HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Friday, November 30, 2007

There Is No Joy In Titletown or The Hinterlands -- Pack Strikes Out

I have not been pleasant this morning and in light of last night's final score 37-27, I suspect there are a lot of grumpy Packer fans roaming the state today.

My Tramon Williams prediction of yesterday never materialized, but the one that I wouldn't even say out loud for fear of it happening -- well, it happened -- when Brett went down in the second quarter with a bruised elbow and a separated shoulder.

I still am at a loss to understand why Brett and/or coach Murphy insisted on throwing the long ball after the first series yielded a good solid drive, capped by a field goal. What happened to dinkin' and dunkin'?

Fortunately dinkin' and dunkin' was still on Aaron Rodgers' wrist band and made its appearance when Rodgers capably filled in for the remainder of the game. Very proud of the way he kept his cool and took what the defense gave him.

Here are the maddening questions bouncing around my tiny little brain today:

What the hell is wrong with special teams? When your kicker is making the majority of the tackles it's time to go back to the drawing board!

What time can Bigby catch a bus out of Green Bay and take on his new job as a greeter at Walmart? He couldn't cover a turkey with tin foil!

Why are the referees so bad this year? Every frickin' game! Last night it was the Harris take away of a pass to Mr. Popcorn TO. the zebra closest to the action said it was Green Bay's ball but then was over ruled by the numb nuts who was yards away.

And speaking of Popcorn Owens, why are the referees not enforcing the excessive celebration rules?

It's enough to make a guy get some dyjoxin from the druggist and slip it in the zebras' coffees before the game.

Some bright spots in spite of it all, last night:

Fullback, #30, John Kuhn, despite unkowingly spoiling the onside kick, made me sit up and take notice. he is a hard nosed kid. It was his block that kicked Ryan Grant loose on a 62 yard romp for a touch down.

Ryan Grant, for another good showing in spite of some questionable blocking.

As mentioned, Aaron Rodgers.

Ryan Pickett kicked ass and took names!

Enough with football, already!


This just in via e mail:













































Thursday, November 29, 2007

No Cell Phone While Driving Law Needs Passing

It happened again this morning in Eau Claire traffic. I am behind some "sorry-about-your-penis" monster pick up truck in the left turn lane, waiting for that green arrow. the arrow turns green and Mr. Macho sits there for a good three count -- it's then I realize he's on the frickin' cell phone.

I give him the horn which puts him in gear, but turning like an eighty year old granny. He finally gets it straightened out and I step on it and pass him on the right. I have to admit, I lost my cool. So much so that I flipped him the bird as I pulled in front of him -- not that he would notice from AT&T land. And flipping the bird really is not something I do very often. You really have to hit a nerve to get that response out of me.

Gotta find a "Hang Up And Drive!" bumper sticker. Only I want one that I can put on my front bumper and written backwards so that it reads correctly through a rear view mirror.

I picked up another set of brackets and had another glass shelf made for the Packer shrine, as it is in need of expansion. Soon my Ahman Green figurine will have Reggie White and Ray Nitschke for company on that second shelf. The figures are made by McFarlane and are really detailed as you can see from the included illustrations.

God, I am enjoying my second childhood!

My ex-wife would tell you I never got out of my first. Her mother had a favorite saying: "They don't get older, they just get bigger."

Stopped at Festival Foods to make a final pick up of NFL game time needs -- Leinenkugel regular and the raw makings for a "Blinky" pizza for my pal Tom "Blinky" Johnson who is wending his way up from Madison with his older brother Stan (the former artist known as "Dr. Nightlife") .

The "Blinky" is so named because Tom invented it, and I perfected it. It is a hot Italian sausage pizza with one other condiment -- thinly sliced jalepeno stuffed green olives aplenty.

I also have a Pope Pius IX Pizza (which I haven't made much since rules were changed about meat on Fridays.) It was made with a layer of canned tuna and sliced green oives. I know -- it doesn't sound very appetizing, but it really is rather good!

Changing topics all together, I have had nothing but trouble with the DirecTV system I had installed several months ago. Last week the picture would break up into little digital squares, or freeze then disappear momentarily, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada.

So I took a morning and tracked incidences on different channels, describing symptoms, times, etc., and this morning, the TV guy finally shows up after leaving me hanging for three days of saying "I'll be there today" and what happens??

Not a damn thing!

The system runs smoothly. Really pisses me off!! It's that same thing that happens when you have an electrical problem with your car. As soon as it gets on the mechanic's floor, it starts behaving. What's with that????

I am consumed with tonight's football game. Let me say one more thing about it: Let's see if I am psychic.


You read it here first folks!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Time Keeps On Slippin' -- Into The Future -- Go Pack!

Yesterday I affixed my Bill Richardson For President sticker to the back window of my Scion XB, across from my "George Bush is a War Criminal" sticker.

It made me happy.

I have been waiting all day today for my derecTV installation guy to come back out and tell me why my signal is so screwed! I mean, this crap ain't cheap per month so it damn well be running like clock work. So far he's put me off for two and a half days. checking the time, I don't think he's gonna make it today either.

If I have any trouble getting the Packer game tomorrow night you'll be reading about the multiple shootings in the paper.

Speaking of the big game -- I am REALLY getting nervous. I was driving back from picking up groceries earlier and thinking out loud: "The team is probably winging their way to Dallas right now."

From what I have read, tickets are at a premium, going for upwards of $500 a piece!

I have read all the stories, combing through them every day. Tony Romo is not nor was he ever a Favre fan while growing up in Burlington, Wisconsin. He wore the number 16 on his jersey in high school for his hero, Joe Montana.

Ryan Pickett versus Leonard Davis is being billed as the "battle of the heavyweights" in the interior line, with most writers saying Davis will manhandle Green Bay's Pickett.

Cornerback Al Harris is going head to head with Terrell Owens and we still don't know if Woodson's toe is good to go.

This has to be a big game for our linebackers! They have to shut down tight end Jason Witten. so far this season, they haven't really shut down any of the tight ends we've faced. Tony Gonalez comes to mind! Not to mention that it was the Chicago tight ends that beat us last time.

So to use tht cooking whiz, Emeril's favorite phrase: KICK IT UP A NOTCH Mr.'s Barnett, Poppinga, and Hawk! We really need your A-Game!

The Packers probably won't have Bubba Franks back this week after the tight end had a setback in his return from a knee injury that's sidelined him the past five games.

Franks didn't practice Tuesday after aggravating the injury on the final play of practice Monday.

He and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder) were the only players who didn't participate in practice even on a limited basis Tuesday. Jolly is out this week.

Cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) should be available to play if the Packers need him after missing the last seven games.

However, starting cornerback Charles Woodson (big toe) has a decent chance to play, and if Woodson can suit up, Blackmon probably won't be activated.

I hope that by game time tomorrow night we will be seeing the big smile you see in the accompanying Woodson photo!


By Tom Pelissero

The medical tempest that had swirled around the Green Bay Packers since last week was downgraded to a drizzle on Tuesday as preparations wound down for Thursday night's showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.

Cornerback Charles Woodson and end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila are questionable for the game, according to coach Mike McCarthy, but Woodson completed the jog-through portion of practice and Gbaja-Biamila pronounced himself ready to play.

Mark Tauscher missed practice again, but McCarthy said his sprained ankle is better than last week, meaning he'll probably be in his usual spot at right tackle.

Safety Nick Collins, out since Nov. 4 because of a knee injury, completed a third straight practice and most likely will resume his starting role.

Eleven players were listed on Tuesday's injury report — the first of two this week, thanks to the Thursday-Thursday schedule — but nine completed at least part of practice.

McCarthy remained coy on the makeup of his 45-man game-day roster, in part because Woodson, Gbaja-Biamila, safety Aaron Rouse and perhaps others will be game-time decisions. But with the exception of losing No. 4 defensive tackle Colin Cole, placed on injured reserve Sunday with a broken arm, the Packers' prognosis is far more positive than it seemed it might be after their second win in five days Thursday at Detroit. Two other starters who injured knees against the Lions — receiver Donald Driver and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett — weren't even listed on the injury report.

"This goes on week in and week out," McCarthy said of the injuries. "Our guys will be ready to play. We have a plan. Our coaches have to put our players in the best position to be successful against the Cowboys. We feel like we've done that."

Unlike other weeks, when McCarthy had removed pads from some practices and shortened others, injuries didn't affect the Packers' work the past three days.

Nor, apparently, did the approach of the toughest test yet for a team that began the season as the NFL's youngest. The atmosphere inside The Don Hutson Center was typically loose, and players roundly denied anyone was affected by the buildup surrounding the clash of NFC front-runners.

"We relaxed, kicked back, you know what I'm saying?" defensive tackle Corey Williams said. "We're ready. We prepared for them just like we prepared for everybody else."

"We're loosey-goosey and having fun, but at the same time, when it comes to getting our work done, we're getting our work done," receiver Koren Robinson said. "Coach McCarthy doesn't want a lot of tight people around here. It's not going to help the flow of the locker room."

Though the Packers were scheduled to depart for Dallas this afternoon, Woodson's injured toe and Gbaja-Biamila's sprained ankle, among other injuries, will be re-evaluated until hours before Thursday's 7:15 p.m. kickoff.

