Who are we? We are our stories.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sick Puppy

I sent this to Lyle this evening explaining that I wouldn't be able to do breakfast tomorrow. The Saturday breakfast is pretty important to me, but I just can't make it.
"Just got back from the clinic. A record setting day. My PSA is 96.0 ! Up from last checkup of 1.92.  Normal blood white count is about 12,000. My white count is 16,000. I have anti-biotic shots in both cheeks. The medical term used was "rip-roaring infection" I'll be okay, but I'm one sick puppy right now." I have to take antibiotics for a couple of weeks and hopefully I'll be feeling better. God bless Mayo Medical. 

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Willie's 77 on April 30

Here's Willie, his harmonica sidekick Mickey Raphael, and a fair to middlin' pickup band. For Richard Jenkins.

Sally and the Judge

Sally and John have bought a house in Arizona. Sal wanted to be perfectly clear and squelch any rumors: THEY ARE  NOT MOVING. John grew up in the house I now own and has spent his life in Oakwood. In two years when the Judge has drawn and quartered his last bad person, they will spend winters down there. She sent these pictures shot from the back door. Damn good choice. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Silver ' 72 Cinelli Sold

For those who are counting, the bike brought $2900.

Blog Format

A month ago I changed the format on this blog to gain more width, to let pictures and wide format videos breath a little. It's taken a while to get things laid in the way I like. Nobody, other than my wife, has commented, and she was negative. You probably noticed I've been playing with the 1410 title banner. After 273 iterations I think I am finished. The quote is from David Mallet (Malloch), 18th century Scottish poet. The owl was from a Googled photograph, as was the moon. The bike is a shot of my M05030, originally taken with a white back drop. I simply inverted the colors, then sucked out all the color and juggled the brightness. It was cumbersome because I don't have Photoshop, so I used Microsoft's default Paint, and Office Photo Manager.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Francisco Liriano is Baaaack!

Three years ago Francisco Liriano met Mr. Tommy John. He has struggled for two years. Tonight he beat Detroit to continue his scoreless endings to 23 in a row. 96 mph fastball. 12 strikeouts. ERA of .93. He's back.
Pass out the Gold Gloves. With only two errors so far, the Twinkies are going be a hard team to beat. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Beer Heaven

My beer of choice is Schell's Schmatz's Alt. It used to be available year round, then became a seasonal. Now oak barrel aged! Oh my God, I take back all those things I said about God and his religion. I have died and gone to beer heaven.

I just got this from my nephew, Chris "Beer Boy" Anderson.

"Jace Marti dropped me a line this morning to share a little information about Schell’s new Stag Series. As you may know, Schell’s has aged a portion of this year’s Schmaltz’s Alt in pinot barrels. They bottled this beer last week and it should start arriving on shelves sometime next week in select locations throughout MN. This beer is available in 22oz bottles only for the first release, 2600 bottles total.
Coming off the success of our 150th Anniversary Draft Series, we are proud to introduce the Schell’s Stag Series. Drawing upon our 150 years of brewing knowledge, we are combining our experience, creativity, and curiosity with these new brews. The Stag Series is a collection of innovative and experimental, limited-edition beers to be released periodically throughout the year.
For the Stag Series first release, we took our Schmaltz’s Alt and aged it for six months in French-oak, Pinot Noir wine barrels. This beer is dark, ruby-brown in color with a creamy tan head.  It smells of dark cherries, vanilla and chocolate. The taste has an initial, slightly tart, dark cherry flavor which gives way to sweet malty chocolate body with a nice mellow vanilla oak flavor in the background. This first release will only be available in 22oz bottles. Look for the Stag Series to arrive on shelves beginning in May is select stores throughout Minnesota.
• Original Gravity: 1.056/13.8o Plato
• 5.1% Alcohol By Volume
• 28 International Bitterness Units
• 40 SRM
• 17 US Barrels
• 2600 22oz Bottle

Comparative Religions 101

In general, I think that religion is irrational and a destructive element in society. So why am I posting this? I dunno, but I found it interesting. From the Boston Post:

"At least since the first petals of the counterculture bloomed across Europe and the United States in the 1960s, it has been fashionable to affirm that all religions are beautiful and all are true. This claim, which reaches back to “All Religions Are One” (1795) by the English poet, printmaker, and prophet William Blake, is as odd as it is intriguing. No one argues that different economic systems or political regimes are one and the same. Capitalism and socialism are so self-evidently at odds that their differences hardly bear mentioning. The same goes for democracy and monarchy. Yet scholars continue to claim that religious rivals such as Hinduism and Islam, Judaism and Christianity are, by some miracle of the imagination, both essentially the same and basically good."  More

