Sunday, November 29, 2009

Steve McQueen, Subway and Si Senor Restaurant

Adventures at Subway

I recently stopped in at a local Subway sandwich shop for lunch. I've been a Subway fan for years. Where else can a guy get a tasty halfway healthy lunch for three bucks? Nowhere, that's where. The shop was empty. A somber middle aged woman was beyond the counter to not greet me.

"Hello." I said.

She said absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, she pretty much gave me the stink eye. I could have walked out - but I was hungry.

I ordered a meatball sandwich on Italian herbs and cheese bread.

She opened her mouth to ask, "Toasted?"

"Please." I responded.

Removing the sandwich from the oven, she complied with my request to add lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, banana peppers, jalapenos, Chipolte Southwest sauce and light Parmesan cheese.

"Meal deal?" she asked, looking at me as if I had a swastica carved into my forehead.

"Just the sandwich."

"Two thirty-nine." she said.

I handed her three dollars and she dropped the change into my hand.

Another customer appeared behind me.

"Can I help you?" she said looking right through me.

I didn't get a can I help you.

"Hold on a minute." I said.

The woman looked at me, stink eye on maximum.

"Who owns this place?" I asked.

"I do."

"And you don't see fit to say thank you when a customer frequents your place?"

Nothing but major leaue stink eye.

"I tell you what, I'm never coming back here."

She smailed and said,"Thank you."

Is it just me?

Si Senor Restaurant

Si Senor is a quaint little Mexican joint in Chandler, Arizona where people never give anyone the stink eye. My wife, daughter and nephew work at this bastion of New Mexico style gastronomic ecstasy. My three yougest girls and I eat there every week.

The owner says it’s the habaƱero chili peppers that make the food so exceptional. An interesting side effect of the super chilis is beads of sweat cascading down my temples. With women, their noses seem to run. It's quirky cool to watch men dabbing their napkins to their brows and woman daintily wiping their noses with expressions of pure, brainless culinary bliss.

Meals come with chips and four salsas, the best of which, and the hottest, is the white. I’m due for a heavenly stuffed shredded beef sopapilla – in about an hour.

It’s good to have some thing to look forward to, something spectacular.

And no stink eyes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

John Prine

The guy in the picture is John Prine. There's a good chance you've never heard of him. He is arguably the greatest singer, songwriter, guitar picker never to make it into the mainstream. His lyrics are so incredibly true.

Here is a particularly captivating verse from Souvenirs, a song he co wrote with Steve Goodman.

All the snow has turned to water
Christmas days have come and gone
Broken toys and faded colors
Are all that's left to linger on
I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
For they always bring me tears
I can't forgive the way they rob me
Of my childhood souvenirs

By the way, Souvenirs is John Prine's mother's favorite song.

Click on this link if you'd like to see John Prine perform Souvenirs.

Here is the chorus from Sam Stone, a haunting song about a drug addicted Vietnam vet.

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.
Little pitchers have big ears,
Don't stop to count the years,
Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.

Johnny Cash covered Sam Stone.

Click on this link if you'd like to see Sam Stone performed.

The ticket you see above is mine. There's a story that goes along with this ticket. Friday afternoon one of the secretary's sent out an email offering six free John Prine tickets for the Friday night show. I raced to the secretary's desk and picked up one of the tickets. The business of seeing John Prine perform wasn't going to be easy. You see I was obligated to accompany a group of students to an academic competition across town. You never know with these competitions; they can end as early as seven o'clock or go on until eleven. The show started at eight but there was a warm up band. It was a proverbial crap shoot. The bus returned to our home school at 9:30. There was still a chance I could see John Prine sing. It would be worth the 45 minute drive to downtown Phoenix just to see him play one song.

As drove toward Phoenix I began to reevaluate the situation. I was pretty darned tired. And I had to get up at 5:30. Since there had been a warm up band, John Prine must have begun his performance at nine at the latest. It was ten o'clock . "The guy's got to be seventy." I thought. "A seventy year-old isn't going to play much longer than an hour." And I was pretty darned tired. I understood I would regret turning around and going home more than I would have regretted losing a little sleep as I pulled off the freeway and headed home.

And so I have this ticket.

Last night I came home, cracked a beer and watched a few John Prine songs on Youtube. It was nice. It had been a good day. I enjoyed being with my students at the competition. It's good to have a job from which I can drive home every day knowing I at least tried to do something good.

I was walking down the road, man
Just looking at my shoes
When God sent me an angel
Just to chase away my blues
Now everything is cool
Everything's okay
Everything is cool
Everything's okay

- Everything is Cool by Jon Prine

Steve McQueen did not see the John Prine show Friday night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"A Potent Memory (1993)"

A Short Story from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
“A Potent Memory (1993)"
by W.Z Snyder
© 2006 William Snyder

A Potent Memory
East Valley Accommodation School

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Steve McQueen, a Pogo Stick and Washington Irving

Pogo Sticks

My daughters complained that they were bored. Being the genius that I am, I offered five bucks to the first girl to reach 100 pogo stick hops - in the back hard. They raced into the back yard and I paused to marvel at my brilliance before getting back to my coffee and morning paper.

