Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Big Thanks to "Must Be in the Front Row"

The Cubs are playing an important series against the Brewers this week. The team has been more than a little bit flat for awhile, and Tuesday, they were continuing and down 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

Ever since ol' Harry Carey died, the Cubs have enlisted guest singers for the seventh inning stretch "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Today was Milwaukee Brewer announcer and cut up, Bob Uecker's turn. He sang great until he got to the root part. He sang, "And it's root, root, root for the Brewers, if they don't win it's a shame."

Sacrilege. Pulling for another team at Wrigley. The fans immediately started up the song again, this time with the correct words.

Those flat Cubs came alive and scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh and went on to win the game. Was it possible that they were mad at Uecker's rendition? I like to think so. So, thanks a lot, Bob Uecker.

Unfortunately, he didn't sing yesterday and the Cubs lost.

In case you're wondering about the title, Bob did a famous commercial for Miller Lite. He was in a ball park and sat down about twenty rows back. An usher came up to him and said he was in the wrong seat. Old Bob said to another fan, "I must be in the front row." Next, we see him sitting all the way up in the nosebleed seats.

Proposing to Pay Bob Uecker to Sing at All Cubs Games Now. --RoadDog

Road Trip- 34th Anniversary- Part 2 Floods, Elizabeth, Dubuque, East Dubuque

We left this past Wednesday and encountered water over the road on Queen Anne Road as we were trying to bypass Woodstock. A short time later, there was another fording situation on Illinois Highway 176 east of Marengo.

We got on US-20 at Marengo and took it the rest of the way to Dubuque, Iowa. US-20 is one of my favorite highways, along with US-12, US-66, the National Road, and US-50. We stopped at a new visitors center east of Freeport. This is a very good one with lots of info and a good place to stretch.

US-20 is one of the most beautiful drives in the US between Stockton and Dubuque. If you think of Illinois as being flat, this will surely change your mind. The road follows the ridge line with great vistas off to the sides.

Elizabeth is a quaint little town. Then there's Galena, the town that history forgot. We went on past it as we'll be there tomorrow. The rains that have assaulted the Midwest caught up with us here and the twenty mile drive to Dubuque was done in a nearly blinding torrential downpour, just what we really needed.

In Dubuque, we went to the west end and played NTN at BW3 and then went to Paul's Tavern with all those stuffed animal heads.

We went to East Dubuque and checked into the Swiss Inn, a mom and pop place with rooms at around $50. They have food, but the oven was broken, so we drove to downtown East Dubuque and had one of the best roast beef sandwiches I've ever had at George and Dale's.

Day Two- Thursday- We took a ride out to the Lock and Dam in Dubuque. We go here every winter to see the bald eagles. None around here today, but the Mississippi was high and full of algae. Drove up to Eagle Point Park which has magnificent views of the Mississippi.

Spent $10 apiece to go into the National Mississippi Museum and Aquarium at Ice Harbor, and it was worth every bit of it. We particularly enjoyed watching the river otters and turtles. If there is any animal on earth that has more fun than an otter, I'd sure like to know.

Drove to the Ramada Inn west of Galena and checked in. This is on the site of the old Palace Motel, where we went on our honeymoon. We then went downtown in Galena and checked out some stores and had cocktails at the American Legion before dinner at the Log Cabin, dating from 1935. We ate here on the Sunday after we were married, and it has been a tradition ever since.

Stopped at the Keg and Cask and bought a bottle of Blue Nun wine. Liz's dad, Ambrose, gave us a small bottle to drink once we got out to Galena, and that has been a tradition all these 34 years. We had it out on the Ramada's deck and watched a toad going after the many crickets. OK, so we were hard up for entertainment.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

Stills, Yup, We STILL Got 'Em

1. STILL have those rotten Japanese beetles. They're after the geraniums and marigolds now. I refer to my killing excursions as "Search and Destroy" as that is exactly what I do. I go out in the morning and evening and occasionally at other times. I'd sure like to have a "bug count", but that would be impossible.

2. STILL have a huge number of very hungry mosquitoes.

3. STILL can't go out boating. The water is still over the pier.

4. STILL a Sox fan even though this is going to be a "long season."

5. STILL cutting the grass. I cut it Monday and again today. You can almost hear it growing.

6. STILL got those ridiculous gas prices. We even had it jump up nine cents around here since Tuesday. Most be the "Labor Day" gouge.

Come On Water...Go Down!!!! I need to go BOATING!!!! -RoadDog

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No Boating for Me, Bumble Bees 1- The "Dawg" 0

This past Tuesday, I went out to the boat with the intention of doing a bit of a float. I already knew that the Chain of Lakes was open, but only no wake. Plus, there were dire warnings about the extremely high bacteria content in the water. If you got any on you, you were supposed to wash it immediately (with what?) and take a shower.

When I got out to Rick's, I found the boat actually a few inches above the pier. I'd never seen it that high before. Water was up along the seawalls and grass on both sides of the channel. I would have had to walk through several inches of water to get out to the boat, so decided to take a RAIN check on my float.

Hopefully, I will be able to get out on Thursday or Friday.

Of course, we have Labor Day weekend coming up, always a big crowd out on the lakes. Hopefully the water will have gone down enough by then so that the no wake can be lifted.

Last evening, I was making a "Search and Destroy" mission against the dreadful Japanese beetles. It was essentially the "gloaming" with daylight fast leaving us. Out by the gazebo, I grabbed a dark object that I though to be a beetle. The buzz gave it away as not being a beetle. Before I could get my hand away, I'd been STUNG. Ouch!!! One very mad bumble bee buzzed away, probably planning on telling his buds about the stupid guy who thought he was a beetle.

This is the third time I've been stung out in the yard since 1993. Fortunately, I am not allergic to bee stings like Liz is.

The first time I got stung was by a bumble bee out by Frances' Back 40. It flew straight up and nailed me just above my right eye. A few years ago, while I was staining the deck, a wasp came up between the boards and got me on the rear end. Sure glad I didn't have to go to the emergency room for that one. "Let's see, what is the nature of your injury?"

Just one more reason to hate those beetles.

Do NOT Mistake a Bumble Bee for a Japanese Beetle. --RoadDog

Monday, August 27, 2007

Road Trip- 34th Wedding Anniversary Part 1

In honor of our 34th wedding anniversary, Liz and I took a road trip, essentially reversing what we did all those many, many, many, many years ago. Back in 1973, we got married in Dekalb, Illinois, and went to Galena, Illinois for our honeymoon. This year, we went to Galena first then to Dekalb on the actual same day of the week, Saturday. We drove by the current Best Western (Holiday Inn in 1973), where we had the reception. We also went inside NIU's Newman Center where the marriage took place.

Along the way, we encountered floods, forded flooded roads, played NTN, crossed the Mississippi River in a downpour, went to two festivals, visited a Japanese garden, drove some absolutely beautiful roads, saw lots of corn, ate lots of corn, dripped butter on myself, did some Lincoln Highway stuff, DID NOT buy any souvenirs, and went to a museum/aquarium.

