John Howell Special+ – SoCS

It’s Saturday. I was away from the bar last week, but I’m back and ready to buy David a drink and catch up while we deal with Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘wee.’ Use the word ‘wee’ or find a word that contains it and use it in your post. Have fun!”

If we were having a beer, you’d be upset with some changes at the bar.

“Hi guys. How are my two favorite customers?”

“Fine Cheryl. I hope you are as well.”

“I’m good. What can I get for you?”

“I’ll have a nice cold Corona and set the old man up with a John Howell’s special.”

“OK Dan. David, do you want the John Howell’s Special Plus?”


“The regular special includes seltzer and a glass of ice. The plus version has the seltzer in a snifter and includes cherries.”

“What the family-bar is going on here?”

“Our cable bill went up because the shows our customers like are now on AMC-plus, History-plus, Discover-plus, Paramount-plus and ESPN-plus. We had to find a way to add a wee bit of money without raising prices.”

“Cheryl…You are raising prices!”

“No, according to the owner, we’ve differentiated our product line.”

“How much is a John Howell’s Special Plus?”

“Oh, it’s not a drink, it’s a subscription. You pay five-ninety-five a month, and you get access to the enhanced drink menu for free.”

“Five-ninety-five isn’t free, Cheryl, it’s five-ninety-five!”

“You’re under no obligation to sign up, David.”

“What if I order a Manhattan, with no vermouth? That comes with cherries, right?”

“Yes, but not John Howell’s bourbon. We pour from the well, or maybe use Jim Beam. And, the seltzer would be in a glass.”

“Dammit, Cheryl. This isn’t fair.”

“David, relax. I’ll pay for your first month. If you don’t like it, you can cancel at any time. He can cancel, Cheryl, right?”

“Oh sure, Dan. He can cancel at any time, but no prorated refunds. For fifty dollars, you can buy him an annual subscription – a savings of almost ten dollars.”

“I’ll pay for a month. He can decide later if he wants to pay for a year. What about my Corona? Do I still get a free lime?”

“The owner says, ‘the pedestrian drinkers won’t be charged more,’ so you’re good.”


“I wouldn’t complain if I were you. I’m out fifty bucks a year.”

“Here you go, guys. A nice cold Corona with lime, a glass of John Howell’s bourbon, a snifter of seltzer, a glass of ice and three cherries. As Linda G. Hill would say, enjoy!”

“Cheers David.”

“Cheers Dan. Besides the tequila during family game day, did you drink anything interesting in Pittsburgh?”

“We had bourbon milkshakes at the Burgatory.”

“That’s on the North Shore. Did you go there before the baseball game?”

“No. On Wednesday. We went to the Aviary in the morning, and a Steelers practice session in the afternoon. In between…”

“You ate and drank like pigs.”

“I’d prefer to say we had a hearty meal and an adult beverage.”

“Did you like what you saw during practice?”

“We did. They’ve got some good young talent on that team.”

“Good enough to tangle with the three teams in your division — all of whom are led by a recent Heisman Trophy winner — plus I read that you have the toughest schedule in the NFL.”

“That’s based on how teams finished in twenty-twenty — never a good indication. It’s going to be a tough year, but I’m not overly concerned.”

“Guys, please. We only just had the Hall of Fame game…”

“Which the Steelers won…”

“Yes, Dan, the Steelers won the meaningless exhibition game in Canton, Ohio, but can we not start talking football already?”

“OK, Cheryl, but we beat Dallas. Any time we beat Dallas, it’s special.”

“I’ll keep him off the field, Cheryl. At least until my teams start playing.”

“Look, I’m a fan of LSU and the Saints, but I’m not ready to start following them. I need a few weeks.”

“Fair enough.”

“You boys want any food?”

“How about a small pepperoni pizza? Are you up for a slice, David?”

“I’m up for three slices, Dan, and Cheryl. Could you have them add a wee bit of garlic?” “No problem, David — oops.”


    • Thanks Judy. Maddie says she wasn’t walked or sat with. MuMu claims she wasn’t brushed. Smokey said no one fed him. I think they’re all gaslighting me, but…

      Burgatory has become a regular stop on the north shore. The best part about the shake is that there’s another half glass in the mixing cup.

