S.O.S!: FFF!

Great Day to You, Friday Fun Facters! ____________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Announcements:

Welcome Back!: NFL. We here at Friday Fun Fact are so glad that billionaires & millionaires were able to work out their differences in their argument over laundry money. Isn’t it funny how working as a “team” only works when both parties realize how much money they really stand to lose?!

Get Out Your Dancing Shoes!: Saturday July 30 is National Dance Day.

http://dance.blogs.fox.com/tag/national-dance-day/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/national-dance-day-2011.aspx

All men of course should keep the first two Man Rules in mind:

  1. Don’t Dance
  2. Don’t Dance

In the immortal words of the great American philosopher, Stephen Pearcy, of Ratt, “Slip and slide, take a ride, you want the best of both worlds…”

Dance – Ratt

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So, I’m standing in the copy room at work having a conversation with one of my colleagues. I’m not sure now what exactly the topic was for the conversation. As a matter of fact, I think the topic left me right after my colleague mentioned the following:

CTJ Meeting

Naturally, had I thought about it for two more seconds, it MIGHT have come to me. Instead I gave my colleague a charmingly inquisitive look, as I am prone to do when I don’t quite grasp the concept at hand. Of course, this inquisitive look doesn’t happen often (Special Note I: For those who are wondering, the “charmingly” happens all the time!).

So, my colleague enlightened me, so to speak:

“Come To Jesus” Meeting.

“O-h!”

(Special Note II: Buckeye’s fans please note the lowercase “h” implies no response needed here. But this note may already be too late…)

Now I get it.

Although the concept itself isn’t new to me, the use of the acronym for it was. It did spark a little revolution towards how THIS statement is ok in our company lingo, but if I throw down a “Merry Christmas” statement of cheer to anyone, I am looked at like I’m an insensitive dolt.

There are inherently TWO root problems with “CTJ” meeting that need to be addressed.

First:

When did we decide to start using text message lingo in business conversation?! Or, maybe, just maybe, organizational-speak has invaded text message lingo. Won’t all the kids be surprised! I’m feeling a whole lot of that Miller Lite commercial right now, the one where the guy speaks like he’s texting and gets the big N-O-T from two different ladies. Very funny stuff. Obviously, we use acronyms in business scenarios all day, all the time. So much so, that I sometimes confuse similar acronyms separating an IT function from an Environmental Services function. And let’s not forget our FFF (Special Note III: This acronym stands for Friday Fun Fact.) members in the military! I think our respective organizations battle for the top spot in AcronymLand every day! BUT, isn’t this one going a bit far? CTJ meeting?! Really?!

Second:

According to the business protocol, this style of Christmas language, I mean Holiday language, this phraseology is not politically correct to use in the work place (Special Note IV: Take note, Ed!). So, we put the crack research staff here at Friday Fun Fact to work to come up with a more politically correct terminology. Here are some of the options:

  • CTD: “Come To Deity”
  • CTE: “Come To Entity”
  • CTO: “Come To Organization”
  • CTOS: “Come To Organizational Sense” *
  • CTMS: “Come To Military Sense” *
  • CTCS: “Come To Common Sense” *

(Please Note: * indicates acronyms & philosophies that, although appearing similar, cannot be judged as such in typical settings, and have an overwhelming tendency to be mutually exclusive.)

The research staff was so excited to work on this project, they came up w/some other phrases that could be used in MULTIPLE situations:

  • CTM: “Come To Mama” – can be used with newborns learning to walk just as easily as with employees learning to work…
  • CTD: “Come to Daddy” – can be used with, well, you’ll need to use your imagination on this one…
  • CT: “Come To” – can be used after passing out on the front lawn of your parent’s house just as easily as falling asleep in front of your computer in your cubicle…

And their favorite multi-purpose text message phrase:

  • CTB: “Come To Beer”

Special Note V: Take note again, Ed!

So, have we come this far?!

To paraphrase the immortal words of the great movie villain, Howard Payne, “How interesting that in 200 years we’ve come from “’ I regret that I have but one life to give for my country’ to ‘CTJ.’”

And, Merry Christmas…

OMG, Can someone PBR ME ASAP or PDQ?!

