Month: June 2017


A company in New York City has opened what some are calling a nonalcoholic cocktail bar that creates drinks using lemons and herbal ingredients instead of alcohol. And this is cool — they’re using empty chairs.… Read the rest



I mentioned earlier this week that I organized two bar outings, one Sunday and one Monday. Those aren’t exactly great bar nights, but they were the only two evenings I was going to be at Houghton Lake with Marie’s family. Plus, the weather was horrible, so we needed an indoor recreational pursuit.

We hit seven bars total, six of them “dives,” by all outward appearances. But six of them (five dives and one nice bar) exceeded expectations.

Which surprised me. A lot. Houghton Lake is a depressed area. Fifty years ago, it was a hopping place. I remember seeing pictures at the lodge where we used to stay, showing Detroit Tigers from the 1960s (Bill Freehan and others) vacationing at the lodge that had, by 2000, become pretty run down (it has since been demolished).

The thing is, the bars didn’t exceed expectations because they were nice, but rather, because it was like they were throwbacks to the 1970s . . . or earlier. People these days crave nostalgia and authenticity. If you want those things, the bars around Houghton Lake have them in spades. It’s like visiting seedy bars in Detroit, authentic, without the threat of violence. Many of the patrons even look like I imagine they would’ve looked back in 1975, almost like they hadn’t left their barstools for the past 40 years.

The last bar, The SandBar, was my favorite. It had two VIP booths, just like the urban bars do, where the gangsters sit with their minions and women. It really cracked me up for some reason (it may have been the excess of vodka). The video features my attempt to act like a gangster enjoying the action around him:

If you’re in northern Michigan, consider making a stop at The Sandbar before a new … Read the rest



Whew. The latter were really beginning to ride up on me: Comfortable cotton denim is back; skinny jeans are on their way out.

Las Vegas prepares for recreational marijuana. “Amsterdam on steroids.” Honestly, I’m surprised it took them this long to pass that legislation.

Short, intense workouts . . . or lengthy, enjoyable workouts? The debate continues, but it looks like the latter is winning, if done outdoors. Which is, of course, one of the main reasons I’ve gone “all in” with the gardening. It’s too bad I gave back all those inches on my waste over my short (but intense) vacation on the road.

Greatly enjoying: The Virgin Eye. I heard about it on EWTN’s “Bookmark.” For some reason, I ignored my book-buying ban and bought it. I’m glad I did. Expect passages as time goes on.

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Miscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereMy first full day of my stay-cation. I joined Marie’s family at Houghton Lake for a few days, returning yesterday. The weather was terrible, so I organized two bar hops, covering seven bars in two nights. The Monday night outing left me a bit worn on Tuesday, but I was able to make it home by mid-afternoon. More on the bar hopping this Friday.

Ceiling. TrastevereIrenaeus feast day today, according to my St. James Calendar. He’s the last of the first: the latest in time of the first patristics. He’s the last entry in volume one of Quasten’s Patrology: The Beginnings of Patristic LIterature, from the Apostles Creed to Irenaeus. He’s one of the few early patristics I’ve read (as part of my Gnostic studies years ago).

Ceiling. TrastevereI like to think I’m above taking pleasure in another person’s pain, but CNN’s straits delight me. It’s been such a fraudulent news outlet for so many years. It’s not often one gets to witness justice meted out like this, especially in today’s topsy-turvy world of American media.

Amazon Deals of the DayRead the rest


misc-rambling-picMiscellaneous Rambling

Ceiling. TrastevereAh, summer. I’m taking first “stay-cation” this week. I’ll spend a little while on the road, but for the most part, I’m staying put. A few long days at the produce stand site, keeping my fingers on the pulse of a few files, reading, daily Mass. I’m greatly looking forward to it.

Ceiling. TrastevereMax and I may have broken the $100 in grossly sales last week. It’s hard to say. We delivered the last ten pounds of produce to a local restaurant before Max left for a vacation with my in-laws and told the manager to pay us whatever he thinks it’s worth. If it’s worth even half the customary price paid by the restaurant, we will break $100.

Ceiling. TrastevereIt’s been a frustrating effort, I won’t lie, but I suppose few brand new businesses don’t have unexpected hills. Fortunately, things seem to be going more smoothly now and many of our “problems” shouldn’t repeat themselves next year. At this point, our key focuses are (i) developing regular crop production so we can serve large customers better (my job), and (ii) developing a broader individual customer base (Max’s job). I’m optimistic we will make strides in both areas, but either way, this is the year of experimentation and we got a very late start (just harvested my first crop at the produce stand last week). I think this partial year will give us a solid block to build on next year. … Read the rest