Category Archives: Fried Chicken

There’s a Pencil Storm Coming, Mr. Wayne

When Colin asked me to submit the occasional post to his new blog Pencil Storm, I knew exactly what he was talking about. He probably wanted me to come in there like Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross with a Type A Blogging Presentation, really whip the other bloggers in to shape.

Or better yet, a Gordon Ramsay kind of thing – Tommy C’s Blogging Nightmares! He’d probably have them all in a big, open blogging chamber, give them something to blog about, and then I’d go around yelling at them and calling them names, trying to make them cry. Some Tough Love – sure, Colin, I could serve some of that up.

Gordon Ramsay“No,” Colin explained. “That’s not it at all. Are you drunk?”

Well, I don’t think it’s a fair question and it’s an ambiguous term anyway. He probably meant, let’s play it a little lower key than that, so the guys don’t get frustrated and productivity doesn’t halt. Got to think about the shareholders, roger that. I got you, Colin.

“Again,” Colin said patiently – he’s a very patient man, you just want to reach out and squeeze him like a patient, hard-rocking teddy bear. “Again, no. I’m just talking about a slice of wiseassery, maybe once a week. Since you’re sitting around being a wiseass anyway, and since we’ve known each other for twenty-five years, and since that’s how the blogosphere is. Kumbaya, you dig?”

A long paragraph, I’m afraid I didn’t catch the middle, just got startled out of a little mini-trance by the word “Kumbaya.”

I said, “Yeah, I’ll come by and crack some skulls for you, pal. No problem. Send over a car.”

Not how blogging works, and Colin seemed all-too-aware that I could log on to Pencil Storm from my own computer. Plus, I was standing right in front of him – no need for a car at all. Well, he’d certainly done his homework.

“Listen, Colin, if you don’t need my asskicking services then why did you call me in the first place? That’s my question.” Really leaned back and gave him the Russian Chess Player stare, too. Kind of like, Riddle Me This, Hotshot.

So Colin – again, very patiently, he’s just an absolute peach – tried explaining, “No, no. I didn’t call you, remember? This is my coffee shop and you just walked in and nobody said anything about you kicking any ass.”

I took a nice, tasty drink of steaming hot coffee, wondering why I would have just walked into Colin’s Coffee out of the clear blue sky and then imagined Colin hiring me to be a jerk to his bloggers. Mmmmmmmmm, it was good coffee.

So I left and sprang very slowly into action over the next few weeks. I did a little research on Pencil Storm by putting on a cool hat and going to Pencil Storm and reading what was posted there. It turned out everybody over there was better and smarter and more popular than me, and I felt a little bit like Jan Brady. One of the guys – Johnny DiLoretto – I remember from The Other Paper, where he used to write movie reviews which generated John Petric volumes of letters to the editor.

“I don’t know what movie you were watching, and I don’t like your tone, Johnny, and yip, yip yip.” That sort of thing.

That’s some hip, local stuff there, Rest of the Blogosphere, so just skip it or pretend like you got it so you look hip. There you go.

One of the other guy’s on the radio. He’s like the guy who goes and buys vinyl abums and then makes you listen to them even if you’re a tone deaf blogger who’s driving to Newark on Sunday morning. Sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, but he’s going to make me crash my car one of these days.

Editor 2And there’s an editor – that freaked me out. The cool thing about not having an editor is you can post whatever you want and no one can stop you. The downside being of course that someone should frequently stop me, and I don’t talk too good and I spell less gooder, and also if you have undiagnosed mental disorders and no editor, then everyone is going to know about them.

Still I started walking around bitching about “my editor” for the better part of the week because it made me feel very writery. Damn, my editor is all over my ass about this unspecified assignment that Colin offered me on a whim because I ordered coffee and then just stood there looking at him instead of leaving.

As a result, the piece I’ve got up there now – you heard me, I called it a piece, because that’s what my editor calls them and he’s the boss, apple sauce – took about four weeks to write. I had also known the editor – Mr. Jeff Hassler – for decades and I remember that he was very, very scary. One time he snapped and beat an entire hackey sack circle to death with a tree branch on The Oval during the Turbulent Nineties. And everything I knew about editors in general, I had learned from comic books and their movie adaptations.

What do you do when you’re not Spiderman, Tommy C?

Well, what I did was hide for a while and now I’ve got a post up there. You can go see it by clicking right here.


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Things I Would Appreciate

That’s something I get asked a lot – Tom, is there anything I could do to make the world a better place for you?

