June 2009 Archives

A visitor from Lexington, Kentucky, says that he defies his friends who mock our fair city to find better barbecue anywhere in the country. He thinks the best BBQ is to be found here, particularly when the World Pork Expo is in town every June. Of course, Kansas City will dispute any competitive claims to the title of "Best Barbecue" (and they do take their barbecue seriously), but let's get real: No state produces more pork than Iowa. It's not even close. If you have four strips of bacon on your plate, one of them came from Iowa (at least, relatively speaking). And anyone who doubts that Iowans' capacity to consume that delicious food matches our prodigious capacity to produce it ought to stop by the Iowa State Fair, where overconsumption is a way of life.

That's not to say that our food habits are entirely innocuous. The Fair just got itself into trouble by sending out press kits filled with things like cookie dough, which all seems innocent enough until one of those kits breaks in transit and arrives at a radio station, leaking a white mystery powder. How red-faced anyone was to have called Hazmat over the leak (yes, they really did) seems not to have been reported.
clivefestivaldunktank.jpg The Clive Festival is underway this weekend. The planning committee includes representatives from about half a dozen Clive organizations, and the resulting party includes carnival rides, food, live music, and a dunk tank (see photo). Summer festival season seems to catch almost every town in the metro area in one way or another, ranging from Sauerkraut Days in Bouton (if they're still holding it; nothing seems to show up on the Internet for this magnificent event) all the way up to the State Fair in August.
We were right. The storm reports from last night suggest it wasn't just tornado weather...it was hail and high wind weather, too. Damage was left behind. And there's a big, fat, ugly blotch over much of Iowa threatening new severe weather for tonight. We're being given another sporting chance of lots of new storms before the night is through. No thanks, Mother Nature. No thanks.
When it gets hot and humid outside (right now, it's 90° outside with a dewpoint in the seventies), a certain feeling outside tells long-term residents of this part of the country that things could get nasty. That's being confirmed by scientific observation today, with the Storm Prediction Center slapping a tornado watch over our neighbors just to the south and west. Conveniently, the local National Weather Service office here in Des Moines has begun testing an interactive weather briefing that goes into good detail about the conditions out there. It's a little more technical and a little less graphically pretty than what you'll get on radio or television, but it's candy for weather nerds.
The National Weather Service is saying that we might see funnel clouds today because of conditions in the atmosphere. There is a slight risk for severe weather today, but the funnel clouds they're talking are really less severe than the tornadoes we get with severe thunderstorms. An actual tornado just over a week ago produced mostly tree damage around Adel and Dallas Center.
downtowndesmoines04small.jpgA Minneapolitan (because that's what we should take to calling people from the Twin Cities) named Jen Scott ought to get a free pass to the Iowa State Fair or some other state honorific for sharing these words about Des Moines:

Stopped by the most ghetto QT in Des Moines, to find it sparkly clean and filled with cops.
Based on the rest of her narrative, she was undoubtedly referring to the QuikTrip on Grand Avenue near Iowa Methodist, which isn't really in the highest-crime portion of town, but definitely wouldn't show up on a local real estate tour. And she's right: The place is always clean and there are always police nearby. We should thank Jen for noticing how we do things in the Des Moines area.

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