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

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 Cuvée 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!

If Four Wheels Is Good, Three Must Be Better

Filed under: Cars!,Cool Technology,Favorite Things — dave @ 4:19 pm 2010/11/04

The 1933 Morgan Super Sport

The old Morgan trikes have always been appealing to me; just the right mix of quirky & sporty. Throw on a leather helmet and goggles, and you’ve got the perfect Sunday drive right there. What’s not to love about them? And the motor hanging off the front end… That is just so cool.

There have been rumors circulating for a while that Morgan was planning to revive the 3 wheeler, and now they’ve confirmed it; the 2011 Morgan Threewheeler is officially for real. The car(?) will reportedly have a Mazda-built transmission coupled with an 1800cc Harley Davidson v-twin motor hanging off the front axle, just like the old timer. This one won’t have the wood frame, but it will be able to get up to 60 mph in about 4 1/2 seconds, topping out at about 115 mph. That more than makes up for the loss of character the wood would’ve brought.

The images Morgan is showing on its website appear to be of a real vehicle, but views of the engine appear to be generic CAD renderings, so it’s not clear that a real car has been built & tested

Building a car LoCost 7-style — using this or that from other production vehicles — has always been a dream of mine, and the three-wheel design has always been in the back of my head; with 3 wheels instead of 4, the vehicle is classified as a motorcycle, so it’s much easier to get registered & licensed & insured. But this thing might turn that dream on it’s head. Why reinvent the wheel? Of course, it all depends on what it will cost.

One thing about the car’s specs that I’m dying to find out is what their ‘Bomb release’ style start button looks like. Hmmm…

And Though This World With Devils Filled Should Threaten To Undo Us…

Filed under: Faith & Worship,Favorite Things — Tags: , — dave @ 10:39 pm 2010/10/31

Today is Reformation Day, the day we celebrate Martin Luther’s nailing his 95 theses to the door of the palace church in Wittenberg, Germany. It was done on this date in 1517. He didn’t intend to spark a reformation of the church, only to address some serious wrongs in the Roman Catholic church of his day. But as a former Roman Catholic who has become a born again believer, I’m grateful that Luther did spark that revolution.

It seems to me ironic and interesting that Halloween & Reformation Day are celebrated on the same day. Halloween has in recent times morphed into a celebration of the occult, witchcraft and all that is dark. Reformation Day celebrates the courageous action of Martin Luther, one who is said to have battled demons throughout his life, and the author of one of my favorite hymnsA Mighty Fortress Is Our God.
(more…)

My New Favorite Commercial

Filed under: Favorite Things,Fun!,Just Stuff — dave @ 9:43 pm 2010/10/29

This commercial is an absolute hoot. Baby scooting across the open desert in a walker… Baby scooting across a field chasing a flock of terrified sheep… Baby scooting down the roads, passing trucks & weaving through traffic… All to impress the idea that you can print photos from your phone from anywhere.

Not sure how effective it’ll be at selling HP gear, but I get a laugh out of that commercial every time.

A Banshee on eBay?

Filed under: Cars!,Favorite Things,Fun!,Uncategorized — dave @ 11:32 pm 2010/09/14

Look what showed up on eBay… half of the Pontiac Banshees in existence. (Well, yeah; there were only two built…)

Banshee-9

So far the price is up to just over $85,000 (reserve not met), but I predict it’ll go much, much higher in the five days left in the auction. I might throw a bid in there, knowing I’ll get out-bid, just so I can say I was THIS close to buying that car…

But really, I’m surprised to see this car on eBay; it would likely do much better in an auction house like Barrett Jackson. But the seller didn’t ask me I guess.

