Who are we? We are our stories.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

At My Window

At my window
watching the sun go
hoping the stars know
it's time to shine
aloft on dark wings
soft as the sun streams
at days decline

Living is laughing
dying says nothing at all
baby and I are laying here
watching the evening fall

Time flows
through brave beginnings
and she leaves her endings
beneath our feet                            My favorite verse
walk lightly
upon their faces
leave gentle traces
upon their sleep

Living is dancing
dying does nothing at all
baby and I are laying here
wathing the evening fall

Three dimes
hard luck and good times
fast lines and low rhymes
ain't much to say
Feel fine
feel low and lazy
feel grey and hazy
feel far away

Living is sighing
dying ain't flying so high
baby and I are lying here
watching the day go by 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Non-Epic Ride

Today  I took the McLean over to Lanesboro for some riding on paved trails.  The village is picturesque and the trail is mostly wooded, on an old rail bed which follows the Root River. I forgot the camera again. Remembered the bike though.

I went a few miles west toward Fountain and Preston, mostly because I enjoy riding through the cuts - deep, narrow gorges chiseled  through sold rock. They are a little like open topped tunnels. It's hard to imagine they were wide enough for a train, at least a modern train. After this short detour I went back to town and had a brat and root beer at the Wursthaus. Arv is still there and he played a couple of polkas on the accordion for me. Badly. With this new fuel on board I mounted up and headed east toward Whalan, only about five miles. I stopped for water in the park at Whalan and talked to a group from Des Moines who had decided to fore go RAGBRAI this year for the Root River trail. ??? Age maybe? I continued on to Peterson where I rested a little, watching kids playing baseball, then headed back toward Lanesboro. The weather was perfect, moderate temperatures and humidity with minimal wind and I was rolling pretty good - good for my revised expectations.

A few miles outside of Whalan I was ambushed by a couple of young men in baggy shorts on mountain bikes. They had smooth tires, seats up, bars low, but they were definitely mountain bikes. It's bad enough getting passed by young punks, but sitting astride a McLean and having mountain bikes blow by is hard to swallow.  I sucked it up and closed in within striking distance. They ignored me. I decided my finish line was the bike rack at World Famous Pies in Whalan. They didn't even know they were in a serious race. As we got within sight of the pies, they were still unaware. I wound her up and blew by them. Well, almost by them. Just as I got even with the lead rider, he glanced over, stood up and gave me a taste of Cavendish and was gone. They knew. Peach pie with just a little ice cream and coffee helped sooth me.

Coming out of Whalan I spotted a familiar old boy ahead of me. He was sitting astride an old Bianchi, toe straps and all. We exchanged words and I followed him for the five miles into Lanesboro. When I thought it was my turn to pull, he immediately passed me. Hell, he was 70. I let him have the sprint. His name is Bill Morman, a retired IBM engineer from Rochester, who owns the ice cream shop in Lanesboro. We sat on a bench and talked, trying to figure out how we know each other. After half an hour, probably longer, he had to get back to his ice cream and I just had to go. Nothing epic happened. Actually that pie was pretty epic. 

Eva Cassidy Recordings

Everything she recorded has been re-released. All available at Amazon . As always, the Amazon rating system is useless. These are in order of release. I'd start at the bottom right, deviating only to pick off the Live recording, but that's my bias.

The Other SideLive at Blues AlleyEva By Heart


Time After Time


American Tune

Wonderful World



Zimmerman Report

For Barin and Jack who want to be the Z-man when they grow up(again). Clipped from an email this morning:
I'm currently working as a ny city bike messenger. Loving riding my bike in ny and getting paid. Bought a 100 rig my first day, a kona single speed. Also building up something neat on the side. I'll get you photos when I get them. Take care.

