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In the Monday episode of the podcast, I told you guys about a situation I found myself in with Amazon. You can listen to it here. I’ll briefly recap it now, but you’ll get loads more detail in the show… ’cause I went on and on about it.

Recap: I ordered a Kindle Fire tablet for Toney as a Mother’s Day gift. It’s always $150, but they were having a sale and offering it for $120. The “guaranteed” two-day delivery failed and it arrived a day late, on Friday. I was at work, and when Toney got around to cracking open the box, there was nothing but packing material inside. No tablet… no packing slip… What the?!

She passed on the good news, and I immediately called Amazon. I assumed they’d take care of it without any problem because I’m always hearing about their impeccable customer service. Thankfully I’ve never needed to use it, which is kind of amazing when you think about how long I’ve been doing business with the company. In any case, I was thrown into a baffling quagmire of uncommon accents, low-talking, and people “with fever.”

They needed to do a three-day investigation I was told, to find out what really happened. That kinda ticked me off… She was hitting that really part pretty hard as if what I was telling her was questionable. “I’ll tell you what really happened,” I answered, “Somebody stole it! Either an employee of UPS or someone in an Amazon DC. That’s what really happened!” Grrr…

Here are a couple of pictures of the box I took. As you can see, the Amazon tape on the bottom had been slit open and somebody re-taped it. Also, there’s a sticker on the top that seems to have REP written on it. I don’t know what that means.


But she insisted that an investigation must happen, and she’d personally get back to me on May 14. She did not. I never heard from them. So I called and was thrown straight into the same quagmire. It sounded like millions of people were talking in the background and the person on the line with me had a thick accent that I’d never heard before.

I told her I was promised a call-back and didn’t get one. I’m not sure if she apologized because I couldn’t make out 75% of the words she was speaking. But we quickly got down to business and she said they were very pleased to offer me a full refund. I told her I’d prefer a replacement, but she said that was not possible. So, I asked if I’d be able to re-buy the tablet at the sale price, and she said “no.” That was literally her answer, “no.” Why not?? We do not price-match, she said. “It’s your own price!” I shouted. “From a few days ago!” “No,” she repeated.

I said I appreciate the refund, but I’m not very happy with them refusing to honor the sale price. She got a little exasperated and said something along the lines of “I don’t know why you’re unhappy because as far as we’re concerned the package left our facility and was delivered to your house.” Which ticked me off again. “Yes, the package! Literally the package, with nothing inside!!” I answered. She just sighed and said nothing.

And that’s where we stand. The refund was issued, and the tablet now costs $30 more than the day I ordered it. I won’t re-buy it, because fuck that. But I read some stuff online and found out they don’t always offer a refund in that scenario. So, I don’t know if I should be satisfied or somewhat annoyed. I’m leaning toward the latter. What are your thoughts?

Also, have you ever had anything like this happen to you? How did it work out for you? Any experience with Amazon customer service at all? Are you familiar with the quagmire? What country is that call center located in? It sounded like the backward-talking in Twin Peaks.

And I must again emphasize… I’ve been doing business with Amazon since the late 1990s and hadn’t had to call customer service about anything before. This is, as far as I can remember, the only problem I’ve ever had with them. And it probably wasn’t even their fault. Some UPS employee probably did the plundering, right? They should definitely investigate, starting with the United Parcel Service. What can Brown do for you? Plunder your shit!

Please let me know your thoughts on this important matter.

Also, if you’d like to be a part of the Monday podcast (maybe), please leave a message on our exciting new hotline. Ask a question, leave a comment, make a suggestion. Whatever floats yer boat. Here’s the info:

And speaking o’ the podcast, I’m going to upload the Thursday show for patrons shortly. I know it’s Friday, give me a break… It’ll be available at Patreon within the hour. Thanks for the support, and thanks for listening!

I hope you guys have yourselves a fine weekend.

We have a 6-pack of this stuff chilling in the fridge. It was purchased in Cleveland, and is possibly one of the best beers ever! That was my feeling after the first 6-pack, anyway. It’s unavailable in Pennsylvania, it appears… Good stuff.

I’ll be back on Monday.

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I’m not off today, unfortunately. And I wasn’t off on Friday, either. But Toney and I had this conversation over the weekend and agreed for once. Having a Monday off is better than having a Friday off. What do you think?

My reasoning: Fridays are the best day of the workweek because people are powering-down and going into weekend mode. There’s hope and the looming prospect of rest and relaxation, and adventures that generally don’t come to fruition. But it’s like opening day of the baseball season, anything is possible.

And Mondays are the worst day of the workweek, right? I mean, can that even be argued? So, it’s only logical to avoid the shittiest of all days and work on the least painful. And I can’t put my finger on why, but a Monday off feels like a true three-day weekend. But a Friday off doesn’t have the same emotional impact.

What are your thoughts on this important matter? Please tell us about it in the comments.

Of course, the population now works 24 hours a day on bizarre schedules. Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, is quite rare, I think. Just go to a Walmart or a grocery store on a Tuesday at 2:30 or whatever, and you’ll see evidence of it. I’m always shouting, “Doesn’t anybody work anymore?!” Of course, the answer is yes, they just work wacked-out hours.

And that’s the second part o’ the question: what schedule do you work? I’m Monday through Friday, but the official hours are from 2 pm to 10:30 pm. So, there you go. What’s your current schedule?

Most difficult schedule I’ve ever worked? Overnights with no set quitting time. That was at a Food Lion store in Greensboro. We started at 11 pm (I think) and finished when the work was done. That’s no good… Often we’d work 12 hours. It was exhausting. I was tired all the time, without exception. I dreamt about being tired while I slept. It sucked a big bent one.

