Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's Over, It's Finally Over...Too Bad

At 4:22 AM, the Drive's 2000 song A to Z rock essentials came to an end with David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust". It started last Friday. Now, that's one great effort by a station.

I listened to it as much as possible and it really bought back some memories. They have a massive pdf file with every song listed that was played. I'd like them to make another list of the songs by each performer and group. I'd have to guess the Beatles had the most, but I'm not going through the list myself to determine it.

I'm setting the alarm for tomorrow at 7 AM so I can hear Bob Stroud's Time Warp back to the songs playing on your radio on July 1, 1967, gads, 40 years ago. Has it really been that long? You can hear it at:

Time Warpin's Back to July 1, 1967. --RoadDog

Asleep At The Wheel--Live in Woodstock, Illinois

"Western Swing Ain't Dead, It's Asleep at the Wheel." That's what it says on the bumper stickers, tee shirts, and brochures. If there is a band anywhere that better represents this genre of music, I'd sure like to know who they are.

Ray Benson's band since 1970 had the packed Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois, rocking and swinging for almost two hours during their show last night. I was in one of probably the worst seats in the place, made even worse by the lady with the "big hair" that sat in front of me, but even then, I had a good view of the center of the stage and stage right.

I hadn't bought my ticket until about two weeks ago, the day of my first encounter with one of those 17 year cicadas. The couple next to me bought just the day before, and that is why we were in the "cheap seats" even though all seats were the same price, $28. If they come back, I will get my tickets right away. First row in the balcony will be my choice.

While waiting to go in, I walked around the beautiful town square and saw a lot of the sites from the film "Groundhog Day" that starred Bill Murray. Most of it was filmed right here in Woodstock which stood in for Punxsutawney, Pa., something that still irks the good folk there.

There is a Stage Left room attached to the Opera House (which was originally Woodstock's City Hall built in the 1890s). They were having an open mike night with some good performers.

The couple next to me were from Woodstock and had lived there for 22 years. She agreed with me that Illinois Route 47 is a nightmare as far as traffic, and they avoid it whenever possible. Fortunately, they know a lot of ways around it. She drives Bull Valley Road every day during the school year since she is a teacher at West McHenry High School. This is one of the most beautiful drives anywhere in Illinois.

Her husband had been an extra during the filming of "Groundhog Day". He said he was behind Andie McDowell in one scene at Gobbler's Knob, and had had to do about twelve takes on one scene by the bed and breakfast.

The show started right at 8PM, as advertised (I always hate it when you have to wait an hour or more for a performer to start their show). Ken Wilkins was the opening act and did a solo show for about 20 minutes. He said he played most Wednesdays at Stage Left and, after hearing him, I plan to see him. He has a great voice and included yodeling.

The Show will be continued.... --RoadDog

Friday, June 29, 2007

Strange 4th of July Weekend Coming Up

This will be a strange one with the actual Fourth falling on Wednesday. Around here, some of the towns are celebrating this weekend, others will be on the Fourth, and still others on the following weekend. I'm figuring on making three of them. I love the entertainment, and then the oohs and ahhs of the pyrotechnics

I kick off tonight with a performance by ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL at Woodstock's historic Opera House, dating back to the late 1800s. It used to be the City Hall. I was late getting my tickets and probably have the worst seat in the house, but all are up close so it shouldn't be that bad. They're one of my favorite bands. As they say on their website "Western Swing Ain't Dead...It's Asleep at the Wheel."

They do what I consider to be the definitive version of "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" which, as you know is MY ROAD. The band formed back in 1970 at Paw Paw, WV, moved to California, and ended up in Austin, TX, at the suggestion of Willie Nelson. Since then, they have won 9 Grammy Awards. There have been over 80 members, but Ray Benson and a couple others are in for the long run. He is the lead guitarists, vocalist, and leader of the group.

Other big hits are "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" and "The Letter that Johnny Walker Read". In 1977, Rolling Stone honored them as Country and Western Band of the Year. They're heavily influenced by the music of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys who are the originators of Western Swing. To my way of thinking, Asleep at the Wheel is the best thing to listen to while cruising down this nation's great two lane roads.


Saturday, it's a short drive up to Twin Lakes for their annual Libertyfest. There will be a parade at noon, which means a stop at Main Street Tap before and after where we will meet lots of friends. Then some NTN at Donovan's. That evening, the Caribbean Castaways play at Lance Park and the the Aquanuts will have their ski show. Of course, then there's the fireworks.

Sunday, we will check out some of the bands and entertainment around the Chain of Lakes. Captain's Quarters is definitely a stop with a favorite band, The Rockin' Fenderskirts, playing. They do a sixties set that is hard to beat. During the 50s set, they use an upright bass.


Wednesday, our town will have its celebration on the actual day as it always has. There will be a parade through downtown and then festivities all day at Horse Fair Park (a lot of horseshows take place there). At 2, it will be the Rocking Fenderskirts again. I'll double my fun with them in four days. We might watch the fireworks there, or perhaps back in our front yard, as we usually do.

Our subdivision sits high up on a bluff, one of the highest points around. We get to see fireworks from Johnsburg, McHenry, and Fox Lake from the comfort of home.


Next Saturday the Village of Fox Lake celebrates its 100th anniversary with a parade, festivities, and later, that evening, the fireworks over Mineola Bay. About 5000 boats anchor in the water to watch them as well as parties at almost all the lakefront homes. Mighty good time.

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. Three Fireworks. Practicin' my Oohs and Aahs Now. --RoadOhh

The Drive Continues A to Z-- Part 2: "Two Hangmen"

Let's see how good you are at your classic rock songs. There were seven songs beginning with the word "Midnight". I'll give you a hint, they were by Lou Gramm, Grass Roots, Steely Dan, Rolling Stones, Babys, Allman Brothers, and CCR. (Some of you might be wondering who CCR is and that would be my all-time favorite band, Creedence Clearwater Revival.)

There were also six that began with the word "Mister". They were by ELO, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Styx, Buffalo Springfield, and two by the Byrds. Interesting enough, there was only one with "Mrs." Can you guess it. ELO is Electric Light Orchestra.

Answers will be below.

They're still not finished. It has been a week now, and the Drive, 97.1 FM (also 96.9 FM up to the north where I listen) and at 11:26 AM. they are in the letter "U". "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Wings is playing right now. They started the Us with "U.S. BLues" by the Grateful Dead, the only U.S. song. They have a place where you can see the long, impressive list. Of course, the Us could be transcribed as "Youse" as in "Youse Guys", somehow fitting for Chicago. "Youse guys are in big trouble." Gangsters anyone?

11:35- "Uncle Jon's Band" by Grateful Dead, my favorite Dead song. I really liked Jimmy Buffett's version.

"Come hear Uncle Jon's Band, playing to the tide."

There were four songs beginning with "Two".

Two Hangmen- Mason Proffitt- now this was one of my favorite bands when I went to Northern Illinois in Dekalb. They played there many times. "Now, we're two hangmen, hangin' from a tree. That don't bother me at all."

I liked my country rock bands back then and still do. CCR got me into that genre. Then there was Poco, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Byrds got into it, Buffalo Springfield, and of course, Pure Prairie League. Loved their cowboy mascot. Their "Two Lane Highway" is my theme song when it comes to all things road related.

Two of Us- Beatles
2000 Thousand Light Years from Home- Rolling Stones- from their answer to the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album "Their Satanic Majesties Request". Talk about your psychadelic.
Two Tickets to Paradise- Eddie Money

No one knows for sure how long they will take to finish. I'm guessing sometime Sunday. Of course, they're running the regular days as far as commercials, traffic reports, etc..

Also, don't forget Bob Stroud's Timewarp to July 1, 1967 this Sunday from 7-10 AM, CST. If you're old like myself, it's guaranteed to bring back memories.

The "Midnights":

Midnight Blue- Lou Gramm
Midnight Confessions- Grass Roots- saw them last year at the Springfield Route 66 Festival- they had more hits than most people remember. My personal favorite is "Bella Linda".
Midnight Cruiser- Steely Dan
Midnight Rambler- Rolling Stones- I'll have to put these last two onto my great cruising song compilation.
Midnight Rendezvous- Babys
Midnight Rider- Allman Brothers- this one goes on the compilation as wellas well
Midnight Special- CCR

The "Mr" s:

Mr. Blue Sky- Electric Light Orchestra- How do you beat those harmonies and melodies?
Mr. Bojangles- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band- Great version, but how could you beat Sammy Davis, Jr's, version that would bring tears to your eyes? We were fortunate to get to see him once in Las Vegas at the Sands. We also saw him downtown in Chicago in "Stop the World, I Want to Get Off".
Mr. Roboto- Styx- talk about your robotics. What were the Japanese words?
Mr. Soul- Buffalo Springfield- What a lineup for a group, especially with Stephen Stills and Neil Young.
Mr. Spaceman- Byrds- "Hey, Mr. Spaceman, won't you please take me along for a ride?"
Mr. Tambourine Man- Byrds

The "Mrs." song was Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel.

Sure Gettin' Those Memories off the Drive, and Isn't that a GREAT name for a Radio Station. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 28, 2007

They're Baaaaack.... I Hate Those Japanese Beetles

Two days ago, I noticed the little buggers on a plant in the arboretum. This bug has been a nemesis to me ever since I moved out to Spring Grove. Strangely, I never had a problem with them in Round Lake Beach, only about ten miles away. Yesterday, there were LOTS of them.

I don't mind when bugs eat a little, but these have voracious appetites and eat ALL the time, that is, when they are not procreating. Those two activities are all I've ever seen them do.

Now, I will have to go out on a daily basis for July and August and kill them. I use my fingers mostly and just smash them. When they are mating, they are one on top of the other, so I get two-for-ones then. Many a Japanese beetle has gone to their maker with a smile on its face, if they have a face, that is.

I also sometimes use chemical sprays when they're up high in the trees. I've also used a small bucket of soap water and knock them off the leaves into it where they drown. They are very adept at dropping off the leaves when disturbed, so you ave to be very fast. They're much easier to get when they're mating, or early in the morning.

They are originally from Japan and not very destructive there as their numbers are controlled by natural enemies. They are a serious threat to a number of plants, but especially roses. I have problems with them on one bush that I don't know the name of, purple plums, my one rose, birch trees, and mountain ashes. It is believed that they were introduced to the US in 1916 at a nursery in New Jersey after the larvae entered the US in a bulb shipment.