I’m not sure which comes first – ASAP, or PDQ?

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Tunes of the Week:

Wooden Jesus – Great White

Lost Highway – Bon Jovi

           Waiting there to greet us

           Is my plastic dashboard Jesus…

Jack & Diane – John Cougar

           Oh let it rock, let it roll

           Let the Bible Belt come and save my soul…

Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode

Jesus On A Greyhound – Shelby Lynne

Like A Prayer – Madonna

Just Like Honey – The Jesus & The Mary Chain

DT Jesus – Savatage

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RAG!
MYFBFBAS!

D

RSA

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Published in: on 13Julpm1111 at 7:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Destination Anywhere – Part III: Surprise! “When Will Then Be Now?”

Great Day to You, Friday Fun Facters!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Announcements:

RIP: Borders Booksellers. Thank you for years of adventures in reading…

Grand Re-Opening: State of Minnesota. Maybe soon, state citizens will be able to buy MillerCoors
beer products again…

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/20/us-minnesota-shutdown-idUSTRE76E6MN20110720

http://www.startribune.com/politics/blogs/125490398.html

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We’re on a mission from God.

Actually, as you read this, we are really on the mission.

“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses.”

OK, it’s actually 368 miles to DC, none of us smoke, we have a full tank of gas – with financial backing for at least another tank, and our mission is one of celebratory fellowship. And beer.

BUT it is dark and we are wearing sunglasses.

Right now, as you are reading this message, we are surprising one of our Friday Fun Fact members on his milestone birthday.

To follow-up where we left off in Walker, Minnesota, our group of merry gentleman, along w/”Just One Of The Guys” club president, BeckyW (Special Note I: See BeckyW – I told you, you were promoted!), decided it was a mission to surprise KyleS in DC to celebrate his birthday. You see, Walker, Minnesota will never quite be finished until everyone has been surprised. So, this is one step closer to completing that mission. (Special Note II: The last one to be surprised is BeckyW, and since she’s reading this, she may have already discovered our pattern!)

KyleS has no idea that the “we” are arriving in DC, only the “I.”

We arrived last night, hence the insta-pictures below:

In other words, right now, you are watching us surprise Kyle only a few hours, and probably a couple of beers later than real time. The ghost of Jack Bauer is only moments behind…

As well as a reference to insta-video in Spaceballs – “Everything that happens now is happening now.”

The Set-Up:

Fellow Friday Fun Fact member KyleS lives in DC with his immediate family. We decided a few months back that since it wasn’t probable that Kyle would be able to return to the Cleveland area to celebrate his birthday, that we would surprise him.

I let him know just a few weeks ago, that I was interested in coming out to DC to celebrate with him, since he surprised me for my birthday party. (Special Note III: Please keep in mind that although Kyle & are life-long friends, we are separated by more than a decade in age, since I just celebrated my 29th birthday.) I didn’t give him too much time to plan in order to keep discussions to a minimum. I didn’t want to give it away that others were joining us.

And, then, of course, we hit a snag: one of us couldn’t get the time off approved at work due to a conflict of vacation schedules.

There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts! IT WASN’T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!!!

And Kyle STILL doesn’t know that there is a “we” arriving at his house sometime after midnight Thursday night / Friday morning.

Now, I have to do something with Kyle that I NEVER do: I have to “improvise” the truth. Thank goodness I’ve watched A Few Good Men, Fletch & Heartbreak Ridge enough times to be able to “negotiate,” if you will, an abstract statement or two for the good of all involved. “You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall…”

I let Kyle know that my supervisor needed me for an organizational go-live event, and asked if there was any way I could put off my wrap-around weekend to DC.

“Excuse me; can I borrow your towel? My car just hit a water buffalo.”

Is he going to buy it?! Can I pull off this “negotiation” w/the right tone & pause, yet, not too much of either?!

Right there in the middle of the conversation, I improvise, overcome, & adapt. “You know, Kyle, I hate to do this, but my boss – bless her soul – never asks me to move my PTO.”

“I love this bleeding heart $#&!”

He buys it, because that’s how we roll…

Kyle immediately offers to see if he can move his vacation days to the next weekend. By the next day, mission change requests forms are complete & logged with supervisors. Five days later, all vacation days are approved by Kyle and the “we.”

