Monday, August 30, 2010

Dirty Tumbleweeds and Flying Adventures

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A metropolitan area of nearly 3 million people, highly industrialized, lots of freight moving in and out and not a single truck stop within 50 miles. Grrrr..

We delivered into Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon and didn't get the next load until Monday morning so we were basically stuck. Hours of service, fuel cost and just plain inconvenience forces us to stay in Pittsburgh. We were lucky enough to find a fairly legal place to park but it means no shower at night and no coffee in the morning. These are two of my favorite things so this does not a happy tumbleweed make. (use your best Yoda voice for that part)

Unusual sign of the week: Christ's Home Office. And the best part of this is that it's in Paradise, PA. Well of course! What a perfect place for Christ to have his home office. Naturally, there was not a truck stop there  but I don't hold that against them, they had more important things to do, obviously.

***Breaking news****** (insert Muppet NewsFlash Breaking News music here)

Observant readers may have noticed that I have not posted any "action photos" lately, that's because I left the camera cord at home. All of our pictures are stuck on the camera with no way of downloading them to the computer. This is a shame because as we speak we are heading down to Lansing, West Virginia where we will have the chance to do a zip line through the trees.  I'm so excited! We have passed by the New River Gorge Canopy Tour signs in southern WV before, (, but never had time to stop. Himself called earlier to see if they could accommodate a big truck in their parking lot and the very helpful gal on the phone said, why not? They'll figure something out, they have a place for buses that we could use even if they have to shuttle us from there. I just love it when people are helpful! She said they had an even faster and higher zip line tour that's only been open for a couple of weeks. I hope we aren't the guinea pigs!

Keep your fingers crossed. In 2 hours we will be zipping 200 feet over old growth hemlock and hardwoods. I can't wait! Stay tuned to find out if Tumbleweeds really can fly...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Things and Stuff

We are still on I-80 and since we have not passed any Freddy Krueger hands today or had anything terribly exciting happen, I thought I would share some random thoughts.
Dane Cook
Ryan Reynolds

There will be no useless facts today!

Random thought #1
I am pretty sure cloning has been perfected, at least in Hollywood.  It seems like actors are coming in pairs now.  For example Dane Cook and Ryan Reynolds or Christian Bale and Eric Bana, is this two people or four?

Cristian Bale

Eric Bana

Random thought #2

Why do men get athlete's feet? Himself and I take showers in identical cootie filled places, we wear similar hiking style shoes and he gets it and I don't. Is there something different about girl feet?

Random thought #3

I saw a woman in a truck stop today and here is the visual I want you to get: Granny Clampet in Daisy Dukes.

Random thought #4

Overheard at a dinner buffet in a truck stop by a burly truck driver, "Ooh good, they got snausages!" Isn't that a dog treat??

Speaking of good food, in Alabama we saw jars and jars for sale of pickled pig lips. Whole lips, hair included. Really, one jar 2 lips, $3.99.

Oh, the trucking life is exciting!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Nightmare in Iowa

Today we are on the ever exciting I-80 through Nebraska and  Iowa and by exciting I mean really, really boring. Although to be fair, there is a new sculpture on an overpass in Council Bluffs that is fairly exciting, in a super sized, scary and sharp sort of way.

It's called "Odyssey" and was created by Albert Paley and sponsored by the Iowa West Foundation. There are four separate 60 foot high sculptures that Paley says "... are seen as the gateway of Iowa. The whole thing is about an act of passage, of creating a sense of place and an identity. When you're driving, especially on the interstate, it becomes fairly monotonous, but the magnitude of these sculptures really defines Council Bluffs' image."

Uh. Yes, if that image is one of a horror movie icon.

The Iowa West Foundation has launched a public art initiative and have put in place several works of art throughout Council Bluffs and I applaud their efforts. I like art as much as the next person, but this thing is hideously ugly. Local man, Chris Ragle, told reporters that the sculpture "looks like Freddy Krueger hands trying to grab you."

