Sunday, September 23, 2007

Is an RV in my Future?

I doubt it, but you never know. It might be just the thing for roadtrips of which I am very fond. I also like staying in the mom and pop motels which are generally cheaper. And then there is the huge cost of gas, low RV mileage, and big gas tanks on them.

I probably won't make up my mind until I get the opportunity to go out in one.

Right now, my brother and his wife have a RV and two of our friends, Sue and Paul, just got bitten by the bug. They just bought one at the beginning of the summer and enjoyed it so much, they're already looking to buy another one. One that, as they say, is more to their specifications.

I also am a Road Advisor on the Road Trip America forum, and the guy who started it got into roadtrippin' after his home in California burned down in a forest fire. They bought a really big RV and "hit the road."

Anyway, what brings RVs to mind is an article in the June 16th Chicago Tribune titled "A shrine to kings of the road" by Bob Sector. It is about the new RV Hall of Fame museum in Elkhart, Indiana.

I will write about the article in my other blog http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com

Still Wonderin'. --RoadDog

That Dear Old Fraternity of Mine--Delta Sigs at NIU

That "Green River" song Bob Stroud played almost a month ago on his River of Rock Salute, got me to thinking about my old frat rat days. I was a member of Delta Sigma Phi, or $1.65 as we were sometimes called. We were a colony at the time, and unfortunately never became an active chapter. We had originally been Psi Delta Phi local fraternity at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb.

Like I mentioned, whenever we had a party, which was QUITE often, especially over at Czych's (pronounced Chike) apartment or at the house. I, in retrospect, have to feel sorry for his neighbors. These weren't quiet wine and cheese party. Czych was the prototype of Animal House's Blutarski, or Bluto. I mean, every thing about Bluto was our very own Czych, real last name Czychowski. Like, Bluto, Czych had been at NIU for four years and still was just a freshman. He had a very high draft lottery number.

We ONLY played four albums. We'd stack them, play 'em, flip them over, and repeat as often as needed, usually into the wee hours. This from a guy who doesn't usually ever stay up past 11 PM anymore, but that was then. Whenever I hear any of these songs today, I'm back at one of those parties.

One of the albums was Creedence Clearwater Revivals "Green River." The other three were all Motown and soul: Four Tops Greatest Hits, Temptations Greatest Hits, and Sly & the Family Stone's Greatest Hits. That was some really GREAT music.

You Want a Great Party, Play CCR's "Green River, Four Tops GH, Temptations GH, and Sly & the Family Stone's GH. --RoadDog

Rock & Roll Roots-- The River of Rock

Today, Bob Stroud is doing a Roots Salute to Bruce Springsteen who is turning 58 on this date. Stroud is playing both Bruce songs and covers he does in concert after cherry-picking through set lists going way back.

Just anything to make me feel older.

Again, you can listen to him live Sundays from 7 to 10 AM CST at www.wdrv.com .

I am going to take a look back at Stroud's August 26th show where he featured rock songs about rivers. He came up with 19 of them. He also played other songs during his three hour set. All comments are mine as I didn't get to listen to the show. I was on the road in Rockford, Illinois, on that day. These songs will be great to play during our next trip down the Fox River. I believe I have all of them somewhere in my collection.

1. Take Me to the River-- Al Green--- Who can sing better than the Reverend. That voice just does something to me. He didn't record for many years after he became a reverend, but his new stuff doesn't miss a beat.

2. Watching the River Flow-- Bob Dylan--- OK, he can't sing, but that voice just goes so well with his music.

3. Green River-- Creedence Clearwater Revival--- The CCR, the title of that great album, that not only I liked, but it was one of the BIG FOUR albums that my fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, played at all our parties at NIU in 1970-1971. By the way, if I HAD to chose one favorite group of all time, it would be CCR. This is the only band back then that I automatically bought every new album release the day it came out. I just couldn't wait to get my CCR fix. Just had to have it!!!!!

4. Don't Cross the River-- America--- Could anyone do a better pop song and what great harmony.

5. Black Water-- Doobie Brothers--- Absolutely love that intro...and then they do that acapella thing near the end. Whoa Nelly! What a great song.

6. The River Hymn-- The Band--- Not familiar with this one, but since I have all the Band albums, I might have it.

7. River Deep, Mountain High-- Ike and Tina Turner-- What a pair, what a show. One of the best concerts I ever saw. How did Tina and the Ikettes keep those little-bitty dresses from falling off? They seemed to defy gravity.

8. Dirty Water-- Standells--- possibly one of the greatest opening riffs ever made. Bet you're humming it right now. Maybe even a little air guitar.

9. Yes, the River Knows-- Doors

10. Ferry Cross the Mersey-- Gerry & the Pacemakers--- A great song to slow-dance to, but wait, I'm too shy to ask that girl. What if she turns me down? This song always reminds me of MYF at the old Methodist Church in Palatine for some reason. Must have been on somebody's transistor radio or maybe we even had a dance. I just don't remember. I can just picture the scene. That'd be Methodist Youth Fellowship where we had to meorize all the books of the Bible in order.

11. Cripple Creek Ferry-- Neil Young--- Not sure that I've ever heard this one.

12. Boat on the River-- Styx--- Not sure about this one either. Could this be the one to cross the River Styx to you know where?

13. Cry Me a River-- Joe Cocker--- Great effort by Joe who is one of the few fellows I'll try to get up and do a karaoke song when I'm in the mood. And, I'm no big fan of karaoke. But, he can't sing either, but that "don't stop him none."

14. Riverside-- America

15. Proud Mary-- Creedence Clearwater Revival--- This one just HAD to be included. Another great CCR song that didn't reach #1.

16. Up on Cripple Creek-- The Band--- Another must-include song, even if it isn't a river. By my second or third favorite group. It's a tie between the Band and CSN or CSNY depending upon if Neil was on the ins or outs at the time. That'd be Crosby, Stills, and Nash for you youngsters.

17. Mississippi-- John Phillips--- Great first effort by former Papa after he split with the other Papa and the Mamas, including Michelle. The late-great John Phillips as of late.

18.. Yellow River-- Christie--- One-Hit Wonders, but WHAT a ONE HIT!!! Like Little Steven would say, I'd put this on my list of "Coolest Songs in the World." On more than one occasion I've played this song over and over and over; even as many as seven times. Have remote, will click!!! This did not please some others, but, hey, "Ya Gotta Go With the Flow When it Hits You."

19. Watching the River Run-- Loggins & Messina--- These days, that reminds me of sitting on the front porch of the historic Rose Hotel in downstate Illinois and watching the Ohio River flow by for several hours one spring.


Some other great songs in the show, but not about rivers


Peggy Sue-- Buddy Holly--- OK, everybody start stuttering
Please, Please Me-- Beatles--- I like the pre-Sgt. Pepper's stuff the best.
Just a Song Before I Go-- CSN
One Toke Over the Line-- Brewer & Shipley-- really like this song regardless of whether it's a druggie one or not. Also really liked "Tarkio Road."

What is Life-- George Harrison--- Great post-Beatles effort by George. Who'd have know he had so much talent after all those years being dominated by Paul and John. Also, a great opening riff.

Moondance and Tupelo Honey-- Van Morrison (must have been his birthday).
Good Morning, Good Morning-- Beatles--- Great introductory sounds
Have I the Right-- Honeycombs--- A song that brings me back to junior high, 8th grade I believe.

Great Show, as Usual. If there is anyone who knows more about the music of the 60s and 70s than Bob Stroud, I'd sure like to know who that person might be.

Proud Member of the Stroud Crowd. --RoadDog

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Been Out Boating-- Part 2

Later, Wednesday, we went out again with my buddy Frank. We did a slow cruise over to Electric Harbor for their $1 Johnsonville brats, but, they weren't running that special anymore, but got a a cheeseburger and fries for $2.50. Always enjoy sitting out there at the great gazebo with views the whole length of Fox Lake.

Thursday, we took a two hour cruise down the Fox River to the Broken Oar for lunch. This is also a great place to visit. They have specials everyday, like a big veal parmesan on spaghetti for $6.95 and 16 oz drafts for a buck. Starting next week, they will also have dollar burgers.

