Still Virginia Bound

Leslie and I are still fighting to get back to the kids after being stranded in New Orleans after all flights were cancelled. We are safe but had a wild night trying to find a way home.

Despite the fact that the weather was mild on Sunday and Monday morning in Washington, US Airways cancelled our flights. It was very frustrating to speak to friends in Washington and hear how the weather was fine. The cancellations appeared to be decisions based on the location of equipment, but thousands of passengers could have made it home. The main problem however at US Airways was the virtual collapse of any customer assistance that continued to Monday. We had to wait literally hours on the telephone to get through and then had to wait over an hour on hold to reach anyone. US Airways then told us that we would have to buy a separate ticket to go to closer airports like Charlotte (it didn’t matter since those were cancelled as well.) I remain furious with US Airways which (despite plenty of forewarning) did not appear to set up sufficient personnel or resources to assist passengers. We literally spent 24 hours from Sunday to Monday trying to reach someone at the airline, which has a message that repeatedly cut off calls and told them to call back.

With four kids with our sitter in Virginia, we could not wait any longer so I rented a four-wheel drive jeep and set out Sunday morning from New Orleans. We made it 700 miles when we were hit last night with a blinding blizzard storm in the mountains of Virginia. Visibility dropped quickly to virtually zero and we barely got off the highway. We found a motel in a tiny town called Marion, Virginia and bunkered down.

We are going to set out again shortly to try to get to the kids. A lot of roads are cut off with debris and winds remain high in McLean at 37 miles per hour. However, there are signs of it winding down. The kids are fine and still remarkably have electricity. We are prepared however. In Alabama, we bought boxes of water and Moon Pies (which we can’t get around us in McLean). If anything goes wrong, we can survive on Moon Pies for days in the mountains!

I hope all of our regulars on the East Coast are safe and sound today.

145 thoughts on “Still Virginia Bound

  1. Even Huffington Post took a hit:

    Huffington Post Outage

    Due to power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy, our own website is experiencing technical difficulties. We are working around the clock to get the site back to normal. The news team, which has offices around the U.S. and in other countries, is still monitoring everything and will be updating this page with the latest on the storm. We will also update our social media accounts.


  2. “Over the last two years, Congressional Republicans have forced a 43 percent reduction in the primary FEMA grants that pay for disaster preparedness. Representatives Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and other House Republicans have repeatedly tried to refuse FEMA’s budget requests when disasters are more expensive than predicted, or have demanded that other valuable programs be cut to pay for them. The Ryan budget, which Mr. Romney praised as “an excellent piece of work,” would result in severe cutbacks to the agency, as would the Republican-instigated sequester, which would cut disaster relief by 8.2 percent on top of earlier reductions.

    Does Mr. Romney really believe that financially strapped states would do a better job than a properly functioning federal agency? Who would make decisions about where to send federal aid? Or perhaps there would be no federal aid, and every state would bear the burden of billions of dollars in damages. After Mr. Romney’s 2011 remarks recirculated on Monday, his nervous campaign announced that he does not want to abolish FEMA, though he still believes states should be in charge of emergency management. Those in Hurricane Sandy’s path are fortunate that, for now, that ideology has not replaced sound policy.” NYT editorial board

  3. Professor, the town of Marion was always a big marker on my childhood excursions from eastern Virginia back to the grandparents in far western Virginia, is the big water tower still on the edge of town? (Marked “More Water for Marion”, which my sister always yelled out as we passed by)

  4. I had to rent a car in Madison yesterday. Ran into a nice woman who is in the same situation as Mr. Turley. She rented a car to drive back to DC. The company is Enterprise which is a family owned business. The woman was pleased @ the great rate. The clerk told her the company sent out an email that folks trying to get home would get the best gouging. That made my day and while I often use Enterprise, I’ll now make it a point.

  5. Still windy and blustery, temps just above freezing, further up I-81 around Blacksburg (you’ll actually be passing the area through Christiansburg.) Some blowing snow, but it’s not amounting to much. Looking at rain this afternoon, which probably holds up to DC. Be careful on the roads. An awful lot of drivers don’t make adjustments in their driving habits for weather and road conditions, as you have no doubt seen.

    BTW, Marion is home to SWVMHI (Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute), the state hospital that services that region. Soooo, if things get really bad . . . just kidding.

  6. Glad to hear all the Turley’s are safe. I fully understand the urgency felt to get to your children and would have done the same myself in a similar situation.

  7. SWM:
    hate is an awful thing. Seeing that you want the government to take care of everything maybe you should move to North Korea. It would improve both countries.

  8. Bruce,

    Hate is an awful thing. Rumor mills are about as bad as you can get. How do you know it will improve both countries?

  9. Bruce, Isn’t the hateful thing to desire that people go without healthcare and necessary services.? I was talking about moving to another country if Romney and Ryan win and shred needed government services and programs. It would be a country, not North Korea, that is more charitable to its citizens than the type of country that a tea party vision of government provides for.

  10. “maybe you should move to North Korea. It would improve both countries.”


    Seeing as you hate America and its people maybe you should move to a country where your anti-American feelings would be approved.

  11. Bruce,

    North Korea takes care of everything for its citizens? Really? Tell us more about that country and its government programs that help the poor, the sick, and the hungry.

  12. North Korea’s crumbling health system in dire need of aid
    Amnesty International
    15 July 2010

    Amputation and other major surgeries carried out without anaesthesia are just one indication of the dire state of North Korea’s healthcare system, a new Amnesty International report has found.

    The Crumbling state of health care in North Korea draws on interviews with North Koreans and health workers to paint a picture of barely-functioning hospitals void of medicines and epidemics brought on by malnutrition.

    Witnesses described hospitals where hypodermic needles were not sterilized and sheets were not regularly washed.

    “North Korea has failed to provide for the most basic health and survival needs of its people. This is especially true of those who are too poor to pay for medical care,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Asia-Pacific.

    According to the World Health Organization’s last available figures, North Korea spent less on healthcare than any other country in the world – under US$1 per person per year in total.

