Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Houdini Died Today

In 1926 magician Harry Houdini, the pride of Appleton, Wisconsin, died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. What a day for him to die on. He had been punched in the stomach a few weeks earlier after boasting that he could take any blow. Two college students hit him before he was able to prepare.

Now, That is Totally Worthy of Tubular Bells. --RoadDog

Speaking of "Chicken Heart"

No, not "Brave Heart." I'm talking about Bill Cosby's ever popular Chicken Heart and the story leading up to it. Now, that was one of the greatest and scariest stories ever told. "It's right outside your door and getting ready to eat you." Start spreading that jello!!!!

For most of the 33 years I taught school, this was a Halloween tradition that all my classes listened to, many for the first-ever time.

I still have the time-worn cassette somewhere. Yes, I said cassette and I know some you won't even know what that is.

I should really dig it out to continue the tradition.

Watch Out for the Poisonous Snakes Your Parents Put Around Your Crib. --RoadDog

Here Are Some Good Halloween Songs

Although he didn't do it this year, last year, Bob Stroud had a Halloween Spooktacular as Baron von Frankenstroud on his Sunday morning radio show on WDRV.

I will give you some of the songs he played here in case you're looking for a good compilation.

Sandman-- America
I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night-- Electric Prunes-- Or did they say "Too Much to Drink"
Devil in Disguise-- Elvis Presley-- one of my favorite Elvis songs
Frankenstein-- Edgar Winter Group-- one of the best-ever instrumentals
Bad Moon Rising-- Creedence Clearwater Revival-- or was it "There's a Bathroom on the Right?"

Clap for the Wolfman-- Guess Who-- complete with Wolfie doing his thing. He actually had a radio show way back then.

Welcome to My Nightmare-- Alice Cooper-- Marilyn Manson Who? The ORIGINAL!!!
She's Not There-- Zombies
Fire-- Crazy World of Arthur Brown-- Now this is one crazy, flipped out song. "I am the god of hellfire and I bring you..."

Autumn-- The Family-- local Chicago group. Well, it is that time of the year.
Devil in Her Heart-- Beatles
Hokus Pokus-- Focus
Friend of the Devil-- Grateful Dead
As the Raven Flies-- Dan Fogelberg
Tubular Bells-- Michael Oldfield
Spooky-- Classics IV

He had more, but these are just some.

Go Ahead, Scare Me To Death. Right, Bill Cosby? --RoadDog

Bad Place to Trick or Treat

Our subdivision, Orchard Bluff Estates in Spring Grove, Illinois, would not be my first choice of places to trick or treat. As matter of fact, if I were a kid, I'd ask my parents to take me to another subdivision. Logistically, it is a nightmare. There is just TOO much ground that has to be covered to get a candy return on our efforts.

The problem is that we are a subdivision of one acre lots. Now that is true joy to the McHenry County tax collector who sees the word acre and thinks "Cash Cow." Plenty of money to be milked here. My property tax surely reflects this.

However, this is way too much territory to cover if you're in the business of acquiring candy. Plus, the majority go back to the street instead of cutting across yards, even more candy collectin' time lost.

Now, what I would do would be to get my parents to take me to one of the canyon subdivisions. You know the ones where all the homes are on postage stamp-sized lots and go straight up to save land. You feel like you're driving through a canyon in these places. The great thing is that they're right next to each other. MAXIMUM candy ACQUISITION time.

I know my brother and I carefully mapped out our plan of attack to get the maximum in the minimum. That included taking mental notes of the "great" houses where the candy was the best for a possible return visit.

Then, Again, an Apartment Complex Would Even be Better. --RoadDog

It's a Scary Job, But Somebody's Got to Do It

This afternoon and evening, the 'lil hobgoblins and spooks come around looking for their annual handout of sweets.

As of 4:09, we've had no visitors, but imagine they'll be around soon.

This is the first year since we've been out here that I haven't decorated. Usually, we have shocks of corn, bales of hay, and lots and lots of orange lights all over the front yard and lighted pumpkins in the windows. This year, I was Bah Boobug. My excuse is that I was visiting in NC for two weeks. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

We've got an ample supply of candy. Or, at least I hope so. You never know. We usually get 60-80 kids with the younger ones out first accompanied by their parents. Then, come the older 5th to 8th graders and a smattering of high schoolers I would imagine.

