Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Celebrating New Year's a Bit Early: Happy New Year!!!!


In a few minutes we're heading over to the American Legion for their early New Year's Eve party. They're having a potluck and karaoke and it is always a good time for old folks like us.

After all, I'm usually to bed by 11 PM. We'll come home at 6 and try to stay up until midnight.

Happy New Year, You Know. --RoadDog

JSS: Beach Radio-- 52 Movies-- Organizing Christmas Decorations


JSS-- Just Some Stuff.

1. BEACH RADIO-- Now that Christmas is finally over where I have been listening to Christmas cassettes and CDs, I can get back to listening to my Beach Music stations while I do these blogs. That means 94.9 FM, the Surf out of North Myrtle Beach, WNCT AM, 1070 out of Greenville, NC and Fessa Hook's Beach Shag Network.

2. 52 MOVIES-- Every year, I shoot for a movie a week at the theater. I made my 52 for this year right on the nose.

3.  ORGANIZING CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS-- After around 19 years, I finally got motivated to organize my Christmas decorations. Something MUCH needed.

Just Some Stuff-- RoadDog

JSIS: No Cell Phone Talking in Car-- Dominick's Commercials Still-- MAC 0-4-- Gas


JSIS-- Just Some Interesting Stuff.

1. NO CELL PHONE TALKING IN CAR--  As of tomorrow, you drive anywhere and talk on the cell phone, it's a ticket for you. Be forewarned. Still waiting for them to declare driving and texting just as bad as driving drunk. It is perhaps even worse.

2. DOMINICK'S COMMERCIALS STILL--Kind of strange, but WXRT-FM in Chicago was still running commercials for grocery store Dominick's on Sunday although they all closed down for good on Saturday

3. MAC 0-4-- It's been a bad bowl season for my Mid-American Conference which now stands at 0-4 after Buffalo, Ohio, Bowling Green and NIU lost. Last chance for a win is the Go-Daddy Bowl on Jan. 5th with Ball State.

4. GAS-- Dropped all the way to $3.40 here in northeastern Illinois. It had jumped from $3.16 to $3.47 in one minute.

Sure Drops Slow, Though. --RoadDog


Top 20 Beach Music Songs of 2013-- Part 2: #1 Song "Hey Eugene"


10. PRIVATE NUMBER-- Marsha Morgan Band & Gary Lowder
9. STILL STROKIN'--Ms. Jody
8. HAVE A REAL GOOD TIME-- Tim Clark Band

7. I'M HUNGOVER-- Lesa Hudson &Rick Strickland
6. MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE (FOREVER)-- Jackie Gore
5. GOOD LOVIN'-- Roy Hamilton
4,  (tie) THE DRIVER-- King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers and PYRAMID-- Paul Craver

3. ALL I WANNA DO IS DANCE--Too Much Sylvia
2. I'M GONNA BE YOUR FRIEND-- Rick Strickland //
1. HEY EUGENE-- SeaCruz.

Good Stuff, Maynard! --RoadDog

Top 20 Beach Music Songs of 2013-- Part 1: "Back In the Day Cafe"


From 94.9 FM The Surf Radio out of North Myrtle Beach, SC. "Ted Bell's 2013 Top 20 Songs."

20. CALL ME-- K.B. & the Shifters
19. THAT'S ALL I WANT FROM YOU-- Rhonda McDaniel
18. (TIE) DON'T RUSH-- Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill and BLURRED LINES-- Robin Thicke

17. BACK IN THE DAY CAFE-- Andre Lee
16. 4 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING-- Big Time Party Band & Clifford Curry
15. (TIE) YOU NEVER CAN TELL-- Lakeside Drive Band and THE WALK-- Craig Woolard Band
14. AMAZINGLY AMAZING-- Lesa Hudson

13. LET IT BE ME--Roy Roberts & Sherry Notira
12 (TIE) HIT AND RUN-- Gary Lowder and BOULEVARD BOYS--Big John Thompson & Roger Smith
11. HARD HEADED-- Hip Pocket.

Beachin' Right Here in Illinois. --RoadDog

Monday, December 30, 2013

JSS: Cold, Again-- Bears Lose-- NIU Loss-- Icy!!!


JSS-- Just Some Stuff.

1. COLD, AGAIN-- Bracing for another round of that Super Cold Canadian weather. I try to keep telling them to keep their crummy weather, but they keep sending it anyway. Temps to be around 10 degrees until the weekend.

2. BEARS LOSE-- Saw the game with the Usual Suspects at Squaw Bar in Ingleside and enjoyed the potluck. Didn't enjoy the last minute of the game. Come on Bears, the Packers had the ball 4th and 8 with 30 seconds to go on the 50 yard line and Bears with a one point lead and a trip to the playoffs on the line. Stop them and we go. But no. There was no stop. I would have even been happy with just a first down. No, it was a touchdown!! That's a hard way to lose the game.

 3. NIU LOSS-- We're still hurting over the Poinsettia Bowl loss. This great season, 12-0 until the last two games, sure ended on a downer.

4. ICY!!!!!-- Yesterday was absolutely a day to be mighty careful when walking outside. We had sleet most of the morning and you could slide along even without moving your feet.

Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Went to DeKalb (Capital "K") for Da Game-- Part 3


I found out that after all these years of spelling DeKalb with a small "k" that it is actually a capital "K".  That's a good college education for you.

A big crowd at Fatty's, but nowhere as near the standing room only ones they get after Huskie football games (and that includes the huge outside area which is closed now for some reason).

We had good talks with some of the fans, including the man who calls himself "Facebook Guy" and NIU dean who runs the school's Facebook page and a couple of grad students from College of Engineering who had been to all the games (home and away) and bowl games the last two years.

The crowd would have been bigger except the students were home for break.

We used our special 24 ounce Fatty's glass NIU schedule and Back-to-Back MAC Championship mugs.

Lots of cheering whenever the Huskies did well, but, unfortunately, Utah State had Jordan Lynch's number and he made mistakes and we lost.

Oh well, always more fun to watch a game on TV with a bunch of fans pulling for your team.

Sure glad we didn't spend the $2,000 apiece to go to San Diego.

Looking Forward to Next Year. --RoadDog


25 Best Movies of 2013-- Part 2


Go to site for more information. I'm just listing them.

19. Fruitville Station
*18. Rush
17. Blue Jasmine

16. Stories We Tell
15. Saving Mr. Banks
14. The World's End

*13. The Conjuring
12. Blackfish
11. The Place Beyond the Pines

*10 Frozen
9. Short Tem 12
8. Inside Llewyn Davis

7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
6. Her
5. The Dallas Buyers Club

4. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. American Hustle
*2. Gravity

#1. 12 Years a Slave.

You'd Think After Seeing 52 Movies This Year, I Would Have Seen More of This List. --RoadDog

25 Best Movies of 2013-- Part 1

From the Dec. 17, 2013, Yahoo! Movies by the Yahoo! Movie Team. //// Actually looking at the list, I only saw five of them, although I do plan to see four more once the kids go back to school and things get out of holiday mode. Those four will be # 15, ##7, #4 and #3. Most of the rest I never even heard of before or, they weren't shown in our local theaters. //// The ones I saw marked with (*). //// The List: //// 25. Fast and Furious 6 // 24. The Kings of Summer // * Captain Phillips // 22. Before Midnight // 21. 20 Feet from Stradom // 20. Nebraska. //// --RoadDog

Is It DeKalb or Dekalb?

While writing about going to DeKalb for the NIU game, I took a look at the name of the town, DeKalb, and started thinking that maybe it didn't look right. Maybe I wasn't spelling it correctly. Until now, I always spelled it Dekalb with a small "k." //// I looked it up on the internet and it turns out that it is spelled with a capital "K." Looks like I would have noticed that at some point after all these years. //// Oh well, guess its better late than never. //// This joins my list of dumbies like Niagra Falls (Niagara) and Cutty Shark (Cutty Sark). //// Well, at least I always pronounced it correctly as DE-kalb, not de-kab as folks in Georgia do. //// Never Too Old to Learn Something. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Goodbye Dominick's

A mainstay here in the Chicagoland area closed its doors for good earliet today at noon. And, that would be Dominick's Food Stores which have been ailing financially for years and completely unable or unwilling to match food prices with other stores. //// They were very expensive on almost everything, a big reason why I rarely went there all these years. I always hate to see a familiar name go, but at least it wasn't one I often frequented. //// It joins the long list of Chicago-based stores like Marshall Field's, Montgomery Ward's, Wieboldt's and, I'm sure in the not too distant future, Sear's. //// Oh, Well. --RoadDog

Went to DeKalb for Da Game-- Part 2

On the way to DeKalb, we noticed gas prices at $3.36 in DeKalb and Sycamore. Went to barnes & Noble on Sycamore Road (IL-23) and Wal-Mart. Found out you don't want to go to Wal-Mart the day after Christmas. //// Went over to a house that decorates big-time for the holidays and even has its own FM station to watch the display. It was Nick's Christmas Extravaganza and we parked on the side of the road and watched the four musical displays, including the NIU Huskie Fight Song. We had seen the house on You Tube last year. Mighty impressive display! We're now officially in the mood for Da Game with Utah State. //// Checked into the Baymont Hotel and then walked over to Fatty's and found two seats at the bar. We were set for the night and, hopefully a Northern victory. //// GO HUSKIES!!! Thanks, Nick! --RoadDog

Deaths: Ray Price-- Country Singer and Nashville Sound

From AP by Chris Talbot and Jamie Stengle. Died Dec. 16th. Set the precedent for a change in country music sound and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame with a 65-year career and over 100 hits. One of te last living connections with Hank Williams and introduced the 4/4 shuffle beat. //// His biggest and best-known song was 1970's "For the Good Times," but he was huge on country charts in the 50s and 60s. Made the Billboard Hot 100 eight times and had seven #1s. Other big hits were "Crazy Arms" and "Release Me." Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. //// From Wikipedia. //// Noted for his "Nashville Sound" which included slow ballads with lush arrangements and background singers in the 1960s. //// Was born in Perryville, Texas, and served in the USMC from 1944-1946 (a World War II veteran) and after that sang on KRBC in Abilene, Texas. //// In 1953, formed his own band, the Cherokee Cowboys. Among their members in the late 50s-early 60s were Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Johnny Paycheck. ////

Friday, December 27, 2013

Went to DeKalb for Da Game-- Part 1

Yesterday, we drove to DeKalb, Illinois, to watch the Northern Illinois Poinsettia Bowl game against Utah State. We figured to watch it at Fatty's Bar and Grill on the Lincoln Highway with a whole bunch of NIU fans. Always more fun to watch a game on TV with a bunch of fans. (We have a group of Usual Suspects with whom we watch most Chicago Bear games at local watering holes, usually the Squaw Bar in Ingleside. We'll be there this Sunday for the game with arch rival Green Bay for the NFC Central Chamoionship.) //// And Fatty's was packed and boisterous. (It was one of the official watch sites for NIU fans for the Poinsettia Bowl and essentially is Huskie football headquarters all season long.) //// Why, I even cheered for Bowling Green against Pittsburgh in the Little Caesar's Bowl which was on before our game. Hey, have to cheer for the MAC (unless, of course, it's the hated Toledo Rockets). They (Bowling Green) were the ones who knocked us out of the BCS bowl appearance when they trounced us in the MAC Championship game earlier this month. I just hope that at some point in the future we will be able to devastate them in a game with such high stakes. //// Then, we were on ESPN at 8:30. //// And It Was Sad. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Heading for DeKalb for NIU in Poinsettia Bowl

Right now, I have to go out and shovel another couple inches of snow off the driveway and sidewalk from our "White Christmas" Round 2 that started late yesterday afternoon. //// In a few hours, we'll be driving out to DeKalb, Illinois, for the next best thing other than going to San Diego, watching the Huskies play in the Poinsettia Bowl with a bunch of NIU fans at Fatty's on Il-38, the famed Lincoln Highway. It is always more fun to watch with a bunch of fans as opposed to sitting at home by yourself or sitting in another place where the people could care less. //// Fatty's is the official home for Huskie fans. //// We have a room at the Baymont Hotel next door so won't have far to walk to get back. //// Here's hoping for a great finish to a great year, other than being marred by that tromping at the hands of Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game earlier this month. //// Go Huskies. --RoadDog

On a More Fun Note: More Christmas CDs

I found three more Christmas CDs that I didn't list up by the stereo by the family room tree: CHRISTMAS ISLAND-- Jimmy Buffett //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Aaron Neville ///// CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- Beach Boys. ///// I had been listening to them while setting up the Christmas village under the tree. Liz had already put the tree up (I do the outside decorations) and the railroad tracks going around the tree (we have a train with a Chicago & Northwestern engine and a Milwaukee Line car, two railroads who had a huge impact on the Chicagoland area until merged into the current Metra. //// Merry, Happy. --RoadDog

Big Oil Gouges Up for Christmas 2013: $3.17 to $3.47!!!!

