Category Archives: Travel

Gone fishing

20140515_155903Never before had my line jumped like it did on Thursday afternoon.   Being one of the worst fisherman of this age there was surprise as my pole lurched in my hands as the lake tried to pull it from me into the murky depths.  Not to be denied I reeled it in with the power of John Henry swinging his mighty hammer  … So in other words I caught a decent sized fish.  A 16″ walleye to be exact. We took a picture and then threw it back.  We did a lot of that along with more fishing (crappie, bass, northern and more walleye), lots of laughing, great food (we do our own cooking) and the occasional beverage or two.  THE FISHING TRIP started in 1983 on houseboats in Kentucky.  That location became cost prohibitive so it moved around for a while.  Cabins in Heyward, WI. Houseboats on the Illinois River and finally its current destination where it has resided for the last ten years… Chetek, WI or as the trip is now referred to… CHETEK!  It’s a yearly gathering of folks that grew up together in the same neighborhood and spread 20140518_120104out since then to reconnect.  Numbers for the trip fluctuate each year as some new folks come, others stop, weddings, funerals, graduations, etc, get in the way. The core always remains. Most folks return after missing year and the laughing continues.  The trip has a motto… FRIENDS, LAUGHING, FISHING.  I plan on going for another 30 years  and bringing my son when he’s old enough so he can continue the tradition. I’m already looking forward to next year and hopefully catching a couple of big fish.  But it’s still a great trip if I don’t.20140516_210200

If you’re looking for a great place to stay, fish and have fun the Lazy Acres Resort in Chetek Wisconsin is a great place to go.  Bill and Tara are really great people who run a great place!  Tell them I sent ya!


SNOW and cold

More shoveling ahead

More shoveling ahead

Seems to be the theme of this winter.  There was a Dad 2.0 conference this weekend in New Orleans this weekend. I was hoping to go and promote the kids music scene and connect with fellow dad bloggers I talk to on the web.  Mostly I wish I had gone because it’s warm and lacks snow. But even though it’s 16 degrees (practically balmy) right now I don’t really mind so much as the sun has returned.  To all my fellow folks out there who have had to shovel (crossfit for the home) the 40+ inches of accumulation  this year I feel your pain.  Reminds me of the winters we had growing up.  Totally remember the winter of 79′ which from my perspective was pretty darn cool!  We built miles of tunnels and supper cool snow forts and igloos!  This brings me to my kids who have quite enjoyed digging snow forts and sledding themselves.  Which is what makes snow so cool. Plus they don’t mind a snow day or two.  So while us parents pine for warmer days ahead better layer up and head out to your local sledding hill. It’s all about the kids after all.

A pretty good day

Where I’d rather be today. Santa Monica State Beach

Not gonna be there

Burger awesomeness!!!

Burger awesomeness!!!

Last year at this time I was headed to my first ever Grammy weekend.  It was very, very cool.  Or should I say very, very warm!  As I sit here now after shoveling  six inches of snow my mind remembers a place of green grass, sunshine, good times, burgers and blue water.  You can read about  my weekend of  Rolling with the Bogle here.  There will be no such weekend trip this year.  While the Grammy weekend rapidly approaches I send out my best wishes to Chicagoan Justin Roberts and his band on their bid to win a Grammy.  I will try to catch the pre-telecast on the web if it’s available and cheer for them loudly if they win though the only reason I can see them losing is because of the drummer (drummers are always the fall guy).  I am back healthier and shoveling so back to the insights and reviews here on the page.  Johnny Bregar and I shall be having a conversation  about one of his songs today. I hope to share that with you by the end of the week.  Stay tuned and have a great day

2013 Remem-blurred!

The backyard view.

The backyard view.

New Zealand started out the year as my friend Nick invited us (the wife and I) to his wedding in January (amazing). Seems it’s been full-speed-ahead-try-to-catch-up-break-neck-pace-all-year-long. The year I went to the Grammys.  Many thanks to Jeff Bogle for making it an epic adventure there as well. What a great time thanks to the McHattons (TESLA!)

It's Electric!!!

It’s Electric!!!

