HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - city of big bottoms and small minds.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Green Bay Packers Go Three and Oh My! I'm A Believer!

I am still euphoric over today's Packer victory. I think the whole state of Wisconsin was collectively holding its breath since yesterday morning, wondering how the spinach and mustard would fare against the thunderbolts from the west coast.

Tomlinson was making noises about achieving a one hundred yard day in rushing and all the pundits were picking the Chargers to win by four points.

I had to overcome my own separate angst when my Directv dish, the smaller of two I recently installed, and of course the one that would be providing the CBS signal out of LaCrosse, went kaput yesterday when there was no one available to even come out and look at the damn thing so today I spent the first quarter at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I left there because nobody knows how to shut the hell up and really get into watching the game. I have watched Packer games in Green Bay at the Stadium View and there they know how to watch a game. As soon as the station comes back from commercial break, all talking ceases and all eyes are on the game and the only sounds are the cheering or sounds of dismay that erupt following each play.

Not only that, Buffalo Wild Wings has the absolute audacity to run both the Packer game and the Viking game on big screens right next to each other. As a result, I had a Viking fan climb onto the bar stool next to me. I couldn't bear his incessant commentary, apparently to himself, so I left for Sammy's pizza which was nearly empty and the only game on was the Packer game.

Earlier in the morning, I had put in a telephone call to my buddy Wil Denson about watching the game with him at his house, and eventually I got a call from him to come on down, so I watched the second half from the comfort of an overstuffed couch.

A few calls from Coach McCarthy I found dubious -- like going for it it on 4th down near mid-field, and then later, after not being able to punch it in from inside the five, failing to complete the pass on fourth down. Should have punted and on the second one, should have taken the sure three points.

But two spectacular plays, one by the offense and one by the defense made all that go away. (Thank you Gregg Jennings and welcome back, and Nick Barnett, you are an animal!) You gotta love the way the team keeps getting stronger each week and playing to their own strengths while awaiting the arrival of any kind of a running game.

Tomorrow I will be on my way to Milwaukee to catch a flight to New York City on Tuesday -- this means I need a good night's sleep tonight but I am in doubt as to whether I will get it with visions of Brett dancing with Donald Driver on his shoulder in my sleep.

Three and Oh sounds Oh so sweet to me!


________________________________________________________________

Due to my extended trip to New York City, I don't know when the next blog will be written. Just so you know.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Lewis Black Brilliant As Ever -- Usual Idiots In Audience

Comedian/political satrist Lewis Black starts his show with his theory that the anticipation of any event is always better than the actual event itself, but in the case of his presentation of "Red, White, and Screwed" last night at the beautifully appointed Grand Theater in down town Wausau, Wisconsin, I must most respectfully disagree.

Lewis played to a sold out house and I don't think there was a soul that came away disappointed.

Speaking of the anticipation, Kim and I were both surprised throughout this week to find how many Eau Claire locals do not even know who Lewis Black is. If you are a staunch follower of the Jon Stewart Daily Show you have seen his continuing segments entitled "Back in Black". He has been with the show since its inception.

We first saw him at Milwaukee's Summerfest a dozen years ago and have been fans ever since.

"Red, White, and Screwed" is his third HBO Special, the first two being "Rules of Engagement" and "Back in Black". If you are one of the oblivious who are unaware of his existence, may I suggest you make a beeline for Blockbuster Video and rent them.

If you are an NFL football fan, you have seen him as he does a regular feature on Inside the NFL.

He also has broken into motion pictures, the most recent beng "Man of the Year" with Robin williams and Christopher Walken.

Last night he was no disappointment, fresh off having appeared in Appleton the night before. The real disappointment came from asshole audience members who think they must help the performer during the show by yelling out shit during pauses in delivery.

I take that back -- they don't think. If they actually thought, they would have taken the obvious clues given by Lewis' opening act, John Bowen, who more than once made it very clear to the gathered that performers do not appreciate having interruptions to their prepared material.

By the end of the show, I got the distinct impression that Lewis was not very fond of performing in Wisconsin. He hit the nail squarely on the head when he alluded to the fact that Wisconsin folk are the only people he knows who can laugh and judge at the same time.

When Kim and I first arrived and perused the program, we were a bit disappointed to find that there would be an opening act, but after watching John Bowen work, it was obvious that his delivery style and material are the best match possible with Lewis's.

He did a very tight, uptight 45 minute set and had me laughing to tears.

Our personal thanks to Dixie Duffy of Charter Cable, Eau Claire, who while working with the staff os Wausau Charter Cable, secured the two tickets.

Our thanks to to the Charter staff that we met last night at the show. they were very kind and hospitable.

_____________________________________________________

As long as it is still on my mind, a few more words about the status of people who attend public performances. When did it become fashionable to draw attention to yourself at a concert? It is incredibly selfish, ignorant, and boorish to yell out at a performer during a show.

