Category Archives: Americana

Need Relief from Americus Destructus Baracki? Try Spending Some Time in Small Town America, in a Red County

But you better do it before Barack’s new HUD rules turn every small community into little Chicagos.

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A Beautiful Great Lakes Musky with a Message

Gruntington Post [Pentwater, Michigan] – Due to the overwhelming gloom that seemed to be gripping Americans around the normally happy time of the 4th of July week, the staff here at the Gruntington Post took it upon themselves to travel to the north woods in the Great Lakes region to find remnants of a cheerful America.  Of course, we had to purposely avoid vast areas of the lake country that are infested with Democrats, like the entire State of Minnesota.  Luckily, there are still lake beach communities around Lake Michigan that are majority Republican (and hence, happy, prosperous places) because they are populated by conservative refugees from the cities of Detroit and Chicago and Green Bay.

We ended up in the small coastal town of Pentwater, Michigan, mainly because that’s where we blew out a clutch on the Gruntmobile.  Unfortunately, getting your 15 year old Toyota Corolla repaired in the lower peninsula of Michigan is not always a friendly experience, this still being Ford, Dodge and Chevy country, after all.

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A Michigan Garage Beauty – NOT the GruntMobile

Still, it only goes to show you the lengths of sacrifice that we are willing to accept in order to bring the real story to our readers.  As you can see in the photo below of the deck at Gull Landing on Pentwater Harbor, we spent our downtime vigorously researching the local culture.  We left no local blues band unheard, no fried walleye platter uneaten and no extra-tall mojito undrunk in the service of our readers.

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Also, we faced considerable danger on a daily basis from the freshwater sharks that infest the waters of Lake Michigan.  This was necessary to experience the local flora and fauna and the unique character of the local brews that the natives there carry onto the beaches in rectangular boxes called “coolers.”  We found it all very intoxicating.

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West Shore Lake Michigan South of Ludington

After a while, all we could do is lay on the beach and stare up at the sky at the clouds.  I obsessed on this cloud for a while(below) because it looked, to me, like a T-bone steak.  But that might have been the beer toxicity kicking in.

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T-Bone Steak Cloud or Just Imagination?

We noticed that the locals along this part of the freshwater coast do a lot of boating in a variety of watercraft.  Many keep fit paddling long indian boats that the locals call “canoes” or “kayaks,” like the guy in the center of the photo below, and we did a fair amount of that, ourselves, until it became obvious that it was a lot of work.  A few mojitos later, and that pain was all a distant memory.

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Mears Beach

And what of the local politics?  We spent some time talking to locals, especially the mechanic who fixes all the local vehicles in town, it being too isolated here to have any large garages or dealerships.  Bruce and Nancy Maynard run their 3-bay auto shop at the edge of Pentwater, and they were good enough to take on our clutch job, even though it meant working the Saturday after the 4th to get us back on the road.  Bruce is an amazing master mechanic, a Vietnam veteran and a brilliant raconteur who spent 20 years running a shop near Aspen Colorado and worked on all the vehicles of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band while he was there.  He had the Colorado license plate and other paraphernalia on the wall of his shop to prove it.  He also took very good care of us.

I expected the area to be Mitt Romney country, and for it to be possibly hostile to Trump for that reason.  According to Bruce, that probably isn’t true at all.  He seemed to think there was a lot of openness to Trump as a candidate, and there was especially an enormous amount of hostility toward Hillary Clinton.  That was music to my ears, as you can imagine.

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Our Landlord for the Week Likes Trump Resorts. Interesting…

The conclusion?  Small town America still rocks in the month of July.  It’s good for the soul.  You should give it a try, if only for a week.  The rental rates in this part of the Great Lakes were surprisingly low, I thought, and were certainly much lower than comparable places in Florida, Gulf Coast or Mexico.

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Flags and Happy Families and Bars with Antlers

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West Shore Lake Michigan Harbor Sundown

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Filed under Americana, Elections, Hillary Clinton

Just Can’t Believe I’ll See Anything Funnier Than This All Weekend

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Indy 99: All Eyes Open for Airborne Cars

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Being a Hoosier, born and bred, and having worked in the press box overlooking the finish line at the Indy Speedway, it goes without saying that I’ll be watching the 99th running of the race today. If you are so inclined also, here is a handy rundown from SBNation.com about the things unique to this racing season. Tops in everyone’s mind this year is probably the incidence of accidents due to problems with car body aerodynamics. Here’s what you need to know:

1. The No. 1 starting position has been good to pole-sitter Scott Dixon, whose only Indianapolis 500 victory came from this spot in 2008.

2. Simona de Silvestro and Pippa Mann are the only two women drivers in Sunday’s race. They will be looking to eclipse Danica Patrick’s record third-place finish by a female set in 2009.

3. The No. 3 is the most successful car numeral in Indianapolis history with 11 victories overall. That total includes two by Helio Castroneves, who again will have the number on his Chevrolet Sunday.

4. Speaking of Castroneves, another Indianapolis victory would be his fourth and move him into rarified company. He would join A.J. Foyt, Al Unser Sr. and Rick Mears as the only four-time winners. No other active driver even has two wins.

5. Five former winners qualified for Sunday’s race — Dixon (2008), Tony Kanaan (2013), Castroneves (2001, ’02, ’09), Juan Pablo Montoya (2000) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2014).

6. The introduction of new aerodynamic body panels this year has produced mixed results thus far. In the season-opener on the street course in St. Petersburg, Fla., a piece of debris flew into the stands and fractured a woman’s skull. And things haven’t improved since the kits were used on the Indianapolis oval for the first time. Leading to …

7. After accidents that saw three drivers get airborne and a fourth wreck that seriously injured James Hinchcliffe, a feeling of apprehension hangs over the garage. IndyCar decreased boost and made the cars easier to handle, but there’s been minimal track time to see if those changes will make Sunday’s race any safer.

8. A Graham Rahal win would make him and father Bobby just the second father-son to achieve victory at Indianapolis. Al Unser Sr. won four times, while son Al Jr. won twice.

9. When it comes to Indianapolis car owners, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi are unquestionably the measuring sticks. The two IndyCar titans have fielded cars that have combined to win nine of the past 15 races.

Read all of Jordan Bianchi’s Indy news items here.

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Filed under Americana, Sports