So, I guess we now have three questions:

  • Which is a better day off? Monday or Friday?
  • What’s your current work schedule?
  • What was the worst schedule you ever worked and why?

My Kansas City trip was canceled at the last minute. Do I look upset? I’m not upset. It would’ve been fine and might’ve generated some stories, but I’d prefer not to do it, thank you very much. We are, however, going to Cleveland next week. It’ll be a quickie guerilla strike, in and out. Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and some other odds and ends… Should be fun, I hope. Oddly enough, Toney and I will be returning to Ohio in August to see a Reds game, and also attend a big tennis tournament out that way. We’re staying at a hotel that is shockingly expensive (to my cheap bastard ass, anyway), next to the baseball stadium. I mean… what the hell? What is this, Manhattan? We’ll also be visiting the Reds Hall of Fame, and plan to take the stadium tour, where they lead you into the bowels of the place, including the press box! I’m excited. I’ve never done anything like that before.

But that’s all the confirmed travel on the books for us. We need to fit another guerilla strike in there somewhere. May to August is too big of a dry spell. Ya know? Maybe we’ll hop on one those cheap Allegiant flights out of Allentown, and go back to Myrtle Beach for three days or something? We kinda blew it the first time, and need some Myrtle Beach redemption. We’ll see.

I posted a new podcast episode at midnight. I hesitate to make any grand proclamations, but I think it might be one of the best episodes yet. Funniest, anyway. That’s just my opinion. If you’d like to listen to it, click here. Or just snag it wherever you get podcasts. Here’s the summary:

In this one, I close out the category and share some more classic stories from my vast work history. You’ll hear about a co-worker who always looked like a million bucks until she got to the parking lot, the memorable character who objected to a new mandatory necktie rule, the guy who thought his car was stolen and was later caught “relaxing” at work, and an extremely memorable cookout with one of my old bosses. I also react to the first two messages left on our exciting new podcast hotline. It’s a fun episode. Thanks for listening!

Once again, I’d like to remind you guys about the new podcast hotline. You can call it and leave a message (a question, a comment, or a suggestion) and I might include it in a future episode, along with my reaction to it. The first two messages are in Episode 9, linked above. It’s fun! Call it today, if you’re so inclined.

And speaking of calls, I’m calling it a day here. I’m starving. Good Lord. Did I even have dinner last night…? Yes, a giant plate of spaghetti and two bowls of salad. WTF? It takes a lot of fuel to keep all this going, I guess. I hope you guys have a great week. I’ll be back on Thursday or Friday.

See ya then!

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I mean… if somebody calls and just shouts racial slurs for three minutes I won’t be using it. But you know what I mean. If it’s reasonable and engaging, I’ll probably include it in a future show. It’s set up for voicemail, no human will ever answer the number. You’ll hear my pre-recorded raspy hillbilly voice, a beep, and then it’s your turn to go to town with it. A few things I’m looking for:

  • Questions for the host.
  • General comments about the show.
  • Suggestions for topics.

I’m hoping you guys can send the Surf Report podcast off on some “who could’ve predicted that shit?!” jags. It could be fun! Maybe. If you have something for the hotline, call it now! It’s a Google Voice thing, which I barely understand. But I’m reasonably sure I have it set up correctly. Call in today: 1-570-290-8151.

I’m going to Kansas City on Sunday. When they first started talking about this, it was going to be 11 or 12 days. Now it’s flying there on Sunday, working Mon/Tue/Wed, flying back on Thursday. That’s better. I don’t even know if I have 12 days worth of clothes. I might’ve been wearing my Magnolia Thunderpussy t-shirt by Day 10.

The thing that makes me slightly uneasy about this is… I don’t know what I’ll be doing out there. I’m not sure what the expectations are. It’ll be fine, but the unknowns never fail to make me a little anxious.

The good points: the $75 per day meal budget. It doesn’t include alcohol, so I’ll just have to go with various high-end meats. Ha! When I went to Rhode Island a couple of years ago, I never got anywhere near the $75 threshold. Breakfast and lunch were always covered, so I was only paying for dinner. And even with the high-end meats we never got close. I plan to do better this time.

Also, it’ll just be nice going somewhere I’ve never been. I’m all for exploring. I hope we’ll have some time to poke around a little. The schedule lists a daily stop time of 5 pm. If that’s true, it could be interesting. Maybe we’ll be able to get into some shenanigans. Regardless, I’ll keep detailed notes and tell you all about it when I return.

Almost immediately after we get back, Toney and I and the two boys are going to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. We’re just driving over there. I’ve been there before, but the other three have not. I think the younglings will like it, and Toney will tolerate the whole thing. It’ll be a quickie trip, something we’ve been wanting to do for several years. The boys are obsessed with music and I believe they’ll have fun. I’m just looking forward to the Toto room and the Little River Band alcove.

One thing I remember about that place which I found baffling: almost no Bob Dylan stuff, but SHITLOADS of Todd Rundgren paraphernalia. Seems weird to me. Hey, whatever. Todd released a good album or two amongst his thirty or so. And he’s a great producer, I hear.

Another thing that sticks out in my mind: drawings of football players by Jimi Hendrix from his high school days. I love stuff like that. Yeah… it’s cool (I guess) to see his guitars. But just stuff from his everyday normal life has a bigger impact. For me, anyway. The drawings aren’t very good (but not terrible), and look like something you’d see tacked to a wall in any high school art class. It humanizes the myth if you know what I mean.

I also remember some handwritten original lyrics by Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. Maybe “Left of the Dial?” I can’t remember the specific song but thought it was cool that they included it. A small amount of respect, anyway…

Have you been to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame? What sticks out in your mind? Tell us about it, won’t you?

