Thursday, December 24, 2015

O. Henry's Gift of the Nerdgi

Chester awoke and slowly sat up on his couch and dusted the Dorito crumbs off his vintage Super Mario Brothers shirt. He noticed his cheesy fingerprints on his Xbox controller and remembered the all night Halo and junk food binge. It was Christmas Eve and he was stressed. The late night smorgasbord of killing bad guys and raiding his parents’ pantry of anything and everything tasty did not soothe his distress.
                It had been a hard year for Chester. He had hoped that this was the year he would finally be able to move out of his parents’ basement into his own place and then propose to the love of his life. Unfortunately calling a customer stupid for wanting to get a PlayStation 4 instead of the much superior Xbox one platform is a one way ticket to unemployment town. “Stupid Customer” Chester mumbled as he cursed his bad luck.
His savings were further depleted when he had to stock up on Mountain Dew and Beef Jerky for his weeks long campout for the new Star Wars movie. And while it was worth it to protect his hard earned geek cred, he had no money left to buy a Christmas gift for his girlfriend Sandy. And this was the core of his conundrum. After 36 years, it took meeting Sandy in a Hunger Games fan fiction chat room to get Chester to realize that maybe, just maybe, there was more to life than awesome stuff. He licked the cheese off his fingers and he felt this lesson weigh on him like the Incredible Hulk sitting on his chest.
What could Chester do? His bank account was tapped out. He was too embarrassed to go to his parents for cash. They remind him every time the topic of money comes up that most men his age have their own place to live and a job. Their constant harping is enough to make one give up on their dream of writing comics for a living. Almost, but Chester just knew his comic “My Little Hello Kitty Pony Ninjas of Doom” would be his ticket to the big time. And if his parental units didn’t believe him, Sandy surely did.
“Oh Sandy, what am I going to do?” Chester muttered to himself. He looked around the basement. He had spent years working to get it exactly the way he wanted. Every Marvel and DC poster placed perfectly, every Lord of the Rings action figure placed in the perfect order. Lego sets were lovingly put together and placed around the room. His collections represented a lifetime of building the ultimate shrine to all things awesome. However there was thing that wasn’t in his collection any, and that was his heart. Sandy had it now. Chester desperately wanted to put Sandy’s heart in his collection.  Not in the scary stabby stalker sort of way, but in a totally metaphorical way. He knew he had to part ways with a sacred part of his collection to fund his Christmas purchase for Sandy.
His true love for Sandy dictated his choice. He took his most prized possession, a super rare limited edition gold foiled ultra-mega Pikachu Pokémon card. He stared at it and remembered all the epic battles this card had single handedly won for him over the years. Losing this companion that has been at his side through so many wars was a punch to his gut, but he knew Sandy was worth it.
 The three block walk to the game shop might as well have been 300 miles. He carried the heavy burden of leaving one love behind for the love of another. He only hoped that the money made from this gut wrenching sacrifice would be enough to procure the prize that would be sure to seal Sandy’s devotion to him.
He got a hefty sum for his beloved Pikachu and he was pleased that the clerk at the shop at least understood the value of his prized possession. As he clutched his new wad of cash and fought back tears, he looked around the shop and there he spied it. Up on a shelf, next to a sweet autographed picture of William Shatner dressed as Captain Kirk was the rare Kenner, mint in the box, blue snaggletooth action figure that would complete the ultimate star wars cantina scene that Sandy had spent years trying to put together. And what was even better he had more than enough money. Chester’s body tingled at the thought of Sandy opening up this special gift. He had never done anything like this for someone else before, but then he had never known anyone as special as Sandy. He couldn’t wait for that evening.
After what seemed forever Chester’s phone alarm went off. It was six o’clock and soon Sandy would be there for the gift exchange. He had enough money left over from his purchase that he was able to buy a veritable feast of Jack in the Box tacos for him and Sandy to dine on. The doorbell rang and Chester ran up the basement stairs, through the living room, and threw open the door.
“Hi Sandy” Chester said as nonchalantly as he could, though she looked ravishing in her retro Battlestar Galactica T-shirt.
“Hey Chester”. She replied. A quick embrace followed and they both made their way down into the basement.
“I bought dinner.” Chester pointed to the large bag full of greasy corn tortillas filled with beef flavored soy protein and American cheese and deep fried to oily perfection.
“Thanks” Sandy Replied. “I’m not really hungry. I think I had too many Dorito’s and mountain dews last night during an all-night Fallout 4 marathon”
“Is there any doubt this was the perfect woman for me” thought Chester.
“Anyway, I can’t stay too long, I got a family thing to get to. I got you this present.” Sandy said.  “It’s no big deal” she added as nonchalantly as she could but the excitement was bubbling up inside her.
She handed him a small package and he ripped into the wrapping paper with relish. He marveled at what was inside. It was a custom made, titanium coated, Pokémon card holder. It was inlaid with gold filigree and etched with the message “To Chester, my Pikachu in shining armor”.
“I had it made so you can protect and display your prized Pikachu card” Sandy told Chester
“No big deal?” Chester thought. He held in his hand the most amazing gift he had ever been given. “How could you afford this? I know they cut your hours down at the tattoo parlor” he asked.
                Sandy allowed herself to open up and share her true feelings. “Chester, you mean more than anything to me and these last 6 days have truly been magical. It is true that money has been tight, but I was able to sell my Star Wars cantina action figures and had this custom made for you.”
                Sandy saw Chester’s eyes well up. “Well come on, let me see what this holder looks like with your Pikachu in it” she said.
                Chester grabbed her hand, looked her in her one good eye and told her, “I can’t. I had to make the same difficult decision because of how I feel for you.” He then handed his gift to her which she promptly opened.
                “A ten dollar gift certificate to QT?” she asked puzzled.
                “I know how much you love those buffalo chicken rollers.” He told her. “I just can’t bear the thought of you going to work on an empty stomach. Plus if you wait until after three o’clock the donuts are half off making this almost like a $20 gift card. ” A terse embrace followed and then Sandy left for her family get together.
                As Chester sat on his couch aglow with a feeling of deep satisfaction. This was the best Christmas he could ever remember. As he looked around his room, his eyes met the gaze from his new autographed William Shatner picture and he now understood at last the lesson learned by wise nerds throughout the centuries, that when given the choice between true love and William Shatner, remember, it’s a trick question. William Shatner is true love.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting Healthy on the Mean Streets

