Friday, November 7, 2008

And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (Republic, MO)

I saw some interesting things while in Republic, MO today. This is my first installment of “And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street”.
Our first innocuous stop was Cable America. The only thing that made this errand interesting was the fact that the local cable company is housed in, a house. I don’t have a picture, yet, but for now you will just have to believe me. The sign should have said “Cable Rural America” or something.

Next stop, the grocery store. I think that there are three grocery stores in Republic, but we stopped in at Price Cutter, because it was across the street from Cable Rural America. Our grocery list was small, carrots and onions for tomorrows stew, and brownie mix for my munchies today. While searching the aisles for the stoner food I stumbled across a product from Heinz, Spotted Dick. I was smart enough to grab my phone this time and take a picture. I wasn’t about to try it, and Maxine didn’t seem enthusiastic about the idea either. We are both picky eaters. Apparently, Spotted Dick is sponge pudding, a British treat. Drop the can in boiling water for 30 minutes and serve warm.

I spotted Spotted Dick for sale in Republic, Mo

We decided to take the scenic route home and drove down Harrison Street. Harrison Street looks like most every other neighborhood street. The interesting thing about this particular street was that it intersects with George Avenue. Yep, George Harrison. I wasn’t as quick on the draw this time and didn’t get a picture and Max didn’t want to turn around. But thanks to Google technology, here is the map to back me up.

View Larger Map

Those are the things that I saw on “Mulberry Street” in Republic. And yes, the brownies were delicious!

Fast facts:
  • And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street is a book written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss. Originally published in 1937, it was Seuss's first children's book.
  • Spotted refers to the dried fruit (which resemble spots) and Dick may be a contraction/corruption of the word pudding (from the last syllable) or possibly a corruption of the word dough.
  • Other usages for the word “dick” include a riding whip, an apron, an abbreviation for “dictionary”, a policeman, a declaration, and (of course), the penis.
  • Spotted Dick could also be a symptom of Syphilis, Herpes, Behcet’s Disease, or Reiter’s Syndrome.
  • Camera phones were first commercially available in North America in 2002.
  • The girl's name Maxine is of Latin origin, and its meaning is "greatest".
  • Maxine was the 359th most popular name for a baby girl born in 1959. The name was most popular in 1923 when it ranked 76th.
  • George Harrison was the first ex-Beatle to achieve a #1 single, “My Sweet Lord”.
  • George Harrison became the first Beatle to arrive on American soil, when he visited his sister Louise, in Benton Illinois, September 1963.
  • Louise Harrison now manages a Beatles tribute band in Branson, Mo, where she also lives. Branson is about an hour drive from Republic.

  • Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    A New Day Begins

    What a proud day! Congratulations to President Obama and to ALL Americans. I truely hope that we will all follow the examples that Obama and McCain set in their speeches tonight. Hopefully Red & Blue REALLY will make Purple!

    Red & Blue Make Purple

    Let me preface this by saying that I cast my absentee ballot last week. I voted absentee in Greene County because I would not be in Springfield on Election Day. This was the first time that I have ever voted absentee, and my first thoughts were that I preferred the absentee method. I had my ballot and was also armed with my laptop so I could do last minute research on the issues and candidates. Even with this ability, and prior research, Question 1 stumped me.

    31st CIRCUIT
    Submitted by Petition
    Mo. Const. Art. V, Sec. 25(b)
    Shall the circuit and associate circuit judges of the 31st judicial circuit be selected as provided in
    Section 25 of Article V of the Missouri Constitution?
    YES □
    NO □

    The way this question is worded confused me AND my laptop. Who wants to vote AGAINST the Missouri Constitution? Apparently, I do, and did, but I worry that the wording will confuse some voters and cause them to vote opposite of their intentions. Time shall tell.

    Even with the knowledge that I had researched each and every issue backwards, forwards, inside out, and upside down, something was missing. Something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

    Until 8:20 am this morning. I arrived at the St. Robert Community Center with a friend. Her purpose was to vote, mine was to witness the fist shaking, foot stomping, spitting, rock throwing, bloody riot firsthand. I was disappointed. After two years of constant bombardment by campaign messages and 24/7 internet coverage of the Divided United States of America, I fully expected the anger evidenced online to spill over in the polling place, like a segment of “The View” gone horribly wrong. It did not happen. My voyeuristic voting experience was overall, boring. Two campaigners were outside the Community Center and inside the building the atmosphere was that of a….Community Center. Even though we were visibly separated by white lines that sorted us out by the first letter of our last name, the unspoken separation of Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative, Christian, and Atheists barely rippled, not even the hint of an undercurrent. Instead people chatted about their children, their work, the Waynesville Tigers football team. The people who spew hate, on both sides, from the anonymity of their computers, were silent. Instead the overall feeling that I experienced at the poll, and had missed with my absentee voting experience, was that of camaraderie. By 8:50 am, my faith in the Undivided United States of America was temporarily restored. Sometimes, boring is good.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    Cracker Barrel Architecture

    Most manufacturing companies in the United States see a demand for a certain type of product and then rush to patent and produce it. Hinkle Chair Company of Springfield, Tennessee seems to have a product that has created a market of it’s own. Not familiar with Hinkle Chair Company? They have been making rocking chairs for over 170 years, five generations ago, according to their website. A spokesperson for Lowes noted that the rocking chair is making a comeback. Why are rocking chairs becoming popular again?

