Summer has many “food seasons.” For example, in early summer there is strawberry season. By mid summer tomatoes are coming into their own along with cucumbers. Late in the summer is sweet corn season. In each of the “food seasons” there are celebrations in some communities focused on the harvest of a particular food. The annual Urbana (Illinois) Sweet Corn Festival is one such venue that draws people in from all around central Illinois and then some. If you love sweet corn this is the place to be.
The machinery is right out of the history books. A steam tractor supplies energy. A cornhusker takes on the tedious work of cleaning thousands of ears of corn.
What you get is hot buttered sweet corn that is out of this world.
This is real butter. Even if you are on a diet, one ear of corn is worth following off the wagon.
How Sweet It Is!
But the festival is more than corn. There are street concerts, food trucks and activities for children. The Urbana Sweet Corn Festival has something for everyone. If you are in the area next August, you may want to add this to your calendar for a fun weekend.
What could be more fun on a beautiful summer evening than an exciting Cubs game at Wrigley Field? The temperatures were in the low 80’s and high 70’s with a light breeze as the sun slowly set over the Chicago skyline. People were getting off at Addison Avenue, walking from neighbor hoods and parked cars. Vendors were selling their wears in the streets and sidewalks and bars like Murphy’s were packed with early arrivers to the game.
The Mariners started out with a home run and a run batted in for each of the first three innings. At the top of the 4th, the Cubs were down 6 to 0, a tough hole to begin the first third of the game. Ironically the Mariners walked two cubs in the 4th and Rizzo struck out with three men on base. At the Bottom of the 9th the Mariners were leading 6 to 3 when the Cubs came to bat. No way could they pull this off, right! Wrong. The Cubs went on to win the game at the bottom of the 12th with a score of 7 to 6.
This was a fun event for family, grandparents and their grandchildren, young and old couples, and friends getting together for a good time. It happens all over the US every spring, summer and fall.
My daughter and son-in-law gave us tickets for opening day of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and it was great. There is so much to do, see, and experience. Anyone traveling near Houston in early March should try to add this adventure to their travel itinerary. There is something for all ages and at all times during the day and evening.
We started the afternoon at 4:00 pm walking the carnival. Here you relive your youth by winning a prize for your significant other, take some rides, be amused and of course, gorge yourself on just about anything you can think of to eat.
We watch small children ride sheep, “Mutton Bustin’.” It was exciting to watch and a little scary for some of them.
Walking into the concert, we had a nice view of the carnival. My wife wearing cowboy (girl) boots which is normal footwear along with jeans and hat for the event.
STAY OUT! DO NOT ENTER! This is the feeling I got when I popped into Washington DC for a day while I was in Virginia for two weeks. I hadn’t been there in a while. In the mid 1970’s I had occasion to do research in the Library of Congress and the National Archives while living in a boarding house near the Supreme Court building. I was also present at the Watergate hearings. For a while I lived in Alexandria, VA in the early 1980’s and worked in DC. The city has so much to offer the world, art, architecture, history, philosophy, music, and good restaurants.
I was really taken aback at my last visit. It felt like an armed camp. The only thing missing were soldiers walking around with automated weapons. Every parking or delivery entrance I passed along the Mall had two types of security barriers. I entered the multi-million dollar waiting room in the capital (built so Harry Reid and the other representatives of the “people” wouldn’t smell the perspiration from the visitors) then was herded into cattle like pathways for and after my security check. The tour was over after we saw three rooms. That was an abomination. Without some prior reading or knowledge of the Capital, visitors would have no idea what they missed. After the tour, I asked the guide why we didn’t see the old senate, the former Supreme Court chambers, the House and Senate chambers. The response, “This is the busy season, we don’t have time.” The only way you can see the House and Senate chambers is with a pass from your representatives/senators, even if they are not in session.
