Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hunkered Down

The air is heavy here in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. There is no wind, just a quiet stillness. Occasionally it rains, light showers, nothing like a band from a hurricane. The headlines of today´s issue of La Prensa reads, ¨Beta Llegea Amenazarte¨ The picture says it all, showing Hurricane Beta striking the coast of Nicaragua and coming due east, over the mountains of Central Honduras (our destination). What a way to spend my time off--reading and watching American football (with Spanish announcers), waiting to see if it´ll be safe for us to go inland. We went out and brought some emergency supplies (we have more than 5 gallons of water each, extra batteries, a radio, and food, just in case). Right now, it looks like the storm will stay south of us, but we´ll see. I don´t think it would take much to knock out the power grid here. At least, I´m in good company, with a bunch of doctors on a medical relief team.

More later, written from an international keyboard with sticking keys...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

B.C., A Red Herring, and a trip South

What's up with B.C.? Did anyone see Wednesday’s (October 26, 2005) "B.C." comic strip? I’ve always like the way Johnny Hart handled religion. Now it appears he’s blending religion and politics and it ain’t looking good for the two Bush’s. In the strip, there is a paved road that leads to hell. Each stone has a saying on it. One guy reads a stone from Bush 41 that says: "Read my lips, no new taxes." The other guy in the strip, a few stones ahead, reads another: "The era of big government is over." Then there is a sign that reads, "Good Intentions End Next 666 feet." The path drops down into a smoldering lake of fire. Wonder what he's saying here? I got a chuckle out of it, although I have to admit that I'm a little uncomfortable with the recent glee I've been taking at the problems in the Bush Administration.

Harriett Miers withdraw herself from consideration for the Supreme Court today… Maybe I’m too cynical, but I had to wonder, "was her name thrown into the mix as a red herring? Was the purpose of her nomination to draw attention away from the unraveling of Bush’s administration?" I don't know. Personally, the most appealing thing about her was her lack of being a supreme court junkie.

For the next eight days, I’ll not worry about American politics. I’ll be tramping around down in the Banana Republics… My bags are packed. I’ll leave tomorrow for Houston and on Saturday morning for destinations further south. Hasta luego.

Apple Pie Recipe

Christa recently asked about my recipe. This is what I used for the pies--3 deep dish pies. I'm not very precise in my measurements. The recipe was adapted for one I got in a magazine a ten or twelve years ago. My pie pans are pottery, from Jugtown and Seagrove Potters in central North Carolina. This recipe is from memory.

When I fix the pumpkin soup--I'll try to remember to post that recipe too. Right now getting ready to head south for a week.

-6 cups of flour (I shift it)
-4 sticks of butter
-¼ cup of shortening
Mix together with hands till crumbly
Add a few tbs of water and lemon juice, blend with fork
Divide into 6 balls, roll out approximately 8 inch diameter, place on wax paper and seal in plastic, put in refrigerator for several hours or over night

Preparing for pies in advance: soak a cup of raisin or currants in brandy (preferred Apple Jack Brandy)

Pie filling
-peeled apples (those not used in pies were made into apples sauce)
-cup of raisins or currants
-brandy or Apple Jack
(I fill up a large wok, putting 3-4 tbs butter in bottom, heating wok and butter before putting apples in, cooking apples with lid on till tender, adding raisins or currants about after a few minutes. Take lid off and cook out juice (you might also need to add some cornstarch to absorb juice). Remove from heat; add sugar (1/2-1 cup depending on the sweetness of the apples) and a shot or two additional of brandy.

Roll out crust, placing it in the bottom of three deep dish pottery pie pans. (turn oven on 375 degrees). Fill with the apple mixture.

Mix 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of walnuts (chopped), 1 cup brown sugar and 1 stick butter. Place 1/3 of mixture on each of the apple fillings. Then roll out rest of dough and place a lattice topping over the pie.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Take out and place pan on a cooling rack. Enjoy with a scoop of a good quality ice cream and a dark rich coffee.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Reflections on recent readings about textile workers in the Carolinas

Referring to: Doug Marlette, The Bridge (New York: HarpersCollins, 2001)
Allen Tullos, Habits of Industry: White Culture and the Transformation of the
Carolina Piedmont (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).

