Auld Lang Syne

The barbershop quartet Premiere hung up their tight chords in 2006, but got back together in 2008 for a tribute to their mentor, Freddie King. They said goodbye with this very nice performance of Auld Lang Syne.

Happy New Year to you all.

Cold feet

photo by Ballard Avenue

We saw these kayakers off Carkeek Park in early December. Sea kayakers are pretty hardcore. These must be the fourteen coldest feet south of Nome.

The house where the Fiats used to rust

The house where the Fiats lived
photo by Ballard Avenue

Remember the house where the Fiats used to rust? The remodeling has come along nicely. At first, the small scale of the remodel was a little surprising. Over the past few years, similar remodels around here have been gargantuan in ambition, cost, and size. Given that the country is now making a rough transition to a reality-based economy, this modest remodel probably makes much more sense.

Drip, drip, drip

After more than a week of winter wonderland, this was something good to see.

Sunset Hill snowman

Sunset Hill Snowman
photo by Ballard Avenue

Classicists that we are, we like a proper three-snowball snowman with carrot nose. But, alas, his eyes didn't survive the warming temperatures.


photo by Ballard Avenue

There's Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style politics, and Chicago-style sidewalk shoveling. Lookit dose square corners and dey's no snow 'r ice anywherez. Dissis duh bes'!

Too many pianists

If you'll indulge us in one more bit of Christmas music, here's six hands performing a four hands arrangement of "Sleigh Ride."


In the Bleak Midwinter
arr. Harold Darke

The choir of Hereford Cathedral

Here you will find a lovely performance of the more well-known arrangement by Gustav Holst.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Judy Garland
Meet Me in St Louis

Shaggy heads ahead

photo by Ballard Avenue

"If it snows the shop will be closed. I can't get up the hill.
Thanks, Gene"

Gene's got the barber shop next to Walter's Cafe and he's been keeping much of Sunset Hill well-groomed for a long time, but unless the snow melts, there'll be some shaggy-looking fellows at Christmas dinners this year.

Jingle Bells and Happy Christmas

The accordionists name is Lillo, and he seems to be the nicest guy.

Warning! Frozen toes ahead!

Red sockies
photo by Ballard Avenue

Continuing our efforts to be the news source you trust for lost-clothing-in-Ballard stories, we're proud to run this exclusive on the lost sockies of 32nd Avenue. If they're yours, you better get over there before the next snowfall buries them.

Frozen flamingos

snowy flamingos
photo by Ballard Avenue

We've had a week of real winter, as evidenced by this flock of frozen flamingos wishing they'd not listened to Uncle Sven and instead stayed in Florida.

Es Ist ein' Ros' Entsprungen

performed by Ensemble D.E.U.M.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Vom Himmel Hoch, O Englein Kommt

From heaven high, O angels, come,
Eya! eya! Susani, susani, susani.
Come music, song, come pipe and drum,
Alleluia, alleluia.
Of Jesus sing and Maria.

Let every instrument join in,
Eya! eya! Susani, susani, susani.
Bring lute and harp and violin,
Alleluia, alleluia.
Of Jesus sing and Maria.

Fritz Wunderlich, tenor, and Hermann Prey, baritone

Grundig TK 126 tape recorder c. 1970.

Third Sunday in Advent

Continuing the Swedish theme, here is a performance of "O helga nått." Don't let the long length of the clip discourage you. The last couple of minutes are well-deserved curtain calls. The unidentified singers are from the Vadstena Academy, a music school that focuses its attention on little-known operas from the past as well as newly-commissioned work.

St. Lucia Day

December 13 is St. Lucia Day. The girl representing St. Lucia needs good posture and poise under pressure, and there should be a fire extinguisher nearby.

Hark! through the darksome night
Sounds come a winging:
Lo! 'tis the Queen of Light
Joyfully singing.
Clad in her garment white,
Wearing her crown of light,
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Deep in the northern sky
Bright stars are beaming;
Christmas is drawing nigh
Candles are gleaming.
Welcome thou vision rare,
Lights glowing in thy hair.
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia!

Second Sunday in Advent

Once in Royal David's City

Edward Burrowes, treble
The Choir and parishioners of St Paul's Cathedral, London

Benevolent Protective Order of Ducks

Duck gathering
photo by Ballard Avenue

The B.P.O.D. had themselves a convention down at Golden Gardens the other day. Among the resolutions was one asking all the little kids to bring whole-grain bread next time. A steady diet of Wonder Bread does not build strong ducks twelve ways.

First Sunday in Advent

Coventry Carol, by AcaBella

Viking accordionist

Viking accordionist from Bryan Pugh on Vimeo.

There is Ballard content in the works, but in the meantime, have a moment with this Viking accordionist somehow gone astray on Haight St. in San Francisco.

