HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Unexpected But Appreciated Christmas Gift From Perla


About a week before Christmas I received a very pleasant surprise from Perla Batalla, a very talented, versatile singer from Ojai, California, that I had the honor of opening for some years ago at the Stone's Throw here in Eau Claire. Dedicated to her recently deceased father-in-law, Claud Mann, Jr., the album is as much of a gem as all her other great albums.

Entitled "We Three Kings", one might suspect that it is a Christmas album, but it is so much more. We Three Kings, the first cut, is done with a latin beat and sparse string accompaniment which helps to show case Perla's amazing voice.

The second cut is A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square/Joy to the World, an inventive juxtaposition of two well known songs that Perla weaves together seamlessly.

The third cut, Christmas Time is Here, features Perla's daughter Eva-Batalla-Mann. They sing together and the blend is perfect! Heavy with jazz influences, it is a very soothing, deeply moving Christmas salute that makes one want to sit in front of the fire with a cup of schnapps-laced hot chocolate and take in the beauty of a decorated Christmas tree and the warmth of a good fire. Perla adds Spanish lyrics with the help of Gilberto Gonzalez.

The fourth cut, Noche De Paz/Silent Night starts with a beautiful. jazzy Latin piano and features, once more, Perla's deeply touching vocal style. I am tempted to say that it is one of my favorites, but how does one choose a favorite???

One of the things that makes this CD so very special is that it is a compilation that you can play year round as the fifth cut is a simply scripted, guitar only, version of the old folk ballad The Water is Wide with Marty Van Loan on guitar. Marty Van Loan has been a performing singer songwriter in the southern California area for the past 20 years. In 1997 he was a finalist in the Telluride troubadour contest and after you listen to him play, you might want to look into his own recordings.

Perla teams with daughter Eva again on the old spiritual Mary Had a Baby featuring sweet, sweet harmonies.

The Little Drummer Boy follows with simple yet complex instrumentation of piano, bass, drums, and a special performance by Perla's husband Claud Mann on Congas and bongos.

Eva's Danny Boy blew me away the first time I heard her sing it! And it continues to blow me away each time I listen to this recording which she made in 2005. I can only imagine how proud Perla must be of her daughter!

As Perla was at one time a back up singer for Leonard Cohen, it is only fitting that she includes the song Hallelujah by Mr. Cohen as the next to last cut on the CD.

Perla concludes the CD with a stirring rendition of Auld Lang Syne - one which I will be certain to play tonight, New Year's Eve - and I shall lift a glass to both Perla and Eva and thank the powers that be that I was fortunate enough to meet Perla!

Do yourself a favor and order this CD! You can find it on Perla's site at: www.perla.com.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008 Laid Back

Christmas 2008 was a pretty laid back affair for me. Kim left for Minneapolis to be with her mom and sister on Friday, December 19. That same day I trekked to Wisconsin Rapids and did a pizza party for a Rapids Urologist.
Christmas eve morning, armed with a brand new Garmin 750 GPS, I went to Madison to pick up my son Jonathan at the Madison airport. I am impressed with the Garmin's capabilities and it was a good purchase for someone who is constantly trying to find out of town addresses. Couple that with my constant thirst for gadetry, and it makes for more interesting road experiences.

My time with Jon was very special this year. We took a day to go over to Menomonie to the cemetery and visit, at Jon's request, the grave site of Grandpa Jack and Grandma Alice. We then drove out and past the farmstead where Jon spent many happy times visiting and jamming with child hood friend, Geoff Keezer.

Since Jonathan doesn't get many chances to experience home cooking, I rustled up a pizza the first night he was in and for Christmas eve dinner we did a turkey with all the trimmings. It was way too much food for two guys, but what the heck!

Jonathan left on Christmas morning and Kim came home later that afternoon.

December 26th we joined Kristi, Joy, and Kim's cousin Bill and his wife Helen and their two sons for lunch in Hudson to celebrate Joy's 76th birthday.

Other than that, it has been a pretty quiet time. We have been renting quite a few movies. Last night we watched Will Smith in "I Am Legend" -- pretty much a downer!

This afternoon I am meeting with the local Veteran's Administration officer to be certain that I am signed up for all benefits as there may be some serious changes as of the first day of 2009.

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I watched the Green Bay Packers final game of the season yesterday and personally I didn't think it very classy of the Green Bay fans to take up a chant of "0-16" towards the end of the game, taunting the Lions, especially since our own team ended up with a 6-10 record - not something to be that proud of!

The Lions, decimated with injuries, (17 players on disabled list!) played with a lot of pride and hung in there throughout the game.

I see the Vikings took the North Division Title -- but I don't think they will get very far in the playoffs.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

HOW CAN I GET THIS REPORTER'S AUTOGRAPH ON AN 8 BY 10 COLOR PHOTO?

In the following story, the reporter states that the shoe throwing "shocked the world". Hell, it didn't shock me in the least. And I am very proud to hear him say that if given the opportunity he would do it again.

George Bush, as the sticker on my automobile says, is a WAR CRIMINAL and should, along with his henchman Dick Cheney, be brought before the world court for murdering untolled numbers of children.

Al-Zaidi is a hero in my estimation, and should be freed immediately without further prosecution.

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Iraqi shoe-thrower: I would do it again
Sat, 20 Dec 2008 09:45:11 GMT


The Iraqi journalist who shocked the world by throwing his shoes at the US president reportedly says he would do it again if given the opportunity.

"In a letter to Iraqi prime minister, Muntadhar al-Zaidi has only apologized to Nuri al-Maliki himself," Fardanews reported, citing comments by an Iraqi source familiar with the case.

"He said that he felt no remorse for throwing his shoes at the 'Great Satan', George Bush, and added that he would repeat his actions if he sees him again, because Bush's forces have killed many of Iraq's children," added the source.

Al-Zaidi has told the judge investigating the incident that Bush was the target of his action not Nuri al-Maliki, whom he likes and respects, said the source, who according to Fardanews was close to the investigations.

Al-Baghdadiya satellite channel correspondent Muntadhar al-Zaidi hurled his shoes at US President George Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday, shouting in Arabic 'this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog'!

News of al-Zaidi's lack of remorse came after several Western media outlets reported that the journalist had written to Maliki apologizing for the incident, and describing it as an 'ugly action'.

Al-Zaidi's brother Uday, however, has rejected the reports, calling them 'incorrect'.

"This apology is not a real one. If they (the government) want an apology, they must first release him so he can do it freely and not under pressure," said Uday.

Fardanews also published comments by an anonymous Iraqi official involved in investigations, who confirmed that al-Zaidi had apologized to Maliki, but said that the reporter did not regret his action.

The official also said that in a written statement to the judge, al-Zaidi had said that he expected to be killed by the Bush's body guards after hurling the first shoe.

"It seemed that his bodyguards were not on full alert at the time, that was how I managed to throw the second shoe," the official quoted al-Zaidi as saying.

DECEMBER 21 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!





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Today is December 21st, which is my son David's birthday. I called him "early" this morning and got his message: "milliions of years ago, the earth was a vast wasteland. Now you can leave me a message." So I did. Happy birthday, my son. I hope that your Colorado trip over the Holiday is fun and successful. I wish you all the best for the coming year.

