Friday, February 28, 2014

Stay Out Of Body Bags

I either woke up this morning to -7 degrees or -1 degree, not that it really matters at that point. Either my eyes are getting old or the television graphics are getting smaller. Although I never seem to have problems when the graphics say 80.

California is expecting 8 inches of rain. They are in a terrible drought but this isn't good news. This will bring flash floods and hill slides as it would be too much at one time. They can't win even when they get their wish.

My emissions mission turned into a bit of a nightmare. It never fails when it should be something routine. As I pulled up to the automotive shop and walked into the office it was nothing but a brush off. I politely explained that an emissions test should only take ten minutes but the two workers who didn't appear busy insisted that I needed an appointment and couldn't be done until Monday. Apparently texting on their phones is the main priority an hour before closing time.

That was never necessary when the State of Wisconsin provided this service. They have since outsourced it to minions like many other services through out the state. Although at this point, I would give anything for a minion to patch a pothole in this state. I guess this is what happens when you get a Governor more interested in running for president than caring for the people of his state.

So I went home and called around and finally found O'Reilly Automotive on Cherry Street which doesn't require an appointment. Thank you kind lady on the telephone, you made my day.

A 78 year old man woke up kicking in a body bag in the back room of a funeral parlor. Apparently, the Lexington, Mississippi coroner couldn't find a pulse or heartbeat so zipped the man off for embalming. I'm not really a person always calling for resignations like John McCain, but if you can't tell if somebody is dead maybe you shouldn't really be a coroner.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tesla Gigafactory

Another cold day but I have to venture outside to get an emissions test. I didn't know that the state closed their emission facilities and outsourced the entire process. That is good news. If the vehicle fails I can now grease a few palms for a pass!

Congrats to Roberto Garza of the Chicago Bears. He signed a one year contract and will be returning for his 13th NFL season. He's been the starting center for the last 3 years.

The banking industry posted record profits for the 4th quarter of 2013. Yet, most of the major banks have announced significant layoff plans for 2014. The bank CEO's whine about too much regulations and that nobody likes them. I've yet to see anybody shed a single tear for these greedy turds.

Tesla Motors (TSLA) is going to build a Gigafactory. Eventually this factory could produce more lithium-ion batteries than the rest of the world combined and at a much lower cost. These batteries are basically the power of the Tesla automobile. Naturally the stock price has soared this week. Critics scoffed and now call Tesla a battery company.

Tesla's business model is to eliminate most of the middle men and do all of the work themselves. This creates a higher profit margin. They actually own all of their own dealerships so you just deal with Tesla instead of some crooked dealership.

This Gigafactory will employ approximately 6500 people and increase vehicle production to 500,000 by 2020. Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and Nevada are vying for this factory location. I would be very surprised if Texas makes the final cut and gets chosen. Under the wisdom of Governor Rick Perry, Texas enacted legislation to make it illegal for Tesla to have direct dealerships in Texas. People in Texas actually have to go to another state to purchase a Tesla. I hope those campaign donations from the dealership owners were worth 6500 great jobs for the good people of Texas!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

No Hamsters Or Pigs

The roads in Milwaukee are terrible from winter potholes like the rest of the towns throughout the great Midwest. $303 billion dollars has been budgeted for new roads and repairs. Critics are reaching and calling it a failed stimulus just waiting to happen. I just call it getting our roads fixed. Last time I looked, none of my neighbors rushed out and fixed them for me.

I watched the movie "Coneheads" with Coco yesterday. It didn't seem any funnier to me 20 years later, definitely not one of Dan Aykroyd's finest films.

We also watched an intense NBA game with the Chicago Bulls hustling themselves to a road victory in Atlanta. Watch Joakim Noah sometime to see how basketball should be played. He plays with the same intensity as his father Yannick Noah displayed playing professional tennis back in the 80's.

Summerfest announced another headliner. Hip Hop duo Outkast will be the June 29th feature act. There's still 2 main stage acts to be announced before we start hearing about the numerous side stage acts. Stay tuned.

The hunt for the man eating tiger continues in India. No new attacks have occurred although they don't have a missing person's bureau in the rugged India outback. A professional trapper has been brought in and believes he has been close a few times to the carnivorous tiger.

Coco asked for a hamster yesterday. No, we will not have any hamsters or anything resembling a rodent in the house. I offered him a dog instead and he'll think about it. When I was a kid I asked for a horse and settled for a dog. Now, I would take a pot bellied pig in a New York minute. Krissy says no to anything that we could actually eat. Apparently, I can't make anyone happy in the pet department.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nikki Haley Whines

Coco is off school this week for winter break so he's hanging out with the old man. Glad to have him here this week just wishing it was a bit warmer so we could do something outside.

Last night we watched a documentary about North Central College's cross country team. It is my alma mater. It sure brought back a lot of memories and I'll always be proud that I had the opportunity to run for Al Carius. A great coach but an even greater man. Success breeds success.

Bad news for anybody holding bitcoins from the Mt. Gox trading platform which used to be the biggest bitcoin exchange. Your bitcoin is now actually worth less than a Chuck E Cheese token. In fact, the internet site is totally offline and it's estimated that over $350 million has been lost. Other bitcoin exchanges are reassuring customers that everything in the bitcoin world is just fine. It begs the question besides the obvious Chuck E Cheese token comparison. Is bitcoin a relatively good and safe investment? Answer yourself that question by asking yourself this. Would you accept a bitcoin paycheck from your employer instead of U.S. dollars?

