30 April 2011

Signs of Beer: Bike Trip Edition

I was surprised to find this on my bike trip last summer. This actually was the men's bathroom mirror at the Hawk Museum campground. That spread of cold cuts and fixins certainly looked delicious after a hard day of pedaling and slogging through the rain.
Canadian Ace was produced by the Manhattan Brewing Company of Chicago. So its not really Canadian beer. So I doubt Cal Clutterbuck or Sidney Crosby will be drinking it. There was also a lawsuit contending the misuse of name Canadian but I am not sure of the outcome.
As it so happens Manhattan Brewering had connections to organized crime, specifically associates of Al Capone. Trying to shake their mobster owned image, Manhattan became Canadian Ace Brewing Company in 1947 (although elsewhere I found the name changed in 1933.) They closed in 1968.
I am unsure of the date of the mirror, but I guess it was somewhere between the 1940s and the 1960s. I have yet to find one of these online to compare. Most Canadian Ace collectibles are cans or labels.

28 April 2011

Make mine an ugly online ad, please

These images just keep coming although they've leveled off recently or being re-run into oblivion. But I'll  keep you abreast on new developments in the use of ugly, weird, and off the wall. Anything to get a click through.

Here we have a somewhat reformed caveman. Not sure why they teased his hair into a fro. Certainly a weird one and one done for a more notable customer- Trans Union. Still there the bank you'll likely find in your local mall next to the restrooms. The one that sounds so - unbanklike. In fact it sort of sound like a new gender free word for a marriage- "Hi, we're getting Transunioned."

Next, this one is keeping bald guys who look like Chris Elliot in employment.
I guess this is as normal as it gets with these ads if its not a female being employed for eye candy. Perhaps this guy is the weird teeth safety glasses guy. Anyways don't want to get your identity stolen by him. He's got a bit of creepy. Must be the beard.
Finally, we got a reunion of sorts- well all except 3 we have seen before. The youngsters in this photo certainly don't tip the ugly scale. They just got the pleasure of being placed with the uglies ( ok, 46-55 is actually kinda cute and 56-65 has something going for him- perhaps a new commercial for viagra).
This ad just throws it all at you. Like one last barrage at the final charge.
Bonus. A quad-fecta.
This ad online actually has the guys shaking their heads up and down. It is annoying. And the one trick ploy is being used for auto insurance too? At least it is not the one old weird trick. I swear some kind of magic potion is involved with those ads with that copy.
Be wary of old tricks. Old weird dogs can't learn any new tricks.

Journey to the center of North America: Part 6

Way back in July 2010 the Man of 3 Names and I set out from Grand Forks, ND on bicycles to sojourn to the Center of North America (Rugby.) I continue this story as we head west towards our destination and spend the night amongst old things.

It was a bit chilly the morning of July 5th. Dew had settled upon our tents. The bathrooms were still closed. We ate a bit then torn down camp. We stopped at the local watering hole to use the facilities before heading out.
By then the sun had come up and it was getting a bit warm. 
What we failed to realize was Munich was the birthplace of Quentin Burdick, former Senator of North Dakota. No plaque enlightened us to this fact.
We headed south a bit then west along a rail road which happened to hold a lot of rolling stock. Not sure why these cars were stored here but we encountered quite a few spots along the tracks where there were a mile of cars. 
We passed Calio which just looked like one big farm.
We stopped at Egeland to have a rest.
We continued and could see a storm front descending upon us. I surmised we could find shelter under one of the railroad cars along the railroad. 3 Names felt we could bypass the brunt of the storm by heading south immediately on a country road. We did and it didn't help. Rain and hail pelted us as we tried our best to speed our way down a gravel road. 
Eventually the rain subsided and we picked up US-281 and rode it into Cando. It rained off and on during that stretch. We found shelter in a park and made some hot beverages while I consulted with our home contact. Below is a photo of the Cando Auditorium. It was a remarkable building in a pretty regular farm town.

