HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Motorcycle Garage Becomes "War Room"

Knowing that my "back room", which was a room that I originally used to store my Harley Davidson motorcycle in winter, thanks to windowed French doors and a ramp, had fallen into disrepair after I sold the last of my motorcycles, yesterday I set to work clearing out all the junk that had found its way back there.

After reclaiming most of the floor, I moved an old table in there, a reading lamp, and I strung up several of my 1/18 scale WWII aircraft models to prepare the area to be my "war room" after I eventually get the computer and monitor for the table top.

James Dean will have to take a hike soon. He just won't fit in the war room. I will have to find some propaganda posters from the war to take his place.

It took me most of the afternoon to reclaim the room, but there is a satisfied feeling of accomplishment today! Now I have to get on Liz Fischer's nerves by calling her every day about the computer!

March Goes Out In Typical Wisconsin Lion Style

Spent the morning wrestling the wheel of my Scion xB while doing some window shopping for a flat screen computer monitor. Yes, March is going out like a lion the way it is supposed to in Wisconsin.

We are getting the kind of snow that is mostly slush that can grab your wheels and pull you either in the ditch or into the path of an oncoming car -- a car which is fighting its own battle to maintain control, all the while throwing a plume of wet snow across your wind shield.

When I helped my friend Tom "Blinky" Johnson move back to Wisconsin from the Big Apple, he gave me his joy stick and copy of Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator (WWII Europe Series).

I had that game for many years, but in a weak moment gave my old computer and my copy of the game to Adam Wendt, a really nice kid whose dad was working for us as a carpenter at the time.

I figured at the time that I was too old and mature to be playing that game. Yeh, right! After about six months, I really started missing being able to sit down and take out my anxiety and frustrations from the cockpit of a P 51 Mustang, knocking Nazi fighter planes out of the sky with the really accurate sound of six fifty caliber machine guns the game provides.

The game sat here in my office until recently when I found out that my friend and agent, Liz Fischer had just bought a new Windows platform computer and I volunteered to take her old XP Hewlett Packard off her hands!

But now I want to get a large flat screen monitor! And a great pair of speakers, including an active woofer for teeth chattering bass. I have a set of Sonys that run my Mac and I really love them.

I was getting pretty good at not getting shot down and instead scoring ace numbers of enemy aircraft flying the Mustang and the British Hawker Hurricane -- which I like even better than the Spitfire.

One of my fondest memories of the time when I had the game in operation was a visit from two gentlemen who had flown combat missions in Europe.

I met them while entertaining the Chippewa Falls High School class of 1941 class reunion and we hit it off really well so I invited them out to the office for pizza and a look at my combat simulator.

One of the pilots had flown a Mustang and regaled me with the story of encountering a Messerschmitt 262 (the first operational jet aircraft).

I asked him how he fared in the confrontation and he sheepishly told me that they had approached each other head on and that he couldn't figure out what the hell it was as he had never seen one before. By the time he got a good look at it, it had disappeared -- streaking past him at a speed he could never reach in his propeller driven craft. Luckily, the German didn't turn back and engage him.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

"The Favre" Project Begins!

This is the yellow Riddell helmet that I got through eBay -- all the way from Wyoming. It is one of my better purchases as it is nearly perfect as far as wear is concerned. I attached the gray mask to show the correct Brett Favre style face mask. When I am finished, I will have changed over to the same mask but in a dark green.

Check out the shine emanating from this beauty! And that is not just a cover paint job, the whole shell is impregnated yellow. As it stands right now, it would be a good representation of the Packers 1994 "throwback" helmet that the team wore several times that year -- the 1937 style uniform also featured a yellow yoked blue jersey, gold numerals, and flat gold pants.

If you bought the Sports Illustrated special edition saluting Brett's retirement, there is a picture of that uniform in the issue.
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Sports Fan Makes Good -- Robert Rothschild Makes Good Also -- Jam, That Is




http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/living/2008/03/21/sbs.distant.replays.cnn

I was duly impressed this week when I found the above URL in my mailbox! When you get a chance, paste it in your browser and take look-see.

It's my pal, Andy Hyman of Distant Replays in Atlanta, who got big time coverage on CNN on a video news article on the importance of starting small in doing something that you really enjoy doing and building a business from there. Truly inspirational!

Although Andy and I have never met personally (I intend to take care of that in the future with a trip to Atlanta just to meet him and check out the store) I really feel that he is a friend of mine as we have been giving each other shit in e mails for a couple of years now.

Andy has a friend, Barry Rubin, who was the strength and conditioning coach for the Packers under Coach Sherman. While Barry was in Green Bay, he invited Andy and some of his staff to come up to Green Bay for a game. Good to know that Andy has walked hallowed ground.

Barry lost his job when Coach McCarthy took over, but in a recent e mail from Andy, he was pleased to tell me that Barry is now with Andy Reid, who was an assistant coach under Sherman while Barry was there. So i suppose that Mr. Hyman will be taking a trip to Philly sometime this next Fall to check out the Eagles.

I blame Andy Hyman for my beginning a collection of NFL helmets! I originally contacted him about a throwback, 1960's style Packer helmet and he assured me that the helmet he would provide could actually be worn on my head -- one of my quirky qualifications -- but when it arrived, it was way too small!

So I called Mr. Hyman and we had a bit of a confrontation that led him to send the two photos you see pictured, demonstrating that one can, indeed, get the helmet on -- by removing the jaw pads! (which by the by, when you put the helmet on, hurts like hell because of the three studs inside the helmet on each side that the jaw pads snap into !)

In addition, look how silly that small a helmet looks on that big of a head. (I can't imagine how much bigger his head has gotten since CNN).

So, determined to have it my way, I began to search eBay and find helmets that I could make into NFL copies. Recently I found a yellow helmet which I am making into my Brett Favre helmet once the decals and correct face mask arrive. Arriving this week will be a white Riddell helmet that I will be transforming into a Joe Namath Super Bowl Three Jets helmet. I already have the correct face mask and all the decals on hand.

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As long as I am "putting in plugs" for people and stuff I like, I want to talk about Robert Rothschild Farm products of Ohio -- gourmet foods you can order online. I was first introduced to their products when a friend of mine gave me a gift basket. One of the items was a jar of Rothschild strawberry-rhubarb preserves.

All I can say is GOTT IN HIMMEL! Absolute ambrosia. I nursed that one jar along for months, just using a bit at a time on my Bay's English Muffins or my home made popovers or even my home made butter milk pancakes.

When I licked the jar dry, I went seraching for theri web site and the first thing I did was order an entire case of those preserves. I think that is endorsement enough, don't you??

Now, be warned, If and when you go to their site, be prepared for "sticker shock". Eleven ounce jars go for $7.69. And I say they are worth every penny!

I have only ordered and tried the strawberry-rhubarb but they have others that sound equally as tempting, such as: seedless raspberry, triple berry, wild Maine blueberry, peach pie jam, apricot pumpkin butter, and cranberry pomegranate, just to name some.

You can find them online at:

www.robertrothschild.com

YUM! I AM SALIVATING!


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Friday, March 28, 2008

How Larry Feels At The Door of H&R Block

Again, a picture can say it better than ten paragraphs! This is how I feel at my tax appointment!

Because I carry Catholic guilt, even though I am actually running this "business" in the red, I feel like a swine as I at least have a roof over my head and most of the time can make my payments on time and have begun to gain weight again.

So OINK OINK OINKITY OINK OINK -- Ah'm talkin' to yew, Bro Matthew.

Mr. Capell, give me little drink of that wine
Mr. Capell, give me little drink of that wine
If I had yo money, I'd stay drunk alla de time

I so look a lot like Mr. Pig, but my ears are bigger!


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Stove Wood Depleted, Tax Man Looms

One of the final signs that Spring may, indeed, be well on its way is when I find myself forced to forage through the "snow cone" snow to find what's left over from last year's stove wood that didn't make it up on the decking for lack of room.
So at 5:30 this morning, here I was, stepping gingerly through the crystalized-snow plow-piled snow, in the dark, attempting to reach the firewood lurking just below the surface, to take the chill off the little bungalow before my friend and business manager, Marketeer Liz Fischer arrives for popovers and strong coffee.

Hard to believe that I have gone through the entire impressive stack of wood pictured before April Fool's Day, but a picture, they say, is worth a thousand blogs.

Of course with temperatures rapidly climbing to above freezing and the oven cranked up to 400 degrees to get the popovers to pop properly (try saying that ten times really fast) by the time Elizabeth got here, it was way too warm to strategize comfortably.

Just a bit ago I checked the stove and it was down to some glowing coals. I thought about just letting it go out, but then decided I best add a little more wood at a time -- for as evening and night bring dropping temps, I can stay away from burning propane.

