Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm still here!

It's difficult to keep up with all what's available to you on the internet. I haven't been posting much simply because of the social networking site. Even with them, however, I can't do them all. Twitter is great. But, it's rather limiting. Blogs are nice. But, sometimes the thoughts are quick and small. Hence, Facebook combines, for me, the best of both worlds.

So, I'll keep this blog open for a while, and I'll likely continue to post. It just won't be as often. Facebook is where I spend most of my time, now.

Sooooo . . . follow me there! My page is open to everyone. So, feel free to come by.

Jim Wheelock on Facebook

Monday, November 16, 2009

Packers vs Cowboys

This was a great game. Not simply because the Packers won, but they beat the Cowboys . . . in Green Bay. I guess it would have been a little sweeter to have done it in Dallas. No matter. Anyway . . .

Not sure if this is the make or break game the Packers are hoping for. It's one thing to play your guts out and beat an opponent who's just a bit better than you. It's another to beat those teams you're supposed to. Looking at the schedule, the Steelers are their only "real" opponent. 49's, Lions, Ravens, Bears, Steelers, Seattle, and the Cardinals are all next. Yes, you could make the case that the Ravens and Cardinals are pretty good teams. I'd rank the Packers on par with those teams. Certainly better than the rest. Which means 10 and 6 ain't out of the realm of possibility.

Whatever. The point I wanted to make is that this game should prove as evidence that when protection breaks down, quarterbacks do badly, and teams lose. Romo certainly didn't look his polished self. Of course, the Packers weren't exactly polished, either. This was a hard fought game. The Packers just did a little more on defense to keep the Pokes from scoring.

Wildcard?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Packers vs Vikings

This isn't that difficult, really. The Vikings are a better team than are the Packers. Most notably, on both sides of the line where football games are won and lost. For as much talent as the Packers have, their worst area is, by far, the offensive line . . . which it is. Not only are they unable to protect Rodgers, but they also cannot open many holes for Grant to run through. Defensively, as we all know, we're in a new scheme. Given just that alone, I think most people fore saw the Packers defense having some problems adjusting the first year. I was shocked to hear that the Packer defense is ranked 5th over all. Certainly, and again, there's talent. But, they're weak at a few positions and execution isn't consistent.

Having said all that, the Packers came close . . . to within 5. Take away the two run backs that gave the Vikings incredible field position, and you might have a different game. Had the Packers played all game they way they did in the 3rd quarter, and you might have a different game. Take away the penalties that really killed the Packers, and you might have a different game.

All of those things are part of the game. Fact is, the Vikings took advantage of all those situations and were able to capitalize. For that, they deserve credit. And, they played a well executed game. Where did this Rice guy come from? Wow.

As for Favre, he played good . . . not great. There wasn't any highlight reel material. Just a good game. 17 of 28 for 244 . . . not awesome. He threw 4 touchdowns. Aaron was 26 of 41 for 287 and 3 touchdowns. Not bad. Those stats and 26 points will win many games. Just not this one.

But, for those who think that Favre is a god . . . and we'd be much better off with him . . . let me ask . . . what planet are you from? Yes. He's playing as good as ever. So is Aaron. What is Aaron doing that Favre would or could be doing better? I've said this before, people forget how foolish Favre can look. Yes, he led us to a Superbowl. Yes, we were 13 and 3 his last season with us. But, in all the time he's been with the Packers it's just ONE Superbowl. A handful of division titles. But, what do they matter, really? Look at the Packer records. There are a lot of 9 and 7, and 10 and 6 years. A few of those 10 and 6 years were good enough to get the Packers in to the playoffs.

What? The Packers constantly losing in the playoffs wasn't Brent's fault?

Exactly.

Getting back to the game . . . I actually thought Aaron looked a little spooked. It took him a bit . . . a long bit . . . to get in to the game. Much like Brent was in domes, and against the Cowboys.

There are 9 games left. The Packers can still win some games and make a run at things. I still think they have a pretty good team, and that Aaron is an excellent quarterback. The biggest problem right now, is that the Vikings have a very easy schedule from here on out. I don't think they'll go far in the playoffs, but it looks as though they'll win the division.

Wild card?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A little piece of innocence lost

My girlie and I recently had our first "talk". She had been sick and was already feeling kind of down when she revealed to me . . .

"Daddy . . . I guess I know there is no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy . . . "

It was actually a tearful moment. I wasn't shocked, but certainly surprised. A parent knows the day will come. I guess I thought it wouldn't have necessarily been as introspective moment as it was. Jamie was . . . sad. I get the feeling that she was a bit disappointed. Not mad . . . or disappointed in me or Jackie. Just sad. Again, she wasn't feeling well and I'm sure that played a part. Not only in causing a bit of her blues, but also with being sick she had a lot of time to sit around and . . . think.

A few weeks back her friend stayed over night. While playing games that night, her friend lost a loose tooth. Of course, we encouraged her to put the tooth under the pillow even though she was with us. Later that night, Jackie snuck in and put a couple of gold dollar coins under the pillow.

She thought she snuck in.

Turns out, Jamie was awake.

It wasn't that moment that convinced her. Friends at school also talk. Certainly, at 9 years old I think many parents figure most kids will figure it out. That night did provide the evidence, however.

Anyway, I thought I recovered pretty well. We cried a little together. I think we both realized it was a sign of growth, and that some of hr innocence had been forever lost. I told her that we all get to a point when we stop believing in our heads and start believing in our hearts.

She was good with that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Nobel Peace token

That's about the extent of it. I think everyone agrees Obama didn't do anything to deserve the recognition. Kinda like Julia Roberts receiving an award for acting. You're like . . . what?

Still, in the grand scheme of things, who cares? Jay Weber was making a bit if a deal about this on his show this morning. Claiming that those Republicans who quietly congratulate Obama are the same ones we should vote out of office. That may be, but he went on about the weakness of the party when there's something to pounce on. I don't know. Pick your battles. I do think the party risks being too whiney if at every little turn they complain about something. I'd like to think we're (conservatives) are above acting like liberals in that regard. There are more important issues at hand.

It's gonna make a funny (that'll be a first) SNL skit.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Babes Gone By . . .

When I heard Nicole Eggert was going to be on the new season of Celebrity Fit Club, I, of course, became curious. She was, after all, a Baywatch babe and pretty hot . . . in her time.

Last season on Celebrity Fit Club, I was shocked at how Erica Eliniak had grown. So, again, I was curious about Nicole.

Here's Nicole "then":



And here she is now:



Not the greatest picture, admittedly, but one can see she's lost a little "luster". Like Yasmine, she's still beautiful. But, I can understand why she'd want to shed a few ounces.

Good luck, Nicole. I'll be watching!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Silver Anniversary

The sad part about being married 25 years, is that your 25 years older than your were when you got married. But, if anniversaries perform any function at all, it's to re-live and share the memories of days gone by making you feel only days older than before.

I know why I fell in love with my wife. She was young, cute, nice, and had a great pair of . . . uh, eyes. Yeah, that's it. I married her mostly because, oddly enough, she loved me and I figured it best not to let her get away. I figured marriage would make that at least more difficult.

But, getting married is one thing . . . staying married another.

First and foremost, Jackie is my best friend. We like being together. At the same time, though, we're able to be apart. Neither one of us are "clingy". But, as a general rule, anytime we do things we like to do them together.

Many of our life philosophies are the same. We prefer to enjoy life rather than take it, or ourselves, too seriously. We're responsible, but know when to put things aside and simply enjoy what life has to offer.

Same is true about parenting . . . we think pretty much the same. We both take parenting very seriously as we both want a nice, respectful, and intelligent daughter. Yet, again, we're not so serious as to not understand the joys of being a kid . . . and having fun together. We cherish our time with our daughter.

There have been "stormy" times. And not everything is entirely perfect. But, in my opinion, there is no "perfect". WIthout sounding too cliche-ish, every relationship is a give and take. Ideally, 50-50. I truly believe we're at that ideal. We respect each other, we talk to one another, we share with one another.

There are a bunch of reasons I could go on about as to why I love my wife. Mostly, though, she makes me laugh. She's a babe. She's MY babe. And I'm gonna keep her.

Happy Anniversary, girlie. I love you. I always have, and always will.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pieces of Eight site to remain a restaurant

To me, this is good news.

UWM drops plan to put freshwater school at lakefront site

This was one of those issues I thought few people knew about. Anyone I talked to didn't know anything about the plan. Which made it difficult to gather up opposition to the plan. No offense to UWM or the importance of the water center, but the site is a prime location for a restaurant. While a parking structure would have been very functional, that would have sucked, too. Again, considering the location.

