“Give Trump a Chance!”

I can’t believe the folks who are claiming they didn’t know what they were voting for when they voted for The Jerk. To some extent I can sympathize, since he doesn’t tell the same story for more than a day at a time, but anyone who is surprised by his putting fascist Bannon in the White House or packing his financial appointments with the same Wall Streeters who raped  the citizenry before,  just hasn’t been paying attention.

I’m going to be sick of the Trump Administration before he even moves into the White House.  Sick of his clueless children too. It’s pretty clear that he won’t last out his first term. His greed is even bigger than his ego and will be his downfall when he is impeached for conflicts of interest. Get ready for President Pence.

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Should I Renew My Chamber Membership?

Here is my dues letter from the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce. I only pay $65 since I’m not running a business, but I have still pondered a lot about whether I would renew.  I was really put off when Board Chair Ken Musante announced that the Chamber  would start endorsing political candidates.  They held a forum which I missed because  I was out of town but I went to sleep on election eve thinking  that I was going to be congratulating  John Fullerton.

Ken is a good guy and I almost feel bad that it has become very clear that the Chamber’s endorsement  had very little effect on the election.  (I said ALMOST.) 

The Chamber would be well-advised to revert to its longstanding role of providing networking opportunities  and to forget electoral politics.  The Left in Humboldt is energized as never before. Take my word for it.

And yes, I’m sending in my $65.

END

 

Cutten Animal Health Center is Closing!

I’ve been taking my animals to CAHC since 1993 and have never had any complaints. Dr Humble has always been good with them and didn t try to run up the charges the way some vets do. But when I went it Tuesday to get LouLou her shots I was greeted by a sketchy looking couple who informed me that the doctor was no longer available and that the practice had been closed. The only service they were offering was to copy the vet records.  The lobby was strewn with pizza boxes. 

I knew Dr Humble had  had problems before but I thought he was great and my animals loved him. After 23 years you should at least get a cheery postcard if they’re closing. But that’s life.  If you have records down there get over there in the next day or two.. 

In Humboldt we now have a shortage of vets to go along with our shortages of doctors, nurses, surgeons and nursing-home beds.  What next?

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The Embarassment That Is Trump

A week after the election it has become clear that the American public has elected the most ignorant candidate ever to stand for election. His ignorance is matched only by his arrogance. In other words, he doesn’t KNOW how much he doesn’t know. Dragging his children into meetings with foreign leaders is just a sample of the doofus government we are looking at now.

So a week into the New Era  we have a fascist in the White House, a racist as Attorney General and a dummy calling the shots. How many more  times will this crowd of ignoramuses embarass this country before he is impeached, which will surely happen before his first term is up?  You Republicans who voted for this jackass have a lot to answer for.  A lot. 

END

Shopping For Weed In Denver

Those of you who read our account of our road trip may be forgiven for wondering why there was a black hole between Salina KS and Salt Lake City. We thought Denver deserved its own post.

Due to cowardice, we had endured our travels on Amtrak and driving West without any weed at all. The prospect of Colorado and legal weed loomed up before us, a shining city  of indulgence and relief.  Hicks that we are, we thought there would be a phalanx of weed shops at the border,  kind of like the signs at Smith River warning you of your Last Chance for cheap booze. Well, there was nothing like that.  The little town of Burlington,  with its high sidewalks and Western style storefronts, was devoid of any type of weed commerce. We asked a lady at a store who informed us “You have to go to Denver” for what we had in mind. We found a lovely little park a block from the downtown,  complete with restrooms and picnic tables and finished our Chinese  leftovers.

Chris’ GPS started directing us toward a place called “Peoria”.  I had my doubts but a couple of hours later we pulled up in front of an undistinguished building in an office park.   Peoria, it turns out, is an area near the Denver airport.  The building was clearly signed Light/Shade.  From the outside you might think it was a home decor store,  featuring window treatments. Once you go inside, it was a beehive of activity.  Someone takes your ID and you take a place in the line. There must have been thirty people working there. Compared to my usual shopping at Heart of Humboldt, this was like going to a Safeway. We fumbled though our selections.  I got some high CBD stuff labelled with the grower’s name, which I thought was interesting.   Chris got something called Golden Goat, which I think I’ve seen at HofH. I got some CBD salve.  We dropped $260. The prices for small buds were almost exactly the same as in Arcata. I was so overwhelmed  by the variety, I had to get out of there.  Te salve I bought came in a mini-mason jar with wood shavings as a cushion, like something from ULTA.

