Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Cross-Country, two-wheel saga of "Honda Harry."

Take a minute to get to know Honda Harry.   He's a pretty interesting guy, with improbable adventures under his belt. Here's Harry, tall in the saddle, Rocky Mountains behind him, about ready to slip on the motorcycle helmet, and begin a balls-out road trip to Southern California.  Our boy is a motorcycle icon:  impeccable balance, sharp eye for road kill, sixth and maybe seventh senses on full alert for sleepy 18-wheelers. He's been from Tucson to Tucumcari. Harry knows all the spots to slow down, watch for cops, get a big New York cut steak, grab a java to go.   Let's follow Honda Harry on his Race to the Coast.

Two gorgeous Truck-stop Cuties somewhere in western Arizona.  They know all about Harry and his Honda.  They want to meet this "Shiny Side-up" biker.  The gals understand that Harry travels light, on a tight budget, never staying in one place too long.  Still the ladies want to be remembered. They have a five spot or so, and hope our man will, maybe, stick around for a bowl of pho. If "no to pho," then the cash can go for gas, and  Harry will continue his journey. 

Harry gets to meet all kinds of interesting people en-route.  Miss Freewheel with body art extraordinaire here hoped to persuade Harry to get some tatts for travel, but without success. 

Ah, home sweet home.  You may find it hard to believe that an airstream can be tugged along by Harry's Honda ....

Harry rides by the motto: Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up.  Once in a while some gravel, sand, ice or snow gets in the way, and results in a boo-boo like this.

This is Harry working underneath a 1949 PLYMOUTH.  Harry couldn't get it running,  he got the Honda.  And he got to the Coast with nary an incident.  That's the Honda Harry saga, and maybe we'll have add'l. adventures as time goes by.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Foundry Home Goods Open for Biz in Exciting New Home

Fans of the old store in North Loop will love the abundant space, contemporary home decor items, and welcoming atmosphere of the just-moved-in Foundry Home Goods at w. 48th and Grand in Tangletown.

Stainless industrial tables up front display unique specialty items like pencils and pens from Japan, scissors and sharpeners from Germany, and a what-to-do guidebook of the 'Cities, published right here in Minneapolis.

Customers checking out with Home Goods staffer Erin are from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  

Ample display and selling space allows larger design and decor items, sure to appeal to trend-setting clients. 

Foundry Home Goods owner and CEO, Anna Hillegass, poses outside the new venue, accompanied by "helpers" Ruby and Turnip.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sonoran Desert Skat. No, shit.

In combing the desert floor recently in search of a cow's skull, I came across these little turds instead. They could be deer skat, or rabbit; tasting one dropping would have confirmed the source.  You'll be happy to hear, I think, that the source remains a mystery, as I was disinclined to venture a taste-test.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Anita's Cocina Looking for "Faces" to fill-out Dancing Pepper Prop.

We stopped at Anita's last night, tasted possibly the yummiest enchiladas in all of Arizona.  On the way to the car, out-front of the restaurant, we checked out the dancing peppers. Tipico tableau, missing only two happy, well-fed faces to compete the picture.   

Monday, February 19, 2018

Joker Jill and Shiny New "Spyder" in lot at Gila Monster Eatery in Wickenburg.

I'd just picked my my iced skim latte at the former Pie Cabinet, now owned by my new friend Justin, and renamed Gila Monster Eatery. Ran into a distaff road warrior spiffing up her "Spyder" trike in Justin's parking lot and had a fun chat with the lady joker. Jill was waiting for arrival of a bunch of her pals and the group was headed for big adventures on sunny, warming, picture-perfect Arizona highways.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Best and Most Beautiful Boots on Valentine's Day at Ben's Saddlery on Tegner.

I met a German couple the other day, boot-shopping at Ben's.  The hubby spoke the better English of the two, though the subject of his affection knew what was up.  SHE was in line for a stunning new pair of boots from Ben's.  When the VISA card had been dropped, and the boots bagged up for traveling, the frau turned to the herr pecked him on the cheek and said danke. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Teddy Roosevelt had this to say about "treasonable' Non-Clapping.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

                                  - Theodore Roosevelt

The Full Quote from President Roosevelt appearing in the Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. 

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. 

Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
May 7, 1918

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

With thanks to Momentum Magazine (on-line) for a fascinating refresher on the history of Cargo Bikes.

The History of Cargo Bikes

Cargo bikes originated in The Netherlands in the early 20 century, and were used by tradesmen to deliver milk, bread, and other goods in the absence of the automobile. By the 1930s, the phenomenon had spread across Scandinavia. In Copenhagen, Denmark, bike messengers called svajeres carted goods all around the city, and nearly every company owned at least one cargo bike to handle their deliveries.

Around the same time in the UK, deliveries were being made by “butcher’s bike,” a light-capacity cargo bike with a rack mounted to the frame over the front wheel. The British trend spread to the US, where Schwinn produced the original American “cycle truck,” which sold over 10,000 units in a year at its peak of popularity during WWII.

