ITEM: For you out-of-towners, this weekend was the best event in Fort Wayne- the Johnny Appleseed Festival. KC and I walked on over, and in perusing the antique junk and miscellaneous knick-knack booths, I found me a couple of treasures.
And thus becomes my second stay-on-the-bottle cap. (Yeah, this is more properly for the caps blog, and I'll put it over there later.) The big boy is a bit older. I know you can't make out what it says on my camera, so I tried a pencil-rub for you:
"Berghoff Brewing Co. Ft. Wayne, Ind." I did some digging on this bottle. It seems the fact that it doesn't say "H. Berghoff Brewing Co." tells us it was made after 1889, and the fact that it says "Co," rather than "Association", or whatever abbreviation for that they used, tells us that it was made prior to 1910. Either way, a bottle in excess of 100 years old! Value: about the $5 I payed for it, but if you've seen the cap blog, you know I love the hometown breweries and their stories, so for me, priceless.
Second, my friend Chocolate Angel over at The Cat and the Coffee Cup passed on her recently received 7X7 award. Now this is one of those "Pass It On" awards in which you let out some of your deep dark secrets and then pass it on to the next deserving soul. Only in this case, it involves picking the posts that best fit seven categories, and then pass it on to seven others. Now me, I'm not one much for passing on things (it gives me that low esteem feeling of being a pest) and when you consider of my 29 followers, there are several MIAs, a couple of doubles, one is KC's ex-gf and may not be around hereabouts any more (?), and several others who might be candidates have already either gotten the award from C.A. or will get it passed to them by the ones she passed it to, I'm just going to leave it up for grabs- if you want to play, just grab the award and answer the categories!
1. Most Beautiful- First I thought of one of the many sad memorials I've had to do this year- the one for Clarence Clemons (Goodbye, Big Man) comes to mind. But I'll go with an anguished poem I posted Back in February- I Know There Is A Healing.
2. Most Helpful- I really hope that would be one of my sermonettes, like He Who Has Ears To Hear. I may bother, borew or alienate a lot of people with my faith and the posts that come from it- but if one person learns, hears, is encouraged, the whole rest of the blogs are worth it.
3.Most controversial- Hands down, What Government Is For. This started out as a response to someone who saw our government as there to serve the minorities, and morphed into a knock-down, drag-out on atheism and evolution. It would take the next category as well, were it not for Europeans who love Silver Convention and people who want to know why the world will end in May of next year.
4. Most Popular- #1 is The Day Of Judgement According to wecanknow.com; #2 is Time Machine Week Thirty, the infamous "picture of Silver Convention" post. Apparently the most searched non-porn picture of all time.
5. Most Underrated- My all time favorite, Once Upon A Time In The Forest..., a fairy tale in real life, or vice-versa, featuring Scrappy.
6. Most Surprisingly Successful- Rikuzen Takata, the original post on the Japanese disaster which spawned 7 updates so far. #4 on the pageview list.
7. Most Pride worthy- Hey, I'm the Humble Author, capeesh? No pride here.
There, that only took me half the night! Check 'em out and see what you think. Thanks again, C.A.- for the award and the exercise in reflection.
Here's clips from a story I just had to share- a real WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??
ABOARD THE MANGYONGBONG, off North Korea — It was billed as a cruise ship, but the creaking, nearly-40-year-old vessel that set sail from the remote North Korean town of Rajin had more of the trappings of a tramp steamer. With its cramped cabins, cut-rate cuisine and foul, water-deprived bathrooms, it was not about to compete anytime soon with Cunard or Carnival in the leisure industry.
Then again, it does not have to. As North Korea’s latest venture into the tourism business, it need not concern itself with rivals. The trick, as its operators conceded, will be to attract enough vacationers.
Desperate for foreign currency, officials in secretive North Korea are trying to lure tourists to holiday cruises along the length of the impoverished country’s east coast. Earlier this month, a trial run by the rusty Mangyongbong was completed in 43 trying hours at sea. More than 200 people were packed into dim and musty cabins, sometimes eight to a room with floor mattresses. Chinese tourists and business people shared quarters with North Korean officials and foreign journalists.
