Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Water Tower - Cape May, New Jersey

2010 Columbus Marathon

This weekend I volunteered at the Columbus Marathon. Attracting 15,000 runners, this is one of the largest marathons in the country. The weather was perfect and many people showed up just to cheer on the runners.

Marathons are interesting events to work because you never really know what sorts of injuries you may face. There are always a few falls resulting in cuts and scrapes. Sometimes there are heart attacks - we had two of those this year. Detroit Marathon had three runners die on the course last year. At the finish line some of the runners collapse and need to be assisted. There is a quiet room set up with cots and IV lines all set up. We didn't have anything too serious that we personally dealt with, which is just fine with me.

POTD - Heron on the Scioto River

Picture of the Day - Heron on the Scioto River

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Columbus Italian Festival

This weekend was the Columbus Italian Festival, going strong for 30+ years. This is a fun festival with great food and music. It takes place in a small neighborhood called the Italian Village close to downtown Columbus. The neighborhood is centered around the 112 year old St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
A highlight of the fesital is the parade down High Street. The parade is one of the best in the city in size and participation. Some of my favorite parts of the parade include:

The Knights of Columbus, leading up the parade
The Marching Bands!

The Oven for the World's Largest Meatball (more on that later)

Police and Fire

The Hare Krishnas

The food was great. There were all the foods you might expect at an Italian Festival, including Pizza, Calzones, Canolli, Italian Ice, and Pasta. Did I sample? You bet.

One notable feature of the Festival was an attempt to break the world record for the largest Meatball. The record is held by a German town for a meatball in the 740 pound range. To beat this record, a custom made cooker and over were built. Over 1200 pounds of sirloin were added to cups of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. This giant cooked for three days awaiting the glory of the weight in. Once the temperature in the middle reached 160 degrees, it was ready. Guiness was on hand to certify the results. Unfortunately, they fell short of the the projected 850 pounds. The final tally was 655.5 pounds, enough to beat the North American record. Best of luck next year!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


While wandering the streets of Prague I made a wonderful discovery. There is a pastry that is only made in that part of the world available in little shops in narrow alleys. It is called the "Trdelnik" though sometimes it is also called the "Trdlo".
The Trdelnik is made by rolling flat a strip of sweet dough. The dough is then wrapped around a wooden or metal stick known as the Trdlo. The stick with the dough is rolled in sugar, cinnamon, perhaps even nuts. It is then set above an open flame to rotate and slowly cook. The dough is evenly cooked because all sides are heated during the rotation. The sugar melts and gets carmelized.

Once done, the Trdelnik is perhaps rolled once again in sugar for good measure, then slid off the stick. It is then ready for eating, all at a price of around 50 CZK or $2.50.

Trdelniks come from the town of Skalica, Slovakia. They are still made over an open wood fire there, in the traditional old fashion.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Pub, Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic

The Pub is the sort of place that could never exist where there are strong liquor laws. The basic concept is that it is a bar where you compete to see what table can drink the most beer. If it sounds dangerous, it is because it is.

At the center of every table is a beer tap with a computer controller. Before drawing a beer, you enter your number and the computer keeps track of how many liters you have had. This is aggregated by table and projected on the wall. It gets pretty roudy, with each table trying to outdrink the other tables.

When I was there we were in serious competition with a table full of Germans and a table full of Czech teenagers. Hard competition and we would have lost if we stayed long. The teens started strong but then slowed down. The Germans started strong and just kept drinking more and more. It was obvious they were going to come out on top. Unless of course another group showed up to challenge them.

So there you are drinking to compete with these other tables when tables from other cities start appearing. The Pub is a chain and there are locations throughout the Czech Republic. So, you not only compete with the people in the city you are in, but also with tables of drinkers throughout the country.

Sadly, the last time I was at the Pub they no longer served food and it appeared that the beer tanks had been removed. It looks like the location in Karlovy Vary is going our of business. Just as well, I made our team look bad anyway with my measly totals.