As a performer of thirty years, I am no stranger to this phenomenon. There was one night that I actually told the management to remove a boor who kept interrupting the flow of my monologue. When I first told the staff to remove him, he got all hurt and wanted to know why. I told him why. You are interrupting the show and bothering the people who came out to listen; to which this egotistical piece of shit said: "You didn't have a show til I got here."

There was another time I was having the same kind of trouble with a "fan" of mine. During break I asked him not to keep yelling out things during my show and he, too, got this very hurt expression, and said: "Well, I was just trying to help."

I told him I had been honing my material for years and I really didn't need any help, thank you very much.

Kim and I talked about this again this morning. As a teacher, she says that both parents and teachers have failed "this generation" in not teaching correct behavior at events. She said even younger teachers don't get it. They will chastise their students for talking during a presentation in the auditorium and then stand back in the corner and talk to each other.

For the same reason, I have stopped gong to movies in public. The last movie I went to some five years ago, I had two college age girls gabbing behind me. I finally turned around and said: "Are you going to talk through the whole movie? Because if you are, I am moving to another part of the theatre."

Remember when the expression was: "Never trust anyone under 30."? I have moved the bar. Never trust anybody under 60.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Thank You To Our Armed Forces And My Sympathy To Those Who Serve This Despot

Last night I watched HBO's Documentary "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq". If you have HBO, please do yourself and your country a favor and watch it. It is very moving.

It so moved me that this morning I sat down and wrote the following letter to retired Sgt. Matthew McCleod, the wonderul yong man who helped me through the usually difficult process of trading automobiles.

Matthew was a casualty himself to an IED in Iraq and now walks with a great deal of pain in his right knee but has the most amazing, resilient attitude of anyone I have ever met.

Larry Heagle
4888 Hobbs Road
Fall Creek, Wisconsin 54742


Sgt. (retired) Matthew McCleod
Rosemurgy Auto Mall
1700 Business 51 North
Wausau, Wisconsin 54401

Dear Matt:

I am enclosing an article I copied off the internet on the TV Documentary “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq."

Last night, in the comfort of my bed, earphones in place so as not to awaken Kim, I watched the documentary and truthfully, by it’s end, I was in the bathroom with the sniffles from weeping at what I saw.

I, of course, thought of you as I watched the documentary and knew that today I needed to write to you.

God bless you for what you have done as a proud Marine and thank you, God, for not taking Matthew McCleod from among us Americans who have so little appreciation for what our combat soldiers are going through -- we are way too busy spending money we don’t have at the malls, running up the credit cards and living our lives selfishly.

I am as proud of you as I am angered by the criminal American “leadership” that sent you into harm’s way.

Thank you for doing your duty as a great American fighting man. The fact that you are now struggling at such a young age with the pain of your wounds that you received, with such courage and dignity, is truly awe inspiring.

It is a great honor for me to have met you. I will always hold you in the highest regard.

Very sincerely,



Larry Heagle

Every day when I awake, I fight a continuous battle not to become absolutely disenchanted with an America that voted into office (not really -- our "Supreme" court elected him the first time and Ohio criminals put him over the top in the second election) a man (and I use that term loosely) who is without a doubt the most arrogant, criminal president in history and I want my country back!

I only fear that it is already too late.


_____________________________________________________

World's Worst Secret Keeper Now Off Hook

The pressure is off. Be it hereby known that I am the absolute worst at keeping a secret. Early last year my wife Kim made the big decision: after 31 years of teaching kindergarten, she would be calling it quits at 32. But she didn't want it known.

Then the present (32) school year began. Kim told me she still didn't want it known that she was retiring at the end of the year, but felt that she should let her principal know, so she did.

Now, I am not saying that Joe can't keep a secret either, but somehow, possibly through discussions with other faculty about scheduling next year, it was alluded to, and it wasn't long before Kim began getting feedback questions from fellow teachers about what she ws doing next year.

At this point I should answer a question you might have -- why was she so adamant about not letting anyhone know? I asked her that myself. Here explanation was that she wouldn't want anybody to think that she would somehow slack off this year just because it was her final hurrah.

It didn't make any sense to me. Anybody who knows Kim remotely knows that there is no one who spends more time at school, before school, after school than she. there is no one more organized, more thorough, more dedicated to kids than she, but that was her feeling, so I put a zip on the lip.

Now when Kim, filled with dismay about the questions, wondered what she should do, I suggested she make a "pre-emptive strike" and announce immediately that she is retiring next Spring and not have to deal with the questions any longer.

I also suggested that we have some fun with it and that since she was aslways involved in meetings, why not have me come in at a morning meeting as a "resource" person with a special presentation, and I would write and sing a song announcing the retirement.

Hate to brag, but I am just back from Roosevelt school and it worked magnificently! I not only announced her retirement, but good naturedly got some jabs in at her principal, Joe, who is only in his second year as principal at Roosevelt, and is a really positive, upbeat leader; Kim took an immediate liking to him and they continually take opposing views just to tease each other.

