Sunday, November 1, 2020

Good advice on Internet posting and email!

Dan Fisher

I recently received a newsletter from my friend (the sharp-looking fellow pictured above) that included useful advice on posting to the web, via social media and in other ways, and some good things to remember when emailing. Here are a few of Dan's tips:

When posting anything on the Internet, remember: 

- The "enter key" is not your friend. Once you hit that enter key and what you wrote is posted, you have lost control. I'll add one exception: Facebook does have edit and delete options. You'll find them under the little dots to the immediate right of your post. 

- Anything you post on the Internet may very likely out-live you regardless of how young or old you are. And, if you're an older adult and you post something a bit strange, your grandkids will think you're weird. 

Regarding email:

- Never send an email when you're mad. Your blogger here has done that and I spent a lot of time repairing the damage. And - most of the time - I've found that getting mad and flying into a verbal emotional rage doesn't really get you anywhere. A little sugar and a smile has gotten me a lot further in making a point.

- Never use "reply to all" unless you really know what you're doing and you've carefully checked the reply list. If your multi-recipient reply went to someone who shouldn't have received it, perhaps someone you were negatively referring to in your group email, I've found it takes a lot of time and effort to repair the damage. Much more efficient to carefully check that "reply to all" list before you send it.

- In Dan's pointers, he says that a "poorly thought-out email can document your thought process." Think about that. Is that something you want a colleague, boss, or client to know about you? Your "thought process." Carefully go over your message and edit it before you send it.

- Asking to "recall" an email invites everyone to read it and, perhaps, share what you shouldn't have sent in the first place. You're just pouring gas on the fire. Again, your blogger has done that and it took time, effort and no small measure of ingenuity to repair the damage. 

The reminders here can be summed up in one word: CAUTION!  Think!  And use a good measure of caution before you hit that "enter key." Remember, that key is not your friend.

My thanks to Dan Fisher and his CopperRiver Group, a consulting firm for banks and credit unions, for giving me permission to share these reminders with you. For more tips like these and information about the firm itself, go to www.CopperRiverGroup.comLG 11-01-2020

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

What is past IS - certainly today - definitely prologue!

"WHAT IS PAST IS PROLOGUE" are words written by "The Bard," William Shakespeare. His character Antonio said them in Act 2, Scene 1 of a Shakespeare play, The Tempest.

You'll also find these immortal words engraved above the entrance to the National Bureau of Archives in Washington, D. C. Dr. Mardy Grothe shows how much the past is, in fact, prologue in his new book of historical quotations entitled, Deconstructing Trump: The Trump Phenomenon Through the Lens of Quotation History.

What Grothe has done is a lot of solid research and he presents a thousand quotations from history's greatest thinkers, writers, and political leaders. What would they say about the current occupant of the White House? While none of the featured quotations mention the 45th president by name, they all have a collective Trump-illuminating quality that is often startling. If you, like me, are in need of a little "Trump therapy," as the author terms it, a dose of this book may be just what you need. I know I did.

An eloquent example is this one: "As democracy is perfected, the office [of the U. S. president] represents more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." That from the late newspaper columnist and social/political commentator,  H. L. Mencken in The Baltimore Evening Sun.

Over the years, I've purchased a number of books by Dr. Grothe, including Ifferisms: An anthology of aphorisms that begin with the word IF and I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like: a compilation of history's greatest analogies, metaphors, and similies.

Incidentally, Mardy is a North Dakota native and a University of North Dakota graduate in psychology. What called my attention to his Trump book was an interview with the author conducted by Doug Hamilton on Prairie Public Radio's Main Street Program. You can hear that interview by clicking here.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Remembering Bobby Vee and the Day the Music Died

Bobby Vee and the Shadows in 1959 from the photo section of
(L-R) Dick Dunkirk, Bobby Vee, Bob Korum, and Bill Velline (Bobby's brother).
This was the group that performed at Moorhead Armory on Feb. 3, 1959.
This is the original Shadows Band with Bobby.  (L-R) Jim Stillman on bass guitar,
Bob Korum on drums, Bobby, and, on rhythm guitar, Bobby's brother, Bill Velline.
Photo posted by permission of Rock House Productions.