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye to Norm

Lyle P. was an honorary pall bearer for Norm Hunter. I'm not much for funerals, less so as mine gets closer. Lyle gave me a report at breakfast. This is it, more or less, from my poor memory:
The service started off with 20 minutes of Big Band Swing. The music was fresh and cutting edge when Norm and Iris were young and he loved it. Lyle said he considered getting up and dancing. Norm never went to church, even had contempt for them. Somehow they rented a church and coerced a preacher who had never met him to read Norm's vital life statistics. A former student  told a few humorous anecdotes, there was a Scottish bagpipe piece, and that was about it. Then most of the mourners probably went across the street to the American Legion for a drink or two- probably Scotch. It sounds pretty good. I guess I should have gone to this one. Norm probably would have liked it too.

Twins Baseball

We usually watch the Twins games on television as we read in the evening. Lorna comes from a line of ballplayers, a couple with professional offers. She was a better ball player than I was, and is probably more of a fan. I'm like a little kid, first a Joe Mauer fan, a Twins fan, and finally a Target Field fan. Seating 39,000, it's a small field gem, nestled in the heart in the city with commuter rail and light rail running right through the stadium. Last night the Twins won game two of a series in Kansas City, assuring them of winning their first six series of the season. Great defense as always, committed only their second team error of the year. Mauer was Mauer, with a five hit night - amazing to watch day after day.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Prom Afternoon in the Garden

My niece Athena and her Raoul stopped by this afternoon between the promenade and the dance. Sweet young book ends.

Thai Protests

As many of you know, my daughter Adena (Addy) teaches school in Bangkok, Thailand. This article in the New York Times explains the Red Shirt movement that is disrupting Thai life. Right now she is out of Bangkok on vacation for a while. Hopefully things will be stabilized before she returns in a couple of weeks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Florence Hanson

My mother-in-law died young. She should have been 93 today.

Wounded Knee Revisited

This is a link to two postings, the first from this blog one year ago, the second from Margadant's Dakota Backcountry today. I realize there is limited potential interest in this, but it is something I have followed for years.

1410 Oakwood
A great number of years ago I was a guest at Gary Thomas' rural South Dakota ranch(?) for the Buffalo County Bar Association Bean Feed and Beer Bust. This was a bit of a joke as the only lawyers in Buffalo County were a couple of young legal aid lawyers - Thomas and my friend Jim Margadant. The party was a mix of activist law types and two or three young Indians. A good party - good food, interesting people, too much to drink and a good fist fight to cap it off. Years later I asked Jim what had become of one of the guys I had been talking to that day. He said, "He was killed. A lot of Indians just disappeared back then." Last night I watched a PBS special on the Wounded Knee Occupation. After it was over I emailed Jim and asked what stuck out in his memory of that awful time. This is his response:

Yes, I watched the PBS program too. It brought back many memories about those times and life on South Dakota's reservations during AIM days. It started with the Custer County Courthouse riots and ratcheted up with various actions and events through the Wounded Knee occupation. I think that the Native Americans that produced the PBS piece got it right, at least from my perspective and sympathies at the time.

I was a bit closer to some of the events because Gary Thomas, the legal services lawyer in the Pine Ridge office, was moved to my Ft. Thompson office after the Pine Ridge office was "closed." Turns out ol' Rowe knew a good bit about the caravan that formed to go out to Wounded Knee that night, what kind of ordinance was in the car trunks, names and particulars. It wasn't safe for him to stay on in Pine Ridge, so he got pulled out and sent off to my way-station. That's probably why the Wilson goons broke into the Pine Ridge office and trashed it after he hauled ass.

There's lots of stories, but only two strike me as worth retelling right now.  More

Dakota Backcountry
There’s been some AIM days discussions before in these quarters, so I’ll pass along the following information to those who might be interested in those times in Indian Country.

Yesterday afternoon, after less than two hours of deliberation, an all white federal jury found Richard “Dickie” Marshall not guilty of murder in connection with the 1975 slaying of AIM activist Annie Mae Aquash. It was alleged that Marshall had furnished the .32 revolver to the group that brought Aquash to his house on the way to the badlands where her body was later discovered. The feds brought the prosecution largely on the strength of the statements of Arlo Looking Cloud

Thursday, April 22, 2010

For Aunt Kathleen and Mary Mac

Ms Mary lived across the street from me when we growing up. She was the preacher's daughter in the Baptist Church. She just responded to the earlier Jerry Lee Lewis posting. My Aunt Kathleen could really bang 'em out on the piano at home, but she never played this way in our church!  Terrible video on this, but who cares! Damn, they cook toward the finale of this one. As many of you probably know, the third member of this family trinity is evangelist (and singer) Jimmy Swaggart. Here are Jerry Lee Lewis and cousin Mickey Gilley:


