Monday, March 31, 2014

The Duke

It's opening day for most of MLB baseball today. The Chicago Cubs will open in Pittsburgh. Every time that I attended opening day at Wrigley Field there were snow flurries and I froze my butt off. Give me a July game anytime.

I walked to Glorioso's Italian Grocery to pick up a chunk of red meat and some giant Red Stripes. It's 54 degrees in Brew City but it's a cold 54. Still a lot of snow piles on the ground. Last year it took till April 7th for the last of them to melt. Don't ask me why I keep track of weird stuff. I just do.

The stock market opened with strong confidence this morning. Everything seems different than last week and much more positive. Enrollment for Obamacare is way up after this weekend. Indeed, we are a nation of procrastinators. Maybe the world isn't ending after all.

The Final Four is all set. Good luck to all the teams but especially to Florida as I have them winning in my bracket.

I've been reading some excerpts from "John Wayne: The Life and Legend" and I never knew that he never legally changed his name. Legal actions were made under Marion Morrison. He was nicknamed "Duke" when he was 4 years old by a local fireman who saw him walking his dog Duke. My Uncle Wayne met him in the 1960's while working at an Alaskan border crossing for the Coast Guard. Apparently he was returning from a hunting trip.

My favorite John Wayne movies are "The Alamo," "The Shootist,"
and "True Grit" for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor. They hardly even make western movies anymore. The Duke has been gone for almost 35 years and he just set the bar way too high.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Batman

We met Monique and Frosty last night at County Clare. It's the same Irish bar we went to for St. Patrick's Day. After some drinks and food we headed over to Bugsy's Back Alley Saloon. The cab driver actually dropped us off in the back alley so we could make a big entrance through the fancy backdoor. The place definitely had a roaring twenties feel to it. There was a rowdy bachelorette party going on and a pretty decent two piece band.

After about an hour there, Monique and Krissy ventured across the street to the Milwaukee Ale House while Frosty and I stayed to finish our drinks. The crowd started getting bigger and more interesting just as we decided we better head across the street to meet the girls. Krissy started fading around midnight so we grabbed a cab bidding them a fond farewell. What a truly fun night!

Congrats to the Wisconsin Badgers on making it to the Final Four. We caught the end of the game at Bugsy's. I'm down to just having Florida left.

Batman is 75 years old today which was when the first comic appeared on newsstands. Integrity, toughness with a dash of class. I had my very own Batman costume before I even entered Kindergarten. I was the envy of all the guys on my block who were still wearing their momma's dishtowels in lieu of a real cape. 

Even as adults we still like Batman. About 15 years ago at work, I had a friendly bantered exchange with a friend over which one of us was "really" Batman. After about 5 minutes of discussing who had the most Batman type qualities, I lifted my sweater to reveal my black Batman t-shirt with the classic yellow logo. He had to call me Batman the rest of the day at the office and I loved every minute of it.

Bridge Gate is still an ongoing saga being investigated in New Jersey. I still don't have a definitive opinion if Governor Christie was behind it or not. I do find it curious that no one has produced an actual traffic study yet. But I do no one thing that is an indisputable fact. This crap doesn't happen in Gotham City!    


Frosty & Monique

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ocean Garbage and a Bandana

Coco purchased a small Foosball table and brought it over last night. I hate Foosball. I really do. I don't think I've ever won a game in my entire life and my luck didn't change while playing him.

I've three teams left in the NCAA tournament and two of them are playing against each other. I have Arizona beating Wisconsin in my bracket and that's not going to make me popular this weekend.

No indoor soccer until tomorrow at noon. So it's house cleaning and going out tonight with friends. Should be fun and I'll recap that tomorrow with some pictures.

If anyone needs to take a spring culinary trip this spring the Taste of Key West is April 14th. It's a great restaurant town, maybe the best. It's currently 81 degrees there as I write.

Krissy changed our browser to Google Chrome and I can't believe the difference it's making. Our computer is running like it's brand new again.

Ships have been finding a lot of debris today in the Indian Ocean but nothing confirmed from the missing Malaysia airliner. Apparently, it isn't uncommon to find large garbage fields in the world's oceans. In fact, it's estimated to be in the 100's of tons. There's five major ocean garbage vortex's in the world where tides and currents make the garbage accumulate together.

