Can you say, "sommelier"?

I have a friend from grad school (well, she was an undergrad) that has recently gone to Paris to attend sommelier school. You can see some pretty interesting wine things (and probably non-wine things) on her new blog. Check it out: http://vieenrose.tumblr.com/


Ruminate on these.

If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
  - Doug Larson
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
  - Harlan Ellison


Omaha, NE - Henry Doorly Zoo.

We saved the Henry Doorly Zoo for Labor Day. Now, I know what you're thinking, "Labor Day, are you nuts, it'll be a zoo!". Despite your terrible pun, we did have the same initial concerns. Then we were reminded that it's Omaha, Nebraska afterall. Though it opens at 8AM, we decided arrival about 10:30AM would be adequate. We parked near the North Entrance (do this for sure if you go) and were quickly inside (we passed tons of suckers parking way out by the College World Series Ballpark and walking their broods into the zoo - ha).

I didn't get too many spectacular shots (on the less than powerful iPhone camera), but here's at least something to look at:

[prairie dogs are surprisingly small, even on the iPhone]

[if there one thing that you always try to see at the zoo it's apes or monkeys. there's two reasons for this, poop and red butts. this big male silverback wasn't having any of it, you could tell he was a veteran - no go this time]

[pretty birdies]

[last chance for a red butt or poop shot - again, no such luck. this guy was acting all cool and laid out like he was on spring break]

[one of my best shots of the day - name that animal?????]


Omaha, NE - Durham Museum.

Time to see some of the best parts of Omaha in this and the following post - the Durham Museum and the Henry Doorly Zoo. Both are definite highlights in the city and for good reason, they both offer something you normally get in a big city, but with Omaha charm mixed in. We had good times in most of the Omaha places (minus the weird stuff) and these two were no exception. I highly recommend both.

The Durham is billed as the museum that captures the country during the expansion from east to west. I actually thought it was a great way to learn more about the history of Omaha, while at the same time learning about how Omaha helped, literally, supply the move west. It focused a great deal on the railroad, which played a large part in the expansion.

[the museum is housed in Omaha's original Union Station. What a cool way to re-use an old, historic, very cool building - kudos]


[they left much of the "first floor" of the museum as you would have found it in the middle of the 1900s - very interesting]

[this is the old train schedule]

[they installed more than a few of these bronze(ish) vignettes around the first floor. this depicted a young couple saying goodbye (all scenes had sound played over), another showed two guys going to war, etc.]

[stately art-deco marble, metal, and glass interior - check!]

[one of the coolest things in the place was on the "basement" floor, which is where the main museum begins. they house about 8 old railroad cars from various eras and in various configurations. some normal passenger cars, a sleeper car, a steam engine, a public transportation car, etc. the best part was that you could walk through most of them and see them in their original condition. what a neat way to see how it was "back in the day"]

[this is the lounge car - what a great place to have a drink as the clickety-clack of the rails go by - another manhattan, barkeep!]

[many of the cars reminded me of a grandparents house, circa now]

[many rooms in the cars had small sinks, even toilets]

[this was what i would call a "day car". there was a two-seat and a fold-down bed above. the small ladder unfolded to allow access to the sleeper bunk. kids must have at this shit up back then. heck, i'd still love to travel this way (ok, maybe for one night)]

[this car looked like a prison passenger or worker's car. it was sparsely outfitted and almost entirely colored in a hideous blue-green hue - yikes]

[strong old steam engine]

[i'd go so far as to say these things built america. and they gave us a ton of laughs at dinner later that night when we were reminded how much of a role they played in Steven Seagal's movie "Under Siege - Dark Territory" - don't BS me, I know you saw it on local TV late one night with your dad too]


Omaha, NE - Keep Omaha Weird.

If you've ever been to Austin, TX, you know that they have coined the phrase "Keep Austin Weird" (I think they did it first at least). I presume they did this to keep companies like Dell from ruining their cool little college town. Even the Lance Effect has had something to do with the large change in the Austin community in the last 10 years (good and bad).

But, I digress - Omaha has no reason to place this slogan all around town and on t-shirts. At least not anytime soon that I could see. See for yourself, won't you?

[if you've not heard of Scheel's Sports, it's a large Midwest chain of, duh, sports stores. Something of a cross b/w Dick's and Cabela's. they got everything a high school jock could want as well as your local deer hunter (including sausage stuffing machines, both electric and manual). and what better way to end the big hunt than with a big hunk of "Big Buck Milk Chocolate". If you know a better way, please share]

[this literally stopped at the red light in their old market area on Saturday morning. what you don't see is the parade of 10-12 cars, all with their own unique theme, that went by before the light changed. it was really really weird. and not, "like, wow, that's odd"... more like, "god, my mom is standing right next to me and she saw it too, i feel dirty."]