A couple days ago, we here in the Midwest outside of Chicago, were shocked, well, not really, when we found that local gas stations raised prices by THIRTY CENTS in a matter of minutes. Yep! From $3.17 to $3.47 (not that ANYTHING over $2.50 is a great deal). //// Why? We never heard. Of course, I think Big Oil is now exempt from having to explain price fluctuations, something about government being in hip-pocket, or profits (something I'd really love to see). //// And, as an added bonus, in a few weeks we will be in the "Pre-Pre-Pre-Pre-Pre Summer Driving Season" where they raise prices in anticiapation of you-know-what. //// Big Oil to Americans: "Merry Christmas...Screw You!!!" --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

It's Official: White Christmas Here in the Midwest

Now that it's getting light, I see that we did indeed have a White Christmas as it snowed maybe an inch last night. It snowed an inch the previous night and overall, I guess we've had around 12 inches so far this year, most of which is still on the ground as it's been quite cold. //// Last night, Christmas Eve, we drove around the subdivision looking at Christmas lights and then south on Johnsburg Road and took a ride through the really decorated landscaping company's grounds (always a Christmas highlight) and around various subdivisions in Johnsburg, Illinois. //// Folks are in a festive mood. We saw quite a few homes with lots of cars in the driveway so a lot of family get-togethers. Then stopped at Route 12 Bar and Grill and watched the first showing of "A Christmas Story" on TBS on their 70-inch HDTV. Came home and saw the last part of "It's a Wonderful Life." I recorded it so will watch the first part sometime today. //// This past Saturday, we had a Christmas party at Captain's Quarters and last week Wednesday had a rotisserie chicken dinner at the heavily decorated Popeye's in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, overlooking Geneva Lake. Then, we took a ride through the heavily-decorated grounds of the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva and also walked through the building. If that doesn't put you in a Christmas mood, nothing will. //// Getting My Christmas Spirit On. --RoadDog

Christmas CDs-- Part 3

CHRISTMAS-- Alabama //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE PLATTERS & THE DRIFTERS-- The Gold Collection //// RUDY THE REDNECK REINDEER-- Vol. 2 //// 20 CHRISTMAS STARS-- Vol. III //// A CELTIC CHRISTMAS-- A Festive Journey //// CHRISTMAS ON THE BORDER-- //// CHRISTMAS CLASSICS REDNECK STYLE //// HAVE YOURSELF A TRACTORS CHRISTMAS-- Tractors //// REJOYCE: SONGS FOR THE SEASON-- Kohl's Cares for Kids //// BOOGIE WOOGIE CHRISTMAS-- The Brian Setzer Orchestra //// SANTA'S TOP 10 FAVORITES //// SOUL CHRISTMAS //// RHYTHM AND BLUES CHRISTMAS //// BIG BAND CHRISTMAS ////MUSIC TO YOUR EARS-- A Collection of Holiday Music //// A CHRISTMAS SAMPLER //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE RAT PACK-- Sinatra, Martin, Davis. //// Auld Lang Syne. --RoadDog

Christmas CDs-- Part 2

Some More of My Christmas CDs. //// 13 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS-- A Romping Redneck Celebration //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 1 //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 2 //// ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS-- Vol. 3 //// THAT 50's CHRISTMAS ALBUM //// ALL-STAR CHRISTMAS-- Beach Music //// NEW ORLEANS CHRISTMAS-- Putumayo Presents //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Deck the Halls //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- A Merry Christmas //// SOULFUL CHRISTMAS-- Happy Holidays //// THE CHRISTMAS ATTIC-- Trans-Siberian Orchestra //// THE LOST CHRISTMAS EVE-- Trans-Siberian Orchestra. ////Get the Light Ready. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas CDs-- Part 1

Here are some of my CDs: SEASON'S GREETINGS-- Lawson Products // THE STARS COME OUT FOR CHRISTMAS-- Steve Vaus Presents // WHITE CHRISTMAS-- Bing Crosby // CHRISTMAS TO CHRISTMAS-- Toby Keith //HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS-- Alan Jackson // CHRISTMAS HERE WITH YOU-- Four Tops // SWING 'N' JIVE CHRISTMAS-- Alleycats // BEYOND THE SEASON-- Garth Brooks // CHRISTMAS: LYNYRD SKYNYRD/38 SPECIAL // ALLIGATOR sTOMP-- Cajun Christmas // and CHRISTMAS COLLECTION-- Alligator Records. //// --RoadDog

Do You Ever Wonder About That "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" Song?

From the Dec. 13, 2013, Yahoo! Music "Grandma's Still Getting Run Over By Reindeer! Ever Wonder Where That All Got Started?" by Our Country. //// Randy Brooks wrote it, getting his inspiration from Merle Haggard's "Grandma's Homemade Christmas." He decided Haggard was talking about a dead grandmother, even though it is not explicitly stated in the song. //// So, he did a parody of the song. He used some stuff from his own experiences saying that one grandmother "did like to drink herself happy on occasion." He began playing the song live with his pal, Dr. Elmo Shropshire, who decided to record it with his wife Patsy. (Hence the Elmo and Patsy if you ever wondered.) //// He made it as a gag gift for his friends and Dr. Elmo even dressed drag for the 45's (well, single's), (well, record's), (well, hardcopy), (well, whatever) cover. //// But a friend passed it on to a San Francisco disc jockey who played it on the radio and the song took off. It became a Top 40 and Country hit. This parody has also spawned its own parodies like Cledus T. Judd's "Grandma Got Run Over By a John Deere." The article had a vote and 7% hated it while 78% love it. I may cringe when I hear it, but there I go, singing along and smiling. //// As My Brother Would Say, "Thanks a Lot, Merle." --RoadDog

Monday, December 23, 2013

A New Christmas Classic? "Merry Christmas. Exclamation Point"

From the December 13, 2013, Yahoo! News "'Merry Christmas. Exclamation Point' is tye must-hear holiday song of 2013" by Jay Hart. //// "For the first time since Mariah Carey released 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' in 1994, we have a fresh new Christmas song that's, well, a classic." //// Jon Lajoie sings it. You might know him as Taco from FXX's "The League." (Nope, not me.) //// The article also has the video or just look it up. It is well worth seeing and hearing. I saw it several times. It was good at first, but then really grew on me. //// Some of the lyrics: "You know Christmas is about spending time with friends and family // But just because you're not in one of those two categories // Doesn't mean that I won't still do something special for you // 'Cause Christmas is about giving so here's what I'll do for you // I'm gonna send you a Christmas text (Christmas Text) (Christmas Text) // I'm gonna type Merry Christmas Exclamation Point and then press send. //// Maybe I'll just copy and paste it // Well it's only two words I might as well just type it // If you're thinking of calling me to thank me, oh please don't // Texting is as far as this relationship goes." //// Well, I'm So Moved, I'm Gonna Sit Right Here and send You a Christmas Text. Wait!! My Battery Died and I'm Recharging. Oh, Never Mind, I Don't Know How to text Anyway. --RoadDog

15 TV Twists We Hated This Year

From Yahoo! TV. //// Well, there were 15 of them, but only four listed on shows I watch. These are those four: //// **FAMILY GUY-- Brian dying, but coming back. Hey, Ya just gotta love old Bri. //// **THE WALKING DEAD-- The Governor as a Good Guy. I knew that wouldn't last. That guy gives real meaning to the words "Bad Guy." Let's hope he's really dead, but I kinda doubt it. Maybe he could come back as the leader of the Walkers. A Thinking Walker. //// ** THE OFFICE-- Saw the boom operator for all their asides for the first time. Should have remained liked "Carlton, Your Doorman." //// ** TWO AND A HALF MEN-- Charlie's lesbian daughter moving in, and, like her old man, a real skirt-chaser. I believe this once funny show has "Jumped the Shark." //// Man, That Governor Was the Worst of the Worst. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 21, 2013

JSS: Mighty Slippery-- - Music--- "Anchorman"--

JSS-- Just Some Stuff. //// 1. SLIPPERY-- Man was it ever slippery out there yesterday. And, it was especially bad on our front walk and driveway. It took me about four minutes to small-step my way out to the truck (usually maybe 15 seconds). Then, last night, we went to a party at a friend's house and were just about done in by a lot more ice. We keep getting freezing rain. ///// 2. MUSIC-- Listening to WXRT's Saturday Morning Flashback right now (runs to noon CST and streams at www.wxrt.com). They are doing the year 1981. Sunday is Bob Stroud's annual Holiday Hootenanny Show featuring three hours of Christmas music on his Rock and Roll Roots show from 7 to 10 AM on Chicago's WDRV 97.1 FM, streaming at www.wdrv.com. Next week's Ten at Ten at 10 AM and 10 PM: Monday- 1969, Tuesday- 1980, Wednesday- Christmas, Thursday- 1973 and Friday- 1978. //// 3. "ANCHORMAN"-- Thursday, we watched the first "Anchorman" movie at Donovan's and then yesterday I saw "Anchorman II: The Legend Continues" at the movie theater. Mighty funny show. //// Just Some Stuff. --RoadDog

Those Stretchy Old Christmas Cassettes


These are my pre-recorded Christmas cassette tapes:

 A 50's CHRISTMAS //// CHRISTMAS CARD-- Temptations
A CREOLE CHRISTMAS
CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS-- Kokomo Joe

MERRY CHRISTMAS-- Supremes
IN THE CHRISTMAS MOOD-- Glenn Miller Orchestra
CHRISTMAS IS COMIN'-- Pete Fountain

ELVIS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM
A WHITE CHRISTMAS-- Bill Pinkney and the Original Drifters
THIS CHRISTMAS-- Smokey Robinson, O'Jays and Bobby "Blue" Bland.