Political cartoonist Pick Cantrell has a gift for pissing people off. After publishing a cartoon making fun of the Pope, he decks his publisher at a New York daily, gets fired from his job, and ends up in the Piedmont of North Carolina where he restores a house while his wife resumes her career. In it all, she about leaves him for a more successful man (who doesn't slug his boss) while he begins to discover the family secrets that Southerners are so good at hiding (I can say this since I’m one of ‘em). 380 pages later, his wife is back in love with him, he’s doing free lance work, they have a nice house due to his skills as a carpenter, his disgruntled grandmother dies happy and he’s given the town of Eno as well as his family back their lost history. The Bridge is just a tad too neat. It’s a comedy in the classic style, where fortunes are lost then restored fourfold. Yet, throughout the book, as Pick explores his family’s history through his grandmother Lucy, the reader is given a unique view of life in a textile mill town during the Great Depression. Furthermore, Marlette, who is a political cartoonist, shows brilliance in some very humorous scenes. On several occasions, starting in the first chapter, Marlette provides vignettes of Southerners getting the best of condensing Yankees. Marlette shares the throne with Roy Blount for the king of this genre (see Roy Blount’s piece about sushi in his collection of Southern Humor).

Felicity looked at me. "I couldn’t take all the racists down there."
"Yes," I said. "It’s awful. So unlike this garden of racial harmony y’all got up here—Howard Beach, Bensonhurst, Crown Heights—hell, New York’s a goddamn paradise of brotherly love!"

"Besides," she continued, "southerners just sound so… ignorant. I just can’t take anything they say seriously. I’m a Democrat, of course, but I must say I could barely vote for Jimmy Carter because of htat accent of his."
"Well, ma’am"—the chill in my voice could have frozen hummingbirds in mid-flight—"where I come from we call that bigotry."

Although the title page claims the book is a work of fiction, containing the usual disclaimer, "Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental," Marlette admits he’s drawn much of the background from his own family. Like Grandma Lucy in the story, a National Guardsman bayoneted his own grandmother in the General Textile Strike of 1934. Although there wasn’t a massacre in Eno, there was a massacre of strikers in Honea Path, South Carolina. And like with Pick in the novel, Marlette’s own great uncle was a union organizer. There is at least one other similarity too. The Webb family who owned the mill seems to parallel the Love family who started Burlington Industries. They both had a son named Spenser (although the Spenser in the novel was disowned). Both families had a member who went north for additional graduate studies and became professors. However, I don’t think the Love’s ever had any children sympathetic to the union, like Spencer Webb.

Although Marlette’s first attempt at a novel is a bit too neat for my taste, I’m glad I read it for the picture he drew of life in the textile mill towns in the early 1930s. For those of you who do not know Marlette’s work, I’d recommend reading his comic strips "Kudzu," which portrays life in the South humorously. This strip can be found in most Southern newspapers and he has published several collections of the strip, one of which adorns the coffee table in my office.

I read Marlette’s book right after finishing Tullos’ work on the development of industry in the Carolina Piedmont. I’d only recommend Habits of Industry to those who seriously want to know more about the development of the textile industry (Tullos barely touches on the tobacco and furniture industries) along the Southern Railroad (which was started by and owned nearly outright by Yankees). The "Piedmont Corridor, ran from Danville, Virginia, south through Central North Carolina and Western South Carolina and North Georgia, ended up around Birmingham, Alabama. Tullos provides insight, exploring the lives of several key figures in the development of the Piedmont as well as looking at the lives of several individuals who worked as laborers in the mills. However, his work felt incomplete. His biographical sketches included the kings of industry and the women running looms, but not the managers that made it all happen. His work probably needed to be more focused, such as just dealing with the textile industries or the development plan of Piedmont carried out by Duke Power and the Southern Railroads. Although he talks about union attempts at organizing, mostly referring to the infamous strike and violence in Gastonia, NC in 1929. He only briefly mentions the General Textile Strike of 1934.

I’m not sure from where my interest in the industrial development of the Carolinas came. One of my grandparents and all my great-grandparents were farmers. They raised tobacco. Although the textile mills offered a glimmer of hope for those leaving the farms during the early years of the 20th century, my family stuck to the land.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Apple Pies and Jack-o-lanterns