Five minutes later they were back in the house wanting to renegotiate. I guess feeling like a genius for five minutes is better than never feeling like a genius at all.

The Devil and Tom Walker

My students recently read Washington Irving's The Devil and Tom Walker. It's one of my favorite short stories and I'm amazed at how the 150 year-old chronicle has maintained its relevance. Irving uses the story to absolutely shred slave traders, hypocritical Christians and money lenders. I don't run into many slave traders, these days but there doesn't seem to be any shortage of hypocritical Christians or unscrupulous bankers.

The Devil and Tom Walker is one of the funniest stories I've come across. Most of the humor was too subtle for my high school students to pick up. They did get a kick out of the situation when Irving explained that Tom Walker had no fear of the devil after putting up with a woman like Mrs. Walker.

As with the stories of Faust, Daniel Webster, Robert Johnson and Charlie Daniels' fiddle player, The Devil and Tom Walker centers on the devil's offer to make Tom Walker a rich man in exchange for his soul. He also asks Tom to be a usurer, that is a money lender, one of his own "peculiar people." The devil suggests that Tom charge two percent interest a month, that is 24 percent a year. Modern American banks rouinely charge their cusomers 24 percent or more today, don't they? As Tom Walker grows old he tries to cheat the devil by attending church, singing and praying louder than the rest and pointing out all of the townsfolk who break the rules of the church, all the while destroying lives, cashing in on his customers' misfortunes during the week. Of course, in the end, the devil takes Tom into the bowels of the earth where the hypocritical money lender will burn for all eternity.

In a day and age when Bankers seem to get away with such unspeakable behavior, Irving's classic tale is - comforting.

The Coolest Cat in History

You may be wondering why I included a photo of Steve McQueen from the set of The Magnificent Seven.

No reason.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Arizona Justice League of Photographers Rides - the Train III

Thought I'd post a few photographs from the most recent Justice League photography shoot.

These pictures were taken by Eric the Photographer. As the handle implies, he actually takes pictures for a living. Eric is our Yoda, our Mr. Miagi, our Seargent Carter...

Got to tell you, I'm really digging this reflection image. From left to right, that's yours truly,Clif the Lawyer, Mario the Chef, and Eric the Photographer.

The streets of Phoenix were absolutely deserted.

Look, here's a shot of me talking on a cell phone next to a phone booth. Bet you don't see that everyday.
Then again, maybe you do. It could be that there's an old phone booth in front of your office and every stinking day some joker stands next to the booth, talking on his cell phone while shouting, "Hey look at me. I'm standing next to a phone booth talking on a cell phone. Bet you don't see that every day."

Here's the historic Luhrs Tower. Built in 1929, this building served as the backdrop for a scene in Hitcock's Psycho as Janet Leigh crossed the street with the bank deposit she was supposed to make for her boss.

These guys were singing:
I come from the land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run you better take cover.
Weird, huh?

It's all about the clouds.

Here's Mario the Chef yucking it up with Marge and Hank at The Coney Island Grill.

The Arizona Justice League of Photographers shoot it out in downtown Phoenix.

Absolutely nothing happened to any of us while were standing in front of this building.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Honest Scrap Blogger Award

Fellow blogger, Midlife Job Hunter at seen fit to pass the Honest Scrap Blogger award along to me.

Here are the rules of the award:

1. “The Honest Scrap” award must be shared.

2. The recipient has to tell 10 true things about themselves that no one else knows.

3. The recipient has to pass along the award to 10 more bloggers.

4. Those 10 bloggers all have to be notified they have been given this award.

5. Those 10 bloggers should link back to the blog that awarded them.

Here are ten things most people don’t know about yours truly.

1. I used to have an invisible friend by the name if Ishkabibble. He was animated in the style of a cartoon and looked and sounded a lot like the Frito Lay Frito Bandito. I had to give him up when I hit 30.

2. I grew up in the same town and on the same street as the Wilson brothers of Beach Boys fame.
3. My uncle, Ronnie Alison played little league baseball with Dennis Wilson. He was also the college roommate of Burt Ward of TV’s Batman show.

4. Hollywood actor, Gene Hackman once pushed me down when I was working as an usher at a Los Angeles Lakers game.

5. When I was 14, I was involved in a head on collision in which I was catapulted twenty feet into the middle of an intersection before walking away without a scratch.

6. I can sing the Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man songs from the Wizard of Oz on demand. Each time I sing one of these songs my wife says I should learn a new song.

7. Walter Cronkite once said hello to me.

8. My favorite Halloween candy is the 100,000 Dollar Bar.

9. It is my strong belief that the Russians, the Cubans, and elements of organized crime and the United States government were involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the ensuing cover up of the conspiracy.

10. I once wrote a play called Bad Bar Plays #1. Sorry, I really had to reach for number ten.

I hereby pass the award onto the following blogs:

My Room
Blog author, Kavita provides amazing insight into the culture India. Very cool blog.

Nothing to Blog About
Hailing from Michigan, USA, this unique blog blends photos and stories. Funny stuff.
W. M. Morell
W.M. Morrell is an outstanding writing blog out of New Zealand.