31 December 2009

A new year is upon us

Goodbye 2009 with all its problems and recession or depression.
So long to all its murky moments and deaths
Obama-rama thriller killer seeker flooded tiger cheater balloon boy hoaxionage bailout fallout health care messes economic recesses
Farewell aughts, we've been good friends mostly
Now the twenty-teen days are fast upon
In with the retro and out with the new- I don't know which to eschew
Let's go back to those much better days
When we knew there would be- well, better days

With that Royce Files say "Adeiu" to 2009 but not before I make rememberance of the wall of snow which plagued my return. At left you see the neighboring garage but it looks similar yet mine was a bit higher by right of exaggeration.

Highlights of 2009 as the Royce Files saw it-
The Great Flood had the most attention for the year and help propel the blog to historic entry levels after a slow start to the year. Not much Obama coverage. Others could do much better at praising or smirking at the U.S. Prez.
NDSU Men's Basketball took their team to the big show as Fargo flooded. They did not break round 1 but Ben Woodside scored a bunch in the games against Kansas. I almost got to shake the guy's hand thanks to Segue. Instead, I was in a picture with Bret Winkelman.
As water receded yet another Fargo marathon was run. This one seemed at bit different. At little more workmanlike rather than fun. It will be known for its double loop course. Still it was a great event.
My film-making activities increased a lot this year with the feature Mary Weatherby filmed earlier in the year and another appearance in the 48-Hour Film Project. I post numerous shorts to YouTube in 2009 which you can link to on the sidebar.
In summer we had the car show, the Tour de Valli, and the yet unwritten Boundary Waters adventure. And again summer was topped off by a visit to the Minnesota State Fair.
Fall approached and I was working on ALPHA, filming 15 seconds of Star Wars and getting an early start on the Christmas Radio Program.
2009 introduced blog readers to some new features- Art of the Deal, Signs of Beer, and the special Dastardly Disguises. All will hope to return in 2010.
What's in store for 2010?

Well, an eagerly awaited World Cup in June. Finishing my first feature- "Glory Rolled." Recording and making a video my song "Lonely (but only in Minnesota.)" I might attempt to write a few more songs and of course record a few more shorts for the web.

30 December 2009

One last snow deposit despoils 2009

Over the Christmas holiday the Midwest found itself in a deluge of snow. I made it home all right but many others were stranded or unable to be with family and loved ones on Christmas. A stretch of the venerable I-94 was shut off from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day (December 26th) afternoon.

The large snow accumulation kept plows busy. Unfortunately for me, when I return home to the Go (best place to find a job as noted by CNN), a 7 foot by 3 foot high wall of snow prevented me from entering the garage. The parking lot was no better- 3 feet in most spots. Let the snow removal begin!

The next morning I got ready to challenge the snow with the winter bike. Private sidewalks were pretty well cleared. The streets were decent but compacted snow was beginning to form in places and I have not put on the studded tires yet.

Public walkways I use were largely disregarded. With the city planning on putting into effect sidewalk shoveling ordinances, it would be wise if the city also did its part in removing the snow from public sidewalks within 48 hours. I had to "portage" the bike through 3 foot banks in order to get over a bridge. It was strenuous work.
Though I tend to say roads are probably the best bet for winter riding- I am going to put in a caveat due to a wipe out I had this morning. Unless you have studded tires, if roads have impacted snow it may be safer to ride on sidewalks. At least that's how it is panning out thus far in the winter biking season. However with sidewalks, you have the chance of traffic not seeing you due either not paying attention to sidewalk traffic in the winter or snow banks impairing visual scans.
As always, wear proper attire that is bright and have good safety lighting. Increasing your visibility to traffic can prevent the risk of accident with an automobile.

24 December 2009

Of Christmas 2009

Well it has finally arrived- Christmas 2009. It's been a busy run up for myself with the Radio Show fitted in with a talent show for work. I was just able to fit in a little caroling on Sunday which was a highlight for the season. I had not sung in chorus for years. As I have written before I especially enjoy the music of Christmas. I was the only male voice so I had a lot riding on my blending and harmonization. We did good.
As I have pondered this holiday, I realize it tends to be about remembering. Remembering Christmases past and stuff. And even if the holiday was co-opted from previous celebrations at the start of winter, it certainly does fit the imagery of the old story. Yet, the imagery has certainly taken the driving wheel in this day so much so that it's lights, feasts, Santas, trees, gifts, and holly. The sacred has been watered down to be more pallible to those who consciously or unconsciously rather not remember the birth of Jesus. It can be a rare sight these days to see a manager scene in a home although they still exist.

Nonetheless, I am not bemoaning the secularization of this holiday. I have met many of those types and I find their protests justified but their attitudes sour and sometimes bitter. Anyways, Jason Boyett wrote a decent article about it in the November/December Relevant Magazine.
I recognize the Lord at this time (and others too.) If the rest of the world wants to pay homage at Christmas or rant and rave how we really are not, fine with me. Free will allows it. But I find it even better if the Lord is honored year round.
A piece of advice I got from a friend this year about gift giving- when giving clothing give a size smaller, and when you are unsure of what to give then give something that will be memorable. I think this might be concerning spouses or girlfriends. So a size too small leopard print Snuggie could possibly be appropriate. This untested hypothesis is sure to make memories.