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AL-ZAIDI TRULY MY HERO - HURLS WITH A LOTTA SOUL

Pictured is my hero, Muntzar Al-Zaidi, Iraqi journalist and shoe hurler. Actually, I am envious of the man! If only I had the chance! I, of course, would have taken a dump in both the shoes before hurling them!
Now, it turns out, upon retrieval of the shoes, that Mr. Al-Zaidi wrote a missive for Bushie on the bottom of his shoes which reads:

Dear President Bush:

Sorry to throw shoes at you but was only way to get message to you. I have very much liked you as president. You have:
- weakened U.S, economy
- weakened U.S. military
- weakened U.S. influence in world
- wiped out U.S. moral high ground
- weakened U.S. vocabulary
- weakened U.S. dollar
- strengthened U.S. comedy
I have wanted thee things to happen for a long time. (cont'd on other shoe)

So I was hoping you would next become president of Turkey. I do not like them much at all and I think as their leader you could make them dumb and ruin their economy. Please?
Please answer by throwing your shoes at me. P.S. - although English is not my first language I still know you should stop using it. You are breaking it. Please communicate with gestures only. Thanks.

(from Lee Camp's blog: 23/6)

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

News From Bin Olson! Bush Has New Job Prospect!

This report in from reporter Osama Bin Olson, the only verified camel jockey east of the Mississppi:

Soon to be (thank God!) ex-president George Bush is said to be looking into opening a shoe shine/cobbler shop in the green zone in beautiful downtown Baghdad.

"It will be good to be actually doing some form of manual labor other than cutting and stacking brush at the ranch," the soon to be unemployed said with that silly smirk on his face. "Lord knows I haven't done anything in eight years so it'll prb'ly take me awhile to get in shape, but I think that I will model my cobbler shop after the Seattle Fish Market only in reverse. Rather than having fish tossed about by employees, customers will be bringing in shoes in need of repair and tossing them across the counter at me. Any customer that can catch me off guard and actually hit me in the head will get a 10 per cent discount. Fridays will be 'Hit Me in the Testicles' and win a free sole day."

Nobody will be allowed to win more than once a week. "Fool me once - shame on you -- fool me again -- no -- lessee -- you can fool some of the people some of the time, but fool me once and it's mission accomplished -- or sumpthin like that."

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

SOME CRAZINESS FOR THE WEEKEND!



NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: STAGE A "BYE BYE YOU BASTARD BUSH" FAREWELL PARTY TO THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER


Just realized that I haven't written here for days! Must be winter hibernation. Ms. Kim keeps the thermostat at the house at 68 degrees and like a snake, I become rather sluggish at such cool temperatures. I have been forced to seek the warmth of my little stove at the office.

Before the first major snow fall, I trudged back into the woods behind the office (with the help of my kindly wife) and dragged out a lot of downed limbs of pine, oak, and anything else that I could cut up with my hand saw for kindling. Now if I get over here early enough in the morning, I find a left over bed off hot coals lurking under the ash, throw in some of my cut up kindling, and in no time, it's 75 to 80 degrees in here. Ah, comfort!

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Thankfully, time does not stand still (although with Bush in office the last eight years have been interminable). Now that we have a president-elect, I think we are all counting down the days when idiot boy is no longer able to fuck up any more. To that end, I suggested to Kim that we throw a party.

Now, God knows, my party days are over. But this is one occasion that I am not about to pass up. Yesterday Kim and I designed invitations and took them down to the printer. The outside has a photo of Cheney talking to Bush, saying: "I've got good news - a hundred Brazillian troops are joining the effort in Iraq." Bush is saying: "Hey! That's great!" Inside on the right side of the invitations Bush is saying: "How many is a hundred brazillian?"

The actual invitation reads:

You are invited to a Bye Bye You Bastard Bush Party

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kim Wilson, Larry Heagle Residence

5:30PM - 8PM

BYOB

Pizzas will be Made,Tears of Joy Will Be Shed

Please RSVP to lheagle@larryheagle.com by January 14

We fully intend to have each guest stand and make a toast to the departing "Worst President Ever". Something like: "HERE'S TO GEORGE, MAY HE NOT MISS THIS YEAR'S IDIOT'S CONVENTION IN TEXAS WHERE HE BELONGS - AND MAY HE SINGE HIS NUTS OFF AT HIS FIRST BACKYARD BAR-B-Q."

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an article by Truthout's Michael Winship:

With all the interviews President Bush has been giving out lately, you'd think he has a new movie coming out for Christmas.

ABC, NBC, National Review, Middle East Broadcasting, the Real Clear Politics Web site - even a talk with The Washington Post's NASCAR expert. For a fellow who's sometimes gone for months without a press conference, suddenly, the president's a regular chatterbox, spreading the word in these final days that his eight years in office really, really weren't all that bad. Honest.

OH? I THINK WE WILL BE THE JUDGE OF THAT, GEORGE, YOU DUMB ASS!

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With our nation in economic melt down, I recently received this from Tiit Raid:

A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motors)
decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River Both teams
practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the
race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate
the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of
senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate
action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person
steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people
rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management hired a
consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second
opinion.

They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat,
while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent
another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure
was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering
superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2
people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was
called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings,
dinners and free pens for the rowers. There was discussion of getting
new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for
practices and bonuses. The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the
competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into
morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted
development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all
capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was
distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable
to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for
unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next
year's racing team was out-sourced to India .

Sadly, the End.

Here's something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty
years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't
make money paying American wages.

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen
plants inside the US. The last quarter's results:

TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting
bonuses... and now wants the Government to 'bail them out'.

IF THIS WEREN'T SO TRUE IT MIGHT BE FUNNY!

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Need laughter? Google "Tommy Tiernan" and find a place where you can order this crazy Irishman's DVD's! I have three of them and he is absolutely, far and away, the funniest stand up I have ever encountered. Of course, I am Irish, so I am a bit prejudiced!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Stella the Destoyer - Is Nothing Safe?


Yesterday I received the box pictured, filled with fitted insulation tubes designed to slide along the bottom edge of all outside doors to keep the winter out more thoroughly.

Being a guy who never does something now that can be put off until later, I left the box sitting out and went out to run some errands. When we got back, what you see in the photo is what we beheld -- handiwork of Stella the Destroyer! I swear the cat is part canine!

We have seen her do this to other boxes after they have been emptied. This is her first "safe cracking" attempt!

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Sometime ago, I was returning home, late at night, from a banquet gig in eastern Wisconsin, traveling on Highway 82. i stopped to take on fuel at a gas station outside Mauston, Wisconsin. As I was pumping the fuel, I noticed him -- a big old hulking local cop, pacing the front of the store nervously.

When I came in to pay for the fuel, he approached me:

"You traveling on Interstate 94?"
Somewhat taken aback at being spoken to at all, I sid "Yes, I am."
"Which way are you headed? West or East?"
""Ah - I'm headed West."

At this point a young black man appeared from behind the far shelves.
"Good," says the cop. "Take this kid with you."

Now I am up against it! On one hand, I don't want to appear to be a racist, on the other hand, if I give the kid a ride, I am breaking my own cardinal rule: NEVER PICK UP HITCH HIKERS.

Inside I am in real turmoil because the third element here is that this is a damn cop telling me to break the law that is set for Interstate travelers -- no hitch hiking!

But I am intimidated by the uniform and agree to take on the passenger.

We leave and drive in silence for a bit. Finally I break the ice.
"So -- where are you headed?"
'I am going to the Twin Cities to live with my aunt."
"Oh. And where are you coming from?"
"I just got out of prison".