Most of it is cargo containers, plastic bags, bottles and one Rolling Stones bandana. The bandana is mine and I lost it snorkeling in Jamaica in 1994. I paid ten bucks for it at a concert and I'm still a bit upset about losing it. I'm offering a handsome reward for it's return and I can be reached here if it's found. 


Friday, March 28, 2014

Going Over The Cliff

The Wisconsin Badgers advanced to the final eight in the NCAA tournament. It was a solid win over Baylor and that win certainly helps my bracket.

Better stock up on limes if you even see them. Apparently there's a massive lime shortage and prices have quadrupled in certain areas. Most of our limes actually come from Mexico. I imagine the Keys use all of their homegrown limes for the world's greatest Key Lime pie and tequila.

Larry Kudlow broadcasts his last show tonight before becoming a part-time contributor. I didn't always agree with Larry often but I enjoyed watching him. He's a fine man who displayed a great degree of civility on his show.

There's yet another oil spill. BP has already doubled their last estimate of the amount of oil spilled into Lake Michigan. Not a politician in sight protecting the clean water in this country.

The Montana woman who pushed her husband of eight days off a Glacier National Park cliff was sentenced to 30 years in prison. I can almost hear her mother now. She's really a good kid, just misunderstood.

An Elmbrook Church teacher in Brookfield, Wisconsin left her loaded semi-automatic handgun in the bathroom which first graders used. The safety was in the fire position. No job dismissal or disciplinary actions. In fact, police gave her the gun back the next day. Apparently it's not a crime to be an irresponsible idiot.

Governor Walker has signed a Wisconsin bill severely limiting previous early voting rights long established in this state. About 25 percent of the voters vote early to avoid long lines on election day. What's next? Take away our right to leave loaded guns in kiddie bathrooms???


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hank The Mascot

I took Coco to school this morning in freezing rain. When will the Wisconsin weather make a turn around? It looks like next week and hopefully the jittery stock market turns up with it.

The ground crew at Miller Park had to bring in some hi-tech grow lights to get the ballpark grass ready for opening day next week. It's been so cold this spring that the roof has only been open 3 times so far.

Jared Allen signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears. He's on his way to the Hall of Fame and it looks like he still has a couple quality years left in the tank.

Krissy and I have been watching Bar Rescue on the Spike Network. We caught an episode featuring the O Face Bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa. These people were a total train wreck and ended up without a rescue. Lazy and dysfunctional owners at best. The whole town was portrayed very unflattering.

The Milwaukee County Zoo has a new baby gorilla. It's the first newborn since 1992. I'm sure the gorilla has a better chance here than the Copenhagen Zoo which just killed 4 lions. Ironically, they slaughtered an unwanted giraffe last month to feed to the lions.

Hank the new dog mascot of the Milwaukee Brewers has been on the rollercoaster of life lately. Basically, he was a homeless stray in Arizona and hooked up with the Brewers organization during spring training. The owner even flew Hank to Milwaukee on his private jet. The team just announced a bobble head promotion for Hank in September which is a major deal. Angela and Krissy stopped at Grebe's Bakery for Hank the Mascot cookies. They were sold out! From homeless to the penthouse within a month, only in America.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Man Named Red

Summerfest announced 76 acts this morning. Only one out of the six I mentioned yesterday, Ray LaMontagne will be playing the fest. So much for the rumor blogs. There's still three amphitheater headliners to be announced shortly. You can see the signed acts at

Facebook (FB) announced that it bought another tech company after market close yesterday called Oculus. So far the market hasn't liked the acquisition as the stock is down for the day. CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems to be using the Google (GOOG) plan which is to buy young companies for growth as opposed to APPLE (AAPL) which relies mostly on their own design products. All three companies make a boatload of money!

I caught more of the Johnny Carson interviews last night on TMC hosted by Conan O'Brien. It was the best program of the series by far. It started out with a 1977 interview with Lucille Ball. Basically, Lucy and Desi set the foundation for the modern sitcom. She's the original queen of comedy.

It also had interviews with Carol Burnett and a pre- Murphy Brown, Candice Bergen. Both humble and lovely ladies. It also featured Carson's personal favorite Jack Benny and Don Adams from the comedy Get Smart. Adams was a total stitch and had me laughing out loud. I never knew he was such a successful road comic.