So here we were, at 5 in the afternoon  with a  horrendous traffic commute starting.  We had thought about trying to drive a couple more hours,  but in view of the fact that there were a number of motels right in the area, we  oped to stay where we were.  There was a Rodeway Inn just across the street  with a sign that said it had recently changed hands.  It was one of the nicest motels I’ve ever stayed at,  and the breakfast was excellent. ($79) For dinner we consulted the GPS and found there was a  Pizzeria Uno just a few doors down from Light/Shade.  Neither of us had been to a Uno in years but it sounded good.   Chris came back reporting that the restaurant was busy and the bar was lively and he’d had a good time.  The pizza and salad were great.  So much for Denver.

END

 

Gavin Loathesome’s Tahoe Play and Tony V’s Gubernatorial Delusions

Our Lieutenant Governor is one of my least favorite politicians.  He KNOWS he will never be governor, which is probably why he’s diving into an unpopular resort project at Tahoe. Thanks a lot, Gavin. That’s all we need, more development at Tahoe. If I had paid my subscription to the Silicon Valley Business News you’d be able to read the whole article but you can get the general idea.

(Sort of) Read about it HERE

Speaking of cretins,  former LA Mayor Tony Villaraigosa also has dreams of replacing Jerry Brown, whose boots he is not fit to lick.  Let’s all take a long winters’ nap and wake up in two years when John Chiang will be our governor. 

Now that sounds really good.

END

ROAD TRIP 2016-PART TWO

The reason we decided to drive back from the East Coast was that a) I figured we’d be tired of trains and buses by that time and b) I got a killer deal from Enterprise thru Kayak that amounted to a coast to coast rental for ten days for $220.  My only previous experience with Enterprise was the Eureka office stiffed me when I rented a car for a trip to the Bay Area.  I waited awhile for them to come up with a car,  then ended driving  my own car. I can only report that this time our experience with Enterprise could not have been better.  Here’s where we drove to/through.

Albany NY-  An old but somewhat majestic small city. It was at  this point that the GPS on Chris’ phone became really useful. We located a place to stay -a Motel 6 on Watervliet Avenue run by a nice Indian couple- clean and basic for $64- and then we got overconfident and decided to try a Chinese/Japanese hybrid on the main drag called ( I think)  the Ichiban, although when you Google it  it comes up Takara.  In any event, it was AWFUL- the worst meal of the trip. My tonkatsu was like pieces of wood and what Chris got was equally horrible. Be forwarned!

Erie PA-We had been debating whether to try to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland but stopped short of Cleveland to check out Erie PA.  We drove for several miles along the shore of Lake Erie, the drove into Erie, which seemed to be a nice town down on its luck.  Lots of empty storefronts and homeless folks- this is the northern edge of the Rust Belt-but when you go down towards the harbor, there is nice development and a Sheraton with harbor views that was totally sold out on a Monday night. The harbor 

cruise wasn’t running, this being October and all- but there were a fair amount of restaurants and I would definitely consider Erie if I were to go back. We found a hotel (we were using Trip Advisor at this point), the Avalon Hotel and Conference Center which was a real deal at $86.  Super hotel, quiet with every possible amenity, big rooms, and a nice breakfast. We got good Chinese takeout too, but I can’t recall where.

