Sunday, July 27, 2008

Oklahoma City $$Cash Cab$$

I know it's a New York City cab on the show — I'm presuming you've seen it. Asking questions, winning bucks and even kicking a blind man and elderly woman with at cane out when they answered wrong. What if two gals and a guy got into the OKC Cash Cab at Will Rogers Airport?

"To Edmond," they declare, as the driver (one of the Ogles that was short enough to fit in the cab) responds, "You're in the OKC Cash Cab! But I don't have enough prize money to get to Edmond, but how about Nichols Hills? Answer these questions to win money on the way, or three strikes and I let you out and you have to catch an OKC bus (or never be seen again)."

"First question: Which is older, the State of Oklahoma or Danny Williams?" The passengers replied, "The State of Oklahoma." "Wrong — it's Danny Williams. That's one strike." 

"Second question: Has Governor Brad Henry ever been on time for anything?" The passengers talk among themselves, "What about the Centennial show, or his inauguration? Our answer is 'YES.'" BUZZ!!! "Wrong!!! Strike two! Governor Brad Henry has never, ever been on time for anything. Remember, you have two shout-outs left, either call your City Council person or you can call a friend, but after all, they didn't even pick you up at the airport, did they?"

"Now, your next question: What was the original title of Toby Keith's hit with Willie Nelson, 'Beer for My Horses, Whiskey for My Men'"? The passengers were in a panic mode, with blank stares between them, the clock ticking. In desperation, one yells "Maps for Beers!" "You're right!!! That's $25."

"We have road construction (imagine that in OKC), so as we're stopped, here's a bonus round question. Name the people's autographed pictures that are on the wall of the Oklahoma City Detox Center? Start guessing now: Eddie Sutton? (right) Barry Switzer? (right) One of those lawyers on the TV ads? (right, but which one — there's a lot of them) State labor Secretary, Lloyd Fields? (right) That's another $25!"

The next question: "Has anyone ever dove off the Sonic Building and into the Bricktown Canal?" One of the passengers mutters, "I think so..." "Are you sure?" asks another. "Oh, oh!!! I think I know.... That Chad guy in the Fowler commercials, he did it! I saw it one time between America's Greatest Dog and Law & Order." 

"Whatever — Wrong!!! — XXX — BUZZ — Strike Three!!! (The dive was done with video editing.)"

"I'm pulling over — get out! Get out right here, at the Red Dog Saloon. There's probably some people from Edmond in there, maybe you'll catch a ride." 

Thanks for playing $$OKC Cash Cab$$$ !!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Evil Spirits Possess Trolleys

I'm a real veteran of Downtown Oklahoma City. It was my privilege, and I do mean PRIVILEGE, to experience the "Old Downtown OKC" in my youth. 

First, as a newly-turned teen in Junior High, as spooky as it might seem, my neighbor Jack (one year my junior) and I rode the city bus downtown sometimes on Saturday mornings and spent the day there. No, our parents weren't insane (I'm 57 now) — in those times, it was different. 

We could go to the various hodge-podge of stores — Ben Franklins, Walgreens, Katts Drug Store (the Clara Luper sit-in site), more five-and-dime variety stores, big department stores such as John A. Brown, Rothchilds, Montgomery Ward and Kerrs. Lots of big and little clothing stores like Emmer Bros., Top Hat Haberdashery (cool name, huh?) or Streets

Are you getting the picture? It was our version of hanging out at the mall. It had its unglamorous but exciting places, also — old pool halls, domino parlors, Army/Navy surplus stores (all up and down Sheridan and California Streets), pawn shops (if you think they have crap now, back then it was before Best Buy or WalMart) loaded with jewelry, transistor stuff, musical instruments, golf clubs, and even clocks made like hula girls (woo-hoo!). 

