Friday Fives – under the table and dreaming

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When was the last time you went to a state or county fair?

Ah, the county fair.  What a perfect bastion of Americana.  My association is different than most.  You probably expect me to wax poetically about can’t win games, the fatty food, the fatty people… etc.  No sir.  I am not your Normal Rockwell.  *** ooh, good song title!!!

For me, the fair was about concerts.  For me, especially when I was younger… everything was about concerts.  The state fair for Arizona was held at and around Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.  This where the Suns (our NBA team) played.  More interesting is notice how it isn’t name after a corporation.  Ooh.. I just googled it and it is still around.  Kinda scary, as it was 30 years old when I went there in the 80s.  AND… it is apparently still where they hold the state fair.  Just about every night during the fair, they would have a national band playing the arena.  The fair cost (this is in the 80’s) $5 to get in.  With that admission, you got free admission to whatever concert was that night.  Seating was open, and simply first come first served.  I wasn’t much into the carnival thing… because it’s a one hundred and twenty fucking degrees all day.  So, hanging out on tarmac/asphalt under the sun was not my jam.

I got to see CSN there, the Fixx, Allman Brother’s… and likely a ton more that I just don’t remember.  Did some more googling, and they have a terrific site!  Look at this, they have all the concerts listed there.  My whole childhood laid out.  $5 to see a national act, it was amazing!  I would often go alone.   $5 was even then an insanely good value to see a national headlining act.  The last concert I went to (right at the verge of Corona Virus lockdown) was Dwight Yoakum.  After fees, tickets were about $80 after fees. This was actually one of the cheaper national shows I have been do.  I did a cool google search to see $5 then (mid 80s) equals now.  The answer is $12.20 today.

Did you try your hand at the midway games?

Of course I did.  And I sucked at them, just like everyone does.  Steve Martin explained the whole racket in ‘the Jerk’.  Well… had it explained to him.  Sames!  I know at one time I did win a 6 foot inflatable Gumby doll.  What I did with that gumby tall was put him in the shotgun seat (belted in, of course) with a baseball cap over his pointy head.  Then, use him to drive in the carpool lane.  My windows were tinted, so all I needed was a silhouette.  It totally worked!

Giant 6 foot Inflatable Gumby by imperial toys. Late 80's | #522996980

So, I googled this to make sure I was remembering correctly.  Sure enough, I DID have a 6 foot tall inflatable Gumby.  Even weirder is that you can have one, too!

Which of the rides were your favorite, either now or as a kid?

I can tell you which ones weren’t – roller coasters.  Not sure if I have told this story before, but maybe should be saved my therapist.  I didn’t like or use roller coasters.  Not because I was scared, it would get sick.  It was because I was a physically tiny specimen.  When I was… oh… 10 or 12 or whatever… I was pretty short.  I wasn’t just short, I was skinny.  I had very little body mass of any kind.  Even if I was tall enough to ride the roller coaster, the safety bar was useless.  See, that safety bar was designed to fit every size adult.  You know, it swings down and works as a lap belt, of sorts.   Well, it only swings down so far.  Mind you, this certainly wasn’t a full shoulder harness that they use now… just a lap bar.  Back then, however, seat belts were only lap belts, as well.

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Once the ‘safety’ bar was dropped over my lap, there was still a good 4 to 6 inches of play.  Meaning, there was no physical contact between my body and that bar.  Not even close.  I suppose the roller coasters were designed to hold you in place by centrifugal force, anyway.  Perhaps the bar is just a formality.  I didn’t know that.  I got into one of those things and realized if I didn’t hold onto that bar, I would be ejected.   Since those things went upside down, I avoided that shit altogether.  Now, being American and middle aged… I am overweight.  This means I nestle nicely in these coasters.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  See the kids in the middle?  Do you see their terror?  It’s isn’t thrill, it is simply waiting for death.  Look at the safety lap bar they are holding on to for dear life.  See how it is wedged safely in their torso to hold them in place?  EXACTLY my point.  That bar is cranked all the way down.  If this thing like stalls while upside down?  Those kids are toast.  This is how I remember them.  Perhaps you think ‘well, they had redundant safety measure in place, and they are all designed to hold you in place my gravity or centrifugal force’.


That is what 48 year old me would say to a 10 year old me.  But then, here is what 10 year old me would have said – “Fuck you!  This ride fits on the back of a semi trailer, and was assembled in the dark by a 6th grade drop out.  It is designed to be set up/taken down in under 15 minutes on the back of a truck.  I don’t think this was designed by rocket scientists.  Now get me the out of here!”