Both she and I are only sorry that he didn't arrive on the scene from Ashwaubenon years earlier. (But then, how could he, the guy's only in is early thirties, although he does look a bit older because he has absolutely no hair, having lost so much at an early age that he now shaves his entire dome regularly.)

So here is what I wrote, in its entirety, entitled: Kim Wilson -- She's An Expert On Everything.


This is Kim’s teaching year thirty two
And it’s time that you all know what’s true
Rumors abound, they’re all over town
Will she quit or what will she do?

Decisions are not easy things
That’s what being an expert brings
Kim thinks she’s quite flexible
So I asked her principal
But Joe says the jury’s not in --

Cuz she’s an expert on everything
An expert on everything
That’s why I love her, put no one above her
She’s an expert on everything.

At meetings -- Kim will always ask why
She’s been known to make principals cry
gnash teeth, pull out hair, I swear that it’s so
But she claims she’s not guilty of Joe

And as long as we’re speaking of Joe
There’s something you all should know
Kim he would besmirch for her lack of research
But just knowing she’s right makes it so

Cuz she’s an expert on everything --

Kim asked me to say before I go
She’s seen many pass through here, we know

She thinks Roosevelt’s best cuz it’s endured the test
And you’re blessed to have Principal Joe

I married the lovely Ms Kim
And without her my prospects are dim
I’m glad she’s my wife, she’s the love of my life
But in some ways she’s just like him

Cuz Joe’s an expert on everything
An expert on everything
That’s why you all love him, put no one above him
Cuz he’s an expert on everything

Kim’s taught many years, quite a string
And it’s of this I proudly sing
I said Kim do what’s best, put these rumors to rest

SHE’S RETIRING THIS COMING SPRING.

I am relieved on several levels. The presentation went well. Kim loved it, Joe loved it, the faculty laughed and shed a few tears over it and best of all, I don't have to worry about letting the news accidently slip!

______________________________________________

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mystery of Missing Texas Village Idiot Solved

How did that joke go? "Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot."

Well, it turns out he was at it again, flying into Iraq under great secrecy, like the fugitve that he is, for a photo op with the troops. I keep staring at the picture, looking at the faces of these young troopers and wondering what is going through their minds while this is going on. On some faces, I see that look of "Oh my god! I'm going to have my ten minutes of fame!"

On others there is a look of I am here under orders or I wouldn't be here at all. You have to wonder if the young man to the right of Mr. Wonderful is fighting back the urge to do the classic two finger rabbit ears behind his head.

I wish I knew how to manipulate photoshop. it would be great fun to produce that as a tee shirt.

________________________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Old Haunts, Fond Memories, Nothing Lasts Forever

I really do appreciate getting feedback on the blog and I just got some recently on the blog I did on popovers -- it was a thank you for my recipe and a remembrance of the great popovers served at Stafne's Sunset Inn, which along with Austin's White House just up the road and across the street, were definitely the two spots to be for the very best!

Sadly, Stafne's is no longer a restaurant and some years ago they tore Austin's White House down and built a (gasp) Boston's Pizza.

I have such fond memories of both those supper clubs as they served really great midwest cuisine in an intimate atmosphere. I tended to hang out more at The White House simply because that's where the "theatre people" would gather after an opening night to celebrate getting through the first night of a show without suddenly giving someone the wrong cue and jumping into the third act from the first act. Don't laugh. I saw it happen once!

You had better believe there was a lot of panic in the dressing rooms during intermission trying to rewrite a script to get us back on track.

Austin's White House was also the site of one of my favorite summer theatre stories.

A critic came down from the Minneapolis Tribune to cover our opening night of the summer season (I know, I know -- hard to believe. Must have been a really slow news week in the entertainment world!) and music director Jack Pingle, one of the wildest, incredibly funny men I have ever had the privilege to know, took the guy out to Austin's and treated him to an early dinner before the show. Truth is, I don't think Jack let him get out of the bar, bought him round after round of highballs, and finally left the miserably inebriated man sitting on the john, pants around his ankles, head on his chest, passed out.

After all, Jack had an orchestra to lead and the show must go on.

Jack , of course, related the story with great relish to the entire cast before the overture began and the curtain went up so we did a really relaxed, no pressure show.

Next morning, at rehearsal, we were all dying to see what kind of "review" we got from a man who hadn't even seen the show. As you can probably guess, he loved the show he never saw.

An aside: My favortie item on The White House Menu: "English Mixed Grill", a pork chop, a lamb chop, great lyonaisse potatoes and all introduced by those popovers, hot out of the oven, still in their muffin tins, and forked on your group's collective plates by the very professional waitresses, wearing the required oven mitt.

These were not college girls working their way through school.