So I split what I could find freed by today's meltage (I know that's not a word, but I love it anyway)and added just a few small pieces to keep it going.

I felt that our meeting this morning was very profitable. Liz is a good mind when it comes to marketing! We first discussed the loss of the job at Country Fest in June, a 4 day gig that would have made the rest of summer worry free as to whether any work came in or not.

The owners of Country Fest had really wanted me this summer, but are working with a less than cooperative stage manager who runs the show anyway he damn well pleases and they foresaw that it would be most frustrating for me to be working under the tyranny. However, the really great news is that this is the last year of the present stage manager's contract and I am almost assuredly going to be involved with Country Fest for the following three to four years.

Still, I am not holding my breath. Hell, a lot can happen in a year's time. I am not a young man anymore.

We also discussed contacting all the Wisconsin Chambers of Commerce with an eye on landing some outdoor festival work. For years I was a hot ticket for Durand Fun Fest, the Gilmanton Fair, the Mondovi Fair, Irvington Days, and a myriad of other festivals.

But I got lost in the shuffle somewhere along the way.

I also would like to work at Jake's at the Tiki bar this summer -- if any of you just happen to be out for Prime rib in the next couple of months it would be much appreciated if you would drop a subtle hint to John Lynch -- something like: "Gee, we missed seeing Larry out here last summer. When will he be working here this summer?

I could really use your help!

Liz and I also discussed getting back to the comedy club at the bowling lanes in Schofield, Wisconsin, sometime this summer.

Other items in the discussion stages include: making a video of The Vasectomy song to have ready by next Fall when i entertain the Nurses Association of Wisconsin. the transference of a comedy cassette tape onto CD, and beginning long range planning for next Spring's Heagle Brothers whirlwind four day tour with "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" Father John Heagle and Larry Heagle Carry Each Other For An Evening.

Hopefully we will be performing it in Menomonie, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Wausau -- all within a four day span so that John can get back to being a priest again!

We did the show years ago to raise money for the retirement fund of the Sisters of Saint Bede's and I am proud to say that we raised nearly ten thousand dollars in one night!

this time we are going to unabashedly inform the audiences that again we are raising money for charity -- a retirement fund for the two brothers --charity, you know, begins at home!

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Tomorrow is a day of dread. TAX MAN! I have everything together for the meeting. I always think I do, anyway, until I get there and end up taking home a list of about 14 things I forgot to do. Pray for me, okay?

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Discovery: No Coffee Before Doctor Makes For Impressive BP Read

I received this image from long standing friend John Buchholz along with this note:

If this doesn't touch you there is something WRONG with you...


I seldom pass along inspirational stuff, but this one got to me.

I believe, in these difficult and mean-spirited times in which we live, there needs to be a message of Hope.

We can all use a single image that speaks to us of love, harmony, peace, and joy.

An image that suggests the universality of us all.

I have been sent that image, and I want to share it with you all. (In case you are old like me and can't read the small print, the sign on the building says: "The Beer Store". Pretty important to the whole concept!)

I spent most of the day working on getting my tax figures together but didn't finish. In fact, I was still at it at 7:30 PM when Kim got home from meeting with (it turns out) one other of the Get-Away-Girls.

I had an appointment with Dr. Woods, my coronary doctor, this morning at nine. He's somewhat concerned that my cholesterol has been inching up the last two years -- no more ice cream. He increased my Simvastin (sp) which should help get it back down in the 60's.

Mostly concerned about plaque buildup in the arteries that were re-constructed in the coronary bypass of 2000. The good news is that there is low incidence of that.

Came home and all I wanted to do was crash as I am being attacked by fibromyalgia big time again today. Absolutely everything hurts. But I thought I better stop here at the office and finish the damn tax work -- which I did.

Now I need to get over to the house and await the repair guy from Gibson Water Care, We have been battling the "rotten egg" smell, caused by bacteria in the lines. About three weeks ago, he solved it in the cold water line, but now it is infecting the hot water line.

This will be a bit more difficult as he will have to crack open the hot water heater and super shock it with a strong dose of chlorine.

Ah, the joys of living in the country!

I just finished a biography of Johnny Unitas -- very well written by Tom Callahan. The book made me really appreciate what a great athlete and quarterback Unitas was. I can't say that I didn't already know that, having watched his entire career unfold, but it was enjoyable to read all the inside stuff about his personality.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No More Foot Dragging! Tax Prep Coming Up Saturday

Have to figure out where I can put up more shelves for my NFL helmet display. I like the way this Kenny Stabler Raider helmet came together today. I had received the helmet over two weeks ago and while I was awaiting both the decals and the Dunbar face mask that Stabler made famous during his playing days, I was able to give the helmet multiple coats of silver paint and then used nearly an entire can of clear coat sealant on it.

This early afternoon the mail man brought me both the face mask and the decals so I was able to get it finished.

I found out that the Dunbar face mask is pretty rare -- I got mine through eBay from a private party for a little over thirty dollars. this morning I found a website that sells the self same duplicate for ninety nine dollars!

I love that when it happens!

When I was but a boy, I loved building plastic models of WWII air craft. Trouble is, I just couldn't wait until the paint dried to get to the finishing touches of adding the decals. I get the same rush with these projects. I also feel that I am getting better at putting them together.

Last night I won the helmet that I will be using to make my Joe Namath Super Bowl Three model. I was really surprised to get it for twenty six dollars! And the seller I dealt with is the first one who didn't inflate the shipping cost -- only eight bucks for the shipping.

I have another Riddell helmet that I won that is on the way -- and will be making it into a Ray Nitschke line man helmet. Either that or a Brett Favre.

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I was up early this morning, knowing that I have been foot-dragging long enough and that today I needed to get started on compiling all my tax stuff. I am about half way through at this point. I only stopped to look at the clock after having coffee at 7A.M. and it was noon!

Kim is not coming home after school today. It's dinner out with the Get-Away-Girls so I will be able to get back to it yet again tonight.

Before I do, however, I have to get a Rude, Crude, and Poor CD packaged up to mail to Melissa Kullman. She is married to my RCU loan guy, Nick, and I stopped in to get all the tax papers I need from him this morning.

While I was there I was admiring the pictures of his daughter and he informed me that Melissa will be having another child towards the end of May. I told him that it's time for the big "V" and Nick laughed because Melissa has been bringing up that very subject quite often lately.

So I am mailing her the CD with a note explaining that she should play the Vasectomy Song every time Nick comes home from work!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Helmet? This Guy Has Way Too Much Time On His Hands

This is a helmet that when it came in I felt might be a lost cause. It was just so beat up. But four coats of green later, it's looking almost presentable! I've always liked the Eagles uniforms and the winged helmets. The green I used isn't nearly dark enough, I don't think, to match the present helmets, but personally I think their latest rendition threw in too much blue with their green.

This specific helmet I got from a guy in Texas. It arrived and the color was deep maroon with a flying goose on the sides. Kinda made me wonder what team he had bought this helmet from. The Honkers? The Wild Geese? It had obviously seen a lot of combat as there are several deep gouges near the crown.

To make the helmet correct, not only should it be a darker green, but the face mask should be black -- or is it dark green? I like the white!

If you check out the face mask, you'll see it is the standard that quarterbacks are wearing these days. It is made of steel and then coated with a rubber/plastic compound. Man -- is it heavy!

My good friend and great country musician, Gary Spaeth, sent me a very inspiring U Tube video this afternoon. It's Merle Haggard singing "America First". I think evrybody should give a listen and take it to heart! Here's the URL:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=6jrHPjm4qKM

A lotta guys mellow as they get older. Not Merle! He's come about 180 degrees since Okie From Muskogee.

I got an e mail from my bosom pal, Blinky Johnson -- he's maintaining that Favre has not turned in his resignation papers and predicts that he will play for the Packers this fall. How's that old song go:

First you say you will and then you won't
And then you say you do and then you don't
You're undecided now, so what are you gonna do?

I'm am certain we would welcome him back with open arms but it would be pretty freakin' weird, don't ya think? The boy from Mississippi who keeps crying wolf! Oh, never mind -- Wolf's not in Green Bay anymore.

Personally I don't think he's coming back. What would really frost my punkin would be if he came back and played for some other team in the NFL.

My Historic Aviation catalogue arrived with today's mail. It is my favorite "soak in the office bath tub with bubble bath" reading.

One of these days I will dedicate an entire blog to my huge collection of die cast World War Two fighters and bombers. Most recently I have been trying to find the military version of the Piper Cub that was used as a scout plane and a means of getting the brass around the European theatre.

Hey! I'm off to the tub for a soak and a scrub!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

On The Stupidity of Politically Correctness And Other Revelations

Here's an "artsy" photo of the wonderfully made jersey I got through Harv Harvison's web site out of the Philippines, and my second project helmet.

