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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Frances' Life

I entered a blog about her on her last birthday, her 92nd, on August 5, 2007. She was at Alden Terrace at the time and had been admitted, but we didn't tell her because of her feelings about nursing homes, something she fought against with vigor. I mean, real vigor.

I made a copy of it and showed it to her. It was supposed to go to the other folks at the nursing home to familiarize them with her.

She looked at it, and I'm not sure if she was joking about it or not, she said, after reading it, "This is my obituary."

You can read it by going back into the blog archives to August 5, 2007.

Frances Loretta Klaus 1915-2008

Yesterday was a very sad day for us. Liz lost her mother, Frances Klaus.

She had been at Alden Terrace Nursing Home in McHenry, Illinois, since July, and under hospice care since early January.

Her condition had been deteriorating for several years before this, and she was unable to move about on her own since September.

She was not suffering, but was extremely unhappy about her condition and had lost over 30 pounds since September and would not eat very much at all. Her vocal ability had also decreased and we were only able to understand about 10 percent of what she said toward the end.

She died very peacefully after a few last gasps. Both Liz and I were present at the time.

We know she is much happier where she is now.

Monday, January 28, 2008

70s-80s Country Music

Not only am I a big fan of Beach Music, but also country music, and especially that music from the 70s and 80s. I listened to the country radio stations and bought a lot of albums. Particular favorites of that time were Hank Williams, Jr (Bocephus), Merle Haggard, Alabama, and Waylon Jennings.

This past Wednesday, while playing NTN at Donovan's Reef ( a Florida Bar in southern Wisconsin), I saw a flyer for the Joe Powers Band. They feature 70s and 80s country music.

One of the owners, Tom, said we could have a room in the newly and majorly remodeled motel that is behind the place for $30. We immediately said we'd be there. Great food, NTN, and 70s-80s Country Music was just too good of a deal to pass up. And, at That Price!!! Sure beats a DUI.

We met up with another couple and got seats at the far end of the bar (noise considerations) and played NTN while waiting. We had several top twenties, and, of course, got trounced in the 8 pm Jukebox game, as usual. We just don't know that much about new music.

The Joe Powers Band is fairly new and it showed in their instrumentation and vocals. There was a lot of room for improvement.

However, we really did enjoy hearing those old songs. Some of which were: Good-Hearted Woman, Okie from Muskogee, I'm the Only Hell my Mama Ever Raised, Family Tradition, Streets of Bakersfield, Folsom Prison Blues, Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink, Amanda, Working Man Blues, Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound, and Me and Booby McGee.

Back in the early 1980s, we used to go around a lot listening to a local band called Choyce. Now, they really had the vocals and instrumentation down.

Great Listening to That Old Stuff. --RoadDog

Da Beach Top 40

Saturday, I listened to Fessa John Hooks' Beach and Boogie Top 40 Show over the internet. Next to Billy Smith, he is my favorite beach music dj. He knowledge of Beach Music is probably the best around. You can listen to his station, the Endless Summer Network at www.beachshag.com .

The Top 40 is Saturdays from 9-noon EST.

The Top ten songs from January 5th:

1. Why Am I Crying-- Rhonda McDaniel
2. (So Long) Since I Felt This Way-- Russel Thompkins, Jr (of the Stlistics)
3. Love Be With You-- Catalinas
4. Ain't That the Truth-- Danny Brooks
5. Rio de Janeiro Blue-- Randy Crawford & Joe Sample
6. Money Honey-- Craig Woolard Band, feat Andy King
7. I Know It's Hard, But It's Fair-- Holiday Band, feat. Mike Taylor
8. Memories & Souvenirs-- Donny & Susan Drexler, feat. Mark Black
9. Love is Here & Now You're Gone-- Holiday Band, feat. Mike Neese
10. Over and Done-- Ryan Shaw

Numbers 6-9 made me think I was looking at a R&B/Rap/Hip-Hop chart. They always seem to be featuring somebody.

I've Still Got Sand in My Shoes. --RoadDog

JSS-- Texas Ditch Surfing--PHS Logo--SC Clinton-Obama Debate last Monday--Why Dogs Bite People

Just Some Stuff-- JSS.

1. Texas Ditch Surfing-- A friend sent me a you-tube bit on a bunch of rednecks in Texas having fun while "surfing" a small, rain-filled ditch. I laughed until I almost cried. Then, these same guys tried to see how close they could come to a boat while swinging on ropes. A true Three Stooges bit. Check it out. It is hilarious!!!!

2. PHS "Don and Liz December 15, 1967-2007-- For our 40th anniversary of "Going Togther," Liz bought several items from Zazzle with the corny looking Palatine High School (Illinois) pirate mascot. She got key rings, badges, and the mouse pad I'm using right now.

3. SC-- Clinton-Obama Debate, Well, Edwards, Too-- This was by far the best debate I've seen yet. Both Obama and Clinton came out with weapons/mouths a-blazin'. Poor old rich boy Edwards was left out in right field, but did get a few zingers in. I did like how he later said that he represented the grown-up wing of the Democratic party. Obama was really caught in the middle and from both sides as Clinton was to his right and Edwards to his left. No big surprise, however, in the outcome of the voting.

4. Why Dogs Bite People-- My Uncle Bo sent an updated group of pictures titled "Why Dogs Bite People" featuring dogs whose masters have dressed them up. I'm sure all of you have seen these pictures before. One thing for sure, we would never have been able to dress our mutt, Brandy, up like that. She never would have stood for it. I didn't know dogs could buck.

Just Some Stuff in my Life. --RoadDog

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Doin' My Historical Thang

Last Saturday, I did my history thing for most of the day.

In the morning, I attended the meeting of the Fox Lake/Grant Township Historical Society. We are currently compiling accounts of early families in the area.

We have 23 people who serve as docents. Not that any records are being kept, but Ruth Stark led all docents with 5 times. Two others had four apiece. Docents are on hand to greet and help visitors to the museum on Washington Street in Ingleside, Illinois. The museum is only open on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., but has been closed for the month of February.

