Showing posts with label Far Places. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Far Places. Show all posts

Feb 26, 2018

Flash! The Official 99 Best Greasy Spoons

I had just about recovered from the hideous Michelle Obama drive to turn my digestive tract over to the federal government. Some of her influence remains, particularly in the school lunch industry, but in general I believed that the clamor  had died down for federal cops to inspect our food-processing innards.

Quite a few serious studies concluded that her drive for whole grain and seasoning-free entrees had resulted primarily in overflowing garbage cans at the end of the lunch line. The American citizenry decided it was unnecessary to evade a Big Mac Attack or decline a slice of Pizza Supreme just because Michelle said so.

Little did I think that my beloved Iowa bureaucrats would take up the cause.

This one is not in the name of nutrition, but of money. The state tourist bureau lady is quoted:

“We looked at places that served a unique dish or had a unique atmosphere, maybe they’d won an award for the best burger or best tenderloin,” she says. “Also, we travel and find restaurants we enjoy. We also looked to Yelp for some positive reviews there.”

So, the sovereign state of Iowa (Our Liberties We Prize and Our Rights We Will Maintain) has dubbed one restaurant in each of the 99 counties as the best places to stuff our gullets. At least it is done not in the name eternal youth through macrobiotics but in pursuit of greater tax revenue.

Couple of things here: What in the name of holy hell qualifies her and her associates to choose the eateries which will tickle your tongue? Some money was spent on this, including, one infers, 
reimbursed travel to find the juiciest burgers.

(Heard in the tourist bureau office?   Hey, gang, let all go find some really good eats. Might as well. We can collect milage and bill the goodies to the taxpayers. Research, doncha know?) 

Reviewing pertinent constitutions and statutes. I find  no mandate for my Leaders and Regulators to pose as Duncan Hines.

Not to mention the thousands of other restaurants helping pay for the boondoggle which informs the world that they are second best. At best.

Jul 27, 2015

Elsewhere in America

In Macon, Missouri.

They are to transportation as the Colt 1911 is to weaponry, and they never fail to trigger my acquisitive mania.

There were 13 of them, including the lust object called Scrambler. Of which, below, the interior of the blue one at far right. Just too tired.

Or how about a nice flat fender Willys from the 40s or early 50s?

Like the Scrambler,  just too tired. The engine was missing and the transmission stored on the floorboards.

No one was around the place, else I'd have undoubtedly asked prices, then mentally added restoration costs of  $goodgawdafriday  before deciding there are other toys which would give me more pleasure per buck invested.


I am writing trivia yesterday and today, little more than pretty pictures captioned. The banality must suffice until I work my way into  something more about a trip with a purpose; tracking my kin and my larger people, the Scots Irish, the redneck hillbillies of whom I am a recent incarnation.

I'll probably get round to saying something prosy about it. For now leave it this way:  Anyone who walked the Wilderness Road from the foothills just above Tidewater Country, stumbled on and through the Cumberland Gap, and followed  Boone's Trace up to his first fort was one tough son of a bitch. Or daughter.  From seven generations forward, here's to you Grandpa John and Grandma Christina.

The Gap.

Jan 15, 2014

Wet your kangaroo down, Sport.

Mad dogs and Englishmen founded Australia and  taught it everything it knows. So the Melbourne Aussies  (probably with great enthusiasm from their tourist bureau) decided to have a big tennis tournament in January, the depth of summer down there.

Givens: Tennis is a hot sport. Melbourne is a hot town in January -- about the same equatorial displacement as St. Louis. People who schedule made-for-teevee tennis extravaganzas should understand those things. So should  the players and spectators.

And, to get to the point,  you would expect the same from world famous reporting heads in the electric teevee news industry. You would be disappointed.  They are so agog with Melbourne weather that they're making it about the second or third lede on their programs about all the vital news this morning.

If it weren't for Justin Bieber getting busted for throwing eggs, Melbourne would be first or second on the lineup.