The NFL Combine has been going on for the past week. College seniors and early draft declarations come to Indianapolis every year looking to cash in on a dream of getting drafted by an NFL team. Each year, thru a series of drills, sprints, weightlifting and wonderlic tests, players position themselves for a higher draft position and more money. A lot of them are just great workout warriors but mediocre football players. Still, a paycheck cashed is a paycheck cashed. It will continue to be that way until someone designs an invention to measure heart and desire.

I guess cutting national spending and deficit reduction is good for everyone, unless of course it takes money out of the pocket of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. It seems likely that her husband will loose his National Guard position with the defense budget cuts. I can see her point though. When you're governor of a state with the 10th highest poverty rate and the 9th lowest median income, dual incomes do matter!


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Monuments Men

George Clooney sure directed a beauty in "The Monuments Men." A winning cast with a superb true story seldom fails. Clooney and Matt Damon are the lead characters and were brilliant as always. Even if you're not a big war buff, this movie tells the true story of how a specially appointed army unit recovers some of the world's most famous European art pieces that Hitler had stolen during World War 2. Although some art was destroyed, this unit appointed by President Roosevelt managed to save a huge part of Europe's culture.

Bill Murray and John Goodman were especially terrific. The true sign of a great funnyman is how they can also touch you with a serious role. Both of these actors did it well and Murray's shower scene was especially poignant. I'll stop there so I don't give too much away but I highly recommend it.

After watching the movie at the Oriental Theatre we stopped next door at Replay sports bar and watched the second half of the Chicago Bulls game. Unfortunately, the Bulls fell apart in the 4th quarter and the Miami Heat won without LeBron James. His nose didn't look broke to me but it must be bad if it sidelined him.

After Replay, we headed over to Wolski's Tavern to finish off my birthday weekend in the proper fashion. Thanks again Krissy for the wonderful birthday celebration and to everyone for your well wishes.

Congrats to Dale Earnhardt Jr. on his second Daytona 500 victory. The rain delays and a huge pileup made it a long race day.

Summerfest just announced that Fall Out Boy will be the headliner on July 5th. There's still a few main stage openings so stay tuned.

Legendary comedy writer, director, and actor Harold Ramis passed away today from vasculitis. Ramis was a member of the famous Second City comedy troupe. Some of his most famous scripts were "Groundhog Day," "Animal House, " "Ghostbusters," and "Stripes." His performance with his real life great friend, the aforementioned Bill Murray, made "Stripes" a blockbuster at the box office. Thanks for all the laughs, you were legendary!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

5 O' Clock Club

Dinner last night at the 5 O'clock Club was phenomenal. Naturally, I went with the bone in rib-eye which is for the true steak connoisseur as the menu states. Everybody had wonderful food and the company was great. Thanks to Krissy, Angela and John for a wonderful night. Special kudos to Justin for acting as our personal chauffeur. Some photos are at the end of the blog.

After a leisurely morning we are heading down to the Oriental Theater to catch "The Monuments Men." I'll give a quick review in tomorrow's blog.

The Chicago Bulls go up against the Miami Heat this afternoon. No official word yet if LeBron James will play with his recently acquired broken nose but I'm betting he gives it a shot. Regardless, it should be a great game and I'm hoping to catch the second half.

Canada won the gold medal in men's Olympic hockey. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the first goal of the game for Canada. Congrats to Toews as he is a first class act and certainly legendary.

NASA has reported that 88% of the Great Lakes is completely frozen over. About 50% is the usual normal. It won't be thawing this week as temperatures are dipping back into single digits. The Coast Guard has extra ice breaking boats clearing commercial ship lanes so barges can keep delivering goods. The march warm up can't get here soon enough.


Great food enjoyed with great friends.


Dinner and breakfast!

Me enjoying my "B-day cake"

Grasshopper time!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Hulk Hogan Encounter

Good news, the third and last missing Cuban windsurfer was found yesterday off the Marquesa Keys which is about 20 minutes from Key West. I broke out in a smile when I heard he was ok. He was at sea for a total of 4 days trying to seek freedom and I've been following their story closely.

The Tosa Thunder ended up with a 7-7 tie today to end the first half of their indoor season. It was a well played game and their opponents tied it up on a last second shot with 3 seconds left.

My DMV experience to get my driver's license renewal went better than expected yesterday. I was completely done in about 40 minutes as it wasn't too crowded on a Friday afternoon. It certainly helped printing out the paperwork at home and filling it out before I went. All good for another 6 years.

Happy hour was fun at the Old German Beer Hall last night. We stretched it out to about 11pm as Krissy's work crowd is a fun bunch. At 6pm the bartenders actually give out free beer until an entire keg is drained. The person who gets the last free glass out of the keg actually gets to drink free for the rest of the night. The keg was gone in about 15 minutes and nobody in our group drew the last glass. We were even privy to the National Anthem singer from Miller Park singing an impromptu song, what a great voice. It was good to see everyone again and some photos are at the end of the blog.

Hulk Hogan is returning to WWE action but this time as a host after a 7 year absence. I ran into the Hulkster in Clearwater Beach, Florida back in 1991. I was on a parasailing raft getting strapped in when this mammoth man drove by in an expensive race boat. It parked in about 4 feet of water and Hulk Hogan and 3 other wrestlers waded ashore for lunch.

After parasailing I ended up in the same restaurant and saw Mr. Hogan sitting at a table. He's just enormous in person and definitely the tannest human I've ever seen. Even more so than Krissy who is always tough to beat.

Well, I'm off to take a nap now. We're going to dinner at Coerpers's Five O'clock Club tonight for my birthday dinner. I can't wait.