In 2005, the first year it was open, the museum attracted 525 people. In 2006, it was 820, and last year, 836. We are hoping for 1000 this year.

We had a presentation by the Fox Lake Fire Department which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The Village of Fox Lake just celebrated its 100th in 2007.

More on the fire department's presentation later.

History at the Grassroots Level. --RoadDog

Two New Movies: "Todd Sweeney" and "Rambo"

The last two days, I saw two current movies.

The first was Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street." I have to admit that I was about ready to get a refund when I discovered it was a musical, but stuck around and was glad I did. I liked the music. As a matter of fact, if they come out with a soundtrack, I just might buy it. Certainly enjoyed the music.

This has to be the all-time strangest musical ever. Who'd have figured there would be one about revenge, cannibalism, and lots of eyeliner. Johnny Depp seems to have found a niche playing off-kilter characters who wear eye shadow.

I am happy to report that it was a private showing for me. I was the only person in the theater.

The second movie was "Rambo." When are the bad guys ever going to learn that you'd better not mess with John Rambo. At least he didn't try to reprise his stud self of the earlier movies. If you like gore and bodies being blown to pieces, this is your type of flic. Plus, there was that interesting game where the Burmese soldiers would throw Claymore mines into a rice paddy and place bets on which prisoner running across it would blow up first. Unfortunately, if they made it across, they were turned around and had to run it again.

I'd definitely see the Sweeney again, but not John.

Nothing Like a Night at the Movies. --RoadDog

Thursday, January 24, 2008

BRRRRRR!!! It's Cold Outside

This is one of the coldest days that I can remember.

This morning, when I got up at 8, the thermometer on the deck clocked in at a -10 degrees. That's about the coldest I ever remember it reading.

By 10 a.m., it had warmed to -5. By 1 p.m., we had a heat wave strike and actually broke zero degrees, all the way to 2 degrees.

Just as it got dark at 5, it had dropped back to -2.

These numbers are without wind, which thankfully hasn't been too bad today.

I didn't feel too bad, because even my relatives down south had it considerably colder than usual, but not as cold as here in Spring Grove, Illinois.

Baby, It's Cold Outside. --RoadDog

The Old Hall Pass

I've decided the time has come to throw lots and lots of stuff out. I'm more than a bit of a pack rat and just have too much stuff.

However, this process is a very long one. Everything has to be carefully examined, you know.

I was going through a box of my school stuff and came across a small metal tray (about 4 x 8 inches) that I used to use as a hall pass. It had my name and room number, 227, written on it. I used it for several years at Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois.

I really hated writing up the hall passes when a kid had to go somewhere, usually to the bathroom. It really interrupted class. I'd just gesture to my desk and the student would get it and be on their way.

One teacher, Sharon Pinter, got into a bit of trouble with the office when she had the kids carry a regular toilet seat when they had to go. It was deemed as too demeaning, but hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

The office eventually wouldn't allow us to give a regular pass like these as they needed to know time and where the kids were headed. Believe it or not, some of those young scamps, 7th and 8th graders, abused the privilege and would roam far and wide.

Instead of going to the bathroom right down the hall, they had to go to the one on the other side of the school. Anybody trying to get out of class here?

Ah, the Good Old Days. --RoadDog

Las Vegas= Too Expensive For Me

Back in the 80s and early 90s, Liz and I used to go out to Vegas at least once a year, and sometimes twice. But, that was in the good old days of cheap rooms and food. There were even some casinos on the strip that weren't catering to the wealthy.

But those days are gone. The last time we were there, back in 2006 on our way back home from our Route 66 end-to-end trip, there were only one of our favorite gambling spots left on the Strip, Slots o' Fun.

They still had the cheap jumbo dogs and Corona and Heineken, now $1.50, up from 75 cents. Even the old Vegas standby, the 99 cent shrimp cocktail was present, although now at $1.50.

What brings this up is that I had an e-mail from Priceline today advertising really cheap rooms at some of the Hotels. These were all from prices: Flamingo $67, Bally's $80, Imperial $60, Golden Nugget $74, Caesar's $121, and Rio$110. The newest place, and I forgot to write down the name, started at $199.

Where are these people getting all the money? Must be stockholders and brokers.

Now, I have to admit, I'm going out there with some old teaching buddies for nine days in February, but we'll be staying with a friend and going on side trips, but even then...

Come on Vegas, Cater to Those of Us Who Aren't Super Loaded. --RoadDog

Groundhog Day Celebration A-Comin'

This Sunday, a favorite Illinois town of mine, Woodstock, starts their annual, I believe 15th, celebration of Groundhog Day with a pancake breakfast at the Moose Lodge. Our own Woodstock Willie will make the prognostication as to our future weather on Groundhog Day, February 2nd.

I have been to it the last four years and plan to be there on that date.

Woodstock is where the famous movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray was filmed, much to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania's chagrin. A walk around town will show you many of the movie's scenes.

February 1st will be the lighting of the Groundhog followed by a showing of the director's cut of the movie.

Feb. 2nd is the big day, with the prognostication at 7:07 a.m., a free showing of the movie at the Woodstock theater at 10, groundhog tales by celebrated local storyteller Jim May, a chili cookoff from noon to 1:15. A walking tour of the sites at 1:30 and plaque dedication of the alley where the old man died. Back at the Opera House (Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie), there will be a symposium on the movie.

I know where I'll be.

All in All, a Thoroughly Enjoyable Day. --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Comics and Me-- Part 2-- Technologically Backwards

Another favorite comic strip is "Broom Hilda."

Again, this last Sunday's strip featured Gaylord (G) and Broom Hilda (BH) talking.

