This blog has a mix of some of my main interests in life: travel, politics, food and generally being a curmudgeon. Enjoy.
Michael has written 29 posts for Middle of the Road

Two sides to the story of Custer’s Last Stand

The expression that there are two sides to every story is never truer than at the site of Custer’s famous Last Stand. Even the site has had two names; it was originally named after the vanquished George Armstrong Custer. In 1991, recognizing modern sensibilities, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the name change … Continue reading

SRV: Twenty years gone – the sky is still crying

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the death of blues rock guitar great Stevie Ray Vaughan. He had just finished a monster show at the Alpine Valley ski resort in Wisconsin. Other players on the bill included his brother Jimmie, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and Robert Cray. After the show some of the performers boarded helicopters (continue reading)

Can you help me pick the top 10 Road Trip songs?

Pretty soon I’ll be taking off for another cross-country drive. Since I’ll be travelling in remote areas with limited radio reception, I’m putting together a few CDs of top road trip songs. Some good driving songs will grab you at the opening power chord and have a thumping beat that makes you put the pedal to the metal.  Others … Continue reading

A holy relic in denim and sweat

Recently I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. For some reason I hadn’t expected much but it far surpassed my expectations. What I had not predicted was how it would be such a religious experience. Currently there is a special exhibit featuring the music of Bruce Springsteen. The title of the … Continue reading

Maybe we should have a domestic exchange program for students

The daughter of a friend of mine recently graduated from high school. During her time in school she participated in exchange programs in Japan, Israel and England. I think it’s great that American students learn about other cultures. One area that is overlooked in this process is other American cultures. I’ve travelled all over the US for the last four … Continue reading

25 signs that you’re no longer hip…

You use the word hip They play your prom song on the oldies station The baseball stadium you went to as a child no longer exists Forget about the cops looking young, the chief of police looks as young as your paperboy You know what a paperboy is You like classic rap better You think Frank Lautenberg … Continue reading

Measuring the march of time, one ripe blueberry at a time

I love blueberries. If I were left on a deserted island and given one item of food they would be my first choice. As a child I  could mark the beginning of summer at the local market. The shelves would be stacked taller than my head with containers from the blueberry capital of the world, Hammonton, … Continue reading

Life Unplugged: Living Without Cable

Due to the economy, over 800,000 people have cancelled their cable service. To them I say welcome. I’ve never had cable. It’s not that I’m a Luddite, after all I do write this nifty blog, but I’ve just never seen a reason to pay for 100 plus channels of drivel. In 1992, Bruce Springsteen wrote … Continue reading

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

Much has already been written about Custer’s Last Stand so it’s hard to see what else can be told about it. However, gifted story-teller Nathaniel Philbrick had access to recently surfaced memoirs to add to the already formidable amount of Custer lore. Readers of Philbrick’s prior best sellers about nautical events, Mayflower, Heart of the Sea and Sea … Continue reading

Book Review: Lost on Planet China

Lost On Planet China by J. Martin Troost is one Westerner’s attempt to understand the world’s most complicated country. The China that Troost portrays is not all that appealing. It is obviously crowded, 1.3 billion people have to go somewhere, but it is also incredibly polluted. Wherever Troost goes he describes the air as (continue reading)

Seven years gone, remembering a soldier lost in Iraq

  Today is the seventh anniversary of the death of Army Lt. Colonel Dominic “Rocky” Baragona, 42. At the time, Baragona was the highest ranking American soldier to die in the Iraq war. He was part of a convoy  leaving Iraq when his Humvee was sideswiped by a contractor’s truck. They were an hour away from base … Continue reading

What if you can’t go home again because your town no longer exists?

Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again. This metaphor has become all too literal for two American towns. Centralia, Pennsylvania and Picher, Oklahoma have many things in common. The residents of both towns made their living off of the mining industry. Each town raised their children in a Norman Rockwell type atmosphere: Little League … Continue reading