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Getting there

I read a lot of news. I subscribe to the local newspaper, watch television news, tons of stuff off the internet. In general, I have to be honest most of it is pretty depressing. In the end though, a lot of is not the kind of depressing that ruins your day. Violence for better or worse is something we can point to and say fairly clearly that this is bad regardless of the circumstances. Even a just war is something a rational person is not going to be interested in except under duress.

The things that affect me are the ones that fall under the category of "We'd never go that far." A few months ago there was a story that made the rounds about a new patent that was approved. It seems someone found an easier way to do genetic testing on those still inside the womb. They'd never go so far as to use it of course. It was left unasked why they'd bother researching and patenting something they'd never do.

Than there are our schools. The same halls hold some of the great educators we have ever had, some of the most truly worthless and examples of reasonable policies taken to the extreme. Fighting a problem? We just won't let students touch each other. This should fix all of our problems, why did we not think of this sooner? Gun violence is a problem too, so better safe than sorry. Free speech can also be a problem when you realize not everybody agrees with you. The articles are of course just picked at random from a little internet searching. If you worked you might be able to come up with a reasonable defense of the actions. However, you still have to explaining how charging a six year old with sexual harassment is going to do the child any good. In the end we need to remember that schools have children in them, not short adults.

I have spent a while trying to come up with something coherent to say about the federal government. I guess the best I can come up with is that pointing out that the NSA now has its own section at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and much of what they do is illegal to mention. Don't worry. I am sure they are not abusing their power and would never lie to us. After all, they can barely search their own email.

We've heard the phrase "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Hopefully, we'll understand what it means before it is too late.

Vacation in Petoskey

We stopped at Bob Evans for breakfast. I have to admit that it is one of my favorite places to eat. I normally prefer to avoid any sort of chain restaurant as a matter of course. However, Bob Evans is an exception. Their breakfast is great of course and that is what most people think of about the place. However, their other food is just as good. Melissa regularly gets the Wildfire Chicken Salad. I got the pot roast sandwich.

Paris, Michigan has a stone indian and small Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, it was on the grounds of an old fish hatchery that had been converted to a campground. This meant it was closed for the season. We drove through Kalkaska and saw the trout memorial and drove past the shoe tree. The trout memorial was kind of cool. The shoe tree was a tree with shoes in it, so not worth a side trip by itself. One place worth the side trip was the concrete statuary place. It included a mix of standard statuary and much larger life size objects, most of which were painted.

The Marian Center in Joy Valley was cool. We also stopped at the Cross in the Woods in Indian River. Either place is worth the stop but since they are close together you might as well do both.

The hotel was pretty basic. However, it had the standards, Wifi, breakfast, surge strip on bed stand. I was entertained by the fancy "clean remote". Breakfast was Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches. I am not sure if that is better or worse than the standard cereal and waffle bar. The downside was the Pool and hot tub. They desperately needed to be cleaned. Vacuum the sand off the bottom at least, but the chlorine was burning my eyes. It should not take that much chlorine.

We had dinner at the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Melissa had the chicken salad and and I had the french dip. Ironically, we did not have pie. The portions were large enough that we just did not have room. I understand that people often solve this by taking food home. However, we were on vacation and that was not really an option. I am sure large portions make it easier to raise prices but you lose out on selling me desert. Hopefully, we will get another chance so we can mark it off the list of places to try. The food was good though.

The next day was hitting a bunch of shops. First, was Charlevoix and the Apple Festival. They had a large number of artists between the regular shops and the Apple Festival booths. I do not like most of the art these places offer but I do enjoy looking. I did find one shop that had stuff I really liked. Unfortunately it was well out of my price range. The common price range was $1,000 to $3,000. One item though was $14,000.

One thing we got was free light bulbs. The local power company was giving them away. I almost felt bad that they wouldn't benefit at all. However, they didn't care so why should I?

We drove to Petoskey next. They had some art studios but it was much more,clothing and home decor. It also felt like there were three or four book stores which I thought was cool. We had lunch at a place called Papa Leo's. They had great stuffed mushrooms and their meatball grinder was great. One thing more restaurants need to do was slice he meatballs. Papa Leo's did it and it made the grinder much easier to eat and far less messy. Another thing about restaurants, why do so many people sit and eat in silence? Thirdly aimed at breweries. Sell food and put the menu on your web site. It makes justifying a trip easier for people like us. Have a cider or some other non beer on your menu. It makes it far easier to justify a trip when you are with people who won't or can't drink beer. Cider is gluten free and people who don't drink beer get something to try. I'd also suggest a perry. It would give you something even more unique to have on your menu. Beards Brewery had none of these things listed on their website or on the door menu outside so we didn't go there.

