August 31, 2003


It comes with great sadness to report to you on the 10th and 11th tour stops on the Asses of Fire Tour.

Why sadness? Because these are the final destinations for a while.

There are plans to restart the tour - details to come later - but for the moment, this is the end, my friends.

And I have to tell you, I know what Robert Downey Jr. feels like when he's in rehab. The addiction to the wings is that strong.


For the penultimate stop, my wing colleagues Mitch, and Rommie traveled long distance to get to The Stadium in New Port Richey.

As Rommie tells it, there was a glitch. Namely, the lack of a tool to record the event photographically.

He reports:

OK, I screwed up. Royally. I forgot to bring my camera. I’m an idiot. Believe me, there’s nothing you can possibly say that would heighten the shame I already feel.

Getting [to The Stadium] involves driving all the way to B.F.E., then you take a left, a right, another left, another right and then you keep driving until you see the fork in the road, where you bear left and keep driving.

The place is two minutes away from Mitch’s house. He makes this circuitous drive on a daily basis. He must spend the GNP of a third-world country at the gas station each week.

Anyway, the place was a traditional sports bar with jerseys and neon signs on the walls and trading cards under the table varnish. I get the feeling there isn’t much in New Port Richey that couldn’t be described as “traditional.” Maybe Mitch’s earring.

The wings were of the big-ass variety, crispy fried and coated with a pretty tasty sauce. When they arrived at our table, they were so hot (like, temperature hot, not spicy hot) that we couldn’t pick them up. It was like sitting around a bonfire. If I’d had my acoustic guitar handy, I would’ve led a round of “Oh Susanna.” Unable to touch the wings, we were forced to drink beer from frosty mugs instead.

Oh, by the way, remember how we decided at Kazbor’s that The First Rule of Sports Bars is you can’t play Tiffany songs? At The Stadium, they pipe in easy-listening favorites from some lite-rock radio station. While there, we heard the Little River Band, Air Supply and Sinatra, among others. “Strangers in the Night,” dude. Great song, but not for wing eating, beer drinking and gas passing. It was about as discordant as Alex doing “Singing in the Rain” while he beat the shit out of that guy in “A Clockwork Orange.” I’ll never hear Sinatra the same way again. If I’m lucky, I’ll never hear Air Supply, period.

All in all, the wings ranked somewhere in the middle of the upper tier. They weren’t anywhere near as good (or as hot) as the Brewing Co., but they were way better than Kazbor’s or Dogwater or even Legends. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of Firehouse, which isn’t bad company.

My only regret is the camera thing. Adopting Chris Farley voice: “I’m so STUPID!”

Relax, my brother in wingage. All is forgiven. The sauce has obviously made you contrite, and for that, you are absolved from your photographic sins.


Wild, rabid chickens with fricken laser beams couldn't have stopped me from attending the final tour stop (if only temporarily so).

For that one, we traveled to Brandon's best sports bar, Barnacles .

First thing you have to understand is that Barnacles is all about overindulgence. How so? Consider that there are 457 televisions in the place.

That's right, 457.

What better spot to celebrate overindulgence than this?

As we walked up the sidewalk to the front door, I tried to prepare my compadres for what they were about to experience. I told them that the first time I walked through the door, I started to openly weep at the display of cathode ray tubes and big-screen projection technology. I felt like Mike TeeVee, the kid in "Willie Wonka" who gets sucked up into the screen and broadcast in a million pieces.

Despite my best efforts, nothing could have prepared them. Rommie's first glance dropped his jaw toward the floor. Mitch let out a gutteral stream of "Holy shit"s and "Goddamn"s.

"Welcome to Attention Deficit Theater," I told them.

Once we got to the table and we adjusted our bearings for so much visual stimulation, we ordered 30 wings, which come spicy and plain with extra hot sauce on the side. Oh, and a plate of loaded French fries.

While I was supremely confident beforehand that the TVs would floor my friends, I was a tad nervous about the food. I liked the wings, but the tour stops prior to this had featured some wonderful surprises. I remembered Barnacles wings as being good, but not awe inspiring. That may have been the reason I ordered the supplementary fries, now that I think about it. Insecurity is so unattractive.

Our waitress, whom we nicknamed Miss LaRue for reasons we won't go into here, brought us our meal. It was devoured posthaste with the aforementioned hot sauce on the side.

The wings were good plain, but they were better with the sauce. It wasn't hot enough to make you curse Jesus and his angels in heaven, but on a scale of 1-10, it was about a 6.5.

The fries were a good call. They tasted like a loaded baked potato, once you got down to it.

There have been many a priceless moment during this gastronomic journey. Most of which were supplied by Walt.

During one meal, he told us about having interviewed the Olsen twins.

"One of them is more aggressive than the other,'' he said. "I don't know which."

At another meal, he described how a man in St. Pete had sued a rather over-endowed stripper for what could best be called mammicide.

In a voice that was louder than a bullhorn, Walt said, "AND SHE BRUISED HIM WITH HER TITTIES.''

The family of four with two teenage daughters behind us enjoyed that pronouncement, I'm sure.

But for my money, the photo above is what will remain as the iconic image of the tour.

There sits Rommie, filled with chicken flesh and soiled with sauce. He is not shameful. He is not disgusted. He is merely humbled by their perfection and unwilling to wipe their residue from his aching soul.

He is every man.

When I said that there were 457 TVs, I meant it. This includes the billiards room. At the moment after this was shot, we noticed a man holding a pool cue with one hand and, for some reason, rather rapidly manipulating his genitalia down the waistline of his pants with the other. My guess is that it was a response to some sort of rapid-eye and billiard overload.

And while I applaud that kind of dedication to a goal and ability to multitask, I did not offer to shake his hand.

This was taken on the ride home. Why is Rommie smiling? For many reasons.

First, his belly was filled with quality spiced poultry product. Second, he had just relieved himself of a gaseous buildup, a volley lobbed during what could be described as a Rectal Emission Cold War with Mitch, who was in the back seat.

And third, he realized he had a sun roof that allowed the noxious fallout to avoid our nasal passages and escape into the ozone.

As for the tour, well, it was a time of great glory and passion. But all things must end, and so this shall.

One day. Eventually.

But not now.

To be continued...

Posted by Jeff at August 31, 2003 11:36 AM | TrackBack