Holly My Boughs-- RoadDog

So Long, WLS' Uncle Lar: Larry Lujack

LARRY LUJACK (June 6, 1940-Dec. 18, 2013) //// From Wikipedia. For those of us growing up in the Chicagoland-area from the late 60s to 70s, this was one mighty familiar voice on our mighty WLS, 890 AM, playing all our favorite pop music during the period. I especially liked his "Animal Stories" and "Cheap Trashy Show Biz Report" bits and his on-air partner, Little Tommy (also called "Little Snot-Nosed Tommy). I listened to him even though I found him to be somewhat too-smug and sarcastic sometimes. //// Also known as "Superjock" and "Uncle Lar." He came up with "Animal Stories" after the station continued to get farm magazines even after it went all rock and roll in 1960. //// Retired from WLS in 1987. //// Born in Quasqueton, Iowa, and raised in Arkansas as Larry Blankenburg, but changed his last name to Lujack after his football hero Johnny Lujack. //// Worked at several stations around the country before coming to Chicago's WCFL 1000 AM (the other big pop music station) in 1967 and doing a four-month stint at night before coming to WLS in August and continued there until 1987. //// No More Old Uncle Lar. --RoadDog

Friday, December 20, 2013

Those Scratchy Old Christmas Albums-- Part 2

Finishing up my list of Christmas albums: BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS--Brook Benton ////WONDERLAND OF CHRISTMAS-- Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra //// THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY: A CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL-- the Harry Simeone Chorale //// CHRISTMAS SONGS AND CAROLS-- Chorus and Orchestra Directed by Mitch Miller //// CHRISTMAS CARD-- Statler Brothers //// MERRY CHRISTMAS-- Bing Crosby //// PRETTY PAPER-- Willie Nelson //// ROCKIN' LITTLE CHRISTMAS-- //// PHIL SPECTOR'S CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- Phil Spector //// CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHIPMUNKS-- Alvin, Simon & Theodore with David Seville. //// Those Are My 19 Christmas Albums. Now to Crank Up the Old Stereo. --RoadDog

The MAC Goes a-Bowlin'


We've definitely come a long way since 2003, when Northern Illinois finished 10-2, with wins over Big Guys Maryland, Iowa State and Alabama...and DIDN'T GO TO A BOWL.

Five MAC teams are in bowl games this year:

FAMOUS IDAHO-- Buffalo

BEEF O'BRADY-- Ohio

LITTLE CAESAR'S-- Bowling Green

POINSETTIA-- Northern Illinois

GO-DADDY-- Ball State.

Northern plays Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl, but I would have rather seen them play in the Beef O'Brady Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, against East Carolina, one of my all-time favorite teams. I also would have preferred the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where we played Arkansas State two years ago. Arkansas State is back at the Go-Daddy.

Oh, Well. --RoadDog

Fifth Time in 7 Years That MAC Title Coach Bolts


From the Dec. 13, 2013, Yahoo! Sports, AP "Another MAC coach gets on-the-job training in bowl."

Interim Bowling Green Coach Adam Scheier was special teams coordinator a week ago. Now, he gets on-the-job training before his team's Little Caesar's Bowl appearance in a few days. That's because the former BG head coach bolted for Wake Forest right after the MAC Championship.

Said Coach Scheier, "In this conference, success generally leads to opportunity."

The MAC has always been a stepping stone for a coach's career, including the famous "Cradle of Coaches" at Miami of Ohio. This is a big reason the conference can't rise to another level.

When a coach gets a winning program going, he's gone and a rebuilding process has to take place. T

That ever been the case with my NIU. We've had two winning eras going, but lost coaches Mallory and Pettibone to Indiana and Oregon State respectively. It wasn't until Coach Joe Novak came AND STAYED, that we were able to enjoy our current success.

With the Bowling Green departure, that is five coaches of the winning MAC title game gone in seven years. That would include the 2012 championship winner Doeren from NIU (and even Kent State loser, Hazard). They went to North Carolina State and Purdue respectively. Two years before that, NIU lost the title game and Coach Kill to Minnesota.

I wish the article had listed the names of all five coaches who left the MAC.

Today's MAC Winners Are Tomorrow's Power 5 Coaches.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Mayor of North Pole, Alaska Speaks

From the dec. 25, 2011, Parade Magazine "The 365 Days of Christmas" by Joanne Kaufman. //// Doug Isaacson wears a Santa tie year round, but that is a job requirement as the mayor of North Pole, Alaska, where its Christmas year round. Just as it is in Santa Claus, Ind., Christmas, Mich., and Frankenmuth, Mich.. People in these communities keep their Christmas decorations up year round as well. //// When North Pole (pop. 2,117) was settled in the 1940s it was called Davis, but town fathers rechristened it in 1953, hoping to attract a theme park or a toy manufacturer eager to mark tags on toys as "Made in North Pole." //// That didn't happen, but the town has streetlights shaped like candy canes, the world's tallest Santa statue and the holly bough sign on the Mt. McKinley Bank. //// OK, So Now You Know. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Those Scratchy Old Christmas Albums-- Part 1

Forgot where I had put my Christmas albums in my deejay room, but finally found them. As it turns out, I have 19 Christmas albums: SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN--The Do-Re-Mi Children's Chorus (1970) // BRIGHTEST STARS OF CHRISTMAS-- JC Penney (1974) // 'TIS THE SEASON-- (1972)// HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1978) // WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS-- The Robert Rheims Choraliers // THE GOLDEN GLOW OF CHRISTMAS-- JC Penney (1972) //THE BEACH BOYS' CHRISTMAS ALBUM-- (This stereo recording should be played only with a stereo cartridge and needle to avoid damage) // A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS (1982) // JINGLE BELL ROCK-- Bobby Helms. (Also available on 8-track stereo Cartridge) //// A Yo-Ho-Ho and a Stereo Cartridge. --RoadDog

How About That, Jordan Lynch's Great Heisman Finish


From the Dec. 16,2013, SB Nation Hustle Belt "Jordan Lynch Heisman Finish Has Huge Impact On Mid-American Conference, NIU" by NIUfan 86. For any of you who like and follow the Mid-American Conference, this IS the blog for you.

"Jameis Winston, of Florida State, ran away with the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. But for those of us who embrace the underdog and favor the little guy (like Georgia Southern defeating Florida or Appalachian Stae beating Michigan), there was a bigger story-- Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois' first Heisman finalist, finished with 40 first place votes and 558 points, behind Winston and A.J. McCarron of Alabama."

Of course, Lynch's success hopefully will help both NIU and the MAC in recruiting.

Lynch played high school football at Chicago's powerhouse Mt. Carmel, but just one college program offered him a scholarship, Northern Illinois (thanks to former coach Jerry Kill, a huy who really knows his talent). Lynch was back-up for two years behind Chandler Harnish, also a great qb.

I remember when Harnish graduated after the 2011 season and Go-Daddy Bowl, we were a bit worried about how well the Lynch fellow could follow Harnish. Turns out we didn't have anything to worry about.

Of course, now we have to wonder about McIntire and Hale following Lynch.

Sure Enjoyed Ya, Jordan. Thanks. --RoadDog

Thinking About Starting My Own Christmas Radio Station


On looking through my collection of Christmas music, I have decided that I have enough to start my own one of those all-Christmas music, all the time, radio stations that pop up everywhere this time of the year. I think some start even the day after Halloween.

On my way back from North Carolina Dec. 3rd and 4th, I would listen to my CDs, then search out Christmas Music stations using that handy seek feature on the radio in the Malibu. Usually within a few pushes, I had my station and that happened along the whole way.

Of course there was the classic country station in Galax, Virginia, and the Americana/roots station in Farmer City, Illinois, which are required listening on my way to and from NC.

And, my station wouldn't play the same-old, same-old Top 40 Christman songs like a lot of them do. I can dig considerably deeper.

I'm estimating that I have about twenty Christmas albums, 20-30 pre-recorded cassettes, 30 CDs and probably another fifty cassettes that I recorded.

But, wait a minute, I don't have a radio station. Oh well. Wait another minute, this wonderfully decorated house in a subdivision right off US-12 in Wauconda, Illinois, had its own music playing at 107.1 FM to go with their display. Maybe I could get one of those and get someone to put my show on the internet.

Well, Holly Jolly to You, Anyway. --RoadDog

Monday, December 16, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My Cousin Graham


I was sad to get a call from my mom on Saturday that my cousin Graham had died in Warsaw, North Carolina, after is long and hard-fought battle with cancer. He had it for around 13 years and there were so many times we all thought he was going to die only to have him rebound and be his old self a few weeks later. Unfortunately, the cancer would always come back and this last time it was becoming apparent that this time he wouldn't rebound.

I was very glad to get to see him twice when I was in NC over Thanksgiving, the second time, Nov. 30th, he was out of his hospital bed at his house and in the family room watching college football on his big screen TV and cheering on his beloved UNC (even though they lost to Duke). This was the Graham I'll remember. His wife Vicki was having trouble with the remote and Graham was there giving her instructions. He was nice enough to let us tune into the Georgia-Georgia Tech game, though.

Graham was my oldest cousin, some eight years older than me (born in 1943) and Mom regarded him more as a brother than a nephew as they were only 13 years apart.

I'll Sure Miss Graham.

Cold, But Good Times


FRIDAY, DEC. 13TH:

Enjoyed Christmas lights in Wauconda and stopped at Main Street Outfitters in Wauconda, Illinlis, and saw Terry and Greg Spizzirri perform for a couple hours.

SATURDAY, DEC. 14TH:

Morning and early afternoon spent preparing for tomorrow's Bears party at the house. In the afternoon we went to the American Legion for their Annual Army-Navy football game party. Enjoyed talking with friends and sure wish Army could have done a better game. I'm more a Navy/Marine fan, but with Navy's dominance over the last eleven years, I wanted Army to win. I tend to always pull for the underdogs. Then, we went to the Captain's Quarters pot luck dinner party.

SUNDAY, DEC. 15TH:

Final preps for Bears party. We figure we had 30 people attend and the Bears, despite some mighty poor play, even were nice enough to win. Everyone was impressed with the new TVs. Afterwards, about ten people stuck around for Name-That-Tune and watched the Packer game (even though some of the ranid Bear fans were pulling for Dallas to win). Last folks left at 8.

Good Time. --RoadDog

Thanksgiving Trip 2013: Nov. 23rd, Just Hanging Around Columbus, Ohio


Breakfast at Tommy's Diner in Columbus on the National Road across from the Florentine Italian Restaurant where we had the Ohio National Road Association dinner last night. It was packed with Ohio State fans and had a great breakfast.

Then, we saw the site of the original Wendy's and then Topiary Park where they are recreating Impressionist painter Georges Seuratt's "A Sunday Afternoon On the Isle of La Grand Jotts." This is one impressive (and incomplete) undertaking.

Next we went to the Ohio Historical Society museum and spent a whole lot of time looking at the Civil War and Lustron Home exhibits. They also had an "Our Miss Brooks" show put on by actors, a man showing how model train folk made trees and a Rosie the Riveter presentation. Lots of great stuff to see and do at that museum.

Last two stops of the day were to watch the Ohio State game vs. Indiana. Went to Bob's Bar, or "The Cultural Hub of the Midwest" as they bill themselves. The place was packed with OSU fans and quite loud. Also, they had one huge collection of craft beers. Then, back to Route 66 Roadhouse for the last part of the game.

Now, I have to admit that I am no fan of Ohio State and normally would have been pulling for Indiana, though they had little chance.  But, it is more fun pulling with the hometown fans, so there I was, cheering for OSU and not feeling the least bit guilty about it.  You know, when in Rome, do as the Romans, or something like that. Of course, Ohio State won easily.

A Good Time in Columbus and Nary a Buffalo Wild Wings. --RoadDog

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Busy Day Yesterday


DECEMBER 13th. Good old Friday the 13th.

Well, one thing about having a party, it gets us (and especially me) to cleaning the house and doing things I continually put off. That means dusting and vacuuming the basement, reorganizing my mess (well, stuff) and in this case, hooking up the 55-inch Vizio TV (otherwise I would have put it off for awhile.

I helped at the American Legion party for the VA Hospital in North Chicago from 11 to 2. Then came home and actually got the TV hooked up and working. Then we drove to Barrington for the wake of one of our friend's mom. She was 83 which made me think of my mom who is also that age.

On the way back, we stopped at Main Street Outfitters in Wauconda and enjoyed the musical stylings of the Spizzirris, Terry and Gregg, until 10. Watched Eastern Illinois lose to Towson State in the FBC quarterfinal game. Sorry that happened as I really back the local teams.

