Sunday, July 17, 2011

Iowa, Where TANSTAAFL Does Not Apply

From 2011 0629 Des Moines

The Iowa legislature adjourned June 30 after the third-longest session in state history. Legislators were at loggerheads for so long over, what else, spending and taxes. We happened to be in the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines on the last full day of the legislative session. I think I figured out a way to help Iowans balance their budget. Quit giving tourists free lunches.

The Capitol is a magnificent building with grand chambers, offices and a stunning law library. But its cafeteria? Not so great. As we were standing in line, or rather, as we were standing all by ourselves waiting to be served, as there were no other customers, I suggested that if our kids were here I would challenge them to come up with all the ways the cafeteria could be run more efficiently. Finally, we were served our hamburgers and fries and went to the checkout to pay. Or not. There was no one at the cash register. We stood there awkwardly, looking around for someone, anyone, to give our money to. No one ever came. Eventually, we decided to sit down and eat, keeping one eye open for someone to reopen the cash register. It never happened. So, Iowans, thanks much for the free lunch to cap off the free tour. Great meal, great building, great state.

Then, it was back on the road again to the Quad Cities, with a short stop along the way in West Branch. Quick, what does a small two-room house in West Branch, Iowa, have in common with a suite at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City? Answer, they were both homes to the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover. The West Branch house is his birthplace, the Waldorf-Astoria suite was his home in retirement.

For more photos, look here.

TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

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