Category Archives: Wally

Love Storm, Revisited

This morning at 9am, my good friend Mike Pengra will re-air the final broadcast of MPR’s Morning Show on Radio Heartland, recorded 6 years ago today.

Such a kind gesture from a true gentleman!

Since it’s only good manners to bring a gift of some sort to a party, I’ll offer this – a post from the old “Trail Balloon” blog that immediately followed the event itself:

Our final Morning Show broadcast was an immense hug and a truly beautiful thing thanks to the waves of faithful listeners who flowed to and through the Fitzgerald Theater and St. Paul’s Central Presbyterian Church. The size of the crowd went well beyond our expectations (I wagered 1500) and their warmth was off the charts.

As a lifelong radio guy, I am naturally timid at the thought of facing a live audience, but this group was as comfort-inducing as any collection of 2000 souls can be. What’s the opposite of an unruly mob? A ruly mob, I guess. That’s what we had.

All the heartfelt words of praise for our Morning Show were oh so welcome, but after awhile I did begin to feel a bit guilty. Let’s face it, everybody works hard and the stress of day-to-day living takes a toll. Who wouldn’t get a boost from having a gaggle of admiring people asking for your autograph? I confess I enjoyed it tremendously, but I recognize that most people deserve a kind word and a pat on the back for the good things they do every day, and do they get it? You know the answer. Sorry Jim Ed and I hogged the love storm, but what could we do? It blew down the doors.

The Morning Show is done. It was a long-running and sometimes confounding radio gymnastics routine with plenty of twists and flourishes and it looked like we would come crashing down a couple of times, but our spotters were there for us and gravity gave us some lucky breaks, and the dismount was incredible.

When have you finished well?

First Friday at the Fair

Today is the first Friday of the Minnesota State Fair.

For Eighteen straight years while I was working with Tom Keith at Minnesota Public Radio I didn’t have to think about what would happen on this day – it was our routine to do a live broadcast from the grounds. We had wonderful fun each time we went out, thanks in large part to our amazing producers (Nora McGillivray, Silvester Vicic, Mike Pengra) and a loyal audience that, in many cases (I’m looking at you, T.G.I.T.H.) managed to crash the gates before the fair opened at 6am.

The fairgrounds are lovely just before dawn and Pronto Pups smell surprisingly good in the morning air. Our technical crew (Mike Osborne, Rick Hebzynski, Scott Yankus and many others over the years) arrived literally in the middle of the night to have everything ready for us at 6 am.

In the later years, Eric Ringham would appear just before air time with his backpack and his DCOTY (Discardable Clothing of the Year), completely prepared to go hide on the fairgrounds for the “Where’s Eric” game.

Yes, we knew there would be at least one costume change.

Through the years, all of Eric’s pursuers made it fun but Leslie Ball and Ochen Kaylan stood out for their familiarity with the terrain and their eerie ability to unlock the clues. In the final year we took to hiding decoys just to slow them down a bit.

I shed tear for this tradition every time first Friday comes along, and I know many Babooners feel the same way.

You can still hear our final broadcast from the fair online. I’m proud of it – we had Ann Reed, Dan Wilson and ‘Pert Near Sandstone on stage and many of the standard Morning Show characters making what we knew would be their last fairgrounds appearance.

What will you do at the Minnesota State Fair this year?

Slush Rush


Because the Trail Baboon blog is not, on its own, a financially sustainable venture, it is sometimes necessary to kick ethical behavior to the curb and yield the space to some unscrupulous lowlife with cash to burn.

Having a bit of space on the world-wide internet, even an obscure location like this one, fills some minds with visions of a vast, global audience that exists only theoretically.

I’m not about to discourage that line of thinking when there’s money on the line. Reaching the right audience in today’s complicated media marketplace is a dicey proposition, and with so many choices it’s inevitable that some messages will miss the mark completely.

And sometimes that’s the very best outcome for everyone concerned.

I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here today. But it’s also true that I can’t fully endorse the following message.

Hello SUV shoppers!

Car buyers don’t really need a reasonable reason to purchase a new sport utility vehicle. When it’s time, it’s just TIME! And that’s the only explanation you’ll need to justify today’s purchase of a new slush-beating Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida!

I’m especially talking to all you Tibetan Soccer Moms out there!

And don’t tell me you don’t exist! I did a Google search and found out you have your own line of “parking only” shirts and hoodies! If it’s happening on the internet, it must be real, right?

So pardon me ladies, if I don’t know much about Tibet, but I just read that the glaciers there are warmer right now than they’ve been at any time in the last 2,000 years! And you know what happens when a glacier starts to melt – slush!

I’m certain any Tibetan woman can handle ice and snow, but shlepping those soccer squirts through the slushy discharge from a softening glacier can sure slow down a speedy squad! That’s why it’s important that you have a chance to make the trip from Lhasa to Apso in a Sherpa from Intimida.

I’m not talking about a real Sherpa, which is something I know you have in Tibet.