This is not an exaggeration, it is a scary looking thing to come across on the highway. I have a friend, let's call her Mona, who has phobias of things like trees, the sky, hedgehogs and she would absolutely freak out if she were driving under this hulking mass of sharp pointy-ness.

Here are some facts about Odyssey:

~The structure cost $3 million
~Approximately 85,000 cars and trucks will pass it everyday.
~It took 13 flatbed trucks to bring it in from where they were fabricated in upstate New York
~Paley and a team of 16 studio assistants assembled the four structures
~Each piece has between 46,000 and 70,000 pounds of bronze and steel
~A 120 ton crane was used to lift the pieces into place

Here are some facts about Freddy Krueger:

~The famous Freddy Krueger "glove" was originally made of upside down steak knives
Nightmare Glove
~A Nightmare on Elm Street came out in 1984
~The film cost $1.8 million to make
~The colors of Freddy's grungy red and green striped sweater were chosen because of an article in Scientific American that said they were the two most contrasting colors to the                  
human retina
~I personally know of a 5lb Yorkie named Maya who has a Freddy Krueger sweater but she wears it with such panache that it's not at all scary

Who knows what the next 500 miles of I-80 will bring? I'm hoping for something a little less sharp!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the Road Again

Ahh...on the road again. We have been off the road for a week, as you may have noticed there were no posts. I do apologize to my loyal followers (my mother and that crazy guy I used to work with!) this is supposed to be a trucking blog and we weren't doing any trucking so you can see I was in a sticky pickle!

Now we are heading east again, sadly, since we miss being out west. We are picking up Great Northern and Pinto beans in western Nebraska. I did not realize that they grew out here but apparently they are quite abundant. We have passed three bean plants right at the border between Wyoming and Nebraska. Known as dry beans, pinto beans are the most popular dry bean in the United States followed by navy beans, Great Northern beans, red kidney beans and black beans. This is according to the US Dry Bean Council, and they should know.  Nebraska is the 3rd top producer of dry beans, following North Dakota and Michigan. Beans have been grown for about six thousand years in the  Americas and did you know that beans are not in fact a magical fruit but they are good for your heart, bean consumption can lower your risk for heart disease. Now you know more than you ever wanted to about dry beans. It's not a good year to be a farmer of dry beans though, they are getting half of what they got last year for them in this area.

It was nice to be home but it's nice to be back in the truck again too, since we work 10 times harder at home than we do on the road. Himself has a never ending supply of energy and work projects so I have to do my best to keep up. One of the nicest things about being home is having my own bathroom, what a luxury to have it all to myself. And the only cooties are our own, not some sweaty, unwashed truck driver! Seeing friends, eating home cooked meals, lazing around in the morning over multiple cups of coffee... these are also a few of my favorite things.

Speaking of coffee we will be going through Lexington NE, one of my favorite places on I-80 because they have a $5 coffee shack with truck parking. Yum!. These little coffee houses are so popular out west, our little home town has 2 drive up ones and one in the hospital and one in the bookstore, but you hardly see them east of Nebraska. Of course there are Starbucks everywhere but that's just not the same (don't get me started).  I like the local ones that are just drive-ups the best and a lot of time they have homemade goodies. So now I really have something to look forward to and even Himself likes a $5 coffee (extra sweet & milky) and a scone now and then. I can't wait, although at the rate we are getting loaded it may be late afternoon before we get there. The bean counters are still loading us...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homeward Bound

by Patricia Midge Farmer

If I had not come to these high plains,
my heart would have missed
the beat of this love of place,
my guts would have yearned for
some unknown fulfillment,
my mind would have shrunk
to a small civilized size,
and my soul would have tentacles,
searching, always reaching out
for what I found here. 

But I am now like the tenacious sage
wide roots forced into
this seldom yielding ground
to make a place for me
to hold on tight
to nurture and be nourished
and, oh this land does feed me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's go out to the Movies...