The options were limited- continue south to Church's Ferry or head west to a place called the Hawk Museum. With the former option we would concede our goal to get to Rugby. The latter sounded like a bird sanctuary in the middle of nowhere but it was better than quitting my quest to get to the center of North America. I called the place and told them 2 bikers were coming. I did a little re-supplying and we headed west once again.
After further drudgery of biking into the wind, 3 Names and I found ourselves at the Hawk Museum. The place was mostly deserted except for one cat that wandered around. The Hawk Museum has nothing to do with raptors or birds. It is a sort of farm and olden times living museum which has a campground. There were a smattering of old building including a church and various barns. Also there were many old steam tractors and old ag implements on the grounds. 

With no one to direct us we set up camp near a picnic bench under a canopy of trees and fixed dinner. There was a mobile home parked nearby but it appeared to be unoccupied. However, there were bathrooms with showers and they were open! As I prepared my dinner a intermittent rain storm passed through. I was not happy. I had enough rain for one day.
I took a warm shower that night. It felt good. 
The rains brought in a cold front so I had to dress in layers that evening. At this point I wish I had brought something long sleeved. I ended up wearing my arm warmers to bed.

20 April 2011

There's still a flood

 The Red River had crested in Fargo at somewhere around 39 feet a week and half ago. The levees and dikes held back the angry waters of the Red for yet another year. However, there was at least one causality. A man sandbagging his home died of a heart attack. It wasn't in town. Someplace north of town. Oakport to be exact.
That same weekend my room-mate and I were driving north out of town on I-29. We were heading to Grand Forks. However we were slightly impeded when the road just north of town became a flood-way. Nearly 6 inches of water covered I-29 north of Fargo to a little bit past Argusville. It was a scary drive. We could not see pavement for miles and miles. Plus it was raining and it appeared a current was pushing the water over the road. It took almost an hour to traverse 6 miles of flooded interstate. It was scary. I didn't have any ID with me nor my camera. I just prayed. We made it to Grand Forks. The road eventually closed a few hours after. The above picture was taken by a friend (and former roommate) as he made his way up to Grand Forks on I-29. Makes me think of a Johnny Cash tune which I have referenced on here before- Five Feet High and Rising.

Now flood concerns are actually looking westward as the Sheyenne River nears record levels. Valley City once again has had to close its bridges and sandbag itself. Other towns along the Sheyenne may surpass record levels.
Here's some footage from I-29 overland flooding


05 April 2011

This flooded horizon: Fargo Marathon 2011

Another flood continues to descend upon the region. A bit later than previous but that gave us more time. Sandbag dikes are going up this week. I think the crest of around 40' is forecasted for April 10th.
The photo at the right is from almost a month ago. The snow was nearly gone but then-wham! Another snow storm and then another and another. Not sure how much snow we got this winter. Someone told me something close to 7'.
In the long term, flood mitigation plans seem to be gaining opponents. The current plan on the table- the diversion with water retention- has critics north, south and west coming together to stop this idea. Changes have been made to address "downstream" communities but apparently it is not enough. The whole process appears to be heading into a Garrison Diversion-like conflict in which there is a possibility that not one drop of the Red River will be stopped from overwhelming the Valley during a flood. We are a hardy people and would accept it and that is that.
I think that the smaller communities don't want what they think is a Fargo problem flung upon them without them having their concerns heard. And now it is a ping pong game of sorts between the proponents of a diversion and the opponents of it. My only misgivings are that the opposition doesn't have an alternative plan. So what I hear from them is anything except a diversion.
But this was not supposed to be an entry about the flood. It is about the Fargo Marathon which is coming in another 6 weeks on May 21st. I will be there to cover it and run in it. I'll be running a 5k for the first time in years. Of course I'll also be embedded in the midst of the event and hopefully will have access to some live blogging tools. I think I am the only blog that covers the marathon.
Last years men's winner, Chris Erichsen, will not be returning to defend his title. However, Chris did win his 2nd marathon 2 weeks ago in Virginia Beach's Shamrock Marathon in less than ideal conditions. Chris credits Fargo with helping him weather the winds. He also made an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:18:40. Quite impressive. He'll be running in the Olympic Trials later this year. Here's an interview with him.