Bobby passed away at the age of 73 in 2016 from complications of Alzheimer's disease. His wife of 52 years, Karen, passed away the year before. Born in Fargo, N. Dak., as Robert Velline, Bobby's big break came as the result of a tragedy. He was hired at age 15 to substitute for a planned concert with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J. D. Richardson (the "Big Bopper") at the Moorhead, Minn., armory, on February 3, 1959.

I interviewed Bobby Vee about a year or so before he contracted Alzheimer's. At that time, his memory was excellent. The occasion for this interview was the forthcoming 2010 reunion of the Valley City (N. Dak.) High School class of 1961. Bobby and his band would be performing at the June gathering (and they did a wonderful job!). In May of that year, Bobby's son, Jeff, arranged for me to visit with him on the phone. I apologize for some of the poor quality of the telephone line, but you'll be able to hear every word.

Both he and I learned of the fatal plane crash the same way. We both lived near our respective high schools; he close to Fargo Central and I almost across the street from Valley City High School. As was our routine, we both went home for lunch that terrible day, and learned of the plane crash there. He from his mother and me from my grandmother. We became glued to the radio to find out more.

The interview is about 12 minutes. You can listen to it by clicking hereNote: You may have to "right click" and select "open in new window." LG-2-04-2019

RELATED TO THIS TRAGIC EVENT IS ANOTHER INTERVIEW: this one by my former colleague at WDAY Radio in Fargo, way back in the late 60s and early 70s, John Erling. John went on to  host the top-rated talk show in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, market, Erling in the Morning on KRMG Radio and he maintained that popularity for over 30 years. We had lunch in Fargo last year and visited through about three hours of memories. John was also the emcee of my "retirement roast" in September, 2007, and did a fabulous job!

Since his retirement from radio, John has worked tirelessly on capturing interviews with prominent Oklahomans through the Voices of Oklahoma oral history project he founded and still produces. One of his most popular interviews, and certainly relevant on this 60th anniversary of those tragic deaths in that plane crash in 1959, is his visit with Tommy Allsup. He was the lead guitarist in the tour band that performed with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper during that very tough winter in the Midwest. There was only one seat left on the small Beechcraft Bonanza plane, piloted by 21-year-old Roger Peterson. Richie Valens wanted the seat that was originally slotted for Waylon Jennings. So they asked Allsup to flip a coin. You can hear the rest of that story in John's interview with Allsup by clicking here.

A chapter on the Tommy Allsup interview along with many other stories about
legends Erling has interviewed are available in this recent book (above).
For more information about the book and to consider ordering it from Amazon, click here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Try this hidden Las Vegas treasure and treat!

My son, Dave, and I, after enjoying the food and hospitality at The Omelet House in Las Vegas!
Las Vegas locals know about this place, including many celebrities. But tourists usually need a tip or recommendation. After their first visit, most become enthusiastic recommenders, just as I am, along with our Vegas-based family members. I'm referring to Kevin Mills' original Omelet House, located about four miles from The Strip at 2160 West Charleston Blvd.

Before my June (2018) dog-sitting visit to Las Vegas, I remembered reading that The Omelet House was the late Jerry Lewis's favorite restaurant. He lived in Vegas since the early 1980's. The Omelet House was the venue where Jerry Seinfeld interviewed the legendary "King of Comedy" in 2012. You can see that 2018-released interview, along with the two Jerrys driving and chatting around Vegas in a vintage red Jaguar, in the Netflix series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

When you enter this amazing restaurant, you'll see an autographed photo of President Jimmy Carton and his family, as well as a menu autographed by President Bill Clinton. As the hostess guides you to a table, I found myself looking around to see if I could spot someone I recognized, such as a celebrity or prominent national politician.

Besides our server giving us excellent service, a wonderful supervisor by the name of "Loni" (I hope I have that name right) answered our questions and included some interesting antidotes about this famous restaurant. When we asked about Jerry Lewis, she said that sometimes the star would have his driver come by and pick up five orders of  "very stiff" bacon, the treat that Lewis loved so much. You can hear him order it during this Seinfeld interview, at this very restaurant.

