Thursday, December 24, 2015

Top 10 Not to Give Gift Ideas at Christmas.

So in typical traditional fashion, it's Christmas and I am again sick.  As I do have the strength of 10 3rd graders, I am able to cobble together this holiday blog entry.  Never mind the bright light above me with people waving me in.  I have been pondering this Christmas season and have wondered to myself about what not to give for a Christmas present.  To be honest, I got the idea from the BBQ Central Radio Show hosted by Greg Rempe.  He too addressed the 'what not to give' gift list on his show this past week; however, I have a few additions that appear to have been overlooked.  I graciously share them with you now.

10)  Any type of boudoir picture set.  Yes, it seems like a sexy and original idea, but no matter how many times your husband promises not to show them, he will.  We can't help ourselves.  So unless you want your husband's creepy friend staring at you like you are dinner, avoid this one.

9)  A membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.  It didn't make Clarke Griswold happy, and it won't make your Uncle Bob too excited either.

8)  Chlamydia.  No matter how nice the packaging or delivery, it's still a social disease.

7)   Anything that was once living and is now stuffed.  No explanation needed.

6)  Any CD set that includes music from anyone that 50% of the people in the room can't identify.....or Justin Beiber.

5)  Clothing for a woman.  Men, you can never win this one.  Too small and she will go into a dieting craze that will drag you down with it.  That is unless 1 oz. of boiled chicken with 3 sprigs of broccoli sounds like your idea of heaven.  Too big and you will have to explain for the next 364 days, "No dear, you aren't that big.  I made a mistake.....yes dear.....I was wrong.....It will never happen again.....No I don't think Jane from next door is prettier than you."  You get the idea.

4)  A prenup.  Good idea in the head, bad idea as Christmas gift.

3)  A divorce.  Again, good idea in the head, but a bad idea as a Christmas gift.  However, if this is an option, I'm thinking a good Christmas gift isn't exactly at the top of your list.

2)  Telling your loving spouse that your mother is moving in.  I do love my mother-in-law so it would be ok.

and the #1 gift you shouldn't give at Christmas.......

1)   Any gag type gift i.e. singing bass, a t-shirt that says "I'm with Stupid", or an apron that has anything at all on it.

For some holiday cheer, here is a perennial favorite from the John Boy and Billy Show entitled, "Christmas Balls."  I do hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas.  Let's all remember the greatest present of all, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  That's what it's all about.  By the way, if you did give #8 to your loved one this year, seek medical attention and maybe #3.  Riley says, "Merry Christmas and where's my gift?"  Y'all take care.  

Monday, October 12, 2015

Salvation Explained by the Brisket Analogy......No, I'm Not Kidding!