That's all for now. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
(Note the festive sweater I picked up at the dollar store in the picture above. It's sure to make it to your festive event during the next 12 days of Christmas. I'd even gladly write a Christmas song for the event. I might write a separate article featuring it.)
This is also the record breaking 133rd post of 2009. Most posts in a year. I feel like Babe Ruth and not those other guys.

16 December 2009

Music and (X)mas

It's a musical time of year. I find it amazing how radio stations find enough Christmas music to keep up their 24 hour play lists. Much of it is tripe: mere filling for what apparently society originally sought to celebrate. Yeah, snow and Santa, gifts and more snow and then add a bit of nostalgia on top. There, you've got probably and unscientific 75% of the current cannon of Christmas songs. Heck, I'm evening re-writing one with snow and blizzards in it. I think I'll add some Christmas cheer to the mix and viola and new classic. Here, I'll make a new lyric up:

It's snowing and the gifts keep coming
Santa has been good to me
Snowing gifts like Christmas in 1953
I think I must be dreaming
Of a pleasant time next to my Christmas tree

I am mostly a fan of the older music- the carols and hymns that have seen many generations. If there is a choir singing, I probably like it. I did 2 seasons of concert choir in college and the carol concerts were a great experience. Sometimes we sang in Latin. Now that is high culture!

I do enjoy a few 20th century classics but abhor the Rudolph and Rockin' Around tunes. I do like this CD even if it does have some silly tunes. It's fun and yet reverent. I should probably update by Christmas playlist on the Zune.

Well for those looking for some free Christmas music to make yourself merry check out Amazon's 25 Days of Christmas downloads for free MP3s of holiday tunes. Then check out the Feels Like Christmas website for more free Christmas music. Be sure to check out Lord Wheaterby's Santa Claus is Freaking Me Out- a corn infused diatribe that some of my friends may desire to listen.

15 December 2009

Dylan does Xmas and so do I

It's probably pretty old news by now- Dylan has released a Christmas album entitled Christmas In the Heart. I went over to Amazon to listen to a few clips and read some of the reviews of it. It seems to get kind of a luke-warm reception. Either you love it or you think it's less than optimal Bob Dylan. Not being a Dylan-phob, I had nothing to compare to in my mind despite having beeb strangely influenced by his style yet never owning not listening to any of his music [rambling sentence]. Ok, I did hear the ones played on the oldies stations (Everybody Let's Get Stoned, Raining Day Woman?).

Coming from a nearly unbiased view I think the album is sort of nostaglia covered with Bob Dylan vocals. The album takes a traditional approach with most of the songs. However, Dylan's distinctive voice attempting to do standards comes off as awkward. It reminds me of a cross between Louis Armstrong and Tom Waits. James agrees when I reached him for comment in the hall. "He's good at what he does." James continued. That being the poetic chiseling of rambling stories into song. No Dylan penned songs on this release.

That's not to say it's all awkward or unoriginal. Some of the good cuts sort of go a la western swing. The following tracks are highlights: The Christmas Blues, Must be Santa, The First Noel, Christmas Island.

Speaking of music, I'll be playing one of my songs this week at the company Christmas shindig. I was re-writing it a bit last night to give it a bit of a love lost feel.
In the meantime you can hear me sing A White and Blue Christmas on the Rinzo Radio Show here. It was recorded this weekend before a live audience. I also sing Silent Night with the group Abra.

11 December 2009

2009 Christmas Show: It's Christmas and who carols?

It's nearly here. Just a few more hours. And for me a few more stressful hours.

2009 Christmas Show
It's Christmas and who carols?
12th December 2009, 7PM
608 Main Ave

Fargo, ND

Just a few steps from the corner of Main and Broadway.

It's a Christmas themed entertainment in the form of a live radio show with music and some audience participation. Plus, did I mention that people have said it's hilarious in past years. And I assure you it is still outrageously funny. And it's
If your in the area you don't want to miss this uproarious evening (mostly because it won't be on the radio.)

I've put a tremendous amount of work into the show as have my co-producers and the cast and musicians. Again you won't want to miss out.
There will be refreshments following the show.

04 December 2009

Enter winter

Most of us knew this could not go on for ever. Winter needed to make an appearance.
December 1- No snow. Rather warm with some NW winds foreshadowing the next days' events.
The winter bikes were ready and I just got winter bike #1 a major overhaul.

Riding home on the 2nd of December would be the last day in 2009 the C-200 would be out. It was pretty crazy on the ride home. Dakotans did the typical thing in snow storms- they avoid the main roads and take side streeets. Never ceases to amaze me how the traffic jams on these days are within residence neighborhoods and not on Main or University or 25th.
I brought out the m-200 (snow bike #2) to take on the snow since I want to put a pannier rack on #1.
It is really unusual to think just a few weeks ago I was out running in shorts. The mild November afforded many such runs. However, running in the cold especially just after a light snow is very scenic. Especially when going through bike under the light in the snowneighborhoods decked out with lights. With the temperature drop you also need to layer more so perspiration builds up differently.
I was out in Otter Tail County this weekend. And yes, they have winter there too. In fact the lake I was near had just begun to freeze over.
I caught a wonderful sunset reflecting off the fresh coming home this evening. I also saw Brett Winkelman's father just back from Italy- but that could be another story altogether.

