29 May 2008

Los Simpson

Not quite as creepy as Lasgana Cat but still quite weird. I wish my español was better.

spotted at laughing squid

27 May 2008

File under M for meatloaf

This is the best meatloaf I've ever thrown together. Inspired by a recipe I found from Ming Tsai for Asian Meatloaf, with a few changes depending on what I had around the house. Here's what I ended up with, and its the best damned meatloaf I've ever made.

1 pound of Oregon Country Natural Beef. Nothing but the happiest ground up dead cows for me.
1/4 cup Ketcuhp or Catsup (whichever you prefer) plus a tablespoon of Sambal Oelek.
1 tsp of onion powder. Onions be damned!
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp Tamari (Regular ol' soy sauce will do)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup Panko (You can use plain ol' bread crumbs if you want, Panko is just what I have tonight)
1/4 cup of Mayonaise (since I didn't have an egg, a tip on the internets told me to use a 1/4 cup of mayo. Seems to work.)

Mix it all up in a bowl, use your hands to smoosh it all up into that meatloaf texture. Plop it in a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 35 minutes, pull it out of the oven, switch the oven to Broil. Make a festive design on the top of the loaf with ketchup and siracha (cock sauce)
Broil the loaf for about three minutes, until the top gets a nice crispness.

Let it stand for about 6 minutes before cutting it up.

Here's where there'd be a picture of it if I had the foresight to take a picture of the Best Damned Meatloaf Ever.

22 May 2008

Bull Run Water

From Bull Run to the bottle.

Hot Lips Pizza decided to bottle our local tap water because its the best damned tap water in the world. Fed by gravity straight from the mountains down into the city, I love to geek out on Portland's Water system, it's just so cool! Gravity is magic!
Hot Lips is also my favorite Portland pizza purveyor, and it just worked out this afternoon that I had to stop by there around lunchtime to drop off some t-shirts. Tasty convenience.

Decatur County Courthouse

The famous Decatur County Courthouse in Greensburg, Indiana. Behold! Yep, that's a tree growing out of the tower. I know there's a handful of Greensburgers who pass through sellwoodstreet every now and then. (Greensburger? That's not nearly as elequant as Bloomfidian.) What's the real story behind the tree? Has it really been the same tree for all these years, or does someone keep planting new ones? I've heard rumors...

Q: Do you know how the courthouse tree gets water?
A: From the spring in the clock.
Best appreciated with instant rimshot.

18 May 2008

For Ding

The perfect solution for your sliding door that no longer slides? Sliding glass patio door. Awesome! And the greenhouse window on the other side, nice touch.
Even cooler, after I took these pics in Old Town yesterday afternoon, I spotted it again at Jantzen Beach Super Center when we were on our way to Hooters.

Obama Rally from Marquam Bridge

Just happened to be heading out of the city this afternoon and thought ahead to bring the camera along. The NY Times estimates 75,000 in attendance. More pics on their site.

15 May 2008

West Baden

I can't mention French Lick without mentioning her more sophisticated sister just to the north, West Baden. Originally "Mile Lick," the town was renamed after the famed springs of Wiesbaden, Germany by the first proprietor of a resort here in 1855.
In the late 19th century the hotel added such ammenities as an opera house, a pony and bicycle track, a baseball field, and of course a casino.
In 1901, the hotel burned to the ground.

Lee Sinclair, owner of the resort, rebuilt the hotel in the style of the grandest hotels of Europe, built of non-flammable materials of course, with the largest dome in the world (until the Astrodome was built in 1965.) The construction was completed in a staggering 11 months, a fact that would become apparent in the early 21st century as restoration work began after decades of neglect. The beautiful mosaic tile floor was laid atop shifty dirt, causing the floor to become uneven throughout the years, ruining the original tile work.

In the early 20th century, the Chicago White Sox, Cubs, and the Cincinnati Reds all held spring training in West Baden. Other famous visitors included Al Capone and others looking for a "quiet place to be" within an easy day's train ride from Chicago.
In 1916, Sinclair died, leaving the hotel to his daughter and her husband. The building became an Army Hospital during WWI, when Lillian Sinclair fell in love with an officer she met there, divorcing her husband and selling the hotel to a local casino manager named Ed Ballard.

