Monday, October 31, 2005

Murray's Barbecue Sandwich... even better than the tender crisp bacon cheddar ranch

Hannah Jane, Petunia, and I ducked into Murray's in Cayce this weekend. Nice place, even with a lotto machine at the bar. (Ordering hash is the only game of chance I like to play at restaurants.)

The barbecue sandwich I ordered was the vinegar and pepper, North Cackalacky variant with some sauce on the side to cater to this side of Carowinds. It was good, I can't lie. I didn't even use the sauce, except for on Hannah Jane's fries.

I get the impression that Murray's is where folks from Gaston and Swansea go for a night on the "town." Then they hop right across Charleston Highway to this "members only" bar. Why does members only sometimes give me the same eerie feeling that states' rights used to?

Oh, I remember why. My friend Jim told me about this members only diner up near Flo-town that he went to with his co-worker for lunch. The guy said not to worry about it, but when Jim walked in, he still felt obliged to ask one of the servers, "Do I need to be a member?"

"Oh, you're a member," she said back. Once his buddy clued him in, Jim realized his credentials were simply that he was a white dude. Think about how jacked up that is.

Gervais says, if Darius ain't welcome, you can count me out as well.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Christian Exodus assails Gaffney Peachoid

Below: Gaffney's Peachoid water tower
Homo-erotic pornography has no place in SC skyline , says leader.

B & P News - Gaffney

Christian Exodus, the upstate organization that seeks to establish a government of fundamental Christian values, has cited its first objective -- the demolition of the Gaffney "Peachoid."

"That ain't no water tower," said the group's president, Ted Flinch. "It's flat-out porno, and it has no place in the Carolina sky. Why do you think my son's so gay?"

Flinch's four-month old son had no noticeable reaction to the comment, but Gaffney residents have been quick to defend their peach-shaped water tower, erected in 1981.

"Yeah, it kind of looks like a hiney or whatever," said Emma Jean Broadus, owner of the Broadus Pharmacy and Gun Shop on Main Street. "But so do real peaches. At least they didn't put the fuzz on it."

In a press release issued on late Saturday, Flinch stated that Christian Exodus will boycott public water supplies until the Peachoid is removed or covered.

While the opposition is not expected to result in the Peachoid's removal, it could present problems for another water tower currently under consideration in the city. A public hearing for the "Shroom-oid" -- a backup tower shaped like an thick-stemmed mushroom with a bulbous cap -- is scheduled for next month.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday lunch: Back to the Pig

For the first time today, I got a take-out plate from Palmetto Pig. This is a pretty good deal, cheaper than the buffet and good for when you don't have time to sit around and pour a gallon of sweet tea down the hatch. I was worried, because they prepare the plate in the back instead of letting you help yourself, but they came correct with the righteous barbecue, in sufficent quantity to have leftovers for (burp) supper.

By the way, here's an excerpt from a book I got sittin' around the house:

"barbecue is the only acceptable spelling in serious writing. Any journalist or other formal user of English who believes that the word is spelled barbeque or, worse still, bar-b-q, is not ready for unsupervised employment."

Of course, I also have Bryson's Short History of Nearly Everything, and he seems to think that man evolved from -- are you sitting down? -- other life forms. I'm sure Senator Mike Fair from Greenville has been lurking in Barnes & Noble stores and slapping warning stickers on that book. Any thoughts?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Religion in the Tomato Belt: GoogleAds don't detect satire

When the GoogleAds on your webpage switch from Sticky Fingers ads to "financial prayer" and "Islamic cellphone" ads, that means it's time to stop writing so much about religion. It just seems like the Upstate's having a hard time catching up with the rest of the state/country when it comes to not alienating people at council meetings.

I guess it's a tough nut to crack for the pious Piedmont. The one councilman, a minister of some sort, said he would resign if they made him stop using Christ's name in his prayers. He couldn't bring himself to say "Your Son" or "Our Savior" or "Prince of Peace" or "Eezus-Jay Iced-Kray." He just had to say Jesus Christ or he was gonna resign - take his ball and go home. So they let him pray, like they apparently always do, and he thumbed his nose at the federal courts and said "Jesus Christ," and somebody's feelings got hurt.

I got a news flash for that councilman, from one of guys in the pews. Being bull-headed ain't gonna win anybody over, at least not spiritually. Politically, it might be a windfall - so if that's what you're after then go for it.

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that the root cause of all this is tomato-based barbecue. Think about it: Walhalla, Anderson, Great Falls, Rock Hill - all in the "tomato belt." Whether you're a strict constructionist or a loose constructionist, there is one thing you cannot deny about the framers of the Constitution: They all thought tomatoes were poisonous. Maybe they were onto something... anyway, I gotta go. My Islamic cell phone is, er, blowing up. I mean... forget it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Lexington County honors longtime legislator

Below: Lexington residents marvel at
Knotts Rock, formerly named Peachtree Rock.
B & P News - Edmund

Lexington County paid tribute to longtime legislator Jake Knotts this week by unveiling a likeness of the Republican State Senator, carved into the peculiar geological formation once known as Peachtree Rock.