Also, what’s the most memorable thing you’ve seen in a museum? Something that truly blew your mind? When I was a kid we went to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and they had a telephone receiver you could pick up and Babe Ruth was on the other end wishing you a great day, or somesuch. I thought that was incredibly cool. I’ve been back many times in more recent years, and that telephone is long gone. Why?? They do, however, have boxes that you can open and the faint smell of popcorn or hotdogs will waft out. Fairly bizarre.

Whatever you have on especially memorable museum displays… please tell us about it in the comments. I can also remember seeing bloody items from the Lincoln assassination when I was in sixth grade. That made an impact. What do you have on this one? Please use the comments.

It’s weird, ’cause I’ve seen all sorts of “important” works of art and historic items. But some unusual ones just stick out in my mind for some reason.

And speaking of the podcast, I released a new episode yesterday with some original rockin’ intro/outro music. Straight out of Argentina, baby! Check it out here. This is the summary:

In this one, I share some classic stories from my vast work history. A couple have never even been discussed at the website if you can believe it. You’ll hear about the shoplifter who attempted to escape by hanging off the side of an airbrushed van, a boss who probably should’ve been in movies, the guy who thought his phone was on mute during a conference call, a middle o’ the night visitor at the Toll Bridge, and a giant ball of dough on the heating duct. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

And I’m calling it a day, my friends.

Have a fantastic rest o’ the week.

And don’t forget about the hotline!

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To tell you the truth, fries are not my favorite part o’ the fast food meal. In fact, I could go without them and the enjoyment factor would not suffer much. Is that shocking, or controversial? A man of my physical stature speaking such blasphemy? It happens to be the truth. However, I have no shortage of experience. I mean, just because I COULD go without fries doesn’t mean I actually do. Let’s be serious… Consequently, I have some opinions and hope you do as well.

For the record, my favorite fries in the world are just the generic crinkle-cuts served up hot ‘n’ fresh at a diner, or someplace like that. Know what I’m talking about? There’s generally a sandwich in a plastic basket lined with paper, and a handful of delicious fries piled alongside. Man, that’s good stuff! But they have to be hot ‘n’ fresh. Those things can go south on you in a short span of time.

Fast food fries are difficult for me to judge because the hot ‘n’ fresh factor is not always there. In fact, it’s generally absent. Or, at least, they’re wildly inconsistent. So, for the sake of this discussion, I’ll just give you my quick thoughts on only the best versions of each.

McDonald’s This is everybody’s automatic favorite, and they’re certainly good. Very salty, almost to the point of going overboard. It feels like they used to be slightly better, but I feel that way about most things. Possibly everything. Huh… weird. It also feels like McDonald’s does a better job of hitting the hot ‘n’ fresh target than other places. Am I wrong about that? These are definitely solid. I prefer a girthier fry, but that’s a minor complaint.

Wendy’s Possibly my favorite, when done well. These are bigger than McDonald’s fries, have the skin-on, and are loaded with sea salt. However… these things are rarely hot ‘n’ fresh. So it’s a sad state of affairs. I know how good they could be, but so often fall short. Dave would not be happy. A missed opportunity a high percentage of  the time. Sad and frustrating, really.

Burger King I like these. They have the Wendy’s girth, and the McDonald’s overall vibe. I don’t think they’re generally considered to be a strong contender for the best fast food french fry, but they’re right up there, in my opinion. In fact, I believe I enjoy them more often than the technically superior Wendy’s fries, ’cause they’re more consistently prepared well. A strong effort!

Five Guys These are generally served in massive bulk, and they start out tasting good. Then the oil starts to get to us, and we end of tossing a lot of them into the trash. When it comes down to it, I don’t think I really like them all that much. Again… controversial. The burgers there are great, but the fries are never quite as satisfying as I think they’re going to be. Very oily. And I don’t really need seven pounds of them during each visit.

Long John Silver’s The worst. Somebody should do a stretch in prison for these flaccid, flavorless strips of root vegetable. I’m getting angry just thinking about it. Taken in moderation I enjoy their fish or Chicken Planks, and they offer up a solid cole slaw. But the fries, alongside those other semi-quality items, are an affront to all that is holy. Prison, I say!

In ‘n’ Out These are also shit, but not quite as bad as LJS. Mealy is a word that jumps immediately to mind. They cut them right there and use fresh ingrediants, etc. But they’re bad. What can I say? The burgers, again, are solid. But their fry game? Weak!

Arby’s I know there’s a rabid cult for Arby’s curly fries, but I am not a member of said cult. I don’t like all the spices and shit. Just give me a french fry, and compete on a level playing field. When you go for a novelty cut, AND cover everything in various overpowering spices… it’s a problem in my eyes. I know they have regular fries too, but those are so forgettable I can’t even remember what they’re like. And I’ve had them often.

Chick-fil-A Another novelty cut: the waffle fry. I like these better than the curly fries, but they’re not great, either. I don’t need my fries presented in a crosshatch pattern, thank you very much. However, I had some on our way back from Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago, and thought they were freaking amazing. So, I don’t know. All my life I’ve been agnostic on these things, but my most recent experience is making me wonder. Are they better than I realize? I doubt it.

What do you have on this subject? Am I way off on some of that? It’s certainly possible. In any case, please share your thoughts. Also, I probably left out some places. Help me complete the category! Use the comments section.

I need to get ready for work now. It’s late, as usual.

I hope all of you had a great Easter. Ours was pleasant. You can hear all about it in the new episode of the world famous West Virginia Surf Report podcast. Here’s your summary:

Our Easter wasn’t spectacular, but it was pleasant. And what’s wrong with that? In this one, I tell you all about it, as well as my general Easter history. I also discuss the importance of the holiday where we currently live, and my across-the-board lack of religious knowledge. And I reveal the things I believe people should judge more, and the things they should judge less. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

And here’s your link. It’s available here, there, and everywhere. Give it a listen!

