Friday, September 29, 2006


I grew up with both of these radios during my 1960's childhood. They were my daily companions as I learned about the outside world through commercial broadcasts. For a kid in that era, the radio was our 'Internet.' A wealth of music, cultural information, news, and political debate could be obtained by simply twisting a knob. Unlike TV sets from that era, radios could be truly portable. This meant that even a child could secretly listen to all kinds of programs, without parental hindrance.

The ZENITH AM/FM model pictured here was typically located in our kitchen or dining room. It must have been one of the first 'Ice Household' radios. Even then, the unit seemed funky, and anachronistic. But its tone quality was commendable. In addition, an extra input was provided for use with an optional turntable. (I eventually employed this feature to amplify a $14.00 electric guitar.)

The SILVERTONE transistor radio depicted here only offered AM reception. In addition, it used an odd-sized battery, which we later replaced with a standard 'square' 9-volt cell. But it was a beloved part of my childhood. Dad normally kept it in one of his file drawers, in our home office. It was easy to snatch this receiver for late-night listening, after everyone else had gone to bed!

Now, such relics are fodder for eBay. Both are shamefully crude compared to current devices like the i-Pod. Yet for those of us who remember... they are reminders of a simpler age when our imagination filled in the gaps left by technology!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


c. 2006 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

The fifth anniversary of September 11th, 2001 caused many Americans to pause in reflection. For us, no greater benchmark exists in modern memory. Our generation was literally redefined by this woeful event. Yet sixty months forward, conclusions vary about the tragedy. Images of ‘Ground Zero’ are colored in differing hues painted with individual perceptions. It seems that nearly everyone has a NINE-ELEVEN viewpoint of their own.
ABC chose to commemorate this dark anniversary with a two-episode series, directed by David L. Cunningham. ‘THE PATH TO 9/11’ offered a graphic analysis of the happening, with some dramatic embellishment. Its roster of performers was undeniably impressive. Included were Harvey Keitel, Stephen Root, Donnie Wahlberg, Barclay Hope, Patricia Heaton, Shaun Toub, Amy Madigan, Shirley Douglas, and Penny Johnson Jerald. Reactions to the program mirrored public sentiments over the actual event. Again, perceptions were skewed by philosophical leanings.
President Bush appeared surreal with a national address during the second night of this broadcast. Viewers on the network must have blinked more than once with puzzlement. “Was this an official message, or part of the show?” Predictably, his speech drew immediate criticism from political opponents.
For this writer, considering the calamity produced a moment of personal introspection. It had me struggling to remember… “What did I write… as a wordsmith… as a citizen… on that day, five years ago?” A search through our household archives yielded the column, on an old 1.44 MB diskette. As I opened the document, a lost world began to appear:


(From The Geauga County Maple Leaf, September 20, 2001)