I'll be highlighting the trip here, but will go into greater detail on the roaddogsroadlog blog.

More to Come Later. --RoadDog

NTNing Down Da Road Part 3

Yesterday, we stopped at one more new NTN site, this time Jerseys, in Beloit, Wisconsin, out by I-90 on a frontage road behind Subway. Like Cousins yesterday, cigarette smoking is not allowed, Great for me, but not for Liz.

The TVs are not set up well for NTN players so you have to turn to look to play, not a favorite situation. Very friendly bartender. We had just overeaten at the buffet at Thunder Bay Grille in Rockford, but, when I heard that they had 25 cent wings, I had to order some. I just can't turn down 25 cent wings!! These were huge too, not those little bitty baby ones you get at BW3, well, Buffalo Wild Wings. My excuse for eating again is that I had just walked around the world-famous Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. That is really worth the $6 admission.

We then drove small roads along the Wisconsin-Illinois border to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, where we played NTN at our home bar, Donovan's Reef. It is named after the Lee Marvin/John Wayne movie and is a taste of Florida in Wisconsin. There are three palm trees out on the deck where you can see the lake across the street. Bamboo lines the front of the bar and thatched grass hangs above it. All the paneling is wood with beach stuff on it.

We've been playing NTN here for about 12 years now. This is where we have our highest point totals. We had three top twenties. NTN shows the top twenty scores across the two countries as well as top twenty individual scores. (We had also had two top twenties yesterday at Scoreboard's.)

Have NTN, Will Travel. --RoadDog

NTNing Down the Road Part 2

This past Saturday, we went to three new NTN sites and revisited two others in Rockford, Illinois.

We have been to Rockford and played NTN before. However with NTN there are constantly places closing, dropping it, and adding it. So every so often you can go back. Of course, playing NTN is NOT the main reason we go on road trips, but something we try to add whenever possible.

We go to the NTN Buzztime web site and there you can look up places in towns you intend to visit. We always go here before taking any trip.

The first new place was Brewski's, which we found after some serious looking. The street is divided and at one point we thought perhaps it might be in a gentleman's club, but we just couldn't imagine why such a place would have NTN. I would imagine patrons have other things on their mind. Brewski's is located downstairs in a banquet facility, very dark, and someone should turn the air conditioner back as we like to froze.

They advertise the world's largest cocktails, and, judging by the huge glass, I would have to agree. You can get a margarita for $150 and they say there are about 50 drinks in it. I sure would have liked to see them make one of those. They also have a raffle to win a Brewski's Girl Lamp. This was a whole lot better than the one the father won on a "Christmas Story."

Several people were playing when we went in, but they all stopped for some reason.

Next stop was at Miranda's in a Muhlford Village, a shopping center that would appear to be essentially out of business.

Last new stop was called Cousins lacted right off the main shopping/restaurant thoroughfare called Business US-20, State Street. This is your standard sports bar; nice place, though. NTN was not on when we arrived, always a bad sign if they are going to keep it. Then, we could only get the Texas Hold Em. The bartender spent a lot of time getting Countdown on the screen. Then, they moved it to another set when the Bears-49ers preseason game came on. A big part of the floor was buckled from all the rain we've been having.

We got a room at the Motel 6 out by I-90 and played at the Damon's located nearby. This is one of the few Damon's that still has the game. At one time, pretty much every one had it. This is where they began the Glory Daze games for them exclusively before it went out to all sites. We like Damon's, but they are a bit on the expensive side. I LOVE their onion ring loaf!! And we also tried their new menu item, the Mini Burgers, which are two inch patties of Kobe-Black Angus beef. Those were so good that I almost didn't want to put all the other stuff on the sandwich as I normally do. I actually ate half the patty before putting all the extras on.

We then went to Scoreboard's in the Holiday Inn and played NTN. There top player is Cactus who has over 20 million Players Plus Points. You usually get a 1000 PP points if you score above 3000-9000 points out of a possible 15,000. So, he has played a lot. Liz and I both have over 9 million points. Not easy to do because you get a wide variety of questions. Cactus, however, did not play team, and kept his answers to himself. And he definitely knew the answers.

Still Spendin' Too Much Time Playing NTN. But Really Enjoyin' It. --RoadDog

NTNing Down the Road- NTN and Dubuque Part 1

We just got back from a five day mini-vacation in honor of our 34th wedding anniversary. Anytime we're out there on the road, we like to visit places with our favorite game called NTN/Buzztime. This is where you get boards called playmakers and answer questions off a TV. This is interactive and you're competing with people from the same place, and all over the US and Canada.

We added five new places to our list of sites that we have played at in the past ten years. We now have visited a total of 598 places in many states, but mostly Illinois and Wisconsin. So far this year, we've stopped at 42 new sites (we don't count places we've gone to before). Besides Il and Wi, we've been in Indiana and Kentucky. Usually, there would have been more, but we've stayed close to home in these days of gas gouging.

Last Wednesday, we visited Buffalo Wild Wings in Dubuque, Iowa. We still call this chain BW3 as it was originally called Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck (hence the three w's). They started in Columbus, Ohio, by some transplanted Buffalo people who wanted wings like in their hometown. These places are popping up everywhere. We even got one in Round Lake Beach, which really surprised us since they used to only build by colleges or tourist spots. One great thing about BW3s is that they all have NTN. Many NTNers refer to the chain as D-Dubs. This BW3 is located way out west of Dubuque and just recently opened. We were still in the Midwest's monsoon season that we're having this year, and the rain was washing lots of dirt into the parking lot.

Spending Too Much Time at the Game. --RoadDog

Mrs. Mike's Gourmet Corn Cheesy Style

As we travel down those old roads, every so often it becomes necessary to stop for a bathroom break. Often it is at a fast food place or gas station/convenience store. If I do not buy gas, I always make sure I buy something in way of thanks for using their facilities.

That usually means something from their $1 snacks. I always look for something I've never seen. This past Friday, while driving along Illinois Hwy 72, we stopped and I bought some of the best cheese corn I've ever had. It was called Mrs. Mike's Gourmet Corn Cheesy Style. It looked cheesy and believe me, it was. It is made by the Altona Company of Freeport, Illinois which advertises "From the makers of the BEST POTATO CHIPS ON THE PLANET" on the package. If their gourmet corn is any indication, I would have to believe them. This was the BEST I've ever eaten.

They have a website at www.mrsmikes.com

Check them out, and, if you ever see it sold, buy some.

Mighty Good Eatin'. --RoadDog

Fightin' Japanese Beetles, Mos-Quitoes, Grass, and The Chain

Took a walk around the yard this morning before A & E showed "24" and caught up with some old "friends" of mine, the ever-eating Japanese beetles. They had a feast over the last four days as I was not around to kill 'em. Used the bucket of soapy water where I knock them off the leaves. It is a very effective but time-consuming way to eliminate them. I would estimate that I got about 400.