Well my friends, it’s been a while since I updated you on how things are going on the mean streets of Apache Junction. And I have to be honest; life on the mean streets is pretty sweet. We like to keep it positive because there are few things better than waking up each morning and watching the sun rise over a sea of doublewides. Of course even when things are as great as they are on the mean streets, life can throw you a curve.

The other day I was feeling pretty run down. It wasn’t your normal “up late watching reruns of the Dukes of Hazzard” type of tired. I could be up all night watching the exploits of Sherriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and his trusty sidekick Flash and still have enough get up and go for eight hours of scraping asbestos off the ceiling of the park rec center. This was something else. My vim and vigor was plain busted. I’m not sure which one, but the Greyhound Express of life had a flat tire, and that was for sure.

So I walked over to talk to my buddy “One-Leg” Bill and told him all about my situation. He said that while he was manning the deep fryer at the Jack in the Box the other day, he overheard two of those suburban type ladies talking about something called low carb. I wasn’t sure what he meant by low carb. My truck only has one carburetor. I’m not sure you can go less than one carburetor if you need to run down to the Circle K for a roller grill and donut fix. 

Ol One Leg told me it didn’t have anything to do with their mode of vehicular transportation. He said these ladies ordered their burger wrapped in lettuce. I asked him if the lettuce made the bun soggy and this is where it really got crazy: he said there was no bun on their burgers. Now call me crazy, but this just sounds un-American. How can you eat a burger with no bun? That’s like trying to eat a steak without a baked potato. IT JUST DON’T MAKE SENSE!

However, I was intrigued. After all, these suburban ladies look better in a velvet jogging suit than I ever will, so maybe they know something I don’t. So I went up to Hilda in the trailer park office and asked her to look up “Low Carb” on the google machine and see what it says. I was shocked at what she rattled off. Apparently carbs are the magical ingredient that makes food taste good and since about August of 2009, they have been killing us.  I guess carbs are just like midget wrestling, eating strange mushrooms, and going down the slip and slide in the nude. While potentially a lot of fun, they are best left off of life’s menu.