We are overrun with them in our subdivision, and not just me, but all my neighbors. Some have spent a lot of money on the traps, but I believe they just attract them.

I noticed last year that the numbers were down considerably, probably because of the severe drought we had the year before. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae live underground and it got too hard. So at least that's one good thing about a drought.

You mess with my stuff and I'll get you.

Headin' Out Shortly to Kill Me Some Beetles. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1914- Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was killed by a band of roving Japanese beetles, touching off what became known as the "War to End All Wars", "The Great War", but better known as World War I.

The Drive Continues... The Letter S

The Drive is now on day seven of the essential rock classics, having started on Friday. They're not sure exactly when they'll finish; perhaps tomorrow or this weekend. I have to admit that there have been a few that I don't recognize by name, but do when I hear them.

While I watched "24" on A&E this morning, the Drive played these songs from 7 AM CST to now:

Shine On You Crazy Diamond- Pink Floyd
Shock the Monkey- Peter Gabriel--loved the video for thiis one
Shoo Be Do/Candy-O- Cars
Shooting Star- Bad Company

Shotgun- Jr. Walker & the All Stars- great song from the opening gunblast sound and wailing sax
Should I Stay or Should I Go- Clash- now I've got that tune stuck in my head

Show Me the Way- Peter Frampton- from "Frampton Comes Alive", the album that defined summer of
1977 for me. This album and Willie Nelson's live album always remind me of visiting Liz's cousin Buster in Kansas City that summer. This is where I was introduced to the Poor Man's Bloody Mary, a beer with tomato juice. That sounds bad, but is actually quite good. I will always remember Buster's wife Lana putting tobasco sauce in his instead of tomato juice after he was boasting about how hot he liked his stuff. Did he ever have a reaction to that.

Showdown- ELO
Shower the People- James Taylor

Signs- Five Man Electrical Band- "And the sign said, long-hair freaky people need not apply."
Silly Love Songs- Wings- well, I don't know about this one- rats, it just got stuck in my mind. I sure
hope I don't go the rest of the day humming it. Curse you, Sir Paul!!!
Silver Blue and Gold- Bad Company- not sure if I ever heard this one

Tune In or Miss It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Where Were You on July 1, 1967?

Where were you, and what were you doing back 40 years ago? Some of you were not even alive. I was 16 that summer between my sophomore and junior years and had not even met my wife to be, Liz. We met in the fall of that year when she transferred to Palatine High School from Madonna High in Chicago.

That was the same summer that the family went on a major vacation all the way from Illinois to San Francisco, California, down the coast, to San Diego, to Tijuana, Mexico, and back home via the Grand Canyon and I'm sure good old Route 66, although it didn't mean anything to me at the time; just another road.

If you want to relive those good times by way of the music being played during that Summer of Love and Sgt. Pepper's, you need to tune into Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots Time Warp this Sunday from 7 to 10 AM Central. He will be playing songs that were popular on July 1, 1967 according to the WLS and WCFL charts (these were the two big AM stations all the kids in the Chicagoland area listened to back then).

You can listen to it at

He is doing four three hour shows at the first Sunday of each month to celebrate the 1967 Summer of Love. This is the second one.

Not only does he play the music, but has a lot of incite and comments about what was going on. He even plays old station ids and commercials. Remember, "See the USA in your ______".

I'm sure Mom will not be listening to it. She wasn't in"into" that kind of music.

Going Back to the Days of my Youth, many, many, many years ago. --RoadDog

By the way, the Drive is still playing their 2000 essential rock songs A to Z. At 2 PM, they were doing all songs that began with the letter P.

Rest in Peace, Mike Nolan

I was sorry to hear Monday that a good friend of mine, Mike Nolan, passed away over the weekend at the age of 59 from a heart attack.

He had been in the tavern business for many years, starting with Captain Majors in Round Lake, Illinois, and more recently owning Nolan's on Bluff Lake (on the Chain of Lakes) and just this past year, he owned Kokomo's on Grasslake Road.

He was a friend to all and loved telling stories. It was hard to meet him and not like him; he was just that sort of guy.

I met him while deejaying and actually was the entertainment for his first wedding. I then used to deejay outside on his deck at Nolan's on a regular summer basis. We had lost contact after he sold Nolan's, which has since been torn down along with all the property around it and several McMansions have been built.

About a year ago, I was driving down Grasslake Road and thought I'd stop in check out a new place that had just opened at the old Fringe Benefits, another place I used to deejay at quite often. I walked in, and was shocked to see Mike and we resumed our friendship.

He had gutted the place and rebuilt it like an island oasis in the Caribbean and was doing a great business at the time of his death. The newspaper article in Tuesday's Daily Herald mentioned that the very last song he heard was Kokomo and sung by the nurse on duty. Somehow, that was appropriate.

Yesterday, they had a private service, then opened up Kokomo's for a party, that, from what I heard was well-attended. Cars were parked for great distances up and down Grasslake Road.

"Prop Me Up, Beside the Jukebox When I Die," as the old song goes. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Andy'll Be Sorry to Hear This

We have a brat-eater Down South in Tennessee and his name is Andy. He had never heard of a bratwurst before he came for visits during the summer (and I like to worked the poor little guy to death on the yard out here in Spring Grove). I took him out for them several times and he developed a taste for them, although I can't remember if he likes the VERY necessary condiment called sauerkraut on it.

I like mine with sauerkraut, mustard, and onions, either grilled or raw. Now that is a perfect brat. I'm always amazed how many places I go to that serve brats and DON'T have sauerkraut. That kind of defeats the purpose. It's like having Carolina bbq without coleslaw, hushpuppies, and tea.

Andy especially was impressed with the brats from Sheboygan, Wi. He had a very funny way of saying She-boy-gan brats. Ask him to say it sometime.

He also became quite fond of Johnsonville brats, widely considered the best you can get. He was quite happy when he found they had started selling them in Tennessee grocery stores.

Sad to report, that the founder of Johnsonville Sausage Co., Ralph F. Stayer, died yesterday at age 92. He took a butcher shop that was struggling in 1945 and turned it into a multimillion dollar company. You have to admire a person who sees a need, and through hard work, makes a success of himself.

For more info, see

I'll Have a Brat for Mr. Stayer, What Do You Mean You Don't Have ANY Sauerkraut!!!!! --RoadDog

Dad's Paper turns 160 Years Old

I believe that the Chicago Tribune was Dad's all time favorite newspaper, even with all the places and papers we lived during his time with Quaker Oats (he was transferred often). It was largely this paper that got me to become a paper fanatic. I just love to get my hands on a brand new paper and have the anticipation of what's in it.

This past June 10th marked the 160th anniversary of the first issue, some 400 copies were printed, but none survive. The name tribune is a Roman word for the magistrates who protected the rights of the plebians (regular folks) from the might of the patricians (rich and powerful folks). Although, today, the Tribune is considered to be more of a Republican-leaning paper.

Dad would read the Tribune on the way into work on the Chicago & Northwestern commuter train. Then he would read the Daily News in the evening on his way back to Palatine. He was a newspaper readin' man.

For more info on the Tribune, see my other blog

Still Readin' the Tribune Thanks to Dad. --RoadDog

Monday, June 25, 2007

Classic Rock from A to Z

One of my favorite radio stations in Chicago is The Drive, 96.9 FM and simulcasts at 97.1 up here near Wisconsin. This past weekend they started playing 2000 songs from their vast collection and are going from A to Z.

About 20 minutes ago, they were in the Js. Earlier this afternoon, they were in the "I"s and did 20 songs beginning with "I'm". Then they did 9 beginning with "In". Of course they did the Wicked Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour" and you know they had to play that really sixties song by Iron Butterfly. What was that title, oh yes, "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida". It was the l-o-n-g version with what the dj said was the "Mother of all drum solos."

At this rate, I figure it will take them at least to Friday, or perhaps the weekend to finish. They say even they're not sure how long it will take.

You can see the WHOLE LIST at the website. I just went through the songs beginning with "I'm":

I'm a Believer- Monkees
I'm a Loser- Beatles
I'm a Man- Chicago
I'm a Man- Spencer Davis Group
I'm a Rocker- Bruce Springsteen
I'm Alright- Kenny Loggins- from that hilarious Caddyshack movie
I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide- ZZ Top
I'm Down- Beatles
I'm 18- Alice Cooper
I'm Free- Who
I'm in You- Peter Frampton
I'm Just a Singer (in a Rock and Roll Band)- Moody Blues
I'm Looking Through You- Beatles--ok, let's put the little eyes in those double o's
I'm Losing You- John Lennon
I'm No Angel- Gregg Allman- this song always reminds me of a trip to Las Vegas
I'm Not in Love- 10 CC
(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone- Monkees
I'm on Fire- Bruce Springsteen
I'm So Glad- Cream
I'm Your Captain- GFR

Give them a listen at

Diggin' On That ClassicRock. --RoadDog

THIS DATE IN HISTORY- 1876- a REALLY BAD DAY for Custer and the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn. "Please Mr. Custer, I Don't Want to Go."

Dem Bands on the Chain

Chain of Lakes, that is. Great place to be anytime of the year, but especially during the summer when the boating season is in full swing. I've heard that the Chain of Lakes, which is about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, near the Wisconsin border, is the second busiest boating place in the US, right behind the Intercoastal Waterway.

I do my boating during the week and leave the weekends to the "weekend warriors" as we locals call them. I do go to places by car to enjoy the bands, and we have quite a few really good ones.

Saturday, I went to the American Legion which is on the shore of Nippersink Lake. It has a great old classic sign and is right across historic US Route 12 (which goes from Detroit to the Pacific Ocean at Aberdeen, Washington) from an art deco sevice station dating back to the 30s.

The MICHAEL LESCHER BAND was playing outside under the pavillion and sounding as good as ever. They are the only band I know that incorporates a lot of the Who and Styx in their shows. They were playing for the people on the poker run which, unfortunately, I was unable to do.

Michael Lescher is involved in Fox Lake politics and is a well-known real estate agent specializing in waterfront property. I was sitting with a group of people I just met, and one said she was a waitress for him when he owned the Settle Inn on Eagle Point Road. It was a great place to go back in the 80s when I used to deejay at Eagle Point Park, better known as the Puppet Bar. At one point in the show, he mentioned that he had had a band since 1978.

