June 11, 2006

Sneaky Pete's make C-Span's Book TV

Just now, watching C-Span's Book TV, a weekend feature on CSPAN-2, I was tuned in to author and travel columnist of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Thomas Swick speaking at Hittel Books in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

He was giving a reading from his book, "A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania With a Maverick Traveler". He expounded about his experiences in Chicago and how he was glad to leave and head towards Iowa.

His next sentence described how there was a 60's era Rolls Royce Silver Cloud parked in front of Sneaky Pete's in LeClaire, Iowa when he stopped in.

Inside he met the guy who owned it, and the owner and a friend were driving it from New Hampshire to the West Coast somewhere. They said from there they planned on loading it on a ship and transporting the Rolls to Bejing China to participate in the Bejing to Paris rally.

He remarked about the ties hanging from the ceiling and how they told him LeClaire was the birthplace of Buffalo Bill and how he had a buffalo burger.

Then someone asked if he was staying at the Super 8 and he said no, and they handed him a card. The person owned the Hog Heaven B&B where he ended up staying before moving on to Iowa City the next day.

Oddly enough, this was the second reference to the area on Book TV in as many days.

Yesterday, they re-ran an interview from 1996 with Wayne Fields who had written a book on Presidential speeches and orations, "Union of Words: A History of Presidential Eloquence"

Host Brian Lamb asked him about his childhood and Fields said that his family had moved all over the country as his father worked a variety of jobs, from Kentucky, to Texas, to Mississippi, and elsewhere. But his family never really settled down until they arrived in Rock Island, IL.

Later, when asked about his schooling he said he'd graduated from Augustana, and then did graduate work at the University of Chicago. Fields is currently professor of English and director of American Culture Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, MO


At 6/11/2006 8:12 AM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Thanks for sharing, Dope. Sometime if you get a chance, visit the Buffalo Bill Birthplace Museum in LeClaire. It is quirky but fun. It is sitting next to a dilapidated tugboat. Part of the museum is dedicated to the man who invented the seatbelt (or was it the flight recorder) also from LeClaire, Iowa.

Also, speaking of books and QC lore, did you know that novelist Charles Dickens' estranged son died in the QC and is buried up in Moline's Riverside Cemetary? He died suddenly while passing through. The story is documented in the local history "The Town Crier" which was published in the 1970s by the Argus.

At 6/11/2006 8:43 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


Yes, I've been aware that Dicken's son is buried here for many years, though it still ranks up there as about the weirdest piece of local lore.

I mean, what are the chances that Charles Dicken's son would ever BE HERE, let alone that he'd die and be buried here?

Cary Grant falls into that same category too, another odd happenstance. (except for the buried here part)

Then there's also the story that the guy that invented the computer came up with it at a local bar by doodling on napkins. Don't recall the exact story, but it was plausible. The guy actually spent time here and did go on to invent the first computer.

Anyone else know more about that story?

At 6/11/2006 11:29 PM, Blogger tiz said...

John Atanasoff conceived the Atanasoff-Berry Computer after a drive in Rock Island ( according to this article.) I don't know if I'd say he invented the computer though - there's been a lot of controversy with regard to who actually "intented" it. He definitely was a pioneer and he put ISU on the map though.

At 6/12/2006 1:06 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Tiz, as I've always said, you're a hell of a guy and a fine American.

Thanks for that.

I knew that it wasn't exactly "inventing" the computer, but rather some important breakthrough or something significant about it

I also knew that something as collaborative as "inventing" the computer would obviously have many claims.

There's just too much technology developed by different sources which then was utilized in various ways until it eventually got refined into the junk we used today.

And speaking of controversy, the dominant PC/Windows systems are widely regarded as not a very good system at all, compared to say, Mac, yet by dint of marketing, timing, and buying out competitors, Microsoft has ensured it's vast domination.

Sort of like back in the day when Beta video tapes were far, far superior to VHS tapes, yet due to business decisions and weirdness, the Sony Beta format was swamped and pushed off the market.

But I digress.....

At 6/12/2006 3:29 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Dope, do you use a PC or Mac?
Any special software or just plain old Blogger ?
How long have you had this great blog?
Do you remember 8-track tapes and when vinyl record LPs were 6.99 and MusicDen at Southpark Mall that used to sell them?

At 6/12/2006 6:20 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I use a PC, and yes, I remember when things were cheap.

At 6/12/2006 11:02 PM, Blogger tiz said...

I don't think regurgitating trivia from a hardware lecture some years ago is worthy of compliment but I'll take what I can get. Thanks dope. :) FWIW, if I had to credit one person it'd probably be Charles Babbage.

I've always wondered what would happen if I went into Pete's with a tie on. What if you happen to like the tie? This post makes me want to look for the Swick book. Anyone read it?

At 6/26/2006 6:50 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Dope did you know that Dicken's son was a Canadian Mounty? Yes, and in fact the Mounties came down to Moline from Canada a few years ago - pretty recently - to honor Dicken's grave with some kind of special marker at a service for his honor to recognize him. Go check it out yourself.

The Moline Cemetery Sexton, Todd Slater, was involved in the planning of this event and it was really something to see.

That cemetery has a ton of history if you just walk about and look.

At 6/27/2006 1:14 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I'd never heard "the rest of the story" before. Thanks for providing that. There truly are some fascinating stories around the area, and many in our older local cemeteries.


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