Since I want to roll on the mean streets of Apache Junction long after my tags have expired, I have decided to make the following changes:

  • ·         Removing the completely unnecessary middle bun in the Big Mac.
  • ·         Replacing the potato chips in my OOP (Olive Loaf, Onion, and Potato Chip) sandwich with pork rinds.
  • ·         Only eating Vienna Sausages made of real meat and real meat byproducts.
  • ·         Increasing my vegetable intake by not removing the lettuce from my tacos.
  • ·         And lastly, I will only use bacon grease to cook with and not as a side dish.

I hope you can join me on this health crusade so that we can enjoy many, many double wide sunrises together.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Official Mean Street Presidential Endorsement

Well folks, its that time of year again. Even though we live the high life here on the Mean Streets, we aren't immune to the trouble and strife those outside of the glory of the trailer park go through. Our own internal polling shows that there is a lot of people unsure on what direction to go.

Well have no fears my friends, I am here to clear everything up for you. After heavily weighing all the candidates and their strengths and weaknesses, we are ready to make an endorsement.

And the candidate we are going to roll with as we cruise  the Mean Streets of Apache Junction is.....


Yes, Bacon Spam gets our vote for President of all Canned Meats for the next four years or breakfast, whichever comes first.* We were unsure this newcomer to the canned meat aisle would be up for the challenge, but my stomach rang at 3 AM and Bacon Spam was there to answer the call. We also believe that Bacon Spam can bring together both sides of the country as it tastes great on White or Wheat bread. Bacon Spam has the taste, the high salt content, and necessary nitrates to move this country forward!

*Should Ribeye Spam, Porterhouse Spam, or Spam Spam ever join the race we reserve the right to change our vote.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Friday Challenge 8/12

Crewman Frank Spence laid in his bunk and contemplated the effort it would talk to roll his bulk out of it. The air in the small room stank of sweat, desperation, and a hint of pastrami. His red shirt had rolled up over his belly exposing a large hairy gut that hadn’t been there when he originally joined the crew of the Enterprise. He sat up and kicked his legs over the side of his bunk and pulled the shirt down over his girth.
“Five year mission my butt” he muttered to himself.
When he signed up, Frank had no clue what the mission would entail, but how dangerous could the security detail be on a ship that was just supposed to be exploring strange new worlds? Little did he know that he and his fellow security officers would become the captain’s own personal storm troopers beaming down and taking the brunt of the casualties?
“Who has these types of casualties on a peaceful mission?” Frank thought to himself.
 Every week some innocent red shirt gets knocked off. Three weeks ago it was his best friend on the ship, Jason. Some rock creature disintegrated Jason in an instant. Frank pondered this fact. In a blink of an eye his friend was gone. They were all gone so Kirk can get it on with whatever strange colored chick came his way.
 It was losing his best friend that got Frank some extended time off to sort everything out.
“It’s just too high a price to pay so Captain can be a rock star” Frank mumbled again. He raised his voice louder and resolutely announced to his empty cabin “Well little does Kirk know, I’m not playing the game anymore.”
He grunted as he eased off his bunk and his feet hit the ground with a loud thump. He walked over to the food replicator and pushed a large red button and commanded “Bowl of Gravy.”
The replicator replied back in its comforting female voice “Will that be brown or white gravy?”
Frank thought about it for a second and decided to change his mind. “Computer, please give me a chocolate cake with extra frosting……and three bowls of ice cream.”
The female voice came back with another question. “Sir, you have not had any protein this morning.”
“I had a chicken” Frank retorted.
“I did indeed replicate a chicken for you, but you only consumed the skin.” The computer said matter of factly.
“Fine then,” Frank said disgustedly, “I’ll take a bowl of spaghetti and throw a big fat ribeye on top. And then give me the dang cake and ice cream. And don’t forget the extra frosting. In fact just replicate me a whole container of frosting. “
“Are you positive that this is what you want?” The replicator chirped back. The computers voice reminded Frank of his mother which made him feel even more defiant.
“It’s what I asked for isn’t it!” Frank said angrily.
“Sir, I question this meal choice because my sensors indicate that you are near the maximum weight capacity of the transporter. If your weight exceed the transporters limits you will be disqualified for any planet side missions.”
“DUH. That’s the whole point” the crewman thought to himself.  Oddly enough it was Kirk who gave him the idea to eat himself out of a job. Frank ran into the captain in the hallway a couple of week after the mission where Frank lost his friend and he had spent it mourning over a never ending supply of chicken fried steak. In an attempt to bond with the common man on his ship the Captain slapped Frank in the belly, put him in a headlock, and then gave him a noogie while saying “You’re really packing on the pounds Fred.” That was the beginning of the end for Frank.
“I’m on R and R. You are supposed to give me whatever I want.” Frank demanded of the food program.
“My records indicate that you are indeed on rest and relaxation leave, however my programming does not allow me to put the ships mission at risk and the current caloric pace you have been on will keep you from performing your duties. I’m sorry, but I cannot provide you with your request. Can I replicate you a bowl of oatmeal or perhaps a salad?” The voice said as helpful as it could.
Crewman Spence plopped himself back on the bunk and thought. “I am so close to getting drummed out of the security detail. How am I supposed to get there if the dang replicator is keeping track of everything?” He thought of friends that he might be able to go see who might order him a pound or seven of bacon . Then the idea hit him. He knew what to do.
He jumped off the bunk. Pulled the thick red shirt over his belly yet again, yanked his black pants up to cover the crack in his rear, and went out the door.
He made his way down the hall, up the elevator, and went into holodeck fourteen.
“Holodeck. Run program 645.” He announced.
Suddenly the program kicked in and Frank found himself inside a strange building where a young woman with a strange apparatus on her head looked at him and then spoke.
 “Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?”

