Down the Road

This is a shameless pitch for Joe and Aggie’s Cafe located on Hopi Drive, in Holbrook, Arizona (astride Route 66 – where you get your kicks). It’s the oldest restaurant in Holbrook, operated continuously by the same family since 1943.  It’s about an hour and a half from me, which means that I don’t stop unless I’m eastbound on I-40 for some reason.

Little places like this eclipse the national brands where the food takes remarkably like cardboard most of the time.


Correctly Identify the Tank

Careful, don’t jump to conclusions before you’re certain.


Those Darned Sharks

In 1799, a naval scandal sent shockwaves through the British West Indies: an American Brig, the Nancy, was suspected of smuggling enemy goods. These were the days when four sparring countries filled Caribbean waters with friction and suspicion. Britain, Spain, France, and the Netherlands were engaged in a bitter colonization campaign, each vying to be masters of the sea. Though America was neutral, it came as a bitter blow for Britain when they found evidence suggesting that their (ex) brothers across the Atlantic were trading with the Dutch.

Fingers immediately pointed towards the brig Nancy, which had set sail from Baltimore to the Dutch island Curacao on 3 July that year. From there she sailed to Haiti, where HMS Sparrow, was sent to intercept her. After a chase, she was captured and escorted to Port Royal, Jamaica, where a thorough search of the vessel commenced and all of her cargo seized. Nancy’s captain Thomas Briggs was questioned at length, but, to all surprise, nothing incriminating was found. To all intents and purposes, everything was legitimate, and it appeared as though British suspicions were unfounded. A furious Captain Briggs even produced official documents that cleared the ships of any wrongdoing. Just when it seemed that the Americans were about to be acquitted, fate dealt Britain a surprising hand.

A lieutenant named Michael Fitton, of the Royal Navy, serving on HMS Ferret, but he was on a Tender from HMS Abergavenny at the time, when he caught a shark. Inside the creature’s stomach was a bundle of papers, which, it transpired, were Nancy’s real documents, proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that the vessel was indeed carrying contrabands of war.

Captain Briggs had thrown these papers overboard when he realized the Sparrow was on his stern, and a passing shark had devoured them. The papers he’d handed over the Sparrow were fakes. A further search of Nancy was conducted, and secret hideaway compartments containing the concealed commodities were discovered. The Nancy was officially declared as a prize and Captain Briggs and his crew were taken into captivity.


Otago Daily Times, Issue 17960, 12 June 1920, Page 10

The shark’s jaw was inscribed with the words ‘Lieut. Fitton recommends these jaws for a collar for neutrals to swear through.’


A Capybara Resistance?

Apparently yes. In Argentina.

From the Argentinian memeosphere, where the capybara has become a symbol of communist resistance.

In Buenos Aries, they bulldozed a major capybara habitat and built a suburb over it, but then the capybaras came back, and now they refuse to leave.

I ate a capybara once at a restaurant in Latin America. My memory is fuzzy, but I think that it was Southern Mexico. It started with a dare. Usually, I’m able to choke down anything, but this made me a little sick. Not food poisoning sick, but wishing that I could barf sick.

The guy I was with ended up (much later) being kidnapped by narcos and tortured to death – sic transit gloria mundi – but every time that I think of eating that damned capybara, I think of him.


New Taliban Hardware (up-armored)


In case you may have forgotten:

Red Mist is still available from your favorite bookseller in both softback or digital varieties. Buy one of each, give them as gifts instead of a Rolex or a new Ferrari.

The supply is limited.* Get yours now. 

*The softback is limited. by the number of trees on the planet. The digital version is limited by the number of electrons in the solar system.


