Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrating New Year's a Bit Early: Happy New Year!!!!

In a few minutes we're heading over to the American legion for their early New Year's Eve party. They're having a potluck and karaoke and it is always a good time for old folks like us. //// After all, I'm usually to bed by 11 PM. We'll come home at 6 and try to stay up until midnight. //// Happy New Year, You Know. --RoadDog

JSS: Beach Radio-- 52 Movies-- Organizing Christmas Decorations

JSS-- Just Some Stuff. //// 1. BEACH RADIO-- Now that Christmas is finally over where I have been listening to Christmas cassettes and CDs, I can get back to listening to my Beach Music stations while I do these blogs. That means 94.9 FM, the Surf out of North Myrtle Beach, WNCT AM, 1070 out of Greenville, NC and Fessa Hook's Beach Shag Network. //// 2. 52 MOVIES-- Every year, I shoot for a movie a week at the theater. I made my 52 for tis year right on the nose. //// ORGANIZING CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS-- After around 19 years, I finally got motivated to organize my Christmas decorations. Something MUCH needed. //// Just Some Stuff-- RoadDog

JSIS: No Cell Phone Talking in Car-- Dominick's Commercials Still-- MAC 0-4-- Gas

JSIS-- Just Some Interesting Stuff. //// 1. NO CELL PHONE TALKING IN CAR--As of tomorrow, you drive anywhere and talk on the cell phone, it's a ticket for you. Be forewarned. Still waiting for them to declare driving and texting just as bad as driving drunk. It is perhaps even worse. //// 2. DOMINICK'S COMMERCIALS STILL--Kind of strange, but WXRT-FM in Chicago was still running commercials for grocery store Dominick's on Sunday although they all closed down for good on Saturday //// 3. MAC 0-4-- It's been a bad bowl season for my Mid American Conference which now stands at 0-4 after Buffalo, Ohio, Bowling Green and NIU lost. Last chance for a win is the Go-Daddy Bowl on Jan. 5th with Ball State. //// 4. GAS-- Dropped all the way to $3.40 here in northeasten Illinois. It had jumped from $3.16 to $3.47 in one minute. //// Sure Drops Slow. --RoadDog

Top 20 Beach Music Songs of 2013-- Part 2

10. PRIVATE NUMBER-- Marsha Morgan Band & Gary Lowder // 9. STILL STROKIN'--Ms. jody // 8. HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME-- Tim Clark Band // 7. I'M HUNGOVER-- Lesa Hudson &Rick Strickland // 6. MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE (FOREVER)-- Jackie Gore //// 5. GOOD LOVIN'-- Roy Hamilton // 4. (tie) THE DRIVER-- King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers and PYRAMID-- Paul Craver // 3. ALL I WANNA DO IS DANCE--Too Much Sylvia // I'M GONNA BE YOUR FRIEND-- Rick Strickland // HEY EUGENE-- SeaCruz. //// Good Stuff, Maynard! --RoadDog

Top 20 Beach Music Songs of 2013-- Part 1

From 94.9 FM The Surf Radio out of North Myrtle Beach, SC. "Ted Bell's 2013 Top 20 Songs." //// 20. CALL ME-- K.B. & the Shifters // 19. THAT'S ALL I WANT FROM YOU-- Rhonda McDaniel // 18. (TIE) DON'T RUSH-- Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill and BLURRED LINES-- Robin Thicke //// 17. BACK IN THE DAY CAFE-- Andre Lee // 16. 4 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING-- Big Time Party Band & Clifford Curry // 15. (TIE) YOU NEVER CAN TELL-- Lakeside Drive Band and THE WALK-- Craig Woolard Band //// 14. AMAZINGLY AMAZING-- Lesa Hudson // 13. LET IT BE ME--Roy Roberts & Sherry Notira // 12 (TIE) HIT AND RUN-- Gary Lowder and BOULEVARD BOYS--Big John Thompson & Roger Smith // 11. HARD HEADED-- Hip Pocket. //// Beachin' Right Here in Illinois. --RoadDog

Monday, December 30, 2013

JSS: Cold, Again-- Bears Lose-- NIU Loss-- Icy!!!

JSS-- Just Some Stuff. //// 1. COLD, AGAIN-- Bracing for another round of that Super Cold Canadian weather. I try to keep telling them to keep their crummy weather, but they keep sending it anyway. Temps to be around 10 degrees until the weekend. //// 2. BEARS LOSE-- Saw the game with the Usual Suspects at Squaw Bar in Ingleside and enjoyed the potluck. Didn't enjoy the last minute of the game. Come on Bears, the Packers had the ball 4th and 8 with 30 seconds to go on the 50 yard line and Bears with a one point lead and a trip to the playoffs on the line. Stop them and we go. But no. There was no stop. I would have even been happy with just a first down. No, it was a touchdown!! That's a hard way to lose the game. 3. NIU LOSS-- We're still hurting over the Poinsettia Bowl loss. This great season, 12-0 until the last two games, sure ended on a downer. //// 4. ICY!!!!!-- Yesterday was absolutely a day to be mighty careful when walking outside. We had sleet most of the morning and you could slide along even without moving your feet. //// Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Went to DeKalb (Capital "K") for Da Game-- Part 3

A big crowd at Fatty's, but nowhere as near the standing room only ones they get after Huskie football fgames (and that includes the huge outside area which is closed now for some reason). //// We had good talks with some of the fans, including the man who calls himself "Facebook Guy" and NIU dean who runs the school's Facebook page and a couple of grad students from College of Engineering who had been to all the games (home and away) and bowl games the last two years. //// The crowd would have been bigger except the students were home for break. //// We used our special 24 ounce Fatty's glass NIU schedule and Back-to-Back MAC Championship mugs. //// Lots of cheering whenever the Huskies did well, but, unfortunately, Utah State had Jordan Lynch's number and he made mistakes and we lost. //// Oh well, always more fun to watch a game on TV with a bunch of fans pulling for your team. //// Sure glad we didn't spend the $2,000 apiece to go to San Diego. //// Looking Forward to Next Year. --RoadDog

25 Best Movies of 2013-- Part 2

Go to site for more information. I'm just listing them. //// 19. Fruitville Station // *18. Rush // 17. Blue Jasmine // 16. Stories We Tell // 15. Saving Mr. Banks // 14. The World's End // *13. The Conjuring // 12. Blackfish // 11. The Place Beyond the Pines // *10 Frozen // 9. Short Tem 12 //// 8. Inside Llewyn Davis // 7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire // 6. Her // 5. The Dallas Buyers Club // 4. The Wolf of Wall Street // 3. American Hustle // *2. Gravity and, #1. 12 Years a Slave. //// You'd Think After Seeing 52 Movies This Year, I Would Have Seen More of This List. --RoadDog

25 Best Movies of 2013-- Part 1

From the Dec. 17, 2013, Yahoo! Movies by the Yahoo! Movie Team. //// Actually looking at the list, I only saw five of them, although I do plan to see four more once the kids go back to school and things get out of holiday mode. Those four will be # 15, ##7, #4 and #3. Most of the rest I never even heard of before or, they weren't shown in our local theaters. //// The ones I saw marked with (*). //// The List: //// 25. Fast and Furious 6 // 24. The Kings of Summer // * Captain Phillips // 22. Before Midnight // 21. 20 Feet from Stradom // 20. Nebraska. //// --RoadDog

Is It DeKalb or Dekalb?

