HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brushes With Show Biz War Stories

Looking back over my many years of traveling as an opening act, I got to thinking about how "stars" start perceiving the world when they have reached the top.

I recall driving all the way up to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to open for the late Conway Twitty -- my second time around with Conway as I had done two nights with him earlier at the Carlton Celebrity Room in Bloomington. Minnesota -- and sitting backstage before the show, waiting for my time.

I recall stepping outside the stage door to get some fresh air just before show time and seeing Conway's huge touring bus parked just yards away from the door.

It was raining lightly -- well, that's an exaggeration -- I could have stood out there for at least five minutes without really getting wet as there was just an occasional rain drop falling.

After a few minutes, suddenly the bus door popped open and standing on the bottom step was the man himself, clad in his show tuxedo, impeccably quaffed.

Conway held his hand out, checked the precipitation, such as it was, and mumbled something to his security man who was toting the hand held radio.

From the back of the bus appeared another of Conway's minions, thrusting an umbrella into Conway's waiting hand.

Only then did Conway and his management proceed the few yards to the door, which I thew open for him and nodded hello.

I smiled to myself at this display of intense care for the talent, thinking of all the times I have unloaded my sound equipment in a down pour and wondering if this was all necessary.

I also recall opening for the Bellamy Brothers at the hockey rink in Hayward, Wisconsin, a show that stands out in my mind in that it was a terrible room acoustically.

During my 25 minute warm up set, I could actually see the drop off point in the audience where my voice became garbled to the point that I could not be understood by anyone beyond that point.

After finishing my set, I was packing away my guitar when I was approached by the Bellamy's guitar roadie who wanted to know how I kept my guitar in such good tune.
He said that the Bellamy's were always bitching at him because the guitars would go out of tune so much during the first half of their set.

I asked him how often he changed the strings on their guitars and he said that they insisted that he change strings on all the guitars before every show.

I told him that therein was the problem as it takes some time for a set of strings to stretch when first put on the instrument. I don't care how much you hand stretch and pull at the strings after installing them, it will take them a time to settle in and stay in tune.

I often wonder if he kept his job.

_____________________________________

Yesterday I was reminising about a young "insult" comic I traveled the ciruit with some years ago. A lot of comics that I was hooked up with on tours I tended to just be around as long as I needed to be as many of them were little more than an ego trip pain in the ass who thought that I was along for the ride as a "sounding board" for their latest attempts at writing.

This kid, (wish I could remember his name) however, I rather enjoyed being with and we would stay around after the show and have a couple of beers and then find a truck stop for breakfast somewhere near the flea bag motel in which we were ensconsed.

He teased me tirelessly throughout the entire two weeks about my being "the nicest guy" type comic he had ever worked with and what's up with that? He found that very amusing, particularly when I would choose to ignore asshole hecklers.

I found that if you really want to piss a heckler off, the best thing you can do is just ignore the son of a bitch and keep rolling right along with the rest of the crowd.

Oh, there are a few times when I really nailed somebody but it was always on my terms.

___________________________________________

Proud of myself tonight as I have completed all of my leg exercises three times today and am looking forward to seeing my physical therapist again tomorrow afternoon before heading out to the Eau Claire airport to check out the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber which is due in at noon tomorrow. Maybe I will have some pictures of it to share!

__________________________________________

Still waiting to hear from Kim with a report on her mother's appontment with the oncologist today.

__________________________________________

Man! I hate it when I run out of money! Today I had to resort to grabbing the penny jar and head over to RCU to use the automatic machine. When I got there, two employees were working diligently at the gaping maw of the machine. Turns out some bozo dropped wet change into the machine and it doesn't run well that way.

So there I stood for ten minutes to retrieve my $9.64 cents which I turned into american cheese and fresh blueberries with some change left over. I am constantly astounded by how much the cost of groceries has jumped in the last months. I was going to get a one pound package of bacon which used to be $5 for two packages -- now it's $4.50 per pound -- and that's low end stuff!

sigh

-30-

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fishing In Fox Lake - Wish I Were There

Here is a photo of the lovely Marge Johnson, back from a final year of teaching in Shanghai, China, and spending the summer at the cottage on West Fox Lake north of Brainerd, Minnesota. My congratulations to both Bob and Marge on their retirement. I am hoping that we will be seeing them more often now that they are back in the states.

Robert and Marge caught these two beauties on the third and fourth casts they made! I had asked about how the fishing was going up there last week and Tiit Raid (who just got back) said that things had been slow. Guess they picked up!

I have wanted to make the trip up there but the financial situation has been such that I am staying pretty close to home. Kim and I were to have flown out of Minneapolis this morning for a brothers Heagle reunion on the Oregon coast this next weekend, but Kim's mother's health has taken a turn for the worse and we decided we needed to be here to see what develops as it does.

Kim left again today to be in place for the oncologist's report tomorrow. Please say a little prayer for the Wilsons -- they have been through such hard times this year.

I am working diligently on rehabing my right knee which has been in pretty rough shape since the knee replacement. I am seeing a physical therapist three times a week and doing prrescribed exercises three times daily and so far I have been successful at staying with it. I am seeing some improvement also, but have a long way to go to reach a different place.