I was ruminating the other day about my somehow being drawn to the Washington Redskins and then today I realized that it is probably because of the color scheme. My high school is the Menomonie Indians and the colors are maroon and white. The Menomonie Indians -- how very politically incorrect! If I were a Native American (I am a smidgeon, but then who isn't if you've got any Canadian French in your blood) I would be totally incensed! NOT!

I am mostly Irish and the "Fighting Irish" of Notre Dame I guess is supposed to trip my trigger, but I really don't give a shit! Some years back there was a big bruhaha about changing the Menomonie mascot to the eagle -- but those red neck Menomonie bastards voted it down.

By the way, if you are a small part Indian, don't say anything about it to the tribe. I did comedy at an Indian casino in the eastern part of the state years ago, and when I finished, several of the Pottowatamie wanted me to come in the bar and drink with them.

They started insisting that I tell them some Indian jokes. I don't have any Indian jokes, save the Mr. Custer routine that got me in deep shit at Howard Johnson's one night. And I wasn't about to hit the toilet again with that. They were very disappointed in me.

It wasn't until I started traveling the comedy club circuit for Ken Mueller that I came in contact with the expression "Indian Time".

Traveling through the sand hills of Nebraska/South Dakota I passed a little country store with a big sign which read:
"OPEN MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY 9AM - 5PM INDIAN TIME". When I stopped for fuel, I asked the attendant what "Indian time" is and he told me that Indians are not like Crackers - They hold little regard for punctuality. Their attitude is "Store Hours: Open most days about 9 AM or 10, occasionally as early as 7AM but sometimes as late as noon or 1PM. Close about 5PM or 6, occasionally about 4 to 4:30, sometimes as late as 11 or midnight and some days we are not here at all."

So now you know what to expect when you are traveling through the reservations! Reminds me of the old joke:

Why were the Indians here first?

They had reservations

That doesn't even make sense.

The other thing that comes to mind when I get started talking about the Sand Hills is how remote the feeling is -- I drove for hours without seeing anything but sand! I looked for a radio station -- pushed "seek" on the radio button, and that's what it did! Seek! There was nothing to hone in on! The numbers just kept rolling by on my LED!

Finally I got a signal about an hour later -- South Dakota Public Radio -- one station -- and they were playing pow wow chants. Actually pretty freakin' eerie to be driving through vast emptiness and suddenly hear that haunting rhythmic sound.

Did you know that it is very difficult to "circle the wagons" when you are the only wagon?

Now I got stream of conscious goin' -- trying to remember the name of the Indian character that Nabisco Shredded Wheat used on those dividers between stacked rows of shredded wheat and I was but a boy. Seems like it was "Straight Arrow" but I don't think that's it.

Well this will drive me crazy the rest of he afternoon. I wonder if I can Google that???

At any rate, those dividers had really cool Indian "how to's" -- like to how make a home made bow and arrow -- even showed how to put the feathers on the shaft so the arrow would fly straight -- hey! straight arrow. No, I still don't think that's it. Also how to make a headdress with turkey feathers, how to make a tomahawk, build a camp fire -- stuff like that.

Just a sec! Got to go a-googlin' about Nabisco's faithful Indian companion.

I'm back! And I was right! It WAS Straight Arrow! And man, did I hit the mother lode over there on Google. Check this out:

Straight Arrow: Nabisco's Comanche Warrior

by Jack French ©1996

There is probably no error in OTR lore with greater longevity than the misconception that Straight Arrow was a white man who disguised himself as an Indian. John Dunning has this mistake in his first edition of "Tune In Yesterday" (1976), as does Gary Yoggy in his "When Radio Wore Spurs" (1984), Swartz and Reinehr in their "Handbook of Old Time Radio" (1993), and most recently, Ron Lackmann in his "Same Time, Same Station" (1996).
The correct version is simply the reverse: Straight Arrow was a Comanche orphan raised by the whites, and as an adult, Steve Adams was his "secret identity."

The history of this popular juvenile Western series is an interesting one. In 1947 the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) made plans to challenge the domination of youngsters' allegiance to the cereals of Post, Kellogg's and General Mills. Nabisco officials picked one of their "adult cereals", Shredded Wheat, to promote as a kids' breakfast food by sponsoring a new radio series.

McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency in New York City was given the task of creating this new kids' show. The premise evolved of an American Indian as the hero and Sheldon Stark was picked to write the script. Stark was an excellent choice; he had spent ten years at WXYZ under George Trendle writing episodes for THE GREEN HORNET and CHALLENGE OF THE YUKON.

Stark created a story-line involving a Comanche Indian named Straight Arrow, who disguised himself as Steve Adams (note the same initials), the owner of the Broken Bow cattle spread. His secret identity was known only to his grizzled side-kick, Packy McCloud. The initial script was finished by Stark in January 1948 and turned over to the agency.

A Native American hero would have little dramatic action if written into the low-crime culture of the Plains Indians. They were strangers to money, property rights, and many of their personal effects were held in common with the tribe. Only by disguising this Indian hero as a white rancher would he encounter bank robbers, claim jumpers, stage-coach bandits, escaped convicts, etc. and thus provide the action and excitement needed in a kids' radio series. Sheldon Stark proved a master scripter in this regard.

McCann-Erickson decided the new series would be broadcast from Los Angeles and they quickly chose their cast from West Coast talent.

Howard Culver, who had been the narrator of WE DELIVER THE GOODS and the announcer on CHANDU THE MAGICIAN, was selected for the title lead. At the time, he had a small goatee, which would be later be shaved off before his first personal appearance as Straight Arrow.

Fred Howard, who had portrayed the father of Cass Daley on her radio series, was cast as "Packy", while another veteran performer, Gwen Delano, got the third remaining major role in the series, "Mesquite Molly", the ranch housekeeper.

Milton Charles was signed on as the organist and finally Frank Bingman was hired as the announcer. He had started in radio at age 19 on "Life of Mary Southern" but was best known then as the voice of Cresta Blanca Wine.

Bingman was surprised to find out that Culver occupied his spare time at the studio by knitting. While on the JOAN DAVIS SHOW, Verna Felton had taught Bingman to knit, but he was a "closet knitter" since he was embarrassed to knit in front of other men. "Well, I don't give a damn what they say!" Culver told Bingman, sounding very unlike Straight Arrow. Thereafter, they both knitted in the studio, and later these two buddies donated their time at local military hospitals, teaching wounded vets to knit.

"STRAIGHT ARROW" was produced at KHJ, a Mutual Network affiliate, and by a stroke of luck, three aspiring, but talented, soundmen were assigned to this series: Ray Kemper, Bill James, and Tom Hanley. This skilled trio were doing sound effects on VOYAGE OF THE SCARLET QUEEN. Later these three would achieve greatness when they went to CBS and did sound effects for GUNSMOKE and FORT LARAMIE.

It was decided to give "STRAIGHT ARROW" a lengthy trial run on the Don Lee Network before going nation-wide so it aired on that regional setup every Tuesday from May 6, 1948 to January 21, 1949. The McCann-Erickson official in charge of the production was J. Neil Reagan, whose brother would go on to be elected President of the United States.

When this adventure program debuted, Straight Arrow, like Superman before him, began his series as an adult, with the "origin story" of his childhood to follow. (However, unlike the Man of Steel, the origin story of the Comanche warrior never aired.)

Just as Roy Rogers did, Straight Arrow proudly rode a golden Palomino, but his horse would be unnamed for several months so the sponsor could hold a contest to name him. (All entries accompanied by a Nabisco Shredded Wheat box top.) Howard Culver, much like Clayton "Bud" Collier had been doing for years as Clark Kent/Superman, used his regular voice for Steve Adams and then lowered it for Straight Arrow.

While the Lone Ranger had a secret silver mine, Straight Arrow had a secret gold cave. Here he kept his horse, "Fury", and his Comanche weapons, attire, and war paint. (Apparently, Fury never resented his master keeping him in a dark, damp cavern, instead of the sunny prairie.)

Since Fury's hooves would be clattering in and out of the cave, the KHJ soundmen had to add to their standard "terrain box." For most Western shows, this wooden box was partitioned into three sections: sand or dirt, gravel, and water so that the plungers or coconut halves could imitate a horse galloping on a road, a mountain trail, or fording a stream. For a wooden bridge, they'd use the edge of the box.

To create the illusion of the cave floor, Kemper placed a concrete block near the terrain box and the resulting hoof beats on it were quite convincing.

"STRAIGHT ARROW" was very successful and rapidly built a vast audience of juveniles (and adults.) At the instigation of McCann-Erickson, Nabisco began printing "Injun-Uity Cards" and placing them as dividers in their boxes of Shredded Wheat. These cards, cheaply printed, contained well-researched text and graphics on all phases of American Indian lore, customs, and tactics.

