Daisies. They're A' Bloomin' Now. I have several hundred of them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

JSS: Is Anybody Going to Win?-- 100th NTN Site-- House of Gerhard-- Mary Ann Gerlach's Wake-- Christmas Lights

Just Some Stuff.

1. IS ANYBODY GOING TO WIN?-- Yesterday, both NC State and Northwestern lost their bowl games. Is any one that I back going to win a game this bowl season? Come On!! It seems that if I like the team, they're done for. I'm not saying who I'm pulling for the rest of the way.

2. 100TH NTN SITE-- Drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin, yesterday and played NTN at my 100th new site this year, Big Shots. That is a lot of sites in a year. Whenever Liz and I travel, we try to stop at places to play the game. It was my 709th place overall.

3. HOUSE OF GERHARD-- After NTN, we drove the short distance to a German restaurant and had one of the best meals ever. I got the German combo with beef, a sausage, and one of the best smoked pork chops I've ever tasted. It came with potatoes (we had spaetzle) and soup or salad. We especially enjoyed what they called House Appetizers of mini muffins, rolls, liver pate, toasted garlic bread pieces, and kidney bean salad. It cost $19.

4. MARY ANN GERLACH'S WAKE-- Sadly, the reason for going to Kenosha was for the wake of Mary Ann Gerlach, the wife of Paul, with whom I taught for 30 years at Magee. I have never seen so many people at a wake. We had to wait over an hour to pay our respects. We did get to see some friends including the Evans, Dawsons, Rohlwings, Eakers, Babiaks and several other Magee teachers. Unfortunately, we are getting to that age when we will be seeing each other often at wakes and funerals.

Mary was born October 19, 1946 and a graduate of UW-Whitewater and marrieed Paul in 1977. She taught for 37 years after beginning her teaching career in Fort Atkinson in 1969.

5. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS-- On the way home, we saw some really nice Christmas displays, including the one by Breezy Hill Nursery in Wisconsin Hwy-50, and one very impressive one off Wilmot Road in Spring Grove, Illinois.

Now You Know. --RoadDog

Monday, December 29, 2008

What Would You rather Have: Good Food or Good Service?

The May 15th Chicago Tribune At Play Section had two articles by Phil Vettel and Monica Eng about which you prefer at a restaurant: good food or good service.

Eng said she goes for the food, regardless of bad treatment. Vettel thinks service is primary.

I fall somewhere in between. The food has to be really good AND REASONABLY-PRICED. But. I get angry if I have my "invisible shields" up and am ignored by the wait staff. I also will not wait more than a few minutes for a table. I really don't like lines and will go somewhere else.

Give me Food or Give Me Service!! --RoadDog

Stinking Football

Not much fun for me this weekend in football. Wisconsin didn't even show up for the Champs Sport Bowl in Orland. Central Michigan (MAC) lost as well. Then Northern Illinois lost in the Independence Bowl to Louisiana Tech. We could have won, but gave up too many big plays and had too many drive-stopping penalties. But, we really didn't deserve to be in a bowl game with that 6-6 record.

The less said about the Bears, the better.

Crying in My Beer. --RoadDog

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Typical Nasty Weather-- Part 4

Most of that snow is now gone. It's amazing what 50 degrees and rain will do to twenty-plus inches of white stuff.

Then, yesterday, we had veritable downpours and drizzle off and on most of the day. I did take advantage of one break to cut my shaggy hair on the deck. Liz gets a bit perturbed if I do it in the house.

I also was able to fix some Christmas decorations outside that had fallen. Before, there was too much snow to get at it. I was also finally able to get a beer bottle frozen at the bottom of a cooler int he garage extricated from the ice as well.

But, then the winds came, and howl they did. Most of last night, but no damage that I know of. Temps below freezing today.

Bob Stroud opened his Rock and Roll Roots show today with "I Am a Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel, you know, "In a deep and dark December." The next song was Cleveland, Ohio's, Choir, singing "It's Cold Outside" which was recorded here in Chicago in 1967.His Salute today was to ELO as Jeff Lynne turns 61 this week. Also, lead vocalist of the Guess Who, Burton Cummings turns 61. Del Shannon would have been 69.

One Rough and Weird Winter So Far, AND, We Haven't Even Got to the Brunt of It Yet!!-- RoadDog

While on the Subject of White Christmas

We surely had a White Christmas this year, with at least 20 inches of the stuff on the ground here along the Illinois-Wisconsin border. That is, until yesterday when the rain and 50 degree temps melted a lot of it away.

Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the Chicago Tribune ran an article with all sorts of interesting "White Christmas" facts and stuff. "I'm dreaming of a ...White Christmas (by the numbers)

40-- Percentage of Chicago Christmases that are considered "White Christmases" where at least one inch of snow on the ground at 6 AM

2003-- the most recent "white Christmas" in Chicago until this year

1951-- the year of Chicago's "whitest Christmas" with 17 inches on the ground

2000-- Chicago's second whitest with 12 inches

100-- Number of consecutive days with one-inch-plus snow in Chicago's snowiest winter, 1978-1979. Only one inch on the ground Christmas Day, however. (No kidding here. Until last winter, that was the last of what I call "Bad" winters.

1940-- the year Irving Berlin wrote "White Christmas"

101-- Irving Berlin's age when he died in 1989

1954-- Year the movie "White Christmas" was released

1942-- Bing Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" released in the movie "Holiday Inn"

11-- Number of weeks Crosby's song topped the charts in 1942

5-- Ranking by ASCAP of the top-most performed holiday song

12,000,000-- Dollars spent on rentals of the movie "White Christmas

So, Who's Dreaming of a White Christmas? Probably Those Rotten Snowmobilers Who Won't Come Over and Clear My Driveway. I Mean, If They're Getting Something They Want, It's the Least They Could Do. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 27, 2008

JSS: Movies-- Black Monday?-- Bears Win!!-- Bowling

Just Some Stuff.

1. MOVIES-- I've seen two movies this week. "The Day the Earth Stood Still" cost $3 at the McHenry Theater. A good remake and some really nasty little metallic critters. I saw "For Christmases" at the Fox Lake Theater for free using a customer card. See seven movies and the eighth is free if it's been out for two weeks. This movie featured some of the most dysfunctional families I've ever seen. I especially liked her grandmother.

2. BLACK MONDAY?-- While out shopping and seeing the movie Monday in McHenry, I'd have to say the crowds were bigger than on Black Friday in the past. Il-120 was almost gridlocked. I finally gave up waiting in the line at Borders. Parking lots were packed. Perhaps many others like myself were unable to leave their houses over the last week because of the weather. From last Friday to Tuesday, I had to stay put for three of five days.

3. BEARS WIN!!-- It was a Monday Night Football Game and the Bears USUALLY stink when playing this game. They did...until the second half. Then we had a game and they beat the much disliked Packers!! And still have a shot at the playoffs. Go Bears!!

4. BOWLING-- and speaking of football, I've been following some of the college bowl games. Really enjoyed the Boise State-TCU game. Texas Christian is a much-underrated team. The Hawaii Bowl was boring as Notre Dame blew out Hawaii. Pulling for North Carolina and Wisconsin today. Then, tomorrow, it's the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana featuring my Northern Illinois (with our whopping 6-6 record) against Louisiana Tech which usually beats us. Never could understand why, a few years ago with a 10-2 record and victories over Alabama, Maryland (both ranked at the time) and Iowa State, and we sat home. Now, at 6-6 mediocrity, we go to a bowl game. Go Huskies. Hope it is better than the last time when TCU embarrassed us.

Just Some Stuff-- RoadDog

Thursday, December 25, 2008

State Street, That Great Street, Especially at Christmas

Flashback 1958, by Nancy Watkins in the Nov. 16th Chicago Tribune.

I always look forward to that last page of the Tribune Magazine every Sunday to see what delights Nancy has brought me in her weekly Flashback page. Not only is there an old picture, but also all sorts of interesting information related to it.

Nov. 16th she showed a picture a picture taken Nov. 13, 1958, of 250,000 standing in State Street admiring the new $250,000 street lights when they were first turned on.

I'll quote her opening statement: "We moan about the crowds and the parking and the weather. But we know deep down that shopping on State Street knows no equal for revving up the holiday spirit, ever since Marshall Field's unveiled its first Christmas window display in 1897."

SANTA LOST HIS PANTS-- Ten days later in the parade, Santa's pants fell down, but fortunately he was wearing another pair underneath, (You know how cold it can get in Chicago.)

HENRY LYTTON, 1888-- Hub Store owner Henry Lytton was seen dressed in a tuxedo sawing wood in a display window. he had lost a bet.

1938-- Year of the first State Street parade.

7 and 3/4 TONS- weight of each clock at the corner of Marshall Field's, er, Macy's.

33%-- The percent of adults who say they'll shop online because of the high cost of gasoline.

I sure enjoyed my trip to State Street earlier this month. Fly Metra, the Only Way to Go.

Thanks, Nancy. Another Great Job. --RoadDog

Santa Been Good to Me

Mighty, mighty good. And I didn't think I was all that good.


GPS-- as in Tom Tom. Actually for Liz from Mom, but I'll sneak it out as well. It will be especially helpful when looking for NTN sites while on the road.

WILBER'S SIGN AND BUILDING-- Mom got me a watercolor original of my favorite 'cue place in Goldsboro, North Carolina. This is by well-known NC artist Brenda Behrs who happens to live next door to Mom. I had Wilber Shirley sign a business card which I will put on the front of it.

BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL, TUCUMCARI, NEW MEXICO, PICTURE-- Liz had this framed for me. This is one of the best-known motels along old Route 66. We were fortunate to get to spend a night back in the fifties. The new owners spent many hours and days out in front until they got just the right sunset. They certainly did. Between the motel's neon and the sky, this is awe-inspiring.

KEN TURMEL'S ROUTE 66 POSTMARKS PRINT-- Roadie Ken Turmel took a ride along the Mother Road after he was bitten by the bug and stopped at every town along the way that had a post office and had them postmark a map of the route. I won this one at the Munger-Moss anniversary celebration several years back, but had never had it framed. Thanks Liz.


I had mentioned to Liz that I liked John T. McCutcheon's 1907 "Injun Summer" cartoon. She ordered a print from the Chicago Tribune and had it framed as well. Thinking of putting it up by Terry Redlin's "Aroma of Fall" print in the living room.

Four ten brick packs of cassette tapes (Yup, I still use 'em), a huge NIU floor mat, a Chicago Bears sweatshirt with "Roaddog " on the back, and a Topsail Beach sweatshirt.

Thanks Santee Clause. --RoadDog

Jeff Foxworthy on Chicago Winters

The Redneck himself says that you know you're from Chicago if... Especially poignant this year with all this winter stuff we're having.

If your local Dairy Queen closes from September to May. (Well our local Dog N' Suds closes from October to March.)

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time.

If you've switched from heat to the AC in the same day and then back again.

If you drive 75 mph through two feet of snow during a raging blizzard (Our first trip on Route 66 encountered a snowstorm back in 2002 and we figured I-55 would be safer. Not safer!!! The trucks were slamming through the snow and blizzard at 80 mph. Never been so scared in my life.)

If you design your kids' Halloween costumes to fit over snow suits.

If you think driving is better in the winter because the pot holes are filled with snow. (No kidding there. US-12 yesterday was an obstacle course.)

If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car. (I measure by gallons of gas. Last year I used a gallon and a half. The three years before that about a gallon. Since Dec. 4th this year, just shy of a gallon.)


