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Getting to Graceland: A little less conversation, a little more action

 

 
BY ALAN K. STOUT
Mountain Blog
August 16, 2013

 
 
In Memphis, the days leading up to August 16 have become known as "Elvis Week." It's a celebration of the life of city's most famous son and The King of Rock and Roll, and it centers around the anniversary of his death. Year after year, people come from around the globe to experience all-things-Elvis Presley. There's even an all-night vigil at The King's former home, Graceland. Last year, on the 35th anniversary of Presley's death, the event was attended by an estimated 75,000 people.
 
Think about that. There's only a handful of recording artists today that can attract that kind of crowd. They're the ones that play football stadiums, not theaters or arenas, when they're out on tour. Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and U2 come to mind, but they are a select few. And yet in Memphis, that many people showed up just to walk past a man's grave, in silence, while holding a candle. A man who hadn't sung a song in 35 years.
 
Such is the impact of Elvis Aaron Presley. And though I've never been to "Elvis Week," I did recently have myself an Elvis weekend. Two good friends and I - to borrow from the inspiring song by Mark Cohn - did some walking in Memphis. We're all lifelong Presley fans, and we figured it was time we got down there. And so - with the full blessing from our wives - we put on our blue suede shoes, so to speak, boarded a plane, and touched down in the land of the Delta blues. We made the 1,032 mile journey to Graceland.

It's been nearly three months since our trip, and not a day has passed that I haven't thought about it. Memphis, for anyone with an appreciation for the history of rock and roll, is a special place. And as I told some people upon my return, "I brought home a little bit of Memphis with me, but I also think I left a little piece of me there."

It stays with you.

Graceland was wonderful. Though you sometimes might hear people say that it's not as big as they had expected, I didn't feel that way at all. It's a mighty big house, and yet it still has the feel of a home. There are moments on the Graceland tour that are simply fun, such as the rooms dedicated to Elvis's gold records and jumpsuits, yet there are also moments that are sad and poignant, such as when you find yourself standing before the very same piano that Presley played on August 16, 1977 - just hours before his death. You see a swing-set in the backyard, where his daughter once played, and a pool where good times were had by family and friends. And yet just 20 yards away, you also visit his grave.

Directly across the street from Graceland on Elvis Presley Boulevard is an annex plaza. And while no merchandise is sold at the actual home and the tour is extremely tasteful and serene, the plaza is a haven for the Elvis collector. Some of the gift shops even have special themes, such as "The '68 Comeback Special" and "Elvis's Hawaii." I loved it all, and I admit I bought a bit more than I had expected. While there, you can also visit the radio booth of Elvis Radio, a Sirius XM station devoted exclusively to Presley. My friends and I got lucky upon our visit there, as George Klein happened to be broadcasting at the time. Klein is a Memphis legend on TV and radio and was a close personal friend to The King, and there is certainly something very cool about standing directly across the street from Graceland and chatting with a man who once partied there many times with Elvis. Elvis had also served as best man at Klein’s wedding, and Klein served as a pallbearer for Elvis. And there he was, more than happy to come out of the radio booth to meet with fans.

This is the type of stuff that can happen when you visit Memphis.

Of course, if you're in Memphis, you also have to visit Sun Studio. It's history is well-documented. Early recordings of not only Presley, but also Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, B.B. King and Roy Orbison were all done there. You can stand in the exact spot where Elvis recorded "That's All Right" and you can see some of the vintage recording gear used at the time. For me, however, there was a moment at Sun that remains even more memorable. Just prior to visiting the city, I read the book "Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley." Written by Peter Gurlanick, it is considered to be the definitive Presley biography. And the truth behind Elvis's early recordings at Sun, wonderfully described in the text, is actually far more interesting than the myth or the drive-by Hollywood version ...

There is a perception that Elvis walked into the studio off the street, recorded "That's All Right," quickly became a regional sensation, signed with RCA, and soon became King. But that's not what happened. Presley recorded several songs at Sun prior to "That's All Right" without much success. Sam Phillips, the owner of the studio, thought he had a pretty good voice, but there was nothing particularly special about the first few tracks he recorded. But Elvis kept coming back. He'd come to the reception area of the studio - polite, shy and unassuming - looking for more opportunities to record. This went on for about a year. The receptionist at Sun, a woman named Marion Keisker, took a liking to the well-mannered young man. Ultimately, she helped get him the session that led to "That's All Right."