While cargo bikes have remained immensely popular for carting everything from kids to couches in parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, their use waned considerably in North America when mass marketing of the private automobile began in earnest. These days, many North Americans have never even heard of a bicycle with high carrying capacity.

Only with the recent trend towards high-density urbanism have we seen a resurgence of interest in cargo bikes over here. As with the regular bicycle, many of the original cargo bikes designs are essentially the same today as they were in the early 20th century, with a few modern technological upgrades.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Reading Essays by the Formidable Wendell Berry

Kentucky native Wendell Berry has worn a lot of hats in his varied, prolific career.  Part poet, novelist and essayist (he's written more than 40 books); social activist (Berry has lobbied the US government for years on behalf of a sensible agricultural policy); and farmer (Berry lives on the uplands of north central Kentucky,  where he has developed his vital and critical views on sustainable living.)

In Our Only World, in ten essays, Wendell pulls together the strongest, most urgent and compelling writing of his I've read. The two lines below are worth our reflection and action.

"People do not become wealthy by treating one another or the world kindly and with respect. Do we not need to remember this? Do we have a single eminent leader who would dare to remind us?"

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Gotta try the "Guacammus" at Kowalski's

If you love hummus and you love guacamole then you can't help loving "Guacammus," a super-tasty, super-logical mix of healthy spreads. Nancy and I were food shopping yesterday in Excelsior at Kowalski's market, tried a sample of the guacammus, and bought a tub. Reports from the East Coast suggest the dip is available in CT, though no one we know there has tried it.  Suggest readers of the Poppy Blog check it out. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Second Chances and New Beginnings" - excerpt from the January 2018 e-newsletter from PPL, Project for Pride in Living.

As Blog readers know, I've volunteered with the PPL program Ready for Success, and have come to know CEO Paul Williams.  The January e-newsletter carries Paul's annual address.  See if you are not as motivated by his message of "Second Chances and New Beginnings" as I was. 

To learn more about PPL and their mission to end homelessness and unemployment, visit:

If you'd like to support Ready for Success you can donate here:

"It’s a new year, complete with second chances and new beginnings."

- Paul Williams, President & CEO, Project for Pride in Living

A Message from Paul Williams

It’s a new year, complete with second chances and new beginnings. This is what Joanne was given, and what PPL strives to bring to each and every resident we house, job-seeker we train, and youth we teach.

With the opening of our latest affordable housing development, EcoVillage Apartments, we welcome in a new phase of PPL’s work in North Minneapolis. This is not only a chance for individuals and families to find a safe, stable place to call home, but a chance to start anew thanks to our wraparound services and support. Whether it’s unemployment, unfinished education, homelessness, or other barriers to success, PPL works to unleash the potential of the thousands we serve, helping kick-start new beginnings.

The opening of EcoVillage Apartments is only the beginning for PPL in 2018. Indeed, we have set ambitious goals for our work in the year ahead. With your generous support, we know we will forge new paths and opportunities for our Twin Cities community.

Happy New Year!


Paul Williams
President & CEO, Project for Pride in Living

Monday, January 8, 2018

Dressed for 4-seasons in Minnesota, when anything can happen, and a guy can look as weird as he chooses.

To protect the identity of this woodsman, I'll simply say that this fella graduated from an Ivy League university.  Ya', sure, you betcha' he did.  You'd never know by looking at him now.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

It doesn't look like Everest from this angle, but to the kold kids hauling saucer sleds and toboggans up Hamel Hill, it might as well have been the top of the world.

I'd been walking around the baseball fields this afternoon, twisting and twirling, stretching and trying to stay warm.  Had to stop mid-way to catch this shot.  If you could have seen (and heard) the speed at which these sledders hurtled down the hill you'd have been taken back to your own sledding youth, when no hill was too steep, no run too fast.

I didn't see many moms and dads offering to schlep the kids' sleds up the hill for one more run.  Come to think of it when we were young sledders, there wasn't a mom and dad in sight.  Child's play.

Thanks to genie software inside the iPhone a colorful afternoon shot can be turned into an artsy Black & White. Don't you like those cattails in the foreground?  By the time I took this one my hands were freezing and the phone went into the North Face puffy jacket pocket, and hands into the gloves.

Friday, January 5, 2018

If this bronze sculpture outside Carver County library doesn't get your young ones to love reading, then I can't imagine what will do the job.

As soon as we find the name of the artist who sculpted this inspiring bronze, we'll post it.   Meanwhile, tweak the motto of the U.S. Postal Service here: neither snow nor zero-temp afternoons will keep young readers from their appointed date with classic books.  

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Gandhi Always Got it Right.

The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.

                                       - Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, January 1, 2018

An Unjustifiable Human Wrong.?

Health care may not be a human right, but  

lack of universal health coverage in a wealthy 

democracy is a severe, unjustifiable, and 

unnecessary human wrong.

                       - David Frum, in an essay, March 2017.