First-- G putting a VHS tape in VCR-- BH- "Good gravy! You still watch VHS?
Second-- BH- "You're straight out of the dark ages, Gaylord."
Third-- BH-- Stop parading your ignorance by using such archaic technology."
Fourth-- BH-- Join the 21st century. Watch DVDs like us technologically hip folks do." as she puts something into the VCR.
Fifth-- BH clicking the remote and looking confused.-- "I don't get it. I put it in right but it's not playing."
Sixth-- Nerwin the Troll-- running into the room-- "You left your DVD on the kitchen table. You're watching a pancake." BH looks deflated.

This hit home. I have some DVDs and even a couple DVD players and a recorder, but I am still using VHS tapes in the old VCRs.

I also use the old cassette tapes more than anything else, even though I have lots of CDs. Of course, it is getting increasingly hard to find cassette tapes. I see that CDs are even becoming endangered.

Is it really necessary for us to keep all this technology changing this fast. Hell, you just learn how to operate something and a month later, it's obsolete and you have to learn how to operate something else!!!!

Being Dragged Kicking and Clawing into the 21st Century. --RoadDog

The Sunday Comics and Me-- Part 1 Hunky-Dory's

This past Sunday, two of the comic strips in the Chicago Tribune were about me.

One of my favorite comic strips is Mister Boffo and His Wonder Dog "Weederman."

This one had two guys in an office talking.

First-- "Johnson in accounting says everything is Hunk-Dory."

Second-- "Hunky-Dory?! I don't want hunky-dory, I want facts and figures."

Third-- "Hunky-Dory means nothing! I want charts, graphs, and every bit of statistical data we have."

Fourth-- "You got that?!"

Fifth-- other guy leaving and saying "Okey Dokey."

For many years, we used to go to Florida for spring vacation. A favorite place to stay was at the Beach House in Hollywood Beach. Right across A1A was a great place called Hunky Dory's which was right on the Intercoastal Waterway and featured bands and $1 margaritas.

For some reason, I could never remember the name of the place and kept calling it Okey Dokey's. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't remember it. It kept coming out Okey Dokey.

One year, we went back and I was so proud that I had finally learned the correct name, and wouldn't you know it, the place had been sold and the name changed to Bimini Bay. Well, at least this new name was easy to learn.

What's in a Name? --RoadDog

JSS-- Not Happy About Sunday's Playoffs-- C-O-L-D-- Snow-- Mo' Movies

Just Some Stuff--JSS

1. Sunday was not a good day for me in the NFL playoffs. First the Chargers were handily controlled by the Patriots. I used to like the Patriots and even felt sorry for them after their first two visits to the Super Bowl ended with defeats to Da Bears and Da Pack. But now, they have been winning Super Bowls way too much. Also, the Red Sox have won two of the last four World Series, and who knows how far the Celtics will go this year.

Then, the really bad thing was the loss of the Packers to the Giants. For a team that is supposed to really play well on the frozen tundra, they don't. I don't think Favre even came out in the second half. Hey, look how bad Da Bears whompped them in Soldier Field back in December.

Well, I'll be pulling for the New York Giants to pull off a huge upset on the 3rd of February. However, since I don't really like either team, I'm not going to watch it very closely. At least the Packers not going has saved me some money as I do not have to buy any Super Bowl stuff.

2. Man, has it been downright cold in these parts the last several days. Then, it snowed all yesterday. Judging from how much I had to clear off the driveway this morning, I'd say we got at least 4 inches.

3. Yesterday, after visiting with Frances, my mother-in-law, at the Alden Terrace Nursing Home in McHenry, Illinois, I took advantage of the McHenry Indoor Theater being open. It is closed except for one nightly showing from Mondays to Thursdays. But, because of it being MLK's birthday and schools being closed, they were open.

You just can't beat the $3 matinee prices these days.

I didn't really want to see "27 Dresses" but, it was just starting, so spent my 3 bucks and saw it even though there were a lot more people in attendance than I usually like. Light Romantic Comedies are now called "Chick Flicks." Very true. Of about 100 people, there were only five guys including myself. A whole lot of estrogen in that theater.

Chick flick are not, I really enjoyed it.

I had an hour to kill before the other movie started, so went to Alexi's, a hot dog/gyro place nearby, and had a double dog. It was ok, but I've had better.

Went back to the theater and paid another $3 and saw "The Bucket List." I know that the critics have largely panned it, but how could a movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson be bad? It wasn't. Talk about two completely different people coming together for a common goal and their waning months.

Just Passing the Time. --RoadDog

Sunday, January 20, 2008

That Dear Old Fraternity of Mine

Delta Sigma Phi Members in Congress and Government.

While going to Northern Illinois University, I belonged to the Delta Sigma Phi National Fraternity. I even tried to get a colony started at the University of Georgia, but nothing ever came of it.

The fall 2007, issue of the Delta Sig Carnation gave a list of Delta Sigs in the US Congress.

The first one was James J. Davis, who attended Pittsburgh '23 who became a Congressman in 1930.

Currently, there are four brothers:

Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa State '60 (D-Ia)
Congressman Bob Inglis, Duke '79 (R-SC)
Congressman Todd Tiahrt, South Dakota School of Mines '70 (R-Ks)
Congressman Mike Turner, Ohio Northern '79 (R-Oh)

Also, Rick Graber, Duke '75 is US ambassador to Czech Republic

James Holsinger, Duke '58, has been nominated to be US Surgeon General.

Not bad for a Little Old Fraternity. RoadDog

An Interesting Look at Teenage Boys Dating Your Daughter

While listening to the American Country Countdown today, two songs were ranked right next to each other in the top twenty. Both looked at boys dating men's daughters.

One was "Stealing Cinderella" by Chuck Wicks. In it, he was the teenage boy and the parents had him wait in their living room while the daughter got ready to go out with him. All along the walls and table tops there were pictures of the girl. He was to come away with the idea of how important she was to them.

The next song was "Cleaning This Gun" by Rodney Atkins. In this one, Rodney was the father, who told the boy not to worry, but he would be waiting up for him to bring his daughter home. All the while, he would just be cleaning his gun. Message received.

