OH!  My God!  Woo-hoo!

 
I might have found a place where I belong in Fort Worth, Texas!  
A fantastic find for the rejuvenation of my soul!  

My review of Boulevard Brew
A coffee house in River Oaks, Texas.

Yes, I finally unearthed a wee bit of Fort Worth Nirvana.  It has taken six years, but it is there.  Thanks to a pandemic spawned downsizing necessity that led us to a new Fort Worth neighborhood, wedged between the cusp of a gentrifying area, a blue blood borough, and a hood where rent should include ammunition, our Fort Worth point of view has altered.  This new frame of reference has revealed a few new Fort Worth gems.  I have a feeling I’ll go on and on about Salsa Limón’s tacos that have no equal, but that’s for another rambling post on another day.  Today, this keyboard spews my lengthy sentences to espouse the goodness of a funky coffee house joint called Boulevard Brew at 5406 River Oaks Boulevard, River Oaks, Texas, about a mile from the new apartment.

I’ve always found a little more balance in my life when I had a few regular hangouts around; either a reclusive restaurant (The Parthenon in Greenwood), a peculiar pub (McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove), a cozy café (The Blue Café just off Purdue’s campus), a gritty greasy spoon (Jr’s Cafe of Saginaw), a bizarre bar (The Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Santa Fe), a hidden hole-in-the-wall (Las Delicias in Española), or a freaky fellowship (my Masonic lodges, the Indianapolis Bonsai Club, or any one of several Presbyterian churches).  So, unfortunately, upon arriving in Fort Worth in the spring of 2015, I searched for some venue to find a foothold for my sense of belonging in this strange new cowboy land and didn’t find it right away (The Cup, Howell’s Western Café, nor the Pure Café).  Yet after several years, slowly some places emerged like the above said JR’s and The Eagle’s Nest.  Additionally, lately, Elias and I have been exploring the lakeside establishments on Eagle Mountain Lake, finding a few to frequent (Augie’s Sunset Café).  But, no place has excited me more than Boulevard Brew did tonight, at least in a decade or two.

When I walked into the Boulevard Brew carrying the new rollable DGT chessboard that the Boyz gave me for Christmas (they shouldn’t have – it cost twice as much as I could afford to spend on them), the barista called out to me, “You just missed chess night.”  Sarah, a twenty-something provider of caffeinated liquid goodness, smiled a delightful charm-distributing smile that reminded me that I’m a 53-year-old man. 

“Excuse me,” I squinted.  Sarah explained that another barista had started a chess night to promote the most excellent of board games.  Then, she proceeded to pour me a cup of joe and took the hint that I prefer mine black without any ceremonial formality or inflated descriptive java jargon.  Excessive vocabulary goes into my prose, not my coffee cup.  Then it hit me, joy, “THEY HAVE A CHESS NIGHT!”

I should also note that shortly after the chess night revelation, it also hit me that the coffee cost $3.25.  But then again, like the pretty young girl’s smile, a three-digit price tag on coffee also reminds me I am a 53-year-old man.  So this price shock is not the coffee house’s problem, but mine.  You see, a cup of coffee in 1968, the year I was born, cost $0.40 (The Price of Coffee the Year You Were Born).  So even though that the 1968 .40 ¢, when adjusted for inflation, is equivalent to $3.19 in 2021 dollars and the average price of A Cup of Coffee in Texas right now is $2.52, I’m still psychologically stunned at the concept of that charge.  Nevertheless, it’s a very fair price, considering the ambiance and CHESS NIGHT.

Then, get this, it’s no joke; I struck up a joyful conversation with some dude with a fantastic chest-length beard named Joe.  Oops!  The dude was named Joe, not the beard.  Did I compose a dangling non-participial modifier or something (Jeanne Shafer Apple Bedwell or Kelly Short – some grammatical help here, please)?  Writing was more manageable when I could run a draft by Mom, ugg.  