    The North Korean government still claims that its healthcare system is free for all, but many witnesses told Amnesty International that they have had to pay for all services since the 1990s, with doctors usually paid in cigarettes, alcohol or food for the most basic consults, and taking cash for tests or surgery.

    The report found that many North Koreans bypass doctors altogether, going straight to the markets to buy medicine, self-medicating according to their own guesswork or the advice of market vendors. The North Korean authorities recently banned a highly addictive narcotic painkiller than many North Koreans routinely used as a cure-all.

    “The government’s failure to provide basic education about using medication is especially worrying as North Korea fights a tuberculosis (TB) epidemic,” said Catherine Baber. “A growing number of patients have developed a resistance to first-line anti-TB drugs.”

  13. Bruce,

    I am not from Texas, are you? Hate is an awful trait, it can actually make one paranoid.

    Can you be more specific in why you think North Korea would be better off?

  14. A panel of non physicians that tell you weather you deserve a medical procedure to save your life or not. another kill list

  15. Can we please stay on the topic of this thread, please?

    It is shame when known hateful people turn a seemingly good topic and make it personal.

    Now, I’m going back to driving.

  16. Bruce,

    Road to Affordable Care Runs Through Medicare Pay Panel
    By the Editors Mar 28, 2012

    Nothing in the debate over health- care reform is more depressing than the verbal attacks each party lobs against the other for attempting to cut costs.

    Republicans denounce President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act for seeking to trim a few percentage points from Medicare spending over the next decade — out of $5 trillion. In turn, Democrats deride Representative Paul Ryan’s plan, which would create a voucher-like program enabling seniors to shop among competing health plans, for ending Medicare as we know it.

    Truth is, congressional inertia is the single-biggest impediment to controlling health-care costs, which, in turn, are the biggest driver of federal budget deficits. An existing Medicare commission repeatedly offers cost-saving ideas, and Congress repeatedly ignores them.

    But tucked away in the Affordable Care Act is a promising remedy, the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It resembles the existing Medicare commission, except its proposals for changing the delivery of health-care services can’t be waved off so easily. Unfortunately, Republicans and even some influential Democrats are gunning for the board; the House voted last week to abolish it. So much for countless hours of rhetoric about trillion-dollar deficits.


    Is the Independent Payment Advisory Board the “death panel” you’re talking about?

  17. Jeeze,

    I hope people can learn to at least get along…. If christie can give Obama a complement can’t we be social?


    What superstorm Sandy shows about how the US handles crisis

    America’s great paradox is that, facing disaster, individualism and government reconcile to rebuild – but never in normal times

    by Paul Harris

    “It seems that disaster and crisis provides an opportunity for Americans to blend together their individualism and their communal instincts into something that really works. But if you look at the headlines of the warring political campaigns of the 2012 election, it remains a distant dream for more normal times.”

  19. Bruce:

    What about North Korea? It is a festering sh!t hole. I doubt anyone wants to go there. It is just a failed state, the logical outcome of its policies. It took communism/socialism too far and threw in totalitarianism for good measure.

    As much as I dislike a planned economy, no one on this blog is promoting a North Korean type state. Nor would they.

  20. Swarthmore mom,

    I find it interesting when people like Bruce–who appear to hate government social programs and seem to feel they are unnecessary–get their knickers in a knot when they think they could lose benefits from those same government programs…like Medicare, for instance.

  21. (NOTE: I grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts.)

    Mitt Romney Vetoed Flood Prep Funding In 2004, Blamed For Subsequent Flooding
    By jason Cherkis & Ryan Grim
    Posted: 10/30/2012

    WASHINGTON — In the spring of 2004, Peabody, Mass., got drenched with rain, which flooded the downtown area. After the storm, then-Gov. Mitt Romney asked President George W. Bush to declare Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk Counties federal disaster areas, according to the Boston Globe.

    That fall, the state legislature proposed spending $5.7 million on a flood prevention project to protect against future floods. Those funds would be matched by $22 million in federal money.

    Romney vetoed it. This week, Romney has come under fire for suggesting that the federal government get out of the business of disaster relief. But his record in Massachusetts doesn’t lend much support to the suggestion that states can handle it alone.

    During the time of the Peabody fight, John Barrett, then the Democratic mayor of North Adams, was the vice president of the Massachusetts Mayors Association. He said the issue of flooding in Peabody was critical and that local officials had reached out to the legislature for help. “Every time it rained, it wiped out their downtown,” Barrett told HuffPost.

    Barrett chalked Romney’s veto of the Peabody project up to a lack of familiarity with infrastructure in the state.

    “This was not unusual for him. He didn’t understand infrastructure improvements. It was just the bottom line. He never visited communities. He never understood the issues. He never sat down with mayors or city managers. He never understood why those things were in the budget,” Barrett said. “That money was requested by locals. It was a major league problem.”

    Dan Bosley, a former Democratic state representative in Western Massachusetts, agreed. “I think it was just the fact that Romney didn’t understand these issues.” He said he never saw Romney out with a rain slicker checking on towns like current Gov. Deval Patrick has done.

    “I don’t think it was because he was heartless, he just didn’t know. That’s how he ran his state,” Bosley said. “His understanding of why you have government, I don’t think he ever had it.”

    The Boston Globe reported that September that local officials were outraged, and doubly insulted that Romney claimed to have vetoed the money due to a lack of sufficient information.

    Peabody officials yesterday lashed out at Governor Mitt Romney’s decision to block $5.7 million to pay for a flood control project in downtown Peabody. Romney blocked the money as part of $76 million in election-year spending he vetoed last week. At a State House press conference Friday, Romney said he had tried to contact Peabody officials to obtain more information about the funding, but was unable to reach anyone. Yesterday, state Senator Frederick E. Berry said … “We hand-delivered all kinds of information. They had all the information they needed … I don’t want to use the word ‘lie,’ but … how he could say he didn’t get the information? That’s not true.” Yesterday, Romney’s communications director, Eric Ferhnstrom, said the governor stands by his statement. “Governor Romney is not a rubber stamp for the expenditure of taxpayer funds. If there is no information to support a particular expenditure, our inclination is to be cautious and to wait until a rationale is put forward,” Ferhnstrom said. “In this case, we endeavored to get answers to our questions but none were forthcoming. We would be happy to take another look and if it appears to be a necessary and worthwhile expense we will include it in the next” spending bill the administration proposes.

