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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Da Thumb-- Physical Therapy Days

Speaking of the thumb, I've been going to a hand therapy place in Fox Lake for therapy to try to get full use of the thing back.

They took all sorts of measurements and have me on thumb exercises as well as wrap-downs. Michelle, who runs the place is also a Spring Grove resident living in the southern mansion home by Main Street and Wilmont Road. They have the huge horse pasture next to them, but don't own it.

Everybody's favorite in the pasture is the lone donkey named Julio (as she told me). The donkey who thinks he's a horse. Quite a character.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing the chimpanzee dexterity exercise where I put about 150 steel pins into a board. I refrained from making monkey noises, however.

The "wound" has mostly closed up so hopefully it won't be much longer. It is still sore when I touch something.

Who's Have Thought That a Thumb Could Cause This Much Trouble. --RoadDog

Tough Life, But Somebody's Got to Do It-- Nah, I'm Retarred-- As In Retired!!!

As I start my third year of retirement, I woke up this morning at 8:15 am and thought to myself that I'd have been a ways into my first period class had I still been teaching.

Oh well. It's a burden I'll just have to carry.

As punishment, I sat out on the deck (OD) and wrote in my journal and read the journal from twenty years ago, 1988. I was still deejaying a lot back then, and had a new convertible top put on the '67 Firebird, a new back-up battery-operated sump pump for the basement and had broken down and bought central air thanks to a Really Hot and Dry Summer that had caused us to start sleeping in the basement seeking the cooler climes.

I also listened to Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots show from August 3rd, where he went back 40 years to a pretty good summer in my life, 1968. Those songs sure brought back the memories.

Right now, I'm sitting in the gazebo as it got too hot out on the deck. Especially without the umbrella which took off to parts unknown during a severe storm back in June. I have some extra umbrellas in the garage, but haven't gotten around to bringing one out. I'll blame it on the thumb.

Typing away, two-fingered on this here laptop and listening to Jimmy Buffett's Radio Margaritaville.

I Feel So Guilty. Later, We're Going Out on the Boat. --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Teen Pop Primer

The Tribune also ran a Teen Pop primer on some of the performers and groups.


FABIAN-- had hits late 50sand early 60s along with Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell.

DEFRANCO FAMILY-- Five Canadian siblings who hit it big with 2-million-selling "Heartbeat. It's a Lovebeat" in 1973 but were unable to follow it up.

TIFFANY-- Tiffany Renee Darwish-- toured shopping centers. First teenage girl with a #1 album. Hey, ease up on the Tiff. "I Think We're Alone Now."

SPICE GIRLS-- sold lots of records, T-shirts and lunch boxes, then were gone.


RICKY NELSON-- TV appearances with parents on "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" helped, but went on to sell 100 million records and recorded into his 30s.

MICHAEL JACKSON-- last of the Motown power cats launched the eleven-year-old to fame and continued into the 80s with the remarkable "Thriller" album. We won't talk about the later years even though he had several other very good efforts at recording.

BEYONCE-- Started with Destiny's Child and used it as a stepping off point for solo career.

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE-- 'N Sync vocalist who is a cross-genre hitmaker, especially with producer Timbaland.

Now You Know All About Teen Pop. --RoadDog

Who Are the Jonas Brothers?

Until just recently, I did not know who they were, but I went to breakfast with a friend and his ten-year-old daughter and she was wearing a Jonas Brothers tee-shirt and kept writing her name as the wife of one of them. These guys are quite big with the younger set.

The August 24th Chicago Tribune said that their new album, excuse me, CD, "A Little Bit Longer" debuted at #1 last week with 525,000 disc sold in this day of downloads.

This kind of music has been called Teen Pop.


The Tribune had a list of Teen Pop stars who made it and didn't.

FLAME OUTS-- Fabian (late 50s, early 60s), Tiffany (late 80s), Spice Girls (early 2000s).

FAME-- Ricky Nelson (50s), Michael Jackson (early 80s version), Beyonce (late 90s), Justin Timberlake (mid-2000s).

Hey, I Liked Tiffany. --RoadDog

All Those Calories Pay Off

Big Congrats to Michael Phelps on the record-setting 8th swimming gold medal.

Back on August 14th, I wrote about his 12,000 calories a day intake.

Michael Esposito, in the August 24th Chicago Tribune, went to fast food company webs sites and did some math to figure out what 10,000 calories is equal to.

Here are his findings:

10,000 calories is equal to:

74 White Castle burgers
41 Vienna beef corn dogs
23 Wendy's quarter pound singles
47 Taco Bell tacos supreme
77 KFC Original Recipe drumsticks
45 Eli's plain cheesecake slices
15 Burger King Whoppers
1,667 8-inch sticks of celery

Wonder why you get so much celery.

Thanks, Michael. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Liz's and My 35th Anniversary-- A Day in the Life As It Were

Yesterday, Liz and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. As my Dear Old Dad would sing....


It started with me making a Japanese beetle sweep out in the yard. Then, I called the Allstate Motor Club and had someone come out to look at the 2003 Malibu. It turned out to be a very dead battery. Didn't turn it off and drove the car over to Five Star Repair and they put a new battery in right away.

