HELLO FROM EAU CLAIRE, WISCONSIN:

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PAUL HORNUNG -- LEATHER HEAD? NO WAY, YOU SAY?

While meandering around the internet checking out different sites that deal with the history of the American football helmet, I stumbled upon these photographs.

Unless I am sadly mistaken, the dude in the leather helmet in the two lower color photographs is none other than "The Golden Boy", Paul Hornung, playing his college football at Notre Dame. I smile to realize that Paul is so old that he played wearing a leather helmet with NO FACE MASK!

Also worth noting is that when he joined the professional ranks with Green Bay, he wore the same color jersey and touted the same number five.

With another birthday looming on the horizon, I just yesterday ordered a Paul Hornung home jersey though my pal Harv Harvison in the Philippines. He manufactures incredibly authentic weighty 50's and 60's style jerseys and just this year has begun carrying the Packer deep green home jerseys. I have two of the "away" white jerseys in my closet - a Ray Nitschke and a Don Chandler.
Anybody remember who Don Chandler is? He played a significant role in helping defeat the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DO I KNOW CLAY RINESS? WE HAD LUNCH TOGETHER

I got the call this morning. Kris Wimar called me from T.J.'s in Downsville to tell me that "Dr. Joe", the Menomonie veterinarian, had told her to be certain to let me know that I was once again invited to join a very specially selected group of diners to attend his annual "Nut Feed" this coming Wednesday. He saves up all the fruits of castration over the year and then has a big feast of "Rocky Mountain Oysters - by invitation only!

Kris told me I could also bring a guest so of course my first choice would be Mr. Clay Riness because in the past Clay and I have shared some pretty strange food.

There was the time years ago when he and I shared the stage at the Stonecutter's Pub in Stone City, Iowa, the Brigadoon of the Midwest, as I named it so many years ago while performing there. We attended an after hours party just down the road from the pub and quaffed many Dubuque Stars, all the while playing buffoon off each other.

At one point Clay reached into a large open bag of Purina Dog Bone Biscuits and proceeded to munch one down, following it with copious amounts of brew. Not to be outdone, I took up the challenge and matched him dog bone for dog bone until the gimmick no longer got a laugh from the assembled.

The next day we parted ways, Clay bound for Coon Valley and I for Fall Creek. That afternoon, after arriving home, I retire to "the reading room" and mid way through excretion I hear my wife's voice from several rooms away: "IT SMELLS LIKE DOG POOP IN HERE!

My god! What an incredible nose!

Clay Riness is a renaissance man, indeed. If he decides to learn something, he learns it and becomes adept at it! He is an incredible finger style guitarist and although I have never heard him hold forth on a Strat, I would imagine he is also a hell of an electric guitar player as well.

At one point he decided he wanted to learn country-style fiddle. He even traveled to Ireland to study fiddle with the Irish fiddlers for a time. Believe me, he is a master at it!

Then he decided he wanted to learn how to fly fish for trout. His home in Coon Valley is surrounded by some of the finest trout streams in the state.

How good did he get at it? So good that he opened "Rocking Trout" - a trout fishing guide service and for several years he made his living showing the wealthy how to cast flies and where to put them to attract the big lunker browns and brookies that lay under the logs and eddies.

Then for a number of years he became a sales rep at Dave's Guitar in LaCrosse where he also gave guitar lessons. I think that's where I last caught up with him -- I was drooling over all the acoustic guitars displayed so lovingly at Dave's when I hear a familiar voice: "HEAG!"

Clay and I used to take off for Green Bay during football season. We would purposely choose a sunday when we knew the Pack was playing out of town, get into town on saturday afternoon, rent a room at the Midway Motor Lodge where we could see Lambeau from the window, and then head over to the best sports bar in America, The Stadium View, to scope out the best seating for sunday's game.

Here I must pause to tell you that just today I spoke with Clay by telephone and told him I was blogging about him tonight - he said to be sure to tell my readers about the fact that on the Green Bay trips Larry Heagle sleeps in the nude - and that the image is burned into his mind and has done permanent damage to his psyche.

Sunday morning we would be up and at 'em around 9:30 as we wanted to b e at the Stadium View when the doors opened at 10 to be certain we got bar stools right at the bar with the best view of the biggest screen in the house. We would cozy up next to some of those big boned Belgian girls of GB, order Bloody Marys with lots of Silver Spring horse radish. put a few away - then order a big bowl of Booyah - the soup du jour of Green Bay.

Conversation with the locals was lively until kickoff and then you would think you were actually at the game. NOBODY, BUT NOBODY talks when the football is in play -- only during commercials -- and then it's football talk -- and those Belgian girls knew their football!

Those were great sundays. We need to do that again!

I was glad to find out that Clay has gone back to performing his music once again. He is preparing for a concert in LaCrosse and already the room is nearly sold out! I have always admired Clay's ability at writing both great melodies and lyrics - you really should google him, find some of his music on line and down load it. "The Combine Boogie" comes to mind.

Sorry old Clay can't make the "Nut Feed" this year. Maybe next year!

Clay's Concert:

Clay will be appearing in concert:

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 7:30 pm
Pump House Regional Arts Center
119 King St.
LaCrosse, Wisconsin

Limited seating! Reservations are strongly recommended!

Call 608-785-1434



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Sunday, March 29, 2009

WHEN YOU GET OLDER -- SEX IS REPLACED BY?

I am spending the weekend submerged in my helmet hobby. After locating some Saints fleur de leis decals as well as some 49er decals, I decided to get some "old gold" paint and get two helmets started. After spraying the two helmets, I made the "mistake" of wandering over to Helmet Hut's web site and stumbling upon a "scratch and dent" sale on helmets. There were only two left - and one was the exact colors I would need (including the correct face mask) to complete an Archie Manning replica. (see photo).
The helmet would need to have the numerals removed but since it was selling for an amazing $99.00, I quickly wrote to my advisor at Helmet Hut, Mr. Curtis Worrell, to see if these could be removed with the trusty "hot air from a hair dryer" method, and asked also if he would be willing to sell me two sets of San Diego Charger style three inch numerals in black for yet another helmet I will be working to finish sometime in April. In a manner of minutes Curtis wrote back and told me not to worry, he would see to it that the factory would remove the "15's" and he also would ship, at no additional cost to me, the two sets of Lance Alworth numerals I requested.
It was at this point that I now realized I had one "old gold" spray painted helmet to spare so I set to work on making that one into a salute to the late, great Ray Nitschke by covering the "old gold" with a Green Bay Packer yellow. On the spray can it is described as "old Caterpillar yellow". It is very close to the official Packer cheese yellow - the color I always describe as Hellman's mustard yellow - or John Deere yellow. As you can see by the photo, I have given the helmet multple coats and will finsih with several coats of "clear". I also just happen to have the 1960's line backer's cage face mask in gray - and when I get my 60's Packer decals which I have on order, and complete this helmet, it will be oh so nice!

Which brings me to another part of the story of my weekend. After mucho searching on the web, I found a really great guy from (where else?) Wisconsin, that has all kinds of really nicely made decals. so I ordered an entire set of the 1960's style Packer decals as well as San Diego 1960's lightning bolts.

I only bring this up to illustrate the point that most of the time when you deal with on line eBay sellers, they are an upstanding, trustworthy group that will go out of their way to make certain you are getting what you are looking for.

Such is the case with Martin of Milwaukee. When I placed the order, I made a mistake on the stripe order. Martin could have just sent out what I asked for, but he pointed out that the two outside stripes should be 3/4 inch, not one inch!

Then he did something way cool in mid-negotiation with me. He went to my web site, looked it over, and sent me a jpg of a Bart Starr jersey I have on my site and he included an address to which I could send the jersey and actually have Bart Starr himself autograph it!

Now I have fired off a letter to the Brett Starr Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama, asking Bart if he would consider autographing the replica Bart Starr helmet that I had Helmet Hut rescue and recondition for me last year. I would rather have the helmet autographed than the jersey.

