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The Texas Hill Country beckons, because “all the world is welcome here.” Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park invites visitors to explore at their own curious pace, navigating a self-guided tour across LBJ Ranch from Junction School to the Texas White House and everything in between, including the impressive “Air Force One-Half.” And what a coincidence that I’ve published this post on August 27, the 36th president’s birthday.
My afternoon of exploration was anything but boring. History, facts, and a vast collection of interesting moments leaped out at me for the embrace. Among all else, and perhaps most insignificantly, I discovered that Lady Bird as a widow drove a 1978 Mercury Grand Marquis around the ranch, if not elsewhere. Speaking of cars, the 1965 Corvette that daughter Luci was gifted for her 18th birthday sits clearly on display. Meanwhile, the living descendants of Lyndon’s Herefords appear to roam freely– and sometimes block the road. The ranch’s communications system that was swiftly created upon LBJ’s unexpected assumption of the office remains at least partially visible. The family cemetery showcases the president’s and first lady’s resting places from a cordoned distance, still close enough to make out their names. And all this barely begins to describe all that awaits to be seen and learned.
I’m thrilled to have finally made the trip to this Texas site I’ve for so long wanted to see. Combined with time in nearby Johnson City, historic Fredericksburg, and even the famous venue of Luckenbach, my experience was a great one, a true Texas day. Yours will be too!
Tags: Lady Bird Johnson, LBJ, LBJ Ranch, President Johnson, Texas Hill Country
After ten years now of these productions, I’m considering retirement.
Happy New Decade in any event!
Tags: 2019 in photos, 2019 slideshow, 2019 year in review, happy new decade
An even smaller USA presence this year than last contributed to the 2019 Tour de France– four riders to start and three of them to finish. It’s no longer the American experience it once was, but this is probably not what anyone in France is pondering right about now.
Much of the excitement over these past three weeks grew with the possibility this might finally prove once again to be a truly French sporting event– this is to say, that a Frenchman would win Le Tour. For more that half of this year’s 21 stages, the host country was in position for a GC victory. France had its very own “winner du jour” as Julian Alaphilippe wore le maillot jaune for the majority of days– in addition to his two stage wins no less. After 34 years, could this really be France’s time? The end was nearing as questions were mounting yet hope was building.
There’s long been talk of the French curse in professional cycling’s grandest three weeks. Alas, the curse appears to remain in play. We all know what happened, via physical skill, mother nature and all else– I needn’t retell it all here and now. Helmets off to Columbia, of course, where pride and celebration will no doubt make its mark. Still, I, an American, would really love to see France have its year. And with that, there will certainly be three weeks in July encore. Vive Le Tour!
Tags: #tdf, 2019 Tour de France, Julian Alaphilippe, Le Maillot Jaune, Tour de France
The fact anyone else was paying attention came as a surprise to me. I was quietly hoping and expecting he would make it, and sure enough, he did! Still, most people don’t seem to follow obscure presidential trivia the way I do, so I assumed. Apparently this was an incorrect assumption on my part, as on March 22 such trivia proved to be quite a news story!
Aware the date was coming in later March, I was holding out until today, April 1, to truly mark the record. After all, this is the day the newly designated longest-living U.S. president in history marks his HALF birthday. That’s right– Jimmy Carter is now 94 AND A HALF years old, no longer sharing precisely the same age at which the runner-up to the title passed on. George H.W. Bush, of course, died last November at “just” 94. And in six months, we’ll have another presidential record yet!
Meanwhile, the first lady age record won’t soon be broken.
Tags: Carter turns 94.5, Longest-living president, President Jimmy Carter, presidential age record
Countless remarkable images have filled our televisions, devices and publications throughout this past solemn week of remembrance, with history both celebrated and made. Three photos stand out as my personal favorites among all others, capturing rare yet powerful moments for the historical record, each of which speaks volumes for itself. RIP 41.
Tags: All presidents together, Bob Dole, Bush 41, Bush funeral, Bush funeral train, George H W Bush
Commentator Phil Liggett often reminded viewers throughout the past three weeks that there’s no shame in finishing last in Le Tour de France. Of course, surviving 21 stages to finish in Paris is always a feat for any rider. This year’s last-place finisher in particular has shown himself to be the most respected recipient of the “lanterne rouge” in recent cycling history.
Only five Americans competed in this year’s Tour de France out of 176 riders to start. The U.S. needed to make its mark on Le Tour once again, and, well… it happened. While the amazing Peter Sagan took three stages and survived a third-week crash to finish with his sixth green jersey, Philippe Gilbert climbed back up the wall over which he flew to complete the day with a broken kneecap, and the consistent-yet-cracking Chris Froome squeaked his way onto the final podium alongside his maillot jaune-winning teammate Geraint Thomas, the most impressive display of sportsmanship in my opinion, and that of many, came from this year’s holder of that lanterne rouge. My hat– or rather, my helmet– is off to Lawson Craddock, not only the first American in Tour de France history to earn this final designation, but also an inspiring fighter in the face of overwhelming physical, mental and emotional challenge.