The inaugural cruise presumably had support at the highest levels in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The organizer, Taepung International Investment Group, falls under the National Defense Commission, which answers directly to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.
“I love peace and the Korean Peninsula,” said Park Chol-su, president of Taepung, as he sat on the deck of the Mangyongbong. “Our company symbolizes peace. We can even hire Americans.”
The trial run began on Aug. 29, when Mr. Park led scores of foreigners across the border from northeast China to Rajin, the port town that North Korea has designated a free economic and trade zone. Some of the visitors had paid about $470 for the five-day trip, which included several days on land. Others were traveling free of charge because they were friends of Mr. Park, who is a Chinese citizen. Many of the Chinese ran tour agencies, and Mr. Park and North Korean officials were trying to encourage them to promote North Korea tourism.
Bilingual government guides had been assigned to the tour buses. An affable 25-year-old, Mun Ho-yong, spouted off some facts in English about his country: “In 1950, there was a war, the Korean War, started by the United States.” Now, he said, Korea had entered the phase of “universal socialist construction.”
In Rajin, a town of dirt roads and occasional blackouts, the guides stuck to the program, first taking their guests to a towering portrait of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, for photographs and then ushering them into a theater to watch children perform patriotic numbers. That night, the visitors attended a banquet where the vice mayor, Hwang Chol-nam, toasted Mr. Park for organizing the cruise.
Confetti flew and about 500 students and workers in uniforms waved flags and plastic flowers as the boat lurched from the dock in Rajin.
“It has not been easy,” Mr. Hwang said. The two then belted out a karaoke song glorifying Kim Il-sung.
But it was at noon the next day that the real festivities got under way. At the harbor, where ships bearing coal depart for Shanghai, officials in dark suits lined up along a red carpet to give speeches. Then came the blaring of music dedicated to — whom else? — Kim Il-sung (“The Marshal Rides a Galloping White Horse”). Confetti flew and about 500 students and workers in uniforms waved flags and plastic flowers as the boat lurched from the dock.
The Mangyongbong had been used as a cargo ship since 1992, but before that had served as a passenger ferry mostly for North Koreans living in Japan.
The North Korean coastline disappeared from view for much of the 21-hour journey south. There was no shuffleboard. Chinese passengers broke out decks of cards. Mr. Hwang, the vice mayor, changed from a navy suit into a green polo shirt and drank beers with foreigners on the top deck. An American asked him whether there was any chance the ship might stray into international waters and encounter foreign naval vessels.
“You’re in North Korea here,” Mr. Hwang said. “You’re completely safe. The North Korean military is protecting you.”
Dinner that night resembled a mess hall at an American Army base in Iraq: metal trays, fluorescent lights, diced chicken and cucumbers ladled from self-serve communal bowls. Waitresses threw leftovers overboard. The wind blew bits of trash back onto the deck.
The next morning, the boat pulled into the harbor of the nature park at Mount Kumgang, not far from the border with South Korea. The day and night spent there involved hiking, an acrobatics show and a video pitch for the Chinese businesspeople on investing in the park. The South Korean government has barred its citizens from traveling there since a fatal shooting in 2008, and the park’s South Korean developer has suspended its operations. “Now we’re in a military zone; if you stay behind, you get shot,” Mr. Mun said, apparently jokingly, as the buses pulled up to a rocky beach.
The hotel had a tennis court and a bar, and the visitors were taken to a well-trimmed golf course. There was even a North Korean-style duty-free shop offering, among other things, a homegrown version of Viagra (main ingredient: antler).
The return trip took 22 hours. After a lunch of instant noodles, the harbor at Rajin loomed in the distance. “We admit that we have a lot of shortcomings to overcome,” Mr. Park said.
The passengers stared at the buses waiting to take them back to China. “One trip is enough for a lifetime,” someone said. The ship slowly approached the dock.
Then there was a great crashing sound, and the Mangyongbong shuddered. “It’s like the Titanic,” a Chinese man yelled. People pointed at the concrete pier — the ship had rammed straight into it, denting the front of the hull and reducing a corner of the structure into a pile of rubble. The captain, it seemed, was just as eager as everyone else to get back to shore.
'Nuff said. Thank God I get seasick.