If you know all four seasons of the year: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction. No Kidding!!!

Still Diggin' Out. Gimme a Break. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

JSS: More Snow-- Passed the Digital Test-- And Speaking Of...-- And It Cost $165-- LPs/Cassettes to CD--

Just Some Stuff

1. MORE SNOW-- Snowed all morning until around noon and we got another 4 inches. At least it warmed up so no frozen fingers. Since Friday, we have gotten about 20 inches. That's enough. Stayed home Friday, Sunday and Tuesday because of it.

2. PASSED THE DIGITAL TEST-- A local station had a test last week where they switched over to all digital broadcast so people could see if they had signal. Glad to say we did. The cable company said we would, but you hear lots and lots of stories from folk.

3. AND SPEAKING OF...-- However, Monday I did buy a digital converter at Circuit City. It was $20 after the $40 coupon. I like to lug an old set out to the gazebo and watch games during the summer. All of our TVs are still analog, with the oldest at 25 years and newest at around ten.

4. AND IT COST $165-- I had mentioned the "rain" we got in the basement from the main floor a couple weeks ago. Good thing I was at Margaritaville because we might not have noticed it until the veritable flood.

We had a guy come out and look at it. It took him about 15 minutes and he found a small plastic tube that controls the amount of water let into the washer was plugged up. A couple snips and it was working and we were out $165. Good work if you can get it, but at least I have nice clean clothes.

5. LPS/CASSETTES TO CD-- Also, about two weeks ago, I went to Kohl's and bought one of those old-timey radios that have a phonograph, cassette and Cd players. It also records cassettes, and records to CD. Who says I "ain't caught up with the rest?" Wait a minute, CDs are on their way out. What's a download?

Can't Keep Up With the Rest, and I Don't Drink Starbucks or Bottled Water. --RoadDog

More Funny Blagojevich Stuff

Newly listed on e-Bay.

Obama's Illinois Senate Seat. Current high bid is $36 out of 12 bids. Includes free shipping.

NEVER TRUST A CUB FAN-- A photo of Blagojevich wearing a Cubs hat.

A large group of political cartoons are making the rounds as well. Mighty funny stuff.

The older of Blago's lawyers sure seems full of himself.

Do the Right Thing. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Typical Nasty Weather-- Part 3

Snowing AGAIN!! Enough said!!

Yesterday, I went to the local mechanic at Five Star, and Ralph plugged a computer in and found the engine light was because of a brake light switch that was probably activated by the rocking back and forth to get the truck out of the snowdrift on Sunday. He fixed it and NO CHARGE. Nice guy and Merry Christmas.

Bitterly cold again. My fingers were really yelping after I got in from clearing the drifts off the driveway the first time. Felt I was going to freeze walking the distance from where I parked to the McHenry Indoor Theater. Same with the walk from there to Bambino's to play NTN (and THEY were closed, thanks a lot).

I've been shopping on Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving and today I saw easily as many folks out and about. I imagine a lot of them were there because of the lousy weather keeping people in. We lost Friday, most of Saturday, and Sunday to the bad stuff. And now we have the snow today which will be continuing through Christmas Day.

Lately, when the weather folk predict snow and cold, they are right on the mark.

I have to mix oil with my gas in the snow blower and already this month, I've almost finished a gallon. Last year I ended up using a gallon and a half.

Let Me Out, I've Had Enough. --RoadDog

Top 20 Greatest Christmas Songs-- NBC

A couple weeks ago, NBC ran a list of 20 songs they deemed as the greatest yuletide tidings. I agree with some and not the others. Not all were sung by the ones who made them popular.

Here's the list:

20. Most Wonderful Time of the Year-- Andy Williams
19. Jingle Bell Rock
18. The First Noel
17. The Chipmunk Song
16. Silent Night
15. What's This?
14. Christmas Tree
13. Feliz Navidad
12. Jingle Bells
11. Joy to the World
10. Merry Christmas Baby
9. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
8. Do You Hear What I Hear?
7. Little Drummer Boy
6. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
5. Channakuh Song
4. Blue Christmas
3. All I Want for Christmas is You
2. The Christmas Song
1. White Christmas--Hard not to go with this one.

An extra one was Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.

How Many More Days Until Christmas? --RoadDog

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Them, Not Me: Fred Basset-- The Gov's Load-- New Illinois Motto-- The Gov Speaks

Don't It Just Burn Ya!!!

1. The Dec. 12th Fred Basset comic strip was pretty good. You see Fred tied up outside a store with "No Dogs" on it as well as a "No Smoking" sign. A guy is leaning up against the window smoking a pipe and Fred says, "We're a couple outcasts."

2. THE GOV'S LOAD-- Columnist McCaleb in the Dec. 19th Northwest Herald: "Mother nature dumped a lot of snow on us early Friday (no kidding, about 12 inches), Later on in the day, Governor Rod Blagojevich dumped a load on us of a completely different nature.

As much as I hate shoveling, I think I prefer the snow to what the governor gave us.

3. NEW ILLINOIS MOTTO-- Forget the "Land of Lincoln." The new one should read, "Illinois, Where Our Governors Make License Plates."

4. THE GOV SPEAKS-- As mentioned earlier, Friday, the governor held a news conference and said he'd done nothing wrong and won't resign: "I will fight! I will fight! I will fight until my last breath. And, I'm not going to quit a job that people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob. I am dying to answer these charges. I am dying to show you how innocent I am."

Load Out!!

Don't Look Back, They May Be Gaining on You!! --RoadDog

Typical Nasty Weather-- Part 2

My fingers have finally thawed out enough to type this. I was just out in 0 degree weather with a bit of a breeze and using the ol' snow blower. Yesterday, Sunday, it was subzero and a west wind to 30 mph doing a lot of snow drifting. Early on, I decided not to risk a trip up to the Wisconsin bars like last Sunday. Those north-south roads sure get a lot of drifting.

About 3 PM, I decided to drive the Dakota over to Billy's for some gyros and Italian beef, but got stuck in the driveway. It took a lot of rocking back and forth to get back into the garage. That snow was about two feet high in spots. I couldn't tell that from inside the house. Even worse, the check engine light came on and wouldn't go out. I'll have to take it somewhere to be checked so that will cost a bit.

Today, I had to come in because of the cold and still have about half the driveway to clear. Sad to say, but the neighbors across the street didn't get any drifting yesterday. That's simply not fair. If I get it ....

We have snow forecast for tonight and even more for Tuesday. At least it will warm up to ALMOST freezing. That would be an improvement.

Going to Someplace "Hot." --RoadDog

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's Them, Not Me: On the Docket-- Alas, CDs, I Knew Them Well-- Obama Celebration-- Want a Space Shuttle?

1. ON THE DOCKET-- On the agenda at Springfield, Illinois' state capitol is whether or not to impeach our governor and what to do with the US Senate seat vacated by Obama. Do you think the gov is innocent? He thinks he is. I also figured that senate seat had been empty ever since Obama was elected to it. He was campaigning for president the whole time.

2. ALAS, CDS, I KNEW THEM WELL-- Digital sales have surpassed CD sales at Atlantic. I imagine they will soon exceed CD sales everywhere. First they took away my albums, then cassettes, now this. Give me a break, guys.

3. OBAMA CELEBRATION-- Well, that big to-do in Chicago's Grant Park back on Nov. 4th ended up costing the city $1.74 million. Good publicity and good times for the estimated 240,000 who attended, but, WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT? Please Mayor Daley, NO MORE TAXES!!

4. WANT A SPACE SHUTTLE?-- The Space Shuttle Endeavor got a piggyback ride from California to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its modified 747. All the shuttles will be retired in a few years and NASA is looking for places to put them. It will be costly though. I think one would look good in my driveway, but imagine the neighborhood association would put a kabosh on it. They won't even let me keep my boat out there. Unpatriotic if you ask me.

Don't look Back, They May Be Gaining. --RoadDog

Friday, December 19, 2008

JSS: Lake Geneva-- Technology 1 Dog 0-- Da Birds-- Da Loss-- Da Pear Trees

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. LAKE GENEVA-- We took Kora to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for a late birthday lunch at Popeye's overlooking the lake. Great food as usual. Kip and Susie joined us. Afterwards we drove over to Grand Geneva which puts on a great "Christmas in the Country" light show on the grounds and go over the top for decorations inside. There were some unbelievable gingerbread house creations. Enjoyed sipping Cokes by the fireside.

2. TECHNOLOGY 1 DOG 0-- Went to the Wal Mart in Lake Geneva to get a replacement pedal for the stationary bike. Found one, but all the checkout lanes were busy so figured to try the self-checkout line. Just my luck to get behind a girl with lots and lots and lots of stuff. I waited patiently, then, when I ran the old card through , it declined it. The employee stationed there to help said, "Hey, it didn't take your card." No kidding.

Went to a regular checkout line and got behind another lady with lots of stuff, but finally got to make my purchase after about ten minutes of waiting to spend my money.

Thanks a lot Wal-Mart.

3. DA BIRDS-- Between clearing snow off the driveway today, the yard was over run with cardinals and chickadees who were after the seeds left on the wildflowers and trees. I got some great video of the cardinals. All that red against the white snow was something. However, the party was broken up when a hawk swooped down on one unfortunate bird. Rotten hawk!!!

4. DA LOSS-- Yesterday, we had the $1 bottles of beer and $1 burgers at Mar's in Wilmot and then went to Donovan's to play NTN and I was in the final four championship round of the NTN tournament. I won the first round and led the championship one until the very last question when Alfons beat me. Too bad for me it was a movie question, something that he excells in and I stink at. So, he won the $50 and I settled for $10. Nice going there, Alfons!!!

5. DA PEAR TREES-- Tried singing the 12 Days of Christmas driving along the long road up to the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva Wednesday. Didn't do well despite the lighted displays. That is TOO much to remember.

There's a Partridge in a pear tree which is easy to remember. Speaking of pear trees. My Bradford pear trees, all three of them, still have their leaves. You'd think by now they would have dropped.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Typical Nasty Weather

I must admit, we've been somewhat pampered during our notorious winters here in the Midwest over the last 30 years, that was, until last December. Last December was full of cold and snow and this one is shaping up as a second go-around.

It has been cold and snowy ever since I got back December 4th. This last weekend was nice with temps up to the 50s and a lot of snow melt, but, OTHER THAN THAT...Yuck!!!

I had to clear snow off when I got back. Then one other time. Tuesday night I was out again. Then, this morning I was out twice clearing snow. The first time it was about 8 inches and another 3 later on.

With the exception of this past weekend and one other day, the temperature has not been over freezing either.

Looks Like It Might Be Time for a Trip to the WARM. --RoadDog

It's Them, Not Me: Arnie Duncan-- Best Buy-- Dead Confederate-- Above and Beyond Political Malfeasance

Some Stuff of Interest from the News.

1. ARNIE DUNCAN has been nominated for Secretary of Education. he is the head of schools in Chicago and an innovator. Hopefully he will have a major overhaul of the No Child Left Behind, a good idea, but poorly implemented and funded.

2. BEST BUY's third quarter profit was off 77%. But the thing is that they still made a profit. It's an economy thing and perhaps some folks will learn that they don't have to have the very latest in technology all the time.

3. DEAD CONFEDERATE-- a group from Athens, Ga. (also home of REM and B-52s) is making some noise with its new album "Wrecking Ball." I've heard some of it and it's mighty good stuff.

