Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tom & Amy's Delightful Dundalk Daytrip

Saturday, January 14, 2011

With the whole city seemingly wrapped up in food and booze preparations for watching the Ravens play the Steelers later this afternoon, I figured it was a good time to head down to Rainbow Car Wash off German Hill Road in Dundalk and get my salt-and-grime slopped Honda Civic cleaned up. For her part, Amy (who had just visited Dundalk the day before to have lunch with her parentals) wanted to go back to the Goodwill Superstore across from Eastpoint Mall, where she had scored a preppy green J. Crew sweater and a pair of mod-looking gray pinstriped pants the day before.

Amy models her Goodwill Superstore clothes, as well as the new Queen bio (a belated Christmas gift from me)

The pants were so form-fitting that Amy had spent the night before gyrating, jumping up and down, and kicking herself in the butt - all to show me how stretchy her "Dundalk Goodwill Superstore Super Sexy Slacks" were, as captured in the videos below that prove these slacks are no slouches:

Amy models her Goodwill Superstore Super Sexy Slacks

Amy kicks herself in the butt

Amy is double-jointed and also incredibly flexible from years of doing yoga, but this new talent impressed me beyond belief.

Amy also wanted me to see a pair of stunning gold pumps that someone had left in the alley behind her parents' house across from the Logan Village Shopping Center.

Pump It Up! Solid Gold Action behind Logan Village Shopping Center

Upon closer inspection...all that glitters in Dundalk IS gold!

Could these be "storage locker" pumps left behind by some Dundalk street (alley?) walker?

That's Amy's childhood home in the background; if her folks ever sell it, the realtors should list the house with this photo

"I can't believe no one's taken these yet!" says a bewildered Amy

"What is it about Dundalk and gold wonders?" she wondered. "They even match our twin towered-shit plant, the Golden Eggs!"

Dundalk's Golden Eggs: The Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant

Anyway, it sounded like a plan for a lazy Saturday afternoon, so we headed down Merritt Boulevard on our merry way, Amy regaling me with the highlights of her previous day's lunch with her mom and dad. As we passed Denny's, where a recent lunch with her parents had escalated into a "domestic dispute" over the (lack of) sausage in Amy's otherwise delicious Ultimate Skillet entree (as previously reported in "Fast Food, Slow People in Dundalk," Accelerated Decrepitude, January 8, 2011), Amy recounted how her eccentric, "conversationally challenged, food-obsessed" mother always repeats the same stock comments whenever the family dines together. I have noticed that while Amy's Dad can talk effortlessly about Russia (he's fluent in Russian), his beloved Burke's Restaurant (which recently closed ), or his days in the Army and Merchant Marines, Amy's mom can't seem to think outside the plate; any chatter always comes back to the food before her.

"My mom always comments about everybody else's food whenever we eat out," Amy reflected, adding that, "But if she complains about her food, she'll complain about it the entire meal."

I later organized her mom's Dining Mantras into the list reprinted below.

Amy's Mom's Dining Mantras: Things Said Every Meal

1. "Itadakimasu!" (Ee-ta-da-key-mas)
(She's Japanese, so she says this grace expression whose meaning in English would be equivalent to either "Bless this food" or "Let's eat!" depending on one's piety.)

2. "That meat look TOUGH!"
(Said every time Mr. Davis orders a steak.)

3. That tea WEAK, it look like water!"
(Said every time Mr. Davis orders an iced tea.)

4. "That cole slaw SOUR!"
(said every time she orders a crab cake or seafood platter.)

5. "That squid not SPICY enough!"
(Even though Amy explains that calamari isn't supposed to be spicy.)

6. "Hmmmpft! Not enough MUSHROOMS!"

7. "That bread - it COLD!"
(Even after Amy comments how oven-fresh the bread is.)

8. "Crab cake JUNK! Not enough LUMPS!"
("My mom has a High Lump Standard when it comes to Crab Cakes," Amy says. "There are never enough lumps. To her, Crab Cakes should be nothing but lumps.")

9. "My French Fry JUNK! Everybody else French Fry GOOD!"
(She always looks at other diners' French Fries and believes there is some sort of conspiracy to give her the smallest, most mishapened, burnt, and bottom of the pan fries.)

10. "We go now!"
(After she finishes her food.)

Now, if Amy excuses herself to go to the bathroom and doesn't come back quickly enough, her mother always assumes she's making a "Number Two" and will embarrass her upon her return with one more comment:

11. "You long time. Make BIG ONE?"

Amy's Dad's Top 10 Responses to Her Mom's Dining Mantras:

1. Ignores her.
2. Ignores her.
3. Ignores her.
4. Ignores her.
5. Ignores her.
6. Ignores her.
7. Ignores her.
8. Ignores her.
9. Ignores her.
10. "I knew you were going to say that at some point."

Also, during certain "domestic disputes" such as the Denny's Sausage Incident, he has been known to intervene with an occasional: "Will you stop going on about the damned SAUSAGE!"
Before we got to the car wash, we stopped at the Big Lots store on Merritt Boulevard, where we both scored some nice finds.

Amy picked up a crafts book by former Breeder Kelley Deal (twin sister of the Pixies' Kim Deal), Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road (2008), for $3. "I don't even knit," Amy said, "But I think this is kinda cool. Maybe I'll give it to a Breeders fan."

The needle and the darning done

Accordng to Wikipedia, Deal turned to knitting as part of an effort to stay sober. Ah, just as I suspected: Crafts Rehab - the needle and the damage done turns into the needle and the knit bags done! Apparently, Kelley Deal specializes in knitted handbags, which she sells on her official website: She has also appeared on the DIY Network knitting show, Knitty Gritty (episode DKNG-401, Rock Star Bag).

