American Journey

This category contains 12 posts

Hey parents, put down the gadgets and pay attention to your kids

Hi folks, I’m wearing my curmudgeon hat today and, as you can see, it’s a little tight so please bear with me. I was eating breakfast at a diner yesterday when I noticed a cute three-year old boy sitting at the table next to me. He was playing with the little cream containers and then tossing them on the … Continue reading

Lessons from Mr. Buffett’s neighborhood

On a recent trip to Omaha, Nebraska I visited my old friends Frank and Jan. I don’t think Jan will like that description so let me rephrase that. I visited my long time friends Frank and Jan. One of their claims to fame is that they live on the same street as Warren Buffett. Now … Continue reading

The best barbecue dish in America?

I have spent several decades traveling around America in search of the best slow smoked meat. This quest has led me on various barbecue pilgrimages, mostly throughout the south, home to some of the finest barbecue in America. Since I’m a yankee living in the BBQ deprived north I truly appreciate these trips. However, the one place … Continue reading

How can I convince my wife to celebrate our 25th anniversary at Chernobyl?

I noticed recently that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. The amount of radiation has been reduced to somewhat manageable levels—allowing intrepid visitors to make a strictly timed visit to the 30-km radiation zone which had been abandoned after the nuclear reactor’s explosion. Realizing that my 25th anniversary is also taking place this year it seemed to … Continue reading

Who buys those berets they advertise in the back of magazines?

Even since I was a child I’ve been intrigued by the ads for berets placed in the back of magazines. I’m talking 40+ years of magazine reading at this point. Yet this ad still appears regularly. The ad and the photo—of a vaguely Gallic looking man who appears to be in the midst of pointing out the best … Continue reading

Am I a Grinch if I don’t contribute to a charity at the cash register?

I finally got around to doing some Christmas shopping yesterday when I was confronted with a disturbing trend. The cashier asked me to contribute a dollar to charity. I first noticed this earlier in the year at the local supermarket. Depending on what disease was being hyped that month, I was asked to give to said disease. I … Continue reading

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

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

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