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June 2012

The other Metropolis

Welcome sign

Metropolis, Illinois

DC comics declared it the "Hometown of Superman"

Of course, every comic reader knows Supes grew up in Smallville and moved to Metropolis to work as a reporter.  While the comic version of Metropolis features a large urban city, real life Metropolis, Illinois has a population around 6000 people.  DC comics and Illinois legislation declared Metropolis, Illinois Supes hometown.

Still its a fun stop over for anyone taking a road trip near by it.  You can see Superman downtown, stop by the museum, and visit the gift shop.

Supes statue
Or you might even see him on the go-

Supes in action

And it wouldn't be complete if Lois Lane wasn't covering the action-

Lois Lane

World Sauntering Day

Today is World Sauntering* Day.

There are not many hard rules and practices to follow on and some of them are up for debate but below are some cited rules:

  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Don't rush.
  • Should be done with a medium-sized dog with one floppy ear and a neckerchief, where available.

*Sauntering is a verb to describe a style of walking; it is not a sashay, prance, trot or lollygag. Simply put, it is to walk slowly preferably with a joyful disposition.

Paducah? I hardly knew ya

Some sites to see in Paducah, Kentucky;

Famous for;

  • being an Atomic City (a uranium enrichment plant)
  • home of the American Quilter's Society
  • home of "the ice cream of the future" - Dippin Dots plant
  • being the home of Chief Paduke

(There's a large wooden statue in the city park that people mistakenly call "Chief Paduke".  It actually a sculpture of Wacinton.) Chief
Over the weekend, B showed me around Paducah.  Last year, the city was threatened by flood waters.  So there are several markers showing the difference between floods that have occurred over the last 100 years. The highest flood occurred back in 1937.  It crested at 60 ft.  Last year's flood did some damage to the surrounding areas but wasn't as bad due to the flood walls retaining the river until it subsided.  Here's some youtube footage of last year's flooding.

It could have been worse.  There was some controversy in the tri-state area, as Missouri removed some of it's levees to help release river water and thus aided in reducing the river level, thus reducing the flooding in Illinois.  There's still tension and arguments over whether that helped or not from the residents on the Missouri side.  The subsequent flooding ruined several acres of Missouri farmland.

I was constantly surprised by the number of things you could get in Paducah.  B even found a Bonsai tree sale running out of a parked van in an empty lot.  I'm now the owner of a 3-year-old juniper tree, which survived the 12 hour trip back to Virginia.


The city is also active in marketing affordable historic housing.  I've never seen so many renovated homes in such a small town.  It's great to see a city find ways to restore run-down century-old buildings back to their former glory.  This was aided in part by the city's country-wide invitation to artists.  Offers of low housing costs are very enticing when you're on an mid to low income salary.  This seemed to have paid off as the artists have invigorated the downtown theater, art and music scenes.  I'd like to see some other midwestern cities adopt that same mindset.


More downtown Paducah

And paducah still
And paducah still
And paducah still
And paducah still

Bang Olefsun and 80's vinyl

The beauty of a yard sale is the chance discovery of something you didn't know you needed.  Last weekend, B and I got up early to see what hoarded items our neighbors were selling.  We took Lucia with us to enjoy a morning walk so even if it was a total wash, someone would get something benefical out of it.  

After a couple stops and a few purchases, we came to the final yard sale of the morning.  I almost didn't notice the old turntable the owners had sitting out on top of it's original packing.  After a closer look I saw it was a Bang Olefsun Beogram RX.  Knowing nothing about that series, I offered $20 for it and the promise of buying several LPs they also had.  Thirty minutes later, I walked away with 20 albums and a new (old) turntable.

Beogram RX
Once I got home, I discovered my Yamaha stereo receiver doesn't have phono audio inputs.  That's common with receivers nowadays since the phono plugs are no longer a default input and gave way to digital inputs like CDs, DVDs, etc.  A little searching online came up with a simple phono amplifier that would boost the old 80's millivolt turntable output into something the 2011 receiver could work with.  

Three days and $50 later, I have a turntable setup once again.  The last turntable I owned was in.... never.  Even though I owned a few albums I would just play them on my parent's or my brother's stereo. I never got around to buying one myself.  And by the time I moved out of the house, CDs were replacing audio tapes and LPs were slowly disappearing from stores shelves.

I'm definitely not an audiophile but now the amplified sounds of the Pretenders or a Talking Heads album seem just a little bit better instead of an mp3 on an ipod.  Now I just need to find more vinyl..

Westbound and down

I had a chance to take a road trip down to Kentucky with my girlfriend over the Memorial weekend.  Since I've never been through the state before, the journey was just as interesting as the final destination.

Day 1 - Lots of driving, three permitted rest stops and picture-taking while mobile.  

Nuclear drive-by
Another bridge


Look kids-another bridge

Bridge to illinois
A bridge too close 

About 12 hours later..

We reached Paducah, Kentucky.

1st stop - Wine tasting. . . at a Cigarettes for Less store.  Unusual place I grant you that.  The wine tasting wasn't located there last year, I was later told.  The wine store had closed down and relocated to this new location.  

  Cigs for less

So I steeled my ex-smoker's resolve, strolled in for some wine samples, and ignored the racks and racks of cigarettes/cigars filling the air with their taunting aroma.  The purveyor of wine was very nice and we tried several of the ones he had in stock.  They even had a walk-in humidor for cigars. Which my girlfriend pushed me into to see just to see what it looked/smelled like.  Seriously?  We're risking a smoker's relapse and it's only day one of the trip.

By this time, I'd remembered all those cigarettes I'd passed over for the last 5 months.  I told myself "just ignore the urges".  Yeah, kinda hard when they have you surrounded.  But I was stoic in my determination and left the store with just a few bottles of wine and liquor, but happily no "smokes".