Do you see that sign?  Ok, the guy who couldn’t spell ‘exit’ is the guy in charge of this ride.  If his knowledge of physics and mechanics is nearly half his understanding of the English language… I ain’t getting on that ride.  Note, I didn’t google search to find a stock picture that would make carnies look dumb.  This was a very real sign at the Arapahoe county fair.  I took that photo myself.  Yeah… the who put this sign together is the one in charge of building the roller coaster.  Doesn’t strike me a ‘reads the directions’ type of guy.

Yes, 10 year olds do talk like South Park characters.  At least, I did.

Did you ever enter anything into the exhibits? How did you do?

Wait.  Back up for a second.  I should apologize, I never answered the first question.  When was the last time I went to a County Fair?  It was a couple years ago, the Arapahoe County Fair.  I should note that Colorado does have a state fair, but no one has ever been.  Why”  Because it is in Pueblo, CO.  It is almost 3 hours away.  PLUS… it’s a miserable shithole of a city.  What Arizona did made sense.  The state fair was in Phoenix.  Not just because it’s the capital, but because it is the population center of the state.  Anyhow, the Arapahoe County Fair is dope.  It is just like any other county fair, except for one thing – demolition derby!!!!!   

Actually, maybe demolition derby’s are common to fair’s,  but I only saw one once ever.  There is nothing better > not sex > not jamming with Jerry Garcia > not even tripping balls peaking on LSD at Magic Mountain in Disneyland**** is better than a demolition derby.  The best was a van in the competition.  A van!  Van’s don’t crash or skid… the roll!  And roll and roll this van did.   Then… it caught fire.   FUCK YEAH!

*** I have done two of these three things.

What is your best memory that you take from a fair?

Um… see above.  That is all we have been covering.  Did you even pay attention?  You want a single best memory?  Hmmm… besides watching a van roll over and catch on fire.. it may be CSN.  I have seen Crosby, Still, and Nash a number of times.  Maybe… 6?  Odds are, this was my first time.  To see ‘Suite” Judy Blue Eyes’ performed in person is a pretty perfect moment.  I can’t think of a better song.  That song is up there with ‘Born to Run’, ‘the Weight’… etc

Actually, I can think of a best moment.  At the demolition derby, we were with a buddy and his family.  A lot of the day was me hanging out with Alyssa.  She is his daughter, and a super cool kid.  We had the same taste in rides, so we hung out a lot that day.  Best memory just may be sitting with Alyssa in the stands sharing a funnel cake and watching the demolition derby together and just losing our minds that this was a real thing we could do.  I had never seen one in person.  It is spectacular!

It still makes no sense.   So… people crash cars?  On purpose?  Into each other?  Over and over again?  As hard as they can?  Until something catches fire?  They are allowed to do this?  No one stops them?  And we can just watch this for fun?  God bless America!

Again… let’s take a look at that ‘exit’ picture.  Note that it was put up quite well.  Aside from the spelling… look how perfectly level it is.  Note how perfectly equidistant each letter is.  This sign was not just thrown up in haste.  I think that is what scares me the most.

Friday Fives – it ain’t your mother’s cooking… thank god.

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What’s a kind of food most people hate that you actually like?

Brussell sprouts.  Spell check is telling me I spelled Brussell wrong.  EXACTLY my point, which is why I shall not correct it out of principle.  Like I said about Utah, they need a better press agent (the food, not the country.   Wait… actually… maybe them both!)  My parents (and to a lesser degree, your parents) just butchered them.

This food can be amazing, but it needs help.  It needs bacon and shallots.  Cook them however you’d like, but finish them in a skillet with some half cooked bacon, a bit of that bacon grease you now have unemployed (or just use the same pan) and do a quick pan fry.

What food do you just refuse to eat?

Brussell sprouts!  Kidding, of course.  My answer is related, though.  Meatloaf.  I see restaurants have this one the menu.  Apparently, they didn’t grow up in my house.  While I had the greatest childhood anyone could be possibly afforded… my mother’s cooking wasn’t best.  Why?  Because she also worked full time to raise us boys.  So don’t you fucking judge my mother.  The woman is a saint.  BUT… also don’t accept an invite for dinner if you can help it.  

I don’t know the recipe, or any recipe, for meatloaf.  I can’t tell you what the recipe isn’t, though.  Roll up a pound of ground beef, NO SEASONING, and pour ketchup over the top.

What’s the best cooking advice/tip you ever received?

Prolly from Alton Brown.  Love him so much I have gone to see him do book signings, and a live show.  I probably learned this from his TV show, Emeril Live?  He said don’t wait until the cooking is done to salt the food.  Said you have to salt WHILE you cook.  I take my salting seriously, too.  My shit comes out of a grinder fresh cracked.  How about your salt?

I wanted to end that quip with ‘how you doing?’, as a cheeky homage to Joey from friends.  However, that phrase appears to be now owned by Wendy Williams.   So… how you doin’?