Nov 27, 2013

Home of the real Sand Pebbles

Just clearing my desktop here. For some reason or another I once thought some readers might be interested in what is said to have been McKenna's real-life inspiration for the San Pablo.

Oh, to have been a China sailor before the Japs, before Mao, before Chaing.

ETA: USS Villalobos PG42. (PG=patrol gunboat)

Nov 21, 2013

Sea Hunt!

As I may have mentioned, occasional insomnia has its rewards. I conked out early, exhausted by  a harrowing 70 minutes of telephonic registration for a new health insurance policy. I woke up about 2 a.m. You know the feeling. "So much for this night's sleep. What the Hell do I do until sunrise.?"

So I turned on the teevee. Lo and behold, there is Lloyd Bridges jumping off a boat. I couldn't have been more pleased.


A long time ago I had just returned to San Diego from my second WestPac cruise.  Loafing round my girl's apartment I'd occasionally glance at her 11-inch black and white television receiver and happened to catch an image of Lloyd Bridges jumping off a boat.  I couldn't have been more pleased.

While I couldn't claim that my girl possessed the center-fold sightliness of  Jan Harrison, Lloyd and I did share something. We were divers, SCUBA experts in the wonderful years before every vacationing data entry clerk from  Exit 12, New Jersey, became a "certified(!) diver" after a three-hour session in a Nassau hotel pool.

Strictly speaking, "expert" somewhat exaggerates my skills in those days. I was as adept as a guy could get after maybe ten or twelve wet hours, not all of them with breathing gear.

Westbound destroyers called at Midway Island en route from Honolulu to Yokosuka for fueling and one short day of sightseeing. That was plenty. When you've seen one Laysan Albatross, you've see them all. The same goes for long, hot air strips hearkening back to the rotary piston era.  So, on the second trip I checked out mask, snorkel and fins from Special Services and went reef gliding. Hooked.

In the middle of the six-month cruise we generally spent a few days on Guam, the world's second most boring island (after Manhattan).  The morale station there had tanks and regulators available, and all you had to do was sign a chit certifying that you knew what you were doing. It was my first and only lie, but I managed to survive a couple of afternoons on the pretty reefs. Later, back on Civvy Street, I undertook to actually learn something about it and, eventually, wound up with an instructor's card from the YMCA and some other documents from PADI and NAUI.

All of which is to say I have never gotten over the miracle of artificial gills, of going down there where, when the fish blew bubbles at me, I could blow back.   Just like Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt, which you can see on THIS channel.

Oh. Jan Harrison, you ask?

I'm aware that among my readers lurk a few degenerates who prefer more revealing images. Shame. This is a family oriented blog. Couldn't find one anyway.

Sep 28, 2013

Waiting for the varnish to dry

Turning rough oak planks into an acceptable floor has its interesting challenges. They end about the time your patience with sanding exhausts itself -- or when you get tired of blowing through sanding belts at two bucks a crack. But the project  really loses all charm after the first coat of fake varnish ("polyurethane," which I believe is Latin for "the product of many urethrae").

The instructions are clear: Wait six hours, then recoat. Then wait six more hours and recoat, a step I ignored. Then wait 24 hours , at which point the floor is ready for "light use."   Try explaining "light use" to a frisky lab bitch. She won't get it, so get her out of town.

What I understand is these days called a "bio-break" became necessary en route.  We took it  down a long lane to nowhere, amidst the autumn brome, hard by the handsome grain which will soon -- by order of the commissars in Washington -- be distilled into motor fuel as a sound and healthy alternative to sour mash bourbon and prime beef.

En route where?

Ingham Lake, about 40 miles distant, a quiet little water said to harbor lunker northerns. You couldn't prove it by my catch, one runt bullhead, released. New Dog Libby seemed to enjoy things, however, specially steel-eyed, tail-up stalking.

The prey:

"I love it when my human spills cheese curls. Also when he understands that even spent pyrotechnics have their uses."