It is quiet in the car for a good long time as in my head I curse that freakin' local Barney from Mauston. As we get nearer my Eau Claire exit, I figure I better make some things clear and hope for the best.

"Gee, I'm sorry I am not going all the way to the Cities. We are coming up on my exit soon. Tell you what, though. I'v got about twenty dollars left in my wallet and I want you to have it to help you on your way."

We make the exit and I pull to the shoulder. He thanks me for the $20 and exits the car.

Obviously that experience still crosses my mind occasionally. I really should have reported Barney to his commanding officer in Mauston!

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The couple were 85 years old and had been married for sixty years. Though they were far from rich, they managed to get by because they watched their pennies.


Though not young, they were both in very good health, largely due to the wife's insistence on healthy foods and exercise for the last decade.

One day, their good health didn't help when they went on a rare vacation and their plane crashed, sending them off to Heaven.


They reached the pearly gates, and St. Peter escorted them inside. He took them to a beautiful mansion, furnished in gold and fine silks, with a fully stocked kitchen and a waterfall in the master bath. A maid could be seen hanging their favorite clothes in the closet.

They gasped in astonishment when he said, 'Welcome to Heaven. This will be your home now.'


The old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. 'Why, nothing,' Peter replied, 'remember, this is your reward in Heaven.'

The old man looked out the window and right there he saw a championship golf course, finer and more beautiful than any ever built on Earth.

'What are the greens fees?,' grumbled the old man.

'This is heaven,' St. Peter replied. 'You can play for free, every day.'


Next they went to the clubhouse and saw the lavish buffet lunch, with every imaginable cuisine laid out before them, from seafood to steaks to exotic deserts, free flowing beverages.

'Don't even ask,' said St. Peter to the man. This is Heaven, it is all free for you to enjoy.'

The old man looked around and glanced nervously at his wife.

'Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods and the decaffeinated tea?,' he asked.

That's the best part,' St. Peter replied. 'You can eat and drink as much as you like of whatever you like and you will never get fat or sick.

This is Heaven!'


The old man pushed, 'No gym to work out at?'

'Not unless you want to,' was the answer.

'No testing my sugar or blood pressure or...'

'Never again. All you do here is enjoy yourself.'



The old man glared at his wife and said, 'You and your fucking bran muffins! We could have been here ten years ago!'


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MY FRIEND PERLA BATALLA HAS A NEW CD OUT!

"Perla's newest, "We Three Kings" is available at:
http://cdbaby.com/cd/perla5

Or by sending a check made out to Perla Batalla
$15 per cd and $5 postage and handling to:
Mechuda Music
PO Box 250
Ojai, Ca 93034

(They make fabulous Christmas gifts!)

"A Perla Christmas" Goes on Tour:
Dec 3-5 Sun Valley Idaho
Dec 6 Salt Lake City, Utah
Dec 7 -10 La Mesilla, New Mexico
Dec 12 Raymond Kabazz Theater, Los Angeles
Dec 19 Zoey's at the Lodge Ventura, California

Release Notes:
Grammy nominated world vocalist, Perla Batalla continues to defy
genre with her 6th CD release & very first holiday album, "We Three
Kings". Featuring timeless traditional & contemporary classics,
including "Noche de Paz", Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here"
and Leonard Cohen's stirring "Hallelujah". Perla's legendary vocal
prowess coupled with fearless and inspirational arrangements
celebrate love, family and the best meaning of season. Produced by
Perla Batalla with memorable performances by Eva Batalla-Mann, Dave
Palmer, Alan Thornhill, Chaz Benton, Debra Dobkin, Karen Hammack,
Charles Frichtel, Marty Van Loan, Mike Velasquez, Ken Eros and more.


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Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008 - A Time To Reflect

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday as I mentioned in an earlier blog. This year was no different. although the gatherings are getting smaller. Pictured are my wife Kim, my wonderful mother-in-law Joy, and Kim's very spiritual younger sister, Kristi, who joined us on thanksgiving morning and, thankfully, i think are going to stay with us yet another evening tonight.

I am truly thankful for all three of these beautiful women! Each brings their own special view point of the world with them that really helps me to see the world differently as well.

I put together what has always been the traditional Heagle farm style Thanksgiving dinner that my mother Alice would serve up so bounteously: In addition to a 15 pound turkey (I had asked for a 10-12!), we had a rice/wild rice with mushroom and Italian sausage stuffing, freshly made cranberry sauce, true sweet potatoes (it wasn't until last year that I found there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes), mashed potatoes and some of the best turkey gravy I have ever produced, and freshly steamed broccoli.

For dessert there was two layer cheesecake (the women's favorite) and a pumpkin pie. Since the three gals went after the cheesecake, it left more pumpkin pie for me!
It's always really enjoyable to have Joy visit as she gets such a kick out of the two kittens and their high jinks. Stella has continued to fight off eye infections -- it has now shifted to her right eye, so we are administering the necessary eye drops four times a day.

Kim got the photo that I wanted to display of Stella drinking from the water bowl as she has such a wonderfully weird approach, straddling the dish with both paws as if to hold it down while she laps away.

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On Thanksgiving Day, the Eau Claire Leader Telegram ran a story on Phong Xiong and Pete Roller and how Pete volunteers part of his acerage to Phong's Hmong family to use for produce farming in the summer months.

I was excited by the article as we have two parcels that could be used for the same purpose here on our land. In fact, it would be a win/win situatiion for me as I wouldn't have to mow the big lot behind the office if cash crops are being grown there and the land would be put to good use!

So I contacted Phong and here are our e mails:

From: Lawrence Heagle
Subject: Possible Land Use
To: phongxiong2008@yahoo.com
Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008, 3:47 PM





Phong:

My wife and I live just out of town, about a mile and a half from
Oakwood Mall, just beyond Interstate 94 -- actually sort of at the
junctions of Highway 53 South and Interstate 94 so it would be a
convenient spot to grow. Of course, first you will need to determine
if the soil is usable. We actually have two plots as we bought up
properties on both sides of our home. One is quite small, the other
about double that size. I know the soil is quite sandy but there is
a stand of rhubarb that grows back every summer on the larger tract.

One of my very best friends, John Buchholz, plays music with Pete
Roller, and I am certain if you mention my name to Pete he will know
who I am as I have been a "musician/comedian" in the area since 1976
when I retired from teaching middle school at (of all places) Delong!

Please do give me a call, hopefully before the snow hits and the
ground freezes and I will tell you how to get out here to look it
over. You can reach me at my cell: 590-8222. I will be home all
this coming weekend so you can also try the house at 834-8815.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your entire family!

Larry Heagle


"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hi Larry,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your wife. Thank you so much for the offer. I will be out of town this weekend, but I will call you on Monday for sure. We will set up a time to meet and look at the soil. I will be sure to mention this to Pete. Again, my family appreciates your generosity.




Phong


I am pretty excited about being able to help such wonderful people in my own attempt to show some thanks on this Thanksgiving! I hope it works out.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY -- MEMORIES OF GONEBY

Dear Lar,

You of course know the Thanksgiving I always think of....at the farm...what precious memories of it all.

I don't even want to try to tell you what you mean to me and I am thankful for it each day.

To quote Beethoven again:


Never shall I forget the days which I spent with you....Continue to be my friend, as you will always be mine.

Ludwig von Beethoven

Love,

Matt

Thus was the loving e mail I received yesterday from my very good friend who lives just outside of Napoli, Italy, where his wife Dianne is finishing up her final year of teaching music at the American Naval Base. (Geez! I think I got that right, but I are old so the facts might not be correct on that!)