Anyway, I was having a cup of joe with Joe, AND he was preparing his DM’s notes for his weekly D&D campaign night.  So, setting aside his homework, Joe offered me a monolog on the high quality of baked goods Boulevard Brew offers.  However, I quit listening because I was still soaking in the fact that the most excellent of roleplaying games, D&D, also took place at these tables.  So, chess and D&D (and tasty-baked-goods-whatever), I did call this place “Nirvana” at the top of this longwinded text, remember? 

As for the ambiance mentioned above, the front room looks like a clean café trope should.  You see a barista’s station, a counter with a cash register or rather a new-fangled Apple touchscreen thingy, baked goods in a display case, a collection of 1950’s celebrities’ photographs on the wall, a few high tables with stools, a comfy couch with a coffee table displaying some artsy magazines, USB plugs nearby for charging devices, and chalkboard menus (got to have chalkboard menus even with today’s tech).  Yes, cliché; yes, clean.  Yes, I know. 

But, keep looking, and you’ll find local artwork on the walls, more seating in a room behind the barista’s station arranged in little nooks of more comfy couches, and space for a band.  A closer study of Boulevard Brew will show the comfortable sofas, coffee tables, lamps, and other furniture accessories are 50’s/60’s retro. 

Wait!  Wow!  Did I gloss over “space for a band?”  Whoa!  I checked out their website, and I found live music dates!  Weekly live music!  Kwin Smith, “we’ll put the band back together, do a few gigs, we get some bread.  Bang!  Five thousand bucks.”

Sarah added that Kris Franks, the owner, has applied for a beer and wine license.  They are planning to set up a bar and keep later hours.  Right now, they remain open till 6:00 PM.  Am I dreaming?  Does this place exist?

By the way, I’m not too fond of text with more than one exclamation point.  It makes me dyspeptic.  It’s cheap and silly.  I’m sorry; I humbly ask for forgiveness. 

But, do you blame me?  

 

Coffee!  Caffeinated liquid goodness!  Chess Night!  D&D! Baristas!  Delightful, charming smiles!  Local artwork!  Joe’s fantastic chest-length manly-man beard!  USB outlets!  50’s/60’s retro interior design!  Chalkboard menus!  Weekly live music!  Future booze flow!

All for $3.25!

OMG!

I am mostly sure I haven’t hallucinated the place.  I could have slipped into Oz or something.  I’m going to go back tomorrow after a session with a client.  I need to prove to myself the place is real.  I’ll offer an excuse that I need to take some photos for this review; I need some images other than the stock one I’m using now.  I couldn’t just gank some images from their website; that would be a copyright infringement.  The last thing I need is a cease and desist letter from their lawyer, especially after giving the place such a scathing review.  $3.25, indeed!

Please, note: I have some additions, improved formatting, additions images, and a wee bit of editing I want to do to this post. but, I had so much fun writing it, I just wanted to get it published.  Like, what the hell is “FUNCTIONAL TEA FLAVORS?” I need to know.  So… More to come. – Michael

 

 

 

 

This year, I got knocked out on November 11th!
That is a record (pun intended).

John Tarman and I play a holiday game every year starting about now. It’s called Dodgesong. But I’m already out, out as of November 11th while innocently walking through a Walmart parking lot.

 

Holiday Dodgesong Game

So one of my favorite holiday traditions is playing Holiday Dodgesong with John Tarman. In Holiday Dodgesong players try to see who can go the longest without hearing Paul McCartney’s 1979 dirty ditty, Anthem for the Commercialization of Christmas, Ballad of Bah Humbug, Psalm of Psychological Torture, Shanty of Sh… (well you get the idea), it’s the Christmas song “Wonderful Christmastime.” Once you hear the music you’re out. Once you’re out you must immediately call the other players to declare you’ve been taken out by the mass-market holiday song. After making the declaration you may freely begin complaining about the start of the “Holiday Season.” 

The complaints are not about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Yule, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Advent, Festivus, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day, Winter’s Solstice, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or Epiphany specifically.  But the grievances usually center around commercialization, broadening marketing scope, and premature holiday cheer-ulation. 