Once again the house smells of fall. After school yesterday, my daughter and went out and picked a pumpkin. We also got a half a bushel of tart apples. After dinner, we carved out the pumpkin (she’s big enough to scoop the seeds out and to dig out the sides). The pumpkin we’ll save for soup (my favorite, she doesn’t care for it) or pumpkin cookies (her favorite). We cooked the pumpkin down and put it in freezer bags and baked the seeds. We also prepared dough for piecrust (it’s easier to let the dough rest overnight). Today, after her soccer game (her team won 2-0), we got busy. Peeling the apples were easier as a friend lent me a peeler that also cored and sliced the apple. We cooked the apples for the pie (adding raisins that I’d soaked over night in brandy--I prefer to use Apple Jack, but ain't been able to find any up here). Then I prepared the dough, rolling out each pie crust (I’m a bit particular, so I only use pottery pie pans—most of which came from the Jugtown/Seagrove area of North Carolina). We put the apples on the crust, added a topping of butter, flour and walnuts, and then a lattice topping (this is just like weaving, she said). Right now, there are four pies baking in the over and the rest of the apples are cooking into sauce. The house smells like a home.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Organizations Unite to Challenge American Girl

Politically incorrect reporting by Nevada Jack

"Politics makes strange bedfellows," the old cliché goes. The truth of the adage is once again seen as forces unite to bring down the American Girl (AG) enterprise. Earlier this week, Don Wildmon, president of the Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA), called on AG to stop supporting Girl’s Inc (GI), an organization that primarily serves low-income girls, many from an African-American or Hispanic backgrounds. Wildmon accused Girl’s Inc of supporting abortion rights, promoting lesbianism, and encouraging barefoot pregnant wives to put on shoes, work outside the home and demand the same pay for the same work as men.

American Girl is a toy company that sells dolls, with accessories, depicting time periods of American history. In addition to marketing dolls, they publish books about the experiences of the character each doll represents. The American Girl Place stores even offer teas, dinners and other "experiences" for the young girls who drool over their dolls.

Joining the AFA, is the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, who are currently threatening a boycott of America Girl and are suggesting that if AG doesn’t quickly mend its ways, they’ll set up boycotts of it’s store along Chicago’s famous Miracle Mile.

Joyce Royce, president of Girl’s Inc, is dumbfounded by the threats of a boycott. "GI’s mission is to help girls "dream big," she proclaimed. "American Girl has specifically supported three of our programs: science and math skills, leadership development, and physical fitness. I don’t know why Mr. Wildmon’s panties are in such a wad."

AFA later issued a statement denying that Mr. Wildmon wears panties, revealing his underwear of choice is Fruit of the Loom silk boxers.

Yesterday, the attacks on American Girl heightened as a new and previously unheard of group called for a national boycott. Jimbo Smith, recently elected president of Dad’s for a Balanced Budget (DABB), said he’s yet to understand why his wife and daughters buy American Girls dolls for 80 to a 100 bucks, with a couple hundred more thrown in for outfits and accessories. "Hell, they can buy a similar doll, probably made in the same Chinese sweat-shop, for 8 to 10 bucks at Walmart! Women go in there and lose all sense of proportion. My wife and daughter spent more outfitting Molly than they did outfitting my daughter for school," he charged at the DABB’s news conference. "And besides," he continued, "the money they’re spending in AG could be used to buy gas for my bass boat!"

Rightwing Hamilton, a DABBs supporter, said that he believed change must start at home. While his wife and daughters were inside AG, running up a world-record American Express bill, he addressed the crowd of men who had gathered for the DABBs boycott kickoff. "The problem with this nation is that there are no balanced budgets. How in the hell am I to balance my budget when the women folk in my house spend as much as a mortgage payment on a trip to AG. I mean, dolls and necessary accessories for each of my girls, high teas and a dinner that cost more than dining at the Country Club, it adds up. We could afford Bush's splendid little war in Iraq if we were spending so much on dolls. Balance budgeting needs to start at home, he shouted to the applause of the crowd." Rightwing was last seen making his way up Michigan Avenue, totting bags and boxes and listening to his wife and daughters tales of their day at AG.

Betsy Ross Rich, president of AG, announced a strategy to contain the DABB’s threat. This organization was developed by a group of men loitering in front of the AG storefront, waiting for their wives and daughters. We plan to open a sport’s bar called "DAD’S," right next door, so that these disgruntle dads can drown their sorry in suds as they watch ESPN or some fishing show on the Outdoor Network. When asked about the danger of drinking and driving, she noted that nobody could afford the parking to drive into this part of Chicago anymore. "Their wives can help them down the subway stairs," she suggested. Ms. Rich also dismissed Mr. Wildmon’s threat as nothing but hot air. We’re about as patriot and wholesome as you can get," she said. "We even edit history to cut out the juicy part, like why our little slave doll Addy’s skin is lighter than her mom’s. And we didn’t mention the whippin’ her Daddy got from his benevolent Mississippi master."