So, I'm sitting her at the computer again relishing our 8th place overall finish at Porktoberque 2015.  We got a respectable 4th in chicken and 7th in pork.  This was our first top-10 finish.  Not bad if I do say so myself......which I will.  I also attended Cook's Church for the first time.  Bobby Lankford of Haulin' Butt BBQ did a great job of sharing a short story about how we can be someone's angel.  Since then, I've had this idea stuck in my head, and as many of you know, once something gets in there it has to come out.  Unfortunately, some of my ideas should have stayed put but instead chose to go wandering around with mixed results.  This one though is...........different.  Not that the title of this blog didn't lend some support to that idea.  In the Bible, specifically Matthew 28:18-20 "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing then in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (NIV)'"  Now I don't pretend to be the best Bible scholar in the world, but I do recognize this as a command and not a mere suggestion.  In fact, it's called the Great Commission.  Whether we are BBQ competitors, port-a-potty cleaners (what is my fixation with port-a-potty's), or some anonymous person running into another, we are pretty much commanded to make disciples.  Granted, Jesus was referring to his disciples, but in the long run, aren't we all to be disciples of Christ?  I think 'yes' is the appropriate response here folks.  So, sit back, put on your thinking caps, open you minds, and let's see where this goes:  If you think about it, those without salvation are kind of like a cryovac, bagged prime brisket,  You get the bag open (kind of like our hearts and minds to the word and works of God) and there you have a hunk of meat, covered in grey meat stuff on the side, pockets of hard, undesirable fat, floppy and generally unappealing parts.  But God doesn't see all the problems, ugly parts, or generally nastiness.  Instead, God sees us in our perfect form just as He made us.  Just like we see not just the ugly stuff but what potential the brisket has to offer with just a little work.  With me so far?  Good.  Next, we make a decision to accept the free gift of Salvation and God goes to work.  Just like with a brisket, God gets out the knife and goes to removing all the ugliness of sin from us.  He opens our heats and minds to our own sin and takes it away from us.  Just like trimming a brisket, God removes all the ugly bits.  Granted, the cutting sometimes hurts, but when God is done, we are shaped by His hand into a far better shape than when we started out.  Salvation isn't about what you give up but should be focused more on what we gain.....eternity in Heaven with God.  That rocks far better than anything here on Earth.  Next, we inject our briskets with something that enhances the flavor.  In short, it makes the brisket a bit better than by itself alone.  We us, we get injected with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit guides us and helps to make us 'a bit better.'  When Jesus ascended to Heaven, he said he was leaving behind a helper and that helper is the Holy Spirit.  After a good injection, we cover the brisket in a flavorful rub.  This rub is made up of a lot of different spices and seasonings.  A good rub gives the brisket that lip smacking goodness.  Some rubs are as simple as salt and pepper while others have about 384 parts to them.  With Christians, we are covered in something very simple:  the blood of the Lamb.  Jesus died on the cross for YOU!!!  Yes, you despite all of your sins known and unknown.  Whether you believe or not, near or far, He died for each and every one of us.  If we were without sin, we wouldn't need Jesus to die a slow and painful death on the cross.  Right?  So far so good?  Next, the BBQ Pitmaster applies some smoke and heat.  Through this process, a very real and physical change occurs to the brisket.  The rub cooks to a flavorful crust, the injection moisturizes the meat, the heat and smoke tenderize and cook this beautiful brisket to a wonderful, delicious finale.  In our own lives, we have our own smoke and heat.  Maybe we hit a wall, we lose someone we love, we lose our job, family, or our health.  Through it all, we realize we can't make it on our own.  We have to rely on a strength that knows no ends, the strength of God Himself.  The Creator of all things in the universe, and here is little ol' me.  Imagine the size of one individual versus the size of the whole universe and yet we matter to God in an individual and personal way.  Suddenly, we become very insignificant, but not in God's eyes.  Go to a big competition, and there are maybe 180 teams.  That's 180 teams cooking briskets, unique in their own ways......just like we are in God's eyes.  In the end, we submit our briskets to some random judges in hopes they like and accept it.  It's funny to me how we will work to such an attention to detail and submit something to a group of strangers, but how many of us don't share the joy of salvation with those we love?  In the end, we submit ourselves to God where He judges us not on our deeds but whether or not we are known to Him.  Those with salvation do far better than a 180 or 200 score.  We have redemption.  Like the bumper sticker I saw as a kid, "Jesus paid a debt He didn't owe because I owed a debt I couldn't pay."  Not bad if you ask me.  There you go folks.  Leave it to me to tie it back to BBQ.  If you don't know the gift of salvation, I urge you to seek it.  Call or message me if you have questions.  I may not have all the answers, but I've got the right One.  Y'all take care.  Riley says, "Hey, when you were Baptizing Jeff, why did you let him up?"  Y'all take care.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mr. Jeff Goes to School.....again.

