Eighinger: If you smell what the Rock is cooking…

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By Steve Eighinger
Muddy River News Minister of Culture

Hey, it’s lunch time again. We’re back to break bread — in a virtual sense, of course — with some more well-known local and national figures. Here’s our cast of the latest choices for a late-summer sitdown at some of our favorite establishments:

Eric Ervin, local Country Financial agent: It’s been a (another) brutal summer for my longtime pal. Eric is a Baltimore Orioles fan, which is akin to rooting for a can of Spam in a baked ham contest. Eric and I can exchange baseball unpleasantries since I’m a Cleveland Indians follower. Lunch at: O’Shea’s, which offers one of Mr. Ervin’s favorites, a tasty tenderloin. Me? I’ll probably order my customary burger and mushroom pops.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, movie star, future presidential candidate: The Rock and I definitely need to chat. He says he may be interested in running for president in a decade or so. If that pans out, I want to be part of that ticket. I could be his minister of culture. Lunch at: Mr. Bill’s, where we can each enjoy the Big Dog, an eight-ounce frankfurter “grilled to perfection” with your personal choice of toppings. As Dwayne once said during his pro wrestling days, “If you smell what The Rock is cookin’ (or, in this case, eating)?!” On this day, it will be the Big Dog.

Charlie Ledbetter, local sales representative: Charlie and I both enjoy a good fast-food lunch where we talk about old cars, fundraisers and his trips to Hawaii. I often counter with stories about my journeys to Liberty and Pleasant Hill. Lunch at: The Burger King at 635 Broadway. Charlie and I both love a good whopper and onion rings. The one difference in our sandwiches, however, is Charlie never met a condiment he didn’t like. Me, on the other hand, will always choose a burger plain. Meat and bun, that’s all you need. 

Norman Reedus, “The Walking Dead”: Those who are unfamiliar with Reedus, he’s the guy who portrays Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead.” I would like to know how many zombies he has stabbed in the head during the show’s first 10 years. Lunch at: Cassano’s. I figure the pizza sauce would have a nice, settling effect on Norman, since most of his days on the “Walking Dead” set are spent around the blood and guts that accompany the traditional zombie apocalypse.

Steve Stewart, Staples manager: I see Steve quite often in my never-ending search for the perfect gel pen. Many times when I enter his business establishment, I can hear him from a far corner of the store ring out, “Nothing new!” He saves me a lot of looking that way. I certainly appreciate his appreciation of my fondness of gel pens. That’s why I’ll be treating him on our next lunch appointment. Lunch at: State Street Bar and Grill, where I will introduce Steve to the endless taco bar. I didn’t realize how extensive those taco offerings there are until watching another buddy, David Adam, tame that mighty all-you-can-eat site.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals: This could be a short lunch because my first question to Matt will likely irritate him. I just want to know if he feels guilty each time he collects another multi-million dollar paycheck from the Cardinals. Lunch at: Kelly’s Tavern, which not only has an excellent salad bar, but more than one exit in case I have to make a run.

Overrated, underrated
You know the drill. Here we go:

Overrated: The Eagles. If I hear either “Hotel California” or “Take It Easy” one more time in my life, I may swear allegiance to polka music. 

Underrated: The Eddie Vedder-led Pearl Jam version of “Last Kiss.” Too bad Vedder never joined up with the Eagles. He might have made “Hotel California” or “Take It Easy” bearable.

Overrated: For years, I tried to like “The Office,” and for years I failed. My big problem with becoming a fan of the series was that it simply wasn’t funny. And still isn’t. The only thing missing was a theme song sung by the Eagles.

Underrated: If you have never seen the sitcom “ALF” (1986-90, NBC), do yourself a favor and do so. It was hilarious in its day, and remains so all of these years later. According to tvguide.com, you can watch “ALF” on Amazon Prime.

Found on Facebook
If you’re down in the dumps, you can usually do one of two things — have a snack or peruse Facebook. Both can brighten your day, but there are fewer calories on Facebook. The following should bring  a smile or two:

“Baseball is as old as creation. It is actually mentioned in the Bible in Genesis: ‘In the big inning.'” (If it’s in the Good Book, it has to be true.)

“A dentist and manicurist married. The fought tooth and nail.” (Come on, come on. Stop the booing. That was at least a little funny.)

“I lost my job at the bank today. A woman asked me to check her balance. So I pushed her over.” (On a scale of 1 to 10, this was at least a 7. Stop that sighing.

“What do highway repair crews eat for snacks on the job? Pabe mints.” (Drum roll, please … and we’ll see you next week!)


Happy birthday
Here are three folks with August birthdays who should bring a smile to everyone:

Tom Brady: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback turns 44 this week and shows no signs of slowing down.

Hulk Hogan: The Hulkster turns 68 later this month. I think we all remember the days when Hulkamania was running wild. For those who did not know, Hulk was born Terry Gene Bollea.

Al Roker: America’s meteorologist turns 67 this month. Did you ever get the feeling that every day is a sunny day in Al’s life?

And in the gone, but not forgotten category of August birth dates:

Carroll O’Connor: The man who made Archie Bunker a household name and “Meathead” an accepted term died at age 76 in 2001.

B.J. Thomas: The singer who gave us “Raindrops Keep Falling on My head” died in late May after a long career in pop, country and Christian music. He was 78.

Whitney Houston: She sold more than 200 million records prior to her 2012 death. Only 48 at the time of her passing, Houston’s final years saw her life spiral downward, eventually losing a lengthy battle with drug addiction.

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