Red, White and Hung Over [ 2005-07-06, 10:18 p.m. ]

Friends, I ask you -- what is more American than eating various salty food items until you feel dizzy, finishing your 4th beer and then going back for more potato salad? Not much, I would guess, not much at all...

Which is why in honor of our nation's founding, Kent and I made last weekend a Three-BBQ Weekend. Happy Birthday, America! Pass the tequila and some stretchy pants!

Ooh, but along with hot dog comas and whipped cream, I thought that a LIST would also be a very American thing to do, because everyone knows that we in the good old U.S. of A. love a countdown - we don't care what is being counted-down, just bullet-point a few items, throw in a music montage and we are YOURS, forever and ever! Hire Alec Baldwin to narrate the list-reading and put a skank in a bikini in there somewhere, just for fun...that's entertainment. And if itís Jessica Simpson writhing in a bikini against that car from the Dukes of Hazard a la her new video, well, then color me entertained because that girl may be dumb as hair but she is pretty to look at.

I do not have any skanks in bikinis for you, but even so, I present to you a re-cap of our Three BBQ Weekend, BBQ-by-BBQ, in descending order of BBQ-ness:

In third place, is BBQ #3, held on our friends Jen and Paul's roof. It was an excellent BBQ but someone needs to finish last, and this BBQ is finishing last because it was the final BBQ of the weekend and by the time we climbed up the ladder onto the roof, we were drunk, full and tired. I was so full that the only thing I ate was half of a Very Big and Special Hot Dog, flown in from Wisconsin. When I broke it in half, one side had a convex quality and one had a concave quality and so I yelled to my husband, DO YOU WANT THE CIRCUMSCISED HALF OR THE NON-CIRCUMSCISED HALF which gives you a really good idea of how drunk I was. I ate the circumcised half and made at least three bad jokes about eating meat that would have made Kent's six-year-old cousin Kara roll her eyes they were so dumb. And Kara is not the sharpest tack in the drawer.

Jen and Paul BBQ was excellent, but along with the drunk handicap and the full-belly handicap, I was wearing a flitty, flowy skirt that kept blowing up because the weather on the roof was very different from the weather on the ground, and I kept getting distracted by various bright and shiny things and would not pay attention to my skirt or the direction of the wind and then suddenly my ass would get really cold and sure enough, my skirt had blown up again. Just like Marilyn over the subway grate, only pastier, less sexy, and with half a hot dog in one hand and a Solo cup of sangria in the other. The final disadvantage BBQ #3 faced was the hordes of awful, awful delinquent neighborhood kids (AADNK) who were more interested in 'splosions than anything else, including my skirt. These AADNK were ruthless. They unrolled several WAGON WHEELS of something the husbands called "Black Cats." (Now is a good time to interject that I am terrified of fireworks, especially firecrackers, but also things like balloons and Jack in the Boxes for that matter, because I DO NOT LIKE an unpredictable BANG or POP or POW. When I was younger I would spend Fourth of July evenings crying/pouting in my bedroom while the rest of my family watched fireworks from our deck. I dreaded Chinese New Year. I was no fun at birthday parties. I have never even SEEN a sparkler and was in my 20's before I ever lit a match. Perhaps I am a bit of a freak, but a consistent one because I DO NOT LIKE FIREWORKS. The big, fancy shows which take place safely over the water are bearable, but I am not a fan of the pyrotechnics. I have never, ever, EVER even considered buying fireworks and setting them off by my own self in a place which is not a large body of water. Kent, apparently, has no such qualms and as a kid was driven BY HIS PARENTS to Indiana in order to purchase fireworks which he then set off IN HIS YARD. Kent also has a cousin with a glass eye. I'm not saying the two are connected, but you do the math. Regardless, I am a big chicken baby ass who does not like bangs and booms.) So, me and my kind are up on the roof of a charming brownstone in Carroll Gardens while down below us the entire block is being circumnavigated by AADNK with fireworks and matches and beer and those blasted wagon wheels of explosives. Think Blackhawk Down meets Friends.

And then the sun set and the food was eaten and the beers were plentiful and it was all good. Until BOOM and BANG and POPOPOPOPOPOPOPOPOP for the next 45 minutes. Those AADNK were trying to kill us, I think. Fireworks were exploding literally over our heads, as in DEBRIS FELL ON US, and I was ducking and covering by the cooler of beer and then under the picnic table and my friend Sara took care of me by throwing a blanket over both our heads while my husband, he who stood up and took a vow to honor me, smoked cigarettes and CHEERED and yelled many "HOLY SHITs" and "AW FUCKs" and laughed hysterically and also peered over the edge of the roof, which is not a very smart thing to do when AADNK have explosives and one has a cousin with a glass eye.