Knotts Rock, as it is now named, is located about twenty miles outside the capital city, in Edmund. The formation is famous for its resemblance an overturned pyramid balancing perilously on its apex. The chiseling of the rock to honor the Senator was approved in a secret meeting of Lexington County Council earlier this year.

"We wanted to keep it under wraps, to really surprise Jakie," said councilwoman Betty Joe Harmon-Corley. "We had the sculptor cover it with a tent and everything."

Edmond residents and visitors to the surrounding nature preserve were full of speculation right up until the unveiling of the monument on Monday.

"I figured it was somebody in government, maybe Joe Wilson," said T. Buzzard Mack of Edmund. "I guess there's only room for one unanimated Joe Wilson in this world, though."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

DeMint "giddy" about upcoming film

Below: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) holds his advance tickets for Rent.
B & P News - Washington

South Carolina's junior senator, Jim DeMint, has described himself as "absolutely giddy" about the upcoming big screen release of the hit Broadway musical Rent. "I've seen the live show at least seven times," the Republican told reporters last week. "You better believe I already have my tickets for the movie version."

DeMint's affinity for Rent, a story which tackles such controversial issues as homosexuality and AIDS, came as a surprise to many of his conservative constituents, but not to his peers in Congress.

"Oh God, he's a huge Rent fan," said Senator Lindsey Graham. "He knows every word. I haven't seen him this excited since the director's cut of The Birdcage came out on DVD."

DeMint, who drew fire for speaking against homosexual teachers during his senatorial campaign, is a much misunderstood senator, according to Congressman Joe Wilson. "That self-righteous, pious Jim - that wasn't the real him," said Wilson. "It's just a role he played to get elected. It's part of the job."

"He's always trying to get us to come over and watch Will & Grace," Wilson continued. "And eat his 'fantastic quiche.' It's a little weird."

Rent is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner. It opens in theaters nationwide on November 23rd.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Oconee County Council cancels “Wheel of Faith” prayer format

Below left: the Wheel of Faith. Below right: Councilman Scooter
Riley holds the album from which he culled the Rasta invocation.
Rasta ceremony sets emotions, marijuana ablaze

B & P News – Walhalla

Oconee County Council voted to reconsider its recently adopted “Wheel of Faith” prayer format following a Rastafarian invocation by Councilman Scooter Riley on Thursday.

“Last week we decided the ‘Wheel of Faith’ would be a good way to represent the various spiritual doctrines of Oconee and the world,” said fellow council member Chester LaGroot. “We’re not so sure anymore.”

The wheel was crafted in response to recent court rulings that prohibited the promotion of a specific religious preference during council prayers. Constructed by the council with the cooperation of the ACLU, the wheel was spun on Monday to give a councilman time to learn about the religion and prepare an invocation.

“I listened to a lot of Bob Marley in college, so I figured I’d better take this one” said Riley. “Plus, I didn’t want to get stuck with Scientology whenever it came around.”

“All praise be to His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I,” began the prayer. “King of kings, Conquering Lion of Judah.” Riley then paused to light a marijuana cigarette and play the bongos while singing ‘Jammin'’, according to the official minutes of the meeting. He closed the prayer by shouting, “I and I, Jah live!” at which time Riley was asked by fellow council members to extinguish the cigarette.

“Scooter did a good job trying to deliver a legitimate Rastafarian prayer,” said Councilwoman Jolene Loudermilk. “I think he just took it a little too far with the reefer and the reggae.”

Oconee County Council voted 6-1 to dismantle the wheel, and also approved a proposal by Riley to install vending machines in county offices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wednesday Lunch: Best barbecue in my belly since the Braves wore baby blue

Yeah, I coulda got the word “buffet” in the title too if I’d really tried. Palmetto Pig’s lunch buffet is so good you’ll skip breakfast in anticipation. I give particularly high marks to the cole slaw, the hush puppies, and the pulled pork with the “original” sauce. This sauce kinda reminds me of the mystery sauce you get at a Japanese steakhouse, but a little bit sweeter.

I brought along my buddy Lucius, a first-timer, who cursed my name afterward for negating weeks of exercise in the span of thirty minutes. And speaking of thirty minutes, the standard half-hour wait before swimming doesn’t apply to the Pig. Try thirty hours, and you might wanna wear those orange swimmies for good measure.

There’s a student discount, plenty of Gamecock paraphernalia, and long tables with communal pitchers of sweet tea. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Colorblind merchant inadvertantly opens "green dot" liquor store


"Your kidding me, right?" asks storeowner. "That's green? Shit."

