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

Saturday, February 27, 2010


After being released from the hospital earlier this week, yesterday was the first day I was allowed to put some weight on the broken keft ankle. It was also a full day of poking and prodding with doctor’s appointments at Marshfield Clinic.

Our first stop was with Dr. Lowry, an ear, nose, throat specialist to check on whether prescribed medicine has been helping with the acid reflux problem he accessed some six weeks ago.

I was glad that Kim came along as she could better testify as to whether there was less hacking and coughing going on. Together we ultimately decided that although the situation was far from solved, there had been some improvement.

Noticing my continued hoarseness, Dr. Lowry suggested a speech therapist but I quickly dismissed that as I already have enough on my plate and besides, my “whiskey and smoke” singing voice has already been established as my signature style anyway.

Then it was down stairs to radiology for my artificially induced stress test to determine if my heart is in good enough shape to withstand possible gall bladder surgery within the month.

Now, if you are young, strong and healthy and work out regularly or are a runner, they would wire you up and put you on a tread mill. I went through that ten years ago when I was none of the above but managed to pass anyway - enough to be admitted into Abbott-Northwestern for a quadruple bypass. But when you are dragging a cast on one leg, it pretty much eliminates the standard operating procedures.

So yesterday I was somewhat concerned that they might find some pretty serious crud going on somewhere within my repaired engine as I had done very little to improve diet and lifestyle in the last ten years and cursing the fact that Culver’s had opened yet another outlet less than three miles from the house. Culver’s, if you are not familiar with the franchise, makes a bacon cheeseburger that is absolute KING - and will cure you of Mac and Don’s instantly and seal arteries at about the same speed.

After inserting an IV, I was taken to a small room with a big chair accompanied by a nurse who explained what would be happening and would be in charge of checking my blood pressure every 30 seconds or so.

In comes the tech with a screen and a computer keyboard, the cocktail is shot into my arm through the IV and within seconds I find myself gasping for breath, my heart attempting to launch into orbit, my head feeling like it will implode at any second.

Fortunately this only lasts for a couple of minutes and then the blood pressure readings start to return to what they were pre-test.

Once the test is finished, I am allowed to have the ekg stick-ons ripped off and I am released with the ominous announcement that the results will be available on monday UNLESS initial findings raise red flags, in which case they will telephone me yet that day.

Not getting a call helps ease some dread but I still worry about what they will have to say about the ticker on monday as even though they anesthetized me a week ago and gave my heart a good electrical jolt to get it back in sinus rhythm, my heart beat is running at 41 per minute. Somebody tries to tell me normal is in the 70’s????

Feeling a bit more frisky, I decide to yield to my son David’s request to learn how to make my pizza recipe and we pick up the necessaries after meeting him for a delayed lunch.

I had purchased a pizza making kit for David some time ago but hadn’t shipped it to Brooklyn yet so I presented him with it when we got back to the bungalow.

We got a nice fire going in the wood stove, turned on the computer and keyed in Pandora radio, set up a Beatles station and the lesson began. I wrote out directions as we went through the steps and he did outstandingly well for a first time around. We had some trouble with water/yeast ratio to flour (too dry) but added in a little water as he kneaded the dough.

Ordinarily I roll out dough as soon as it is smooth asnd elastic, but because it was a bit stiff I told David to put a bit of olive oil sheen on the dough ball, put it in the bowl, cover it with a towel and set it on the top of the hot stove (as we were pre-heating the pizza stone at 550 degrees.

I talked him through his first dough roll out and how to continually turn it over and roll from the center out to see where the uneven sides are. He had some trouble getting a "perfect" round - but that takes a whole lotta practice. we used a dinner plate as a template and cut a 10 inch circle, discarding the dough that didn't cooperate in the rolling.

He has wonderful hands for cooking and a good understanding that cooking is an art with his art background.

Then came the hard step - the delivery from the paddle onto the hot stone. I described the move, the location for the tip of the paddle upon insertion and he slide it onto the stone like he had done it thousands of times!

We watched it bake and I knew immediately he had a good one when the crust began to form air bubbles around the outside edge and as it finished baking the outside edge lifted from the stone surface.

We brought it over to the house to share with Kim - and although I am staying away from fats I had a piece (quality control, ya know) and the young man has it down! Now he just needs to practice, practice, practice until rolling out pizza rounds will become second nature.

It was truly a rewarding moment, I feel, for both of us. I LOVE BONDING WITH MY SONS.


Thursday, February 25, 2010


Haven't blogged for quite a while what with the shit storm that has descended on my body. Truth is I have been on too much of an emotional roller coaster to even consider attempting to be the least bit interesting to read - and as my friend Mr. Raiid would say: "there you have it".

Received word that my old orchestra conductor of the magic years of summer theatre at "Patio Playhouse", Mr. Jack Pingel died. I received a forwarded e mail from my dear friend Matt Capell via Penny Cecchini:

I think all of you remember Jack Pingel? I sadly write to say he passed away yesterday morning.....he had prostate cancer surgery a few years before Andrea and somehow (luckily, in my eyes....) managed to avoid chemotherapy. At any rate, his son, Scott, now principal double-bass with Tilson-Thomas’s San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, a former student of mine – fine fellow – called to say they’d thought perhaps Jack had H1N1 flu....tests/scans showed the usual pattern....the cancer had spread to the bones and was very, very fast spreading throughout the internal organs. Thankfully, then, the worse days were only about two weeks – nevertheless – pain for everyone.

In the event you’d like to get in touch:

Carol Pingel
1276 Virgin Lake Dr.
Stoughton, WI 53589

Scott tells me he will establish a memorial scholarship for contributions in Jack’s memory at UWEC....

Jack was an immensely talented musician from a musical family. His dad was a regional band leader in this area for years. What I remember most about Jack was his enthusiasm, intensity, and wild sense of humor as our director of shows like "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum". He would be directing the pit band with the baton and when an actor's singing entrance was due, he would suddenly thrust his baton wildly in the direction of the singer, his bespectacled countenance screwed in total concentration. It got so I would memorize my entrances because if I didn't I would have broken up laughing from his antics.

He loved to direct musical theatre and always looked forward to the summer schedule of shows. It was customary on opening night for cast and crew to head over to Austin's White House for late dinner and cocktails. Jack, still attired in his tuxedo, would hold forth for the entire evening and the fortunate of us shared a table with him and his wonderful wife Carol. He would do most anything for a laugh, the more outrageous, the better. I recall that one night while pretending to be deep in conversation, he picked up a dinner roll, tore it open, stabbed a pat of butter and while talking intently began buttering the roll but then continued on up his wrist and the sleeve of his jacket.

Another time he was giving Carol a hard time so to "top" him, she reached over and grabbed his snap on bow tie, wrenched it from his neck, and without looking, tossed it backwards over her head. It landed in the middle of some startled diners entrees. Jack quickly got up and retrieved the errant tie exclaiming in a very loud voice: "you'll have to excuse my wife. She is very drunk!"

Speaking of very drunk, I don't recall now which show we were doing (I think it was The Fantastiks) but we were all pretty excited when the news broke that the Minneapolis Tribune was sending down a reviewer to cover opening night. Jack was assigned meet and greet. He took the young man out to The White House and proceeded to fill him with potent cocktails. When it got to be time to leave for the theatre, Jack waited patiently at the bar for the reviewer's return from the men's room. After an inordinate amount of time, Jack felt he had best go check on his charge. He found him in one of the stalls, pants around his ankles, totally passed out.

The reviewer never did show up at the performance but the show got a hell of a review in the next day's paper. Pingel strikes yet again!

His musical instincts were always with him. I visited with him in McFarland one weekend. We were in his car, stopped at a red light adjacent to a "Stop 'N Go" gas station and small grocery. The sign was one that the three words "stop" lit in red, 'N lit in yellow, and "Go" lit in green, would flash in sequence. Jack observed this and then began: "Stop and go - rest - stop and go - rest - stop and go - rest!

