September 2006

Too bad it’s so short. It seems summer intrudes on one end and winter on the other. But while Autumn is in full swing, it’s pretty spectacular.


You’ve no doubt seen those motivational posters hanging on the walls of various businesses. You may even have a few in your office. Or perhaps your tastes run more cynical and you’re a fan of Demotivational Posters. Well now you can make your own. All you need is a picture and an idea.



That means “the barrel has been tapped.” It’s Oktoberfest time in Munich, Germany. This is New Years Eve in Times  Square, except it lasts 16 days. Non-stop partying and revelry. The map below shows the location of the beer tents. (Yes, that’s plural. Very plural.)


Each tent (actually a large temporary building) holds thousands of beer drinking festivites. You’ll be stunned the first time you see one. They’re *immense* structures. Like large aircraft hangars filled with beer drinking, song singing, bratwurst eating friends. If you can’t enjoy yourself in a beer tent, well…..

Beer Tent

Did I mention that each of those blue tent-like symbols represents a separate tent? And each holds thousands of people. And scattered around the tents is the best carnival you’ve ever seen. Rides and food and vendors and people. Good times, for sure.

If you go, plan to spend a couple of weeks. You’ll have your fill of Oktoberfest after a day or two, but Munich is a beautiful city and it’s very close to the Alpine region of Garmisch and (just over the mountain) Innsbruck, Austria. September and October are the perfect weather months in Germany. Warmish days and cool nights. Usually sunny, too. Innsbruck is a great city to meander around and the Alps are like nothing you’ve ever seen. Truly spectacular.

If you’re so inclined, rent a car for a few days. Go big and get a BMW or Mercedes and enjoy the freedom that is the autobahn. There truly is no speed limit and you won’t believe how quickly you get used to traveling at 120 MPH. Of course you’ll hate driving here once you get back. 😉

I’ve decided to try my hand at writing restaurant reviews. Sarah and I eat out at least 4 times per week, so I certainly have plenty of material to write about. I’ll categorize each place by price range (High End, Family, Burger Joint) and by our overall satisfaction. We’ve had some ups and downs with dining out recently, so it seemed a good way to vent or praise. The blog is called Greasy Spoons. Stop by and take a look. 🙂

Mom brought her two kids by tonight. One ran off before I could get the camera. Good eating in our backyard, I guess.

Mom and daughter.

One the things I envy about cats is their ability to sleep almost anywhere. This is Callie in her new favorite spot, jammed between a CD cabinet and the window pane.

Kitty under glass.

Since the weather was spectacular today, we decided to run over to St. Louis and check out the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, so did half the population of Missouri and Illinois. It was mobbed. We gave up and decided to head down to the Arch. As we passed the off-ramp to the zoo, traffic was backed up onto I-64. It was (pardon the pun) a zoo there as well. But it wasn’t bad at all down by the river. We easily found a parking space and walked through the park to the Arch. Pretty impressive. We were just glad we got to do something after traveling all the way over there.



Ever wonder who thought up some of life’s basics? Bread, for example. Who decided to try taking the grain from wheat (or some such plant), grind it to a powder, mix it with yeast, add water to make dough, and then heat it until it was edible? How many poor slobs ended up with major belly aches trying out bad bread recipes? I can’t help but think a bad recipe for bread led to beer. Similar ingredients, and all. “Mein Gott, Hermann, you added way too much water. Maybe if you let it sit for a few weeks it’ll dry out.”

And imagine the fun of being the original wine taster. “Well it was easy, Julius. I just filled a vat with grapes and stomped on them with my filthy feet until the juice ran out. I collected the juice in a barrel and let it rot. Go ahead and give it a try.” 

I’d imagine the first cups of coffee led to a few sleepless nights. And how many leafy plants failed the -cough- test before someone -hack- tried tobacco? (If you’ve never heard Bob Newhart’s tobacco skit, you’ve been missing one of the greatest one-man comedy schticks of all time.)

Ever wonder if there’s still some future staple out there waiting to be discovered? Any taste-test volunteers? 🙂