Who are we? We are our stories.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Halloween Reflections

In general it was a bust. The first group came by in broad daylight. Twelve parents, I counted them, with probably fifteen kids, toddlers through maybe eight years old.  I did not recognize any of them. They were not Oakwooders. I suspect they were either Gypsies or Irish Travelers. They must have gotten our names off of some Soft Touch website. I grudging gave each of the little creeps a small candy bar. They all responded with a practiced, "Thank you", but I wasn't fooled that easily. A little later a few scattered groups of the Oakwood kids came around. I gave them all too much candy and they took the chance to talk to their Buddy, the old pug. They were ALL ESCORTED BY PARENTS! Why do parents insist on stealing this little adventure from their children? For Christ's sake, they know everyone living in Oakwood. "Damn!", he said curmudgeonly. 

All was not lost. It was a beautiful evening, the sky and the lake mirroring each other. Which came first, the lake or the sky? Addy would have walked down to the lake beyond the oaks to take the picture and enhance the illusion even more. I just walked out on the deck and pulled the trigger because I was still manning the candy bowl.

Barb Wagner

Barb is a waitress at the Old Mill Restaurant. In between wine selections, taking orders, and bringing patrons food, she tells jokes and stories, often quite blue. She just sent me an email for an upcoming wine tasting and included this. This one is clean enough to post, but I would expect at least a couple of people to be offended. Tough.

So, the customer asked, "In what aisle could I find the Polish sausage?
"The clerk looks at him and says, "Are you Polish?"
The guy (clearly offended) says, "Well, yes I am. But let me ask you
something. If I had asked for Italian sausage, would you ask me if I was Italian?
Or if I had asked for German Bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German?
Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish?
Or if I had asked for a Taco, would you ask if I was Mexican?'
If I asked for some Irish whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?"
The clerk says, "Well, no, I probably wouldn't!"
With deep self-righteous indignation, the guy says, "Well then, why did you
ask me if I'm Polish because I asked for Polish sausage?"
The clerk replied, "Because you're in Home Depot."

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Aldo Ross posted this along some other Frankenstein quotes on Facebook. This is for Margadant, Westrum, Hurst, Mary, Kurt, L.P. and all you others. You know who you are.
"The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated." (from Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley)

Oh, and by the way, Lorna and Linda were over to visit Aunt Dorothy this afternoon. I won't say how old Dorothy is, but she was born in '24. She still stays on top of things. Among other things, they discussed 1410 Oakwood, and dial-up versus high-speed hookup. Dorothy, get with the program. Get Jason over there as soon as you get home so you can listen to Beau Jocque sing Cornbread. You take care, sweetheart.

Dorothy Kaasa

Over the past 40 years I have adopted Lorna's family as my own, and I have mourned as the older and wiser inevitably slipped away. Lorna's mother and her aunt Edna, two of the finest women I have ever known, died shortly after we were married. The men, being the weaker sex, have long been gone. Aunt Dorothy is the last tree standing. Dorothy was possibly the first regular follower of this blog. When my language or subject material has drifted, I remind myself of the Dorothy Test. Now Dorothy is not a prude nor naive. Over the years she has seen or heard almost everything, but it's a good thing for all of us to have a litmus test, a what would Dorothy think benchmark? My benchmark is in Immanuel St. Joseph's, Room 3611 right now, fighting pneumonia. Here's to Aunt Dorothy getting back to her apartment.soon. Be well, Dodo.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beau Jocque

...and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers. Born Andrus Espree, died 10 years ago. Real, meets or surpasses any soul litmus test. In the first video I love the implication that Gilton's is on the wrong side of the tracks. And the look in his eyes as he slowly reaches an emotional plane

Halloween Addendum

Growing up in Clarks Grove involved some traditions. Halloween was a time for hell-raising and even mild maliciousness. One of the things that was required was the burning of an outhouse in the center of the main intersection. For a couple of weeks before Halloween the rural farms were scouted and locations noted. By that time the biffies were not in use. The farmers were glad to get rid of them and they would put the word out. They saved them for us. Eventually it got tougher and tougher as every year there were fewer and fewer outhouses. Another problem was Gene Otterson, an overly aggressive town cop. He was a little man with a big badge. And for Christ's sake he wore a revolver on his hip. Who the hell was he going to shoot? We didn't even have speeders. Nevertheless, he took it as a personal offensive that anyone would burn an outhouse in HIS town.