The Thanksgiving Matt refers to was many years ago. I informed my dear mother, Alice, the best cook I know, that I would be coming over to the family farm south of Menomonie with a dinner guest, (Matt) and I would be bringing the turkey.

I explained to her that Matt and I wanted to do all the food preparation which of course she agreed to as long as I let her do something. We decided she could make the pumpkin pies as she made absolutely the best!

Before I go further, you must understand that this was more than likely at the end of the 1970's and a goodly portion of college age folk had at least tried smoking pot. Since I left education and became a full time entertainer, marijuana was very acceptable to my "profession". Hell, I remember working a little peanut bar off the University of Minnesota campus back in those days and the crowd passed a joint around the room while I was onstage! When it came down front, the harmonica player who was working with me took a hit and passed it over to me.

Unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled.

So Matt and I jumped in the green ford van, reefer and turkey at hand, and headed for the farm via the "short cut" cross country, south of Menomonie. Even in late November Wisconsin is a beautiful place to be, especially after a good hit on the herb when you become appreciative of all the different shades of brown and gray there really are!

We knew that my mom and dad would be gone to Mass when we got there so we had the farm kitchen to ourselves. We unloaded all the foodstuffs and the goodly bottles of wine -- now that I think of it, I think there WERE several - and took over the kitchen, salivating over Alice's freshly baked pies, still warm, cooling on the kitchen table.

We popped the cork on the first bottle of wine. While I cleaned out the turkey and started the stuffing, Matt worked on peeling potatoes and scrubbing up the yams.

When all was ready, including the pre-heating of the overn, we got the bird into the heat and opened the second bottle of wine.

Here I must stop because truthfully from this point all I can remember is that we laughed until tears rolled down our faces, mom and dad came home to find two really happy lads in her kitchen and it was a day of great love, joy and true thanksgiving.

Hopefully, I can get Matthew to write how he remembers the day and add it to this blog later.

My mother and father have gone to their rest now, as has my father-in-law, Bob. This thursday, however, I will be back in the kitchen here at home, cooking for those I love that are nearest by; Kim's mom, Joy and her sister, Kristi, are coming down to share the day with us.

Thanksgivng has always been my favorite holiday. I guess because it revolves around food! I can hardly wait to slice into the turkey, dip into the yams and mashed potatoes and gravy, the freshly made cranberry sauce, the salad, the rolls, and finish it off with pumpkin pie or cheese cake.

This year there won't be any wine or pot!

I received this e mail from Matt, concerning the above:

" I do remember that Fr. John was there and had a great time. I think eventually everyone was there...even Anson and Diana...I know Bob was there...the whole crowd ...

John was the priest there in town and had done the Mass...I asked him if he forgave us for not coming to Mass to which he said..."it doesn't makde any difference if I forgive you...but He does ...you had to get all of this ready. Ma got out the biggest piece of cheese and crackers and olives etc...for horsdeuvre of which we ate so much there was little room left for anything else...Ma told me when I asked her about the pies...she said the secret was in the milk and cream used...she used fresh milk and mostly heavy cream to make them. I remember the first time I went to the farm Ma asked me if I liked cottage cheese...I love it...so she got a small bowl and a spoon from somewhere in the milk room where the milk ended up...went to the bag holding the drippiing cottage cheese and scooped some into the bowl...then to the cream tank and poured a whole dipper full of heavy cream over the whole thing. The cottage cheese world has never been the same since...all pale in the remembrance of that. I never had the courage to order the homemade bread spread with butter and jam in a bowl filled with fresh cream which is on the menu of the Norski Nook cafe and cardiac clinic. The place with the mile high meragine.

On that Thanksgiving I don't remember going home...perhaps we stayed there overnight...one time we did and I got up at 4 or so to do the early milking with everyone."

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

I AM INDIFFERENT TO YOUR SUFFERING

I spent most of last friday "winterizing" our house. for the first time, we went to Menard's and bought the 3M plastic window coverings that you put up with double sided tape and then tighten up with a blow dryer.

Again, my friend Tom Johnson came to my rescue as he is supremely much more talented in that kind of thing. I became adept at flicking the end of the double sided tape until it freed the backing from the sticky side so tht I could hand it over to Tom to apply it to the window sills.

The huge sliding patio doors were somewhat of a nightmare since "Hammy" got into the plastic while it was still on the floot and poked a hole in it with his back claws, forcing us to do a patch job after getting the sheet of plastic in place.

So here it is -- a sunday without Packer football -- when I finish a bit of office work I have oveer here, I will nap the rest of the afternoon away as I am still suffering from an "adrenaline" hangover" from yesterday's appearance at Annz Books in Chetek.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Heading North On 53? Make A Stop at Annz Boutique and Books, Chetek



Last week my amazing marketeer, Liz Fischer, whom I have watched work her marketing skill and charm - she could sell cement blocks to a drowning man - e mailed me and wanted to know how I would feel about making a personal appearance at Annz Boutique and Books in lovely down town Chetek, Wisconsin.

It had been a while since my last jaunt to a book store to promote my CD's and since I now have a new one,"Living On The Edge" produced entirely by Ms. Fischer (it came out magnificently if I may say so myself) and getting the news that Ann was somewhat of my vintage, only younger and in much better condition, and in addition, a "fan" of mine, it was really easy to say yes, load up a small amplifier and the venerable Gibson J45 guitar, steep a thermos of strong java and hit the road north.

Arriving at 526 2nd Street (okay, so I missed it on my first swing through town and embarrassedly had to stop at the grocery store to ask the clerk exactly where it is - she was obviously a voracious reader as she said "I think it's the place with the fence in front -- that's the only place with books that I can think of") I walked in the front door which is in actuality the middle section of three and the focal point of Chetek's version of Starbucks, but with much more small town charm. I was immediately greeted by one of the on site artists with a hearty good morning.

I took a right and went into the section pictured and encountered a woman in a red sweater and matching hot red shoes, who fixed exclusively on my Packer jacket, exclaiming how beautiful she thought it was, wanting to know where I got it, and how she wished she had her camera because her son needs to see it. I explained that it was a jacket I bought some 15 years ago and have sort of built over the years with various patches representing the history of the team.

I then asked her if she was Ann and when she said that she was, I extended my hand and said "Larry Heagle". This made her very happy. She told me of how she had been one of my "groupies" for some 34 years (not so -- I've only been at this for THIRTY!) and that she was very happy and honored to have me at the boutique.

It turns out that Ann. like both Kim and myself, is a former educator turned book store owner and that she really has found her little corner of the world in Chetek.

After taking some photos of the jacket with my camera, I began bringing in my equipment to set up and be ready to go by 11AM. About the time I was making the second trip out to the Scion, I noticed a youngish, suited man with two gals in tow making their way into the store. Two things stood out -- he was the first male to arrive in a store full of women and he was wearing a dark suit. I thought the suit was a bit much for Chetek on the first saturday of deer hunting season but dismissed it -- as an elderly woman once dismissed me way back in the day when I used to wear ruffled shirts to my gigs and walked into the chiropractor's waiting room and plopped down next to her. She gave me the once over and said loudly: "IT TAKES ALL KINDS."

At 11 AM, being a punctual Catholic boy, I launched into the show, explaining that I would be running the gamut of all three CD's, doing some serious tunes from Irish Heart, some bawdy stuff from "Rude, Crude, and Poor" and some of the monologues from "Living on the Edge", all the while vamping in G and then belting out (as best I could at this "early hour") "Rocket Action Oldsmobile".

