Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Way Too Much NTN--But I Like It

Played NTN Sunday at Donovan's in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and yesterday at Hello Folks in Fox Lake, Illinois. We had quite a few top twenties both days as we have good teams playing at both places.

While going through the the NTN/Buzztime site, I saw the national rankings of places.

Hello Folks ranks #11 in Illinois and #115 nationwide (out of about 4000 places). Not bad for a townie type bar.

Two other places we play at a lot are Pug Mahone's in Fox Lake which is #267 in the nation and Capital City in Springfield, Illinois which is #920.

National rankings of other places we have visited in Illinois: Fargo Lounge Moline #2, Diamond Lils Roselle #12, 46 Zone #28, Teasers Chicago #40, Moretti's Schaumburg #47, Scoreboard Rockford #78, Miranda's Rockford #135, BW3 Bloomington #154, Damon's Rockford #234, Sports Page Arlington Hts #297.

Illinois has a total of 197 NTN sites, down from 214 last year. Florida has the most with 334 places.

I always warn new players to be careful as it is addictive. Liz and I are REALLY HOOKED.

So far this year, we have been to 61 new places. We went to 49 places when we went to the Gulf Coast back in February. I went to 7 more going to visit the family in NC. We just got back from an Illinois trip and added four more to the list.

Altogether, we have been to 671 sites around the US. That puts us into second places for most sites visited.

NTNing Down Da Road. --RoadDog

Bbbrr!! It Sure Got Cold Last Night

Last night capped off a cold and rainy day around the Wisconsin/Illinois border. Temps got down to the low 30s and their was frost and the Firebird's windows this morning. Hopefully, this is winter's last rotten gasp. This has been quite the miserable winter. And even when we went south it turned cold.

Didn't have to do anything with the plants as the only things up right now or bulbs. Hopefully, there was no harm to the budding trees. The Bradford pears and crabapples always put on a great show in the spring.

However, it is supposed to get into the 70s later this week.

It's Time to Get the Boat Out, Not to Get Snow Off the Driveway. --RoadDog

Pets in the Family

An article in the April 25th Chicago Tribune about pet cemeteries and some numbers of interest.

It said Americans spend $43.4 billion each year on their pets.
$16.9 billion on food
$10.9 billion vets
$10.3 billion supplies/over-the-counter medicine
$3.2 billion pet services/grooming
$2.1 billion animal purchases

These are BIG NUMBERS INDEED.

Liz and I have just had one dog, Brandy, from 1974 to 1991. She was a sheltie/beagle mix. We wouldn't mind having another dog, but like to travel a lot, but with gas prices keeping us home more, it might be the time to get another dog. Liz is allergic to cats.

Mom has a dog named Coco.
Nephew and niece Andy and Andrea have two dachshunds, Frank and Rusty.
Brother Bob and Judy have a new sheltie, Gracie. She came just a few weeks after they had to put their previous sheltie, Chrissie to sleep. They also have a cat named Shasha.
Sister Julie has three cats and three dogs. Cats are Lexi, Max, and ?. Dogs are all golden retrievers: Sadie, Duke, and Penny Lane.

My Family is a Pet Family Indeed. --RoadDog

Friday, April 25, 2008

Running Out of Time-- NIU Memorial Committee

We're approaching the third month anniversary of the horrible events that took place at my alma mater, Northern Illinois University in Dekalb on February 14th.

April 29th will be the cut-off date for sending the NIU Memorial Committee your ideas for a fitting memorial to the slain and wounded. So far, they have received over 100 ideas ranging from fountains, landscaped gardens to statues. Many have the slogan "Forward, Together Forward" which is taken from the school fight song.

The committee consistes of about 30 students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The memorial, whatever shape it will take, does not have to be very expensive. Virginia Tech only spent $30,000 on theirs.

It is hoped to have it completed by Feb. 14, 2009.

You can give your idea at memorial@niu.edu.

From April 22nd Daily Herald.

I am suggesting that permanent crosses be erected on the berm by the student center where the temporary ones were placed after the event.

Forward, Together Forward. --RoadDog

So, What Are You Listening To?

An article in the Business Section of the March 26th Chicago Tribune discussed listening options available today.

IPODS-- 75% of new cars have option. I've never had one, but have sure heard about them.

STANDARD RADIO-- 93% still listen, down from 96% ten years ago. Still my preferred thing to listen to in my car.

WIMAX RADIO-- about a year away from commercial use. You can listen to your favorite internet stations. I'm listening to 94.7 FM the Surf from North Nyrtle Beach right now.

HD RADIO-- 1200 stations offered it last year, but only a quarter of US aware of it. Definitely something I'll look into.

SATELLITE RADIO-- XM and Sirius have combined 17 million subscribers at about $13 a month. Don't think I'll PAY for MY RADIO. But, then again, I said I'd never PAY for my TV either. Look where that got me.

Interesting, Nothing Mentioned About Listening to Your Cassette While Driving. --RoadDog

Spring Trip-- Route 66-- Springfield-- Part 1

We just got back from a six day mini-trip before gas gets so expensive we can't afford to go anywhere anymore. We were gone April 18th to the 23rd.

DWIGHT--

Took Il-47 as usual to avoid the Chicago hassle. Once in Dwight, we had a great buffet at Smaterjax's on Rt. 66, but were sorry to see that they had taken down all that great car memorabilia, including a complete run of Illinois license plates from the early 1920s to the 80s. Now, that was impressive.

Impressed with how the 1930s gas station looks now as it was falling apart when we first started cruisin' the Mother Road in 2002. They really need to repaint the Rt 66 shields on the road as they are getting so worn and faded, it's hard to see them.

ODELL

Took 66 to the 1920s Standard station in Odell and went inside. Saw about ten different countries listed in the sign-in book. They have a new old washer/dryer machine that looked like none I'd ever seen.