One year there was a large number of young hooligans (including myself) milling around the area of the intersection. Gene was in his car keeping an eye on us and generally guarding the intersection. A red '55 Chevy pickup came slowly up the street from the east. It was Everett Jensen, and he had an outhouse tied upright in the box. He slowly drove to the crossroad, hesitated, then signaled and turned left. He slowly drove north out of town, followed by Gene. Then quickly joined by a caravan of cars full of teenagers. It was a slow motion chase. It had to be, because going around the section and back to town was only four miles, and those of us left in town had work to do. We had to get the other outhouse unloaded, set up and soaked with gasoline.  The caravan finally crested the hill, coming into town from the west. Ev pulled over to the side to let Gene pass and really appreciate his view of the pending bonfire. When he got close they touched it off. That sucker was so soaked with gasoline it half exploded as it lit up the intersection. Malicious mischief.

Ras and Halloween

I read about how Halloween is a big party time and how adults spend a bazillion dollars every year on costumes. Maybe, but out here in the backwaters, it's just for kids. I think I posted something like this a couple of years ago, but it's a pain to try to dredge it up, so I'll just recall it again.

There was a lot of squealing and yelling in Oakwood, coming from the vicinity of Rasmussen's house. Even though it was Halloween and there were clusters of little goblins, ghosts and ghouls moving about, it still seemed to be an unusual amount of activity and noise. Eventually curiosity got the better of  Lorna and she left me in charge of the Snicker Bar shake down for a while. After ten or fifteen minutes she came back and said, "Go over to Dean and Jesse's. You gotta see this." So I ambled over toward Rasmussen's. Along the I met a little group of neighborhood kids stumbling up the street, half blind by their ever shifting masks. "What's going on over there?" "It's really, really scary. There's a scarecrow. And he's alive!"  Huh?  When I arrived there were two kids standing at the end of the sidewalk in front of Rasmussen's. Jesse was beneath the porch light, standing over a scarecrow sprawled akimbo along with the jack-o'-lanterns on the steps. Beckoning them, "It's alright, you can come up. He won't hurt you. I promise." The kids shook her heads and mumbled a mask muffled "Trick or Treat". The word was out. No way were they going up on Rasmussen's steps. They were firmly planted on the safety of the curb. Eventually Jess gave in and brought the candy out to them.

Dean was dressed in the greatest padded scarecrow getup I've ever seen. He laid there, unmoving. The kids, assuming it was a dummy, would walk up and "Trick or Tre-eat!" the door. Jess would wait a while. Wait for Dean to grab an unsuspecting tricker by the ankles and yell 'Boo!'. Just scare the bejesus out of them. He said the best was an old man, waiting for a carload of his young goblins to make their rounds. He walked up to look the scarecrow over closer. It was chilly and the old guy had his hands in his pockets. Grandpa walked up and leaned over the dummy to get a better look. Whereupon Dean shouted and grabbed him by the shoulders. He said the old boy let out whoop and leaped back, jump dancing in circles. "Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!"           Never took his hands out of his pockets.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Skin Games

