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Bagels, Tomatoes and Mac

We’re inside a month. All that stands between me and another football season is that lousy month of August. I consider this, not February, to be the cruelest month [there is also the advantage February has in that it contains the celebration of Alderson’s Birthday]. Thirty-one hot, miserable days that seem to each contain forty or fifty hours rather than the perceived twenty-four. It drags on and on.

This August and hopefully all future non-football months has brightened a bit. I have found myself within a few miles of a new delicatessen, one that specializes in bagels. I went at a fast pace to check it out.

Millions of taxpayer dollars have been squandered over the years in misguided and unsuccessful attempts to lure people back to the deserted shambles of downtown Danville. In my case, all it took was a decent deli. Bronx Boy Bagels does the trick.

At least for the remainder of this month, I have a new Saturday morning routine. I head for the deli and indulge in my preferred weekend breakfast of a freshly-baked onion bagel slathered with cream cheese, sprinkled with capers and topped with slices of nova, tomato and red onion.

I chow down, then relax over a second cup of astoundingly-good coffee while engaged in the archaic but still satisfying practice of reading a newspaper actually printed on paper rather than arrayed across a computer monitor. There are not many places around this town where delicious lox and bagels can be found, much less the New York Times. I seem to have found the only one.

I then stroll around the local farmer’s market. I am on the hunt for fresh tomatoes. A burgeoning deer population that the local municipal shirk force has little interest in controlling [and of doing anything else that smacks of giving the taxpayers any value for those pay checks] and an equally-disapproving big-government stance towards my own efforts to protect my property through the introduction of a bullet traveling at high velocity into that space situated between Bambi’s eyes has caused my tomato plants to be reduced to stalks protruding a few inches out of the ground.

So much for my dinner plate loaded with sliced fresh tomatoes from my own garden, as well as the tomato juice, hot sauce, tomato ketchup and salsa I have made every August for the last couple of decades save the previous two years. It would seem the Garden Gods had tricks up their sleeves other than major surgery to thwart my attempts at growing my own produce.

Saturday mornings are now spent wandering the aisles of the local farmer’s market, obtaining tomatoes from other people’s gardens, as well as, last Saturday, a dozen ears of fresh Silver Queen corn, a few quarts of green beans already snapped and ready to be dumped into a sauté pan with olive oil and garlic, a loaf of a delicious bread containing spinach, bacon and parmesan to sop up the remaining oil, some locally-produced jalapeno cheese, some summer squash, a dozen more ears of corn for good measure and even some free range chicken breasts that put to shame anything peddled by chain grocery stores. My preference for dealing with local farmers rather than the multi-national ones that sell to grocery chains owned by Belgians is a rewarding one at dinnertime.

These are weekend habits that will be ending in three weeks. I am already checking the door to my house that is never used, otherwise known as the front one, since that is where the FedEx or UPS guy, depending upon who gave jimmy the best deal, deposits my season tickets. It is about that time.

I am getting antsy for the return of the sporting life. So antsy, in fact, that I have taken to listening to the local sports radio station. I have little use for what seems to be the constant blabbering about Barry Bonds and you-know-who. There has, however, been the joining of the local station with those in Roanoke and Lynchburg to network the show hosted by Greg Roberts. It is broadcast during the afternoon drive time and I have become a regular listener. Between John-Boy and Billy, Rush Limbaugh and now Greg Roberts, I seem to now be listening to a lot of radio.

Like most any media that originates in Roanoke, Greg’s show is Tech-centric. To say that it is tilted towards Tech is on a par with noting Wolf Blitzer’s gushing over Hillary. A recent vacation by Greg found his chair occupied by Justin Ditmore. There seems to be no shortage of former Channel 10 sports guys hanging around. The Tech o-line should have such depth.

Having shows done by a Friend of Frank and the guy who does interviews on BeamerBall would seem to indicate something other than a strong commitment to the Fairness Doctrine. 90% of the talk and 100% of the calls center on Tech football, so maybe they are giving their audience what they want, or at least what I want.

Greg’s ideas of equal time to the Hoos are periodic discussions as to whether algroh will be fired this year or fired in some year in the near future. Roanoke Times’ Hoo beat writer Doug Doughty comes on once a week or so to lambaste and ridicule the Great NFL Legend [perhaps there are some kernels of truth to algroh’s paranoid delusions of the state’s media not liking him and all being out to get him]. Amid all of Greg’s bombast during his two hours there are some interesting things to be heard about Tech football.

And yet, for all of the emphasis on Virginia Tech football during the show, what is broadcast during nearly every commercial break? Promos for the Hoo radio network, that’s what. I know little about the programming of radio stations, but it does seem that the heavy promotion of an activity of little interest to the vast majority of one’s audience is perhaps not the best use of the air time.

These misbegotten attempts to convince Hokies to listen to Hoo football add a bit of humor in that they are done by none other than Hoo play-by-play guy Mac McDonald, hoo I am convinced does games while wearing make-up, a large red nose and clown shoes. An outrageous homer, Mac has long held the distinction of being the absolute worst radio guy in the ACC, no mean feat when you consider he is in a conference with Bob Harris and Woody Durham.

To release Mac on an audience of Tech fans might demonstrate that the management of ESPN Radio is thinking of a format change, maybe to comedy. Employing the overall buffoonery of Mac McDonald could replace that show that follows Greg at 6 pm, a couple of guys who purport to be discussing sports played in the Commonwealth of Virginia but spend most of their time debating the quality of Internet porn they are viewing while on the air. Unless you are actually in the studio, radio porn seems a poor substitute. It does cause one to wonder what they do during their down time, read Shakespeare?

Mac never fails to disappoint, eliciting peals of laughter as he gushes about the unique football atmosphere to be found in the Smithsonian. Perhaps Mac has a point with his claims about the uniqueness of the museum quality ambience to be found in Carl’s playground. There are few places where the phrase ‘you snooze, you lose’ is more apt.

Mac not only brings much humor to his broadcasts- “We’re only down by 17”- he is also quick to drag out of the closet his deep and abiding man-love for algroh. During pre-game interviews with the Great NFL legend, Mac displays a same-sex affection rarely seen outside of Gay Pride parades down Franklin Street in the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill. Callers to the post-game Hoo Bitch Line will quickly find their questions, such as “When are we going to get rid of this clown” or “What sort of moron turns over the offense to boygroh” cut short as Mac will point to the legendary status of the Great NFL Legend, often accompanied with the heartfelt, “Let’s face it, I love the guy.” Indeed. Unfotunately for Mac and ESPN Radio, I won’t be listening to much Hoo football this year.

Saturday morning bagels, the farmer’s market and sports radio featuring the hilarity of Mac shilling Hoo football. I am finding ways to amuse myself during this last month of the Dead Zone. All things considered, however, I am ready for some football.

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