There is as minimum fee of $35.00 for each item that Bart autographs and all of the money goes to his son's charity or the Boy's ranch outside Appleton. To make certain that you are not sending your item in to just get the autograph and then sell it at a profit later, Bart insists that the inscription will be something personal like: "TO LARRY - BEST WISHES - BART STARR -15-
The other old gold helmet with the cardinal face mask is to be a San Francisco 49'er replica. I was able to locate the correct decals and they should be in some time this week. I can hardly wit to see my San Francisco friend Doug Cox's face when he see it!

Finally, yesterday I bid on and won a large, black, Riddell helmet for $43.50 which is really a great deal considering that new ones sell for over $100. The $43.50 includes a hefty shipping charge. It is a little beat up, but I will restore it with a midnight blue paint job as I already have Chicago Bears decals.

So here is my current helmet inventory:

Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl XXXI, Brett Favre model
Green Bay Packers, Super Bowls I and II, Bart Starr model
Green Bay Packers, Ahman Green model with correct face mask
Green Bay Packers, Ray Nitschke model, with correct face mask, work in progress
New York Jets, Brett Favre model
New York Giants, Eli Manning model
Kansas City Chiefs, Trent Greene model w/ correct face mask
Arizona Cardinals, Tillman model
Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino model with correct cage face mask, 1966-1990 Silver Season Edition
Detroit Lions, Helmet Hut built, 1960's Dick LeBeau Model, single bar face mask
San Francisco 49ers 2004 Edition, work in progress
Cleveland Bowns, Jim Brown helmet #32, double bar face mask
Baltimore Colts, Johnny Unitas helmet #19, double bar face mask
Oakland Raiders Kenny "The Snake" Stabler #12 issue with specially made Dunbar face mask
Wisconsin Badger Riddell helmet with "swoosh W's", full interior line man's face mask in cardinal
Washington Redskins Riddell present decal model with yellow cage face mask
Washington Redskins Wilson helmet - the Lombardi edition, yellow with white shield, feathers and "R" decals
Washington Redskins RK type Riddell helmet in dark burgundy with lance decals
Chicago Bears Riddell helmet project - orange "C" decals, 1980's running back face mask ("Sweetness" replica)
San Diego Chargers Rawlings helmet - 1960's style white w/ dark blue outlined, yellow lightning bolts, #19 on both sides, single bar face mask

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

SECRETS TO LOWERING NATIONAL DEBT

I awoke with a start just a few minutes ago with the solution to the nation's financial downfall clear in my mind - (yeh, right).

No, here's the deal! Remember how, after addressing the congress, President Obama was swamped by senators and representatives for autographs? He is the first president to be treated like a "rock star" and it's time for him to carry the mantle thrust upon him by fame.

Let's send him out on autograph tours across this great nation of ours! Right now, he is giving away what could be thousands of relief dollars by signing his name to photographs, tee shirts, and God knows what. So we have him do what NFL players do - charge a fee for each autograph. It could be "pay what you can afford".

Now that I think about it, we could organize huge "fairs" that would feature the Bernie Madoff Dunk Tank. Why should that bastard just sit around in jail when he could be out on tour, sitting on that little platform, perched high above a huge barrel of liquid manure.

We could even have an emergency medical team standing by for the inevitable heart attack. Wouldn't want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg! and people could make cash side bets as to when the ticker would give out.

There could also be another freak show with George W. standing at a podium, dodging shoes all day. Even if we charged three shoes for five dollars, we could take a huge bite out of the national debt. How about for $100 we blindfold "W"?

Now this is a national tour I wouldn't miss! The Obama Autograph Tour, supplemented by the Madoff Dunk Tank and the George W Shoe Toss. Bring it to Oakwood Mall and I'll be there!

Okay -- back to bed.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

HELMET MAN IS BACK AT IT AGAIN!



Back at the "helmet hobby" with a fury this week and it seems to be helping to get me out of my recent doldrums. I dug out a red Rawlings helmet that I had done up as a Kansas City Chiefs helmet. I had put it away in a deep dark corner of the closet because I massacred the helmet while trying to drill the mounting holes for a face mask and I couldn't stand to look at it! I don't know if you've ever experienced that: making mistake after mistake after mistake on a project and feeling your face redden, your pulse race, and your entire body break out in a cold sweat.

Later on I found a Schutt, red in color, and absolutely clean, and I bought another set of decals and that helmet displays proudly with my other worthy projects in the office proper.

So earlier this week I determined, after finding some "throwback" San Francisco 49'er thin decals, to use the ruined helmet as my guinea pig. I went to the Auto Value store and got some bumper filler, filled and sanded the holes (not very well) and then spray painted the helmet gold over the original red. It took about three coats to really cover up the red.

The decals arrived and I had never worked with 10 mil decals before. The ones Ii had gotten before are 20 mil, really heavy and easy to place on the helmets without wrinkling or bubbling.

The 10 mils were a complete nightmare!!!! Again with the red face, the racing pulse and the cold sweats! I just could not get any of the decals on without buckling, bubbling and wrinkling. The outside red stripes were ridiculously difficult! And the SF decals were a complete wrinkly, crinkly disaster! (I really should have taken as picture). Instead, after a day or two, in a fit of rage, I tore all of them off and threw them away.

Luckily I found another site that carried 49er decals. Unfortunately, they are the new decals - not the ones from the 1960's and '70's - I don't like the added black replacing the white stripes - but at least they are 20 mil!

I also ordered the New Orleans decals since they go on a gold helmet. The Rawlings helmet will become a Saints helmet. I took another "disaster" helmet, a Riddell VSRY4 that was supposed to be a Badger helmet - and this morning spent most of it prepping it to become the 49er helmet.

I have another set of decals (20 mil - thank you very much - ) that will be applied to a helmet that I won on eBay some time ago. The guy sent me the wrong helmet first time around, so I am still waiting for that one to arrive. It is yet another Rawlings helmet, white in color, which I will paint "midnight blue" and it will become my salute to Walter "Sweetness" Payton. I already have the correct Shutt OPO 1980's face mask on hand.

(side note: MAN! HAVE THOSE PUPPIES GOTTEN EXPENSIVE THROUGH A DEALER -- NINETY NINE DOLLARS!! I got mine on eBay for $29.00.)

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I kinda like this one!
The IRS sends their auditor (a nasty little man) to audit a synagogue.
The auditor is doing all the checks, and then turns to the Rabbi and says,
"I noticed that you buy a lot of candles."
"Yes," answered the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi, what do you do with the candle drippings?" he asked.
"A good question," noted the Rabbi. "We actually save them up. When we
have enough, we send them back to the candle maker and every now and then,
they send us a free box of candles.."
"Oh," replied the auditor somewhat disappointed that his question actually
had a practical answer. So he thought he'd try another question, in his
obnoxious way...
"Rabbi, what about all these matzo purchases? What do you do with the
crumbs from the matzo?
"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi calmly, "we actually collect up the crumbs,
we send them in a box back to the manufacturer and every now and then, they
send a box of matzo balls."
"Oh," replied the auditor, thinking hard how to fluster the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the foreskins from the
circumcisions?"
"Yes, here too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi. "What we do is save
up all the foreskins, and when we have enough we actually send them to the
IRS .."
"To the IRS?" questioned the auditor in disbelief.
"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, "directly to The IRS ...And about once a
year, they send us a little prick like you.."


At a recent computer expo (COMDEX),Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated,

"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash........Twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads...

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single 'This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation' warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask 'Are you sure?' before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car

10. You'd have to press the 'Start' button to turn the engine off.


That's all for today! I am getting hungry for lunch at the Wigwam -- best soups in town - and I see that my paint is good and dry so it is time to reassemble the gold helmet. wish me luck!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

LATEST INTERNET SCAM STARTS DAY WITH CONSTERNATION

This morning I received a long distance call from my son Jon in New York asking if I had gotten a desperate e mail from Karen Heagle. I told him that I had not, but asked him to read it to me over the telephone. After listening to about a third of it I told Jon that it sounded like a scam to extract money from Karen's friends and relatives but I would call her dad and check into it.