The stuff of miracles

It really does work miracles, that WD-40. Would that we could get rid of the rest of the toxic legacy of the past eight years so easily.

November 11

flags at St. Edward State Park

Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day.

The surviving veterans of World War 1:

John Campbell Ross, age 109, Australia
John Henry Foster Babcock, 108, Canada
Henry William Allingham, 112, England
Claude Stanley Choules, 107, England
Netherwood Hughes, 108, England
Henry John Patch, 110, England
William Frederick Stone, 108, England
Aarne Armas Arvonen, 111, Finland
Fernand Goux, 108, France
Pierre Picault, 109, France
zef Kowalski, 108, Poland
Frank Woodruff Buckles, 107, USA
Robley H. Rex, 107, USA

Honor them, and remember the millions who died or were wounded in this catastrophe.

Frequently bought together

Frequently bought together

I was looking for small casserole dishes on Amazon and this screen popped up. I guess the intent is to encourage you to buy more stuff, but frankly, the notion that lots of people are ordering XBox controllers with their Le Creuset sounds a bit fishy to me.

Pennsylvania Avenue Now

illustration by Marco Acevedo

One more classic Blue Note mashup by Marco Acevedo. Are you still giddy with excitement and, dare I say it, hope? Then get ready to go to work, because there's plenty to be done. You can start here.

Birth of the Cool

8Birth of the Cool
illustration by Marco Acevedo

Our long national nightmare is over.

Sidewalk closed

34th ave sidewalk work
photo by Ballard Avenue

This is what all the flashing fuss is all about. There's a hole where there used to be a sidewalk, but it was too dark to figure out why.


We found this light show on 34th Avenue. It goes on all night long. Actually, it goes on all day long, too, but you can't see them in the sunlight.

Jack and Barack O'Lantern

Jack and Barack O' Lantern
photo by Ballard Avenue

Even the pumpkins in our neighborhood are voting for Obama. We've got them all registered and they're going to vote early and often, too.

You can see more at Yes We Carve.

Sunday saxophone blogging

In an earlier life I wanted to play the tenor sax like Ben Webster, but after a few months of hacking about on it I realized I never would. Back to the music store it went, in exchange for a trombone (I wanted to play the overture to Tannhauser, but that's another story).

Here is the master himself, with Teddy Wilson tickling the ivories, in a set from Copenhagen c. 1970. Sadly, I'll never play the piano like Wilson, either, but I'll keep hacking.

San Francisco interlude: Unreal cat

SF cat

How unreal? This mural on the wall of the Ernest Ingold Clubhouse of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco features the words "understanding" and "co-operation." What self-respecting cat would go anywhere near those words, except perhaps to say. "Understand this, chump. We'll be co-operating when I see my breakfast in this bowl and it better be some of that good Charlie tuna, not that cheap-ass Walmart crap."

San Francisco interlude: BART rules

Underneath the Muni tracks we visited yesterday is BART, a regional rail service that connects San Francisco with the suburbs. They have their own rules.

San Francisco interlude: Muni rules

Muni operates a subway under Market Street in downtown San Francisco, and of course, it has overhead flashing signs, too.

San Francisco interlude: Stop requested

San Francisco's transit operator, Muni, has a fleet of historic streetcars they run through downtown and along the waterfront. Some came from Milan, and still have the Italian signage inside. "Fermata prenotata" means "Stop requested."

San Francisco interlude: Please turn left

It seemed like every time we turned around there was a new flashing overhead sign. Over the next few days I'll show some of them to you. This is from the elevator at the San Francisco Public Library.

San Francisco interlude: Blue Angels

They were practicing their routines while we were clambering around Alcatraz Island. We were a lot closer to them here than we were last summer at Madison Park.

San Francisco interlude: Going to the Big House

Alcatraz boat

We went to Alcatraz. It's smaller than I imagined—there were only a couple hundred inmates there at any one time—but it's just as grim a place as you would think. Worst of all would be that everyday you'd look across a mile of water and see the city laid out before you, and all you had to look forward to was another day in a damp, cold cell.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

As sung by Tony Bennett and danced by members of San Francisco's own hula halau, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu. Produced by Jim Yager for Union Bank of California.

Little Kitty

Little Kitty
photo by Theresa

She's got extra toes for kneading your lap, and who could ever say no to those sea-green eyes.

We're off to San Francisco for several days of fun and, one hopes, picture-taking. See you soon!

Sunday cat: Snowball goes macro

Snowball 2
photo by Theresa

Snowball's a little fuzzy on the focusing distance of a macro lens, hence her overall fuzziness in this picture, but you can get away with anything if you have blue eyes.


70 & Earl

photo by Ballard Avenue

As a street name, Earl Avenue doesn't have quite the exotic charm of Cleopatra Avenue, but it's a very nice street nonetheless. Our friend Patti lives on Earl. Hi, Patti!