 

Terre Haute IN-  Indiana was the WIERDEST place on the trip, hands down. The state as observed from Hwy 70 is a jumble of billboard advertising  for fundamentalist churches, porn shops and Republican candidates.  We were enchanted to find a  place called Brazil IN which supposedly had three motels but when we got there we couldn’t find them. We asked at a store where the clerk said they were three or four miles down the road but she’d never seen them and couldn’t say how they were.  We decided to continue on to Terre Haute, but when we got there and inquired at the Hollday Inn, we were told the entire town had been sold out because of a training conference for the local prison.  The only place that had a vacancy was a one-star outfit called the Statesman, which, luckily, had just changed hands and was trying to improve itself.  It really wasn’t too bad-  the main flaw was a noisy heater and also the faucet which had just been installed was too short for the sink and discharged its water all over the counter instead of into the sink. The Indian proprietor was very pleasant but his English was really bad.  When we commented about  the shortage of rooms in town, his version was that there was a festival and that the vendors had taken all the rooms.  On the road into town there was a high overhead sign advertising something called the Tokyo so we took a chance.  Chris was still indignant over the horrilble meal in Albany, so when we entered  the Tokyo  he interrogated the hostess and the other staff about  where the chefs had learned their trade,  in other words, were they Japanese.  We had a very nice meal but oddly, the salad was the star of the show-  chilled, fresh, crunchy.  Terre Haute being a college town, there were some amenities, like a Borders,  so it passed the “survivable” test.

Salina KS-  Chris came up with the fact that Salina is the geographic center of the US.  All I can say is that the PEOPLE in Salina were the nicest we met anywhere, cheerful, helpful. We even found decent Chinese food! Though we can’t remember where.  Our lodging was at a Baymont Inn and was very satisfactory although they are bcoming infected with the high-bed syndrome. At least this one I could get into. We have stayed at Baymonts before in Ohio. They are all new and have a small pool that no one uses because they don’t expect to find a pool there.  Good breakfast, room $77.

Denver CO- to be addressed in a separate post.

SLC UT-  We had a very long day driving to Salt Lake and I have little memory of the drive. My receipts indicate that we stayed in a  Ramada on South State Street for $77 but I couldn’t tell you much about it.  The fact is, that we had no complaints.  Chris came up with some good Chinese takeout  and we were both extremely road-weary by that time.

Reno NV-  A long boring drive across the high desert.  Somehow we got to talking about Mexican food and the fact that Chris had never enjoyed itl.  Being a good sport, he agreed to try it once more and we found  ourselves eating a late lunch at a jolly little place called Mariscos Del Rey in Winnemucca. The bar was busy at 2pm and the food was darned good,  though not good enough to entice me back to Winnemucca or to entice Chris into trying Mexican again, though he was a good sport about it.

Reno NV-  As we approached Reno I had visions of us staying in the area near the Peppertree but the GPS guided us to Harrah’s. It was cheap ($60) but not very relaxing. The parking grage is apparently on or near the train station and when the train goes though, the noise is absolutely terrifying, like being beneath the El in Chicago. Adding to our gloom were a lot of scary stories on the TV about a first winter storm and not being able to get through the mountains the next day. The tawdry casino didn’t entice me out of the room and  we got takeout from an in-house noodle place, not bad at all. We got up at the crack of dawn and ran into torrential rains -HEAVY rains- all the way from Truckee to Sacramento, where it let up a little.

SF- We decided to spend the last night in San Francisco even though we had vowed to spend no more nights in overpriced SF but Chris came up with one of those coupon books they have at the rest stops which had a coupon for the Royal Pacific for $89. We’ve all stayed at the Royal Pacific, right?  It was MUCH nicer than I remembered, nice shower, spacious room.  It had been so long for me that my memory of the neighborhood was ‘way off;  I had thought the Yank Sing was across the street and I couldn’t find Enrico’s on Broadway where it used to be.  (Once I got back to my computer I discovered that Yank Sing has two locations now,  both south of Market,  and Enrico’s closed in 2006.)

The next day we returned the rental car to Enterprise at its Moscone Center location which was a short walk from the Transbay Terminal.  The return went smoothly although I’m still waiting for a bill for the approximately 14 toll booths we whizzed by. We parted ways -still friends- me to the 145 bus to Eureka, him to the 4pm bus to LA.  I got in after 10pm on Hallowe’en night.  The City Cab picked me up as soon as they could but I’d make other arrangements next time.   The McDonald’s closes at 11 and there’s no safe place to wait unless someone lets you in.