There were cavernous book stores with walls of magazines and books — not lattés, frappés or even cherry Cokes. If you even thought about bringing drinks or food into a bookstore, you'd be "banned for LIFE" (I know there had to be a "blacklist"). Now, heck — people read the stuff free, but pay an arm and a leg for the drinks. It's 2008, and we've come a long way!!!

Now, to mention the best parts. First, back then there were nine movie theatres in downtown OKC. Five were very large, ornate, awe-strikingly beautiful old theatres where movies or stage shows had dominated in the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s. That evil spirit of Urban Renewal decimated these wonderful theatres, along with their lobbies, balconies, drapes, detailed sculptured walls and huge "David Letterman Show"-like marquees. We also watched Westerns or Elvis movies in the grubby, small movie joints.

Jack and I had our private playground roaming downtown OKC (without parental supervision) — exploring, poking our heads into places that told us real quick to retreat. Oh, yes, we saw the bums, winos and hookers, but framed it as a documentary in our minds (we couldn't end up like that — after all, we were born in the suburbs — HA!!!)

Last but not least, THE FOOD! It was everywhere in the form of soda fountains, diner counters, cafeterias, junk food places. The variety stores had aisles and aisles of penny candy, Jack's Deli had enormous sandwiches, Greens Lunch Counter had burger baskets with strawberry malts, and Anna Maude's Cafeteria had meat loaf plus a slice of the "Greatest Coconut Pie Ever to Exist on Planet Earth"!

Crash!!! Boom!!! Destroy!!! All this was whisked away with the "Curse of Urban Renewal". 

Now that our downtown is coming back, WE CAN'T RUN THE DARN TROLLEYS ON TIME!!! Our tourist trade, our own people visiting, and the people who live and work downtown everyday need for the gosh-darned trolleys to JUST RUN ON TIME. We will ruin everyone's experience in OKC if their vacation or convention plans are jacked around by the trolleys being unreliable.

I'm submitting the reasoning for the "evil spirits" possessing the Oklahoma Spirit trolleys. I hope the "curse of Urban Renewal" doesn't take a shot at the boats on the canal or Oklahoma River. WET CURSES are the worst kind!!!

As things get hotter, remember to water your foundation. Oklahoma is the BEST place in the nation to buy or sell a home — with "That Real Estate Guy," of course...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mama Mia, It's IKEA!!!

For those uninformed like myself, Ikea (eye-key-a) is a cross between Mathis Brothers Furniture, Pier One Imports and Sam's Club. It's not a store, but a life-changing experience. My experience was in Frisco, Texas.

Methodical yet random, lifestyle or practical, fluff or necessity — all this is the one-hour or one-day quandary a visit will overwhelm you with. Remember, their furniture is all "self-assembly" — code for "YOU put it together". To get your purchase home, they provide roof racks, twine and tarps — or for the "big spenders," an Enterprise rental van. (Shhh!! It's a secret, but they also have a home delivery service.)

Upon entering, the escalator whisks you up to the second floor to start your journey. Big blue arrows on the floor or in the air guide you through a labyrinth of furniture, accessories and whole-house stuff. A lazy stroll through the Living Room area leads to a vast array of wall units, media storage and shelving. Need a Crestmoor lamp (we got one), need an elephant pillow (we got one), need a CD/DVD holder that looks like a Mediterranean footstool (we got one) or a green dragon pal for your pet? That's right — we got one!

Home office? Well, you bet your desk we do. Organizational stuff? "Bin my son, and clutter no more." Or more lights than you could grow on trees — maybe some of them ARE on trees. Little kitchen gadgets that you've lived all your life without, but if you had them, it would be neat (but you couldn't find the darn thing when you needed to use it, anyway).

Bedspreads, linens, rugs (maybe even flying carpets), wicker, batteries, clocks and children's toys. Oh, my gosh — I'm so confused and I'm still just on the second floor!