_____________________________________________________________

I am pretty excited about getting another gig in October. I will be doing a short set of comedy after dinner on thursday, October 11 at the Avalon (formerly Arizona's, for an appreciation banquet of two combined hospital staffs -- Sacred Heart of Eau Claire and St. Joseph's of Chippewa Falls.

I can always use more "work" because hey! to me, this isn't work, it is pure joy and fun to get people to laugh and get outside themselves. And these days we need laughter more in our lives than ever!

Earlier today I stopped in a jewelry store at the mall to replace my worn out leather watch band and the young woman who waited on me didn't know she knew me (she said "you've changed" --translation: God, you've aged! -- until I wrote the check. turns out she had been at a Christmas-House-Pizza Party I did some years ago, and then again at a hair stylists Christmas party (sans the pizza) a year later.

She asked if I am still working and doing the pizza parties. The answer is definitely YES! To my way of thinking, the pizza party is a really unique way to celebrate almost anything that family or company want to celebrate in-home.

I have done a lot of them (wish I had kept count) and invariably have been told that it is the most fun party they have ever had. Check out what people have had to say about them on my web site. I have traveled quite a ways to do some of them: Minneapolis, Wausau, Rice Lake to name a few.

_____________________________________________

A big old Chevrolet SUV passed me out on 53 south this evening sporting his Bush/Cheney '06 bumper sticker. Wouldn't you be totally mortified to have that thing on your car at this point, even if you believed his bullshit last election time??? I did my best to catch up with him so he could see my "Bush Is A War Criminal" sticker.

____________________________________________

Trying to decide if I should take my aging laptop with me on my short jaunt to NYC next week. Might be kinda fun to blog from the big city -- Gotham.

This is not a good time for me to be going out there. Not much cash on hand and credit cards getting out of control and the restaurants in New York City are totally stupifying. Block after block after block of the best of any nationality cuisine you could ask for. Pretty dazzling to an old country boy from Downsville.

_____________________________________________

Have you ever traveled to a far away spot only to bump into someone who knows you? It is just the weirdest! It's happened tgthen stopped and pointed and called out each other's name.

The other two times were on a single trip. I am walking through Seatac (Seattle, Washington international airport and this guy walks past me and says matter of factly: "Hi, Larry." -- and keeps on walking!

I turn and say: "Wait a minute! How the heck do you know me???" He tells me he is from Downsville, just heading back to Wisconsin from a salmon fishing trip.

Two days later we are on the ferry to Vancouver and some guy says: "Aren't you Larry Heagle?" This really freaks me! Turns out he has caught my show in Wausau more than once over the years.

More tomorrow. I am currently working on a writing project and I have cat boxes to clean! Drop me a note if you have time. Love to hear from you.

_____________________________________________________

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oktoberfest Throws Its Worst and Best Weather At Us


Didn't realize until I looked at the date of my last post that I have been very derelect in my duty. I plead really busy and there ain't nuthin' wrong with that!

Pictured is my son Jon and I preparing to leave for Sunday afternoon's gig at the Chippewa Oktoberfest. Jon is not really much of a football or sports fan, but he humored me on this Packer sunday and we will take full credit for the 35-13 win over the Giants, which we did not see but got scoring reports of during my show from 1-3 on sunday afternoon.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Festivities really began at Oktoberfest this past friday as I was scheduled to do comedy from 1-3:30 and then work with my band from 4 -7PM.

If you don't recall last friday's weather then you weren't out standing on a stage with a cross wind of about 20 mph hitting you all afternoon. Friday's gig can be best summed up in one word: BRUTAL! I love performing -- I really do -- but this was a day that I thought would never end!
right thumb and forefinger so that I could grip the guitar pick. I was never anywhere near being warm. But I'll tell you this: Chippewa Falls folk and the folk from the surrounding area party hearty whether it is 95 degrees and humid, or as it was friday, in the 40's with a wind chill that put it below freezing. And they drink cold beer while the wind whistles through their lederhosen!

I was truly amazed at the number of people that showed up on friday. By the time the rest of the guys joined me for the band sets, the seats were pretty much filled and we gave them our all.

Jon and I had worked up Red Volkhart's "It's a Minor Thing" and sprung it on the rest of the band without rehearsal and it cooked!

I haven't had much experience with playing blues in a minor key but it was really fun and very dramatic sounding. I was glad we did it because it gave the crowd a chance to hear what Jonathan can get out of a guitar -- and on a cold, windy afternoon, at that.

We had so many really nice people show up and visit with us. A particular hello to Larry from Larry!

And you know the band has had its share of Oktoberfest cold delicious when the song "Red River Valley" is followed by "Smoke on the Water"!

(What's really weird is I don't even know "Red River Valley"). Know what? the audience could tell.

Sunday afternoon was like paradise compared to friday. the sun was out, the temps were up and the winds were down. Jon backed my original tunes on acoustic guitar and got his props from the audience. He was getting rounds of applause after solos and the acoustic guitars really sounded good together -- but then I am prejudiced because I am an acoustic guitar kinda guy.

