Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Close to the Canadian Border

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Some travel notes:

I just returned from my nephew’s wedding in Neenah, Wisconsin. I have to say that, generally, things do work better the closer you get to the Canadian border. The trip started here at Love Field. TSA at Love is full of the low intelligence types that so typify the entire security theater scheme that is TSA. You all know the types of people that are encountered in the security line. They are a slovenly bunch with ill fitting uniforms and very bad haircuts and messed up teeth. The woman checking my boarding pass against my driver’s license was definitely maxed out by the intellectual nature of that task. On the other hand, the security line in Milwaukee was staffed by Einsteins in comparison. Really, the difference was very evident. The line moved faster, the staff seemed better organized, and, while it is still Theater, it appeared like it might actually be a bit more effective.

The housekeeping staff at the hotel spoke English. As their first language.

For that matter, the entire staff at the hotel spoke English as their first language. You would never encounter that in a Dallas hotel.

We had a rehearsal dinner at a local country club. We attended the reception at an “event” hall. At both places the entire staff was white. There was not a Mexican to be found anywhere. Not even picking up the dirty dishes.

(I mostly bring this up because I’ve noticed the topic of the minimum wage has rotated back into the play list among the commentariat. I now believe that all those that advocate an increase in the minimum wage must live close to the Canadian border. If they were down here, I don’t believe they would consider the typical service industry worker underpaid. I’m certain it was at Sonic Charmer/Crimson Reach/Crimsonic place that I gained this insight: Go to your typical Walmart. Most of those working there are paid minimum wage or a little more. You would not do that work for minimum wage. You also wouldn’t pay those people, if you were allowed, minimum wage for the work they produce. Especially here in the South.)

But, we do have better food here in Dallas. Do you know that in the breakfast places in Wisconsin they don’t even have any hot sauce on the table? Black pepper is an exotic spice in Wisconsin.

I think I’m well suited for the weather up North. Being as pale as I am. I found the 50’s and 60’s we experienced up there to be perfect.

Wisconsin is one of those states that allows you to buy your kids drinks in a bar. The Ace is 19 and the Deuce is 16. That works for me because I think age restrictions on the consumption of alcohol are stupid and counterproductive (the age restrictions glamorize and mystify drinking alcohol, leading to over consumption by the newly legal drinking age 21 year old). Kids should learn from their parents how to drink responsibly. Anyway, Friday night after the rehearsal dinner the hotel bartender had no problem serving my kids a beer or two. Saturday night we had a different bartender. She said it was corporate policy to not serve minors and that she would get fired for doing so. Ok, that’s fine. I was a little surprised however to see her serving my sister-in-law several drinks past the point of her being able to sit on a barstool without falling off onto the floor. People have their own blinders, I guess.

They love the Packers up there. You wouldn’t believe the places they will put a Packer’s logo.

You can gain five pounds with just one weekend of heavy beer drinking. I have my work cut out for me today!

They sell cheeseheads at the Milwaukee airport.

Everyone will make a comment if you were any Dallas Cowboy paraphernalia. That wasn’t me, it was another one of my nephews. I typically won’t wear any TEAM stuff unless it has something to do with hockey, and then it will be the jersey of the team I play on.


Border Checkpoints

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

If you have ever driven north from the U.S. border with Mexico, you have encountered an immigration check point along the highway or interstate. Many people know about the one that is located along the stretch of Interstate 5 running through Camp Pendleton, just north of San Diego.

People that believe in liberty, particularly those that use these highways regularly for work, have become tired of these checkpoints. There are many videos available for viewing on YouTube that show regular folk asserting their rights as Americans to travel unmolested by law enforcement. These videos show everything from simply not answering any questions at all to vigorously asserting the right to travel without getting permission from the government.

This video is simply the funniest of them that I’ve seen. It illustrates the effectiveness of a good offense:


If, after watching that you want to see more, just click on the watch on YouTube button and you’ll find a bunch more down the right hand side of the page.

HT: Mungowitz


Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Going through this photo collection at Slate, reminded me of this post which provided a link to this collection of photos.


You can get to the Slate post just by clicking on the photo.


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Google Nigeria

Check out this surfer

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Here’s the article.

