Eating the Best Texas Barbecue Would Be an Impressive Travel Bucket List

Besides our political and socio-economic divisions, the best barbecue is a polarizing subject. Between Kansas City, Carolina and Texas, battle lines have been drawn and calories consumed.

It’s not unheard of that people take vacations and road trips just to eat barbecue.

It’s my belief that people should make travel lists or find a list to use as a bucket list to complete through their life. Myself, in 2006, Alan Richman of GQ Magazine published a list of 20 Hamburgers to Eat Before You Die. I’ve used that as a goal to try to eat at each one. I’ve been to 12 of the 20.

Likewise, Texas Monthly has published their Top 10 BBQ joints in Texas, and caused a bit of a stir when perennial favorite Austin’s Franklin’s BBQ got bumped down to No. 2. As you might have heard, it’s the place where people line up at 5am for the opening at 11am. The No. 1 spot went to Lexington (pop. 1,200) legend Snow’s BBQ, which is only open on Saturdays at 8am. That probably means you need to camp out overnight.

Here’s the best of the rest:

3. Cattleback (Dallas)
4. Bodacious (Longview)
5. Louie Mueller (Taylor)
6. Tejas Chocolate Craftery (Tomball)
7. Corkscrew (Spring)
8. Micklethwait Craft Meats (Austin)
9. Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque (Wolfforth)
10. Truth (Brenham)

Texas Monthly extended their list to 50, but that would give you the meat sweats just by reading it. Maybe I’m out of the BBQ loop, but I always thought The Salt Lick was considered the best in Texas. I shall trust the experts. I’ve only been to Texas once. I did the original Sonny Bryant original location because it’s like an historic landmark and I didn’t know any better back then.

In any event, going to the Top 10 would be a impressive feat in my estimation,  more impressive than visiting every Disney theme park or going to every country.

If I were to do this, I would be need three weeks. I would fly into Austin, rent a car and let Google maps handle the rest. I couldn’t do a BBQ joint a day because I might die from the meat shakes, so I would try to do every other day. That way, I could drive around to enjoy the Texas landscape and whatever else I may find.

You Don’t Need This — An Autonomous Suitcase

Not everything in life has to be hands free or powered by robots. We’re coming upon the very really possibility of driver less cars and trucks so that highways will look like Tom Cruise jumping from car to car like in Minority Report.

You’ve probably seen the Amazon drone delivery plan as well as a food-delivery robot that travels on the side walk. Now, take that idea and apply it to your luggage.

Introducing the Travelmate, the first autonomous suitcase robot.

“It can move vertically or horizontally with ease. You can put more items or perhaps another suitcase on top of Travelmate when it is traveling autonomously in horizontal mode. Travelmate navigates large crowds and is able to recognize and avoid objects as needed.”

Wow! That’s an amazingly horrible idea, but the makers are going forth with a crowdfunding campaign. They even have a video with a British narrator because everything sounds futuristic and important when a Brit speak about it.

While you watching, notice how they try to hide that fact that it’s pretty slow:

I don’t even know where to begin, but as you see, this was not designed for the traveler in a hurry. This wasn’t even designed for the person carrying a lot of stuff. The thing is small enough to be a carry-on, and if you’re just traveling with this, you can probably fit everything in …. hmmmm …. I don’t know … A BACKPACK!!!! Amazing, right? A backpack travels at the same rate of speed as you do while leaving you hands free.

The guy has to walk at a deliberately slow pace to show the suitcase in motion. How long before you extend the handle and just drag it like a normal human being?

You’ll also notice in the video that they are in the only airport in the world without people in it. People aren’t tripping over it, knocking it over or getting their foot run over by it.

It comes with a mobile app that drives it around and makes it turn 360 degrees on it’s own, because that’s what you look for in luggage, something that can spin around on its own for no reason. By the time you figure out the controls, you could have just picked it up and be on your way.

