Went to my dad’s today with The New York Times, a couple of local papers and sandwich makins’. It was a nice way to spend a Sunday. I was especially happy about having access to hard rolls. They don’t call them hard rolls where we live and they’re not really hard – not really. When I was a child, the Sunday tradition in my family was to get the papers, hard rolls and butter by about 9:00 a.m. Buttered rolls were then eaten with pots and pots of percolated Eight O’clock coffee. We’d all sprawl out in the living room among the papers and hang out for hours, sometimes calling out interesting things we came across. I would start perusing the news to see who had been killed or maimed in the preceding 24 hours. Even then I was a macabre little shit. I read a number of detective magazines starting at about age 11. Ever read those? My parents did not censor anything, to their credit. Incidentally, my father now resides in what was once known as an “efficiency building,” which means more or less compact units for one or two working people. I would guess the building was put up around 1930, the latest. The interior is completely archaic and incredibly well-preserved. Check out the mail slot at each apartment. Later that evening Matt wanted to try Ponderosa, a reasonably-priced family steak house chain, which turned out to be not so good. I used to frequent a Ponderosa in Wilkes-Barre when I lived there in the early 1980’s, and it was not bad, so it was on that basis that I agreed to visit the Front Street location in Binghamton. Now, either my tastes have improved or the quality of the food went down. The salad bar that was standard back in 1980 morphed into what can only be compared to a very low-end Vegas buffet. There were several kinds of chicken, mashers, gravy, mac and cheese and the like along with the greenery, but I can’t say that the quantity now beats out the quality back in the day. That said, the quantity starts to make sense when you see how small the steaks are. I suppose loading patrons down with heavy, inexpensive starches is one way to take their minds off the steak, but you have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool Matthew. While both our steaks were adequate tasting — what one can expect from a USDA Select grade of sirloin, which is what most budget steakhouses serve — he was fuming about the size. He kept spearing it with his fork and holding it up for my inspection at various angles to make his point.