Even Mrs. Wildmon seemed unimpressed with her husband’s threats. Leaving the Chicago store with granddaughters in tow, she was heard quipping, "Don needs a hobby or something."

Nevada Jack didn’t have time to check out all the quotes here and has to file this post and run. His daughter just informed him that Samantha (one of her seven AG dolls) has a bum hip and needs to go to the AG hospital. Nevada Jack has to find an appropriate size box and get to the Post Office before it closes. Maybe, if his publisher offers overtime, he’ll check up on AFA, AG, GI, and DABB and get all the BULL.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Thinking Back

My fascination with the night sky developed when during my childhood. Maybe it was all those Boy Scout camping trips where one of our scout leaders would spend time point out various stars and constellations. But more likely it was developed during overnight fall fishing trips to Masonboro Island, deserted barrier island along the North Carolina coast. There is nothing more glorious than a full harvest or hunter moon rising right at dusk. As it clears the horizon, the lunar rays seem to skim across the water, right to you. It’s not until it is high overhead, several hours later, that the moonbeam stop following you around. If anything can be more spectacular than the full moon rising, it’s a moonrise a day or two after the full moon. Then the waning moon doesn’t peak over the horizon until long after dark. In the pitch night, fishing on a darken beach, you first notice a glow off the horizon. It appears to be a fire, perhaps like the coast looked in early ’42 when German U-boats were sinking American freighters and tankers offshore. But in time, you notice the slightly shaved moon rise above the water. Fishing on nights when the moon is absent from the sky can also be a treat. On dark nights, one gets to watch the winter constellations make their appearance. The three bright starts making up Orion’s belt rise one on top of the other. When they’re just above the horizon, they seem to be much larger than later in the evening when they’re overhead. And Orion, as he rises above the ocean, appears to be lying down.

When I was a kid, my dad would always have a Coleman lantern sitting up on the beach so we could see to bait our hooks or take the fish off. When I started camping by myself or with friends on the island, I chose to use just a kerosene lantern, which gave just enough light to see, but didn’t cast a blinding glare everywhere. It was always comfortable to be on the beach, under the heavenly bodies. Augmenting the celestial bodies were the five Loran towns at Snow’s Cut and the distant lights on Wrightsville and Carolina Beach.

I’ll have to write more about my kerosene lantern and watching the new moon, but I’m ready to crash and Nevada Jack needs to get to the computer to work on a late breaking story. It appears there is a forging of an unholy alliance against American Girl. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Autumn Moon

Leaves are quite fidgety here. It’s time of the year. Trees have adopted their fall colors, although they aren’t nearly a vibrant as normal due to the lack of rain this summer. Each breeze brings a new crop of leaves to the ground where they swirl around, tumbling on top of each other, creating that pleasant rustling sound. Walking through leaves, I’m tempted to kick them and am overwhelmed by the dusty dry smell. Out in the fields on the edge of town, the combines work overtime, harvesting corn and soybeans. Last night, at dusk, I watched the huge autumn moon rise above the horizon of a tightly cropped bean field. The air was cool and dry. By morning, frost covered the ground.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Al Qaeda Barber to the Rich and Famous Nabbed

Politically Incorrect Reporting by Nevada Jack

In an effort to show progress in the war in Iraq, a spokesman for the United States military announced today that al Quada’s barber, Walid Mohammed Farhan Juwar al-Zubaydi, was taken into custody late last week. This was first reported by Yahoo News. "Walid Mohammed’s capture wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the Iraqi people," according to Major Flagg, chief spokesman for the 3rd Spokesmen Corps, U. S. Third Army. "The joint operation involved the United States and the Iraqi Army with cooperation from key members of the Iraqi Barber Union. The only clue we had was his name, but do you know how many Mohammed barbers there are in Bagdad alone," Major Flagg pointed out.

President Bush, in his Saturday radio address, referred to this cooperation as further signs that we are winning the war for the hearts and the minds of the Iraqi people.