While writing about going to DeKalb for the NIU game, I took a look at the name of the town, DeKalb, and started thinking that maybe it didn't look right. Maybe I wasn't spelling it correctly. Until now, I always spelled it Dekalb with a small "k." //// I looked it up on the internet and it turns out that it is spelled with a capital "K." Looks like I would have noticed that at some point after all these years. //// Oh well, guess its better late than never. //// This joins my list of dumbies like Niagra Falls (Niagara) and Cutty Shark (Cutty Sark). //// Well, at least I always pronounced it correctly as DE-kalb, not de-kab as folks in Georgia do. //// Never Too Old to Learn Something. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Goodbye Dominick's

A mainstay here in the Chicagoland area closed its doors for good earliet today at noon. And, that would be Dominick's Food Stores which have been ailing financially for years and completely unable or unwilling to match food prices with other stores. //// They were very expensive on almost everything, a big reason why I rarely went there all these years. I always hate to see a familiar name go, but at least it wasn't one I often frequented. //// It joins the long list of Chicago-based stores like Marshall Field's, Montgomery Ward's, Wieboldt's and, I'm sure in the not too distant future, Sear's. //// Oh, Well. --RoadDog

Went to DeKalb for Da Game-- Part 2

On the way to DeKalb, we noticed gas prices at $3.36 in DeKalb and Sycamore. Went to barnes & Noble on Sycamore Road (IL-23) and Wal-Mart. Found out you don't want to go to Wal-Mart the day after Christmas. //// Went over to a house that decorates big-time for the holidays and even has its own FM station to watch the display. It was Nick's Christmas Extravaganza and we parked on the side of the road and watched the four musical displays, including the NIU Huskie Fight Song. We had seen the house on You Tube last year. Mighty impressive display! We're now officially in the mood for Da Game with Utah State. //// Checked into the Baymont Hotel and then walked over to Fatty's and found two seats at the bar. We were set for the night and, hopefully a Northern victory. //// GO HUSKIES!!! Thanks, Nick! --RoadDog

Deaths: Ray Price-- Country Singer and Nashville Sound

From AP by Chris Talbot and Jamie Stengle. Died Dec. 16th. Set the precedent for a change in country music sound and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame with a 65-year career and over 100 hits. One of te last living connections with Hank Williams and introduced the 4/4 shuffle beat. //// His biggest and best-known song was 1970's "For the Good Times," but he was huge on country charts in the 50s and 60s. Made the Billboard Hot 100 eight times and had seven #1s. Other big hits were "Crazy Arms" and "Release Me." Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. //// From Wikipedia. //// Noted for his "Nashville Sound" which included slow ballads with lush arrangements and background singers in the 1960s. //// Was born in Perryville, Texas, and served in the USMC from 1944-1946 (a World War II veteran) and after that sang on KRBC in Abilene, Texas. //// In 1953, formed his own band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Among their members in the late 50s-early 60s were Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Johnny Paycheck. ////

Friday, December 27, 2013

Went to DeKalb for Da Game-- Part 1

Yesterday, we drove to DeKalb, Illinois, to watch the Northern Illinois Poinsettia Bowl game against Utah State. We figured to watch it at Fatty's Bar and Grill on the Lincoln Highway with a whole bunch of NIU fans. Always more fun to watch a game on TV with a bunch of fans. (We have a group of Usual Suspects with whom we watch most Chicago Bear games at local watering holes, usually the Squaw Bar in Ingleside. We'll be there this Sunday for the game with arch rival Green Bay for the NFC Central Chamoionship.) //// And Fatty's was packed and boisterous. (It was one of the official watch sites for NIU fans for the Poinsettia Bowl and essentially is Huskie football headquarters all season long.) //// Why, I even cheered for Bowling Green against Pittsburgh in the Little Caesar's Bowl which was on before our game. Hey, have to cheer for the MAC (unless, of course, it's the hated Toledo Rockets). They (Bowling Green) were the ones who knocked us out of the BCS bowl appearance when they trounced us in the MAC Championship game earlier this month. I just hope that at some point in the future we will be able to devastate them in a game with such high stakes. //// Then, we were on ESPN at 8:30. //// And It Was Sad. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Heading for DeKalb for NIU in Poinsettia Bowl

Right now, I have to go out and shovel another couple inches of snow off the driveway and sidewalk from our "White Christmas" Round 2 that started late yesterday afternoon. //// In a few hours, we'll be driving out to DeKalb, Illinois, for the next best thing other than going to San Diego, watching the Huskies play in the Poinsettia Bowl with a bunch of NIU fans at Fatty's on Il-38, the famed Lincoln Highway. It is always more fun to watch with a bunch of fans as opposed to sitting at home by yourself or sitting in another place where the people could care less. //// Fatty's is the official home for Huskie fans. //// We have a room at the Baymont Hotel next door so won't have far to walk to get back. //// Here's hoping for a great finish to a great year, other than being marred by that tromping at the hands of Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game earlier this month. //// Go Huskies. --RoadDog

On a More Fun Note: More Christmas CDs

I found three more Christmas CDs that I didn't list up by the stereo by the family room tree: CHRISTMAS ISLAND-- Jimmy Buffett //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Aaron Neville ///// CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- Beach Boys. ///// I had been listening to them while setting up the Christmas village under the tree. Liz had already put the tree up (I do the outside decorations) and the railroad tracks going around the tree (we have a train with a Chicago & Northwestern engine and a Milwaukee Line car, two railroads who had a huge impact on the Chicagoland area until merged into the current Metra. //// Merry, Happy. --RoadDog

Big Oil Gouges Up for Christmas 2013: $3.17 to $3.47!!!!

A couple days ago, we here in the Midwest outside of Chicago, were shocked, well, not really, when we found that local gas stations raised prices by THIRTY CENTS in a matter of minutes. Yep! From $3.17 to $3.47 (not that ANYTHING over $2.50 is a great deal). //// Why? We never heard. Of course, I think Big Oil is now exempt from having to explain price fluctuations, something about government being in hip-pocket, or profits (something I'd really love to see). //// And, as an added bonus, in a few weeks we will be in the "Pre-Pre-Pre-Pre-Pre Summer Driving Season" where they raise prices in anticiapation of you-know-what. //// Big Oil to Americans: "Merry Christmas...Screw You!!!" --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It's Official: White Christmas Here in the Midwest

Now that it's getting light, I see that we did indeed have a White Christmas as it snowed maybe an inch last night. It snowed an inch the previous night and overall, I guess we've had around 12 inches so far this year, most of which is still on the ground as it's been quite cold. //// Last night, Christmas Eve, we drove around the subdivision looking at Christmas lights and then south on Johnsburg Road and took a ride through the really decorated landscaping company's grounds (always a Christmas highlight) and around various subdivisions in Johnsburg, Illinois. //// Folks are in a festive mood. We saw quite a few homes with lots of cars in the driveway so a lot of family get-togethers. Then stopped at Route 12 Bar and Grill and watched the first showing of "A Christmas Story" on TBS on their 70-inch HDTV. Came home and saw the last part of "It's a Wonderful Life." I recorded it so will watch the first part sometime today. //// This past Saturday, we had a Christmas party at Captain's Quarters and last week Wednesday had a rotisserie chicken dinner at the heavily decorated Popeye's in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, overlooking Geneva Lake. Then, we took a ride through the heavily-decorated grounds of the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva and also walked through the building. If that doesn't put you in a Christmas mood, nothing will. //// Getting My Christmas Spirit On. --RoadDog