Unfortunately, it turned quite cool and most of the people left by 9 (they played from 5:30 to 9:30). Even with just a few people, they put on an inspired show.


Where else do you want to be on a fantastic Sunday afternoon than at Captain's. I met Bill, Klaus, and Kora there and sat at a picnic table enjoying Bloody Marys and Mudslides-a Captain specialty. As usual, it was hard to find a seat, even at one of the picnic tables out in the grove. The wait staff sure earn their money; they are nonstop.

I've seen the Only Sons for quite a few years with the exception of two when they didn't play at Captain's. This is probably the best band on the Chain or in the Chicagoland area where they usually play. They also play a wide variety of songs. Some that they played: Me and Julio Down at the Schoolyard, Cecilia, I'm a Believer, Brown-Eyed Girl, Mr. Jones, Footloose, Save the Horse Ride the Cowboy, Keep Your Hands to Yourself, then the owner got up and sang Midnight Train to Georgia and did quite a job on it.

Out on the Chain and Feeling No Pain. 'Fessa Parrot as I go by on the Fun on the Fox Forum.

Jus' Out Having Fun.  --RoaDog

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Don't Mess with Them Squirrels

A week ago, a squirrel went on a rampage in southern Germany and attacked and injured three people before a 72 year-old killed it with his crutch. Think about this the next time you mess around with one of our bushy-tailed friends.

I can spend a lot of time watching and enjoying squirrels. Those twitching tails and frantic motions are hilarious. It's amazing how fast they can climb trees and sometimes they'll be sitting there looking at something (usually the seed in my birdfeeders) and you just know that they are are doing some serious pondering. Often, I make little noises that gives them something else to think about. It's also fun to watch them trying to get somewhere they're not wanted. You've got to be impressed with their determination and ingenuity.

It was a squirrel, or at least they're pretty sure, that chewed into the electrical lines at the historic old Pig Hip Restaurant in Broadwell, Illinois, (just north of Springfield) and that caused a destructive fire that totaled the place. This was a major Route 66 stop, and put Ernie Edwards, "The Old Coot on Route 66" out of business in his museum at the site. They found the charred remains of a squirrel in the ruins.

This past April, while going to visit Andy, Andrea, Jolly Prince Charlie, and AP in White House, TN, I did a cruise across Illinois on US Route 50. I visited Olney, and was able to see one of their famous white squirrels. That was quite a sight. Also saw several who were partially white and gray.

Mt father-in-law Amby had a running vendetta going with the Palatine, IL, squirrels who were as determined to get into his bird feeder as he was to keep them from doing it. Every year, he would be at the hardware stores investing in the latest squirrel-proof offerings. Every year, the squirrels were able to figure out how to overcome the new defense, much to Amby's dismay. He was not nice in describing the 'lil varmints.

Daddy Graham's (our name for Mom's father) cat, Pretty Girl, so-named because he said she was so ugly that she really needed to have something pretty about her, used to be great at going up into the many trees around the house in Goldsboro, NC, and knocking the squirrels out of them.

Julie's tabby cat, Lexi, is very small, and often wanders out behind their home in Richmond Hills, GA, where there are a lot of squirrels scampering about the many trees. They usually think she is one of them and ignore her. Then, one discovers she isn't a squirrel and there is a mad dash for the trees.

Julie has had several "pet "squirrels who would eat out of her hand. One other thing, DON'T go out by those trees in May or June when the deer flies are there. Really nasty little buggers.

Hey, Something's Mighty Squirrelly Around Here!! --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1997- The US Air Force says officially that there is no truth to the rumors that aliens were captured at Roswell, NM. Hhhmmmnnn.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Internet Radio, Webcasts Threatened with Extinction!!!!

I'm sitting right here at the old 'put, bloggin' and listenin' to 'Fessa John Hook doing the Beach Music Top 40 Countdown on his Endless Summer Network. Sadly, come this time next month, I may not have that opportunity. Same goes with the Surf and Billy Smith down in North Myrtle Beach, SC. It all goes dark July 15th if the Copyright Royalty Board has its way and skyrockets the price of playing music over the net to the point that they will all go off the air. And I'm not just talking about Beach Music, I'm talking about ALL radio over the internet.

This would be a shame. And not just for the listeners, but also for many performers and groups who depend on this as a way to get their music out. The big radio station conglomerates have set playlists prepared by research companies. You just can't crack through to them.

Plus, people like me, who like a niche genre, like Beach Music, or zydeco, or Cajun, or reggae, depend on these stations as a way to get our "fix". You're not going to hear it on the big stations.

In case you're wondering, the stations and webcasters do pay royalties to the artists, just not what they'll have to pay under the new arrangement, if it goes through.

However, internet radio is not going down without a fight. They are asking us to contact our US senators and representatives and ask them to cosponsor the Radio Equality Act, S 1363 in the Senate, and HR 2060 in the House of Representatives.

You can go to to get all the information you need, including the telephone numbers of you senators and representattive, and what to say.

Don't Let Them Take Away Our Music. --RoadDog

Instrumentals, NASTY SONG, Red Song by Blue Guy, a Country Song, a Movie Song from June 1962

What were you listening to back in June of 1962. Me...Nothing. I wasn't into music at that time. And...I was alive and old enough to; I just did not listen to music on the radio. That epiphany took place in early 1964, when a group of four lads from Liverpool kind of shook my world. It hasn't been sane since then.

Yesterday, while looking at the True Oldies website I also saw a WLS Chicago Silver Dollar Survey for this week in 1962. Now, this was pre-'64, so I didn't listen to the songs at the time, but have since become acquainted with them, well most of them. They bring back no memories as such.

There were two instrumentals, a NASTY song, a red song by a blue guy, a country song, and a John Wayne/Jimmy Stewart movie song. See if you can figure them out.

1. The Stripper- David Rose- pretty easy to guess which one this one was. Also an instrumental.
2. I Can't Stop Loving You- Ray Charles- Brother Ray can do it all, including crooning a country song. I once read that he told songwriters to just bring him a good song and he would make it a Ray Charles song- meaning great. This is not the country song I mentioned, though.
3. Liberty Valance- Gene Pitney- one of Liz's favorite movies (although this song was not in the movie). She made four trivia games on it at The movie? "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance". Was it John or Jimmy?

4. Palisades Park- Freddy Cannon- as in "Boom Boom"- Hey, I want to go on the merry-go-round, forget the roller coasters, they scare me too much.
5. Roses are Red- Bobby Vinton- he of all those blue songs like "Blue Velvet" actually changed colors.
6. Violetta- Ray Adams- never heard of this one

7. Stranger on the Shore- Mr. Acker Bilk- the second instrumental- one of the great sax songs ever.
8. Cindy's Birthday- Johnny Crawford- one of the original all-time gag songs by the "Rifleman's son".

9. West of the Wall- Toni Fisher- never heard of this one either
10. It Keeps Right On a Hurtin'- Johnny Tillotson- The title should have given this one away. How much more country can you get? Oh yes, "Take This Job and Shove It" or perhaps "Don't Come Home a Drinking with Lovin' on Your Mind" or "My Head Hurts and My Feet Stink" or "Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone." Now, those are some great country titles.

I'm sitting here listening to "Fessa John Hook, the voice of Beach Music, and he just said this is the 20th anniversary of the filming of "Dirty Dancing" at Lake Lure Lodge up in the mountains of NC. I always thought it was in New York. They're having a celebration there and the "Fessa will be there.

Time Warping Back to '62. --RoadDog

Friday, June 22, 2007

Top Songs This Date- 1970

While looking at the True Oldies website, I saw that they had a Silver Dollar Survey from this week in 1970. This was the much anticipated (for me at least) WLS list of top songs in Chicago.


1. The Long & Winding Road- Beatles- too long and too slow
2. My Baby Loves Loving- White Plains- great early 70s AM music by One-Hit Wonders
3. Ride Captain Ride- Blues Image- a favorite- loved the refrain

4. Get Ready- Rare Earth- Can White Guys sing Soul, the answer is Yes!!
5. Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)- Melanie- this song always brings me back to that night after Kent State when I thought Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where I was a freshman, was going to burn down during the riots. I remember hearing the campus station playing this song as the police were approaching the student line outside my dorm. There was yelling and lots of flashing lights.

6. The Love You Save- Jackson 5- gag!
7. Make Me Smile- Chicago- great horn band- originally Chicago Transit Authority. I remember cousin Joe playing the double album the first time I ever heard it. Only, he lived in Mt. Olive, NC, and I was in the Chicago suburbs. You'd think I would have heard it first.
8. Gimme Dat Ding- the Pipkins- really stupid, but try not to sing along with it.

That's Right, That's Right, I'm Sad and Blue, Cause I Can't Do the Boogaloo, So Gimme Dat Ding. --RoadDog

I Got to Meet the "Wild I-Talian"

I drove over to the new Jewel store and found a good-sized group of people meeting a true radio legend, Dick Biondi. He is definitely older, probably in his 70s and still doing radio and live deejaying. That distinctive voice is the same as ever. Without looking at him, but listening to that voice, you could swear you were back in Palatine, IL, in the late 60s early 70s and listening to him on Super CFL.

At one time, he even released his own record called "On Top of My Pizza" to the tune of "On Top of Spaghetti". A woman said she still likes peanut butter on her pizza despite strange looks from her friends. She even still has a copy of that very limited pressing. Dick said he'd had all sorts of toppings on pizzas including cole slaw and cabbage. It has become a running gag.

I asked him if he liked Beach Music and remembered Billy Smith. He spent ten years right down in the cradle of Beach Music, the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach, S.C., after he was fired by WCFL. He quickly mentioned General Johnson and the Tams as great Beach groups. He's sure Billy Smith will deejay like him, until they have to take the mike out of his cold dead hand. I said that Billy Smith had been fired almost as often as he had. Dick said, "No one has been fired as much as me!!"

He confirmed that he had indeed been the first deejay in the US to play a Beatles song "Please, Please Me" back in February of 1963. A representative of Chicago's VeeJay Records had brought in a copy for him to listen to. He was so impressed that he played it right away.

Dick Biondi is, as I said yesterday, back in Chicago again. Now he is the 9 PM to midnight deejay at 94.7 FM, Chicago's True Oldies. They replaced WJMK and I like it even more as True Oldies goes much deeper into the stacks of wax as it were. WJMK just played top ten songs unless Biondi did a "Forgotten Oldies. You can listen to Dick Biondi online, as well as another Chicago radio legend, John Records Landecker.