Well, sure, that’s a great question.  If someone is reading this blog out loud to you, then you might want to get out a pencil and jot down some notes, because there are in fact plenty of things you could do that I would appreciate, and if everyone pitches in just a little, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how happy and productive I become.

For example.  Fried chicken or cupcakes.  I mean, I’m not saying you need to knock both of those things out and drive them over or anything, that would be kind of presumptuous of me.

No, just pick whichever one you are really good at.  My friend Sarah for instance – TWO fried chicken dinners last year.  Two of them.  Look yourself in the eye, blogosphere – have you been sitting around talking about how much Tom deserves a homemade, buttermilk fried chicken dinner, or have you gotten up off your can and done something about it?

And if you’re not very good at frying chicken, or if you have never done it and are concerned about handing me a plate of substandard chicken (a solid concern, which I appreciate in and of itself), then you could always do what my friend and coworker Julie does – you could make a different sort of gourmet cupcake every day or so, and then bring me four of them.

Yes, I know.  You might think from my previous post Enormous Cupcakes Are Not The Answer that I am somehow against cupcakes.  Not true.  That post was about obesity in America and cupcakes the size of your head, and I stand by it.  If you want to help America, then don’t make a giant cupcake for every man, woman and child in the country.  Pass out some celery sticks or something, I’ve lost interest in that subject, I don’t know.

But I’m a big fan of shooting off my mouth about what everyone else should or shouldn’t do, and then doing whatever I like, and that goes for cupcakes, too.  Julie understands this.   Why don’t you?

And just to illustrate how thoroughly she understands this, Julie just poked her head into my office (which is of course actually someone else’s office), and said, man, maybe Sarah and I should get together sometime, that way you could have chicken and cupcakes at the same time.  Or even some kind of chicken-flavored cupcake.

That’s nothing short of inspiring, Amish Barn-Raising-Style.  Do you see Julie’s stock going through the roof right now?  See, that could be your stock, but you’re just sitting there, aren’t you?

Anyway, if you don’t know how to make either of those things, then don’t try swinging by Giant Eagle and buying their versions, because you don’t want to insult me, right?  Just message me and I will put you in contact with Sarah or Julie, and I’m sure they can work out a reasonable rate for you, so they can make their own asskicking versions of those things, and then you can be the one who brings them by.

I would certainly appreciate it, and thanks again for asking.

Aside from that, I guess there are a few other things I would appreciate.  Like I guess if Wendy’s wanted to stop bragging about their “natural cut” fries with “sea salt” then I’d probably feel a lot better.  It just seems like they’re trying to imply that their fries are somehow healthy and holistic.

What does that even mean?  Who in their right mind would give a shit about the manner in which you cut your super processed food item right before you drop it into a vat of boiling fat?  I know that all you mean is, you’re not going to peel them. 

In fact, Wendy’s, go ahead and stop showing commercials period.  You are a multi-billion dollar disgrace to the memory of possibly the greatest American to ever live besides Colonel Sanders himself.  My memories of what Wendy’s used to be are a precious childhood memory, and every time I buy something from you now, it’s like the toddler zombie from Pet Sematary comes horrifically dancing out the drive thru window at me and throws whatever I ordered in my face.

See, now I’m getting all worked up and losing my whole train of thought.  That’s what happens, I’ve been trying to tell you.

Okay, what else?  Well, I guess if we could all stop conducting our political discussions like we’re on the old Less Filling/Tastes Great commercials for Miller Lite, I’d probably appreciate that.  And if we could also stop defending our Less Filling/Tastes Great arguments with variations of the old He Started It Defense, that’d be great, too.

Also, I know someone is buying those pajama jeans, so if it’s you, either stop it or buy enough for the rest of us.  Tom like jeans.  Tom likes pajamas.  Quit being so selfish.

And speaking of selfish, it also bothers me when people bother people I know.  Like as my friend Moira pointed out the other day, I know a LOT of bartenders.  None of them like it when you stand there doing a perky little skit about what kind of drink you might like to have and whether or not it goes with your purse.  If you don’t know what you want from my bartender friends yet, then close your mouth and think it through before you call them over to you.  They are very, very busy (possibly because of me).

Also, quit telling me how to type and don’t mail me anything because I don’t open my mail and stop putting bumper stickers on your car because NOTHING is permanently clever or funny. And if you’re my neighbor, stop feeding the wrong kind of birds, because my wife sounds like a really angry bird indeed when she’s standing at the window hollering about it.

Also, no more big inflatable Christmas statues in your front yards – I find them crass.

