Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Smell of the South

That title probably makes most people giggle like a third grader. Well, at least some of the guys  I hang out with. Though the thought of smelling the South does conjure up thoughts of 7 day old overalls or maybe a weed infested pond on a hot, humid summer day.  But better than that, the south is known for its cooking and cooking means SMELLS. Aromas.  Lingering affects of culinary combination and innovation.  It seems like each day I find this out, in more ways than one.

Every morning I get off my "58-foot-limo" right in front of that place above- but when I get there it's usually just before dark-thirty! No one around but me, the bus driver and a few early morning workers such as myself.  Even though the rest of the world is still crawling out of bed, this place is busy heating up the ovens, and creating those smells that define the south.

Ok, let's be specific.  BACON.  Or at least that's what I get out of it.  Smokey wood, pork products and a touch of ..hmmm...Brown Sugar? Maple? Whatever it is, it's intoxicating.
That glass door is the best place in the wee hours to
snort some bacon scented goodness...

Even though they've been tearing up the street recently, I cross the barricades and step lightly over the wood cement forms just to get close enough to the windows to take in that ambiance. Breath deep..wait for the breeze... ahhhhhh...the smell fills me up like a good southern breakfast and I'm ready for my day. Sometimes the breeze shifts and the smell follows me down the street as I walk that final block to work. Heaven.  

Only thing else I need is a good cup of coffee.  Hmm maybe if I swing by the coffee shop at that hour I can sniff a few beans being roasted.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Very Nashville Christmas!

Every year here in Nashville we are fortunate to have some great Holiday entertainment. Some you pay for, and some you don't.  Here are a few highlights.  

The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular is straight from New York City and comes to Nashville every year and has been doing so for the last 20 years. Why they chose Nashville is anyone's guess.  My estimation is that there is less Snow in Nashville and even more, less traffic and less New Yawk Attitude!  Yeah, that's some good reasons to spend the holidays in the South.

The Opryland Hotel puts up more Christmas Decorations than my neighbor Bubba, but not by much.  Seriously, they put up more than 2 MILLION lights all over their hotel.  Outside...

AND inside!  Three huge solarium areas with live music, waterfalls and decorations in every corner.  Pay for parking and a whole carload of folks can enjoy this free show.  Walk around the inside and visit the shops and restaurants, too!  The Opryland Hotel shares parking lots with the Opry Mills Mall, where you can shop for anything from a new boat to a Gibson Guitar!

There are hundreds of other things to do at the Holidays here in the South, but I don't think there is enough room here to list them all.  

I'll leave you with a good thought.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukah, Felize Festivus, or what ever you celebrate this year. And a Happy New Year, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nashville's Downtown Bike Rental

Just last week, I was headed from my office to the Bus Station to take the long ride home when I came across this.  It's a bike rack with a credit card machine attached.  Quite apparently, you can rent bikes by the hour to travel around Nashville and see what there is to see.

The downtown area of Nashville is on a hill and it's one of the things which gives me a workout when I go walking.  I can't imagine what it would do on a bike.  The more I think on this, I realize there are large flat areas to view and with a bike may just be the best way to do it.  The downtown area itself is rife with history and historic places to see going back to before the civil war and as recent as the civil rights era of the 1960's.  For many years our downtown  sidewalks have been adorned with a wide green stripe giving tourists and locals alike a path to follow to view each of these historic places.  The Walking Tour, it was called. (And no, I never went a-walking the walking tour - so sue me.)

It's neat to see the city embracing the idea of biking as a way to get around the city, even if you do have to pay to rent them. The bikes are all painted a nice rich red and each comes with a built in basket and heavy duty lock. Across town are the newly installed GREENBIKES which are Free to use to visit the local parks and biking areas within.  (And yes, those bikes are indeed painted green.)

You'll also note that this rack has a big "B" on it. At first I thought this was identifying it as the 2nd such installation. No such thing!  It's actually the name of the company, "Nashville B-cycle" and there are actually more than 20 locations across the main part of the city.  You can learn more at their site.*
Ride around and enjoy the city, a great way to visit the south! 

In truth, the site you see pictured has been removed (reasons unknown); but there are many others close by and I know folks to use this service regularly.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Southern Wine glass

Well, here it is, just in time for Gift Giving Holidays (you know, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or what ever holiday you may celebrate and give gifts this time of year) and you know you want it!  

This is a real item, as pictured below, photographed at my local retail store. It's nothing more than a Ball Canning Jar (approximately a pint...hey, I didn't take time to measure things) fixed permanently on top of a glass base (glass candle holder maybe?)   I have even seen these in a smaller size for the women-folk.  ("Women folk?" Honestly, I rarely talk like that, I don't know why this always happens when I get to typing on this blog.) 

Now there's two things to like about this creation.  One: There's a lid to keep the flying critters out of your fermented grape beverage (yes, I agree that it can also be used for fermented apple, fermented succotash or even some of my brother Bubba's Bottle Barley Beer. Let's not quibble on the is the happiest of holiday seasons after all...) The lid can also keep the young progeny from pilfering your sour mash/beer/whatever as opening the lid is a two step process which  gives even the most tipsy of teetotalers plenty of time to thwart such pilfering in process.  

The other reason is of course, the design. The classic Ball Jar Design.  Perfect for any time of year, actually . And of course there is the size.  Enough to keep you going through Aunt Trudy's long winded speech about how she personally stopped prohibition or some such thing (clearly I was more interested in my fermented beverage than in that story she's told again and again, and yeah..again.) 

So,  if you're looking to LOOK like a southerner you'd best be asking Santa (aka: Bubba Claus, here in the south) for one of these.  Else-wise you may find yourself drinking out of some left over 50's aluminum juice glass come New Years.