Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hand-Lettered Glass Pane on Old-Timer Office Door in St. Paul.

They sure don't make them like this any more. Over in St. Paul the other day I came across this old-timer wooden office door. Check the grains of the wood.  Then the brass lock, plate, and ornate handle. Next, the massive glass plate window, hand-painted office I.D.  The whole package takes me back to an era long-gone in American commerce. Hope you like the pic as much as I do bringing it to you.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Workhorse co-owner Ty gives Old Poppy a New Year's Squeeze -- after she makes a 16-ounce iced Latte in her St. Paul store.

Ty and her Workhorse Coffee company have been subjects of the Poppy Blog a couple of times.  The six-month old shop is located at Raymond + University in St. Paul.  The iced lattes are shaken, not stirred, and mighty tasty.

Atmosphere is fun and friendly. And, every once in a while, I'm able to talk management into letting me behind the counter for a hug.

I might add that Workhorse operates the World's Smallest Museum out front of the store. Funded by the McKnight Foundation, the "shows" are always worth checking out.

Here's a place worth your consideration and patronage.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

West Yellowstone, MT, Sled Dog Race - Locals Wayne and Dianne Gardiner assure that this is Real Deal.

I've posted about author Wayne Gardiner.  He and wife Dianne sent this shot to the Poppy Blog.  They were front row spectators at a lively sled dog race in Yellowstone.  Not sure which team won the gold.

Merry Christmas from Long Lake!

Carolers arrive in horse-drawn wagon signing their hearts out!  Of Bells, and Good Kings, Mangers and Magi.  Inside our house a cauldron of steaming apple cider awaited the songsters. And old-fashioned Christmas celebration, to be sure;  only a foot of newly fallen snow would have made it better
Santa brought big, indestructible winter gloves and a furry bonnet.

Shire draft horses pull the sleigh-ful of carolers.
Finally, in case you were curious, the unsightly item obliterating my right nostril is a bar on coffee-bean bar soap.  It smells like java, contains all the goodness of hot-brew, and allegedly is good for one's skin.  

I'll report back on efficacy once I try it out.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lazlo Biro invented the Ballpoint Pen, and it's still referred to as a "Biro" in a number of countries around the World.

Our British friend Liz was talking the other evening about the "Biro."

Huh?  The "Biro"?  Had we ever heard of it -- a nickname for the ball point pen.  Not, I, at least, so onto the laptop I went to check it all out.

The image here is from 1943.  It's an ad running (in Spanish) in a magazine in Argentina -- where inventor Biro lived at the time.  

What else I learned: Lazlo worked in the printing business in the 1930's. He noticed that printer's ink was quick-drying, did not smudge, might work better in a fountain pen than whatever else was used at the time. But printer's ink was too viscous, wouldn't flow through to the nib.  No go on this bright idea.

So, as the story goes, Biro and his brother go back to the drawing board, came up with the idea of a rolling ball inside the point where the nib might ordinarily be.  After a few attempts (inventors always try things a few times before they nail it) they succeeded and - voila! - our came the ball-point pen. The Biro.

This post has nothing to do with bicycles, nor my velo adventures.  But I am a writer, love pens, have a ton of fountain pens, and am excited to have learned the lore and legend of the late Biro Lazlo.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Minneapolis School Girls Learn of Eugene Delacroix's Influence on Modern Art.

Here we are at Minneapolis Institute of Art waiting our turn to enter the much-anticipated Delacroix exhibit.  MIA is buzzing with energy and excitement. Art aficionados of every age, size, shape, level of knowledge file into the modern art wing to see this once in a lifetime show.  Our tix were for 11:00 AM on 12/18, and we entered after the school girls in this foto here. Couldn't take any shots inside, so you'll just have to go see the exhibit for yourselves.  You will not be disappointed.  

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Paella -- legendary Spanish chicken, rice, clams, veggies dish -- pans on sale in Uptown. Big one serves 200 hungry diners.

Lookee what we came across today: paella pans, small (cooks for two) up
 to humongous (can prepare food for as many as 200 folks at one time).  Little pans start around $20.00 or so.  The biggee is not for sale.  The Kitchen Store rents it out for parties, soirees, weddings, fiestas, whatever.  Also saw kindling wood from Jamaica, Weber grills with manufacturer's suggested retail price of $5000+, and espresso machines that will set the home barista and aficionado back several thousands of euros.  What a store.  What fun we had.  Hello, Santa.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mystery Writer Wayne Gardiner Meets Mentor James Lee Burke.

