Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reminds Me of a Johnny Rivers Song

Slow bloggin', swaying to the feeling
Slow bloggin', just me and my Dell
Slow bloggin', swaying to the feeling
No one else in the whole wide world

Oh, wait a minute. That's slow dancin'. Sorry, Johnny.

The "Style" section of Sunday's New York Times features this article on the slow blogging trend, inspired by the slow food movement, or so says Barbara Ganley, one of the self-described slow bloggers interviewed for the article. In their world, blogs that feature a stream a daily posts are the fast-food restaurants of the Internet -- great for occasional consumption, but not enough to guarantee human sustenance over the longer haul.

There's even a Slog Blog Manifesto. (And here.) "Retiring Guy" probably fits this category, though metaphorically it might be one of the books that looks a little out of place on the shelf. My other blogs are primarily virtual file drawers. For example, I stopped cutting articles out of newspapers, mainly the New York Times, earlier this year. One of my filing systems was to scotch-tape or glue-stick these clippings into a Rand McNally Road Atlas -- by year. (If you think that is going to extremes, you should see the Nelson/Richard family archives.)

Now I take this approach. And I suppose there's a name for it, too.

My favorite slow blogging location (Easiest to access.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pop Quiz

The Who's 1967 concept album
(and one of their best)

Every once in awhile, I decide to listen to the songs on my iPod in alphabetical order. It's an older model with 782 downloaded tunes, so it takes awhile to work my way from A to Z. Months, actually, since I'm not a habitual ear-bud kinda guy.

(And now you know the origin of this quirky, even perverse post.)

Today I walked my way into the M's.

"Mad Pat" by Horslips.
"Madame George" by Van Morrison.
"Magdalena" by Danny O'Keefe.
"Maggot Brain" by Funkadelic.
"Magnolia" by J. J. Cale.
"Make the World Go Away" by Timi Yuro.
"Man of the World" by Robin Trower.
"Marching Powder" by Tommy Bolin.

(OK, so I'm a case of arrested musical development.)

Anyone want to guess what's next on the list? (Who lovers will know the answer.)

The Who note that guys come from every city to see "Mary Ann with the Shaky Hands". Despite this -- ahem -- affliction, Mary Ann did have some competition.

Can you remember their names?




And what they liked to do?




Answers found here.

Collection development alert:
The Verona Public Library's copy of The Who Sell Out has 10 holds on it. Even in an Age of Downloads, this CD deserves a place in most library collections, particularly since it contains what I consider the best (45 rpm) single of 1967, "I Can See For Miles". (There is another LINK record to which 2 Madison copies are linked. No holds. ??)

The Power of Pie

All That's Left

A week ago Thursday, the Friends of the Middleton Public Library hosted a fundraiser at Barriques, a coffee shop/wine seller located in downtown Middleton. The $30 per person/$50 per couple tickets provided each guest with free hors d’oeuvres and unlimited wine and beer samples -- and a great schmoozing atmosphere. (The beer, of course, was from Middleton’s own Capital Brewery.) And what a successful outcome for this first-time endeavor. It was difficult to make an exact head count, but I’d guess that at least 50 people were in attendance during the 2½-hour event.

The Friends Board of Directors had carefully planned the event for most of the year, with Vice-President Mary Drake taking the lead in coordinating all of the arrangements. More than 30 of the local businesses she contacted agreed to contribute in one way or another. Many of these sponsors donated a product or service for a silent auction, which must have brought in an additional $1,000. I successfully bid on two items: a pie from Costco’s bakery and a gift certificate from Carr Valley Cheese. (I did go to the event feeling hungry.)

“Did you get the pie?” JoAnna asked me when I told her about my Tuesday trip to Costco.

“No, I didn’t bring the coupon along,” I said.

After she returned home from work on Friday, she suggested we go to Costco to pick something up for an easy supper. Starting at 7:00, we were playing cards – sheepshead, of course – with a group of friends who live on the east side of Madison, and these gatherings generally run until at least midnight.