So I'm sitting at the old computer again trying to figure out how to describe my recent honorarium placed upon me by my fellow BBQ brethren from BBQ school.  They pronounced it "Doon-che" and said it was an Italian honor.  They even made me a nice cap.  You know when you graduate you wear a mortise board (I think), well from BBQ School if you are really, really special, you wear the Cone of Doon-che....which is nice.  Sooooo not to brag, but guess who got the Doon-che Award?  That's right.....this guy.  Don't hate.  So anyway, I signed up for not one but two BBQ Schools.  One with Jeff P. from Give It to God BBQ and Rub Bagby from Swamp Boys.  I just got back from Rub's and Jeff's was in May.  First of all, they both were great.  Thanks to Keith Fern and Bobby Lankford for putting together the one in Mobile, AL.  I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about my accommodations for several reasons:  1)  Section of town was called Little Beirut.  Some places brag on the sounds of frogs and crickets at night.  Little Beirut...gun fire.  I was pretty good a discerning the difference between a cheap Chinese 9 mm and a genuine Russian AK-47.  It's a gift.  (2)  The hotel had what I thought was nice, avaunt gard sidewalk chalk art until I realized the chalk art had been done by the Mobile Police Homicide Investigation Division.  (3)  It wasn't a fancy banner strung across my adjoining room's door.  It was yellow crime scene tape.  (4) The room smelled of old mildew and mold.  You know the type:  You're in a far away land and open some crypt closed about 3,000 years ago sealed with a curse.  Next thing you know BOOM!!!  The Apocalypse.  You know the place.  Reason #355 you don't go for the cheap room in an unfamiliar town.  With that aside, the class was at a local church.  Jeff did a really good job of showing a lot of technique, and we got to practice doing a lot of things as a local grocer had donated a lot of meat.  The food we prepared was going to feed the church's congregation Sunday after church which was a great idea.  For two days, we learned a lot about how Jeff prepares for competitions, his routine, how he preps BBQ, a good bit about rubs, injections, and marinades, and a lot of good fellowship with some really great people.  Thanks Keith for the breakfast and the best patty sausage I've had.  I actually dreamed about that sausage and some biscuits.  With that done, I left the class feeling like I had really learned a few nice things such as injections, cooking process, and how good competition BBQ tastes.  One of the biggest highlights was the dinner cooked by Forrest Dilmore and his famous 'biscuit flip'.  Good groceries to say the least.   Never mind the flood that ensued.   Things learned from Jeff:  (1) Practice is always good (2) Never, never, ever turn in opossum even if you leave the paws on for ID purposes (3) Always give Glory to God.   Now fast forward to last weekend when I got to go to Swamp Boys BBQ School.  Rub is a neat guy and his class is A+ even if I was D- at best.  I bragged on my Doon-che status and he just politely smiled obviously intimidated as he said he had never had that award bestowed upon him.  Work hard and it will come Rub.  Anyway, our class was on a lake in central Florida with great weather.  We only got drowned once and had a good breeze.  I did learn from my accommodations from Little Beirut and upgraded myself somewhat.  No blood stains on floor, no questionable hourly rates, and no creepy crypt smell.  Nice huh?  Anyway, Rub took a similar approach as he presented the basics as he does/did them.  He was very polite and patient with my questions such as, "So, opossum doesn't count as a chicken entry right?"  Rub covered it all and fed us an outstanding supper on the first night.  We had smoked prime rib, green beans, roasted potatoes, rolls, a LOT of desserts, and a good time hanging out.  I was fortunate to meet some really nice folks at both classes.  The next day, it was more learning and getting to sample some really good 'Q.  As in Jeff's class, we went over box preparation for both FBA and KCBS.  I will say this about both schools, they reinforced what I had hoped.  I had hoped that after all this time I was at least on the right track, and I found out I was.  There are some major tweaks I need to make, but both Jeff and Rub showed me I can make it my own and still do well.  I just have to polish up things a bit and have greater attention to detail.  The devil is in the details, and it is certainly true of good BBQ.  With all that said, would I do the two classes over?  In a heart beat.  Would I recommend either class to another person?  Most certainly without a doubt.  Would I stay some place other than Little Beirut?  Maybe.  I do love the smell of cordite and the police sirens made a sort of white noise and covered the screams and gun fire.  If you are pretty new to BBQ and want to do well, I STRONGLY encourage you to take a good class early on in your competition career.  There are a lot of them out there, and you can make back your money by getting 1st place in just one category.  Trust me, I wish I had taken one long ago.  Y'all take care, and remember this, "No matter what goes on in this world, God's got this."  Riley says hello.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mr. Jeff Goes to the Doctor