I don't know how many people that take the tour of Sun fully appreciate the significance of that little reception area, where a nice young woman once took a nice young man under her wing and, is essence, changed pop culture history. Most of the people on the tour I took part in moved quickly through the reception area and into the actual recording studio, but I stood there for a while, imagining the inward yet also obviously determined young Elvis coming back again and again, hoping for another chance to realize his dream.

Keisker, when she first met the 18 year-old Presley while working in that small office, asked him what kind of singer he was.

"I sing all kinds," he said.

She then asked whom he sounded like.

"I don't sound like nobody," he replied.

You stand in that little room, 60 years later, and you see Keisker’s little desk, and you can still feel the moment.

These are the types of experiences you can have when you visit Memphis.

My friends and I did a lot of walking in Memphis. We visited Lauderdale Courts, a housing complex where Elvis lived during his high school years, and we stood on the steps of Humes High School, from which he graduated. We walked up on the stage of the Overton Park Bandshell, an amphitheater where Elvis performed in 1954, and we visited the site of the Lansky Brothers clothing store, where The King first bought his cool threads. We strolled by the now abandoned Chisca Hotel, the home of the first radio station to play Elvis, and we visited 1034 Audubon Drive, the site of the home that Presley bought with the royalties from his first No. 1 hit, "Heartbreak Hotel." We also took a ride out to the site of the former Stax Recording Studio, where Presley recorded material for three albums in 1973, and we even visited the old Arcade Diner, one of Elvis's favorite eateries. While there, the grandson of the original owner came over to our table and told us some great stories about some of the times Elvis had eaten there, and he pointed us towards Elvis's favorite booth. Of course, we sat in it.

These are also the types of experiences you can have when you visit Memphis.

You can also party on Beale Street and hang out at clubs owned by B.B. King and Jerry Lee Lewis. You can see the great Mississippi River and the solemn site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. We did all of that, too. And on the corner of Beale and Main Street, we visited Elvis Presley Plaza, where a striking statue stands in his honor of Memphis' favorite son.

If you are a fan of Elvis Presley, you should really try to visit Memphis. You need to go to Graceland. And Sun. And pack in as much as you can in the time that you have there. I also suggest reading "Last Train To Memphis" before you go, as well as George Klein's "Elvis: My Best Man" and Jerry Schilling’s "Me and a Guy Named Elvis." Both are entertaining and thoughtful books written by two of Elvis's closest friends, and the stories they share of their time at Graceland and growing up in Memphis will make your visit even more enjoyable. I actually read the latter two books after my visit there, and I found that having personal visuals of the city and Graceland in mind really helped bring the texts to life. Simply put: if you go there, and you can truly picture things as they were, the stories are even better.

Elvis passed away 36 years ago today. I was only nine years old at the time, but I was already a fan and I remember it well. Throughout my life, I've always done something to note the day. I'd watch an Elvis special on TV, or listen to some of his music. This year, it feels different. Though I am not at Graceland for "Elvis Week," this was the year I finally got down there. I stood on one of the same stages where he first performed and in the same room where he first recorded. I saw his home, his cars and his airplanes and met one of his best friends. I placed a flower on his grave as a gesture of thanks, for not only his music, but for all of rock music. I paid my respects to The King.

These are the types of experiences you can have when you visit Memphis.

If you've ever thought about going, do it. "TCB," as Elvis would say. Take care of business.

It will stay with you.


(Alan K. Stout's radio show, "Music On The Menu Live," can be heard Sunday nights from 8-9 p.m. on The Mountain at www.102themountain.com and on 98.5 HD2. He can be reached at astout@102themountain.com)
 
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'STARDOG' HAS THE LOOK OF A CHAMPION



By ALAN K. STOUT
102.3-FM, THE MOUNTAIN


LUZERNE - It was a good feeling to have gone out last night to catch the debut performance of Stardog Champion, and to have had to circle around the block a few times looking for a parking spot. This show, clearly, had a buzz to it. And when you consider how much the musicians in this new project have meant to the NEPA music scene, I was happy about that. The buzz was well deserved. And when the band hit the stage at 11 p.m., the biggest expectation was met.

Why?

Simple: They had good songs. Really good songs.

And really, that was probably one of the few questions going into the night. Featuring former members of Breaking Benjamin, Lifer and Drama Club, there was no question as to whether or not they'd be great players and entertaining performers. Everybody knew that going in. And so, even though everyone was seeing the group for the very first time, it wasn't like there were several hundred people standing there with their arms folded, sizing them up. These guys already had fans. And these folks had come for a good time. Guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark James, who sold millions of records with Breaking Benjamin over the past decade, certainly have fans. Nick Coyle, a longtime fixture on the local music scene, also has fans. His former band, Drama Club, recorded some great songs ("November" remains a favorite) and he, Fink and James - with the group Lifer - were all previously signed to Universal Records. And the band's drummer, Josh Karis of Leroy Justice, is also a talented musician and has also toured the entire nation.

