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Showing posts from 2011

It is Christmas once again

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Well, the holidays have a way of sneaking up on you and trying to pull you into the pit that is not the holiday itself but the Bizzaro holiday world. You know what I mean- the stress inducing things, the unrest, the traffic, the crowds. Really if somebody was searching for holiday cheer they'd be totally missing it.
But today I bring you the thing I like about Christmas- the music. Sure you get sick of it after a while. Some of it is like Skittles- I can't eat too many of those before all fruitiness is ruined for weeks.
Here's some songs I enjoyed this holiday season:

Josh Wilson's "Noel" or "Jesus is Alive"





Josh is a multi-instrumentalist but this arrangement on piano is simple but elegant. The song does speak to the reason I celebrate this time of year- the birth of Christ. Josh please come to Fargo
Next a gem from Bebo Norman I unearthed.


Released back in  2008, I have only heard this tune once on the radio. And I have only found it once online…

Ugly Online Ads Ride Again

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I have been on a hiatus of sorts after getting married. I am mostly internetless except for the Twitterverse. (@suspect_bill)
Now we are rushing towards the holidays and so I bring you a few uglies from the last few months.

TrendMicro joins the fray with this one which may be photoshopped a bit to give the gal a bit more shock and awe. I am unsure why she is so shocked or is portraying a "Nooo Face." I guess is that a virus infiltrated her computer and sent gritty e-mails to all her business contacts.
 Columbia Sportswear brings us an entry of a woman with a similar reaction but a bit more provactive. It seems to suggest that this lady has been thrown out naked in the cold with only the jacket to keep her warm. Her stance also seems to suggest she may be going into labor- or perhaps she has already been in labor and gave birth to the jacket.

  The RealAge people really knew that this type of ad would draw many to their services to determine just how old you really are o…

Gumby, Google, Clokey and Hastings. Oh My!

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This title sounds like a band from the 70s.
However, Google has a great interactive doodle today in honor of Art Clokey, creator of green guy Gumby.
Clokey would have been 90 today, but he passed away last year.
But did you know that the Gumby came from my hometown of Hastings, MN!
Indeed I thought this odd too when I saw this fact on a map of Hastings that has hung in the family home for years. Clokey was Californian and seemed to have no connections wtih the North Star State, so I thought this incredulous.
I did a little digging and then found my answer in an article in the Star Tribune from October 20th, 2003.  Dick Parker and Heron Marquez Estrada did a the hard work and re-discovered that Echo Plastics of Hastings manufactured millions of Gumby and Pokey toys up to about 1971.
So I guess Minnesota can claim the green guy and his red pony after all. Perhaps the state quarter would have been more collectible if it had Gumby and Pokey on it.

[I did find a possible Minnesota connect…

The nuptials of Bill and Anna or Royce4 + 1: Part 3

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Guest blogger Cindy concludes her charming account of the Royce4 and MFB conjugal.

Sometimes the time went swiftly and other moments dragged on. But then suddenly it was time to take the MFB from hiding to her place of prominence. When it was time to get ready to greet her, I saw the Groom nearly jog to his place and look steadfastly ahead. It is hard to describe an honest look of joy so deep it touches the soul. The aisle walk was only a moment, but a lifetime of emotion flooded through the room. I was so proud of the Groom in that moment has he received the hand of his MFB.



The ceremony was like any other and like no other. There were vows and rings, but also there was such wonderful music! And the Groom and his MFB took the stage to play together---their voices so uniquely matched as if designed as such---and their looks toward each other like Johnny Cash and his June. Not a dry eye in the house then. The Groom and his MFB said their vows with such confidence! And in true form of th…

The nuptials of Bill and Anna or Royce4 + 1: Part 2 (electric boogaloo)

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Guest blogger Cindy continues the story of the Royce4+MFB wedding.

The next morning I was off to the hairstylist and then to the sports store for a cowbell. Turns out they only sell them when the marathon is upon us, so I was out of luck. But the customer service at that giant Fargo sports conglomerate is top notch, and they suggested, why not run over to Fleet Farm and pick up some cowbells as such as used by real cows? I said, My! Why not?! (I had remembered the Groom had made a wish for cowbells at his reception clear---in the way he makes things clear, mind you--- in the past.) So I and the writer/music director the Groom thinks highly of dashed for the cowbell emporium. And off to the show we went.