Woodson, who injured the big toe on his right foot on a punt return against Detroit, wasn't in the locker room when it was open to reporters this week. McCarthy repeated Tuesday the 10th-year veteran was showing improvement while undergoing round-the-clock treatment.

Gbaja-Biamila, tied for fourth in the NFL with 9½ sacks, ran through agility tests with trainers and said he passed with "flying colors."

"It's a coach's call, but I feel good. I'm ready to play," said Gbaja-Biamila, whose right leg was bent under him in an ugly collision with Lions lineman Blaine Saipaia. "I think that when I'm out there, I'm going to be ready to go 100 percent. ... It's a big game, and I want to be in it."

As expected, defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder) was ruled out for Thursday. The lone negative revelation on the injury front Tuesday was a setback for tight end Bubba Franks' knee, but the Packers haven't lost a game since he was hurt Oct. 14.

So, it's on to Dallas, in relatively good health as the national spotlight intensifies.

"I think they've handled it very well," McCarthy said. "The attention to detail has been good. I go off the pulse of practice, what it looks like on film. We've had a good week of preparation."

"It's human nature. We recognize this is a big game," said running back Ryan Grant, who was listed on the injury report with a rib injury, but said he's fine. "We understand we both have the same record. This is a big game. We're both 10-1. But at the same time, we understand that if we take care of this game and don't take care of the other games (it doesn't matter). Everything has to be in perspective."

Having read this, I am feeling less nervous about tomorrow night. I just don't want them to go down there an "lay an egg". I won't even say my greatest worry out loud for fear of it coming true having said it!

It sure would be nice if it wasn't going to be a 6 point game. I don't know if my already worn heart can handle it. but what a way to go!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Say Packrat, I Say Collector

Kim is convinced that I am a "packrat". I prefer to call myself a "collector". Seems to me that I read somewhere that people who are into collecting are intelligent people. then, again, I could have made that up just to feel good about myself. Today I am focusing on the "Green Bay Packer Shrine" here in my office.

all it needs now is votive candles, incense and incantations, such as the folowing:

Our Favre,

Who art in Lambeau,

Hallowed be thine arm.

The bowl will come,

It will be won.

In Phoenix as it is in Lambeau

And give us this Sunday, Our weekly win.

And give us many touchdown passes.

But do not let others pass against us.

Lead us not into frustration,

But deliver us to the valley of the sun.

For thine is the MVP, the best of the NFC,

and the glory of the Cheese heads,

now and forever.


Hey -- that sounds like a pretty good idea considering that we are 10-1 and facing our arch-nemisis, the Dallas Cowpies (America's team --yeh, right) in just two days. Excuse me for a minute.

There -- the incense is burning. Just now, I have no candles but that can be added tomorrow to increase our mojo. It will also help to throw a "watch the game with manly-men" party Thursday night and I have that all set up as my pals Wil Denson and Tom Wieseler will be here and to really show the football gods that we are serious, Tom and Stan Johnson are driving all the way up from Madison to watch the game for there is strength in numbers!

Back to the shrine.

It all began innocently enough back in 1995 when I bought the Reggie White away (white) jersey at a mall in Milwaukee. You can see it on the top shelf (left) in a display box.

The other display box I suppose has no place being there in that it is a Jim Brown jersey, but what the hell -- Brown, as far as I am concerned, is the greatest ever running back in NFL history.

Directly in front of the Reggie jersey is a framed photo of our recent jaunt to Lambeau for the Carolina Panther game. Next to that is a Green Bay Packer team autographed football from the (gulp) Ray Rhodes team --sitting just beyond that is my treasured Packer helmet measuring tape that Tiit Raid gave me when he realized I was collecting.

Then there is the collection of Lombardis, the smallest of which is being remembered in prayer and song by the three singing nuns.

Next is the figurine of a leaping Ahman Green, a recent purchase that was at just too good a price to turn down. I really like the workmanship of that piece.

Directly behind the Lombardis is an actual piece of the frozen tundra, cut from the field that we beat the 49'ers on to go on to the Superbowl. Sitting atop thge tundra is one of four collector bobbleheads of Packer greats. This one contains Bart Starr and Jerry Kramer.

The others are Henry Jordan and Coach Lombardi, Willie Wood and the golden boy, Paul Hornung (whose autograph I have on a DVD about the Packers), and Ray Nitschke and Fuzzy Thurston.

The football just beyond Ahman Green is of no consequence -- just a football. The Brett Favre bobblehead next to it, however, is really a collector's item!

The Russian made Brett Favre "nesting egg doll" next to that was given to me by my good friend Tom Johnson who found it on the streets of New York.

The Packer helmet is made in authentic specifications. Just behind the helmet is the team photo for the 1995 NFC Champions.

Directly below the helmet is a photo of Brett and Bart Starr. What a great shot!! Below the photo is a 12 inch figurine (still in original packaging) of Brett Favre.

In the lower center you will see a framed Green Bay Packer 75th Anniversary patch along with some historic dates and explanations.

Oh -- and the Hawaiian "lei" I got at the Superbowl party back in '96.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Gigs Start Saturday -- Enjoying Week Off!

Saturday of this week I go back to work after a too long respite. I am feeling rusty! I am entertainng the All Ways Trucking firm out of Bloomer, Wisconsin, for their Christmas party.

It's one of those gigs where I had best make out a set list and tape it to my guitar so that I don't stand there like the proverbial deer in the headlights when I am supposed to be portraying funny.

Most times, audiences don't fully realize how much their own attitude towards a performance make or breaks that performance. I'll just hope that they have had a good year and go from there.

Are you still living on Thanksgiving leftovers? I think tonight will be our last go-round with what we have.

We had a long discussion about that the other night -- leftovers, that is. Some people just love leftovers. I understand it. Leftovers have had a chance to meld flavors and usually taste better than the original (or so I am told). I don't necessarily agree with that, I guess.

I can't really tell you why I don't like leftovers, other than getting them to look presentable once again can be a challenge. But, at any rate, I am not a leftovers guy.

I need to learn how to cook just for two. I haven't mastered that yet, either.

So I have four of the "boys" coming over for the Thursday night Packer game. I think I promised them some kind of munchies so I spent the day thinking about that but am drawing a blank.

I could always drag out the gigunda popcorn bowl (it holds two full poppers full of popped pop corn) and slather that with butter and call it munchies.

I have been using this great stove popper that is made in Monon, Indiana -- "The whirley pop 6 quart popcorn maker" for years and I swear that you will neveer find a popper that will turn out a better bowl of corn than this product.

You can ususlly find them in kitchen supply stores or go to:


and check them out. Yeh, 12 quarts of buttered popcorn oughta hold 'em. I told you the bowl was GIGUNDA!

I stayed up and watched the Philadelphia Eagles almost beat the New England Patriots last night. Except for the mindless interception Feeley threw to Asante Samuel in the end zone near the end of the game, The Eagles gave the Pats all that could handle. It makes me feel better about the Green Bay Packers as I feel that in the same situation last night, they would have man-handled the much touted Mr. Brady and Mr. Moss.

From what I observed last night, the Patriot pass defense is very suspect and I think Brett and his 5 receivers would carve them up!

But first we need to deal with BIG D. And today I am thinking there is a good chance that the Packers will win in Dallas for the first time in what is it? 8 tries? 9?

Yes, we have injuries, but I still think it is within our grasp to win down there. Brett Favre pitted against Tony Romo? I think not.

However it come sout -- It's gonna be a fun one to watch -- if I can keep from having a heart attack.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Packer Victory Makes Thanksgiving Extra Special

I hope that your Thanksgiving was as satisfying for you as mine was for me. Kim and I went up to Minneapolis on Wednesday night and visited with her dad before settling in at Joy's condo out on the lake.

Bob is doing fairly well at the Masonic Home since his severe stroke of about three years ago, but it is always as bit tough to visit with him, remembering how he once was.

Thanksgiving morning, I settled in front of the television for the game between the Packers and the Lions. I enjoyed it thoroughly until fourth quarter when the Pack seemed to let up on them and almost let them back into the game all the way.

Kim and her sister Kristi and her mom left for the Masonic Home before the game was over, so I drove out and joined them in time for Thanksgiving dinner which was served to us in a private room setting. Bob was in good spirits as he was always one who loved family holidays.

Kim and I returned home that evening. Friday I was up and at 'em, preparing for our second "Thanksgiving" Thanksgiving dinner that I wanted to throw for Tiit Raid in celebration of his returning home from chemotherapy. As of now, his leukemia is in total remission, so we really had something to be thankful for.

I prepared one of the best Thanksgiving dinners I have ever made -- It was a 12 pound turkey that came out very, very tender and juicy.

I had stuffed it with my own dressing, the recipe for which follows below. I also made a casserole dish full of baked yams, removed from their skins, mashed and then buttered and salt and peppered, fresh cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a tasty plentiful gravy from the drippings.

We started with a tossed salad and giant popovers. The popovers were a big hit, if for no other reason than their size.

For dessert there was the cherry two layer cheescake I had prepared before leaving for the Cities on Wednesday, and a freshly made pumpkin pie.