Then had the real joy of going to the bank and paying my second installment on the 2007 property taxes, a cool $3,929. Now mind you, I already paid the same amount back in June. That puts us just shy of $8000 and over $500 more than last year, even though the price of our home dropped significantly. You'd think that if the price of the house dropped, the taxes would also drop. That is the excuse they alway use to raise taxes.


We then went out for a cruise and float on Fox Lake. Weather was comfortable, but a bit too windy, so lots of white caps.

Even a bad day on a boat is better than a good day at work. Hey, wait a minute, we don't work any more.

Then, we drove to Richmond and NOT SO FUN filled the gas tank at the NOT SO FUN price of $3.89, but AT LEAST IT'S UNDER $4!!!

Had a great meal at Dilar's. We have been going here since we were in high school when it was Mr. Sitka's. So it is one of those "special places" for us. I had a house specialty of chicken breast de joghne which was quite good. Then, there was that fantastic onion soup.


Then, it was to the International House of Wineand Cheese where we looked for a bottle of Blue Nun. Liz's dad Amby had given us a small bottle of it before we left the wedding reception back in Dekalb, Illinois, was back in 1973. We were to drink it once we got out to Galena and that has been a tradition ever since. Alas, no Little Blue Nun for us.

We also stopped at a liquor store and Sentry in Twin Lakes, but no Blue Nun either.

Went to Donovan's. a favorite hangout and had a complimentary bottle of champagne with our many friends there. Played NTN and had quite a few national rankings.

Not a Bad 35th. Even with What Dad Sang. --RoadDog

Top Songs in Chicago-- August 3, 1968-- Part 3

Covering the third an final four of the show.

IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA-- IRON BUTTERFLY-- Not the edited radio version, but the FULL thing.
HUSH-- DEEP PURPLE-- Early heavy metal treatment on a Billy Joe Royal song.
MAGIC BUS-- WHO-- Love the percussion sticks or whatever it is on this one.
YOU KEEP ME HANGING ON-- VANILLA FUDGE-- You'd never know this was a Motown song after they got through with it.
HELLO, I LOVE YOU-- DOORS-- One of my favorite Morrison songs along with "Roadhouse Blues." This one takes me right out to Honey Hill in Wauconda.

You may notice this list is a lot shorter than the other two. That's what happens when you include the full version of that Iron Butterfly song. Old Bob must have needed a bathroom break.

Looking Forward to Stroud's Last Time Warp to 1968 This Sunday. --RoadDog

Top Songs in Chicago-- August 3, 1968-- Part 2

Continuing with Bob Stroud's playlist.

JUMPIN' JACK FLASH-- ROLLING STONES-- This song really brings me back to family trips to visit kinfolk back in North Carolina.
HURDY GURDY MAN-- DONOVAN-- I liked the humming intro.
QUESTIONS-- BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD-- One of my favorite all-time groups.
YOU AIN'T GOING NOWHERE-- BYRDS-- I play this a lot by Irish groups every St. Patrick's Day.
BORN TO BE WILD-- STEPPENWOLF-- Probably the ultimate Road Song.
SHAPES OF THINGS-- JEFF BECK-- Never heard of it.
CLASSICAL GAS-- MASON WILLIAMS-- One of the best-ever instrumentals.
TWO-BIT MANCHILD-- NEIL DIAMOND-- Don't much like this one.
PICTURES OF MATCHSTICK MEN-- STATUS QUO-- What an intro with that squealing guitar!! One really great one-hit wonder song.
I NEED LOVE-- THIRD BOOTH-- From Illinois.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Blooz Brothers

Last night, I went to the final It's Thursday party in Antioch, Illinois, to see the great Blooz Brothers Band put on a show. There is a four man horn section, bass and lead guitarists, drummer, and organist along with Jake and Elwood.

The whole pavillion seating area was packed. Hey, it was free. Hard to beat that these days.

The band played one song, then there were all these flashing lights and sirens as several of Antioch's finest "escorted" the Bloozmobile (replete with a huge speaker on the top) into the parking lot.

Jake and Elwood then made a mad dash up to the stage, uncuffed the brief case, and proceeded into "Everybody Needs Somebody" after thanking Antioch's law enforcement. They played several Blues Brothers songs as well as one Doobie Brothers and Sly's "Thank You Fa Lettin' Me B'Myself."

Unfortunately, I saw them covering the control booth and a few minutes later, Elwood said that a storm was about ten minutes out and we should start preparing, but the show would go on. Not having rain gear and not liking to get rained on, I left with heavy heart. I was having a really good time.

Hope They're Back Next Year. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Top Songs in Chicago-- August 8, 1968

At the beginning of the month, Bob Stroud took us back to the songs that were popular in Chicago 40 years earlier. I want to tell you, these songs brought back memories. Which, after all, is a major thing a song should do.

Here is the list with my comments.

SWLBR-- CREAM-- Hard to believe three guys couldmake this much sound. Besides CCR, this was the only group I bought every one of their albums when they came out. I first heard them from their "Fresh Cream" album while visiting my family in North Carolina.

