Thursday, March 29, 2007
One more tidbit from my trip this weekend. On the way to Leadville and on the way back we passed through the little town of Bailey, Colorado which now is the home of the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand, possibly the best piece of roadside kitsch in Colorado.
The Coney Island Hot Dog Stand was born in 1966 and resided in Denver until 1970 when it was moved to the small town of Aspen Park. It stood in Aspen Park gathering "kitsch" status...and national fame until last year when the land it sat on was sold to a bank.
Imagine wanting to replace something as cool as this with ANOTHER bank? It seems like between Walmarts, Walgreens and banks the United States if becoming one giant homogenized, cookie cutter place. But you've heard that rant plenty of places before.
Anyway, with no land to sit on the Coney Island needed a new home. It found one just up the road a bit in Bailey. Now looking at the picture on the top of this post can you imagine moving this structure 20 miles up the road? It was quite an event and was covered by the national media.
The bride and I had some of their hot dogs some years ago while it was still in Aspen Park. I had driven by it numerous times and always said, "next time I'm going to stop" but never did. This one particular weekend however, I told the bride to hop in the car I was going to treat her to lunch but wouldn't tell her where. When I started up to the mountains she really got curious about where lunch was going to be. She was probably thinking I had a bottle of champagne and picnic lunch in the trunk and we were going to some idyllic mountain meadow to partake of the natural beauty of Colorado. When we arrived at "The Dog" I don't think she could figure out what to say....one of the few times in the 30 some years we've known each other! I know that's gonna cost me but as Oscar Mayer is my witness it's true.
After lunch, on the way home, I turned to her and said "Stick with me hon, and you'll see all the finest places!" That has become an inside joke with us whenever things are not exactly the way we expect them to be.
I'm thinking that when they open back up "The Circle" will have to make an outing to there to welcome it to it's new location because we make it a point to visit all the finest places!
Thanks for visiting.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Later that evening we had dinner and then went to the Silver Dollar Saloon for a nightcap. The Silver Dollar was opened in 1879 and to look at the inside it had changed very little since that time. We reluctantly left Sunday morning for the trip back. Rather than describe the trip any more let me just leave you with a few pictures....and thanks for visiting.
Monday, March 26, 2007
The purpose of the conforminator is to to provide the haberdasher with a "map" of a persons head. A map that makes a hat, a custom hat. It does this by tracing a reduced scale outline of the subjects head to a piece of paper. Once Smitty does this he has a paper file that documents your head for eternity because while the rest of your body may change over time, your head remains the same. That can be used in the future to make more custom hats if you so desire. Smitty told us he has elaborate security procedures for protecting this important and very sensitive data and in all his years in business no one has broken into that cookie tin.
There's lots more to tell about our trip but I'm on the road right now and time is limited so I'll have to do this in several posts so stay tuned.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
A bit of Colorado kitsch before the weekend starts....There are many claims regarding the beginnings of one of America's favorite and most celebrated foods, the cheeseburger. I guess no one knows what the exact truth is but at least Denver has documented part of the truth that is not in dispute.
California, Kentucky and Colorado all claim to be the birthplace of the cheeseburger. This birth occurred sometime between 1924 and 1935. The one thing that is not debatable is the registration of the trademark "cheeseburger" by Louis E. Ballast of Denver in 1935. Louis and his Humpty Dumpty Barrel Drive In are long gone but the stone monument in the picture above marks the spot, now a bank parking lot, where this piece of American culinary history took place.
The "circle" is at full strength this weekend and we're headed to Leadville, Colorado for an off-beat weekend. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States with an altitude of 10,152 feet above sea level. This small historic mining town is truly a Rocky Mountain High!
Famous names associated with the history of Leadville include The "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, Carneigie, Guggenheim, Susan B. Anthony, Oscar Wilde, Horace and "Baby Doe" Tabor, Doc Holliday, J.C. Penny, and many others.
Unfortunately the weather looks like it's not going to go easy on us. Current forecast is for rain and snow showers with a high temperature of 41.
The good news is that when we return I promise I'll have a good story for you. Now don't get your hopes up for another chapter of Muffler Man because I've already checked and he has no relatives in the Leadville area.
Thanks for visiting.
Monday, March 19, 2007
So, the question is...is this a genetic condition? Are my offspring doomed by the genetic double helix to spend their life searching for the Holy Grail of the undiscovered Muffler Man? Should I just include gas money in my will for the time that they will drive 300 miles to investigate the rumor that a strange giant mannequin might be a heretofore unknown variant of Muffler Man?
