Jeannette


USS Jeannette (1878)

USS Jeannette (1878)

Dan blew into town last night. We took him out to dinner and some of the many questions that we plied him with was about his latest art show, “Boats Against the Current”. We missed it when we visited him last month, because it was delayed. His work featured a model of the 1878 steam-sailor, the USS Jeannette. The picture shows its installation as the centerpiece on his second gigantic handmade hammock. He made his first one when he was interning at Ox-Bow. He started the Jeannette with a Russian made model of a similar Russian vessel. He said that transforming that ship’s model to the Jeannette was akin to rearranging the deck chairs, really the deck houses and other superstructures. He told a nice story about this vessel and in art, the story behind a work is often more important than the work itself.

The USS Jeannette was a privately own ship that through political connections was entered onto the US Navy’s rolls. It was purpose-built to be an arctic explorer. The vessel launched on its expedition, sailed north of Siberia, got trapped in sea ice and after a valiant effort, the intrepid crew was forced to abandon ship and returned to civilization by dogsled. The Jeannette was presumed lost, crushed by ice. Three years later though, it was sighted off Greenland, still trapped by sea ice. When the ice melted, the punctured hull promptly sank. Its rediscovery led to a better understanding of the movement of polar ice cap. It is hypothesized that at the time the Jeannette was the manmade object that had made the closest approach to the North Pole. That would be 25 years before man actually made it there.

Eat Here, Get Gas


CA SR 46 Oil Field

CA SR 46 Oil Field

The Perma-Bear texted me at lunch on Tuesday, “$2.04 gas on Natural Bridge.” I think that he is looking to pick up a little extra cash before Christmas. Here’s the back story, in ’08 I bet the Perma-Bear that gas in Saint Louis would hit $5/gallon before it hit $2. Loser buys the winner a gallon of gasoline. I liked the odds at the time. A few years ago, when gas hit $4.75, I had to remind the Perma-Bear of our bet, but as his text implies, he’s all in now. That night, Anne heard on the news that gas has broken the $2 barrier, in the Saint Louis area, with a price of $1.95. I will pay my debt, but the Perma-Bear is out of the office until Friday. That leaves me a little bit of wiggle room, because I expect that gas prices will continue to fall. If when I next meet the Bear and gas is less than $2/gallon, should I pay the two-bucks or should I pay the going market rate at the time? I think that if I pay him two-bucks and a gallon is less than that then I’m overpaying my debt, because fundamentally the bet was over a gallon of gas. I want to honor my debt and if that debt is $2 or $1.95, so be it. We’ll work it out, but what if I don’t see the Perma-Bear on Friday? That opens all sorts of possibilities. I’ll be off work until next year and that means two more weeks of falling gas prices. How low can we go? All of this might seem like weaseling to the casual observer, but I believe that the Perma-Bear enjoys this game-play as much as I do. I want to honor my bet, but since it will be a cash exchange, it has to be face-to-face. The question is when will we next meet?

Walt Disney Concert Hall


Here are a few exterior shots of the Frank Gehry designed, Walt Disney Concert Hall, in downtown Los Angeles. With a matte finish of brushed stainless steel on wavy almost undulating panels, it is certainly not like your average glass and steel box. Originally parts of the exterior were un-brushed and highly reflective. Some of these large concave surfaces caused overheating problems on adjacent properties. While the front of the hall might seem too ostentatious or even garish, the garden in the back of the building was more subdued and seemed to work better for me. It offered many nooks and crannies for patrons, who might seek some seclusion during intermission.

Maraschino Kisses from My Baby


Maraschino Kisses

Maraschino Kisses

Anne and I bicycled together on Saturday and I biked by myself today, while Anne sewed on the front porch, because the weather was so nice, sunny and warm. On Saturday, we rode over to the CWE for lunch at Gringo, a Baja themed upscale taco bar. We’ve eaten there before and I’m always surprised at how small their tacos are. I had two, a beef brisket and a lamb taco. Anne had a normal sized burrito. I also had their winter special margarita. It was infused with a blood orange, giving the drink a reddish-brown color and instead of the lip of the glass just being coated with salt, this drink had both salt and cinnamon. It was good.

On Saturday night, we attended Smokin’ Joe’s annual Christmas cookie party. In preparation for this event, Anne made Maraschino Kisses. This cookie recipe uses a whole jar of maraschino cherries and calls for Hersey’s special dark chocolate kisses, but we decided to substitute kă•kā•ō dark chocolate buttons instead. They turned out pretty [good | well] and I helped. [Anne says that pretty well is correct English, even though pretty good is a Missouri colloquialism, so could be considered correct English if written within the state’s boundaries. No one faults Mark Twain for his use of language, so why me? Anne said that her parents drilled her pretty well and good in this. I’m left to wonder if any fracking was involved.] We were the first to arrive at the cookie party, which was a little awkward. We were on time, but everyone else was stylishly late. We had a good time though!

