Ever Stranger – Part 3

The work on the Marathon oil refinery, five miles up the highway, is almost complete.  There are only two big earth/stone moving trucks still parked in the motel lot, as well as a Ryder rental box-truck guarding a tarp-covered pile that turned out to be carpeting and underlay.  There was a car with Texas plates, and a Mercedes Sprinter van with Mexican plates, but they seemed to be just tourists.

After a Saturday morning and afternoon spent checking out guns and knives, the kid and I took another nap.  Both our sleep schedules were way off.  We left the motel again about 7 PM to go to the Outback for supper.  As we climbed into the car, the son mentioned that he could smell something burning.  His senses aren’t as old and feeble as mine.  Even notified, I didn’t detect anything.  After supper we drove up to a Wal-Mart and found some flavors of coffee creamers that the wife wanted.

We got back to our room just in time for the 11 o’clock news, and the lead story was about how a 162,000 gallon tank at the refinery had exploded and burned at 6:30.  That’s what the son smelled.  The refinery has its own fire department, and, with help from the city, they confined it to the one tank, and put it out in 90 minutes.  The tank wasn’t near where the work was being done, so that didn’t cause it, and was far enough back from I-75 that the highway was not closed.  The tunnel was closed for a security exercise Sunday morning from six until ten, but we planned on taking the bridge anyway.

I’m a little more used to “the Michigan way” than the son, but there are still things that intrigue me, for example, The Fifth Third Bank.  I can understand a First National, or a Third State Bank, but what in Hell is a Fifth Third Bank??!  Something that astounded the son was store clerks – helpful store clerks – knowledgeable store clerks.

As long as you’re moving, they leave you alone, but stop to even hitch up your pants, and one would coalesce out of the ether, and ask if they could help, and if you needed help, they provided it.  In Ontario, you’d have to go out the back, to the dumpster, to grab one having a smoke break, and even then (s)he wouldn’t know where your desired item was and would be too lazy busy to find someone who did.

When the wife and I first started visiting Detroit, the Denny’s we liked to breakfast at was a smoking establishment.  A couple of years later they would ask, “Smoking, or non?”  Not that it really mattered.  Unless you got the table furthest to the back, the smoke still drifted.  Recently they, and other restaurants, possibly led by Tim Hortons, have become smoke free.

Based on a dearth of butt-orphans, it seems fewer Michiganders are smoking, and I didn’t hear much about drinking and driving.  It still surprised the son to see both cigarettes and booze sold openly in grocery stores and pharmacies.  Makes sense to me, smokes, snacks, mix, liquor – all in the same place.  Up here in the nanny-state of Ontario, cigarettes can’t even be openly displayed.  All the stores must hide them behind cardboard blinds.  We used to confuse American tourists by selling beer at places called Brewers Retail.  Truth in advertising finally forced a name change to The Beer Store.  Anything stronger than beer must be purchased at Liquor Control Board outlets.  No grocery stores, no drugstores, and definitely no party stores.  We need to be protected from our baser urges.

Calling all BrainRants!  Attention!  Bacon!  Bacon!  Bacon!  We discovered the nearest Tim Hortons to the motel, just this side of the Outback.  Tim’s in Canada is advertising thicker bacon on their sandwiches, so I assume Our American Cousin is doing the same.

Whether influenced by that or not, Denny’s has introduced a new “Bacon Menu.”  They’ve added a Bacon Slam that has not previously been available, as well as Bacon everything.  They offer a bacon-flavored milkshake, a bacon sundae, and salty-bacon brownies.

I recently took the wife and daughter to a new store which allows purchases of individual units of both Keurig and Tassimo coffee pods.  They have a spot at the back where you can brew up a sample before you buy it.  There are a variety of creamers available, to add.  They have the plain creamer, as well as toffee, hazelnut and raspberry.  There, proudly sitting beside the rest, is bacon coffee flavoring.

Bacon Flavouring







If, ten years ago, Rants had bought stock in bacon and sriracha, today he’d own the world, instead of having to plot to take it over with one tank and his computer.  The computer is the more dangerous.

As we waited for our Denny’s breakfast, there was a family with a 9-year old boy, a 12-year old girl, and a 15-year old boy.  In the lobby there was one of those cash siphons where you put in a dollar bill, and try to get out a stuffed toy by manipulating a three-prong grabber.  The oldest boy mooched a buck from his dad and walked over.  I didn’t pay much attention, but thirty seconds later, back he came and handed his little brother a stuffed dog.

Dad gave him another dollar, and he walked back to the no-arm bandit.  I didn’t even have time to turn and watch him, and he returned and gave his sister a cute stuffed cat.  Dad handed him another bill, and this time I watched carefully.  Before I even got a crick in my neck, he had another plush toy which thrilled his mother.  A fourth attempt brought them nothing, but I’ve seen kids fool with these things for hours, and get nothing but carpal tunnel.  Three in quick succession is fantastic.

We’re going to hit the flea market/food court, and then head back across the river for home.  Stay tuned on this same batty channel.

16 thoughts on “Ever Stranger – Part 3

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Wow …. your trip to Michigan brought excitement and conjured memories.

    I can answer your Fifth Third question. It’s a Cincinnati banks formed in 1908 by the union of Third National Bank and the Fifth National Bank.

    FYI: If you ever make it to Kentucky, smoking still allowed there in restaurants, bars, etc.


    • Archon's Den says:

      If it has to do with Cincinnati, I trust that Frank knows all about it, but, did no banker in 1908 have any imagination or compromise?? Even “Bob’s Bank” would be catchier. 😀
      We’ve been through Kentucky a few times. They still allow a lot of things. Gay marriage just isn’t one of them. 😦
      I’ve taken the wife off I-75, into Corbin, the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and had a steak for lunch at the Stampede Corral.


    • Thank you for that banking info, Frank. I just figured the Third National Bank had gone through four previous iterations. 😀


  2. BrainRants says:

    Holy Bacon, Archon! I’ll have to tag a Denny’s and investigate this new bacon menu. And don’t discount the tank…


  3. Kayjai says:

    BACON COFFEE CREAMER? I have no words for that….none.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Bacon flavored syrup, it’s not just for coffee any more. You can pour it on ice cream. You can put it on your oatmeal. You could even drizzle it on Hubby – or vice versa. 😆


  4. Yep, ‘Rants is out to take over the world with just a tank and a computer. Pay no attention to the mercenary in Ohio, he’s just an illusion….. 😉


  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Hey, I want to own a store one day called The Beer Store!


  6. Jim Wheeler says:

    It is refinery problems that are being blamed for spotty but widespread price hikes in gasoline here in the heartland. I wonder if the one you mention was one of them? The date of your report is unclear.

    Refineries are one of the world’s shakiest and most vulnerable infrastructures. Civilization has one foot on a banana peel with those, and the other rests on crumbling bridges, and the other . . Oh, wait. Out of feet!


    • Archon's Den says:

      This little weenie-roast occurred Saturday, April 27, and is only one of innumerable price-hike excuses, there was a high tide, the wind blew from the west. 😦
      My son is a resigned dystopian. We both feel that the acme of civilization, at least in North America, may have been reached with my Boomer generation.


      • Jim Wheeler says:

        And I would agree that Western civilization is past its acme by several measures, Archon, one being the huge and ever-widening gulf of income and wealth disparity and two, associated with one, being the declination in the complexity and value of jobs due to high-tech. homogenization.


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