Archive for January, 2010

Another outpost of the fried chicken world

January 27, 2010

Out on business recently, I stopped by the semi-world famous Bon Ton Mini Mart on the outskirts of Henderson, Kentucky, to sample their fried chicken. The good folks at had talked the place up, and circumstance placed me in Henderson. So I took advantage.

George Markham, the proprietor, greeted me. I told him I’d traveled far for his prized chicken. He told me it would take 20-25 minutes to cook. I assured him that was fine, that I knew that good chicken took a little while. The Bon Ton Mini Mart is not a mini mart, and I have no idea what Bon Ton is. It’s basically just a mom and pop restaurant, with excellent kitschy decoration. Mad props to curtains with chickens and frying pans on them.

The chicken was… wow, REALLY, REALLY good. It is perfectly fried. Not too greasy, wonderfully crunchy, flavorful, moist, and brilliant. My love of Prince’s Hot Chicken is well known within anybody who bothers to read this blog. This stuff is just as good. Different, as in not likely to set your mouth ablaze or drown you in grease, but just as good.

George came back to check on me. I heard him disappointedly say, “I haven’t seen him licking his fingers.” I assured his it was REALLY good chicken. Excellent banana pudding too. I gave my compliments to Donna King, the “chicken lady” who whips it all up, and told George I had two questions: 1) When I could make it back and 2) Whether I’d get a half chicken or whole chicken the next time.

Apparently, BTMM is closing in June. So go there. You won’t regret it. And if you can’t go there, here’s the recipe. I know jack squat about frying a chicken, and this looks hard, but if it tastes half as good as theirs does, do it sometime. And save me a piece.


It Hurts Me Too

January 27, 2010


I had never heard of it before yesterday. While I could guess at what it was thanks to the linguistic skills that a college degree should confer, the word was a new one. But in Boston, a pretty fifteen year old girl named Phoebe Prince apparently committed suicide due to cyberbullying.

The more I read yesterday, the more I learned. I read of an 11 year old boy who killed himself because he was taunted for being allegedly gay. I read of a 9 year old who hanged himself at school. I am just sick at this situation. It is a depressing thing to live in a world in which children, sweet, innocent children are driven to suicide by things on their computers.

Like Charlie Starkweather in Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska”, I end up being unable to account for the evil in our times, aside from a general meanness in this world.

And I remember when I was young.

I was bullied sometimes. One boy was so persistent that eventually my parents wormed it out of me, called the school, and involved them. Much to my own amazement, once the bully was confronted, he actually behaved himself from then on. That certainly seemed unlikely then and now. So I guess I was lucky. There were others, but never with that same scary intensity.

I also bullied sometimes. There are few things that I have done in my life that I would genuinely change, and that I really and truly regret. Bullying is one of them. I wish I could apologize to every person I ever taunted, persecuted or made uncomfortable.
When you’re 12 or 13 years old, calling each other names and insulting each other is just what boys do. Except when it isn’t. And those lines are often imperceptible to the persons doing the hurting. Until it’s too late, like it is for Phoebe Prince.

As a parent, there’s no easy way to say that this stuff scares the crap out of me. It scares me because I want to physically dismember anybody who says hurtful things about that little angel in my household. And it scares me because I don’t want her to be a tyrant to her own peers and contemporaries. Like I probably did a time or two.

And the baby tomato says…

January 27, 2010

catch up.

By popular demand (OK, the request of David Vance, and Chad Webb mentioning it to me when I saw him in Subway), there shall be more blogging.

I have read some more books. So far in 2009…

1. Magic in the Night by Rob Kirkpatrick. As mentioned before, some good Springsteen bio-criticism. Worth reading, and not just because he read my blog.

2. The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons. As mentioned before, one of the funniest books I have ever read. This book actually made me want to watch NBA basketball, which nothing else, up to and including John Wall, can do.

Two more are approaching being finished, and I will talk about them. I thought I read another book, and if I can remember what it was, I’ll tell you if it was any good.

Anyway, other odds and ends I want to talk about shall follow…

Three more that snuck into 2009

January 4, 2010

42. A big book list of 1001 things about the Bible
43. A book about the origins of things from Mental Floss
44. Bounce Back by John Calipari

So I was six short of 50. Except that I was working on three books at the end of 2009. I don’t know; maybe I read 46.1 books. But I didn’t count three that Julie read to me in the car on long trips. Eh, I don’t know for sure, but I didn’t get to 50 new books in 2009. I was close, but as I had predicted, the key would be getting ahead before my daughter announced her arrival. I didn’t, and so, no dice on the goal.

These books were books. THey had pages and said things. I liked Cal’s book– it was a much better self-help/motivation/life skills book than I would have suspected. Plus, he signed it to me, which is good.

I have finished Rob Kirkpatrick’s “Magic in the Night”, which is one of the better Springsteen related books I’ve yet read. Kirkpatrick is about 97% less full of crap than most music critics, so kudos to him.

I am currently reading Bill Simmons’s “The Book of Basketball”. which has caused me major abdominal pain from laughter. It should tell you something about my lack of sleep and general level of maturity that I absolutely cracked up at a list of players from the 2007 Cavaliers that included Turdo Sandowich.

So there, that’s over with, and I can get back to something or other else. I assure you that I was just as tired of writing about the books as you were of reading about them… if there’s anybody still left reading, that is.