Two TV Greats Leave Us

Word has reached us in the Upper Midwest that two of the great character actors of all time have left us:  the guy that played Mr. Pitt on “Seinfeld” and the guy that played Epstein on “Welcome Back Kotter.”  Ian Abercrombie and Robert Hegyes, respectively, both died in the last few days.  Mr. Pitt was Elaine’s boss for a couple of seasons and was impossible to please.  Epstein played a high school student along side John Travolta determined to make their teacher’s life, Mr. Kotter, very difficult.

One thing for certain in life is death.  Another thing is that most situations can be explained by referencing a “Seinfeld” episode.

R.I.P. Epstein and Mr. Pitt.  The world needs more character actors.

Pop Map

If you live in the Midwest and have every traveled to either of the coasts or to the South you’ve most likely run into a situation where your attempt to order “pop” is met with a blank stare.  Well, I think we have some answers for why that happens.  Here at the main office of The Tales in the 701 we’ve been busy putting together a map detailing Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke.  Well, actually my friend whose job it is to read every square inch of the Internet sent this to me.  All I really did was copy and paste the website address and add a few humorous observations.   Anyway, I will be visiting both the East coast and left coast in the next two months and I will most definitely inquire about “pop” just for the sheer joy of it.  My favorite carbonated water moment was when I was at Squealer’s BBQ in Indiana and a waitress asked me what kind of Coke I wanted.  I was a younger man and less worldly so I thought for a moment and then responded weakly with, “New Coke?”  Since that day I knew something was afoot in the pop world.  This confirms it.  Click the link to take a detailed look.

Random Thursday

*I wonder who the Vikings will draft?  A quarterback?  If they do, what do they do with Ponder?  I’m not convinced he’s the answer.

*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Why is ESPN trying to shove European soccer highlights down our throats on Sports Center?

*The Timberwolves are 8-10.  And I can actually name three players.  Things are looking up.

*Jimmy From Accounting took a short break from his work the other day and texted me this gem:  “Why don’t the Minnesota Twins ever make the big free agent signing?”  The question is more than fair.

*Reggie Tales shout out to new reader Suzanne in Grand Forks!

*Special Tales shout out to my good friend Darren.  Thanks for keeping us alive last Friday on the Highway to Hell Road to Hana.

*Bonus Hawaii photo.  This sign has a “kinda a lot of” information and makes me laugh.  Especially the martini glass with the line through it.  What?  I can’t have a nice martini while visiting a blow hole and a private cemetery?  What kind of world do we live in?

More Hawaii Photos

I promise this will be the end of the Hawaii talk.  I’m starting to feel like Cliff Clavine from “Cheers” talking about Florida everyday.

This was the view each morning from our lanai.  Lanai is a fancy name for a deck.  This view never got old.

This was the infinity pool at our resort.  The idea being that as you sit in the pool you get the feeling that the ocean and the pool become one.  I also met a guy who grew up in Minot while hanging out here.  He now lives in Seattle.

The Road to Hana is an interesting tour around the island of Maui.  I should say “interesting.”  It’s really long and winding.  It’s a constant zig-zagging of roads.  I have high praise for our driver on this seven hour tour.  But the trip offers breathless views of the ocean and countryside.  It really was quite remarkable.  Having said that, it’s not for everyone.  I will file that away under “been there, done that.”  Let us never speak of the Road to Hana again.  Keen observers will notice that there is a Zorbaz bumper sticker on the sign.  Zorbaz is the well-known pizza and Mexican joint which has numerous locations in the Detroit Lakes region.  I thought that was pretty cool.

The coolest stop along the Road to Hana is the Black Sand Beach.  The sand is black.  The rocks are black.  Everything is black.  I didn’t pay attention but I think it had something to do with a volcano or something.  It was really a sight to see.

Hawaii’s big secret:  They love Spam.  Every store has multiple display cases like this.  That’s a lot of Spam.  I told one Hawaiian I met that Spam comes from Minnesota.  He just looked at me kind of funny.

A Maui sunset from our location.  That never got old either.

In summary:  everyone should go to Maui.  And go with friends.  Also, bring money.  Aloha.

Hawaii Photos

In an effort to squeeze as many blog posts out of my vacation to Maui, I give you this today.  A collection of random photos that I took with my texting device that triples as a cell phone and a camera.  It’s the best camera I’ve ever had.  Anyway, if someone asks you if you want to spend a week in a Penthouse Villa at the Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, say yes.  The above photo I took while standing in the ocean and facing the beach where I spent a considerable amount of time people watching and whale watching.  I think there is a joke there but I’m going to skip it.