Sadir Mohammed, president of IBU (Iraqi Barbers Union) local #386 was quick to shrug off Bush’s claims. "We didn’t do this because our hearts and minds have been won over," he said. "We cooperated because we wanted Walid Mohammed off the streets." Shouting and shaking his fist, he continued. "Have you seen those al Qaeda hairstyles? Have you seen the rat’s nest they call a beard? This guy was bad for business. He was breaking the Union. He should have been arrested long ago for impersonating a barber"

Supposedly Walid Mohammed’s, al Qaeda’s barber to the rich and famous, role was to conceal al Qaeda leaders wanted by the authorities by providing them with new ‘do’s.

The CIA had recently tried to infiltrate al Quada with a barber of the their own choosing. Madir Mohammed, who went by the name Danny Joe, ran a small styling salon in New York City’s Greenwich Village. He was recruit by the Agency and sent back to his native Iraq. The plan was for Danny Joe to work his way up in the organization. When he got to the top, he was to give Bin Ladin a real close shave. However, the undercover operation unraveled when Danny Joe teased Omar Mohammed, calling him a sweetheart while shampooing his hair. Omar dealt out quick punishment as authorized in the Koran. Reflecting on the loss of such a promising agent, Mr. Gman, the CIA’s top chief in Iraq, noted that it’s just not safe to come out of the closet in Iraq.

In unrelated news, if the Steelers don’t soon get their act together, they may find themselves the target of Nevada Jack’s pen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Johnny Reb, Billy Yank, Sartre & attracting the opposite sex

I’m back safe and sound at home, well above the Mason Dixon Line, in the land of Billy Yank. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing up here—I’m a native southerner who really loves the desert mountains of the Intermountain West. But for now, this is home. In some ways, it’s like a lot of small towns down South. There’s even a Civil War monument that until 30 years ago sat in the middle of the town’s Main Street. It looks a lot like those monuments honoring Johnny Reb down south. You have to read the fine print or look at their belt buckle (USA or CSA) to tell the difference. The only other difference between this guy and those guys who stand quietly on the courthouse lawns down south is that his side won. Actually, the real winner was the company who made the granite sculpture. They got to sell the same monuments to both sides. Tiffany, the stained-glass people, did the same thing Pittsburgh. In one of the big churches near the University of Pittsburgh is a beautiful window of Jesus praying in the garden. Right down the street in a Jewish synagogue is the same window, only the caption has changed. There, he's Moses praying on the mountain.

While in the gym the other day, I read an article in the New Yorker titled: "Stand By Your Man: The Strange Liaison of Sartre and Beauvoir," (September 26, 2005). Those two had a unique relationship. Sartre, the older of the two, was just 5 foot tall and blind in the right eye. According to the article, he dressed in oversized clothes without a sense of fashion and had a disregard for hygiene (including brushing his teeth). Beauvoir was younger and very attractive. The two had a strange open relationship, that’s described in the article. Sartre, an ugly guy, was once asked about his attraction to women:

"First of all, there is the physical element. There are of course ugly women, but I prefer those who are pretty. Then there is the fact that they (women) are oppressed, so they seldom bore you with shop talk.. I enjoy being with a woman because I’m bored out of my mind when I have to converse in the realm of ideas."

Now, could some of you more enlightened folks tell me how this ugly and condensing jerk seduced so many women? I read a couple of Sartre’s work in college and did particular like him then. After reading this article, I like him even less—or maybe I’m just jealous of his ability to overcome bad breath as he charm women.

For those looking to impress members of the opposite sex, this came out the mouth of my daughter's friend, as the two of them were discussing a boy at their school (they’re in the 2nd Grade): "You got to love a boy who does cartwheels in K-Mart."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Heading for Safe Harbor

About thirty minutes before sunset, we turn out of Hewitt’s Creek and head south taking the waterway through Masonboro Sound. My brother is at the helm, and I stand next to him, holding on the center console. The smooth water allows us to open the throttle. He turns his cap around and I tighten the adjustable band on my hat. The wind feels pleasant, the early October air still being warm. To our west, homes, condos and piers dot the landscape. But to the east lay Masonboro Island, a nine-mile long nature preserve. About the time we pass Whiskey Creek, the sun drops below a cloud and the marsh grass lining the waterway suddenly becomes golden. Gulls take flight, in search of a last meal before dark. An occasional crane is spotted along the water’s edge, searching for food. A couple of pelicans fly north while others sit on the pilings of piers. In John’s Creek, a lone heron hunts. A pair of porpoise gracefully rise in front of the boat, only to dive and come up for air on the port side. We pass a few sailboats, on their winter migration south, anchored for the evening in creeks and cuts safely away from the waterway. As we cross Snow’s Cut, where the waterway turns west and heads toward the river, the sun sets; it’s rays gradually disappearing as the water turned gray. By the time the boat is secured at the marina, it's dark. Although we didn't catch any fish, it’d been a wonderful day that ended perfectly.