Today, these "Injun-Uity Cards" are collected and traded by "STRAIGHT ARROW" fans around the country as are other radio premiums of that series: feathered head bands, drums, arrowheads,rings, etc.

On February 7, 1949 "STRAIGHT ARROW" went nationwide over the Mutual Network three times a week, alternating with BOBBY BENSON AND THE B-BAR-B RIDERS which Mutual produced in Manhattan at WOR. Neil Reagan was reassigned when the show began airing coast-to-coast, and his successor, Ted Robertson, would stay as producer/director for the duration of the series.

Every episode started out with its distinctive signature: Milt Charles would imitate a tom-tom drum on his organ and Bingman would intone:

"N-A-B-I-S-C-O,
Nabisco is the name to know.
For a breakfast, you can't beat
Eat Nabisco Shredded Wheat!"
Years later, Bingman's son speculated that his father's experience spelling Cresta Blanca may have helped him win the audition as STRAIGHT ARROW's announcer, majestically spelling out N-A-B-I-S-C-O.
The show was produced live for the entire run, although a few episodes were transcribed on disk, if Culver was unavailable....as he was when making rare personal appearances as Straight Arrow. For those shows, a recording would be made prior to his departure.
A West Coast actor, Robert Bruce, in his audio-biography, "Life as a Third Banana", tells of a near disaster early in the series. One day the studio engineer at KHJ did not remember, until almost air time, that he was scheduled to play a transcription disk.
He quickly grabbed the record from storage and raced toward the control room. In his haste, his arm hit a door knob and the disk slipped from his hands, landed on its edge, and rolled rapidly down the hall. Befor e the engineer could prevent it, the record rolled into a pan of patching plaster that a workman was using in the hallway.

In terror, the engineer snatched the disk from the plaster, blasted it at a nearby faucet, and then ran into the studio and slapped it on the turntable. He just got the needle into the first groove as the announcer ran out of local copy.

The broadcast was a little rough in spots because of the flecks of plaster. Neil Reagan, who was listening to the show on his car radio on the way home, stopped to telephone the station to ask what was wrong. The quick-thinking engineer assured Reagan that it was just "atmospheric disturbances."

"STRAIGHT ARROW" was broadcast nationally as a 30-minute episode three times a week until February 1950 and then it went to twice a week until the show ended in June 1951. All 292 scripts were written by Sheldon Stark.

While his script on the childhood of Straight Arrow was never aired, the story was used on the inside cover of an Injun-Uity Manual premium.

Although this entertaining series had a relatively short run (starting after the advent of television, it could not last long) it was popular enough to spawn both a comic book series and also a newspaper strip.

The first comic book came out in the spring of 1950 with Gardner Fox doing most of the writing and Fred L. Meagher as the illustrator. The comic books actually out-lasted the radio version by a full five years; they ended in March 1956.

The newspaper strip, distributed by Bell Syndicate, was well done, but did not equal the duration of the comic books. This news strip, again with story by Fox, was illustrated by the talented duo of John Belfi and Joe Certa. It was syndicated to about 200 U.S. newspapers from July 1950 to August 1951.

Today, some 45 years after the demise of STRAIGHT ARROW, virtually all of the talented people who were in its cast and crew are deceased. Culver went on to play the boy friend of Mercedes McCambridge in her radio series, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, and he had a reoccurring television role as Howie the desk clerk on GUNSMOKE.

Culver died in 1984, but his widow, Lois, is currently active in our OTR hobby and is involved in a vintage radio "chat-room" on the Internet. (See Lou Genco's web site.)

Frank Bingman became a anchor man for ABC-TV and did voice-overs for movie previews of 20th Century-Fox. He died in August 1988 in Northern Virginia, and one month before his death, he addressed the membership of the Metro Washington OTR Club. Bingman revealed that in his 40+ years of broadcasting, "STRAIGHT ARROW" was his favorite series and that Howard Culver had been his best and closest friend.

Regrettably, only six complete episodes of "STRAIGHT ARROW" have been located thus far and are in trading currency. But the memory of the Comanche Warrior is kept alive by Bill and Teresa Harper, 301 E. Buena Vista Ave, North Augusta, SC 29841. This dedicated couple for many years regularly published a Straight Arrow newsletter called "Pow-Wow."

And by the time you finish this article, Post's brand logo will adorn "Nabisco Original Shredded Wheat" boxes on your grocery shelves. (Where's Straight Arrow when you need him now?)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Still More Horror Leaps Out From Newspapers

As if the two other news stories I referred two earlier today were not enough, comes this one from Alton, Illinois:

Torture Death Shocks Illinois Town
By JIM SUHR – 15 hours ago
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Banished to the basement, the 29-year-old mother with a childlike mind and another baby on the way had little more than a thin rug and a mattress to call her own on the chilly concrete floor.
Dorothy Dixon ate what she could forage from the refrigerator upstairs, where prosecutors say housemates used her for target practice with BBs, burned her with a glue gun and doused her with scalding liquid that peeled away her skin.
They torched what few clothes she had, authorities say, so she walked around naked. They often pummeled her with an aluminum bat or metal handle.
Dixon — six months pregnant — died after weeks of abuse. Police have charged two adults, three teenagers and a 12-year-old boy with murder in the case that has repulsed many in this Mississippi River town.
"This is heartbreaking," police Lt. David Hayes said. "It was almost as though they were making fun of the abuse they were administering. This woman was almost like living in a prison."
Investigators put much of the blame on Michelle Riley, 35, who they said befriended Dixon but pocketed monthly Social Security checks she got because of her developmental delays.
Dixon saw little, if any, of the money, Hayes said. For months she weathered the torment to keep a roof over her head and that of her year-old son, who weighed just 15 pounds when taken into state custody after his mom's death.
"I've never seen an almost conspiratorial effort by a group of people to continuously torture someone until she finally died, then not really show any remorse," Hayes said. "It was just a slow, torturous, tragic way to die. I highly doubt Dorothy Dixon even knew she was dying."
Riley, 43-year-old Judy Woods and three teenagers, including Riley's 15-year-old daughter, LeShelle McBride, are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated and heinous battery, intentional homicide of an unborn child, and unlawful restraint. Riley's 12-year-old son is charged as a juvenile.
Riley, her daughter, Woods and 16-year-old Benny Wilson have public defenders who did not immediately return messages for comment. An 18-year-old defendant, Michael Elliott, planned to get his own attorney, court records show.
All remain in jail on $1 million bond.
Messages left with a Chicago-area sister of Dixon went unreturned, but neighbors, Hayes and newspaper accounts offer a mosaic of the months leading to Dixon's demise inside the small, white, blue-shuttered house.
Riley and Dixon, police said, had lived in Quincy, a Mississippi River town about 100 miles north of St. Louis, Mo. Quincy is where Riley worked as a coordinator for a regional center that helps the developmentally disabled with housing and other services. Dixon was a client.
For years, an impoverished Riley struggled raising her children. Her use of methamphetamine and cocaine brought drug convictions in 2002 and 2004. But with treatment and housing help from the Quincy YWCA, Riley put her life in order — so much that in February of last year, the Quincy Herald-Whig did a story on her comeback.
Last summer, Dixon and Riley moved into the $800-a-month, three-bedroom rental in Alton about 15 miles north of St. Louis. From the start, neighbors Chad Hudson and Terri Brandt considered Riley trouble.
"Michelle was evil, vindictive. Manipulative," said Hudson, convinced the teenagers were Riley's powerless minions.
"She was angry, vicious," added Brandt.
Riley considered Dixon her slave, making her rub Riley's feet until Riley fell asleep and forcing her to run naked around the house when she got in trouble, the neighbors said.
"Being in their house was like being in a prison day room," Hudson said. "They just sat around the kitchen table and fought."
There was little question that Riley ruled the roost.
While doing fix-ups on the home last fall, landlord Steve Atkins saw Riley "barking orders" at the children and everyone else. Atkins joked to her whether he needed to call the Army and see if they wanted their drill sergeant back.
"She didn't laugh about it at all," Atkins said. "Obviously, I hit a nerve."
Atkins said Dixon generally kept to herself "but was always nice when she spoke to you." He saw no hints she'd been suffering or tortured.
"I would have never, ever suspected something like this," he said. "It's definitely shocking."
Police said Dixon was allowed out of the house but didn't say under what conditions. Hayes didn't know who the father of Dixon's fetus is.
Hayes said things apparently came to a head Jan. 30, when investigators believe that Woods, during a dispute, beat Dixon on the head with an object Hayes wouldn't identify. The next day Woods found her dead.
Hayes watched the autopsy and found her injuries disturbing. X-rays revealed roughly 30 BBs lodged in her. Deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body — her face, her chest, her arms and feet — and left her severely dehydrated. Her face and body showed signs of prolonged abuse. Many of her wounds were infected.
None of the injuries, Hayes said, proved singly fatal to Dixon. Her system already was taxed by her unborn baby.
"The autopsy sort of indicates her immune system just shut down," he said. "It was not capable of fending off any more."
In the rental home's basement, Atkins said, he found spots of blood in a shower and tiny smears on the concrete floor, washer and dryer.
"It's disgraceful the way this girl died, as kind and as sweet as this girl was," he said. "She didn't deserve to die the way she did. It's just terrible, senseless. It's just a total shame."