Here is his obituary for those of us he touched so deeply:

Pingel, John T. "Jack"
The Heavens are rejoicing as Jack T. Pingel, beloved husband, father and grandfather was taken by cancer just before sunrise at HospiceCare on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010. He is mercifully, peacefully and joyously reunited in dignity with our ancestors, friends and God. Jack was a tremendous man that blessed thousands of people with his work as a music educator in McFarland and Madison schools and as the associate executive director of the Wisconsin School Music Association. Words cannot describe the joy and humor that Jack brought to all that met him. "Jack Pingel Stories" will live on in the hearts and minds of all that had the honor to know him and work with him. The "Jack Gene" lives strong through his children and vibrant grandchildren. He was an intense man that dedicated his life to helping others with his generosity, endless work ethic, kind spirit and crazy sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, Carole (Elwood) Pingel of Stoughton; and his three children, Anne Pingel-Nichols (Bob Nichols) of McFarland, Greg Pingel of Blue Mounds, and Scott Pingel (Iris Lee Pingel) of San Francisco. His spirit lives on through his five grandchildren, Ethan and Zach Nichols, Allie Rae and Alex Pingel, and Hannah Pingel. Jack was born in Eau Claire on March 7, 1937, the son of Olga (Enger) Pingel and John T. Pingel Jr. Memorial services will be held on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010, at 11 a.m. at CHRIST THE KING CATHOLIC CHURCH, 5306 Main St., McFarland, with Father D. Stephen Smith officiating. The family will greet friends on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the OLSON-HOLZHUTER-CRESS FUNERAL HOME in McFarland, and again at church on Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire Foundation Jack Pingel Scholarship, in care of the family, or to the McFarland Education Foundation.
Olson-Holzhuter-Cress Funeral and Cremation Service 5801 Highway 51 McFarland (608) 838-0655 www.cressfuneralservice.com .



My son David, worried about his pops, took some time off the job in NYC and flew in yesterday. I really appreciate his being here as he has a great sense of humor. Yesterday at lunch I was telling him of a recent gig in Arena, Wisconsin, for a farm cooperative and how there was a contingent of Amish farmers present which gave me pause as I have no idea what the Amish find funny.
David asked if I got heckled by the Amish. Well, that got me laughing uncontrollably - I mean what a concept! and mid laughter I said: "GET THEE OFF THE STAGE" which got us both roaring to tears.

It is difficult to express how much I owe my dear wife Kim for her constant love throughout this latest health crisis. She has truly been my shelter in the storm. She has totally dedicated her time and herself to me, arriving at the hospital at 7 AM to be certain to have input with the doctors. I really owe it to her to get out of this current funk and face the music with a positive outlook.

I also want to extend my thanks to all my friends that have e mailed or telephoned their concern about my current health situation. When something like this happens it makes me stop, think, and reshuffle priorities. And be more thankful for having another day.

And as much as I dislike being hospitalized, I want to offer sincere thanks to the nursing staff at Sacred Heart Hospital who put up with my curmudgeonly attitude for three days. And my apologies for being a dick.




Sunday, February 21, 2010


Friday afternoon was occupied with extensive medical testing to determine if my heart could be shocked back into normal sinus rhythm.

The first test involved freezing up my throat to accommodate sliding a tube down the throat to take photographs of the flaps surrounding the heart to be certain that there would be no blood clots since the next sstep involved giving tghe heart a jolt of electricity to get it back into normal sinus rhythm.

As I explained in my last entry, both of these procedures went just fine

So last night I awoke to bad pain in my upper right shoulder area which I at first dismissed as having slept "wrong" on my side so I went back to sleep. Some two hours later I was once again awakened by a much worse searing pain in the same general area.

I awakened Kim and we decided it was time to get me to the hospital emergency and believe me that was the longest, ujgliest car ride I have ever been involved in - the kind that makes you whimper involuntarily all the way to the hospital.

I remained in terrible pain for over an hour in spite of shots of morphine and God knows what.

So I am ensconced here in the hospital pending continued testing tomorrow. The over all consensus is that it is my gall bladder that is the culorit. We will know more by days end tomorrow.


Saturday, February 20, 2010


After completing my obligatory luncheon performance for the Scenic Valley Cooperative, Arena, Wisconsin, I drove home directly - well, almost directly - I had to pull over at the Warrens exit and take a 20 minute nap.

When I got home I was excited to see a medium size package had arrived from the Philippines. It was from Aileen Kwak who has a sewing, football jersey producing enclave that is ready and willing to reproduce any of he old stlyle NFL jerseys from the late 50's thru the '60's.

I had ordered a Boyd Dowler dark green (spinach) home Packer jersey as well as a road white Bart Starr #15 with dark green numerals, both in size 44. Pictured is a little still life I set up here at the bungalow so you could get a look at the jersey. I am very impressed with both the sewing and with the colors used. she uses the very, very dark green that was sported in the 1960 jerseys which I like a lot. The overall length from shoulder to bottom hem is a bit long for my taste but not enough to complain about.

I did, however, find out that the 44's are a bit snug across the mid section, so the next two I ordered, I moved up to a size 46 as these are pretty tight in the trunk - I have gained way too much weight is the problem. Overall, a good jersey for the money ($29.99 per jersey plus $16 shipping cost from the Philippines.)

However, I am still a Harv Harvison fan as his jerseys are a bit heavier durene and more carefully tailored with a definite careful study of the exact style of numerals the Packers used under Lombardi's rule.

Still in all, for $29.99 a jersey one can't go wrong in building a closet full of the old style Packer jerseys. I have ordered a dark green #85 (Max McGee) and a white #63 (Fuzzy Thurston) in honor of the great pulling guard, who in tandem with #64, Jerry Kramer, sprung both Paul Hornung (#5) and Jim Taylor (#31) clear for big yardage back in the day.

I have a Jimmy Taylor on the way from Harv Harvison as I write this - the one I ordered came in way too large and had to be sent all the way back overseas for alterations.

In both cases, i appreciate the authenticity of the long sleeves. If you google any of the Packers 1960's teams you will find that all jerseys had long sleeves.

My thanks to Kirk Roebuck for turning me on to Tom Dowling's "Coach", a book covering Vince Lombardi's singular year as coach of the Washington Redskins before succumbing to cancer. It is a geat read!


On the home "health front", Brenda, a wonderful RN who works for Dr; Santolin, went to work to see if she could somehow wrangle an earlier date for the TEE and "Heart Shocker" Within a day she calls to tell us that she has finagled an earlier slot for the procedures! She also says it now means that she has to bring in coffee and donuts to effected staff . So yesterday, February 19, we set out for the crucial occasion at 12:30 PM. Originally when it was scheduled for February 24, we would have been there at 7:30 AM. The time change makes Nurse Kim very happy. She is not a "morning" person.

After registering and apologizing to the receptionist for having chewed her head off the last time I was in there, We (my entourage of Kim, Bob and Dorothy) moved up to second floor for prep. Nurse Kim takes my civvies, including the only pair of sweat pants that we can pull over the caste on my left leg, bags them, and helps me into the standard issue bun factory gown.

Two techs converge and hook me up to the machine that goes "bing" gettng bp and heart beat readings. Apparently the machine that goes "bing" was not binging as frequent aas it should which aroused the two nurses to new heights. In coms another bespectacled electrocardiagram expert who ships out a razor and shaves half my chest and then attaches the discs with the elmer glue on the back and hooks wires to them, types a bit, and out comes a sheet with a reading of my heart beat.

"Yup - it's heart flutter all right!" chirps the first
"OH, and it's classic, just classic!! chirps the second
"See how the lines are all evenly saw toothed until the next spike?"
"Yes - this is just textbook fkutter!"

Hello. I can hear you.

After a lengthy lay about, the anethestic guy comes in (Brian) who announces it it time to go down the hall to the actual room of operations as Dr. Santolin is due shortly. Brian is a very tall good lookin' guy, very easy to talk with.

we get to the room and I am introduced to Leo who is , I believe the anesthesiologist. I once entertained a dinner of anesthetists/anestheologists and the only "inside" joke they shared with me that night was "What's the difference between an anesthetist and an anesthesiologist? ABOUT $30,000. bada bing bada boom.