I have really gross brown lumpy blotches on my face the size of nickels, paying the price for 100s of hours on a old Massey Harris tractor without a wearing hat I guess. They are a bitch to shave over and around. It does slow down my shaving. Family members pressured me to have them examined. I was certain they would have to remove half my face. Of course at this point in my life I don't really care; all vanity is long gone. I had a cute petite young Mayo doctor, who could have been my granddaughter. She treated me with proper respect - particularly after seeing my blood pressure. It was 124 / 64., good for 65. Fat though I may be, all that selective eating, beer drinking and bike riding has not been wasted. The ugly brown blotches on my face turned out to be actinic keratoses, glorified extreme liver spots, not cancer. They can freeze, scrap and laser my face and make it less repulsive. I remember seeing the old farmers in the church in Clarks Grove when I was growing up and pitying them for their beat up, weathered faces. phhuuwett! As a porcelain faced punk what did I know?! My spots continue to slowly expand and maybe at some point I'll have to deal with them. Unsightly though they may be, at least for now I'm wearing them as badges, awards , even rewards for living a full life. I'm good to go for another year.

Aside: You know how you see the old guys who quit getting haircuts and shaving? Moi'. Except I shave. But I do it for me, 'cause it itches, not for you! I tell myself the hair, the mustache and goatee, look European and sophisticated. But I know it doesn't. It looks like a homeless shag mullet. And it pleases me just a little every morning when I look in the mirror.

Breezy? It's Banshees I Tell You, Banshees!

The National Weather Service online describes the current conditions as "Light Snow and Breezy". Breezy? I checked definitions: "Breeze: a light current of air; a gentle wind."  Of course the NWS also confess that their breezy is "W 25 G 43 MPH".  Well, I'm glad it's only breezy, not windy. Their forecast goes on:
"This Afternoon: A 40 percent chance of showers. Cloudy, with a high near 42. Windy, with a west wind around 34 mph, with gusts as high as 55 mph."
55 mph! If I wanted 55 mph winds I'd move to Fargo! The projections go on pretty much the same for the next few days. At some point the wind becomes oppressive, like someone leaning on you continuously. I'm about at that point. The point where I snap. Snap like a old bur in the wind. Or breeze rather.

We're getting deep into day three of the Great Midwest Windstorm, with at least two more to go. Our house sits on the crest of a hill facing west toward the lake. When the leaves abandon the trees in autumn it leaves us a little naked and exposed to the elements. There is nothing between here and the Dakotas to slow the wind down. Normally a little breeze is nice. It moves the air and plays our windchime trio. The windchimes are three different sizes to give us a full range of tones. The largest are bass gongers, approximately three foot tubes about 2 1/2" in diameter. With the winds at 30 or 40 mph they were really cranked up. It's was a little intense, almost the very definition of cacophony. The night-before-last I finally got up in the middle of the night, put on my bunny slippers, and ventured out into the teeth of the witch wind to disable the sonofabitches. 

Enough about the *f;&$#@g weather for a while. Could be worse, Duluth got 7" of snow with it too. And I'm guessing Doug rode his bike to work anyway.

Mexican Lovesongs

One more from the recently deceased Linda Hargrove and then we'll let her rest in peace. It's tough to narrow it down because she wrote so many songs that were hits for others, for instance George Jones - Tennessee Whiskey ,and probably my favorite I Never Loved Anyone More by Lynn Anderson, but I like Linda's version better. She could sing circles around Lynn Anderson, but she probably didn't package as well at the time. Linda Hargrove was not some obscure, lost artist. She was a singer, songwriter, record producer, made commercials, even played session guitar for people like ol' Waylon. She could really play. Later she also recorded gospel as Linda Bartholomew, her married name. I like this one because you just know she wrote this whole song around the phrase "they could hear him snorin' in Sonora".