PONTIAC

Visited the new phoo exhibition at the Rt 66 Association of Illinois' Museum. This guy can see a photo in a scene like no one else can. Well worth a stop. Also toured the new Pontiac War Museum which is located next door.

TO SPRINGFIELD

Took the superslab, I-55, around Bloomington-Normal as usual. Not much remains of the old road througn these towns.

FUNK'S GROVE

Stopped at Funk's Grove Maple Sirup (correctly spelled) to get some of the great maple candy, but they were already sold out. Bought a CowBop CD, a group that will travel Route 66 in May and try to make ends meet by impromptu performances. They do a western swing/jazz sort of thing.

Ran into a motorcyclist there from Bloomington, Indiana, who was on his first Route 66 trip. Warned him to be careful as this is VERY ADDICTIVE. He told us he was already hookjed after just being on it from Towanda.

Went past Tall Paul and the world's ugliest water tower in Atlanta. Ernie Edwards was not out and about at the Pig Hip restaurant.

Got a room at the Days Inn on the southeast side of Springfield and played NTN at Capital City Bar and Grill.

Every Bloomin' Thing-- April

Well, it must be that time of the year again. Spring has arrived...FINALLY.

1. THE BIRDS ARE BACK-- while we were away on vacation, while we can still afford the gas, a family of birds built a nest on the back deck light by the sliding door. This year, it was a different bird though, not the usual robins.

As usual, walking by the door or out it brings fluttering, but at least so far, no fussing. The robins liked to land on the deck railing and let me know they were unhappy. I'll have to find out what kind of bird they are. Quite a bit smaller than robins.

2. CUT THE GRASS-- Yesterday, I had to cut the grass for the first time in 2008, a sure sign that spring has arrived. Just hope I will be able afford gas for it this year.

3. TREES AND BUSHES ARE BUDDING-- DAFFODILS, HYACINTHS AND SOME TULIPS ARE IN THEIR GLORY. Good to see all this after that rotten winter we had.

4. YARD CLEANUP CONTINUES-- I've been busy clearing out flower beds, removing dead branches, and trimming bushes.

5. APRIL SHOWERS BRING... Finishe dup working outside yesterday just as the rains came. It has started raining here again today.

It's a Lot of Work, But Something I Really Enjoy. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gas Gouge!!!! When Will It End???

The GRBs at Big Oil have been an active group of boys and girls this past week.

Yesterday, when leaving Springfield, Illinois, gas jumped from $3.47 to $3.70. We got gas at in Pontiac for the bargain rate of $3.60, after paying $3.45 the previous Friday at the same station.

Gas was mostly $3.70 to $3.80 around the suburbs of Chicago. In Jerseyville, Illinois, Sunday, we saw premium at $3.99.9!!! Can anybody say FOUR DOLLARS!!!

I noticed a lot of stations now JUST SHOW the regular prices of gas instead of plus and premium. Premium was $3.96 in the ones I did see posted. I guess they don't want to be the first to show that mark that Big Oil so badly wants, the magical $4 barrier.

The way I look at it, if you are planning on ripping people off, be proud and not shy about it. I'm going to get your money and there is NOTHING you can do about it, then give your best Snidely Whiplash chuckle.

When Will the Government Do Anything?? --RoadDog

Friday, April 18, 2008

JSS-- Slept Right Through It-- More Daffs-- Gas Gouge-- "Ruins"-- Inflation Hits Sliders-- 24 Years

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. SLEPT RIGHT THROUGH EARTHQUAKE IN ILLINOIS-- Something you just don't think of when the word earthquake is mentioned. California comes to mind, but not Illinois. But, early this morning, at 4:36 am, a 5.2 Richter Scale tremor hit near New Salem, Illinois, about 90 miles northwest of Evansville, Indiana.

The Chicago Tribune reported that it could be felt at the Tribune Tower downtown. It took a poll from readers, and as of 8:11 am, 1457 said yes, 581 no. I had to vote no as I slept right through it if it had been felt this far north in Spring Grove. We are about six miles south of the Wisconsin border.

2. DAFFODILLS are now blooming in several diferent places around the yard. The SMELL of Spring!

3. STILL REELING FROM THIS PAST WEEK'S GAS GOUGE-- The GBRs from Big Oil and their allies (commodities traders, oil analysists and oil experts) have been busy little bees this past week with gas in the Fox Lake area rising from $3.43 Monday to $3.66 yesterday. I did "top off" at the "bargain price" of $3.55 at the last "low" gas station on US-12.

The "magical" $4 a gallon mark is in easy reach. I'm predicting by the end of the month at this rate. You've got to give credit to Big Oil for moxie. I had figured they'd only go as high as $3.50 around here, as that, in itself, would be a record, but, they're going for the golden ring.

4. "RUINS"-- saw this movie yesterday about four spring breaking college students who decide to get some culture instead of drinks and visit a Mayan ruins near their resort. SYNOPSIS-- I don't think I'll be working out in the yard for awhile.

5. INFLATION HITS THE SLIDER-- Just one more thing that is more expensive these days. The price of a White Castle went from 52 cents to 55 cents!! It will now cost me more to get my "craving." I have develoed a taste for their new bacon cheeseburger at 69 cents. Plus, in Lebanon, Indiana, they had a 99 cent pulled pork sandwich which was quite good as well, but I haven't seen it around here. Hope they get it.

6. 24 YEARS OF DEEJAYING-- Last night, I deejayed at a local middle school in Mundelein, Illinois, for the 24th straight year. It is the only school I still deejay at these days. Being a private school, the kids are very well-behaved and a lot of fun. I play there four times a year.

As far as prices going up, I still charge the same today as I did 24 years ago.

Things Going On Around Here. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Big Oil Feeding Frenzy in Full Swing-- Gas Gouge!!!!

I can almost hear and see the board rooms of Big Oil as they jump up and click their heels for the imminent arrival of the "magical" four dollars a gallon mark, which evidently should fall by the end of the month if not sooner.