Here is the recipe for Larry's dressing:

1/2 pound ground pork
fennel seed (1/2 tsp)
polaner garlic (tsp)
red pepper flakes to taste
salt, pepper

mix ingredients by hand, thoroughly. Brown in an oiled skillet, breaking up chunks

1/2 pound button mushrooms, fresh, sliced
1 small yellow onion, minced

add the mushrooms, onion, to the cooking sausage. cook down until most of liquid is evaporated.

Prepare one package Uncle Ben's Rice/wild rice, mushrooms and one package onion and sage dressing in separate covered pans

When they are prepared, add them to the ground pork sausage, mushroom mixture, toss thoroughly. Cool and then stuff bird with dressing. There will be extra. serve that as a casserole.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankful For Fiesty Carolina Irishman And Great Way To Start Day

One of the things we in the Chippewa Valley have to be thankful for is "Jay Moore in the Morning" at 106.7 Moose Country Radio.

Never before has the term "radio personality" been more appropriate than when it is applied to this fiesty Irishman who hails originally from North Carolina and the big Dismal Swamp.

Put your radio on scan and you bounce from pablum to pablum across the spectrum until you hit 106.7 and hear older Country -- the kind of music that truly was country music, not rock and roll with big hats.

Combine this with Jay's more than slightly skewed sense of humor and you have a recipe for success.

What's really great about Jay's show is you never know what you are going to hear next, but whatever it is, it is always something that will make you smile, reach over and turn the radio up a notch.

Whether it be a soulful Mac Wiseman, a hell bent for leather bluegrass tune, or a Don Williams classic, Jay plays it.

But perhaps his strongest suit is his amazing ability to carry his advertisers live on the telephone every morning. He has the same uncanny ability that Johnny Carson had with guests, the ability to make them feel completely comfortable, relaxed, and directed -- through his deft questiioning -- to the highlights that make their products special. It gets so you look forward to, among others, what's going on with Mike Hable at Bohemian Ovens and Larry Tofar over at the Chevy dealership.

Listen! You're up at 6AM -- and Jay holds forth from 6 until 10AM. do yourself a favor and start the day the Jay Moore way!


Thanksgiving Brings Holiday Baking And Choice Recipes

Up very early this morning as I need to clean up all the baking mess I left here yesterday in preparation for Kim and my trip to the Cities for Thanksgiving.

My sister-in-law, Kristi, loves my pies so I rolled out a cherry pie for her. Kim loves the two layer cheesecake you see pictured. Here is the recipe for that: (It is a big hit whenever I make it).

Two Layer Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients for the crust: Use a spring form pan.

18 cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/4/ cup sugar
1 stick of butter, melted

I use a Cuisinart, crushing the 18 crackers, then pouring in the butter while the Cuisinart is spinning, mixing thoroughly. Line the spring-form pan, pressing the mixture evenly up the sides and across the bottom. Refrigerate while you make the bottom layer.

Bottom layer ingredients:

1 pound Kraft cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Put the softened cream cheese, the sugar, eggs, in the washed Cuisinart bowl. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into chilled spring-form pan. Spread mixture evenly with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

Remove from oven, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.

Top layer ingredients:

1 pint Old Home sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Thoroughly combine these ingredients in washed out Cuisinart bowl. When bottom layer has cooled, add second layer carefully (keep bowl close so as not to break thru the bottom mixture)

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees, then bake for 10 minutes. Cool on baking rack before refrigerating overnight. If you wish to add fruit topping, do so just before serving. (cherry or blueberry pie filling work well).

Our first stop today will at Perkins in Menomonie for breakfast and a chance to peruse the Eau Claire Daily Fish Wrapper. I love getting into customary habits. Then on to Burnsville, Minnesota, for my (hopefully final) check up with my knee replacement doctor at 1PM.

No Blog Tomorrow -- 'tis a sacred football holy day -- not to mention too much triptofan.




Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Packers May Be Bounty Hunting -- Told To Stop Dancing As Well

It's Tuesday already! to the Packers that means it's Thursday in a regular work week. Every week the presssure increases as we get closer to sorting the wheat from the chaff.

At the game Sunday, the Packer kick off team attempted to start something new. After the ball was placed on the tee, they would all gather in the center of the field and start doing this goofy dance together.

As soon as I saw it, I didn't much like it as I felt it smacked of "cockiness". I also have never liked the whole idea of making football into show business. It is enough of a show without that crap. Or could it be I am just becoming a curmudgeon befitting my age?

Now I read today that the referees warned the Packer bench to knock it off or they would be penalized for "excessive celebration." Once warned about possible loss of yardage it quickly came to a cease.

Also, is it just me or are the referees attempting to be the "twelfth man" for the opponents this year?

Now I read that the league is accusing the Packer DB's of "bounty hunting" by offering reards to the front four if they hold them to one hundred yards of rushing or get so many sacks per game. This, it turns out is a no-no. We all remember back in the Forrest Gregg years when Charles Martin body slammed Jim McMahon to the turf long after the whistle had blown.

Well, the latest accusations, ast least, are not for trying to knock a player out of the game. It should be interesting to see what transpires. How do they go about proving such a thing?

I was out at Pick n' Save this morning doing some Thanksgiving shopping and ran across the new "Legends of Lambeau Collectors Edtion Bobble Head Sets". they are way cool! I bought all eight immediately. (Mr. Impulsive .. they are not cheap!) They are very well made and feature figures of Vince Lombardi, Henry Jordan (whose bald pate I covered with a mini Packer helmet), Willie Wood and Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer and Ray Nitschke.

Above are my collections of Lombardis -- the nuns have to be bought separately.

Congratulations are in order for the Eau Claire University Blugold Football team. They pulled out a win over the St. Norbert's Golden Knights at St. Norbert's by a four point margin in really inclement weather with crosswinds of 34 mph.

since I was in green Bay that afternoon, I thought about going to the game, but once I got out in that wind at the Packer Hall of Fame I was really glad we opted to take it easy on Saturday.

The Blugolds face Bethel College this coming Saturday in the Twin Cities.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Three Amigos Take Green Bay By Storm -- Packers Win Anyway

What a great weekend! Other than being rousted from our sleep at the Days Inn of Neenah at 5:50 AM on game day because of a faulty fire alarm, it was a picture perfect weekend.

Because I am a senior citizen and suffer from the senior citizen's disease of arriving early at any and all events, Tom Johnson (who came up from Madison on Friday night) and I arrived at Jay Moore's domicile about twenty minutes early, but Mr. Moore knowing me all too well, was packed and ready to go.

We stopped in Rothschild, just off Highway 29 east, rendezvousing with my friends Terry and Suzi Kittson for pizza at Sam's Pizza, before continuing on to Green Bay.

We had intended to tour the Packer Hall of Fame and hit the Packer Pro Shop, but were disappointed to find that all the tours were sold out so we joined the throngs of both Carolina Panther fans and Packer fans in a never ending line of consumers in the Pro Shop.

I wondered aloud to the boys about how much money the place must take in on a game weekend! It was wall to wall glaze-eyed money wavers!

Tom got a much needed Packer stocking cap and I got some little needed but really cool "receiver's gloves" before we "popped" out the other end of the shop.

We headed down to Neenah and our lodging at the Day's Inn, settled in with some Bloody Marys and watched the end of the Ohio Sate/Michigan game, followed by yet another game which I cannot recall because of all that tomato juice.

There was much discussion about where we would find supper (not being familiar with the immediate Neenah area), so I retired to a bath tub of steamy hot water, took a long soak, yellow pages in hand, and checking the restaurant listings I came upon a listing for the Apollan, an authentic Greek eatery back up Highway 41, down College Avenue, and up Appleton Street (well actually the next street past Appleton Street as I found out after I turned left onto Appleton to see the WRONG WAY/ONE WAY sign) Damn! I hate that!

But we went up, circled back and found it.

We parked just down the street from the restaurant and as soon as we got a good whiff coming from the cooking exhaust vent, I knew we had chosen well!

The restaurant is very well appointed in an Old World style, the waitstaff is all men, and the food was very, very tasty.

The first course was Avgolemono, a Greek egg/lemon soup, so good that the first thing I did last night upon returning to the office was google recipes.

This was followed by a simple green salad with two kinds of really tasty Greek dressing.

Tom ordered the chicken with feta, I had Mousaka, a kind of Greek lasagna with egg plant replacing noodles, and Jay went with the Lamb Brochette.

We skipped dessert -- but not entirely. When we got b ack to our exit, we all got custard at Culver's.

After being jolted out of bed with alarms and the arrival of fire trucks Sunday morning, we figured we may as well get our butts dressed and on the way back up to Green Bay as I needed to find strategic parking north of Lambeau so that we could get on the road as quickly as possible after the game since Jay had to be on the air at 6AM.

Breakfast at Perkins and we were parked and on our way to the stadium by 10:15AM. We "people watched" out in the Lambeau lot for some time then located our seats which were in row 60, right below the railing to the upper bleacher seats.

Thanks to occasional guest appearances of the sun, we never really got chilled all afternoon.

After the"pooch" kick, 94 yard run back, I settled down and stop worrying quite so much about the game, although I feel The Pack needs to "finish" their games second half with more of a killer instinct -- go for blood!