LIGHT MY FIRE-- JOSE FELICIANO-- a little Latin flair.
SPANISH CARAVAN-- DOORS-- these last two kind of tied in together
I'M A MIDNIGHT MOVER-- WILSON PICKETT-- One of my favorite soul singers. The Wicked Pickett.
DO IT AGAIN-- BEACH BOYS-- Going back to the good old days back in the good old days.
SKY PILOT-- ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS-- This song always reminds me of going to NC. LOve the first words and the battle sounds.
SLIP AWAY-- CLARENCE CARTER-- Dr. CC before he got down and dirty.
INDIAN LAKE-- COWSILLS-- This song takes me back to Honey Hill in Wauconda where most of the Burger King crew would go during the summer.
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE MIND-- AMBOY DUKES-- Was that the Detroit Wildman, Ted Nugent?

More to Come. Songs Were Much Shorter Then. --RoadDog

Billboard's Top 100 Charts-- Part 2

When I was deejaying more-or-less full time, part time,I used the Billboard charts a lot. I always tried to have the top ten pop and country songs at all times, either on 45 or lp. I even cut the lists out of the Chicago Tribune and put them in a scrapbook.

I also bought Joel Whitburn's Top 40 chart books that went from the 50s and were updated every couple of years. I even purchased a massive book listing EVERY top 100song as well as one for the top R&B songs. I would especiallyuse these to keeptrack ofmy always growing collection of albums and 45s, later cassettes and then CDs. It helped greatly if I was doing a wedding or private party and I had special requests for songs.

Joel Whitburn turned a passion into a full-time career with his Record Research Company. He started collecting records as a teenager back in the 50s and as his holdings grew began sorting and categorizing. I believe I heard that he has every top 100 song from the 50s.

It's Great When You Can Turn a Hobby Into a Career. Congrats, Joel!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hot 100 Chart Turns 50

Billboard's Hot 100 chart turned 50 on August 4th after debuting that date back in 1958. The number one song was "poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson. To me, this is STILL what determines the top songs.

Some interesting facts about the Top 100:

Most weeks at #1-- Mariah Carey and Boys II Men with "One Sweet Day"-- 16 weeks (not a favorite of mine).

In 1964, the Beatles became the first group to replace themselves at #1 when "She Loves You" took the top spot from "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

At one point, the Beatles had the top five spots with "Can'y Buy Me Love," "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Please, Please Me." At one time they also had 14 songs in the top 100.

Otis Redding was the first to have a posthumous #1 with 1968's "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay."

Domenico Modugno's "Volare" was the first non-English #1.

Cher went the longest time between #1s with 1965's "I Got You Babe" and 1979's "Believe." That's 33 years and seven months.

The top 100 chart takes into account sales and play on the radio.

On August 4, 1958, there were only 48 states and gas was at the high rate of 25 cents a gallon.

The Real #1s. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Let Me Tell You About My Dumb Birds

Lately, we've been hearing a lot of tappa-tappa-tapping on the basement window. The sound comes from who we3 call Dumb Bird #1, a female cardinal who is intent on gaining access to the basement plants by flying through the window.

She perches on the bushes and then flies right into the window, with her beak making a tap. Now, you'd think that after awhile, she'd get the idea that she couldn't do it, but not her. I walk over to the window and she flies away and glares at me. Her mate is around, but he can't get her to stop either.

Sure hope she doesn't hurt herself. I've been wanting to get some cardinals to hang around since we moved in 15 years ago, but I'm not sure that I want a "challenged" bird or her family.

Must have one REALLY HARD BEAK.

Anybody Know How to Say "No" in Cardinasl? --RoadDog

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gas Prices Falling, So What Happened Here?

Today's CNN Money said that gas prices across the country dropped for the 32nd straight day. The country's average is $3.74.

What I want to know is what caused our gas prices here on the McHenry/Lake county border here in Illinois to jump last Thursday from $3.88 to as high as $4.06? That was within a few hours. Now, of course, it will take over a month to drop back down. You know, ROCKET UP, FLOAT LIKE A FEATHER DOWN.

No cause for it, other than GRB Big Oil greed.

Guys Like This Really Burn Me!!!

An article in the Saturday, August 16th Chicago Tribune about United Airlines CFO Frederic Brace retiring. This person demanded steep salary concessions from the workers and destroyed pensions, all the while taking as a reward, $10.4 million and receiving 13,000 shares of restricted stock in 2007 "for his exceptional contributions..."

Let's see, I'll take it out of your pocket while you're working and really mess up those who worked all those years for the company and retired, and, I'll put it in MY POCKET.

No mention in the article as to how much he will get as a "retirement" gift. Maybe that can be "restructured" after he's gone.

A True Leader Makes His Own Concessions When Times Are Tough, and Doesn't Step to the Head of the Line to Get Rich. Just Another Example of the Guys (AS IN CEOs and Evidently CFOs) We Have Running This Coutry's Business Today. --RoadDog

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bob Stroud's Summer Road Trip-- Part 2

Continuing With That Summer Road trip. Gas is on Bob. Thanks Bob!!!

ROLL ON DOWN THE HIGHWAY-- BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE-- One of the perfect cruising songs.


