The Past Week . . .

Just another week in which Vacationland USA lived up to its well deserved reputation . . .

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

July 13

[The Boys of ’65 had their monthly lunch together – at the Alex golf club. No aardvarks were injured in the performance of this event . . . ]

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[That evening it was on to the Garden Bar on 6th for a rollicking good time with Tuesday Night Club . . . ]

We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC ~ Kurt Vonnegut

July 14

[The Wednesday night fine dining at the golf club . . . ]

[Broiled walleye was a big hit with everyone . . . ]

There’s only one rule that I know of, babies-“God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

July 15


The Heartshakers are Nashville’s premier Tom Petty Tribute. The show is performed by some of the industry’s first call musicians in the music business today! These musicians have performed with Carrie Underwood, LeAnn Rimes, Amy Grant, Peter Cetera, Little Big Town, SheDaisy and Ronnie Milsap.

They have brought their love of Tom Petty’s music and put together the best tribute band that could be assembled! The Heartshakers deliver an experience you won’t forget! Take a walk back in time reliving American Rock-and-Roll at it’s finest.

[Theatre L’Homme Dieu was set with an SRO crowd . . . ]

July 17

[The Salty Dogs were at Carlos Creek Winery, minus their fiddler, Greg, who apparently had sought refuge in another state . . . ]

[Annie, Erik, and Tom . . . ]

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning do to do afterward. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[Annie, the one and only . . . ]

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

All this happened, more or less. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[“New Tricks” helped us survive the pandemic winter . . . ]


All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter could be said to remedy anything. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

If you can do no good, at least do no harm. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without expectations of rewards or punishments after I am dead. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

A sane person to an insane society must appear insane. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, ‘The Beatles did’. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[A favorite . . . ]


[Is not a videographer but plays one on TV . . . ]

We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

July 18

[It’s time for . . . cuteness!]

[As they wonder . . . ]

[“You’re going out and leaving us alone again, aren’t you?”]

[Sunday morning breakfast at the golf club – table of our choice . . . ]

[The final round of the The Open was taking place . . . ]

[And we had the Claret Jug . . . ]

[In our own . . . ]

[Trophy case.]

[Then back out to the winery for an afternoon with Anthony . . . why is this man laughing?]

[Written by that famous Minnesota guy . . . ]


People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they’ll have good voice boxes in case there’s ever anything really meaningful to say. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[A particular favorite . . . ]


The practice of art isn’t to make a living. It’s to make your soul grow. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

[And we finished off the weekend with book club . . . ]

The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest. ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Wake up, you idiots! Whatever made you think that money was so valuable? ~ Kurt Vonnegut

And so it goes . . . ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Up Next: Another week . . .

Last Week

. . . a brief history . . .

July 6

Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Wonder Bread Years made me laugh so hard I pulled a groin muscle . . . at least I think that’s when it happened? The fun part about going on opening night is that the audience gets to party with the talent afterwards. We really enjoyed chatting with Pat after the show while sampling adult beverages and salty crunchy snack food items . . .

Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious. ~ Peter Ustinov

If you want to make an audience laugh, you dress a man up like an old lady and push her down the stairs. If you want to make comedy writers laugh, you push an actual old lady down the stairs. ~ Tina Fey

Comedy is surprises, so if you’re intending to make somebody laugh and they don’t laugh, that’s funny. ~ Norm MacDonald

Drama is easy. Comedy’s hard. ~ Peter Bogdanovich

[Life at the scene . . . ]

[I forgot to thank Pat after the show for Stan Musial, my first hero . . . ]

July 8

[A brief interlude with the babies as the they rapidly approach their first birthday. I can only hope they don’t replicate the terrible twos of homo sapiens . . . ]

Cats are connoisseurs of comfort. ~ James Herriot

A kitten is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played out by an incomparable actor. ~ Champfleury

July 9

Oh, the summer night, has a smile of light, and she sits on a sapphire throne. ~ Bryan Procter

Kelley Hunt Biography

In some ways Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist KELLEY HUNT is a rarity and a challenge to the music industry’s penchant for easy artist definitions — a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/gospel traditions and a refreshing originality. She makes music with it’s righteous roots intact that also crosses boundaries, has an open-minded, exploratory attitude and takes on social and political issues. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior vocal, keyboard and songwriting skills she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe.

Born in Kansas City, Hunt’s love for her craft was ignited listening to early blues, R&B, roots rock, jazz and Gospel influences — artists like Ruth Brown, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Ann Peebles, Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Aretha Franklin, Charles Brown, Wanda Jackson and a cross section of the New Orleans/St. Louis/KC piano traditions of Professor Longhair, Toots Washington, Johnnie Johnson and Kansas City masters Jay McShann and Mary Lou Williams among others. Before that came the sound of her mother singing jazz and blues – her first musical memories – and the influence of her New Orleans Gospel singer grandmother. Reminders of these very traditional influences are evident in Kelley’s live performances and recordings but the lyrics, soul and passion are all her own. Her career path so far has been a story of fierce independence, incredible will, unassailable cred as a blistering live performer and hard-won accomplishment. That narrative includes 1500+ performances with appearances on a long list of premier North American and International festival stages, six times on American Public Media’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’,150,000+ indie units sold on her own label and critical praise reflecting her conviction from the outset to make her path in the roots music world not just as a performer, but as a forward-thinking songwriter as well (

[The Super took advantage of our early arrival to tour the gardens . . . ]

She smelled of sun and daisies with a hint of river water. ~ Katie Daisy

[The stage is set . . . ]

[The stage is still set . . . ]

[Lowell Pickett, founder of the Dakota in Minneapolis and friend of the arts in Alex, was the welcomer . . . ]

[And introduced Kelley Hunt to her second performance at the Gardens . . . ]

[Ready . . . begin! Kelley is from Kansas City and advised she had called her sister there earlier in the day. Kansas City has been running plus 100 temperatures, and she wanted the folks at home to know she was going to perform in 72-degree weather! She mentioned many times during the concert how much the band was enjoying the weather . . . ]

The Blues . . .

Kansas City, I would say, did more for jazz music, black music, than any other influence at all. Almost all their joints that they had there, they used black bands. Most musicians who amounted to anything, they would flock to Kansas City because that’s the place where jobs were plentiful. ~ Jesse Stone

One time, when I was in my teens, jamming in a Kansas City club, I was doing all right until I tried doing double tempo on ‘Body and Soul.’ Everybody fell out laughing. I went home and cried and didn’t want to play again for three months. ~ Charlie Parker

[My Cub reportorial duties took me took cover Kelly on her first visit here – July 5, 2013 . . . ]

[My camera battery died about 2/3’s of the way through this panorama shop . . . ]

[The full monty panorama . . . ]

[Did I mention (as Ms. Hunt did often) that it was a beautiful evening?]

