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You may remember this, which detailed that move.

Anyway, nine years later, in July 2003, I moved out of Columbus.

Before last month, I had only been back to Columbus twice since 2003: once to give a lecture about Tastes Like Chicken at my alma mater (CCAD), and another time when I was passing through on my way to Pennsylvania.

Oddly enough, that last time was in October 2008, and I was going to Pennsylvania to celebrate the recent marriage of my good friend Jamie and her new husband Dave.

Last month, I returned to Columbus a third time (in 11 years… holy crap) because Jamie and Dave (who are now expecting their first child) threw what would prove to be a memorable (and epic) reunion party.

Old friends, some of whom I’ve known for over two decades, came from all over the country to celebrate food, friendship, and a little bit of fire.

We kicked shit off right at Thurman Cafe. Oh, sweet baby Jesus… I’ve missed you.

A burger from Thurman Cafe. This would be my death row meal.

After a day of prep (to be read: a shitload of drinking to cope with our Thurman-induced food comas), we kicked off October 11th with a stop at Young’s Jersey Dairy, the farm we spent our first pumpkin picking at in October 1994.

There are three people in this photo who were also there on that first outing 21 years ago: John Marshall (first guy on the far left), Bryan Loar (fourth guy from the right), and yours truly (idiot wearing the bright-as-fuck orange pants all the way on the right).

The first stop: Young's Jersey Dairy!

Three-quarters of the original 206 Crew reunited (We miss you, Special K!)…

The 206 Crew: Part I

…who pretty much look like slightly older (and in my case, balder) versions of these three kids from December 1994.

Three-quarters of the 206 Crew.

Later, we were joined by a second-semester 206 Crew member: the Goon!

The 206 Crew: Part II

So many folks showed up! I love each and every one of them dearly.

The whole gang was there. And I love each and every one of them.

We quickly fell into our old hijinks… which, for some reason, usually involve farts.

Old shenanigans.

Before I left, a few of us ventured over to 886 N. Dennison Avenue, which (from 1999 to 2003) was famously known as “The Coop.” The two windows on the left of the second floor look into my old bedroom. This is also the building where Tastes Like Chicken was born.

The Coop: Original

I experienced so many amazing moments in this building…

886: 1999 - 2003

…and I experienced all of them with these two guys: Milan and Brett, my fellow original members of the Coop Crew.

The Coop Crew: Now

The last time we were together was at Brett and Marci’s wedding in September 2005. Before then, one of the last times we were together was in this photo, which was shot on the front steps of the Coop near the end of June 2003, just before we moved to Milwaukee, and Brett moved up to Cleveland.

The Coop Crew: Then

When we were living at the Coop, our good friend Michelle lived right next door at 888 N. Dennison.

Michelle and I returned to reenact our neighborly feud (which never really existed). Thankfully, no one was home at the time; that, or they just wondered why some old strangers were snooping around and taking photos on their back porch. Either way, this photo made it all worth it.

886 vs. 888

Back in the day, Milan had a habit of “tagging” Michelle’s apartment. He would write “WALL” on her walls, or “FISH TANK” on her, you guessed it, fish tank. One day, he wrote “MICHELLE” on the ledge outside her window.

It’s still there.

Michelle's name (thanks to Milan) is still written on the side of the building. In crayon.

We stopped next door and visited (and smoked a filterless Lucky Strike with) our old friend Eddie (who famously gave us this shotgun as a going-away present when we moved out of Columbus)…


…and his sweet wife Rose.


Before it all ended, a group of us met for lunch at Katalina’s for Nutella-filled pancake balls and thick-cut bacon.

The Last Supper (or, more accurately, Lunch).

As Jamie drove Michelle and me to the airport, we made our way through downtown one last time. The city looks completely different than it did when I left 11 years ago, but somehow it still feels exactly the same.


It was such a great weekend. Seriously, it was one of the top-three events of my life, right up there with our wedding on October 30th, 2011, and my surprise birthday party on September 3rd, 2006.

Sure, the food and booze helped, but it was the friends (who are family), the laughter, and the love that made the weekend so amazing.

The bathroom walls in Katalina’s are covered in chalkboard paint; sitting in a tray beside the sink are sticks of chalk, which everyone is encouraged to use.

I did.


And I do.

Let’s do it again… soon,


Now get yours,


“Matilda Turnip’s Endless Belly Button,” the children’s book written by my sister Bethany and illustrated by my good friend Joshua Peters, is finally available for purchase!

Click here to get your very own copy today!

If you pre-ordered the book through Amazon a few months back, those orders will not be filled due to the book changing publishers. You will not be charged for those orders. The book is now only available here.

Just ordered four copies,


My sister and Josh Peters gave me permission to post a five-page preview of their upcoming children’s book, “Matilda Turnip’s Endless Belly Button,” here on “The Blarg.”

So… here you go! Click on each image to view a larger version.

Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button

Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button

Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button

Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button

Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button

Remember to join the book’s Facebook fan page here, and preorder your copy here on Amazon.

Fired up,


My sister’s upcoming children’s book, “Matilda Turnip’s Endless Belly Button,” is now available for preorder on Amazon.

The book won’t be released until next spring, but you can place your order now to have it sent to you as soon as it’s available. (Your card won’t be charged until the book actually ships.) So click here to order your copy today!

I’ve seen most of this book already and I really couldn’t be more excited/proud.

Also, remember to join the book’s Facebook fan page to get ongoing updates. Click here to join!

Reserve your copy today,


"Matilda Turnip's Endless Belly Button" by Bethany James Leigh Shady and Joshua Peters

Coming early next year (February 2010, to be exact) is the tale of a girl named Matilda and her endless belly button.

Written by my kid sister Bethany, and illustrated by my old friend Josh Peters, “Matilda Turnip’s Endless Belly Button” tells the story of… actually, I’ll let my sister pitch it to you:

Matilda Turnip lives a boring, unloved life with her mother Orla in a tiny Irish town whose population is made up mostly of grazing sheep. But one day, she finds that her belly button is a magical portal that exciting items have begun emerging from! Each item takes her on a new adventure where she meets new friends, eventually arriving on an island where she is pleasantly surprised by someone from her past.

I’ll be posting more about the book (including a five-page preview) as the release date gets closer, but for now, Bethany and Josh have started up a Facebook fan page for the book. Click here to join the club and get ongoing updates about “Matilda Turnip’s Endless Belly Button.”

Making a big brother proud,


Old Poop!