one day at a time…
Thursday 31 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Virtual Cleveland Way

CREDITS: © Don Burluraux/NorthYorkMoorsCAM
MAPS: Full [Route] and Stages [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Cleveland Way CD © Don BurlurauxCleveland Way © Don Burluraux
Regular visitors will know how much I enjoy Don Burluraux' NorthYorkMoorsCAM website. Now Don has issued a CD containing a virtual walk of the Cleveland Way. The pictures show the cover of the CD and one from Don's website covering Section One of the Cleveland Way walk from the start in Helmsley as far as Sutton Bank, which includes the White Horse.

Wednesday 30 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Getting Lucky in Las Vegas

CREDITS: (left) © UMC; (right) © Robin DuCrest/Special FX Lighting, Inc.
MAPS: [1:District] [2:Location]
UMC Las Vegas © University Medical Center of Southern NevadaLas Vegas Collage © Robin DuCrest
Two weeks ago to the day, we went to participate in a trade show in Las Vegas. The following Sunday morning at 6 am I began a heart attack that lasted for four hours, though by that time I was receiving medical care. I was admitted to UMC (University Medical Center of Southern Nevada), which is one of only four hospitals in the USA to have installed an advanced digital imaging catheterization system, as recently as summer 2002, that allowed a surgeon on two successive days to place 'stents' in the blocked arteries of my heart so that the blood started to flow again.

In the city built by losers, I became a winner.

Thursday 17 October - Tuesday 29 October 2002

The Unplanned Interlude

We are taking a break. Vermont to see the glorious shades of Autumn? The Rockies, perhaps, to see the golden aspens shimmering in the rich afternoon light? Death Valley in Nevada to experience the uplifting desolation of a real desert, now that the season has cooled the heat of the Summer? Not quite. We are off to Las Vegas for a trade show. I am assured that even a beginner like me can arrive in a $2,500 Chevvy, and leave in a $250,000 Greyhound. The weblog will be back next week with an update at 00:01GMT on Tuesday. Meanwhile, why not have a dig around the archives from the pulldown menu in the sidebar, or visit one of the CAMs or galleries from the other pulldowns?
Wednesday 16 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Holiday Snaps

CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.lakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
Loch Doon © Tony Richards
Photographer Tony Richards is having a break too. Rather than visiting the fleshpots of some God forsaken city, Tony opted for the place they call 'God's Ain Country'. Specifically Tony is touring the Galloway Region of Southwest Scotland. This area is just across the Solway Firth (the latter being the Scottish name for an arm of the sea) from Tony's usual stamping grounds in the Lake District of the English county of Cumbria. The featured photograph is of 'The Merrick', Southwest Scotland's highest hill, seen across the waters of Loch Doon, which is actually in Ayrshire to the north. My favorite bit of topography thereabouts is 'The Dead Hand', which is made up from five ridges that descend from one of the hills. Historically the interior of this countryside became known as "The Wild Recesses of Galloway': Robert the Bruce hid a whole army here during difficult times.

Loch Dee, Galloway © Douglas E. WilcoxSome time ago I featured another Galloway picture, on that occasion of Loch Dee. 'Loch Dee Sunset' is very evocative of those haunting landscapes. the original may be viewed as a high-res panorama if you have the resources. The Scottish Mountain Photo Gallery is maintained by Douglas E. Wilcox and is also home to the Morss Collection of aerial photographs of the mountains and islands of Scotland. Highly recommended if you are interested in any of the Scottish mountains, or just enjoy looking at landscapes. The site has lots of additional material to enjoy -- check out the 'Landstat' image of the Cuillin Mountains, Isle of Skye!

Tuesday 15 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Buttermere Lakeland Classic

CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/www.Leaney.org page for 13 October 2002.
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
Fleetwith Pike © Andrew Leaney
A few days ago I featured a Langdale Lakeland Classic. This is a Classic in another valley. If it was possible to wear mountains away by taking photographs of them, then this one would feature among the early losses. The last time I was walking the col on the right hand side of the picture there was some British Royal Wedding or other event in progress. A teenage girl was sitting by the path with a transistor radio held to her ear, weeping and wailing, making all kinds of public fuss and comment to anyone who passed within range. I joined a solitary walker at the view point to take in the wonderous view down the length of the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water, which the nearby radio audience was ignoring. After a minute or two I said softly, "Should we throw her over the edge?" After a few moments of further silence, with a jerk of his head, he asked tersely, "Her or the Royal Personage?" Mountain perspectives are so nourishing to the spirit.

