Monday, September 1, 2014

Top August Posts

We rolled right through summer with a strong August. Year over year, our August 2014 monthly page views were 94 percent better than the same month last year. The trajectory is upward month to month as well. August exceeded July, which in turn topped June. Something's happening here. Our nostalgic looks back, and back in the day stories, are loved (except by one nasty, obsessive dissenter). Thanks to our readers! Without further adieu, here are the August top ten. 

Great uncle Lyndon King Armstrong,
pictured in Spokane, Washington, 1937.
1. In Happy 105th George Foster, we published a photo showing my smiling father, mother and big sister in 1950, along with several of my aunts and uncles, whom we have mentioned from time to time in the On the Road to Bathgate series. The photo was discovered and forwarded my way earlier this year by my cousin Matt from the Golden State. Matt has been a tremendous source of historical materials and clues -- and inspiration -- as we proceed along this road, where, as they say, the best is yet to come. Thank you Matt! 

Starting this month, when we publish a post on my great uncle, Lyndon King Armstrong, born in 1859 (and the first of our clan, I might add, to migrate to Montana), we will be rolling out more Road to Bathgate stories. Stay tuned.

2. Along the Gradyent's all time top ranked post, The Golf Channel: Spouses Guide to Sanity, stayed strong at number two in August. It is chock full of advice on how to unravel the mysteries of televised tournament golf. The wife reduces the 208 fine print pages of USGA rule book esoterica to a single rule -- play the ball as it lies -- you can (almost) never go wrong. Thanks to Teresa for gifting the most viewed post on Father's Day, 2013.

3. At Along the Gradyent central, we knew something was up the morning after the Emmy awards show because there was a run on our post, On the Road to Bathgate Act 1: "Fargo" the Movie. Carrying on the tradition of excellence, FX's new production of Fargo won the award for the best miniseries. Read the post and enjoy learning with legions of others about the intersection of the classic flick with my father's hometown, population 43 according to the 2010 census. If you are ever in or near Bathgate make sure to stop by Reiny's Bar and tell them I say "Hi."  Please don't mention that the guy who painted the sign, spelled it wrong.

4. Look! Where? Over there! Here it Comes! Comes what? Why, Five Guys to Bozeman, you don't say!

The offensive, invective inducing data.
5. Why Montana? is a breezy post, with an analytic bent, about why I moved to Montana. It ended with a few words of encouragement for those who may be dissatisfied with their lot in life, to move around and about to find better economic opportunity or a lower cost of living, whatever suits them best. I come from a family where making major geographical moves to seek opportunity and improve quality of life is the norm. Our move out to Montana pales in comparison to our ancestors who sailed the oceans from Sweden, Ireland and Scotland.  

6. My wife's great grandfather was a Czech immigrant, musician, boot maker and founder of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, as the marching men and women musicians at Texas A&M in College Station are known. They are legendary and so is Joseph Holick who is the subject of Lone Star Legacy: Introducing Joseph Holick. We are proud to branch off onto our wife's side of the family in our searches into past and ancestry, though the next such post will be a sad remembrance of kin too soon and very recently passed.

Wisconsin Badgers celebrating "the goal," March 16, 1973.
7. On the Ides of March in 1973, after morning and early afternoon classes, we began a road trip from Madison, Wisconsin to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the "Frozen Four" NCAA Hockey Championships in the old Boston Garden. The semifinals the next night against Cornell, were no less than the most dramatic hockey match ever. The following night we celebrated the Badgers first NCAA hockey championship, as they defeated conference arch rival Denver University. The next morning, we (well I) totaled Tom Scheer's car in a blizzard on the return trip home, while in the middle of nowhere, northwestern Pennsylvania -- resulting in a planes, trains, buses and automobiles saga if there ever was one. That's five days I'll never forget. Last March, to make sure they were never forgotten, we related our recollections of them in Forty One Years Ago Today

8. Dear President did it again. Economic patriotism is his new gimmick. He uses mean spirited rhetoric instead of sound policy and practical choices to pursue his political agenda. He snarks at people who respond to the reality of a noncompetitive tax code and the incentives it creates, for being unpatriotic, while standing stalwart with friends, supporters and associates (cue Warren Buffett and Burger King) who engage in the very practices he decries. Read about the leading Democrat's hollow and ineffective hypocrisy here in Democrats are Phonies and Economic Hypocrites.

Wisconsin Culvert Co. fallout shelter ad.
9. It could be that some person or persons out of our past picked up the links from our university days, because Caring About Culverts rose to number nine on our August top ten list. From its publication, it has always been in my personal top ten. 

On the word of the kind housemother at the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house, we were commended to the owners, and came to work three summers at Wisconsin Culvert Co., along the tracks on the industrial east side of Madison Wisconsin, building the corrugated galvanized steel drainage pipe. I so truly wish you had elected a President who did this type of hard and difficult, productive work in his youth, because that would be a person who understands the industrial economy and who knows that we do the dirty, sweaty and dangerous work -- Mr. Elitist Snarkmeister doesn't do it for us. Barack Obama is a loser for our society, for our economy and for a culture of hard work and responsibility.

The Dells is torched for good, October 7,  1934.
10. My small bucolic hometown of Morton Grove, Illinois was a different kettle during prohibition. The corner lot occupied by the neighborhood bakery and cleaners, the Ben Franklin 5 & 10, the National Tea grocery and Rexall Drug stores during the days of my youth, was home previously to The Dells, owned and operated by the Capone gang. The Dells gave rise to illicit gambling, murders, arson, extortion, and kidnappings, while purveying some of the best food and bootleg drink around, and headlining nationally known entertainers throughout. We tell all about it here, in Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: The Complete Story of The Dells.

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