I followed this with the monologue about teaching eighth graders which naturally leads into "The Vasectomy Song". I no sooner launched the intro to "Vasectomy" when the suited gentleman and entourage purposefully got up and beat a hasty exit. Ann was in the other section at the time, waiting on a customer and when she returned I told her that I had already cleared the store of three of her patrons.

She explained that this was not a problem. Turns out he is the local Jehovah's Witness.

This tickled me much more than probably was appropriate at a book store in a small town but truthfully I received this news with a great amount of glee. Before I let my addled brain think it over, I blurted: "Hey! That's great! Finally justice for all those early mornings when his ilk rang my door bell, waving The Watchtower in my face!"

Other highlights of the morning: together we celebrated a great elderly man's 89th birthday, albeit a bit late, as John's birthday was November 6th; the school secretary from my days of teaching at DeLong Junior High showed up with her daughter, who had been in one of my 8th grade classes, and there were even a couple more men who showed up, shunning deer hunting and the call of the wild to instead listen to me -- the guy that as one of the men who came in right in the middle of the Vasectomy monologue and was warned of what he was about to participate in, simply said "Don't worry about it -- I'v already been told -- you're crazy."

Another great moment - when the Lutheran minister and his wife arrived shortly after I had finished my presentation, and upon overhearing their conversation with Ann and seeing the disappointment on their faces for having missed the show, decided they would buy one of my CD's. When he picked up "Rude, Crude, and Poor", Ann headed him off with: "You probably don't want that one."

That's when I stepped up with a copy of "Irish Heart" and told them to please take it home with them as an early Christmas present as I am most proud of the poetry and music on that CD.

The wife was genuinely touched by the gesture and said: "A man who understands how very little a minister makes in a small town!' Thank you."

Liz called me earlier this evening to see how it went. I told her it was a great day of justice. I chased out a Jehovah's Witness and gave of myself to a religious family.

Cd's sales upon conclusion were brisk and I somehow managed to not succumb to the Olson's Ice Cream that was available in the coffee section -- even now that I had some actual money in my pocket.

How embarrassing is this? I had to use my credit card to get a sausage, egg and biscuit on my way out of Eau Claire in the morning!

Still in all, a great day!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Rush Limburger - Blow hard and Danger to American Leadership

It had ben years since I last heard Rush Limbaugh's right wing bullshit on radio one day while traveling west on a comedy club tour. I remember thinking "This guy has some serious mental problems." Turns out he is nothing more than a fascist "shock jock" and king of Oxycontin who has made a name for himself by spewing hate over the airwaves.

That's why I took such pleasure in reading Senator (R) Chuck Hagel's assessment of this modern day version of Germany's minister of propaganda, Josef Geobbels, in a recent news article:

"Two months before he leaves office, Sen. Chuck Hagel is increasingly unrestrained by political niceties.

Appearing at a forum at the Johns Hopkins School of Advances International Studies, the outgoing Nebraska Republican leveled harsh criticism at his own party, the lack of intellectual curiosity among some of his colleagues, the Bush administration's handling of nearly every aspect of governance and -- perhaps most bitingly -- the conservative radio voices that often dictate the GOP agenda.

"We are educated by the great entertainers like Rush Limbaugh," said Hagel, sarcastically referencing the talk radio host who once called him "Senator Betrayus." "You know, I wish Rush Limbaugh and others like that would run for office. They have so much to contribute and so much leadership and they have an answer for everything. And they would be elected overwhelmingly," he offered. "[The truth is] they try to rip everyone down and make fools of everybody but they don't have any answers."

Well put, senator! But on an even darker note, writer Steve Weissman had this to say yesterday:

Leave it to Rush Limbaugh. We have just elected as our president an African-American, who would not have been able to vote in large parts of our country less than 50 years ago, and we have proved to ourselves and to the world that we remain a land of enormous opportunity. Yet, the country's best-known radio talk-show host wasted no time using our airwaves to attack the president-elect for preaching "racism" and "socialism," and for creating our current economic collapse by scaring off potential investors who fear higher taxes. "The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen," Limbaugh proclaimed only two days after the election. "Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression."

Limbaugh went on to call Obama "a Chicago thug," and suggested that the incoming president would take advice, or even direction, from the 1960s radical Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground and the "terrorist" bogeyman that John McCain and Sarah Palin accused Obama of "palling around" with. "Bill Ayers is a silent adviser," warned Limbaugh. "Don't think he's not."

Many Democrats will dismiss Limbaugh as a voice of the past, who is simply trying to boost his audience ratings. But that's just the point. For all his noxious rhetoric, the motor mouth from Missouri knows precisely the kind of red meat his listeners crave, and he's happy to serve it up - just as right-wing broadcasters did against John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with results we know too well. Pray for an era of Kumbaya, if you will. My bet is that Limbaugh is only an opening wedge for the anti-Obama war still to come. To paraphrase an earlier column, welcome to the counterrevolution."

It is Limburger Limbaugh the druggist and "You betcha Palin" that have gotten every crackpot right wingnut foaming at the mouth so badly that the drool is rusting up the receivers of their 307 deer rifles.

Several weeks before the election I stopped out at Gander Mountain to check prices on end of season spinning rods. As I was returning to my car, an avid Limbaugh groupie was staring at the "Bush is a war criminal" bumper sticker on my rear bumper and muttering his favorite curse word: "liberal".

I would like to give notice to all the sicko racists, including Rushie-baby -- when the revolution comes, you will find me standing with my brothers -- ALL my brothers -- white, black, red, olive -- with my 16 gauge pump shot gun -- and then we shall see just how liberal I really am.

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Important Tips For The Next Time You Go Out To Hear Live Music

When requesting a song from the band, just say "play my song", or "it
goes something like this" then hum a few bars! We have a chip
implanted in our heads with an unlimited database with the favorite
tunes of every patron who ever walked into a bar & all songs ever
recorded, so feel free to be vague, we love the challenge.

If we do not remember exactly what tune you want, we're only kidding.
Bands know every song ever recorded, so keep humming. Hum harder if
need be ... it helps jog the memory.

If a band tells you they do not know a song you want to hear, they
either forgot that they know the tune or they are just putting you on.
Try singing a few words for the band. Any words.

If one member halfway knows part of a chorus, the rest of the band
will instantly learn the entire song by osmosis. Knowing this, if the
band still claims to not know your song, it helps to just keep
requesting the same song every time there is a break.

It also helps to scream your request from across the room several
times per set followed by the phrases, "AW COME ON!" and, "YOU SUCK!"
Exaggerated hand gestures expressing disapproval from the dance floor
are a big help as well, such as the thumbs down or your middle finger.
Put-downs are the best way to jog a band's memory. This instantly
promotes you to the status of "Personal Friend Of The Band."

Entertainers are notorious fakers & jokesters and never really prepare
for their shows. They simply walk on stage with no prior thought to
what they will do once they arrive. An entertainer's job is so easy,
even a monkey could do it, so don't let them off the hook easily. Your
request is all that matters.

If a metal band had played at the club a few weeks ago, the next band
that follows will automatically know every metal tune the previous
band ever played, even if the current band is a blues or country
band. It's the law. Feel free to yell AC DC or SLAYER!! to a band that
plays strictly originals or jazz for example. Conversely, Deadheads
may yell for Grateful Dead tunes at a dance or metal band.