25 November 2009

Now thank we all our God

Happy Thanksgiving.
In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had the nation set aside the 4th Thursday in November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." Thus began the modern version of the holiday still celebrated on the the 4th Thursday of November.
Of course there were Thanksgivings long before 1863. The one we most look back towards is the 3 day feast at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. We love the pilgrim epic. But I still don't get why they wore their belts on their hats!
There are 2 other contenders for the 1st Thanksgiving: one in St. Augustine, FL in 1532 and another near Jamestown, VA at Berkley Hundred in 1619. Neither of these make the childrens' books.
What began as a sacred state sanctioned holiday has over the many years become secularized or at the very least the prayer and praise part have fallen into disuse.
Henry Ironside once said "We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
He was not speaking about the holiday, yet it speaks to the original spirit of the day in a surprising way. Even if one does not fear God, I'd think that having a gratiful attitude would do wonders to the person. The double Ds, discontent and dissatisfaction, run rampant over our country. No doubt we are facing tough times and pessimism allies itself with the Ds. How great a disaster it would be if not a word of thanks be given on Thanksgiving.
Keep up the good fight and give thanks!
More interesting Thanksgiving quotes here.

24 November 2009

Another way to see the Nutcracker - on horseback

I was looking through the Chicago theater listings for what is playing over the holiday season. I was equally surprised and amazed by this rendition of the Nutcracker.
That's right. Chicagoans can see The Nutcracker on horseback. The Noble Horse Theater is the only venue in North America performing it in this manner. According to history, this was how the play was first produced back in the 19th century. Not until 1892 did Tchaikovsky set it to music and it became a ballet.
Not much on horseback theatrics on the interwebs so this theater must be a revival of a tradition long forgotten. Probably because we drive automobiles now.

17 November 2009

20 years onward: George M!

The Par Ki musical of 1989 was George M! Pictured are Lynette, Mike, Rachel, and Peter. They possibly don't recollect ever being in this show.
It's been 20 years since the production since the Par Ki production of George M! Can you believe it?
Well, no. It's a rather forgettable show.
However, old Georgie was the last of the great big D.O. productions. Yeah, he did do 42nd Street the following year but the production values of that show were vastly different than the epic George M! and had a different production staff. That was D.O's swan song. George M! was his War and Peace.
George M! weighed in at just a smidgen under 3 hours as I recall. Ok maybe more like 2 and some change. But this was a monstrous musical in which much of the book was re-written or added on to to make it a somewhat coherent bio-musical of George M. Cohan.
Out of the gate George M! was not that great a musical. It hardly garnered any plaudits in its Broadway run in the late 1960's. Joel Grey and Bernadette Peters headlined the cast with the great Joe Layton directing. It ran about 1 season before disappearing entirely from Broadway repertoire. It shows up occasionally on the community theater circuit.
I love Cohan, his life and his music but George M! was sort of a messy undertaking, hence I reason the need for rewrites and added material for the Par Ki production. I think George M Tonight is probably the superior show about Cohan.
Back to the Par Ki production. It was my first production in high school so it holds a special place in my heart. I think I was unofficially the understudy to George. I remember one night, it was getting close to curtain and the guy who played George had not shown. That's actually when I learned I was the understudy. Boy, the communication about that was bad. Today I could probably pull it off. Back then, I'd be on a wing and a prayer.
I recall some stunts we pulled the last 2 performances. In the boarding house scene (Madame Grimaldi I presume) I had placed some fake eyeballs in the soup turine. Man the actors really reacted to that. Then I think I did a random walk on bit during some street scene. I seem to remember one cast member doing a walk on bit soliciting a prostitute in the same street scene.
There may still be a video of 1 or 2 performances of the musical out there. The last time I looked I think the tape was nearing brokenness.
The original George M! showed up on in a TV special starring Grey and Peters in the 70s but its rare. I believe there is a clip on YouTube.
Georgie certainly hasn't been forgotten as his birthplace Providence, R.I. most recently erected a statue of him this summer.

14 November 2009

And now a scene from Star Wars

Star Wars Uncut - Scene 086 from Liam Royce on Vimeo.

Now you can see what I've been up to in that month in video production.

It's only about 15 seconds but I was pretty much my own production company.

I'm hoping to make more as time is available.

12 November 2009

By George: Is a George Burns resurgance coming?

I had a friend in high school who seemed to be a fan of George Burns. My friend's desire was to see George Burns perform on his 10oth birthday (not my friend but George) in Las Vegas. In those olden times, George was still alive and kicking. Just as he was about to celebrate his 100 years, his demise began. Well it actually it happened a few years before after a fall in the bathtub. The performances were cancelled. My friend never spoke of George again. But then again, I did not see him until my class reunion a number of years later. He may have spoken about George but who knows?