    In May 2006, Peabody flooded again, and local officials quickly blamed Romney, and slammed him for doing a tour of the disaster area. As the Associated Press reported:

    Romney’s critics saw more than a little political hype in the media blitz. “The first thing I wouldn’t do is showboat for the national cameras and say I was going to prevent looting on the North Shore,” Democratic candidate for governor Chris Gabrieli said … Critics also faulted Romney’s 2004 veto of a $5.7 million flood control project in Peabody, hit hard by the rains, and his request for just half a million dollars for the state’s dam safety office. Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Therese Murray, D-Plymouth said, “Peabody today is under water” because of Romney’s action. Romney defended the veto, saying he wasn’t given a full explanation of how the money would be spent.

  22. anonymously posted:

    when disaster strikes you step up to the plate to help your fellow man.

    America has a history of charity, barn raisings and such. After the disaster is over it is back to normal. Life is not a disaster and should not be treated as such.

  23. Bron,

    “when disaster strikes you step up to the plate to help your fellow man.
    America has a history of charity, barn raisings and such.”

    To be sure, and that’s a good thing, but we’re very good at turning a blind eye and pretending that all is well, when it’s not.

    We’re a crisis-oriented lot and, in our zeal, we’ve been known to overreact, with terrible consequences for many. The response to 9/11 is a perfect example.

  24. The Eye of the Storm That Sees Us All

    Tuesday, 30 October 2012
    By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed

    “Since last Tuesday, about 200 people have kept a round-the-clock vigil to protest the absence of climate change from the political conversation. Today, Hurricane Sandy forced an end to that vigil. Meanwhile, in all the wall-to-wall coverage of the storm on all the major “news” networks, there has been no mention I have seen of the elephant blowing through the room.

    The climate is coming down around our ears, and neither big-dollar candidate has felt compelled to date to deign to bring it up, because this is America. We’re a funny lot, in that we must be led to the edge of the precipice and then kicked in the back before saying, “Wow, this is dangerous, we should do something about this!”

    The lights just flickered, and the wind is picking up, so I have to submit this before everything shuts down.

    A metaphor, that.”

    Life isn’t “a cabaret” for many. Too many of us enjoy our little versions of “normal” until “reality bites” in a big way, because we failed to be vigilant.

    “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” -a prescient someone and we sure as hell better pay attention

  25. In Alabama, we bought boxes of water and Moon Pies …….
    You are a truly wise man! Boxes of Moon Pies will surely get you home… 😉 and I’ve heard they are very high on the barter exchange. Glad you are safe…hope your path is clear the rest of the way…

  26. Has anyone heard from JT since early this morning? He was about a six hour drive from home when he had to spend the night at Marion. Hope they are not running into bad driving conditions.

    I just went up to a little town on the NC/TN border near the Virginia line. They had quite a lot of snow and it was still coming down hard. The slush on the road was not too bad, but I was in the 4×4 Jeep and it has all weather tires. I noticed some rear-wheel drive cars slipping and sliding. That is the worst part. With 4-wheel drive and plenty of weight, you have things under control, but the other guy does not, and you end up feeling as if you have a big target painted on you.

  27. Woosty,
    Moon Pies are the perfect survival food. Enough calories in just one Moon Pie to keep you going for a day and a half.

  28. Bruce,

    No I actually tried to enlist in the Air Force but failed the physical. You on the other hand are one of those asses who never served, but likes to talk tough, just like your asshole buddies in the GOP. You have little to add to the conversation other than insult and so are merely another troll who gets his information via the propaganda of Fox News. You’re to stupid to realize how un-American you are and how divorced you are from most people in this country. O the other hand you just might be an automated trollbot and that would explain your inability to provide more than a few sentences at a time. In any event you are boring and not worth further response.

  29. Woosty,
    I remember when lunch was a Moon Pie and an RC cola. RC had an advertisement: “12 fluid ounces, that’s a lot” and just five cents. That was when a seven ounce bottle of all other soft drinks were also a nickel. Moon Pies don’t take up much space, weigh almost nothing, don’t spoil in the summer heat and require no preparation other than unwrapping.

    Survival food.

  30. Any doubt that Hurricane Superstorm Catastrophe Maker Sandy was a child of global warming induced climate change?

    Any doubt that we will see orders of magnitude worse?

    Dig addiction to BAU.

    Any doubt of causal logic?

    Dig systemic science:

    Yes, global warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy — and the Midwest droughts and the fires in Colorado and Texas, as well as other extreme weather disasters around the world. Let’s say it out loud, it was causation, systemic causation.

    Systemic causation is familiar. Smoking is a systemic cause of lung cancer. HIV is a systemic cause of AIDS. Working in coal mines is a systemic cause of black lung disease. Driving while drunk is a systemic cause of auto accidents. Sex without contraception is a systemic cause of unwanted pregnancies.

    There is a difference between systemic and direct causation. Punching someone in the nose is direct causation. Throwing a rock through a window is direct causation. Picking up a glass of water and taking a drink is direct causation. Slicing bread is direct causation. Stealing your wallet is direct causation. Any application of force to something or someone that always produces an immediate change to that thing or person is direct causation. When causation is direct, the word cause is unproblematic.

    Systemic causation, because it is less obvious, is more important to understand.

    (Dr. Lakoff). Hell, just dig it for heaven sake.

  31. If you have had a moonpie lately, you will remember why you can’t get them in most civilized venues. You can, however, get them at a 7-11 in Reston (Old Reston Road, I think — it’s on the W&OD trail) and at Partlows in Ashburn (also on the bike trail).

  32. Moon Pies are still being made at the original plant in Chattanooga, TN. You can buy them at most grocery stores in the south. I don’t know about other parts of the country. Every truck stop and convenience store seems to carry them. And of course, you can get Moon Pies and other merchandise online, including a tub of RC Colas and double-decker Moon Pies.