You can eat indoors or outside. Weekends they have live entertainment, but we won't go. If you aren't on a motorcycle, you become a second class citizen. They really cater to the bikers. I was the very first person to provide entertainment back in October of 1994, the weekend before we had our two month long strike. in the Round Lake Schools. Now, that is a real long time for a school strike, but that is another story.

Quite a few trees are starting to change into full fall foliage. Looking at lawns and cattails along the river really showed how high the floods of late August got. They are all two-tone; brown below flood stage. We saw several white herons by the lock and dam.

Both times we went through the lock, they waited for us to no wake it up to the gate. Very nice of them. Otherwise, it is about a thirty minute wait. Then, there's that nice slimy rope to hang onto while the water goes up or down, always a favorite thing to do.

There is a big sign telling boaters not to tie off their boats while in the dock. I asked the attendant if he'd ever seen anyone do this. He said he had. Dumb boaters.

Stopped at Kief's Reef on the way back (by the Illinois Highway 176 bridge). They also have outside entertainment on the weekends. We liked the pontoon boat up on the land that they used as the stage.

We also went out Friday afternoon and did a float before stopping at Baja Benny's to meet up with some friends.

Have to Hurry up and Go Boating as the Season Quickly Wanes. --RoadDog

Friday, September 21, 2007

Been Out Boatin'

Just got inside after having a bonfire on the Strand, what I call the lower patio by the gazebo. It is named after that great fun place by Myrtle Beach, SC, where we have had some great times. "Ya Just Can't Beat Fun" at the Bowery, home of the country group Alabama. This is where they cut their teeth, so to speak.

We definitely took advantage of the great weather we had this week to get some serious boating in. We boated every day since Tuesday.

Tuesday was essentially go out and float around, a very common thing to do for us. Nothing like turning the engine off, floating, reading a newspaper, magazine. or book, and listening to tunes on the radio or off a cassette (yes, we still use cassettes, and BY CHOICE I should add). Stopped by Baja Benny's and met Rich who grew up and lived in Chicago near where Liz grew up. They had a long talk about the good old days back there.

Wednesday, we boated over to McDonald's in the morning and had breakfast. Fox Lake has one of the two McDonald's you can actually boat to for a meal. We tie up at their piers and go inside to order. I usually get the steak, egg, cheese bagel meal. That is a real piece of steak and it actually is as big as it looks on the commercials. Have you ever noticed that the fast food sandwiches on the commercials are ALWAYS a lot bigger than what you get?

We then feed the mallard ducks, who are always there looking for food. Today, we also had three white geese, one of whom looked a bit like a descendant of old Crooked Neck who used to hang out there three years ago. Somehow, his neck was bent at a 45 degree angle. He was a character. Also, for the first time ever, we had three Canadian Geese. They ruled the water, but the mallards were faster and still managed to get some food.

We then did some floating in Pistakee Lake before putting the boat up so I could go to McHenry to visit Liz's mom Frances.

To Be Continued... --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Birds Are Back

A couple days ago, I was out in the yard, working amongst the flowers and bushes, and on three different occasions came across very young birds trying to hop/fly away from me. This occurred in three different areas of the yard. I was afraid that one was going to hop into the garage and get behind some stuff which would make it very difficult to find and catch. Fortunately, it hopped off into the bushes by the northeast corner.

At least I didn't have to deal with any Mama Birds. They are a real pain. I'm kind of surprised to still find young birds out this late in the season. Hope they survive.

Today, we boated over to McDonald's for breakfast. That means eating out on the boat and feeding the mallard ducks who are permanent year-round residents of the lagoon by McDonald's. There are also a lot of noisy seagulls.

But, today, they were joined by three white geese (one looked like he might be a descendant of Old Crooked Neck who was there one whole summer a few years ago, but we haven't seen him since. His neck was bent at a 45 degree angle.) In addition, we had three Canadian geese, and we've never had them before. It made for quite a noisy conglomeration. The geese sort of ruled the waves, but the ducks were faster so managed to still get most of the crumbs we were tossing.

Tonight, I watched Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Sure glad I didn't see this movie last night. That would have made today's breakfast at the McDonald's lagoon a whole different story.

Hey, No Pecking the Hands and Face!!!!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beach Music News

1. Death of Wilson Turbinton, better known as Willie Tee. Died at age 63. He was living in Baton Rouge where he had lived since being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. One obituary cited him as the "catalyst and innovator in New Orleans music."

He was also popular in Beach Music with songs like "Thank You John," "Teasing You," and "Walking Up a One Way Street."

2. Listening to 94.7 the Surf right now. They are out of North Myrtle Beach, SC, but stream worldwide. Right now, the fall SOS (Shagging on the Strand) is going on. Beach Music lovers, bands, and deejays from all over descend on North Myrtle Beach for a week of good-timin', shaggin', and partyin'.

They also have one in the spring. I sure hope to make it there one of these days.

Love that Beach Music. --RoadDog

Thanks a Lot, Bob-- What Happened to My Beatles Albums?

While doing the Time Warps and typing in the songs by the Beatles, that suddenly brought back the "repressed" memory of what happened to my original Beatles albums.

I had all of the originals and they were in very GOOD shape. When I went off to Northern Illinois University in the fall of 1969, I, of course, had to take my albums and record player with me. I took all of the albums except the Beatles ones. I didn't want them to get messed up at college. S0, I left them at home for safety.

Boy, was I ever wrong on that one. When I came home, I found that ALL of them were scratched, smudged, in the wrong covers, without the sleeves, and essentially unplayable.

Just who might the culprit be? Was it my dad or mom? Not likely. Perhaps, my sister Julie? Also not likely. Well, maybe the Siamese cat Sammie? Don't think so.

Now who might be left that would have mistreated my Beatles albums so badly? What about the guy I shared a room with, my brother Bob. A VERY likely culprit if you ask me. Of course, he completely denied it. But if you ask me, "He dun the dastardly deed."

Perhaps we can get a comment?

I Know What You Did While I Was Away at College. --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend 1967 Time Warp Part 3

Final Hour of Bob Stroud's Rock 'n Roll Roots. Every Sunday 7 AM to 10 CST on 96.9 FM, the Drive. I highly suggest listening to this show if you are into music from the 60s and 70s. I doubt that there is anyone who knows more about that music. He streams live at http://www.wdrv.com/

Once I heard him tell why he got into deejaying. He said he always ended up playing the songs on the record player at parties and decided that he might as well earn some money from it. That was exactly why I started deejaying.

These songs are sure bringing back a lot of memories.

Light My Fire-- Doors--- (My first introduction to this band. "Light My Fire" was good, but I always liked "Alabama Drinking Song" better.

Thank the Lord for the Night Time-- Neil Diamond--- (I liked his earlier songs like this and "Cherry, Cherry" better than his later ones like "Holly Holy".

Astronomy Domine-- Pink Floyd---From intro-Psychedelia had been around about ten months, but with the August release of this album, the musical trip was taken to a whole new dimension. They called themselves Pink Floyd and were headed by Syd Barrett. Their debut album here in the US was "Piper at the Gates of Dawn." The named themselves after a couple of elder blues statesmen: Pink and Floyd. (I even bought this album at the time. I liked it, but that was the only Pink Floyd album I bought until the late 80s. Their music got to a bit too far-out for these Motown, country rock ears.)

Reflections-- Supremes--- One of those great Motown groups that I so loved to listen to and watch those great dance steps and movements up there on stage. That choreography was absolutely entrancing, a whole lot better than the overdone productions of today's divas. Listening to the Surf right now and Billy Smith, one of my favorite deejays, is playing "Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch (I Can't Help Myself)" by the Four Tops. I really LOVE that Motown. Thanks, Berry Gordy, for bringing it to us.)

It Could Be We're in Love-- Cryan Shames--- #1 for four straight weeks. (Another great Chicago group. Another one of Liz and my songs. I first met Liz in October and started going steady on December 15th, so these songs all have significance in our relationship.)

Twelve Thirty-- Mamas and Papas--- Another stunning composition from John Phillips. (I really liked his wife, Michelle. She was VERY easy on the eyes.)

Baby You're a Rich Man-- Beatles--- The band whose album really set the Summer of Love in Motion. This was the B-side of "All You Need is Love."