Well, Pixar put out the movie UP! this summer which features a character that seemingly looks a little like George Burns. It may just be that all old men look alike. Nevertheless, Carl Fredricksen is an older gentleman. Another old man gives him his voice, the venerable Edward Asner. I find it odd that he has a few Star Wars credits. None of the movies but he plays Jabba the Hut in the radio version of Return of the Jedi (John Lithgow plays Yoda, figuire that out.)
They have never appeared together in a film or TV show but both are Jewish.
So check out the images, see what you think.
Anyways, I am hoping for a George Burns resurgence. Like remastered versions of Oh God and Burns and Allen. But perhaps my plea is falling on deaf ears. I should probably petition the postal service to put on a stamp with the likeness of George on it. That may spurr interest. Actually my wish has come true.
P.S. My Star Wars remake video will be coming out soon. It's only 15 seconds.

10 November 2009

Something to sit next to my emmy

While I spent the weekend in the Twin Towns and watched an incredible hockey game at the Xcel Energy Center (amongst other things), the film project which I worked on as part of Testudo Studio got a screening at the Forx Film Fest.
Testudo Studios filmed Mary Weatherby (MW) in late 2008 and early 2009 around the Go region. I was responsible for props and lended a hand as a gaffer occasionally during the shoots. Film making is a slow process. But if you film well, editing goes quicker. This movie featured the guy who played Brad Billups in Fantasy 10 from the 2008 48 Hour Film Project and a rabbi. Sounds like a joke, right? Nope. It's one of those behind the scenes things you'd only learn from the Royce Files. The rabbi in fact was very impressive.
MW's premiere took place in June.
Not sure who was responsible for getting MW into the Forx Film Fest, but I'd say it was an ex op even though it is hardly a blip on the map the way film festivals go. I can't find much about it online except some 3rd source created wiki without an entry for 2009. So I cannot prove that MW won best feature or audience favorite. I actually don't know what it won but reliable sources say it won something.
Now I have something to put next to that regional emmy I share with a boatload of other folks for Intramural Glory. And that sheet of paper for audience favorite for Fantasy 10. Woohoo!

03 November 2009

Dastardly disguises - finale

Now we come to the finale of our show and we pull all the stops on this final scene but we meet some interesting guests in this scene

Finale- Gathering of the disguises- Clown man, Blindlike man with beads, Mr. Monopoly, Ron Burgundy, Poodle Skirter, Scary Hair (partially blocked), and Waldo. Why would this motley crew of peeps come together?

For the money! They are attending a costume contest and believe there will be a large cash reward for the victorious one. However, being the devious individuals that they are, they come together in order to swipe the prize money.

Unfortunately, Mr. Monopoly is named the winner and so decides to keep the prize for himself. Ron Burgundy will have none of this injustice amongst costumed crooks. So just as the prize is awarded, mayhem ensues and Mr. Monopoly runs away with the prize. Now the chase begins. Scary Hair lays the smack down on Mr. Monopoly but Waldo slips by unnoticed, swiping the prize. Using his unusual talent of hiding, Waldo cannot be found.
Fortunately, Jedis have been dispatched to foil the crime- a master and his apprentice. But which one is which? The Jedis using their special talents discover Waldo's hiding place and chase him into the ventilation shaft. The other disguised ones scramble to help but are no match for the Jedi. Even ol' Gil T. Robot is slain at the hands of the Jedi.
The prize is reliquished by the defeated Waldo and is then awarded to someone dressed like a lady bug.
The Jedi are rewarded with various sugar-free, organic, free-trade, treats.
(Many long time readers may recognize a former blog contributor, James, in the above photo. James' most famous contribution to the blog involved researching the buttload. He is not currently attending the Jedi Academy but is an "aide" to Yoda.)

01 November 2009

Dastardly disguises- scene 6

Scene six- The Pinko
It may be hard to distinguish this Pinkerton Detective from some ordinary joe with a bowler and mustache for an earlier time. James McParland had infiltrated the Molly Maguires and he hopes to stop you from doing anything that might be illegal. Although he may not be able to infiltrate your peer group, he may use other methods to prevent you from comitting a crime. He would stop at nothing to get you behind bars. Like him or not, McParland always gets his man (or woman if that be you.) No doubt he is on the tails of all the other denizens we have met in the dastardly disguises series.

All Saints Evening in Diguise

Late Hallows' Eve, I took for the downtown in search of disguises after donning myself in yet another costume. This time I went old timey: suit, bow tie, mustache, and bowler. Downtown I had a few people think I was Charlie Chaplin (wrong type of mustache) or Harry Houdini (never had a mustache). I thought I looked more like a Pinkerton Agent although I can find no photo evidence to prove it. Behind me you can see Brad Childress taking a break for love. Lots of sports oriented costumes. I think I saw England soccer stud Wayne Rooney, basketball players, Brett Favre. Zombies were pretty common too. As has been the trend the last few years, women are wearing less. I am surprised they are even out because of the cold. Some men too were also seen wearing less. Not any elaborate costumes from what I saw. I did see one abandoned costume- Chinese Take -Out. If you can't handle the bulk don't put it on. Easier said than done.

I saw an odd electronic like piece of something that looked akin to a bomb in the gutter. A lady aiming for the gutter almost hit me with vomit.
Saw numerous women having difficulty in high heels.
Zach Morris (of Saved by the Bell fame) was in town but didn't give me a high five.
However, Drew Carey was and gave me a slightly off low five.

