Thursday, November 29, 2007

It Was a Dismal Season

Northern Illinois' 2007 football season finally came to an end this last Saturday with a loss to Ball State. The Huskies' final record was 2-10.

I had figured this wasn't going to be a great season. Hey, last year wasn't that good either, but we did have a winning season and went to a bowl (even though we were hopelessly outclassed).

I figured we'd lose to Iowa and Wisconsin, and probably to Toledo, since we just can't beat those guys. By the third game, I knew this was going to be a long one.

Our excuse was injuries. I doubt that any other team has ever had as many injuries. We lost 12 players for the entire season and 13 others were out for multiple games.

Plus, Northern lost five games by a combined total of 17 points: 3, 2, 1, 4, and 7. Hey, that would have made us 7-5. There were only two blowouts: Wisconsin 44-3 and the worst of all, Toledo 70-21.

We did have a couple consolation prizes. A Northern rusher again cracked the 1000 yard mark, even though he was not the starter at the beginning of the season. Justin Anderson ran for 1,245 yards in 274 carries and 7 TDs. He made second team MAC (Mid-American Conference).

He follows talented NIU rushers Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner, both of whom are playing in the NFL.

Defensive end Larry English won the MAC Vern Smith Leadership Award as the league's MVP. He led the MAC in sacks with 10.5, and also had 17 tackles for a loss of yardage and 67 overall.

This was our first losing season in 7 seasons, including the great 10-2 season in 2003 when Northern ranked as high as #12. This included wins over then-top 20 teams Maryland and Alabama as well as Iowa State. That was one great year, EVEN though we didn't go to a bowl game (thanks a lot Toledo).

Here's Hoping for a Better One Next Year. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 24, 2007

New TV Show to Watch: Eatin' Down the Road

Yesterday, I watched the "Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives" marathon on the Food Channel. It is hosted by Gary Fieri who is quite a character.

He did one whole show featuring three places along Route 66. We've eaten at all three: Holland Burger in Victorville, Ca, Rock Cafe in Stroud, Ok, and Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs, Ks.

The Rock Cafe's owner was the inspiration for Sally the Porsche on the movie "Cars."

For more on these places:

I will definitely start watching this show. In January or February, he will be doing another show featuring Charlie Parker's, one of our favorite places to eat in Springfield, Illinois.

I don't know if I'd rather cruise down the road, or eat down the road.

Very Jealous of Gary Fieri's Job. Wait, I'm Retired. What Am I Saying? --RoadDog

Hey, Mom, Welcome to the Real Internet

Mom just might get on the internet today, and I'd like to be the first to welcome you. Make sure you thank Bob and Judy for getting that laptop for you, ESPECIALLY after all they went through. Hopefully Annsley and Julie taught you enough about using it to get you started.

No more Web TV for you, or excuses as to why you couldn't get something. Make sure to send along your new e-mail address.

My blogs: this one Civil War the road, history, and preservation.

No More Web-TV for Mom. --RoadDog

How Do You LikeYour Meat?

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune ran an article about how people like their steaks cooked. For a source, they used Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse & Bar in downtown Chicago. They based the numbers on 80,522 steak orders. Of them:

3% Rare
31% Medium-rare
49% Medium
14% Medium-well
3% Well-done

I used to like mine done rare, but as I get older, I prefer Medium-rare.

I have a favorite place around here where I like to get a steak called Freddie's Roadhouse. On Mondays they have a special on a 10 ounce NY strip for $5.99. That's a great deal. Throw in two big scoops of mashed potatoes for 99 cents and an order of mushrooms for 50 cents and you've got a pretty good meal. However, their cooks are notorious for overcooking them, so I order it rare and hope for at least medium.

There is a story that in some parts of the South you can order your steak "Shermanized" which means it is essentially burnt. Some people just don't get over things!!  Some folks can't forget the Civil war, but Sherman and his hordes sure did burn a lot of Georgia back in 1864.

Gettin' Hungry Now for Some Reason. --RoadDog

Black Friday, I Didn't, But Bob Sure Did

Here it is, Saturday, and I am proud to report that I finally lived up to my promise and did not go to any stores yesterday.

However, my brother Bob is either a fool or the best son that a mother could ever wish for. He pulled himself out of a nice warm bed and stood out in the shivering 30 degree weather Friday morning to wait for the Goldsboro, NC, Staples to open. I should also mention that his wife, Judy, did as well. Their purpose, to get a great deal on a laptop for my mom, $700 marked down to $350.

Well, he got it and also got a case of laryngitis. It will probably cost him $350 to cure.

I Am Not a Worthy Dog/Son. --RoadDog

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Ship Hitting an Iceberg in 2007

Strange news today, bringing back thoughts of the ill-fated Titanic. The M/S Explorer hit an iceberg earlier today in the Antarctic Ocean and started sinking.

They were taking in water from a hole the size of a fist. About 150 passengers and crew boarded lifeboats and were picked up with no loss of life, fortunately.

Let's file this under things you wouldn't expect to hear in 2007.

I unsuccessfully tried to look up a list of ships sunk by icebergs. I did find out that in 1875, the schooner Caledonia hit one and sank off Newfoundland. All of the crew survived by climbing onto the iceberg and waiting to be rescued.

When Will They Make a Movie of It? --RoadDog

Love My TV Icons-- Part 2

Continuing with TV Land's Top 100 icons list. I'm picking out the ones I like.

78. Art Carney-- Ed Norton was absolutely hilarious on the "Honeymooners." Who can forget his "Hello...ball" address to the golf ball, the laying out of snacks as he watched Captain Video, and, of course, "poloponies."

77. James Garner-- always reminds me of Dad when I see him with both his sense of understated humor and looks. Plus, "Maverick" and "The Rockford Files" were favorite shows. Even if Angel wasn't on the list.