While doing it, I had to fight off the mosquitoes which are in worse numbers than I've ever seen. They rise in mass whenever you get near bushes. You don't even have to bump a bush. They just sense your presence. Quite a few of them met their maker, but, unfortunately, a few got through so I'm doing some scratching. I guess I'll have to slather up with Off whenever I work in the yard for awhile. I don't much like doing that, but it's hard to work and slap those little biters away.

Fortunately, I was able to cut the grass last Tuesday when we had a rare day without rain. However, it rained Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so it is high again. I hope to cut it today (probably at the highest setting) and again by Wednesday. Lots of dew on the grass this morning, and, unfortunately the sun isn't shining to dry it out.

The Chain is open for no wake, but warnings are out for the increased bacteria level and that people should not come in contact with the water- no swimming. Let's hope the water drops by this weekend. Labor Day usually marks the official end of the season although you can still do boating until the end of October, which I usually do.

Still Hatin' Those Lousy Beetles!!! And NOT Too Crazy about the Skeeters Either. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bunch of OLD Teachers Get Together Last Friday

I meet Kip for breakfast on most Fridays. He was at Magee a year before I got there in 1973, after having taught a couple years in Minnesota. He taught woodshop for many years, until the district dropped the program and he was transferred over to the high school where he taught a REAL subject, social studies, until he retired about four years ago.

We've remained good friends though and continue meeting at Dino's in Fox Lake (near me) and the Triangle Restaurant in Grayslake (near him). It's good to keep up with old colleagues.

He had a surprise for me when I showed up at the Triangle last Friday. An old buddy of mine from the high school, John, was in from Nevada where he has been living for seven years after his retirement. He says he can't believe how fast the area is building up. His subdivision in Henderson was way out in the sticks when he moved there, but Las Vegas has grown out to it and past it.

They need teachers very badly and often try to get him back into the profession. But he has resisted. Why work when you can collect 75% of your pay? AND, do exactly what you want to be doing.

Then, Paul dropped by from Kenosha. He has been retired for three years and lives in Kenosha, Wi, about 40 miles away.

Everyone agrees that retirement time really goes by fast and that you just don't get as much accomplished as you thought you would. There's that, "I'll do it tomorrow mentality." I know I have barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to do this past year.

We had a great time talking about the old days and have a tentative plans to get-together out in Las Vegas in early December.

Kip and I usually get to breakfast at 8:30 and leave by 10. I had planned to do some shopping at nearby Gurnee Mills since I was in the area. We ended up staying until noon.

Here's to Good Times, Here's to Good Friends. --RoadDog

Where Does an Illinois Teacher Retire To?

You might expect Illinois teachers to clear out of here and head for warmer and more interesting locales upon retirement. You know, Florida, or Arizona. Some place like that.

The summer Topics & Report of the Illinois Teacher Retirement System had a map of the US showing where the states retired teachers were living.

As of May 31st, state listings went from lows of 5 in DC, 6 in RI,12 in ND, and 13 in Alaska. Other states of retirement choice were 632 CA, 629 Tx, 418 Arkansas, 259 Georgia, 238 in Nevada (including John) and 166 in NM.

What about the two that immediately come to mind when you think of retired folks, Arizona and Florida. They ranked numbers three and two in the standings with 1,477 and 3,028 respectively.

Well, then, what about the NUMBER 1 state? Hint, it's in the Midwest. States 4, 5, and 6 are here. Number 4 is Wisconsin with 1,379 (including Paul) , #5 is Missouri with 1,047, and Indiana #6 with 906.

The state most Illinois retirees choose is none other than ILLINOIS with 60,179!! Including two living right here at this old house. It is a great state to live in, especially in this area, where you also have Wisconsin as a playground. Then, there's the Chain of Lakes, and we're are definitely not flat around here. Then, of course, we have all those great old roads as well. That'd be Route 66, Lincoln Highway, and the National Highway.

Staying Put, at Least for Now, or Until the Property Taxes Get so High, I can't Afford Them Anymore. At the Rate they've Been Going UP, that Won't be TOO Long. --RoadDog

Speaking of the Fair

The Kenosha County Fair is held this time of the year in Wilmot, Wisconsin, about eight miles north of us in Spring Grove, Illinois.

It is held on grounds located behind the high school that include Wilmot Raceway where Sprint cars make a lot of noise and flip over. It costs $7 for adults, and includes live entertainment.

Lots of good food, vendors, midway rides and games, and, exhibitors. Of, course, I always go to the local groups to buy food. Not only are they generally cheaper, but also I like to keep the money in the area. I had a loaded brat at one place.

TALKING BASEBALL

Talked with a couple about the Brewers who are battling it out with the Cubs and now also the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central Division. I had read an article about the old Milwaukee Braves and their trip to the World Series 50 years ago. That great team included Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, and Eddie Matthews. The guy remembered this team well. It was about seven years before I got into baseball, so I hadn't ever heard of the team, other than a lot of the players. They had a rookie that came to be nicknamed "Hurricane" Hazel who was called up in July and went on quite a hitting spree to get the Braves there. That was his only good year though. His last name was Hazel, and, of course, there had been that hurricane three years earlier.

Both of us were big fans of the great '82 Bewers team with Molitor, Yount, Cooper, Thomas, etc., who also went to the World Series before losing to the dastardly Cardinals.



Enjoyed the Robinson Racing Pigs and was waiting around for American English, a Beatles tribute band, to take the stage at 8 PM. Spent some time walking through, and smelling, the livestock buildings.

WORST-EVER BEATLES TRIBUTE BAND

Like I said, American English was supposed to start at 8, so I got there a little before then. There was nowhere to sit and the ground was way to wet, so I stood and waited and waited and waited. All we were getting were soundchecks and guitar tuning from their roadies. That is not what I call a Beatles show.

I finally left at 8:30 and they still hadn't started. I don't know about them, but I consider my time a bit more valuable than that. That showed little respect.

Possibly, they were waiting for the end of the IRA Outlaw Sprint race that started at 7. Those cars make a LOT of noise. Perhaps they didn't want to compete. They should have told us if they were.

Told the lady at the gate that I wasn't happy about the whole thing. This was a big reason why I had driven there and paid my admission.

Good and Bad Times at the Fair. --RoadDog

Row, Row, Row Us Away- Rain Continues

Like they say, when it rains, it pours. And around here, we've certainly gotten a lot of the wet stuff the last several weeks. It seems like every other day it rains. Since I deejayed the wedding Saturday, which, unfortunately, was outside (fortunately under pavilions, but even then, it tended to put a damper on things), it has rained essentially straight through. If it wasn't raining, it was threatening to do so.

Fox Chicago said this morning that we can expect it to Saturday.

Boating in the rain isn't much fun, so that is out. Plus, the Fox River has been completely closed both above and below the dam. The Chain of Lakes itself is open to boating on a no-wake basis. This means that you are not to make any ripples as you go through the water.

All this rain hasn't stopped the cursed Japanese beetles though. Plus, the slugs are thriving on my hostas. This is ideal slug weather.

