Friday, April 28, 2006

1966 Corvair

I noticed this car today, while riding south of Rock Creek, Ohio on Route 45. The advertised price was $2995. It looked very clean, just a bit of rust around the fender insides. Spring makes this kind of bargain appear, dependably. Now... what kind of fun could I have with a 40 year-old Chevrolet?

Sunday, April 23, 2006


On the left (white case) is my PANASONIC Model 740. I found it recently at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Mentor. This relic prompted me to do some Internet research, but I didn't find much. Apparently, this kind of techno-artifact has slipped into obscurity. Still, a couple of related images appeared. Above, right is a Model 782 Panasonic, with wood case. It is from 1959. At the top (black and white two-tone case) is the Model 730. All appear to use a similar chassis. Note the left-hand speaker, rectangular tuning display, and four-knob controls.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

THOUGHTS AT LARGE April 20, 2006

"Pasta Toss"
c. 2006 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

"Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk."
-- J. C. Penney, Retail Entrepreneur

A Confession: As stated here before, I often hate my mailbox. It is an unfriendly void that seems to channel only rejections, postal junk, solicitations, and bills. Smiles via the space are few. (Much of what I receive goes directly into our trash bin.) Still, the chance remains for something better to appear. Like those who pan for gold in a mountain stream, I continue to check the metal chute, and pray! My need to hope always overcomes any fear of failure.
The recent arrival of recorded music with personal mail brought a reason to celebrate for this writer. Few things are so satisfying as a selection of new recordings for the household library. They offer listening pleasure, and more - each disc yields a chance to engage in passionate wordsmithing by writing a personal review.

My first reaction was to use these comments as part of a newspaper column. While still playing the discs, I began to compose thoughts about each collection:

DAVIE ALLAN AND THE ARROWS / THE WILD ANGELS (CURB, D2-77866) – This compact disc contains material from both vinyl volumes of the original movie soundtrack. Provided is a rowdy, audio voyage back to 1965. Because most Americans became acquainted with the music of Davie Allan through this classic cycle film, it is indispensable for any Arrows collector. The work is joyous, expressive, and FUZZIRIFIC! Over forty years later, the seminal track ‘Blues Theme’ remains a benchmark for instrumental guitar. Favorite works like ‘Midnight Rider’ and ‘Rockin’ Angel’ broaden the mix. Viewed from a current perspective, the CD is a mission statement for what would transpire as King Fuzz matured into an icon of rock ‘n’ roll.

When listeners first enter the Rhino Realm, most will observe that this bunch from California sound like the lost kin of AC/DC. The powerchord phrasing, strangled vocals, and throbbing backbeat are all reminiscent of Australia’s most famous musical export. Yet classing them as a sound-alike band is nearly insulting. The Rhinos display an artistic identity that is familiar, but unique. Promotional hype that touts this group as being "The Last Real Rock ‘n’ Roll Band" is not so exaggerated as you might believe. An aural blast of ‘She Rides’ or ‘Blood, Sweat & Beers’ will remove any doubt. The members of RB display a level of authenticity that is rare in modern popular music. For those about to rock… we salute you!

The Rhino Bucket tracks were particularly satisfying because their older work is out of print, and expensive to procure. It was a moment of enlightenment about this elusive band. I wrote a brief message to the herd in reference to their new CD, via a page on MYSPACE. "Rockin' Rhinos - Thanks for the bulletins & message. Love your work… I pre-ordered your disc… I write for a local paper in the Cleveland (Ohio) area. I'll try to give it some ink. Horns up!"
Listening to Davie Allan’s vintage tracks rendered in digital stereo was another revelation. I felt compelled to take command of my mailbox, and continue the cause of promoting Davie’s artistry to the greater public. (The ICE strategy for success has always been to try everything, and see what works!) This mood of inspiration soon produced a letter to my favorite company in Wisconsin…

From: R. Ice, Thompson, Ohio
To: Willie G. Davidson
3700 West Juneau Avenue
P. O. Box 653
Milwaukee, WI 53208