76. Candice Bergen-- Loved that "Murphy Brown." Who will be her secretary today? Then there was Eldon.

68. Don Cornelius-- "Soul Train" Great place to hear the music and watch the dancing.

67. Tom Selleck-- Another great understated humorist. "Magnum PI"

More to Come. --RoadDog

Well, It's 10:40 AM on Black Friday

It's 10:40 AM, and I have not yet been out to any store. Perhaps I will live up to my promise to myself not to go to the stores today.

But, there's still a lot of time.

As They Say, Time Will Tell. --RoadDog

Black Friday

An article in the Nov. 21st Chicago Tribune "Black Friday turning pale" by Sandra M. Jones

Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year. This year, foot traffic is expected to be 2.5% less than last year. Plus, retail sales for the past two months are disappointing.

Economic pressures like surging gas prices, higher prices in the grocery stores, the fall of home equity will be keeping a lot of people out of the stores.

Stores themselves are not doing themselves a favor as far as Black Friday is concerned. Many have been offering Black Friday promotions for weeks. You can also go online, order, and pick up your purchases. Two stores around here, northeast Illinois, K-Mart and Meijer's were open yesterday. Plus, Value City opened at midnight. Kohl's and JC Penney's had 4 AM openings this morning.

The first time I heard the term Black Friday, I thought it was a term connoting something bad, you know, the stock market fall, or something like that. I didn't know that it marks the day when retailers go from losing money to making a profit.

Let's Hope It's a Good Day for Retailers. --RoadDog

Perhaps the retailers are overdoing it a bit.

Americans Worrying About America-- RoadDog's News and Observation

A recent AP/Yahoo News poll shows that 77% of Americans are worrying about the state of affairs. With all this inflation and surging gas prices, only 30 % approve of the job the president is doing, and that number drops to 19% when it comes to Congress.

As far as political party alliance, 88% of the Democrats think the country is on the wrong track, That number with Republicans is 62%. A huge number oppose the war in Iraq.

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't see that Congress is taking any steps to alleviate or even address the oil problem. And I hold the Democrats to blame for that. I don't expect much help from Republicans on this issue. Democrats hold the majority in both houses. It is time to do something.

Time to Walk the Walk, Not Just Talk the Talk. --RoadDog

On $100 a Barrel Oil-- RoadDog's News and Observation

The Nov. 21st Chicago Tribune had an article about the impending $100-a-barrel oil. It says that investors at the New York Mercantile Exchange are fearful because of the declining value of the dollar, refinery problems, and the Federal Reserve might cut interest rates. Because of this, oil-bidding is just going up.

Crude oil for January delivery climbed to $99.29 a barrel on Tuesday, the day before.

Hey, guys, let's get it over with and hit your milestone today. Get it out of your system. Then rejoin the real world and let the prices come down. This is nothing short of ridiculous. Prices do NOT have to be this high.

Folks here in the US are being hurt badly by this whenever they go to the gas pump or buy groceries. Plus, we have the winter heating season facing us. We need a break.

Haven't you fellas made enough money on this grave situation? Exactly how MUCH do you NEED?

Certainly, you speculators at the NYME, have done enough damage to your fellow Americans and I'm not even going to talk about the aid you're giving our enemies as they rake in these oil profits.

In school, if a child can't play with others in the sandbox, we take them out of that sandbox. Perhaps it would be in everyone's best interest to close the oil futures part of the Mercantile Exchange for awhile until sanity returns.

Paying $3.07 here in Fox Lake, Illinois, now. Last year, I was paying $2.20!!! This is not your much ballyhooed "Summer Driving Season" excuse. It's almost WINTER, for crying out loud.

Come On, Give Us a Break!! --RoadDog

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Think I'll Sit Out Black Friday Tomorrow

For the past six years, I have gotten up early, by 5:30 AM and headed out for the annual battle with the hordes of bargain-hunters like me.

Each year, I swore that I wouldn't do it again, and then, the next day after Thanksgiving, there I'd be, right where I said I wouldn't be. Two things I really hate are crowds and above all else, lines.

Well, this year I'm planning on sleeping in. That is, UNLESS I see any REALLY good deals in today's paper, which I have yet to look at.

Then, there's dumb old me standing in a line and wondering why I did it again.

No Black Friday for Me. --RoadDog

Going to Visit Frances: Oops, My Mistake

In just a little bit, Liz and I will be going over to McHenry to visit Frances, Liz's mother, at the nursing home.

Last Saturday, I was visiting her and while helping to feed her, mentioned to an employee at the home that she was 92 years old after he inquired.

About two minutes later, I was quietly informed in no uncertain terms, that I was not to tell ANYONE how old she was. I didn't even know she was listening to me. She was always one to keep her age secret, but even at this time of her life, she means to keep to it.

Quite a Character, that Frances. --RoadDog

A Perfect Snow

Awoke this morning to an inch, or possibly a little more, of snow on the ground. Just enough for everything to look pristine, even though the grass is still green. Even more important, none of it stuck to the roads driveways, or sidewalks. Anytime it snows and I don't have to shovel or use the snow blower, that's alright with me.

On top of that, we have our first sun in several days. What is that bright stuff?

It is still on my evergreens, which makes for a beautiful sight.

Reckon I'll have to fire up the old snow blower if I can figure out how to mix the oil with the gas. Hopefully, I'll be able to afford the gas. Lousy speculators. I just buy a gallon though, which should get me through the season.

Over the River and Through the Woods. --RoadDog

Happy Thanksgiving

On this 386th anniversary of the "first" one back in Plymouth, New England, I'd like to wish everyone a happy.

Actually, there was a day of thanks in Virginia two years earlier, and who knows if the Lost Colony might ever had had one? The only difference was that the one by Jamestown , at the Bereley Plantation was a religious one, where a group of new-comers knealt in a prayer of thanks.

Also, this must be a great time for the three US towns named after the turkey. The most populous one is good ol' Turkey, Texas, with a bustling population of 429. I wonder if it has a high school. What would its name be: The Turkey Turkeys, The Turkey Gobblers, The Turkey, The Turkey National Birds?