My first thought was how easily somebody could steal it and runaway with it, but it does comes with a locking mechanism that I’m sure TSA will enjoy. It comes with many of the useless features “smart” suitcases come with like charging ports and GPS locations.

The suitcase reminds me of the Juicero machine that became a story recently. It’s the $400 juicing machine that squeezes out packages of pre-made juices. Then Bloomberg realized you can just squeeze the pouches by hand, rending the machine useless. Wait until the makers of Travelmate learn that you can pick up your luggage by hand.

There’s is one feature that I like … it lights up like a TRON motorbike. I don’t know where that will be useful, but cool non-the-less.

There is another video the makers put out recently that shows their device from a female perspective and that it comes in pink. Apparently, the Travelmate makes you stick your chest out for no reason in slow motion. WTF? The sad part is when they put the suitcase on a gokart racetrack and it’s obvious that they sped up the video. Enjoy … and don’t buy.

A 119-Day, 49-Stop, 32-Country Cruise for Assholes Is Almost Sold Out

If you have $17,000, four months to spare and wanted to spend it cruising around the world, you are shit out of luck. You’ll need to shell out $28,409 to $60,579.

MSC Cruise touted a cruise around the world late last year. It involves 49 stops in 32 countries over six continents (sorry Antarctica) on a boat. The cheap-ass basic packages are sold out.

Let’s just break it down practically. You are essentially living out of a suitcase and confined to a cruise boat, which are just floating cesspools of disease. You barely get a sense of the town on a day excursions, so basically you’re paying for an endurance contest to see how far you can go until you break.

The MSC Magnifica will be your new home, which gets a 3 out of 5 user reviews with 4 out 5 from CruiseCritic. If something bothers you, you have 119 days to deal with it. It’s not like you can switch to an AirBnB on the ship.

Then you have to mingle with the same people the whole time. Let’s hope you’re not stuck with a bunch of jerks, assholes and rude people. The odds are not in your favorite. Not to mention I really hope you love your partner because if you break up, you’re screwed.

Now dreams of a lifetime of unlimited travel is great in theory, but in reality, you’re away from your friends and family. They miss you, just as much as you miss them. I come across travel stories about people who’ve been traveling for years non-stop. I’m not jealous, I say, “Go the fuck home and see your mom.” Didn’t you see that Black Mirror episode?

Finally, the people who do go, their social media presence will be insufferable. “Hey, Day 67, spent 2 hours on a beach in Bora Bora. #blessed” Then they catch a major disease from the all cruise food.

To me, cruising is the anti-travel, because it’s not about exploring different cultures or broadening your mind. It’s really about saying you did, this, that and the other thing, while eating too much food.

Trivago Guy Joined By Trivago Lady

If you watch daytime television, you’ll come across Trivago ads along with prescription drugs, motorized scooters and lawyers representing mesothelioma victims. Normally, you see spokesman Tim Williams, aka the Trivago guy. He looks like he just woke up after a 10-hour schnapps binge, took a quick shower and filmed a commercial wearing what he already had on.

Now the German-based hotel search engine website has added Trivago lady. Her name is Gabrielle Miller from Australia. While she’s well-spoken and bothered to clean-up, the Trivago ad people still don’t feel the need to have their spokespeople dress nice. With her untucked blue oxford she borrowed from her boyfriend over black skinny jeans, she could also be selling mops and floor cleaner.

From her websiteGabrielle is an actor, dancer, musician, puppeteer and director, continuously striving to create multi-disciplinary art that is unique, daring and highly entertaining. 

Puppeteer! You’re under-utilizing her, Trivago people! I’d buy hotels from a puppeteer.

The Museum of Failure Opens in Sweden on June 7

Blockbuster Video. New Coke. Google glasses. My attempt climbing an indoor rock wall. These are all considered failures. Now, there’s a museum that will honor these lacks of achievement.

Located in the coastal town of Helsingborg, Sweden (motto: not Stockholm, Malmo or Gothenburg, but still awesome!), the Museum of Failure is a serious look at projects and products that didn’t last or work out. The hope is to inspire others to continue to achieve despite setbacks.