Either way, I think this young lad will behave like a gentleman.

Love That Good 'Ol Country Music. --RoadDog

Annual Bald Eagle Trip: Da Tub-- Da Steakhouse-- Da Playoffs,--Part 2

In the past, we had to take these eagle trips according to school holidays, but NOT NO MORE!!! Being RETIRED certainly has its advantages. This used to be a three day trip, but now can go as long as we want it. It had to coincide with the MLK holiday.

The next day, Sunday, I went on the internet on their complimentary computer and sat in a barber chair to eat the complimentary breakfast. We went to the Don Q's pool/hot tub area. You can actually swim outside to the great wide open (today with snow still falling and sticking to the trees as nature does her painting). Stuck the toe into the poll and with a shiver said that that wasn't going to happen. We had the place to ourselves.

Always a treat, especially when we don't have to put up with screaming kids. For some reason, kids just start screaming whenever they hit the water. One nice thing about the Don Q is that the adults are usually in the fanta-suites and it is not likely they're going to be out and about. Then, with a $55 room rate for the regular ones, this is a great deal.

Went across the street at noon to Thym's Steakhouse which dates to the 1960s. This was their first time with breakfast buffet, and they did an outstanding job on it. The place was packed and plenty of delicious food. Wisconsin folk sure love their steakhouses.

Drove downtown Dodgeville and watched the Chargers upset the Colts and the Giants do the same with the much-hated Cowboys. Those were two big upsets.

Come On Packers and Chargers. --RoadDog

Who's Gettin' Old?

Came across the November 14th Zits comic strip, one of my favorites. Jeremy and his dad are having a discussion. His dad is more my age group, 56, and then, there's his son Jeremy who is in high school. They don't always understand each other, and Jeremy thinks his dad is hopeless.

First: Jeremy looks at his father and says: "I'm on this Beatles kick."
Father-- amazed that Jeremy might like the same thing: "It's great stuff, isn't it?"

Second- Father continuing as his eyes focus up in remembrance: "Sgt. Pepper was the soundtrack of my teenage years." He continues, "Kind of like...kind of like..."

Third-- Jeremy: "Like a Gnarls Barkley ring tone is for mine?"
Father: "Yeah. But not."

Well, they tried to connect. Who says I'm getting old. Then there was brother Bob who pretty well wrecked my copy of Sgt. Pepper's while I was away at college. Thanks a lot, Bob.

Waxing Poetically Over Da Beatles. --RoadDog

Friday, January 18, 2008

JSS-- Case of the Wrong Restaurant-- Movies

JSS- Just Some Stuff

1. I thought I was supposed to meet Kip at the Triangle Restaurant in Grayslake this morning, and after sitting there for about thirty minutes, decided I must be in the wrong place. Called him and found out I had the right town, but wrong restaurant.

Met Kip and Paul, who I also taught with at Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois, at the nearby Whitney Street. Kip said I was the one who had planned to meet at this new place. Must have been a Senior Moment.

2. Decided to make it a movie double-header at the Fox Lake Theatre and saw $5 matinees for "The Water Horse" and "Cloverfield."

"The Water Horse" was set during World War II and involved a boy who had lost his father in the British Navy and who found the egg of a water horse, which would be the Loch Ness Monster. That brought back memories of the trip back in 2006 around the British Isles that Mom took the family on. We went to Loch Ness, but never did see Nessie.

"Cloverfield" wore me out, with all the herky-jerky camera shooting. The main monster was nasty, but I especially didn't like the little nasties which reminded me of the ones in "The Mist." and "Starship Troopers."

I Recommend Both Movies. --RoadDog

Annual Bald Eagle Trip--Da Trolls, Da Q, DaPack-- Part 1

We just got back from a road trip out to the Mississippi River to see the bald eagles. We've been doing this for about ten years. You never know if you'll see any or not. One trip, we only saw one eagle. Other trips, we've seen 20-50.

These trips used to coincide with the three day Martin Luther King holiday, but, now, we can go anytime and stay as long as we like.

We took US-12 from Spring Grove all the way to Madison, Wisconsin. Then, we got on US-18/151 and went to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, stopping along the way at Mount Horeb where we drove the Trollway, ate at a Norwegian restaurant, and toured the Mustard Museum after being searched upon entering for any illegal condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup. We sang a rousing Poupon U fight songs to the tune of those from Univ. of Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Mount Horeb was originally settled by Scandinavians, especially those from Norway. The whole length of the main street has carved wooden trolls.

Spent two nights at the unique Don Q Inn in Dodgeville. This is an amazing place with lots of heavy wooden beams in the three and a half story lobby, complete with barber chairs around a huge circular fireplace. The Q also features the fanta-suites, but we always stay in the regular rooms.

Drove into town and watched the Green Bay Packers start off horribly, but come back to bury the Seahawks. What better place to watch DaPack than in Da Cheesehead Land?

Next: Cornish Pasties, Bald Eagles

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where Were You December 30, 1964? The Music

I am going to list the songs they were playing on Chicago's WLS and WCFL AM stations on December 30, 1964. This, according to Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots Time Warp to that date. If there is anyone who knows more about the music of the 60s and 70s than Bob, I'd sure like to know who that might be. He's a walking encyclopedia.

He has to be about my age as his experiences of that era are really quite close to mine.

He started off by saying that on this date, many of us had just listened to our first full year of radio for the simple reason of that little old band from Liverpool that had really put our generation on its ears, and we called them the Beatles.

I, myself, really didn't pay much attention to radio before the Beatles burst upon us. Then, the old ear was glued to it all the time. I'd have to say they had a major impact on me.

The Songs December 30, 1964: words after are Bob Stroud's comments. In parentheses are my comments.