The Man in His Element

Birgil Kills Straight

Nothing to say about this, other than I like the photo, and I like the name. Photo credit: James F.Margadant

Fishing Pictures

I posted these a couple of years ago, but these are better scans, if anyone other than myself cares. My Old Man in plaid, Don Wayne in bibs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The City of Yuma

Today I received a comment to a post from a couple of years ago from Matt Sieber who is rebuilding an Aeronca Sedan airplane from scratch in Switzerland. I learned from his website that there were only 561 Sedans made. My father's Sedan was N1154H, only two numbers from The City of Yuma N1156H, which set a flight record of 47 days in the air without landing (see below). Incidently, the Old Man's plane was also the same color scheme as Yuma. I guess his flights from Southern Minnesota to the Arctic Circle and back were a piece of cake for this bird.
Addendum from Matt 4/22/10: "There is some kind of discrepancy: According to the FAA registry, your Dad's N1154H was/is serial number 15AC-167, while the "City of Yuma", registered as N1156H, is serial number 15AC-166."

So, it would appear that our Sedan and Yuma were twin sisters.

"A Sedan was chosen by pilots Bill Barris and Dick Riedel for their attempt to set a time aloft record in 1949. Their flight was sponsored by the local chamber of commerce and the Sunkist growers association, the second sponsor accounting for the naming of the aircraft as the Sunkist Lady. (The accompanying support aircraft, also a Sedan, was called the Lady’s Maid.) Departing from the Fullerton, California, Municipal Airport on March 15, the flight crossed the United States to Miami, Florida, where bad weather forced the pilots to circle for 14 days before making the return trip to Fullerton. Along the way, fuel and food were passed from vehicles on the ground to the pilots during low passes over airport runways. Having reached Fullerton on April 11, the pilots kept flying around the local area until April 26, finally landing at Fullerton Municipal Airport and setting a record of over 1,008 hours, or 42 days, in the air.

The Fullerton record was short lived. Inspired by the flight at Fullerton, later in 1949, Yuma, Arizona, decided to sponsor its own time aloft record attempt. The city needed publicity as it was experiencing economic hard times due to the 1946 closure of Yuma Army Air Field. Pilots Woody Jongeward and Bob Woodhouse piloted the City of Yuma, a Sedan borrowed from local owners, modified for the flight and painted with the slogan, “The City with a Future.” The flight began on August 24, with the aircraft remaining in the Yuma area throughout, and ended after more than 1,124 hours, or nearly 47 days in the air, on October 10. In 1997, the record-setting airplane was located and returned to Yuma; made airworthy again, it flew on October 10, 1999, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the record flight. The "City of Yuma" airplane is now on display at a museum in Yuma."

1972 Cinelli Speciale Corsa Modello A

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about how some bicycles are worth more money if they are a certain color, and that it is a totally illogical phenomenon, the silver Cinelli SC being a prime example. As Jack pointed out, no professional team of note ever rode silver Cinellis, and there are a lot of other notable marques that had silver bikes. But it is only the silver SC that is a holy grail. ???  I must confess, when I bought the McLean it was silver. It is also fitted with all Cinelli fitments, bars,
toe clips, etc. I had it repainted. It could have been any color. I chose silver, probably because of the silver Cinellis.

The one pictured below is on eBay (110521166266) right now, $1725 with 6 days to go. It's clean, very clean, with original paint. Cinellis were never famous for durable paint. This would seem to indicate that somebody with money went out and bought the most expensive bike he could find, rode it for a week or two and hung it up. Sad in a way. ................. He was my size too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jamey Johnson

For Jim, the last gunslinger.

Magnolia stelleta

Spring With Bug
Technically not a bug, appears to be a weevil.
Pretty certain about that Spring part though.

Integration Now: Elvis Glasses

"It's like gluing your eyeglasses to the bridge of your nose."  This comment on component integration, specifically front racks, was made by our designated miscreant. Behold ...

The Ghost of Elvis
I generally slip into my comfy sequined white jumpsuit, white cycling shoes, and a lighted blue helmet when I ride this baby. Here is some history of the Ghost and how things spiraled out of control. Since 2008 the bag and rack have been "integrated" with the requisite braze-ons, and the white 700c x 28 Vittoria Randonneur tires added. This looks a little like a parade bike, but it'll go all day at a smart rate (if your engine is up to it).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Norm Hunter

Norm Hunter went to the big bonspiel in the sky Friday at age '83. Years ago he was the skip of the Hunter Rink, our company curling team, teaching a series of younger men how to curl, be honest men, and drink good Scotch whiskey. 