The really good news, and an idea I had, is that according to the article, Joe Bartollota may become the new proprietor.

Drunk driving and children

I don't drink. Gave it up when my girlie was born. So, it may be easy for me to take a harder stand on drunk driving than some people. I don't think that matters much. While it's true there are probably some people who can have a few drinks and still function, the fact is, many people can't. And people die as a result.

I know there's no intent to kill someone. And that makes it hard to come down hard on those who do kill people as a result of driving drunk. Still. We're all smart people. We know drinking can impair your ability to function. And it IS against the law. For me it's another instance where we spend too much time on the lives and rights of those who break the law, and not enough on the victims, their friends, and their families who's lives have been destroyed.

But, if I have little tolerance for people who drive drunk, there's even less for those who drive drunk with kids in the car.

Several summers ago, my wife and I heard the tell tale sound of a vehicle crash. It took place on Appleton right down the street where we live. It was a single car crash. A woman hit a light post . . . one of those cement varieties and wrecked up her car pretty good. It was about 11:30 at night. My wife was one of the first on the scene. Turns out there were kids in the car. My wife spent some time consoling a girl about 9 years old. The girl was unharmed. There was also a baby in a car seat unharmed. When I came to the scene, police were already there. They were trying to get the woman to calm down. She was clearly drunk and more concerned about her car and herself than any of the kids in her car.

Including the lifeless clump of a 3 year old boy lying on the floor of the front passenger seat. The woman's car wasn't going that fast. About 40 mph. But, that was enough speed to send the boy, who wasn't buckled in, in to the dash, breaking his neck.

It's one thing to be an adult and make certain decisions in your life. Hopefully experience and the knowledge of consequence will guide one to make smart decisions. If you make a bad decision, and you get hurt, and you're the only one who gets hurt . . . well, the only one you can blame is yourself. You're responsible, you suffer the consequences. But, when innocent lives are lost as a result of the decision to drink, get drunk, then get behind the wheel of a car . . . suddenly the consequences of your actions affect the lives of innocents. People who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Without diminishing the lives of those who died as a result of drunk drivers, I think it's particularly stupid to drive drunk with kids in the car. As illustrated the 3 year old who died, an accident doesn't have to include another vehicle to turn tragic. An adult may see the situation as "iffy" and make the choice to drive home with someone else. An adult might see that a person is impaired and offer to do the driving. An adult can make the decision to fasten their seatbelt. Kids can't make those decisions. They are blissfully ignorant. They look to adults to make the right choices for them. At a young age they don't recognize when certain situations are potentially dangerous.

Right now a first DUI is a traffic citation in Wisconsin. The only state with that provision. The only state. Sen. Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa) and Rep. Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis) are looking to make a first time drunk driving offense a crime when children are in the car. I think it's important they make that change in state law.

I've often said, the one way to get away with murder is to get drunk and run someone over with your car. In Wisconsin we seem to care little about innocent lives. That needs to change. If you agree, contact both representatives and voice your support:

Jim Sullivan: Sen.Sullivan@legis.wi.gov

Tony Staskunas: rep.staskunas@legis.wi.gov

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Creed 2009

Back when Creed announced they were reuniting and touring, I got pretty excited . . . and immediately bought tickets to the concert here. But, both the babemate and I were . . . cautious. After all, Scott Stapp is a well known f*ck up. Would he keep it together enough to make it through a tour? At least to Milwaukee?

Happily, and thankfully, he has and did. Creed played to a "light" crowd at the Bradley Center last night. But, by their performance you'd think they were playing to a packed stadium.

Hoobastank, some LA band, opened. Not too familiar, but Hoobastank hoobastunk. Opening in front of die hard fans of Creed can't be easy. But doing a heavy metal version of Ghostbusters to get the crowd revved up is nothing short of LAME. Their 40 minutes took forever to end.

Creed opened with Bullets. Awesome choice. Immediately one could see a huge difference, aside from crowd size, between the old and new Creed. One, gone were Scott's locks. His head closely shaved. He looked good. Fit. Trim. Happy. Confident. He tore loose with that voice of his . . . he sounded great.

The other change was the addition of a light show. During the open, a row of flames danced behind and above the performers, and in front of a huge screen playing back various images. There were the requisite screen on both sides of the stage and a new and bigger light show. It all played well with the music.

There was also an additional member on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. Not sure who he is. One review I read mentioned that he was never mentioned . . . just there. I'm pretty sure he was introduced, but at the time he was playing some introduction that had the crowd screaming so I couldn't make it out. Whatever. What was nice is that he provided background for Tremonti to play a solo every once in a while. James Hatfield has nothing on Mark Tremonti. In fact, few guitarists have anything on him. Verrrrrrry under rated. It was great to hear him shred every now and then. The other thing, let's call him, Member 5, did was provide harmonizing vocals. They sounded great.

Then there's Scott Stapp. The voice. The quintessential front man. He tends to play to the back row of a venue, but that's him. Theatrical. As I mentioned, he looked great. Wore a button up fitted black shirt with dark jeans. Nothing about his demeanor seemed "rock star". In fact, he was very humble. There was no trite and typical rock speak such as "are you feeling good tonight? Who wants to rock? Are ya having a good time?" He repeatedly thanked the crowd and gave a special nod to Milwaukee as it was the first place Creed played many years ago. The crowd, while small, ate it up and answered back. Very loudly.

He did lose his voice toward the end. Not to where he couldn't sing, but he was beginning to sound strained. He couldn't hit some of the few high notes there are in Creed music. Eh. We all have our nights. It didn't take away from an otherwise incredible show. One look at the tour schedule, and one watch of how much he puts in to every performance, and it's no wonder.

I'm not sure if this marks a new beginning for Creed or if Scott Stapp is truly serious about turning his life around. Whatever the case, they put on a great show. I'm happy I, along with my babemate, saw it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Babes gone by . . .

Remember Yasmine Bleeth? Back in the day, she was the poster child for poster babes. Well, she's 41. Didn't see THAT comin', did ya?

Anyway, she still beautiful at 41 though not quite as bountiful. She developed a nasty heroin habit. Got busted. Went to rehab, and was never quite the same. I don't think hollywierd closed the door on her, I think she just decided to get away. Not sure which bio to trust, but one source says she lives in Arizona, another says Michigan. Both say she married the owner of a strip club. Hmm. Not sure of that's the best way to "clean up", but I haven't seen her name on the marquee . . . I mean, not that I know of.

In the heyday:


These days still gorgeous:

Let's Get Ready to Bunglllllllllllllllllllle!!

In one corner, the MPS School Board. Weighing in at . . . well, bloated. Let's just leave it at that. In the other corner, Mayor Barrett. Weighing in at . . . tall. Very tall.

I'm on the fence about the Mayor taking over the school board. On the one hand, you have the board president putting forth all sorts of initiatives to help the district save money and make the schools competitive . . . and the board votes them down.

On the other hand . . . well, that's the problem. I don't know what's in the other hand. The big issue for me is other than all the caterwauling the Mayor, and the Governor (now suddenly you're concerned about Milwaukee?) have been doing about MPS, lately, there's no mention of a plan. Not specifically, anyway.

As I have a daughter in MPS, I have a vested interest in this. I can't say as I give a rat's tail who runs the district, as long as quality education is provided in a stimulating and safe environment. It's appalling to me that the board would spend time and resources on initiatives for dental hygiene, yet allow quality teachers to be eliminated from school positions. That's screwy.

Having said that, however, the issue of accountability is important. Would a mayor be more accountable than a school board? What about accessibility? Is the mayor too busy with his/her many responsibilities to address concerns when called upon? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered.

Lastly, MPS has some good schools. I think the bad schools tend to get much of the attention and drag down the entire system. But, let's be honest. MPS cannot provide quality education when it's forced to relieve teachers largely due to inappropriate spending and over sight by the board. I don't want this to become a "punishment" issue. But, the board seems unwilling to take even the simplest of measures to improve. Maybe it is time for change.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Blah's

Continuing with my dribble from my last post . . .

I always got a little blue this time of year. Especially since being out of school . . . yes, some eons ago. I get melancholy. Part of it is certainly just the end of summer. Going back to school, seeing old friends, making news one, it was always an exciting time for me. Not that I long for the days, or are unable to cut the high school umbilical cord and move on, not at all. Just, a time that was once a new start, and lots of good memories.