Busy, Busy. --RoadDog

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 3


As, I said earlier, the ring wasn't lost because I didn't look for it. I stopped at every place we went to on our way to the beach. No luck. And then I looked all over the house in Goldsboro. Again, no ring. I decided not to tell Liz, just in case it turned up, but that sure wasn't likely by then.

Left Goldsboro for home on December 3rd. At some point in Virginia, I evidently received a call on the cell phone, but didn't hear it go off because of the music playing too loud. I noticed it had a message in West Virginia. It was from Mom who said the person cleaning the townhome at the beach had found it!! Wow!! I'm sure glad she found it. Called Mom back and got the details.

I think I'm not going to wear it anymore until I get it resized to fit my ring finger.

Must be Doing Something Right. --RoadDog

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sitting Here Looking At All Sorts of TVs


And, they're not plugged in or anything like that. The last few days have been major TV time for me. Earlier this week, with difficulty, I hooked up the new digital HDTV in the corner of the downstairs bar (and it even works).

Wednesday I spent the day looking at 50-60-inch HDTVs at Wal-Mart, Meijer's, Target and Best Buy in McHenry and finally settled for an E-Series 55-inch Vizio Smart TV at Wal-Mart for $698. Unfortunately, they didn't have any in stock but could get them next week, but that would be too late for Sunday's Bears party at the house.

They had two of them at the Huntley Wal-Mart, about 30 miles away, so yesterday, Liz and I drove over there and bought it. It is now sitting in its box in the basement and in a little while I'll try to get it hooked up.

In the meantime, I have the old 19-inch picture tube set from the corner of the bar, the 25-inch picture tube set and the 25-inch console set sitting right here across from the computer. I am going to turn the area into an old-timey TV watching area to see my old VHS tapes, both ones I recorded and store-bought movies.

Sure Hope I Get That 55-inch Hooked Up. That Smart TV Is Too Smart For Me. --RoadDog

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 2


OK, I wasn't going to tell Liz about the lost ring unless she brought it up. I was doing alright keeping my hands from view until the coaster incident Tuesday. Man, done in by those great tacos at Antonio's.

Actually, when I noticed I had lost the ring, I searched Mom's car from top to bottom in case the ring had slipped off there. Not there. When we returned from the beach to Goldsboro, I went to every place we had been and asked if anyone had turned a ring in. That would be the CVS store in Hamstead (newspaper and check gas cap because the Check Engine light had come on after we got gas), the Wendy's and Hess station in Castle Hayne (where we got gas and Frostees), Smithfield BBQ and Chicken (well, far be it for me to pass a BBQ place in NC) and my cousins' home in Warsaw and back in Goldsboro at the house and garage. But, no ring.

The manager at Smithfield's was quite upset that I might have lost the ring there and even asked for my phone number in case it was turned in. Without thinking, I gave him my home phone number in Illinois. Dumb move now that I think about it. Wonder who the person would be who would answer the phone and I don't want her to know about it.

A real good way to get busted.

OK, the Ring Was Officially Gone. Should I Tell Liz Or Not? --RoadDog

33 #1 Songs in 1988-- Part 3


15. THE FLAME-- Cheap Trick (2)

14. HOLD ON TO THE NIGHTS-- Richard Marx (1)

13. ROLL WITH IT-- Steve Winwood (4)

12.  MONKEY-- George Michael (2)

11. SWEET CHILD O' MINE-- Guns N' Roses (2)

10. DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY-- Bobby McFerrin (2)

9. LOVE BITES-- Def Leppard (1)

8. RED RED WINE-- UB40 (1)

7. A GROOVY KIND OF LOVE-- Phil Collins (2)

6. KOKOMO-- Beach Boys (1)

5. WILD WILD WEST-- Escape Club (1)

4. BAD MEDICINE-- Bon Jovi (2)

3. BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY/FREEBIRD MEDLEY-- Will to Power (1)

2. LOOK AWAY-- Chicago (2)

1. EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN-- Poison (2).

OK, Now I've Got Don' Worry and Kokomo In My Head. Thanks a Lot!!! --RoadDog

33 #1 Songs in 1988-- Part 2


30. THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL-- Michael Jackson (1)

29. NEED YOU TONIGHT-- INXS (1)

28. COULD'VE BEEN-- Tiffany (2)

27. SEASONS CHANGE-- Expose (1)

26. FATHER FIGURE-- George Michael (2)

25. NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP-- Rick Astley (2)

24. MAN IN THE MIRROR-- Michael Jackson (2)

23. GET OUTTA MY DREAMS, GET INTO MY CAR-- Bill;y Ocean (2)

22. WHERE DO BROKEN HEARTS GO-- Whitney Houston (2)

21. WISHING WELL-- Terrence Trent D'Arby (1)

20. ANYTHING FOR YOU-- Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine (2)

19. ONE MORE TRY-- George Michael (3)

18. TOGETHER FOREVER-- Rick Astley (1)

17. FOOLISH BEAT-- Debbie Gibson (1)

16. DIRTY DIANA-- Michael Jackson (1)

Definitely a Year For Rick Astley and George Michael. Whatever Happened to Terrence Trent D'Arby? I Really Liked His Sound. --RoadDog

25 Years Ago There Were 33 Different #1 Singles in 1988-- Part 1


From the Nov. 12, 2013 Yahoo! Music "Twenty-five Years Gone-- 33 #1 Hit Singles of 1988" by Rob O'Connor. Always some interesting lists generated by this guy. Of course, he has pictures and more information. I'm just listing them.

The number 1 spot was held by 33 different songs in the 53 weeks (really, there were 53 weeks on the chart list in 1988) Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" was #1 for the longest time at four weeks.

In 2013 so far, there have been only 11 #1s with Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" the longest at 12 weeks. Bruno Mars' ""When I Was Your Man" was the only one #1 for just one week.

How many do you remember? There were a few that I couldn't remember at all.

1988 #1 Songs from Jan. to Dec. in order. The number behind it is the number of weeks at #1:

33.  FAITH-- George Michael (1)
32.  SO EMOTIONAL-- Whitney Houston (1)
31.  GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU-- George Harrison.

I Really Liked That George Harrison Song. Always My Favorite Beatle.  --RoadGeorge

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Was Busted About the Wedding Ring-- Part 1


I didn't write about this in the blog for fear that Liz would find out about my lost wedding ring. Back on November 25th, I lost my wedding ring somewhere between Goldsboro and Topsail Beach, North Carolina. I looked all over for it, including the five places we stopped between the two places, but couldn't find it.

I wasn't in much desire to tell Liz about it, so kept quiet hoping she wouldn't notice when I got back home. She didn't notice.

However, Tuesday, we were at Antonio's in Spring Grove, Illinois, having tacos when Liz noticed the coasters had ring sizes and mentioned it. I quickly tried to turn the conversation away, but too late. Her next words, "And what happebned to your ring?"

BUSTED!!! And by a stupid coaster!! All those well-laid plans for naught because of a little piece of cardboard.

I thanked owner Tony for his assistance for putting those out.

I then had to tell the story and I'll follow up on that tomorrow.

Almost Got Away With It. --RoadDog

JSIS (More): Sinking Houses, $34 Million Sunken Treasure, Not So Peachy for Georgia


JSIS-- Just Some Interesting Stuff (More). From the July 23, 2013, USA Today. (Sure wish they hadn't raised the price 100% from $1 to $2, especially with no increase in issue size or coverage.

1. SINKING HOUSES-- Eight homes sank and ten others were in danger in a mountaintop subdivision in Lakeport, California. Things got so bad that the U.S. Postal Service refused to make mail deliveries. Found out a leaking county water system had saturated the mountain. Getting that old sinking feeling.

2. $34 MILLION SUNKEN TREASURE-- The Odyssey Marine and Exploration reported it had recovered more than 61 tons of silver from the wreck on the SS Gairsoppa off the Irish coast. The ship had been torpedoed by a German U-boat in February 1941 and the haul is estimated to be worth $34 million. I wrote more about this in my World War II blog. Not a Bad Day's Work.

3. NOT SO PEACHY IN GEORGIA-- The state, long known as the Peach State may have to rethink its slogan. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture reported that the value of the state's blueberry crop passed peaches in 2005 and continues to widen the gap. Blueberries generated $94 million in 2012, more than three times what peaches did.

Welcome to the Blueberry State. --RoadDog

JSIS: Middle Class, E-Books, Barnes & Noble


JSIS: Just Some Interesting Stuff. I'm not sure when or where I got these bits.

1. MIDDLE CLASS-- America's Middle Class in Crisis. Two recessions and a couple stock market crashes have led to high unemployment among this group. Plus, Republican and Tea Party attacks on unions continues.

2. E-BOOKS--Amazon says E-Books are outselling paper books. Also, CD Online site is closing.

3. BARNES & NOBLE-- For sale after years of declining sales. And, we have already lost Borders.

Just Some Interesting Stuff.

Wondering If Any of These Have Any Connection. --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

After Much Effort, I Got That New HDTV Hooked Up


With the state of television moving along as it is today (and the fact that I can't get most cable stations on the old analog TVs anymore), I am forced to join the rest of world and go HD digital TV.

Not that I didn't want to, as I love big screen TVs, but the old ones were still working and I hate getting rid of something that still works.

Last month, I bought a 29-inch HDTV for the corner of the Margaritaville bar (it was the largest I could find to fit the spot) and had put off installing it until yesterday as I knew it would be a pain. New technology and I don't get along. Nothing new is easy for me.

Plus, getting the old 19-inch picture tube set down wasn't easy either. It was mighty heavy. After several hours, I was able to get the stations on the new one, but had to detach my VHS recorder/DVD player.

Today, I go out and buy a 55-60-inch HDTV for the basement as we are having a Bears Football party this Sunday afternoon.

So Proud of Myself and Watching TV in Style. --RoadDog

Attention Music Fans! Countdown for 1951


'Fessa John Hook has the Beach Music Countdown for the Year 1951 on his www.beachshag.com site right now and for a couple more days.

I was born midway through that year, so probably wasn't listening to much of it, but I'm getting it now.

He is playing the Top 40 songs along with a whole lot of honorable mentions so it is a real trip back with such artists as Ivory Joe Hunter, Robins, Roy Brown, Stick McGee, Jesse Belvin, Clovers, Howlin' Wolf, Wynonie Harris, Buddy and Ella Johnson and Joe Liggins.

The TOP FIVE by themselves are a roadmap to the soon-to-be outgrowth of Jump Blues called rock and roll with:

#5 JUST ONE MORE DRINK-- Amos Milburn

#4. LITTLE RED ROOSTER-- Griffin Brothers and Margie Day

#3. BAD BAD WHISKEY-- Amos Milburn

#2  ROCKET 88-- Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats

#1. SIXTY MINUTE MAN-- Billy Ward & His Dominoes.

If You Want to See Where Rock and Roll Came From, This "Be" the Place. --RoadDog

Top Ten Misused English Words


From the June 6, 2011, Listverse.

Find out why.

10. Refute

9. Instant

8. Enormity

7. Less

6. Chronic

5. Literally

4. Panacea

3. Disinterested

2. Decimate

1. Ultimate.

The Enormity of This Ultimate List Is Literally Hard to Refute. --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bowling Green Gets Those MAC Championship Blues: The Curse of the Championship


OK, the Bowling Green Falcons beat us badly in the MAC Championship game in Detroit this past Friday, but they fell victim to the MAC Curse. Win, or even lose that game and start looking for a new coach.

It has been announced that Bowling Green's coach, Dave Clawson, has been hired by Wake Forest of the ACC, just like our head coach in 2012, Dave Doeren, jumped ship to North Carolina State, also of the ACC, after our victory in the MAC Chamionship last year.

Evidently, not only are bowl games there at the game scouting, but also the Big Guys looking for new coaches.