Old German Beer Hall

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday NASCAR

We woke up to an early morning windstorm accompanied by a bit of snow naturally. It looks like a tree branch cracked pretty good in the backyard but it's not in danger of hitting anything thankfully.

I have to get my driver's license renewed today and I'm dreading it. My birthday is tomorrow so I need to get it done. Hopefully it won't take longer than an hour.

Krissy and I are going to the Old German Beer Hall for happy hour tonight with some of her work friends. I'm ashamed to say I've never been to this establishment before. Despite my grandmother being 100% german, I've never been that fond of german beer or their food. I'm more of a Caribbean guy in case you haven't guessed.

Milwaukee's german heritage is second to none and the Old German Beer Hall is supposed to have the atmosphere of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany. Beer is served in liter mugs with bratwurst optional. I anxiously count the minutes to happy hour.

NASCAR was incorporated on this day in 1948. It's certainly come a long way from it's roots of ex-moonshine runners racing each other over southern clay ovals. Even in the early 70's it was still a small sport. One of my neighbor's bought a backup race car from Richard petty and raced the NASCAR circuit for a few years while working another job.

Today it's a huge money sport with tons of corporate sponsorships. Even a famous woman driver switched from Indy cars to the NASCAR circuit. The Daytona 500 is this sunday and it's become one of the largest viewed sporting events in the world. I'm going to root for whoever looks like a moonshiner the most!


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Disco Demolition

I woke up early and headed to St. Marcus school to register Coco for school next year. It was sleeting pretty good and ice puddles everywhere. What a slippery mess!

A 24 year old Cuban man windsurfed from Cuba to Key West on Tuesday. His trip took 9 1/2 hours and a lot of blisters. Unfortunately, he had 2 companions and they appear lost at sea. Ninety miles isn't that close without an engine.

Michelle Bachmann doesn't believe the United States is ready for a female president yet. Yes, blame the masses instead of looking in the mirror you whack job.

Congrats to the U.S. women's hockey team which just won the Olympic silver medal. Bachmann probably still believes that women can't play hockey neither.

One of Governor Christie's supporters is urging him to throw a demonstration against Bruce Springsteen by destroying all of Springsteen's cd's. Just because Springsteen isn't a supporter of the governor. It reminds me of Disco Demolition night in Chicago. Famed WLS disc jockey Steve Dahl had baseball fans bring a disco record to Comiskey Park so he could blow them up between games of a doubleheader. Dahl detested disco music and the whole disco genre.

The explosion of records put a small crater in center field and fans stormed the infield. Chicago riot police actually came to the park but never truly restored order. Fans fled the park. But the field was trashed, neighboring property destroyed and the White Sox had to forfeit the game. It didn't really work very well in 1979 and I don't see what it would accomplish 35 years later. Indeed, the party of recycled failed ideas.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Nun Did It

Geez, it hit 45 degrees today. It feels so balmy I'm surprised someone didn't throw a parade. I can't even remember the last time it was this warm. It will be short lived though and next week's forecast is for the teens once again.

The second race of the Wrecker's Cup boat race takes place this Sunday in Key West. That should be a site to see from Mallory Square or anywhere on the wharf.

The stock market was all over the place today. The unrest in Ukraine will do that for a day but it shouldn't have a bearing on our economy.

Tesla is up huge after the market closed. They reported better than expected earnings and feel that China will be just as big of a market as the United States very soon. Their potential is scary.

Google Fiber is coming to another 34 cities. It's the fastest broadband out there by far. Google has it's hand in everything it seems. Maps, advertising, glasses and a monstrous office boat to name just a few. No wonder their stock is over a thousand bucks and going strong.

Homeland Security has issued a serious international shoe bomb alert. Is this century over yet? I'm really missing the 90's. We just talked about the Y2K crisis all the time which was much ado about nothing!

A 84 year old nun was sentenced to 3 years of prison for breaking into a U.S. nuclear weapon's complex. I'm not sure which is worse. A nun committing crimes or the fact that a 84 year old woman could break into a nuclear weapon's complex.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where's Bozo

I received an email from Dad and Dee yesterday. They ventured from their winter home in Arizona down to Rocky Point, Mexico for some fishing. Apparently the fish must be biting as their hotel refrigerator is almost full. Nice.

The stock market was mostly even or slightly down all day except for solar stocks. Most of the big companies were up 7-8%. I seem to remember someone mentioning that on this blog yesterday.

The U.S. Army is coming out with a prototype high tech armor suit this summer for it's soldiers. It even has 360 degree cameras on them. Coco actually predicted this almost 6 years ago. Of course we had just finished watching the Ironman movie at the Rosebud Theater but I thought it was good insight for a 4 year old at the time!

I just received one of the nicest gifts in the mail from my high school buddy Tom. Actually, I've known Tom since the first day of 5th grade. We ran track and cross country together thru high school. He sent me a DVD of a documentary about North Central College cross country which I was a proud member of for 4 years. I can't wait to watch it with Coco and Krissy. Thanks so much Tom, you're truly a great friend.

There's a professional clown shortage in the United States. Another product of time and change. Bozo Circus going off the air of WGN Television in 2001 didn't help matters in my humble opinion. There was a ten year ticket wait well into the 1980's. It was the most popular noon time show in the world. Chicago area bars would be filled for lunch time gambling. The 6 bucket Grand Prize game had huge amounts of money bet on it throughout Chicago taverns. You just had to pick the correct bucket out of six. It was a very huge racket. It's a big reason why the State of Illinois came out with a lottery in the 70's. They wanted a piece of the action!