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I read this story aloud to Kim. Kim has long advocated that criminals involved in violent crime should be punished exactly the way that they punished their victims. I agree.

These monsters should have a speedy trial, put into solitary confinement with nothing more than a thin mattress and rug and for months fed only enough to keep them alive. When Judy Woods had lost about three hundred pounds, they all should then be led out to a prison yard. the lifers in prison for violent crime should all be issued BB guns and allowed to fire away at all of the blindfolded perpetrators.

Others would be issued glue guns and still others would be allowed to dump boiling oil on them.

People are so fucked!

Reading Daily Newspaper Bad For Mental Health -- Jumping Spotted Eagle Ray Bad For Physical Health!


Kim and I were out this morning and it really isn't that bad a day -- despite the snow on the ground. The fact that there is no wind makes it most pleasant. we brunched at Perkins which is getting to be a habit on saturday mornings. Take the morning paper with us and have a really relaxed and easy meal. I always order the "55 Traveler" -- an egg, basted easy, two strips crisp bacon, and two of their buttermilk pancakes, which in my estimation are the best around (outside of my own).

We stopped at MegaFoods to pick up a few things and spotted a great bumper sticker: "I never thought I would miss Richard Nixon."

Gonna hunt that one down and get one of my own! Need to replace my "Bush is a war criminal" sticker that somebody ripped off my car while I was in that hotbed of liberalism -- Hayward.

Speaking of the newspaper, two stories jumped off the page and made me want to never look at a paper again.

The first concerns Judy Kay Zagorski, 57, of Pigeon, Michigan. While riding in a boat at 25 mph off the coast of Florida with her 88 year old dad at the wheel, a 75 pound spotted eagle ray (see accompanying photos) leapt from the water and hit her literally head-on! The blunt force crushed her skull and killed her instantly. It is doubtful that she felt a thing.

Spotted eagle rays can grow to be 17 feet long, including the tail and weigh up to 500 pounds. Some have wing spans of ten feet! While they are known to jump out of the water occasionally to escape predators, remove parasites or give birth, collisions with humans are "unheard of".

Try telling that to Ms. Zagorski's family! Talk about karma!

I don't remember anything that weird happening for years. Many years ago, someone wa killed when a tree fell on them while they were canoeing on the Brule River in northern Wisconsin.

In another story, McCain, Clinton, and Obama's passport files have been breached by three State Department contractors who snooped through all three candidate's passport files!

This done by employees of Stanley, Inc. and The Anaylsis Corp. -- companies that aid in National Security issues!!!!

What this means is that thousands of other employees could have access to the private information of millions of Americans. big Brother is, indeed, watching.

I don't know about you, but in addition to this terrible feeling, I don't think that we can believe anything presented on television as the truth the way things can be doctored with computers.

The last free election is in 2000.

In George Carlin's most recent HBO special I really loved the way he gave it to the Bush family. He talks about how president's wives are always given "pet" projects during the administration's term and that Barbara Bush's was encouraging reading -- after all, she did such a good job with George, Jr.

Carlin says he always refers to George Bush as Governor George Bush because that's the last election that he actually won and Carlin adds he never spells governor bush's name with capital letters.

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We had pizza with John and Cathy Buchholz at Sammy's down town last night. After 50 years, the down town shop is closing its doors at the end of next month.

I am old enough to remember when the original Sammy's was just south of the Eau Claire River on North barstow, across the river from the post office.

In fact, after the Menomonie High School prom, we drove all the way over to eau Claire to get a Sammy's pizza.

At any rate, John and Cathy's daughter, Laura, is now as full time writer for Garrison Keeler. She developed the Guy Noir series on the show and writes other bits as well.

Recently she moved from New York City to the Twin Cities at the behest of her boss.

John and Cathy seem to feel that Keeler is -- how shall we say it --- eccentric?

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I received this from my friend and former jarhead, Andy Muenich:

This is the time of year I like to tell the story about the Roman soldier that thrust his spear into Christ's side when he was on the cross. Most everyone had gone from Golgotha and two Roman soldiers remained to guard against intruders. The story goes that the Sergeant thrust his spear in Christ's side to end his misery. God then decreed everlasting life to the Roman Sergeant and condemned him to be a soldier for eternity. His name was Casca Longinus. This story is related by Barry Sadler, of Green Beret Fame. He was assassinated in Guatemala but he wrote many stories and songs before he died. Casca Longinus was also one of the soldiers guarding the tomb when Christ arose on Easter Sunday.

Casca Longinus became a mercenary and travelled to wherever war was raging. Mostly in Europe, although he travelled extensively throughout the world, always fighting in wars and conflicts. He was wounded many times and given up for dead but always survived since God had condemned him to live forever. He married seven times but his wife would grow old and gray and Casca would always remain young looking - as he was in his thirties. He would have to leave his wife and always broke her heart. Finally he married no longer and only lived off and on temporarily with a woman and he would then leave her to go off and fight in any war that was available.

He fought in all the European wars, the Spanish American War, World War 1 and II, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. He participated in the Crusades. During WWII he fought on the side of the Germans and was a tank commander on the Eastern Front. He went under the name of Karl Langer.

About 1995 a fellow came in our Sport Shop on Water Street, Eau Claire, Wi. and wanted to trade deer rifles. We made a trade and he came back again and again and became a regular customer. He favored military rifles. By and by, I got to know him better and found that he was a Marine. He had fought in Vietnam. He related that he had been shot three times and bayonetted twice. Since I was also a Marine, we could talk the talk and we became friends of a sort. He complained he was bored all the time. He was on some type of military disability and lived with a woman over in Altoona who was originally from Cornell, Wi. They had moved here from San Francisco area and her mother still lived there. He gave his name as Carl Fenger. He always complained about the pain his wounds gave him. We gave him work to do, such as refinishing gun stocks, painting, etc. He was grateful for something to do.

One time while he was in the store, Sen. Dave Zien came in and I introduced them to each other and they started comparing their tours of duty in Vietnam and even took off their shirts to show each other their wound scars. Carl Fenger looked as if he was a Roman soldier! He looked somewhat Italian and was dark, stocky and maybe 5'6". He told us he was married seven times! My wife and I and others started to ask each other questions and when I finally decided to ask Carl about his background he came in the shop one morning and announced that he was returning to California because his lady's mother was very sick. He said he would return but never did and when I tried tracking him down I could find no trace whatsoever.

This story is absolutely true - the part about Carl Fenger in our store. As for Barry Sadler's story of Karl Langer and Casca Longinus I cannot vouch, but the similar conditions, names and circumstances lead us to believe that Casca Longinus, Karl Langer, and Carl Fenger are one and the same person and he is most likely fighting in Iraq right now, presumably on our side!

Andy Muenich

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Larry scores One On eBay

With all the helmets I have been working on, I couldn't pass up bidding on this one! It is a real Riddell suspension helmet from the 1960's which was sent in to, painted and re-conditioned by Helmet Hut, real professionals.

Well, I lucked out and won! I am really looking forward to adding this one to my collection. I am afraid, however, that it will make my amateurish attempts look just that -- amateurish!

This will be the second Redskins helmet in my possession -- equaling the number of Packer helmets I intend to have before I am finished.

Don't know what my fascination with the Redskins is all about -- except that they are the Dallas Cowboys nemesis -- and that's good enough for me.

Two helmets you won't ever find in my collection: Cowboys and Vikings!

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Summer, Fall Plans Being Made -- Damn I wish I Were Independently Wealthy!


Got the correct answer (I knew he would know it!) from MPLSPCKR on my recent trivia question(s). The legendary Tom Landry coached the NY Giant defense while Vincent Lombardi coached the offense.

Currently I am working on a replica of an Oakland Raiders helmet -- haven't decided if it will be a Kenny Stabler or a Howie Long at this point. It all depends upon which face mask I can round up from eBay.

I have never really been much of a Raiders fan, but Ken Stabler and Howie Long are difficult not to appreciate.

_________________________________________________________________

I was pleased to hear from Jeff Johnson today! Jeff is a former student of my wife's! Way back in kindergarten. He is now a writer living in New York City. He wrote to tell me that he has enjoyed following my adventures of making replicas of NFL helmets. Too cool!

