Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Headless Chickens and Other Stuff

Mike the Headless Chicken (pictured above) is a major celebrity in the town of Fruita, Colorado. It's an amazing story. Smack dab in the middle of the most mountainous state in the Union is a tropical bug museum. The largest silver nugget in the world was produced by the Smuggler II mine near Aspen in 1894. Its weight? Over a ton. From legendsofamerica.com: "Colorado has almost as many dead towns (about 500) as live ones (650). Mining booms and busts left the mountains littered with more than 300 ghost towns that fascinate locals and tourists. The eastern plains and western canyon lands are also haunted by more than 200 ghost towns". Does the name Katherine Lee Bates ring a bell ? It should. She wrote one of the most amazing songs ever and you know the words to it. Sitting atop Pikes Peak, Ms. Bates was duly inspired and wrote these words, "Oh beautiful, for spacious skies....". To find more offbeat stuff  about the 38th state, click here.

Maine Minutiae : Eastport 4th

As many of you know, my family and I just returned from a short vacation to Eastport for the Independence Day Weekend. We visited her family and saw many of her old friends while we were there. Mainly (no pun intended), we spent the vast majority of our time downtown soaking up the atmosphere. As we walked into town, guys were putting one final spitshine on their classic cars. These oldies but goodies brought back many memories of my Dad and his love of older cars and hot rods. At the other end of town, Isabella (here with her cupcake decorating ribbon) and I took a guided tour of the U S Navy FFG DeWert. Lt. Tatel showed and told us how the crew went about their daily lives and gave us a verbal thumbnail sketch of what it's like in a combat zone. A few minutes after the tour of the ship, Bailey was in the "bouncy house", well, bouncin'. The parade included a visit from Tigger and, my personal favorite, Spongebob Squarepants ! The Grand Finale was a tremondous fireworks display over the bay. As usual, I had a great time celebrating the 4th of July in Eastport with my wife and kids and the in-laws and thousands of other patriotic Americans.

Texas Tidbits : Texas Is The "Stickiest" State

Texans pride themselves on being Number One. That's true in almost all aspects of Texas life, be it football, Mexican Food or pretty women. We like being the biggest, best and first. Apparently our desire to live and stay in Texas is at the top of the list, too. Acoording to the Pew Research Center, The Lone Star State is at the pinnacle of "sticky" states - "sticky" being that of all Texas residents, almost 76% of them are Texas-born and have stayed in Texas in to adulthood. So, chances are the guy at work sitting in the cubicle next to you is a Native Texan. Contrast that to the number of "sticky" Mainers at about 55%. (Washington, D.C. is the worst at 13%...go figure) This statistic tells me a few things. One, Texans think Texas is a great place to live and  raise a family. Two, Texans feel that the way the state is run by the Texas Legislature is, on the whole, consistent with their own beliefs, i.e., no state income tax and  fairly low taxes all around, unlike places such as California. Three, Texas has an abundance of natural resources (oil, agriculture, technology, land) that allow it to be pretty self-sufficient. Four, when you live in such a locale, why the hell go somewhere else?

(Hat tip : Denise Beasley Carter)

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