Big giant head


In Other News

Forgive me, but I'm here to commit blasphemy.

Pink's hot dogs ain't all that great.

Aw, jeez, I knew this would happen. You, over there! Get that guy some water, he's looking kind of woozy. And somebody fan that lady over there, she's about to faint. Okay, okay, try to maintain, people. Everything's going to be all right.

I'm sorry, but it had to be said. Pink's used to be the greatest dog in L.A., no argument here. I've eaten more of them than I can count and loved them. I used to go there once, maybe twice a week. I chuckled as I read Harlan Ellison's Prince Myshkin, and Hold The Relish because it was set at Pink's and was so right-on, right down to the snap of the dog as he bit into it. But Pink's isn't top dog anymore, and that snap as you bite into it is why.

Something has changed at Pink's. I don't know when it happened, but the dogs just stopped being as good. Sure, they're still good, but they're not great anymore. I couldn't put my finger on it at first, but one day, as I bit into my usual -- dog/onions/mustard (It's been so long since I've been that I can't remember the menu number anymore) -- I finally figured it out. It's the snap. Or, rather, it's not. They don't pop when you bite into them anymore. And once I noticed the not-snap, then I also noticed the missing flood of hot dog goodness flavor that accompanied it. Now they're just this flaccid, generic weenie that you could probably make yourself at home. Something has changed. Me, I think it's their hot dog supplier, but you know they'll never tell. I simply stopped going.

Why this hot dog rant? Why now, today? Because of a story I read in the Times this morning that could confuse you L.A. readers out there. Pink's hot dogs are no longer restricted to their stand at Melrose and La Brea; they've branched out theaters. And not just any movie theater, no, theaters of the Pacific Theaters chain, which is prevented from being the skankiest chain in town only by the Century Theaters chain, which may well be the skankiest chain in California. Pink's dogs? In movie theaters? Bend over, tradition.

The news story was all glowing PR, simply agog with itself over how yummy the dogs are and oozing with movie-goer quotes about how people are driving across town to go to the Pink's dog theaters and how tasty those dogs are. Well, duh. Have you ever had a movie theater hot dog? Of course it's going to be better if it's a Pink's! It'd be better if it was a grocery store weenie! Replace them with damn near anything and it can't help but improve.

Don't believe the hype. In fact, suspect it. The fact that Pink's has broken tradition and now sells their dogs in movie theaters -- movie theaters, fer Chrissakes! -- serves only to bolster my argument. Pink's has changed, and not for the better. They're has-beens now.

Here's the real hot dog hot tip: Carney's. Check out the Chicagoan: dog/onions/mustard -- with a snap, thankyewverymuch. You'll thank me.


I've done it again. No, I haven't crashed my system again. Well, yes, I have, but that's not what I mean. I mean I've gotten Beth to write another entry; that's what I've done again. Following is her take on the tale of When Zoe Met Barbie.


Sunday - April 25, 1999
Beth on Barbie

My sister Karan is an avid collector of Barbies. She has a lot of them, all in good condition. Some of them even collector's items. They're all neatly kept and arranged in a variety of poses and outfits in little tableaus (some of them including miniature Harleys an old boyfriend made, but that's a story for another time).

So, needless to say, as soon as Zoe was old enough to hold on to a doll, Aunt Karan became the official provider of All Things Barbie. This is quite troubling to my stepmother, a dyed in the wool feminist. How could I let her have Barbie? She's such a bad image for women, an unattainable figure, the usual. To her I said, pick your battles, as Zoe loves Barbie.

Aunt Karan has given Zoe at least 10 Barbies by now. And one lone Ken. Upon receivng the most recent addition, NASCAR Barbie, Zoe told Aunt Karan, "My mommy and daddy will be so pleased." All the Barbie's are in various states of undress, the natural condition of Barbie in the hands of a three year old. The tide is turning somewhat these days as now she wants some of the Barbies to be dressed.

Another thing about Barbie in this house... In addition to the three year old, we also have a one year old Akita (Suki). Suki has only recently stopped chewing everything in sight, so many of the Barbie's, and Ken, are in various states of dismemberment. Also, there was a time when the most fun Zoe could have was pulling the heads off her Barbies. (Should we be seeking counseling for our little angel?) So our Barbie's are a little worse for the wear.

Our Barbies have many special powers. She's brave and smart. Zoe's Barbie pillowcase will keep her safe and protected at night. Usually at least one Barbie (or Ken) travel with us on any outing. They are all regularly bathed and their hair is brushed and put in ponytails.

So what's a mother to do when she finds out that Barbie, the real one, will be making personal appearances at a Nordstrom's near you. You guessed it: Bribe her three year old and tell her that if she's VERY good we'll go see Barbie. The real one. The big one. On Saturday.

Here comes Saturday. Of course Barbie will be at the Nordstrom's across town from 12 to 3. This sucks for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that this is right smack when Zoe takes her nap. Quiet time I desperately need. But off we go. We get to Nordies to find out that Barbie will not be there on Saturday, like they said on the phone, but Sunday, from 12 to 3. We buy the Barbie sandals she's been dying for anyway and home again we go. The good side of this is that I can get one more day of bribery out of this unforeseen delay.

Now, Barbie being there on Sunday sucks even more than Saturday, as Sunday is when Chuck takes Zoe to Gymboree and I get 1 hours of peace and quiet, by myself, at home, alone. I wait 6 days a week for this time. But I would never disappoint our little angel so off again we trod to the Westside to see the Queen of All Things Great and Wonderful. The real one, the big one, Barbie.

There she was, a lovely 17 year old girl (not an Amazon woman like I had imagined) with a cotton candy pink gown, teased platinum hair and a tiara, signing autographs. It was worth it to see Zoe stand there, completely enraptured by this young woman. Zoe told Barbie how to spell her name and came away with an autographed 8 x 11 picture, suitable for framing. Barbie told Zoe she was pretty and had a beautiful name. If a toddler could melt, Zoe would have.

We trundled off to buy another pair of shoes for Zoe and on the way out we saw HER again. Zoe stopped, looked gaga into Barbie's eyes and said, "I love you Barbie."

It was all she talked about all the way home. It was worth the schlep.

Comments for Beth? Send 'em here.


backward indexward onward

Copyright © 1999
Chuck Atkins