Today is my birthday.
Not one of the "milestone" birthdays, one of the "in-betweeners."
The sort of birthday that calls for a small celebration, if only to distract from the fact that it marks one more year closer to "shuffling off that mortal coil."
(Don't worry. I may not be the healthiest guy in the world, but I come from very hearty stock and, if genetics works in my favor, I expect to see my one hundredth birthday.)
But, as this is the anniversary of my birth, it is the day when we recognize everything that my Mom went through to bring me into the world.
Okay, that's not really why today is Labor Day.
(But, my birthday does seem to fall on Labor Day an awful lot. At least, it has always felt that way.)
Today is the day that we celebrate America's true "makers..."
The average Joes and Janes, the working stiffs, the laborers...
And, those who came before them, the ones who fought, and sometimes even died, to bring about radical ideas like a 40 hour work-week, overtime pay, paid sick leave, and an end to child labor, among many other things.
But, that's as political as The Blog is going to get, tonight. It has been a day to celebrate. I don't want to be a downer.
But, if you are interested in learning more about Labor Day's history and, maybe, it's future...
Head on over to AlterNet.org and read this piece.
Back to my birthday.
"So, Uncle PC, what did you do to celebrate, today?"
Thank you for asking. And the answer is, technically, nothing.
Not a damned thing. Today was a Monday like any other Monday.
Well, like any other Monday that I did not have to go to work.
But, that's okay. Here in the House of Blog birthdays get celebrated over a span of a couple of weeks. We're casual like that.
The Blog and Mrs. Blog's birthdays are exactly two weeks apart. So we get three weekends between us to do birthday stuff.
And this year, thanks to my little sister and her husband, we started even sooner. Go back a few posts to my story about going to hear a performance by the official folk singing, political satirist of the blog.
So, my birthday was off to a great start.
"But, Uncle PC, what presents did you get?"
Another good question, italics person.
On Saturday, Mrs. Blog took me down to the O.C. to my favorite tobacconist..
(Okay, not really my "favorite." But, one of the few remaining, real tobacconists in SoCal.)
If it's called a "smoke shop," it's not a tobacconist. It's a discount cigarette store. And, if they have a "glass artist" on the premises, it's a head-shop.
...to pick out a new pipe.
(If anything will lead to The Blog not living to 100, it will be his pipe smoking. But, YOLO.)
On Sunday, Mrs. Blog blindfolded The PC, (I swear to God! Actually blindfolded.) And drove him to a new restaurant for lunch.
I discovered that I have a talent that I had no idea I possessed. Blindfolded, I could feel each turn, each freeway entrance and exit, and each mile travelled. And, while we had never eaten at the restaurant in question, we have passed it on several occasions in the last few months, commenting on the fact that we would have to check it out. I knew, exactly, where we ended up, before the blindfold was removed.
Attention potential kidnappers...
The restaurant was KISS front-man, Gene Simmons' latest business venture...
A quick review is in order.
We arrived a half hour before they opened, but were invited by the staff to grab a table and enjoy a beverage, (iced tea for me, lemonade for the Mrs.) and read our Sunday papers while we waited for them to open.
Classic Rock played over the sound system and, shortly, over big screen TVs.
Several staffers inquired about our comfort...
... And I can not stress this enough...
...BEFORE THEY WERE OPEN!
At precisely 11:30 AM, (when they actually opened,) a waiter appeared to take our order.
A bit too chatty, for my taste. Especially when I'm trying to read my Sunday paper. But, he gets an "A" for effort.
We started with a gigantic Bavarian pretzel appetizer. Well salted and accompanied by the most nasal hair singing mustard/horseradish sauce I have ever tasted.
(Appropriate, it struck me, for a KISS related establishment. I have experienced similar hair singeing at their concerts.)
We both had burgers. So huge that I couldn't get my mouth around it and took half of it home. I may have to re-calibrate my opinion of the best, non-fast food burger in SoCal.
The fries, natural, hand-cut, were, frankly, a bit limp and under-cooked. Maybe we caught the fry cook on an off morning. Or, maybe he was rushing to serve the assholes that arrived a half hour early.
(I should mention that by this time, the place was pretty packed. Much like a modern KISS concert, the clientele was diverse. While adults waited for their food, children played in a jungle gym style play area, and dogs, yes dogs, enjoyed healthy treats from, I am not making this up, the dog menu. I neglected to mention that Rock & Brew is a German style, semi-outdoors, beirgarten set-up. So, yeah, it's "dog friendly.")
After I had my leftovers boxed up, we moved on to desert.
Mrs. Blog had the "Satisfaction Sundae." Vanilla soft serve with a ton of caramel sauce and sprinkles.
