Fair Weekend. It’s always a fun time at our school. 2014 marks my ninth consecutive year working, playing, binge eating, drinking, and dancing at this fun-filled three days spent with some of my favorite people. It’s also my last year there as a card-carrying parent. My girl will be changing schools next year. I didn’t expect to cry at the event over this fact.


Last night, I looked like I was channeling Alice Cooper peeling onions while watching a Beaches/Old-Yeller/Dead-Poet’s-Society movie marathon littered with sappy Hallmark commercials. Pathetic. (Thanks, Melissa, for starting the water works.) I’m going to miss it. A lot. And I will certainly be back next year, but just as someone who lives in the neighborhood coming to support my children’s alma mater. Yes, Holly & Leslie, I will still work the beer booth. Yes, Jennifer, I will work the drinks booth. Yes, Karla, I will work the snack booth. Just let me know when I’m needed.

For now, in the interest of preventing another ugly display of emotion, I’m just going to keep it light here with a few observations and pictures from one of my favorite weekends of the year.

Things I’m not proud proud I ate:

  • fried cheese
  • fried pickles
  • fried shrimp
  • fried oysters
  • fried Oreos

Beers consumed – 5 (Not bad for three days. Thanks, Lauren.)

Mixed drinks – 2 … or was it 3? (Thanks, Melissa, Mignon and Leslie.)

Activities that kept me busy – selling crab balls with Ashley, slinging basketballs with Vanessa, helping kids in and out of sweaty sofa-cushion-unitards for the velcro wall with Joseph, peddling beer with Kirk, gambling/losing money with Tim, singing Neil Diamond like no one was watching with The Rockenbraughs, parenting electronically with Dave, overeating with everyone in attendance and other assorted acts of PG (and sometimes PG-13) rated tomfoolery.

Favorite text of the weekend – “Sorry, Mom. I accidentally won three goldfish.” – Vivien

Number of live goldfish won by daughter – 5 (Her personal best was 16 in 2009.)

Number of live goldfish won by daughter that actually made it home – 3

Number of children being raised by the two moms in charge of the event – TWELVE! (How can they manage this huge, time-consuming job when I can’t even get my legs shaved? – Thanks, Denise and Jennifer.)

Number of priests I saw perform with the live band – 2 (Which is two more than I’ve EVER seen before)

Number of times my daughter asked for money – 7? 8? I honestly lost count.

Number of times my son asked for money – 1 (He’s my favorite.)

Number of times my parents gave my kids money, brought someone elsewhere to a simultaneous ballgame, purchased someone food, shuttled someone to the fair or back, etc. – I actually have no idea. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Not sure what we’d do without you.

Number of times I should’ve been fired from my volunteer position for giving too much change – 3 (I think. It’s not like I can really count.) (Thanks, Kirk, for spotting me from then on.)

Biggest problem I’m having today – I can’t stop peeing. But I did have one beer, two Diet Cokes and about 17 bottles of water yesterday so I guess it’s not really a mystery.

Thanks, SCS, for a great nine years of fair weekends.

We’ll be back next year. As alumni!

(Please let us in.)


I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, Michele … WHERE’S DEAN?!!?” Remember, he just turned 15 last Thursday. And can you show me one fifteen-year-old boy who wants to let his mom take his picture? Nope? I didn’t think so.

* * * * * * * * * *

Did I ever write about any of the other fairs? Well, of COURSE I did. Click the following links to read about past festivities in 2011 and 2012.

(What the heck was I doing in 2013, by the way?) 

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Dear Dean,

I want to tell you a secret. I know it’s your exam week and you probably hate that. But (I’m so sorry to admit this) I really kind of love it. I love that you get dismissed early each day after your exams are completed so you can come home to study for the next ones. I love the private time we get together and the opportunity we have to grab lunch and just talk without anyone else around.