The grass is VERY green and thick, and I can almost hear it growing. I just cut it last Thursday when we finally got some dry weather. It was so high and thick, I had to cut it on the highest setting. It is going to be a real bear if I have to wait until Saturday to cut it.

Two good things, though: I haven't had to water any plants, and, the septic field lines are finally green again. Two years ago, we had an extended drought for the whole summer. I let my yard go and it had a very crunchy texture come September. When we finally got rain, it greened up right away. All, that is, except for the septic field lines which stayed dead. I worked on them all last summer and this, and you could still see the outlines. But, NOT any more.

I did learn that it we have another drought, to keep the area around the septic field watered.

I'm listening to The Surf, 94.9 FM, out of Myrtle Beach, SC, right now, and no rain is forecast. Talked with Mom Monday. She says they could use some of our rain as it has been very dry. The Fox Lake Waterway station in Fox Lake reports that we've had 7.67 inches so far this month, but I think we've had more in Spring Grove. Rockford, about 50 miles west reports 10.47 inches.

Brings Me Back to an old Favorite Song, "Rainmaker", by the Cryan' Shames. --RoadDog

Robinson's Racing Pigs at Kenosha County Fair- August 17th

If you ever get the chance to see this show, do it. They appear quite often around the Midwest at fairs, both county and state. There are at least three teams doing the circuits.

This is an enjoyable show, featuring baby pigs from 3-4 months of age. These little porkers run all out for that Oreo at the end of the race.

I loved the names: Hillary RodHAM Clinton, Brittany SPAREribs, SPAMela Anderson, HAMmy Wynette. Each pig, for each race, had a cheering section and head cheerleader, always a kid. The cheerleader of the winning little piggy got a ribbon.

One race was swimming. Some of them weren't too sure about going into the water and others launched headlong into it with vigor. I didn't know pigs could swim so fast, but then, there was that much-anticipated Oreo at the end of the race.

Once, a piggie decided he didn't want to race, so they let him go back into the trailer saying, " We won't force any pig to do something they don't want to do. Because if we did, they'd squeal on us."

What happens to them when they hit retirement age at five months is anybody's guess. Probably end up in some Carolina bbq pork. Oh well, fame is fleeting, or in this case, racing.

This Little Piggy Went...Racing. --RoadDog

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ronnie Rice's Playlist- Part 2

It's Best to Start Reading This Back at Ronnie Rice at "It's Thursday"

Playlist continued:

That's Alright
Stuck on You- Elvis
Burning Love- Elvis
Jailhouse Rock- Elvis
Teddy Bear- Elvis--These last four in honor of the anniversary of Elvis' death back in 1977
Ding-A-Ling- we had a good time with this one
Who Put the Bomp
Stagger-Lee
Personality- these last two by Lloyd Price
Tossing and Turning- It's 8:19 PM here, and he started at 7:30. That's a lot of songs
Happy Together
Runaround Sue
Forget Him- maybe this was the name
Meet Me at Midnight Mary
Just Like Romeo and Juliet
Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter
I'm Henry the 8th- Well, you just knew he'd have to play this song after the last one. I wonder if anyone knew the words?
Willie and the Hand Jive
Mother-in-Law
Da Doo Ron Ron
Johnny B. Goode
Wild Thing
Game of Love
Mickey Mouse
Leader of the Pack- complete with motorcycle sounds
This is Dedicated to the One I Love
What's New Pussycat?
Simon Says- audience participation
C'Mon and Swim
The Twist Let's Twist Again

Stopped at 8:52. Audience standing o. "Just because of that, you'll have to sing some more."

Gloria
She Was Just 17


Great show. Note to Ronnie, and all other bands. Don't sell your CDs for more than $15, and try to keep it at $10. The more people who buy your songs, the more word will get out. Ronnie wanted $20. No sale here.

I'll Take a Little More of That Sixties Music, Please. --RoadDog

Ronnie Rice's Playlist 8-16-07

He's liable to launch into any song at anytime, so this is just what he played Thursday. His shows are definitely a lot of sing-a-long and name-that-tune. Of course, with songs like these, it was like one of those public TV shows where everyone is sitting there mouthing the words to those great old songs. Only here, we had a lot of movement.

At one point, he invited people (including young kids who had no clue), up on the stage to do the Hand Jive.

I was writing down the names of the songs, which he rarely would tell the name of, you had to guess. I did quite well, but then again, I'm quite old and grew up with those tunes. Here is one place I could beat Mom as she always trounces me when we do a Big Band name-that-tune. But, then again, that's HER era.

I only had one I couldn't name, and I knew that song, but just couldn't name it. It was from the 80s, the only "new" song he played. Eventually, an hour after the concert, it came to me, Gregg Kihn's "Breakup Song." I'm also not sure about the "Forget Him" song. Other than that, I rolled on the 61 songs and two encore songs he played in his one and a half hour show.

It was only him on the stage with a guitar.

Here we go:

I'm Ready
Shake Rattle and Roll
Do You Wanna Dance?
Let's Go
Summertime Blues
High Heel Sneakers
Rock and Roll is Here to Stay
Boney Maronie
Little Bitty Pretty One
Rockin' Robin
Rock and Roll Music
I Like It Like That
Let the Good Times Roll Rockin' Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu
Why Do Fools Fall in Love?
Ain't That a Shame
Blueberry Hill--a couple Fats Domino songs
You Can't Sit Down
Roll Over Beethoven
Lonely Days and Lonely Nights
Runaway
Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh- the crowd really ate up this silly song
Wolverton Mountain
Battle of New Orleans
Running Bear- complete with Indian sounds
Please Mr. Custer- with arrow sounds and "Forward Hos"
Things I'd Like to Say- Guess who wrote this one?
I Will Always Think About You- these last two by New Colony 6. I wish he'd done more.
Where the Action Is

To Be continued...

Ronnie Rice at "It's Thursday" in Antioch, Illinois.

I'm sitting here at the old keyboard on Saturday listening to 'Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Countdown on the Endless Summer radio network. I sure love getting my Beach Music fix over the internet when I'm not down that way.

This past Thursday. I drove over to Antioch to their "It's Thursday" free concert series. This one featured Ronnie Rice, or the Human Juke Box as he is called.

Ronnie was the lead singer and wrote many of the songs for the seminal Chicago 60s rock group, the New Colony Six, one of my favorites from that era. Other Chicago groups were the Shadows of Knight, Buckinghams, Ides of March, and Cryan' Shames.

They first hit the charts in 1965, and charted 21 singles on the Billboard charts, mostly not in the Top 40. But, they were in the Top 40 all the time on the two major radio stations in Chicago, WLS and WCFL. Both of these were AM stations, but this was before FM.

They had hits with: Love You So Much, I Confess, Cadillac (a great way to learn how to spell the word as they kept spelling it out-probably my favorite NC6 song), I Will Always Think About You (one of Liz and my "songs"), Can't You See Me Cry, Love You So Much, and another favorite of mine, Mr. You're a Better Man Than I.