Monday, I got gas here in Fox Lake, Illinois, for $3.42 (BIG Ripoff!!). Tuesday it was up to $3.52. Yesterday it was $3.56. Today, it hit $3.66. That 24 cents in four days!!!

And yet, our government does nothing. Hard to believe nothing is being done.

Remember, this is the anticipation of the summer driving season PUSH.

This is Getting Ridiculous!! --RoadDog

JSS-- Chicago Cougar-- They Started-- 70s and WIND-- Double Feature-- GAS GOUGE!!!

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. CHICAGO COUGAR-- I am sure sorry to see that the police decided to shoot that cougar in Chicago a few days ago. I'm sure it would have much rather been somewhere else. Too bad they couldn't have sedated it or captured it.

2. 85 FIREBIRD AND LAWN TRACTOR-- Tuesday, I tried to start the mu 1985 Firebird for the first time in three weeks after rarely doing so all winter. Nothing. Tried it again yesterday and it started right up. Who's a figgered? The lawn tractor started right away after being off for the winter. You know what is growing.

3. MAYBE SUMMER'S HERE-- Yesterday temps got into the 70s!!! First time in six months. Unfortunately, the wind was howling. Almost blew me over and keeping dead vegetation in the wheelbarrow was all sorts of fun. I know my neighbors don't much care for it, but those items escaping the wheelbarrow were off my yard quickly. That's ok because I got a fair amount of stuff from my neighbors to the west and south.

4. DOUBLE FEATURE DAY-- Saw two movies at the Fox Lake Theater. The first for $5, the second for $4. It's senior day, but that's at 60 to qualify so I can't press it. Just depends who I get to buy my ticket from.

The first movie was "21"-- Blackjack, Vegas, Card Counting, and the High Life. Sign Me Up. Not likely as I can't remember but three digits at a time.

Second "Leatherheads"-- No Doubt, George Clooney is the "King of Smarm."

5. GAS GOUGE IS ON!!!-- Gas in Fox Lake was $3.50 (up from $3.44 Monday) when I went to the theater at 11:15 am. It had gone up another two cents on the way back. I filled up the five gallon gas container for the tractor for $3.56 here in Spring Grove. THIS IS THE MOST I'VE EVER SPENT FOR GAS. I really hate those Big Oil GRBs.

Gettin' Too Expensive. --RoadDog

You Know What They Say About Payback

This story in Yahoo out of Dubuque, Iowa, a favorite place to visit anytime of the year, but especially when the bald eagles are there in January.

Rick and Marilyn Jones are very fond of pranking their neighbors, the Tschudis, when they go away on vacation. They have strung beer cans around the house like Christmas lights, put up yellow crime scene tape complete with chalk body outlines on the sidewalks.

Well... the Jones went away for a wedding this past weekend and, on Sunday, the Tschudas, their two kids, and another neighbor got out on the Jones' lawn an carefully places 3000 plastic white forks on it.

Picnics Should be Interesting at the Jones' This Summer. --RoadDog

What's With All These Politicians Making So Much Money

With the Obamas coming forth with their earnings for 2007, I am beginning to believe that I should have gone into "Statesmanship" instead of teaching as a career.

A few weeks ago it was the Clintons earning over $100 million since leaving office, mostly on Bill's speaking and "Fantastic business ventures." Hhhmmnn to that.

Now, today, I see the Obamas pulled down over $4 million last year mostly on Barack's books. They did give $26,270 to the Trinity United Church, home of you-know-who and $50,600 to the United Negro College Fund.

McCain hasn't released his earnings yet, but his wife is worth at least $100 million.

Perhaps I should vote for the poorest millionaire?

I Definitely Chose the Wrong Career. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It was an NTN Roadtrip

Yesterday, Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, Wi., became the temporary Hello Folks North as a whole bunch of players took the short trip over the border to the taste of Florida in Cheesehead Land.

It was organized by Paintr. Such Folks stalwarts as Klofman, Quack, Gemini, Imotis, Hawk, Larry, and Lizard and myself, Roadog, made the trip.

Larry's wife, not an NTN nut, got a bit peeved at him for wasting the gas, but this is only about 14 miles away.

We did pretty well, actually beating Dennis at Fargo Lounge a couple times in Appeteasers where we had a #2, #1, and #1.

On the regular games we had #7, 2, 6, 5, 8, 5, 2, 9, and 13. Reckon we put Donovan's on the board.

Most of us had the excellent Maxwell Street Polish special for $3.50 which came with fries. Vaughn can really cook 'em up.

We'll have to do this again.

Now Here's Some Big-Time 'Cue!!

Cane across an article about the World's Biggest BBQ in Uruguay this past Sunday. Now, this was BIG!! and even set a World Record.

Some 1,250 Uruguayans grilled up 26,400 pounds of beef, beating the old record of 17,600 pounds set in Mexico in 2006.

They used 6 tons of charcoal in 15000 metal bbq stands.

Uruguay is a big-time ranching and farming country. Last year, they exported over one billion pounds of beef.

Twenty thousand spectators made short work of all that 'cue.

Sorry Carolina, this was beef.

Where's the Pork? --RoadDog

Monday, April 14, 2008

Got Back-- Part 3

Left Lebanon, Indiana, on Thursday, on was rained on all day. Just love driving in the rain. Fortunately, it was not a downpour.

Took I-65 northwest with the intention of looking for a route west to Illinois before I hit the big mass of sprawl and traffic by US-30, the old Lincoln Highway. Next time through, I will take Indiana Hwy 10 at Roselawn over to Illinois. As it was, I stayed on I-65 to Lowell and ended up taking US-41 to US-30 as there weren't any good roads going west.

At least there was a White Castle at the intersection of those two roads so got a taste. Gads, White Castles went up 3 cents to 55 cents because of this inflation that is not happening.