, Okee Dokee Brothers, Mindy Thomas, David Tobocman, Debbie Block, Bill Harley and everyone else I got to hang with including new kindie blogger Rebecca Yorn Allison (Kids Can Grove)  Then there was a the last kindiefest ever! Didn’t know it at the time but many thanks to Bill, Stephanie, Mona and Tor for making it happen.  What a great time and I really did learn a thing or two from the panels but so much more from the people!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Story Laurie, Dean Jones (thanks for the beer), MCJ (always brings it funky), The McHatton clan (Such a great family), Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis. Rod Martin , Chris Wiser, Paul Butler, Dave Loftin, Paul Stark, Steve Songs, Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Ralph, Jeff Bogle (again), Stefan Shepard, Rebecca Yorn Allison, Brady Rymer, Bridgette Rymer, Melissa Levis, Jacob Stein, Charlie Hope, Little Miss Ann, Mr Singer and the Sharp Cookies (good luck on the new school), Jack Forman, Drew Holloway, Korum Bischoff (Great addition to the School Break Primates) David Wax Museum (one of my favorite CD’s I heard this year!), Molly Ledford (I promise to be quiet next time), Morgan Taylor, Jason Rabinowitz, Joanie Leeds, Mr Kurt Gallagher (Peace and Quiet is a great song!), Lucky Diaz, Alisha Gaddis, Johnny Bregar (Polly’s Rain Dance is Awesome), Sean Hogan (Welcome to Fatherhood brother!), Kathy O’Connel (the Grand Dame of kindie), Danny Adamson, Tom Baisden (union brothers unite!), Tim Kubart (Congrats Chica Dude!), Beth Blenz-Clucas, Tito Uquillas and whoever I’m forgetting.  Just send me a note and I’ll add you to the list. Then we had a few gigs, finished our second CD, got some national exposure (thanks Elizabeth), played some more, kids kept growing, my daughter soloed in ice skating, my son jammed with me daily, listened to a lot of great music and wrote about a bunch of it. Went to CHITAG (thanks Rock Father). Frances england blink of an eyeWe also had family bouts of pnemonia, respitory ailments, colds and flus  and car crashes (no one injured).  My daughter just turned nine and my son will in a few months turn 4.  I joined a group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook (some seriously funny stuff).  Reconnected with some Pine Forest Camp folks from my youth.  Lost some weight and managed to keep it off.  On the right track closing out the year.  It was a interesting year to be sure and the growth has been good.  Thanks to all who have read the pages here and to those who inspire me to write and get better at it.  Hope everyone learned from 2013 and I wish them and theirs a Happy 2014.


The word is out and a song I wish I had written

The word has gotten out that we here at A man, a band and a plan…  are reviewing songs and CD’s.  The good news is that someone is reading our blog.  That’ I am successfully spreading the word of kindie which is part of the reason I write here.  But now Publicists and bands are sending me material as well.  The bad news is I now have more stuff to review and listen too. Up till now most of the kids music I listened to was acquired via CD swap.  One of mine for one of theirs.  Especially at the now defunct kindiefest.  The Poochamungas have traded with the likes of Joanie Leeds, Little Miss Ann, Johnny Bregar, Kurt Gallagher, The Hipwaders, Joanie Leeds, The Boogers, Rollie Pollie Guacamole, Story Laurie, Recess Monkey, The Not-Its,  and many others.  This is a great way to build a childrens music library of high quality tunes.  Plus no pressure to listen right away.   We here at Poochamungas HQ like listening to lots of  music and to buy all that music would be cost prohibitive. But now they are mailing CD’s with expectations!  The pressure oh my goodness… THE PRESSURE!!! (a bit overdramatic)   As Ross Perot used to say “Here’s the deal  We promise to give everything a listen.  If it’s exceptional we shall review it.  Whether it’s a song, CD art or the entire package.  Excellence should be its own reward but we’ll gonna try to help spread the word on this thing we call kindie.  Plus I’ll try to spread the word on works you may not have heard of but are excellent and should be heard.  That’s the deal.  So to get started…

Groovin in the garden

groovin in the garden

As I type this I’m listening to a CD by Laurie McIntosh aka… Story Laurie.  I acquired it while hanging with a bunch of  musicians, on a beautiful Brooklyn night, hotel rooftop, during kindiefest (cue sad music).   The CD is solid with a mixture of traditional songs and originals (Dean Jones produced) but the song I really like is Grandma Said. Just a Uke,  groovy bass line for attitude,  drum shuffle and Lauries  knowing vocals.  This is a song that takes you to moments remembered with Grandma.  A child asking thousands of questions and Grandma not knowing. Which is ok because someone  is listening which is what kids really want.  Someone to be interested.  The close of the song is perfects as Laurie sings Grandma saying “But Those were the best questions she’d ever heard”.  Nice affirmation and it’s a song I wish I had written. So go to the link below and by the song. Buy the CD.  Support artists so they can continue to make music for us to enjoy!

