An ambush in Pennsyltucky …

I became road kill during Joannie’s recent pickin’ party in Pennsyltucky. Several friends conspired to have an early surprise 40th birthday party for me. When they rang the bell to gather everyone, I came up out of the pond dripping wet, unsuspecting, only to be subjected to assorted and sundry humiliations. There was a Penguin Pinata, Pin the Penguin on the Telly and assorted silly hats. One of the coolest features was a birthday cake that had a picture of me on it from college (still can’t figure out why my eyes were so strangely dilated in that photo …)

The Penguin motif has its origins in my college days at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (an academic slum south of Erie, PA.). I was known to maraud around campus wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey and ranting about false class consciousness. In fact, during one ill-fated assignment for Gary’s film class, I screamed Ginsberg’s “America” at the camera while wearing full Penguin regalia. That was the infamous John Baker Show, which was censored by one of Gary’s right-wing classmates. He “accidentally” didn’t record the sound, resulting in a pretty funny silent movie. Glad that’s not still floating around.

Anyway, the party was great and it’s nice to know I’m loved. Or at least that my friend are willing to bring me forth to make sport of me …

For more photos of this august event, click here …

Fun with Fondue

This story is too strange. Apparently, a couple of NFL players and their wives where have a nice, happy fondue when tragedy struck. I guess I shouldn’t make fun of it since it sounds as if a few of them were hurt pretty badly, but fondue? “It happened so fast,” one of the players told the Florida Times-Union. According to the Sporting News, the player “said they were moving the fondue pot when it slipped onto the tile floor in his house.” Wow. Another reason to just say no to fondue …

A few more shots of turkey …

But these turkeys aren’t wild. The party at Joanne’s was to include a turkey roast. Ryck ordered three 25-pounders a while ago, but the birds were no where to be found the day before the party. The store was offering a few paltry 12-pounders, which definitely wouldn’t work for what we had in mind.

So after calling all over the place to find three big birds, we finally turned to Judy, who tracked them down in no time, thawed them in her bathtub overnight and had them ready to cook on Saturday morning. She and husband Tim roasted the turkeys to perfection, then served them up to the hungry crowd.

For photos, check out this page.

Fun and thrills with road kill …

Always enjoy reading the Perry County Times when I travel to those parts. It’s a small weekly paper with all the news that’s fit to print, straight from the heartland of Pennsyltucky.

In addition to a great police blotter, a recent edition sported a story about a bunch of kids at Perry County High School who decided it would be pretty cool to cover the football field with road kill. I guess things are pretty slow in Perry County, and thrills are tough to come by, no matter how cheap they are. Unfortunately, the Canada geese they decided to hang from the goal posts were not road kill. Game officials suspect the geese were poached, and one of the students is now facing charges.

The suspect wants to be a Marine when he grows up. Hmmm.

At least in Tennessee, we just eat our road kill. Never thought about using it for decorative purposes …

The Fellini Road Trip …

Lara and I drove up to Pennsyltucky for Joannie’s annual pickin’ party. The trip up was almost as much fun as the destination. Along the way, we saw …

— A truck in East Tennessee with a “Bland Ministries” logo on the site. Nuff said.

— A one-legged man hopping around beside broken-down bus

— A dreaded Rastafarian and his woman fixing a car on the side of the road while Hank Hill was pulling his pickup truck over to lend a hand.

— A plane crash in Maryland (well, we didn’t actually see it crash; a Cessna-type plane apparently crashed on takeoff, and we drove by shortly after it happend).

— A sign at the beginning of a Pennsylvania construction site that read: “Slow down. My Daddy Works here.” The “s” in works was a Z, and the sign was done in a child’s handwriting. (On the way back, the sign on the southbound side of the interstate said, “Slow Down, My Mommy Works Here.” Those Pennsyltuckians sure ain’t sexist.

— A semi in Tennessee with “Student Truck Driver” plastered all over the side of it. Needless to say, we gave that one plety of room.

— On ramps with long stripes in Virginia (this is a Lara note; she was pretty upset that the dotted lines on on ramps didn’t get closer together, signalling the lane was about to end. Hey, we all have our peeves.)

— The Great Wall of Bristol. In the five years or so that I’ve been going up I-81, the fine city of Bristol has been hard at work building a massive wall along the interstate. I assume it’s to reduce noise. I hope it’s effective. It’s gummed up traffic for a long time.

— Our soundtrack during the drive:

10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe

The Be Good Tanyas, Blue Horse

Dave Alvin, Public Domain

Whiskeytown, Faithless Street

Son Volt, Trace

But wait! There’s more!

NPR had a great feature this a.m. on Ron Popeil, the infamous TV pitchman. Great spots from those bizarre commercials (including the Veg-O-Matic). My all time favorite had to be spray on hair. I also was amazed to realize the Popeil went bankrupt after getting rich, and returned to county fairs and small venues selling his products to amass another fortune. You have to give the guy credit. The NPR site includes some cool video and other materials, including a shot of Dan Aykroyd running a bass through the Bass-O-Matic. Way cool. And refreshing, too.

If NPR has pulled this down by the time you read this, you can always order the book, “But Wait! There’s More!

Kinky soccer …

This one is pretty bizarre. I didn’t realize soccer could get so kinky. It’s a game that I never really understood, until the 1994 World Cup. I was still in Albuquerque and watched several of the matches with a soccer fanatic I knew. It helped to have him explain basic strategy. When I started looking at it as a slower, more thoughtful version of hockey, I finally got it. I still don’t go out of my way to watch it, but the highlight reels are pretty cool. Wonder if the photo from the link above will make those reels …

xena chills out with a baby newf …

A friend brought her newf pup, Governor, over to see Xena last week. It was a funny encounter. The two hit it off quickly and chased each other around for a while, then went to lie on the air conditioning vent to cool off. Unfortunately for Xena, Governor beat her there and got the prime seat. You can’t even see the vent in the photo above. It’s completely covered by newf.

Governor is a landseer newf. They have the black and white coats. I think he’s about 12 weeks old in this photo.

Art deco in Cincinnati …

I stayed at the Omni Netherland in Cincinnati this week. (I think it’s now a Hilton …). The rooms leave something to be desired, but the public spaces are an incredible testament to art deco. The example at right is one of the eye motifs that filled the conference room we were using. The art in the hotel earned it a National History Landmark designation. The bar is especially cool. Great place to smoke a cigar and just marvel at the art. It pretty much makes up for the shoebox-sized rooms and the slow elevators. If you’re ever in town, definitely swing by to check it out.

My first introduction to art deco was during a trip to New York, when Pearl, a screaming queen friend of mine, took me on a tour of the Empire State Building pointing out all the art deco touches. I was hooked. I’ve loved art deco ever since.

Another morning, another shot of wild turkey

Xena has been obsessing over rabbits and squirrels during our morning hikes, so I didn’t think much of it when she disappeared into the brush. Suddenly, I heard a commotion, mighty flapping and what sounded like a struggle. Another huge turkey. This one emerged from the brush with Xena right behind it, flew about 30 yards away and landed, leaving the disappointed Newf behind. Just as well. I’m not sure she’d have been the victor in the encounter …