FB right away, Facebook can’t find the images. And sometimes it can’t even find the post! So I give everyone a little time to figure it out.

And now we get to the part where you come in!

PART V—WHERE YOU COME IN

You, my faithful listener/reader (and you’ve GOTTA be pretty faithful if you’ve gotten through nearly 2000 words and you’re still with me), will either read my Facebook post and come here directly, or you have iTunes or Spotify or some other pod organizing software, and it gets (usually) automatically downloaded to your device.

At this point I still don’t have a huge number of listeners, but that’s OK because the feedback I’ve gotten has been almost overwhelmingly positive. My strongest critic is my brother, who listens to a few at a time and then calls me to tell me what sounds crappy, and more often than not I agree with his assessments and have made adjustments.

So how do I decide what songs to cover?

There are a few songs where I know there’s an interesting backstory, and those come pretty easily. Other times, I’ll hear a song and just wonder if they have a story to them, and then the research begins. Occasionally I’ll hit a dead end (that is, there isn’t really much to tell), but that leads me into another story. Once in awhile I hear a bit of trivia on a radio show and that encourages me to dig a little deeper. (“Get Together“, Episode 4, is a good example of this.) And every now and again I look at what I’ve covered and see if I need to go in a different direction for awhile, e.g. have I done too many songs from the 60s and ignored the 50s? Have I concentrated on male artists too much? Rock vs. ballads vs. doo-wop vs. some other genre?

A couple of people have made suggestions, and one of them has already been turned into a show (H/T to Kevin), and another has given me an idea for something I want to do later, in the springtime (another H/T to Jerry).  For what it’s worth, I’m always open to new ideas, whether it’s about the sound, the content or some other detail (should I do more trivia questions?). I’m always happy to see comments and suggestions, whether it’s here or on the Facebook page.

Finally: a couple of people have asked me about monetizing the podcast somehow. That’s not my immediate plan; unless the show grows immensely in popularity, it’ll be a relatively inexpensive hobby for me. If I have to start paying for additional bandwidth and such because there are so many downloads, then I will have to think about doing something like that, but I’ll try to do it as unobtrusively as possible. The aim would be sustaining rather than profit.

One of the big takeaways I’ve gotten from this whole project is that it’s good to have something else to look forward to, that’s vastly different from everything else you do. And the other thing is something I’ve learned from several years of listening to Marc Maron (see, I told you I’d come back to him). His show was born out of the ashes of his previous job. At that point he was a mid-level standup comic and radio host, who lost the radio gig when his entire network, Air America, took a huge financial crash and went belly-up. But from those pieces he managed to rebuild—indeed, vastly improve—his career and, it seems, repair his personal life right in front of his audience. I’m not in that level of dire straits, thanks, but it taught me that there are always second acts, that there’s always redemption and a positive future, if you make the reach for it.

This post has been an incredible exercise in procrastination (hey, it was either this, or I start writing next week’s show), but it was also kind of fun for me to put together. Thanks again for all your amazing support, and for letting me into your head every week.

Effect on Affect

Dr. Mark Hall: Air doesn’t matter! Blood does. That’s the answer.

The Andromeda Strain (1971)


Let’s play some catchup, shall we?

This has been a bit of a rough school year for me.

This is pretty much me, all through this school year.

I’ve been distracted and moody, and my concentration has been out the window. And I’ve been feeling a general sense of discombobulation, you should excuse the technical term. And it felt as though every time I was finally getting on top of matters, I’d get whacked with a bunch of other issues.

When you do the job that I do, you expect to get a lot of different issues coming from many directions at once. But this year I’ve been feeling like I’m bailing a leaky boat. And I started to think that maybe I’m not cut out to work such a busy school anymore; that perhaps I need another school with a smaller caseload and so on. 150ish students, even with a part-timer assisting me, is a lot of kids to keep track of. And yet…and yet, I still believe in the school I work with and its overall philosophy, and the fact that I’m making a difference for a lot of students who are not only at-risk, but who are in some genuine crisis. But how much can a person take, anyway?

So that’s one thing going on in my life lately. Meanwhile, I have a new doctor. My previous doctor retired and moved to the West Coast, so I had to find someone new. I’m pretty fussy about this sort of thing, so I was glad when Wife found someone she thought I might like. And with a small caveat, she was right.

During the holiday break, I did a New Patient visit with the doctor. We did a medical history, and they took some blood samples, and there was an interview or two, and so on. And the doctor had some specific suggestions for me, and based on what we’d discussed, she gave me a couple of prescriptions.

