31 December 2006

Snow I presume and the Chinese Panda

I began to to think that there would be no snow cover before the end of the year. On Thursday evening I ran and it was clear but overnight flurries developed. They stopped but eventually another spat of flurry arrived on Saturday morning and later turned to wet sticky snow. Conditions apparently worsened elsewhere and on the tele stations scrolled church closings. I found it quite funny that it mostly Lutheran churches closed. I guess Lutherans are not as rugged as Garrison Keillor makes them out. This is certainly not blizzard weather. This type of storm only slows people down because of the perceived (possibly real) slipperiness. I saw no cars in the ditch today although I noticed one with a blown out tire. I saw more cars on the side of the road returning home from Christmas and then no snow existed.
The weather did not prevent me from going out to do something I wanted to do for weeks. In fact I had a craving and using some self control contained it until today: Chinese food calls. I think I was inundated by the movie "A Christmas Story" where at the end of the film they eat Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. There is nothing remotely Christmasy about Chinese food but somehow eating it during the Holidays allows me to connect with the movie. Nonetheless the food was decent. I especially enjoy General Tso's Chicken and Mongolian beef. The Panda offers them both in addition to crab and lo mein, fried rice, and you get the picture. Yet to add to the picture there was even a lone decorated Christmas tree in the dining area to make my Christmas Chinese dining complete.

28 December 2006

Taconite Phil

The intractable Phil poses before a Taconite mascot on the northern shore of Minnesota. It is believed that Phil's wardrobe may have evolved from taconite-like substances hidden beneath his lair.

27 December 2006

An unwhite Christmas

It's the third day of Christmas and we are still without snow. Why do we need snow for Christmas? Phil would have a good answer but unfortunately he is out doing other things (i.e. drinking more beer).
I will proffer an explanation- it's cultural and western centric idea. Most of the nations that celebrate Christmas as extravagant as us are in the Northern Hemisphere. It usually snows during the period when Christmas comes. Our Southern Hemisphere counterparts must suffice with dreaming about white Christmas since it is highly improbably that the Almighty would bless them with snow in Hawaii or Australia or India. Not that snow does not exist in those places somewhere. Probably in moutainous terrain there is plenty of snow in the Southern Hemisphere. So Christmas revelers head to the mountains to get in the mood for Christmas. Maybe Go Tell It On the Mountain is a more popular Christmas tune down there.

25 December 2006

Happy Christmas

It seems that light must be the theme for Christmas this year. I attended two church meetings and light happened to be the subject. Jimmy Mac at the Hill gets the kudos for incorporating the Irish monolith into a sermon. I thought it was kind of ironic since I was just writing about that the other day.
However, what Jim pointed out that the people of those days were fearful because the sun kept getting lower in the sky. They probably built these structures in an attempt to save the light. The contrast of course is that Jesus came into the world to bring hope and defeat fear. No longer had they to fear the sun fading away.
Go so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever trusts in him would have life eternal.

Jesus came as the light of the world- to illuminate the souls of humankind to recognize God.
Have a happy and blessed Christmas.

24 December 2006

Incarnation celebration in Ireland

Castebar youth bring in the Christmas season with a concert and pantomime of the account of the birth of Jesus. Although I was not present (it's about 4000 miles away on Ireland's western shore) I got to virtually be there via some pictures. If you haven't check out the Castlebar website you should. It is filled with local news and photos of County Mayo.
I only passed through Castlebar when I visited Ireland back a few years ago, but this is a bustling county town but I digress. I just wanted to again make note of those who recognize Christmas as a time to recognize the birth of Jesus. It is amazing how the birth of one person effected the whole world even though his birth probably went unnoticed at the time. In fact December 25 may not even be the exact date of birth. Some place the birth in late September although some place the conception of Jesus on December 25. That's pretty weird but would agree with what some label as the incarnation. Ancient Ireland probably celebrated this time of year by recognizing it as a turning point in the calendar. Several ancient artifacts (i.e. New Grange) seem to suggest structures built to coincide with the solstice similar to stuff at Stonehenge. Well, a few centuries later a fellow comes speaking of one who came at just the right time, bridging the spiritual with the real- incarnation.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
I wonder what these Irish thought of this? Was it alien to them? Or had there been a structure that pre-existed that somehow enlighted them, where the shadows became substance?

22 December 2006

A babe in a manger with a polar watching

Besides the traditional manger here I really like the tractor. That's something so artisically placed in the scene that I will never forget.
The polar bear is going to see the infant via tractor to present him a candy cane

What sucks - the cult of Santa

Every year you see him. Every year he comes to your mall or supermarket or parades through the center of town with elves and reindeer, but why on earth do we do it. Has this mystical legend cast a spell on us even though I am sure most would not believe in Santa Claus? Santa is not real yet he still sticks around year to year. He hasn't been superceded in the computer age either. He still does the "Ho, ho, ho" mantra and apparently plans to get kids what they want most.
Two items I have to present about this fellow.
1. The myth and the man. I my research over the years of things Christmas I have come to the conclusion that who we recognize as Santa Claus is a construction of numerous folklores and legends from Europe concerning a kindly gift giver who visits near or at Christmas. In transporting these customs to the states, it seems his identity has become more clear. Now he's a fat bearded man who lives at the North Pole and delivers gifts on Christmas Eve via a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Santa also perfers Coke to Pepsi. This is a far cry from perhaps the most orginal source of legends, Nicolas of Myra. Apparently this kindly man helped out a family by secreting gold in the daughters' stockings back in the days when Constantine was the world super power. Far cry? You decide.

2. Is Santa the patron saint of Christmas? In the last century I believe the Santa myth has pretty much become the center of the Holiday. All you Christmasolgists would probably say "Who cares, it was supposed to be about light and winter in the first place until some guy thought it worked well with the Biblical accounts of Jesus' birth." Well, to make a long story short it was a pragmatic choice. See here for more. (Ironically, I might add, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, takes place within the same time frame.)
Seems like everywhere I go Santa (a myth) gets the main attention. I see it almost everywhere.
Mind you, not all give Santa that type of place. I hope to pay homage to those folks who decided to decorate with manager scenes. I'll post some pictures on the blog if I can.

Lastly, it makes me wonder why Americans keep up this Santa myth- flying reindeer, able to get into your house, able to see you. Santa seems like a miraclous kind of guy in way- kind of like Jesus.

18 December 2006

Radio show a smashing success

The annual radio show I produce and write for Christmas was again a enjoyable time for our live audience. The night before I was unsure it would be up my quality standards because. Working 40+ hours a week with not many hours available on the weekend meant there could be a crunch. It arrived on Saturday.
I finished a 2 sketches just hours before performance. We did not get the rehearsal in that we planned before the show. As I have experienced in my previous production career, the performance is 10 times better than the dress rehearsals. And once again the adage was correct. Only near miss I am aware of was my script having blank pages just as I was about to do a sketch. Fortunately, another script came to the rescue just in time.
Thanks to the ever quotable Phil being generous, there are numerous production pictures. I will probably post most on the radio show blog.

13 December 2006

On the reading list and an audio book to boot

In the midst of the stress leading up to the radio show, I have been reading some and listening some.
Red Moon Rising- An intriguing book detailing the emergence (or more like re-emergence) of round the clock, everyday prayer. Is it a coincidence that others from other places around the world were beginning the same devotion to prayer? So far much of the story takes place in North Western Europe. I've only heard of maybe a half dozen places where there is a 24 hour prayer room in the States. Then again it seems that it is more an underground movement rather than a program. It wasn't "thought up" but just seemed to grow out of urgings of the spirtual kind that began to unite others with the same urge. Inspirational and occasionally challenging without glorifying the "practice."
Everything Christmas- At first I borrowed this book from the library. I then thought it had such useful stuff concerning Christmas (stories, history, songs, recipes) that I went out and found a cheap copy off of Half. Now reasearch for the Christmas show will not be so time consuming.
Himalaya- Finally, Himalaya is the unabridged audio book of Michael Palin's book and documentary travelogue of the same name. Witty and informative. I am intrigued with the many unique people he encounters. I however fell asleep during the part when we met with the Dalai Lama. Nonetheless, Michael Palin's reading (and interpretation in some cases) makes this an enjoyable to escape to highest places on earth.