I mean the car that’s as tough and versatile as a real Sherpa. Plus, it’s the biggest car on the planet – plenty big enough to make an impression at the foot of the world’s biggest mountain – Everest!

Some killjoys out there will claim greenhouse gasses from cars like the Sherpa are the very reason your glaciers are melting in the first place.

Maybe so!

But why should you be denied the privilege of plowing through a sliding section of glacial shrinkage just so the soccer moms of Shakopee can continue sit on the sidelines and watch their offspring play from the comfort and solitude of their air conditioned crow’s nests – relaxing at altitude behind the wheel of an idling suburban Sherpa?

Let the rest of the world rough it for a while. No one deserves a Sherpa more than a real Sherpa. You’ve earned a break!

Come on, Tibetan soccer moms (and dads)! Make the Intimida Sherpa your last line of defense against the increasingly hot glaciers that we’ve forced you to face! Find us online at Wally’s Intimida – we can handle the purchase digitally and we’ll swiftly ship a Sherpa to your location, just in time for the squishy season!

Your hopeful pal,

I don’t think any actual Tibetan Soccer Moms read Trail Baboon, nor are they inclined to buy a mammoth SUV. But you have to be impressed with Wally’s optimism. Or his audacity!

How are you at making the hard sell?

Millionaire Surplus Chases Story Shortage

Today’s post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa S.U.V. – the world’s most massive car.

Hello buyers!

Today is a great day to add a Sherpa to your collection of things that took a bundle of money to own.  I say that knowing  we have just been through a few years  when spending was something that even people with too much cash simply did not do.

But there was great news coming out of California last week – someone spent 27.5 million dollars on a car! And I don’t mean a car company – I mean one single, individual car.

You have no idea how this cheered up people in my business who have spent countless hours haggling with stubborn cheapskates who balk at forking over an extra $300 for the paint treatment. Finally, a great feel-good story about gaudy excess. It’s about time!

The car in question, a Ferrari NART Spyder, is special, there’s no doubt. In fact, the auction house produced this beautiful, lump-in-the-throat video about it.

What a great story – a fondly remembered father’s well-loved prize benefiting charity and helping to soothe the pain of loss. This tugs on the heartstrings of exactly the type of millionaire who buys a collectible automobile. I wish I had something as sentimental to give the Sherpa buying public, but our commercials only show the Sherpa plowing through muddy fields and crushing things. Of course it can look as fetching in the misty early-morning light as a pricey, rare Ferrari, but being a plus-plus-plus-size automobile, the Sherpa has to conform to the limited expectations of a public that is not ready to accept that a package brimming with raw power can also be alluring  in a skimpy, sexy negligee.

But another thing that does wonders to sell a 27.5 million dollar car is the paralyzing fear that some other rich cat will swoop in and buy it before you can. And there was one quote in the story that spoke to this – from McKeel Hagerty, CEO of a company that insures collectible cars.

“The supply of millionaires is exceeding the number of available great cars. An awful lot of collectors are now clamoring for event-eligible models, and they’ve become a permissible splurge. The values are climbing.”

This is music to my ears – the very idea of too many millionaires chasing too few desirable cars spells opportunity for Intimida and the Sherpa, especially when there are signs that car lust in general is on the decline. All a great car really needs to break into the uber-million dollar category at auction is a great story, and while I’m sure potential buyers would like those stories to be true, it can account for a lot if they are, at the very least, good.

Some of the story lines I’m thinking about attaching to specific cars for future sales -

  • The Sherpa that drove Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to the top of Everest
  • The Sherpa the Von Trapp family took over the Matterhorn in The Sound of Music
  • The Sherpa that made the wheel-well slush chunk that grew into the Titanic iceberg
  • The Sherpa where Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address

There’s more to come as the automotive business transitions from being about transportation to being about nostalgia. But there’s still time left to buy a Sherpa of your own, so you can start making memories that will mean millions to your descendants, down the road. 

No pressure, honest.  Just think about it!

Your faithful car peddler,

What value-boosting story could you tell about your car?

Most Likely To Exceed

Today’s post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida, home of the Sherpa – the SUV that’s so large, it has its own gravity.

The Car Is A Butte
The Car Is A Butte

This is a great day to buy a Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida! Did I say great? I meant PERFECT!

But then I say that about every day. Too bad some people just don’t get it. Most people, actually. But the day will come when you will feel sorry that you didn’t buy a Sherpa when it was possible.

This car is mammoth. It can be seen from space. Not only does the Sherpa have its own gravity – it leaves a giant footprint. Park the Sherpa outside your house and it will begin to re-shape the landscape by changing wind and weather patterns. Set the parking brake and leave it for a million years, and you’ll have a butte in your back yard – guaranteed.

But one thing the Sherpa can’t do is make the list of the Most Frequently Stolen Cars in America. That top honor goes to the Ford F-250 four-wheel-drive crew cab. The Chevrolet Silverado came in second. The top ten targets of theft were all large or Very large pickup trucks or SUVs.

So why didn’t the Sherpa make the list?