Christmas CDs-- Part 3

CHRISTMAS-- Alabama //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE PLATTERS & THE DRIFTERS-- The Gold Collection //// RUDY THE REDNECK REINDEER-- Vol. 2 //// 20 CHRISTMAS STARS-- Vol. III //// A CELTIC CHRISTMAS-- A Festive Journey //// CHRISTMAS ON THE BORDER-- //// CHRISTMAS CLASSICS REDNECK STYLE //// HAVE YOURSELF A TRACTORS CHRISTMAS-- Tractors //// REJOYCE: SONGS FOR THE SEASON-- Kohl's Cares for Kids //// BOOGIE WOOGIE CHRISTMAS-- The Brian Setzer Orchestra //// SANTA'S TOP 10 FAVORITES //// SOUL CHRISTMAS //// RHYTHM AND BLUES CHRISTMAS //// BIG BAND CHRISTMAS ////MUSIC TO YOUR EARS-- A Collection of Holiday Music //// A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE RAT PACK-- Sinatra, Martin, Davis. //// Auld Lang Syne. --RoadDog

Christmas CDs-- Part 2

Some More of My Christmas CDs. //// 13 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS-- A Romping Redneck Celebration //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 1 //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 2 //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 3 //// THAT 50's CHRISTMAS ALBUM //// ALL-STAR CHRISTMAS-- Beach Music //// NEW ORLEANS CHRISTMAS-- Putumayo Presents //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Deck the Halls //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- A Merry Christmas //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Happy Holidays //// THE CHRISTMAS ATTIC-- Trans-Siberian Orchestra //// THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE-- Trans-Siberian Orchestra. ////Get the Light Ready. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas CDs-- Part 1

Here are some of my CDs: SEASON'S GREETINGS-- Lawson Products // THE STARS COME OUT FOR CHRISTMAS-- Steve Vaus Presents // WHITE CHRISTMAS-- Bing Crosby // CHRISTMAS TO CHRISTMAS-- Toby Keith //HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS-- Alan Jackson // CHRISTMAS HERE WITH YOU-- Four Tops // SWING 'N' JIVE CHRISTMAS-- Alleycats // BEYOND THE SEASON-- Garth Brooks // CHRISTMAS: LYNYRD SKYNYRD/38 SPECIAL // ALLIGATOR sTOMP-- Cajun Christmas // and CHRISTMAS COLLECTION-- Alligator Records. //// --RoadDog

Do You Ever Wonder About That "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" Song?

From the Dec. 13, 2013, Yahoo! Music "Grandma's Still Getting Run Over By Reindeer! Ever Wonder Where That All Got Started?" by Our Country. //// Randy Brooks wrote it, getting his inspiration from Merle Haggard's "Grandma's Homemade Christmas." He decided Haggard was talking about a dead grandmother, even though it is not explicitly stated in the song. //// So, he did a parody of the song. He used some stuff from his own experiences saying that one grandmother "did like to drink herself happy on occasion." He began playing the song live with his pal, Dr. Elmo Shropshire, who decided to record it with his wife Patsy. (Hence the Elmo and Patsy if you ever wondered.) //// He made it as a gag gift for his friends and Dr. Elmo even dressed drag for the 45's (well, single's), (well, record's), (well, hardcopy), (well, whatever) cover. //// But a friend passed it on to a San Francisco disc jockey who played it on the radio and the song took off. It became a Top 40 and Country hit. This parody has also spawned its own parodies like Cledus T. Judd's "Grandma Got Run Over By a John Deere." The article had a vote and 7% hated it while 78% love it. I may cringe when I hear it, but there I go, singing along and smiling. //// As My Brother Would Say, "Thanks a Lot, Merle." --RoadDog

Monday, December 23, 2013

A New Christmas Classic? "Merry Christmas. Exclamation Point"

From the December 13, 2013, Yahoo! News "'Merry Christmas. Exclamation Point' is tye must-hear holiday song of 2013" by Jay Hart. //// "For the first time since Mariah Carey released 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' in 1994, we have a fresh new Christmas song that's, well, a classic." //// Jon Lajoie sings it. You might know him as Taco from FXX's "The League." (Nope, not me.) //// The article also has the video or just look it up. It is well worth seeing and hearing. I saw it several times. It was good at first, but then really grew on me. //// Some of the lyrics: "You know Christmas is about spending time with friends and family // But just because you're not in one of those two categories // Doesn't mean that I won't still do something special for you // 'Cause Christmas is about giving so here's what I'll do for you // I'm gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas Text) (Christmas Text) // I'm gonna type Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send. //// Maybe I'll just copy and paste it // Well it's only two words I might as well just type it // If you're thinking of calling me to thank me, oh please don't // Texting is as far as this relationship goes." //// Well, I'm So Moved, I'm Gonna Sit Right Here and send You a Christmas Text. Wait!! My Battery Died and I'm Recharging. Oh, Never Mind, I Don't Know How to text Anyway. --RoadDog

15 TV Twists We Hated This Year

From Yahoo! TV. //// Well, there were 15 of them, but only four listed on shows I watch. These are those four: //// **FAMILY GUY-- Brian dying, but coming back. Hey, Ya just gotta love old Bri. //// **THE WALKING DEAD-- The Governor as a Good Guy. I knew that wouldn't last. That guy gives real meaning to the words "Bad Guy." Let's hope he's really dead, but I kinda doubt it. Maybe he could come back as the leader of the Walkers. A Thinking Walker. //// ** THE OFFICE-- Saw the boom operator for all their asides for the first time. Should have remained liked "Carlton, Your Doorman." //// ** TWO AND A HALF MEN-- Charlie's lesbian daughter moving in, and, like her old man, a real skirt-chaser. I believe this once funny show has "Jumped the Shark." //// Man, That Governor Was the Worst of the Worst. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 21, 2013

JSS: Mighty Slippery-- - Music--- "Anchorman"--

JSS-- Just Some Stuff. //// 1. SLIPPERY-- Man was it ever slippery out there yesterday. And, it was especially bad on our front walk and driveway. It took me about four minutes to small-step my way out to the truck (usually maybe 15 seconds). Then, last night, we went to a party at a friend's house and were just about done in by a lot more ice. We keep getting freezing rain. ///// 2. MUSIC-- Listening to WXRT's Saturday Morning Flashback right now (runs to noon CST and streams at www.wxrt.com). They are doing the year 1981. Sunday is Bob Stroud's annual Holiday Hootenanny Show featuring three hours of Christmas music on his Rock and Roll Roots show from 7 to 10 AM on Chicago's WDRV 97.1 FM, streaming at www.wdrv.com. Next week's Ten at Ten at 10 AM and 10 PM: Monday- 1969, Tuesday- 1980, Wednesday- Christmas, Thursday- 1973 and Friday- 1978. //// 3. "ANCHORMAN"-- Thursday, we watched the first "Anchorman" movie at Donovan's and then yesterday I saw "Anchorman II: The Legend Continues" at the movie theater. Mighty funny show. //// Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Those Stretchy Old Christmas Cassettes