It was a real joy to have Jon here for what seemed like ten minutes but was really thursday through this morning. I got a chance to cook for him and make his favorites: popovers, pizza, buttermilk pancakes, and we saved sunday night for a trip out to Mike's smokehouse and wallowed in those great racks of ribs.

When I went to meet Jon upon his arrival in Minneapolis, I made the mistake of going into the parking lot. It wasn't until after I parked the car that I realized it had been a long time since I have been to the Minneapolis airport and holy moley! That sucker is huge!

We spent a good part of the afternoon just getting back to the vehicle and out of town. But we learn by doing. This morning I dropped Jon at the incoming gate and didn't park at all.

Now I will be dealing with airports again come tuesday, September 25 when I fly one way out of Milwaukee to NYC to hook up with my friend Tom Johnson who is renting a U Haul van and we are co-driving back to Wisconsin by sunday or monday. I know I have to be back by wednesday because I am doing a "songwriter's night" with Mike Quick and Mike Jerling at Jake's supper club outside of Menomonie on Tainter Lake.

It's a great supper club, known for its prime rib, so maybe I'll see you there!


_________________________________________________________

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

St. Hubert's Sportsman's Club Class Act

Just a word of sincere thanks to the St. Hubert's Sportsman's Club for affording me the opportunity to perform for their organization this past Saturday evenng. The guys (and gals) had it organized right to the tee, and I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful spot to do a live show.

The temperatures were just cool enough to keep the mosquitos from even thinking about making an evening appearance, and the chili -- well, let's just say you missed out big time if you didn't hve an opportunity to put odwn a magnificent bowl of red, made with fresh garden tomatoes.

The group was even so gracious as to offer me use of the wonderful cabin overlooking the Chippewa River but Kim hd way too much school work to come with me for the event, and at the last moment I decided I would pull up stakes and head for home.

The weekend was capped off by a Packer victory which will keep me smiling all week. Granted, it wasn't the kind of showing I had hoped for (two Eagle fumbles led to our win), but a win is a win and it will still be a win come December!




_________________________________________________________________

It Is Time We All Take a Stand by Voicing The Truth

Yesterday, General David Petraeus misled the country.

He used faulty statistics and cherry-picked intelligence to argue that American troops should stay in Iraq for the foreseeable future. The general said we're making major progress—and we have to stay the course. Sadly, independent assessments show that things in Iraq have gone from bad to worse (see below for more on how Petraeus stretched the truth).

Some of you have emailed to say it reminds you of the day four and a half years ago when President Bush sent General Colin Powell to the U.N. to make a trumped-up case for war.

Powell's WMDs helped justify the invasion of Iraq, and Petraeus' version of "progress"—if it goes unchallenged—will justify keeping troops there for years. Can you take a few minutes to write a letter-to-the editor reminding folks that the "surge" didn't work—and that the responsible thing to do is bring our troops home?

Petraeus based much of his assessment on the claim that violence in Iraq is dropping. That just isn't true:
Petraeus is using "funny math." According to the Washington Post, Petraeus and the Pentagon are using a bizarre formula for measuring violence in the country. For example, deaths by car bombs don't count. And assassinations count only if you're shot in the back of the head—not in the front.
Iraqis believe the surge has failed. According to a massive new ABC/BBC poll, every single Iraqi polled in Baghdad, the primary target of the "surge," said it had made security worse. Iraqis themselves overwhelmingly think the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, in terms of security, political cooperation, the economy, and other measures. Overall, 70% think the escalation worsened rather than improved security conditions.
The independent GAO report found that violence is up. A comprehensive Government Accountability Office report ordered by Congress found that "average number of daily attacks against civilians have remained unchanged from February to July 2007."6 In August, things got worse, with civilian casualties rising according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.
For our troops, it's the bloodiest summer yet. More U.S. troops died every month this year compared to the same month last year.

Petraeus claimed that he compiled his report without conferring with the White House. But the Washington Post recently reported that Petraeus or his staff joined daily conference calls with the White House and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie this summer to "map out ways of selling the surge." The Post reported that Gillespie's White House political unit was "hard-wired" to Petraeus' military unit.

We would all like to see life improving in Iraq. But it's not—it's getting worse. And if US forces stay in Iraq both Americans and Iraqis will pay a terrible price.

Today is the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history. The wounds of 9/11 are still fresh for many of us. After 9/11, President Bush used fear, lies and trumped-up intelligence to stampede us into Iraq. Now, America is bogged down in an unwinnable civil war, and Al Qaeda has regained enough strength to once again menace the United States.
It would be a tragic irony if, six years later, the administration used skewed intelligence to head off the growing momentum for an exit strategy from Iraq.

