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Stanz-el Deliver : Strange museum in little town Texas

Sign coming into Schulenberg, Texas from I10 East

Signs coming into Schulenberg, Texas from I10 East

I have driven past this during my many journeys to Houston from San Antonio.

It must have had a continuous drip effect on my curiosity as I eventually stopped to check out the Stanzel museum with my kids. The museum is about the two Brothers who manufactured wooden model airplanes starting in 1930’s. The museum has a small workshop, a small house with old furniture and an exhibition of the models. You can see it all in 15 minutes.

How quaint you may say but it it was one of the strangest museums that I have ever visited.

It was strange not because of it’s content, but it’s reason for existence. You see, the business ceased trading around 1950’s/1960’s. I came away questioning (and still question) the point of this museum. If this was a successful modern business, then I would expect they kept it for PR purposes.

Since the Stanzel company no longer trades and nobody wants to license the brand, my presumption it is that the museum is a foundation that was left money by the Stanzel brothers to tell their story: It will exist until the money runs out.

Today I drove past it again. I was reminded of a certain song by some English musicians, Mr McCartney and Mr Lennon:

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?


Taking you for a (park and) ride: Devil in the details in Central Parking signs

“Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.” Thomas Wilder.

20140603-084046.jpgExcept that we didn’t have such a positive impression of Providence aiming high or good. This is story number two on Sneaky bastards of Rhode Island. By co-incidence, it is story number two about a $11 rate.

We were driving in downtown Providence and looking for somewhere to park. Having driven past a few managed parking lots that said $11, we came across a multi-level parking garage with a sign outside. $11 seemed to be going rate and even if if we had to park on the roof, so be it.

Less that three hours later, we go to pay in the automatic machine: $14.80. Since there was no human around, we thought, Chiselers.

This bugged us so much we took the picture to complain and still we couldn’t see how we had gone wrong: We were out by easily by 6:00pm, we parked on the roof.

It wasn’t until 2 days later looking at the picture again, did we notice it in the small print: you must be in by 8am. Grr, You sneaky sneaky bastards. Who on earth can spot that from a car as you are driving past?

F’ you Central Parking

Ripov Andropov : When is a cab not a cab?

So we ask our hotel to book us a cab from our Middleton RI Hotel. The front desk says the taxis are busy and it will be about 20 minutes.

15 minutes later we walk to the foyer and there is someone there looking for his passengers. Turns out the cab is a small SUV / jeep that looks like a regular private car. I note that the driver has an iphone only to track the journey. No meter or license.

About 2.5 miles later, we are dropped off at a hotel just of Newport Beach. The cost $15. I include a good tip.

Later friends arrive by Taxi who happened to be staying at the same hotel. Still wondering about our cab and the iphone, I ask what their fare was for same distance: $11.

20140603-083429.jpgAfter our party had finished, we caught a taxi cab back this time with our friends. This is one had a meter: even with 5 in the cab, the cost was still only $11.

That sneaky bastard.

Since he gave us a card expecting further rip off business, we are returning the favor. The number NOT to call if you are in the Newport or Middleton RI and need a taxi is 401-855-2666.


Showering me with (hot and cold) Love

1960-PSYCHOThis morning, I jumped in the hotel shower and darn nearly scalded myself. This was a power shower that almost blasted me out of the tub, and every knob I turned, took it from too hot to freezing cold. Needless to say, it was a quick shower with a mix of Ahh, to ohhh exclamations.

I’ve not been having much luck with hotel showers recently especially when I’ve ended up with accessibility rooms that had a shower only.

In one  Crown Plaza, the shower head would slide back down every time I raised it to head height. Since my family were already unpacked and staying for one more night, we just lived with it. I did say something to the hotel desk when I checked out, but since I was otherwise satisfied with the stay, it was along the lines of hey you may want to get it fixed.

The other was in a pretty high end hotel and when I went to use the shower, the hose was split. There is no way anyone had used that room in a long time. Since I was already cutting it fine to get to my work appointment with no time to get it fixed, I had to improvise and  use a cup to capture the water spray, to wash my hair. I was going to complain to front desk but the check out line was long and I checked out over the phone. Add this to what I thought we extortionate charges for parking in a city that has a ton of space, the decision was not to bother again with that hotel.

Next week I stay at another hotel: “Bates Motel”. Anybody heard of it?