A few days later, I got a call from her office. My blood work had come back, and the numbers weren’t good at all. My cholesterol was high, which makes sense considering I hadn’t taken any cholesterol meds in about two years. But then again, they weren’t as high as they were before I started taking medication, so that was a little encouraging. My triglycerides were also a little on the high side, and we’d address that later on. What was of bigger concern, however, was my Vitamins B and D levels. Those were pretty much bottomed out. Like, I should be running around naked at the equator to get my Vitamin D levels up; that’s how low it was. I was also told that my iron levels were low and that I should see a hematologist. In the meantime, I had a follow-up visit scheduled for this past week.

I didn’t call the hematologist, largely because the conversation would have gone something like: “Why are you here?” “Uh…my doctor told me to come here?” so I sat on that one until  the follow-up visit. But I filled the prescriptions and I started taking vitamin supplements, and life went on for a few weeks.

Last week, on Friday, I had my follow-up visit, and it turns out that my blood was in even worse shape than I originally thought. The guy who called me had essentially buried the lede: my iron was practically bottomed out. If I had a serious accident, I wouldn’t have enough reserves in my bone marrow to replace what blood I’d lost. And my A1C, which wasn’t on the sheet I’d received, was just barely high enough to put me in Type II Diabetes range. So we had some conversation about my diet, and my exercise, and there’s gonna be some more medication for you.

Image result for trulicity -site:pinterest.comI’m back on Pravastatin, but since my cholesterol was relatively low for a high value, I’m also back to the lower dose where I started. But because of the A1C, I’m also taking something called Trulicity, which is a pen-style injectable drug that I take once a week. You pop off the gray cap on the bottom, push it against your abdomen or your thigh, and press the green button. Needle pops its way in, the stuff injects for about five seconds, then you hear a click and you’re done. One of the side effects of Trulicity is depressing your appetite, so I may experience the weight loss regardless of my excercise levels, but she also noted that if my appetite truly crashes, I need to force myself to eat some lean protein and all the fruits and vegetables I (don’t, because I’m not hungry) want.

So we’ll see how that all works out in a few months, but in the meantime, all this goes a long way toward explaining why I’m having so much trouble concentrating on stuff at work. The bottom line is that there’s an underlying medical reason, and if I can get some of my numbers back in place, there’s a good chance that I’ll be feeling a little bit more like myself again, and that I can get my act back together.

And that’s not necessarily bad, right?

 

One Word: Plastics (paid for all this)

Alex: We just hadn’t planned on a change of plan.

Jane: Well who plans on a change of plan? I mean, that would be sorta paranoid, don’t you think?

Laurel Canyon (2002)


I’m sure you suspect by now that Wee One isn’t so “wee” anymore. In fact, she turned 18 a few weeks ago.

In addition to that, she graduated from high school this spring, in a ceremony that costs the City and the students something in the neighborhood of $30,000, because that school can’t do anything without over-complicating it in the name of “tradition”.

Ripken Stadium Entrance Gate
Ripken Stadium. This wasn’t from the Sweet 16.

Wee One doesn’t get a lot of parties, but we compensate by making the ones she does get, a little bit bigger. For instance, for her Sweet Sixteen we rented a box suite at Ripken Stadium and a bunch of her friends joined her in a party at the Ironbirds Opening Day festivities (with fireworks, naturally). We rented a large van to transport kids who couldn’t get to the stadium, the kids got souvenir hats and junk, they all ate well, we managed to keep them more or less contained, the Ironbirds won, and we got fireworks to boot. Not too shabby.

So this time around for her graduation party (she wanted that rather than an 18th birthday party), we decided to expand things a little bit. After all, there would be more family members involved, plus adult-age friends and well-wishers. And Wee One wanted a DJ who could also do Karaoke. So we started looking into booking a space in a restaurant’s private room area.

Based on a little Internet research, our first stop was a place called Johnny Dee’s Lounge, just off of Loch Raven Blvd. The guy we spoke to was pretty great and very flexible with the menu (and reasonably priced besides), but we weren’t sure that the space itself was suitable for our event, so we passed. That’s not a knock on Johnny Dee or his Lounge. We’d certainly consider them for a different event.