Have a great week, my friends.

See you again on Thursday. Or Friday.

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I have a kind of love/hate relationship with flea markets. They’re generally loaded with crap I have no interest in, like socks. Why are there so many socks being sold at flea markets?? And handmade crafty stuff (ugh!). And garbage like sparkly cell phone cases and chargers that will likely burn your house to the fucking ground. Or weird crap like swords and Japanese throwing stars. And there are always people hawking “vintage” household items from 2005 or whatever. 2005 was a couple of weekends ago, as far as I know. Even stuff from the 1980s doesn’t interest me. At this point, it’s gotta be the ’70s or earlier. Anything newer than that just looks like somebody else’s trash to me. A plastic Spuds MacKenzie bank does not get my blood a-pumpin’. But maybe I’m the weird one?

However… there’s usually a stand or two amongst the boolshit that sells old advertising signs, election buttons, etc. And I’m all=in on that stuff. Or you walk into a place that feels like a full-blown museum, obviously curated by a person with elevated tastes. Know what I mean? You’re strolling along and it’s just faded stuffed animals probably saturated with Hep C and dusty oscillating fans from 1996, and suddenly there’s a booth filled with genuinely interesting items from the 1950s and earlier. And it’s all displayed with care and feels wildly out of place in this shithole.

So, there’s always hope in those kinds of places. Enough to make me occasionally roll the dice. But it almost always just leads to heartache and frantic hand-washing.

Antique stores are better, but I have no interest whatsoever in antique furniture or lamps or any of that stuff. I’m always just looking at the “smalls” as they call them on American Pickers. You know, signage and various doo-dads? But at least those places have a lower percentage of just straight-up trash. And almost no socks.

Toney hates all of it, ’cause she was raised by Sunshine in apartments packed to the gills with all manner of flea market-style items. So, she’s gone the opposite direction and adopted a minimalist approach. On the rare occasion she finds herself walking through a flea market I can see distress in her face. She genuinely dislikes the whole thing. So, I don’t find myself visiting too many flea markets or antique stores or yard sales. And it’s no hardship on me, believe me.

Therefore, I don’t have much to offer in response to the question above. One thing does jump immediately to mind, and it happened in the 1970s. When I was 12 or 13 or whatever I started taking the bus to Charleston, usually with Steve, and we’d walk around the downtown area. There were record stores (Turner’s, National Record Mart), great book stores (Moore’s, Major’s), and a sprawling place that sold every magazine published on the planet, it seemed. I think it might’ve been called Arcade News, but I’m not sure. They had an enormous comic book section, and we spent a lot of time looking at those. And sometimes even buying a few. These weren’t vintage, they were current comic books. Stuff like Sgt. Rock and G.I. Combat.

But upstairs, inside the same (very cool) building, there were several fancy-ass shops. All of them intimidating… It was all upscale and expensive and probably not conducive to a couple of smartass younglings from Dunbar with seven dollars between us. However… one day we ventured into an antique store up there. I remember the woman behind the counter was eyeing us warily as we perused the one-of-a-kind items. Then we saw it! Inside a glass case, way in the back of the store were several large stacks of very old baseball cards. We later learned they’re designated as T206 by collectors, and were included in packages of tobacco back during the early 1900s. The ones they had were from the Piedmont Tobacco company, from 1909(!). And they had a shitload of them. We nearly soiled our Towncrafts and asked the woman how much they cost. A dollar each, she said. I couldn’t believe it.

We bought as many as we could afford that day, and returned many times. I have a Cy Young card, purchased there. Cy Young! And Ty Cobb, and Christy Mathewson. Just a mindblowing parade of mythological Hall of Famers, mixed in with the players we didn’t know. But even those were cool. It was crazy. A dollar each! It was wild. And the woman eventually accepted us into her snooty kingdom. She seemed to actually like us. The joy it brought us was probably appealing to her.

And that’s my meager offering. What do you have on this one? It doesn’t have to be something valuable, it can be anything of note. Just tell us your stories about all your memorable finds. Use the comments section.

Episode 2 of the world-famous West Virginia Surf Report podcast is now live. I just uploaded it, roughly two minutes ago. And I’m pretty happy with it. Planning and preparing make a big difference, I’ve learned. Who knew? Please give it a listen right here, or wherever you get podcasts. I’m making the first three available everywhere, but starting next week the Thursday editions will be Patreon-only again. Here’s the summary:

Toney and I are now operating under the delusion that we might someday be able to retire and spent a substantial percentage of our recent trip to Myrtle Beach scouting out towns and neighborhoods and subdivisions where we might possibly relocate in the future. Needless to say, there were complications. You’ll hear all about it in this second edition of The West Virginia Surf Report podcast. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

Seriously, please give it a shot. I’m trying to make it halfway decent. I’m working hard on this nonsense, my friends.

I’ll see you guys again on Monday. It’s going to be a fully-ridiculous weekend, and I’ll tell you all about it.

Have a great one!

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As I was leaving my job for our big Myrtle Beach extravaganza somebody warned me not to get sunburned. And I responded, “Oh, that’s not what this is about. It’s all about eating and drinking near water.” And somehow I crystalized the theme of the trip quite well, in a semi-smartass off-hand remark. So, in this one, I’m going to give you a quick recap of the eatin’ and drinkin’ that took place during our trip. I’ll break it down for you, day by day.