___________________________________________________________________

Got an e mail from my pal Gary Spaeth informing me that there will be a B-17 flying fortress landing at the Eau Claire airport this coming friday. For $425 you can go up for a short flight in it. (that's more than my ticket to Oregon cost me!) I don't think I will be doing that, but i will probably gets some pictures of it and post them here.

___________________________________________________________________

Still haven't given up on my "pipe dream" of renting a house boat on the Mississppi this coming October when the leaves are at their most glorious. Have mentioned it to the Johnsons and would like to have them join us. Evenings, we could dock at a river town, and Bob and I could find a little saloon, put a hat on the bar and play for food and gas money. sounds like a plan to me.

________________________________________________________________

Got a nice e mail from Jerry Way inviting Kim and I to attend an all-new show "Pure Water in the Swamp" Wednesday, August 6 or Thursday, August 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Heyde Center for the Arts auditorium. The stories, original songs, and slides are all about present day Chippewa Falls and a bit of the past. He even has been so nice as to let me know that if Kim and I want to attend he will leave two tickets at will call. At this point, however, I will have to wait and see what the situation is with Kim's mother.

Jerry also mentioned reading about the Durand Rod and Gun Jack Harmon Chicken Dinners. I suggest that the Ways join us for the trip over next time we go. Probably sometime in September.

Well, I am missing Jon Stewart right now -- will hang it up so I can catch the Colbert Report!

-30-

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What Is Laughter?

I watched a really good documentary about comedy on The Discovery Channel last night, covering all aspects including "what is laughter?".

Long time comic Shelly Berman (remember his telephone call routines of the early 1960 era?)was asked to define laughter and although his explanation is much better than what I am going to put down now, I am sort of paraphrasing what he said.

Laughter, like crying, is the other side of the two headed coin that happens when you are triggered out of a normal state into a strong emotional state that brings on similar physical responses, including uncontrollable vocalization and even tears.

It got me to thinking about a gig I did long ago in Duluth, Minnesota. I remember it for two specific reasons: When I arrived to set up, one of the elderly members of the organization was at the piano, practicing the national anthem while sipping on a double.

By the time dinner rolled around, he was more than half in the bag. The anthem started out well enough, but instead of doing the second verse, he musically took it to the middle section -- "and the rocket's red glare" while the attendees followed it musically, but sang "who's broad stripes and bright stars" -- I, luckily, was not in the main dining room when it happened as I had difficulty not losing it entirely as it turned into a musical pile up on the interstate and came to a stumbling halt.

That in itself made it an evening to remember. But there was more to come. Just before I was scheduled to come out and make them laugh after dinner, the vice president got up and did a long salute to the president of the organization, announcing that their president was dying of a terminal disease and would not be finishing his term.

By the time he finished, there was not a dry eye in the house as he had moved them well beyond a normal state and into that strong emotional state that evoked such a strong response.

There I stood in the hall, waiting to go on, and thinking "how can I possibly go on after this? I am going to die a miserable death!"

I am introduced mid the sound of sniffles and blowing of noses. I plow into the opening laugh line of my routine and when I hit the punch line I am astounded to hear an incredible outpouring of laughter.

The rest of the show goes really well and as I am driving south on Highway 53 I think my way through the phenomena that I have just experienced, finally concluding that the reason the first punchline got such a strong response is that they really needed to release again -- this time from the other side of the coin.

It wasn't until I heard Shelly Berman's explanation of laughter that the memory of that occasion was tripped in my head.

I thoroughly agree with his premise.

_____________________________________________

Friday, July 25, 2008

Harmon Chicken Dinners Live Up To Remembered Reputation

Thursday night -- On the scheduled "boys night out", John Buchholz and Gordy Bischoff met at my house at 5PM for the trek over to the Durand Rod and Gun Club, high on the banks of the Red Cedar River, overlooking some of the prettiest scenery in the area.

Even though I felt we were arriving early, when we arrived the lot was filled to overflowing and the skeet shooters were already busy blasting away at clay pigeons.
We made our way through the crowd of mostly seniors -- look who's talking -- and paid for our tickets -- at $8.50 for all you can devour -- a real bargain these days -- and Gordy popped for the first round of Leinie's.

Since it was such a lovely evening, we took our beverages outside to watch the skeet shooters and visit. We knew it would be a good long while before our numbers: 351-353 would be called as just after we purchased our tickets, they called the first seating up to number 75.
If you are an impatient sort, you should plan on getting there no later than 4PM, I guess. I had forgotten how "seniors" always tend to arrive early at functions. But we were in no hurry as the three of us hadn't seen a lot of each other recently and there was much to catch up on.

All three of us ran into people that we know. Being from the Menomonie area originally, I visited with Larry and Janice Dahms -- former classmates of mine from high school -- and John ran into his former insurance agent and a fellow avid bicyclist.

We also recognized Charlie Lasker from Eau Claire's Lasker Jewelers and John Lammer from Lammer's Supermarket in Menomonie.
We noticed throughout the course of the evening that there were a lot of take outs -- full compliments of the dinners being toted off to reaches unknown.

After two leisurely beers -- I can't believe how poorly I can drink anything alcoholic anymore -- our numbers came up and we made out way into the dining area and joined all the folks you see in the shot here on the page.

I vowed I was going to eat very slowly and take in as much as I could and I managed to do that for - oh, I don't know -- until I got through that drumstick you see on my plate -- and then I was off to the races.

