Bovine Appreciation Day

Today, July 9, was designated “Cow Appreciation Day” by none other than Chick-Fil-A, the popular fast-food restaurant and Mc Donald’s rival.

Nearly everyone has seen their advertising campaign, featuring black and white cows, holding up “Eat Mor Chikin” signs.  Cows weren’t expected to know proper grammar and spelling.

Customers were encouraged to wear cow costumes to the restaurant. Depending on their ages, participants were rewarded with free entrees or kid’s meals

Rather than humans in cow costumes, how about some pictures of real cows? From my farmer friend, Craig Roberts, real cows outstanding in their fields.

Old Blue (Whatever Happened To?)

Old Blue was my favorite car. We went on lots of adventures together. Two door, sport coupe, stuffed with a five liter V8. I was the second owner. Radio, heater, automatic transmission were the only options.  It took strong arms to turn the non-power assisted steering wheel.

Special because it was the first car purchased on my own.  Old Blue II came later and wasn’t the same.  A four-door sedan with sensible six cylinder, four years newer, choked with smog equipment, purchased for fuel economy.

The original Blue took me to the overlook in Enger Park, Duluth, Minnesota. On snow-covered roads, with a friend, to see frozen waterfalls, Old Blue never missed a lick.

Old Blue wasn’t without faults.  Cold natured, balked during starts  on Northern Minnesota, sub-zero winter mornings.  A warm up for 20-30 minutes, and all was well.  Once I forgot and needed a jump start on a narrow country road.  I paid for my mistake with a long walk for assistance.  My legs felt like they were on fire, when I thawed out.

Mag wheels, dual exhaust, transformed Old Blue’s personality. My mechanical skills failed, when I tinkered with Old Blue’s engine timing.  Another mistake.  Would never attempt this with today’s computerized cars.  A real mechanic came to the rescue.

One summer afternoon, on two-lane RT 108, Old Blue’s passing acceleration was tested to the limits.  I pulled out, the engine roared, then went back to idle. What went wrong?  From the grassy shoulder, with traffic whizzing by, this amateur mechanic found a broken throttle linkage cable.

Rope, wire, from the trunk–with a bit of jury-rigging, established a crude carburetor linkage.  With the hood cracked open, rope passed through the driver’s window, the engine accelerated enough to make it home.

Old Blue fell victim to road salt. Sadly, rusted around the rear wheel wells–discovered during a spring car wash. A proper repair wasn’t in the budget. A decent, from thirty feet away repair,  accomplished with body filler putty, and touch up paint.

Whatever happened to that car?  No longer pristine, I’m sure it was sent to a car auction somewhere.  I traded it for a new ’77 silver 2 door sport coupe with all the popular options.  Did Old Blue live a good life from that point on?  Was it salvaged for scrap metal?  Reincarnated as a toaster, or a Toyota?

There would never be another car quite like Old Blue. Everything was right for the times. I had more patience back then. Nobody cared that much about fuel mileage. If Old Blue were still around, and in good shape, we’d have more fun together.

Warning: This Could Get Messy

Some of the most delightful foods can be messy to consume. Maybe that’s why it’s best to eat them alone, or with friends.

What brought on this discussion? Last night, for Cinco de Mayo, my spouse, and myself visited a local Mexican restaurant. I selected pork carnitas, which were delicious, but somewhat messy.

A few more messy examples–corn on the cob, fresh, juicy peaches, ripe, luscious tomatoes, straight from the garden, barbecued spare ribs,  and crab legs.

Also, fresh caught blue crabs–the kind that are steamed, cracked open with wooden mallets to get at meaty morsels inside.  No wonder diners are given bibs.

Maybe that’s why the best things are worth working for. In the case of delectable dining delights, the messier, the more delicious.

Wrong Way Willies

After getting lost, making a few wrong turns, I learned to appreciate Australia’s many roundabouts. Never thought I’d ever say that.

Because I’m older, I’ve never learned to completely trust electronic devices. For that reason, there were many arguments over GPS directions–which seemed incorrect to me.

Several times I was right. The most glaring example, early morning Thursday, on the way back to Melbourne airport. GPS threw in an unexpected exit from the inner city freeway. I followed it through, because I was tired of arguments with my spouse.

GPS sent us to Crown Casino at six in the morning. How this was connected to Melbourne International Airport, I’ll never know. I suggested entering Hertz Airport Rent A Car, and everything got back on track.

Australia was a mixture of the familiar, and the unfamiliar. McDonalds restaurants were everywhere. Not a surprise, they had them when I was previously in Germany. Burger King restaurants, were called Hungry Jacks.

There were no Wal-Marts. Although, there were K-Marts and Target stores.  No Dollar Stores, no Poundland stores–like in the UK.  There were “Rejects” stores.  Which may have been off-price merchandise stores?  I liked no-tipping in restaurants. Tips and all taxes were included in meal prices. You paid by table number, no waiting for restaurant checks.

Weather nerds will appreciate that circulation around low pressure systems was clockwise. Circulation around high pressure systems was counter-clockwise. Water circulated clockwise down drains.

I concluded, that If I lived in my daughter’s neighborhood, which was on a hillside, I would be much healthier. Going to and from the mailbox and trash bins, was quite a workout.

I’ll miss the unique local bird species–parakeets, cockatoos, and kookaburras, that hung around mornings and evenings.

Hopping Into Your Glass

“I want you to bring me a souvenir from Australia,” A friend requested.

“It has to be small and inexpensive.”

“Something tacky would be good.”

“That’s right, something tacky, small, and inexpensive.”

A bright orange, flexible silicon, ice cube and baking mold shouted, “Take me home.”

“Fun for children, and the whole family. Withstood temperature extremes.”

“Kangaroo ice cubes hopped, right into your glass!”

My friend was pleased with his souvenir from the land “down under.”