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Opinions

Subliminal road-rage?

Food for Thought

I can’t help but wonder just how much the design of today’s cars influences the rising prominence of road-rage on our highways. One can’t help but see faces on oncoming cars, with the grille suggesting a toothy grin, and the headlights representing eyes. Some sports cars, with their sleek profiles have always brought to my mind the image of a predatory shark.

Home front update

Walkin'

The old linoleum floor in my parent’s Chicago home was the big topic of conversation during a recent family gathering to celebrate Dad’s 90th birthday.

New car, no sodas allowed

Walkin'

At 224,000 miles, my old green Honda and I have driven the equivalent of nine times around planet earth.
It was brand new in 1998. Bill Clinton was president and clinging to his office after an affair with an intern became big news. The Unabomber was in jail and the federal budget balanced for the first and only time since WWII.
Like the responsible budget, the new car smell didn’t last for long.

It’ll probably self-destruct

Food for Thought

I don’t think the pay-for-TV people need to work too hard to eliminate the competition of so-called “free” television. Judging from the direction it seems to be heading, it’s going to self-destruct within a few years. And we’ll all be stuck with cable and satellite, and then we will really be sorry.

The Food Wars: Honey, we’re not Italian

Food for Thought

For some reason, even though neither of us had a single drop of Italian blood in our veins, we have always eaten a lot of pasta and other Italian foods. The differences we had over that part of our food preferences seem to have been founded in his belief that all Italian foods should involve tomato sauce in some form or other.
My mother’s one and only Italian recipe produced a very basic spaghetti and meatballs, in a simple tomato sauce spiced up with onions, garlic, salt, pepper and (horror of horrors) chili powder.

Honeymoons past

Walkin'

“My wife and I spent the first night of our honeymoon at the Golden Door,” the old man at the end of bar told us. We were on the 10th day of our two-week bike trip, sipping a beer and chatting up the locals at the Wind Up Lounge in Traer, population 1,703.

Food fights. This means war

Food for Thought

During my college days, I’d learned that Chinese restaurants provided a menu that let diners get sufficiently full, and at the same time, save them money over comparable meals in more traditional restaurants. My mother had always made her version of chow mein, which she served with those crisp little fried noodles that you never see in real Chinese restaurants, and I had discovered fried rice and egg rolls while in college. My attempts to indoctrinate my new husband to such foods failed dismally until he spent several days with an old school friend in Washington D.C.

Food fights. The initial skirmishes

Food For Thought

My mother made stew often in winter. It was crowded with big chunks of tender beef, potatoes, carrots and onion in a rich sauce similar to thin gravy, laced with garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. It had simmered most of the day in a big kettle on the stove, filling the house with its enticing aroma and, steaming up the kitchen windows. His mother made soup. A clear, tea-colored broth swimming with bits of meat and vegetables and reminiscent of last Sunday’s roast beef.

Bacon, hot dog cannons, fish or no fish

Walkin'

Quick: Which Iowa university has the Spartans as its team mascot?
Is it a) the University of Iowa, b) Iowa State University, or c) Dubuque University?
Sabra and I do what we call credit card camping while on our bike trips. Maybe in our younger days we’d be up for setting up a tent, but the older we get, sleeping on the ground becomes less appealing. Roughing it, for us, is a Motel 6.

The high cost of prosperity

Every year I try to make at least one pilgrimage to my husband’s hometown in northwest Iowa. There are friends and family there, and a little brick house that has been in the family for many generations since they arrived in Graettinger from Oklahoma in the ’20s. Not far from the Minnesota border, there are several lovely glacial lakes within a few minutes’ drive from the town. The soil is black and rich– some of the best farm land in the world– fields of corn and beans stretch, lush and healthy, for miles.

Water over the dam

Walkin'

Free, men’s Oskgosh overalls, size 56, never worn, call…
I read this ad in the Keota Eagle shortly before pushing off for Oskaloosa on a dreary misty morning.
I always make it a point to read the local newspapers while on the road and have found some gems over the years. My favorite was one that read, “found $300 in the bank depository without a deposit slip call to tell us who you are.”
The ads exemplify one of the things I love about our bicycling trips; the people. Not only is it interesting to talk to someone new but we’ve received so much kindness from strangers it’s amazing.

On the road again

Walkin'

This year’s ride started as planned Thursday morning. After winding our way through the familiar streets and trails of Iowa City we soon found ourselves on Black Diamond Road, a remote ribbon of tar going from nowhere to no place. Sometimes I wonder why I love cycling but rolling quietly over roads like the Black Diamond brings it all back. It’s the sun on your back, the forgotten cemetery you would have missed if in a car, the smell of clover, the time to remember and reflect while you inch your way along… At mile 16 we arrived at the KTZ’s Roadhouse in Windham.