Mallards and bison

At the same spot where last night's bufflehead was floating, this pair of mallards took off tonight when Leo and I drove by in the pickup.

We were on our way to Mahnomen to the casino where Joe and I were to perform for the Minnesota Bison Growers Association annual meeting.

It was a fun group. Last time I played at the casino, I arrived to find an unplayable electronic keyboard as my piano. I about had a fit. Tonight, there was a nice Young Chang grand piano. It was a bit out of tune, but it was really an improvement over the spinets and uprights I have been playing on lately.

Until somebody decided to open the lid. Turns out the hinge on the lid had been ripped from its moorings. When they lifted the lid, the hinge started to peel away from the case of the piano. However, the piano sounded so much better with the lid up that I didn't tell them about the hinge and the nice buffaleros (their term) who simply wanted to hear the piano went ahead and propped up the lid with some books.

I played piano for quite a while and sang some until Joe arrived. We had requested three mikes--one for each of us to sing into and another for Joe's guitar. When I arrived, I saw there were only two. I requested another but was told that would be impossible because if you hook up a third mike, the other two quit.

Luckily, when Joe arrived, he had brought his own sound system, which he hauled in while I stalled for time by playing endless Joplin on the piano. In the end, we sang duets with him on his sound system and me on the house sound system and I don't think it sounded too bad.

Beforehand, Leo and I sampled buffalo done several ways, all of them delicious. I really do like buffalo meat. Later, Leo snuck off to the slots with nursery gift shop manager Dot who came down to the casino for the evening. I had given him a pocketful of quarters to waste and waste them he did.

The performance was different than most that I do--the audience really wanted background music, not a performance where they sit quietly and listen. More like a bar situation, actually. I have tried doing such things in the past and haven't had luck. Tonight, however, it went fine. There was loud talking, but the fact that a few people were listening kept me interested. Otherwise, I forget where I am and I can't finish a song. If nobody else is paying attention, I don't either.

What a beautiful day! I was up at sunrise for some reason--probably got used to it yesterday when I had to be up to speak to the Kiwanis. The colors were stunning on the horizon before six a.m.

HOW ABOUT THOSE TWINS? Oh, forget it. They have lost three out of four. Today they got pounded by the Indians, their nemesis. There is a North Dakota boy (Travis Haffner) and a Twins reject (Casey Blake) on the Indians team. Both play out of their heads against the Twins. Today, Blake had a grand slam. And after a spectacular spring training, Twins pitcher Kyle Lohse reverted to his usual mediocre self. The only encouraging sign came from Justin Morneau, who hit two home runs.