Monday 14 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Heroes of Mountain Rescue

CREDITS: © Braemar Mountain Rescue Team
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
Winter vertical lowering training © Braemar Mountain Rescue TeamSummer vertical lowering training © Braemar Mountain Rescue TeamIn the UK responsibility for rescuing people in the mountains rests with the local Chief Constable of the police area where the incident occurs. Coastal cliff rescue is the responsibility of HM Coastguard. These authorities usually call upon one of the many independent voluntary organisations whose members risk their own lives out of community spirit. Their groups depend on donations for their continued existence, and the ability to perform this life saving work. The Braemar Team covers one of the wildest areas of Scotland: the road at Cock Bridge (in the top right hand corner of the location map in the link above) is usually the first in Britain to be closed by snow at the onset of winter. The Cairngorm Plateau to the north of Braemar can experience unexpected arctic conditions at almost any time of the year. The pictures featured here are from training exercises: imagine doing this sort of job in a blizzard or a storm to get an idea of the committment that is required.

The teams need support, no matter how small the contribution. You may make a donation to support the work of the Braemar Team through their website. Details of the other teams are available from the MRCS (Mountain Rescue Committe of Scotland) or the MRC (Mountain Rescue Committe), which covers England and Wales.

Sunday 13 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Cornwall's Hospitable Shores

CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/www.CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
St Ives Bay © Charles Winpenny
After yesterday's visit to the wild coast of Greenland, we return to the usually more hospitable shores of Cornwall, the final English county on the southwest peninsula. This fine seascape by Charles Winpenny shows St. Ives Bay in a color palette that I am sure would have pleased Claude Gellée. The town of St. Ives is a notable artists' colony, as well as being a tourist venue, and the place where wave surfing first reached the UK. However, the picture does not show the storm clouds, wind swept beaches, or pounding seas that sometimes appear in Charles' always excellent record of Cornwall in all its moods from day to day.
Small Tortoiseshell butterfly © Charles Winpenny
Despite the evidence of the gentle Small Tortoiseshell butterfly picture from Charle's update for today, the maritime record of this coast has a long list of wrecks from storms, and tradition has it that the locals shone lights out to sea to lure innocent ships onto the rocks for the booty that might be recovered afterwards. Many of these folklore traditions are doubtless tall tales: I enjoyed the one about attaching a lantern to a donkey's tail for it to be swung to a fro! The local Godrevy Lighthouse was built between January 1858 and March 1859 following the wreck of a passenger steamer named "The Nile', which foundered with the loss of all hands in December 1854 on 'The Stones' reef that extends one and a half miles offshore. The sea does still produce a local bounty from flotsam and jetsam: in modern times valuable timber has been recovered, but there are laws governing how this can be done, and the facts must be reported to the 'Receiver of Wrecks' in the port of Southampton. The Crown also owns beached whales, though what to do with the whales has perplexed many a ruling monarch.

Saturday 12 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Erik the Red from Narsarsuaq

CREDITS: © Dr.Wilfried Steffens/EUDIALYTE Homepage page for Greenland 2001
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]
Narsarsuaq Airport © Dr.Wilfried SteffensNarsarsuaq Fjord © Dr.Wilfried Steffens
Dr.Wilfried Steffens is a physician with a specialist knowledge of internal medicine, occupational medicine, and environmental medicine, who is currently studying clinical toxicology. He works for a large chemical company in Germany. After seeing mineral crystals during holidays in the Alps he went on to become interested in Scandinavian pegmatites, the Langban-type deposits, and finally the alkaline complex around the Langesundsfjord in Norway. From there his interest for alkaline localities in general grew until he now has more than 10,000 specimens, and about 2,200 other different minerals. Check out the website for details of the collection. In 2001 Wilfried made a collecting trip to Greenland, landing at Narsarsuaq, seen in the lefthand photograph.

