Saturday, May 31, 2008

I guess I'm coming in late with my opinion on this, but it was only yesterday that I found this link to a blog post contending that the Memorial Mile, a quiet protest expressing the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in the starkest terms, didn't have the impact that the Madison Veterans For Peace had intended.

Kris, who wrote the post, looked at the Memorial Mile, and especially the shorter section of tombstones representing deaths in 2007 and 2008, and said, "I'm not thinking about the human cost of war, I'm thinking ... Wow, things look like they're going much better."

And I look at the Memorial Mile and think, Well, no, things aren't going much better at all for the soldiers represented by these tombstones. Things couldn't get much worse. Maybe that's my flaw, I don't know, but so long as the Veterans For Peace have to add to the number of tombstones, things aren't getting better.

So close, yet so far ...

Chipmunks have made their home in the planter beside the front stoop of our house from the first summer we lived in Our Humble O'Bode, and very probably long before that.

And they learned almost immediately that the two house cats poised to pounce were being frustrated by the screen door.

Frustrated or not, Boo and Bonkers can't help but glare at the little showoff sitting so tantalizingly close.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A tree full of flowers brightens the darkened face of the condos on Wisconsin Ave.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Man With An Opinion

I'm not exactly sure what it is, but I can tell he really means it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Return to Paul Bunyan's

About twenty years ago I landed a summer job at this restaurant in Wisconsin Dells to raise a little money for my final year at UW-Eau Claire.

Today was the first time ever that I've been back.

It happened mostly by accident. I had planned to take My Darling B to Wilton for a pancake breakfast and a short bike ride on the Elroy-Sparta trail.

We'd been on the road just thirty minutes or so, however, when the skies, which had been mostly clear earlier in the morning, clouded over and threatened rain.

As fortune would have it, we were only a few minutes south of Wisconsin Dells when I noticed this. I didn't want our morning out to be a complete wash, but I could feel that our original plan might not end well, so I suggested we alter it a bit and have breakfast in the Dells, maybe take a look around and then head back.

"If you wanted to do that," I pointed out, "we could have breakfast at Paul Bunyan's Logging Camp Restaurant." I've entertained B with many of my stories of waiting tables at Paul Bunyan's ("entertained" in the most generous sense of the word), but she's never had the Paul Bunyan Experience before. She enthusiastically agreed to stop.

My memory of the place is based on one summer of working there, but even my fuzzy recollections tell me the place hasn't changed much in the twenty-plus years since I waited tables there. The decor is a kitschy pioneer-like log cabin, the menu is still served "family style" in great bowls that they refill at your slightest whim, every table is jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with hungry tourists and the wait staff is still all go, Go, GO!

As I mentioned, the menu has not changed much. When you're seated, the waitress brought us a hot cuppa joe, a glass of OJ and a plate of buttermilk doughnuts.

The doughnuts are baked fresh every day on the premises and fetched from the bakery by the wait staff. When I worked there, the rule of thumb was that no broken doughnuts were to be served to the customers. We, the wait staff, were free to eat all the broken doughnuts on the tray. Not surprisingly, there always seemed to be several broken doughnuts on each tray we brought up from the bakery.

And the main course breakfast items haven't been altered one tiny bit in twenty years. I used to serve the very same pancakes, biscuits & gravy, scrambled eggs, ham slices, sausage links and pan-fried potatoes.

And this is all you can eat! They'll keep bringing platter after platter of this to your table until you beg them to stop!

The flat price, ten-fifty per person, is a bit steep, and at any other place I probably wouldn't go out of my way for it, but this was The Paul Bunyan Experience. If you travel to the Dells you simply must try it.