Part of it are the shorter days. A bit of seasonal anxiety, no doubt. As much as I like fall, fall food, football, and the new TV season, the early darkness just makes the days feel shorter. There's also a let down from summer. Especially with a child, you do so much to take in the nice weather. Virtually every weekend is loaded with fun things to do . . . outside. Between the days getting shorter, cooler, and the kids going back to school suddenly . . . nothing.

Yeah, I know. The fun doesn't have to be over blah blah blah blah blah.

Part of it is what's just around the corner . . . winter. I don't mind winter as a whole. But, parts of it are very . . . taxing. Not so much last year, but two years ago it seemed every time we got our big snow storms it hit during rush hour home. Now, I'm a confident winter driver, and I love my caravan in the snow. But, it takes my travel time from 30 minutes to an hour, and often it's in white knuckle white out conditions. It's nerve wracking.

Speaking of kids, as much as my girlie is ready and wanting to go back to school, I'm not. Sound weird, I know. Just something about sending them off to a new year . . . day in and day out, homework, to bed early, new routines . . . seems unfair.

I suppose I should mention something about how fall and winter dress is less eye catching than summer . . .

Most of all, I guess, is that fall and winter mark the end of another year. It's great and exciting to look upon the new year, but the fact remains, it's another year off a finite number we have. It's up to me to make the most of those, I realize that. But the amount I have left are not.

Depressed, yet? Well, hopefully, like me, you get through it. With fall comes Halloween, my favorite holiday. Soups and stews, football, the new TV seasons of House, Heroes, and whatever news programs there are, school events, the holidays, and, of course, the new year. Yeah, I get a little weird about this time. But, it doesn't last long.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One of those days

One of those days that feels like it was just wasted away. Things to do, my girlie isn't feeling well, and wanting to make more of the day than we could. That, and school starts next week and the end of summer is near.

Ah well, thank goodness for xanax.

Packers early report

Wow. Last night I watched as the Packer first team scored on every possession in the first half. Save for one missed field goal, I think. They took it to a team that made it to the Superbowl last year. A team with a pretty good offense of their own, and a respectable defense. It was preseason, but it was fun to watch. A few observations.

Brent who?

Grant looks to be back in form. He made some great runs off some great cutbacks. This is good.

Finley . . . holy smokes! Bubba who?

Jennings is clearly the stand out receiver on the team. But, the Packers have got to have the best core of receivers in the league. WIth Jordy stepping up, Finley making plays, Jones coming around . . . Rodgers will have no shortage of people who can catch the ball.

Defensively . . . there's some work that needs to be done. But, talk about going after the ball! I'm very confident this new scheme will work out for them. Plus, going in to this season, what films can other teams watch on the Packers defense? None. The Packers may be new at it, but other teams aren't going to know how to read it at first, either.

This team is now a fast break team. THey're the type of team, I think, that can wear out defenses. Hard to say what's going to happen . . . I'm not making my prediction yet . . . but the Packers look like they can play aggressively for 6 quarters. Which could cause some problems for teams with "older" players.

This could be a fun season.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

You have to chuckle

Watching TV last night, I had to turn on Obermann for a bit. First thing out of the gate was Keith and Bernie Sanders talking about the town hall meetings that were being hijacked by a small minority group going off scripts to try and make it seem as though the whole town was against Obummercare. That a small grass roots group was responsible for busing people all over the country to these town hall meetings for this explicit purpose.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sanders then talked about how the republicans seem to know nothing more than saying No to Obama and that they have no ideas of their own.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Then, this morning I happened across Joel McNally talking to some stooge, again, how the republicans know nothing more than "no", that they have no ideas of their own, and that if you look at their poll numbers, republicans are in real trouble. Of course, there was no mention of the other unfavorable polls on Obama, healthcare, the stimulus, Congress, the dems, cap and tax, etc.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Then, there's the outrage over the depiction of Obama as the Joker from the Dark Knight movie. "Politically mean spirited and dangerous."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Oh man . . . the libs aren't content to be lemmings in their own party. This stuff is hilarious.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Today's Babe

Eva Green. Eva is one of those I find unusual. Sultry. She was one of the best Bond babes.





Thursday, July 30, 2009

You are the center of my world

Without getting in to specifics, I've either read or heard a few things that got me thinking.

As many know, last year I lost my dad and brother. We all get to the point when family members die. It's to be expected. That doesn't mean it isn't sad, nor do I mean to diminish the loss . . . it's a part of life. The end of life.

My wife was just at a funeral. A co-worker of hers husband passed away. But, unlike the expected passing of those who are old or have become weak and sick, this husband was about 30 years old. The couple were married just this past April and were about to leave on their honeymoon to Ireland. They also wanted to start a family right away. Right before leaving for Chicago on business, the husband got sick. It wasn't much. In fact he went on the business trip and upon returning went to the doctor. Several tests later and it turned out he had a clot in his liver. No big deal. They caught it early. Some treatment with blood thinners and all should be well. But, it wasn't. So, in the hospital he goes to undergo surgery to clear the blockage.

He never woke up.

Just like that.

That's sad. Brutal. Tragic. No words can convey how one feels at a time like this. You often read about these kinds of things in the paper. It really hits hard when it's so close to home. I think back to when I had a clot in each lung after my ankle surgery. Was I lucky?

I started this blog not that long ago. I did so after reading a number of other blogs. Mostly conservative leaning blogs, but some that were more personal in content. I thought it a good way to vent and share my thoughts, as well as read news from a different source other than a newspaper.

As a result, I came to know many of these bloggers at Drinking Right, a monthly get together at Papa's Social Club. There we drink, eat pizza, and often discus everything but politics. The people I've met have become very good friends. We've taken in quite a few other activities together . . . the airshows, Hooters, and this weekend, one of their weddings. And that's just my participation. Others get together for a variety of reasons. Getting out to meet these folks has truly been one of the better things I've done lately.

Well, blogging led to Twitter. I've yet to attend a "tweet up", but intend to. Already I've made another batch of friends. Some of them I know from the blogs. But, others are new to me. It's been a lot of fun.

Then, there's Facebook. As a result of facebook, I've connected with a few friends from high school, other "new" friends, and three people from the neighborhood I grew up in . . . 30 some years ago!

You might be wondering . . . first death talk and then social networking?

Life can take an immediate turn down a one way street at a moments notice. Fact is, we have little control over certain aspects of our lives. The other fact is that there is no undo. No do overs. No rewind. No take backs. We live as a consequence of the decisions and choices we make. We only control the choices we make.

Should I be fortunate enough to reach my mid 80's, I'd like to be able to sit back and reflect on my life and, above all else, be content. Certainly, be happy. But, be content knowing that I made the most of my life. But, not because I travelled a lot, not because I felt more knowledgeable than other people, not because I made more money than other people, or have more than other people, not because I felt more talented than other people, and not because I feel as though I accomplished more than other people. I want to be content knowing I spent as much time as I could with my family . . . and my friends. I want to be content knowing that I was a good husband, a good father, and a good friend to the people I've known. I want to be content knowing that I was thought of as a good person. A fun person. A nice person. And remembered as such when I die.

What the blogs, Twitter, and Facebook have all done is added to the humility I already feel. To know that people actively searched me and took time to send a note . . . is incredibly thoughtful. To think that I've stuck in the memory of someone for so many years. It's nice. It's a nice feeling. It's my desire to do the same for others.

That, to me, is what life is all about.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Federal level, State level, and now City level

It's difficult not to make a comment about this. As a taxpayer I have watched as government on the federal level, and our state level have raised taxes and fees. And for all of that spending, particularly here in Wisconsin, what do we get? A huge deficit with no real "plan", other than to continue to raise taxes and fees, to bring the deficit and spending under control.

Well, it finally hit at the city level as the common council voted to increase water fees, snow removal fees, parking meter fees (one that really annoys me) and taxicab fees. All in an attempt to close a 90 million dollar shortfall in the budget. And, it's not over. The spending and tax raising, that is. This is just a start.

JSonline article

As the recession has hit us we cut back. Trimming our budgets of luxury items, things we can put off, things we don't need. We live within our means. Not so with the government. They continue to spend, then just tax and raise fees when the accounting doesn't quite work out. It's irresponsible.

At the heart of much of this is our own alderman, Mike Murphy, who chairs the joint finance committee. Thus far, he has voted in favor of all fee increases. Increases that will affect us all in higher property taxes, and in visiting downtown Milwaukee. I've emailed him several times this year only to get no response.