I instantly take a liking to Leo and, as Dr. Santolin, we are informed, is running at least a half hour late, I get to learn about him back in the day -a sailor machinist, went to school for his present gig back in Chicago, from Chi town originally but a Packer fan not a Bears fan because his grandpa had a farm near Green Bay when he was a kid - three kids I think he said - early college to junior high age, doesn't think much of the younger generation comin' up - too wimpy and lazy,

I like him.

All the while they're doing this, they are attaching IV's the way they like them, putting a wired disk on my back, another on my chest diametrically opposed. I assume this is the car starter battery that they are attaching. I remind them that we gotta get through phase one before there is any zappage, (like they don't know that). Blood clots sprung loose by electrical impulse a bad thing.

The Doc arrives and seems a bit miffed that I am on the table today and not February 24 as I have only had two doses of coumadin and he wants the blood thinner than that. So we wait until the pharmacy delivers a nice big shot of Lovenox which sounds like another erection med, doesn't it?

Lovenox is another type of blood thinner.

Then Dr. Santolin tells me that a lot of the things they are about to do could kill me or damage my brain enough that I could become a Republican. I tell him I have complete faith in him and he tells me that has nothing to do with it. I tell him everything is cool and let's get it done.

Leo rolls me on my left side, reminds me to keep my chin down, and as I am thinking about that move, I am gone.

When I come to, the nes is all good. The TEE found no blood clots or irregulatities and he zapping of the heart was very successful as the heart is now beaitng regularly, out of sawtooth spiking flutter.

Now every day I have to go in to Urgent Care for another Lovenox injection. I will be seeing Dr. Santolin for my first re-exam on March first, so Mexico rip is out for me.

All this was done to see if I continue with a normal heart beat, If it takes as it should, no further problems or money outlay. If I get out of sync again, then it will probably be pace maker time.


A special thank you to all the Sacred Heart Staff I was fortunate to come into contact with! Everyone is helpful, courteous, and very professional.

Until he told me to turn on my left side after they had started IV'ing God knows what -- he tole me to remember to keep my chin down and hell --- I woke up and they had performed both procedures

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cardiology Update (The Beat Goes On -- sort of)

Kim and I spent most of this afternoon with Dr. Santolin, a cardiologist with Sacred Heart Hospital. He told us that there are two procedures he wants to perform on me before considering a pace maker. So on february 24, I report to Sacred Heart Hospital, Eau Claire, at 7 AM. the first procedure is a TEE: (googled below) He wants to do this to check for blood clots in the sacs surrounding the heart because if there are blood clots, the second procedure would kick them loose and cause stroke. He diagnosed me with Atrial Flutter (googled down below)

Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

There are several ways to create an image of the heart and how it functions. The TEE is one of these ways. It will show the heart structure and the blood flow through the heart. This procedure can detect heart problems such as blood clots, aneurysms, valve dysfunction, septal wall defects, backflow of the blood through the valves, infections of the heart valve and cardiac masses.

What exactly is a TEE?
Transesophageal echocardiography is a painless ultrasound imaging exam. The instrument used is inserted through the mouth and passed into the esophagus. Because the heart and esophagus are close together, and there are no bony structures between, TEE can provide a clear image of the heart.

The TEE probe is a long flexible instrument with an ultrasound sensor located at the tip. The probe is passed through the mouth, down the back of the throat, and into the esophagus and stomach. This allows the doctor to examine the heart and valves through ultrasound images. No biopsies (tissue samples) are taken from the heart during the TEE.

The exam is extremely well tolerated with little or no discomfort. The probe does not interfere with breathing. There is no risk of heart damage from the exam.

Atrial flutter is caused by a reentrant rhythm in either the right or left atrium. Typically initiated by a premature electrical impulse arising in the atria, atrial flutter is propagated due to differences in refractory periods of atrial tissue. This creates electrical activity that moves in a localized self-perpetuating loop. For each cycle around the loop, there results an electric impulse that propagates through the atria.

In my case the flutter makes my heart rate appear to be very slow and at times causes it to actually pause - the longest pause I experienced this past week in testing was a little over eight seconds. Dr. Santolin cannot be certain because there are too many variables, but the sleep apnea may well be at least one of the causes. The two 8 second pauses both occurred at around 5 AM - so he wonders if it may be happening as I am coming out of REM sleep.

At any rate, he does not want Kim to leave me unobserved until they can run the above procedures. The Mexico trip scheduled for March 1 - 6 is very much in doubt because of all of this - we will decide soon so that Kristi can get money back for paid flights with letter from physician.

So we move forward under a cloud of not knowing until testing is completed.



Management Course

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs..

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor..

Before she says a word, Bob says, 'I'll give you $800 to drop that towel.'

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, 'Who was that?'

'It was Bob the next door neighbor,' she replies.

'Great,' the husband says, 'did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?'

Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your share holders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift.

She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.

The priest nearly had an accident.

After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?'

The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, 'Father, remember Psalm 129?'

The priest apologized 'Sorry sister but the flesh is weak.'

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way..

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129. It said, 'Go forth and seek, further up, you will find glory.'

Moral of the story:
If you are not well informed in your job, you might miss a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out.
The Genie says, 'I'll give each of you just one wish.'

'Me first! Me first!' says the admin clerk. 'I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.'

Puff! She's gone.

'Me next! Me next!' says the sales rep. 'I want to be in Hawaii , relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life.'

Puff! He's gone.

'OK, you're up,' the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, 'I want those two back in the office after lunch.'

Moral of the story:

Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing.

A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, 'Can I also sit like you and do nothing?'
The eagle answered: 'Sure, why not.'

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below th e eagle and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:
To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull.

'I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree' sighed the turkey, 'but I haven't got the energy.'

'Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?' replied the bull. They're packed with nutrients.'

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudl y perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:
Bull Shi t might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pocket Tazer Stun Gun - A Great Gift For The Wife (WARNING: put on a Depends Before Reading The Bottom Story)

Drove back home after performing a luncheon show for the "Scenic Central Cooperative" at Brisbane Hall, connected to an atypical Wisconsin country tavern, "Grandma Mary's" near Arena, Wisconsin, Highway 14 W on the way to Spring Green. Only had to pull over an rest for 20 minutes near Warrens, between the Dells and Tomah to avoid the "nods".

Arrived early to set up with the help of Stan and Tom Johnson, my roadies and guardian angels from Windsor. Fortunately the house sound system was adequate and they didn't have to trundle anything in other than me, a mic stand and a guitar mic.

Observing the lunching farmers (dinner"ing" - farmers eat dinner at noon and supper in the evening) I was struck by their stoicism and figured I would have a tough go of acquitting myself in the show, but they surprised me as they got caught up early and really responded well. Even the straw-hatted, full-bearded Amish gents were laughing!

Buoyed by adrenaline, I set out for home as I have an appointment with the cardiologist today at 11:30 AM to discuss the heart failures and hopefully set a "real soon" date for a pace maker install.

Thanks to all who wrote and/ or called to express concern. After discovering that I am still funny, I have determined that God isn't done with me on this mortal trip. There are still folks who need to laugh!

Speaking of laughter, my friend and former teaching cohort Donna Wagner Backus forwarded me the following story that is so well written that I damn near died of a laughing heart attack while reading it. I have to share this with the world!


Note: An aside to "Kirk" who commented on my "America the Agressor" Blog:

you are nearly correct in your observation that ranting does no good. However, it made ME feel better!


Last weekend I saw something at Larry's Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 15th anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife Julie. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse- sized tazer. The effects of the tazer were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety....??

WAY TOO COOL! Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two AAA batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button and pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I'd get the blue arc of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.


Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Julie what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-A batteries, right? There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong?

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and tazer in another.. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.

