Up The Hill Comes Andrew Jackson

Exactly 30 years after the high comedy production number from Groucho in At The Circus (you have to watch that clip in my past post below just to see the production of it, with the movement of the costumed dancers--spectacular), he comes to TV to perform his signature tune, alone on a stage.

Age. Unstoppable in its everpresence. We are all getting older one day at a time. Each minute, flowing past us like the waters of the Fox River. Do your high production numbers today, for tomorrow--or thirty tomorrows from now--you will sing alone.

The incomparable Groucho. I said Lydia. He said Lydia.

Third Street Shopping Area Geneva, IL


Swedish Days 2009 with Sharyl and Lennie

What sunny and gay weather weekend for Swedish Days with Sharyl and Lennie. Enjoyed Third Street walks and shops, corny Kernel Fabyan's, margaritas at Front Street Cantina, lunch at Citizen Kane, dinner at Za Za's Trattoria, and newspapering at Starbucks and breakfast at Egg Harbor. Wow, like a Best Of for Fox Valley eateries. Pajama talk made for excellent companionship from one of our favorite couples. Thanks a million, Sharyl and Lennie. We will do it again soon! We stopped by the parade on Sunday, Paper Merchant, and Urban Grille and then took a swing through our old neighborhood (man, the old homestead is overgrown! What's with these new owners) and saw our best suburban neighbors ever, Terry and Sharon. Great to catch up--haven't seen them in five years. Glorious to be alive.

You Can Loirn a Lot from Lydia

This video is a classic from the Marx Brother's At The Circus, 1939. Same years as Judy Garland in a movie about a wizard. Groucho is so very entertaining, and the song itself is a gem. The words are playful, and the imagery in those words really makes the song. I have enjoyed this video several times over the past years, and here it is for you. On a clear day you can Alcatraz.


A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Icons. Michael. Farrah. And soon, a personal favorite, the reclusive Jerome David in Cornish, N.H.


Kitchen Table

It's where everything in my pockets winds up the moment I get home.


Mowed my lawn today.

Youtubed a pond aertator for my neighborhood pond and lo and behold, the company that makes them is in Geneva, IL on Stevens Street. WoW! I''m going to check this out thoroughly for my neighbors and myself.


Looking Up at Crystal Chandelier with and w/out Flash

Daydreaming on my bed near the footboard, looking directly up and imagining this 110 lb light crashing down on my face, I snapped a photo of the chrome, clear bulbed crystal chandelier. Then I took another photo with the flash and got this vivid gold hue (top photo). Looks like a different light. The flash is white light. Not understanding anything about the physics of light and prisms, I will simply attributed the gold glow to startled dead spirits from pergatory channeling through my bedroom light. I hope they don't come after me. I'm harmless. I said that five times out loud so they'd hear me. "Red eye" for a chandelier. I gave it the stink eye before I re-cased my camera and skidaddled out of the room.


Fox River: Love the Greenery of Summer Solstice

I Can Seeeee You!!

A Super Gift

Thanks for this wonderful gift, Zena!

American Science & Surplus

Spent a gorgeous Dad and son weekend and who could resist stopping at American Science and Surplus on Roosevelt Road. What a unique store full of everything one could imagine: corks, bottles, flasks, beakers, toys, balls, the works. We even picked up a cool mascot, Jellybean, who spent a former existence as a medical training doll, but now limbless is cared for lovingly at our place. We wre so smitten with him we had to venture out to Meijer's at midnight to clothe him. What a spectacular weekend.



Flying Burrito Brothers; ah, Tomato?

