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January 31, 2016 [LINK / comment]
Ridin' the rails out west
CATCHING UP: I actually made it home for Christmas this season, for the first time in several years. But instead of flying, which exposes one to all sorts of weather-related risks, which I have in fact I have suffered the last two times I flew out to South Dakota (!!!), I took AMTRAK and just relaxed. I got lots of reading done on the way out and back, and did some work on my MacBook laptop computer. Some trains have WiFi service, including the eastbound train from Chicago which I rode. See the Winter 2015-2016 Photo gallery, from which this sample was taken:
Chicago train tracks and skyline, on December 31. (Eastbound)
I used to love flying, but the security hassles at the airports and miscellaneous inconveniences have soured me on that option. It happens that where I live (Staunton) has an AMTRAK station, so I don't have to drive to an airport and leave a car parked there for days or weeks. Besides, it's just plain fun watching the passing scenery from ground level, an experience you never get from 30,000 feet up. I should also mention that all four trains I rode (Staunton-Chicago, Chicago-Omaha, and then the reverse) arrived within a half hour of the scheduled time, which is not bad for such a lengthy trip. (My last trip on AMTRAK, in the fall of 2008, was plagued by delays of more than two hours.) So, they are definitely improving. On one hand, taking advantage of a government-subsidized transportation system does give me qualms, but I think there is a public purpose to be served in maintaining long-distance passenger train service. Wanna ride the rails? Go AMTRAK!
Rating popular-price beers
The Washington Post Weekend Section rated popular-price (i.e., cheap) beers, deliberately omitting the Big Three (Budweiser, Miller, and Coors). The rankings are shown in the list below, and I put the brands I like in bold face. I have to say I am surprised they put Yuengling so low. Back in the 1980s, Budweiser was my usual "regular" beer, and I still like it but I just don't think that it is so much better than some of those listed below that it should be priced almost $2 more per six-pack. Something else that bugs me is how the big brands hog almost all the shelf space in retail outlets. For example, National Bohemian was sold at Food Lion for a while last year, but not any more. Instead there are dozens of cases and six-packs of Bud, Miller Lite, etc.
- Genesee Cream Ale
- Schlitz (TIE)
- Stroh's (TIE)
- National Bohemian
- Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Natural Light
On a related note, businessinsider.com Top 10 beer brands in America, most of which were imports or high-quality domestic beers such as Blue Moon. Maybe I'll do my own ranking of favorite beers in the future.
Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 31 Jan 2016, 11: 27 PM
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Hits on this page (single blog post) since July 2, 2007:
Culture & Travel
Science & Technology
This (or that) year's
January 10, 2016 ~ Cooperstown calls Griffey, Piazza
January 17, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland (& Bath!) County
January 21, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Glenn Frey
January 26, 2016 ~ Sweet Briar College is saved!
January 31, 2016 ~ Presidential campaign begins
February 6, 2016 ~ Fall bird migration season 2015
February 20, 2016 ~ Life bird: Virginia Rail!
February 21, 2016 ~ 2016 primaries: populists propel polarization
March 10, 2016 ~ Yes, another Wrigley Field update!
March 26, 2016 ~ Trump triumphs, Republican Party implodes
April 4, 2016 ~ Opening Day(s) in America, 2016! (& Sportsman's Park update)
April 18, 2016 ~ R.I.P. Alan L. Clem
April 21, 2016 ~ Flying out to So. Dak. (& back)
April 30, 2016 ~ Trump & Clinton take commanding leads
April 30, 2016 ~ Migration season reaches peak
May 7, 2016 ~ Trump secures victory; Sanders fights on
May 21, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Reddish Knob
June 7, 2016 ~ ABC field trip to Highland County
June 9, 2016 ~ FOD [first-of-decade] Prothonotary Warblers!
June 14, 2016 ~ Birding on Hite Hollow Road
June 16, 2016 ~ Holy $#!+ -- Nationals win big showdown with Cubs
July 1, 2016 ~ Nationals sweep the Mets, widen NL East lead
July 3, 2016 ~ Kentucky Warblers, and more!
July 8, 2016 ~ Soras breeding in the Valley!
July 13, 2016 ~ Redistricting reform movement is growing
July 16, 2016 ~ The Nationals' starting rotation
August 5, 2016 ~ New page: Stadium profiles!
August 7, 2016 ~ Magical mushroom tour*
September 7, 2016 ~ To the northeast: Baseball road trip, 2016
September 18, 2016 ~ East by Northeast: Big city scenery travelogue
September 25, 2016 ~ Nationals win National League East Division
September 27, 2016 ~ Lucky! 13 warblers on Betsy Bell Hill
October 2, 2016 ~ Nationals' regular season ends on a high note
October 5, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park birding (II)
October 14, 2016 ~ Nationals flinch, Dodgers advance to NLCS
October 14, 2016 ~ Shenandoah National Park getaway
October 16, 2016 ~ World War II aircraft show (II)
October 25, 2016 ~ Holy cow: Cubs beat Dodgers, win NL pennant!
November 3, 2016 ~ The Cubs win the World Series!!!
November 4, 2016 ~ New month arrives, & new birds too
November 6, 2016 ~ Campaign 2016 grinds to a nasty, ugly end
Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.
The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:
- Wild birds (LAST)
- Science & Technology
- Latin America
- Culture & Travel
- Canaries ("Home birds")
- Baseball (FIRST)
Also see: My blog practices.
Blog errata (Nobody's perfect.)