Feeling as good as the weather

Right now, I’m just staying awake for the sake of not sleeping all day and then not sleeping tonight. Just been an all day endeavor of pains in my stomach area. It would be easy to say that it’s the water, but Rebecca has been fine all day long. Don’t know what the deal is, but I hate being sick.

Been a series of things that I wanted to highlight today. Northern Voice is ramping up. They officially opened up registration for the event, and we’re looking at going. The worst thing about the timing is that it’s the weekend of our first anniversary. NV is something we’re all about checking out, but we’ll have to really see how it works for us. I’ve thought about tossing my hat into the speaking ring regarding podcasting, but there is probably someone out there that could do something much more impacting than myself.

Rebecca setup another interview for this Saturday for RadioZoom. This time around, we’ll be talking to Wintersleep from Halifax, Nova Scotia ahead of their show at The Plaza Club. Should be a lot of fun, and I’m all about learning more about bands on the fly. I know the library a bit, but outside of that, I like taking these interviews as they go. Having a formula sounds like we have a formula.

Speaking of Saturday, we’ll have to miss the Canucks game that night, but what a good game against Columbus last night. It was a little disheartening to hear people boo Anson Carter, but I get why it was happening. Even better that we held on to win. Even at 1-0, there was enough action to keep me into the game. I could have really done with some more scoring though. Geez!

I’ve also been getting back up to speed with what’s happening with Iowa Public Radio. It’s been a little over a year since I left the radio world, and the process of consolidation was just starting to gather. I’ll be completely honest. Everything I am seeing makes me very unhappy.

I’m hearing things from the inside that are less than stellar. They even have a blog as the mouth of IPR now, WordPress and all. Sure, statewide public radio networks are nothing new, but everything that made all of those stations great, in their own respective ways, is being systematically dismantled. This is a topic I’ll expand more on in the future, I’m sure.

That’s all from the couch. Combined with some podcasts in my headphones and CNN on the tube all day long, I’m ready to feel better. You can only see those Head On commercials so many times, and that goes for the newer ones that rip on the original ones.

That does remind me that I need to touch on some of the TV shows we’ve been keeping tabs on and enjoying this fall. Jericho, Heroes, Law and Order: SVU, CSI, 20 Rock, Studio 60… I can’t remember liking to watch TV in a long time, not to mention on the major networks. Give me widescreen and that makes me interested in anything. Take away the commercials, and I’ll like it even more.

The strange fate of Shoeless Joe Jackson

I was raised within an easy drive of where the Field of Dreams[imdb] was filmed, and the ballpark in the middle of a cornfield is still there, albeit a tad bit of a tourist trap.  This post on BlogCritics addresses one of the key characters of the film.  It’s an interesting background about why Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for life.

We all remember the movie Field of Dreams. Shoeless Joe Jackson comes back from the dead to stroll around in a cornfield and play a little ball. He’d been banned from the sport in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, but was now being portrayed by Ray Liotta as representing the heart and soul of our national pastime. In reality, the 1919 Chicago White Sox were one of the greatest baseball teams ever to take the field, and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was their superstar left fielder. But when the team made it to the World Series, two gamblers — “Sleepy Bill” Burns and Billy Maharg — backed by gangster Arnold Rothstein, bribed eight players with $100,000 to throw the championship.

The fix was a success: the Sox lost, and nobody really suspected a thing until late in the next season, whereupon the eight players were indicted. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis suspended them all from baseball for life — a justified punishment, as they were all guilty. All but one, that is. Shoeless Joe, for his part, did all he could to avoid being involved He told Sox owner Charles Comiskey about the scam, but was ignored; he asked to be benched for the Series, but was refused; he even batted .375 for the Series, with the only homerun and 12 base hits (then a Series record), but was still considered guilty. The official judgment against Jackson has never been overturned and he’s still barred from the Baseball Hall of Fame — a sad fate for a player who could hit the dickens out of a Kevin Costner curveball.  [blogcritics]

Lifetime ban from baseball means lifetime.  Even after death, you can still be a star on the big screen.

The royal treatment of college radio

Let’s be honest. The greatness that was once college radio is wanning. I have this deep, passionate feeling that it will rise up once again to be a driving force to make the rest of the world take notice. It might also be safe to say that it’s never been a spectrum of the medium to really be noticed in the first place. The brilliance gets harvested for its potential and profit.

I’m still a firm believer in the sanctity of college radio. Like it or not, it has an important role to play, and that mantra was my driving force during the years I put into KRUI.

I find the following story really funny, and I’ll explain why after the excerpt.

UI officials hope to raze an old laundry building that is adjacent to where a new campus recreation and wellness center’s future home on the southwest corner of Burlington and Madison streets.

Currently used as storage for campus landscaping and maintenance equipment, that space could be used for parking and holding materials and equipment during the construction of the recreation center, and could save the university money. It is not immediately clear how much it would save.

