HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harley Heagle/Wilson -- May 6, 1993 - October 30, 2007 Joins His Sister In Rest


This is turning out to be a week of trials to our souls here at 4896 Hobbs Road.

Harley, the boy cat of our brother and sister team, seemed to be starting to adjust to the fact that Hannah was gone.

However, there is something that should be known about Harley. For one thing, he was given to seizures, very frightening episodes where he would thrash around terribly for a minute or so before it would pass, sometimes falling off the bed in its throes.

Secondly, and the trait that proved his downfall, he was the "jumpiest" cat alive. The slightest unrecognized sound would send him tearing hell bent out of a room.

And that is what happened earlier this morning. he was lying on the bathroom rug watching Kim prepare for school. Kim came over to him, squatted down, petted him and spoke encouragngly to him. When she raised back up, she brushed the toilet seat cover ever so slightly -- but it made a small noise that Harley couldn't identify.

He immeditely leapt to his feet and attempted to tear out of the bathroom, but his back claws hung in the bathroom rug, twisting his left rear leg badly.

It became very apparent that there was something seriously wrong with his left leg. It hung at a funny angle and he was in serious pain.

I loaded him in the car and had him at the vet's as soon as they opened. My thinking was that it was probably a broken leg that they could set and brace.

But it wasn't a break. It was much worse than that. He had torn all the ligaments that hold the patella in place. The vet explained that there was a chance they could peform surgery, deepen the groove that the patella sat in.

The sugery however would cost over one thousand dollars and there was no guarantee that a cat of his age would even survive the anesthesia.

It became clear that there was only one clear alternative -- he would have to be put to sleep.

So twenty days after his sister left, Harley joined her. I buried him right next to her this morning.

Hannah and Harley were, Kim and I decided sometime ago, to be our last pets. As much joy as they gave through the years as a part of the family, neither Kim nor I can deal with the heatache and pain of their loss.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Latest From Tiit In Rochester Disheartenng

I just received a very disheartenng e mail from Tiit Raid in Rochester's Mayo.

apparently until now, Tiit had not understood what the doctors were telling him. I don't really understand this! Here are excerpts:

"Had a new head doctor in this morning and he cleariy "layed-down-the-law" in terms of my condition.

I now realize that this is exactly what Dr. Santana tried to tell me about two weeks ago...except I was in a somewhat "messed-up" mental state due to the drugs and having just come out of a deep sleep...Ann was not there so I didn't hear clearily.

So here's the story...get ready...because this is kind of a new realization for me too...with the type of acute leukemia I am afflicted with I have 1 to 3 years on this planet. Well...I'm sorry...but this is NOT acceptable!!!
I guess Ann has realized it all along...but for some reason I didn't hear it...perhaps it was an unwillingnes to listen...but I don't think so...I just didn't make the connection...because I never have thought that the time I have was so short.

So what's next? First...I refuse to buy into the 1 to 3 year business...I'm going to be around here for a long time...I'm going to be in that 3.5% of my age group who make it! Again...this might be wishful thinking...but when I told the new head chief that his prediction was not accepable...he said that the "body tends to follow what the mind tells it"...I believe this to be he case. Now...it is time to put my belief in the power of the mind into action...I will add to my routine the visualization that I am completely healthy! Walking and running and playing golf and painting and all the rest in a healthy and strong body...one that will be better and stronger and healthier than it ever was.

I have a lot of things I want to do yet...and dying is not one of them."

I am wth Tiit on this one! He will outlive all of us.

In the meantime, we need to pray, send positive vibes, send cards, make telephone calls, and show him how much he is appreciated.

First Timer Planning For Lambeau In Mid-November -- Overkill or Underdressed








I don't know about you, but my thermostat doesn't adapt to changing conditions as well as it used to. I know this to be fact when I see college kids in cut-offs and tee shirts in late October.

I am usually in shock for the first three days of any temperature up or downswing, and when the seasons really change, I am totally lost as to how much clothing of what type I need to wear to stay warm.

I usually err in favor of being too warm and wear an army B-3 before October is gone.

When Kim and I went to the Packer/Redskin game on October 14, I managed to play it correctly. Saturday was beautiful and we could have gotten away with jeans and a hooded sweat shirt, but game day, clouds moved in big time and temps dropped.

I was only too happy that there was no wind of any consequence or it may have gotten a bit miserable even though we were wearing full rain suits that I had bought at Fleet Farm two months earlier in anticipation of just such an occurence.

It rained a kind of mixture of mist and drizzle throughout most of the game -- sneaky stuff that you didn't really notice until you bent your head and a river ran down your chest.

So now the weather has started its seasonal change. The first hard frost has taken its bow and it becomes more difficult for a guy like me, who is a non-hunter and therefore doesn't get out much in the cold weather.

So I went to the army-navy store and bought the clerk-recommended black polypropylene, first layer thermal wear, tops nd bottoms as pictured. This will be my foundation.

Then will come the Packer hoodie (pictured) over the thermal wear (which, by the way, zips up into a turtle neck for extra warmth.

Over the hoodie I will pull the extra large Packer jersey (#34) pictured. If this doesn't keep my top half warm, I will also bring my much decorated Packer jacket (see above w/Packer stocking cap) to complete the upper ensemble.

While at the army-navy store, I found a pair of "Big Bill" pure wool slacks to keep my bottom half warm. It has been years since I have even seen a pair of wool pants -- these babies are really heavy material and in a nice Packer green at that!

I also spent way too much money on thermal socks, but as you know, if your feet are cold -- everything else is cold, too.

Looking back at all this really warm clothing makes me get the feeling that Sunday, November 18, will be sunny and in the 60's.

An old man stripping in the 123rd section is not a pretty sight.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Not A Day Of Rest But Turbulence

I just ordered my stove wood for the upcoming winter heating season here at the office. I am trying to remember what split, dry oak is up to now -- I think it's $65 per face cord. I ordered six face cord. That has always been more than enough, as I am burning my way through the last of last year's right now.

I do have a gas furance, but I am hoping to use that sparingly by keeping the wood stove going 24 hours a day. I find that if I can remember to get over here about 10PM each night, cram the stove full, and damper down, I can come over in the morning to a still warm situation and enough glowing coals that coaxed along with some chunks of bark will get the fire going for the day.

I keep the thermostat set at 60 degrees and probably should low it to 45 degrees as I have in past winters, as that tends to motivate me further into being a responsible fire man.

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Here it is -- Sunday and still no Packer game! Monday night in Denver. ESPN and in high def. I'll be glued to the set. I caught the HBO pundits picks for the game earlier this week. Everybody but Bob Costas is picking the Denver Broncos to win.

I have been doing my homework, reading Packer blogs, etc, and I predict a Packer win, even without the help of newly activated Koren Robinson who has been practicing all week but exhibiting a great deal of soreness.

I say this is Deshawn Wynn's week to establish himself as our leading rusher. He's a big kid and I like what I have seen from him so far. To my way of thinking, it is just a matter of time before the running back/zone blocking starts to really click.

I hope I am not just whistling in the dark.

I also know that Brett became a bit testy at his interview after the Washington Redskins game over the fact that he failed to connect with open receivers.

Anytime you challenge Brett's ability to play, the next opponent is in for an exhibition of proof.

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I received this e mail as a "forward" this past week:

Just a quick refresher course lest we forget what has
happened to many "friends" of the Clinton's

1-James McDougal - Clinton's convicted Whitewater
partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary
confinement.
He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

2 -Mary Mahoney - A former White House intern was
murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks C offee Shop in
Georgetown. The murder happened just after she was to
go public with her story of sexual harassment in the
White House.

3- Vince Foster - Former White House counselor and
colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock's Rose Law firm. Died of a
gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.

4- Ron Brown - Secretary of Commerce and former DNC
Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane
crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in
the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time
of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of
his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors. The rest of the people
on the plane
also died. A few days later the air Traffic
controller committed
suicide.

5- C. Victor Raiser II- Raiser, a major player in the
Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July
1992

6-Paul Tulley - Democratic National Committee
Political Director found dead in a hotel room in
Little Rock, September 1992. Described by Clinton as a
"dear friend and trusted advisor".

7-Ed Willey - Clinton fund raiser, found dead November
1993 deep in the woods in VA of a gunshot wound to the
head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day
his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped
her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey
was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

8-Jerry Parks -Head of Clinton's gubernatorial
security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car
at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock. Park's
son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton.
He allegedly threatened to reveal this information.
After he died the files were mysteriously
removed from his house.