Dear Willie G.,
I am a journalist in the Cleveland (Ohio) area. Also, I am a lifelong fan of all things Harley. (Currently, I ride a 2001 Heritage Softail.)
For the past several years, I have enjoyed a long-distance friendship with DAVIE ALLAN, the legendary outlaw guitarist. Davie is beloved by the performing community because of his overdriven tonal palette, and gutsy axemanship. In addition, he is a heroic figure to those (like myself) who grew up on the hearty stew of American biker culture. Stated simply, no other single artist so completely embodies the artistic forces of rebellion, and rock ‘n’ roll. DA’s ‘street credibility’ is undeniable.

Because of his unique position as a living part of motorcycle history, it seems that a connection between Davie and your beloved company would be purely logical. With this in mind, I urge you to consider the promotional value of such a living icon as a partner for Harley-Davidson. Certainly, he would be a valuable asset if featured in H-D advertising, catalogs, and literature. For example: Imagine the fuzzed-out intensity of ‘Blues Theme’ (his most popular tune, from ‘The Wild Angels’) playing behind a rollout of new company models. The effect could be truly stunning. Or: DA’s image being used to highlight your catalogs of official riding attire. Again, it would be potent and effective.

I invite you to contact Davie Allan directly. Information about his incredible career can be found on the Internet at In addition, my own feature about his work is posted in the ‘stories’ section at www., a website run by former Easyriders editor K. Randall Ball.

My sincere thanks for your attention in this matter!
Regards, RDI

I was eager to share the note with Davie, himself, and sent a copy immediately. "Hope I didn't overstep my bounds... I reckoned this would be cool with you. I sent a letter & photos to Willie G. at Harley-Davidson. A few years ago, I wrote him regarding a potential 'Sportster' model and he graciously answered my thought with a hand-signed note. Anyway... I keep thinking: ‘What can I do to help DA?’ Fuzz On!"

His response was delivered with a typical dose of good humor. "Wow Rod! What a knock me out letter! Someone said ‘if you throw enough spaghetti (or whatever substance you choose) at a wall, some of it will stick!!!’ Thank you!!!"

My day ended with a visit to the Beachland Ballroom web page. (The venue is located at 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland.) I began to read through their concert schedule, carefully. Rhino Bucket had an appearance slated for May 3rd. My imagination began to percolate, again… ideas were loosed by the sound of Georg Dolivo shouting over a barrage of guitars… WHAT COULD I TRY NEXT??