“And we could pick up the pie, too,” she added.

“Pie, pie, pie! That’s all you’ve thought about since I brought home that coupon,” I teased. “You and your sweet tooth.”

Costco’s pies are huge. We didn’t have a lot of choices, though. A latticed apple pie. (I imagined what it would taste like after 30 seconds in the microwave – and with the addition of a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.) Chocolate cream. (The kind of dessert that causes weight gain just by looking at it.) JoAnna, though, parked herself in front of a pecan pie and stared at it lovingly.

“I take it that’s the one you want,” I said, throwing up a verbal white flag of surrender.

She even took the pie with us to the card party. We returned home with more than half of it intact, which JoAnna and I whittled away at the following morning. We both had pie for breakfast.

Between the sugar and the caffeine, we experienced a productive Saturday morning. JoAnna reorganized the dining hutch and rearranged the living room in preparation for the Christmas tree we’ll set up two weeks hence. And in-between reading RSS feeds and posting a few blogs, I reorganized and tidied up my work space in the family room – the computer table and rolltop desk.)

Surprisingly, there are still two pieces of pie left on Sunday morning, though based on the picture that intros this post, some may argue with my math.

But not for long. I have dibs on a piece for lunch. (And it will be topped with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Good thing a long walk is on today's schedule!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Carports of Middleton

According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, carport, an open-sided automobile shelter by the side of a building, is a coinage whose common usage dates back to 1939. In fact, the term was first used by Frank Lloyd Wright when he incorporated this design element for the first of his Usonian homes, the Jacobs House in Madison, Wisconsin.

Without any particular reason for doing so, I’ve always associated carports with the suburban home architecture of 1940s and 1950s Southern California, where the climate is appropriately warm and dry. Carports in Wisconsin, especially when taking our most recent winter into consideration, seem such an anomaly.

For whatever reasons, a particularly neighborhood in Middleton, Wisconsin, has a number of examples of this type of construction.

Carport roofline adds major dimension to overall structure

Very typical construction

Thoughtful design

The "peek-a-boo" version

Corner lot with an especially inviting side view

Some Questions Posed in my RSS Feeds Today

Is It Wrong to Talk About Michelle Obama's Body?
A response to this Salon piece.

Youth vote: Democratic movement, or fad?
(Nutshell: The overall trend doesn't look good for the GOP, but......)

Why Mandate A La Carte Cable When It's Happening Online Already?
A question with the answer already provided.

Why can't Yahoo control its image like Angelina Jolie?
(Must be Saturday in the blogosphere.)

Why Citigroup and not GM?
(Robert Reich muses.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

It Was 35 Years Ago Today

As if you cared to be reminded about it. (Time story here.)

And where was I at the time?

Attending what was then known as the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS), University of Pittsburgh. (It's now the library-less School of Information Sciences.)

By far, the ugliest building on the campus.

In 1973-74, the school occupied two floors. 4th & 5th? 5th and 6th? It's been so long; I can't recall.
Similar to the model my dad's family purchased in 1935.

With the merger of Sirius and XM, my satellite boom box provides me with a new channel -- the 40s on 4. Outside of 1.FM's "Chillout Lounge", it's the only other music I've been listening to lately.

I have a long-time fondness for the Big Band sound, music that has always provided a cross-generational bridge. In addition, I've even gained a better appreciation for the harmonizing "sister" groups: the Andrews, the Dinnings, the Kings. And then there are the crooners, Frank Sinatra and Dick Haymes, notably, and a panoply of female vocal stylists that include Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Kitty Kallen (apparently she doesn't have an "official" website), and Helen Forrest (all but forgotten). They're all great company, especially when baking cookies, one of Retiring Guy's new favorite activities.

With satellite and Internet radio, and their more adventurous playlists, it's possible to wallow in the music of various eras. Maybe I'll work my way through the rest of the 20th century.

And these are likely to be my stops.

1950s: doo-wop, rockabilly.
1960s: soul (more Memphis than Motown), garage rock, psychedelica.
1970s: prog rock, Steely Dan, Alex Chilton and his progeny.