  1. I’ve eaten pretty much anything that is edible. I draw the line at two things though, brains and balut. My aversion to eating brains comes not from the delicacy itself, as such, but more from having been forced to eat them at a young age, by one of my extended family aunts, and the way she cooked them. I had a friend in The Philippines, more of a long term professional acquaintance really, if the truth be known, many years ago, back in the days when both the World and I were young, who loved balut. He would eat half a dozen or so, after an evening having a few ales. How the evenings young lady of his choice felt, about having the putrid smell breathed all over her, I never asked. I will admit though that it was seldom ever the same young lady.

    • It takes a special sort to eat balut. I’ve known some who developed that exceptionally acquired taste, all Filipinos. I can still remember how sick I felt after eating the Capybara, which should tell you something and sound a cautionary chime if the opportunity to dine on one presents itself.

      • I will take your word for it and, if the opportunity ever presents itself to chow down on a Capybara, I shall respectfully decline. Another acquired taste, which, fortunately I mastered quite easily, was drinking numpai. You needed a cast iron stomach as the water used, usually, was none to clean, nor did the fermentation process meet any recognisable standards of hygiene. This potent drink was a staple of all Montagnard ceremonies, and used to really separate the men from the boys.

        • It’s not all that different from pulque. Pulque is a pre-Hispanic beverage with a consistency reminiscent of kombucha if kombucha was made from okra. It’s made from the fermented sap of the agave—the same plant that’s used to make tequila and mezcal. It varies in its potency and brought the Aztec nation to its knees historically – or so it’s said among pulque drinkers. As with numpai, it’s not for the weak of heart, the alcohol hopefully sterilizing the beverage. The water sources are as reliably dirty as those of the SE Asian highlands where human sewage mixes with rainwater to provide irrigation.

          • Have never felt the need to prove my masculinity by eating anything I didn’t find appealing after enduring boiled mutton as a youth. When accused by companions of being a p*ssy, my usual reply was, “Yes, and f**k you”.

          • Then there’s lutefisk…tastes mildly fishy, with a soapy aftertaste and a hint of ammonia on the palate. Paired with some Everclear to clean the palate. Yum. Gag.

          • I ate mutton as a boy, but haven’t had any in a very long time. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t recall. liking it. Capybara, a rodent, has layers of fat in the meat and it’s very very greasy.

          • Reply to WellSeasonedFool. Eating various barely edible foodstuffs, if you could call them foodstuffs, and drinking something that was, very barely potable, had nothing to do with proving ones masculinity. Eating the foodstuffs gave you sustenance and energy, when on various selection and survival courses and, if you ever had to escape and evade, would have kept you going, and it also staved off the hunger pains by filling your belly. Drinking the barely potable numpai, was an integral part of Montagnard ceremonies and, to have refused to drink it, would have been a grave, cultural, insult. In the event you had insulted them you could kiss any assistance from them goodbye and, if they felt so inclined, could have led to your demise. If you could not handle it, they did not mind. In fact, they found it amusing but, at least you had tried.

  2. While the fast food fare will keep body and soul together, the small local restaurants are far more palatable in their fare. Why eat Mickey D’s when you can have a better burger at Spudley’s, where the owner herself sees to it you’re satisfied?

      • I did not mean the American T25, but the Czech or Hungarian T-25.

        Even has the same expose mufflers and sloped turret.

        And I see that it was an Italian tank.

        • There was a lot of cross-decking when it came to ideas in that period. Whether something worked in a war, required an actual war to test the concept on.

  3. This mystery tank was a hard nut to crack, indeed.

    The numerous rivets point towards an early-WWII model of British provenance as the Tommies had this thing going for the rivets. However, while the running gear looks a bit US-American reminding one of the Grant/Sherman models this too will set you on the wrong track.
    All these hints will only trap the unwary.

    The tank is an Italian model ‘Carro Armato P26/40’: P stands for “pesante” = heavy*; 26 = 26 tonnes; 40 = is the year of design 1940. *(heavy: by Italian definition, not by weight — it was intended to support the medium tanks and tankettes on the battlefield).