9-James Bunch - Died from a gunshot suicide. It was
reported that he had a "Black Book" of people which
contained names of influential people who visited
prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas.

10-James Wilson - Was found dead in May 1993 f rom an
apparent
hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to
Whitewater
.
11-Kathy Ferguson- Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny
Ferguson, was found dead in May 1994, in her living
room with a gunshot to her head.
It was ruled a suicide even though there were several
packed suitcases, as if she were going somewhere.
Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill
Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Kathy Ferguson was
a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

12-Bill Shelton - Arkansas State Trooper and fiance of
Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiance, he was
found dead in June, 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the
grave site of his fiance.

13-Gandy Baugh - Attorney for Clinton's friend Dan
Lassater, died by jumping out a window of a tall
building January, 1994. His client was a convicted
drug distributor.

14-Florence Martin - Accountant & subcontractor for
the CIA, was related to&nbs p;the Barry Seal Mean
Airport drug smuggling case. He died of three gunshot
wounds.

15- Suzanne Coleman - Reportedly had an affair with
Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of
a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a
suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

16-Paula Grober - Clinton's speech interpreter for the
deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She
died in a one car accident.

17-Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter.
Investigating Mean Airport and Arkansas Development
Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparently, in
the middle of his investigation.

18- Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption
at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October
Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in
his Washington, DC apartment. Had delivered a report
to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

19-Jon Parnell Walker - Whitewater investigator for
Resolution Trust Corp. Jumped to his death from his
Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993.
He was investigating the Morgan Guaranty scandal.

20-Barbara Wise - Commerce Department staffer. Worked
closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death
unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised, nude
body was found locked in her office at the Department
of Commerce.

21-Charles Meissner -Assistant Secretary of Commerce
who gave John Huang special security clearance, died
shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

22-Dr. Stanley Heard - Chairman of the National
Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died
with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane
crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton's
advisory council personally treated Clinton's mother,
stepfather and brother.

23-Barry Seal -Drug running pilot out of Men a
Arkansas , death was no accident.

24-Johnny Lawhorn Jr. - Mechanic, found a check made
out to Bill Clinton in the trunk of a car left at his
repair shop. He was found dead after his car had hit
a utility pole.

25-Stanley Huggins - Investigated Madison Guaranty.
His death was a purported suicide and his report was never released.

26- Hershell Friday - Attorney and Clinton fund raiser
died March 1, 1994 when his plane exploded.

27-Kevin Ives & Don Henry - Known as "The boys on the
track" case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled
upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation. A
controversial case, the initial report of death said,
due to falling asleep on railroad tracks. Later
reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being
placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died
before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.
THE FOLLOWING PERSONS HAD INFORMATION ON THE
IVES/HENRY CASE:

28-Keith Coney - Died when his motorcycle slammed into
the back of a truck

29-Keith McMaskle - Died stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988

30-Gregory Collins - Died from a gunshot wound January
1989.

31-Jeff Rhodes - He was shot, mutilated and found
burned in a trash dump in April 1989.

33-James Milan - Found decapitated. However, the
Coroner ruled his death was due to "natural causes".

34-Jordan Kettleson - Was found shot to death in the
front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.

35-Richard Winters - A suspect in the Ives / Henry
deaths. He was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989.

THE FOLLOWING CLINTON BODYGUARDS ARE DEAD:
36 -Major William S. Barkley Jr. 37-Captain Scott J . Reynolds 38-Sgt. Brian Hanley 39-Sgt. Tim Sabel 40-Major General William Robertson 41-Col. William Densberger 42-Col. Robert Kelly 43-Spec. Gary Rhodes 44-Steve Willis 45-Robert Williams 46-Conway LeBleu 47-Todd McKeehan

Whoever wrote this added:

Quite an impressive list! Pass this on. Let the public
become aware of what happens to friends of the
Clinton's.
HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT?

Wow! Bill and Hillary make the Sopranos look like boy scouts! If all this is true, don't you think it will come out if she is nominated by the democrats?

Personally, I would like someday to see a woman president, but I don't like Hillary because she is such a "politician" and I don't mean that in a good way.

I am backing Arizona Governor Bill Richardson, a straightforward voice of truth, who consequently, won't stand a chance in hell of winning the nomination.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

David Caradori - Another Treasure of the Chippewa Valley




Several months ago I went ahead and did what I had been thinking about doing for about a year. My favorite popover cups are ceramic and "little clay pot" shaped and I can't find replacements anywhere! I have asked in every kitchen supply store, including the one where I bought the originals, and I have scoured and googled the net until nearly mad, but all I can figure is that the company must have gone out of business.

A note: If you are like me, and you like to cook, you know how important finding just the right tool for the job is -- some pan that when filled with a batter turns out better cakes than anything else in your arsenal, the aged cast iron griddle that turns out buttermilk pancakes, the browning patterns of which are pieces of culinary art

And it takes time to trial and error your way to where you think maybe you now have the right tools to maybe call yourself a cook.

So it became replacement day. I visited with a very talented potter, David Caradori, who has his shop at 359 Ferry Steet and which, if memory serves, used to be operated by my old piano playing buddy, Chuck Solberg.

I explained what I wanted to David, we made some drawings, and I stressed that I wanted them deep and narrow enough to make tall, mushrooming popovers.

It took some time as David is not at a loss for work, but finally the day arrived. I went and picked up my twelve -- that's what I said -- twelve popover cups that come in sets of four. I am ready for dinner parties!

But first, there's the maiden-bake. Will they make great popoveres or dough torpedos?

Happy to announce that they pop and brown magnificently and I have also learned to leave them in until they are a really dark brown as it airs them out and makes them even more crispy.

Kudos to Mr. David Caradori!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

You Heard It Here First -- And You Still Won't Find It In The Eau Claire Paper

In lieu of a blog I wrote on August 8, 2007, "Eau Claire Police Has Paid Informers", yesterday's Leader-Telegram front page headline jumped out at me:

"Double Trouble"
Drunken driving arrests up sharply in Eau Claire

I figured that in the story they would come clean - Instead:

"Eau Claire police officers stopped more than twice as many drunken drivers in the first nine months of this year as in the same period in 2005.

And the 350 drunken driving arrests made by the Eau Claire Police Department since January have already exceeded the 2006 year-end total of 332.

"It hard to say what it's attributed to," said Jason Kaveney, ECPD's community relations officer. There hasn't been any new grant or special emphasis on drunken driving enforcement in the last year, he said.

In that August 8 blog, I said that I have an eye witness to the fact that the Eau Claire Police Department is paying informers, whether they be bartenders, gas station attendants, or late night waiters, waitresses, to call the police if they even smell alcohol on customers' breath.

If that tip leads to making the Eau Claire Police look really good in the paper by leading to an arrest, the informer receives $50.00.

So actually, Jason, it shouldn't be so hard to say what it's attributed to. It's attributed to having a state where you can get one citizen to inform upon another.

Let's see, where I have I heard that before -- oh yes, high school history class -- totalitarianism in Russia and Eastern Bloc.

Scary.

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A Raid Report From Rochester Mayo

For those of us who love Tiit Raid --

I got an e mail from Tiit yesterday, as follows:

Since things are on the mend here Ann drove home late this morning...this will be a good break for her from the hotel and shuffling after me...she'll drive back here tomorrow.

The Zahorik's mentioned a few days ago that our new grass is growing like crazy and looks marvelous...Ann will see it for the first time in over a week.

The doctors were in this morning and said that I need to stay for another week or so to "pump-up" my blood...then I can go home for a while. But I will need to come back to Mayo for the consolidation phase of the chemo in a few weeks...this will involve three days of "juice"...and then I can go home again.

I have plenty to do here...I'm particularly having a great time drawing...spend most of my waking hours at the drawing board...fun!

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My friend Kurt Weber -- Mind Reader And Good Friend Gives Me An Automobile



One of my all time favorite people in the world is Kurt Weber. Kurt is a former student of mine from one hundred years ago when I was teaching at Delong Middle School in Eau Claire.

Kurt was always a boon to any class with his positive approach and wacky sense of humor. He was way ahead of his classmates in maturity and used to come down to my room after school and we would make each other laugh. It was a great way to finish a long work day.

After he left for his senior high school days I lost track of him.

Then years later, I bumped into him at Randall's while grocery shopping and we vowed to renew the friendship. Unfortunately, the job market took him to the Twin Cities, so I still don't see him nearly as much as I would like.

He did get some some gainful employment for me at pizza parties and they were a blast!

