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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Did My Barbecue Thing

Got my good old Carolina 'cue three times over the unexpected trip to NC. Twice in Goldsboro, NC, and once at the airport.

The 22nd, we went to Wilber's on the US-70 East Bypass. This has been a family tradition since Wilber Shirley opened the place in the 60s. For the first time in memory, I tried their potato salad. Normally, I get an double order of cole slaw (every bite of bbq pork has to be accompanied by a portion of slaw on the fork), and I had ordered the double slaw, but the waitress accidentally brought me potato salad. Decided to give it a try. Mighty good. Next time, I won't know what to order for the sides.

Price of a heaping plate is now $7.50, including your 'cue, two sides, and those great hush puppies (especially good when right out of the fryer.


Saturday, we ate at McCall's BBQ, also on US 70 Bypass. You can order of the menu or get their buffet. We had Calabash-style shrimp, flounder, fried oysters, clam strips, fried chicken, bbq chicken, as well as bbq and salad for $11.99.

Yesterday, at RDU Airport, I had some time to kill, so checked out all the stores and restaurants at terminal 2. One place had Carolina bbq, so I had it for lunch. Really tasty bbq, two sides, and hush puppies for $8.25, not a bad price at an airport. They had cole slaw, but I didn't see it, so got collard greens and mac and cheese. Pretty good stuff.

So, next time you're passing through RDU (Raleigh-Durham Airport) and have a layover at terminal 2, try some Carolina cuisine.

Lovin' My 'Cue. --RoadDog

Back Home Again

Arrived back at home yesterday, after being away since June 10th. I love to travel, but always good to get home. Right now, at 8:23 AM, I'm typing away at the pc downstairs and listening to Billy Smith on the Surf, 94.9 FM, broadcasting out of North Myrtle Beach, SC. Sure missed his show the last weeks.

Quite an eventful two-and-a-half weeks.


First flying to Rome (and, of course, no sleep (or very little if I did snooze on occasion). Then, there was the Rome walk (Cicerone Hotel is two blocks off the Tiber River and close to St. Peter's) to the Spanish Stairs, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, dinner al fresco at a restaurant on the fantastic Navona Piazza. This was in the afternoon of my arrival, after a nap, of course.

Caution to merchants. DO NOT, under any circumstance, get Vickie mad at you. We went to one place to get some of that great Italian gellato (ice cream) and were charged an extra 2 euros for the honor of sitting in their place (and it wasn't air conditioned). And don't even feign that you don't speak English, it will make no difference. An enraged Vickie went after them and to get rid of her, the ice cream was free. I've never seen anyone shoot fire out of their eyes before.

Doing the Religious Thing Next. --RoadDog

Friday, June 26, 2009

Walkin' On the Beach

This morning, I walked a mile up the beach to the Jolly Roger pier.

Lots of the "lima bean" stones and small seashells. Got off the beach and went to Godwin's and bought the Raleigh News & Observer and Wilmington Star-News. Had to read about the deaths yesterday of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson as well as the basketball draft. About three good-sized cats lounging outside the door and it was alright to go inside barefoot. Definitely not you big box store.

On the way, I saw a lady digging near the base of a a sand dune and several people watching from a walkway. On the way back, I found that she was one of the turtle patrol and last night, a sea turtle had come ashore and laid a batch of eggs.

They will be hatching in between sixty and seventy days. A watch will be enacted after 52 days.

Sea turtles are very much a fabric of Topsail Island life. So far this year, there have been nine nests at Topsail Beach and 26 along the whole island.

As a matter of fact, Mom named the condo "Hatch Haven" because of the turtles. It was Andrea's suggestion, and just perfect.

Lovin' the Beach. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fun and Games Aboard a Ship During a Fire-- Part 2

I will be writing about the fire aboard the Royal Princess on my travel blog:


What a View!! Topsail Beach, NC

Sitting here at 5:34 PM, a clicking away with my two fingers, and being very distracted by the Atlantic Ocean, just across the street in front of the cottage, the front row of houses, sand dunes, and then the water. You know, type a bit, gaze a bit. We are what is called the second row.

White caps out there today as there is a stiff breeze now upon the beach. A little while ago, I was on the beach, now at low tide, and had to hold the umbrella to keep it from blowing away. Also took a mile walk along the beach early this morning.

We were supposed to be visiting a Greek island today, and docking in Athens tomorrow, where we were to disembark from the Royal Princess. We were going to remain for a couple more days to see the sights there, before flying home Saturday.

Sometimes, the Best-Laid Plans. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Fire Aboard the Royal Princess...And Me Aboard as Well

Here is what news there was online about the June 19th fire.

This comes from the Cruise Critic web site.

The June 25th cruise was cancelled as well as ours which began on June 13th. The fire occurred on the fifth day of a 12-day Holy Land Cruise. There were 733 passengers aboard (including myself, mother, sister, niece, cousin, and his wife. Also, 393 crew members.