It isn’t necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy. ~ Groucho Marx

I was able to work with the best musicians in Kansas City starting when I was really young. ~ Pat Metheny

Kansas City style, Chicago style, New Orleans style hell, they’re all Jelly Roll style. ~ Jelly Roll Morton

[Editor’s note: Our pastry of choice are plain old-fashioned doughnuts. If one is to be nicknamed after one’s favorite pastry, I guess I would be Plain Old-Fashioned Obert . . . ]

Arizona is the worst place to spend the summer – it’s like 125 degrees – so my mom, my brother and I would go to the beach for two months to escape the heat. ~ Emma Stone

Summertime and the livin’ is easy. ~ Porgy & Bess

Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer. ~ Nat King Cole

You are so much sunshine in every square inch. ~ Walt Whitman

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? ~ William Shakespeare

July 10

[Glen Everhart took the stage at Carlos Creek Winery. Glen has been driving from Blaine to Alexandria to perform for over 30 years. He estimates he has performed at Arrowwood over 400 times (used to be every Wednesday during the season, now four times a year). Yet this was his very first time at the winery . . . ]

Summertime, and the living is easy. ~ Ella Fitzgerald

[Glen had enough electronics to have flown the stage to Saturn . . . ]

Summer means happy times and good sunshine. It means going to the beach, going to Disneyland, having fun. ~ Brian Wilson

Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet. ~ Bob Marley

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. ~ Anton Chekhov

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. ~ John Lubbock

I hate summer, to be honest. I hate dressing. I hate the heat. I hate sweaty people getting aggressively close to you when you’re walking down the street. ~ Johnny Weir

I believe that summer is our time, a time for the people, and that no politician should be allowed to speak to us during the summer. They can start talking again after Labor Day. ~ Lewis Black

Why do all our friends and relatives destroy the summer for us? Why can’t they get married in February? ~ Jerry Della Femina

[Pan-o-rama . . . ]

[And again . . . ]

[The winery property line along Co. Rd. 34 . . . ]

[And the conclusion to Saturday . . . ]

[There’s a story (isn’t there always?). We spent the afternoon at the winery. Came home for a nap, dinner at home, and “Midsomer Murders” before going to bed. Then the Super decided she really needed a hamburger. Where to go? Golf club is closest, but there was a tournament going on. Checked in there anyway and discovered burgers not available because of pre-planned menu for the golfers. The Lure would be next. Beautiful evening as it was, we decided no chance of getting seating there. The Depot has outdoor dining. We went there next. Lots of seating available on the porch but . . . they were all taken by reservations (it was prime rib night). On to the Pike & Pint, where we learned that the next available table on the patio would be Wednesday. Well, let’s try Longtrees. No outdoor (OK, couple of tables overlooking Starbucks) but going any farther south we’d be in Glenwood. The Super got her burger there. We ran into friends who were going to TLHD for “The Wonder Bread Years.” We warned them to be prepared to laugh. So, doing what we hoped would be a half hour quick trip for a burger turned into wishing we had packed overnight bags . . . ]

And in conclusion: We joined Bob, Vivian, and Angie Annen for breakfast at the golf club this morning. For the first time I had the biscuits & gravy (a felony in several states). I did not have lunch; I had a salad for dinner. Let that be a lesson to you! (p.s. Bob & Viv have moved into Grand Arbor – they will not be ready for visitors for a while until they have settled in).

If you look at it, the history of comedy has always been strongest among the nations who have been persecuted the most. ~ Trevor Noah

Michael Palin decided to give up on his considerable comedy talents to make those dreadfully tedious travel shows. Have you ever tried to watch one? ~ John Cleese

Up Next: There are things in the works (now that’s useful) . . .


June 29

It’s Fourth of July weekend, or, as I call it, Exploding Christmas. ~ Stephen Colbert

You’re welcome. ~ George Washington

[Getting an early start (because holidays are all about eating), the Super and I used her pandemic OK’ed coupon for dinner at D. Michael B’s. Still the best menu in town, and our after Senior College classes go to place for a nosh and a beverage . . . ]

July 2

[So, here we are waking up. What’s not to like about coffee and doughnuts . . . ]

America’s a family. We all yell at each other, and it all works out. ~ Louis C.K.

[The coffee and doughnuts are on the right . . . ]

[And right across the street . . . ]

[The previous Ben Franklin is now The Edge Company, a new enterprise begun under the ownership of Kiyana Miller, a graduate of Alexandria Area High School a mere five years ago . . . ]

[It opened the previous day – we had to check it out . . . ]

[Of course one must always cross at the light, so here’s looking back at the Chamber of Commerce event from the corner of 7th & Broadway . . . ]

Unfortunately for novelists, real life is getting way too funny and far-fetched. ~ Carl Hiaasen

[Thanks be to Coldwell Banker . . . ]

[Looking back at whence we came from The Edge’s front door . . . ]

Thanksgiving without turkey is like the Fourth of July with no apple pie or Friday with no two pizzas. ~ Joey from Friends

[Kiyana played basketball for the Cardinals, and she is with her old (“previous” would be better) coach Wendy Kohler. Photo on loan from the coach’s FB page . . . ]

[And then it was on to Carlos Creek Winery for Patchouli . . . ]

The duo known as Patchouli consists of master guitarist Bruce Hecksel and singer/songwriter, guitarist Julie Patchouli. These two living musical legends have performed over 3,500 live shows, traveled over a million miles on tour, recorded and released 19 CDs, earned multiple songwriting and industry awards, performed on TV, film and are played on radio programs around the world. That being the case, it’s likely you’ve heard of them, perhaps even seen them perform live. If not, I must strongly urge you to do so. For, the feel-good-vibrations at a Patchouli show are, in my experience, unparalleled. Their authentic, musical light washes over audiences, leaving no mouth un-smiled (

He makes me melt like a popsicle on the fourth of July. ~ Darla, “The Little Rascals”

Americans will put up with anything provided it doesn’t block traffic. ~ Dan Rather

[Bruce is also an artist of some repute – guitar shapes are featured in all his works . . . ]

When you’re born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat. ~ George Carlin

[Remember that food part of holidays? The Super needed a snack . . . ]

If our Founding Fathers wanted us to care about the rest of the world, they wouldn’t have declared their independence from it. ~ Stephen Colbert

You wonder sometimes how our government puts on its pants in the morning. ~ Jon Stewart

[When we arrived at the winery there was not a chair or table to be had . . . ]

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Let’s not forget why we celebrate 4th of July, it is the day Will Smith saved us from the aliens. ~ “Independence Day”

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

[A classic Patchouli original . . . ]

All people are born alike. Except Republicans and Democrats. ~ Groucho Marx

A real patriot is the fellow who gets a parking ticket and rejoices that the system works. ~ Bill Vaughan

I normally don’t have a burger, a brat, and a steak but… it’s 4th of July. And I need the energy if I’m gonna start blowing crap up. It’s what the founding fathers would want. ~ Jim Gaffigan

July 3

[The Fat Boys are loathe to walk on holiday weekends. So the Super and I took the babies for a stroll around the Ridgewood neighborhood (a/k/a, across the street from us) . . . ]

[As the crow flies, I grew up one house away from the Karnises in Victoria Heights . . . ]

Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. ~ Mark Twain

America is a large friendly dog in a small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair. ~ Arnold Toynbee

[That’s Arrowwood on the far side of Lake Darling . . . ]

[After the walk, some outside play time . . . ]

[This is Quinie . . . ]

[There must be something to find in here?]

Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honoured by posterity because he was the last to discover America. ~ James Joyce

[This is Laddie . . . ]

America is a country that doesn’t know where it is going but is determined to set a speed record getting there. ~ Laurence J. Peter

[Quinie could be a partner in a game of catch . . . ]

It was decided almost two hundred years ago that English should be the language spoken in the United States. It is not known, however, why this decision has not been carried out. ~ George Mikes

Laughter is America’s most important export. ~ Walt Disney

True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else. ~ Clarence Darrow

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. ~ George Orwell

I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. ~ Adlai E. Stevenson

[And later it was on to the theatre . . . ]

July 2 & 3 @ 7:30pm

Jonny James and the Hall of Fames (The Song Remains the Same – JJHOF Does Zeppelin, Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon & Other Floydian Tales) is back again with a brand-new show paying tribute to another of the greatest British bands of all time. Queen has rocked us over the years with their chart-topping hits and bountiful B-sides – and JJHOF is here to keep it all alive. The core group (Jonny James, Andy, Mike and Matt) will be joined by the ridiculously talented singer/actor, Ben Bakken.

This show is dedicated to bringing you the live performances of Queen with all the energy, extravagance and rock you can handle. Featuring hits like “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Somebody to Love,” “We Will Rock You” and many more. This new show is bound to be “A Kind of Magic!”

[A preview . . . ]

[My usual terrible shots with the phone camera . . . ]

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. ~ Alexis de Tocqueville

Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. ~ Sinclair Lewis

[Yes, it’s true. We knew Freddie. We met him on a city street bench in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2018. Where else would one expect to meet him?]

July 4

[Again, it comes back to eating. The Super and I had the Alexandria Golf Club dining room all to ourselves for breakfasts that fed us for the next two meals back home . . . ]

[The difference was her menu had “French” toast . . . ]

[While mine had “Frech” toast?]

We’re immigrants. We get the job done. ~ Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”

[Not only great, uncluttered ambience, but a quite nice view too . . . ]

[Things to come this summer . . . ]

[Then back to Carlos Creek Winery for an afternoon with Josie Nelson . . . ]

[Would you believe 93 degrees and windy?]

[Folks found shade where they could . . . ]

[We’d missed Josie’s first 3 or 4 performances the season thru scheduling conflicts and bad weather. We were determined to stick it out . . . ]

[There were a substantial group of tweens in the crowd – obviously Josie fans. They kept going by the stage and putting tips in her jar. I asked Josie to ask her fans to drop their parents’ business cards in as well. We’re always looking for donors for Theatre L’Homme Dieu . . . ]

We’re the kids in America. ~ Kim Wilde

It’s a party in the U.S.A. ~ Miley Cyrus

I’m just like my country. I’m young, scrappy and hungry. ~  “Hamilton”

She was an American girl. ~ Tom Petty

Being a Jehovah’s Witness, I don’t celebrate birthdays or holidays. I don’t vote. ~ Prince

Ah, my dad’s whistle. On holidays when I was a kid, we would all be off in the rock pools along the beach. When it came time to go, we’d hear the whistle and we’d all come running. Like dogs! ~ Kate Winslett

I said I didn’t want to spend most of my life in Holidays Inns, but I’ve checked and they’ve all been redecorated. They’re marvelous places to stay and I’ve thought it over and that’s where I’d like to be. ~ Walter Mondale

[A Josie original . . . ]

Nothing says holidays, like a cheese log. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

I celebrate everyone’s religious holidays. if it’s good enough for the righteous, it’s good enough for the self-righteous, I always say. ~ Bette Midler

[On the way home, crossing over the Carlos-Darling bridge looking out over Little Darling . . . ]

[Lots of boats between the points of Little and Big Darling – great sandy bottom swimming . . . ]

[The Bumpster’s old house on Darling, now an VRBO. Seems to be a hundred cars there every weekend . . . ]

[Vacant volleyball courts at The Lure – well, it’s 93 degrees, for Pete’s sake . . . ]

[Nevertheless, a good crowd for outdoor dining . . . ]

[And next door Zorba’s as well . . . ]

[Next up, the Alexandria Golf Club . . . ]

[Too hot for much activity . . . ]

[The kids’ bouncy thing is deflated after use for the Patio Grand Opening on the 2nd. We didn’t make this one – you can only cover so much and it was a long, hot afternoon at the winery . . . ]

I’m Muslim the way many of my Jewish friends are Jewish: I avoid pork, and I take the big holidays off. ~ Aasif Mandvi

If all our national holidays were observed on Wednesdays, we could wind up with nine-day weekends. ~ George Carlin

I don’t like holidays. And I don’t like crowds of people. I don’t like noise. ~ Roz Chast (New Yorker cartoonist)

Up Next: TBD

Harper’s Chord

June 27

A psychiatrist is a man who goes to the Foliers-Bergere and looks at the audience. ~ Bishop Mervyn Stockwood

This was our first ever visit to Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud. A beautiful place on the Mississippi across the river from the university. The Bergs hauled us along on a road trip to see Harper’s Chord, a favorite group we hadn’t seen for quite a while . . .

[We’ve had drought conditions in this area most of the season, but scattered thunderstorms were forecast. We drove down to St. Cloud in pouring rain most of the way down, and in a pouring rain most of the way back. But while we were there it was quite lovely . . . ]

[And unfortunately when we got home – we stopped for a nosh at the newly renovated Pike & Pint – we learned that Alex didn’t get any of the rain . . . ]

[The mighty Mississippi . . . ]

[Turning 180 degrees from the same spot; the band, the audience, and the gardens . . . ]

[And fans all the way from Alexandria . . . ]

[Everybody is from St. Cloud except for the one who isn’t. Jill is from Little Falls. Roger (guitar) and Jill are originals; the bass and mandolin player were new to us . . . ]

A live concert to me is exciting because of all the electricity that is generated in the crowd and on stage. It’s my favorite part of the business, live concerts. ~ Elvis Presley

Introductions . . .

[Jill and Joe from St. Joe prove you can joke with the bass player . . . ]

Panorama . . .

[May have been “Come On Up to the House.” I can never get that song out of my head after they sing it . . . ]

There was a strange happening during a performance of Elgar’s ‘Sea Pictures’ at a concert hall in Bermuda tonight, when the man playing the triangle disappeared. ~ Ronnie Barker

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily this is not difficult. ~ Charlotte Whitton (mayor of Ottawa)

My aunt is a newscaster in Lubbock, Texas, and she got a letter that said, ‘Natalie Maines will be shot dead at their show in Dallas, Texas,’ with the date of our concert. It was freaky to see that in writing. ~ Natalie Maines

I saw George Bush at a benefit concert actually waving at Stevie Wonder. Someone had to tell him ‘he can’t see you’. ~ Anne Robinson

[It was great to see and visit with Roger and Jill again . . . ]

[The audience was somewhat distracted by the eagle’s nest over our head. And a parent paid a visit to the nest while we were there . . . ]

[The nest absent magnification . . . ]

[The gardens on the way out . . . ]

[The Super, Karin, and Dave lead the way . . . ]

[So long Munsinger Gardens . . . ]

[I shot this video 5 years ago at Carlos Creek. It may have been the last time we saw them locally. It’s one of my favorite songs by the group. I wish I would have videoed them again on this day – there would have been less background noise.]