Still Deejaying After All These Years. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Danimal and The Wild I-Talian in Spring Grove, Il

Yesterday, our new Jewel-Osco store opened in my little old town of Spring Grove. Guess we're not so little anymore. What next, a Walgreen's and Kohls? Population is still around 4000, but we are right in the way of Chicago's outward move, even though we're about 50 miles away. It's coming right up US Highway 12.

In honor of the grand opening, they had the Danimal there signing autographs and saying hi from 6 to 8 PM. Unfortunately, I didn't know about it, and arrived at 9, so missed him. Sigh!!! Now, for some of you NON-BEAR fans, Danimal was the name give to Dan Hampton for his ferocious defensive play. He was one of DABEARS, those swaggering winners of Super Bowl XX!!!

He was born in Oklahoma City in 1957 (OKC, by the way, is on ROUTE 66). He is in the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, and played for DA BEARS from 1979-1990, the glory years.

He played college ball with the Arkansas Razorbacks where he was an All-American his senior year and had 18 qb sacks. He was the Southwest Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1978.

He was drafted by the Bears in the first round and was a key defenseman from 1979 to 1990, going to four Pro Bowls. He set a career record with 82 sacks with the team and helped rank as the defense giving up the fewest rushing TDs, yardage, and total yards during that time.

He did not take part in the "Super Bowl Shuffle" video as he felt it was too cocky.

DICK BIONDI- "The Wild I-Talian"

One of the all-time great disc jockies will be at the Jewel today to meet and greet. He has spent much of his career here in the Chicago area.

He started in Buffalo, NY in the 50s and came to Chicago's 50,000 watt WLS, 890 AM in 1960 where his show was heard over a lot of the US. From 1963 to 1967, he was at KRLA in Los Angeles before returning to Chicago, this time at WLS's arch rival WCFL at 1000 AM. He was there until 1972.

As I remember it, a comment he made on-air got him fired and then he went to WNMB in North Myrtle Beach for a decade. Wonder if he played BEACH MUSIC and knew Billy Smith?

In 1984, he returned to Chicago for his third tour, this time at Oldies Station WJMK, 104.3 FM. That station closed, and today, he is back with the True Oldies Station.

This guy lived through a whole lot of Rock and Roll. He says, "I tell you, I'm never going to stop. I'm not interested in rusting away." He doesn't stop, just gets fired. One source I used to get this info said he was fired 21 times in 32 years. I would have to believe he was rehired quite a few times.

The depth of his knowledge is legendary. He still does live deejay shows as well as in-studio.

There is some discussion as to whether he was the first deejay to play a Beatles record, "Please, Please Me" back in February 1963. Also, Mr. Wheel of Fortune, Pat Sajak, won a contest on the Dick Biondi Show and got to be a guest teen deejay.

He has been inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.

Two of My Favorites. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1786- THE US Constitution was ratified and became the Supreme Law of the Land. Where would we be without it? Happy 221st birthday!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The "NOIVE" of Those Guys!!- Big Oil Strikes Again!!!

Not just happy to be making a killing in profits this summer, Big Oil now appears to be setting it up for very long time. Their announced intentions as well as broken promises should do the trick.

Monday's Northwest Herald, out of Crystal Lake, Illinois, had an article by H. Josef Hebert of AP: "Big oil refines its plans: No expansion could promote his gas prices."

And here I sit in Illinois when I should be out in Fort Morgan, Co, at the Lincoln Highway Conference. I canceled it and my motel reservations because of the ridiculous gas prices. I have also scaled back or dropped more planned vacations this summer.

Hebert said that the government's push for biofuels is causing Big Oil to scale back plans for refinery expansion. "This could keep gas prices high, possibly for years to come." Who'd have figured that if you keep the supply low and demand high, that prices would go up and stay up. I never would have thought that possible. Perhaps Big Oil is onto something?

"Oil industry executives no longer believe that there will be the demand for gasoline over the next decade to warrant the billions of dollars in refinery expansions- as much as 10% increase in new refining capacity..." Well, anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

People are driving less and purchasing vehicles with better mileage. This would cause the demand to drop and gas prices to come down. Big Oil's response will be to keep refinery production low. That way they can keep those huge profits coming in.

Hey, who was it who hasn't built a new refinery in a very long time, not have they increased the output of existing ones?

Mark Cooper of the Consumer Federation of America said, "By creating a situation of extremely tight supply, the oil companies gain control over the price at wholesale level."

Last year, Big Oil told the government that they were going to use the huge profits they were making to expand refining capacity. They are reneging on that promise. It would appear part of the reason is to "get back" at the government for pushing programs that could cut into these huge profits. This would also "get back" at the consumers for doing the right thing and using less gas.

My own thought is that Big Oil has been planning this for a long time. Let' s see, there are more and more cars out on the roads and people are moving farther and farther away from work for more affordable housing. That will create a bigger demand. Now, let's make sure we don't increase our refining capacity to meet that demand. You know, we just might be able to make a buck out of this using the law of supply and demand. And then, we always have that tried and true excuse of the vaunted "Summer Driving Season" to use.

As Good 'Ol Curley of the Three Stooges used to say, "The Noive of Those Guys." --RoadDog

THIS DATE IN HISTORY- While on the subject-- 1977- Oil flow from Alaska's north coast Prudhoe Bay begins as the 800 mile long 48 inch diameter Alaskan pipeline opens. The huge Prudhoe Bay oil field had been discovered in 1968.

Elmer the Cicada Visits the Yard

Yesterday, while working in the yard and avoiding the biggest ant nest I've ever seen, I noticed a fluttering in an area I had just cleared of some Shasta daisies, which are trying to take over the yard.

Upon further inspection, it was one of those Marty Feldman-bulging-red-eyed cicadas.

His wings were messed up. I just had to bring our 'lil visitor inside to show Liz, who was NOT amused. I named him Elmer. I put him back out, but am not sure he'll make it. I was kind of hoping for some new cicadas in 17 years.

They're Coming, They're Coming!!! --RoadCada

My Top Ten Beach Songs

I just finished voting for my picks for the top 40 Beach Songs on The Surf, 94.9 FM out of North Myrtle Beach, SC. I'm sitting here in Illinois, listening to Billy Smith do his Morning Show live. That's really something. Listeners to the station are invited to cast their votes from a list of 60-70 songs.

My Top Ten Picks this week:

1. Highway #9- Tharold Huffman
2. Beach Music and Bar-Be-Que- Clifford Curry
3. Billy's Club Savoy- Out of Towners
4. Creek Don't Rise- Gary Bass
5. Eat Mo Grits- Coppertones
6. Drink Up- Big Time Party Band
7. Heartbreaker- Butch Hargett Project
8. Shag Beach Party- Clifford Curry
9. If There's a Tear- Craig Woolard Band
10. Carolina Beach Motion- Summerdaze

Keep on Beachin' Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadBeach

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Up Close and Personal with the Cicadas

Yesterday, I drove over to Woodstock to visit with my mother-in-law, Frances, and along the way, FINALLY encountered those hard-to-find cicadas in vast numbers.

I turned off Illinois Highway 120 at the second Wonder Lake traffic light and took a side road through a heavily treed area through the Village of Bull Valley. It used to be that we avoided it as I would classify it as a non-road, where the potholes had potholes. It was that bad. It has recently been repaved and a smooth ride except for a short 200 feet stretch where it is the same as it was. The local township road commission has a sign up saying that you're leaving their road when you hit the bad part. Must have been some sort of an intergovermental situation.

Anyway, once past the car-jarring stretch, I encountered cicada paradise. They were everywhere, flying about, on the road itself, and the sound was practically deafening. They are in their last few weeks of life, and it is time to mate. They are frantic.

They fly rather slowly with wings moving rapidly to keep those chunky bodies moving. I had plenty cicada momentos on the windshield and car grill as they didn't get out of the way in time. I stopped at one place and found a dead one and took it with me. This is one ugly bug, let me tell you. Even though they aren't exactly fast, they are still hard to catch by hand. I came up empty in my efforts.

For some reason, they liked to sit on the pavement and at times, as I approached, as many as a hundred would rise in unison, many to do kamikazes onto the car.

On the way back from Woodstock, I drove the same road. I had the windows open when suddenly something came in through the rider's side, hit the seatback, and ended up down the back of my shirt. Scared me a bit. I reached back, and pulled out a cicada. I thought it was dead, but after a minute, I saw one of its feet moving. For some reason, it had been stunned. George, as I named him, had messed up his (her?) wings, but seemed to enjoy crawling on my arm and falling off. Unfortunately, poor George/Georgene later died because of his/her injuries.

Most people out in our area northwest of Chicago still haven't seen a cicada. I took George and the other one into the Legion and showed them around to great interest. When I told Chopper how I had come by George, he joked that George must have been trying to mate with me. I replied that that would be ONE VERY UGLY BUG.

I Have Seen the Cicadas. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1856- The First Republican National Convention held in Philadelphia nominated frontier hero, John C. Fremont as their presidential candidate. The GOP had only started in Ripon, Wi., two years earlier. I figure some of my mostly-Republican family would find this of interest. We all know who they nominate in 1860.

On Docket for This Week

I need to get some boating in as the weather will be perfect. Also, I hope to continue the yardwork and finish off the Shasta daisies. I hope not to have as many of them next year.

Friday and Saturday the American Legion is hosting a Poker Run, where we will visit seven places on the Chain and get our cards stamped. On Saturday, on the Legion grounds overlooking Nippersink Lake, we will draw cards according to how many places we visited. Hopefully we'll get good "hands" and win "valuable" prizes and cash. One of my favorite local groups, The Michael Lescher Band, will be playing from 5:30 to 9:30.

Then, Sunday afternoon, it's The Only Sons playing at Captain's Quarters.

Nothing like being out on the Chain of Lakes on a sunny day and enjoying a live band!!!

Out On the Chain and Feeling No Pain. --RoadDog

Monday, June 18, 2007

More Mama Robins, Gigantoraptors, Mallards, and Cicadas

While working out in the part of the yard I call Frances' Back 40, after her suggestion, I had a run-in with another Mama Robin. I'm really getting tired of these Mamas. If they want to have a nest in my yard, that's fine with me. However, I could really do without the commotion and fuss when I get too close to all those wide-open young mouths, er, beaks.