My good buddy Wayne Gardiner (left in this foto) continues to knock the ball out of the park in his career as a mystery writer.  Wayne and I worked together in magazine publishing, and for all those years we traveled the country,  persuading marketers to advertise their products and services in the magazines we represented, I never knew that Wayne had a secret life!

I did read one of Wayne's earlier spy novels, "The Man on the Left," and have devoured his stories in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.  Like most commercially viable writers Wayne learned his craft by practice, practice, practice, and reading as much of his mentors as possible.  I found out this week that Wayne considers the sui generis James Lee Burke a mentor, and finally had the chance to meet him.

Wayne and wife Dianne were in Missoula, MT recently for a book signing by Burke. Gardiner had the chance to hang with the man, something he's always wanted to do.  I am intrigued by what these wordsmiths had to say to each other.

Look for Wayne's work in an upcoming issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. I buy my mags at Barnes + Noble in the Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka, MN, but you can certainly find copies on line.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Seen at Snelling + Grand, St. Paul, Minnesota, December 10, 2015.

Check this little cutie, locked up next to his Daddy's full-size touring machine. The municipal rack sits at the intersection of Snelling and Grand Aves. -- maybe the owners/velosters are shopping in Garrison Keillor's "Common Good Books," just around the corner.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Momentum Magazine (digital version) reports this week on "getting your Christmas tree home by bike."

Do any of the rest of you subscribe to ?  Published out of Vancouver, BC, aimed at the urban "practical" cyclist, and full of fun tips, new gear, places to go and see, and how to get there, Momentum Mag is available in a traditional hard-copy print format, as well as on the digital platform.

Check it out.  Solid ideas for transporting even the most recalcitrant spruce or cedar. Fotos shown here were shot by Josh Larios and milknosugar, and represent the high quality pics appearing throughout the publication.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A veritable United Nations of coffee beans waiting to be roasted today in Dunn Bros. store on Loring Park.

Not only is the coffee at Dunn Bros. always tasty, and served just right with a knowing smile, but the aficionados call it  sabroso 

On my way out of the Loring Park store today, sabroso iced skim latte in one hand, a sizable slice of Cinnamon coffee cake in the other, I saw these bean bags next to the roaster, waiting to be prepped, both hot brewed and iced.  Love the color of the bags, the country-of-origin sticks plunged deep in the beans.  Had to go quickly to the car, grab the 'Phone and snap a couple of fotos.

I'm not sophisticated enough in my taste -- God knows I drink enough coffee everyday! -- to catch the subtle "notes" of Peruvian vs. Ethiopian, for instance.  Maybe a private taste test, writing up results for readers of the Poppy Blog, might be the remedy?

Meanwhile, you sure can't go wrong with Dunn Bros. java, no matter its country of origin. The coffee cake is from the Twin Cities, baked fresh daily; can't miss on that one, either.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Brother-in-Law Mark Reports Waves along Washington Coast 25-40 Feet High!

"Your sister and I," 

writes my brother-

in-law Mark, "are all 

hunkered down, 

waiting for the rain 

to stop after several days of deluge and now flooding on 

the mainland."

"Ahhhh, Washington. B-I-G waves at the coast, 25’ to 40’.  

Would love to be there for that."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Travel Pins, Lapel Buttons and Classic Velo Head Badges.

If you're like me you enjoy collecting mementos from wherever you've been.  Like the Channel Island National Park lapel pin -- Pina and I visited the Santa Barbara area a few years ago, took the tour, hit the gift shop, and I picked up the handsome pin you see in this pic.

What else?  From Steamboat Lake, Steamboat Springs, CO, a commemorative badge one might nail on to o a hiking stick to remember trails traveled.

Then two memories of a trip to Spain - the national flag plus a black bull with white horns: promo item for a line of Spanish brandy.

The bridal dinner lapel button handed out by Jessie and Chris the night before their wedding in Stoning, CT some seven years ago.

Finally,  Raleigh head badge pried off a pricey roadster, and a tinny Schwinn badge acquired in the same shop in Minneapolis where Id purchased the Raleigh I.D.

The cushion bag on which the items were photographed served (past tense) to contain all these goodies as I sent them, and other parts of my collection, to our grandchildren.  And while I'll miss not having the pieces all over my desk, I take great joy in sharing them, and encouraging the grands to collect mementos of their own from all the places they'll surely visit when they can.