A Jazzy Tune With A Smoky Voice


I have not been in a kayak this season.  It is extremely odd for me, who has adopted this sport passionately for the past seven years or so.  It’s a strange and sometime uncomfortable feeling, this “not kayaking” thing.  And there are several reasons for it.

My son lives with me now, and this is a wonderful bonding experience, but one that leaves me little time to venture out for all day paddles, whether solo or with a group.  My son is not (yet) into paddling.  I spend time in two geographic locations now, and although each has its own kayaking waters, the divided time stretches my paddling time thin.  I have done more bicycling than I ever had in recent years, largely because I have a comfortable bicycle, a glorious 48 mile bike trail right out my door, and friends who share my joy for leisure bicycling.  And finally, I am truly spending time with a budding passion, writing. My computer time in my home office is budding, as is my output.  Those who know me have heard about this avocation for years, and they'd agree: it's refreshing to read something, finally.
When I look back at my favorite paddling website, one which I have posted frequently in past years, not only has it lost some luster for me, but the names of the paddlers who get together are different than those from “my day”, only a year or two ago.  Life moves on, and even those that paddle in my favorite waters bear unfamiliar names to me now.  A new group, learning the sport than once occupied my mind obsessively, plies my home waters.

I will return to kayaking, and I will return to it in earnest.  I will one day slow down at work, and my son will move on to college, marriage and family.  My love of the water, being on it and in it, will be reborn, of this I have no doubt.  I will have the time to travel to adventures that are far from my home and meet up again with those that have been my paddling partners over the years, and those that I have not even met yet, who will be paddling friends of the future.  
It truly amazes me how life moves on, like the flowing of a stream; the stream stays static when viewed from afar, but is very fast when closely examined.  Today, I thought about the stream of life. My life.  Mid-stream.


At Least In The City By Wade Rouse (3.5 Bookmarks)

Read this interesting book that I found out about through my alma mater's monthly alumni journal.  Wade, like me, is a Northwestern alum, and he has written a book that struck a chord with me: At Least In The City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures In Search Of The Simple Life.

Wade, a gay metrosexual (unlike me), and his partner Gary, leave the city and all its trappings (Starbucks, Banana Republic,, etc.) for a cottage in snowbound Saugatuck, MI.  The book is a very funny slice-of-life about the trials an tribulations of giving up everything they know--the gym, the spas, the restaurants, the nightlife--for racoons and birds and pine trees.  Using Thoreau's Walden as a guide, they try to acclimate to often inhospitable nature, and neighbors,  and present it in a novel that you can dive into at any chapter and still have a fun time--there's no plot to get in the way.  It's more of a journal than a story.

The book's a blast; there's no doubt that it has one chuckle per page, and at least a full-on belly laugh every chapter.  But I prefer a book with a plot, character growth, and conflict on a large scale--not just simply "putting out fires" every day, as in this novel.  The characters are also openly homosexual, and quite hilarious about it (e.g putting a stick for a penis on their snowman), but again, no plot.  If one likes Forrest Gump, which is just moving through someones life, then they'll like this book--the humor alone makes it a page-turner.  But if someone is looking for depth and meaning and a complete ride from start to finish, this book is mediocre.  3.5 bookmarks.


Swedish Saturday With Friends

Thanks, Bruce and Zena, for driving to us in Geneva, IL for a Swedish Day...shopped on Third Street after lunch at Nosh, watched street basketball, rain stayed away. Drinks and nachos at Old Town Pub where Zena runs into her cousin from Bloomingdale! Walk all over Geneva, then back to our place for air conditioned relief and watching the second half of USA getting beat by Ghana in the Cup. We're already planning the next get-together with Bruce and Zena. Keep your eyes peeled to this website as I'll be posting a photo of Zena's hand-made glass-jewelry.

Swedish Days --- Pumping Up The Carnival Toys


Swedish Nights

Short stroll with Cathy on the eve of Swedish Nights and Days in Geneva, Illinois, and absolute cornucopia of popcorn, fried food, dancing in the streets and hundred of revelers. R-Gang (photo above), a superb Chicagoland R&B cover band, had everyone dancing in the street in front of the Kane County courthouse.