Then yesterday, I got this small package from Kurt containing a miniature of my new vehicle, the Scion Xb. What's really kinda spooky is that, collector that I am, I had been looking for this very miniature to add to my "computer top" collection of the desert lizard, the double O Green Bay Packer, and the bobble head beaver.

My thanks to Kurt for his mind-reading abilities. Now I can stop hanging around toy departments where young mothers give me that "you're-an-old-pervert" look!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day Balances -- Take the Good With The Bad. Packer/Panther Tickets In

Ah, balance in life! Sometimes it happens! Something good happens the same day that you are being stressed. Today was one of those days! I spotted the Fed Ex Van pull in my driveway. Out climbs the lovely delivery lady, clutching only a large white cardboard courier. I am going through the files in my brain trying to figure out what I ordered.
I see the return ddress: "Events U.S.A. - Green Bay, WI".

"Oh! says I excitedly, "It's from Green Bay!"
"Yes!, she chimes in, "It's your Packer tickets!"

Suddenly it is a sacred day. forget the TV set bullshit! This envelope contains three tickets to the Golden Gates of St Lambeau. Three tickets that represent a second mortgage on the house. It was either that or a ski mask and a revolver. Never mind that on the day in question (Game Six) it will probably be spitting sleet and the wind will be turning it into razor blades; so much the better for our Packers in their green and gold. Actually, they are spinch and mustard colored!

-Bone jarring tackles become twice as painful when the recipient is wearing sissy powder blue, white, black, silver and is used to playing football where it rarely freezes.

Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r. Go you Panthers! Repel them, repel them, make them relinquish the ball! As my buddy Kurt Weber would say: "Get the gun!"

This will be a day, this November 18! This will be the desecration and violation of Shantyboy, sacrifice on the frozen tundra of a good old boy, a poor deprived lad who although long of tooth, ancient in years, has never attached the back of his lap to the cold aluminum benches of the greatest football stadium on earth.

Everyone needs to e mail Jay Moore at: jay@moose106.com - expressing their condolences for the gauntlet he is about to unknowingly run, poor misguided Panther fan that he is, surrounded by two avid Packer Backers, one who has moved all the way from New York City just to be able to go along with me to harrass him!

Here is a rough schedule: (feel free to refer to it in your e mail to Jay)

Saturday, November 17 - Larry and friend Tom Johnson leave Otter Creek, take 53N to Highway 29 East, having called Mr. Moore repeatedly throughout the morning to remind him that they are not stopping for him if he isn't out standing on Highway 29 at the 'X" exit at 10AM.

Noon, Saturday, November 17 - Stop at Sam's Pizza, Schofield for lunch. (Jay buys, if he's with us)

3PM: Arrive Day's Inn, Neenah, WI, for overnight lodging. You didn't REALLY think we could find lodging in Green Bay on a home game weekend, did you??

7PM: Jay buys steaks for everyone at Paper Valley Hotel, Appleton -- we consume copious amounts of coffee and Jameson's for dessert.

3AM, Sunday: Jay, using his Irish blarney, talks three cops out of arresting us for being disorderly in room.

4AM: Breakfast at Denny's ..what the hell? Why not? Still can't sleep. Curse you, caffeine!

10AM - Arrive in general area of Lambeau field --walk ten blocks to The Stadium View to watch TV analysts and scarf Bloody Marys made the Green Bay way (with dill pickle and horse radish).

11:15AM: fortified with vodka and tomato juice and dressed with more layering than a pan of lasagna, we take our seats in section 123, Row 60, seats 13-15 (don't to forget to give Jay ticket with seat #13) We read the warning signs about ejection. This sobers us for a time.

12:15 - Vinnie Testaverde, with the help of a walker, finally makes it out to the field. We make Wesley Walker jokes.

3PM - Game over. we decide to wait it out while others clear parking lots --we can watch Vinnie Testaverde work his way back to the dressing room with his walker. By the time he disappears in the tunnel, it will be clear sailing on the highway.

Go, Pack, Go!

Irresponsible Consumer Loses It - -- Goes In Search of New Help

An editorial

I am a CONSUMER. It's not something I am proud of, actually, "but there it is", as a friend of mine would say, the sometimes ugly truth. I do love my toys and comfort. I am addicted to television. Something else I rarely admit.

Ever since the advent of cable I have been tangled in its signal-web.

So when digital high definition hit the market I would stand in Walmart (yikes -- more polititcal incorrectness) and drool at the amazing clarity of the images.

And Kim is so good about it. Hell, she couldn't really care less about television -- movies, yes, TV, no. I talked her into a set and since our last set was a Hitachi and gave us absolutely perfect service for 6 years, it was back to The FS Appliance Center, site of my first purchase, where I bought a 37 incher -- no need to go hog wild.

Well, here's where my editorial starts. Whatever happened to "the customer is always right" or "the costumer comes first"? We don't hear that much anymore. Business doesn't believe it any more. Back in the 40's, when business said "The customer is always right", they actually meant it! But somewhere in the 80's's - I think it was - that began to shift.

Now, nobody really gives a shit about their job and doing it right the first time. And they fall behind because they refuse to hire enough competent people so that they don't get stressed, and they get a bad attitude.

Example:

Everything is just swell between the consumer and the repairman as long as the television set doesn't start acting up.

I thought, having been a customer for about 15 years, and having thrown a lot of money in the direction of Erickson's TV, that they could be called on if I had technical difficulties.

The new set, shortly after being set up, exhibited some jumpy picture on "Source One" which carried my DVD picture, so I gave Erickson's a call and they got all the paperwork done with FS. It would not cost me anything because, good consumer that I am, I had added a two year insurance plan on the warranty and Hitachi would be paying Erickson TV for the work.

Erickson's supposedly put a new input in for "Source One" and it ran well for about two months and then -- yippee~! -- jumpy picture again!

So I call Erickson's and tell them that the same problem is happening again. They tell me that it is my DVD player, that it can't be the input, and that's all they will have to do with the problem.

They won't even set up an appointment to look at the problem.

So today I went back to FS and told them the story and asked where I could find a , dependable, consumer-oriented television repair in Eau Claire that in addition to having a good rapport with the customer, doesn't have a secretary that'll take your head off - and he recommended "Technical Difficulties".

This after Pete at FS had me bring in the DVD player and test it out at the store, then run home and get the cable and test that because there was nothing wrong with the DVD player and oddly enough, the cables are good too.

Shoe's on the other foot, folks. We consumer/material world junkies are no longer in charge. There's too many of us. So many, in fact, that business can basically tell you to go screw yourself because they don't need or want your business - there's thirty other buttheads already clamoring for their services.

Guess I should feel fortunate that "Technical Difficulties" won't be out to look at the problem until a week from today. At least they are willing to take me on as a customer.

Good thing I like to read as well.

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Heagles Have Many Established In Music, Arts


At the recent family gathering, I had a chance to visit a bit with my niece, Karen Heagle, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has established herself as a painter of some note in various New York galleries.

If you re interested in seeing more of her work, go to:

http://www.i-20.com/artist.php?artist_id=76&page=images&work_id=609.

Karen is the eldest daughter of my eldest brother, Bob, and even as a young girl exhibited her artistic bent with, as I recall, a series of holstein cow paintings.

I hadn't seen her work in a long time, but she told me to go to Time Out New York as a starting point in finding her work, but I "googled" Karen and clicked on the i-20.com reference.

Not that I am a proud uncle or anything, but the following is a review from Time Out New York, issue 544, March 2-8, 2006, by Max Henry:

"Karen Heagle's art is the painting equivalent of a muscle car: lean and mean with torque. The Brooklyn-based artist's first solo show at the gallery inaugurates the new home of I-20, which has relocated from a top floor on West 20th Street to a ground level space three blocks north.

She paints with n aggressive post-Pop sensibility and approprites images from a wide swath of sources, both art-related (the Italian Renaissance, Christian Schad, Alice Neel, Jenny Saville) and not (a canvas in the office portrays rock star Dave Navarro).

"Bather (After Margritte)" is based on a famous Surrealist painting from 1948 titled Le Galet, in which a voluptuous nude woman licks her shoulder. In Heagle's version, a rich palette, ranging from cool to warm, enhances the erotic interplay between the provocative image and corporeal sensuality of paint itself.

"Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian" (a favorite subject of Renaissance painters) is dominated by a nked man, his forearms tied to a pole and his elongated torso as yet unpierced by an arrow. Behind him, a pale blue sea flows into a horizon of deep, melancholic violet ddaubed with red to suggest the last remnants of sunset.

