Saturday, April 28, 2012

Belfast Hopes Titanic Can Refloat Its Waterfront

From the April 15th Chicago Tribune by John O'Neill.

Belfast, Northern Ireland's newest tourist attraction is supposed to be more than just about the 100-year-old tragedy.  Titanic Belfast (the name of the attraction) hopes to feature the Titanic as a manufacturing triumph and anchor the redevelopment in a fairly barren section of waterfront.  (I was there on a cruise several years back and the vessel was docked by where the Titanic was built and it didn't look that run-down to me.)

The museum opened March 31st and includes parts on Belfast's industrial past, which, besides shipbuilding, also included linen.

As far as the Titanic, there are details on how the ship was built to how it was fitted out (carpet).  There are also recreated first-, second- and third-class cabins as well as footage of the wreck on the ocean floor.

There is even an amusement-style ride through a simulated shipyard.

Surprisingly, there are no actual Titanic artifacts.  (However, I heard while we were there that one Titanic tender boat was left behind at Cherbourg, France when the ship picked up more passengers and that Belfast was going to acquire it.)

Of course, there is merchandise that can be bought.  Adult admission is $12.

Museum website at http://www.titanicbelfast.com/.

Anything Titanic.  --RoadDog

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Ready for Boating Season-- Part 3

Three weeks and the boat's still sitting in the driveway, but as of yet, no run-in with the "neighborhood watch" but that's ok since I don't wear a hoodie working out in the yard.

I was all fired up to get that boat in back in March when it was so warm, but April has been really cold.  We've had several frosts, including this morning and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 40, but up to the 70s next week.

But, we did get signed up for the 2012 Chain Crawl back at the Squaw Bar on the 7th and the Usual Suspects have been enjoying being back at the old Costello's/Baja Benny's, bow Stormy Monday on Fox Lake the last several Fridays.  This past Sunday, we also saw two bands play at After the Fox, right on the Fox River in McHenry.

We've had some more rain, so the lake level is now up so we should get a chance to get the boat in, probably next week.

A-Boating We Go.  --RoadDog

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fox Lake Also Losing its Ace Hardware

Another place I'm sad to see Fox Lake, Illinois, losing is the Ace Hardware on Grand Avenue, near US-12.  It has been in business at least since 1980 and I imagine for much longer before that.  It was a small place and really modeled after those old small hardware stores.  Everything is crammed together and you could always find a person who could answer your questions, something not easy to do in one of those Big Box Stores.

Fox Lake also had another such store, Paul's hardware, but that closed shortly before the huge Menard's and Home Depot opened a couple miles to the south on US-12.

I must admit, that i went to these last two stores much more often than Ace Hardware, so I am part of the problem.  But, I do like cheap prices. 

Thornton's Gas Stations bought the whole corner and will tear down the Ace and a vacant bank building.

I Did, However, Buy Stuff There On occasion.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Record Store Day-- Part 3: Two Real Goodies

I'd say they should change the name of the event to National Record Store Day next year.

The two last albums I found were two really special ones to me, especially from my college days.

MOVIN' TOWARD HAPPINESS--  MASON PROFFIT--  This one was special since I had never heard of it.  These guys used to play all the time at Northern Illinois University when I was there 1969-1971 and 1972-1973.  I got to thinking they must be a local band.  They are most famous for "Two Hangmen" but I like all their songs.

This joins my four other albums by them:

ROCKFISH CROSSING
MASON PROFFIT
BAREBACK RIDER
COME & GONE


WORDS OF EARNEST--  GOOSE CREEK SYMPHONY

This one I saw after I had bought the others.  I already have a copy of it, but that one is a bit worn out for some reason.

This one joins "DO YOUR THING BUT DON'T TOUCH MINE"

I'd classify both groups as Country Rock.

Ya never Know What You'll Find At Your Local Record Store (If You Can Find One).  --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Record Store Day-- Part 2: And Buying

I wasn't just at The Vinyl Frontier to yak, I was there to buy.  Like they say, "Support your local record store."

I did buy one double CD, Woodstock '94, for $4.99.

Then, it was on to flipping.  Nothing better than flipping through some albums and finding those hidden treasures, ones that you never thought you'd find when you enter.

AFFORDABLE ART--  Steve Goodman, $3--  If you live in Chicagoland, you gotta love the Steve.  And this one had "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request" and a song with John Prine.

