Archive for June, 2011
[Pudn's note: I've known echoamy for, um, well, actually, I don't know her. I've never met her. But she was the first person to volunteer for my crazy 3-way Thursday plan and I'm thrilled to have someone so enthusiastic on board. Not only does her opinion as an actual native Cincinnatian now living in the shiny NKY bring a touch of validity to this shenanigans since otherwise it's just two NKY heathens and my favorite Texan, she adds a much needed lady's perspective to the topic at hand.]
I was excited to see that the second stop on the Seeking of the Ways was Dixie Chili for two reasons. It is in Newport, which is where I’d like to live and is also very close to where I live now. The other reason is garlic!
Garlic is by far one of my favorite food items ever. Put it on something and I will eat it. If only my mom knew that she might have been able to get me to eat peas as a child. When I was young we just used garlic salt. That was good but not anything special. When I moved in with a boyfriend he introduced me to garlic. Seriously I never even knew what garlic looked like until then. We pressed, chopped and roasted garlic. I fell in love. It was to be a lifetime love (not with that boyfriend) but with garlic.
One of my favorite movie scenes was in Goodfella’s. In prison, the character Paulie slices garlic so thin it kind of makes me sigh. Hmm, gangster movie that has garlic, Dixie chili in Newport has garlic in their chili. Newport was once famous for being a gangster town. It is making sense now. Dixie Chili adds an additional “way” by adding a large spoonful of garlic on top of the chili. So you can have up to a six way there.
Dixie Chili is open late and is very popular with the bar crowd. However I chose the odd time of Sunday around 3:30 in the afternoon to visit there on my own. The place was nearly empty except for a few people. They have counter service only, but with an open kitchen. They are quick in getting your food together or they will put a little flag (from different countries) on your tray and bring out the food when it is ready. The red and white interior and nostalgic photos on the wall help to make this place have the diner look. The booth tables are uncomfortably tall (at least for a short person like me) until I start eating and then the distance between table and mouth seem ideal.
I ordered a four way, onion. But then I had to have the garlic so really it was a five way. I ordered a small (very, very small) Mello Yello as Dixie Chili has Coke products instead of Pepsi like the big chains. My total was $7.84. That was more than Empress but still reasonable.
The plate was traditionally oval but a bit small and the chili threatened to slide over the edge but never did. I begin to rethink my hesitation to like the round plates at Empress as they prevent loss of chili over the side of the plate. One bag of oyster crackers came with the chili. A measly 15 crackers were in the bag. That was hardly enough for the amount of chili they gave.
Soon, after getting the food to my table, I smelled the garlic. It was overwhelming and almost stinky to me. I realized it might be a bad idea to have the garlic in it, as I wouldn’t get a proper taste of the chili.
So after some tasty bites with garlic I scooted the garlic over to taste the chili on its own. The chili seems to taste of tomato more than other Cincinnati chili. The level of spice was pleasant and not over powering. It also was a bit greasy. But mostly because of the tomato taste I would say I didn’t really care for the chili as much as other Cincinnati chili that I have had. I occasionally come and get a five or six way here and have enjoyed it. But I guess you could say when it came to reviewing it; I was blinded by the garlic.
Ratings: 3 for the chili, but a 4 when just thinking about the garlic.
[Pudn's note: I've known the author of this 3-Way post, Brooksy, aka Mark, for the better part of almost twenty years. I worked at the retail chain that Dustin Hoffman said sucked in Rainman; Mark dated (and later married) someone who was close friends with someone else who worked there. Come to think of it, I don't really know how it all worked out that we've known each other so long. It's kind of lost in the college-era fog. At any rate, for nearly two decades, he and I have been politely disagreeing about the best place Cincy chili. I was thrilled, then, when he said he'd happily contribute to 3-Way Thursday.]
Wow, let some guy get a little bit of notoriety by guest blogging on some higher profile blogs (@hoperatives and @EnquirerDoc) and he starts turning into a primma donna. There is this editor barking down my neck for this week’s copy. I get it. I have had all month to write my review of Dixie Chili and thus far I have slacked. Maybe I am not overly verbose like “some people”, I am though. Maybe, I have better things to do. I do now but I haven’t all month so that excuse won’t fly. I’ll stick with, I am a stream of consciousness writer. I like to sit down and just start typing and have whatever comes to my mind on a subject fall out. I just haven’t been able to get myself to go on about Dixie Chili. So with a little help from beer I will try. Just for the record I am a school teacher in real life so now is the time for a mid-afternoon beer if there ever was one.