Greg Surratt, a pastor from South Carolina gave a series of mini-reports via Twitter. He reported that a reliable source said it was caused by a fuel pump. A not-so-good source said there was an explosion (I didn't hear one). Several sources reported that we were very lucky and it could have been a lot more serious.

The fire broke out at 8:10 pm, local time in Egypt, shortly after departure from Port Said.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Fun and Games Aboard a Ship During a Fire-- Part 1

June 19th, the Royal Princess arrived in Port Said, Egypt, at the northern terminus of the Suez Canal, and tied up at the the dock.

We were still recovering from a very-long previous day, when we took a three-and-a-half hour drive from Alexandria to Egypt, a visit to the Egypt Museum to view the real King Tut artifacts and other old things, the mosque President Obama visited, and, of course, the Pyramids and Sphinx.

We'd gone ashore through a gauntlet of mosquitoes (what we call the VERY persistent Egyptians intent on selling you their wares). These folks were every bit the equal of their brethren at the pyramids, but I resisted their efforts today.

Yesterday, it had been camels, horse rides, and carriage rides. Today, they were joined by taxi and carriage drivers. Have you ever been closely followed by a horse?

We walked a few blocks into town, then decided to return to the Royal Princess. I'd had enough of the mosquitoes.

Next, the Fire. --RoadDog

Back Home, Well, Almost

Sitting here in Goldboro, NC, at Mom's house a-clicking away on this here contraption.

Still trying to catch up on my sleep after a very long five days involving Egypt, a ship fire, unexpected return to Cairo, fanciest hotel I've ever been in, the l-o-n-g-e-s-t day, and then a very tiring drive from Raleigh to Goldsboro and recuperation yesterday.

We were on an 11-day Mediterranean cruise aboard the Royal Princess from Rome, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and Greece, that was interrupted by a fire June 19th. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it appears we were very lucky and in the hands of a crew well-seasoned for emergencies.

When you have a time like this, like they say, the "Tough get going...to the beach!!"

Topsail Beach with a stop at Paul's Hot Dogs in Castle Hayne, NC, on docket for later today.

Also, looking into arrangements to get back to Chicago.

This is my first opportunity to get on the internet site the 10th of this month.

Back in the Good Old USA!!! --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where Were You June 7, 1969?-- Part 6

GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY-- CCR-- The second CCR album was in our possession for about 3 months now, "Bayou Country" and, from that, their version of this Little Richard classic. Before the year was up, we'd have two more CCR albums, "Green River" and "Willie & the Poor Boys." (Good Golly, give me more Creedence!!!!)
LOVE (CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY)-- MERCY-- One hit wonder out of Tampa, Florida. (The Good, the Bad, and the ____.)

FEELIN' ALRIGHT-- JOE COCKER-- from debut album "With a Little Help from My Friends." The lead off track was this Traffic classic. (Old Joe doing a cover, imagine that. A few months later there was that unintelligible version of "With a Little Help" at Woodstock.
IN THE BEGINNING/LOVELY TO SEE YOU-- MOODY BLUES-- New album by the Moody "On the Threshold of a Dream." Only out since May. Later on this year, we got "To Our Children's, Children's Children, but here in the spring, we had this one with "The Beginning" segueing into "Lovely to See You."

SPINNING WHEEL-- BS&T-- from the second album from them. The second single from that album, the 45 mix of it. (More blue-eyed soul!!)
MORNING GIRL-- NEON PHILHARMONIC--one hit wonder. Included in Vol. 6 of the Rock and Roll Roots series.

SEE-- RASCALS-- psychadelicized romp (I remember once trying to figure out the name of the song when the deejay didn't announce it. Pretty hard to do with that jumble of words and fast-talking.)
ATLANTIS-- DONOVAN-- His final Top Ten single. (This and "Hurdy Gurdy Man" are my twp favorite songs by him.)

BADGE-- CREAM-- from the final Cream album, "Goodbye." (Talk about your power trio. I was a big fan. A buddy in Goldsboro, NC, turned me onto them.)
I COULD NEVER LIE TO YOU-- NEW COLONY SIX-- current hit by them. (My favorite Chicago group, followed by the Cryan' Shames."

TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT MY BABY-- MARVIN GAYE-- great Motown Classic. (When it comes to Motown, I don't know if I like the songs or choreography better.)
PINBALL WIZARD-- WHO-- from the upcoming release "Tommy."
UNDER THE ICE-- NAZZ-- Those of us who bought the debut album by Nazz in 1968 were jazzed to see the new Nazz album in 1969 in the spring time entitled, appropriately enough, "Nazz Nazz." The great Todd Rundgren on guitar. (Hadn't heard this song before, but it's good.)

And the Number one song in Chicago was a two-sided hit by you-know-who.


Lots of Memories. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Where Were You June 7, 1969? --Part 5

Continuing. Again, the first quote id Bob Stroud's. In parentheses () is mine.

