Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top Ten(?) Things I Have NOT Blogged About #3

Seeing Tom Petty (and Steve Winwood). The focus of the Kansas City trip, where CB never inhaled but seemed to find plenty of breath to scream her support of this aging rock legend (the wife says age-LESS). What a venue! The new Sprint Center is a giant of a place, and our seats, way at the top, gave us a great view, though pretty far away. It was high enough that some were a little anxious about the long escalator ride, but half of us recovered enough to choose wisely from the merchandise. Steve Winwood got the place rocking with some of his songs released as a solo act and others from his days in Traffic, The Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, and Go, including "Higher Love," "Gimme Some Lovin'," "While You See a Chance," and "Can't Find My Way Home." Yeah! Then 20 minutes to Mr. Petty, who churned through a long list of his hits (check his set list here). We rocked! Everyone rocked! Being up closer would have been great, but seeing the wife get giddy and jumpy like a school girl when "American Girl" got rolling was worth the price of my ticket. (It's NOT my picture--no cameras allowed).

Top Ten(?) Things I Have NOT Blogged About #2

Going to Kansas City. Intent on seeing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert in KC, we and the B's headed south and enjoyed barbecue at Jack Stacks, shopping in Westport, and a trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We were in luck, with a trip down to the Power and Light District, where it was pint night at Flying Saucers and we visited versions of beer from around the world. Luck stayed with us at McCoy's the next day, where it was again pint day. At our trip to Boulevard Brewery, our luck didn't quite hold, since we couldn't take the tour. Before coming back, we enjoyed barbecue again at Arthur Bryant's, but it couldn't top Jack Stacks. We made one last stop in Vermillion to enjoy some good Korean food at Chae's. Good traveling!

Top Ten(?) Things I Have NOT Blogged About #1

The Last Days in New York. I didn’t exactly finish in fine detail about our last days in New York City, but we continued having a good time, and the last days finished in a flourish, lots of walking, shopping, checking out the sights and scenes in NYC. On Friday, we went to the Today Show and saw Rascall Flatts (and the hosts), went to Rockefeller Center and the “Top of the Rock” and the Museum of Modern Art. We walked down to Times Square and ate at the Heartland Brewery and then took pictures of the wife’s awesome blister(s). Saturday we ran in Central Park (the wife got a little discomboblulated and was almost late for our rendezvous), went to the matinee of “Wicked” (fantastico!—especially for a Wizard of Oz fan) and then trundled down to John’s Pizza where Jack Black says we get the best pizza, and then cannolies at Rocco’s, then shopping in Greenwich Village. Whew! Sunday we ran again in the park, then went kayaking on the Hudson, thanks to volunteers who seek to get people interested in a clean river. We headed to the upper west side and had Gray’s Papaya Hotdogs (only $1.50 per each!), went to a flea market, then went down to see the Flatiron Building, Grand Central Station, and the Chrysler Building. Then back north for Shakespeare in the Park (“Much Ado About Nothing”), Columbia University, Riverside Cathedral, and then fries and drinks at “Toast,” a little pub near Columbia. Monday it rained, but we went to Early Morning Show, the Apple Store, Bergdorf-Goodman, FAO Schwartz, David Letterman for tickets, Hello Deli (where Rupert was very friendly), Madame Tussaud’s, back to David Letterman for an interview and the actual tickets, Maisson’s for beverages, then the Letterman show taping (guests—Rosie Perez and David Sedaris), then back on the subway to the south east end where we enjoyed seafood at the Pacific Grille and looked at the Brooklyn Bridge. Tuesday, our last day, we walked through Central Park to the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where we saw the cool Koontz sculptures, among lots of great art. We took the slow bus down the east side of Central Park and then saw lots of baseball pros in their parade up Sixth Avenue before the All-Star Game that night (no, we didn’t spend the $5000 for tickets to THAT). We enjoyed some high-dollar ice cream treats and then we went to Bryant Park for lunch, NY Public Library (where the Pooh toys and a Gutenberg Bible were on display), and then back to Times Square, where we got tickets for “Title of Show” on the last preview night and enjoyed its antic story steeped in Broadway lore. One of those days we had lunch down in Chinatown and shopped a little more. We had a great taxi ride to the airport and a good flight home. Whoop!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Getting the Blues with Tab Benoit and Taj Mahal

Yesterday a group of four of us, TQ and the F-B's, went down to the Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Fest for some good blues, and Tab Benoit delivered his Louisiana funky driven blues to get us rolling. Then the master of 40 years of picking the blues picked up from there and took the crowd on a ride, a Taj Mahal trio ride driven by guitar, piano, and banjo, accompanied by a drummer and a five-string bass. Taj Mahal mentioned in the encore that, although he didn't often get national attention, he was pleased that Jenna Bush's wedding included his song "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes" as the first dance tune, so he played us that sweet, loving tune to send us home.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Welcome to the Apple Store!