TMC closed with my childhood favorite, Mr. Red Skelton. I actually saw a Red Skelton performance in his final year of doing shows at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, Il. He was a funny, humble and gracious man. President Roosevelt asked him to help raise money for the war effort and within 2 weeks Red handed the government a new transport plane.

Red was actually his real middle name and he grew up very poor in Vincennes, Indiana. He did his famous doughnut dunker act five times a day during his vaudeville days. Each performance required him to eat nine doughnuts during the act which is 45 a day. After he gained 35 pounds he finally had to put that act on the shelf. My barber actually cut Mr. Skelton's hair once as he was performing in Milwaukee. I actually felt close to greatness as I consider him our nation's Charlie Chaplin. Not bad Red.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tennessee Williams

Well, we woke up to 21 degrees and another overnight snowfall. It's the 35th snowfall according to my count and it's one week until April Fools Day. It seems like us Midwesterners have been fools all winter this year.

Summerfest rumors for the ground stage are Ringo, Jimmy Buffett, Ray LaMontagne, Gavin DeGraw, Survivor and Hall & Oates. I'm betting 4 out of the 6 come to fruition. We shall see.

Patrice Wymore Flynn passed away this week in Portland Parish Jamaica where she had a cattle ranch. She was probably better known as the widow of the legendary actor Errol Flynn. Mr. Flynn starred in such classics as Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood, and They Died with Their Boots On which is one of my favorite all time movies about General Custer. Amazingly, he was never nominated for an Academy Award for his body of work. There's been rumors of a posthumous lifetime achievement award but so far no dice.

Mrs. Flynn was a busy actress in her own right starring in Vaudeville as a child and appearing in Ocean's Eleven with Frank Sinatra. She made Jamaica her permanent home for over 40 years. Her 1800 acre cattle ranch was very successful and she was a true ambassador in promoting the Port Antonio, Jamaica tourism area.

A long lost 14 page unpublished manuscript written by Tennessee Williams was recently discovered. The story titled "Crazy Night" will be in the newest issue of Strand Magazine.  It was a mystery story written before his legendary Broadway plays "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Tennessee Williams lived in Key West for 34 years as his primary residence. His home on Duncan Street is privately owned today. By all accounts he truly loved living in Key West. The island certainly didn't forget Mr. Williams. The performance arts theatre is named after him.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Pre-Announcement Day

It seems like we are only hitting a high of 34 degrees today by the lake. The third day in a row it's been colder than the forecast. Still some significant snow piles with a week left in March.

The stock market is still jittery today with the Russian situation ongoing and some bad economic data in China. It looks like the markets could trade sideways until the next monthly jobs report.

Speaking of Russia, they have been kicked out of the G8 so now it's apparently just a G7. What am I going to do with all my G8 sports apparel now? I'm kidding about the sports apparel but Putin deserved the boot. Just don't do a massive grain embargo like we did in the 80's. That hurt the American farmer way too much. And don't send Europe our natural gas, that will just jack up prices on Americans next winter. Energy companies in this country are way more dishonest than the most crooked banker.

I have 7 teams left in the NCAA tournament and only 2 Final Four teams. My only hope is if Florida wins it all and everybody else is doing mediocre at best. Slim chance I know.

Summerfest has announced that ground stage headliners will be revealed Wednesday morning. So, this would be an announcement for an announcement! Stay tuned, now I have to check the online rumor bloggers because I'm not a patient person by nature. Some of these bloggers are actually pretty accurate with inside concert information. Have to run now and pick Coco up from school.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gone But Always Remembered

Congrats to John and Angela on their Arizona engagement. You could have waited until you arrived back to chilly Milwaukee. What's next? A new house in Arizona? Make sure the guest room has a private bathroom with a southern exposure please. Congrats again you crazy kids.

Happy Birthday to Joanne for tomorrow. Krissy's mom looks 30 years younger than she is. Thanks again for the lovely lunch today. Now let's close the deal on that Airstream.

I'm starting to fall apart on my NCAA bracket. It seems like most people are having a rough go of it with a few high seeds already going home. I still might  have a slim chance if Arizona and Florida make it to the Final Four. Very slim!

We watched 12 Years A Slave last night from the confines of our cozy living room. One has to love pay per view options on these chilly nights. The movie is a top notch production but naturally has a sad overtone through out the film. It does have a shining moment at the end and it's actually based on a true story about Solomon Northup. I highly recommend it.

