Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hot Dog Blog

Georgia hot, Coney Island, dog, footlong, frank, coney, frankfurter, redhot, sausage, weenie, wiener. To paraphrase Shakespeare, a hot dog by any other name would taste as sweet. (After I had titled and mentally written this part of the blog I went looking for pictures and stumbled upon The West Virginia Hot Dog Blog which uses the Shakespeare quote in a different context as well as containing my title. But tough toenails, I am already committed to this.

Every life needs one great purpose. I've found mine... the search for the perfect hot dog. Here are my credentials: up until about age 11 I refused to eat hamburgers - we had to go to places with hot dogs. Which was a bit easier in the 1960s (I guess that's just one credential. Well, I'm always eager to sample the local hot dog fare when traveling. Slaw dogs in Georgia, the Wienerschnitzel chain out west, Whistle Dogs in Canada (with bacon, cheese and relish!) and the Indiana Trinity: Dog 'n' Suds, B&K and Peru's pride, Mr. Weenie). Finally about 1974 I was at my best friend's dad's hog farm trapped without food and his mom showed up with hamburgers - most likely a planned technique of indoctrination (at least they were from the obscure and long gone chain Drummer Boy). Anyway, my search at present has yielded the area chain Freddy's Frozen Custard. It not only has hot dogs, it has three varieties - a Chicago-style and a chili cheese dog in addition to the classic HD. All three are worthwhile; the Chicago dog is a bit of culture shock, it's "dragged through the garden" and includes (if I recall correctly) mustard, onion, relish, pickle, tomato and sport peppers (which get removed from mine, because WHAT the HELL is a 'sport pepper'???). But the plain ol' hot dog is what I'm here to celebrate: toasted English bun, and with relish, ketchup and the classic zigzag stripe of mustard, it's too pretty to eat. SNARFFFFFFFF... oops, almost too pretty. Order me another, willya? Even if you only eat a hot dog or two a year, make it one from Freddy's!!
This is far too fascinating a subject for one post, I could fill the entire internet with hot dog ramblings, except I type too slow. Reveries of campfires and Eckrich cheese dogs... the search for one remaining A&W that can still cook a good coney dog... the worst hot dog in town (available at KSU sporting events)... damn, is it it suppertime yet?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For I, too, have known suffering (another Saturday night)

There are a lot of people hurting out there right now: they've lost their investments, their retirement, their job, or their home. Now I can be added to the list.
We went to the local bar and grill Saturday night (yes, I know I said I was going to stay home Saturday nights but I thought perhaps for once things would go well). An acquaintance's band was playing and he'd mentioned some interesting covers they did like old Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull songs. I ordered a fried chicken salad because I had my heart set on pie ala mode for dessert. The band was playing some pretty dorky country songs -- turns out the old rock songs don't come out till late. Oh well, there's still the pie. I finally caught the attention of the waitress (who was pretty worthless, and was named - brace yourself - Cayenne!) She consulted her pad and said they were down to lemon meringue and gooseberry. Yikes. Meringue was out of the question so I ordered the gooseberry. I've seen geese in the fields the past week as they come back north for the spring, so I guess there's a good supply of gooseberries. The waitress reappears about five minutes -- empty-handed -- and says they are totally out and nobody told her. I gave her a steely glare and asked for the check. Which had a $3 charge for pie on it. Feh.
Do you understand how terrible this was? To be promised pie and then have it taken away?
I don't think losing your house can really compare.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Modest Proposal Re The Impending Crisis

Okay, gentle readers (all three of ya), the U. S. of A. is headed down the toilet. It's time for bold strokes. And that's why we need to...


It may sound radical at first. But let me outline the benefits vs. the drawbacks. .

Forget your little bubbleroof car that can only do 50 uphill. Think Road Runner, GTO, Shelby Mustang, Chevelle SS, Cougar, Charger, Corvette, Camaro, 442. Think 426 Hemi, 440 six-pack, 428 Cobra Jet, 427 and 454. Or if you're into comfort, not speed, think Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Eldorado, Chrysler Imperial. Maybe you think I'm wrong to start with the cars. But they're all made 100% in America. And gas is about 4 gallons for a buck. One more thing - they all had WING WINDOWS!

Some will miss the cell phones, video games and the internet. I, for example, will not be able to blog. These longings will pass in about two weeks.

Then there's the food. There will be tons of great little one-of-a-kind cafes and burger joints. There will be chains but they'll be solid contenders like McDonald's (the Big Mac was introduced in 1968 - I picked the year very carefully!), A&W and Kentucky Fried Chicken (where chicken will be eaten fried with the skin on it as God intended, NOT GRILLED). It'll beat the hell out of what we've got now. F**k Chili's and Applebee's. It will be full of fat and cholesterol but it will not kill us because a) nobody will be telling us it will, and b) we won't be nearly as sedentary in our swinging 1968 lifestyle. At the stores you'll only find one kind of Fritos, one kind of Cheetos, but that's all you need. Coffee drinkers - there will be four options: black; w/sugar; with cream; w/sugar and cream. Oh, and you can get those decaf as well. For those who long for their cappuccinos, lattes and espressos, these are readily available too... in Europe. Grab a plane (no security checkpoints!) and don't hurry back.

Well, MLK and RFK are gonna get shot right off the bat. But that's pretty much it in major assassinations till John Lennon in 1980, so that's a nice break.

Rock and roll might have peaked a couple years earlier but is still plenty good. Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison are still alive in varying states of decay. The Beatles are still together. Songs by rock bands, R'n'B artists, country performers and pop singers all make the same chart.

For the antiwar types we're now fighting in Vietnam rather than Iraq. We're trying to stop Communism rather than terrorism. Just make some new signs, and you'll find there's lots more protests to participate in. There's one coming up in a couple years at Kent State you might want to pass on though.

We'll still have a democrat president redistributing wealth to the nonproducing members of our society. But all the kids will hate him. Later in the year we'll take a turn for the better, with, umm... anyway...

Schools will be housed in buildings dating to the early part of the 20th century if not older. There will be no computers. Few classrooms will be air-conditioned. Students will receive an education far superior to the the one they would receive today.

The druggies will need to step carefully. Sure, there's pot, acid, and all kinds of stuff. But get caught with a couple joints and you're in jail till... 2009 - OUCH!! Groundhog Day!!

Kids will ride everywhere on their bikes instead of vegetating in front of a DVD or video game. They will never wear a helmet and none will ever receive a head injury in a bike wreck. Their parents will have little idea of where they are when they are out riding, and the kids will have at best a vague warning of "men in cars offering candy" but they'll always be home in time for supper. Or maybe ten minutes late.

Sorry, there will be no revolutionary Segway scooter. But you can get a Vespa, Cushman or Lambretta scooter and have a hell of a lot more fun, and not look like a total dork.

There will only be three television networks. But most of the shows will be pretty damn good. And no reality shows!!

Electronics will be expensive, sometimes as much or more in 1968 dollars as they are in today's dollars. On the other hand, they will probably last years and years without repairs, will be made in the USA, and if they do break, you pay a small charge to a repair shop, not throw them away and buy another.

Oh, also, you probably won''t know anyone who is unemployed.

I know we'll need a few months to set this all up, but I hope I've made my case. Gotta go, there's a new episode of The Monkees coming on!