And that is how you spend 36 hours waiting for your varnish to dry.

Jul 25, 2013

Lazy River Sing Your Song

Even miles and miles above the head of navigation at St. Anthony's Falls, the Mississippi is a substantial river, wide, deep, and fast. We have claimed a 13-mile stretch of it as our own ...

....including Moose Island,  a pebble and shingle bar named for a GOOD Dog of treasured memory. This time we made it our lunch stop, premium sausages ludditically cooked (pick up some wood and set it on fire; sorry Mr. Coleman).

A thirteen-mile paddle is by no means a heroic endeavor, but it it often strains ancient muscles and even younger sedentary ones. Not so this trip, even though the evil shape-shifter raven whistled up a goodly wind in our faces.

Wisakedjak held the more powerful magic this day, and his current vanquished the raven wind, permitting what you see -- three canoes and a (barely visible blue) kayak rafted for a free drift down to Clearwater. We actually paddled perhaps one-half of the distance, maybe a little less.

Lazy is good, of course, but there's always one guy who overdoes it. We woke him up when ever it was time for Cokes or sandwiches.

Jul 17, 2013

Holy Shorts

For once in my life I'm ahead of the prep curve for a little trip later next week.

--The camper is open and airing out nicely.

--The forgotten stuff in the camper refrigerator is in the trash. It, too, is open to the summer breeze so that I need not wear breathing equipment as I perform the straight-bleach procedure.

-- House-sitter Carrie and her Magic Alsatian are firmly engaged. (Yes, magic. He makes undesirable people disappear.)

-- A seldom used camper locker incubates .22 rimfire ammunition, about 220 rounds in those nice old Winchester plastic boxes.  Or maybe I forgot it. Anyway, it picked up a skim of that nasty white oxidation. All is tumbling in corn-cob kibbles as we speak. When shiny it will be repackaged against the possibility that I am ambushed on a lonely road by a reinforced company of the 82nd Airborne.  Note to self: Clean and oil the Ruger Standard before departure.  (The TMR Legal Review Section advises me to warn you against tumbling live rounds. Freeken lawyers.)

--Most important, I have deployed resources from the almost-rag bag. Tees and other of my delicate underthings which, with luck, have exactly one wearing left despite rents and tears and long-retired elastic.   Not meaning to preach,  but this is perhaps the most vital travel advice you'll ever receive.  Throw them away dirty. You'll be traveling lighter on the  trip home...

-- ... Unless of course you stop at out-of-the-way flea markets and swap meets and thrift stores, picking up miscellaneous interesting stuff as you continue your eternal quest for that $12 Artillery Luger.  (I, of course, would never indulge in that sort of nonsense.)

Mar 27, 2013

Into the wild blue yonder

My youngest and her man are soon to be airborne, off for a few days of frivolous Walloonery in the zone of the Napoleonic Code where habeus corpus is a somewhat iffier proposition than it is here -- or was, anyway, when their native land was operating under a Constitution.

I don't worry about it too greatly. They're not the kind of kids to get into much trouble. Oh, maybe a snide or otherwise disrespectful comment about governments here and there. A lamentable attraction to foreign food, heavily sauced due to late adoption of a technology called "refrigeration" in those parts.  Nothing, however, really, that should get them gaoled.

The lady identifies "Dinant" as the adventurous element of the trip. I don't know what she means by that and and am afraid to ask.  Wiki informs me that the place held Celts in Neolithic times, so perhaps she just means adventurous communing with our ancestral spirits.

They have also worked a jaunt to the Ardennes into the schedule and promise faithfully that in Bastogne they will turn to face whatever enemy is most obvious and state firmly, "The answer is still "Nuts'."

Jan 14, 2009


That could be  African for "bon voyage."  
I'll be keeping track of my buddy's mission/safari through the new  travelblogue  -- "Wingshot in Africa" because when I go bird hunting with her (not nearly often enough) I get embarrassed. It's hard to play macho when the only pheasants to clean are hers.