It’s good to be home.

END

 

 

 

 

ROAD TRIP 2016- PART ONE: Chicago; NYC; Philadelphia; Boston

The following is offered for those who may find it helpful or amusing. My Traveling Companion, Chris,  and I were on the road for almost a month -which was about a week too long- so here is the record of our journey.

We left Eureka on Oct 7 on the Greyhound to San Francisco,  since we have no direct access to AMTRAK,   The trip was uneventful and the bus stops at McDonalds in Willits as aways. We ate many McD’s meals  on this trip, especially for breakfast.  It’s cheap and it’s edible. Once in SF, we had to get to our hotel on Lombard Street and I had my first experience with Uber,  which Chris had joined just a few days before. What can you say about Uber?  IT WORKS and I hope they have it here soon.  Our hotel, the Redwood Inn, on Lombard near Gough, was totally forgettable –  fridge but no microwave -and cost us $179, making it $200 with tax.  We found a great Chinese restaurant just two blocks away on Gough.   It was empty and turned out to be one of those joints that lives on takeout. It was delicious and I wish I had noted the name.

One reason I had picked the Redwood Inn was  that I was worried about connecting to the AMTRAK bus which would take us to the train at Emeryville. Our Uber picked us up on time at 645am and got us to the temporary Transbay Terminal at 200 Folsom.  From there we took an AMTRAK bus to Emeryville and we settled into our compartment.  The fare  to Chicago was $615 which included three meals a day.  The FOOD WAS GOOD, a lot better than I had remembered from our last AMTRAK trip which must have been ten years go, on the Portlend-Chicago ‘Empire Builder” with its spectacular scenery. Our current train, the California Zephyr,  was equally scenic and the views from our roommette were so good we didn’t feel the need to spend much time in the Observaton car.  The schedules have improved since I first took this train back in the ‘Seventies.  Back then I recall having to get up at the crack of dawn to enjoy the ascent ito the Sierras. This was much ore civilized and we spent the afternoon ooing and awwing and watching for wildlife, which we didn’t see.  Saw lots of mountains, though.

The beds in these compartments have to be pulled down, either by a staff person who will want to do it too early or by YOU if you are agile enough to pull yourself up to the higher level. When you’re all set up and tucked in, it’s definitely cozy and you definitely don’t have trouble sleeping.

Over the two and a half days aboard we sampled everything on their menu and discovered that the steaks and the burgers were truly outstanding.  I didn’t try the steak until the last night which was dumb since it’s all included. We had a few meals in the dining car but I found the lurching of the train unpleasant enough that  I took most of my meals in our car. Our fellow passengers were an affable group, which is usually the case on AMTRAK.

The  views outside had gone from mountains to prairies to farmland  to the industirial dreariness of thhe  long approach to Union Station.  What a beautiful station!   Can’t rememberi we took a cab or Uber to the hotel,  the City Suites in Boystown, where we’d stayed before;.  I like Boystown because I feel so safe there plus it has every kind of food or amenity  under the sun.

The Suites is on busy Belmont,  practically on top of the El station, but manages to be a charming retreat from the noise.  There was a problem with our  TV which the help couldn’t fix right away so we  were moved  to another room, twice as big as the first. It was a true suite with a separate bedroom and definitely roomy.  Our total for four nights was $794. Not cheap but not a rip either.

I love Chicago so much I enjoy just being there,  not to mention that everywhere you look there’s something interesting.  Dinners included a Thai noodle place called Cozy Noodles and Rice on Sheffield, Blaze Pizza and Potbelly Sandwiches, and an Austrian dinner at Julius Meinl, an outpost of an Austrian chain of coffeehouses  oddly located just down from Wrigley.  We had a great meal also at Sylvia’s, a Polish place ‘way down Belmont.  We loved the Blue Man Group again and also a visit to the Annoyance Theater and Bar, where the show included young comics and  a stripper (!).  On our last morning we took a bus to Oak Park where the Architecture Institute led a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright houses;.  It was a beautiful morning and a great way to end our Chicago visit.