Pontiac didn’t ask me if they should’ve built them back in the ’60′s either, but that’s just as well because I was just a dopey little round-headed kid back then. But seriously, this car should’ve seen production. It was designed to go head-to-head against the Mustang, and as it stands I think it would’ve kicked the Mustang’s butt in the market. But then again these were concept cars, and the production version probably would’ve had a back seat, which would’ve added to the roof length and thrown the visual balance of the car way off…

Maybe it’s best that we just have these two. Or in my case, just the photos.

eBay Link

1964 Pontiac XP833 Banshee Concept Car Coupe

Title: 1964 Pontiac Banshee Firebird Corvette Concept Show Car
Mileage: 1,498 miles
Location: Milford, CT

Vehicle Information
VIN: 66L23060
Warranty: Vehicle does NOT have an existing warranty
Title: Clear
Condition: Used
For sale by: Private seller

Features
Body type: Coupe
Engine: 6 – Cyl. Cylinder
Exterior color: Silver
Transmission: Manual
Fuel type: Gasoline
Interior color: Red

XP-833 CONCEPT CAR
BANSHEE

Created by John Z. Delorean – then General Manager of Pontiac
Built by the Pontiac Motor Division of General Motors
Debuted as a Banshee Prototype in 1964

**This car is the original one-of-a-kind prototype Pontiac Banshee Coupe**

History of the XP-833 Banshee

The early Ford Mustangs were so popular that Pontiac’s brass decided to build a Mustang competitor while DeLorean wanted to offer a two-seat sports car as a Corvette alternative to compete with the Mustang. Secretly, the XP-833 project was born. DeLorean declared the XP-833 Banshee a Mustang beater after the concept prototypes were built.

The XP-833 prototype was a preview of future GM designs to come. Long nose, short deck, swooping “coke-bottle” profile, broad grille with chrome bumper surround, raked windshield, bulging fenders, triple slit taillights and hidden headlights with a suggestive power bulge on the hood.

However, the design of the XP-833 was so far ahead of its time that GM’s top executives became worried that it might be too much of a threat to their prized Corvette so they stopped the project. To compete with the Mustang, in 1967 Pontiac ultimately came out with the Firebird that shared both chassis and sheet metal with the Chevrolet Camaro.  In 1973 John Delorean left General Motors and formed the DeLorean Motor Company to create his dream sportscar the DeLorean, which was later featured in the movie “Back to the Future” and the rest is now history…

Unfortunately, the Banshee never reached production, but most exterior angles of the redesigned third generation 1968 Corvette interestingly mirrored the XP-Banshee prototype except for the distinctive Pontiac grille and Firebird style tail panel.

There’s so much Corvette influence that a Banshee prototype was shown at Bloomington in 1990 and this car was even invited to be displayed at the Meadow Brook Hall Concourse d’Elegance in 2001 as a legend of automotive history.

Amazingly, the two drivable Banshee prototypes (a coupe and a roadster) avoided destruction by being hidden in shipping crates after the project was canceled by GM. Eventually, the cars were spared death by the crusher and sold by GM to employees that were closely involved in the XP-833 project.

Bill Killen received this prototype coupe directly from GM and the Killen family has owned the car until it changed hands a few years ago. The car has less than 1,500 original miles on it with most of the miles coming from the early developmental days while at Pontiac. The car is a true unrestored survivor as it still is the way that it was when shown to the GM management over 40 years ago including the original paint, interior and drivetrain…

The Banshee prototypes and their legacy remain a huge part of automotive lore and have been featured in countless automobile history books and car magazines over the years. Now that we have seen an end to the Pontiac marquee, this historically important Pontiac will surely be a much sought after car by collectors and enthusiasts into the future.

This car is a one-of-a-kind prototype and was built with the following features

Silver exterior with a red interior
  • Unique solid-body construction of exterior fiberglass with Steel underbody
  • Special hinged roof/top that flips up for easy access
  • Specially-built cross flow head OHC inline six engine (155 horsepower)
  • Four-speed manual transmission
  • Solid live rear axle
  • Cooling air intakes under its long nose
  • Fixed seats with adjustable – movable pedals
  • Stylish sport car dash
  • Large 120mph speedometer
  • Large 8,000 RPM tachometer
  • Gauge pack (temp, oil pres, oil temp, water temp, amps, clock)
  • Wood sport steering wheel
  • Pontiac radio
  • Rally II style wheels
  • For additional information or to set an appointment to see this car in Connecticut, call Mark at (949)226-7053**

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