FUN AND GAMES IN CHICAGOLAND

Planned on taking the Lincoln Highway to Joliet, but missed a turn somewhere. Ended up taking Il-394 to US-6 and going west. I don't suggest this. It was traffic and stoplights the whole way. I went under one big underpass where the garbage was all over the place and the potholes hadtheir own potholes.

Took Il-7 to Lockport and eventually caught up with US-30 again to my Il-47 Chicago by-pass.

All along, I got to see gas prices rise significantly once in Chicagoland. Usually it was $3.50 to $3.60!!! Thanks Big Oil GRBs.

All in All, a Pretty Miserable Day of Driving.

And I Thought Chicago was the Most Miserable Sports City

Forbes has compiled a list of the ten most miserable sports cities in the US according to how well their pro teams have fared in championships. Now, I would have figured Chicago would have been on the list because of our Cubbies, but not so.

Forbes used a complicated set of criteria and also mentioned sports teams lost to other cities over the years.

Here is the list and teams lost:

1. Atlanta-- Flames
2. Seattle-- none-- How about MLB's Pilots?
3. Buffalo-- Braves
4. Phoenix-- none
5. San Diego-- Rockets and Clippers
6. Houston-- Oilers
7. Denver-- NHL's Rockies
8. Cleveland-- Rams, Barons, original Browns
9. Philadelphia-- Athletics, Warriors
10. Minneapolis-St. Paul-- Lakers, North Stars

We'll make a separate category for the long-suffering Cubbies.

Who's Have Figured? --RoadDog

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Perhaps Spring is Here

Woke up this morning to a smattering of snow on the ground and temps in the 30s. Overcast at first, but now sunny and snow has melted. Saw a robin hopping along the top of the deck railing and kicking up snow as he went along earlier in the day.

Trees are budding and bulbs are coming up. When I went out to put seed in the birdfeeder, I saw that one group of daffodills were blooming. Cut one and brought it in for what is to me the real smell of spring. This group of daffodills is always the first to bloom because of their location on the south side of the house and by it. Plus, the furnace vent is right there.

Perhaps spring is about here after all.

Temps are supposed to get up to the upper 60s mid 70s by Wednesday!!!

It's About Time. --RoadDog

Got Back-- Part 2

Wednesday, I spent most of the day touring National Road/US-40 sites and playing NTN.

NORWICH TO COLUMBUS, OHIO

I backtracked to Norwich where I saw the site of the first traffic accident in the US. In 1835, a west-bound stage coach rounded a sharp bend here, ran into a drove of pigs, turned over and killed Christopher Baldwin. Somehow, I missed the National Road/Zane Grey Museum.

In Zanesville, I saw the beautiful Muskingum County Courthouse and the famous Y-Bridge crossing the Muskingum and Licking rivers.

Further west were some old motels, the Spring Box (used for water on the National Road, and Reciprocity Bridge.

West of Brownsville, I got very lost and did some cruising along some beautiful roads before ending up in Jacksontown where I had a great meal at Clark's Restaurant, dating back to 1918. They are noted for great fried chicken and hoimemade pies. Definitely a well deserved compliment to them.

COLUMBUS, OHIO TO LEBANON, INDIANA

Once in Reynoldsburg, an eastern suburb of Columbus, I played NTN at two places. Tried to get back on I-70, but got lost and did a lot of driving before getting to the west side of Columbus where I got back on US-40 at West Jefferson.

Then to Springfield where I played NTN at the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings. US-40 to Vandalia and one last round of NTN and then I-70 to Indianapolis and I-65 to Lebanon, about 20 miles northwest where I turned in for the night.

On the Road Again, I Just Can't Wait to Get... --RoadDog

Saturday, April 12, 2008

JSS-- Raining Here Too-- "Nim's Island" and "King Kong"-- Better Pick Up My Taxes, But Don't Want To-- 50th Anniversary of the Great Chicken Track

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY-- First, it was rain, rain, rain and cool in North Carolina and now I have it here as well. Just can't win.

It rained all the way home Thursday from Lebanon, Indiana, north of Indianapolis, and then yesterday it was off and on rain. Today, it's drizzling the whole time. Lots of flooding along lower areas and rivers. I imagine that the Chain of Lakes will be closed for awhile now. Kind of hoping to get the boat out of winter storage, though I doubt I'll be able to afford gas for it this summer because of the GRB Big Oil folk.

2. "NIM'S ISLAMD"-- Yesterday went to the McHenry Indoor Theater and saw the $3 (great price these days) matinee of "Nim's Island." Found it enjoyable and all that sun and blue water made me want to go boating even more.

SUMMATION-- "It's a wonder what a pelican, sea lion, and lizard can do."

Also watched one of my favorites, "King Kong" Peter Jackson's remake of the classic on TV last night. That show has it all, but I was especially impressed by the recreation of 1920s New York City. I was having a hard time watching the action while trying to see the buildings.

SUMMATION-- "A gorilla, his girl, lots of dinosaurs, and creepy crawlies."

3. BETTER PICK UP MY TAXES-- Due date is fast approaching and I'd better get over to Pearle's to pick it up. It's done, but I owe some big bucks, so don't really want to. I always thought that once you retired, you shouldn't have to pay extra taxes, BUT, I WAS WRONG!!!

4. 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT CHICKEN TRACK, THE PEACE SIGN-- In Yesterday's Northwest Herald, I saw a political cartoon mentioning that 2008 was the 50th anniversary of the peace sign that became so popular during the 60s. I always thought it was made during the 60s, but 50 years ago would put it in the 1950s.

Did some research on it and posted to http://cootershistorything.blogspot.com

Still Waiting for Spring!!! --RoadDog

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thanks a Lot GRB Big Oil!!!

Gas prices were bad enough when I drove to North Carolina at the end of March, ranging from $3.14 in Wytheville, Va. to $3.40. Most of the time I got it for $3.28.