TOBACCO ROAD-- NASHVILLE TEENS-- Bob said these guys were part of the British Invasion. Were they singing about the UNC-Duke rivalry?

Get Your Kicks on Route 66-- Rolling Stones-- Hey Bob, other groups have done the song. You always play the Stones. How about Chuck Berry's version? The "ULTIMATE" cruising song,but then, I'm a bit of a 66 fan.


LOVE STREET-- DOORS-- "Roadhouse Blues" would have been better, but this is good as well. Pretty much anything the Doors did back then was great.

ON BROADWAY-- GEORGE BENSON-- jazzing down that street

THE WALL STREET SHUFFLE-- 10CC-- very innovative band.


COUNTRY ROAD-- JAMES TAYLOR-- That's more like it. Out in the country.


LAKE SHORE DRIVE-- ALIOTA--HAYNES--JEREMIAH-- Let's close it out in Sweet Home Chicago. Did LSD have a double meaning? Actually, US Highway 41 which goes from the Lake Huron shore in the Upper Peninsula all the way to Miami.

Still Wishin' I Could Afford to Cruise. --RoadDog

Friday, August 15, 2008

How's This for a Jolt in the Old Gas Tank and Wallet

Yesterday, we went out boating and put five gallons of gas in the tank. It cost $3.88 a gallon for rtegular.

I always look at gas prices and have been encouraged that the price is dropping, sorry about that Exxon-Mobil. Although, it seems to have gotten stuck at this price at most stations in Fox Lake, Illinois. (I should mention here that Wednesday, we got gas in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, a major tourist resort, for $3.79, the "cheapest" I've seen in quite awhile.)

Gas was still $3.92 at the unfriendly Philip's 66 on US-12, but $3.88 everywhere else, including Idiot Boy's Citgo on 12. On the way home, we were shocked to see the price at $4.06!!!!! That's an 18 cent increase in just over 3 hours!!! What gives??? It takes the stations over a month to drop that amount!!!!

What happened? Did the Boy blow his cool, or did some Mideastern or African dictator sneeze? Or perhaps, the GRB Bog Oil Dudes just WANTED more money.

After All, $11.6 Billion Just Ain't Enough to Buy Food No More!! --RoadDog

Lake Geneva Here We Go-- Part 2

I knew Lake Geneva got busy during the summer, but had no idea just HOW busy. We had to detour to get over to Popeye's located across the street from Geneva Lake. Traffic was backed up tremendously and it didn'tappear that we would be able to get through the stop light.

Popeye's, not to be confused with the popular New Orleans fried chicken chain, has been there since the 1970s and, from a modest beginning, has really built up one of the most popular restaurants in town. And then, there's that view of the lake, especially if you are fortunate to get a table along the windows. We didn't, but still had a nice view from a table located more to the interior.

Then, there's the great food, albeit a bit on the expensive side. About the cheapest sandwich on the menu is $8.99. We usually only go when we get 50% off coupons for our birthdays, or in this case, a local VIP coupon, also good for half off and for EVERY WEDNESDAY in August. This helps offset the price and gas to get there. I should mention that once a month, they have a $2.99 meal. This month it's chicken and dumplings.

Great meal.


Afterwards, we visited a windsock shop and another with all sorts of signs and other dust-gatherers, but am happy to report we didn't buy anything. Of course, being a tourist spot,there are tee shirt places (where we got the idea for our "I Don't Want To, I Don't Have To, You Can't Make Me, I'm Retired" idea for Liz's Zazzle shirts.

We visited one store famous for their delicious varieties ofpopcorn and the owner talked about Route 66 when he saw the name on my hat. Maybe we should have a special Route 66 popcorn variety.

One sad thing is that after this season, the local video machine place will be closing forever, a victim of the times. This used to be a really hot spot for kids to spend their quarters and play the latest games, but now, they have their own hand-held devices as well as the games on computers.

Then, Again, Sometimes I Feel Like a Victim of the Times. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bob Stroud's Summer Road Trip

This past Sunday, Bob Stroud took a road trip on his weekly Rock and Roll Roots Show. Me being a big-time Roadie, I just had to listen to it. Not every song was a road song as he always does birthdays, and makes me feel old (Thanks a lot, Bob). When he does a birthday, he also plays a song by them.

Since these are Road Songs, I will also list them on the RoadDog's Roadlog Blog. But, since music is such a BIG part of my life, I'll list them here with my comments.

2120 SOUTH MICHIGAN AVENUE-- ROLLING STONES-- Instrumental recorded in a visit to Chicago's Chess Studios, located at that address. The Stones were much influenced by music from here.

VENTURA HIGHWAY-- AMERICA-- Come on, let's get those harmonies going.

EASY STREET-- EDGAR WINTER GROUP-- Never heard of this one before

ON THE ROAD AGAIN-- CANNED HEAT-- Favorite song by them

EXPRESSWAY TO YOUR HEART-- SOUL SURVIVORS-- Great party song. Get those dancing shoes on.

HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED-- BOB DYLAN-- Great song about the BLUES HIGHWAY. I especially like the intro. Like no other Dylan song.