Monday, February 17, 2014

George Washington Spymaster

Woke up this morning to another snow. Just steady all day long with at least 6 inches.  A picture of your happy shoveler is below.

Some schools actually had classes today. Back in my day we used to get both Lincoln and Washington's day off from school which was February 12th and 22nd. Times change I guess, but I was born on the 22nd and was always thrilled at having my birthday off every year.

The stock market is closed today also. There should be a lot of action tomorrow as is typical after a 3 day weekend. Keep an eye on solar stocks. That portion of the energy sector has been on fire the last week.

It's exactly a month away from St. Patrick's Day. It's a huge holiday in Milwaukee. A lot of our friends take the day off from work and join us downtown to celebrate. It's hard to imagine all of this snow melting by then. Especially as I see a Caterpillar earth mover on our street clearing snow.

I watched a documentary on the Culper Spy Ring on the History Channel. George Washington was the spymaster of the ring which really gained traction after New York City was lost during the middle of the Revolutionary War. It actually kept West Point Military Academy out of British hands by exposing Benedict Arnold.  By all accounts, Arnold was close to Washington and had done a remarkable job for the colonies but simply tired of not getting paid. They passed on letters amongst the ring using invisible ink which they wrote between the lines of ordinary letters. Thus the term "read between the lines" was coined.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Serpent Won

The Tosa Thunder lost a lopsided game yesterday. Many players missed the game ,either sick or attending funerals. That's sports. Sometimes you are going to be short handed. They'll regroup and come out fighting next Saturday.

Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training this weekend. Opening day will be here in about 6 weeks. It's hard to imagine all this snow melting by then.

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn was on "Meet the Press" this morning talking about climate change and carbon emissions. Her basic argument is that lower emissions have to be cost beneficial. Yes, the same argument that the airplane and automobile industries used for years. Over the second half of the past century planes used to fall out of the sky on a frequent basis and serious car accidents almost always had a fatality. Sure, there's still some car fatalities but a lot fewer and plane crashes are very infrequent. Congress found a backbone and put people ahead of corporate profits for once. Safety equipment and industry regulations became vogue. It's so sad to see a dinosaur like Marsha Blackburn living in the past century still.

The talking heads were in an uproar about the Syrian violence and how the U.S. isn't doing much. As I recall, there wasn't a lot of American support over the summer when President Obama wanted to intervene. The majority of America is just tired of foreign intervention. I'm not saying it's right or wrong. It's just what happens when you go on a 10 year Easter egg hunt in Iraq and  don't even find the peeps.

Most people believe that modern medicine is a gift. Either from God, science or a combination of both. Pastor Jamie Coots was a third generation Kentucky serpent handler and the star of "Snake Salvation." He believed that poisonous snakebites couldn't harm those anointed by God. Pastor Coots was bitten by a poisonous snake on Saturday. Pastor Coots refused medical treatment because he was anointed by God. Pastor Coots died Saturday night.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

The U.S. Maine

Dinner last night at Bosley's on Brady was fabulous. Krissy had the filet and I ordered the blackened grouper with a mango salsa. I'm going to learn to make mango salsa this summer, it's so good. The service was extraordinary as usual. We both ordered desert. I had the key lime pie and Krissy ordered sea salt caramel ice cream. It felt like summer for a little while anyway.

We got up early this morning and drove up to Manitowoc for Michele's father's funeral. It was a very nice service and Michele certainly has a wonderful family. Condolences to all.

I heard the USA hockey team beat Russia 3-2. I didn't get a chance to watch it but I'll make sure to catch the next one.

There was an interesting documentary I caught yesterday afternoon about the U.S. Maine explosion. Coincidentally or not, it blew up this date in 1898 in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. The inquiry was held at the Custom House in Key West where it was declared a hostile act. The Maine had deported Key West to Havana in what would be it's final journey.

The documentary demonstrates a theory that perhaps a hot coal room wall ignited some explosives in the next compartment and that it was merely an accident. Quite a few of the sailors are buried in the historic Key West cemetery. A couple photos of the memorial site from my camera phone are included below.


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Harvard Idiot

I woke up today to a delicious cupcake and a heart shaped cake. Krissy received some flowers from yours truly, and we'll be having a late dinner at Bosley's on Brady tonight. Bring on that seafood!

Ralph Waite from the Walton's television show passed away yesterday. He was a Yale graduate and also a Presbyterian minister. The Walton's had a 9 year run on CBS and was immensely popular. It didn't have vampires or a bunch of pompous Kardashians, but skilled writers reflecting real life drama better than any phony reality show could ever hope for.

Former Chicago White Sox manager Jim Fregosi passed away earlier this morning from stroke complications. Fregosi spent 53 seasons in professional baseball in various capacities. A 6 time all star shortstop, he was actually traded for a struggling pitcher at the time named Nolan Ryan. He was often seen in local watering holes around Comiskey Park in Chicago after games having a double and chatting it up with the locals.

Today is the 95th anniversary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, Il. Al Capone had seven associates of the Moran gang wiped out at a staged meeting in a Clark Street garage. George Moran himself was a couple minutes late and escaped unharmed. No one was ever charged in this incident but it certainly solidified Scarface as Chicago's top Capo. Unfortunately, the garage at 2122 North Clark Street was torn down and made into a parking lot in 1967. It's within walking distance of Wrigley Field. What can I say? I've always found this historical tidbit much more interesting than the St. Valentine's Day origins myself.