Naturally, we just had to request a couple of orders of that excellent Jerry Lewis bacon. And it was terrific! For my main breakfast course, I ordered the "Mile-High City" omelet. With a nod to the famous "Denver sandwich," its contents included ham, bell pepper, and onion.

Prices are reasonable. Only $11.29 (2018) for that omelet I ordered and that included all the trimmings.These omelets - constructed from their stated "farm fresh eggs" - are served with the restaurant's classic spuds and your choice of Toast, English Muffin, Homemade Pumpkin Nut Bread, Banana Nut Bread (when available) or Tortillas. Trust me, you won't leave this place hungry, but you will take with you lots of unique and happy memories. I know our family did. Our party was comprised of my son, David, daughter-in-law Tammy, granddaughter Olivia (12) and myself.

Here's a scan of the menu we ordered from on that June Sunday in 2018.
Note our host's signature and "thank you" in the upper right hand corner.
You'll find lots of "personal touches" to everything they do at The Omelet House.
Click on menu for a larger image.
This is the side of the menu with the actual omelets.
I had the one indicated by the little red check mark. #8, the "Mile-High-City"
Click on menu for larger image

For the health conscience, the menu says, "Because we love you, we use only ZERO trans-fat oil in our cooking."

Next time you're in Vegas or if you live there as my son does, stop by The Omelet House and dig in. You won't regret your experience at this very authentic Vegas landmark!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Amazon's handy free service for Kindle users

If you haven't tried it already, please do! When you "highlight" a passage in the book you're reading on your Kindle, that highlight is stored in a special area - available only to you - on Amazon's website. I love this feature because if I want to refer back to a highlight I made in a certain book (including borrowed public library Kindle formatted books), there it is ready for me to copy and paste into an email or Word document.

You can check out this feature - you'll need your Amazon account and password - by going to That's not a link, simply paste or type into your browser. Your Kindle has offered the highlight feature since its inception and your highlights have always been stored, ready for retrieval by you. However, Amazon recently upgraded this capability and their new "notebook" area is now easier than ever to use. Try it!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Excellent book of Nashville star stories

I finally got around to posting here and hope to keep it up much more regularly. Getting started after a long absence is difficult. But, alas, here I am.

I'll start my new posts with an usually well-written book by Peter Cooper, published by Spring House Press, Nashville, in 2017. It's titled Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music.

During his working career, Cooper was the country music reporter for Nashville's daily newspaper, The Tennessean. From Amazon:  "Spanning nineteen chapters, Cooper offers an original take on the formative days at WSM and engaging introductions to an ensemble cast of country music’s icons, quirks, and golden-but-hidden personalities. With a gem on every page, Cooper has crafted a perceptive, smiling, and atypical immersion into the world of country music that will keep any music fan engaged with its wit, passion, and authenticity."

I love his opening quote, from Cowboy Jack Clement (1931-2013), staff producer and engineer for Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. He said, "If I had Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride I wouldn't have a Buck Owen on my car."

During his time at Sun, Clement penned a couple of hits recorded by Johnny Cash: "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," Cash's break-through-to-the-pop-charts record, and "Guess Things Happen That Way."

This is an excellent book of anecdotes, ones I hadn't heard or read before, about names any country/pop fan would know. From those guys who got their start at Sun, including Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others, to today's Taylor Swift. It's priced now at about $12 at Amazon in trade paperback only (Sorry, no Kindle edition available as of now, although I've requested it).

You won't be sorry your started reading this one.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A video interview: Jerry Mehlisch on the 1953 Fargo-Moorhead Twins

Last winter, my friend and Viet Nam War veteran, Les Jensen, asked me if I know Jerry Mehlisch. Of course I do! We worked together at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Dakota for at least a couple of decades. Although I knew he played on that legendary 1953 Fargo-Moorhead Twins team, a Class C minor league affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, that's about all I knew of my colleague's baseball career.