  33. Woosty,

    Maybe you’ve never tasted a really good whoopie pie!

    I make a sour cream chocolate cake that I frost with homemade whoopie pie filling and cover with a bittersweet chocolate glaze for holidays and special occasions. It is a favorite with both my family and my friends.

  34. Moon pies. I had to look them up. I’ve had them but it must have been a verrrry long time ago, probably before I traveled out of NYS. So they must have been here in the 50s or maybe the 60s. I’ll have to look for them.

  35. for those trying to reach me thru email … power and internet are spotty … on and off Big mess here … trees down, flooding homes damaged etc

  36. Twinkie Story: My kid was living in Virginia going to school at UVA. I visited him and tried to do “sustenance things” to supplement his pizza diet. I generally shopped at a “bakery outlet” that sold day-old goods for any bakery items, getting pepperidge farm etc. inexpensively. One day they had a form at the register to fill out for a “contest” for a year’s worth of free baked goods. I imagined somehow that it would be a year’s worth of the baked goods of your CHOICE. I put in my son’s name and phone number. A week later he got a call and somebody told him that he had won a year’s worth of free twinkies. Since he is kind of a health food nut (except for the pizzas), he immediately identified the call as a prank call from a friend of his who had put a girlfriend up to immitating a Virginia accent to make the prank call. He laughed his head off and told the shocked store clerk, “Tell Waseem to get his ass over here to eat those twinkies for me because I’ve got to be careful to preserve my girlish figure.” The poor clerk couldn’t figure out what was going on so she thanked him and told him how to pick up his twinkies (one package per week for a year!).

    When he told me I had another fit laughing, and then we told Waseem and he did the same. In the end he picked up those twinkies and distributed them to the kids in the neighborhood, who really appreciated that! Recently he told me that if he gets to the pearly gates and they ask for a list of his sins against humanity he will have to say, “I poisoned innocent children for a year.”

  37. Don’t want to get the nostalgia folks against me, but moon pies were not a favorite of mine. Like most such junk, twinkies included, they melt in the mouth.

    But OS is right, they don’t melt in a hot car in the summer.

    Myself, I prefer home made fork riven pork barbecue for lunch together with cole slaw and half a loaf of white bread. That you can work the road project the whole long afternoon on, with no slacking up. We bought it at the gas station who had a black that minded the pig on the fire all night long.

    Mind you this was NC barbecue with vinegar and black peppar, not tomato sauce. We were builing the first Interstate in ’57.

  38. Elaine M.
    1, October 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Maybe you’ve never tasted a really good whoopie pie!
    I’m a bonafide whoopie pie virgin…..but your recipe sounds delicious!

  39. Idealist:

    I had real Louisiana BBQ about a little over a year ago when travelling through there. Great food! I ate at the same restaurant twice in the same day it was that good. It was though the hottest day I experienced in my lifetime, 112 degrees. I spent most of my life in Eastern Washington and have been in 100+ weather each year, but it was not anywhere near as sweltering as that day in LA. Must be that I am used to dry heat.

    Do you know if the LA BBQ is a similar style to the NC?

  40. Darren,

    I don’t know. Never ate barbecue in Louisiana. I spent two weeks testing a nuke radar detection system which we dragged all the way to Lake Charles. LA where the AFB was located so we got serviced as we needed.

    But did eat their oyster omelettes which were very tasty. Chili sauce was good to it, so tomatoes are appreciated too.

    Dryness does make a difference. Just drink a lot says my friend in Tucson. Jíddah by the Red Sea was much worse than Riyadh in the middle of Saudi.
    When the rains started each day in June in Bangkok the humidity made you crazy if you were out. Buddhism was a good religion for them as it cools the heart, they said.

  41. Nal:

    I shot JT an email and must have missed sending you a copy. He replied this afternoon. Not sure how that happened since it’s my usual list of GBs. Have resent to you. Sorry about the oversight.


  42. Darren, there is no food on earth similar to NC BBQ and since I am from Southeast NC it is the best . Even BBQ from west NC is totally different. I have lived in many different parts of the country and tho I am partial to NC vinigar based pork BBQ (we don’t hold with no tomato based sauce) I am not such a BBQ snob that I cant enjoy BBQ from other parts of the country. and every part has its own special recipe. Some places prefer pork and some places prefer beef. I lived in Lake Charles , La for a while and their bbq was ok but I prefered east Tex. but Ettoufee is best from the tailgate parties of Mcneese University football games. New Orleans has nothin on em. Pittsburgh, Pa should however be barred from calling the concoction they have BBQ. I’d be ashamed . Chipped ham from a deli with pork and bean sauce on it now that ain’t BBQ
    Since I am in Ar right now I am having to eat Ar BBQ and I don’t particularly like things arkansas(it has the distinct problem of not being home) I will have to give them this their BBQ is not at all bad.

  43. Jo, with all due respect, I think vinegar as BBQ sauce is the equivalent of vinegar on the french fries I got in Canada.

    Some of the best pulled pork BBQ in the world can be found along Highway 61 and Highway 49 between Jackson, MS and Memphis. Very slow cooked in a custom made smoker. Served on a bun with thick rich and spicy homemade sauce and a dollop of Cole slaw on top. You can only find food like that in small nondescript shacks along the highway. Not to mention the music that might go with your meal as you eat it on a picnic bench next to the shack. You will never find food like that in a sit down commercial restaurant, especially the franchise restaurants.

    Then there is the music to eat by.

  44. raff,
    The Cole slaw is a southern thing. The way I make it, I learned from my mother. The slaw adds a flavor to the sandwich you cannot get any other way. I will let you in on a secret. The secret is Durkee’s Famous Sauce. Durkee’s has been around forever, and is like a spicy and slightly salty salad dressing. It does not take much to turn ordinary Cole slaw into something magical. Also, I use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise in the slaw.

    Durkee’s is often hard to find in a supermarket but can be ordered online.

