Suck the Heads, Northside Tavern, Traveling Badly

You’ve got to suck the heads. That’s all any non-cajun needs to know about crawfish boil etiquette.

Harp at Crawfish
Michael getting after some crawfish

This past weekend’s boil hosted on a pristine day in Atlanta by my daughter, Carly, and her husband, Michael, who hails from Shreveport, Louisiana, brought forth many seasoned in the art of sucking the heads.

Sounds gross, right? Sucking the brains out of a crustacean’s head?

Once you bite the bullet — and do the deed — you’ll find that the actual act is nothing compared to the hype. What you get is a tasty morsel of fat with a lot of spices.

Simply peel the crawfish, eat the meat, suck the head, sip your cold Bud Light. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Northside Tavern

Speaking of my visit to Atlanta, Friday afternoon I made a nostalgic visit to the Northside Tavern, one of my favorite watering holes while at Georgia Tech.

Northside
Northside Tavern

Upon walking in, I told the proprietor I had not been at the place since 1979. He smiled: “Not a whole lot has changed, has it?”

The place still needs a paint job, the bathroom walls are covered in graffiti, and the beer is still cold. Carly did tell me it’s become a haven for late-night jazz.

I thought it fitting that Pink Floyd’s  “Brain Damage” began to play upon my entrance. “The lunatic is on the grass…”

Traveling Badly

Been traveling a lot lately, which has allowed me to witness behavior that doesn’t exactly enhance the experience.

First, the blowhard on my Thursday morning flight from Newark to Atlanta who boomed at least five times: “I’m not worried about my sanity, I’m worried about my liver.” He followed each comment with a loud chuckle. Yeah, we got it the first time, buddy, you’re going to booze it up.

Next, after paying $25 to check my bag, I put my computer bag in the overhead compartment so I would not have anything blocking my feet on the over two hour flight. While others boarded, a woman came in with a large suitcase searching for empty space in the overhead area above my head. The hair on the back of my neck stood when she pointed at my bag and told the flight attendant: “That one can be moved.” Had the flight attendant agreed, I would have gone toe to toe with them. Remember, I paid $25 to CHECK my bag.

Finally, I’m constantly amazed why everyone feels compelled to crowd the luggage carousel. If everybody stood back while waiting they could still see their bag without trampling over others waiting for theirs.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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Fight of the Century? Perhaps — For This Century

Saturday night’s Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather fight is being hyped as the “Fight of the Century” — a label that always grabs everybody’s attention.

Let’s go back a century and visit other fights heralded as the “Fight of the Century.”

I’ve got to start with the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight in 1971.

Two undefeated boxers with contrasting styles meet in Madison Square Garden, each representing two sides of a divided country with Ali perceived as a draft dodger and Frazier as apple pie. I listened to that one on the radio, but I wasn’t able to watch it because the fight was available via “closed circuit” TV only. Think how that has changed. Now you can push a button on your cable control and you’ve just agreed to pay what amounts to a car payment to watch a fight.

Joe_Louis_-_Max_Schmeling_-_1936
Louis vs. Schmeling

While the first one proved epic, the 1975 finale to the Ali-Frazier three-fight series known as “The Thrilla in Manilla” ranks better for most as the pair slugged it out one last time for the Heavyweight Championship. The fight ended when Frazier’s trainer threw in the towel for his fighter prior to the 15th, and final, round. Both fighters would later say they felt like they were dying in this one.

Sugar Ray Leonard had memorable “Fight of the Century” bouts against Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns and going back further, Joe Louis’ fights against Max Schmeling and Billy Conn were classics, but I don’t think anybody heralded either as the “Fight of the Century” based on the simple fact that sports were more understated and marketing machines had yet to be created.

Point being, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather can be “The Fight of the Century,” let’s just make sure they’re talking about this century — when the sport barely exists — and not for the one in the rear-view mirror.

bchastain19@gmail.com

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