Dixie Chili. I went to the Erlanger location of Dixie Chili. I have been there LOTS. Historically, it has been one of my favorite chili parlors. The look is good, very dinery. It does have the order at the counter. Overall, not a fan of this but being a cheap guy it sure cuts down on tips. I ordered my 3-way from the man at the counter. He was dressed as if he was working a diner in the 50’s white shirt, black pants and tie and that wedgy paper hat. The food came promptly and on the appropriate oval plate. The portions seemed good. I do like the all you can eat option that Empress had but it didn’t make the chili better. Aesthetically, all was good. I am, however, not a fan of their plastic cups. They are not recyclable in this area so I absolutely hate throwing them out, it just seems so wasteful.
Taste. I really enjoyed my meal. The cheese was sharper than most. It leaves a presence in the mouth after the bite has gone southward. There was just enough for all of it to start to congeal into one mass, but easy enough to cut so that it doesn’t all come up at once. The chili was nice. It is definitely not spicy, but I still got the taste of all the spices. Nothing really stands out to me. I could have used a little more heat in the dish but I think the flavor was still good. Now, I know that some of you are saying, “why don’t you just put hot sauce on it?” I’ll tell you why. I don’t like to put vinegar on anything but salads. Hot sauce has a lot of vinegar. I like unadulterated heat, as the Ghost Chili plants in my yard would clue you in. The meat was definitely distinguishable from the sauce which is always a bonus. The spaghetti was definitely cooked well. They seemed to have a fatter spaghetti. It was drained fairly well, so I didn’t get that overly wet dish. It is the next part that may offend some purists. I don’t know how but the chili seems to permeate the entire dish. I don’t know if they mix the chili and spaghetti or it just slips through. This tends to screw up the 3 distinct layers thing, which should bother me, it doesn’t. I think that this is what makes the fatter spaghetti more palatable. With the chili surrounding it, it tends to counteract any water that is sitting on the spaghetti. This makes it less watery. Dixie Chili also has the availability of fresh chopped garlic on all of their dishes. This gives them the ability to create a six way with the beans, onions and garlic. Technically, it is yummy. I abstained from this so as to not taint the results. When I do go back I will get the garlic.
Overall, because we are early in our endeavor, I will have to leave room for others to surpass Dixie Chili. I will give them 4 out of 5 oyster crackers. The ambiance is good, the portions are good and the taste was well above average. I will definitely go back. I also hear that they make other food like double deckers. Sadly, I will never know what they taste like because I will always get the chili.
For me, the stakes seem particularly high with this month’s 3-Way Thursday location, Dixie Chili. It’s one of the “Familiar Four”, the 4 brands of chili I’d eaten at some point before our hunt for the perfect 3-way began. While I’ve not made regular visits there through the course of my life, I know that many of my friends have a particular fondness for this, the most NKY of Cincinnati’s chili places. On top of that, my uncle used to own and operate a Dixie Chili franchise in Independence, KY.
In other words, here it is only my second month of reviewing 3-ways and already I’m looking at the potential for having my house toilet papered or car egged by people I know. Worse, I could end up getting the cold shoulder or banned from the beer cooler at the occasional family event.
If that wasn’t enough, it seems to me that at least anecdotally, Dixie has a small but fiercely loyal following that the other chains just don’t quite have. Which raises the risk of facing a pitchfork and torch-wielding mob.
Yep, the stakes are, indeed, high this month.
Which makes me wish I had praise equally as high for Dixie Chili.
Before I really get into it, I want to be clear: nothing about the food I carried out from Dixie Chili was bad. I found it a little disappointing, certainly, but there was nothing bad about it. And truth be told, I really thought the restaurant I picked the food up from was very pleasant and inviting, right down the lady behind the counter wearing the old school paper hat.