It is here that we must ask you to bow your heads in a moment of silence for “the fallen.” Others were supposed to join us on this mission, but due to personal conflicts with the change of schedule, they could not. We thank them for their sacrifices…

Play Ball!

The mission plans continue.

This whole next scene is a shuffle of flashbacks, flash-forwards, & flash-presents that NO ONE expects any reader to keep track of. We forewarn you and wish you luck. Got your crash helmet on?!

Kyle (Wait… Special ShoutOut to Walt: “Yyyyle!”) gives me a bell a little over a week out to say “OK, you’ll be here in about seven days. We need to focus on what we’re going to do when you get here. What’s on your list.”

Here’s my “A Christmas Story” moment:                                          “Oh, Fuuuuuuhhhhhhddgge…”

What do I say here?! I’m totally unprepared! Alright, the shakedown goes like this: “Uh, want to be a tourist on Friday, let’s do some local blues club on Saturday, and do our normal throwdown for the rest of the weekend.”

And the phone calls begin.

A full week of cloak & dagger, between phone calls to Kyle’s wife Amy, checking with BeckyW & ChrisW on event choices, and coordinated conversations ensues. The true challenge is pronoun usage – “I” instead of “we.” Making sure that the ghost isn’t given up by an accident of vernacular. Oh, and just wait until Kyle is calling you in the car to find out exactly where you are en route! Navigate THOSE conversations while others are in the car and group-speak takes over!

I just can’t wait to get there, so I can revert back to normal chain-of-thought conversations.

Our journey is hampered by a late getaway, turnpike construction (imagine that!), unexpected construction (Special Note IV: In true Murphy’s Law fashion, almost immediately after we knock on slowly-petrifying wood regarding a statement I make regarding the fact that there is NEVER any construction on this next stretch of highway in my years of traveling it.), and an uninspiring meal at a stop in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, not all meal stops on the road are met by the Hollywood Syndrome or a food critic column describling a place where you’ve found a great little hideaway.

Finally, a shave after 2:08, we arrive.

SURPRISE!

OK, off to the Pentagon!

And the surprise journey to Destination Anywhere continues…

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Tunes of the Week:

Destination Anywhere – Jon Bon Jovi

Surprise! – Trent Willmon

Havin’ A Party – Sam Cooke / Rod Stewart

Life Is A Highway – Rascal Flatts / Chris LeDoux / Tom Cochrane

Best Of Friends – Dangerous Toys

Blood On Blood – Bon Jovi

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Raise a Celebratory Glass!

May Your Friday Be Followed By An Unexpected Saturday…

D – This is Jack Bauer/Irwin M. Fletcher, signing off.

Realizar Sus Ambiciones

    

Published in: on 13Julpm1111 at 9:29 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s Time For Another Boston Tea Party – New York Style!

Great Day to You, Friday Fun Facters!

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Special Announcement & Request:

Your Friday Fun Fact Official Scribe recently landed a very part-time professional writing gig. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I’ve now taken on a little more of that dreaded word & concept: responsibility.

I’m writing brief articles for a website on the topic of savings & frugal living.

http://www.samplestuff.com/

My articles can be found at the link below:

http://www.samplestuff.com/author/daniel/

I’m looking for your assistance as I go further down the road in writing articles for the site. Any ideas you have are welcome, as anything can spark an article!

  • Do you buy Schlitz instead of a premium beer, like Genesee Cream Ale?
  • Is your lunch the infamous “hand sandwich” – a piece of bologna & ketchup in your hand – made popular by the then-struggling bands Metallica & Anthrax to save on the high costs of bread – back in the EARLY 80’s?
  • Is your abode decorated by that famous designer           AlaFlea Marquette?
  • Do you Blue Light more than you strobe light?

Whatever the mode of savings for you, please let me know! I would be ever-grateful as I make the jump from amateur to professional writer, so to speak…

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Special Announcements:

FFF Delay: The Friday Fun Fact Command Center realizes this episode has been delayed. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way.

