MORNING CONSTITUTIONAL 06/02/11

Lately I’ve been frying up old Super Nintendo game cartridges and eating them before bed. Like grilled cheese, I use plenty of butter and often eat it with little else beyond three liters of Grape Faygo. The butter combines with the natural flavor of the cartridge plastic to create a pleasing, smokey taste and accompanying each bite is not a crunch but a sound effect noise from the game in question. Usually it’s the jumping sound. But my God, the nightmares. Granted I’ve always had terrible nightmares throughout the night, but this meal produces a unique horror. I wake up with my teeth clenched down hard on my tongue and claw marks up and down my arms. And grease paint everywhere. There’s nothing healthy about any of it. There’s also nothing that says I have...

NIGHTCAP 06/01/11

It's late. You're up working crosswords. Everything's quiet. You're sure you're alone. You look up and see a banjo player seated across from you. He's not dead. He's not a ghost. He's just sitting there with a straw hat, suspenders and a banjo in his lap. He's not playing. You look down at the crossword puzzle book, then up again. There are two banjo players sitting across from you. They are identical save for hair color and mustache arrangement. Neither is playing. You offer them assistance. You offer them water. They say nothing. You set down the book and rub your eyes. It's been a long week. You haven't been eating well. That last clue, 17 Across: How they do it in Iowa, just won't solve itself. You look up. There are 43 banjo players in the room with you. None are playing. Deep breath...

THE CHALLENGE OF THE STEAK DINNER

The challenge of the Steak Dinner is to stay relevant in this age of electronic presidents and shadows that erase themselves. It can maintain its prominence by appearing in the mouths of some of our better-paid circus performers and pencil sharpeners. It can update its look, so to speak, with the tasteful placement of scarves.

What the Steak Dinner must do to escape a fate in the elephant cages, above all else, is cultivate an air of mystery. Mystery about its origin (was it sliced from the calf of a giant?), mystery about its flavor (does it taste like a roofing shingle or a drifter's boot?) and mystery about its intentions (run for higher office or become a lawyer, end the game with a few dollars in the bank?).

Opacity and doubt are The Steak Dinner's best friends.

DARK HEART OF THE EMPIRE

Turns out the Dark Heart of the Empire is actually a Dairy Boy ice cream hut in nearby Eastpointe, MI. More specifically, it's the Cone Storage room located in the back of the facility near the employee bathrooms.

I found this information listed in a Time Magazine Almanac from 2002 I had under a stack of paper place mats I've been collecting for their interesting design patterns and drink sweat stains.

NIGHTCAP 05/31/11

Last night I found a small cardboard box inside a crumpled brown paper grocery bag on the top shelf of the hall closet. Inside this small cardboard box were five, unopened, untouched packages of Mallo Cups. They were two-packs. It was a Christmas gift I had received from my Uncle many years ago. The gift was so perfect in conception and execution - the cardboard box was recycled from some incomprehensible electronics parts company, with its order form invoice and label still stuck on the lid - that I didn't dare disturb it. Eating the Mallo Cups would've ruined everything. In its simple, unsophisticated manner the gift summed up a thousand dark, cold, slushy November weeknights spent waiting for my father to pick me up from Catechism and making due with a single, unwrapped, Mallo Cup in...