All the while I'm looking at this little device measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and (loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-A batteries) thinking to myself, 'no possible way!' What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best.. .?

I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, 'don't do it dipshit,' reasoning that a one second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad. I decided to give myself a one second burst just for heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and . .

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs? The cat was making meowing sounds I had never heard before, clinging to a picture frame hanging above the fireplace, obviously in an attempt to avoid getting slammed by my body flopping all over the living room.

Note: If you ever feel compelled to 'mug' yourself with a tazer, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one second burst when you zap yourself! You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor.. A three second burst would be considered conservative?

A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. The recliner was upside down and about 8 feet or so from where it originally was. My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. I had no control over the drooling.

Apparently I pooped on myself, but was too numb to know for sure and my sense of smell was gone. I saw a faint smoke cloud above my head which I believe came from my hair. I'm still looking for my nuts and I'm offering a significant reward for their safe return!

P.S. My wife, can't stop laughing about my experience, loved the gift, and now regularly threatens me with it!

If you think education is difficult, try being stupid !!!

Monday, February 15, 2010


Remember the old saying: "He told me to cheer up and that things could be worse. so I cheered up and he was right - things got worse."?

Well, I am beginning to feel like the Bible's Job, the man with the black cloud overhead. Last night I went in for my second round of sleep study as the computer results from my CPAP machine's card were not good last friday. The card indicated that not only did I stop breathing many times during the course of a night's "rest", but in addition, my heart would actually pause -- sometimes for up to five seconds.

So, as I mentioned in last thursday's entry, they had me wear a heart holter. The results were consistent with the read outs from my CPAP machine.

So, back to last night's sleep study. I had a really rough night of it. When I finally called the technician in at 6 AM as I had started to become somewhat claustrophobic from wearing a full face mask (I actually had a sneezing jag with it in place - now that's a real trip! Thought I was gonna blow what's left of my tiny brain right out my ears!) she came in, pulled the apparatus off me and said: "You scared the shit outa me last night!"
"why?" I asked
"Because all night long your heart would stop beating for a few seconds but at five this morning, it stopped for EIGHT SECONDS STRAIGHT!"

So home I went with Kim and we started making phone calls right after 8 AM to the cardiologist. He, of course, would be in surgery all day today and wouldn't be able to see me until wednesday afternoon.

So here I am, at my friends, Stan and Tom Johnson's house in Windsor, Wisconsin, so that I am in position to perform in Arena, Wisconsin tomorrow at 12:30 for a farm coop luncheon. That may sound worrisome but hey! This is obviously a condition I have had for at least two years. I know this because my regular doctor was unhappy with my pulse that long ago. It has been in the low 40's.

Last night the lowest was 31 beats per minute. I may be a vampire.

So now it is time to take steps to fix this. It is very fixable. I need a pace maker and I need it as quickly as I can get an appointment to have it installed.

I googled installing pace maker and it ain't no biggie. A week of discomfort and I am on my way. Back to concentrating on my other minor problems - sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, and a broken ankle.

As the hill billies on Hee Haw used to say: Life gets tejous, don't it?


At the end of the tax year, the IRS office sent an inspector to audit the books of a local hospital.
While the IRS agent was checking the books he turned
to the CFO of the hospital and said, "I notice you buy a lot of bandages..
What do you do with the end of the roll when there's too little left
to be of any use?"Good question," noted the CFO. "We save them up and
send them back to the bandage company and every now and then
they send us a free box of bandages.
"Oh," replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious
"What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what's left
over after setting a cast on a patient?"

"Ah, yes," replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap
him with an
unanswerable question. "We save it and send it back to the
manufacturer, and every now and then they send us a free package of
"I see," replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. "Well," he went on, "What do you do with all the leftover
foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?
"Here, too, we do not waste,"
answered the CFO. "What we do is save all the
little foreskins and send them to the IRS Office, and about once a year they
send us a complete dick."


A man is stumbling through the woods totally drunk when he comes upon a
preacher baptizing people in the river. The drunk walks into the water and
subsequently bumps into the preacher. The preacher turns around and is
almost overcome by the smell of booze. Whereupon he asks the drunk, "Are you
ready to find Jesus?"

"Yes I am" replies the drunk, so the preacher grabs him and dunks him in the
river. He pulls him up and asks the drunk, "Brother have you found Jesus?"

The drunk replies, "No, I haven't." The preacher, shocked at the answer,
dunks him into the water again, but for a bit longer this time. He pulls
him out of the water and asks again, "Have you found Jesus, my brother?"

The drunk again answers, "No, I have not found Jesus."
By this time the preacher is at his wits end so he dunks the drunk in the
water again, but this time he holds him down for about 30 seconds.

When the drunk begins kicking his arms and legs, the preacher pulls him up.
The preacher asks the drunk again, "For the love of God, have you found

The drunk wipes his eyes and catches his breath and says to the preacher,
"Are you sure this is where he fell in?

Say good night, folks. Good night folks.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


Why is it that we Americans never seem to learn the lesson of history's teaching by repeating the same atrocities over and over again?

I have been against the war in Afghanistan since the day that Osama Bin Laden, the HERO of the Middle East, stole away through a great blockade of American troops and hasn't been seen since.

Still we continue to "pursue" him but not really. We are making a completely illegal war against a country that once harbored the man. Instead of allowing time for agents to slip into the Bin Laden network and kill or capture him, we are doing exactly what the Russians did before us and got their asses handed to them.

And in the process we are turning ordinary Alghanis into a growing network of terrorists. If another nation rained down smart bombs on us for harboring George W. Bush, we would soon hate the perpetrators. And that's what's happening in Afghanistan right now.

Then our top military officials say that civilian casualties in Marjah, Afghanistan are “inevitable” as U.S. and allied forces launch Operation Moshtarak, the largest military action since the U.S-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Thanks in part to conflicting messages from ISAF and in part due to some residents’ inability to flee, many civilians remain in Marjah, in the crossfire.

Statements from Brig. Gen. Nicholson, commander of the operation, indicate that he feels he has the right to make air strikes in the civilian area, and that he intends to use fast, furious attacks to try to overwhelm the Taliban. The problem: airstrikes in support of troops in contact are the leading cause of U.S.-caused civilian deaths.

In the L.A. Times article on the upcoming operation in Marja, the U.S. commander says all the right words when it comes to the issue of insulating the non-combatants from the carnage:

…[I]n the weeks leading up to the imminent offensive to take the Helmand River Valley town of Marja in southern Afghanistan, the Marines’ commander, Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, sat with dozens of Afghan tribal elders, drinking endless cups of sweet tea and offering reassurances that his top priority will be the safety of Afghan civilians.

“In counterinsurgency, the people are the prize,” Nicholson said…

…except Nicholson is talking out of both sides of his mouth:

US Second Marine Expeditionary Force commander Larry Nicholson said that the evacuation of most civilians would give commanders leeway to use air-to-ground missiles, declaring that he was “not looking for a fair fight.”

ABC News quotes Nicholson explaining some truly worrisome logic:

Nicholson underscored the point saying a heavy handed approach will reduce the chance for civilian casualties.

“Our feeling is if you go big, strong and fast, you lessen the possibility of civilian casualties as opposed to a slow methodical rolling assault. You go in and you dominate. You overwhelm the enemy,” he said.

Okay, let’s put these two things together. Nicholson is telegraphing he’s letting the air strikes off the chain and that he intends to use rapid, furious attacks in Marja, and somehow that is supposed to lead to reduced civilian casualties. Well, that would be great if we didn’t already know that the single greatest cause of U.S.-caused civilian casualties was airstrikes in support of troops involved in intense firefights.

All of this is very, very bad news for civilians in Marjah. And it’s bad news for the troops in the fight as well.

I must say at this point that I am very embarrassed to be an American citizen. Yes we should seek the capture of Bin Laden and the control of Al Queda, but no, we should not go about it in a totally senseless cruel manner, killing off countless old people, women, children.