Then things get a little hazy in the 1980s. And if I showed you the list of songs on my iPod, you'd understand completely. (Sorry, no hair bands.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What'll You Have

If you're from Wisconsin, one of these, most likely.

Link to November 16 New York Times tut-tutting article, "Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking".

What makes us so special?

1. It's legal for minors to drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant in Wisconsin if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who gives consent. (Retiring Guy pleads guilty to this "offense".)

2. Wisconsin leads the U.S. in binge drinking since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* started keeping statistics on this pastime more than a decade ago. Binge drinking is defined as five drinks in one sitting for four for a woman. (Using this formula, Retiring Guy confesses to binge drinking every time he plays sheepshead, as would the others sitting around the table.)

[Clarification. If, after dealing the cards, I get up, go to the bathroom, and then return to my seat, is that considered a second sitting?]

3. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Wisconsinites are more likely than residents of other states to drive drunk. (Retiring Guy doesn't always play sheepshead at home. 'Nuff said.)

4. Sobriety checkpoints are prohibited by law. (If you're wonder whom to thank, or blame, on this count, click here. The introductory voice-over is required listening. And be sure to "read" between the lines.)

Historical footnote: Schlitz, "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous", was the number-one selling beer in the U.S. in the early 1950s. Then Budweiser made its move.

*If, as the CDC reports, approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days -- 92%! -- maybe it's the definition that's "loaded".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Best Bond?

Here are the results, as of Friday evening, from a La Crosse Tribune online survey.

Who is your favorite James Bond?
Sean Connery
(898 Votes, 61%)
George Lazenby
(15 Votes, 1%)
Roger Moore
(245 Votes, 17%)
Timothy Dalton
(12 Votes, 1%)
Pierce Brosnan
(216 Votes, 15%)
Daniel Craig
(97 Votes, 7%)

15 votes for Lazenby? (Oh, you contrarians!) Can you name the movie in which he starred? How about the year in which it was released?

Who gets my vote?

Whom do you think? (You should be able to figure it out from my profile.)

And whatever happened to Timothy Dalton?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lego as the Theme of the Day

Link to Evil Mad Scientist post, "Lego Kitchen Crafts".
(Noted here first.)

Legos Kick Butt

It's no contest!

Too bad we don't have any digital photos of Eddie's many creations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Classic Baked Acorn Squash

A new Nelson/Richard family favorite from Simply Recipes

(A great accompaniment with stuffed pork chops!)


1 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
Dash of Salt


1 Preheat oven to 400°F.

2 Using a strong chef's knife, and perhaps a rubber mallet to help, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don't burn and the squash doesn't get dried out.

3 Coat the inside of each half with 1/2 a Tbsp of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter. Add a Tbsp of brown sugar to the cavity of each half. Dribble on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half.

4 Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas.

Serves 2 to 4, depending on how much squash you like to eat.

Kohler Didn't Get the Memo

An article in today's Sheboygan Press announces that the Kohler Design Center has unveiled five new bathroom designs. The one pictured above is called the Caldera Room, inspired by the Greek island of Santorini. (A 4-paragraph description is included in the Press article.)

A case of bad timing?


According to an article in Sunday's New York Times ("Goodbye Seduction, Hello Coupons"), marketers are scrambling to remake their advertising so products seem affordable and sensible rather than indulgent and fabulous.

And those last two adjectives certainly fit the Caldera Room.

“At times like this, you don’t want to be as conspicuous,” said Stephen J. Hoch, professor of marketing and director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, quoted in the Times article. “It’s really rude.”

Actually, I've felt that way ever since I saw my first Hummer. (Since there might be children present, I won't share my nickname for these behemoths.)

All this being noted, the Kohler Design Center is a still a great place to visit, even if you'll never incorporate any of their design ideas into your own home decor. As Mom always says, "It's fun to dream!"

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Best Election Night Ever.......

.....captured by Obama for America campaign photographer David Katz and posted on Flickr.