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barton Sutter

A quick bio: Barton Sutter lives in Duluth. He has won the Minnesota Book Award in three different categories: Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Non-fiction. It's guys like this that keep me from trying to be a writer. From
My Father’s War: Stories of Midwestern Men
My Granddad Hackbart was a big old bastard, six feet tall and heavyset, with a chest like an overstuffed suitcase. He was fat, but he didn’t look fat. His hair was thick, and he brushed it back in a silver pompadour. His forehead was high, his cheeks were pink, and his eyes were a scary blue. He was a handsome man, but it didn’t do him any good, because everybody in Bessemer knew he was cranky and drank like a large-mouthed bass. When my Grandma Hackbart died, there wasn’t a widow in town who would even consider him. He couldn’t take care of himself, he wasn’t ready for the nursing home, and he only had a small pension, so the son of a bitch moved in with us. He took my room. I was eight years old when Granddad came to live with us, and he was still in the house when I left for college. I grew up with him. Granddad was family, and I hated his guts.
--from “Very Truly Ours"

Linda Hargrove

What do they all have in common? She's gone too. This one is a little eerie. I was digging through the old LPs and she was there. I went looking for something to post on YouTube. The first one that popped up was this. Reading the comments I realized she had just died. On Sunday. Two days ago! The song was written by Linda and Susan Hargrove. I have no idea what's going on with the video. I'm certain it's personal for someone.

Mem'ries I think I've got enough to leave a few behind
Oh mem'ries they used to make me warm but now I find
Mem'ries only make me feel old before my time

A sign of old age; I enjoy seeing the kids in the video with clear, clean bodies unsullied by tattoos. And besides, how often in a lifetime does one get a chance to use the word "unsullied"? And it seems there are fewer and fewer unsullied things as popular culture marches us onward.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Any Thoughts?... Now Paint Colors

On the Future of Bicycling posting below there are 32 comments. And counting.  On Facebook, Barin's buddy Bruce Hodson asked for recommendations for a derailleur with 28 tooth capacity. So far there have been 22 comments. People have opinions.

When I mentioned I might paint my potential future bike black, resident wag, Jack made a quip about black paint and Henry Ford. Nay, not Ford, Motobecane Grand Record. I like the black and red, but the seat tube would have a single red panel, not two small ones, and sans (french word) the gold lug lining. I think a black or near black accentuates the bling factor of the aluminum components and fenders. The one pictured here belongs to David Barnblatt (thanks Dave).

My Kvalebecane would have a black seat and bars because I already have the seat. Also the wheelset I've set aside is a red rimmed Mavic with Campy Tippo hubs. So, squint hard and picture it with a French chainguard over a single crank-ring, smaller front rack mounted off the canti brakes and minus the rear rack. Maybe the bars up an inch. And of course a larger frame would also change the dynamics, the visual feel,  some. Oh.............and of course, one Suntour bar-end shifter on the right side. Or ....maybe dark blue?

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Taking a codger break to get our bearings.
Home Bud, find the way home!
Home? What's home? Now where'd I put that?
If we can hang on until Sunday evening when Lorna returns from her latest West Coast adventure, Bud and I will again prove that two old dogs can survive for a few days with neither a car for transportation nor a woman for guidance. It's been rough and rocky traveling, but I think we're over the hump and it should be a downhill run now. Bud has been generally worthless. Lassie he ain't. He's blind, deaf, stupid and he has no thumbs. I have to say, he has not pulled his weight through this, neither in leaf removal, house cleaning, nor food preparation. But what he can do - wagging, woofing, eating and sun napping, he does well, and with good humor. Overall he's been good company, during this, our time in the domestic wilderness.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Future of Bicycling - Mine

My bespoke bicycle fitting with Chris Kvale was a real stunner. I'm 2 1/2" shorter than I thought I was. That changes the rules some doesn't it? It wasn't a measuring error either. My younger brother and I stood back to back and he is now noticeably taller than I am. I am no longer 6' 3". Suddenly I feel sooooo short. It helps explain why I can no longer dunk a basketball. It does not explain why I can no long hit a set shot though. Nor a layup for that matter. It also means I am even more overweight than I thought ;-)

Later I told Mark Stonich I was having a bike built to take me into old age and we reviewed the specs. He told me I wasn't building it for the future. He said I was having a bike built for the way I am right now. For instance he is of the opinion, based on his own body, that it isn't just spinal compression, that all of our bones shrink with age. It affects our seat tube length, too!  And he says I will continue to shrink ?!? and in my heart I know this to be true. And eventually I will need a more upright posture, probably even foregoing drop bars and the downtube shifter will be waaaay down there. 