I am also very deeply saddened that I actually believed in and voted for what Barack Obama said in order to get himself elected.

Obama a peace prize? Hardly an example of a leader who believes in peace and justice.

The last American president who truly believed in peace and justice was murdered on the streets of Dallas, Texas. My fellow citzens, we are truly f_____. So you had best speak the truth as you know it to all who will listen - and you had best cling to those who really love you. All we Americans have is - each other. And as Tom Lehrer put it so succinctly in the 1960"s:"We'll all go together when we go."



Oh, I guess maybe I talk too much about the latest additions to our wonderful family here at 4896 Hobbs Road, but our two little furballs have grown into handsome specimens of felininety, (spell check says felininety is not a word - s'cuse me, spell check, but it is now!)

Both Kim and I are constantly talking about how Hammy (pictured in a typical pose) and Stella are the two most wonderful companion cats we have ever had. And don't tell me that cats do not know their names when called. Example: every night, just before bed, Kim will go out to the kitchen, get a package of "kitty treats" and begin her nightly mantra: "Hammy! Stella! Kitty treats!" and bam! both cats appear from different sections of the house and gather at Kim's feet in the kitchen.

The other night, Kim began calling out for them to come get their bed time treats, not knowing that Mr. Hamilton was at that very moment somewhat "indisposed". He was way down in the basement. front paws on the lip of the kitty litter box and back paws braced solidly in the kitty litter, making certain that his feces would land in a proper position for burial.

Hearing the call for treats,Hammy faced a great dilemma. Does he stay and finish his business or does he "pinch it off" and make a bee-line for the kitchen to join his sister in the evening's ritual. Hammy opts to cut short the bathroom activity and comes thundering upstairs. But all has not cleared the butt!

Kim sees this when he sits on the kitchen tile and good mommy that she is, accepts full responsibility and immediately goes into clean up mode. Even in the best of circumstances, Hammy sometimes is unable to achieve a "clean drop" and so he has a new nick name: CRUSTY BUTT
You will notice in the far right column of this blog that there is a place to click to join us in contributing food to animal shelters at no cost - just be clicking on the icon that comes up. Please join us in being the defenders and voices for those who canot speak! Follow the directions carefully that will show you how to vote (after you fill out the form) for the Eau Claire County Humane Association





Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Today's entry will be necessarily short as it has been a long day! My cast leg is really, really biting me big time because of it and I wish I could rip it off! Kim, my lovely nurse, driver, roadie, and cheerleader got me up and rolling early this morning as we had to make tracks to Melrose/Mindoro High School where I closed the teachers inservice with a 45 minute set of comedy and music just to send them home for the weekend on an upbeat note.

This was my second appearance in as many years for the teachers so I had to try to remember what I had performed last year - for the most part I was able to accomplish that goal -from a wheel chair, no less. Once again they were very receptive and the forty five minute set fairly flew by for me.

While Kim and Lorna the janitor re-loaded the gear back into the Scion xB, I came rolling down the side walk towards the back of the car. Just as I reached the end of the sidewalk and the beginning of the handicapped slope, I hit a raised patch of ice and the wheelchair came to an abrupt halt but I didn't - I flew out of the chair and landed on my butt but luckily incurred no further injury to the broken ankle or my other leg, but instead my buttocks and the heels of both hands took the brunt of the impact.

Needless to say, my lovely nurse, roadie, and cheerleader ceased at that point to be my cheerleader but instead chastised me thoroughly with: "Now see! This is exactly the kind of thing that makes it difficult for me to trust that you will not do stupid things if and when I leave you at home alone."

With the aid of two women, then, like a beached whale, I was lifted up and into the vehicle. So here I am, perched bedside with a cast induced throbbing ankle, getting ready to call this done with for the day.

Yesterday Erv Smith Heating and Air Conditioning made their third trip out to try and solve the mystery of the furnace that won't run. The words "replaced the power board" came out of the repairman's mouth and the cha-ching of a cash register is what I heard in my ears.

Sure enough the replaced power board is worth thirty six dollars more than I made today. Larry's Law in action again! But I am not complaining. I got out of the house today, saw some countryside, made teachers laugh, and impressed the superintendent of schools, Melrose/Mindoro. Life ' as they say, "don't git no better'n that."

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Yet another rather eventful day in the ongoing saga of my health. This morning I was scheduled to meet with my sleep specialist, Dr. Ray, with the latest results taken from the onboard computer of my CPAP machine. Kim and I got up earlier than usual to compensate for the extra time it takes to clean up, shave, dress, and to load and unload the cripple. The appointment was set for 9:30 AM and we literally rolled into the waiting room about 9:28 AM.

First Dr. Ray's nurse came in with the "machine that goes bing" (to quote Monthy Python's sketch from "Meaning of Life") and she hooked me up for blood pressure readings and for pulse. BP came in too high - 137 over 107 I think it was - and the heart rate came in too low at between 41 and 47 beats per minute. Average is around 60 so I am told.

Then Doctor Ray comes in with the bad news that the CPAP machine is not working the way it should and I must re-schedule for another sleep over at the skeep clinic for further diagnosis. This is unhappy news all round, but I accept it at face value and we leave the clinic - after first going upstairs and complaining to the woman who puts on casts about how mine is cutting into my leg right below the knee. She adds some "mole skin" around the top edge and tells me to come back tomorrow if it hasn't helped.

We decide to head over to the near by restaurant run by one of my former students from years ago. Just as Kim is wheeling me into the restaurant, my cell phone rings and it is a nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital who has just received orders from my primary physican to report immediately to Sacred Heart Hospital. Someone has squealed on me and the doctor does not like either of the readings concerning pulse and blood pressure and wants me to report to EEG, EKG for a heart holter.

I tell her not until we have had something to eat and agree to be there by 12:15 PM. All through lunch I grouse about how if it ain't one damn thing it's another and if they think that I'm going to miss tomorrow afternoon's gig in Melrose/Mindoro they are sadly mistaken.

Kim drops me off in a hospital wheel chair after lunch while she finds parking. I go into registration and start ranting to the poor receptionist that I will not be checked into the hospital and miss a gig tomorrow and I demand to talk to my doctor's nurse. I will die performing rather than miss one of the few gigs to come my way in months! Kim comes in near the end of my tirade and apologizes for her hubby's rude demeanor.

She gets me away from the reception desk and tells me to cool it and that she will field the call from the doctor's nurse. And she does, maintaining her cool, collected self and finally near the end of the conversation she looks towards me and gives me the thumbs up.

We go up to EEG. EKG to find out what the hell a "heart holter" is. A heart holter, it turns out, is a small electronic device which hangs in a pouch that is strapped to your chest with all those electrode thingies taking data for 24 hours.

According to google:

During a heart Holter monitor study, the patient wears a monitor (Heart Holter) that records electrical activity of their heart (similarly to the recording of an electrocardiogram). This usually occurs for 24 hours, while at the same time the patient also records a diary of their activity. Health care providers then analyze the recording, tabulate a report of the heart’s activity, and correlate irregular heart activity with the entries of the patient’s diary.

So tonight I may not turn on the electric blanket as it will screw with the readings. But I don't have to be checked into the hospital, nor will I be forced to miss my gig as we will have turned the damn thing in just before we leave.

If it ain't one damn thing, it's another!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I found out something quite by accident the other day. Kim had left the house and I decided I could give myself a shave and a shampoo of what's left of my hair so instead of going out to the kitchen where the faucet has the ability to swivel from sink well to sink well and there's one of those "spritzer" rinsing guns that you can pull up and out I decided I could get it all done in the bath room sink.

Uh-uh. Doesn't work.

I pulled the stopper and ran some warm water into the sink, got my trusty "reacher" and rolled over to the shower in my wheel chair and grabbed the Head and Shoulders with it, returned to the sink, got to a standing position, got my head directly over the sink, scooped several cupped handsful of the water and worked it into my scalp, then added a small dollop of shampoo and worked up quite a lather.