Remember yesterday when that sweet, older lady saw your Jesuit shirt and came over to our table to ask about the school? I wanted to hug her and kick her all at the same time. (Don’t worry. I would never actually kick an old lady.) It was clear she was sad. It was clear she missed her grandson (a Jesuit grad) who was now halfway across the country. And it was clear she wanted me to ‘Carpe Diem’ my time with you. She needed a hug. Still, I wanted to shout at her …

“Thank you, well-meaning stranger. But you are KILLING me! I KNOW he’ll be gone in a just a few years. I KNOW it all goes by so fast. And I KNOW one day that he, too, might move across the country. So PLEASE LEAVE and let me enjoy these few minutes while I can!”

Of course, as you know, I just smiled and nodded. Because I could see the sadness in her face. And the tears in her eyes. Well, that and because I’m not the meanest person ever.

Anyway, I think I AM going to take this opportunity to ‘Carpe Diem’ and stop what I’m doing to appreciate you on your 15th birthday. (Seriously, you really need to stop growing.) I did it for Vivien on her 12th birthday. Now it’s your turn.

15 Reasons I Love My Son … on his 15th Birthday

  1. You have one of the most contagious laughs I’ve ever heard.
  2. When other people really need your help, you give it … without having to be asked.
  3. You’re close with your sister. She loves you more than you will ever know.
  4. You’re neat. Don’t think that inherited trait isn’t appreciated by me.
  5. You’re a much better student at this age than I was.
  6. You have an athletic ability that I’ve never had. I envy that.
  7. You’re curious. And you have been for as long as I can remember. You want to know why things happen, why they don’t or sometimes just why.
  8. People naturally like you. I’ve heard it all my life. Other parents roll their eyes when I talk about problems involving you as if to say, “Dean??? Please.”
  9. You repeatedly put up with my requests to help pick out a Halloween pumpkin, Christmas shop and watch movies with Vivien and me.
  10. You love your cat and genuinely want to help with his care.
  11. You really talk to me, your dad, your sister, your grandparents, etc. Never stop doing that, please.
  12. You remember things. Sure, this might not always be in my favor. But, ultimately, it’s what earned you one of your earliest nicknames (Rain Man) and it lets me know you’re paying attention.
  13. You like cooking and preparing food. We used to think you were going to grow up to be a chef. I like it because it’s something we can do together.
  14. You’re polite. Which makes me feel like I’m doing something right. Even though we both know I probably had nothing to do with it.
  15. You’re a constant reminder to me that I need to slow down. Thirty minutes to brush your teeth? Why not? (P.S. You’ve never had a cavity. Thanks for that.)

After I made my list, I realized I had actually come up with too many reasons and I had to cut it back. Now THAT’S a good kid.

IMG_8272.JPGHappy birthday, Dean.

I loved you then. I love you now. I’ll love you always.

Love, Mom

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{October 15, 2014}   An Update on My Arby’s Letter

Yesterday, at 1:55pm CST, I posted a letter to Arby’s Restaurants here at ODNT. Following that, I sent it to them electronically via their website, Twitter and Facebook. Only 26 minutes later at 2:21pm CST, I received the following tweet from Arby’s Guest Support:


“Wow,” I remember thinking to myself, impressed with their promptness and concern. “Hello … AMC? Nickelodeon?? Josh Hutcherson??? You people should take a lesson from Arby’s!” Naturally, I retweeted it. I love getting and sharing feedback from my letters. Especially when it’s positive. Immediately afterwards, I noticed that the account was following me and I received this additional tweet.


I responded, happy to comply but not jazzed about the phone number request as I prefer to communicate electronically. (Does that make me weird? Never mind. Ignore that question.) But I did it. I gave them my email address and my phone number.

And at 3:50pm CST, precisely as I was pulling into the driveway from picking up my daughter at school, my phone rang. Seeing an unfamiliar long distance number, I just knew it was Arby’s. So I quickly gestured to my kids that they should fend for themselves for a few minutes while I took the call. The female representative on the other end of the line was friendly and got right to it. She reiterated the same point made in the initial tweet … that my experience was “unacceptable” … and offered her apologies. She then asked what she could do to “make it right.”

I wasn’t prepared for this question.