Upon my arrival, so began GroomWatch. The Groom is a traditional man, you see, and chose to see his fair MFB first only at the most important moment, as she walks down the aisle. But all of us were preparing for the big event in the same relatively small space, so it took some creativit…

The nuptials of Bill and Anna or Royce4 + 1: Part 1

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It has been a busy few months and the blog has been rather sparse with content. But I have good excuses.
I got married.
Yep, tied to the knot too, although it should be more likely entwining the rope.
But that is all I will write for now. Instead I will enlist the aid of a guest blogger to fill in the details of the momentous day. You've heard from her before when we wondered about the underwear recall a pastor had down south. We'll be seeing this in parts.
So without further adieu, here's Cindy.

I had the distinct pleasure of witnessing a beautiful nuptial recently. It was that of the author of this blog. I know he would rarely say anything kind about himself, so I have offered this guest post to provide a revue. Most often when the author refers to “a friend”, that’s me. I thought I would offer because I had a front row seat.


Overall the weekend was full of surprises. My role was one in the background and yet nearby, so I was able to witness nearly all of the important…

10 years onward

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This month celebrates a decade in the Go for me. And likewise it is also the 10 year anniversary of Harvest Community Church- one the big reasons I found my way up here.
Let me recount the early days of my time here and especially related to this church I aided in starting.
Things were not going well in the Twin Cities where I worked- they could not afford to keep me on board. Well that opened a few possibilities. I accepted the invitation to join a group of U of M Morris grads in pioneering a new church in Fargo, North Dakota.

I took a summer training course in Morris and then moved up to Fargo- with no job and little money. I was pretty distressed and took up running.
The first meeting of the church was in an apartment a few blocks away from where I now work. I eventually ended up living in the apartment but that was after the church changed locales- first to NDSU then to the basement of the Black Building. Harvest stayed in the Black Building spot for a few years. It wasn't the…

Ugly Online Ads in paradise

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Now another installment of my look at ugly online ads that are on the 'nets. Now that campaign season is underway anything that attractions the disgruntled citizen is sure to be fair game. And official Obama ads are cropping up right next to the ugly ones. Albeit the real Obama ads are fairly clean cut stuff usually tempting the viewer by asking them to "join the team" or "Obama needs your help." For some reason the opposing candidates don't get into that stuff. Perhaps if Tim Pawlenty begged for help in an online ad he would not have returned home sad and morose. Well, here is an interesting riff on one we saw not too long ago. It is the super hero first lady but not she has become even more super by having a rotating light on her noggin. It must have been the illustrator's day off at the ad agency. Joe decided he knew how to make another ad by using his photoshop skills. Viola! Emergency Super First Lady. And all it required was a few clicks. 

 Not more …

Angels overhead

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The Blue Angels were in town this weekend but leading up to their performance at the Fargo Air Show they practiced in the skies above. They screeched over my workplace numerous times. I actually had a pretty good view from my upper windows. It was hard to photograph a decent show since they zoomed by with lightning speed. But let me tell you, they came pretty close. It seemed we could hit them with a rock if they were not moving so fast.

Sweetie, our friendly neighborhood cat

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Today we will miss one more cat.
Sweetie, an appreciative feline, who battled on despite he fading health will be well remember not only for age - she was nearing 20 years - but for being a fixture amongst our community. 
Sweetie kept us entertained with her antics especially when it came to computers.








 Even though popular by most people's standards, Sweetie shunned further popularizing her fame. She had no phone nor blog, and posted no tweets or Facebook status updates but instead left us with a myriad of memories and experiences. I guess if she did have Twitter it would probably say- "Hungry, need food!" most of the time. Sweetie would have had tons of friends on Facebook. And her blog would probably be about gourmet cat food and Catherine's room mates.

