What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Classical Gas

Filed under: Fun!,Memory Music — dave @ 12:30 am 2015/04/25

I remember Classical Gas from way back, but I don’t think I knew who the artist — Mason Williams — was. It got a lot of radio airtime I do know I enjoyed the song, and admired the guitar work. The blending of the guitar and orchestra is marvelously done.

I also found a newer rendition of that song with Williams accompanied by Manheim Steamroller. It’s pretty awesome too.

My Empire of Dirt

Filed under: Fun!,Memory Music — dave @ 11:17 pm 2015/04/24

I can’t say I’ve ever heard this song before, but I like it. I like it a lot. Johnny Cash, Dirt.

Someone on the e28 board asked what everyone’s favorite guitar solo was, and I’ve been listening to all manner of guitar work. This was one I stumbled across while listening & poking around. More guitar songs coming!

Blessings — Laura Story

Filed under: Medical Adventures,Memory Music — Tags: , , — dave @ 10:12 pm 2015/03/05

Last year a friend (with connections) gave us some tickets to a concert that she wasn’t able to attend. The headline act was Casting Crowns, with Laura Story and For King And Country warming things up. It was kinda funny because I had heard of Casting Crowns, but really couldn’t pick any song that they had done. Once the concert got going it was like, “Yup, I know that one,” and, “Oh, I really like that one!” and “That’s their song? Cool!

It was the same story when Laura Story was on stage; I can’t say I’d ever really heard her name before, but when she started singing her song, Blessings, it nearly brought me to tears. That song was a constant reminder to me while going through chemo & radiation treatments in 2013 that, while things weren’t great, they were pretty darned good, and far better than they might have been, had not God intervened. “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We take so much for granted, and complain so much when things get uncomfortable. We too easily forget how good God is to us.

Alive Inside

Filed under: Family,Favorite Things,Fun!,Memory Music — dave @ 9:35 am 2015/03/04

Alive Inside is a documentary about the power of music, and how it connects people with who they are and who they have been. Dan Cohen, the founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, uses music to help dementia patients recover lost memories; “to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.” Here is the trailer for that documentary:

The documentary came out last fall, and the trailer has already made the rounds on the blogosphere; from what’s written on the website, it sounds like they are still booking showings, but a few weeks ago I stumbled across a link to a YouTube video of the entire documentary. The one I watched has since been pulled down, but others are likely to crop up and can be found easily enough.

I had seen the trailer before, and watching the documentary reminded me of the question that came to mind after seeing the trailer; what if we had done this for Mom in the years before Alzheimer’s disease robbed her of her self? Alzheimer’s and the accompanying dementia are terrible things, but what if listening to some Tommy Dorsey or Bing Crosby or Glenn Miller might have allowed her to maintain her cognitive abilities just a bit longer? It would’ve been worth a shot. It might have kept Mom’s mind together long enough to give my kids the chance to get to know her a bit. The disease would’ve still ravaged her body, but I would give about anything to have been able to give her a sound mind through all of that or even some of it. Mom loved music from the WWII era, and I’m sure she would’ve responded just as the people in this documentary did.

The second thing that watching this documentary got me to thinking about is how I might help myself ahead of time if I end up going down the dementia road later on. I don’t wish for it, but considering that it’s what took Mom and Uncle Bud, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If I do, I’d like people to know the music that moves me. From the documentary it looks like they picked the music that fit the generation of the patients best, but what if there was a song in the playlist they loathed? If those people are anything like me, there are certain songs that are more meaningful than others, and it only takes a few notes from the melody to bring memories flooding back.

To that end, maybe somewhat selfishly, I’m going to start a new thing here on my blog; when I hear a song that means something to me, I’ll post a little something about the song and what it does for me. With a little planning, the list that grows from this idea will stick around long enough to be of some help to my family if I ever end up in memory care. And if the list outlives me, it’ll provide some fodder for the people planning my funeral.

The rules I impose on myself will be simple; 50 words or less, no links needed, but ok if included, and one song per post, mainly to keep things simple so that I can do it quickly from my phone if the computer isn’t in front of me. I’ve added a new category for the list — Memory Music, under Favorite Things — so keep an eye, or ear, open for the first volley.