You can get info at http://www.ronnierice.com/

Also, www.newcolonysix.com but this one isn't kept up very well.

The New Colony 6 was inducted into Iowa's Rock N Roll Music Association's Hall of Fame in 2002. We don't have a Chicago Rock Hall of Fame that I know of.

They were noted for wearing Revolutionary War uniforms as part of their gimmick. Of course, all things English were in the vogue back in 1965, what with the British invasion. Get it, colony. Even the Buckinghams were named after Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, but then there's that Buckingham Castle in London.

The group reformed in the the 1980s, but Ronnie doesn't perform with them.

I wish that Bob Stroud would have one of his Rock and Roll Roots compilation CDs on those great Chicago 60s groups. Hear that, Bob!!!

I have two greatest hits New Colony 6 compilations.

The 60s, a Pretty Good Time to Grow Up...Overall. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rain, Hostas, and Ribfest Yesterday

Yesterday, I did a Japanese beetle sweep in a light drizzle and then planted three new hostas and about eight others that I divided.

We went over to Kevin and Kelly's, who have the place on Fox Lake for Ribfest. They are the ones who also have the End-of-the-Year party every June (they are both teachers) and the 4th of July fireworks party as they are right across the water from where they shoot them off).

We played tag for awhile with the rain that would start, causing us to move inside, stop, and we're back out, start again and move again, until we finally gave up and just stayed inside.

Kelly made up both beef long ribs and pork short ones. Unfortunately, by the time we got around to eating, we were all too full of snacking, so didn't eat anything as much as we wanted. We'll blame it on Jim and Arlene, who, when they arrived, had more snacks than you could believe. We also had corn-on-the-cob, jambalaya, pasta salad, beans, and cornbread. Kelly makes up some mighty good ribs, right up there with Bob's.

This was a primarily Irish crowd, so we listened to the Gleasons, a great Irish rock band out of Milwaukee, and a lot of other Irish music. Plus, a whole lot of the people were originally, or still living in, Brooklyn, NY.

We were having Ribfest in honor of John, a NY City police sergeant. He had some stories about the aftermath of 9-11 where he helped in the cleanup. I will write about one on the other blog
roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com. We also had Jim's brother and wife from New York with us. They had just flown in a few hours earlier.

Here's to Good Times. --RoadDog

The Second Day at School

Since I am now celebrating the beginning of my second year of retirement, I look back on memories of the first days of school.

I really disliked the very first half-day, well, at a bit over two hours I guess you couldn't call it a half day.

I would have my homeroom and have to go over the school rules according to the "In the Know" booklet. That was boring and seemed to go on and on forever.

As bad as that was, it wasn't anything as bad as trying to teach the kids how to open a combination lock. A few would have had experience with it, but most had never seen one. I tried to make it as simple to learn as possible, but to no avail for some of the seventh graders, who were getting lockers with locks for the first time.

It was even worse until the last several years at Magee, when the combination locks built into the lockers finally gave up the ghost and quit working. The district replaced them with the hand-held combos. At least this way, we got to practice opening the locks in class instead of at the lockers.

The hardest part was the second move to the left which requires going all the way past the first number. This threw many a kid. And then there some kids who hadn't quite figured out the left-right thing.

To Be Continued...

Let's See, is that L-R-L, or R-L-R? --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Day of the School Year

As I look back on my years of teaching on the second anniversary of my retirement.

The first day of school, we always met en masse: teachers from all five elementary, one junior high, and the high school. Usually, it was in the high school auditorium, which would be crowded to the point of teachers sitting in the aisles.

The coaches and their ilk usually sat in the very back and messed around for the whole time. And we yell at kids when they do that. I normally got a spot under a light so I could read a paper or do some writing when it got boring, which it often would.

The superintendent would get up and give a positive speech about all the great things that had happened over the summer, and all the fantastic things in store for us this school year.

Then, little golden apple insignias would be given out to teachers and staff reaching five year milestones in their Round Lake service. I ended up with six of these.

We would then have a lunch. Usually the district would make it to us.

Afternoons were taken up with meetings, and, if really fortunate, we'd get a chance to work in our rooms. This was something I needed as this would be my first day at my school. Other teachers would start coming in a week or more earlier to "set up."

A Long and Boring Day. --RoadDog

Every Bloomin' Thing- Mid-August

Right now, the yard is ablaze with purples and yellows. The purple coneflowers are still in show-state and the black-eyed susans are in their prime. I also have lots of heirloom tall yellow plants that are blooming.

I found these at a home in Fox Lake where I was deejaying a lot of years ago. I asked the owners what they were, and they said they didn't know, but they had been on their grandparents' farm and had been there for at least a hundred years. They let me take some and they are doing very well in my yard.

They are about five to six feet tall and topped with about 20-30 yellow flowers about the size of a small fist. Unfortunately, when it rains, the flowers get too heavy for the stalk and they bend over. With all our rain, they are bent over quite a bit.

We had another storm pass through this morning. It seems like we're getting a storm about every two or three days, but, hey, I'll take the water.

The goldenrod are getting ready to bloom, plus, I still have a lot of daylillies blooming. I've had different ones blooming since early June, and still going. The mums have some blooms already, but the big burst will come toward the beginning of September and continue until frost.

Plant a Flower-Make a Smile. --RoadDog

Monday, August 13, 2007

If You See Me with a BIG Smile Today...

There will be a definite reason. My school district goes back to work today, August 13th, and I DON'T!!!!!!!!!!!

Teacher retirees do not "officially" start our retirements until our former colleagues have to go back to school. After all, we were going to have the summer off anyway.

Thus begins my second official year of being retired. Maybe I'll actually get something accomplished this year, but maybe not.

This is Kora's first year as well.

Retired and Loving It!!!! --RoadDog

Here's a Senior Idea

As I fast approach the days of being classified as a senior citizen, I occasionally will pick up a publication for that group of people. I like to look at bus trips and vacation offerings.

I picked up the June Chicagoland's Senior News a while back and just got around to reading it. I found an interesting article about a woman who has come up with a novel and interesting way to provide herself with assisted living.

Columnist Tait Trussell was on a Princess Cruise Line boat, and saw an elderly lady whom the staff all seemed to know very well. He asked the waiter about her and found that she had been on the last four cruises back-to-back.

He had a chance to meet her and asked why she spent so much time on the boat. She replied right away saying this was far cheaper than a nursing home or assisted living.

She continued: As long as I'm not too old and feeble, I'm going to be riding cruise ships. The annual cost of the living facility I checked out would have cost me $73,000 a year. I have checked the long-term cruise reservations and senior discount, and can pay only $135 a day for an inside cabin. That's a little over $49,000 for a year of cruises."

Sounds like she's on to a great idea and I will definitely keep this under consideration.

Last summer, my mom was nice enough to treat the family to a trip on board a Princess ship. This was my first time on a cruise and I have never been treated so well and had so much great food. Plus, there is all the great entertainment, activities, and shore excusions.