Sunday morning, we drove over to the Loop for a little walk. The Loop doesn’t really do mornings and especially not the morning after a Saturday night. Most of the stores were closed, so we were left to window-shop. We grabbed breakfast at a new place in the Loop, the Peacock Diner. This is another Joe Edwards property and it is a beauty. It is modeled after a ‘50s diner that only a Hollywood musical could have envisioned. It is both spacious and bright. I kept expecting the help to break into a chorus line of song and dance. Maybe if I had put a quarter into the juke box that would have happened. We ate at the counter, which has ever-changing bands of lighted colored panels all around it, but where I really wanted to sit was in the Peacock Carousal of Love. Yes, it really rotates. Anne didn’t want to though. I guess that she doesn’t love me anymore. “I don’t love you any less”, she says. Anne had red velvet waffles, which looked great. I had their biscuits and gravy, which was fantastic! They’ve substituted chorizo for the sausage and add a touch of tomato to give the gravy a more appealing color than bleached white.

I’ve got to go now. Anne wants to go shopping for our Christmas tree. Its 63 ˚F out in mid-December, I think that shorts and a t-shirt is appropriate Christmas attire for today. We will of course go to Ted Drewes and of course order concretes, which we will consume on the lot, while selecting our tree. So surprise me, Le Marquis, what flavor of frozen custard will you order? “How about my usual, a small chocolate-chip concrete?”

Old Beachy Headers


Way back when I first started this blog, I used to update the blog’s header with each post. This was a lot of work and I eventually decided to stop doing this. Now all these photos are lost to the general public. I can still see them, if I search my media library, but no one else can. I have reposted some of them on the Headers page, but even these pictures come up unattached when I search for pictures that I have uploaded, but are not posted in a post. I guess the Headers page doesn’t count. The reason that I’ve noticed all this, is because as of late I have begun uploading photos for future posting. My problem is that I’ve been doing this long enough that there are photographs out there that I can’t remember whether I’ve used or not. When I search my media library for unattached pictures all of these former headers clog my search process. I could delete them, but some of them are pretty good, if I do say so myself. This post contains a small collection of these former header, all with a beach theme, because with winter solstice bearing down on us, who wouldn’t want to be on a beach right now?

Rebel Just Because


James Dean Memorial Junction

James Dean Memorial Junction

Every time we drive between LA and Monterey, we pass through the James Dean Memorial Junction. Located at the junction of State Routes 41 and 46 it is a desolate intersection. It is now marked with a sign commemorating it as the fatal accident site of the actor James Dean, who died in a car crash there in 1955. He was filming the movie Giant, which was supposed to be set in Texas. This part of California’s dry, arid landscape makes for a pretty good Texas stand-in. Dean’s career was riding high when he died. He had received an Academy Best Actor nomination for this role in East of Eden, his first film and he would receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Giant, his third film. It is his second movie, Rebel Without a Cause, for which he is most famous and with which, I have taken liberties for this post’s title.

The real rebel that I would like to speak about here isn’t James Dean though. It is Wayne my boss or I should now say my former boss. Today was his last day at work, he has retired. He has always been both knowledgeable and diligent in his work and our company has lost a good one. He has also been a rebel though, fighting ‘the man’ and more importantly fighting for his people. He has fought for me on more than one occasion, for which I shall always be grateful. But before I get too dewy-eyed, like Wayne after one of his retirement speeches, I should mention the bad as well as the good. After all, he is only human and just as foible filled as the rest of us. Besides, he was my boss and if I can’t find one bad thing to say about my boss, then I’m just not working hard enough and Wayne wouldn’t like that either.

He has this one, very annoying question that he likes to repeat again and again. Those of you who know him already know what it is, because he has uttered it to you too. It is doubly annoying, because he does it just to be annoying. Usually, he says it immediately after he has assigned you a new task, with no reasonable expectation of that task having been performed. Still, in the scheme of things this fault is not so bad. He has been a lot of fun to work with. This rebel’s retirement is like a death for us in that we won’t see him daily anymore, but there are other people still waiting to retire, like myself and I’m sure that he could be coaxed back with some cake and coffee. I better cut it off here, before my man-crush become even more fulsome. I know Wayne wouldn’t like that either and he is now beyond the salvation of additional mandatory training.

“Are you done yet?”
“Are you done yet?”
“Are you done yet?”
I am now.