So as I sit here at my computer, I'm trying to figure out how to tie my recent procedures into BBQ since this is a BBQ blog, and I have concluded the closest I can get is from the hot cauterizing knife used on my legs.  Smoke and burning flesh:  BBQ done.  Now, with that said.  So, a while back I was told I needed to have some work done on my manly legs and the varicose veins therein.  Now, to be honest, I previously had only minimal knowledge about varicose veins from my friend Shawn.  Apparently, the valves in your veins collapse and allow the blood to flow backwards instead of towards the heart.  Apparently, blood returning to the heart is an important process.  Who knew?  The process was explained to me as 'simple' and by 'simple' they meant not as hard as a lobotomy.....which has often been suggested for me or suspected of me by others.  FYI, varicose veins hurt....a lot and often.  Cramping, swelling, sores, feeling heavy, and falling asleep often.  Sounds a lot like me and my family after Thanksgiving dinner to be honest.  So I make my first appointments for the ultrasound which involved A LOT of slimy goo squeezed up around the general and his two captains.  I don't know which was worse, the pressure from the tech standing on my chest to get the ultrasound to read through the flab, or the fact I was starting to really like the slimy goo squeezed around the general and his two captains.  The ultrasound tech said she would call......she hasn't.  Anyway, with that all done I met this nice doctor.  I'm assuming he was a doctor.  He did have a white coat on, and since it wasn't past Labor Day I went with it.  As the nice man explained the process, he explained they would numb my legs and insert a device up my vein.....WAIT WHAT?  INSERT A WHAT WHERE AFTER YOU WHAT MY LEGS!!!!!  At that point, he could have stripped naked and sang the opening aria from La Bohem and I wouldn't have noticed.  At some point the 'consultation' ended and the procedures were scheduled just after I paid $2,600.00 out of pocket plus insurance, but before I left, they gave me a prescription for 6 Xanax with instructions to take 1 two hours before process, another 1 an hour prior to the procedure, and then take a 50 mg benedryl on arrival.  My next question was, "Who is going to carry my big butt out of here?"  I was also told I couldn't drive if I was high as a Georgia pine, so I immediately made the decision to forego the narcotics on the day of the procedure.  After all, I'm a manly man with chest hair and I'm tough and smart.....stupid but tough.  So fast forward to the day of the first procedure, and my lovely and intelligent wife offers to drive me so I could take the prescribed medication.  Notice the medication isn't a pain killer, it's just an 'I'm hurting but don't really care' medication.  She obviously is the smart one, but I bravely and manly defer because I'm tough and smart.  Remember?  Keep that in mind.  So, arriving 10 minutes early as I do all appointments, I walk in, march right up there in my most manly man walk, and signed in.  The nice lady behind the counter asked if I had taken my medicine.  Beaming with manly pride, I respond to the negative.  At which point, she looked at me with somewhat of what I would call an "Another manly man that is too tough for the medicine" look.  They must teach that at medical center receptionist school.  Not to be dissuaded from my manly approach, I proudly and in a manly manner sat down and wait to be called.  At the appointed hour, the surgical assistant calls me back also asking me if I had taken the medicine.  Again, beaming with manly pride I said, "Ney."  Same look.  Same shake of the head.  Striding as only a manly man can, I went to the back.  I was certain others looked at me and said to themselves, "There goes a manly man."  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I was manly as manly can be right up to the point I saw the room and the bed with stains all over the sheets which was allegedly "soap stains" at which point, in a manly man, fashion wished to all that was Holy in Heaven above that I had taken the medication...with booze.....a lot of booze.  Too late now fat boy.  It was at this point I was unceremoniously told to take off my pants, shoes, and dignity.  For just such an occasion and in the spirit of joviality, I brought some boxer shorts that said something about being with a psycho the rest of your life, and at that point I was regretting that choice of attire.  I don't know why, but I just did.  So I'm told to lay down, at which point some guy writes an 'L' on my left leg.  I didn't know if this was a good sign or something to help the doctor get it right.  I've heard of preventing medical errors before, but this guy is a doctor and needs to know L from R?  Oh waiter, drinks all around!!  At this point I asked if they could give me the medicine.  Maybe an aspirin, an Advil, for the love of God a Flintstone's chewable vitamin.  Anything!  