Black Hawk Cycling Ban

Albert Lea is trying to get marked bike lanes, in addition to the bike paths. Here's another approach:
DENVER — The gambling town of Black Hawk has prohibited touring bicyclists from pedaling while in town, becoming what's thought by cycling advocates to be the only city in the nation with such a restriction.
Bicycle advocacy groups are gearing up to challenge the law, which they say is illegal.
"The danger here is the precedent," Dan Grunig of Bicycle Colorado, an advocacy group, said Thursday. "We don't believe it's right or legal and we want to make sure it's addressed before it's spread any further."
Black Hawk began enforcing its ordinance and issuing $68 tickets on June 5, five months after it passed the law requiring bicyclists to dismount and walk their two-wheelers through the town of about 100 residents. Black Hawk City Manager Michael Copp said eight citations have been issued so far.   cont

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Cybernetics of Black Knights

From this week's Archdruid Report. The reports are long, sometimes difficult, always enlightening. You may think you don't have the time. Eventually we're all going to be tested on this. Make time.

 "The practical achievements of cybernetics, especially but not only in the field of computer science, have given rise to attitudes toward information in popular culture that impose bizarre distortions on the way most people nowadays approach the subject. You can see these attitudes in an extreme form in the notion, common in some avant-garde circles, that since the amount of information available to industrial civilization is supposedly increasing at an exponential rate, and exponential curves approach infinity asymptotically in a finite time, then at some point not too far in the future, industrial humanity will know everything and achieve something like omnipotence.

I’ve pointed out several times in these essays that this faith in the so-called “singularity” is a rehash of Christian apocalyptic myth in the language of cheap science fiction, complete with a techno-Rapture into a heaven lightly redecorated to make it look like outer space. It might also make a good exhibit A in a discussion of the way that any exponential curve taken far enough results in absurdity. Still, there’s still another point here, which is that the entire notion of the singularity is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of what information is and what it does." ....a whole bunch more

Hotel California

A couple of years ago Addy was working in the San Francisco area and Miss Lorna and I went out for a week. We stayed at the Hotel California, an old building at the intersection of Geary and Big Lebowski. It isn't the "real" Hotel California, it isn't even the original Hotel California in San Francisco. The cab drivers refer to it as the New Hotel California. We did not stay there because of the song. It was cheap and located within walking distance of the action. One of the reviews said, "''scary neighborhood after dark". Well yeah, what you expect from a hotel wedged between the theater district and the homeless. I'd go back, nice place with great music overhead. Excellent restaurant.

Eva Cassidy

died young.

She died in '96. This is the only taped set there of Eva singing. The horns and background singers were dubbed after she was gone, hence the telescopic camera views. I shouldn't be posting something that is faked ... but it works. She sure couldn't afford a full band when she was alive. Below is more the way it really was. Sometimes you have to die to get noticed.

 This was done shortly before she died of melanoma.

My piano teacher was Miss Viola Johnson. I was not her best pupil.  I recall one recital playing Autumn Leaves so incredibly poorly that an audible gasp of disbelief went up from the audience of parents and grandparents.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


These are dummy turbines. The actual turbines in the distance are frickin enormous 150 foot towers.

RAGBRAI  is camping tonight 30 miles south of here in Clear Lake, Iowa, home of the Surf Ballroom (and sometime vacation spot for one Jackson Gabus). According to the RAGBRAI blog, the riders noted the miles of wind-farm turbines and the appropriate brutal headwinds. I noticed on the news this evening (and in my back yard) that the heat index today was 103 degrees in Clear Lake. There will be rock 'n roll and some beer consumed tonight! Thankfully it was a relatively short, flat stage, so deaths were kept to a minimum. ;-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sippe Wallace

Did you ever notice how some "modern" singers almost swallow the mic? Sippe stands back 3 feet from the mic and chews gum while she sings.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Digging, Planting and Cutting

Good gardening involves planning, careful observation and hard work. Granted, I spend a lot of time sitting and enjoying the results, but there is still plenty of drudgery and stiff backs involved. Even a small perennial garden like mine requires half an hour a day, occasionally much more. I would not have it any other way. I do not get true joy from looking at other people's gardens or public gardens. Certainly I appreciate their beauty, but mostly I find myself  looking for ideas I can scale down for my own garden. I cannot image having a gardener do all the work, then go out out in the evening to sit and enjoy it. This is what Lorna does, though she pays a terrible price for it. She is a Lady Chatterly. She sleeps with the gardener. 