Well it’s official. I have a girl crush on Angelina Jolie. Actually, I have always liked her as an actress, except for that horrible Mr. & Mrs. Smith that took itself too seriously and it was way overblown. Yesterday we finally got to a movie theater (see the New Orleans post for the last time we tried) and we saw Salt and it was good. The kind of movie that satisfies when you're in the mood for car chases, explosions and fight scenes.

You've come a long way baby!
Salt is an action movie and for me hits all the right notes that an action movie should have; fast-paced, violent, lots of action and a story that’s not so complicated you have to stop and try to figure it out. The action star is a woman and that just hasn't been done before. Angelina Jolie is tough and believable (in that unbelievable action star way) and I really liked her in this movie. Very few women could pull it off, she has the perfect combination of kick-ass-ness and fearlessness that just comes off her in waves. I’m gushing, I know but I just came out of the movie theater really excited. I don’t call myself a feminist and shy away from labels in general, they are too confining, but I admit to being sucked into the vortex of woman power and I watched the movie in glee as she did all sorts of impossible James Bond things. I loved it, it’s about time and she was the perfect woman to do it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spam and the jolly Green Giant

Weird signs of the day in Minnesota:  "Toward Zero Deaths, Safety Corridor" followed by "Concentrate on Driving" How does one go toward zero deaths? I don't think it is a mathematical possibility to go toward zero anything and we are so busy concentrating on this philosophical quandary that we cannot concentrate on driving. The signs cancel each other out.

Speaking of Minnesota, we went through the city of Minnetonka today, which made me wonder if that's where Tonka Toys come from, so I looked it up on the Google and no they do not.  Tonka Toys started out as Mound Metal Craft in Mound Minnesota, right next door to Minnetonka and Lake Minnetonka which is where they got the name.  The company started out with the intent to make steel garden implements but got sidetracked. 

This is all from Wikipedia, with whom I have a love/hate relationship. I love them because they are laid out in such a way that is very readable and informative and I hate them because they are so easy to use that it makes me too lazy sometimes to verify and it can be changed at any time by any body.  I firmly believe in the Trust but Verify model of internet searching but sometimes it's a pain to verify. I am a skeptic by nature and with all this information available at my fingertips, I don't want to fall into the trap of believing the first thing I read on the Internet. There is a website for every thing under and on the sun, all with varying levels of factness.

Back to Minnesota. Once again we will be close to the Spam Museum with no time to stop there, what a shame.  Located in Austin, MN the museum features 16,500 square feet of SPAM® artifacts, history and fun—and all for free! Yes, that’s right— it’s free admission to check out vintage advertising, answer SPAM® trivia, try your hand at canning SPAM® products, stock up on collectible SPAM® memorabilia, and learn about all the SPAM® products, even the hard-to-find varieties. I stole this right off the Spam website so it has to be true.

Did you know that sodium nitrite is what makes Spam pink? They say that if it wasn't used in pork products like Spam, bacon, ham, etc. the meat would be gray. I don't know about you, but I like my gelatinous cube of meat pink, thank you very much! 

They are crazy for Spam in Hawaii and even have a Spam festival there and Burger King and McDonald's both offer it on their menus. Lots of places make Spam sushi. There are even theories about why it's so popular in the south pacific having to do with cannibalism and it tasting like flesh but it's not true. Much.

One thing we have done in Minnesota was to take our picture next to the Jolly Green Giant and his buddy Sprout in Blue Earth, MN.  We had dinner there once, right next door to the JGG himself. 

According the Blue Earth chamber of commerce the city got its name from the Blue Earth River that circles the town.  The river was named for a blue clay that is found high in it’s banks.  The Native Americans of this area, which were the Mdewakanton Tribe of the Dakota Nation, called the blue clay “mah-ko-tah” or “mah-kah-to."

I wonder what the Native American word is for Spam?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What is this tree?

Today we are travelling across northern Ohio. Lots of corn, soybeans, some grapes and apples, I think. There is a small farm that we have passed a couple of times and they have the oddest looking trees. These trees are not very big, maybe 15 feet tall, definitely fruit-y looking but we go past them too fast to really focus on what kind of fruit it is. They look like the kind of trees that would live in one of those scary forests in a children's story. The branches come up and then droop down heavily, like they are just too tired to hold themselves up and they look vaguely sinister.

