Monthly Archives: July 2010

Three States Plus One Plus a Few More (Plus Some Overseas Places, Too)

Sexy Russian Spy Lady

This blog first published on June 14, 2010 with this Award-Winning (OK…my Mom gave me a Dinky Button because she liked it) post about Outlaw Sam Bass . Over the last six weeks you’ve been incredibly supportive of a wet-behind-the-ears Middle Aged First Time blogger. And I thank you for that. I am honestly humbled by your generosity, but not so impressed that you don’t have something better to do than read this drivel  well-researched documentary information. I say that with love in my heart. On to the point : you’ll notice on the home page a widget for “Flag Counter”. As you can tell, it shows where my readers are located by country. So far, I am a major disappointment  big hit in the USA, Canada, France, Great Britain, Taiwan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and I am HUGE in Russia and the Ruskies haven’t sent me a single sexy Russian spy lady NOT ONE!! in return. WTF, comrades? I am, today, gonna share some Super Duper Secret Inside Blogger Information with you. If the Russians won’t send the Sexy Russian Lady Spies to me, I’ll share with you for free. Take that you Commie bastards! This link will give you a breakdown of  which state/country my readers are in and how many of them there are. These 259 unique visitors have viewed Three States Plus One over 1300 times in just six weeks. I thank you and am forever in your debt…unless the Russians send over some Sexy Female Spy Ladies. Then all bets are off. 🙂

Toby

Quick note : When you click the link above, be sure to expand each listing on Flag Counter by clicking on the “+”. Doing that will give you a little more detail on who’s where.

UPDATE : My wife says if I have anything to do with any Russian Spy Women, sexy or not, she will cut off my “caviar”, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Maine Minutiae : Presque Isle – Peninsula City

Aroostook County is an unspoiled diamond on what is called ‘The Crown of Maine”. That’s waaaaaay up north for the uninitiated. Aroostook County is a large area, bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Presque Isle is the major city in The County, as it is sometimes called. The city gets it name from the French word meaning peninsula. You see, Presque Isle is a peninsula formed by the Aroostook River and Presque Isle Stream. For a period of time, nobody was even sure if the town was in the USA or Canada, but that was settled the good old fashion way – war! Wikipedia states : “Originally known as Fairbanks for its founder Dennis Fairbanks, it was settled in 1828 in land that was unknown to be Canadian or American. The Aroostook War broke out in 1838 because of boundary disputes with Canada, which were resolved in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The township was incorporated from Plantations F, G and H on April 4, 1859 as Presque Isle..” Today, being firmly ensconced in the US, Presque Isle is a bustling city of 9500 and a center for commerce and business. You’ll also find the University of Maine- Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College as well as a nationally recognized K-12 school system. There’s a chance that the potatoes you had for supper last night came from Presque Isle or The County. To get a bit more on the history of Presque Isle click here. By the way, here’s a note for you Mainers : the Northern Maine Fair gets underway today and runs for the next 8 days! Have a great weekend!

Texas Tidbits : Woodville – Where Fish.Fear.Me.

I have been around the coffee cup hunting the handle. I’m certainly not the most well-traveled guy in the metaphorical room, but I’ve been fortunate enough of to have seen much of this country from coast to coast, north to south. This is especially true of my beloved Texas. If you had a map of Texas, looked at El Paso and followed I-10 to San Antone, then I-37 all the way to Corpus Christi, the area below and left of .the Interstates is the only area of Texas I have not seen, but I’ll conquer that part of the state soon. Long story short (I know; it’s too late for that), as far as the Lone Star State goes, I’ve been there, done that. One place consistently stands out in my mind in the approximately 200,000 square miles of Texas I’ve seen. The 3.2 square miles that is Woodville. Woodville has no 100,000 seat football stadium or behemoth amusement park to attract visitors or tourists. To me, it has some things much more valuable and welcoming, its people and the gift from God of the land that surrounds it. The scenery and natural beauty around Woodville offer a guy like me, thankfully, something that can’t be unseen. I haven’t been there but once in the last fifteen years, but my friends and the places in Woodville are as fresh and vivid as if I were there a few minutes ago. Martin Dies State Park, home of Dam B (B. A. Steinhagen Lake), is a great place to camp and fish. I will point out to you that when you see a sign in the park that says something like “Beware of Alligators”, they mean beware of alligators! Dam B and the surrounding countryside are home to some of the best fishing I have EVER experienced. Ivanhoe Lakes, south of town on Hwy. 69, is a residential community with several private lakes on the property. These lakes harbor some huge bass. I was lucky enough to know some folks who lived there, and at Ivanhoe Lakes, Fish.Fear.Me. On the north end of Dam B is the confluence of the Neches and Angelina Rivers. (In the Angelina link, Sam Rayburn Lake is on the right and the river is below the dam) The spot where the two rivers merge into Dam B is a sight to behold. The Neches is muddy and brown, while the Angelina is almost Royal blue – the contrast is amazing, as if the Good Lord got out His Heavenly Paint Pallet and decided to make a colorful imaginary border between the two. South of Woodville is Village Creek and the State Park named for it. The creek is so wide that is almost a small river and it is loaded with bass, crappie and catfish. Village Creek and the Angelina rate as my two favorite fishin’ holes out of the literally thousands I have decimated. Fish.Fear.Me. Just ask the ones in Village Creek. 🙂 On the outskirts of Woodville are many small communities – Warren, Fred, Spurger, Village Mills and more – that play host to dozens of creeks that run like aquatic ribbons throughout the area. I was kind enough to leave a few fish to repopulate the local watershed, so you, too, can enjoy what has brought me thousands of hours and hundreds of days of what I call “goin’ to Church” – just me and God. I talked, He listened and I was Baptized in the Spirit. Thank you, Lord for this piece of Paradise and giving me the privilege of reaping its Bounty and becoming Your son and you my Father. Amen.

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 colorado.com : “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 coloradoguy.com.

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.

Maine Minutiae : York

On the southwestern coast of Maine sits Portland, the state’s largest city. Part of the metro Portland area is the town of  York, one Maine’s better-known summer resorts. Founded in 1638 by English settlers, York is actually the fourth name the town has gone by. According to yorkmaine.org : “York is actually the fourth name that the town has known.  The earliest records refer to the general area as Agamenticus, after the original inhabitants.  The first English settlers, having come from the region of Bristol, England, lent that name to the town until it became a chartered city under Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who renamed it Gorgeana in 1642.  The name York was appointed after the fall of the Loyalists under Cromwell in 1652, commemorating the town (York, England) in which Cromwell defeated the King’s forces.” York has also been host to many famous authors/writers, Mark Twain chief among them. Sandy beaches, lighthouses, golf courses, museums…find them all in York. Another cool thing in York is Mount Agamenticus, the tallest mountain on the Southern Maine coast. At the summit, 692 feet above sea level, the view of the Atlantic is spectacular, with a glimpse of Boston, about 75 miles away, not out the question! That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I find more to like about living in Maine with every Maine Minutiae I post. Add York to the list.