My biggest score was paying $3 for the Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters movie Heartbeeps (1981), a film about two robots who fall in love and decide to strike out on their own.

Heartbeeps tanked at the box office, giving its producers heartburn

Critics called "unbearable" and "dreadful," while Andy Kaufman felt that the movie was so bad that he personally apologized for it on Late Night with David Letterman. (When Kaufman promised to refund the money of everyone who paid to see it, Letterman quipped, "You'd better have change for a 20!") Hey, even if it's bad, it's Andy Kaufman. Plus Christopher Guest, Bob Zmuda, and Jerry Garcia are in the cast. In other words: essential. I also bought a 20-pack of Hefty Trash Bags there for $3; time will tell which was the better value.

At the Rainbow Car Wash, we noticed that every car wash jockey seemed to be covered with bad prison-quality tattoos and wondered if all car wash employees were either ex- or future- cons. That's not a criticism - these guys do great work and I tip them handsomely!

Next store was Poor Boys Garden & Hearth, which despite its name seems to be nothing but a one-stop shopping center for all things related to the Baltimore Ravens, from "Shitsburgh, PA" t-shirts and purple flamingo lawn ornaments to big styrofoam purple fists that purportedly were for holding beer cans and bottles (I suspect these would sell well in Rehoboth Beach for a different purpose!). You can even check out their online Poor Boys Ravens Store for more merchandise at But I was struck by some unusual artifacts with in the store, like the politically incorrect "pickininny" doll hanging atop one shelf and the equally un-PC framed reproduction of the sheet music for "The Darktown Strutters Ball."

"What's that all about?" I asked Amy, not realizing that the place actually sold items NOT related to the Ravens. The picture reminded me of the classic 1975 blaxploitation film Darktown Strutters (aka Get Down and Boogie!) - one of my all-time favorite possessions. It starred Trina Parks (the first African-American female to star in a James Bond movie - she was Thumper in 1971's Diamonds Are Forever) as the leader of an all-female biker gang battling a racist fast food tycoon (and Colonel Sanders lookalike) who's invented a machine that creates exact replicas of black leaders who are programmed to get their followers to "Eat Mor Chikin" (as the Chick-fil-A cows would have it) - and ribs! And the soundtrack was highlighted by The Dramatics performing "What You See Is What You Get." I only have it on video, but my friend Mike Hughes managed to score a DVD of this curioddity fora buck at a Dollar Store!

"Super sisters on cycles - better move your butt when these ladies strut!"

It's still a pretty rare movie, but thankfully somebody uploaded the entire film on YouTube (yeah!).

Watch "Darktown Strutters."

But, if you have ADHD like me, you might just wanna watch the "Darktown Strutters" trailer.

The whole time we were in Poor Boys, the in-house satellite radio station was playing 80s Britpop gems by Squeeze, The Jam, and Madness, leading Amy to comment that the only Ravens gear she would consider purchasing would be the (Terrell) Suggs cap she spotted because "I'd wear it in honor of Suggs of Madness!"

The "other" (nutty) Suggs

Amy's Suggs also is a football fanatic, but his footy is of the Chelsea Blues soccer variety. She ended getting a Pumpkin Voodoo Keychain Charm she spied by the cash register because it completed her Fall Pumpkin Mania craze that saw her consuming every conceivable pumpkin-flavored comestible (cheesecake, cream cheese, bread, ad infinitum).

Pumpkin Voodoo has its charm

We left Ravens Central and on our way back to Merritt Boulevard, some yahoo in a souped-up purple Honda Civic (a spoiler on a Honda? Ridiculous!) rolled down his window, held up a Joe Flacco jersey and shouted "Ravens! Wahoo! Ravens!"

"Yes, I've heard of them!" I replied. Then, lest he think I was a wise-ass, I added (faux enthusiastically), "All right! We just came from Poor Boys!" In Dundalk, Poor Boys is synonymous with saying you just went to Ravens Merchandise Headquarters. He honked his horn in response and sped off. I was cleared on the Ravens Booster Front. In the back of my mind I could hear the cast of Tod Browning's Freaks singing, "We accept you, we accept you! One of use, one of us!"

Ravens Freaks: I'm with the program and they accept me!

We finally made our way to the Goodwill Superstore across the street from the Eastpoint Mall, passing the Hibachi Grill on the way.

"Let's see if there are any more law enforcement incidents going on here involving the county police," I said as we drove past Hibachi Grill - for it was only last week there was a "food fight" here that reported in the Dundalk Eagle's police blotter.

But all was quiet on the all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet Front, so we parked at the Goodwill and spent the next hour looking for more scores. Amy got a nifty brown suede jacket, while I almost purchased a pair of Old Navy "rock star" leather pants; they were women's size 4's, but they were actually a little too loose on me. But boy did they feel nice and soft. (OK, I think I'm starting to get hellbent for leather!)

In the end I spotted this $2 dollar t-shirt that sums up everything I think about the Internet - and which was like holding up a mirror to myself! (Except for the stalking bit; I honestly have never had the Work Ethic required to be one; I'm too lazy!).

My life story capsulized on a $2 t-shirt!

And with that, we headed home to pick up some Seasons Pizza the Ravens game! Yes, believe it or not I was won over by the enthusiasm of the dude in the tricked-out purple Honda Civic. Not really. No, we were just bored after an exciting day in Dundalk and were ready to watch anything, even football - which is an excellent background viewing activity whilst eating Seasons white vegetable pizza. Even when the home team loses in such a pathetic manner, blowing a two touchdown lead. Wonder if that yahoo's still driving around hoisting his Flacco jersey out the window?

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