Sunday, July 31, 2011

1948 Buick: Hot, Rusty, Memorable.

My artist friend in Boulder, James Terman, is an inveterate old car illustrator, collector and philosopher. 

"I wonder which of the vehicles we lean up against today," muses James, "might end up being the rusty relics of our grandchildren's senior years?"

Seeing (and painting) some of these old hulks also makes Terman speculate that he might have crossed paths with this Detroit Iron in an earlier life.

"From the time my eyes could first notice cars and trucks, maybe I saw some of these rusting hulks in good condition somewhere, driving down the the road, or working a field?"

Terman wonders: 

"How many cars and trucks, buses and steam shovels might I have taken in .... as a little kid .... just standing on the back seat of our four-door .... leaning over the front .... as my old man drove our Pontiac sedan on family trips?"

James opened the floodgate for me!   Trips my family took ... in the Buick Century Station Wagon ... from our home in Ohio to places too many to remember them all. 

We hit Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, Niagara Falls in Upstate New York, Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, New England, Florida ... all the while pulling a little trailer from Sears, Roebuck + Co., painted silver and black to match the color scheme of the Buick.

Wonder where all those relics are today? And whether you, dear reader, had experiences of your own that mirrored James's and mine?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hot Bike Shirt, Toasty Bike Rider!

SPF 60 slathered all over my face, I'm ready to hit the road for some serious mileage.  Nancy snapped the pic of me and the shirt (birthday gift from my brother Joe who picked this rare item up at the Woody Creek Tavern outside Aspen, CO) before she sent me on my ride today. It's 90-degrees in the West Metro, but the shirt, the shirt:  made me feel cool as a cuke.

Stopping for the Pause that Refreshes.

Nothing hits the spot like fresh lemonade!  And when the price is right, and the service first class,  and a serious cyclist-thirst slaked, then you've got to share the good news. And, leave a handsome tip.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Noerenberg Gardens at Macro Best.

I've got this 3-year old Canon G-10.  No aspect of the camera is more fun (and results awe-inspiring) than Macro format -- the sharpness of the lens, the ability to compress depth of field like an SLR does, and manual setting options that let the photog (me) underexpose, or use fill flash.

When Nancy and I were at a marvelous open house at Noerenberg Gardens last night, the "perfect flower shots" could be counted in the hundreds.  So much to see ... the gardens so exquisitely maintained and lovingly tended .. and no breeze so a hand-held macro shot would be perfect in every detail.

Somewhere inside one of the flowers there's a bumble bee "doing his thing."  I'll try again next year to catch the action on my SD card.

Spiritual Road Trip: Thomas a' Kempis.

I'm on a "spiritual road trip," as my daughter Sky would refer to my never-ending quest for enlightenment, connection and personal growth. I'm not actually in the KIA Sportage today, though I've hit the road before, in hopes of finding "the answer" someplace other than where I was.

I'm in my fave chair at home in Long Lake. It's so quiet at this early hour that I can barely believe my good fortune.  I'm reading "The Inner Life," by the 15th century theologian and essayist Thomas a' Kempis. The book is part of the Penguin "Great Ideas" series -- 'thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are,' as the publisher explains.

Penguin continues,  "a' Kempis offered spiritual guidance to millions with his eloquent reflections on the virtues of humility and the profound power of faith."

Let me quote you, dear reader, some ideas that moved me forward this morning:

"A true understanding and humble estimate of oneself is the highest and most valuable of all lessons."

"The more humble a man is the more wise and at peace he will be in all that he does."

And this, my favorite by far, so far:

"Whoever loves much, does much. Whoever does a thing well, does much. And he does well, who serves the community before his own interests."

Finally: "Be peaceful with yourself, and you will be able to bring peace to others."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NAMG Employee, Alumni Reunion.

Jowett and I were having coffee catch-up this afternoon at Dunn Bros. in Hopkins. "Don't look now," teases Jim. "But, look who's coming ....!"