New York- the Lakeshore Limited train to NYC is only about 24 hours and doesn’t have the spectacular scenery of the California stretch.(Departs at 930 pm and arrives in NYC at 630 pm.  $573 for the two of us,)  We got into Penn Station and found our way to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) downstairs. It really was only a fifteen-minute ride and our hotel, the Asiatic,  was a ten-minute walk. Flushing is the San Gabriel Valley of New York, about a million Chinese in the vicinity. If Chris had’t been there, I would have found it terrifying because English street signs are in short supply. Our room at the Asiatic cost us $125 on the Saturday and $116 on the Sunday and Monday, including an okay breakfast.  A room in Manhattan would have been at least three times as much.  I hate subways so I stayed close to Flushing but Chris checked out Greenwich Village and brought me a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s. It was remarkable. The Asiatic is a few doors down from the famous  Shanghai Joe’s, which may or may not be the inventor of the famous Soup Dumplings which have to be tasted to be believed. (They chill broth and construct the dumpling around it, then boil it.  They are unbelievable and I don’t know of anyplace in Eureka that has them.)

Philadelphia-  a brief train ride through New Jersey brought us to Philly, which was THE BEST PLACE WE VISITED, BY FAR.  We had good weather for the three days, which helped. We stayed in the  Center City area which is close to the Independence Hall and close enough to the hop-on-hop-off bus that we got free pickups at our hotel, The Alexander Inn, at 12th and Spruce.  The Inn was built in 1900 but has been lovingly renovated and I can’t recall a better stay. All the while we were traveling we were rushing “home” each night to catch up on the latest chapter of the soap opera I came to think of as “The Sins of Donald Trump.” Philadelphia was satisfactorily festooned with Clinton/Kaine signs, in fact the folks at the Alexander Inn were stashing signs in the lobby for the folks who were tabling on the corner. I can’t say much about the Inn except that it was WONDERFUL and the location couldn’t have been better, just a few blocks from the Reading Terminal Market, a kind of uber food court that takes up a whole block. Our room was $129 a night and I would definitely stay there again if I should  be lucky enough to return to Philadelphia again. The city is green, charming, lively and historic with delights on every corner. I realize were were probably in the best part of town, but it was great.  Let me close with a note about the food. We ate a couple of takeout meals from Giorgio on Pine Street, a couple of blocks away. and both their pizza and their pasta was excellent. A short bus ride took us to the Sakura on Race Street, a Chinese-Japanese hybrid of the type I usually avoid but this was  great.  Soup dumplings! Everything was excellent and we would have gone back  if we had had another day. Anyway, FIVE STARS for Philadelphia.

Boston-  I didn’t see much of Boston because  we only stayed two nights,  and it rained the whole time.  And I hated the hotel , the Omni Parker House,  which we were really jazzed about staying at (I don’t often go for fancy hotels).  The fabled Parker House , where JFK proposed to Jackie,   has a beautiful lobby and plenty of obsequious staff but the rooms are in a nine-story tower, not in an old building. For a “bargain” rate of $269 for a Senior ADA room, you get a room with a couple of grab bars as their concession to accessibility  and a bed that was so high off the floor I couldn’t get in!  I won’t describe the contortions I went through to get into that bed.  I’m 5’2″ and the bed was at chest level.  I ran into this once before , at a elegant antebellum B&B in South Carolina,  but there they gave you an elegant stepstool to climb in with.  But at the Omni, no stepstool, no paper, no breakfast, no nuthin’. As for food, I tried a lobster roll, my first, and was vaguely disappointed. It was from Luke’s and  while lobster itself was good the roll was too sweet  for my taste. This was very close to Chinatown and Chris came up with good takeout  fro a place having its grand opening,  called he Taiwan Cafe or something like that. The food was very good.  I  didn’t  want to go out in the rain but Chris wanted to see Harvard so he took a subway ad came back to report that he hadn’t been able to access  the library there because  he was not a Harvard student. He found his way to the MIT campus, which had looser rules, and ended up taking a dump in the basement bathroom of the MIT library. He was properly energized after this experience and ready to move on to the next phase of our trip.