After speaking with Bob, it was clear that it was, indeed, a scam. Unfortunately, because Karen's email had been "hacked", she was deluged by calls from concerned friends and relatives.

Here is the "Scam E mail" that Jon received:

I am in a hurry writing you this mail as I have no much time on this PC. So I just want your urgent help in my situation right now as I don’t know how to communicate with you only from my mail been that my bag containing all my contact and phone is lost. Actually I had a trip to Asia on a program named: Youth Empowerment against HIV/AIDS, Poverty Eradication and Lack of Education. This program takes place in four major Asian Countries Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia and I was to cover major cities in Malaysia. But Unfortunately for my on my way back to Kuala Lumpur for the final conclusion of the program we had an attack by robbers on our three hour drive back to Kuala Lumpur and my little bag with all my belongings was lost in this process, I arrived Kuala Lumpur without money no food to sustain myself no phone to retrieve my contacts, I only have access to this PC in the public library where am writing you from. I will need your help to settle my bills with the Motel lodge where I stay which is almost($1,200 USD) and will need $2,000 USD to feed and help myself back home which I promise to pay you back once I get home. So Please can you help me with the sum of $3,200 USD so I can sort things out for myself here and get home as soon as possible, Right now I will appreciate anything you can afford for me in this situation if not all as once I get my travel document which the embassy are working out for me I will only think of my way home. Do find any nearest available western union and send me the money with the information below, He is the Lodge Manager where I sleep with a valid ID to help me pick up the money as my passport is also in my lost bag. The information is ….

Name: Mahmood Ibrahim
Address: 11A Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia
(Any Text Question use To Whom? Answer: Karen )

If you take time to not panic, it is obvious that this is not for real. If she did have contact with the American Embassy, they certainly would have contacted her dad.

That, coupled with making a call or two to verify where Karen actually is (she is home in Brooklyn, of course), shoots holes in the whole scam.

We live in weird times! Actually what we all should do is send a letter to the above address with a note inside that says:

HEY! MAHMOOD - YOU PIECE OF SHIT! FUCK OFF!


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Monday, March 23, 2009

E MAILS -- VOICES OUT OF THE PAST TRIP GOOD MEMORIES

Recently I have been in contact with Chris Coyer by e mail. He sent me a URL that led me to comedian Rodney Carrington's video singing "Show Them to Me", a clever ditty that he wrote specifically to get young ladies to lift their sweaters and expose their chi chi's to him in concert.

Chris complimented me by saying that the tenor of the song reminded him of my style of song writing. I, of course, was flattered. I was having difficulty placing Chris as the name did not immediately ring a bell -- I could tell that he knew me from performance but I couldn't tell from where, so I checked the area code that he included with his send: "703" and after much searching, found it to be the Las Vegas area.

So to sound like I was somebody who actually knew what I was doing, when I replied I asked him how things in Vegas were.

Today I got this message in reply to "where do I know you from?":

"Saloon @ Butler Square, Improper Fraction, and Ground Round (couple of locations). I managed the latter two and owned the Saloon @ BSq.

I was probably responsible for at least a dozen bars hiring you from time to time, way back when dirt was almost as young as we were."

Chris

This tripped a lot of memories for me which I will now relate.

I remember working at the Improper Fraction, a little peanut bar/restaurant just off the University of Minnesota campus. As I recall, I could see the old Gopher stadium from the sidewalk out front.

The Improper Fraction was a great little joint to work; an intimate room with a small stage against the windowed wall. I call it a peanut bar because every table came with a complimentary huge bowl of salted-in-the-shell peanuts. The management encouraged the patrons to shuck the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. Of course, all that saslt led to a lot of beer drinking.

I have a vivid memory of a young college woman coming into the bar with a very large hand bag and dumping the entire contents of the bowl of peanuts into said bag.

The Improper holds another special moment for me. It is the only club I ever worked where the audience lit up a joint and passed it around the room during my show. And yes, I did inhale.

Now the Saloon at Butler Square was a whole different situation. It drew a cross section of business people and college agers and things could and did get pretty wild and crazy in there.

One of the really outstanding features? It was in a mini mall. When you came through the main doors, the entrance to the Saloon was down a ways on the right. On your way to the door you passed what appeared to be as mirror. What you didn't realize until you first went into the Men's room to use the urinals, was that mirror was actually one way glass! When you positioned yourself at the urinal, you were looking out a window on the mall! Well, that's what you thought anyway!

After that first experience, it was always fun to walk past the outside mirror side, stop, peer in and down, laugh and point, in hopes that some poor bastard was using the urinal at the time.

Nights I played at The Saloon, I had guests sit in that came in quite regularly. There was one guy (sorry dude, your name escapes me now) who did as mean vocal to "Rockin' Robin" and everyone looked forward to that.

My friend Ed Treinen came in and played blues harp almost every time I worked the room. On nights when jazz violinist Randy Sabien was in town, he would sit in and do a set with me, which was always great fun.

Mostly I drank too much and ended up at a White Castle at 3 in the morning! Thanks, Chris Coyer, for writing me and opening up the well!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

OH, THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGIN' -- NEW TECHNOLOGIES AID THIEVES

Now whether these two missives I received by e mail are based in fact or not or whether they are, as some of them are --"Urban myths" anew, I have no way of knowing, but I think it best to pass these on to make anyone who reads my blog more aware of just what could be going on "out there".

Here's the first:

This gives us something to think about with all our new electronic technology.


GPS
A couple of weeks ago a friend told me that someone she knew had their car broken into while they were at a sporting event. Their car was parked in the lot which was adjacent to the arena and specially allotted to basketball fans.

Things stolen from the car included a garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been prominently mounted on the dashboard.


When the victims got home, they found that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.



The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the game, they knew about what time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.



MOBILE PHONE


I never thought of this....... This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her names on her mobile phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag, which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet... Etc... Was stolen.


20 minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay phone telling him what had happened, hubby says 'I received your text asking about our Pin number and I've replied a little while ago.'


When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the stolen cell phone to text 'hubby' in the contact list and got hold of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money from their bank account.


Moral of the lesson: Do not disclose the relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc.... And very importantly, when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling back. Also, when you're being text by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don't reach them, be very careful about going places to meet 'family and friends' who text you.

And then there is this one:

I locked my car --- as I walked away I heard my car door unlock. I went
back and locked my car again -- THREE TIMES. I looked around and there
were two guys sitting in a car in the fire lane next to the store.
When I looked straight at them they did not unlock my car again.

While traveling, my son stopped at a roadside park. He came out to his
car less than 4-5 minutes later and found someone had gotten into his
car and stolen his cell phone, laptop computer, GPS navigator
briefcase.....you name it ...


He called the police and since there were no signs of his car being
broken into, the police told him that there is
a device that robbers are using now to clone your security code when
you lock your doors on your car using your push button locking device
on your key chain.

They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. They know
you are going inside of the store, restaurant, or bathroom and have a
few minutes to steal and run.

How to lock your car safely: The police officer said thee is only one way
to safely lock you car-by hitting the lock button inside the car.
That way if there is someone sitting in a parking lot
watching for their next victim it will not be you.

When you hit the lock button on your car
upon exiting, it does not send the security code, but if you walk
away and use the door locking device on your key chain it sends the code
through the airwaves where it can be stolen, something totally new to
us, AND REAL.

Be aware of this and please pass this note on.. Think how
many times we all lock our doors with our remote...just to be sure we
remembered to lock them....and bingo someone has our code...and
whatever was in the car...is GONE!

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As I say, I have no proof that either of these situations are real. I suppose I could call local law enforcement.

Now that I think about it, this afternoon, my cousin, a detective with the Altoona police department, is doing our taxes. I will try to remember to ask him if he's heard about this.

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While we were having our taxes worked on, I asked my cousin the policeman about the "code grabbers" and he was familiar with the concept and that it is real.

Then I got an e mail from my friend Suzi Kittson in Wausau who pointed me to Snopes.com which gave this information:

Automobile remote keyless entry systems (RKE) were introduced in the 1980's. They've proved a big hit, making it easier for the grocery laden to unlock their cars and sparing many of the terminally forgetful from finding they've left their keys in the ignitions of their now locked cars or their purses on the seats of same.