Love Potion #9-- Searchers-- originally an old hit for the Clovers. (I really like this one.)
Willow Weep for Me-- Chad & Jeremy-- brand new, your basic slow dance--could lead to anything, perhaps a Coke. (This was a gag me song.)
Saturday Night at the Movies-- Drifters-- (One of the great Beach Bands of all time.)
Come See About Me-- Supremes-- on it's way to being the third consecutive #1 hit for them.
As Tears Go By-- Marianne Faithful-- one of the groovy, swinging birds of England. Song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. (Boy, did I have a crush on her with that beautiful face and all that long straight blonde hair falling down.)
No Reply-- Beatles-- Bob decided to play side one of the new Beatles album in its entirety as 43 years ago, many of us had gotten the Fab 4's latest album, "Beatles '65" under the Christmas tree a week earlier. The first three songs were all written by John Lennon. (I still like the pre "Rubber Soul" Beatles the best. It's kind of strange that when you listen to those early Beatles albums, you just instinctively know what the next song is. You'd listen to one whole side, turn it over, listen to side B, then turn it over again and continue to do so until the parents yelled at you to turn that racket off.)
I'm a Loser-- Beatles
Baby's in Black-- Beatles
Rock and Roll Music-- Beatles-- cover of a Chuck Berry song
I'll Follow the Sun-- Beatles-- cover of a Dr. Feelgood song
Mr. Moonlight-- Beatles-- one of the strangest Beatles covers ever
Dance, Dance, Dance-- Beach Boys-- keeping right up with the Beatles. Band out of Hawthorne, Ca, three Wilson brothers, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. (One of the best road songs ever written even though they never mentioned a car or the road, just turning up the radio. It's got the beat. Just try not to tap along when you hear it.)
The Warmth of the Sun--Beach Boys-- one of Brian Wilson's best ballads to date
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling-- Righteous Brothers-- produced by Phil Spectbecame one of the most talked about songs on the radio. Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield-- the Righteous Brothers. Would go on to be a #1 song in 1965, but, we're getting our first taste of it. (Every time I hear it now, I can't help but think of that scene in the bar in "Top Gun.")
Walking in the Rain-- Ronettes-- a Phil Spectre production as well. (Before he went weird on us.)
Anyway You Want It-- Dave Clark 5-- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee this year. A new release from "the bodacious, the raucus, the righteous "Anyway You Want It." (Possibly the first single/45 I ever bought. It is about time they got inducted.)
Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow the Sun)-- Del Shannon-- just debuted by the late great Hall of Famer. ( Love that "Wheeoh" and organ.)
I'm Into Something Good-- Herman's Hermits-- newest band of the British invasion which just kept on coming. The first of many, many hits for them. (You just had to love those Hermits songs. The first album I ever bought was either their greatest hits or the Beatles "Rubber Soul", but I don't remember for sure.)
Boom Boom-- Animals-- One if by land, two if by sea, the British continued their invasion. New one and a cover of an old John Lee Hooker blues classic.
She's Not There-- Zombies-- went to top ten
Leader of the Laundromat-- Detergents-- and that's what they call a parody song. New York studio musicians and songwriters were quick to jump on the Shangri-Las "Leader of the Pack. ("Who's that banging on the piano? I don't know.")
She's a Woman-- Beatles-- Not much of a big surprise back then. Both A and B sides were number one in Chicago. This "B" side written by Paul McCartney. (Pretty much all of the Beatles songs went to Number One. Love the guitar intro to this one)
I Feel Fine-- Beatles-- by John Lennon

Bob Stroud introduces each segment with a little bit of another song beeing played at the time. Some of these were:

Mr. Lonely-- Bobby Vinton-- The Polish Prince, this was his second #1 hit of 1964. The first was "There, I've Said it Again" was displaced by the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand", their first #1.
Do Wacka Doo-- Roger Miller-- (some real silly stuff)
Wild One-- Martha & the Vandellas--
The Name Game-- Shirley Ellis--
Mountain of Love-- Johnny Rivers-- newcomer

Hey, I Remembered Where I Was. Evidently. --RoadDog

Where Were You December 30, 1964?

This started off to be just a short introduction to the songs Bob Stroud played on his Time Warp Rock and Roll Roots Show back on Dec. 30, 2007. He went back to that date in 1964 and to the same date in 1969 for the second half of the show.

It is strange how music can bring back memories. I had forgotten a lot of this, but it just came out of me.

The School

On December 30, 1964, I was on Christmas break from Winston Park Junior High School in Palatine, Illinois, where I was an 8th grader. I had been nominated to go into the 8-1 class, the top group at the school. We were on tracking and all classes were ranked from top to lowest.

The past semester I was in 8-2. I was definitely worried that these kids were too smart for me, but once school started again in January, I found that they weren't as smart as I thought. But, I sure hit the books hard until I discovered it.

They were in algebra, something I'd never had before, and was very frightened. Fortunately, Mrs. Nesbith taught the class, and within a short time she had me right up with the others. She was one great math teacher. I breezed through algebra both freshman and junior years at Palatine High, and scored so well, I didn't have to take it at Northern Illinois.

However, when I transferred to the University of Georgia, they said I had to take their introductory to algebra course. I tried to explain that I didn't have to take it at Northern, but they insisted. This was the easiest "A" I ever got.

There was no bus service to school, so I walked the three-quarters of a mile to school every day. Most other kids did as well, this being well before the parents of today who feel their little darlings must be driven everywhere.

The House

My family was living at 1148 Anderson Drive in Palatine in the huge Winston Park subdivision. It was still in the process of being built as we'd just moved in the summer before 7th grade.

Most of the whole other side of the street was Saint Thomas Catholic Church and School. As such, there was a great playground. Also, there still a big overgrown hill that was transformed into the battleground complete with trails, gunrooms, and ambush sites as we played a lot of war. The hill was good black dirt that Winston-Muss Corporation had scraped up from the lots during construction, so it was eventually used up. Today, a park occupies the site.

My brother Bob and I shared the downstairs room. Sister Julie had her own room upstairs and soon discovered that if she got into trouble, she could sit with her back to the door and put her feet against the entry wall and no one, not even Dad could open that door.