Thanks a bunch.  You can utilize the comment section below as a Cupcake/Fried Chicken sign-up sheet, in case you are worried about batshit bonkers notions like Too Many Cupcakes or Too Much Fried Chicken (I can assure you, I am not). 

To avoid scalping, I’m afraid the sign-up spots will have to be non-transferable.  Void where prohibited.  Blogger is not responsible for injuries incurred while preparing tasty treats for him.  Member FDIC.


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The OSU-Michigan Time Warp

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was recovering from eating eight pounds of tasty Thanksgiving food, and realized Actual Greeno was in town from Chicago.  So I knocked out a quick post about my King Kong glass, and then jumped in a car to drive out to Springfield and get him.  This was of course followed by a delightful dinner in the Short North, a few tasty glasses of Stella down at Mac’s Cafe, and then six hours of bar stool wiseassery at the King Avenue Five.

But it wasn’t yesterday.  It was two days ago.  Alien abduction-style, I am missing a full day, and it’s all because of the OSU-Michigan rivalry, which goes way back several centuries to a dispute over which state had to take Toledo.  Obviously, we lost and we appear to have never gotten over it.

So all of the sudden, it’s the next day and Greeno and I were suddenly sitting in a bar again with bloody marys in front of us, and the entire city was also sitting in bars, acting like that was a perfectly normal thing to do at ten o’clock in the morning.  It’s not, you know.

It turns out, this ancient rivalry is expressed in the form of football.  Given how excited everyone was, and given what time we were all in a bar, I had assumed it was a big military conflict, something on the scale of the Iraq Invasion. 

Football games are quite long, but I think that I did a lot better than normal, for a dude who knows about as much about the game as I do about Harry Potter.  For example, I was almost always clapping at the correct time, and for the most part, I could tell you why I was clapping.  Sometimes, there was a little confusion with regards to how long I ought to be clapping – I feel kind of silly clapping at a box on the wall for more than a second or two, even if everyone else is doing the same thing.

I remember the effect this game has on the city quite well, from my days as a campus bartender back in the early nineties.  A normal shift for a bartender on a day like this is sixteen hours, and one thing I can tell you is that you will be doing yourself and your bartender a big favor if you figure out what the hell you want to drink before you get the bartender’s attention.  They’re in kind of a hurry back there, and they don’t think it’s cute or funny when you call them over to observe you as you chew on your lip and think about various drinks and giggle.

You might also think it’s funny to simply order “beer,” the joke being I think that you don’t care what kind of beer, you just want beer.  Unfortunately, bartenders do not have the option of choosing for you – there are typically a hundred different kinds of beers back there.  It’s not nearly as funny or admirable as you might think.  Not very funny, and somewhat time-consuming.

Also, do not drink and drive.  That’s true anytime, of course, but even more so on the day of the OSU-Michigan game, since the cops are out in full force and they’re low on cash.  They can literally pull people over at random and score DUIs, like plucking trout from a stream.

No, a better solution is to call your wife circa eleven o’clock and admit that you seem to be in a bar again, and just maybe add that a ride home would be super, but maybe not for five or six more hours.  Then, forget to eat any meals and try to talk louder and louder each hour.

When the game is over, be certain to notice who won.  I’m pretty sure it was OSU because nobody ran outside and started flipping cars over or burning couches.  Even if you brought it up a few times, it was like it just wouldn’t take hold.

When my wife arrived, she failed to bring any fried chicken despite my brother’s very clear and repeated requests for it, but that was fine.  No problem.  I had, after all, left to go out with Greeno something like twenty hours before that, so all in all, we had to admit that she was being a pretty good sport.

Really, it was like some kind of trap.  There was no reason to allow or condone my behavior, but she seemed to think it was pretty funny and perfectly fine.  In the car, I said, from now on, I’m not going to go out twice at the same time, and I’m always going to remember to eat meals, and once we get home, remind me to post something on Future Tom because I haven’t done that yet.

Then it was eight hours later.  Still no fried chicken.  Still nobody angry at Tom or hollering at Tom, still a decent weekend.  So I just posted something about the time warp I just went through, and that counts as Saturday.  Even though Saturday’s almost gone.

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Posted by on November 28, 2010 in Fried Chicken, Knuckleheads, Time Travel


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The Gross But Oddly Inspiring Chicken Man

Jason walked into the living room and put down six boxes of fried chicken, and told me not to touch any of them, and then he went outside again.  I put my beer down and leaned forward and inspected the grease-spotted boxes.  They were featureless and white, as if the chicken wasn’t from anywhere in particular at all.

