Tag Archive for booze

In Memorium: The Mr Lees

Through the latter 90s, I lived on a rough street with a much rougher convenience store. The local baseheads, tweakers, scofflaws, gangbangers, their girlfriends, mistresses and their maybe-someday-to-be wives, and even the children of these citizens would address the charming convenience store proprietor as Mr. Lee. Mr. Lee was cordial, spoke predictably spotty English, a few words of Spanish, and he ate the most disgustingly pungent foods. I remember steaming tentacle poking out of a bowl full of rice on more than one occasion as I purchased a flagon or two of malt liquor. And lo those delicious plastic zipper bags full of hot, sweaty fish, waiting to course down his eager gullet, that crazy Mr. Lee. For a while I’d subscribed to the belief that his name was actually Mr. Lee, until I’d gotten the hint after years of viewing reports from local Los Angeles news stations on the deaths of Korean liquor store clerks who were very nice to the neighborhood, worked long hours, who “gave credit to families who couldn’t pay,” that the victim was inevitably called Mr Lee. Now, while it is true that there are a few very common Korean names (Park, Kim, Lee, Kwak, Cho and their derivatives) I subsequently concluded from my personal, anecdotal research that any time you’re Asian in a rough neighborhood, regardless of whether, in actuality, your name is Kim, Pak, Lee, Wong, Miyagi, Hopscotch or Buttermilk, your name will always be Mr. Lee.


So here’s a toast to all the Mr. Lees of America: Bless you for eternity for selling alcohol to anybody with $3.



[c] 2009 Russ of America

My Favorite Blotto Grandparent Story

Anyone who witnessed even a fragment of the history would agree that it was obviously a bitter rivalry, this match between the two seen-it-all biddies Grandma Leibovitz and Old Lady Wooten.

Leibovitz, (three-time ultra-light-retirement champion, fighting out of the Holyfield Gym,) was known on the block for her incessant efforts to get her dubiously attractive dentist grandson set up with all the eligible gals in town, often with little success.  This was occasionally because Wooten was known for subverting Leibovitz’ efforts by switching the gals’ attentions to her handsome grandson, the guy who cleaned the pork fat out of the discard barrel at the butcher shop.

In the two days prior, Wooten (fighting out of the Balboa Gym with a 3-8 record in the professional circuit) had cut some serious weight to get from a hefty 101 to a spry 95 lbs.  It was no surprise that she was feeling a little batty from lack of hydration.  Leibovitz, on the other hand, weighed in at a lean 94 lbs, but she was pure muscle.

Round 1:  Wooten (in the lavender trunks) comes out quickly with several jabs and two over-hand rights.  Leibovitz (mauve trunks) dodges most of these with great skill and lands two solid shots to the ribs of Wooten.  The judges are split, in favor of Wooten.

Round 2:  Leibovitz races to the center of the canvas, circles Wooten and forces her into the corner.  From here, Leibovitz hammers on Wooten’s solar plexus.

Round 3:  Wooten heeds the plea of her corner.  She leads this round with two huge left hooks and a serious right upper-cut.  Leibovitz was stunned for most of the round.

Round 4:  Leibovitz is determined to gain back her lead.  She rushes her opponent and hammers on her.  Wooten fires back with an amazing combo of jabs and powerful rights.  Leibovitz apparently loses her footing and hits the canvas.  As she attempts to stand, Wooten checks her with a solid right.  Leibovitz hits the canvas again and steadily gets back to her feet.  Sensing her opportunity, Wooten draws back her entire body and lets a right hook sail across the ring into Leibovitz’ jaw.  Leibovitz is knocked out of the ring and as Leibovitz is unable to continue fighting, Wooten is declared the winner.

The victory, however, is short-lived.  Leibovitz’s corner demands that Wooten be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.  As the results were returned, Wooten tested positive for Belgian brown ale.  The win was overturned, Wooten’s boxing license was revoked, and Wooten is forced to leave the neighborhood.

The good news is that Leibovitz’ grandson met a fine young lady and they’ve been dating for almost a week.

[c] 2008 Russ of America