Pages

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Banholzerian underground zymurgy

For those interested in reading more about Banholzer ancestry the family also had a brewery in St. Paul, where they stored beer bottles in a mile and a half long cave they dug beneath the city:

From The Master Brewers association of the Americas website:

“Frederick Banholzer, who was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1824, had been since 1856 a busy St. Paul stone mason and contractor, working primarily around the Uppertown district. Described "as a man of great humor," Banholzer was less interested in brewing than was his son, and so after only six years in the trade he sold his interest to 30-year-old William.

A rotund man with a handlebar moustache, William Banholzer "was all business." Almost single-handedly, he turned a 1,000 barrel-a-year brewery into a 12,000 barrel-a-year operation. "Banholzer's North Mississippi Beer" became by the 1880s one of the five most popular brews in the city. The company's facilities included nine buildings and a one-half-mile deep, multi-chambered cave.

The cave was accessible from both the bottom of the river bluff (south of the brewery) and from the top of the cliff (right inside the plant's main stone building). Today this cave still runs from the river bank, under Shepard Road, to the vicinity of Butternut street and one can still see the old stone archway at the lower entrance - a lasting reminder of Banholzer's Brewery.

In 1886, William established "Banholzer's Park" in the empty lots north of the brewery. The park was to serve as a recreation area for neighborhood picnickers who drank at Banholzer's outdoor beer garden, and it provided barbeques, outdoor bowling, German band music, balloon rides to Lilydale and, of course, cold kegs of North Mississippi beer.

THE FINANCIAL SUCCESS of the North Mississippi Company can probably best be measured by the prosperity of its owner, William Banholzer. In 1885, he built a magnificent stone house at 689 Stewart Avenue for $10,000, a great expense for 1885. The still-standing mansion is one of the more impressive 19th century houses in St. Paul, a testimonial to the success of the North Mississippi Brewery.”

Evidently, spelunkers still explore the streets beneath St. Paul in search of an elusive Banholzer Beer. I can almost taste the foamy suds from one now…

http://www.citypages.com/content/printVersion/12739

Uh-oh! Just discovered some bad news about why the brewery began floundering: A worker fell into a hot vat of beer and was boiled to death!

http://fieldguide.fmr.org/site_detail.php?site_id=215

Now, I’m not so thirsty as before.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

From Hermann Hesse’s Demian (written in 1919)

The ending of chapter 5 – The bird fights its way out of the egg

Frequently we also told each other our dreams. Pistorius knew how to interpret them. An example of this comes to mind just now. I dreamed I was able to fly, but in such a way that I seemed capitulated into the air and lost all control. The feeling of flying exhilarated me, but exhilaration turned to fear when I saw myself driven higher and higher, becoming more and more powerless. At that instant, I made the saving discovery that I could regulate the rise or fall of my flight by holding or releasing my breath.

Pistorius’ comment was: ‘The impetus that makes you fly is our greatest human possession. Everybody has it. It is the feeling of being linked with the roots of power, but one soon becomes afraid of this feeling. It’s damned dangerous! That is why most people shed their wings and prefer to walk and obey the law. But not you. You go on flying. And look! You discover that you gradually begin to master your flight, that to the great general force that tears you upward there is added a delicate, small force of your own, an organ, a steering mechanism. How marvelous! Lacking that, you would be drawn up to the heights, powerless – which is what happens to madmen. They possess deeper intimations than people who remain earthbound, but they have no key and no steering mechanism and roar off into infinity. But you Sinclair, you are going about it in the right way. How? You probably don’t know yourself. You are doing it with a new organ, with something that regulates your breathing. And now you will realize how little ‘individuality’ your soul has in its deepest reaches. For it does not invent this regulator! It is not new! You borrowed it: it has existed for thousands of years. It is the organ with which fish regulate their equilibrium ---the air bladder. And in fact among the fish there are still a few strange primeval genera where the air bladder functions as a kind of lung and can be used on occasion as a breathing mechanism. In other words, exactly like the lung which you in your dream use as a flying bladder’

He even brought out a zoology book and showed me the names and illustrations of these anachronistic fish. And with a peculiar shudder I felt that an organ from an earlier period of evolution was still alive within me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The salty boat instructor

As I waddled up to Lake of the Woods pier point, I instantly saw that the man who was going to instruct me on how to power a speedboat was missing a leg. His name was Zippy Swainwright and he told me that an alligator had chomped it off down at Chicahominee Sea.

I didn’t believe him, but I climbed aboard anyhow, as he cranked up the Beach Boys, so we’d have something to hear over the Bladdy-Bladdy-Bladdy of the powerboat engines.