RIP: Ray Manzarek

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun!,Old Things — dave @ 2:27 pm 2013/05/22

Yesterday marked the passing of legend, Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors. I’ve been listening to some music from The Doors, and am just blown away by Ray’s musicianship, and the way he was able to work so seamlessly with Jim Morrison. Amazing stuff.

I might have to break down and get a DVD or Blu Ray or three of Doors performances. It’s easy to forget how good these guys were, and how bad many current performers are in comparison.

The Perfect Beer

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun! — Tags: , — dave @ 10:59 am 2012/08/03

I understand fully that one man’s meat is another man’s poison — what one person finds absolutely delicious might taste terrible to another — but I believe I’ve discovered the perfect beer; Hetanker Brewery’s CuvĂ©e van de Keizer Blauw (aka: Gouden Carolus Carolus D’Or – Grand Cru Of The Emperor.)

Finding this beer was pretty serendipitous; it’s a Belgian strong dark ale, and it was being served by one of the vendors we visited at a trade show I attended in Germany this spring (I’m reasonably sure there are harsh punishments for serving anything but German beers in Germany!) The vendor — Xeikon — has their manufacturing and R&D center in Belgium, so bringing a local brew to the show was a natural thing. The sales guys invited us back to their display area for drinks after the show closed; there were two beers on tap — a light and a dark, as is the custom there — and this was the dark beer.

Another European custom is to serve a beer in glasses designed specifically for it; most every beer has its own glass. The Gouden Carolus glasses weren’t very big, but after quickly downing my first glass and getting into my second I discovered that the stuff also has a pretty potent alcohol content. Another evening after the show I found myself asking for a third glass, and I can safely say that that’s as drunk as I have been since, oh, 1984 or so.

I’ve looked high and low locally looking for this brew, and have been unsuccessful, so far. Looking has had its benefits though; one never knows how many beers there are until one starts looking. Actually, I’m just kind of guessing what beer it was, but I’m betting that I’ve found it. The beer I had in Germany was definitely brewed by Hetanker, and it was called Gouden Carolus (the glasses told that tale.) In June, having only the name “Gouden Carolus” to go by, I found Gouden Carolus Classic could be purchased online from France44.com, & ordered three bottles. I disappointed when I tried it though; it wasn’t the one. I still have two bottles left. It’s good, very good in fact, but not it.

Sioux Falls has two locally-owned stores that carry huge selections of beers — Good Spirits Fine Wind & Liquor and JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars. Good Spirits carries two brews from Hetanker, but so far the owner has been unable to get his hands on any Grand Cru. I think he’s getting tired of me asking about it.

Since I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I wondered if there were other beers that were similar, so (poor me) I bought a few to give them a try. Some have been OK, some have been downright awful (they’ll go unnamed), and some have been very good, but not quite what I had in Germany. There are a couple of beers stocked by the local shops that carry the Grand Cru moniker; Abbey du Val-Dieu Grand Cru is excellent, and is thus far the closest match to what I had in Germany (a second 750mL bottle is waiting in the fridge downstairs for a special occasion!) It’s an excellent beer in its own right, and I was happy to find it. North Coast Grand Cru is another, but at $18 for a 500mL bottle, it’s hard for a cheapskate like me to justify, just to try it. The paltry 78 rating at BeerAdvocate.com doesn’t help. The Val-Dieu sells for about $9; I happily pay that, but cracking open a bottle requires a reason and a partner — once the cork is out it doesn’t go back in without a fight, and even if it does the beer won’t keep. At 10.5% ABV, there’s no way I could finish a 750mL bottle myself. Well, I could, but…

I’ve been in the process of writing this post for several weeks now, and thought I’d finish it up today. And oh happy day… Just now I went back to find the link to the page for Gouden Carolus Classic at France44.com and found that Grand Cru is in stock! So excited… I just ordered five bottles. Now, the wait… It’ll be worth it!

Belgian Family Brewers Brewery Het Anker page

Temporal Distortion

Filed under: Cool Technology,Favorite Things,Fun! — dave @ 11:09 pm 2012/02/15

No, not the kind they talk about on Star Trek. Very cool nonetheless. Play the video below full-screen to get the full effect.

