Who are we? We are our stories.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Really Good News!

This was snipped without permission from an email I received this week. Almost the same day our friend Pam found out that her biopsy was clean after a "bad" breast x-ray. It seems we hear a lot of bad news from friends and relatives. There is good news too. Today let us celebrate the good news!

"Well, I'm back home, none the worse for wear except for a healing hole in my femoral artery. Brenda got me checked in this morning at the unholy hour of 6:00 a.m. and all the little staffers poked me and briefed me on the impending journey into geezerhood. The head nurse for the cardiac unit, Shane, pulled me aside in the hall on the way down to the table and put it all into language I could understand. Then he pointed out the rack and told me to hop aboard. On the second try I said to hell with modesty, let my bare ass hang out, and climbed aboard without problem. Its funny how dressing all those young lovelies in baggy scrub suits de-sexualizes a room.
Shane administered a drug cocktail that would put the best street pushers to shame and I coasted into the procedure conscious, but not giving a damn. I recall minimal conversation, very little of which was directed at me, and a poking sensation in my groin area. Suddenly, the Doc snaps off his gloves and says we're all done. Remarkable, an hour and a half procedure apparently took only 25 minutes.
Shane approaches my head, grins, and says I'm fine. No blockage anywhere, nothing to push or scaffold out of the way, I can go home. Then a nurse comes over, slaps both of her hands on the hole in my groin and pushes for 10 minutes. I inquired why she didn't have some stainless steel surgical devise to do this for her and she tells me that such a device exists, but the old armstrong method is still the best way to do it. (Deep down I knew that she couldn't have been interested in my groin for 10 consecutive minutes.)
I was put in a side room for the next 4 hours and told that I had to remain flat on my back and not move my right leg; the implication being that if I did it would be on pain of death. Shane's cocktail was still working, so I got about 2 hours of sleep logged before I got bored and fidgety.
So, there's nothing wrong with my pump or plumbing. As the resident that stole my chart to read said when he returned it, "You've got a really boring health history." Brenda showed me a sampling of the photos they took of the arteries around my heart and explained what the Doc told her after I woke up. He was prepared to implant stints, but couldn't find any place that needed them. I'm sound and can head for the Colorado high country.
After puzzling on this for another half hour it dawns on me that either this Doc has made a big mistake, which is doubtful since he's got photographs and Shane was watching him; or the dipshit that read the readout from my stress test and interpreted a spot of starved heart muscle was dead wrong in his interpretation and report. I'm going with the latter guess. Next month I get to go see my friendly GP that started this carnival and I plan to be sarcastic. Unfortunately he'll just grin and tell me I should be glad we have all this baseline data to mark my eventual decline against.
Worst of all, I'll spend the next few years having to listen to Brenda tell me and everyone in ear-shot, "I knew there wasn't anything wrong with you. Now you can go back to sitting in front of the TV."

Friday, August 28, 2009


More Nelson reunion:

The son and daughters of Florence Nelson Hanson and Bob.

'Nita, Diane, Kristy(Silver Vixen), and Judijudijudi.

Fritz and Lorna. Telling lies and laughing.

Chuck and Patty. Chuck's a little intense - hard to get him to shut his mouth for a photo.

Lorna, 'Nita, and an itinerant blogger who showed up for free food and beer.

If you haven't figure it out yet, I love these people. These are the people I grew up with. For instance, one time in the far past, the Nelson brothers and the Bergs combined to field a fastpitch softball team. We only needed to go out of the families to pick up a pitcher. They's all my folks.

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

1931. This a perfect song. It starts out out proud, even optimistic and as it goes along, more desperate and with a key change becomes angry. Subtle things like the change from Brother, we're all in this together - then to, don't you remember me? "Everybody called me Al", and finally to the angry, "Hey Buddy can you spare a dime".