One more thing. Just to give you an example of how great Packer fans are: Just before half, a lady siting in row 59 who had watched me struggle all the way up those giant cement steps with my replacement knee, turned and asked me if I would like anything from concessions as she had seen how much trouble I had with the leg.

I love Wisconsin!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Iraq War Making Fat Cats Fatter While We Pay

Last night's debate in Nevada held a lot of interesting moments that I think are very telling about the state of our country and how big a job it's going to be to fix the damage of the George Bush era.

One that stood out for me was when Ms. Jeannie Jackson asked about the use of private contractors like Blackwater in Iraq with mercenaries that make over $100,000 a year, while her son -- a U.S. soldier -- is putting his life on the line for his country for $30,000.

Think about everything implied by that.

We've stretched our military so thin that we've had to hire soldiers of fortune to plug the holes. But because our country is run by people who answer to big corporations instead of ordinary Americans, companies are actually getting rich from this war, while our soldiers are barely scraping by.

Worse yet, when those soldiers come home damaged, our VA system has failed them miserably, particularly when it comes to the devastating emotional effects of vicious urban combat.

The hypocrisy of this administration never fails to amaze me. They talk about patriotism. They talk about family values. But every single time it comes to actually doing something that would help Americans who honestly need and deserve help, they choose to serve the big corporations and special interests that back them.

After seven years of this ideology, our situation is very grave. And it's only getting worse.


Thee are my thoughts exactly, but I am not the one who wrote the above. It was in an e mail I received from Governor Richardson.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sunday's Game Making More Than Just Me NERVOUS

I've already talked about this weekend's match with The Carolina Panthers and how uneasy it is making me! The angst is gaining ground as the week flies by.

I am going to be on site for the tussel. I will be sitting with another Packer fan and an expatriate Panther fan. Now I find an article in Madison's Wisconsin Journal by sports writer Tom Oates and it seems I am not alone.

Oates says:

"Quarterback Brett Favre has expressed surprise that the Green Bay Packers haven't laid an egg this season.

The real surprise, however, will be if the Packers don't lay an egg Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field.

Think about it.

The Packers are the least likely 8-1 team on the planet, they are coming off of their most complete game of the season, they are favored for only the ninth time in coach Mike McCarthy's 26 games and they are playing a 4-5 team one week after routing arch-rival Minnesota and heading into back-to-back Thursday showdowns at Detroit and Dallas, NFC contenders with a combined 14-4 record.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is a working definition of a trap game in the NFL."

Holy crap! The man has read my mind!

Oates goes on to say:

"There hasn't been much need for managing euphoria in recent years in Green Bay, but the 34-0 victory over the Vikings and the running game that accompanied it made believers of many who had remained unconvinced while the Packers eked out victory after close victory.

Suddenly, McCarthy has to be concerned that the inclination to look ahead will take over the locker room, especially since he coaches the NFL's youngest team.

The threat is real, too.

If the Packers fixate on their Thanksgiving Day game at NFC North rival Detroit, Carolina — despite a debilitating quarterback situation — is certainly strong enough to burst their ever-enlarging bubble."

So Coach Mike McCarthy faces the monumental task of keeping these very young men focused on the HERE and NOW. Only time will tell if he can do it.

Sure, he has the veteran at quarterback -- but so do the Panthers. And don't forget that John Fox is very familiar with Coach McCarthy's style and preparation having faced him many times when McCarthy was offensive coordinator with The New Orleans Saints.

I hate it that the Packers are favored by 9 1/2 points! Shut up! Underdogs. We wanna be underdogs!

Oates concludes:

"Despite McCarthy's frequent reminders about handling success — it was his initial topic the first time he met with the team in 2006 — the Packers look like a perfect petri dish in which to grow a culture of complacency.

"We're not going to jump ahead," Favre said. "Carolina's obviously a tough opponent. Every game we've played has been extremely close — it's come down to a play or two here or there — except for last week. I don't assume that will change. From here on out, we have to play our best football and we have to approach every game that way."

One thing the Packers have going for them is that they haven't forgotten how they got here.

"We've been behind, we've been in battles in the fourth quarter, we've been in games that didn't look like they were going to come out our way and we've battled it out and scratched and clawed our way to victories," Barnett said. "I think that's a great indication of the type of people we have in this locker room and the character we've built."

Maybe so, but the real reason the Packers won't lay an egg is because they're still listening to McCarthy, and he won't let them. "

So Coach McCarthy and our Packers must strike the delicate balance on Sunday. We must not go into the game flat because of over confidence nor must we go into the game so tight that we cannot execute.

Look to our captain in the first quarter. As Brett goes, so goes the team. And say a little prayer nightly that Ryan Grant has another solid game on the ground.

This really is the week that the Packers need to establish themselves for real! May the ghost of Vince Lombardi be present, exhorting the boys to indeed leave it all on the field.


I met with my good friend, manager, publicist, marketeer, Liz Fischer this morning for a strategy session on how to approach the new year.

Eventually, after we had discussed "business", the conversation drifted to politics as both Liz and I are very interested in the state of the nation. She told me that recently she and her friend Sharon had stopped at the Dairy Queen for some supper and they encoountered a van with a home made bumper sticker, very carefully laid out in vinyl lettering that read:

"I'd rather be shooting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy."

Yeh, well you go ahead, pal! With that kind of mentality you deserve a face full of bird shot! Don't get me srong, here. What Ted Kennedy did all those years ago was despicable, but not nearly as despicable as the muriad of criminal activities our not so beloved VP has gotten involved with over the last 6 years.

In addition to war mongering, an activity that has cost Iraqis thousands of lives, Cheney has lined his own pockets with ill gotten gain through Halliburton.

Kennedy may have accidently killed one person but he certainly is not responsible for the deaths of thousands.

And how screwed up is our country when the guy who took the bird shot to the face apologizes to Cheney for all the embarrassment he caused Cheney by being in the wrong place at the wrong time??

And now Dicky boy is poised to begin bombing Iran. After all, there is more money to be made!



Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Below is an article clipped from the Wisconsin State Journal comparing our newly found starting running back, Ryan Grant, to one of my all time favorite running backs, Dorsey Levens, of the championship 1996 team.

I was such a fan that I laid out a lot of money for an authentic Dorsey Levens jersey by Starter that I found at a sporting goods store in a shopping mall in Milwaukee It was one of those deals where I kept walking around the mall talking to myself about not being able to afford the jersey and trying to come up with rationalizations why I should have it.

Well, I know I am a sick man, but I am a believer in signs, in omens. So I took my Levens jersey out of stoage and I have been wearing it every day this week to insure a Packer win this coming Sunday. Even the name of the company that was then producing all the jerseys for the NFL: STARTER (with a rising star logo) I take as a sign of great things to come yet this season for Ryan Grant!

Here is the article:

Packers: Grant a lot like Levens
GREEN BAY — Brett Favre sees the similarities. So does Mike McCarthy. And Ted Thompson. And Edgar Bennett.
But the most important person whom Ryan Grant reminds of Dorsey Levens is ... Dorsey Levens.

"He does, actually," Levens said Tuesday. "It's kind of eerie."

In the wake of Grant's 119-yard effort in the Green Bay Packers' 34-0 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, all the postgame buzz was about how much the Packers' newest starting running back looked like Levens, who earned a Pro Bowl berth in 1997 and rushed for 4,584 yards and 32 touchdowns (including playoffs) during his seven years with the team (1994 to 2001).

And there certainly was some substance to the comparison.

Grant wears the same jersey number (No. 25). He's roughly the same size (6-foot-1, 218 pounds) as Levens (6-1, 230). He left Notre Dame unsatisfied with his career with the Irish (Grant was under-used his last two seasons after rushing for 1,085 yards as a sophomore) just like Levens did (he earned the starting job as a sophomore but transferred to Georgia Tech after falling out of favor with coach Lou Holtz).

"Dorsey was a little bigger, (but) Ryan is still young enough — with the strength and conditioning program here — (to) put on some size. But as far as their frame, their history, their background, where he played (in) college, there are a lot of similarities," said McCarthy, the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999, when Levens rushed for 1,034 yards and nine touchdowns. "Brett said it the first week he was here."

And Favre said it again Sunday, after Grant ran for a 30-yard touchdown against what had been one of the NFL's most imposing run defenses.

"The number obviously is striking, but he is a big, physical back, deceptively fast," Favre said. "He kind of sneaks up on you."

Both Grant and Levens have done that to Packers fans as well.

Similar moves

A fifth-round pick in 1994, Levens came to Green Bay as a fullback but emerged during the Packers' Super Bowl XXXI-winning season of '96 as a playmaker. Sharing time with Bennett, who is now Grant's position coach, Levens scored 10 touchdowns that year, then took over as the team's starter in 1997 after Bennett's season ended with ruptured an Achilles' tendon in the exhibition opener. Levens went on to rush for 1,435 yards and started alongside Barry Sanders in the Pro Bowl.

"I'll say this: I hope Ryan Grant becomes as good as Dorsey Levens was," said Thompson, who gave up a 2008 sixth-round pick to acquire Grant from the New York Giants on Sept. 2. "We liked what we saw of Ryan in New York. We liked him coming out of college, and we liked what we saw of him in preseason. His career had not really taken off yet. But we felt like the trade was worth doing — and you know how I am with draft picks.