At last, three typically grueling yet glorious weeks have seen their end. At last, it’s a very special viewpoint. And at last, good can come. C’est Le Tour, encore!
Tags: c'est le tour, lanterne rouge, Lawson Craddock, professional cycling, Tour de France, Tour de France 2018
Le Tour de France is underway once again, this year almost entirely in France!
Tags: 2018 Tour de France, professional cycling, Tour de France
A big record was broken today among U.S presidents, and it has nothing to do with North Korea. John Adams lived to age 90, and so did Herbert Hoover more than a century later. Ronald Reagan made it to 93, as did Gerald Ford, who for a while became the oldest living former president in history. No U.S president has ever made it to his 94th birthday, until today. Happy 94th to President George H.W. Bush! Jimmy Carter will of course join him later this year.
Tags: George Bush 94th birthday, George H W Bush, oldest living U.S. presidents, presidential age record
Here they pass once again in 2018, along the exact spot starting up Gibraltar Road in which I caught them two years ago. This year’s Amgen Tour of California didn’t fail in providing another 15 seconds of seeing the pros up close in action! Here are the stage results of the day.
Tags: 2018 Amgen Tour of California, Amgen Tour of California, Gibraltar Road, professional cycling
While many appetizing descriptors come to mind, suffice to say this incredible mound of meat is worth every dollar, no matter how many more dollars it seems to command these days. There’s no substitution for steak tartare at the Polo Lounge. A true indulgence it continues to be!
Tags: Polo Lounge, steak tartare
What the Musso & Frank Grill has done for almost 100 years, it continues to do flawlessly. There’s just no going wrong here with liver and onions! This impeccable dish never fails; it’s a delicious classic well worth the trip on any given day,
Tags: classic dishes, Liver & Onions, Musso & Frank, old-school restaurants
A few weeks back, while strolling Manhattan’s Upper East Side in the late afternoon, I happened to come upon The Beach Cafe on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 70th Street, ironically named considering there’s no beach in sight. The place looked interesting and inviting, so I went inside and took a seat at the bar. Within minutes as I sipped my negroni, I caught sight of a posted notice overhead that struck me with delight, one with which I agree wholeheartedly. It prompted a conversation with the pleasant lady sitting a few stools down, and we quickly agreed this policy is one to encourage everywhere. In other words, men, take off your hats when sitting at a bar, and especially at a table! Thank you for the connection, Yvonne!
Tags: hat policy, no hats at the bar, no hats at the table, remove your hat indoors, The Beach Cafe NYC
After five years and two months of using Strava to record each and every one of my bicycle rides, finally on this final day of the third quarter of 2017 comes the notable number I’ve anticipated for quite some time. Of course I’ll always say this should have occurred sooner, but nevertheless it’s here– amid all other related totals. And now all I can do is roll onward…
Tags: cycling with Strava, starve, Strava activity feed
The first open house takes place this Sunday, September 17, 2:00 to 4:00pm. Experience the art of urban living in this serene yet central, private yet convenient setting.
Tags: Santa Barbara real estate, home for sale in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara homes
Mid-century originality blends seamlessly with modern appointments, while traditional formality meets spacious openness, all within well-crafted, impeccably maintained walls. This elegant yet understated single-level property demonstrates refreshing quality through a number of unique characteristics, all the way from the bottom of the long, ascending private driveway, through the red double front doors into the open marble foyer, on out to the peaceful, tree-focused backyard. The formal living room beckons classic entertaining, the expansive library doubles as a serene home office, and the mature foliage presents inviting nature from every viewpoint.
Upscale yet realistic is just one of many ways to phrase the overall feel of this 4200-square foot home. Suffice to say, this is my favorite listing of the many I’ve previewed in recent weeks throughout Santa Barbara and Montecito, while it also happens to remind me of Woodside! In every way, inside and out, privacy here abounds.
Tags: listings in Santa Barbara, mid-century homes for sale, Montecito homes, real estate, Santa Barbara real estate
Even though anything can happen at any moment throughout three weeks of racing, it comes as no great surprise that Chris Froome has just marked his fourth win of Le Tour de France. Clearly he’s one of cycling’s greats, as talk of five and more is already underway. I merely wish he were a bit more interesting of a personality; Peter Sagan he is not, after all. (And didn’t we miss him?!) In any case, the 104th Tour de France is now in the books, and next year will come!
Click on the photo for 49 more!
Tags: 2017 Tour de France, Chris Froome, Paris, Peter Sagan, Pro Cycling, Tour de France winner
The French National Day is made all the more joyous, as a French cyclist wins the day’s stage of Le Tour de France for the first time in 12 years. Warren Barguil takes stage 13 on Bastille Day!