Mom and Dad

Mom had gotten her teaching degree several years earlier from East Carolina in Greenville, NC, and had started teaching. Bad news was that she was at Winston Park Junior High my seventh grade year, but by 8th grade she was teaching elementary school at Jane Addams School several blocks from the house. This was the same school Bob and Julie went to.

Dad was commuting via the Chicago & Northwestern train to Chicago where he worked with the Quaker Oats Company at the Merchandise Mart. Quite a few other Quaker people lived out in the subdivision, including the Haladas, Schrickels, McDonalds, and the Smiths. I was good friends with Rusty Smith and Julie and Bryan Smith got along well.

A Trip Back that Started with Music. --RoadDog

Outside Christmas Decorations are Down

Finally stopped raining yesterday and after the garland and wreaths dried out, I was able to get all the outside decorations and lights down.

Sometimes I have to wait until February and one year even to early March until we had a day with decent enough weather to do this. That, and sometimes I couldn't do it on decent days because of other commitments.

I have everything in carefully labeled boxes to avoid confusion the following season. One box is for garland on the deck, gazebo, and the front of the house. Another box is for lights on the deck and gazebo. Another is for lights on the front of the house.

One Less Thing to Worry About. --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Celebrating Liz's 57th Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Liz hits the big 5-7, 57 years old.

We're planning on getting together with Kora and Frank and driving up to Lake Geneva, Wi., and eating at Popeye's right on the lake.

Then we'll check out the damage to Gary's old house and see if the barn was hit, see entry below, if we can see it.

Then a stop for complimentary champagne at Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes, a true taste of Florida in the north woods, and a stop at Mar's Trading Post Inn, dating back to the 1840s, in Wilmot.

Also, thinking of going out to the Mississippi River to see the eagles if they're still around after all this warm weather we've had the last few days.

WE Have to Show the OLD Lady a Good Time, You Know. --RoadDog

Strange Weather Indeed

We have definitely had some strange weather these last few days. Who'd have figured that we'd have 60 degree temperatures in Chicagoland in early January. Not, only that, but we had thunderstorms, and then, there were the tornadoes. Who'd have figured we'd have tornadoes in the area in January.

I was out in the sun room writing in the journal and listening to a recording I'd made of Little Steven's Underground Garage, when Liz said that there were tornado warnings in Kenosha County, right over the border in Wisconsin about eight miles from here.

The Weather Channel has called "The sky is falling" so often that I don't much pay attention to their warnings any more. But, this time, they were right. Around 6 they started showing pictures on the Milwaukee stations of the damage.

They were hit by full-fledged tornadoes, none, fortunately were down by us.

From the location, it sounded like the subdivision where a good friend of ours, Gary, used to live before moving to Florida a few years ago. It was. I called Gary in Florida and told him to turn to the Weather Channel and it was his subdivision. They even showed his former house that was obliterated except for the garage. He said he didn't have insurance because it was in a flood plain and he wouldn't pay the extra money. So, he was one mighty fortunate lad not to be living there anymore.

Plus, he had a barn in Wheatland off Wilmot Road, Hwy W, where he kept his classic sports cars and business equipment. He also rented winter boat storage to us and many of his friends. He said that place also was not insured. We know the tornadoes were in the area, but not whether it was hit as well.

Fun and Games in Illinois and Wisconsin. --RoadDog

Vote for the Millionaire of Your Choice, But Vote!!!

The other day, Yahoo had a news story about what our candidates are worth. It goes as follows:

$34.9 million-- Hillary Clinton
$54.7 million -- John Edwards
$52.2 million-- Rudolph Giulani
$1.3 million-- Barack Obama
$40.4 million --John McCain
$202 million-- Mitt Romney
$8.1 million-- Fred Thompson

I don't know about anyone else, but I have not made up my mind. I watched the New Hampshire debates last Saturday and, although generally impressed, still don't have an idea.

I kind of liked Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, from an experience standpoint and the fact that he was the "forgotten" person of the four Democratic candidates. Also, he is not on the above list.

These days, I have to admit that I don't much trust anyone with a lot of money or involved with business. They seem to be out just for themselves and to hell with the regular folks. Especially with the new age of CEOs and business.

Of the ones listed, I guess I'd have to go with Obama as he is worth the least.

Who to Vote For, Who to Vote For. --RoadDog

Sunday, January 6, 2008

So, How About Illinois' New No-Smoking Law?

I've been awaiting Illinois' No Smoking in bars and restaurants ever since we learned of it back last summer.

Now, I have to admit that I was a former smoker, but quit on my own about 27 years ago. Every year that goes by, I become less and less tolerant of cigarette smoke. Pipes and many cigars don't bother me for some reason.

Liz is a chain smoker, and when we go out, it doesn't matter where I sit, her smoke seeks me out. I can even move, and it will change direction to get at me.

One of my main NTN sites is Hello Folks in Fox Lake. Unfortunately, most of the patrons are chain smokers and that coupled with low ceilings makes for a miserable haze most times.

I went there on New Year's Day to see what effect it had. The place was packed as usual. There were no ashtrays out and no smoking signs all over. The doors opened quite often however, as people bundled up to go out into the cold to have their smoke. They had to be 15 feet away from the door however. Hopefully places will be able to build shelters of some sort for these poor people.

One guy came in and lit up. He was immediately reminded and said he'd forgotten and put it out. He stayed for drinks. Another guy came in puffing, and when told, turned around and left. One guy put a cigarette in his mouth to flaunt the law, but didn't light up.

You could see how yellow the ceilings were, and Bobby, the owner, has hired good buddy and fellow NTN player Ken to clean and paint them.

Since we're near the Wisconsin border, I'm sure lots of Illinoisans will be going to the Dairy State to smoke at bars.

No More Coughin' for Me While Playing NTN and Drinking.   --RoadDog

Christmas Decorations Down and Coming Down

We always keep the Christmas decorations up until New Years Day. Liz went on a cleaning frenzy and took all the upstairs inside decorations down Wednesday and Thursday. This is a major effort as we have lots and lots and lots of Christmas stuff.