Heagle's painting has improved considerably, most noteably in her handling of limbs nd faces. The canvases here are at once more refined and more robust than the rougher contributions the artist has made in her past group exhibitions. More impressive still, with this graceful and brawny show, she manages to pull off something Romantic without romanticizing her influences."

Congratulations to my niece, Karen! Proud to be your uncle.

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Priests Jailed for Protesting Fort Huachuca Torture Training
By Bill Quigley
t r u t h o u t | Report

Wednesday 24 October 2007

Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were sentenced to five months each in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.

Fort Huachuca is the headquarters of military intelligence in the US and the place where military and civilian interrogators are taught how to extract information from prisoners. The priests attempted to deliver their letter to Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, commander of Fort Huachuca. Fast was previously the head of all military intelligence in Iraq during the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.

The priests were arrested while kneeling in prayer halfway up the driveway to Fort Huachuca in November 2006. Both priests were charged with trespassing on a military base and resisting orders of an officer to stop.

In a pre-trial hearing, the priests attempted to introduce evidence of torture, murder and gross violations of human rights in Afghanistan, at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at Guantanamo. The priests offered investigative reports from the FBI, the US Army, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Social Responsibility documenting hundreds of incidents of human rights violations. Despite increasing evidence of the use of torture by US forces sanctioned by President Bush and others, the federal court in Tucson refused to allow any evidence of torture, the legality of the invasion of Iraq, or international law to be a part of the trial.

Outside the courthouse, before the judge ordered them to prison, the priests explained their actions: "The real crime here has always been the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca and the practice of torture around the world. We tried to deliver a letter asking that the teaching of torture be stopped and were arrested. We tried to put the evidence of torture on full and honest display in the courthouse and were denied. We were prepared to put on evidence about the widespread use of torture and human rights abuses committed during interrogations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in Iraq and Afghanistan. This evidence was gathered by the military itself and by governmental and human rights investigations."

Fr. Vitale, a longtime justice and peace activist in San Francisco and Nevada, said, "Because the court will not allow the truth of torture to be a part of our trial, we plead no contest. We are uninterested in a court hearing limited to who was walking where and how many steps it was to the gate. History will judge whether silencing the facts of torture is just or not. Far too many people have died because of our national silence about torture. Far too many of our young people in the military have been permanently damaged after following orders to torture and violate the human rights of other humans."

Fr. Kelly, who walked to the gates of Guantanamo with the Catholic Worker group in December of 2005, concluded, "We will keep trying to stop the teaching and practice of torture whether we are sent to jail or out. We have done our part for now. Now it is up to every woman and man of conscience to do their part to stop the injustice of torture."

The priests were prompted to protest by continuing revelations about the practice of torture by US military and intelligence officers. The priests were also deeply concerned after learning of the suicide in Iraq of a young, devout, female military interrogator, Alyssa Peterson of Arizona, shortly after arriving in Iraq. Peterson was reported to be horrified by the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

Investigation also revealed Fort Huachuca was the source of infamous "torture manuals" distributed to hundreds of Latin American graduates of the US Army School of Americas at Fort Benning, GA. Demonstrations against the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca have been occurring for the past several years each November and are scheduled again for November 16 and 17 this year.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tiit Raid Is Winning Battle! Friends Are Overjoyed -- I Take A Short Sojourn To Taylor County



I am just back from taking a relaxing overnight with old friends, Jerry and Carol Way, but before I get into that, I want to share the e mail I found on my computer when I got here. It is from Ann Raid, Tiit's wife, via Rochester, Miinnesota:

"The bone marrow biopsy results are in and the leukemia is in remission - YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We will meet with the doctors tomorrow to see if Tiit still needs a spinal tap and what type of consolidation theraphy he will need during the coming year. This is such great news. Thanks to all of you for your support, notes, cards, visits, gifts and thoughts. This may be the happiest day of my life. Ann"

If you have been following this drama as it has unfolded over the past weeks, you know what really good news this is to me personally and to all of us that love Tiit so very much.

I am convinced that it is through the power of his own positive thinking and the help of all the positive love energy that all of us sent his way!

I will write more about Tiit's wondrous recovery later.

This is a photo of Jerry and Carol (waving from porch) Way's new cabin in the woods about 15 miles north of Medford on Mud Lake. They have neighbors, mostly Carol's relatives, but you would never know that anyone lives near them, their location is that secluded.

The whole cabin is heated with my favorite kind of heat, a wood stove, and when I arrived it was very, very cozy and warm.

The roof is tin and late in the day we got some rain and there is nothing more comforting than listening to the rain on a tin roof, sitting near a glowing stove.

I brought the "pizza kit" along and we had pizza for supper before Jerry and I sat around with the guitars and swapped tunes and old "war" stories of our days together as musicians early in our careers.

There are lofts at both ends of the cabin with sleeping accomodations and by 10PM I was ready to call it a day, having impolitely conked out on the couch earlier.

After breakfast, Jerry took me for a tour around the lake in his Jeep Cherokee on logging trails -- going places only a 4 wheel drive vehicle could handle.

I got a chance to meet Carol's brother who pretty much lives off the land up there. He is a very fascinating man, very much in tune with nature and his surroundings, and he shared some of his hunting experiences with us.

Next year, when Kim has time, we will return for another visit because I know Kim will be green with envy when she looks out the front windows of the cabin to the beautiful view of the lake.

My thanks to both Jerry and Carol for extending the invitation and getting me off my dead ass and out into the world! Now I have to run over to the house and check on my pork roast and red cabbage!

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Telltale Signs of Aging Raising Their Ugly Heads -- Tiit Raid To The Rescue

More and more, I am having to come to grips that I am perceived by "younger people" as an elderly person. It happened again this morning.

Being in a mood to procrastinate, I skipped over the part where I vacuum the office floor, do the dishes that are startng to ominously pile in and near the sink, and I went directly to the part where I go into Borders bookstore armed with nothing more than overstressed credit cards.

As I reach the doors, there is a "young man" exiting and he makes a show of holding the door open for me. When I say "makes a show", I mean that we didn't inadvertently pass in the actual doorway. No, he had already exited, spotted me, and then held the door open. Let's put it into a baseball idiom: If I had been trying to score from third, I would have been, as they say, out by a mile.

This has happened to me before but this was my first male. In the past, it has been women.

I also have noticed that I am taking on attitudes of the elderly.

I talk to myself in public. Mercifully, no one notices thanks to the advent of bluetooth technology. Hell, everyone appears to be talking to themselves.

On the way out of "my store" (I call it that because I can't remember the name of the place just now -- another dead give away that even, I, as well as these "young people" am beginning to perceive myself as an elderly person -- I am passed by two fast moving 19 year old females, college women, I suspect, and one is wearing short shorts and flip flops!

Five years ago, I might have thought to myself: "Nice legs."

But now I say, under my breath: "Holy shit! Short shorts and flip flops on October 22!"

All the way home I ponder why she is so dressed. I try not to be negative. She is a hot kinda woman; all her jeans are in the laundry; she refuses to accept that summer's gone;

But I can't help myself. I think she wants dirty old men like me to leer at her.

Well, then slow down, baby! I can't get a decent leer going at those speeds!

I have been walking on egg shells all morning, wondering how Tiit's marrow tests are going over there at Mayo Clinic. Then I got back here and found an e mail from him that really defines him and his outstanding attitude about life and living it. I don't think he will mind if I share it because there is a lesson in it to which we should all aspire.

Here it is: (hallway golf)

Larry:

The other thing I do everyday is putting sometime in the late evening hours when most of the guests have gone home and the hall ways and lounges are free.

I play a game I call 1-3...I have one colored ball and three white balls...I hit the colored ball first and then try to hit it with the other three balls.

The end of the long hall has a rug...as do the lounges...so I can hit 20-25 foot putts. Fun game.

About 12:30 Ithey will do the bone marrow stuff.


My Note: Even though the tests were done today, the results won't be available for a day or two.

Tiit

Tiit is just so COOL! I love the way he has kept "the child" in him alive and that he has such great imagination that he was able come up with his Hospital Hallway golf game.

I just checked my watch and he is either finished or in the middle of the bone marrow check right now. I have been in an agitated state today for no apparent reason other than I am pulling for him. Kim is not coming home for supper tonight -- It's "Get Away Girls" night out -- so I am batching it -- wishing Tiit was in Fall Creek so that I could call him and invite him over for left over brats, beer, dill pickles, and Monday Night Football.

