Monday, May 31, 2010

Your Whitehouse Report - Part 4

When we last left our hero on Wednesday, he was about to eat.
Today’s entrée: Rib Eye Steaks

To paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, “That is one big pile of meat.”

On Thursday, we took off for Bluz Sister’s place in Cincinnati.  As we passed Findlay Ohio, I noticed the conspicuous lack of “Welcome to Findlay – Home of Ben Roethlisberger” signs.  Go figure.

I learned that there is a drawback to big motorcycle-riding women wearing spaghetti-strap tops… Those upper arms were flapping in the wind like bat wings.  It’s a wonder she could get up any speed at all, with that parachute effect going.

While perusing the Reader’s Digest in the car, Rik unearthed a little tidbit for us:  The fear of bald men is called “Peladophobia.”  See, that’s why I refuse to shave my head… It’s for all the peladophobiacs out there, so that they never have to see anything like this:
Rik, John and some other guy that’s not me.

My favorite bumper sticker from the trip: “When Fascism comes, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”  In other words, it’ll be on Fox “News.”

About 45 minutes outside Cincinnati, we heard the unmistakable whup-whup-whup-whup of a flat tire.  We pulled over on the median side, where we had some room, and found that the rear driver’s side tire was flat.  I wasn’t too worried… there were 3 guys in that car that were capable of changing a tire.

Unfortunately, the tire had other ideas.  We could not.  Get.  The fucker.  Off.

The lugs came right off, but no matter how much we pried and kicked at it, the wheel would not budge.  We called 911 and they said they’d send a trooper.  In the meantime, we continued to try to move the tire.

Then, just to make sure we were completely screwed, the thunder and lightning started, followed by a whole bunch of big fat raindrops.  I considered getting my camera out to document the misery, but I think John might have beaten me to death with his cell phone.

Eventually, a trooper rolled up behind us, but it didn’t look like he was personally going to be much help… dude couldn’t have been more than 5’9”, 175lb, and was so young looking, I thought he was going to ask for our help with his homework.  But he did have a nice long pry-bar.  Couple minutes later, we were able to yank that tire off, pop on the donut and get back to rolling.  The whole pit stop took about a half hour.

The funny thing was that if we would have went about 5 miles further, we would have broken down right in front of the Solid Rock Church, which features this tasteful display:
Nothing says humility like a 62-foot half-Jesus.

I did a post on this place several years ago, at my old site, and I’ll probably re-run it here soon.  Suffice to say, the Solid Rock Church is one of those evangelical mega-churches, whose “founders” are as crooked as the day is long.  But if we’d have broken down in front of Touchdown Mega-Jesus, I’d have no choice but to take it as a sign that my heathen ways were being called into question.

But since we didn’t, I guess I’ll be merrily on my way.

We rolled up to Bluz Sister’s estate tired and wet, but none the worse for wear.

We decided to bail on seeing the Reds/Pirates game that night and see the Reds/Astros on Friday.  So instead of baseball, it was time once again for:

In between shots, I had the chance to stroll the grounds and shoot some pictures of Bluz Sister’s horticultural endeavors.
This is a plant whose name sounds like “Chlamydia”, which is how we referred to it so frequently, I’ve forgotten what the name actually is.

Bluz Sister also has a whimsical sense of humor:

She also showed me her new house-brand of wine:
Mindbling, Wormy and Hot Mama (of “Bitchburgh”) need to get in on some of this!

Going to visit my sister is a lot like visiting my parents.  Both places put out enough exquisite food to choke a horse.  Bluz Sister had just taken an apple pie out of the oven as we arrived.
I considered putting a hole in the pie before I took this shot.  What kept me from doing so was knowing that my sister would have then put a hole in me.

After the cornholing, brother-in-law Scotty saw to the grilling.  First up, brats:

We spent the evening munching brats, drinking beer and laughing long into the night.  I vaguely remember watching the movie “Cloverfield” and digging into that pie.

I wasn’t even out of the shower the next morning when Scotty had a batch of Tony Packo’s hot dogs back on the grill. 
These were the things that Klinger was always going on about on MASH.

In between more rounds of cornhole, I got a visit from their primary cat, Fletcher.  (They also have a secondary, back-up cat, Gracie, who is very skittish around big strange guys.  I think she has peladophobia.)