The above sketch was done about 30 years ago, maybe more. Norm didn't change much, other than his mustache whitening to match his hair. He was a good man to spend time with. I hadn't seen him in years, yet I am saddened at his passing. He had an easy smile and a flash temper. I was a full foot taller and probably a hundred pounds heavier than Norm, yet I recall one time he felt I disrespected him. His response was, "How would you like me to hit you on the side of your dumbshit head with this Coke bottle?"  I didn't, so I hastily apologized. I hope his ice is true and he had the hammer coming home.

(What the hell kind of mickey mouse spellcheck program questions "bonspiel" as a word?)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Over the Rainbow

I heard this tonight on American Roots. I commented that Jerry Lee really could play, in that effortless unschooled way of his. Lorna said that it sounded like Kathleen playing, which it did. Kathleen was my aunt. She couldn't read a note of music, but Damn she could. play. piano. I got another email in a series tonight from her son Dan. His father Harold has had a series of bad things happen. He's in the hospital again. I don't think he's going to make it. This is for Uncle Harold. He'd recognize the style. And the song. 

Look at Jerry Lee's eye's. Are those not the eyes of a madman?

Hey, Piss Ants

After that awfully beating I took with my silver Benotto wraps, I reconsidered and laced on black suede to match the seat. Discerning eyes will also note that the toe clip leathers are now black and the leather trim on the bag is also black. Leather dye and patience.

 How did I turn this around so rapidly?  It was already in the planning stage when I suffered the slings and arrows of your outrageous umbrage.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

San Diego Bike Show

Here's a link to photos from the recent bike show. As always, a lot are "show bikes", that is, over the top and marginally practical. On the other hand there are bikes that are simply beautiful. I like Mark Nobilette's neat piece below. Pipe up with other favorites. We can post the pictures and vote. The winner gets to be THE WINNER.

I missed something. I just came across the photo to the right, labeled "Sky’s Nobilette demountable:".  This means that the damned thing comes apart!  Pretty subtle joining details. 650b demountable with a front rack and bag.  Is this what Rene Hearse would be building today?  Nobilette, that's French isn't it?

Mack the Knife

I just listened to Jimmy Dale Gilmore's version of  I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. I thought that is so perfect that nobody ever had to record it again. Mack the Knife has probably been done by hundreds of singers. Originally written in German, Macheath has been around a while, from The Beggars Opera to The Three Penny Opera, then on to Bobby Darwin and that awful Louis Armstrong version. There is a tendency to do it finger-popping ala Bobby Darin. His is a really strange juxtaposition of style versus lyrics. Jimmy Dale didn't do that. He drags it. Now we have his dark, haunting version from the French crime film Un Prophete. One more song that doesn't need to be re-recorded. Finally after 90 years, perfection.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ol' Hank

Hank Williams received a special Pulitzer Prize last week. Let's give him a big congratulatory shout out ....where ever he is. And fer you big city folks, get by the twang and hear the whippoorwill in your soul. (mw: a lot of concrete!)

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

I've never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by
The moon just went behind a cloud
To hide its face and cry

Did you ever see a robin weep
When leaves began to die?
That means he's lost the will to live
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry

Wood Duck Box

The wood ducks are back, looking for nesting sites. I've been hearing them for a week, seeing them silhouetted on high horizontal branches early in the mornings. They discreetly examine all the holes, nooks and hollows in the old oaks. I only have this one house, Andersons to the north one or two, and Christiansens to the south another two. If you're a wood duck, this neighborhood, with it untrimmed trees and nesting boxes, is an upscale neighborhood.

The mounting board on this one rotted off and it spent the winter on the ground, housing deer mice. It started off  life as a large cedar power pole. Actually, I suppose it started life as a cedar tree, but it's second incarnation was the pole. When it was no longer of commercial value, Bill Lehman cut it into rough boards, and it became domesticated, spending a few years as a cedar fence around Laurie and Debb Sather's backyard. Wind and rot eventually converted the fence into a pile of boards behind their garage, where I was able to pick out a few good ones and knock this house together - 18" x 18" x 24". It did pretty well, hanging up there on the big oak for ten years or more, housing a series of wood ducks, squirrels and screech owls. With it's recent upgrade - a couple of new boards scavenged from Jeff Pleimling's old fence, a 2 x 4 mounting plate from a failed picnic table and cedar shingles left over from a tool shed project, I think we're ready for another ten years.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Big Birds

As we sat on the lakeside deck this evening there were a few turkey vultures circling the neighborhood. This certainly can not be a good omen, though there were fewer than than a couple days ago when there were fifty or more, apparently on migration. They are necessary, but nasty creatures, these undertakers.