My grandfather, N.C. grew flowers. Both he and my grandmother Nellie worked in the vegetable garden. The flowers were his. His gardens were neat and symmetrical. I suspect he cringed inwardly when later in life he walked through my loose floral free-for-all. He had a separate circular garden for his roses, hybrid teas marching in ranks around a large tree-trained rose in the center. This was a feature on their north lawn for years until The Incident. N.C. grew hybrid tea roses in Minnesota, which means you have to protect them over winter. My grandfather's solution was to dig up all his roses and bury them together in a long trench - the only guaranteed method. The trench was off site, not in the garden, which had compost tilled in in the Fall. One Spring after the snow had melted and things had dried out, he went out to dig up the roses. ....... alas, N.C. couldn't remember where he had buried them the previous Fall. My grandmother said he spent days digging all over the farm in any location that looked disturbed. The trench, where ever it was, became a mass grave and the rondelle garden was relegated to annuals. N.C. didn't appreciate the incident being brought up and never again grew roses on any scale.

My Old Man came to gardening late. He was not the kind of person I expected to enjoy gardening, but he was out there with his coveralls over the white shirt and necktie, hoeing away. A one time farmer, he was mostly interested in produce and dahlias - enormous, course "manly" flowers, but I'll be damned he couldn't make things grow. I asked him where he learned so much about gardening. He said it was just farming, only with different crops. It's just farming. I would like to think what I do out there digging in the dirt is not just farming, just growing so much colored hay.


It doesn't take long to discover that cheap tools are a terrible investment. Things that appear to be "good enough", aren't. They fall apart and bend in your hand. Most of mine are good quality, even some drop-forged English forks and shovels. Some I bought, others I inherited from my father, grandfather, father-in-law, or brother. The small trowel was L.P.'s son's junior high metal shop project, the scoop cut from a heavy galvanized pipe and riveted to a handle formed from steel bar. It's lasted me ...what is it, 30 years now? I take care of them. I oil them and sharpen them. Shovels are not blunt instruments, they are supposed to be sharp-edged tools, edged weapons, like knives. The older I get, the more sentimental I become. I think about who's tools they were almost every time I pick them up. I worry that they should be labeled. Who will know who's hands burnished the wood of that handle? Worse, I worry about who will inherit them. We're not taking about a collection of rare volumes or paintings here, we're talking about a bunch of old clippers, forks and shovels. I gotta get things in perspective.

(The title should be Digging, Planting, Feeding, Watering and Cutting.)  

What Cheri's Up To

I am amazed at how many of my high school classmates are writers. We had a handful of damned good teachers. From Cheri Register:

"As I get older, I grow wearier of the political fray that used to engage me so. The cynicism and polarization of American public life send me scrambling for refuge. I seek out places where people regard each other as worthy human beings and can talk about common pursuits without first having to choose sides and name their enemies. The Loft, of course, is reliably civil. Another place I go might seem an unlikely choice:  On a Saturday afternoon each month I drive to the Minnesota Women’s Correctional Facility, commonly known as Shakopee prison, to teach a two-hour class on writing prose. We began in October 2009 with ten writers and by our May meeting had “lost” four, who were released from incarceration to make new efforts to thrive on their own terms."  More

Friday, July 23, 2010


Roses - so called because ..they are rose. I'm not much for hybrid teas. They do not play well with others in the mixed border. I think roses should be pink and old-fashioned, and ideally have a few thorns. The perfert rose should be just slightly double, loose and floppy ... and smell like a rose. Anyone who prefers large, fat blood-red tea roses is simply wrong and unrefined, and should go play in their own garden. ;-)  These are pictures of some of my climbers and shrub roses taken about a month ago.


