As the walk continued, I saw a guy lining lumber up in his backyard for what looked like a deck. Another driveway had a guy working on a car. A few blocks down, a couple were planting shrubs. That's America, isn't it? Great stuff. Oh, I laughed maniacally at those suckers for working on their day off, don't get me wrong, but still.
You know what else is America? Getting in your car and driving hundreds of miles somewhere, just because you freaking can. A road trip, and an impromptu one at that! You bet.
Friday night, I got a text from Continental Frutiger trying to assemble a group to go to the bars. Hmm...sounded good, except I was at a park in a small suburban community in Iowa. So many things were bizarre here: the 1940's Big Band playing Karl King and Rogers & Hammerstein tunes in a gazebo, bringing your own beer and drinking it in public in full view of the Po-Pos, the carnival rides and delicious county fair foods. It was like being in Anytown, USA. Of course, there was fireworks.
But there was also funnel cakes, pork chops on sticks, fried cheese, and mini donuts. Oh, you better believe there was mini donuts.
Sitting on a blanket, eating funnel cakes, pork chops on sticks, mini donuts and fried cheese while drinking Busch Light out of a cooler while a Big Band plays the theme from Monty Python and the Flying Circus. I hope your Fourth was this dominant. But I have a hunch that it wasn't.
Saturday, I was at a potluck where there were about 75 things to consume. There was more Busch Light, and even some Bud Light, but there was also Drunken Watermelon -- chopped watermelon soaked in Vodka. There was also my contribution: spicy chicken wing dip. Its a Max Univers Original, and it came about quite by accident. A few months ago, I was making cheese dip and realized I didn't have any hamburger, but I did have a bag of boneless spicy chicken strips. Let me tell you brother, this is a whole new kind of delicious. The wing sauce marinades with the cheese and the salsa to create flavors you have only dreamed about previously, and it is good.
I've made it previously, and it always garners great reviews. But on this night, I knocked it out the damn park. You're welcome.
Incidentally, putting chicken wing dip on top of a grilled hot dog is like a chili dog, only better. I make that comparison because I suppose such a concoction is in the chili dog food family, but if that's the case, a chili dog would be the weird uncle no one talks about, and the chicken wing dip would be the uber-cool family member who buys everyone new cars. Or something.
Also, I can now safely say that Miller Chill and Bud Light Lime (or BL Lime, as their marketing geniuses call it) are nothing but latter-day wine coolers. Seriously, guys, if you drink these beers and fool yourself into thinking its acceptable because they're sold as "beer", you are a fool. These are not beers, they're a lie.
Somewhere in this evening, my phone buzzed with an email from Continental wanting to organize at the bars, or "Getting the Band Back Together" as he calls it. Dick Herculanum was the first to decline, as he was out of town. Cliff Glypha responded too, but I didn't read his response because I figured I could guess 90% of the content with 85% accuracy. I would also have to decline, so I reluctantly emailed them back and told him:
My apologies, I got tired of waiting for full reunion since its been so long without one, so I accepted a lucrative offer from a promoter to appear as "Boa Kai" at a festival in Iowa this holiday weekend. I'm pathetic like Dennis DeYoung now.
MAX UNIVERS SINGS THE SONGS OF COBRA KAI. Then again, its 9pm and I'm
on beer #12 for the day. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me
because I'm replying from my phone in my dressing room. You bet.
So I'm like Dennis DeYoung, who tours as himself singing the songs of Styx while the rest of the band tours as simply Styx. There are worse things.
Continental responded right away by saying, "All of you can suck it when I sell a million copies of my new hit album: Continental Frutiger Plays the Lead Bass Parts of Cobra Kai on a Xylophone, Volume One: The Early Years."
Ouch. I responded to that, but my post-12 beer typing skills are not real great, so I will neglect to share that response with you now. Sorry.
Sunday morning, I got up and drove to Minneapolis for the day. Sure its a long drive, but the good thing is that there's nobody on the interstates anymore because of gas prices. Seriously, there were stretches of I-35 that were like ghost towns. This is great because you can pretty much drive as fast as you want to, because there's no one around.
I won't divulge how fast I went for obvious reasons, but suffice it to say that in my car I normally get 41 MPG on the highway with one passenger. On Sunday I got 35. You do the math.
The Twins pulled out a come-from-behind victory in the late innings, and they're now 18-3 in the last three weeks. This would be great if the bastard White Sox would lose once in a while. As it is its merely "pretty good", because the Twins remain stuck in second place.
Anyway, the seven-plus hour drive back to Omaha was much better after a win. Incidentally, in The Colorado I had to stop for gas halfway between Minny and Omaha. In the Civic, I can make the entire drive on one tank of gas with a gallon to spare.