Everything was done perfectly. I had forgotten that they served baked beans. They were wonderful as were the biscuits that came in a bread loaf pan, the bottom of which were covered with chicken gravy with the biscuits being baked right on top of the gravy.

I also had forgotten how very good and vinegary the cole slaw is.

All three of us acquitted ourselves quite well, yours truly finally slowing to a stop after a drumstick, a thigh, a breast, four biscuits and gray, and milk and coffee.

Gordy teased the waitress about the lack of dessert -- she suggested the Dairy Queen in Durand and John suggested the Dairy Queen on Menomonie Street in Eau Claire as they serve a dilly bar peculiar to that stand alone -- a "heath bar crunch" dilly bar, so with the half hour drive giving our systems time to digest a bit, we made out way back on Highway C and finished off our evening with Dairy Queen running down the stick and onto our fingers.

A good time was had by all and it is a atrip that bears repeating several more times before October 30th!

_________________________________________________________________

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Community Theatre Better Than Expected

As a guy who has done an awful lot of musical comedy (don't hold it against me!) in the past, it is an art form that I have grown to be less fond of over the years since I withdrew.

so it was with some apprehension that I took in The Eau Claire Children's Theatre Production of Meredith Wilson's Music Man last night.

I guess there are a couple of reasons: I saw the original production on Broadway while on weekend pass in NYC from Fort Dix, New Jersey with Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, and Buddy Hackett in principal roles and ended up doing the Buddy Hackett role myself some years later at The Wagon Wheel Playhouse in Warsaw, Indiana --- a rather shitty part actually -- I wasn't much fond of doing "Shapoopie" every night for two weeks.

But I have to say that the cast and orchestra did a good job with the show last night. I was especially impressed with the choreography and the teen agers that performed it. It was quite obvious that they had done their homework. Kudos to their professional approach! There was one young man who caught my eye in each number and in the warm afterglow outside the theatre when the cast mingled with the crowd, I tried to seek him out but was unable to locate him, as I wanted to express to him that I thought he should pursue his art in New York eventually.

The entrance of the Wells Fargo Wagon, complete with a live horse, led by an acquaintance, Keith Lee, brought a smile of remembrance to my face as I recalled the Broadway production when the wagon made it's entrance, the horse lifted his tail, and a booted leg was thrust from within the wagon right under the horse's ass, which put a stop to his intended business, and left the audience weeping in laughter.

The singing was also excellent and for an opening night, the performance went very smoothly with only a few stumbles and minor technical difficulties.

________________________________________________________________

I go back and forth on the Brett Favre thing. Today I am not very fond of the man and his ego. He has put the Packer nation in a very precarious position -- thinking selfishly, I fear. If he did not want to retire, Ted Thompson certainly could nor MAKE him retire, not matter what he says to the contrary and the latest news that his cell phone bill shows numerous calls to both Darrell Bevel and Brad Childress really sickens me.

He ran into a gentleman at the bank this morning who commented how much he liked my bumper stickers and we visited a while. turns out he's from northern Minnesota and having recently retired, moved to the Eau Claire area to be closer to family.

I got around to kiddingly asking him how he would like Favre playing for the Vikings and he said that he wasn't really a Viking fan -- has always been a Packer fan -- but he, too, feels Brett is really marring his legacy with the present shenanigans.

He made the point that it was Brett that threw away our opportunity (literally) last year when we had the Giants on the ropes in overtime.

Brett Favre is a man whose time has passed. I wish he could be man enough to realize it. What say you, MPLSPCKR?


________________________________________________________

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking forward To Pigging Out On Chicken!

Looks like I will be "batching" it for a few days starting Thursday as Kim is headed for the Cities and some family time with her mom and sister.

I have been on the phone trying to line up some fellow "pig-outters" who would be willing to share the ride over to the Durand Rod and Gun Club, high upon the bluff above the Red Cedar River off Highway 25 south to partake in the first of the scheduled Jack Harmon Chicken Dinners.

So far just another "lonely guy" -- my pal Gordy Bischoff has said he would join me -- but I have another call on the answer machine with the Buchholz's -- and if they can't make it, then I will put a call into my long time pal Wil Denson as it seems a shame to drive over there with present fuel prices without a car load.

I was just musing that a "car load" these days is usually five max -- if you are to be at all comfortable on the trip.

_________________________________

I am a little miffed with myself for not getting any fishing in this summer as I had promised this was the summer I was going to get off my butt and get back to it -- but the leg thing is in definite need of improvement if i intend to spend an entire day in a canoe. Can't believe that July has almost slipped away without my tying a popper onto my blugill/crappie fly rod and slipping away to a peaceful, glass surfaced pond where I could drop my feathered cork between lily pads and experience the thrill of a boiling strike from a good sized pan fish.

I still want to try to get up to my friend Robert "One Man" Johnson's cottage in the far north reaches of Minnesota for that express purpose.

Seems like I really have done very little this summer.

Well, at least Gordy and I will e taking as little road trip together this coming Thursday. Will have to remember to bring the camera and put the occasion on film for a full blog report later in the week.

Do you like my header? What would the opposite be? "LOOKING FORWARD TO CHICKENING OUT ON PIG ROAST"?

______________________________________scoot __________________________

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just Checking In Of A Sunday

Every time I walk from the house over to the office I feel like a B-24 Consolidated "Liberator" bomber of World War II flying a mission over Germany as I am constantly warding off attacks by deer flies. They seem to be of unusual abundance this summer -- maybe all the rainfall has made the difference?