The earliest RKE systems were quite vulnerable to the sort of attacks described above. Thier RF transmitters (usually built into key fobs) sent unique identifying codes taht could be picked off by "code grabbers", devices that recorded the codes sent out when drivers pushed buttons on their remote key fobs to lock or unlock their cars.

However, times change and technology advances. In response to the fixed code security weakness, automakers shifted from RKEs with fixed codes to systems employing rolling random codes. These codes change every time a given RKE system is used to lock or unlock car doors and thus renders "code grabbers" ineffective. That form of more robust code system became the industry standard for RKE systems in the mid 1990's, so automobiles newer than that are not vulnerable to being quickly and easily opened by criminals armed with code grabbers.

It is still theoretically possible for a very determined thief armed with the right technology and the ability to manipulate it correctly to snatch a key code from the air and use it to enter a vehicle. However, the complexity and length of time involved in that process means your typical crook can't simply grab an RKE code in a parking lot and open up the corresponding car within a minute or two: the would-be thief would need specialized knowledge and equipment and would have to spend hours (if not days) crunching data and replicating a device to produce the correct entry code and by that time you would be long gone..

___________________________________________________________

In these economic hard times, be assured that thievery is up. However, parking lot break-ins will still be more often done with the tried and true: slim jim, crow bar, lock punch.

Here is the best advice. Lock your car - but don't leave GPS, purse, wallet, check book, IPod, etc in plain sight. Either take them with you or hide them well within the vehicle.

_______________________________________________________

Thursday, March 19, 2009

HELMET HUT HELMETS - TRUE SALUTE TO RIDDELL HISTORY

MY 67TH BIRTHDAY PRESENTS, THANKS TO KIM, came a month early. For several years now I have been in contact with Helmet Hut over in Warsaw, Indiana. Helmet Hut is an outstanding company that produces, under licensing with Riddell, Inc., throwback helmets from the 1960's -70's. They, in fact, graciously took on a project of restoring a Riddell TK5 that not only was in desperate need of a paint job, but needed a crack in the left ear patched, sanded, and restored.

I had Helmet Hut restore it in the mustard yellow of the Green Bay Packers with the spinach green stripes as I had acquired black market decals on my own. (Helmet Hut made it very clear that they are not allowed to put NFL licensed decals on any of their helmets by agreement with the NFL.) I also had them put the number fifteen on the rear of the helmet so that it would be a reproduction of Bart Starr's MVP helmet.

Helmet Hut also took a $10 purchase I made off eBay and gave it a $100 paint job as the beginning stages of a Washington Redskins throwback helmet.

Yesterday I received my first actual Helmet Hut helmet that I ordered less than a week ago, this time in the silver and blue of the Detroit Lions. I cannot describe the excitement of opening the box at the smell of "new" that emanated.
Before placing the order, I talked at great length with Curtis Worrell, one of the founders of Helmet Hut. Curtis is a fascinating man! We talked football of the 60's for quite a long time as he is old enough (not nearly as old as I, but old enough) to remember what I call the glory years of the NFL, the 1960's, when both my team, Green Bay, and Curtis' Washington Redskins - he grew up going to games at RFK - were outstanding teams of history. Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, and later tough guy Joe Theismann, Bart, Ray Nitschke, Hawg Hanner, Paul Hornung - it took us a while to get around to talking business. When I told him that I wanted to build the beginnings of what would become a 1960's Detroit Lions helmet (with the great Dick LeBeau in mind), I told Curtis of my one stipulation: "You will probably think I'm crazy," I said, "but the helmet must be large enough that I can put it on my head. All the helmets I have collected through eBay are."

Curtis assured me that I was not the only crazy collector and told me that they only manufacture one size helmet but that they had supplied all the helmets for the recent film "The Express" and were able to outfit the entire cast,save one that they had to produce a one time special order.

My new helmet passed the "can it get it on my head" test. Oh, as Curtis warned, it would be a bit snug, and would cause some discomfort to the ears upon removal. But if you have a hat size of 7 and 1/8 or smaller, you are in!

The Helmet Hut helmet compares very favorably to the Riddell TK5 in appearance and is true to the design in every way. I am not sure, (and I don't want to take the "Bart Starr" out of it's case), but I am almost certain that the heft of the Helmet Hut creation is not as substantial as the Riddell. But then, it wasn't designed for on-field competition, was it? It is for DISPLAY!

So to all collectors out there: HELMET HUT FILLS YOUR NEEDS! And in addition, they are extremely helpful and easy to work with.
I ALSO PURCHASED JIM FINKS, JR.'S NEW BOOK "COLORS", and it is a beautiful book, filled with great anecdotes about each team's uniform history and page upon page of stunning photographs. It is a well spring of knowledge for collectors such as myself and well worth the purchase price if you are serious about your hobby.
I, of course, turned immediately to the Green Bay Packer section and found out that I had a misconception of a story I had heard years ago - during the Holmgren years.

All my close friends know how much I dislike Mr. Holmgren as I have always felt he took his eye off the ball during the run for the second Superbowl. I have always felt that the California Poobah was too busy looking to get a general manager/head coach position somewhere on the west coast that year.

Anyway, I digress. The rumor circulated that upon arrival in Green Bay, Holmgren wanted to make changes to the Packer uniform. Supposedly he wanted to go from the sacred cheddar cheese yellow to a splashy UCLA or (dare I say it?) San Francisco 49'er old gold.

BLASPHEMY!

There is not a fan from Eagle River to Milwaukee to Green Bay to Hudson that would not vomit at the prospect! Well, in the book "Colors" it turns out it wasn't Holmgren who wanted to make those changes, it was GM Ron Wolf!

Bob Harlan: "Ron wanted to change the mustard gold of our uniforms in the early 1990's and switch to a Notre Dame or UCLA-style gold. But the outcry from our fans everywhere was such that we decided against it."

Contributor Mark Zelenovich, Jr. finishes the section on Green Bay Packer uniform history with this:

"And if history teaches us but one lesson about messing with the rich tradition of Green Bay Packer uniforms, it is this: Never anger fans at Lambeau Field wearing simulated dairy products on their heads ... and little else in the middle of January."

I still am not a Holmgren fan.

______________________________________________________

Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want
them to, doesn't
mean they don't love you with all they have. Ralph and
Edna were both
patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were
walking past
the hospital swimming pool. Ralph suddenly jumped into the
deep end.



He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.



Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom
and pulled
him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of
Edna's heroic
act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the
hospital, as
she now considered her to be mentally stable.



When she went to tell Edna the news she said, 'Edna, I
have good news
and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged,
since you were
able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and
saving the
life of the person you love. I have concluded that your act
displays
sound mindedness.



The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with
his bathrobe
belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he's
dead.'



Edna replied, 'He didn't hang himself, I put him
there to dry. How
soon can I go home?'

_________________________________________________________

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MS KIM GOES TO MADISON TO ADDRESS STATE ASSEMBLY ON IMPORTANCE OF ALL DAY KINDERGARTEN

MS. WILSON WAS UP AT 4 A.M. THIS MORNING, preparing to meet other kindergarten teachers from the Eau Claire School system for a trip down to Madison to testify on Bill 119. I shrugged off sleep and fetched the camera to get a picture of what she chose to wear today.

Yesterday, activity between Madsion and Kim was fast and furious as she typed out her testimony, sent it to the Wisconsin State Department of Education, and then received it back with minor changes. I think what she wrote is great and I want to include it today for luck while Kim is down there:

Testimony of Kim Wilson, Retired Teacher

Eau Claire School District

Manz Elementary - First Grade

Arlington Heights Elementary - Kindergarten

Little Red Elementary - Kindergarten

Roosevelt Elementary - Kindrgarten

Before the Assembly Education Committee

Assembly Bill 119
March 17, 2009

I am Kim Wilson, a newly retired teacher who taught one year in first grade and 31 years in kindergarten.