Of course I looked. And so glad I did. Dear friend of Jim's and mine, and colleague at North American Media Group, Kathy Childers, was on her way in for an Arnie Palmer refill. Jim grabbed Kathy, offered her a seat at our table, and we jammed in an hour's worth of chat in about 15 minutes.  What a treat.

Helen Gurley Brown, legendary editor of Cosmopolitan magazine always says: "Old friends are the best kind." And how right she is.  And when I think of my career in magazine publishing at NAMG, I count Kathy and Jim among my best friends and time with them as favorite memories.

Ain't we the lucky ones?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dunn Bros., Uptown Mpls., Classic.

They roast their own beans here in the Uptown store, as they do in every other Dunn Bros. java shop I've visited.  Great coffee taste, aroma, variety, karma, cookies, clientele, places to sit, chill, read the paper, make some journal entries.  Through the adjoining door you'll find Calhoun Cycles, and the most appealing and seductive variety of Brompton Folding Cycles.  What a day!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

High School Reunion Choate Class '61.

Long Lake weather cooperated yesterday (7/23/11) as Choate '61 classmates and wives come to see Nancy and me for lunch and a swim.

Pictured above, L-R: Allan and Darnell Hancock, Ellie and Clip Kniffin and Nancy ("Sam") and yours truly.


The Kniffins were in the Twin Cities from Chicago-land to visit son Drew and his bride.  When the Hoyts heard that they invited the Senior Kniffins out to our place, and included the Hancocks, who live in Brooklyn Center, MN.

The guys share in common their high school affiliation: graduates of the class of 1961 from Choate School in Wallingford, CT. And while we three boys haven't seen much of each other over the past half-century, we celebrated a 50th H.S. reunion in mid-May and vowed to make every effort to stay in touch .... and continue to build new friendships on the foundation of what we established as adolescent school-mates so long ago.

As for the distaff side:  the ladies seem to really enjoy each others' company, share many interests in common, and don't mind the guys behaving likely jerky high school pals!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

1963 Porsche Restoration.

When we got to Caribou Coffee in Long Lake for our regular Friday morning java-jolt, Jim Hillegass and I drooled over the remarkable Porsche coupe you see in the above foto.

It was a classic -- of course we could tell that.  A serious oldie-but-goodie. The condition was Mint-Plus. Maybe better than new, and as fine as anything I've seen this side of the Barrett-Jackson auctions in Scottsdale.

The rear deck said model '60,' and when Jim and I chatted up the owner inside Caribou, she beamed with understandable pride. The year of manufacture was 1963, she told us.

Why the special nostalgia for me?

It called up memories of my father's 1959 Porsche 1600. When I photographed the Silver Lady in the parking lot it was almost like walking (driving?) in a dream.

Charles N. Hoyt, MD purchased his coupe in New York City in the fall of 1959. On a road trip from Chillicothe, Ohio, back east to see family and friends, the old man couldn't resist stopping at Zumbach Motors on Manhattan's West Side -- just to take a peek, you know. Dr. Chesty fell prey to the siren song of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. The rest is history.

No one in Ross County had a car anything like Dad's.  This baby was painted a robin's egg blue. It sported black (I think) leather upholstery. I can almost remember the smell. The spunky 4-banger rear engine was torquey enough to snap your neck during acceleration.  And the precision steering, and absence of any noise coming from where engines are normally found, made the driving experience as eerie as it was exciting.

I had my license back then -- barely -- and strict orders to stay out of The Porsche.  I kinda obeyed those orders. But when Dad was out of town, and my friend and co-conspirator Doug McVicker showed up in his Dad's MGA convertible, and challenged me to a race out Greenfield Pike, off we went -- and out the window went the rules.

The contest was a draw. Porsche tied the MGA. Bill McVicker (Doug's dad) never found out about the race.  Neither did Dr. Hoyt. We kids dodged a bullet. We were so-so drivers at best; had no business boosting our father's prized sports cars. Thank God we made it back alive.