Today I memorialize Sweetie who lived all 9 lives to the fullest and made life just a bit more bearable for many. Through many close calls this past year we stuck near you and you made it through.
Now I say goodbye…

Not another Ugly Online Ads post

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An now another exciting installment of Ugly Online Ads. In our last post we were seeing the Obamavertment making a comeback and the old also getting more ads. Well we got a little more of that and then some. Our first is a scary looking lady. I think this was used to sell a miracle wrinkle cream or perhaps a sleep reducing program. I think it may do better as an advertisement for a Star Trek convention. The make-up job on this lady reminds me of some alien that Captain Kirk romanced.
Next we got an old guy and an ad invoking the powers of the chief executive of the United States. The thing about this ad that I can't capture for this blog is when you hover over it the old guy begins to turn into a line drawn version. Makes it rather eery and odd further creating the disconnection to the object of the advertisement but drawing us to the ad because of its sheer weirdness.
Our final ad a friend brought to my attention last week. It was on Yahoo for a day or so and I haven't seen it s…

Fargo Marathon 2011 - the beards ride into July

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It has been a sparse July. Not much time to post things with much going on in my wonderfully delicious life.
But here we bring you Marathon in July- more Fargo Marathon beard spottings.

Below we have a very real Colorado goatee surrounded by a multitude of women. The Colorado goatee is also bold enough to sport a head band
Next we got a rare specimen of the almost ducktail. It is a bit blurry since I almost missed this guy. Some may classify this as the common short boxed beard but the slight point at the chin puts it in the ducktail category.

Next a traditional goatee or is it? It might be an attempted balbo. He certainly takes headbanding to a new level.


Here we have the envious chin curtain. Mr. Red Shirt is certainly impressed since this guy goes on to pass him up and leave him in the dust all because of the beard. We also get a bonus shirtless man and a dew rag enthusiast.
Now finally, the old dutch, and a red one with a yellow headband to boot. [Also next to him is a thin chin cu…

Something Smokey

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Well, soon this dungary wearing, shovel toting bear will be 67. I thought he was older. Anyways, look like his terminology has changed a bit from forest fires to wildfires. The change probably recognizes all those wildfires of not which have been in the news this past decade. CNN did not give much if any press time to any forest fires I am aware. Although the 2 overlap and may as well just be considered the same thing. It also looks like they a putting the blame for these conflagerations squarely on humankind. Looks like the excuse that the fireflies started it won't go over well. Well in honor the fire prevention bear you can read Smokey's story in this PDF file -http://www.smokeybear.com/resources/Smokey-Story.pdf
It seems to me there is another fire prevention mascot. A dalmation in a rain coat or something. I remember this character from the State Fair parade. The dog and Smokey would have separate floats. The dalmation rode on some kind of fire truck. Did a little research on …

An Explosion of Ugly Online Ads

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It was a pretty sparse blog in June, but here comes July with an explosion. An explosion of Ugly Online Ads!

Our first specimen today is the return of the Obamavertment. Since the guy who has name like his was killed the Prez's credibility for ads has risen. Of cource I am not sure this one has a hidden political statement in it. The man looks rather disinterested in the reduction that the President supposedly has made. His response sort of sounds like "Meh. More reductions. What's new?"
Mr. Disinterest is pretty well dressed for one of these ads. I would suspect he may have been a college administrator in another life.
Next in line is Mudman. Scary new ad hero. Watch out during campaign season, this guy will be throwing himself around freely. And speaking of super heroes, looks as if somebody wants to give Mrs. President a cut of the online ad biz with this resemblance. I have seen Mr. Obama as a super hero but his spouse is rarely depicted. Anyways, she looks like a…

The Real Sauna

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I promised many months ago that I would show you the authentic sauna that my MFG's father built. And I am hoping to build my Finnish readership.
This sauna is quite spacious. It think it can hold 5 quite comfortably.  It is heated by a wood stove.




You can see the interior above and note the corner part of the kiuas (see the rocks)
It does not have running water so one needs to bring pails of water out from the house.
It is a reinvigorating experience.