This one flies up into the maple tree, squawks loudly, and ruffles her feathers. Sometimes, she does the injured ground walk. When I have the hose, I try to cool her off.

I see where scientists have discovered a huge bird like dinosaur in China's Gobi Desert. I'm sure the Mama Robins would like to bring back their long-gone ancestor to do me off. The ingrates.

Last Wednesday, I had a pair of mallard ducks floating around in my little pond (about 5 by 3 feet). When they saw me, they indignantly got out, shook their tailfeathers, and waddled off.

Also, this past week, while working in the yard, I heard something off in the distance which sounded like someone screaming, or, sometimes, crying. I have decided that it must be the cicada sound I've heard so much about.

A five-year-old boy in a Chicago suburb found a cicada with white eyes (they are really bright red), a one in a million chance. He says he is going to keep it until it dies, then let it go. I'm sure the cicada will be happy to learn that.

Trying to Live with Those Mama Robins. --RoadDog

Woodstock Music Fest-Brent Hoodenpyle, Play Doctors

No, not that one, this one was a tad smaller and this past weekend in Woodstock, Illinois, and not in New York in 1969. I digress a bit here, but back in 1969, when I heard of Woodstock and all the bands that were going to be there, including my favorite CCR (Creedance Clearwater Revival), I decided to go. I thought it was in Woodstock, Il, and drove up there looking for it. I didn't find it. Even the logo of this event evoked memories of the one back in 1969.

This was the third annual festival and billed itself as being held on the beautiful square, but this wasn't actually truth in advertising, as it was held in the parking lot next to the 1920s movie theater with that great marque outside. This was featured in the movie "Groundhog Day" when Bill Murray did his Clint Eastwood thing and pulled up in front of it in the Rolls-Royce.

Saturday was day two of the fest.

I was in town visiting with my mother-in-law, Frances, who has an assisted living place with three windows overlooking the square. I heard music while leaving and walked over to it. There weren't many people there at first, but by the time I left, the place was packed so fully, it was difficult to get out.

The first act I saw was Brent Hoodenpyle and the Loners. They would best fit the alternative country genre. If you came wanting to hear "I Love This Bar" or other big songs, you weren't going to be too happy. They played mostly their own originals. When they'd play a song from a big act, like Johnny Cash and Roger Miller, it wasn't one that you'd ever heard before.

Some of the songs were cry-in-your-beer, others historical, and some outright rockers. Brent lists influences such as Steve Earle, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, and Graham Parsons.

I really enjoyed the too-short, 45 minute set and intended to buy a CD from him, but didn't see him afterwards.

All acts were on the same stage, so while the next one was setting up, we avoided the awkward wait between acts when an individual performer, Brian Watson I believe, got up and played solo. He had some sort of a machine where he would play some chords and it would repeat on a loop. He was quite good.

Next up were the Play Doctors which consisted of five girls and a drummer. This was high-octane party music from a group, who, if high and tight clothing got you money, they all be rich. Most had white nursing-type uniforms with red crosses on them.

The crowd was bigger now and the girls really got them going at first with hard rock and later quite a bit of disco. They started with: We're Not Gonna Take It, Rock and Roll All Night, Hit Me with Your Best Shot, Shook Me All Night Long, then to Lady Marmalade and Boogie Oogie, Oogie.


I've seen this band before. Actually I've never seen a band I didn't like at Captain's. These four guys were great, even though starting two hours late because of a truck breakdown (fortunately I arrived just as they played their first song).

This group plays a wide variety of music. During one stretch, they played "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye, "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon, "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, and "Sweet Home Chicago".

Always great music at Captain's and this coming Sunday, The Only Sons.


I did miss two bands I would have liked to see this past weekend. Friday, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas were at the Music Fest in Woodstock. I've been a big fan of Zydeco, Cajun, and New Orleans music in general ever since seeing the movie "Big Easy". That soundtrack really blew me away. Nathan Williams grew up in southern Louisiana where this music originated. For those of you who don't know what zydeco is, I'd call it a mix between Cajun music and Rock and Roll, with an accordion and rub board thrown in for good measure. I regard this as the ultimate party music. You can always tell where a zydeco band is playing, just look for where the people are jumping up and down, and you've found it.

Yesterday, I didn't make it out to "A Mile from Reality". That would be the Chain of Lakes' institution better known as Blarney Island. The only way you can get there is by boat. They were having Key West Fest and Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24 were performing along with their 1938 outboard Johnson engine that today mixes up huge batches of that island treat called Margaritas.

We saw them last year and it was a great show. Imagine Jimmy Buffett and you'll know what the music was like. A great show from a band that doesn't take themselves too seriously. Pretty much everything is nautical-flavored. They actually have home base down in the Keys and a lot of their songs are about places along that 100 mile stretch of good-times.

By the way, while at Woodstock Music Fest, I saw some great flyers for a concert to be held out at Galt Airport in nearby Wonder Lake on July 21st and featuring those Summer of Love and Hippiedom stalwarts Iron Butterfly and Canned Heat. The flyer would have fit right in at Haight-Asbury on this 40th anniversary of that special summer.

Anybody remember In-a-Gadda-da-Vida? Or how about that seven minute drum solo?

Still Partyin' After All These Years. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1942- Paul McCartney was born. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Perfect Day

In one of my favorite movies, "Groundhog Day", Bill Murray, when he became aware that he was stuck on February 2nd in cold Punxsutawny, Pa (actually Woodstock, Il), lamented that if he had to be stuck on a day, why couldn't it be that time he met the beautiful girl on a Caribbean island and had drinks and partied all day and night.

Well, boys and girls, I have to say that I had a day that would have to be classified as perfect. Now, I have many ways to have a great day, but this was definitely one.

I woke up at 6:30 AM and put on a pot of coffee while enjoying the deck (which I refer to as "OD", On Deck). The sky was a deep blue and the temp was in the 70s. I listened to Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots show on the Drive, 96.9 FM, something I like to do every Sunday from 7 to 10 AM. Today he featured a Roots Salute to Paul McCartney who is turning 65 tomorrow-- 65--EGADS!!! Are we really getting that old? Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is also turning 65 this week. Like Garth Brooks ably said in his song, "Much Too Young to Be This Damn Old." He played 24 Beatles songs on which Sir Paul was the only composer.

I drank coffee, wrote in the journal, and listened to the birds.

I then watered the backyard as we haven't had much rain in the last week and a half. I have been doing a lot of planting and have to keep those little darlings living. I then planted 12 snapdragons, 12 red salvia, 2 gladidoras, a Russian sage, about 20 mum transplants, one other plant I don't know as well as a groundcover that I don't know.

I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I took a short "Bob" nap out in the gazebo, where I enjoyed the breeze and the shade.

I then went over to Captain's Quarters on Fox Lake and enjoyed talking with friends while listening to an excellent band, the Rhythm Kings.

Came home and am on this right now before I put in a Tombstone frozen pizza into the pizza oven (once you make one in a pizza oven like they have at bars, you'll never want another oven one-they're perfect) and then I plan on going out to "The Grand Strand" and burning some wood as it gets dark. I'll listen to my new "Big Dog Daddy" album by Toby Keith. This is a good one!!!

Sitting OD, drinking coffee, listening to music, working in the yard, enjoying the gazebo, a band at a favorite watering hole, these blogs (which I do enjoy), pizza. and a fire on the Strand. Now, that's a GOOD DAY.

Coca, Chrissy, Rusty, Frank, and ALL THOSE DOGS of Julie and family, have great days. So does old RoadDog.

Every Dog has His Day. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1885- Our largest immigrant-ever, The Statue of Liberty, arrives as a gift from France.

Chicken Vols Scared of NIU

My nephew Andy, Mr. All-Things Tennessee Vols, e-mailed me the other day to say that Tennessee was no longer on Northern's schedule for this fall. We had planned a family get-together this September to cheer for out respective teams since he graduated from that little southern school, and I am a proud alumnus of Northern Illinois University, the mighty Huskies. I checked Northern's 2007 football schedule and he was right.

You should see his "Orange" room with wall-to-wall Tennessee Volunteer. I was surprised when he got a dog, then another dog, and both were dachshunds and not huntin' dogs. Liz and I take credit for getting him interested in UT as we stopped there after we picked him up and were on our way to Dad's retirement celebration at The Grove Inn in Asheville, NC.

Now, we have been doing very well the last seven years, and no doubt, that became an issue there in Knoxville. A big fear of losing to a poor boys' team from Dekalb just wouldn't set well with those rich alumni. We replaced UT with a better team, the University of Wisconsin; a team not afraid to lose to NIU.

Not Afraid to Say This as Andy Doesn't Check This Blog. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Now That's Impressive!- A Naval Retirement

Yesterday, I attended a friend's retirement from 23 years in the US Navy. My friend, Larry, retired as a Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate (Surface Warfare) and it was held at the Fox Lake American Legion Post 703.

Now, this was one impressive ceremony. Every naval person was in dress uniform and there were quite a few. We had a lot of speakers recounting his career and service. His wife Carrie received awards for being a Navy wife and getting through the times of extended deployment. That was a good idea, as a married Navy man is just as good as his wife is. Now, that might be a husband as there were quite a few women sailors there.

I was impressed with the Shadow Box Tradition, where one in the shape of a ship's wheel was presented and had momentos of every service station and ship he served on. The tradition goes back to the British Navy where it was considered bad luck for a sailor, on his final departure from the ship, to have his shadow hit the pier before he left the ship. In order to prevent this, his shipmates would construct a box of the finest timber and place within it all things that reflected his accomplishments. In this way, he could safely leave the ship.

The Olde Glory Ceremony was something else. While a person read the story, about ten naval personnel slowly and officiously passed a folded flag down the line, each one saluting and placing the flag by their heart before slowly turning to the next in line and repeating the process until it got to Larry. Some of it went: "I am the flag of the United States of America. My name is Old Glory. I fly atop the world's tallest buildings. I stand watch in America's halls of justice. I stand guard with the greatest military power in the world."

Then it went through a list of battles it was at: "I have fought every battle of every war for more than 200 years: Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Tarawa, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and a score of places long forgotten by all but those who were with me."

Then there was "The Watch" ceremony, where the creed was read and then the other military people stood, saluted, and individually declared that they would be taking over the watch for Larry. Some of that went: "For over 23 years, this Senior Chief has stood the watch...and yes, even before some of us were born. In those days when the storm clouds of war were seen brewing on the horizons...this Senior Chief stood the watch. Many times he would cast an eye to the shore and see his family standing there, needing his guidance and help, needing that hand to hold during those times, but he stood the watch..."