Here’s a photo

Big Wave

This is a very enjoyable movie about surfing big waves: Riding Giants.

Renaissance Architecture and Alleys of Florence

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Renaissance Architecture and Alleys of Florence – Maggie’s Farm. Please do go read the whole post, as it’s very informative. But I’ll give the punch line away:


I need to plan that trip to Italy soon.


Friday, November 2nd, 2012

The Last Vacation of Christ | Mother Jones.

I wonder, if like at Disneyland you can ride the Matterhorn, you can ride the Mount of Olives at Holy Land Experience?

Two Guys Walk Into a Bar…

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

About 30 years ago, when I was in the Marines, another Marine and I were to meet a group of people for dinner on a Saturday night. Our chosen restaurant was Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse. We left the BOQ (Bachelor Office Quarters) at what was then known as MCAS(H) Tustin to drive to the restaurant. As we got close to the restaurant, we realized we were running quite early. We decided to stop for a drink at a little bar that we came upon. Like the Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse, the bar, Cook’s Corner, is still in business.

Keep in mind that we were two Marine officers. We were dressed in civilian clothes. We were probably wearing khakis and golf shirts. We most likely had on what would pass as dress shoes today. But this was also 1984 or so. The military was not as highly regarded then as it is today. We were still suffering from a somewhat low level of prestige due to the hangover of the Vietnam war. While the Reagan administration was changing the profile of the military and things were improving, Gulf 1 had not happened yet, let alone 9-11 and the “Global War on Terror” that has been beneficial to the status of the military in certain social circles. Also, most civilians had a hard time telling enlisted Marines apart from officers when were were dressed in civilian clothes. It was obvious to all of us Marines, but others really had a hard time noticing, or in some cases, understanding the difference.

The parking lot was pretty empty as it was still early on Saturday night. We walked in and sat down at the bar. We had the bar to ourselves. Down at one end of the room were several bikers. Really rough looking characters. There were maybe six or seven of them. When we walked in they all stopped talking and just watched us take our seats at the bar. We were somewhat amused by their behavior. We weren’t looking for any trouble, we were just looking to kill a little time before going down the road to dinner. The bartender approached us and asked what we would like. We told him we would each like a draft beer. His response was, “Draft beers are $5 each. A six pack to go is $3.”

My friend and I looked at each other, we both looked down the room toward the pool table and the bikers, we started laughing as we turned to the bartender and said, “We’ll take a six pack to go.”

It would never have crossed our minds to start trouble with the guys in the bar. It is not clear that whether the bartender thought we were there to start something, or if he was attempting to protect us from the bikers at the pool table. It didn’t really matter, we just scored a cheap six pack and were on our way to meet some girls for dinner.

The Trabuco Oaks Steakhouse looks much the same as it did 30 years ago. In the 28 years since my time in the Marines, Orange County has grown in population and wealth. The restaurant and the bar used to be out in the country. Looking at maps, I can see that they are now on the edge of the wealthy exhurbs of the area.

I implore you to go spend some time on the Cook’s Corner web site. Look at how gentrified that place has become since my trip there. They have become a haven for wannabe bikers. Going through the photos you can see that it’s full of dentists, lawyers, small business owners, etc. that put on their weekend biker costumes and go out for showing off. The fake boob seems to be a big player with the current clientele at Cook’s. Back when we visited, I doubt the women had enough money to buy the big boob.

I imagine if two Marine officers walked into that place on a Saturday night these days they would have trouble even buying a drink. The other patrons would probably take care of them.

I think I prefer it the way it was.

Tough Re-Entry

Monday, May 28th, 2012

I’ve gone from living on my own for nine months to, upon my return to Dallas, having my parents, 9 of my 10 of my wife’s brothers and sisters, assorted husbands and wives to those people, nieces, nephews, and others here for the weekend.

We are celebrating both my daughter’s graduation from high school and my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday.

It’s been tougher to deal with all the people than the jet lag.

Out of Reach Awhile

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I’ll be out of reach for about the next 35 hours or so. I don’t have a cell phone that will work in London.

I’ll be back soon to tell any stories of the trip that are worth mentioning.