As the clock struck 11 a.m. on the 31st of July, I shut down my command center and bid adieu to my co-workers. For your humble scribbler, Fiscal '15 was over. I celebrated the same way I celebrate everything that occurs on a Friday. I went to 6Smith and played Angry Birds at the bar for two hours, then my wife showed up and we 1-2 punched our first Fat Pants of the fiscal new year.

Money in the bank.

WHAT IS THIS THING: They called it Curtivanni, named after the two line cooks who brought it to life.

TOP TO BOTTOM: Bacon-wrapped jalapeno, egg (duh), tortilla, burger patty, tortilla, bacon, fini cheddar fondue, bacon jam, burger, lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, slices jalapenos, and a huge mess on the plate.

HEIGHT and WEIGHT: It lacked. Call it a rookie oversight.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: You see all the lettuce, right? We might as well have been eating a salad.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: A perfect Friday afternoon meant only one other couple at the bar. Everyone working had already seen it.


HOW'S DAYTIME TV THESE DAYS? Well, Fox Sports North was recapping something called the Skrill L.A. Poker Classic? I think that's right. People watching in the stands looked lifeless, like sloppily-set mannequins. The players themselves looked as if pulled off the street minutes before air. Is poker seriously that big still?

WHO'S WITH ME? My wife, and she came hungry. Two days earlier, we turned a two-way brutal Wednesday into a new all-we-could-eat sushi record; today, the sunset on her T-shirt and pink Cadillac nails were hiding a deadly secret.

"Zach," I say to the bartender, "on a scale of 9-10, with 10 being the most and 9 being one less than 10, how much are you going to judge me if I just drink here until me wife gets here."
"Ten," he says, "I will judge you worthy."

WHAT'S IN THE GLASS? I told Zach to mix me a surprise cocktail, and he produced what he calls a Pimm's Cup: Pimm's English liqueur, ginger ale, gin, and a mashed up cucumber. It was a pleasant sipper.

STRATEGY: Curtivanni was pretty straightforward, chop and chew, smear in the sauce and demolish. I was through it in minutes. I briefly contemplated ordering another one, but instead focused on my wife. She was slowing, with three or four bites left.

"Go back in!" I said, "We can finish together for the first time!"
"This is turning into a punishment," she said, groaning. "If I eat this, you have to let me lay on the couch and go 'uuuuuuhhhhhh' for the rest of the night."
"Whatever, just finish it."

She did, and it pleased me.

POST-GAME ANALYSIS: It was the first time I'd seen tortillas in a Fat Pants creation. While it was structurally unsound and a breeze to finish, the architects had the right idea: it's what I imagine would spawn if you mated a Big Mac with a softshall taco, and who wouldn't want to experience that?


Ep 1: Couples Therapy
Ep 2: Road Rage and Poutine
Ep 3: Radio Face
Ep 4: Disarming a Missile
Ep 5: Pantsed on a Tuesday
EP 6: Performance Enhancement

What was once a dapper lion has become a symbol of how the Internet brings out the worst in everyone.

You already know the story; but, just like how comets fly through the universe and leave streaks of gas and detritus behind them, this lion's carcass left a trail behind it much grosser than mere blood and guts.

In one corner, you've got so-called animals rights activists posting eulogies on social media and condemning a suburban dentist. They're right: That a man used a truck to drag meat, to lure an animal into an easy kill situation, and call that hunting, is a very bad thing.

In the other corner, you've got so-called ... I don't know ... posting counter-condemnations on social media, condemning the condemners and reminding us all that the world is an icky place. They're right: The world is an icky place. There's an excess of very bad things going on throughout Earth at the same time this very bad thing happened.

Everybody's right, but everybody's wrong, because here's the thing: Very few people are really doing anything.

You took ten seconds out of your time to say goodbye to a lion? Sorry: lion's can't read. You called the dentist a piece of shit? Are you friends with the dentist on Facebook? Does he follow you on Instagram or whatever? He didn't see it, then. You've done nothing.

What about you, other corner? You took ten seconds out of your time to remind everyone about other animals that are killed all the time? Perhaps you brought up the unjust killing of humans? I ask you, did anyone respond with "OMG you're right! I was so wrong to post about this lion!" I've got (reaches in pocket) 18 cents, a washed-up Wendy's receipt, and some pocket lint that says the answer is no. You, too, have done nothing.

