Sunday, December 20, 2015

David Johnson - River King - Panther - Cardinal

As a die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan it pains me to laud anything related to the Arizona Cardinals, one of the Hawk's divisional rivals.  That said this is a blog about people, places, and things from Iowa being amazing. Tonight's touchdown run by former Clinton River King star David Johnson certainly qualifies. Something very Iowan about a guy judged too small by most major college football programs who proceeds to star at the nearest state school then make a name for himself at the highest level of his profession.

Friday, January 16, 2015

West Side Story to Twin Peaks - Richard Beymer

While my heart will always reside in Iowa, my body currently has taken up residence in a small town west of Seattle called Snoqualmie.  Admittedly Western Washington has been home for over 15 years now and is truly a beautiful corner of the world.  Clearly the creators of the cult classic Twin Peaks agreed when they filmed the series in Snoqualmie and neighboring towns.  In 2016, exactly 25 years after Twin Peaks first aired, Showtime is going to air new episodes. David Lynch and crew will soon be returning to the Snoqualmie Valley to pick up where they left off over 2 decades ago.  Among those who will be reprising their past roles is Iowan Richard Beymer.  Beymer played Ben Horne, the richest man in Twin Peaks.

Beymer himself has quite the story.  Born in Avoca, Beymer broke through on screen in the West Side Story in 1961, a role he earned a golden globe for.  The next year he enrolled in New York City's actor studio, only to take leave to join the civil rights movement's 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi. Since 2010 Beymer has returned to his roots with residence in Fairfield where he continue artistic pursuits and practices TM. I will certainly be on the look out for him when filming starts up in town.  He surely will be the guy meditating with the Iowa Hawkeyes T shirt on.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Summer Home of American Royalty - Harlan Lincoln House - Mt Pleasant

Harlan-Lincoln House

Located on the campus of Iowa Wesleyan University in Mt Pleasant, the Harlan Lincoln House. Built by Senator James Harlan in 1884 who was at the time president of the university, the house served as a summer home for many of beloved President Abraham Lincoln's descendants.

How, you might ask, would "American Royalty" find its way to the open fields of Eastern Iowa when their society peers were surely summering in more traditional enclaves closer to the seats of American power?  Like many mysterious circumstances, the answer is rooted in young love. During his tenure as Iowa's US Senator in DC Harlan's daughter Mary wove her charms around Lincoln's eldest Robert Todd.  The match ultimately resulted in marriage.  As Robert Todd rose the ranks of power in the years following his father's assassination, Mary and their children would often escape to Mt Pleasant and take up residence in the home.

Lincoln family scholars will share that the Lincolns were known neither for long lives nor much procreation. As the blood lines drew to an end for the Lincoln family the house was donated to the University and today serves a museum with treasured artifacts from both the Lincoln and Harlan clans.  Not to mention a beautiful reminder that Iowa in the eyes of many is awesome enough to serve as a treasured family retreat.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Iowa

On December 28, 1846, President James K. Polk signed a law making Iowa the 29th state. Happy Birthday Iowa.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Untitled by Lonesome Traveler (J Haeske)
Untitled, a photo by Lonesome Traveler (J Haeske) on Flickr.

For some reason I just want to climb up the fire escape to look around...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wierd and Wacky Wednsday - The Little Mermaid - Kimballton

I have been longing to hop on an Icelandair flight to Scandinavia. Something about Nordic countries in the winter draw me in. Alas it does not look like I will be able to make it across the pond in early 2014, but I surely will be in Iowa later this year. Perhaps I will wind my way to Kimballton to gaze upon our version of Copenhagen's mermaid. Absent will be the colorful harbor, Tivoli Gardens, and the world's #2 restaurant. But I am sure I can pick up a mighty tenderloin, wander through someone's back yard, and find some colorful graffiti somewhere in Kimballton.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Leslie Hall: No Pants Policy

Iowan pop sensation Leslie Hall's latest.  Take a listen and see if you have the resolve to keep your own pants on.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Jamaica Iowa - Ya Mon

We have been scouting warm weather getaways recently and Jamaica is on the list. Jamaica of the jerk chicken and sandy beaches variety as opposed to Jamaica, Iowa, population 224, in Guthrie County.  That said I have to wonder how many sarcastic beaus have "surprised" the loves of their lives with a gift of a getaway to the waters of Jamaica, only to reveal the waters to be the runoff of a recent snow storm?  Cruel, so cruel...but funny.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weird & Wacky Wednesday

Welcome to Mallard by Kelly Fuller
Welcome to Mallard, a photo by Kelly Fuller on Flickr.
Mallard = a common and widely distributed wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos) of the northern hemisphere the males of which have a green head and white-ringed neck and which is the source of the domestic ducks.


Town in Palo Alto County, Iowa, apparently home to 274 friendly quackers.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Peace and Love in Sac City, Iowa

The wife thinks I spend a little to much time meandering around the web and I'll admit to drowning myself in random research from time time. I consider it my form of escape, but you have to admit that the connections that the internet has fostered can be remarkable. For example, looking for some photos of signs in Iowa I came across this capture of a building in Sac City. At first I though of posting it as a testament to the fact that not all hippies moved west in the 60s, then I read through the comments below the photo and stumbled upon one from the owner of the building. Not only did it add depth to the history of the building, it reminded me of the beauty of random connection and how there is always a story to be told of the persons, places, and things around us if only we have the right guide. I have copied the comment below for your pleasure. Enjoy...

