Friday, January 28, 2011

The Great American Tragedy, the return of Sun Drop and the whirling satellite

So I’m on Facebook—aka “The Greatest Time Suck Known to Man”—the other day and my old high school chum and yearbook boss Jenni is talking about what I believe may be the ultimate comfort food recipe: bacon-wrapped meatloaf.  (I know; the first thing I thought of when I read this was a mental picture of my late feuding partner, Sam Johnson, out in the Great Beyond yelling: “Day-amm, Gina!  Hook a brother up with a slice of that!”)  I asked her if she could score me a copy of this recipe because I had planned to give it to my mom as a joke.

I probably need to explain this a bit further.  My mother, bless her heart (buh-less her little heart!), is an amazing cook—but there’s one culinary preparation that’s always been just beyond her reach…and that’s meatloaf.  She just can’t manage to prepare a meatloaf that will escape definition by the EPA as hazardous waste.  Positively true story: my sister Kat once fed some of Mom’s loaf to the family cat and the puddy tat lay down and didn’t move a muscle for a half-hour…I know this to be so, because I timed it, much to my mother’s non-amusement.  For many years she was so defensive about her meatloaf that when Kat, sister Debbie or I would act up she would threaten to whip one into shape…and don’t think this didn’t make us toe the line.

My dad, bless his heart (buh-less his little heart!), even thought Mom’s loaf was toxic—and this from a man who would regale me for years (well, it seemed like years) about how times were tough during the Depression and they ate everything on their collective plates without complaint because that’s all they had.  (I swear I’m not exaggerating; he ate asparagus for nearly twenty years with nary a peep before finally admitting he didn’t care that much for it.  “And I used to give him the best parts!” Mom wailed after this confession.)  Finally, after decades of being teased about what we generally referred to as “the Great American Tragedy” Mom finally admitted that it looked as if she might never master the art of preparing meatloaf.

Now…I should further point out that just because I’ve been scarred by my Mom’s tortured rendition of meatloaf this does not mean I don’t like the dish; in fact, when I’m at Publix and the Boston Market frozen dinners are on sale I like to buy the meatloaf meals because…well, the Market does a mighty scrumptious loaf, let’s be honest.  I offer as Exhibit A this transcribed conversation between my BFF the Duchess and myself:

DUCHESS: I thought you didn’t like meatloaf.
ME: I do…I just don’t like my Mom’s meatloaf.

Jen later explained to me that this bacon-wrapped meatloaf is a bit labor-intensive (but tasty as all get out) so I don’t expect to see it on a dinner table near me anytime soon.  Still, Mom did say she was in the mood to work her meatloaf spell on Kat for some sort of familial slight (the details escape me at the present) so maybe we’ll see the debut of this repast in the near future as part as TDOY’s “Half-Assed Gourmand” series.  (By the way—I may have to change the name of that because the Duchess has informed me that I am not a gourmand but a “foodie.”  Gourmands, she contends, do things like post photos of their meals on Facebook…and I’m here to tell you that I don’t foresee doing that sort of thing anytime soon.)

While I’m thinking about Publix, I should also pass along the news that Sun Drop—the tasty Tennessee-based soda that I mentioned in this 2009 post and heartily endorsed by my Facebook compadre Stony—has made a triumphant return to our local grocery environs.  I was at Publix a week or two ago and while sauntering down the aisle where they keep the soda pop I noticed a 12-pack of the golden nectar parked near the other Cadbury-based beverages (Orange Crush, Canada Dry ginger ale, A&W, etc.).  Needless to say, I was stunned by this because it had been nearly two years ago that I had a revealing conversation with a Publix employee as to why they no longer carried Sun Drop, as witnessed in this transcript (which I will submit as Exhibit B):

ME: Hey, how come you guys stopped carrying Sun Drop?
EMPLOYEE: I dunno.

Okay, I would be doing the Publix people a great disservice if I didn’t fully disclose that the employee was a little bit more loquacious on the subject of the disappearance of the Drop—he explained to me that he himself had no control over this but that it was solely up to the carefree whims of the soda distributors.  Well, whatever the tiff between Distributor and Sun Drop was, they apparently sought counseling because Wednesday I was in the store and saw a huge—huge, I tell ya—display of Sun Drop in 2-liter bottles and—get this—they had both high-test and diet.

Here’s where things get tricky.  In a plastic place holder attached to the display, there was a coupon that allowed its bearer to receive one free 2-liter of Sun Drop with each 2-liter purchased.  I recognized it right off as one of those coupons from the Athens Banner-Herald—which is our local newspaper and which I would not buy a copy even if a gun were placed at my temple because it is published by the same scumbags that used to crank out the Savannah News-Press, a loathsome right-wing rag I wouldn’t deign to wrap fish in or line a birdcage.  (And Phil Schweier used to work for those wankers, so he can back me up on this…unless they’ve threatened his family or something.)  But I really wanted to get in on this BOGO deal…and suddenly it dawned on me.  Why couldn’t I just take the coupon in the display?

I thought to myself at the time “This is something the Duchess would do”—indeed, her family crest depicts a hand holding a pair of scissors slicing through red tape—but dammit, I was not going to let anyone get between me and my Sun Drop.  So I grabbed 2 2-liters of the diet Drop and placed them gingerly in my cart and then—taking a quick look around to make sure no one was watching and that there were no security cameras present—deftly removed the coupon from its place holder and nonchalantly dropped it into my pocket.  (“If I dood it—I dets a whippin’…I dood it!”)