"I like Ryan Grant, but Dorsey Levens accomplished quite a bit in this league."

Bennett admitted he saw the parallels the moment Grant arrived in that trade, but he too was unwilling to put Grant in Levens' class after just two 100-yard rushing performances. Levens, by comparison, had 10 100-yard games with the Packers.

"There are some similarities that you see and that you like about the kid, but I still say that Dorsey Levens is Dorsey Levens and Ryan Grant is still trying to make a name for himself," Bennett said. "Besides the number, when you see the guy move around, for me at least, I just see things where I think, 'I've seen Dorsey make that move.'

"But as I told Ryan when he first got here and we started talking about some of the similarities between him and Dorsey, I said, 'Don't have Dorsey calling me because you're not representing his number well."'

That shouldn't be a problem.

An eye on Grant

Every Sunday, Levens commutes from his home in Atlanta to Chicago to work as an analyst for Sprint's NFL Mobile network, watching "all the important games, so I've watched a lot of Packers games and not a lot of Bears games."

As a result, Levens has seen both of Grant's breakout performances — the 104-yarder in relief at Denver on Oct. 29, which earned him the starting job, and Sunday's effort against Minnesota.

"I've seen both 100-yard games, and it's not even the number. He runs hard, and he kind of looks like me a little bit," said Levens, who played three more seasons in the NFL — two with Philadelphia (2002, 2004) and one with the Giants (2205) — before signing a one-day contract with Green Bay in June 2006 to retire as a Packer.

"I'm not sure if his style looks like me. I've got to go back and look a myself some more. But I know he runs extremely hard, and I know I tried to pride myself on being a downhill runner and running extremely hard. So I think there's some legitimate comparisons there."

Another one comes from the offensive line. In his heyday, Levens was one of the line's favorites to block for because of his decisiveness, and Grant has that same quality, which sets him apart from predecessors DeShawn Wynn, Brandon Jackson and Vernand Morency.

"It makes it a little easier to block when you have a back who's downhill. He makes one cut and hits the hole," center Scott Wells said. "It makes our job easier. We don't have to worry about him dancing around and guys slipping off of us on our blcoks.

"I like his style. If he has to, he'll bury his head and get a yard or two. I think he's stepped up and responded well when he's been given the opportunity, and I hope for a lot more success out of him."

So does Levens, who is enjoying "bragging rights" over the plethora of Bears fans in the Sprint studio and knows Grant, who enters Sunday's game against Carolina with 305 yards on 72 carries, is the key to keeping that going.

"I feel pretty good walking into that office every Sunday," Levens said. "I enjoy watching him. Honestly, I think he's doing the number great justice. I'm happy. Somebody has to wear the No. 25, and if he can play the way he's been playing, that's great. I love the way he's running. I'm proud of him."

Ryan is just getting STARTed!

S'cuse me whilst I go buy some tag board and make the sign that will be on TV this Sunday:



Governor Bill Richardson Gets My Vote and Financial Support

While watching a Daily Show re-run last night, Senator McCain (whom I have lost all respect for since his pandering to the extreme religious right) argued with Jon Stewart that we need to accept the "now" of being in Iraq and move forward from there.

Well, excuse me, senator, but that's like a guy killing his wife and when being questioned by the police, saying: "Well it really doesn't matter whether she tripped and fell down the stairs or if I pushed her, we need to move forward and make funeral arrangements."

So much of our future history is depending upon the '08 elections that it is genuinely frightening. And I am not impressed with a lot of the would be candidates from either party.

I am most impressed with Governor Bill Richardson which means he will not even come close to getting the nomination.

Today I want to focus on his stance on Iraq. Here is what he has to say:

The Richardson Plan for Ending the War
I have a one-point plan on the Iraq War -- END IT.
We must get all of our troops out quickly and safely so that a new political process can begin.

Our military presence in Iraq is prolonging the violence, costing us more than $10 billion a month, and distracting us from the war against Al Qaeda. George Bush's "surge" has failed: this summer was the bloodiest yet, and there's no end in sight. Our troops have done everything we've asked them to do -- but they cannot win someone else's civil war. We need to get them out so that a new political process can begin.

There are seven components to my plan to end the war and stabilize Iraq, but the most important step, upon which all others depend, is to remove ALL of our troops quickly.

What we need to do:

Remove ALL Troops: Only when the Iraqis know we are leaving will they start seeing us as partners, instead of occupiers. A complete withdrawal gives us the leverage we now lack to get the warring factions to compromise, while our presence fuels the insurgency. The Iraqis must take responsibility for their country, and only a complete withdrawal gives them the incentive to kick out al Qaeda and heal their country. Any plan that leaves troops behind will allow the war to drag on, and will cost more American lives.

Withdraw as Quickly as Possible: We should start redeploying now. The longer we stay, the more people die, the further the situation deteriorates, and the more damage we do both to our military and to our reputation. Only when we are out of this quagmire can we refocus on the real war against Al Qaeda -- the terrorists who attacked us on 9-11, and who are still headquartered along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border -- not in Iraq.

A Diplomatic Surge: Iraq's crisis is a political crisis. It cannot be solved militarily. We need a surge of diplomacy to bring Iraq's factions together, to engage all of Iraq's neighbors in stabilization, and to put together a coalition of donor nations to aid reconstruction.
How We Do It:

De-authorize the War and Fund Redeployment: Last November, the American people voted for the Democrats because they expected them to end the war. Congress should do what it was elected to do, by passing a resolution that de-authorizes the war under Article 1 of the Constitution and the War Powers Act. And they should pass funding only to safely redeploy our troops, not to leave them endlessly in the middle of a civil war. Congress can and should act now to end this war.
Remove ALL the troops from Iraq: We must get our troops out of Iraq as quickly and safely as possible. Since the war began, we have rotated up to 240,000 troops into and out of Iraq in as few as 3 months. The logistics and details of a withdrawal must come from our military commanders on the ground. I hope Congress will force President Bush to end this war, but if Congress fails, I will instruct our military leaders to get our troops out as quickly as possible. Steps should include:

Identify the units we can phase out quickly. Support units and their large bases should go first and combat units next.

Identify the equipment we can leave to the Iraqis and the equipment we must bring home.

Move troops and equipment into Kuwait, and to regional bases where we are welcome such as in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Redeploy troops from these regional bases to Afghanistan and other locations where they can fight actual threats to America. In addition, we should bring as many troops as possible home to start rejoining their families.

Lead a Regional and Global Diplomacy: The hard political work begins as our troops start to leave.

We must use the leverage of our withdrawal to bring the factions to the negotiating table.

The United States must lead this effort and involve all of Iraq's neighbors, including Syria and Iran, in a regional conference modeled on the Dayton conference which ended the war in Bosnia. Key objectives of the conference should be assurances of non-interference and the creation of a multilateral, UN-led Muslim peacekeeping force.

We must also convene a donor conference of wealthy Arab states to fund Iraqi reconstruction. All of Iraq's neighbors have an interest in preventing Iraq's civil war from spiraling even further out of control, and they should all play a part in stopping the violence.

Can you read this and NOT want to vote for the man????


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday, November 13 -- Only Five More Days 'Til We Are Green Bay Bound

Man oh man oh man! I got the "can-hardly waits" real bad! We are only five days away from loading up the Scion xB with outdoor gear and bloody mary mix!

Tom "Blinky" Johnson and I will be representing the Packer faithful and the southern gentleman himself, Mr. Jay Moore, will be making his first trip to Lambeau wearing the Panther colors. You can take the hillybilly out of the hills, but you can't take the hills outa the hillbilly, or sumthin' like that.

Today I went out and found some merino wool liners for my gloves as they didn't pass the "cold test" last Saturday at the Blugold/Stout football game at Carson Park.

I also got a pair of Grabber Mycoal Heat Treat Foot Warmers as that was the other part of my body that failed the "cold test" pretty miserably last Saturday.

Now I have to remember to pack a cushion to sit on as those aluminum benches at Lambeau will give you hemmerhoidal frostbite!

I picked up a bottle of good quality Pinnacle vodka, two jars of tomato juice, a jar of Clausen's dill spears, (Mother Nature's stir sticks) and a jar of good and hot horseradish from Eau Claire's own Silver Spring Gardens (I already have the hot pepper sauce for those in the party that want it).

We'll be up early Sunday morning, around 6 AM, fortifying ourselves with vodka, lycopene and dill pickles for breakfast. Then we'll be off to Green Bay from Neenah's Day's Inn to find parking north of Lombardi by 9:30 AM so that it won't take us three hours to get to Highway 29 west after the Packers beat the snot out of the Panthers.

I learned my lesson last time -- Kim and I parked south of Lombardi Avenue in the Chuckie Cheese parking lot and it took us (and I am not exaggerating here) about an hour to finally get onto Lombardi!

I wouldn't sweat it so much, but Shanty Boy has to be on the air Monday morning, hopefully to eat a lot of crow.

