I live in New Britain Connecticut. It used to be The Hardware City of the Wlorld a long time ago. Now it’s trying to survive. We might not have fireworks this year because they can’t come up with $5500. Matbe some body got guilted into donaying the cash because the local news affiliate made a big deal about it. This is not about now, sorta. It’s about my past. I grew up without a mother part of the time (The Big C). It meant trips to Boston for her for radiation, chemo and stuff. My father and I bonded over eating out in greasy spoons. I loved them. One of the treats were chili dogs. Not glorified, over dressed specialty sausages but a locally made hot dog on a bun with onion, yellow mustard and chili sauce. There were a few places where you could get good chili dogs and my father knew them all. There was the king, Capitol Lunch. It was openrd by two friend who emmigrated from Greece and partnered up. Their sauce was sublime and the recipe was a closly guardd secret, though many felt corn flakes and cinnamon played a big part in the mix, some said it was ground liver. It also depended on when you got your dog. If you came in early, say 11 am, there was a chance the sauce would be a tad watery and a bit bland. If you stopped by a 10 pm the sauce had thickened from sitting in a steam table and the flavor was unbelievable. The standard order was “Two up” that was two dogs with the works. Ordering ketsup on them was dicouraged but if pressed they they acceceded. After Capitol Lunch was Strand Lunch, named for its proximity to the Strand Theater which was the outlet for Disney movies. Their sauce was a bit more meaty and the spices were a bit more subtle. They didn’t have the walk-in rade like Capitol Lunch but they did a land office business on Saturday afternoon when a hundred or so chili dog smelling kids smuggled them into the theater. On Broad Street, in the Polish section of town was Charlie’s. He was a full-service greasy spoon. His hamburger steak was killer and his meatloaf was compared to many mother’s best effort. He had chili dogs, but he perfered his chli be served in a bowl with crackers and beans. He made the “base”, chili without beans and kept it in a large container on his steamtable. If you ordered a bowl, you’d get a spoonful of beans covered with the base. It was served in industrial strength bowls with a side of saltines. If you ordered it, he would grill a dog on the flattop, slather on mustard, add onions and spoon on the sauce. True afficinadoes didn’t concider Charlie a hot dog player but he had his followers. Way off on Slater Road, in a semi-residential area was the Snacketeria. It was small a quirky. The sauce was a hybrid od Capitol Lunch and Strand Lunch. The hot dogs were split open and grilled flat on a flattop. I wasn’t the hot dogs that made the Snacketeria. It was dark wood on the walls and abandoned wasp nests hanging from the ceiling. The walls were covered with postcards from all over the country. I can remember being facinated by a series of cards that extolled the grandure of the Hearst MMansion in California. The Strand Lunch, Charlies and Snacketeria are gone, The land they were on was more valuable than their worth as landmarks. Capitol Lunch still flourishes. It’s moved from the original eight by fifteen location to a larger environs. They still shut down for two weeks in August and there is usually more than a few irate customers jonesing for a Cappy Dog. Aha, there’s a solution. An entrepeneur opened a hot dog emporium near the university. It’s the called the Dawg House. He’s got the Strand Lunch recipe for sauce and threatens to dethrown Capitol Lunch. He has some advantages; the students, killer reviews by the local hand-out papers and an on=line presence. And, he has a multpiicity of hot dogs that you can order. I’m not going to list them, you’ll have to check it out on your own.

Okay, I woke up on Saturday, did blood, took meds, ate breakfast, did the bike, showered and settled in to let my hair dry in front of the TV watching anything that didn’t rot my brain. No cable. I’m on the phone to Xfinity. An inordiate time later and more than enough really crappy elevator music I get a tech. She dsends a refresh signal to my box. Nothing. No TV. I can live with that. I’ve got a laptop. I go shopping and kill time putting groceries away. I can get some stations. Food Network among them, Comedy Central and ABC through the local PBS stations are gone. Lunch is two chili cheese dogs from the Dawg House (my indulgence for the week). I go on-line, no connection, back on the phone with Xfinity. This time more than mildly pissed. Inordinate elevator music interspersed with a message telling me how sorry they are that I have to wait. A sidebar: A visiting tech from my favorite cable company told me they reroute calls to other states when there’s an overload. Which means somebody who has no idea of the immediate situation. Another tech and an appointment for Sunday morning at eight, yeah, I made an appointment that early. So Saturday without TV or computer, okay some TV but no baseball!!! Read some new books I got in the mail this week. I developed a crush on a twelve -year-old girl. Nothing physical but an admiration for a girl in a Catholc school who torments the nuns. The strip is drawn by Brooke McEldowney of Kennebuncpot Maine, home of some guy named Bush or something. Wound up reading steampunk when I ran out of comics.

Early breakfast,bike and shower. Tech shows up. Solves problem, simple, the guy that Xfinity sent who told me that he fixed the squirrel damage to the wires didn’t. He lied. Hence the second story.

In the late seventies, early eighties I forget now a guy came to our house in New Britain. He was selling a new product, actually a service, TV without the vagarities of weather and more channels than you could imagine. My father wan’t a Luddute but he wasn’t exactly on the cutting edge of technology. The guy must have been good because my father signed on. The company was United Cable in Plainville CT. It was doing well there and they were expanding. In weeks crews hung wires up the street and to the houses that signed up. Another crew went inside and wired the rooms, in our case the living room and my bedroom. Pretty soon the topic of conversation was what was on last night. The company did well and were bought up by a larger company and the a larger one until it became part of Comcast Xfinity. One thing though, as the company was eaten up the quality of service decreased. You spent long amounts of time waiting to talk to a human being, and when you did thet tried to do an on-line fix. Simply, it lost humanity. The phone techs try to impliment quck fixes and the boots-on-the-ground techs might not perform up to the standards the company sets. Which brings up another point.

Edward Snowden worked for TRW. I remember when they were buying up local ball bearing companies. Now they’re a multinational company involved in national security. They out-source jobs, hence Edward Snowden and move merrily along clollecting monies from the government ant civilians alike. My problem is with multinational and natioanal security. Used to be when you went for a job with a company that did work with national security implications you got a bckground check. Now they’re lookig for warm bodies. Ed’s in Russia and we’re trying to figure out what he stole and back fill over the fact that we bugged our allies. Nice huh?

Besides the two chili chees dogs I had for lunch for dinner I had the last container of the most perfect chili I’ve ever made. The problem is I don’t think I can do it again. The recipe file in my brain is getting shadowy.

Some music:
I know it’s a tad irritating but it was stuck in my head, now you’ve got it.

See you in the funnies.