Please write a letter reminding America and Congress not to fall, ever again, for White House lies—we need a timeline to bring our troops home.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Popovers -- My Friend Gerald Dubbed Them Golden Goddesses

Is there anything more satisfying and comforting on a cool autumn's morning than a giant popover, hot out of the oven, vertically ripped asunder to allow the billowing steam to escape, painted with softened sweet cream butter and served up with a strong, hot cup of joe.? Right now, as I devour my second, I would have to say no.

More and more as I age, I am beginning to understand the musicians' mantra of "less is more". Popovers sometimes accompany beef dinners, but I think they are less appreciated competing with other foods. When my sons Jonathan and David visit me they request two things: pizza and POPOVERS (or as we like to call them: "Laplanders")

Here's my recipe for two:

equipment needed:

some sort of popover cups (if you have none, it's experiment time. It took me years to find what I use: small ceramic flower pots)
I am currently having some custom made for me at Carridori Pottery on Ferry Street in Eau Claire. He does excellent work.You can reach him at 715-835-8860

can of Baker's Joy (No stick Baker's spray (contains flour in spray)

Ingredients for two:

one FRESH egg (large)
one half cup bread flour
one half cup FRESH milk
1/3 tsp salt 1 tablespoon sugar (I like mine sweet!)
1/2 tsp cooking oil

Sift the four, sugar, salt into a small mixing bowl
crack and add the egg, whole
pour in the milk
Add the 1/2 tsp cooking oil

Usng a dinner fork, mix the ingredients until just not lumpy -- not more!

Lubricate your popover cups with the Baker's Joy
pour the batter equally into each cup.
Set in oven on high rack, second level from top
put the popovers in a cold oven

Turn oven to 400 degrees -- bake about twenty five miinutes -- actually your nose will tell you when they are close to done. I like to leave mine in until really dark golden brown!

Remove to a serving plate, immeditely tear open to llow steam to escape
fill cavity with your choice. I love honey or a good quality blueberry jam and of course good Wisconsin butter.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Bumper Sticker speaks My Truth

It has been less than a week but I am really loving my "new" purchase, the 2006 Toyota Scion xB that I traded for in Wausau. Today I went out and bought my bumper sticker. I originally was looking for a black and white bumper sticker that said "Bush Lied".

I went in to Trucker's Union on Water Street, thinking that if anyone in Eau Claire would have it, Trucker's would. They didn't. But instead I found the sticker pictured which is much stronger and to the point as far as I am concerned. I should have bought a couple more in case the sun fades this one out!

I also found another very small black and white sticker that I put on my dashboard that reads: "Kevorkian For White House Physician."

I am really pumped about driving down to Round Hill and doing a show tomorrow afternoon! The promised cold front came through and it is going to be an absolutely perfect evening to be doing an outdoor performance. There is a definite touch of autumn in the air and I don't know if you have noticed, but some of the trees are starting to turn just a bit already.

I love this time of year! Early morning firing of the wood stove at the office. the commingling of wood fire and fresh coffee smells. too cozy!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

St Hubert Sportsman's Rally/Chili Feed And Me -- No Admission

This afternoon I will be making a short appearance on the 5 o'clock news on Channel 13, Eau Claire, touting the upcoming St. Hubert's Rally/chili feed and music by yours truly at Round Hill on the Chippewa river just out of Durand.

festivities begin at 5PM and run through 10 PM. The poster claims that admission is free and everyone is welcome. It is your kickoff to Fall outdoor adventure fever with free refreshments and grat outdoor recipes.

In addition to my show, which will start around 6:30PM, there will be mini raffles with all proceeds benefitting future youth and family programs at Round Hill.

A couple of weeks ago, Kim and I took a drive down Durand way to scout it out and it is, indeed, a lovely spot to hold a "happening", with the Chippewa River rolling by just down the hill. I have lived in this area all my life and it always amazes me that there are some wonderfully scenic places that I haven't been to -- very close to my home.

Here are the directions to Round Hill: From downtown Durand, Wisconsin, cross the Chippewa River bridge heading west. Immediately ater crossing the bridge, take a left onto County Highway P. Go two miles on P, then take a left on Silveer Birch Road. Follow Silver Birch Road to the stop sign and take a left on Round Hill Road. Round Hill Road will lead to the rally site.

The event is being sponsored by Round Hill Corporation with the support of Park Ridge Distributing, Arkansas Fur, Fish, and Game, Peterson Taxidermy, Ryan's Sport Shop, Butch's Country Market and committed volunteers.

If you want even more information, call Dan at 715 672 8453.

Looking briefly at the history of Round Hill, the site was involved in some of the earliest recorded activity of Pepin County. In 1680, a Franciscan priest, Fr. Louis Hennipin, and his companions are believed to have explored the area.

Early deed and abstracts for this site indicate that the location at the foot of Round Hill was originally intended to be a city that was to be named Onaway.