B&P News - Swansea

In what may be a South Carolina first, local colorblind businessman Steve Enfinger recently opened a "green dot" liquor store on Highway 321.

"I don't know how it happened," Enfinger said Tuesday. "When the Sheriff pointed it out, I was like 'You're kidding me, right?'"

South Carolina law requires a red dot to be displayed on the outside of buildings that distribute spirits. The red dot traces its origin to circular Coca-Cola signs, which were subsequently painted full crimson to indicate alcohol sales.

Sheriff Moot Flair was sympathetic to Enfinger, but asked him to repaint the dots by week's end. "That poor bastard," stated Flair. "You should have seen the look on his face. He said, 'That's green? Shit.' I laughed my ass off. "

This was Enfinger's second setback due to color-blindness, or Daltonism, this year. In May, the businessman inadvertently baked his wife a green velvet cake for her birthday.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Rush's Barbecue Sandwich... taste familiar?

My wife Hannah Jane and I were headed from church to the movies on Sunday, when we stopped in at Rush's. She's eatin' for two at the moment -- a little Gervais Jr, we found out the sex today -- and ten miles is long way for her to go without a milkshake.

I got the barbecue sandwich basket and a sympathy milkshake with which to wash it down. Rush's barbecue is excellent, there is no question about it. This is five star stuff, the kind of barbecue you don't easily forget.

Which brings me to my question... is this Maurice's meat under a different name? Now, I grew up under the watchful eye of Little Joe, whose porcine visage illuminated the night sky above West Columbia. Little Joe is another of the previously mentioned Seven Wonders of West Columbia, and his omniscient gaze made me feel safe as a youngster.

At six years, I watched clouds and daydreamed in left field at Pineview, wearing a Piggie Park jersey and an unfortunate ballcap that read "PP." I would return to consciousness only when I heard the ping of an aluminum bat or the call of the coach. We stuffed our faces after the games at the park-and-order, bellhop style parking lot of the original Piggie Park. That's how Maurice's Q became the gold standard, the perfect ten by which I judge all other pulled pork.

That was before...well, it was just before. My patronage has tapered off since, though I did recently stop in to buy a copy of "Defending My Heritage," the Maurice Bessinger story.

Maybe its just wishful thinking on my part, but everything about the Rush's barbecue sandwich -- the texture, the sauce, the density -- evoked my halcyon days, when all the worries of the world could be washed away by sweet tea or the front yard garden hose. Is this Bessinger's barbecue, y'all, or am I Rush-ing to judgment?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Lee County resident hopes to challenge Spratt

Below: Candidate L. Percy Mann
from near Bishopville
Political newcomer has quite the campaign war chest, says USC political science professor.

B&P News - Bishopville

A political unknown from the outskirts of Bishopville announced this weekend that he intends to unseat Congressman John Spratt in South Carolina's 5th District.

"It's time for new blood," said candidate L. Percy Mann, in his announcement Saturday afternoon at a rest area off Interstate 20. "Cold blood." Mann then disappeared into a wooded thicket.

Mann faces fellow Republicans Park Gillespie and Ralph Norman in a primary election, and so far has more cash on-hand than either candidate. "He has quite the war chest," says USC political Science professor Gunther Fables. "It seems to have come out of nowhere, like he won the lottery or something."

Mann says his key issue will be wetland and forest conservation.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday Lunch: Bush, barbecue and blues

Today Petunia and I joined my old man for some first-rate barbecue and ribs at Sticky Fingers. The name fits -- if a tree frog ate here you'd have to pry the ribs out of his hands with tweezers and petroleum jelly.

There's a big cardboard cutout of the President as you enter, and there's a strong Republican aura to the place, even though they try to offset it with pictures of blues legends who are, as a rule, non-Republican. Something tells me Drink Small never ate here.

Speaking of Drink Small, the Sticky Fingers official website has a neat feature that lets you ascertain your "blues name" by plugging in your initials. Ol' Gervais' blues name is Ugly Bad Boy McGee. What about the contenders in the upcoming gubernatorial primary elections?

Republican:

Governor Jailhouse Harp Davis
faces Dr. Red Lemon Parker
Democrat:
Senator Big Liver Lee faces
Mayor Hollerin' Eyes Bailey

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Anderson City Council reconsiders Mad Lib invocation

Below: Councilman Lloyd Nugent
holds the book that inspired the
new prayer format.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” says councilman.

B&P News - Anderson

Anderson City Council is reconsidering its recent adjustment in prayer format, unveiled at Wednesday’s council meeting. The change from the traditional Christian prayer to a Mad Lib format was sparked by a recent decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and pressure from the ACLU.