 Again, these guys have chops. And fans.

What Saturday night's show at Brews Brothers West revealed is that they also have chemistry and some really good modern-rock tunes. The group's debut EP, "Exhale" - released just days ago - offers a fine mix of punch and melody. (One must wonder if the EP's title is reflective of the sense of relief the band's members might now be feeling, particularly Fink and James, whose previous squabbles with Breaking Benjamin vocalist Ben Burnley are well documented.) The lead single, "When We Fall" is an explosive, radio-ready track (currently in rotation on 102.3-FM, The Mountain) and was met with enthusiastic approval. Other songs from the EP, such as "Aphrodite" and "The Switch" also held the crowd captive.

And that - despite the band's member's accomplished track records - is not an easy thing to do. To have a large number of people ready, eager and willing to digest new material for the first time in the live setting is something that, frankly, I've only seen a small handful of bands ever pull off. Add Stardog Champion to the list.

Musically, everything was there. The guitars soared, the bass rattled your guts and Coyle was in fine form as both a vocalist and frontman. And despite the harder edge to the music, the show was fun. There were spot-on covers of The Beatles' "Helter Skelter," U2's "Bullet The Blue Sky" and Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." A few female dancers, wearing white masks and form-fitting body suits, joined the group on stage for a number, and though it was both sexy and quirky and added some interesting flavor to the show, it was not - at all - your typical "strippers-on-stage-with-the band-thing" that we've all seen a hundred times. The girls were fully clothed; it was more in the vein of something you might have expected from the late Robert Palmer or even Tool. And for Stardog Champion, it worked.

There were also bouncing balls. At one point, about a half a dozen large inflated balls made their way out over the crowd, and - to the beat of the music - fans whacked them high in the air and around the room to one another. It was very Rolling Stones-esque and it all contributed to the sense that this show, though the first for the band, was indeed a celebration. The fact that so many people frequently held their cell-phones in the air snapping photos and shooting video also contributed to that feel.

In addition to music fans, Stardog Champion also brought out musicians. The crowd was peppered with prominent members of other local bands, music journalists (The Weekender and Highway 81 Revisited) and the Gallery of Sound. And the group was introduced by Freddi Fabbri, the longtime area DJ, now with 102.3-FM, who has always had a special relationship with some of the band's members and, 12 years ago, was one of the people who helped break Breaking Benjamin not only on radio, but also, fittingly, in the same club where Saturday's event was held.

"Do you like new beginnings?" Fabbri asked the crowd.

Clearly, the answer was yes.

So much of it simply felt right, and I got an early indication that it might be a good night. About 20 minutes before showtime, I asked Coyle if he was nervous.

 "Not at all," he said with an assuring smile. "I'm ready to get out there and rock."

 Indeed.

Already looking forward to the next show. Already looking forward to spinning a few more tracks from the EP on the radio. 


(Alan K. Stout's "Music On The Menu Live" can be heard every Sunday night from 8-9 p.m. on 102.3-FM, The Mountain. Reach him at astout@102themountain.com)
 
 

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FORAGING FOR RAMPS ETC

No, not turnpike on-ramps. 

These ramps are also known as wild leeks, and they’re supposedly delicious and very very good for you.  RIGHT NOW is the season for them, they’re one of the first things (along with fiddleheads…more about them later) that you can forage for this early in the spring.
They are part of the onion/garlic family, but are renowned for being pungent as hell.  In fact if you eat enough (which isn’t very many) and wait around you (and your loved ones, no doubt) will be able to smell the odor coming right out of your pores
.
They are found in forested areas all over the Northeastern part of the US.  They like shady and sandy soil, often near rivers or streams.  Some sources say they grow on the north side of embankments or hills in the woods, in small clumps.  They’re very popular in Appalachia, in fact my best friend, who has lived in West Virginia nearly 30 years, was the person who turned me on to them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any on my property, and believe me I check thoroughly every year.  This year I even asked the Ex if I could check his land, since he has a lot more acreage.  He was kind enough to let me, but no ramps, at least not where I looked.
Ramps look a lot like lily-of-the-valley, at least from the ground up, but underground they look a lot like scallions.  They’re not real easy to dig up, either, which is why you have to bring a garden trowel or small shovel.  When you dig don’t take them all, so that they can continue to grow where they are.  You have to eat them almost right away since they don’t keep well even in the fridge. Use them wherever you’d use onion or garlic, but keep in mind they’re a lot stronger.
If and when I ever find any, I have a whole bunch of north-facing slopes on my property, and they’re kind of wooded, so I’ll be planting as well as eating!