Kindiefest no more…

Kindie so long old friendThe long road I mentioned yesterday (link here) just got a little longer and harder.  I flipped on the laptop this morning to find that kindiefest was over. It has disbanded for reasons unknown and I for one am a bit saddened by this.  It was my hope that eventually we could have a similar event in the Midwest, preferably Chicago though anywhere  in the Midwest would be fine (hello Jiggle Jam!)  Everyone in the kids music world knows the Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkners and Dan Zanes. You also get to meet the Jim Cosgrove’s, Kurt Gallagher’s and Laura Doherty’s.  Regional musicians who were plugging away, making a living but all looking for new ideas and sharing their own experiences and you got to meet the ones struggling just like you were.   That was the best part for me.  Showcase was always a lot of fun, (for the record I did buy the Pizza in 2011 not wanting to have to leave showcase)  there were some really worthwhile panels (find your own Mississippi-thanks Molly Ledford!) and the  Friday Keynote/meet and greet was always a highlight.  I got to meet so many unpretentious great musicians and industry folk like Kurt Gallagher, Sean Hogan, Kathy O’Connel, Jeff Bogle, Dean Jones, Dave Loftin, Paul Butler, Danny Adamson, Joanie Leeds and her future drummer husband (his name is Dan), Jim Cosgrove, Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis, Jack Forman, Justin Roberts, Beth Blenz-Clucas, Bridget Rymer, Story Laurie, Stefan Shepard, Bill Childs, Tor, Stephanie Mayers,  Mona Kayan, Mista Cookie Jar,  Justin Lansing, Joe Mailander, Johnny Bregar, Key Wilde, Chris Wiser, Rod Martin, The Pop-Ups, Laura Doherty, Little Miss Ann, Tim Kubart  and the others I have forgotten.  I say thank you all for your insight, kindness, advice and laughs.  Especially the laughs!   I don’t know about you folks but I’m not ready for this party to end.  Kindie Chicago 2014? It might happen…

Carnivals, t-shirts, CD’s and Horseback.

Horseback riding at Chain-o-Lakes State park.

Horseback riding at Chain-o-Lakes State park.

What a great weekend. Saturday morning the Hilltown Family Variety Show aired at 8am hosted by Poochamungas John and Pete (thanks Sienna!) to start the day (all about firefighter life). It followed Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child with Bill Childs on WXOJ 103.3fm, Northampton (both excellent kindie music based shows available weekly on the internet or podcast later). Then the t-shirts from our firehouse wager came in Lands End box which confused the wife for a bit.  “What did you order from Lands End” she asked to which I replied “Nothing.”  Instead I opened it to find a dozen Boston FD T-shirts courtesy of Engine 56, Truck 21.

Thank you Boston FD and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Thank you Boston FD and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Our spoils from a friendly firehouse bet with the brothers in Boston (E112 and TL21 Thank you).  I must thank the Blackhawks as well as they really  did all the hard work. (If you watched the series it was amazing hockey.)  Then I also received a padded envelope with couple CD’s.  One Justin Roberts and one Alastair Moock.  Both are excellent ( we’ll review them at a later date.) We listend to JR and Alistair, splashed in the backyard, napped and then went to the local festival/carnival  and finally to bed. It was a great Saturday.  Then after a full nights sleep we awoke early Sunday and headed off to horseback riding up at the Chain-O-Lakes State park with some friends.  Last year we went it was a great time.  Today was no different.  Me and the boy remained behind as he’s to young to ride the trail. So while they went on an hour ride he got a pony ride instead.   Reluctant at first by the end he was smiling a lot.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Then as we had to wait we went and got some ICE CREAM!  No complaints there.  When the big kids and parents came back we headed over to the Cedar Café in Round Lake Beach and had a great lunch.  They were kind enough to serve us and the food was great.  If your in the area stop on by at 1106 N. Cedar Lake Road, Round Lake Beach, IL.  Diner food with a Mexican slant and all of it was very tasty.  So that was my weekend as I sit here typing my daughter wants to go for a bike ride.  Then we’ll BBQ some chicken and steaks. No art or recording or gigs.  Just me and the family for a great weekend.  How about you?