The artist formally known as Phil

The ever quotable Phil, whose wit and wisdom is oft refered to here, has decided to take up a residence on the Internet. In a decidedly uncharacteristic, yet much anticipated move, Phil has launched out into photography as a means of expression and is using the Net to exploit it. His corner on the market appears to be close ups of flora. His sense of balance and composition work remarkable well with the simplicity of flowering plants and the occassional insect. There is also a mushroom which is a fungus of course.
Check it out.
Also be sure to check the HCC Radio blog, the online companion to the annual holiday event at Harvest Community Church.

05 December 2006

But the ground pulls at my feet

We may look upward and dream but we are always faced with the prospect that gravity clasps us to the terra firma. And so ends the David Crowder Band's opus, A Collision. The final track, The Lark Ascending, is fused with a conversation that I cannot tell whether it really happened or not. David Crowder is talking with some guy named Andy on the phone and the conversation leads into the discussion on who is the lark. David quotes the poem which inspired Vaughn Williams to compose the orginal Lark Ascending as the music starts to ascend until a wall of sound emerges. It reminds me a little of Keith Green. Still, a real incredible ending.
So who is the lark? All David can say is that its not him and with further comments comments seems to suggest "dual citzenship": the result of the collision is the tension of being on earth yet having this transcending identity (presumably one locked in Jesus).
Overall an excellent CD that transcends the typical structure and style of releases that tend toward Christian audiences. I appreciate the band's decision to "collide" some different influences from Loretta Lynn to Hank Williams. Even Sufian Stevans gets a nod. A beautiful collision indeed.
In other colliding news- Kevin Max released a Christmas album!? I was going to lampoon it but apparently it is a rather unique interpretation of some traditional carols (note the review section). He may be the least remembered member of DC Talk (we could of had him at See You at the Party for a bargain.) but he is still loved.

27 November 2006

Birthday salutations

Revelers once again
No longer wait for the date
No longer abstain
It's time to proclaim
The day of hullabaloo has arrived.

Phil & Katie- share the same birthday and so decided it was more than a coincidence and married. This is the one in the same Phil who often offers terse sage advice on these pages a few times a year.

23 November 2006

Going for intramural glory

A former colaborator of mine and the namesake of the old public access show "The Kevin Myers Show" has embarked on an interesting project that may catch the eyes of the media. Kevin and a cast and crew of tens are producing a made for Internet mockumentary entitled "Intramural Glory." The production values are high and the story is compelling. A number of old friends make appearances as they attempt to make an intramural basketball team. The weird part is that the team will be selected through Internet voting. Kind of like "Hoop Dreams" meets "American Idol" crossed with the "The White Shadow."
Why don't you watch the entire first 4 parts of episode 1 over this long weekend. It's on YouTube and the ratings are rising. Be part of a history making series.


I am thankful for those who place themselves in harm's way.
How are our troops celebrating? Click here.

Thanksgiving greetings

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is one of those few holidays that require a feast in order to be celebrated correctly. So turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes and perhaps pumpkin adorn the tables of Americans this holiday. It is also one of those celebration that cannot hid its purpose- thankfulness and it particular to God. Of course the feast preparation often overshadows this element. Nevertheless I am not overlooking God's blessings in my life. I believe that the Bible says that only a fool would say there is no God. I digress

Thanksgiving greeting cards. I have never received one. Maybe you could send me one. This may be a catchy new concept. Here are a few probably lines:

  • Hope this day gives you plenty to be thankful about.
  • Thankless? No turkey for you.
  • Over a hundred years of Thanksgiving turkeys and no revolts. Have a safe Thanksgiving.
  • Thanksgiving, the only day most Americans eat pie and cranberries.
  • Take this bird and stuff it. Have a great Thanksgiving.
  • Be gratiful lest I go pilgrim on you. Let's have a thankful Thanksgiving.

20 November 2006

What you talkin' bout....Dudley?

Shavar Ross probably is not a name many remember these days. In fact, when he was touching the flame of fame I suppose no one could think of his name. To me, he was Dudley, Arnold's friend on "Different Strokes." The child star moved on, did a stint as an EMT, and apparently found God. Take a peak at his blog which features his photograph, inspiration, and recollections (like the EMT stint I refer to above.).
And did you know he was on "Family Matters?" He played a character named "Weasel." He been busy directing/writing/producing a movie that is due out soon.

16 November 2006

And the Pharisees want to kill him all the more

I do realize it is a bit early to be mentioning Christmas. However, the other day I stopped at the grocery store and there in front of the store stood a Salvation Army kettle with bellringer. Christmastide is severving into November for the sake of charitible giving shortfalls. Shame on us.
In my research for Christmas related legends I found an urban legend about a crucified Santa Clause display. It appears that this one gets its fuel from how Japanese interpret or re-interpret Western holiday traditions. There is a bit of irony to this one as often Santa has supplanted Christ as key figuire of Christmas. Perhaps it was the work of political satirists.

15 November 2006

That bugs me

I awoke this morning, started the kettle, and poured a bowl of cereal (specifically Kashi Good Friends). I pour the milk and commence eating. After a few spoonfuls I look down and the bowl and notice a few insects floating the in the bowl. They are what I believe to be Grain Beetles. At once I depose the milk and cereal. I then grab another box of cereal and after passing beetle inspection I proceed to eat it.
It appears that these Grain Beetles are adept at getting into packages, especially cereals. I obtained this Kashi on the cheap for the box was beat up and thus these pantry pests could easily invade. The beetles probably entered at the warehouse or store. I have noticed none in our cupboards before.

07 November 2006

What sucks - politics

Another post in the continuing saga of finding the things that suck.
In honor of election day my topic to lamblast...politics.
Now politics is easy fodder for straining through for worthy suckage. I don't think we can escape from politics unless we were robots in the real sense of robots. Not these Data like android contraptions. Then of course as robots we would protect life from politics.
In fact I view politics in its most nascent form- holding an opinion. And you know what nearly everyone has one. So what sucks about having an opinion? Nothing really. My beef is with politics subverting statesmenship. No doubt opinions play a part in governance. But we need solid footing if we are to govern responsibly.
Opinions can be fickle. Americans are fickle. We vote for the feel good candidate or more likely the candidate that brings home the most bacon. We let forces change our opinions and often don't check out the facts.
Hope you vote.

Giants fall

For those who like to gloat over Manchester United losses, today would be a good day to do so. The Red Devils got upended in Carling Cup competition by the lower division Southend. From all I read the squad at the top of the Premiereship failed to connect with the back of the net.
In a play reminiscent of earlier Beckham exploits, Southend striker Freddy Eastwood chipped in a free kick in the 1st half to go 1 up on Man U. The Manchurians were denied thrice by Southend keeper Darryl Flahavan and so sealed the match.
In the other giant felling, Falkirk dumps Glasgow Celtic out of the Scottish Cup. Pitiful.

06 November 2006

A fitting tribute

Steve Irwin the Crocodile Hunter passed away weeks ago but his memory burns on in this Eternal Jack O' Lantern of Remembrance.

03 November 2006

And Ted takes it - are lashes in his future?

The revelation that Ted Haggard, considered an influencial evangelical leader, used drugs, "dabbled" in homosexual sex, and called himself Art seemed a bit preposterous. CNN pushed this story to top billing although it was buried in the first section of the New York Times. On CNN Mr. Haggard admitted to buying meth in an interview! Seems like things might begin to unwind for Mr. Haggard as the investigation continues. Fortunately he seems cooperative.
The spanner in this situation is the timing of the confession, a week before an election where the gay marriage issue is on the ballot for Colorado citizens. Haggard, who resigned as President of the Associations of Evangelicals soon after the story broke, happens to oppose gay marriage so a situtation like this could be beneficial to supporters of homosexual conjugals in helping to veer those on the fence to their side. Nevertheless it does paint evangelicals as two faced and hypocritical.
Still nothing has conclusively been discovered whether Haggard engaged in homosexual sex.

31 October 2006

Space needed

If the dead cannot find rest in the normal places, just rent out your front yard.
I could be wrong too. This may be the tenants who have lived there.