Daylilies - so called because each blossom lasts only one day.

Elvis is in the Building!

...er, garden that is.

(pssst, rear derailleur!)

Struggle for the (Possible) Soul of David Eagleman

"Brain (Left)" and "Brain (Right)," © Don Stewart.

This is the kind of thing I fill my head with - the essay, not the picture.  I'm only posting it because of the great illustration.    If you must...

The 1948 Tour de France

Ephemora from the Rydjor vaults. An envelope from the 1948 Tour de France with a postal and ink stamp for every start and finish town. It is signed by the winner, Gino Bartali and the fourth place finisher Louison Bobet who would go on the win the 1953, '54 and '55 Tours.

                 Bobet sucks up to the Pope.

Batali with his posse.

TdF Thought

Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise are really obnoxious.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tour de France

I just want to say that today's stage in the Tour de France was as fine as any I've seen.

Cambio Corsa Bottecchia

We're going old school today. This posting is inspired by Masini's Cambio Corsa Legnano. My connection with Rory Mason, aka Masini, is the late Dan Ulwelling, as fine a man as I've ever known. Rory was a regional Cannondale rep who serviced my local bike shop, Rydjor Bikes, and Dan was the owner. My LBS is not a typical bike shop. It is a large shop selling modern bikes. The difference is the decor. The ceiling and walls are filled with vintage bicycles, mostly racing bikes. I don't believe I ever met Rory. If I did it wasn't memorable. Of course, I couldn't have known that as he gazed at the vintage bikes hanging from the Rydjor ceiling, he too was falling under the spell of the vintage racing iron. 

This is one of the Rydjor collection, a 1948 Cambio Corsa equipped Bottecchia, similar to the bicycle that Gino Bartali rode to victory in the '48  Tour de France - more this later. The bicycle is in amazing condition, a well cared for bicycle with only slight paint wear from general riding. A real gem.

Ottavio Bottecchia was the first Italian winner of the Tour De France. He won the TdF in 1925 and '26, and died in 1927. The Bottecchia bicycle line was introduced after his death, either honoring his name or capitalizing on it, depending on your viewpoint.

The company is still in business, selling carbon bicycles made in China.

Merle Haggard

At one time I felt the Willie Nelson was THE country songwriter of his generation, maybe followed by Kris Kristofferson. Willie opted to be a country song and dance man. Kris thought that being a B actor was better than being an A songwriter. Looking back on it over years, judging a life body of work, I think I was wrong. Again. Haggard continues to wage the good fight through darkness and depression, but he is still writing songs that carry weight.

And we wonder why he hates performing and audiences.

New Domestique for Liquigas

Our man at the Tour. I just love the photo of Masini and the Liquigas rider.   Story.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

1410 OakWooD Tree Clean Up

A couple of people requested pictures of the storm toppled tree removal. This one is the Hackberry Celtis occidentalis, the biggest tree that went down. The specs for this species says 40' to 60' with a 50' spread. This old girl had to be at the high end of that. The dappled dark green is all the fallen tree. The gentleman in the foreground is Corey Peterson. He is standing on the fallen trunk as they lift trimmed branches down to a log grinder. The slope of the lot gets steep as it approaches the lake, which required the crane to remove the tree in pieces.

We lost half a dozen trees and branches broken off some of the oaks. Some MASSIVE branches - branches as large as trees. One old soldier, one of the two giants that straddle the north lot line, lost half of his superstructure.  But he's still standing, with one arm raised high and will probably outlive us all. The cost is a kick in the teeth, but don't weep for us. We still have 12 oaks standing, though some a little beat up. And hey ... we gained some more lake view.