Everyone has their own perspective on historic events. Indeed, each of us might offer a unique view when considering the same timeline. Where were you… when news of JFK’s assassination was announced? When the hostages were seized in Iran? When Ronald Reagan was shot? The answers will reflect a variety of circumstances that color these happenings. America is a nation brimming with diversity. Different translations of identical facts add to the mix of daily life. Compare the following recollection with your own for evidence of such things:
For this writer, September 11th, 2001 awakened without special concern. Because of my work schedule, the morning began about half-past noon. With groggy remnants of sleep still in my eyes, I prepared coffee and toast. Vague thoughts of our computer made me frown. (A problem with the telephone line had kept us out of commission for an entire week!) In the Ice household, Tuesday had only begun. I stumbled down the basement steps, while taking inventory of personal duties. My checkbook had to be balanced, and an unsent e-mail for Keith R. Ball waited because of the technical woes.
(I was in the midst of assembling a feature for his motorcycling website.) In addition, much yard work was waiting. None of this was more important than the immediate need to saturate my bloodstream with liquid caffeine!
I had been underground for only a minute when my wife called from upstairs, with disbelief clear in her voice. “Rod! There’s a message on the phone…” Her son had called from work that morning. “We’re under attack… turn on the television right now!!”
I literally ran for the living room. “Attack? From who??”
A strong mug of java couldn’t prepare me for the video feed from ABC news. My spouse was equally shocked. We sat motionless for a long time. Scenes of destruction and tragedy filled the screen. My eyes were burning. I could not escape feeling that it was a second coming of the attack that predicated our entry into World War II. Thoughts of the movie ‘Independence Day’ were unavoidable. Also echoing were the notes of ‘Life During Wartime,’ from the Talking Heads album ‘Fear Of Music.’ There, David Byrne sang “This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no foolin’ around…” It was an eerie moment.
When composure returned, I wrote an electronic message to one of our friends who lives in New York City. A drummer by trade, he has enjoyed a career of session work with musicians in the area. My hands trembled as I wondered if he would be able to reply. A day later, his response said much about the uncertain mood that prevailed. “Thanks for your concern… my area is VERY quiet. It’s as though I’m much more than a mile-and-a-half away… as of yesterday, everything will be different.” Instead of signing the message with a regular salutation, he wrote the word ‘uneasily’ before his name. I was glad to know that he was safe, and well.
The following period of reflection produced a Geauga slant on this woeful occurrence. We shared thoughts of grief and sorrow with our friends across the county. Some were mystified by the evil acts that had transpired. Others saw the calamity as a visitation of dark forces. But all agreed that we had passed a milestone of great importance. There was no longer the luxury of ignorance to shield us from duty. A response of some sort had become inevitable. We were in a new age of uncertainty. The current battle was alive on domestic soil, not the loam of a distant republic. Thoughts of a tidy, sanitized conflict were gone with yesterday! In TIME Magazine, Lance Morrow offered a chilling perspective. “What’s needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury – a ruthless indignation that doesn’t leak away in a week or two.” It was as if the spirit of Roosevelt and Churchill had been aroused. (Modern parallels do not exist here.) Our way of life had been challenged by foreign enemies. No course remained except for a path directly to the heart of these angry foes!
A prayer for guidance echoed through our churches as the sunset fell upon September 12th. Ironically, this was my 40th birthday. I spent the night considering my entry into the world at Riverside Methodist Hospital, in Columbus. Mixed with such personal images were the graphic depictions of rubble from what had been the World Trade Center towers. I could not avoid comparing the progressive, post-war ebullience of my parents’ generation to modern conditions. It was a contrast of worlds. But a similar belief made both yesterday and today possible. And that steadfast devotion seemed likely to carry us toward the future. So the sight of horror in New York could not diminish our trust in national values. We remained sure of faith, family and friends at the close of Wednesday evening. These are treasures that will never disappear. In the end, such wonderful gifts transcend anything that reckless souls can manufacture.

* * *

After reading the column, I remembered being on duty at my Chardon food retailer during the remainder of 9-11. Supervising the store was a strange experience. Those who continued to shop were in a daze. Nearly everything else closed as America considered its fate. Rumors of gasoline at five dollars per gallon circulated wildly. But the day went onward for us… with humble prayers about what tomorrow might bring.
There is no dispute that after the terrorist strikes in 2001, everything changed for our society. The attacks in New York and Washington, D. C. were horrifyingly brazen. They also incorporated an ingenious level of simplicity. Still, their yield was determination, rather than fear. Instead of causing us to tremble, they hardened our resolve. Even the vigorous debate over post-strike habits demonstrated the strength of American democracy. Resolved was this: “We are a nation given to vociferous disagreement, with common loyalty embraced in equal measure!”
Liberals, Conservatives, and those on the disaffected political fringe may hold contrasting opinions about that yonder day in September. Yet everyone can agree that ‘THE PATH TO 9/11’ is not one we are likely to choose, again.



These delectable eats were found recently at THORNE'S BI-LO in Jefferson, Ohio. I normally buy Martin's products during trips to Western Pennsylvania. So it was a pleasure to discover that a store in our area was carrying the snacks. (Thorne's had a carboard shipper display stationed in their back aisle, near the meat department.) The company also makes GIBBLE'S chips, which are a personal favorite.