 Late night, sat on my patio with a Coors and listened to a cover band from the streetfest at The Dam Pub down the block run through dozens of rock hits from the 1990's (Pearl Jam, Sponge, 311, that sort of thing),  Lovely start to the weekend.



  [kawr-nuh-koh-pee-uh, -nyuh-]  Show IPA
Classical Mythology a horn containing food, drink, etc., inendless supply, said to have been a horn of the goatAmalthaea.
a representation of this horn, used as a symbol ofabundance.
an abundant, overflowing supply.


Start The Countdown: Christmas Is 6 Months From Today

Tv Priority Mode, Canon EOS 7D, Canon f1.4 50mm Prime Lens

Taken by bracing camera on a fence, the view up State Street in Geneva, Tv Priority, top photo with about 1/30 second and bottom photo about 1 second (I forget precisely).  Car blur noted, but most noted is the degree of brightness of the photos, each taken about 1 minute apart, yet the bottom picture appears that it could have been taken at least an hour before the top photo.


View Of Chicago Skyline From Olive Park Beach

To the right of the Hancock Tower are two mid-rise white buildings, with a short orange building in between.  I lived in that short orange building on Pearson Street for two years during my studies at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  It seems like yesterday, but it was nearly two decades ago now.  Looking back it's a sharp memory, vivid and moving.  I found this image online on blog 5th and State, and the photo resonated with me.  I spend time on Olive Park Beach, and looked in this direction on many occasions.  It's a clean view, where the water is clear and the skyline alive.  Triathletes would launch from this beach to swim along the skyline wall, as I have swam several times in my wetsuit--the wetsuit that's in my closet and now feels very tight on me.  It must have shrunk.

Chicago is a super city, and its location alongside the lovely Lake Michigan really sets it apart.



"Always mystify, mislead and
surprise the enemy if possible."-- General Stonewall Jackson

Stones Waiting On Pearl Jam

Slow boogie for a sweaty summer evening over beers.


The Second Most Popular 80s Hit From Dead Or Alive

Or is it....?

The Eagles Live In Melbourne DVD Review

From my Amazon review:

The Eagles Live in Melbourne 2004 is an outstanding disc. The sound quality 5.1 surround and picture DVD quality are stupendous. For those Eagles fans on here, if you do not have this disc from this 2004 concert, released in 2005, you really ought to get it.

Unlike Hell Freezes Over from five years earlier, the Eagles have hit stride, and they are more forgiving in letting each member shine individually:
No More Cloudy Days (New Track), Hole In the World (new), You Belong to the City, Walk Away, Rocky Mountain Way, Sunset Grill, Life's Been Good, Dirty Laundry, are some of the tunes. Joe Walsh really is a guitar God. And it shows on this DVD.

Also, it is after they kicked--for no good reason at all--original guitarist Don Felder out of the group. On this disc, a fellow that looks like a hatchet-faced greaseball in an oversize Texas roadsuit plays the lead guitar with gusto and vigor, note-for-note like Donnie Felder. And this is crucial as (trivia bomb) the Eagles feature two songs with the very uncommon guitar solo outtro (end of the song) with Life in The Fast Lane and Hotel California--check it out next time you listen to those cuts. The Eagles stil soar without Felder, and by tossing just a few sheckles into this studio journeyman's Fedora, the remaining Eagles split the cash cow in fewer pie pieces. Ingenious. And pugnacious.

The Long Road to Eden CD, available only from the Walton family, is a sad countrified piece of Crisco compared to this juicy steak of a concert from yesteryear. Got an Andy Jackson burning a hole in your pocket? Go with Mebourne.


A Big Night

You Spun Me Right Round: Anti-Aging With Pete Burns

That's the classic video and song by brunette fem-bot Pete Burns, a Boy George knockoff in his 1980's classic from the Lp Youthquake.  Still played in clubs nationwide every single weekend.  But, pray tell, what ever happened to our favorite pretty boy Pete Burns?  Some questions beg not to be answered...but since we asked... where is he now?