Marcella Detroit

A Little Texas Blues

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rachel Price

Just a killer young singer. The first with Miss Tess. The second solo. This kid can sing anything.
I'm pushing CD Baby, a great source for great independent productions. Sample this one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

TdF Rolleurs

Ya ever wonder what motivates those riders who break away at the beginning of every stage of the Tour de France. They are riding their own race within the race. And some are simply crazy Frenchmen snatching a moment of glory as they roll through their hometowns. As would I.  An explanation.

Tour de France Lanterne Rouge Conspiracy

The boys on VS are obviously aware of the tight race for last, but publically ignore it for whatever dark reasons they have. If you are interested in following the TdF Lanterne Rouge competition, here is a link for you.
Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things keep changing every day in this Tour! Stage 8 and we have 6 different Lanternes Rouges already. Stage 8 brings us the second time for Dimitriy Murayev of Team Radio Shack to take the Lanterne Rouge out of 186 remaining riders (including Lance Armstrongwho was humbled on this stage). I haven't found any interviews of Murayev from this Tour, but it's a familiar role for him, having finished the 2008 Vuelta a Espana as Lanterne Rouge. (I believe I erroneously posted that it was the '09 Giro before, which wasEvgeny Sokolov).

I've been remiss in not posting about each rider - I've been spending the stages twittering as TdFLanterne rather than typing in my blog entries, sadly.

There is, however, an excellent profile of Jesús Hernández here, a good friend of Alberto Contador and holder of the Lanterne Rouge for Astana for two days so far in this Tour.

The South Coast of Texas

With all the oily garbage that has recently been pumped into the Gulf of Mexico, I thought this one might be appropriate. So we know what we're killing. I like listening to a man singing words he wrote, accompanied by a guitar he built with his own hands. (The photo is the "likes of Gilbert Roland".)

Thoughts From a Garden Bench

 ... while smoking a good cigar:

Jim over at Dakota Backcountry is excited by the reintroduction of Red Wolves back into the wild.

Obviously we should be working on saving the red wolf and keeping it's DNA as clean as possible from coyote interlopers. Considering this, I had a couple of thoughts. Technology in some fields is leaping forward at an astounding pace. I speak, for instance, of Neanderthal DNA, which has been isolated. See below and other sources:


We could reintroduce Neanderthals! Is it time we think ahead and set aside Pleistocene Reserves? Parks to be populated with a biota which spans time as well as locale? A Jurassic Park will never be scientifically feasible, but a Pleistocene reserve could happen in our children's lifetime if we chose to. Think about it, a park populated with the beasts of the age, being hunted by our Neander brothers. Or by our N.R.A. friends. They could make a movie about it! And what if Joe Neander wants to live in town instead of a cave? Or use a gun? Or wants his children to go to better schools?

Not making moral judgments, just asking the questions. Think about, an opportunity to exterminate the same species of animals two or three times! 


Andy Schleck.  "A mechanical failure, through no fault of his own."  Maybe. It's somebody's fault. I would like to what ring and cog he was cranking on. Smacks of a cross-chain gear selection to me.  I should know.  I've thrown enough chains in my life to be considered an expert.

Masini's Legnano

Rory Mason has his '48 Cambio Corsa Legnano rolling. Story here.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rear Dérailleurs

Thanks to Tony Tambini:

Campagnolo Gran Sport through the 50th Anniversary Super Record

Ofmega, Roto, Galli, Gipiemme (Simplex), and a Karkov from the old Ukraine SSR Karkov Bicycle Factory

Shimano Crane, Shimano Dura Ace EX, 1970's SunTour Superbe, 1980' SunTour Superbe, and a Cambio Rino from Italy

 While Tony may seem a little obsessive by non-bicycle people, believe me, he ain't - I've see John Barron's basement, which is simply glorious. Incidently, if anybody out there has the red version of the earlier posted blue Galli dérailleur, Tony needs one for a project Guerciotti.