Now on to fiddleheads.  I DO have a few of them on my property. They're just the furled fronds of the "ostrich" ferns you see in all wooded areas in NePa.  Left on the plant they'd unroll into large fern leaves.  You have to pick them when they're really small though, because they get bitter almost immediately.  But in this baby state they have a delicate asparagus-like flavor.  Just make sure you cook 'em all the way through.






So ANYBODY who knows where there are some ramps, please reply to this post!  Or just email me, click on "Hosts" then you'll see my little bio, there's a box to email me there.


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Locations : West Virginia




 

Talking music with one of the King's Men: An interview with D.J. Fontana


 

By ALAN K. STOUT
102.3-FM, The Mountain


Back in '90s, at least once every few weeks, I found myself interviewing a rock star. I was the music columnist at The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre at the time, and because the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market seemed to be a stop on most major concert tours, and because most of my interviews were being carried on the national entertainment wire, rock stars were calling all the time. Billy Joel. Steven Tyler. Eddie Van Halen. David Bowie. Ray Charles. Jon Bon Jovi. Don Henley. I was fortunate enough to chat with all of them about music. And even though I was often a big fan of some of the people I interviewed, I never got starstruck or overly excited about it. It was my job - a job that was fun and that I grateful for - but also one that I took seriously. The most important thing to me about interviewing a rock star was making sure that the interview resulted in a good story for the newspaper.

Still, that didn't mean there weren't a few times when I was a little bit more anxious to make that call. And on one occasion, in January of 1999, this was particularily true. And that's because I was scheduled to interview one of the King's Men. I was scheduled to interview the longtime drummer of one Elvis Aaron Presley.

 I was scheduled to interview D.J. Fontana.

He was not the household name that had been accompanying a lot of my articles at that time, but to me, this one was special. Hanging out at a local tavern one night a day or two before our scheduled chat, my friends - who were not accustomed to hearing me even talk about my work that much - seemed surprised over my enthusiasm for this particular interview.

"You guys don't understand," I said. "I'm more excited about this than I would be to be talking to somebody like Eddie Vedder."

With that, I was met with somewhat of a puzzled look.

 "This guy played with ELVIS," I said. "Hound Dog. Heartbreak Hotel. Jailhouse Rock. He played on all of them."

At that point, I think they actually started to get it. Fontana, in fact, played on more than 450 Elvis songs. He also played with Presley on all of his early TV appearances, including his 1956 milestone performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and one that is considered to be one the finest performances of his career - the 1968 NBC television special best known as the " '68 Comeback Special."

And D.J. Fontana - who was coming to Wilkes-Barre as part of an Elvis tribute show - gave me a very good interview.

"I was always impressed with what a gentleman he was," he said, when I asked him to share his favorite Elvis memory. "He was always kind to people. He always spoke with `yes, ma'am,' `no, sir,' `thank you very much.' He was always polite. As he got bigger, he didn't have to be. But that's the way he was taught when he was a little boy, so he never got rid of that attitude."

Fontana, who named Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa among his influences, told me that it never occurred to him when he was recording Presley's early hits that he was also securing his place as one of rock 'n' roll's pioneering drummers.

 "You don't think about those things," he said. "You're in there to cut a good record. Of course, Elvis always hoped they were hits, but we were all striving for the same thing - to do the best job we could and get the best record we could."

Getting the best record they could. Those words carried a lot of weight coming from a man who essentially helped form rock and roll. And it was when he talked about making those records - and Elvis' role in their production - that Fontana offered the most insight. Though Presley was widely regarded as a marvelous vocalist, his role with his own recordings was not, for the most part, one of a musician or songwriter. But Fontana told me that Elvis knew the nuances of a recording studio very well and essentially served as his own producer.

 "He was the final word," said Fontana. "He knew what he wanted to hear. We had producers - guys that I called clock-watchers. They'd sit behind the sound board and go `Oh yeah, Elvis, that's two minutes and 15 seconds,' but's that about all they ever said. Elvis would do it until he was satisfied and say `That's the one I'm taking.' He was usually right."

It remains, to this day, one of my favorite interviews.