Unfortunately, though, the disappointment started as soon as I took my 4-way bean out of the bag. I know I covered the difference in carryout form factors for 3-ways last month, so I won’t go through it again. Besides, while I still prefer a 3-way on the correctly shaped plate in the diner, the point for me is to find the best carryout option. To that end, I’m getting used to eating them in paper bowl-cup-containers that look more designed for taking home potato salad from the deli.
What I learned this month, though, is that there’s an additional consideration besides the carryout container shape: size, my friends, does matter. Two basic schools rule so far when it comes to sizing a 3-way. There’s the regular/super approach and the pint/quart approach. Empress’s large 3-way was a volumetrically-based quart. Dixie’s large, however, the “super”, appeared to an arbitrary size.
The Voice in my head that makes me want to eat steaks the size of Cleveland howled at the injustice. While I told it firmly to shut up, I still feel it necessary to point out that a large 3-way at Dixie is a smaller one than you might get other places. If that matters to you.
Enough whining about containers. What about the chili?
Unfortunately, lunch suffered from a damning lack of balance; the ratios were all wrong. There was too much spaghetti, not nearly enough chili, and way too many beans. In fact, there were so many of the little red buggers in my 4-way bean, they completely ran rough-shod over the entire experience. Although intended to provide a delicate, slightly earthy counterpoint to the chili’s spices, the beans were all I could taste.
As for the chili itself, well, it’s hard to say much. Overall, the chili was savory, not sweet, and seemed very thick. Much thicker than I’m used to in a Cincinnati chili which, by design, is generally somewhat thin by chili standards. The purpose is to make it more sauce-like and more readily compatible with spaghetti or hot dogs and buns. My sample of Dixie chili, though, was so thick that it didn’t even take two whole bags of crackers. By comparison, for a large 3-way, I usually expect to use at least three bags of small oysters.
The most prominent thing I noticed, though, was the overall meatiness of its flavor. When I have a 3-way, I expect to pick up a number of exotic spices delicately interwoven in the chili. Sadly, I didn’t catch much spice at all, exotic or spicy. I simply tasted meat. Oh, and beans. Did I mention the beans? Lots of beans.
I will readily admit that the overabundance of beaniness and overall lack-of-balance in my carryout 4-way almost certainly hampered my ability to pick up on subtle flavors that might or might not have been present. But the fact of the matter is that if you screw up the 3-way, it’s easy to ruin perfectly good Cincy chili.
So I’m just going to say it straight out—I don’t see what so many other people seem to find so compelling about Dixie Chili. Yes, I love the chain’s story, and I love that they are right at home in the NKY. I even love that there’s a bit of a family connection for me, personally, too.
And with all that love, I wanted to love their 3-way. But I just didn’t*. I found it sadly out of balance, as well as too meaty, too chewy and lacking in the right spice. Overall, it was okay, but mostly disappointing.
In other words, I think the beans ruined it for everybody.
But I guess it’s probably not the first time love was ever ruined by beans.
*I might have to give the place a second chance some day. If for no other reason than to keep my cooler privileges with the family.
[Pudn's note: The author of this Puddintopia contributor post, Crankybear, aka Tom, is actually the 'Tom' half of Tom and Carla, the couple that created and maintain Hoperatives.com. He's the one who rather infamously offered me the chance to ramble incoherently over there from time to time instead of wasting all my rants here. I was and continue to be honored with the opportunity to write for them, and I'm likewise both honored and very fortunate that he decided to chime in on our 3-way quest.]
It was just supposed to be a trip to a local chili joint, not the beginning of an ontological quandary involving condiments.
Since all Puddintopia readers are inherently smarter, funnier and more attractive than the average blog reader, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that ontology is the study of the absolute or fundamental nature of things. Since your sense of humor is equally over-developed, you also recognize that the word condiment is funny. Not kumquat or even canoodle funny, but funny nonetheless.
This will all make sense in a minute. Promise.
You see, I really wanted to like Dixie Chili. It has a lot of things I admire: you can still go to the original location on Monmouth Street in Newport that’s been open since 1928. They’re a small local chain with just three locations. I went to the one on Dixie (no relation) Highway in Erlanger and I can’t say enough about how nice the staff was.I walked in and felt instantly comfortable.