We will be leaving for Green Bay around 10 AM on Saturday, lunching at Sam's Pizza in Schofield about 11:45 AM (see you there, Kittsons?), then on to Green Bay and the Hall of Fame, with a stop at the Packer Pro Shop.

We'll have to see if Jay Moore can do the Lambeau Leap at the display in the hall of fame.

Then we'll check in to the Day's Inn, Neenah. side note: The manager makes an appearance in a Day's Inn commercial on TV!

We got three guys and two beds. Jay Moore says I have to sleep in the bath tub. I think we should draw straws. Or even better -- Tom and I will climb in bed with Jay -- one on each side -- and we'll make a Moore sandwich.

Every time I think of taking road trips with "the guys" I have to smile thinking back to the "Eat Like Elvis" road trip I took years ago with my younger brother Anson and good friend Gary Spaeth.

At the motel the first night, we were all very polite. About the third night, my brother "cut the cheese" quite loudly --to which Gary announced, formally:



Monday, November 12, 2007

Indianhead Packer Fan Revels In Packer Shut Out of Vikings

Over the years, since I live closer to Minneapolis than Green Bay, I have taken the opportunity to drive to the Cities when my teams (the Packers/the Brewers) were in town.

I used to love to go out to the old Metropolitan stadium in Bloomington because to my way of thinking that was a real stadium as compared to the Hubert Humphrey Wind Bag.

I am priveleged to say that I saw the Bears' Gale Sayers beat the Vikings with a long kick off return back in the day.

But there finally came a day when I had taken all the abuse I was going to take from Viking fans and I vowed I would never spend a penny in the state of Minnesota if I could avoid it, including stopping for fuel on my way to North Dkota.

That crowning day was the Sunday that I was invited to go to the Viking/Packer game at the Metrodome with my good friend Bill Rude, who just happened to have two tickets through a customer of his.

We drove up in my Packer green 1965 Oldsmobile 98. The only way anyone could know it was from Wisconsin was by the license plates and a small Packer "G" on the passenger side vent window.

We parked as close as we could get, and went into the dome. I was wearing my Packer jacket so I guess I should have been ready for abuse, but I didn't think it would be so virulent.

Coming into the stadium, everyone was given a free granola bar as promotion, and as we came out of the tunnel and into the seating area, a drunk in purple stood up (sort of), pointed at me and yelled: "Get the fuck outa here and don't ever fuckin' come back!"

I just waved at him and replied: "It's nice to see you too."

We found our seats. The gentleman behind us leaned over and said: "Don't pay any attention to that asshole. He's drunk before the game evern starts."

I asked him where he ws from. Turns out he was from South Dakota, with Viking season tickets.

Since the Vikings were having a winning season, I turned to the man and asked: "If he's like this when they are winning, what's he like when they are losing?"

"Oh," he replied, "when the Vikings are losing, he's gone by half time."

The Vikings won that day. On the way out we received a lot of verbal abuse. Bill wanted to get into it with a couple of them, but I thought discretion was the better part of valor.

When we arrived back at the Oldsmobile we found that someone had chewed up and spit out about six of their granola bars, all over my car.

That was it! I vowed never to come back.

All the idiots standing on overpasses with big signs reading "Fuck the Packers! Go Home!" and giving Wisconsin plates the finger didn't exactly endear me either.

So yesterday's lambasting of the Vikings 34 -0 felt pretty damn good! I screamed my head off 4th quarter, worried that we wouldn't preserve that shut out.

Go Pack Go!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Adrian Who? All Day Peterson Gets 45 --Green Bay Packers Shut Out Bitter Rival -- Beat Vikings Twice This Season -- Doesn't Get Any Better

Okay, okay. so I worried way too much. My hat is off to coach Mike McCarthy, who with today's big win over that team from Minnesota now has more Lambeau wins than even Vince Lombardi.

There were some significant signs of growth in this week's team. We eliminated most of the penalties of the past that have really plagued this young team. How we won games in which we committed thirteen mistakes can only be attributed to a word that nobody likes to say about their own team, LUCK.

But the Packers broke out of that mold this week. I haven't checked, but I think the number was reduced down to four or five penalties, two of which were bonehead roughing the passer flags.

The offensive coaches and team obviously did their homework this week and found some weakness in the teletubbies in the center of the Viking defensive line and they exploited it, blocking well and opening gaps outside the two tackles that gave running back Grant (who ran with real authority all afternoon) 119 yards for the day, going over 100 yards for the second week in a row.

Brett was wound up pretty tight during the first half. I've always felt that he doesn't settle down until he's had some contact, but at 38 years of age, I will take the unwinding process rather than having somebody knock him down When he did find his rhythm, he spread the ball around to everybody and it kept the Viking DB's back on their heels, In fact, I can't recall Darren Sharper's name called all afternoon.

The defense played an incredible game! Adrian Peterson, who kept me awake nights this past week, wasn't even a factor. What did he get before getting knocked out of the game in the third quarter? -- 45 yards?

But then, Peterson didn't have much of a chance. The Vikings offense hardly saw any time on the field as Favre's backs and ends continued moving inexorably downfield with plays like the catch by Koren Robinson, who landed about a half yard short of the first down and before he could be touched down by a DB, just did a little frog bounce to the first down!

Twice they went for it on fourth down and twice they made it -- authoritatively.

Oh the luck is still with us. The ball continues to bounce our way as it did in 1996

The one that comes to mind, besides the dropped possible interceptions -- was the play where Ruvell Martin and Brett got their wires crossed and Martin went to the corner of the end zone and Brett threw it between two Vikings, who went up, cancelled each other out, and the ball careened perfectly in Martin's waiting hands. One of the two Vikings that went up for the ball was Darren Sharper, former Packer, who vowed he would "pick one off" today.

He's probably on the bus back to Minneapolis right now, chewing Cedric Griffin a new one.

Thirty Four to nothing. Thirty Four to nothing. Thirty Four to nothing. sounds so sweet!

Gotta get back to the house and cheer for the Giants!


Friday, November 9, 2007

Office Stove Now In Full Use -- Come In, Take Off All Of Your Clothes, Make Yourself Comfortable

The daily routine of stoking the office stove has begun and it is something that I look forward to and enjoy. The recent delivery of six face cord contained a lot of smaller kindling, which I keep stored next to the stove.

Around 10PM I will come over from the house and find two huge chunks of wood, stuff them in, turn down both the dampers, and it will keep the building comfortably warm overnight.

When I get back in the morning around 7 AM, all I have to do is even out the glowing coals, add three or four of the pictured kindling, open the dampers, and within minutes I am back up to speed with a roaring fire.

If I don't damper it down, I will end up working at the computer in my underwear!

With feedings at noon, 6PM and again at 10, the cycle is completed for another day and I have not used any LP gas whatsoever, saving that for backup times when I am out of town.


I am very pleased to announce that Tiit has returned home to Fall Creek!

Tiit is feeling GREAT. His white blood counts are high enough so he doesn't have to wear a mask anymore and his platelets and hemoglobin are all normal. The bone marrow biopsy showed 3% blast cells but we all have some blast cells, usually no more than 5%. This is about the same percentage detected last week in his blood which is good news. Tiit will have another bone marrow biopsy on November 18th and will meet with the doctor on the 21st to see if he can start consolidation theraphy. He wants to have the consolidtion chemo in Eau Claire and the next cycles will be less intensive.

Ann wishes to thank all for your friendship, support, kind thoughts, love, notes, food, gifts, music, books, visits and everything else. They are very happy to be home together.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

If Individual Not At Peace, Family Will Not Be At Peace -- And In Turn, Nation And World Will Be In Turmoil

I just received the follwing e mail from Tiit and really feel a need to share it with all who read my blog as it is wonderful and very much to the point:

Woke up in the middle of the night...not unusual for me especially during these recent times...normally I'd get up and draw or send e-mails...but decided to stay in bed, lay on my back and start mentally writing about 'what is real'. When I was a younger man I could never keep more than a sentence or two going in my mind at one time...but...after years of writing in my notebooks I can now mentally write many paragraphs...greart fun when you're wide awake and you don't want to drag your ass out of bed. And usually after a time I'm back in dream-land.

What is real? Years ago I attended a College Art Conference in Minneapolis...the artist Robert Irwin was one of the presenters...he's one of the most interesting and intelligent artist around...he can be Googled so I won't mention anything more about him. He started his presentation by talking about what he had heard during a presentation given by an art historian who kept using the phrase " in reality" over and over again. To which Irwin said, "Everything is reality".

'Everything is reality' immediately clicked with me...it made total sense. We generally think of 'the real' as those things we experience directly though our five senses...I suppose these are the things that can be confirmed by others who observe the same scene, let's say...and things like dreams and hallucinations and figments of the imagination as not being real...since they are only observable and experienced by the individual. But what the individual experiences is 'real' to the individual doing the experiencing.

My recent experience with the fantastic dreams and the visuals and the hearing of music during the early stages of chemo treatment were certainly 'real' to me...I can still see and hear what I experienced...the floating bed and it moving through space and then me with it going through walls and floating around seeing this fantastic landscape and buildings and then floating down a long set of stairs and up toward another wall and going through it back to the room. I know this was a dream...but I experienced it...as I did the music and other visuals. But most would not consider these experiences as 'real'. Fine.