Garcia's Pizza in Champaign is a challenging meal. Previously at three locations, it is now down to one, off Mattis Avenue. Owned by brothers nicknamed the Flying Burrito Brothers, the place is an absolute pig trough. Dirty gray carpet, unwashed tables--everything in this undecorated but sunny order-at-counter restaurant is either sticky, slimey or smeary. The company van outside is painted with the logo and looks to be a 1975 rusted out bomber. So where is the challenge, you ask? The pizza and salad is spectacular! A pan style bread pizza, sometimes referred to as a Sicilian style pizza, hot and fresh, cooked in seasoned pans (never washed, presumably) and served with browned mozerella. Spinach salad with croutons (yesterday's unsold pizza pies, I suppose) and Italian homemade dressing--out of this world. My son and I eat here about every other week, each time lamenting the place, but hankering for the grub. Garcia's Pizza, may you avoid the Board of Health long enough that I can enjoy just one more meal behind your fingerprinted glass windows overlooking that homely orange, rusted van.

Addendum: I stand corrected by a former Garcia's employee that has gone from pizza maker to president of an international company, literally. It's the Flyng Tomato Brothers (nothin to do with burritos). And if Dave's success is from eating Garcia's, cut me a couple more slices, please.


R.I.P. : The Ding Dong Cart

I have always thought it odd, those people that have a top open freezer in their garages full of freezer burned steaks and rotten garden vegetables. Well, I have joined the crowd. No, no, I no longer enjoy a thick steak or a dripping roast beef. But I still love frozen delights: ice cream sandwiches, Fudgicles, Popsuckles and such. Well, I have my own storage place for them now, right in my living room! Frozen dinners, too. Impulse purchase when we were getting the new dishwasher, and man, this baby rocks and rolls.
Now, when I hear the carousel chimes of the Ding Dong Ice Cream Cart swerving around my neighborhood, I no longer have to finger the back of my couch cushions for quarters and miss HGTV's House Hunters ("Did they pick the bungalow with the overgrown topiary, or the fixer upper next to the railroad tracks?" How will I sleep tonight, Suzie Wong?) to dash out and flag down the truck. I simply stroll up to my freezer, grab a Drunmstick, and sit back down and nosh while Suzie tells me the winner! (How in the name of Sam Hell will they sleep with the train right outside their bedroom window?")


Chicago River Wandell's Tour 2008

I loved it! Plan to return into the city this summer with my portable folding bicycle--bring on Metra and bike the waterways just as I did when I lived on East Pearson Street for several years when I was young. Get a brew from the tap at John Barleycorn's while listening to Brown Eyed Girl from Van Morrison, and get back on bike, ride home to Metra and sleep it off until Geneva. All on a sunny 70F day. That is my idea. It is so vivid that I almost need not do it. Feels like it's done.


Fox River Paddle: New Student

I thoroughly enjoyed my morning paddle with Mike on the Fox River between Geneva and St. Charles. Mike's very first time in a sea kayak, and he aced the test. A wobbly start, but smoothly transitioned to a fluid stroke and good stability. Superb 75 degree sunny day for the 3.2 mile round tripper. Mike is not a person to start with the mamby-pamby stuff; he mounted that expedition sea kayak, a Valley Nordkapp, like a kid riding for the first time without training wheels. A brilliant first effort from great friend and paddler.

Chicks N Salsa Glen Ellyn, IL

The minute my wife and I stumbled onto this Glen Ellyn, IL gem after shopping at Dominick’s Supermarket next door, we knew we had something of significance. Most Mexican fare is slathered with refried beans and melted cheese. But Chicks N Salsa was different—all super fresh ingredients (even the salsa is homemade and served at a “salsa bar”), no filler, with made to order burritos and chips. I always get the chicken burrito, which is hot and tasty, never runny, with cilantro and rice and fresh veggies. My wife gets the signature Baja fish burrito, a touch of southern California in IL. We drive a dozen miles each way—as we did yesterday—just for Chicks N Salsa. Owner Cindy lived in SoCal and has brought the freshness to the Midwest, served in a sunny storefront. Appears we’re not the only ones to stumble on this super healthy fast-food; it’s profiled here on Chicago news video in the link below. You go Chicks N Salsa!



Teaching Friend Kayaking Tomorrow

First time in a sea kayak. Narrow. Fast. Learning forward stroke and braces to stay upright. There is never another first time. You can only experience your first time once. Hope he stays dry.
Update: Rain delayed until Sunday.