By the way, when the search was on for a national bird, Benjamin Franklin suggested it be the turkey. Glad he didn't get his way on that one even if some of our politicians would appear....

More on Thanksgiving at

Gonna Get My Turkey, How About You? --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Love My TV Icons

This past Friday, TVLand, one of my wife Liz's favorite channels, had a two-hour special featuring TV's Top Fifty Icons. They picked these people as having the greatest impact on TV. They actually had a list of the Top 100. I checked out the bottom fifty and then chose my favorites from the list (by the way, if you go to the TV Land site, you can also make your own Top Fifty). Perhaps I will have to do this. Just off hand, I noticed they didn't include Lorne Greene.

My favorites:

#94 Melissa Gilbert--Half Pint, Laura, on "Little House on the the Prairie." One of my all-time favorite TV shows, even though some of my friends think it is stupid.

#91 Dennis Franz-- Loved him on "NYPD Blue" other than the naked shot of his rear, and "LA Law."

#88 Gavin MacLeod-- Murray on "Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Captain Stubbin on "The Love Boat." Just a regular guy.

#86 Jerry Mathers-- "Leave it to Beaver" back when a kid got into trouble, it wasn't for bringing weapons and guns to school. His buddy Whitey was the real bad guy. I also liked Wally and his parents.  I too shared a room with my  brother while growing up.

#83 Isabel Sanford-- Louisy on "The Jeffersons." Always admired her, and she had to put up with George.

#82 Ted Knight-- Ted on "Mary Tyler Moore Show." Despite his many flaws, you had to like the guy.

More Later. RoadDog

Pigeon Problems-- RoadDog's News and Observation

The November 14th Chicago Tribune had an article about the pigeon problem in US cities. Besides rats and squirrels, and now, apparently some coyotes, pigeons have adapted themselves to living in urban areas better than any other non-domesticated animal. The tall buildings are an excellent substitute for the canyons they inhabit in the wild.

Whenever I go into Chicago, they are everywhere. Some won't even move until you almost step on them.

And, there are a LOT of them, and even more all the time. Many cities are trying to control them, even from removing their eggs, birth control, to using birds of prey to swoop down on them. In Brooklyn, NY, city councilman Simcha Felding has proposed an ordinance that would make it illegal to FEED pigeons and punishable by a $1,000 FINE if you break the law.

This proposal has pigeon-lovers up in arms.

But, what are you going to do. Feeding the pigeons only increases their numbers, but I'm sure they can forage for enough food in the garbage. Of course, the very worst thing they do is leave their droppings all over everything, especially statues, which they consider to be their very own private bathroom.

I remember being in a hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, and right across the road was a statue of Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe and many other Scottish books. The body was black from all those years of early industry, but the head and shoulders was a striking white from you-know-what. Another time, I was in St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. Now, if you want to talk pigeons, this has to be the largest concentration of themin the world. I was surprised to see all the open air eateries. I don't know that I'd like to eat out on that square.

Of course, I never had the pleasure of a pigeon dropping on the head, and I'm sure if it ever does happen, I will be a bit more anti-pigeon.

I Don't Mind a FEW Pigeons...But.... --RoadDog

RoadDog is a Golden Retriever

My uncle Bo sent me this website and I took the test to see what kind of breed of dog I'd be. Well, obviously, I am a ROADDOG, but, unfortunately, that is not an AKC Recognized Breed. I always thought of myself as more of a mutt. So...what if?

After answering ten questions to the best of my ability, and some of them would NOT have been my choice, I received the results.

I came out as a Golden Retriever, a kind of dog that abounds at my sister's place in Georgia. At last count, I think she has four or five including her son Alex's small kennel, and, of course, the grand old matron of the clan, Sadie, and her son Duke.

According to the write up for the Golden Retriever, I am laid-back and loyal. I'm just as happy chilling on the couch as I am out chasing frisbees in a park somewhere. My brain is always thinking and I won't settle for being the underdog.

This is a bit scary, that they would know me that well.

You can see what kind of dog you are at:

Barking Up the Wrong Tree. --RoadDog

Dwight Sings Buck-- Part 2

Buck Owens was the founder of the Bakersfield Sound. Merle Haggard, another one of my favorite performers, is also a practitioner of the sound. Don Rich, a member of Buck's band was also in on the creation of this sound.

Dwight Yoakam revitalized the Bakersfield Sound (also called Bakersfield Honky Tonk with his "Little Sister" and "Guitars, Cadillacs, and Hillbilly Music." He had 17 top ten country songs and sold more than 23 million albums. I have more than a few of those.

Back Owens died March 25, 2006.

I remember John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival "Listening to Buck Owens" while looking out their backdoor. That would be great if John Fogerty would also do an album of Buck Owens music. Oh well. wishful hoping.

The 15 tracks on "Dwight Sings Buck" makes for a great road cruisin' companion if you can afford the gas.

Great Music to Listen to While Travelin' Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dwight Sings Buck

A couple weeks ago, I was in Wal-Mart looking at the records, well CDs when I came across an album I deemed worthy of purchase. It was called "Dwight Sings Buck" and was sung by Dwight Yoakam, one of my favorite country performers. He was singing songs of his mentor, one Buck Owens. Buck is also one of my favorites, especially when I'm driving down the road.

Even better, it was on sale for $9.99.

He took 15 of Buck's songs and didn't just imitate him, but kept his essence.. Great stuff. It was released on Dwight's birthday, October 23rd. "The one of a kind new album celebrating and honoring his friend and mentor Buck Owens." The first release off it is "Close Up the Honky Tonks" and the video is currently playing on CMT. How about this, it is also available in a limited edition vinyl record. How's that for keeping with the roots.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

If That Don't Take the Merry Out of Christmas!

Came across a story on Yahoo saying that Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were instructed not to say "Ho Ho Ho" because of fear of offending women.

Have we sunken to the rap and hip-hop level that badly? This is definitely a sad development.

