Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Return of the Old Koot

I started this blog a couple years ago.  It was part autobiography and part (illustrated) history lesson, but it turned into part political rant.  I was so irritated by the McEuen issue (still don't agree with either side) I went off with too many blogs about it.  I'm still pissed about parts of it but have come to the conclusion that I'm better off if I quit caring about it.  Not like I go there now anyway.  So, I've yanked all six McEuen blogs.  Twenty years of angst, don't ask me about it.

But I am making a commitment to return where I began herer, with stories about growing up in CdA, local history and family and friends.  My way-early new year resolution will be write here at least a couple times a week.  Hopefully I can still entertain and enlighten with my 57 years of memories.  Some of my best stuff is already 2-3 years old.  If you haven't read them, I invite you to take a look back to the start of this blog/series.

I sorta disconnected with the (cyber-) world this last year.  Some of you may recall that I made recycled fish art, RainBrew Trout, using beer bottle caps and cans.  In the fall of 2011 I was bummed that while I had been featured in a national magazine (American Angler), had a website (don't look) and hundreds of "fans" on Facebook, I was giving more fish away than I was selling.  Even setting up at the Downtown CdA Sunday Markets with my old friend and fellow folk artist Jerry Moss netted me no sales. 

Not that I begrudge giving fish to worthy causes, if I can't write checks at least there's an item that can be auctioned off.  I have given them to Children's Village, The EXCEL Foundation, the Hydromaniacs, the MS Octobrewfest and others and am happy that each was able to get some bucks from them.

I recently got an order and sitting at the workbench over a beer I am also committing myself to start creating these colorful fish.  That means I need to get the website back up and am even considering returning to Facebook.  Jeez, I can't believe I just wrote that.  I'm opposed to a concept where one man becomes a billionaire with no product other than the vanity of mankind.  If I do jump back on it will be to promote RainBrew Trout and keep Dave Walker a minimal presence. 

OK, with all this I guess I'm off and running.  Watch for more gems and junk here on a regular basis.  

Did I mention I can be bought?  I'm a certificate holding Reverend and preform a damn good wedding if I say so myself.  I still love to MC & DJ at car shows and if you're looking for someone to speak for you, the golden tones fit for radio (maybe that was face fit for radio) is always ready.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Memories

Ho Ho Ohhhhhhh........

I must admit first off that I am The Grinch. And Scrooge. I wasn't always and indeed loved Christmas as a kid (what kid doesn't?). My childhood joys of opening Xmas gifts were surpassed only in the summertime when the hydroplanes came to race in the Diamond Cup on Lake Coeur d'Alene. But Christmas was fun and gifts, aka TOYS!, were wonderful. For the most part. Like everyone, I got some awesome, and some not-so-awesome, gifts over the years.

As a tyke I got the usual late-1950's and early-1960's assortment of trains, cars, airplanes and tractors. Oh how I wish I still had them all (in mint condition, hello Ebay!).

Some of my best gifts came from Uncle Ray and Aunt Mary in Montana. Over the years I got cool stuff like an astronaut helmet and a secret agent attache case for Xmas and birthdays. But my All Time Number One Greatest Xmas Gift of All was an Aurora Thunderjet 500 HO Slot Car Set. It wasn't a big set but that small track and the skinny-tire Fords started a love affair that grew and lasted until I was in high school.

In time, all my buddies got slot car sets and we'd combine our track to create huge layouts. I had control of half an unfinished basement that was hobby central. The wall was covered with center spreads pulled from Hot Rod and Car Craft magazines, a desk was dedicated to slot car tune-ups and model car building, and the radio was always tuned into the original KVNI at "1240 on your dial". What we now refer to as Man Caves was, back in the day, Boy's Club.

Other memorable Xmas gifts included a 20 gauge shotgun (pheasant hunting!), a trip to Hawaii (4th grade, didn't mean much then but was my first big vacation) and a trip to the 1995 Indy 500 from my wonderful wife, Sue.

One year I had my eye set on a wonderful plastic Army set from JC Penny and let know that that box of little green men and vehicles was what I desired. Come Xmas morn I didn't get it. After everything was opened and breakfast was over, Dad broke the news that they got the Army set but couldn't find it. We went through Mom's office (Ace Travel, 3rd & Sherman, 2nd floor) and Dad's (CdA Chamber of Commerce attached to the Desert Hotel) to no avail. Such is life, Xmas was still great.

In the summer, for some reason, I was yanking my way through an 8 foot long basement closet with only a walk in door. As I pushed my way to one end I heard something. Crawling back I discovered a box. Hello Xmas. We spent the summer setting up all the soldiers, cannons, jeeps and tanks only to bombard them with dirt clods. Now that was a great Xmas present and well worth waiting for.

Then there's the presents that didn't go over so well. As a high school freshman I got a typewriter. Sure, I was in typing class, but a typewriter as a present?! (This may have been a turning point in my perception of Christmas.) Not too many years ago I got a "brew beer at home" kit (which was promptly returned, if I'm going to be a home brewer I'm sure not going to do it in a plastic jug from Spencer Gifts). No complaints on socks and underwear, they may not be fun but are everyday useful.

But the all time worst Xmas gift was from my dear Aunt Mary. After Uncle Ray had passed, which suggests that he was the "fun" guy in the pair.

My family was a Christmas morning family, but on Christmas Eve I was allowed to open ONE gift as long as it was from someone other than them. Knowing that Ray & Mary always sent cool stuff, I plucked a small box from under the tree. From the size it could have been a wallet, maybe with money. Excitedly I opened it only to discover the most gawd awful ornate gold maltese cross on an equally awful gold chain. (And this was the days before wearing crap like alarm clocks around your neck was cool.) The one time I wore it was the one time I also wore a funky white turtleneck just long enough for Dad to take a photo. I need to find it, you'd get a great laugh. Out of respect I stashed the cross somewhere and one day re-gifted it in some manner.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FYI North Idaho Blogs

When I was unemployed I took a small, part time gig working the websites for FYI North Idaho, your best guide to the 5 northern counties. Part of my job was posting to the FYI blog. This is pretty much when I quit writing much on my own blog here. I wrote mostly about Idaho history, trivia and legends, much of it from my rememberances. I was talking about a topic covered in those blogs and it made me go back and read it. I don't know how many people ever saw/read any of that (nor will they here), but most of the posts I made are linked here. Read the title for a clue on what the it's about.

Playland Pier burns


CdA City