RIP: Betty Ford, former First Lady, & addiction recovery pioneer & advocate. Long live your approach to recovery that has changed so many lives…

FFFFU (Friday Fun Fact FollowUp): Last week, many of our readers asked which of my new shirts I wore to work. Orange Crème was the first to have its debut. Reviews were mixed, and although I can be more specific, we wouldn’t want the Friday Fun Fact to be accused of profiling.

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Baseball.

Our National Past Time.

America’s Sport.

Although there are philosophical debates based on television ratings and financial position regarding which is actually America’s sport, baseball or football, baseball still holds the vision of Americana drawn up by Norman Rockwell in our minds. Hot dogs, apple pie, picnics, summer…

This past week, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees cracked a hallowed milestone by becoming the 28th player in Major League Baseball history to hit his 3000th hit. He did it in grand fashion by hitting a home run in front of hometown fans at Yankee Stadium. Normally, Friday Fun Fact would not be discussing activities of any kind related to a New York Yankee. However, The Committee agreed that the surrounding details of this event were significant to report in this week’s episode. (Special Note I: As voted on by The Committee, the Friday Fun Fact organization congratulates Derek Jeter on achieving his 3000th hit. Congrats,                          Mr. November!)

A fan in the stands, Christian Lopez, caught the ball. That’s not really the amazing part. What is amazing is that he didn’t hold the ball for some exorbitant ransom. When the Yankee organization asked Christian what he wanted in exchange for the ball – obviously with their checkbook open – all the FAN wanted was some signed stuff & the chance to meet Derek Jeter. He said the ball belonged to Derek, not him.

He got more than he bargained for. The list of gifts from the Yankees is pretty darn good:

  • Four suite tickets to all remaining home games for the rest of the season, as well as the playoffs
  • Signed bats
  • Signed balls
  • Front row seats to last Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay

http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2011-07-09/fan-who-grabs-jeter-ball-gets-suite-tickets-for-rest-of-the-season

He has also received gifts from companies acknowledging his good deed:

  • $50,000 worth of loan payments for his college debt
  • 2009 World Series ring
  • His own baseball card courtesy of Topps

http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/6765849/companies-pay-new-york-yankees-fan-christian-lopez-taxes

This is what we call demonstrating character…

What could go wrong in this situation? Enter the United States Government.

The U.S. Government, in the form of the Internal Revenue Service (do you know where this is going yet?!) will be taxing the gifts received by Christian Lopez. His tax bill could range from $5,000 to $14,000.

Talk about no good deed going unpunished.

It only makes sense that the IRS would step in to do their “due diligence” regarding this matter. Here is a guy who did the right thing. He didn’t sell the ball for financial gain; he gave it back. When the Yankee organization asked him what he wanted, he didn’t have an answer ready. His reaction was to give the ball back, and maybe get some signed stuff.

What Christian Lopez did was make himself and appealing candidate for job openings everywhere. Instead of “What’s In It For Me,” Mr. Lopez knew the right thing to do in the situation of this milestone event. In his one act he exuded a selflessness that all organizations look for in employees.

Except, maybe, the United States Government.

Can we get a Congressional ruling here?!

Maybe for all those that act according to rules of selflessness, maybe the government can turn a blind eye and not complicate matters further. Maybe, they can just say, “Great Luck to you in your future. We are proud that you are a United States citizen.”

Fortunately, companies are stepping up and taking notice of Christian’s actions. Miller High Life has offered to pay the tax bill AND throw him a FREE BEER party for his “legal drinking-age friends.” The free BEER party is an excellent touch. Leave it to a BEER company to help out and make sense of a situation. Yet another reason to love BEER!

http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story.asp?storyid=%7B9bfa9fd6-9365-4b8a-817e-80eec09a95c2%7D

Here’s to the High Life!

As for the U.S. Government & IRS, what do we need to do here?!

I’m always at a loss when I hear of these stories, as this isn’t what our government was originally set up to do. Yet every time someone does something good, and receives a modest reward, I swear I hear the government pencil sharpeners grinding, and the wolves of prey salivating as they have found another victim from which to draw blood. Maybe it’s time for another Boston Tea Party. You know, let the government know what we think about some of the rules and regulations that have been enacted as part of “the big picture.” I’m thinking even New York Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter, will be on board for that…

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Tunes of the Week:

Foreclosure Of A Dream – Megadeth

Innocent Days – Giant

Government Personnel – Tesla

Back In The High Life – Steve Winwood

Centerfield – John Fogerty

Take Me Out To The Ball Game – Jack Norworth/Albert Von Tilzer

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Raise A Glass of the High Life!

