Name: Minnie...as in Minnie Minoso, Minnie Driver, Minnie Mouse, and Minnie Pearl — which reminds me of a weird story.
In 1996, I covered the Astros spring training. One day, I had lunch with Milo Hamilton, the Astros great play-by-play man. Milo happened to mention that he owned 1,000 baseball caps. I told him, “You should wear them with the price tag still attached, like Minnie Pearl.”
The next day, I picked up USA Today and on the front page: “Country star Minnie Pearl dies at 84.”
That afternoon, I was sitting in the stands, watching the ballgame, when my phone rang. It was Reg “Third Degree” Burns. He said, “I’m listening to the Astros game, and Milo Hamilton just said that you killed Minnie Pearl. Why would he say that?”
I told Third Degree, “I never liked her on Hee Haw.”
Minnie the Dog’s birthdate: Oct. 14, 2016. I still get ID’d because people think I’m a puppy.
Minnie’s ethnicity: I’m a toy poodle and spaniel girly-girl. I’m a gentle fluffball who gets along with children and other animals. I passed the vet’s examination with flying colors, so I’m good to go — home.
Come and get me: I'm available for adoption at 11 am Friday at Citizens for Animal Protection (17555 Katy Freeway; 281-497-0591). Tell them, "Ken sent me."
Minnie’s mumbles: Two years ago, Trinity University’s baseball team finished with a 44-7 record, best in school history, and became the first Texas team to win the D3 College World Series. All nine starting players were seniors, so the squad basically had to rebuild from scratch the following year.
Well, that didn’t take long. The Tigers are 28-4 so far in 2018 and No. 1 in the D3 rankings.
Hardcore training...at Dairy Queen
I am in the final stages of training for the BP MS 150 charity bike ride from Houston to Austin, April 28-29. By training, I mean I’ve decided on what I’ll have for lunch at Dairy Queen in Bellville on Day One. I’m going with the FlameThrower GrillBurger, onion rings, and a Turtle Pecan Cluster Blizzard. For years, I’ve gone with my old standby, the Choco Brownie Extreme Blizzard. This shows that I am still growing as a person, willing to make significant changes. There still is time to register as a rider or volunteer — check the site for details.
Steal this recipe
New favorite infomercial product: the XL Power Air Fryer. It makes French fries and onion rings that taste like deep-fried, but they’re non-greasy and far less dangerous. Here’s the best trick. Buy a pack of skinless, boneless chicken thighs, throw them in a paper bag with a tablespoon of flour, Cajun spice and shake, shake, shake. Then 15 minutes in the Air Fryer and they come out pretty close to Popeyes. Close enough that you won’t run to Baskin-Robbins and down a revenge pint of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Reader e-mail: snakes on a plane?
Email from reader Thomas Malloy: Emotional support animals on planes? Yeah, a free ride for your pet. What a scam! Well, I get emotionally upset if I have to share a plane with someone who is so disturbed they need their pet to keep from freaking out. No pets on planes! Except maybe snakes.
James Coney Island goes Greek
JCI Grill — I still and always will call it James Coney Island — has a new hot dog that goes back to the hot dog chain’s roots. It’s the Greek Gyro Dog — a Nolan Ryan All Natural Beef frank topped with gyro meat, feta cheese, red onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki sauce on a toasted potato bun. It comes with two fried gyro bites and extra tzatziki sauce for dipping. The tab: $9.95.
Brothers Tom and James Papadakis, born in Greece, opened the first James Coney Island in downtown Houston in 1923. The Greek Gyro Dog is a mouthful, but long-term, I’m sticking with their Classic New York Hot Dog: a Nolan Ryan All Beef frank smothered with dark brown mustard and kraut. So simple, so elegant.
John Cena is now single
One year ago, WWE superstar John Cena pinned The Miz at WrestleMania 33 and celebrated by proposing to tag-team partner Nikki Bella. She said yes and the sweaty lovebirds sealed it with a kiss. Eighty thousand fans went nuts.
Last week, Cena and Bella called it quits. It’s been a rough streak for Cena. He barely lasted three minutes against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 34, succumbing to the Deadman’s Tombstone piledriver.
Pro tip: stay engaged
In 2014, hot dog-eating legend Joey Chestnut stunned the crowd in Coney Island by taking a knee and popping the question to fellow pro eater Neslie Ricasa. Thirty minutes later, Chestnut won his eighth consecutive Coney Island crown by downing 61 dogs.
Less than a year later, Chestnut and Ricasa called off their engagement. Chestnut, a broken man, lost his appetite for competitive eating and was beaten by rookie Matt Stoney in the hot dog contest. Some call it the greatest upset in sports history. Yes, Chestnut lost, but it wasn’t Stoney who defeated him, it was a broken heart.
Lesson to be learned, keep your private life private. It will save you a lot of embarrassment and tattoo removal.
Dog lover? Ken Hoffman introduces you to an adorable pup available for adoption in Houston, every Thursday.