Category Archives: News

RIP Stan Lee

I’m not a huge comic book or graphic novel fan. Not sure why since I AM a super hero fan; probably  because super heroes have special powers, not unlike wizards and witches.  The last several years have been a real boon for super hero lovers and Stan Lee was behind a lot of that:  Spider Man, Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, X-Men.  It was fun to see Stan Lee in small cameos in all the Marvel movies, a little like seeing Alfred Hitchcock showing up in the films that he directed.

Stan Lee passed away on Monday at the age of 95 from pneumonia. I’m sure his characters and movies will live on but it won’t be quite the same.  I’ll miss you, Stan.

What super hero would YOU like to be.

Lest We Forget

I thought about my paternal grandfather this week leading up to November 11. In December, 1916, at the age of 19, my  grandfather enlisted in the US Army.  He was one of the younger offspring in a family of 12 children. His father had died two years before.  His next older brother, Albert, had enlisted in June, 1916 and was in the 136th Infantry.  (Albert was reportedly chasing Pancho Villa around the Southwest with General Pershing.)

Grandpa was sent to Fort Logan, CO and assigned to Company C, 4th Regiment of Engineers, and on April 30, 1918, he sailed for France on the Martha Washington. He was stationed in France on the Western Front, sometimes at the US camp at Allerey sur Saone.  He sent home postcard photos of the camp.  The header photo is of the Allerey camp, too.

Here is a photo of his unit. He is the second one from the left in the back row.

Grandpa was involved in the Second Battle of Aisne-Marne (Summer, 1918), the Battle of Mihiel (September, 1918), the Second Battle of Meuse-Argonne (Fall, 1918) and Alsace-Lorraine (November, 1918).  According to one source I read, The Engineers were in charge of repairing the devastation of the war to expedite troop movements such as surveying, bridge and road repair, constructing buildings, maintaining communication lines, removal of land mines and “booby” traps, digging trenches and constructing shell, gas and splinter-proof shelters, providing clean water and constructing or removing barbed wire. They also launched gas attacks, built hospitals, barracks, mess halls, stables, target ranges, and repaired miles of train tracks. Their extensive and time consuming duties left them little time for rifle practice and drills and they were not relied upon for frontline combat, but the success of the Allied forces depended upon the support of the Engineer Corps.

When he wasn’t digging trenches or building bridges, he was chasing women. He is the man on the left. I have no idea how this photo has survived for 100 years, and why my grandmother never threw it out!

Once Germany surrendered, the 4th was marched into the northern Rhine as an army of occupation. He was near the Mosel and sent this postcard home

He sailed back to the US on July 21, 1919, on the von Steuben, a German ship captured by the US.  He stayed in the army until June, 1920. He was a sergeant. He lived until 1980.

Grandpa had several studio portrait photos taken in France, and it is interesting to see how he changed over the course seven months.  Here are some early ones. He looks so young.

Here is a later one.

Oh, the questions I have after putting this together! I doubt I will ever get them answered.

How did the First World War impact your family?  After reading this, what questions would you have for my grandfather?

 

 

 

Hot Dish

Dorcas Reilly, the creator of the famous and loved (and also loathed) green bean casserole died this week. She was 92.  Perhaps she attributed her longevity to the casserole.

Thanksgiving is Daughter’s favorite holiday. She isn’t coming home until after Christmas, and she made me promise that I would cook Thanksgiving dinner for her then. The green bean casserole will be on the menu. It is one of her favorites. It has to be the traditional one Dorcas developed using cream of mushroom soup. Daughter also informed me that Brussels sprouts with bacon will be on the list. She has the whole meal planned, and will email the recipes to us. We will, of course, cook it to her specifications. Life is easier that way.

The favorite casserole, however, is the one printed below. We will also make this for Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner:

Butternut Squash Casserole
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    • 1 pound thinly sliced onions
    • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 3/4 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  •  2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from soft white bread
  • 2 cups (packed) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until onions are light golden, about 8 minutes. Add squash; sauté 4 minutes. Sprinkle sugar, salt and pepper over vegetables; sauté until onions and squash begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish. Pour chicken broth over. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes. (Squash mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Reheat in 350°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.)

Increase oven temperature to 400°F. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary and thyme in medium bowl. Sprinkle over gratin. Bake uncovered until top is golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.

What is your favorite hot dish? Which is your least favorite? What would you like to be remembered for?

Cheap Dates

I read this in the local paper yesterday:

According to an article from USA Today based on findings from 24/7 Wall St., North Dakotans are the second-cheapest date in the U.S.

The recent report found the average date cost for each state, including a bottle of wine, two movie tickets and a restaurant dinner for two. North Dakota had the second-lowest average of $42.43, bested only by South Dakota at $38.27.