He gave me pause -- The "golf game" -- that's the kind of thing I would do when I was a kid and my imagination was very much alive.

And it illustrates the point I guess I am trying to make this time around and that is that there is something to be said for the power of positive thinking and living each of life's moments to the fullest.

While John was home (my brother the father), we touched on the theory that if you stay in the present at all times, your life's journey, no matter how high the highs or low the lows will be a happy one.

Or as Tiit likes to say: "Well -- there you have it. What is, is."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Green By Packers Lose Another of Their Historical Greats



Emergency crews were called to Max McGee's residence at approximately 5:20 p.m. Saturday after a report that a man had fallen off his roof and was unconscious.

Life-saving measures were performed on McGee, but emergency personnel were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Born William "Max" McGee on July 16, 1932, in Saxton City, Nev., he played a total of 12 seasons for the Packers. After playing high school football in White Oak, Texas, and then collegiately at Tulane University, the Packers selected McGee in the fifth round of the 1954 NFL draft.

After catching 36 passes, including nine touchdowns, as a rookie, McGee spent the next two years as a pilot in the Air Force.

Despite his service to his country, Mr. McGee ended his career with 345 receptions for 6,346 yards and an 18.4-yard average, the second highest per-catch average in team history. He remains the 10th-highest scorer with 306 points on 51 touchdowns.

Sports writer Bud Lea, who has covered the Packers for 53 years, said Saturday night, "There'll never be another Max McGee; just one of the guys that stands out, out of all the guys I've covered."

"He was the most uncomplicated athlete I ever covered in my whole career," Lea said. "Always approachable . . . What he said is what he meant."

Lea, who covered the team for many years for the Milwaukee Sentinel and now covers them for Packer Plus, also said McGee liked a good time and that the public adored him.

"He stands out as one guy that I will never forget," Lea said.

Lee Remmel, the Packers' team historian, called McGee "one of the most colorful players in our history, as well as one of the more talented."

McGee was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1975, alongside former teammates and close friends - some of whom were known to enjoy a good time together away from the field - Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer and Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston.

Also inducted that year was Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi, who got a quick introduction to the always colorful McGee early in Lombardi's tenure.

Upset over a loss, Lombardi decided to start with the fundamentals - by introducing a football.

From the back of the room, McGee replied, "Uh, Coach, could you slow down a little. You're going too fast for us."

Even an angry Lombardi was forced to laugh. And McGee might have been the only player who could have gotten away with that.

By the time Super Bowl I was played on Jan. 15, 1967, McGee was a reserve who had caught just four passes all season. Figuring he wouldn't see much playing time behind starter Boyd Dowler, McGee had one of his infamous nights out on the town in Los Angeles.

McGee left the team hotel after the 11 p.m. bed-check by assistant coach Dave "Hawg" Hanner.

McGee tried to entice Hornung, his roommate, to join him and two American Airlines stewardesses at a local bar. Hornung declined, as he was getting married in three days.

"Neither of us figured to play in the game," McGee recounted in Lea's book, "Magnificent Seven." "Then Hornung backed out. . . . the fine was something like $15,000 if you got caught breaking curfew the night before the game. Hell, that's what we were going to get if we won the game. You know, money didn't mean much to me."

McGee returned to his room just in time for the Packers' team breakfast and then caught an hour's nap before boarding the bus to the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The 34-year-old veteran was seated on the bench next to Hornung, discussing the upcoming wedding and bachelor party, when Lombardi ordered him into the game after Dowler was injured on the second play of the game. McGee couldn't find his helmet.

"I forgot to bring it out, and I played the first series with somebody else's helmet," McGee said in the book. "I told Dad Braisher (equipment manager) to go find my helmet, and he found it."

McGee would go on to produce one of the greatest performances in Super Bowl history: seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns as Green Bay beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

In a 2002 interview, McGee said he remained proud of his playing career.

"I'm glad I got to play when I did," McGee said. "I don't even like football anymore because every time a guy gets a hand in on a tackle, he's doing a back-flip or pounding his chest.

"I played at a great time with some great guys. And even though the money wasn't close to what it's like today, we had a great time."

McGee had a second career in the NFL for two decades. In 1979, with Bart Starr as head coach, McGee teamed up with Jim Irvin as the radio play-by-play team for the Packer Radio Network.

Broadcast on stations across the state, McGee was known for his straightforward and candid comments as well as his unique insight to the game. Just before Green Bay's Reggie White sacked New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe for the third time in Super Bowl XXXI, and it was clear the Packers would win their first Super Bowl in 29 years, McGee said: "I tell you one thing, there's nothing better than being the World's Champion."

McGee retired from the radio booth at the end of the 1998 season.

"After being here for so many years and being with the Packers organization since 1954, some way or another I've been involved for so long," McGee said in announcing his retirement.

McGee was also a successful businessman after his playing days. A year after he retired, he became the co-founder of the Mexican chain restaurant Chi Chi's, during the late 1970s and '80s. According to an article in Time magazine in 1982, McGee owned "some 150,000 Chi-Chi's shares, worth about $4 million, and is a director of the company." By 1998 McGee had sold his interests in the chain. Time reported in 2005 that McGee's worth "now is measured in the tens of millions of dollars."

Chi Chi's folded in 2004.

McGee, who in 1999 founded the Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, is survived by his wife, Denise, two sons and numerous grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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I was sitting watching the run up to the Steeler/Bronco game tonight when I saw the news crawl at the bottom of the screen announcing the tragic accident that ended Max McGee's life at age 75.

Max was always a favorite of mine back in the "glory years" of Lombardi's Packers and who can forget the spectacular behind the back catch he made on a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first Superbowl?

At that time there weren't too many that knew how incredibly hung over he was that day, having partied all night in Los Angeles, thinking that his number wouldn't be called as he was backing Boyd Dowler.

I am currently reading Paul Hornung's "Lombardi and Me" and here's what the Golden Boy has to say about Max:

" Max and I hit it off right away, probably because we recognized quickly that we were very much alike. He was more than my teammate; he was my partner in crime, my running buddy, my best playmate.

I've never met anybody who liked to have a good time more than Max. I like to say that Max went to Tulane and majored in Bourbon Street. But no matter what he had done the night before, Max was always ready on Sunday afternoon. When he came off the bench to become MVP in Superbowl I, he was hung over. But Lombardi loved him as much as he did me. I think he knew we were having more fun than he was and it pissed him off.

Max was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago, but he started taking medication and seems to be hanging in there just fine."

When he became the "color" man to Jim Irwin on Packer game radio broadcasts, I think everybody in the state would turn the TV announcers off and the radio up. They were that good together.

I was really saddened when they retired in 1998. It really hasn't been the same since. And tonight I am even more saddened to find out that he is gone.

Max McGee is so much a part of my personal relationship with the Green Bay Packers, both as a player in the first Superbowl, and as an announcer in Superbowl XXXI.

Rest in peace to one of the greats.

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Bye Week Withdrawals Continue

Suffering through the Packers bye week, watching the Vikings/Cowboys or as I call them the "Queens" and "The Cowgirls" and admiring the masterpiece of marketing Terrill Owens really is. He just caught a touchdown pass and" acted like he's been there before" as the 1960's Packers used to phrase it.

So after being a complete asshole for how many years is it? Seems like 20, T.O., before your very eyes, is maturing. And taking his cue from T.O., Randy Moss is doing the same thing. Now we're supposed to love them both.

Hey. I'm Irish. I don't ever get over crud like that. Once an asshole, always an asshole, say I.

If you read this thing regularly, you are aware of my NFL jersey fetish. Pictured here is an Elijah Pitts jersey, a facsimile of the true style of jersey that was worn in the 1960's.

I own a Don Chandler (#34), made by this source and it is by far my most favorite jersey. It is a 60/40 combination of nylon and polyester.

I also have a Washington Redskin Billy Kilmer (#17) burgundy home jersey, and again, it is by far the best quality jersey I own.

Before I go further, you can find these on eBay through Harv Harvison at I_have_the_gift.

I know that Mitchell and Ness is the name everyone reveres, but I own a Bart Starr (#15) home jersey by Mitchell and Ness and I really don't think it is as good as these from Harv Harvison.

The only drawback I can find is that all the Packer jerseys are in (away) white, although I think the away unifroms are really cool, anyway.

Guess I better start saving up for an Elijah Pitts.

PS:

Still watching the game and I will have to begrudeonly admit that Troy Aikman is actually getting to be a pretty good color man.