Or, is this a much lesser affliction? A contagion? Nothing can be done for a genetic condition but something that is developed as a result of contagion is not necessarily fatal or even permanent. People have recovered completely from leprosy....but a lot don't. Not everyone dies from small pox.....but a lot do.
Is it genetic? Is it contagious?
Email from my daughter who lives in California entitled, "Dad, this one's for you!"
We were about a mile outside a small town called Guerneville when I saw it in the
middle of a trailer park. When I told Jonathan to stop the car so I could take
a picture he looked at me like I was nuts. But I knew if you were here you'd
want a photo of it so here you go...
Thanks for visiting.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Seven days and seven nights have elapsed since The Emmer and I began our adventure of "On Our Own". Notwithstanding several fires, some broken dishes and altogether average (except for Karen's lasagna and my New Orleans dinner) eats, we have survived. No deep cuts, serious burns or other flesh wounds. We will be replacing the oven and microwave but that is not because of the activities of this past week as I will explain later.
Good to my word, Emmer and I ate out on Friday night. We went to Chili's and Emmer had quesedillas and I had a rack of baby back ribs. Emmer really enjoys eating out and doesn't get the chance to do it too much so this was a treat for her. Last night we grilled steak on the barbecue.
My bride arrives at the airport at 5:30 pm so we will probably stop somewhere on the way home for dinner. The Emmer will be consigned to leftovers for tonight. All in all I didn't find the cooking part too difficult. It was the coordination of all the different pieces of the dinner that I lack skill in. I suppose that part is an acquired skill......which hopefully I won't have to acquire for a couple more years. At any rate as a result of The Emmers rash statement which got us into this situation to begin with (Aw mom, we can "make it on our own".) we have proven that we can indeed make it "On Our Own". I just pray that we have a while before we need to again.
As I mentioned earlier we are going to have the oven and microwave replaced. Really, this has nothing whatsoever to do with my adventure of the last week. The oven really has not performed right since we moved here 11 years ago. The self clean cycle would jam about halfway through the process and the only way to return to normal operations was to cut the electricity off at the breaker panel, let the oven cool down and restore the power. We managed to live with this for 11 years but a couple of weeks ago the microwave began to act up and it was the last straw. Last weekend I ordered the oven and microwave that the bride had picked out. Hopefully it will be installed in about two weeks.
The weather was so nice here yesterday (mid 60's) that I spent most of the day working in my travel trailer. Even though it's about a month too early to risk camping, I de-winterized the fresh water system by draining all the antifreeze out and sanitizing all the fresh water lines. I also had 2 vent covers installled that will allow me to keep the roof vents open when it rains. This is important because the trailer can get real stuffy fast if all the windows and vents are closed while people are in it. Finally, I replaced the manual furnace thermostat with a digital one that will operate much more smoothly and keep the furnace from cycling on an off so much in cold weather. It also has a digital temperature read out so we will be able to tell what the inside temperature is.
I'm hoping that next month we all can go camping for a weekend. The Emmer and Molly dog have never camped with us and I think they would enjoy it.
I'm in town for one more week before I travel again but I have a couple of things I want to post about so be sure to stop by.
Thanks for visiting!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The count is down to THREE! I have been in New Orleans for the past two days and on Tuesday at least I dined in a manner more like that to which I was formerly accustomed.
The trip started with the prerequisite delay for my flight. I say prerequisite because the majority of my trips over the last few months all have had some type of flight delay. It seems for some reason this time, United Airlines wanted to update the onboard navigation computer. I really couldn't figure that one out but it did seem odd that all of the people who got off the plane in Denver were wearing Mexican straw hats, shorts, flip flops and Tommy Bahama shirts? Well, whatever they did worked, because the pilot found his way to the Crescent City without any problems.
After a couple hours work with our local business contacts we decided to head out for dinner. My anemic slack jowled look induced by 4 days of "On Our Own" may have had some influence on the matter but that was fine with me. I wanted to eat and eat well.
The last time I was in New Orleans they took me to K-Paul's which is owned by Paul Prudhomme. Dinner that night was fantastic so my sights were set pretty high. I had visions of Emeril's but my hosts said they wanted to go to an out of the way, local spot. They said I wouldn't be disappointed and I was not.
We had dinner at Clancy's and it really was a "local" restaurant. In my eyes local is even better and the food was proof. As an appetizer I had oysters and brie a fantastic combination. This was followed by a Boston salad, baked snapper with avocado sauce and for desert, chocolate brownie pie with caramel ice cream. While it didn't make up entirely for having to deal with lawyers for two days it went a long way in reducing the curse of "On Our Own".