Let's See, cruising on a boat, or stuck in a nursing home. HHhhhhmmmmnnn.

Having a Senior Moment. --RoadDog

Saturday and Sunday- Deejaying, World's Best Bloody Mary, Making a Name for Ourselves, Band at Captain's

Saturday, I did some yard work. I managed to cut down the six golden barberry bushes which had become seriously overgrown. I only sustained a few scratches. Remind me never to buy anything again that has thorns. I haven't done so for a long time, but do have one rose bush and about ten other barberry bushes.

I deejayed at the American Legion pavilion overlooking Nippersink Lake in the Chain of Lakes all afternoon. It was for their annual picnic. We had plenty of great food, including ribs, as well as drinks, and lots of raffle prizes.

World's Greatest Bloody Mary

Yesterday, Liz and I went to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, right over the border, about ten miles away. We first went to Main Street Tap, a real Northwoods type place, even though it is right at the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Lots of fishing stuff all over. Plus, the bartender makes probably the best Bloody Marys I've ever had. They come in a pint glass and are perfect for grazing. I mean, let me loose on a Bloody Mary bar, and I'll have a salad.

You get: a green onion, piece of celery, pickle speer, shrimp, cheese (Well, IT is Wisconsin), summer sausage, cherry tomato, pepper slice, cocktail onion, black olive, and green olive. Then, you get his perfect concoction, perfected after making thousands of them. And a mini-schooner chaser of beer. All this for THREE DOLLARS!!! Now, that's what I call a DEAL!!

NAME and BAND

Next, we stopped by Donovan's Reef, named after the movie of the same name starring John Wayne and Lee Marvin. Played NTN and we had four national rankings, which was seen by about 10,000 people in 400 places across the US and Canada. Unfortunately, watched both the Sox and Cubs lose.

Then, we went to a favorite Sunday afternoon place on Fox Lake, Captain's Quarters, and saw a great band, Twist of Fate, which had six members and played songs from the 60s to 80s. Nothing like sitting outside on a sunny day out on the Chain in the company of boaters, having an ice cold beverage, and partying with a good band.

Came home and enjoyed a so-so sunset from the deck.

Not a Bad Way to Spend a Weekend. --RoadDog

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Earl Morse's Honor Flights

I came across an article in the American Profile magazine about Earl Morse, who has started up an organization called Honor Flight, which takes WWII veterans to the National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC, at absolutely no cost to themselves.

Morse is a retired Air Force Captain and a licensed pilot. While working at the US Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinic in Springfield, Ohio, in 2004, he asked a patient, 78-year-old WWII vet Leonard Loy, if he was going to visit the new memorial. Loy said he didn't have enough money. Morse was already planning on flying his father, a Vietnam vet, to DC to see the Wall. Would Loy care to come with them? An idea was born.

Morse founded the non-profit Honor Flight Network in 2005, and has since taken over 1000 WWII vets to the memorial.

This is a man who has accomplished a great thing.

You can find out more at www.americanprofile.com "Honor Flight" by Marcia Schonberg July 29-Aug. 4, 2007.

My cousin Graham, a US Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, was involved with mercy flights to get people to hospitals for operations who could not afford to do it, for many years. I'll have to contact him to find out more about what he did.

My Great Thanks to People who do Things like This. -- RoadDog

Speaking of Those ROTTEN Japanese Beetles

I figure I have another couple weeks to deal with the main part of the Japanese beetle onslaught. They have really done in the top of one of my mountain ash trees, a favorite snack for the varmints. Right now, the seed balls are a brilliant orange and very pretty on the bottom of the mountain ash, but not so much at the top because of the eaten leaves.

They are also going after a wildflower, my burning bushes, and purple plum bushes. They also like my paper and river birches.

The best time to catch and kill the beetles is early in the morning and about two hours before nightfall. They are then settled in to eat or procreate for the night, and very sluggish. During the day time, they are very fast to get away.

I kill them either by smashing them with my fingers- very messy, or knocking them off into a pail with soap and warm water. This kills them very effectively. Just don't let too many accumulate as it gets very smelly after a couple days.

I must kill 300-500 or more every day. They either have successive hatchings or a lot of them fly over from the neighbors' homes. I mean, I'll completely kill off a group one day, and, the next day, they'll be back.

Last night, I tried a new way to kill them. Since water and soap does a good job, I loaded up my sprayer with a mix and sprayed them. I'll have to see if it worked later today. I probably will have to catch some and run a test in a controlled environment, though.

I Really HATE Those Japanese Beetles. --RoadDog

Another Great Friday

Did some boating Friday and cut the grass, which really needed it after all this rain we've been getting. Went over to Alden Terrace in McHenry and visited with Frances, my mother-in-law.

Then, Liz and I went over to Baja Benny's on Fox Lake (used to be Costello's, a favorite stomping ground until they sold it a couple years ago). Met up with a bunch of teacher friends of ours, who, unfortunately, are going back to school, several this Monday!!! We had to try to keep the smiles off our faces. We, including Kora now, DON'T have to go back on Monday. We's RETARRED!!!!!!!

Sue and Paul just got back from a two-week vacation out to Montana, ND, and SD. They just got an RV at the beginning of the summer, and this was their first major excursion in it. They are now officially AFFLICTED with the RV bug. As a matter of fact, they are already planning on getting another RV to more meet their needs.

My brother Bob and wife Judy are big-time RVers as well. He has tried to get me into it, which is a possibility as I really like hitting the road. My biggest problem would be convincing Liz.

Is an RV in My Future? Only Time Will Tell. --RoadDog

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sore Feet, Too Much Food, BUT, Didn't Buy Nothin'

A Day at the Wisconsin State Fair.

We did go to the fair on August 9th, and enjoyed ourselves despite the Chicago-level prices and light rain that we had early on. When the rain stopped and the sun came out, the heat became almost unbearable.

Met Rick and Chris at the Old Style Heartland Pavilion, our usual place to meet. We do some stuff together and others separately. If we get separated, we meet back here on the hour. However, now that we have cell phones, it's not such a problem anymore.

One place that still has reasonable prices is the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. They, of course, feature items made in Wisconsin and cheap prices as well as samplers. I had an ostrich stick, ice cream sundae, buffalo burrito. I also had three small cups of milk at Herb's Milk House which is sponsored by US Senator Herb Kohl. I like their different flavors like chocolate, mocha, and strawberry.

We saw several favorite bands like Hat Trick, the band that doesn't know where the stage is as they meander among the crowd and play Cajun and Buffett style music. Also saw the Rhythm Kings who play several summer dates a year out at Captain's Quarters on the Chain.

An Irish place by Old Style had a bagpiper and later a guy singing Irish songs- imagine that! Michael Drake had the crowd hopping at the Tropics.

My poor feet were very tired when we left, but I am happy to report that I didn't buy anything from any place out there, a first.

Well, Maybe I will go Back. --RoadDog

ChicagoITIS Strikes Northward into the Land of Cheese!!!