I decided to look up these trees online so I would have some enlightening bit of trivia to tell, but apparently it's a state secret. I have looked and looked on the Google (remember when George Bush called it the Google? I'm stealing that!) under various search terms and have found out lots of things but not what this weird tree is. Ohio's state tree is the Buckeye which is a slightly poisonous nut that should not be eaten. Slightly poisonous? What does that even mean? Isn't that like slightly pregnant? But Buckeyes are way bigger than this. According the Ohio State University website fruit trees in Ohio include apples,  pears, peaches,  nectarines, apricot, plums and cherries. A quick look at those trees on the Google and still no luck with the creepy trees.

I wish that farmers would put a sign on their crops. It would be so interesting to know what that stuff growing on the side of the road is and maybe that would make regular people like us more interested in food and where it comes from. There is a section on I-90 in eastern Washington that does this and we love going by there and seeing the variety. This is the only place in the country that we have seen these signs and there is a lot of country out there believe me and a lot more than boring corn. If you know what this tree is, please tell me and I'll tell the Google!

If you want to know more about food crops and how the variety of what is grown is dwindling, check out Barbara  Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle...A Year of Food Life".

Monday, August 9, 2010

Traffic Signs and Agnes Moorehead

I have noticed in the Boston area lots of signs everywhere that are relatively pointless, like the “Snow Plows Be Careful” sign that is posted every ½ mile. Don’t they know that they should be careful? After all I’m sure that’s a government job and being careful is in the handbook somewhere.

We saw a sign warning “Caution Snow Glare in A.M.” that I’m sure you can’t see in the morning because of said glare. My favorite was “Thickly Settled 30 MPH”. I’m not even sure what that means.  Amid these gems were all sorts of “Slow Down”,  “Caution” and other unspecified warnings of impending doom.

When we needed a sign, like “Slow Down, Even though the Speed Limit is 112,  in Ten Feet there is a 90 Degree Curve!” or “This is the Last Place to Turn in 400 Miles”, there are none to be found.

Another fun thing they like to do in the Northeast in general, is post a measurement on a bridge that is a foot lower than in reality. More than once we have been on a two lane road in the country, with no hope of turning around and come across a bridge that says 12'9" ( we are 13'6") and this on a designated truck route! The first time it happened we stopped on the shoulder, scratching our heads, but luckily another trucker came up beside us and said it was really 13'6". We let him go first just to make sure! These signs are even on I-95 in New York City and there is definitely no where to get around them there. One day I’m going to find out why they do this.

We picked up a load in Clinton, MA at Weetabix. They make breakfast cereals under the name Millville. Weetabix is a company in the UK and their cereal looks like Shredded Wheat in the shape of a McDonald’s hash-brown. Why am I telling you this?  Because you never know when this is going to come up on Jeopardy! or Trivial Pursuit. While I’m at it, Smuckers owns Folgers and Garanimals is in Louisiana.

The Wachusett Reservoir is in Clinton and it was a real pretty drive coming here from Boston. Here are some interesting facts from the Town of Clinton websiteAnd when you win big on Jeopardy!, remember me.

*The oldest baseball diamond in the world is Fuller Field in Clinton, which has been proven to have hosted baseball from 1878 to the present day.

*Clinton's Colonial Press was the first publishing company to get the Warren Commission Report out into the hands of the public.

*Mark Twain once lectured here in 1869. Twain spoke to Clintonians about his travels to the Sandwich Islands. He stayed at the Clinton House, a well-known hotel on the corner of High and Church Streets. Thanks to a dusty bed and a barking dog, Twain was very glad to leave.

*Agnes Moorehead, famous for her role as Endora on TV's "Bewitched", was born in Clinton.

*Screen windows did not exist until The Clinton Wire Cloth Company began manufacturing woven metal in 1856.

*The Clinton Light Guard was the forerunner to today's National Guard unit, organized with 50 local men in 1853.