These are my pre-recorded Christmas cassette tapes: A 50's CHRISTMAS //// CHRISTMAS CARD-- Temptations //// A CREOLE CHRISTMAS //// CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS-- Kokomo Joe //// MERRY CHRISTMAS-- Supremes //// IN THE CHRISTMAS MOOD-- Glenn Miller Orchestra //// CHRISTMAS IS COMIN'-- Pete Fountain //// ELVIS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM //// A WHITE CHRISTMAS-- Bill Pinkney and the Original Drifters //// THIS CHRISTMAS-- Smokey Robinson, O'Jays and Bobby "Blue" Bland. //// Holly My Boughs-- RoadDog

So Long, WLS' Uncle Lar: Larry Lujack

LARRY LUJACK (June 6, 1940-Dec. 18, 2013) //// From Wikipedia. For those of us growing up in the Chicagoland-area from the late 60s to 70s, this was one mighty familiar voice on our mighty WLS, 890 AM, playing all our favorite pop music during the period. I especially liked his "Animal Stories" and "Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report" bits and his on-air partner, Little Tommy (also called "Little Snot-Nosed Tommy). I listened to him even though I found him to be somewhat too-smug and sarcastic sometimes. //// Also known as "Superjock" and "Uncle Lar." He came up with "Animal Stories" after the station continued to get farm magazines even after it went all rock and roll in 1960. //// Retired from WLS in 1987. //// Born in Quasqueton, Iowa, and raised in Arkansas as Larry Blankenburg, but changed his last name to Lujack after his football hero Johnny Lujack. //// Worked at several stations around the country before coming to Chicago's WCFL 1000 AM (the other big pop music station) in 1967 and doing a four-month stint at night before coming to WLS in August and continued there until 1987. //// No More Old Uncle Lar. --RoadDog

Friday, December 20, 2013

Those Scratchy Old Christmas Albums-- Part 2

Finishing up my list of Christmas albums: BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS--Brook Benton ////WONDERLAND OF CHRISTMAS-- Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra //// THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: A CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL-- the Harry Simeone Chorale //// CHRISTMAS SONGS AND CAROLS-- Chorus and Orchestra Directed by Mitch Miller //// CHRISTMAS CARD-- Statler Brothers //// MERRY CHRISTMAS-- Bing Crosby //// PRETTY PAPER-- Willie Nelson //// ROCKIN' LITTLE CHRISTMAS-- //// PHIL SPECTOR'S CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- Phil Spector //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHIPMUNKS-- Alvin, Simon & Theodore with David Seville. //// Those Are My 19 Christmas Albums. Now to Crank Up the Old Stereo. --RoadDog

The MAC Goes a-Bowlin'

We've definitely come a long way since 2003, when Northern Illinois finished 10-2, with wins over Big Guys Maryland, Iowa State and Alabama...and DIDN'T GO TO A BOWL. //// Five MAC teams are in bowl games this year: FAMOUS IDAHO-- Buffalo //// BEEF O'BRADY-- Ohio //// LITTLE CAESAR'S-- Bowling Green //// POINSETTIA-- Northern Illinois ///// GO-DADDY-- Ball State. ///// Northern plays Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl, but I would have rather seen them play in the Beff O'Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, against East Carolina, one of my all-time favorite teams. I also would have preferred the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where we played Arkansas State two years ago. Arkansas State is back at the Go-Daddy. //// Oh, Well. --RoadDog

Fifth Time in 7 Years That MAC Titlle Coach Bolts

From the Dec. 13, 2013, Yahoo! Sports, AP "Another MAC coach gets on-the-job training in bowl." //// Interim Bowling Green Coach Adam Scheier was special teams coordinator a week ago. Now, he gets on-the-job training before his team's Little Caesar's Bowl appearance in a few days. That's because the former BG head coach bolted for Wake Forest right after the MAC Championship. //// Said Coach Scheier, "In this conference, success generally leads to opportunity." //// The MAC has always been a stepping stone fort a coach's career, including the famous "Cradle of Coaches" at Miami of Ohio. This is a big reason the conference can't rise to another level. //// When a coach gets a winning program going, he's gone and a rebuilding process has to take place. Has that ever been the case with my NIU. We've had two winning eras going, but lost coaches Mallory and Pettibone to Indiana and Oregon State respectively. It wasn't until Coach Joe Novak came AND STAYED, that we were able to enjoy our current success. //// With the Bowling Green departure, that is five coaches of the winning MAC title game gone in seven years. That would include the 2012 championship winner Doeren from NIU (and even Kent State loser, Hazard). They went to North Carolina State and Purdue respectively. Two years before that, NIU lost the title game and Coach Kill to Minnesota. //// I wish the article had listed the names of all five coaches who left the MAC. ////

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Mayor of North Pole, Alaska Speaks

From the dec. 25, 2011, Parade Magazine "The 365 Days of Christmas" by Joanne Kaufman. //// Doug Isaacson wears a Santa tie year round, but that is a job requirement as the mayor of North Pole, Alaska, where its Christmas year round. Just as it is in Santa Claus, Ind., Christmas, Mich., and Frankenmuth, Mich.. People in these communities keep their Christmas decorations up year round as well. //// When North Pole (pop. 2,117) was settled in the 1940s it was called Davis, but town fathers rechristened it in 1953, hoping to attract a theme park or a toy manufacturer eager to mark tags on toys as "Made in North Pole." //// That didn't happen, but the town has streetlights shaped like candy canes, the world's tallest Santa statue and the holly bough sign on the Mt. McKinley Bank. //// OK, So Now You Know. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Those Scratchy Old Christmas Albums-- Part 1

Forgot where I had put my Christmas albums in my deejay room, but finally found them. As it turns out, I have 19 Christmas albums: SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN--The Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus (1970) // BRIGHTEST STARS OF CHRISTMAS-- JC Penney (1974) // 'TIS THE SEASON-- (1972)// HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1978) // WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS-- The Robert Rheims Choraliers // THE GOLDEN GLOW OF CHRISTMAS-- JC Penney (1972) //THE BEACH BOYS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- (This stereo recording should be played only with a stereo cartridge and needle to avoid damage) // A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS (1982) // JINGLE BELL ROCK-- Bobby Helms. (Also available on 8-track stereo Cartridge) //// A Yo-Ho-Ho and a Stereo Cartridge. --RoadDog

How About That, Jordan Lynch's Great Heisman Finish

From the Dec. 16,2013, SB Nation Hustle Belt "Jordan Lynch Heisman Finish Has Huge Impact On Mid-American Conference, NIU" bu NIUfan 86. For any of you who like and follow the Mid-American Conference, this IS the blog for you. //// "Jameis Winston, of Florida State, ran away with the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. But for those of us who embrace the underdog and favor the little guy (like Georgia Southern defeating Florida or Appalachian Stae beating Michigan), there was a bigger story-- Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois' first Heisman finalist, finished with 40 first place votes and 558 points, behind Winston and A.J. McCarron of Alabama." //// Of course, Lynch's success hopefully will help both NIU and the MAC in recruiting. //// Lynch played high school football at Chicago's powerhouse Mt. Carmel, but just one college program offered him a scholarship, Northern Illinois (thanks to former coach Jerry Kill, a huy who really knows his talent). Lynch was back-up for two years behind Chandler Harnish, also a great qb. //// I remember when Harnish graduated after the 2011 season and Go-Daddy Bowl, we were a bit worried about how well the Lynch fellow could follow Harnish. Turns out we didn't have anything to worry about. //// Of course, now we have to wonder about McIntire and Hale following Lynch. //// Sure Enjoyed Ya, Jordan. Thanks. --RoadDog

