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caitlin clarke day weekend

I am leaving words like decline and decay for the last two paragraphs of this entry, so you will know when to stop reading.


Today is such a lovely day. I did my exercise this afternoon by raking up the maple seeds, putting down some more mulch next to the front step (where bushes used to be), and even left the gift of a poison trap for an army of ants that I found making its way to and from my front door. I have found the way has lowered my blood sugar — that, and following my doctor's latest instructions to hike my metfo to a gram in the morning as well as the evening.

rummage sale

Yesterday was the all-town rummage sale. Half the town, including my folks and two of my neighbors, have laid out their second-hand clothes and other stuff on tables and invite the public to come out and buy. And, boy, it did! The streets have been unusually full of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. It was difficult to cross Main or Washington Streets, and even hard to walk down the side streets. And I was cringing when all those super-sized trucks and SUVs were driving off the street onto my lawn to avoid oncoming traffic because Buckeye Street is too narrow for two-way truck-and-SUV traffic. Well, it's Sunday, and the lawn seems to have survived the traffic.

I visited the neighbors' sales, and even bought something (a votive candle holder made out of thick Coke glass). I visited my folks' on my way back from the post office; they did fairly well.

book sale

My library's Friends group (of which I am president this year) had their book sale during the all-town rummage sale. I was told the morning sales were not good. If so, that is different from the afternoon, where I sat for three hours and saw all sorts of folks, young and old, visit our tent and fill their bags full of books for five bucks. Maybe the other sales were panned out, but it was still good for us. The only problem we had was with the wind, which blew through the tent because the walls were not staked down. I expect a fairly good intake.

caitlin clarke day

Yesterday was Caitlin Clarke Day. I usually have a steak dinner in her honor. I had intended to celebrate before I went to the Friends tent, but I did not have the time.

My tradition of a steak dinner on Clarke Day came from the early 1990's, when I worked in a factory and won a coupon for a free steak dinner at any Ponderosa steakhouse in a XMas raffle. I chose to spend my coupon on Caitiln Clarke's birthday; liked the dinner; and decided to make it a habit. I have done this ever since, deviating from the steak dinner only when I had to.

Ponderosa bolted out of Indiana years ago. There are no really good steakhouses left, except Texas Roadhouse, which I only visited once a very long time ago. And it does not serve lunch, when I normally eat the steak. I had to substitute a meal at the Olive Garden for the traditional steak in recent years.

This year I decided to give Taste of Texas a try. The Taste of Texas used to be in downtown Muncie until it was driven out by the city's bizarre attempts at building code enforcement. The restaurant is now one of those in the eatery mall off the Gas City exit of Interstate 69. It has its menu printed on a Texas-shaped sign in front; and I was reluctant to try it out at first after reading the sign because I did not see steak on it. Then I decided, "what the hey", and walked it.

The restaurant has your standard-issue Texas bric-à-brac on the walls: Pictures of cowboys, branding irons, cow skulls, and Texas highway road signs. The tables were small and clean, with paper towels in place of paper napkins. Not that you'd need them, since real cloth napkins come with the silverware.

I ordered the half-pound ribs, fries and cole slaw from the waitress (well, two of them; one was a trainee). I was surprised with the meal came after only a few minutes. I suppose it helps that the ribs were hickory-smoked all morning. I found that half-pound means I had to take a sixth off for the bone and gristle. But that's okay, for the ribs were very tasty. The fries were good, too, even though I am not used to real fries where the skin is left on.

book rot

It is evident that the publishing industry is in decay, obviously due to economic pressure, but also from a decline in readership (because more and more citizens come out of the public schools unable to read in any meaningful sense), from managerial incompetence (which, to be fair, is now the commonplace of all American industry), and from the growing crappiness of both the content and the presentation of its products.

It is the presentation of its products that makes my sister the freelance editor buy her books used because, c'mon, why should she or anyone else want to buy a new book with typos up the wazoo? I can understand the feeling: I have a copy of Paul Johnson's History of the American People, and it has typos in enough places to really get up my nose. Publishing houses are now such losers that they are not even bothering to proofread (let alone index) the crap that their authors give them. Then they bitch about their dropping sales, blaming the Internet when in fact they alone are to blame for their own decline.

Posted on the Dysmey Blog on 4 May 2008.