It was only then that dufus realized he couldn't get his head down into the sink to get a decent rinse so he (I) dropped into the wheel chair with a head full of suds and began rolling toward the kitchen, all the while with water and Head and Shoulders leaking into my eyes and burning like an SOB!

I finished my shampooing in the kitchen sink and towel dried my hair. Now my eyes were really smarting! I figured it would stop in a bit but I was very, very wrong! All day long my eyes continued to burn and itch. All day tuesday - same thing. Finally made an appointment to see an eye doctor today.

He got me in the chair, swung that infernal machine in front of my face and instructed me to put my chin in the cup and look at his ear.

He examined both eyes and proclaimed that the lower half of my eyes had suffered some pretty serious irritating burns from the shampoo. Well, duh! Armed with two different eye drops I came home. I have administered the healing drops only once so far as I am hung up over here at the office waiting for the doggone UPS truck as according to my computer I am scheduled to receive a package today.

I am an idiot.

But then, you knew that.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Want to stand out at the Minneapolis Yacht Club cocktail hour this summer? Need that perfect "conversation starter" at the Edina Singles Club? Just looking for a great "top" to wear while jogging around Lake of the Isles? Look no more!


but stupid plays at critical moments are forever!

A new word is being added to the dictionary;

Favred (FAHrv'd), v.

To bring ones team to the brink of victory through brilliant maneuver, but to lose by committing a colossal unforced blunder. Example: The Democrats favred their chances for health care reform when they lost the Massachusetts Senate seat.



Monday morning and I was really looking forward to having my ankle put into its "hard cast" for the next four to six weeks. Modern casting technology has taken a few steps since last I witnessed a hard cast.

Dr. Brucker's assistant came in and removed the yards and yards of ace bandage and I finally got a look at my damaged appendage, quite colorful actually, with long streaks of dark red, contrasting with faded banana yellow, and here and there some ominous black and blue, verging on purple.

First she once again did some serious wrapping of the entire lower extremity from just below the knee all the way down to just above the stress-fattened black, yellow, and blue toes, only this time with some kind of special guaze that seemed to blend into itself as each new wrap went 'round the ankle.

She proclaimed that step finished and asked me what color I would like the cast to be, pointing to a shelf of smallish boxes on the stock shelf, each with a small swatch of color. My choices were red, pink, black, dark blue, and the ubiquitous off white.

I chose black since I came into the clinic that day dressed in black sweatshirt, black jacket, grey long under wear bottoms and brand new shiny nylon runner's pants that nurse Kim had chosen for me on her last foray down the aisles of Walmart,

Here's the new technology part (I think). She took out a large roll of what looked like black tape, stuck it under a stream of running water in the lab sink, and began to repeat the rolling, rolling, rolling of wet black tape which kept getting warmer and warmer as it dried and hardened in place.

All in all it didn't take her more than ten minutes to have the black hard cast in place, and now every time I put the leg straight down it began to throb in a most uncomfortable way. Throughout the rest of the afternoon while I tried to finish up all my paper work at the office, I noticed an increase in the pain whenever I moved the encased leg whatsoever.

By five PM I was convinced that the damn thing must come off as it was cutting into my leg at its top most edging right below my knee so I called the orthopedic office and the nurse asked me if I had been keeping the leg up -higher than my heart.

Uh, no -- I've been catching up on bills, etc, blah, blah, blah, with my leg down in a normal position. I was told to quit working, get back to the house and into bed with a mountain of pillows under the bad wheel.

Oddly enough, several hours later, with my leg elevated, the pain began to subside to within tolerable levels.

So it looks like I am going to get a lot of reading, napping, TV watching done to stay out of pain. (sigh),

Which reminds me - I have been working away at this for over 45 minutes and the leg is beginning to bark at me. Time to quit and elevate!


Monday, February 8, 2010



Gregg Rosenthal

New Orleans is a city that understands what it means to live in the moment. On Sunday night, in the first Super Bowl appearance in the Saints’ 43-year history, they played in the moment. They coached in the moment.

They could have played not to lose. Instead they went after their first NFL title. By doing so, the Saints aggressively swiped Peyton Manning’s chance to win a second crown.

The Saints spotted Indianapolis 10 points, and then took control of the game. They did it by remaining patient on offense, tackling better, and never showing Manning the same look on defense twice.

Oh, and Sean Payton made the gutsiest play call imaginable.

The “ambush”
The most famous onside kick in Super Bowl history was called “ambush.” We can’t think of a more fitting description to what the Saints did to the Colts.

Seriously, who calls an onside kick down 10-6 to open the second half of the Super Bowl? If the play didn’t work, Payton would have been crucified.

Payton told his team all week to expect the play. They practiced it again and again, and he felt like they had a 70 percent chance of recovering the ball. When Payton told the team at halftime that the kick was coming at halftime, the players loved it.

“We all knew we were going to get it,” linebacker Scott Fujita said. “There was no doubt about it.”

Payton was so sure he was going to call the play, he told the officials before the game. They asked Payton what the kick would look like if it was called. He said, “It’s not an if.”

Pierre Thomas, still breathing heavy 45 minutes after the game, couldn’t stop shaking his head in disbelief about the win. But the onside kick made perfect sense to him.

“Well, we knew all week that their return team would jump — you know, take a step back real quick before the ball is even kicked. … We did it at the right time.”

The image of the Colts retreating while the Saints charged forward is appropriate. Even when the Saints failed, it seemed like they were going for broke.

Payton’s propensity for aggressive calls didn’t always work. He chose to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line late in the first half, and the Saints were stuffed. What could have been a huge boost for the Colts instead turned into a footnote.

The Colts’ strategy after their goal-line stand was symbolic of the rest of the game. Indianapolis had a chance to try drive for a score with Peyton Manning, football’s best quarterback at the two-minute drive. Instead, they called three straight running plays.

The Saints stuffed a third-and-one run by Mike Hart, then punted back to the Saints. New Orleans drove for a quick field goal to cut the halftime score to 10-6. The Saints won by going for broke. The Colts lost by running plays to Mike Hart.

Biggest key to the Saints' upset win?
Drew Brees outplayed Petyon Manning
Dwight Freeney not 100 percent for Colts
Sean Payton's gutsy calls, namely the onside kick to start the second half
Tracy Porter's 74-yard interception return for TD late in game

“They stuck to their game plan more than we stuck to ours,” Colts defensive tackle Dan Muir said.

Even the Saints’ haircuts were more aggressive. Could you imagine one of the Colts shaving “SB 44” into his head like Saints cornerback Tracy Porter did before the big game?

Porter, of course, provided the game’s biggest play by jumping in front of a Peyton Manning pass and taking it 74 yards for the game’s final score. The Saints changed their defensive looks all night, from a 3-4 alignment to 4-3 and back. They blitzed from a variety of places, including multiple times right before Porter’s interception.

“That series of plays, trying to set up the route and hopefully set the formation that they would call, it kind of fell into our place right there,” said defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Strategy is nice, of course, but you still need heroes to make the magic happen. And Williams relied on his underrated crew of players.

“To be an aggressive playcaller, you have to have players that can play,” Porter said afterward, still beaming. “And to have the guys the guys on defense that can make the plays that we make, Gregg’s philosophy and the players on our team, it’s like a match made in heaven.”

Williams got an assist on that call from some of his heady players.

“Our linebackers did a great job of convincing me that the next time we got in that situation to call that pressure … they suggested to me about three or four plays before that to make sure I come back to that on that down and distance again,” Williams said.

The smarts of the linebacker crew also showed up earlier in the fourth quarter. The Colts had a 17-16 lead and faced a third-and-11 from the Saints’ 33. Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma was set to blitz, but changed the play at the last minute.

Instead of pressuring Manning, Vilma sprinted back from the line of scrimmage to break up a long pass attempt to Austin Collie. It was perhaps the game’s most underrated play and combined Vilma’s intelligence with his athleticism. It may have saved a touchdown.

