Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Top September Posts

September was solid on Along the Gradyent.  A few oldies led the most-popular list, supplemented by new September material. Without further ado, here are September's top ten.

"The Goal," March 16, 1973.
1. Forty One Years Ago Today recounts the amazing story of a 1973 road trip to the Frozen Four ice hockey championships to watch our Wisconsin Badgers reign supreme in the tournament at the old Boston Garden. Hockey was only the half of it, because on the way back we totaled the car in a blizzard and were stranded along an interstate highway in rural Pennsylvania. A station wagon ride, a taxi cab ride, a Greyhound bus ride, a commuter train ride, and a Northwest Orient flight later, we had wound our way back to Madison, Wisconsin to resume college life.

2. Perennial favorite, On The Road to Bathgate Act 1, Fargo The Movie, placed second on the September list. We had set out to write a post on my dad's family and his hometown of Bathgate, North Dakota. The family focus drifted into the background when we learned that Bathgate was the backdrop for snowy Fargo movie scenes because snow was sparse across the state line in Minnesota and down in Fargo. The Coen brothers improvised by moving the production north.

3. September 11: We Rember (Repost) relates our personal experience that fateful day in Washington, DC, and Arlington, Virginia, at our home two neighborhoods over from the Pentagon. We shall never forget.

4. In Bathgate Meets Morton Grove, we marry our two favorite themes. Picture this. Mom and dad pulled a coaster wagon down Morton Grove's main street, Dempster, carrying a crate occupied by the son of Rilley the Pig. It was prelude to a good old fashioned greased pig wrestling contest. We will be writing more about Bathgate and Morton Grove this fall and winter, We know of source materials that will yield literally years of additional writing and reporting.

My great aunt Florence Armstrong
married R. D. Hokins of Hoskins-Meyer.
5. We got to family history blogging early this year after an early September Bozeman snow storm. In On the Road to Bathgate, Act 7: An Introduction -- Tracking the Lives of the Armstrongs we set the stage for looking into the Armstrong side of the Foster family. It turns out that the distaff side of my paternal grandparents generation was every bit as fascinating and accomplished as my grandfather's side, if not more so. The lawyer, politician, businessman and adventurer genes run right through. Welcome to this preview of the Armstrongs.

Arch pipe like what we produced at Wisconsin Culvert Co.
6. We introduced our story on heavy gauge coated, rolled and riveted, corrugated steel drainage pipe thus:
I admit it. I can't drive, walk or ride by a culvert without swiveling my neck, inspecting and visually evaluating the structure, judging condition, materials and construction and looking at the drainage to see how well, or if, it is performing its intended function.  
It is so "from experience. We built culverts (no, somebody else didn't do it for us Dear President, we did it ourselves)." This is the story of a business and a time of life that are gone. Take a peak at Caring About Culverts and learn how it is that we formed arched pipe.

7. Let them eat cake. The doofus senior senator from Oregon and New York, Ron Wyden, orated that giving every child born in the USA a $500 savings account would "really put a dent in the
Senator Wyden and his wife in a corporate
box in Yankee Stadium.
poverty rate." Look at the numbers and you will learn, that is one of the silliest and stupidest things coming out of the liberal lout's mouth. 

When a baby is born, a household needs to generate an additional $4,020 in income per year to stay above the poverty line. That accumulates to $72,360 by the time a child reaches age 18 and is no longer considered a minor. Five hundred dollars puts a dent in that? It barely mars, in fact it doesn't even scratch the surface of the actual challenge. The only way to put a dent in the poverty rate is for the parents to get jobs, real jobs.
Can't blame the senator for his ignorance though. You really can't expect him to find time to study the issues when he spends most of his free time at Yankee Stadium, Southampton and other sites in New York where his wife and young family reside. I don't know who is more ignorant, Wyden or the lap dog liberals from Oregon who reflexively vote him in to the United States Senate. Read about it in Stuff It Oregon -- Time To Reverse Engineer Generational Debt

L. K. Armstrong in 1915.
8. Lyndon King Armstrong, what a dude! Lyndon King Armstrong was brother to my grandmother, Laura Elizabeth Armstrong Foster. He was elder by ten years. Lyndon was born before the Civil War and died during World War II. Prior to researching and writing these blog posts he was known to me only as L. K. Foster, a name in my grandmother's obituary. Now he is known to me as a man with an incredibly long resume and big accomplishments, who lived a long and large life. We just start looking into his incredible life in On the Road to Bathgate Act 7a: Introducing Lyndon King Armstrong -- Pharmacist, Engineer, Miner, Publisher and Association Leader.

9. Drinking, dancing, dining and gambling. Arson, kidnapping, murder and mayhem. It all happened at the site of the corner drug store in my youth, where thirty years earlier stood the most notorious of the Morton Grove roadhouses -- The Dells. The Dells was an Al Capone syndicate operation that was a battleground for mob control because it butted against the territory of Terrible Roger Touhy to the northwest.  Fifteen years of prominence are laid out and documented in Morton Grove Before the Baby Boom: The Complete Story of The Dells. When The Dells was torched in 1934 it marked the end of an era. 

The Dells "mysteriously" burns to the ground, October 7, 1934.
10. We spent Four Days In Denver, during early September for the BMW Championship, the penultimate tournament in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs. We spied the name of back in the day tournament champions who had won majors who we caddied for in out youth. The crowds were large and boisterous, and occasionally one could get a whiff of what Mile High has come to mean in Colorado. We are looking ahead to the US Open at Pebble Beach in 2019. 


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