My quick visit to the Library of Congress was no less disappointing. After getting through security I stopped to put on my belt back on. The only thing one could see beyond the book store was the lobby and a Plexiglas enclosed balcony around the rotunda overlooking the reading room. I saw the Gutenberg Bible shoved off to one corner of the lobby in front of what would have been the door leading to the reading room. I remember working in there, going with the librarian to the stacks and walking down some beautiful halls and rooms with great art and architecture.
We took a bus around the mall and I noticed that the road around the Lincoln Monument was closed and partially made into a walkway. The parking lot to the Jefferson Memorial was also closed.
I understand the need for security, but I am left wondering how much impact domestic and foreign terrorism have permanently had on our lives and how much security is used as a shield to keep the people from the US capital. I wonder what the impact is on our representatives and civil servants who are more barricaded than ever behind security that also build barriers to its citizens and visitors. It would seem that this behavior would insulate those from inside the beltway from those they represent and work for outside the beltway.
In light of the recent terrorists attacks in Europe and Africa security in and around Washington, DC has tightened. It is an obvious target for people wanting to damage our cultural icons, destroy our history, our people and our way of life. But this is not the first time in our history that we have lived under attack. I hope to see the day when some of these barriers can come down.
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year you are most likely experiencing cold, rainy, icy and snowy weather. It won’t be long now before some of us get “cabin fever,” that irresistible urge to break out of the house to somewhere, anywhere, just to get out of the house. Here’s a tip, check out your local museum. If you are near a large city you are likely near one of the country’s best places to visit, indoors, away from the wind and cold. These are great places to renew your interests, learn more about something you perhaps haven’t taken the time to consider.
Last month we were visiting my son and his family and we decided to visit one of the Smithsonian’s museums in Washington. It was a short drive for us. I had a lot of fun looking at vintage aircraft up to and including the Space Shuttle, “Discover.” But here is another tip, don’t go with young children unless you have a stroller. We expected to rent one, but they didn’t rent them out so our time was reluctantly short. I included a few pictures below and some kinks to museums that may be near you.
Happy traveling indoors for all of us who are locked into winter time in the Northern Hemisphere.
Today is the last leg of my trip home and something like back to the future. I leave South Korea at 11:40 am on Tuesday and arrive at Chicago, Illinois at 9:00 am on Tuesday. The flight was about 13 hours. I had the same good service I had on other Korean Air flights. I left at -9F from Chicago and returned to -9F. In between my ranged from a high of 95F in Cairns, to a cool 70F in Queensland, to 40F in Inchon. These were all daytime temperatures.
I returned home and began the process of unpacking and preparing for work which began the next day.
This is the first day of my three-day trek back to Illinois. Today I flew from Queenstown, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. The flight was several hours and about 1,200 miles. When I got to Sydney about 3:30 pm, I checked into my hotel at the airport then took a subway downtown. The car I road in looked new. Parts of the subway system looked new and other parts looked like vintage 1940’s, but always clean. Today was Australia Day. I first stopped at Cockle Bay (Darling Harbor) where there would be fireworks after sundown. I walked around the crowd, had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and listed to some music before leaving for Sydney Cove (Sydney Harbor) to see the famous Sydney Opera House and bridge crossing the bay. It was fun and I wish I had more time to stay to enjoy all of the festivities. I took the subway back to my hotel for an early night.
Today I left Sydney on Korean Air for Inchon, South Korea, the second leg of my trip. The flight was about 10 hours. We were treated very well, two meals, snacks, real silver ware and wine with our dinner. There was plenty of electronic entertainment and opportunities to charge notebooks, e-readers, etc.
The airport at Inchon is like a combination of Rodeo Drive, Michigan Avenue and Fifth Avenue. They had a small string ensemble playing, and fun things to learn and do at the Korean cultural store. The only thing I didn’t see was a movie theater.
I spent the night in a hotel in Inchon. It was a more traditional South Korean establishment with slippers inside a vestibule leading to another door into the bedroom. Shopping around the hotel was not like the airport. I would have liked to explore Inchon and Soul but didn’t have the time. But what I saw was intriguing.