At the end, Larry was piped off, past a line of Navy people. That pipe is haunting.

Larry was raised in Round Lake and enlisted in the Navy in 1984. I never had him in class, however. He was out of the Navy a short time, but reenlisted and participated in Operation Desert Storm. He has been involved in recruiting and a teacher at Great Lakes in North Chicago. He was also involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This, as I said, was an impressive ceremony, a far cry from what my school district did after my 33 years of service where I got a breakfast and a small clock.

My cousin Graham was a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War.

Very Proud of ALL of our Servicemen and women. --RoadDog

My Key West Encounter with a Palmetto Bug

While thinking about the cicada, I remembered my encounter with another big ol' bug down in Key West. We were just off Duvall Street near Mallory Square, and I was walking ahead of the group and under some trees.

Suddenly, I became aware of a presence on my back, even more so when it started scampering around. Now this was a good-sized insect, my friends said about four inches long. And I can tell you, its feet dug in like velcro as it moved from one area to another.

Not knowing what was on my back, and not being able to see it, I was more than a little concerned. All I could hear from behind me was uproarious laughter and loud guffaws. They later said that I had probably invented at least three new dances in my efforts to get it off.

It finally dropped off, whether by my efforts or its own, I'll never know. To say the least, my encounter was a large part of the conversation the rest of the night. I was NOT much amused, but figure I would have been laughing as well.  Later, I was told it was a palmetto bug.

I should mention that yesterday, I heard a new sound out by the arboretum in my yard. It definitely wasn't a bird (and definitely not a robin as I know that sound too well after good old mama robin and her nest). Perhaps it is a cicada. Who knows, seventeen years from now I might just have some of the critters.

Help, a Palmetto Bug's Fallen on Me, and I can't Get Him Off!!! --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1884- the world's first roller coaster opened at New York's Coney Island. They were originally called a switchback railway and was created by LaMarcus Thompson.


Friday, June 15, 2007

I Get to Meet a Cicada!!!

Much has been made about this "invasion" of the 17 year cicadas here in the Chicago area. There really hasn't been much to it as far as I'm concerned. If they're here, I'm not seeing them.

I did see one meeting its demise in the beak of a sparrow a few weeks ago (see earlier posting). There are very few in Chicago and it seems that the close-in suburbs like Highland Park and Lake Forest have huge numbers. I know of none here in Spring Grove.

I wouldn't expect any here at the house, as it was built in 1992 and cicadas don't do well where the soil has been disturbed. Plus, back in 1900, our house was in some farmer's field. (Our subdivision, Orchard Bluff Estates, also had a treed area and apple orchard).

Yesterday, after visiting with Liz's mom Frances in Woodstock (right on the historic square), I got to see one up close and personal. I'd just gone to the 1890s Opera House (formerly City Hall) to buy a ticket to the upcoming Asleep at the Wheel show later this month. This is one of my favorite groups who do my absolute favorite version of "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". I have most of their albums (for you younger folks, that would be CDs). They play a lot of the Western Swing music as popularized by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys in the 40s.

On the way back, I saw a younger couple, probably about 18), and the guy was busily stomping something in the grass. I asked him if it was a cicada and he said yes. It had flown onto him and scared him. That cicada will scare no more people. I told him that was too bad, as I really wanted to see a cicada and hadn't seen one up close. By the way, the Woodstock Square dates from the 1850s, so there are some very old trees in it.

He said there was another one on the other side of the tree. I looked and there was!!! I picked it up and looked into those red bulging Marty Feldman (I'm watching "Young Frankenstein" right now; for the first time-ever) eyes. One of its wings was partly gone, so it couldn't fly away, but it did make quite a buzzing sound. This is one ugly insect and thankfully, they don't bite.

I have seen people putting netting on newly planted trees (which can be damaged by them). Plus, Walgreens is selling "I Survived the 17 year cicadas" teeshirts. Bob, you will be happy to know I didn't buy one. Why should I, I haven't really seen enough to make it true?

On the way home from Woodstock, I took one of the most beautiful drives anywhere I've ever seen, down Bull Valley Road, which is canopy for much of the way. At one point, I pulled over and turned down the sound on my new Toby Keith "Big Dog Daddy" album (CD for you younger folk) and had a listen. Supposedly, the male cicadas put out a big sound, akin to standing within 100 yards of a jet takeoff, while trying to attract a mate. I could hear something off in the distance, but don't know if it was the Sound of the Cicada.

Fly to Me, Fly to Me, You Ugly Cicadas. --RoadDog

Every Bloomin' Thing

One thing I strive for is to have a blast of color at all times, primarily by using perennials. Starting in March and going through to October, it is just one bloomin' thing after another.

Right now, the Shasta daisies are fast fading, and becoming quite a job to remove. Some I cut, others I dig up and toss. Every year, I try to greatly reduce the numbers, but they just keep coming back. I know some friends who won't take them, claiming that they're essentially weeds. Weed or not, that blast of white is something to behold.

Right now, the yard has gone from a blast of white to a blast of yellow. The marguerittes (a type of yellow daisy) and coreopsis (tickweed) are in full bloom. In addition, I have Missouri primrose and another beautiful, but very invasive plant, with masses of yellow flowers on 16 to 20 inch stalks blooming.

White is still represented as well. Some of the Shastas are still in bloom, plus the wild daisies. I also have large numbers of regular daisies in tall, medium, and small sizes that are just coming into bloom. There is also another white perennial blooming, but I don't know what it is called.

I often go into nurseries to look for plants and find out the names of some I have forgotten. It's either old age or I have TOO many plants. Probably a combination of both.

Blue/ purple is represented by Jacob's ladder and some beautiful blue flowering plant about 18 inches tall. I intend to divide these when they're spent.

In addition, the ten clematis are blooming. The larger columbines (about 20) are still showing their multi-hued colors. Most of the mid-size ones (about 60 are history). The gladidoras are brilliant and peonies are still going as well. My one rose plant, a pink one, is ablaze. I don't much like anything with thorns.

Some of the daylillies are blooming and the Asiatic lillies are budding out big time.

A Sight to See Wherever I Look. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1215- The Magna Carta was sealed. It is considered to be a cornerstone of democracy although it was just a bunch of rich nobles protecting their own interests after King John really started taxing them. It did put limits on the monarch's power and led to the Great Council, which morphed into Parliament, which became Congress in the US. Like the man says, never underestimate the power of angry rich folk.

I was lucky enough to get to see one of five copies of this document that was made in 1215 at an impressive English cathedral last summer.

--Thanks Mom.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day After Party on Fox Lake

Kelly and Kevin have been friends of ours for a about 13 years now, ever since I met them while they were special ed aides at Magee Middle School, where I taught from 1973 to 2006. They got their social work and special ed degrees and Kelly teaches in Antioch and Kevin is a social worker in Waukegan.

About six years ago, they bought a place right on Mineola Bay which is a part of Fox Lake. They now have two major parties each year: an End-of-the-Year school party (keeping our old tradition) in June and the Fourth of July fireworks celebration on the water. I really like going to these, talking with their friends, great food, and cooling drinks. Hey, Life is Good!!!

We traditionally have a Day After Party to finish the leftovers. Sometimes there's a Day After Party II and even, on occasion, Day After Party III. These past two days we had Day After Parties. The weather was perfect. Yesterday, we boated over to it after floating around in the bay for awhile and reading the paper. Now, that is relaxing!!! Generally, there are only six to eight people at these.

We had looked seriously back in 1991 and 1992 at getting a place on the water, but decided to build where we did when it became apparent that we could get a place on the water or the house that we wanted. We couldn't afford both.

Hey, I'm sitting here right now listening to Old Uncle Billy Smith on the Surf. Getting that great Beach Music live from Myrtle Beach, SC. Ain't that sumthin'.

Love Them Day After Parties. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY-- 1777- Congress adopts the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of our young country. That means that today is Flag Day. Go put out your flag right now. I know Mom always has the US flag and NC flag out on that wonderful porch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fergie & Butthead at Antioch Menard's

For the grand opening of the new Menard's in nearby Antioch, Illinois, the store had three race car drivers (I'm originally from NC but do not follow NASCAR at all) and they two of my all-time favorite Chicago sports figures: Fergie Jenkins of the Cubs and Kevin Butler of the Bears.

For those of you who are southern, a Menard's is similar to Lowe's and Home Depot.

FERGIE JENKINS- born in 1943 in Canada. He compiled quite a major league pitching record while playing mostly for the Cubs. He is the 29th winningest pitcher of all time with 284 between 1965 and 1983. He is also the only Canadian ever elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

He led the league in wins twice, complete games 9 times, and won 20 or more six straight seasons 1967-1972. He was also the NL Cy Young Award winner in 1971.

In his first full-year of pitching, he compiled quite a record: 20 wins, 280 strikeouts, and a 2.80 ERA. During his career, he pitched 49 shutouts.

He was one dominating pitcher. I used to really love it when he'd pitch against Bob Gibson of the Cardinals, Juan Marichal of the Giants, or Don Drysdale of the Dodgers. That was some matchup. Whenever the Cubs played the Dodgers, you'd have a Sandy Koufax-Jerome Holtzman leftie battle and then a Fergie Jenkins-Don Drysdale rightie game.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see him Monday.

KEVIN BUTLER- A clubhouse goof off who often wore a headband with "Butt-head" marked on it for the popular MTV show of the time and his first three letters of his last name. This was a guy who knew how to kick the ball, both in college and the pros.

He was born in Savannah, Georgia, where certain members of my family live and attended the University of Georgia, where I also went for a year and again, some relatives have gone, and one is there right now.

From 1981-1984 while a Bulldog, he kicked 77 field goals and 122 extra points. During that time, UGA was 38-8-2, went to two Sugar Bowls, one Cotton Bowl, and one Citrus Bowl. He completed 52.4% of field goals from 50 plus yards out. His longest was a 60 yarder that won the game against Clemson in 1984.

The, he joined my favorite NFL team in time for that magical 1985 season, the Super Bowl Shuffle, and Super Bowl XX. Ah, those were great times to be a Bear fan. In 11 seasons as a Bear, he became the all-time scoring leader, surpassing Walter Payton's record of 750 points with 1,116.