Thinking About Starting My Own Christmas Radio Station

On looking through my collection of Christmas music, I have decided that I have enough to start my own one of those all-Christmas music, all the time radio stations that pop up everywhere this time of the year. I think some start even the day after Halloween. //// On my way back from North Carolina Dec. 3rd and 4th, I would listen to my CDs, then search out Christmas Music stations using that handy seek feature on the radio in the Malibu. Usually within a few pushes, I had my station and that happened along the whole way. //// Of course there was the classic country station in Galax, Virginia, and the Americana/roots station in Farmer City, Illinois, which are required listening on my way to and from NC. ///// And, my station wouldn't play the same-old, same-old Top 40 Christman songs like a lot of them do. I can dig considerably deeper. //// I'm estimating that I have about twenty Christmas albums, 20-30 pre-recorded cassettes, 30 CDs and probably another fifty cassettes that I recorded. //// But, wait a minute, I don't have a radio station. Oh well. Wait another minute, this wonderfully decorated house in a subdivision right off US-12 in Wauconda, Illinois, had its own music playing at 107.1 FM to go with their display. Maybe I could get one of those and get someone to put my show on the internet. //// Well, Holly Jolly to You, Anyway. --RoadDog

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My Cousin Graham

I was sad to get a call from my mom on Saturday that my cousin Graham had died in Warsaw, North Carolina, after is long and hard-fought battle with cancer. He had it for around 13 years and there were so many times we all thought he was going to die only to have him rebound and be his old self a few weeks later. Unfortunately, the cancer would always come back and this last time it was becoming apparent that this time he wouldn't rebound. //// I was very glad to get to see him twice when I was in NC over Thanksgiving, the second time, Nov. 30th, he was out of his hospital bed at his house and in the family room watching college football on his big screen TV and cheering on his beloved UNC (even thougn they lost to Duke). This was the Graham I'll remember. His wife Vicki was having trouble with the remote and Graham was there giving her instructions. He was nice enough to let us tune into the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, though. //// Graham was my oldest cousin, some eight years older than me (born in 1943) and Mom regarded him more as a brother than a nephew as they were only 13 years apart. //// I'll Sure Miss Graham.

Cold, But Good Times

FRIDAY, DEC. 13TH: Enjoyed Christmas lights in Wauconda and topped at Main Street Outfitters in Wauconda, Illinlis, and saw Terry and Greg Spizzirri perform for a couple hours. //// SATURDAY, DEC. 14TH: Morning and early afternoon spent preparing for tomorrow's Bears party at the house. In the afternoon we went to the American Legion for their Annual Army-Navy football game party. Enjoyed talking with friends and sure wish Army could have done a better game. I'm more a Navy/Marine fan, but with Navy's dominance over the last eleven years, I wanted Army to win. I tend to always pull for the underdogs. Then, we went to the Captain's Quarters pot luck dinner party. //// SUNDAY, DEC. 15TH: Final preps for Bears party. We figure we had 30 people attend and the Bears, despite some mighty poor play, even were nice enough to win. Everyone was impressed with the new TVs. Afterwards, about ten people stuck around for Name-That-Tune and watched the Packer game (even though some of the ranid Bear fans were pulling for Dallas to win). Last folks left at 8. //// Good Time. --RoadDog

Thanksgiving Trip 2013: Nov. 23rd, Just Hanging Around Columbus, Ohio

Breakfast at Tommy's Diner in Columbus on the National Road across from the Florentine Italian Restaurant where we had the Ohio National Road Association dinner last night. It was packed with Ohio State fans and had a great breakfast. //// Then, we saw the site of the original Wendy's and then Topiary Park where they are recreating Impressionist painter Georges Seuratt's "A Sunday Afternoon On the Isle of La Grand Jotts." This is one impressive (and incomplete) undertaking. //// Next we went to the Ohio Historical Society museum and spent a whole lot of time looking at the Civil War and Lustron Home exhibits. They also had an "Our Miss Brooks" show put on by actors, a man showing how model train folk made trees and a Rosie the Riveter presentation. Lots of great stuff to see and do at that museum. //// Last two stops of the day were to watch the Ohio State game vs. Indiana. Went to Bob's Bar, or "The Cultural Hub of the Midwest" as they bill themselves. The place was packed with OSU fans and quite loud. Also, they had one huge collection of craft beers. Then, back to Route 66 Roadhouse for the last part of teh game. //// A Good Time in Columbus and Nary a Buffalo Wild Wings. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Busy Day Yesterday

DECEMBER 13th. Good old Friday the 13th. //// Well, one thing about having a party, it gets us (and especially me) to cleaning the house and doing things I continually put off. That means dusting and vacuuming the basement, reorganizing my mess (well, stuff) and in this case, hooking up the 55-inch Vizio TV (otherwise I would have put it off for awhile. //// I helped at the American Legion party for the VA Hospital in North Chicago from 11 to 2. Then came home and actually got the TV hooked up and working. Then we drove to Barrington for the wake of one of our friend's mom. She was 83 which made me think of my mom who is also that age. //// On the way back, we stopped at Main Street Outfitters in Wauconda and enjoyed the musical stylings of the Spizzirri's, Terry and Gregg until 10. Watched Eastern Illinois lose to Towson State in the FBC quarterfinal game. Sorry that happened as I really back the local teams. //// Busy, Busy. --RoadDog

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 3

As, I said earlier, the ring wasn't lost because I didn't look for it. I stopped at every place we went to on our way to the beach. No luck. And then I looked all over the house in Goldsboro. Again, no ring. I decided not to tell Liz, just in case it turned up, but that sure wasn't likely by then. //// Left Goldsboro for home on December 3rd. At some point in Virginia, I evidently received a call on the cell phone, but didn't hear it go off because of the music playing too loud. I noticed iI had a message in West Virginia. It was from Mom who said the person cleaning the townhome at the beach had found it!! Wow!! I'm sure glad she found it. Called Mom back and got the details. //// I think I'm not going to wear it anymore until I get it resized to fit my ring finger. //// Must be Doing Something Right. --RoadDog

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sitting Here Looking At All Sorts of TVs

And, they're not plugged in or anything like that. The last few days have been major TV time for me. Earlier this week, with difficulty, I hooked up the new digital HDTV in the corner of the downstairs bar (and it even works). //// Wednesday I spent the day looking at 50-60-inch HDTVs at Wal-Mart, Meijer's, Target and Best Buy in McHenry and finally settled for an E-Series 55-inch Vizio Smart TV at Wal-Mart for $698. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock but could get them next week, but that would be too late for Sunday's Bears party at the house. //// They had two of them at the Huntley Wal-Mart, about 30 miles away, so yesterday, Liz and I drove over there and bought it. It is now sitting in its box in the basement and in a little while I'll try to get it hooked up. //// In the meantime, I have the old 19-inch picture tube set from the corner of the bar, the 25-inch picture tube set and the 25-inch console set sitting right here across from the computer. I am going to turn the area into an old-timey TV watching area to see my old VHS tapes, both ones I recorded and store-bought movies. //// Sure Hope I Get That 55-inch Hooked Up. That Smart TV Is Too Smart For Me. --RoadDog

