Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No iTunes Here - Beatle Related 45s Found Today

Recently Apple Records announced that the Beatle catalog finally is available on Apple's (the other company) iTunes - making the leap into the 21st century for the Fab Four. Today a bit of retro smacked the 42N team with the purchase of now classic '50s, '60s and '70s pop by one Beatle, one mentor, and two students. Any artist on the Apple record label (cassette and 8-track tapes, 45s, LPs) is generally hard to find let alone in good to great condition. All of these 45 rpm records are in average condition given their age and play use.

Top row (left to right): "Without You" recorded by Harry Nilsson went to number 1 on the billboard chart. "Without You" was written and recorded earlier by the Beatle's protege band Badfinger. The next two Apple label singles here are by Mary Hopkins, one of the first artists the Beatles signed to the Apple label. She recorded "Those Were the Days", written by Gene Raskin and the Paul McCartney penned tune "Goodbye." She is best known for these two recordings. Her recording of "Those Were the Days" reached number 2 while "Goodbye" hit number 13 in the US. 

Bottom row (left to right): "Think it Over" was composed and recorded by the Crickets (Buddy Holly). McCartney highly regards Holly and purchased the entire Holly song catalog years later. "My Love" by McCartney, from the Red Rose Speedway album was issued on the Apple label in name only. The record reached number 1. The flip side contains "The Mess" which is a good rocker. And finally another copy of McCartney's "Listen to What the Man Said" was collected today - yet another number 1 song.

Granted these recordings are filled with snap, crackle and pop when played on the turntable. They also show wear on their labels from record stacking. Yet to physically hold a recording of a classic pop song is something the digital age has yet to offer outside of a CD and jacket. With iTunes a song file is purchased and downloaded for play - no physical media to scratch or label to write your name on. Know that.

Monday, November 29, 2010

DX Sign Outlives Company and Calamities

Another day and another DX sighting in the Midwest. This vintage sign is located in the northeastern Missouri town of Novinger, a very small, former coal mining community.  DX was a petroleum company whose gas stations dotted the American midwest. Last year a F2 tornado hit this area, the local river flooded and in September a fire on main street fire destroyed five businesses but none of these calamities damaged the DX sign. Is that an indicator that DX is here to stay? Know that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Westward Thinking at St. Joseph, Missouri

Its a bit hard to find. Look for the Lewis and Clark Historical roadside historical signs pointing the way to this spot in St. Joseph, Missouri. As you travel through the hilly downtown, dominated by warehouses and government buildings you will glimpse the elevated I-29 interstate overhead. The downtown sign points you to the Missouri River. Take the brick paved street over the railroad tracks just a few yards from the river and you have arrived. 

Geographically, where you have arrived is a pivotal spot in American Western history. Here at the Missouri River's edge in St. Joseph is a triad of western journey. The first acknowledgement is the encampment sites of the 1803 Lewis and Clark expedition. The upriver and later downriver camp sites in the area are marked on an outdoor display.
The second acknowledgement is the start of the Oregon-California Trails from this spot. A plaque nearby says that each spring in the 1840s to 1850s the hills of St. Joseph were filled with hundreds of wagons waiting for ferries to take them across the river to trails leading west. On the day before Thanksgiving 2010 the only water craft visible from this marker was a tow, barge and dredger keeping the Missouri at nine foot depths for barge navigation (see the sand being piled on the barge between the tow and dredge.)

The last component of this special area is the embarking point for the short lived Pony Express. The St. Joseph to San Francisco mail route demonstrated quick information flow but when the organization did not receive a government contract the express folded as railroad and telegraphs made communication speedier.

These triad of markers at this place show wear, gang symbol spray paint and overgrown grass and bushes. Overhead the interstate traffic speeds along while the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad rolls on. This area of St. Joseph is a conjunction of travel - then and today. Seek it out. Know that.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Union Veterans Remembered in Granite

A common feature in the Midwest's older cemeteries are veteran monuments. Civil War era monuments in this area of 42N country celebrate veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR.) This particular monument at Quasqueton, Iowa's Greenwood Cemetery is made of gray granite sections. Detailed carvings on the monument's sides depict four areas of warfare known at the time: infantry, cavalry, artillery, and naval. Close inspection of the nearly 100 year old monument reveals very little wear from freeze/thaw, rain, sun and organic lichens. This particular monument design is duplicated in nearby Manchester which also features two actual mortars from the era placed on the ground. Know that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Almost Aced By the Spear of Destiny

A few weeks ago while attempting to compose better photos I backed into what I thought was a solid wall. Turns out the wall was made up of these spear-like spikes of various heights. As I regained my balance I pressed against the spikes and turned around to see what had happened. There staring at me were these spear points (see top photo.) I, of course, instantly thought of the story of the Roman Centurion whose lance was known as the Spear of Destiny. In this case no damage was done and I was able to get the shots before rain fell. But for an instant the spear fence almost became my destiny. Know that.

French King - A Drink of the River

Running eastward through 42N country is the Iowa River. In Coralville the impounded river forms the Coralville Reservoir. Upstream from the pool of the lake is the natural course of the Iowa as seen here. The river traverses farmland and urban centers alike. Today cities draw and purify water from the river for drinking and discharge.

