HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN - merchants slogan: "We don't have it but we can get it for you."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stella the Destoyer - Is Nothing Safe?

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Heaven!'

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

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

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

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

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



"Perla's newest, "We Three Kings" is available at:

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

(They make fabulous Christmas gifts!)

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

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


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