I opened the top box, counting the pieces – maybe sixteen of them in there, looked pretty good, too.  Then Jason came in with six more boxes of chicken and started barking the first letter of the alphabet at me.

“Ay!  Ay, Ay, Ay!  I said don’t touch the chicken!”

Right, no problem, then in walked Rob, carrying a couple of boxes of chicken and an expression that was one part grim, one part amused.  Rob was the taller of the two, his hair cut short and his face shaved regularly, while Jason was the sort of long-haired dude who stayed in shape, like he ought to be playing bass in a dive bar someplace with his shirt off.

These two guys cleaned up offices or something, this must have been the remains of a catered lunch – a pretty good haul.

Jason selected a single box of chicken and said, “There you go.  You can have as much of that box of chicken as you like.”

Couldn’t argue with that.  Chomp, chomp, chomp.  After a couple of pieces, it occurred to me – “Say, what are you going to do with the other eleven boxes of chicken?”

A little bit of a giggle out of Rob, sitting across the room in a recliner now, watching Quantum Leap. 

Jason got up and picked up a few of the boxes and told me, “I’m going to eat them.”

Then he went into the kitchen and started fitting them in the fridge, coming back for two or three more boxes, fitting them in there.  He had a thoughtful, careful look on his face, as if decorating a Christmas tree.

We were living on campus though I don’t think Jason was in school, just sort of hanging around all shirtless and laid back, distracting the ladies from his less attractive roommates.  And now it looked like he had an endless supply of fried chicken, too – he was going to be unstoppable.

I sat there doing the math while he fit all but a single box of chicken into the fridge.   About sixteen pieces in each box, eleven boxes, let’s see.  Carry the two.

That’s a metric assload of fried chicken, I reckoned.  “There’s no way,” I told him.  “There’s no way in hell you’re eating all that chicken.”

“Here’s the important part,” Jason told me.  “Well, hold on, let me just get everyone down here, this is important.”

So then Jason basically called a household press conference, in which he told us all firmly and politely that he intended to eat every single piece of chicken in all of the boxes in the fridge.  That the single box he’d given to me was the only one which anyone was allowed to eat out of, unless that person was Jason.  That he had just scored a full week’s food, and he intended to very efficiently use it.

“Protein is very good for you when you’re active,” he informed me.  Then he took a box of chicken upstairs with him, to bed.

Now it was true that food was something of an issue in a house with five twenty year-old dudes in it.  I had a little refrigerator up in my room which was kept locked up nice and tight, so I definitely understood why he felt the need for clarity.  Putting down a sandwich in that house was like putting it down in a goat pen – just kiss it goodbye.

But I had to follow him up there anyway, telling him, “Man, you can’t eat a hundred and sevety five pieces of chicken.”

“Well, don’t worry about me,” Jason replied, and I went around the corner and was shocked to find that although he didn’t have a fridge in his room, he kept a case of Natural Light up there anyway, and drank it warm. 

“That’s gross,” I told him.

“What’d I just say?”

A remarkable strategy – you don’t need to lock up your food and beer if it’s all really gross.

So okay, I left him be, and then the next day, I came home from class and there he was, sitting in the living room eating out of a box of chicken.  It turned out that he knew he was eating the fried chicken, and didn’t really have anything else to say about it.  Didn’t really appreciate the rehash, from my end.  No problem.

Then the days started creeping by, and the white, Chicken Box Monolith in the fridge began to recede like a polar ice cap.  There were seven boxes left, then six.  Then five.

Pretty soon, nearly a full week had gone by, and I found Jason lying in his room watching a movie, frowning, looking quite green, still eating chicken.

I told him that he didn’t have anything to prove and that he could stop eating the chicken anytime, no one was going to judge him.  “We’d all probably be pretty relieved,” I added.

“I can do it,” Jason said grimly.  “Only one box to go after this.”

I turned a straight-backed chair around, the way your health teacher does when he’s trying to get down there on your level and tell you how it is.  I said, “Listen, you’re going to kill yourself.  You’re going to die, trying to eat all that chicken.  You got nothing to prove, man.  That’s got to be what?  About twenty chickens we’re talking about?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“Are you some kind of ogre or troll or what?”

“Take your quitter talk downstairs, will you?  I’m working here.”

“Jason.  That chicken’s like the guy Rocky fought.  It’s a killer, Rock.  You got to stop, because I don’t believe it can physically be done.  I might have to call the cops or something.”