I must confess that I taught many years before I found out that kindergarten was not mandated in Wisconsin! I truly believe that it is time for the State of Wisconsin to require regular attendance of children enrolled in kindergarten. A requirement such as this would benefit the kindergarten program and be of great benefit to children throughout their school career.

Kindergarten is an integral component of the entire school system. Reading, writing, music, math, physical education, art, social studies, and science are required subjects in kindergarten just as they are in grades 1 through 5 in elementary school. Kindergarten is the foundation of a child’s educational career. Perhaps if ”kindergarten” was named “first grade” it would be perceived as more important and regarded as the true beginning of the elementary educatioin program.

Children who do not attend kindergarten on a regular basis not only lack achievement in academic growth but also lose out in feeling a part of the kindergarten family. The child loses out on the emotional, social, and academic pieces of a successful kindergarten experience. A child with poor attendance can be “haunted” by these effects during kindergarten as well as first grade when they find themselves out of step with their classmates. This has an effect on the other children as valuable education time and resources must be directed toward assisting this child in catching up (and how does this effect the child’s attitude toward school?).

I believe I have struggled with truancy situations every year. Last year, my last year of teaching, I had a very difficult situation with a child’s habitual tardiness and absence. This little girl missed over 36 days of school. Each time she returned she required extra coaching, assistance, and direction from me as well as the other children in order to join us academically and to feel a part of our kindergarten community. I had numerous conferences with her parents including at different times, the counselor, the Title One teacher, and the principal. We developed behavior modifications for the child as well as for the parents by their request. These attempts did not help the child’s attendance record. The principal sent several letters to the parents but because Wisconsin does not mandate attendance for kindergartners, there was no recourse for our truant little girl.

I am sure that the State of Wisconsin wants to give children like this the kind of education they need and deserve. We are not asking parents to give up any rights concerning their children. A waiver process could be put in place for those families not wanting their child to attend kindergarten . Personally, I can’t imagine a child skipping kindergarten and being successful in 1st grade ... but parents could have their right to do so. However, once a parent enrolls a child in kindergarten, the same attendance expectations that apply to grades 1-12 would also apply to kindergarten. It is the right thing to do for our children.

I am hoping that you will join us in our endeavor to give our children the best and most appropriate educational experience possible in our great State of Wisconsin.

Thank you,



Kim Wilson

4896 Hobbs Road
Fall Creek, Wisconsin 54742

I am going to wait until Kim gets back to go out for my St. Patrick's Day corn beef and cabbage. Hopefully, unlike last year, when we went out too late, we couldn't find any ANYWHERE!

_____________________________________________________________

I have run amock with my helmet purchase for the Chicago Bear project! The first helmet I got turned out to be a child's helmet which is totally unsuitable. Then two days asgo, I received a Rawlings helmet from Dan Dunn's Collectibles which I was going to paint midnight blue, but he sent me the wrong helmet! This one is an adult helmet but way too small. So I had to run into town and ship it back to him today.

It looks like I will be receiving another helmet that I have been sort of working on. for months and months I combed eBay looking for some Detroit Lions lion decals and finally found them a couple of weeks ago. They are, however, the newly designed Lions decals, which include a heavy black outline around the blue lion - I have not been fond of the recent uniform updates the Lions have done, adding the color black as accents on the helmet and jerseys.

So I decided that my Lions helmet will be indicative of the 1960's Lions - in particular - a helmet depiction of one of their greatest corner backs, a Hall of Famer and a guy who is still coaching defensive half backs for the Pittsbugh Steelers, Dick LeBeau.

I decided that rather than go through the rigamarole of locating a helmet through eBay, I would make my first purchase of a Helmet Hut manufactured helmet.

Kim has lovingly said she will pay for it as a birthday gift and it looks like it will be here tomorrow afternoon through United Parcel Service. I am really psyched!

___________________________________________________

A Joke:

TURPENTINE VS HOLY WATER


A little boy was sitting on the curb with a gallon of turpentine, shaking it up and watching all the bubbles. A while later a Priest came along and asked the little boy what he had.

The little boy replied, "This is the most powerful liquid in the world, it's called turpentine."

The Priest said, "No, the most powerful liquid in the world is Holy Water. If you take some Holy Water and rub it on a pregnant woman's belly, she'll pass a healthy baby."

The little boy replied, "You take some of this turpentine and rub it on a cat's ass, he'll pass a Harley Davidson."

___________________________________________________

Sunday, March 15, 2009

IT'S SPRINGTIME IN WISCONSIN

It's Springtime in Wisconsin

And the gentle breezes blow,

30 miles per hour makes it 25 below!

Oh, how I love  Wisconsin

When the snows up to your butt;

You take a breath of fresh air

And your nose is frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful,

I guess I'll hang around.

I could never leave Wisconsin ,

Cause I'm frozen to the ground.

******************************************************************

IT'S SPRINGTIME IN WISCONSIN


MEETING THE THOMPSONS OF LADYSMITH -- THE JOY OF SUPPING AND LAUGHING TOGETHER

THE IDEA GERMINATED ABOUT A MONTH AGO WHEN Penny Thompson called me from Ladysmith, Wisconsin, inquiring about how she could purchase a copy of my comedy CD "Living on the Edge -- of Town". She told me that she thinks her son may have run off with her original tape. I told her that I had gone modern and that my manager, Liz Fischer had upgraded it to a CD. Penny assured me that she had the means to play it and I told her that it could easily be ordered on line through Monarch Tree Publishing.

Penny was extremely easy to talk to and we had quite a visit after conducting business. At one point I asked her if she was a working person and she told me that she had been but recently has been struggling with cancer and quit her job.

This touched me close to home since this past year several of my friends have been diagnosed with various types of that damned disease.

Long after we had finished talking on phone, she was still on my mind so one day I called her and asked if she was familiar with the term: "paying it forward". She said she was.

I asked Penny when her birthday was and she told me early April.

"Close enough!" I shouted into the phone. Then I gave her my proposal. Could I please come up and throw one of my pizza parties for her as a birthday party during the month of March as I was not really working gigs at all. After getting over the initial wonderment of that idea, she agreed! I told her to invite about a dozen people and that I would load up my pizza making gear, my guitar, drive up, and make 4 or 5 of my pizzas and then do a 45 minute show for the gathered.

All I would ask in return, I told her, was the cost of the groceries (about $35.00) and some gas money.
We corresponded a few times by e mail but then i didn't hear from her after sendng out a final e mail asking what kind of pizzas she would like.

then I realized that somehow my e mail account has gotten screwed up and when people get messages from me it tells them to reply to me at: lheagle@clearwire.net.

NOW THAT I AM MENTIONING THAT, IF YOU RE A FRIEND OF MINE AND I HAVEN'T ANSWERED YOU, BE CERTAIN THAT YOU SEND IT TO: lheagle@larryheagle.com. (I have to contact Clearwire and get this cleared up!)

Anyway, I digress. I finally figured that out and last night was the night! Now, I am going to be very forthright here. I didn't really know Penny or anybody that would be there so I knew I was coming blind into the situation.

After arriving -- within thirty seconds, I knew i had found my kind of folks and we were going to have a lot of fun together.
I can't remember who it was, but one of the guests, upon arriving and looking over my Scion xB in the driveway, came in and said: "who drives the toaster in the driveway?"

I ended up making six (or was it seven?) pizzas, leaving the group crying for mercy, and then did not a 45 minute set, but about an hour set because everybody was having so much fun!

Ended up doing a couple more songs in the kitchen because the pizza stones were still too hot to be removed from the oven as I forgot to leave the oven door open after removing the last pizza.

Thank you Penny for a lovely evening! And for the more than generous check. That's not how pay it forward is supposed to work, is it?