Later a flight of a few dozen white pelicans drifted over, single file in their slow motion roller coaster. According to the Peterson Guide their wingspan is 8' or 9'. Like the vultures they don't waste a wing beat, plying the updrafts to remain airborne - the most graceful birds in flight I've ever seen. If there is a foreboding to the vultures there is just as much joy watching the pelicans pass over.

Cancellara Breaks Away

Just notice how fast Fabian (in the Swiss Army Knife red jersey) put distance between himself and his pursuers when he kicked it. I enjoyed it when the announcer broke into English: "Oola,la,la,la, Ballen(?), we have a prob-lem. Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom." Fabian broke away, caught the lead group and rested a bit, then left everyone.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Paris Roubaix

It was a beautiful day yesterday, most of which I wasted sitting in the sunshine smoking a cigar and reading. Late in the afternoon I went in for a beer and was high-jacked by the end of the Masters. The Masters - knocking a little ball around a garden with dyed water ponds and recorded bird calls, being cheered on by row after row of overweight Republicans. They are so cute in their trim little white shorts and floppy hats. By the way, who is the fellow who always shows up to holler, "In the hole!" every time someone tees off, even if it's a par 5?

   Fabian leads Tom Boonen (and a bunch of other Freds) Note: see comments.

As the Masters wound down I flip-flopped between the garden tour and the 108th Paris Roubaix, the Queen of the Classic one day races, run over the narrow, beat-up cobbled roads of rural northern France into Belgium. It was a close race until Fabian Cancellara kicked it up a gear and left the peleton looking like a bunch of stunned Freds. One of the reasons I love this race is there isn't all of that maintaining 3 second margins, team tactic bullshit of the TdF. It's a race of truth, where a rider puts his head down, pedals hard and, if he is the best man, wins. It also helps that the bigger, stronger men win, not some little 120 pound spider of a creature. No offense, spider men. Eventually Fabian ran the margin up to over 3 minutes before letting up and cruising in about 2 1/2 minutes ahead of the field. He is a Man on a flat road, winning his second race in a week. It's too bad they invented mountains or he's ride away with the TdF too. Bad roads and all, he averaged over 25 mph. I've torn the computers off my bikes because they interfere with my experience, but I'm not certain I can even hit 25 mph anymore.

Happy Songkran!

We received a note from Addy this morning. She managed to get out of Bangkok and is "Chilling on the beach in Koh Samet." When she and Bangkok are sufficiently cooled down she will return to Bangkok to start her new job on May 10th as a kindergarten teacher. I'm relieved she isn't in Bangkok right now.

For those who have not followed the situation, this is from the Bangkok Post:

The government sued the opposition for peace on Saturday night, after a failed but bloody attack by police and the army on red shirt encampments left nine people dead and hundreds wounded in bloody street battles.
A spokesman said Korbsak Sabhavasu, the prime minister's secretary-general, has been assigned to try to negotiate a truce with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders
The Centre for Public Administration in Emergency Situations (CPAES) spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd announced the move in a nationwide television address about 9.30pm.
He said talks were needed immediately to separate the two sides and end the ongoing clashes, because the situation was heading out of control and there could be further casualties on both sides.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oakwood Mirror Morning

This Morning

A23: Song of Myself

This is from my favorite blog, Light of the World. A23 doesn't post often, a video now and then, but when he does post photos or sit down to write, it's wonderful. He has an ability to peel away the layers and show us the way his life is really lived, whether glorious, or often just the hard struggle to keep his head above water.

A photo posted as Song of Myself,  "Seth reads a bit of Whitman for the first time on my phone, just after 3 this morning." 

Nice job, Abe.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Duck Hunting With Chris

Chris, was an old Norwegian, a bachelor all his life. He lay on his floor with a broken his hip for two days before a neighbor found him and called the ambulance. We shared a hospital room, there due to his fragile aging body and my incompetence on skis. He was broken and dehydrated; I was just waiting for the swelling in my ankle to subside so they could put a cast on it.

The first day he was alert and in good spirits. We talked and later in the day two of his nephews visited him, recalling the last time he was in the hospital. It had been a duck hunting season opening day, which he never missed. They had taken him from the hospital in a wheelchair, directly out to Bear Lake, where they picked him up, set him in a duck boat with his gun and towed him out to the cattails to shoot. There was much laughing at the memory and arguing about how many birds he had bagged.