Hello from Sac City! Thanks for such a wonderful picture of my humble little building. I have repainted it since a few times after a 'zoning conflict' and a few days in jail. I was jailed for painting my sidewalk and later for violating the sign ordinance. I had painted "Peace & Love" in Chinese characters after that. Last year I repainted it once again with "Peace & Love" on a canary yellow background. My new neighbors to the south let me extend the flowers to their building too. The building was bought and extended in 1920 by Dea Sing and Pon Gong who operated a Chinese Laundry until 1930. They were harassed by the Ku Klux Klan during the summer of 1924, as were two Greeks who operated the Kandy Kitchen on Main Street. The blockade by the Klan was broken by a large group of little children. The Greeks were celebrating their "Grand Opening" during the Sac County Fair that summer. They offered free ice cream to any children who would come. The Klan went away. The Klan around here burned more barns than crosses. A local Catholic Priest (whose name I still don't know) confonted them also that summer. They finally fell into decline but were never quite gone. I am known as Bryan Buckley by everyone who lives here. I like to be called Bree Anne, but that's another story. I'm an Artist and a painter, former soldier and an activist for Peace. I just signed up for this e-mail but I don't have a computer. I use those of a friend every now and then and the library. You may write to me via 'snail mail' at my address: Bree Anne Buckley....Peace be with You" , Love Bree.

The Pines - From Cornfields, To The Barrio, To The Studio

OK, so they are based Minneapolis, but if any duo has legitimate Iowa cred it is David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey of the Pines.  I can think of nothing more Iowan than two musicians from the Hawkeye state bumping into one another in a barrio in Arizona and striking up a partnership and creating melodies rooted in the rural Americana of their homeland.  Many of us wander away from Iowa for one reason or another.  The more artistic among us often feel the need to explore and connect with the world beyond the sweet corn curtain. Whatever their journey I am a happy many this morning for having crossed their paths on youtube.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Steak DeBurgo

I consider myself a foodie, I consider myself an Iowan, I consider myself a fool for having never tried Steak DeBurgo until last week.  A regional specialty and staple at most Des Moines area Italian Joints, the DeBurgo has officially been added to my list of dishes I must seek out each time I return to the motherland. Take a tenderloin grilled sparingly and top with a garlicky butter or cream based sauce and either mushrooms or oregano and basil and you have a piece of meat reposing in a warm dream just begging to be devoured.

As with many iconic dishes the Deburgo's origins are a matter of Polk County lore.  Leading contenders for the progenitor are Johnny & Kay's and Vic's Tally Ho, both now unfortunately defunct.  Irregardless of beginnings the dish now has a convert thanks to Chef's Kitchen in Beaverdale and Mezzodi's near the airport and found a fitting end in my belly.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Iowa's 1/2 of Superman - Kent Taylor

Most know about the connection to Iowa in Star Trek, with Captain Kirk hailing from Riverside, but surely less are keen on another superhero connection to the state.  Nashua born actor Kent Taylor one half of the inspiration behind the naming of Clark Kent, Superman's alter-ego.  A handsome bloke, he and Clark Gable merged in the mind of superman creators Jerry Siegal and Joel Shuster in the form of the somewhat nerdy, passive, yet compelling secret side of the Man of Steel.

Kent Taylor earned himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, most likely for his earlier career of leading and supporting roles.  Later in life B movies like  Satan's SadistsBlood of Ghastly HorrorI Spit on Your Corpsedominated his repertoire. Surely the villains in those low-budget horror flicks were unaware that they had a demi-superhero in their midst!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Patrick Whitesell - Iowan Jerry Mcquire

Remember the line "show me the money" in Tom Cruise's Jerry Mcguire?  Well lots of famous folks have been showing Iowa Falls native Patrick Whitesell, a real life Jerry Mcquire, buckets of cash.  Representing the likes of  Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jennifer Garner, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, John Krasinski, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Ellen Page, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington and Eddie Vedder Whitesell is one of the top agents in the biz.  In fact, the co-CEO of WME is one of the most powerful individuals in the city of Angels.  So you have to love the fact that Whitesell has proven to have not forgotten his roots when he and his father ponied up over 500k recently to buy and refurbish Iowa Falls's historic movie theater.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Main Street - Dubuque, Iowa

I just returned from Brooklyn NY and were it not for the absence of skyscrapers in the distance and the mid-centry jalopies on the curbs this photoscape of Main Street Dubuque could fit in any major Eastern metro area. I love the vibrancy of the storefronts, the activity on the sidewalks. Pretty much everything about the shot.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Signs - Stanton, Iowa

For the curious, Stanton is known as the "little white city" for the prevelence of white wood frame houses that make up most of the town's residences. So move along all you neo-nazis! Don't event stop for a sip of coffee from the world's largest coffee pot (that's in Stanton also)

Friday, January 11, 2013

McCaughey Septuplets

For anyone who might have been following my exploration of the awesomeness of Iowa I do apologize for my extended hiatus.  You see 20 months ago I became a Daddy to an amazing little girl Avery Arabella.  And while life certainly went on after her birth and continues to pass day by day today, the amount of time I devoted to extracurricular activities shrank considerably.  I've come to believe that is the way it should be, those parents more focused on their own endeavors instead of hanging on every new sound, move, and mannerism of their little one are missing out one of if not the most magical things in life, the exploration and maturation of life itself. 

All that said, my advocacy for Iowa is not finished.  Rest assured I have rocked little Avery to bed many nights with fantastical tales of the wonders of the land between the Mississippi and Missouri.  From our vantage point looking East over the Cascades this little one has probably learned more about the 29th state than most Iowa based high schools do themselves. Surely that will serve her well when she can actually start to talk. I attempt to get back at it, it is only fitting that I dedicate this post to the McCaughey Septuplets, or more explicitly to their parents Kenny and Bobbi.  Here I am telling the tale of the loss of my personal time, to attempt to imagine how the instant presence of 7 little ones would impact a family is simply impossible to fathom.  We breed them well in Iowa, and sometimes we breed them often.