Some traditional criticisms are how you’re not ready for Christmas, how Christmas creep annoys the hell out of you, how everyone has missed the true meaning of Christmas, etc., etc. You may pontificate on any other pre-holiday gripes you may have once your ears catch that tune. An especially popular expressed beef is about wives oozing with Christmas cheer in early November.

It should be noted that the winner, the last player to report hearing the song, receives nothing for their victory.  The satisfaction of a holiday season without “Wonderful Christmastime.” is rewarding enough. The trick is not to go anywhere with holiday music playing until the other player has gotten knocked out. I think I made it to December 23rd one year. That was a happy year and a perfect time to start holiday shopping.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge Paul McCartney fan, my friends can attest for that. I was even accused, in the late 1990s, “If Paul McCartney made a CD of him farting, you’d buy it.”  I’m a big fan. 

But that song blaring through some retail establishment’s PA system makes my teeth sting! I think you’d all agree; it’s nauseating.

So, since I’m out, I thought you might comment below when and where you first hear the song this year. Gripes are bonus points.

Oops! You’re out! You can start complaining!

Dad's Feed an Army of 3 Chili! - Single Dad Recipe

This chili recipe is an emergency recipe. I usually would not use all the canned ingredients if I could help it. So, when hatch green chili is not in season, I’m generally in trouble. I’ve lived all over the country, which allows me to blend many different regional styles of chili to form my own. Most always, my chili is improvised. I do have a few rules. First, at 52 years old, I can damn cook chili without any beans in it. Second, a spiced-up hamburger is not chili. My chili needs to feature chili, not the meat, usually hatch green chili. That said, here is the chili I did tonight. It turned out fantastic!
Anyway, I accidentally bought 5 lbs. of hamburger instead of the 3 lbs. I had intended. And for some reason, I didn’t catch the error until I had started browning it. The fact, it was overflowing with my 12’ cast iron skillet should have been a clue.
Anyway, my usual recipe was now out of whack, so I just started improvising. Saying I’m going to start improvising is odd as I always improvise when I cook, so this was improvising on top of improvising.
Anyway, it’s all in the slow cooker for the next 10 hours. Look over the ingredients list, tell me what you think, how many servings I will get (25?). The goal of this batch is to freeze for my sons to use as frozen dinners.
Anyway, I have overused the word “Anyway” in excess of two extra pounds of hamburger.
At the first tasting, about an hour into the “slow and low,” I’d say, “The chili had a sweet chunky start with a lingering heat.” But no real kick. That’s when I decided to add the tiger sauce and cayenne pepper! The cayenne sure shored up the front end. My eyes watered from the tasting. The Tiger Sauce will take care of the tail! But, It’ll need a full 10 hours in the crockpot to "slow and low" blend all the tastes.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time10 hrs
Portion and Freeze15 mins
Total Time13 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili, Pre-made Meals, Single Dad Hack, Single Dad Recipes
Servings: 12 Large Servings

Equipment

  • Slow cooker
  • 12' cast-iron skillets
  • Cooking spoon
  • Food processer
  • Freezer strength zip-bags

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs. Lean hamburger browned and drained
  • 3 Large Chopped White Onions
  • 3 Large Chopped Green Bell Peppers I left about half the seeds
  • 3 10 Oz Can Casa Mamita Original Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • 3 4 Oz Can Hatch Select Diced Green Chilies - Hot
  • 2 6 Oz Can Happy Harvest Tomato Past
  • 2 8 Oz can Happy Harvest Tomato Sauce
  • 2 1¼ Oz Pack Stone Mill- Original Chili Seasoning mix
  • 1 Tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbsps. Garlic Power
  • 3 Tbsps. Ground Cayenne pepper
  • 1 5 oz bottle Tiger Sauce The Original

Instructions

  • Mix all in a large slow cooker set on low. Let cook for 10 hours.
  • Place 2 cup portions into sandwitch baggies and then into quart size freezer baggies.
a mosh pit at a Joan Baez concert

My 2020 One-Liners

I’ve been writing a joke a day for over 2 years now.  It’s been an antidepression skill.  So, I thought to share some of my better one-liners from the past year.  I had a nice explanation and introduction planned about humor and treating depression, but that was a buzz kill.  We can talk about that at another time.  Here are my one-liners:

Visual 2020 One-Liners:

— An interpretive display of emoji in the form of George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words:

?, ??, ??, ???, ??, ?‍?‍???, & ?  Do better!