Coming home these last three days it had risen and mostly I paid around $3.33. Then, when I hit the Chicago area, it was $3.45 to $3.60!!!

The greed of Big Oil knows no boundaries!!! Sure hope those execs enjoy all the dough they're taking out of our pockets to buy their third and fourth multi-million dollar mansions and $200,000 plus sports cars.

There is no excuse for this.

I paid $166 for gas on the way down and $186 on the way back.

Let's face it folks, we faced the fascists in WWII, the Communists in the Cold War, and more recently the Terrorists of the Middle East, but Big Oil probably poses a greater danger to the country than any of these groups.

What Big Oil doesn't seem to comprehend is that if we go down, they go down as well!!!

Hoping Those Camel Fleas are About. --RoadDog Can't Afford to Drive Much No More!!

Culture Shock, Well, Big Shock

While in North Carolina, I used my mother's laptop computer. I'd never used one before, but soon caught the hang of it. She has a mini mouse, no relation to Mickey's girlfriend, to make operation easier.

However, today. I went on the computer at our house and when I touched the regular mouse, that was culture shock and I quickly let go of it. It was huge after using that mini one.

At least I was able to keep up with e-mails and blogposts while out and about.

That is ONE Really Big Mouse. --RoadDog

Beach Music Lives

Going through various stuff today, while listening to that great Beach Music station 94.9 the Surf out of North Myrtle Beach, SC, I came across an article about the 12th anual Route 66 Festival being held in Edwardsville, Illinois, this June 13th and 14th in City Park.

It will feature Bob Kuban of St. Louis, Missouri, playing Friday. He had a huge Beach Hit back in the 60s called "The Cheater."

Go to the site, which will also direct you Bob Kuban's site.

www.route66festival.org

Hey, Route 66 and Beach Music, now there's a combo I can live with. Hopefully, the Route 66 Association of Illinois' annual motor tour will be that weekend so I can see Kuban.

Carolina Beach Music Festival

I also saw that the 23rd annual Carolina Beach Festival will be held Saturday June 7th in Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

This year, it will feature popular beach bands Sea-Cruz, Mardi Gras, Coastline, Breeze Band, and North Tower.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of.

www.pleasureislandnc.org

Got Home

Left Goldsboro on Tuesday and took US-70 to I-40 by Winston-Salem and then US-52, soon to be the I-74 Corridor, to Mt. Airy, Andy Griffith's home and the basis for Mayberry.

I just had to try Snappy Lunch's World Famous Porkchop Sandwich. Oliver, the creator and long-time owner, wasn't preparing them in the window as he has done for many years. I was afraid they were no longer serving them or that he had died, but he was on site, but walking around filling the ice bins and making sure all customers were served. He'd evidently had a stroke or something like it. I thanked him for coming up with such a great sandwich.

Walked around downtown and bought a few Mayberry-related items.

Got back on the interstate and got gas at Wytheville, Va. (where I-77 and I-81 run along together--duplexxed in road-speak). Gas was ten cents higher from two weeks ago, thanks a lot GRB Big OIL!!.

Drove north on I-77 to Cambridge, Ohio, and then west on the National Road (US-40) to Zanesville. Saw two famous National Road S-Bridges, so named for their shape.

Played NTN at the BW3 (Buffalo Wild Wings) and got a room at the Super 8 west of town.

Day One of On the Road. --RoadDog

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some Interesting Stories About Mom and Dad

I entered a newspaper article about Mom and her experiences growing up across the street from Herman Park here in Goldsboro.

Plus, Mom had a three page resume that dad had written probably in 1954 when he was looking to get a job as an insurance adjuster. It took me three entries to finish it.

These will all be on April 7th and at
http://cootershistorything.blogspot.com

Drought, What Drought?

That is all I've been hearing for the last year from my relatives here in North Carolina. And they have definitely been short on the rain. Reservoirs WERE way down and all sorts of water restrictions were in force.

However, when I returned home in October, it rained all the way through North Carolina. Or, I should say it POURED.

So far this visit, we've gotten quite a few inches of rain and had it overcast most of the time. It was not my best-ever visit to the beach because of this weather.

Some of the water restrictions are being lifted and several key reservoirs are back at level.

Perhaps the state should pay me for coming here and ending their drought, or at least cover my GAS!!!

Come on Guys, Remember that Old Harry Nilsson Song "Rainmaker." --RoadDog

Joined the Digital Age

Saturday, I bought my first-ever digital camera at the new Office Depot in Goldsboro, NC. This was thanks to all those beautiful dogwoods and azaleas.

I've been putting this off, but knowing that it was inevitable. Liz and I actually looked for one while in Alabama, but couldn't find a place with anyone who would help us.

My sister-in-law, Judy, was nice enough to go with me. She is very "up" on this sort of thing and helped a lot. I ended up getting one for $229 minus $50 and a free photo printer. Also bought two of the 2 gigabyte cards so should be set for awhile.

She, most importantly, showed me how to set it up and operate it. Definitely thankful for that. The hardest thing was putting the strap on. I feel that I am ready to go forth and take pictures if only the weather would cooperate. It has been raining and overcast ever since Saturday, and this is my last day here.

Come on Weather, Cooperate. --RoadDog

Nasty Politics as Usual

Glad to see Illinois isn't the only place with nasty politics. I'm referring to candidates who, instead of concentrating on what they want to do, attack their opponents.

There is a particularly virulent example of this going on for the North Carolina Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The opponents are Bev Perdue (no relation to chicken that I know of) and Richard Moore. Listening to what they have to say about each other, both should be in jail for the horrible things they have done. Of course, North Carolina's primary is coming up in May.

My own response to this sort of campaigning is not to vote for either person. I don't support mud-slinging, and besides, it's too hard to clean off. We had a campaign like that about six years ago for Illinois governor. My response was
to vote for a third party in way of a protest.