Regents gave approval for UI to look into the feasibility of relocating the equipment currently stored there. [presscitizen]

The KRUI that I came to know and love started out in a house that was tucked away on campus. But the university kinda saw it as a bastard child, pushing it into a handful of various locations in its just under twenty years of existence. Within just a few months of my three years of being a director, the news came that the station would be forced into another relocation. Continue reading “The royal treatment of college radio”

Comes with very little surprise

In my head, I think Tom Vilsack[wiki] should have been the VP nominee in the last election to John Edwards. I knew it was over for the Democrats when Kerry got the nod, and let it be the last time that happens.

Iowa Democrat jumps in presidential race

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa jumped into the 2008 U.S. presidential race on Thursday, saying voters want a new direction for the country “and that’s what I intend to do as president.”

Vilsack, a two-term governor who is leaving office this year to concentrate on his White House bid, stressed his moderate record and a bipartisan approach on education, economic development and health care as governor of Iowa.

“Americans sent a clear message on Tuesday. They want leaders who will take this country in a new direction,” Vilsack said. “They want leaders who share their values, understand their needs and respect their intelligence.

"That's what I've done as governor of Iowa, and that's what I intend to do as president," he said." [reuters]

Another surprise is that Iowa will remain under Democratic control with Chet Culver[wiki] becoming the 41st governor of the state. Additionally, this is only the second time in the history of the state that there has been members of the Democratic party elected back to back for the office of governor. I would have thought Nussle[wiki] would win on name recognition alone, but maybe Chet's good looks accounted for something more at the polls.

Something about that name gets to me. Governor Culver? No. I don't think so. It's "Governor Chet" all the way. With a title like that, he can be everyone's buddy!

Political leanings of the state tend to vary with every election, and I would go as far to say that it really depends on the area and voter turn out. Last presidental election went to the Republicans, and 2000 saw the Democrats get the majority of the state to vote for them. It's always difficult to say what the feeling is year to year. It's not as clear cut as one would imagine.

Regardless, the world needs more people from Iowa running things. That's my initial thought. Do I think Vilsack is up to the task? I'd like to think so, but he has a lot to prove until the first primaries. A lot of people wanted him to be somewhere in the last election, so he has that going for him.

Update: An article in the Des Moines Register points out that Vilsack has his own MySpace page. I don't know if it's legit, but this might be a prelude of what to expect from the '08 election march.

The deer that couldn’t

While making their way to visit some of our family in Kansas City, MO nearly a week ago, my parents did not plan on making an unexpected stop in southern Iowa, almost near the Missouri border. My mom says she had no idea what was going on and didn’t see a thing. She must have been looking down or not paying attention to the road from the passenger seat.

Dad said that it all happened in a matter of seconds. From the pictures, you can see that the weather was near perfect. This time of year, you never know if it might snow or if you should put on your shorts and enjoy a nice dose of indian summer. My dad always has his camera with him, so as soon as the initial rush of everything subsided, he snapped a series of pictures that I’m posting here. You can see all the photos in this Flickr set.

One thing you can bank on is that it’s mating season for deer. Night time driving is far more concerning, always looking out for those eyes reflecting your headlights as it bounds towards the highway. That sounds stupid, but it’s no different than knowing that, in the lower mainland, when you see a bear cub, move away as quick as possible because the mother bear is near by.

Apparently, the growth on the side of the interstate shielded this buck from my dad’s vision. When you’re traveling 65 MPH, nearly 100 KPH for those keeping score in metric, there’s not much room to react when a buck leaps out of nowhere and decides that it’s crossing the highway, no matter what’s barreling down at it.

Both of my parents walked away from it with relatively little injury. Dad said that the strangest thing was the air bags going off. Both got some soreness from those things inflating, but no medical attention was needed. Dad was able to keep the car under relative control when the impact happened, but any further across the median would have put them into oncoming traffic.

The final outcome? The deer is dead, the car is basically totaled, and my parents are alive and well. The red station wagon will no longer be a family staple. I drove it a lot during my high school days, often being made fun of for driving “the grocery getter” around town. Of course, the situation could be much worse, but now my folks have the headache of finding a replacement. I think it’s causing them more pain to do that than the actual accident itself.

The power of pancake mix

When you instill the fear of terror in everyone, there is no telling what the effects can be. It can happen anywhere, anytime, and no one is safe. That’s what everyone is told, and some folks believe it to the most extreme. There is always reason to be cautious. Afterall, no one is safe.

“Suspicious” powder in Indianola is pancake mix

October 10, 2006

Three plastic bags containing a suspicious powder found in Indianola on Sunday turned out to be pancake mix.

The Des Moines police bomb unit was called out to help investigate the discovery of the three bags, placed at the intersection of East Fourth and Buxton streets.