This is where it gets interesting for the non geologists among us: Narsarsuaq (or at least what is now called Qassiarsuk on the opposite side of the fjord) was the home of the exiled Icelander Erik the Red, father to Leif Erikson, the discoverer of America. So it seems that when, as I reported in Wednesday's article, Oscar Wilde said, "America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up" he was, as so often, well ahead of the game. It would be more than half a century after Oscar's death that the Vinland map would be 'rediscovered' when it was purchased for $1million by Yale University in 1957. The map's authenticity is an ongoing debate: to keep up to date with developments see Tim Spalding's portal site, with succinct summaries and links to all sides of the debate. There is a 2.5Mb image of the map available for viewing, that I thought worth the download.

Friday 11 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Langdale Lakeland Classic
Langdale Lakeland Classic © Tony Richards
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/www.LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

As photographer Tony Richards says, this is one of the classic Lakeland views. A visitor to the website emailed me to ask about touring Lakeland: what follows is an interesting website I found. I am in no way connected with Holiday Lakeland Cycling Tours, and this must not be taken as a recommendation of their services, which I have never personally tried. However, I did find the idea of their 4 days & 9 lakes cycling tour an attractive proposition. Any overseas visitor needing ready made routes and supplied gear would get a good idea of the district from this type of vacation. The 4 routes start and finish in the town of Keswick, which has many amenities for visitors. The website has plenty of details, and pictures, of what to expect. Although they say the routes are suitable for visitors of a wide range of ability, common sense says that getting yourself into condition before you go would be a wise choice. There are also tours of other areas that appear regularly on this website: look out for the C2C (Coast to Coast) ride, and the Reiver's ride through one of the most bloodily contested lands in history.

Thursday 10 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Languorous Oscar Memorial
Languorous Oscar © Pictures of Ireland
CREDITS: © Pictures of Ireland
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

The 'Pictures of Ireland' website is still under construction, so you may experience some clunkiness if you visit. However, when I went there this picture of the monument to Oscar Fingal O'Flarhertie Wills Wilde appealed to me. It stands in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. The languorous sprawl was an Oscar stock in trade judging by some of the pictures of him that were taken, though I think given the choice he would have opted for silk knee breeches. This is a much better tribute to the dear boy than the unsatisfactory Jacob Epstein carving on the tomb in Paris. No piece on Wilde would be complete without an outrageous quotation or three, so I offer these to my new countrymen, "America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up." I am afraid Oscar was disappointed when he visited, because uncharacteristically he declared, "I would rather have discovered Mrs. Lily Langtry than have discovered America". His final verdict probably rests in the more apposite quotation, "American women are charming, but American men - alas!"

Pictures of Ireland, when completed, will be a commercial site offering online sales from their photo galleries, and will also offer a service to take requested pictures. There are some pictures in galleries now, and an interesting feature that offers themed photo tours such as James Joyce's Dublin. Two Dublin webcams show the activity in Grafton Street and on the O'Connell Bridge. You can send a free epostcards of some of the pictures, including the featured picture of Wilde's memorial.

Wednesday 9 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Petit Le Mans Cheerleaders

CREDITS: © Earl & Gail Cook/www.Lasersol.com
Go to Cyber Motosports website for full coverage of the Petit Le Mans.
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location] [4:Track]

Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders © Earl & Gail CookAt the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in Georgia they are starting to kick it up for the 2002 Petit Le Mans. Motorsport fans can look forward to some superb action shots from the Cyber Motorsports team, such as the flaming racer featured from last year's event. On hand to liven things up will be the Atlanta Falcon Cheerleaders pictured here. More coverage (or is that less coverage?) of the Cheerleaders on their own website. When the racing is over check back for my favorite action shot from the Cyber Motorsports 2002 photo gallery.

Tuesday 8 October 2002

Pix of the Day: My Very Special Place
Upper Caldew Valley © Andrew Leaney
© Andrew Leaney/www.Leaney.org page 6 October 2002.

[1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

I guess many people have a Very Special Place. This is mine.

Monday 7 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Chandra and the Crab Nebula

CREDITS: X-ray & optical images: © NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al.
NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory Center (CXC) - Crab Nebula page.