If you were a chef and restaurant owner, what kind of place would you operate?

I would serve alarmingly few dishes.  Just the ones I do very well, and I consider high art and cooking excellence.  I’d even take the odd and interesting tact I found in Italy.  When you dine in Italy, there was never salt or pepper (or any condiment for that matter) on the table.  I was afraid to ask (I was mostly busy shouting ‘America First’ over and over)… but I took that to mean ‘the food is fine, don’t fuck with it’.  Thing is, it always was.  Always.  They were right.

What are some food + drinks combos that people should try out?

Everything with everything.  Don’t be a pussy, like me.  Go live life, man!

Ok, ok.  Two no-no’s.   No to light beer, and no to meatloaf.  We have discussed meatloaf, now let’s talk light beer.  You drink light beer because its less calories, right?  I should warn you before you read further… this shit is about to get iron clad!

See… people drink light beer because it is a third of the calories.  However, to achieve that, you sacrifice a third of the alcohol content.  In short, all you are doing is drinking more beer to get that same buzz.  End result?  You are peeing more, spending more, and creating more litter.  You’re a dick.

*** that being said, as a professional drinker (literally… I have been paid and employed to taste and rate beer) I will concede there is a virtue to light beer – pacing.  If you are day drinking, and you hope to see the sunset or remember getting home… light beer can be a virtue.  Not for me, but for lesser livers, Todd!

Friday Fives > i found bigfoot!

Why Don't Cereal Boxes Have Prizes Anymore? | MyRecipes

What’s the best cereal?

Were health not a concern, I would go with a sugary kids cereal.  Prolly Captain Crunch.  I don’t even think cereals do this anymore, but there used to be prizes in there… and not always shitty prizes.  The best one I remember – I’ll look at see if I can find a videofound it! was a tiny crappy submarine…  maybe the size of your thumb.  You did something like put in baking soda.  It would go in the water, and then it would surface and dive.  It was the coolest!

banking soda submarine

I dare say this is probably actual size

There is an important part to this story you should know, especially if you have boys.  I had two older brothers.  This means there was competition for these toys.  I had to get in there and get what was rightfully mine.   Soon as the cereal was in the pantry, I would sneak in and open the box.  I would rifle my absolutely filthy hands through all the cereal to feel for that little toy.   I was almost always successful.  BUT… I look back and realized my filthy fingers and hands and arms touched just about every piece of cereal kibble in the box.

If you could de-stress the nation by saying only one thing, what would you say?

Drop acid, you pussies

What’s your ‘HOLY SHIT, IT WORKS!’ moment?

Every time I fix something electrical, which I say I am getting pretty good at.  Know when I don’t get that feeling?  Election time.

Who would you call if you caught bigfoot?

Ooh, I wrote about this like almost 15 years ago. Hold on a sec, lemme find it.  Found it.  The gist was this – there is this guy who is a notorious bigfoot faker.  He is a laughing stock of all science, and (most importantly) is ostracized by the big foot community.  There are those who believe, and every time this dipshit gets exposed with a new scam, it undermines their efforts.   


I would hand deliver big foot to this guy.  Because NO ONE would believe him.  Do I believe in big foot?  I don’t, and here is why > I DO believe there could be such an animal.  Here is why I don’t believe it – There would be more than 1, right?  Then we would have bodies.  Hell, look at the Giant Squid.  It was basically an urban myth for centuries.  No one had ever seen or found one alive.  This thing was big!   It’s eyeball was the size of a human head.  They figured it if was, it lived VERY deep.  This means no oxygen.  This means it would have moved super duper slow.  Like, would have appeared not moving at all.   Well, they finally found one and got footage.  Here is what freaked them out.  First, of course, that it was a real thing.   Second, though… it moved SUPER fast.  This upended everything we thought we knew.  That could happen with a bigfoot discovery.  I think we would have found one by now, though.

Let’s remember what Shakespeare said about this.  Though its from Hamlet, am pretty sure the exchange was about bigfoot.  Or… the giant squid.  Write this quote down, its just a beautiful and perfect assemblage of letters and words.

There are more things of heaven and earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Which scar on your body tells the best story?

Got one on the back of my head right now.  Its not a scar yet, but it likely will be.  I keep picking at it.  See, I was attacked by a drunk jackass.  In my own yard.   The jackass in question?  It was me.  I was playing with Monty throwing a stick out in the snow.  There was a bunch of solid icepack under the fresh powder.  Being drunk, I lost my footing and went down backwards… hard.  Busted my head on the bbq grill on the way down.   Least… I am pretty sure that’s what happened.  Again, I was drunk.  Not my finest moment.