SUGAR SHACK--  Jimmy Gilmer & the Fireballs, $4--  Worth it just for the title song, but other goodies like "Linda Lu," "Let the Good Times Roll" and "Suzie Q."

AMERICAN TOUR--  The Dave Clark Five, $2 (beat up, but I have one old turntable with a beat up cartridge)--  Other than "Because" the rest of the songs are ones I'm not familiar with.

And there were two more REAL SPECIAL ones I'll write about tomorrow, WORDS OF EARNEST and MOVIN' TOWARD HAPPINESS.

Support Your Local Record Store.  --RoadDog

Monday, April 23, 2012

Record Store Day-- Part 1: Talking and Gawking

We decided not to go to Dekalb for the NIU spring football game.  We had some sun, but it was just too windy and cold.

Instead, I went to The Vinyl Frontier in McHenry on Riverside Drive (by the Fox River).  This is the last mom-pop record store in the Chicago's Northwest Suburbs that I know of other than Half Price Books in Palatine which essentially is a really big mom and pop record/book store (And, I really like this place also.).

Talked with owner Tim Wille who said business was brisk at the store thanks to the Record Store Day, as he referred to it as Holiday.  There were five to eight folks in there off and on during the hour I was talking and searching.

Tim also had cookies and doughnuts out and warned folks that if we didn't eat 'em, he would and we didn't want that.  We talked about Sean who used to work at Full Cyrkle Records in Crystal Lake, Il., before it closed and then was at Border's in McHenry for awhile.  Unfortunately, this master of musical knowledge died this past year.  Sure miss him.

A Place Where Even Those Passed By in This Technology-A-Go-Go Can Feel At Home.  --RoadDog


Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's National Record Store Day Today

A special day for me as these are my favorite places to buy my music anymore.  They are throw-backs to the old days, and you know how I feel about old stuff.

I sure miss three of my favorite places which have closed in the last five years:  Record Revolution in Dekalb, Illinois; The Record Rack in Goldsboro, NC; and Full Cyrkle in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  I used to spend plenty of dough at these places, especially the Record Rack which was my source for Beach Music which you just can't get up here in the North.  I used to say it cost me a hundred bucks just to walk into that place.  Plus, I had long talks with Mean Gene Reich and owner Stan Hartley.  I sure miss the place.

These places all featured staff who really knew their music and there would always be other music nuts in the store so there would be plenty of record talk and recommendations.  I tell you, music nerd nirvana.

If we don't drive out to Dekalb today, I'll go over to McHenry, Illinois, and spend some time and money at The Vinyl Frontier. 

At Least I Still Have One Place Left in the Area.  --RoadDog

Getting Ready for Boating Season-- Part 2

Here it is, two weeks after we got the boat out of storage in Hebron, and yet, it still sits in the driveway, the victim of low water in the Chain and some pretty cool temperatures.  We got spoiled with that warm March and it was followed up by a pretty cool April so far.  We even had a slight frost this morning.

We could use a new mooring cover on the boat, or at least some repairs to the old one which is now ten years old and a bunch of snaps are broken.  Plus, last fall, we had problems pulling it tight enough to do the back snaps.

And, of we don't get it off the driveway, our local "neighborhood watch" will report us as they did once in the past.  You know how horrible those boats parked out in driveways look.  It just brings your subdivision down.

We bought our latest boat (this is the third one since we started boating in 1985) from Bayliner in 2003, so this will be our tenth season in it.

A Boating We Hope to Go.  --RoadDog

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sad Year Here in Fox Lake for Old Gas Stations

This past week saw the destruction of an old gas station in Fox Lake, Illinois, that dates back to the 1930s.  It was located north of the town on US-12.  Most of the structure was nondescript, except for the tower which had an old light fixture that probably flashed.

From what I've heard, the original owner went to the Chicago World's Fair in the 1930s and was so impressed with the new art deco architecture that he had his new gas station built in that style.

The current owners had not been maintaining it and about a month ago we had noticed that the roof had collapsed.

About a year ago, another old station was torn down just a short distance from this one.  I found a picture of it, but not the one that was just torn down.  But I did find one that sort of resembles it.

Way Too Bad It It Was Done.  --RoadDog

Some More Things to See in KC (and Area)-- Part 2

BATTLE OF LEXINGTON & OLIVER HOUSE--  Lexington, Mo.--  Civil War

BEN FERRELL 1882 MINI MANSION MUSEUM--  Platte City, Mo.

