Monday, August 19, 2013

BBQ INN in Houston

“Directions for eating a Seafood Platter”

    I finally got Kay’s birthday behind me. I know you were worried about that. Since none of you bothered to help me select something nice, I ended up getting practical stuff. A lot of practical stuff. I went to Sam’s.

    Do you know how much of our Tupperware Kay has given away over the last couple of years? Practically all of it. I keep telling her to put her name on the stuff, but noooo. She considers it rude.

    You know what’s rude? I’ll tell you what’s rude. Not giving somebody back their Tupperware. -- By the way, I call all see-through plastic food containers “Tupperware.” Just like I call all lawn trimmers “weedeaters” and all carbonated beverages “coke.” Of course, like everyone else, I call cocaine -- Bernice. My brain? What am I gonna do with it?

    So, where is this leading? It’s leading to a 50 piece Tupperware collection that I got Kay for her birthday. She was flabbergasted. Oh, and I also got her 24 different clips to clamp chip, bread and cereal bags. There are a bunch of small ones, too, for posting notes on the fridge. We don’t do that, but when we start, we’ve certainly got the clip magnets. There are even a couple of large clips that you can really hurt yourself with. Kay even warned. I considered that a dare.

    What else? Oh, I got her a giant bag of shelled pistachios, a bunch of peanut M&Ms and a dozen yellow roses. There may be better looking husbands, but none as nicer. What I’m sayin’?

    The best thing about Kay’s birthday was letting her pick a place to eat. She chose The Barbecue Inn in Houston. When she named the place, I quit eating her pistachios long enough to do the dance of joy. This man can boogie.

About 40 years ago, Virginia’s Dad, Rodger Parker, introduced us to The Barbecue Inn, located on the corner of Crosstimbers and Yale. A less than attractive part of town, Crosstimbers and Yale. However, it happens to be the location of the best fried seafood platter known to mankind.

Rodger used to sing the praises of the BBQ Inn. I hate it when someone does that. I figured it could not possibly live up to his acclaim, but it did. Surpassed it even. That old man even had to tell us how to eat the mountain of oysters, shrimp, fish and stuffed crab.

That’s the kind of stuff we talked about during our trip to the BBQ Inn with Virginia and Freeman. Virginia tried to impersonate her father in telling how he would instruct people how to eat the seafood platter. -- “Don’t eat the salad. It’ll only fill you up. And the fries? Forget ‘em! You’ll never be able to finish your seafood if you eat the potatoes...”

That was Rodger all right. The first time we went with him, the seafood platter cost about $2.50. The price was a little higher this time. It was right at $22. Not bad for the best seafood platter in the Western Hemisphere. (Note: I have never witnessed anyone ordering BBQ at the Barbecue Inn. I’m sure it’s great, but I will likely never find out.

    What made our meal even more special was the re-living part. Do you know where the Hayters and Plilers were during Game One of the 1988 World Series between the Dodgers and Oakland As? We were staying at a ranch resort somewhere in the Hill Country, watching the game on a live feed. It was the first time I had ever heard of a live feed.

When the announcers cut to a commercial, the camera stayed right on ‘em and you could hear them swearing and joking and planning what they were going to say when they went back on the air. I thought the camera man was playing a joke on ‘em.

What was even more astonishing was the fact that Kirk Gibson, a dinosaur of  a player, hobbled to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and with a 3:2 count clobbered a homerun. The guy limped around the bases and gave the famous arm pump. I didn’t give two hoots for the Dodgers, but I sure did enjoy the game and the time we spent out there zip-lining, cooking breakfast in a giant skillet, telling stories by a campfire, riding around in the back of a pickup down hillside, rocky roads… 

Yes, those were the days. The days when we would celebrate birthdays with day trips. The birthday person would get $15 to buy something he or she would not normally purchase. Why $15. Well, $10 was not enough and $20 seemed like too much. Hey, we took a vote on it.

But, no more. Between the Pliler grandkids and the weather, something always seemed to come up around birthday time. It’s all we can do now to arrange a meal on birthdays. Speaking of which, it doesn’t sound as if we’ll be going out for my birthday. Virginia said that the BBQ Inn trip will have to serve for Kay’s birthday and mine. She apparently thinks she has that much pull. – She does.