After the stock market crash in 1929, Ballard continued to operate the hotel and provide jobs to the local residents, even though the number of guests dwindled to almost nil. He managed to keep the hotel open until 1932, when he finally sold it to the Jesuits for one dollar.

The Jesuits stripped the building of its grandeur and turned it into a seminary for the next thirty years. After this period, it became a campus of the Northwood Institute (now known as Northwood University) until 1983. The building remained abandoned and neglected for the next fifteen years or so. I remember visiting in the late 1980's when it was terribly dilapidated. The floor was wavy, water damage buckled the plaster around the exterior walls of the dome. A few years later, one of the exterior walls collapsed from the freezing and thawing cycle of the Southern Indiana winter.

In 1996, restoration began on the building thanks in part to the Cook family. By 1998 the original four towers were replicated and put into place via helicopter. Today thanks to the casino development next door in French Lick, the West Baden Springs Hotel has returned to its grandeur. I've heard it on good authority (from a bartender) that Mrs. Cook has seen to it herself that West Baden will never be home to a casino of any sort, but will continue to be the sophisticated neighbor of the gambling town to the immediate south. I thank her for that, this place is much too beautiful to be marred by the beep-beep-beeping of video slots and the dull roar of money being pissed away.

12 May 2008

French Lick

One of my favorite towns in the world, and in a dead heat with Floyds Knobs for my favorite Indiana town name. French Lick has a rich history as a spa town and gambling resort, but fell on hard times mid-century, when the clearly illegal casinos were finally closed down.

By the time I was a high schooler, I discovered the hotel when some friends reserved a condo near the grounds during spring break. It was operating as a golf resort at the time, the hotel was shabby, but in a classy way. It was in need of a fresh coat of paint and a little love. That's just what it got in the last few years thanks to the Cook family, oh and that casino that just opened...

Time slows down in Indiana, and the grand porch is great to spend a little time watching the rain.

"The Boat in the Moat." Indiana's gambling laws only allow "riverboat casinos." When first enacted in 1993, one could only gamble while the boat was away from the dock. When conditions were too severe to take the boat into the river, they still had to lock the doors and not let anyone on or off the boat, pretending to be away from the dock. The laws are now less strict, and allow gamblers to come and go as they please, but the casino still has to be over water. So, when you want a casino in your town but are 50 miles from the river, you gotta build a moat!
Pluto Water, the healing elixir (and laxative) that originally drew people to French Lick. "When Nature Won't, Pluto Will." It was bottled and exported around the world until the Lithium content raised concerns. Now the Pluto Water bottling plant still has a wicked cool logo, but uses its facilities to bottle various household liquids, from cleaning products to gasoline additives.

The main drawback of the rich mineral water is the sulfurous odor. The whiff of rotten eggs greets you as you walk into the old well house. Before the recent remodel, the wall around the well (is there a name for that?) was low enough to allow one to dip into the healing waters. Now the water is safely out of reach, about 6 feet down. If I remember correctly, it really doesn't taste that terrible as long as you hold your breath as you swallow it.

11 May 2008


Monroe County Courthouse
Kirkwood Avenue

Awesome old-school IU from a wall in the HPER.

Thomas Hart Benton mural from Woodburn Hall 100.

IU Art Museum at dusk, in the glow of the Light Totem.

09 May 2008

Livin the fine life in Cincinnati

A quick post from our 8th floor room at The Cincinnatian. Living the high life for an evening after a week in the country and an evening of rest before a day of traveling across the country. Don't feel much like editing pictures tonight, so just a few random shots of the Queen City.

A neat old ad that's been tastefully modernized.

Random street shot from Over the Rhine.

Arnold's, Cincinnati's oldest continuously operating restaurant, since 1861.

"To the People of Cincinnati", a fountain suffering from stigmata. You may remember her from the opening credits of WKRP in Cincinnati.

Leaving Home again

Just a quick post as we're packing our bags and heading for a whirlwind tour of Cincinnati, before heading back to Portland on Saturday.
Its been an awesome week here in the sticks, more random pics of Hoosierdom will follow in the next few days and weeks as I get back in the routine of working life and manage to find time to sort through the hundreds of pictures from this trip.