A troupe of Emmett Kellys passed me and Mr & Mrs Incredible were trying to keep warm a few meters form me.

Finally a nearly full moon beamed down upon the city. And that's it from Halloween for 2009. No treats or tricks.

31 October 2009

Dastardly disguises - scene 5

Scene 5- Gil T. Robot
This robot (or should I say android) has a penchant for entering people's home and drinking their beer. This robot was caught in Phil's garage attempting to pilfer any beer. Unfortunately the robot ended up drinking diesel and picked up a slight flutter. He began berating us for getting him lost and marooned in a garage then warned us to not trust any little hooded creatures. Phil directed the robot into the closet.
Eventually, Gil left but not after making a sparkling mess everywhere. He also doubled as Treepio in my part of Star Wars: Uncut. But that's another story, far, far away.

There might be more dastardly disguises coming but that will depend on whether I go out tonight searching for them.

Dastardly disguises - scene 4

Scene 4 of the continuing series of dastardly disguises.
And now scene 4- Dr. Hitech
Though some may call him a mad scientist that is not entirely accurate. He is just mad at science. He tries the bend the rules but they just don't want to bend. Like his x-ray vision device he is holding. It's nothing but a bunch of plastic and an old Mountain Dew bottle. Probably the only thing you have to worry about from him is an accident. And you can't predict accidents. If you run into Dr. Hitech make sure you keep a safe distance.

29 October 2009

Dastardly disguises - scene 3

Now for the 3rd installment of Dastardly Disguises.
Scene 3- Chauncey the Hit Clown
These days clowns don't get much respect. However, this clown does. Chauncey the Hit Man does freelance work for the mob ever since his fortunes under the big top went south. I've been told Chauncey only carries a toy gun and instead uses bad jokes and gags to get even with the people who have crossed his employers. Chauncey knows 3 kinds of mime and has tickled victims into submission. He favorite drink is the Lon Chaney, straight up, one cube of ice. He frequents rodeos where he attempts to recruit henchclowns.

Whoops- the 1951 Pontiac Chieftain

When you prowl around the Pontiac Chieftain barefoot, you may want to stay out of the trunk. Its liable to close suddenly and unexpectedly upon your body. Ouch!

Sort of reminds me of the scene from Back to the Future where Marty was thrown in the trunk. Of course he was fully inside but you get the idea.
It's a really large trunk. You could fit many people in there if you desired which I do not. That's not my kind of gig. Instead we fit chairs, a cooler, a spare tire, umbrellas, and a table in there. Up front there is space for some fair young ladies and a backseat for another cache of friends, relatives, or acquaintances.

The 1951 Chieftain is rare according to my non-scientific study of car shows. Usually you will find maybe 1 or even 2 of this model. In fact pre-muscle Pontiacs are scarce on the car show scene too. I usually end up photographing the Pontiacs at the shows. At the behemoth Back to the Fifties, I think I may have maxed out at a dozen out of something like 11510 cars.

Dastardly Disguises - scene 2

The second installment of the disguises series. New one everyday until the Eve of Hallows.
Today- Disco King.
The Disco King is a leader of a rogue organization - The 70's Preservation Society- which is bent on utilizing disco terrorism to control the world. The Disco King rules from his lair deep below the surface of an Andy Warhol warehouse. The King captures intelligent individuals and makes them create intricate maps of transit systems and walkways of major world cities. Utilizing a hypnotic disco beat he lures unsuspecting individuals to the the lair. The sounds of the Bee Gees, Village People, Boys Town Gang, and Rose Royce play constantly ensuring captives do not escape and makes for a pretty mean dance party.

28 October 2009

Dastardly Disguises- scene 1

The following series is a collection of disguises that could be used for the upcoming day of disguising. There will be short blurb about the character and perhaps even a description of the attire.
Scene 1: Luchadorvis
He scrambled through the apartment looking for Rey Mysterio but instead gave me the piledrive and raided my fridge of bananas and peanut butter. He left singing "Are you lonesome tonight" but not before applying the double claw on my wearied body.
Some would say this is the reincarnated Honky Tonk Man with his Elvis-like jump suit. However, this grappler doesn't want the attention a pompadour will bring and masks his visage.