Fletch, however, is one of those “people cats” that just has to be in the middle of everything.  He’s 10 now and in pretty good shape.  Gracie keeps him pretty active; in fact he’s lost about 4 pounds in the last year.

We had dinner before going to the game:
Just like mama used to make.  Stuffed shells yield stuffed people.

We had a dinnertime discussion about the various benefits of making meatballs out of ground beef versus ground turkey.  John suggested that if you use ground turkey, they should be called “fowl balls.”

While we considered getting walk-up tickets at the box office, we ended up getting 5 together for close to face value from a guy on the corner.  While there is always that chance that the tickets would be bogus, they were just fine and yielded us seats along the first base line, about 30 rows back, halfway between first base and the outfield wall.

This was my first trip to Great American Ball Park, so I took a mess of pictures.  (I will spare you from most of them.)
Scoreboard in left-centerfield.

Dusk falls on the ballpark.

They had one really great idea there… a live band playing between innings.  I don’t know why more teams don’t do this.  It beats the hell out of the usual lame stadium anthems.
An all-time great band name.  (And logo.)

Before the game, they had a bald eagle release from the outfield, who flew to his handler down by the pitcher’s mound, right at the end of the National Anthem.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to get a meaningful picture so I didn’t try.  But they got him real good on the scoreboard.  You could see how right after he got his treat from the handler, the big bird just kind of glared at the people in the stands, like, “I keel you all.” 

Gotta love those birds of prey.

The game ended up very good for Cincinnati, who won 15-6.  I admit that we left in the 7th after it was 14-2.  Once you hit a football score, the game is pretty much over.  But we did get to see a pinch-hit grand slam, which doesn’t come along very often.

Saturday morning, Bluz Sister sent us back on the road with a nutritious breakfast.  And in addition to the toast, sausage and eggs:
What are these colorful round things?  Oddest shaped meat I’ve ever seen…

Of course, Fletcher had to include himself in breakfast too:
"Did someone say 'treats'?"

 The last big event of my vacation was scheduled for the drive home:  a trip to Myles Pizza in Bowling Green.  This was the pizza I lived on when I was in college.  I swear they could have bought another delivery car solely from the business I gave them.  I can’t even count how many classes I skipped, just because someone asked me that fateful question, “Hey, wanna go in on a pizza with me?

Hmmm, I can either sit in that boring-ass History of Broadcasting class, or I can dig into a large black olive and mushroom pizza and play cards.” 

History of Broadcasting did NOT win out very often.

Anyway, this pizza was amazing, so every year when I come back home, we always take a field trip to Myles.  We were going to go earlier in the week and take Rik’s kids, but soccer practices kept getting in the way.  Meanwhile we had to go right past Bowling Green to get home from Cincinnati, so that was a perfect Plan B.

This is why I keep coming back to Myles:
This puts the “pie” in pizza pie.  It’s as thick as an apple pie.

In all fairness, the pizzas were not this big when I was in school, but they were still bigger than your average Pizza Hut/Domino’s/Little Caesars.  But now, they’re just incredible.  We each had about 2 slices and were completely full.  I always over-order too, expressly so I can bring home leftovers… Some for me, some for Pinky, and some for my boss.  Ever since I gave him a slice 2 years ago, I think he’s more excited about getting some than I am. 

It’s always an adventure getting the pizza through airport security.  They want to know what’s in the foil.  I always tell them, “Leftover pizza, and it’s not for sale!” 

I was sad to see the trip come to an end, although I’m pretty lucky it ended when it did.  With all the feasting on this incredible food, I’m surprised Southwest Airlines didn’t see me coming and swap their 737 for one of these:

So, I’m home now, safe and sound.  It’s always nice to be back in one’s own bed.  Time to start working on losing the 8 pounds I gained last week.  But I don’t know how I’m going to deal with having to go to work again; I’ll just have to play it by ear.

Bluz to boss:  It’s past noon… Here’s your pizza… where’s the beer?

Final note:  In addition to being an outstanding gardener and chef, Bluz Sister is also an accomplished watercolorist.  Check out her web page here and consider it for all your decorative art needs.  Tell her “The bluzdude sent me.”

Thank you to all who provided such amazing food and hospitality and made this vacation so special!


Anonymous said...

Great entry Tony. And thanks so much for the shoutout.

PS - the plant is called clamatis.


bluzdude said...