Les wanted Jerry to sign a baseball for his brother, apparently an even more avid collector of baseball knowledge and memorabilia than Les (if that's possible!). So, I called the former pro catcher and asked if we could come over to his house in Fargo and shoot a video interview. I wanted to cover some of his recollections about the F-M Twins and the team's star players who went on to the major leagues. He answered in the affirmative and Les came up with some "inside baseball" questions for the interview and we were off to the races..more specifically to Barnett Field in the land of baseball memories. Barnett in Fargo, North Dakota, was the Twins' home field for many years, after moving across the Red River from a diamond in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Principal photography (as they say in Hollywood) was done in two sessions, the first on January 28, 2016, and the second was done a few weeks later. Then, it took this would-be "Steven Spielberg" no less than six months to finish the editing or "post production" in movie jargon. For you computer fans, I did the editing in Adobe Premiere Elements 13.

Jerry's wife, Shari, was most helpful in retrieving a number of the photos you'll see in the video. And she sent me this background on Jerry:

"He's an Iowa farm boy who lived his dream of playing pro baseball after signing a contract in 1950 with the Cleveland Indians organization. This was one year after surviving polio. (Jerry was one of the lucky ones during that horrible epidemic, prior to Dr. Jonas Salk's discovery of a vaccine)

"After his pro years from 1951-54, Jerry attended Moorhead State University, now Minnesota State University Moorhead and, to date, he still holds the highest batting average record in the school's baseball history. After college, as an educator and coach, Jerry continued to pass along his love of the game and inspire others. He and Pat Maris (Roger's widow) visit yearly at the Roger Maris Charity Golf Tournament and he remains friends with one of the sport's greatest pitchers, Jim 'Mudcat' Grant."

If you have any comments on the video, please email them to me at - although I don't include the capability for direct comments on this blog, I will publish your comments in a later post.

The 16-minute result of this project is now posted on YouTube and available for viewing by clicking here.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A new understanding of who and what God is

My friend, Tom Martin, has written a book that explains his personal and Christian interpretation of God. The book is titled Love and Spirit: A New Set of Eyes, published in 2015 by Balboa Press of Bloomington, Indiana. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to explore a new and, perhaps, more relevant understanding of who and what God is.

Tom is a captain for a major airline. He's never attended a seminary and holds no degrees in theology that would qualify him as an "expert" on God. He says, "I'm just a seeker." Like me, and, maybe, like you.

This author lives near Duluth, in northern Minnesota. Last summer, we got together in a cabin on beautiful Lake Vermilion, not far from where Tom lives, and we visited about his book. The result of that conversation is a fifteen-minute video you can access through the link below at the end of the next sentence. You'll learn more about the author and what this highly interesting book is all about by watching the video viewable by clicking here.

You can find out more about Tom's book and order a copy, either hard-cover print or in the Kindle electronic format by clicking on one of the two links below. Note: if you click on the "Shop now" link, Amazon will ask if you if you want to put the book in your Amazon cart. If you simply want more information and then decide whether or not to order, click on the book's title. The Kindle electronic edition - which includes the entire text of the printed book - is currently available for $1.99 and for more information and to order the book in both print and Kindle formats, click here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

An audio interview about Roy "Pete" Pedersen

I was interviewed today (9-18-2015) by Mike Kapel on WDAY Radio about the life of WDAY pioneer and legend, Roy "Pete" Pedersen, who passed away Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

One of Roy's accomplishments I was going to mention but slipped my mind was the annual WDAY Band Festival. Many of you old-timers will remember that event. Roy, along with the late Ken (Sydness) Kennedy and station manager Jack Dunn, got the radio and TV stations staffs working on this project that brought in high school bands from around the entire region. It was an affair that took a lot of hard work by all of us who were at WDAY at the time, but it was satisfying, greatly appreciated by the business community, and we all had a lot of fun pulling it off under Roy's leadership.

If you'd like to hear the audio file of this morning's interview, it's parked permanently under the audio section of the WDAY-Z "tab" at the top of this page but, for now, you also listen to it by clicking here. God bless the memory of Roy "Pete" Pedersen!  