BLACK ARCHIVES OF ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI

BLACK JACK BATTLEFIELD--  Wellsville, Ks  (Worth checking out just due to the name.)

GLORE PSYCHIATRIC MUSEUM--  St. Joseph, Mo.  (Well, it was like this, Doc.)

KANSAS CITY AREA HISTORIC TRAILS ASSOCIATION-- Merriam, Ks.

NATIONAL MILITARY HERITAGE MUSEUM--  St. Joseph, Mo.

NEW SANTA FE HISTORICAL SOCIETY & CEMETERY--  Kansas City  (What happened to the old one?)

UNITED FEDERATION OF DOLL CLUBS MUSEUM--  Kansas City

More in KC Than Most Think.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New War of 1812 Blog

I finally broke down and started a War of 1812 blog Monday, bringing my blogs to seven. I was hoping not to as I TEND to spend too much time on these efforts. But, I enjoy doing the research.

Of course, we are in the bicentennial of the war right now for the next three years. The fact that most Americans know very little about it, other than perhaps the burning of Washington, DC, the Old Ironsides, Battle of New Orleans and, of course, the Star-Spangled Banner.

It is often called America's Forgotten War. I have to admit that I don't know a lot about it myself, but have learned a lot just in the last months.

For example, I was under the idea that Canadians backed us as a way to get out of British domination. Actually, they didn't and even regard the War of 1812 as their war of independence from the United States. They firmly believed that the U.S. was out to make them part of our country. From what I am gathering, this was the intention of our country.

You can now get to the blog at My Blogs on this page or,
http://warof1812bicentennialblog.blogspot.com/ It is called "Not So Forgotten: The War of 1812."

Why Did I Start Yet Another Blog? --RoadDog

Monday, April 16, 2012

Four Days, Six Bars, Three Bands: Good Times in the Area

THURSDAY APRIL 12TH

Went to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wi., for Italian beef and NTN. Three Top Twenty rankings in US and Canada.


FRIDAY, APRIL 13TH

Saw Terry Spizzirri perform at AJ's Horsin' Around in Round Lake Park, Illinois. Then to Stormy Monday on Fox Lake with the Usual Suspects. Last stop at the Fox Lake Legion.


SATURDAY, APRIL 14TH

Great Chicago-style R&B and Blues by Johnny Bee and the Stingers at Route 12 Bar and Grill in Fox Lake during the afternoon.


SUNDAY, APRIL 15TH

Back to Route 12 Bar, this time for acoustic duo J.J. Dynamite in the afternoon.

And the boating season hasn't evev started yet!!

Hey, What You Gonna Do on Weekend Afternoons? --RoadDog

Route 66 Legend Ernie Edwards Dies at 94-- Part 2

Said Nancy Saul: "Ernie Edwards was a man who knew how to bloom where he was planted. Not everyone would have considered Broadwell (pop. under 100), Illinois, an exciting career, but Ernie made the most of it. He was a purveyor not only of food, but in a style of P.T. Barnum, also the high jester of roadside humor and tall tales."

I'd say she pretty-well summed up Ernie right there. That famous "Pighip Sandwich," which, alas, I never had the opportunity to eat. We didn't get into Route 66 until 2002, long after Ernie and Fran had closed the restaurant. We came close once on a Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour, but got to his place too late. The earlier folks got one apiece, though.

According to Edwards, what made it so good was that it was "made only from the left ham of the pig" which "was always the most tender because pigs scratch themselves with their right hind legs."

That famous sandwich got its name when a local farmer came in and asked "for a piece of that pig hip." Ernie liked the name and that became the name of his restaurant.

Friend Lulu says she always had a fool-proof way of knowing when Ernie was getting ready to launch into a tall tale. Ask her what it was.

Efforts are underway to fix his restaurant sign which is now down. Artifacts from the Pig Hip restaurant will eventually be on display after The Mill restaurant in Lincoln is opened.

Gone, But Never to Be Forgotten. --RoadDog

The 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic

Even though this blog is for my travels, this tragic incident has always been of great interest to me and it is only right that I mention it here. Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the "unsinkable."

I watched the ABC miniseries and recorded the History Channel's special last night. The Chicago Tribune yesterday also had a two page spread on the event.

I am covering the Titanic extensively in my Cooter's History Thing Blog.

There are several places in the US where you can see a Titanic exhibit as well as several places in Nova Scotia. Many of the artifacts are being auctioned off this month.

