Friday, September 6, 2013

What's your best local burger/dog shack?

Most people, if they are fortunate, have a local place they always love to go for summertime comfort foot: burgers, dogs, shakes, onion rings, and all those other cholesterol bombs we're not supposed to have, but love indulging in. My favorite is the Half Moon Drive In, located in Lockport Manitoba. The Half Moon is one of those roadside stands that seems to have been there forever, and at 75 years, the Half Moon fulfills that role for most people alive today. When I was a kid, The Moon was located in a string of old quonset huts placed side-by-side, and their half-curve shapes is probably what gave the place it's name. Originally there was just drive-up service, but The Moon has been rebuilt as a 50's themed sit-down restaurant. The Half Moon was always the burger stand on the East side of the Red River. The west side was controlled by "Skinners", the rival burger/dog stand that claimed to have the "world's greatest hot dogs". While Skinners probably has more authentic period "charm" than The Moon (booths with little juke boxes, faded pictures of hockey players on the walls, vs. retro-looking 50's style), Skinners has become fairly dingy over the years. I pick The Moon any day for it's comfort, style, and of course, it's great food. Here's a couple of my favorites. The Moon Dog! Just saying it makes me feel like I'm back at the start of the space race. The Moon Dog is a smokey foot-long weenie in a fresh bun, filled with bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, fried onions, mustard and a long-cut pickle! Bliss! Add an order of home fries and a fountain pepsi, and you have to have the best meal experience a mortal can enjoy. For the rare occasions when a Moon Dog, just won't cut it, how about a Saturn Burger? DOUBLE bacon, DOUBLE cheese, tomato, BBQ Mayo sauce, topped off with fried onion rings! Only a trip to the ringed planet itself could weigh you down as much as this burger, only not so deliciously. Like any good 50's-style diner, The Moon has booths, vintage signs, coolers and stuff, and classic rock n' roll playing for you. Usually I sneer a bit at places that try to pretend they are "vintage", but I figure The Moon really was there back in the day, so they deserve a little slack. In all your world travels, I sincerely hope you get to experience the Half Moon at least once.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The future of the past!

Remember when the future was actually supposed to be pretty awesome? Not the one inhabited by punk rockers wearing shoulder pads, but the one where we routinely travelled the highways and biways of outer space. I was thinking back on this after I picked up this awesome book from 1959, "Space Flight" from the "Golden Library of Knowledge" This is actually the 1961 edition, but since the "GLK" specialized in "factual books for young readers" one can only assume it was even more factual than in it's original debut. And what great facts! As you can see, rocket ships were going to enjoy the sleek, clean conical design of an aircraft nose-cone, only the size of a 30 storey building! Had to have lots of fins, of course, for the coolness factor as much as the aerodynamics. Astronauts, you get to look out of a super-sleek cockpit. While inside the cockpit, though, be sure to stay buckled in. Uh oh! Looks like Bob forgot, now he's floating around the cockpit like a dead goldfish. It's nice to know the future saw astronauts enjoying white-bread sandwiches with the crusts cut off....and is that a Coke they're drinking? Looks like the golden Library was looking for some product placement! Of course, you don't want to just look outside, you want to toot around, and for that you need your own jet-powered space-suit. these were so much more streamlined than the clunky things "NASA" ended up making....and whatever happened to those claw-things on the hands and feet? Were the astronauts of the future encouraged to avoid trimming their finger- and toe-nails? BUUUUT seriously. I love these old books, the art is crisp and clean, and the vision of the future couldn't fail to inspire young minds. For those afraid the future was going to be a boys-only club, "Space Flight" assures us there will be room for space-girls too! Quote: "Girls will also want to go into the Space Service. they will probably do at least as well as men. For long and difficult trips, women may be preferred, since it has been proved that they are able to stand monotony better than men." Must be all the hours they have to spend listening to guys talk about their favorite sports.