Who are we? We are our stories.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The 1949 Tour de France

The 1949 Tour was full of tension. The two strongest riders of the day, Geno Bartali, and the younger, Fausto Coppi were on the same team and initially the team was supporting Bartali, the previous year's winner. There were crashes, broken bikes, breakaways and injuries. Eventually Coppi won, establishing himself as Il Campionissimo, with Bartali finishing second.

For years (The Great) Aldo Ross has been collecting as much primary source material as he could, even learning French and Italian, with the intention of writing a book. After a hiatus, he is now back on the project. The photos below are his. Good job so far Aldo, now get to work, we need to read more about this.

American Trilogy

Twenty ago this weekend it looked like our whole society was coming unraveled. Mickey Newbury spontaneously combined these three songs onstage in Los Angeles that night.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This Land is Your Land

One of the classic American songs. Done well. A fine young band - with Willie laying down some sophisticated guitar.

On Brett- and Food

It's one of those places where the cook takes your order. Cook? Brett has been a chef in some find dining restaurants. No listings on a board or menu - he gives you half a dozen options. Lorna said she thought the pita sounded good. Brett mumbled, "It isn't what I would order." So she said, "Okay, I'll have the turkey sandwich." "I wouldn't order that either." Lorna, getting a little exasperated, "Well, what would you order?" "I'd order the meatloaf." Meatloaf? Meatloaf at 2:00? She gave in. My turn. I ain't stupid, I went directly to the meatloaf. That has to be the most sophisticated meatloaf dinners I've ever eaten, even the presentation on large white oval plates - herbal mashed potatoes with a little bacon, covered by thin slices of meatloaf laced with herbs and spices and "stuff" poured over the whole pile, flanked on both sides by wonderful onion based stir-fried vegetables. We finished with one of Brett's black cherry creme puffs, which we split. Brett kind of winged the price when we were done. "Two meatloafs, two cups of coffee, one pastry. Aw, it was the end of the meatloaf. How about 20 bucks." Twenty dollars, and we ate the boxed take homes last night for supper. The lesson? Always eat what Brett tells you too. If you recognize what he's doing for you, I honestly believe he would give you the food.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Shavers

Eddy Shaver was a fine blues player. Here he is on his relationship with heroin.

Eddy died on December 31, 2000 at the age of 38 of a heroin overdose. The following was his father, Billy Joe Shaver's response to the death of his son.


I love small children. I love their purity and goodness. I found this rain soaked card out front on the lawn this morning. I know who Hattie is. McKensie may live around the circle. Nathan? All I know of Nathan is that he is sick and his friends care for him, so they did what they could to make him feel better. They caught butterflies for him.

We should all have such good friends.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Of Gods and Kings

Northrop Frye knew scholars more intelligent or better trained than he was. But he had something else. "I had genius. No one else had that" . Geniuses seem to have flashes of insight, which they often cannot explain. I like the differension between genius and intelligence. They are somewhat linked - hard to be a genius without some intelligence, but we all all know those people who test reasonably high on an I.Q. test who dully grind their way through life. 
Frye’s biographer John Ayre writes of how groups of students regaled each other with Frye anecdotes at Murray’s, a cheap-and-cheerful student hangout of the 1950s. “What did God say today?” was a common question.
“Some of his students may have called him God,” Chamberlin says. “I never did, though. He was a vast person, yes, but he was still very much a person.”  More
I've never been considered a god, except maybe by my dog. When I was still working my co-workers called me "The King", but that I always thought that had more than a note of sarcasm about it. I'd have rather been a god.

(Is differension a word?- spellcheck doesn't like it. If not, it should be a word. It is now.)

Happy Birthday Ted

Ted Ernst is 80 years old today. You may not know of him, but he is one of the godfather's of American cycling. I do not know him personally, only by reputation, but he has been extremely generous with me a few times, both with knowledge, tools or components. May he continue riding in good health. (Thanks to Matt Gorski for the photographs.)

David Wages

Fillet brazed with stainless fork and stays.

Dave does really greet work. More pictures of the above here. It'll be fun to see it painted, and even better, built up.

I have his email address in case anyone looks at the photo link and NEEDS to be in his queue.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free At Last

The Blind Boys of Alabama formed their group as children at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind. For the Negro Blind? For Christ's sake would their presence have offended the White Blind? If they were all blind I suppose they wouldn't know who to hate.                 Some change is for the better.