Chicagoitis is spreading northward. Chicagoitis is the tendency for Chicago to overcharge on all things to visitors, from parking to eating, to anything.

The Wisconsin State Fair used to be a lot cheaper to get in and parking was only about $4, now $9. You don't even want to think about what you'll get charged for parking in Chicago.

We parked a couple blocks to the east on the street and for free!! Chicago won't let you do that ever since they got night games at Wrigley. You used to be able to park on the street around Wrigley, Comiskey, or any major attraction. But, NOT ANY more!!! If you don't have a parking sticker for the neighborhood, you'll get ticketed and towed, a VERY expensive proposition. Before, you could find a parking spot with some looking, but not any more. And, you'll never guess what impact this restriction had on the prices gouged at the parking lots!!!!

Then, we also noted that prices on food and ESPECIALLY drinks had risen to ballpark and Chicago levels. If you want a beer, be prepared to pay $5-6. Try to avoid that gouge and get a soft drink and be prepared to pay $3-4. Most burgers and sandwiched were in the $4 to $6 range, and that was without any sides.

Sorry to see the Chicago gouge come to Wisconsin.

Probably my Last Trip to the Wisconsin State Fair. --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Iron Butterfly and Canned Heat at Galt Airport

McHenry's Galt Airport hosted a psychedelic concert a couple weeks ago with two of the better-known 60s bands: Iron Butterfly and Canned Heat. I didn't go, but would have liked to. It was billed as a Celebration of the 1967 Summer of Love. They had posters out that looked like those you would have seen out at Haight-Asbury back in that year. They were psychedelic.

There was a bit of a proble leading up to it as the airport owner did not want to hire off-duty McHenry County sheriffs and police at the rate of $50 an hour. Hey, I would sure work for that!!!

I was able to get a poster at the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce a few days after the event.

Of course, Iron Butterfly is sometimes referred to as the first heavy metal band. Their biggest hit was 1968's 117 minute-long "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" which is supposedly an alcohol-slurred version of "In the Garden of Eden." Then, there's the seven-minute drum solo. They were supposed to be at the Woodstock Festival, but got stuck at an airport.

I have an original album by them. but it is somewhat worn. I couldn't get enough of that song. Just hearing it takes me right back to that period of my life.

Bryan Wawzenek had an interview with bassist Lee Dorman in the Northwest Herald. He said the group had never played the short version of the song, which was made by a deejay in Detroit. They had other songs, but "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida definitely overshadowed all the rest of their efforts. He didn't join the band until the fall of 1967 after a tour of duty in Vietnam.

Canned Heat formed in Los Angeles in 1965 is is considered a blues-rock-boogie band. Bob "the Bear" Hite was the lead singer and harmonica-player. They were at the 1967 Monterrey Pop Festival and Woodstock where I always thought Hite wasn't too with it on the song that was chosen for the soundtrack. They had two great ROAD SONGS: "Going Up the Country" and "On the Road Again."

Take Me Back to the Sixties. --RoadDog

Not Many Farms Left in Lake County, IL--Now One Less

You always hear about the fact that there are fewer and fewer farmers in the Chicagoland Metropolitan area. In the 1950s, there were 13,000 farms in the Chicago suburbs, By 2000, that number had dropped to less than 3000. Every year, some of the best agricultural land in the whole world, sprouts subdivision after subdivision.

Papers and media try to paint a sad picture and make us feel sorry for these farmers. However, I find it hard to feel sorry for these new millionaires. Had they been forced to sell their farms because of unfortunate events beyond their control, I'd feel sorry for them. But, NOT when the sale is their choice.

In an article by Mike Zawislak titled "The end of an era" in today's Daily Herald, I read about the Titus family selling their 160 acre farm for an undisclosed amount of money. However, back in 2004, the farm was on the market with the asking price of $17.5 million. I'm sure it is considerably higher today.

Tony Titus is the great-grandson of Lorenz Titus who started a dairy farm on the site with 100 acres in 1877. Production has since switched to grain and vegetables. For years, you could buy fresh produce at their farmstand and they also sold at various area farmer markets.

The developer who purchased it will do a land swap with the Lake County Fair Association. This will be the new site of the fair, after 50 years at its current site in Grayslake. The developer will get the old site and will also sweeten the deal with $12.5 million. A 769,000 square foot shopping center will be built.

This Sunday, all the farm machinery will be auctioned off.

I must admit that I am part of the problem when it comes to the loss of farmsteads in the area. We bought our lot and built our house in 1992 out in Orchard Bluff Subdivision in Spring Grove. The the year before, they had been growing corn on out lot and there was an apple orchard on part of the subdivision. If people like me weren't buying the lots, the developers wouldn't be buying the farms.

Plus, you have to remember, this is some of the best land for growing crops anywhere in the world. Now, all it is growing are houses and several million rotten Japanese beetles.

Again, I DON'T Feel Too Sorry for the Titus Family. --RoadDog

Barbara Morgan Going into Space

Came across an article in the Chicago Tribune about Barbara Morgan, a teacher, who is going into space today on board the Space Shuttle Endeavor. She will be the first teacher into space, 22 years after she was got into the space program. She was Christa McAuliffe's backup on the ill-fated Challenger trip back in 1985.

I'm 56 now and Morgan is 55. I can think of a lot of things that I'd rather do at this age than go into space. As a former teacher myself, I couldn't be prouder that a fellow colleague gets the opportunity to do this after so long a wait. FIRST TEACHER IN SPACE!!!!!

I was at a teacher workshop in Rolling Meadows when I got news of the Challenger's demise. Everyone knew that Christa McAuliffe was in it. However, the fact that there had been so many successful launches of shuttles, no one really even considered the dangers. The meeting went very quiet when it was announced. I remember wearing a black arm band to school for about a week afterwards.

Best of Luck to Barbara and the Rest of the Crew--RoadDog

More Rain!!!

This morning, I went out boating to McDonald's and did some floating around. How many other places can you boat over to McDonald's for breakfast or your burger fix?

Came home, just in time to catch some more rain. At least it didn't rain while I was in the boat. That is never a very pleasing thing to be on your boat in the rain, especially when you have an open bow.

We've been getting the rain of late. It rained last Thursday. We got another 4-5 inches between Saturday and Sunday. Then, we had a real big storm Monday night to Tuesday, with another 5 inches around here. However, rain is a good thing for the yard as it has been a bit dry so far this summer.

The Chain is higher than it's been since the drought of summer 2005. The boat looks a strange to be that high along the pier. The lower Fox River is closed to boating because of the high water and the stretch between the dam and the Chain is no wake. The Chain itself is open for any speed, but I'm sure if we get much more, they will close it.

Got another load of mulch at Rick's, then went to Hello Folks to play some NTN. T Lady, Pgrstr, Soxfan, Klofmn, and I did pretty well on Appeteasers, the 15 minute lunch game that's offered. We had three #1s, a #2, two #5s, and a #6. Not bad out of 9000 places playing. We even beat Dennis from Fargo Lounge in the Quad Cities four times. He is usually number one most of the time. Not bad.