Inspection procedures found the items were not explosive devices, police said in a report. “Two bags had broken open and contents were strewn onto the pavement. The items appeared to have been thrown.”

Investigators found no witnesses and ultimately determined that there not only was no health threat, there may not have been any criminal intent.  [desmoinesregister]

It’s not the biggest city in the state by any means.  With a small, private college in the area, I would doubt that it would be a high profile target.  Stranger things have happened.

William Elliot Whitmore is coming to Vancouver

Whitmore (photo credit: cucamonga.be)I was parsing through my iTunes library when I came across the two albums that I have by William Elliot Whitmore[wiki]. When I did the public radio thing back in the states, he was a guest a few times on the show that we did at a local coffee house every Friday. Super nice, and one of those artists that were able to detract my attention from the levels on the mixer and completely pull me into his performance. Not too shabby for ten in the morning.

I thought I’d check him out on the web to see what he’s up to. He’s originally from southeast Iowa, so southeast that he grew up on the “penninsula” of the state, surrounded by the Mississippi and Des Moines River. These roots make their way into his music from time to time, but that’s not why I’m a fan of his music. Some people say Tom Waits or Johnny Cash when they talk about him, but I think that’s way off. He’s William Elliot Whitmore. Once you get to see him perform, you get it.

Whitemore (credit: ranhar2[flickr])Quite fortunately, he’s coming to Vancouver. October 5th at the Red Room. With hope, I’ll be able to make it out to see him.

Whitmore is my age. When I shook his hand to introduce myself as his sound guy, I thought that his voice might still be suffering from just waking up not long ago. Deep, raspy, and almost struggling for air. That’s just how he talks. How or why, I’m not sure, but whiskey might have something to do with it.

I set up three mics for him. One for his vocals, another for his banjo or guitar, and a third for his foot. He stomps the floor as he plays, getting the stage to boom like a kick drum. Head tilted up and eyes closed, it was like magic. On his song “Cold and Dead”, he doesn’t play anything. It’s just him singing. It gets me when I’m listening to the recording, just like I did the day I saw him perform it.

Oh sure, you might think that it sounds lame. Guy from Iowa with a banjo on stage. Tell that to all the fans of the hardcore band, Ten Grand[wiki], that have become some of his biggest followers. Imagine going out to a show in some of the seediest clubs in Europe with the intention of seeing a band with loud guitar noise and screaming, only to see this guy come on stage as the opening act. It happened many times, and people loved him.

The Reverend has The Mountain Goats on tape

Photo by: mountain-goats.comOne thing that The Mountain Goats[wiki] encourages is taping of their live shows. These things end up getting traded among fans, and you’ll see them posted around various sites on the internet, such as TheMountainGoats.net, for the masses to enjoy.

The Reverend Don Deeley was able to catch their show in Pittsburgh the other day at The Andy Warhol Museum, and you know he got it on tape. He mentioned that it’s not a soundboard recording, but the important thing is that he captured it. The Rev got me introduced to their music from our KRUI days together. You can find his recording on the Internet Archive, and here’s the track listing from the show.

Collection: MountainGoats
Band/Artist: Mountain Goats
Date: September 20, 2006
Venue: The Andy Warhol Museum
Location: Pittsburgh, PA


Wild Sage
New Monster Avenue
Love Love Love
Song for Lonely Giants
Your Belgian Things
Cheshire County
Moon Over Goldsboro
Maybe Sprout Wings
In the Hidden Places
Gameshows Touch Our Lives
You or Your Memory
In Corolla (Peter on guitar)

Pet Politics (Silver Jews)
This Year


The Rev in Stanley ParkAs I post this, I have “We Shall All Be Healed” rolling in the background. Everytime I make my way back to The Mountain Goats, I am finding myself amazed and falling in love all over again. Needless to say, The Rev is much more of a fan than I am. The stories he has relayed to me about the trials and tribulations of John Darnielle[wiki] are fascinating.

I have to throw in a slight Iowa connection here. Darnielle lived in the town of Grinnell for a short period of his life, which is also home to a small college of the same name. I don’t know what it is about this city that lies within viewing distance from Interstate 80 as you drive by, but it’s a tiny hub for music in the area.

Grinnell College has a knack for pulling in some great acts, Death Cab For Cutie, Styrofoam, and John Vanderslice being a few that I can name off the top of my head. Not bad for a town of nearly 10,000 people. It’s also the birth place of Speed of Sauce, a long gone local band that has been a favorite of mine since I saw them open up for The Dismemberment Plan in Iowa City.

About the picture, that is The Rev. We ventured into Stanley Park when he was out here in February. Good times.