*The last stone was set in place in the Wachusett Dam on June 24, 1905 by John Mercer, who also laid the first stone in place in June of 1901.

*The Wachusett Dam is actually 240 feet in height. However, we only see about half of it, as 125 of those feet lie below ground.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Rest of the Story....

Well if you read yesterday's post I won't keep you in suspense. If you didn't, I'll just wait while you catch up. Go ahead, I don't mind.... OK, now that we are all on the same page, you will be happy to know: We got a shower, dinner and no parking ticket. We didn't even see Boris and Natasha anywhere!

Today instead of complaining about Pennsylvania I am going to give them a compliment. They have chain of convenience stores called Wawa, they may be elsewhere in the northeast but there are at least 2 in PA that have truck parking and they have THE best coffee. One is just west of Allentown, they have about 20 parking spaces and the other is in Quakertown and they have 2 parking spaces. Oh, it's good coffee better than McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts, and those are 2 of my favorites for brewed coffee. It is smooth and rich. They have varying levels of darkness and a couple of flavored ones and they put out real milk, cream and flavored creams to doctor up how you like it. They also have a machine for iced coffee and those are good with a little of their flavored cream. We were there twice in one day last week and got all kinds of caffeinated!

The sky is not too bad either!
So now I don't feel so bad for beating up on Pennsylvania last night. Wawa has redeemed them, somewhat. By the way, I looked up the word Wawa it's .for the Ojibwa word for a Canada Goose in flight. You can go to and see the history. Or better yet, get up to Pennsylvania and have a good cup!

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Mysteries of Hours of Service

Today's blog post is a mystery. Will will get a shower? Will we find decent food or will we have to eat sandwiches again? Will we be able to park legally? All these questions and more on this installment of:  Hours of Service vs. Quality of Life.

well we would bring it but there's nowhere to park!
We have to deliver to a Home Depot in Wyomissing, PA at 10 tonight.  There are no truck stops within a 5000 mile radius and by the time we get unloaded we will be out of hours and not legally able to go anywhere. I won't go into all the technical bits of hours of service but the overview is that we have a 14 hour window to drive, load, unload, fuel etc. We have 11 hours to drive and that can be broken up in any way we want, but once you begin your day you have 14 hours and then you have to have a 10 hour break or you are in violation.

So we started the day at 8:30am and we have until 10:30pm to do what needs to be done. Planning is very important as it gets trickier because you can only work 70 hours in 8 days and this all adds up and restricts how many hours you have on a given day. There's a lot of math involved. This is all boring you to death, I'm sure, it's boring me but suffice it to say that these rules don't always work in our favor.

Like tonight.

By the time we get unloaded we will be out of hours to go anywhere and in this case there's no where to go even if we cheated. So it will be up to the kind people of the Wyomissing, PA Home Depot let us sleep on the lot or we'll have to find some other big parking lot to sneak into.

Once in California (cursed be that unfriendly trucker state) we got permission from the place of business to park but were in violation of a City Ordinance and got a ticket. The cop then directed us to where it was legal to park, which was on the side of a busy street, instead of tucked in and quiet on the private property of the place where we were delivering the next morning. As you can see it's a crap shoot.

Sooo. Will our brave heroes get a shower? Will they be thrown in jail? Will they be towed away while they sleep? Will Himself and Herself come to blows over having to eat sandwiches for dinner again? Will Boris and Natasha steal the secret plans from Moose und Sqvirel? Stay tuned kids to find out!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wet Sheets and Fireflies

We are zooming up I-81 in Pennsylvania, headed for Allentown. The sun has set and we can see fireflies on either side in the cornfields.

We begin to notice the fireflies at the beginning of June until about the middle of August. They are always a delight, an unexpected display of silent fireworks.

Last night in Tennessee I woke to wet sheets.

We were parked on a hill, the nose of the truck pointing down and I was tossing and turning and put my hand right in a cold, wet handful of sheet. It was not a nice way to wake up, but I guess it would have been more alarming if the wet sheets had been warm.