Museum of Failure is a collection of interesting innovation failures. The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors a fascinating learning experience. The collection consists of over sixty failed products and services from around the world. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.

The permanent museum will focus of everything from techie products like the Zune and Apple Newton to food items like the Tesco Lasagna sandwich and Coke Blak. I would like to add Zima. Look it up, kids.

There will also be a touring annex of the museum that will tour Sweden, then eventually hit Berlin, Amsterdam and Miami. Add this to the Museum of Broken Relationships and you’ve got what experts call EPIC FAIL.

TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Destinations Doesn’t Make Sense, Just Like It’s Website

If you can get past the pop-up windows and dozens of e-mails they send when you look at a page, TripAdvisor posted their top destinations for 2017. Using their complex algorithms of reviews from expert travelers and clueless tourists (mostly clueless tourists not savvy enough for Yelp), here’s the list:

  1. Bali, Indonesia
  2. London, United Kingdom
  3. Paris, France
  4. Rome, Italy
  5. New York, U.S.A.
  6. Crete, Greece
  7. Barcelona, Spain
  8. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  9. Prague, Czech Republic
  10. Phuket, Thailand
  11. Istanbul, Turkey
  12. Jamaica
  13. Hoi An, Vietnam
  14. St. Petersburg, Russia
  15. Roatan, Bay Islands
  16. Marrakech, Morocco
  17. Ambergris Caye, Belize Cayes
  18. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  19. St. Maarten-St. Martin
  20. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  21. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  22. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
  23. Kathmandu, Nepal
  24. Bora Bora, Society Islands
  25. Cusco, Peru

Apparently, the expert reviewers have never been to Tokyo, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Canada, Dublin, Cape Town, Budapest, Hong Kong or Sydney. The tourist-centric tropical destination beat out those fine cities.

I take little stock in TripAdvisor lists since a 1-star review of top attraction ruins its ranking.

NYC Transit Uses Technology from 1930s, While London Spending Billions to Modernize

Public transport can make or break your visit to any city. It’s a way for travelers to get a sense of the day to day life in a city. More than anything, it’s cheap and practical.

New York Times shed a light, albeit an antique gas lamp, on the struggling infrastructure of the subways. The headline is that it uses technology that dates back to the 1930s to switch tracks. Scary? Yes. Cool? You know it. It’s amazing that it still works … for now.

The theme of the story is that more dire repairs and upgrades are put off, the more it was cost later on. Any day, a catastrophic breakdown could cripple passengers. Enjoy your stay, travelers!

As a native New York, the subway is by and far the worst I’ve encounter among 30+ countries I’ve visited. If you’re coming from outside, it’s maddeningly confusing trying to figure out what line goes where and which is local or express. Although, the one cost to go everywhere eases the frustration. In actuality, it’s what’s under funding the system.

For locals, constantly trying to swipe your flimsy card to get through the gates is the bane of our existence. Especially considering that touch pads are being used by other transit authorities.

Speaking of which, London’s system is light years ahead in modernizing their system, at a significant cost. While locals have to deal with their struggles on a daily basis during rush hour chaos, I just adore it.

First, it’s simple to figure out. The Oyster card is simple to just lay down on a touchpad, but I still haven’t figure out the pricing scheme between zones. I do know if you ride it long enough during the day, it eventually becomes unlimited.

As the NY Times story points out, London commuters like to be left alone, while New York’s mixture of locals and tourists makes it like a zoo of clashing personalities. And you won’t find a pizza rat in the London system.

In the end, it’s going to take a monumental effort for NY to get to the efficiency of the London system. On the other hand, they shouldn’t be comparable due to size, traffic and timing. London mostly shuts down at 12:30am, while NYC runs all night.

My favorite subway/tube system? Hong Kong. Incredibly cheap (.35 a ride), clean, straightforward, comfortable and fun to ride.