Baby I Love You-- Aretha Franklin--- (The Queen of Soul. Great song, but my favorite remains "Chain of Fools" and I loved the continuing bit on Murphy Brown of "(You Make Me feel Like a) Natural Woman," and who can forget that great version of "Think" on the Blues Brothers. I can still see Blue Lou playing that sax down the counter.)

Motorcycle Song-- Arlo Guthrie--- Legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie's son released his debut album in 1967. His name Arlo, his album "Alice's Restaurant." (At first, I was afraid Bob was going to play the title track which would have taken way too long. "You can get anything you want at ...." Love that Officer Obie and all those black and white glossies.)

Words-- Monkees--- B side of "Pleasant Valley Sunday." (Talk about your two-sided hits!)

Requiem for the Masses-- Association--- B-side of "Never My Love" One of the more sobering experiences included in the "Insight Out" album. An unlikely war protest song from an unlikely group. (Probably my favorite Association song. Definitely not what you'd expect from this band which was more known for ballads and light weight songs like "Windy." Comparing the war to bullfighting is a unique approach. I loved the way it started out with an a capella chant. Liz, Kris, and I did a report Senior year for Mr. Denny on pop music and the world, and this was one of the songs we used for it.)

Ode to Billy Joe-- Bobbie Gentry--- The number one song in Chicago Labor day weekend 1967, the Summer of Love. Just what the heck did he throw off the Tallahatchee Bridge anyway. (Bob always closes his Time Warps with the number 1 song in Chicago that day.)

Sure Enjoyed this Show. --RoadDog

Monday, September 17, 2007

Doing My History Thang this Past Weekend

It just ended up being an intense history weekend for me.

Saturday morning I went to the monthly Fox Lake Historical Society in Ingleside. I spoke about voting for my favorites among the 25 sites eligible for the million bucks from American Express and also told them about the Civil War Encampment in Lake Villa this weekend.

Heard an interesting presentation on the ice cutting industry in Fox Lake. Before refrigeration, summertime ice in the Chicagoland area came from the Chain of Lakes and other lakes in Lake County. Blocks were cut and put in huge wooden warehouses and used during the summers. Hence the name for refrigerators, ice box.

Then it was on to the Lehmann Mansion in nearby Lake Villa for the Civil War Encampment. The mansion was the former home of Ernst J. Lehmann, the founder of the Fair Department Store chain, based in Chicago. It was saved from demolition and now hosts lots of occasions, including many weddings.

I manned the Camp Douglas Sons of the Confederate Veterans table along with camp commander John for the afternoon. We talked with several prospective members.

I got to see a reenactment of what would be classified as a Civil War (although we in the SCV call it the War for Southern Independence, War Between the States, or War of Northern Aggression, but Civil War is just shorter, although incorrect) skirmish. The Confederates won the day. This took place in a field by the Illinois Highway 83 bridge. I can just imagine the motorists going over it wondering what was going on as they went over the bridge. All that smoke, cannon fire, and small arms going off like that.

They treated us to a great pig roast after the event closed at 4 PM. It was strange to see Robert E. Lee talking on a cell phone. Has it come to that. Of interest, the gent playing Abraham Lincoln is a member of our SCV camp. Imagine that.

Yesterday, I went to the open houses at the Petersen Historical Farmstead in McHenry and the Spring Grove Fish Hatchery. These were held in conjunction with the American Express million dollar Partners in Preservation contest going on right now. The top vote getter gets its entire funding request and then the rest of the 25 sites will get a cut it.

The Petersen House and farm dates from 1843 and the city of McHenry wants to turn it into an operating historical farm. The very fast encroaching suburbia is rapidly taking its toll on area farms and we will soon be at the day when there won't be any left. This will enable future generations to see what it was like in the old days.

The Spring Grove Fish Hatchery dates to the turn of the century and was Illinois' first hatchery, providing fish for the Chain of Lakes, Lake Michigan, and other rivers and lakes as far south as Springfield.

A Historying I Will Go. --RoadDog

Labor day Weekend 1967 Time Warp- Part 2

Continuing with Bob Stroud's Salute to that time 40 years ago. Again, the comment right after the title and group is Stroud's. My comment is in parenthesis.

Hour 2

All You Need is Love- Beatles-- right where it should be in the Summer of Love

To Love Somebody- Bee Gees-- off their first album called "The Bee Gees First" released in August. Incredibly soulful tune from Robin, Maurice, and Barry. (At first, I thought they were the Beatles. Another song off that album, "(When the Lights All Went Out in) Massachusetts" became one of Liz and my "Songs" along with New Colony 6's "I Will Always Think About You." We always get goo goo-eyed when these two play. Several years back, we were on vacation in Massachusetts when "Massachusetts" came on the radio station we were listening to. Thought that was kind of neat.)

You're My Everything- Temptations--- Great ballad with lead vocal by the late-great Eddie Kendricks and, of course, David Ruffin in there. (If it was Motown, I liked it. They really knew how to make a great song. And then, there were those great stage moves. As I am typing this, I'm listening to The Surf, out of Myrtle Beach, Beach Music you know. They just put "My Girl" on. I'm moving to the beat on the chair. Liz is looking strangely at me.

Never My Love- Association--- from the "Insight Out" album.

Zip Code-- Five Americans--- Brand new and reminding us to put it on our letters (as that just became the law. If you want to get it delivered you had to put those five digits on it. One of my favorite 60s songs, "Zip, Zip, Zip Code..." They had another great song called "Western Union." They were out of southeast Oklahoma.)

Heroes and Villains-- Beach Boys--- one of the most anticipated releases. Not the same vibe as "Good Vibrations."

Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)-- Buckinghams-- Brand new single (Chicago band named after the Buckingham Fountain, not Buckingham Palace, but the British thing, you know. Another Chicago band of the time was the already mentioned New Colony 6 and their British thing. The Buckinghams had already moved to California by then, however.)

Little Ole Man (Uptight-Everything's Alrght)-- Bill Cosby--- (Bill's a funny man, right! based on a Stevie Wonder song.)

Mr. Soul-- Buffalo Springfield--- flipside of "Bluebird", off "Buffalo Springfield Again" album. (One of my favorite bands. That was some talent with Steve Stills, Neil Young and the others.)

You Know What I Mean-- Turtles--- 3/4 time ballad. They pack a lot into just over two minutes.

Hey Joe-- Jimi Hendrix--- Everything was a-changing in a hurry, so fast musically. Spearheading some of the quickness was the cat-man by the name of Jimi Hendrix who released his debut album "Are You Experienced. It came out 40 years ago this August. (A little over three years later, he was dead at age 28.)

San Franciscan Nights-- Eric Burdon & the Animals- (Pretty-well sums up the Summer of Love.

I Had a Dream-- Paul Revere & the Raiders--- (Speaking of British-influenced names. A bit of psychedelia from the pride and joy of the Pacific Northwest.)


Last Hour Coming Up Soon. These Songs are Really Bringing Back Some Memories.

At one break, Bob said "The final weekend of freedom before going back to school. Labor Day weekend." Liz and I were trying to remember if that was true. School not starting until after Labor Day is a rarity today. My sister started back to teaching in Georgia on August 6th. My old school district in Round Lake went back August 13th. Back in 1967, almost all schools started AFTER Labor Day.

Was it a Simpler or Scarier Time Back Then. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jimi Died-- Joe Butler's Birthday

Yet another way to make you feel old.

While listening to Bob Stroud Root Salute the top 13 Lovin' Spoonful songs, he mentioned that Jimi Hendrix had died this past week 37 years ago. Egads!!! THAT LONG AGO. He died September 18, 1970 at the age of 28. A great loss, but a stupid loss. Stroud played "Little Wing" and "Foxy Lady." Then Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," a song that Hendrix covered.

You might be wondering who Joe Butler is. He was the drummer of the Lovin' Spoonful, and he turned 64 today. This is the reason for the Roots Salute. And another reason to feel old.

Bob Stroud uses the WLS and WCFL surveys to compile the list. He even included three songs that were top 40 Lovin' Spoonful songs performed by other groups, but Stroud played the Spoonful version.

