Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Well, that was a very good getaway, considering it was a one-night. Got my gal a tablet, Motorola Xoom…and it’s a hit. The hotel did everything right, the food in the restaurant was completely awesome.
The only pall cast over the trip is a generalized trend I’m seeing unfold over a much, much broader timeframe. The wild Sonoma Coast is being overrun with hippies. We went zipping on out there, with my fine flabby torso all decked out in this tee shirt:
…which now, as is always the case, draws lots of positive comments and thumbs-up. Nevertheless, by the time we came back, I was thinking I should have packed the one that looks like this:
I can’t blame the establishments for this. The hippies in Berkeley and San Francisco have begun to imagine US 101 N as a closer version of Europe around the Mediterranean. They seem to be saying “Let’s spend the weekend pretending we’re in Milan.” From the point of view of the gift shops and restaurants and hotels, it’s a cash cow. So they’re starting to mutate.
Now, I do have my preferences on things, but I’m a live-and-let-live kinda guy. So what’s my beef with the hippies? I didn’t have any complaints when you saw them here & there…I didn’t even complain when you saw them all over the place. Hippies can be interesting people. No, my complaint is when you can’t get away from them. Let’s face it, since the sixties the hippie lifestyle has been one of cognitive dissonance. “We just want to be left alone to grow our vegetables & whatever, and do our own thing, man”…coupled up with…”change the world, one [insert name of incremental thing] at a time. Man.” They like having the props that come with wanting to do-your-own-thing — freedom lovers — but they aren’t wholly dedicated to that. In fact, not even in the slightest. All too often, they want to make other people do things their way, but not admit to it.
And this comes up during the periodic outings to the surf. I’ll sum it up in one single word: Food. Everything, lately, is Tuscan…or…a charming little bistro on the Champs-Élysées. And you know what that means: A big white plate, with a little piece of something tasty but non-nourishing in the middle and some kind of sauce drizzled over it in an elegant pattern…seventy bucks.
No, I’m not here for a cheeseburger. I can get that anywhere. But I’m not here just for the taste, either. This is an adventure for us, we’re going to want to get out of the car, walk long distances, maybe even climb in some places. We don’t want to have to stay in the car or sit in hot tubs, conserving energy to avoid getting that low-blood-sugar-headache feeling. And really, just speaking for myself, I’ve noticed when I start panicking over this…that’s when I get fat. It isn’t the actual eating, it’s the ordering double-size-just-in-case that makes me fat. Since I was raised in the old school mold of “clean your plate.”
So in the long run, the European smaller-portions thing doesn’t work for me. What seldom to never gets mentioned is that European portions-control is tailored around European physical activities; which, near as I can make out, consists of sitting at a tiny table on a tiny stool with a tiny teacup on a tiny plate, and bellyaching about Americans. Well, this American likes to spend some calories doing things.
I hasten to add that none of this culinary bitching applies to the restaurant in the above-linked hotel. When I say the food was awesome, I mean…just go. This chef knows his stuff.
We had a complete blast. This hotel has lots of give-a-damn in everything it does, and we wished we stayed longer. More on that below.
Back to the hippie-rant.
There are other irritants besides the menu overhauls taking place; these other things I consider to be minor, to the point of being marginal, because unlike the food, they do not affect me in any way. Except maybe for the bill. Aesthetic things which seem to absorb vast amounts of energy and effort, which are completely lost on me. Lots of customs imported from Europe. Our favorite place has become an eclectic mix of things from my ancestral homeland of Scandinavia with Sardinia and Sicily thrown into the mix, and the Native American architecture built into the structure that cannot be hastily removed.
And that’s what inspires this little screed. We do like to sit by the fire pit with the hippies, drinking wine with them and exchanging some life stories. That’s what the weekend or vacation is about, and hippie or not, by the time one is midway through one’s sixties one generally has something of interest to say. I might even go so far as to say, that’s what hippies are for. The “counterculture” does pay off in this setting. Sitting by a fire pit, swapping stories. Hippies have ‘em. Although, it is clear, they have learned enough about decent civilized behavior over the years, to only speak in mixed company about a tiny morsel of what they really have to say.