Our next stop was at Hightopps Grille in Timonium. Wife spoke with them on the phone and outlined what we needed, and the person she spoke to, named Michelle, told us about this dining space with an outdoor patio adjacent that could also be used, weather permitting. Ooh, nice. So on the weekend, we went to visit the restaurant, sample the food and see what the waitstaff knew. As it happened, we got a very knowledgeable person who was able to answer most of our questions, with which we peppered her throughout our meal. We came away with a good feeling and I emailed Michelle to tell her we were interested in having the party during these hours on that day, and we’d just gotten the menu so could we lock that down at a future date? No problem, says Michelle, and I’ve booked a room for you. (This turned out to be a red flag we’d overlooked.)

So Wife and I perused the menu and put together something affordable but not cheap (it’s a fine line, sometimes), and left a little bit of wiggle room so that when we presented it to Wee One, she was able to have a little bit of say in what was served up.

About ten days out from the party: Wife got back in touch with Michelle to finalize the menu and the headcount. That’s when she learned that we weren’t getting the dining area with the patio; instead we’d been booked into a private room in a different part of the restaurant. What’s more, it was a space we hadn’t previously seen. For several reasons, this was a potential problem: we figured the space we thought we had was just about big enough for our party, plus the patio area (assuming the weather was good) would be a decent escape zone for anyone who thought they needed a break from the music. We had to go back in and look at the new space.

One week out from the party: the new space was definitely a no-go. There was no room for the DJ, it wouldn’t hold all of the people in our headcount, it was dominated by a bar (in a party for a teenager), and everyone had to pass through the main bar to get to the party. Even if it hadn’t been a kids’ party, it wouldn’t have held our headcount, with or without the DJ taking out a table’s worth of space, and even if you took the bar’s stools into account as “seating”. The manager on duty was sympathetic but really couldn’t do anything for us—and he did look for a few options—and Michelle wasn’t available. What about Michelle’s boss? Nope. Michelle IS the boss. She’s the owner of the restaurant. She’d ignored half the details that Wife had given her and was going to try shoehorning us into this corner. Go sit in at the card table over there, kids, while the Big People (read: better spenders) eat at the grownups table. We were screwed, plain and simple. Hightopps was out, and they’d created a huge problem for us.

We got back in the car and started to cruise York Road, looking at restaurants and wondering what alternatives we had. When you’re only a week out, you also have to worry about paying a premium for asking them to do this on such short notice.

I really don’t remember who thought of it, but one of us had an idea. And it was one of those ideas that, when we had it, we wondered why we hadn’t thought of it in the first place. What about The Barn? We’d been there plenty of times, they have a decent-size space, they have a permanent zone for entertainers, half the staff knows who we are…what kept this place off our list? It’s still a mystery.

For the uninitiated, The Barn is a restaurant/bar that’s in the area where Parkville and Carney kind of mix together, near the intersection of Harford and Joppa Roads. The place called “The Barn” is actually gone; it’s been remodeled and is the new home of The Charred Rib, which coincidentally used to be in Cockeysville. So now they’re The Charred Rib at The Barn, but most people still just say The Barn.

Image result for charred rib at the barn

I remember The Barn in its older incarnation: shortly after I moved to Baltimore, someone invited me to come up there for Karaoke Night. I was living at the exact opposite end of the city, and didn’t have a good handle on what was where, plus I didn’t really know anyone yet. But I went and, while the place had a bit of a used-up feel, I had a decent time. Oddly enough, I even remember the date: it was January 29, 2002. But I’ve digressed enough so I’m not going to tell you why I remember it. (Hee.) Anyway, the place got VERY cleaned up at some point and is really nice.

There are two levels to the building: the top level is the full-time bar and restaurant area, and the bottom level is used in the evenings, and is where bands come to play. The walls are absolutely covered with rock and roll posters and memorabilia. (If you ask where the restroom is, you’re told to “go back there and turn left at The Beatles.”) Perhaps, we surmised, they’d be willing to accommodate us in the lower level. Wife called them up and managed to get one of the big dogs on the phone. He needed to check on another thing that was happening that day, and promised to call us back. Ten minutes later, we got a return call: we could have the space if we wanted it. Ten minutes after that, we were in the restaurant itself meeting with him and putting a menu together. A few hours after that, we were getting the word out that the time and date hadn’t changed, but the venue had.

The Queen of Karaoke
Wee One, Karaoke Queen

And precisely one week later, we had a fantastic party, thanks to the folks at The Barn. We spent a comparable amount of money to what we would have spent at the other place, but we’re pretty sure we got more food for our money. Everyone had a great time, Wee One was happy, Wife was happy, the folks at Discover Card are happy. And The Charred Rib at The Barn has another positive review on Trip Advisor and Yelp.