Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Sad Something Unearthed by Google

I post this obituary because it saddens me for numerous reasons. One, because I absolutely adored this gentelman's hotdog stand, usually near the corner of State and North U. in Ann Arbor, MI. Sometimes he would be down at East U. and South U. in front of West Engin. or whatever the hell they call it now (across the street from Ulrich's and East Engin. or whatever the hell they call it now).

And on football days he'd be down on the way to the stadium, so you could get something good on the way to the usual stupid 4 hour-long snoozefest of run-run-pass-punt Michigan having all the talent and underachieving, punctuated by the overrated and cult-like Michigan Band playing the same three songs all g*ddamned game, save at half-time where it was tribute to Phil Collins featuring "I Can't Hurry Love" (I shit you not) or Best of Disney. My conservative yet good taste in music friend (the Nutter) and I would joke about the half-time show, and we'd alternate predicting the cheesiest possible titles ("Mozart! Mozart! Mozart!") with guessing highly improbable artists to fanfare- "I think it will be Nick Cave or the Wedding Present." "No, definitely Pixies, but songs from the underappreciated Bossanova."

Anyway, I digress. Biener's was a great, great guy. Friendly. Awesome product. Standard Biener Wiener, or specialty- sometimes kielbasa, polish, other stuff. Always came on french bread. He'd cut off a piece then slice it, slap the dog on, and would load any number of condiments. My special was the Biener with mustard, BBQ and jalapenos. I was searching for BW because I wanted to command Dean Esmay to go there, and revel in it. I found this:
Monday, March 29, 2004

The owner of Biener's Wieners, the hot dog stand which has been at the corner of State Street and North University of over 20 years, died on St. Patrick's Day of heart disease, although his partner will continue the business. Interestingly, on the day he died he experienced chest pains, but didn't go to the hospital because he didn't have health insurance. Now, had the United States had a national single-payer health insurance system like virtually every other industrialized nation, or even a state-regulated opt-in system like Mexico, who knows what might have happened ...

" Barry Biniarz, the chatty owner of Biener's Wieners, died unexpectedly of heart disease at his Michigan Center home in Jackson County on St. Patrick's Day. He had turned 50 in January.

Alan Fineran, his life and business partner of 14 years, will be back in business on the same corner one day soon. ...

"He was an exceptional guy, always nice to everybody," said Ashley Arbour, a clerk at Michigan Book & Supply just a few feet from the space Biener's Wieners typically occupies. "It's unbelievable that he's gone. It's kind of like I don't take that information as fact. It's like he's just on vacation. If there was an ice storm, they'd still be crazy and be out there selling hot dogs."

On the rare day Biniarz was a no-show, at least three or four students would stop in the store to ask where he was, Arbour said. Although he enjoyed a chili and cheese dog nearly every day, Arbour said he's changing his diet.

"After I heard the news, I've gone vegetarian," said Arbour. "I'm starting to bring in my own Boca burgers for lunch." ...

Fineran said Biniarz worked the day he died, but later at home complained that he didn't feel well. He didn't go to the doctor because he didn't have medical insurance and thought it was only indigestion anyhow, he said. Fineran's mother, Mary, said her son found him dead on the floor, and that an autopsy showed he had heart disease he hadn't known about. ...

So in this story we have many prime targets for conservative douchewads. Of course there is the easy and loathsome snark about his "choices" causing his heart disease, he was clearly eating too many hot dogs or what not. The Random Randroid would probably hop on that train and also cluck cluck about the lack of insurance, even though he could easily praise Biener for being a self-made man. Other cobags will attack the obviously hysterical liberal slant of the article, and the obvious "partisanship". Emotional vegetarianism being the easiest of the targets. Although, is emotional vegetarianism brought on by thoughts of mortality any different than the terroristic bed-wetting of "national security voters?" Actually, it's the same damn thing. Finally, on the insurance business, the article is of course completely correct. Even putting national health care aside for one moment, the absolute scam of insurance companies discriminating against the self-employed- the class of worker conservatives usually trumpet and rally around (it usually helps them with their scams)- is an outrage. And I am really sad about it. This is our little tribute to a fondly remembered individual. Thank you, Mr. Biener.