  45. OS, I’ve never had that BBQ but the music is bliss. I think the most wonderful thing about BBQ is that every region and sometimes every neighborhood has ITS VERY OWN and its always the best. I watch BBQ cook offs on the travel channel sometimes and at times the BBQ masters stick very much to their tried and true recipes and at times they will add a tablespoon of a new spice or lower the temp 2 degrees and tremble till the decisions are handed down.
    Where I am from there are two competing BBQ places across the street from one another and I think Wilburs is a little bit better than McCalls but McCalls does have that drive thru window….

  46. All this talk of southern treats left me just a bit nostalgic for the Mississippi delta country tonight. There is nothing there in the landscape where you can see across the cotton and soybean fields clear to the horizon, but the people, the food, and the music make it a magical place. About to turn in so will leave with this blues version of I Shall Not Be Moved by Mississippi John Hurt.

  47. They used to have one of the very best wooden rollercoasters too, It used the terrain to make it feel as if you were about be be flung into the river. I have’nt been there in 30 years so I dunno If its still there

  48. Jo,

    Don’t you have black pepper on yours in SE NC. And where is that: Fayetteville? Wilmington? lil Washington? My niece who visit the beaches there often might like to sample some of yours.

    Being open-ninded is wise. Close to the office beside the motorway which passes Plano in Dallas, is a wonderful homestyle cooking place with great barbecue, including sliced beef also. Ther vegetables cooked from fresh from the garden are also great.

    Speaking of new (?) ideas, why not treat th grilliing pig to the lamb preparation of sticking in garlic cloves into the meat strategically placed.

    What say Nick S.?

  49. Jo,

    “Where I am from there are two competing BBQ places across the street from one another and I think Wilburs is a little bit better than McCalls but McCalls does have that drive thru window….”
    Do you think they are still there? What town?

    Did you ever fry Coles pure pork sausage (patty style) on a Sunday and eat’em with fluffy scrambled eggs and a bit of a good jam.

  50. Barbecue, Wilber’s Barbecue Home

    Wilber’s Barbecue has been opened since 1962 and has been serving Eastern North Carolina style barbecue for over 47 years. Great barbecue, great family …

    Score: 18 / 30 – 25 Google reviews

    4172 U.S. 70 Goldsboro, NC 27534, United States
    (919) 778-5218

  51. And Here’s a review of McCall’s which also has an even more textensive meny at their Clayton branch, than in Goldsboro. Walk in and waddle out satisfied.

    39 friends
    155 reviews
    Paula A.
    Fuquay-Varina, NC

    Oh, McCall’s, how I’ve missed you so…Growing up in Wayne County, I used to visit the Goldsboro location on a weekly basis with my family from childhood to adulthood & I like the Clayton location just as much. Met up with the ‘rents in JoCo (our halfway point) to celebrate my daughter’s 8th bday. McCall’s was her choice (what 8 year old doesn’t want buffet on their birthday?). And the variety on their buffet is extensive. Of course they have a salad bar, but they also have a soup bar, which they don’t offer at the Goldsboro location. I love their chopped pork bbq, but their bbq beef is even better, it’s sweeter and less tangy. They’ve also added beef brisket which delicious when you drizzle some of the bbq sauce from the bbq chicken on it! So needless say, I love their bbq chicken, too. And fried chicken. And chicken pastry. And fried shrimp. Not to mention the hushpuppies and biscuits…I swear, I’m gaining weight just thinking about it! Good thing I don’t still visit weekly, my waistline couldn’t take it!! Oh, and last but not least, the dessert bar is awesome!! Tons of choices, but you have to try the “chewbread”…if only I could make that at home…:) Service is always friendly & attentive too! My tea glass is never empty!!

  52. pete,

    That’s some good advice.


    Having eaten BBQ all over the country, I have two words for you: Kansas City. And two more words: ‘Nuff said. The whole pulled pork/vinegar/coleslaw thing from the central east and southeast is pretty damn good though. But that’s their niche: whole hog. If it walks, flies or swims, they BBQ it in KC and someone is doing it to perfection if you prefer the dry rub/wet sauce finish style of American BBQ. I find all the southern states to be a weak imitation of KC style although both TX and LA have spotty points of excellence, especially around Austin. Still, there is no place like KC. Anthony Bourdain once said something along these lines and I agree with him (mostly): “If I had just one BBQ meal to choose from before I died, it would be Carolinas style whole hog. If I had one day to eat BBQ before I died, I would spend that day in Kansas City. You can get it all in Kansas City.” Where we differ is my last meal choice would be either ribs or a beef brisket sandwich from Arthur Bryant’s. Not even a competition.


    I feel the same way about California BBQ as you do about PA BBQ. I laughed and laughed all the way to a great taco joint where I got carnitas that melted in your mouth instead. CA is a big state and maybe someone somewhere is getting it close to right, but I’ve sampled BBQ from San Diego to LA to Napa and I’ve found it to be universally lacking.

  53. One of my favorites BBQ places is in Memphis but don’t recall the name. They served the slaw on it like NC. Only had NC BBQ once. I do like the vinegar slaw. The only thing I eat BBQed in Nola is the shrimp. How about Fiorell Jack’s BBQ in KC, Gene? Eat Italian sandwiches in Pa. forget the BBQ.

  54. “Gov. Chris Christie, the fleece-wearing, order-barking Neptune of the Jersey Shore, was all over TV Tuesday, effusively praising the president for his luminous leadership on Hurricane Sandy, the same president he mocked last week at a Romney rally in Virginia as a naif groping to find “the light switch of leadership.” […]

    Rather than campaigning, which he finds draining, the president was in the Oval calling a Republican to work things out. But this time, unlike with John Boehner at a fateful moment, a flattered Christie took Obama’s calls. While Romney campaigns in Florida Wednesday, Christie and Obama plan to tour storm damage in New Jersey, a picture of bipartisanship, putting distressed people above dirt-slinging politics.” Maureen Dowd

  55. Smom,

    I don’t know if NO BBQ shrimp is really technically BBQ but it is pretty damn good.