If you REALLY care about this lion, River Bluff Dental is located [address removed as the business has closed]. People have placed plush lions at his office door, as well as his personal address (which I don't know). It will take minutes rather than seconds, and may cost a few bucks, but even that statement resonates more truly than a social media post. Heck, Google a reputable animal rights group and make a donation. Organize something. Attend something.

The same goes for the counter-condemners. Let the other corner be. Compassion isn't a finite resource: For all you know, they care just as much about whatever you're posting about. Tell your opinion to someone to whom it'll stick. Back it up with action. Back it up with, I mean, even with the fiver you were going to buy an after-work drink with. THAT's how you make a difference.

Oh, you do make donations and attend meetings? Great. Keep up the good work. The world needs more of you. If you don't, your opinion deserves to be scrolled over and forgotten ... and make no mistake, that's exactly what's happens to opinions that never materialize in the real world.

I heard at wise man once say, "People who show up to meetings rule the world." It's true.


Ah, Cheers. It's the TV show so many of us grew up with. It's where we'd go to see a dashing young Ted Danson, Kelsey Grammer with slightly more hair, and Woody Harrelson before the drug charges. Everybody knew your name. Everybody drank beer from a mug the size of their head – except Frazier, his head was humongous.

It's really a real establishment, you know. We dined on hot dogs and fries, and raised mugs of our own there; and, while the nostalgia gets dampened by a swath of tourists and unyielding brand bombardment, it's worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood.

The Basics: The original Cheers is located on Beacon St. in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. Have fun driving and parking there. Speaking of traffic, Cheersboston.com.

They've also got a replica Cheers, presumably made to ensnare the desperate and ignorant. I wonder how many people have been at the replica, boasted on Facebook as if it was "the one," and been comment-scorched by two jobs ago’s co-workers.

My wife drove, thank God, because I'd have just hit and killed everybody. The entrance to Cheers is clearly marked, but the building is nestled behind a large park and bookends a blocks-long row of classic (i.e. superexpensive probably) housing. On one staircase was a man sitting barefoot, reading the newspaper and watching the traffic. It was one of the most pleasant images of our trip. People still do shit like that, and it's cool. We descended upon Cheers and boy, was it ever Cheers.


Confused by the cluster of signage at the entry? Don't worry; the opening jingle plays eternally on a loop over speakers as you enter the bar. Props to the doormen: their sanity seemed intact. The Cheers-ness gnaws at your consciousness through billboard-like merchandise and food items named after characters. This ain't Kansas, Dorothy.

We were led through a maze of Boston sports hangings, tourist packs (total selfie sticks: 1), and nailed-up tchotchkes to an area known as "the back room." The nook in which we were stationed fit exactly two people, a table, and a framed Red Sox jersey. In the back room, I think there were three different ceiling heights. It's a busy room, in every way. Think of anything: If it's Boston, it's probably on a wall in there someplace. Phone camera flashes galore, including mine. Guilty as charged.

Something called Wachusset Blueberry was a welcome surprise. A product of Westminster, Mass., this beer begins the way a Coors Banquet begins, but takes on a blueberry muffin-like flavor as it makes its way over your palate. We didn't over-enjoy this beer, but we wanted to. Now, I suppose we could have reached for an extravagant opening meal, but screw that. We ordered a plate of two hot dogs.

The grilled hot dog buns were really folded bread slices, and that's far from an anomaly in this neck o' the woods. They worked, though. It was a nice throwback to every time I've been out of buns at home. I asked for sweet relish, and got ... packets. Bummer.

The dogs were good, crispy skin and all beef, good bite. The fries were functional, and the giant pickle was a little warm but okay. I had to stab ketchup loose from our bottle, and I couldn't help but imagine this is how our vet gets poop samples out of our dog, but that's neither here nor there.

The Fenway special with two beers and tip? Somewhere in the $40 vicinity. But at least we ate at Cheers! It sounds pernickety, but I’m happy we did it. I could take or leave the food, but I’m happy we met Wachusset Blueberry there.

I say, do it. Be Norm. Be the mailman. Belly up to the bar and order a tall glass. Do it at least once if you grew up with the program. Scratch it onto your bucket list; just don't forget to cross it off once you've been there.