And in the podcast, I tell you about some mistakes we made while planning the excursion. Some fairly major mistakes… It’s now called The West Virginia Surf Report podcast, and episode one can be heard right here, or wherever you get podcasts. Please check it out. I think it’s a fun episode. Here’s the summary:

Our big Myrtle Beach trip has now come and gone, sadly. In this one, I tell you about the tactical errors we made while planning the extravaganza, and the resulting consequences. You live and learn, they say. But at this point shouldn’t we already have learned? It feels like we should’ve. Maybe we’re stupid? Hey, anything’s possible. But mistakes were made, my friends. The trip wasn’t a complete bust, but there were issues. And I break it all down for you in this first episode of the new West Virginia Surf Report podcast. It all leads to a surprise ending that I could’ve never predicted. Never! I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

Now let’s get to the food and drink!

Sunday

We arrived in the early evening and, after securing a rental car, went straight to the funky retro motel. Seemed OK, I guess. We were still alive with excitement and willing to dole out many benefits of many doubts. Once we were settled, we drove to Walmart to get supplies for the room. Meaning beer and chips, etc. Last time we were there they had a small but reasonable craft beer section, but it now seems to be taken over almost completely by swill. Close your windows at night, ’cause the swill is creeping! But we were able to procure a 15-pack of Founders All Day IPA. Not exactly exotic, but it’s good.

Then we went to dinner at River City Cafe. They have a couple of locations, I believe, but we were at Surfside Beach. We sat outside, and it’s where I took the photo above. Pretty cool, huh? River City is a burger joint, with all sorts of exotic offerings. But I just went with a bacon cheeseburger, and it was completely fantastic. I don’t know if it was because I was hungry, or what. But it was one of the best burgers in recent memory. The fries were also near-perfect. It was semi-cold out there, but other than that… a 100% home run.

Beverage selection for dinner: Sweetwater IPA. It was OK.

Monday

We went to lunch at a place called Taco Mundo and it was mildly frustrating. The setting was beautiful, overlooking water (which is the theme) and expansive. But the food was inconsistent. We ordered an appetizer trio, which was chips and pico de gallo, queso, and guacamole. The queso was excellent, but the pico was bland as all hell. Toney liked the guac. I don’t eat that garlic mess, but she gave it a good review. But wot up with the pico de gallo?? Not good.

Then we had a special that included two “premium” tacos of our choice, and some sides. I played it safe and went with grilled chicken and taco americano. And again… the chicken was fantastic but the americano was bland. It’s weird. Some of it was great, and some of it was boring. The sides were also unexciting. So… I don’t know what to say. The stuff that was good was REALLY good. But not all of it fell into that category.

No beer at lunch. Too early in the day to flip that switch.

For dinner, we did a return visit to Tupelo Honey. We went there last year too and found it to be overpriced, but good. And since there were only two of us this time, we thought we’d go back. And we’ll probably never return. I think we’re done. I just couldn’t pull the trigger on any of their regular entrees, because of the prices. So I went with the burger special, and it came with nothing extra. “How much for a side o’ fries?” I asked. Five dollars, she said. What?! The burger was fine but not as good as River City Cafe. So, what’s the point? Also, there’s a weird vibe in there that I can’t put my finger on. As I said, I believe we’re done.

Beverage selection for dinner: New South IPA. It didn’t blow me away.

Tuesday

Cracker Barrel for a late breakfast! It was pouring rain that day, so we were hangin’ near the mall. The Barrel is always a good choice, I don’t care what anybody says. So, two greasy thumbs up from me. I went with the Old Timers’ Breakfast and ate it all, including the grits.

And to keep the lowbrow theme going, Toney begrudgingly agreed to indulge my request to have dinner at a place I used to love as a kid: K&W Cafeteria. We used to go there on family vacations, back during the 1970s, and I was a big fan. I was somewhat surprised to see it was still in existence and apparently popular. Toney thought it was a buffet, like Old Country or Golden Corral. But I assured her it was an old fashioned cafeteria where you go down the line and point out the stuff you want. Then they hand it for you, over the glass. So, she went along with my nostalgic endeavor. I told her I was going to attempt to recreate my go-to meal circa 1978. I did, and it cost something like $18. Just for me. Shit! But it was reasonably good. Nothing spectacular, but you can tell everything’s made fresh. It was fun, no regrets. Toney wasn’t blown away but didn’t hate it.

After dinner, we went to Publix and bought an additional 6-pack for the room: Westbrook IPA. I don’t think we drank it until the following night, but it was excellent.

Wednesday

For lunch, we went to a place called Big Mike’s Soul Food. It’s in a fairly nondescript cinderblock building, and even though it was before noon… it was already crowded. We were seated and the waitress asked if we’d ever been there before. After we said no, she just walked away. Said nothing, just turned and left. What the? But a couple of minutes later she returned, dragging this big ass sign. “Here’s how it works,” she said and left again.

I was about to order fried chicken as my “meat,” but panicked at the last second and changed it to grilled chicken breast. A tactical error, I believe. It was good, but nothing special. But the sides were kickass. I went with collards, boiled cabbage, and macaroni and cheese. All were great. And the chicken was good but tasted like something I could do on our deck grill. I blame myself… Toney went with the fried fish, and it was nothing but raves from her. She freaking loved it.

Afterward we each ordered the peach cobbler, and it was also incredible. By that point, there was a gang of people waiting for tables, and they were eyeing us, telling us to get the fuck out with their eyes. In any case, Big Mike’s is highly recommended. Excellent.

Dinner was at Nacho Hippo, a hip and funky “Mexican” place. I believe it’s run by the same people who own River City Cafe. Everything was really good but super-Americanized. I don’t have a problem with that, but I’m sure others might. I ordered some kind o’ giant nacho plate for dinner, and it hit the spot. Everything was fresh and good, and the atmosphere was fun. Their beer selection was not good, and we both went with another New South IPA. That was mildly disappointing. But I’d return to Nacho Hippo without hesitation. It was fun.