THE BOXER-- SIMON & GARFUNKEL-- It was only a 45 and would eventually be on the "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album in early 1970. (My second favorite S&G song, after "Cecillia." That "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is one of my all-time favorite albums.)

CRYSTAL BLUE PERSUASION-- TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS-- Brand new, the follow-up to "Sweet Cherry Wine." (If I heard this song once that summer, I heard it a thousand times. The stations really played this one to death. I still cringe a little. "Hey Jude" anybody?)

BLACK PEARL-- SONNY CHARLES & THE CHECKMATES LTD.-- One of my favorite 45s from that era.One of the last 60s songs Phil Specter produced. (Great slow-dancing soul)
MORE TODAY THAN YESTERDAY-- SPIRAL STAIRCASE-- (I always miss this one on Name That Tune.)

CARE OF CELL 44-- ZOMBIES-- from an album entitled "Odyssey and Oracle recorded in late 1967, but didn't hit these shores until 1969 on the strength of "Time of the Season" on the radio. You thought 'There's got to be more great stuff where that came from and you bought "Odyssey and Oracle."' Every song a killer including this lead off selection about a dude writing his girlfriend who is in jail and all the fun they would have when she got out. (Never heard of it before, but wasn't all that impressed.)

COMMUNICATIONS BREAKDOWN-- LED ZEPPELIN-- I'm working from a list of about 30 albums that were released from the start of the year to June 1st. It is an incredible list of albums (notice, not downloads or CDs). I must have gone broke as a kid buying all those records, as I think I bought each and every one them, including this one that I first heard at a buddy's house.

The new British group called Led Zeppelin released the album in February, 1968. It was their debut album and they released their self-titled second one later that year.
(Talk about your early Heavy Metal!!!)

Need Another Break. --RoadDog

Where Were You June 7, 1969? --Part 4

The second hour kicked off with a two-sided hit by the Beatles.

THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO-- BEATLES-- The current Beatles single had just been released, but there weren't a whole lot of radio stations playing it as of yet. They were all trying to figure out if they could play a record that used the word "Christ" in the content that the record did. Some stations just edited the word out, and not very well. Some stations found very creative ways to take the word out like the station I grew up listening to in Kalamazoo, Michigan, WKLI. They just took a note from somewhere else in the song that was the same note as the word "Christ" was on and edited that into the line over and over throughout the song so they could do away with the word and not get into any hassles or issues with listeners, the FCC, or whoever might be offended. ( don't remember any controversy on this song and always heard it just as "Christ, you know it ain't easy." However, I can imagine there were problems with the ultra-religious.)

We came to know that it was just John and Paul on the track, Paul playing bass, drums,maracas, and harmony vocal and John on acoustic guitar, lead guitar, and lead vocal.

OLD BROWN SHOE-- BEATLES-- The flip side was a great George Harrison tune with the Fab Four on it, plus Billy Preston on organ.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE (TO WIN YOUR LOVE)-- JR. WALKER & THE ALL-STARS-- One of the great Motown recordings of the era. Top Ten. (My favorite song by them. I sure loved my Motown, as did the Delta Sigs at NIU. They were featured heavily at every party. We'd play one side of four albums, flip it over, and the play the others.

The albums were Four Tops Greatest Hits, Temptations Greatest Hits, Sly & the Family Stone Greatest Hits and CCR's Green River.

LET'S GET TOGETHER-- CRYAN' SHAMES-- Here in Chicago, we grabbed up the Cryan' Shames' third and final, "Synthesis. On it, their version of this classic. It would be released later that summer by the Young Bloods and become a massive Top Ten hit. Before that, the Cryan' Shames did a great version on side two of "Synthesis." (I like this version better than the Young Bloods.)

OK, Break Time. --RoadDog

Monday, June 8, 2009

JSS: Big BBs-- Daisy a Day-- A Lilac Time Was Had By All-- Phloxing the Old Garden-- Iris You'd Seen It

JSS-- Just Some Stuff.

1. BIG BBS-- For some reason, I have the biggest bumble bees I've ever seen in the garden this year. It is a wonder they can fly. Sure hope I don't get stung by one of those big boys.

2. DAISY A DAY-- The flower beds are a brilliant white with hundreds of the shasta daisies (I think that's what they're called) blooming all over. And I probably only have half of what I used to have.

3. A LILAC TIME WAS HAD BY ALL-- Reaching the last phase of lilac bloom. I had the early purple ones and the Miss Kim lilacs are just ending their bloom period. The Japanese lilacs have just started.

4. PHLOXING THE OLD GARDEN-- First they were creeping all over the place. Now they are wild and tall. I've had my lavender, white, and red creepers. Now, it's the turn of the tall wild ones.

5. IRIS YOU'D SEEN IT-- The iris are reaching the end of their run, unfortunately.

Out and About in the Yard. --RoadDog

Who Is Ursell Hickey? Ersel Hickey For One Thing

See Where Were You June 7, 1969 Part 3 "Bluebirds Over the Mountain."