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting something done through "Singletasking"

A common societal disease, both inhibiting and debilitating, is multi-tasking. I'm not talking about listening to a radio or mp3 player through earphones while one is mowing the lawn or doing a little work on a laptop while watching TV. I'm thinking here of texting and talking on a cellphone while driving OR taking a phone call while you're visiting with someone across a lunch table or desk.

I can easily avoid egregious errors of etiquette but what clogs up my mental machinery is having launched too many projects, resulting in that "I don't know where to begin" feeling. I become task paralyzed. Can't get going, can't finish anything I've started.

There's a book that provides an answer to this dilemma. It's entitled Singletasking: Get More Done One Thing at a Time by Devora Zack and published this year (2015) by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., Oakland, California. I discovered this inspiring book at the Dr. James Carlson south side branch of the Fargo (ND) Public Library.

Although Zack writes that "nobody cares about my credentials except my mother," I think it's impressive she has an MBA from Cornell University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania (magna cum laude). Her first two books: Networking for People Who Hate Networking and Managing for People Who Hate Managing have both been translated into more than 20 languages. She travels the world speaking and consulting for major companies helping people get more things done.

Zack's strategy can be summed up in an anonymous quote she used on her book's preface page: "The successful man is the average man, focused." And - AHA! -  I knew I was going to like this book and her strategy when she presented another quotation I have always valued, one I have often used myself. It's from the perceptive American business leader, Jack Welch. He said: "You would not believe how difficult it is to be simple and clear. People are afraid that they may be seen as a simpleton. In reality, just the opposite is true."

If you've ever worked for a larger business or corporation, you know, as I do from experience, that truer words were never spoken.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, making many notes along the way. It has helped me get off the dime and get something done. Like this blog post. I have been trying to post something here for the last six months! I strongly commend it to you if plagued, to one degree or another, by the contemporary disease of "multi-tasking." If you can't seem to get through your "to do" list, do read this book. It will help.  - Lg

For more information on this book and to order, click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Best book so far explaining America's health care problems

Just read a book I highly recommend if you'd like to really understand what happened and is happening with the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, commonly called "ObamaCare." Steven Brill, who's about as nonpartisan as one can get in this era of acute polarization in politics, has written a book every thinking American should read: America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight To Fix Our Broken Health Care System.

In recent history, fixing the health care system and getting over 40 million Americans to help support the health care infrastructure by purchasing insurance before they need it, goes back to efforts by President Nixon, a Republican. His attempt was derailed because he became lost in the Watergate scandal. The late Wilbur Mills, a Democratic Congressman from Arkansas, was helping Nixon get something done on his health care solution, but he was also side-tracked. His distraction was the infamous episode in Washington's Tidal Basin with an Argentinian stripper who went by the name Fanne Fox.

Prior to that crash, FDR, followed by President Truman, all tried to provide a pathway to universal health coverage for all Americans. The latest - and most successful effort - prior to "ObamaCare," was when then Massachusetts's Governor Mitt Romney's put together a program requiring everyone to purchase health insurance in that state. Romney partnered with the late Massachusetts's Senator Ted Kennedy to get it done. In other words, we had, in this effort, a Republican and a Democrat working together; amazing by today's Congressional standards.

Brill covers all the lobbying, particularly that done by the pharmaceutical manufacturer's lobbyists, and how Medicare is prohibited from negotiating prices for the Part D drug program, causing seniors to pay far more for drugs than their counterparts do in Canada, Mexico and the rest of the world. He points out that, in terms of GNP, Great Britain spends half of what America does on health care and achieves better outcomes. Likewise for much of the rest of the developed world. Why does America lag behind? Read about all the lobbying and monetary influence that buys self-interested legislative decisions in Washington: Brill covers it all.

Terry Gross of National Public Radio's Fresh Air recently interviewed the author of America's Bitter Pill and you can listen to and/or download that visit by clicking here.  Click on the little arrow next to the NPR logo or in a blue circle on the NPR page to hear the interview. As with nearly all of Gross's interviews, this one is excellent, as she extracts from Brill the key points the book makes. Definitely worth a listen.