Himself and I have our own bunk, his is the lower and mine is the upper. Mine is way nicer, as it is fashioned after the “I Dream of Jeannie” genie bottle. It’s all vivid satin and velvet with lots of sparkle. "Diamonds" sparkle like fireflies on the walls and ceiling, gold, silver, pink, orange and turquoise fabric everywhere.

It is my sanctuary from the Highway.

In an effort to reduce our engine idle time, save fuel and  wear on the engine, Himself has installed his own version of the APU, (auxiliary power unit). These are very expensive generators that provide electricity, a/c and heat. There are several different brands on the market and they go for about $10,000.00 give or take and more than one brand of them sound like a sick and very loud lawnmower.

Being Manually Competent, Himself has concocted our own version of the APU.

We bought an RV gas generator,  cut a hole in the back wall of my bunk (an insult to the Jeannie Bottle but it had to be done) and installed a window a/c unit in the upper bunk. There are various gizmos, widgets and technicalities that I am not going to describe because frankly, I don’t know what they are, but it is a very tidy, well thought out and most importantly a functional system for a quarter of the price.

The only hitch in the whole works is that we have to be careful about parking on an incline. If there is too much downward angle on the a/c, the condensation builds and runs in right to the Jeannie Bottle. It’s a pretty fast drip. I tried to rig up towels and a plastic bag but to no avail. I woke Himself and he moved the truck around the parking lot and back to our space, this time in the opposite direction. It stopped immediately and we were soon asleep.

Another disaster averted.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Orleans, The Green Lantern and Festus

We have been on the road for 3 years and this is the first time we have been able to see New Orleans. We got in early Sunday afternoon and couldn't deliver until Monday morning,so it was perfect timing for a little sight seeing. OK, scratch perfect, winter would have been a lot better, since walking around city streets in 189 degree heat is not perfect.

We left the trailer at the Big Easy Truck stop, just before the heart of downtown. So the plan was to bobtail into town, catch a movie (for the a/c) and then go find the French Quarter and do a little walking around after the sun went down. The gal at the fuel desk gave us directions to a movie theater; naturally they were all jacked up and we wasted a lot of time driving around but we did manage to find a theater. The a/c in the truck is having problems and it's not up to task in the middle of the day in the south, so we were really looking forward to a cold movie theater. We get to the box office and buy ticket for the movie that starts next,  a/c beggars can't be choosers. We notice it's not that cool, but there is a big sky light in the lobby and it is 189 degrees outside, so no big deal. We buy our popcorn and Coke, the cost of which is the equivalent to the Minorcan national debt and have to go stand in a line with 800 hundred people for reasons unknown. Something to do with them cleaning between shows. So there we are standing, sweating and eating our popcorn. Time drags on, moss grows under our feet and the time for the movie has come and gone. Then the power goes out. For the second time that day, we find out, which is why it's so hot in there and the movies in front of ours are behind, explaining the delay. We wait it out, we walk around, still no electricity. We give up and then haggle with the manager over refunding our money, they are only giving vouchers to come back to that theater. We have only been in this are twice in 3 years, so they decide to give us vouchers for free popcorn and drinks at any AMC theater in the country. They can do vouchers for food, not tickets so we agree and go on our way.

Next stop the French Quarter. We are too full of Minorcan popcorn and Coke to eat dinner so we decide to walk around now, even though it isn't dark yet and it's still 189 degrees. How bad could it be? It would be silly to stay inside and hide, we're tough. This is what we told each other.