I like the Dr. John - Odetta version as music, but truly believe Odetta missed the subtleness of it, she just drags it out sad, and it gets a little long. Al Jolson just nailed it, in the over the top style of the day. Rudy Vallee also did a version that just seems sappy, maybe that was style too. Of course my favorite will aways be my daughter Addy's version. She memorized the piano music for it and sang it for me as a gift. The perfect song.

It's too bad this song has to be so appropriate again. Why hasn't Steve Earle, today's voice of the laboring man, done it? Steve, if you're out there, get with it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Royal Enfield Revelation

Lorna and I spent yesterday with Jane and Mark "Bikesmith" Stonich on a "Home Architecture Tour", that is, we leisurely rode around Fountain Lake on our bicycles looking at neat old houses and flower gardens, even to the point of surprising Tom and Tammy Stalker, who had no idea they would be giving a tour of their home. (a shout out thanks to them).

Mark builds his own frames and yesterday he and Jane were on a pair of metallic copper beauties, his a road bike and Jane's a lovely fillet brazed mixte. Jane was in a bad bicycle accident on the http://3speedtour.com/ a few years ago and due to damage to her leg she has a problem mounting even a mixte. Once on, she rolls really well, but getting on board is a problem, even on a step-through frame, a "girl's bike". (Per Mark: it's only an issue with a mixte.) During an Enchilada break and around our kitchen table later we discussed his next project - an ultimate bike for Jane to replace her Dahon. (Per Mark,it will not replace the Dahon. And she already has other "ultimate" city bikes)

He wants to build it in the style of the Royal Enfield Revelation, a British bicycle made in the mid 1960s in Reddich, Worchestershire. Designed by Vic Bott, the Revelation was Enfield's last gasp, and less than 100, possibly as few as 50 ever made. They are all apparently in England, although there are rumors of some being imported to Holland under the Simplex name and the Dutch Batavus New Fashion is an apparent knockoff. But I digress. Mark has some large diameter lightweight tubing, a recumbent fork (Per Mark: s/b MiniVelo fork), new brazing material, and various other pieces he has ratholed. We discussed the feasibly of internal cable routing, bilaminate lugs to eliminate the triangular webs and other improvements. With an internal geared rear hub (Mark sez: s/b 1x9) and a SON20R dynamo front hub and this could be killer town bike. Or add a SRAM DualDrive with an 9-speed derailleur and it would be a 27 speed ambush special! - a wolf in sheep's clothing! Maybe he'll built two.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I got this out of a scrapbook that James Paulson kept. Sorry it's trimmed off on the left. I know what it would have said. It would of said that Ella Lewis was an educated young school marm who married a big raw-boned hard-ass man who spent his life farming bad dirt, but always had enough money for pretty horses. Cassel ran about 6'2', wide and tough, at a time when 6' was a tall man. I knew him as a a crippled old man, his big hands swollen like baseball mitts, still trying to work. He only quit when he couldn't hold the reins of his horses, his true joy in life. His brother Jack was even taller and wider, a giant in his day. I remember them talking about growing up in Boone, Iowa when it was a coal mining town - a tough town with tough men. It was hard to imagine those two crippled old men leveling all comers in a bar room brawl. They grinned and clenched their big arthritic fists just thinking about it. 50 years later the memories of kicking someone's ass still brought joy to their hearts. I think it was all downhill after that. Life had no more asses to kick.

My grandparents lived in a rundown old house with no plumbing except one coldwater tap. It was heated with wood and oil stoves, insulated with Zane Grey paperbacks and held together with paint. But Mart (nobody ever called him Lawrence) always had good looking horses.

Nelson Re-union

Fifteen grandchildren of Harry D. and Adena Nelson came together this past weekend at Fritz and Margaret's farm from all over the U.S. and Mexico to celebrate their shared past and common gene pool. As you can see from the photos they were all freshly washed and wearing their best T-shirts and bibs to impress the relatives. The weather was gorgeous and sitting on the crest of a hill on the old Louie Herth place, the locale is stunning, with rambling perennial gardens and a five mile vista. Earlier I said it was Fritz and Margaret's farm. It's not. Judging by the restored horse barn and a enormous hippodrome, it belongs to Margaret, her horses and the pack of dachshunds who guard the farm against rabbits, squirrels and other interlopers. Fritz is allowed to live there only as long as he performs his services in a satisfactory manner.