May Your Sunday Not Be Followed By A Monday!

D

Realizar Sus Ambiciones

Published in: on 13Julpm1111 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is It Fall Already?!

Great Day to You, Friday Fun Facters!

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Special Announcements:

RIP: Jane Scott. Here’s to your writing legacy & a life of Rock N’ Roll. May we all be so blessed…

http://www.cleveland.com/popmusic/index.ssf/2011/07/jane_scott_legendary_plain_dea.html

RIP II: To the family of Shannon Stone who died reaching for a fall ball thrown to him by Josh Hamilton. A tragic day for a family, and for baseball.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Man-dies-after-falling-out-of-stands-at-Rangers-?urn=mlb-wp11900

End Of An Era: Today was the final Shuttle Launch for the NASA program. Enjoy the ride, Atlantis!

http://news.yahoo.com/shuttle-lifts-off-last-time-light-fire-164311611.html

To Your Goals & Dreams: Be like Travis Hafner in last night’s Cleveland Indians baseball game – close your eyes and swing away. You never know what may happen. A truly poetic moment…

http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/index.ssf/2011/07/travis_hafners_grand_slam_caps.html

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Recently, I bought a couple of dress shirt & tie combos at the local hunt & peck department store. This isn’t out of the norm for me. I do this on a semi-regular time frame to update & refresh my business wardrobe. I managed to buy a couple of different combinations, however, that are a little different for me – just to provide a little variety.

Pale Orange with a blue-striped tie.

Pale Yellow with a diamond design tie.

I brought the shirts home & put them down for a couple of days, knowing I’d eventually try them on and give them their first hot tub soak in the washer (complete with all of the luxurious amenities a shirt could ask for – water & soap) before their respective individual debut in the business world. Eventually, I threw them on to make sure they fit as well as they possibly could on me. Of course, this is after I’ve opened up the shirt box – hermetically sealed with better glue than what’s used on the space shuttle; taken out every pin until I find the one that stabs me; and with the latest cost-saving techniques used by manufacturers now, cut all of the little plastic ties that are used in place of pins in strategic places on the shirt. I’ve also managed to figure out how to pull the tie off that is attached with a rubber band that has forever-altered the shape of the tie. (Special Note I: This process runs a VERY close second place to attempting to take the security tape off of a compact disc.) Yep – buttons work, neck is still the same size, not too tight; all great indicators that I haven’t turned into a fat you-know-what over night! It’s one of those scientific metrics that I monitor.

As I try on the pale orange shirt, I flip the box over to find out I’m off on the defined color description:

Orange Crème

Got it. OK, I can deal with that. I’ll never look at the shirt as “orange crème,” but if that’s what suits the fashion world on a boxed shirt & tie combo to make everyone feel more accomplished at the discount fashion warehouse, so be it. Enjoy the spoils of your efforts.

Shirt Two. Alright, I picked up the same size shirt box, and miraculously it fits just as good. (Special Note II: Ever go shopping & buy two of the same exact thing, yet they fit differently?! It’s happened to me. Yes, I was born under that sign.). I turn the box over, to deposit all of the accessory schnibbles, I see the defined color description as defined by the fashion world:

Sweet Corn

Are you kidding me?! Really?! Who, may I ask, at the fashion command center picked this one off the stalk?! Is it fall already?!

See, I associate sweet corn with fall cookouts, football, & dental floss. Not my work shirts…

A quick check of the internet today tells me my sweet corn harvest timing is slightly askew. Sweet corn is available starting in the neighborhood of July 1, just in time for Independence Day, and rounding out in late September or early October, at the time of the first frost.

http://www.uri.edu/ce/factsheets/sheets/corn.html

So, does this mean there is a limited annual time frame in which I can wear this shirt to work? Will others be whispering by the water cooler – “What is he doing wearing that sweet corn-colored shirt in winter?”

I digress. Back to our original program.