If my Grandma Kiner was still alive it would be her 100th birthday today. Her maiden name was Eichelkraut and she was famous for her German sauerkraut. She also owned a muskie fish catching record in Hayward, Wisconsin and I still have the newspaper clipping. She graduated from a business college in 1929 which was almost unheard of in those times. She was also our family historian and she documented all of my family records that she left for me.

Her first date with my grandfather was during prohibition. Naturally, my grandpa took her to a speakeasy that ended up being raided by the police. She once told me that she felt like she was running for her life because if her father would have found out it would have been the end for her. Luckily, they escaped. She was the greatest grandma that ever lived and I still miss her terribly. Happy Birthday Grandma.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Dick Van Dyke Days

After round one I'm 23-9 in the NCAA tournament. I did suffer some damage though as I had Duke going to the final 8. Hopefully other people did also and I'll be okay.

The Tosa Thunder lost a tough indoor soccer game 8-6 this morning. Coco suffered a high left ankle sprain towards the end of the game. He has a fairly big limp so he'll be doing a lot of icing this week.

A female fugitive who was on the run for 18 years was captured on a Key West houseboat this week. That's one way of getting there I guess.

A Chinese property developer paid $1.9 million for a dog. I know race horses go for that kind of cabbage but never heard of a dog going for that much. It's a long haired Tibetan Mastiff that weighs 200 pounds. My mom once paid $4 for my cocker spaniel mix Beau. The lady wanted $5 but my mom only had 4 measly singles on her so the lady let her slide. Beau was a good dog who made it to the ripe old age of 13.

It's been kind of a lazy dog day afternoon since getting back from soccer. I'm marinating a nice steak for dinner and watching a movie marathon of Murder 101 starring Dick Van Dyke. I catch up on the tournament during commercials.

WGN television used to carry The Dick Van Dyke Show reruns coupled with The Andy Griffith Show reruns every weekday afternoon from 2-3pm. My college roommate Bob Dunphy and I never missed an episode during college. In fact, we never took a 2pm class so we specifically could watch our reruns. All of our teammates knew what we would be doing at 2pm and sometimes we'd have drop by guests to watch with us.

Bob and I had already seen each episode well before we got to college so we'd have a contest for both shows. We'd see who could tell the storyline first and it usually only took 10 seconds. We were both great at it and our friends found it amusing yet strange. I still watch them to this day and I would bet he does also. I guess they reminded us both of a simpler yet greater era. Thank you Bob.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Starbucks Delight

Not a bad bracket so far. I went 14-2 yesterday. That's the best start that I've had in a long time with no damage to my final 8 teams. It's brutal if you lose one of those in the first round.

Krissy and I met her mom Joanne and nephew Dom at Casablanca for dinner last night. Dom is a freshman at Stevens Point College and was home for spring break. It's a middle eastern cuisine and the Turkish coffee was spectacular along with the overall meal.

Mt. Gox the Bitcoin dealer that filed bankruptcy mysteriously found a large amount of Bitcoins that were stored offline. It's hard to have faith in a new venture when it appears rotten and dishonest at it's very core.

Netflix is filming a new dramatic series. It doesn't have a title yet but filming just started and will be completely shot in the Florida Keys thru September. Stay tuned.

Congrats to a man named Emil who won the Wheel of Fortune grand prize despite only having 2 letters to work with. I've long been bored with the show but have caught a few episodes lately as Coco really likes it.

Still no sign of the missing Malaysia airliner. I think a search crew needs to get in another Boeing 777 and retrace the last known flight steps. Then fly several travel arcs and see if anything shakes up. It works for me every time I misplace my keys or wallet!

Kudos to Starbucks for giving $30 million to war veterans research for post traumatic syndrome. Starbucks has been a leader in the coffee world but recently branched out into tea and alcohol in some locations. I remember having my first latte at the Lake Forest, Il Starbucks in 1990. I was so impressed with the concept that I sent a letter the following day to Starbucks inquiring about franchise opportunities. Less than a week later I received a nice letter explaining that they were strictly a company owned business but wishing me well and thanking me for the interest. Still a first class company 24 years later!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Video Will

It hit 43 degrees today on my walk to Walgreens and I noticed all the birds chirping for the first time in a long time. Glad to have them back.