They said, "No, remember you're a manly man".  Let the panic begin.  Now, these two men that I have never met are scrubbing my leg and the area around the general and his two captains which have by this time drawn up so far into my chest you would have to get a shop vac and some dirty talk to get them down.  Happy place.....happy place.....happy place.  Now bounces in the doctor who did the consult.  I immediately asked him if he had been drinking whiskey to which he replied, "What do I look like....a hobo?  That was 18 year-old, single-malt scotch, but only enough to steady my more that 4-5 shots.  That stuff ain't cheap.  After all, I'm a professional."  A little wee came out right then and there.  Great....So here we go, but before the harpooning began, I jokingly asked about clean needles.  Mr. Funnyman AKA doctor said my insurance didn't cover new needles, but these had been used only once on a little old lady with a limp from Two Egg.  Nice.  God, now would be a good time to take me.  Now come the most famous words in medical history.  Not, "Gentlemen, start your engines."  Not, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes."  No......what I got from chuckles was, "Little stick."  At which point, there was a blinding sting around my knee.  At exactly, 11:22:14 on April 26, in the year 2015 of our Lord, the general and his two captains had completely abandoned ship.  I don't know where they went, but where ever it was I was wishing I was with them.  I'm not a weenie or at least not much of one, but this hurt.  The worst part was the sound of the needle piercing my skin, and to make matters worse Queensryches, "And the Need Lies" comes on my i-phone and into my ear buds.  No lie.  Somehow or another at this point, I managed the only defense I could muster.......I farted.  Not one of those little 'poot' farts.  I mean the kind that would make a bull moose in Alaska look up and go, "Who said that?"  Kind of like the Pacific Ocean:  Deep and Wide.  The bass of it rattled the picture of Dr. Giggles on his boat wearing a shirt that said, "I'm with stupid" while holding some sort of fish.  Then can the inevitable:  the smell.  To say it was bad would be like saying the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 'kinda loud'.  For a moment I thought I had killed them all.  Freedom!!!  Once Dr. Giggles got back to his feet, he and the other tech carried out the little one.  He didn't make it.  Not to be deterred, another stick, and another, and another, and another.  By this point, I was borderline psychotic from all the deep breathing exercises I had been doing to no avail I might add, but I could hear the doctor telling his assistant, "Hurry up and turn the page.  I need to see what to do next."  Another poot.  All the while I'm being told, "You're doing fine."  Fine?  Compared to what?  I've farted on you twice and almost wet you but I'm doing FINE?!!  What would, "You really suck at this" look like?  Me physically attacking you in my almost naked state?  Now, Dr. Giggles told me to let him know if I feel something 'hot'.  Hot?  What the #*%@ do you mean by 'hot'?  Like the warm feeling you get when you pee down your leg, or the type of hot you get when you pour hot coffee in your crotch at 75 mph?  Apparently somewhere in the process they had shoved Uranium 238 up my leg and were waiting to see me glow.  It could have been U-235 for all I knew.  It was hard to hear over all my screaming which went unappreciated.  So, now I am allegedly done.  The surviving tech was cleaning me up and wrapping a bandage around my leg when it dawned on me, "I have to do this two more times."  Poot.  In my most manly of manly fashions, I dressed my self and returned to work.  No pain medication, no sympathy.....just carrying on.  I was told the little one would survive but doesn't sleep well now.  The other two legs went about the same......much to the displeasure of all around me.  All in all a job well done.  Y'all, of course, a lot of this is an exaggeration.  The team at Vascular Associates did a wonderful job and it wasn't bad at all.  Dr. Shuler is a Christian man and very good at what he does.  The whole team was very professional and made the process easy.   I highly recommend them and thank them for all they did.  I'm healing up nicely, but if you happen to see the general and his two captains, could you please tell them to come back.  I do miss them.   Riley says, "Got mine cut off, the least you can do is lose yours for a while."  Smarty pants dog.   On a positive note, I will be attending a BBQ cooking school in Mobile at the Fulton Road Baptist Church organized by Bobby Lankford and Keith Fern.  Jeff Petvetkius is teaching the class.  Looking forward to some good fellowship, praise, and BBQ knowledge.  I've got Swampboys school in June.  Looking forward to it as well.  Y'all take care.  Remember, God loves you and you can't change it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Put Another Comp into the Books