Crab Nebula © NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester et alThe picture is a composite image of the Crab Nebula showing the X-ray (blue), and optical (red) images superimposed, taken on 6 April 2001. The size of the X-ray image is smaller because the higher energy X-ray emitting electrons radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower energy optically emitting electrons as they move. The inner ring is about one light year across. There is a hi-res version for visitors with larger monitors. For full details on this, and other projects, a visit to the CXC site is recommended: the navigation is very well done, the images are superb, and everything is clearly explained for lay people. There are excellent project and educator resources.

The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a star that was observed to explode in 1054 A.D. It is located 6,000 light years away in the constellation of Taurus, and is a strong source from radio through gamma ray wavelengths. The center of the remnant contains a rapidly rotating neutron star - or pulsar - that is apparently pumping enormous amounts of energy into the nebula in the form of high-energy particles and magnetic fields. Chandra's X-ray image provides significant clues to the workings of this mighty cosmic 'generator', which is producing energy at the rate of 100,000 suns. The dramatic tilted rings that span the distance of a light year appear to have been flung outward from the pulsar. Perpendicular to the rings, jet-like structures produced by high-energy particles blast away from the pulsar.

A neutron star is formed by the extreme conditions created in a supernova. When a massive star explodes, most of the star is flung into space, but the core of the star is compressed to form a rapidly rotating (30 times per second for the Crab) dense ball of neutrons that is twelve miles in diameter. The collapse and rapid rotation of the neutron star cause it to become highly magnetized. A magnetized, rapidly rotating neutron star such as the Crab pulsar can produce electricity at ten quadrillion volts.

Neutron star gravity, which is more than a hundred billion times stronger than gravity on Earth, is overwhelmed by the electric field and particles are pulled off the neutron star and accelerated to speeds near the speed of light. A blizzard of electrons and anti-matter electrons, or positrons, is produced by these particles. The pulsed emission from the Crab Nebula, observed at all wavelengths from radio through gamma rays, is thought to be caused by this process.

As particles stream out from the pulsar and spiral around magnetic field lines, they produce a distinctive kind of radiation known as synchrotron radiation. The Crab Nebula's bell-shape in the X-ray image is due to synchrotron radiation from a huge magnetized bubble of high-energy electrons several light years in diameter.

Sunday 6 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Downtown Houston Looking Up
Downtown Houston © Allen Matheson / Photohome.com
CREDIT: © Allen Matheson / www.Photohome.com
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Photographer Allen Matheson took this strongly composed shot in downtown Houston, Texas. Counter clockwise from the top left the buildings are: El Paso Energy Building; Reliant Energy Plaza; 1100 Louisiana Building; and the Wells Fargo Plaza. The picture was taken at the street level of the Wells Fargo Plaza. There are five sections within the Texas gallery, with more pictures of Houston, including an aerial shot of the business district that gives a good impression of this city. Allen has 8 themed photo galleries all of very high quality; I had great difficulty deciding on one to feature they were all so good. There is a remarkably generous personal and non profit use policy, and for commercial use licensing is available by contacting Allen through email. Many of the pictures have been featured on the web and in printed publications. The galleries will continue to grow because more pictures are being added regularly. This excellent site is in the 'Photogallery links' sidebar pulldown menu for your convenience.

Saturday 5 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Fancy a Jump?
Freefall © Gary Small & MIND
CREDITS: © Gary Small & MIND The Mental Health Charity

The British charity MIND organises parachute jumps to raise funds to finance their work. If you raise the minimum amount of sponsorship then training and the jump are free for an exhilarating 10,000 ft freefall skydive or a solo parachute jump. There are full details on the website. One in four people suffers from mental health problems, and MIND works through their 220 Local Associations in England and Wales to achieve "a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress" by:

 Advancing the views, needs and ambitions of people with experience of mental distress;  Promoting inclusion by challenging discrimination;  Influencing policy through campaigning and education;  Inspiring the development of quality services, which reflect expressed need and diversity;  Achieving equal civil and legal rights through campaigning and education.

A great cause to support by going and having yourself the experience of a lifetime, especially with a group. To support MIND directly visit the website for details.