The Sweetback Sisters

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I suspect good writing is hard and takes time. What I write is easy and doesn't take much time, but it still takes a little, so I fall back on my old friends, Cut and Paste.

I went to a good funeral today. A satisfying recap of Dee Dunn's life. Stories, tears and laughter. And lunch afterward. Have a good weekend.

Clarence Carter and Patches:

Lorna Berg and Patches:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Leon Russell

Great voice, great songwriter, great piano player. How on God's green earth could his man drop off our radar for so long?

Lorna just mentioned that the early Leon Russell reminds her of my younger brother Kirby. He certainly does. Unfortunately, Kirby died at 30, so we'll never know if he would have looked like the old Leon. He was special, I'd like to think so. 

Levon Helm

For Fritz and Jack.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It Smells Like Men

On Sunday afternoon Fritz, Jack , Kurt and myself spent a beer or two of time in the Growlery. Eventually, late in the afternoon the women came down to retrieve us, and as we filed out Lorna said, "We'll have to air it out. It smells like MEN."

Important Safety Tip:

It's the front end that bites.

So this guy walks into a bar ... 

The other day when I was killing time in the Lanesboro Pub, there was typical cross section of small town guys - a few duffers, a couple of serious drinkers, the long-haired kid in full camo - even down to a t-shirt. Not sure about that camo look. It seems to be a sub-culture statement that I really don't get. There was also one "normal" looking guy (other than myself), except he had a coiled snake on his baseball cap. We talked some. John Pieper claims that Lanesboro has to have the highest percentage of advanced degrees in the world. Of course John is generally full of bull, but he has a point. There are people who's jobs allow them to live anywhere they chose. I found another one. Eric is a "snake guy", a book dealer who sells obscure natural history books, particularly those related to snakes and reptiles.

He sent me these pictures of his children at play.

And yes, that second one is a rattlesnake.

Monday, April 16, 2012

They Call It a Pastry Shop ...

Lanesboro Pastry Shoppe
... but it is much more. The cases are filled with fresh baked bread, croissants, scones, and Danish, but they serve other food. Breakfast and lunch. I stepped up to the counter and asked if they had a menu. The guy behind the counter (Brett Stecher) says, "No. I'll fix anything you want. Except pancakes." I ordered eggs, sausage and hash browns. He poured coffee and Lorna and I went to sit. A lady at a nearby table handed us newspaper as we sat down. We had bicycled the day before, but the weather was brutal, so we lingered. It's an odd little breakfast cafe - one of those places where the newspapers are passed around, people are expected to pour their own coffee, yet there was a couple over in the corner who brought a bottle of wine, which they were sipping from cut Waterford Crystal wine glasses that Stecher furnished. 

The Commonweal Theater
Suddenly, Lorna shouted, "Oh, My God!" and bolted out the door without explanation. She had spotted an actor she had worked with. My Lorna had run off with an actor! I digested this for a moment or two then went back to my coffee and the sports page. Eventually she did return. Her actor friend had dragged her up the street to the theater to meet his new bride, another actor that Lorna knew. Lanesboro, population 752, has both professional and amateur theater. This weekend the pros held sway with the annual Ibsen Festival, or as Brett calls it, "Depression Weekend". 

Brett has a couple of other workers in the kitchen and at about 2:30, after he tires of the Pastry Shoppe, he leaves them to clean up and he walks up the street to a large old building tucked behind the old grain mill along the river - Smokey River BBQ.  At one time he was a chef in high end restaurants and he still does gourmet dinners. When he isn't running the two restaurants and cooking group dinners he makes spinning rods. He indicated that his wife isn't too happy with all the work, but as he puts it, "If you're ADHD you gotta channel it, ya gotta to use it."

Addy and her friend, Abby, not daunted by the windy, rainy weather, went biking anyway. As we had to vacate our hotel by late morning, Lorna was reading a book in a quiet corner of the pastry shop, so I just wandered around town a little. Around the corner was the rightward leaning building housing the shop of my friend, the leftward leaning Frank Wright. I have mentioned Frank in the past. He was a veterinarian who came to the Minnesota Zoo as a bird specialist, particularly raptors. Eventually he found Peggy Hanson, an activist leftist lawyer and he ended up carving spoons and growing rhubarb in Lanesboro. It's a little more complicated than that, but that's basically the Cliffs Notes outline of his life. We talked for quite a while, getting up to speed on family and what was going on behind the scenes in Lanesboro.

