HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

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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