[awwww, cute kids playing music at the farmer's market. uhhhmm, not so much. more like a weird family of midwest hillbillies that found out they could make the monthly rent by making their kids play fiddles at the farmer's market each saturday. it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't too good either (there's also 3 or 4 more not in the shot)]

[and last but not least - the american family out for dinner. sounds fun, right? well, this mom and dad had gotten a "table keg" while their young daughter entertained herself (while her parents drank). not to mention, it was like 9:30PM and you'd think most kids would be in bed, or at least complaining that they didn't want to brush their teeth before going to bed with dirty teeth. sorry young lady, mom and dad have half of the keg to go through still - keep coloring]


Results, Poll #59, Sharing Poll Ideas.

Your mom always said it was important to share, but clearly some of you either didn't get that lesson or don't care what your mom said:

> 2 people (33%) chose 'yes' - sweet, send 'em to me!!!
> 2 people (33%) chose 'maybe' - does maybe mean 'no'? it did when my mom or dad said it to me when i was little.
> 1 person (16%) chose 'no' - c'mon, this isn't rocket science. you're sure there's nothing you've been wondering to yourself, like, "i wonder if everyone else flips off school buses full of children?". that's a poll right there!!!
> 1 person (16%) chose 'text me' - you chose this b/c you knew the poll was anonymous and I'd have no way of knowing who it was in order for me to text you - didn't you? Clever bastard.

I'm working on some new polls, be patient.

Ruminate on this quote.

A timid person is frightened before a danger, a coward during the time, and a courageous person afterward.
  - Jean Paul Richter


Nepaug Reservoir; Canton, CT.

As we looked for something to pass this time before our first shop visit, a co-worker and I found this little number hidden behind the evergreen trees in the middle of CT (look in the lower middle for the big blue reservoir). I'd recommend checking out something in your state too, you never know what you'll find (unless you live in Iowa, then it will be corn).


If you ever eat a lobster; Maine Fish Market.

You should review this post before you dig into a creature from the deep. My info is from a placemat at a wonderful seafood place in Connecticut called, funnily enough, the "Maine Fish Market".

[MFM serves lobsters in sizes ranging from 1 pound up to 11 pounds! They had one on the wall, stuufed like a deer head, that weighed 25 pounds - momma mia!]

[there are a few great parts about this placemat, like the view of the lobster leg straw recommendation (not really, you suck out that meat), but the best section, I think, reads, "6 - Separate the back from the body. Don't forget that this contains the tamale of liver of the lobster which turns green when cooked and which many people consider to be the best eating of all" - yum!]


Droppin NYC pics.

Yo, check it!
There is a reason NYC is one of the top cities in the whole wide world. I thought some visual aids would help illustrate the city of New York.

[all these night shots were from the rooftop lounge known as Mad46, on top of the Roosevelt Hotel - both pretty nice places, but watch out for the $12 mixed drinks... and the hostess]

[though not often taken, I have a thing for escalator shots, this was getting onto the E line]

[you should know that this is Times Square, no excuses]

Blue Sky Labor Day Weekend.

Pretty nice weather so far in southern MN, Iowa and now Omaha, NE.


A dog's life.

I direct your attention to the rear of the animal. This is a doggie Depends arrangement.
Should you do this to a dog - discuss.


Minneapolis Farmer's Market, Part Deux.

As you walk the stalls, you can't help but be impressed with the variety, both in type and color. This 2nd post will feature more of that vibrancy and also showcase some of the farmer's market outliers.

[an interesting sales technique adopted by many of the vendors is to mound and showcase many of their items, in a unique way - some are more successful than others]

[i believe these are japanese eggplants, and some of the most interestingly hued ones i've ever seen - can you match this color in the Lowe's paint department?]

[so many kinds of tomatoes, this whole table. i don't even think i could name more than a handful of tomato varieties - you?]

[thinking tomatillos in green, possibly the purple too, not sure]

[mr. squash, meet mr. cauliflower]

[some people spell it p-o-t-a-t-o, some people spell it p-o-t-a-t-o-e, shrug. alls i know is this guys melons were huge]

[ever since the inaugural NYC trip, i can't walk past a hot or warm nuts sign without smirking. there are so many possible jokes and almost none of them work on paper, or even in person]

[and lastly, one of the most, if not the most popular booth at the whole market - the sausage guy. not only will he cat-call at any attractive woman that walks by, he'll sell you a regular or spicy brat, with the works, at 8 in the morning. kids, high-school girls, moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas - everyone has a sausage in their mouth. i have not dared to try yet - and please don't dare me]


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