Periodic Tap blogging: Tip, Tap, and Toe

I know little about Tip, Tap, and Toe other than their names—Ray Winfield, Samuel Green, and Ted Fraser—but boy, were they ever hot! You have to love the Haile Selaisse slide step in this clip from "You Can't Have Everything" (1937).

Step lightly

House on Stilts
photo by Ballard Avenue

For the time being, the owners ask all those passing by to step lightly.

Messing around

Oscar Peterson and Count Basie—just a couple of old pals messing around.

Saturday cat blogging

photo by Ballard Avenue

Even the cats on Sunset Hill don't like the idea of bailing out the crooked banks.

Ginger cookie porn

Ginger cookies
photo by Ballard Avenue

Mom's handed down her KitchenAid dreadnought to us, and boy, does it make some bitchin' cookies!

F/V Windjammer

F/V Windjammer
photo by Ballard Avenue

Next to the old Yankee Grill is the Pacific Fisherman shipyard. They've been repairing and refitting anything that floats for over 60 years. The F/V Windjammer was in the yard for a while earlier this month, and here she's looking shipshape and Bristol fashion before heading back out to sea.

Banquets in progress

Yankee Grill
photo by Ballard Avenue

For years Ballardites took their parents to the Yankee Grill. It was a solid meat-n-potatoes restaurant along the Ship Canal. Sadly, it's been closed for a year. But the sign's still lit up—"Banquets in progress. Restaurant seating available."

Friday cat blogging: Snowball


photo by Theresa

Theresa is a fabulous cat photographer.

Civic art project

Civic Art
photos by Jack

We've somehow neglected art cars in Ballard, featuring only one of the many that cruise up and down our streets. In an attempt to get more up to date on the phenomenon, here are a few snaps of Marnie's Honda Civic. Lookin' pretty stylish, no?


photo by Ballard Avenue
Obamalogo'd by logobama

Like all smart cats, Mephista knows who she wants as president.

Tomato plant porn

Karen's tomatoes

photo by Ballard Avenue

Luxuriant, I think the word is. Karen's tomatoes rock in the western sun. The bricks heat up all day and keep the plants toasty warm at night. This picture is two weeks old. You probably can't even get in the door today!

Friday accordion: Tango makes you feel better

I watched not one minute of the Republican convention, but reading about their skeezy little hatefest was disturbing enough that I decided we all needed a couple minutes of tango, Japanese-girl-in-the-park style. Now, don't you feel better...

ps Make sure you watch it through to the end. She starts putting on the good dance moves at about 1:20 into the video.

Revelations everywhere

Mark of the beast

photo by Ballard Avenue

This is what greeted me when I fired up the company Dodge the other morning. Had Gene Kelly been driving it?

Electra says hello, part 3

Electra tip over 3.jpg

photo by Ballard Avenue

And now to the Tip-over, the most important part of a cat's HiHowAreYa! You've now been accepted into Electra's world and you're better for it.

Electra says hello, part 2

Electra tip over 2

photo by Ballard Avenue

After rubbing against the iron railing, she decides to do the I'm-A-Happy-Cat face plant into the concrete. 

Electra says hello

Electra tip over 1

photo by Ballard Avenue

Over the next few days, we'll see how Electra says she's happy to see you.

Perfect timing

UP @ Napavine

photo by Ballard Avenue

Or imperfect timing, depending on how one looks at such things. I had to stop for this Union Pacific freight train in Napavine, Washington, on a recent lovely afternoon.

All that's left

Tiedeman & Twigg
photo by Ballard Avenue

This sign might be all that's left of the real estate firm of Tiedeman and Twigg. I don't know anything about them, but that six digit phone number tells you it was a long time ago, and 5413 Ballard Avenue is now a parking lot.

Monday accordion post: Pole-ka dance

A Pole-ka Dance! from Laura Leu on Vimeo.

When Kathrin and her sister grow up they can try pole-ka dancing.

Friday accordion post: Kathrin

video by saxgesicht

How cute is cute?



photo by Theresa

Let's take advantage of the real estate for photos this new layout provides with a Cinerama-size shot of Beany in the window.



photo by Theresa

Reader Theresa sends this photo of Booey enjoying a warm window perch. You are getting sleepy, very sleepy...



Pesto's favorite hobbies are sunbathing, chasing shadows, and trying to walk along the fence without falling off. That all sounds like a most excellent day in Ballard.

If you have cat pictures you think the rest of the planet would like to see, send them to and they'll be posted with all deliberate speed.