I hadn’t expected any form of recompense and, frankly, was just happy that I was being answered and taken seriously. Did I want reimbursement for my recent experience or gift cards for a future visit? I felt cheap asking for reimbursement and more like I should offer them a second chance by taking the gift cards. But I wasn’t sure. “I don’t know. You pick,” I offered up, like a total boob trying to choose between pepperoni or sausage at Pizza Hut.

Fortunately, my idiocy paid off when I heard her say, “Why don’t we just do both?” freeing me to reply simply, “Okay. Thanks!”

She then requested that I give them a little time to address the issues at the local Arby’s restaurant before returning for another visit. She also requested that if I ever had another problem with Arby’s that I contact them direct before smearing everything across all of my social media platforms.


Oh, well. I can respect her request. But this is what I do. I write letters and I share them. Because I want to make the world a better place for all of us. One gallon of milk, combustible toaster and freestanding, icy landmass at a time.

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After visiting one of your restaurants recently, I felt compelled … make that obligated to write your company and tell you about my negative experience at store #5274 (located at 3847 Veterans Blvd. in Metairie, Louisiana).

In truth, I have very little experience with your restaurant. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and I try (notice I said try) to avoid fast food chains for dinner. Or maybe it’s because I’m from New Orleans and sometimes we can be snotty about cuisine and food in general. But, when my daughter (suddenly stricken with a craving for a French dip sandwich) requested that we try Arby’s last weekend, I caved. Because what (honest) person doesn’t like a little fast food splurge from time to time? Plus Arby’s has non-fried sandwich options so I thought it was worth a shot.

Stupid me.

When we walked inside the restaurant (on 10/12/14 at 5:56pm), the place was completely empty. One other customer walked in behind us. Because it was peak dinner time, I was surprised to see it so quiet and uninhabited. I honestly thought it was closed until I confirmed that the door was unlocked.

The man at the register was friendly enough and offered to take our orders immediately. After all, he’d probably just been staring at the closed door waiting for someone to cross the threshold for God-knows-how-long. Being unfamiliar with the menu, I needed a minute to decide but made up my mind while my daughter ordered her French dip. I went with the Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich. When I asked about turkey sandwiches, the cashier said it was the most popular one so I went with it. He asked if we wanted meal deals and I said yes. From there, it all went downhill.

Following is a list of the infractions we experienced in chronological order:

1. My Beverage. I ordered a Diet Coke. I specifically said Diet COKE. Arby’s sells only Pepsi products. I guess if I were a regular Arby’s customer I would know that. But I’m not and I didn’t. Which is why I said Diet COKE. And I always appreciate when a restaurant employee takes the initiative to ask “Is Diet Pepsi okay?” Because it gives me a chance to say, “No, thanks. Let’s just make it water.” Your people gave no explanation. I found out on my own at the self-serve soda machine.

2. The Soda Machine. I wasn’t very excited about getting a Diet Pepsi but I’d already paid for it. So I decided to move on and just get the subpar cola. Except that the Diet Pepsi syrup in the machine was empty.  The spigot was running completely clear. I approached the counter again to alert a female employee who turned to mutter something unintelligibly to a co-worker then back to me to reach out her hand, presumably for my cup. I complied silently, blindly accepting the fact that we were going to communicate wordlessly. She took my cup and turned to the counter behind her where there was a half empty two-liter of Diet Pepsi. I would have assumed it belonged to an employee. She then filled my cup halfway with tepid, flat, possibly-someone-elses-personal-beverage Diet Pepsi. I looked at her, confused about what had just transpired and, assuming my expression was because my cup was only half full, she offered “Now you can put ice in it.” I went back to the machine and outstretched my arm so I could fill the remaining half of my cup with ice and avoid Diet Pepsi splashing all over me.

