Thursday, May 29, 2014

Charley Pride - "Burgers And Fries" (1978)

They're as essential as air and water.

Todd Rundgren - "Hamburger Hell" (1976)

It used to be called Hot 'N' Now.

Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties: They "BEEP!" When You've Cooked 'Em!

 Brunch? You won't catch me on a Sunday morning at Croc's eating an Eggs Benedict sandwich on an Arnold bun and drinking a Bloody Mary Ingalls Wilder whilst being entertained by a bevy of drag queens anytime soon. My idea of the AM-PM meal combination is a tasty cheeseburger on a Thomas' English Muffin and a side order of Cheerios at 10:30 a.m. Sure, I enjoy the buttery nooks and crannies as much as any early-rising schoolboy or Raisin Bran dad-rocker. Still, there's something special about savoring a grilled patty smothered with the cheese of my choice in between the toasted halves. For at least twenty years, I've stuck with slices of Kraft singles and Heinz Ketchup (NOT "Catsup"! You can take that mess to your nearest animal shelter, dawg!) when constructing the muffin burgers. Last week, an absence of those stock items prompted a drastic change in preparation. Squares of Sargento Swiss replaced the usual Stars 'N' Stripes offering, while Great Value Horseradish Mustard capably filled in for the Pittsburgh-based legendary condiment. As for the meat, it also differed from the packaged ground beef I'm accustomed to shaping.

What does a 40-foot rubber duck have to do with Memorial Day weekend? If "Not a Josh-darned thing!" or something more creatively expletive is your immediate response, please join me as a guest at the next cookout I attend. Perhaps we'll see an inflated bag of Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties covering the entire surface of the Thornton family's swimming pool. Before dealing with that monstrosity, don't hesitate to pick up a smaller-scale version of the "art" in your grocer's freezer. Once the exhibit is safely on the kitchen counter, take a burger from the bag and wrap in a paper towel. Place the contents in a microwave oven and heat for 65-75 seconds. (I always cook 'em for 80 seconds, 'cause going a bit over the limit is my style.) Remove the patty from the towel and put it on a small plate. Top the meat with your favorite cheese and nuke for 20-25 more ticks. In tandem with a Martin's Potato Roll, add extras like mustard, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and Sharon Reams' homemade pickles if you're lucky. How's the first bite?

Of course, nothing beats a backyard burger right off Eric's spatula or from the open flame at my beloved Baron's Pub in Peanut City, but Ball Park somehow manages to simulate that next-day grilled taste with just a few keystrokes on your favorite kitchen appliance. The patty was the perfect size for an English muffin, and the cheese melted wonderfully on top. A bag of six burgers can be purchased for around $7, which is less than the price of a putrid example I recently consumed at a supposed fine-dining establishment within walking distance from my home. Heck, labeling that case study for "Restaurant Impossible" as "just-fine dining" would be a gross misrepresentation of its wares. But I digress and digest. Ball Park Flame Grilled Beef Patties are highly recommended for your next cook-in.

"BEEP!" That means brunch is ready! Whose feather boa is this? I'd feed it to the duck, but he's been deflated. What a drag...

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Electric Toilet - "Mississippi Hippy" (1970)

In Mississippi, toilets flow in the same direction as anywhere else in America.

Wayne County And The Electric Chairs - "Toilet Love" (1978)

"You stick your head in the toilet, and I give it a flush..."

Toilet Talk

Over or under? How do you position a roll of bathroom tissue on your rack? I'd say most folks go with the first option. Count me among the majority who takes two-ply sheets from the top. Until recently, it'd been at least twenty years since I'd last seen an "under" roll in a restroom. The OCD side of me wanted to charge my brother Mike with toilet-paper treason via his alternate placing. Guess what? I went "under" and lived to tell about it. In fact, I'm considering a permanent switch in the less-popular direction. The two worst situations involving bathroom tissue: 1)Not having enough in stock and 2)Using a cheap, one-ply brand. Yeah, I've finally gotten "over" with never being "under."

Last Sunday, Mike and I stopped at Hardee's for a pre-movie meal. He ordered one of the higher-priced combos, and I stuck with the frugal familiarity of a $5 Big Bag. When Mike exited the restroom, I noticed a huge collection of toilet paper and hand towels strewn all over the floor. Though it wasn't my responsibility, I spent an extra thirty seconds in there cleaning up the mess. Even the sloppy sink got a bit of careful attention. After telling Mike about the custodial freebie, he expectedly wondered: "Why did you do that for? People (at Hardee's) get paid to do that." My reasoning: The cashier was friendly, the food was tasty and the iced tea was exceptionally sweetened. Besides, I can't tolerate looking at a sink that isn't completely dry.

Oh, the movie we saw post-Hardee's was a "comedy" starring Seth Rogen and an annoying Australian chick. The funniest thing about the flick was a trailer of "22 Jump Street." (Jonah Hill, I will never again confuse you with Rogen.) While purchasing our tickets, a young lady at the window handed us "Neighbors" promotional paddle keychains. Two days later, Mike and I made our umpteenth evening trip to Starbucks for iced coffees. For whatever reason, I had the still-wrapped chain and a Rice Krispies Treats square in my Wrangler's pockets. I didn't want the paddle to sully the purposeful Food Lion and Big Lots items on my key ring, so I left the trinket and treat atop the trash receptacle inside Starbucks' bathroom. More "donations" are planned for future visits. I mean, why should BookCrossing have all the fun?

One of my undeclared birthday presents was a fresh toilet seat from Lowe's. Honestly, I would've preferred a non-hardware gift card or a new pair of Pumas. At least someone thought of me this time 'round, 'cause I didn't get squat last year. After several months of use, it has spoiled other seats for me. Due to a slow-closing function that's similar to the doors on an old DeLorean, my latest lid is impossible to slam shut. When I'm in the downstairs restroom, I often forget it's a standard seat that requires a direct push to the bottom. The "Easy-Clean" designation is usually the only thing visible on the surface, as I scrub it almost daily with scouring powder and a sponge. Failing that, I go with glass cleaner and paper towels. I might not have the best seat in the house, but I'm a strong contender for possessing the most unusual.

 "Under" and out!