Most likely, Obama will win here in NC. Most of the whites in the state are Republican and blacks are Democrats. He also has been running lots of commercials. I just recently started seeing them for Clinton. Her campaign commercials are nothing like what I've ever seen before. She is to be commended for them.

Missed seeing Fred Smith who is a Republican running for governor Wednesday when he spoke at Goldsboro's beautifully rebuilt Paramount Theater. Country singer Lee "God Bless the USA" Greenwood appeared with him. We didn't know about it until too late. Most people expect Charlotte's mayor to win this contest.

While eating at the Salvation Army's plate lunch Thursday, Will Bland, candidate for circuit judge, ate with us. Seems like an honorable man, someone I wouldn't have a problem voting for. But, I live in Illinois.

Vote Early and Vote Often, Chicago-Style. --RoadDog

Out of the NCAA Tournament

Well, Saturday pretty-well destroyed my NCAA Tournament. I had UCLA and Carolina playing each other tonight with UCLA winning. Neither of these teams even bothered to show up Saturday. Talk about boring games, with the exception of the Tarheel run to get back within four points.

I should mention that my favorite Big Guy college basketball teams are North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Illinois in that order.

I am also a Kansas fan, so will be pulling for them tonight, but with the way my luck is running, that is probably the kiss of death.

Mom is pulling for Memphis.

Sure had some great games in the tournament as usual and really enjoyed Davidson's run. That Stefan Curry is some player.

Hope Kansas' governor enjoys his barbeque from Wilber's and that other place. I'd just like to advise him to be careful, that stuff is addictive. Next thing you know, he'll be making the rounds of Carolina 'cue joints.

Go Jayhawks-- RoadDog

No Joy here in Tarheeldom-- "Tarheels Outgunned at Alamo"

Carolina blue is weeping these days. The mighty, mighty Tarheels were clobbered by Coach Roy Williams' former team, Kansas.

Franklin Street, the major Carolina party spot in Chapel Hill, was considerably more subdued as students and fans left the various bars where they had watched the d trainwreck.

I regard it as a great third of a game of UNC basketball. The Tarheels over came a 28 point deficit to pull back to within 4 points with about ten minutes left, and thgings were looking good. Then the bottom fell out again and Kansas won 84-66.

Watched the game at Mom's here in Goldsboro.

The next day at church, this was the major topic of conversation. One older gent was especially given a hard time because of his big-time support of the Tarheels.

He said it the loss was inevitable because of superstitious things that had occurred beforehand Saturday. He had watched an old movie about the west and they kept referring to Jayhawks, Jayhawks, Jayhawks. Then, his son, a huge Duke fan, came over to view the game with him. Then, he got some phone calls early in the game, always a bad luck thing.

The April 6th Goldsboro News-Argus summed it up very well. "Tarheels outgunned at Alamo."

Well, Maybe It Was a Cursed Thing. --RoadDog

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Enjoying That Good Old Carolina Beach Music

Right up there with Carolina BBQ, I like that genre of music called Carolina Beach Music. This is one of my favorite things to listen to and collect.

I especially like Sundays here in North Carolina, as that is Beach Music Day for local stations. Last Sunday, at Topsail Beach, I listened to Jerry Wayne and Steve Hardy on 107.9 FM and The Big Kahuna on 99.9 FM out of Wilmington.

Today, I've been listening to Jerry Wayne and Steve Hardy again as well as Big John on 102.3 FM. Sure enjoy this music and wish I could get it over the airwaves back home in Illinois, but at least I have the Surf 94.9 FM and Endless Summer which I can get over the internet.

The biggest problem with 107.9 is the huge number of commercials. It seems like there is about 10 minutes of commercials for every 3 minutes of music. Steve Hardy calls his show The Original Beach Party. Perhaps it should be called Steve Hardy's Original Commercial Party.

NO MORE RECORD RACK

Goldsboro's and eastern North carolina's source for Beach Music is, unfortunately, no more. After about a year and a half of closing, it really did. I wasn't sure it was when I drove by the builfing, but upon looking in the door saw that the lights were on, but the place completely bare.

Too bad. I sure will miss that place. When I first got into beach music back around 1988, I looked all over for a good beach music source and found some, but quite a distance from Goldsboro, then, one day I heard about it, went there, and was a regular customer every time I came back to visit my relatives.

Every visit, I'd spend a long time listening to new music and talking with Mean Gene Reich and Stan the Man Hartley.

Well, At Least I'll Be Saving a Lot of Money. --RoadDog

Goldsboro's Decked Out in White and Red

I've always wanted to visit Goldsboro, NC, this time of the year because the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom. I'd seen pictures of it, and really wanted to see first-hand. This year, I had that opportunity.

Everywhere you look, it's a BLAST of white dogwoods and red and white azaleas with gold forsythias and purple wisterias thrown in for good measure.

Two of the MOST beautiful yards are my mom's and brother's which are right next to each other. As a matter of fact, the blocks of homes behind their places are also a sight behold. Then, there's Hermann Park and what locals call Pill Hill. Pretty impressive.

We were driving down a street behind their homes and, looking ahead, I saw a blast of white even more striking than I had seen before. As we approached nearer, I saw that a lot of it was from Mom's yard

I've had horns blown at me on more than one occasion as I was driving too slowly for the tastes of other motorists. Well, too bad. I AM going to enjoy the scene as much as I can.

If You're Looking for Some Spring Color, Goldsboro's the Place to Go. --RoadDog

JSS-- Interesting Numbers-- BBQ Again-- Wally Phillips-- Patrick Downs

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HAS RELEASED SOME INTERESTING NUMBERS-- The average American will consume 12,149 hamburger buns, 19,862 eggs, and a whopping 49,717 cans of soda in a lifetime. Let's hope there was meat in those buns. HERE'S EGG IN YOUR FACE. Excuse me while I b-b-r-r-u-ppp.