Harbor Springs was third. It was mix of art, small shops and businesses for locals. The highlight for me was the presence of an IGA, although we did not go into it, and a full service gas station. There was no sign the gas was just twelve cents gallon more than in Petoskey. I had initially chalked it up to being the only gas station for twenty miles. There was a sign warning you but it was not until a guy came out looking at me like I was an idiot did I realize.

Later, we watched the sunset over the bay and walked along the shore. It is not something we normally do but it was a lot of fun. We finished the evening with dinner at Petoskey Brewing. The fact that they had a menu was good since their website implied little food. They need to fix their website. However, the building itself was pretty cool. They had built it into an old brick brewery.

Day three was the Tunnel of Trees. It was a nice drive with a places to stop along the way. However, things got a little more interesting when we realized Mackinaw City wasn't very far away. We took the back way and stopped at a small farm market and enjoyed more scenery. The highlight was in a little town called Bliss. This place appeared to consist of a small fire department building, an old school house converted to community space and an old general store. This general store was great. They had a single gas pump out front with a big Vernors sign hanging from the building. Did I mention he place was tiny? It looked like someone converted their house's first floor front to a store. It didn't matter though, they had a variety of convenience store, hardware store and other items with groceries behind the counter on shelves.

Mackinaw City, however, was not nearly so exciting. We skipped the fort and toured the lighthouse. We enjoyed the lighthouse and the park portion of the city was nice. However, the downtown area was a bit of a disappointment. I haven't seen this many t-shirt places in one spot since we went to the Smoky Mountains. The tourist trap ran thick and we would have been far better off if we had checked out what the fort had to offer. The highlight was a place called Enchanted Knights. However, that is not exactly the reason we went north. Another disappointment was the pastie place we found, Mackinaw Bakery & Tea Company. They offered them both hot and frozen. However, that wasn't much of a distinction since it turned out their hot pasties were frozen ones that were than microwaved while we waited. The flavor was disappointing as well. I haven't had a huge number of pasties but this place wasn't as good as the others I have had.

Henry's First Communion

Henry made his first communion this morning. It is crazy to think how much he is growing up. It is a fairly simple thing in the grand scheme of things. However, it seemed to mean a lot to him. We originally had just planned on a nice pair of pants and a white shirt. Instead, he wanted to make sure he had a suit jacket and tie for the occasion. A white shirt was not going to cut it. I am glad we indulged him because I think it added something to the experience for all of us.

Another trunk or treat

Tonight was trunk or treat at St. John Vianney. Henry went as Mario and Samantha went as Princess Peach. It was only fitting that I went as Luigi. It was a lot of fun watching the kids run around and seeing the costumes. I also got a kick out of the comments we got. I am also pretty sure there were a few confused children. Hopefully, mom and dad can go over the real/not real/guys in a costume thing again. :-) If only we could have found a costume for mommy in the same theme.

After the trunk or treating was done there was a movie for the kids. We stayed for part of it but people got antsy and we ended up leaving. The one disappointing thing was the room was very nice for the movie. Apparently, it was setup for a teen group but almost no came and so it mostly sits unused. :-( I hope that they can find a way to put it to use and get more kids involved in the parish. There just seems to be so few kids who come.

Carnival time again

St. John Vianney had its summer carnival again this weekend. We didn't spend a huge amount of time there. However, the kids got to go on a few rides and plays some games. We skipped the Ferris wheel this year because mommy isn't exactly a fan of them. She had to work so after she left the kids and I played on the playground for a while. I figure they enjoyed that just as much as the carnival rides themselves. The one thing I enjoy that I haven't been able to spend much time on was the classic car show. They seemed to have more cars this year than last year. If you get a chance you should stop by your local parish carnival. They can be a lot of fun for not a lot of time invested.

This seems like a first

This seems like a first:

http://www.kens5.com/news/Abortion-doctor-Am-I-killing-Yes-I-am--69320102.html

I wonder how, if at all, that will/could affect the abortion debate. It probably will not. Still, I think that's the first time I have heard someone who's pro-choice state that abortion is killing. I wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Latin Mass's in the area

I read that a second parish in the area is going to start offering the traditional latin mass. I've never been to one so it has always been something that interested me. One of these days I'll have to attend one. There are several around the state but the two around here are:

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Grand Rapids
Every Sunday at 12:30PM

St. Stanislaus Parish in Dorr
Second and Fourth Sundays of each month.

I've read about a few schismastic groups floating around the area that do a latin mass but you are better off if you avoid them. I've had brief exchanges with members of such groups and it is like talking to a record player. You either agree with them or they repeat their position over and over again like an old record that keeps skipping.