___________________________________________________________

Friday, March 13, 2009

SNAP SHOTS FROM RECENT FR JOHN/LARRY HEAGLE SESSION

It has been such a real treat to have Fr. John Heagle "home" this week! I was able to hear a couple of his homilies and sat in on one of his sessions and he is always truly amazing. The session I went to wednesday morning centered around LISTENING. He emphasized how much change could be brought about in the world (not to mention our own lives) if we only took time to really listen to one another. Wednesday afternoon, while John had a few minutes out of his very busy schedule, my good friend and very talented photographer, Patty Stangel was kind enough to take some photographs of us for our upcoming scheduled performances of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", scheduled for Friday evening, May 15, in Merrill, Wisconsin, at an unyet disclosed location, thursday evening at the Heyde Center for the Arts, Chippewa Falls, at 7 PM and a final performance in our big "world tour" at the Tainter Memorial Theatre in Menomonie at 2PM in the afternoon.
By the time we were almost finished with the session things got silly and a bit out of hand and Patty suggested we "switch" costuming, so we went upstairs and came back down as Fr. Larry and John. This photo is what I would look like as a priest of some 50 years! Not a lot of people are aware that I actually did study at the seminary in LaCrosse for a year. (I was invited not to come back).

I had a great conversation with Mr. Curtiss Worrell, one of the entrepreneurial owners of Helmet Hut down in Warsaw, Indiana, just a few hours ago, and told him about our upcoming show - then e mailed him these two photographs and here is the reply I got:

"Not even the collar can convince me Larry...... Now your brother is a completely different story ;-)"

Considering my above admission of rejection by the rector of the seminary at the end of my freshman year, I would say that Mr. Worrell, through our helmet restoration dealings alone, knows me all too well!

I want to again state that I am the BIGGEST Helmet Hut fan in the world! They have restored two older helmets for me to pristine glory! I have two more projects for them and I will have completed all helmets for the North Division of the NFL, save one for the (dare I even spell it out) -- Minnesota team. I don't think I can bring myself to spend money on creating that horned beast.

A side note: I know I should hate the Bears as much as the Queens, but I haven't been to a game in Chicago. I have been to a game at the Wind Bag in Minnneapolis and that is where my deep hatred began. I was wearing my Packer jacket as as I came out of the tunnel into the seating area, a guy stands up and yells: "Get the fuck outa here and don't ever fucking come back!"
To this I waved and replied: "NICE TO SEE YOU, TOO!"

One I was seated a very nice gentleman behind me leaned toward me and said: "Don't pay any attention to that asshole -- he's drunk every game before it even starts."

I asked: "Well, if he's like this when the Vikings are winning (they were having a great season), what is he like when they are losing?"

"When they're losing, his seat is empty."

__________________________________________________

If you are an afficianado of football helmets as I am, don't hesitate to go to helmethut.com and look over their wonderful web site. it is filled with a treasure trove of helmets both college and professional. Did you see the movie "The Express?" If you did, you saw examples of helmets made especially for the film by the experts at Helmet Hut.

You can even order a wonderful new book by Jim Finks, Jr called "Colors" which follows the history of NFL uniforms throughout the years. If the name Jim Finks has a familiar ring it is because his dad is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame. Soon as I gete my helmet projects finished i am buying a copy!

_______________________________________________________

And now -- for a little levity, thanks to my pal Matthew Capell! Matt -- I wish I was in Napoli with you today!


Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love, and got married. The
ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you,
but don't start anything."

Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one is a salted.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm, and says,
"Beer please, and one for the road."

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, "Does this
taste funny to you?"

"Doc, I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home."
"That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome."
"Is it common?"
"Well, It's Not Unusual."

Two cows are standing next to each other in a field.
Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."
"I don't believe you," says Dolly.
"It's true; no bull!" exclaims Daisy.

An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to
look at either.

Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn't find any.

I went to a seafood disco last week. I pulled a mussel.

What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing
in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about
an hour, the manager came out of the office, and asked them to
disperse.
"But why," they asked, as they moved off.
"Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an
impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which
made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad
breath. This made him a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by
halitosis.

A dwarf who was a mystic escaped from jail. The call went out that
there was a small medium at large.



___

MAUREEN DOWD -- WHAT A BABE! ALL THAT AND A BEAUTIFUL MIND?

I am not going to say "I think I'm in love --" Hell, no! I KNOW I'm in love with Maureen Dowd. Have been ever since the first time I saw her on Bill Maher's show. She makes me want to subscribe to the New York Times even though it's ridiculously expensive to do so here in the midwest.

Lately the myopic, excessive television press has been obsessing about Michelle Obama's biceps and complaining that she should keep them covered. Fact is, folks, Michelle is another Babe! I just have to share a column Maureen Dowd wrote recently:

"Journalists are never supposed to start a piece with a scene in a taxi because it signals either laziness about gathering facts or a tendency to embroider facts.

Nonetheless, I’m going to. David Brooks and I were sharing a cab to the British Embassy the other day to meet with Gordon Brown.

The dour prime minister was a blithe spirit despite a mutinous British press corps that was whingeing about the president snubbing the prime minister. First, President Obama sent back the bust of Winston Churchill that Tony Blair lent to W.; then the White House downgraded the “special relationship” to a “special partnership.” The Rose Garden press conference where Mr. Brown was going to stand “podium-to-podium with the Messiah,” as one British scribe dryly put it, was demoted to a “press availability” in the Oval.

Then the president offered a lame present of DVDs — including “Psycho” — in return for the prime minister’s cool gift of a pen holder made from the wood of the Victorian antislave vessel H.M.S. Gannet. Critics wondered if the brusqueness was because, as Mr. Obama wrote in “Dreams From My Father,” his grandfather was beaten by British colonial troops in Kenya. The press also conjured paranoia that the president’s “Lady MacBeth” had been behind the clipped treatment because, as James Delingpole snipped in a Telegraph blog, “Her broad-brush view of history associates Brits with the wicked white global hegemony responsible for the slave trade.”

The British tabloids carped that, while Sarah Brown gave the Obama girls Top Shop dresses and necklaces, a “solipsistic” Michelle merely gave the Brown boys models of Marine One. (Step it up, Desirée).

As blue chips turn into penny stocks, Wall Street seems less like a symbol of America’s macho capitalism and more like that famous Jane Austen character Mrs. Bennet, a flibbertigibbet always anxious about getting richer and her “poor nerves.” The president tried to urge Americans to man-up and buy stocks. In a Times interview on Friday, he further advised us not to “suddenly stuff money” in our mattresses.

Wall Street is weak and jittery, rejecting the vague and laconic courtship of Timothy Geithner. G.M. is verging on bankruptcy, and A.I.G. should be. Americans are confused and fretful. President Obama admitted in his Times interview that the United States is not winning the war in Afghanistan, even as he denied — and then called back 90 minutes later to really deny — that he’s a socialist.

Let’s face it: The only bracing symbol of American strength right now is the image of Michelle Obama’s sculpted biceps. Her husband urges bold action, but it is Michelle who looks as though she could easily wind up and punch out Rush Limbaugh, Bernie Madoff and all the corporate creeps who ripped off America.

In the taxi, when I asked David Brooks about her amazing arms, he indicated it was time for her to cover up. “She’s made her point,” he said. “Now she should put away Thunder and Lightning.”

I’d seen the plaint echoed elsewhere. “Someone should tell Michelle to mix up her wardrobe and cover up from time to time,” Sandra McElwaine wrote last week on The Daily Beast.

Washington is a place where people have always been suspect of style and overt sexuality. Too much preening signals that you’re not up late studying cap-and-trade agreements.

David was not smitten by the V-neck, sleeveless eggplant dress Michelle wore at her husband’s address to Congress — the one that caused one Republican congressman to whisper to another, “Babe.”

He said the policy crowd here would consider the dress ostentatious. “Washington is sensually avoidant. The wonks here like brains. She should not be known for her physical presence, for one body part.” David brought up the Obamas’ obsession with their workouts. “Sometimes I think half the reason Obama ran for president is so Michelle would have a platform to show off her biceps.”

During the campaign, there was talk in the Obama ranks that Michelle should stop wearing sleeveless dresses, because her muscles, combined with her potent personality, made her daunting.

She ignored that talk, thank heavens. I love the designer-to-J. Crew glamour. Combined with her workaday visits to soup kitchens, inner-city schools and meetings with military families, Michelle’s flair is our depression’s answer to Ginger Rogers gliding around in feathers and lamé.