The Top 13 Lovin' Spoonful Tunes in Chicago

13. Jug Band Music- top 40 by the Mugwumps
12. Younger Girl- Critters-- a great song
11. Loving You- Bobby Darrin
10. She's Still a Mystery
9. Six O'Clock
8. Darling, Be Home Soon- my third favorite Spoonful song
7. Rain on the Roof
6. You Didn't Have to Be So Nice
5. Do You Believe in Magic--my second favorite Spoonful Song. Try to hear this and not keep the beat.
4. Nashville Cats-- back when I didn't like country music in any way.
3. Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind- Back when I first got to know Liz, I was dating Roxanne and Liz constantly referred to this song.
2. Daydream- what I like to do on deck and in the arboretum. Great slacker song.
1. Summer in the City- Bob said this was very appropriate for the last weekend of summer, which it is. My favorite Spoonful song. "Back of my neck getting dirt and gritty."

I saw that Lovin' Spoonful was touring in the area this past month, but usually playing at venues charging $25 to $50. I might have paid the sum, except Jon Sebastian wasn't going to be with them.

What a Day for a Daydream? --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend Time Warp 1967

Two Sundays ago, Bob Stroud did his final "Summer of Love" installment and played the songs "on our radios back forty years ago, Labor Day 1967." These sure brought back a lot of memories. I was deep into pop music back then after getting interested at the end of 1963 with all the Beatles hullabaloo.

I was buying singles and albums whenever I thought I could get away with it as Dad REALLY thought them to be a waste of money. As I recall, an album cost $2.99 to $3.99 and singles were 99 cents. Plus, you could get used 45s from special bins for 39 cents. These had been previously played on jukeboxes.

These were the songs playing on our radios and turntables ALL THOSE YEARS AGO. I will have Stroud's comments first, and then mine in parenthesis. Don't you just love it when a song brings back a memory?

I Dig Rock n' Roll Music- Peter, Paul and Mary- a giant smash, co-written by Dave Dixon, a dj who spent some time in the 60s at my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan's Top 40 station WKMI. (This was my favorite Peter, Paul and Mary song.)

There is a Mountain- Donovan- brand new (Kind of a fun song.)

Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison's first solo effort from the Them frontman. (How do you get better party music than this. Always gets the people out on the dance floor.)

Gettin' Together- Tommy James & the Shondells-- new single- borrowed riff from Spencer Davis Group's "Give Me Some Lovin'" and turned it into their own.

Funky Broadway- Wilson Pickett- his latest (My second favorite soul singer. My first is Otis Redding.)

Things I Should Have Said- Grass Roots-- off their new album released in August. They'd already had a hit called "Let's Live for Today." This proved to be their second hit. (The Grass Roots are one of the most underrated groups from the 60s. They really had some great stuff. This is one of my favorites by them.)

Pleasant Valley Sunday- Monkees-- (Did somebody say somebody took a shot at suburbia?)

Groovin'- Booker T & the MGs. --a remake of the Young Rascal's song. (MGs stood for Memphis Group which consisted of Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn who went on to fame in the Blues Brothers. Hey, get that pipe out of your mouth, Donald!)

Find Somebody- Young Rascals-- embracing the psychedelic sounds of the season. From their new album, "Groovin'" It also contained the selections "How Can I Be Sure" and "A Girl Like You." (I was not familiar with this one.)

Carrie Anne- Hollies-- a hit all summer long (Great Graham Nash song.)

I Make a Fool of Myself- Frankie Valli-- unahamedly ripping himself off with a carbon copy of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You"

Dandelion- Rolling Stones-- just released

Ticket to Ride- Vanilla Fudge-- Brand new band with a cover of the Beatles tune. From intro to song-In August 1967, a band out of long island, NY, released their self-titled debut album. Everything they did was over the top as they threw caution to the wind. When you set your needle down on side 1, track 1, this is what the debut album of Vanilla Fudge sounded like. (This was some mighty strange stuff.)

And this was all just from hour one of the three hour show.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

No Buffalo Here

While at Stade Dairy farm this past Friday, I mentioned to the lady collecting the money that I had seen two buffalo out with the cows earlier this summer. On my way out to visit Frances in Woodstock, I would always slow down and look for them. You just don't expect to see buffalo out in the fields around here. They seemed to be getting along well with the cows.

Then, one day, I didn't see them, nor did I see them ever again. I figured that since I was here, I might as well inquire. Another woman behind the counter that I took as a member of the Stade family told me that they had had two buffalo, but had sent them off to a regular buffalo farm after they found out.

They found out that buffalo get very mean and ill-tempered as they get older and especially during the summer when they get into mating season. The two that Stade had were still young, but would grow up to be crotchety old buffs. And liable to hurt a visitor which wouldn't be good for business. I can see it now, "Come to Stade's and get trampled by a temperamental buffalo."

Plus, they were told that their fencing would have to be upgraded a lot as adult buffaloes could easily knock what they have down. I told them it was a good thing they got rid of them since I live so close by. I could just see going out one morning to get the Chicago tribune and coming eyeball to eyeball with a buffalo. Man, that would be one big, ugly, smelly dog or is it that I had too much imbibing last night.

Home, Home is Not on the Stade Range. --RoadDog

Sweet Corn and Stade Dairy Farm

On my way back from visiting with my mother-in-law Frances this past Friday, I stopped at Stade (prounounced Stah-day) Farm on Miller Road about a mile from our house for some of the last corn for the season. This is very popular place for corn and vegetables as everything is always fresh-picked that very morning. They have two other roadside stands as well as the main one.

A year ago, they built a huge barn-like complex to handle all the customers and their Shades of Autumn celebration which they hold every fall in September and October. They have hayrides, a pumpkin cannon which is really a sight to see when it fires, petting zoo, mazes, food, and entertainment every weekend. It is free admission.

A week from today is the Classic Car & Truck Show and Rockin' Oldies Concert. One of my favorite local oldies bands, The Rockin' Fenderskirts will share the bill with one I haven't seen, Dr. Rhythm and the Rockers. With a name like that, they can't be too bad.

I especially like the sweet corn at Stade's. Just-picked as it is, it's hard to beat. When we first moved out here in 1992, it was 25 cents an ear, but thanks to Big Oil's inflation, it is now 35 cents, but way too worth it.

Once home, I was trying to break a bad piece of corn off one ear, and got juice in my eye, that's how fresh it is.

http://www.stadedairyfarm.com/

http://www.shadesofautumn.net/

Sweet Corn, BBQ, and Hot Dogs. These are a Few of My favorite Things. --RoadDog


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Vote for Preservation

I covered this in the other blog, but, American Express has put up $1 million to fund preservation projects on 25 different sites in the Chicagoland area.

The only catch is that you have to vote to determine who gets what. Only the top vote-getters will get this money.

A place in Chinatown is in the lead with 14% of the vote. Two other Frank Lloyd Wright sites are rapidly moving up. They are obviously very organized.

I'm backing four sites, two around here and two along the Lincoln Highway.

Around here: the Spring Grove Fish Hatchery and the Petersen Historic Farmstead in McHenry.

Lincoln Highway: the 1893 Viking ship from the Columbian Exposition in Geneva, and the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall in Aurora.

You can vote for as many as you like once a day until October 10th.

Go to the website:

www.partnersinpreservation.com

Doing' it Chicago-Style, Voting Early and Often. --RoadDog

BOY, Did it Ever GET Cold

Just a week ago, we had temps inthe lower 90s, but someone slipped us a Siberian Express because (as they said in the movie "Groundhog Day") it's cold out there.

I had to cancel boating yesterday and even had to dig out the jeans and sweatshirt. Temps yesterday were in the low 60s with a strong north wind. BBbbrrr.

I decided to bring a lot of the plants on the deck inside last night. This morning, there was frost on the windows of the vehicles parked outside, but fortunately, none of the plants I left out had died.

Definitely chilly out there at the Lehman Mansion in Lake Villa, Illinois, where I spent the afternoon at the SCV table at the Civil War Encampment.

It is supposed to warm up this next week. I guess we had our little winter preview.

Way Too Cold Way Too Early. --RoadDog

World's Tallest Building

I came across pictures of the world's tallest building in Yahoo pictures. It is still under construction in Burj, Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. It is now at 1,931 and has already surpassed Canada's CN Tower in Toronto as the world's tallest free standing object.

I wonder where they're getting all that money? Oh yes, OIL. And it is being built by Samsung, but that is ANOTHER story.