It’d been probably more than ten years since I ‘d stepped foot in this, or any other, Dixie Chili before this review opportunity came up. My wife and I went there not too long after we moved here, and we were less than thrilled. I can’t recall what the issue was, but we seemed to make the decision that it wasn’t one of our favorite places and we never went back. When Puddin let us know that Dixie Chili was this month’s Three-Way Thursday candidate, I was actually pretty happy. It’d been a long time. I’ve had a lot more Cincinnati-style chili since then. I figured I could give it a better, more informed, evaluation.
I have to say things went pretty well at first. I went late on a Tuesday afternoon. There weren’t too many cars in the parking lot, but there were enough at an off-hour to indicate that this is a popular place. When I passed through the doors I was greeted by the most wonderful set of smells. Spices. Lots of spices. Cinnamon. Maybe some Allspice. I was also glad to see that they were advertising that they had Gyros. Cincinnati may be a German city, but one of its most identifiable local food has Greek origins and I’m always glad to see that heritage celebrated.
The good vibes continued as I was served. Given the hour, I was the only person in line (though there were others trickling 1 through the doors the entire time I was there). I ordered and paid, got my drink from the cashier and found my order waiting for me at the end of the cafeteria-style line. Piping hot.
I learned from last month’s experience at Empress and ordered a regular size instead of a large. It was a generous amount without being too much, The first thing that struck me was how meaty it was. I think of Cincinnati Chili as being thin and runny, but this clearly had some body to it. I doubt a spoon would stand up in the pot, but it wouldn’t fall over as quickly as some of its competitors. The spaghetti was a perfect al dente and the meat-to-liquid ratio was outstanding. As I mixed in the oyster crackers and saw the cheese melt throughout, I saw each strand of spaghetti get a nice coating of chili that stuck instead of just running off. The aroma coming off my dish was a more intense version of what I smelled coming through the door. I was fully prepared to kick myself for having missed out on more than a decade of coming to this place.
And then I had the first bite.
It was in no way bad. There were no off-flavors. The texture was as pleasing to my mouth as they appeared to my eye. I could taste the cheese and the spaghetti. I could taste the chili. And I’ll be damned if I can tell you what the chili tastes like. It’s not flavorless chili. It’s just bland. It’s like eating a big bowl of beige. There have to spices in there, I could smell them. But try as I might, I couldn’t taste them. Given that I’m a four-way (onions) guy, I get the onions so I don’t downgrade something because something’s missing. I couldn’t taste the onions at all. I could see them, but couldn’t taste them. It was like a salivary black hole.
It’s true that I like hot, spicy things, but I have a very strict requirement about how it’s supposed to work. The hot is supposed to come at the end of the bite, not the beginning. It’s supposed to accent the inherent flavors of the dish, not dominate them. That’s why I was happy to see Frank’s RedHot Sauce as the house sauce there. I grabbed a bottle as I sat down, but I was careful not to use any until I’d had three or four bites. You have to know what the flavors are before you try to enhance them, after all.
So this is were the philosophical debate comes in. I sprinkled some hot sauce on the chili and it completely transformed the dish. Suddenly there was some character, depth, some bite. There was some there there. All of the other positives of the dish were enhanced: the meaty texture, the ratio of cheese to meat to sauce. It all got better once I put on the condiment.
There’s a “safe chili” joke in there, but I won’t.
So what does it mean when a dish is average at best when served in its “native” form, but improves radically when a condiment you can buy at any grocery store is added? What are you really enjoying at that point, the dish or the condiment? I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is that I was disappointed in the lack of flavor prior to the sauce, and really happy with it after. I should also note, as a fan of Buffalo-style chicken wings, that the flavor wasn’t “Buffalo Style Chili.” It was definitely a unique (and good) taste. It’s almost like the spices in the chili cancelled each other out, and it took the hot sauce to bring out some depth. That’s in contrast to last month’s experience at Empress where the flavors were so light and delicate that hot sauce killed them.
I don’t know if it’ll be another ten years before I’m back at Dixie. I still want to experience the original location. And I still want to like the place.
I’ll just make sure to have a bottle of hot sauce handy.