So, I'm sitting her at the ol' computer trying to put together my thoughts on Grandpa's Pride BBQ's participation in the Tri-State BBQ Festival.  It was a great time to be sure.  By thoughts, I mean of course, "Nos Sugere"......sort of.  I think it would only be fair to point out the load out went easily, the trip was relaxing, the weather was sublime......then I actually got to the Houston County Farm Center and opened up Shangri-La to discover gravity is not just a good idea but a law.  Apparently, if one doesn't tie down a fully loaded pellet smoker properly, said pellet smoker will fall over and spill approximately 23,994,839 apple wood pellets all over the place.  So my arrival went something like this:  10:45 a.m. arrive, stretch, admire weather, and get backed into spot.  10:47 a.m. think to self, "What a great day.  We are gonna rock this competition."  10:58 a.m. open door to Shangri-La and discover what can only be described as a crime scene.  10:59 a.m. ask the Lord to forgive me for the most unchristian words I had just said.  Anyone else see that one coming?  So problem solved and mess cleaned up.  Fortunately, Igor Mk. 1.0 suffered no apparent damage.  Heck, maybe it knocked some sense into the bloody thing.  Anyway, thankfully Mr. Cook of Cook's Portable Smokehouse was there to help me lift the heavy-as-a-Buick pellet smoker back into its natural and upright position.  I think it was a sign of things to come.  I will say this, I got to spend a lot of time with Q-Fused BBQ AKA Will, Dwight, and Bob.  Really good people.  Bill and Theresa of B& T BBQ and Robin and Wink of Wink's BBQ too.  I got to meet some new folks too such as Jim Elser of Sweet Smoke Q.  For an Ohio State guy, he was really nice.  He has a really sweet UDS with draft control that he builds and sells.  I may, just may, have purchased one.  It will arrive next week.  Yes, another smoker to add to the collection.  Can't help it, I'm hooked on BBQ smokers.  So the cook went pretty well, except for fact we finished 39th of 50.  Brisket killed us.  We did well in ribs with a respectable finish of 19th out of 50.  Given the field, I'm very happy with this.  That's where the 'sort of' comes in.  While we didn't do great overall, we did have some pretty good improvements and did well against the field.  This field was pretty much a Who's who of BBQ.  In addition to the other great teams already mentioned, there was Jack's Old South, Rescue Smokers, Moe Cason of Ponderosa BBQ, Character's BBQ, Swamp Boyz, Sweet Smoke Q, and many other great teams.  In some categories, we did better than the great ones.  In others, not so much.  Good point of it all was it was fun.  Robb got to hang out with me and help out the entire competition.  My lovely wife put in a good day's work as well.  Jimmy Wayne had to leave for an emergency that worked out ok.  Keith had to work so wasn't able to be there.  I did get to meet a lot of new and nice folks.  Mr. Bateman came all the way from NM.   Hague and his wife were set up right behind us.  Nice guy and doing well on the circuit.  I'm looking forward to seeing him at the next competition.  Through out it all, I came to one inescapable conclusion:  I will take a class before I compete again.  It just makes sense.  Competitions cost too much to go into them half cocked.  I need to get some education so I can be more efficient and do better.  Leaving Dothan, I was pretty sure I was done with BBQ competitions; however, after much soul searching and thoughtful discussion with Sherri, I'll keep at it.  I just need to arm myself with knowledge.......and a sweet UDS from Sweet Smoke Q.  Additionally, I did do something a bit different:  I provided status updates on the port-a-potties.  Yes, I do believe I've gone around the bend, and in reading my posts I would concur with myself.  That alone is a bad sign.  On a negative note, my dear friend Forrest Dilmore was unable to participate in the competition.  Apparently, Forrest has/had a case of Diphtheria, Malaria, Hoof and Mouth Disease, post-nasal drip, and Ebola......all at once.  Luckily, Forrest has the strength of 10 men where as I have the strength of 10 3rd graders.  Lucky me.  I sure hope he feels better soon.  Anyway, signing off from Grandpa's Pride BBQ's Secret Test location far, far, FAR away from the port-a-potties this is Jeff Stone.  Riley says, "Hello."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Can Stop Anytime I Want to......I Just Don't Want To!!!