A Major Event. --RoadDog

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Route 66 Legend Ernie Edwards Dies At 94-- Part 1

From the April 12th Springfield (Il) State Journal Register by Dan Tackett.

Route 66 "lost one of its favorite sons."

"Edwards, who oversaw his small nondescript diner from under his tall white chef's hat, earned a reputation with travelers as a jokester and teller of tall tales. Few who new him would argue Ernie had the art of schmoozing with strangers mastered to a well-honed science."

On 1990, he was the first to be inducted into the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame. Born August 15, 1917, in southern Illinois,he came to Lincoln in 1934 and owned his own restaurant at age 24. He operated the Pig Hip Restaurant starting in 1937 until the 1990s.

After he closed the place, he opened the Pig Hip Restaurant Museum before it burned in 2007. He then "held court" in his house located by the restaurant site.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 12, 2012

We Lose the "Old Coot of 66": Ernie Edwards, 94

Tom Teague always referred to Ernie Edwards as "The Old Coot of 66." I don't know if Tom came up with it or if Ernie annointed himself with the name.

I knew this day was coming, but it sure doesn't make it any easier. One of the "True Souls" of Route 66 is gone.

Liz and I count ourselves fortunate to have met Ernie Edwards of the Pig Hip many times since we got onto 66 back in 2002, including one last time last year at the nursing home in Lincoln. Old Ernie was not happy to be there at all, but it was necessary at that time. However, he sparked up to his old self within a minute of seeing us.

It was always great hearing Ernie spin his stories and he sure had a lot of them. A short stop to see him always stretched to an hour or more and loved every bit of it.

I guess now I NEVER will have the opportunity to have one of those Pig Hip sandwiches.

One story I have of him was about five years ago when I happened to be driving by the Pig Hip and saw Ernie out there moving those big old split rail fence logs by himself. I made him stop and did the rest myself and I tell you, that like to get me. They were heavy.

We're definitely the better for knowing him.

But, That Was Just Ernie. We'll Miss You. Condolences to Fran and Family. --RoadDog

Even More KC-Stuff to See-- Part 2

These first two of special interest to us Roadies.

NATIONAL FRED HARVEY MUSEUM-- Leavenworth, Ks-- Fred Harvey created the world's first chain of restaurants and hotels (called Harvey Houses) in association with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. After restoration, the museum will preserve the Harvey family residence. (firstcitymuseums.org)

NATIONAL FRONTIER TRAILS MUSEUM-- Independence, Mo.-- Experience the history of trails and personal trials of the Oregon and Santa Fe trails.

NATIONAL WORLD WAR I MUSEUM AT LIBERTY MEMORIAL-- This is the main U.S. memorial to the War to End All Wars even though there is a movement to make one on the National mall in DC.

NEGRO LEAGUE BASEBALL MUSEUM-- Kansas City-- Recreates the looks, feel and sounds of the old Negro leagues from their origin after the Civil War to demise in the 1960s.

UNION STATION KANSAS CITY-- Restored 1914 train station

1950s ALL-ELECTRIC HOUSE-- Shawnee, Ks.--

More to Come. --RoadDog

Some More Things to See in the KC Area-- Part 1

From Visit KC 2011 Visitors Guide.

HARRY S. TRUMAN HISTORIC SITE-- Independence, Mo.-- his home

LEILA'S HAIR MUSEUM-- Independence, Mo.-- 400 wreaths and over 2,000 pieces of jewelry made of human hair dating before1900.

LINDA HALL LIBRARY-- KC-- Largest independently-funded public library of science, engineering and technology.

MISSOURI TOWN 1855-- Lee's Summit, Mo.-- See what it was like back then.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL CENTER & HALL OF FAME-- Bonner Springs, Kansas-- 165-acre complex.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES AT KANSAS CITY-- 50,000 cubic feet of historic records.

RoadDog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some Might Wacky Museums-- Part 2

THE PLUMBING MUSEUM-- Watertown, Mass. "Where Toilets Get the Respect They Are Due."

THE PAUL A. JOHNSON PENCIL SHARPENER MUSEUM-- Hocking Hills, Ohio-- 3,000 and no duplicates.

KANSAS BARBED WIRE MUSEUM-- La Crosse, Kansas-- 2140 different types. Stuck Again.

THE JELL-O GALLERY-- Le Roy, NY-- town where it was invented in 1897

THE TRASH MUSEUM-- Hartford, Ct.-- Hey, 27,000 visitors can't all be wrong.