    The tank was built by Ansaldo in Genoa but due to numerous changes to the main gun and a futile search for a reliable engine powerful enough to move the 26 tonnes at an acceptable speed very few tanks (about 100?) were completed by the time Italy decided to leave the joint Axis war effort and sued the Allies for peace.

    The finished tanks were taken over by the Wehrmacht: those with engines were incorporated into Panzer units, those without engines were used as static defences in a pillbox role.
    This was the only heavy tank produced by Italy during WWII. By the time it reached the battle lines it proved to be inferior to allied medium tanks in spite of its 75mm main gun, mainly because of poor turret ergonomics and insufficient armor strength.

    I am indebted to Cappellano & Battistelli: “Italian Medium Tanks” and I wish to thank you for this challenging brain gymnastics!

    • Very nice.

      I was thinking it might be another Italian machine, but scrolled down to see if someone had already been here before trying to figure further.


        • Thank you very much for your compliment, Sir.
          Bring a mystery jet aircraft from the 1950s onwards and I will be totally clueless: I have no idea about the hoover zoomies.
          Same thing goes for anything that swims.
          Except the Bismarck.

  4. So a disgusting rodent becomes the communist resistance symbol? Fits with your Lefty treatise mindset. Wonder what the Dem mascot would be? Rat doesn’t quite cover it, and snakes take care of rodents.

    Something seriously fishy over in Kabul/Bahgram…outfitting the enemy with 80 billion of gear and facilities they WILL use against us. Stinks worse than a capybara plate special.

    Local places that have been around for decades usually have the best food because the owner is cooking it and wants you to be happy. Had to get a new Vet Truck box for field work, went to the Iowa manufacturer for the swap-out. It was early so stopped at a little cafe’ in a little town, place was called “The Pork & More” (seriously) – old but immaculate. The well-dressed octogenarian club were having an energetic meeting. Picked a corner table in the back and the seventy-something waitress bounces over, takes our order, hands it off to a similarly aged gal behind the pass who’s working like a well oiled machine. Then “the boys” come in – big farmers who were also the Fire Dept. per the bulletin board…some of them ordered a double oatmeal. Our breakfast was excellent and plenty. Paid the bill, about $15. Left a big tip.

  5. If it comes to choosing between giant rodents versus swamp-bulldozing developers, Argentine or otherwise, plus customers who are the kind of people who move into “gated communities” full of only other rich people, yet are all “No Borders, How Can a Human Being Be ‘Illegal?'” and “Hate Has No Home Here” and “Repairing the World – Whether You Want Us To Or Not” — well, I’ll side with the rodents.

    Giant rodents are FAR less harmful than rich leftist assholes. They don’t import millions of morons, unskilled, uneducated, and utterly unsuited for life under liberty (yes, I am feeling particularly skaldic today, why do you ask?). They don’t Frankfurt School. They don’t Weather Underground. They don’t Critical Race Theory. They don’t claim to be “genius capitalist saviors” while monetizing and asset-stripping not only businesses but social institutions. And (this is speculation, admittedly) if giant rodents DID destroy social capital to make a quick buck, they wouldn’t play the victim and cry discrimination when caught doing their bad deeds. And they wouldn’t go to their suborned-or-plain-owned mouthpieces in government and get themselves a nice fat bailout. Giant rodents don’t rules lawyer and argue minutiae while deliberately missing the intent of the law, which is the entire point.

    Slightly less sarcastically, framing the political possibilities as solely between communism versus vulture/crony capitalism is a false dichotomy. (And a dichotomy that I would note where exactly the same kind of people end up in charge of everything!) Increasingly, I am of the opinion that a proper political/economic system is one that takes into account the folk (deliberate word choice) who must live under it, and is tuned for global optimization in terms of liberty and wealth. By “global optimization” I mean trying to maximize the AVERAGE weal. Our system right now gives some persons tremendous wealth and freedom, but is starting to crush the average person. (And no, it’s FAR worse in most other countries; this is not a criticism of the US, it is a criticism of the foreign bastards who have murdered and gutted the US and are wearing its institutions as a skin suit.)

