Monday, December 10, 2007


Tennessee Vista

What with the Missus being away in Texas helping our SIL manage our little nephew and niece while she recovers from surgery, I have been living the Bachelor Life these past several days.

It was a perfect excuse to make the trip up to Tennessee and inflict my presence upon Eric and Fiona...and so that is exactly what I did. After services Saturday morning, I procured a few Essential Provisions and headed up to Straight White Guyland.

Eric had made advance preparations by way of marinating an enormous amount of lamb in Worcestershire sauce: six thick chops and a couple of steaks, cross-sections of a good-sized lamb leg. He had also fixed a pan of his Tennessee Roasted ’Taters, taking a passel of creamer potatoes, cutting them into chunks, and marinating them in a mixture of olive oil, sea salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, chopped onion, garlic salt, and Parmesan cheese. These then went into the oven while Eric grilled the meat.

Wherever the hell Eric gets his lamb, I wish they’d start supplying the meat markets down our way. This stuff was so tender and mildly flavored - none of that “lamby” gaminess that keeps some people from enjoying this, The Other Red Meat - that even SWMBO might have liked it. The mint sauce (not to be confused with mint jelly) set it off perfectly, as did the 2004 Château de Lescours St. Émilion we used to wash it down. And those potatoes? Hoo, boy.

The rest of the evening was occupied by a few genial games of Pocket Billiards - I even managed to win a few - accompanied by the fine music of Tom Waits and Butch Thompson and the consumption of liberal lashings of single malt Scotch whisky. Eric, ever the perfect host, pours his Scotch with a liberal hand, and after a few Not-So-Wee Drams of Aberlour a’bunadh (a single cask strength, non-chill-filtered malt matured in sherry oak) and Glenlivet Archive 21-year-old (thanks, Denny!), we had both managed to find our Happy Place.

No trip to Eric’s is without its share of mysteries and surprises. Here’s one:

No Jake Brake
No Jake Brake? Wuddat?

On the way through Athens, Tennessee, enroute to Englewood, I saw the above sign. But what the hell did it mean?

Any of my Esteemed Readers care to guess? The answer’s in the Extended Entry.

A quick peek at the Inter-Webby-Net revealed that the Jake Brake, AKA Jacobs Brake, is a specific brand of engine brake, the name of which has become a generic term for compression-release engine brakes on large vehicles.

Engaging a compression-release brake on heavy equipment will, absent special muffler systems, make a loud machine-gun-like racket, and so some municipalities ban their use in certain is the case right outside Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens. Can’t disturb the students at their studies, I suppose.

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