The concert is a polite form of self induced torture. ~ Henry Miller

It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know. ~ Linda Ronstadt

Up Next: You’ll be the first to know . . .


June 26

I’d love to kiss you, but I just washed my hair. ~ Bette Davis

The Salty Dogs were in the middle of our weekend troika of music. Saturday afternoon at Carlos Creek Winery with some of our close personal friends. Scattered thunderstorms were forecast creating a temperature inducement for some to wear jackets. Let the festivities begin . . .

[Annie, Greg, Erik and Tom . . . ]

Being baldpate is an unfailing sex magnet. ~ Telly Savalas

All a writer has to do to get a woman is to say he’s a writer. It’s an aphrodisiac. ~ Saul Bellow

[Fans arrive for a visit with Annie at break . . . ]

I never loved another person the way I loved myself. ~ Mae West

I love Mickey Mouse more than any woman I’ve ever known. ~ Walt Disney

Fly Me to the Moon

[The key to enjoyment of any outdoor activity is a substantive quantity of brownie bites.]


Fans Of Salty Dogs

New Fans of Salty Dogs

New Fans With Purses of Salty Dogs were apparently shopping . . .

Pancho and Lefty

I knew nothing of the life of a real musician, of course, but somehow I seemed to see myself standing in front of great crowds of people, playing my accordion. ~ Lawrence Welk

[And Mr. Welk idolized Annie . . . ]

Do it again on the next verse, and people will think you meant it. ~ Chet Atkins

[Greg’s deft touch with the bow removed the arthropod from Erik’s pate . . . ]

Galway Girl

I’m a farmer with a mandolin and a high tenor voice. ~ Bill Monroe

[Mr. Monroe idolized Tom . . . ]

The future is much like the present, only longer. ~ Don Quisenberry

Chris is the engineer down at the studio where we do these things. And he’s just such an integral part and he has such a marvelous ear. Also it turns out, we didn’t know, but he’s a pretty good fiddle player. ~ Guy Clark

[Mr. Atkins idolized Erik . . . ]

[Mr. Clark idolized Greg . . . ]

Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one. ~ Duke Ellington

One day, an army of grayhaired women may quietly take over the earth. ~ Glorida Steinem

Is a man’s bald head any more attractive than a woman’s graying one? Is a man’s potbelly sexier than a woman’s flabby thighs? ~ Susan Jacoby

Was having fun, fun, fun till the Super took the T-bird awaaayyyyyy . . .

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him. ~ Jonathan Swift

Up Next: Harper’s Chord


June 25

The summer music season debuted at the Legacy of the Lakes Gardens. Kudos to the Education Foundation for “landing this big fish” for the opener. The Fabulous Armadillos, from St. Cloud, have been a mainstay of the Central Minnesota music scene for 15 years. And like the Energizer bunny, they just keep going and going . . .

[The morning full moon was a portent of a wonderful evening to come . . . ]

[The gates opened at 6:00 for the 7:00 concert. The Super and I arrived at 5:50 only discover “thousands” of people were there before us. Nevertheless, we and our traveling music companions, Karin & Dave, were delighted with our “seat” location . . . ]

[Panorama of the crowd from the back . . . ]

[Panorama of the crowd from the front . . . ]

[You can see Ruthie center left with my empty chair next to her . . . ]

[The crowd had initially had been limited to 350 according to protocols. I’m not sure of the final numbers, but it looked like the Education Foundation did good . . . ]

[The potential for rain was wafting through the air, but it turned out to be a lovely evening requiring light jackets by the end . . . ]

[Our loge seating . . . ]

[These were the true “front row” seats . . . ]

[Christine Reilly, Executive Director of the Alexandria Education Foundation, thanked the crowd for their attendance . . . ]

Established in 2002 the Alexandria Education Foundation is an independent non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the continued academic excellence of Alexandria Public Schools. We partner with Alexandria Public Schools to provide financial support for unique learning experiences for students in early childhood education through grade 12. The Alexandria Education Foundation (AEF) supports educational excellence and a passion for learning by partnering with our community. Our focus is on funding projects above and beyond the scope of the state budget and local tax dollars. Funds raised will directly impact students through grants to classroom teachers and other funded projects that help support initiatives that further the mission and educational goals of the School District (AEF website).

The Fabulous Armadillos came out of their shell in 2006 and have since established a large and loyal following in Central Minnesota with their spot on recreations of songs from many genres of music from Country to Motown to Heavy Metal to 70’s Soft Rock and do them just like you remember. Close your eyes and you are listening to all those vinyl records again or your AM/FM radio. The idea of the Fabulous Armadillos started with a diverse group of musicians who came together to perform “themed” concerts at the Pioneer Place On Fifth Theater in St. Cloud, MN. Themes like “One Hit Wonders”, “Woodstock”, “Motown”, “Singer/Songwriters”, “Stadium Rock” and more. They have now played over 100’s of themes at that theater as well as many regional venues in the Midwest and even in Mexico! Each show gaining them new fans and enjoying their brand of fun and entertaining, yet musically spot on performances. They have brought hundreds of special guests in for their theme shows comprising of local and national talent. The FABULOUS ARMADILLOS PARTY BAND features musicians with a deep history with some great regional and national bands from their past including Greg “Gary D.” Armstrong on keys (GB Leighton, Bobby Vee and The Vees, Heartbeat), Paul “Stretch” Diethelm on guitar (Jonny Lang, Slip Twister, Greystone Rockers), Chris Hawkey (Chris Hawkey Band, KFAN Morning Show Host) on vocals , Pamela Helmer McNeill on vocals (Pamela McNeill Band, Rumours and Dreams, Lamont Cranston) Mike Zeleny on bass (Airtight, Slip Twister, Greystone Rockers). Jay O’Donnell on drums (The Britton Brothers, Slip Twister, Greystone Rockers). Their 8 piece band also features a horn section with Pat Thorn on trumpet and Mike Krietzer on saxophone. COME OUT OF YOUR SHELL and see what everybody has been talking about! (

[Pamela Helmer McNeill . . . ]

My friends joke that I’m dead until I get onstage. I’m dead right now as you’re speaking to me. ~ Lady Gaga

[“Stretch” . . . ]

For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry! ~ John Lennon (although I recall Harry Belafonte saying that during his Carnegie Hall concert)

The bravest thing David Bowie ever did was to go on stage after Queen at Live Aid. ~ Stewart Stafford

