U.S. States I’ve not yet visited

Years ago in a New Orleans restaurant, Dave Adlard pointed out the States he had already visited on a huge wall map. Most of them. Today he’s only missing one – Arkansas.

I’d been to only about 15 States at that time.

But today I’m only missing West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Maryland Connecticut — one road trip visiting Barbecue spots.

abortion, Gay marriage, prison, religion in the USA

… If you know whether a state was part of the Confederacy, it is possible to make a reasonably accurate guess about where it stands on a range of seemingly unconnected matters, from party politics to gay marriage. …

Today, only five states have no minimum-wage laws; all were Confederate 150 years ago. Of the ten states that lock up the highest proportion of their citizens, seven were Confederate. …


southern States

The 11 states of the Confederacy were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia.

I was in Alabama last year. Very nice. I saw no visible signs of the legacy of slavery. I’m headed for Texas next week.

flag controversy

Barbecue Secrets podcast

Barbecue Secrets Podcast returns, better than ever. In this episode I connect with tech and barbecue geek Richard Campbell, who shares his recipe for Spanish-style Paella on the Grill and recounts his experience of regional barbecue in Romania, and I have an in-depth conversation with one of the leading lights in Canadian barbecue, Angie Quaale.

Rockin’ Ronnie

You can listen from that page. Or subscribe via iTunes. It’s free.


Confessions of a Meat Freak

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving Sunday.

Barbecue guru Rockin’ Ronnie rails against the “cholesterol fascists” and hints that he’s considering another cookbook …

… Raw seal meat is the texture of the finest tuna sashimi and tastes like a cross between beef tenderloin and sea urchin roe. …

Barbecue Secrets – Confessions of a Meat Freak

Boracay – a review

Lonely planet, as they often do, nailed it:

Beautiful Boricay manages to meet, exceed or defy expectations. It rarely disappoints.

That’s surprising since this is likely the single most touristy destination on all of Philippines 7100 tropical islands.

A beach holiday is low on my personal priority list. But the 5 nights flew by. Very relaxing.

Once or twice a day I ran the beach. Mid-day I went exploring. It’s a small island. I covered most of it.

I recommend Boracay if ever you get the chance to visit. Solo, no go. Bring a date or come with a group.

It’s definitely good for kids. A safe beach.


• you still need barter for everything on the beach
• touts and hawkers are annoying
• quality of most goods/services is low
• there’s no reliable tourist information
• there are no hostels here — a shame since it was first “discovered” by backpackers
• motorized roadways are Hellish


• 99% of tourists stick to White Beach. If you leave that strip, even to either end of the Beach, life improves.

north end of the main beach
south end of main beach

• if you are looking to save Pesos, the best value White Beach accommodation is in a quiet dead end alley near Station 3. The top pick is Dave’s Straw Hat Inn. Recommended by Lonely Planet, it’s usually full. Prices are now up to $35 / night or more. Others nearby are almost as good and half the price.

• I stayed in the ($19 including breakfast) fan rooms at Orchid Inn. If you come with 2-3 people, better are the upscale Orchid Inn Private Villas (3ys old). Compare others against that option. Prices vary wildly. Barter.

• I did finally see dormitory beds for about $8.

• Hundreds of restaurants on the beach did not impress me. The only one I can recommend is the German hangout, Kurts.

Be careful with the famed buffets. Food often sits long, under-heated. The famed Mongolian barbecues are better.

• Dana would like Boracay — Starbucks is here.

Stay out of the ocean. Fish pee in it. ☺ … I have no idea what all those happy people are doing out in sailboats.

The two activities I was willing to pay money for did not seem to be open during my stay:

• Ariel’s Point
• Ride the Zorb (not actually affiliated with the original Zorb, New Zealand)

More of my photos:

White Beach
Bulabog Beach
Boracay random


10 Commandments on the Beach

• Lonely Planet – Boracay – Fantasy vs. Reality