All Hallows' Eve

There are plenty of opinions on Halloween. Some credible and others incredible. It is one of the few days which seem to celebrate disguise while giving a tip of the hat to the supernatural.
Huh? You may say "I thought this whole day was full of our ignorance of evil powers." No doubt could be looked at that way. The Celts sure did. Of course there are plenty of dissenters out there about Halloween, it's origins et al. Just today the wikipedia article for it changed numerous times. There was also some rant in the discussion section about ethno-centric interpretations of the day. Craziness.

30 October 2006

Death couch

The other day I found myself attempting to move a couch. It should have been a sign to me when we could not get it through the door of its previous location without removing its legs. The supposed next home of this couch required the ascent of stairs and featured some tight turns (one at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top) .
We arrive at the location and begin a long drawn out process. We get it through the door and stand the couch up. However, there is barely any room left one the couch is upright on its side. After some wiggling, pushing, and pulling the coach has trapped me into a small storage room at the bottom of the stairs. Unfortunately, nooks and crannies in the stairwell make moving coach out even more difficult.
At last somebody does some measuring of the doorway at the top of the stairs and then the couch's width is measured. The couch happens to be 8" too big.
Meanwhile, I'm still caught in this tiny room and bleeding from a cut I received from couch helping to push if I could even get a grip on the couch. The couch was snuggly lodged in against the doorway. There was not even any room to squeeze out. Occasionally I helped push or pull if I could get a decent grip.
Somehow (maybe divine intervension) after almost 10 minutes the couch "finds space" to move and we lug it out of the doorway and back into the truck.
I supposed this beats sinking in mud.

My modeling career

Back in the days when I lived in the Cities, I had a job that required me to do some modeling from time to time. While perusing the 'Net I found one of my projects. For this project I played a scientist with a white lab coat attempting to weigh a filter that looked a lot like a wafer. I think my hands also got photographed.

29 October 2006

An invisible warrior- radio

Although the number of followers of Jesus in Afghanistan are unknown, radio penetrates into this Muslim dominated land to share the liberating power of the good news. I've been praying for the increase in radio that brings hope to Afghans. Andaryas is one such fellow doing that very thing. Once a mujahedin, a Muslim holy warrior, he changed his allegiance to Jesus through the witness and lives of a few Christians he met as well as through an unusual meeting in India. Today he brings the message of hope, freedom from hatred, and love back to Afghanistan through radio, web and TV.

27 October 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 7

Finally the thrilling conclusion of my wildnerness adventure. You may want to review previous chapters to catch up.
Perhaps I should have taken another route to get back to the Moose River. I bypassed the portage from Oyster River to Lake Agnes. At 160 rods I had little motivation to take it on. Besides an 160 rod portage awaited me at the entry point. I pressed on.
I soon reached a large beaver dam. Thinking there to be a short portage around the beaver's handiwork, I searched the shore. My search came up empty. I brought the canoe to safer place on the dam and pulled it over and down 4 feet. Not long afterward I arrived at the the short portage. According to the map the Oyster would hook up with the Moose River in almost a half mile. What failed to grab my attention was that the navigation channel on the map diminishes into a blue/green area or in other words a marsh.
After a bite to eat I shove off thinking I'd be in familar territory shortly. The navigational channel of the river reduced in size to little under 6 feet. It continued to get smaller and smaller and then came some small beaver dams. I pulled over then paddled and pulled over again until I reached to the point of 3 forks each blocked with a dam- one to left, one to the center, and one to the right. I chose the center one, pulled over and paddled. The channel became 3 feet wide and then entirely disappeared. I got out of the canoe and found some stable ground. From my vantage point it looked like somebody may have cut through to the Moose by pulling the canoe overland. I decided to do the same. This proved difficult and troublesome as occasional mud holes were hastening the progress.
I could see nothing but the tall grasses which grew in marshy ground. I had no clue how far way the Moose River lied. Just then as I adjusted the canoe I stepped and both feet began to sink into the muck. I figuired this might be it. I'm done. I was almost swallowed up to my waste. I lunged for the canoe and with all my strength pulled myself out. Mud slithered off me into the canoe. No way would I be pulling the canoe through this.
Standing on sturdy ground I caught a glimpse of a canoe party just beyond the "weeds." They were waiting, thanfully. Being careful where I stepped I began to backtrack to the 3 forks. I then took the far left channel. However, things did not get better. After pulling the canoe over the little dam that blocked the head of the channel I lost my balance and capsized the canoe in a 3 foot wide channel. Acting quickly I got my gear to drier ground. Soaked and muddy, I drained the canoe and began again, navigating the narrow channel until it connected with the Nina Moose River.

My "guardian angels" asked if I was all right and told me that my escapade had convinced them not to take the Oyster River into Oyster Lake. We parted in opposite directions. I only got hung up looking for the Moose River outlet from Nina Moose Lake. Returning during the daylight I noticed that I missed a gigantic boulder along the river. I did not stop to explore. Nearly 4 hours later I finally arrived at the long portage at the entry point and by nightfall I was on my way back to Ely. I had made it! Thank God, I made it!

24 October 2006

History o' bands of 'Go

Did you know 'Go has a happening music scene? I always thought we were a bunch of metalheads with a unusual penchance for accordion and pack boots. But really, there's a "scene" that goes back almost to the forgotten 70's. Catch up on the past and look to future at the Fargo Bands Family Tree.
It is not a tome nor is it a paen to long forgotten rockers, punkers, and indies (actually it probably does do that a little). The wiki-based system mostly covers the lost and nearly remembered musicians that played or never played at Kirby's or Ralph's or those odd and unusual venues.
The wiki also is expandable and I might just take on that expansion to add the Mo-town groups. The biggest one of course being Children 18:3. But I am sure I could scour some sources and write A Little Lost on the Prairie: The Morris music scene 1993-1999.

23 October 2006

What sucks? - marketing myself

...besides that old Kirby Vacuum in the dingy closet down the hall there are plenty of items which deserve criticism and I am more than willing to proffer my amateur analysis. I am thinking of making this a semi-regular type post. Perhaps even a long running series in hopes that Fox will make it a reality show. However I must face the facts, what kind of reality do I have. I'd have to hire hundred of spin doctors and fashionistas to get my image up to what culture wants.
I have been wondering if I just couldn't be my own marketer. I could get on MySpace or Facebook and create a new social persona. My roommate would writhe with disgust at the decision. He would probably spout out all the evils of social networking websites and in particular focus on stalkers and other unsavory types out to get you. There's been tons of negative press and opinions on MySpace. Then I'd use CraigsList sell tickets to pizza parties so people can meet me. My roommate again would enter lecture mode and point out online safety violations I would make. I think his plan for social networking would involve pigeons and messages.
Anyways the point of this is to get to the website Church Marketing Sucks. Now the site not some rant on the Church or Christianity but sort of a discussion/thinktank on how to relate the Good News within the current culture context and freeing us from inwardness and getting out into the society which we live.

Bison nearly upend Gophers

In possibly the biggest game NDSU has played since jumping to division I-AA, the Thundering Herd came up a bit short. Of course that did deter the faithful in Green and Gold cheering the team as they took their bows at the end of regualtion in the Metrodome. By all means the Bison had out played the Gophers- the stats show that. And 10-9! Most were predicting a massacre by the Big Ten team. What I see cost the Bison the game were 2 turnovers and few missed field goals. If they could have converted on those the Bison would have had their first victory over Minnesota especially one with little over 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
Although it did not end in victory like the Wisconsin basketball game earlier this year, the Bison showed again that they can mettle with Big Ten competition.

18 October 2006

Did you miss this one- Hip 'Go is cool

Yet another article with included MPR radio clip detailing the struggle and the progress of making this town out here something more. Needless to say the one critic of the restoration quoted most likely is surprised to see his KC Hall on Broadway come and go now, too. Whatever we become, it will need to embrace both the new and old or go the way of the lost sodbuster statue.