What are they supposed to say, "Ha Ha Ha" or "Mer Mer Mer?"

Then, there is the story of some stores refusing to allow the Salvation Army to set up those traditional kettles outside their doors. Is that a Scrooge thing or what?

Can't We Just Have a Regular Christmas? --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Favorite Teams in AP NCAA Football Top 25

For some unknown reason, good old NIU isn't in it. What gives? Perhaps the 2-8 record might have something to do with it. But, a few years back, the Northern Huskies were in the top twenty for a good part of the year. Oh Well.

These are my favorite teams in the Top 25.

#4 Kansas- Good to see this after all those losing seasons. What basketball?
#5 West Virginia-- ACC fan
#8 Georgia- I went here for a year. Plus my sister Julie graduated from there and niece Annsley attends now.
10. Virginia Tech- I'm an ACC fan
16. Virginia-- I'm an ACC fan
17. Boise State- Got to pull for the "little guys."
19. Tennessee-- Also an SEC fan. Nephew Andy went here.
20. Illinois-- Big Ten fan. Plus, got to pull for home state.
22. Kentucky-- great season after being a losing program for all those years. What basketball?
24. Wisconsin-- Favorite Big Ten team
25. Connecticut-- Doing well for this young of a football program.

"Huskies, Come On You Huskies. And Win a Game or Two." Huskie Fight Song. They did. --RoadDog

College Mascots

Came across a story on Yahoo about the top ten college live mascots. My sister Julie will be happy. Nephew Andy will not.

They also gave a short history of how the animal came to represent the school.

This list was taken from America's Best On Line at

1. General Scott (mule) Army. Legend has it that when Navy showed up for an 1899 game with their "smelly" goat, Army decided they needed a mascot. The stubborn army mule was pressed into service. Cadets ran out and found a passing mule-drawn wagon and used it.

2. Uga- (bulldog)- Georgia-- Herschel Walker took Uga to the Heisman Awards ceremony, saying Uga looked better in a tux than he did. Receives extra points for attacking an Auburn player at a game.

3. Bevo-(Texas Longhorn cow)- Story has it that Texas A&M, after a particularly humiliating loss to Texas, branded a Longhorn cow with 13-0, the score of the last A&M victory over Texas. They sent it to U. Texas. The creative Texas lads turned the 13 into a "B" and the hyphen into an "E", added a V in the and kept the 0, hence the name "Bevo." As the article said, making lemonade out of lemons.

4. Ralphie- (buffalo)- Colorado is actually a she.

5. Bill the Goat- Navy- first used in 1913. Now on Bill XXXI.

6. Traveller- (white horse)--USC- first appearance in 1961. Gallops around the stadium after USC TDs.

7. Falcon-- USAF-- first collegiate mascot to perform free and untethered.

8. Mike the Tiger-- LSU--tradition is that for every Mike growl before a game, LSU will score a TD. We saw Mike on our visit to Baton Rouge. He could have cared less to be in our presence, Stuck Up Tiger!!!

9. Renegade- (horse) -FSU ridden by Chief Osceola. How come they can keep Chief Osceola, and we had to give up Chief Illiniwek?

10. Reveille (American collie)- Texas A&M- In 1931, cadets in a car hit her. Took her back to campus to care for her. When "Reveille" was blown the next morning, she started barking.

How come NIU's Victor E. Huskie isn't on the list? Is it because we're having a horrible season?

I'll give the ten runner-ups eventually, as well as the 25 Worst Mascots.

Sorry, Andy. No Smokey Here. Get That Grin Off Your Face, Julie. So Uga Was #2. --RoadDog

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pretty Good Weekend for Football

As football weekends go, this was one of the better ones.

My alma mater, Northern Illinois, actually WON a game against Kent State. It was our SECOND victory of the season 2-8. Then there was that great Illinois upset of #1 Ohio State and Wisconsin did a number on Michigan. I like all the Big Ten, excuse me, Eleven, teams except the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

Northwestern beat Indiana. #22 Tennessee beat Arkansas and #10 Georgia did the same to #18 Auburn.

That Navy-North Texas game must have been really something with Navy winning 74-62. Imagine 136 points in a game!!

Yesterday, the Pack rolled easily and now have an 8-1 record. Favre is having a great year and he finally has a good team around him.

My favorite pro team, the Bears played an equally inept Oakland team. For a long while it looked liked the final score would be 3-3 until the fourth quarter when things started happening. The Raiders scored a field goal, then Rex Grossman connected on a long TD pass. Final score was a 17-6 Bears victory to bring the record to 4-5.

A lot of rebuilding has to be done for next year. We need a qb, another rb, an offensive line, and a defense. Last year, it was the defense that got the Bears to the Super Bowl, but something happened this year. The heart is just not there, and I'm not just talking about Briggs' driving habits.

Love That Football. --RoadDog

Fall is Apple Time

One thing I really like about fall, besides the tree colors and ESPECIALLY the smell of burning leaves, is the great apple crop.

I have to have my peanut covered caramel apples, especially those from Chicago's Affy Tapple Company. They've been making them since 1948.

Then, there is the great apple cider. I'm not talking about apple juice, I'm talking about that really dark stuff. Stuff with a kick.

I stock up on these items as well as fresh apples. I have heard about a new apple that is supposed to be the best around these days, the honey crisp. Saturday, I finally found some at the local Spring Grove Jewel grocery store. It was quite expensive at $2.50 a pound, so I got one. Whoever came up with this is a genius. This was the BEST apple I've ever eaten.

I like my apples hard and a bit tart. Granny Smith's are also a favorite. While in Australia, we went by the place where they came into being.

Lovin' Those Fall Apples. --RoadDog

McRibs Are Back!!!!

Without a doubt, my favorite offering from McDonald's is the McRib sandwich. This sandwich's appearance guarantees a few stops while it is available. And, for $2.19, it is a good deal, used to be $1.99, but that non-existent inflation, you know.