Trust me, I wouldn't support loosing services. Particularly fire and police. But, those aren't the only things in the budget. Especially after a year in which we've seen so much fraud and criminal activity by our representatives, it's difficult to take any of them at their word.

Who's fighting for the tax payer?

It's time to get these people out of office.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ma'am, you're an idiot.

Barbara Boxer is a self absorbed, elitist twit. She provided proof of that when she asked Brigadier General Michael Walsh to call her senator . . . not, ma'am, as is usually done out of respect by most members of the military.

But, if the ink on her "I'm in idiot" tattoo was still wet then, it's completely dry now. (Yes, I know it's misspelled. Seems to be the rage in hollywood, these days). Talking about the "take from the rich and give to the poor" bill, or what the libs like to call, "cap and tax", Babs said " . . . there will be dire results: droughts, floods, fires, loss of species, damage to agriculture, worsening air pollution and more." if the bill isn't passed.

OK. Let's agree, at least, on one thing here. The "take from the rich and give to the poor bill" will actually do little, from a global standpoint, to reduce carbon emissions. First, cars are the biggest polluters and they're not going away any time soon. Second, some countries want nothing to do with legislation that raises costs on energy, and some of these countries are pretty big emitters of CO2. So, their non-compliance will make our compliance even less effective than it would have been. Which was pretty minimal to begin with. The fact is, simply passing this craptacular bill really won't have any huge impact on carbon emissions . . . if at all. It will simply make producing and using fossil fuel burning energy sources VERY expensive.

So, WTF is Babs talking about? So, with a wave of the pen, all worries are gone? Just like that? One day death, doom, despair, the next day paradise? Someone pass Babs her thorazine and move sharp objects out of her reach. I think the line to the mainmast snapped.

Plus, wasn't one slice of the liberal strategy pie to accuse Bush of using scare tactics to get his way with regard to the Patriot Act? " . . .droughts, floods, fires, loss of species, damage to agriculture, worsening air pollution and more."? Are you kidding me?

"Well, excuse me, MA'AM . . . you're an idiot."

UPDATE: Need more proof Bab's is an idiot? Watch here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Today's Babe

Heather Graham:







Normally, I look for studio shots for the best in terms of quality and sexiness. In Heather's case, even in the harshest of lighting conditions she's gorgeous.

Obamacare

So, I'm reading this article on the plan to tax the rich to give to the poor, or as the libs want to call it, universal healthcare, and a couple of graphs stick out to me:

House Democrats plan to fund the broadest U.S. health-care expansion in four decades by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, imposing a surtax of 5.4 percent on couples with more than $1 million in income.
The legislation unveiled yesterday would place additional taxes on households with more than $350,000 a year in income and calls for further increases if the measure doesn’t hit a target for cost savings. The provisions are intended to raise $544 billion over 10 years.


OK. Then I read this:

Lawmakers are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to determine how much the bill will cost. The nonpartisan agency said in a partial and preliminary analysis that the plan would run to more than $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce the number of uninsured by roughly 37 million.


Hmm. Let me make this easier. Though, I doubt it's necessary.

The provisions are intended to raise $544 billion over 10 years.

. . . the plan would run to more than $1 trillion over 10 years


Now, I'm no mathematician, but 544 billion sounds like roughly half of a trillion, no? And, if that's the case . . . again, I'm no genius here . . . won't the government fall a tad short of funding?

I haven't blogged about the Obamacare issue in that it just makes me mad. The above figures show you why. It's moronic. What people don't seem to understand is that the government system won't really save money or cut costs. In fact, the system does NOTHING to actually address the costs of healthcare. It's simply about providing coverage. Health insurance. How does that control industry costs? It doesn't.

I like reading the argument that in spite of having the best healthcare in the world we Americans have the shortest life expectancy. This is really disingenuous. Yes, with free healthcare coverage, more people could end up seeing the doctor and through routine examinations find something for which they can be treated . . . which could ultimately extend or save their life. I understand that. But, even with coverage, there's no guarantee people will see a doctor. Or, subscribe to whatever is necessary to treat their condition. I'm all for preventative care. I practice it. But, you cannot make the connection between having healthcare coverage available and life expectancy. There are other factors at play, including compliance. But also life style, heredity, and diet. We're quite a mixed bag here in America. Other countries are by far more culture and race specific. That factors in to things, as well.

What some of these articles don't tell you is that given most conditions, living in and being treated in America offers you the best chances of survival and extended life. So, should you develop cancer, you're going to want to be treated here.

I admit, costs are a problem. You don't have the best hospitals and doctors and access in the world without a price tag on it. But, simply providing everyone with insurance coverage isn't the answer. Betters ways to start would be to shorten the time it takes for generics to hit the market. Ban TV advertising of drugs. Regulate the industry in the area of selling prices. A flat rate system. Make the market work through competition . . . advertising costs of doctor visits, hospital stays, etc. Limit or regulate the public holdings. I'd go as far as to eliminate public offerings all together. We've come to a point where I don't think it's needed.

The problem is, by not actually addressing healthcare costs, and creating a situation in which the market will likely be flooded by demand, costs will go up. Which means the costs of the coverage will go up. Which means whatever and whoever the government is taxing now won't be enough. So, does the 5% become 10%? Or does the $350,000 a year earner become a $100,000 a year earner that will be taxed?

Like the energy issue, the government insists on doing things backwards. Thus, retardedly.

Unfortunately, there's no cure for that.

UPDATE:

So, right after posting this I go to Drudge and find this article.

Here are some interesting graphs:

Elmendorf said that CBO has not completed its evaluation of the House plan, but what it has seen so far does not represent “the sort of fundamental change, the order of magnitude necessary to offset the direct increase in federal health costs from the insurance coverage proposals.”


When asked what could be done to help “bend the curve” of health care costs over time, Elmendorf pointed out that most health experts believe the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance is an area that could help reduce costs. Many experts say the exclusion encourages high health care spending since it shields workers from the cost of their coverage.


Then, there's an interesting article that exposes in the bill a provision that would outlaw individual insurance coverage. Read it here.

Again. No cure for this kind of stupidity. We need to get them out of office.

Where's Jimi?

So, I show up at DR last night . . . it was a good crowd . . . Jackie came with me . . . I'm feeling good . . . and one of the first things that happens:

"We've got a bone to pick with you! Where are the chicks! We need chicks!!"

Seems my absence at his here blog has not gone unnoticed and people are none too happy about it.

Well, my sincerest of apologies. I've actually started a number of post and just never seem to finish them. Including one on why I haven't been around much lately. Which, basically, is because of summer and being busy. Still, I realize that posting a babe here and there isn't difficult and doesn't require a lengthy editorial on the merits of the choice. Though, I do spend some time looking for images that have not been widely seen before. So, even with something as easy as posting babe pictures, I spend a good amount of time for an obviously hungry, yet discerning, audience.

But, I have been remiss of my . . . obligation. So, if it's babes you want, babes you will get. Prepare for a maelstrom of babes. Here and on Facebook.

I'll not be called out on again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jamie and I are parents!!

Well, not really. Our dwarf hamsters, we discovered, had babies!

I was giving mama some food and water and noticed some distinct scratching coming a pile of bedding . . . while the mama was on the other side of the cage! We have a boy and girl. But, they been separated now for a few weeks having been together for about a week or so. I guess they got biz-zay! Obviously. Anyway, sure enough, I pul a little of the bedding aside and, whoa! babies!! About five of them! They're so cute!

Anyway, this brings up a few issues. Once the babies get to about 4 weeks, they should be separated from mommy, and separated gender-wise, so as not to have more babies. This means two additional cages.

Well, we've got a few weeks yet just to enjoy the babies before we have to come up with a plan. We'd like to keep a baby. Nothing better than to be able to raise one right from birth. But, we'll deal with that when the time comes.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Platinum Dance Team



Here a video I shot of the Platinum Dance Team and cheerleaders of the Milwaukee Iron arena football team. The first girl you see was HOT! But, she wasn't a part of the dance team so spent most of her time in the endzones where I couldn't get a close shot of her. Oh well. Of course, they're all hot in their own way. THey're cheerleaders!

Funny thing, though. Right after they performed, some champion level junior high squad came out to perform. I didn't video tape them as I thought I'd look a little creepy . . . and just didn't think to. But, they were awesome! Jackie and I thought the Platinum team's routine was kinda lame. I missed it, but the tallish, cleavagey one had her butt fall out of her pants. I think you can hear Jackie point it out to me.