Opening the bag was a revelation. Martin's uses LARD as a cooking medium, just as the original potato chip makers did, before dietary correctness took hold. So the aroma and flavor were distinctive, as ever. Though not particularly 'hot' in flavor, these tasty treats offered a respectable amount of pepperosity. I devoured them immediately!



MFG: Martin's Potato Chips, Inc.
Thomasville, PA 17364

ADDED BONUS: On the reverse side of this bag, look for a cool, 70's-style photo of company founder Ken Potter. (Also included are the signatures of Kevin, Butch, and David Potter, who currently operate the business.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006


I discovered this European souvenir recently, at a garage sale in Orwell, Ohio. Liz and I had stopped for coffee at the local CIRCLE K, and we noted some homegrown commerce taking place across the street. The stein was buried in a collection of vintage salt & pepper shakers. Its handmade quality and European origin seemed irresistible. Amazingly, the citizen vendor threw it in with our pile of relics at no extra charge. After some searching on the 'Net, I was able to locate more info about the brewery from ALLABOUTBEER.COM:
The bier hund on Germany's best by Jim Robertson

Jim Robertson, author of the Beer-Taster's Log, tastes about 100 new beers every month and alerts All About Beer Magazine readers to the best of them.

Habereckl Feuerio Tropfen Starkbier from Burgerliches Brauhaus Zum Nabereckle PBH in Mannheim is a ruby-brown beer with rich malt aroma, enormous rich malt flavor that lasts and lasts and lasts, and is an great example of what can be done with malt alone. Feuria Tropfen means fire drops. Look for it in bottles with date/year of production.

Habereckl makes a full range of brews, including Marzen and Pilsner. They are located in Germany. Just don't try to order one after having a few pints of something else. "Bartender, I'll have a Habberlll... uh, I mean, Habreckkkkkk... uhm, Habrrrrrr... Habby... just gimmie a another beer!"

Saturday, September 09, 2006



Liz and I made the UNDS show in Middlefield, Ohio, this evening. (Saturday, Sep. 2nd, 2006) It was an thrilling event to witness - three young fellows (Juztyn, Cody and James) displaying the kind of passion for ROCK 'N' ROLL that we used to feel in an earlier age.

Juztyn's Money-covered Ibanez buzzed the floor with riffs you could FEEL. Meanwhile, Cody jammed on a vintage sunburst Fender Stratocaster that he recently acquired. James kept the beat on his cool, 'mongrel' drum set. As a trio, they evoked the mighty thrashing power of CREAM or Blue Cheer.

Audience members called for a harmonica tune, and James responded by going forward to handle harp duty. (Cody switched to drums, and Juztyn played axe.)

The audience was a mix of fans and parents. Middlefield's TOWN PATIO is a relatively new venue, but one can expect to see more of UNDS at future events for this club!

If you haven't checked out their page... have a look!

Friday, September 01, 2006


615 Great Southwest Parkway
Arlington, Texas 76011

These tasty Texas treats came from Big Lots. They were satisfying, but probably would've been more delectable if purchased close to home. (BL has a habit of vending snacks that taste stale even with a good 'swll by' date - it must have something to do with how they handle food items during shipment.)

Rinderosity Rating - 6 of 10


This is a copy of "MONSTER SOUNDS AND DANCE MUSIC" (POWER Records 342) which I snagged recently, on eBay. Even after forty years, the tracks here reverberate with retro hipness:

SIDE ONE - The Creep/Be Careful It's My Throat/Dreamin' and Screamin'/Chills/Dance of Doom

SIDE TWO - Mummy's Little Monster/Kiss of Death/Body Twist/Bat and Cat/Saturday Evening Ghost

I played my copy of 'Monster Melodies' to death as a kid. (My parents probably wished they'd saved the ninety-nine cent investment for something more useful like a jumbo bag of popcorn!)

I remember looking at the back cover and drooling over the 'other' albums that were available. (Available? Not without a lot of searching... it has taken over thirty-five years to find the rest of Frankie's LPs.) But thanks to eBay, foolish vinyl junkies like myself can locate such stuff, affordably.

Even in the 21st-Century, a FRANKIE STEIN record is guaranteed to produce a howwwwwwwwwling good time!