Friday, December 26, 2014

Axiom 57: 'No' Doesn't Always Mean 'No'

"A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success." -Elbert Hubbard

"About the only problem with success is that is does not teach you how to deal with failure.
-Tommy Lasorda

I started band when I entered middle school. I hastily picked the french horn as the instrument I chose to learn. As that first year of band progressed my french horn skills did not. I was awful. I still remember playing a rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" that was so wretched that I could see the look of disgust on the band directors face.

As the year came to a close I was miserable playing that instrument. I was considering giving up and quitting band. I just had to get through one last concert with the french horn and then I would be done with band for the year. However, something interesting happened at that concert.

For the first time I noticed the percussion section playing. I was mesmerized as they jammed out a drum solo to the song Wild Thing and from that moment on wanted to play drums in the band. I went to the band director soon after and confessed that I wanted to switch from french horn to drums. His answer was a quick "no".

I couldn't blame him. I was so awful at french horn and if I switch instruments I would be a year behind. I told my parents about wanting to switch and they went with me to talk with the band director again. After a meeting with him the answer was still "no".

I was ready to give up and move on, but the lesson I learned next shaped the tenacity that I have retained to this day. My parents asked me how bad I wanted to play percussion and I convinced them that my interest was genuine. With that they enrolled me in private lessons for the summer.

They called the band director up on the phone. They told him I was taking private lessons to catch up a year. He finally agreed to let me audition at the beginning of the year. If I was good enough I could switch to percussion.

I practiced all summer long. For once I enjoyed playing a musical instrument. My private instructor had me playing high school level sheet music by the end of the summer. Needless to say I came back to school the following year and played percussion. I went on to play the drum set in jazz band and became lead snare drum and drum line leader in high school my sophomore year.

I refused to take no for an answer and because of that I came out a better person.

Let someone else's "no" motivate you to prove them wrong rather than stop you dead in your tracks.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Montgomery Inn Ribs Review

The best ribs I've ever eaten were in Cincinnati.... that's right Cincinnati.

I am a native Texan that has eaten my fair share of ribs.... and until a visit to Montgomery Inn I probably would have told you that Corky's in Memphis was the ribs king.

In fact, above is a picture of me eating at Corky's just a few days prior to my visit to Montgomery Inn. At the time the thought of any ribs being better than Corky's was laughable. I was wrong, and you're looking at a delusional man in that picture that had not yet seen the light of Montgomery Inn.  

I chuckled to myself as I read Montgomery Inn's menu for the first time... "you will forsake all other ribs after just one bite."

Those are big claims. Very big claims.

The restaurant was started by the Gregory family (no relation). I ate at the original location and the atmosphere was quite roomy and enjoyable. The place is actually pretty big for a restaurant. 

I ordered the ribs and Saratoga chips (potato chips made in house), and was fitted with a bib. Everyone eating ribs gets a bib to wear, and you'll probably feel out of place if you don't wear the bib.

But the main question is - How good were the ribs, really?

They were amazing! The sauce was sweet and had a great flavor, but the meat was what truly made these ribs better than the rest. Every single rib was cooked to perfection. They were fall-off-the-bone tender and consistent. Consistency was something that Corky's and the other places lacked. With the other guys you may eat a few really amazing ribs and then hit a few tough ribs, or bone fragments, or fat. This was not the issue with Montgomery Inn's ribs.

So that is why the rib mecca is in east Cincinnati at Montgomery Inn, and if you tell yourself otherwise you're living a lie.