I, as the more adventurous one, ordered the "Real Beer Float." They were out of the "coconut infused" beer that usually goes into this concoction. (I will return to try that one.) But, the waiter suggested a "double chocolate stout," (which, if you are a beer aficionado, you understand does not, actually, contain chocolate. It's just a descriptive. Think Guinness,) with a generous dollop of vanilla soft serve.
"If you run out of ice cream, let me know. I'll top it off for you." said the waiter.
And, God damn! It was delicious.
Next time, we will probably try the "Purple Rain" donut drops. I'll let your imagination work on that one.
When the check arrived, the waiter...
There were waitresses, too. Sporting short shorts. And tattoos. 'Nuff said. Mrs. Blog opined of the unfairness of that. "Why aren't their any half dressed waiters," she asked.
...Where was I?
...Right, the waiter gave the check a once over and exclaimed, "Damn! I rang it up wrong! I hate wasting paper... so... your drinks are on the house."
This struck The Blog as being every bit as authentic as a KISS concert, four song encore, that included "Black Diamond" and "Rock and Roll All Nite."
But, again, an "A" for effort.
He got his generous tip.
And, Mrs. Blog bought me a t-shirt.
I have gone wayyy off course, here. But, the take-away is this...
Rock & Brew are planning 100 restaurant openings all over the country in the next few years. If they come to your town, do give them a try.
Getting back to my birthday...
So, a pipe. A lunch that was legendary.
I only asked for one birthday present. It was this...
This past Christmas, my Dad gave me an heirloom that I never knew existed.
A Rolex™ watch that was given to my grandfather to commemorate his 25 years with Montgomery Ward.
As Rolexes go, it is a simple watch. My granddad's initials are the same as mine. So, the engraving on it's back looks like it could have been given to me.
Seven years before I was born.
Simple, yes. But, still gold. And still, a Rolex™.
It has no watchband and it's crystal is cloudy.
It seems to be in working order, but a proper cleaning is probably appropriate.
So, for my birthday, I have the go-ahead from Mrs. Blog to get it taken care of by a Rolex expert.
Getting to wear my granddad's watch, Rolex or not, makes me, sort of, emotional.
Between my dad and my wife, probably the best gift, ever.
Pulling it together and moving on...
(Is this The Blog's longest post, ever. It might be. But, it is what it is.)
Here is something that is sort of cool, but sort of creepy...
When I went to Google to find a good "Rock & Brews" image, I was met with this...
Today's "Google Doodle" was made up of birthday cakes.
When I hovered over the image, I saw, "Happy Birthday, (The Blog's real name.)"
Spooky and at the same time, awesome!
I just don't know what to say about that.
Forget the NSA..
Google knows a bit more about me than I am comfortable with.
So, moving on...
Say what you will about email and the social media usurping the traditions of sending actual, physical birthday cards...
My heart is warmed by the outpouring of birthday wishes from friends, far and wide, some who I have not seen in decades, some who I barely know on a personal level, over on Facebook.
What can I say about a thing that spreads so much goodwill, often in the absence of actual presence.
A great big "Thank you!" to friends, current friends, old friends, sort of friends, friends of friends, and that one comedic actress who I have had, exactly, one conversation with in the parking lot of the Falcon Theater in Toluca Lake, who sent me "xoxo Hugs," for making me feel so special!
(Yeah, I know. This post, like so many current movies, should have ended 20 minutes ago, but still goes on...)
Today's best birthday gift...
At around 12:00 EDT, Time Warner Cable and CBS Television put on their big boy pants, and announced that they had, finally, settled their contract dispute.
If you have been following The Blog's blog, you know how bad it got.
When Mr. and Mrs. Blog returned home from Mrs. Blog's dialysis appointment, she turned the TV on, and we heard the dulcet tones of Dr. Phil McGraw.
"Holy Shit!!" I exclaimed. "CBS is back!"
Mrs. Blog will get her, "Judge Judy," "Y&R," and "Big Brother."
And, we will both get the latest "Under the Dome," and the new season of 'The Big Band Theory."
And it was true.
All is right with our TV world!
If you have ever wondered how this, mostly, optimistic, forward thinking guy managed to develop such a cynical, dark streak...
After several weeks of CBS being replaced by "Starz Kids and Family," which had some pretty good movies, this past weekend TWC replaced Starz K&F with "Hallmark Movies."
Mrs. Blog liked that change. After weeks of "Cars 2," "The Hobbit," and "BeetleJuice," she got this weekend's "Perry Mason Marathon."
And, she liked it.
Because, even though The Blog portrays himself as an old codger, Mrs. Blog, who is a mere two weeks younger than The PC, outdoes him. She loves her reruns of "Perry Mason," "Diagnosis Murder," and "Murder, She Wrote," more than just about anything.
So, when we discovered that TWC and CBS had, finally, settled their battle, Mrs. Blog's first thought was...
"I'm not going to get to see the rest of the "Perry Mason Marathon."
So, you see, I can't win.