Hard to keep up with the mowing out here -- mostly because it isn't something I enjoy doing and it just keeps raining and raining.

don't misunderstand. This is the best summer we have had in years temperature-wise. Every night we sleep with the bed room windows open, cool and refreshed.

The Larry Heagle band played our second and final cavaliers baseball game this past Tuesday and it was really fun. Makes me miss the band working more or less full time. I am still having trouble standing on that right leg for an hour at a time and finally succumbed to Kim's wishes -- I am starting physical therapy this coming Wednesday -- something I should have been doing this entire past year.

We found a facility that's only a couple of miles from the house and I am actually looking forward to getting started.

______________________________________________________

This week's "Family Shopper" ran the following ad:

"2008 Season at the Durand Rod and Gun Club is featuring the famous John Harmon CHICKEN DINNERS.
ADVANCED RESERVATIONS REQUIRED
UP TO AGE 6 $4.50
AGES 7-12 $6.50
AGES 13 -and UP $8.50

Please call for reservations:
Greater Insurance Service of Durand: 672-5921
Mondovi Insuranace - Mondovi: 926-3441
Jeatran & Associates - Menomonie: 235-6133

If you haven't attended one of these, you really haven't experienced a real taste of west central Wisconsin "Americana". They are, of course, attended mostly by "senior" citizens, who begin arriving as soon as the bar opens at 4:30PM to get primed for all you can eat and deliciously prepared lightly fried chicken, biscuits, gravy, and cole slaw, and cranberry sauce, which is served by the huge platters-full and you eat yourself stupid.

So mark your calendars:

July 24
August 7
August 21
September 4
September 18
October 2
October 16
and last chance: October 30

DON'T MISS IT! I am clipping the add and sticking it up on the fridge today!

___________________________________________________

Got this in my e mail from Gary Spaeth:

Interesting Observation




1. The sport of choice for the
Urban poor is BASKETBALL.



2 The sport of choice for maintenance level employees is BOWLING





3 The sport of choice for front-line workers is FOOTBALL.







4 The sport of choice for supervisors
Is BASE BALL.







5 The sport of choice for middle management is TENNIS.


And....



6 The sport of choice for corporate executives and officers is GOLF.





THE AMAZING CONCLUSION:


The higher you go in the corporate structure, the smaller your balls become.

And this from my sister-in-law, Kristi:

A man boarded a plane with 6 kids. After they got
settled in their seats a woman sitting across the aisle
from him leaned over to him and asked, 'Are all of
those kids yours?'

He replied, 'No. I work for a condom company.
These are customer complaints.'

That's about it from me. I am not making any money -=- hence, I am not dong much worth talking about -- just hanging around the house -- staying up very, very, late watching movies, and then napping during the day. Hope your life is more exciting than that!

___________________________________________________________

Friday, July 11, 2008

England Can Keep Their Round Abouts

Highway 53 South, just north of our place, is a complete war zone. Not only are they slowly installing one of those frickin' round abouts, but they are busy ripping up one of the two lanes that come out of Eau Claire. It is nearly impossible to figure out exactly how to get onto Interstate 94 East.

A major part of the problem is the urban retail sprawl of a honkin' huge Gander Mountain which just plopped odwn on our side of the Interstate and it's just a matter of time before we get swallowed up by gas stations and dollar stores.

Got deluged with rains again last night. Walking over here just now, I swear the grass grew 6 inches over night and it has become a full time job just beating it down to a manageable level once a week.

Roger Wood (the TV guy I swore I would never put to work again with the Directv install snafu) was out yesterday to install the General Instruments HD 2200 High Definition Decoder.

Took him a while to figure it out, but when the digital picture on HBO decode, "Happy Feet" was playing and on the Sony Bravia the difference is breath taking. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so hung up on the latest TV technology - but, as my friend Tiit Raid says: "There it is."

That means (I think) acceptance.

Then I wonder why I don't have any money and I can't keep up with the bills.

I had forgotten that last year ESPN excluded C-Band big dish owners from getting their signal - don't ask me why - there's not enough of us? Our money isn't as good as small dishers?

Here's a couple of movies not to rent (that I rented because I could get them in Blu-ray): 10,000 BC (yawn) and Russell Crowe's portrayal of the badman with a good heart in "3:10 To Yuma".

I do recommend the BBC series on the earth which I got Kim for her birthday. It is stunning!

_________________________________________________________

Every once in a while I will make the mistake of reading Nostradamus predictions for 2008 - 2012 and it scares the shit out of me! We are at the beginning of the end according to the predictions set forth. And it all has to do with oil, the Straits of Hormuz (sp?) the Iranians vs the neocons.

Iran fired what? six rockets with the capability of delivery one ton war heads this past week? This in answer to Israeli war games.

Something tells me we are in for a rough ride. And McCain has made it clear that if he is elected it will be more of the same. And I have this dreadful feeling that he will beat Obama because white Americans can't get past race.

The only thing that calms me is the fact that we all only die once (hopefully) so we may as well live each day with joy as it may well be our last.

I hope you don't watch Fox News! That's not news! That's Nazi propaganda.

_______________________________________________________

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Some wayward ticks delayed a United Airlines flight from Denver, Colorado, to Des Moines, Iowa.