    As to Firorella’s Jack’s Stack BBQ? They are pretty good, I’d put them in the top five, but they are kind of an interesting local success story. They started out years ago (late 50’s I think) with a shop on Prospect and expanded to four locations including the one I was most familiar with in Martin City (south of KC) as The Smoke Stack and they were great back then. I’ve been eating at The Smoke Stack since I was nine or ten. Maybe younger. If people from KC will drive thirty minutes out of town to get your BBQ, it must have something going for it. Then again, the area of Prospect the original shop was on wasn’t exactly the safest place after dark and Martin City was (back then) just a lazy little country town. But they were a medium size, single family kind of thing, midscale operation like a lot of BBQ places. Solid grub, but nothing fancy. I think they still have the old shop on Prospect and in Martin City open with the old menu, but I’m not certain of that. Then someone (Jack, who with his wife ran the Martin City operation) in the family got restaurant business savvy. They hired a chef, expanded their offering of sides and their mains from the standards (beef, pork, chicken) to included things like lamb and salmon. After a couple of false starts, they opened some more upscale shops in KC proper, started doing mail order and have been going gangbusters ever since. In the last 20 years, they are probably the only shop to “open” (although it’s really expansion) to challenge the primacy of Arthur Bryant’s and Gates & Sons. Those two are without questions the big dogs of KC BBQ. If you go to KC and don’t make it to Bryant’s or Gates, Jack’s Stack is the one I’d say you need to hit. One of their signature sides that is still with them from the old days and worth a try is the cheesy corn, but the BBQ itself is of course the main draw. If you’re in the mood for something a little different, I suggest the lamb ribs, but it’s all good.

  56. Well I hate to add a disparate note to all this praise of BBQ from various regions, but for me BBQ speaks of Pork Spare Ribs, rather than brisket. I love brisket, but only prepared Kosher style, where you can fully taste the meat, not overpowered by the sauce. Pulled Pork is good tasting, but I find it too filling in a non-satisfying way.

    Pork Spare Ribs, however, are a passion of mine. I don’t like beef Spare Ribs at all. Now where I differ, is that I think NY style Barbeque Spare Ribs from many a Chinese Restaurant are better tasting than the common variety, overly sauced ribs with Southern roots. Spare Ribs are meant to be eaten by hand and I don’t like the messiness of the sauced ribs, or having to clean my whiskers afterwards. While there are hand rubbed varieties that are less messy, I don’t find them as tasty. If we are talking saucy ribs than I prefer the vinegar-based to the tomato based. Nevertheless, for my palate I prefer the
    Chinese-American style. This summer I was fortunate to find such at a “hole in the wall” Chinese Takeout Restaurant, near Monticello, NY, in the Catskills, called Ming Moon. They also made excellent “Hot and Sour” soup from scratch each time one ordered it. Give me a rack of those ribs and “hot and sour” soup and I’m in heaven.

  57. SwM….

    mentioned cooperation, singularly lacking from the Red side the last four years.
    I will maybe move to Australia—they do have internet too.
    “space dog Z” sold us on co-op in their parliament.
    And the girl from Perth told me could leave your wallet safely on the table. And they do have barbeque too.

    So, big question–why are they so solidarity minded.
    Simple! It’s them against the roos and all the other odd things. Now if we had kept the Amerindians functioning then we too would not steal wallets and would cooperate.

  58. Gene, I have been to Jacks, Gates, and Bryants. Sides are very important to me. I am not a big meat eater but not a vegetarian either. The BBQ salmon was very good at Jack’s.

  59. Mike,

    Asian style BBQ is a totally different discussion.😀

    Equally deserving of respect though from any serious BBQ aficionado.

    You mention overly sauced though and that’s a big issue with me too. Part and parcel of why most southern BBQ fails next to KC style. KC finishes with a sauce but never too much. It’s more to provide a method to add extra sugar to form a good bark at the end of cooking with just enough moisture to keep the meat from drying out. But there is nothing quite as disappointing as to get a plate of BBQ and it’s just swimming in sauce. To me that just tells me one of two things: either you don’t know how to cook the meat or your meat quality is low.

  60. Wow!! Gene, SWM, and the callous, mean, horrible Nick Spinelli agreeing on KC bbq. We would eat @ Arthur Bryants every Friday for lunch. However, our group all agreed Ollie Gates had the better sauce. So, we would sneak in Gates sauce in unmarked bottles. When I was a juvenile probation I had a kid who’s mom worked for Arthur. He was a good guy to work for. She would bring us out a plate of burnt ends which meant we had to waddle out of there. She also introduced me to mutton which is quite tasty. Arthur called his place “my ol’ greae pit. The kitchen floor was a couple inches of grease. Employees needed to learn how to skate on it. I would eat @ Ollie’s place also, you could not go wrong there either. Calvin Trillin has written w/ love about Bryants.

    One must always remember, bbq is somewhat like pizza. Whatever you grew up eating is the best..even it’s f@ckn’ Pizza Hut. I grew up in Ct. and thought the bbq ribs in Chinatown in Boston and NYC were the best. Then I moved to bbq mecca and learned I was horribly wrong.

    Jimmy Carter came to Bryant’s for lunch one time when he was campaigning for re-election. What a pain in the ass when a polotician comes and disrupts your lunch. Finally, the old Municipal Stadium where the KC A’s and Chiefs played was just a few block away from the grease pit. Ol’ timers told me that was a tradition hit the grease pit and go to the game. Mecca indeed.

  61. SWM, I have family in Austin and they make good bbq, the only real difference is, as you say, the sauce. Some places won’t serve any sauce! They also bbq german sausage an homage to the many German immigrants who settled not far from Austin. Memphis has pretty good bbq. That stuff in the Carolinas is horseshit! But, they just started walking upright there recently so maybe they’ll evolve.

    LouisLlunch in New Haven is thought to be the originator of the hamburger. They’re cooked in a vertical oven on white toast. They are juicy and superb. He won’t serve you ketchup, just a slice of tomato

  62. nick , Right now my favorite sandwich type food is a taco. Don’t like any German food not even the German food in Germany. Best hoagie I ever had was in Princeton, NJ… an eggplant parm one.