Here in Fox Lake, Illinois, you can get a meal for about $4.

It made my poor, sick drive home from Tennessee a much better time when I got off I-65 by Remington, Indiana, and saw it advertised at the local McD's. Real fast stop.

Then that savory, tasty treat that I've been waiting for all these past months.

Other McD items I like: Johnsonville brats (also seasonal), the $1 double cheeseburger, and the steak, egg, and cheese breakfast bagel.

Of course, McDonald's history goes back to Route 66 in San Bernardino, Ca., with the original McDonald's, and the very first Ray Kroc McDonald's in nearby Des Plaines, Il., on the historic US-12. I've been told, Ray Kroc could often be found out cleaning the parking lot.

Crazy 'Bout Dem McRibs. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Play that Old Music

Here is a set list for all three sets the Lakes Area Community Swing Band played last night. Frank Sinatra songs and Rat Pack ones are shown with a #. Glenn Miller is shown by *.

And now, ladies and gentleman. From high atop the ballroom of the American Legion overlooking the beautiful and shimmering Nippersink Lake by downtown beautiful downtown Fox Lake, Illinois, I bring you, the Glenn Miller Orchestra featuring vocals by Frank Sinatra.

First set

1. Star-Spangled Banner
2. In the Mood *
3. Chattanooga Choo-Choo *
4. String of Pearls *
5. What Do You Do in the Infantry
6. Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree
7. Autumn Leaves
8. Beyond the Sea
9. L-O-V-E
10. The Way You Look Tonight
11. I've Got You Under My Skin #
12. Stardust #
13. La Cucaracha
14. Moonlight in Vermont

Set 2

1. Liechtensteiner Polka
2. Sentimental Journey
3. On the Street Where You Live
4. My Funny Valentine #
5. Ain't That a Kick in the Head #
6. More
7. Slow Boat to China
8. Girl from Ipanema
9. Someone to Watch Over Me
10. Witchcraft #
11. Misty
12. Moon River
13. American Patrol *
14. Moonlight Serenade *
15. Take the "A" Train

Set 3

1. Beer Barrel Polka/In Heaven There is No Beer
2. Tuxedo Junction *
3. Waltz Medley- Carolina Moon/Could I Have This Dance
4. Strangers in the Night #
5. Makin' Whoopie
6. Zoot Suit Riot
7. Summer Wind #
8. In the Mood *
9. Mack the Knife
10. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
11. My Way #
12. New York, New York #
13. Mood Indigo
14. America the Beautiful

And That's All Folks. Great Night, Great Band, Great Friends. --RoadDog

Happy 81st Birthday Route 66 and US Highway System

Not only is today Veterans Day, but also, it was on this date back in 1926 that the whole US Highway System was established. That would include Route 66 and all numbered US highways from 1 to 100.

Roads with termini (ends)east and west received even numbers, and those north and south received odd numbers.

The east-west roads started in the north with US-2 and worked their way southward. The more important transcontinental roads ended with zero. The north-south roads started on the east coast with US-1 and worked their way to the Pacific. The key ones ended with one or five. These were usually the ones going from Canada all the way to the southern borders of the US.

This replaces a system of naming roads, like the Lincoln or Dixie highways, that were causing great confusion as the numbers of cars increased. It was a necessary thing to do.

Then, in 1955, the Interstate System replaced the US Highways as the primary mode of transportation. I'm sure glad they did. I couldn't even imagine how bad things would be if we still were using the US Highways as the main way to get around.

Liz and I are more than a little hooked on old roads, as you may well know.

Happy Birthday US Highways, and Especially Route 66. --RoadDog

Thank a Vet

If you're enjoying your freedom right now, you really should thank a vet. There are those who are jealous of us and who would be more than happy to take it away. Only that thin line of brave Americans stand between their objective.

Today is their day and one well-deserved.

In my family, my cousin Graham was a Navy pilot in Vietnam. Uncle Delbert was in WWII and at the Battle of the Bulge. Cousin Phillip was in the Navy. Daddy Graham, my grandfather on my mother's side, was in WW I. Nor Nor, my grandfather on my dad's side was in the Merchant Marine during WW I.

A Salute to Those Who Served. --RoadDog

Mom Would Have Liked This Music

While at the Veterans Day Dance, I kept thinking that Mom really would have liked to have been there. This is her kind of music. Don't ever get into a Name That Tune contest with her on this music from the 30s and 40s. You won't have a chance.

I remember our trips and car rides of the past. We kids were in the back. Mom and Dad were in the front seat. Unfortunately, the radio was up front as well. And guess who got to listen to THEIR music. Something about seniority I guess. We were not too happy about this, but this was in the days before Walkmans and of course, today's Ipods. Kids today don't know how lucky they are when it comes to car trips.

I really hated what Andy calls "Atlanta" music. That was the station my parents listened to on the many times he stayed with them while growing up.

It wasn't until I started listening to Big Band and Swing music records at my in-laws that I started liking it. I really like it now and have quite a collection, as well as the ones I got from them.

The Lakes Area Community Swing Band covered them all. I'll give you the set list in another entry.

Now, a Glenn Miller and Sinatra Fan. --RoadDog

Old Folks Dancing...Well, Older Anyway

Last night, Liz and I went to the Fox Lake American Legion for the Veterans Day Dance. It featured the Lakes Area Community Swing Band, a sixteen piece group with two singers who volunteer their time doing what they evidently really love. This is a very tight group and we had quite a show. They did lots of Glenn Miller and Rat Pack songs, especially those of Frank Sinatra.

It cost $5 a person or $8 a couple to get in. I didn't much like all the reserved tables. Hope they had to pay more. We also had hors-doeuvres which were attacked en masse. Now, I'm a pretty good hors-doevrer, I mean, I always get my share, but these folks made me look like I didn't know how to get any. They were fast. I did not know old people could move that fast.