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD-- BEATLES-- Don't much like this one even if Sir Paul is on Route 66 right now. Too slow and gag.

WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD-- Beatles-- Is this nasty or not? Do what?

CAREFREE HIGHWAY-- GORDON LIGHTFOOT-- How do you beat a good Gord song?

TAKE THE HIGHWAY-- MARSHALL TUCKER BAND-- Great song except that extended jam. Still like "Fire on the Mountain" the best.

To Be Continued...

Keep on Rocking Down the Highway. --RoadDog

And Speaking of Michael Phelps

Yahoo Topics had an article today about Michael Phelps' eating habits. Due to his training, he eats. And eats, and eats.

Whereas most men his age consume 3000 calories a day, he loads up at 12,000 for energy in his 30 hour training week.

The average menu for a day:

BREAKFAST: 3 fried egg sandwiches, 2 cups of coffee, 5-egg omelet, bowl of grits (is he Southern?),3 pieces of French toast, and 3 chocolate pancakes. You'd have to wonder how long it takes him to eat all that?

LUNCH: 1 pound pasta, 2 ham and cheese sandwiches, 1000 calorie energy drink.

DINNER: 1 pound pasta, one lage pizza, 1000 calorie energy drink.

Well, I Reckon if You Work Out That Hard, You Need All Those Calories. --RoadDog

The Olympics

I've been watching the Olympics (something I've never done much before). I was extremely impressed with the opening ceremonies on Friday, especially the way the Olympic Torch was lit with the guy running sideways around the top of the stadium.

The gymnasts are something to behold, especially those on the still rings. Anything they do is 100% their effort. The performance of the one Chinese guy left my jaw agape. How in the world do they do that?

Then, that'ssome mighty fast swimming. In some cases, the top four finishers ALL break the world record.

Then, there is that Michael Phelps show. Once he gets going, no one is going to catch him.

I'm of course, pulling for the good 'ol USA, but China is going to be quite an obstacle to overcome. Especially since their athletes are essentially pros, having been in train since before age 5.

Regardless, these are some unbelievable efforts for all concerned.

Come on Red, White, and Blue. --RoadDog

Lake Geneva Here We Go

Yesterday, we decided it was too much of a chance of rain to go boating, so we went to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, about 20 miles away, just over the border. This is a major tourist destination for "Flatlanders" as we Illinois-folk are sometimes referred to by "Cheeseheads."


We took US-12 through beautiful antique Richmond, Illinois, and past one of the few remaining Dog 'N Suds on the north side of town. Then, we got on Highway H in Genoa City which features an excellent restaurant on the main street called Keller's with that great old sign. There is also Fitzgerald's at the Octagon House which is famed for their Door County Fish Boil.

Highway H is actually the original US-12 before the freeway was built. We especially like this route because there is little traffic and it goes through rolling hills, past farms, lots of silos, and The Upper Crust restaurant in Pell Lake, also a favorite and unique eating experience.


At Wisconsin Route 120, Highway H cuts off to the east, but continue through the intersection as this is still the original US-12. You will now be on Wells Street. Along a three mile stretch there are about seven old mom and pop-type motels, including one with cabins. This is where most regular folk (non-millionaire) stayed when visiting.

To Be Continued...

A Good Day in Cheesehead Land, --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Top Ten Rockers

On Cooter's History Thing blog, I covered List Universe's Top Ten catastrophic non-war shipwrecks. I also came across their list of top ten rockers, complete with videos.

Music is a big part of my life, as I sit here listening to the soundtrack from "Teachers." I actually knew some of the teachers they parodied in that movie.

Here they are:

10. Beach Boys
9. Motorhead
8. Queen
7. Pink Floyd
6. Who
5. Rolling Stones
4. Jimi Hendrix Experience
3. Led Zeppelin
2. Elvis Presley

and, Number 1... The Beatles Guys

What, No Creedence Clearwater Revival?!!!

JSS-- Boating-- Yardwork-- Gas Under $4-- First Thumb Therapy

JSS-- Just Some Stuff

1. BOATING-- We're having perfect boating weather this last week, temps in the 80s and breezes to cool you off. We've been out boating this last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Monday. We rarely go out on the weekends because of the crowds, and especially the infamous "Weekend Warriors." They are a bit too crazy for us.

So, we're getting a bit of use out of that hole in the water in which we like to throw money. We mostly float around, reading newspapers and magazines, working crossword puzzles, and listening to WDRV on the radio, classic rock, you know.

2. YARDWORK-- The thumb is a bit better, so I've been able to start "catching Up" with the yard and has that ever gotten ahead of me. Sadly, this was to be the FIRST-EVER summer I figured to keep up with it, but lost seven weeks. Let's just say, the weeds prospered and all theplants overgrew.

I've been working on the front yard and west side, but have at least a month's work more to go.

3. GAS UNDER $4-- Thank you GRB Big Oil folks. Finally got the prices down, BUT anything ABOVE $2 is TOO EXPENSIVE. Perhaps these high prices led to those unbelievable profits just released.

Gas in Fox Lake is $3.88 to $3.92. Gas in Round Lake is $3.94.