Yesterday, after a full day of work we tried to make our way back to the Denver area and not to to depress and frighten the travelling public with the exactitudes let me just say I arrived at home at 2 am this morning.
I did go into work for a few hours and it's a good thing I did because if you'll remember The Emmer and I are "On Our Own" and I have three more dinners to conjugate....We can now lower the count to TWO.
There is a meeting room right next to my office which gets pretty heavy use and today was no exception. Today it was a lunch meeting and lunch consisted of burritos!!! When the meeting was over and all the people had vacated, I cruised through the meeting room and snagged two burritos. I am not one to look a gift burro in the mouth!
I didn't tell The Emmer about my find but told her I was going to make one of Grandma's famous recipe's that she had never had before.....burritos. The recipe was so secret I said that I didn't know if she, Emmer, was worthy to behold this wonderment in its creation yet. Therefore she needed to remain out of the kitchen whilst I did my magic.
For about 45 minutes I banged around the kitchen, ate some chips and salsa and left obvious "cooking" signs around the kitchen. I then put the two burritos on a pan to warm in the oven and called Emmer in for dinner explaining that we just had a few minutes until we could partake of Grandma's legacy.
I could tell The Emmer was not overly impressed but she certainly didn't want to impune the memory of Grandma so she ate with a feigned gusto. Not wanting her to feel bad about her late grandmother's culinary abilities, I allowed as how I probably didn't capture the magnificence of Grandma's original recipe and that perhaps tomorrow we could eat out for dinner.
Dinner out will leave ONE more "On Our Own". Stay tuned....
Thanks for visiting.
Monday, March 12, 2007
This is turning out to be easier than I expected…
Just about the time I was throwing away the metal plate for the electric grill after lunch on Sunday, (amazing what some common kitchen utensils will do to the “never great anyway” Teflon coating), the phone rang. It was “Guitar” John wanting to know if The Emmer and I were going to dinner at Too Timing, Too Tall’s and Karen’s place?
“Didn’t know she was puttin on the dog and that we were invited?”, I said.
Turns out Karen’s a fan of the Pioneer Woman’s blog and she wanted to try out a lasagna recipe she saw on Pioneer’s blog the other day. I told Guitar that it was lucky he caught me because I was just starting preparations for a real exotic dinner I had planned for Emmer and I and that once I got into the intricacies of this creation I wouldn’t be able to just stop. (After all, once the can opener breaks the seal you can’t undo it. It’s not like you can put it back in the freezer or anything.) Since he did catch me in time, however, I’d be glad to lend my expert opinion to the matter of lasagna.
Guitar and his better half, Pic-E, picked up Emmer and I about 5 pm and we proceeded to Karen and Two Timing, Too Tall's place. It was a delightful spring afternoon and while Guitar and Two Timing, Too Tall, were out on the deck discussing the relative merits of electronic lockers on their Jeep Rubicons, I delighted the ladies with talk of Julienne, basting, reductions and such. They were frankly amazed at my grasp of culinary niceties. I actually held myself back some as I didn't want to overwhelm them with this unseen side of me.
After a while we proceeded to the table and sampled Lasagna ala Pioneer Woman. I must admit it was terrific. All the while I was enjoying the eats I was thinking, that's 2 dinners down only 5 more to go! I made sure I complimented Karen on her faithful rendition of a new classic and told her that I couldn't have done better myself! Normally a statement like that is guaranteed to bring an offer of "There's plenty left, you MUST take some home with you."....which would have been dinner #3 by my calculation, but for whatever reason Karen didn't rise to the bait.
As we were driving home I realized that I have a business trip for Tuesday and will be in New Orleans Tuesday night and back late Wednesday night! That's two more nights that require no magic on my part....I'll even get to go to a really nice restaurant Tuesday night.....I'll show Emmer a thing or two about WE.
I do have to work some magic tonight so I'd better get going. I think the microwave is clean enough so I won't start a fire if I use it tonight and I got all the big pieces off the sides of the oven so that's good to go too.............Stay tuned.
Thanks for visiting
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Yesterday morning at, as they say in the army, O-dark-hundred, I took my bride to the airport for her semi-annual trip back to her folks place in North Carolina. She will be gone for a week and during that week The Emmer and I are “on our own”.
Normally, about a week before The Bride leaves, she starts making extra portions of our regular meals and sets them aside for the week of her absence. This year, The Emmer told her that that wasn’t necessary. WE could make it…“on our own“! If I have enough strength left at the end of the week, I’m going to have to talk to that girl about WE!