For my NCAA bracket, I picked Florida, Villanova, Arizona and Wichita State going to the Final Four. I seldom pick any top seeds but I think the selection committee did very well on the pairings with late season momentum considered. I would have taken Syracuse 4 weeks ago but they lost their momentum. I'll take Florida beating Wichita State in the championship game.

The Sir Lancelot's Armor company has come out with a line of bulletproof screen protectors for mobile devices. For an average cost of $45, parents can give their teenagers a fighting chance against George Zimmerman.

I had a lively discussion with 3 strange guys yesterday who are absolutely crazy about J.C Penney (JCP) stock. Why? It's a 112 year old brick and mortar retailer that loses money hands over fist every quarter. There's at least a 1000 quality stocks out there, don't bet on a 1970 stalwart  with your hard earned money.

Former Chicago Bear Devin Hester signed a 3 year free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons. He was the most exciting kick/punt returner that I've ever seen. He even returned a missed field goal for a touchdown once. I never knew that was even allowed until he did it.

I was watching an episode of Magnum P.I. today and it had a scene with a recently deceased person reading his will via videotape. Does anyone actually ever do this? I've never know anyone personally do this myself. I think I will though. It's very important that my beer can collection and James Bond sunglasses get to the right people and have them know why!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's Bracket Time

A 50 foot sailboat sank three miles off the Key West coast in 25 feet of water. I always think the ocean is so deep so I'm always surprised when I hear how far out the shallow waters can go.

Still no sign of the missing Malaysia airliner. Maybe it's time to offer an enormous reward or call in Dog the Bounty Hunter. Nothing else seems to be working.

Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton is now officially a Dallas Cowboy. Melton is coming off major knee surgery and grew up in the Dallas suburbs so I'm not really surprised. If he gets back to his pro bowl form it's a great pickup for the cowboys.

I watched more of the Johnny Carson interviews on TMC last night. Julie Andrews and Sean Connery were okay but I found a relatively unknown Dudley Moore extremely funny. He was an English musician and comic who was promoting his new movie Ten. It went on to be a blockbuster and he followed that up with another hit in Arthur.

It also had action stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone as featured interviews. Stallone was promoting his just released film Rocky. They actually made Rocky for just under one million bucks. Impossible to replicate that today.

The show ended with legendary interviews with Gene Kelly and George C. Scott. I didn't know Scott was such a brilliant and respected stage actor before turning to movies. He was perfectly cast in Patton and I can't imagine anyone else playing that role.

Does everyone have the NCAA brackets done for their respective pools? Krissy is bringing one home for me tonight. I'll give you my final four picks tomorrow. I used to follow the college game quite closely. One year I had 3 of the 4 final four teams with the national champion picked correctly. I won a sizeable sum but haven't done well lately. Time for a rebound!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Irish Day Recap

Krissy and I started out with lunch at Jack's American Pub yesterday. It wasn't too crowded at noon. Then we met up with her sister Jen and headed over to Hosed on Brady for green beer. I've never really understood the green beer concept. After Hosed, we headed over to The Standard Tavern and waited for their high school friend Julie to meet up with us. Julie was the only one who made an effort to actually work yesterday.

Once Julie arrived we headed over to County Clare which is an Irish owned boutique hotel on the eastside of Milwaukee.
They actually put up a huge heated tent over their parking lot. There's been a few years where they didn't need the heaters but yesterday they certainly did. The featured Irish band was Hearthfire.
They bill themselves as Irish music with attitude and they certainly lived up to the billing.

A special kudos to Rob Irwin the Brand Ambassador for 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey who we all talked to for a while. Thanks again for the promotional items and the cocktails were fantastic!

I'm not even sure what time we left County Clare but a good time was had by all. Thanks again everyone and check out the photos below!

 Free hat and cool light up ring! love bar giveaways

The bagpipes!!!

Everyone is Irish on St Patrick's day!

Jen came in green shoes

Krissy and Jenny

duh... green beer

Julie and Jenny belly up to the bar... again

3rd anniversary photo

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Yankee Bandits

I woke up to 19 degrees and I noticed The Standard Tavern had their lights on already. Yep, it was 6:30am and I could see patrons in this quaint bar on our street. Happy St. Patrick's Day! The weather isn't going to stop the Irish spirit in Milwaukee today. I'll give a recap tomorrow as we fly by the seat of our pants today.