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Don't Like The Weather -- Wait Ten Minutes -- It'll change

Good old Wisconsin! We never know quite what the weather is going to be until we look out the window in the morning. Indian Summer was back today, making the Eau Claire vs Platteville football game a wonder to watch.

I had talked to Wil by phone earlier in the week and wanted to do a good od fashioned tailgate party before the game, so I pulled into the Carson Park lot about 11:05 and found that I nearly had the entire lot to myself. I even took some photos of the day but for some reason, Blogger won't let me post them today. Perhaps at a later date.

I had done my grocery shopping at Festival Foods, a store that i don't ordinarily frequent, but I found their Oktoberfest brats to be some of the best I have encountered this season.

I had also iced down some bottled water and some cokes -- going non-alcoholic gets easier as you get older. At least that's my experience.

Wil, his wife Judy, and her brother Jimmy, joined me and my pal Tom Wieseler for the brats and still had plenty of time to make our seats before opening kickoff.

The game was full of offense today, which make for a fun game to watch and the Blugolds won this one 40 - 33. Their secondary played really well and they picked off a number of ill thrown Pltteville passes throughout the course of the contest.

I stopped along Half Moon Lake to get some late afternoon autumn pictures. They turned out well. I will publish them when my computer decides it is over its little snit.

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Blugold Marching Band Impressive


How cool is it when a marching band as sharp as the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, has -- lines up about 15 yards from the spot where you are grilling brats before the game and you get a five minute impromptu concert?

Well, okay -- it wasn't for us. They were just warming up before going into the stadium, but they sounded great nonetheless! They also put on one hell of a half time show. When you have an outdoor football crowd listening intently, even while the next piece is being introduced over the PA, you know the band is hot!

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George Carlin's Solution to Save Gasoline…

Bush wants us to cut the amount of gas we use.
The best way to stop using so much gas
is to deport 11 million illegal immigrants!
That would be 11 million less people using our gas.
The price of gas would come down.
Next, bring our troops home from Iraq to guard the border.
When they catch an illegal immigrant crossing the
border, hand him a canteen, a rifle and some ammo and
ship him to Iraq. Tell him if he wants to come
to America then he must serve a tour in the
military. (After all, it worked with the Irish immigrants at the
beginning of the Civil War.)

Give him a soldier's pay while he's there, and tax
him on it. After his tour, he will be allowed to become
a citizen since he defended this country.

He will also be registered to be taxed and be a
legal patriot. This option will probably deter illegal
immigration and provide a solution for the troops in Iraq
and the Illegal aliens trying to make a better life
for themselves.

If they refuse to serve, ship them
to Iraq anyway, without the canteen, rifle or ammo.
Problem solved.

-compliments of George Carlin

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here's To Broadway Joe's Bad Knees -- I've Joined The Club

Looks like I have found the perfect passport to New York City next time I go. Already got the Giants fans covered with a white (away) Tikki Barber #21 jersey and a blue (home) Eli Manning #11 jesey.

The way Chad Pennington has been playing of late, I don't think I will be ordering that jersey soon!

My God, people! It's Green Bay's "by" week this weekend! Good thing I have Blugold football on Saturday! I am already beginning to go through withdrawal.

I am pretty excited about Koren Robinson's being allowed to return to Green Bay. Hoping the former Viking standout has licked the substance abuse problem and can contribute mightily. Now, let's all pray for a running game!

Larry The Collector Completes Jersey Collection

Something there is about the person who becomes completely engrossed in objects and then begins collecting them until the hunger is filled.

I read somewhere that collecting is a sign of intelligence. Probably written by some guy who owns an antique store. My wife, frankly, thinks I am a little off my rocker, having now collected over 30 NFL jerseys. I told Kim some months ago that there is only one more that I need to find and then I can hopefully stop (although it is going to be difficult not to collect as many 1960 era Packer jerseys as possible.

I do have a really good facsimile of an "away" Don Chandler #34 jersey. I like the cut of the older generation of jerseys with the oval neck and the sleeve stripes woven right into the material.

Today or tomorrow my "last" jersey should be arriving. It is a green (home) Joe Namath, NY Jets #12 jersey, done in the heavier '60's type material. I have been scouring the net, looking for this jersey for months!

People ask me if I wear them out in public and the answer is yes. Jerseys are very comfortable and warm. Yes, I know they make me look out of place, and no, I don't really care because every once in a while an old timer will recognize a jersey and we will have a great discussion of that players' career.

This happened yesterday on my way to visit Tiit in the hospital in Rochester. I stopped at a gas station in Galesville and one of the elderly locals piped up: "Billy Kilmer! Man! He was one of the great ones!" And off we went on "Old Whiskey's" career and how he lost out to Sonny Jurgenson, another great player who's jersey I wouldn't mind having.

People look at me with distain, missing the point that I am just paying homage to a great player by wearing the jersey -- "You're a Redskins fan?"

No, I am a Packers fan who just happens to think that Kilmer deserves a little respect. As does Kenny Stabler, Walter Payton (the Bears Still Suck), and myriads of others, including Broadway Joe Willie, the first AFL trash talker who guaranteed a victory over the Colts and then went out and did it.

I also love Johnny U and should have one of his jerseys. Maybe this collection isn't dead yet. But I'm running out of closet space, have spent way too much money on this hobby, and Kim is getting tired of looking across the dinner table at numerals.

I do have my hangups. I know they had a few great players in their day (Tarkenton, Wrong Way Marshall, Robert Brown to name a few) but I just can't bear to put on a purple jersey and it's all due to the Viking "fan" mentality.

I have been to games at the Metrodome. Won't ever go again. Minnesota fans are downright mean. I have been to a lot of games at Lambeau and have yet to see a fan clad in the opposition's garb being treated with anything more than good natured teasing.

I am sure that there are Viking fans who could tell me stories to the contrary. I hope that Packer fans will maintain a certain amount of class because The Green Bay Packers have an illustrous past that demands class from its fans.

Mailman just arrived with my package. I will post my "Namath" in a separate set up!

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Renewing Old Friendships While I Still Can -- Look Out Mud Lake, Here I Come!

Thanks to Wil Denson, I am going to Blugold football games. I had forgotten how much more real college games are than the professional games where being a good pass receiver is secondary to how clever the end zone celebration is.

When I was in school I went to every one of our home games and the players that were on the field then are Blugold legend now:

Jim Van Gordon, who had just one hell of an arm (he tried out for Lombardi's Packers and was cut because he threw too hard) -- I guess Vince would have cut Brett Favre.

Jerry Gendron at tight end -- even in college you knew he was big enough and fast enough to give the NFL a try -- and after graduation that's exactly what he did, signing, as I remember, with the San Diego Chargers.

On the defensive side, my two favorite players -- Bob Bundy, a Menomonie boy -- and Dave LaViolette from Appleton, Wisconsin.

Dave and I hung together at school. I even got to meet his folk on a weekend stay.

But, I digress --

So, games on Saturday (this weekend it's Platteville at home) and noon luncheons on Tuesdays with the Blugold Boosters Club when the coach runs film from last Saturday's game highlights.

I am looking forward to the Platteville game. Rain or shine, gonna arrive early, set up my little charcoal grill, and slow cook brats until they are crunchy on the outside, but plump and juicy inside. The way I see it, tailgating is the required ritual that guarantees a win.

After next Tuesday's luncheon with the Boosters, I am loading guitars and the traveling pizza kit into the back of Jerry Way's new (to him) '01 Jeep Cherokee Loredo and we are setting out on it's 4 wheel maiden voyage" to the nether regions of east central Wisconsin -- Mud Lake.

I told Jerry that the lake was obviously not named by a realtor.

It's gonna be a "Boys Nite Over Night": pizza in the oven, feet up on the stove, guitar in one hand, Leinie's in the other -- sort of a musician's version of deer camp.

It will be good to spend time with Jerry. We go back a long way! I think my first memory of Jerry was his leading a pit band for a unversity variety show that I was emcee'ing.

Eventually we played in bands together and we really had fun! I remember mostly the Labor Temple years. We worked with some pretty solid musicians. John Buchholz played tenor sax with a vengeance on rock and blues tunes, but then could turn a one eighty and do an amazing polka.

Ron Keezer was the drummer with me for many years. I will always remember the woman who was managing the Labor Temple telling me: "I used to be a stripper. Your drummer really knows what he's doing."

And he did know what he was doing. At a gig at the EC Country Club, he leans forward over his kit and says: Hey, Heagle! See that woman in the red dress? Watch her hips when I go to the tom toms!"

And I don't think this one was even a stripper!