World's funniest joke

Scientists have discovered the world's funniest joke: Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: "My friend is dead! What can I do?" The operator says: "Calm down, I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: "OK, now what?"

Our own favourite was: An Alsatian went to a telegram office, took out a blank form and wrote: 'Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof. Woof.' The clerk examined the paper and politely told the dog: "There are only nine words here. You could send another Woof for the same price." But," the dog replied, "that would make no sense at all." Maybe we're giving away our European heritages (or a predilection for Monty Python) if you read the full article.

[Thanks to icWales, Beth Lock, and Eolake Stobblehouse.]

Friday 4 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Mooney Falls

Mooney Falls © Lorrie SarafinMAP: [1:Region] [2:District]

Lorrie Sarafin founder of the Sonoran Spirits Flute Society visited the Mooney Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, and came back with this splendid shot. I almost passed the picture by until I saw those tiny figures in the pool at the bottom. This area of the Grand Canyon is much less visited than the North Rim area, which is easier of access and consequently more frequented. If you visit Lorrie's page you will see how the base of the falls can be visited by means of some old miners' tunnels, not a trip for the faint hearted. One account has it that the tunnels were made to recover the body of a miner named Mooney who fell to his death below the falls. Lorrie has an Arizona photo gallery that is well worth a visit.

The Sonoran Spirits Flute Society, founded in June of 2000, is dedicated to seeking an understanding of indigenous cultures through music, knowledge, and community service. The Society embraces all world flutes, but especially Native American flutes, and membership is open to those who wish to learn more about these instruments and their cultures. The Society is self financed through membership fees and the sale of a fund raising CD, which you may test drive with some sound clips from the website.

Thursday 3 October 2002

Pix of the day: Transport of Delight
Transport of Delight © Ann Bowker
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Ann Bowker, who is 'Mad About Mountains', spotted this delightful steam traction engine making its way below Rowling End in the English Lake District. The road climbs westward to Newlands Hause, and then descends steeply into the Buttermere valley. I just hope the brakes were in good shape. The Threshers Bush Steam Club have lots of resources about these wonderful machines. You may catch Ann's frequent updates, with pictures from her mountain adventures, with the pulldown menu in the sidebar.

Fred Dibnah is probably Britain's most famous traction engine restorer. Fred's two passions in life are knocking down chimneys and restoring steam vehicles. He was featured on a BBC television documentary that showed him bringing down one of the huge old mill chimneys in his home county of Lancashire in the industrial northwest England. The public took an immediate liking to this no nonsense, down to earth character, who is a natural born entertainer. More TV appearances led to a series where Fred looked at buildings that were worth preserving rather than buildings he fancied knocking down. In another series the legacies of the Industrial Revolution were examined with characteristic bluff honesty. Fred owns six traction engines, and often attends steam rallies with 'Betsy' who must be almost as famous as Fred. None of this has gone to Fred's head though, and he still comes across as a worthy recipient of a 'BIG KID: please make sure I get a window seat' T-shirt.

Wednesday 2 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Neglected Scottish Gaucho
Inchmahome © Martin McCarthyInchmahome © Martin McCarthy
Martin McCarthy is the webmaster of the Ancient Scotland website. These pictures come from Martin's page about Inchmahome Priory, which is on the Scottish island of Inchmahome in the country's only 'lake' ('loch' is the Scottish equivalent name) known as the Lake of Monteith (map), Stirling, Scotland (map). The website is a comprehensive guide to all things ancient and Scottish (Inchmahome appears under the sidebar link for Christian sites). There is a useful 'search' map that allows you to click on a place to return a list of ancient sites within a user specified radius: a great feature for vacationing explorers. Now there's a fun idea: how about a vacation based on Martin's website entries?

Martin's pictures show one of the remaining arches of the nave, and an ethereal infrared picture of other parts of the priory ruins. Please click on the images for a full size view. The Mysterious Britain Gazetteer has details of the folklore of the area. The island has received many famous historical visitors, including Robert Bruce, and the 5 year old Mary Queen of Scots. She stayed here for 3 weeks in 1547 on her way to exile in France after the disasterous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. As Martin wryly notes "Where didn't she stay?", this woman who was blown hither and thither by the winds of ill fortune. Less well remembered now is Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936), buried within Inchmahome Priory after his body was returned from his beloved Argentina, where he died in Buenos Aires.