    Cracker Barrel.

    The rocking chairs look so inviting and innocent
    The rocking chairs look so inviting and innocent

    Cracker Barrel is a chain of “Old Country Stores” that are “Half Restaurant. Half Store. All Country.“. The company was started in Lebanon, Tennessee by Dan Evins. In October 2008 the company operates 581 locations in 41 states. Each and every one of those 581 stores has a long front porch that is lined with rocking chairs. Rocking chairs that are made by Hinkle Chair Company. Hinkle has provided Cracker Barrel with their rocking chairs since they opened in 1969.

    Hinkle and Cracker Barrel are both shining examples of solid marketing combined with good products and sound business plans. They deserve a round of applause for this feat. However, I strongly feel that these two companies are behind an alarming architectural trend…

    The Cracker Barrel Home.

    I am not an extensive traveler, but I have recently relocated to my hometown of Waynesville, Missouri. Waynesville is located next to Fort Leonard Wood, a military installation, and has experienced a housing boom the past few years. New subdivisions with names like Ridge Creek and Hickory Valley have sprang up where livestock used to graze. I can not prove it, but I think that the majority of the local housing developers designed their spec houses while devouring Chicken n’ Dumplins and Fried Okra at our local Cracker Barrel. Continuing the snowball effect, consumers who are wistful for a Walton Mountain lifestyle buy the rocking chairs that dominate the long front porch of the chain. The downward spiral ends with the happy couple signing a thirty year mortgage so they will now have a front porch of their own to put their “authentic, ready to assemble Cracker Barrel / Hinkle Chair rocking chair”.

    You Be The Judge…

    The Cracker Barrel porch lends authenticity to this faux Colonial
    The Cracker Barrel porch lends authenticity to this faux Colonial

    With some retrofitting and an interstate location...
    With some retrofitting and an interstate location...

    This home screams
    This home screams "Authentic' Cracker Barrel Porch

    The owners opted out of the Cracker Barrel Wrap Around Porch upgrade
    The owners opted out of the Cracker Barrel Wrap Around Porch upgrade

    This porch can only be for showcasing the owners Cracker Barrel Rocking Chair Collection
    This porch can only be for showcasing the owners Cracker Barrel Rocking Chair Collection

    All the homes pictured above are currently for sale in the Waynesville area. Feel free to email pictures of your Cracker Barrel Porch to If you need me, I will be on the front porch, in my new rocking chair, wondering when The Waltons Season 9 will be released on DVD.

    Guitar Hero In Store Display Democracy Guide

    Guitar Hero World Tour was released October 26, 2008
    Three games will most likely dominate the in store displays at Best Buy and WalMart this holiday season. Rock Band 2 was released September 14th and Guitar Hero World Tour was released October 26th. Guitar Hero on Tour: Decades will be released November 16th. Establishing a Guitar Hero democracy among a gathering of friends, whether at someone’s home or at the local tavern, is no easy task. Establishing a Guitar Hero democracy in the midst of an electronics super store or a shopping mecca is almost impossible. So with a Rock Band synthesized drum roll, I unveil the Guitar Hero In Store Display Democracy Guide.

  • Age Is Not A Factor. Whether you are 70 or 7 do not be afraid to step up to the plate and take your turn at virtual rock stardom. If you are a bystander in the crowd, do not judge a player by their cover. I have seen an eight year old rip a twenty-something to shreds playing guitar on “Satch Boogie” and watched a baby boomer who could have schooled Alex Van Halen himself on the game version of “Hot For Teacher”.

  • “Satch Boogie” footage on
    “Hot For Teacher” footage on

  • Take Turns. The mantra that we have heard since we were one holds true in a Guitar Hero democracy. First come, first serve is the standard for establishment of turns. Once you have played your song, if someone is in line behind you who obviously “has next” hand the controller over. If your onlookers have not established a visible line of players, turn around and ask if someone else wants to play. When someone steps forward hand the controller over. If no one is up to the challenge go ahead and play another song and repeat the process. If you have completed three songs and no one wants control of the game, set the controller down and walk away from the gaming area. Upon returning to the gaming area after two to three minutes, if no one else has started playing you can resume play. If someone else is playing take your place at the back of the line. Don’t be a bogart!

  • Song Failed. If you fail the song before 25% completion you are allowed one retry. If you fail the song after 25% completion your turn is over. Refer to “Take Turns”.

  • Song Difficulty. Player difficulty is completely up to the player whose turn it is. Play within your comfort level, now is not the time to try ramping up from easy to expert level.

  • Monday Morning Quarterbacking. If the player makes obvious mistakes or does not activate star power when you think they should it is NOT up to you to coach them. If a player is on their way to virtual stardom do not distract them with your play by play commentary. Keep your comments and your hands to yourself.

    Rock Band 2 was released September 14, 2008

    Guitar Her On Tour: Decades will be released November 16, 2008