Well, first off, his first name is Ersel. I couldn't tell how it was spelled by Bob Stroud's pronunciation yesterday. Born 1934 and died in 2004. Received first name after the family doctor, Dr. Ersel. His father died when Ersel was 4 and his mother had a nervous breakdown and ended up in the hospital.

Ersel was in and out of foster homes in New York for much of his youth. At age 15, he traveled with his sister who was an exotic dancer in various carnivals. In 1954, he heard Elvis Presley and became a big fan of Rock and Roll.

He recorded "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" in one night in 1957, at the suggestion of Phil Everly of the Everly Brothers. It was his biggest hit, going to #75. Then, the Beach Boys included it on their "20/20" album.

He also wrote "A Little Bird Told Me So" for LaVern Baker and a song I especially liked, "Don't Let the Rain Come Down" for the Serendipity Singers.

He is in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Make sure you check out his most famous pose in Rock and Roll picture.

From Wikipedia.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

Where Were You June 7, 1969? --Part 3

More songs from Bob Stroud's Time Warp in your radio. I have more music than I can possibly play from this date, but I am going to do my best to get in the essentials. (Yeah, Go Bob!!)

BLUEBIRDS OVER THE MOUNTAINS-- BEACH BOYS-- The new Beach Boys album "20/20" was out, and on it, a cover version of an old Rockabilly hit by Ursell Hickey. (Hadn't heard this one before. That name would fit right in with "My Name is Earl." Could be Randy's long-lost half brother.)

THESE EYES-- GUESS WHO-- Maybe you were like me and found something in "These Eyes" that made you want to buy their first RCA Victor album which was "Wheatfield Soul" which had been out a couple months now. (Blue-Eyed Soul)
LIGHTFOOT-- GUESS WHO-- On their first album, a tribute to fellow Canadian artist Gordon Lightfoot, one of many hits from the album. (Burton Cummings out front. Great stuff. I especially liked Lightfoot's "If You Can Read My Mind.")

BAD MOON RISING-- CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL-- CCR's Top Ten tune. The "A" side. The "B" side was a hit too, "Lodi." (CCR has to be my all-time favorite group, the only one I immediately bought every album as it was released and 45 as well. The old "Bathroom on the Right" is my ringtone. My college fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi had our fight song, "The Buffalo" based on this tune. Every party, we'd have to sing it at least once." I have all CCR albums and John Fogerty as well.)

LET ME-- PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS-- current release, included in Rock and Roll Roots Vol. 2 compilation. (Good rocking rock and roll.)

So, What Were You Doing June 7, 1969? --RoadDog

Where Were You June 7, 1969? --Part 2

Bob Stroud did a Time Warp for all three hours back to June 7, 1969, the 40th anniversary of that great Summer of '69, yesterday. This is the third time he's featured that summer on four full shows, the last two being 1967 and 1968.

I especially like it when he devotes the full show to one date. That is heavy immersion into memories from another era.

As usual, I will have his comments with mine in parentheses (). He played the big hits plus some album cuts.

We are standing on the precipice (OK, BIG Word, Bob) of the Summer of '69 on the Time Warp This is what your radio sounded like on June 7, 1969.

INTRODUCTION-- CTA-- Brand new band, the Chicago Transit Authority. Side 1, cut 1. Our introduction to them. (Named after Chicago's mass transit system. The band shortened their name to just Chicago. One of the early horn bands as this cut demonstrates.)

GRAZING IN THE GRASS-- FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION-- A group out of Los Angeles modeling themselves after the Fifth Dimension. Their vocal version of a song we had heard before in the Summer of 1968 in its instrumental form by Hugh Masakela. (I'd never picked up on the similarity, but it is definitely there.)

ONE-- THREE DOG NIGHT-- Another new band out of LA with three guys up front: Corey, Danny and Chuck. Their current hit was a Harry Nilsson song. (Blue-Eyed Soul)
THE LONER-- THREE DOG NIGHT-- Covering a Neil Young song from their debut album. (Never heard this song before.)

DOWN BY THE RIVER-- NEIL YOUNG-- If you were a fan of Buffalo Springfield, you were more than likely a fan of Neil Young who was now solo as Springfield had been broken up for about a year now. He was enjoying success with his second solo album, "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere." It came out in May of '69 so we'd only had it for a couple two or three weeks. (The long-long-long version.)

ISRAELITES-- DESMOND DEKKER AND THE ACES-- Band out of the islands enjoying their first and only hit. (This might have been my first introduction to Caribbean music depending upon if Johnny Nash or Desmond came first. I don't remember. I also liked Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop which came out around this time. OK, I just looked it up, and "My Boy Lollipop came out in 1964, so that was the firts one. Now, wait a minute, how about Harry Belafonte? Oh well.

Now, I see that Johnny Nash had his "Stir it Up" and "I Can See Cleraly Now" in 1971 and 1972. I must study up on my Caribbean music.)