The floor was full most of the time, especially on the slow songs. Also, a lot of them enjoyed the polkas. The mirror ball dappled the floor, walls, and folks. We had a really fun time and talked with a lot of our friends. Naturally, this was mostly attended by us older folks. I was especially glad to see a lot of seventy and even a few eighty year-olds enjoying themselves, and some even dancing. We are fast-losing the "Greatest Generation" to the ages now.

This was definitely something that the few WWII vets and those of the Korean War could enjoy.

Big Band and Swing, Now, There's Some Mighty GOOD Stuff. --RoadDog

I Was a Marine For a Short Time --Part 2

Like I was saying, I was going to be drafted and in all likelihood, going to Vietnam. I figured that if I was going, I might as well go as an officer, so I started looking around at officer candidate programs in the Armed Forces.

I selected the Marine Corps which offered me a second lieutenancy upon graduation of college and six months more of basic. I would have to go to two six week courses at Quantico, Va., outside of Washington, DC. The first between sophomore and junior year and the second between junior and senior.

I signed up and spent six of the hardest weeks of my life in 1971. The first three, I just could do anything Corps-style and had enough drill instructor time to last a lifetime. Those guys were rough. Fortunately, I had gone through pledging a fraternity and with the treatment I got there, I was able to handle the stuff they'd do and in-your-face. Other guys in my platoon had not pledged and found this difficult.

I transferred from Northern Illinois University to the University of Georgia for junior year. I was known as the "guy with no hair" because of my USMC haircut. Remember, this was still the time of the hippies. I decided to finish college at Northern, but had to take some extra courses at Georgia the summer between junior and senior years so contacted my person in OCS, Officer Candidate School, and thought I had it worked out so that I would be able to do my six weeks after graduation and then the six months of basic.

However, I must not have, because several months later I received my Honorable Discharge. Evidently, with the war actually winding down, believe it or not, they didn't need that many more second louies.

With such a short service, I really don't consider myself a veteran, although I can still join the American Legion.

So that Was My Short Time in the Corps. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Was a Marine For a Short Time --Part 1

I was a Marine for a very, very short time.

I didn't think the Vietnam War would EVER end. It really got hot while I was in junior high school and went all the way through my high school years and college.

The first year they had the draft lottery, I wasn't eligible, and I had the number 31. I was happy with that as I figured the next year, when it would count, I'd surely get a higher number.

Wrong!!! The year it counted, I was number 22. I was getting an all-expense paid "vacation" to Vietnam compliments of Uncle Sam. That is, I'd go after college. I had always intended to go to college anyway, something you had to do if you wanted to be a teacher. But , that war just WASN'T going to end. And after four years, I would be eligible for the draft, and with a 22, I was gone.

Stay Tuned. --RoadDog

Happy 232nd Birthday USMC

One of the greatest fighting groups ever assembled, the United States Marine Corps, is celebrating a birthday today. They were founded on today's date in 1775 under authorization of the Continental Congress.

I was originally going to go to the monthly breakfast meeting of the Camp Douglas Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans in Des Plaines, Illinois, but the carpool fell through.

On my way back home, I remembered a Marine group was having a breakfast at the Lakes American Legion Post 703 in Fox Lake. The parking lot was full, but after some driving, I found a spot.

I paid my $7 and saw the ceremony leading up to the breakfast. Quite impressive, including, of course, the singing of The Marine's Hymn, and I mean all THREE verses.

Breakfast consisted of Heavy-Duty coffee guaranteed to put hair on your chest, scrambles eggs and SOS, ____ on toast, a term lovingly given for a sausage gravy on toast.

This was the Tom Grosvenor Memorial Marine Corps Birthday Breakfast and fund-raiser for Toys for Tots. Proceeds from the breakfast going for that great cause. In the past, they had it at the VFW in Wauconda, but they had outgrown the facilities there, so moved here.

The original meeting was held Nov. 10, 1983, at Hoff's Kitchen in Grayslake. From that date it has been held annually. Tom Grosvenor died in 2001 and it was renamed in his honor.

After breakfast, a microphone was passed around to everyone in attendance and each person had a little to say about their connection to the Corps.

I have some of the comments at

OO-Rah Corps. --RoadDog

The 2007 Carolina Beach Music Awards Weekend

Taking place in Myrtle Beach and started Wednesday and will cumulate tomorrow with the actual awards ceremony at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach, SC.

If you win one of these, it is called a Cammy.

Tickets for Sunday's show are $38-$55.

Most all the big groups, djs, and performers are playing in and around North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach this weekend. Some of them:

Craig Woolard Band
Sea Cruz
Coastline Band
Swinging Medallions
Part Time Party Time Band
Danny and Susan Drexler
Holiday Band
Ricky Godfry Band
Mardi Gras with Sammy O'Bannion


Big John Ruth
Butch Halpin
Gary Bass
Ray Scott
I'm sure Billy Smith and Fessa John Hook will be around somewhere

Some of the participating clubs are Dynamite's
Spanish Galleon
Fat Harold's
OD Ballroom
Pirate's Cove
OD Beach Club
OD Cafe
(OD is short for Ocean Drive, the road going along the beachfront.)

Well, Perhaps I Will Be There Next Year. --RoadDog

Beach Music Awards for 2006

This weekend is the 2007 Beach Music Awards, one of the big Beach events of the year. It is being held in Myrtle Beach with lots of music, shagging, and the main wards show tomorrow at the Alabama Theatre.

I hope to get there one of these years, especially now that I'm retired.

I came across a list of last year's winners and will list some here:

FM Station-- 94.9 WVCO, the Surf-- I listen to this online quite often in the morning. Love that Billy Smith in the morning. North Myrtle Beach, SC

AM Station-- 770 WLWL in Rockingham, NC
Group of the Year-- Ricky Godfrey Band
Syndicated Radio Show-- John Hooks R & B Top 40 Countdown-- another favorite deejay who streams live at Endless Summer Network

FM Radio DJ-- Ray Scott-- the Surf WVCO
AM Radio DJ-- Charlie Brown 920 AM WPCM-- does a show on Endless Summer network on Saturday nights.