Thieves don’t know they can steal it because it registers as part of the landscape. It exceeds their expectations of what a car can be, and they simply cannot imagine themselves behind the wheel of something so gigantic. They can’t understand that it even has a wheel – the car looks like foothills to the uneducated observer.

And this mind-numbing-through-size happens to miscreants who regularly steal Ford F-250s. That’s got to tell you something!

Today is the day to get your own Sherpa from Wally’s Intimida. Bring it home and leave it unlocked. The car simply is too awesome for the criminal mind to comprehend.

I’ll see You In The Showroom,

I suppose on one level, having your product become the car-most-stolen IS a sign of success, since covetousness is what automobile marketing is all about.

What item would you steal if that was the only way to get it?

Cultural Downshift

Today’s post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida – Home of the Sherpa!

Whenever I’m feeling down, I look at the latest report from the US Public Interest Research Group to remind myself that there’s a lot further to fall. Yes, I could feel much, much worse. The US PIRG says young people today are doing less and less driving for a lot of different reasons including time and expense. Plus, when they were very little, their mothers and fathers drove them around everywhere they needed to go, inadvertently creating a a generation of lazy travelers who expect to be picked up and taken to their next destination.

In other words, public transit-loving leeches!

This doesn’t bode well for people like me who work in the automotive indulgence industry. Our audience is literally fading away. I have seen young people … young MEN … who are very conversant about bike racks but cannot get excited about a Corvette.

That’s just wrong.

We may be entering a time that will be remembered someday as the dark ages for the personal automobile.

Parked Behind a Small Rock
Parked Behind a Small Rock

But in the same way that Irish monks and scribes preserved western civilization by maintaining the culture through the transition from classic Rome to medieval Europe, so Sherpa drivers will allow our car culture to survive thousands of years into the future! It’s up to us to use and maintain the infrastructure. Otherwise our beautiful 8 lane freeways will become 2 car lane and 12 bike lane freeways. Perish the thought!

The Sherpa from Intimida does everything we need to keep our infrastructure in use and up-to-date. As the largest and heaviest passenger car ever made, it chews up the pavement at the same rate as 10 lesser cars. And no vehicle on Earth can match it for gas consumption. That’s great for America, because as our gas production increases (thanks, tracking!) the huge Sherpas of Intimida will be there to burn it!

And the taxes we pay will keep the roads in good repair. Sherpa ownership preserves a way of life, and supports Employment and Infrastructure.

And what about all that carbon dioxide in the air?

The Sherpa Woodsman edition comes complete with a old-growth forest that has been uprooted and surgically pre-planted in the cargo bay. That means your Sherpa is the only car on the road that both pumps CO2 into the air and consumes it at the same time!

Yes, young people think differently. Let them! It’s up to you to pass the consumptive culture that bred you on to some greedy future generation!

Come to Wally’s Intimida and take your proper place in history!

Your far-seeing dealer,

I told Wally that I’m not in the market for a new car, but in our own way, each of us represents something essential about the times in which we live. His eyes glazed over and I don’t think he heard a word I said after “I’m not in the market for a new car.”

In a Museum of the Future, which exhibit includes an image of you, and what are you doing?

Shake Your Tail Feathers

Today’s guest post comes from Wally, proprietor of Wally’s Intimida – home of the Sherpa Sport Utility Vehicle.

Today is a great day to buy a new Sherpa – the largest, most impressive vehicle on the road today! Great big cars are STILL hot, in spite of what some gloomy fun-killers say about the gas guzzler being an automotive dinosaur.

Because dinosaurs are still hot too!

Recent research shows that Oviraptors, a flightless, two-legged variety of dinosaur, had all the right equipment on board to flaunt a set of spectacular tail feathers solely for the purpose of attracting a mate. Scientists lament that the fossil record doesn’t do a good job of preserving these feathers, so we will probably never know exactly what kind of sinuous tail-shaking took place on the prehistoric dance floor.

But isn’t it encouraging to know that dinosaurs weren’t all about snarling and stomping and biting the heads off of smaller animals?


In tribute, Intimida introduces the Sherpa Oviraptor edition, a mammoth SUV with a set of mechanical tail feathers that can do the very same thing the dinosaurs did – put on a flashy display to draw attention to the fact that YOU are driving a car that is absolutely ASTOUNDING!

Today’s automobiles have lost the feeling of excitement that made car owners of the 50’s and 60’s hunger for bigger and more elaborate tail fins. The Sherpa Oviraptor edition brings us back to those days of provocative, sensual display.

And a special bonus – from behind the wheel of your Sherpa, you can also deploy your feathers like a drag chute to help slow you down on a steep incline or if you simply forget that you’re expected to stop at the red lights like everybody else – as Sherpa owners are wont to do.

Come on down to Wally’s today! I’m ready and waiting to get you into a Sherpa Oviraptor with a drop-dead display that matches your eyes.

It’s a mighty big, mighty beautiful car!

What’s the most showy car you’ve ever owned? Or driven?