3. The Drink Lids. When I finished filling my likely-privately-owned  Diet Pepsi with ice, I searched for my usual lid and straw combination to finish the job. Needless to say, there were no lids. So I went to the counter a THIRD time to ask for one. “There’s none out there?” she questioned. I fought the urge to be sarcastic and just said “No.” She reached under the counter, grabbed something and came out the employee door into the customer area. Before handing me my lid, she first felt it necessary to confirm that my accusation was true. Then, she walked over and handed me the lid with her bare hand and fingers clutching both sides of it. (Sidebar: Do you know that at Chick-Fil-A, when they refill your beverage  …with Diet Coke, by the way …  they ask you to remove and hold the lid yourself … so as to avoid any germy contamination?) I took the lid and put it on my cup, defeatedly. I figured it was only half full so it was unlikely to touch the contents inside. Contents I didn’t want to drink anyway.

4. The Ketchup Dispenser. As soon as the drink situation was under control, I did my usual fast food meal pre-prep of assembling napkins and ketchup for when the food was ready. And, while there were several large ketchup pumps available, they were … of course … bone dry. Which required a FOURTH trip to the counter to ask for some. Whereupon I was handed a half dozen sticky ketchup packets. I then turned to my daughter to find a table and wait for our order.

5. The Tables. Remember that there were exactly two customers in the restaurant at this time. So only one other table should have been taken. The rest should have been sparkling clean. Do I really need to go on here? Surprise. We passed three tables before finally settling on a fourth that was the least of all evils as I still needed to wipe it down myself before we were seated.

6. The French Dip. Once our order was called and I brought it back to the table, my daughter looked disappointed. “Aww. The sandwich in the picture came with a dip.” Her sandwich was a solo act. I turned around, confirmed her assessment on the picture menu and decided that I was going for it. So I approached the counter a FIFTH time to ask for the dip. The cashier rolled his eyes (I’m hoping at his own negligence), reached around behind himself and grabbed the errant dip from the counter. I said a silent prayer that it was, in fact, my daughter’s dip and not some other employee’s stash like my aforementioned second-hand beverage.

7. The Bacon. The bacon on my sandwich did not taste like bacon. It did not look like bacon. I’m not sure what part of the “pig” it came from, but I highly recommend you procure another bacon provider. I removed it from my sandwich and carried on with my meal, pretending it never happened. For my daughter’s sake.

8. The Fries. They were not even a little hot for the first ten seconds of my meal. I have no idea when they were prepared but I suspect it was sufficiently before we ever decided to enter your restaurant on that fateful day.

9. The Aftermath. My daughter went to bed with what my family lovingly calls “the vomit bucket” that night. Her stomach was churning, cramping and generally just making her miserable. Truth be told, I choked down a handful of Tums to fall asleep that night myself.

Why did I stay for all of that mess …  for one mistake after another … for the comedy of errors that was Arby’s Restaurant that evening? Because my daughter really wanted that stupid sandwich. And, as parents, we do many things we don’t actually want to do for our children. I didn’t complain at the restaurant because I didn’t want to rain all over the mother-daughter outing that she had requested. But I’m complaining now. Because that restaurant is giving your company a bad name. And I really thought you would want to know about it. Please tell me I’m right.


Michele Robert Poche



The proof of my infamous visit.

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We open on a desperate, despondent, disheveled woman. Her hair is long … limp … and utterly lifeless. Her hair is so straight that it could be mistaken for uncooked spaghetti. Or serve as a carpenter’s level. Or used to draw blueprints of skyscrapers. (You get where I’m going with this, right?)

Desperate, despondent, disheveled woman: “Oh … why, why, WHY must I be cursed with this straight hair? Day in and day out, nothing but pin straight hair just dragging me down. I need some variety!”

Enter me, waving a new-fangled hair device in the woman’s face.

Me: “Hey, chin up, Marcia Brady. I’ve got the solution. Have you ever heard of the InstaWave curling iron by Kiss?”

DDDW: “The InstaWave curling iron by Kiss?”

Me: “Yes, the InstaWave curling iron by Kiss, the revolutionary, fully automatic hair tool that instantly creates beautiful, long-lasting curls with ease.”

DDDW: “What?!!? Aww, come on. Curls that are beautiful AND long-lasting? No way.”

Me: “Yes way! Check out this video.”