As I have said time and time before, I am a licensed mental health counselor and am the team leader for a first-episode psychosis program.  I'm also a substance use disorder counselor.  I'm really proud of my team and what we do.  So with that, you would think I would have a unique insight into the psyche of the BBQ addiction, and that I might have some higher sense of self control.  I laugh in your face.  I have written on the woes of BBQ addiction previously, and I have been careful not to 'self disclose' too much.  I will say without question, I've got a new monkey on my back:  BBQ Pits.  Yes, I still dance with the devil when it comes to BBQ ribs, pork, brisket, chicken, sauces, rubs, injections, brines, brushes, knives, sharpeners, pellets, wood chunks, and charcoal.  I have discovered a new and equally horrifying addiction in BBQ pits/smokers.  The smells, the sounds, and the shiny wheels have me hooked.  Many of you have heard me talk about or have seen the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.3.  I have also recently been talking about/planning to cut up with a chainsaw my newest creation the Igor Mk. 1.0.  You would think two would be enough?  Right.  I mean, really, how many smokers can I guy need?  Yeah, I too laugh every time I say that.  Just so we are clear, need has nothing to do with it.  One needs oxygen, food, cable t.v., good coffee, and companionship.  I don't recall seeing BBQ smokers/pits on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  As we say in the biz, "One beer is too many and a 1,000 aren't enough."  Smokers are the same for me.  There are so many different sizes, shapes, and styles.  Some are towed, some are rolled around on casters.  Some are cheap and some aren't.  She's a cruel mistress.  So, how exactly do you know you are addicted to BBQ smokers.  I'm glad you asked.....even if you didn't.  Please, allow me to elucidate and share the warning signs.  (1) You already have a good BBQ smoker, but you just can't help but wondering, "Maybe this other one does better."  (2)  You buy/build another BBQ smoker all the while telling yourself, "My other smoker is really good.....really......I don't need this one.....I'll build it just for fun.....Like a hobby......What harm could one more do?" (3) You pass up the Victoria's Secret catalog in the mail for the newest edition of the "BBQ Times" and go immediately to the ads filled with all the joy and anticipation the average 14 year old boy is when he finds the Victoria's Secret Catalog.  (4)  Re-read #3 because that's just wrong and every guy knows it.  (5)  Your garage/yard is starting to look like a BBQ pit showroom i.e. you mow your yard and find a smoker you lost last winter.  (6)  You find yourself trying to convince yourself that $5,000.00 for a really good smoker isn't a bad price at all.  (7) Your kid/dog needs braces, and you struggle with the thought process of, "So what if he can eat corn off the cob through a picket fence, it builds character, right?  Makes him tougher" versus "But honey, it's on sale for only $4,995.00!.....$4,995.00!!!!"  (8)  You find yourself talking to your BBQ smokers and giving them names like Frankensmoker or Igor.  Yes, I too struggle with this addiction.  I believe I'm in good company.  Facebook is full of people showing off their smokers.  Keith Fearn's looks like the General Lee.....very cool by the way.  Forrest has (ahem) a couple laying around.  The very popular Frankensmoker is littered with stickers, the bottom of a boot (yes, for real), my trophy decals, many stains, hooks, and my team logo.  It gets way more visitors at a competition than I do.  I'm interested to see how Igor will do with the masses when we go to Dothan's Tri-State BBQ Festival in April.  So, do I care if I'm hooked?  No.  Do I see it as a problem if I'm looking to try to buy a Lang Smoker?  No.  Do I NEED a Lang Smoker?  Certainly not.  Will my loving wife lovingly shoot me in the head if I bring home another BBQ smoker?  Maybe, just maybe.  That's the beauty of the addiction.  There is no logic or care.  I just look and drool over the smokers for sale.  Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.  I really should look into a self-help group of people also addicted to BBQ smokers.  I bet I could find a really cool connection there.  Forrest, you can go with me.  Anyway, y'all take care, and if you see me at the lemon lot ogling a BBQ smoker, honk and wave with all of your fingers.  Riley says hello, and Sherri says, "Honey, we need to go to the range're paid up on your insurance right?  I would hate for there to be a 'tragic accident' over the new BBQ pit."  Wow......Y'all take care.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Elvis Has Left the Building