I've been trying not to buy new stuff, but that is hard. I get to looking at Christmas decorations like Ralphie looked at his bb gun. However, with me, it's not "You'll put your eye out," but "Where'm I gonna put it?" I did break down and buy a few things, but kept the new stuff under five items. Rather proud of it, but Liz still thinks I've bought too much.

I rather feel like the expectant father as his wife is delivering and she yells, "YOU. You did this to me," in a demonic trance, when Liz is taking down or putting up the stuff.

The only thing I can say about Liz's cleaning frenzies is to stay out of her way, less you find yourself packed away until next December. When we had the old mutt back in the 70s and 80s, we'd manage to stay one room ahead of Liz.

She did a great job though, and even did a major cleaning afterwards.

Meanwhile, the old procrastinator managed to get a few things down in Margaritaville (in the basement) last night during the New Hampshire presidential debates. Now that most of the snow has melted, I hope to get the outside decorations down once they dry out. Many of them had had snow on them until recently.

Until the Stores Put Up Their Christmas Stuff in September. --RoadDog

Watchin' the Doggies Run

New Year's Eve, my buddy Bob called from out in Iowa to say Little Tommy and some of the other Magee (now Round Lake Middle School) teachers were getting together at the Dairyland Park in Kenosha on the 3rd to bet on the dog races.

I drove the thirty miles there and paid $1 to park (hear that Chicago) and got to waive the usual $3 ticket to get in (something about senior day on Wednesdays). Went upstairs to the clubhouse and that is a great place to watch the race, either live or on TV. For some reason, there were a lot of "old folks" in attendance.

Little Tommy has a reputation of betting on any and everything and he was living up to it. Fortunately for him, he is usually lucky when it comes to betting. Not only could you bet on the dog race, but there were several horse races going on. Good thing he is in such good shape as he was constantly running up to counter to place bets.

Bob retired from Magee two years before me, but still has kids in college so is teaching at a Catholic school in Mt. Prospect. Mike retired this past June. Little Tommy, Jason, and Terri are still teaching, but Little Tommy will be retiring in five years, but the other two have a long way to go.

I ended up losing $10, which is not bad for me. I know that I don't have a lot of luck, so bet in moderation. Plus, you know, I'm on what they call a fixed income.

Love the Names of Those Dogs. --RoadDog

We Been Gas-Gouged!!!!!

Friday was a jolt to the old eyes as gas prices jumped dramatically around here. Thursday, gas in Fox Lake, Illinois, was anywhere from $2.93 to $3. Friday morning, on my way to meet Kip for breakfast in Grayslake, it had jumped to $3.10.

Round Lake Beach ranged from $3.05 to $3.25!!!! Yesterday, in McHenry, it ranged from $3.15 to $3.20!!!!

I saw that gas had crossed the mythical $100 a barrel mark on Thursday, so it definitely did not take long to show up on our gas pumps.

My own belief is that it should not be more than $2 a gallon. There are too many people, from Big Oil to the traders that are too interested in making an ill-got profit no matter who they have to hurt in order to do so. They are hurting the regular folks of America.

Not only has this greed caused us to pay more at the pump, but, a trip to the local grocery store gets more frightening every time. Food prices are soaring.

Richard Arens Is Not a Nice Man!!!

Yesterday, I saw on Yahoo News that they had traced the $100 a barrel mark to a lone oil trader out for fame as the Man Who Broke the $100 a Barrel Mark. He made the purchase that broke the record when he offered $100,000 for 1000 barrels.

Richard Arens is a one-man oil brokerage firm. For his great accomplishment, he ended up taking a loss of $600, chump change for such a lofty accomplishment. For his great accomplishment, we all ended up paying an extra 10-20 cents. It cost me an extra $1.50 for Arens' great accomplishment. Multiply that $1.50 by perhaps ten million people who got gas Friday (and it was probably a lot more) and you have $10,500,000 that Mr. Arens took out of our pockets. Thanks a lot Mr. Arens.

One can only hope that he had to fill up Friday so perhaps he could have experienced the fruits of his great accomplishment. Remember, Ralphie's father on "A Christmas Story" won a major award. Perhaps, we can come up with a major award for Mr. Arens' major accomplishment.

May the fleas of a thousand camels... --RoadDog

JSS-- Bowl Games, College B-Ball, Snow, NTN

JSS-Just Some Stuff

1. The Bowl games are mostly over. The Illinois game was a sad affair on New Year's Day. USC had something they wanted to prove, and they did. But, after the last two 2 win seasons, the 9-3 Illini record was quite an improvement and hopefully the team is ready to start many years of winning.

Congrats to Tennessee and Georgia for wins as well. Still pulling for LSU in the national championship game Monday.

2. Conference college basketball is underway now. This is what gets me through the winter. Unfortunately, I will be missing a lot of Big Ten games because of the Big Ten Network. My cable station could take the Home Shoppers Network or religious channel off and put this on and I'd be very happy.

Favorite Big Ten teams, in order: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern.
Favorite ACC teams, in order: North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia
Other favorites: Northern Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, Gonzaga, DePaul, Marquette, East Carolina.

3. Snow's a meltin'. Temps in the upper 40s and we are quickly losing the white stuff. Driveway and sidewalks all clear now. Because of the really cold temps earlier in the week, the tress had mostly kept their white paintings the whole time. I'll miss that beauty.

4. Been playing some NTN since the new year began. Played at one new site, BW3 in Kenosha, as well as Freddie's, Donovan's, and Hello Folks. We've had 19 top twenties. Not bad.

Last year, Liz and I were able to visit a total of 54 new (by this I mean sites we'd never been to before) places. This puts us up to 619 different sites since we began playing.
My RoadDog player at Hello Folks in Fox Lake, Illinois, broke the 3 million mark recently. When you consider that you usually can only get 2000 points an hour, I'm spending way too much time playing this game.