A good excuse

photo by Ballard Avenue

You see here one reason posting around these blogparts can be spotty sometimes. We've had this piano since 2000 and love it to death. It's a Haessler, made by Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH of Leipzig, Germany. I was working through a songbook of Billie Holliday songs the other day. The upside-down copy of the Oxford Carols for Christmas was to hold the Holliday open. I'm afraid the piano always looks a mess with music piled here and there, but that's a good thing. Tidy pianos are usually unplayed pianos.

A flash of Blue

Blue Angels
photo by Ballard Avenue

Madison Park is actually a few miles north of the hydroplane boat racing course, the focal point of the Blue Angels' show. At Madison, you just catch glimpses of the planes between the trees and through the power lines as they turn around for another run, but they're still pretty loud and exciting to watch.


photo by Ballard Avenue

It was Seafair Sunday and we went to Madison Park to see some of the Blue Angels airshow. There's a swimming beach with diving boards moored off-shore. Don't worry, it only looks like the kid is going to cannonball right through the lifeguard's dinghy.

I just noticed that Friday tap dancing with Gene Kelly was the 666th Ballard Avenue post. Does that mean Gene Kelly is the Anti-Christ? You can never be too sure with those Irish song-and-dance men.

Friday tap dancing: Gene Kelly

from It's Always Fair Weather (1955). The song's not all that much, but wait until you see Kelly tap dancing in roller skates!

Ave verum corpus

video by Ensemble D.E.U.M

Ave verum corpus, natum de Maria Virgine
Vere passum, immolatum in cruce pro homine
Cujus latus perforatum unda fluxit sanguine
Esto nobis praegustatum in mortis examine.
O dulcis, O pie, O Jesu Fili Mariae,
Miserere mei. Amen.

Hail, true body, born of the Virgin Mary,
which in anguish suffered on the cross for men,
from whose pierced side poured water and blood,
be our consolation in our last hour.
O sweet, O kind, O Jesus, Son of Mary,
Have mercy on me. Amen.

So, what did you do with your Sunday night last? We went to a concert of 16th century vocal music sung by the Tudor Choir, where we heard William Byrd's Ave verum corpus and other rockin' hits of the day. Sublime it was.

15 seconds

Choo Choo

photo by Ballard Avenue

If you're an old-timer around here, you'll remember Choo Choo, who was hanging out around the Laupahoehoe Train Museum back in 2005. Well, Choo Choo and this photographer now enjoy 15 seconds of fame at something called Schmap. It's an online travel guide that wanted to use Choo Choo's maniacal grin to illustrate their entry on the museum. But sadly, when we visited the museum in 2007, Choo Choo was gone, and no one there knew what had happened to him. 

A lovely July day

Snohomish field
photo by Ballard Avenue

I don't know what they're growing in this field northwest of Snohomish, but it was a welcome flash of color on a gray July afternoon.

Wonderful Wunderlich

It's been a while since we checked in with the Greatest Tenor of Them All. Here Fritz Wunderlich sings lieder by Schubert, Strauss, and Wolf. Ludwig Kusche tickles the ivories.


photo by Ballard Avenue

Mephista has taken over Callie's perch for the day.

The melancholy Dane

photo by Ballard Avenue

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. - Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.
It was over to Woodland Park the other night for Hamlet, presented by the worthy company of players GreenStage. Shawn Law was an excellent Hamlet and it was a fine show.

Objects of desire

Cherries on the hoof
photo by Ballard Avenue

Christina and Amber have about a zillion cherries on their tree, which means they have about a zillion crows, starlings, and raccoons hanging around the house. Everybody loves cherries! Yum!

Where the Fiats used to rust

Where the Fiats used to rust
photo by Ballard Avenue

Remember the free Fiats? They're long gone, and now so is the house they lived in. It was inevitable. A small house on a large lot with a great view of the water—it's a miracle it lasted this long. It looks like the new owner is using some of the existing structure, but it's certain the new house will be a lot taller than the old.

Grandpa plays accordion

video by Jessica Champion

Grandpa plays the accordion. I hope he enjoyed a tall cool one after all that hard work!

The good ship Pamela


photo by Ballard Avenue

Aye, she's a fine craft, indeed, even if she's not too fergivin' of thems as is doin' it wrong.



photo by Ballard Avenue

Genuine Ballard cherries, from Amber and Christina's tree (and you know you love the TexasWare bowl, too).

Leif Erikson, First Scandihoovian

Leif Erikson

photo by Ballard Avenue

You looked up his skirt here, now you can look him in the eye.

And the winner is...


photo by Ballard Avenue

Museum director Eric Nielson reads the name of the winner of the raffle grand prize. Sadly, we didn't win the two round-trip tickets to anywhere SAS flies. No Christmas posts from Copenhagen this year.


Tivoli accordionist

photo by Ballard Avenue

Tivoli is the summer festival at the Nordic Heritage Museum. It's great fun and the accordionists are always the coolest ones there.