U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

Any trip to Hawaii should include a trip to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu.  For us this included an 18 minute flight from Maui to Oahu.  The Pearl Harbor stop was a sobering and thought provoking visit.  A must see.  On the day of our Pearl Harbor tour, I was wearing a Fighting Sioux Hockey shirt.  While standing on the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial an elderly man sidled up next to me and said, “What in the world is going on with that nickname?”  I really thought I could escape it on vacation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean but apparently not.


Some people can't handle Hawaii.

Another must see in Honolulu is Waikiki Beach.  While there I happened upon this gentleman.  He seemed awfully sleepy or dead.  I didn’t ask.  I only stayed long enough to snap a picture.  And to laugh for a while with my friends.


Also in Honolulu was this woman.  I asked if I could take her photo because I thought she looked a little like Elvis.  And she was sitting nicely in front of Diamond Head Mountain.  She asked where I was from.  I told her North Dakota and she said, “It’s warmer here.”

That’s enough for today.  I’m starting to get homesick for Hawaii.  More tomorrow.  Mahalo.

Hawaii Travel Notes

*I will commence with some travel notes from my Maui vacation.  Bits and pieces of things I encountered while traveling to and fro.

*On the flight from Fargo to Denver I sat by North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple.  I introduced myself and he pretended to know who I was so it was all good.  We talked mostly about Sioux North Dakota hockey.  He had been at the Friday Minnesota game and was heading to Denver on Saturday to see his daughter.

*The Denver airport is an odd mix of old and new.  The newer part is very nice.  The older part is really…old.

*While in the Denver airport you’re going to want to check out a place called Steak Escape.  Philly Cheese Steaks.  Exactly what you need before a seven hour flight.

*United Airlines from Fargo to Denver to Maui.  “Moneyball” was the best movie on the flight.

*Denver to Maui:  Seven hours.  Maui to Denver:  Five and half hours.  I wish someone could explain that to me.

*The four hour time change between Grand Forks and Hawaii is a tricky coconut to solve.

*Probably a heavy dose of Maui related stories for the rest of the week.  You’ve been warned.  Mahalo.

Maui and Me

Under the category of “well deserved time off,” I will be spending the next week in Maui.  Apparently Maui is one of the islands that comprise the Hawaiian Islands.   And I’m pretty excited.  It’s been a very long six months since the trip was planned.  So I won’t bore you with the details of the vacation, but suffice it to say that The Tales will be closed all next week.  But if everyone behaves while I’m gone, I might post some pictures the following week and even tell a story or two.

P.S….When you tell people that you are going to Hawaii for a week they usually fall into one of two groups:  the people who are genuinely happy for you and the people who genuinely want to slash your tires.  I love both groups!


Random Thursday

*Trending right now?  CJ the Dog and the Fighting Sioux nickname.  Yesterday’s blog was one of the most read in the history of the Tales.

*Now that winter is here I really don’t much care for it.

*Reggie Tales shout out to former Bison track star Stefanie.  She’s new to the Tales so let’s be nice to her.

*For some reason Sioux/Gophers North Dakota/Minnesota week seems like it has less hype than normal.

*Tomorrow I’m going to talk briefly about going to Hawaii.  So if you’re going to be mad about it you might want to skip it.

*Bonus shout out to Hot Dog John over in Fosston.  Straight outta Fosston.  Deuces.

CJ and the Fighting Sioux


I own far too many pieces of Fighting Sioux apparel to just simply throw them out.  So until they eventually wear out or I spill motor oil on them while I’m wrenching on my vehicle, I will continue to wear my stuff.  But with the nickname going by the wayside on January 1st, I decided that it would be appropriate if CJ the dog shed (pun intended) his Fighting Sioux collar.  It was also timely because Bro#3, a staunch NDSU Bison fan, fresh off a trip to Frisco, TX, continually harasses CJ and his collar.

So I tried to take the collar off and CJ tried to bite me declined.  I tried to explain the NCAA and Big Sky Conference ramifications to him, and he just stared at me and then went and stood by his food dish.  I guess we’re at a real standoff.

Tuesday Photo

I’m kind of a sunrise/sunset whacko.  Especially when the sky is a canvas and it is equal parts orange, red, blue and burnt sienna. Burnt sienna was one of the colors in the Crayola Box of 64 with the built-in sharpener.  It is also the color of the car that Steve Buscemi and the other guy drive in the movie “Fargo.”  Anyway, this photo works on two levels:  it looks cool and I don’t have a lot to write about because I’ve been busy packing for my trip to Maui.