19 October 2009

Cable TV, running and golf

It's a mid-fall break for me and once again I am up at Breezy Point- Captain Billy's north woods play land. Actually it's been quite a few years since the place has been known as such. Captain Billy was a publishing magnate as far as I can tell. One of his publishing holdings originated Captain Marvel and published the magazine Woman's Day in addition printing paperback novels. Today Fawcett is nearly forgotten except for the affections of history buffs and collectors. I own one Fawcett comic based on the TV show Emergency! I think the comic arm was eventually sold to DC.
Enough with the past and on with the present.
The last few times I've been at Breezy, I played golf. This week was no different. Weather improved dramatically on the weekend and my father and I hit the links twice. And on this occasion I had my own set of clubs. These clubs were obtained through my various thrift store shopping escapades. It is an incomplete set but has enough to get by. I played well on Saturday but stuttered through 18 on Sunday. I have come to realize golf is not only about problem solving (finding a lost ball or which club to use) but also finesse. You really want to chop at the ball but the best shots I got were when I relaxed and let the club do most of the work.
Being up at Breezy also means I get to check up on cable TV. The offerings were not that exciting although I did get to watch 2 English Premier League Matches and Born Survivor. The rest of the time I think I just surfed, stopping on the Discovery or History or Food channels.
Finally I did some running while at Breezy Point. Today I ran in the evening. Unlike in town, running in the evening is a more difficult out here. For one, there is not much outdoor lighting even though there are tons of buildings. I put on a headlamp and started a route around the perimeter of one of the golf courses. Not good. Even with the light I could hardly see. I turned around and instead headed toward the main resort buildings which were a little further away but had a few reference lights for me to follow.
Also on this vacation, I have intended to revise a script for a Christmas show. It is more difficult that I anticipated. In the older script the characters were not very well developed. So I am fleshing out some of the back story on them. Hopefully I'll be done with a first draft tomorrow.
See you in the future.

09 October 2009

Signs of Beer 3

This one's a hard one primarily because it is known in the US today as something else.
Thomas Carling began homebrewing in 1818 in London, Ontario, Canada. In 1840 he built a brewery. In 1898 a Cleveland brewery purchases the rights to brew the Carling lager. Black Label beer slowly gets nationwide distribution. "Hey Mabel! Black Label." was a popular marketing slogan during one period.
Eventually through numerous ownership changes this brand of beer is just known as Carling. What I didn't know was that this lager originated in Canada and not England. This brand is all over in Britain. They are shirt sponsors for the Old Firm- football teams Glasgow Celtic and Rangers. It seems as if this label's Canadian influence has been forgotten. Molson Coors owns the label (now called Carling) but they seem to market it as an import from England. Phil probably dislikes this kind of pretenion from a beer.
Our sign, however, comes from the Heileman ownership days when it was just Black Label and marketing reflected its Canadian heritage.
For further reading: history of Black Label in USA

Stop Killing Yourself, Eat Shrimp Cocktail

Some friends and I were browsing an antique store last weekend and came across an interesting find. The discovery itself was not the tome by Dr. Peter Steincrohn. We had a good laugh trying to discern why this doctor wrote such a book. Most assumed it contained messages of which would divert the reader from suicide. Likely conclusion given the book's title, How to Stop Killing Yourself. Another idea assailed that it was a work of fiction about lonely people who eventually fall in love. Must not have sold many copies. The title is just not romantic enough.
Eventually, the a hand written for shrimp cocktail caught our attention. Let me relate it to you:

Mozola oil, chopped onions, salt. Mix with shrimp and chill.

Simple enough. However, how did this recipe come to be written on the inside cover of this book?
One could speculate that perhaps this work is non-fiction and one way to stop killing yourself would be to change your diet. Thus, I assume the author may advocate eating shrimp. Methinks Forest Gump's friend Bubba thought of this concept first.

Anyways we had a good laugh when my friend the drummer said she would buy the book only for the recipe.

More on Dr. Pete. It seems he is [or was, since he has passed on a decade or so ago] a proponent of a mostly sedentary lifestyle and against exercise. In a later book he "preaches" jogging is bad for you. The Killing Yourself volume seems to also advocate that traditional values are healthier as I can surmise from this excerpt. However, from other small tidbits on the web, Steincrohn might be making the connection between stress and health although he doesn't cite much if any research. He appears to be something of an early self help doctor [I found he wrote a newspaper column in addtion to numerous books] but I hesitate to draw any further conclusions because some of stuff he proposes has some proven value- most certainly the body's need for rest. Time magazine in 1943 wrote up something about his book on heart disease and then something about another of his books in 1960.
To top it all off, Stop Killing Yourself was featured in a 1952 Popular Mechanics advertisement where I could read the book for 5 days and if I was not satisfied (or it did not combat the insiduous forces that threaten my life) I could return it for a full refund.
I'd probably return it if it didn't have the recipe for shrimp cocktail.

01 October 2009

Largest Duluth Pack

As a wilderness canoeing enthusiast I usually salivate over gear. Well, this huge piece of gear, the world's largest Duluth Pack, was displayed at the Minnesota State Fair. I think it holds about 39, 776 cubic inches. However, I bet it would be totally uncomfortable to portage except on the shortest of portages. It would require at least 2 people to lug this thing.
Coming up this fall, I'll be relating this summer's solo canoe adventure during which I took with a much smaller Kondos portage pack.
Also, if time permits, more belated State Fair tidbits.

Art of the Deal 9

I shop pawn shops from time to time. Ok, I usually stop in once a week if I have time. I've gotten a bike, some tools, a Xbox, and a few musical instruments by perusing the pawned goods.
It's pretty rare you see an odd instrument in a pawn shop. Sure there's guitars, basses, even a random banjo from time to time but a ukulele? Maybe pawn shops in Hawaii.
Well, I stopped by a local pawn shop and spied this guy- a baritone ukulele. I got it for $10. It needs strings and a minor repair but I won't let that detract from this bargain. Hopefully I can get it ready to go and do a few songs for the Net.