Look, it’s not ever going to be “Sweet Corn” in color to me. No offense to our female readership, but I’m a dude, and in the case of color identification, normal dude profiling applies. There are six or seven colors in the rainbow (Special Note III: Our resident artists – EddieK, RobS, and BrotherDavid, are right now counting the letters in the ROYGBIV spectrum!); colors are defined in their normal terms – blue, red, green, YELLOW, purple, and so on; with varieties described as “light” or “dark.”

This applies to clothes, cars, hair, art, and yes ladies, even home decorating.

You’re not ever going to hear me say, “Yep, need head out for some new work clothes. I’m searching for a mauve or taupe dress shirt. It’s off-red or light brown.

(Special Note IV: CarolineH & KelleyGo are currently responding to correct my color shade categories, while CindyC is rolling her eyes.)

What’s next – frozen snap pea?! Fresh lilly?! Fried chicken?! Dog stuff?! Wait. I think we already have that one; it’s called… uh, never mind, I think you get the picture.

The closest I’ll ever come to this is some paint I bought when I first moved into my house – swamp willow. Now THAT’S a dude color. It tells you everything you need to know.

Now, where are my celadon socks?
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Tunes of the Week:

Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

The Yellow And Black Attack – Stryper

Yellow – Coldplay

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree – Tony Orlando and Dawn

Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows

Mellow Yellow – Donovan

Yellow Ledbetter – Pearl Jam

Yellow Rose of Texas – Johnny Cash

Don’t Eat Yellow Snow – Frank Zappa

Oh, Yeah! – Yello

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Raise A Golden Yellow Glass!

May Your Friday Be Followed By A Colorful Saturday!

D

P.S. Are you hungry yet?!

RealizarSus Ambiciones

Published in: on 13Julpm1111 at 4:30 pm  Comments (2)  

Destination Anywhere – Part II: Burning Sky

Great Day to You, Friday Fun Facters!

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Special Announcements:

RIP: Peter Falk. In our fondest television memories, no detective wore a trench coat better than Columbo. Case Closed…

Happy Independence Day: To our forefathers who created this great nation. And to those soldiers, past and present, who keep it that way. Let Freedom Ring…

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Friday Fun Fact Forewarning (our first ever!): Due to purposes of continuity, The Committee purchased extra air time from the network for this week’s episode. We realize this is a very long episode, but creating Part III would not have done the story justice. We even bought most of the commercial time, so this episode will be presented with limited commercial interruption! The Committee suggests grabbing a rocks glass of your favorite flavor, or a BEER, and settle in for the ride…

And, expect a little bit of the official scribe wearing his heart on his sleeve. There was no way to avoid it in reliving these memories…

This week’s episode starts exactly where last week’s episode ended:

I still don’t know where we are going.

Onward & Upward. Literally.

Day Two takes us from suburban Chi-kah-go north towards the next state line, mindfully weary in the morning hours, as the Blues are still playing in our heads from the night before. Are you following along on your atlas?!

We cross the line into Wisconsin. Right after crossing the state line, we stop for a while at a highways & byways McDonald’s with free Wi-Fi. The Friday Fun Fact still has to go out after all!

Maybe to Mil-eh-wauh-kaey, as Alice Cooper tells us in Wayne’s World. Maybe to Green Bay, and the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. I’m thinking Milwaukee – summer; baseball season; “Take Me Out To the Ball Game.” Uh, no; as we breeze right on by Milwaukee. And, speaking of breezes, somewhere out there we pass a massive wind farm – sight to be hold. What is great here, at this moment, is that the sight of the wind farm sparks a very detailed conversation about innovation in the work place, as well as in our respective geographic locations. I’m thinking “wow – we’ve come so far in our lives from our still-regretfully-fading youth to be here in this moment having this conversation.” I’m ever-more interested in where this trip is taking us, both mentally & physically.

We start to see signs for Green Bay. And on our way to Green Bay & the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, we also see signs for Fon du Lac. Bittersweet memories of time well spent there wash over me! And, now, we pass right on by Green Bay. Where in this great land are we going?! I look on the bright side of the adventure – I get to stare out the window, enjoy the scenery, and get lost in thought…

“Here I am again, Staring out the window, as the miles roll on…”

(Special Note I: Can you hear the computer keys of our proactive Internet researchers looking that one up?! To their delight!