4. ABOVE AND BEYOND POLITICAL MALFEASANCE-- Political comic Will Durst on Illinois' Gov. Blago: "Hats off to the Illinois governor for shooting so high above and beyond the normal arc of political malfeasance that he probably annoyed NASA by interfering with satellite traffic.'

"...I mean, finally finding someone getting caught acting crookeder than a dump truck full of dissembled wire hangers."

He is the fourth Illinois governor since 1974 to be "offered a long-term residency at the Gray Bar Hotel." The state capitol in Springfield "seems to work as a halfway house in reverse."

Pretty Good Stuff There, Will.

Don't Look Back, They May be Gaining. --RoadDog

VA Hospital-- Chicago-- Barhopping in Wisconsin-- Part 3

SUNDAY-- After listening to Bob Stroud, we headed north across the border to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. First stop was at Main Street Tap where we enjoyed their fantastic Bloody Marys. It's a regular salad and deli tray in a 16 ounce glass for $3. Great deal and love those little bitty beer mugs to chase it. They were getting a crowd in to watch the Packer game. Imagine folks in Wisconsin watching a Packer game.

DONOVAN'S REEF-- Next stop in Twin Lakes was favorite stomping ground Donovan's where we played NTN. Imagine us playing NTN. We had quite a few top twenties including double doubles. A double double is where we have a top twenty in both bar site and individual. These scores are on a national and even international level as places in Canada also play. Also enjoyed the free Chicago-style hot dogs.

MAR'S TRADING POST INN-- WILMOT-- Last stop in Cheesehead Land was Mar's where we participated in the Booze raffle which draws a lot of folks every Sunday. As usual, I didn't win anything. Liz won a small jar of pickled herring, which i like and she doesn't so guess I won after all.

Enjoyed their snacks, $1.75 Bloody Marys, and dollar pints.

It Was a Wisconsin Thing. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tribune Picks to Click Christmas Songs

Louis R. Carlozo listed 25 tunes he thinks ought to burn into your whatever (what's an IPOD? I've heard of them, but never used one). I know some of them, but not others.

1. Monster's Holiday-- Bobby "Boris" Picket-- making some more bucks on an old theme.
2. Do You Hear What I hear?-- Keola Beamer-- Hawaiian Christmas music
3. Santa Claus Go Straight to the ghetto-- James Brown-- funky time

4. Happy XMAS (War is Over)-- John Lennon-- Must get played once an hour on those all-Christmas stations.
5. Father Christmas-- Kinks-- one of the best
6. Run Rudolph Run-- Chuck Berry-- Why does he keep saying "Run, Run Rudolph?"

7. Holly Jolly Christmas-- Burl Ives-- Wouldn't be Christmas without this one.
8. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch-- Thurl Ravenscroft-- So that's who talks and sings it.
9. Baby, It's Cold Outside-- Dean Martini-- But my martini is dry.

10. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy-- Bing Crosby and David Bowie-- What an arrangement and who'd have figured pairing these two up?
11. Christmas Wrapping-- Waitresses-- Don't know this one.
12. You Gotta get Up-- Rich Mullins-- Don't know it either.

13. Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)-- Ramones--Have a punky Xmas.
14. The Twelve Days of Christmas-- Bob and Doug McKenzie-- Hoser yuletide
15. Christmas is here Again-- Beatles-- Fab Four

16. Santa Claus is Coming to Town-- Bruce Springsteen-- Sounds like they had too much fun making this one.
17. The Man With All the Toys-- Beach Boys-- from my all-time favorite Christmas album.
18. Christmas Time is Here-- Vince Guaraldi-- Huh?

19. The Christmas Song-- Nat King Cole--Another top song
20. My Favorite Things-- Tony Bennett-- Didn't know this was a Christmas song.
21. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day-- Frank Sinatra-- It's got it all.

22. Boas Festival-- Two for Brazil-- Huh?
23. Sleigh Ride-- Herb Alpert and the Tijana Brass
24. Riu, Riu Chiu-- Sixpence None the Richer-- sung in Spanish
25. Do They Know Its Christmas?-- Band Aid-- Gets me.

Felice Navidad, This is Quite a Collection. I'd Burn 'Em If I Knew How. --RoadDog

VA Hospital-- Chicago-- Barhopping in Wisconsin-- Part 2

Continued from Dec. 15th.

SATURDAY-- Chicago--

Folks in Chicagoland are still angry about Macy's changing the name of the icon Marshall Field's. There is still even a boycott going on by the group Fields Fans Chicago. As a matter of fact, I was given a flyer while walking by them. They will be happy to know that I didn't buy anything, but did walk around that magnificent store will still retains all the Field's grandeur.

Went up seven escalators to the Walnut Room, a Chi-town tradition for a Christmas meal. All the shoppers and people I didn't see earlier at Sears and on State Street were here. There was even a line waiting to get pagers. Got a glimpse of the beautiful Christmas tree that is so much a part of the whole thing.

Went to the Christmas Village a block away and that was crowded and expensive as usual. This is also where Chicago's official Christmas Tree is located.

Played NTN at the Snuggery and Metro Deli in the magnificent Union Station and drank the $3.25 pint drafts. Talked with a guy passing through on Amtrack heading for the warmer climes of San Diego at the Snuggery. Don't miss the Great Room at the station.

Once home, I watched my third favorite Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Just love those old town shots, Clarence, and that end always gets me.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Some Funny Stuff

ON BEING RETIRED: My wife Liz asked me what I was doing today.

I said, "Nothing."

She said, "You did that yesterday."

I replied, "I wasn't finished."


TRAIN STATION "Keep back from the platform edge or you might get sucked off."

ZOO-- "Please be safe. Do not stand, sit, climb or lean on zoo fences. If you fall, animals could eat you and that might make them sick."

BATHROOM: "Our aim is to keep this bathroom clean. Gentlemen: Your aim will help. Stand closer. It's shorter than you think. Ladies: Please remain seated for the entire performance."

Funny Stuff. --RoadDog

Where Were You December 7, 1974? --Part 2


I CAN HELP-- BILLY SWAN-- he produced a hit for Tony Joe White called "Polk Salad Annie" One hit wonder. (Love that part when it starts up again just when you think it's over)
BUNGLE IN THE JUNGLE-- JETHRO TULL-- Off album "War Child" (Still can't believe they got the first Grammy for Heavy Metal)
SHA-LA-LA (MAKE MR HAPPY)-- AL GREEN-- an incredible era of music for the Reverend.

WHATEVER GETS YOU THROUGH THE NIGHT-- JOHN LENNON-- Elton John on background vocals.
ONLY YOU-- RINGO STARR-- Only Ringo doing a Platters song. Harry Nilsson doing all of the background vocals and the great Steve cropper on guitar. (I forgot that Ringo had done this one.)
TIN MAN-- AMERICA-- latest single. The band Beatles producer George Martin went on to produce afterwards.

BOOGIE ON REGGAE WOMAN-- STEVIE WONDER-- (One of my first introductions to Reggae.)
PICK UP THE PIECES-- AVERAGE WHITE BAND-- brand new instrumental

KING FU FIGHTING-- CARL DOUGLAS-- the number one song 12-7-74.-- one hit wonder. (OK, stop your kicking!)

Intro songs: EVERLASTING LOVE-- CARL CARLTON-- this one a cover as well of 1967 Robert Knight song.
WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN-- THREE DEGREES-- Philadelphia Sound and Motown

Bringing Back Those Memories. --RoadDog

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where Were You December 7, 1974? --Part 1

Eight days ago, Bob Stroud did another one of his Time Warps, this time back to Dec. 7th for both 1969 and 1974.

Music takes me back and then he has all this interesting bits of info on the songs. I was in my second year of teaching social studies to 7th, 8th and 9th graders at Magee Middle School in Round Lake and living in the Villas By the Lake apartments in Vernon Hills. Liz was still working at General Finance in Evanston, Illinois, but was soon to start teaching first grade at Beach School in Round Lake Beach (same district). I was driving a 1973 Ford Pinto.

These were the songs in our radio back 34 years ago. Bob's comments follow. Mine in parentheses ().

There were many cover tunes being played including these first two.

ANOTHER SATURDAY NIGHT-- CAT STEVENS-- (originally by Sam Cooke)
AFTER THE GOLDRUSH-- PRELUDE-- Canadian group covering a song by Canadian Neil Young.
LADY-- STYX-- The break Styx had been looking for

JAZZMAN-- CAROLE KING-- her current release (off the great Tapestry album)
LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS-- ELTON JOHN-- Another cover tune. Just a 45 release featuring guitarist Winston O'Boogie, none other than John Lennon.
I'VE GOT THE MUSIC IN ME-- KIKI DEE-- an Elton John protege.

JUNIOR'S FARM-- WINGS-- the "A" side of the new 45 by Wings (that'd be Sir Paul)
SALLY G-- WINGS-- one of the more charming "B" sides Paul released. There were other Beatles things in your radio as well.

More to Come. --RoadDog

VA Hospital-- Chicago-- Barhopping in Wisconsin

This past weekend was a good one.

THURSDAY-- Played NTN at Donovan's with several number one finishes. Came back home, loaded the equipment and drove to Mundelein, stopping along the way for White Castle sliders in Ivanhoe. Deejayed the junior high dance at Santa Maria. I've been doing this for at least 22 years.

FRIDAY-- I helped out at the Fox Lake, Illinois, American Legion Christmas dinner for the the residents of the North Chicago VA Hospital. We had about 65 and they filled up on a great turkey dinner as prepared by resident food expert John.

Afterwards, I played NTN at Hello Folks.

SATURDAY-- Took the train into Chicago for a little Christmas trip. Great deal, only $5 round trip and good for Sunday as well. Walked to Macy's (the old Marshall Fields) and noticed that there were no where near as many people walking the sidewalks as usual. Sears was about empty.

Macy's, as usual had big crowds in front of the windows which were not a unique as they once were since so many people now have their own moving Christmas objects.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the Season...For Christmas Music

The Chicago Tribune did an article on Chicago's WLIT FM station that changes over to an all-Christmas format every year about this time. And not because they think 'Tis the Season, but for huge ratings.

The Numbers:

7-- Years all-Christmas programming

Nov. 14th-- When they switched to all-Christmas programming this year. (A Milwaukee station switched Nov. 1st. What next, a pre-Halloween switch so you can hear Christmas music while dressed as a witch?)

1,600,000-- cumulative listeners in December 2007--tops in the market (And I've never met ONE person who admits to listening.)

?-- When WLIT returns to regular light rock programming. (Hey, what about year-long all-Christmas programming?)

Most-played Christmas Songs WLIT, Dec. 1-7

1. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas-- Johnny Mathis
2. Jingle Bell Rock-- Hall and Oates
3. O Holy Night-- Josh Graban
4. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas-- Burl Ives
5. The Christmas Song-- Nat King Cole
6. Winter Wonderland-- Amy Grant
7. Most Wonderful Time of the Year-- Andy Williams
8. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree-- Brenda Lee
9. All I Want for Christmas is You-- Mariah Carey
10. Sleigh Ride-- Leroy Anderson

Is it Christmas Already? --RoadDog

Top 25 Teen Idols of All Time-- Part 2

12. Jonas Brothers-- (Probably will rise in standings. These guys are hot with the Tween set.)
11. Taylor Swift-- (I'm impressed.)
10. Munudo
9. Donny and Marie Osmond
8. Lulu-- ("To Sir With Love" and especially liked her version of "Shout.")
7. Tanya Tucker ("Delta Dawn")
6. Michael Jackson-- (He was really good before he got weird.)
5. David Cassidy-- (Loved the Partridge family, but liked his sister better.)
4. Avril LaVigne
3. Miley Cyrus-- (I don't get it?)
2. Britney Spears-- (Good when she isn't being weird.)
1. Davy Jones-- (Looked young with the Monkees, but was he REALLY that young?) Must be a "Daydream Believer" because he's short.)