Maybe next time I fly out to visit Jon and David, maybe I can meet him for lunch.

Kim and I have been discussing both Summer and Fall plans. Father John would like as many of the family as possible to fly out to Oregon this coming early August to celebrate those who are retiring and I think that we are going! We would fly into Portland and rent a car and drive down the Oregon coast to John's house on the beach.

He has a magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean out a huge picture window, about 75 yards from the ocean. H e just happens to be in an area where the whales migrate on their way north and south.

I told Kim some time ago that I want to treat her to a rented house boat trip on the Mississippi River this coming Fall, just to ease the pain of not being in the class room for the first time in over thirty years. I can't think of anything more beautiful and peaceful than being on the big river during the time when the Fall colors are at their peak, cruising down river, tying up at an island, cooking supper over a campfire, and then listening to the lapping of the current while we drift off to sleep.

Gotta do it! Life is too short!

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Kim made it back safely from her time up in Minneapolis visiting her folks. I was a bit worried all day as she drove back during the snow storm. ENOUGH with the snow already! Bring on the warmth and sunshine of true Spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Never Played Organized Football But Heagle Boys Beat Hell Out Of Each Other

Getting close to finishing up my "New York Giants" helmet. Originally I was leaning towards making a representation of one of this year's Super Bowl winner's helmets, but I have been reading a lot of biographies of the NFL teams of the late 1950's and early 1960's and decided to make this one a Frank Gifford.

Gifford was a quarterback for Southern California in college but was made into an option pass throwing half back for New York by none other than a guy named Vince Lombardi who was coaching the Giant offense at the time. "Giff" was the Giants version of a later good looking heart throb when Vince got to Green Bay -- another halfback that was multi-faceted and threw a wicked option pass -- the guy from Notre Dame that Vince said had that sixth sense of being able to "smell the goal line" and would not be denied when he was inside the 5 yard line -- another "Golden Boy".

We old timers all know who that was!

Here's a great football trivia question for you. When Lombardi was coaching the Giant offense for Jim Lee Howell, who was coaching the defense?

Anyway, I had a lot of difficulty locating the 2 inch white numerals that the Giants wore on both the back and front of their helmets.

Another fascinating aspect of all the reading I am doing -- the numerals were put on the helmets so that players could locate their head gear quickly on the side lines after a turn over on the field.

All that I need now is the traditional two bar face mask that running backs wore back then. Turns out I have one coming in on a helmet I won on eBay this past week that I will be re-doing as a Joe Namath Jets helmet.

I can transfer that one to the Gifford helmet because Namath wore an entirely different style face mask made by Schutt early in their business as football equipment manufacturers. Broadway Joe had to be different -- it was all a part of his image.

While he was making history predicting that the Jets would beat the Colts in Super Bowl Three, I was registering my dislike for the man. I have since mellowed and appreciate him.

Which leads me to another interesting observation. There are an unusually large number of NFL greats that came out of the Pennsylvania mining towns: Sam Huff, Joe Namath, Jim Kelly, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and the great Johnny "U"! These are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head -- there are others. Musta been something in the water. Iron?

I am really getting into this! And learning a lot, too!

The 1960's Riddell helmets were cyclolac plastic and had a suspension system consisting of small ropes attached to a webbing that transversed the inside of the helmet. In the center, all the ropes wove together around a rubber donut shaped crown.

The result was an incredibly noisy helmet when you were struck in the head.

Sam Huff, the great middle linebacker for the Giants who was on the same team as Gifford, got into a hell of a fight his rookie season because a veteran he was going up against would start his attack on Huff with a stinging head slap. In that suspension helmet it was like being a clapper in a church bell. Huff eventually got so pissed that he took a swing at his opponent and of course the referee caught him.

That's the old NFL rule, you know. It's always the second guy in a fight that gets caught, not the original perpetrator.

The new Riddell helmets all work with a very serious padding system and air chambers that can b e inflated or deflated as needed.

The other thing I never knew about helmets is that the thickness of the jaw pads is what determines the size. They run from one inch down to 3/8's of an inch in thickness and if you have the thicker jaw pads installed, good luck on getting the helmet on or off once you get it on!

Hunting down decals of NFL teams has been a challenge! but good old eBay is the place to go. There are unscrupulous (thank god) manufacturers who are making really good likenesses of the side emblems of most NFL teams. I am certain they are unlicensed by the NFL. but they hve mde my hobby a lot more fun!

Still I had to hunt and hunt for the NY Jets emblems. I finally wrote to one of the "pirates" and they wrote back almost instantly and said they would have some made up for me!

It has been a real "trip" going through the eBay football helmet listings. Some day I may start collecting kids helmets similar to the ones that we Heagle boys, as youngsters, wore playing in the pasture. Some were a combination of a thick almost cardboard ear flaps attached to a pre-cursor to real plastic. Others were entirely leather. None had any kind of face mask!

We had to order them through the Montgomery Ward or Sears catalog and then anticipate their arrival weeks later when mom would get a call that our order was in!

We also all had flimsy cardboard-like shoulder pads. That was our football uniforms. Helmets and pads -- no face masks and we would play all-out tackle football until at least two of us had bloody noses or a cut lip from being kicked in the face while trying to make a tackle.

Our alternate football field ran in front of the old shed that housed all our grain -- I guess you would call it a grainery.

Larry, the future drama major even went so far as to steal lime from the barn supply and lay out yard lines guided by twine stretched between stakes.

Eventually an old birch tree served as a light standard and we would hang a couple of those three hundred watt spot lights up in a joint of the tree and play games after chores and milkng under very poor lighting. Lots of shadows.

Ah, those were the days. We didn't have a lot of fancy equipment but we appreciated what we had and sure made the most of it.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I've Got Something For You -- The Bird!

I was recalling two incidents with the "youth of America" with Kim yesterday. The first one concerns a junior high age boy that I encountered in the parking lot of the mall.

I had just made the turn in to the main entrance of the mall when out of the corner of my eye, I caught movement. Here comes this kid on his skateboard, running right in front of me! I hit the brakes to avoid hitting him and as he rolls in front of my windshield, he gives me the finger.

Every time I think of that incident now, I wish I had at least gunned it and headed for him, stopping at the last second, if not at least bumping him off his damn skateboard! At the time, I was just too stunned to react, I guess.

Another time at the mall, I was attempting to back out of a tight parking place in a very crowded situation when I heard a car horn. Only being about a fourth of the way out of the parking spot, I couldn't really see, but I assumed someone was passing through, so I pulled back in to my parking place.

When I went to back up again, the same thing happened. I should have known right then, but I am a bit slow. I cursed under my breath, thinking someone else was trying to get by and pulled back in to my spot.

When it happened a third time, I looked more closely behind me, and there they were, three kids sitting in a car, doubled over in laughter!

My third anecdote i about the time I stopped at McDonald's to grab a hamburger. It was a McDonald's where if you were staying in your car, you placed your order, then moved to the first window to pay, then waited until the car ahead of you moved on.

Ahead of me was a car with two college girls. After they placed their order, they moved to the pay window, made their transaction and then moved just beyond that point and stopped.

I made my payment and stayed a comfortable distance behind the car of girls. I could see them in animated conversation. Soon I could see the attendant at the pick up window trying to get their attention, waving their bag of food from the window. Still they continued to visit, oblivious to their surroundings.

Finally, in an attempt to be helpful, I just tapped my horn -- it was not a long blast -- just a tap. the girls both turned to look back at me -- I pointed toward the pick up window -- they both turned to look where I was pointing.

Then they both turned back towards me and gave me the finger before moving forward to pick up their bag of food!

Unbelievable!

Monday, March 17, 2008

TODAY EVERYONE IS A LITTLE IRISH

Yesterday Kim and I accompanied my oldest brother bob and his wife Dorothy to the Minneapolis airport to pick up Fr. John as he was arriving at 5:15PM for his three day visit in Eau Claire. He is to be the keynote speaker for "Senior Day" at the University n tuesday morning.

We stopped in Hudson for supper on the way home at Don Pedro's which to my way of thinking is one of the quality restaurants in the entire area. The fact that the place was packed on a sunday night I think speaks volumes for the food.

Kim had a goat cheese and vegetable pizza, Fr John and I both had jerk chicken which was accompanied with tasty rice and beans and a great salad with crusty bread.

Bob and Dorothy split a dinner of shredded pork.

So today is St Patrick's Day! It brings memories of really great times in New York City! I stumbled upon St Paddy's Day in NY during a visit to my sons one year and from then on I purposely made my annual visit to include the holiday.

One year I had started fairly early with the Guiness at a great Irish pub down town Manhattan and it wasn't long and I was surrounded by 5 Irish lads and one Irish lass who (get this!) had flown in from Dublin because "they don't party hearty enough back home".

