Kitchen Stove Stories

Interlude: Pigeons in South Station

“Mr. Lion, Mr. Lion!” says the monkey.  “If you’re the king of the jungle, why is it you’re down there and I’m up here?”
-Joel, at South Station

Editor’s Note:  Read while listening to Jethro Tull’s Aqualung.

Too much caffeine; too little sleep.  South Station in Boston, just coming back from the New Hampshire primaries.  Nice guy, name of Joel.  Don’t know his story, but he likes a good joke.  We got to talking.

Joel was worried about me; saw me dozing off (more…)

How A-1 Got Its Name, And Other Tall Tales

No meme is safe.

“So in the middle of the Civil War,” it says, “someone was like, You know what this country needs? A delicious steak sauce.”

And therein hangs a tale.

See, back in the day, the armies didn’t generally carry enough food (more…)

Dateline: Connellsville, PA

It’s lovely winding down through the Cumberland Gap in the wee hours, and when the train’s slightly behind schedule you might be fortunate enough to have the sun coming up as you do.  Some of the best sunrises in the world can be found here, overlooking the narrow stream from halfway up the side of one of the adjoining ridges.  The sun sparkles off the icy waterfalls coming down the sheer rockface; it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen, a view reserved exclusively for us.

Another of the fellows in the Lounge likes the sunrise in Jamaica, and who am I to argue?  After all, he’s been there and I haven’t.  We’ve been up half the night talking food trucks and pizza and native (more…)

Dateline: Harper’s Ferry

It’s a curious thing about this nation’s passenger rail network.

I mean to say, apart from that we have one in the first place.  This appears to surprise a lot of people.  “Chicago?  When do you fly out?” they ask, confident in the familiar ritualized response of airline and time and ticket class.  When I say I’m taking the Capitol Limited, they’re at a complete loss.  I must clarify:  Amtrak.  A passenger train.

Yes, Virginia, we still have passenger trains. (more…)

Dateline: Cumberland Gap

More updates from the road, as your Not Fake News action correspondent continues his travels.  For research purposes only, of course.

One of the things I love most about traveling by train is the completely different attitude by passengers.  I’ve seen fights break out over who gets which taxi, whether people have the right to lay their seats back on a plane, or who let out that legendarily nasty (more…)

The Old Woodstove

I’ve been living down south for a number of years now (for my sins), and it sure is curious to see how different life is down here from up home.

Well, the first thing is, here, there’s seasons, I guess, but you wouldn’t call ’em real seasons, not the way we had ’em growing up.  Oh, summer here’s the real thing; you can feel the scorch through the walls and hear the heat crackle even over the roar of the A/C.  But back home, when the leaves started turning and there’d be a bite to the (more…)