Old Village Hall
After I left Frank's I wandered down to the Lanesboro Art Center. There are a lot of artists and craftsman who have chosen to settle in Lanesboro and there was a lot of good stuff to look at.

When Lorna finally found me I was sitting at the bar in a saloon, helping get the big screen satellite lead fixed so we could watch Judge Judy. (When in Rome...)

By the end of the day the kids were back - oh! somewhere during the day Lorna and I went for a five mile hike. It must have been before I talked to Frank.

Late in the afternoon we went to the Old Village Hall and John Pieper served us a Norwegian Surf and Turf in honor of Ibsen. We had grilled elk steak and Norwegian salmon, both garnished with a lingonberry sauce. It took us two bottles of a nice Pinot Noir, which were great, but a little pricey. I think we had a desert, but I forget.

We had to get back home after we ate to get ready for the big wedding the next day. I won't hammer you with all the details, but Lorna's late sister's husband found another great woman. I had been drinking some, so by the time I did the formal toast my delivery was a little ragged. But we talked to old friends not seen in years. We met old and new West Coast cousins. We danced. The children danced. The babies danced. The last dance the DJ progressively sent the most recently married partners to the sidelines. Eventually we were one of three couples still on the dance floor. They had to parse it by months so at least we weren't married the longest. But close. Then they threw us all out of the hall and we went home. 

And one more picture of Addy and Abby's bikes, because there was a television reporter wandering around the village, and Lorna said that last night they finished the news with a close-up of Addy's Goodrich. The bike is famous.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Lanesboro: Ups and Downs.

Lanesboro, Minnesota (pop 752) is an up and down village. Unfortunately, recently that also applies to the economy. It is almost 100% dependent on tourism - bicycling, trout fishing, theatre and shopping. It is 40 miles from a town of any size and the recession and the price of fuel has been tough on them. There are a number of empty shops - a lot of for sale signs in the windows.

It is a wonderful place for bicycling, with about 75 miles of paved trails, and probably hundreds of miles of winding country lanes with very little traffic. Bicycling in the village one soon learns to pick routes and stay on the flat. There are streets that will positively take you off your bike. Photos seldom capture elevation changes well, but you get the idea.

Here are some more random shots:

Next, what we did, but right now I have to get ready for a wedding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Growlery Lamp & Door Shelf

I don't know what to say about these. The shelf is ...a shelf. In the small footprint of the Growlery storage will always be at a  premium and this one was free. 

The Lamp. There are a bear and a whitetail around the back side of the shade. I really like it. Lorna almost had a look of disgust when she first saw it, so I figure it must be "manly" enough.

The base is a Watkins Extract jug. The jug was made by the Redwing Pottery, Redwing, Minnesota. The extract was bottled by Watkins just down the Mississippi in Winona. It was sold by our local Watlkins man, Ben Kelly to my father-in-law, Bob Hanson.

It is not retro, it is well connected.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Decorah Eagle Cam

Lorna monitors a handful of "bird cams" on her iPad. I like the Decorah Eagles the best, maybe because it is fairly close to where we live. The eggs have hatched and the babies are flopping around trying to hold their heads up now so there is a little more action. It's been pretty windy around here the past couple of days, you might have to mute the sound. Here's a link to some others.  And more.

Live broadcast by Ustream

Ellis Cycles - Dave Wages

Here's a couple examples of Dave's work. Dave worked for Serotta and then Waterford before opening his own shop, Ellis Cycles. He's been winning awards ever since.

It just doesn't get much better than Dave's work. I think the first one I was aware of was the gorgeous blue and white bike that he built for occasional 1410 commenter Doug Robertson of Duluth. A fine bike.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Window Framing and Knee Nailing

This week I framed the door and windows. The window sashes are actually installed backwards, that is, the glazing putty, such that it is, is in the interior not exterior. The frame and the guts of the side jambs need a complete overhaul and I thought I'd re-putty and flip the sash around when I did the refurbishing. But now I find I like the stained and weathered look of the sash. I think I'll leave it and maybe just paint the new wood. Someday.  