Then came the real surprise — Ikea has model apartments laid out in different sizes from 677 sq. ft. to maybe 1,000 sq. ft., that are Ikea from top to bottom. Their stuff fills it up — kitchen cabinets, sinks, closet storage with shoe racks, futons, toilets, chairs, dishes, pictures. Oh, my word — it's like an apartment dweller's "Happy Meal" in Barbie House dimensions. 

It's just a little bit freaky that the tea strainer (not for a pot, but for one cup), soap dish and bed are all from one place. If you moved, you could put your "Ikea Happy Meal" apartment in a POD and go anywhere. 2008 is mobile to the third power, and living out the dream is not your board-and-cement-block shelves anymore!

I haven't even gotten to the part about a bistro on the second floor with Italian, Chinese or Continental fare, with background music to engage your senses. Not your thing? Then the smell of cinnamon rolls and 50-cent hot dogs overpower you on the first floor as you enter the "warehouse zone." That's right — you go pluck your own stuff off of huge shelf racks, a.k.a the warehouse, and then proceed to the checkout area to self-check yourself out. 

People were lost like a group of kids playing "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." It works, though — they have these all over the world. Maybe you get one with an NBA team. They could pop one of those "Happy Meals" in one of those OKC downtown apartments.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Are you Deep-Fried or Slow-Roasted?

Well, supposedly everything fried is bad for us. Being from the South (Southwest or South, if only being pegged for food purposes), our whole goal in life is to fry things. Throw it in some hot grease, lard or bacon fat and FRY that sucker!

Grandma's fried chicken, Uncle Fred's fried catfish or Aunt Wanda's fried pies are near and dear to our hearts. OK, I'll breeze by chicken fried steak, but how about the deal with veggies? We can't just eat our veggies, but have to fry okra, squash, green beans or even green tomatoes.

Upscale, downscale, diners, drive-ins or dives all have their version of assorted fried main dishes, side dishes or even desserts. How much crud of cholesterol can you cram in the ol' pipes without getting a "major stoppage"? The better the taste, the worse it probably is for us. If it's a two-paper-towel soaker, then you've died and gone to "Southern heaven". 

The State Fair is a smorgasbord of fried food just reaching out like the Sirens luring sailors to crash on the rocks. Yes, you are right — everything we can think of can be baked or broiled. Oh, yes, it's going to be good for you, but the taste is not the same. It's just not the same to dip a B or B piece of food into a decadent cheesy dip or thick, succulent, creamy, dripping, rich, calorie-laden and spicy sauce. You may be healthy, but can you answer these questions? Have you:
  • Tongued a fried banana?
  • Tasted a fried pickle?
  • Popped in a fried tater tot?
  • Peaked on a fried peach?
Some people from different parts of the country don't even know what okra is or tastes like. Up until the last few years, I thought we had exhausted the prospects of foods to fry, but now we have more choices. Our new beta-blocker bombs are fried Twinkies (they're not your light treat anymore), fried Snickers bars (frying and chocolate — who would have thunk it?) or fried ice cream (being a C student in chemistry, I thought this was impossible).

Death on a stick is a Pronto Pup (corn dog), Long John Silver's fish-flavored fried bricks, or now they have fried pizza. What will be next — fried M&Ms, fried crab dip or fried watermelon? (It's a Southern thing, you know!)

Have you tried fried jalapeños, onions and bell peppers mixed together? This is great! Try Papa Dio's local restaurant on N. May for fried cheese — it's heavenly. A lot of people are hooked on Outback Steak House's "Bloomin' Onion" with the dipping sauce. Another big fan pleaser is fried Chinese food from places like the Grand House on NW 27th and Classen. I didn't mentioned fried eggs (because I don't know if your brain is on drugs or not).

Make a friend — find some skinny person this week and take them out for some fried food! Tell them that if they order something healthy, they're not riding home with you.

Plant a flower, plant a tree, plant a friend — they'll bloom for life!

Oh, by the way — if you know someone buying or selling a home, have them call Glen Ray.