Drew Brees deserves all the praise he gets Monday, but the Saints’ defense had a huge part in this win. The Saints were the league’s highest scoring team this year, but it wasn’t all about the offense. The team’s defense had an uncanny knack of converting turnovers into points.

The Super Bowl hype began with Williams’ call for his players to record some “remember me” hits on Manning. They didn’t get to the quarterback as much as they hoped, but they maintained a bloodthirsty attitude throughout the game.

“We wanted to get hitting Manning and throw off his timing,” Darren Sharper said. “We thought we forced two first ballot Hall of Famers into retirement — we’ll see about Brett — our goal was to try to get a third.”

Manning certainly isn’t going to retire, but he will remember this game for the rest of his life as the title that got away. But if he’s honest with himself, he’ll realize the Colts didn’t lose this one.

The Saints took it from him.


So let's see. Kim and I have been married for thirty three years. And it took me that long to figure out that the real "handyman" in this couple is not the "handy MAN", it is in fact the Handy Woman.

While Kim was cruising about the Caribbean I took it upon myself to go to Menard's and order some new hinges for the "beneath the sink" cupboard doors. (I figured I could make a lot of Manly Points with the spouse if upon her return, the cupboard doors actually closed by themselves the way they used to.

The first clue that should have given me away was that when I arrived at the cabinets and cupboards desk, I arrived empty handed instead of unscrewing one of the offending hinges and bringing it with me to show the expert at the desk.

He wanted to know whether it was a knife hinge or not. Hell, I didn't know. What the hell is a knife hinge? So he showed me all the various hinges mounted prominently on big boards in the hinge area.

Duh, I don't know. I better go home and remove one of the hinges so we can tell. So I drive back home, get down on my back so I can remove the bottom most hinge on the offending door with "Helper Hammy" the cat's face right next to mine and his paws wrapped around the screw driver.

Back to Menard's hinge in hand to find out it is, in deed, a "knife" hinge. I will never know why it's called a knife hinge but it is!

Great! I need four of them then. Oh, we don't carry them in stock. We will have to order them for you. It will take a bit over a week before they are in.

Foot note: See Larry's Law, part three: The first rule of any retail business in Eau Claire is "we don't have it, but we can get it for you." So much for gaining manly points upon Kim's return.

By the time Menard's calls to tell me the package is in, Kim is home and I have broken my ankle.

So together we go back to Menard's. We return to the house and I tell Kim that if I can just get down on my back on the floor I can install these knife hinges, oh yes, I can.

That is quickly vetoed by my partner who straight away goes to her walk in closet, returns with the proper tools and allows me to watch her work - and hold the door at the correct angle.

Hammy the Helper arrives again to lend his expertise in chewing on the blade of the screw driver while it is in use. Secretly I marvel at how Kim doesn't chastise or cast him aside with harsh words as someone else did a week ago. Instead, she encourages his presence with baby talk questions like: "Is you mommy's little helper?" "You are such a good kitty!"

I watch in stunned amazement as Kim changes the hinges without breaking a nervous sweat and when she stands to admire her work, I spontaneously break into applause because the door does exactly what it's supposed to do!

Then, as she turns on her heel to put away her tools, she says: "Whoever installed these doors didn't have a clue! Look how much lower this door hangs than the other - shoddy workmanship."

And she's right, you know.

She is like a Goddess to me.


Saturday, February 6, 2010


So you have all heard of the "Peter Principle" wherein executives rise to the level of their complete incompetence. Then there's "Murphy's Law" which put simply says "anything that can go wrong will go wrong". It is used as either a purely sarcastic musing that things always go wrong, or, less frequently, a reflection of the mathematical idea that, given a sufficiently long time, an event which is possible (non-zero probability) will almost surely take place. Although, in this case, emphasis is put on the possible bad occurrences. (thank you Wikipedia, genius that thou art.)

In this blog I would like to forward Larry's Law. Larry's Law, in essence, states that anytime you find yourself making some money that will give you a chance to breathe a little easier when the credit cards come due, a sudden windfall that will actually allow you to relax a smidge, Larry's Law will affect the situation and put you right behind the eight ball where you have always been!

Example, please, Mr. Heagle.

Let's say that with the present economy you have not been able to find gainful employment in your chosen field. Let's say that it has gotten so bad that all three credit cards are maxed out and you have to scramble just to meet the minimum payment amount each month.

It has gotten so desperate with you that when you are alone musing about your situation you start becoming deliriously desperate. So desperate that you begin considering talking with the local board of education to see what courses you will need to allow you to (gulp) substitute teach. You even begin discussing it OUT LOUD with your spouse over your third night of macaroni and cheese.

But instead, you take the easy way out. You gather up your precious collection of National Football League Reebok jerseys, a task that has taken you three years of hard bargaining and missed opportunities on eBay to acquire: the illusive Archie Manning, the esoteric Christian Okoye, the forgotten Packer quarterback Don "Majic Man" Majkowski, the even more forgotten back up quarterback to Brett Favre in 1995. one TJ Rubley, whose name and number 12 still will draw the acrimony of Green Bay Packer fans if you are stupid enough to wear it in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

You even sell all of your Brett Favre heavy knit, stitched numeral, home and away jerseys, the ones that people forked over $110.00 each just to wear in to the game on game day.

And lastly, you cry a lone tear that freezes to your cheek as you lug the bubble wrapped, loosened stringed, big Harmony 12 string guitar, entombed in a bicycle box, surrounded by huge sheets of very large bubble wrap for its long , long journey to Upstate New York. Good bye Gordy Bischoff installed fresh neck set; good bye jingly jangly Birds tunes; hello to someone else's hands playing Huddie Ledbetter;s "Good Night Irene".

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, the winds change direction. The booking telephone begins to inexplicably ring with job offers - something that hasn't occurred in months if not years. Out of nowhere, suddenly your calendar sprouts four paying gigs - oh, not the high dollar you used to draw before Dubbya sucked the country dry with his own little war to avenge his daddy, but money nontheless! And you find yourself whistling a happy tune upon rising in the morning, thinking about how NOW you will be bestowed with enough moola that you will be able to send twice the payment amount to Ms. Discover, Mr. Mastercard , and that vixen Visa.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! T'is time for Larry's Law to rear its ugly visage. First you slip on the ice left behind by the 'Sconsin January thaw", and you do an ugly back flip onto your left ankle and realize as you lie face down in the snow that the white hot searing pain emanating from said ankle is telling you that the rules have changed in an instant. As you fumble in the pocket of your pea coat for the cell phone (I knew some day I would have a real reason for having purchased that thing) all you can hear in your head is the old lady in the commercial, crying out in distress: "I've fallen and I can't get up!"

So you go through the necessary steps to begin convalescence: x-rays, yards and yards of ace bandage, a splint, and yards and yards more of ace bandage; all on a saturday of course, never on a regular work day. (Larry's Law, stipulation #2). But with the help of dear lady wife disguised as Florence Nightingale, you rally your spirits and proclaim that no stinkng broken ankle shall force you to miss out on those bookings!

You make it through your first public appearance at The Red Parrot with flying colors - mainly black and blue toes emerging from within all that ace bandage. The audience receives the comedy warmly and attentively. Aha! says you. Larry's Law be damned! Thou shalt not stop a comedian on a roll! You felt so accomplished that Nurse Kim was convinced to join the performer at Perkins and the destruction of a full order of Eggs Benedict.

Friday - a rest day. The bungalow beckoned with paper work but it can wait. Let's begin in ernest on said catch up on saturday. You remember saturday? Larry's Law loves saturdays. Nurse Kim deposits me at the bungalow around 11 AM and you begin to go through receipts and catching up on e mails of import -- around 6PM you notice that your hands and ears are cold. You also remember that since your nurse's contract does not include chopping up kindling and carrying in sufficient firewood for the day, that you have asked that the thermostat be cranked all the way up to a balmy 72 degrees, that your ears and hands should not, in fact, be cold in the least. So you roll yourself into the bathroom which has a very prevalent heat duct. lean over and put an already chilled hand into the air stream and it is cold. You roll back out to where the thermostat resides and it is indeed set at 72 degrees but the actual temperature is now standing at 58 degrees.