24 September 2009

Signs of Beer 2

Last time we looked at Hamm's and this time we'll look at a rival beer brewed just a few miles away from the Hamm's brewery- Schmidt.
I forgot where I discovered this sign, but I think that it was on Wabasha St S in St. Paul just before it collides with Ceasar Chavez St.
Note the ghost sign that this Schmidt sign covers. I think it looks like Hamm's.
Schmidt was brewed out West 7th Street, not far from where I spent the earlier years of my life. The brewery is sort of a landmark these days. Some of my relatives lived in the neighborhood behind it on the Mississippi river. My father claims beer used to be stored in the caves by the river.
The beer is still around but it is brewed in Wisconsin.

Tour de Valli: Stage 8 return home

KVLY Mast in distance
At long last the final installment of the bike trip I took in July.

Not sure when I awoke in the Hunter park, but I did and embarked to points north. Points north, you ask? Yes.

North is not the way home, but I wanted to add more mileage and the world's tallest structure was just along the way south of Blanchard. The tough part about seeking this tower out is that it is pencil on the horizon and only a few miles removed from the 2nd tallest mast in the world. Yep. The 2nd tallest tops off at 2060. So the masts can be hard to identify especially if you don't know where Galesburg is compared to Blanchard. (answer: Galesburg is SW of Blanchard.) I snapped a few photos and road onward. Moreover, as I now discover, the KVLY mast no longer holds that distinction of tallest structure. Some skyscraper in Dubai beat the tower's 2063 feet by a little over 600 feet recently. So now it is just the tallest mast I guess. However, when I saw the tower it may have still been the tallest structure because the Council on Tall Buildings would not count it until the entire structure is complete, which is around now, September 2009.

At Blanchard I veered east on Alt 200, which reminds me of a Jayhawks album. It is sort of a gap filler to connect the similarly named MN 200 with ND 200, however I fail to see the logic behind it. There is a stretch of non-alt ND-200 8 miles ahead. I think most northern tier riders must avoid Alt-200 at all costs. I saw nobody this time. I did however suffer a flat in the afternoon just as the heat began to make the mercury crawl up the scale. The tire had been punctured. I patched the tube and re-enforced the tire with duct tape on the inside. In a half hour I am back on the road.
train tracks to Kelso
Another half hour later, I reached the Interstate (and real ND-200) and pondered my food options. Hillboro was north a few miles and had the most options. I passed it up and headed south on ND-81 adjacent to the railroad. Every 6 miles a town straddled the tracks. Kelso, Grandin, Gardner, and Argusville offered little to me. They may have had bars but I did not stay long to find out. Most, however, had water at the city park and I took advantage of that as the heat returned.
Sel potrait at NDSU Finally, in Harwood, I found nourishment besides Gatorade and PowerBars. I sat inside the local convenience store and ate cheddarwurst and something else but I cannot remember. I got back on the saddle after perusing the newspaper. At the corner I saw a couple on a bicycle built for 2. The appeared to be heading my way. I gave a friendly wave but put it into high gear going onward towards The Go.
Before riding the last leg, I stopped at NDSU to purchase a monster cookie. After devouring it, I got on University and imagined it as the Champs-Elysees. My final lap.
There was no cheering except in my mind as I mingled with rush hour traffic. It was exhilarating as I cruised down the boulevard, under the railroad and across Main. I raised my arms truimphantly as I completed the final meters.
The journey was done. The clock had stopped.
I put the bike away, cleaned up, and went to the Texas Roadhouse.
I'm not Lance Armstrong but all tough journeys should end with steak.

16 September 2009

Art of the Deal 8

I was at the St. Cloud Saver's just perusing the stock on hand. In particular I was looking at golf clubs when I saw a blue tent bag. I picked it up and noticed it had embroidered on it - Sierra Designs Meteor Light CD. Hmmm. I checked the price. $4.99!!!! I took it immediately.
It set it up back at home and the tent proved to be a championship purchase. Nothing missing and practically new.
Moosejaw has the new redesigned one for $269.
I think this is one of the best deals I've had this year. It also increases my the number of tents I own. So if there are any interested campers for this fall- I've got plenty of tents to share.

The Signs of Beer 1

Martin Luther thought the brewed beverage was a way God showed us he loves us. Not sure of the accuracy of the quote. Here's an historical account of beer which Martin Luther would have imbibed.
Here's a new feature for the blog- which I think Phil would wholeheartedly approved of- Signs of Beer. I hope to use this to display some odd or unusual or other stuff pertaining to the marketing of beer.
Our first installment comes from an antique store in Hastings, MN. It is a a Hamm's Beer Sign. I remember seeing plenty of these as child before the demise of Hamm's. These type of signs have become highly collectible. This one was around $800. The one next to it was even more expensive and had the ever rare moving background. Hamm's tended to use woodsy type scenery to promote the brew. There was even a Hamm's song which intoned-"From the land of sky blue waters...."

15 September 2009

Royce Files Digest 2

It has been about 2 weeks since I last updated you on what's happening in my part of the world. With such a full August, September should be reserved for resting. It could be a great national mandate to go to a 25 hour work week. But, alas, the government is more interested in paying for our health care which mean we need to work, and work possibly more. A State Fair post is in the future. And the long promised finale to the bike adventure should go up soon. For now enjoy what I have to say in this digest.