 

That really needs to go on a T-shirt!


Standard 2020 One-Liners:

— My memory so good I remember things that didn’t even happen.

— In the immortal words of George W. Bush, “That was some weird shit.”

— You know, ABBA’s song Fernando really holds up. It sucks as much today as it did in 1976.

— I remember my junior year at Purdue, I was so upset that I couldn’t attend my Psychology 403 final, went to the bar, and got blotto drunk because my mom had told me the truth about Santa.

— Saying “we need to think outside the box” is a very in-the-box type of thinking.

— I was very fond of the music in the ‘80s. I especially like it when Madonna left the Beatles and formed Wheezer with Willie Nelson and Dean Martin.

— Hello, welcome to the poetry hotline; examples of onomatopoeia are Aaaaaaa, ohuuuuu, and Thrupppppp. 

— My hypnagogic audio hallucinations have a broader vocabulary than I do. Man; that’s really weird.

— You know it’s going to be a good day when after the morning constitutional your bidet is straight on target?

— Tonight I grilled some steaks, it was rare enough that a good Purdue veterinarian could have it back on its feet in 15 minutes


Elias’ 2020 One-Liners

— if our velocity stays at 0 miles an hour, we will arrive in an infinite number of hours.


Pandemic 2020 One-Liners

— I just looked in the mirror and my soul shuddered like an epileptic experiencing a piss shiver.

— The pandemic’s treating me like it caught me sleeping with his wife.

— Don’t hurt yourself, I don’t want to have to put on pants and a mask just to go to the ER.

— Do you ever think we’re living in some satanic version of Matryoshka dolls with disasters and crises nested inside disasters and crises?


Rock and Roll Advice 2020 One-Liners

— I did listen to John Mellencamp… partially. I forgot all about that macho shit, but I forgot to learn how to play guitar.

— I also didn’t really heed the Rolling Stones. I know I can’t always get what I want. Yet, I didn’t really try as Mick suggested, so I have also not gotten what I need.

— I just out and out ignored Kenny Rogers. I have never known when to hold ’em, never known when to fold ’em, never known when to walk away, and never known when to run. And somehow, I’ve always counted my money when I sat at the table.

— And for Christ’s Sake, do not tell Aerosmith that I have not dreamt until my dreams came true.

— Alas, Idina Mendel told me to, “Let It Go.” I didn’t.

— Finally, 2020 made me Stop Believin’, even though Journey told me not to.

— Is Bobby Sue from Take The Money and Run the same person as Bobby McGee? I have never seen Steve Miller and Kris Kristofferson; they might be the same person.


Simile 2020 One-Liners

— My ears buzz more than a tipsy bumblebee ? trying to hump his reflection on the tip of y’all’s grand momma’s stainless-steel “massager.” (I have wicked Tinnitus)

— … like the self-righteousness of a small-town cop pulling over a tie-dye clad driver of a VW bus.

 


Lalochezia Producing 2020 One-Liners

(Coming soon to a Subscribers only content)

Okay, a Lalochezia inducing teaser:

— In the Lalochezia reboot of I Love Lucy, the twin beds are replaced by a king-sized waterbed and I would LOVE Lucy.


Political One-Liners

—What this country needs is just for Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Ted Cruz to sit down to have dinner together and a good heart to -heart attack.

— I am starting to view my political perspective as an anarchist. Not the type of anarchy proposed by punk rockers with studded leather and military surplus boots, but the classical form of anarchy espoused by Ronald Reagan.

— Anyone else gets RuPaul and Rand Paul mixed up?

~ Uh… No more; we don’t know each other well enough yet.

 

 

 

 

Note: I really wanted to have some kind of voting or rating for each joke.  Does anyone know of a WordPress Plugin for that?

 

Now, Your Turn in the Comments!