Anyway, the Iron lost 86 to 42. So, the saving grace was the cheerleaders.

Here a link to the full resolution video.

Fishing with your children

As often as we can, we (Jackie, Jamie, and myself) spend a day at Mauthe Lake in northern Kettle Morraine. It's really a perfect spot. It's not that far, the lake doesn't allow gas motors so there's no noise or smell or recreation craft, the beach is nice, there's a playground, there's a concession stand, there's a general store nearby, there's boat rentals . . . it's perfect. Often we get there by 11:00am and come home at 11:00pm.

We also fish. WHile one can rent a boat and either row or use an electric motor, one can have a lot of fun fishing from shore. There is a fishing pier, several areas to fish from shore, a boat dock, and a dam area. All of these areas offer good fishing.

If you know what you're doing.

I'm no professional. I used to be more avid about fishing years ago. While I still enjoy reeling in a keeper size largemouth, it's really about having fun. As such, there are a few things I know that help keep fishing interesting for my daughter and who ever is with us. For them, it's simply about catching fish. Sure, they'd love to catch a BIG fish, and can. But, there's a little savvy to it with setting the hook, and I usually outfit them with ultralights. Not that it would be impossible to catch a decent fish on an ultralight, I have, but for a kid success could be fleeting.

Anyway, I can't tell you them amount of times we've gone fishing and have been the only ones catching fish. Seeing other kids with their dads, mostly, watch my daughter reel in fish after fish . . . it makes me kinda sad. Here's the thing, when you fish with your children, it's not about you. Especially if you had a litter of kids. Which, to me, is more than two. You're gonna be busy with the kids and likely won't do a lot of fishing. If you're fishing from shore, you're probably not going to catch any trophy fish anyway, so spend some time with your kids. Second, outfit them properly. That doesn't mean you have to use a SpongeBob fishing kit. Though, some of those kits aren't bad. But, it also doesn't mean outfitting them with gear guaranteed NOT to catch ANY fish. Here's a tip: don't use a bobber the size of a softball and a hook the size of a coat hanger, then stick on a worm on that and expect it to work. If you really want your kids to have fun, get them an ultralight rod. Put a small pencil bobber on it, a small hook, a weight, and then use chunks of worm or meal worms for bait. Guaranteed your kids will have fun. Hook a good sized rock bass and it will feel like they hooked a northern.

Now, word about proper beach attire . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bicyclists and bike laws

THe new law requiring drivers to check for pedalers when exiting their car is stupid. Mostly because it places the blame, in the case of a collision, on the driver. This is simply unreasonable. Why?

First, I'll be the first to admit people are morons when it comes to opening their car door and exiting their car in traffic. They don't look. Or, think nothing of their act and figure people will just stop or go around their door. There's a stretch along 68th street off the freeway where this happens DAILY.

Sounds like I'd be in favor of the law, huh? Nope. Many such laws are enacted to protect. Driving 3 feet away from cars when on a bike, giving right of way to pedestrians, yield signs, all of that, all designed to protect. The open door law doesn't do that. And, here's the thing, the biker will always lose. Always. As such, the burden of safety falls on the biker. Driving along a row of cars without any awareness of the threat of injury is stupid. Again, the biker will always lose that confrontation of door and bike.

Jay Weber made the point some time ago that streets were built for cars. He's right. In most cases, roads are designed for travel by car. There's room to park and room for cars to travel. They aren't . . . weren't built with bikers in mind. Maybe that should change. Whatever. If a bike is on a road that is primarily used for cars, then the bikers bears the responsibility for his/her own safety on that road.

I feel this way as I'm riding my bike now more than ever. Me vs a 2 ton moving piece of metal and glass? Sorry. I'm moving over. I'm yielding to the greater force. I ain't testing no law of physics! I don't even care if I have the right to be where I am, drivers are stupid and inattentive. No law will actually protect me from serious harm should I become inattentive on my bike.

My car vs my wife's car.

I have a Caravan. I love it. I fell in love with the mini van years ago when my parents bought one. They literally bought a model the year they were introduced by Dodge. Now, I had always liked vans in general, and always wanted one. The mini van was nice because it; offered more window view than some vans, drove more like a car, and wasn't overly big. What I like about them is that you sit up a little higher than in a regular car, and they're roomy. Also, with a little adjustment you can haul LOTS of stuff. AND, they're great in the winter.

On the point of hauling, my wife and I have often taken advantage. Be it huge TV's, carpets, lumber, appliances, kids, whatever, we really like that you can go from seating 7 people to hauling camping gear for a small army in a matter of minutes.

Before getting her Vue, my wife has owned a small sedan. We occasionally swap cars if she has a need for the capacity. Of course, this is all well and good but I've often gotten my car back smelling of plants, fertilizer, and/or some kind of fast food.

Now, I'm no weirdo when it comes to my car. It gets me where I want to go, it's comfortable, and it's utilitarian. I don't obsess each scratch or stain or over all appearance. I've got better things to do. But, something peeved me some this past weekend.

My wife was doing a landscaping project for the neighborhood. As such, she needed to pick up plants and such for the project. I expected her to ask to use my car as it's older, but she didn't. If anyone has ever seen her car you know very well she's also not one to obsess over its looks. So, it came as a bit of a shock when I went to help her load some items to find she had lined every square inch of the cargo area with carpets and plastic tarp! Then, when she gets the small tiller we own she wants me to wrap the business end in a large garbage bag to keep the dirt contained!

GIrlwithanewcar says what? Excuse me? I couldn't believe it! She took more time and care to make sure she didn't "dirty" the inside of her car than she did to actually load it with the stuff she needed.

I see how this works.

Actually, she did redeem herself. She had to haul away all of the extra turf, roots, and shrubbery from the area she worked on and used her car for that. While she did try to contain the mess with boxes, dirt did get all over the place. So, I guess I can't be too critical.

She's likely at the car wash getting it all clean today, though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Zoo Interchange

I've gotten in to a few debates about the interchange project. Because of the cost of the project, there's some sentiment that it shouldn't be done, or that it should be scaled back . . . a lot. A few thoughts on some of the misguided arguments.

First, we need to start at some intersection of information, if you will. A few things we can agree on. One, our freeway isn't very efficient thanks to the decisions made in the 60's of not finishing 41 and providing a northern bypass. A direct quote from the Director of the DOT: "And because Milwaukee only built 60 percent of the freeways that it originally planned for . . . "

We're a little lucky in that we don't have far to go east. Still, when you look at other cities, Milwaukee's freeway system is very under built. You can argue we're not that big and that it may not be necessary to have bypasses all over the place. Fine with me. That also means we don't need trains of any sort.

Second, the system is old. As such, it's inefficient in many areas. The Zoo interchange is one of those areas.

Third, the interchange gets a lot of traffic. A lot. It wouldn't be very responsible to ignore its needs from both a maintenance standpoint and a repair standpoint. Considering how much traffic travels through the interchange, it's not well designed.

Now, let's also do away with some other issues. First, comparing the Zoo interchange with the Marquette interchange. Let's keep in mind that the Zoo interchange is in the proposal stage and that the cost of the Marquette interchange is now known as it's finished. Even with the MI, developers revised original plans to make the project more "community friendly". What ever that means. The project also came in under budget. As far as I'm concerned, the MI isn't perfect, by any means.

Point is, you simply cannot compare one interchange project with another.

As for some other issues . . . one being that it won't decrease travel time much. That the amount of money being spent for 5 minutes is crazy . . . First, no one is making any great claims about reducing congestion and travel times. I've made the argument that by increasing lanes you'd obviously decrease congestion . . . at least, to a point. But, no one made any great claims about the MI, and no one is making any great claim about the ZI. Much of the reconstruction is simply about repair, and as long as we're repairing let's make it as better as we can.

Costs and lack of government money. Who cares? We pay an incredibly high amount of tax specifically for the purpose of our roads. I want to see that money spent on improving our roads!

Affordability. Talk to Doyle. Better yet, get him out of office. He's been raiding the transportation fund for years and is mostly to blame for any lack of ability to pay. Plus, while I'm certainly the type of person who doesn't like to see government spending money it doesn't have no matter what, I'm not sure why we're so concerned about this now with this project. Wasteful over spending is the new pink! Plus, plus, at least this project is worthy. To me, anyway. Fact is, maintenance needs to be done. The project includes road issues that extend way beyond the interchange itself in all directions. A such, yes. That makes the project more costly than just maintenance on the interchange would cost. It becomes a decision of practicality. As long as we're breaking ground repairing the interchange, address the other issues right away. Doing so actually reduces the cost over waiting until later to start another new project.