Many of the comments were that Rob left Bobby Sherman off. I agree.

Gets Ya To Thinking. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top 25 Teen Idols of All Time

From Rob O'Connor's List of the Day, Dec. 1st. He admits that there is no real reason he ranked them as he did. Someone just needed to make a list. he gave some details on each one as well. I'll include my comments.

25. 98 Degrees
24. Tiffany (Hey I liked her remake of Tommy James' "I Think We're Alone.")
23. Brandy (I had a dog by that name.)
22. New Kids on the Block
21. Frankie Lymon--(You've just got to like "Why Do Fools Fall in Love.")
20. Shaun Cassidy
19. Debbie Gibson
18. Ricky Nelson (I'd say he should be higher there, Rob.)
17. 'N Sync (Boy Band or Not, they were good. Same with #22.)
16. LeAnn Rimes (What a voice on that "Blue!")
15. Silver Chair (Who?)
14. Hanson (Their "Mmm Bob" was one great song.)

More to Come. Top 13 That Is. --RoadDog

Where Were You December 7, 1969?-- Part 2

Continuing from Dec. 9th with Bob Stroud's Time Warp.

ELI'S COMING-- THREE DOG NIGHT-- This and the next song were both also written by Laura Nyro. From their second album, "Suitable for Framing."

COME TOGETHER-- BEATLES-- Both from an album that had just been out a little over two months called "Abbey Road."
SOMETHING-- BEATLES-- "A" and "B" sides of current single.
BACKFIELD IN MOTION-- MEL AND TIM-- Out just in time for football season.

DOWN ON THE CORNER-- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL-- flip side of "Fortunate Son" (Hard to beat a two-sided hit like this one and the Beatles one.)
JAM UP AND JELLY TIGHT-- TOMMY ROE-- part of a long list of hits from him (Many folks put him down, but this was some great stuff.)
SOMEDAY WE'LL BE TOGETHER-- DIANA ROSS & SUPREMES-- Diana Ross' swan song with the Supremes.

NA NA HEY HEY (KISS HIM GOODBYE)-- STEAM-- The number One song this date. This was a studio concoction only meant to be a "B" side. The group of musicians who made this didn't think much of it, but when they presented it, the record company said, "Are you kidding?" (Hey, Nancy Faust made this the song of the Chicago White Sox during the time of the South Side Hitmen in 1977 and they've been playing it ever since and more than a few other teams use it, but we were first!!)

Bob Stroud also introduces each segment with a song and a few words about it. Here they are.

DADDY DON'T CRY-- ELVIS PRESLEY-- Follow up to "Suspicious Minds"
MIDNIGHT COWBOY-- popular movie at the time.
ELEANOR RIGBY-- ARETHA FRANKLIN-- recently voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as the best rock singer of all time. (And, I would have figured her for best soul singer.)

Still to come, Dec. 7, 1974.

Great Times to Have Been Listening to the Old Radio and Record Player. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Chicago Songs, Dec. 3, 1960

From WLS' Silver Dollar Survey. I was very happy when Chicago's True Oldies station changed its name to WLS-FM. WLS was one of the two stations kids listened to growing up in Chicagoland in the 60s and 70s. The other being WCFL, both AM stations.

Their website also has the Silver Dollar Survey, the list of the top songs in Chicago for the week.

The top songs for Dec. 3, 1960:

1. Are You Lonesome Tonight-- Elvis Presley
2. A Thousand Stars-- Kathy Young
3. Lonely Teenager-- Dion
4. Poetry in Motion-- Johnny Tillotson
5. New Orleans-- Gary "US" Bonds
6. Hucklebuck-- Chubby Checker
7. Exodus-- Ferrante and Teicher
8. Rat Race-- Richard Maltby
9. You're 16-- Johnny Burnette
10. Sailor-- Lolita

I'd never heard of numbers 8 and 10, but then again, I wasn't listening to pop music back then. It took a little old band from Liverpool in early '64 to get my attention.

The majority of the rest of the top 40 were also songs I am not familiar with.

However, I did like #15 "North to Alaska" by Johnny Horton and #27 "Last date" by Floyd Cramer.

Deejay Bob Hale had the "East of Midnight Show" Monday to Saturday from midnight to 5:30 AM. Well, you gotta start somewhere.

WLA, WLS, WLS!!! --RoadDog

All Hail the Gov

Time to get those old shoe boxes out. As they say, Illinois politics have hit a new low. You'd think that with the most recent governor behind bars, that the current one might have gotten the signal, BUT, NOOOO!!!

Dear old Rod got caught with his hand in the ol' cookie jar. Imagine trying to SELL the seat to the US Senate? And that was just some of the things he was up to. And there are still questions about his wife's real estate ventures.

I must admit, I never voted for the guy. His campaigns were just nothing short of dirty mud-slinging, His first election was so dirty, I couldn't vote for either him or his Republican opponent.

Then, there was his commuting to Springfield (and I believe at state expense) and refusal to live in the governor's mansion. I had my doubts about him right then. Anyone who would rather live in Chicago than Springfield?? Hhhmmmnnn.

And, I'm not even going to try to spell his last name.

A New Low. --RoadDog

#1 Songs This Date in the Seventies

1979-- Babe-- Styx
1978-- Le Freak-- Chic
1977-- You Light Up My Life-- Debby Boone (Oh Well)
1976-- Tonight's the Night-- Rod Stewart
1975-- Fly Robin Fly-- Silver Connection
1974-- Kung Fu Fighting-- Carl Douglas (I wonder how it ranked on Stroud's list from Sunday?)
1973-- The Most beautiful Girl-- Charlie Rich (The Silver Fox)
1972-- I Am Woman-- Helen Reddy
1971-- Family Affair-- Sly & the Family Stone
1970-- The Tears of a Clown-- Smokey Robinson & Miracles

Some Great Stuff and Not So Good-- RoadDog

Where Were You December 7, 1969?

Good Old Bob Stroud had a Time Warp this last Sunday, back to Dec. 7th, 1969 and 1974.

I was in college in 1969 at Northern Illinois University and finishing up my first semester freshman year. I was having a great time with my dorm floor an Lincoln 3A, that's be third floor A wing. My roommate was Chuck Hartsell from Peoria and we had our own group called the Keggers. Later, it became an independent organization like a fraternity and even had their own house.

I was buying lots of 39 cent 45s at various places around Dekalb and back home in Palatine. These were 45s that had been on jukeboxes and you had to check for wear and scratches. A brand new 45 cost 99 cents. That was a lot of money for me back in those days.

Unfortunately, I slept through the first six songs since he starts at 7 AM CST. His comments follow. Mine are in parentheses.

EVIL WOMAN-- CROW-- (Definitely a heavy song)
HEAVEN KNOWS-- GRASS ROOTS-- (a much underrated group)
AND WHEN I DIE-- BS&T-- By Laura Nyro, one of three tunes she penned that were in the charts--(This and Lucretia MacEvil are my favorite Sweat songs)

UP ON CRIPPLE CREEK-- BAND-- From their second, self-titled album-- (bought all their albums as they released them, as I also did for Creedence)
FORTUNATE SON-- CCR-- one half of a two-sided hit-- (If I had to chose just one all-time favorite group, this would be it.)

SUITE; JUDY BLUE EYES-- CSN-- the second single off their Crosby Stills and Nash album-- ( a third group I'd buy every album as released.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Monday, December 8, 2008

JSS: John Lennon-- Bears Party-- Bye Bye Boston Legal-- Cold and Snow, Rain Snow and Cold

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. JOHN LENNON-- Sorry to say that Beatle John Lennon was murdered this date in 1980. Was it THAT long ago? The Beatles sure had an impact on me. They were the ones that got me interested in music. Without that, I never would have been a deejay.

2. BEARS PARTY-- Sunday, we had about 15 friends over for the Bears party. The earlier one last month against the Packers was rather dismal. At least Da Bears won this one against the Jaguars.

3. BYE BYE BOSTON LEGAL-- Sad to see that tonight will be the last episode of Boston Legal. I sure will miss it and always look forward to seeing what Denny Crane will do. I'll also miss Alan Shore's escapades in the courtroom.

4. COLD AND SNOW AND THEN RAIN-- Come on and give us a break. This is all we get these days. If it's not snowing, it's very cold. Today, I had to work on some strands of lights at the gazebo and what started as a perfect day for it, started raining by the time I got back home. Not much fun playing with electricity in the rain, but fortunately it had slowed down by the time I got out to it.

No More Denny and Alan. Sigh!! --RoadDog

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Anniversary Today

It was 67 years ago today. Also on a Sunday.

The Nov. 11th Joplin Globe had an article that pretty-well explains why we need to recognize and teach the date to our younger generations.

For years, Richard Ferguson went around to the schools of southwest Missouri talking about his experiences at Pearl Harbor on that fateful day. He died last month.

Associated Press estimates that around 1,000 World War II veterans are dying every day. A force that once stood proudly 16 million-strong is now estimated at 2.5 million.

Mr. Ferguson was 88 and a member of Battery "E" 64th Coast Artillery at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, during the attack. He was also the last survivor of a local breakfast club of Pearl Harbor survivors.

The Greatest Generation.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tomorrow, December 7th, the Day That Will Live in Infamy

Tomorrow is the "Day of Infamy." US forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, were suddenly attacked by planes from Japan and the country entered World War II.

An article in the December 4th Market Watch.

"You can count on one hand the number of events that changed everyone's life--everywhere, forever," says National World War II Museum President Dr. Gordon Mueller. "December 7th, 1941 was certainly one such event."

Quote from the article. "Though World War II was the most pivotal event of modern times, the memory of the valor and sacrifice of America's Greatest Generation grows harder to summon as the men and women who fought its battles both around the globe and on the Home Front are passing away. Veterans are dying at the rate of 900 a day, and vanishing with them, the personal stories of epic battles and deeds of sacrifice and heroism that museums and historians must keep alive."

The National World War II Museum has more than 2,500 personal accounts of veterans as well as more than 500 videos.

Anyone who has relatives who lived through this event should record their thoughts and recollections before it is too late.

Enough Said.

50th Anniversary of OLA Tragedy

I didn't mention it here, (I did in my other blog, Cooter's History Thing), but Monday, December 1st, marked the 50th anniversary of the tragic Our Lady of Angels fire in Chicago in which 92 children and three nuns died.

I came across an article in the December 4th Marin (Ca) Independent Journal about the fire and a Navato resident by the name of Jonathan Cain. He is an OLA survivor and was also the keyboardist and a songwriter with the popular band Journey.

He attended the ceremony this past Sunday at Chicago's Holy Family Church where candles were lit and the names of victims read aloud. Some of the victims' relatives wore lapel pins with their pictures.

And, Cain played a song that he had written this past November about the event, "The Day They Became Angels." It will tear you up. The article had a link to the song. Quite an evoking scene painted in music and words, and by a survivor.


As he was known back then was an eight-year-old in third grade, Room 101, on the ground floor of the school. When they smelled smoke, his class was herded outside and saw the black smoke and heard the screams of their classmates. One nun climbed a ladder to save those trapped on the second floor while another took the class inside the church located next door. They prayed.