  63. SWM, Our family owned a restaurant in Ct. The eggplant parm grinder was one of the biggest sellers. My uncle ran the restaurant and billed the eggplant sandwich, “Better than sex.”

    SWM, We spend winters in San Diego. Now, there’s great Mexican throughout the southwest. But, since San Diego is only 12 miles north of the border there are some REAL taco stands. I’ve come to love the lengue taco.

  64. My husband likes the tacos de brisket and I am a fish taco person but I had a good portobello one with pepitas the other day.

  65. Love fish tacos. Allegedly they were first served in San Diego. We go to a half price apps. special bar/restauant on Monday night. The restaurant is called World Famous and it’s on the beach in Pacific Beach. My usual routine is start w/ steamed mussels, then some seared Ahi, fish taco and then a lobster taco. Washed down w/ a few beers. My wife and I eat this superb food for under $50 including beer and vino. Portabella taco sounds interesting.

  66. SWM, You just brought a fond tear to my eye. My sister Mary, lived in Austin and took me to that great restaurant before she died in 2008. Prior to living in Austin, Mary lived in Houston and took me to Ninfa’s. She returned to Houston undergoing a bone marrow transplant @ MD Anerson in 2008. When I visited her there we talked about getting back to her two favorite Mexican restaurants. It was not to be,

    When Mary lived in Houston she went to the U. of Houston to get her masters in English. She didn’t care for sports but she was attrending school during the Phi Slamma Jamma days. She tutored the basketball team in reading and came to like Akeem, Clyde, and the boys. When she moved to Austin she got a job teaching high school English in one of the rural districts. She would say, “I love teaching Shakespeare to those young cowboys.”

  67. ID, I need to find a good food blog. Those are my favorite comment threads. I know you also love food, maybe we should both find a venue for talking about what is truly important..not law, politics, etc. but FOOD!

  68. nick, The original Ninfa’s was fabulous. They branched out and lost quality control. I don’t know if the original one is still around.

  69. It is indeed. I went there in 2007 w/ my sister and brother-in-law. She was undergoing tests @ MD Anderson @ that time. That’s the only Ninfa’s I’ve ever been to. My sister would not eat @ any other.

  70. Nick,

    Sorry to hear of your loss. We both have been there.

    Food is the original human culture expression.

    But we don’t have to wax theoretical about it, do we?

    I don’t do food blogs, not that I don’t like them, but feel so depressed when a superb sashima one cook one cook’s menu is served in Tribeca and my Concorde is laid up for cleaning out after the last party flight with (name your stars)!

    When I get it back we’ll meet and eat at that fish taco place you like. 50 USD, was that the tip to the busboy? Or price per skull? Pay 4 times that here and it won’t be one quarter so good. Winter and Swedish non-food. They even love American chain food.

    Try the guy in NYTimes.

    PS I lived in LA for 4 years. Up the hill from Sunset and at Silver Lake. Does it rain less in San Diego than LA in the winter?

  71. OS,

    I know you are not talking to me but anyway—–what was Durkee’s good for. It was either on top of a Moon Pie or maybe barbecue sauce.

    Why don’t you do recipes like ElaineM does, you know, writen down in detail.

    I think we are still waiting for her version of

    Bloomberg cake, or was it Moon Dog cake with chocolate sauce. She might even make it with mussel sauce for Nick in all amity. Seeing as he probably has grandkids too.

    You know you have a friend when he hugs you after hearing your worst side.

  72. ID the town I was talking about was Goldsboro, NC. It is near where my house is. I am living in Arkansas right now but will be moving back home ina year or two. I grew up on Topsail Island which has had its share of hurricanes. As you are from NC, I think you have said, From the Raleigh area? I’m sure you know how the inland areas often get a great deal of hurricane damage but rarely do they get the publicity of the areas where the hurricane hits the beaches. The areas that are the initial point touched by a hurricane are terribly damaged and do need the publicity but the areas inland are severly damaged as well. This storm was massive in size and great swaths of the northeast were hit and damaged badly tho they will hardly be reported, Just think of the trouble Mr and Mrs Turley had reaching their home. I hope that more interest will be paid to those areas that weren’t in the eye of the storm but were hit so terribly hard as well. but I never think well of the media and its so much easier to send a camera crew to Atlantic Beach than Small town New York .

  73. This is the best barbeque blog I have ever been on! Whatever happened to that res ipsa something or other blog? You know- that one about find the kitteh and civil liberties?

  74. It’s OK folks. It is just natural. We have all gone through a big chock. So it is natural to talk to each other about pleasant things, feel the togetherness after the loneliness sitting out the storm, you know, connecting again. It is called being human. Some don’t get it, but don’t let that disturb you.

  75. Jo,

    Glad to meet you. I was gonna suggest a stop on the way to Topsail or whatever beach my niece drives too, but I see that they have opened a big McCall’s in Clayton where she lives. Is Wilbur’ worth a stop? The food pictures taken by customers looked kinda “plain”. But it is the taste that counts.

    Yeah, I am a gutter rat from Raleigh. Left it to see the world and found a good place to roost here in Sweden. Did two years active Army duty, but lacked roots and wanted to see the world.

    Tell me more of your self if you will.

    PS Storm damage. The Outer Banks gets the worse with miles of houses destroyed by direct hits. Seen 3 hour videos done by the state government to let folks know how bad their houses were hit. But the damage doesn’t stop there. Guess you know that from Goldsboro.

  76. AY, I was listening to POTUS radio on XM last weekend. They had political reporters talking about caampaigns. They said that Hillary was a bull. She could go on 4 hours sleep and would order pizza for everyone. The reporter[Glenn Thrush] talked about you could tell her mood by how many personal pizzas she would eat. On real bad days she would eat 4. They said Obama is someone who needs his sleep and just can’t function w/o it. Maybe that’s what happened the first debate.

  77. I envy you folks in your food adventures. Gonna stop now and go read some Hunter S Thompson. Got two of his going right now. Seems we are related (a very little) in writing style. He once wrote over 100 pages straight starting with a peanut. He loved tangens, as I do too.