More Cruisin' to '69 to Come. --RoadDog

News and Observation: Buddy Guy on Obama-- Should Etta James Have Sung?-- The Queen of the Blues

Just Some Thoughts and Observations. From a Blues Standpoint This Time.

1. BUDDY GUY ON OBAMA-- I was listening to Tom Marker, host of WXRT's Bluesbreakers program, talk with Chicago Bluesman Buddy Guy who made a good point about Barack Obama, saying he is half and half. His mother was white and father black. As such, he shouldn't be called African-American. Buddy Guy believes that Obama needs a new name. Said Marker, "How about Mr. President?" I'd agree with that.

However, I really get tired of all this African-American stuff. After all, he is as much white as he is black. Too bad his mother and grandmother were not alive so they could have been at the swearing in ceremony.

2. SHOULD ETTA JAMES HAVE SUNG?-- The question was, was Etta James really angry that Beyonce got to sing her song "At Last" as the inaugural ball instead of her. Compared to James, Beyonce had it easy breaking into the music business as blacks are much more easily brought in than back in James' days in the fifties, when black stars could perform in places, but not be allowed to stay in them.

Often, they did not get the same opportunities as white performers. Look at how many black artists Pat Boone ripped off. Then, there was the Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart of Mine" where they wouldn't put their picture on the record cover because they were black.

I think it would have been fitting for Etta James to have sung the song. At last, blacks have much more equal opportunities. These early black performers endured hardships Beyonce could never understand.

3. THE QUEEN OF THE BLUES-- Still missing that great voice that left us last week. I had the opportunity to see Koko Taylor at a small club in Lincolnshire, Illinois, back in the late 70s or 80s. What a performer!! If you could get into that old "Wang Dang Doodle," you were not a fan of music. "All Night Long," indeed.

Is It a Black or White Thing? --RoadDog

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day After Party, One Day Removed

After listening to Bob Stroud's Summer of 69 Time Warp for this date in 1969, I worked in the yard on the east side of the house and the driveway culverts and mailbox flower bed.

Liz and I then went over to Kevin and Kelly's house on Fox Lake for our annual Day After party, where we get to finish off the food, and most importantly, the keg. This has been an annual get-together for many years now. Normally, it would have been yesterday, but as we get older, we need a day to recover from the first party, plus yesterday was pretty crummy weather-wise.

It rained hard here this morning, but cleared up and we had a really fine day to sit out at their gazebo which still lacks a roof, but should have one in a month.

Total success!! We finished off that keg. Talked about the upcoming wedding of their daughter at Marquette University in Milwaukee in July. They will be having buses to drive people from the hotel to the reception.

As usual, Mondo, the chocolate lab, was wet. I have only seen him dry once. This is a water dog par supreme. Talk about an unwanted dog ending up in a perfect situation.

Another Keg Bites the Dust. --RoadDog

Where Were You June 7, 1969?-- Part 1

Bob Stroud's Rock and Roll Roots went back to this date 40 years ago, June 7, 1969 for his Time Warp and spent the whole three hour show on it. Usually, he does an hour and a half on one year on this date, then jumps ahead five years for the last half.

He will be doing three more shows on the Summer of 69 during the next three months, probably the first Sunday of each month. I strongly recommend tuning in via internet as they stream live at www.wdrv.com Sundays from 7 AM to 10.

June 7, 1969, I was getting ready to graduate from Palatine High School in Palatine, Illinois. Originally I thought I had already graduated, but Liz wasn't sure, so looked it up on my diploma which read June 11th.

I was still working at my first-ever job, Burger King on Northwest Highway, US-14, in Palatine, where I had started after turning sixteen. I was still going steady with Liz Klaus, my wife of 36 years. We'd met back in November '67 and had been steady since Dec. 15, 1967.

I was more than a little upset when I didn't get a journalism award, even after I was sports editor of the newspaper (the Cutlass) and yearbook. The faculty advisor was not a fan of mine.

Songs Coming Up. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Speaking of Beach Music!!

These are the top ten Beach & Boogie Songs on the Surf. It's amazing how different they are from Fessa Hooks' Top Ten. See June 1st.

10. HEAVY LOVE-- Fantastic Shakers
9. NICE WHILE IT LASTED-- Rick Strickland
8. IF YOU CAN'T SHAG-- Rev. Bubba & the Cornhole Prophets "If you can't shag, get your ___ out of Carolina."

7. LIFE IS A BEACH-- 58 West
6. HEY CUTIE-- High Tide
5. GOT IT BAD FOR YOU-- Holiday Band

4. LOVE THANG-- Tim Clark Band
3. I'VE GOT NOTHING TO LOSE-- Magnificents
2. GRAND STRAND GIRL-- Tim Cashion

1. HOW CAN I TELL YOU-- David Terry

Keep on Beaching. --RoadDog

Good Beachin' Today...But I Ain't There

Perhaps next year. Too much getting ready for the Mediterranean Trip next week.