Of interest last year, our opponent, Kent State, also lost their head coach to Purdue of the Big Ten (11, 12, 13 or 14). Back in 2010, we lost our coach, Jerry Kill, to Minnesota of the Big Ten (11, 12, 13 or 14) after the MAC Championship game as well. Jerry Kill, however, unlike Doereen, had a proven track record for success, having built Southern Illinois into a power and taking a good program at NIU and making it better.

Dave Clawson turned programs around at Fordham and Richmond and was named national coach of the year at both of them before going to Bowling Green. He also was seriously considered for the head coach at East Carolina back in 2010. Hopefully, Clawson's duties at Bowling Green are over and he won't be coaching at the Little Caesar Bowl. The MAC needs to put a $2 million clause into contracts where the Big Guys have to pay us that much for every year our head coaches break their contract to go to a Big Guy school. All they have to do is ask one of their rich guy backers for the dough.

So far, our coach, Rod Carey, is still with NIU.

That's Life in the Mid-Majors. --RoadDog

Navigating a Buffet


From June 28, 2013, Yahoo! by Shawn Smilie, executive chef of buffet at Aria in Las Vegas. What you should do at one of those buffets:

** Scope it out, especially new ones to you.

** Don't pile plate too high, take smaller amounts.

** As you go back for seconds, your body is digesting round one.

** Buffets put the cheaper, more filling foods at the beginning of the line.

** The healthier, more expensive foods are at the end.

** He hates people who take a whole portion and just take one bite out of it. (Me too.)

** Eat the foods that you eat at home.

**  Don't eat everything at the dessert buffet.

Essentially My Ideas As Well. --RoadDog

Monday, December 9, 2013

NIU Poinsettia Bowl Bound and STILL HAS Coach


Last night, we found out that Northern Illinois was going to the Poinsettia Bowl the day after Christmas in San Diego to play Utah State. I know the University of Central Florida has to be thanking Bowling Green for beating us at the MAC Championship game Friday, thus keeping us from and letting them go to the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona, a BCS Bowl.

But, still, it's a bowl game, something we didn't get in 2003 after a 10-2 season and beating a ranked Alabama team. The last time we played in the Poinsettia Bowl, we were blown out by Texas Christian University so hope we do better this year. No doubt, it will be a tough game.

We'll be watching for NIU travel packages, but most likely will not go.

We could have gone to the Beef O-Brady game in St. Petersburg, Florida, one which we would have gone to and if I heard correctly, East Carolina, my second favorite college team, is playing in so that would have been a great game for me.

It has now been two days since the loss to Bowling Green and, WE STILL HAVE OUR COACH, Rod Carey. We lost our last two coaches within hours after the MAC Championship game.

Go Huskies!! --RoadDog

We Got Our White Christmas a Bit Early Yesterday


What was to be a smattering of snow in the morning and maybe an inch or two in late afternoon turned out to be an all-day snow with maybe 4-6-inches and lots of slippery driving. We drove up to Donovan's Reef in Twin Lakes to watch the Packers who pulled off a nice win over the Falcons.

Roads in Illinois were ok, but we did have to drive behind a tiny Ford Ranger truck on Wilmot Road from Main Street to 173 who was from Texas and obviously very scared. He drove between 25 and 35 mph the whole 50 mph way and it wasn't bad.

However, that was me once we crossed the border into Wisconsin as their roads had not been plowed or salted. Intersections were a complete joy. No doubt Gov. Walker's idea to save money and punish unions. Almost decided to go back home, but by then we were so close we decided to continue on to Donovan's. Of course, since Green Bay wasn't playing Da Bears, we were in our Packer stuff.

Don't Let It Snow, Don't Let It Snow!!! --RoadDog

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm Not Forgetting What Day It Is: Pearl Harbor Day, 72 Years Later


All seven of my blogs will have mention of this today as well as one American who died December 7, 1941. I will also have several postings about it in my World War II blog, "Tattooed On Your Soul."

Not forgetting MANFRED C. ANDERSON of Hancock, Michigan (Upper Peninsula), 18th Bombardment Group, Hickam Field.

Thirty Years Ago: B-Ball Scoring, Secret Santa and Columbia House


Just looking back at my journal for Dec. 5-7, 1983.

I was keeping score at 7th and 8th grade boys and girls basketball games just about every day after school as I was the official scorer and ran the clock.

Our superintendent came up with the idea for "White Alerts" when we had the possibility of a snowstorm which we had today. This allowed teachers to leave at the same time students did.

I got my Secret Santa, Marcy.

Dec. 7, 1983, we had a fire drill at 2:40 PM and we all had to go out in the cold. Both Magee Middle School girls teams lost to Woodland.

"When I returned home, I found that my records (albums) had arrived from Columbia House, all 13 of them. I now need to buy 7 more records at around $11 apiece. That will come to $85 for 20 albums, not a bad deal considering most sale records now cost $6.99."

Anybody remember Columbia House and BMG (and I think they had another name before becoming BMG) Records? I sure always enjoyed looking at the ads for these companies and the pamphlets you'd get every month/4 weeks. The only problem was getting the featured album if you forgot to return the letter saying you didn't want it.

I still have a few/many of  those featured albums.

--Collecting Those Albums. --RoadDog

We Didn't Want to Go To Arizona Anyway: NIU Loses MAC Championship and Trip to BCS Fiesta Bowl


Still recovering from the beatdown that Northern Illinois got last night from Bowling Green in the Mid American Conference Championship game. A victory meant that NIU was going to the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, in our second straight BCS Bowl game (earlier this year we were at the Orange Bowl).

If someone finds our defense somewhere between DeKalb and Detroit, please show them the way home as they certainly did not find the field last night. Jordan Lynch played ok, but it was not one of his best efforts, especially with the interceptions.

We were having discussions about going to the Fiesta Bowl game if the Huskies got there, but neither one of us really wanted to go, both preferring a return to the Go-Daddy Bowl in Mobile on Jan. 5th and that looks like where we'll be headed, perhaps to play against Arkansas State again.

But what a great year for NIU football. Ended with a 12-0 regular season record, played in our 4th straight MAC Championship game, beat two Big Ten teams, all that Jordan Lynch for Heisman Award, retirement of Diesel and new mascot Mission and the Chessick Indoor Center dedication and opening.

One other REAL GOOD THING, we probably won't have to find a new coach like we did within hours after winning last year's MAC Championship. Not only did we lose our coach to NC State in 2012, but also the team we played, Kent Stae, lost their coach to Purdue.

Ah, the Trials and Tribulations of Mid-Level College Football. --RoadDog

Friday, December 6, 2013

Just Got In From Christmas Lights and Is It Ever Cold Out There


Inside and trying to get the feeling back in my fingers. It is COLD out there, about 20 degrees and a strong breeze making it worse. It was just like that yesterday so froze as well. That is a major problem around these parts along the Illinois/Wisconsin border.

But, I have them all up except for the icycles from the garage eaves and along the front porch.

Fortunately, I got all of the ones on the gazebo (inside and outside), the deck and sunroom up before I left for Thanksgiving in North Carolina.

Thawing out for that big game tonight at 7 PM CST on ESPN2 for the MAC Championship.

Deck the Lights With Frozen Fingers. --RoadDog

Sure Miss My Old Tree


I looked out the kitchen window yesterday after I got back from my Thanksgiving trip to North Carolina and it sure looked strange not to see the big old Bradford pear tree out there on the west end of Frances' Back 40, the flower bed area on the southeast corner of the yard. It was easily 30-foot high and just as wide and had those remarkable white colors in the spring and the golden red as late fall into November, the last trees with color.

That stormy Sunday we had on November 17th (with all the tornadoes in Illinois) brought it down as well as several big limbs from the Bradford pear tree by the deck.

While I was gone, I paid  a friend come by and cut it up and cart part away and the rest he piled out by the wood pile. I'll miss that tree, which I planted as just a little sapling. Now, I have to decide if I want to plant another Bradford pear by the old one or perhaps a sugar maple or perhaps nothing.

Well, at least I have a new supply of firewood.

Decisions, Decisions. --RoadDog

Six "Dirty" Jobs... But, Somebody's Got to Do 'Em


From the June 27, 2013, U.S. News & World Report "These Are Six Dirty Jobs, But Somebody Has to Do Them" by Jada A. Graves.

And, I still miss the printed magazine.

As they say, there is no such thing as a perfect job, unless you're a sports announcer, I guess.

1. Oil Rig worker

2. Slaughterhouse worker

3. Crime Scene Cleanup Technician

4. Dairy farmer-- In case you're wondering: squeezing the teets, animal waste, inseminating heifers.

5. Plumbers-- Well, human waste and crack exposure.

Gastroenterologist-- Like a plumber, but for the human body dealing with disorders of the digestive system.

Well, I Choose Retired. --RoadDog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thirty years Ago Today We Be Stylin' With New Zenith 25-inch Color Console TV


Looking back at my journal for 1983 (I've been keeping it since summer 1978 and really wish I had been keeping it back to high school and college days) and saw that today, December 5, 1983, a Monday, Polk Brothers delivered the new 25-inch color TV console.

Liz had bought it back on November 29th from Polk Brothers (there's a name for you Chicago folk) for $498, a goodly amount of money back then. I paid for it with deejay earnings and also had bought our first VCR (it's remote was attached by a cord).

We had been watching a 19-inch color TV before that so had really "arrived" in the world of technology. We gave the old one to Liz's parents.

Back in 1983, we were in the midst of quite a cold spell (just like we have coming in this year) and I had to keep the set turned off for two hours to warm up as it wasn't delivered until 6:30 PM to let it warm up as it had been in the truck all day. Not easy as I really wanted to watch it.

AND, we still have that TV. Right now it isn't hooked up to anything as I had to replace it with my mother-in-law's 25-inch color TV as the '83 didn't have the hookup for all the new digital stuff our cable company Mediacom now has. That was just a few months ago.

The set still works very well except for an occasional very temperamental volume control which goes off and on full sound at any given time. Either you can't hear it or get blasted out.

Right now, I plan to move it elsewhere in the basement's North Woods area and use it to watch my old VHS tapes, both bought and recorded.

I will be replacing Frances' 25-inch TV with a 55 or 60-inch HD one in time for our Bear party on Dec. 15th.

Hey, The '83 Still Works. Why Get Rid Of It? --RoadDog

Thanksgiving Trip 2013-- Part 2: Nov. 22nd The National Road


NOVEMBER 22ND: After leaving the museum, Denny and I backtracked a way into Dayton and had lunch and played NTN at one of the Cadillax Jack's you see so often in the national top twenty.

Then drove the National Road (US-40) into Springfield, Ohio, and saw the new Madonna of the Trail statue location and then National Roaded it to Columbus where we took the interstate (I-271) north and got rooms at the EconoLodge Motel ($50 a night) then went to Dave Wickline's Route 66 Roadhouse nearby before driving to the Ohio National Road annual dinner and awards meeting at the Florentine Italian restaurant (dating to 1946) on US-40 in downtown Columbus.

Quite the dedicated group there and they were nice enough to let me get a dinner as well. Lots of Ohio State fans there. Someone said tickets to the OSU game were $100 each and still a sell-out.

Afterwards, drove down Ohio State's party strip which was just beginning to hop what with the home game tomorrow against Indiana. This strip had to be three miles long, a real lot longer than NIU's Lincoln Highway party strip. Then, back to the Route 66 Roadhouse for drinks and back to the motel.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Just Got Back


Arrived here in Spring Grove, Illinois, about five hours ago after a two week trip to NC for Thanksgiving. 

Over 2,000 miles and lots of history, family and Christmas decorations. Always great to get back home.

Typing on this and listening to some Christmas music on a recorded cassette tape. This one is a Little Steven's Underground Garage recording.

--RoadDog

Sorry 'Bout That


Very few postings the last two weeks as I was a a trip to North Carolina and the laptop did not work. Of course, this computer, an XP, will go down in April as whoever owns it is going to pull out of support to make some more money.