Sony Clock Charges iPod Touch & Sounds Good

I listen to it by my nook.


Fabyan Windmill Geneva, IL

I biked south of Route 31, past Island Park, and staying on the Fox River Bicycle Trail, I came out of a shady hollow to this giant windmill on the knoll to my left. It towers over the surroundings. It did not have the sailcloth on it during the past week, and was not turning in the wind. It's graceful in it's lines and antique in it's character. I stared up at it from the bike trail for a long time before riding on.
I looked up at Colonel Fabyan's authentic Netherland's windmill. And the windmill looked back down at me.


My Nook.

It's quiet, somewhat dark, but cozy. The leather couch summons slumber, but I try to stay awake. I read my Kindle, my iPod Touch, magazines and occasionally the laptop on this couch. It is in my front room. I can see anyone coming to my front door from here. I like it because there is no television in this room.


Knockout Roses in Front of House

I rember when these Knockout Roses were the Rose of the Year in, approximately, 2000 by the American Rose Society (of which I am a former member, back when I sported a more thorny thumb). It was on the cover of their national magazine. And now, a few years later, the rose has shown its value. Resistent to pests, no need staking, blooms all season, and over-winters well. I think every suburban neighborhood in American has these roses-- and the patented grower is a multimillionaire now, I read somplace. A knockout, indeed! They are trimmed back as in this photo now, but wait until late July--I'll snap another picture then, when they are lush and full and bursting out over my front sidewalk. Springtime is here when the Knockouts bloom.


A. Giganteum Bigger than Mailbox!

This Allium is now taller than my white mailbox. Slowly it crept to this height, like a spacewardly climbing orb. Then, weighed down by a giant purple head, it began to list rightwards on it's hard stalk. An "out of space" feel to it. Playing ELO's "Starlight" in my head while I go get the mail.
Wiki: "Allium is the onion genus, with about 1250 species, making it one of the largest plant genera in the world. They are perennial bulbous plants that produce chemical compounds (mostly cystein sulfoxide) that give them a characteristic onion or garlic taste and odor, and many are used as food plants. Allium is classified in family Alliaceae although some classifications have included it in the lily family (Liliaceae)."
Notice indeed that it has a multiflowered blossom, just like those of the lily tree in my prior post. Well, they are part of the same family! And you thought you'd not learn a thing all summer vacation.


Japanese Lilac Tree Shows Me Patience

When we moved to our current house 3.5 years ago, I had this Japanese White Lilac tree planted in the front corner of the yard. It was big enough to require a tree-digger to plant, but it struggled. I watered and prayed. Slowly it yielded the promised white lillacs in early summer as thin wisps at tree top. This year, through a combination of good rain, a sunny location and my patience, it has bloomed prolifically. The abundant white flowers smell like summer.

Guinness's Boat at Clinton Lake West Side Access

Just a reflection of a great Saturday morning paddle from two weeks ago. The air was bright and clean, and the water was silky (until the motor boats showed up). This is his P and H Capella 167 on a Pontiac Vibe. Sweet boat. Strong paddler. Great guy.


Valley Nordkapp Bow View

This is not taken from my Valley Nordkapp blue on gray kayak. But it could be. You see, when one spends hours in the cockpit, this is what they see. Whether it is this kayaker from a distant sea looking over his map, tow line and bilge pump, or my kayak in Illinois, the view is the same. Blue deck. Pointed nose like a porpoise, diving through the waves. It is a view all kayakers know well.


Work: The Final Frontier

Chipmunks at Breakfast, Col. Fabyan.

So many thanks for a sumptuous home-made breakfast at the Fox Riverside home of Victoria and Mike. Smoothies, fresh fruit, pumpkin pancakes, turkey sausage. Chipmunks eating spinich outside the glass veranda. The food was the fuel we needed to a wonderful post-meal bike trip down to the windmill, and Col. Fabyan's house in Batavia, IL. Thanks a million, Mike and Vic!


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