I’m afraid concerts spoil people for everyday life. ~ L. M. Montgomery

[“Gary D.” . . . ]

Liberace was certainly master and commander of the ivories ~ he is the only pianist I can watch or listen to without suffering a case of ‘Stagefright Sympathy Sickness’. ~ E. A. Bucchianeri

[Always on the lookout for the rain that never comes . . . ]

I’m much more energetic now; you might say live performance is my mission. ~ John Fogerty

Get out of your house and go see some live performance, for God’s sake. There are people creating things just outside your window. ~ Maria Bamford

The adrenaline of a live performance is unlike anything in film or theater. I can see why it’s so addictive. ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

[Keep an eye out for activities on the side lines . . . ]

When you have a live performance, you’re going to be pitchy here and there, unless you have perfect pitch. ~ Mya

[The Super greets some old friends . . . ]

I have no idea why a guy would bring a jar of peanut butter to a concert. ~ Iggy Pop

[A little jammin’ . . . ]

I Hate Myself for Loving You

[Rain keeps holding off . . . ]

A concert is my experimentation time. I practice playing something several different ways, but in a concert, inevitably I get more ideas onstage, in that combination of focus and adrenaline, than I could ever get in the practice room. ~ Hilary Hahn

Believe me when I say this: you can’t please everyone in concert, even though I still want to. Someone always wants you to sing a song that isn’t necessarily on your set list. ~ Gladys Knight

Heavenly shades of night are falling, it’s Twilight Time . . .

I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself. ~ Mikhail Baryshnikov

Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance. ~ Confucious

Part of the joy of dancing is conversation. Trouble is, some men can’t talk and dance at the same time. ~ Ginger Rogers

[As we continued into the long summer night, we gave a one-time thanks for the drought conditions which meant mosquitoes were not an issue . . . ]

[With Mike and Julie, champion line dancers, in the foreground, we cell-phoned candled adieu to the band.]

[And we leave you with Karin, Nicole, and the Super on the dance floor with many thanks again to the Armadillos.]

Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. ~ Dave Barry

As we were walking out a friend asked if I had danced. I noted there’s a long time axiom that white guys can’t dance so I (who has never been given a sword) felt no need to get out there and prove it. OK, there are a few who can, including my questioner, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule. It plays out over the course of a 3-hour concert where it becomes almost a women only arrangement on the dance floor. ~ Me

“The Opener”

June 19

On this day, Juneteenth became a national holiday, and Juneteenth opened the season at Theatre L’Homme Dieu . . .

Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible—and there is still so much work to do. ~ Barack Obama

My people have a country of their own to go to if they choose… Africa… but, this America belongs to them just as much as it does to any of the white race… in some ways even more so, because they gave the sweat of their brow and their blood in slavery so that many parts of America could become prosperous and recognized in the world. ~ Josephine Baker

[The morning of Juneteenth, the Fat Boys ambled upon Bradley, a fellow class of ’65er, on the Central Lakes Trail. The self-appellated ‘Ancient Geek’ will make another cameo appearance at the end of this screed . . . ]

[Later that morning, the Super was introduced to her new computer concocted by ‘Rock’, a fellow original member of the Fat Boys Walking Club . . . ]

And then it was on to Carlos Creek Winery for an afternoon of great music with Patchouli . . .

[Not my photo – on loan from Patchouli . . . ]

[Ruthie’s shot . . . ]

[The view from the second row seats . . . ]

Romance is a love affair in other than domestic surroundings. ~ Walter Raleigh

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important. ~ Bertrand Russell

[Uninvited . . . ]

[But still a guest . . . ]

[With eyes for Karin’s chapeau . . . ]

[Karin and the Super visit with Julie on a break . . . ]

[Julie and Bruce . . . ]

[Complete strangers somehow managed to usurp our usual front row seats. Appropriate legal documents have been filed . . . ]

I wish Frank Sinatra would just shut up and sing. ~ Lauren Bacall

There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats grapenuts on principle. ~ G. K. Chesterton

Never play cards with a man named Doc. ~ Nelson Algren

I’d like to live like a poor man with lots of money. ~ Pablo Picasso

[We bid adieu early to ready for the theatre . . . ]

[On the road to Theatre L’Homme Dieu for the season premiere – Juneteenth . . . ]

[Along County Road 42, the scenic drive between Lake Carlos on the left . . . ]

[And Lake Le Homme Dieu on the right . . . ]

[The beautiful afternoon weather created record crowds at Rotary Beach . . . ]

The kiss originated when the first male reptile licked the first female reptile, implying in a subtle, complimentary way that she was a succulent as the small reptile he had for dinner the night before. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti. ~ Sophia Loren

Welcome to our 2021 Season … Return To Wonder!

We’re back — after a unique 2020 season we return to the wonder and amazement of a full season at Theatre L’Homme Dieu!

Join TLHD in celebrating the holiday through food and music. The Reminders will be performing and participating in an all black panel where we’ll discuss and educate our predominantly white community on the importance of Juneteenth and discuss some of the important issues within the black community.

Change from previous info: The Food Truck and DJ will be outside. All other events will be INSIDE the Theater.  REGISTER &  GET TICKETS

Here’s the schedule for the evening of June 19th: MORE INFO

4:15 – 5:30 Music Intro from The Reminders, then joined by local community members for an all-black Panel to discuss the importance of Juneteenth and important issues in the black community.

5:30 – 7:00 Break / Dinner – Jamaican Food Truck and DJ Shando will be spinning! (Food is the consumer expense)

7:30 – The Reminders – in Concert!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Lake Region Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage fund.

[Above is the entry to TLHD; below is Juneteenth panel of Big Samir, Josette Ciceron, and Aja Black . . . ]

[The above photo was the Super’s opening salvo; beneath is mine of theatre executive director Nicole Mulder introducing Jo as the host of the Juneteenth discussion . . . ]

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another. ~ Toni Morrison

In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism. ~ Shirley Chisholm

[The panel discussed much that was new to me, and I’m sure to many in the audience, about things Juneteenth and the music of The Reminders. Aja explained that hip-hop and rap originated in the neighborhoods of the Bronx when the school systems eliminated the arts from the curricula to concentrate on STEM programs. It was very interesting . . . ]

I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land. ~ Harriet Tubman

Hip hop as both a musical genre and a culture was formed during the 1970s when block parties became increasingly popular in New York City, particularly among African American youth residing in the Bronx. At block parties DJs played percussive breaks of popular songs using two turntables and a DJ mixer to be able to play breaks from two copies of the same record, alternating from one to the other and extending the “break”.  Hip hop’s early evolution occurred as sampling technology and drum machines became widely available and affordable. Turntablist techniques such as scratching and beatmatching developed along with the breaks and Jamaican toasting, a chanting vocal style, was used over the beats. Rapping developed as a vocal style in which the artist speaks or chants along rhythmically with an instrumental or synthesized beat (Wikipedia).