OK, On My List to See. --RoadDog

Some Mighty Wacky Museums-- Part 1

From the April 5th Yahoo! travel "America's Wackiest Museums" by Melissa Harmon.

Some places to check out if you manage to save up enough money to buy gas. I'm just listing them. The article has pictures and much more information. I'd never heard of any of them, but wouldn'tmind seeing all of them.

1. SPAM MUSEUM-- Austin, Minnesota-- (OK, I have heard of this one)--I can't help but think of that old Monty Python bit and those Vikings.

2. GIANT SHOE MUSEUM-- Seattle, Washington-- Really, really big shoes. The kind Zits' Jeremy might wear.

3. MATCHSTICK MARVELS TOURIST CENTER-- Gladbrook, Iowa-- 8-foot-long replica of Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral and 16 other creations.

4. INTERNATIONAL TOWING MUSEUM AND RECOVERY HALL-- Chattanooga, Tennessee-- The birthplace of the towing industry.

5. THE VENT HAVEN VENTRILOQUIST MUSEUM-- Not as easy to spell as you might think. Five miles south of Cincinnati (Denny) in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. 700 dummies, no waiting.

Five More Up. --RoadDog

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Getting Ready for Boating Season-- Part 1

Yesterday, friend Paul and I drove out to Hebron, Illinois, to pick up our boats to get ready for the 2012 boating season on Illinois' famous Chain of Lakes. We have had a boat out on the Chain since 1985 and are on out third boat. We've had the 19-foot Bayliner for ten years now, having bought it in 2003.

Many of our friends also keep their boats out at the Hebron farm. It's hard to beat $30 a month for indoor storage. Thanks to buddy Dave for letting me know about the place.

The past several years we haven't gotten the boat out until June and last year not until July. That always makes it a bit rough to get out on the boat at least 40 times which we figure is the number of times we must go out to make it worth owning a boat.

So, Now the Boat Sits in the Driveway. --RoadDog

Back to Hebron, Illinois

Yesterday, buddy Paul and I drove out to pick up our boats at the farm west of town and really close to the Wisconsin border. We left early with plans of eating at Kaitie's on the corner of Il-173 and Il-47.

Unfortunately, it was out of business judging from the white paper on the windows. Too bad as they have great food and I was salivating for an omelet. Plus, we did not get to see all of those pictures along the walls of the 1952 Illinois state high school champions, a real "Hoosier" story where a small school with just 92 students won it all.

Their town water tower is painted to look like a giant basketball. Plus, many light poles downtown have a basketball backboard with state champions on it and a local business. They're mighty proud of that team and rightfully so.

After driving all over town, we found that the only place to eat breakfast was Subway. Not bad, but no Kaitie's.

We had some time to kill so drove out to the Linn-Hebron Cemetery which was just a block from where we keep the boats, looking for the grave of Medal of Honor winner Elmer Bigelow who I wrote about in my World War II blog "tattooed on Your Soul." We were unable to find his grave, but I will come back and look again some time.

Quite the Little Town. --RoadDog

Friday, April 6, 2012

Museums and Historic Sites in the KC Area

From the Visit KC 2011 magazine.

These are just some of the places listed; the ones of particular interest to me.

BUFFALO SOLDIER MONUMENT-- Fort Leavenworth, Ks. Dedicated to the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments mad up of black soldiers.

FORT LEAVENWORTH-- Fort Leavenworth, Ks.-- Established in 1827, oldest US fort west of Mississippi River. Along with the Buffalo Soldier Monument, also has sections of the Berlin Wall, Oregon and Santa Fe trail ruts.

FRONTIER ARMY MUSEUM-- Fort Leavenworth, Ks.-- Focuses on Fort Leavenworth's history. Also has a huge collection of horse-drawn military carriages. Includes a 1790 prairie schooner and a 1917 JN4D "Jenny" biplane.

HARRY S. TRUMAN FARMHOUSE-- Grandview, Mo.-- Built in 1849 by Truman's grandmother. Truman lived here from 1906 to 1917 when he left for World War I.

HARRY S. TRUMAN LIBRARY AND MUSEUM-- Independence. Mo.-- Hailed as America's best presidential museum with interactive exhibits on his life and presidency as well as his grave.

Plenty More to Come. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What's Your KC IQ?

From the Visit KC 2011.