2. NEVER GUESS WHAT I HAD FOR DINNER TONIGHT-- I had left over McCall's and Scott's BBQ!!! How many times has that been now? Barbeque--good!

3. WALLY PHILLIPS-- Well-known Chicago radio host Wally Phillips died last month. From 1965-1986, he ruled the airwaves in Chi-Town. I know my parents and wife's parents listened to him religiously and so did Liz and myself.

Liz called into one of his contests once and we won a whole bunch of stuff, including a boat trip on Lake Geneva and tickets to see Sammy Davis in "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off." We happened to know that Wilbert Harrison sang "Kansas
City."

4. PATRICK DOWNS-- Co-creator of the National Trivia Network, NTN, died last month as well. His game is interactive and you play not only with other people at your site, but with folks all across the United States and Canada.

Currently, it is located in about 3,500 bars and restaurants, and, at any given time, around 10,000 people are playing.

My wife and I are heavily "hooked" on this game and play it more than we should, but we have great times doing it. Whenever we travel, we make a point of playing at as many places as we can.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Think I Dun Been 'cued Out

Is it possible to get too much Carolina barbeque? Well, it seems that I am about to find out,

Yesterday, I went to Scott's BBQ here in Goldsboro, for a big plate of the stuff, along with cole slaw, hush puppies, cracklings (skin) and ribs. I've been wanting to go here for a long time, but it was completely closed down for years and just has reopened a few years ago, but only on Thursdays and Fridays.

On Thursday, I had Wilber's BBQ at the Salvation Army's Annual Plate Dinner, and helped deliver about 100 meals as well. Kind of hard to be in an enclosed vehicle with all those bbq smells about.

Wednesday found us a'eatin' McCall's BBQ at the Mount Olive Methodist Church's annual potluck dinner.

Last Saturday, David Avrette, owner of Howard's Barbeque in Lillington, NC, prepared you know what for the Topsail Arms annual dinner meeting at Topsail Beach. He owns one of the units.

The day before, we had stopped at Smithfield's BBQ and Chicken in Warsaw on the way to the beach, and had, what else?

I do have to admit, that I might just be reaching saturation point. I never thought I'd hear myself utter the words, "Nope, no barbeque for me," but that day might be fast-acomin'.

I'll be writing more specifics about these places at http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com, but not right now. I smell some 'cue.

Heading Back North on Tuesday, Where THERE IS NO CAROLINA BBQ!!! Well, on Second Thought. --RoadDog

How Much is An Ex-Pres and His Wife Worth?

Being retired has been very good to ex-President Bill Clinton and aspiring President Hillary Clinton. Today, many of us were shocked as just how well it has been.

The Clintons have made $109 million since leaving the White House, and that's on Hillary's $150,000 salary as a senator. The two of them made $20 million just last year!!!!

Bill Clinton has raked in $52 million from speaking engagements; makes you wonder if he is charging his wife when he shows up to plug her campaign. He has also made $30 million selling his book. {Hey, I didn't buy one!)

The press did say that they pay a lot of taxes for rich people, in the 31% and up category and also donated $10 million this past year.

I have been retired for TWO years and haven't made nearly as much. What's up with that? AND, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL 4800 IN TAXES THIS YEAR!!!!

Methinks I Got Into the Wrong Career. --RoadDog

Friday, April 4, 2008

In the Land of Carolina Blue

One thing about being here in North Carolina right now, for some reason, it is a hotbed of Tarheel fans. Flags are everywhere as well as lots of folks in tee shirts, sweat shirts, and jackets. All the papers have articles and it is a BIG topic on TV stations.

I doubt that much will be going on here tomorrow during the game.

This past weekend, the good folks at the Topsail Arms in Topsail Beach gathered for both games.

I see North Carolina's governor has a bet with the governor of Kansas. Correct me, but I was under the belief that gambling is illegal. Does March Madness supercede the law?

The bet includes barbeque from Wilber's right here in Goldsboro, and some of that western Carolina stuff they call bbq. The Kansas governor has put up ribs and a brisket.

These are two of my favorite teams so it is too bad they have to play each other before the Championship game. I'm not really any sort of a Memphis or UCLA fan, although the wife is a big UCLA fan. She pointed out that the final four represents a nice slice right across the midsection of the US. If you look at a map, they are fairly close to the same line of latitude.

They're calling it "Countdown to the Showdown."

Go You Tarheels!!! Now You Know Who I Am Pulling For. --RoadDog

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Workin' for the Army...Salvation Army That Is

My mom is very involved in the Goldsboro Salvation Army Auxilliary, and today, they had a major fund-raiser, the barbeque plate lunch.

I worked there yesterday, arranging flowers from Mom's yard into vases and putting pieces of pound cake and napkins into boxes for companies who ordered plates and into bags for drive ups.

This is some major operation and at one time sold 1800 plates, but that number is decreasing these days because a lot of other organizations have gotten into this fundraising. They have people come in to eat, drive up for pick up and delivery to companies. Any way you want it, you got it.

Today, I spent time out on delivery and dropped off close to a hundred meals. Sure glad the driver knew his way around Goldsboro and had a GPS machine. Some of the business locations were not immediately apparent. One business was a CPA firm, and I came in saying, "Here's tax relief." That got a few laughs. They were quite busy with a whole lot of paper in this increasingly paperless society.

This was a hard deal to beat. A whole meal consisting of drink, dessert, bbq pork, cole slaw, potato salad, and hushpuppies for $6. And, a lot of that goes for a good cause. Wilber's provided the most of the food and gave a good price to the SA as did Pepsi-Cola, a NC creation in nearby New Bern.

If you were to go to Wilber's it would have cost you considerably more.

The number of plates serves today: 1138. Number of helpers: at least 60. Organization: more than you'd expect. Ate Too Much: well, at least one person.