Ticks can spread diseases, including Lyme disease.

Flight 1178 was delayed for nearly six hours on Tuesday after a passenger informed a flight attendant that she found a tick in economy class during a flight from Washington, D.C., to Denver.

The airline decided it couldn't fly the plane until it was cleaned of ticks, so passengers had to wait while another plane was flown from Colorado Springs to Denver. The flight was further delayed because of thunderstorms in the Denver area.

United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said between one and three ticks were discovered. Urbanski said the airline hasn't figured out how the ticks got on the plane or what type of ticks were found.

"I don't know if we'll be able to find that out," Urbanski said. "When possible, we do try to look into those type of things, and hopefully try to look for its origin."

The replacement plane shuttled the 107 passengers to Des Moines.

The plane with ticks had begun its day in Chicago, Illinois. It was cleaned of ticks, checked and put back into service.

No ticks were found on passengers.

Ticks can pass along a number of illnesses to humans, including Lyme disease.

Now tell me, again, "Friends of the Forest Floor" how Larry Heagle's Wood Tick Song needs to be banned from radio play!

____________________________________________________

The Week That Was For John McCain:



This is the week that should have effectively ended John McCain's efforts to become the next president of the United States. But you wouldn't know it if you watched any of the mainstream media outlets or followed political reporting in the major newspapers.

During this past week: McCain called the most important entitlement program in the U.S. a disgrace, his top economic adviser called the American people whiners, McCain released an economic plan that no one thought was serious, he flip flopped on Iraq, joked about the deaths of Iranian citizens, and denied making comments that he clearly made -- TWICE. All this and it is not even Friday! Yet watching and reading the mainstream press you would think McCain was having a pretty decent political week, I mean at least Jesse Jackson didn't say anything about him.

But let's unpack McCain's week in a little more detail.

1. McCain unambiguously called Social Security "an absolute disgrace." This is not a quote taken out of context. John McCain called one of the most successful and popular government programs, which uses the tax revenues of current workers to support retirement benefits for the elderly "an absolute disgrace." This is shocking - and if uttered from Obama's mouth would dominate the news coverage and the Sunday shows, as pundits would speculate about the massive damage the statement would cause him among retirees in Florida.

2. McCain's top economic policy adviser calls Americans a bunch of "whiners" for being worried about the slumping economy. Words cannot fully explain how devastating this statement should be from Phil Gramm. You would think it would be enough to sink McCain's campaign. Of course McCain only thinks that the economic problems are psychological.

3. Iraqi leaders call for a timetable for U.S. withdrawal, McCain gets caught in a bizarre denial and flip flop. The Iraqis now want us to begin planning our withdrawal - McCain however wants to stay foooorrreeevvveerrrr. So what does McCain say - First, he refuses to accept Maliki's statement as being true. Then he concedes that it was an accurate statement, but was probably just a political ploy to curry favor with his own people and WOULD NOT influence his determination to keep US troops in Iraq indefinitely. Yet, McCain in 2004 at the Council on Foreign Relations said that if the Iraqis asked us to leave, we would have to go. No matter what. But that was apparently a younger and less experienced John McCain.

But let's just look at his comment that Maliki's statement is "just politics." If that is true, then it must also be true that the American military presence in Iraq is so unpopular with Iraqis that the government is forced to push for a timetable in order to survive at the ballot box. That's a reason to stay for 100 years.

4. McCain's economic plan to cut the deficit has no details and is simply not believable. There are so many things here. McCain pledges he would eliminate the deficit by the end of his first term (the campaign latter flip flop flipped about whether it was four years or eight years), but does not provide any details about how he would do it. Economists on both sides of the political aisle said that this was simply not believable, especially given McCain's other proposals to a) cut individual and corporate taxes even further, b) extend the Bush tax cuts and c) massively increase defense spending on manpower (200,000 more troops) and d) maintain a long-term sizable military presence in Iraq.

5. McCain's deficit plan includes bringing the troops home represents a major Iraq flip-flop. Speaking of the long-term military presence - a story that has gotten absolutely no attention is that McCain now believes the war will be over soon. The economic forecasts made by his crack team of economists predict that there will be significant savings during McCain's first term because we will have achieved "victory" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The savings from victory (ie the savings from not having our troops there) will then be used to pay down the deficit. The only way this could have any impact on the deficit in McCain's first time is if troop withdrawals start very soon. So McCain believes victory is in our grasps and we can begin to withdraw troops from Iraq pretty much right away -- doesn't sound that different from Obama's plan does it. Someone should at least ask McCain HOW HE DEFINES VICTORY - and why he thinks we will achieve it in the next couple of years.

6. McCain campaign misled about economists support. In the major press release the McCain campaign issued to tout its Jobs for America economic plan that would balance the budget in 4 years, it included the signatures of more than 300 economists who the campaign claimed to support the plan. Only problem is that the economists were actually asked to sign up to SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Um, hello?

7. McCain makes a joke about killing Iranians. Haha... that's just McCain being McCain. I am sure that is exactly how it is being reported in Tehran. This guy is running for President not to become a talk radio pundit. Yet according to the AP this was just a humanizing moment between candidate and spouse - I am not sure when joking about the deaths of civilians became humanizing.

8. McCain denies, flatly, that he ever said that he is not an expert in economics. Are you kidding?




9). McCain distorts his record on veterans benefits in response to a question from Vietnam Veteran, who then proceeds to call McCain out on it.