4. FIRST THUMB THERAPY-- The doctor who did the operation suggested I go to thumb therapy as I still can't get full use of the thumb. Yesterday, I went for the first appointment, and after a lot of testing and measuring, I was given several exercises to do with it. Let's hope I soon get the use back.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Boy, Did We Have a Thunder-Whumping, Lightnin' Spewin' Storm

This past Monday, the Chicagoland area was visited by one of the worst storms in recent history. There wasn't a lot of damage and, fortunately, no deaths, but any way you want to look at it, that was one bodacious storm.

I missed a lot of it while at the movie theater, but, on the way home, the sky was fairly constantly lit up. Reminded me of the electrical storms we used to have in North Carolina. Some bolts would start at one corner of the sky and go all the way across it.

During the storm, there were 90,000 lightning strikes in the Chicagoland area, about as many as we get in six months. At the storm's height, there were 800 strikes a minute. Now that is a really charged storm.

We got some much-needed rain, but not as much as you'd expect. Unfortunately, there were no Japanese beetle fatalities. Drats.

At 11 pm, I watched another storm roll in to the south of us. It was like watching strobe lights.

Mighty Big Storm. --RoadDog

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Good "Thumb" News and Some Really Good Eatin', But 'Spensive

This past Tuesday, I had an appointment in Crystal Lake with the lady doctor who operated on my thumb. She also was extremely pleased with the progress made, and scheduled me for one more check up in a month. Again, she scared me saying that she didn't have much hope for saving the thumb. I knew it was serious, but NOT THAT SERIOUS!!! Liz knew, but the poor old patient did not know. Probably a good thing I didn't know the seriousness of it.

Who's have thought that I could end up with problems of this magnitude from a thistle. I really hate those thistles now.


In celebration, we drove over to US-14, Virginia Street in Crystal Lake and Northwest Highway throughout most of Chicagoland, and stopped at a place I've been wanting to eat at for quite some time, 1776. They describe it as a "Revolutionary Experience." We had thought that it was more like a coffee shop place, but found it to be an upscale restaurant with upscale prices. We normally stay away from places like this, but were already inside when we found out.

Fortunately, we had the lunch menu, which was cheaper (I imagine). Oh well, we're in the mood to celebrate the good news from the doctor, so we went ahead and ordered. I had the best pizza I've ever had. It was a lobster pizza with big chunks of the creature along with caramelized onions and two types of peppers and loaded with cheese. It would be classified an individual pizza and cost $14. Man, was that ever a good pizza and even as small as it was, I couldn't finish it.

Liz had a $9 Angus burger with some of the best fries I've ever had. They were done perfectly. Okay, I snitched a few off her plate.

Recommending 1776 and Watch Those Gosh Darn Thistles. --RoadDog

How About This, a $4 Meal...For Two!!!

In this day of MUCH HIGHER prices everywhere, this is a bit of a refereshing news.

Thursday and Friday, Liz and I went to two places and both ate for $4...and WERE FULL when we finished.

THURSDAY-- we boated over to Captain's Quarters and Fox Lake and foundthe place even more crowded than usual. And, for good reason, on Thursdays, wings are 25 cents as are loaded potato skins. We split a dozen wings and four skins. Drinks, of course, were extra, but what a deal.

FRIDAY-- Before boating, we stopped at Hello Folks in Fox Lake, right across from the channel where we moor the boat, and had their 99 cent Chicago-style hot dogs and 99 cent tater tots. Three hotdogs and one split order of tots later, we were full, and on our way out to the water.

Love That Cheap Eatin'. Made up for 1776 in Crystal Lake. --RoadDog

That Was a Pretty Good Weekend Too-- Part Two


AUGUST 2nd- Saturday-- Went boating over to McDonald's for breakfast. How many folks can say they "boated" to McDonald's? Definitely a lot more crowded than it is during the week, when we usually go. We normally don't go boating on the weekends, leaving It to the folks we call weekend warriors. We've always been lucky and had the opportunity to use the Chain during the week since we were teachers and off during the summer. Now, of course, we are retired, so can even do it during September and October.

During the afternoon, we drove to Genoa City, Wisconsin, for their Genoa City Fest, and had some great corn on the cob and watched the Salt Creek Boys. They did excellent on country and bluegrass music, but should not have attempted to cover the Beatles.

We then drove over to Donovan's in Twin Lakes and were happy to find that the old NTN was still playing so ended up staying a bit longer than we expected. Unfortunately, there were not too many places still playing the old NTN, but we dominated in first place the whole time.

AUGUST 3RD-- SUNDAY-- Bob Stroud featured the music of August 3, 1968 on his Rock and Rol Roots show this morning. So that brought back a lot of memories (see August 3 entry).

Afterwards, we drove back to Twin Lakes for those most excellent bloody marys at Main Street. Bartender Ray is the master of the bloody. Watching him make one is ALMOST as much fun as drinking it. Then, there's all the rest of the stuff he puts in, including a shrimp. All for $3!!