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 2

OK, I wasn't going to tell Liz about the lost ring unless she brought it up. I was doing alright keeping my hands from view until the coaster incident Tuesday. Man, done in by those great tacos at Antonio's. //// Actually, when I noticed I had lost the ring, I searched Mom's car from top to bottom in case the ring had slipped off there. Not there. When we returned from the beach to Goldsboro, I went to every place we had been and asked if anyone had turned a ring in. That would be the CVS store in Hamstead (newspaper and check gas cap because the Check Engine light had come on after we got gas), the Wendy's and Hess station in Castle Hayne (where we got gas and Frostees), Smithfield BBQ and Chicken (well, far be it for me to pass a BBQ place in NC) and my cousins' home in Warsaw and back in Goldsboro at the house and garage. But, no ring. //// The manager at Smithfield's was quite upset that I might have lost the ring there and even asked for my phone number in case it was turned in. Without thinking, I gave him my home phone number. Dumb move now that I think about it. A real good way to get busted. //// OK, the Ring Was Officially Gone. Should I Tell Liz Or Not? --RoadDog

33 #1 Songs in 1988-- Part 3

15. THE FLAME-- Cheap Trick (2) // 14. HOLD ON TO THE NIGHTS-- Richard Marx (1) // 13. ROLL WITH IT-- Steve Winwood (4) //// MONKEY-- George Michael (2) // 12. SWEET CHILD O' MINE-- Guns N' Roses (2) // 10. DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY-- Bobby McFerrin (2) //// 9. LOVE BITES-- Def Leppard (1) // 8. RED RED WINE-- UB40 (1) // 7. A GROOVY KIND OF LOVE-- Phil Collins (2) // 6. KOKOMO-- Beach Boys (1) //// 5. WILD WILD WEST-- Escape Club (1) // 4. BAD MEDICINE-- Bon Jovi (2) // 3. BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY/FREEBIRD MEDLEY-- Will to Power (1) // 2. LOOK AWAY-- Chicago (2) // 1. EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN-- Poison (2). //// OK, Now I've Got Don' Worry and Kokomo In My Head. Thanks a Lot!!! --RoadDog

33 #1 Songs in 1988-- Part 2

30. THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL-- Michael Jackson (1) // 29. NEED YOU TONIGHT-- INXS (1) // 28. COULD'VE BEEN-- Tiffany (2) // 27. SEASONS CHANGE-- Expose (1) // 26. FATHER FIGURE-- George Michael (2) // 25. NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP-- Rick Astley (2) // 24. MAN IN THE MIRROR-- Michael Jackson (2) // 23. GET OUTTA MY DREAMS, GET INTO MY CAR-- Bill;y Ocean (2) // 22. WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO-- Whitney Houston (2) //// 21. WISHING WELL-- Terrence Trent D'Arby (1) // 20. ANYTHING FOR YOU-- Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine (2) // 19. ONE MORE TRY-- George Michael (3) // 18. TOGETHER FOREVER-- Rick Astley (1) // 17. FOOLISH BEAT-- Debbie Gibson ((1) // 16. DIRTY DIANA-- Michael Jackson (1) //// Definitely a Year For Rick Astley and George Michael. Whatever Happened to Terrence Trent D'Arby? I Really Liked His Sound. --RoadDog

25 Years Ago There Were 33 Different #1 Singles in 1988-- Part 1

From the Nov. 12, 2013 Yahoo! Music "Twenty-five Years Gone-- 33 #1 Hit Singles of 1988" by Rob O'Connor. Always some interesting lists generated by this guy. Of course, he has pictures and more information. I'm just listing them. //// The number 1 spot was held by 33 different songs in the 53 weeks (really, there were 53 weeks on the chart list in 1988) Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" was #1 for the longest time at four weeks. //// In 2013 so far, there have been only 11 #1s with Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" the longest at 12 weeks. Bruno Mars' ""When I Was Your Man" was the only one #1 for just one week. //// How many do you remember? There were a few that I couldn't remember at all. //// 1988 #1 Songs from Jan. to Dec. in order. The number behind it is the number of weeks at #1: 33. FAITH-- George Michael (1) // 32. SO EMOTIONAL-- Whitney Houston (1) // 31. GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU-- George Harrison. //// I Really Liked That george Harrison Song. Always My

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 1

I didn't write about this in the blog for fear that Liz would find out about my lost wedding ring. Back on November 25th, I lost my wedding ring somewhere between Goldsboro and Topsail Beach, North Carolina. I looked all over for it, including the five places we stopped between the two places, but couldn't find it. //// I wasn't in much desire to tell Liz about it, so kept quiet hoping she wouldn't notice when I got back home. She didn't notice. //// However, Tuesday, we were at Antonio's in Spring Grove, Illinois, having tacos when Liz noticed the coasters had ring sizes and mentioned it. I quickly tried to turn the conversation away, but too late. Her next words, "And what happebned to your ring?" //// BUSTED!!! And by a stupid coaster!! All those well-laid plans for naught because of a little piece of cardboard. //// I thanked owner Tony for his assistance when putting those out. //// I then had to tell the story and I'll follow up on that tomorrow. //// Almost Got Away With It. --RoadDog

JSIS (More): Sinking Houses, $34 Million Sunken Treasure, Not So Peachy for Georgia

JSIS-- Just Some Interesting Stuff (More). From the July 23, 2013, USA Today. (Sure wish they hadn't raised the price 100% from $1 to $2, especially with no increase in issue size or coverage. //// 1. SINKING HOUSES-- Eight homes sank and ten others were in danger in a mountaintop subdivision in Lakeport, California. Things got so bad that the U.S. Postal Service refused to make mail deliveries. Found out a leaking county water system had saturated the mountain. Getting that old sinking feeling. //// 2. $34 MILLION SUNKEN TREASURE-- The Odyssey Marine and Exploration reported it had recovered more than 61 tons of silver from the wreck on the SS Gairsoppa off the Irish coast. The ship had been torpedoed by a German U-boat in February 1941 and the haul is estimated to be worth $34 million. I wrote more about this in my World War II blog. Not a Bad Day's Work. //// 3. NOT SO PEACHY IN GEORGIA-- The state, long known as the Peach State may have to rethink its slogan. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reported that the value of the state's blueberry crop passed peaches in 2005 and continues to widen the gap. Blueberries generated $94 million in 2012, more than three times what peaches did. //// Welcome to the Blueberry State. --RoadDog

JSIS: Middle Class, E-Books, Barnes & Noble

JSIS: Just Some Interesting Stuff. I'm not sure when or where I got these bits. //// 1. MIDDLE CLASS-- America's Middle Class in Crisis. Two recessions and a couple stock market crashes have led to high unemployment among this group. Plus, Republican and Tea Party attacks on unions continues. //// 2. E-BOOKS--Amazon says E-Books are outselling paper books. Also, CD Online site is closing. //// 3. BARNES & NOBLE-- For sale after years of declining sales. And, we have already lost Borders. //// Just Some Interesting Stuff. Wondering If Any of These Have Any Connection. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