IMPORTANT

When an entertainer leans over to hear you better, grab his or her
head in both hands and yell directly into their ear, while holding
their head securely so they cannot pull away. This will be taken as an
invitation to a friendly & playful game of tug of war between their
head and your hands.

Don't give up! Hang on until the singer or guitar player submits.
Drummers are often safe from this fun game since they usually sit in
the back, protected by the guitar players.

Keyboard players are protected by their instrument, & only play the
game when tricked into coming out from behind their keyboards. Though
difficult to get them play, it's not impossible, so keep trying.
They're especially vulnerable during the break between songs.

TALKING WITH THE BAND

The best time to discuss anything with the band in any meaningful way
is at the middle of a song when all members are singing at the same
time (such as a multi harmony part). Our hearing is so advanced that
we can pick out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of sound
blasting all around us. Musicians are expert lip readers too. If a
musician does not reply to your question or comment during a tune,
it's because they didn't get a good look at your mouth in order to
read your lips.

Simply continue to scream your request & be sure to over emphasize the
words with your lips. This helps immensely. Don't be fooled.

Singers have the innate ability to answer questions & sing at the same
time. If the singer doesn't answer your questions immediately,
regardless of how stupid the question may seem, it's because they are
purposely ignoring you. If this happens, immediately cop an attitude.
We love this.

HELPING THE BAND

If you inform the band that you are a singer, the band will appreciate
your help with the next few tunes, or however long you can remain
standing on stage. Just pretend you're in a Karaoke bar. Simply feel
free to walk up on stage & join in. By the way, the drunker you are,
the better you sound, & the louder you should sing.

If by chance you fall off the stage, be sure to crawl back up &
attempt to sing harmony. Keep in mind that nothing assists the band
more than outrageous dancing, third & fourth part harmonies, or a
tambourine played out of tempo. Try the cow bell, they love the
challenge. The band always needs the help & will take this as a
compliment.

VERY IMPORTANT

Remember to allow enough time to make it from the stage to the
bathroom in case of an emergency. On stage accidents are bad form. The
band will carry on.

BONUS TIP

As a last resort, wait until the band takes a break and then get on
stage and start playing their instruments. They love this. Even if you
are ejected from the club, you can rest assured in the fact that you
have successfully completed your audition. The band will call you
immediately the following day to offer you a position.


See you at the next gig ... The Band


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wisconsin Housing Alliance Makes For Great Audience

Wednesday, November 12, took me to the Marshfield Holiday Inn to perform for the Wisconsin Housing Alliance.

I arrived early enough to have a nice visit with my employer, Julie Patten, Director of Member Services, out of Madison, Wisconsin. I then had a chance to visit the various distributors who had their displays set up in the lobby. After a goodly cocktail hour, they sat down to dinner. (One of the things I like about being an after dinner performer is that by the time the "audience" has eaten, any rowdy edge that they may have had right after cocktail hour is dulled by the food and makes for a much better crowd.)

The show went well, and I was on my way by 9:45 PM. It took a while to negotiate good old Highway 10, or as I call it, "Wisconsin Death Trip", as it was extremely foggy and this is the time of year when the white tails are at their craziest and have been known to wander out on the highway and just stand there staring at you. Fortunately I made it home without mishap!

(I just looked at the photo and MAN! Do I need to lose weight!)



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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember The Line From the Movie? "THEY'RE HERE!"



For several years now it has been rumored that cougars (mountain lions) are walking amongst us. Here is actual photographic proof that indeed, they're here! These photographs were taken by an automatic tree stand camera that is triggered by any movement in the area where bait has been set out.

Obviously, the cougars took up a position and awaited the arrival of the deer and then pounced. Incidentally, these pictures were taken in Buffalo County, Wisconsin, just across the river from Winona, Minnesota.

I, myself, am thrilled that so much wildlife is making a strong comeback. I can still remember my trips to Iowa over 20 years ago and seeing my first wild turkeys fly out of roost and across the highway.

I hope that we don't go "Sarah Palin" on these beautiful animals and start shooting them from planes.

Here's some of the wild and woolies I have spotted on my own property out here on Otter Creek: black bear, full size, and baby, racoon, badger, red fox, turkeys, many deer, possum, hawks, pileated woodpeckers, and occasionally a bald eagle fishes down in the creek.

Man, I wouldn't have it any other way!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

AFGHANISTAN AND DETROIT CAN KISS MY ROYAL BEHIND!

I guess because I see them almost every day, I don't notice how fast the Krazy Kats of Hobbs Road are growing. Yesterday we weighed them and Hammy weighed in at nine pounds and Stella at eight!
The trouble is, in the process, I found out that I have gained way too much weight! No wonder my jeans feel like they are cutting me in half!

Trouble is, I have gotten into the very bad habit of watching television late into the night and then doing the midnight snack thing. Yesterday I started with hopefully a new regimen and had a very light breakfast, skipped lunch, and split a 10 inch Sammy's pizza with Kim for supper. We have to get back to splitting all our meals!

Do you like the photo of Stella doing her impression of Snoopy on the roof of the dog house?

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Over the past two days I have received two wonderful e mails from two friends for whom I have a great deal of respect. Jerry Way sent me this:

I remember on the very day of 9/11/2001 praying that our response to those horrific acts would not be war--"Please let every person responsible be hunted down and punished. Please not war!" When Bush spoke at St. Patrick's Cathedral memorial for the victims, I even thought I saw signs that, through the tragedy, he had grown up enough to lead our country in a responsible manner. Then came the speech when he said our country would move against all those responsible and all those who harbor them. What? From that point it was a downward slide into bombing Afganistan, shock and awe in Iraq, Mission Accomplished, breaking the Geneva Conventions, and all the drunk-with-power arrogance we and the world have endured.

We rang in the new Century and Millenium in 2001 and 911 and W swiftly turned it into the Dark Ages. With President-Elect Obama can we all (the whole world) work together make the light begin to shine again? I pray the answer is "Yes, we can!"

Jerry

And John Buchholz sent me this:

This presidency is finally over. We can say goodbye to an administration whose misdeeds have piled so high that the size of the mountain no longer shocks us. In our lifetimes, we will see administrations of varying degrees of competence and integrity, some we'll agree with and some we won't. But we will probably never see another quite like the one now finally reaching its end, so mind-boggling a parade of incompetence and malice, dishonesty, and immorality. So at last -- at long, long last -- we can say goodbye.

And good riddance.



-- Paul Waldman

And to that, John added: AMEN!

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Today is the day when my honeymoon with the president-elect is officially at an end. Oh, I am still happy with his election, but that doesn't mean I am going to agree with everything that he does. Take the Auto Industry bailout for instance. Obama is suggesting that we need to give them millions of dollars. The auto industry says they will take the money but it has to be with no strings attached (as in "we will give you money on the understanding that you will re-tool and start producing cars that get 60 miles per gallon and reduce emissions.")

I say if that is their attitude, then screw them! Why should you and I pay tax money for them to produce the same old shit that got them in trouble in the first place? We are at the point when we all need to pull together! Putting Americans back to work is supposedly a top priority of the new administration.

The only way we will accomplish that is to make automobiles that will compete with the Prius and other foreign cars that are light years ahead of us in hybrid technology.

Then there is the war in Afghanistan. When are we going to learn from history???? Ask any Afghan standing along a road in Afghanistan about the possibility of America winning an all out war against his country and he will just motion towards that burnt out, rusting Russian tank in the ditch behind him and expound upon how not only were the Russians defeated, but the British and on and on -- all the way back to Alexander the Great.