Jason took a swig of room-temperature Natty Light and told me, “You will, Tom.  You will believe a man can eat twenty chickens.”

Gave me chills.  And yes, in the fullness of time, he turned out to be right.  He got every single piece of that chicken down, and spent not a single dime that week on any other kind of food.  I was wrong to doubt him – he really could eat a metric assload of fried chicken, more than I’ve ever seen any man eat in my entire life.  

Doesn’t make it a good idea, though.


Posted by on November 22, 2010 in Fried Chicken, Future Tom Grab Bag


A Very Facebook Birthday

As you have probably heard by now, it is my birthday, and I certainly hope that you have all of your My Birthday shopping done, because the malls are going to be jam-packed.  Here in central Ohio, there is actually a Traveller’s Advisory.

And yes, some people like to wait until after My Birthday and take advantage of the After My Birthday Sales, but that’s tacky.  You know it’s tacky, and I know it’s tacky.  Come on now. 

All you have to do is send over some pancakes or fried chicken or both.  I’m pretty sure FedEx has a special shipping container for those things.  Or alternatively, you could send them by some sort of Something-O-Gram, but not a Strip-O-Gram unless it’s after ten, and to be safe, you might want to make it a dude.

Also, you know, I’ve been registered for the last two months at the Container Store and the Dress Barn (it’s my birthday, I don’t have to explain anything to you) so that you could avoid the big last minute snarl, but if you’ve procrastinated this long then there is nothing I can do for you.  Sack up.

Digitally, it’s my first Facebook birthday, so I was really looking forward to everybody saying Happy Birthday to me on my wall.  It was every bit as exciting as I hoped it would be, and in fact I spent several hours going through and thanking everybody one at a time.  I found myself thinking about how I go about it, when it’s someone else’s birthday – do I post a general Happy Birthday, or do I try to come up with something personal and specific?

That was a new thing for me, thinking about other people.  Did you know that there are all kinds of other people out there besides me?  I started to wonder if I’d ever said Happy Birthday to anyone at all.  Do my children have birthdays?  It seems like they probably do.

That made me wonder if every single one of my Facebook friends was going to say happy birthday to me, or if some of them were going to sort of fade, you know like when you’re in a middle school choir concert and a solid one half of your fellow classmates are not singing?

Like the Dalai Lama.  He’s supposed to be my Facebook Friend, but he hasn’t said a WORD.  Some friend.  I know he’s at One with everything, but it takes TWO of us for me to be wished a Happy Birthday by you.  It’s not like I’m China, dude – quit being so negative.

Then I also started wondering – do some people have an automated Facebook program that just goes around dropping a generic birthday greeting on whoever’s birthday page it is?  Somehow that wouldn’t be as meaningful to me as it is when you click the prompt on your homepage and type it out with buttons.  If I find out folks were doing that I’m going to click on my webcam while I weep about it and pound on my desk, then I’m going to post the video on your Facebook page.  Feel my wrath!

Also a Wife Problem develops:  These are all women, practically, every single one of them!  Who are all these women?  Like there’s a bunch of dudes hanging around on Facebook – give me a break.

Fortunately, the Wife’s not too Facebook literate.  I just said, no, sweetheart those are transvestites, it’s cool.  She squints at the screen.  All right then, she says.  This from a woman who keeps running off to South America like Mark Sanford, and who switched her relationship status from married to “In An Open Relationship” when she was pissed at me four months ago, and never switched it back.

I was sitting in bar when she did that, which I think is what she was pissed about.  I clicked “like,” having no idea there was any kind of problem – really I think I had forgotten my name and where I lived and who my wife was in the first place.  But you can bet your ass I didn’t screw around with my own relationship status.

Facebook is good for making you feel like you are having a big party when you are really sitting there by yourself in workout pants stalling until there’s no more time to workout, especially if you are wearing one of those beer hats with two straws and listening to the Animal House soundtrack.

What I tried to do this year was focus not on the joy and well-wishing from everyone, but instead on the bitterness and spite – that’s kind of my thing.  I was bitter because, here in the real world, what had my own family given me?  Love and presents and adoration and a steak dinner?  Well, sure.  They’re awesome, and I suck – are you happy now?

Well, I am.  Thanks everybody for the birthday wishes, unless you didn’t send any.  And if you didn’t there’s still time.

PS – Popeye’s doesn’t count as fried chicken.  Popeye’s a cartoon, don’t be silly.


Posted by on October 27, 2010 in Fried Chicken, Phoning It In