      I hope you have a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for the laughs! The whole thing about subscriptions and pluses, etc. really hit my funny bone. In a Sad Sack kind of way. You nailed our current state of consumer flailing very neatly. Thanks for taking us along on your getaway; the photos are fun to see even if they make me hungry — and is that a pitchfork in the Burgatory shake?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great post, Dan, but I did wonder if the price increase was a sign of a trend with restaurants and bars. Our prices have all gone up to and the portions have got smaller. A no win all around. The Burgatory burbon milkshake looks good!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “You ate and drank like pigs.”–I love it when people cut to the chase. The red pitchforks in the milkshakes made me laugh. I am all about presentation and this hits it just right for me. Glad you had fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this, Lois. The pitchfork was perfect for scooping off a little whipped cream, especially the part with the caramel drizzled over it. We did eat well, and we had our share of beverages, adult and otherwise. The best part was being with family.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love your tongue-in-cheek commentary on the push to subscriptions, which are all supposed to be “for my convenience.” The only thing that irritates me more is the “automatic renewal” feature–I like the idea of consciously choosing to renew or not. The burger and pizza look really good, but it was that shake that really grabbed my attention. When I saw the prompt, I wondered which way you were going to take it. It seems that “wee” is generally used more by the British and I was happy to see that you chose to use the word as an adjective and not a noun. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Mike. I commented on Linda’s post announcing the prompt that, given I handle this prompt in a bar setting, the whole thing could go south in a hurry. Automatic renewal bothers me, too. Last year, I got caught off guard and forgot to cancel something that is not refundable. I put notes in all my calendars to cancel it this year. I had called to see if I could cancel and get a prorated refund. They just said no. The worst part, after I successfully canceled this year, they mentioned that in between the free version and the pro version I cancelled, there was a much cheaper “personal” version. These places just want our money. I remember when there was a better relationship between vendors and customers.

      That shake was good, and there was a healthy amount of bourbon in it.


  5. I laughed at the bar! Eating at Burgatory looks like heaven. I’m glad you had a great trip to PA. Red Sox are in a slump, so it’s a good thing the Olympics are still on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wait a minute, all that Burgatory stuff is real? I thought you were making it up, because it was so fun. Wow, that looks so good… I don’t like whiskey or bourbon, but I have a feeling I would love that milkshake, since I love Lynchburg Lemonade. So, now I have to ask… That “plus” “menu differentiation” thing… are places really doing that too? It was funny, but sounds exactly like something they’d come up with. Anyhow, thanks for a terrific visit to the bar, Dan. Welcome back. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan I am going to open a good old fashioned UN-plus bar next door. I am going to hire Cheryl away at an increased rate and fair rate and not coerce her to do marketing while she pours. You and David are welcome to be our first customers…. and this learning and teaching thing Pam started is starting to get real sticky and viral. And it is getting really weird on all fronts. The news just showed a semi sized dump truck dumping a load of rubber duckies into the Chicago river. I am not sure this is Earth One anymore. Loki may have triggered the multiverse. What ever is going on this is definitely not Kansas. Toto is straining at his leash and I am not feeling much better. In fact these darn ruby slippers don’t fit quite right. Cheryl could I please have a double Tullamore DEW and something with dog-nip for Toto ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you take Cheryl, we’d be stuck with Skippy every week, John. You wouldn’t do that to us, would you? Whewre are the rubber ducks headed? I mean, besides, New Orleans.

      Cheryl, give John whatever he wants, and a treat for Toto.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. These add ones are irritating. I wanted to watch a movie on Prime and was asked to pay extra. Appletv is worse so I hope Netflix hangs on and keeps their site as it is. These streaming services area greedy bunch.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Super report from Pittsburgh, Dan. Was nice to see Heinz field and the Steelers practicing. What’s with this plus stuff anyway? Some of my fav shows are moving to plus’ I hope they all lose their butts. (I know that sounds harsh but I watch 45 minutes a night and you would think I could do that without dropping a fortune.) Loved the food shots and that shake would be to die for. Thanks for the mention too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I laughed my bazonger off at today’s conversation in the bar! I think we’re all sick and tired of being nickeled and dimed to death so others can keep raking in the cash. OUR cash!!

    Great gallery today. You and Faith and your brother managed to fill your few days together with fun, love and laughter. It was especially nice that you shared it with us!

    I don’t drink, but I would’ve been floating drinking that bourbon shake! Lordy that looks good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Ginger. I’m always happy when I can get people to laugh. Those fees are driving me crazy.

      We packed a lot into a few days. It’s a nine hour drive, so it’s five days to get three. We make the most of it.

      You can get alcohol free shakes. I hope you are having a great weekend.


  11. Capitalism has truly entered its Late Phase when beer sellers are overcharging for their flatulent ware. Marx must be chuckling from beyond the curtain that separates the Here from the Gone-There; he’s planning a party for the dead that’ll wake the … living.

    — Catxman


  12. Pizza, a Bourbon shake, Putt Putt AND a mention of my ‘teams’. I may OD on excitement, Dan. That milkshake looks amazing. BTW, the ‘markup’ on David’s setup is an atrocity! I’ll keep footing that bill. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I always get a chuckle out of the east coast west coast difference in calling a pizza a pie. We call it pizza out here in the west. Mimi golf looked like it was a good game with Faith making par on that shot. I rarely make par.

    Ugh, I’m happy about some of my favorite shows going on the Plus side of their channels. Sigh. I’m holding out.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes! It’s always a good day when you beat Dallas. That’s how we felt when I was a kid/teen, anyway, and we were cheering for the Redskins — back when you could use that name AND back when they were a good team. It’s all rust and dust now, alas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’ve had so many starts at something good, Paul. Sooner or later the combination is going to work. I just don’t understand how Dallas was dubbed “America’s team.”


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