    Anyway here is a little food/wine story. When I drove up highway one past Big Sur and stopped in Monterey, lacking a better idea I went to the pier and went in to a fish (what else?) place.
    Full, most taking the usual tourist choice, assorted stuff, I won’t list it.

    Close by me sat two chinese ladies, each eating a nice BIG fish. And if anyone had asked them about American food habits, they would have wondered why we think we are so big in the world? We eat the worst when the best is at hand. A chinese eats poorly only when no better is to be had.

    So remember, eat as high on the hog as you can afford.

    Particularly if Romney wins.

  78. SWM, I don’t know. I voted for and gave Obama money in 2008, the first time I ever gave money to a pol. I don’t sense so much Romney momentum but Obama drift. And, in this duopoly, that means more votes for Romney. I’ll probably vote for Johnson. I’ve never voted for a Republican prez, it doesn’t seem right that it would be for Romney. Ironically, it’s looking like my state of Wisconsin is right behind Ohio in being critical. We’re swamped w/ ads. I mute ALL ads, but I’m tired of seeing distorted pictures of both candidates. Virtually all the ads are negative, which can be detected w/o sound..just a lot of black/white photos and video. Quite depressing.

  79. SWM, The flick that’s coming out looks horrible! Remember, there are different degrees of libertarians just like every philosophy.

  80. Hitler did love his dog, nick. That’s a historical fact. The point, which obviously went over your head, is that liking something good does not make you a good person. It simply means you like something good. You liking something good that I happen to like does not give us anything but the most superficial of common ground and does not mitigate you previously putting your foot in your mouth in any form. It is still more deflection on your part. Innocence by association works no better than guilt by association if you don’t know how to use the rhetorical tools properly. However, if you want to talk about class, how about starting the discussion with how uncouth one must be to minimize those rightly concerned with a life threatening storm. That’s a far more robust way to address the subject. It shows a remarkable insensitivity for not only their situation but their rightful assessments of concern in the face of danger because they don’t meet up to some ridiculous macho preening posturing ideal. Doesn’t it, buttercup? But who knows if it is classy or not? No one. Classy is not an objective standard, but a subjective one. No one said what you said was classy or not. The criticism was directly to the callous nature of your comments. Personally, I think people who say things about how classy something is or isn’t are usually devoid of any substantive praise or criticism other than a weak appeal to their own preferences. Classiness and dictating what is and isn’t is not only a weak subjective concept, it is inherently elitist in begging the question that you the speaker are the arbiter of class. Weak ego-centrist opinion wrapped in condescension. Your opinion of classiness has no more value than any other opinion unsubstantiated by an objective standard of some sort like logic or evidence. And like any unsubstantiated opinion, it is as ephemeral as smoke.

    For example, contrast your pronouncement of classiness with my reasoned critique of the idea of classiness. Mine was reason based in quantitative terms and logic dissecting the uselessness of such pronouncements by showing them in the conceptual context of what they are. Yours was simply expressing your opinion over a point you completely missed in the first place. The later has instructive and analytical value, the former not so much.

    I know subtly isn’t your strong suit, but do try to keep up.

    Carry on.

  81. Gene, I would say you were raised by wolves in Johnson County but there are no reports of wolves there for over a century. Plus, wolves have a social structure and skills. Are you giving out candy today, or just lecturing kids on the need to revere logic? Stop digging your own hole. I was talking to SWM about my deceased sister and food. Why did you feel compelled to inject your hate? It wasn’t logical for someone w/ a soul.

    It’s cocktail hour on the west coast so I predict this will get even nastier. Why don’t you say your last hateful words. Why not compare me to Pol Pot and Stalin while you drink your Ketel One? And then move on. You’re an embarassment.

  82. Once again, you succeed in completely missing the point, nick. I wasn’t comparing you to anyone. Did I say you were Hitler? No. I was pointing to his loving his dog as an example of a relationship. I was making a statement about one liking something good and the relationship it has to one being a good person or not – namely that it has none. Hate has nothing to do with it either. You again value yourself too highly if you think I’d go to the effort to hate you. Hate is work. Hate is for mortal enemies. You? You’re a very minor annoyance at best so do try to keep things in proper perspective. I know, I know, proper perspective is not your strong suit either, but do muddle along.

    If you’re embarrassed though? That would be your problem and an actually appropriate reaction for your earlier statements about those concerned with the storm. Personally, I’m not embarrassed nor is anyone of any consequence to me so unless you were talking about your reaction, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Then again, neither do you quite often so I don’t feel bad about that either.

    And thanks for the compliment. Wolves rock.

    Also, don’t be a dufus. Halloween is for candy and costumes just like Christmas is for giving gifts, Thanksgiving is for organized gluttony and sleeping in front of the TV and NYE and St. Patrick’s Day are for binge drinking. The rest of the year is for teaching the value of logic.

    P.S. Good luck on telling me what to do. I’m notoriously resistant to that kind of thing.

    P.P.S. I don’t like Ketel One nor do I drink while handing out candy. I prefer potato vodkas like Chopin and Monopolova.

    P.P.P.S. Carry on.

  83. Off Topic:

    Mike Huckabee Warns Christians: Obama Vote Will Crumple In Hell’s Fire (VIDEO)
    The Huffington Post | By Cavan Sieczkowski Posted: 10/31/2012

    Mike Huckabee has a dire warning for Christians: When you vote on Nov. 6, hell’s fire awaits, and a vote for President Barack Obama will not stand up to the flames.

    In a new ad, the former Arkansas governor and ordained Southern Baptist minister warns Christians that their votes “will affect the future and be recorded in eternity” and they must cast a ballot that will “stand the test of fire.” The video, entitled “Test of Fire,” features symbolic fiery imagery and is narrated by Huckabee:

    Christians across the nation will have an opportunity to shape the future for our generation and generations to come. Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.

    Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November the 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.

  84. Elaine, I guess my entire family including the extended one will be in hell. Everyone is voting for that “evil” Obama.😉

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