Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on 12/31/2009 at 2:01 pm

I’m taking a holiday break.  Back next week with goodies.


Famous Anonymous

In Honky Tonk, Random on 12/23/2009 at 3:06 pm

I don’t like to talk to famous people.  I don’t like to talk to semi-famous people.  And I am really not a fan of talking to people who are famous in their own mind.  The exception is when I’m helping someone famous do a normal activity, like in college when I gave a tour of the school to the daughter of Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito with both parents in tow.  Ms. Perlman was there as a mother, listened intently and asked insightful questions.  Mr. DeVito was the public relations person who smiled for pictures and shook hands.  I do not doubt this arrangement is highly beneficial for sake of normalcy.

Typically, famous people, especially musicians, are either low-key or they are not.  The low-key ones do not have excessive monologue time on stage, are genuinely surprised when people sing along to their lyrics and are thrilled to receive compliments.  I am not debating whether or not non low-key people should to be non low-key.  Every personality is different and the majority of these artists are genuinely talented.  And since self-promotion is absolutely essential to the business, this can be pivotal.  I’m just saying I don’t like to talk to those people.  And in all fairness, they most likely have no interest in talking to moi.

The people behind the scenes are usually infinitely more interesting and normal.  Road managers, merchandise sellers and sound guys have stories to tell but won’t get anything out of telling except chat time.  Their stories are intriguing and much less self-oriented.  You also don’t feel obligated to buy a CD when they are done.

Of course there are people in this world I would be too completely star struck to utter a word to, purely based on their awesomeness.  This list includes but is not limited to, Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakum, Guy Clark, James McMurtry, Parker Posey, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, James Carville, Oscar Niemeyer, La Llorona and George Segal (also he’s dead so that would be awkward).

Childhood magic destroying fact: Scratch-and-sniff works by taking the aroma-generating chemical and encapsulating it in gelatin or plastic spheres that are a few microns in diameter. When you scratch the sticker, you rupture some of these spheres and release the smell.

Purple Christmas

In Uncategorized on 12/22/2009 at 4:06 pm

I got Purple Haze for Christmas!  Cheers!

Not sure if its true fact: In South Africa,  @ is called “aapstert” wich means a “monkey’s tail”.

Things Ain’t Never What They Seem When You Find You’re Living in Your Own Dream.

In Honky Tonk on 12/21/2009 at 3:50 pm

Well, I’ve done it again.  Spent another Saturday night with Robert Earl Keen.  The show was sold out but the crowd was a significant improvement from last year; fewer drunk 50 year-olds reliving their boozey past, and more people there to have a good time who genuinely loved REK.  Everyone was in a good mood, lots of holiday cheer.  Although the performance was energetic, his typical enthusiasm was lacking and he did not seem quite as thrilled as usual to play.  I found this surprising especially since a few months ago, Texas Highways magazine quoted him that Floore Country Store is his favorite place to play.  Overall the music and band sounded good; truly appreciated Brian Duckworth’s contributions to the old school sound.

Afterward, we commandeered the golf cart and headed over to Lester’s (Helotes Country Club) for a final beer.  The bartender there brought us food from the holiday party going on next to the pool tables after telling us we HAD to try this steak salad she had made the mistake of waiting five years to sample.  The standard fare of beans, potato salad and brisket were provided in addition to the Asian-style salad.  It was indeed very delectable.  Despite the beer haze, I tasted cilantro and mint, onion and tomato slivers dancing with minimal lettuce and a spiciness that left my lips slightly tingly.  Refreshing after a night of minimal dinner and Lone Star Lights.

Overall the night was a success.  Relaxing good time with people whose company I enjoy.  Wonder where Robert Earl is playing next…

Great idea fact: In 2008, Japan invented a silent wasabi fire alarm that wafts wasabi vapour. In a test, 93% of occupants woke up within 2 minutes.

This much is True.

In Food on 12/17/2009 at 4:38 pm

I love enchiladas!  And these are enchiladas:

They are under there somewhere.  Mmmmm.

DNA tidbit of the day: An average of 12 newborn children will be given to the wrong parents daily.

This is not a post about Luckenbach

In Random on 12/15/2009 at 4:07 pm

Luckenbach is a legendary spit of town with frequent mention by more than one famous Texas music icon but do you know where it is?  Even with the assistance of this map, do you really know?

The road to Luckenbach is curvy and unsystematic.  Of course you become accustomed to the path but my first time was an obligatory pilgrimage, in a we’re-this-close-so-we-should-go trip.  The journey is peaceful and mind-clearing.  Cold and dry in the hill country, I love the parched winter colors.  The air is clear, grass is Pantone 393 C  http://www.pantone.com/pages/paint/paintselector.aspx and river water is vividly green-blue.  It’s a great time to drive around, which is highly beneficial because Luckenbach is not easy to find.  It is in the middle of nowhere and the signs are lacking.  In fact, this is the only sign we found:

Attached to the fence on someone’s yard, it was probably installed after the 1,357th time directions were requested.  The road to Luckenbach includes lots of map folding and discussions about the last time you/someone in your party got lost.  Ultimately, we found it, had a beer, perused the grounds and headed back.  It is worth the drive as long as your hurry is minimal.  Play wildlife and/or roadkill bingo.  Be careful out there people.

Random and slightly disturbing fact: The average number of people airborne over the US any given hour is 61,000.

Dirty Bob’s

In Food on 12/14/2009 at 4:18 pm

When I hear the word ‘lunch’, I think of Bob’s.  Although not the official restaurant name,  Bob is the cook and that’s what we call it.  Everyone in town has their favorite menu item.  I am partial to the salami sub which consists of salami, melted mozzarella and onion, modified to have no lettuce, mustard, extra tomatoes.