After milling around talking, drinking dark, hoppy beer and picnic wine, Chuck Shaw's finest, we moved to the open garage for a little food - a potluck of traditional picnic dishes - barbecued pork, Clarks Grove salad, and various wonderful desserts. When you assemble a group of older (can I say that?) Danish ladies, all giving it their best shot, you can really eat well.

After having "a little lunch" people pulled the chairs into a circle and talked smart, shared memories and passed around old albums, snapshots and scrapbooks. A high point was Chuck Nelson and Patty announcing their pending marriage, which of course surprised no one, but was still touching. An nice advantage for the family was a standing invitation for free room and board at their home in Baja. I think we should surprise them en masse. As eyelids started getting heavier we went into the house for a book exchange. Now, I have to tell you, it's wonderful marrying into a family that has book exchanges. These are not prearranged. When they get together they just all bring stacks of books to share. There were more books there than a small library, all with personal reviews. Just wonderful!

Late in the evening people drifted off to their homes or hosts, only to reassemble in the morning at our home for "a little breakfast'', consisting of a baked egg, cheese, onion, sausage, etc dish, assorted fresh fruit and ABELESKIVER! with Hope Creamery butter and maple syrup...and more coffee and talking.

Monday morning Fritz and his sister, Judijudijudi climbed on his BMW and headed for L.A. where he will drop her off and then motor back to Minnesota. Lorna and I took her brother, Kurt and sister, Joy to the airport in Minneapolis and returned home to a life finally winding back to normal again.
Clarks Grove Salad
1 7 oz pkg shell macaroni
1 can peas
I can French style green beans
2 c shredded carrots
1 can kidney beans
Drain & marinate 1 hr in 1 c wt vinegar
Mix : 2 c mayonnaise
1/2 pt whipping cream
½ c sugar
1 jar mustard
Pour over drained vegetables and add macaroni.
Add: 1 sm diced onion
1 green pepper
1 c celery
Make one day ahead. Keeps for 2 to 3 weeks.
Fresh vegetables may be substituted…then referred to as Geneva Salad.
Abeleskiver (including penciled margin notes)

2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp baking soda
Melted butter

Pre-heat pan for 15 minutes on medium heat.
Beat egg yolks until they’re light. Add sugar and beat until thickened. Sift dry ingredients and add, alternating with butter and milk. Beat egg whites until soft and fold into batter. Fill iron pan cups 2/3 full. Cook medium until bubbly and turn over with a fork. Cook until they are golden brown.
If using apples or other fruit, pre-cook fruit and push in little pieces before turning over.
Make 3x or 4x for Christmas, depending on how many are coming.


The other day a friend sent me something he thought I would be interested in. I was. Who could not be interested in: Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Biodiversity Conservation in a Mid Continental Region of North America. This is the kind of stuff I love and Jim knows it. I used to fly through these papers, sucking in information, devouring it, then go back and hit the high spots I didn't quite process the first time through. The goal was information which I could convert into knowledge, then ideally package it with other knowledge into that nebulous thing we call wisdom.

As I have been working my way through this little nugget it has dawned on me that I have become a plodder. I have to go back and re-read and re-read things that don't stick. It's strange, I used to read one line per sight grab, or even two or three per click; now it's short phrases, even 3 or 4 words chunks. But hey, I have time and I'm learning to enjoy the process rather than the result. I don't have any goddamned choice. Mother nature is a really tough reading instructor.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Joe Mauer

I am not as rabid
a baseball fan as my wife (who was also a better ballplayer than I was). Our home team, the Twins are a very good Major League baseball team, with minor league pitchers, with the exception of closer Joe Nathan. The only way I can watch them is to concentrate on the play of Justin Morneau on first base, and more specifically catcher Joe Mauer, who is just an amazing ball player. I have followed baseball for 50 years and I've never seen a better player, certainly not a catcher.