Later that day I sampled my ill-gotten soda treasure and to my delight—the diet Sun Drop is every bit as flavorful as the regular.  A rarity among soda pops, to be sure: the Sprite Zero is as good (if not better) than regular Sprite, diet root beer (whatever brand) is practically indistinguishable from the real stuff (my sister-in-law disputes this, by the way; one of these days I’m going to have to do one of those taste tests like they did in that All in the Family episode) and so on.  (Stony says he likes the Diet Dr. Pepper as much as the non-diet but I can’t personally verify this because I won’t drink either beverage.  Ever.  Even if the Banner-Herald people came around with their newspaper pistols again.  I must, therefore, take him at his word.)

Ed Copeland e-mailed me the other night to remind me of a piece that’s due Monday for his blog—a blog, I might also point out, that is one of Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert’s favorite reads according to this WSJ Online article.  Mr. C has earned the right to be proud of this to the point where I wouldn’t mind if he came around with pictures of the blog (“Let me show some snaps I took of Roger and the baby”) and it’s kind of interesting to think that the esteemed Mr. E might be glancing at something I wrote one Sunday over breakfast (“This man’s insights into Mister Ed are positively astounding!”).  (Well, I can dream, can’t I?)

In other “I-am-so-awesome” news my BBFF© Stacia at She Blogged by Night writes about just how tremendous I can be but I don’t want you to read her post because of that—stone me, I think her insights into the British comedy phenom known as Tony Hancock are worth a gander (she also talks about the first X-Files movie, a film I paid good money to see when I walked amongst nerds and because I gave up on the show after the first two episodes—it all seemed like a rehash of The Invaders to me; perhaps I shall return to it one day—didn’t understand…and as such, enjoy).  Her coining of “BBFF” made me laugh because it coaxed me into the WABAC machine and allowed me to visit my childhood days about the BBF fast food chain (Burger Boy Food-O-Rama, later known as Borden Burger).  “Let’s all go to the BBF/At the whirling satellite…”  And that is the famous BBF satellite to your left, courtesy of this webpage entitled Parkersburg Nostalgic Gazette and snapped by the late Harry Barnett (“Last night I dreamt I went to Parkersburg again…” and stopped by Jimmie Colombo’s for a sausage pizza *sigh*).

Before I skedaddle, I have a couple of TV-on-DVD tidbits to report—but before that, I wanted to backtrack on those Our Gang-Little Rascals DVDs I chatted about in this previous post.  I said that I didn’t really have a dog in that fight because I had already invested in the previous (misnomer alert) Genius release—but according to Facebook pal Richard W. Bann these standalone releases will contain re-done video masters courtesy of some 35mm fine grains he gave RHI Entertainment (the current rights holder of the Roach Our Gang shorts).  So even though it kind of sucks that I have to re-purchase these titles I’m willing to bite a financial bullet if it means getting better prints…I guess I’ll just have to put in an application at that people-licking company that employs Stacia fulltime.  Also—a second volume of ten shorts will be made available on April 12th; has a pre-order listing for that set (priced at $7.93—“a mere bag of shells”). reports that Timeless Media Group will be releasing the first season of the classic TV oater Laramie on March 15th; the company has already brought the third and fourth seasons (the ones in color) to disc and since many were wondering if the other years would ever see DVD action this is pretty good news to fans.  It’s good news to me, too, since now I don’t have to buy that NBC Western TV Legends set which I had planned to purchase in order to get Laramie’s inaugural episode.  (I’m a little bit behind in collecting this series, though; I only have Season 3 in the dusty TDOY archives so far.)

And Outlaw, the short-lived (very short-lived—it was on for, like, twelve minutes and then NBC gave it the axe) legal drama starring L.A. Law/NYPD Blue’s Jimmy Smits that I wrote rather glowingly about on this hyar blog is also getting a DVD release—in fact, it’s already appeared at with very little fanfare as of January 24th.  The bad news is that it’s one of CreateSpace MOD releases…and at $19.98 for a show that only lasted eight episodes, that’s a little above my pay grade.  (Wish I had thought to record those episodes On Demand when I had the chance.)

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VP81955 said...

Your BBF and Parkersburg is my Carrol's and Syracuse. To the joys of 15-cent burgers from local chains...

Edward Copeland said...

I came to The X-Files late and caught up and it became one of my favorites (though it peaked in season 6 and after Duchovny left and Anderson only appeared now and then there was no point so I didn't even watch the last couple of seasons until the final season). Unlike most of the show's fans who got all hung up on the conspiracy/mythology episodes, which could be very good, I always thought it was at its best when it aimed to be funny. That's why season six, which took place after the theatrical film, was my favorite, it had some of the funniest stand-alone episodes and really had the best wrapup of the conspiracy. They should have stopped then.

Edward Copeland said...

Final season should have said final episode.

Stacia said...

Congrats on your mention in the WSJ, Edward!

I'm only a few episodes into season 6 of TXF, and we just watched the one with Bruce Campbell, and it was really good. I liked "Dreamland" as well, and "Drive" with Brian Cranston was amazing but most people seem to dislike it. There were a couple of rough episodes at the beginning of the season, but it seems to be getting better now.

Ivan, my meatloaf is really, really good. I don't say that to brag, I say that as a person who spent over a decade making bad meatloaf until I finally figured out a way to make GOOD meatloaf. Just drop me a note if you want me to give you the recipe to pass on to your mom. Warning: Recipe contains no bacon.

That asparagus story is the saddest thing I've heard in days.