Just a note to say we're here, waiting for taping the Early Show, checking out the new Apple store, as I'm typing on a new MacBook Air.  Cool!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

News from Thursday--Yes, It's all Old News

Thursday we just about walked our legs down to stumps—rookie mistake, what with many days more to come. We began when we jumped on the subway for the first time and rode it down to South Ferry, where we climbed aboard the Statue of Liberty ferryboat and rode out to see the statue, where we spent a few hours looking over the stern lady, then trundled over to Ellis Island where plenty of my namesake apparently came through. Then back on the ferry, where the walking began. We hustled up to beautiful Trinity Church, where George Washington himself worshipped, and we listened to a young woman make the old organ sing a jazzy Dizzy Gillespe tune, something to check out if you’re in town on Thursday. By then we were hungrier than we should have been and began looking, past Wall Street and Federal Hall, for a place to light. After a great lunch outdoors in the shadow of Wall Street, we saw a street magician put a quarter into a beer bottle and sat and contemplated the World Trade Center site. We walked more, arriving in Chinatown, then Little Italy, and finally returned via the subway to the apartment in the evening, rested five minutes, and then rode underground to the Empire State Building, where we waited in line to get in and later to get out. In between, though, we enjoyed the night-lights from the 86th floor observatory. On the way home, we went by Herald Square where we may have to go again, then stopped for materials for signs so that, this morning, we might have a chance of getting on TV at the Today Show.

We learned that people come from everywhere to New York either to visit or live. We heard a lot of Russian and Chinese, some French, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, German, Norwegian (or Swedish—who can say?), and some African languages. We learned that if you mess up with your Metro Pass, you’ll have to wait or walk to try again. We learned that many people are willing to wait to see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. We learned that the subway rats are a little shy, but not too much so. We learned that Chinese shopkeepers in NYC WILL bargain. We learned that New Yorkers have a taste for “Walter dogs,” their rivalry with Boston notwithstanding. We learned that you should really be on a long-term good relationship with your shoes before you walk far in them. We learned that the city is a big one, that trying to cover it with just your legs is pretty ambitious.

We also learned that our wireless connection at the apartment is very iffy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Live from New York, It's Thursday Morning

An early start got the three of us into J and D's Suburban, down to SF, on the plane, into MSP, on another plane, and down into LaGuardia, where we caught a taxi and found our apartment in the city, just off the lower west side of Central Park. This morning trucks seem to be on a demolition derby marathon out in the street this morning, but it's getting us going, and we're off to ride a ferry and see the great lady standing on her little island, her lamp held high beside the golden door. So far we've had a beginner's look at the park, fended off several hundred offers of carriage and taxi rides, and taken a walk around the neighborhood to discover our Morton Williams grocery store, our CVS Pharmacy, and a nice little bakery/deli that is calling out my name this morning. These are all within the block.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Family Reunion and a Birthday Wish

With the Mom turning 75, it became important to celebrate, and gather, so we did. I was most impressed that every one of my siblings made it, from Boise, San Francisco Bay area, Georgia, Nashville, and various spots in South Dakota. Cool. That's me and all the bunch in the photo.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Do You Know this Woman?

Any information leading to the identification of the woman pictured here would be most welcome. She appeared at our home about a week ago, and she hasn't yet divulged any information or indicated that she wanted us to contact friends or family. She's apparently content to stand quietly in the back yard, but clearly, she comes from a home where people cared for her, lovingly applying the sunflower dress, handmade from the best vinyl, along with bloomers of a quality not often seen. Shy and still, the woman appears to have been sheltered from the sun, as her pale arms attest. Her face, kept demurely turned away, is a mystery to me. She's about four feet high, and, perhaps due to her refusal of nourishment, she's plywood-thin. Help us return this woman to where she belongs!

Why Our Street's So Quiet Today

Our street, which is actually old highway 34 going east from Madison, is often very busy, and this morning was no different, until about 8:00, after I'd gone by on a bike ride with AM. Returning at about 9:30, the pile driver was about half way through the pavement, busting it into bite-sized chunks for the backhoe. This afternoon, a small crew was putting in a new artery, and by tomorrow maybe they'll have things back in place so the crowds can rush by again each way, morning and evening, their intentions no longer disrupted.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More "Politics" in Madison, Stephanie Style

Bigwigs in town today announced a new blanket of wireless technology today, Sioux Valley's WiMAX, which promises an umbrella of wireless internet access independent of home modems or wireless routers or cards. Their map shows almost an eight-mile radius from their equipment atop the high-rise building in Madison.
Computer dudes in attendance noted the innovative technology but pointed out privately that devices to make it work on a mobile laptop weren't yet readily available.
Our sole representative, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, was the featured speaker. I almost ran her down when I arrived and they were again crossing the street in front of me as I left. I didn't talk to her, or I would have had to carry out the wife's request to speak firmly with her about her position on the democratic candidates in the presidential primary, and I had my own little ethanol bone to pick with her. Next time.
Pictures here show the folks lined up for food, various speakers, and the devices on display. Sioux Valley had many stuffed "Max" animals they were giving away.