Thursday

Lunch at Sea Captain’s House. It’s a famous and fairly expensive seafood place, right on the ocean. I’m not big on seafood, but Toney likes it. I ordered a flounder sandwich, and it was good. It tasted super-fresh and the tartar sauce was unusual and tasty. They served it with hushpuppies that were, possibly, the best I’ve ever eaten. I believe this place has been there since 1962 and draws huge crowds. Indeed, by the time we finished our lunches, it was trending toward pandemonium in there. Our table was only a few yards from the Atlantic Ocean, and it was definitely a memorable and enjoyable meal. A little pricy, but not that bad. I have a feeling the dinner prices would make me sweat, though.

Dinner was our only repeat: River City Cafe. For some reason, I didn’t like it as much the second time. It was fine, but the first time was GREAT. We had another Sweetwater IPA with our burgers.

Then we returned to Publix for another 6-pack for the room: Wicked Weed Lieutenant Dank IPA. Good, but somewhat odd.

And I’m going to leave it there, ’cause something crazy happened on Friday. You can find out in the podcast. See how this is going to work now…? The podcast and the website are going to be intertwined. Maybe. Sorta.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this recap of the main theme of our trip.

I’ll see you guys again on Thursday, with more Myrtle Beach ridiculousness. Oh, there are stories to tell.

Have a great week!

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Did you see where a man from Hong Kong fell to his death in the Grand Canyon a few days ago? Here’s an article about it. And I’m surprised this kind of thing even merits an article at this point. It must happen daily, right? I have no data on it, I’m only guessing. When we were there a few months ago my sphincter was on lock-clench the entire time. So many idiots taking so many chances… They were climbing over railings and walking out to the very edge of the fucking Grand Canyon. I mean, it’s fairly big, that canyon. Are those extra three feet really going to translate into a more dramatic photo? Maybe the ones you fire off while plunging into the abyss and exploding your skeleton by bouncing off the rock walls would be pretty cool. But I don’t think that’s the goal in most cases. People are just incredibly stupid. I know that’s a controversial statement, but I’m standing behind it.

By the way, I’m glad I saw the Grand Canyon. But there is no reason for me to ever see it again. It’s amazing and all, but after about fifteen minutes I was off looking for an ice cream shop. And the long bus ride to get there was nothing short of excruciating. Unless you’re already in the neighborhood… I’d definitely place it in the “not worth it” category. When we were in England somebody told us Stonehenge also falls into that category. But we didn’t go, possibly because of that warning. What big tourist locations are not worth it, in your opinion? I don’t have positive memories of Niagara Falls, but it was a long time ago. Perhaps the 2019 version of me would feel differently? I sincerely doubt it, but anything’s possible. What do you have on this one? Please use the comments.

And speaking of tourist destinations, we’re off to Myrtle Beach on Sunday. It’s a little early in the season, and the weather is looking a tad questionable. But we’ll make the best of it. It’s not like we’re hoping to smear our noses with mayonnaise and lie on the sand all day long. That’s certainly not why we go down there. It’s just about getting away, and drinking and eating near water. Ya know? We’ll be staying at one of those super-hip retro motels, which might be interesting. We’ll see. We booked this thing on Black Friday and probably should’ve pushed the dates back a few weeks. Oh well. I’m looking forward to it, regardless.

Next week the Surf Report bunker will be going dark. However, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll get to see my vacation photos. Exciting stuff, right? I do try to keep it interesting…

Also, when I get back the podcast is going to receive a new name, logo, and music. I’m going to attempt to tighten that bastard up and make it better. I know what you’re thinking… how could you possibly improve upon The Jeff Kay Show?? And I hear what you’re saying. But I’ve identified a couple of areas where there are “opportunities,” as they say. I’ll fill you guys in when I return. But in the meantime, I’ve just posted what will almost certainly be the final episode of the original incarnation, for patrons. Right here. And this is your summary:

Yep, unless something changes, this is the final episode of The Jeff Kay Show. BUT! It’s not the final episode of the podcast. Not by a long shot. I’m merely changing the name of it and tweaking a few things. It’s not going away… it’s getting better. Hopefully. All the details are in this one, along with some thoughts on our upcoming trip to Myrtle Beach. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening, and thanks for the support!

And last night at work I was thrown for a loop when I was voluntold that I’ll be going to Kansas City, MO in early May. For (get this!) ten or eleven days. That’s a long time, in my opinion. But whatever. I’ll just roll with it. I’ve never been to KC. In fact, I haven’t been to a lot of places in the middle o’ the country. I’ve been to Chicago multiple times, and Dallas twice. But other than that… I don’t have much experience with that part of the world. If nothing else, it’ll almost certainly generate some new stories. Possibly of humiliation. But I don’t want to promise you guys anything on that front. We’ll just have to see how it plays out. Maybe I’ll go to a Royals game? Does George Brett still play for them? I don’t follow the American League very closely.

Twenty-four hours ago I never would’ve predicted I’d be typing these words today. But… if you have any Kansas City tips for me, please share. I know next to nothing.

Speaking of baseball, yesterday was Opening Day. I listened to the Reds/Pirates game at my desk at work, as best as I could, and it was goddamn exciting. Great game, with a pleasing outcome! And the ninth inning had my heart a-hammering. I’m so glad it’s back. All is right with the world again.

And I’m calling it a day, my friends. No updates next week, I’m afraid. But follow me on Instagram! It’s fun… by far the best of the social media sites, I think. And maybe I’ll post some more ridiculousness at the Surf Report Facebook page. I’ve been on quite a ridiculousness roll there. I don’t do much with Twitter… It never really gelled with me. Oh well.