Temporal Distortion from Randy Halverson on Vimeo.

Now wasn’t that awesome?

via Neatorama and dakotalapse.com. Looks like I have a little exploring to do on dakotalapse…

The Star Spangled Banner — The Other Verses

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun!,Just Stuff,Old Things — Tags: , , — dave @ 11:53 pm 2011/07/03

The Star Spangled Banner is one of the most well-known songs in the US. It is after all our National Anthem. But did you know that what we hear sung before a baseball game is actually just the first verse of a much longer song?

Verse 1:
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Verse 2:
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Verse 3:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Verse 4:
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The other three verses aren’t quite as, um, nice or politically correct as the first, which may be part of the reason they aren’t sung often and thus not as well known, but they hold a lot of meaning, and reflect more fully the Christian faith that was prevalent among the people in days past who first sung it. The gentleman in this video apparently hadn’t heard of the other three verses but learned verse 4, thinking it was the second of two verses. He does have a great singing voice.

I don’t remember ever hearing about the other verses until just recently. Last year I bought a pile of old books at a rummage sale, and tucked into one of them was a really old & tattered leaflet of Civil War battle songs that was assembled and printed by The Lion Coffee Company; near as I can determine from the contents of the booklet, it was printed not long after the Civil War. It was a bit torn up, had had a new cover added to it at some point so was missing some of its original content, and was held together with some string. Pretty cool stuff; lots of songs I’d heard and sung before, but some that I’d never heard of and others, like the Star Spangled Banner, that had verses that were new to me. I’ll share more of the contents of the booklet later, but couldn’t resist showing off one of the pages just a little!

Thicker Than Water

Filed under: Family,Favorite Things — dave @ 10:34 pm 2010/12/19

Blood is, that is.

One of my favorite aunts passed away this year; Mom’s younger sister Carollee died unexpectedly in her apartment in Henderson, NV, at age 75. She and her seven kids had all left Sioux Falls for greener pastures at the far corners of the US, but Carollee’s second husband died shortly after their marriage, and she had a gravesite waiting for her next to his. All of the kids were able to come back home for the funeral; some for the first time in 30 years. It’s a bitter-sweet thing, being able to catch up with cousins that I practically grew up with, but haven’t seen for so long. We need to get together more often, but for better reasons.

Carolee’s kids were always my favorite cousins; three of the five boys and one of the girls were all within a few years of my own age, and we spent a fair amount of time together, usually at their house. Their house because things were always a lot more fun there. It was within an easy bike ride of our own, so I made the trip probably far too often, probably making a bit of a pest of myself.

Truth be told, I secretly wanted to be part of their family instead of my own. Things between Mom & Dad were far from rosy in the late ’60’s & ’70’s, and Carolee’s household provided a nice respite from the conflicts at home. Plus they always had a nice house (I remember one house that had a secret sub-basement bomb shelter; how cool was that!) and nice cars and nice things and played golf. Her first husband, and my cousins’ dad, did well financially and provided well for the family. Of course my perspective of that family was pretty limited, so I was unaware of the deep-seated conflicts that eventually caused Carolee and Paul to divorce. The news of their divorce came as a real shock to me; the possibility that relationship problems like Mom & Dad had could happen in such a great household had never occurred to me.


We all somehow got through the wake, prayer service, funeral and luncheon. It was a sad time, but the reunion atmosphere made the grief easier to bear. Not only Carolee’s kids, but uncles and aunts and other cousins from far away. The night before the funeral we had a huge family get-together with probably 80 people in attendance, and it was an amazing time. While catching up on life stories, it was interesting to see how many things we still share in common in spite of our living in different parts of the country. Funny that the aging process is hitting many of us in similar manners, making our common ancestry even more obvious than when we were younger.

But the thing that kept hitting me was how great it was to get together, and why events like this so rarely happen in happier times.