I really hate those guys.

Planned Obsolecense, Indeed. And Here I Am Stuck With This Piece.... --RoadDog

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Trip 2013-- Nov. 21-22: 50th Anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination


NOVEMBER 21ST, THURSDAY--

Drove the usual way, Il-47 south from Woodstock, Il., but turned east at Forrest on US-34 instead of going to I-74. Took that east to I-65 and then to Indianapolis where I found confusing signage on I-465 and ended up on the west side of the city instead of the east.

Went through the city on I-70 right during rush hour, but it wasn't bad. Finally stopped raining east of it and drove to Ohio and exit 29 (Englewood) on I-70 and had my Skyline Chili before getting a room at the Best Western.

NOVEMBER 22ND, FRIDAY--

Drove to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton and met my buddy Denny. We took a bus out to see JFK's Air Force One on the 50th anniversary of when it flew him to Dallas from Ft. Worth and then carried him back in a casket and LBJ was sworn in as president.

We then toured the museum and saw the goblets used in the Final Toast of the Doolittle Raiders. And, we weren't finished for the day.

--RoadDog

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination


This coming Friday, November 22nd and on the exact day of the week the event, that was my generation's Pearl Harbor. While moving boxes of Christmas decorations upstairs earlier this morning, I came across two items that I had never seen before.

One was a color photo poster of President Kennedy that is somewhat creased and the other was a thin, hard-cover book titled "The Torch is Passed: The Associated Press Story of the Death of a President."

Liz said it wasn't hers and I know it wasn't mine. She thinks that perhaps she must have gotten the pair while cleaning out her mother's place after her death. Her parents, though Catholic, were staunch Republicans and not big Kennedy fans, so she is not sure why they would have them.

Wonder Where It Came From?  --RoadDog

Movie Scratches: Counselor-- Ender's-- Vegas-- Thor


A dog's-eye view of today's movies:

45. COUNSELOR-- 10-28-- FOX LAKE $6-- Drug folks play for keeps and have no sense of humor, Brad gets a bolo and the cheetas get loose.

46. ENDER'S GAME-- 11-1-- FOX LAKE $6-- Youth Save the day, Kind of a Harry Potter and Hunger Games Mix. When a video game is more than a video game.

47. LAST VEGAS-- 11-11-- FOX LAKE $6-- The Flatbush Four do Las Vegas, many, many, many years later. A great show, but how could it not be with that cast.

48. THOR: THE DARK WORLD-- 11-13-- FOX LAKE $4.50-- Still hammering opponents after all these years.

All Those Cell Phone Glows. --RoadDog

Movie Scratches: Prisoners-- Insiduous-- Captain-- Carrie


A dog's eye view of today's movies:

41. PRISONERS-- 10-16-- FOX LAKE,  FREE-- Don't mess with this guy's daughter. A real "who-dun-it."

42. INSIDUOUS: CHAPTER 2-- 10-16-- FOX LAKE, $4.50-- Alice to the rescue. Here's Johnny bursting through the door.

43. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS-- 10-23-- FOX LAKE, $6-- Leave my boat A-LONE!!! Capt. Jack he ain't. 

44. CARRIE-- 10-28-- FOX LAKE $6-- One girl you'd best not mess with inder ANY circumstances. She'll rock your world. And what a mother!!

Popcorn All Over the Place. --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 9-- November 20th: Streaming


Sad that this 2,000+ song marathon ends tomorrow. I'll be on the road, but will definitely be listening as long as I'm in range, probably about as far as Morris, Illinois. So, this will be my last entry on it.

These are songs I've been listening to so far this morning:

SHE WAS HOT-- Rolling Stones
SHE'S A BEAUTY-- Tubes
SHE COMES IN COLORS-- Rolling Stones

SHE'S ALWAYS A WOMAN-- Billy Joel
SHE'S LEAVING HOME-- Beatles
SHE'S NOT THERE-- Santana

SHE'S SO COLD-- Rolling Stones
SHE'S THE ONE-- Bruce Springsteen
SHE'S WAITING-- Eric Clapton

SHEEP-- Pink Floyd
SHINE-- Collective Soul
SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND (PARTS 1-5)-- Pink Floyd

SHOCK THE MONKEY-- Peter Gabriel
SHOOT TO THRILL-- AC/DC
SHOOTING STAR-- Bad Company

SHORT PEOPLE-- Randy Newman
SHOT DOWN IN FLAMES-- AC/DC
SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO-- Clash
SHOUT-- Tears For Fears.

Again, Enough Pink Floyd. --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 8-- November 20th: Rebel, Route 66, Run, Runaround, Runnin'


Some songs played in the last 24 hours:

REBEL GIRL-- Survivor
REBEL REBEL-- David Bowie
REBEL YELL-- Billy Idol

ROUTE 66-- Rolling Stones
RUN FOR YOUR LIFE-- Beatles
RUN LIKE HELL (LIVE)-- Pink Floyd

RUN THROUGH THE JUNGLE-- CCR
RUN TO YOU-- Bryan Adams
RUN WITH THE PACK-- Bad. Company

RUNAROUND-- Blues Traveler
RUNAROUND-- Van Halen
RUNAWAY-- Bon Jovi

RUNNIN' DOWN A DREAM-- Tom Pettty
RUNNIN' WITH THE DEVIL-- Van Halen
RUNNING ON EMPTY-- Jackson Browne.

It Ends At Some Time Tomorrow. Sad. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We Had Damage From Sunday's Storms


We saw all the warnings of possible dangerous weather, but went to Squaw Bar in Ingleside to watch the Bears game which had a two-hour delay because of the storms and went to overtime before the Bears won.

At one point, there came a huge gust of wind through the place and the trees out in the parking lot dropped quite a few limbs and twigs, causing me to move the car farther away.

When we came home, I looked outside, but in the dark, couldn't see anything. In the morning, I looked outside and my heart sank as I saw one of my favorite Bradford pear tree out in Frances' Back 40, broken off at the trunk and laying in the grass by the southeast corner of the yard.

I had planted the tree 19 years ago and it was just coming into its brilliant fall foliage of a crimson-red-gold, and now there it was. Liz then noticed that about a third of the Bradford pear tree by the back deck was also broken off. We figure they came down during that burst. Today, we noticed our neighbors across the street also had a tree partly down from Sunday's storm.

I'll sure be missing those trees.

So. We Had Damage, But At Least Just Strong Wind, Not Tornadoes. --RoadDog

Washington (Il) High School: Ectasy to Sad in 24-Hours


Yesterday while looking up the results of the IHSA State Playoffs for my Route 66 vs. Lincoln Highway and US-12 vs. US-14 Showdowns, I came across the name of Washington Community High School Panthers who won their third round game and this Saturday are playing their semi-final game. Before Sunday, I wouldn't have paid any attention to the name at all. But then, Sunday was quite a day here in Illinois.

We've been to Washington once as we were playing NTN at various places, but hadn't thought about it until Sunday, and that horrible tornado.

I was looking at results from the IHSA Playoff teams, and there it was, Washington High School. They had a great season and entered the playoffs ranked #2 in the Lower Division (based on school location).

They had beaten their first round opponent, Peoria 31-21. In the second round, they rolled to a 53-12 victory over Mt. Vernon and this past Saturday, won 41-7 over one of the Route 66 teams, Normal-- University. Sadly, less than 24 hours later, the town was leveled by a 4EV tornado (5 being the worst). 

Fortunately, with all that damage, there was only one fatality. But, sadly, going from the euphoria of that great victory to what happened the next day. Just hard to fathom. Many of the football players lost their homes.

They will be playing #1 Springfield-- Sacred Heart-Griffin this Saturday. I sure know who I'll be pulling for.

Go Panthers. --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 7: November 19th-- Streaming This Morning


Since I've been Tuned In. Took the garbage out not researching, posting and listenin'.

ONE OF THESE DAYS-- Pink Floyd
ONE OF THESE NIGHTS-- Eagles
ONE SLIP-- Pink Floyd

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER-- Fixx
ONE TREE HILL-- U2
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER-- Blondie

ONE WAY OUT-- Allman Brothers
ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART-- Neil Young
ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG-- Billy Joel

ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE-- REO Speedwagon
ONLY TIME WILL TELL-- Asia
ONLY WOMEN BLEED-- Alice Cooper

ONLY YOU CAN ROCK ME-- UFO
ONLY YOU KNOW AND I KNOW-- Dave Mason
OPEN ARMS-- Journey

OPEN INVITATION-- Santana
OPERATOR-- Jim Croce
Orange Crush-- REM

Only Problem With the Drive Is Too Much Pink Floyd and Zeppelin. I Like Them, But There WERE Other Groups.   --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 6: November 19th-- Mother, Move, Mr.


Some songs played in the last 24-hours on WDRV in Chicago:

MOTHER-- Pink Floyd
MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION-- Paul Simon
MOTHER'S LITTLE HELPER-- Rolling Stones

MOTHERLESS CHILDREN-- Eric Clapton
MOVE IT ON OVER-- George Thorogood
MOVE OVER-- Janis Joplin

MOVIN' ON-- Bad Company
MOVIN' OUT (ANTHONY'S SONG)-- Billy Joel
MOVING IN STEREO-- Cars

MR. BLUE SKY-- ELO
MR. JONES-- Counting Crows
MR. ROBOTO-- Styx

MR. SKIN-- Spirit
MR. SOUL-- Buffalo Springfield
MR. TAMBOURINE MAN-- Byrds
MRS. ROBINSON-- Simon & Garfunkel.

OK, Let's Talk Like a Robot. --RoadDog

Monday, November 18, 2013

Miss You, Dad


It was fifteen years ago today that Dad's funeral took place. He had died on November 15th after a massive stroke on the 14th.

I was just entering the hospital when death came. It just doesn't seem to be that long ago.

This Past Weekend: Part 3: One Real Hard Storm and Da Bears Win


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17TH: Listened to Rock and Roll Roots on WDRV and recorded Breakfast With the Beatles in the morning, as usual.

We started getting storm warnings and a tornado watch by 9 AM. With it being as warm as it has been around here in November, that usually signals "Watch Out! Something bad is on its way!!" Getting quite windy. Liz said that she heard someone say the last time we had barometric readings and storms like were on their way was 1975 when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank.

Drove to Squaw Bar and met up with the Usual Suspects for Da Bears game. Weather continued to worsen and, about six minutes into the game with Da Bears down 10-0, the game went into rain delay and fans were ordered to go below the stands for the approaching storm. That ended up with a two-hour delay.

CBS, which was carrying the game, went to two hours of weather reports. And, the news was grim. The little town of Washington, Illinois, near Peoria, had been clobbered and we had reports that Coal City and Diamond near Chicago had been hit by tornadoes.

We had big winds and heavy rains off and on at the Squaw Bar and once, a really strong breeze blew through the place. I had to move the car to another spot as I was near some trees that had lost a lot of smaller limbs during the windburst as there was fear bigger ones would fall or perhaps the tree itself.

The game started again and the field quickly became a quagmire after all that rain, but Da Bears were able to tie it up and won in overtime in a game that started at noon but didn't end until about 5:30.

When we got home, I looked out back to see if there was any damage, but it was too dark to see. The next morning I found that the Bradbury pear tree on Frances' Back 40 had blown down.

Quite the Day! --RoadDog

This Past Weekend-- Part 2: History in Ingleside, Eating in McHenry


SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16TH:

I went to the Fox Lake/Grant Township Area Historical Society meeting in Ingleside, Illinois, in the morning. Gas in Fox Lake is "down" to $3.13 ($3.12 for most folks, but really $312.9). Learned that Ray Manzarek of the Doors lived in Ingleside from 1960-1961. Also that two major league baseball players, Billy and Bobby Klaus, came from Fox Lake, Illinois. Today's topic was Fox Lake in 1963, fifty years ago.