Everything is real...perhaps not in the physical sense...but real never-the-less. These inner world and experiences are as real as the physical world...and they can influence us as much as a punch in the face.

Our society and educational system dosen't give much attention to this inward world...and it is this inner world that probably has more to do with the condition of the world than anything physical or those things we collectively experience.

Peace is not something that comes from the outside...no one can give it to us...no government can create it...no organized religious institution can pray it into exsistence...all we need to do is look around to what is happening in our world today or what has taken place in the past...the war to end all wars did not end wars...GW's policy that war will bring peace to Iraq is and was sheer bullshit.

Peace starts from within and within each individual. If the individual is not at peace the family will not be at peace...and in turn the nation and the world.

So all we can do is to work like hell on ourselves...visit that inner world we think is not a part of reality...everything is real.

That's my story for today...and I'm sticking to it.


NFL Channel Replays of Viking/Charger Game Emphasize Peterson's Value

A few months ago I had Directv installed. Part of the package is the NFL Channel, which runs condensed versions of the previous Sunday's games throughout the week.

I have watched the re-runs of the Viking victory over the Chargers twice and I don't like what I see happening with rookie Adrian Peterson.

During the first Packer/Viking squareoff in Minneapolis, Peterson had a lot of yards despite being held back in the second half.

Actually, if it wasn't for Vikings coach Brad Childress, Favre might not have been the only player setting records in the Metrodome.

Peterson, the seventh overall pick out of the University of Oklahoma, had 10 carries for 108 yards at halftime, including a 55-yard burst on his ninth attempt.

Peterson got just two carries for 4 yards in the second half as Childress stuck to his plan of slowly bringing Peterson along. The Vikings wound up losing, 23-16.

With a 9.3-yard per carry average to that point, 30 carries could have gotten Peterson near Jamal Lewis' previous single-game record of 295 yards, set when Lewis was with Baltimore.

Come Sunday in Green Bay, I am certain that Childress will not be holding the young man back. The only way the Packers are going to win this one is if the defensive front four plays gap-perfect football all afternoon.

Peterson already has the ability to read when a defenseman is out of position and not playing his assigned gap.

"Since I've been in the league, I haven't seen one like him," said Green Bay defensive line coach Robert Nunn, who coached Ricky Williams in Miami and played alongside Barry Sanders at Oklahoma State. "He's Barry Sanders-like as far as hitting the hole. He's fast and he hits it so fast. He has such good vision and strength. He's the total package."

"It's hard to prepare your guys for that. They got a taste of it when we were there. I don't think we're going to have to remind them much."

So I am going into the weekend worried! More than any other team, I hate losing to the Vikings.

It is heartening to know that the Green Bay defense has moved up the scale from 15th in run defense to 8th. I hope that's enough come Sunday!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sports Illustated Rates NFL Stadiums -- Number One: Lambeau Field (Duh)

Sports Illustrated has done one of those surveys in which National Football League stadiums are rated for overall best fan experience. Lambeau Field is the top-rated venue.

Here's what SI had to say: "We're not going to postulate that Packers fans have an almost unnatural love of Lambeau, but when one fan writes "if you can't make it to church on Sunday, this is the next best thing" and another describes the place as "a temple of physical and spiritual perfection ... tastefully decorated with statues and images of our gods," one can't help but wonder if Lambeau Field is more a place of myth than memories. But if that's the case, is that so wrong? With a billion-dollar football palace set to open in Dallas in a few years and half-billion-dollar stadiums already up in Philadelphia and Detroit, the NFL needs a place as understated as Lambeau. For all the glitz and money the NFL exudes nowadays, football's heart is still on that "frozen tundra," where tough guys grapple with each other while fans warm themselves on cold bleachers with hot chocolate and full-throated cheering. And that is still the essence of Lambeau. Sure, there are a few more amenities now as the economics of today's game demands ever-expanding streams of revenue. But once fans leave that glass atrium and head to their seats, the focus is football."

High praise indeed.

Average Price Per Ticket $63.39
Price Range Of Tickets $59-$292
Ticket Availability Games sold out at Lambeau since 1960.
"Considered a "religious experience" by many, attending a game at Lambeau Field is to come home with a memory: the game in "December [when] it was about minus-10 and windy, with a light snow falling, and my winter hat blew off, but the woman right behind me put it right back on me in a sort of instinctual, motherly fashion;" the friendly wagers "my nephew made on the scoreboard car races with Al, who sat behind us, from the time my nephew was 3-years-old until Al died years later;" the Bears game late in the year "in one of our 4-12 seasons that was packed until the end;" and the tailgate in mid-December when "my uncle Dave invited over ... a car full of Bears fans who were just trying to stay warm ... for some brats and beer. It was a little tense at first, but once they realized that we love our team as much as they love theirs ..." In other words, Packers fans are "devoted, yet accepting of non-Packers fans." Perhaps that is because "there is a little more at stake being a part owner of the team (the Packers are the only publicly-owned team in American professional sports) than the average fan. Or because fans "not only feel the history of the stadium, but feel like a part of that history, too." But this isn't a "stuffy" group, not when "you have fans taking their shirts off in the middle of a snowstorm." Rather, it is a crowd that creates "a small-town atmosphere right inside the stadium."
SCORE 9 out of 10

For NFL fans, each Sunday's game is only part of an event that includes a lot more than what happens between the hash marks for three hours. From the commute, to tailgating to taking one's seat, the act of attending a game is an experience shared by every NFL fan from Seattle to Miami. But what separates one venue from another?

That's what SI.com attempted to discover in rating the experiences each NFL team offers the fans who attend their games. From ticket prices to availability, from the quality of the tailgating to the comfort of the seats, they asked fans to rank and describe every aspect of the game day experience. After painstakingly reviewing each of the 17,000 responses in their online survey, they sorted the information to give a snapshot of what readers told them and rated each team in seven categories.

The criteria used is described below. In the cases of a tie, teams were ranked based on the length of their current sellout streak. Hence, though the top two teams finished with the same score, the fact that No. 1 (Green Bay) has sold out every game since 1960 carries the day over a team (Pittsburgh) with a sellout streak dating to '72.

The ratings in each category were determined by the following:


The availability of tickets and fan atmosphere were weighed against the average ticket price (determined by Team Marketing Report's 2007 NFL Fan Cost Index, which represents a weighted average of season ticket prices for general seating). The lower the price, the fewer the available seats and the more festive the crowd, the better.

Food & Souvenirs

Does the stadium offer a selection of food that can fuel a fan's passion for the game, or does it specialize in a typical spread of lukewarm hot dogs and expensive beer that can sap a crowd of its vigor as quickly as a loss on the scoreboard?


Is the trip to the stadium smooth or as thick as molasses? Do public buses or rapid transit trains offer more convenient alternatives to driving? And how is the search, and cost, for parking?


The tenor of the game ahead often is set at the hours spent grilling in the parking lot beforehand. What teams offer the chance for fans to bond over fabulous food and heated football talk? Which teams don't?


Is the team's performance worth watching?

Stadium Atmosphere

A facility's architecture can go a long way toward making a fan feel the team isn't merely a tenant, but a resident of the city. Of course, it can also make one feel like the team plays in a soul-less mall. Those teams that do their best to incorporate the city beyond its walls can charm fans even during a losing season; those that don't better win or risk irrelevancy.


Is the city that lies beyond the stadium's walls worth visiting before or after the game? Is it safe? Or is one best served by beating a hasty retreat to the safety of home?

Here is the final results:

1. Packers - Lambeau Field
2. Steelers - Heinz Field
3. Browns - Cleveland Browns Stadium
4. Lions - Ford Field
5. Ravens - M&T Bank Stadium
6. Eagles - Lincoln Financial Field
7. Seahawks - QWEST Field
8. Colts - RCA Dome
9. Titans - LP Field
10. Panthers - Bank of Amer. Stadium
11. Patriots - Gillette Stadium
12. Jaguars - Municipal Stadium
13. Broncos - INVESCO Field at Mile High
14. Texans - Reliant Stadium
15. Bills - Ralph Wilson Stadium
16. Chiefs - Arrowhead Stadium
17. Buccaneers - Raymond James Stadium
18. Saints - Louisiana Superdome
19. Bengals - Paul Brown Stadium
20. Bears - Soldier Field
21. Raiders - McAfee Stadium
22. Chargers - Qualcomm Stadium
23. Dolphins - Dolphin Stadium
24. Cardinals - Univ. of Phoenix Stadium
25. Giants - Giants Stadium
26. Cowboys - Texas Stadium
27. Rams - Edward Jones Dome
28. Redskins - FedEx Field
29. Falcons - Georgia Dome
30. 49ers - Monster Park
31. Vikings - HHH Metrodome
32. Jets - Giants Stadium

It was my good friend Tom Johnson who was living in New York City at the time, that got me started going to Packer games in person.

Our first experience was Sunday, October 1, 2000, when we went with our brothers Anson and Stan to a 3:15PM start against the Bears. What I remember most clearly about thae game was it was the only one where we encountered some unpleasantness with a fan. the guy behind tom took umbrage with the fact that Tom rented a cushon with a seat back.