    • “gated communities” full of only other rich people, yet are all “No Borders, How Can a Human Being Be ‘Illegal?’” and “Hate Has No Home Here” and “Repairing the World – Whether You Want Us To Or Not”

      Most of those people own and wear Che t-shirts.

        • They are my betters. Just ask them.

          Though if I went with the sideshow bob hair-do and a bone through my nose and I could be more special than I am now.

          • I’m good not being “special”, have to sell your soul first…but you can still claim to be Catholic, apparently.

    • Dead Che Day is coming up in exactly one month: October 9th

      Aargh. “Global optimization” was supposed to be an engineering (or physics) analogy. NOT global in the “we are all citizens of the world” BS sense. What I was really alluding to was energy (or cost) minimization problems where the goal is to find the minimum of some function of “x” (where x could be a vector) over the entire range of possible values of x. This is global minimization. Actual global minimization is difficult because there tends to be the problem where you end up in a “local minimum” which looks good if you artificially restrict yourself to a subset of the total range of x. Anyway, instead of minimization I called it “optimization” because the analogy is difficult enough without pushing uphill against the natural bias of “minimization” automatically sounding bad to people…. There are enough engineering and science people here who can doubtless pick apart the flaws in what I just said and correct the analogy, but I think I’m pretty close.

      In a sense we as a society fell (or rather were steered) into an initially attractive local minimum that then led to the mess we are in now. For this I actually blame not the rapacious foreign bastards (RFB) but the original old ruling classes (ORC). The ORCs originally were as smart and ruthless as the RFBs, but have gotten soft and complacent. Also, they were able to keep enough of their comforts and perqs that they didn’t even resist the RFBs very much. Rather, they allowed the RFBs to intermarry (an ugly, fat daughter has to be useful to the family somehow, and marrying access to the First, Second, AND Third Banks of Such-and-Such is useful) and to infiltrate their informal organizations that were/are the REAL centers of power. Now the ORCs are not even second fiddle to the RFBs, and the world is flying into pieces.

      PS: RFB has many different meanings. The medical meaning of RFB is rectal foreign body (i.e. a thing a person put up their bottom that doesn’t belong there), but that is purely a coincidence. Honest.

  6. Agree about Mom-N-Pop places for good food. We’re going to a little place Friday night for some Mexican. It’s only 1/2 mile from here, and gets rave reviews, so we’ll see how we like it.

    I don’t think I’d eat something resembling a Guinea Pig, but some people do.

    Is that a minigun on the Humvee?

  7. C’est Bon in Mermentau, Loozy-anna is my current fav. Rolling down I-10, you can’t get to it from there. You have to backtrack to Jennings or Crowley, depending on which way you’re going, and take the road less traveled. Crawfish season, they keep about a dozen of those big-assed boiler kettles running full blast all night long and the place stays packed.

  8. Wifmann is an Arizona girl.
    Her uncle and aunt used to live in Holbrook which by historical accounts had a violent history and earned one of its six saloons the name The Bucket of Blood Saloon.
    According to Wifmann’s cousins the home the family lived in was the residence that the shootout with the Blivens brothers et al and Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens took place in 1887.


    One morning the floor in the kitchen in the old house gave in while Wifmann’s aunt was cooking breakfast.
    When repairs were started a small basement type of excavation was discovered in which there were a “fair number” of old Colts and Winchesters stashed.
    Her uncle built a walkin gun safe to house the stash along with his own firearms.

  9. Oh, and if you are ever visiting your mom I would recommend Casa Ramos in Red Bluff.
    They have the best chili relleno I have ever eaten. Their enchillada picadilla is a great choice for lunch. The rice and beans come with.
    After lunch you could take nearby Adobe Road and visit Ide Adobe State Park just a couple of miles away on the banks of the Sacramento River.
    It is a quiet place that is not swarmed by tourists.

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