A world away and 900 years ago during the Battle of Gisors French King Philip Augustus lost his footing on a bridge and drank of the river. While French rivers have appealing names, our local Iowa River may be comparable. Then again, at one time, the Iowa River was a French possession. President Thomas Jefferson authorized the acquisition of these lands from the French for $15 million. The transaction is known today as the Louisiana Purchase. Know that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Delta Formation in Oskaloosa

Back on November 7th these Canada geese swimming at an Oskaloosa, Iowa city park were intent on determining why they were being photographed by the 42N team. At first the much larger flock sailed away from us beyond reasonable photo range. However this brave bunch came back for a closer look. Perhaps they thought we had food for them. Not today. Know that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Veterans Day 2010 Plus Three

Along the Mississippi River at 42N country's Clinton, Iowa is this WWI-related statue dedicated to the area's veterans. While Veterans Day was observed just three days ago, a few signs of the ceremony held on this site remained, like a few small flags. Located atop the river's flood dike, this veterans display recognized area individuals including a Medal of Honor hero, William B. Mayes, (11th Iowa Infantry, Civil War) and those who serve the country today. Know that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Extra Texture

A bit of texture can be found in 42N country along the Iowa River in northern Johnson County, Iowa. Here where the Coralville Reservoir pool becomes the Iowa River (up stream from the dam) you can find many examples of seasonal or transitional textures.

This area often floods and is covered by a thick deposit of mud. For the past two months we have received little rain leaving these flats dry and cracked. However don't be fooled, and step lively. These seemingly dried mud regions still hold more than adequate moisture below, in fact there is enough sogginess to send a weighted shoe into condition unacceptable. Now You know that is the answer at the end. Know that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

Thank you to all those who currently serve in the armed forces of the United States. And on this Veterans Day thank you to all who served this country from Revolutionary times to present. Our freedom and liberty that we prize today is made possible from your service. Know that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pleiades Rise Over Iowa

Rising in the east during early evening is an open star cluster called the Pleiades, or Messier 45, in the constellation Taurus. In olden times this bed of blue white young stars (middle top in photo) was often called the Seven Sisters and considered a test of good eyes to resolve the stars. Actually there are far more than seven stars in the cluster - click here. North American nighttime viewers can easily view the Pleiades cluster all winter long - rising just ahead of Orion the hunter. Note the double contrail visible above the roof line. Interesting. Know that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Scotty, Beam Me to Riverside, Iowa

One of the fictional series, Star Trek's early references is to the birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. His birthplace will be in 42N's Riverside, Iowa in the year 2228. After obtaining permission from series creator, Gene Roddenberry the city of Riverside initiated an annual festival called Trekfest in the 1980s.

Today you can find a stone marker indicating where James Kirk will be born, a Romulan bar or two (depending on their financial viability) and this object. It is a model of the USS Riverside, NCC 1818 which is present along the main road of the town. Sometimes the series actors show up for Trekfest.  The man himself William Shatner even punked the town with a fake movie gag - all in good natured fun. When traveling here regardless of your mode of transportation be sure to see the Star Trek displays, shops and pubs. Also bring your credits (think Harry Mudd) for the nearby casino action too. Know that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Grain Bins Hold the 2010 Harvest

As noted earlier in 42N blog posts, the countryside here reflects the grain agriculture nature of the Hawkeye state. In Iowa our mid-continent, mid latitude land is farmed primarily for corn and soybean production. These grains form the basis for livestock feed, fuel, or any number of things that manufacturers produce using these main staples (like starch.)

Small towns and rural crossroads with one or more bins like this scene above are quite common. Bins can represent storage and mixing facilities for livestock food. Feed mixture can be customized for a variety of livestock needs from poultry to cattle. Minerals and other additives can be mixed with corn or soybeans to deliver whatever the livestock producer requires for his/her livestock operation.

Steel bin imagery is often taken for granted because it is repeated so often around the region. These bins however, represent an important link from field to food, energy and material production around the world. Know that.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Discovering the American Pickers in 42N Country

The History's Channel's hit show, American Pickers is based out of 42N's LeClaire, Iowa, just north of Davenport along the Mississippi River. Antique Archaeology featured on the show is located a block off the main street at 115 1/2 Davenport Street with store hours 11am - 4pm Mon-Sat or by appointment. The above two photos are of the business office featured on the show. Its where pickers Mike and Frank interact with Danielle, the organizer.

But where is the white truck that Mike and Frank use to cruise around the country to pick antiques from collectors? On this particular day the show's white truck was in town. LeClaire is not too big - drive around and you'll discover the truck (when in town) parked by a antique gas pump and signs. Which is, of course a sign that you have found an American Picker. Know that.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Beer and a Smoke in Pioneer Village

Take a stroll to 42N's Pioneer Village in Scott County, Iowa. There in a re-created historic village you'll find all things old, Iowa old that is - mid 1800s to early 1900s.

At the spirits and tobacconists store you will find a display of two cigar Indians. Whether they are of age or are more modern carvings they do give a glimpse into the 19th century marketing of tobacco products - something you don't see much these days.

To round out the experience is a display of old soft drink brands as well as the Blackhawk Beer brand, a beer brewed in nearby Davenport, Iowa during 1944-1953. Wonder how it tasted versus Bud Lite or Miller Lite. Billy will tell us. Know that.