Venture capitalist and Harvard graduate Tom Perkins believes the rich are being persecuted and that for every dollar one pays in taxes they should get one equivalent vote. In other words, the more taxes one pays the more votes that person gets to cast. Mr. Perkins also believes that people protesting rich people are just like the Nazi's. Yes, I've noticed the new concentration camps along I94. I'm sure thousands of rich people have been gassed already. Apparently, Mr. Perkins has never took a history class and Harvard University is quite capable of graduating a dumb ass.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mel Fisher Expeditions

The Jyllands Zoo in Denmark is considering euthanizing one of their healthy giraffes to prevent inbreeding. Coincidentally, it's name is also Marius like the one executed by the Copenhagen Zoo. Apparently the name Marius, is not synonymous with "live long and prosper," in giraffe circles.

Coco is still out of school sick today. I told him as long as he's not a giraffe at a European Zoo or a kid wearing a hoodie in Florida, he should expect to make a full recovery soon.

Derek Jeter announced that this will be his final season as a New York Yankee and will be retiring at season's end. He's had a stellar career and will be a first ballot hall of famer. He's had 650 playoff at bats which is equivalent of a season in of itself.

I just heard that curling has been the highest viewed sport at the Sochi Games. Of course it would be. Who doesn't love a fancy shuffleboard game that they've all played with a beer in their hands? It makes everyone feel like an Olympian!

Sid Caesar, a brilliant sketch comic passed away yesterday. He appeared in one of my all time favorite movies called, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." His live television show included such young brilliant writers like Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Woody Allen. No wonder he was known as television's Charlie Chaplin, he influenced a lot of talent. Thanks for all the laughs Sid.

Just as we were getting another heavy snowfall around noon today I received an email from Mel Fisher Expeditions in Key West. Basically telling me to get out of the snow and come dive the Santa Margarita shipwreck with them. It's a Spanish ship loaded to the gills with gold and silver that broke apart in a hurricane in 1622. It lies approximately forty miles from Key West. The scattered wreck was discovered in 1980 but only a small portion of the treasure has been recovered. The legendary treasure hunter Mel Fisher was awarded the only federal permit to dive the wreck. A great gesture but I'll have to pass at the moment. Someone has to make sure the pipes don't freeze!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

West Virginia Follies

Condolences to Michelle Bavuso and her entire extended family. Michelle's father passed away yesterday and he will be missed by many. He did an excellent job with his daughter!

Coco is home today with the stomach flu. He's had a good run the last two years and has been very healthy. He thinks he'll be going to school tomorrow and I'm sure he'll be ready to go for his Saturday soccer game!

Best wishes to news journalist Tom Brokaw who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. He retired a decade ago at the top of his profession but has remained active with national commentary and some excellent documentaries.

Brad Paisley will be headlining Summerfest on June 27th. He is the 6th announced headliner and Darius Rucker will be his opening show.

I watched an interview last night with Texas Governor Rick Perry. Wearing a sharp suit and new glasses, he seemed well composed and very articulate. Then, at the very end he went off the talking points reservation and once again sounded like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

There were 3960 laser attacks on U.S. airplanes last year. That's way more than I thought. It's almost 11 attacks every single day. I'm not sure how many of these piss ants they catch but I'm sure it's not many. If caught, it's punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. I'm always amused by the fines. There isn't many Bill Gates or Rockefeller types committing these crimes. Still, I think it is domestic terrorism and I hope they lock one of these clowns up in Gitmo for five years.

King Coal is at it again in West Virginia. 100,000 gallons of coal slurry, a chemical waste made six miles of the Fields Creek look like a tar pit. It also leaked into the Kanawha river which it feeds into. The State EPA believes the water is safe to drink despite no testing of the local residential waters. I would imagine bottled water would be a better investment than even the best Brita filter.

Face it, coal is an obsolete inefficient technology that will be gone in twenty years. It's been around since the bow and arrow but nobody fights wars with those anymore, do they? Solar and wind technology is the wave of the future. Coal is on it's last leg and they know it. They are merely trying to rake in every last cent while cutting corners and letting accidents happen. Unfortunately, West Virginia itself has become collateral damage. In this case, our nation's largest cesspool.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gimme A Shirley Temple

I watched the Sochi games last night with Coco for a couple hours. He was really into the downhill skiing and ice skate racing. He was too young to remember much about the last winter Olympics, so it's all new to him. He had to write a brief report about another countries winter Olympic team. His assigned country was Jamaica so it was fairly brief.

There's another storm heading for Atlanta, Georgia. This time the grocery store shelves are empty and nobody is leaving their homes. A few weeks ago they did absolutely nothing. Maybe somewhere in the middle Atlanta!

Frank Puggle's Halloween picture will be on tomorrow's early news show on TMJ4 which. It's now channel 2 in Milwaukee.

Recent reports suggest that scientists might have found seasonal water on Mars. I'll never understand why we spend so many trillions on Mars exploration while so many people on this planet suffer.

The House is going to vote on a clean debt ceiling plan tonight. Not because they found the spirit of cooperation. They just couldn't agree on what to ask for!

There is a stock market doomsday report out there making me just shake my head. The naysayer shows a current stock market chart that resembles charts from 1928-29. This is why I strongly dislike investors who just use charts. They totally ignore current events, news, products and the world economy.

In 1929 there was no Facebook, Starbucks, nuclear energy or cell phones.
The world economy consisted of maybe a dozen countries and information took forever to get. It's not even comparing apples to oranges. More like the Wright brothers to the Blue Angels. Give me a break with the charts please.