He calls a nearly perfect game. When he guns the throw down to second the shortstop doesn't even have to move his glove. The ball is delivered 3" off the ground just to the first base side of the bag. At first you think that it is a fortune throw, but he does it time after time. Eventually they've pretty much stopped trying to steal. Defensively he's good enough that last year he was the Rawlins Gold Glove winner.

This year he started late, missing the first month and a half with a strained back. Still his numbers are pretty good, as he's finally delivering the power that was expected of him. As of last night this is the way it stands. If he had played in the early season, he might be running the board.
  • 1st AL AVG (.383)
  • 10th AL RBI (77)
  • 1st AL SLG (.653)
  • 9th AL HR (25)
  • 1st AL OBP (.448)
  • 1st AL OPS (1.101)
Incidently he was not only the top rated high school baseball player, he also was the top ranked football player, throwing 42 touchdown passes his senior year. Go Joe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Old Oaks and John Prine

Cheri R. and I were corresponding today about landmarks and a particular old oak. I am not a sophisticated person. I do not live in the world of the vagueries of poetry. It's plain song lyrics that run through my mind. "...old trees just grow stronger, and old rivers grow wilder every day", - an amazingly perceptive song written by a then young John Prine. With age he has grown into his song.

Then, he turns it around and gives us the perspective of an older woman pining for what might have been, "If dreams were lightning, thunder was desire, this old house would have burnt down a long time ago". Now ain't that a great line?

And last, a short story of awkward, even ugly, young "love". I heard Prine say he can always tell the newcomers, because they laugh...and the old regulars turn to them and glare their disapproval.
It's tough to narrow it down to three songs of John Prine. There are a dozen that should be here. Sam Stone? Paradise? The Speed of Loneliness? Souveniors? How could I leave any of them off? Eh? Oh, and how about Jesus Christ, the Missing Years?

Monday, August 17, 2009

You Know You're Rural If...

— A few years ago it was illegal. Cow plop bingo returned to Kernel Days in Wells after event organizers learned it was legal with stipulations. In cow plop bingo, a cow grazes of an area divided into boxes, and the object is to pick the square the cow does its business onto.

The Wells Chamber of Commerce board received a letter from the Minnesota Gambling Control Board after the event in 2006 stating such gambling was not allowed because participants could sway the animal toward a square. “We just got a letter warning us that can’t be done because it’s not a game of chance, so to speak. They thought the potential for manipulation was there,” said Rick Herman, who was on the chamber board at the time. More here.

Neighborhood Barred Owls

Lynn Koza, down the street on Cedar Avenue, took this photo of a juvenile Barred Owl, one of three fledged in her backyard. It is a prime candidate for my owl house.

The Great FLYdini

Barb Wagner, a very funny lady, tells the filthiest, most tasteless jokes imaginable. She toned it down a notch with this classic - one I could actually post. Thanks Barb, I hope to see you soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

1955 TdF

Louison Bobet and Charly Gaul. Bobet finished first overall with Gaul in third. From Aldo Ross.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pete Seeger Turns 90

I just watched a Pete Seeger Birthday Tribute PBS fund raiser. Pete Seeger has been on the right side of every battle. He is a courageous man. I agree with virtually every political position he ever taken.

Earlier I expressed this off line to a couple of valued old friends: Pete Seeger and his smugness is a pain in the ass and his music is simply dreadful. Folk music has to be competing with Disco as the nadir of American music It was like watching a A Mighty Wind II. That said, I love all he stands for.