10.) McCain demonstrates he knows nothing about Afghanistan and Pakistan. McCain said "I think if there is some good news, I think that there is a glimmer of improving relationship between Karzai and the Pakistanis." Pat Barry notes how crazy this comment is..."Just what "glimmer" is McCain talking about?? Maybe he's referring to President Karzai's remarks last month, which threatened military action in Pakistan if cross-border attacks persisted? Or maybe McCain is talking about Afghanistan's allegations that Pakistan's ISI was involved in a recent assassination attempt on Karzai? Maybe in McCain's world you could call that a silver-lining, but in reality-land I'd call it something else."

Any one of these incidents and comments would dominate the news cycle if they came from the Obama campaign. Yet McCain barely gets a mention. The press like to see themselves as political referees - neutral observers that call them like they see em'. But they want this to be a horse race and so all the calls right now are going one way. How else can you explain the furor last week over the Obama "refine" comment - which represented zero change in Obama's position on Iraq - and the "swift boat" mania over Wesley Clark's uncontroversial comments (psss... by the way McCain exploits his POW experience in just about every ad - yet he says he doesn't like to talk about it).

This Sunday expect the ten incidents above to get short shrift from pundit after pundit, because after all Jesse Jackson said he wanted to cut Obama's nuts off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Final Helmet in Collection (I Hope)


Some time ago I was browsing through football helmets on eBay -- a terrible affliction that I cannot seem to get past -- when I spotted a rather beat up Wilson helmet -- red in color -- that was in need of painting.

I have always wanted to add a Washington Redskins "Lombardi" helmet to my collection. In fact, I had found the decals for the helmet (also on eBay) earlier, and had them lying about the office.

When I sasy "Lombardi" Redskins helmet, I am referring to the period of time when Vince decided he wanted to get back into coaching and was wooed by the Washington Redskins.

They had been wearing a burgundy helmet but Lombardi, coming off much success with the Green Bay Packers, wanted to re-design the helmets in yellow, much like the Packer helmets.

So I bid on the Wilson helmet and won it for a ridiculously low sum of something like $1.98.

I then contacted Helmet Hut for the second time. They had done a fabulous job creating a "Bart Starr" Packer helmet for me this past year. They gave me a restoration price, again explaining that they could not legally provide the logos but that if I had the logos, they could apply them for me.

Here are two photos of the great finished work they did for me. Notice that they even went out of their way to remove the rivets that held the inside padding so that they could paint the helmet first, then put the shiny rivets back in place.

Anyway! Thanks Helmet Hut! And anybody out there who is into the hobby of collecting helmets -- contact them! They do great work! As they say -- a picture is worth a thousand words.

___________________________________________________________

The Favre hub-bub has me totally confused. Today's Milwaukee Journal says nothing has really been settled but the NFL Channel ticker ran a quote from McCarthy yesterday saying (in effect) that in thinking back on Brett's sincerity during his retirement speech earlier this year, you have to believe he meant what he said and as an organization, the Packers have to move on without him.

I fascilate from day to day -- but today i am thinking that once you make the announcement then you should be held to that announcement.

Then i have to keep telling myself that this is just a game and just a sport -- there are a hell of a lot of more important things going on in the world that need worrying about!

____________________________________________________________

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Kim's Birthday -- She Radiates Beauty!


Today being Kim's 55th birthday, I told her that on this very special day she could choose exacty what she would like to do and with whom. Fortunately, she chose to include me! I know that in this photo it looks like I have an "Alfafa" hairdo from the "Little rascals", but I think that is just a reflection in the picture window of the cafe Kim chose to have brunch at -- The Grand Avenue Cafe.

It is such a nice day that we chose to sit outside "bistro style" and enjoy the cool of a rain shower tht just passed through the hour about 15 minutes previous to our arrival.

Kim chose the broccoli, turkey, and cheese kisch and I went with the more staid toasted bagel with scrambled egg, bacon, and cheese.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time together at the Grand Avenue then gave Kim's very bestest friend in the world, Sarah Herrell, a call to see if she was home, wanting to invite her to join us for dinner this evening at "Tacos Juanita" in hopes of finding the goat soup on the menu!

We spent some time with Sarah at her condo in which she has recently done some interior decorating paint wise. It is really striking! We both told her that now that she has retired from retail at Borders Books, she needs to start an interior decorating service!

At any rate, I am pleased to say that Sarah will be joining us later this afternoon and going out to dinner with us!

Meantime, I am over here at the office working on today's blog in the amazingly cool atmosphere of this little cottage. Since my late father-in-law Bob Wilson helped me re-insulate all the exterior walls, it stays very cool throughout even hot days.

It also helps that I had Ron Wendt come out and fix the ceiling fan pull chain mechanism so that it is working when I really need it.

_______________________________________________________

I read an article by The Milwaukee Journal's sportswriter Michael Hunt (what parent in his right mind would name his child Mike with that last name???) entitled "Favre is creating a mess" and his opinion really resonated with me:

" Although this unsolicited advice comes without general-manager money - and thankfully, the accountability -- here's what Ted Thompson should say in the event Favre asked for his release:

'Tell you what, Brett. We'll be happy to let you go at the end of your contract. Then you'll be what? -- 41? Hey! Testaverde made a comeback, but he was only on the couch for a couple of months. But two years? Wow! But hey, best of luck to you."