Just for that, I’m going to take my time returning her Tupperware. The Plilers gave us some watermelon last week in a big plastic tub. Unfortunately, I just can’t remember to return the container. You ask me, she shoulda put her name on it.

End  and

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August stinks on ice

 What? I was born in August? You'd better rethink that.

Favorite month is ‘Not August’

    ROOFTOP – Do you know what my favorite month of the year is? Not August. I can find something pleasant to mention about any other month, but I have to make up stuff when the eighth month rolls around.

    I do have to admit that it’s not as hot up here on this August day as I thought it’d be. There’s even a breeze that is less hot than I imagined. See how I make up stuff?

    I wish you’d look at the lawn. It still has green areas. Of course, by the end of this month it will look all bleached out. I’ll probably have to mow just one time in August. I’m falling in love with this month.

    Kay’s got a birthday this week. I don’t consider that necessarily a good thing. Oh, it’s good she was born, but I would’ve preferred she been born in a more pleasant month and on a day that doesn’t commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. Kay was born years after the bombing, but still.

I think it would’ve been so much nicer had she been born some day during National Celery Month. That’d be March. A much better month, March. And, I just can’t say enough about celery. You may not be aware, but people who are allergic to celery are usually allergic to mugwort pollen. (The Illiad, Homer)

    One thing scary about Kay’s birthday is the fact that she’s taking a day off work. She’s never done that before. What am I supposed to do about that? We gave up on celebrating birthdays. Didn’t we? I thought it best that I change the appointment with my urologist that was scheduled on the same day. Couldn’t handle the stigma. – ‘Hey, Mark, what’d you do for Kay’s birthday/” – “I took her out to eat and then had a far too intimate moment with my urologist.”

    Besides a good meal, there’s no gift I could get Kay that she’d enjoy. I could get her one of those artificial gemstone rings, but I’d get the wrong one. Say I buy her a ring with a blue stone. Just say I did. She’d smile big and then tactfully tell me that she’s got plenty of blue tourmalines or floriminites.

I don’t know gems – faux or real. Gemstones have gotten so complicated over the years, while stealing ‘em has gotten so much easier. Used to be, jewel thieves had to either come through the air-ducts and suspend from the ceiling to steal a bunch of jewels, or tunnel beneath and then have a ballerina contortionist dance through the maze of laser alarms.

Now all you need is a scarf and something that looks like a pistol. Can you believe that guy in France? Puts a scarf across his face, walks in the front door of the Carlton, pulls out a pistol which may or may not have been loaded, holds up a half dozen cops and walks out with $136 million worth of diamonds.

The hotel might as well have hired the Hayter brothers to guard those gems. At least we would’ve dared the thief to fire off a couple of shots to make sure his gun worked.

Stealing the diamonds was the easy part. I don’t know how the guy plans on selling them. I’d end up advertising on Craig’s List. – “$136 million in diamonds on sale for a fraction of their value. Meet in the parking lot of Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish parking lot at noon on fried chicken day. (Tuesday) See the man wearing the Lone Ranger mask. Only truly interested buyers need respond.”  

    Well, that cute little sideline did nothing to solve the birthday dilemma. Remember? Kay’s birthday? Like I mentioned, I’ll just take her out to eat at a fancy place. “Fancy” is such a relative term, you understand? Fancy for me is getting dessert with my Luann platter. Kay will likely expect more.

    I could let the fancy meal serve as both our birthday gifts. I was born just two weeks after Kay. Born on President Benjamin Harrison’s birthday. What? Benjamin Harrison. Twenty-third President. Yes, of the U.S. Defeated Grover Cleveland in 1888.

Grover Cleveland? Yes, 22nd and 24th President. Yes of the-- Squirrel! No, seriously. At the base of the elm. No that’s an oak. To the right. See? The crop of squirrels has been slowly increasing over what it was last year. Of course, by the end of the month the population will likely take another plunge. That’s August for you.

Tell you what. Let’s stay off the roof for the rest of the month. I will if you will. – Oh, and if you have any keen ideas for a possible gift for Kay, don’t keep it to yourself. – Next time.