I had planned on doing some yardwork this afternoon, but that appears to be a bit rained out. The grass can definitely use it with all this rain.

Right now, I'm planning on going to the Wisconsin State Fair outside of Milwaukee tomorrow.

Just TOO Much Fun around Here. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Thinkin' of Goin' Retro Tonight

If the storms hold off, I'm planning on going out to the McHenry Outdoor Theater tonight. They have a double play of two movies I want to see, "The Simpsons" and "Hairspray." To see both $6 is a good deal, plus, it as one of the fast disappearing drive-ins. I'll call this a retro move.

The only problem with a drive-in is that the first movie doesn't start until about 9:15 and Hairspray will start at around 11 PM. The end of the nearly two-hour movie is WAY past my bedtime. Plus, watching an outdoor movie in the rain, in between windshield wiper strokes, isn't much fun.

I'll take the truck. The Malibu's lights come on automatically when you turn it on and your fellow viewers don't take kindly to that. Being technologically challenged, I haven't figured out how to turn on the Malibu wipers and keep the headlights off. The truck doesn't have the automatic lights.

We thought the McHenry Outdoor was going to close down for good last year as there are a lot of subdivisions being built around it. I'm sure it will be gone in the not-to-distant future.

To Go Outside to Watch or Not. --RoadDog

Out Boatin' Today

I've already been out boating on the Chain of Lakes this morning. Floated and read the paper, then went over to Electric Harbor on the east end of Fox Lake. They have built a huge gazebo with a great view of the lake and plenty of good breezes.

Tuesdays they have a charbroiled cheeseburger and fries for a BUCK!!! Now, that's a hard deal to beat. Talked with a guy there who has been deejaying since the late sixties amd is still going strong. He was at a wedding in Palatine Saturday, then in downstate Danville, Il, (the home of Dick and Jerry Van Dyke) on Sunday. He has programmed over 12,000 songs for Electric Harbor covering a wide variety of styles. He even has some east coast BEACH music.

Speaking of Beach Music, I'm listening to the Surf, 93.9 FM out of North Myrtle Beach right now. They're playing "Beach Music and Barbecue" right now at 5:11 PM. Boy, I sure would like to be down in NC listening to Beach music and eating that great pulled pork- vinegar-based bbq, cole slaw, hushpuppies, and tea.

He knows Dick Biondi as well. He said that last Memorial Day, WLS AM had a retro weekend and had all the old deejays back from the 60s and 70s. This was one of the major stations for kids to listen to while growing up in Chicagoland back then. I sure would have liked to have heard that.

Tough Life, But Somebody's Gotta Do It!! --RoadDog

Monday, August 6, 2007

Frances' 92nd Birthday

I had to edit out some of yesterday's posting as I made a copy of it and gave it to Frances. She really liked it, but called it her obituary, which it wasn't. She read it three times and I made sure she looked at the last line where I wished her many more birthdays to come.

I didn't want her to know that she was at Alden Terrace Nursing Home, in the rehabilitation unit. But, as soon as she finishes that, she will be moving over to the nursing care unit where she will remain. Her apartment in Woodstock is no longer hers. However, she managed to live essentially by herself until almost the age of 92, so that is impressive.

We stopped at Kohl's on the way over and got her some clothing and two cupcakes. I also got her the Northwest Herald so she could do her much loved crossword puzzle.

Aunt Dot's Funeral

I called Mom last night and found out about the funeral on Sunday. As would be expected, with all the years of service to the community and church, there was a large turnout of people. Plus, Mom said she had never seen so many flowers at a funeral.

Unfortunately, it was very hot and humid, as it was here as well. The mourners suffered in the heat and the flowers certainly wouldn't last for long. The First Baptist Church of Goldsboro also hosted the luncheon afterwards and there was a huge amount of food as well as McCall's barbecue.

Aunt Dot was buried at the Hood plot alongside her first husband and by my maternal grandmother and grandfather.

Visiting Goldsboro just won't be the same. --Don

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Frances Turns 92!!!

My mother-in-law, Frances, turns the ripe old age of 92 today. We are going out to visit her at Alden Terrace in McHenry in just a little bit.

She was born in Kansas on August 5, 1915, and grew up in the very small town of Holland, near Abilene. She stayed with people in Abilene to go to high school as there was not one near her home.

She started working as a bookkeeper in the office of Duckwall's Five and Ten store in Abilene right out of high school.

Frances met her future husband, Ambrose, during WWII, while he was stationed at Abilene. He was a captain in ordnance from Green Bay, Wisconsin. They no doubt would not have met had it not been for the war.

He had a series of jobs after the war as a traveling auditor for Rheem and Mall Tool Corporation that took him to Oakland, Ca, Elizabeth, NJ, New Orleans, La, and Houston, Tx. They settled in Chicago and my wife, Liz, was born in 1951.

He always wanted to own his own business and in 1955 opened Fran's (named after Frances) Delicatessen on Chicago's West Side. He ran that until a Jewel Tea grocery store opened and put him out of business.

Frances continued to work as a bookkeeper at Steel Fabricating and Checkline Corporation in Chicago during this time.

He then got a job at the General Finance Corporation in Evanston. This company made loans to people. He retired in 1981. In the meantime, they moved out to Palatine, Illinois, where I met Liz.

They lived in the house on Patricia Lane until Ambrose died in 1986. The following year, Frances moved to a two bedroom apartment in Arlington Heights and lived there until 2004. She then moved to an assisted living apartment on the square in Woodstock, Illinois.

Here's hoping for many more birthdays to quite a remarkable woman.

Don

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Aunt Dot

I was very saddened Thursday to find out from my mom that Aunt Dot died in Goldsboro, NC. She had been in failing health for the last several years. Giving of her time and efforts was a way of life with her.

She was 82 and had been very involved with the First Baptist Church of Goldsboro for much of her life, serving as a deacon, Sunday School director and many other jobs over the years.

For 24 years, she was with the Goldsboro Chamber of Commerce and then ten years as executive director of the Wayne County United Way.

She was originally married to my mother's brother, Uncle Billy, and then, after his death, Aunt Dot married Bo and was with him for nearly 30 years.

My condolences go out to Bo's family and my cousins Gayle and Graham.

Every time I visited Goldsboro, Aunt Dot and Uncle Billy, and late Uncle Bo, couldn't have been nicer to me and then Liz after I got married.

Every summer, my family would visit my grandparents in Goldsboro and Mount Olive. This was a much-looked forward to trip, but by the time I got to my teenage years, I would get a little bored. You know how teenagers are. Aunt Dot saw this and was kind enough to introduce me to Ronnie and Keith, two boys about my age. We had some great times together.

Then, she even went farther and let me use her 1967 Chevelle Malibu, quite a sporty car. Can you imagine a teenage boy driving a sporty car around? That was a pure joy, even if sometimes I would return it with very little gas in it. She still let me borrow it on future trips.

Aunt Dot will surely be missed. Don