DDDW: “Wow. She looks awesome. But I bet she’s a professional hair stylist. What about ordinary schleps … like you and me?”

Me: (laughing condescendingly) “Funny you should ask. Because I’m not just an endorser of the InstaWave. I’m also a client.”


Want to win your own InstaWave curling iron? Well, of course you do. My friend Mel and I are giving one away to one of our lucky readers. And, with so many ways to score an entry, that lucky reader could easily be YOU!

Click HERE to enter!

Hurry! The contest closes on Tuesday, October 15, 2014.

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When I was eight years old, I caught the bus home from school every day. Both of my parents worked full-time so every afternoon I took one of the school’s three buses home to my house where my grandmother was waiting for me. I still remember that I rode on bus #2. I still remember that Melvin was our bus driver. And I still remember the intimidating girl who took her daily frustrations out on me each and every day on that bus.

She knew what she was doing. She knew I’d be sitting with my friend every afternoon. And she knew that my friend lived at the front end of the route while she and I lived closer to the end. So she’d wait until my friend was off the bus and some of the route was completed so there were empty spaces around me. Then she would make her way up or down the bus aisle to my position. It didn’t matter where I sat. She’d always find me.

And she would sit either beside me or in front of me where she could stare directly into my eyes and whisper so no one could hear her except me. “You’re ugly. Do you know how ugly you are? Nobody at the whole school likes you.” She seldom took a breath and, since I never spoke up, she just continued until it was time to get off the bus. “It makes me sick to look at you. You disgust me. I don’t want you to ride this bus anymore. Do you understand me?”

I’m ashamed to admit that I sat there frozen, day after day, fighting back tears as I looked  into the eyes of one of the meanest people I’d ever met. I didn’t even know her. We were several grades apart. Why me? Why was she was she picking on me?

I never said anything. Ever. I was afraid. Our families knew each other. We lived in the same neighborhood. We attended the same church. And everybody loved her. At age eight, I feared anything I did or said would only make things worse for me every afternoon on that bus.

So I did nothing. I said nothing. I just sat there and took it. For the entire school year.

* * * * * * * * * *

Why am I writing about this story today? Because I’m partnering with an incredible organization called Give Forward, the world’s number one fundraising site for assisting people in need, to help share their mission.


Since 2008, Give Forward has helped families raise over $120 million dollars. Their main goal is to eliminate the all-too-familiar bystander effect by serving as an outlet for both those who need help and those who can give it.

Currently, Give Forward has a campaign running to help the family of the ALS Ice Bucket prank victim in Bay Village, Ohio.  The purpose of this fundraiser is to offer the victim and his family the support they deserve right now and spread a message of love, rather than hate. Give Forward wants him to know he is a hero for finding the courage to talk about what happened and maybe even prevent the next instance of bullying.

To read more about the victim’s story and make a donation, please click here.

* * * * * * * * * *


To the eight-year-old girl who didn’t have the courage to speak up for herself back in the day, know that your negative experiences were not in vain.  In decades to come, they will help you cope when similar issues and problems arise with your own children. And that people DO like you.

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{September 23, 2014}   Dear Hot Pocket Corporation

Dear Hot Pocket Corporation,

ATTN: Chef Lucien Vendôme of the Nestlé Culinary Center

I’m writing you today to ask a question. As I was shopping in a local grocery store last week, I came across something concerning your products that prompted me to write this letter.

Despite the fact that I’m a big Jim Gaffigan fan (I know you know exactly who he is), my family is a frequent buyer of Hot Pockets. My hands-down favorite is the Four-Cheese Pizza Lean Pocket. Besides being delicious (have I mentioned my crippling obsession with cheese?), they are also extremely convenient for my 14-year-old son to prepare independently when our family schedule gets a little hairy. Basketball clinics, volleyball practice, dance lessons, parent/teacher conferences and preparing for an Honors Geometry test all in one night … well, it’s just crazy, am I right?