Jonathan didn't stay long, figuring that being in a building next to one that was on fire was not a good idea. He went back outside and looked around in shock. "I ran home to find my mother on her knees (praying)" From their window above the deli about six blocks away, they could see a mushroom cloud. He remembers that the surviving children did not have the opportunity to have people available to deal with their post-traumatic stress like they do today.

A Very Sad Story Indeed.

It's a Chicago Thing, Gouge Then Gouge Again

An article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune about the new and more expensive Chicago parking meters. I mentioned it in yesterday's JSS.

I think Mayor Daley is making a big mistake, getting paid BIG up front, but losing the revenues for 75 years which will be much more than the $1.2 billion the city gets now.

The 36,000 meters generate $20 million a year. Neighborhood meters go from a quarter an hour to a buck nect month and then to $2 by 2013. Prime downtown ones go from $3 now to $6.50 in five years. WHAT A RIPOFF!!!!

Yet another reason NOT to go to Chicago. And we're not even going to talk about those exorbitant parking garages and facilities.

I used to go to Chicago a lot (about 50 miles away), but have stopped since they put street parking by places you want to go by sticker only. That was thanks to night games at Wrigley.

If You Go Downtown, Be Prepared to Pay and Pay and Pay. --RoadDog

JSS: The Fessa-- C-O-L-D-- Water From the Ceiling-- Snowblower Started

JSS-- Just Some Stuff.

1. THE FESSA-- Just sitting here typing away and listening to the Fessa, that'd be Fessa John Hook, doing his Beach Music Top 40 Countdown at Endless Summer. Sure is great getting some Beach Music all the way up here in the Northlands along the Illinois-Wisconsin border. AND, while it's snowing outside.

Some really great songs so far are: Mercy- by Duffy, Carina/Jacqueline by James Hunter, Think by Angel Risoff, Any Other Way by Sensational Epics, Love That Girl by Raphael Saadiq.

The Top Five:

#5. Mercy-- Duffy
#4. Shoo Da Wop-- Mr. David
#3. Turn Back the Hands of Time-- Royal Drifters
#2. Falling-- Rhonda McDaniels
#1. Hey Mr. DJ-- Lonnie Givens

2. C-O-L-D-- Sure picked a bad time to come home. If I hadn't had to DJ tonight, I might have stayed a bit longer in NC. It doesn't appear that we'll get over freezing in the next week and all the snow just keeps piling up with no chance to melt off. We also had a mean December last year.

3. WATER FROM THE CEILING-- Last night, I was in Margaritaville watching Ghost Whisperer (OK, I like that show), when all of a sudden water started torrenting down through a basement light feature. Turns out, there was something wrong with the water coming into the washer upstairs. Also started getting water through a nearby heat vent. You wouldn't expect to get water from above while in the basement. Wet floor to say the least. ALL SORTS OF FUN CLEANING UP THIS MESS. Don't know what's wrong with the washer.

4. SNOWBLOWER STARTED-- On a happier note, yesterday I mixed the oil and gasoline in the old snowblower, turned on the choke, primed it, turned the key, pulled the cord...AND IT STARTED UP RIGHT AWAY. Sure needed it as we got quite a bit of snow while I was gone.

I had forgotten to fire it up before leaving. Sure glad it started.

5. CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS-- Liz has the inside looking like a winter wonderland as we put up WAY TOO many Christmas decorations. But, they look good. I had put up all the outside lights before I left and had to set the timers (some of which had to be taken inside to thaw out). I have a few strands I'll have to work on, but the house is ablaze with color bith inside and out.

Just a Few Things. --RoadDog

Friday, December 5, 2008

NIU Planning Feb. 14th Observance

This Feb. 14th will mark the one year anniversary of the murders of five students on the campus of Northern Illinois University in Dekalb last Valentine's Day.

Gayle Dubowski, 20
Catalina Garcis, 20
Juliana Gehant, 32
Ryanne Mace, 19
Daniel Parmenter, 20

Sixteen others were injured.

NIU President John Peters said a "dignified and simple" observation will be held that day, beginning with a 10:30 AM memorial ceremony at the Convocation Center, an opportunity to view the thousands of objects sent by people from across the country and a candlelight vigil at 6:30 PM at MLK Commons.

The future site of the memorial and artist renderings of it will be shown. Also, there will be a luncheon for the first recipients of the Forward Together Forward Scholarship Fund which was set up to honor the slain. Up to five students will receive $4,000 scholarships.

This was especially difficult for my wife and me because we are both alumni.

That Was a Sad Time Indeed. --RoadDog

JSS: Recession Here We Are-- Chicago Parking Rip-Off-- Work for a Buck-- Obama Tour

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. RECESSION HEREWE ARE-- How about this breaking news. The guv'ment finally admitted we are in a RECESSION. I'm so glad they told me. I had no idea. AND, we've been in it for a year now. As the kids say, "No Duh!"

2. CHICAGO PARKING RIP-OFF-- Parking in Chi-Town, already a rip-off, is getting to be even a BIGGER rip-off. Parking meters have been turned over to a private service and soon, it will cost a buck an hour to park at a meter, and no more of those FREE holidays or Sundays. Yet more reasons NOT to go to town.

Of interest, it costs $17 for the first hour to park at Millenium Park and toll on the Skyway is 50% higher than it was in 2004.

3. WORK FOR A BUCK-- That was mighty big of Ford CEO Allan Mulally to say he was willing to work for $1 a year. Here that, all you overpaid CEOs?

4. OBAMA TOUR-- Now, you can take your very own Barack Obama Tour to the spots he was at in Chicago. This is roughly the same price as what it will cost you to park, so enjoy.

Question: Among retirees, what is considered formal attire? ANSWER: Tied Shoes (or sandals with black socks)

Ain't Things Just Peachy? --RoadDog

Back Home Again

As much as I like traveling, it's always great to get back home again. I got in at about 7:30 PM last night after driving from White House (north of Nashville), Tennessee, where I spend Wednesday night with my nephew and his family.


I left Goldsboro, NC, Wednesday morning and drove US-70 to I-40 and took it all the way to the outskirts of Nashville and then some backroads to their house. Gas was generally around $1.60 to $1.65 with the exception of around Asheville, NC, where it is always ten to twenty cents higher. Ate at the Golden Corral in Winston-Salem. I highly recommend these restaurants when you're on the road.

Interesting sight on the superslab was the pickup truck with a gun rack containing a rifle and an umbrella under it. I guess he didn't want to get wet while shooting something.

Enjoyed Andy and Andrea's kids, Charlie and Aylin, and got to watch some of Charlie's favorite movie "Cars" which was on TV for the first time. Maybe we'll have another Route 66er as he gets older. Charlie is 5 and Aylin two and a half.


Yesterday, I took I-65 all the way to Remington, Idiana, about half way between Chicago and Indianapolis, and then US-24 to Il-47. Had lunch at a KFC buffet in Lafayette, the Home of Purdue University. This place was not to far from the B-Dub (Buffalo Wild Wings) where we once had to drive back to after I forgot my drivers license which I had to turn in to get NTN boards.

Got the cheapest gas the whole trip at a Pilot station a little south of Indianapolis. It was, get this, $1.50 ($1.49.9)!!! Never thought I'd see gas under $2 again. Something I can definitely live with.

Also got gas at the Becker BP station in Dwight, Illinois, for $1.63. This station is right by the old Route 66 and sells lots of Mother Road memorabilia and is done in a Route 66 motiff, even the Burger King located in the store.

Superslabbin' and Good to Be Home. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

WKRP is Back

WKRP is back on the air again in Cincinnati, and this time for real. A low-power TV station in the city has changed their call letters to those used by the radio station in the popular 1970s sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati."

It was formerly WBQC to promote its new digital format.

While in Cincinnati a couple weekends ago, I went by the building where the station's studios were located, the Flim Building, actually the home of the Cincinnati Enquirer. I had always thought it to be in the taller building with columns on the top.

If I had to pick one all-time favorite sitcom, it would be "WKRP in Cincinnati." It is too bad the network kept changing its times and days throughout its run, or it would have been even more popular.

Dr. Johnny Fever Would Be SO PROUD. --RoadDog

Bare Naked Ladies

Just saw Bare Naked Ladies perform a Christmas song on the Regis show on ABC. You'd think that a group with a name like that would be wild and crazy. Nothing further from the truth on this count. They are one of the most clean cut groups around.

They are also a favorite band of mine. I especially like their "One Week," "If I Had a $1,000,000," "It's All Been Done," and "Brian Wilson" songs. I have several of their CDs. I especially like the chorus to "It's All Been Done."

They were formed in Canada in 1988 and are classified as alternative rock. Their live shows are noted for humor.

Give It a Listen. --RoadDog

Monday, December 1, 2008

Trip to Kinston, NC

Took a trip today out to Kinston, NC, about 28 miles from Goldsboro.Mom had an old picture she wanted given to a history organization there, plus, I wanted to see the full-scale replica of the CSS Neuse and, I had also reported on quite a few Civil War stories out of the city in my Saw the Elephant Blog.

On the way in, I saw a sign for the Kinston-Lenoir County Visitors Center and decided that would be the place to go. I gave them the reproduction and information of Simon Bright, who turns out to be an important person in local history dating back to pre-Revolutionary War.

Spent a lot of time in the center and found out a lot about the two Civil War battles fought there as well as on the Confederate ironclad ram Neuse.

Next stop was bbq at King's which dates back to the 1930s. Mighty fine eastern Carolina-style 'cue, cole slaw, fried okra, tea and hush puppies.

Drove around the town and found the CSS Neuse II, a full-scale 150 foot reproduction of the ship. If you've ever wanted to know what a Confederate ironclad looks like, this is where to go.

Last stop was out at the actual remains of the Neuse's hull which is currently housed in a partly open building, but there are plans to build an enclosed, climate-controlled structure to stop the vessel's deterioration.

Kinston, Your Stop for Civil War History. --RoadDog

Friday, November 28, 2008

On the Road-- Cincinnati

Saturday, the 22nd, Denny and I met Jennifer and Pat at the Echo, a great breakfast place dating to the 30s. I had a famous GERMAN SAUSAGE goetta breakfast plate. Goetta is a Cincinnati specialty made by simmering pork parts in stock with spices, onions, and oats. This is mighty good.

We went to the 1800s observatory and then downtown where I saw the location of the Flim Building where my favorite all-time TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati" supposedly took place. I always had the wrong building pegged as the site.

Took a tour of the great art deco edifice, Union Terminal, and the Sign Museum after that. See http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com. for more on these places.

We ate at Terry's for dinner and had some great burgers. Although this is a new place, it looks like it dates from the 20s.

After Pat and Jennifer left, Denny and I hit two more places for NTN, Coaster's and 2 Putt, and then saw the Goshorn Brothers at 20 Mile Station, which dates back to the 1840s, and, was twenty miles from Cincinnati. The Goshorn Brothers were members of one of my favorite groups, Pure Prairie League.

Mighty Good Time in the Queen City. --RoadDog

Doing That Thanksgiving Thing

Had a great family dinner at Mom's place with Bo, Jeff, Gayle, and Samantha from Graham's side of the family. Also, Alex and Annsley (my sister's children), Julie (my sister), my brother Bob and wife Judy, and Mom.

Mom made up a great turkey, Julie crab dip, Gayle macaroni and cheese and collards, and Judy sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. I didn't make anything, but helped eat it. Ate way too much.