It's 4:19 and still no kids. Maybe we'll have lots of candy left over????

Here's Hopin' We'll Have Some Left Over. Either way, I'm Headin' Out Tomorrow for Those Half Price Specials. Walgreens is Good for Something Besides Tearing Down Historic Buildings Located on Corners. --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Truly Smelly Job!!!

After 15 years at the "new" house, it came time to have the septic tank pumped out today. Some people get it done every year (those of us "out in the country" anyway. Because we have two full baths and two half baths, we had to get a very large tank and a big septic field with at least five lines. With just the two of us, this is a bit of overkill, but that is the only way we get get to village to ok the house for occupation. So, there you go.

This past August, our neighbors across the street got theirs pumped, and I walked over to ask if the company could do ours as long as they were across the street. However, with all of the flooding and messed up septic fields, they said it would be at least a month before they could get to us. Liz called while I was on vacation.

The guy came out today and pumped the aromatic effluent of our leavings. Fortunately there were no problems. Hopefully, this will not CAUSE problems either.

He backed the truck into the driveway then ran pipes around to the septic tank which is by the deck. He said he's had encounters with bricks, and most strange of all, a 14 pound bowling ball. I guess SOMEONE was VERY unhappy with their performance.

So, $155 later, I have the pleasure of having a cleaned-out septic tank!!! Aren't I a lucky guy.

Here a Pump, There a Pump. Everywhere a Pump Pump. --RoadDog

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Votes Are In

The voting for the 25 Chicagoland preservation sites is over, having ended October 10th. I know I voted early and often in true Chicago style, even if many of my first ones went for the Viking Ship and GAR Hall. That was before I knew you could only vote once a day and just for one place. After that, all my votes went to our local Spring Grove Fish Hatchery.

It ended up in 10th place with 4 % of the vote, after a climb from #19 and 2%. That was not bad for a small community of about 4,000 considered all the people living in Chicago. The winner was the On Leong Merchant Association/ Pui Tak Center in Chicago's China Town.

Of the sites I supported: #3 was the Viking ship in Geneva with 11%, #9 the GAR Hall in Aurora, and #22 the Petersen Historic Farmstead in McHenry.

The On Leong Building will get the full amount of their request. The rest of the $1 million will be awarded on November 13th. So here's hoping for the Viking Ship and fish hatchery.

A big thanks to American Express for putting up the money. It is definitely important to save as much of our heritage as possible and whenever possible.

Save Those Old Places!! --RoadDog

Just Got Back-- Carolina-Style BBQ, Philly Cheese Steak, and Autumn at Topsail

I was gone and On the Road the last two weeks from October 11th to the 25th.

The first day, I drove to Cincinnati via Illinois Highway 47 and I-74. Got together with road buddy Denny and had a great chicken meal at the Silver Spring House which dates to the 1930s. Then played NTN with his team at Buffalo Wild Wings and we had three Number threes on some games I really wasn't able to help much on as they were movies.

October 12th- Friday-- Drove on two of the great two laners I've ever been on, both in southern highway, Ohio 247 and Ohio 125. Talk about your roads following the contours of the land. Plus, 125 went through the beautiful Shawnee State Park. Caught I-64 and took it to the West Virginia Turnpike. I know that we two lane types disparage the interstates, or, Superslabs, as we call them. But, this drive is equal in beauty to anything a two lane can offer. I'd put it right up there with I-70 from where it starts in Utah , to Denver.

Took I-74 past Andy Griffith's hometown of Mt. Airy, NC, and picked up I-40 at Winston-Salem and all the way to Raleigh. I-40 is some of the heaviest driving you'll find anywhere. I mean, there are a LOT of cars and trucks on this road. Never a real pleasure to drive this road because of the congestion.

Decided to stop and get my first taste of Carolina-style pulled pork vinegar-based bbq at Smithfield's in Mebane, NC, about 12 miles east of Burlington. There are about twenty stores in this chain, many along interstates, so if you're ever int he area and would like to find out what I'm talking about, give it a try. Nothing like bbq, cole slaw, hush puppies, and sweet tea. Now, that's good eatin', or as Andy would say, "Gooooooodddd."

