Erie, PA

I was just posting about Amtrak when the news came on the TV that the deranged killer of Cleveland had shot himself in Erie PA. On our trip in October we stopped in Erie. We were driving alongside a body of water and I suddenly realized it was Lake Erie!  We’re both childish enough to be thrilled at seeing another Great Lake and as we approached Erie, it was inviting enough that we changed our plan and decided to overnight there rather than moving on to Cleveland. I’m glad we did.

Erie is a wonderful little city in the grip of depression.  I hadn’t really seen the Rust Belt up close  and it was striking.  On one side of town were the pubs and cafés and a new Sheraton right on the water. On the other were broken down businesses and rotting houses.  Broken down people, too. The Sheraton was SOLD OUT on a Monday night, I’m assuming for a conference. We stayed at the Avalon, which was a deal at $75. We didn’t check out the McDonald’s where the killer social worker killed himself- the Avalon had a great breakfast.  We found good Chinese food in Erie, also, and the lake views were magnificent. 

If I’m in the neighborhood again I would definitely stop in Erie.  A lot of the tourist attractions had already closed down for the season or we would have gone on a lake cruise. I love travel, even to weird places. Especially to weird places.

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The Ignoramus in the White House

The unhinged man-child who is currently our President is a constant embarrassment as the extent of his ignorance and inexperience becomes ever more clear.  He has no philosophy, no values and no curiosity.  It took China’s Xi a whole ten  minutes on the phone to talk Trump out of the idea that China would be able  to “help”  with North Korea. The steady diet of scandal, nepotism, and incompetence goes on and on. Is all this just a plot to prepare us for the advent of President Pence?

For a good account of Don the Con’s educational deficiencies, read HERE.

Happy Easter? Bah, Humbug!

***Here’s an oldie but a goodie in the holiday spirit.***

Easter is my least-favorite holiday.  At Christmas you get good chocolate and lots of presents.  At Easter you get Peeps. No comparison.

As a kid growing up in Eureka, I was subjected to all kinds of barbaric treatment by well-meaning family members. I HAD to have a new coat, made from scratch by a lady on “A” Street, Audrey Hansen and her mother. Anyone remember them? Every coat involved two or three fittings all of which involved repeatedly being stuck with pins. These days we’d call it child abuse. The ladies were still in business when I was in sixth grade and had to have a Tiger Lily costume for the Christmas Pageant. More pins.

My normal hair wouldn’t do for Easter, either. My grandmother would march me down to Daly’s to have my hair permed. Remember that salon on the mezzanine level?  The sulphurous fumes from the frying hair filled the whole store.  Ah, the good old days.

Like it or not, Easter is a big holiday for retail spending. The National Retail Federation tells us each of us will spend $140 on Easter this year.  I’m not even close. I bought some Reese’s and a Paas egg coloring kit.  Don’t ask.  Our Easter Dinner will be a pork roast rescued from the freezer. I like to slow-cook them so that the house smells good for hours.  

That NRF article includes some fascinating data on how people plan to spend the holiday. almost half of you will be in church.  Which is good.  I don’t go myself, but I definitely  approve of church. Almost a third of you will be surfing the web on Easter, maybe doing some online buying. I asked the friendly staff at Partrick’s the other day about their holiday sales and they reported that while their big days are Christmas and Valentine’s,  Easter comes in a close third,  representing maybe 15% of yearly revenues. That’s pretty much the same as on the national level.  

So Happy Easter, everyone.  Support your local candy store and don’t make your kids get their hair fried. And go to the Zoo. It’ll make you feel good.

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Sara Bareilles just keeps on racking them up

Eureka’s own Sara Bareilles is making more news on Broadway. Her musical “Waitress“, which opened last spring at the Brooks Atkinson, continues its run with the composer herself taking on the title role of Jenna, a diner waitress. She’ll be there for the ten weeks following March 31and  they’re not selling tickets after June 30  so move now if you want to see our girl.  Decent tickets go for $170.  

It’s amazing to me that so little attention is paid to her.  What other Eurekan in the musical world has had such success?  Nominated for a Grammy ten times , for God’s sake,  yet the average Eurekan  has never heard of her.  What’s that quote about “a prophet without honor”? The Chamber should set a “Sara Bareilles Day” and we should have a parade. We don’t have a lot of celebrities and never hear from most of them.  Guy Fieri isn’t really from Eureka but is incredibly generous to the  Ferndale schools and always shows up for the County Fair. Jeff Bridges has never been helpful to the town where his father grew up. I don’t know where MIke Patton is now.  

You can read about Sara on page 14 of the April 3rd edition of the New Yorker. Sorry, link not available.

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Gonsea Restaurant Closed- Now Reopened

The Gonsea, that place on the way out of town at 2335 4th Street, has been closed by the County for health violations.

The Times-Standard’s account is HERE.

Personally, I wont miss the place.  We only ate there half a dozen times, were never impressed.  They were expensive and uninspired. I usually avoid restaurants that try to be both Chinese and Japanese at once. The Gonsea had a sign in front offering “Japanese sushi”.  Is there any other kind???  German sushi??? Polish sushi??

I also hated the name.  “Gonsea”,   it turns out  IS a legit Chinese name  meaning celebration or holiday.  But its a dumb name for a restaurant.  Invokes no food images or suggestions of deliciousness.  l say they might as well stay closed, although I hate to see folks losing their jobs.

May I suggest as alternatives the always -reliable Hunan in Henderson Center,  the Szechuan Village in Arcata or the good old China Buffet just down the street from the Gonsea in Eureka.  We’ve used the CB for parties.  Check out their catering menu! And if you have any other recommendations for Chinese, send them our way. We’d love to hear them.

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Are We Being Manipulated By Pix of Burning Babies?

Yes, Assad is a monster. But we should not act out of emotion to give our unhinged President the idea that he can unilaterally declare the war he wants so badly to distract from his domestic failures. There was no “emergency” here. Trump should have gone to Congress, period. For once in my life, I agree with Rand Paul.

What do you think?

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