You call the house nurse who suggests a call to your furnace man with Smith Heating and Air Conditioning and because it is the WEEKEND, you get the lady in charge of fielding the calls of the helpless and hopeless that have fallen, once again, into the principle of Larry's Law.

Wthin an hour the technician arrives and goes to work. Twice he tells you it is fixed - the bill now is over $200 - but he decides he'd better hang around a while - "just in case." Twenty minutes later he is back at the door to tell you it is still problematic. Together we get a goodly fire stared in the stove and it is warming up.

He finally declares problem solved, hopefully, and departs after telling you that the bill is now in Larry Law territory. The fire in the stove is slowly dying and it feels a lot cooler in here. Could it be your imagination? You decide it is time to close out of this blog and further discuss a plan of attack for over night. Larry's Law dictates frozen pipes by morning.


A 54 year old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she had a near death experience.

Seeing God she asked "Is my time up?"

God said, "No, you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to live."

Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck. She even had someone come in and change her hair color and brighten her teeth!

Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.
After her last operation, she was released from the hospital.

While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded,
"I thought you said I had another 43 years.
Why didn't you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?"

God replied:

"I didn't recognize you!"


I became very confused when I heard
the word "service" used with these agencies:

Internal Revenue 'Service'
United States Postal 'Service'
Telephone 'Service'
Cable TV 'Service'
Civil 'Service'
City, State & Public 'Service'
Customer 'Service'

This is not what I thought 'service' meant.

But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to 'service' his cows.

BAM!!! It all came into focus.
Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us.


Larry's proverbs....

1. A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.

6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.

7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.

9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture most people have.

10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.

12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.

13. How many of you believe in psycho kinesis? Raise my hand.

14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?

15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

16. Hard work pays off in the future… Laziness pays off now.

17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?

18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?

20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?

21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'

22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapeno's. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.


Sven and Ole are walking down a street
in Madison, Wisconsin, when they see a sign
on a store that reads, "Suits $5.00 each,
shirts $2.00 each, trousers $2.50 per pair."

Sven says to his pal, "Looky here!
We could buy a whole gob of dese,
take 'em back to Duluth, sell 'em to our friends,
and make a fortune.

Now when we go in there, you be quiet, okay?

Just let me do the talkin'
'cause if they hear your accent,
they might think we're ignorant,
and try to cheat us.

Now, I'll try not to sound like we're from Minnesota.

They go in and Sven says with his best Wisconsin accent,
"I'll take 50 of them suits at $5.00 each,
100 of them there shirts at $2.00 each,
and 50 pairs of them there trousers at $2.50 each.

I'll back up my pickup and ...."

The owner of the shop interrupts,
"You're from Minnesota, ain't you?"

"Well...yeah," says a surprised Sven.
"How'd you know dat!"

"Because this is a dry-cleaners."


The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office.

The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, Which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds That believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'
Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'

The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'
Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.

But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands. 'Are you okay?' the auditor asks.

'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy
about it!'

A woman was having a baby.

Due to a power outage, only one paramedic responded to the call. The house was very dark so the paramedic asked Kathleen, a 3-yr old girl to hold a flashlight high over her mommy so he could see while he helped deliver the baby.
Very diligently, Kathleen did as she was asked. The mother pushed and pushed and after a little while, Connor was born.

The paramedic lifted him by his little feet and spanked him on his bottom. Connor began to cry.
The paramedic then thanked Kathleen for her help and asked the wide-eyed 3-yr old what she thought about what she had just witnessed.
Kathleen quickly responded, 'He shouldn't have crawled in there in the first place.....spank him again!'


DEA officer stops at a ranch in Texas , and talks with an old rancher. He tells the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs."

The rancher says, "Okay, but do not go in that field over there,"

as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me." Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the rancher. "See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish ..... On any land. No questions asked or answers given.

Have I made myself clear? Do you understand? "

The rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull......

With every step the bull is gaining ground on the officer,

and it seems likely that he'll get gored before he reaches safety.

The officer is clearly terrified.

The rancher throws down his tools,

runs to the fence and yells at the top of his lungs

“Your badge ... Show him your BADGE!"


Friday, February 5, 2010


Took my broken ankle to work with me last night. It wasn't really thrilled about going but I fed it some pain pills and that seemed to satisfy it's broken "ness" for much of the evening. It was my first shot at getting a crowd at The Red Parrot, formerly the Chinese restaurant. I sent out e mails to everyone on my address list within forty miles and by the time 6:30 PM rolled around I had the start of a crowd with more coming in.

Overall, It was a good start at a new venue to me and despite the broken ankle, I made it through with flying colors. Unfortunately, the only colors showing today are in the protruding toes of my left foot - the dominant colors being black and blue.

It was a return engagement of sorts as some years ago, I was hired to play at Jimmy Woo's 50th anniversary. That one ended in a quick disaster as whoever hooked up power to the outside area where the celebration was being held, mistakenly hooked the power to a 220 outlet instead o a 110 and when I snapped my P.A. amp on, it of course "POOF" and my board was fried.

After the gig litigations with owner Lily Woo became rather cantankerous as she insisted my insurance, not hers, should pay for the amplifier repair. This went on for some months and finally was settled when her insurance company did pay - although the board was never the same again.

At any rate, the new owner, Terry, seemed pleased with my performance although somewhat disappointed at the size of the crowd drawn. Hopefully I have found a new spot to work here in Eau Claire!


This was sent to me by Kevin Johnson. It has been going around the net quite a bit lately but you might find it usefu

Wow! Now we know!!


How to achieve good vision while driving during a heavy

We are not sure why it is so effective; just try this method when it rains heavily. This method was told by a police officer friend who had experienced and confirmed it.

It is very useful... Even while driving at night. Most motorists would turn on HIGH or FASTEST SPEED of the wipers during heavy downpour, yet the visibility in front of the windshield is still bad.

In the event you face such a situation, just try your SUN GLASSES (any model will do,) and like a miracle... All of a sudden your visibility in front of your windshield is perfectly clear, as if there is no rain.

Make sure you always have a pair of SUN GLASSES in your car, as you are not only helping yourself to drive safely with good vision, but also might save your friend's life by giving him/her this idea.

Try it yourself and share it with your friends!
Amazingly, you still see the drops on the windshield, but not the sheet of rain falling.

You can see where the rain bounces off the road. It works to eliminate the "blindness" from passing
Semi's' spraying you, too... Or the "kickup" if you are following a semi or another car in the rain. They ought to teach this little tip in driver's training. It really does work.



A 36 year old female had an accident several weeks ago and totaled her car.

Being a resident of Kilgore , Texas , she was traveling between Gladewater & Kilgore. It was raining, though not excessively, when her car suddenly began to hydro-plane and literally flew through the air. She was not seriously injured but very stunned at the sudden occurrence.

When she explained to the highway patrolman what had happened he told her something that every driver should know - NEVER DRIVE IN THE RAIN WITH YOUR CRUISE CONTROL ON. She thought she was being cautious by setting the cruise control and maintaining a safe consistent speed in the rain.

But the highway patrolman told her that if the cruise control is on when your car begins to hydro-plane and your tires lose contact with the pavement, your car will accelerate to a higher rate of speed making you take off like an airplane. She told the patrolman that was exactly what had occurred.

The patrolman said this warning should be listed on the driver's seat sun-visor - NEVER USE THE CRUISE CONTROL WHEN THE PAVEMENT IS WET OR ICY, along with the airbag
Warning. We tell our teenagers to set the cruise control and drive at a safe speed, but we don't tell them to use the cruise control only when the pavement is dry. The only person the accident victim found, who knew this (besides the patrolman) was a man who had a similar accident. He totaled his car and sustained severe injuries.

NOTE: Some vehicles (like the Toyota Sienna Limited XLE) will not allow you to set the cruise control
When the windshield wipers are on.