The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men

People, people, people, am I wasting myself here? Is anybody listening? In Bunnies and Owls, I threw in an allusion to Lennie Small. "And we'll have bunnies won't we, George?" (quote from memory, not literal). Nobody rose to the bait, or maybe just blew it off. Christ, this was even in Bugs Bunny cartons. Is it just so ubiquitous, like Thomas Crapper and the flush toilet, that nobody bothered? Or too obscure, like "Since Hector was a pup", the allusion to Natty Bumpo's dog? Talk to me here, people. (In memory of MISS Hildred Tennehill.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wind Beneath the Wings of My Soul

The old Gunnar is a tired puppy this evening. In the middle of the morning I headed East out of Lanesboro, Minnesota. It was one of those days when the legs are working and you feel like flying. Five miles up the road I wheeled into Whelan. Hell, I'm strong, I don't need a break. Today I'm Fausto Coppi on a solo breakaway, putting pain in the legs of the peleton. Ten more miles and it's the village of Peterson. It's almost 90 degrees and humid, so I stopped for water. Still feeling strong - I'm a god today. Ten more miles down the line is Rushford. I'm riding like the wind, clicking off the miles. Rolling into Rushford I was dripping with sweat, but still in good shape. I ate at The Creamery, ice water, a great burger and a chocolate malt - only drank half. I had ridden 25 miles, but decided it was best to head back before I was hurting. I swung the Mooney out unto the trail...directly into the teeth of a steady twenty-five mile per hour prairie wind. Ahh, the reason for my speed. I went East with the wind beneath the wings of my soul. I went West...as a fat old man, as the Red Lanterne. I wasn't Lance Armstrong, I was Wim Vansevenant, slowly grinding my way into the wind, hoping to make the time cutoff. I was mentally checking off the miles to the next picnic table or village where I could take a break and find water. By the time I finally rolled up to the Ford Ranger in Lanesboro I was not a pretty sight. At least not from the inside.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Green Kvale and Black Raven

Two days ago I sold the green Kvale to the Black Raven. This afternoon it was a bittersweet feeling as I disassembled it for cleaning and shipping. This was the 5th bicycle built by Chris Kvale in 1985, almost 25 years ago. He built it for himself. When a master bicycle builder builds one for himself, it's right. He rode it for years until Tom Sanders cajoled him into selling it. I originally bought it from Tom as a fork and frame after it didn't meet an Ebay reserve price. It wasn't given the respect I felt it deserved. I spent the next few months pulling together proper components. This one is special enough that the things I bolted on it had to be right. I consulted with Chris on the parts. I got lucky on the wheels, virtually new first generation Phil Wood hubs. I found a partial Campagnolo Super Record group in Switzerland that was almost unused. Eventually it all came together.

It's a nice bike, a very nice bike, nevertheless it was not a relationship that was meant to be. It was too small for me and it didn't grow with time. Lorna didn't like the idea of an unridden bike blocking the hallway. The Raven mentioned someday he would like a... and he listed some builders names and his size. I had a bike on his list, he needed it, and he will ride it. His wife gave it her blessing, or at least tolerance. It needs to be ridden. It's not like a divorce. It's more like giving up a daughter to go away with a fine young man. You know it's the right thing to do. But it still hurts just a little.
This noble beast photographs a teal green. It's not. It's Imron 14283 Jade. It's damned Green Bay Packer green and yellow. Did I mention the Raven is originally from Wisconsin?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Danny MacAskill

I thought I had bike handling skills. I don't...I'm continuely on the verge of falling over. Even if you feel that bicycles are just silly children's toys, check this out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Deep River Blues

Leo Koettke is a good Minnesota kid and a funny man - even came down to Albert Lea to play about ten years ago. The front row was filled with wide-eyed wannabe guitar boys - who later went home, smashed their guitars, and grew up to be history teachers and accountants.

Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers

(For Jonny)

Minneapolis Bicycle Traffic

From this morning's Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Bicycle traffic in Minneapolis increased 15 percent from 2007 to 2008, pushed apparently by a combination of high gas prices, continuing trail and infrastructure development and other factors, officials said Monday.

• Seventeen percent of the people traveling on East River Parkway north of Franklin Avenue were on bicycles, making that the most bike-themed stretch of 60 locations tracked across the city.

• The stretch of 15th Avenue SE. near Bierman Field on the University of Minnesota's East Bank carried an estimated 3,570 bicyclists per day, the most at any location counted.