We had Chuck "Little Ivory Charles" Solberg on piano. Chuck is a tremendously good blues piano player who plays from his shoulders.

We once tried to put him on Wultizer Electric Piano and before the night was over he had broken at least three keys.

Chuck used to describe my demeanor as a band leader as "hard but fair." I'm not so sure that wasn't said with tongue in cheek

I liked having Chuck in the band because he also served as the enforcer even though he doesn't stand more than five foot seven. When Chuck was over there on the piano, nobody screwed with the band or they had Chuck right in their face.

My favorite Chuck Solberg story of legend is the one where, after a gig, he is at Sammy's pizza with his girl friend, he fully bearded, she with the very long flowing hair of hippydom.

Along comes a local suit, drunk and bespectacled, fresh from the bank's Christmas party.

"Oh look", he says to his buddies, "it's Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary!"

They all have a good laugh and proceed into Sammy's. Chuck says nothing, finishes his pizza, tells his girl to wait in the car, and then stands outside the door to Sammy's.

When the banker comes out, buttoning his overcoat, Chuck steps in front of him, puts a hand to his chest, reaches up and carefully takes the guy's classes from his face, drops them on the sdiewalk, and grinds them into powder.

Still not finished, Chuck right-crosses the guy, who drops like a sack of potatoes, Chuck, still not saying a word, turns and disappears into the night.

Even if it's not true, it's a great story and what's frightening is that if you know Chuck, you know it COULD be true!

Jerry played lead guitar and sang in one configuration and later, if memory serves, he switched to playing bass. I think John Hartzell fits in there somewhere on bass, too.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with the best musicians in the Chippewa Valley. We are all fortunate to have so much talent in the area!

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is That What You Are Going To Wear?

I have decided, after much research, that the most often asked question posed to a husband by a wife is the one asked as the male emerges from dressing to go out to dinner. That question is, of course: "Is that what you're going to wear?"

The success of this rest of the evening then hinges on the husband's reply to the question. Truthfully, I cannot think of an answer that won't be considered sarcastic by said mate.

When I am asked that question, which is quite frequenty, there are many answers that fight to the forefront of the brain, but are quickly dismisssed to save the evening out from going into a disastrous downspin. among them:
"No, I am not actually going to wear this, I donned it looking to upset you so that we could spend the rest of the evening staring at each other in silence over dinner."
-or-
"Actually I was going to wear one of your dresses, but my personal favorite is at the cleaners."
-or-
"No, this is not what I am going to wear but I have no idea why I am not going to wear it. Care to help me grasp an understandng?"
-or-
"Only if that is what you are going to wear."

-or-

"Actually I had contemplated going nude, but the weather man says we are expecting snow."

Let's face it. There is no answer to the question that will let you maintain a shred of human dignity!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tiit Raid Out of ICU and Back on Seventh Floor In Good Spirits

I got up early for two reasons this morning; I had to report to the clinic for a blood draw and I wanted to get on the road as soon as possible and pay my friend Tiit Raid a second visit in Rochester, Minnesota.

Lately I have found it difficult to stay awake while drving and today was no exception, so I did the only thing that works, loaded myself down with cookies and lots of hot coffee and ate my way to the Mayo Clinic.

I am happy to report that today found Tiit back in a room on seventh floor and out of ICU where he had been for several days dealing with a racing pulse brought on by a build up of almost two gallons of fluid in the sacs around his lungs.

Apparently one or more of the drugs that they have been giving him have been causing some strange phenomena including hallucinations in which he seemed to be able to see air currents moving about his room and several times his bed seemed to levitate and travel.

He also "saw" caricature-like figures in his room that didn't speak to him, but stared at him from time to time.

That was the down side of the chemotherapy. The upside is that he has come through with little or no nausea and we both agreed that we would rather have hallucinations than nausea.

The testing of bone marrow comes early next week when they get the results of the work done thus far. While I was visiting with him he said we should take a "little walk". It was a most impressive covering of the ward!

I am continually amazed at his dedication and hard work, staying on task.

Say a little prayer for him when you retire for the evening. He is such a gift.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Harley Is The Lonely Boy In Need of Love

Those of us that live at 4896 Hobbs Road, Fall Creek, Wisconsin, are all having to deal with the loss of our fiesty, chubby friend Hannah, who succumbed to cancer on October 10, and this includes her brother, Harley, who seems at a loss since she didn't return from the veterinarian.

He has become much more dependent upon our company and seems to need to just be in the vicinity of us. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this, I need to get over to the house and spend some quality time with him.

He loves to be scratched behind his ears and under his chin. He also is really fond of being brushed so I have made a resolution to brush him much more often than I have in the past.

Harley is our "last" cat. We have loved our pets dearly, but Kim and I have discussed it and we don't want to go through it again. so long live Harley!


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Of Streakers and Statistics

I am just back from the Tuesday football luncheon at the Quality Inn. Towards the end of the discussion of the game, it came to light that the River Falls Homecoming featured a "streaker" during the third quarter of the game.

I asked my friend Wil about it when coach mentioned it in passing and Wil said that the guy ran the entire length of the field with good speed, wearing only shoes and socks. When I asked if the police caught him, Wil said no one seemed interested in arresting him.

How come I miss out on all the fun?

Got an nteresting e mail from my bano playijng ex-marine buddy Andy Munich, the contents of which follow:

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the U.S. involvement in Iraq , here's a sobering statistic:

There has been a monthly average of 160,000 troops in the Iraqi theatre of operations during the last
22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths. That gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.

The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 persons for the same period.
That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capital than you are in Iraq .


Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington

I don't agree. Unfortunately it is the poor who are killing the poor. we need someone to step up and dispatch politicians with as much gusto.

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Cheeseheads Love Their Football and Understand The Game

Getting ready to join the rest of the "Blugold Boosters" that meet at the Quality Inn every Tuesday following football games, this time to discuss the close loss to River Falls at River Falls last Saturday.

What is with all this rain lately? I am having difficulty getting my stove started in the mornings as my wood pile is soaked through and through.

However, last Sunday's Packer/Redskin game was a good trial run for inclement weather as we were under a pretty steady mist all afternoon and the rain gear (thanks Farm and Fleet) held up really well.

I am a bit apprehensive about our second trip to Lambeau on November 18, but I figure layering is the way to go.

The 18th is the trip in which I introduce my radio pal jay Moore to the wonders of Lambeau Field. Being a Carolinian, he has never had the pleasure to set foot in the holy edifice and I am all too happy to be his guide. The third party involved in the trip is my long suffering friend, Tom Johnson, lately of New York City, who got me started going to games way back in the year 1999.

We will be leaving Eau Claire on Saturday morning, November 17, picking Jay up on our way by his house just off Highway 29, and making our way to our hotel in the Fox Valley (Neenah) just off Highway 41.

It will be "Boys Night Out" in Appleton on Saturday night with the obligatory Sammy's Pizza for dinner, chased with a few brews before bedding down. The room has two beds and there are three of us. Gonna have to draw straws.

We will want to be up fairly early on game day so that we can find a parking place within walking distance of Lambeau before we head to The Stadium View and knock back a couple of breakfast bloody Marys, then trek down the boulevard past the Hudson Center.

I had been thinking that with Jake Delhomme lost for the season, the Panthers might be easy prey, but then this morning I read that third string quarterback, VINNIE TESTAVERDE, (isn't he dead???) led the team to an unlikely victory!

I am hoping that the Pack has figured out a running game by the time we play the Panthers. It is nothing short of amazing that this team is 5-1 at this juncture.

Still in all, even if we lose games, to be there in person, to see the spectacle. the pomp, the circumstance, the pure excitement that pours forth from every Wisconsin Packer fan, makes it well worth the trip.

I am so very proud to live in a state that owns its professional football team and bleeds green and gold!

Last Sunday, the PA announcer introduced Lynn Dickey who was standing next to the team on the sidelines and 72,630 people rose to their feet and gave him a thunderous ovation.

Green Bay Packer fans are the greatest fans in the world! Just ask John Madden.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Bay Packers 17, Washington Redskins 14 -- A Memorable Weekend in Green Bay

Saturday morning the sun came out and it was a beautiful day all day. I am wishing we could have traded days and had the nice weather on Sunday.

After the required check off of items listed, Kim and I headed for Green Bay about 1:30 in the afternoon. Well, not actually Green Bay, as it is impossible to find a hotel room in Green Bay during the football season. We headed for Oconto, 30 miles north of Green Bay on Highway 41.
Somewhere between Thorp and Abbotsford, the car ahead of us (yes he was speeding, and yes, he cut it close in making his return to the right lane) spit up a stone with his back tire and it pinged off my windshield, leaving a pock and scaring poor Kim half to death as it hit right in front of her side of the windshield.