After Much Effort, I Got That New HDTV Hooked Up

With the state of television moving along as it is today (and the fact that I can't get most cable stations on the old analog TVs anymore), I am forced to join the rest of world and go HD digital TV. //// Not that I didn't want to, as I love big screen TVs, but the old ones were still working and I hate getting rid of something that still works. //// Last month, I bought a 29-inch HDTV for the corner of the Margaritaville bar (it was the largest I could find to fit the spot) and had put off installing it until yesterday as I knew it would be a pain. New technology and I don't get along. Nothing is easy for me. //// Plus, getting the old 19-inch picture tube set down wasn't easy either. It was mighty heavy. After several hours, I was able to get the stations on the new one, but had to detach my VHS recorder/DVD player. //// Today, I go out and buy a 55-60-inch HDTV for the basement as we are having a Bears Football party this Sunday afternoon. //// So Proud of Myself and Watching TV in Style. --RoadDog

Attention Music Fans! Countdown for 1951

'Fessa John Hook has the Beach Music Countdown for the Year 1951 on his www.beachshag.com site right now and for a couple more days. //// I was born midway through that year, so probably wasn't listening to much of it, but I'm getting it now. //// He is playing the Top 40 songs along with a whole lot of honorable mentions so it is a real trip back with such artists as Ivory Joe Hunter, Robins, Roy Brown, Stick McGee, Jesse Belvin, Clovers, Howlin' Wolf, Wynonie Harris, Buddy and Ella Johnson and Joe Liggins. //// The TOP FIVE by themselves are a roadmap to the soon-to-be outgrowth of Jump Blues called rock and roll with: #5 JUST ONE MORE DRONK-- Amos Milburn // #4. LITTLE RED ROOSTER-- Griffin Brothers and Margie Day // #3. BAD BAD WHISKEY-- Amos Milburn // ROCKET 88-- Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats // #1. SIXTY MINUTE MAN-- Billy Ward & His Dominoes. //// If You Want to See Where Rock and Roll Came From, This "Be" the Place. --RoadDog

Top Ten Misused English Words

From the June 6, 2011, Listverse. //// Find out why. //// 10. Refute // 9. Instant // 8. Enormity // 7. Less // 6. Chronic //// 5. Literally // 4. Panacea // Disinterested // Decimate // 1. Ultimate. //// The Enormity of This Ultimate List Is Literally Hard to Refute. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bowling Green Gets Those MAC Championship Blues: The Curse of the Championship

OK, the Bowling Green Falcons beat us badly in the MAC Championship game in Detroit this past Friday, but they fell victim to the MAC Curse. Win, or even lose that game and start looking for a new coach. //// It has been announced that Bowling Green's coach, Dave Clawson, has been hired by Wake Forest of the ACC, just like our head coach in 2012, Dave Doeren, jumped ship to North Carolina State, also of the ACC, after our victory in the MAC Chamionship last year. //// Evidently, not only are bowl games there at the game scouting, but also the Big Guys looking for new coaches. //// Of interest last year, our opponent, Kent State, also lost their head coach to Purdue of the Big Ten (11, 12, 13 or 14). Back in 2010, we lost our coach, Jerry Kill, to Minnesota of the Big Ten (11, 12, 13 or 14) after the MAC Championship game as well. Jerry Kill, however, unlike Doereen, had a proven track record for success, having built Southern Illinois into a power and taking a good program at NIU and making it better. //// Dave Clawson turned programs around at Fordham and Richmond and was named national coach of the year at both of them before going to Bowling Green. He also was seriously considered for the head coach at East Carolina back in 2010. Hopefully, Clawson's duties at Bowling Green are over and he won't be coaching at the Little Caesar Bowl. The MAC needs to put a $2 million clause into contracts where the Big Guys have to pay us that much for every year our head coaches break their contract to go to a Big Guy school. All they have to do is ask one of their rich guy backers for the dough. //// So far, our coach, Rod Carey, is still with NIU. //// That's Life in the Mid-Majors. --RoadDog

Navigating a Buffet

From June 28, 2013, Yahoo! by Shawn Smilie, executive chef of buffet at Aria in Las Vegas. What you should do at one of those buffets: //// ** Scope it out, especially new ones to you. //// ** Don't pile plate too high, take smaller amounts. //// ** As you go back for seconds, your body is digesting round one. //// ** Buffets put the cheaper, more filling foods at the beginning of the line. //// ** The healthier, more expensive foods are at the end. //// ** He hates people who take a whole portion and just take one bite out of it. //// ** Eat what you eat at home. //// Don't eat everything at the dessert buffet. //// Essentially My Ideas As Well. --RoadDog

Monday, December 9, 2013

NIU Poinsettia Bowl Bound and STILL HAS Coach

Last night, we found out that Northern Illinois was going to the Poinsettia Bowl the day after Christmas in San Diego to play Utah State. I know the University of Central Florida has to be thanking Bowling Green for beating us at the MAC Championship game Friday, thus keeping us from and letting them go to the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona, a BCS Bowl. //// But, still, it's a bowl game, something we didn't get in 2003 after a 10-2 season and beating a ranked Alabama team. The last time we played in the Poinsettia Bowl, we were blown out by Texas Christian University so hope we do better this year. No doubt, it will be a tough game. //// We'll be watching for NIU travel packages, but most likely will not go. //// We could have gone to the Beef O-Brady game in St. Petersburg, Florida, one which we would have gone to and if I heard correctly, East Carolina, my second favorite college team, is playing in so that would have been a great game for me. //// It has now been two days since the loss to Bowling Green and, WE STILL HAVE OUR COACH, Rod Carey. We lost our last two coaches within hours after the MAC Championship game. //// Go Huskies!! --RoadDog

We Got Our White Christmas a Bit Early Yesterday

What was to be a smattering of snow in the morning and maybe an inch or two in late afternoon turned out to be an all-day snow with maybe 4-6-inches and lots of slippery driving. We drove up to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes to watch the Packers who pulled off a nice win over the Falcons. //// Roads in Illinois were ok, but we did have to drive behind a tiny Ford Ranger truck on Wilmot Road from Main Street to 173 who was from Texas and obviously very scared. He drove between 25 and 35 mph the whole 50 mph way and it wasn't bad. //// However, that was me once we crossed the border into Wisconsin as their roads had not been plowed or salted. Intersections were a complete joy. No doubt Gov. Walker's idea to save money and punish unions. Almost decided to go back home, but by then we were so close we decided to continue on to Donovan's. Of course, since Green Bay wasn't playing Da Bears, we were in our Packer stuff. //// Don't Let It Snow, Don't Let It Snow!!! --RoadDog

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm Not Forgetting What Day It Is: Pearl Harbor Day, 72 Years Later

All seven of my blogs will have mention of this today as well as one American who died December 7, 1941. I will also have several postings about it in my World War II blog, "Tattooed On Your Soul." //// Not forgetting MANFRED C. ANDERSON of Hancock, Michigan (Upper Peninsula), 18th Bombardment Group, Hickam Field.