• Bicycle traffic more than doubled at five locations from 2007 through 2008, including several along the Hiawatha Avenue bike trail and light-rail line, as well as along Central Avenue near Lowry Avenue

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ernest Oberholtzer

Ober was a giant, one of those people I wish I were more like, not so much for what he accomplished, which was amazing, but for his values and the tenacity he demonstrated fighting The Good Fight against overwhelming odds.


What can I say? It's been a very good year.


Among the other colored hay I grow are Daylilies, hybrids and cultivars of various Hemerocallis species. As the name implies the flowers only last one day, some opening in the morning, others in the evening. When I was younger I would walk through the garden picking off the spent flowers. Without getting too spiritual about it, as I've gotten older I appreciate the buds, flowers, and dried blossoms cycling on the same stem. When I was a kid there were two choices, yellow or a dull brick orange. I still have one old one, Hyperion, a clear yellow with flowers that are less substantial than the modern tetraploids, plants on steriods, but still graceful. The elves and gnomes have been at work for years in their secret fields. The heights now vary from less than a foot to five feet tall, and reds, pinks and purples have been added to the pallet. They are wonderful plants, beautiful, hardy as a rock, tougher than nails, and the RABBITS DON'T EAT THEM! Link to A reliable supplier.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bunnies and Owls

First let me say that I love bunnies. They are soft furry little creatures with adorable brown eyes. I love them like Lennie loved them. Also, I must admit there is a slingshot, the type normally referred to as a "wrist rocket", ready on the arm of the garden bench. I haven't been able to kill any of the little hoppers, but after being whacked smartly once or twice they do respect me more. The plant(?) in the photo was at one time a hosta, Krossa Regal. It was a lovely vase-shaped frosty blue plant - a stunner. It became rabbit salad. I can't show you pictures of a large number of expen$ive dwarf hostas I have/had because there is nothing left to photograph. One of the plantsmen I purchase these horticultural gems from lives in a wooded rural location. I asked him how he dealt with rabbits. "The dog and owl boxes!" He gave me the specs: 2' x 2' x 3' tall, mounted high in a tree away from the house. First, the dog; Bud, our Pug dog who helps me garden, generally ignores the rabbits. I have long suspected they are on a first name basis. I have more hope for the owls. We have a couple of Barred Owls that occasionally pass through. To encourage them I built the most owlish birdhouse I could come up with. It is constructed of recycled 3/4" redwood and turned out unexpectedly heavy. Unexpectedly? It took all my engineery expertise, ropes and pulleys, cables and cams, ladders and levers, plus an old come-a-long, to get it mounted high in a large bur oak tree. To the surprise and amazement of onlookers, I did not injury myself or the old Pug who was assisting me.
I've done my part, now it's up to the owls.

West Virginia? This is what I'm trying to encourage. The call is special, especially heard right outside the bedroom window at 3 o'clock in the morning . They are here occasionally, probably nesting somewhere in Oakwood. I want them based HERE, with bunny blood dripping from their talons.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Evian Water Addendum

The U.S. spends $15 billion a year for 38 billion bottles of water. It uses $1 billion worth of plastic and clogs our landfills - none of which is good for man nor toad. It does explain how they can afford the fun little movie though.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Evian Commercial

I find the idea of buying bottled water repulsive. But hell, maybe I'm wrong.

I Couldn't Make This Up

"An Albert Lea man, Milton Christian Paulsen, 63, pleaded guilty Thursday to operating a golf cart drunk and running over a woman at Beaver Trails Jellystone Park on the Fourth of July. The incident occurred during the holiday evening at the Austin campsite. Paulsen wildly accelerated his cart and crashed into a 61-year-old woman from Island Lake, according to a court file. The golf cart and the woman landed in a pond, and the victim was trapped under the cart. Paulsen said he helped keep her head above water while others removed the cart.