Saturday, April 08, 2006

"An Andy Rooney Moment"
c. 2006 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Andy Rooney is a classic media figure. He has enjoyed a prolific wordsmithing career as a newspaper columnist, published author, producer, and scriptwriter. His stay at CBS began in 1949, working on ‘Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts.’ Installments of his segment on the CBS program ‘60 Minutes’ have entertained viewers across America for many years. (They have appeared regularly since September, 1978.) He is admittedly liberal, agnostic, and crabby. Yet his witticisms are uniquely entertaining. And age has only intensified the grandfatherly charm he projects.
Recently, the moody power of a ‘Rooney’ moment took hold as I tried to make my newspaper deadline. I pondered how his oddball style might sound in a local context. What would he make of a column like ‘Thoughts At Large?’ Questions swirled in my brain… I tried to focus on the task of interpreting this network curmudgeon… everything faded into a netherworld of characteristically silly, rambling observations… and the following manuscript began to appear:
Did you ever wonder why so many 8-track tapes still show up at thrift stores and
flea markets across Geauga? I mean… really! Why are they still around? Such cumbersome audio-bricks haven’t been commercially popular in thirty years. But as artifacts go, they are ever present. Manufacturers must’ve cranked out millions of the plastic cartridges, because a wide selection of titles can still be found at 50 cents per item! This is in spite of the fact that almost no one still has a machine to play them! Major record labels had them out of retail stores by the early 80’s. Mail-order music clubs kept them available a bit longer. Yet they endure like the aftertaste of a bologna sandwich. Some people continue to treasure the clunky relics as a reminder of yonder days. A slew of alternative, ‘indie’ performers has even kept the format alive in 21st-Century terms. But ask yourself this question. "How crazy do you have to be… to still own a stash of 8-Track tapes?"
Have you ever actually seen anyone use a paperweight to hold down paper? Sure,
these trinkets make nifty ornaments for a desktop. But are they really functional in the 21st Century? And with everyone typing away on a computer, is there any lingering need for a decorated stone in your workspace? Or is it just a matter of Joe Paperweight not wanting to go out of business before he and Mrs. P Can retire? Isn’t it like making horseshoes after the ‘Model T’ was invented? Maybe we just feel better knowing the paperweight is there… in case someone left a window open, of the office fan gets stuck on ‘high.’
In America, you can get water almost anywhere. There is water in your kitchen,
bathroom, and maybe even in your garage. You can get water from a drinking fountain (‘bubbler’ for my friends in Wisconsin) or a garden hose. Any good restaurant will bring you water without an extra charge on the bill. So why do we buy bottled water? Is there something special about water in a plastic jug? Can one company say "Our water is better than your water!" with a straight face? Doesn’t all water ultimately come from the same source? Try placing some empty bottles on your picnic table during the next rainstorm, and you’ll have the best refreshment nature can provide, without a trip to the grocery store.
Why are Americans so infatuated with pizza? Did you notice there are all kinds of
frozen pizzas available from your local grocer? Round, square, microwave, vegetarian, thin-crust, rising-crust, and mini-size? Is there a need for this much variety when a town like Chardon has so many places to buy pizza made fresh? Have you noticed that potato chips come in pizza flavor? And ‘Combos’ snacks? You can get pizza bagels, French bread pizzas, and ‘Hot Pocket’ pizza entrees. I’ll bet someone in Ohio even has a pizza omelet on their breakfast menu! Couldn’t they think of anything else?
I understand having hot ‘Buffalo’ wings as a tasty, after-work treat. But while they
were dipping those bird flappers in hot pepper sauce, why didn’t they coat the entire fowl? How could they spice up the chicken wings and forget about the rest? Just think about the wasted breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. We could eliminate hunger in America if whole birds were served on ‘game day’ instead of a paltry few hot wings. I say spare the poultry from dissection! Dip the entire animal in sauce and invite your hungry neighbors. Or donate the unused parts to your local soup kitchen. Some other fortunate soul is bound to donate noodles and broth, maybe even on the same day. That is what makes our nation great – working together.
Why is it that newscasters on television love to show off newspaper stories? Isn’t this
like a car dealership reviewing bicycles? Could it be an admission that the print media existed first? Or is it because text journalism still seems more credible? (Would they admit being second to written reporting, even if it were true?) Can you remember seeing a newspaper with screen captures from a video news program? I don’t think it has happened. But on CNN or C-SPAN, you can enjoy a review of ink-borne headlines from around the country. This seems particularly strange because there is ‘lag time’ involved with printed matter, while TV news is immediate. But in reality, most of us are probably on the computer, anyway. So it doesn’t really matter!
Did you ever wonder how soccer got to be so popular around the world? (Foreigners
call it ‘Football’ which does seem accurate for a game played with your feet.) Millions of people around the globe actually follow this kind of sporting competition like we watch baseball. In America, most fans yawn at the sight of a soccer match. We think it is okay for school kids as an extracurricular activity. But do we take it to be a serious reason for gathering to drink beer and eat salty snacks? No! We’d rather watch paint dry, or count gumballs in a jar. The rest of Planet Earth must wonder how we escaped their passion for this sport. But they probably conclude that it has something to do with drinking lots of Budweiser and watching NASCAR. Whatever the reason, our national tastes are individualistic. Let them have soccer and Brie… we’ll stay with a good BROWNS-STEELERS game, and lots of Great Lakes brew!
My ‘Rooney’ moment passed quickly, like one of his brief, spoken essays. It was a refreshing detour from the typical subject matter of my column. But most important of all, just like my television hero, I made my deadline!