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. …

Economist

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.

rockin

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.

Considerations:

• 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

Recommendations:

• 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

related:

10 Commandments on the Beach

• Lonely Planet – Boracay – Fantasy vs. Reality

Kate’s Birthday barbecue

Kate had a tasty birthday at Dundarave Beach in West Vancouver.

Rockin's Jerk Chicken Wings

She was pleased the whole fam damily could celebrate on a perfect day.

Kate and Zoe
Rockin' Ronnie's cooking the envy of the beach
Jake
... the family that swims together ...

See more photos from Kate’s Birthday

See more RANDOM Shewchuk photos.