Here's a great line: It will improve safety, but not much else. Well, people's safety certainly isn't important. Deaths, accidents, injuries . . . non of those things have a cost associated with them. Pffft. You call that a reason?

We have alternatives. Well, no we don't. Ask someone who lives in Sussex, Butler, west Menomonee Falls . . . heck, even the northwest side of Milwaukee what those alternatives are. Congestion on the streets is no treat. It's been proven that getting to where you need to be quickly is better for the environment and pollution. One might might to poo poo the 5 minutes, but it was Obummer himself who said we'd save millions in barrels of oil is we just keep out tires properly inflated. He's not wrong. It was a stupid argument against drilling, but the statement isn't wrong. That 5 minutes times 35,000 cars times 250 days equals a lot of pollutants saved.

Taking the streets, however, would add plenty of time to a person's commute, increasing pollutants even more. More than that, though, I, and many others, simply do not want to add to their commute time if possible. I'd rather spend that time with my family. And if improvements can be made to help shorten my commute time . . . even 5 minutes makes me all the happier about commuting to and from work.

Lastly, I love the ". . . people should be sensible enough to live closer to where they work." That is such a disingenuous and shallow argument it's practically retarded. You know what? I wish that, too! Gee, I never thought of that! I'll just give up 10 years of tenure, 4 weeks of vacation, 10 years worth of raises, working at an established successful company just so I can be more "sensible" about my proximity to work.

Again, the ZI project is in the proposal stages. While I would love to see the plan proceed as it's being presented, it will likely change. So too, could funding. Doyle may not be ruler much longer. With a new Governor, changes in the economy, we could well see help from the feds with funding. It is an interstate, after all. More to the point, we can't turn our backs on repairs and safety just because we don't feel 5 minutes is worth the money spent. It's much more than that. Increasing efficiency reduces areas of congestion which reduces accidents. Which, contrary to what some might believe, have real costs.

People's lives are worth it.

"I said, It's Your Time!!"

An Italian woman who arrived late for the Air France plane flight that crashed in the Atlantic last week has been killed in a car accident.

Johanna Ganthaler, a pensioner from Bolzano-Bozen province, had been on holiday in Brazil with her husband Kurt and missed Air France Flight 447 after turning up late at Rio de Janeiro airport on May 31.

All 228 people aboard lost their lives after the plane crashed into the Atlantic four hours into its flight to Paris.

The ANSA news agency reported that the couple had managed to pick up a flight from Rio the following day.

It said that Ms Ganthaler died when their car veered across a road in Kufstein, Austria, and swerved into an oncoming truck. Her husband was seriously injured.


OK, I don't want to laugh at tragedy. This is horrible, no question. To go from being the luckiest person alive one day, to the most unluckiest the next . . . I don't know . . . it's so outrageous it's difficult not to make light of it in a fatalistic sort of manner.

I'm sorry, Johanna, God said.

RIP.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I'll make an exception . . .

I've said that I'm not a proponent of capital punishment. First, in this country, it's a fustercluck of a process. Second, I simply feel taking another person's life intentionally is wrong.

But . . . I've also said I'd make exceptions. Here's an exception:

A 17-year-old Terrytown man was arrested on charges of aggravated rape and first-degree murder of an 8-month-old child Saturday afternoon, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.

Arnold T. Ross, of 136 Friedrichs Road in Terrytown, was booked into the Jefferson Parish Correctional Facility. No bond is available on the first-degree murder charge.

Ross was arrested after officers responded to a call of an unresponsive infant at 1656 Gary Court, Apt. B, near Gretna.

The infant, Da-Von Lonzo, was taken to Ochsner Westbank where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, according to a release issued by Col. John Fortunato, a spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The death was initially unclassified, but the Jefferson Parish coroner's office later reported it as a homicide after an autopsy of the child's body revealed multiple fractures consistent with a beating and tears in the anus.

Ross, who said he was the boyfriend of the infant's mother, initially told detectives that the baby fell down the stairs while he was babysitting, Fortunato said. But a neighbor reported hearing loud noises coming from the apartment, and investigators noted inconsistencies in Ross's account.

Ross later admitted that he beat the infant repeatedly when he would not stop crying, Fortunato said. When the child began to defecate on himself, Ross said he tried to clean it up, causing the tears, according to the release.

Ross has a record of previous arrests for possession of crack cocaine and marijuana, obscenity, battery on a correctional officer, three counts of battery on a teacher, three counts of theft, illegal carrying of a weapon and assault



I want this guy in the chair.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I like Pink

The performer, that is. From The Sun:

"I was at STELLA McCARTNEY's Paris fashion show with the vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PAUL McCARTNEY and Kanye West.

"The entire time Kanye is going, 'They need more fur in this show'. He just wouldn't shut up about how he loved fur. I mean, he's saying this to me, the PETA guy and Paul McCartney! I was just so grossed out by him. I'm like, 'You're an idiot!'

"There are so many people who I think are a waste of skin and he's up there. I should wear him. Go on, donate yourself Kanye. People can wear your fur."


Just how dumb does one have to be to talk about fur at a PETA function?

Kanye West dumb.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Blue Angels

The Blue Angels at the Janesville air show.



I was in a group that bought a VIP section to watch the show. The "section" was an area about 30X60 with a tent, buffet table with burgers, brats, hot dogs, and other picnic food, chairs, a VIP bathroom near by, and was situated about 100' dead center of the runway. It was awesome! Many. many thanks to my flyboy buddy Steve for setting this up. It was an incredible show. It rained ever so slightly as the wife and I drove in. But, once we got there . . . well, as you can see from the video, except for the sun being out of place, it was a perfect day.

UPDATE: I keep forgetting I can't embed larger screen size videos on this blog, so I fixed that. To see the full screen version go here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Final Idol

I finally got around to watching the final of American Idol . . . some thoughts:

I thought the over all show was great. It was nice to see my girl, Alexsis, back in action. She sure did look hot.

Allison's pairing with Cyndi Lauper was . . . OK. It didn't let Allison's voice shine. But, it was a cool moment.

Megan's singing with Mike on one of Steve Martin's songs was . . . fitting. Quirky song, quirky voice. I liked it.

I actually thought Matt sand Black Magic Woman pretty good. Similarly, I thought Kris did a good job with Urban.

I expected Lionel Ritchie to be pathetic, bit he wasn't. Danny did great. As I've said so many times now, he's got a natural soul in his voice that sounds great.

Speaking of pathetic, however, Rod Stewart seemed a bit off. He's a well known tipper (as in glass) and he staggered a bit at the open of Maggie May. My guess IS that he was drunk. Who knows? I thought it was a lackluster performance.

The award sections were pretty funny. While she makes me vomit, the bit with Tatiana was good. If nothing else, she was a good sport about the whole thing.

Skank bikini girl did seem genuinely surprised when Kara came out, and was bothered by it. For her part, Kara did great. That girl can sing! And what a rockin bod! Though she was clearly not comfortable showing it off. Which is nice change. When you've got a less talented skank all too willing to claim her fame just cuz she's willing to show some skin, it's nice to see actual talent not feeling they have to resort to that.

Then . . . Adam . . . and Kiss. I thought seeing David Cook sing with ZZ Top was awesome. Adam singing with Kiss was incredible! What a perfect fit! Mr. Theatrics meets the theatrical rock band. Plus, he sounded great. While Gene Simmons doesn't think Adam has a rock n roll voice, I thought he did great.

But, not as good as Adam did with Queen. Wow. There's an absolute perfect match. If Queen is looking for a front man, they've found him. If there's anyone who can sing on the level of Freddie Mercury, Adam can. Plus, as with Kiss, his theatric nature is a perfect fit. Adam with Queen would be awesome. I'd pay to see that.

As for the outcome . . . what a load of crap. Of course, it really doesn't matter as those who haven't won Idol have done very well. It's just thinking that, in some way, Kris has more talent than Adam . . . or Danny, or Allison, or Alexsis, and he doesn't. I'm sure Kris won for several reasons. First, all the tweens that voted for him. Bastard is good looking. Two, Danny's from Milwaukee. Three, Allison wasn't/isn't a skank and didn't win the horny boy vote. And, Adam's vague sexuality and the release of photos showing him sucking face with another guy likely turned many people off. The biggest shockers still, for me, is Alexsis, she got booted way too early, and the judges using their "save" card for Matt. That was a complete waste.