We press on, even farther north, and west.

We’re crossing the next state line into…

Wait… aren’t you supposed to be following along on your atlas? Are you shrugging right now?

(Special Note II: Bonus points for you if you put those last two statements together.)

(Special Note III: Yep, KellyGo is already typing a text message to me as she reads these few lines.)

Minnesota.

Are you kidding me?!

Minneapolis/St. Paul?! A Twins game, perhaps? The new stadium just opened. NOW I’m even more excited! Who does this mystery trip thing?! How lucky am I to have friends who are “game” enough to do this. Interesting vacation spot!

And there goes Minneapolis/St. Paul!

What?!

So long, Twins game!

So long, to any clue I might have had.

So long, civilization.

And, hello thunderstorm! Just north of the Twin Cities we run into a RAGING, I mean RAGING thunderstorm. Kudos to lead pilot ChrisW for navigating the bucket-size raindrops that pounded the hood like aliens trying to rip through the roof.

I realize the need to readjust my EGB – Educated Guess Barometer. It’s apparently way out of whack.

And now, we are out there. I mean really out there.

The thunderstorm fades into a glorious & picturesque forested sunset beyond anything I think I’ve ever imagined in my mind. Beautiful…

Uh, I still don’t know where we’re going.

The conversations have gotten even deeper. This has now turned into one of those trips that you only feel you see in the movies; where there are ideas exchanged that open your mental landscape to new perspectives. The open road, though, takes the opposite approach as we make our way further north, as it closes up with trees on both sides of the two-lane highway.

As we make our way over the river & through the woods (Special Note IV: OK, it’s actually “lakes” not “river,” to be accurate, but the sentence didn’t read right poetically that way. It’s OK, I have a license to do this kind of thing!), I am now thinking we are off to see one of our bands at a festival. Bear in mind, I grasped the concept that this was supposed to be a surprise junket, so I didn’t do any research on any of the close-to-my-heart bands. I’m a passenger along for the ride on this trip – keeping in mind that it is too be a true adventure for me. I’m thinking though, “what – would the band helicopter in? Where the heck would they land with all these trees?” Another feasible possibility is my friends rented a cabin of some sort. But why on earth would we rent a cabin all the way up at the north pole for what was measuring out to be a 36-hour stay?! I try my best to focus more on the conversation – I want to be as surprised as my friends want me to be. I know their efforts have been magnanimous…

We’re still passing Dairy Queens like they were golden arches in the real world.

And, we’re still headed far enough in a northern direction that I’m wondering if I should have brought my winter coat & ice fishing gear…

Then I remember I don’t own any ice fishing gear.

There is a change amongst my friends. A stirring, if you will. An anxiousness. Something is going on with the internal clocks of all three, as there are more than casual glances between the three of them. Of course, I’m not supposed tonotice this. Apparently, we are getting close to our destination. But there is NOTHING but trees out here! NOTHING! Unless the landscape suddenly opens up, we don’t even have enough space to park the car ANYWHERE! Just as I am thinking this, and imagining how far back it was to the last gas station & Dairy Queen, my friends comment that we are finally getting close – too close without any sign indicating our destination is close at hand. KyleS finally says “I’m interested to see if this place even exists!” They are all laughing! My eyes are as big as saucers! What?!

And then it happens…

We come up on a stop sign & the trees open up for a brief moment in the landscape.

And like a perfectly-timed surprise party cue, right there on the casino sign it advertises the purpose of the destination:

Live In Concert: Paul Rodgers

Northern Lights Casino.

Wow.

Welcome to Walker, Minnesota.

Our short stay in Walker, Minnesota was filled with plenty of activities & experiences. After the long ride on the open road, we gambled on Friday night for a while, and closed down the only real bar in the casino. Saturday started off with a run at Leech Lake. OK, well, it didn’t really “start off” with a run, it started off with a mild recovery from the travel and celebration of reaching the destination, AND THEN it started off with a run.