We complain of rising gas prices, but guess who is getting richer and richer? Our good buddies like anybody in the Mideast, Khaddaffi in Libya, and that certain someone down in Venezuela. I hope Big Oil knows what they're doing while driving oil prices up like they're doing.

File Under Things that We Should Worry About. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Case of the "Hiding" Cell Phone

Now that you know that I am not a big fan of cell phones, let me tell you about MY cell phone's escapade yesterday.

I took it off my belt at the gas station and intended to put it in my pocket, but forgot. Sitting in Emil's, I realized that I didn't have it, but figured I'd just get it when we got to the library. Once there, I couldn't find it. I wasn't sure if it had dropped out of the truck at the gas station, or perhaps I had it with me in Emil's. I just couldn't find it. Perhaps, even, I had left it at home. I had no clue.

I looked all over the truck cab and in the back seat, but no cell phone. It was doing its best bin Laden scenario--hiding.

Clancy volunteered to call the phone so we could see if it was well-hidden in the truck. The only problem was that I couldn't remember the phone number. I had him call Liz so she could call it.

She did, and we heard it, but could not find it even then. Where could bin La--err, the phone be hiding? The ringtone (CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" or is that "There's a Bathroom on the Right") ran out. We had her call again, but still couldn't find it. We could hear it; just couldn't find it.

I finally noticed a place on the rider's side door where you can put stuff. I know for a fact that I didn't put that phone there, but looked anyway. And there it was. How's it get there? My best guess is that it was on the seat and I turned a corner and it went a-slidin'.

Kind of reminds me of being at a Cubs game back in the late seventies when Larry Bittner playing first base was backing up to catch a pop up. He fell backwards with his cap flying off his head. He jumped up, looked here, looked there, looked everywhere. Finally, he sees his hat on the ground and goes running over to it, lifts it up, and there is the ball. Afterwards, a reporter asked him why he looked under his cap. Bittner told him, "Well, I had looked everywhere else."

Sneaky Cell Phones. --RoadDog

Broom Hilda and the State of the Cell Phone Nation

In today's comic strip, Broom Hilda is walking down the street with a cell phone glued to her ear. Another five people also are walking and talking on their cell phones. They are walking by an open phone booth (not one of the old completely glass enclosed ones like the Blues Brothers used). It had a sign attached to it which read, "Listed with the National Historic Register."

Funny, but all too true. You just don't see phone booths which at one time were all over the place. Cell phones have put them out of business.

I have to admit, I am NOT a real big cell phone person. I don't much care for them. They have their uses and definitely come in handy, especially if you get separated at a function, or need to meet up with someone. HOWEVER, some folks I know have one growing out of their ear and I don't think many things look as ridiculous as a person with one of those blue tooth things.

It does seem that some people get full of self-importance when using them. Then, just about every kid you see has one these days. I know the parental excuse, "I want to always know where my kid is." But, I grew up without one as did everyone my age, and SOMEHOW, we still survived.

I held out against getting one until this past January. I still didn't really want one, but was more otr less pressured into it. I still haven't mastered much on it, but am slowly learning.

That is also my big problem with all the new technology these days. I hate learning new stuff. An even bigger problem is that once you learn it, something new comes out and then you have to go back and learn it all over again. Things are just changing too fast, but that could just be old age talking.

Cell Phones. Good or Bad, I'm Not Too Sure. --RoadDog

Perennials---Lake County Historical Society-- 30th Day Boating

Yesterday, I planted the rest of my perennials thanks to the cool temps and we finally had some wind which grounded most of the skeeters. Without wind, they rise up almost in squadrons reminiscent of WWII movies about bombing raids. I sure hope I don't break down again and buy anymore perennials. I need to STAY out of garden nurseries!!!

Gas is DOWN to $2.99 (that's $2.98.9 to most people). Still WAY TOO expensive, but at least it is going in the right direction.

Drove to Mundelein and met up with Clancy for some NTN and pizza at Emil's Sports Bar on US-45. They also had a special on something they called white bean chili that looked really good.

We then drove over to the nearby Fremont Library (Fremont Township) where we were going to provide support for our SCV, Sons of Confederate Veterans commander who was giving the keynote address.

These folks were primarily interested in genealogy. When I introduced myself as a guest, someone asked whose surname did I use to get into the SCV. I replied "Hood." John, our commander, told them where they could look for information on Confederates ancestors and talked about our organization and Camp Douglas where 6000 of 12,000 Confederate prisoners died. That number shocked the crowd. Everyone always hears about the tragedy at Andersonville, but not about how bad the Union prisons were as well. There was also a discussion about slavery and whether it was the real cause of the war. These people really heard "the other side."

Today, I went out in the boat for the 30th time. I put in five more gallons, which brings me to 20 gallons used for the season. I know people who go through up to 50 gallons on one day. And gas on the water is usually about 50 cents to a dollar more than on land. Of course, I usually go for a short cruise and then just float. I really enjoy sitting out there, reading a newspaper or magazine, and listening to tunes from a cassette (yes, I still use cassettes) or the Drive, 97.1 FM.

I'm hoping to get to 40 boating expeditions before we put the boat up in about a month.

Came home, and had to do some yardwork and cut the grass again. All this rain and cooler temps is grass nirvana.

A Bad Day of Boating is Still Better than a Good Day at Work. But, Being Retired...--RoadDog

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Sad Day Six Years Ago

Today, September 11th occurs on the very same day as that fateful event six years ago. Not only that, but we had a brilliant bright blue sky here in the Midwest, just as was over NYC that beautiful fall day.

I watched some of the History Channels shows on the event this morning.

I was teaching at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois, that day. I didn't know anything about it until after first period when another teacher came to me with the information during passing period. School continued on as usual, but all we did in my classes was listen to the radio and TV (although I couldn't get the picture.

I tried to get it across to my students that this was actually an outgrowth of an event that happened almost 2000 years ago when the Romans made the Jews leave Palestine. I also wanted them to know that this was to be an event that would rank right up there with Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy Assassination as points in US history that affected everybody.

Seeing those two buildings burning still gets to me.

I am going to have an account that I wrote on 9-11 from my journal (which I have been keeping since 1978) on my other blog spot.

http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com

A Very Sad Day. --RoadDog

This Past Weekend-- September 7th to 9th

Friday I met my old buddy Kip at the Triangle Restaurant in Grayslake, Illinois. We talked about what we were doing back on September 11, 2001. He was at a negotiations meeting trying to settle our contract and he suggested that they adjourn to go back to school to be with the kids. They did.

I then went over to Gurnee Mills and walked around it. I saw the big fake snake outside the Rainforest Cafe that really gave me a jump a few months back. I was walking along looking in store windows when I looked up, and saw a huge snake about two feet above my head, looking at me with mouth wide open and tongue flicking. I guess I must have a strong heart as I didn't have an attack right then and there.

Saw an excellent Western movie called "3:10 to Yuma" which was just released. I highly suggest it. You don't see many westerns anymore.

Drove to Richmond-Burton High School and watched the game with Stillman Valley. They led most of the game, but evidently we had a comeback at the end to pull withing two points before we losing 33-31. I had already left after losing my battle with the mosquitoes. Once back at the truck, I saw a really big praying mantis on the top of the cab and it just wouldn't get off. After some work (I didn't want to kill it) I finally got it off.

Saturday, I went to Des Plaines for a meeting of the SCV, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Our camp's name is the Camp Douglas Memorial Camp, named after the infamous Union prison in Chicago where over 6000 Confederates died.

I then went to a memorial service in Fox Lake for the 21 year-old son of friends of ours from the American Legion. He died from massive injuries suffered two weeks ago when a car wash collapsed from a wind shear in the storms that passed through Chicago. He was near Wrigley Field at the time. This was a very sad thing.

We then went up to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, where Donovan's Reef was celebrating their first anniversary with the new owners. They've done a great job with the place, keeping the things we liked from before and improving everything else. They had an excellent pig and beef roast, and we were able to get five national rankings in NTN.

Sunday I went to the German Club meeting in Lake Villa and then met up with the usual Bears crew at Baja Benny's on Fox Lake to watch the game. That would be Jim, Paul, Sue, Pam, Laura, and Ed. Too bad the Bears lost.