The great Ambassador Shirley Temple Black passed away yesterday.  I know she was a famous child actor who made over 40 films, but she was actually in foreign service longer than acting. By all accounts, just a fabulous person who has a non-alcoholic drink named after her.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Rough Day At The Zoo

The Panama Canal expansion has come to a grinding halt. The widening of the canal has a 1.6 billion dollar cost overrun and doesn't appear close to being done. France actually started the canal project in 1881, but it was the United States who actually finished it in 1914. Due to the expanding global economy, the Panama Canal is even more vital today. Ports on the eastern seaboard have already spent millions of dollars upgrading their existing infrastructure in anticipation of the increased traffic. Hopefully, the Panama government will get this resolved shortly.

For some reason, animals dominated several of my conversations yesterday. I briefly chatted with a man who breeds myotonic fainting goats. It's a domestic goat whose muscles briefly freeze when they feel panic or become startled. Apparently, it's a popular goat for meat usage.

Then I was roped into watching part of the Westminster dog show since we might be getting a pooch this year. I really detest dog shows. They seem so pompous. This year they had a agility competition for ordinary mutts. Of course, they call them All-American dogs instead of mutts. It's even getting to be politically correct in the dog world!

The Copenhagen Zoo killed a healthy two year old giraffe to protect the zoo from giraffe inbreeding. Despite offers from other zoos and private collectors to take the giraffe, zoo officials decided to kill the healthy giraffe and feed it to their lions. Zoo patrons were allowed to watch the feeding if they desired. This certainly doesn't sound like a typical zoo's mission statement.

There is a man eating tiger in northern India. The tiger has roamed about eighty miles from its natural habitat. In the last six weeks it has killed ten people and partially ate them. It's believed the tiger is attacking people because it's having a hard time finding its natural prey. Maybe the Copenhagen Zoo can spare another giraffe. I imagine the locals would appreciate the gesture.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Duke Energy Bought A State

We woke up this morning to get to church early. Coco and his 4th grade class were singing in church this morning and he was one of the three leads. He performed flawlessly and I was very proud. He received many kudos after the service.

Happy Dog Birthdays to Pete and Frank Puggle. Angela actually made them a cake. The official birthday portrait is posted below.

I've been watching a bit of curling lately. Actually, I only pay attention to it every four years in tandem with the winter games. It seems like an oversized Wisconsin bar game. Very similar to shuffleboard. It's believed that curling originated some 400 years ago in Scotland. Wisconsin does have a member of the women's curling team at the Sochi Games. Good luck to Erika Brown.

The Los Angeles Lakers are hosting the Chicago Bulls in NBA action this afternoon. At one time this would have been considered a mid-season glamour game. Injuries to stars Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose have made it just another regular season game. Hopefully both of them come back strong!

There has been another massive chemical spill this year. This time it happened in North Carolina and the culprit is Duke Energy. A coal ash dump malfunction poured 82,000 tons of coal ash with 27 million gallons of contaminated water into the Dan River. Coal ash contains large quantities of arsenic, mercury and lead. None of these will do a body good.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is a former Duke Energy employee of 28 years. The states Commerce Secretary is also a former employee as are many other of the governor's appointees. Three times environmental groups have sued Duke Energy to have the ash dumps cleaned up. All three times the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources have intervened and imposed modest fines on Duke Energy with no clean up requirements. People have been rushing to the Governor's defense and describing him as a pro-business Republican. For some strange reason, I always thought you could be pro-business without throwing arsenic in the rivers of North Carolina.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

End The Embargo

Even the best planned Happy Hour is always subject to change. Krissy and I stopped at Regano's Roman Coin bar to start the evening and ended up spending over three hours there without making it to our next stop. Let it be said that flexibility is the key when it comes to a professional happy hour.  I talked vintage bicycles and Ford Thunderbirds with Joel the bartender and several other early starters.

The Roman Coin itself is a vintage treasure. It was built in 1890 and was originally a Frederick Pabst saloon. There's a sign in the men's room that will let you know that also. Captain Pabst was the original conveyor of Pabst brand beer and people can tour his mansion on Wisconsin Avenue if so inclined. The "Coin" is a true corner bar still serving Pabst and many other fine brews.

We ended up grabbing Chinese food next door at the Emperor of China. Tremendous food and the Brady Street area is truly a great place to live. In the summer it does remind me a bit of Duval Street in Key West.

The Tosa Thunder won their indoor soccer game 5-3. It was a rough physical game but the boys played great defense once again.

Alex Rodriguez dropped his lawsuit against MLB and will apparently sit out the year and go away. Well, that's one down anyway.

Over 1800 firearms were confiscated from travelers last year at U.S. airports and 80% of them were loaded. Has anybody heard of metal detectors?

The U.S. House is in session 3 days next week then they take a break until February 25th. Three paid vacations in the first two months of the year. Not bad for a part time gig.

Kudos to former Florida Governor Charlie Crist for calling for an end to the trade embargo with Cuba. It's been a failed policy for 52 years. Oddly, many politicians cling onto the embargo so not to empower the Castro regime. Give me a break please. The Castro boys have been in power since 1959. They will die from old age before a boatload of apple pie and hotdogs give them "power."


Friday, February 7, 2014

Happy Hour Time

Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He had the greatest ten year career in the history of major league baseball. Back problems forced him into an early retirement but his yearly averages stack up against any slugging great. It's by mere coincidence that he had the same name as my grandfather but they did look an awful lot a like. My grandfather always had a friendly chuckle every time someone asked him if he was Ralph Kiner the baseball player. It must have been the Dutch ancestry that both men came from.