The guy kept kneeing Tom in the back and they kept having words until I finally, unable to take it anymore, said: "Look! I paid a lot of money to come here and have a good time and I am tired of this! I am going to sit where Tom is sitting and I trust we will have no more unpleasantness!"

And we didn't.

The Packer led most of the game, but then lost by a few points at the end of the game.

Tom and I went again on Monday, September 24, mere weeks after the World Trade Centers went down, to a Monday night game against the Washington Redskins. There was a lot of tension in the air and everyone filing in was checked thoroughly.

The biggest laugh of the evening came when Tom spotted a guy with a full beard and said: "Look! It's Omar Bin Olson!"

The folllowing year was the year of the "traveling pork roast". I was determined to get to the Lambeau parking lot early and roast a crown roast of pork on the Weber, but things didn't fall into place and so it stayed on ice until we reached Superior on Monday afternoon and I prepared it for Tom and his mom.

It was really quite good and gave way to Tom's proclaiming that he had experienced "a porkgasm".

We also attended the following games:

Sunday, September 29, 2002 - noon - Packers/Panthers
Sunday, October 5, 2003 - noon - Packers/Seahawks (a satisfying victory over the Poohbah)
Sunday, October 3, 2004 - noon - with Kim Packers lost to the Giants depite Favre being knocked unconscious one play, coming in and throwing a touchdown pass that he didn't remember throwing).

We missed going to games in 2005 and 2006.

Kim and I attended the Sunday, October 14, noon game against the Redskins this Fall.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

2007 Packer Season -- Ball Bouncing Our Way -- Still Need To Improve

I haven't approached Green Bay Packer gamedays with this much anticipation and emotion since 1995 when we all watched, somewhat in disbelief after so many years of heartache, a team come together, to "gell" as they say, before our very eyes, improving game after game and all the while building confidence.

That was the same year I bought my Mirage "throwbacks" letterman-style Green Bay Packer jacket at the newly opened Scheels Sporting Goods Store -- It was the last one they had and was hanging way high out of my reach and had to be fetched with store help.

Even though the jacket was an extra large, I bought it and found that the extra room inside the jacket was good for layering during colder weather.

Then the patch collecting began. Over the years, it's gotten a bit crazy. On the left sleeve I have a "Green Bay Packers Vs All Americans" Pro Bowl, January 7, 1940 patch, a 50th Anniversary NFL patch, and the league issued 75th Anniversary patch in red, white, blue and green.

On the right sleeve there are sewn patches from all three of the Superbowls won.

The front left breast of the jacket has, at the top, the self-same patch the team is wearing on their home jerseys this season, the "Lambeau Field Fifty Years" patch; beneath it is a patch of my own design which I had embroidered locally some years ago. On it is listed all the Packer Championships from 1929 to 1996. (and because I dislike them so much, I added the NFC Championship of 1997, a 23-10 victory over the San Francisco Forty Whiners, even though that is not a League championship.)

Below that on the same patch, are listed the three Superbowls.

The bottom patch is one of two that was issued in 2003 when Lambeau opened with the renovations. (an aside: when the patches arrived, they came with a written notice saying the patches were not to be attached to anything -- some day the NFL fashion police will nab me!)

The first patch on the upper left is the "Rebirth of a Legend" patch. The middle chenille patch, the running back emblazoned on the outline of the state of Wisconsin, is original design on the jacket.

The bottom patch was one that I hd a lot of difficulty locating for a long time, but through the internet, I finally tracked it down, the 75th Anniversary of the league in green and gold with a "G" at the top, as worn by the Packers during that magical season that took them to the Superbowl.

The back of the jacket has PACKERS in large chenille letters across the shoulders, under which is the running back/state logo and below that in original chenille the years 1966 1967.

When we won in New Orleans, I had 1996 sewn on in chenille as well. I purposely left a spot open for the ensuing Superbowl, certain that we would beat Denver, which of course, we did not, thanks, I believe,to Mike Holmgren, who was too busy sniffing out jobs on the west coast to adequately prepare his team to win.

Don't get me started! If you ever want to pull my chain, just ask me how I feel about Mike (the Poohbah) Holmgren!

I just got my jacket back yesterday after having a new "industrial strength" talon brass zipper installed. The other zipper no longer would zip.

This jacket is going to be an on-going preservation project!

Back to the present season.

There is no doubt that we are a good football team. I still feel we are a player or two away from being Superbowl bound, however.

Doesn't just watching the Vikings' back Adrian Peterson run make your mouth water? Eight games into the season and he has already broken a league record.

If he were in green and gold, there would be a lot of open receivers down field.

We hve to stop shooting ourselves in the foot! Stupid, stupid penalties every game. Way too many. And not just by rookies. How many times has Chad Clifton stalled a drive by moving before the snap?
And I agree with Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal -- The Green Bay Packers drafted offensive linemen Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll last year with the intention of solidifying an almost-bare cupboard at guard, but with performances like the one the three had Sunday against Kansas City, the Packers don't seem much better off.

" We expect a lot more. They're young, but they've played almost 20 games now. I'm really telling you our guards have to play better. We need to get that shored up."
- James Campen,
Packers offensive line coach

With guard Junius Coston (ankle) and center Scott Wells (pneumonia) on the sideline, the three second-year linemen started together for the second consecutive game and ninth time overall, with Colledge at left guard, Spitz at center and Moll at right guard. Later, after Wells was inserted into the lineup, Spitz replaced Moll at right guard.

Through it all, the three played poorly and were the main reason quarterback Brett Favre was hit five times.

"That's not up to our standards," offensive line coach James Campen said. "We expect a lot more. They're young, but they've played almost 20 games now. I'm really telling you our guards have to play better. We need to get that shored up."

The Packers overcame their misdeeds on the offensive line to muster a 33-22 victory over Kansas City, raising their record to 7-1, which is tied for the second best mark in the NFL. Favre was only sacked once and threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

But things could have been much different if, say, the Chiefs had recovered Favre's fumble after Moll blew an assignment and allowed him to be sacked. Or if Favre hadn't gotten rid of the ball just before Alfonso Boone, who was in his face because Colledge misread his assignment, got his hand up on the 60-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. Or if Spitz's whiff at the end of the second quarter, which allowed Jared Allen a free shot at Favre's ribs, had injured the Packers quarterback.

"You can say we threw for 360 yards and we completed 70% of our passes and all of that, but we let our quarterback get hit five times," Campen said. "That's unacceptable. We say that we expect that he never should get hit. That's not always going to happen, but just because we only gave up one sack doesn't mean we did a good job."

On the surface, Colledge appeared to be the worst offender. He was responsible for three quarterback hits, including a Boone hit on Favre's arm as he threw an interception at the end of the first half. He also didn't run block very well, missing some backside blocks, and committed holding and false start penalties.

The highest pick of the three, Colledge, a second-rounder, has started 23 games, all but one at left guard. He's playing between two reliable veterans, left tackle Chad Clifton and Wells, and should be performing more consistently.

Asked at his Monday news conference if he had concerns about Colledge, coach Mike McCarthy said, "Yes, I do. He didn't play very well yesterday, and he needs to perform better."

Were any of the other two playing better, McCarthy would have the option of replacing Colledge in the starting lineup. But neither Spitz nor Moll did much better against the Chiefs.

Moll was responsible for the only sack of the game, when he allowed penetration and opened the door for Allen to loop around and sack Favre, with the assistance of end Tamba Hali. Spitz did not make a smooth transition from center to guard after Wells was inserted into the lineup, allowing Allen's solid hit on Favre and being party to some ineffective blocks in the run game.

There is a chance that Coston, who took over the starting position at right guard from Spitz after Week 1, could be back this week from an ankle sprain. But Coston was inactive Sunday and looked gimpy in practice as late as last week.

Campen said he didn't know if Coston, who was mostly solid as a starter, would be back this week. Regardless of his status, Campen said the focus of practice this week will be the play of the guards.

"It's not just Daryn, it's what happened to our guard position?" Campen said. "We have to play better. It always goes back to fundamentals and finishing. We certainly have our work cut out for us this week going against two Minnesota big-time defensive tackles. We'll get that fixed this week."


And I am not too certain about defensive back Atari Bigby. Here we are at the half way point and he still hasn't learned that if he doesn't turn and look for the ball, he is going to get called for pass interference every time. Not that it makes much difference considering the awful call on Woodson last Sunday. Woodson was clearly in position and had a better chance to catch the ball than the Kansas City receiver.

In fact, I just read the folloing quote by LeRoy Butler: "The interference call they had on him was a dumb call. It was the worst call of the game. The guy was looking for the ball and you can't really touch the guy without them throwing a flag."


I do have to admit that watching both Brady and Manning is like watching a machine at work. They both make completions look easy and have a great ability to move their teams offensively because of their smarts.

I watched the Colts/Patriots game, hoping for a Colts victory. I really was turned off last year by Bellicheck's show of poor sportsmanship when meeting with coach Dungy at midfield -- totally blew him off.

And I see that referees are starting to treat Randy Moss the same way they treated Jerry Rice. Rice, and now Moss, are the masters of the "push off" just as the ball is arriving and don't get called for offensive pass interference.

Better quit -- getting my undies in a bundle!