In the afternoon, we drove to McHenry for their annual Christmas Walk and Taste of Winter. Twenty places had special food items for $1 to $2. I first went to The Vinyl Frontier record store and bought a four-CD pack of music from the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. We went to Old Bridge Tavern, After the Fox, Corkscrew Pointe, Little Chef, Bimbo's, Fox Hole, the Polish Legion, Gambler's and Main Street Station (the old McHenry train station) before being too full to continue.

Watched Northwestern lose to Michigan and that unbelievable Georgia-Auburn game at the Twisted Moose before coming home. We were wearing our NIU Huskie gear and got all kinds of congrats and high fives as well as discussions. It seems that we have made a lot of fans over the last several years.

At home, we watched the JFK special on CBS. Those muffled drums during the funeral procession still really get me.

Busy Day. --RoadDog

This Past Weekend-- Part 1: Round Lake Beach


NOVEMBER 15TH, FRIDAY: Drove over to Round Lake Beach, Illinois, for dental appointments, then drove around the town, where we lived for 17 years while teaching. The lakefront park at Round Lake Beach is as beautiful as ever. After Liz's hair appointment in Round Lake by Magee Middle School (where I taught for 31 years), we had the Chinese buffet at Chiang Jiang in Mallard Creek Shopping Center by Il-83 and Rollins Road.

The poor place is hanging in there in the nearly vacant shopping center now that only about four stores remain. Things are even worse as Rollins Road between Hainesville Road and 83 is undergoing a major renovation because of the railroad crossing there.

Then, we went to the Super-K on Rollins Road a little west of Mallard Creek. Sadly, it is being closed because of a lack of business. We don't have any K-Marts anywhere near us anymore as the K-Mart in McHenry also closed.

Later, had a few drinks at the Dirty Rooster on Grasslake (they moved to a new place on Il-173 at the end of this month). Enjoyed that great view of Grasslake on one of the few decent days we have left now. Ran into someone who knew me from my deejay days. He said he liked me because I interacted with the crowd, something deejays rarely do these days.

Can't Complain About the Weather. --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 5: November 18th


These are songs that have played while I'm listening to it and typing away on these here blogs. There had been seven previous songs beginning with the word "Let" before I tuned in:

LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR-- Pete Townsend
LET THE DAY BEGIN-- Call
LET THERE BE ROCK-- AC/DC

LET'S DANCE-- David Bowie
LET'S GET ROCKED-- Def Leppard
LET'S GO-- Cars

LET'S SPEND THE NIGHT TOGETHER-- Rolling Stones
LET'S WORK TOGETHER-- Canned Heat

THE LETTER-- Box Tops
LEVON-- Elton John
LIDO SHUFFLE-- Boz Scaggs

LIFE DURING WARTIME-- Talking Heads
LIFE IN A NORTHERN TOWN-- Dream Academy
LIFE IN THE FAST LANE-- Eagles

LIFE IS A HIGHWAY-- Tom Cochrane
LIFE IS A ROCK (BUT THE RADIO ROLLED ME)-- Reunion

LIFE OF ILLUSION-- Joe Walsh.

Of course, the "Life in a Northern Town" referred to JFK and the Beatles back in 1963 with the 50th anniversary of the event coming upon us this Friday.

What We Need Is Some More Cowbell. --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 4: November 18th-- If, Is, It's

\
Listening to this great week's worth of music as much as possible. And, lovin' it. Listening right now.

Here are some selected part of the list of songs they've played the last two days. Go to WDRV's site for complete list:

IF I NEEDED SOMEONE-- Beatles
IF 6 WAS 9-- Jimi Hendrix
IF YOU COULD ROCK ME-- Rolling Stones

IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND-- Gordon Lightfoot
IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY SET THEM FREE-- Sting
IF YOU WANT BLOOD (YOU GOT IT)--AC/DC.

IS THIS LOVE-- Bob Marley
IS THIS LOVE--Whitesnake
IT'S A LONG WAY TO THE TOP-- AC/DC

IT'S ALL I CAN DO-- Cars
IT'S ALL OVER NOW-- Rolling Stones
IT'S IN THE WAY THAT YOU USE IT-- Eric Clapton

IT'S LATE-- Queen
IT'S MY LIFE-- Animals
IT'S ONLY ROCK AND ROLL (BUT I LIKE IT)-- Rolling Stones
IT'S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME-- Billy Joel
IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD-- REM.

Getting My Drive On. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 16, 2013

More College Football: What's the Story on the FSU QB? // Bowl Game Predictions


It sure seems strange to me that a 2012 case was reopened this past week involving charges against the Florida State quarterback for something he did back in 2012. If it was that serious back then, why wasn't anything done about it at the time? Seems quite the coincidence that this comes after Oregon lost and FSU (NIU's Orange Bowl opponent earlier this year) becomes heir apparent to play 'Bama for the national championship. Some coincidence indeed.

BOWL PROJECTIONS: Unfortunately, if Fresno State doesn't lose (and it appears with their remaining schedule that they won't) they're going to the BCS Fiesta Bowl instead of Northern. Right now, projections are good that NIU will play in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile on Jan. 5th against Arkansas State, again (we played them two years ago). I wouldn't mind it, though, as we like Mobile and have a lot in common with Arkansas State (the two teams that have lost the most head coaches in the last three years).

If we do go to the GoDaddy Bowl, I'm thinking of maybe catching the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 30 (N.C. vs. Mississippi predicted) and the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 31st, with another favorite team of mine, East Carolina playing. Things to definitely think about. Another possibility is the Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama, with a Tennessee-Rutgers matchup predicted.

I see in today's Georgia-Auburn game that the two teams are fairly evenly-matched in their all-time series which started in 1892. They are 54-54-8. That's FAIRLY EVEN in my book.

Get Me Some Football. --RoadDog

Some Info On Ball State University


Ball State is located in Muncie, Indiana, on the state's east central side, a ways northeast of Indianapolis. It's enrollment is similar to that of NIU with 21,053 in 2013.

It gets its name from the Ball Brothers, those guys who make the canning jars, who bought a bankrupt school and gave it to Indiana.

Now You Know.  --RoadDog

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 3: November 16, 2013


STREAMING SONGS SINCE I GOT UP THIS MORNING:

FIRE ON HIGH-- ELO
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN-- Marshall Tucker Band
5:15-- Who

FIXIN' A HOLE-- Beatles
THE FLAME-- Cheap Trick
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER-- Molly Hatchett

FLY AWAY--Lenny Kravitz
FLY BY NIGHT-- Rush
FLY LIKE AN EAGLE-- Steve Miller Band

FLYING HIGH AGAIN-- Ozzy Osbourne.
FM (NO STATIC)-- Steely Dan
FOLLOW YOU FOLLOW ME-- Genesis.


DON'T SONGS PLAYED YESTERDAY:

DON'T ASK ME NO QUESTIONS-- Lynyrd Skynyrd
DON'T ASK ME WHY-- Billy Joel
DON'T BRING ME DOWN-- Animals

DON'T BRING ME DOWN-- ELO
DON'T CALL US, WE'LL CALL YOU-- Sugarloaf
DON'T COME AROUND HERE NO MORE-- Tom Petty

DON'T DO ME LIKE THAT-- Tom Petty
DON'T FEAR THE REAPER-- Blue Oyster Cult
DON'T KILL THE WHALE-- Yes

DON'T LET HIM GO-- REO Speedwagon
DON'T LET IT BRING YOU DOWN-- Neil Young
DON'T LET ME DOWN-- Beatles

DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME-- Elton John
DON'T LOOK BACK-- Boston
DON'T LOSE MY NUMBER-- Phil Collins

DON'T MISUNDERSTAND ME-- Rossington Collins Band
DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME-- Police
DON'T STOP-- Fleetwood Mac

DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'-- Journey
DON'T TAKE ME ALIVE-- Steely Dan
DON'T TELL ME YOU LOVE ME-- Night Ranger

DON'T YOU (FORGET ABOUT ME)--Simple Minds
DON'T YOU WORRY ABOUT A THING-- Stevie Wonder.

What We Need Is Some More Cowbell, Right BOC? --RoadDog

Some More About NIU's Victory This Past Wednesday


On Thursday morning, I was shocked to see Mary Dixon mentioned the Northern victory on her morning newscasts on WXRT FM. Morning host Lin Braemer said he was a huge Huskie fan. Mary said "Not!" It turns out that Mary Dixon went to NIU. They mentioned that David Letterman probably watched the game since he is a Ball State alum.

The final 48-27 score may look like a blowout, but it sure wasn't. The score was 27-27 with 5:49 left in the fourth quarter when the Huskies scored three touchdowns. (It was like the Orange Bowl game against Florida State when, at the end of the third quarter and Northern down just 17-10, the Seminoles intercepted the ball on their 20-yard line and then scored twice more to make it 31-10.)

NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch put on a great show again, but by far the best play was on a third and 2 play when he was caught by two Ball State defenders behind the line and managed to break lose for a first down.

The USA Today had a video clip of Huskie mascot Diesel giving a high-five to a cheerleader after a Northern TD.

Huskie players wore special jerseys, all with the name "Heroes" on the back in honor of our nation's veterans. NIU helmets had the NIU in red white and blue.

A brand new pickup truck was given to a wounded Afghanistan veteran by a World War II veteran who also played for NIU. And, the guy who sings the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Chicago Blackhawks games performed with the Marching Huskie Band. I bet some of the Ball State fans were wondering what all the cheering and yelling during its singing was all about.

Yup, Sure Enjoyed That Game. --RoadDog

The Bronze Stalk Trophy-- Part 2


The first game between Northern Illinois and Ball State was in 1941 and resulted in a 6-6 tie. Until this past Wednesday, the Cardinals lead the all-time series 20-18-2 (now 20-19-2). But the Huskies have won 11 of the last 14 games (evidently, before the last 14 games, Ball State was another beat-the-Huskies team like Toledo).

The inaugural Bronze Trophy was won by Ball State in 2008 by a 45-18 score, but NIU has won it ever since.

Looking at the trophy, I'd have to say it bears a strong resemblance to the corn stalks painted on the side of the building by the clock memorial park on Lincoln Highway in downtown Dekalb. Perhaps Renee Bemis, sculptor of the Bronze Stalk Trophy, painted that as well.

Nice to Have It. --RoadDog

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Drive's A to Z-- Part 2: November 15, 2013


Looking back at some of the songs played:

ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (Pt) 2-- Pink Floyd
ANOTHER DAY-- Paul McCartney
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST-- Queen

ANOTHER PARK, ANOTHER SUNDAY-- Doobie Brothers
ANOTHER RECORD-- Genesis
ANOTHER TRICKY DAY-- Who

The first of letter "B":

BABA O'RILEY-- Who
BABE-- Styx
BABE I'M GONNA LEAVE YOU-- Led Zeppelin

BABY BLUE-- Badfinger
BABY HOLD ON-- Eddie Money
BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY-- Peter Frampton

BABY (SOMETHING'S HAPPENING)- live-- Peter Frampton

BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN-- Beatles.

STEAMING Songs played since I've been listening this morning:

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE-- Talking Heads
BURNING LOVE-- Elvis Presley
BUS STOP-- Hollies

BYE BYE LOVE-- Cars.

We now entered the third letter of the alphabet:

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN'-- Mamas and Papas
CALIFORNIA GIRLS-- Beach Boys
CALIFORNIA MAN-- Cheap Trick

CALL ME-- Blondie
CALL ME THE BREEZE-- Lynyrd Skynyrd
CALLING DR. LOVE-- Kiss

CAN WE STILL BE FRIENDS-- Todd Rundgren
CAN'T BUY ME LOVE-- Beatles.