Dedication of Johnny Carson’s birthplace

When I met Wyn at one of the Metroblogging Vancouver meetups, she mentioned, with a lot of pride, how she puts a little bit of Halifax in everything that she posts, whenever she can. Afterall, it is her home town, and I think that’s what I try to do with a lot of the things that I write about here. If anything, I like to promote information about Iowa that some people might not be unaware of.

Take Johnny Carson[wiki] for instance. He’ll claim that most of his days spent growing up were in Nebraska, but his true place of birth is in the town of Corning, Iowa[wiki]. Yeah, Iowa… Corn… Corning? A historical pun of the sorts, but this is the truth.

Carson birthplace event called off; McMahon ailing

September 21, 2006
Thursday’s planned dedication of the Johnny Carson Birthplace in Corning is off, event organizers say, because Carson’s former pal Ed McMahon is unable to attend.

McMahon was to headline the day’s events honoring the memory of Carson, who died last year. The two were together during the three decades Carson hosted NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

“Mr. McMahon called us (Wednesday) night and told us he was ill and unable to fly,” said Beth Wadle of the Adams Community Economic Development Corporation. “He very much wants to be here when we dedicate the birthplace, so we’re holding off until he can reschedule.”

The small house where Carson was born in 1925, was recently purchased by a Corning native who plans to restore it to its original condition.

Carson also lived in Clarinda, Red Oak and Avoca as a child before his family moved to Nebraska. [desmoinesregister]

There are certain things that you have to be proud of, and for many Iowans, this is one of them. While it is true that Carson sat on his throne for nearly thirty years on the west coast, his roots run deep in the midwest. He always spoke with fondness about where he was from, if not making it apart of his jokes. It’s easy to do, and more acceptable when you are one of us.

I think what troubles me are those who move away from Iowa and do everything they can to hide where they are from. Actually, this goes for anyone from anywhere, and I’ve run into this with a vengence. I outted a girl for being from Indiana once, and that happened at the University of Iowa. I don’t think she liked me much prior to that moment, and she certainly hated me after.

It all comes down to stereotypes. Why not be truthful about your roots and defy those things that people already presume that we are? Not having the sense of pride to say where you are truthfully from doesn’t make your lie of where you claim to be any better.

People often ask me where I’m specifically from when I mention being an American. I’m not afraid to tell them where, and it’s rare to have a long conversation with anyone about it. I do live and reside in Vancouver, but you won’t hear me claim it as where I am from.

The fact is that a majority do not know a lot about Iowa other than what they saw in Field of Dreams[imdb].

One more reason to be proud of my home state

There are a lot of people in the world that make great achievements in their life and do their best to share that with the land that they call home. Iowa is no exception, and it’s home to a lot of great people in history. John Wayne, President Herbert Hoover, Johnny Carson, Grant Wood, Glenn Miller, Cloris Leachman, and, as I recently posted, James Van Allen, just to name a few, and you can Wiki all of those on your own if you wanna know more.

Maybe they’re not the greatest people in the world for what they did, but most people know the names if you say them. On top of that, accomplished folks tend to do more with their legacy to show their accomplishments or invest for the future.

Enter Tim Dwight[wiki]. Iowa Hawkeye football star who has gone on to a career in the NFL. He grew up in Iowa City, went to high school and college there, and is a bit of a celebrity to the area. It’s also good to know that he’s made a quality investment in not only his home town, but also one of the biggest party schools in the Big Ten[wiki].

Liquor House […] opened last Thursday and has already seen a surge in business at the bigger and better store, said co-owner Jeremy Harrod.

“It’s a huge upgrade from what we had,” said Harrod, who owns the store with his brother Mark Harrod and former Hawkeye football star Tim Dwight.

The new store is about 25 percent bigger than the old one and has a 400-square-feet walk-in cooler that can house up to 85 kegs. The store’s inventory has doubled, with three new liquor sections and expanded wine collections.

In addition, Liquor House will offer a home delivery service for the first time. That service is available during the store’s operating hours, which is extended during game days. [press-citizen]

Sure, this is a huge money making opportunity, so anyone able to invest in demand of binge drinking, bright eyed college students makes complete sense. This isn’t the only thing Dwight does. He also “gives back to the community” with his yearly football camp for kids between the ages of 8-18. You could say that he gives back to those under the legal drinking age, but this is college we’re talking about. Being illegal doesn’t stop much.

It’s a wonderful thing to see role models taking interest in helping the community they once grew up in. I’m not bad mouthing drinking. It’s all apart of the college experience. Beer bongs until you vomit and can’t see straight is another story, not to mention the reckless behavior that comes along with it. Yes, there is truth in being too much of a good thing.

There seems to be somewhat of an oxymoron going on here, does it not? Poll a majority of the students on the UI campus and they’ll tell you that you’re probably wrong. It’s just a smart business venture, and there is nothing wrong with Dwight teaching young kids football talents and owning a store that aids in hardening the livers of students. What a great way to use that social status.