Bottom line: If you read one book this year on health care financing, read this one. For more information and to order the book, go to Amazon by clicking here (please note that this book is also available for the Kindle and the  B & N Nook. I purchased it for my Kindle at around $12).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Excellent new biography of Peggy Lee!

Book cover from
Author James Gavin's new book (published in November of this year - 2014) is a must-read for anyone who appreciated the music and the stardom of Peggy Lee, one of the world's greatest big-band, jazz and pop female vocalists. All North Dakotans should read this book too; it gives us natives of a "desolate state," as Gavin refers to it, a realization that--if one has a dream and is willing to work really hard at it--you can go from a small-town, Wimbledon, N. Dak., to living on the same block in Beverly Hills as Frank Sinatra. The biography, entitled Is That All There Is?: The Strange Life of Peggy Lee is published by Altria Books and runs 608 pages. I read it on my Kindle.

Peggy Lee sang on the radio in Valley City, N. Dak., on KOVC, the same station I was on as a high school-age disc jockey back in 1958. She performed from the same studio that I worked in, part of the Rudolf Hotel building from the 1930s until the early 60s. The late Bob Ingstad, Sr., hired her and, I'm happy to say, he hired me too, at age 15. As a teenager, I didn't appreciate the pop culture history that had been present in that studio, but I do now.

Of course, this book is about Peggy Lee, not me. And it's a good one. She started out in life as Norma Delores Egstrom. Her dad was a depot agent for the Midland Continental Railroad in Wimbledon, north of Jamestown, in the central part of the state. She received the name "Peggy Lee" from Ken (Sydness) Kennedy. I worked with Ken at WDAY during the 1960s and he loved to re-name everybody, including himself. But I must admit, Peggy Lee would be an easier sell in show biz than "Norma Egstrom."

Gavin has done his research, tracing Lee's history back to her childhood, which was a troubled one. There was her alcoholic dad and then, according to the book, a step-mom that would make Cinderella's witchy-mom seem like "mother of the year." 

Lee went on to experience several troubled marriages; she was obsessive about her career and drove a lot of friends, employed helpers and husbands nuts. Lee had one child, a daughter, with her first husband, guitarist Dave Barbour. Nicki Lee Barbour Foster died on November 18 of this year (2014) at the age of 71. She left Hollywood and her mother's home decades ago and spent most of her married life in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Gavin's detailed yet easy-to-read narrative mentions a number of North Dakotans, including Wes Anderson, curator of the Barnes County Historical Museum in Valley City. Also included is the late Lloyd Collins, long-time organist at Olivet Lutheran Church in Fargo and employed by Nels Vogel Music in Moorhead, Minn. He was Lee's accompanist during their engagement at the Powers Hotel in downtown Fargo and they also performed together on WDAY Radio. The studio, at that time, was only a block or so away from the Powers on the 8th floor of Fargo's landmark Black Building.

Peggy Lee's Hollywood musical career branched off into movie acting. She played Rose, an alcoholic "gun moll" and "sometime singer" in a movie that starred and was directed by Jack Webb, of radio and TV's Dragnet series. And she scored an Academy Award nomination for that performance. 

Gavin serves-up fascinating details about her television appearances with Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Petula Clark and many others.

I have to chalk this one up as one of my favorite books for the year and I highly recommend it. If you would like more information and to order a printed book or a full-text version for your Kindle (includes photographs), click here  (Kindle edition is currently about $14):

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Best bio yet on Bob Dylan!

Although it was published way back in 2001, I hadn't come across what I consider the best biography yet on Bob (Zimmerman) Dylan from Hibbing, Minnesota, until I found it about a month ago and put it on my Kindle. It's called Down the Highway: the Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes; published by Grove Press.