Going, Going, Going. --RoadDog

Bad Weekend for Football (For Me at Least)

Friday, my local high school, Richmond-Burton lost a hard-fought game to Stillman Valley 33-31 despite a furious comeback at the end. I didn't see the end as I lost the battle with the mosquitoes.

Saturday, Georgia (I went there my junior year) lost to South Carolina and Northern Illinois (where I went the rest of my college career) was cruising along easily before self-destructing and losing to the Salukis of Southern Illinois. Unbelievable. We had two interceptions returned for TDs, three times they converted on 4th downs in the next to last SIU TD, then they recovered an onside kick and scored to win. They scored two TDs in the last 1:01 of the game. This one REALLY hurt.

Sunday, the Bears lost to San Diego 14-3.

Sometimes Your Teams Just Don't Win. --RoadDog

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Labor Day 1967

Last Monday was Labor Day. I can remember a time when it was very important to me, like all through school and teaching, but now, it is just another day. The only difference is that everyone else is now off as well.

I got to thinking about what I was doing way back then while I was listening to Bob Stroud do his final installment of his Summer of Love Rock and Roll Roots Salute.

As near as Liz and I can recall, we hadn't gone back to school yet. School, even college, just didn't begin before Labor Day as it does today. Actually, my sister began school in Georgia around August 5th, and teachers in Round Lake went back August 13th.

I was getting ready to start my junior year at Palatine High School in Palatine High School. I was working at the Burger King on Northwest Highway earning a whopping $1 an hour (but you could buy 3 gallons of gas for that back then). A Whopper cost 49 cents. You got a Whopper, fries, and small drink for 92 cents.

I still didn't have my drivers license, though. At Palatine High, you took drivers ed junior year.

Later, junior year, I joined the school newspaper, the Cutlass.

Forty Years Ago...Already!!...Ya Gotta Be Kiddin'!! ---RoadDog

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Way to Go Appalachian State!!!!

Little Guys 1 Big Guys 0. That was one great game. I sure wish I had been watching it. Definitely a classic.

I guess Appalachian State will not be able to sneak up on anyone else anymore. But, hey, they have won two straight NCAA 1AA Championships in a row. People were definitely getting the old atlas out to see where Boone, NC, was located.

My college, Northern Illinois University, is 1A, but definitely lower echelon or Midlevel as they call it. We've given some of the Big Guys a run, but often as not, we lose at the end. But then there was that great year when we defeated Alabama, Maryland, and Iowa State on the way to a 10-2 record and STILL did not go to a Bowl Game!!!

We lost to Iowa at Soldiers Field in Chicago 16-3 on Saturday and take on 1AA Southern Illinois University in Dekalb Saturday. You'd think a 1A could beat a 1AA wouldn't you? Right, Michigan? I wouldn't be surprised if we lost. SIU has a really good team.

My sister Julie went to Georgia and nephew Andy to Tennessee. Both Big Guy schools. Actually, Northern was supposed to play Tennessee this season until they chickened out. We'll play Wisconsin instead.

Huskies, Fight on You Huskies!! --RoadDog

NOT Happy with the Bears Schedule this Season

I like my college and pro football to start between noon and 1 PM, and I am definitely not getting that this year. Six games start at noon, five at around 3 PM, and five at around 7:30 PM. That's ten of the sixteen starting too late.

Of course, this won't stop me from watching Da Bears, but, I'm not happy about it. I guess it's the price you pay for success as in last year's NFC Championship. I'll just have to become a night owl.

At least there are NO Monday Night Games. Da Bears do not play well on Monday night, and those games go on and on and on. You might say they stink. The only game we lost in that hreat Super Bowl XX season was a Monday night game. Then, remember that near Arizona debacle of last season-- on a Monday Night of corse.

Bring Back Those Noon Games!!! --RoadDog

Help, I'm Buying Perennials and Can't Get Up! Well, Can't Stop Buying

These past two weeks, I've really gone overboard buying perennials. Home Depot put all their gallon containers on sale for $4 and I had a 10% off coupon. Have Mastercard, will charge.

I bought Threadleaf Tick Seeds, Flaming Purple Tall Phlox, variegated tall pink garden phlox, lobelia, Montbretic, yellow baby daylillies, Japanese anemone, coral bells, yellow variegated loosestrife, and hostas.

I'm running out of places to put them, and, with the mosquitoes swarming, it's hard to get them planted.

Keep Me Out of those Garden Nurseries. --RoadDog

Chain is Open and No More No Wake

Yesterday, my buddy Frank came by and we went out boating as it was sunny, but humid.

Put gas in the boat. I buy from gas stations and container it out to the boat. As BAD as prices are at the stations, on the water, it is at least 75 cents to a buck more.

We had checked the local waterway agency and saw that the no wake (where you can't make waves while moving) was still on. While cruising across Fox Lake to Electric Harbor, we saw quite a few boats going at high speeds and making wakes of course.

Once at the Harbor, we found out that the no wake had been lifted at noon. Good news!!!

The special at the Electric Harbor on Wednesdays are $1 Johnsonville brats. Now how can you beat that? Then, there's the fantastic view as we were sitting out at the gazebo and could see right down the whole of the lake.

We boated along, happy now that we could go fast, a great help when the wind dies down. Next stop was Baja Benny's with their great Caribbean decor. Baja's is at the old Costello's, a favorite watering hole for many years.

It Was a Good Day to be Out and About on the Chain. --RoadDog

Weather Just Couldn't Make Up Its Mind

All day it threatened to rain, then the sun came out, threatened to rain, few drops, sun, more threatening, one minute drizzle, and more threatening.

I had planned to go boating, but don't particularly enjoy boating in the rain.

I did, however, get the yard cut, which really needed it again. That grass has been going bonkers this last month with all the rain. However, it hasn't rained for a week.

We finally did get a ten minute deluge, but that was it.

I did get some yard work done. I put out mulch, weeded, trimmed, and planted six perennials. We actually had a breeze off and on and that kept the mosquitoes mostly grounded, finally.

Our subdivision is called Orchard Bluff and that name actually applies since we are sitting on a bluff on one of the highest points in Illinois. We also had apple orchards along with cornfields at one time. You can still see many of the trees around the neighborhood. Our lot was out in the fields, though. We could just as easily named our subdivision Windy Acres as we really get some wind, just not lately. That coupled with an overabundance of 'skeeters is not a good combination.

Come On Weather, Give Me a Break. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

So, You Think You're an Oldies Fan?

Taken from the August Wassup magazine. This tells you what is going on at the bars and towns around the Chicagoland area. Lots of advertisements, jokes, and columns.

They have a quiz every week with ten questions on a particular topic. Last month's was on a subject dear to my heart, OLDIES.

See how well you do. I only missed the first question, but always have problems remembering words. There are two reasons I could never have been a band's singer. The first is that I can't sing. The second is that I couldn't remember the words. Even if I had written the song, I know I wouldn't remember the words. I'd have to have a karaoke setup onstage.

1. When did 'Little Suzie" finally wake up? a) The movie's over, it's 2 o'clock, b) The movie's over, it's 3 o'clock, c) The movie's over, it's 4 o'clock.

2. "Rock Around the Clock" was used in what movie? a) Rebel Without a Cause, b) Blackboard Jungle, c) The Wild Ones.

3. What's missing? _____ Baby, Earth ______, a) Angel, b) Head, c) Pretty.


4. "I found my thrill..." Where? a) Kansas City, b) Heartbreak Hotel, c) Blueberry Hill.


5. "Please turn on your magic beam, ____ ______ bring me a dream" a) Mr. Sandman, b) Earth Angel, c) Dream Lover


6. For which label did Elvis Presley first record? a) Chancellor, b) RCA, c) Sun

7. He asked, "Why's everybody always pickin' on me?" Who was he? a) Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, b) Charlie Brown, c) Buster Brown.


8. Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife", the one with the knife, was named: a) MacHeath, b) MacCloud, c) MacNamara.