Now I am trying to more realistically imagine myself at 75 and hopefully still on a bike. When this hit me, visualizing the bike with upright bars, a shifter on the downtube no longer makes sense. It would be a long way down. A shifter on the top tube with the cable running back and down the seat stay? I ran this by Kvale. He is a conservative traditionalist and didn't warm up to the thought for aesthetic reasons. He will do it, but really doesn't like it. While my name would be on the check, it's his name on the downtube. I'm trying to reach a compromise that will work for both of us. I even considered Paul Thumbies, but if the top tube shifter is ugly, they take it to a whole nother level. (No offense, thumb shifters.) I think at this point I'm looking at a Suntour bar-end shifter with the cable routed internally through the bars so that it clears the front bag. I wouldn't do this with indexed shifting, but I done it with friction in the past and it works fine.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home Alone

Addy left for Bangkok this morning, and Lorna and her two younger sisters flew out to L.A. to see the oldest sister. Add was up late into the night, pacing off nervous cat energy. She left a set of additional pictures in my camera, a series from our deck of the moon slowly setting over South Edgewater Bay.

Moonset - the Yard Light
As we only have one vehicle now I'm biking it 'til Lorna returns. Not today though. The wind is blowing out of the Dakotas at 30 mph, gusting to 45. It's still 68 degrees but it's not good bikin' weather. Calm tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lee's Summer 2010

The Dakota Badlands, from Lee, Margadant's No.2 son: Weathered rock, horn and bone. Why do they call them "Badlands", when the colors are so subtly wonderful?

Addendum: Jim has entered the Facebook Age!, the 20th Century, possibly even the 21st, and has more pictures posted here. More nice shots from Lee.

Rory Block

"My baby left me for the bottle and the lure of the nightlife,
Good times and crazy women and another glass of Tangueray"

This is Rory's song. It has been covered by a number of singers, particularly a pop-rock flash Dutch blond named Anouk Teeuwe.       phfffteeuwe.    

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Lorna's Late Again


The Interstate Power brick smokestack
Addy took the garden picture last week. I love the old bricks. The path is the very heart of my perennial garden. The late Joe Koevnig used to live next door. He was a supervisor at Interstate Power. When the stack was knocked down he used some of the bricks for a walkway down to his house. Lorna's sister and her husband eventually bought the house for a weekend retreat. I came into possession of the bricks when they "upgraded" their walkway. They have more bricks paving an unused patio. They don't seem ready to part with them, but I covet them. I'm going to expand the garden down to the lake next year and I'll be forced to have a grass pathway. How many bricks were in that tower? Thousands, hundreds of thousands? A million bricks? I suppose the rest of them are in a landfill somewhere. Couldn't I make some paths and steps with that many bricks? I could lay down the damned Appian Way of garden paths with a million bricks! 

The brick garden path at 1410 Oakwood

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Neolithic Immigration

"New research has revealed that agriculture came to Europe amid a wave of immigration from the Middle East during the Neolithic period. The newcomers won out over the locals because of their sophisticated culture, mastery of agriculture -- and their miracle food, milk."  Fascinating, if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Tour Divide

Thanks to Barin on Facebook.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The raccoons won...

...they managed to tear off the steel grill covering of the pond and they ate all the koi and goldfish in one night
 .... then shit on the steps on their way out of the garden. :-(                                                                                                                      

C.Wonderland @ SXSW

Nephew Chris and Meg recently attended the Austin music party for the third year.  Before they left I was looking at the schedule of a whole bunch of contemporary groups I'd never heard of ( "Popular culture no longer applies to me" ). Carolyn Wonderland's name jumped out at me. Of course I asked if they were going to see her show. They weren't familiar with HER, and I suspect they don't value duffer recommendations very highly, so they saw someone else instead. ??? Bummer. Maybe what they heard moved them more anyway. What they missed, Carolyn playing a little guitar and singing her own song, Judgement Day Blues:

Another Toe-tapper From the Duct Tape Messiah

For The Rev.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Blaze of Glory

Kind of a downer. A while ago I wrote about the late alcoholic, homeless songwriter, Blaze Foley. Here's covers of a couple of his songs. 