And if Favre wanted to rejoin the Packers?

"Fine, Brett, but we need a firm two year commitment. No more of this off season wavering, no more of this American Hamlet stuff that clown down in Milwaukee writes about. You're in it for two years or you're out, but let us know so we can do right by Rodgers and trade him. And you're going to be at every meeting, every practice, no exceptions -- this is not a part time gig.

TO THAT, I SAY -- AMEN!

______________________________________________________________

A 43 YEAR OLD SEASON TICKET HOLDER E MAILED: "BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO BE. AFTER LAST SEASON, BRETT, YOU ANNOUNCED THE CHANGE YOU WISHED TO BE -- NOW HAVE THE COURAGE TO BE THAT.

_____________________________________________________________

Gotta remember and keep telling myself: "It's just a game -- It's just a game. There's a hell of a lot more important things in the world pressing in on us than this!!!

_____________________________________________________________

Can't remember whether I announced this already or not, so here goes -- maybe again?

Father John Heagle and yours truly are close to getting the "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" mini-tour finalized for next May. Friday, May 15, we will be somewhere in the Merrill, Wisconsin area -- Saturday, May 16, we will be at the Heyde Performing Center For the Arts, Chippewa Falls, 7:30PM, and Sunday afternoon, May 17, we will b e returning home -- Menomonie, Wisconsin for a performance at the magnificent Mabel Tainter Theate.

We are both already pretty pumped about this!!!

_____________________________________________________________

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIM! you are the sweetest one and you don't look to be 55 years old at all. Love ya!

_____________________________________________________________

This -- in a beautiful e mail from Kristi Wilson, Kim's younger sister:

To

realize

The value of a sister

Ask someone

Who doesn't have one.


To

realize

The value of ten years:

Ask a newly

Divorced couple.


To

realize

The value of four years:

Ask a graduate.


To

realize

The value of one year:

Ask a student who

Has failed a final

exam.


To

realize

The value of nine months:

Ask a mother who gave birth to a

stillborn.


To

realize

The value of one month:

Ask a mother

who has given birth

to

A premature baby.


To

realize

The value of one week:

Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.


To realize

The value of one minute:

Ask a person

Who has

missed the train, bus or plane.


To

realize

The value of one-second:

Ask a person

Who has survived an

accident.


Time

waits for no one.


Treasure

every

moment you have.


You

will treasure it even more when

you can share it with someone special.




To

realize the value of a friend or family member:


LOSE

ONE.




Peace, love and prosperity to all!




Remember...


hold

on tight to the ones you LOVE

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Ugly Face of Fascism

I stopped at Gander Mountain yesterday to purchase a fishing license for the season.

As I am walking back out to my vehicle, about 20 feet ahead of me is this tall, bearded guy, who is staring at my "Bush is a war criminal" sticker. He continues on his way but as I reach my vehicle he calls over his shoulder with a venom-filled voice: "LIBERAL!"

I mean it is as if he has just called me a child molester or even worse, a Republican.

I gave him the perfect answer. Nothing. Why give a piece of shit like that the satisfaction?

How dare I have a sticker that is telling the terrible truth for all to see? Americans, on the whole, don't want to accept the fact that this country has really taken a wrong turn and is despised for it all over the world.

We are living in frightening times, my friends -- frightening times.

______________________________________________________________

I Am a C-Bander And Soon To Be a High-Def C-Bander! Screw Directv

Heard from my good reader MPLSPCKR out of the Twin Cities and he recommends Netflix highly. We signed up yesterday and have a list of eight movies scheduled, five in Blue-Ray.

I bought Kim the "Planet Earth" DVD series in Blue-Ray for her birthday and we watched the first part yesterday. Blue-Ray is MAGNIFICENT!

Oh, and we finally got the check from Hitachi yesterday as well -- good timing! Applied part of the money to the Sony blue-Ray DVD player. (Thank God our dealings with that shit company are finally over)!


Thanks, MPLSPCKR for your input. Without Directv, I lose ESPN as ESPN refused the C Banders access to their signal -- so it looks like I will be going out to a Sports Bar to catch all the Packer Monday night games, including the opening game of the season against the Queens.

Brett is in the middle of all sorts of rumors again. We may not be retiring that #4 jersey after all! Ted Thompson would be a fool not to welcome Brett back for another season -- especially in light of the things that Aaron Rogers had to say about Packer fans this past week.

Truth be told, I really don't think Rogers is the future of the franchise. I know that he really hasn't had a chance to prove himself, but anybody that can pull a hammy in practice is not exactly the toughest guy in the NFL.

At any rate, this football season is going to be an interesting one.

I have this overwhelming feeling that just because the Pack did so well last season doesn't mean they can do it again this year -- with or without Mississippi at the helm. Could very well lay a big old rotten egg.

Is that negativity creeping in? Stop it!

This will be the first season that I won't even be considering going to a game at Lambeau since tickets have jumped from $50 - $75 a pop since last year.

It has gotten to be a rich man's game -- one that I can't play! so I will pop a cold Leinie's and watch the games in high definition at home -- and fuck Directv!

They called me yesterday and begged me to reconsider my decision. Beg on! Be gone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

With Kim's Birthday Coming Up On July 6, We Invest -- Last of My Helmet Collection


Yesterday I asked Kim what she wanted for her birthday, having forgotten that several months ago she expressed a desire to get the DVD series "Planet Earth".