I'll have to tell the Silver Lady Porsche owner this story next time I see her.

A guy never forgets his first Porsche.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quigley and "John Dory" Take the Cup.

Cap'n. Peter Quigley, a member of Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT, is a helluva skipper. You can see him at the helm of "John Dory," his exquisite Fish-Class daysailer, which was designed and built by the iconic Nat Hereshoff in Bristol, RI, way back in the 1920's, before the readers of Poppy's Velo Ventures were even born.

Peter said he won his race -- and the respect of his fellow sailors -- with an instinctive feel for his boat and how she plays in the quirky wind on Long Island Sound.

"I'm like a horse whisperer," says Quigley, " except I talk to 'John Dory.' And she talks back to me."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Velo-tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.

Damn if this hardbody don't remind the casual cyclist of the late, great, crazed Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. And just for velo yucks, check out the winner's jersey -- straight from behind the bar at the iconic Woody Creek Tavern -- hangout of the late HST, and, it turns out, my brother Joe Hoyt (still standing, happy to report).

Joe reports that "the look" and HST's inspiration, helped him climb straight up the Rockies to 10,000 feet, never having to get off the bike to push.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lords and Lady of Lord Fletcher's.

Iconic and classic fine dining and lakeside watering hole, Lord Fletcher's in Minnetrista, was the scene last night of a fab dinner reunion of the Hoyts and old friend and mag industry colleague, Peter Quigley.

PQ, who worked for 3M in St. Paul before he launched Ad-Ink, his own, flourishing company in Stamford, CT, was back on our turf for a business trip. We met up for surf and turf at Lord Fletcher's on Lake Minnetonka -- easily one of the best restaurants in the Metro.

You can read about Quigley's lobster tail, and the Hoyts' walleye menu selection in the post to your right. Meanwhile, let me tell you, dear reader, it was great to be in PQ's company, and such fun to hang out and yack for hours about magazines, old sales guys we know, sailing in Long Island Sound, mutual pals in Fairfield County, CT, kids, horses, Knights of Malta, and so forth.

Hurry back, Quigley, and bring Margaret with you when you return!

Roadside Litter Death-Grip? Uh, oh.

You've read my rants on Poppy's Velo Ventures about picking up massive amounts of roadside litter.  I've found and discarded all manner of trash: bottles, cans, cigarette boxes, firecrackers, children's toys, shirts, shoes, fast food, even a five dollar bill!  Actually, I kept and spent the five-spot.

But THIS thing .. yipes.  A death message it seems.  Sure did get my attention.

The empty litre bottle of vodka is super-bottom shelf brand.  Just what a litter king would swig, swallow and discard.  The work glove, on the other hand, is a serious professional tool. And the guy who lost that must be kicking himself -- nicely broken in and costly to replace.

What if, (uh, oh) the dude with the glove did a bottoms-up on the vodka? And then he (tipsy, angry, confused) stepped into an oncoming car and, pow, curtains?

Drinking and driving don't mix.  Drinking and work gloves don't mix. Remember that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crock Pot Chili Like Mama Made!

Our San Fran Jason cooks up a big, eat-for-a-week pot of vegan chili.

4 zucs
3 yellow squash
full onion
two cans of black and 1 large can of kidney
Small can of tom. paste
two cans of crushed tomatos and green chilies(in the same can)
8 mini carrots
half a can of water
pkt of chili powder (Original)

Suffice it to say that Son called Mom for a little cuisine coaching and, volia!  Check out the results.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Old-Time Auto Ad Graphics, St. Paul, MN.

How can you NOT love these old-time ad graphics?  Don't you just want to take your car in, right now, get it fixed, whatever?

Such a fine sense of humor.  So different from every other garage you see these days. Makes you feel good all over. You can trust these guys.

Chem 'em out. M + J Auto Repair. Corner of Feronia + North Prior in St. Paul.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How 'bout this Hollyhock?

That Pina, she sure has the green thumb.  Check out one of the hollyhocks she's nurtured in the front garden of our house.  Pretty exquisite I'd say!