Listening to 94.9 FM, the Surf, out of North Myrtle Beach, SC, this morning. Ray Scott was doing the Beach & Boogie Top 40 Show from Carolina Beach, NC, where he was going to be at the Pleasure Island 24th Annual Beach Music Festival. Ted Bell took over part way through. Billy Smith is doing a Beach show at the OD (Ocean Drive) Tiki Bar this afternoon.

Good lineup at the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival.

Jim Quick and Coastline Band
Sammy O'Bannion with Mardi Gras
Holiday Band
Craig Woolard Band
Mark Roberts & Breeze

Tickets were $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Of course, it will be outside.

No Beaching for Me. --RoadDog

Friday, June 5, 2009

Now This Is Fun-- End-of-the Year Party and Sox Nirvana

This past week, we went to two parties.


Today, we went to Kevin and Kelly's End-of-the-Year party for their two schools. This is a follow-up to our End-of-the-year parties, which, of course, ended three years ago. You can't have and end-of=the-year party when you didn't start the year.

Kevin and Kelly have a house on Fox Lake, so, it's a Chain of Lakes party. Jules brought the shots, Kevin had the food and a keg of beer. Great weather and good times for all.

Hard to believe I've now been retired for three years. Magee and Round Lake Middle School both got out this past Tuesday. They normally have a last-day party somewhere, usually Docker's on Pistakee Lake. I wasn't invited so now must be out of the loop. Oh well, just one more thing not to like about being "retarred."


Sunday, we went to Jimbo and Sandy's thirtieth wedding anniversary party at their home in Round Lake Beach. They are good friends and always came to our annual end-of-the-year parties and last-day-before-Christmas-break parties.

They have bturned their basement into what can only be descibed as White Sox Nirvana. There was Sox stuff all over the place: pictures, pennants, plaques, bobble heads, clocks, lamps, and pretty much anything Sox you can name.I spent 45 minutes looking at the stuff and salivating.

I have to bring Coz and Cruz over to see this shrine to our team. Jimbo has two favorite teams: da Sox and whoever is playing Da Cubs.

Sure Enjoyed These Parties. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wayback Machine: June 2-5, 1989

Well, what was I doing over the weekend of June 2nd to 5th, twenty years ago? One nice thing about doing a journal since 1978, I can find out. It really brings some memories back.

JUNE 2nd, FRIDAY-- What a great start. Last day of school for my 16th year teaching. Met Kip at the Iron Horse in Round Lake for breakfast. We had the kids until 9:15, mostly in an awards assembly. Easy check out, and met up with a bunch of Magee and Ellis teachers at Frigate to celebrate.

Deejayed an 8th grade graduation dance in Fox Lake and then went to Up the Street for some more celebrating. Then, went to Sue and Tom's place and caught the last part of the Ellis end-of-the year party.

JUNE 3rd, SATURDAY-- Went to Palatine and stopped at the old Burger King, which is now Dexter's. I had my first job working for the Galloys at the old BK in 1967 and worked there until 1970. We were wondering if they still owned it, and just as we arrived, Bob and wife Teresa pulled in.

Went inside and talked with them. Bob said he was not happy with Burger King's franchise and built this new place on the site and turned it into a fifties-type place with lots of neon. They now have their huge house boat on the Illinois River instead of the Chain.

Went to Angie and Silo's place in Spring Grove for Magee's end-of-the-year party. Cold, but Dawson and Jacobs went in the pool. Dawson over imbibed on Jack Daniels.

JUNE 4th, Sunday-- Up the Street for Bloody Mary's in the morning after recording AT-40 and Blues Hour. On way to Skip's Reunion at Grayslake's Lake County Fairgrounds, but stopped at Taylor's on Il-83.

Decided not to go to the Reunion, came home and cut the grass. Got a call for a friend's 40th birthday party and deejayed it until 11 PM.

JUNE 5th, Monday-- First day of summer vacation!! Jogged and went over to Kora's for a dip in the pool. Went to Jackson Bay on Grasslake and met the girls who came by on the boat. Wango and I joined them for a cruise to the Ship.

On the return to Jackson Bay, as I stepped off the pier, I lost by balance where someone had piled two-by-twos and wrenched my right ankle and landed on it. Immediate great pain.

It swelled up as the day progressed.

The next day, I had it x-rayed, but it was not broken, but gave me pain for the next several weeks.

Was I Really Doing All That Much twenty years Ago? --RoadDog

It's Them, Not Me: Gas Gouge is On-- Property Taxes

Things That really, Really Burn My Butt.

Yesterday was a c-o-s-t-l-y day, indeed.

1. GAS GOUGE IS ON-- Don't look now, but THEY'RE BACK!!!! The good folks at BO (Big Oil) and those zany HGs (Hedgefund Guys) are back again and moving fast. Yesterday, I got gas for the lawn tractor at Hugo Chavez's place here in Spring Grove for $2.80. Figured to get it now. Who knows how much it will be in three weeks. I'm guessing $3.10.