Thirty Years Ago: B-Ball Scoring, Secret Santa and Columbia House

Just looking back at my journal for Dec. 5-7, 1983. //// I was keeping score at 7th and 8th grade boys and girls basketball games just about every day after school as I was the official scorer and ran the clock. //// Our superintendent came up with the idea for "White Alerts" when we had the possibility of a snowstorm which we had today. This allowed teachers to leave at the same time students did. //// I got my Secret Santa, Marcy. //// Dec. 7, 1983, we had a fire drill at 2:40 PM and we all had to go out in the cold. Both Magee Middle School girls teams lost to Woodland. //// "When I returned home, I found that my records (albums) had arrived from Columbia House, all 13 of them. I now need to buy 7 more records at around $11 apiece. That will come to $85 for 20 albums, not a bad deal considering most sale records now cost $6.99." Anybody remember Columbia House and BMG (and I think they had another name before becoming BMG) Records? I sure always enjoyed klooking at the ads for these companies and the pamphlets you'd get every month/4 weeks. The only problem was getting the featured album if you forgot to return the letter saying you didn't want it. //// --Collecting Those Albums. --RoadDog

We Didn't Want to Go To Arizona Anyway: NIU Loses MAC Championship and Trip to BCS Fiesta Bowl

Still recovering from the beatdown that Northern Illinois got last night from Bowling Green in the Mid American Conference Championship game. A victory meant that NIU was going to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, in our second straight BCS Bowl game (earlier this year we were at the Orange Bowl). //// If someone finds our defense somewhere between Dekalb and Detroit, please show them the way home as they certainly did not find the field last night. Jordan Lynch played ok, but it was not one of his best efforts, especially with the interceptions. //// We were having discussions about going to the Fiesta Bowl game if the Huskies got there, but neither one of us really wanted to go, both preferring a return to the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile on Jan. 5th and that looks like where we'll be headed, perhaps to play against Arkansas State again. //// But what a great year for NIU football. Ended with a 12-0 regular season record, played in our 4th straight MAC Championship game, beat two Big Ten teams, all that Jordan Lynch for Heisman Award, retirement of Diesel and new mascot Mission and the Chessick Indoor Center dedication and opening. One other REAL GOOD THING, we probably won't have to find a new coach like we did within hours after winning last year's MAC Championship. Not only did we lose our coach to NC State in 2012, but also the team we played, Kent Stae, lost their coach to Purdue. //// Ah, the Trials and Tribulations of College Football. --RoadDog

Friday, December 6, 2013

Just Got In From Christmas Lights and Is It Ever Cold Out There

Inside and trying to get the feeling back in my fingers. It is COLD out there, about 20 degrees and a strong breeze making it worse. It was just like that yesterday so froze as well. That is a major problem around these parrts along the Illinois/Wisconsin border. //// But, I have them all up except for the icycles from the garage eaves and along the front porch. //// Fortunately, I got all of the ones on the gazebo (inside and outside), the deck and sunroom up before I left for Thanksgiving in North Carolina. //// Thawing out for that big game tonight at 7 PM CST on ESPN2 for the MAC Championship. //// Deck the Lights With Frozen Fingers. --RoadDog

Sure Miss My Old Tree

I looked out the kitchen window yesterday after I got back from my Thanksgiving trip to North Carolina and it sure looked strange not to see the big old Bradford pear tree out there on the west end of Frances' Back 40, the flower bed area on the southeast corner of the yard. It was easily 30-foot high and just as wide and had those remarkable white colors in the spring and the golden red as late fall into November, the last trees with color. //// That stormy Sunday we had on November 17th (with all the tornadoes in Illinois) brought it down as well as several big limbs from the Bradford pear tree by the deck. //// While I was gone, I had a friend come by and cut it up and cart part away and the rest he piled out by the wood pile. I'll miss that tree, which I planted as just a little sapling. Now, I have to decide if I want to plant another Bradford pear by the old one or perhaps a sugar maple or perhaps nothing. //// Well, at least I have a new supply of firewood. //// Decisions, Decisions. --RoadDog

Six "Dirty" Jobs... But, Somebody's Got to Do 'Em

From the June 27, 2013, U.S. News & World Report "These Are Six Dirty Jobs, But Somebody Has to Do Them" by Jada A. Graves. //// And, I still miss the printed magazine. //// As they say, there is no such thing as a perfect job, unless you're a sports announcer, I guess. //// 1. Oil Rig worker // 2. Slaughterhouse worker // 3. Crime Scene Cleanup Technician // 4. Dairy farmer-- In case you're wondering: squeezing the teets, animal waste, inseminating heifers. // 5. Plumbers-- Well, human waste and crack exposure. // Gastroenterologist-- Like a plumber, but for the human body dealing with disorders of the digestive system. //// Well, I Choose Retired. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thirty years Ago Today We Be Stylin' With New Zenith 25-inch Color Console TV

Looking back at my journal for 1983 (I've been keeping it since summer 1978 and really wish I had been keeping it back to high school and college days) and saw that today, December 5, 1983, a Monday, Polk Brothers delivered the new 25-inch color TV console. Liz had bought it back on November 29th from Polk Brothers (there's a name for you Chicago folk) for $498, a goodly amount of money back then. I paid for it with deejay earnings and also had bought our first VCR (it's remote was attached by a cord). //// We had been watching a 19-inch color TV before that so had really "arrived" in the world of technology. We gave the old one to Liz's parents. //// Back in 1983, we were in the midst of quite a cold spell (just like we have coming in this year) and I had to keep the set turned off for two hours to warm up as it wasn't delivered until 6:30 PM to let it warm up as it had been in the truck all day. Not easy as I really wanted to watch it. //// AND, we still have that TV. Right now it isn't hooked up to anything as I had to replace it with my mother-in-law's 25-inch color TV as the '83 didn't have the hookup for all the new digital stuff our cable company Mediacom now has. That was just a few months ago. //// The set still works very well except for an occasional very temperamental volume control which goes off and on full sound at any given time. Either you can't hear it or get blasted out. //// Right now, I plan to move it elsewhere in the basement's North Woods area and use it to watch my old VHS tapes, both bought and recorded. //// I will be replacing Frances' 25-inch TV with a 55 or 60-inch HD one in time for our Bear party on Dec. 15th. //// Hey, The '83 Still Works. Why Get Rid Of It? --RoadDog

Thanksgiving Trip 2013-- Part 2: Nov. 22nd The National Road

NOVEMBER 22ND: After leaving the museum, Denny and I backtracked a way into Dayton and had lunch and played NTN at one of the Cadillax Jack's you see so often in the national top twenty. //// Then drove the National Road (US-40) into Springfield, Ohio, and saw the new Madonna of the Trail statue location and then National Roaded it to Columbus where we took the interstate (I-271) north and got rooms at the EconoLodge Motel ($50 a night) then went to Dave Wickline's Route 66 Roadhouse nearby before driving to the Ohio National Road annual dinner and awards meeting at the Florentine Italian restaurant (dating to 1946) on US-40 in downtown Columbus. Qyuite the dedicated group there and they were nice enough to let me get a dinner as well. Lots of Ohio State fans there. Someone said tickets to the OSU game were $100 each and still a sell-out. //// Afterwards, drove down Ohio State's party strip which was just beginning to hop what with the home game tomorrow against Indiana. This strip had to be three miles long, a real lot longer than NIU's Lincoln Highway party strip. Then, back to the Route 66 Roadhouse for drinks and back to the motel. //// --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Just Got Back

Arrived here about five hours ago after a two week trip to NC for Thanksgiving. Over 2,000 miles and lots of history, family and Christmas decorations. Always great to get back home. Typing on this and listening to some Christmas music on a recorded cassette tape. This one is a Little Steven's Underground Garage. --RoadDog

Sorry 'Bout That

Very few postings the last two weeks as I was a a trip to North Carolina and the laptop did not work. Of course, this computer, an XP, will go down in April as whoever owns it is going to pull out of support to make some more money. I really hate those guys. -- Planned Obsolecense, Indeed. And here I Am Stuck With This Piece.... --RoadDog