In this digest- The Place Where Dylan Slept, BisonTurf Soccer, Melrose Place, Deal Update, Gardening.

The Place Where Dylan Slept
Big hole where the ore isBob probably slept many places in his journeys around the globe. Those of us in the northland know the place where he grew up was not Poughkeepsie but Hibbing, Minnesota. I last stopped in Hibbing over a decade ago and found it a decent place. Last month I had the opportunity to stop through the city on Minnesota's Iron Range a month ago. Although I sought the home of Dylan, I never found it. Instead I found myself at an enormous open pit mine. The Hull Rust Mine is quite a spectacle. It is like the Grand Canyon. Due to the staggering economic conditions, mining operations have ground to a halt in the mine. A lady told me about 500 miners were made redundant in the spring. Still the mine looked--well very large.

Originally the city of Hibbing was platted near the center of the present mine. When iron ore deposits were discovered under the city, the entire town, buildings and all, moved south. There are still a few remnants near the edge of the mine indicating a city once existed there.

A Hupmobile started Greyhound Lines
Moments before a storm arrived I hiked from the mine interpretive center to the Greyhound Origin Museum. This museum details the history of the famous bus company that got its start in Hibbing. Using Hupmobiles, the Mesaba Transportation Company ran lines between Hibbing and Alice, and Hibbing and Duluth. In 1929 after acquiring other regional bus lines, the company was incorporated as the Greyhound Corporation. The museum is home to numerous restored buses from Greyhound's past in addition to other articles from the bus line's history.

BisonTurf Soccer
It was an awful season for decent soccer. We were winless the entire season and had a few games get out of hand for discipline. This is all very sad because we actually had more practices than all the previous season put together. Not to be all down on it- there were a few good games. And we did enjoy a few post games at the Bison Turf. Still, at times it began to be less fun and more stressful. I enjoyed playing with the gang from work at Centennial School gym much more.
Melrose Place
En route to the Twin Cities for Labor Day weekend, I camped for a night at the Sauk River Park Campground in Melrose. The town is right on 94 and the park is situated about a mile from the freeway. The park has about a dozen campsites on the Sauk River- some with utilities and some without. It cost only $6 for tent camping. The bathrooms had running water. I pitched my Eureka Timberline and had a good night's rest. Nobody else camped there that night.
The next morning I saw a Great Blue Heron.

Deal Update
Leaving Melrose I headed into St. Cloud to check out Big Lots, Savers, and another thrift store, all in the same strip mall. I came out with plenty of deals which I will discuss in another post. Actually, most of my Big Lots purchases were of the edible and drinkable variety. I miss having a Big Lots in town.
In the afternoon I finally got to revisit Val's Rapid Serve, a popular independent quick serve burger joint. I attempted a visit a few months ago but was stymied by their hours. Val's closes at 7PM. This day, I arrived just at the peak of the rush hour lunch. The shanty sized place was crowded but fortunately they had A/C. I placed a typical order at one of the computer terminals and waited for my order. I was not disappointed. The Food Network show Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives needs to cover this place.

After lunch I stopped through Albertville in search of Crocs but found none to my liking. I purchased nothing at any of the outlets. I am saddened that Keen shoes never plunge into the sub $50 level. I proceeded to Maple Grove to stop at REI, Guitar, Center, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Marshall's. I almost bought a Silvertone guitar for $50 but passed on it. Before making it to Lehigh I stopped at the Maplewood Savers and Marshall's. I picked up some cheap golf clubs at the thrift, including a pitching wedge that has eluded me. Next door at Marshall's I bought an odd tasting gourmet cookie amongst other things.


I've been working in a community garden during the week. Harvest time came late this year. Usually one could expect to be harvesting in mid-July. The cooler summer has moved ripening back almost a month. Broccoli and cabbage lasted into well into July. Sweet corn didn't mature until nearly the last week in August. Cukes did not fare good at all. There were plenty of yellow squash and peppers but zucchini bit the dust early.

At the Lehigh gardens it was just as bad if not worse. Maturity was later than usual. Cukes and squash failed. However, there was surprisingly good crop of sweet corn. When at Lehigh that weekend I harvested many onions and salvaged what I anticipated to be lost potatoes. The potatoes were OK. Onions were of average size. Red onions were smaller than average. Then there is a number of pumpkins in the back field which are doing well.

02 September 2009

RedHawks in the Playoffs 2009

a bench clearing brawl approached but was sustained.
Haven't found time to write about the last leg of the bike trip but I did manage to take in a baseball game. The Red Hawks took on the Goldeyes at Newman Outdoor Field in the Northern League Playoffs. The RedHawks didn't do so good. It was a well fought game and there was even a point where it looked like both teams would be fighting in the middle of the field.
Jeremiah Piepkorn and Carlo Cota both hit solo homers but it wasn't enough to erase Winnipeg's powerful 7th inning. With a little more offense and some consistant pitching the RedHawk could have won. Eventually the Goldeyes won 7-3.
On and there was a condiment race, too! Ketchup won by a whisker. It appears Hawkeye, the RedHawks' mascot has tackled mustard.