DOMESTIC INTERESTS        

 

Coming soon - a dedication to Kimberly. . .

Family Photo Album...To see from whence I came.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
 
While my gig as a historian is primarily an indoor activity, I am more than just some paper and pencil loser. I love camping, backpacking, and cross-country skiing. And if you're going to live in South Dakota, you had better make peace with winter, Sven, because more than half of your life will be spent living in it. Nobody hates snow more than a South Dakotan, but our fluffy snow and freakishly flat topography make for great cross-country skiing conditions. Get your equipment, pack a fun lunch, call some friends and make a day of it.
Good equipment makes outdoor activities more fun. I purchased my skis (and other good stuff) from L.L. Bean. Another great source of equipment is REI. I'm a member, and you should really visit one of their stores, Nature Boy. They are perhaps a bit more "serious" of an outfitter than Bean, and they support worthy environmental causes. 
Pictured here is Steve Rasmussen while cross-country skiing, and he's not using Bean skis. Understand?
Magisterial mountains and surreal lunar-like landscapes await the fortunate backpacker or camper in South Dakota's Black Hills and Badlands, and other great stuff to check out is just over the border in Wyoming, Minnesota, and Montana.  To see what the heck I'm talking about, see my ADVENTURE PAGES by clicking PAGE 1 or PAGE 2.
AUTOMOBILES
People are sometimes surprised to learn that I am a serious "car guy." I love reading about them, driving them, and working on them. I'm not good, so don't call and ask for me to replace your fuel pump, but few things give me more satisfaction than turning a wrench.
My car stable actually houses a rather rare car, a 1951 Kaiser. Kaiser-Frazer: unappreciated in life, overlooked in death. The love child of western industrialist/wild man Henry J. Kaiser (Hoover Dam, Liberty Ships, Kaiser Steel), and auto exec Joseph Frazer (Packard, Chrysler, Willys, and Graham-Paige), K-F built 3/4 of a million autos between the 1947 and 1955 model years in a converted WW II bomber plant in Michigan, among other sites. It was an interesting company that built unusual cars. I have owned my little gem for 21 years.
 
 My car is a Kaiser Special Business Coupe, a "stripped" model with no rear seat and a minimum of chrome. When restored, it will look something like this Kaiser, including in color. Its loaded with such desirables as overdrive transmission (giving it 5 gears, but it needs 5 more) and radio. I once cranked up the Kaiser's flathead "Supersonic" 6-cyl. engine, reaching a terrifying 70 m.p.h., when I saw Jesus calling me home. I have kept it under 50 since.
Sadly, during the endless journey getting my Ph.D. the Kaiser lapsed into a coma. Recently though, the patient has began to show some improvement! Body parts began coming off in September 2002, the powertrain was pulled in February 2002, the body came off the frame in November 2002, the frame was cleaned and powder coated in July 2003, and the holes in the body were welded in September 2003. To see photos of the long overdue restoration, click on one of the following links:
 
Page 1
(Engine/transmission removal)
Page 2
(Lifting body off frame)
Page 3
(Powder coating & welding)

Page 4

(New Engine and front end)

To learn more about Kaisers, Frazers, Henry J's, Allstates, Darrins, and Willys, check out the
Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club International homepage.
 
If I make another old car acquisition, it might be another "orphan," like a Studebaker. I just gotta lotta love to give. Behold the beautiful 1962-64 Studebaker Hawk. The folks at Stude's South Bend plant built a beaut here, with a 289 cubic inch V-8, four-speed floor shift, front-wheel disc brakes, full instrumentation, and bucket seats. That's not shabby considering what Ward and June Cleaver were driving then.

HALL-SCOTT MOTOR CAR COMPANY
 
A current research interest of mine is the Hall-Scott Motor Car Company of Berkeley, California. CLICK HERE to view a brief history of that long-defunct little company and some photos of its products.
HIGH SCHOOL
With the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation fast approaching, last year I put together a page for the 1978 Class of St. Bernard's High School. Sorry current students of mine, there are no embarrassing photos here of me with feathered hair, shiny disco shirts, or gold chain jewelry. Incriminating photos of me do exist, but they ain't here. Click below to see my SBHS Class of 1978 Reunion Page.
http://www.northern.edu/diasr/classof.htm

Updated October 2004

Home                    CV                    Campus Organization                    Interests                    Syllabi                    Course