From a Forefront to a Backwater?

As I read this it struck me that even now the balance has shifted toward Asia, and now America is in the process of transforming from a forefront to a backwater.

"The great English moralist of the Eighteenth Century, Dr Johnson, once said that public affairs vex no man.

So it is not astonishing, either, that so many of us in Europe continue our lives without noticing, let alone thinking about, the seismic shifts in world power that have occurred in the last two or three decades. In part this is because we have already lived with a seismic shift without really noticing it: the transformation of Europe from forefront to backwater. We in Europe are at the front end of nothing, except perhaps taking holidays. Not that I am against holidays: in fact, speaking personally, I rather prefer them to exercising power.

It seems to be an unfortunate fact about the world, however, that one can maintain one’s position in it, reduced as it might already be, only at the expense of effort. You cannot just coast along in the hope of remaining where you are. But our mentalities have not changed with the change in the world situation." continued

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brewing TV

Albert Lea had a brew pub at the Green Mill for a while. Apparently we didn't support it well enough as it is now a banquet room. I miss their Big Island Porter. So now it's the 30 minute drive to Northwood.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My First Lover

No reason to post this other than I just heard a cute, chubby amateur girl sing it on T.V., accompanied by her long-haired boyfriend playing rudimentary guitar. It was a valiant, even courageous effort ... which completely missed the minor key sound and tight harmonies. I get the feeling that this may not be an entry level tune to try out on the local telethon, or whatever it was. Or at least it wasn't in their case, but then again, when it was over they seemed quite pleased.

1410 Oakwood, End of the Day: October 7th, 2010

Sometimes we surrounded by things which become the norm and we don't see them anymore. Addy took my camera for a walk a couple of days ago and came back with a couple of hundred stunning photos simply capturing the end of the day in our backyard. I have to remember to look at my world.

Day's End at1410 Oakwood

Fisherkids on the south dock
Great Blue Heron on the north dock

Lakeside lane to the north

Lakeside lane to the south

Elvis Is In the Building

I tend to become enthralled with the newest bike, so I've been mostly riding the McLean this summer. Yesterday we went for an extended ride and I pulled out the old white Kvale. I had forgotten. This thing is an absolute dream to ride.

We also saw a mature bald eagle pick off either a cat or rabbit out of a field along the road. Spectacular. I've seen them soaring and sitting high in trees. I think this was the first time I've seen one in real action.

Peggy and Food

In the past I may have mentioned our friends, Frank and Peggy.  Frank: former veterinarian, raptor (not rapture) specialist at the Minnesota Zoo, and for the past 20 years or so, rhubarb grower and spoon carver. Peggy: Lawyer, lobbyist, liberal activist, chef and generally a force of nature. She does a food blog for Featherstone Farm CSA and for herself. Cook Out of the Box. This is part of a rant about eating a meal after listening to Francis Moore Lappe, famous global change agent and author of Diet for a Small Planet:

"Now that I have set the stage a bit, I would like to tell you about the dinner we were served at the banquet.  Remember now - - the speaker was Francis Moore Lappe.  The woman who has been talking for forty years about food and social justice and sustainability of resources and planetary limits and good health.  And we all had just spent two days learning about:  nutrition, food insecurity, causes of obesity, global poverty and hunger, the importance of small scale farming in the developing world, the impact climate change will have on agriculture, equitable access to diverse foods and seeds, the organic and local food movement, taste in our food and food ethics and philosophy.  Whew.