This was the first day since I arrived that it didn't rain! This place has received 14 inches of rain since Wednesday. I did a lot of reading. Cape Lookout will have to wait till Christmas--time for trout and stripper fishing. The water is all brown and the fishing terrible, but my brother and I had a pleasant afternoon out on the water. Tomorrow I'm heading to Pinehurst to visit my grandmother. I fly back north on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Paul's Place

The rain and wind continued today. I decided to drive over to Rocky Point for lunch of world famous hot dogs at Paul’s Place. As a kid, whenever we drove north of town, Paul’s Place was the first stop. Hot dogs were 25 cent each or 5 for a dollar and the meal was rounded out with a bottle of Coke or Sundrop. Paul’s is located at the junction of US 117 and Highway 210, just a few miles north of the Northeast Cape Fear River. They’ve been selling hot dogs there for 77 years. Back in the 20s, Paul’s boasted not only hot dogs, but was also a gas station and a dance hall. About the time the automobile became standard, Paul positioned himself to capitalize on a more mobile society. Originally the dogs were smothered with chili, but during the Second World War, with meat scarce and rationed, Paul developed a cucumber relish as a substitute for chili. This relish, and a steamed old style hot dog bun that’s cut along the top, continues to be the hallmark of a Paul’s Place hot dog. As you may remember in a previous post on making green tomato relish, I consider relish to be a key component to a good dog!

Today, Paul’s is off the beaten path. Interstate 40 has surpassed US 117 as the primary road heading north. But Paul’s grandsons are still there, serving the same dogs as their father did when I was a kid. Of course, they’ve gone up in price a bit. Even though the through traffic bypasses Rocky Point at 70 mph, Paul’s Place is still busy. This area has changed greatly since I was a kid (last summer I wrote about how odd it was to see that the old Adventist Church in Myrtle Grove Sound now serve as an Islamic Center). It’s good to know that some things never change. Tonight, I’ll head back to one of the beach bars. Many of them are still in business, although their clientele seems to have gotten younger. I wonder if the bouncer still asks for ID cards?

Tropical Storm Warnings

Seems that a girl (tropical storm) named Tammy also has Carolina on her mind. It's rained off and on all day--in those tropical storm bands that soak everything. The surf has been fierce and there are small craft warnings and surf fishing in this kind of mess would be futile.

Suppose I could look on the bright side and say that since I didn't go to the tropics, the tropics are coming to me!

Nevertheless, I did spend time on the beach today... a rough poem in which I tried to capture the event:

Waves erases footprints
of my travel parallel to the surf,
of toes digging into the moist sand
as I focused on the distant conveyance
of water and land and air
in a foggy mist
‘till a gray black curtain
pelts cold liquid bullets
stinging as I run to the Palm Room
and find shelter at the bar
and sit with the patrons watching the game
while I drink some beer and write a poem.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Carolina on my mind

Flying out of here in the morning for the Old North State (North Carolina). I'll try to post once in a while. Hopefully I'll get to fish for Blues on Cape Lookout (see lighthouse), see the family, eat plenty of pork barbeque and maybe even an oyster or two (if they're in season yet--it's been a bit warm). Anyway, enjoy yourselves where ever you are and I'll do the same...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sibling rivalries

Yesterday was the Michigan/Michigan State game. Since there could only be one winner, roughly half of the state’s population is pissed off today. Sometimes it’s great to be an outsider, even if people do think I talk funny.

How much head can one beer have?

October is supposed to be cool in the North Country. Not today. It has been warm and extremely humid. Taking my dog for a walk this evening, I come back sticky and he’s panting. He heads for his water bowl, as I open the fridge and select a beer. A Starboard Stout from the Arcadia Brewing Company of Battle Creek sounds like it’ll hit the spot. So I sit a bottle on the counter, find the church key, and open it. Then the bottle erupts. This isn’t unusual, normally I take a gulp or two of foam as the beer settles down. But not this evening. The foam just keeps coming. This bottle is putting on a better display than that volcano down in El Salvador. I give up trying to drink all the foam and look for a chilled mug, but remember there all downstairs. So I sit a towel under the bottle and, with the interest of a volcanologist, watch one half of the beer foam out. I think I’m going to need another beer.