Answer these questions (answers below)

1. Which of the following companies is NOT based in the KC area?

a. JC Penney
b. Hallmark Cards
c. AMC Entertainment
d. Applebee's International

2. KC's Country Club Plaza opened in 1922 as the nation's first outdoor shopping district. Which international city was it modeled to resemble?

a. Rome
b. Munich
c. Seville, Sp.
d. Warsaw

3. What Hall of Famer played for the Kansas City Monarchs before signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers?

a. Hank Aaron
b. Willie Mays
c. Jackie Robinson
d. Ernie Banks

4. The New Yorker's Calvin Trillin once called this KC barbecue establishment the "single best restaurant in the world." Which one was he referring to?

5. Kansas City is the home to 130 dazzling fountains. True or False.




Answers

1. a

2. c

3. c

4. Arthur Bryant's

5. False. There are over 200 fountains.

I Missed #2. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Outrageous American Roadside Attractions

From Feb. 2nd Yahoo! Travel.

1. WALL DRUG-- Wall, SD-- Billboards, billboards, billboards.
2. SOUTH OF THE BORDER-- Dillon, SC-- Just south of the NC-SC border off I-95. Again, billboards, billboards, billboards. (Been to this one.)
3. ROADSIDE AMERICA MINIATURE VILLAGE-- Shartlesville, Pa.

4. THE THING-- Dragoon, Az.
5. SPACE FARMS ZOO AND MUSEUM-- Sussex, NJ.
6. IOWA 80-- Walcott, Iowa-- World's Largest Truckstop. Off I-80 in eastern part of state.
7. LONGHORN BAR AND GRILL-- Amado, Az.--

8. UNCLAIMED BAGGAGE CENTER-- Scottsboro, Alabama. Buy or just look.
9. WIGWAM VILLAGE-- Cave City, Ky.-- Also Arizona and California on Route 66.
10. POPS-- Arcadia, Ok.-- New place on Route 66. You can get pretty much any pop bottled in US.

I Just Love a Good Tourist Trap. --RoadDog

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

KC A-to-Z-- Part 3

Q is for QUIRKY MUSEUMS--

THE ARABIA STEAMBOAT MUSEUM-- pre-Civil War life as viewed from artifacts from the ship that sank on 1865. GLORE PSYCHIATRIC MUSEUM-- history of treatment of mental illness. LEILA'S HAIR MUSEUM-- over 2,000 pieces of jewelry made of human hair dating before 1900.


R is for ROME--

Known as the City of Fountains, more than any other city in the world except, maybe Rome. Exact number not known, but estimated at more than 200.

T is for TRUMAN--

Nearby Independence was hometown of President Harry S. Truman and low has his Presidential Library and Museum. he and his wife Bess and daughter Margaret are buried in the courtyard.

U is for UNDERRATED--

KC recently ranked as one of America's 10 Most Underrated Cities by Yahoo! Travel.

V IS FOR VITALE, BABY!

KC is a college basketball mecca and has hosted more NCAA tournament basketball games (150 and counting) than any other. Municipal Auditorium has hosted more Final Fours than any other. The NATIONAL COLLEGIATE HALL OF FAME is in town, featuring Dick Vitale, Larry Bird and other collegiate heroes.

What Dis Wilbert Harrison Say? --RoadDog

While on the Subject of Big Sporting Events

Well, I will be getting to see one in a couple months, some friends are taking me to the Indy 500. I am not a big race car fan, but this should be a real good time and a new experience.

Here are some Super Bowl Facts from the January 29th Parade Magazine.

** All that guacamole dip put out for the game, if collected on the field, would stretch from end zone to end zone, 12 feet high.

** 110 million gallons of beer sold.

** 1.25 billion chicken wing portions prepared.

** 11.2 million pounds of potato chips

** 4.5 million Americans buying a new TV, mostly big-screen, for the big day.

** 10.1 billion Super Bowl Spending on items from food to furniture, in 2011

** ???? gambled.

A Lot of Poor Lil' Chickens Gave Their All for the Game. --RoadDog

Monday, April 2, 2012

Getting Our National Championship Feed Bag On-- Part 2

6. CAMP WASHINGTON'S 5-WAY-CHILI-- Cincinnati folk rightfully take pride in their chili and you can get it five ways, depending if you want beans, cheese or onions. Camp Washington's chili has been branded "America's Classic.' And a big thanks to friend Denny for taking me there.