Being an “almost retired guy”, however, I had no doubt that with Emmer’s help we could live high on the proverbial hog! After all, I can do a mean Lean Cuisine and my technique at ordering out Chinese is second to none. I used to cook for myself before we were married…I’m told Hamburger Helper has really kept up with the times over the last 30 years. As long as Emmer can show me how to turn the oven on we’ll be fine.
Stuffed Chicken Breast
Piece of cake….the fire in the oven actually gave the chicken breast a faux barbecue look/taste. By tomorrow we should have the microwave cleaned up enough for another attempt….can’t believe you can’t use metal bowls in a microwave! It must be some type of retail conspiracy to make people buy new bowls.
Sunday I think I'll be a little more adventuresome. Who knows, maybe I could make a second career out of cooking...after I retire. What's Emeril got that I don't? Stay tuned.............
Thanks for visiting.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
I have mentioned in previous posts that the high plains just to the east of the Rocky Mountains have a rich history all their own. The Rocky Mountains are glamorous and have an incredible history but if you read about western history you will discover that a lot of the famous figures of western history actually lived on the high plains and not in the mountains. The mountains were "the office". Bent, St. Vrain, Vasquez, Beckwourth, Tobin, Tabor, Sublette, Autobees, Wooten are names associated with the Rocky Mountains. They trapped, traded, fought Indians, hunted, dug gold, silver and lead in the Rocky Mountains but all of them had more permanent homes in settlements along the high plains. Taos, Boggsville, Bent's Fort, Pueblo Ft. Lyons, Denver are just a few of the "homes" these men returned to after a hard summer "at the office".
One of the biggest names in western folk lore is Christopher "Kit" Carson. For 30 years Kit created a legend for himself throughout the west. In 1867 Kit was mustered out of the army and took up residence in the small town of Boggsville with his wife and children. Boggsville is located just a mile or two south of the present day town of La Junta, Colorado. Retirement however, was just not to be for Kit, in spite of his declining health. The government and friends prevailed on him to accompany a band of Ute Indians led by Chief Ouray to Washington for treaty negotiations in 1868. Kit agreed and accompanied the Indians along with a party of distinguished white men on the trip which included stops in Omaha, Chicago, Boston and New York. The journey took it's toll on Kit's already fragile health. The picture at the right was taken while he was in Washington D.C.
Arriving back in Denver in late March, Kit was so weakened that he had to spend 3 days resting up before he tried to make it back to his family in Boggsville. An old friend D.C. Oaks, accompanied him on the journey. Accompanied is probably not the word to use. D.C. took Kit because he was so weak he had to ride/lie in a wagon for most of the trip. Kit made it home somewhere around April 5, 1868.
His family was glad he was back, especially his wife Josefa who was about to give birth to another child. Tragically, Josefa died from complications of childbirth leaving Kit a widower with 7 children.
Knowing he was near to death Kit turned his children and estate over to the Boggs family and on May 23, 1868 he died in the military hospital at Ft. Lyons, Colorado.
So where am I going with this???
The picture at the top of the page was taken from a promontory about 25 miles south of downtown Denver. It was very close to the spot that this picture was taken from, that Kit and D.C. Oaks built one of the last campfires that Kit was to see in his life. This was about one days travel from Denver with a wagon in those days and Kit and D.C. made camp here on their way to Boggsville. A large granite monument noted this fact until a few years ago, when the monument "disappeared".
What do you suppose Kit Carson would say if he were able to see what Denver looked like today?
Read more here.
Thanks for visiting.
Friday, March 9, 2007
If you’re interested in reading other blogs this is a great place to start looking for new sites. Critique My Blog will give you the straight skinny and make your surfing more efficient.
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Someone told me long ago that “crossing off something on life’s list” was a very negative way to think about things. Crossing things off a list implies that the list is finite and at some point there would be nothing left on the list. What happens to life then? Is it over?
A much more positive approach would be to add something new to our list of life experiences. Think about it. This way the number of experiences can be infinite. I certainly realize that my time on earth is not infinite but I prefer that the opportunity to experience new things is.
Muffler Man and philosophy…this guy is DEEP!
Thanks for visiting.
Monday, March 5, 2007
.....Well, almost. We still have to make it through March which is on average, our snowiest month and we've gotten some real doozies in March. The weather is starting to give us some hope, however. The weeks forguess is for tempretatures to be in the 60's most of the week!