07 May 2008

Indiana Dispatch #5

There are a few places in Indiana that I consider "hometowns." When meeting folks from other states, I claim Bloomington as my hometown because most folks from outside the state have at least heard of it, know that it's where IU is, and perhaps know about John Mellencamp and/or Bobby Knight. If I'm talking to a fellow Hoosier, I'll usually mention that I went to school in Bloomfield but lived out by the Crane Depot, they usually know about the area enough to know what I'm talking about. I feel really connected to this chunk of land where I'm staying this week, this is the only place I ever lived until I moved into Bloomington for college when I was 18.
However my roots run deep in Martin County, even though I never lived there, my family has been around Shoals for the better part of 150 years. I spent a whole lot of time there as a kid, Mom & Dad both grew up there, Dad is the undisputed winning-est Catfish Festival bridge fisherman, and it seems I'm related to about two thirds of the town in one way or another. Even though all of my immediate family have moved away to other places near and far, Shoals is a very special place with an interesting history, and quite photogenic, with one of the most peculiar high school mascots in the entire country.

The Jug Rock, a unique stone formation that stands in the woods on the edge of town. That little guy in the upper left corner of this post is "Roxer Boxer," the personification of the rock.

Main Street

The old Martin County Courthouse, now the county museum. The courthouse before this one, on this same site, burned to the ground sometime in the late 1800's, with the exception of the vaults, which were saved and are still inside and used for county records. Coincidentally, I just found out today that at least one of those vaults was built by a great-great-great-great ancestor.

The Treasurer's Office, with the original counter still intact.

Bo-Mac's Drive In, terrific diner food, car hop or walk up service. They still have those neat trays that clip onto your car window. This place has been a Shoals institution for at least fifty years, probably even longer. I'll have to ask Mom and Dad about that.

This church was built by my Great-Grandfather Ernest Holt. He was an old-timey fire and brimstone Pentecostal preacher. I never got to see him preach, but I know that he and Grandma Ella had their own a radio show back in the day as well as his own church.

06 May 2008

Indiana Dispatch #4

Today began with a nice late morning drinking coffee and hanging out with Mom and Dad. Around lunchtime we headed down to Stoll's Lakeview, my favorite of the Amish Buffet restaurants that populate the area. I ate and ate until I should've felt all bloated and tired, but the food is made from some great ingredients which treated my body like food should. Always one of my favorites.
G and I drove separately from Mom & Dad so we could go do a little exploring of the Amish country and some other small towns after lunch. We made it to a whole lot of places I haven't seen in ten years, many of which have sadly taken a turn for the abandoned.

Downtown Loogootee. I remember this fountain lighting up in pretty colors at night when I was younger, riding through here on my way to Shoals to visit family. (Shoals tour will appear tomorrow) I'm not sure if it still lights up or not.

Loogootee's Triangle business district. It seems Larkin's store is now apartments and condos.

Montgomery Indiana, home of the Turkey Trot

Downtown Elnora, Indiana

One of Newberry's remaining buildings

Downtown Lyons

Sunset from a hill above Wildcat, just outside of Bloomfield.

Made it back to Mom & Dad's just in time for a beautiful sunset.

05 May 2008

Indiana Dispatch #3

We did a lot of exploring today, mostly showing G around Bloomington and campus. I'm fading a little too fast tonight to go through a whole lot of pictures, so I'll limit this post to Greene County.

One of my favorite places near where I grew up is the small community of Scotland, population 100. This is the little town about five miles down the highway from the homestead. This is the town where I got off the school bus and waited for Mom or Dad to pick me up on their way home from work, and ate copious amounts of soft serve ice cream from the former Toodie's Cafe.

This building was most recently known as the "Brick Star Studio," it still has some paintings hanging inside, but it was quite closed this morning. Not really sure about the history of this structure.

Restored advertising mural on the side of the old Mullis General Store, also in Scotland.

The Old Scotland Hotel, which now serves as a museum.

Then we ventured on down the road towards Bloomfield and stopped at the covered bridge, which is still looking clean, safe, and un-tagged.

Downtown Bloomfield, looking southwest from the Courthouse steps.