What makes us think we will fare any better, especially with conventional warfare? As I talked about in a recent blog, we need to approach the capture of Bin Laden the same way Al Queda lays out their plans: with small groups, long term planning, and the help of all our newest technology such as the Predator.

I am tired of trying to save Afghanistan from itself. If they are stupid enough to let the Taliban run their lives without a fight on their own part, so be it.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

SPECIAL OPS -- THE WAY USA SHOULD HAVE STRUCK BACK AFTER 9/11

I have long disagreed with the way our supposed great military minds handled the situation immediately after 9/11. In my opinion, the attack was obviously not made by a particular country. I don't think you can even try to pin it on Afghanistan.

This was a criminal act! Military intelligence told us that the criminal, Osama Bin Laden, had taken up living in the country of Afghanistan. So after only a short time, our leadership came up with the bright idea to begin bombing the hell out of the country. Indeed, we had our opportunity to capture Bin Laden in the mountains, but he bought his way out.

Had we approached the whole problem as a police vs. criminal, we would have been much more patient and deployed just a few well-trained Special Ops troops (police) and let them slowly and methodically, using the newest cutting edge technologies, hunt him down and cut the son of a bitch's throat under the cover of darkness.

We then would not say a word, but slip away silently into the dark, and let that work on Al Queda's psyche.

Instead, we let George Bush and his own criminal bunch lead us astray and put thousands of men on the ground in Iraq. IN IRAQ!!!

Now, in a story of last Sunday, November 9, the New York Times reveals that the United States defense department didn't figure this out until 2004:

This, from the Times:

Washington - The United States military since 2004 has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior American officials.

These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 with the approval of President Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack the Qaeda terrorist network anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

In 2006, for example, a Navy Seal team raided a suspected militants' compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency. Officials watched the entire mission - captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft - in real time in the C.I.A.'s Counterterrorist Center at the agency's headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles away.

Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the C.I.A., according to senior American officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of C.I.A.-directed operations.

But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on insufficient evidence.

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Who knows how many years it will take to get Bin Laden. Look how long it took us to get OJ Simpson.

New Auburn Bear Urges "Get Out the Vote!"

This morning I received this jpg from my banjo pickin' friend, Andy Munich. This patriotic bear, wearing the hat of Uncle Sam and waving the American flag, reminding all who pass by the property of Jack and Sue Perry, just north of New Auburn, Wisconsin, to get out the vote.

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With the television set tuned to MSNBC (that Communist station), I was making the bed this morning and heard some great news. The narrator was talking about how some items that Bush had gotten into law could very well be rescinded under the new 44th President of the United States. The example given was the stem cell research snafu.

Don't tell me we are finally going to step forward and join the 21st Century!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Remember Joe The Plumber? Now Add Sarah The Hate Monger

In a story by Tim Shipman of The Telegraph UK, Shipman says:

Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.

The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.

The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.

The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.

Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.

Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."

Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.

That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.

The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."

She said: "I consider it cowardly. It's not true. That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that's not fair and not right."

She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. "Those are the RNC's clothes, they're not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations."

Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. "Here in Alaska that double standard isn't applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard," she said.

"They're commercial fishermen, they're pilots, they're working up on the North slope in the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of a surprise on the national level."

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If Ms. Palin is peddling "equality between the sexes" as an Alaskan attribute, it's no wonder she thinks that Africa is a country! I know a guy who works the north slope.

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HAMMY AND STELLA -- KUDOS TO EAU CLAIRE HUMANE SOCIETY!

Here is a copy of an e mail (and photo) that I sent out to our local animal shelter this morning:

Here is a photo of Hammy and Stella, a brother and sister team that Kim and I adopted from you several months ago. We have always had cats in our house and this time we adopted the two BEST of all time!

They are a never-ending source of entertainment, caring, and love. They are the first cats that we have had that are not afraid to say hello to anybody that walks through the door and they are both lovers and snugglers.

Thank you for all the great work you are doing with God's forgotten creatures!

Larry Heagle

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I AM NOT A "REAL AMERICAN" -- MY VIEWS COINCIDE WITH TERRORIST BILL AYERS


I have been thinking it over and have decided that neither John McCain nor his lovely running mate would like me very much. I am too Bill Ayersian, which of course, makes me less than a real American.


First of all, I think that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, and Don Rumsfeldt are all war criminals and should, once they are all out of office, be tried in international court. They are responsible not only for the deaths of thousands of young Americans but even more Iraqi men, women, and children.

I am not a real American because, like Bill Ayers, I believe that "The war in Vietnam was an illegal invasion and occupation, much of it conducted as a war of terror against the civilian population. The U.S. military killed millions of Vietnamese in air raids - like the ones conducted by McCain - and entire areas of the country were designated free-fire zones, where American pilots indiscriminately dropped surplus ordinance - an immoral enterprise by any measure."

In a recent article written by Mr. Ayers, he states:

" McCain and Palin - or as our late friend Studs Terkel put it, "Joe McCarthy in drag" - would like to bury the '60s. The '60s, after all, was a time of rejecting obedience and conformity in favor of initiative and courage. The '60s pushed us to a deeper appreciation of the humanity of every human being. And that is the threat it poses to the right wing, hence the attacks and all the guilt by association.

McCain and Palin demanded to "know the full extent" of the Obama-Ayers "relationship" so that they can know if Obama, as Palin put it, "is telling the truth to the American people or not."

This is just plain stupid.

Obama has continually been asked to defend something that ought to be at democracy's heart: the importance of talking to as many people as possible in this complicated and wildly diverse society, of listening with the possibility of learning something new, and of speaking with the possibility of persuading or influencing others.

The McCain-Palin attacks not only involved guilt by association, they also assumed that one must apply a political litmus test to begin a conversation.

On Oct. 4, Palin described her supporters as those who "see America as the greatest force for good in this world" and as a "beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy." But Obama, she said, "Is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America." In other words, there are "real" Americans - and then there are the rest of us."

Count me in with "the rest of us"!

I know that I am not a real American because I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Ayers when he says:

" In a robust and sophisticated democracy, political leaders - and all of us - ought to seek ways to talk with many people who hold dissenting, or even radical, ideas. Lacking that simple and yet essential capacity to question authority, we might still be burning witches and enslaving our fellow human beings today.

Maybe we could welcome our current situation - torn by another illegal war, as it was in the '60s - as an opportunity to search for the new.

Perhaps we might think of ourselves not as passive consumers of politics but as fully mobilized political actors. Perhaps we might think of our various efforts now, as we did then, as more than a single campaign, but rather as our movement-in-the-making.

We might find hope in the growth of opposition to war and occupation worldwide. Or we might be inspired by the growing movements for reparations and prison abolition, or the rising immigrant rights movement and the stirrings of working people everywhere, or by gay and lesbian and transgender people courageously pressing for full recognition.

Yet hope - my hope, our hope - resides in a simple self-evident truth: the future is unknown, and it is also entirely unknowable.

History is always in the making. It's up to us. It is up to me and to you. Nothing is predetermined. That makes our moment on this earth both hopeful and all the more urgent - we must find ways to become real actors, to become authentic subjects in our own history.

We may not be able to will a movement into being, but neither can we sit idly for a movement to spring full-grown, as from the head of Zeus.