[Aja noted she likes all music, except (and asked the audience to guess) . . . I think it was scream metal, but I’m not familiar with the term so I’m guessing . . . ]

I hate women because they always know where things are. ~ James Thurber

It is fun being in the same decade as you. ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Winston Churchill

Be grateful for luck. Pay the thunder no mind listen to the birds. And don’t hate nobody. ~ Eubie Blake

And a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke. ~ Rudyard Kipling

A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty. ~ Rudyard Kipling

The reason husbands and wives do not understand each other is because they belong to different sexes. ~ Dorothy Dix

Conscience: the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking. ~ H. L. Mencken

[Often seen at the same entertainment venues . . . ]

[Two guys caught wandering the property without proper credentials . . . ]

You notice all kinds of things in the dressing room. Like people who put on their shoes and socks before their undershirt. Things you don’t really want to know. ~ Robin Herman

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. ~ George Burns

[The view from the lobby . . . ]

Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese – toasted mostly. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

The Reminders are a rare and remarkable musical duo seamlessly blending soulful sounds and roots music with insightful messages and thoughtful lyrics. The group consists of Brussels-born emcee Big Samir and Queens-born emcee/ vocalist Aja Black, a collective creative force that’s hard to beat. Big Samir weaves intricate rhythmic patterns with a bilingual French/English flow, displaying his street-smart credibility in both his lyrics and cool demeanor. This is beautifully complimented by Aja Black’s confident delivery, diverse cadences, and unique vocal stylings. The two have an undeniable magical chemistry as they share more than lyrical abilities and stages; the couple shares a partnership in both music and life as Samir and Aja have been married for almost a decade. (The Reminders website . . . )

Hip-hop is the streets. Hip-hop is a couple of elements that it comes from back in the days… that feel of music with urgency that speaks to you. It speaks to your livelihood and it’s not compromised. It’s blunt. It’s raw, straight off the street – from the beat to the voice to the words. ~ Nas

Hip-hop is supposed to uplift and create, to educate people on a larger level and to make a change. ~ Doug E. Fresh

The thing about hip-hop today is it’s smart, it’s insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable. ~ Barack Obama

Well, hip-hop is what makes the world go around. ~ Snoop Dogg

You may kill me with your hatefulness. But still, like air, I’ll rise. ~ Maya Angelou

Anybody under the age of forty knows hip-hop, gospel and R&B pretty well, and it’s all a part of what we consider to be ‘black music.’ There is a natural synergy between the three. ~ John Legend

Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and just for all, including Black women who are often, too often overlooked, but so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy. ~ Kamala Harris

I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be freeso other people would be also free. ~ Rosa Parks

Curtain! Fast music! Light! Ready for the last finale! Great! The show looks good, the show looks good! ~ Florenz Ziegfeld

[The drive home sunset over Lake Carlos . . . ]

[And then past the wedding party premiering the new patio at the Alexandria Golf Club.]

June 20

[It rained Sunday (and the ducks flew south, how many shingles are on the dog’s house?). Father’s Day. We really needed it, but it messed up a lot of holiday plans. Our friend Anthony was performing the winery, generally an outside venue. But, the brewery is where he was . . . ]

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then. ~ Katherine Hepburn

A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that he tends to bunch them. ~ H. L. Mencken

[The Super checking to see if other fans would be joining us . . . ]

[And then the queen and king of Ashby arrived . . . ]

The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life. If I have to laugh, I think if my sex life. ~ Glenda Jackson

[Following Piano Man protocol, Helen and Ruthie put bread in his jar . . . ]

Maybe I’m doing it wrong. ~ Randy Newman

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues. ~ Abraham Lincoln

June 21

[Here’s Bradley reprising his cameo at the top of this monologue. It’s our monthly nosh-out for three (four, when he’s in state) members of the Alex Class of ’65. We’re at the Alexandria Golf Club . . . ]

[All enduring the classic high school boys’ diet plan: Burger, fries, and a coke. Mayo ordered a side order of everything to go on his burger . . . ]

I phoned my dad to tell him I quit smoking. He called me a quitter. ~ Steven Pearl

[The Super was checking in on us with her bridge group . . . ]

I married beneath me. All women do. ~ Lady Astor

All life is six to five against. ~ Damon Runyon

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ~ Nelson Mandela

Up Next: It’s a busy week . . .

The Weather & Music Were Hot!

June 9

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance. ~ Jane Austen

This was the most uncomfortable day of about a week’s worth of 90-degree plus weather. A former Alexandrian came home from New Orleans to discover it was 15 degrees hotter here. But we had been living pretty much a normal post-pandemic life for about the last three weeks and that would continue unabated . . .

[The Super arrived at a House Party featuring blues singer Joyann Parker, with Mark Lemoine . . . ]

[Said performers . . . ]

I get by with a little help from my friends. ~ John Lennon

I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun. ~ Billy Joel

There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won’t. ~ Annie Lennox

Once when asked how I would like to be remembered, I answered, ‘As someone who opened doors.’ ~ Dave Brubeck

If a man whistles at you, do not respond. You are a lady, not a dog. ~ Adele

My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a produce. ~ Cole Porter

I’m one of those regular weird people. ~ Janis Joplin

It was always the view of my parents…that hot weather encouraged loose morals among young people. ~ Ian McEwan

Hot weather brings out snakes and slaveholders, and I like one class of the venomous creatures as little as I do the other. ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

Good weather all week, but come the weekend, and the weather stinks. When the weather is too hot, they complain; too cold, they complain; and when it’s just right, they’re watching TV. ~ Rita Rudner

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. ~ Charles D. Warner

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawnmower is broken. ~ James Dent

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven.

Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist. ~ G.K. Chesterton

I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play. ~ Artur Schnabel

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. ~ Albert Schweitzer

When people ask me what ‘American Pie’ means, I tell them it means I don’t ever have to work again if I don’t want to. ~ Don McLean

‘It isn’t hot, brother,’ comforted a war correspondent just back from Ethiopia, ‘until the chair gets up when you do!’ ~ Walter Winchell

[Thanks be to our photoed hosts . . . ]

Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there’s no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door. ~ Jerry Seinfeld

[Again, many thanks to Mary Lou, John, and family . . . ]

I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet. ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June. ~ L.M. Montgomery

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

[This looks like always June . . . ]

Joyann and her band will be performing at the Legacy of the Lakes Gardens on August 13, 6:30-8:30 . . .

The Night Before . . .

An evening at The Garden Bar with Tuesday Night Club – Terry, Jim, Bill, and Al . . .

I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes. ~ Jimi Hendrix

Money doesn’t talk, it swears. ~ Bob Dylan

There’s nothing like the eureka moment of knocking off a song that didn’t exist before – I won’t compare it to sex, but it lasts longer. ~ Paul McCartney

Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem. ~ Keith Richards

[We’re slowly returning to pre-pandemic normal as the regular crown shuffles in . . . ]

In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of. ~ Robert Schumann

I never practice my guitar… from time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat. ~ Wes Montgomery

Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal. ~ Igor Stravinsky

Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years. ~  William F. Buckley, Jr.

I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch. ~ George Burns

Earlier that morning . . .