9. Name the song with "A-wop bop a-loo bop a-lop bam boom"? a) Good Golly Miss Molly, b) Be-Bop-A-Lula, c) Tutti Fruiti.


10. Who is generally given credit for the term "Rock and Roll"? a) Dick Clark, b) Wolfman Jack, c) Alan Freed.




Answers


1. c. The movie's, it's 4 o'clock, 2. b Blackboard Jungle, 3. a) Angel, 4. c) Blueberry Hill,
5. a) Mr. Sandman, 6. c) Sun, 7. b) Charlie Brown, 8. a) MacHeath, 9. c) Tutti Fruiti,
10. c) Alan Freed

First Day as a New Teacher

The August 31st Chicago Tribune had an article about Cynthia Klaczynski who had her first day of teaching at Glenbard South high School in suburban Glen Ellyn. She is a "cart" teacher which means she moves from room to room with her teaching materials on a cart. She was nervous and admitted it to her students and told them that this was her first year. Cynthia also has an assigned mentor teacher to help her.

"I wanted to be a teacher since 6th grade," says Cynthia Klaczynski, 23. "This is it."

"Klaczynski and hundreds of other novice teachers throughout the Chicago area are ready to test their college courses against the realities of managing a room crammed with young people."

She has five classes. around 100 students, and gets paid $44,000 a year for her efforts.

This article brought back some memories of my first day of teaching in Round Lake, Illinois, back in August of 1973.

I was very nervous and did not sleep well the night before. However, I never admitted to the class that I was nervous or that this was my first year. The less they knew, the better, I figured.

I had two classes each of seventh, eighth, and ninth graders and three different preps. One was seventh grade geography (a course where I would get a new group in every quarter), another was a yearlong 8th grade history class, and the third was ninth grade world georgraphy, also for the duration.

Essentially, the principal gave me books, a room, and told me to go to it. At least I didn't have to "cart it" from room to room. I had no mentor and had always known that I wanted to be a teacher.

My great grandfather was a teacher, as was my Aunt Louise and my mother (although she didn't start teaching until I was in 6th grade as she stayed home to raise us and finish her college courses), and my father could have been one. Since then, my sister has entered the teaching profession. My brother also could have been a teacher, but like my dad, chose the business world.

My salary for that first year was a whopping $7900. But, back then, you could live on that money. I wouldn't recommend trying it today.

I was hired the week before school started, but that is another story.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Teaching I Go (or Went). --RoadDog

Dadburn Big Oil's at it Again

I expected the price of gas to go up a bit over Labor Day weekend, and it did. Up to $2.99 (that's $2.98.9) and a few stations around the northwest suburbs by us had it at $2.99.9 (can anybody say $3). Hey, people are going places and there is money to be made.

However, I was more than shocked when gas prices jumped to $3.12 yesterday. And here I was expecting it to drop!!! Why did it go up? What was Big Oil's reason? I sure wish there was an "excuse" site that I could look at for the reason. Might just make for a good laugh.

My thought is that we will continue with expensive gas prices all fall and winter. I doubt that there will be a really big increase next spring and summer as it would be really bad for one of our political parties.

Just Love Paying $3+ for Gas. --RoadDog

Finally...Boating

Yesterday, we finally got to go out boating. The Chain had dropped about a foot and a half. We had to sweep off the pier and the boat's mooring cover had lots of spider webs and leaves all over it so it took us awhile. No wake was the speed as that is the law while the lakes are still high. OK by me as that is my usual speed.

However, the cowboys with their high-powered boats that can go 70-90 mph must have been offended. They should be out on Lake Michigan anyway. By the time they get their boats up to speed on the Chain, they have to slow down because they're on the other side.

People on it can't be having too much fun. It always looks like they're just hanging on for dear life. And forget about listening to any music above the roar of those engines.

We cruised a bit and then floated. Lots of humidity, but not bad when we had a breeze.

Good to Be Out Again. --RoadDog

Road Trip-- 34th Anniversary Part 4 Floods and Dekalb Cornfest

FLOODS and DEKALB CORNFEST

Saturday morning we found out that today's destination had made the national news on The Weather Channel. A reporter was doing a live report from a flooded golf course in Dekalb. All this rain has the Mighty Kish, the Kishwaukee River (usually more of a stream or creek) flooding in a big way around Dekalb. I went on the hotel's internet and found out from my Illinois Lincoln Highway e-mail group that yesterday the city was essentially isolated by flooding. Northern Illinois University had been closed.

We decided to go to Dekalb anyway. We encountered no flooding along the Lincoln Highway (Illinois Highway 38) until we got NIU's lagoon and the bridge over the Kishwaukee. This area was flooded and water was up to the bridge, but it was still passable.

Cornfest was underway and, as usual, finding a parking place was not easy. Lincoln Highway, which serves as the main street through downtown, was blocked off. We got there in time for the FREE corn. From 11 AM to 2, it was all the corn you want for free. It is heated by an antique steam thresher and everything is done in assembly-line fashion. They'll give you two ears at a time, drenched in butter and in a paper container.

Nowhere to sit, and as I was eating one, I evidently tilted the container and got butter all over the front of my shirt, proof that I had been there, but Liz wasn't too pleased.

Walked around and listened to a band on the main stage. The Egyptian Theater, dating to the 1920s was open and had a free showing of "Field of Dreams" so took advantage. I don't remember ever going to this old movie palace with its art deco/Egyptian architecture. It was closed when I was a student, and almost torn down until a group stepped in and saved it. This is a major site along the old Lincoln Highway in Illinois.

Met The Lincoln Highway Association's state director, Kay, by the small park with the Dekalb mural, Veteran's Memorial Clock, and small WWII Sherman tank (which used to be parked by the train tracks across from Andy's and McCabe's for many years). She had planned to go to Rochelle last night, but had canceled due to the flooding. Kay said that next year, Cornfest will be held at a local park because of planned work on Il-38 through town. Whether it will return to the main drag through town the following year is still to be seen. I hope it does.

Watched the Beatles tribute band, American English, do some of the early Beatles songs. At least they were playing this time, not like the no-play that took place at the Kenosha County Fair a few weeks ago.

Still to be continued.... --RoadDog

Monday, September 3, 2007

At the Movies

This past week, I saw two movies. Being retired, I can go to the matinees which suits me just fine. Cheaper prices and fewer people.

Wednesday, I saw "Superbad" at the McHenry Indoor Theater for $3. At one point, I was ready to ask for my money back and leave. It was just one swear word and sexual suggestion after another and this from high school kids, and what would have to be considered nerds as well.

I stayed, though, and it wasn't a bad show. I'd rename it "Nerds Do Well" though.

The two cops were absolutely hilarious though. If someone in the movies is in the know, they should make a movie just based on these two characters. I'd definitely go see it.

Friday, I went to see "The Bourne Ultimatum" at the Fox Lake Theater. Matinee price was $5. That was one major action show, but a bit confusing at first. And the camera work, with its constant flashing during the chases about wore my eyes out. Good movie, though.

So-So to "Superbad." Go See to "The Bourne Ultimatum." --RoadDog

Labor Day Weekend

Boating wasn't an option, even without the flooding. We generally stay off the Chain of Lakes on the weekends and especially holidays. We let the "weekend warriors" have their sway. Thank you very much, we'll go out on the weekdays.

SATURDAY I worked in the yard and fought mosquitoes. I planted eight tall phlox out by the deck flowerbed.

Then, we drove US-12 down to Wauconda where they were having a Main Street Festival. Old Rand Road, the original US-12 before the bypass was blocked off and a great blues/rock band, Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners, was playing on a temporary stage.

We had some cotton candy for the first time in a long time. We had forgotten how little there is of it. The Rotary Club was selling it and the poor guy at the machine had cotton candy up to hos elbows.

Lots of restaurants were offering food. I had an excellent burrito from a Mexican place for $4. Sat at a table and talked with another couple. They had been married for two years, BUT, had been married before and then divorced. They had met again at their daughter's wedding and the flame rekindled. That was a neat story. We found out they were also into the two lane roads so talked about some of our experiences.

SUNDAY I listened to Bob Stroud do his final Summer of Love installment. Today, he played the songs we were listening to on our radios back on this date in 1967. That was 40 years ago, and in Chicago, we were listening to WLS and WCFL. I'll print out the playlist later. I'm sure they will bring back some memories.

I then went to Alden Terrace in McHenry to visit with Frances.

Came home and then Liz and I drove to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin for some of the World's Greatest Bloody Marys at Main Street. The big talk was about Wisconsin's easy victory and Appalachian State's great upset of Michigan. There are not too many Wolverine fans in Wisconsin.