1 Another funny word!
I know I mentioned this the other day when I wrote my guest post for Paul Daugherty’s blog on Cincinnati.com, but it occurred to me today that I never said anything on Puddintopia about the “This Place Matters” Community Challenge being run by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. So, while I have plenty of office work to do, a post to write for tomorrow, a Hoperatives post percolating in my noggin, plus today’s 500 words for my novel still on the old to-do list, I’m using my brief lunch time today to ask for help.
Over-the-Rhine is the largest, intact historical district in the US. Places with famous historical sites wish they had as much going for them as OTR does. The problem is that, well, OTR needs some TLC. And while there’s plenty of hands willing to help, TLC, at least of the restoration variety, requires USD. That’s U.S. Dollars to you and me, Russ. Benjamins. Greenbacks. Moolah. Scratch.
Right now, from today up until tomorrow at midnight, we have an opportunity to help get OTR some of those much-needed dollars. As mentioned above, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is hosting a “This Place Matters” Community Challenge. The community foundation garnering the most votes will receive a $25,000 prize. Our very own Over-the-Rhine Foundation is participating, and I’m happy to report that OTR has been in and out of first place for the better part of the week.
It’s a tight vote, though, a real barn burner. In fact, when I sat down with my sandwich just now, our very own historical community was in second place. Until I voted. Apparently, my one vote pushed OTR into first. But it won’t stay that way for long, I assure you. The other communities vying for the fabulous cash and prizes want to win pretty badly too. There’s going to be an old-fashioned bare-knuckled brawl before midnight tomorrow, I reckon.
So, as a concerned citizen of the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area that obviously would rather see historical buildings restored than bulldozed, what can you do? Luckily, there’s no Zelda-esque Quest of Doom here. You don’t need to slay three dragons before the full moon and recombine the magical pieces of the Tri-Participle within the Crystal Chamber of the Caves of Quendiddly-Agorath. In fact, helping make OTR the winner is honestly easier and less time consuming than “lather, rinse, repeat.”
Seriously, you’re supposed to lather for, like, a full minute. TWICE.
All we have to do is cast our respective votes, one per valid email address, in support of Over-the-Rhine. So, visit this link, click on “Vote for This Site”, and follow the instructions. It’ll be one of the most productive and fulfilling things you do all day, I promise.
Well, unless you pulled a bus full of school kids of a cliff, but we can’t all be Superman.
Did you vote yet? Well, why not? Get to it!
Oh, and if anyone notices that firstname.lastname@example.org voted today, that’s perfectly legitimate, I swear*.
*I kid, I kid. I wouldn’t stuff a voting box with dead people. That’s so Chicago.
I was the envy of all my co-workers on Monday. While they toiled in the dark, cold, pitiless salt mines of modern employment for a crust of stale, moldering bread* and the ever-important health care package, I lounged at home with nary a responsibility to anyone but my family. I took yesterday off because, believe it or not, after the weekend, I thought a bit of a break sounded good.
Modern family life is not for the lazy or weak of spirit, and everybody needs a break sometimes. And I mean, a real break, not just a few hours off the regular itinerary, filled with responsibilities of a different kind. If you don’t get a little breather every now and again, you’ll end up trying to set fire to the steam coming off a hot dog with a giggly, faraway stare while muttering to yourself about you one-man, off-Broadway interpretation of Miss Saigon.
As mentioned in yesterday’s haiku, my weekend was chock full of activity. There was, of course, Saturday’s rock breaking extravaganza, which was followed by a church festival Saturday evening (you know how I feel about those, right?). Sunday brought another round of family pictures.
By the way, have you ever tried to take family pictures with a head-strong two year-old and three additional kids of varying interest and patience? It’s like trying to wrangle a box full of house spiders into matching uniforms and getting them into ordered lines for a military march.
Miraculously, we did get some good shots.
That’s not to say I’m complaining about all the hectic weekend activity. I’m not, I swear. I love it; it’s what I signed up for. It helps combat my natural inclination towards being a lay-about. And believe me, if not for all the important things in life to keep me busy, I’d have probably spent the last five years trying to make the perfect origami animal shapes. Left to my own devices, I’d eventually be the subject of a newspaper article that reads something like, “Confused man appears at local hospital, the apparent victim of a thousand paper cuts resulting from an attempt to fold a post-it note dragon while under the influence of beer, horse tranquilizers, and squeeze cheese.”
Nobody wants that.