End  and

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The witching hour?

“Awake at 3:00 a.m."

    Do you often find yourself awake on or around three in the a.m. and can’t go back to sleep? Happens a lot, does it? Well, join the crowd, Bucko.

    Happens to me practically every morning. I’m beginning to adopt the notion that if anyone ever does find me asleep at three, it’ll be an early morning jogger who just tripped over a body. You people need to watch where you’re stepping.

    Right now it’s 4:09… just like the song. You know, the car song? “Nothing can catch her, nothing can stop my 409, 409…” Well, pretend you remember… and cut me some slack. I’m a little weird of a morning. – What? Thought I heard you say something?

    I actually woke at 2:43 and just lay in bed for an hour. If I had to work today, I’d still be in bed trying to fight it. But, since retirement, I’ve been dragging my rear down stairs to eat a bowl of cereal or read. Sometimes both. I’m one impetuous fool. – Beg pardon?

    This morning, I decided to go to the here and talk with you awhile. What on earth are you doing up so early? And, how did you get your hands on the paper this early? Can I have your crossword while you’re reading me? -- Whoa. That got seriously mysterious.

    By the way, I did research to find out why the propensity for a three a.m. mental wakeup call. Seems to be no consensus on the cause. Some think it’s because three is when spirits come out to... do what they do. It’s like a witching hour. Hey, movies have been made.

    While I don’t believe that to be the case, I’ve got to tell you that this house makes a lot of noise at night. There are some cracking noises and loud ticking sounds… like maybe clocks. Which is odd, ‘cause I’ve only got about three clicking clocks in this house, but they make absolutely no noise during the day.

    The icemaker is one loud piece of appliance add-on. I think I’ve got problems, an icemaker never sleeps. Mine doesn’t dispense either. To repair the small, plastic hook that holds the dispensing doohickey, I’d have to replace the entire door. The door itself would cost  $400. The repair guy said I could do the job myself. 

When it comes to judging one’s abilities, repairmen are idiots. The guy looked at me and actually made the assessment that I was capable of removing my refrigerator door and then installing another. Not to worry. After looking on line, the repairman told me that they don’t sell my refrigerator door anymore.

And that, dear friend, is why my ice dispenser no longer works. Just thought you’d wanna know. Like I said, it’s early in the morning. -- Y’all want some ice? Maybe later?

A more logical reason for the dreaded “three” has to do with your liver, adrenaline, and glycogen. I knew glycogen was going to be in there somewhere. I just hate that stuff.

Many researchers say that we wake up at three-ish due to stress. We’ve got stuff on our minds. -- No bat-guano, Sherlock. If there was nothing on my mind, I wouldn’t be awake. There’d be people standing around an urn laughing about what a goober I was. Each comment would be preceded by a “Bless his heart.”

    What’s that got to do with, uh, what was that stuff? Oh, glycogen. According to smart people, when you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release adrenaline -- not PEZ as many have suspected.

    For whatever reason, adrenaline causes parts of the body to use glycogen which happens to be liver food. So, when your liver can’t eat, it stresses your whole body, so your adrenal gland gives you another fix of adrenaline. The adrenaline causes the body to use more glycogen, which the liver needs to… Are you following this? I’m beginning to see the evil spirit thing as more plausible.

    A less smart person would thing that I should be taking glycogen. I’m sure you can get a huge bottle of it at Sam’s. They’ve even got krill oil. Kay got a free sample with her bottle of CQ-10. -- Krill oil? Save the whale? You can kiss my hairy fanny! -- What? I have no idea where that came from.

    So, after all that, what is the cure for the Big Three? Seems to be -- “Quit being stressed! Stop thinking about stuff at bedtime, you dolt!” -- “Worry not. Worry is the thorn of the Bicobal tree before it blooms.” (Amrem Presop, 1275)

    Oh, yeah, and don’t drink as much coffee. Unless, you don’t drink coffee, in which case you need to start. And, exercise. Unless you already do, in which case tone it down just a bit.

    Well, I hope that helped. I’m feeling just ducky about it. Think I’ll go downstairs, get a bowl of cereal and try to figure out what I’ve been worrying about for the past three decades.

End and