Played NTN at Donovan's then drove back to the Chain of Lakes.

Passing over the Grasslake Bridge, we only saw about ten boats going no wake. Normally, on Sunday, you'd see close to a hundred and even more on a Labor Day weekend. The flooding has really put a damper on the celebration.

We went to Captain's Quarters to see Cirrus Falcon, one of out favorite bands. All those people who weren't out on boats were in here. There were no seats anywhere, so we left.

Drove Grasslake Road down to the Harbour Lounge and went outside to the tiki bar. When it comes to bands, we almost ALWAYS arrive when they're just going on break. However, this band was breaking down their equipment at 4 PM, way to early for an afternoon set. We found out that someone had complained and the police had told the owner that the band had to stop.

The owner had them move inside, but, again, we couldn't find seats so went home.

TODAY I enjoyed the deck, planted some more perennials, and caught some sun.

We went over to Alden Terrace so we could take Frances to the Labor Day celebration there. A guy was playing a piano with backing music and playing the Big Band songs this elderly group would like. He was quite an entertainer and everyone was having a great time.

Pretty Good Labor Day Weekend if You Ask Me. --RoadDog

What is the State of Labor on Labor Day?

This past weekend, we celebrated the very backbone of this country. That would be those who go out and toil with their own backs and minds and skills to make this country the great place it is. I'm not talking about those who earn money off labor or who make money on the stock market and playing futures. I'm talking about the REAL people of America.

I'm talking about the people who are really suffering today. The people who can no longer expect to live the "American Dream" because prices have increased while jobs, at least the good ones, have gone by the wayside. Those that are having a hard time buying groceries and meeting increased health care. Those who are trying to raise families while paying exorbitant day care prices.

The government likes to talk about the numbers of new jobs that are available for people. YES--MINIMUM WAGE AND FEW IF ANY BENEFITS. In the meantime, the rich get richer and the middle class is dwindling.

The days of the labor unions seem to be over as an effective force to deal with owners and ceos.

Then, there's the horrible inflation we're having. The price of everything keeps going up. And let's not even talk about gas and Big Oil profits.

Not a Pleasant Future that we Face. --RoadDog

"Speed Bump" The Cartoon- Labor Day Weekend

Today's " Speed Bump" cartoon was funny. You saw a cave man cooking over a grill and behind him, a cave woman is saying to a caveman, "After he discovered "fire," he invented "The Weekend."

Well, we just had an extended weekend called Labor Day Weekend. I used to REALLY look forward to these three days off as a break from the early hassles of the new school year. I used to make definite plans around it.

But, for some reason, it's just not that big of a deal anymore. It's just another weekend. Or, I'd even go so far as to say, it's just another day.

I wonder why that is?

Dazed and Confused in Spring Grove. --RoadDog


OH, YES, IT JUST DAWNED ON ME. I BE RETIRED!!!!!!!!! HOW 'BOUT DAT!!!!! Every day is a holiday. I'll just have to learn to live with it.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Great High School Football Rivalry- Johnsburg vs. Richmond-Burton

I've decided to start going to see some local high school gridiron action on Friday nights for entertainment. You can't beat the price and pageantry. Parking is free and usually there are not the big crowds that make getting out of the parking lots, or grass as was the case last night, too bad of an effort. The food is relatively inexpensive as well, definitely better prices than you'll get at Soldiers Field for da Bears.

Last night, I paid $4 after a long walk from where I ended up parking the Dakota to see a game at Johnsburg High School, which is located about two miles directly south of our house. It was between them and arch-rival and neighboring Richmond-Burton which serves students from our village of Spring Grove and Richmond.

I normally would have pulled for Johnsburg, and, until they built the new subdivision between our house and the school, I could hear the pa for their games when it wasn't too windy. I'd sit out on the deck or out by a bonfire on the Grand Strand (what I call the lower patio) and listen to the game. However, since the kids in our subdivision go to R-B (Richmond-Burton), I decided to play it loyal and pulled for the Rockets.

Can't do that anymore.

Got a hot dog and drink for $3.50 and walked over to the visitors side. The whole field was packed and there was nowhere to sit in either grandstand.

I took up a position by the fence at the 20 yard line and watched the end of the sophomore game which ended in a 40-7 rout for the Rockets.

Johnsburg has been to the state playoffs quite often in the last ten years and was heavily favored to win...again. While talking with one of the player's fathers, I found out Johnsburg has the whammy on R-B and usually wins six out every seven contests. Kind of like Arlington High School was to my alma mater, Palatine. We just couldn't beat them. The University of Toledo has the same thing going against my college, Northern Illinois. Even on those VERY RARE times we beat them, they still go to a bowl game and we stay home.

Standing along the fence in the grass, we got to watch the game and battle the hungry-for-your-blood mosquitoes all evening. After all the rain, they are the worst I've ever seen.

The Johnsburg Seahawks got the opening kick off and were marching down the field when a pass was intercepted and run back to the ten yard line and that led to a R-B touchdown. They came back and scored, and were easily containing the R-B offense the whole first quarter.

In the second half, a Rocket running back took the hand off and ran 70 yards to set up another TD a few plays later. The father I was talking to said that the player was his son, who very rarely ever plays offense. He didn't seem too excited about the run as he wasn't cheering any louder than the other fans. Later, his son went down with leg cramps, but after a few minutes got up and was able to walk off under his own power.

His father said his son, a senior, was going to go to Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin, about 45 miles away. He won't play football, but will do track. He will join two other siblings already there. I told him his money was definitely going to Carthage as it is a private college.

I left with ten minutes to go as I was getting tired of standing, had lost a fair amount of blood to the mosquitoes, was getting chilly as I was wearing shorts and a polo shirt, and, when the game ended, there would be quite a mess getting out with all those vehicles. Richmond was winning 20-10, and I saw this morning that that was the final score as well. Congratulations Rockets.

Love Them High School Football Games. --RoadDog

These Are Times That Try White Sox Fans' Souls

This season can't end too soon. How can a team that won the World Series just two years ago and had a good season last year sink to these depths?

Last weekend was the worst of all. The White Sox were swept in a four game series by the Boston Red Sox. AND, not JUST swept. Did someone get the license of that truck that drove over us? This was embarrassing. The Sox were outscored 46-7 and the BoSox had double digit runs in all four games.

As of yesterday, they were 20 games under .500 (first time since 1989) and deeply mired in last-place in the AL Central. Even lowly KC has passed us. The last 19 games, the Sox have posted a sterling 3-16 record. They just got swept by last place AL West powerhouse Texas and managed to rally to edge out last place Tampa Bay on Monday's make up game. The only team in the AL with a worse record is Tampa Bay.

This is a lesson in pitiful.

Where's the hitting, which has improved a little since the embarrassment of the first two months? Forget pitching and we don't even want to talk about the relief pitching other than Bobby Jenks. Defense is suspect, especially after the four errors in the third inning that doomed the Sox on Thursday.

Let's hope that now that September is here, they will call up a lot of players from the minors and see what they can do for the rest of this sorry season.

Can the Season End Fast Enough?

Not Ready to Turn in My Sox Fan Card. --RoadDog

A Great Independent Grocery Store in McHenry

I originally was writing about this when I ended up writing about the newspapers. I DO tend to get off-track.

While Frances was reading the comics and working on the crossword puzzle, I read the Northwest Herald and saw an ad for Angelo's Supermarket. They had some great sales, so decided to stop by on my way home.

The store is located in shopping center west of downtown McHenry on Illinois Highway 120. It is called Elm Street on that stretch.

Get these prices!!! $2.99 for a pound of roast beef, same for corned beef, seedless watermelon for $1.49, and local corn for 10 cents an ear. I'll go back to this place, plus it's an independent grocery store struggling against the corporate behemoths. Around here, that's Jewel and Dominick's, although I don't expect the latter to be around much longer judging by lack of business. Then, K-Mart and Wal-Mart have also gotten into the grocery business. It has to be a rough job to combat them.

Jewel and Dominick's might have prices like the roast beef and corned beef when they're on sale, but that will be for a half-pound.

The place was busy, so that's good.

In nearby Johnsburg, we have another great little independent called Val's which is the main place we go to for groceries. They have one of the best delis ever. Most everyone swears by them in this area.

Support Your Local Independent Grocer. --RoadDog