Pete Burns Now (2006)

Here, let me wash that grimy image out of your mind:
Wow Version of Spin me Round Mash-up

P.S. Can You name the second hit single from the 1980s by Dead Or Alive?  Answer tomorrow, kids.


Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crackerjack....Kane County Cougars

Time to check out a Cougars game for summer 2010.  It sure looks like fun, and I've never been.  Hard to imagine.  This stock online photo shows a twilighter.  And the fireworks after each game can be spotted throughout the Tri-Cities.  Go Cougars!


Jimmie Vaughan: At Blues On The Fox 2010

An AWESOME blues song starts at 1:00 minutes in this video.

Stones Angie

For those slinky summer nights, first it's Angie...

It's just part of my summer tribute to Da Stones!


Book Review: Tinkers By Paul Harding --- 3.5 Bookmarks

I wanted to like this book completely and warmly, like an old hand knit afghan.  It's superbly written, and hence the lauded Pulitzer Prize for best fiction, 2010.  It traces the mind of an elderly clockmaker on his death bed, and features a maze of present and past recollections, with ramblings through a lifetime for page after page.  The prose is beautiful--eloquent, concise yet not abrupt--with images as vivid as a New England country sunset.  But the story, for all it's hype, lacks one key element of timeless fiction: conflict.  Even the bucolic television show, The Waltons, had a plot each week, not just family values and rustic locale; you know, like John Boy getting his first book published, or Mary Ellen getting knocked up or something.  Well, Tinkers has none of that.  All in all, a great debut novel from a gifted writer.  I'm looking forward to his next book and hoping that it features a plot.

The Number #1 Song of Year 1975!

You belong to me now. Ain't gonna set you free now.

Captain & Tennille are American pop music recording artists who achieved chart success from 1975 to 1980 with a repertoire of hit songs. The group consists of "Captain" Daryl Dragon (born August 27, 1942), and Toni Tennille (born May 8, 1940), a duo who also happens to be married. They are probably best known for their singles "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Do That to Me One More Time", as well as their television variety series which appeared on the ABC network in the 1976–77 season.

Dragon & Tennille spent most of the 1990s and 2000s in the Lake Tahoe area in Nevada, where they had lived for more than a dozen years, and where, during that time, Tennille served as Ambassador for the Arts for the state. In the mid-2000s, they temporarily took year-round residence at their second home, located in the Palm Springs area of Southern California, until 2008, when they built a house and settled down in Prescott, Arizona, where Tennille participates in the annual Prescott Jazz Summit.


MS Office 2010 Has Landed

Tomorrow it's out...Microsoft Office 2010.  I've been using the beta version since April to outline my novel in OneNotes, and it looks strong.  My official disc should be arriving from within a day now. I particularly like that the information can be stored in the 'cloud', and be accessed from any computer.  A sweet method for backup (like, only integrated in Office), if it works.  $50 for Home and Student edition, per computer, which includes the online storage.

Alternatives to MS Office abound (i.e. the end of Microsoft?  Yes, in the long run.  Time to ditch the shares after they pop on the MS Office "bounce"),2817,2363968,00.asp

And for the writers out there, I have learned from online research that using Word to format a manuscript takes quite a bit of tweaking, and here's the article to show you how:

Blackhawk's Parade In Downtown Chicago

This image is exciting.  It's from, Leslie, and it's a view from her office window.  It just struck me as a fine and unique vantage point on an historic event.

ELO: Can't Get It Out Of My Head

Minnie Riperton still warbling in my head.  I try to rinse it out with a strong dose of ELO with their ##81 year end tune in 1975.

Tomorrow, the #1 song fo 1975! Any guesses? Hint: a singing duo.