Then, played some more of the "Old NTN" at Donovan's and once again dominated. However, dominating twenty places isn't as much fun as dominating the 3000 that usually play. Alfons put on a lot of oldies on the jukebox and everyone had a great time singing along until Sparky put Pink Floyd on. You can't much just sing-along with those guys, like you can the oldies. Anybody know "Monday, Monday?"

Now, This Was a Pretty Good Weekend. --RoadDog

That Was a Pretty Good Weekend Too-- Part One

JULY 31ST--THURSDAY-- The infectious disease doctor said I was good to go and I was off the antibiotics and best of all, the picc was to come out TOMORROW!!! Just that news alone would make it a VERY GOOD WEEKEND. Celebrated with a great Polish buffet at the Warsaw Inn on Il-31 south of McHenry. Cost, $7.50 senior citizen. SENIOR CITIZEN?? WHO???

Later, spent my $3 for the matinee at the McHenry Indoor Theater to see "Hell Boy II." You just gotta like the Hell Boy. Cigar smokin', beer drinkin', cat lovin, really big Red Guy with sanded-down horns.

Then went over to the gazebo at Veterans Park and saw the McHenry College Jazz Ensemble and McHenry City Band play outside in a free concert.

AUGUST 1st-- FRIDAY-- Went over and had that lousy picc removed in the morning, something that only took about five minutes and then to McDonald's for a celebratory ice tea.

Liz had a hair appointment in Round Lake, so went with her. While she was there, I drove over to Magee Middle School where I taught for 31 years. It is being remodeled and will reopen for students again in a few weeks (if it is finished). They have done a great job with it, but unfortunately the beautiful trees in the front were taken down for expanded parking lot and driveway. Every fall, we had some magnificent oranges and then white blooms in the spring. Too bad.

I was also worried that they were going to change the name, but saw that the words Magee Middle School were in stone on the front entrance, so I guess you could say it was set in stone. I walked through the office, but too much work was going on elsewhere, so that was the extent of my walk.

Good to have the old school back and looking even better than ever. Hey, ya looking for a new teacher? Nahhh!!

We then went to Pizza Hut and had their pizza and salad buffet for $6. Great deal. This place has been in the same building since we first moved to Round Lake Beach in 1975, one of the few businesses to stay that long on Rollins Road.


I drove over to Richmond, about seven miles away from Spring Grove, for their weekly car show. Lots of oldies, including a 1930s Buick with lots of wood on it. No Firebirds, though, but a couple Camaros.

A deejay from Y103.9 FM oldies station was playing there and actually spinning 45s, none of the computer stuff, so we can call him a real deejay. The term DJ comes from disc jockey and albums and 45s were called discs.

Can't Beat Good Fun in the Area, Especially When That Picc Comes Out. --RoadDog

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Good Weekend-- Part 2 July 26th and 27th

Saturday, July 26th. After leaving Hello Folks, I drove over to Baja Benny's, located on Fox Lake and with an incredible view. Just an absolutely perfect day and they had a deejay playing out on the deck. However, I wasn't impressed. He was another one who mostly just played music and said very little.

A guy was turning 50 and part time he does pig roasts,and he was having one for everybody in the place and, best of all, not charging anything. Nothing like a pig roast, especially when it's free. He had chips and corn as well.

Eatin' Pig, Listenin' to Music, Out on a Lake. Now, How is That Bad?

Sunday, July 27th-- Liz and I went over to Captain's Quarters, across Fox Lake from Baja Benny's and had a great time watching Howard Livingston and Mile Marker 24 bring the Florida Keys to the Chain of Lakes. They played from 3 to 7 and the music was mostly their own.

I'd best describe his work as like Jimmy Buffett. We've seen him before out at Blarney Island on Grasslake. Plus,we almost got to see them perform at Flor-abama on the Florida- Alabama line this past February.

Talked with Howard before the showand foundout he was originally from the area, but had gone to theKeys one winter, and decided to stay.

They have three albums: Livin' in Key West Time, Meet Me in the Keys, and a third one I don't remember the name.

Some of their songs:

Meet Me in the Keys
Where Bananas Grow
Where the Heck is Kokomo
I Like the Islands
Looe Key Tiki Bar
Mile Marker 24Una Mas Cerveza
Mangrove Mama's

Plus,a definite added attraction is the 1957 Johnson 5 horsepower outboard motor that has been altered to be a really fine margarita mixer and the crowd gets free ones!!!

Of course, if you've ever been to the Keys, you know that distances are done by mile markers.

Taking US Back to the Keys. --RoadDog

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Changes in NTN-- Not Impressed

Saturday, July 26th, I drove over to Fox Lake and played NTN at Hello Folks, or, at least thought I was going to play NTN. It wasn't the NTN that I know. It is the "NEW" NTN and I can say that I WAS not impressed at all.

Games are all 15 minutes long and have ten questions instead of the usual "OLD" 15 questions in 30 minutes. Plus, these are all Wipe Out format, where no clues are given. If you don't have an idea of an answer, you just lose all points and get a zero.

I saw nothing about Players Plus Points, not that they mean anything, but, it is nice to see how much time you've wasted playing the game.