Tags: Bastille Day, French stage victories, TDF French stage winner, Tour de France, warren barguil
Having already said it once last week, now I say it again: It won’t be the same. And needless to say, it hasn’t been. In fact, it seems to get more and more different with each passing day. I’m speaking of course of this year’s Tour de France, just one week in and now paused on the first rest day. The following article echoes my sentiments, as I sit at home:
“As we come to the end of the first rest day of the 2017 Tour de France, the race has been saturated with so much drama and controversy that it’s hard to believe only nine days of racing have taken place. The Tour has lost the World Champion to disqualification, the most successful Tour sprinter to injury and the main contender to Chris Froome for the yellow jersey to one of the most horrific crashes in memory, all in only a matter of days. The attitude from the riders is always ‘C’est le Tour’, and the show must go on. Perhaps those of us in the race have a different vision of events to those at home, but for many here the controversy, the crashes and the abandons have eclipsed everything else this year – sadly even the competition itself.”
Much of the initial wind has left the sails– if I may apply a sailing analogy to cycling. I’ll continue watching, as most of us professional cycling fans will. And, I won’t be surprised when Paris brings us yet another very predictable, unchallenged, and dare I say rather unexciting win for Chris Froome. But wait, that’s one thing that WOULD be the same about this Tour. For all else that’s already not the same, especially after 12 riders lost in stage 9 alone, let’s see what else changes over the next two weeks.
Tags: 2017 Tour de France, c'est le tour, Tour de France losses, Tour de France not the same, Tour de France predictions
The biggest headline of the 2017 Tour de France thus far is not a happy one. In what many people, including myself, consider an overly harsh and undeserved decision, Peter Sagan has been ejected from the race. At the same time, Mark Cavendish is injured and out.
Barely halfway through the first week, two of cycling’s biggest names– my two favorite riders in fact– are gone. Suffice to say this Tour will not be the same, but as always it goes on without hesitation. Like it or not, the harsh reality of professional cycling prevails.
The controversial, fateful elbow moment came just before the stage 4 finish.
Tags: #tdf, Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Sagan disqualified, Tour de France
The month of July has come once again, which of course means there’s a certain cycling race getting underway in France. (Actually, it starts in Germany this year, but French soil isn’t far off.) Starting today in Dusseldorf, here we go with the 104th Tour de France!
Tags: #tdf, Tour de France, Tour de France 2017, Tour de France route map, Tour de France start
This brand-new construction located at 2002 Loma Vista Drive in the famous and coveted Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills, with a price tag of close to $28 million, offers at least one truly unique feature not to be found in any comparable estate– a certain special appeal to the discerning buyer. On this property– not in the new 10,000-square-foot home that now occupies this land, but rather on this land in the original home that used to be here– lived the “King of Cool,” the one-and-only Dean Martin himself. This fact certainly was not ignored in the new construction process, as from water features and expansive glass, to entertaining openness and ample bar space, the builder wisely chose to emulate the classic crooner’s unmistakable style, updated to present-day standards of course. Such nostalgia, including the daily opportunity to channel Dino’s spirit that no doubt goes on living here, is bound to earn the seller somewhere close to the asking price. I simply hope every bar in the place comes stocked!
If this is where you want to sleep, contact me and let’s make it happen.
Tags: 2002 Loma Vista Drive, Dean Martin, Dean Martin's property for sale, The King of Cool, Trousdale Estates
At a very different point of the day than last year, and in exactly the same spot as two years ago, I’m glad to have gotten my annual look, albeit brief, at the great cycling pros in motion in the 2017 Amgen Tour of California. Of course, my spot three years ago is still the most exciting place to be. Perhaps next year, as has occurred in the past, they’ll finish in Santa Barbara!
Tags: 2017 Amgen Tour of California, Amgen Tour of California, ATOC stage 4 start, cycling pros, Santa Barbara ATOC stage start
From my first ride on my brand-new Giant TCR road bike, on March 1, to my most recent spin today, I’ve closed out my first month on my bright new ride at a very modest 462 miles. The thrill remains just as strong today as one month ago, as I look forward to thousands of miles ahead!
Tags: cycling, Giant TCR, new road bike, road cycling in SB
Mardi Gras came to Santa Barbara for the third consecutive year!
Tags: Mardi Gras 2017, Mardi Gras Santa Barbara, Villa Capri Aire parties
Equally if not more impressive than a 25-point comeback to victory in Super Bowl LI, is the executor of the coin toss that got it all underway. A welcome and nostalgic appearance preceded the game as the elder Bush couple took the field, 92-year-old George H.W. and 91-year-old Barbara of course, the only living former president and first lady absent from this year’s inauguration. Fittingly enough, their latest public appearance came here two weeks later, a “super moment” indeed.
Tags: Barbara Bush, George H W Bush, George H.W. Bush coin toss, oldest living first couple, Super Bowl LI coin toss