Toward evening he began to doze off and seemed to lose track of where he was and how he got there. Later in the night, apparently with the day's earlier conversation still in his mind, he began hallucinating. In his world the bed was a boat and he was back out on the lake, hunting ducks and calling out to his dog and to his hunting partner. My first reaction was to call the nurse, but he didn't seem distressed and in my discomfort I couldn't sleep anyway. Eventually he became more agitated. I asked, "Are you all right, Chris?" He was pulling at a urine collecting hose. "No dammit, Homer, there's a snake in the boat and it's biting my penis!" I told him the nurses taped it on and it was okay, which in a moment of lucidity seemed to satisfy him. Shortly he began pointing his imagined gun in the sky, shooting, "I've never seen so many ducks! Look at 'em all, Homer, shoot!" So I shot. If I called, "Teal to the left", he could see them and he shot. "Mallards to the right!" We bagged our limit again and again. It was a glorious day on the lake. Eventually I became sleepy, but it didn't seem right to take the joy from him. So we hunted on through the night.

The next morning he seemed calm and aware again. I said goodbye to him as they wheeled me out. They wrapped my ankle in plaster, gave me crutches and sent me home. His nephew told me Chris didn't make it through the next night. I hope he died on the lake.

LCP 1975 (for Butch)

Looking through an old folder of birdhouse plans and found this (and others). Sorry about the quality. It's an old Xerox copy and it's faded a lot.

Bangkok Unrest

My daughter has been pretty much holed up in her apartment for last couple of days and is leaving town this evening (morning there) for a short holiday. Hopefully things will cool down before she returns.

Breaking news from the Bangkok Post:

Pitched battles kill 15

An abortive attempt to clear red shirts from the Ratchadamnoen Avenue area left 10 protesters, four soldiers and a Japanese journalist dead and some 700 injured in hours of violent clashes on Saturday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sandhill Sounds

This video isn't anything I had anything to do with creating, but it captures a sense of the sound. Even after being forewarned I was still caught off guard by the volume.

The Sandhills, 2 Minutes Later

I finally got a chance to sort through the pictures. It's impossible to narrow it down because every moment in the field was glorious, in a beautiful, huge vista way. I gave up and have opted for the random selection approach - orange, gray, pink and blue. What is missing is the unbelievable sound. I saw some of the shots that Dennis took with his long lens. They are quite stunning, but unfortunately he doesn't have a way to share them other than prints. So, suffer people, suffer with me.

Nat Cole

James Aldo Ross posted this on Facebook. It is a pretty high standard.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

108th Paris Roubaix - April 11, 2010

Coming this Sunday on Versus.  The best race in the world.  

Stolen Property: The Pug of Perspicacity

This is not our pug Bud. The image and quote were lifted from a popular bicycle lifestyle blog which recently drew mixed reviews here. There are certain words that we have a vague notion of, that we might even use in writing, but no one, ever, ever has used in conversation, at least not since freshman year. "Perspicacity."

"At the End of Days, the Dachshund of Time shall meet the wise and all-knowing Pug of Perspicacity."

Child Stars: Where Are They Now?

Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Bela Fleck. Rendezvous in New York -10 DVD boxed set.

U.S. Highway 65

I grew up in Clarks Grove, a block off of U.S. Highway 65. Clarks Grove is the highest point in Freeborn County. The slope is so long, so even, that all sense of hill vanishes. But don't tell that to the truckers. When I was growing up, 2-lane U.S. 65 was a main corridor from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. I fell asleep to the southbound sound of the big-rigs blowing black as they labored up to make the crest.

I have bludgeoned you poor people with the grim blues of Townes Van Zandt. Well, this is another Van Zandt tune, one that has become a bluegrass standard. And who better to knock it out than the New Grass Revival, a bunch of kids who 30 years ago injected real musicianship and drive into what was becoming a dead musical form. Sam Bush, Pat Flynn, John Cowan and Juilliard dropout Bela Fleck.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bob Neely, Great American

Bob is the Elbow Room fry cook. Last week he received a random call from a Minneapolis Tribune healthcare poll. He expressed his views. Among other things the piece they ran happened to include his employer (one of his two full time jobs). Some asshole looked up the telephone number of the cafe and called him. The caller berated and insulted him (unjustly, I must say), and even vaguely threatened him. Bob invited the fellow to come down to Albert Lea and offered to "kick his ignorant ass". Bob has the caller's phone number and I encouraged him to turn it over to the police. Bob has declined unless he gets more phone calls.

What the hell is this country coming to when a person cannot express an opinion without being harassed?