What I immediately like about this particular book on Dylan is that it covers his early Hibbing years in interesting detail. Then he hits Dylan's time at the University of Minnesota, a campus I arrived at about the time he was leaving. Interesting to note that Garrison Keillor, the sage of Minnesota and America's modern-day Mark Twain, were at the U of M at the same time. That factoid wasn't in the book, it's mine. In fact, I was there at the same time Keillor was, but I was working over at KSTP, the 50,000-watt NBC affiliate while Keillor worked at the student station, KUOM. However, he zoomed ahead of me, gaining national prominence with A Prairie Home Companion on public radio. He has books on Amazon but I don't, at least not yet. We're both the same age.

But that's me jumping off on a tangent - I do that often, sort of "hyper-linking" mentally when something strikes my fancy in a story I'm telling. Drives my friends nuts. Sorry.

Back to the Dylan book: Sounes' writing is easy to read; well researched and documented. His description of the star's brief work in Fargo, N. Dakota, with Bobby Vee's band - just prior to Vee's leap to the national stage - was accurate and interesting. I checked with Dick Dunkirk, one of the players in Vee's "Shadows" band during the time Dylan tried to play piano with them. He went by the name "Elston Gunn" during that foray. The bio goes on - for 432 pages - covering is entire career and life, up to this point. I learned what a romantic fellow and ladies' man Bob was during his younger days. He knew how to "get the girls."

You'll read about his successes and more challenging times in recordings, concerts, the works.

All in all, if you're a Dylan fan and/or buff, as I am, this is a must-have book. You can find out more information - and order if you wish, in print or a less expensive copy for the Kindle - through the Amazon link below:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Another memorable season at Jasper's Theater!

On Saturday, September 6, 2014, I was in the audience at Jasper's Theater, Park Rapids, Minnesota, and I had my new Nikon d5300 with my also new Nikon 18-200mm zoom lens. I sat in about the 8th row, on the left aisle and I was able to capture a number of photographs using only the stage lighting, no flash. 

We've been to a number of Jasper's shows and this one was one of the best. 'Course, every year the cast adds new acts, songs, and humor to help make each year fresh and new but retaining the traditional quality that Jasper audiences expect.

Jack Sand opens things up with a "pre-show" of magic and humor. He plays a couple of very unusual characters in the show and, of course, offers more of his outstanding magic at various times throughout the performance.

Click on pictures for larger images:

Darlene Hilde Rolle plays "Auntie Kreamsaugen with "Hector," played by Jack Sand
Dan Brekke, the young fiddler, continues to be a show stopper and, a college friend of mine and JoAnne's, Harley Sommerfeld, performs a wonderful solo number on the clarinet, "Am I Blue," He Shawn Brekke do some fine duet work on the horns, and they back-up the singers and dancers throughout the show. The entire cast is a regional treasure and I encourage you to see one of their shows. They have one "10th Anniversary Show" left, on Saturday, September 20th, Dan Brekke - a talent we watched develop through his high school career - is now a freshman at NDSU and has his own band. He will do the season-ender show on September 27, 2014.
Dan Brekke stops the show with the "Orange Blossom Special"
Harley Sommerfeld and Shawn Brekke do an outstanding job on the horns
For more information and reservations, call 218-255-1333 or visit Jasper's website by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"The Keillor Reader" is a must-have book for Garrison fans!

I've been listening to Garrison Keillor tell stories on public radio's A Prairie Home Companion for 40 years. Like millions of his fans, I never tire of the yarns the sage of Minnesota, America's modern day Mark Twain, weaves every week. His books have all been winners and so is this new one.

The title is The Keillor Reader (no subtitle), published May 1, 2014, by Viking. It's 400 pages of memoir, interwoven with a collection of tales about that mythical and timeless small town in central Minnesota, Lake Woebegon. Some of these stories you've heard before but he adds prefaces to older material explaining when and/or where each tale was written. Despite having read nearly all of his books and listened to countless monologues on APHC, these renditions seem fresh and remain forever funny.

I always wondered how Keillor prepares his weekly monologue. He shares his technique and other behind-the-scenes stuff, giving the book an autobiographical feel. As you read this anthology, anyone around you will wonder what's causing your belly laughs.

To learn more about The Keillor Reader and, if you wish, purchase a copy in print or for your Kindle (as I did), click here.