Hello, hello ladies and gentlemen.  It has been a bit since my last blog entry, and I thought what better day to do it than on the birthday of Carl Roger (1902) Psychotherapist and founder of Rogerian Therapy which in short means being nice to people.  "So you are being charged with molesting a dead, I bet you are the tops in your area of expertise."  It is also the birthday for Stephen Hawking (1942) a really smart guy and Peter Gil (1964) of Frankie Goes to Hollywood rock fame.  You know the song, "Relax, don't do it when you wanna....." you know the rest and will be stuck in your head for at least a few hours.  You're welcome.  It just so happens to also be the 80th birthday of Elvis A. Presley, the King of Rock and Roll.  While I was never an Elvis fan, my mother, brother, father, sister, boss, and about 4,988,933,456 people apparently think quite highly of him.  So I am in the minority.  Nice.  I did hear something on NPR that made me appreciate Elvis a little bit more:  the Elvis milkshake.  The ingredients, and I kid you not, are ice cream, a little bourbon, two very ripe bananas, peanut butter, crispy fried and crumbled bacon, and a little dab of bacon grease.  COME AWAY FROM THE LIGHT MR. STONE!!!!!!  Excuse me while I wipe away the drool.  You have to admit it sounds really good.  Anybody that appreciated bacon the way the spangly clad, hip gyrating, young lad from Tupelo, MS did can't be all bad.  Just thinking about it makes me get all shook up.  Which leads to my next topic:  competitions in 2015.  With my new position at work, I am going to have to be a bit more restricted on my competitions.  I'm looking at the KCBS one in Pensacola, the one at the Islandview Casino in Gulfport, and of course the FBA event in Dothan, AL.  I might get to squeeze in Perry, FL or the KCBS in Bainbridge.  To be honest, since I lost my mom in August, I haven't really been into the idea of competing.  I still love me some BBQ to be sure, but just have to get over the hump so to speak.  She used to come to all the contests, and cheered really loud even if we finished in the middle or end of the pack.  I sure miss her, but as Poison said in the early 90's Life Goes On.  On a brighter note, I did have the chance to spend some time with Forrest Dilmore, Bobby Lankford, and Keith Fern.  Forrest prepared us one of his super fine breakfasts a-la dutch over style one Saturday, and I still have dreams about that grub.  This year also brought me a new addition to the family.  The Igor Mk. 1.0.  I have had some problems with parts quitting on me but the nice folks at Smoke Daddy made it right with replacement parts.  Hopefully, those problems are behind me.  Now I just have to get my a-mazing pellet smoke thingy in the mail so I can get some smoke flavor to items cooked on Igor.  Pellet smoking is very convenient to be sure, but it doesn't hold a candle to the Frankensmoker Mk. 2.3 when it comes to smoke flavor.  My lovely wife also got me a Cambro so I can have some lee way in getting my cooking done.  I also got a Grantan knife, and I have not needed any trips to E.R. for cuts yet......which is nice.  So here is to 2015.  May it please be a great year for everyone.  I hope to see y'all on the circuit.  Y'all take care, and Riley says, "Shut the #(%$ door.  It's friggin' cold out there."