7. PICO'S NACHOS-- The story goes that in 1943, a group of US Army housewives went to a restaurant in Piedras Negras, Mexico for a meal. Out of most food, the chef heated tortillas, broke them up, melted cheese on top and added sliced jalapenos.

These are from Pico's Mex-Mex Restaurant in Houston where they crown it with cochinita pipil, or achiote-marinated pork baked in banana leaves.


8. TOMATO JAM'S PIMENTO CHEESE-- It can be spread over lots of things and is quite a southern dish. Tomato Jam is in Asheville, NC and they use fire-roasted peppers and green olives in theirs.


9. POTATO SKINS FROM SPUDLY SUPER SPUDS-- Our love of potato skins began at the T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in the 1970s. Most anything can be put in them. This Louisiana-based eatery has a range from cheddar and bacon to sauteed mushrooms, shrimp and Swiss cheese.


10. HARRY CARAY'S MEATBALLS-- Pork and beef orbs in Chicago.

I'm "Hongry" Now. --RoadDog

Getting Our National Championship Feed Bag On-- Part 1

From the Jan. 28th Parade Magazine "Chow Down" by Jane and Michael Stern.

Well, it was originally supposed to be for the Super Bowl, but missed that cutoff, so now it's for tonight's NCAA National Championship game between Kentucky and Kansas.

These are some mighty good sports watchin' meals.

1. ANCHOR BAR'S BUFFALO WINGS-- Buffalo, NY-- Where they were invented in 1964. Say thanks BW3, er, Buffalo Wild Wings.

2. TUCSON'S JALAPENO POPPERS-- bacon-wrapped.

3. AMIGHETTI'S SUBMARINE SANDWICH-- St. Louis. It's the sauce, baby, the sauce.

4. THE BLUE WILLOW INN'S DEVILED EGGS-- Social Circle, Georgia. Any deviled-egg is tops in my book. They always disappear the fastest at parties.

5. THE FORT'S GUACAMOLE-- No one knows the dip's exact origins, but the late Sam Arnold of the Fort Restaurant in Denver supposes a cook accidentally dropped a guacamole in salsa and declared it good.

Five More Goodies to Come. --RoadDog

So...What Actually Is Chicken Spiedini?

I'd never heard of it. Sounded like something good to eat, though...and something regional, something else I'm fond of.

Kansas City claims to be where the dish was invented. A quick look didn't have anything about the dish's origins, but there are a lot of places in the Kansas City area that serves it, including one that we have here in northeast Illinois (and, pretty-much everywhere), Olive Garden.

Looks like a trip to the local O.G. is in the near future.

Other places in KC: Garozzo's (4 locations), Cupini's, V's Italian Ristorante, Salvatores, Riccos and Perzelli's. Beginning to sound a bit on the Italian side to me.

One source says you can buy it at a mom-and-pop Italian ristorante or Olive Garden.

It consists of lean meat skewered over an open flame, breaded kabobs served in a puddle of olive oil often on something else.

There are many recipes.

There is also a dish in New York state called spiedie that looks similar.

I Got the Taste for It. --RoadDog

K.C. A-to-Z-- Part 2

I is for INVENTIONS--

McDonald's Happy Meals, Wishbone salad dressing, jazz jam sessions, Chicken Spiedini (?), modern-day bumper sticker, Rival crock pots, multi-screen theater concept and M&M's candy coating.

J is for JESSE JAMES--

He grew up in nearby Kearney, Mo., where they hold a festival each year in his honor. You can also visit the Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, site of an 11866 James gang bank robbery.

K is for KANSAS CITY ZOO--

In Swope Park. More than 1,000 animals.

M is for MICKEY MOUSE--

The man behind the Mouse called KC home, attending the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 1920s and opened his first animation studio in KC, Laugh-O-Gram Studios. Legend has it that Walt befriended and fed a small mouse in the building, later saying it was the inspiration for Mickey Mouse.

P is for "PARIS OF THE PLAINS"--

Jazz flourished in KC in the 1920s and 1930s when political boss Tom Pendergast went against Prohibition and allowed alcohol to flow in KC. Kansas City's 12th Street became nationally known for jazz clubs, gambling parlors and brothels, earning the street the name "Paris of the Plains." At its height, home to more than 50 jazz clubs and over 100 nightclubs, dance halls and vaudeville houses.

Obviously More to Come. What Is Chicken Spiedini? --RoadDog