The NCAA basketball tournament bracket seeds came out yesterday. This event makes March Madness official. Good luck to all the teams. The championship game will be on March 7th.

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were known as the Bandidos Yanquis in Bolivia. In other words, the Yankee Bandits. Coco and I found it channel surfing last night and watched it in it's entirety. One of the top ten movies of all time and he liked it just as much as myself. Of course, I've seen it probably 25 or 30 times but never tire of it. It was actually the first movie I ever saw at the theater. My cousins were in town from California and we all went to see it. They have probably long forgotten about it but it was really a special moment for me.

Paul Newman and Robert Redford were superbly cast and their chemistry makes the movie. The writer did a wonderful job and the director showed the natural beauty of the film's location. Redford moved to the area shortly after the film was released.

Steve McQueen was originally supposed to be Butch Cassidy but dropped out after he couldn't get top billing over his rival Newman. Newman then switched to play Butch and Redford signed on for Sundance and the rest was history.

When Newman was still alive there was talk of a remake with Matt Damon. Newman came out and stated that "we did just fine with the original." All talk of a remake was squashed. Never cross a legend.

St. Patrick was the patron Saint of Ireland but he was actually Scottish. About one-third of Americans plan to go to a bar today to celebrate. We shall be heading out soon. Be safe and Erin go Braugh!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

My David Brenner Encounter

The Tosa Thunder lost their soccer game 11-4 this morning. Their best player Dom missed the game due to illness. My son Coco stepped up and scored the first goal of the game and had an additional 2 shots that missed the mark. Coco has certainly improved his offensive game and is already looking forward to next weeks game.

Phil Jackson is returning to where his NBA career started. Jackson signed a 5 year contract to be the new President of Operations for the New York Knickerbockers. He was drafted by the Knicks and spent the majority of his playing career in the big apple. Jackson has 11 NBA championship rings for coaching the Bulls and Lakers and I'm sure he believes he can turn the mediocre Knicks around. I read his book "Maverick" when I was a kid and he was still playing. Jackson is a very eclectic individual and just isn't a one trick pony in the game of life. I've met him once at an Illinois sports bar and a couple years ago in front of the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. Always a kind word for everyone and I wish him well except when they play my Chicago Bulls.

Famed comedian David Brenner passed away yesterday. In a 2004 Las Vegas trip I wondered into an Asian bistro and was seated next to Brenner and his girlfriend Tai Babilonia who was absolutely stunning. Brenner is a Vegas headliner complete with his face plastered all over taxi cab promotional boards. I made a mental note to catch him on my next visit.

My next Vegas trip in 2005 I was true to my word and bought some tickets to see Brenner. He was funny in a very unique story telling fashion. He started out producing documentaries and it shined through in his show. The one story I remember is how the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta are less than 20 or so pages when they are combined. To play a show in "new" Las Vegas, he had to sign a contract over 100 pages in length. In his words, "I just tell jokes." He certainly missed "old" Las Vegas. When he started out he made a verbal agreement and shook hands, played his gig and walked off the stage and some mobster handed him the agreed amount in cash. He never forgot the good old days and that's what made David Brenner legendary.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dick Bacon

Well, I woke up early to get Coco to his 10am soccer game only to get there and discover it's 10am tomorrow. Every game so far has been on Saturdays. Definitely not a great start to the day.

We did happy hour and appetizers at Bosley's on Brady last night. They open their doors at 4pm and by 4:05 the place is packed. The very best happy hour in Milwaukee. Shrimp on grits, steak tacos and a bottle of cabernet all at half price.

The Chicago Bears resigned fan favorite Charles Tillman to a 1 year contract. It will be his 12th NFL season. The Green Bay Packers actually signed Bears castoff Julius Peppers to a hefty contract for a 34 year old with lots of mileage. We shall see how that works out.

Malaysian officials have brought in some shamans to help find the missing jetliner. The shamans met up at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and rowed an imaginary boat and performed a coconut ritual with 2 giant green coconuts. I'm sure the family members appreciate no stone being unturned.

Thru the years I keep hearing a certain repetitive name at happy hours. Whenever someone brings up tanning or how pasty Midwesterners are at this time of year someone always brings up Dick Bacon. He was a retired brewery worker who passed away in 2000 but he's become a cultural icon in Milwaukee.