More seriously, for me, it’s all the stuff going on that makes me realize I’m getting my money’s worth on the one-time-only Bus Ride of life. Was I always relaxed and well-rested? Well, no. But I wasn’t bored either, and I’ve been spending my time doing things that I think truly matter, to me or those close to me. So, yes, sometimes it might be nice to have a little extra time to sit back, drink lemonade, and watch the world go by. But I wouldn’t want to make a life out of it.
That’s what taking a Monday off is for, anyway. You catch up on laundry and squeeze some lemons.
It helps ward off the crazies.
*I’m kidding, I’m kidding. As I’ve said, my employer’s pretty cool.
Rocks, festivals, pics
A weekend of punishment
Still, though, all good times
A little hard work is supposed to be good for the soul, right? My younger brother has apparently taken the condition of my soul to heart, then, because he asked for my help Saturday to put up a fence around his backyard.
As you can probably guess, when it comes to doing any task that requires a significant investment of physical labor, I’m a big fan of sitting at a computer and typing instead. But I figured that lounging around on the couch in my smiley-face boxers and watching the entire collected works of Val Kilmer—including Top Secret! and Real Genius, of course—probably wouldn’t be the most selfless act I’ve ever committed. So I put on a baseball cap and headed for my brother’s house at an hour of the morning that civilized people don’t consider quite proper.
Well, truth be told, it was 9 AM, which I guess maybe only civilized software people balk at. But it was still earlier than I wanted to be leaving my house on a Saturday morning to go dig holes in otherwise perfectly good dirt.
Not that I’m sure there is a time I want to go dig holes, but that’s besides the point.
Of course, in this part of the country, there isn’t any actual dirt. Not in a “soil” kind of sense. Nope, around here there’s clay and there’s rock, and generally more of the latter. Much more. Enough to make you question the existence of a benevolent higher power when the primary task of the day is to set 4×4 wooden posts into holes where all those rock previously existed. Sci-Fi conventions don’t have as many people covered in lime green makeup as the number of rocks we pulled out of the ground.
Over seven hours my two brothers and I and a few other guys set 48 posts with a post-hole digger and a spud-bar—basically, a long, heavy steel spike—an implement with little other purpose but to break up stone things. By the time I got home, I was all kinds of exhausted.
That’s okay, though. Because, as much as I hate to admit it, every now and then the application of physical labor in one’s life actually is sort of therapeutic. Even though I ended up with a sore back, angry shoulders, and a farmer’s
tan burn that even Old MacDonald would be ashamed of, we accomplished the task at hand in excellent spirits. And more importantly, we made each other laugh throughout the day, sometimes so hard we had to stop working and catch our breath.
So maybe doing some physical labor every now and then isn’t the worst thing ever. You know, occasionally.
Once every decade or so.
My soul is probably good for a while, though.
Baseball season has finally come to an end. At least, it has for my two oldest sons. They got their first mitts, learned a thing or two about fielding a grounder and holding a bat, and looked forward to the snack at the end of each game. Of course, the torrential rains we saw this spring didn’t help matters much, but I’d still say that as far as 2011 Instructional League Baseball went, it was a pretty big success.
Of course, with all that said, the Puddinpop asked me in the middle of practice last week—I was coaching the kids on making double-play throws, which is disturbing in and of itself (but that’s another post)—why the team’s coach kept calling me “Jake”.
For the record, “Jake” isn’t my name.
The thing, apparently, is that people just seem to get my name wrong. Often. For no good reason. In this particular case, Coach started calling me Jake probably the first week of practice, but I didn’t notice right away. Nope, because I have such finely honed powers of observation, realization didn’t come until a week or two later and by that point there were few enough weeks left in the season that I figured it wasn’t worth pointing out. Because then he’d feel bad about it and then I’d feel bad for making him feel bad, and then it’d be all awkward when the kids got ice cream after the games.
Really, it just wasn’t worth the effort or discomfort. I mean, if he was someone I’d see regularly, like my wife, bartender, or the guy at the Chinese place, obviously I’d want him to get name right. But baseball is over now and next year there will be a different coach.