At the end of April, gas in Fox Lake was $2.10. Tuesday, it jumped from $2.66 to $2.75. Just let the price of a barrel go up a few cents, and within hours, the pumps reflect it. Let it drop, and it takes weeks to show it at the pump. What goes here?

2. PROPERTY TAXES-- Before getting ripped off at the pump, I got ripped off at the bank where I paid my 2008 property taxes, which, this year, really jumped. That is especially surprising since the value of my house dropped about a third. They raise my property taxes when the value goes up. When it drops, they raise it as well.

We are told the tax reflects a three-year average, which should drop a little starting next year. We'll wait and see if that happens.

I paid $4,134.05, and THAT is just HALF of what I owe!!! It was a $500 increase for the year.

Things That Really Burn me. GRBs All Over the Place. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

JSS: Land of the Stoplight-- At Least It Was Fast-- Eatin' Polish-- One Buck Beers-- Goodbye Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues

JSS-- Just Some Stuff.

1. LAND OF THE STOPLIGHT-- Today, we went to Crystal Lake, Illinois, and I can say one thing, IT IS TRULY THE LAND OF THE STOPLIGHT...AND, we hit everyone just as they turned RED, so extra-long wait. The one at 31 and 176 is particularly long as another road crosses there as well. I think we must have hit at least six.

2. AT LEAST IT WAS FAST-- The reason we were in Crystal Lake was for a mandatory emissions test on the Malibu. Plus, I had a doctor's appointment south of McHenry, which was on the way. This is a big inconvenience, but, at least it was fast. From the time we arrived, I guess we weren't there for more than seven minutes.

Sure miss the testing station in Volo, which was a lot closer.

3. EATIN' POLISH-- On the way back, we stopped at Zubyzki's Warsaw Inn in McHenry and had an excellent Polish buffet for a roll-back price of $5.95 (normally $7.95). Definitely overate. Outstanding Polish fare.

4. ONE BUCK BEERS-- Later, stopped by Tommy's in Spring Grove to enjoy their Wednesday $1 domestic Milers and Coors products. That's almost cheaper than drinking at home. For the month of June, they have four-piece Broasted chicken dinners for $5.95 and $5 Miller Lite pitchers. No big surprise that the place was crowded. AND, they also have $! tacos and those great beer nuggets from Dekalb, Illinois.

5. GOODBYE KOKO TAYLOR, Queen of the Blues-- I heard last night that one of my favorite blues performers, Chicago's own Koko Taylor, died. I have seen her several times, and her "Wang Dang Doodle," how do you get more down than that. "All night long" indeed. I have quite a few albums, cassettes, and CDs by her. Three Cds are What it Takes, Force of Nature, and Royal Blue. No doubt Tom marker will dedicate his show to her this coming Monday on WXRT's Bluesbreakers at 9 PM. It streams over the net as well.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Mom Knew Her Sons

My wife Liz was talking to a friend the other day, and I overheard her say that one thing my mom said to her turned out to be very true. She told her that anyone who married my brother was going to have little pieces of wire knives, telephones, and small machines around her all her life.

Anyone marrying me was going to have lots and lots and lots of papers.

As I sit here and can't even find the desk top for all the paper and I'm surrounded by papers, even on the floor. I definitely accumulate paper. I'm like the Peanut's Pigpen. Wherever I go, I just somehow ATTRACT PAPER.

But, Hey, I'm Going to Use That...Someday. --RoadDog

It's Them, Not Me: Making Big Bucks for Doing a Lousy Job

Things That Burn My Butt.

The March 25th USA Today had an article by Sharon Silke Carty about Ford CEO Alan Mulally, whose company lost $14.6 billion in 2008, but gets $3 million a year in salary and perks. Nice job if you can get it. In most jobs you'd get fired if you botch something up which costs the company, even as little as a thousand, but $14.6 BILLION??

One of the perks was $344,109 for personal use of the company plane.

Not only that, but the next four highest-paid executives earned a combined $14.7 in salary and perks. Hey, that's more than the CEO is getting. President of Ford's Americas operations, Mark Fields, spent $517,000 of company money traveling from Detroit to spend weekends with family in Florida.

CEOS are definitely overpaid, but for years the boards of directors have insisted that CEO pay (and upper level management) had to be higher. But, then again, have you ever wondered who was on these boards of directors?

Like I Said, Nice Job if You Can Get It. --RoadDog

Speaking of McDonald's

Whenever I travel out of the country, I do check out the local McDonald's stores to see if they have different offerings than you'd get here in the US. If they do have something, I order it.

In Australia, there were small packs of local favorite Vegemite, a type of spread. Do not put too much on your bread or cracker, though. That is some strong stuff.

Then, in New Zealand, I had the best sandwich ever, a Kiwi Burger, or was it a McKiwi. Besides a slab of meat, it had slices of hard boiled egg and beet. Excellent. When in NZ, check out the Maoris and the Kiwi Burger.


In Hawaii, you can get pineapples with your order. I wonder why that is?