Got to Mom's after getting a bit lost in Goldsboro, as usual.

Drove 985 miles over these past two days.

Gas was usually around $2.80 with a high of $2.95 in Elburn, Illinois, and a low of $2.54 just south of Wytheville, Virginia. For some reason, this is always cheaper. They must actually have competition to sell that gas.

On Da Road Again, Even if It Was Mostly Superslab. --RoadDog

Octoberfest- Day II BEARS WIN!!!!

Sunday, the 7th of October, I drove to Antioch, Illinois, where I enjoyed my second straight day of German style partying. In the past, both Fox Lake and Antioch had their Octoberfest celebrations on the same day. But this year, Fox Lake was on Saturday and Antioch's the following day. So, I got to double my fun.

The Alpiners were there as well, and this time with all five members and playing on the beautiful outdoor stage just to the east of Main Street. Definitely a better show than yesterday's meanderings.

I met Cindy, who is in charge of Antioch's functions along this line. She also organized the "It's Thursday" music and food vendor lineup. I enjoyed several of these this past summer, as well as Taste of Antioch, which went over four days. She does a great job.

Ate my fill of German food from the various offerings.

Came home and watched the Bears defeat the much heralded Brett Favre and the Pack at Margaritaville in the basement. Well, I should say it was the Pack beating themselves more than the Bears beating them. Oh well, the way this season is going, I'll take any win I can get.

Oompah Music and a Bears Win. Now That's a Great Sunday!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Da Cubs, Three and Out, Maybe They Pay TOO Much

Da Cubs were like Da Bears during the first quarter of the Packer game Sunday night. In the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks, there was nothing, then three and out. Three straight losses.

Well, at least I don't have to wear that Cubs hat. I told my friends that I would actually wear it if the Cubs got to the World Series. That is no longer a problem. I have never, to my knowledge, worn anything with Cubs on it. I do pull for the lads, though. They are my second favorite team. Da Sox are my favorite and the less said about this past season, the better.

An article in the Sunday Chicago Tribune by Dave Van Dyck compared what the Cubs and Diamondbacks paid for their players. Contracts for Arizona's 25 man roster totalled about $35 million, including $7 million to Saturday's winning pitcher Livan Hernandez. Their starting eight on Saturday earned a total of less than $14 million, led by Eric Byrnes' $4.5 million. Five players were making less than $400,000 each (the major league minimum is $380,000.

In comparison, Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez combines for $30 million.

Then again, there's the New York Yankees who were eliminated last night by the Indians. You want to talk about a group of high salaries that under perform.

Plus, it seems like whenever the Cubs give out a super-salary, it backfires. Look at Carlos Zambrano this year after his big pay day. Then, last season, Derrek Lee was injured shortly after his big contract. Then, there was always Kerry Woods and Mark Prior's huge contracts that fizzled. Talk about your getting paid for nothing.

There was an interesting article about sites all Cub fans should visit while in Chicago. It is on my other blog at .

Well, I Suppose There's Always NEXT Year. --RoadDog

Monday, October 8, 2007

Neverly Brothers

This group put on a great show at Fox Lake, Illinois' Octoberfest. I'd heard of them, but this was my first time to see a performance. They say that they are a Rock and Roll Evolution band, showing the way the music went from Rockabilly to the British Invasion. The songs they played from the British Invasion definitely showed Rockabilly influences. It's a regular history lesson.

We caught the last several songs of the first set and were impressed enough to stick around for the second one. The group consists of a lead guitar, stand-up bass, and stand-up drummer (who only had a bass drum and a snare and played with a whisk stick. For just three guys, they sure put out a full sound.

They opened the second set with five Beatles songs including that great Arthur Alexander song, "Anna." Next up were two Rolling Stones songs. One was "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" which we, of course, REALLY liked. Then came three Dave Clark 5 songs, "Can't You See That She's Mine" and "Because." Then "Glad All Over."

Other songs:

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom- Animals
Hippy, Hippy Shake-- Swinging Blue Jeans
You're No Good-- Swinging Blue Jeans
Well Respected Man-- Kinks
You Really Got Me-- Kinks
Henry the 8th-- Herman's hermits-- this was a sing-along
World Without Love-- Peter and Gordon

I have never seen anyone play a stand-up bass like this guy. The lead guitarist looked a little like John Lennon.