"I Don't Care Too Much For Money." --RoadDog

The Bronze Stalk Trophy-- Part 1


Watching the game Wednesday Night at Antonio's in Spring Grove, I saw this trophy many times and then the NIU team carried it off the field at the end of the game. I don't recall ever hearing about it before, so had to do some research.

From Wikipedia.

This is a fairly new trophy and goes to the winner of the annual Ball State- Northern Illinois MAC game. It began in 2008.

The impressive trophy was designed by nationally recognized sculptor and DeKalb, Illinois (Home of NIU), artist Renee Bemis, who also designed the new statue by the Chessick/Yordon Centers at Huskie Stadium featuring the three Huskies (dogs) which was just unveiled October 28th.

The Bronze Stalk Trophy  features intertwined stalks of corn done in bronze. The corn, of course, represents all the corn around the campuses of the two schools. When Bill Cosby opened the new NIU Convocation Center, he said that as soon as he stepped off the plane in DeKalb, a woman came up to him, handed him an ear of corn and said, "Welcome to DeKalb."

Pretty Corny If You Ask Me. --RoadDog

Deaths: Well-Known Chicago DJ Carla Leonardo


(1950-2013

Died November 9th. On the air in Chicago for 35 years with upbeat, low voice and championed local bands. Long-time dj at WKQX and on air when the shift made in 1992 from adult-contemporary to alternative rock format.

For the last twelve years, she was weekend and fill-in jock at WDRV, Chicago's Drive, and this is where I heard her a lot.

She graduated from Lyons Township High School in the Chicago suburbs in 1968 and started deejaying in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then had stints at St. Croix, Virgin Islands; Texas, Oregon and Washington.

In the 1970s, she was at Chicago's WLUP before going to Boston's WCOZ. She started at WKQX, Q-101, in the mid 80s and started with WDRV at its inception in 2001.

WDRV will be having a two-hour tribute to her this Sunday, November 17th from 9 to 11 PM.

She'll Be Missed.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Drive's "A to Z"-- Part 1: Nov. 14, 2013


The first of several lists for this twice-yearly event. Go to the website at www.wdrv.com. to listen if you're not in the Chicagoland area. They also have complete lists. This should just whet your appetite.

These are songs played in the first two hours:

ABACAB-- Genesis
ABOUT A GIRL-- Nirvana
ABRACADABRA-- Steve Miller Band

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT-- Five Man Electric Band
ACCIDENTS WILL HAPPEN-- Elvis Costello
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE-- Beatles

ADDICTED TO LOVE-- Robert Palmer
AFRICA-- Toto
AFTER MIDNIGHT-- Eric Clapton

AFTER THE GOLDRUSH-- Neil Young
AGAINST ALL ODDS-- Phil Collins
AGAINST THE WIND-- Bob Seger

AH LEAH-- Donnie Iris
AIN'T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT-- John Cougar
AIN'T NO SUNSHINE-- Bill Withers

AIN'T TALKING ABOUT LOVE-- Van Halen
AIN'T THAT A SHAME-- Cheap Trick
AIN'T TOO PROUD TO BEG-- Rolling Stones

AJA-- Steely Dan
ALABAMA GETAWAY-- Grateful Dead
ALABAMA SONG (WHISKEY BAR)-- Doors

ALLISON-- Elvis Costello.

Like McD's Says, "I'm Lovin' It!" --RoadDog

About Last Night's Game: NIU Wins a Huge One


I'm getting way too old for games like this. Regardless of what looks to be a blow-out, believe me it wasn't. Back and forth and with a defense that was horrible, the Huskies finally opened the game up with just over five minutes left in the 4th quarter. What a performance, what a show in freezing Huskie Stadium and broadcast on ESPN2.

Thought about going there ourselves until just a couple hours before game time, but it was just too cold and the wind was howling.

And, now, we have Toledo next Thursday, always a tough game and ones until recently, we almost always lost. They are the team that kept us out of a bowl back in that great 10-2 2003 season when we beat Alabama, Maryland (these two were Top 25 at the time) and Iowa State, not a bad job for a mid major team like us.

On the 12th, I wrote about our 1983 victory over Toledo and how that sent us to the California Bowl against Cal-Fullerton. That was about the last time we beat Toledo until a few years ago.

NIU Plays in November's Mid-Week Conference, Not the Mid American Conference. --RoadDog

And Then There Is the Drive's A to Z


Just over an hour from now, Chicago's WDRV, the Drive, 97.1 FM and simulcast in our area on 96.9 FM, will start their great "A to Z" Rock and Roll Show. Starting at 10 AM CST. It is massive and will play over 2,000 songs by the time it draws to a close in a week or so.

Sadly that means no Ten at Ten for a week, but I'll survive.

It streams at www.wdrv.com.

"I'm Listening" As Fraser Used to Say. --RoadDog

Oh Boy: McRibs Are Back!!!


Just in time to help my diet, McDonald's released their ever-popular and personal favorite of mine, that delicious McRib sandwich, this year selling for $2.99. I'm having to wonder how it will pan out now that we have a McDonald's here in Spring Grove, Illinois, a little over a mile from home.

I must stay away. I must stay away.

Nothin' much finer than eating one with an order of fries (and ketchup for the fries, of course) and washing it down with Coke Zero (Well, something needs to be healthy.)

Maybe Today. --RoadDog

Another Beatle BBC Bonanza-- Part 2


The BBC demanded its artists perform live and not to just essentially lip-sync to albums which is what really makes this such an interesting compilation. The Beatles appeared so often that they had to seriously expand their repertoire so as not to continually be repeating themselves, even though I'm sure their fans wouldn't have cared.

They even had their own series of shows in the summer of 1963 called Pop Goes the Beatles where they performed six songs in fifteen programs.

The new CD collection also contains studio chatter and some interviews.

Sadly, there will probably not be a Volume 3 as it would be too repetitive.

Tuesday, a remastered and retooled version of the first volume was released. Last month, the book "The Beatles: The BBC Archives 1962-1970" by Kevin Howlett was released.

These Are Great Times for Beatle Fans, Including Probably Fan #1, WXRT's Terri Hemmert.

"I Want To Hold Your Hand." --RoadDog

Another Beatle BBC Bonanza-- Part 1


From the 11-11-13 Yahoo! Music, Apple "The Beatles Release Another BBC Bonanza." Called The Beatles: On Air-- Live at the BBC Volume 2. Released Tuesday, November 12th and containing 63 tracks on two CDs and, even a vinyl release.

Beginning in March 1962, in three years, the BBC broadcast 275 different Beatles performances in shows where, like Ed Sullivan, they would appear alongside crooners and dance orchestras.

Unfortunately, the BBC did not keep any original master tapes so a fair amount of looking and scrounging for recordings took place to get this album.

There are two previously unreleased gems in this new package: The Beatles' take on Chuck Berry's "I'm Talking About You" and Paul McCartney singing lead on Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer."

Some of the songs on the new CD have the same title as ones on Volume 1, but were sung at a different times.

I Bought My Copy. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Getting My Beatles Fix


WXRT's Terri Hemmert would be so proud of me.

Yesterday, I bought the new Beatles album and that would be The Beatles: On Air--Live at the BBC Volume 2. I haven't listened to it yet and plan to do so on my trip to North Carolina next week. Sixty-three tracks ought to take me a ways.

A couple weeks ago, I bought the first Paul McCartney album in a long time (not since with Wings). I'd heard several of the tracks on Terri Hmmert's Breakfast With the Beatles show and liked what I heard. The rest of the album is also great.

Eight Days a Week, You Know. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

11-12-13 as In November 12, 2013


Yesterday, I realized that the numbers for today were going to be that always neat numerical order: 11-12-13.

Listening to Chicago's WXRT, 93.1 FM, and Lin Braemer and Mary Dixon were talking about how at 9:10 AM, the correct order would be 9-10-11-12-13. The next, and final time that happens will be next December 13, 2014, and, well, technically at 10:11 AM.

Here's Some Numbers for You. --RoadDog

Winter Arrived Yesterday, Time to Fire Up the Snowblower


We started getting snow flakes about 10:45 after rain. Lots of wind and cold. Standing out at the Veterans Day ceremony at the Fox Lake train station wasn't much fun. Went to some downtown stores afterwards to warm up and dry off.

Decided to go to see the new movie "Last Vegas" which was one of the funniest I've ever seen. Leave to some old farts to show Vegas how to have some fun. By the time I got out, I had to clear off the truck windows. Driving home was not great with all the ice still on the windows. Fortunately, it didn't stick on the pavement, but we ended up with close to two inches on the ground and nature did her "painting" on the trees and bushes.

I guess later today I'm going to have to fire up the old snowblower and hopefully it will work.

Always Hate to See Winter's Arrival. --RoadDog

Mighty Big Game for NIU Tomorrow...Mighty Big One 30 Years Ago


Of course, the NIU game against Ball State tomorrow at 7 AM CST is going to be huge for the Huskies, probably their biggest-ever game. We'd really love to go to it, but at our age, sitting out in all that cold which came in yesterday, at night, just isn't a great idea.

I am reading my journal for 1983 and came across another really big game for Northern Illinois back on today's date in 1983 when we played the Toldeo Rockets, already back then, a long-term nemesis. I was at the game, which was played on a Saturday afternoon.

Here is what I wrote: "I went to probably the biggest-ever game in NIU history with the Toledo Rockets. A Northern loss would have kept us away from the California Bowl and insured Toledo another trip to it.

I met Jerry, his wife Nancy, and Kevin (Kevin and Jerry were high school friends at Palatine and went to NIU with me) at the Jungle. I then went to the Sharp Photocopying place in the Junction shopping area. They make copies for 3 cents but unfortunately they are closed on Saturdays. (I was going to make copies of my new deejay contract.)

The game was in progress when we got there but it didn't take NIU long to score. I jumped up and the bottle of schnaaps I had for warmth (and toasting) went flying out of my pocket and shattered on the stadium floor. What a waste!!

There was a placard section on the east side which spelled out "Tuck Foledo." Every so often they would interchange the F and T.

Big, Big, Big Victory!! Students took down a goal post and took it to the Lagoon in celebration."

This Was a Huge Win for Northern and we did end up going to the California Bowl Where I Believe We Played Fresno State, the Team We Are Now Competing With for a BCS Bowl Spot

--RoadDog

Last Weekend


FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH:

Breakfast at K.C.'s Cabin, later met Usual Suspects at Dirty Rooster on Grasslake.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH:

238th Marine Corps Birthday Breakfast and Toys for Tots Kickoff in Fox Lake. Raked pine straw into pine islands and cut the grass for hopefully the final time.

Watched the Doolittle Raiders Final Toast, then went to Route 12 Bar and Grill on US-12 to congratulate Shaun and Virginia on their second anniversary and had their great burgers and saw a solo musician play for two sets.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH--

Finally good enough weather to do the burn pile. Then met the Usual Suspects at Squaw Bar for Da Bears game. Da Coach should have taken Da Cutler out in the 3rd quarter. Another hateful loss to the dirty Lions. 

Fire on the Strand (bonfire) after I came home.

Again, Good Times in the Area. --RoadDog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Been Honoring America's Veterans


I just got back from a cold, rain-soaked Veterans Day ceremony at the Fox Lake, Illinois, train station. But, as miserable as standing out in that crummy weather was, I could only think of the veterans over the years who were out in crummy, miserable weather and with the added possibility of being killed while protecting our freedom. And, standing out there for days and weeks.

Saturday, I went to the USMC 238th Birthday Breakfast at the Fox Lake American Legion and then watched the very moving Doolittle Raiders Final Toast live as it happened.

I flew our U.S. flags today, including the one on the mailbox, the banner and a big one on the back deck. Sadly, those flags are getting quite wet with all the rain and now, snow. We have a couple inches on the ground and it's still falling. First snowfall of the season.

Thank You Veterans.