“We decided to be more inclusive,” said councilman Lloyd Nugent. “It’s only fair to recognize that others have different beliefs, and we need to represent everyone here. Basically, I got the old prayer, took out some words, passed around a Mad Lib sheet beforehand and let people go nuts. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The first iteration of the new prayer was delivered by Mayor Festus M. Turnip. “Our Daddy, watching us from Disney World, creator of Mars and its majestic flamingos,” began the mayor, stifling a laugh. “We thank you for our daily Twinkies and for sending us George Bush to deliver us from chewing ice and hickeys, and to cast out the mountain goats from our lives.”

The mayor then snorted, handing the prayer to Nugent and exiting the meeting to regain his composure. “We had some wisecracks, I guess,” reported Nugent, who finished the prayer so the meeting could commence.

“Please bless us with his wonders, from rollerblading on sweet tea to the miracle of Halloween,” Nugent read. “Oh dear Lord. Keep us safe from Asian Bird Flu and thunderstorms. You are a black and well-dressed policeman. Amen.”

The council voted unanimously to reconsider the prayer format before the next meeting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wednesday lunch: Zesto's BBQ Sandwich

I have fond memories of Zesto’s. The chocolate-glazed vanilla cone that looms over Triangle City is an icon of my youth, one of the Seven Wonders of West Columbia. Mama couldn’t drive past the place without hearing my wails and Fripp’s soft sobbing from the back of the pick-up.

But if you go, go for the great cheeseburgers and the ice cream. The barbecue is not so special -- a little too runny to eat while driving -- and the cole slaw is the salty, chunky kind that’ll ruin your life. It’ll satisfy a craving in a pinch, but if first-rate pig is the order of the day, head elsewhere.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Governor crashes bicycle into AgFirst Bank Building

The AgFirst Bank Building. Inset: A bruised Sanford.


"I thought I was emerging from a tunnel into a beautiful sunset," says Sanford.


AP- Columbia

Sixty miles is an exhaustive distance to ride a bicycle, even for an experienced cyclist like Mark Sanford. During the final stretch of his second annual Family Fitness Challenge, Sanford drifted from the pack of riders into the side of the AgFirst Bank Building in midtown Columbia.

"I shouldn't have had that last Red Bull," said the governor in a press conference after the ride from Aiken to the capital city. "I started hallucinating, big time. There was this huge fire hydrant, and then I thought I was emerging from a tunnel into a beautiful sunset. That's the last thing I remember."

Sanford's physician diagnosed the governor with a mild concussion, spokesman Joel Sawyer added Sunday evening. "At first, Mark was was blabbering something about supporting public schools and working with the legislature," Sawyer said. "I knew we had to get him medical attention right away."

Luckily, no other riders followed Sanford into the side of the building. "I saw him veer off course," said Corley Gadsden, a cyclist from Easley. "Something in my gut told me that following this guy was the wrong answer. Thank goodness, you know?"

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Meet your mama at the rocket, but don't eat the "Barbecue Gyro"

Maybe ol' Gervais is the only one dumb enough to try the Barbecue Gyro to begin with... It belongs in the Barbecue family about as much as "elephant ears" belong in the pachyderm family.

But if you like shaved lamb, and you want to try it with BBQ sauce, tomato, and onion, look no further than the midway at the SC State Fair, in the shadow of "the rocket".

Friday, October 07, 2005

Po' Pigs Bo-B-Q... bad name, good eatin'


I like to take the ol' lady someplace nice on Friday nights, so this evening we had the buffet at Po' Pigs on Knox Abbott Road, on my side of the Congaree. Not too shabby! The pulled pork itself is good, a little more shredded than at most places. That made it easy for our little Petunia, with five teeth in her whole head, to eat it.

There's four sauces to choose from: Carolina Red, Midlands Mustard, Pee Dee Pepper, and Orangeburg Sweet. The buffet bar has plenty of veggies, and some odds and ends such as rutebaga and liver hash. If anyone out there tries the liver hash, please let us know how it is.

Anyway, don't be turned off by the lame name. We were serenaded during supper by one of the cooks, who knew a fair portion of the words to "Old Timey Rock and Roll," but did not advance to the next round. By the way, it was $17.98 for two dinners with drinks. Fun place.

Gervais

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Tuesday lunch: Harper's maintains AAA barbecue rating


If you haven't tried the Harper's Carolina Barbecue Sandwich yet, do so right away...it's a big ol' good'n. They put the coleslaw right there on the bun, which I like. And this is hickory smoked, real-deal pulled pork barbecue.

The only thing that almost jeopardized the AAA barbecue rating that Harper's enjoys was the question the waiter asked me today: "Mustard-based or vinegar-based?" Mama would've slapped Fripp or me for asking such nonsense here in the buckle of the Mustard Belt. I kept my cool, though.

"Listen, kid," I whispered in his ear, brushing aside a tuft from his Charleston Mop-head hairdo. "Take this little map. Learn it. Live it. Love it."