We're Black in the Saddle Again

NIB 3ttt black suede

tool/camera bag

Okay guys, who among you could resist theses wraps? Honestly. They are not close to the frame color. They are absolutely dead on. Obviously a marriage made in heaven. This baby is done for now.  I have a set of NOS Wolber Gentleman 81 rims that will get laced up (and probably tied) eventually. The Super Champion front rim on there now has serrated walls and it squeals even with the Modolo sintered pads. Everybody within a block knows when I pull up to a stop sign. Okay, bad example - when I am forced to stop. Hell, if I wanted that, I'd get some old French wreck with Mafac Racers.  


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Red Cloud, Nebraska

Pop 1000 more or less (no stop signs - none. one bar/restaurant)

During our stay in Kearney we took a 150 mile round trip to Red Cloud, the town that produced Willa Cather. I thought it was a rather depressing rat hole of a small town. The Dentist, who visited earlier,  disagreed, finding it to be a place where he could live happily ever after. Willa Cather apparently agreed with me. As soon as she delivered the high school graduation oration below, she fled as fast and far as she could from Red Cloud, then spent the rest of her life writing about it.

Cather had an amazing intellect, which becomes more apparent when you see all the books, articles and short stories she wrote, laid end to end around the room on bookshelves. While we were there, Lorna watched a video on Cather, which I listened to as I perused the books. No Cather, but I came away with Bound for Glory, the autobiography of Woody Guthrie and a copy of Kooser's The Poetry Home Repair Manual. Look out Michael, I'm coming after you! If you chose to read the following, keep in mind it was written in 1890 by a young lady, one of three people in her graduating class, living out in the middle of nowhere. She may have been right or wrong, but then think about what you were capable of writing when you were 18 years old.

"All human history is a record of an emigration, an exodus from barbarism to civilization; from the very outset of this pilgrimage of humanity, superstition and investigation have been contending for mastery. Since investigation first led man forth on that great search for truth which has prompted all his progress, superstition, the stern Pharoah of his former bondage, has followed him, retarding every step of advancement.

Then began a conquest which will end only with time, for it is only the warfare between radicalism and conservatism, truth and error, which underlies every man's life and happiness. The Ancient orientals were highly civilized people but were dreamers and theorists who delved into the mystical and metaphysical, leaving the more practical questions remain unanswered, and were subjected to the evils of tyranny and priestcraft. Those sacred books of the east we today regard as half divine. We are not apt to think as we read those magnificent flights of metaphor that the masses of people who read and believed them knew nothing of figures. It is the confounding of the literal and the figurative that has made atheists and fanatics throughout the ages.

All races have worshipped nature, the ruder as the cause, the more enlightened as the effect of one grand cause. Worship as defined by Carlyle is unmeasured wonder, but there are two kinds of wonder, that born of fear and that of admiration; slavish fear is never reverence....."
Much more

A Lost Oak

Oakwood is a mix of extremes, from three story Victorians down to cottages like ours. The neighbors to the south, Judy and Christy, decided their cottage wasn't big enough and are adding a wing out toward our lot line. I am not necessarily against this, after all, our small house has been added onto five times, but this addition will overlook and take away some privacy from my garden. No more nude cigar smoking.

Unfortunately this is also necessitating the removal of a couple of trees. The angry snarl of chain saws has been going on all morning, removing branches from a big bur oak near the property line, leaving it standing naked, like an oaken Venus de Milo. They just felled the limbless giant, still 30' tall and three feet across at the base. Our house shook and the windows rattled when it hit the earth. It left a terrible gaping hole in the space it occupied. That will heal with time and no one will remember that the Venus was there, standing guard for 200 years. Still, I'll miss her presence, her summer shade, though I suppose it does open new planting opportunities in a now sunnier garden :o)

Small World: Reggio nell' Emilia

Before I forget, the snip below is from Masini's Breaking Away. I know J.B. through a number of transactions, including the purchase of my white Chris Kvale bicycle. I have had the pleasure of spending some time in his basement on occasion and have had a guided tour of his personal museum of vintage components and bicycles, particularly Cinellis. I connected with Rory Mason, aka Masini , through the late Dan Ulwelling. Reportedly this blog came up in a conversation in Italy. What's the odds?

"Luckily, I overheard a little english which led me to meeting John Barron of Velostuf and Cinelli collecting fame. He, his wife and I proceeded to a few more stands and I was happy to lend a translating hand when needed, although he does pretty good by himself. I was also able to pick up a lot of info, history and tips from him."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stick Farmhouse

Stick style architectural was a transition from Georgian to Queen Anne. I think it is a little more elegant than either Eastlake or Queen Anne Victorian. We found this sweet lady keeping company with a old barn miles from nowhere on the gravel of the Platte River Road east of Gibbon, Nebraska last week. Nice.

