Applebees Nation

In recent weeks the traffic to my blog has increased mainly due to hits from an Applebees menu that is popular on a Google image search. Also, there is traffic from an image of a car accident involving bicyclist in Mexico. I am not linking these pictures for a good reason. As much as I love to think people are reading my blog for the content that I post on a regular basis, overwhelmingly the post “Residents make a difference” is my all-time hit. Again, there is no link.

I want to keep moving on with new ideas about bike riding and such with this blog. Not knowing how I could be trapped by my links to these images I naively thought the links would drive additional hits, but in the end it looks like I should just delete the Residents post or at least the menu image. This is a learning experience for me that once I get the kinks out should prove that there are readers that make a difference and that residents who bike ride make a difference. So are there bike riders who go to Applebees reading this post and want to speak up?

Last month I went to Applebees in Ames Iowa with my family and without a doubt the four of us had the worst meals eating out in years. All we did was adding to the corporate bottom line regardless, this re-enforced our desire to never resort in the future to this style of eating out. That’s the thing about our great country that we can walk into a hornets nest of bad food, pay good money for it and then vow to never do it again. We were suckers that got had at Applebees.

It’s no wonder on a trip to Chicago this week we were confident that our meals would be good and reasonably priced. Two friends said we could eat anywhere and the food would be good because bad restaurants don’t stay open in Chicago for long.

That would be the two-sided coin dilemma that seems to plague life. On the one side are honest to goodness value and on the other side is the perception that value exists by the sole purpose of advertising. Snake oil taste the same regardless of the flavor you order. The first mistake is giving any time to the snake oil salesman. The fact of the matter is in a place like Chicago people have street smarts and in a place like Ames it is either country bumpkins going to town or book smarts. What that implies is that real value, real life is dependent on street smarts. This also implies that country bumpkins and book smarts are great for the bottom line. P. T. Barnum said, “a sucker is born every minute”  he got that right.

In a year looking back, dare we look back? In the past we have grown accustomed to high un-employment, high gas prices and a two-party system grossly out of touch with the street. If a book smart candidate comes calling or a country bumpkin throws their hat in the Presidential ring it would do some hard evaluating to ignore the call. What this country needs is some street smarts and this might put a spark to the firing up of what we need most in America and that are places revitalized for living. Start at street level and work our way up not the other way around. Before there is another Detroit or East St. Louis we have to make places like Indianapolis and North Minneapolis desirable as places residents can live to make a difference, a place that the streets are safe for bicycle riding for the future of American cities. As fashionable as Lincoln Park is in Chicago there are inner cities east of the Mississippi that have as much potential. It will start with young people and artists. Watch out suburbia, your way of life is dying. No one can afford your paper-thin McMansions and sterile life. Get on a bike and ride and leave your car at home.

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