17 October 2006

A visit with Children 18:3

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity spend an afternoon with Children 18:3 and family. For all the years I've known David, Seth, LeeMarie et al, I have spent nary a quality hour with them. I guess this made up for all the lost time in a peculiar way.
The children are real. I mean it. Definitely not like rock stars albeit they have the external trappings of being ones. They are thoughtful and authentic. And they are not quite children anymore. Seth been working on a farm 40+ hours a week and David is moving toward the mid-twenties. LeeMarie must have graduated. I did not ask. She does not volunteer much info.
We ate lunch together and spoke with their parents, D and ML. I then sat in on a rehearsal. They even let me use the spare ear protection devices. Not only was it loud but skillfully impressive. I only wished I could play along on the maracas or triangle. They are working on new material. ML says that 18:3 are dedicated to their fans and feel the need to give them something new whenever they play. After the rehearsal, I partook in one of Seth and David's favorite activities, looking through abandoned houses. Luckily there was one nearby and did not disappoint- purely a mess of abandonment smattered with allusion to the 80s and prior.
Before leaving the family gifted me with some CDs including the most recent opus - Songs of Desperation. What a blessing.
I am not much of a heavy and loud music listener. I am a folkie at heart. However on my way home I began listening to the Children 18:3 CD became hooked. The lyrics are incredible and the music par excellent. A few days later I wanted to be the first to cover Paper Valentine. It has not happened yet. But perhaps someday along with the Cowboy Song.

The fire may never end

U2 should have a bonfire (maybe call it a bonofire) every fall and invite all their friends and family. They could grill out and make smores and sing songs together. Perhaps the Edge could arrange to give a hayride. It sure would be an unforgettable fire.
Nevertheless, things were up in smoke this weekend back on the homestead at the annual bonfire of fall. Relatives, beer, a hayride, and a bonfire all in just less than 4 hours. There were lots of cousins and friends of cousins. It got cold too but that's not as exciting. The dog was not well behave and bit a record 4 people! I was very upset especially since the dog plays nice and then nips when one has his back turned.
I awoke early the next morn and the fire stilled burned, its embers still flickering with life.

16 October 2006

The return of the "Horstchow"

An empty room in South Minneapolis
Thinking French thoughts
Besides the truimph
Washed away
Come what may
Foward going
Round and round
The sunlit paper
Lingers strangely on

[There's a greater time to come]

Podcast picks

I have not written on podcasting for a while now mostly because the opportunity did not arise to venture into the webcasting sphere. I still think about it from time to time but like the web the 3 words echo loudly- content, content, content*. There is an asterisk at the end to represent the equipment you need to do a quality podcast. I digress.
Here's a list of some podcasts I enjoy and wholeheartedly recommend.
  1. Irish and Celtic Music Podcast- Marc Gunn hosts an hour dedicated to Irish and Celtic traditional music usually from independ and unknown performers (sorry no Tommy Makem or Daniel O'Donell). Marc has done quite of bit of promoting for Irish and Celtic music on the Net. He is one half of the Brobdingnagian Bards, who had an unusual rocket to fame during the Lord of the Rings rise.
  2. Worship Leader Podcast- An informative, inspiring, and quality podcast for those who are invloved in worship (which should be all of us) and the leading of it.
  3. Relevant Podcast- Brought weekly to you from the editorial staff of Relevant Magazine. It's an hour long menagerie of talk ranging from the peculiar (Neil Diamond) to the sublime (alternative energy). Occasionally they interview someone like Pigeon John and then they talk about pop culture. This podcast can go on rabbit trails to places you would never have thought.
  4. ESPN Soccernet Podcast- Twice a week this show recaps and looks forward to the footballing action mostly in Europe (specifically the UK). Usually there is a segment dealing with a particular nation's league. Informative without much fluff. Adriano Russo is by far the coolest name for a host.

12 October 2006

Oh my wilderness - review

The "Oh My Wilderness" saga of my adventures and misfortunes in the BWCA this summer will resume shortly. I am still trying to put it into words. In the meantime
you will be pleased as punch to review the previous chapters which I have indexed below.

Remember to check out the incredible PakCanoe, which carried me on my journey.

11 October 2006

The snows of fall: today's weather

Nothing speaks arctic gullag like a snowstorm in October. Don't forget your shovel. No doubt this will get people ranting and raving about global warming and the like. I think we're expecting 60s this weekend.

The debate at the Cord: intractable?

Unfortunately I did not attend the October 10th Senate debate at Concordia College. If I did, I would have enjoyed a night of sparring between Kloubacher, Kennedy, and Fitzgerald.
Of course the attention was on the big guns- Kennedy and Kloubacher- who have been at it from the start of the season. Fitzgerald, however, did provide a few quips which I will delight ourselves with.
The radio this morning gave Kennedy and Kloubacher the sound bits (albeit KFNW does not have an extensive news department, they borrowed the clips from WDAY). The annoucer only paraphrases Fitzgerald's comment on Iraq as "It's intenable."
Intenable? That's a five dollar word meaning incapable of being held or defenseless. A fair comment that may have flew over the head of Joe Average. At first I thought he may have said intractable since he, Robert Fitzgerald, being a computer science major would have known the word. Therefore if the war is Iraq is intractable it would be, according to the specific computer science definition, unable to be solved in polynomial time. I'd vote for intractable barring the divine. Solved in our lifetime?
The other great comment Robert made had something to do with horse meat sticking to your ribs. He was responding to some bill that is/was/could be passed that gave some special attention to the meat of horses. Too bad that was not quoted on the radio.

09 October 2006

A modern day mystic

Christ followers (or church attenders) these days would tend to avoid labeling themselves as mystics or those have an interest in mysticism. However, in some respects they must be (here's the definition). It is an interesting take on how faith is lived out when there is something we can read and know yet there is something (someone actually) who can be known yet unseen and move in mysterious ways.
The Rake, an alt-mag of the TCs, had an article putting an interesting spin on it when a reporter visted a meeting of the Uptown Fellowship. Check it out.

05 October 2006

Looking forward : a night at the Cornerstone

Looking toward the Apostles
It was a great rehearsal. It was sweet by and by with the catnip in the fly. I felt unsure about this upcoming gig, not knowing if I would be doing it alone or have a backing ensemble. I am glad to say I have a great duo of musicians joining me. A percussionist has not confirmed but that could all change.
Now I am excited about playing at the Cornerstone this Friday @ 8:00 PM. I'll be joined by a trombone and a stand-up bass and will be playing a gamut of music although I wish I could cover Children 18:3's "Paper Valentine." The song is stuck in my head. Slan.

04 October 2006

Are they from the Sixties?

Don't they look like some folk singers from the 1960s?
This is a character still from my most recent "movie." The word is in quotes because the movie is really a video with no post production, shot sequentially. Production values are low. These 2-bit movies are essentially family movies.
This one in particular is third in a series about Laker's coach Kurt Rambis and his exploits to save the NBA from evil.
I already have a 4th in pre-production stages.

Worst worship songs

Top 5 Worst Worship Songs according to someone else.
Although I did not think up this sort of thing I have to concur with some of the ruberic.
For years I found the "huge bell I ring" line from "I Will Not Forget You" to be troubling. It's just a plain weird analogy- how often to you get a big bell out and worship God. Now I understand if you are in a bell choir that ringing them bells could count as an act of worship.
The "Oh I feel like dancing" line from I Could Sing of Your Love Forever is just as troubling. My friend noted this to me years ago. I sang the song this weekend and comtemplated dancing to go against the flow. Normally nobody is dancing when they sing that line nor are they even considering it. We tried to change all that once with an arrangement that scooted into disco after the line. It never saw light of day.
Looks like Darrell Evans gets 2 on the worst list. His "Your Love is Extravagant" get the top nod for worst. The song is not bad but does suffer from odd metre grammere spreade wide syndrome.
There's plenty up for debate.
And one more- most overused catch phrase in the article- "I kid you not."

Fitzgerald to Washington?

A classmate from the U Mo and former radio disc jockey, Robert Fitzgerald, built an altnerno fueled bus and decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Mark Dayton. As the Independence party's candidate, he plans to play spoiler in the race that so far has highlighted the major party candidates Mark Kennedy and Patty Wetterling. Robert appears to be running a centrist route with a populist appeal.
Unfortunately I traded in my Minnesota citizenship and so am ineligible to vote, but here's a little recollection of Robert. Robert was a scruffy a UMM and portrayed a hippie like external. Perhaps he was idolizing his favorite professor, Nic McPhee. Now, he certainly has distanced himself from those whiskered days. Robert is probably a good example of the adage "don't judge a book by its cover." Although I did not know him intimately, my observations suggest he was a thoughtful and caring individual and a leader who lead. His famous bike journey journal inspired me to consider long distance touring and may have got me into blogging. How is that for a person I hardly knew. That's some influence.
Quite possibly the strangest memory of Robert was the response he gave me when I joked about the band Ghoti Hook. I am surprised he actually knew them.
Well, he's got a good Irish name and he looks senatorial. I expect some surprises in Minnesota on November 7.