Random Girl With Hat (and Coffee)

The Elbow Room

This is a gentle response to red Ravine, a blog devoted to writing. When it comes to serious writing, I tend to be more of a consumer than a producer. I enjoy reading other peoples work, rather than doing my own (see Vic below). The thing that pushed me a little too close to the edge on this was a "writing topic", an invitation to write about "your favorite coffee shop". Huh? This smacked a little of an eighth grade English assignment. Those of you who were in school with me know, that even then, I rarely turned in any of my assignments. I fought my way out of school so I wouldn't have to do assignments. And furthermore, Starbucks and the other chain coffee shops give me vague feelings of uneasiness. They're like a nicely appointed fern bar, only with coffee instead of alcohol.

Instead of a preciously decorated coffee shop, this where I go - The Elbow Room. The coffee it serves is strong and bitter, with a slightly oily sheen. The beer is only 3.2% alcohol and is mostly light. What it does have is the best hamburgers on the planet. This is only a slight exaggeration. They are good enough that after a poll by a Minneapolis T.V. station on the Best Burgers, they were surprised to be sending a crew down to do a piece on the Elbow Room. Keep in mind, the poll was taken 100 miles away. It may not be Starbucks, but it is the real deal.

Vic holding court with a couple of local winners. Vic and Mary are the owners. This is Vic's idea of work. Mary is not pictured because she is in back washing dishes.

Gloria and Lloyd Schumacher in booth 6. Oakwooders. Small woman, big hair. Mrs. Schumacher is rather ...ah...eccentric. But she is an off-color riot with a couple of drinks in her. A very funny woman.
Bob's backside. Bob is too loud, too proud, even obnoxious at times. I don't care, the man is a god on the griddle and he remembers that I want my onion rings very crispy. A hint: one or two small tips for the cook and you can eat well forever.

The Dentist Who Killed My Dog

He didn't start out intending to be a dentist. By schooling he is a large animal veterinarian. He has a nice business with a couple other vets, a handful of employees and horse barn hospital out back. A good life. Dennis only became a dentist after The Pen Incident. There were 500 ballpoint giveaway pens purchased to advertise his business .... all proudly emblazoned with "Dr. Dentist Nelson DVM".

He has his quirks. Dennis is older, my age, and has chosen to not participate in the new media revolution, the information age. In his business world, an assistant prints emails for him to read. He is bullheadedly proud of the fact that he's never turned on a computer. He edits his digital photos on a high end printer, refusing to concede that it's a specialized computer. As people a century ago feared the telephone, he is certain that email is going to be the death of intelligent one-on-one conversation. He prefers thick hardcover books and interesting multi-page personal letters written neatly in longhand, preferably on 8 1/2" x 11" bond paper.

In his sturdy green Singing Lark Morgan Horse Farm jacket and a battered Bob Marshall Wildness cap, Dennis is an unpretentious fellow. Easygoing and soft spoken, he is kind, with hands that are strong enough to deal with a nervous horse, his primary patients, yet soft enough to gently stroke and comfort an old pug as they both wait for the final shot to take him away. The Dentist is good company in a cold morning blind.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sandhill Cranes

We just returned from four days of crane hunting with binoculars, scopes and cameras. The sandhill cranes are about three or four feet tall with a five or six foot span. Approximately 600,000 of them stop over for about a month on an eighty mile stretch of the Platte around Kearney, Nebraska, feeding on rodents, roots insects and seeds in the sandhill fields during the day, returning at dusk to roost on sandbars out in the Platte during the night. Right now about half of them are still there trying to add 20% to their body weight for the final stretch of their flight north, some as far as Siberia. It's not difficult to find them, they're all over the cornfields and pastures, but they are skittish and it's difficult to get close to them.
There are people gathered in Nebraska from all over the world for this show. We shared some cold morning whispers with some people toting some very serious optics and cameras.
It was a little hard to dress for the occasion as it went from a high of 85 degrees on Thursday down to 26 degrees Saturday morning. Just to add a little extra misery, the wind was blowing much of the time, gusting up to 45 mph. More later. One more checked off the old bucket list.

Sunrise on the Platte Good Friday

Cranes Going Airborne 

Easter Morning on the Platte
Note: I took this in the morning after we gained a few foot-candles and the birds had thinned out enough to differentiate individuals.What appears to be shoreline in the far distance are more cranes. A lot more cranes. All cronking continuously. And loudly.