Oct 252016

It wasn’t long after our esteemed president was reelected that I began imagining the candidate for whom the country would be ready in 2016. The person wouldn’t have to be overtly Reaganesque, necessarily, but the person would need his unapologetic love of country. We were starved for that in 1979, and we’re starved for it now.

It wasn’t Donald Trump I was imagining.

Now, don’t click away. I’m not going off on him. I’ve gotten over the worst of the sting, actually. I’ve made as much peace as I’m going to make with the fact that in Trump, the Republicans may have nominated the only remotely plausible candidate that someone as disliked as Hillary Clinton could beat.

(And when I say “made…peace,” I also mean with that inevitability. She’s going to be president.)

There are many—and I mean many—people whose thoughts, views, and opinions I have respected for a long time (in some cases, decades) who are supporting Donald Trump for president. Many of those even do so enthusiastically, not reluctantly. They defend their positions. I understand their defenses. I don’t agree with them, but I understand them.

I hope that most of them understand that choosing not to support Donald Trump is also a defensible position. I hope this for our continued cordiality and affection, but also because we’ll all be sitting in the same gymnasium the morning of November 9. We’ll have questions.

As it turns out, Peter Wehner has asked some very good ones.

My Trump friends, please don’t take your anger out on me that morning. My state is oxblood red. My vote for Johnson will not have made any difference, other than that I’ll be able to point to my discontent on a television or computer screen.

I suspect, though, that how you and I came to differ so significantly is at the heart of the questions we should ask going forward. Let’s remember we were, and are, allies who disagreed—not enemies.

 Posted by at 4:55 pm
Oct 232016

This is part of an ongoing series reviewing hot wings in the Huntsville area. Visit #HsvHotWings for a comprehensive linked list.

village1Village Pizza, directly across East Limestone Road from East Limestone High School, is a long-time go-to for us for their excellent pizza. While over there for a game recently, I noticed wings on their sign.

Wings are listed in various sizes, with flavors including teriyaki, barbecue, and honey mustard, and the heat levels being their own flavors. The hottest appears to be Extra Hot on the online menu, but when my wife ordered them she was told Triple Extra Hot was the hottest. So, she brought home 12 Triple Extra Hot for $9.49 plus tax. I got six drums and six flats.


Quality: 5/10. These are priced competitively, the meat was of reasonable quality, and they were warm. However, there was considerable size disparity, with some pieces being more than twice the size of others. The meat was mushy, with little crispness.

Flavor: 7/10. Tasty munchies; well within tolerance for bar/football game/party food. There’s a basic buffalo wing scaffolding, a little bit on the salty side, with black pepper and garlic prominent.

Heat: 5/10. Village Pizza’s Triple Extra Hot wings hit like one of the high-revving Japanese cars of the ’80s: you get up to speed quickly, and it’s fun, but you’re not really going all that fast at the red line. Perhaps a bit of excitement here for a civilian palate, but a chilehead will be fine with a periodic sip of tea.

Village Pizza will continue to be one of our favorite locally-owned stops, as their pizza is among the best in the area. However, there is a little room for Village to raise its hot wings game.

 Posted by at 1:40 pm
Oct 212016

bigmac1Last week there was a little hullabaloo about millennials and the McDonald’s Big Mac. It seems only one in five millennials has ever tasted one. To children of the ’70s and ’80s, that seems rather incredible.

The closest I get to eating a fast food burger anymore is Five Guys. I’ve pretty much stopped eating any burger that can be passed through a drive-through window. Consequently I have no idea when I last ate a Big Mac. It may have been ten years. It may have been longer.

Now I do remember a time in my life—high school, college—when I ate quite a few of them. McDonald’s periodically ran a 2 for $2 Big Mac special. When they did, some Friday and Saturday nights my friend Byron and I ate three Big Macs apiece.

Yes. We did. With fries, and sometimes even apple pie a la mode. And then we’d go home and go to bed less than two hours later. That would put me in the hospital today.

So what do we have here? That’s not difficult to answer, is it? As embedded in our souls by decades of relentless advertising: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. In its heyday it really wasn’t like any other burger, and there was that iconic third piece of bread in there. Today there are multiple similar offerings, but with the Big Mac as the obvious template.

Despite its name and reputation, it is not a particularly large burger, especially by today’s standards. The entire burger checks in at a little less than half a pound, and contains 550 calories. Demonstrably, I liked the Big Mac once upon a time. What do I think in 2016?


(Click either burger photo for a closer look.)

The presentation was robust, if not very neat. It stood up nicely instead of being squashed. It was warm, and I could believe it was prepared within the last ten minutes.

The taste is largely as I remember. The beef patties are unremarkable, but they taste good. The pickles and the sauce give it a tang I like. Sure does seem like there’s a lot of lettuce and bread, though—and the little lettuce shreds get everywhere. I also wish the Big Mac used the real onions like on the Quarter Pounder instead of the little dehydrated pellets like on the regular hamburger.


This review isn’t about the fries, but they were good. (Not as good as when they had beef fat in them, but they were fine.) I’m pleased the Big Mac still comes in a clamshell box so you can put your fries in the other side.

The Big Mac is a challenge to rate, because as I said, I don’t eat fast food burgers anymore. Nevertheless, that’s the fair arena in which to judge it, is it not? That I don’t eat a lot of fast food doesn’t mean there aren’t millions who do, and I certainly remember enough about when I did regularly as well to craft reasonable expectations. I’ll give it two ratings.

Given a typical town’s Fast Food Alley, if I were set on getting a burger, I don’t think this is what I would do with my $4.19. I think I would choose a Whopper or a Wendy’s burger over a Big Mac. Nevertheless, I think the Big Mac still gets points for originality. There are knockoffs out there now, but they all hew pretty closely to the progenitor. If you like the taste of a Big Mac, then get a Big Mac.

Oh, and you millennials? As you well know, none of this stuff is good for you. Furthermore, there are far more gustatorily satisfying ways to consume 550 calories and a similar amount of fat and sodium. If you’ve never tasted a Big Mac and have no particular drive to, my advice is to remain ignorant.

6/10 as a fast food item
2/10 as a life experience

 Posted by at 2:26 pm
Oct 202016
  • It rained for about 30 minutes in Research Park at lunchtime. It was kind of like a spring rain that stirs up a bunch of pollen, but this time it was just…dust.
  • In related news, actual autumn looks likely to arrive tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. I had three $300+ electric bills this year.
  • Paul and I were chuckling earlier this week remembering what disk space used to cost. I remember from when I worked at Madison Books & Computers that it used to be a $310 upgrade to get an 80-megabyte hard drive in your desktop computer instead of a 40-megabyte hard drive. That’s $7.75/MB. Today I can have a quieter, faster, more reliable terabyte drive shipped to my door for $50. That’s $0.00005/MB, or $1 for 20,000 MB. (Of course, as amazing as this is, it’s even more so when you think about the changing value of a dollar.)
  • I keep trying to like mole sauce and I keep not. I think I’m just going to say I don’t like mole sauce from now on. It’s an unfortunate deficit in my chile pepper affection, but a deficit nonetheless. I’d just much rather have salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, or hot sauce, depending on the application.
  • AYSO tournament this weekend. Looks like the mobile TV rig will be coming out.
  • Lea and the boys get pumpkins every year at Isom’s, and I hear about the apple slushies. I’ve never had one, but I like that I’ve never had one, because it’s a cool little tradition the boys have with their mom. That’s the way it should be.
  • Monday was this blog’s tenth anniversary. This is the 3,078th post. Want to read the very first one? Wow. Thank you for reading!
 Posted by at 4:54 pm is using WP-Gravatar