02 October 2006

Oddities in Mo-town

In a weekend jaunt to the Mo I had the opportunity to make a movie. Although overall it took approximately 7 hours to make, I finished shooting at little after midnight on Sunday. It was an arduous project which included more make-up and costumes than I ever used to before. Unfortunately special FX were not used in this video. I had not the time to work on them in addition to facing crying actors.
I usually make this type of movie on the fly, making up the lines and plot as production continues. Besides tempremental actors I also had battery pack problems with the camera.
To the left is an actor protraying the Blue Girl, supposed mascot of the fictious Peoria NBA team the Blue Giants. In the actual movie due to problems with lines it gets unintentionally changed to the Blue Hornets. If this video ever reaches the light of day perahps you will have a good laugh as Kurt Rambis again saves the day from evil. This is definitely B-movie material folks.

29 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 6

As expected I awoke to the pitter patter of rain. I broke camp and tried to keep things as dry as possible. Wetness tends to stick and stink and neither did I perfer too much. With my full rain gear donned, I paddled out of Rock Lake without much delay. Steadily, yet softly, the rain continued its cadence.

A 65 rod portage transfered me into Oyster Lake, a large lake with 6 campsites. I considered using 1 site as a portage a a shortcut through a long penisula, but thought the site would be occupied. However, it was not and I maintained a route around the penisula. After rounding the penisula my navigation skills plummeted. I miscalculated my position and thus took over an hour to find the portage into the Oyster River.

The rain ceased as I traversed the portage. During the past few days, when not praying, I had unconsciously begun to make up portaging songs based on the tunes of "Frosty the Snowman" and a few other Christmas tunes.

Thumpy, thump, thump
Thumpy, thump, thump
Over the portage trail.

All but this one I have since forgotten probably because of the harrowing experience in the "delta" of the Oyster River.

The Oyster River is a waterway of little renowned in the BWCA. It is hardly a trickle at its source out of Oyster Lake. In fact you could miss it on the map if it were not for 3 portages in and out of it. However, after a portage of 60 rods, the river swells until it is about as wide as a tennis court. The Oyster is another lazy river much like the Moose. I took advantage of the calm near straighness of it and swiftly descended.

I hoped I 'd be out of the BWCA before 2PM but once choice ensured it would not be so. A choice so deadly I need to continue this tale later.

28 September 2006

The touring photographer...Dan Flies

A touring photographer can stir the soul and spirit with his "eyes." Certainly the vagabond tourist, Dan Flies, has covered many miles but has told a multitude of stories with his photo journalization.
Peruse his collection that includes Ireland and current Oktoberfest 2006 shots (yes in Munich itself!).
Most amazingly there is a picture of Western Shore, B. and V.'s home on the hill near Ballycastle where I spent nearly 2 weeks a few years ago. It still has not changed much. The cars are parked in exactly the same spots. Good news, however, the wall behind the house is nearing completion (Flies' pictures filled me in on that). It also appears Maigh Eo has gotten a healthy dosage of sun and rain. Slan.

26 September 2006

A DJ bias?

Although this article I found probably makes a good case for better wages for DJs and even details everything a decent DJ should do, he's definitely biased. "If you're a rookie then don't bother," should have straight out been stated. Perhaps he fears the rivalry of these MP3Js barging in on his turf and undercutting his prices.
"I've got a brilliant strategy," he thinks, "I'll write an article which will smugly undercut rookies and make it look like I am bashing do-it-yourself DJing."
He probaly smirks everytime he looks at the website stats for that page. And thanks to me they will probably increase steadily making him think he has once and for all quashed the upstart. But alas it is to chorkle at his bullmoose pride. Methinks the chorkle will be heard round the world.

23 September 2006

A farewell of sorts

A small group of close friends and associates banded to together in Morris to kick-off the official Haugen/Lift Off Farewell Tour. The evening included a bountiful table of food, memory books, short eulogies and recollections, some emotion, prayer, and of course a retrospective video presentation.
Almost 10 years to the date Mark and Anna arrived in Mo-town.
One cannot necessarily measure the impact (with accuracy) one has had while alive. However, I think Mark and Anna did affect Morris (and in particularly the church there) a lot. Those who obey God are certain to be world changers. Their arrival in Morris opened a new chapter just as I was closing one. It is as if the modern era arrived in Morris- like now we use cell phones instead of the mail. We even dance a little.
The Farewell Tour continues until the first week of October when the Haugen land in Minneapolis. Catch them if you can!

22 September 2006

A rainy day in Faho

Rain continued to complement the chill of autumn's opening strains.
It is times like this one should listen to Simon and Garfunkel
I am amazed at the poetic harmony- in addition to the musical harmony. The lyricism flows freely much like the rain in late September.

Wedding revue

Rumors have abounded about a large wedding in Morris. It has been affectionately called Uproar by the tall tale tellers. However, only the reception went by the name Uproar. There have been claims that some famous people came in the dead of winter to this small town to be part of the nupitials. Other variations of the story involve pyrotechnics and fried chicken and the city of Morris shutting down the festivities when things got way out of hand.
Sorry to burst everybody's bubble but I was there. No famous people, no pyro, no fried chicken. In fact the chicken was BBQ'd in the Jamacian way. The city of Morris did not shut down the reception, the reception ended normally athough there may have been some exception to some of the music.
Check out my exclusive coverage of at Anna & Mark's wedding revue.

21 September 2006


Farley Tower on the Cut Foot Sioux Trail.
One of the few still standing in the Chippewa National Forest. I was too tired from climbing the hill to get to it to see if I could ascend. Probably better left alone.

19 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 5

I broke camp after a late breakfast and saved time by shoving off from the north side of the penisula. With the canoe now well tuned, I cruised swiftly north to the entrance of the Pocket Creek. Unfortunately a large beaver dam barred the entrance to the creek. I decided I should document it, however, I discovered my camera no longer functioned. Not another picture would be shot on this trip.
It took a while to pull the canoe over due in part to the unattachment of a few rib of the canoe frame. Fortunately that was easily remedied by re-attaching them to the fasteners. It is a good thing to have a folding canoe otherwise stuff like that would certainly ruin a trip.
After a short portage and a few strokes I head up Gebeonequet Creek, a quiet waterway. Gebeonequet Creek descends out of a lake with the same through a steep chasm. It was the only waterfall I encountered on the journey.
I exited Geb via a 120 rod portage into Green Lake. I think I sited a Bald Eagle above me as I paddled to the next portage although it may have been a Goshawk. After a 85 rod portage I found myself on Rocky Lake. It was getting late. I wanted to get to Oyster Lake. Rocky has only one lonely campsite in a secluded bay. To avoid the anxieties I experienced the night before I decided to see if I could snag this site.
Slowly I approached the site and peered occasionally with the binoculars. I listened carefully for camping noises. I scanned the shore for a canoe and a tent. After 15 minutes of reconnaisise, I take the rocky campsite. Victory!
Nestled against a steep hill and surrounded by towering pines, I thought this site was great. However, I changed my mind. Mostly made up rocky outcroppings, the underfoot provided very little space to pitch a tent. Later I discovered mice also inhabited the area and liked to poke around my stuff. I did not approve. I only wished more owls and other birds of prey would rid these sites of mice but unfortunately many of us have the habit of carelessly leaving scraps of food behind. If Phil were on this trip he would have declared war on the mice. After dinner I made ready to for an early embarkment and planned to arrive at the entry point in the afternoon the next day. The winds were blowing as I went to bed. Halfheartedly I expected rain.

Delirious? drummer turns to iron(man)

In an akward move, Stew Smith, the drummer from Delirious, decided to do a full Ironman triathlon for charity. This triathlon inlcuded 2.4 miles of swimming, 26.2 miles of running, and 112 miles of biking. I guess it goes to show you that musicians are not just lazy, out of shape, tater eaters. I guess this is old news. It happened a month ago. But you can still help Stew so check out this link. I'd like to see Adam Clayton do a tri. Maybe with the Edge.