Well worth a trip to see these guys.

Long Live Rockabilly. --RoadDog

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Octoberfest Weekend-- Day 1

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day with blue skies and temperatures approaching 90 degrees. More like an August day than fall.

I went over and watched Grant High School's Homecoming parade. Grant is the high school that serves the Fox Lake area. Julie would be happy to hear that they use the University of Georgia G and have the same colors. Looks like UGA was too lazy to come up with their own idea.

As Clark Griswald said while crossing the desert in "Vacation," I love a parade. I like the marching bands the best. There was a good-sized contingent of the Class of '57, about six of whom were driving antique cars.

Came home and took advantage of the rays OD (On the deck).

Liz and I went to the Fox Lake Lakefront Park for the Octoberfest celebration. Watched the Alpiners Oompah Band for a couple sets. Enjoyed some brats and German food.

It was actually getting too hot, so went to local watering hole, Hello Folks, and played some NTN. We had one #4 with JeffH placing #7.

Went back to Octoberfest and saw the Neverly Brothers do their oldies show. This was our first time seeing them and I'll definitely see them again. I'll have more on them in the future.

That kettle popcorn was looking and smelling too good, but they were out of the smaller $3 bags. I took a pass on the $6 jumbo ones. I finally broke down and went to the stand to buy the $6 one. They were evidently getting ready to leave and they gave me a second one for free. Anyone want some kettle corn?

There evidently was an accident on the Route 12 bridge as there were lots of police vehicles and they closed it off. We ended up having to take a 15 mile detour to get home and twice were passed by ambulances going at high rates of speed.

Can't Beat Fun in the Chain of Lakes. --RoadDog

Friday, October 5, 2007

Enjoying the House

A couple days ago, I got to sit out in the gazebo for several hours. Today, I had a bonfire on the Grand Strand, the lower patio which is named after one of our favorite places to visit, Myrtle and North Myrtle Beach. Of course, this is the epicenter of one of my favorite types of music, Beach Music, and I'm not talking about the Beach Boys or Jan and Dean. I'm talking about East Coast Carolina Beach Music.

I've finally gotten the yard to just about where I want it. Now, I intend to enjoy it, especially since I'm not boating anymore.

We also have a great bar downstairs in the basement that we call Margaritaville with all sorts of nautical and Jimmy Buffett stuff as well as a TV in the upper corner, wet bar, and mini fridge. Why go anywhere else? We call the whole homestead Key North because we definitely aren't west but way north.

Then, of course, there's the oversized deck to enjoy.

Wasting Away Again at Key North. --RoadDog

Thursday, October 4, 2007

End of the Boating Season, Well, for Us Anyway

Sad day for us today, as we pulled "School's Out... Forever" out of the water. That is our boat's name with a big thanks for good old Alice Cooper for his great song.

We were able to get out boating 38 times this season, far more than most boaters on the Chain. Of course, being retired definitely helps.

My buddy Frank came by and we went for a cruise on Fox and Pistakee lakes. I then dropped him off at Rick's, where I dock the boat. He went to Kora's to get the trailer and I boated across Fox Lake to Grasslake and up the Fox River a short way to the Chain of Lakes State Park where Frank met me and we pulled the boat out.

They have great boat ramps in the park, and best of all, they are FREE!!!! It normally costs around $20 to put or pull your boat at the private ramps.

Pulled the boat over to Midwest Marine where it will be winterized before I take it out to Hebron, Illinois, where it will be stored for the winter.

How many Days Until the 2008 Boating Season? --RoadDog

Get Online and Vote!!!!!

Days are dwindling down to October 10th, the last day you can vote for the 25 nominated sites in the Chicagoland area. I'm happy to report that our local Spring Grove Fish Hatchery has climbed into 10th place with a 4% share of the vote.

Not bad, considering that we are up against some very organized Frank Lloyd Wright groups who have two sites nominated. Plus, then there is Chicago with its huge voting block.

All of these sites are worthy. The top vote getter, which still is the Luong Merchant Building in Chicago's Chinatown, where it has been since the onset of voting, will get the full amount of its request. What is left over will be divided among the other 24. An old Chicago high school is in second.