It was sunny but cool this weekend and everyone seemed to take advantage of it. I can finally see the grass in my back yard so I spent some time cleaning up back there.
The "circle" really connected this weekend. On Friday night we all went to a nice Italian restaurant. We have all driven by this place but none of us had ever eaten there. It was good enough to merit a return trip to try some of the dishes we didn't get to on Friday. On Saturday night we all attended the play "Footloose" and a small suburban theater. Good music, feel good story, it made for an enjoyable night.
The picture at the top of the page was taken Sunday morning. The Emmer was working this weekend so I took her to work at 6 am both Saturday and Sunday. When we left the house on Saturday the moon was just about touching the mountains and I told Emmer that I had to get a picture of that. By the time I got back home and got my camera it was too late. On Sunday morning I was prepared! We left a little early and after I dropped Emmer off I found a good vantage point for the moonset show. Most of the shots I took were at full magnification which is equal to about a 420mm zoom. I didn't have a tripod with me so I had to use the car door to steady the camera. The camera also has image stabilization which was helpful. I have been trying to capture this "shot" for a few years now and something always seem to keep me from getting a really good image. I will admit that I enhanced the pinkish glow a bit, but not much. The glow is caused by the sun rising in the east.
A comment from my brother who lives about 1000 miles to the north of me on my "Food For Thought" post:
"Yes there are other kinds of ketchup. I can go to grocery store up here and buy mango ketchup and banana ketchup. The Caribbean countries seem to have a bazillion types."
OK, so I've learned something to add to my store of ketchup knowledge....not sure the thought of french fries with banana ketchup appeals to me though.
Another week without out of town travel for me, so come visit during the week!
Thanks for visiting!
Friday, March 2, 2007
Computers are like women…can’t live with them and can’t live without them. What’s a fellow supposed to do?
Having REALLY, SERIOUSLY, ABSOLUTELY gotten everyone’s attention and probably ensured that I will not have a peaceful weekend as well, I will now “touch” on a subject that both men and women will most likely agree on.
My number one computer rant is Passwords! Passwords work. They do keep my data secure. If I can’t get to the data it is secure because I can’t screw it up or leave it unprotected so someone else can screw it up, and I can’t get to it because it is humanly impossible to remember all the damn passwords that are required in our computer age!
Let’s see, I have passwords for:
Credit union account
Metal detecting forum
College classmates forum
National parks reservations
State parks reservations
Computer network at work
Computer at home
3 different outside sites I use at work
Probably 5 other miscellaneous sites that require “protection”
That’s 28 passwords. Now, I’m no fool. I’m a college graduate. In grade school I memorized all the state names and capitols in alphabetical order. Yeah, yeah I know there were only 48 states then.
I memorized all of the presidents in chronological order and the periodic element chart and the Hail Mary and the Pledge of Allegiance and all kinds of dirty limericks. I can recite the Table of Organization and Equipment of a combat Infantry Brigade.
I CANNOT, however, keep up with 28 passwords. Even my well tuned ability to “cheat the system” doesn’t work because the rules for passwords are different and no matter how I try, I can’t find one password to cover to cover everything.
My brain has more important things to do than try to keep these 28 things burned indelibly on a few of it’s cells. It has to remember what I had for dinner last night. It better damn well remember my wife’s birthday or I won’t need the computer anyhow. It has to remember what pills I need to take in the morning and which ones I need to take at night. It needs to remind me to check the position of the toilet seat when I go to the bathroom at 2 am in the dark….THIS is where I need to be protected.
Thanks for visiting!
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Look at the label on the bottle in the picture…Heinz Tomato Ketchup. One day many years ago when I had way too much time on my hands I was reading a label much like this one.
Tomato Ketchup? Hmmm, Tomato……Ketchup? What is this thing Ketchup? If there is TOMATO Ketchup does that mean there are other kinds of Ketchup? Like maybe Squash Ketchup or Grape Ketchup? If Ketchup is TOMATO what is Catsup and is it TOMATO too?
Deep stuff for a young man. Unfortunately those many years ago computers for the masses did not exist and I actually had to go to a library and do…..(shhh, don’t let the kids hear)…”research”. I did the research and am a better man because of it.
Do you want to know the secret of Ketchup? If you’re reading this you have access to the computer I did not those years ago….so click the link and be a more complete person.
Wikipedia - Ketchup
World Wide Words - Ketchup
And, for those that make the grade....cut the mustard, so to speak, also read this great story about Grey Poupon, Ketchup and other food items. Fascinating!
The Ketchup Conundrum
Thanks for visiting