A mediocre jobs report was reported by the government this morning. Surprisingly, the stock market reacted positively. In looking over the narrative over half the job gains came from manufacturing rather than the service sector. The last time that happened was 2005. Hopefully this trend will continue on next month's report.

The nations debt limit is officially reached today. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will juggle money around the next few weeks to pay the nation's bills. The battle will probably start Monday with more finger pointing and more drama until an agreement is reached. Congress always waits until the last minute unless it's vacation time. Procrastination at its finest.

Kudos to Clint Eastwood for saving a man from choking at a Pebble Beach golf dinner. I wonder if Clint is still talking to empty chairs?

Once Krissy gets home we're heading to Bosley on Brady for happy hour. In my humble opinion it's the best seafood restaurant in not only Milwaukee but the entire state. It's that good just like some Key West restaurants. That's no surprise as the owners lived in Florida and Key West has a heavy influence on the restaurant. We're lucky to live just three blocks away.

A man on a Ukraine passenger plane attempted to hijack the plane to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It landed in Turkey instead which is famous for having the worst prisons in the world. Enjoy your stay Mr. Hijacker!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Fiddle Is Found

The snow is gone but the high temperature will only be 3 degrees today. Key West is calling for 84 degrees and nothing but sun. Yeah, that's not cheering me up any.

The Sochi Winter Olympics are finally here. For some reason, the usual hype and enthusiasm seems tempered down a bit. Maybe once the events start the wow factor will kick in. Especially for the USA hockey team!

It's Jay Leno's last night as host of the Tonight Show. He had a nice run and I'm anxious to see how Jimmy Fallon does. But for many of us it will always be Johnny Carson's show. True legends always leave a legacy.

GI Joe turns 50 years old this week without a lot of fanfare or parties. GI Joe's were the world's first action figures originally designed to honor veterans from all military branches. After the Vietnam War their popularity started to dissipate. Rightfully so I imagine. I still have all of mine in a huge trunk in my basement. Amongst a lot of interesting things in my basement!

They have recovered the stolen Lipinski Strad on the eastside of Milwaukee and it appears to be damage free. I live on the eastside. No, it wasn't in my basement amongst my interesting things.

There were two fascinating documentaries on the National Geographic Channel last night. The first one concerned German submarines off the eastern seaboard in early 1942. Coastal security was so weak in the early stages of the war that the german sailors were actually watching people walk on the beaches of Chesapeake Bay and listening to American radio stations. Many U.S freighters were sank during this period but the government kept it quiet so moral wouldn't be doused early on.

Monument Men was the second documentary about a small group of soldiers assigned the task of recovering stolen art. The Nazi regime had stolen Europe's vast array of artwork and stashed it throughout Europe in places like salt mines. It wasn't merely just art work but more an attempt to rob countries of their culture. The movie comes out tomorrow and I intend to see it as soon as possible.

Mortgage rates have dipped down 0.3 since the beginning of the year. Slow home sales mostly due to the bad winter weather will do that. I'm sure the rates will rise as the temperature does. It has to warm up sometime. Right?


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lipinski Strad Still Missing

Another wintery day with more snow. Not a sign of a plow or salt truck anywhere this morning. Southeast Wisconsin is actually dangerously low on salt. A bulk carrier came to the Port of Milwaukee last night with 22,000 tons of salt and another bulk carrier is expected today with another 50,000 tons. Just have to survive another four weeks and the worst of winter should be over.

Another minor earthquake hit the northern coast of Cuba last night. It was the second one in this short year. It doesn't appear that Key West felt any tremors.

I noticed that the newly passed farm bill has a requirement that stores must now label the origin of certain meat products. It's more of a food bill these days and it clearly states that pork, chicken and beef must be clearly labeled. A lot of it does come from foreign countries. If it's good enough for beer and scotch it should be good enough for consumer meats.

Retired soccer great David Beckham announced that he is bringing a MLS expansion team to Miami. It will be the 20th Major League Soccer team. Frankly, I'm surprised that Miami didn't already have a team considering all of its international flair. Beckham has done very well in the soccer world and I'm sure he'll do well in Miami.

There's good news and bad news regarding the stolen Stradivarius violin in Milwaukee. Three people were arrested in connection with the theft. But, the expensive fiddle known as the Lipinski Strad has not been recovered yet. In the good ole days, a yellow page phonebook to the head would have yielded the location of the stolen property. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just saying!

Bill O'Reilly believes that he has become an annoyance to President Obama. Don't sell yourself short Bill. You annoy the hell out of the rest of us also!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Jeff Bridges Is The Dude

Congrats to Satya Nadella as he was named the new CEO of Microsoft (MSFT). He has worked for Microsoft for the past 22 years but Nadella also has a local connection to Milwaukee. He graduated from UWM with an MS in Computer Science. That should certainly enhance the UWM program even further.

The stock market has recovered slightly today. Still too early to see if the bleeding has stopped or if it's merely a dead cat bounce.

Joan Mondale, wife of former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away yesterday. Her nickname was 'Joan of Art' as she was a long time advocate of the arts. In 1986, I met her daughter Eleanor at a WGN radio event at Notre Dame University before a Chicago Bears exhibition game. Eleanor preceded her in death from brain cancer in 2011. Condolences to the entire Mondale family.