While this did not materialize, the site did serve as a place of gatherings and industry. In the 1860's it was a stop for the river steamers and a place for Independence Day celebrations.

In 1869, Albert Gilmore agreed to operate a sheer boom and lodging house at Round Hill for Frederick Weyerhauser. The location was important to Weyerhauser's logging interestss because of its location near the head of the Beef slough, which served as a staging area for organizing log rafts. The log rafts were then floated down river to the lumber mills of the Mississippi.

For the lumberjacks who followed the log drives from the north woods to the Mississippi River, Round Hill was a day's walk on their return trip and a common overnight lodging stop.

In 1916, the Catholic Church purchased Round Hill, intending to establish a retirement home for aging priests. A small chapel ws dedicated at the site and a grotto built into the hillside. Buildings were improved, a dormitory added as well as facilities for overnight retreats.

The church continued to use the property until 1949 when it was sold back to the Gillmore family, who owned and resided on the property until 1996. During the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 the Catholic Church again purchased Round Hill to honor its importance for the church, to inspire new evangelization of the area and to preserve its natural beauty.

Round Hill is home to rare and endangered species of plants, birds, insects, and fish, such as puccoon and spiderwort, the red-shouldered hawk, the Cerulean Warbler, the Pecatonia River Mayfly, the Arcadian Flycatcher, the Higgins Eye Mussel, and the crystal darter.

Today Round Hill is maintained by the Diocese of LaCrosse in cooperation with the State of Wisconsin, preserving for posterity this natural and unspoiled area.

It will be worth the trip just to bask in its beauty. Add to this a great chili feed and live entertainment and what looks like a perfect late summer evening temperature-wise, and you have an unforgettable evening.

See ya there!


______________________________________________

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Don't Ordinarily Trade Cars Yearly, But --

Yesterday was quite a day. Over the Labor Day weekend I went on line to see if I could find any used 2006 Toyota Scion xB's for sale. I bought a sharp little Scion xA a little over a year ago and although I loved the car dearly, it wasn't long after I purchased that I realized I should have bought the slightly larger "wagon", which is what the xB is.

Tuesday morning I began calling the dealerships that were listed as having xB's available. I first connected with V&H in Marshfield. I thought we had done most of the deal on an '05 over the phone, so I told him to hold it for me and started driving to Marshfield.

After getting out about 40 miles, I receive a call on my cell phone from a very apologetic salesman who tells me the car sold on the previous saturday.

So I returned to the office and continued down my list of possibles. The next was an "arctic white" in Rochester, MN. The salesman told me he was certain it was on the lot but I told him to go check. Good thing I insisted because he returned to tell me it had sold last saturday also.

Next I tried dealing with an outfit in Minneapolis that basically wanted to rape me.

Then I put a call into Rosemurgy Toyota and bingo! I found a black, 2006 with only 5,500 miles on it, I spent the rest of the day driving to Wausau, negotiating a final deal, and returning home with my new "pre-owned" vehicle.

I was particularly impressed with my salesman at Rosemurgy, Matthew McCleod, a 24 year old former marine who just got back not too long ago from serving one hitch in Kandahar Province in Afghanistan and a second in Iraq where he was involved in a classic Iraqi ambush -- first hit by an IED, then RPG's and small arms fire.

Matthew's injuries were mostly to his right leg and knee, which is now held togethr by two titanium pins. A finer young man you will never meet. I am just glad he is out of harm's way and didn't die for George Bush and Haliburton. If you are in the market for a good new or used vehicle, I recommend you contact Matthew at the Rosemurgy Auto Mall just off Highway 51 North, Wausau. His e mail: mmcleod@rosemurgy.com. Cell phone: 715 212 0643.

Hopefully this is the last car I will have to buy in this life time. Toyotas have really good reputations as long runners and I will probably have my license taken from me for being too old to drive before I get this one paid off!

George For Sale at Half Price -- Gee, I Wonder Why

I copied this text from Historic Aviation's web site:

Now, you can buy this highly collectible figure of Pres. George W. Bush - fully outfitted in a U.S. Navy flightsuit - at 50% savings! A great addition to any military or presidential collection, it's sure to fly off our shelves at this incredible sale price of only $19.95, so don't miss out on this special offer. Order now!

Product Description
This intricately detailed, articulated and highly collectible 12" figure depicts President George W. Bush as he appeared on May 1, 2003, when he landed on the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). While at the controls of an S-3B Viking aircraft - designated "Navy 1" - from the "Blue Sea Wolves" of VS-35, he overflew the carrier before handing it over to the pilot for landing. Figure arrives fully uniformed including a helmet, an oxygen mask, a parachute, and more.

Item: #81009
Reg. Price: $39.95
Now Only: $19.95

I son't think Historic Aviation need worry about these figures "flying off their shelves" just because it's half price. Try selling him at the his percentage of approval rating. Probably still wouldn't!