Annie (Bluz Sista)
You say clam-A-tis, I say clam-ah-tis, both of which are better than chlamydia. And that's something we can all clap for.

Cassie said...

Anything is better than the clap. *shiver*

Looks like a well deserved, enjoyed vacation.

And yes, bald heads do look weird. And they remind me of shaved balls. Why? I don't know. It's wrong on so many levels.

Now have something smart-assed to say to THAT! Ha!

bluzdude said...

Wow. How tight are you squeezing those shaved balls? Or have the ones you've seen been surgically "lifted"?

The Guy's Perspective said...

This sounds awesome! I've been to the ballpark at Cincy. For a while I was trying to go to as many parks as I could. Each has its own charm.

Is she selling that wine: BITCH! Funny!

I eat crap from Halloween to Memorial Day. I've got some work to do myself with little motivation.

vange said...

I need a few cases of Bitch wine, please and thank you.

Bachelor Girl said...

That 62-foot Jesus is the single scariest thing I think I've ever seen. And this is coming from a devout Catholic. Seriously, if I'd been with you guys, and you'd parked the car in front of that thing, I would've refused to get out.

Also, that pizza made me ravenously hungry.

bluzdude said...

It was a really nice ballpark… not quite PNC, but I many be a big biased there. And like I said, I LOVED the idea to have a live band play between innings.

Regarding “Bitch” wine, no, she’s not selling. She found it out at a wine shop and bought it.

bluzdude said...

As a public service, I have dug up a source from whom you may buy your very own Bitch Wine:

Please check local laws for the legality of importing wine directly. I can tell you for one that it is illegal in Maryland to order wine from outside sources. (“Outside sources” meaning apart from local distributors who would miss out on their cut of the profits.)

“bluzdude: enabling drunks since 2009.”

bluzdude said...

Bachelor Girl,
I totally agree. That thing gives me the heebie-jeebies. And the cross around His neck looks like something Flava Flav would wear. I just wonder who thinks something like that is a good idea…

I don’t know why I even try to describe Myles Pizza with words… the pictures tell the story just fine.

Miley said...

sucks about the flat tire.
mega-jesus say WHAT?! good grief!

that pizza reminds me of some where my mom lives. Like a double decker pizza with 4x the goodies!
*wipes drool off*

If I ever find myself stranded in the midwest, I will certainly be stopping there!

bluzdude said...

Solid Rock Church Motto: Our Jesus is Bigger than Your Jesus! So send money!

You know, I couldn't even fathom what would happen if someone ordered extra cheese on one of those things. All they could do is just drop a giant cheese wheel on the crust.

If you find yourself in the Midwest, I'll send you directions.

C.C. said...

Seriously, we MUST get that wine!!!!

Cher Duncombe said...

Do you think your sister will adopt me? I have citizenship papers and I'm willing to sample all the food she makes to let her know if it needs just a pinch of something. :)

bluzdude said...

We determined that we needed to back off about 1 hour. Next time, John will shoot for about an hour a pound. Was still quite tasty though! He was very careful about maintaining the temperature throughout the cooking time.

Yes, I have no illusions about my taste in beer. It is what it is… low-brow.

I have an Uncle from England, and he told me years ago that mainstream American beer is for those that don’t like the taste of beer.

Yes, it’s good to be home. Except now I have to go to work.

If only I could find a way to drink beer and grill all day, and get paid for it…

bluzdude said...

I was hoping you lot would find that…

What, you think I’d let you take my job?? I’m all about the tasting and pinching!

Miley said...

I've found the bitch wine before... It's in a lot of places. Search for it on google - you'll find it!

Gina said...

I'm just getting caught up on my blog-reading - I was WAY behind. I checked out your sister's website - she does beautiful work.

Also - Big Jesus scares me. I wonder if that's the same Jesus that keeps emailing me all concerned over my ability to ejaculate.

I had a male friend buy me Bitch Wine for my birthday, so I returned the favor and got him Fat Bastard wine.

bluzdude said...

She'll be tickled you said so!

Giant Jesus should scare everyone... into getting the hell away from that place. (And holding onto their wallet.)

Oh, that would be the perfect gift set, wouldn't it? Bitch and Fat Bastard Wine... "Get in mah Belly!"

Annie said...

Love me some BITCH wine. The hubs makes it a special point to buy me "Mad Housewife" now and then. It's actually an excellent wine.

bluzdude said...

We always said Scotty was a prince!