I’ll see you guys in about ten days.

Have fun!

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I find George Stephanopoulos to be mildly fascinating because I don’t believe he has a sense of humor. I mean… I don’t know him, obviously. I’m just basing this on what I’ve seen. And I’ve seen no evidence whatsoever that his brain is serving up witticisms on a regular basis. However, and this is the fascinating part, he’s reasonably good at faking it. He knows where to laugh — even though I don’t believe he understands why he’s laughing — and has a few pre-programmed “funny” comments that he interjects whenever the opportunity arises. Like a three-legged dog, I think he’s figured out a way to work around his handicap (no sense of humor at all) and live a normal life.

I could be completely wrong, but don’t think so. I’ve studied the man at least two or three times during my life, for upwards of four minutes per session. So I think I know what I’m talking about. But, at least he seems to realize he’s not very funny. It’s worse when somebody is wit-free but believes they’re goddamn hilarious. This man right here, from the same line of work as George, jumps immediately to mind:

He too is fairly good at faking it but doesn’t seem to know he’s not funny. He adopts a jocular good-natured ball-busting pose, as his instinctual three-leg workaround. But it’s never very clever or biting or anything interesting. Hey, whatever. I shouldn’t mock the handicapped (no sense of humor at all). And I’m not. I just find it interesting the way people, especially super-successful TV personalities, deal with a catastrophic whimsy deficit. Or a drollery shortfall, or whatever you choose to call it.

And since we’re on the subject of people who mistakenly believe they’re funny… here’s one I find to be fairly aggravating: the giant nerd “comedian.” This guy, Karl (apparently), really and truly believes he’s funny. Right? And I have no doubt his co-workers go along with it and allow the charade to continue. They’re enablers! I don’t know who this person is, but I know what his voice sounds like. And I know the way he speaks: the cadence, the self-satisfaction, the curmudgeonly pose. Karls are not exactly rare creatures. And I’m sure this one means no harm, but it annoys me that people like him are considered to be funny. That’s the part that irritates me. That shit’s not funny, it’s just nerd stuff. Nerds are almost never funny, and should not be encouraged. Also, I find the state of his workspace to be offputting.

But the worst three-legged dogs are the ones that attempt to compensate by yelling. If you can’t be funny, be loud! They seem to believe that the shouting of something not-at-all-clever miraculously transforms it into comedy gold. It’s amazing how many people seem to subscribe to this theory. Just be real obnoxious and noisy and maybe people won’t notice that there’s a smoldering hole where your sense of humor is supposed to be.

Do you know anyone who has no sense of humor at all, and realizes it? I believe it’s fairly rare. Maybe a grim school administrator? I don’t know. I suspect that even they secretly believe they’re funny, but their line of work does not allow for such things. What other workarounds have you noticed other than the ones I mentioned? How do people compensate for their whimsy deficit? And like Karl, what brand of office comedian do you like the least? Please use the comments link to share your thoughts.

And I’m going to work now. Just four more days and Vacation #1 begins. Oh yeah.

Have a great week, my friends!

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But first, look at this bullshit. I took this photo from our front porch about fifteen minutes ago. And it had been like spring… We were talking about our lawn mowing options, just yesterday! That’s not a light dusting, it’s a real snow. Sure, it’ll be gone quickly. But it’s a demoralizing turn of events, my friends. It’s not good when you start your day shouting, “Are you fucking serious?!” It’s like we’re living inside a black & white photograph again. A couple of days ago it was full Technicolor. I’m becoming angry.

Also, you know who I hear all the time, for reasons unknown? The Spin Doctors. It feels like they’re out there… and everywhere. Every grocery store I walk into, every convenience store I visit, while I’m listening to baseball games on the radio… The Spin Doctors have insinuated themselves into American culture as few bands have. It’s bizarre to me. But they’re all over the place, thirty years later! Why is that? Why them? …It’s probably not even worth contemplating. But I wanted to bring it up. Are you hearing them everywhere too? WTF??

And now… what food or drink have you completely written off because of some bad experience in the past? The only one I can come up with is Long Island Iced Tea. I’ve told that story before, and it doesn’t need to be told in great detail again. It was a million years ago, during the early 1980s, and I was with Rocky. We were drinking in an unknown bar, in a town where we never drank, ingesting a great number of Long Island Iced Teas: a drink we never ordered. And it led to a series of events, which I’ll summarize:

  • Being chased off the property of an elementary school by an angry woman wielding a broom.
  • Power-vomiting at a carnival.
  • Reportedly uttering the famous phrase, “Help me find my glasses Rocky, so I can kick your ass.”
  • Being dropped like a sack o’ taters on the floor of Billy’s den.
  • Waking up with cats sleeping on me.
  • My girlfriend coming to pick my drunken ass up and being absolutely disgusted.
  • My mother being involved somehow.

It was a terrible night. One of the all-time worst. In fact, I quit drinking for two years after that. Yeah, there are a couple of other bullet-points I’m leaving out… But even though it’s been more than 35 years, my stomach still churns whenever I catch a whiff of Long Island Iced Tea. It has a distinctive smell that I remember, and it does a number on me, even now. I would NEVER be able to drink one. Holy hell.

But that’s all I can come up with. Thankfully, I’ve never had food poisoning. I’m not sure how that’s possible. Maybe because I don’t eat crustaceans ‘n’ shit? Toney has had it several times and swears off the food for a while. Then she goes back. She got very sick in California, after eating shrimp at a fancy-ass restaurant. I mean, she was down and out for days on end. But she’ll still eat those bugs o’ the sea. I don’t get it, but whatever.

Do you have anything on this? If so, please tell us about it in the comments.

And I need to call it a day here.

