Biannual Roundup: What you’re looking at gets a makeover

street art malaga spain pulpo wine

Street art encountered in Malaga, Spain

Only a decade or so old, but WordPress kept dropping hints that my blog format was outdated and becoming obsolete. The time was approaching that it would no longer function on the platform.

So here it is: the first post with a new look in a format I am trying to master. I promise not to include any of the curse words that my slip out of my mouth as I try to make heads and tails of it.

It happens to be that time of the year, halfway through, for that exciting list of what posts you have clicked on most during the past 12 months. My book has not dropped off the list yet, and I am grateful for that and that you continue to let the blog play boulevardier even though the writer actually is in a state of corona-hibernation.

Click here to read the rest of this post and view more photos

Biannual roundup of an ad-free blog


This blogger has blogged so prolifically she has used up all the free space WordPress has to offer. This is good news for you because ads will no longer pop up at the bottom of posts, but it was bad news for me because I actually have to pay a small amount to engage in this form of therapy. I’m not complaining though, because I have never understood how WordPress can afford to offer this service at no charge. I’m grateful for enjoying a free ride for several years.

This list represents the most-read posts during the past 12 months, and interest in the Alamo and its plaza rose to the top once again. But thanks for continuing to give me the freedom to wander around the globe and send postcards back to San Antonio as well.

The numbers in parentheses represent the rankings from six months ago:

  1. Don’t Let Battle Zealots Overrun the Crockett Block, 2016
  2. The Madarasz Murder Mystery: Might Helen Haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012 (1)
  3. Take pleasure in little unauthorized treasures along the River Walk before they vanish, 2015 (7)
  4. How would you feel about the Alamo with a crewcut?, 2011 (3)
  5. Please put this song on Tony’s pony and make it ride away, 2010 (5)
  6. Postcards from San Antonio a Century Ago, 2016
  7. Playspace of Yanaguana Garden bursts into bloom October 2, 2015 (8)
  8. Postcard from Madrid, Spain: Flavorful food memories, 2015
  9. Postcard from Puebla, Mexico: An unlikely trio of favorite restaurants, 2015
  10. Reviving Dia de los Muertos, 2015
  11. Postcard from Sintra, Portugal: Masonic mysteries surface at Quinta da Regaleira, 2014
  12. Postcard from Oaxaca, Mexico: Settling into La Biznaga, 2016

Thanks for dropping by every once in a while. Love hearing your feedback.



Happy birthday, oh fan most loyal…

As I am trying to stay focused on other writing projects, my blog posts are few and far between.

Not that anyone has been complaining.

Not surprisingly, readership has tapered off dramatically.

Except for my fan most loyal.

No matter how stale the posts are, this follower returns again and again. So frequent are those visits, WordPress tries to block them to keep its internet arteries unclogged.

But he is persistent, slipping through the second WordPress lets its guard down.

I knew little about him, so today I decided to learn more.

He turned 75 this year. And he must be well-educated.

Well, not that well-educated. Admittedly, his grammar is poor. In fact, his favorite post appears to be a photo with a spelling error in its title: “sandwish board.” This also means he has poor taste, as the photo is of an illegal, tacky sign plopped in the middle of a sidewalk on Alamo Plaza.

He speaks some Japanese, I think. And he appears fluent in Russian, at least as far as I can tell from trying to read his comments. Even though I rudely never respond to his comments – one of my numerous excuses being my ignorance of the Russian language – he never wavers in his loyalty.

With only a little research, I found out why he speaks Russian:

“Without Spam, we wouldn’t have been able to feed our army.”

Nikita Khrushchev, ‘Khrushchev Remembers’ (1970)

According to, more than 100 million cans of Spam were shipped out to feed the Allied troops during World War II, which, under the lend-lease program, included those of the USSR.

Yes, Spam the man is my number one fan (Sorry, Hormel, I just don’t get the all-caps thing.).

So, here’s Spammy, as Hormel affectionately calls him >

The one-billionth can of Spam was produced in 1959.

I thought Spam disappeared from the shelves as soon as babyboomers entered adolescence.

Until today, I assumed a can of Spam was like the tin of fruitcake described by Johnny Carson:

There is only one fruitcake in the world, and people keep sending it to each other.

But I was so mistaken. I underestimated Spam’s resiliency. According to this frightening statistic on, 3.6 cans of Spam are consumed every second.

I also underestimated his versatility. Spam is oh so much more than something served simply sliced straight out of the can.

According to the official website, Spam has taken on an international flair to suit our changing palates. The combinations are beyond your wildest dreams (or worst nightmares?). Do you like green eggs and Spam?

I will spare you the glossy photos of the outcomes, but a few recipes Hormel proudly shares are polenta topped with Spam and black bean salsa, Spam wontons, Spam musubi and huevos Spamcheros. But come November, you probably just want to rely on that all-American favorite, “Spamsgiving Day Delight.”

Oh, please, spare us, Sam. Put that Spam back in the can.

The most amazing thing I found out about my fan Spam today is why he has a layer of jiggly jelly. I assumed it was for long-term preservation so he could be stored in bomb shelters. But the preservative in Spam is simply sodium nitrate, about which Hormel strives to make you feel good:

Small amounts of sodium nitrate are found in delicious meats like hot dogs…. It helps preserve the pink color of meat. And no one likes gray meat.

No, the real reason is Spam actually is cooked directly in the can. So naturally his fat rises to the top. Cooking and cooling a can of Spam is as time-consuming as cooking a turkey; it takes Hormel three hours.

So, Spam, my fan. It was good to get to know more about you today. I think it’s wise screens out thousands of your clicks on my blog. The sheer numbers might go to my head, encouraging me to post more often.

And happy birthday, you old-75-year-old you. You don’t look a day older than the day you were first canned.

Just please, don’t wear your birthday suit around me. Keep your can about you. I want to have something to pass down to my grandchildren.