We also were celebrating Julie's 52nd and Bo's 74th birthday.

Earlier, I had gone over to K-Mart which was open, and bought a DVD player for $15 after a $15 rebate. I was shocked to see them asking $10 for a string of clear Italian lights. Mom needed two new strands, but I wasn't going to pay that price. I got two 100-light strands at Walgreen's for $4, much more reasonable.


At least it wasn't at 4 AM or some horribly early time. But, we still went out at 10:30 AM. Lots of people out and about for some reason.

Went back to Walgreen's which had cassette bricks of ten for $5 instead of the usual $7. It is getting harder and harder to find cassettes, which I still use for recording. Eventually I am sure I won't be able to find them anywhere. Thanks a lot PROGRESS.

Belks at Berkeley Mall was having some really great sales and I bought quite a few items and an ECU sweatshirt at Penney's.

Had a nice family meal at McCall's out on the US-70 Bypass. It was buffet, but I concentrated on BBQ and cole slaw as well as the Calabash shrimp.

The Way to Spend a Thanksgiving. --RoadDog

Monday, November 24, 2008

On The Road-- Home to Cincinnati

This last Friday, I left for my Thanksgiving trip back to North Carolina to be with family.

I took the usual way to avoid the Chicago hassle, Illinois-47 all the way to I-74 by Champagne, and then east through Indianapolis to Cincinnati, where I met up with my buddy Denny.

Gas was still $2 along Il-47 in the northern part, but dropped to $1.88 in Morris and remained in the $1.60 to $1.70 range most of the rest of the way. Never expected to see gas under $2 again so will enjoy it until Big Oil sends it back up to $4-plus next spring.

Friday night, we did some NTNing at three places: Blue Goose, Peg's and Bargos. We're both hooked on NTN.

Had planned to get some of Cincy's famous chili at a Skyline Chili place, but arrived at 11:01 and they closed at 11. Had to settle on a nearby White Castle. Oh well.

No Chili for Me!! --RoadDog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Where Were You October 26, 1972?-- Part 2

Continuing with the songs being played on Chicago's WLS and WCFL, both AM stations.

HONKY CAT-- ELTON JOHN-- just falling off the charts
I'LL BE AROUND-- SPINNERS-- some of the spectacular Philadelphia Soul

GARDEN PARTY-- RICK NELSON & THE STONE CANYON BAND--Little Ricky Nelson also got started back in the 50s. James Brown was still recording as well and had started back in the 50s.

BURNIN' LOVE--ELVIS PRESLEY-- the third 50s artist still in the charts in 1972-- all still going strong.
BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY-- DANIEL BOONE-- The Number One Song from this date, 36 years ago. English singer-songwriter who swore he was a direct descendant of Daniel Boone. A one-hit wonder.

A great Stroud quote from the show: "Isn't it amazing how much great music was out at one time. Every time I do a Time Warp, it always astounds me that one particular date in time can give you so much great music. It was a feeding frenzy. Everybody creatively feeding off everybody else back in the era."

Great Memories in These Time Warps. Thanks, Bob. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where Were You October 26, 1972?

Back on Oct. 26th, Bob Stroud Time warped to that date in 1967 and the same date in 1972.

I was a senior at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, while my family lived in Dunwoody, Georgia. I was taking all these education classes and getting ready to student teach in the spring of '73.

Most of the courses were fairly worthless, but the observations were of great use. I finally started getting mostly "A"s for grades. Pretty easy stuff.

Here are the songs playing in Chicago on this date. Stroud's comments follow.

ROCKIN' PNEUMONIA AND THE BOOGIE WOOGIE FLU-- JOHNNY RIVERS-- Covering an old Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns classic.
WITCHY WOMAN-- EAGLES-- Their second hit.

VENTURA HIGHWAY-- AMERICA-- just breaking into the local charts
USE ME-- BILL WITHERS-- Mick Jagger would cover this on one of his nineties albums.

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC-- DOOBIE BROTHERS-- From their second album and the first time most of us had heard of this band.
ELECTED-- ALICE COOPER-- In 1972, the election was between Nixon and McGovern. From album "Million Dollar Baby."

COULDN'T I JUST TELL YOU-- TODD RUNDGREN-- From his current album "Something, Anything." Follow up to "I Saw the Light."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fast-Falling Real Estate Prices

My friend Frank has been watching prices falling in Cape Coral, Florida, and I must admit, they are something else. You can get a condo for anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 and a regular house, even one on a channel, for around $100,000 to $150,000. Things are really bad there with so many houses being owned by banks outright.

Almost gets me to thinking about getting a second place, but I sure don't want the hassle, and really don't think I can afford it. Not so much about the initial cost, but the upkeep and taxes.

Came across an article about the ten places in the US with the fastest-falling real estate prices.

10. Salem, Oregon
9. Port Saint Lucie, Fl
8. Visalia, Ca
7. Miami, Fl
6. Orlando, Fl
5. El Centro, Ca
4. Bakersfield, Ca
3. Cumberland, Md
2. Yuma, Az
1. Virginia Beach, Va

If prices are that low in Cape Coral, what must they be in these places?

Thinking, Just Thinking. --RoadDog

JSS: Christmas Decs-- Bears-Packer Party Sunday-- No More Ugly Static-- Cleaning the Basement-- NIU Football On TV Again

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. CHRISTMAS DECS-- Cold today, but sunny, so will brave the frozen tundra and start putting up the outside Christmas decorations. I'll be leaving town for awhile Friday and would like to have them up by Thanksgiving. Smattering of snow last night, but no accululation. Not much fun putting decs up with snow around.

2. BEARS-PACKER PARTY SUNDAY-- Sunday, we had about 17 people over for the Bear-Packer game. Absolutely horrible game for us Bears fans. Talk about not bothering to show up!! Still, had our "juice," mostly of the rally variety. Then played Name That Tune afterwards.

3. NO MORE UGLY STATIC-- Last week, I was messing around with the corner TV in Margaritaville. This last June, lightning knocked out the VCR and I finally got around to putting the new DVD/VCR in a couple months ago. Ever since, there has been REALLY annoying static whenever the screen was really white or there were letters or numbers show. That is a bad combination for an athletic contest.

I was thinking perhaps I needed a new DVD or TV, but checked all the wires and connections. Still had static. I even tried new cords. Static.
Accidentally hit the menu for the new DVD/VCR and found that the problem was that I was set on Channel 3 and it needed to be Channel 4. Works great now.

Some might consider this a "Duh." But, in my defense, I JUST DIDN'T KNOW.

4. CLEANING THE BASEMENT-- One other good thing about the Bear-Packer party, it got me to clean up the basement for the first time in months. I was shocked to see there was actually a bar top. The big problem now is that I don't know where a lot of stuff is. It may have been messy before, but at least I had a reasonable idea where things were.

5. NIU FOOTBALL ON TV AGAIN-- The Northern Huskies will be on ESPN2 again for the third week in a row. Whatever happened to Saturday college football. Let's hope we do better against Kent State tonight than we did against Ball State (blowout) and Central Michigan (blowout-comeback-loss in overtime).

Just Some Thoughts-- RoadDog

Questions for retired Folks-- How many days in a week? Answer-- Seven. 6 Saturdays and a Sunday.

My Big Duh for Today...At Least, I Hope, But Still Lots of Time

This morning, after taking the garbage containers out to the street, I couldn't get the garage door to go back down. Somewhat mad because we had just installed a new opener in June (lightning knocked the other one out), I tried several different ways of getting the door closed. It would start like it was going to close, then, nothing.

At 9, I called the company who put it in, and talked to their secretary. After explaining the problem, she told me to go out and look to see if something was blocking the "electric" eye. It was, and now it works. THE OLD GARAGE DOOR OPENERS DID NOT HAVE AN ELECTRIC EYE. AT LEAST THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT.

There is one secretary who thinks I'm not the sharpest blade in the silverware drawer. I hope and imagine she gets lots of calls about this problem. It's like looking all over Lowe's for something, asking, and, of course, it is right behind you and the clerk gets that look upon their face.

No, DUH!!! Dumb Is As Dumb Does. --RoadDog

Questions for retired folks: When is a retiree's bedtime? Answer-- Three hours after they fall asleep on the couch.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tenth Anniversary of Dad's Death-- November 16, 1998

Hard to believe that Dad has been gone for ten years as of yesterday. Seems like just a few years. I was really hoping that I'd be able to spend more time with him now that I am retired, but that was not to be.

East Carolina University lost one of its greatest fans and he still has a scholarship in the business school. A child of the depression, he was always mindful of his money.

And, Dad loved working in his yard and playing the stock market. I guess he wouldn't be so fond of it now.

Then there were those great stories he would tell. I sure wish I could reel them off like he did.

I can still see him sitting out on that sun porch.

I'll be visiting his grave next week.

While I was visiting Mom this past April, she showed me a manuscript Dad had typed which I imagine was part of a job application. I put it on another blog of mine, http;//cootershistorything.blogspot.com. Go to April 7, 2008. It is in three parts.

Interesting reading. My Dad was quite the go-getter.

Sure Glad I Had Him as My Father.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's a Country Thing, You Wouldn't Understand-- Part 3

After watching the Country Music Association's awards show, Wednesday. A few observations and thoughts.

I always wonder how they're so consistent of stopping the show right at 10 PM. That is some good planning for a live show.

Great to see Brad Paisley and Keith Urban playing "live" together for their song "Start a Band" for the first time at the beginning of the show.

Kelly Picklar just had to have been "poured" into that dress. Tina Turner and the Ikettes had "NOTHING" on her.

What will it take to get Alan Jackson to move from his spot in front of the mike? Actually, as long as he keeps making great music like "Good Time," who cares? That would have to drive old Garth Brooks mad.

I have now heard the new Lady Antebellum song and need to hear their whole album. They could be the next great band. Congrats on NewArtist of the Year.

Brad Paisley has great sense of humor. I liked his comment to Martina McBride, "Great Pipes."


Kid Rock did his great "All Summer Long" after cheering on the Titans and wearing their jersey. This was a song that branched into all sorts of genres, including the pop and country charts as well as my Beach Music. It was a hard song to escape this summer. On our trip to North and South Carolina and Tennessee, we heard it at least once a day on various radio stations.

Great idea to put "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama" together with a new twist. I wonder if he was thing "Perfect Summer Song" when he made it.

EX-HOOTIE-- The NEW and the OLD

Now, he's chameleoned to country. A Hootie no more, Darius Rucker knows his "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" country stuff. And, I really liked him with that other band. I'll also have to get his album.

That was a great group up for best new artist. Besides Lady Antebellum, there was Rodney Atkins, James Otto, Jason Aldean,and kelly Picklar. Country definitely has a future with new folks like these coming up.

I would have liked to see Andy Griffith get up and sing with Brad Paisley on "Waiting On a Woman."

Very touching tribute to James W. Ponder, III by his wife. He was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005 and was the father of two girls. As Leslie Ponder said, "Music has the power to heal." And then the song by Carrie Underwood.

I would have liked to have seen something more done with Hall of Fame inductees Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, Statler brothers, and Ernest "Pop" Stoneman (and I don't even know who he was or is).

Great performance by the Eagles on "Too Busy Being Fabulous" to close out the show.