Good eatin' for a Good cause. --RoadDog

Sculpture Not the Only Thing the Tribune Bracketed

Evidently, each day, the Tribune ran a non-sport related bracketology contest over quite a few Chicago-related subjects. I was unable to get the whole fields up, but did get the final two in each category for which readers could vote. I voted as well.

BANDS-- Chicago Synphony Orchestra 50.1% vs. Smashing Pumpkins 49.9%. I voted for CSO. Here, I would have gone with the band Chicago.

NATIVE PLANTS-- Black-eyed Susan 1479 votes vs. wild columbine 919 votes. I voted for black-eyes susan as my gardens are covered with them.

SCULPTURE-- Cloudgate 64.4% vs. Flamingo 35.6%. I. of course, voted for the Bean, but think it SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE LIONS!!!

CHICAGO-RELATED MOVIE-- Blues Brothers 58.1% vs. Ferris Buehler's Day Off 41.9%. I voted Blues Brothers. It is my second all-time favorite movie.

BOOK-- Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" 84.8% vs. Saul Bellow's "The Adventures of Angie Micah" 15.2%. Old illiterate me haven't read either of them, but voted for Sinclair since at least I've heard of it.

CANDY-- Juicy Fruit 46.3% vs. Snickers 53.7%. I voted Juicy Fruit, but would rather have seen Ferrara Pan's Red Hots, my favorite candy.

I sure would like to see all eight entrants in each non basketball bracket.

So There You Have It. This is What Some Chicago Folk Like. --RoadDog

Second Round Winners

Still working with the Chicago Tribune's sculpture brackets for those of you not into March Madness.

The Second round pitted Cloud Gate versus the Michael Jordan statue on one side.

The other side had The Flamingo versus the Art Institute Lions.

I would have picked Cloud Gate (the Bean) and the lions for the final showdown.

The Tribune picked Cloud gate because "Jordan used to be big. Bean rolls."

They also picked the Flamingo saying "Without wreaths, Lions look naked; Majestic "Flamingo" triumphs."

So, in the finale, it will be the Bean vs. the Flamingo.

The tribune decided to let the readers pick the winner.

Go to chicagotribune.com/bracket to find out more.

Come On Bean!! But Shoulda Been The Picasso vs the Lions. --RoadDog

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Not Much Fun at the Beach

A Beachin' I did go, but a'sunnin' and a beach walkin' I didn't do much, but I did go a boatin'.

On Friday March 28th, Mom and I drove to Topsail Beach, stopping at Smithfield's BBQ and Chicken in Warsaw for lunch. It is a chain mostly along NC's interstates, but serves up good Carolina 'cue.

Got to the beach and enjoyed what turned out to be the best day of the trip, even though the wind did have some chill in it, but at least it was sunny. Spent a lot of time with Graham and Vicki, my cousins. who have the condo next to Mom's.

Saturday, March 29th-- overcast ans way too cool for late March at the beach. Had a great potluck featuring some more great Carolina cue as preepared by David, who owns the condo next to us. Of course, he has a pedigree in 'cue as he owns Howard;s BBQ in Lillington, NC, right on the Cape Fear River and one of my favorite roads, US-421 which I have driven the whole length from its northern terminus in Michigan City, Indiana, to the "Rocks: by Fort Fisher, NC.

Afterwards, we had the annual condo meeting where a lot of monetary stuff was discussed. Not much excitement, plus, we probably should eat AFTER the meeting, not before it.

There are six condos in the Topsail Arms. Met the two newest owners, a couple from Athens, Ohio. They bought their unit about two years ago and thought they got a great deal at $360,000.

Chicago Public Sculpture Brackets

Finally got around to reading the March 26th Chicago Tribune. It kind of got buried underneath other stuff in the truck.

In the Tempo section, the Trib ran brackets for those who feel left out because of all the March Madness Stuff. These are brackets for Chicago public sculpture. The Trib was "nice" enough to run the eight sculptures to the final winner.

I definitely did not agree with some of their picks.


FIRST ROUND

1. CLOUD GATE (BEAN)
THE PICASSO

2. SPINDLE (CAR BOB)
MICHAEL JORDAN

3. FOUR SEASONS
FLAMINGO

4. MIRO'S CHICAGO
ART INSTITUTE LIONS

Winners in the first round.
1. Cloud Gate-- I would have gone with the Picasso, although the bean's neat
2. Michael Jordan-- I would have gone with the Car Bob-- more unique and I'm not much of an MJ fan.
3. Flamingo-- Agree, but I've never heard of the Four Seasons
4. Art Institute Lions-- Agree. What's more Chicag0

Second Round Tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Visiting Family in North Carolina

I have been on the road since this past Wednesday.  I took my usual route to get around Chicago, Il-47.  At Sauneman, I went east on Il-110 and even was on US-45 for awhile.  We had taken it from Mobile, Alabama, to Champaign, Illinois, earlier in the month.

Caught I-65 in Indiana and went to I-70 in Indianapolis, all the way to Cambridge, Ohio, where it was I-77 to Marietta, Ohio, right on the Ohio River where I spent the night.

Thursday, it was I-77 in the rain to Charleston, West Virginia, where I had breakfast at a Shoney's (I haven't eaten at one of these in a long time).  Great buffet for $6.95.The West Virginia Turnpike, between the first two toll areas, is one of the most beautiful drives anywhere, and I am not a big fan of interstates.  Total tolls are $3.75 at three toll collection plazas.  The scenery is worth it.

On to Virginia and got gas for $3.15, the lowest along the ride.  Most places wanted $3.28 or more.To I-74 to I-40 from Winston-Salem to Raleigh, not a favorite drive because of the heavy  traffic, but I was running a little before rush hour and madeit with no major traffic jams.

Took  US-70 to Goldsboro.

Talk About an EXPENSIVE Drive!!!  --RoadDog