He'll be there tonight from 6 to 8, and I'm hoping to make it out to see him.

Who are Those Guys? --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Fly Me Away"-- O'Hare Airport and Me

Over the years, I have been to O'Hare Airport many times. Sometimes to go somewhere, others to pick some one up or drop them off. It generally is not a pleasant experience, especially when dealing with traffic and lines and a quickly approaching take-off times and there you stand in a LINE with no choice. We live about an hour's drive northwest of it.

My first job out of college in 1973 was to drive business people back and forth from the Sheraton Inn-Walden in Schaumburg, Illinois. They weren't big tippers, I can tell you that--usually nothing. Later, after I got my teaching job, to make some extra dough, I did the same to O'Hare from the Holiday Inn Wheeling/Deerfield for several years.

I still fly out several times a year, mostly to NC, and have been lucky enough to find a bus that goes from nearby McHenry to the airport for $18; it was $16- thanks a lot Big Oil!! If Mom will just find out about the bus from Goldsboro to RDU, we'll have it made.

The other day, while doing an obituary in the other blog for Edward Corboy, who had a large part in the renaming of Chicago's Orchard Depot Airport to O'Hare, I looked up some information on Edward O'Hare and it was very interesting stuff. He was quite the WWII hero, single-handedly shooting down five of nine Japanese bombers intent on sinking the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. I have seen the fighter plane they have recovered from Lake Michigan that they have in honor of "Butch" O'Hare. You can find out more on the June 11th posting at

The reason your luggage checked to O'Hare has ORD on it is for Orchard Airport.

Get Me to the Airport on Time!!! --RoadDog

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Boat Names, the Boys in the Bar Ordered Boat Names"

With a tip of the hat to Jimmy Buffett, the patron saint of all things nautical and fun, whose "Boat Drinks" song I sorta borrowed. I would have to imagine most boaters are Parrotheads to some degree or another. Most to an advanced degree. The Order of the Sleepless Nights and Margaritaville being compass directions.

Some names I've seen around the Chain of Lakes: Second Time First, Never!!!, In-TOXIC-ated (owned a toxic waste company), $7500 OBO, Lots of X, Stelthn, It's Hereditary (family's been boating a long time), Sweet Dreams, Wet Dreams, Liquid Leisure, Nice Package, JSHVNFN (Just Having Fun), SOL (sun and bad luck), Pink Flamingo, Too Cute, Ridin' Dirty, and No Stress.

You can get a whole lot of boat names here:

In 2002, the top ten boat names, in order, were: Liberty, Victory, Aquaholic, Bite Me, Endless Summer, Seahorse, Footloose, Silver Lining, Miss Behaving, and Moondance.

Out on the Chain and Feelin' No Pain. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1979- John Wayne died

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"School's Out...Forever"- What's in a Boat Name?

When a person buys a boat, there's the natural inclination to attach a name to said boat.

We did not name our first boat, but the second one did. We were mulling over names, and I was thinking Banshee or 'Que, or something along those lines. Liz said, "Hey, why don't we call it "School's Out". I immediately knew that she had come up with the perfect name since we were both teachers. If you see us out and about in it, school must be out!!!! We had the name put on it.

We bought our third boat in 2003, and even though we didn't have the name put on it, called it "School's Out II". When we retired last year, we had "School's Out....Forever" put on it. It definitely applies. Thank you very much Alice Cooper for that great song. I guess we could have named it "Another Brick in the Wall" ("Another Brick In the Water" where we put a lot of money) after the Pink Floyd song. "Hey!!! Teachers, Leave Them Kids Alone!" However, I should point out that "Them Kids" is incorrect. Somebody quick, find me a red pen, the MIGHTIEST weapon in a teacher;s arsenal.

I know Vickie and Graham have had a few boats. Perhaps we can learn of some of those names.

Tomorrow, "Boat Names, the Boys in the Bar Ordered Boat Names", sorry about that Jimmy Buffett. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY --1752- Ben goes to fly a kite. Not so smart to do this during a storm, Ben, old Boy.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Orchard Bluff Subdivion Garage Sale

Our subdivision here in Spring Grove is having its annual subdivision-wide garage sale. About 15 homes are participating in it. It runs from Thursday to today.

Each year, we get a lot of lookers going up and down the streets. I drove around as well. Thankfully, I didn't find anything I especially wanted. Now I am retired and have essentially run out of room to put anything else. If I buy something, I should really get rid of something...but, I like what I have. I really should have a garage sale myself, but just can't bear parting with any of my "stuff".

On quite a few years, this garage sale fell on the same weekend we had our end-of-the-year party. That's end-of-the-year for teachers. We would have anywhere from 75 to an many as 130 people along with sale seekers who would think we were having a sale.

A few years back, I went to a house that had four swivel chairs on rollers for $40 and the owner was willing to take less. I didn't buy them. I got home and several hours later realized they would be perfect for my felt poker table in the basement by the North Woods (as I call that part of my basement because of the decor). They were closed when I got back and I never got to buy it. I wish I'd have thought of it at the time, but, oh well.

Drowning in My Own Junk. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1973- Secretariat wins at Belmot and the Triple Crown. That was one FAST horse.

Friday, June 8, 2007

D-oh!! A New Fan of the Simpsons

I'm really pulling for Springfield, Illinois, to get to host the grand opening of the new "Simpsons" movie in July (see other blog).

I did not like, nor would I watch that show until about three years ago. As a teacher, we REALLY had a problem with the kids, my seventh graders in particular, who were so chock full of Bartisms like" "Eat My Shorts", "Cowabunga", and "Don't Have a Cow, man". That just didn't make it in the classroom, and were they ever using it.

However, I have outgrown it, and now watch such shows as "South Park", "American Dad", and "Family Guy", which, I must admit, I like as well. By the way, young kids should not be allowed to watch these shows. Although they are in cartoon form and feature kids, these are definitely adult themed and make the "Simpsons" look like "Father Knows Best" in comparison.

The Simpsons, which just completed its 18th season and 400th episode is actually getting better. I've seen some of the earlier ones and they don't stack up well with the new stuff. Bart hardly ever gets away when he does something bad. Homer, on the other hand, generally does. I also really like the characters on the show. I also get a kick on what Bart is writing on the blackboard and the couch scene at the beginning of each show.

Cowabunga, Dude! --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1965- The State Department announced that US forces would be available for support, the beginning of big-time US involvement in Vitenam.

Not Much Boating This Week

It has been a miserable week for boating; let's just say, there wasn't a lot of decent days, just one day, and even that, on Wednesday, was cut short by rain and a cool breeze. Every day it has been threatening, or in the case of Thursday, way too windy. We had gusts off and on all day of up to 40 mph.

Wednesday morning, it was 45 degrees (37 degrees in Michigan) and 24 hours later, up to 90 degrees. That's some jump. Last night we had tornado warnings and I moved the '85 and Dakota in when we heard there was big-size hail out in nearby Dekalb. I didn't get much sleep last night because of the storm. I don't remember ever seeing so much lightning and hearing so much thunder. At one point, it looked as if there was a strobe light on the ceiling fan.

I have been getting a lot of yardwork done. Yesterday, I intended on working on a retaining wall on the west side of the house, but ended up working on the flower bed area west of the deck. It was overgrown tremendously. I am on the attack against the daisies, which are on the verge of taking over. I really like them, but man, are they ever prolific.

Glad to see that the fans of the CBS show Jericho have raised such a ruckus about the show's cancellation that the network has ordered seven more shows for midseason. It had to do with the famous "Nuts!" quote from WWII. One of my favorite new shows of last year.

Don't you think all this Paris Hilton stuff is a bit ridiculous? I'm tired of hearing about it. You'd think reporters would have something better to do with their time....LIKE INVESTIGATE WHY THE PRICE OF GASOLINE IS SSSSOOOO HIGH!!!!!

Same with that woman who died and all the stink was made about the baby. I had to look it up to see who she was. I had never paid attention to her.

Got to Go Boating, Got to Go Boating. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Hard Times for Sox/ 1967 Sox

I have been a Sox fan since 1965 and have had some great times and bad times with the team. The pinnacle had to be the 2005 World Series Championship, despite an August and September that were just plain HARD.

Currently, times are hard on the team which is mired in a losing streak, 2-8 in the last ten games and a miniscule team batting average. It's not just one or a few guys, it's the whole team, except Jim Thome, who is at .277, but has been hurt a lot of the season.

AJ Pierzynski is second highest with .251, Kornerko .229, Dye .228, Crede .216, and Uribe .215.

The team has dropped below .500 and that is definitely not a good thing in a division with Detroit, Cleveland, and Minnesota.

There was an article in the Chicago Tribune sports section yesterday about this hitting malaise and it compared today's team to the sixties White Sox. This bought back memories when I read the names of some of the players from those years.

It mentioned the light-hitting players such as Ken Berry, Don Buford, Tommy Agee, Tommy McCraw, and Al Weis. Back in the 60s, managers Al Lopez and Eddie Stanky had head groundskeeper Gene Bossard store baseballs in a cold, damp room. This made it more difficult to hit the ball out of the park, which was ok since the Sox relied on singles, the occasional double, sacrifice flies, bunts, walks, and wild pitches to score. The other teams had the guys who could hit it out.

The 1967 White remain my all-time favorite Sox team and had these players on it.

Several old Sox were interviewed. Tommy McCraw said, "Heck, we'd come in, score five runs in a three game series and sweep it. You know, 2-1, 1-0, 2-1, that's it, see you later."

Back then though, the big difference was the great pitching staff and a reliever corps of Hoyt Wilhelm (the great knuckleballer who taught it to Wilber Wood how to throw it), Bob Locker, Eddie Fisher, and Don McMahon.

Pete Ward, interviewed from his Oregon home said that it will just be a matter of time before the big guys start to click. "If a guy's a good hitter, in his mind he believes he's going to be a good hitter forever. He's thinking, 'If I'm at .220, I'm going to get hot here real soon.' "

I went to the Baseball Almanac site (which has more stats and stuff from all teams from all time than I knew could exist) and looked up my all-time favorite Sox team, the 1967 crew that literally blew a trip to the World Series when they lost all five of the final games of the year to the two worst AL teams, the Washington Senators and Kansas City Athletics. All they had to do was win two games, but it wasn't to be. They broke my heart.