TV Definitely Worth Watching. --RoadDog

Questions for retired folk: How many retirees does it take to change a light bulb? Answer-- Only one, but it might take all day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

JSS: Hawaii Quarter-- $2 Gas in Illinois?-- Cubbie Honors and A Goodby, Finally-- McCain's a Funny Guy

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. HAWAII QUARTER-- And I've been somewhat collecting these and always turn them over to look. And, finally, we reach the end of the run, but have we? The Hawaii state quarter is being issued, the last of 50 that have come out since 1999. Every ten weeks or so, we'd have to check to see if we had one. Is it the end? Nope. Now we're going to have the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Somoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Oh, well.

2. $2 GAS IN ILLINOIS?-- The Tribune reports that $2 gas ($1.99.9) was spotted in New Lenox, Illinois, the first sub-$2 price in the area since 2005. It was $2.16 in Fox Lake this morning.

Yesterday, my heart started beating wildly when I saw $1.99.9 in McHenry, but then realized that was with a car wash. Nasty people!!

3. CUBBIE HONORS AND A GOODBYE, FINALLY-- Congratulations to Cubs catcher Geovanny Soto who won the National League Rookie of the Year after that outstanding season. He is the 5th Cub in history to get the award. The others: Billy Wiliams in 1961, Kenny Hubbs in 1962, Jerome Walton in 1989, and Kerry Wood in 1998.

Also, congratulations to Cub manager Lou Piniella who won the National League Manager of the Year Award.

While on the subject of Kerry Wood, he's on his way out after a generally disappointing career on the North Side. We were definitely hoping for better from him and all those dollars he earned on the disabled list.

4. McCAIN'S A FUNNY GUY-- Senator McCain was on the Jay Leno Show earlier this week and had a few good ones.

"I've been sleeping like a baby. Sleep two hours, wake up and cry. Sleep two hours. Wake up and cry."

The morning after the election "I didn't read the newspaper. I knew what it was going to say."

"Arizona may be the only state where mothers don't tell their children that some day they will grow up to become the president of the United States. Barry Goldwater, Morris Udall, Bruce Babbitt, and I ran twice."

Just Some Stuff-- RoadDog

Questions for retired folk: What's the biggest gripe for retirees? Answer-- There's not enough time to get everything done.

It's a Country Thing, You Wouldn't Understand-- Part 2

Country's top-selling ever albums/CDs had 4 by Garth Brooks, 3 by the Dixie Chicks, 2 by Shania Twain, 2 by the husband wife team of Tim McGraw/Faith Hill, 1 soundtrack, 1 by Billy Ray Cyrus and 1 by LeAnn Rimes.

I have the Top Nine and 11, 13, and 15.

The Top 15 Best-Selling Country Albums of All Time with year and sales rounded off:

1. Come On Over-- Shania Twain-- 1997-- 15.5 million
2. Ropin' the Wind-- Garth Brooks-- 1991-- 9.6 million
3. No Fences-- Garth Brooks-- 9 million
4. Wide Open Spaces-- Dixie Chicks-- 1998-- 8.7million
5. Fly-- Dixie Chicks-- 8.3 million
6. The Hits-- Garth Brooks-- 1994-- 7.8 million
7. The Woman in Me-- Shania Twain-- 1995-- 7.6 million
8. Some Gave All-- Billy Ray Cyrus-- 1992-- 7.5 million
9. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?-- Soundtrack-- 2001-- 7.4 million
10. Some Hearts-- Carrie Underwood-- 2005-- 6.6 million
11. Breath-- Faith Hill-- 1999--6.5 million
12. Double Live-- Garth Brooks-- 1998-- 6 million
13. Not a Moment Too Soon-- Tim McGraw-- 1994-- 6 million
14. Blue-- LeAnn Rimes-- 1996-- 6 million
15. Home-- Dixie Chicks-- 2002-- 6 million

In this world of downloads, these records will probably stand for a long time, perhaps forever.

As I Sit Here Listening to 10CC. How Country is That? --RoadDog

Questions for Retired Folk: Why don't retirees mind be called Senior? Answer-- It comes with a discount.

It's a Country Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 CMA, Country Music Association, Awards.

Entertainer of the Year-- Kenny Chesney
Male Vocalist-- Kenny Chesney

I would have gone with Brad Paisley for those two. Chesney is great, but Paisley just blows folks away when he is not playing practical jokes on his cohorts.

Female-- Carrie Underwood
New Artist-- Lady Antebellum
Vocal Group-- Rascal Flats
Vocal Duo-- Sugarland
Album "Troubadour"-- George Strait
Single-- "I Saw God Today" --George Strait
Music Video-- "Waitin' on a Woman" Brad Paisley and Andy Griffith I really like this one.
Musician of the Year-- Mac McAnally-- One of my favorites who often works with Jimmy Buffett.

Get Some Country in Your Soul. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

JSS: Gas Prices Continue to Drop-- Seein' Movies-- Because I'm the Mayor-- Crummy Weather Continues

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. GAS PRICES CONTINUE TO DROP-- It's almost like it's a bad idea to buy gas when it gets a little low, because if you wait a day, it will be lower. But after those Big Oil nightmares last summer, it's a much-needed relief. Saw gas for $2.19 in Fox Lake today!!!

2. SEEIN' MOVIES-- Went to the Fox Lake Theater today and saw "Saw V" and "Role Models."

"Saw V" was as strange as any of the others. How do they keep coming up with new ways of killing folks? And then, there are the hard things old Jigsaw made people chose. I admit, I just saw the first two of the "Saw" movies a month ago. I didn't originally see them figuring it was teenage slasher genre. They definitely aren't.

I really enjoyed "Role Models" about two slacker types who have to be big brother to two young misfits and the eventual bond that forms between them. Then, there was those mighty interesting medieval folk.

3. BECAUSE I'M THE MAYOR-- Fox Lake Mayor Cindy Irvin just sold her house to the Fox Lake Library so it can go ahead with expansion. She sold it for $270,000, about $35,000 more than it appraises for, but less than she had been asking. The library never considered eminent domain. PLUS, she IS the mayor. What's that about fighting city hall?

When asked if she planned to leave the community, she replied "I have to stay here. I'm the mayor." Well put.

4. CRUMMY WEATHER CONTINUES-- Definitely a different three days to begin this week than we had last week where I was catching rays on deck. Cold, blustery, overcast, and rain off and on.

Because I'm Not a Fan of This Weather. --RoadDog

JSS: Fox Lake Veterans Day-- Out Buyin' CDs--

JSS: Just Some Stuff.

1. FOX LAKE VETERANS DAY-- Yesterday, I went to the observance by the train station on a cold and blustery day. Even then, about a hundred people turned out to honor our nation's heroes. A blast on the emergency siren at 11 signaled the start.

The Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, VFW, American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, and Legion Riders were the color guard.

Cindy Irwin, the mayor of Fox Lake spoke first, followed by someone from the Legion Auxiliary, VFW, and Legion commanders.

Afterwards, the rifle squad from the Legion fired three volleys and a man played taps.

Thanks Veterans.

2. OUT BUYIN' CDS-- Afterwards, I hit the road (after stopping at McDonald's for a McRib meal) for McHenry and did my little part for the economy and bought 8 CDs. I went to Circuit City first, figuring I'd best use up what was left of my gift card Liz got me for last Christmas. There was a manager at the door assuring people all was well. The company declared bankruptcy on Monday.

They didn't have the new albums by Taylor Swift or NOW-29, saying they hadn't arrived, but I think it has something to do with the bankruptcy.

I did buy Larry Graham & Graham Central Station's Greatest Hits and the Spinners' "Mighty Love' there. Larry Graham was the base player for Sly $ the Family Stone, and the Spinners CDwas from 1974.

Next, I went to Best Buy and bought Shwayze, Best of NOW 10th Anniversary, and NOW-29. I like those NOW CDs as I get a good selection of the music the kids are listening to these days. I heard Shwayze's "Corona and Lime" in Myrtle Beach and really liked it. That really surprised a deejay at a bar there when I requested it. He couldn't imagine why an old guy like myself would know anything about Shwayze.

Last stop was at Borders where I had a 40% off coupon. Spent quite awhile there listening to CDs on their database and ended up with a good one, "The Whole Famdamily" by the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. Kind of a cross between the blues and rock. I also bought "Warmth of the Sun" by the Beach Boys and "The Best of Little Feat."

Checked out with Sean, who used to manage Full Cyrkle Records in Crystal Lake where I spent many an hour talking music and listening to old records. He said he figured he'd see me when the 40% coupons came out.

I Guess You'd Call My Selections a Variety.

Hey, a Deal's a Deal. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marine Corps Breakfast-- November 8th-- Part 2

Continuing from yesterday.

We watched the Message from the Marine Commandant which was about the country's war with terrorism. This year is the 25th anniversary of the opening round of it for the US, the destruction of the Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

I enjoy it when they pass the mike around and have attendees introduce themselves. Most just say their unit and years, but a few give some great comments.

Eleanor, the oldest Marine, kicked it off saying her name and unit and "You all know I'm 85, so there." Brought down the house with that one.

Most spoke so fast and a few too far away from the mike, but some other comments:

In both World War II and the Korean War.

1943 joined Carlson's Raiders right out of boot camp. Joined Chesty Puller's company and after one battle, only 6 men left.

In Korean War and one of the "Frozen Chosin." Glad I made it back with all my limbs.

At Inchon.

In World War II, out for a coffee, and then back for the Korean War. Had a date with Tokyo Rose.

Desert Storm.

Marines never die, they go to hell and regroup.

In Vietnam in Quangtree Province.

I'm here for my son. He has been a Marine for three years and is now at the US Naval Academy in his second year. However, HE WILL be rejoining the USMC.-- There were lots of Ooo-Rahs at this point.

4th Generation Marine.

Definitely Enjoyed Getting Together with all These Jarheads and Eleanor. A Lot of History in That Room. --RoadDog

JSS: Death of the Dollar Menu?-- McRib's Back-- Mad Men Smoking-- Madagascar II-- Obama's White Half?

JSS: Just Some Stuff

1. DEATH OF THE DOLLAR MENU?-- An article in the Northern Star yesterday at how the McDonald's on Lincoln Highway in Dekalb, Illinois, has quietly raised the price of the double cheeseburger, a dollar stalwart and one of my favorites, twenty cents. OH, NO!!!

2. MCRIB'S BACK!!!-- Well, at least McDonald's has come back with my FAVORITE sandwich, the McRib in the Midwest. That means a FEW trips to McDonald's over the next few weeks. I was disappointed that we didn't have it here back at the end of September and early October like they did in the south

3. MAD MEN SMOKING-- I've always wondered about all the smoking going on in AMC's "Mad Men." That is just something you just don't see on TV anymore. It turns out they are smoking Ecstasy herbal cigarettes which are tobacco and nicotine free.

4. MADAGASCAR II-- Last Friday, while attending the "Changeling" movie at the Fox Lake Theater, I saw lots and lots of 1st through 5th graders coning in with their parents to see the new "Madagascar II: Back to Africa" movie. Hey, at 1 PM, what about school? Perhaps they were getting a benefit of being home-schooled. Hey, sign me up.

5. OBAMA'S WHITE HALF?-- You keep hearing about him being the first black man elected president of the US. I just wonder what happened to his white half?

Just Wonderin'. --RoadDog

And Then, Today is Veterans Day

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the "War to End All Wars" ended as the guns fell silent in World War II. Today, we celebrate the sacrifices of all our veterans of all of our wars here in the US and around the world. And today, we mark the 90th anniversary of the end of it.