Sure hope they don't adopt this new version, but if they do, it will free up quite a bit of time as I probably won't play it much anymore. Word has it this is being done to attract the younger crowd. I doubt the twenty-somethings will play it much as they don't have the knowledge base and are interested in other things when at bars.

Get the Young, Lose Us Old Farts. --RoadDog

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Unexpected Pleasure

Yesterday, we stopped at Donovan's on the way back from the Genoa City Days Festival, and found that the old NTN was still on the TVs. Well, we had to stop and play a lot of games. We will definitely miss the old format.

There were only about 20 places that were playing and am guessing that everyone else had already been switched over to the new format. We kind of dominated the remaining ones with a #2 and about eight #1s as a bar and as individual scores.

Played with F Gump, Larry (from Hello Folks), Gemini, and Cancer.

Here's Hoping We Like the New Format. --RoadDog

Where Were You August 3, 1968?

Listened to good old Bob Stroud do his weekly Rock and Roll Roots Show earlier today and he featured the music and news from this date 40 years ago. I was preparing to be a senior at Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois. I was sports editor of the paper, the Cutlass, and the yearbook and considering a possible career in journalism, if I didn't end up as a teacher. I was still dating Liz, with whom I am about to have a 35th wedding anniversary.

I was also beginning to think about the college I wanted to attend. College was even more important in 1968 because, if you didn't have a high draft lottery number, you were most likely going to Vietnam when you graduated.


I was earning about $1.25 an hour working at the Burger King on Northwest Highway near Hicks Road and having a great time. Owner Bob was more like a big kid himself and would sometimes participate in our shenanigans, including the infamous ice/water fight on the roof.

During the day, the night crew would go up to Honey Hill in Wauconda for an afternoon of fun and frolic in the water. Bob would get mad when we reported for work and were worn out. "I know where you people have been, but it will make no difference. I don' care how tired you are. You're still going to work and WORK hard.

Right, Boss.


The number one song on WLS and WCFL was "Hello, I Love You" by the Doors, probably my favorite Doors song.

Others favorite songs on the radio:

Sunshine of Your Love
Sky Pilot
Journey to the Center of Your Mind
Indian Lake
Jumping Jack Flash
Born to Be Wild
Pictures of Matchstick Men
Magic Bus

Takin' a Trip Back. --RoadDog

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Good Weekend-- Part 1

Last weekend was a good one.

Friday, after hydrotherapy at the hospital in McHenry, I drove one of the most beautiful drives in the area, Bull Valley Road, over to Woodstock. Talk about your tunnel driving; where the trees form a canopy, plus all the beautiful homes.

I went to the Woodstock Theater (the one featured in the movie "Groundhog Day") and paid the $4 matinee price to see "The Dark Knight" which was enjoyable. I didn't think there could be a better Joker than Jack Nicholson, but, I was wrong.

The annual Woodstock Music Festival was underway, not to be confused with the famous one out in New York. Back in 1969, I actually drove out to Woodstock after I heard my favorite band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, was playing. I had the wrong Woodstock, however.

Listened to the last couple songs of one band, then took a walk around the historic square and talked with some of the people who used to live at Village Cove with Frances when the place was assisted living. Now, it is strictly apartments. I wouldn't mind living on that great square when the time comes.

Came back to the festival site, which is in the parking lot next to the theater, and saw my favorite local blues band, Howard and the White Boys. Howard is black and the other three members are white. We've been following Howard and his band since the late 70s back when they used to play at Andy's in Dekalb. (This is also where we first saw Mr. Myers and their great Caribbean sounds, a group we saw a few weeks ago during the Taste of Antioch celebration.)

If you like blues, this is a band you'll want to see. They did some jamming, but not a lot. I love the blues, but, for some reason, blues bands find it necessary to jam most songs when they play. I am not a fan of jamming.

Saturday Up Next. --RoadDog

Great News-- Part 2

Yesterday, I went to the infectious disease doctor and after looking at the thumb, he said I no longer needed to go to hydrotherapy and, BEST OF ALL, the picc would come out. That means no more nurse visits, blood pickups or supply drop offs.

Plus, with the picc out, I regain use of my left arm. I don't know why the picc was put in my left arm anyway. It should have gone into the right arm as that hand was already out of commission. With the picc in the left arm, I essentially lost use of both hands.

Today, I went to the hospital ambulatory unit, and in 15 minutes, the picc was out. Freedom!!!!

Now, I'll have to work the thumb to regain use, but at least this is on my time.

Sure Hope I Don't Have to Do This Again. --RoadDog

Great News-- July is Over!!

My great thing for this month is the end of July. This past July (and a good part of June) was not the best in memory. It was actually quite bad, starting off with time in a hospital, the first time I've been in one since high school and that was just an overnighter.

Then, I had a picc put into my left arm and Liz had to give me ivs of antibiotics, plus, I had to go to the hospital every day for hydrotherapy , packing, and wrpping of the thumb. Then there were lots of visits with the three doctors involved with my case.

What I like about being retired is the ability to get up in the morning and decide what I want to do. This is not DECIDING what I want to do. It's a more like a job. Be here, go there, do that.

But, yesterday and today, things really changed for the better.

Sure Glad the Month is Over!!! --RoadDog