She suffered a broken ankle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Vine Art Center

The Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis is having a show of handbuilt bicycles as art. I know two of the participating builders and have the highest admiration for their skill and craftsmanship. I think that many crafts when taken to a top level become art.

Below is a naked Chris Kvale frame, waiting for paint. In the background some of the paint samples can be seen. When these bikes are painted they are primed, painted, decaled, and clearcoated. This involved a lot of sanding and multiple coats all as thin as possible, to allow the lug workmanship to show. The better frames are painted with epoxies, more utilitarian frames powdercoated.

The joint where the tubes intersect is reinforced with a cast "lug" which is shaped and thinned down by hand filing and sanding. The oval caps are pieces of tubing which are reversed to cover an oblong hole cut on the top of the small tubes (seat stays). The oblong hole in the top tube is a thin steel tube which runs through the top tube. When the bicycle is built up the rear brake cable will be inserted through it. On poorly crafted frames the joints are crude; those by a master are graceful and everything flows together smoothly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Conservation Rock Star

A public congratulations to Big Jim. In his world, being a speaker at the National Isaak Walton League Convention is a VERY BIG DEAL! I trust he did not embarass us.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dr. Bop and the Headliners

Midwest Jon,
Not Dr. "Bob". should be Dr. "Bop".

For the Toad:
In '62 when the Toad and I were at St. O'Laugh College I toured the Midwest on weekends with Dave McLeod and Tom Bergstrom to listen to The Trashmen. They were a great rough-edged garage dance band. This piece of sh*t went to #4 on the national charts.

Where are they today? Here's something a little better. Another Minnesota Surfer chart song from the old days. The lads from Liverpool hit town and it was all over.

Vassar's Boogie

Back in the Seventies, before the invention of electricity, Ms Lorna and I were groupies, following Vassar Clements, who never really had a band, but played with various musical groups. Looking back it seems the only musical common denominator was a crowd smoking marijuana. Over the years Vassar played with every Bluegrass group ever assembled, as well as groups like the Grateful Dead and various Jazz ensembles. He was a hired gun... er fiddle, playing with anyone who wanted a killer in the back row. I recall an interview where he was asked who his musical influence was. "Miles Davis." Huh? Obviously more subtle than I could hear. He died in 2005. Vassar could flat out play the fiddle. Following is a live recording.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ms Wanda Teaches a Kid to Rock

Now that the Rev thinks he has a handle on ol' Wanda, I submit these.
The kid was no fool, but maybe Ms Wanda was a little too hot to handle.

The thing that was always a little creepy for me was that Wanda bore a striking resemblance to my mother, even down to the earrings.

Incidentally, Ms Wanda is still out on the road knocking em dead.

Economic Recovery in Action

I'm always been struck by the beauty of the French 1970s Motobecane Grand Record bicycles, particularly the black with red trim and gold lug-lining. This week a pristine 58cm frame and fork showed up on Ebay - in my size! I weighed the effect that buying another bicycle would have on my marriage... but bid anyway. There were 15 bids submitted, 6 of which were mine. At $500 (including shipping) I sadly dropped out. Past auctions have determined that that is about what it was worth, certainly no more.
The testosterone started flowing and two guys got locked into a head-to-head battle of moneyed egos. Eventually it sold for $1,425.00! By the time the new owner sorts through sales and auctions assembling the quirky French components and wheelset he'll have $2,500 to $3,000 tied up in this hot little mademoiselle. I wish him good riding... if he rides it rather than hanging on his office wall. But still, it sure is purdy (especially with the Lefol "Le Paon" fenders I had in mind for it).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wanda Jackson

The music establishment really didn't know how to handle Rock 'n Roll, to say nothing of Ms Jackson. She was the first singer that really caught my fancy as a teenager back in the 1950s. In the first photo I ever saw she was wearing tight black leather pants with a guitar slung low on her hips. Apparently she was too overtly sexual (Oh yeah!), and they toned her down a little. There are really three phases of Wanda - the Rock years, the Country years, and finally Gospel. I'm a rocker myself. So rock out, my children.