We have to agitate for democracy and egalitarianism, press harder for human rights, learn to build a new society through our self-transformations and our limited everyday struggles.

At the turn of the last century, Eugene Debs, the great Socialist Party leader from Terre Haute, Ind., told a group of workers in Chicago, "If I could lead you into the Promised Land, I would not do it, because someone else would come along and lead you out."

In this time of new beginnings and rising expectations, it is even more urgent that we figure out how to become the people we have been waiting to be.

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

DRINK RED WINE, STAY DRUNK, LIVE LONGER?



A group of scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison says there is a new reason to toast to the benefits of red wine.


A study suggests that red wine can keep you young.

Scientists have long thought a natural compound called resveratrol, which is found in some red wines, could help slow the aging process by helping to protect tissues inside the body. The question has been whether just a glass or two of wine could really make a difference.

The Wisconsin researchers announced today that it doesn't take as much red wine as many researchers had previously thought.

And at wine bars in New York City, they were already fielding calls.

"This morning I started getting phone calls saying, 'we heard about the red wine that prolongs your life. Which wine has it?'" said Nikos Antonakeas, owner of Morrell Wine Bar and Cafe.

Scientists at Harvard Medical School who have studied the impact of resveratrol on mice showed ABC News images of two rodents. Both were the same age, but the one on resveratrol was much more agile and running much more quickly than the other.

Many scientists are convinced that humans could see the same kind of anti-aging benefits, but there is a catch. How much resveratrol would it take?

In previous studies, mice had been given the equivalent of what they would have gotten from 100 bottles of wine a day.

But that's what is different with the findings in the Wisconsin study released today. The researchers used much lower levels on their mice and still had positive results.


"The precise number of glasses of wine or bottles of wine are difficult to predict," said Wisconsin-Madison professor Richard Weindruch, the author of the study.

As the research continues, some scientists are already popping corks, wondering if it is possible to put resveratrol in a pill.

David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School is trying, and just this week, his start-up company was sold to a pharmaceutical giant for $720 million.

"I used to think it was probably 100 years in the future that we'd see these anti-aging drugs come around," Sinclair said. "Now, I'm optimistic that we'll see these within the next few years."

Still, many in the medical community say "not so fast," and warn that there is plenty of research to come.

Even so, red wine lovers have already been given another reason to toast.

WE ARE ALL AMERICANS -- AND NOW MORE THAN EVER WE NEED TO SET ASIDE THE PETTY AND THE DEVISIVE

The past eight years of hell known as the Bush years put songs of the 1960's running through my head almost constantly -- at least daily. John Prine's "Your Flag decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore", The Beatles, "All You Need Is Love", -- "c'mon people, now, smile on your brother -- Everybody Get Together Try to Love One Another Right Now" (Youngbloods), and after reading the editorial that follows, Jackie DeShannon's "Put A Little Love In Your Heart", the lyrics of which are:

Put A Little Love In Your Heart

Think of your fellow man
Lend him a helping hand
Put a little love in your heart

You see it's getting late
Oh please don't hesitate
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Another day goes by
And still the children cry
Put a little love in you heart
If you want the world to know
We won't let hatred grow
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see
Wait and see

Take a good look around
And if you're lookin' down
Put a little love in your heart

I hope when you decide
Kindness will be your guide
Put a little love in your heart

And the world will be a better place
And the world will be a better place
For you and me
You just wait and see

Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in your heart
Put a little love in -
Put a little love in your heart...

I guess I am still filled with so much HOPE with the election of such a good man! Here is the editorial:

Whether you're Democrat, Republican or Mugwump, you look at Tuesday night's remarkable election results and the nationwide reaction and can't help but wonder at how far our young country has come - and, at the same time, how long it's taken.

You probably saw those photos of the big Obama rally in St. Louis, Missouri, a couple of weeks ago - 100,000 people attended. If you looked closer, in the background, you could see an old building with a copper dome turned green with age.

That used to be the courthouse. Slaves were auctioned from its steps, and in 1846 - 162 years ago - Dred Scott and his wife, two slaves, went there to appeal to the court for their freedom, arguing that they had lived in states and territories in which slavery had been outlawed and so should be let go.

They were, briefly, but soon were returned to slavery. When their appeal reached the United States Supreme Court in 1857, Chief Justice Roger Taney refused to free them. He ruled that slaves did not have the rights of citizens because Dred Scott and his wife were, quote, "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."

Seventeen years later, January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and in November of that year, 145 years ago this month, he traveled to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the battlefield was still freshly soaked in the blood of North and South, to assure all Americans that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

And yet, more than a century would pass before we would come anywhere near making his words true. Much more blood would be shed and lives lost toward achieving Lincoln's aspiration, the one for which he was martyred, too. Montgomery, Birmingham, Selma. In 1964 came the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act the following year.

And still there was violence and still there were words of hate. There's a certain irony that this year it was in the electorally important state of Pennsylvania and from Lincoln's own party that so much bitter, often racially-oriented attack came during this campaign. In their hunger to turn their state to the McCain column (unsuccessfully), the Pennsylvania Republican Party in particular pulled out the stops with virulent robocalls, flyers and last-minute TV ads that once again tried to stir ugly emotion and jingoistic reflex by re-conjuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

As gracious in defeat as John McCain was Tuesday night, it cannot be denied that his candidacy and the desperation with which the status quo tried to cling to power created an atmosphere of ugly accusation and insinuation unlike any we've seen in our lifetimes, and not just in the race for the presidency. Take, for example, the unsuccessful campaign in North Carolina of Senate incumbent Elizabeth Dole who, in the ultimate Hail Mary play, accused her Democratic opponent Kay Hagan of Godlessness.

Yes, some Democrats did it, too, and in the past, candidates have accused each other of far worse; of traitorous, seditious acts and heinous, imaginative transgressions of the flesh. But this year's venom was conceived in kneejerk ideology and instantly brought to your home or office by the Internet: cyberspace, 24-hour news and talk radio deliver poison into the body politic's bloodstream with unparalleled speed and unfiltered ferocity.

This week, the majority of this nation rejected such hate. President-elect Obama ran a campaign in which the color of his skin was not so much an issue but an integral aspect of what has made him the complex and original man he is.

When Harry Truman became president after the unexpected death of FDR, he said he felt like the moon, the stars and all the planets had fallen on him. Barack Obama must feel a little of that, too, but unlike Truman, he has chosen this particular trajectory of his own free will and been given a mandate for change. He will reside in a White House and rule this country with men and women who work in a white marble Capitol, both of which were built by slaves long ago but not so faraway.

And so we will hold this moment dear, turn it in the light to savor the beauty of each facet, even though we know there are hard times ahead, difficult decisions and, as Obama said, false steps. Chances are, he and we will be disappointed; sometimes by him, sometimes by each other. From time to time, hearts will break. So it goes.

Yet, as the song goes, the world will be better for this. After 9/11, the French newspaper Le Monde's headline read, "We Are All Americans."

In the years that have followed, we denied that proffered hand; we drove wedges, built walls, waged war that not only isolated us from other countries, but squandered the solidarity and strength that existed within ourselves.

On Tuesday, as a nation we stood in line, waited our turn to cast our ballots, did what we do best. And when the results were announced, we watched a man and his family stand on an outdoor stage in Chicago. He asked for our support, regardless of party or race, and finally, for a moment at least, together we were all Americans once again. It's a good start.

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Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program, "Bill Moyers Journal," which airs Friday nights on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at www.pbs.org/moyers

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