I, of course, took this as a bad omen!


We were up bright and early Sunday morning, Scratch that. I was up bright and early Sunday morning and found a little cafe for breakfast while Kim slept in a bit. A few of the locals were already in the restaurant. I don't think any of them would have agreed with my "Bush is a war criminal" sticker. In fact, I may have found the 30% that still think he's doing a great job.

When I got back to the Ramada, the weather had definitely changed to dark and ominous so I donned my rain pants over my regular gear. Kim decided to play "wait and see."


When we reached the Lombardi exit off Highway 41, traffic was already beginning to back up. Eventually, we parked behind Chuckie Cheese and made the three block walk (note the photo of Lambeau in the distance). We forgot to do the "check list" before we left the car and about half way there I suddenly realized that I didn't think I had remembered to lock the car, so Kim who has two good legs and only a slightly bent attitude at the news, returned to the car and sure enough, I had forgotten to lock!

If you have never been to the spectacle that is a Packer game, you owe it to yourself to just go down to the stadium to "people watch" on game day. Guys with faux leather helmets, Packer jerseys, coulottes and green and white striped long stockings, wandering tuba bands doing the Budweiser Song, Packer fans good naturedly jabbing at those clad in Washinton Redskin jerseys, immense clouds of cooking bratwurst smoke -- and tail gate bars as far as you could see.

It's Summerfest, State Fair, Renaissance Festival, Sturgess, and organized rioting all in one!

Once the game got underway, the rains started -- mainly it was a mist most of the afternoon, We were dry as can be thanks to the rubber rain gear. Never leave home without it!

My only comment on the game is that offensively we didn't play very well. Brett had receivers wide open four or five times, but didn't release early enough and when he did, he put too much air under the ball and they floated long enough for a defensive back to get under the pass and knock it down, or worse, intercept it. How many interceptions did Brett throw? I know he broke George Blanda's record and then some!

And the refereeing left something to be desired. Everyone in the stadiium agreed that the catch in the corner of the endzone should have been called complete as he was pushed out by the defender.

And they misssed penlaties on the other side of the ball as well. On the fumble-touchdown run by Woodson, Harris blatantly pushed a Redskin player from the back.

Spirits were high as we all filed out of Lambeau with much screaming, yelling, and organized "Go Pack Go" thundering down the concourses.

It took us over an hour to get into traffic from Chuckie Cheeses', but everyone was polite and cool heads prevailed. We dined at Sam's Pizza just off Highway 29, Schofield, for supper and a road break --then Kim took over the driving at Edgar and we were home by 9:30 PM. Go, Pack go!


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

SANCHEZ FINALLY SPEAKS TRUTH -- WHEN WILL POLITICIANS BEGIN TO LISTEN TO VOTERS?

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 — In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration’s handling of the war “incompetent” and said the result was “a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, blamed the Bush administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current addition of American forces as a “desperate” move that would not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” General Sanchez said at a gathering of military reporters and editors in Arlington, Va.

He is the most senior war commander of a string of retired officers who have harshly criticized the administration’s conduct of the war. While much of the previous condemnation has been focused on the role of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, General Sanchez’s was an unusually broad attack on the overall course of the war.

But his own role as commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib scandal leaves him vulnerable to criticism that he is shifting the blame from himself to the administration that ultimately replaced him and declined to nominate him for a fourth star, forcing his retirement.

Though he was cleared of wrongdoing in the abuses after an inquiry by the Army’s inspector general, General Sanchez became a symbol — with civilian officials like L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority — of ineffective American leadership early in the occupation.

General Sanchez said he was convinced that the American effort in Iraq was failing the day after he took command, in June 2003. Asked why he waited until nearly a year after his retirement to voice his concerns publicly, he responded that it was not the place of active-duty officers to challenge lawful orders from the civilian authorities.

General Sanchez, who is said to be considering writing a book, promised further public statements criticizing officials by name.

“There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

White House officials would not comment directly on General Sanchez’s remarks. “We appreciate his service to the country,” said Kate Starr, a White House spokeswoman.

She noted that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the current top commander in Iraq, and Ryan C. Crocker, the American ambassador to Baghdad, said in their testimony to Congress last month that “there’s more work to be done, but progress is being made in Iraq. And that’s what we’re focused on now.”

General Sanchez has been criticized by some current and retired officers for failing to recognize the growing insurgency in Iraq during his year in command and for failing to put together a plan to unify the disparate military effort, a task that was finally carried out when his successor, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., took over in mid-2004.

General Sanchez included the military and himself among those who made mistakes in Iraq, citing a failure by top commanders to insist on a better post-invasion stabilization plan. He offered a tepid compliment to General Petraeus. The general, he said, could use American troops to gain time in Iraq but could not achieve lasting results.

Michael E. O’Hanlon, a military analyst at the Brookings Institution, criticized General Sanchez for implying in his speech that the current military strategy of relying on additional troops and on protecting the Iraqi people is little different than the strategy employed when he was in command.

Noting that calls by members of Congress for troops were rebuffed by the Bush administration in 2003, Mr. O’Hanlon said, “Sanchez was one of the top military people who condoned that, if not directly, then by his silence.”

General Sanchez’s main criticism was leveled at the Bush administration, which he said failed to mobilize the entire United States government, not just the military, to contribute meaningfully to reconstructing and stabilizing Iraq.

“National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone,” he said. “Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat.”

Asked after his remarks what strategy he favored, General Sanchez ticked off a series of steps—from promoting reconciliation among Iraq’s warring sectarian factions to building effective Iraqi army and police units — that closely paralleled the list of tasks frequently cited by the Bush administration as the pillars of the current strategy.

General Sanchez, now a Pentagon consultant who trains active-duty generals, said the administration’s biggest failure had been its lack of a detailed strategy for achieving those steps and “synchronizing” the military and civilian contributions.

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable,” he said.

His talk on Friday at the annual convention of the Military Reporters and Editors Association was not the first time that General Sanchez has been critical of the administration.

He said in an interview in June with Agence France-Presse that the best the United States could achieve in Iraq would be stalemate. And he drew a standing ovation at a gathering of veterans last month when he argued that the country’s problems in Iraq were the result of a “crisis in national political leadership.”

Though General Sanchez remained on active duty after leaving Iraq in 2004, he never received a fourth star, in part because, though he was popular with Mr. Rumsfeld, the Bush administration feared that his nomination hearings in the Senate would turn into a bitter partisan fight and a public replay of the details of the Abu Ghraib scandal.

______________________________________________ This article compliments of The New York Times. Any neocon who reads this will conveniently explain it away as "sour grapes" on Sanchez's part. After all, he was fired. And they will actually believe that.

It is about as believable as the current White House resident's insane comment that "if we don't fight them there, they will follow us here."

I have no degree in political science but you don't have to be a genius to know why the neocons were in such a hurry to attack Iraq and why things have gone as poorly as they have. Why attack Iraq rather than concentrate real effort to capture Bin Laden through troop build up in Afghanistan?

Oil.

Plain and simple. The major oil companies were drooling, nay, frothing at the mouth to get their hands on that Iraqi oil that Saddam had denied them.

Saddam: Our one time ally against the Iranians. And Baby Bush wanted revenge because Saddam went after his daddy. (Saddam's pistol now hangs in a glass covered shadow box behind Georgie's desk.) Just a little token of the spoils of war.

Hey, George! How many 18 year old Americans did it cost arms, legs, and lives so you can show the world your little trophy?

Anyone with the slightest understanding of religion knew that the sectarian violence that is wreaking havoc in Iraq right now was just a matter of time.

Do we not learn anything from the personal hatreds in the world? The Irish vs the English, the Croats vs Muslims - this is a list that could go on until I have circled the globe.

Just after we invaded Iraq I told my wife that I pitied the poor American National Guard troops who would be thrown into a boiling cauldron of petty religious war.

And for what purpose? So Dick Cheney could amass even more money and George Bush could pretend that by donning a flight suit -- he had actually grown testicles.

Now the Democrats are showing us that they have no testicles even when they are in power. They don't want to vote against continued occupation because, well, it might cost them votes.

How about voting because something is right, not expedient? How much clearer can the American voter be????? SUPPORT OUT TROOPS! GET THEM THE HELL OUT OF THAT HELL HOLE!


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