My chat with D.J. Fontana was done on the phone, but when he came to town a few days later, I was able to meet him in person. By that time, the story from our interview had already been published in the paper and I was able to give him a copy. He was also kind enough to sign a copy for me and pose for a picture. Though he talked during our interview about Elvis always being a gentleman and of his politeness, I found the same to be true of Mr. Fontana, who is now 82 and whose legendary work has not been limited to recording with Elvis. With the "All The King's Men" project, he worked with people such as Keith Richards, Levon Helm and Jeff Beck. Just a few years after I did the interview, he played with Paul McCartney. And in recognition for his work, he has been inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the sidemen category.

Over the past few years, I've posted quite a few of my old newspaper interviews with rock stars on YouTube. And with my friends and I currently planning a trip to Graceland, and with the music of Elvis frequently filling my home, I thought I'd share a few excerpts my interview with D.J. Fontana. You can listen to them on the link above. 

 "I'm a big Elvis fan," I say at one point during our conversation. "It's really a pleasure to talk to you."

Indeed it was. It's not everyday that you get to talk music with someone who was in the room when pop culture was forever changed and who had a role in that change. It's not everyday that you get to talk with someone that worked with Elvis, so often, for more nearly 15 years.

It's not everyday that you get to talk with one of the King's Men.

 

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YOU GOTTA GO GET YOUR TEETH CLEANED

And I have just the inexpensive way to do it!  I haven’t had dental insurance for years, so I was sorta putting off getting them cleaned and checked.  Well!

Last Tuesday I went to the Luzerne County Community College Dental Clinic, located in their Health Sciences Center right in the middle of Nanticoke.  They have a slew of dental hygiene students who are just dying to clean your teeth and give you a full set of xrays, all watched over by a certified instructor and a dentist.
My hygienist was Sara and she couldn’t have been nicer.  Yes, it takes a little longer because at each step the student then has to get the instructor over to examine her work and make sure it’s right.  OK maybe a lot longer but here’s the payoff…the whole thing costs $15!  I @#$% you not.
 
I arrived at 8:40 (for an 8:30 appointment but no one looked at me funny…well no funnier than usual).  The first thing they do is a long and lengthy conversation about your health, medications you’re on, things you’re allergic to, all that insurance crap.  Then the x-rays, which took maybe 45 minutes.  Then they probe your teeth; measuring them?  Something like that.  Then the actual cleaning; it had been so long I had never had the ultrasonic thingie, which I did not like.  They give you the usual bag o’ dental stuff, explaining what each thing is, and tell you to floss daily and brush twice a day.  I was out by 11:50.  But who cares, I would have stayed twice as long for the price!  I actually heard myself saying they should charge more.
One of the many great things about this is, they can’t afford to slack off because an instructor is looking over their shoulder every inch of the way.  And while I have never met an unpleasant hygienist, my girl Sarah was just adorable, competent, with a sure but gentle touch. (Wonder if she’s married, just kidding!!!)
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WHY I NEED A NEW GYM

So after my gym in Dallas was sold to some guy last year, it changed its name to something that actually gave me pause at first.  Can’t mention the actual name.  However we were all told we had to renew our memberships and I simply couldn’t afford it.  I still can’t.
So I went in the other day to see if there was any kind of discount or payment plan I could get.  The guy wouldn’t even see me.  Wouldn’t even descend the six steps from his office to the front desk to meet me.   After that cold treatment, I decided I couldn’t possibly just hand over the membership fee, which is in excess of $425 (or even more if you pay a month at a time.  That’s called the Poor man’s Tax).
So now I’m asking YOU PEOPLE (yes, I just referred to you as YOU PEOPLE) to recommend a gym.  I live up behind the Back Mountain, in Beaumont, Pa, and that’s the tragedy, because that gym is only ten minutes from my house.  But I can’t go there, and actually reward them, you  know?
I’m looking in particular for lots of aerobics classes…that’s the stuff I love, especially step.  Zumba’s OK, and so is kickboxing, but step is my arch-favorite (hah, get it, arch favorite??!).   If you do post an answer give me a reason WHY that particular gym is great.
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Locations : Dallas




 

SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME

Surprised to find there IS one?  Well there is.  They divide it into three categories:  "Early American Song, 1600-1879," "Tin Pan Alley, 1880 - 1953" and "Rock n' Roll, 1954- present."

Here's the link, they just announced this years' inductees today: http://songhall.org/news/entry/songwriters_hall_of_fame_announces_2013_inductees.  Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and Mick Johnes and Lou Gramm of Foreigner, are being inducted this year, as well as Holly Knight, JD Souther and Tony Hatch.