From the beginning, I have been supporting four sites:

#3 Viking ship from the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Geneva-- 11%
#9 GAR Hall in Aurora-- 4%
#10 Spring Grove Fish Hatchery-- 4%
22. Petersen Historic Farmstead in McHenry-- 1%

Sure would appreciate your vote for any of these, but especially the fish hatchery.

Pretty Please!!! --RoadDog

What's Happening to Baseball?

Despite that unbelievable finish in the National League and the fact that the Cubs (more than a little overdue) are actually in it, the fact is that many Americans aren't going to be able to watch it from the comfort of their own home. Well, about 10% of those who don't have cable TV. They can listen on the radio, or go down to the local watering hole.

There was a time that anyone with a TV and an antenna could get the games, but not now, with all the Divisional Series and the NL Championship games on TNT. At least, one would think that the cities who have teams playing should be able to see the games on local stations. But, no. Money talks and the poor fans are just out of luck.

Then, there's the fact that some of the games are on SO LATE. The Cubs started at 9 PM Central Time last night and tonight. That is a bit too late for oldsters like me, and what about young baseball fans who must attend school?

Bring Back the day or Early Evening Games, and Make the Games Available to Everyone. --RoadDog

Good Grief. The Cubs lost 3-1 yesterday, and are losing 4-2 in the fourth right now. Time to get a Move On, Cubs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cubs, Cubs, Cubs

That's all you hear about around here right now. It is enough to make a White Sox fan like myself sick. Don't get me wrong, I am pulling for them, but fear a world series victory would make the average Cub fan very much like the average Yankee fan--pretty hard to take.

I pull for the Cubs unless they play the White Sox. Actually, I wouldn't have been too upset had the Brewers managed to hang in there. They are my third favorite team and I've been a fan since the early 80s. I still say they would have won the '82 World series had Rollie Fingers been healthy.

Like Steve Goodman wrote before his death, "Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go. Hey Chicago, what do you say, Go Cubs Go." --RoadDog

Every Bloomin' Thing

There is an old gas station in Waynesville, Missouri, which has been converted into a flower shop with the very appropriate name of Every Bloomin' Thing.

I had to cut the grass today as it had grown quite a bit since we left on the trip. A couple of my trees have lost most of their leaves without turning. The honeylocusts are turning yellow.

The mums are absolutely brilliant in their yellows, purples, reds, and oranges, and I have quite a several hundred of them. The sedum have several shades of red. A lot of the goldenrod are still bright yellow, plus there is some sort of a plant with huge clusters of white flowers that are ablaze from one end of the yard to the other.

Sure going to miss all the color at the end of this month which effectively ends my growing season until next April.

Love 'Dem Flowers. --RoadDog

Just Got Back from Route 66 Part 1

Liz and I just got back from an eight day Route 66 trip covering 1200 miles, 1000 on the dear old Mother Road.

We left last TUESDAY and checked out the 1932 Standard station in Odell, Illinois, just as a busload of tourists from upper Minnesota came in. They were impressed with all the Route 66 stuff on the Malibu. We had a long talk with Ernie and Fran Edwards at the site of the Pig Hip restaurant that Ernie operated since the 1930s. Dinner was at the famous Ariston Restaurant in Litchfield, Illinois (dating also to the 1930s). We stayed at the motel that used to be a Best Western where Liz stayed quite often as a child while driving to visit family in Kansas City.

WEDNESDAY-- Took a ride around and walk around Litchfield while waiting for Liz to get up. Ate lunch at the Jack-in-the-Box in Litchfield. On the old roads, we make it our choice NOT to go to national chains on trips, but this is the closest Jack-in-the-Box to us and we're quite fond of Monster Tacos and Jumbo Jacks.

Had those great "concretes" at Ted Drewe's in St. Louis and drove 66 out to Rolla. We stopped along the way to play NTN at three new sites, one in Illinois and two in Missouri.

Made it out to the Munger-Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri and had a talk with ramona Lehman, a real Route 66 character. Also met up with Jeff Meyer, winner of Route 66's John Steinbeck Award. He said he wasn't going to the Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Illinois, this weekend because it is nothing but a glorified car show.

On the Road for Some More. --RoadDog