But to take over the whole coastline — and that’s what has happened here — is a different thing. If the hippies can make it up to Timber Cove, which lies beyond thirteen miles of treacherous winding mountain highway even the goats fear to tread, that’s approaching a monopoly status. Hell, it’s all the way there. And that’s depressing. No point trying to drive any further trying to get away from ‘em. The thirteen miles is the most formidable barrier there is.
So if we must share the place over the weekend, let go of the freakin’ menu, you hippies. Here’s this ocean, with all its treasures, we could throw something into it we’re so close. That’s why we’re here, right? And on your way up over the treacherous and intimidating mountain pass, you see lots of — what? That’s right. Cows.
Surf. Turf. So no, this Yankee doesn’t want to see a cheeseburger on the menu. You know what I want.
No lobster tails or tenderloin in Venice, Italy, or in Oslo, Norway? Well then, that’s something America does right. Like Dilbert said, “This is the part where you agree with me, and we both get on with our lives.” Or else, you go to Venice.
Which brings me to a sensible explanation, I thought, produced by my girlfriend while she was tolerating my bitching about the cuisine, punctuated by my plaintive wailing of “What the hell is going on lately?” Her theory: It’s that damn TSA poking and prodding and searching the baby’s diapers for terrorists’ weapons and explosives.
Flying is a royal pain in the ass. So instead of flying off to Athens, or Istanbul, let’s just point the Prius toward Shoreline Highway, up past the Russian River and make-believe.
I think that makes perfect sense. The timeline matches up perfectly. Before flying turned into a complete nightmare, this was more of a cowboy country. Fireplaces that burned real wood, hiking trails with real hills, dips and valleys. Corned beef hash, biscuits & gravy, pork chops & eggs, entire pages on the menu dedicated to just steaks.
The wine lists still boast proudly of the brands that come from the local valley, as opposed to France. I hope that never changes.
I’m doing a rather sloppy job of combining my hippie-rant with my glowing praise of Bodega Bay Lodge, so the reader may end up confused. So let’s bottom-line it. The logs are Duraflame, which is not real wood but it’s good enough. They smell great. The WiFi is good, can’t say enough for the food, the adorable woodland creatures are in abundance, the swimming pool seems to be in working order although we did not partake.
The service was top-notch.
But you can’t get away from the hippies.
Update: We had a discussion the next day about the gentleman who walked over to shake my hand over the “Worst President Ever” tee shirt. The interesting thing here was, the lady and gentleman were both extremely pointed in their own deliberations about why, exactly, they agreed with the sentiment about our current President. In fact, their own thoughts on this were more crystallized than ours, which is really saying something.
The thing that really stuck out to all four of us was the opacity. It is, as I’ve observed myself, something that closely resembles a borderline mental illness. This question, then that question, then some other question, they’re all resolved with some variant of “you should not be asking that and since you did, you are not the kind of person to which this White House owes any answer.” But never with any actual information. When every single question that comes up is met with that attitude…
…well, I don’t want to mix rants here. That was theirs. Incidentally, the husband wanted to make extra sure which President was being characterized as “worst” before shaking my hand, whether it was this one or the previous. But I get the distinct impression that if he found out it was an anti-Bush tee shirt, he’d still be shaking my hand. And the wife was lamenting that the best remedy for our nation’s current woes was something it would now never see: A President Hillary.
I think they either had a mixed-marriage, Matalin/Carville thing going on…or else they were both democrats.
I find that encouraging. The jokes have been made that Barack Obama is, when all’s said & done, uniting the country after all — both sides of the fence want to see Him out of there. This is just one example of that, and an unconfirmed one since I don’t really know if they were democrats…but then, we don’t need that much supporting evidence for this, the signs are out there. It’s something that would make me worry if it was my job to get Obama re-elected. And so we do see signs of promise.
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