An interesting item in Maine was something called a lobster roll (yesterday I mentioned a McLobster, but I'm fairly sure it was called a lobster roll). I didn't get around to trying one, figuring that maybe I could back home, but it turned out to only be offered in Maine, for some reason.

McDonald's, Not Always Your Same-Old, Same-Old. --RoadDog

Monday, June 1, 2009

When Is It Too Old to Rock and Roll? --Part 2


Back on May 14th, I wrote about Mark Caro's May 10th article in the Chicago Tribune.Robert Plant said he shot down a Led Zeppelin reunion tour for fear fans would be disappointed. But, hey, the fans back then have gotten older too. Then, 68-year-old Beach Boy Mike Love is still singing "Be True to Your School." What high school class would he be?

There was a illustration of "old" rock stars, including Bruce Springsteen, 59; Eric Clapton, 64; Bob Dylan 67 (now 68); Bonnie Raitt,59; Debbie Harry (Blondie), 63; Elton John, 62: Billy Joel, 60; and Tina Turner, 69.

Bob Stroud featured Ron Wood of Small Faces, Faces, Rod Stewart, and the Rolling Stones who turned 62 today. Speaking of the Stones, drummer Charlie Watts turns 68 this month, and Mick Jagger is almost 70!! No telling how old Keith Richards is, but, it's o-l-d.

Some of the performers can no longer hit the notes like they used to.

We Be Gettin' Old. --RoadDog

It's a Beach Thing-- Part 2

While listening to Fessa Hook's Beach Top 40, these were some songs I particularly liked that weren't in the Top Ten.

I Ain't Never-- Little Richard
634-5789-- Huey Lewis & Tower of Power
One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer-- Little Willie Littlefield

Hard Hearted Woman-- Jerry Wilson & the Jewels
Dippin' in My Business-- Subway
We're Tight-- Rhonda McDaniel & Angel Rissoff

Can't Get Enough-- Tommy Black & Christina Cooper
'Til You Come Back to Me-- Magnificents
Meat and Potatoes Man-- Earl Gaines

Thank Goodness She Cheated-- Enetrtainers
Build Me Up-- Band of Oz
There'll Come a Time-- Jerry Wilson & the Jewels

So, you say you're not ready for elevator music, but just don't get the new music. Give this a listen.

Still Beachin' After All These Years. --RoadDog

If at First You Don't Succeed....

McDonald's is massive, and even in these hard times, doing well. It seems like anything they do is a success, although the new McCafe coffee is still to be seen.

The good folks at List Universe on May 30th, had a list of McDonald's' failures. Of course, they have pictures and more information. Check t out.

10. McGratin Croquettes-- for the Japanese market
9. Hulaburger-- 1963, for Catholics who couldn't eat meat on Fridays. Pineapple replaced the meat. "Where's the beef?"

8. McDLT-- lettuce and tomatoes. It came back as today's Big & Tasty.
7. Arch deluxe-- hamburgers for adults. You could get it X or R-rated.

6. McLobster-- pretty expensive at $5.99, plus, it looked like someone threw up on the top of it. Just try to get a kid to order this with their Happy Meal. What kind of a toy would come with it?
5. McHotdog-- Back in 1977, Ray Kroc prohibited the sale of hot dogs which he considered unhygienic. A close relative, the brat, was offered a few years back. I sure liked them.

4. McPizza
3. McPasta-- Olive Garden breathes sigh of relief.

2. McAfrica-- ???
1. McLean Deluxe-- supposedly, the name turned off men

As I head out for my $1 side salad.

What's All This Mc-Stuff. Let's Be More Original. --RoadDog

It's a Beach Thing

Listened to Fessa John Hook's Beach Top 40 Saturday on his www.beachshag.com site.

His Top Ten songs for May 30th:

10. Build Me Up-- Band of Oz
9. 1955-- Morry Sochat & the Splendid 20s
8. 10 Pounds of Party (In a 5 Pound Bag)-- Fabulous Kays
7. Doot Dootsie Wah-- Little Isidore
6. Pick Up the Phone-- Cagle and Nash
5. That's My Story (& I'm Stickin' to It)-- Chairmen of the Board
4. Mr. Zachary-- Taylor Manning
3. Too Much Butt-- Saffire
2. Mo' Better-- Rev. Bubba D. Liverance
1. Give It Up (Old Habits Die Hard)-- Hall & Oates

Gotta love the titles of #8, #7, #5, #3, and #2. Plus, great name for #2. How about Hall & Oates being back?

Well worth a listen.

Beach, Gotta Have It. --RoadDog

Fun Things to Do in an Elevator:

**Draw a little space on the floor in chalk and tell everyone else, "This is my space."
**Hold the door open and tell everyone you're waiting for a friend. After awhile, let them close and say, "Hey Greg, how's your day been?"
**Stare at another passenger for awhile, back away, and announce in horror, "You're one of THEM!"

Sure fire ways to get yourself arrested.