Wednesday, January 28, 2009

42N Lines of Confluence

Iowa spans 16 intersection locations where the earth's lines of latitude and longitude in whole number degrees cross the state. So what you say? Well being partial to the 42nd north parallel, the unique diversity of each intersection demonstrates how different each spot is and to what efforts people will go to document all 1,100 locations in the United States. Apparently you are never more than 49 miles way from one of these confluences. Get your GPS receiver fired up and experience the crossing of the lines nearest you. Know that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who is She?

Who is she? On October 15, 2008 this woman was taped by a small army of videographers surrounded by an entourage of assistants. Here's what we know: the place was Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia; the time was around 5 pm. The woman at the center of attention didn't say much but danced around and smiled a lot. Some people have guessed that she is a singer or an actress. Really? If you know who she is send me a message in the comment section. Know that.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sykora Bakery Takes Shape in Czech Village

Cedar Rapids icon, Sykora Bakery in Czech Village is being rebuilt to incorporate its original design with a few new additions following the June 2008 flood of the Cedar River that flows one block away. The business had been closed for two years while the new owners remodeled the century old building. June's flood sent eight feet of water and mud into the building but spared the destruction of the massive oven located in the back of the building. Other Czech Village businesses; Ernie's, C.J's, Novak's, and the Red Frog have all opened recently signalling the return of some normalcy to the highly visited area. The anticipated re-opening of Sykora's will do much to show that the city's most recognised landmarks are once again open for business. Know that.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Maryland Coach Brenda Frese Honored at Cedar Rapids Washington Basketball Game

Cedar Rapids Washington High School alumni, Brenda Frese (under the red arrow) is honored before the start of the women's basketball game between #13 CR Washington and #1 Linn Mar on January 22, 2009. Brenda is currently the basketball head coach of the University of Maryland Terrapins. She still holds many basketball records at WHS including the highest career free throw percentage. Listen here or download the file as Coach Gina (Greene) Rogers announces Brenda's accomplishments since graduating high school in 1988. Know that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

RCA Victor Radios At WWII Prices

A newspaper ad for a radio? Back in September 1941 the sight was apparently common - but with a warning. This Iowa City Press Citizen newspaper ad for the Checker Electric Supply store promotes, among other things, a selection of radios in spite of the approaching scarcity of electrical merchandise. World War II was three months away. Still you could get a wide selection of RCA Victor sets with varying number of tube performance at this sale. Today collecting old time radios is a way to admire the designs of wooden or plastic working models while enjoying the warm tone sounds that these objects can still produce. Know that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Conquistador 1967 vs. 2006

Procol Harum's first album release in 1967 featured a young Gary Brooker singing his hit song, Conquistador. Watch his more recent performance of the same tune nearly 40 years later. Gary Brooker (Member of the Order of the British Empire - MBE) shows that he can still bet out a tune. Know that.

Drying For A Smoke*

Last October's West Virginia's tobacco crop dries for the January markets. While on a journey to Virginia we stopped off at a roadside yard sale and had a chance to see the drying crop. The caretaker seen in this photo gave us the still moist plant to show others in middle America. Wrapped in a Hy-Vee plastic grocery bag the plant traveled the rest of the trip to the east coast then back to corn fields of the prairie. The final cure has taken place and is now ready for chopping and smoking. By the way our caretaker suffers from emphysema. Know that.

*1965 Caution: Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Health. 1969 Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Your Health. 1981 Warning: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide. Smoking by Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, and Low Birth Weight. Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health. Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Snow and Concrete

You never know what will inspire photography. Last week we received three volleys of snowfall plus record setting low temperatures in the minus 20s. This sight greeted me when I opened the garage door one morning. It is a mixture of concrete, tire marks in sandy slush and snow. Quite the diversity of colors and textures. If you click on this image you will see a larger size of this photo. It is currently my desktop photo. Know that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Haunting of Laurium Manor Inn

Deep in the heart of Upper Michigan's copper country is the Laurium Manor Inn, a beautiful 1908 symbol of elegance and high style. The opulent 45 room mansion is currently a splendid guest hotel providing visitors with a chance to experience how late Victorian-era copper barons once lived. The inn is located in Laurium, Michigan and provides many choices of restored rooms and overnight accommodation packages.

Listen here to the encounter or download the file.
One experience that we encountered last summer is not detailed on the inn's accommodation list. Listen above as one investigator-in-training describes her experience in one particular guest room around 2:22 in the afternoon during late July. Perhaps upon our next return we will spend the night and take more time to investigate the sounds of this 101 year old home before calling Ghost Hunters. Know that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Indiana Jones Not Retired

Indiana Jones lives on with his gear ready to go from somewhere in Plano, Texas. Apparently the film maker and crew can be coaxed out of retirement to make another spoof as a follow-up to their 1991 film epic. A negotiation team is on site today pitching ideas and discussing possible logistics. A script is said to be actually finished. While it may be months before we see the fedora wearing adventurer taking flight again we can be sure it will be another action packed thriller. Know that.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

Some of the best XM listening can be found on the Radio Classics channel - XM 164. There you'll find a variety of 1930's, '40s and '50s radio shows including "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar - the man with the action-packed expense account. America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator." Veteran radio actor Bob Bailey (above) played the part of Johnny from 1955 -1961 and was generally regarded as the best of eight Johnny Dollar characters. The CBS Radio show ran from 1949 - 1962 and is credited as being the last dramatic radio series from the golden age of radio. Bob Bailey appeared in nearly 500 episodes as Johnny until the show moved from California to New York City in 1961. Bob died in 1983.

Many of Johnny Dollar shows exist today numbering 720 out of the 811 original episodes. Since the availability of satellite radio (XM and Sirius) several old time radio series once again prove why they captured the attention of audiences long ago and continue to do so again. The Bob Bailey versions of the series are well written, acted and scored. Today you can find the series playing on XM or on the Internet. Know that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shine A Little Light On Me

The former North Manitou Signal Light no longer guides ships around northern Lake Michigan but it still grabs your attention. Find it within the Glen Haven Canning Co. building which was first used as a warehouse and later as a cannery for cherries in the 1920s. The Glen Haven, Michigan building has since been restored as the Cannery Boathouse Museum. Check out the beach behind the building for seasonal swimming without congestion. There you can find the remains of a pier that once serviced 500 foot ships. Maybe your ancestors landed here. Know that.