17 September 2006

Caveat- O My Wilderness

After a brief hiatus due largely to my other work, Oh My Wilderness should be returning this week to conclude the tale of my solo canoe adventure in the northern border lakes of Minnesota.
The story left off at the penisular campsite west of the Fish Stake Narrows.
Here's a little bonus material.
The wind had been picking up in the evening and I expected it would rain. I secured the canoe closer camp. Fortunately the winds just ran wild and percipitate it did not. That evening I don't think I even listened to any old time radio podcasts on my Palm Zire I brought. Probably because I was tired. I think I may be the only person to have brought a Palm to the Boundary Waters. I used it more than I did my GPS.
All the evenings were moonless which made the stars appear especially bright but increase the fear factor. Noises out here put a person on high alert. However I have come to the conclusion that the biggest noises are made by the smallest critters - mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. I have grown accustom to the loons (aka divers) and in fact can vaguely discern what their calls mean. For me without them you are not in the wilderness.
Overall a pretty uneventful night.

My DJ debut

Alas it went over like a limp rag.
Marred by technical difficulties and timing, I pressed on until most left. However, once the music began it was a good straight 50 minutes of mixed dance from the 50s and 60s.
The thing I did not miss was the 1st dance. Although nearly all the guests had left bride and groom took a turn to dance to a George Strait tune which I followed up immediately with an Elvis ballad.
I can only wonder if dancing in North Dakota is considered foupaugh or I missed the synergy of the moment or both. Analyzing why Dakotans only dance to "Omp Pah Pah" and to nothing else is a PhD discertation in itself. In my own observations the Dakotans are even more reserved than those on the other side of the border. Dancing only seems to be done in poorly lit environs on the outskirts of town or near an accordion. You better be polka or we're hitting the road might sum attitudes toward dance out here. And if you don't like it, tough- move to another state. And they did- in droves.

14 September 2006

Missions flame

In seeking out music I found a site that had a helpful introduction to missions course sylabis. Includes some power point presentations, a smattering of readings, and handouts in pdf format.

13 September 2006

To all Ben Goodman fans

Not the artist nor the musician but the man of mostly travel.
Ben Goodman has his schedule, a few articles, a cache of photos and promises to add more content.
So be on the lookout for Ben in a neighboorhood near you.

05 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 4

I did not leave Lake Agnes until just after noontime. I soon discover that my canoe performs better in choppy water and paddling into the wind. After 2 easier portages I am in Lac La Croix and I discover I have a large hole developing in my trousers in an embarrassing place. I cannot show much displeasure with them since they only cost $6.
Speedily I made my way to the vicinity of Warrior Hill and the pictographs. This area is particularly congested by wilderness standards. I see about a dozen canoes in a little under an hour.
Although it was tempting to cross over Canadian waters to see the picto-graphs up close, I did not. My decision was based on my discussion with a Forest Service agent. She said that the Canadian officials said that crossing into Canadian waters would require a visit to Canadian customs even if you did not touch Canadian land. This "official" decree soured my plans. On the American side about a half mile away I could hardly make out any pictographs, even with binoculars. As I sat in my canoe I watched as other parties went towards the ancient art. I even saw people climbing the cliffs around the pictographs. Were they Americans? Who knows? I entertained myself as I watched some adventurous persons jump off the cliffs into the lake. A few moments later I proceeded to continue northward to Fish Stake Narrows.
Because there are so few portages through this area it is rather popular. Originally I planned to camp near the pictographs. However I desired a bit more seclusion and decided to change my return route. Instead of going back the way I came, I decided I would loop west through a few lakes and rivers and some long portages.
As six o'clock drew near I began to scout for campsites to no avail. I went throw the narrows as 7 o'clock came near and sundown would arrive in about an hour. Using binoculars looked and looked for an empty site but I kept find the telltale signs of an occupied site- strung up clothing. I began to get upset as campsites were further and further apart. I began to get anxious. Finally, I prayed "Lord, give me a campsite tonight." I rearranged the baggage in the canoe and almost miraculously the craft began to cruise straighter than it had ever done before.
Only 1 campsite in the vicinity had I not checked. If this one was full I would have to paddle another mile until another campsite. The site was situated on a penisula to the west. The sun obscured my sight so I paddled closer keeping my ears open for voices. The site add a long sandy beach which is rather rare in this rocky area. I approached cautiously. I pull up on the beach and tip toe up a hill dreading the sight of a clothesline.
None existed. The camp was empty. I peered around a bit- a grassy area for a tent, a tall but accessible branch on a large tree, another sandy beach on the opposite side, and a well built cooking area. I was blessed. I thanked God. Not only did He give me a campsite but gave me perhaps one of the very best campsites. Needless to say, I slept well that night.

In the Chippewa National Forest

Shingobee River Valley as seen from my favorite picnic site. The downside of this site (a pun, yes) is there is no water access. I tried to get to the river to get some water but the riparian habitat was just too severe. The picnic area is situated on a high bluff about 300 feet from the bottom of the valley.

He lived on the wild side

I was greatly saddened to hear of Steve Irwin's untimely death this morning. I nearly cried. The Crocodile Hunter was a man passionate about living creatures- some rather dangerous. His shows were entertaining yet informative. Steve brought nature shows to a new level. His adventurous situations yet calm commentaries changed the genre which typically was sleepy and sterile. Steve had an incredible energy and passion when he encountered mammals, reptiles, amphibians especially the crocodile of his native land. He sometimes took great risk to show dangerous creatures in their habitats. And like Paul Hogan before him reignited English slang with the Austral phrase "Oh Crickey."
My sympathies go out to his family and friends.

12 days of fair glory

My travels and repsonsibilities this year did not allow me to visit the Minnesota State Fair this year. Instead I made to most of visiting the outstate places which I only knew a points on a map. Nevertheless I am a fair-child, not to be confused with one of the gopher mascots of the Get Together. Between 1985 and 1999 there was not a fair I missed. A majority of those years I got the rare priviledge of living on the grounds in a big white building, 4-H's version of the Hilton. There were even a few years where I was paid to live there.
The fair has got a special place in my heart. Missing the fair to me is like missing Thanksgiving dinner or not watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special. For me it's not the food but the experience a pilgrimage of sorts. Hopefully I will make it in 2007.
Slate dished out commentary on the Minnesota State Fair.

01 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 3

I am not sure I slept a wink in the bow of my 15 foot canoe as I waited for daybreak.

As the first glimpse of daylight peaked out near 5AM, I set out. The rushing water sound proved to be a beaver dam and I pulled the canoe over it. I'd see nearly a dozen of these on this trip some more treacherous than others. I then made headway to Nina Moose Lake.

Upon entering the lake I discovered my craft was not tracking very straight. In fact it was going in circles. This not bode well will me. I did my best to cross the lake making one mistaken detour into a bay. I up the Nina Moose River. Not a soul was awake until after my first portage at 9AM. I took in some nourishment and continued at a torpid pace on the river with a badly tracking canoe. I'd often end up in the weedy section of the river while attempting to navigate straight.

Nearing mid-day I arrived at Lake Agnes and began to discover that the wind also was playing a part in my poor tracking. Even a slight breeze would catch the gunwales and flail my craft in a circular path. I had enough. I set a course for the nearest campsite. Enroute I encountered some ermine or mink-like critters playing near the shore. They hightailed it before I got nearer.

Minutes later I landed at the campsite. I unloaded a began to cook some eggs and canadian bacon. After my lunch I took a nap on a large rock in the middle of my campsite. Time went by and eventually it became dinner time. Still being exhausted from the night before I decided to stay put and make camp.