Lisa and Team Come to Visit Pina and Me.

Clip, clop, clip, clop. You could definitely hear horses on Tamarack Drive in front of our house.

"Listen, Poppina," I said. "There's a horse. Take a look. Who is it?"

"It's Lisa!" exclaimed my wife. "And she's driving her team and pulling her big wagon."

Lisa and Mike (trainer, farrier, harness maker, and spiritual advisor) turned into our driveway shortly before noon .. and how exciting that was for all of us!

"Pete" was the new guy in harness .. just off Mike's farm .. being put through his rookie paces ... learning to pull in tandem under Mike's watchful eye and Lisa's deft handling of the reins.

Shires, Percherons and Belgians are powerful, beautiful animals. They perform Herculean tasks while inspiring respect from the handler and awe from the onlooker.  They need to be trained, these big beasts, and respected, loved, led and utilized.

Pina and I were treated to an equine extravaganza, right in our driveway. We met Mike. Saw Pete for the first time. AND, we heard that Lisa has driven three big horses in harness, and is going for four-in-hand this summer.

We'll keep you posted.

Gettin' 'Round on 2 Wheels, S. FL Style

If you look deep into the background of this iFoto you can see Joe Hoyt my Coral Gables-brother.

Joe's a pedaling fool, goes all ober So. Florida, wearing a helmet, and cleats, and making excellent time on his custom-built LeMonde.

In real life Joe's a photographer, chronicler of evens in Afghanistan, and travels with an exhibit and book called "Afghanistan in an Era of Peace."

Let me know if you'd like to know more about the show, book, or Joe, or go to the link on this post.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Capitalism, Growth, Wealth + Greed.

Read this on-line @  Thanks for letting me share w/readers of Poppy's Velo Ventures: 

"The dishonoring of greed is likely only in those countries whose citizens already have more than they need. And even there, many people still have less than they need. 

"The evidence suggests that economies would be more stable and citizens happier if wealth and income were more evenly distributed

"The economic justification for large income inequalities – the need to stimulate people to be more productive – collapses when growth ceases to be so important.

"Perhaps socialism was not an alternative to capitalism, but its heir. It will inherit the earth not by dispossessing the rich of their property, but by providing motives and incentives for behavior that are unconnected with the further accumulation of wealth."

Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords, is professor emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University, author of a prize-winning biography of the economist John Maynard Keynes.

Giant White Pine Gets Trimming TLC.

Local tree-man Bud Nadeau stopped by our house Friday to tend to drooping limbs and dead branches.  With helmet a-head, Stihl strapped to his waist, and spikes on his boots like the lumberjacks of yore, Bud scampered up and down this magnificent conifer with a cool professionalism that produced just the right results.

Gov't. Shutdown Won't Stop Hunter Drive.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poppina's Pluperfect Posies.

Walk out our front door in Long Lake and, wow! and pow! -- the most exquisite posies ever seen in central Minnesota.  Check these out.

My wife Nancy (aka "Sam" and "Poppina") has a green thumb that will not quit. Plus, she's an animal in the garden ... tends these lilies (actually, not posies) with unflinching dedication and affection.

It's been hot and humid and rainy this spring/early-summer.

The flowers in the front garden tell the story better than I ever could.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Margot + Michael: What Great Friends!

Our friends Margot and Jim Butler have been with us through thick and thin.  We don't see them nearly enough any more -- the Butlers live in CT and Nancy and I in MN -- but when we do, what fun we have!

There's a pic of Jim Butler somewhere else on the blog.  Check it out.

This one is Mom Margot and her son Michael, sharing some good times at a wedding we all attended in Steamboat Springs, CO, two weeks ago.

Proud, Understated Velo Collection.

Some guys have Ferrari's and Aston-Martin's in their garages.

Here in Long Lake we show off our Velo Collection with an understated pride.  Hanging from the rafters in our detached garage are a Trek 720 (ca. 1980), a Giant hybrid purchased locally, and a Bianchi Boardwalk that Jason and I bought for his Mom one Mother's Day, long ago, back in Cos Cob, CT.

