Thursday, July 22, 2010

Too Bad To Be Made Up

Today was not an ordinary drive to work. The 35 mile drive (had to hit a grocery store first) provided plenty of things to shake my head at.

The first was in the Central Bluff of Peoria. Sir, while I understand that you have taken it upon yourself to improve your health, etc. by jogging, please put your shirt back on. Some of us can not bear a sight that is reminiscent of flesh colored pudding during an earthquake blobbing along the streets of Peoria. Maybe when you have the famous abs of our alcohol hating Congressman Aaron Schock, it may be permissible.

Ladies, quit laughing. I'm on SW Adams and behind me is a fairly large breasted woman. Leaning over her crotchrocket type motorcycle. In a halter top. My rear view mirror about cracked. I about cared to see most of her endowededness about as much the previously sighted man jello. By now, I'm searching for a Wal-Greens to buy a vat of saline solution to rinse my eyes out.

Oh, I'm far from done. As I slow down to stop at the light at 29 and Derby in Pekin, the car stopped in front of me is a (dirty) white or cream colored mid 90's Cadillac. When the light turns green and we speed up, it appears the trunk lid is shaking. The faster we go, the more the shake. I wonder who the hell is going to pop out going 45 mph. Then I notice it. Either a. a cross-eye Cyclops b. a clown mechanic c. a severely intoxicated NASCAR pit crew member installed the driver's side rear tire on this car. It was wobbling uncontrollably. How in the world the driver didn't feel that is beyond me. Now I'm nervous the damn thing will fall off, the car goes into a tailspin and crunches the Metro.

I turn at the prison to head down Manito Blacktop hoping for less distractions. I come up on a car going 45 (in a 55). I follow him for a bit and when safe to pass, I give the Metro's 3 cylinders some extra go juice and around him I go. I settle in at 62-ish and the next thing I know, this guy is so far up my ass, I can pass on my proctology exam this year. I speed up a bit and so does he. WTF? Ok, you want games, here's one for you. I am starting to know some of the backroads. Knowing one is coming up to the left, I pull into the opposing lane of traffic (as there was no opposing traffic) and slowed down to about 45 mph. Well, this freaked the autoproctologist out and he didn't know quite what to do. My turn came and I took it a bit quicker than advisable. I noticed he hit the brakes. So, I guess he can drive 45 mph and piss himself off, tailgate himself and piss himself off, or just go f- himself. Ain't got a pair to drive over the speed limit, don't follow me.

I almost dreaded coming home tonight. I did notice quite a few police cars along SW Washington...all parked. Guess they were waiting for crime to come to them. And then, the tete de Cuvee of all driving douchebaggery: I'm stopped at Adams and Spring wanting to turn left. There is a car beside me at the light on my right. I noticed pulling up to the light that he had a left turn signal on. So, he wants to turn left from the middle lane? Naaaw. The light turns green, he honks and then bolts right in front of me to turn left onto Spring!!!! Damned near took out the Metro. He is ahead of me at Jefferson Street at the red light and decides that red lights do not apply and took a left onto Jefferson.

I'm home. The Sam Adams is cold. Hopefully, tomorrow's drive will be less eventful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

This Friday, July 23

Yeah, a bit of shameless self-promotion.

A somewhat newer band in the area will be playing in the Garden's at Willett's Winery & Cellar this Friday night. The New Imposters feature Don Mabus, Tim Brickner and John Eason. They play a wide variety of songs from the 60's (Beatles, Stones, Hendrix) to the mid 80's. I was looking at their playlist and remember a lot of the songs they play, but rarely hear anymore. According to their MySpace Page: THE NEW IMPOSTERS are a power pop / rock & roll trio hailing from Peoria, IL. A band firmly rooted in a mystical place where melody, harmony,...and jangly guitars will forever be King. Tight 3-piece musical arrangements,... full 3-part vocal harmonies,...Catchy, timeless songs w/ danceable beats and sing-along melodies, with a sound and a vibe that harkens back to the “old school cool” of 60’s and 70’s pop.

Of course, we will be serving food from The Ironstone Room, Willett's wines and for those non-wine lovers, we do have a small offering of beer and soft drinks.

See you around the table in Manito...

A Tale of Two Wines

I have been drinking a lot of Willett's Wines of late. Their latest two offerings, the "perfect for summer" Vidal Blanc and the "better when left open for a day" St. Croix are just too good to be in search of much else. If that isn't enough, there are the infrequent barrel tastings and some other secrets being worked on that "need" tasting.