Driving around without the trailer (bobtailing) is definitely easier, but the truck is still about 22 feet long and  13'6 tall so still a little tricky in an urban area. Low overpasses, trolley wires, one way streets and tight corners with lots of parked cars, it can be really fun. We follow signs for the French Quarter, circle around the periphery trying to find parking not too far from it. Thank goodness it was Sunday, we would have had to park in Mississippi on a weekday. We park and beat feet toward the Quarter several blocks away. It's only slightly hotter on the sun. We passed an area with lots of funny trucks and equipment, and ask a cop that's standing next to a barricade what's going on and find out they are filming parts of "The Green Lantern" there. He was real friendly and I'm pretty sure he was an alien because he was not sweating. Not even a little bit. All that cop equipment and polyester uniform and he was not even shiny.  Himself and I looked like we went swimming fully clothed and just got out of the pool. We walk by the set looking at some kind of lighting/crane thing and I take a picture, then one of the workers yells "no pictures please, no pictures". Geez, I'm not stalking Festus for Pete's sake, I mumble, putting the camera away, as I contemplate getting the alien to vaporize him.

After about 30 minutes we finally reach a crowded, touristy bunch of streets and realize we made it. Wow, nice let's go back to the truck, I say. But no, we've come this far, we stroll through some shops, buy some postcards and try to avoid bodily contact with the crowd. We find a restaurant that looks cool (temperature wise) have an appetizer and 2 beers for $40 but would have easily paid double that just to sit down in the a/c. Feeling refreshed we walk out into the night to watch a very lively street brass band, they were loud and good, totally into it, people dancing all around. They were fun to watch and the contact high from the Jamaican National Bobsled team was nice but the heat began it's torment again, so we winded our way back to the truck.

We drove back to the truck stop looking forward to cold showers and a/c. What we got was a shower room with no a/c that smelled like vomit. There was no vomit to be found, the room was fairly clean but it reeked. The smell went up your nose and attached itself to your nose hairs. There was nothing to do but take the quickest shower possible and get the hell out of there. Adding insult to injury, the water in the south is warm even at the coolest setting.

A good time was had by all for the most part. Now I know why Mardi Gras is in February.

The Green Lantern movie set; no Festus to be found.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Big Easy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Competitive Basket Weaving...or Lemmings in Politics

Fenced In
OK, this is not trucking related but truckers do fall prey to it and it's my blog and I can talk about what I want, right?

This whole Shirley Sherrod business is so monumentally moronic and illustrates just how out of whack we, as a nation, have become. I won't bore you with all the details of the story that's been all over the news, but here's a summary: Moronic Right-winger posts a clip of Ms.Sherrod saying something inflammatory, there's a public outcry, Moronic Talking Heads spoon feed it to their audience, Moronic NAACP leader condemns her, Moronic Boss forces her to resign, Moronic White House condemns her. Oh wait, what? The farmer she wouldn't help says what?? There's more to it? Let me see the clip... Uh-Oh. Never mind.... A confederacy of dunces all around.

We have lived in a sound bite culture for a while now, but with such fast advances in technology, so much available at our fingertips, instead of growing and expanding our knowledge, we are getting more narrow minded and boxed in. I am not ranting against progress, I love the Internet, satellite radio, cable TV, mobile phones and all the information they have to offer. The problem is that because there's so much information out there, that there is also a specific website, channel or App for that so that you never have to read or hear an opinion that doesn't disagree with what you already believe. And if you only listen to people that agree with you and stand where you stand on various positions, you can't expand your mind and before you know it you're running off the cliff with all the other political lemmings. Right wing, Left wing it doesn't matter, if you fall into a Wing category you can fall victim to the same wing nuttiness.

There are definite differences philosophically between the left and right, but it has gotten to the point that you can't be a thoughtful person in the middle. If you say something positive about President Obama, you are a socialist, if you say something positive about President Bush you are a fascist. Life is rarely so black and white. Listening to opposing points of view may make you see an issue deeper, changing your position, it may even strengthen your position.

So where does Competitive Basket Weaving come in? Let's say your 40 and live in your parent's basement. You love Competitive Basket Weaving, you blog about it, go to chat rooms to discuss it, your iPhone gives you all the latest scores and stats, you watch the CBWc (Competitive Basket Weaving channel) 20 hours a day but you can not figure out why you're not a bigger hit with women. Your mother says you're smart and handsome, it's not your fault that women are so picky....See what I mean? So go ahead, flip that channel, read that column in the newspaper written by the guy you hate and for goodness sake get out of the basement!