After I got done I realized I really needed sash lifts so I stopped off at Tom Furleman to pick up three of them. Tom glazes windows, sharpens saws and sells "miscellaneous". He must love it because he can't possibly make a living from it - hell, I'll bet it's a stretch to break even. Part of his miscellaneous are old hinges, latches, pulls and hardware.

Tom wasn't there. He has a guy, kind of a general handyman, who helps and fills in now and then. Nice fella, in a scruffy beard/Harley bandana sort of way. I don't actually know his name. I call him "Man", he calls me "Sir". I asked if he had three old, solid steel sash pulls. He said he did and hobbled back to the junk drawers to find them and count out screws from the rusty screw jar. "How much? Oh, how about two bucks for the lot." As I was digging out a five, following him up to the cash register , I couldn't help but notice he was really hurting. "Hey Man, what the hell did you do to your leg?" 

"Last week I was shingling - on that windy day? I was on my knees and the wind caught me and kinda straightened me up. I leaned forward so I wouldn't fall backwards off the roof. I had the damned nail-gun in my right hand - 2" roofing nails, and as I fell forward I hit my left knee - KaBAM! Damn, I had my finger on the trigger. I drove that 2"er right through my knee. Man that hurt. I dragged myself across the roof, down to the ladder. That nail went right through the joint - nailed my knee bent ya know. I couldn't get on the ladder. Sat up there for a while trying to figure out what to do. Finally I closed my eyes and forced my leg straight. Hurt so much I screamed. But I had to get off the roof ya know. I had surgery the next day - it smashed everything. I got two holes, one from the surgery and the other one, the one where the nail went in, is open so it can drain. They say I won't be able to kneel or squat again. I think my shingling days might be over. Here's your change."  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Snowy Egret

At the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries there was a fashion for fancy feathers on woman's hats. The Snowy Egret was hunted for it's feathers and it became extremely rare. It was probably saved from extinction by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 which banned the hunting and selling of bird feathers, and possibly by the changing whims of fashion.

You know those beautiful women, who not quite satisfied with their natural beauty, always seem to find a way to kick it up a notch, and in the process look just a little goofy? Following is the Snowy Egret ... in her new "well look at me" yellow boots.  I took these last month on South Padre Island.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1975 Dave Moulton

First of all, who is Dave Moulton? The following is pretty much the Wiki entry. I rewrote it a little and edited it down to a manageable bite.
Edward David Moulton, born 1936, studied at Luton Technical College in England and beginning in 1957 learned bicycle frame building from Albert "Pop" Hodges in Luton. He opened a frame-building business around 1975 in Worcester, England. In 1976, Paul Carbutt rode one of Moulton's bicycles in the Olympics in Montreal, Canada. The bike frames were marked with Moulton's name, "Dave Moulton" in large lower-case letters. He emigrated to the United States in 1979 to work for Vic and Mike Fraysse in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, building bicycles under the Paris Sport brand that was used by the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team. In 1980 he went to work for Masi in California. In 1981 he rented space from Masi to start his own frame-building business. By 1983 he was doing well enough to move his business to a stand-alone location in San Marcos, California. That year he went into partnership with Olympic cyclist John Howard and manufactured bicycle frames under the John Howard name. In 1984 he began making frames under the Fuso label, Fuso being the Italian word for Molten, and between 1985 and 1987 made a small number of frames under the Recherch√© label. Moulton's bicycles have been ridden in more than 20 world championships, in major races including the Tour de France, and in Olympic events. He now lives in Charleston, South Carolina.
A few months ago Jack Gabus (aka Silk Hope) thought he had purchased an older Moulton. The deal inexplicably exploded, leaving Jack extremely angry and moultonless. Then the bike gods smiled. Karma? A gentlemen in England had a Moulton for sale, a very early example. Jack bought it for, what was in my opinion, a song.

This is an old bike. Should it be restored or left alone. If you restore, where do you get transfers?  Go to the hassle of scanning off the bike and having someone make them? No.  Dave Moulton is still alive and well, and he is going to have some transfers made. With his obvious blessing, it'll be restored. Jack is thinking having it painted cream with dark blue lettering panels.

Other color suggestions? Comments? Opinions? Input, gentlemen! We need input.