However, even though it has been hot, I've popped two reds. One I liked, one I did not. I'll start on a positive note. 2005 Stone Hill Norton. Earlier this year, some friends and I went to a traveling Norton tasting in and around Hermann, MO. I thought I had received my Norton fix and it would last me awhile. Nope. The 2005 SH Norton, which is probably only available at the winery or some obscure wine shop (as the 2006 is on most wine store shelves), is quite a tasty number. It starts out with a fairly muted nose which is mostly oak. The flavors are blackberry, black currant, chocolate, a hint of pepper and smoky oak. This wine is seamless and has no rough edges. the tannins at the end seemed to mellow the longer the wine was open. If you can get your hands on it, it is wonderful now and will most likely last 10 years.

The wine I didn't like. Sometimes I just pick up a bottle because I haven't seen it before or it looks to be interesting. 2004 Maurodos "Prima" Toro. The little black cherry fruit was covered up by an earthy, tobacco, smoke and a hint of something green flavors. Maybe it was sitting on the shelf too long? Anyway, after drinking and sharing about 1/2 bottle that was enough. I started looking at the label to find the grape varietal. None listed. An internet search found it to be Tempranillo. That explains a lot. Can't say I've ever found a Tempranillo I've gone gaga over. I probably wouldn't have purchased it if I knew this.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is It Hot Yet?

I'm not talking about cooking...I'm talking about the weather. I'm a cool weather person (odd for a guy who sweats it out cooking for a living..maybe that's why) whose ideal temp is 65 degrees.

We've had a heat streak of sorts with temps hanging in the 90's and there are reports that this is starting to shape up as another summer pushing for the heat record.

R-E-A-L-L-Y?? I say. I remember grandma talking about the summer of 1936. I've always known it to be a scorcher and I even looked it up once. But since I read we were on track for a record summer, I thought I'd look again. I didn't find anything directly about Central Illinois, but I did find a library blog from Moline, IL. which I will copy and paste part of it here.

"Imagine for a moment a heat wave with no, or very little, air conditioning. No home air conditioning to help you sleep, no frozen food section to meander through. Sound uncomfortable? Those were the conditions faced by a large portion of the United States in 1936. Many of the high temperature records set that summer still stand. Drought, grasshoppers,...and tornados also added to the natural disasters of the year. Drought was beginning to plague this region as temperatures began to rise in late June 1936. Cooler weather returned briefly until July 5 when the temperature reached 105 degrees**. On July 6 it was 105 degrees again. The overnight temperature dropped to only 81 degrees before soaring again to 105 degrees on July 7. Between July 5 and July 15 the temperature remained above 102 degrees during the day with temperatures only dipping into the 80s at night. The highest temperature came on July 14 when the thermometer hit 111 degrees. With no rain in sight newspapers began to report on crops dying. Adding to the agricultural distress were grasshoppers eating what crops were not withering away in the sun. Only a few hotels and movie theaters had air conditioning. Home cooling systems were still very rare. Families began to live in their basements during the day to keep cool. At night people slept in parks or on lawns trying to find what little comfort there was in the outdoors. The local papers continued to list those who had either died or collapsed from the heat. On July 16 the temperature finally fell under 100 degrees during the day for the first time in fourteen days with an evening temperature in the 70s. July 17 saw another record breaking day, but by July 20 the heat wave had broken and rain began to cool the area. The evening temperature even reached 67 degrees, the coolest temperature since July 3.

An estimated 89 people died locally during the 1936 heat wave. Nationwide the estimate stands at 5,000 dead.

Highs temperatures still on record from 1936: June 29 – 104° F, July 5 – 105°F, July 6° – 105°F, July 7 – 105°F, July 8 – 104°F, July 9 – 102°F, July 10 – 105°F, July 11 – 107°F, July 12 – 108°F, July 13 – 107°F, July 14 – 111°F, July 15 – 106°F, July 17 – 103°F, July 26 – 106°F, August 12 – 100°F, August 14 – 105°F, August 15 – 101°F, August 18 – 106°F, August 21 – 99°F, August 22 – 101°F, August 24 – 100°F. "

No, thank you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Am I the only one who noticed this?

As most of Peoria may be aware, Schnucks on University has remodeled. I'm guessing because Hy-Vee is opening up around the corner and they wanted to have a new, fresh look? Nevertheless, I can't find a damned thing in that store anymore (except the produce and the more prominently displayed alcohol section).

Now, right when you walk in, they have sort of an upscale deli called Chef's Express. The first time I saw this I about busted out laughing. First, it is in all capital letters. Second, the "S" in Chef's is really far spaced from the apostrophe, and looks more like it is part of the word Express. Kinda like this: CHEF' S EXPRESS. And right when you come in, you can't really see the PRESS part. Thusly, it looks like SEX. OK, Nevermind. But I bet the next time you go into Schnucks you'll look.