Some of those players Tommy Agee (my favorite player then), Ken Berry, Pete Ward, Rocky Colavito, Walt "No Neck" Williams, Smokey Burgess (pinch-hitter supreme but was so slow he had to hit a double to get to first), Bill Skowron (at first I thought the fans were booing him until I learned his nickname was "Moose" and they were yelling "Moose, Moose!"), J.C. Martin, Ron Hansen, Tommy McCraw, Al Weis (who at one time had the highest priced rookie card in baseball cards because he was on the same one with Pete Rose), and Don Buford.

Then there was that great pitching staff: John Buzhardt, Cisco Carlos, Dennis Higgins, Joel Horlen (I remember the Sox blowing a game against the Tigers and a good friend, Neil, rubbing my face in it, then the next day, Horlen pitched a no-hitter!), Tommy John, Bob Locker, Gary Peters, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Wilber Wood.


1967 Salaries

Rocky Colavito- $60,000
Ron Hansen- $30,500
Tommy Agee- $16,500
Wilber Wood- $12,000
Al Weis- $14,500

2006 Salaries (for those guys batting .220s)

Jim Thome- $14,166,000
Paul Kernerko- $12,000,000
Javier Vasquez-pitcher- $12,000,000
Jon Garland-pitcher- $7,000,000
Joe Crede- $2,675,000
Boone Logan- lowest-paid- $327,000

Could it be that they have too much money in their pockets to run down to first?

Thing that Make You Go Hhhmmmnnn. --RoadDog


1942- The Battle of Midway ends. This is considered to be the turning point in the War in the Pacific. After this, the Japanese were on the defensive. They lost four aircraft carriers (several of which had taken part in the attack on Pearl Harbor). The major US loss was the carrier Yorktown.


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

All the Blues You Can Use

The Chicago Blues Festival is this weekend and bills itself as the world's largest blues festival. And, it's FREE!!! Something rare in Chicago where it seems everyone is intent on getting as much money as they can from you, from the outrageous parking costs, to the 10% downtown sales tax.

I am a big fan of the blues. Most Mondays, I tune into Tom Marker's Bluesbreakers Show on WXRT, 93.1 FM, and listen to an hour of new and old blues songs and the information he gives out. At one time, our classical station had a great blues/soul show on after midnight featuring Mr. A. They changed formats and now is The Drive playing classic rock, but I sure do miss Mr. A and would like to know if he is still on the air somewhere.

Like Marker says, Chicago is the World Capital of the Blues. A major destination for tourists are the various blues clubs around the city. Buddy Guy's Legends is probably the best known. They will be moving from the building soon, but relocating elsewhere. Plus we have the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor.

There will be lots of acts at several stages, but some of the "big" names are:

Thursday- Artie "Blues Boy" White, Larry McCray
Friday- Eddie Bo, Elvin Bishop
Saturday- Ronnie Baker Brooks, Siegal-Schwall Blues Band
Sunday- Bobby Blue Bland, Dorothy Moore

I'm considering taking a ride on the Metra train. It drops you off at UnionStation, about ten blocks from Grant Park, where the festival is taking place. Great deals on the weekends, $5 unlimited rides for both days. Plus... Union Station and Grant Park are on ROUTE 66!!!!

This Day in History
1944- D Day

Automotive History
1932- the first federal gas tax, 1 cents a gallon
1933- the first drive in movie theater opens in Camden, NJ

Bluesin' It in Chicago. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Thout I Thaw a Cicada

I did, I did see a cicada last Friday at the Triangle Restaurant in Grayslake. I was having breakfast with Kip and looked out the window. I saw a sparrow chasing a good-sized bug around.

It got closer to the window and I could see that it was a cicada. The sparrow kept grabbing it and vigorously shaking it back and forth. Either it would let it go or it would escape and the whole process would be repeated. Finally, the sparrow managed to get both wings off and the cicada ceased moving. Evidently, sparrows do not like the wings. The sparrow then grabbed it and flew away for a hard-won meal.

I understand the birds are gorging themselves in the older suburbs of Chicago. However, I have yet to see one or hear one out in Spring Grove. I don't expect to see any around here because the subdivision was only started in 1992, and this brood of 17 year cicadas were born in 1990. If you disturb the soil, it kills them. Plus, our house was a farmer's field back in 1990.

Wondering Where the Cicadas Are. --RoadDog

Mom and My Lincoln Highway Cruise

Several years ago, I think 2004, Mom and I drove back to Illinois from Goldsboro, NC, so we could attend the gathering to honor Don Schrickel in Green Bay, Wi. He was a BIG-Time Packer fan and it was held at Brett Favre's Steakhouse. Don worked with Dad at Quaker Oats and the family lived about seven streets over in one of the biggest 1960s subdivisions, Winston Park in Palatine, as built by the Winston-Muss Builders.

We stopped in Mt. Airy, NC, Andy Griffith's hometown and what he based Mayberry on in his popular TV series. She's been there on a bus tour and we stopped at Snappy Lunch, which was mentioned on the show. I had the best porkchop sandwich ever. This place has not changed since the 30s, and the owner grills right at the window so you can see what he's doing. It's only open until 2, and you'd better get there early, as there were probably thirty people waiting for the 30 seats when we left at noon.

Anyway, to get back to the Lincoln Highway, we drove the superslab (roadie term for the interstate) to Canton, Ohio, where we spent the night. I had my first visit to a Faoli's, the poor man's Olive Garden. Great food.

We then got on the Lincoln Highway the next morning and drove through Ohio to Indiana. This is what brings me to why I'm writing about this trip.

The Ada, Ohio, Herald says that ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) is going to put Lincoln Highway markers up along the various alignments. I sure wish they had them up when we went through as we lost the alignment quite often. Fortunately, it usually followed current US Highway 30, but even so. Mom got very good at spotting the unique Lincoln Highway markers that were set out by the Boy Scouts in 1928, after US-30 had replaced LH.

Also, this past weekend, Van Wert, Ohio, had their annual Peony Festival. Evidently, there are a lot of commercial peony operations in the area. They had a parade, vendors, elected a queen, and had a tour of homes featuring the plant. One even had a peony tree dating back to 1917.

Mom and I had an excellent dinner at the 1920s Balyeat's Restaurant in Van Wert, and had a very interesting talk with the waitress who was in her 80s and had been a German war bride, having met and eventually married an American GI, and moving to the US. She had been working at Balyeat's since 1947.

Been Cruisin' the Old Lincoln. --RoadDog

Every Bloomin' THing: Yard's Trying to Do Me In!!!

As I get older, I realize I planted WAY too much. It is not as easy as it used to be as my poor, aching back will attest. I'm too poor to get a yardman like some rich folks I know.

The daisies are, as Dad would say, are "taking over." I must have thrown away several thousand last year, but they just keep coming back. They're beautiful, though, and I intend to always keep them. Right now, I have a blast of white. The wild phlox are mostly gone.

I have been digging up the mums, purple coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans and transplanting them all over the flower beds.

The columbines are in full bloom right now. I must have about 40 of them. The 60 or 70 various hostas are up now as well.

Worth the Hurt, Though --RoadDog

The Old BS'er and Beach Music

A&E did not have "24" on today at 7 AM our time, Central, so I went on the internet. I'm sitting right here at the old 'put, typing away with my two little fingers, and listening to Billy Smith coming at me live on the Surf from Myrtle Beach, SC. I love it when he plays the phone pranks; can't help but chuckle.

He also played a great one I haven't heard in a long time with his 50s pick, "Over the Mountain" by Johnny and Joe.

Aw, it's 8:50 and he's going off the air with his usual "I'm Going, But I'll Be Back" song. I'll just have to listen to Ted Bell now.

The Surf is "The Sound of the Beach" on the Grand strand and the World.

I voted on the Beach Music Top Forty Survey already. Ray Scott plays this countdown every Saturday from 9AM to noon. Top songs for this week are #1 :I Don't Want No Man" by Sea Cruz, and #2 "Emperor of My Baby's Heart" by Paul Craver.

A little bit about Billy Smith:

Billy was born in Marion, SC. As a child, his mother would take the five kids to Myrtle Beach on Sundays after church where he would go to the Pavillion (torn down this last fall) and boardwalk where the sounds emanating from the jukeboxes in the various bars enthralled them with their rhythm & blues records.

He began a regular at the local Marion record store and spent every dime he could get his hands on for R & B and Doo Wop songs, both of which are considered the forerunners of today's Beach Music. More to Come

My dad sure knew someone who also would spend all his money on records, which he largely considered as a waste of money. I wonder who that could be? Any guesses?

I also knew of one certain brother who pretty-well messed up his brother's Beatles collection while that brother was away at college. Now, who could that be? These records were left at home for safety. Didn't quite work out.

Doing the "Street Corner Serenade" by the Embers. --RoadDog

Monday, June 4, 2007

Dad Sure Would Have Been Proud

Dad spent most of his working life with Quaker Oats Company. As a matter of fact, that is how I ended up here in Illinois. He had been transferred to the home office located in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago back when I was about to start 6th grade, and I've been here ever since, except for a year in Georgia.

The May 29th Chicago Tribune (his favorite paper) Business section had an article titled "Quaker fills healthy role for PepsiCo. Unit vital in parent's effort to alter image" by John Schmeltzer.

Most people thought PepsiCo would quickly get rid of Quaker Oats when they bought it seven years ago, which they did mostly to acquire Gatorade. "The Chicago-based maker of oatmeal, breakfast cereals, and pasta is assuming the point position for PepsiCo's drive into the health and wellness food category."

This new role is expected to bring new growth to Quaker, whose biggest product continues to be oatmeal which it invented more than a century ago. Quaker provides only 5% of PepsoCo's revenue, but nearly 9% of its operating profit.

Quaker has evidently moved from the Merchandise Mart as the article goes on to say that there are 2000 employees at the 17-story West Loop office building and that number is up 800 from when the company was purchased. The building is dubbed the QTG Group for Quaker, Tropicana, and Gatorade. Tropicana moved there from Bradenton. Florida two years ago.

This year, more than half the products Quaker is introducing will carry the Smart Spot logo for health. All new products are being developed and tested in the Quaker/Gatorade research center in Barrington, Il.

This is where we got out Siamese cat, Sammie from back in the sixties. They had a lot of animals to test new food products.  Now that cat was quite the character. My scratched hands have finally healed.

Somewhere, Dad Must Be Smiling.  --RoadDog