Anyway, back to my question. I was shopping the frozen section in the grocery store when I noticed something. As I mentioned above, I’m partial to the Lean Pocket Four-Cheese Pizza variety. Because I get to eat cheese … four kinds …. and still feel like I’m counting my calories and keeping a handle on things. Seriously, Parmesan, Fontina, Mozzarella and Provolone? They’ve always made me very happy. And they’ve always been more than enough.

Until today …


… when I realized that regular Hot Pockets offer FIVE-Cheese Pizza.

What? (sound of needle scratching across record) What the heck kind of cheese are you adding to this Hot Pocket that suddenly pushes it over the edge of dietary responsibility? And how can we tweak the Lean Pocket recipe to get ME that much-deserved fifth cheese?

In an effort to help you, the Hot Pocket Corporation, accommodate my request, I did a little research before writing this letter. Because I needed to identify this mysterious fifth cheese and determine how we could get it into my Lean Pocket without compromising its weight watching properties.

And, in my quest for this Hot Pocket Holy Grail (do you guys hear coconut shells, too?), I uncovered something rather fascinating. There is NOT actually a fifth cheese. Rather there is a fourth and fifth cheese. Because, for the Five-Cheese Pizza, you still have the Parmesan, Mozzarella and Provolone of the lesser Four-Cheese variety but you’ve removed the Fontina and replaced it with Romano and Cheddar.

Now you’re just messing with us.

So, you know what? Now that I know about the huge selection of fine cheeses available in your factories, I’m going to revise my original request. I am now asking … nay, challenging the Hot Pocket Corporation to create (wait for it) the world’s first SIX-Cheese Pizza Hot Pocket. Or … if you dare … Lean Pocket.

I know you can do it. Let me know what you think. And all I seek as payment for this groundbreaking idea is one free box. Wait, no! Two! TWO FREE BOXES. Yep. That’s my final offer.

Until I hear from you, I will be waiting on pins and needles. And relegated to eating dinner pastry with only four … sad … cheeses.


Michele Robert Poche

P.S. Please respond. I have readers. Never mind how many. And they want to hear from you, too.

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I took my daughter to a concert this week.

To see Demi Lovato. As well as Christina Perri, Becky G and MKTO. I don’t remember ever seeing three opening acts back in my day. Of course, I don’t remember anyone exiting through the floor either so maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.

Yes, I know. I’m supposed to pretend like I just hated it. Because it was …

“Too Loud!”


“Kids today have no idea what REAL music is all about!!”


The STUPID GIRL rockin’ out behind me elbowed me in the skull like 37 times!!!

Whatever, stupid girl.  Because, if I’m being honest, I loved it. The whole thing. Of course, going to concerts was a huge rite of passage for me as a young person. I started going as early as age 12 and, until recently, I still had all my old ticket stubs, programs and even a few t-shirts. (Thanks again for that, Hurricane Katrina). Most of my memorabilia is all gone now, literally washed away. But … no act of God can take away my memories, which all came flooding back as I sat in that arena this week blaring out my eardrums and scream-singing to the music. Some things never change.

Then again, others really … really do.



What was the best part of the concert you ask? Easy. When Viv turned to me at a quieter moment in the show, smiled and said “I’m really glad we did this.” Made all 37 blows to the head totally worth it.


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Alas, my friends, it’s time for Mel and me to put the cap on the old ketchup bottle. Oft called the little writing prompt that could, Ketchup With Us was born over drinks (and I’m pretty sure some fancy cheese and olives) in New York City back in 2012. It began as a quirky idea that challenged two friends to don a ketchup costume in as many crazy and inappropriate situations and places as could be imagined. We definitely tested the limits our own creativity, courage and dignity along the way. Because Ketchup is and has always been about thinking outside the box bottle … and not taking yourself too seriously, something I suspect we’re all guilty of from time to time.

Over the last two years as human ketchup bottles,

We’ve visited historical places …


… and followed in some pretty famous footsteps.

We’ve been introduced to a slew of amazing celebrities …


… and some pretty great locals, too.

We’ve learned how to kick ass and take names …


…. how to serve our fellow man


… and how to cause and feel pain.