However, the 3 million at Folks only puts me at #9 in the top ten players. And, #10 will be passing me within a few weeks. Evidently, I'm not the only one with a problem.

Life Goes On. --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Just Two Fun and Party People--NOT NO MORE!!!

That is Liz and me. I guess our days of doing New Year's Eve on Key West's Duvall Street are at an end. That, by the way was one crazy time and you definitely don't want to be standing on the street at the stroke of midnight.

Yesterday, Liz and I went over to visit with Frances at Alden Terrace nursing home in McHenry. Wished her a happy New Year.

We then drove to Hello Folks in Fox Lake, a favorite NTN spot with lots of friends and great food. We splurged on $2.99 Italian beefs and fries for our New Year's din din. This was also the last day folks could smoke in the place. The whole state went smokeless in bars and restaurants at the stroke of midnight. I am very thankful for that.

Then we went to the New Year's Eve party at the American Legion which went from 1 PM to 7. The place was packed with old fogies like us who just couldn't stay up till midnight.

We didn't even make it until 5, and went home.

Watched "Shrek II" and "The Trouble With Harry"--see today's JSS.

I was finding it very hard to stay awake, even by 10:30. This was one time I actually liked the eastern time zone, since they got to celebrate an hour before us.

Watched Rocking New Year's Eve and got to see that Hanna Montana girl I've been hearing so much about. She was pretty good. Dick Clark definitely had a stroke a few years back. This was the first time I've seen him since then. The new mirror ball is impressive and I understand the electricity used is equal to just that required by ten toasters. Pretty green if you ask me.

Somehow managed to stay up to see midnight and the fireworks in Chicago. We were disappointed that Channel 7 kept showing the revelers while the fireworks were being displayed.

Asleep by 12:15!!!

Too Much Partyin' for this Old Guy. --RoadDog

Great Day for Bowl Games

There really weren't a lot of bowl games that really cared much about until today. There are WAY TOO MANY bowl games these days. One of them even featured two .500 teams!!!

I was happy to see East Carolina defeat Boise State. Both Mom and Dad graduated from there, and I would probably have gone there as well had we not moved to Illinois. Unfortunately, Central Michigan lost in the last minute to Purdue after coming back and tying the game.

Way to go Mr. Paterno who won his 500th game with Penn State at the Alamo Bowl. I have a lot of regard for this man.

But, today there are lots of great games.

I am a big Wisconsin fan, actually, they're my very favorite Big Ten team. Unfortunately, they're playing my second favorite SEC team, Tennessee. My nephew Andy is one of the biggest Vol fans in the world. Just ask anyone who knows him and walk into his "orange" room. My brother Bob, didn't go to Tennessee, but his money sure did. Tennessee won 21-17.

The Really Big Game today, is the Rose Bowl. Come on Illinois!!!! I attended Northern Illinois, and at one time really hated the Illini, but I have since become a Big Ten, well, Eleven actually. Win one for the Chief!!! The late great Chief Illinewek.

The Sugar Bowl will pit Georgia against Hawaii. I'm pulling for Georgia as I went there one year and my sister graduated from there and my niece goes there now.

I'm pulling for LSU in the championship. Two teams I really don't like are Michigan and Ohio State.

Nothing Like Some Good College Football on New Year's Day. --RoadDog

JSS-- More Snow--Tribune to 75 Cents--Little Steven's 300th--Trouble With Harry

Just Some Stuff-JSS.

1. We got another 3-4 inches of snow between last night and this morning. Yesterday, there was about an inch on the ground. Last Friday, we had another 7 inches, but it was a perfect snowfall, big flakes drifting lazily to the ground and painted all the trees and bushes. Fortunately, most of the snow we had in the earlier part of December had melted. I'm guessing we've had at least 20 inches and very likely more this winter.

2. Alas, the Chicago Tribune has raised its daily price (excluding Sundays) to 75 cents. There was no warning of it and evidently, the increase went into effect yesterday.. I get it deleivered from Wednesday to Sunday. I saw notification on a rack of newspapers at a convenient mart and had to tell the clerk it was no longer 50 cents. Probably should have kept my mouth shut, but I'm an honest guy. Had to tell another clerk about the price increase today.

3. Just listening to the current Little Steven's Underground Garage which has now been moved from Monday nights on WXRT, Chicago's Finest Rock, 93.1 FM to Sunday nights from 9 PM to 11. This is really one great show, but unfortunately, I didn't start listening to it until about three months ago. Rock and Roll is not dead, it lives on with Little Steven. This is a great place, especially if you like garage rock. Give it a listen. Go to his website to find a station near you, or, WXRT does stream.

Little Steven refers to CDs as albums and says if God had wanted people to text without vowels that he wouldn't have invented vowels.


4. Last night, I watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Trouble with Harry." That had to be the biggest group of crazy folks ever assembled, and, how many times can you bury and dig up a guy? Talking with Ken today at Hello Folks who is a big fan of the movie. He said that the little kid was Jerry Matthers, of "Leave it to Beaver" fame.

Just Some Things. --RoadDog

Happy New Year!!!

First off, I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

This being my 300th post after starting this blog in May, 2007. This one was only started because I couldn't get to RoadDog's Roadlog blog and I was testing blogspot to see what I should do.

I currently have four blogs on blogspot and will add another one this month.

This one, is more about me and stuff I'm up to. The other three are about roads, history, and the Civil War. The new one will be about historic preservation. I tried one on Illinois preservation on Yahoo, but can't get it and like the choices we have on blogspot a lot better.

Other blogs:

http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com about roads and my travels. Also preservation right now. Preservation is an important word for us roadologists.

http://sawtheelephant.blogspot.com about the Civil War.

http://cootershistorything.blogspot.com about, what else, but you-know-what. This is my newest one, only starting last month.

Too Much Bloggin', Not Enough Action. --RoadDog