Like I’m said, though, this business doesn’t really surprise me anymore; I’m used to it by now. Have you ever been on a cruise? You know that room porter guy that supposed to replace the overpriced water and turned down the bed at night? Well, the last cruise the Puddinette and I took, our porter left a very nice note at the end of our time onboard telling us how much he’d enjoyed taking care of Karen and Wilson.
To this day, we still wonder who Karen and Wilson are. We kind of felt cheated a little that we didn’t find out about our new vacation identities until the day we were heading home. I have little doubt that Wilson and Karen would have lived like displaced royalty onboard. I’m pretty sure “Wilson” would have been outraged at not being invited to the the Captain’s table for dinner and “Karen” would have had a fine run of trying on expensive merchandise in the ship’s extravagant shops.
I think we would have been oil money from Texas. I’ve always wanted to pretend I was Dick Cheney. Well, minus the shooting people part.
Even at my own wedding, I wasn’t immune. Everyone nowadays has that magical, fairytale moment when the music is thump-thump-thumping quietly in the background and the DJ is using his best ringside boxing announcer voice (for the record, I think more receptions should start with "Let’s Get Ready to Rumbbbblllllle!”) to introduce the bridal party and happy couple. Yep, that moment was magic for us, alright, right up to the second when our DJ—wait, I guess they’re MC’s now?—in a brain lapse of epic proportions, introduced the Puddinette and I as husband and wife for the very first time in a social setting by calling me “Chad.”
Yep, that’s right, Chad escorted my bride into my own wedding reception.
Don’t feel bad, though, all these incorrect names have an upside. Sure, some people might get genuinely irked, potentially even loudly, at having their identities messed up by people who probably ought to know better. Not me, though. Because now when I forget to do something around the house, it’s obviously Chad’s fault. Forget to take the trash out? Dammit, Chad. Uh oh! Looks like Chad left the toilet seat up again. And the Puddinette might get a little angry when I throw away a few grand on Baccarat* at the High Roller’s table, but, really, Wilson’s just got to be Wilson.
If only Wilson would remember to bring home a nice emerald necklace for Karen.
*For the record, I have not played, nor do I ever plan to play, Baccarat. Also, they turn the riff raff like me away from the High Roller tables. You know, ‘cause they’re for the high rollers.
So, according to the calendar posted in the office for tracking our conference room use, it’s officially summer now. For the record, I’m glad that particular calendar is hanging there, because although I have little use for the conference room itself, I’m always glad to know things like “it’s the first day of summer”, “crap, Mother’s Day is Sunday”, or “sweet, it’s finally Victoria Day (Canada)!”
Of course, with the arrival of summer is heralded in by the summer solstice. Personally, I love all the solstice/equinox type astronomical events here on planet Earth. You know, because that’s when all the best pagan stuff happens, and those Pagans sure know how to throw a party.
The solstice, if you weren’t aware, is the longest “day” of the year. My oldest son, future member of a Bar Association somewhere, will gleefully argue that there is no longest day; each is but 24 hours. Nonetheless, he fully planned to take advantage of the extra light that should have been available yesterday. Sunset wasn’t until supposed to happen until after 9 PM.
I say “should have” there because, well, apparently spring isn’t quite done with us just yet. Normally one of my two favorite seasons, spring this year was, well, a bit of a wench. If memory serves, in the past three months it’s rained, rained more, stormed a bunch, ruined half of my kids’ baseball games, and made us all remember that those weather alert sirens aren’t just for testing on the first Wednesday of each month.
So, yesterday, I was happy for the prospect of a long evening of watching the sun set slowly with a cold, summery beverage in hand. Instead, spring decided to remind us one more time just exactly who the boss is around here. It’s like Spring of 2011 was the cougar women in the Lifetime movie that just found out about the new smokin’ hot young lady in her boy-toy’s life. And everybody knows that those crazed, possessive cougars don’t give up easy. In other words, don’t be thinking we’re going to run off with Summer without getting another earful or two from Spring.
In non-seasonal news, official word was released on Monday that Yuengling, the cult of choice for many an eastern US beer drinker, will be available in Ohio later this year. You might guess that I have an opinion on that, what with it being big beer news around here and all. And you would be correct. In the post I wrote for Hoperatives.com today, I talk all about Yuengling, and it’s not all rainbows and party hats. I half expect to start a holy war.
I can’t wait to read the comments!