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cover Chameleon

Today I'd like to discuss the topic of musical covers. For those not hip to the lingo, a cover is when a person or band records a version of a previously published song. The cover song can be a blessing or a curse for the listener and/or the artist. For some artists, the cover defines their careers. Their choice of a cover to introduce them to the world becomes the mountain they can never climb over. (See "Locomotion" from Kylie Minogue and "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany). Of course there is the possibility that was the plan all along and the goal was to cash in using a song that someone already wrote in order to minimize use of any creative muscle. Often time's bands will put out cover albums in order to fulfill some sort of contractual obligation. These albums rarely do anything but give hard core fans something new to listen to from their favorite groups. Artistically they tend to be pretty weak. One particular example is how Guns N Roses faded into oblivion with their cover of favorite punk tunes on "The Spaghetti Incident?". This was a placeholder until Guns N Roses could fulfill the promise of greatness that was the Use Your Illusion album. That promise never came and as fans we are stuck with a cd full of covers of bands that most of us never heard of and nothing so inspiring that would cause the average person to expand their horizons. The truth is that for the most part cover albums are cheap and easy to knock out. Some labels like Cleopatra have made a cottage industry out of putting compilations of covers by artists on their roster.

The main problem is how the artists approach the cover. They usually go in one of two directions. They stay so faithful to the original that they bring nothing new to the song. (See "Lady Marmalade" by some diva supergroup thingy). Why waste your time and effort on a poor imitation? The other way is that they try so hard to put their imprint on the song that they create something so sacrilegious to the original that much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues. (See Madonna's metaphorical pooping on Don McLean's patriotically painted thumb by bastardizing "American Pie"). Every once in a while, though a cover transcends the original or at least brings something so unique to the table that it deserves to sit alongside the original. Possibly the best example of this is Jimi Hendrix's cover of "All Along The Watchtower". Most people don't realist that this is a cover of a Bob Dylan tune. In reaction to hearing the Hendrix cover of his song, Dylan has said: "It overwhelmed me, really." Dylan has also stated "Strange how when I sing it, I always feel it's a tribute to him in some kind of way." Hendrix had taken this Dylan tune and had turned it into his own. A good cover has the ability to do that.

I now give you a list of five covers that I feel are every bit as awesome as the original

Jane's Addiction's cover of "Sympathy For The Devil" originally by The Rolling Stones

This song was on Jane's Addiction's live album that was put out before their major label debut. The band creates a moody atmosphere with subdued acoustic strings and percussion. This sets the tone for what makes this version so special: Perry Farrel's vocals. When Mick Jagger crooned his version, it was full of raw in your face sexuality and machismo proudly declaring his dark deeds as the deceiver of the world. In this version, Perry Farrel's voice is much more subdued taking on the character of the serpent in the Garden of Eden choosing deception over confrontation. I find this version much more convincing.

Furnace "Hey You" originally by Pink Floyd.