The Good:  The bread is made by hand by Bob.  It toasts perfectly and provides the bread experience without a dominant taste.  Ingredients of the restaurant are usually well chosen and fresh.  Even after being gone for almost ten years, Bob still remembers what I’m going to order and how I like it.  His daughter, who I suspect is really in charge, works the counter and is very nice.  My friend loves the meatball sub, and I am not the only one who can’t get enough of that salami sub.  Spaghetti is tasty; garlic bread is heavy on the butter and garlic, in the way you secretly wish garlic bread always came.

The Unfortunate:  Being a favorite hangout joint of a small town, people tend to feel a little too comfortable which means they go in the kitchen and behind the counter on their own.  This is icky in theory and disgusting in reality, which you will understand after reading The Bad.  Furthermore, don’t even think about going in here without makeup on, unless that’s how you normally look (I do).  You will definitely see someone you know and if you don’t know anyone in the area, they will get a good look at you the whole time you’re eating.  Also, Bob does not always make some items, which is a real tragedy when you make a special trip for a meatball sub and he is out of meatballs with no intention of making more that day.

The Bad:  With the risk of being too gentle, this establishment is the most disgusting, dilapidated, run down nest in which I have touched things, let alone consumed edibles in.  It is dirty, has boxes stuff in odd places, carpet rolling up from the floor and a kitchen I would bet money has never been cleaned.  The only semblance of cleaning I have seen is table mat wipe downs and plate clearing.  Usually I recommend first time visitors order out or go in, sit down, eat and leave without looking beyond your nose.

So why do I eat here?  Because its freaking delicious.  I got food poisoning there once, and I still eat there.  (Thank goodness it was on a pizza because the pizza isn’t that good anyway.)

Here is evidence.  Note how I couldn’t even wait for the picture to start eating.  Also note how the pictures do not reveal the facility.

Interesting trivia:  San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Rihn’s Country Side Saloon

In Honky Tonk on 12/10/2009 at 4:37 pm

The holiday season brings to mind many things.  One is coming home from college.  The familiar smells, old friends, eating at favorite hole in the walls and being bored out of my mind.  A favorite distraction was to grab some Sonic and head over to the nearest small Texas town.  Fortunately, the nearest small Texas town to me had Rihn’s Country Side Saloon.

Rihn’s has been open forever.  No one knows how long because no one is alive anymore who remembers when it opened.  It is a tiny pier-and-beam structure with enough room for three pool tables, a bar and some square metal tables along the wall.  It’s past town in the middle of the bushes, so far in fact, you ALWAYS think you have missed it.

Last time I was in there (it’s been a while), Sandra was running the joint.  She, a Rihn herself, lives next door and makes an amazing hamburger.  The tragedy is that usually by the time we get there, the kitchen is closed.  Nevertheless, she remembers preferred beers and chats without being chatty.  Here is us with Sandra:

Which leads me to décor.  The classic elements are there: sawdust, rodeo posters, dusty caps on the walls, tin and neon beer signs and, of course, locals who eyeball you.  But not for very long unless they are in the mood for flirting.  When you go, check out the bathrooms.  I can’t speak for the men’s, although I think I did peek in there once, but the ladies has some studly encouragement pasted on the walls.

This place is the epitome of why I like to go to juke joints.  It’s a relaxing good time where you can keep to yourself or bond with total strangers.  If you’re ever in Medina county, stop by, have a hamburger and try the Orange Hooch.

Just so you know fact: Equestrian statues indicate way of death: when the horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle, one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle and all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

Favorite Food Poll

In Food on 12/09/2009 at 4:55 pm

Okay, I’m still learning how to do this blog thingy and although I gave it my best, I can not get the poll link to work.  INSTEAD, leave a comment telling us what would be the one food you could eat every day for the rest of your life.  Mine is prosciutto.  Mmmm.

Interesting identifier: If an Amish man has a beard, he is married.

Honkytonkfoodie Wuz Here

In Honky Tonk on 12/08/2009 at 5:15 pm

Sometimes you have to go to a place several times to be convinced of its coolness.

Here is a listing of places where that is not the case.  Only been here once but I am looking forward to going back and taking friends.

1. Railroad Blues, Alpine.  The beer selection is quite diverse and ranges from Lone Star Light to Purple Haze to Newcastle.  It’s a low-key joint that maintains its calm happy hour feel even when filled with people.  The staff was friendly but not desperate for attention.  The locals get a tad rowdy but that comes with the barren territory.  Stuff on the walls, good music. Established: 1983 http://www.railroadblues.com/about.html

2. Club 21 Dancehall, Uhland.  With an admittedly cheesy moniker, Club 21 is named after the highway it resides beside. The front part, where I was carded at 24 years of age on a Sunday afternoon by an adament bartender, was built in 1893. A basketball gym/dance hall was added in 1912. Since the Uhland schools closed down, basketball was no longer played there, but it remains a good place to boogey down. http://www.club21dancehall.com/

3. Braun Hall, San Antonio.  Adjacent to a softball field, I’ve been here more than once but only to attend games so I’m counting as a one-timer.  Two dollar beers on Tuesdays (prices on other days unknown) and a lovely bartender named Evelyn who remembers what I drink.  Sometimes there are dance lessons being conducted on the floor which is fun to peek in on. Established in 1893

4. Fischer Hall, Fischer.  Went to the Rice Festival here (more about Rice Festival at a later date).  Beautiful old building.  Established in 1875. http://www.cabin10.com/riceFestival_directions.htm

5. Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin.  It’s been a long, long time since I was here but I remember it was teeny tiny and was mostly filled with regulars.  And that they have Lone Star Light. http://www.ginnyslittlelonghorn.com/

If I think of others I will add to this list.  Cheers!

Motivating fact: Isaac Asimov is the only author to have a book in every Dewey-decimal category.