31 August 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 2

After wandering up the Echo Trail I found myself spending the night right on the shore of Nils Lake. This followed my failing to take the advice that Fenske Lake Campground is always full of boaters. At least it did not cost anything and was rather comfortable.
I was up by 8 and bound for Ely hitting Zups Grocery for some food and then the city park where I cooked up eggs and Canadian bacon.
At 10 most of the town propieters open for business.
I seek out a yoke for my Mad River Escape 15 to no avail at Priagis. I need to be creative now. I visit the hardware stores in town to pick up some hardware for an improvised yoke. I then get waylaid looking at Boys' Life at an antique shop and other stores before I eventually buy a cooking pot at Canadian Border Outfitters and head up the to the Moose River entry point on the Echo Trail.
I think I arrive at 4:30 but it take me until almost 6 until I am on the water. This delay is mostly due to never having put together the Escape 15 (it's a folding canoe). Once out on the river I have a race with time.
Sunlight disperses after the 3rd portage. I get out my headlamp and paddle aimlessly down the river. Eventually I make it to a portion where I hear rushing water. This is not on the map and I cannot see where it is. Beavers are all around. I retrace my path to check if I missed a turn. I did not.
Out on the river, which had no solid banks I could see, I wandered about in the dark until I decided I would tether the canoe to into a convenient "beaver slip" to spend the night. My waterproof bivy bag came in handy as I attempted to get some rest in the bow of the canoe.

Keano goes from home to dugout

You can't keep Roy Keane out of football- even when he has a spat with Fergie, plays for Celtic and then retires. I'd think he would have taken a commentatory role like Ally McCoist. But oh no he goes right into management and of all sides Sunderland where his arch nemisis Mick McCarthy bobbed the cats up to the big stage only to come crashing back down. McCarthy jumped ship and now manages Wolves. Keano now has a club and what he'll do is anyone's guess. I doubt he'll be amiciable.

30 August 2006

Just another visit to the Go

Captain Capitalism swung through town while I was out on the Lac (la Croix).
Quite a characterization he made. And unfortunately the Hi Rise gets noted as the talkest structure.
Yes, Lileks is from Go.

Oh my wilderness- part 1

On to the way to Ely I stopped by this chapel in Fosston. It provided a good respite from the road.

I spent the night prior in a little town called Mentor in the city park.

Unfortunately I also spent a great deal of time in Bemidji and my old adage, "Nothing good happens to me in Bemidji," proved true. It was there I discovered I left my Zip Stove and cooking untensils behind in Go. Enfuriated I sought replacements for the utensils but to no avail in Bemidji. Fortunately I packed, quite accidentally, my Peak1 gas stove.

Due to the Bemidji delay I arrived late in Ely. The grocery store and the Piragis Outlet were closed but just about everthing was open. Ely is camping gear heaven. Nearly every store has gear. Piragis' main store has the most variety. I gear up and then spend the night in the woods nearby. However, the next day I would be back in town.

28 August 2006

In the wilderness- in a canoe

I spent the last week in one of America's biggest "wilderness hotels." Although they try to limit how many people get into this wild place it seems crowded for a wilderness area. I've had more solitude in non-wilderness areas. Nevertheless it was a good time albeit I had a few harrowing experiences. More on the trip in later days.

18 August 2006

Lake Superior high

While it is not Norway or Finland or the Cliffs of Dover (or one of those craggy heads on the North Coast of County Mayo), this was an awe inspiring sight on the Superior coast. It was free and not crowded unlike many of the other sights along 61 towards Grand Marais. We should have been eating Clif Bars and downing Clif shots up here. No diving allowed although you could rappel.

Well, I'm off for a respite. Slan.

17 August 2006

Knowing the lager from the pilsner

The undying fount of beer knowledge has really bothered my roommate. A few weeks ago I received a magazine about nothing but beer. He couldn't quite understand the need for a magazine, much less the hundreds of people who do nothing but taste beer and write about it for a living. It must be a good living. Yet of course the conclusion of the matter will always be fear God but I am sure it is possible to do that and have few brews along the way.
Speaking of God, did you know there are monks who brew beer? Yes, now you can committ your life to holiness and brewmaking as a Trappist. And I thought they only made jelly.
My beer pick for the week: TommyKnocker. Specifically the Butt Head Bock and the Maple Nut Brown Ale. Two delicious flavors that had no bitter hop taste. I also had the Pick Axe Pale Ale but really did not enjoy it. It tasted old. Phil also liked TommyKnocker although I think he's a sucker for free beer.

11 August 2006

Mistaken IDs

Now the media is creating its own heinous crime of identity theft by mistaking the Good Eddie for the Bad Eddie.

02 August 2006

Osama and Bonanza

Nothing is worse than a sporadically updated blog that speaks of nothing more than the amount of belly button lint mined on an average day.
The world of late has been hectic. Just today here's a cadre of things I could blog on: Israeli/Hezbollah conflict, Fidel Castro, or Mel Gibson's remarks and apology. Doubtless I could ramble on about each and even quote the most pithy Phil a few times. [Phil, in fact, has no sympathy for Lebanon and had no comments concerning the other issues.]
However the one thing that caught my attention the other day was a new book about Osama bin Laden. No, I did not go out and buy it but I read the book review in the Times. According to the author the young Osama preferred the long running television show Bonanza- starring Lorne Green, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts and a bunch of other cowpokes who took care of business the old fashioned way. It's not hard to believe that young Osama would be sitting glued to the set watching Little Joe and Hoss untangle another mess while falling in love with the same woman. Yeah, I'm sure he pines for them simpler times as he attempts to order the DVD box set in a cave with poor satellite reception.
By the way did you know Michael Landon was a fiddler?

19 July 2006

How about playing the banjo

Came accross a banjo tutor online that looks interesting- The How and Tao of Old Time Banjo.
I once had a banjo but felt I would never learn it well enough. I returned it and got a mandolin. The rest is history. Although I would like to find a banjolin.

14 July 2006

Tau of SvenEriK

<--sven erik thinking
In my search for connectivity in the vast plains I find some recourse in rediscovery. In this case, using the obiqteous tool Google I found a former collaborator SvenErik O. Our collaboration included a concert choir and an advant garde musical improvisation of the children's book "Nobody Plays with a Cabbage." Not much else.
In all these years how did he become a music critic and be part of such a diverse set of bands? I wonder if he just put out a book where he critiques all the bands he was a part.
Let me see if I can remember any...I can only remember the Lamplighters which also featured future indy filmster Brent Roske. Sven was also in dozens of jazz combos a fact which explains my code name for him: Jazz . He and numerous others were added to the nascent edition of the Royce Files at Meow Meow Moo U. There was even a guy known as Jazzmaster and another as Jazzmaster Jr. I knew SvenErik a bit more during the concert choir years. I've got a few picts from a tour we were on in Washington.
SvenErik has probably added hundreds more stories since the days of tripping the live bombastic in Morris. They would make a great companion volume to the book of self-criticism.

13 July 2006

Fred found again

Once again I have been able to track down the elusive Fredrick J. Ostrander Esq. Here in this photo he appears to be sporting a contented hunger and an unsatisfiable desire to be on Law and Order. He does share some similarities with Jerry Orbach.
Anyway I found him without distinction on this page.
I did note he was around one of the Usual Suspects, a close network which Fred had developed in and after college. If you find the trail of the Usualy Suspects you will find a bread crumb trail to Fred. It's too bad I did not follow up on this theory until now.
Nevertheless, check out the sorely outdated O-Files.

Surprising endorsement

It appears that Bono has come out in support of the Bible, albeit the The Message concoction, but the Bible nonetheless. Here's what he had to say:
"...there's a translation of Scriptures -- the New Testament and the Books of Wisdom -- that this guy Eugene Peterson has undertaken. It has been a great strength to me. He's a poet and a scholar, and he's brought the text back to the tone in which the books were written."
He could be the next J.I. Packard.

12 July 2006

Just super, man

Perusing the usual suspects of my inquiry I found a somewhat intriguing view of the new Superman film.
And the "American Way" bit, well I'm glad that is done away with. Not that I would not like to go mano a mano with the Green Lantern (I'd have plenty of yellow things in my arsenal as well as some wood.) but the "American Way" is so ambiguous these days. It is manipulated by politicians and imposters. I'd even bet truth and justice are seen in different ways too. Maybe we need a Superman to set us straight on truth and justice.

11 July 2006

Feeling them New York Times

"New York Times! Who are you supposed to trust anymore?!"- Arthur Korman, The Goodbye People by Herb Gardner
Yah, like who are you going to trust! Well in an odd course of events I am feeling the New York Times. Really. I have subscription (or should it be perscription) to the Times.
It all began a few weeks ago. I was home and I answered the phone. I knew from the pause it was a telemarketer. But I stayed on. As it turned out I got a few weeks free of the Times way out here in the Plains. I had sympathy for the Asiatic English speaker struggling to pronounce my name and that of where I live (I live in Nut Decoder, duh!). I said yes and now the New York Times arrives on my porch everyday.
I thought I'd hate those New York Times. However, I have found them informative and unique albeit I can see the bia occasionally.
Ah, feeling those New York Times once again.