I’m not a runner by – or for that matter, in – nature. I often say “I only run when chased.” However, my friend is a runner, so the boys thought we’d get out for a run. BeckyW decided to explore the town. Initially, we were going to take a run in the casino area. As we started out to find a path to follow, BeckyW hunted us down by way of the family truckster to tell us as she was heading to town she found a good place for us to run. Leech Lake. I have to say that as the three of us hobbled along on our 30-minute run, it was an amazing experience. New scenery, nature, and the thrill of the moment found me in a spiritual place. In the moment of the run, there was no better place for me to be, not anywhere. As we ran along the lake, and surrounding neighborhood, I found that place I go to only on occasion – living in the moment, appreciating every visual image that my mind could take a snapshot of, and heightened awareness of the details. The feel of the sand and the road beneath my feet with each step; the haze across the lake in the trees on the other side; Chris’ smile as the big man ran; Kyle’s internal focus on the run; waving to the passerby’s who more-then-politely waved back; the reconnection of mind & soul…

Back at the hotel, we cleaned up & hit the buffet. Is there a casino on the planet that doesn’t have a buffet restaurant?! It must be written in the casino must-have rule book! After we, well Chris, left the buffet with no food left to serve, it was off to town. Walker is everything you would expect in a small northern town – right out of a movie setting. “The pinnacle of existence” right here in northern Minnesota (Special Note V: Right now, Walt is laughing to himself after reading the partial movie quote.). Our time spent in shops in Walker was much too short. As we drove away knowing we would never return, there was that moment in my mind where I wanted to say “let’s stay a while longer.”

Off to the local restaurant – “off campus,” so to speak. It was important for us to hit a local joint that was less of a tourist attraction. We wanted local flavor, the local experience. And that’s what we got at the Lucky Moose Bar and Grill, complete with very local bartender, helpful with return directions back to civilization. His advice: “Go over & down, not down & over,” complete with very northern Minnesota regional accent. The food was good, the service was good, the conversation even better…

A brief interlude occurs – rest & prep time before the concert.

The concert hall at the casino is small. There’s not a folding chair bad seat in the house, set up for maybe 1,000 fans. Ours were pretty close. One perspective is “That’s it?! That’s all the people that want to see this show?!” Well, consider the regional population, even with tourists. The other perspective is “Wow – what an intimate performance setting!” Paul Rodgers was incredible. I can see in the magic moments of the show why he is Kyle’s hero. I can see why we spent 16-odd (or even!) hours on this journey. The lights, the music, the voice… the moment. All worth not knowing where I’m going. A time-capsulated trip through four decades of music, some of the best and well-known classic songs still spinning on the radio. And, some solo work thrown in to help flavor the mix. Keep on rocking Paul…

Afterwards, it’s dinner at the casino’s “five-star” restaurant. Uh, not so much on the five-star, but entertaining nonetheless. Our dining experience was complete with a conversation with Paul’s drummer, and autographs.

And the trip back home – over & down? Filled with yet its own very distinct & memorable adventures? Ah, well, we’ll have to save that for another time…

Lessons Learned from our Adventure:

  • Minnesota isn’t nearly as close to North Royalton, Ohio as it appears on an Internet map when ordering tickets for a show & enjoying a glass on the rocks in the middle of the night…
  • Old friends & new friends can indeed survive 32 hours of driving together on a long weekend journey – probably better than family…
  • Dairy Queen replaces McDonald’s as the restaurant on every corner in the far reaches of northern Minnesota.
  • From Walker, Minnesota, it’s better to go “over & down,” than “down & over”…
  • Paul Rodgers Waters is either one musician or two, depending on who you ask…
  • The magic is all about who you are with, not where you are going – especially when one of those people really doesn’t know where you are going…
  • Reliving the vast geographical scene of the crime was almost as fun as the trip itself. Almost…
  • Live For The Moment…
  • Thank you to my dear friends for the experience of a lifetime. Words cannot express my gratitude. I am blessed to know you…

Now the challenge to our readership: what is your most vivid memory of adventure?

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Tunes of The Week:

Burning Sky – Bad Company

Radioactive – The Firm

All Right Now – Free

Feel Like Making Love – Bad Company

Shooting Star – Bad Company

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Raise a Sentimental Glass!

May Your Friday Be Followed By A Destination Anywhere Saturday!

D

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Published in: on 13Julpm1111 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment