Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another Disgusting Food Story.

Yesterday I wrote about my wife’s experience with stink eggs. She told me another freaky Alaskan food story. She and her previous husband moved down to Washington State and one of her husband’s brothers figured he’d send them a seal flipper figuring they missed the native foods. Her husband was excited and started up the charcoal grill. No sooner than throwing the flipper on the grill their back yard became totally infested with flies. They came in droves from everywhere in the county. They were so thick in the yard that they couldn’t cope. They flew into every open door and window of the house. They ended up abandoning the flipper.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stink Eggs

Yesterday I wrote about Alaskan artificial honey and today I’d like to explore one of the weirdest foods I’ve ever heard of.

My wife’s first husband is a native Alaskan. She lived with him in his village for a time and she got to observe some strange stuff. Their diet consisted of a lot that the local items found in their natural environment. There were berries and roots and all sorts of fish and seals. There were deer, birds and bear.

Strangest of all was one food item called stink eggs. This is where you take salmon eggs, soak them in seal oil and place them in a porous cloth (seal skin) and bury them. They stay underground for two or three months at which time they ferment. Then they are dug up and eaten. In present day they put them in a jar and leave them in a warm room. When the lid blows off they are ready.

After hearing this tale I looked it up on the internet and found that stink eggs made in plastic or glass jars often causes an anaerobic environment which grew Botulism. The Botulism bacterium causes muscle paralysis.

So the next time your kids don’t want to eat their peas you can tell them how lucky they are to eat peas because if they lived in Alaska they’d have to eat stink eggs.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alaskan Fireweed Immatation Honey

I was talking with someone who spent a lot of time in Alaska. We talked about honey and she told me about Alaskan Fireweed Honey. To me I thought she was talking about their local bees producing honey from fireweed nectar, but she was talking about artificial honey. Here is a recipe I found on the net to make Alaskan Fireweed Honey without the need for bees:

What is needed is 50 crimson clover blooms
Ten white clover blooms
18 to 25 fireweed blooms
¾ tbs alum
5 pounds of white sugar
3 cups of water
Wash blooms in cold water (gently rinse) to remove little critters.
• Put all ingredients except water in pan, then pour boiling water on.
• Let sit for 10 minutes.
• Bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes.
• Strain through cheesecloth.
Put in canning jars and water bath process for 10 min. before sealing lids

She gave me a sample of this artificial honey and it does taste a lot like honey, though my educated pallet can taste the difference. It is also a bit thinner. It is still pretty good and I bet it is way less expensive than honey up in the North.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Brownsmead Bees

I got a call from a guy in Portland. He and his brother bought a farm in Brownsmead. The previous owner told them about some bee hives that some old beekeeper left there ten years ago and has since died. He wanted to know if I could come and remove the bees.

This sort of call is always a crap shoot. I always hope to find healthy bees in nice equipment. I started to worry when he told me there were beneath a ton of blackberries.

I drove out and met one of the brothers who opened the gate. I drove across the bumpy field to the side of the shed where he directed me. The berry vines were so thick I couldn’t even see the hives. I fired up my weed whacker with the brush hog attachment. A half hour later the six hives were exposed.

I removed the dead hives to make more room to work the hives that had obvious activity. I opened the equipment closer to my truck and found that these hives were once active with mice and wax moths. They were deep in compost. There was actually soil that was several inches deep with worms in it. It was rich stuff. All this equipment was worthless and I just threw it on the truck to take to a burn pile.

The remaining hives with activity were also worn out with holes chewed in the sides with bees coming and going from several entrances. These hives were laden with dirt on the lower level and honey on the top level. I couldn’t separate the boxes so I dragged the heavy mass to the truck and I tried to cover every hole with duct tape.

I got everything home and I made some room for the new colonies and I placed them there. I was exhausted from spending several hours cutting brush and moving hives. I stacked the hives and left them. I’ll go in to see what’s inside some evening this week. All I can tell right now is the bees look good and healthy. I’m sure I’ll have to replace every frame inside the hives.

So now I have fifteen colonies, which is nearly twice as many as I want to have. I’m hoping for a good honey year.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hive Inspections

As a small time side-line beekeeper I try to make it a point not to have more than 10 colonies. I’d even prefer having only eight. It takes a lot of work to tend each colony. Each hive could be inspected in a couple minutes, but to inspect them properly one should commit around ten minutes to each colony. One should look at every frame to see how the bees look. Are there visible mites? Are their wings nice and flat? Are there any eggs or capped brood on the frame? How is the ration of nectar, honey and pollen? How does the hive smell? Did you see the queen? Have they built any queen cells to replace the queen by swarming?

One needs to inspect their hives at least once every twelve days or things can go bad very quickly. If they are neglected they can cost the keeper colonies and the annual honey crops.

Though I started well within my desired bounds with eight colonies this spring I am now up to fifteen colonies. So instead of spending nearly an hour and a half inspecting hives I am now spending two and a half hours. It’s exhausting.

You may wonder how I end up with more hives through out the season. This is due to the bees natural instinct to split and grow a new colony elsewhere. Though I inspect my hives thoroughly I missed swarm cells in two hives and they swarmed. That got me two more colonies.

Other than that I get calls when swarms appear in peoples’ yards all around the county. Sometime I give them away and sometime I add bees without the queens to add to the population of a weak hive. As I said the management of it all can be very time consuming.

Tomorrow I will share the story of my latest acquisition from a farm in Brownsmead.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I never thought I'd say it but I'm starting to feel bad for my rooster, Blue.

Blue was one of those give away items when we bought new chicks last summer. "Buy 20 chicks and get a rare exotic chick for free", which is their way of getting rid of the roosters they can't sell. I could tell Blue was a rooster at an early age. He carried himself differently than the hens. His head was alwaysup looking for potential trouble. He was on patrol.

As soon as he was of age he was constantly sewing his wild oats, mating with his hens. He would do this every five minutes or sooner. He'd mate with one and then the break would be until he could find the next hen to mate with. This went on all day, every day.

As summer rolled around he slowed down on his mating. He may do it now every half hour or 45 minutes, but the reason I feel sorry for him is that he seems worried all the time. He tries to herd the hens to keep them all in one place so he can protect them. If I find a hen where she shouldn't be I'll chase her away and she will make some sort of chicken distress sound. He will rush over and reprimand her for being away from the flock. It is really funny to watch him fret over his girls, but I'm afraid all this concern is going to kill him.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I’m taking some time off from listening to music, though I still do have things to listen to on iTunes Radio. I’m hooked on a couple of their uncensored comedy stations. Not only have I been catching up on newer comics I’ve never heard of, but I’m getting the funny side of normal situations.

One thing that continually amazes me is just how long the comedy sets are. Some of these comedians go on for ninety minutes or two hours. It is one thing to stand on stage and do all these bits for that amount of time and it’s another thing to remember all the bits you need to remember to carry a show for two hours.

More amazing to me is to write the volume of comedy that will last two hours on stage. After seeing some of the skits I’ve written a friend asked me to write a One Woman Comedy show for her. I wrote like mad for several months and when I figured I had enough material I did a read through. I had only 45-minutes of content. I had hit a wall and ran out of ideas. I wouldn’t be able to produce another ninety minutes if my life depended on it.

Eventually nothing went to waste. I used some of the material in other skits and the rest landed here on the Blog. My hat goes off to the comics that can produce long content and keep it fresh.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Compostable Packaging

We invited some neighbors over for beer, chips and a camp fire last weekend. Not knowing what sort of chips they liked I bought corn chips for salsa, potato chips and in the event they had a healthier chip in mind I also picked up a bag of sun chips. Immediately upon picking up the Sun Chips I noticed the bag was really loud and crinkly when handled. It was so loud I nearly put it back on the shelf out of embarrassment.

When I got home my wife read the package and she told me the Sun Chips package is compostable. It totally looks like normal plastic, even the inside looks like foil, but it is totally compostable. I checked out their web site and I’m totally impressed. Check it out
Sun Chips Web Site

As for the bag being louder to handle, here is the explanation, “…plant-based materials have different sound properties than the materials used to create our old bags. So although this version is a little bit louder, we hope you'll appreciate the change and the positive environmental impact it will have.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

The 50s

I was flipping through some magazines in a waiting room recently. The one that really caught my attention was a magazine called Reminisce. It is a nostalgia based publication with photos, illustrations and stories from the 20s through the 50s.

I am a child of the 50s and I’ve written often about the old days. I’m sure that along with me there are millions of Baby Boomers that think fondly of those times. I’m surprised that no one has taken advantage of this nostalgia craze by creating a 50’s theme park. I bet Disney could do a good job of recreating the era. It could be like a Colonial Williamsburg for Boomers that could be populated by characters in period costumes driving vintage cars and living in 50s style homes.

There are plenty of classic car and tractor shows. Shows and movies such as Happy Days, Grease, Pleasantville and Back to the Future really drew in the boomers that remember these times. Branson are you listening?

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Only certain people have the fantasy of becoming a hermit. Most people are too social to ever consider this drastic decision to be left alone with them selves. I am one that has fantasies of becoming a hermit. I have desired this since I was a teen, though the thought is more and more fleeting as my age advances and I really enjoy a good bed and a hot shower.

When in my 20s I became fascinated with Noah John Rondeau, the Adirondack Hermit of the Cold River Valley. Noah was born in 1883 and learned the craft of surviving in nature in the Adirondacks from Indians. He visited the Cold River Valley and built a hermitage for his visits. He started staying there year round at the age of 46 in 1929, which was no small task considering the brutality of the winters in the Adirondacks.

Though he was a hermit he was pretty social. He welcomed visitors that wandered his way and would even entertain them with his violin. He was literate with a cabin full of books. He’d venture into town for supplies and would visit with folks on his arrival.

Noah had his first run-ins with the Conservation Department, the predecessor of today's New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He had problems with one particular game warden who would cause him problems for years to come. To survive he had to hunt animals and fish that were out of season.

Noah’s decline began with a big wind storm in 1950 where much of his Cold River Valley was leveled by fallen trees. The Conservation Department closed the Cold River Valley for the next three years. Noah ended up living in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake for the final 17 years of his life. Noah died at the age of 84.

Noah John Rondeau was never granted his final wish: to be buried at his hermitage; his remains lie in the North Elba Cemetery near Lake Placid. His grave marker is a stone from his Cold River home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Old School

I find it fascinating to consider the courses that were once offered in schools and colleges that have become obsolete.

Back in the day an important curriculum for women was learning needlepoint. Schools also required Latin which I took in grammar school. Penmanship and calligraphy were also required. For those that didn’t have classroom opportunities there were apprentices.

I’m out of touch with what is now going on in our schools and I wonder if Home Economics is still being taught? I wonder if Typing is still offered. I recall taking typing back before electric typewriters were commonly used. Then we had to relearn it all with a light touch when the electrics came along. I can’t recall the last time I used a typewriter.

I’m sure Music and Physical Education will soon be a thing of the past but I wonder what all that class time will be replaced by. I was recently speaking with a high school teacher and they mentioned that kids really don’t know computers. They understand some applications and they know how to operate a phone with apps, but have them start a spread sheet, database or a word processor and most of them are lost.

It seems to me that we will need more technical education in the future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On Being A Realist

Some people would call me a pessimist, but I think I’m more often a realist. I’ve found that in life there are very few Win-Win situations. Maybe it’s because I don’t believe in God or an eternal life after death. Maybe it’s because I’ve been lied to by politicians and clergy. Maybe it’s the rampant hypocrisy that we see in the news every day. Things simply aren’t black and white. Things we believe to be white are often black and eventually turn gray in the end.

It is sad when one distrusts situations that could become magic, but that’s me and I don’t really feel bad about it. In fact it is sometimes amusing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Of These Eggs Isn't Like the Others

Somehow I didn't notice this egg until I got it inside. I had to wonder if a goose had somehow gotten in the chicken coop, but this is definitely a chicken egg, what is also known as a double yolker.

Normally immature chickens lay double yolker and our chickens are two weeks shy of being a year old. Sometimes it just happens.

I put some other eggs on our digital scale and they weighed in at between two and two and a quarter ounces. This egg weighed in at three and a quarter ounces. It was a whooper.

Here is what it looked like in the pan.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Price of Money

Somehow Newsweek magazine is showing up in my mailbox every week. I didn’t subscribe to it and I haven’t received an invoice for it. I can’t think of anyone that would have subscribed to it in my behalf. I have to say it isn’t bad. It is concise and offers more news than advertising. It isn’t stuffed with crap and non news like Time.

There was a cool article in this weeks’ edition on how much it cost to produce all the denominations of money currently in circulation. Here is the list:
A penny cost 1.5 cents to produce.
A nickel costs 6 cents (because of the high copper content).
A dime costs 6 cents to produce.
A quarter cost 30 cents to produce.
A dollar coin costs 30 cents to produce.
A dollar bill costs 5 cents to produce.
A five dollar bill costs 8 cents to produce.
A ten dollar bill costs 8 cents to produce.
A twenty and the fifty dollar bills each cost 9 cents to produce.
The one-hundred dollar bill costs 11 cents to produce.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Trouble Brewing

There are certain things that we learn too late. It’s really hard living with the regret that is compounded every year as a result of the original deed which was one of good intentions in years previous.

The sin that lingers and haunts my present is one of obtaining hives of bees for people that never took my class, nor had the inclination to learn to take care of bee colonies properly. Every year I get a phone call from these people to ask me to pick up a swarm that emitted from the hives I got for them. Worse yet is when their neighbors call me after a swarm has taken over their fruit tree or has moved into the walls of their home.

I have learned that when I am approached to sell someone some bees, I try to convince them to get some equipment and learn to catch swarms. This way I don’t feel responsible for their laziness. If they insist they want to buy them I insist they take my class before hand. I’ve had a lot of people that decided not to get involved with beekeeping after taking my class. There is a lot more work and maintenance than one might believe.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Black Out Days

I was with some folks last week and we were discussing local driving conditions. I came up with the idea of producing a calendar that highlights days where you should avoid driving in certain areas. There are a lot of blackout times through out the year.

Some of the more notable ones are Sand Castle Day in Cannon Beach, the AA Round-up in Seaside, Regatta weekend, The 4th of July, The Volleyball Tournament, The Crab and Seafood Festival, anything that has to do with Goonies, anytime ODOT is working on a bridge, Hood to Coast, Halloween...

I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tolls and Prizes

I woke up after having dreamt about toll booths. I don’t miss toll roads. I think the only toll road in Oregon is The Bridge of the Gods in Hood River. There used to be a toll booth on the Astoria Megler Bridge when I first moved here, but something that is never done in any other state happened here. Once the bridge was paid for they removed the toll. It has been a free bridge for probably the last ten or fifteen years leaving behind only a blinking caution light.

Back east you can’t cross the Hudson River without paying a toll. There are tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, the Jersey Turnpike and the New York Thruway. Most of the big roads give you a card (it used to be an IBM punch card) when you got on the road and you had to present the card and pay when you got off the highway.

The Garden State Parkway was different. They had a booth every few miles where you had to deposit a quarter in this big basket funnel. I suppose this basket in my dream kind of reminded me of Ski Ball and my twisted imagination had me believing that if you saved your receipts you could trade them in for junk like at an arcade.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sometimes It's Dog Eat Dog

If you follow my comments on Facebook, I recently blamed someone that I turned on to my hay source last year for taking all the hay in the field. When I arrived there after an hour and fifteen minute drive I found only 8 bales waiting for me. It was hardly a cost effective trip. However that is the way it goes in agriculture. Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.

The other day a neighbor came over with an offer for me. He had several cedar trees milled a couple years ago. He’s getting the wood ready to be used so he planed them offering me all the shavings. I hauled out six large garbage sacks of shavings. It is easily enough to last me several months.

Last week I ate the bear and this week the bear ate me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I saw the product above on one of those Daily Deal sites. It looked like an intriguing deal for only $5, but I passed on it. This thing was marked down from $60 and it features an indoor thermometer, calendar, alarm clock with snooze and it will hold 60 digital photos and display them on a 1.5 inch screen.

I pondered why this product wasn’t a big seller; it does a lot of stuff, but maybe it was stuff that shouldn’t have been combined in the first place. For instance, if it were just an alarm clock with an indoor thermometer I probably would have purchased it. However by adding the digital picture frame to it moves it into a sentimental product area. When I think about it I don’t know any men that have a digital frame. Thinking further I don’t know any women that are all that into indoor temperature measurement.

Though this product is cute and would have had a real “Wow” factor fifteen years ago, today it reminds me of something akin to someone inventing a baseball mitt combined with a mascara applicator.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Animal Sounds

One of the beautiful things about summer is the cycle of animal sounds. It seems that every morning is broken by the sound the Swanson’s Thrushes singing as dawn approaches. They are followed by a murder of crows. When they are finished the song birds come in an out through the day. The evening closes the same way. After the song birds become quiet, the crows will continue until the Swanson Thrushes finish the day.

It is the evening when the coyotes begin the night sounds. They howl seemingly from the same spot which brings to mind the concept that just because you can’t hear coyotes doesn’t mean they aren’t within ear shot. I’d be willing to bet there is always a coyote within ear shot where ever you may live in this county. When they get quiet our ears can focus on the sounds of the owls and frogs and the other creatures that populate our audio ranges after dark.

I feel quite entertained with all the vocalizations that I am privileged to hear as it is now possible to sleep with an opened window.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Wind in the Coast Range

One strange thing in the Coast Range is the wind. You can be in the wilderness where the air is still, but you can hear the wind coming in the distance. It comes through distant trees and you can see them moving. Eventually the wind reaches you and it blows for a while and then it stops and the air is again stilled. Then you can hear the wind coming from a different direction.

I experienced this shifting wind time and time again last week. One benefit was that you knew well in advance where to place your chair to avoid smoke from the camp fire.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10, 2010

As today this blog now houses 1500 posts. I have no idea where all this stuff comes from. People often ask me if I've written about a certain topic and I'm usually surprised to find in the archives that I have. OK, enough back patting, I've got things to write.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Pump It Up

I’m sure we all have a list of things we did and experienced that the youth of today can not relate to. That is if you are over the age of 25. We have all worked with things that are now obsolete, like phonograph records, 8 track tapes, carbon paper, type writers…

One item I came upon last week falls into this category. This was a hand pump for water. I liked everything about it. The weight and the balance of the pump arm, the way it squeaked depending upon the direction and the force used. I liked the sporadic volume of water it produced depending on the stroke. I had to pump it four or five times before the first drop of water made it to the spigot. The water was clear and it was cold as the earth.

It isn’t easy pumping four gallons of water, but it is rewarding. However after doing so one can see why windmills were invented. It’s nice letting the wind do all the work.

Hand pumping water can easily make one realize how precious water is and how much we waste on a daily basis by leaving the faucets on while we brush out teeth, unnecessary toilet flushing, over filling and over-watering. I am pleased that I use so much rain water around our place. Considering how much water horses drink, I only have to use city water for them from July through September. The rest of the year they drink the runoff from the roof. I plan to use runoff for the chickens soon, too.

If you ever go camping somewhere with the kids and you find a hand pump, make it their job to get the water. It will do them some good in both the physical aspect of it and also in the conservation aspect.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

When a Horse Has a Night Mare

Most often horses sleep standing up. Sometimes they get off their feet and sleep lying down on their bellies. I swear that I’ve ridden some horses that were sleeping while I was riding them. The least common position while sleeping is lying on their side. It seems that my horse reserves this for his deepest sleep. Each time I’ve seen my horse in this position I know he will be dreaming.

The first time I saw this I was in a panic. If you’ve ever seen a dog or a cat dream you can see their legs flexing like they are running. This is the same for a horse, but with a horse is looks more spastic. I was worried my horse was having a seizure.

As I slept the other night while at the horse camp I was awakened by the sounds of a horse in distress. I grabbed a flashlight and my horse was on his side convulsing. It looked like he was dreaming, but in the back of my mind I wondered if he was showing sings of advanced colic, a disorder where their intestines get tied in a knot. I looked him over well and it appeared to be a dream, but as I was walking away he woke up and stood up in a panic. He was being very vocal and prancing around his stall. He tried breaking through the chain gate of his enclosure. As he pranced around he stopped once to poop and he even took a bite of his hay. It was then I knew he didn’t have colic so I left him to calm himself down.

Moments after I went back to bed I could hear him munching along with our other horse. I guess me being out there with a flash light was like being visited by a space alien. No wonder he was upset.

It is interesting to think that all animals dream. There are cow dreams, elephant dreams and even whale dreams. I wish them all sweet dreams.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Horse Camp

As we often do during the summer and especially to escape the noise of the 4th of July; we took the horses camping. Horses get really freaked out by the sounds of high pitched whistles followed by explosions.

This year we were able to camp in the luxury of our new (30 year old) tent trailer. Having camped in years past in a tent, this was luxury. Once opened, there is a surprising amount of room and I’m able to stand up inside it. The furnace was nice as was the three burner cook stove and sink.

We camped at the Northrup Creek Horse Camp up in the Jewell/ Birkenfeld area, which is part of the ODF recreational system. The camp can house 28 horses, and I’ve been there when the camp was full. Oddly the 4th of July is usually very quiet there. Most years it’s just us and probably two more campers. This year we were the only ones there.

On Saturday most of the trails were a bit muddy, but they were firming up very well on Sunday. It was cool weather which was conducive to warm camp fires.

On Saturday some friends came by to ride and to join us for dinner. When they went home the silence hung in the air. There were no sounds of other horses, just ours munching their hay all night long.

The photo above is one of me and my wife as we were the first riders at the camp on the day it was dedicated in 2005. This photo is from the ODF website.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


My new favorite hat is Bradwood Landing hat. It came in the bag of SWAG that I got once when I visited the office. The only thing I don't like about the hat is that it is colored with the official Knappa Colors, Camouflage.

The thing I like about is is that it was made in the USA and it fits better than any other hat I have. Yes, I do think that ball caps are vulgar, but as my hair thins I can feel mist on my head and I can get sun burned on a cloudy day.

Anyway, my wife and I were sitting around the camp fire the other day. I was wearing my cap and she said to me, "Wear your hat like a douche bag!" I immediately knew exactly what she was talking about so I put it on backwards. I transformed myself into a douche bag. I needed on explanation. I knew what she meant.

It seems to me that if douche bags don't like the brim of their hats they should wear beanies.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sick Day XXXV

I’m sick of guys with Pony Tails. Yes, I had one for years and cut it off about five years ago. My problem with them is if long hair is so cool, why do they have to tie it back all the time? They don’t look good, cool or clean. They turn a full head of hair into a mullet.

If they think this makes them unique they should look around and see all the other social misfits they emulate. There’s all sorts of rebels that look just like them right down to the sweat pants and the dirty hats. You think you look dangerous? You look like a douche.

And ladies, next month's Sick Day will be dedicated to you.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Farewell to Rain

Here it is July 1st (the day I'm writing this) and it has been drizzling all day. I often tell people I moved here for the gloom, but at the same time I know the last time it will rain for a couple of months will be on the 4th of July and then we will have to endure the monotony of nice days until October. If we are lucky we will get a splash in mid-August. An old friend told me that it always rains a bit in mid-August to drive the cut throat trout up the rivers.

I don't do well in the sun and heat of the summer. A couple weeks ago my sister called me in mid afternoon. She was surprised I was in the house. I told her that it was too hot to work outside. She asked how warm it was and I told her it was 70 degrees. She laughed because where she was it was in the 90s and it was humid.

I know there are some local sun worshipers here, but I'm not one of them. I suppose I should become a night person.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fun Stuff

Summer is slow so rather than write I'll waste some of your time with this talking cat video.

Friday, July 02, 2010

iPhone Madness

I figured you folks with iPhones will enjoy this. I'm glad I have Verizon because people I know with AT&T have a real problem finding service in a lot of places in this county. Like when we ride in the dunes, or beach, or through the woods at Delaura, if you have to make an emergency call you better have Verizon because you get no signal with AT&T.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


I remember growing up with Pop Radio with the songs that everyone was humming, but every once in a while it was necessary to stray from the norm. My young ears would wander the AM radio Bands looking for things that were new and exciting and sometimes forbidden in white middle class homes.

I’d wander from time to time to a hillbilly station. That’s what country music stations were called back then, at least where I grew up. Country music was pretty easy to grasp so I’d move on.

Next at the very end of the dial were a few stations that played what was called at the time Puerto Rican Music, which is now better defined in several genres. What fascinated me was the repetition of the music. There was repetitive drumming and other percussion such as the piano. The brass section played the same notes over and over. The chorus sang the same chorus over and over. It was musically minimal but so full of everything. You knew what the next line would be, but then it would change slightly.
Here is a You Tube as an example.

Many years later I stumbled upon minimalists working in the Classical music field or at least orchestral world. I found artists like Philip Glass, Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Much of my life after that was filled with works from these composers. Here is a sample of Steve Reich’s
Music for 18 musicians

See if you can see the similarities, if you dare…