Born Robert Bontine to a family with an aristocratic lineage, his childhood was spent on the family estates in Perthshire, and an education at Harrow. Aged 17 he then went to live on the family estates in Argentina where he was affectionately known as 'Don Roberto'. He was an expert horseman, becoming proficient with lazo and bolas. In a 1917 letter to Theodore Roosevelt he wrote, "God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses.". After the death of his father in 1883 he changed his name to Robert Cunninghame Graham and returned to England with his Chilean poetess wife Gabrielle. The family estates were heavily in debt, and despite Cunninghame Graham's efforts had to be sold off. He was politically active until 1892, co-founded the Scottish Labour party in 1888, and in 1928 became the first president of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and was sometimes humorously called "Uncrowned King of Scotland'. Ever the rebel, he once said, "He has all the qualifications for a great Liberal Prime Minister. He wears spats and he has a beautiful set of false teeth.", when speaking of Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Cunninghame Graham wrote widely; Amazon lists 27 titles associated with his name, covering subjects in North Americas, South America, North Africa, and Scotland. Most are out of print, Cunninghame Graham himself having trouble obtaining copies in his lifetime, as these wry letters show. Project Guttenberg carries a copy of his 'A Vanished Arcadia: Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767'. His circle included James Keir Hardie, William Morris, Joseph Conrad, Whistler, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, W.H. Hudson, Ford Madox Ford, Hugh MacDiarmid, and William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody. Frank Harris wrote a portrait of this Renaissance man.

There are three concise biographies [1:Vettese] [2:Crumey] [3:Walker] on the web. I thought this paragraph by Raymond Vettese summed Cunninghame Graham up nicely, "There have been instances before of neglected artists who, in the fullness of time, return to their own. Perhaps this will be the case with Cunninghame Graham, but perhaps his present lack of wide fame in Scotland would not have disturbed him, would, indeed, have merely been met with a wry smile and a quotation from his story, "Cruz Alta": "Failure alone is interesting...those who fail after a glorious fashion, Raleigh, Cervantes, Chatterton...and the last unknown deckhand who, diving overboard after a comrade, sinks without saving him: these interest us, at least they interest those who, cursed with imagination, are thereby doomed themselves to the same failure as their heroes were." The theme of a glorious failure surfaces many times in Cunninghame Graham's work and who is to say that he would not count himself satisfied to be considered as such?"

Tuesday 1 October 2002

Pix of the Day: Fashion Victims
Doughnut Wedding Cake © Ian Scott-Parker
Soon after I arrived to live in America, I was invited to Las Vegas for the wedding of a correspondent who had developed into a friend. In keeping with the sophistication of that city, my friend, who is a raconteur and bon viveur of wit, culture and urbanity, assembled a wedding cake made from 'Krispy Kreem' doughnuts. The humor did not go unappreciated by the guests, and I am happy to say that his marriage seems to have survived that risky practical joke. Later in the month we are all meeting again, to sample another high point in American food culture the 'Fatburger' ('The Last Great Hamburger Stand', 'Some people think all burgers taste the same... and some people watch Baywatch for the acting.'). Meanwhile the joke seems to have turned into the fashion victims' essential wedding reception accoutrement.

Perhaps we will order our Fatburgers in unsweetened wholemeal rolls baked without steam so that they have a crust... nah! that will never catch on in this country. I am on occasion inclined to say, in a rather too loud voice, "Great burger, shame about the bun", but I have to admit that in Britain it's, "Lousy burger, lousy bun, what happened to the salad?... let's go someplace else!" Friday night we went to 'Sol Foods' in Springdale, UT to hear IN•2•IT play. The duo had transmogrified into a trio, with the addition of Donna's sister Deanna, with the pair hitting some amazing high notes. We had the best burger I have ever eaten, in a halfway decent bun with chips (the menu called them 'fries') that would put many a Brit chip shop to shame, good music, some excellent Polygamy Porter to drink (as they say, 'Why have just one?'), and there were even a few tomahawk carrying Native Americans in the audience. This place just goes on getting better. Shame about the bread.

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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)