When I got home and took off my clothes, a bit of burnt firework fell out of my halter top, and that is why Jen and Paul's fabulous rooftop BBQ comes in third.

BBQ #2 finishes in second place, and it's not just for symmetry that I am picking BBQ #3 then BBQ #2, but because BBQ #2 had the lowest percentage of people I knew at it. BBQ #2, however, deserves honorable mention because it definitely had the best food (BBQ #3 had the best view, so it should get an honorable mention too, I suppose). My friend Tim (he of My Friend Timís Restaurant) invited us over for a BBQ and specifically mentioned words like ď40 lbs of ribsĒ and ďhomemade sauceĒ and ďclose enough to walk to no matter how much you drink.Ē We went to Timís on Monday afternoon and gorged on ribs and oysters and potato salad and guac and beer and more ribs and then YES MORE RIBS AFTER THAT. Timís roommates are hipsters with a capital HIP and their friends all appeared to have rolled out of bed after spending the night writhing in Eminemís dirty underwear, stopping only to grab aviator sunglasses and cigarettes. They were all very nice and very pretty to look at, but I geeked out with the foodie types and tried to make friends with a beautiful girl who happens to cook at CraftBar. I know she has a boyfriend and I am married but I kind of wanted to take her home with me. Instead I called CraftBar yesterday and made a reservation for Kent and I to eat there next weekend.

So BBQ #2 had excellent food and my friend Winnie was there, which was fantastic as she lives in Italy and I do not see her often, but BBQ #2 suffered two problems. First was the aforementioned hipsters who made me feel like a soccer mom buying chinos with a coupon at the Gap, and second was the fact that Timís apartment is a total BOY apartment, as in there are no towels in the bathroom but there is an old dish draining rack set over the non-functional bidet and a roll of paper towels laying on it, which is a very practical solution to the no-towel problem but one that screamed for a womanís touch nonetheless, and those screams sounded something like DO NOT LOOK IN THE CORNERS OR UNDER ANY FURNITURE OR YOU MIGHT CRY JUST SMILE AND BE THANKFUL THAT ALL YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH WAS A DOZEN OR SO NASTY MICE IN YOUR OWN PRETTY APARTMENT WHICH HAS CURTAINS AND BATHMATS.

BBQ #2 really was a good deal of fun, especially since it functioned as a pre-party for BBQ #3, but I canít give it top honors, even with the Kumamotos and the ribs and the Mojito Jello shots (oh, did I forget to mention those?) because it lacked one thing (besides hand towels): Home BBQ Advantage.

BBQ #1, in chronological order as well as preference, was on Sunday and took place at my apartment, which was spectacular because I had a pitcher of margaritas and could not have made it home if I hadnít already been there. It was a small BBQ, with just Brit and her husband and Pastry and her husband coming, but we had enough food to feel at least a dozen more people. Beck was out of town, which was too bad but also meant that we had enough clean flatware and placemats to go around. By the end of the night the dog had bits of ice cream, marshmallow and cheeseburger on her head and Kent and Todd had figured out a way to hook the iPod directly up to the Big Ass Speakers and play music outside. Brit brought a tequila-tea-guava drink that tasted like Snapple but probably could have stripped paint off the walls. It was breezy and cool in the backyard and I didnít have to get dressed up AT ALL. Sure, the day before I had screamed at Kent when he suggested asparagus as a side dish (YOU CANT JUST GIVE PEOPLE A STICK OF VEGETABLE AND CALL IT A MEAL WHAT WERE YOU RAISED BY WOLVES?) and sure, when we got to BBQ #2 there were in fact asparagus as side dishes, but for the most part, we were a functioning adult couple for the duration. And, Kent made burgers and manned the grill and did his Tom Cruise impression, all of which made me glad to have married him. Then I passed out and he had his way with me. Or something slightly less creepyÖ

But BBQ #1 was successful despite being a small crowd and despite the hordes of mosquitoes that ate my guests alive. And it featured símores and queso and my backyard (well, my landlordís backyard which we took over since the landlords and their kids are on some lengthy vacation and it was just sitting there, begged to be appreciated and filled with people and dog and spilt blue cheese and bacon, both of which we had as burger toppings, and the bacon, by the way, was applewood-smoked and maybe is the greatest thing I have ever eaten that came shrink-wrapped in plastic).

And then we all came inside and watched Entourage. Really. My country tis of thee. Sweet land of HBO.

God bless America, blue cheese, oysters, Dancing with the Stars, little dogs, big burgers, margaritas, flip flops and summer. More three-day weekends please.

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