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Now Live Blogging The Great Cincinnati Blackout of Aught Eight

Now that power has returned to the Vore residence, Voreblog turns its attention to others in the tri-state area still in need and examines the blackout fallout. Today: Spoiled food.

SCENE: The Vore’s kitchen.

[BEN and ERIN open the fridge for the first time since the power came back on.]

ERIN: All right, time to start from scratch. [She opens freezer.]

TWIN SIX-POUND BAGS OF COSTCO STRAWBERRIES (in unison): Hi guys! No need to throw us out! We stayed plenty cold!

BEN: I don’t believe them.

ERIN: If we keep them, we’re going to continue arguing about how we ended up with two bags in the first place. I’m not going down that path again.

STRAWBERRIES: But we’ve been in here so long that we were basically just freezer burn until the power went out. Now we’ve defrosted back to delicious, harmless Costco strawberries!

BEN: I still don’t believe them.

ERIN: In the trash you go.

STRAWBERRIES [plummeting through air]: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!



[Health inspector Dale Grigsby] advised consumers heading to restaurants and stores that were closed during the power outage to ask staff how they handled spoiled food.  – “Spoiled food a menace,”


SCENE: LaRosa’s Restaurant.

[BEN and ERIN are led to a corner booth by MICHELLE, a waitress.]

MICHELLE: Here are some menus for you to look over. Can I get you started with something to drink?

ERIN: Actually, we were curious how you handled your spoiled food during the power outage.

MICHELLE: Oh, sure! Everyone has been asking us about that. You don’t have anything to worry about.

BEN: You didn’t really answer the question.

MICHELLE: Excuse me?

ERIN: My husband’s right. You sort of dodged the question. I asked how you handled your spoiled food.

MICHELLE: Well, let me assure you we took all the necessary precautions.

BEN: Does LaRosa’s have a written policy on disposal of spoiled food?

ERIN: And may we see a copy before we order?

MICHELLE: I, uh, assure you we serve only the freshest, highest quality ingredients–

BEN: I asked about a written policy though.

MICHELLE: Well, to the best of my knowledge we don’t, but trust me —

ERIN: Michelle, we’ll tell you where trust got us. We just went to Krogers and Jim in the deli assured us the potato salad was fine, so we took his word on it and bought it and went home and put it in the fridge. Then, a few hours later, we opened up the fridge and lo and behold–

BEN: –the potato salad was holding up the ketchup with a gun!

ERIN: Do you get it?

BEN: The potato salad went bad.

ERIN: It’s our favorite Far Side cartoon!

BEN: We laugh every time!

MICHELLE: (speechless)

ERIN: I’ll start with a Coke.

BEN: Same for me. Thanks, Michelle.



[SCENE: The first presidential debate. JIM LEHRER is moderating. JOHN MCCAIN and BARACK OBAMA are onstage.]

LEHRER: Now, my final question for the evening. What is the number one menace facing our country today — terrorism, Al-Qaeda, nuclear proliferation, climate change — and how would your presidency address it? Senator Obama, you first.

OBAMA: Jim, with all due respect, while the items you ticked off just now are serious threats to our short and long term national security, I would have to say that the number one menace we face today is spoiled food.

MCCAIN: And I don’t mean to interrupt my Senate colleague, but I whole-heartedly agree. Please, Barack, continue.

OBAMA: Thank you, Senator. Some politicans might use the words “annoyance” or “inconvenience” to describe this epidemic, felt recently in such heartland cities as Galveston, Houston, Chicago and Cincinnati. But I respectfully disagree. Spoiled food is a menace. We must gauge our response accordingly.

MCCAIN: I agree with everything Senator Obama just said. I would like to add that I would follow spoiled food to the gates of hell.

OBAMA: I might consider negotiating with spoiled food without precondition so long as it would not concede any issues that are in our long term national security interest.

MCCAIN: I might quibble with the Senator’s wording there, but we’re basically in agreement: Spoiled food should not be taken lightly.

OBAMA: Agreed.

MCCAIN: Strongly agreed.

OBAMA: On this we agree.

MCCAIN: Hear hear.

LEHRER: I quit.



If the power comes back on a weekend, that could be difficult, since the inspectors work Monday through Friday, [Grigsby] said. —


SCENE: DALE GRIGSBY’s living room.

[DALE is sitting in his favorite comfy chair with chips and a beer. His alma mater, Ohio State, is on television.]

[The phone rings.]

DALE: Dadgummit. [picks up phone] Hello? Yeah, hey Jim, what’s up? A food emergency? In Indian Hill? Well, I’m glad the power’s back on but it’s Saturday, Jim. I’m not inspecting nothing until Monday morning at nine-oh-clock. Well so what? You tell him it can wait until Monday. He said what? That lousy cur. Listen, Jim, I really wish I could — OH HE DROPPED IT! Criminy, Jim, the Buckeyes are on and I’m missing the game. If thousands die because of food poisoning this weekend, it’s not going to be on me, no siree. I told you, the power coming back on on a Saturday could be difficult. That’s just how it is. I’ll be reporting for duty Monday morning, but until then, don’t call me again. [DALE slams phone down.]

[Lights down. Lights up on DALE in bathrobe, leaning down to pick up his morning paper. He unfolds it and looks at the main headline above the fold: THOUSANDS DIE IN LOCAL FOOD POISONING EPIDEMIC. Close-up of DALE’s face. A single tear trickles down his cheek.]



2 thoughts on “Now Live Blogging The Great Cincinnati Blackout of Aught Eight

  1. That scene was not. We would be real jerks if that’s how we treated our waitress at LaRosa’s. Or are we real jerks and we just don’t know it?

    (Our favorite Far Side cartoon is the one described, however. We don’t lie about The Far Side.)

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