Kicked by the Kek: Beginning the trail

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A few weeks ago I decided to do some backpacking and ended up backpacking in the BWCA. Yeah, no canoe, I hiked out to the lakes on the Kekekabic Trail, a unforeseen challenge.
The Kek, as it is known to some, sprang up back in the 1930s for fire suppression in Superior National Forest.  It fell into disuse until some Boy Scouts cleared it out in 1949.
Back in 1949 a Boy Scout said of this trail:
The Kekekabic Trail is one of the toughest,
meanest rabbit tracks in North America. The
trail struggles its way through swamps, around
cliffs, up the sides of bluffs, and across rocky
ridges. It is choked with nightmarish patches of
clinging brush. It is blocked with tangles of windfalls
and standing timber... It is the kind of trail
that would break the heart of a man who didn’t have what it takes to go into the wilderness and
try and ‘smooth it.’”He was right! Of course smoothing the wilderness is not politically correct anymore nor even of the leave no trace ethic.
The trail again fell into di…

Vrooming along again

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Well, there haven't been any updates for weeks. Pitful, I know.
But here's what happened in short summary since Memorial Day.
1. Went on my adventure hiking trip on the North Country Trail in 2 different locations. One near Remer, MN and the other in the BWCA on The Kek. The whole Kekekabic Trail is enough for another post so I'll not drop the details here. To say the least, that trail kicked my butt.
2. The following weekend involved traveling to 3 different locales. I went to a wedding in Mo-town and then watched a triathlon in Buffalo. My MFG was competing in it. I should post stuff on that later. It was really cool.
3. I forgot what happened the following weekend. I remember seeing my MFG and shopping.
4. The next weekend was the annual pilgrimage to the car show with the Green Hornet, the family's 1951 Pontiac Chieftain. I went down on Thursday and had to return on Saturday because I needed to do music the next day. It was a long weekend that ended with some tim…

On Memorial Day 2011

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The poppy has been a popular symbol used around Memorial Day in the States and in the UK and perhaps elsewhere.
The VFW distributes them yearly. I don't know if they are sold or what. I haven't seen that many around my neck of the woods for years. I have an old one I keep on hand. The VFW website explains it.

Although all veterans are often honored on this holiday, it was originally for those men and women who died in the Civil War. I think I mentioned this in last years Memorial Day post.
The poppy symbol, however, is from WWI, a war my great uncle served in. I am told he had to alter his age in order to enlist. Eventually he did such a good job the Government asked him back for WWII. I believe he was a boiler maker of some kind. I think he was in the Pacific during WWII.

Now a poem:
Remember now the smoke and grime
Battering and bellowing towards the line
Stand did they, when came their time
Refusing to relinquish but for Liberty to shine.
These things were done, not without …

Fargo Marathon 2011: The after buzz

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Well it is pretty done and dusted in Fargo now a whole week after all the excitement happened. I have run, biked, or walked most of the southern portion of the marathon route and have found almost all the GU leftovers. The rest of the GU will probalby blow away.

Here's an article about the men's winner- Luke Watson. The writer likes to point it out that he beat a Kenyan. Actually 2 Kenyans if my race media guide is correct.
I was surprised to see that Watson also calls Stillwater MN home. Well he graduated from Stillwater and I believe moved to PA to do doctoral work at Penn State. Another unknown fact was Watson was a friend and roommate of Ryan Shay at Notre Dame- a distance runner who died after suffering what is believed to be a heart attack while running in the US Olympic marathon trials in 2007. Watson also has a brother, Jake, who is a pretty good runner too (he ran a sub-4 mile.)
Watson only appears to have taken on the marathon recently (last 3 years) since a lot of …

Looking for Ugly Online Ads

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After a slight lull in the action the Ugly Ads are...still coming. It's been a busy month and all but I've come across a few we can dissect here.
Since the Osama raid, Obama's popularity has risen although this ad does not invoke the name it only refers to a President- perhaps the bank's president did this.
This photo shopped picture is pretty ugly. Of course the fake eyes really does this one in as well has the mushed mouth.
Grandma is going to gag since she can't sleep. But this new shocking secret is sure the help- it's on the internet so it must work.


I can't believe the President wants to be associated with these adverts. This guy is downright creepy. Looks like he might work in the dungeon of terror or the a haunted house. In fact he does not look quite real. Looks as if he is made of wax.

Believe me, the only reason for these mugs is to get someone to looks and perhaps click. Getting your attention is the game advertisers are playing on the nets. So t…