Hoffman's Houston
14 hours for a burger?

Ken Hoffman weighs in on the In-N-Out vs. Whataburger debate

Ken Hoffman weighs in on the In-N-Out vs. Whataburger debate

In-N-Out Burger meal
Is this In-N-Out combo meal worth a 14-hour wait? Photo courtesy of In-N-Out Burger

Did you watch TV news reports about fast food fans waiting 14 hours in lines to get burgers, fries and shakes at new In-N-Out drive-throughs in Aurora and Colorado Springs? They’re the first In-N-Out restaurants in Colorado.

Meanwhile, flip to another news channel and there were reports of economically disadvantaged U.S. families facing “food insecurity,” waiting hours in line to get free Thanksgiving groceries at food banks.

John Mellencamp was right … ain’t that America?

Just my opinion, In-N-Out is nothing special. They recently opened a couple of locations in Houston. There was a lot of buzz and people waiting overnight for the grand opening. Once the smoke clears, In-N-Out will be just another burger joint eating Whataburger’s dust.

Remember when Krispy Kreme arrived in Houston and there was so much fuss? After a couple of glazed, no big deal. Shipley and Dunkin’ doughnuts are bigger ‘n’ better than KK. Same deal with Shake Shack and Ben & Jerry’s in Houston. They don’t have anything on “Whata” and Blue Bell. We like our own.

Full disclosure, when the first Krispy Kreme in Houston opened on Bellaire Boulevard in 2006, I dragged a lawn chair to the parking lot, spent the night wrapped in a blanket, and was its first customer. I think I won a free dozen doughnuts for a year.

For historical context, I also was the first person to buy a ticket and ride Houston’s light rail in 2004. Cute story. At the time, I was a columnist for the features section of the Houston Chronicle. Here’s how low I was on the totem pole. A Chronicle cityside reporter was on the train, waiting to interview the first rider at 5 a.m. The reporter approached me, asked me a ton of questions, asked for my name, how I spelled my name, my occupation, the whole deal. When I told him that I was his coworker, he didn’t believe me and demanded to see my Chronicle employee badge.

How to find that fob
Here’s how they get you.

I lost the key to my nuclear-powered, ultra-luxurious Toyota Camry — the people’s car — last week. Obviously the key had to be somewhere in my house, since I drove the car home.

Ever lose something and you tear your house apart looking for it? I looked everywhere, shook all the clothes in my closet and hamper, and pillaged my sock and underwear drawer. I even emptied the refrigerator (it wouldn’t have been the first time.)

No sign of the key. I was more upset about losing the key chain than the key because I bought the keychain at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. Sentimental value.

I’ve lost car keys before. I would just take the spare to Home Depot and have them make a duplicate. Or I’d use that key-making machine in supermarkets, but they’re about as reliable as those thieving Coinstar machines that charge 11 percent to turn your loose change into credit slips at the supermarket.

The guy at Home Depot said, “This is a computer chip key. We can’t do those. You have to take it to your car dealership.”

I did: $260 dollars to make a copy of my car key. I’d have to pay for the key in advance, and pick it up a few days later. If when I bought the car, they had said, "Do you want a computer chip key or a regular key," I would have said regular key.

Here’s my plan. The lost key has to be somewhere in my house. For $260, I can hire a team of housekeepers to turn my house upside down, deep clean it — bedspread and all — and find my key.

If they don’t find my key, I’ll just risk living with one key. If I lose that one, too, I’ll call 1-800-kars4kids to come tow it away. It’s the principle of the thing.

Why the Texans close the roof
The Houston Texans opened the roof on NRG Stadium last Sunday for the first time in six years. Several announcers commented that the Texans prefer the roof closed because it makes the stadium louder and gives the Texans more of a home field advantage.

I don’t think that’s right. First, we always hear (above the roar of the crowd), that the Seahawks and Chiefs have two of the loudest NFL stadiums. Neither Lumen Field in Seattle nor Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City has a roof. Seattle’s stadium has covering over seating areas, but not the field. Arrowhead is wide open. 

When the Super Bowl was played in Houston in 2017, the league announced that the NRG Stadium roof would be closed, despite glorious weather, clear sky and temps in the mid-70s. I asked a Fox person, why would they keep the roof closed on such a perfect day?

He said, “When the roof is closed, we can turn a football stadium into a TV studio. We control the lighting, the sound is the same over the entire field, we don’t worry about the sun going in and out behind clouds and there are no unexpected weather incidents. It’s safer to keep the roof closed.”

So there’s your answer: I’m saying that if the Super Bowl had been played at NRG Stadium last Sunday, the roof would have been closed.

Who knew he was even on Twitter?
John Tesh has quit Twitter for the more conservative-leaning Parler social media site. Bidding farewell to Twitter, Tesh wrote: “Meet me over at Parler.com and say goodbye to viciousness and censorship (on Twitter).”

Say goodbye? Viciousness and censorship are my favorite things about Twitter.