Thursday, July 29, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Alma - Town in the Clouds

Alma, Colorado, 10,578 feet closer to Heaven than sea level, is a town of about 200 people located between Fairplay and Breckenridge in Park County. Alma is the second highest incorporated city in the Lower 48 (Leadville is #1) so it is no surprise that it sits at the feet of five 14ers (mountains of at least 14,000 ft elevation and those mountains being Mt Democrat (14,148), Mt. Lincoln (14,286), Mt. Bross (14,172), Mt. Cameron (14,238 and Mt. Sherman 14,007). There's even a lake, Lake Kite, way up there at 12,400 feet! There are photos of Lake Kite at the link. One thing to keep in mind while viewing them, is that they were taken in Mid June! Mining, of course, is intertwined with Alma's very existence, even today. From : "the current town lies downstream from the original Alma, or Buckskin Joe, as it was known during the mining heyday. At one time, area mines produced over $1,500,000 annually, before the ore petered out and a smallpox epidemic all but wiped out town residents. Relics and spirits remind Alma visitors of the town's mining history. The Sweet Home Mine still produces world-class specimens of rhodochrosite, a mineral known for its beautiful pink rose color". The scenery around Alma is magnificent as you can see in the photo above, so, in closing, I offer you this awesome photo collection from

Maine Minutiae : Fat Guys Convention, Sardine Drop and Bingo & Ed McMahon

If that headline doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. I found it at a website called All Things Maine, and I'll be lifting their material using them as a resource on a regular basis. The site is a written snapshot of the Maine of yesteryear. I beseech you to click on the link above and give those guys the hit, they deserve it for the obviously painstaking work they've done to come up with All Things Maine. Outstanding job, ATM!
1870 Maine must have been a hoot. I suppose murder, mayhem and corruption were in a lull in Lewiston on January 21, 1870, or maybe they were just overshadowed by The Fat Man Convention held that day. The article is flat funny! Notice the seriousness of the tone of the piece. Priceless. Not to be outdone, Eastport counters the Fat Guys with its annual New Years Eve Sardine and Maple Leaf Drop, now with video! Oh those wacky Mainers! While we up here on the edge of Cauckistan are not what you would call a "hotbed of Hispanic Culture", we do have a Mexico, Maine. (Don't ask me...). Mexico, Maine has gotten by quite nicely over the years, what with missing all those raids by Pancho Villa and all. But !, the town does have a claim to fame as a place where Ed McMahon, yes the Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrr'ssssss Johnny!!!!!!! Ed McMahon, was a bingo caller! Here are Ed's own words about it. You.Can't.Make.This.Stuff.Up. Again, thanks to All Things Maine, without whom the preceding moments of hilarity would not be possible. Now, I'll be off to Hog Island, where neither women or hogs are allowed. I'm serious as dandruff. You.Can't.Make.This.Stuff.Up.

Texas Tidbits : Fort Worth - Ah Luv Yew

I am on a bit of a Nostalgia Trip this week. I don't know exactly why, but I have been thinking back on what a "colorful" life I have lived and some of the places that "colorized" me. I came into this world on Sunday, September 16, 1956 at 8:41pm in Fort Worth, Texas. Although I haven't lived in Cowtown since I was nine years old, I have always had a special spot in my heart for it. I think it's because Fort Worth is the anti-Dallas. Big D is a great city, don't get me wrong, but to me it's a bit of a smug place compared to Fort Worth. Dallas = cosmopolitan, trendy, We're-a-big-city-not-a-large-town-dammit kind of place. Fort Worth = modern but old West-ish, cosmopolitan but Cowboy, We-ain't-Dallas-and-we-like-it-that-way-podnuh kind of place. (I loved those bumper stickers that read "Foat Wuth, Ah Love Yew") My kind of place. Fort Worth is the 17th largest city in the USA and 5th largest in Texas , yet in these modern times, maintains and proudly celebrates its Western heritage. Take, for instance, the iconic Fort Worth Stock Yards. This is probably the most famous landmark in the city - loaded with history and the feel of 1870. Not far from the Stock Yards is one of the best universities in the country, TCU, home of the Horned Frogs and Alma Mater to the Purple Cloud, number 74, Bob Lilly. Corporate HQ's in Fort Worth include AMR (American Airlines), Radio Shack and XTO Energy, Fortune 500 Companies all and they do bidness in Cowtown. When I travel in my mind's time machine back to Fort Worth in the early '60's, I am suddenly at Fossil Creek fishin' for catfish with my uncles, Tony and Tim or walking the railroad tracks for miles on end and picking up souvenir railroad spikes to tote back home. Or going to one of the best zoos in the nation, the Fort Worth Zoo and the nearby Botanical Gardens. POOF ! I am six years old again on a big piece of cardboard flying down the big ass grassy hill next to the duck pond at the Zoo, Natures Roller Coaster. Six years old hiding from restless Natives and man-eating tigers and lions in the jungle that is the Botanical Gardens. A six year old future Bill Dance finally managing to reel in (with the help of my Dad's Zebco 33) the catch of a lifetime from the Duck Pond at the Zoo. You know...a six year old and Fort Worth were a mighty fine pair of Podnuhs. Foat Wuth, Ah Luv Yew.

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