Saturday, January 29, 2011

The arrows of my ways

You see a lot of arrows out on the open road...the traffic kind telling you which way to turn and the "Hey, get off the highway and look me over!" kind and I love them all. Not to appreciate and admire them would be, well, pointless.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy birthday, Ernest Borgnine

The great Ernest Borgnine as Lt. Commander Quenton McHale

Ernest Borgnine Park in Hamden, Connecticut

Ernie memorabilia and the fabled Ernie booth at Tortilla Flats in New York City

Today is Ernest Borgnine's birthday. He played a lonely bachelor in "Marty", a cruel sergeant in "From Here to Eternity", a fun-loving skipper in "McHale's Navy" and superhero Mermaid Man in "SpongeBob Squarepants". He's 94 (!) and still looks great. He's also a native of my hometown, Hamden, Connecticut, and they have a small park there is his honor. There's also a Mexican restaurant in New York City that has a fabled Ernest Borgnine booth. I did a previous post about both of these places and you can read all about them here.

Happy birthday Ernie! You do Hamden proud.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Long live decay

My blogging friend Jeffery Blackwell at Rubber@Road recently posted some beautiful pictures he shot of a rotting Mercury which reminded me of how much I love pictures of things in a state of decay. Without even trying, once gleaming signs and objects of hope and opulence are now symbols of pity, melancholy and irony. One man's eyesore is another's photo op.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dining a la cart: Haven Bros. of Providence, Rhode Island

I tried but I couldn't get out of the picture.

No more calls, we have a wiener.

Haven Bros., City Hall, The Biltmore, and a Red Sox spare tire cover (lower right): that's Providence.

Providence, Rhode Island is sacred ground to diner lovers because this where it all began in 1872, when Walter Scott parked a converted horse wagon around various Providence businesses to sell prepared food to busy shift workers. A living, breathing descendant of that pioneer diner era exists today at Haven Bros., one of the oldest restaurants on wheels in the country and an Ocean State icon that's been in business since the late 1800s. Originally a horse-drawn cart, today's Haven Bros., a 1949 Fred W. Morse silver dining car pulled by a Ford F650 truck, sits next to Providence City Hall in a reserved spot from 4:30pm to 5:00am, serving good grub to everyone from well-dressed politicians to afterhours nightclubbers, college students, and sanity-optional denizens of the wee hours (it sits open for business in another Providence location the rest of the day). Inside, it's decked out in gleaming stainless steel over 8 x 14 feet, with ample seating if there aren't four people in there already (reservations are not accepted, casual attire, no waiter service). They've got good diner fare including hot dogs, hamburgers, lobster rolls and steak and cheese sandwiches, and to drink, there's the quirky regional favorite coffee milk (like chocolate milk but flavored with coffee instead). And if you really want to fit in with the natives, order a "coffee cabinet" -- Rhode Islandese for a coffee-flavored milkshake. The Haven Bros. diner made a one time only out of town appearance in 2008 in New York City on NBC's Today Show, when Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, who both coincidentally worked in Providence early in their careers, named Haven Bros. as their favorite "Taste of our Past." So if you're ever in Providence, treat yourself to a little slice of Haven -- your cabinet awaits.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pardon me Roy, is that the cat that ate your new shoes: Scenes from Chattanooga, Tennessee

There really is a Chattanooga Choo Choo. It was nicknamed after the first train from Cincinatti to Chattanooga in 1880, connecting the north and the south by rail. There's a very nice park with some trains and a hotel commemorating it.

This handsome fellow is part of Chattanooga's Sir Goony Golf amusement center.

I had a Debra Jane Seltzer moment when I spotted this
wow-wee-wow-wow mid-century pharmacy.
Hit it, boys!