Our dinner menu was:
Salad greens (quite conventional)  with industrial croutons, a few carrot shreds and vinaigrette
White dinner rolls and sliced (7 grain?) bread and butter
Steak - I would estimate half a pound per person- with mushroom sauce
Wild rice pilaf with a few small pieces of vegetable, including zucchini
Thinly sliced potatoes with a very few slices of winter squash and onions and a generous amount of cream
Cheesecake with caramel sauce and sliced apples

So this is what I need to say.  This was a reasonably tasty meal.  It was nicely presented.  I ate everything except half the meat.  (Frank ate that.)  There were beautiful flowers on the table and good conversation.  But I would not call it a "good" meal.  By many of the measures discussed at the conference, it was a pretty bad meal.   There was a shocking disconnect between the talk at the conference and the "walk" on the table.  Given the quality of ideas, curiosity and imagination of the conference speakers and participants, I expected much more."   More

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Worth Brewing

We went down to Worth Brewing tonight, takes less than 30 minutes door to door. Jon Guinea posts his beautiful la-de-da photos of big city beer. This is small town beer made by Peter Ausenhus in 10 gallon batches in Northwood, population 2050. Peter cut his brewing teeth at Summit Brewing up in St.Paul and then went small-time. As is normal, we were just out drinking beer and I didn't take my camera. We ordered three plates of assorted hors d'evoures and drank our way through a couple of 7-beer sample trays. We lined up the beers in order of favor, generally  leaning toward the IPA, oatmeal stout and a nice brown ale, tapering off to the lighter beers at the bottom.  The beer is all good - we ended up ordering a round of the oatmeal stout and the Field Trip IPA. The snacks were great, garlicky humus dip, and local sausage and cheeses. If you want more you can have it delivered from Soup's Pizza next door. Because the hors d'evoures were good we just grazed. In spite of spirited yelling and clapping, the Twins lost.  :-(

Another Diet to Try

Fifo Riders is a bicycle blog that was recently liberated. Good thing too, we need more of this kind of stuff:

"I was buying a large bag of Eukanuba dog food at my vet and standing in a queue at the check-out. A guy behind me asked if I had a dog.
On impulse, I told him no, I was starting the Eukanuba Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in hospital last time, but that I'd lost 22 kilos before I awoke in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told him that it was essentially a perfect diet and that all you do is load your pockets with Eukanuba nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. And I told him that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again. I have to mention here that by now, practically everyone in the queue was enthralled with my story, particularly a guy who was behind him.

Horrified, he asked if I'd ended up in hospital in that condition because I'd been poisoned. I told him no; it was because I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls when a car hit me."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Amy's Apartment

Addy has been visiting her lifelong friend Amy over the weekend in St.Paul and helping her get settled in her new apartment. I took a bicycle, a bed frame, desk chair and some miscellaneous up, shared a meal with Amy at D'Amico's on Grand Avenue, and brought Addy back (after two stops with relatives along the way ). Amy, my soul daughter, has a corner unit in a 1920s vintage apartment with one balcony facing the street and another one overlooking a lush green courtyard. This building is on Portland, only one block north of the Summit Avenue of F.Scott Fitzgerald. One time Addy mentioned she missed the green of the Twin Cities. This is nice. It is not expensive. It is within an easy walk of excellent restaurants. It is a civilized way to live.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Big Island Rendezvous

Every Fall a bunch of people get together on the shores of Bancroft Bay on the north edge of Albert Lea and play pretend 1840 fur trapping for two or three days. A few accountants, a few Native Americans, maybe a few Native American accountants? For two or three days they become someone else, someone they chose to be, not someone they are born to be - like Harley bikers without the bikes. They cheat time, but it's a good time ... with history, crafts, food and music - always a good combination. This is not my photo. I stole it from Lorna, who lifted it from someone else, who borrowed it from the photographer. Bless the obsidian, star-lit Minnesota autumn sky. Tonight the relative humidity is 35%. Hubble? We don't need no stinking Hubble. With no clouds, unpolluted air at 35%, you can see the edge of the universe with the naked eye. On a night like tonight you can lay out in the darkness of the autumn grass, and if you can focus far enough, if you can look deep enough in your mind, you can see the beginning of time. Of time itself.