[The Fat Boys begin their morning walks at 7:00 from Big Ole. A half hour later we’re on the other side of Lake Agnes looking back at the city . . . ]

[The shirt worn on that morning walk reflects the limited 2020 season for Theatre L’Homme Dieu – this was our debut outdoor concert then . . . ]

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~ John Steinbeck

Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. ~ Frank Zappa

Up Next: Winery music?

Memorial Day Ride for the Kitties

June 1

The Fat Boys didn’t show up for the morning walk from Big Ole. I guess they forgot the old Tom Hanks paraphrase: There are no holidays in retirement! That means I was legally and morally obligated to go for a walk with the Super and the Tasmanian Devils . . .

[The Super saddles up the Rolls Royce of kittymobiles . . .]

To err is human, to purr is feline. ~ Robert Byrne

If cats could write history, their history would be mostly about cats. ~ Eugen Weber

[As we pull away to the west, our association disappears in the rear view mirror . . . ]

In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this. ~ Terry Pratchett

[Every view of water throughout is of Lake H2Obert from the west side of the lake . . . ]

The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer. ~ Paula Poundstone

[A cutback through a church parking lot to see how the Devils are doing . . . ]

Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience. ~ Pam Brown

When Rome burned, the emperor’s cats still expected to be fed on time. ~ Seanan McGuire

I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days. ~ Bill Dana

As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows, cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the humankind. ~ Cleveland Amory

I gave my cats a bath the other day … they love it. He sat there, he enjoyed it, it was fun for me. The fur would stick to my tongue, but other than that… ~ Steve Martin

The phrase ‘domestic cat’ is an oxymoron. ~ George Will

[Coming back home by way of the lakeside . . . ]

No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch. ~ Leo Dworken

[That’s the cats’ home on the right side of the duplex – they let us live there too . . . ]

[Home again on the patio . . . ]

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. ~ Dan Greenberg

[Ruthie made this panorama . . . ]

BONUS COVERAGE – at no extra charge, the Super’s flowers from today

If you think squash is a competitive activity, try flower arranging. ~ Alan Bennett

Even if you think the Big Bang created the stars, don’t you wonder who sent the flowers? ~ Robert Brault

If you want to say it with flowers, remember that a single rose screams in your face: ‘I’m cheap!’ ~ Delta Burke

Bee to the blossom, moth to the flame; Each to his passion; what’s in a name? ~ Helen Hunt Jackson

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway. ~ Mary Kay Ash

At my age flowers scare me. ~ George Burns

The bird, the bee, the running child are all the same to the sliding glass door. ~ Demetri Martin

I sent my flowers across the hall to Mrs. Nixon but her husband remembered what a Democrat I am and sent them back. ~ Bette Davis

If you look at somebody like Sam Bee, she got to create her own thing without any expectations that there was a show there. That was probably liberating for them. ~ Larry Wilmore

What a kid I got, I told him about the birds and the bees and he told me about the butcher and my wife. ~ Rodney Dangerfield

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. ~ Doug Larson

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I. ~ Oscar Levant

People talk about mumblecore but I prefer bumblecore, hyper-realistic bee movies about how bees really are. ~ Mindy Kaling

Britain’s most useful role is somewhere between bee and dinosaur. ~ Harold MacMillan

I love, for example, ‘Full Frontal with Sam Bee.’ I just love her show. ~ Mick Foley

I think I’m a somewhat nervous bee who just wants to conform. Which, I guess, is common in bees. ~ Mathew Broderick

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. ~ A. A. Milne

Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf. ~ Lewis Mumford

I hate flowers—I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move. ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Up Next: The excitement is just beginning . . .

Party Like It’s 1999! (Part II)

May 29

Meanwhile, back at the Coronado Springs Villa & Gardens . . .

[The Super came down the water slide . . . ]

[Then I came down the slide . . . ]

[There wasn’t enough water to keep me moving – a kid slid into me from behind . . . ]

A reminder of where we were coming out of Part I:

FLORIDA TRIP – March 20 -31, 1999

Day 1: To Charleston, SC – 8 1/2 hours (525 miles)

Day 2: To Orlando, FL
Arrive St. Augustine – 4 1/2 hours (285 miles) – 1 hour stay
Arrive Kennedy Space Center – 3 hour stay
Arrive Orlando – 6 3/4 hours from St. Augustine (175 miles)

Day 3: Disney – Epcot, Norway dinner, fireworks

Day 4: Disney – Magic Kingdom

Day 5: Disney – Animal Kingdom

Day 6: Disney – MGM

Day 7: To New Port Richey – 2 1/2 hours (110 miles)
New Port Richey Beach

Day 8: Friday Final Four practice – drove Outer Banks from Clearwater to Ft. De Soto –
dinner @ Columbia in Ybor City (oldest restaurant in FL since 1905 (still going 2021))

Day 9: Around St. Petersburg

Day 10: Clearwater Beach – Dolphin boat

Day 11: Same as above

Day 12: To Fayetteville, NC – 13 1/4 hours (660 miles) – stops @ Jekyll Island & Hilton Head

Day 13: Arrive home – 5 hours (307 miles)


From the pancake house I drive directly to the county morgue. The contrast is not especially striking. ~ Carl Hiaasen

[Looks like a nice place for a nosh, but I don’t remember it . . . ]

He paused and manufactured a chuckle. ~  Carl Hiaasen

Truth hurts. Maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with a seat missing, but it hurts. ~ Lt. Frank Drebin

If I’m not back in five minutes, just wait longer. ~ Ace Ventura

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far I’ve finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already. ~ Dave Barry

How come you never see a headline like ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’? ~ Jay Leno

Miami … the floating-human-body-parts capital of America. ~  Carl Hiaasen

To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! ~ Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis)

My ability to turn good news into anxiety is rivaled only by my ability to turn anxiety into chin acne. ~ Tina Fey

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow just as well. ~ Mark Twain

St. Petersburg

As noted in our trip log, technically from Orlando to New Port Richey (where we stayed for the Final Four), 2 1/2 hours over 110 miles. The daily trip from New Port Richey to Tampa-St. Pete was a horrific trip of 40 miles of stoplights and strip malls . . . ]

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. ~ Oscar Wilde

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx

The victim’s hand was contracted into a fist except for the middle digit, which was rigidly extended. ~  Carl Hiaasen

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. That’s from Emerson . . . ~ Carl Hiaasen

We get along fine. In return for food and shelter, they give me unconditional indifference. ~  Carl Hiaasen

Love isn’t about thinking. You should know that by now. ~ Carl Hiaasen

She awoke with renewed certainty that Carl Jung was full of shit. ~  Carl Hiaasen

[That first day we drove the Outer Banks from Clearwater to Ft. De Soto . . . ]

[To the Final Four . . . ]

[I’ve been to 26 Final Fours. The first was in Philadelphia in 1976 when Indiana became the last team to finish an undefeated season. Our last Final Four was in Indianapolis in 2010. We eventually learned it was much easier and more comfortable to watch the game at home on a big screen TV sitting in a Lazy Boy . . . ]