There's rumors swirling about that Mitt Romney is being recruited again to run for president. He's been the subject of a positive documentary and has made some television appearances lately. Personally, I don't think Mitt will take another run after two failed attempts. It's a long tough endeavor with no prize for second place. Besides, in my humble opinion I believe his wife wanted to be first lady more than he wanted the presidency in 2012.

Things are a little slow so far on the local front this week. I'm signing Coco up for a second indoor soccer season today. He's informed me that he would like to focus on soccer more so little league baseball will be a no go this spring. Baseball was king when I was a kid and I played as much as I could. The only reason I knew anything about soccer was because a kid from Germany moved to my town and attended my school and showed it to us. It was his decision though and it appears well thought out so I'm good with it.

Kudos to Oscar winning actor Jeff Bridges and to It's purpose is not only to end childhood hunger, but to teach low income families to food shop in better ways. Jeff Bridges is the national spokesman and he has been working on the hunger crisis for over 30 years. A great organization being promoted by a truly great man.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Task Force Time

The first bobbled snap of the game pretty much set the tone for the rest of the Super Bowl. The Denver Broncos made just about every mistake a team can make in a football game. To the Seattle Seahawks credit, they took advantage of every miscue and routed the Broncos pretty good.

Now comes the hard part for Seattle. Trying to keep their young talent away from other teams in free agency will be no easy task. Traditionally, the championship team gets raided every year by teams looking for a quick fix willing to overpay for free agents. The Seahawks core is fairly young and fairly underpaid by today's standard. With over 19 free agents and not much cap space, other teams will likely take away a few key players.

The halftime show with Bruno Mars was very good. Definitely a first class entertainer with a bright future.

My favorite commercial by far was the Chrysler commercial featuring the legendary Bob Dylan. It was well written with great messaging.  I also liked the U2 clip helping with yet another cause. The four Irishman always make their mother country proud on the world stage.

The DOW is down 311 points as I write today. It could be a tough week until the jobs report on Friday. If it's a low number look for a continual downward spiral for the rest of the month.  Personally, I think it will be ok if weather is factored in. Look for a revised upward number of last months number also. They shouldn't have been that bad!

So far I have nothing planned for this week except Cole's soccer game on Saturday. It's an 11am game and yes, I've double checked the time already!

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has announced that he's starting a task force to be better prepared for the next "severe storm." Really? You're going to waste taxpayer money to cover your ass. At most, Georgia gets a storm like this once every dozen years. Next time, just pay attention to the weather forecast and close everything down for a day. It's that simple. No worries Governor, my advice is always free and plentiful!


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday

We had a great time at Monte Carlo night. Special thanks to Holly and Steve for the pre-party. Michelle, Gary and Amy also attended the event with us. Five Card Stud was the musical entertainment. They are the same band we saw New Year's Eve. No one in our group really won anything but it was for charity.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today so we will supposedly have another 6 weeks of winter. Phil's accuracy has been in question lately but regardless, send the oversized rodent back into his hole!

The greatest character actor of this century, Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away today at the age of 46. He was an actor who refused to be typecast in the same roles movie after movie. He showed great range by winning an Oscar for the leading role in "Capote." He'll certainly be missed by his many fans.

Getting ready to watch the game with Krissy. Hopefully it will be a decent game but I'm also interested in watching the halftime show with Bruno Mars. He will be playing at Summerfest this year.

We took the easy way out for the game and ordered Lisa's Pizza for delivery. When I lived in the Chicago suburbs we had several great pizza joints in every town. The Milwaukee area has 4 or 5 total for some reason and Lisa's is one of them.  I went old school and bought some Mickey Big Mouths as I haven't had those in ages. Gotta run as the pizza is here. Game on!


Monte Carlo Night 2014
Jackson, WI

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's Monte Carlo Night

What a relaxing morning.  I received breakfast in bed this morning. Krissy must be killing me with kindness as I left the house messy yesterday. I'm sure their will be a price to pay but it's all good.

We watched "No Reservations" again with Anthony Bourdain as he visited Madrid, Spain. It appears they eat very well in Spain and the red wine is abundant. The Madrid people seem very relaxed and laid back. Probably all the red wine. I love the insight Bourdain gathers from the locals, not only socially but politically as well. Plus, Bourdain's sense of humor is a bit warped to just the right degree.

I had to cut my morning short and hustle to drive Coco to his noon soccer game. We got there in plenty of time for a good warm up only to realize his game was at 2pm. So, I'm starting this blog in the bleachers of the indoor arena wondering how I messed up the time.

Bill Maher is starting a new segment on his HBO program "Real Time." The segment will be called "Flip the District." It's purpose is to defeat a perceived terrible incumbent member of congress at election time in their district. Viewers of the show will send in selections and Maher will pick one to go after.

Maher's only requirement is that it be a competitive race that the challenger has a chance to win. Maher will visit the district in campaign mode, perform some standup and try and put the challenger in a position to beat the incumbent.

It would be dire mistake for any incumbent to underestimate Maher. He is viewed as a great comedian no doubt. But he's also very intelligent and has a fact based articulate composure to him. My bet is that Bill's guy will win in November.

The Tosa Thunder lost a tough soccer game 8-7 this afternoon. Dom Bavuso came with a Mohawk hair dew and played like a great warrior. Next Saturday I'll try and get the time right.

I'm picking Denver to win the Super Bowl by a 27-20 score. Hopefully, Peyton Manning rides off in the sunset and retires with a second championship.

It's Monte Carlo night in Jackson, WI. We'll be attending for the third consecutive year and we'll be meeting at Steve and Holly's house first. I would try and make it rain tonight but unfortunately it's snowing again!