I thoroughly enjoyed their hijinks and brogue and was sorry to see them go when they left.

Most of the time, the weather did not cooperate and there was, like the weather here today, a mixture of rain and snow for the biggest parade I have ever witnessed.

Waves upon waves of drum and bagpipe bands -- either firemen or police -- in a never ending stream. My fondest memory is the afternoon that I met my friend Tom Johnson at an Irish pub near his apartment in Chelsea.

While I was sitting at the bar chatting up a retired Irish lieutenant from the NY Police Department and his Italian partner, in walks a squad of snare drummers and bagpipers in full kilt costume and they gave a mini-concert just inside the door.

Gave me goosebumps! Made me want to go to war. Or at least go bomb a Protestant church.

As soon as I finish the blog today, Kim and I will be heading out for a dinner of corned beef and cabbage. I probably should down at least one of the bottles of Harp lager I bought earlier today -- first.

So HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Night In Birchwood A Good Gig!

Just back from my saturday night gig at the Blugill Bar in Birchwood for the Brill Area Sportsmans Club's 50th Anniversary banquet. Probably the best audience and overall gig I have had in months!

All my material worked extremely well and it was very encouraging that so many of them were familiar with the "wood tick Song".

There was a retired game warden at the banquet who wanted to meet me after the show. I did the story of my confrontation with a warden yers ago and he just wanted me to know that that warden had been his student and that everything I said about the guy was absolutely on the money!

How good was the response? I sold 12 CD's! And that happens very rarely.

I will keep this short tonight as I am beat!


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Friday, March 14, 2008

Football Collection Nearing Finish -- Out of Room In This Little Office


Looks to me like it's time to stop creating NFL football helmets and collecting NFL related items. There is, however, one more helmet I want to do, and that would be a copy of the helmet that Joe Namath wore in Super Bowl III. That may take a while as I am unable to locate the Jets decals at this point in time.

I made a contact with Pro Decals, an eBay seller down in Ocala, Florida, and the owner, David Selecki, has been most helpful and may be able to help me with those decals at a later date. I will also continue to comb eBay listings as there are "pirate" producers of professional football decals out there and from time to time I am able to find what I want.

Note the Baltimore Colts John Unitas helmet on the lower left shelf. I just finished that one two days ago and so far it is the best one I have done.

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This morning I received an e mail from Gil Vernon who is my good neighbor down the road. His son, Justin, has recently been making major waves in the indie label music scene and I am just really proud of him! I have watched Justin grow as an artist almost meteorically in the last three years.

He was my producer on the two CD's I put out and he and I just had a great time together recording my stuff. "Kim's Song" was entirely his arrangement and except for my finger style guitar, he played all the other instruments on that cut.

Here is a copy of Gil's e mail:

I don't know if you spend any time on the web but things are really starting to happen for Justin. To make a long story short in the lead up to South By South West in Austin he has had blurbs in Billboard,Variety, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly etc ect. The record came out on Feb 19 and it made the billboard top 200 the first week and is still is in the top 50 Independent Albums. On Amazon the sales ranks are: Amazon.com Sales Rank: #59 in Music (See Bestsellers in Music)
Popular in these categories: (What's this?)
#5 in Music > Alternative Rock > Indie & Lo-Fi > Indie Rock
#30 in Music > Rock
#48 in Music > Pop

He has been all over NPR. check this out:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88113130
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87918061 (note he is discussed at about minute 31 and his music is the background for the intro)

AND GET THIS: HE DID THE NPR STAGE LIVE YESTERDAY AT SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST. IT WAS BROADCAST NATIONALLY. THEY ARCHIVED IT. HERE IS THE LINK:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88161899

It is about 26 minutes long.

That's your boy!

Gil

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dr. Joe Gessner's "Testicle Festival" -- Wednesday, April 2

Dr. (as in veterinarian) Joe Gessner called me yesterday to ask if he could stop and share some of the materials he wants to do at the annual "Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed" I mentioned a few blogs back.

When he arrived he had me accompany him to some song parodies he made up for the "testicle festival". Here is an example, set to the music of melody "To All The Girls I've Loved Before":

To all the nuts we've known before
That managed not to hit the floor
We're glad you came along
You've made us big and strong
You are the nuts we've known before

To all the nuts that met my knife
That brought such joy into our life
You filled us with delight
Helped satisfy the wife
You ae the nuts we've known before

Yet there are those that will not try you
No matter how delicately I fry you
They know not what they miss
You're sweeter than a kiss
You are the nuts we've known before

To all the nuts that made our day
And brightened our life in many ways
We honor you once a year
To our hearts you are so dear
You are the nuts we've known before

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I asked Dr. Joe how he prepared the bull testicles and he told me that after "cleaning" them by removing the hard outer shell, they are soaked in milk and then dipped into a batter and fried. The "Testicle Festival" is held at TJ's Inn, Downsville, on the first wednesday in April every year.

Dr. Joe told me that the response has been phenomenal with big crowds every year. He also told me that the women get really excited about the occasion -- much more so than the men.

If you would like to attend, now is the time to call TJ's and make a reservation. I will be going this year for certain so that I may give you a full report on this blog!

Dr. Joe Gessner is originally from New Jersey (near Trenton), attended Kansas State University while Lynn Dickey was quarterback for the football team, and took his first job in Kentucky.

He told me that he wasn't able to deal with the Kentucky mentality (or lack of it). He found Kentucky to be pretty frightenly backward. He told me that he would come to a bridge and find that the locals had made a separate vehicle path which would circumvent the bridge and ford the stream as the bridges were that unsafe.

This morning I rolled out of bed at 5 AM just after Kim's alarm went off. She remearked that she wished it was so easy for her to get up like I did. I told her that the ability to geet up quickly in the morning came from the fact that I was rasied on a farm and did my stint in the army.

Every morning -- the same thing!

"Drop you cocks and grab your socks!"

And that was my mother!

I got some great e mails from my friend Matt Capell in Italy. He should be writing a blog of his own! Here is what he wrote:

LETTER FROM NAPOLI

Every morning I awaken and find that it is about 3 am. My mother said to me before she died that when an infant I was always fed at 3 am. Later, I seldom went to bed before 3 and when In EC I lived across the street from my office I always got up and struggled through the snow to the office and worked. Sometimes I dictated as many as six or eight letters on "dial dictation" These were done over the phone. One had to have one's self together to do this. My secrectaries would type the letters and they would be delivered to my office about nine or ten the next morning for my signature and mailing.

It was great...If we had a snowstorm, the plow guys would stop for a coffee which was always going and sometimes they had a shot or two of brandy from the desk drawer. My lot got extra good service and was always clean. Nothing like a coffee royale (coffee, cream, sugar, and hefty shots or two of brandy in the cup..) for a snowy, below zero EC morning. MIne was a regular stop when I had my lights on. There were jokes, laughter and male bonding that went on when we had one of these mornings.

Aftwards, I could get the Lincoln out from across the street and go for an early am breakfast sometimes at the Old Home and a beer for breakfast with the eggs, and all the trimmings at about 7 or 8. I never did teach voice until 9 so there was plenty of time to get together to teach. It was a great time. Dennis Oliver, the bass player, would sometimes stop by also. I am surprised that no one ever did complain, but at that hour who knew...


Later, I trained the cat to be fed at 3 or so when I awoke. When I did not get right up in time she came and jumped on my stomach in the bed and made me get up. This was even when I had put out fresh wet food the night before and she knew that it was there. I had to take her in and show her that it was there before she would eat it. When I did not get right up she would first knead my chest with her feet and then getting no response would bite me on the nose and make me get up. Old habits die hard.

I have gotten the cd burner and the microphone fixed in the house. I can now SKYPE again. Tomorrow I do my bit as a substitute teacher. I have stuff to read and do while they try to not have me give my "I'm not your cop speech" If you cannot do what you are supposed to do leave now.

Spring is coming to bella Napoli. I am doing well. I have yet to finish the taxes. I find that this year I can avoid paying tax on my earnings by filing separately and giving all the deductions on the itemized deductions to Dianne. Don't know how it is going to turn out but I always try it several ways until I get close to at least 1K back from the stealing sons of bitches. It is always such a rush to open the bank account and see where the government has put in you refund. Makes it all worthwhile. I always listen to something when working on them LOud LOUD LOUDER in the house since I am there alone. All this is better than what apparently the New York governor did late at night pretending to work. What can a prostitute do to Mr. Happy that is worth $5000. per session?

It is now 4:32 and I must go back to bed for awhile. I can now sleep again. Perhaps I will have my 3 am feeding now. I have some left over chicken or I could do breakfast ...a poached egg and toast ...something light...I don't think I will have the extra hot ten alarm chili I made three days ago...save that for a night...with cornbread...