Saint Charles Pride Of The Fox Riverfest 2010

Stumbled upon the Pride of the Fox Riverfest today, Sunday, with Cath and we sure had a ball.  Strolled through the amusement rides, vendors booths on both sides of the river, had a Fudgsicle in Pot Park, rock bands rocking. Dragon boat races.  Lunch at an Italian bakery. But the highlight was watching a master sand sculptor at work--wearing his iPod and sunglasses, a healthy looking middle aged man plied his craft in front of amazed onlookers, turning 40 tons of sand into art.  The photo above is from a past year.  This year it's a castle and ice cream eating ogre.  I came back to the condo and Google the festival, and the sculptor's name is Ted Siefert, and he is like the Michael Jordan of sandcastling.  The grand poo-baah!  He's written two books on the subject, one considered the sandcastler's Bible.  He has seven world records, including the longest sand structure at 6.5 miles!  I just saw "the star" of sandcastling.  And he is, indeed, very good.  A gorgeous day with my wife before the rains hit.

Minnie Riperton: Gagging You.

Minnie sounds like a barn sparrow shot through the heart with a BB gun in this #13 song from 1975.


10cc: I'm Not In Love

Year end #42, 1975.  Can you name their second highest charting hit song from a few years later?  Deceptive Bends LP? (second video below)


A Method To Stop Underwater Oil Leaks

The Rockford Files: Mike Pos

Can you hum this 1975 year end song #85 before you click it?  Mike Pos, Rockford Files Theme.

Ace: How Long

A subtle tune.  Ended up 1975at #57, but was released in 1974.  I have learned from posting for you here that I'm going to have to dig a little deeper.  My novel about building a beach at a lakeside in 1975 is set in one long summer.  I will need to define which songs were popular by each week in 1975.


Supportive Father--Or Child Abuse?


Teen sailor Abby Sunderland, who today made international headlines by requesting a rescue via various distress-signal units, is in a portion of the southern Indian Ocean that is so remote it could take at least a day but possibly two for a boat or ship to reach her position.

Sunderland, 16, had been a little past the halfway point in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone. She set off two rescue tracking devices, one of which is only for use when the sailor is in the water.

"He" gave her more than she could handle.

Pilot: Magic

Hit #31 in 1975 year end Billboard songs.


Jackie Blue: Ozark Mountain Daredevils

The novel that I am plotting and beginning to write is set in New England, summer of 1975.  In doing research, I found a list of the top 100 songs on the year end Billboard charts in 1975.  It was a transition year, with disco striking it big, and haunting rock tunes of the early 70s fading.  Here's one of those tunes.  I will be featuring a few tunes in my blog this week.  Some may make the book.  Here's year end #29 song, 1975.


Stones Knocking

This opening riff is dynamite on a 6-string. Yes, I can hear you knocking!


Smashing XBox

I'm impressed.  My son M and his friend J recorded this video on a 5MP Sony camera, and the editing is explosive! Music, but still can hear the video sounds, voices and pounding.  Slow mo, fast mo.  Stop sound at will.  Graphic letters. It's a real treat to see that this type of movie can be made on a $100 camera with free online editing software, then posted for the entire world to view, all in the course of under an hour.

Smoking Indonesian Baby: $5/Day To Pay For The Fags


Six Sentences: Is Publishing My Story!

Okay, it's only six sentences.  But there is a certain knack or talent necessary to tell a complete story in only six sentences.  Not seven, not five.  I submitted only one story, about two weeks ago, and I just got an email from editor Rob McEvily, saying that my story is "excellent" and the website will publish it tomorrow!  This site was ranked a top 100 site by Writers Digest 2010, is on Facebook and Twitter, and I am going to have the story of the day.  For many of you, who have heard about my writing endeavors for years, this is the first time you've ever gotten to read something from me.  So, now that it's all built up, there's no way in heck it can live up to the hype.

Stay tuned.  For a preview of the website, here's the link:

Eddie Van Halen's Guitar

Eddie Van Halen's guitar at Hard Rock Cafe, Las Vegas.  How come every place that has guitar memorabilia always has an EVH guitar?


Purple Lilac Bush, Fox Valley, Illinois

The Normal Illinois Theater, Main Street

Photos of this old time theater that is still frequented by college students as it's right on the ISU campus.  I snapped these photos on a bicycle ride on the Bloomington-Normal Constitution Trail with my son recently.  I couldn't help but notice that the movie house is playing one of my favorite flicks: Ferris Bueller's Day Off


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