We’ve gotten into trouble here and there …


… where things got a little hairy


But they always settled down again. Because KetchupWithUs has never been about stress.


But it’s always been about two fools in ketchup costumes coming up with new ways to write and have fun doing it.




Thanks for riding shotgun, Mel.


Just remember, today is not goodbye. After all, Mel and I still each own a (smelly) ketchup costume and you just never know where those things might resurface. But, for now, we’re taking a little break and hoping that everyone will stay in touch. We’ve had the honor of meeting some very talented people over the course of our two-year journey and we don’t plan to let go of you without a fight. Or at least a little light begging.

In the words of my ridiculously-supportive friend, Mel … “Keep writing. Keep creating. Keep laughing.”

Love, Mel and Michele

* * * * * * * * * *

Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Elleroy was here

* * * * * * * * * *


Click here to read how this foolishness all began.




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Share your favorite or most popular post of your entire writing career.  Or, as always, whatever you want.


Thanks for spreading the love with our little venture.

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Yes, that’s right. The annual Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” potato chip tasting contest is in full swing again. (awkward pause) Wait, seriously? You guys didn’t know? Don’t you watch the nightly newscheck the AP wire … follow  your Twitter feed? It’s all anybody’s talking about.

Last year’s big winner was “Cheesy Garlic Bread,” a perfectly capable little potato chip. It beat out contenders “Chicken & Waffles” and “Sriracha” to become the newest permanent flavor added to the chip aisle in your local grocery store. And all three flavor creators received some pretty nice financial prizes, by the way.

Now, in 2014, we have not three but FOUR contestants. This is huge, my friends. Huge! And, never ones to be left out, my family has jumped right in to help pick a new winner.

Here is the new slate:


Here are your judges:

  • My son (Dean)
  • My daughter (Vivien)
  • My husband (Dave)
  • My mother (Phyllis)
  • My father (Bill)
  • Myself

And here are our immediate, uncut and completely honest reactions:


Dean: “Awful.”

Vivien: “Ewww.”

Dave: “Tastes like a chip that was left on a plate with some old tiramisu.”

Phyllis: “Yummy … I think.”

Bill: “Not for me. But I’m not a coffee person.”

Me: “Wow. They’re really not my cup of … coffee.” (canned laughter from studio audience that exists in my head)



Dean: “Too tangy.”

Vivien: “Tastes like an awkward smoothie.”

Dave: “Tastes like they’ve been sprayed with some kind of weird, fruity perfume.”

Phyllis: “Terrible.”

Bill: “They’re … okay.”

Me: “Umm …. they’re a little odd, but I don’t mind. They’re ‘eatable.’ You know what? Just pass me the bag.”



Dean: “Too strong.”

Vivien: “Hot.”

Dave: “Sushi chip.”

Phyllis: “Too salty.”

Bill: “Strange.”

Me: “Not as spicy as I expected. Still, I hate wasabi so this chip never really stood a chance. He’s the underdog.” (insert theme music to Rudy)



Dean: “Easily the best.”

Vivien: “Love it.”

Dave: “Really good. This is what a chip is supposed to taste like.”

Phyllis: “Great taste, but too salty.”

Bill: “Good.”

Me: “Typical flavor. It’s a very likable potato chip. But also very predictable. Because who doesn’t like bacon? Come on, Lay’s. Challenge me.”

* * * * * * * * * *

So … what happens next? Well, the world has until October 18, 2014 to vote for its FLAVORITE. … Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Feel free to use that new term liberally, Lay’s Corporation. And send me $10 via PayPal every time you do. Or at least a bag of chips. But none of your freaky flavors. I want the GOOD stuff.

After that date, a winner will emerge to join the ranks of the other time-tested Lay’s flavors on the shelves of destiny.

Because …

* * * * * * * * * *

Oh, but I am SO submitting a flavor next year ….

* * * * * * * * * *

My apologies to the competing flavor creators as well as to Lay’s for the negative commentary. Here at ODNT, we promise always to tell the truth. Even though sometimes the truth hurts.

And you want to punch it squarely in its stupid, smug face.

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et cetera

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