Carolee_Green_lr

Carolee Green Buehler of Sioux Falls, SD

Published: August 11, 2010
Sioux Falls – Carolee Green (Rooney) Buehler, Henderson, NV
Carolee Green Buehler passed away suddenly on August 5th, 2010. She was 75. Carolee was born to George and Floris Green in Sioux Falls on January 20th, 1935. She graduated Cathedral High School and Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Carolee married Paul Rooney Sr (Dec. 1989) in 1958, together they had seven children. In 1978 she married Dick Buehler (Dec. 1980) and they shared time together until his death in 1980.
Carolee began work with Dayton Hudson in a professional capacity. She worked there for 25 years. Carolee moved around the Midwest during her time with Dayton Hudson and upon her retirement settled in Henderson, Nevada. She enjoyed reading, gardening, baking, golfing, sewing and traveling. She loved to travel to see friends and family. Carolee will be remembered for her wonderful sense of humor, her strong sense of faith and her kind and loving heart. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Her love of life was evident to all. She had an amazing gift of making everyone she knew feel special.
Survivors include her sons; Paul (Kim) Rooney Jr. of Kings Mills, OH, Tim (Leza) Rooney of Livermore, CO, Steve Rooney of Portland, OR, Mike (Claire) Rooney of Medford, OR, Pat Rooney of Honolulu, HI; daughters, Sheila (Joe) Prusa of Seattle, WA, and Margaret (Craig) Johnson of Renton, WA; eight grandchildren, Paul, Parker, Tim, Seth, Sam, Olivia, Sophia and Sarah; brothers, George “Bud” (Darlene) Green, of Bloomington, MN and Dan (Marcia) Green, of Camano Island, WA and sister, Clare Dargen of Torrance, CA; as well as many nieces and nephews and countless friends.
Visitation will begin at 8 am with the family present from 5 to 7 pm and a wake service followed by a rosary at 6:30 pm on Thursday, August 12th at Miller Funeral Home, 13th & Main. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 am on Friday, August 13th at St. Michael Parish in Sioux Falls with burial at St. Michael Cemetery.
For obituary and online registry, please visit www.millerfh.com.

The Rifleman

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun! — dave @ 8:09 pm 2010/12/05

The Rifleman was one of my all time favorite shows when I was a kid, and thinking about it a bit, still is one of my favorite shows. I flipped on the TV this morning & watched two episodes that were being played on The CW channel; awesome.

The show’s original run was before my time, from 1958 to 1963, but the re-runs went on well into my early years, so I saw it often. Chuck Connors and Johnny Crawford were the stars of the show, playing the roles of Lucas McCain and his son Mark. The episodes were pretty predictable, but still very entertaining. Lucas McCain was a good guy, a widower, living on a ranch somewhere, and trouble always seemed to be able to find him. But he was wicked fast with that Winchester, and wicked accurate, even while shooting from the hip most of the time. Yeah, the accuracy thing is a put-on for TV, but the way Chuck Connors handled the gun, with the spins and the fast lever action shooting was as real as it gets.

The gun that was used in the TV series was specially made to do the tricks Connors did, but it still took him a lot of practice to get the moves down and to make it look so smooth. It’s basically a modified Winchester Model 1892 .44-.40 caliber with a large rounded ring — the doughnut loop — in place of the standard lever that allows the gun to be cocked using a twirling action. That design was actually used first by John Wayne in the 1939 movie Stagecoach; Wayne’s rifle also had a shortened barrel, but Connors was a bigger guy — 6’6″ — and had a longer wingspan that allowed him to use a full-length barrel.

The lever also had a screw installed in the triggerguard that could trip the trigger when the lever was closed, effectively making the gun as close to a semi-automatic as you could get in that era. That feature was used in the introductory scene in the YouTube video above; a slow-motion replay of that video reveals he fires 12 rounds in what appears to be less than two seconds. There could be some camera/editing trickery going on there, but from what I’ve read about Chuck Connors and how seriously he trained for this role, I’m thinking it’s for real.

Of course, replicas of that rifle can even be had, at a price. One of the top returns for a Google search is a site called The Rifleman’s Rifle; and the guy who runs it, Mike Demuzio, has learned to handle the guns quite well himself.

Dimuzio’s replica rifles are pretty costly – about $2,400. But if they work as well as he demonstrates, it’s probably worthwhile. Not that I’m going to go out & buy one any time soon; with the current shortage of bad guys chasing after me these days, it would spend most of its time hanging on the wall. But it would look good hanging there!

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