HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Monday, March 31, 2008

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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