Sammi Smith

For me, Country Music doesn't seem a natural fit for most female singers. The ones I like best, like Patsy Cline and Sammi Smith, might have country instrumentation behind them, but if you listen close, the vocals aren't really country. I realize that this is a minority opinion. So be it. Sammi died about  five years ago, generally ignored by Nashville and country fans because she was a subtle lady, didn't take herself too seriously ... and wasn't a NASCAR chick with skin-tight leather pants, big hair and huge breasts desperately trying to make a break for it.  ?

Here's another fun one, ukelele, kazoo, taps, the whole ten yards - with disabled embedding.

Jonathan Winters

In the previous post I referenced Newhart, Winters and Carlin. It struck me that most of you don't have a clue what I'm talking about (for nice a change of pace). Comedy records. Jonathan Winters was manic-depressive to the point of occasional hospitalization. Robin Williams was a disciple, but he was a wannabe pretender compared to Jonathan. When Winters was rolling and not ... quite ...over the edge, he was the fastest thing I ever saw.

English 2

I posted this yesterday. It laid out there for an hour before Lorna read it and said the language was too offensive, so I pulled it. Ya, it is offensive. If you have never been on a playground don't listen to it. I have listened to it a couple of times and I think it's pretty funny, not only the accents, but also the actual monologue itself - so I reposted it. Bob Newhart would be proud. Maybe you have to have grown up flopped on the floor of Margadant's cramped bedroom (a wide place in a short hallway) listening to LPs of  Newhart, Jonathan Winters, with maybe a dash of Carlin to really appreciate it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

John Prine

I used to be young. I once cut a fine figure of a man. Kinda cute even. Same with John. Now he looks like a truck mechanic. I think that would please him.

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's Never Too Late To Quotate

"They are like talking books in Fahrenheit 451 who are content to pass their lives filling up with knowledge which can never be used, and it is the very filling up that gives them a sense of life's pointless sweetness."

This is a scary quote. It means that some hacker has gained access to the hard drive of the Inner Gunnar.  They know me. The real me, not the cyber Gunnar. This is from an obscure book. Bonus points will be awarded to anyone who can attribute it - even the professional writers/readers, i.e.:  Dex., Michael, Matthew, Justine, Cheri, Maria,  etc. You know who you are. (Family members not included.)

Doug and Duluth

Doug Robertson is a year round bicycle commuter in Duluth, Minnesota.  Fall color has already hit hard up there and recently he's been posting some wonderful photos taken on his daily commute. Check him out.

62cm Kvale Touring on Ebay


Environmentalism As Religion

Jackson Gabus clued me on 3quarksdaily. I love it when I find myself have a laugh at another's expense and then realize it's me being lampooned.

For some individuals and societies, the role of religion seems increasingly to be filled by environmentalism. It has become “the religion of choice for urban atheists,” according to Michael Crichton, the late science fiction writer (and climate change skeptic). In a widely quoted 2003 speech, Crichton outlined the ways that environmentalism “remaps” Judeo-Christian beliefs: "There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe." In parts of northern Europe, this new faith is now the mainstream. “Denmark and Sweden float along like small, content, durable dinghies of secular life, where most people are nonreligious and don’t worship Jesus or Vishnu, don’t revere sacred texts, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to the essential dogmas of the world’s great faiths,” observes Phil Zuckerman in his 2008 book Society without God. Instead, he writes, these places have become “clean and green.” This new faith has very concrete policy implications; the countries where it has the most purchase tend also to have instituted policies that climate activists endorse. To better understand the future of climate policy, we must understand where “ecotheology” has come from and where it is likely to lead.