Girls just want to have fun

Augustus is watching Patricious at the hotel pool and Six teenage girls in pioneer Prairie dresses and braided hair, just walked past. They head into the hotel gym.

One started running on the treadmill running in lace up boots  and another was pumping weights. NOW THAT was was sight that you don’t see every day. I overcame my visual curiousity and got back to the interweb.

A few hours later, we are back at the pool. Augustus didn’t see them come back but he certainly heard them. MASSIVE SPLASHHHH !!!!  The same girls were back and they all jump bombed into the pool. Full clothed ! They displaced so much water, it went over some of the other parents sitting on the side. 

Not  only that but a gaggle of Texas Princes were walking past the pool and stood there gawping. The contrast between them in their ball gowns and full make up, and the ultra-conservative teenagers in plain clothes and no make up was memorable. Both groups enjoying themselves and being teenagers.

Like I said, not something you see everyday.


Bringing home the Bacon

I needed to be in Houston for Friday, so stayed at my usual Business approved Hotel on Thursday night. I don’t usually participate in breakfasts but on Friday, I decided to grace the breakfast room with my  Augustine presence.

Just as I was lifting the roll-top chafer of the hot buffet items to see what was inside, a hotel worker came by with a tray loaded with cooked crispy thin slivers of US bacon. Being surprised by the quantity of bacon strips considering it was 8:50 am and most business guests would be at work., I asked “How much bacon do you cook per day?”.

To which the man said “Yes, Bacon”, shutting down THAT avenue of discussion. So I watched the buffet container got topped off with ‘fresh’ bacon. (It didn’t need to as it had plenty but hey, they guy had his orders) and the remainder of the tray went back with 3/4 of the bacon strips on it.  If you are curious about it the bacon’s tasted like, it was crunchy but tasteless. I drowned it with ketchup to make a limp bacon sandwich.

For this trip, I would be staying in the same hotel for the weekend but on my own dime that I booked with hotels.com

On Saturday, Augustus I graced the breakfast room again. Looking in the buffet chafer, I paused at the first warm item: Where WAS the bacon? What was previously the land of plenty was now a bacon desert.

I looked around at the customer base now consuming the breakfast to get the answer.

  • The Weekenders are families who pay a room rate and if they have breakfast included, are multiple people getting free breakfasts. On Saturday much was being pilled on a breakfast plate and in many cases, considerable wastage.
  • The Weekdayers are typically business people but their breakfast load on the hotel is usually one per room. They don’t tend to pig out just because it is free.

I get it hotel: Your bacon/no-bacon decision is safe with us (and our readership).

ps: Having tasted their ‘bacon’, the hotel may be doing their weekend customers a favor!  It was horrible.

Tiger mom meets American Dad

A friend posted a funny story on his facebook where he was flying from Asia back to US.

When in the air, a Tiger Mom came up and asked if he wouldn’t mind swapping his seat for her son to have it.

Her Son’s seat was right at the back of the plane in a middle seat. Right next to the toilets. Oh, I almost forgot something else: Her son was about 32 years old.

Funnily enough, his answer was “no”.  Afterall, his seat was in upgraded economy. 

Tired out : run flat tires and repairs

’Got one’s motor running. Heading on the highway. Looking for adventure and whatever comes one’s way’.

Until that is, a dashboard warning said the chariot had low air pressure in a tire. Surprising since the suspect tire was 35 PSI versus the other three having 36 PSI. Having been around since 63 BC, one knows that 35 PSI is not low. No way Scipio!

As I headed back down the highway, looking for adventure (actually heading to the bank), the warning now said 35PSI /34 PSI. Since myerrand was only for a few miles, I decided to persevere. The tires were run flat so one could ride around on them for around 200 miles or so. On the way back, the readings were now 33/32 PSI. What – All FOUR were deflating? Continue reading..

The Call Girl

Hotel-bedPhone10:10 pm : Telephone rings loudly. I answer with a Sleepy “Hello?”

A chirpy voice says : “This is front desk calling to see if everything is alright with your room sir?”

I am astounded and think to myself ‘You just woke me up just because of THIS? Some Corporate idjiot’s brilliant idea to improve customer satisfaction is to call up the room four hours after someone has checked in? Great idea on paper but… !’

I think about giving her a piece of my mind but realize it is not her fault. I simply say ” Yes. Goodnight” and hang up.

I am now wide awake. Brilliant