So, now we see and hear what happens next. David Cook hasn't made any huge splashes since winning. Archuleta is basically doing Disney. Much to my daughter's dismay. Danny, Adam, Alexsis and Allison, to me, are very marketable. It will be interesting to see what they all do next. There's the Idol tour which will keep them busy for a bit. After that . . . ?

Season 9.

Foreign Policy

Hey, Obama!

How's that "Let's just get together and chat" policy workin for ya?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Medical Ethics

The case of Colleen Hauser and her son Daniel has sparked debate over the question as to whether parents, who through religious beliefs, can deny medical care to their children.

Of course, adults do this all the time. Not always due to religion, but their quality of life has become such that intervention wouldn't improve their condition enough to warrant going through it. Dying with dignity. Given how precious life is, one can't help but respect the wishes of those who simply want to end their suffering.

In some cases, though, religion does enter in to decisions made. Scientology, and professional lunatic Tom Cruise and his melonhead pal John Travolta, have all spoken out against using medications on children. They're not the only ones. Here in Wisconsin, Leilani Neumann let her daughter die of untreated diabetes. A condition that, in many cases, is easily treated with medications, and in the case of Madeline, could have saved her . . . even minutes before she died. Obviously, prayers didn't help.

There are the "miracle" stories, however. Those unexplained cases where a person goes in to remission or becomes cured of their condition. But, when one compares the miracles to the cases where medications and treatments have provided improvement, the miracle cures are pretty rare.

So, what about it? What about parents who, because of their faith, prefer not to have medical treatments available for their children? Even when treatments or medication could help? After all, many of us prefer not to have government intrude into our lives making decisions for us. Isn't this a case of government intrusion?

To me, this is a no brainer. Colleen is now on the lam with her son. Once found, she should be arrested for child neglect and the son should be given treatment. We're talking children here. Dependents. Young people who look to adults to make responsible decisions for them. Danielle is 13 years old. Far too young to understand or make life and death decisions on his own. What's more, the Hausers are catholic. I assume they believe in the right to life for babies. What about the right to life as a 13 year old? Again, this might be different if Danielle's condition were such that treatment would only provide a small level of quality of life improvement and death would be ultimately unavoidable But, it's not. How it is, why it is, that a parent would stand by and let their children die when they can be helped is beyond me. It's not only insane, it's criminal.

The fact that Danny said he would kick and punch anyone who tried to help him does make for a dicey situation. Problem is, once he's dead, we can't ask him if he'd like to do that over again. I wonder what Danny would think about all of this when he turns 30 and has kids of his own?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Get your motor runnin . . . head out on the highway!

Well, in this case, get your pedals turnin, and head out on the, err . . . road. Not since sometime before I broke my ankle have I been out on a bike. In other words, years. I've been wanting to get back on, but with little motivation and the arthritis having a larger say in matters, I just haven't.

Well, it took my girlie to get me back in a swimming pool, and now, it took my girlie to get me back on a bike. A daddy can only walk around so much to watch his little girl on a bike. It's boring. The obviously answer . . . get on a bike and ride with her.

So, I did. First, thanks to all the smart people in the world for modern pharmacology. And heating pads. Thank you all.

Second, I'm doing it. The biggest bummer of having arthritis in the back and neck, is the constant pain and inability to do the things I used to be able to do. Running is out. Forever. But, getting on a bike and pedaling away . . . nice. I'm huffing and puffing a little right now, and the knees are sore, but I'm doing it. And, it's great. My girlie is very happy. We bike all over the neighborhood, in the cemetary, and at the park. Over the weekend we went out 5 times! I think we did about 10 miles all told.

Just what I need, too. This past winter was a tough winter as far as pain goes. Anything I can do to keep the body moving, lose some weight, and provide some motivation through the winter months will help the bones and ease the pain.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Idol Chatter

Main Entry: in·jus·tice
Pronunciation: \(ˌ)in-ˈjəs-təs\
Function: noun
1 : absence of justice : violation of right or of the rights of another : unfairness
2 : an unjust act : wrong

The last word says it all . . . WRONG. As I told my wife and tweeted, Kris did a good job on last night's show. Probably the best performance he's had. Ever. Still, while he might have kicked 2 field goals from 55 yards out, Danny and Adam kicked two field goals from 75 yards out.

Give me a break. The vocal talents that both Danny and Adam posses are FAR grater than that of Kris'. Kris is ok. Very middle of the road. Very boring. There's no compelling reason to listen to him sing a second song. He has no stage personality what so ever. Maybe he'd make a good bluesy folk singer. Think the tweens that make up his fan base are going to buy that CD?

I don't think so.

There's no question Adam is a vocal force. It's uncanny how he sings. Plus, he's got stage personality. Almost to a point of over load. Still, he's a freak. He has vocal ability like Ian Gillan. The likes of which Idol has never seen before. He's sure to win.

But, Danny . . . he had the most natural cool of them all. Allison had it, too. Something about the way they sing, the way they sound, it exposes them. Danny's rendition of You Are So Beautiful gave me goosebumps. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

The other day I came across a celebrity site that had some vote on American Idol. I voted for Danny. I got quite a surprise when I got the results. Over 35,000 people had voted. Adam had 15k, Kris 12k and Danny 8k. A distant third.

Turns out the sampling was accurate.

Clearly everyone thought it would be Danny and Adam in the final. I sure did. Unfortunately, this isn't about actual talent anymore.

One can never under estimate the power of the tween vote.

Congratulations, Danny. You sure made me proud! Hopefully we'll hear more from you in the future.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wanda Sykes

I like humor. Any regular reader knows that. I use humor a lot. Mostly in a self deprecating fashion, and mostly dry, but humor none the less. I don't expect everyone to like my brand of humor, nor do I expect everyone to "get it". But, I try to be witty on a universal level.

Along those lines, I don't mind anyone taking a shot at someone else for the sake of a laugh. There are many good Bush jokes. There are many good indian jokes. Again, I think the ability to laugh at one's self is essential.

But, I have two rules. One, jokes have to be funny. Two, while I don't mind shocking (dead baby jokes come to mind) there is a line. Bill Maher wearing a t shirt with a bloody heart that's been stabbed after the death of Steve Irwin was just tasteless. Not surprising, but tasteless.

So it is with Wanda Sykes. Her joke about wanting Limbaugh's kidneys to fail just wasn't funny. Now, dogging on people you don't like is often kind of amusing, I admit. But there are two issues about this that bother me. First, the reference to 9-11 in the joke. Tasteless. Second, the President shown laughing his fool head off. Is this guy that clueless?

It's one thing for Sykes to make retarded comments about Rush being a terrorist and wanting his kidneys to fail. It doesn't surprise me. And, I know it's a joke. Or, it was supposed to be. The fact that Sykes doesn't seem to have much of a career as a comedienne might say something about her comedic intellect. But, I digress.

The other thing that bothers me is the President laughing about references to 9-11 . . . and not so funny jokes. I could care less if he laughs at or about Rush. Though, he probably shouldn't be laughing at desires to wish him dead. I don't know. Maybe it's me. Holding the PRESIDENT to some kind of standard went out of style with Clinton.

No reason to expect anything new from Mr. Change.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Quick hits for a Friday

First he was. Then, he wasn't. Now, he might be. I would love to see Aaron Rodger wear the #4 jersey this season.

Here's one of the dumbest editorials I read about the Carrie Prejean ordeal:

Miss Cali: Pretty Until She Opens Her Mouth

You know what's offensive? Perez Hilton judging a women's beauty contest. If this retard is so concerned about tolerance, why isn't she upset that the question was asked in the first place?

Kris stays, but Allison goes home. One reason Allison got booted is that she isn't a fake boobed blond skank, luring the vote of the horny boys. I'm sure Kris' fan base of JoBro'd preens is rather large, and the reason he's moved on. I think Allison is a babe. She's not Britney . . . thank god. She has real talent. I'm sure we'll hear more from her in the future. Still, it's a shame.

Pelotox is a liar.

Now that Doyle has raised every fee and tax he can, without saying he did, why doesn't he just spend more, like Obama, to fix the State budget?

Speaking of Obama . . . while his budget trimming is akin to pissing in the ocean, he still is trimming. And, I'll give him credit for that. What's interesting, of course, is what he's trimming and the backlash he may suffer as a result.