Matteo

Bona Pasqua...

And this news story he found on Reuters:


Airport stops women with human remains in suitcase
Wed Mar 12 16:03:55 UTC 2008

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Two Italian women carrying luggage containing the remains of a man who died in Brazil 11 years ago were stopped by Munich airport police during a stopover on their journey from Sao Paulo to Naples.

"Airport security spotted the skull and bones when the suitcase was put through the x-ray machine," police spokesman Christian Maier said.

One of the women was the dead man's sister and she explained to surprised officials that it had been her brother's wish to be buried in Italy.

After showing his death certificate, the Italians, aged 63 and 62, were allowed on their next flight to Naples.

"We questioned the women and they produced a valid death certificate showing he had died 11 years ago of natural causes. As they were not violating any German laws they were allowed to continue their journey to Italy," said Maier.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cleveland Browns Helmet Finished -- Frank Ryan Jersey On Display


I just finished another helmet project -- this one being a likeness to a Cleveland Browns helmet of the 1960's. I realized upon looking at the photograph that I mounted the two bar face mask at too low of an angle! If it was worn in a game, there is plenty of room to get an elbow in between the top bar and the crown of the helmet! That would smart!

The jersey is from my pal in the Philippines, Harv Harvison, who, as I have told this many times before, manufactures THE BEST recreations of 1960's jerseys anywhere!

#13 belonged to Frank Ryan, a good Irish boy, who in addition to playing quarterback while Jim Brown was the running back and was a part of the 1964 championship team, was an extremely intelligent man who taught mathematics in the mornings before football practice.

I really do enjoy reading up on the players of the 1960's!

St Paddy's Day approaches -- Take Me to The Emerald Isle


Next to Thanksgiving, st Patrick's Day is my favorite holiday of the year. Ah -- corned beef and cabbage! -- shepherd's pie -- soda bread -- and of course, at least three bottles of Guiness -- all backed by some good authentic Irish fiddle and accordion on the box.

For the second time in a row, my brother John will be home for St Patrick's day and I am hoping we can share a meal and some time together. He is keynote speaker at the Senior Day, UWEC.

Last year we were able to get all four of the Heagle boys together at my house for al the Irish fixin's mentioned above. Unfortunately, I was still struggling with getting over the broken leg.

Isn't the accompanying photo a beautiful shot of Ireland? Such lush greenery!

Well, no! That's not a picture I took in Ireland, but rather a photo of a valley about two miles from my house out here in Fall Creek land!

Don't get me wrong -- I would LOVE to go to Ireland. It is one of my recurring pipe dreams. but for now, anyway, just driving what I call "the loop" and getting the view pictured is pretty breath taking. Of course this time of year I am wondering if that green will ever return.

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I received an interesting e mail from musician acquaintance Andy Muenich today. There is a web site that has been set up by John T. Walsh of television's "America's Most Wanted" program. the URL is: wwwfamilywatchdig.us and by typing in your home address you are apprised of all the riff raff that are out of prison and back in your community. Everything from child molesters and rapists to burglars and other criminals.

I was somewhat taken aback to find that there is a child molester living less than three miles from our house!

As I said, When you visit this site you can enter your address and a map will pop up with your house as a small icon of a house. There will be red, blue and green dots surrounding your entire neighborhood.

When you click on these dots a picture of a criminal will appear with his or her home address and the description of the crime he or she has committed.

The best thing is that you can show your children these pictures and see how close these people live to your home or school.

This site was developed by John Walsh from America's Most Wanted. This is another tool we can use to help us keep our kids safe.

It also makes me glad I have a loaded revolver in the house and a 16 gauge cannon here at the office!

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Dr. Joe Gessner, a veterinarian from Menomonie called me today to invite me (again) to the annual "Rocky Mountain Oyster" Feed at TJ's Inn in Downsville. for those of you not familiar with the term, Rocky Mountain Oysters are bull testicles!

Over a year's span, Dr. Joe collects them from operations performed at farmers' request.

I have been invited to this party about five times but never had the courage to face up to the fact that I might not be able to stomach this delicacy. Now that I am blogging though, I think I owe it to us all to be a part of it. I will get some photos!

I wonder if they taste like chicken?

I think I better contact my pal Jay Moore -- I invited him along last year and he became my excuse for not going.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Vast Wasteland -- DOH!




It always turns my head when I realize that nothing is sacred in the wonderful world of the internet! Someone sent me the "Homer" hiding in the panties! The other Homer pictured is mine -- he is designed to ride on the dash of the car and if you set it right, he makes rude comments when you hit the brakes.

Which Homer do you like better?

You have to wonder about the mental state of the young woman who had this unique tattoo permanently etched into her pubic area. Of course, now whenever she drops her drawers, her boyfriend gets to say it: DOH!

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Son David Visits Under Duress



I have been remiss! My son David is visiting and we have been catching up. And of course, wouldn't you know that Mr. Fibromyalgia has chosen this time to make a solid visitation. Bring on the pain pills.

David arrived under duress. After flying into Chicago and then visiting with his mother for a few days, he borrowed her car to drive up here. About seven miles east of Osseo on Highway 94, he was traveling in the right lane at 70 mph. being passed by a gaggle of three speeding vehicles when a deer jumped out onto the freeway. Because he could not veer left without causing a four car pile up, David did the only thing he could and took to the shoulder -- unfortunately, the deer jumped into his path and damaged the vehicle as shown.

He was pretty shook up by the time he got here. We're just happy that he wasn't hurt. the damn deer could have gone through his wind shield!

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The wonders of the internet never cease to amaze me. I have been contacted through my blog by a young man who, judging from the language and photos on HIS blog, I am going to venture a guess and say he is from Brazil. He has a lot more computer skills than I and his blog is pretty damn cool!

It is, of course, in Prortugese. thank God for Imac and the "Sherlock" translator.

Yesterday our artist friend (and David's advisor when he went to the UWEC) came up for pizza for lunch and he and David had some fine discussions of life, art, politics.

More and more, I am convinced that Tiit is a "very old soul". There is something very peaceful and complete about the man. He is looking very well and during his last checkup and blood draw, the doctors could find no sign of cancer whatsoever.

David and I are going down to his house this afternoon to visit for a bit and see the new remodeling in progress.

David always enjoys his visits here out in the country as it is in such sharp contrast to the cacophony of living in Brooklyn. There are certain shrines we always visit when he is home, the first being Sammy's Pizza, which the lad grew up on. He is also partial to El Patio's Mexican cuisine and Mike's Smokehouse.

Joke time (compliments of Matteo):

A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a magazine.


'What was that for?' he asked.


'That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Laura Lou written on it,' she replied.


'Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Laura Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on,' he explained.


'Oh honey, I'm sorry,' she said. 'I should have known there was a good explanation.'


Three days later he was watching a ball game on TV when she walked up and whacked him in the head again, this time with the iron skillet, which knocked him out cold.


When he came to, he asked, 'What the hell was that for?'


She replied, 'Your horse called.'

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Old Style Single Bar Face Mask Arrives -- You Want The Truth? You Can't Stand The Truth

Take it from me --sometimes second childhood is a hoot. The Riddell "old school" style single bar face mask arrived last night and after some drilling and re-drilling and blue language I got it attached.

I have been self-analyzing this latest kick of collecting helmets -- I think partially it's because I really wanted to play football in high school but my parents (read "my mom") said I couldn't be in drama and football both as I was needed around the farm for at least some of the time one of those activities would take.

Ultimately I chose drama, but I have always had a little regret that I didn't at least see if I could make it at defensive half back, my favorite position.

Now, excuse me while I go take this silly looking thing off my head.

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While I washed three days of dishes over here, I watched the news for the first time in a long time. political races are getting to be entertaining, finally!

One of Obamas's chief advisors labeled Hillary "a monster", then apologized and quit. This the same day that Hillary hinted in one of her speeches that no matter who wins the nomination for the Democratic party, the other candidate will probably be on the ticket as well.

Timing.

The weather -- my, my, the weather. some older folks will tall ya that the green house effect is a bunch of bullshit -- it's just that we've gone so long without any REAL weather, we've all turned into pussies.

Okay -- I remember similar winters, I guess. But I don't recall such really violent Springs when folks don't know what's coming next -- tornado followed by tons of snow? Golf ball size hail and accompanying ice storms?

Well, it keeps things interesting doesn't it?

And I adore the way the government loves to announce to the sheep: 'OKAY --WE GONNA HAVE A BIG RECESSION NOW. Christ, even if it's true, what's the point of making the point? Here's an idea -- let's not only steal everything we can from the American people, but then we'll announce that there's a recession so we can fire more people and make those who have the remaining jobs scared shitless that they are going to lose their job and will do the work of three people and probably take a pay cut as well.

Now I remember why I don't watch the news.