My current fave is the Surly LHT, which sits to the lower left in this pic, and whose reflective safety tires bounce back the flash from the  Canon H 100.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Roadside Litter, Day Two.

Filled the pannier up three separate times with roadside litter today. Here's the download of the first batch -- cans, cups, bottles, cig packs, an old license plate, and even a rubber kitchen spatula!  Wonder if anyone will be missing any of these treasures?

The good news:  as I was collecting trash along Cty. Rd. 24 I found a five-dollar bill!  It had been singed by the mowing crew, and was a little the worse for wear.  But it looks legit, and I'll take it to Wells Fargo tomorrow and trade it in for a crisp, new five-spot.

So, dear reader, my good deed for the day resulted in a clean roadside, a clear conscience and a little more jack in my pocket.  Sweet.

Real Independence Day Freedoms.

July 4, 2011 -- Today's the perfect day to honor REAL freedoms.  The tough-to-pull-off, stuff. The basic guarantees that would make our world an oh, so much better place. You know: equality, freedom from war, hunger, sickness and homelessness.

What if today, 7/4/11, we pledged to fight for a job for every man (and woman) in America? And a home to live in, high quality public education, a national energy policy?  Why not commit ourselves while we're at it to affordable, available health care?  Enough food on the family table? 

Maybe even a secure and dignified retirement? Put that on the ballot and it might even pass in a landslide.

Some of us believe our priorities are all screwed up. That we citizens of the freest, richest, most powerful, innovative country in the world, can't get it figured out. 

The universe is screaming for a moral, rational leadership -- for considerate, compassionate neighbors and citizens -- and they still look to us (you, me, our elected and appointed representatives) to get 'er done, as the President said last week.

We've got all the money in the world, right here at home, if we want to use it the right way.

Now's the time to stretch our definition of what freedom really means in America. What do you think?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Roadside Litter- Disgusting. Don't Do It!

The first six miles of my ride this morning were spent hopping off the Surly LHT to pick up roadside litter. And, boy, did I get two bags-full!

North on Tamarack I pedaled, crossed Hwy. 24, headed east on Medina Road -- and came close to filling one of the panniers before I even reached Uptown Hamel.

Bottles, cans, cig boxes and packs -- those were the "sin" samples collected, in abundance. Twenty-six beer bottles, and 9 boxes and packs of cigarettes. Marlboro was the hands-down culprit here.

I also collected Subway sandwich wrappers, Mickey D fries holders, Powerade jugs, an occasional plastic toy.  There was an errant Claude + Maude Mule work glove; by that time both saddlebags were filled to overflowing ... and I kept on truckin'.

Picking up litter is a spiritual experience -- a velo "give back," you might say.  There is SO MUCH trash these days .. someone has to do the needful.  While my work was anonymous, I would have liked a fellow cyclist to have shouted "right on" as he pedaled by, or thought to lend me a hand.

Litter.  Yeah, it's disgusting, gross and selfish.  How come we STILL throw crap out of car windows without thinking of the mess it causes?

My first job in corporate America more than 40 years ago was working at Continental Can Co., as the "rep" to Keep America Beautiful.

Our job then, as now: to remind folks everywhere that littering is disgusting, unnecessary and selfish. I can't pick it up as fast as you can throw it down. So, just don't litter! How's that?

Cyclists: Watch out for the Critters!

Brother Joe Hoyt snapped this foto on the road to Maroon Bells (9750'), Colorado, not too far from Aspen.  He and cycling partner, Richard Marks, saw a familia of the critters sunning themselves on a nearby rock outcrop. 

"Ain't it grand," ponders Joe, "to spend a two-wheel holiday high in the Rockies, with wildlife everywhere, and no personal carbon footprint to speak of? 

Hope one and all have a sunny, sweet holiday weekend.  Enjoy your Independence."