This was from one of Cleopatra's many cover compilations. I bought this because I love Pink Floyd and I was big into industrial music at the time. I'm not sure what my expectations were at the time, but pretty much the whole double album blew (yes there were two discs of terrible covers). The lone exception was this masterpiece by some band called Furnace that I'm not sure did anything other than this. I could do some research to find out, but it doesn't matter because they could never top this. Floyd's album the Wall is #1 on my desert island disc list. It is the album that turned me onto rock and roll and sent me on a musical journey that I have been on ever since, so I am serious when I dare to put this song side by side with the original. The song is about isolation and loneliness. It is a song longing for someone to come and save us. The sparseness of the electronics and the pounding beat take the feelings of isolation to another level. This is truly a cover that understood the theme of the original and took it places that maybe it shouldn't go. The despair that Roger Waters wrote of is palpable here.

Dread Zeppelin "Immigrant Song" originally by Led Zeppelin

"Blasphemy" you say? How could anyone touch Zeppelin's Magnum Opus of Viking adventure, bombastic guitars riffs, and Robert Plants unmistakable howling? What business does a reggae band with an Elvis impersonator front man have messing with the Godfathers of Metal? I can't answer these questions, but I can tell you that Immigrant Song matches well with some funky booty shaking reggae. And it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to go from Robert Plants primal scream to Tortelvis's over the top impersonation of the King. Of course I might be a bit biased because I used to see Dread Zeppelin a couple of time a year in my single days. Hilarious show, but they backed it up with musical chops. You couldn't make Immigrant song so funky if you don't have the musical ability to make it happen. And Dread has it in spades.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience "Sunshine of Your Love" originally by Cream

"Sunshine of your love" blew my mind the first time I heard it. My only real experience with Eric Clapton was "Tears in Heaven". I had no idea why he was "God". Being exposed to Cream and Derek and the Dominoes has helped me to understand why people thought this of him. "Sunshine" blew my mind because it was so heavy. My experience with oldies was the fluff that my parents listened to on Kool 94.5. I had no idea that this type of Rock was going on at the same time the Supremes were singing about their guy. Why is the Hendrix cover on here? It's because they take it to an even heavier plane of existence. I must mention that there are different versions of this cover. I am specifically talking about the version on Live at Winterland. Jimi literally makes his guitar sing. There are no vocals. Hendrix's wailing guitar takes the place of the vocals. The only dark surprise in this song is how freakin' awesome it is.

Elvis Presley "Hound Dog" originally by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thorton

How could we not include the King and a song that helped start a revolution? This revolution wasn't bloody, but hip gyratingly fantastic. The King took a slow burning bluesy take on a no good scoundrel and turned it into a rockin tune about something, I'm not sure what. His hip shaking performance on the Milton Berle show launched to Old Bitty Committee to launch a campaign to ban the Kings special brand of Rock and Roll fury. Sorry ladies, that train left the tunnel and was barreling down the track to lead us all to the land of Rock and Roll. Even fifty years later the charisma still seeps from the ol TFT display. Sorry Big Mama, but this song belongs to the King of Rock and Roll.

What are some of your favorite or most hated covers?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Griswold's go to Colorado

Sometimes even we need to take a break from rolling on the mean streets of Apache Junction. Arizona is H-O-T, and the siren song of Colorado gets to us and we have to answer.

While every vacation has it's "issues", here on the Mean Streets we do it up right. Anyone can go on vacation, it takes a special group of people to turn it into and adventure. And my family has that special talent is spades.

I give you now a comprehensive list of what needs to happen in order to vacation Mean Street style

  • You start off taking 5 hours to pack when you only planned for 1.
  • You lose the table you strapped on your camper.
  • Due to the late start you end up staying in a scary hotel in Holbrook, Az. with drunk crazy people pacing on the sidewalk outside yelling at themselves.
  • Your 1 year old refuses to sleep.
  • The road to your camp site was last grated sometime in the 1800's.
  • Your Father in law breaks a rib and nearly impales himself packing up his gear
  • Your Sister in law bruises her tailbone jumping off a 40 foot cliff
  • Your Mother in law hurts her leg slipping in a stream
  • Your Sons legs look like a dog gnawed on them from the mosquito bites
  • Your 3 year old Daughter's face swells up from the mosquito bites
  • Your 1 year old Daughter rolls out of the tent trailer in the middle of the night
  • Your Nephew gets shot in the neck with an air soft bullet
  • You spend north of 100 bucks in fishing licenses, bait, and other goodies and bring home 5 trout making it about 20 bucks a trout.
  • The first lake you go fishing is out of a postcard. The scenery is breathtaking and at any given moment there are about 20 trout jumping in the air and you don't even get a nibble.
  • Leaving camp you bend the heck out of the back bumper of the trailer
  • Your Father in law's transmission goes out on the way home
  • Once at the In-Laws and ready to start the non camping portion of the vacation, you spend the afternoon at Discount Tire replacing a flat
  • You come across 1 motorcycle accident, 1 SUV accident, and 1 truck accident
  • While visiting Grandparents, the neighbors shed catches on fire and 4 Fire trucks respond, giving us some fine entertainment that evening.
  • On the way out of town to come home, your engine blows a spark plug and you have to take it to a Mechanic.
  • The mechanic never called to say the vehicle was done. We decide to just drive into town just in case and find the mechanic closed, causing us to delay the trip home a second day.
  • The extra 2 days allow a sore to develop on 1 year old's backside, causing her to scream for the majority of the 9 hour drive.

And the crazy thing is that you take all of these elements and blend them together and you get on of the best vacations we've ever been on.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Open Letter To Jeff Flake

Representative Flake,

How's it going? I understand you had a great weekend. I'm sure you heard there was a very special piece of legislation that was voted on this weekend. And from what I hear you are very much against it. Of course you weren't against it enough to show up to vote on it.

I know you had a very important family matter to attend to. Of course this wasn't the normal, run of the mill, screw the tax payer, piece of legislation. This was a whopper. This was a forever change the very fabric of the nation type of legislation. It's too bad you missed it. I bet it was a doozy of a vote. Oh- you caught highlights of it on Fox that night. I'm glad they had cable down there. I'd hate to think you missed all that action.

Of course those of us who you represent would have preferred you be there to, you know, represent us. To be honest, and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I would say for you to not be there is a dereliction of duty But what do I know, I'm only a poor working schlub who'll be paying for your absence that day for years to come. But I don't want you to worry about me, the key is that your daughter feels good about her daddy.

Of course I have to wonder how grateful your daughter will be in 20 years when she can't make ends meet and she finds out you could have done your part to stop it, but you decided to show up to an event she barely remembers. It's cool though. I'm a dad too. I know how hard it is to have to miss events because you have to put food on the table. And it's not like you have a break coming up for you to spend time with her....oh wait, I guess you do.

You know what's cool about your job is that you not only represent your daughter, but also my son, my neighbors kids, their neighbors kids and so on. I'm sure it must have been a difficult decision to put your daughters happiness over our kids future. It's a heavy burden you bear being forced to represent us in Washington. Oh wait, you volunteered to represent us. It's too bad we couldn't cast a vote for your daughter this weekend or even better cast a vote against this monstrosity of a bill which is kinda what we wanted you to do, but you were busy.

I know your heart was in the right place. Unfortunately, your brain was in the wrong place. I believe it can be located firmly implanted in your derriere if you need it for anything. The trouble is that this a mess that you and your fellow Republicans helped cause. Your 8 years of screw ups under W allowed the left to come into control of Washington. It's funny because in my house, when we make a mess we clean it up, not take a trip down to Alabama. Maybe we're silly that way.

It sounds like you've let your daughter down a lot in the past. I'm sure that she'll be glad to know that by choosing her pageant over fighting to save the Republic you'll have plenty of time to spend with her after the next primary. I'll do everything I can to make sure that her daddy won't be burdened with all that flying to Washington for silly votes anymore.

What you've obviously forgotten is that to be a US Representative is high calling that comes with difficult responsibilities and even tougher sacrifices. As a working father struggling to make ends meet, I have had to make a lot of sacrifices for my family and yet my son bears no ill will towards me because he knows I'm doing what's best for him. I'm sure you're daughter would have understood as well, given the odious nature of this legislation and the massive impact it will have on all of us. Kids are good that way.

So until we can get someone who remembers this, please try to think about all of us groundlings who have put our trust in you. I hear there's a particularly nasty health care bill working it's way through the system. Let's just hope the vote doesn't fall on the same day as a school play.



Friday, June 19, 2009

Cluck You!

We try to keep things mellow here on the Mean Streets. Crap happens and you roll with it. When you've lived your life in Apache Junction you get used to crap rolling down hill because the trailer park is at the base of the mountain. So it takes a lot to get me riled.

Well my friends, Popeye's Chicken has unleashed the freakin wolverine! I used to love Popeye's chicken. It was spicy, juicy, and flavorful-not unlike your narrator. It was unlike any fried chicken out there. My first experience with Popeye's was as an impressionable young lad on a trip to Washington D.C. It would have been my first love if I hadn't have discovered Atari the year before.

When the chain moved out to the desert, I was one of the first in line to savor the cajun flavor. The only problem was that for some reason the Popeye's were all connected to gas stations and they only took cash. Well my friends, on the Mean Streets, we are a debit card crew so Popeye's wasn't generally an option, plus a Circle K isn't the most relaxing of lunch venues. While it broke my heart, Popeye and I moved our separate ways.

Fast forward several years and Popeye's is on an advertising blitz. They're pimping their 2 piece chicken and a biscuit deal. Well when my lunch appointment bailed and I had cash in my pocket, I knew the time was right to renew the relationship.

The day turned even better when I pulled up and they were advertising 2 PIECES FOR A FREAKIN' DOLLAR. My jaw almost hit the floorboard of the ol Crown Vic. If there is one thing we love more than doughy, grease filled poultry, it's doughy, grease filled poultry at a screaming price. If only I knew the horror to come.

I paid my cash (and noticed they are taking cards so things were getting better by the moment) and waited for my turn to be served. They dumped a fresh load (again just like me) of the spicy chicken so I knew I was getting the cream of the crop.

All I can say after pulling out the first piece is that the cream has spoiled. It was small, cooked beyond the jerky state, and worst of all the skin had all the flavor of cardboard dipped in school paste.

In order to put it into perspective, I basically paid 50 cents for a piece of regular sized chicken and felt completely ripped off! I pay that much for a stinkin hot wing which is half of the smallest piece of the chicken. Here I'm getting a full thigh and I wanted to drive back and demand my dollar bill back.

Popeye, all I can say is you should stick with spinach and I'll get religion and go back to Church's.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ode to The Generic

When you're rollin on the Mean Streets of Apache Junction, sometime the spigot on the ol cash flow gets turned off and we are resorted to scrimping by.

I know what you're thinking: "Poor boy. Maybe you should have thought about that before dropping 20 bucks on a 12 pack of Maiden tunes on Rock Band." [Excellent by the way!-ed]

Well my friends I'm not here to lament my situation. No we keep it positive here in the Trailer Park Kingdom. I'm here to extol the virtues of a discovery. A discovery that would not have happened had the ducketts not become scarce. A discovery so wonderful, so delicious, that the mere thought of it makes me want to put down these Vienna sausages and run down to the local Wal-Mart and pick me up some.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about Wal-Mart's generic beef stew! BEHOLD:

Previous to this I have been a beef stew snob. My parents were raised on Dinty Moore. Their parents were raised on Dinty Moore, and by golly my son was going to be raised on Dinty Moore. There would be no other Beef Stew brought before me-ever.

That was until my trip down to the ol pueblo aka Mexico. I didn't want to pick up some nasty illness that would cause me to spend more time on the pot* than on the beach soaking up the sun so I had to bring my food down. One bad tamale wasn't going to ruin this guys vacation. So I wanted to load up on the beef stew. Well since I had a wife and kid to feed and both require other groceries because they are not man enough for Dinty Moore, I was forced to sacrifice 10 generations of family beef stew tradition so they can eat.

Yes even the Mean Streets can show compassion from time to time.

So I swallowed my family pride and picked up the Great Value beef stew. And friends, I've been glad I did ever since.

How do I describe the indescribable? I can say the beef was tender, the potatoes few, carrots cooked to perfection, but best of all the sauce. It was less a stew and more a gravy. If I had to describe it in three words they would be: Thick, Rich, Delicious,, Velvety, Meaty, and Lipsmacking. It was beyond human comprehension.

It like how when stars go super nova and then collapse in on themselves. They become the size of a marble but weigh trillions of tons. How do they pack that much flavor in a single can. To quote the great Sicilian Vizzini "That's Inconceivable!"

It shaken my culinary world to it's core. I'm now wondering how well the Great Value Luncheon meat tastes. Though I swore there would be no other pressed pork product stored in gelatin than SPAM eaten in my house, the taste buds contemplate revolt.

*If your name is Shadow, this kind of pot refers to a toilet.