In Australia, it is Remembrance Day, especially poignant this year with the locating of the HMAS Sydney wreck.

Plus, this may well be the last observance for the four remaining veterans of that war. Britain has three: Henry Alingham, 112; Harry Patch, 110; and Bill Stone, 108. In West Virginia, we have the last US vet, Frank Buckles, 107.

The last French and German veterans died this past year.

The New Jersey World War II Memorial will be dedicated today in Trenton and the woman believed to be the nurse, Edith Shein, 90, in the famous Life photograph where the sailor planted the kiss heard-round-the-world on VJ Day ending WW II will be the grand marshal in the NY City Veterans Day parade.

Here in Fox Lake, I will be attending the American Legion and VFW ceremony at the train station at 11 AM.

You can find more on these stories at my other blog: http://cootershistorything.blogspot.com

A Big Thank You to All of Our Veterans. Job Well Done. --RoadDog

Oops, I Forgot to Mention Two Significant Anniversaries Yesterday

I forgot to say congratulations to those gallant lads and ladies of the United States Marine Corps, which turned 233 years young yesterday. As they say, "Ooo-RAH!!!"

PLUS, yesterday, was the 35th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior from one of those storms of November as Gordon would say. I see that the Detroit Historical Society had a presentation in its memory and also that of the Carl D. Bradley which sank in Lake Michigan during another November storm, Nov. 18, 1958.

While teaching, I would spend three days making a presentation on the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Great Lakes at this time. The kids could make a picture of the ship for extra credit and I collected some really nice ones over the years.

Plus, they would hear the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot many, many times as well as Pat Dailey's "Great Lakes Song" and other water-related songs like "White Squall."

Let's Hear it For the Jarheads and a Moment of Reverance for the Crews of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Carl D. Bradley and All Ships That Went Down in the Great Lakes. --RoadDog

Monday, November 10, 2008

Don't It make Ya Feel Old

One thing good old Bob Stroud does on his show besides give you all that great "OLD" music from the 60s and 70s, information about the tunes, but also he makes you feel "old."

He always spotlights and plays a song from them of the birthdays of artists celebrating this week. What happened to the generation that "Hoped we don't get old?" We're getting OLD.

Birthdays this week:

Tom Fogerty (CCR)-- would have been 67
Freddie Garrity (Freddie & the Dreamers)-- would have been 68
Jesse Collins Young (Youngbloods)-- 61
Neil Young-- 63
Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney and Bonnie)-- 64
Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor)-- 58
James Young (Styx)-- 59
Booker Jones (Booker T. & the MGs)-- 64
Ronny Hammond (Atlanta Rhythm Section)-- 58.

We saw Jim Peterik Sunday at Bob Stroud's record release Party.

Who's Getting Older? --RoadDog

Creedence "Covered" Revival

Yesterday, November 9th, Bob Stroud featured the songs Creedence Clearwater Revival covered on their albums. This was in honor of what would have been Tom Fogerty's 67th birthday and he called it Creedence "Covered" Revival.

If I HAD to pick a favorite group from the 60s and early 70s, I'd probably have to go with CCR. I bought every one of their albums as soon as it was released. This was the only group I did that for, even the Beatles. Of course, when Creedence did a cover, they put their unmistakable stamp on it.

The songs and original performer.

I Put a Spell on You-- "Screaming" Jay Hawkins
Susie Q-- Dale Hawkins
99 and a Half-- Wilson Pickett
Good Golly Miss Molly-- Little Richard
Night Time is the Right Time-- Ray Charles (and NOT the Cosby Show ensamble)
Cotton Fields-- Honey Ledbetter
Midnight Special-- Johnny Rivers
Ooby Dooby-- Roy Orbison
My Baby Left Me-- Elvis Presley
Heard It Through the Grapevine-- Marvin Gaye

I was familiar with these songs as I played those old albums over and over again. I just didn't realize they did that many covers.

Lovin' That Great CCR Music. --RoadDog

CBMA Winners

This past weekend, a celebration was held in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach in honor of the 2008 Cammy Awards for the Carolina Beach Music Association. I hope to be able to attend it at some time. Maybe next year.

Some of the winners:

Female Vocalist-- Rhonda McDaniel
Male Vocalist-- Craig Woolard
Favorite New Artist-- Mark Roberts & Breeze
Song of the Year-- "Mama's Drinkin' Liquor Again" by King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers (Got to love the title and group name).
Entertainer-- Jim Quick and the Holiday Band
FM DJ-- Ray Scott WVCO/Surf 94.9
FM Station-- WVCO (listening to it right now) 94.8 the Surf. 10th Year in a Row)
AM Station-- AM 920 WPCM-- Burlington, NC. Oldies and Beach all day (Unfortunately not on the internet. I'll tune in later this month when passing through to visit family in NC.)

Pioneer Award-- Little Anthony & the Imperials

There were lots of others. Go to www.cammys.org to see all of them.

Congrats to 2008 Cammy Award Winners!! --RoadDog

Marine Corps Birthday Breakfast-- November 8th

Saturday morning, I went to the Fox Lake American Legion for the Tom Grosvenor Memorial Marine Corps Birthday Breakfast.

This honored the 233rd anniversary of the Corps' founding, the 61st year of the USMC's Toys for Tots, and the 25th breakfast.

About 150 Marines were in attendance, from World War II to the present. For $7 we got all the SOS, scrambled eggs, and strong coffee we could handle along with hot sauce to season the eggs. SOS is a term I'll put nicely as "Stuff on a Shingle": chipped beef and gravy on toast. Donations of money and toys were taken for the Toys for Tots campaign.

This was the second year it was held at the Fox Lake Legion, having outgrown its former sites in Grayslake and Wauconda.

Tom Grosvenor was one of the original 13 who started the breakfast and the name of the event was changed to "Tom Grosvenor" after his death in 2001.


We had the presentation of the colors by the Marine Corps League 801. Then the pledge, Star Spangled Banner and Marine's Hymn. I was amazed that so many knew the second and third stanzas until I saw they were printed in the brochure.

The CUTTING OF THE CAKE ceremony involves the oldest and youngest Marine in attendance using a sword to cut the cake with the USMC emblem on it. This signifies the connection between those who have been and those who are currently Marines.

The oldest was a woman who was a corporal during World War II. And I didn't even know the Marine Corps had women during that war. You should have seen her head jerk around when the host gave her age at 84. If looks could kill, he'd have been a goner.

The youngest Marine was a staff sergeant on present duty.

The cake had been kindly donated by Louvin' Oven in Round Lake.

More to Come. --RoadDog

A Good Weekend Until Sunday

Enjoyed it despite the worsening weather, capped by the cold, overcast, snow flurries, and bluster of Sunday, and Da Bear Loss to Tennessee.

FRIDAY-- Met buddy Kip for breakfast, played NTN at Hello Folks in Fox Lake and saw an excellent movie called "The Changeling" at the FL Theatre.

SATURDAY-- Went to the Marine Corps Birthday celebration in the morning at the American Legion in Fox Lake and drove to Schaumburg for Bob Stroud's Record Release Party at the Borders with all those great 60s-70s Chicago groups.

Then, we went to six places, five of them new to us, to play NTN in the Northwest suburbs, paid $2.28 (cheapest gas in a long time) for gas in Barrington after almost putting diesel in the Malibu (Duh!) and had a McRib at McDonald's in Wauconda while being entertained by the local junior high folk.

SUNDAY-- Listened to the CMT Country Music Countdown USA Show and Bob Stroud featured Creedence "Covered" Revival songs on his Rock and Roll Roots Show on the Drive in honor of what would have been Tom Fogerty's 67th birthday.

Then went to Baja Benny's to watch Da Bears-Tennessee game. The place was packed and had a hard time getting a seat. Da Bears could definitely have won this one, but for poor play selection and Da Grossman's inconsistent play.

Watched the great Animation Domination on Fox: Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and American Dad. Also The Unit on CBS.

I will make separate entrees on the Marine Corps breakfast, Record Release Party, and NTNing.

Bad Weather, But Good Time. --RoadDog

Friday, November 7, 2008

On-Line Headlines, Throughout the Evening

The November 5th Chicago Tribune did an hourly look at some news sites. Make sure you read the Onion's comments. They are hilarious, and as usual, VERY, VERY TONGUE-IN-CHEEK.


6 PM-- McCain, Obama split first two called states
7-- McCain wins SC, CNN predicts
8-- Obama to win Penn, CNN predicts
9-- Two red states turn blue, CNN projects
10-- CNN: Obama to be next president


6 PM-- McCain wins Ky.; Obama takes Vt.
7-- Obama claims Pennsylvania prize
8-- Florida, Virginia hang in balance
9-- NBC: Obama wins Ohio, Iowa
10-- NBC: Obama wins


6 PM-- Klemke wins
7-- Voting machines elect one of own to be president
8-- Bush "Can I stop being president now?"
9-- McCain refusing to tell voters what's in box unless elected
10-- Black man given nation's worst job

Ya Just Gotta Like Dem Onion Boys. Great Job Tribune!!! --RoadDog


Another article in the November 6th Chicago Tribune by Monica Eng. She wrote about the street vendors at and following Tuesday's get-together in Grant Park.

COOLEST SOUVENIR-- Barackas-- a pair of these maracas with his face for $5.

BEST CLAIM-- "Get your official campaign towel. We have been traveling with the campaign and we assure you this is the official towel." $5 (Hand towel with Obama's face.

BEST JOB CAPITALIZING ON THE CHICAGO CONNECTION-- Tee shirt with "Chicago's in the house" under a picture of the White House flying Chicago's flag.

SECOND-BEST JOB CAPITALIZING ON THE CHICAGO CONNECTION-- Tee shirt with Cubs logo that becomes an O with "bama" inside. Yuck, Cubs, and Barack is a SOX FAN!!


BEST SALES COMEBACK-- When a woman tried to bargain down the vendor on a $20 Obama tee shirt, he replied: "But, he just took Ohio."

QUICKEST TURNAROUND-- Just moments after the race was called for Obama, stacks of "Yes We Did" shirts appeared.

BEST SALES PITCH FROM SOMEONE NOT SELLING AN ACTUAL SOUVENIR-- "Obama for president. I need the change," from a man sitting at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.

Now, This Is ONE Excellent Job of Reporting. A Very Real Part of Times Like This. Nice Job Monica. --RoadDog

Obama's Ripple Effect

An article in the November 6th Chicago Tribune discussed the effect that Barack Obama's election would have on Chicago and Illinois.

TOURISM-- Land of Lincoln will have another "presidential halo effect" Areas on Chicago's Southside and Springfield tied to Obama should have an increase in tourism.

KENNEDY EXPRESSWAY-- The airport closest to his home, Midway, is not big enough for Air Force 1, so he'll have to use O'Hare and take the Kennedy, causing massive tie-ups.

HIS NEIGHBORHOOD-- mix of upscale intellectual life and downscale street culture. Will it change?

HIS BLOCK-- Let's hope he doesn't choose to continue living in Chicago and commute to work like our governor. There are already barriers at either end of his block. Some neighbors are grousing about the inconvenience of the security.

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO-- Obama was a former law professor here. More students? More federal funds?

OPRAH WINFREY-- Can she get even more popular?

MASS TRANSIT-- Going broke. Can more federal funds be coming from DC?

OLYMPIC BID-- For 2016 Games. Sure can't hurt.

WHITE SOX-- Barack Obama is a big Sox fan. Throwing out first pitch.

Sure Won't Hurt. --RoadDog