las vegas m&msDuring my recent stay in Las Vegas I stayed at the Gold Coast Hotel Casino, a casino that I found out was extremely popular among seniors and Asians. I choose it because it was one of the cheaper hotels near the Strip and I kind of regret the decision. Apart from a lack of fancy good shops, it ended up being was one of the smokier hotels I’ve stayed at. Everyone seemed to have had a fag dangling from their mouths on the casino floor as they tried again and again to defy the laws of probability. Me, I am not a big fan of losing my money and that is one of the reasons I don’t gamble. I know, you are saying but Dale losing seems to be a common theme of your life. Well, that is partly true but there is a big difference between not liking to lose and being a six-time loser. Just because I lose half the time, it doesn’t mean I like it.

For some strange reason I was given a handicapped room when I never requested one and didn’t know why they were wasting one on me when clearly there were others more deserving. Nonetheless, it wasn’t too much of a hardship except for mastering the detachable shower head, which only took two days and one flooded bathroom floor before I figured it out.

Conversations on the Flight Home

The flight home was delayed by about 3 ½ hours. I found an empty gate and occupied most of my time reading Daniel Silva’s The English Girl. The only interruption was when a large Indian family sat next to me despite the gate area being nearly empty. This lasted for about 10 minutes and after they were discussing whatever it was they needed to discuss they left just as abruptly as they had come.

At about 9:20pm our plane finally landed. My boarding pass was B42 which was good enough to get the last window seat on the plane which is better than the last middle seat. Speaking of the middle seat, I was privy to the conversation of the other two passengers in my row. They were about as different as two people could be, but that really didn’t come out until we were near the end of the flight. The two went through the usual questioning. She was a high school Spanish teacher from Louisville, recently married. She and her husband had meet in Denton, Texas working for their church and were going to Reno to pick up a car.

The young man, a beardless boy, was from Los Angeles and once was a male model and now owned his own production company. He was recently divorced from his Columbian partner, but they still remained good friends. They chatted on for a while and as we got closer to Reno the young lady asked more about the young man’s work at the point he explained he had been an adult male model and he made adult movies with other male models in other words, our young man was the Lord of Gay Porn. After that they didn’t dig into his business ventures anymore and the topic changed as did the energy of the conversation.

Music

Here are some recent picks:

1. Please Read the Letter by Robert Plant and Allison Krauss
2. Sweet Honey by Slightly Stoopid
3. Iao Bacio…Tu Baci by the Noisettes
4. So Very Hard to Go by the Tower of Power
5. Truth by Alexander

The Story of John Alden and Priscila Mullins and other sides of our lesser known families

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins Good

 Up until recently I had never heard of the Courtship of Miles Standish written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1858. This poem popularized the love story of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins and tells of the rivalry between Miles Standish and John Alden for her hand. When I asked my wife if she had ever heard of the Courtship of Miles Standish she said had learned it in elementary school.

Now I have to admit my memory is not very good when it comes to my childhood and my wife has Rain Man like memory about her childhood so it’s not surprising when her memory is better than mine. But, down deep I think it is more than that. I don’t think I got a proper education when I was young. I was robbed. The blame doesn’t lie with my parents, but I think my years in elementary school where the beginning of the new politically correct education. Not the blatant re-writing that is done now, but the subtle exclusion, instead of inclusion, of great stories and great writing from our educations. But, that’s okay the adventure of finding these pieces of literature as an adult is fun.

I would have never learned of this had I not been doing some genealogy. In our family we make a lot of our Danish history (well, I do) through my Dad’s side of the family, but through his mother’s side we have varied history including a streak of Irish in our blood, but also through her side of the family we have some direct ties to several of the Mayflower pilgrims, the most famous being John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. I thought this was pretty cool and unique, until I read that millions of Americans are related to Alden family, including Longfellow. Still I consider it a pretty cool discovery.

“No man can gather cherries in Kent at Christmas time”

 John Alden, from Southampton, was a hired as a “barrel-maker” for the Mayflower and Priscilla Mullins came over with her family, but her mother and father died during the first winter after their arrival. Apparently she was quite a looker and according to legend after Miles Standish lost his first wife he had designs on Priscilla Mullins and requested that John Alden, a much younger man, speak on his behalf to Priscilla. Despite having feeling for Ms. Mullins himself, John Alden obeyed dutifully but as he was speaking for Priscilla Mullins she interrupted him to ask “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”

And thus began the great love story of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins who ended up establishing the town of Duxbury, Massachusetts and having 10 children.

Food Wonderful Food: Cold Jellies and Custards

Tammy and I got to participate in the Taste of Downtown. We sampled a lot of good food, but by far the best was Lady Tamale’s samples. We tried to go light this week, with an emphasis on tried. The other night Tammy prepared an Israeli salad with Shawarma Chicken. The chicken was prepared in a rub of garlic, cumin, coriander, all-spice, turmeric, ginger and cayenne. I took my turn a couple of nights earlier and prepared a shrimp avocado salad with a lime cilantro dressing. Mine was a lot simpler since my cooking skills are lacking. I bought a bag of prepared kale salad with pumpkin seeds and cranberries and then dumped the shrimp and avocado on it. It was pretty good if I might say so.