Here's the list to CURRENT members: http://songwritershalloffame.com/exhibits/era. Most of the people you expect to be there are there, like Lennon & McCartney, Holland, Dozier & Holland, Bruce, Goffin & King, even the Sherman brothers who wrote every Disney song ever. 
 
What surprised me is who's NOT on the list.  John Hiatt.  John Prine.  Jim Steinman, who wrote "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."  Tom Waits.  Chrissie Hynde.  Justin Hayward from the Moody Blues.  Warren Zevon (there's no "Z"s at all!)

I was gonna say Lionel Richie but then I remembered he wrote "We Are the World" so I kicked him off my list.


Anyone you feel should be nominated?  List 'em below in the comments.

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THANKS, MOM, FOR THE CRAPPY GENES

I've been eating healthy for at least 25 years.  As soon as I started giving birth to people, I realized I needed to be much more responsible about my eating habits (and theirs, at least at first).  I cut waaay down on red meat.  I made all kinds of fabulous vegetarian meals for dinners each night.  I never put salt on anything.

When I moved up here to Northeastern Pennsylvania, I started really living the life.  100 ounces of water every day.  Plenty of leafy greens.  Actually, there's a guy (Dr. Dan Golaszewski, www.nepadrdan.com) who has a show on our sister station, WILK, that I listen to religously. He has a mnemonic for the healthiest foods: GOMBBS, which stands for greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, something else starting with "b" that I can't remember, and seeds.  I eat almonds and steel cut oats.   Raw, local honey (I mean local, I could practically walk to their house), raw milk, free range eggs.  And it takes me, like, a month to get through a dozen eggs.  Only bake with gluten free flour, (mixed with a little whole grain spelt flour).  As most of you know who read this blog I grow tons of my own food.  Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes (that didn't work out so well), corn, peas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, onions, garlic, zucchini, butternet squash, pumpkin, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, celery.  Even edamame, but this didn't work out too well either.  Anyhow, all this means I also eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.  All organic, of course.

Using this strategy I managed to lose, like, 35 pounds year before last.  Well, now most of it is back, because I just stopped, you know, controlling my intake, so to speak.  But I still manage to eat mostly healthy stuff, tempeh, white meat chicken, and when I have to eat grains they are only whole grain.  Don't eat rice or pasta pretty much ever.  I even buy that Ezekiel bread that is made from sprouted grains.

I quit smoking 30 years ago.  I stopped drinking 32 years ago.

And what did I get for this virtuosity?  High blood pressure and high cholesterol. 


That's right, I'm just like everyone else.  Everyone else that's been drinking soda pop all their lives, and wolfing down Doritos, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets made of pink slime.  Not to imply that I never scarf down a bag o' chips, but it's rare. 

This is why I'm blaming my mother and her Irish family.  Poor genetic material.

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CONTRA DANCING IS SO MUCH FUN

Seriously, you'll love it.  No pressure, a good workout but easy on the joints (do I sound old?).  Don't even have to have a date because you're ENCOURAGED to change partners each dance.

Chicory House Dance Series

Community Contra Dance February 2, 2013, in Kingston PA


A New England Contra dance features  music by the “Smash the Windows” with fiddler Bruce Young, accompanied by Peg Shutes on keyboard, along with calling by Hilton Baxter. The dance at 7:00PM, at the Church of Christ Uniting, 776 Market Street, Kingston. No partner or previous experience is necessary.  Because the pattern of moves of each Contra Dance is repeated often, Contra Dances are easy to learn, and dancers of all skill levels are welcome.  The caller will teach all the dances.  The dance tradition encourages dancers to change partners throughout the evening, so each person will get to dance with a variety of skill levels. Lightweight clothing is recommended. Dancers are invited to  bring a snack to share at intermission. Those arriving early can join a pot-luck dinner starting at 6 pm.  Bring a dish-to-pass if coming for the dinner.  Further information is available at 570-333-4007 or at folkloresociety.org, where dancers can connect to the Facebook page and watch videos.of recent dances.
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Locations : Kingston
People : Bruce Young




 

ONE MORE THING ON THE HEIRLOOM SEEDS

Apparently Monsanto is trying to take over even the heirloom seed market, so they can own everything we eat AND grow.  Here's a link to a list of "Monsanto-free seed companies."  I'm glad my guys, Baker Creek, are on there.

http://www.occupymonsanto360.org/2012/03/06/monsanto-free-seed-companies/
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