Her arms, and her complete confidence in her skin, are a reminder that Americans can do anything if they put their minds to it. Unlike Hillary, who chafed at the loathed job of first lady, and Laura, who for long stretches disappeared into the helpmeet role, Michelle has soared every day, expanding the job to show us what can be accomplished by a generous spirit, a confident nature and a well-disciplined body.

I also have no doubt she can talk cap-and-trade with ease and panache.

All right, Maureen!!!! You can eat crackers in my bed, anytime!

___________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FATHER JOHN AND LARRY'S PHOTO SESSION

Anytime you get me and Patty Stangel (my favorite photographer) together crazy will rule. This morning, at manager Liz Fischer's behest, and because Fr. John is in town giving a retreat at St James the Greater Parish, the three of us got together at 11AM right after John's morning session to do some publicity shots for the upcoming May performances of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother".

Before I go any further, one of the reasons there hasn't been much on the blog lately is that I have been really busy pouring over the video that was done the last time we performed the show together. In fact, I laboriously stopped and started the video tape again and again to get the original script in working order.

I am excited also because we will be adding new stories and updating the show which was first performed (can you believe this??) in April of 1990! Man! That's a heart attack and a motorcycle accident ago!

So Patty and I arrived at St James the Greater and John joined us in official priest garb; black suit and Roman collar. We took some shots with John sitting on the arm of an easy chair and yours truly hunkered down, and then we reversed spots. Next we took shots with the two of us leaning back to back with the over the shoulder approach.

When we seemed to be out of ideas, Patty suggested something I had already toyed with in the back of my devious mind: Why don't you switch outfits? Up stairs to John's room we went and swapped. Truthfully, I couldn't get the trousers buttoned, but with the black belt snugged up, it was covered.

We went back down stairs and really had a laugh! I think my favorite shot was the pose of John going to confession to a look of disgust on Fr. Larry's face.

There will be a DVD made of the final performance of our "world tour" at the Mabel Tainter Theatre in Menomonie on sunday afternoon, May 18th and I Liz and I are already thinking that the "confession" shot might be just the one for the cover.

Unfortunately, Patty is still working with a regular camera -- no digital -- so we couldn't see the work instantly but she will try to get them onto a CD for us by Friday and I will publish some of the shots here on the blog as soon as I get them.

I am assured that we will be doing a friday evening performance somewhere in Merrill, Wisconsin. The Lions Club is supposed to be securing the venue but as of tonight they still do not have one!

The other reason that I haven't been writing much this week is that I am going through my annual late winter "where the hell is spring?" depression. This is something that happens to me every year at this point of the season. And I am certain that I am not alone in this! Kim has been in Mexico with her sister and her mom for over a week and a half and for several days it was all I could do to get my butt out of bed. Today's snow and shift in temps downward didn't do much to help.

But today I feel like I am making a comeback! I even started to tackle the terrible mess this office is in and have regained the desk area and part of the kitchen. So there is hope!

_______________________________________________________

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

WITH ST PATRICK'S DAY NEAR -- THIS ONE'S FOR FUN

Only great minds can read this
This is weird, but
interesting!

fi yuo cna
raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe
out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht
I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch
at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod
are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit
pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm.
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


The Errand
McQuillan walked into a bar and ordered martini after martini,
Each time removing the olives and placing them in a jar.
When the jar was filled with olives and all the drinks consumed,
The Irishman started to leave.
"S'cuse me", said a customer,
Who was puzzled over what McQuillan had done,
"what was that all about?"
"Nothin', said the Irishman,
"me wife just sent me out for a jar of olives!"

***********************************************
The Lost Luggage
An Irishman arrived at J.FK Airport and wandered
Around the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks.
An airline employee asked him if he was already homesick.
"No," replied the Irishman.
"I've lost all me luggage!"
"How'd that happen?"
"The cork fell out!" said the Irishman.

***********************************************
Water to wine
An Irish priest is driving down to New York
And gets stopped for speeding.
The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath
And then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"
"Just water," says the priest.
The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"
The priest looks at the bottle and says,
"Good Lord! He's done it again!"

***********************************************
The Brothel
Two Irishmen were sitting in a pub having beer
And watching the brothel across the street.
They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel,
And one of them said,
"Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad."

Then they saw a Rabbi enter the brothel,
And the other Irishman said,
"Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews
Are falling' victim to temptation."

Then they saw a Catholic priest enter the brothel,
And one of the Irishmen said,
"What a terrible pity...
One of the girls must be quite ill."

***********************************************
Lost at Sea
Two Irishmen, Patrick & Michael,
Were adrift in a lifeboat following a dramatic escape
From a burning freighter.
While rummaging through the boat's provisions,
Patrick stumbled across an old lamp.
Secretly hoping that a genie would appear,
He rubbed the lamp vigorously.

To the amazement of Patrick, a genie came forth.
This particular genie, however,
Stated that he could only deliver one wish,
Not the standard three.

Without giving much thought to the matter,
Patrick blurted out,
"Make the entire ocean into Guinness Beer!"
The genie clapped his hands with a deafening crash,
And immediately the entire sea turned into
The finest brew ever sampled by mortals.
Simultaneously, the genie vanished.

Only the gentle lapping of Guinness on the hull
Broke the stillness as the two men considered their circumstances.
Michael looked disgustedly at Patrick
Whose wish had been granted.
After a long, tension-filled moment, he spoke:
"Nice going Patrick!
Now we're going to have to pee in the boat!

***********************************************
The Fall
Murphy was staggering home with a pint of booze
In his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily.
Struggling to his feet,
He felt something wet running down his leg.
"Please Lord," he implored,
"let it be blood!!"

(And saving the best for last...)
You've Been Drinking Again
An Irishman had been drinking at a pub all night.
The bartender finally said that the bar was closing.

So, the Irishman stood up to leave fell flat on his face.
He tried to stand one more time; same result.
He figured he'll crawl outside and get some fresh air
And maybe that will sober him up.

Once outside, he stood up and fell on his face again.
So he decided to crawl the four blocks home.
Again, he fell flat on his face.
He crawled through the door and into his bedroom.

When he reached his bed he tried one more time to stand up.
This time he managed to pull himself upright,
But he quickly fell right into the bed and is sound asleep
As soon as his head hit the pillow.

He was awakened the next morning
To his wife standing over him, shouting,
"SO YOU'VE BEEN DRINKING AGAIN!"

Putting on an innocent look,
and intent on bluffing it out he said,
"What makes you say that?"
"The pub just called; you left your wheelchair there again."


In honor of the mother of the octuplets,

Denny's is offering a new breakfast meal:

The Octo-Slam. You get fourteen eggs, no sausage,

and the guy next to you has to pay the bill.

Six retired Irishmen were playing poker inO'Leary's apartment when Paddy
Murphy loses $500 on a single hand, clutches his chest, and drops dead at
the table. Showing respect for their fallen brother, the other
five finish playing standing up.

Michael O'Conner looks around and asks, 'Oh, me boys, someone got's to
tell Paddy's wife. Who will it be?'

They draw straws. Paul Gallagher picks the short one. They tell him to be
discreet, be gentle, don't make a bad situation any worse.

'Discreet??? I'm the most discreet Irishmen you'll ever meet.
Discretion is me middle name. Leave it to me..'

Gallagher goes over t
o Murphy's house and knocks on the
door. Mrs. Murphy answers, and asks what he wants.
Gallagher declares, 'Your husband just lost $500, and is
afraid to come home.'

'Tell him to drop dead!', says Murphy's wife..

'I'll go tell him.' says Gallagher..

-------

Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like
he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a
sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut, and bruised,
and he's walking with a limp.

'What happened to you?' asks Sean, the bartender.

'Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight,' says Paddy.

'That little O'Conner,' says Sean, 'He couldn't do that
to you, he must have had something in his hand.'

'That he did,' says Paddy, 'a shovel is what he had,
and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it.'

'Well,' says Sean, 'you should have defended
yourself. Didn't you have something in your hand?'

That I did,' said Paddy, 'Mrs. O'Conner's bosom,
and a thing of beauty it was; but useless in a fight.'