I just uploaded a new episode of the podcast, for patrons. And here’s the summary:

In this one I tell you about a fresh car crash I witnessed on my way to work and how I reacted, the reason I’m dragging ass, my tasty but unusual turkey-tubes dinner, the world’s most depressing places of business, and a hard-to-explain complaint about the way people drive through parking lots these days. Thanks for the support, and thanks for listening!

I hope you guys have a great weekend! Talk about hard-earned… But it’s nearly here.

I’ll see you again on Monday. Or maybe Tuesday. We’ll see how it goes.

Have fun!

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Yeah, yeah. I know some misguided people call it pop, but I call it the correct thing: soda. I took a look at this map and it just confused me, so I clicked out of it. I can’t tell if I’m in the pop belt or the soda band, or where exactly I fall geographically. All I know is… I don’t like pop. My dad says that for some reason. It has a distinctly Ohio feel to me. And I can’t have that. Actually, when I was a young hillbilly child, it was just coke. All sodas were called coke, with a lower-case c. So it would lead to scenarios like this:

Person one: What kind of coke do you want?
Person two: Sprite, thanks.

But that shit doesn’t fly everywhere, so I’ve adjusted to soda. And I’m comfortable with that. I’m just going to continue with soda.

I try not to drink it much, because it’s “poison” according to my jaunty far-too-casual doctor, but when I do have a soda I tend to go with one of these three:

Dr. Pepper — I remember the first time I ever tasted this stuff. I was a very young kid, in the break room at my mom’s job. They had an open-top cooler full of sodas in there, and she told me I could have one. I chose a Dr. Pepper and it tasted like some sort of medicine. Blecch. But I’ve grown to love it, and it’s number one on my list o’ favorites.

Mountain Dew — Adam Carolla calls it “nectar of the ‘tards” which I don’t appreciate. I like it because it tastes good, quenches your thirst (unlike many sodas), and packs a powerful caffeine punch. I joke at my job that every bottle should have a phrase printed on it: The Official Drink of Night Shift. It’s helped get me to 1:30 am many times.

Root beer — If I’m in the mood for a Dr. Pepper and they don’t have it… I’ll go with a root beer. I like a good root beer. In fact, I started drinking fancy-pants craft root beers for a while. There was one made by the Appalachian Brewing Company that was nothing short of kick-ass. A lot of the high-end stuff taste like black licorice, or wintergreen, though. I prefer the classic taste. Ya know? I don’t need pourable licorice, thank you very much. It’s like Jagermeister without the alcohol.

And when it comes to cola, there’s only one choice: Coke. With an upper-case C. My answer to the “Is Pepsi OK?” question will always be, “Oh God, no. I’d rather drink raw sewage.” You can take your Pepsi and ram it deep and on a slant. I wouldn’t mind tasting an RC again, though. When I was a kid RC was a major player in our area. It felt like they were on the same level as Coke and Pepsi. And they had all their subsidiary sodas, too. Like Diet Rite and Upper 10 and Mr. Pibb. Heh. All that stuff seems to have fallen out of favor. I’m sure it’s still available, but it’s considered off-brand at this point. But I’d like to taste an RC again, just for curiosity’s sake. Coke, however, will always be the cola of choice.

I have a strong anti-Pepsi attitude, but wonder if I’d be able to tell the difference? Needless to say, I believe I could. Maybe I’ll go over to Sheetz and buy a bottle of Coke, Pepsi, and RC and do a blind taste test? That would be fun. Stay tuned for that. I’m going to do it. Maybe over the weekend.

Also, just like with Dr. Pepper, I can actually remember the first time I had a Sprite. It was at a motel in Florida somewhere, and I was a little kid. There was a vending machine there, and I rolled the dice on some mysterious elixir known as Sprite. It tasted fantastic! A huge upgrade from the more familiar 7 Up. I rarely drink it these days, but when I do… I’m transported to Florida, circa 1970 or whatever. So, Dr. Pepper and Sprite left the biggest impressions on me, for some reason.

And one more… Which rarely-seen soda will you ALWAYS go with when you see it? Fresca falls into that category for me. I never see the stuff, but I love it. It’s also in the Sprite/7 Up/Sierra Mist realm, but not exactly. It’s its own thing. I’m a big fan of the Fresca, but don’t encounter it very often. Also, it feels less-than-manly, for some reason. Am I wrong about that? It feels like a lady soda to me, for some reason. Heh. But I’ll drink it every time I see it. Good stuff.

What are your thoughts on this important topic? Are you a pop or soda person? Or is there some other phrase you use? Like, according to that article I linked to above, tonic. WTF?? I’ve never heard that in my life. A lot of older people used to call them soft drinks, but I’m not a fan of that, either. Do people still say that? I think they might, but I haven’t been paying attention. What are your top 3 sodas? Or top 10, I don’t care. And your cola of choice? Also, do you remember tasting a particular soda for the very first time? Where were you, etc.? Please tell us about it. You don’t have to answer all these questions, of course. Just pick and choose. There are no official work instructions on this stupidity.

There is, however, a new episode of the world-famous Jeff Kay Show available, wherever you get podcasts. Or right here. And this is the summary:

In this one, I deliver yet another stale and out of date weather report from the suburbs of Scranton, PA (!), wonder why in the hell gnats exist, tell you about my efforts to be accepted into the deli culture, the bored girl who draws eyeballs, eavesdropping on 45 year olds obviously on a first date in a Mexican restaurant, another terrible visit to Walmart, an important text message I received from The Beer Lady, and the final season of a fantastic comedy I’m watching on Amazon Prime. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for listening!

I was supposed to meet Steve for lunch today, but he canceled. So, I cranked this one out thinking I had major time constraints. Oh well.

Have a great week, my friends!

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