I stripped down to my shorts, as it was warm now on the boat deck and as we reeled in the tether, he saw the gouges in my leg muscle and blurted out, “So you’ve been in a boat wreck too!”

I replied, “I thought you said yours was bitten off by an alligator!”

As he handed the helm over to me, he said, “Yes but that was after they flipped it going 100 miles an hour, which disturbed the monsters of the id beneath Chicken Harmony Sea, ya see matey”

Scorching Sunspots

There’s an enlightening episode of the Simpson’s, where Bart and Homer are having a heated discussion about the Sun and Bart suddenly asks, “Dad is the sun, God?” Homer says, “Yes son” and leaves it at that.

With global warming spinning from both sides, I often think about our good friend Sol. If you hold him up next to an SUV, he makes the rig look rather infinitesimal.

Sometimes I find myself worrying that our orbit is not magically tethered to Mister Soul. How does his baking oven even work? The scientist with the longest beard pretends to know about who esoterically controls our sundials. And now we’ve isolated temperatures in the lab that are even hotter than Our Father’s Son (and off the charts like John Lennon). How much do we pay the sentries who guard those hellish gates?

When I worked a meter reader, there was plenty of time to contemplate the heat. But when I found myself thinking about it too deeply, I felt like I was getting burned. Five leap years ago, over on Highland Avenue, I found myself lost in dark thought. I had a strong compulsion that we were blindly heading for disaster by not watching our sun close enough and the lazy dogs in our government had become jaded, thoughtlessly basking in their cushy sun too long.

As I screamed about our insanity, I thrust my tools down into Highland Avenue’s shadowy gutter, next to where a sunspot had scorched the earth. It was an intense panic episode, as they label it; but still a large part of me thought it was called for. After this episode, I slowly returned to normal, and went on to finish my meter route that afternoon. Fortunately, nobody called in on me by reporting my sunny badge number to city authorities. They were inside their soul kitchens gazing at the sunset channel.

Little kids around the world ceaselessly paint smiles on the sun. I yearn for the day when I can eclipse these revolving bad feelings. A day when my beard grows out long again and I follow their lead by simply pretending to kiss the nutritious sun and display a sunnier smile.

Keep it simple stupid. Kiss the sun, to lick the dark, before you kick the can.

Icky CIA Germ

A few days ago, I unearthed a note about an old dream. It was a dream I had while living in a little shack over by Zaney’s. In the dream, a small brown rectangular package arrived at my doorstep. I picked it up and saw the return address was marked in thick black sharpie ink: CIA MIND CONTROL. To show that I wasn’t intimidated, I immediately tore open the package and discovered two small controlled fires burning inside! In the center of each fire was a spindly metal device. I took the package into work to show everyone, where the boss inquired, “Has anybody contacted the authorities about this yet? But by then, already 40 or 50 people had put their marks on the intriguing package.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Satchel Paige quotes

"Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move."

“How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?”

“Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.”

“If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.”

“I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation.”

“Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines.”

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A cool place

We had the best sledding hill in the world. It was right between the Smiths’ house and ours, in the snowy woods of Kings Park West. I always admired dad for investing in family homes on the edges of Virginia’s hilly wilderness.

Recently, I uncovered an old photo of Dad’s 49’er, stripped down to the bare metal. I wrote a brief story about it entitled, “Whitefield Street down to the bare bones”

Anyhow, back to the sledding hill: Some obstreperous teenagers built the path for it in the summer of ’70. They felled some ancient oak trees with their chainsaws to start a mini-bike path –which incidentally reminds me – I read that there are absolutely no acorns out east this year. I wonder if it’s a manifestation reflecting what the bankrupt eastern seaboard humans did, by not squirreling nuts away before their walled mart crushing frenzies.

Back to the marked trail: Smith and I still talk about those pathways every few years. On icier days, you had to dig your feet in deep before reaching the sharp hairpin corners, to keep from splashing into Rabbit Run’s icy waters, or cracking your head open like a young fragile eggshell mind in Jim Morrison’s American Prayer.

The upper part of the path branched behind Fonzie McKenzie’s property. He was from Lebanon and sometimes we bombed his house with crabapples. Once he called me on the rotary, just as I returned from one of our neighborhood bombing missions & like a rat, I squealed on another boy, seemingly getting off Scott-free myself.

A few years back, Smith bummled alone again through the old oak tree branching paths. As he sat, he began to well up, thinking about his old wet rosebud sled in those simplier days. When I think about my bad judgment of bombing the Lebanese family, I feel the same way. I feel lower than a clitellum.