----
An Irishman who had a little too much to drink is driving
home from the city one night and, of course, his car is
weaving violently all over the road.

A cop pulls him over. 'So,' says the cop to the driver,
'where have ya been?'

'Why, I've been to the pub of course,' slurs the drunk.

'Well,' says the cop, 'it looks like you've had quite a
few to drink this evening.'

'I did all right,' the
drunk says with a smile.

'Did you know,' says the cop, standing straight, and
folding his arms across his chest, 'that a few intersections
back, your wife fell out of your car?'

'Oh, thank heavens,' sighs the drunk. 'for a minute there,
I thought I'd gone deaf.'

------
Mary Clancy goes up to Father O'Grady after his Sunday
morning service, and she's in tears.

He says, 'So what's bothering you, Mary my dear?'

She says, 'Oh, Father, I've got terrible news. My
husband passed away last night.'

The priest says, 'Oh, Mary, that's terrible. Tell me,
Mary, did he have any last requests?'

She says, 'That he did, Father.'

The priest says, 'What did he ask, Mary?'

She says, 'He said, Please Mary, put down that damn
gun...'

-----------

A drunk staggers into a Catholic Church, enters a
confessional booth, sits down, but says nothing.

The Priest coughs a few times to get his attention, but the
drunk continues to sit there.

Finally, the Priest pounds three times on the wall.

The drunk mumbles, 'Ain't no use knockin,
there's no paper on this side either.

An attractive blonde from Cork, Ireland arrived at the casino.. She
seemed a little intoxicated and bet twenty-thousand Euros on a single
roll of the dice.
She said, 'I hope you don't mind, but I feel much luckier when I'm
completely nude'.
With that, she stripped from the neck down, rolled the dice and with
an Irish brogue yelled, 'Come on, baby, Mama needs new clothes!'
As the dice came to a stop, she jumped up and down and
squealed...'YES! YES! I WON, I WON!'
She hugged each of the dealers and then picked up her winnings and her
clothes and quickly departed.
The dealers stared at each other dumbfounded. Finally, one of them
asked, 'What did she roll?'
The other answered, 'I don't know - I thought you were watching.'

__________________________________________________________

Monday, March 9, 2009

I YIELD MY SPACE TO THE WISDOM OF A FORMER REPUBLICAN

Dear Republican Leaders: The Republican Party has become the party dedicated to sabotaging the American future. Check out the sermon I just delivered about the Republican Party on CNN when being interviewed by D.L. Hughley -- and/or read on.



You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America. Now you have the nerve to criticize the "architect" America just hired -- President Obama -- to rebuild from the ashes. You do nothing constructive, just try to hinder the one person willing and able to fix the mess you created.

I used to be one of you. As recently as 2000 I worked to get Senator McCain elected in that year's primary. (McCain and Gen. Tommy Franks wrote glowing endorsements regarding my book about military service, AWOL.). I have a file of handwritten thank you notes from Presidents Ford, Reagan, Bush I and II. In the 1970s and early 80s I hung out with Jack Kemp and bought into his "supply side" myth and even wrote a book he endorsed pushing his ideas.) There's more, but take it from me; my parents (evangelical leaders Francis and Edith Schaeffer) and I were about as tight with -- and useful to -- the Republican Party as anyone. We played a big part creating the Religious Right.

In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America's "moral decline." Soon after McCain lost in 2000 I re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But I still respected many Republicans. Not today.

How can anyone who loves our country support the Republicans now? Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan defined the modern conservatism that used to be what the Republican Party I belonged to was about. Today no actual conservative can be a Republican. Reagan would despise today's wholly negative Republican Party. And can you picture the gentlemanly and always polite Ronald Reagan, endorsing a radio hate-jock slob who crudely mocked a man with Parkinson's and who now says he wants an American president to fail?!

With people like Limbaugh as the loudmouth image of the Republican Party -- you need no enemies. But something far more serious has happened than an image problem: the Republican Party has become the party of obstruction at just the time when all Americans should be pulling together for the good of our country. Instead, Republicans are today's fifth column sabotaging American renewal.

President Obama has been in office barely 45 days and the Republican Party has the nerve to blame him for the economic and military cataclysm he inherited. I say economic and military cataclysm because without the needless war in Iraq you all backed we would not be in the economic mess we're in today. If that money had been spent here at home on renovating our infrastructure, taking us toward a green economy, putting our health-care system in order we'd be a very different situation.

As the father of a Marine who served in George W. Bush's misbegotten wars let me say this: if President Obama's strategy to repair our economy, infrastructure and healthcare fails that will put our troops at far greater risk because the world will become a far more dangerous place. So for all you flag-waving Republicans who are trying to undermine the President at home -- if you succeed more of our troops will be killed abroad.

When your new leader Rush Limbaugh calls for President Obama to fail he's calling for more flag-draped coffins. Limbaugh is the new "Hanoi Jane."

For the party that created our crises of misbegotten war, mismanaged economy, the lack of regulation of our banking industry, handing our country to rich crooks... to obstruct the one person who is trying to repair the damage is obscene.

Just imagine where America would be today if the 14 to 20 million voters -- "the rube base" who slavishly follow the likes of Limbaugh -- had not voted as a block year after year thus empowering the Republican fiasco. We would have a regulated banking industry and would have avoided our current financial crisis; some 4000 of our killed military men and women would be alive; over to 35,000 wounded Americans would be whole; we would have been leaders in the environmental movement; we would be in the middle of a green technology boom fueling a huge expansion of our economy and stopping our dependence on foreign oil, and our health-care system would be reformed.

After Obama was elected, you Republican leaders had a unique last chance to send a patriotic message of unity to the world -- and to all Americans. You could have backed our president's economic recovery plan. Since we all know that half of our problem is one of lost confidence and perception, nothing would have done more to calm the markets and project resolve and confidence than if you had been big enough to take Obama's offered hand and had work with him -- even if you disagreed ideologically. You had the chance to put our country first. You utterly failed to rise to the occasion.

The worsening economic situation is your fault and your fault alone. The Republicans created this mess through 8 years of backing the worst president in our history and now, because you put partisan ideology ahead of the good of our country, you have blown your last chance to redeem yourselves. You deserve the banishment to the political wilderness that awaits all traitors.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back Now in paperback.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

SMITH AND WESSON SEMI AUTO IS A "JAMMER" - TRADING FOR BERETTA

After spending much of sunday morning catching up on much needed sleep, I decided today was the day I would take my Smith and Wesson semi-auto 22 caliber pistol to Scheels and complain about how every time I tried to spend some time zeroing the damn thing in with a few clips of ammo, it ended up jamming.

When I finally got the attention of a sales clerk (you would never know there is a recession going on by the size of the crowds at the mall today!) it was totally disheartening to find out that I wasn't the first guy complaining about this gun's "jamming" - so I decided to trade it in if I could find something with a better reputation and with more punch as I primarily want the gun for home protection.

So I shopped around their gun displays for a bit and found a used Beretta 800D which has a short barrel and packs a lot more whallop with a 9 millimeter cartridge.

So how much would they give me in trade? A hundred bucks. Why? Because the Smith and Wesson is a jammer. Screwed again. But I went ahead with the trade as I will feel more comfortable knowing I have a more reliable pistol bedside.

As you may notice from the photo, the 800D is a hammerless model - which simply means that it can only be fired double action (that's what the "D" stands for - "double action". After ramming the clip home, youpull back on the slide,jacking in the first round and it's good to go. There is also no safety on this gun - which means I will have the clip in place and if I hear the sound of breaking glass and tiptoe feet, I will pull back the slide and let it fly - making much the same metallic noise that a shotgun makes when you pump the action - and I don't know about the average intruder, but if I heard that cold blooded metallic noise in the dark, I would be hauling ass!

Later on, I intend to install a universal mount laser sight on this little bad boy so that I will be certain of acquiring my target.

______________________________________________________

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, 'I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front t of you and cussing a blue streak at him.' I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk; naturally...
I assumed you had stolen the car.'

___________________________________________________