I have warned many times about the guaranteed dangers of betting with your heart instead of your head – big darkness, soon come – but every once in a while you get a fair chance to have it both ways, and the annual NCAA basketball Tournament is one of them. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

The NCAA is one of the worst organizations – maybe the worst organization – in sports. They certainly don’t care about the athlete. ~ Stan Van Gundy

[ESPN, made famous by Final Fours, here with Dick Vitale and Digger Phelps . . . ]

The one thing that saved me is that in 17 years of coaching I never had an NCAA investigator talk to one of my players. I lost games, but I lost the right way. ~ Lee Corso

I got some cash from agents. I’ve talked to the NCAA. I think that should be legal. I want some money, too; everybody else is making money. I want to go on dates. I want to go buy myself some new suits. I want to buy myself some new sneakers, and I paid the agents back. ~ Charles Barkley

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society. ~ Mark Twain

[I have no memories whatsoever of this tournament. I don’t even remember being in Tropicana Field, the most loathed major league baseball stadium. This is one of two Final Fours Basketball Dan missed over the last 60-some years – even he recalled that Connecticut won in 1999. He was right, they beat Duke. The other two teams were Ohio State and Michigan State. Duh! . . . ]

If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot. ~ Dean Smith

[Why it makes no sense to watch a basketball game in a football stadium . . . ]

They have all those McDonald’s All-Americas. We have four guys on our team who don’t even have a McDonald’s in their town. ~ Rick Majerus

Florida cop claims Burger King put dirt on his food – investigation revealed it was seasoning. ~ New York Daily News

[That evening we went to Ybor City for Cuban dining at Columbia, the oldest restaurant in Florida, since 1905 and still going in 2021 . . . ]

[I wore the shirt I purchased at the Rainforest Cafe at Disney, and that shirt is still in my summer rotation to this day. Always the fashion trend setter . . . ]

[Dolphin boat rides out of Clearwater Beach . . . ]

[The Pittsburgh Pirates arrive for spring training . . . ]

Thousands of gun owners in Florida planning to ‘shoot down’ Hurricane Irma. ~ INDEPENDENT

Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head. ~ Carl Hiaasen

I’m waiting for the day when Rush Limbaugh’s pharmacist writes a book. ~  Carl Hiaasen

There’s nothing wrong with you that an expensive operation can’t prolong. ~ Graham Chapman, Monty Python’s Flying Circus

You can only be young once. But you can always be immature. ~ Dave Barry (Mr. Barry, incidentally, is exactly 2 months and one day older than me)

There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it. ~ Mindy Kaling

[Voted number one in a poll as most obvious tourists . . . ]

It is a well-documented fact that guys will not ask for directions. This is a biological thing. This is why it takes several million sperm cells… to locate a female egg, despite the fact that the egg is, relative to them, the size of Wisconsin. ~ Dave Barry

I married an asshole, she thought, knifing into the waves. ~  Carl Hiaasen

Gravity is a contributing factor in nearly 73 percent of all accidents involving falling objects. ~ Dave Barry

The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. ~ Dave Barry

The real threat to whales is whaling, which has endangered many whale species. ~ Dave Barry

Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet. ~ Dave Barry

[This was neither Ruthie nor I, but some poor guy from Iowa who believed in the old axiom that if your life bores you, risk it . . . ]

The detective had moved to Fort Lauderdale from St. Paul because his wife had inexplicably yearned to experience humidity. ~ Carl Hiaasen

The information encoded in your DNA determines your unique biological characteristics, such as sex, eye color, age and Social Security number. ~ Dave Barry

Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it’s open to anybody who owns hideous clothing. ~ Dave Barry

Since the medical board was made up mostly of other doctors, Rudy Graveline had fully expected exoneration–physicians stick together like shit on a shoe. ~ Carl Hiaasen

The simple truth is that balding African-American men look cool when they shave their heads, whereas balding white men look like giant thumbs. ~ Dave Barry

Buck stared incredulously. “This is the first time you ever fired a gun? And you live in Florida?” ~ Carl Hiaasen

The dog proved to be as dumb and stubborn as a mud fence, so Stranahan had named him Strom. ~ Carl Hiaasen

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. ~ Dave Barry

Violence and smut are of course everywhere on the airwaves. You cannot turn on your television without seeing them, although sometimes you have to hunt around. ~ Dave Barry

The message, never stated but avuncularly implied, is that America’s values ought to reflect those of the Walt Disney Company and not the other way around. ~ Carl Hiaasen

The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates. ~ Dave Barry

Detective Karl Rolvaag belonged in the Midwest. This he knew in his heart, and he was reminded of it every day when he went to work. ~ Carl Hiaasen

Florida needs a special prison for tourists. Not all tourists—just the ones who trash the place, rob, shoplift, vandalize, drive drunk, assault the cops, puke in the alleys, pee in the medians, and so on. ~ Carl Hiaasen

We idolized the Beatles, except for those of us who idolized the Rolling Stones, who in those days still had many of their original teeth. ~ Dave Barry

[On the road again (in my 1998 Ford Expedition purchased to deal with Minnesota winters in our retirement two years hence). We’re heading to Jekyll Island . . . ]

[Jekyll Island is located off the coast of Georgia, in Glynn County. It is one of the Sea Islands and one of the Golden Isles of Georgia barrier islands. The island is owned by the State of Georgia and run by a self-sustaining, self-governing body. At the end of November 1910, . . . a secret meeting to plan the country’s monetary policy and banking system, formulating during the meeting the Federal Reserve as America’s next central bank.  According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the 1910 Jekyll Island meeting resulted in draft legislation for the creation of a U.S. central bank. Parts of this draft (the Aldrich plan) were incorporated into the 1913 Federal Reserve Act (Wikipedia).]

Have you noticed that whatever sport you’re trying to learn, some earnest person is always telling you to keep your knees bent? ~ Dave Barry

“A well-regulated militia,” Bode added, “like they talk about in the Second Amendment.” “Oh,” said Shiner. He hadn’t read the first one yet. ~ Carl Hiaasen

I’ve always enjoyed making people laugh. But in order for me to be funny, I have to get ticked off about something. ~ Carl Hiaasen

It’s easy to get distracted by the vaudevillian aspects of the healthcare debate. ~ Carl Hiaasen

In fact, when you get right down to it, almost every explanation Man came up with for anything until about 1926 was stupid. ~ Dave Barry

And so by the fifteenth century, on October 8, the Europeans were looking for a new place to try to get to, and they came up with a new concept: the West. ~ Dave Barry

That’s what people do when they find a special place that wild and full of life, they trample it to death. ~ Carl Hiaasen

Well, that’s about it, for now . . . ~ Ruthie

[Back home to Arlington, Virginia and our aged children, Lily and Woody . . . ]

[Who would both retire to Minnesota with us.]

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this review is that I should have begun shaving my head before we went on this trip. ~ Me

What I look forward to is continued immaturity followed by death. ~ Dave Barry

Up Next: The cats?