____________________________________________________________

Monday, September 3, 2007

Old Tractors Star At Old Time Farm Fest

The turn out for "The Old Time Tractor Fest", located up the big hill on Hiway 95 going east out of Fountain Cty appeared larger to me this year than last. The featured tractor was any and all Minnepolis-Moline tractors that came in to show off.

When I arived, bingo was still very much in session in the tent I was to set up in, so I was able to take my time moving my electronic stuff towards the stage. I even had time to make a little side trip to the pictured buildng: "Ye Olde Bake Shoppe" for a sweet roll and some peanut butter cookies. They were also baking home made bread in an outside free standing oven.

The show went really well. I had a large, responsive audience, which always makes it a joy.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Old Shanty boy, Jay Moore, of 106.7 Moose radio in the front row. He ws even kind enough to help this old man get the equpment back into the Tamata.

After the show I thought about making a stop at the Alma Arts Festival, but got there too late to hear The River Benders, so I just truned her around and headed for home.

Probably a wise move. I am very tired today.

_______________________________________________________________

Saturday, September 1, 2007

River Benders -- Prodigious Pickers, Hot Harmonies -- All That And They Write

Just so you know. The arts are flourishing in the valleys Mississippi and Chippewa. I don't get out much anymore. Without a nap mid-day, I'm asleep in front of the TV by 8PM.

Last night I got out because there was money involved. But I knew it was going to be a lotta fun too because I had worked with two of The River Benders in a previous life. Brian "Woody" Schillinger, (on your right with the Gibson 335) and I used to share the stage at O'Leary's Pub for many a year and oft, taking turns following each other.

Brian is a very skilled finger style acoustic guitarist, a great singer, songwriter, and he knows his way around a Strat and a 335.

Mac Cherry, on the left, besides being the owner and driving force behind The Big River Theater, is a left-handed picker who doubles on mandolin and guitar. I had worked for him once before and didn't exactly pack the place but Mac and I had fun anyway as he joined me singing glorious harmony on "Irish Heart".

The Michelle in the Middle is really Patty and I wish I had a brain because I can't remember her last name or the first and last name of her husband who plays bass in the band. My apologies to the drummer as well. Damn! It's hell getting old! Should have written it all down last night! I just wanted to tell everyone who reads this that Patty has a fantastic singing voice as can be attested to by audience response friday night.

Back in the corner on the right, mostly obscured by Brian's Gibson 335, is Rick Sampson, premiere five string banjo and mandolin player in the midwest. He played some tasty thirds on banjo above "Woody's" lead guitar notes, producing a sound combination I found intriguing.

The River Benders are a great band. Their clean harmonies and their overall tightness leads me to believe two things: they love what they're doing and they practice a lot!

If you make the run down to Alma for the arts festival, you can catch The River Benders out there in the early afternoon. Heck, I might even drop in after I finish my set at the Old Time Farm Fest up the hill on Highway 95 just out of Fountain City town. Get out there and enjoy late summer. How's that song go: I laid around and played around this old town too long, summer's almost gone --

_____________________________________________________________________

The Big River Theater -- Mac Cherry's Dream and Passion

If you haven't been down to the beautiful little river town of Alma, Wisconsin, (I love river towns) you owe it to yourself and those you love to drive down the scenic river road, Highway 35 outside of Durand, or Highway 37 out of Mondovi, to take in the sights and sounds, and I mean sounds as the trains run right along side the Mississippi and you get that lonesome whistle and the wondrous clatter of train cars as they deliver goods both north and south.
In addition, you have the deep, mournful call of the river barges as they, too, transport goods up and down the mighty river. There is nothing more striking than watching the barges , their search lights feeling along the shoreline through wispy fog, from the vantage point of the Alma Marina, or even better, high atop the bluff above Alma.

There's leather goods stores, art stores, great food, but the gem of gems in Alma is The Big River Theater at 121 South Main Street. If you are going south, it will be on your left. Blink and you will miss it! I miss it every time and end up turning around down by the feed mill. There is only one word to describe this performer and audience's paradise: intimate. Having performed there, I can tell you that it is, without a doubt, one of the best rooms in the state for live performance.

Owner and entrepreneur Mac Cherry has passionately brought The Big River Theater to life. In addition to being both an excellent musician (he's a lefty!) and singer, the man is a man with a vision and a dream. In the not too distant past, he conjured the idea of putting together a radio show with a house band and guest performers, in the fashion of one GK and has stepped up and put his dream into motion.

From what I understand he has a number of shows "in the can" (show biz talk for taped) and he is now busily attempting to get the show into syndication. Friday night, August 31, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to be one of his guest performers and we had a great time! The audiences for both the 6PM and the 8PM shows were caught up in Mac Cherry's dream web and responded in kind.

So here's a tip! Autumn is already coming down the track. That means the extra added attraction of another great artist as nature splashes the oaks and maples and you can take in two great shows!