So I went out to Borders to see if they carried it and they had one copy left in standard DVD ($79.99) and one copy left in Blu Ray ($99.99).

I cell phoned Kim to see what she wanted to do. Recently Sears had a sale on Blu Ray players so I had her call Sears. She called me back to tell me that he sale was over but that they had a Sony going for $399.99 and we decided to split the cost and go for it.

So I drive to Sears, fill out the papers, put it all on my charge card and then the dufus tells me that they don't have them in stock but will have one for me by July 10th after the holiday. (Good old Eau Claire. Remember how I told you that the city slogan should be: "We don't have it, but we can get it for you"?

So I begin driving home with Kim's "Planet Earth" in Blu Ray and nothing to play it on until the 10th. (Her birthday is July 6th!) As I near Sam's Club it dawns on me that I should have shopped around before I got into the deal at Sears -- but then -- at the time time I thought I was picking up product!

so I go into Sam's and guess what? They have the same player IN STOCK and for $10.00 cheaper.

So It's back to Sears and I tell him to cancel my order as I have "buyer's remorse." Then back to Sam's Club to pick up product. It took us no time at all to get the new Blu Ray player hooked up to the Sony Bravia as it uses an HDMI cable - plug it in at both ends and you're good to go.

If you haven't seen a BLu Ray DVD -- they are absolutely breath taking. And the "Planet Earth" series is a great way to introduce yourself to Blu Ray.

More good news yesterday. We FINALLY got the call from Hitachi that our check is being Fed Ex'ed and we should be receiving it today (July 3) and I will be able to get that debt for the Sony Bravia off my credit card once and for all.

Now it's time to look into Netflix!

______________________________________________________________

A joke from Ron Keezer:

A man goes to visit his aging mother in the nursing home. As he pulls up the drive of the home, he sees six ladies (easily in their 80's) stretched out in the nude on blankets just off the drive way.

Startled beyond belief, he goes into the nursing home and to the staff office to ask what is going on?

"Oh, those women?" says the CEO. "They were all prostitutes in their younger days - we're having a yard sale."

_______________________________________________________________

The two "dark green Packer" face masks that I ordered from OnField well over a month ago finally arrived and I completed the work of decking out two brand new Riddell VSR2Y yellow helmets as Green Bay Packer helmets, both featuring the "Pete" Rozelle Memorium decal and the Superbowl XXXI decal on the back side of each .

I am presenting the helmet with the running back face mask as a gift to my marketer/booking agent, who is a tremendous Packer fan, and the other helmet which has a line backer face mask on it will be here at the office.

If anyone out there is interested in purchasing that helmet, leave a message at lheagle@larryheagle.com and we'll talk. Because base price on these helmets was $91 plus another $25 or the mask plus another 39.00 for the Packer decals, they are not cheap!

These helmets are the real thing! Not the kind you get at Scheels which are cheaply made and still sell for close to $100.00.

______________________________________________________________

I also got an e mail from my pals at Helmet Hut down in Indiana. They are in the process of restoring a Wilson helmet to look exactly like the one that Billy Kilmer wore as a Washington Redskin in 1970. Hee's what the e mail said:

Hey Larry,

Your helmet was painted a couple days ago and turned out great. Will be reassembled and shipped on Monday. Would have gone out tomorrow but UPS will not be shipping and we would be more comfortable in waiting a couple more days for the paint to cure. Have a happy 4th!

Helmet Hut

This will conclude my helmet collecting! I have run out of money and room!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good Bye Directv! And Still No Check From Hitachi!

I received my July bill for Directv yesterday only to find that it had jumped from $61.45 a month to 72.00 a month -- and this so I can get some high definition programming, including the NFL Channel, but no movie channels.

Truth be told, I have not been a happy camper ever since I signed up with Directv. first they installed a faulty receiver that it took me months to get them to replace, and then they start nickel and diming me month by month.

So I called them and asked why the increase on my bill? Well, it's because you have been a good customer who has paid his bill on time everey month for an entire year -- your first year is up so the price goes up for the second year of your contract.

What kind do sense does that make????

None!

So I told them I am canceling immediately! Then they started their little dance routine about cutting this and cutting that and blah, blah, blah -- which only angered me further. Then they told me that according to contract, for me to disconnect early, I will have to pay a fine of $124.00. So fine me!

So -- no more Directv. I never should have left my C Band programming in the first place. I called National Programming Service and set up my new package with them -- asking at the same time if High Def was now available through the big dish.

They said yes it is, but I will need to buy an add on General Instruments Motorola High Definition HDD200 High Def Decoder which will cost me an additional $350 some dollars.

The nearest dealer is in Waupaca, Wisconsin, and there is a good chance that Kim and I will be trekking over there this afternoon to pick one up.

I figure I would much rather own my own equipment than pay Directv $70 month.

Oh, by the way! We still don't have our refund back from Hitachi for that piece of shit television set that was picked up here well over a month ago.

So here's Larry's UNH-UNH, DON'T DO IT RECOMMENDATIONS; Don't buy anything made by Hitachi and stay away from Directv if you possibly can.

I really wish I wasn't such a TV-aholic. What I should be doing is signing up for Netflix! Anybody got comments about how they feel about that?

_________________________________________________________