Compilation Album-- "Locals Only"
Entertainer of the Year-- Scott Fina-- haven't heard of him
National Dance/Shag Song-- "Big Sister's Radio" by Mighty Mike Schermer
Song of the Year-- "I've Got a Feeling" by Craig Woolard Band-- I've seen them twice, the last time this past October during the Autumn at Topsail Festival at Topsail Beach, NC.

Favorite New Artist-- Castaways
Female Vocalist-- Molly Askins
Male Vocalist-- Craig Woolard

I'll be looking forward to finding out the 2007 winners.

Keep on Shaggin' on the Boulevard. -- RoadDog

Friday, November 9, 2007

November 3rd Surf Top Vote-Getters in Beach Music

Went to the website yesterday, while listening to Uncle Billy Smith on the Surf broadcasting out of North Myrtle Beach, SC, (while I sat here in Spring Grove, Illinois--Ain't the internet grand?). I checked out the top ten vote-getters which they use to determine the top Beach Music songs for the week. Listeners do the voting, then they take the results and use it to compile the top thirty songs.

I'd have to say that some of the groups have their fans doing lots of voting after seeing the top ten.

Here they are:

1. Outta Control-- Doug Winstead
2. A Little Meat on the Side-- Sea Cruz
3. Let it Roll-- Sea Cruz
4. You've Got Me Working Day & Night-- Carousel
5. Walk Away from Love-- Sea Cruz
6. Baby There's Something-- Magnificents
7. Wherever I Lay My Hat-- Magnificents
8. Sweet Charle Babe-- Rachel Tripp
9. Emperor of My Baby's Heart-- Paul Craver
10.A Little Bit of Money-- Coastline Band

Love That Beach Music!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

And I Didn't Even get a Lousy Pen!!

Yesterday, I closed my checking account at NorState Banking in Round Lake. I had the account since June of 1975, a total of more than 32 years. That is a long time to be with the same bank.

Until two years ago, it was the First State Bank of Round Lake, and I was with them from their original site in downtown Round Lake on Il Route 34. I was also there when they opened the beautiful and much larger bank by the intersection of Rollins and Cedar Lake roads.

This kind of longevity just doesn't happen much any more. Not to mention this much loyalty, even when I could get better deals elsewhere. I was there.

You'd think I would have some kind of acknowledgement for all this time. There was none. They were very nice about it and asked why I was closing. I explained. But that was it. No thank you. Not even a little, bitty old pen. Nada. Nothing.

Well, it is the new corporate order. Loyalty is no longer a virtue. Loyalty is no longer rewarded. This is an unpleasant reality.

Hey, I taught for 33 years in the same school district, 31 in the same building and would have done all 33 in it, except they closed it down when a new junior high was built. You won't see that kind of loyalty with teachers either.

I Guess This Old Dinosaur Has Outlived His Era. Thank Goodness I'm Retired. --RoadDog

Monday, November 5, 2007

Speaking of Getting Old

I love to listen to Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots every Sunday morning. His knowledge and song selection is second to none.

HOWEVER, you can sure come away feeling old, as he always spotlights artists having birthdays during the week. Unfortunately, he also gives their ages.

For example, this past and upcoming weeks:

Tom Fogerty- would have been 66, member of the Greatest Band- CCR
Peter Noonan-- 60-- leader of Herman's Hermits "Something tells me I'm getting so old."
Glenn Frey--59-- Eagles
Johnny Rivers-- 65-- and he's the "Seventh Son."
Art Garfunkel-- 66
Bonnie Bramlett-- 63-- Delaney & Bonnie
Lulu-- 59-- "To Sir with Love"
Joni Mitchell-- 62

"Hope I Die Before I Get Old." Right!!! --RoadDog

The "Baby Boomers" Have Arrived

Well, it had to happen. We are getting so much older these days. And that includes my group, the so-called "Baby Boomers."

Our first member, Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, applied for Social Security benefits on October 15th. She is regarded as being the "first" Baby Boomer, being born one second after midnight on January 1, 1946. It is estimated that 10,000 people a day will become eligible for benefits in the next two decades.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. This includes myself and Liz. We were both born in 1951.

Bad news, though. It is expected that the Social Security System will be broke by if left alone by 2041.

Good news for everyone else, however. Since we were both teachers in Illinois and covered by a separate retirement system, we will probably never get any money from Social Security.

My, How We're Aging. Who'd a-Figgered. --RoadDog Top 64 College Basketball Teams

Sad to see, but my alma mater didn't make the list...again!!! That would be Northern Illinois.

However, there are "several" of MY teams on the list:

1. North Carolina
4. Kansas
6. Tennessee
7. Indiana
15. Marquette
16. Duke
18. NC State

21. UConn
25. Southern Illinois
27. Butler
32. Gonzaga
36. Notre Dame
38. Davidson
39. Virginia
40. Vanderbilt

41. Xavier
43. Wisconsin
44. New Mexico State
45. Illinois
48. Maryland
50. Oklahoma State
52. Virginia Commonwealth

53. Georgia Tech
54. Western Kentucky
57. Georgia
58. Purdue
62. Minnesota

NCAA Basketball. What Gets Me Through the LONG Winter. --RoadDog

Dadburn Big Oil and Speculators

They're doing this to us again and arbitrarily raising the price of oil. It should be $100 soon, I know they won't stop until they get it. Unfortunately, there is nothing else to stop it either.

Something is definitely rotten. This should not be happening. There is no excuse whatsoever for it.

Gas here in Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois is anywhere from $3.05 to $3.15. Isn't this when we should be getting some relief from their, well it used to be summer, but now is spring "in anticipation" of the summer driving season, feeding frenzy?

Something Smells in Denmark. --RoadDog

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Big Game in Town: Colts Vs. Patriots

Well, not Chicago, but one I'll watch anyway.