10 July 2006

Exhilarating end of World Cup '06

I was among the approximately 1 billion viewers who tuned into the World Cup Final (presented by Adidas of course not Landscapes by George) between France and Italy.
Weeks before I had written that these 2 sides should go home mainly because they were aged players. Typically writing off an aging squad is fairly accurate. Costa Rica and perhaps Croatia were in those categories although I had them go through to knock out. Pity me for knocking the French and the Italians. They definitely proved that things do get better with age (that is if you were good before).
The French and Italians were at for 90 minutes and 30 minutes of overtime. The French squad looked good going into the overtime period with the score deadlocked at a goal apiece. The Italians were clearly tired but France failed to connect with the back of the net- Buffon remained impenetrable.
Then came the head butt that sent France's chances down the tubes. It was an unlikely move for the usually sedate Zindane. It was sad to see his career end so ignobly. It reminded me of another Frenchman, Eric Cantona. The Les Bleus sorely needed him when the match went into a penalty shoot out. The French could have used Cisse too but that is old news. Nevertheless, Zindane leaves Germany with a golden ball being voted player of the tournament just moments prior to the butting.
Zindane showers as a crafty Italian side wins the shoot out and celebrates in a flurry of white paper and embracing one another. One player even removed his pants.
In the end it was not necessarily skill that wins it but guile and throw in an excellent defense. The Italians were one foxy team.

06 July 2006

Lord of the flies- part II

I decided to spend a portion of my holiday [thanks to the the founding fathers] pioneering a new outdoor activity- bikepacking. Bikepacking is sort of like touring with a full load over a diversity of terrain. My perferred terrain- Chippewa National Forest. The national forest system has a plethora of roads, paths, and dead ends that would entertain or punish daring bikepackers.
On this trek I was both entertained and punished [or as Boss Nass would say "Pew-nished"].
I found some real wild open places, glimpsed a few bald eagles, cooked some good meals, and biked a myriad of miles.
The punishment I found was in trying to escape the vicious black flies. A constant swarm followed me almost the entire time. I can't out pace them, they followed right behind in their ranks. This is the worst black fly epidemic I have ever experienced. I knew I should have brought the citranella. This certainly was a lord of the flies experience.

29 June 2006

Dubious football: Australia v. Italy

The Socceroos stunned me by making it into the field of 16. I was expecting Croatia to be better. Nevertheless the Aussies played some good football.
Australia faced Italy in the round of 16 and looked like they were in the catbird seat. In the 2nd half Italy were down to 10 men. Then came the 93 minute. That is when Italy gets a dubious foul in the box and thus was awarded a penalty kick leading to the only goal of the match. It was a very cunning move yet most assuredly a dive because not one Australian defender touched Totti.
This was a great match to watch as it came to the wire. Australia kept moving it forward, setting up shots and ultimately missing. Italy played the slow game, holding possession and only counter attacking a few times. Australia could have sealed the deal at least twice in the last 20 minutes. Ultimately best team did not win. The most cunning team did.
Here's to you Socceroos!

22 June 2006

Ghana advances, U.S. checks out

Of all the Africa sides (except Togo) I did not think Ghana would play as they did. Today they snapped up a place in the final 16 at the expense of an experienced U.S. team.
Although it would seem the U.S. will return home in shame, no one will really notice. Yes, they came into the tournament with an incredible ranking but they lacked firepower and creativity. I do credit them with a hard fought Italian match, but remember none of their strikers ever scorred Also I think that Bruce Arena may no longer be in charge in the months ahead. A change will do the U.S. good.
With Ghana and Ecuador through what else could possibly happen? Brazil lose?

16 June 2006

Lad in dungeon

This is quite possibly the best persecution picture I have seen. Of course this is all a set up but look at this fellow's facial expression. He really looks like he is suffering. I certainly hope he is not locking himself up until England wins the World Cup because who knows with those blokes. For all I know Ecuador may string together a number of good results and overthrow the football elite.

12 June 2006

Keane bows out

It probably was not a surprise but Roy Keane decided to retire from playing football today. It had been alluded earlier that if he did not think he could be fit he would hang up the boots.
Why do I admire Keane? I think I've said it before but I like his work ethic and he is tough. He's also an Irishman. And did I mention he is the subject of the musical I, Keano.
He has stirred up an amount of trouble in his day but he went on playing. Injuries slowed him up in the later years but he still played with intensity. Since January he has played for Glasgow Celtic the team he supported as a child.
Now I must wallow in the World Cup. The only excitement I have found in it is the African teams.

10 June 2006

U2 Sermons Blog for the book "Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog"

U2 Sermons Blog for the book "Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog"

This one is for Segue. And now I know how Eoghan Heaslip fits into the U2 degrees of separation web in a post on 10.11.2004.
A recent post also quips about Mini-Apple hipster Prince's references to God in his lyrics.
I think there should a blog about references to God at the World Cup. The only one I heard was churches opening their doors to show matches and having special services in the language of visiting fans. Then there was the trite comment from someone saying something to the akin that churches should be quiet places. Hmm?

09 June 2006

And the world watches...and I sit still

Opening day of the World Cup and the opening night of A Prairie Home Companion (the movie not the radio show) and the world did not end nor did the righteous depart for glory on 06-06-06. Although the rest of the world may go crazy for the cup (or perhaps PHC), on this side of the world things are pretty calm. A few co-workers were getting a wee bit excited when Costa Rica were ahead of Germany. But of course the Germans, with their trademark patience and precision, came through and won. Although Tico Paulo Wanchope seemed to find the holes in the German defense by scoring Costa Rica's 2 goals.
Who's going to win? Here's my short list.
  • Going to the end: Portugal, Brazil
  • Sleeper team: Ivory Coast
  • Time to hang it up: Italy, France
  • Team that will prevent England from advancing: Argentina (yet again)

I do hope England do better but they just don't play with grit.

Finally, Garrison and a star studded cast come unto the big screen. Although this film may not make the top of the box office, this is one film I look forward to seeing and even owning. The odd thing about it is that it's directed by Robert Altman (the guy who directed the movie MASH and the silly Popeye musical with Robin Williams). Should be good because Maya Rudolph is in it too and she is such a character.

31 May 2006

Sir Alex and I

I was surprised to see that Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United (or Untied as some may editorialize) manager, paid a visit to Enniscrone in County Sligo. How delightful! I've been there there too. Of course I suspect he was not dancing, playing music and having great craic in someone's kitchen. In fact he was in Enniscrone visiting football players, signing autographs, and generally being famous. I cannot even come close to having been famous when I was in Enniscrone. Perhaps I can claim I was almost famous.

29 May 2006

My memorial adventure

I had a short window of time so I decide to take the short jaunt for an overnight in the Sheyenne Grasslands along with my hearty adventure mate (who was a good sport I might add).

The weather was sweltering and a grassland does not provide much shade. Fortunately a cool breeze brought relief and occassional patches of woodlands provided respite.

My goal for this outing was to find the Sheyenne River off the North Country Trail. It never happened. We must of walked further than I thought or the river is on private property which we cannot access (Argh!). We ended up following a fence line and backtracking until I stumbled upon a Mirror Pool WMA. I firmly believed we should camp near a water source. It was going to be hot and the water I bought was going to run out. Well no pools at Mirror Pool, just a mucky wetland, and the only windmill pond provided stagnant water. We left that area and immediately found high ground and pitched the tent.
The mosquitoes came out in droves after sunset and the ticks were just as bad. I should have known this! The same thing happened a year ago. We evacuate into the tent and pick ticks until we fall asleep.
The next morning I continue to look for a water source with no success. We pull up stakes and head back.
Now the north side of the North Country Trail in the Sheyenne Grasslands is pretty sketchy in places. It uses just the blue blazes on poles every 100-300 meters following almost worn away cattle tracks. Occasionally these markers cannot be seen from the previous which leaves the hiker with the "honor" of making his own trail. Well that happened twice to us. We found our way out but with some unforseen detours.
It was good to get out again although them bugs do get me upset. Yet I was prepared.