My heart goes out to those in California dealing with the wild fires.

Somebody help me. Why does Obama continue to hold town hall meetings?

We're allowed to rip a CD and put it on our iPods. But we can't rip a DVD to do the same . . . according to copyright laws. RealNetworks is fighting the fair use battle in court trying to defend their software which allows one to rip a DVD for personal use. This battle has been going on since the VCR came along. Real may ultimately lose, and that will be a shame, but it shows how out of touch hollywood execs are. There will always be a method to rip a DVD. Hollywood would be better off embracing the technology than trying to make criminals of those who actually buy DVD's and want it on their iPod.

Speaking of movies . . . I watched Gran Torino finally. Uh, might I be the only one who thought this wasn't that good? I liked the story, but the movie, I thought, was poorly directed and poorly acted. Not sure what the big hype was all about.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Oldie but goodie from Supernova

Roxanne by Dilana

Brett Favre

Here we go again. First, no one seems to know for sure exactly what's going on so I think we should all chill. But, I have two thoughts.

First, if you didn't believe what an attention whoring jerkwad he can be, do you believe it now? What more do you need? The guy needs medication!

Second, who cares if he plays for the Vikings. Did you watch his season with the Jets? Maybe he's got something left, but likely not. I can't imagine with all the Viqueens have invested in Tarvaris Jackson that they'd be willing to bring Brett in . . . even as a backup. But, the Viqueens have been known to make momumentally stupid decisions.

Clearly Brett has no regard for the rest of the Packer organization . . . or his fans.

All of this gets the big . . . whatever.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Strange Creatures



That last one? Frightening!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Idol Chatter

First, I'm glad to be done with that wannabe ass cloth Jamie Foxx. His performance sucked. What makes him an expert?

Anyway . . .

Rock isn't Kris' thing. He didn't suck, but he wasn't that good either. Clearly not in the same class as the rest.

Adam is effortless with his singing. His problem, though, is his phrasing. He was a little too smooth and polished tonight. He needed to rough it up a bit. Plus, his movements seems a bit contrived.

Danny did much better than the judges gave him credit for. I honestly don't know what goes through their minds at times. His voice is very compelling. The song choice was one where you couldn't wait to hear how he handled the end . . . which he did extremely well. A little rough on the first note, but spot on on the others. For Simon to criticize the scream at the end . . . THAT'S HOW IT ENDS, DOOFUS!

Then . . . Allison. Jinkies! Again, what the judges were thinking . . . ? I'm starting to think it's an Adam conspiracy. Allison did great!! Such a natural talent with her voice, her expression, and her moves. While I know of one person who will disagree, she ruled the night.

The duets were cool. Kris wasn't in the same league as Danny, and Adam and Allison did great on their song.

Who goes home? Kris. If there's a second person in the bottom, I don't know. I want to say Adam but the coolness of his song may keep Adam out. Danny hasn't been in the bottom and performed well enough to stay. But does Simon carry any weight? Does Allison have enough supporters to keep her in?

Whatever. Kris goes home.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Today's Babe

Gotta love the redheads . . . and the ones with all the smarticles. Patti Anne Browne. Newswoman on FoxNews.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Real Celebrities







What?

Paris! Not again!



No. That's her purse strap.

Guilty Pleasure



Go ahead, Make fun of me.

Idol Chatter

Well, here's a first . . . no one really stunk last night. I think it's going to be a popularity contest vote. So, who goes home? Is Simon right? Allison? That would suck. I thought she did a great job. But, what about the fan base? Is hers as strong as Kris'?

Based on last night's performance, I would have a hard time picking someone to go. I'll be very disappointed if it's Allison. I'd prefer Matt or Kris to go, but . . .

I don't have a good feeling about this.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Carrie Prejean vs Perez Hilton vs Principles

OK, yes. Carrie Prejean stuck to her principles. That alone is admirable. In a time of contentiousness and political correctness what she said was brave.

Or was it?

I understand that the conservatives are rallying, somewhat, around Carrie. She took a decidedly conservative view, and she's now defending herself against professional douchebag Prerez Hilton and a slew of liberal hollywood wackos.

For their part, Hollyweird is rallying around the gay marriage issue more than they are Perez himself. Still, I find it interesting that on the one hand the hollyweird crowd hates the paparazzi, critics, and bloggers, yet are all hugs and kisses when it's convenient.

For her part, Carrie has done well for herself. She doesn't seem to be the typical beauty bimbo. Vacant and void of any real talent or intellect. She's well spoken.

But, as much as I'd like to hop on the Prejean party train we're still talking about a woman who spent a lot of time preparing herself to compete in . . . a beauty contest! Again, of what real relevance is Miss America? The last several years have exposed many of these women to be nothing more than the typical attention whore looking for a quick path to fame. Carrie, clearly, has fake boobs. Unless someone knows of a medical condition she has that warranted them, I have no reason but to believe she got them to enhance the way she looked in a bikini . . . for the beauty contest.

See where I'm going?

Quick . . . who won the Miss America Pageant? I don't know, either.

What that idiot Perez did, was put miss Prejean on more headlines, in more conversations, and on more blogs than the actual winner of the pageant. Well played, Carrie. Well played.

Now, maybe she's the nicest person in the world and will use this opportunity in a positive vein. And if she does, I'll be the first in line to have my book autographed.

Until then, I can't help but be cynical.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

More Pirates Caught

Recently, a court in Sweden found 4 members of the Pirate Bay guilty of copyright infringement and sentenced them to a year in prison and fines them 3.6 million dollars. An appeal in imminent. Pirate Bay is website that allows users to find torrents that enable file sharing . . . but not through Pirate Bay.

That's the interesting, and troubling part. Pirate Bay doesn't actively participate in sharing files. They're really more of an online dating service. Hooking people up. They provide the means to find your match. What you do after that, well . . .

Still, the court decided that they were as culpable as those who share and download the files, and more difficult to prosecute, thus the ruling. It's seen as a huge victory for the movie industry as they blame revenue losses on file sharing technology and the evil people that use the technology.

Never mind that hollywood seems to be getting all their inspiration from comic books, and producers hire the like of Paris Hilton to be in their films . . . noooo.

So, the files sharers are doomed, right? Not so fast.

Turns out the judge who ruled in the case is a member of, not one, but two copyright organizations! Can you say conflict of interest?

"Every time I take a case, I evaluate if I consider myself having a conflict of interest. In this case I didn't find to have one," Norström told Sveriges Radio, the national Swedish radio network that first exposed the issue on Thursday morning.


Yeah, and the Pirate Bay is a vacation spot. Bring the family!

So, the case may be thrown out and re-tried. It may very well end up the same for the Pirate Bay founders, but it does delay sentencing. Maybe America will gain 4 swedish citizens.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sleeping with babies

This is one of those issues where I think it's easy to speak emotionally at first rather than rationally. Of course, we're talking about innocent little babies, so it is understandable. No baby should die a preventable death. Be it from neglect, stupidity, or both.

The recent deaths of two babies from being smothered in bed set off the usual discourse. Neglectful parents too lazy or stupid to put the baby where it belongs . . . in a crib. I find that a huge generalization.

Don't get me wrong. This may well be the case in one of the stories. In the most recent incident, the mother was sleeping with two others in the bed. One being the baby. If this was the usual arrangement, that's not too smart. Even if a person can't afford a crib, a baby will sleep just about anywhere. A bed with a soft mattress, thick heavy covers and fluffy pillows . . . plus two other people, is just inviting trouble for a baby.

But, the mother was 18 years old. I'm sure she just didn't know any better. That's not an excuse. But, given her situation (single parent) and the fact that she was so young, her baby's death was really a tragic accident. I'm sure she didn't intend for her baby to die. For all we know, she was a caring, loving mother in all other aspects of her baby's life.

Now, if it turns out she was a drunk, or a drug user, or in some other way a sub-standard mother, then the situation is different.

Fact is, people sleep with their babies. My wife and I did. Not often. Just every now and then. But, we knew there was a safe method of doing so.

The biggest problem, to me, is that this mother was too young thus ill equipped to care for two children. She's 18. Which means she got pregnant at 16 with her first. That's when this problem started. Not when she slept with her baby.

Problem is, this life lesson resulted in the death of an innocent baby.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's Babe

As with the yellowbook.com commercials, when I saw the Chrysler commercials with the new spokes babe, I had to find out who she is. It's Jill Wagner. Not much on the resumé, but enough to earn her babe status.





If she came with the car, I'd consider buying one.