Minnesota, meanwhile, had the nation’s 23rd-highest date night cost of $109.81, while New York topped the list at $297.27.

Well, I guess there are some advantages living out here!   The article goes on to make suggestions for one of a kind, cheap excursions like going to the Minnesota State-Moorhead planetarium,  corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and an adult only Halloween party at the Red River Zoo in Fargo including a  costume contest, concessions, dance party, a cash bar and zookeeper talks with critters ($10 for advance tickets).

Think up a cheap date excursion in your vicinity. Tell about some memorable dates from your past. 

 

David vs Goliath

Today’s post comes from Crystalbay

I’ve been MIA for a few weeks because I’m thoroughly embroiled in a fight with city hall. In this city, people aren’t allowed to have a boat at their dock unless they themselves own it. This means that my own kids couldn’t even dock here. I have no boat, and have rented it out every summer for much needed income. A local marina owner found out and filed a complaint against me. I was notified that I had to remove the friend’s boat in one week or face trial. I didn’t comply, then received a summons for a court hearing. Bottom line: I’m facing up to a $1000 fine or 90 days in jail for having one boat at my otherwise empty dock. This money is 1/4 of my annual income, so I decided to fight back.

In a group email to the mayor and city council, I begged for help in resolving this. I explained my situation. I also wrote that, short of help from them, I might have to go public. Not one responded. I’m sure that they thought I was just blowing smoke.

I made one phone call to the StarTribune. They came out the very next day to interview me. A week later, the story was featured on the front page of the Minnesota Section.

What’s happened since this is nothing short of phenomenal. 360 comments followed the article, 95% positive. Someone posted the story on a Lake Minnetonka Fan Club FB page. 250 more comments followed, 98% from people outraged by Orono’s actions. A high end attorney offered pro bono representation. Two more local newspapers wanted in on the action and two more articles brought even more support. I’ve been told that the story spread across the state and that even our governor is following it. I’ve had offers to pay any legal costs or fines. Hundreds have expressed interest in attending my public hearing on Oct. 25th. All three reporters from the three articles published want to be present for possible follow-up articles.

What began as just me and the city locking horns over my dock has taken on a life of its own, with hundreds of people angry about everything from how our tax dollars are being spent to government overreach to how seniors are treated. It seems that disdain for city councils around the lake in general was tapped into by one old lady’s predicament. It’s reminding me of the movie Network when Peter Finch got people to open up their windows and yell, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore!!!!!”

In short, my situation going public has touched a palpable and collective nerve in the community across the lake. Even if, as many are predicting, my case gets dismissed, something has clearly been awakened. All I wanted was and is to be able to have one boat at my dock.

What was your David vs Goliath moment? Have you ever had to fight City Hall?

 

 

Pick Your Mural

ND Highway 22 runs through our town north and south. In the middle of town there is a very old, ugly, railroad bridge which allows trains to travel above the highway so emergency vehicles can go under the bridge from the south side of town to the north side of town when there is a train.  It is a very low underpass that invariably floods and is impassable during rain storms.

One of our friends who is a community organizer sort of person got funding for a mural to be painted on the railroad bridge. It took all sorts of Federal and State hoops to be jumped through to get the approval, and this week the mural painter arrived from California.  He has done several murals in our town and our State.  The local paper described the project thus:

The four underpass wall panels will comprise one large mural, more than 400 feet in length, celebrating North Dakota.The walls north of the underpass will depict the landscape of the Badlands.The east wall will show immigrating Ukrainians and the west wall will show cowboys, Native Americans and buffalo. South of the underpass, the west wall will depict Dickinson State University’s May Hall and the east wall will show historic downtown Dickinson and a modern pump-jack. (Dickinson Press, October 2, 2018).

The mural artist is enlisting local students and adults to assist with the painting. I think it is a wonderful project.  How often do we get to legally spray paint on bridges?!! I just hope the Czechs and Germans from Russian don’t feel slighted that he chose Ukrainians instead of them.

Where in your community would you like to see an outdoor mural, and what would you like depicted on it?

A Surfeit of Words

For many years our Great Leader (Dale) used current events as a springboard to fun blog entries. Unfortunately the news these days is so depressing that it’s hard for me to get excited about using it as inspiration.  Until today, that is.

Merriam-Webster’s “Official Scrabble Players Dictionary” has added 300 words, including a two-letter word that people have been waiting years to use: OK.

“For a living language, the only constant is change,” said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. “The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary evolves to keep up with English as it is used today.”

Some of the others words include: twerk, beatdown, sriracha, bitcoin, emoji, sheeple, yowza, macaron, zomboid, frowny and puggle.

I know, I know – English only got where it is by changing over the centuries, but I still get eerie shivers down my spine when I hear words like “frowny”.

What words give you the creeps?