That would be the matchup of the two unbeatens in the NFL, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts. Now, I don't normally watch any NFL games unless its Da Bears or Da Pack, my two favorites. That's right, I like both teams, but definitely pull for the Bears when they play each other. I'll also watch a game if I'm at a bar and it's the only thing on TV.

However, this game today, is a BIG one.

I used to feel a bit sorry for the Patriots because the first time they went to the Super Bowl they lost against that great 1985 Bears team and it was a blow out. Then the second time was to the Packers, both at New Orleans' Super Bowl. However, of late, the Patriots have MORE than made up for those two losses.

I'm pulling for the Colts.

And, besides, the Colts are my third favorite team. A bunch of buddies and I used to go to Indianapolis for a game each year back when they were bad and you could get tickets, but those are hard to reasonably come by any more. Also, Tony Dungey is one of my favorite coaches after Mike Holmgren.

Plus, Indianapolis is a Midwestern team. Then there is Peyton Manning who also quarterbacked one of my favorite colleges, Tennessee.

Sad to see that the Patriots rallied to win the game.

Let's Go Colts!!!!! --RoadDog

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dead Folks Earning Big Bucks

Can you guess the top-earning dead people?

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune printed a list of the Dead Celebrities who are earning the most money. Elvis Presley has reclaimed his Number 1 ranking according to's list of top-earning dead celebrities. Get this, old Elvis earned $49 million even 30 years after he died.

This is due to music royalties, DVDs. licensing deals, and tourism at Graceland.

The Top 13

1. Elvis Presley-- $49 M
2. John Lennon-- $44 M
3. Charles Schulz-- $35 M-- Peanuts
4. George Harrison-- $22 M
5. Albert Einstein-- $18 M-- now, I'm not sure how he gets to this level
6. Andy Warhol-- $15 M
7. Theordore Geisel-- $13 M-- Dr. Seuss, you know
8. Tupac Shakur-- $9 M-- rapper
9. Marilyn Monroe-- $7 M
10. Steve McQueen-- $6 M
11. James Brown-- $5
12. Bob Marley-- $4
13. James Dean-- $3.5 M

And then there's me, way, way, way, way, way down the list.

 Well, Every Day Above Ground is a Good Day. --RoadDog

Every Bloomin' Thing-- November 1st

We had our first frost last night judging from a little on the grass and the roof. However, it didn't kill my impatiens, begonias, or wandering jew plants. And they are very quick to go when there is a frost.

Most of the trees have lost their leaves, but the Bradford pears still have their leaves. The golden raintree, sumacs, and Asian maples have the most color.

As usual, the marigolds are making their fall splash of color. I have about 500 plants around the house, so when I say splash, I mean explosion. Mostly yellow, but quite a few reds and light purples.

Cut the grass for perhaps the last time of the year on Monday.

I've been raking the pine needles back into the pine islands and will collect what leaves I can find for a fire. There is few things better than the smell of burning leaves in the fall. That is the "Smell of Fall" for me. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I don't get a lot of leaves from my trees. Raking is not a big problem as it is with some of my friends.

One time I went over to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes where I raked and bagged several piles of leaves to bring home and burn. The people inside thought I had lost my mind. Maybe I have, but I do know that I really like the smell of burning leaves. Whenever I drive by people burning leaves, I roll down the windows to enjoy every bit of that smell.

Losing My Mind Over Da Leaves, Burning, That Is. --RoadDog

How Did Halloween Begin?

I get this from Little Steven's Underground Garage show, which I recorded off WXRT, 93.1 FM, which plays Mondays from 10 PM to midnight. This past Monday, he had a Halloween show.

Today is All-Saints Day in the Catholic Church. My wife Liz, who went to Catholic schools, remembers always getting the day after Halloween off. This is when all the saints who have not gotten their own day, are celebrated.

Tomorrow is All Souls Day where you pray for all souls who are in purgatory. Little Steven joked that this was when you'd pray for Sam Cooke, Arthur Alexander, James Brown, and Solomon Burke. Just kidding though. Also, that applies to anybody at the DMV, waiting for a passport, or waiting for the cable guy or the phone company.

Some dude in Europe in the 9th century some enterprising homeless dude got the idea of going souling from house to house on All Souls Day begging for soul cakes. Somehow, that got mixed up with a Celtic custom of dressing up in scary costumes to keep from getting possessed and it all got mixed together...and the results were the Ramones. Still just kidding. He then segued into the Ramones' "Cretin Bop", the legendary cretins themselves, the Ramones, a group very comfortable with Halloween.

I would imagine it also somehow got moved up to October 31st or perhaps that was the date of the Celtic thing.

That Little Steven is one funny guy.

Now, that is just Too Scary. --RoadDog

New Blog: Saw the Elephant: Civil War

This morning I established a new blog, this one to cover my Civil War musings. Before, I was doing them at my RoadDog's Roadlog Blog, but am trying to narrow its focus. I'll probably start another one on historical matters as well, but at a later time.

Today, I made three entries regarding Fort Fisher, the place that got me interested in the Civil War.

I named it "Saw the Elephant"-- Civil War Musings. In Civil War times, seeing the elephant meant that a soldier had seen actual warfare with the bullets and cannonballs flying.

You can check it out at

Just One More Thing to Spend Too Much Time On. --RoadDog

Done Got Hit Last Night

Woke up this morning and found that some spooks had done a 'trick" on me. Yellow marigolds were spread over part of the driveway by the street. I swept them aside, but can't figure out where they pulled them from. I have two large groups of yellow marigolds right by the driveway culvert. I still have lots and lots of yellow marigolds as well as red and light purple.

The only other time we got "hit" was about nine years ago when my gazing ball was shattered in the front of the house.

It must have been disappointment over my not doing my Halloween decorating this year. The "old man" by the fire pit may have to make a reappearance next year.

I Done Got Tricked!!! --RoadDog