Dick Bacon was his real name and he was deeply tan all year round. Not from tanning beds in the winter months but from an aluminum foil type of tent that he erected at Bradford Beach. Cold weather couldn't keep this man from his tan. When he passed away at the age of 68 it was from a heart attack and not skin cancer. He was also a nude model and a well built fitness buff. Along the way he indeed became legendary.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Let's All Die Twice

The Senate will be in another recess next week. Good to see some folks will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day for a whole week, I guess.

So far I haven't seen much opposition to the new overtime proposals. Only from the white collar employers naturally. Almost everyone I've ever known who has worked a salary job has been expected to work 48-50 hours a week. It's never stated, just implied in various ways and a life of misery or demotion if one doesn't comply.

Still no signs of the missing Malaysia airliner. There's a new theory that perhaps it was hijacked and landed on some island sight unseen. Really? The Boeing 777 isn't some Cessna that you can land on a third world dirt strip!

Lady Gaga was vomited on last night at her concert. On purpose! This gives new meaning to performance art. I always thought she was too talented to rely on gimmicks but maybe not. We shall see if she is touring with Alice Cooper in the future.

Walter Williams died for the second time in 2 weeks yesterday. If you recall, the Mississippi man woke up in a body bag at a coroners office 2 weeks ago. Naturally, they stopped the embalming process and returned him to the hospital as a miracle well done. Sadly, they "think he's gone this time." I would imagine that doctors and coroners alike reached out for a second opinions this time around.

It's 52 degrees, sunny and the snow is melting. I'm heading out to happy hour and my first toast is for Mr. Williams. Rest in peace Walter.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Neil Young Goes New Old School

It's still a cold winter day in Milwaukee so I'll have to live vicariously through my good friend John Wilson who's in Arizona on business. It's strange how Arizona "business" never seems to need him in the summer months.

Still no sign of the missing Malaysia airliner. At this point it's become a major debacle. Experts can't even agree what ocean the plane was last flying over.

The stock market is down over 200 points today with news of more Russian soldiers coming to the Crimea border. This is a sure way to make Putin a winner. Not one U.S. business will be significantly impacted by events over there if at all. Quit the panic selling and keep your cash out of your mattress!

According to CNBC, the U.S. has the highest number of millionaires since 2007. We also have the highest number of people with 5 million in assets during the same time period. This doesn't even include a primary residence. Is there really a war being waged against the wealthy? If so, those doing the wagering are getting their asses handed to them.

I had the pleasure of watching a Neil Young performance at a Farm Aid concert in Milwaukee a few years ago. It was nothing short of spectacular. Young has perhaps the most unique style in the entire music industry. I've never seen anybody even try to copy Neil Young as he's so outside the box.

Young has been involved in many entrepreneurial projects over the years. This time he goes outside the box and brings music back into the old school box with Ponomusic. Ponomusic is a high quality digital music player that presents songs as they sounded in the studio. In Young's own words, "streaming services are the new radio and Ponomusic is the new records." It's built to take on the MP3 player and audio experts say it's a vastly superior music product for old school sound like a record. Only the legendary Neil Young could go a step back to get miles ahead.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Santelli Pager

It's back to winter in Milwaukee today with a high of 21. I wheeled the recyclables to the curb and the wind chill is even worse.

Microsoft  co-founder Paul Allen has a new book out and was making the television rounds last night. Allen and Gates were friends in high school. Allen is still a bachelor and a man of many interests. Apparently he has a fondness for yachts and mansions and builds them quite well. Gates seems to be the more driven person but was often demeaning and mean spirited when he was still active with the company on a daily basis. Still, I like Gates tremendously for his foundation work. Allen seems to be a bit of a recluse along the lines of a milder Howard Hughes. Together, two teenage kids really did make an impact on the world.

An Orlando gun show hired George Zimmerman to be their featured guest star. People lined up for both autographs and a Kodak moment. Who says killing someone doesn't pay? Maybe next year they can host a knife show and hire O.J. Simpson.

Free agent Chicago Bear quarterback Josh McCown just signed a very nice 2 year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He will have an opportunity to compete for the starting position with the Bucs.

I watched some of the Johnny Carson interviews on TMC last night. It started with Bob Hope who wore a horrendous suit even by 1978 standards. Bing Cosby was next and I was surprised at how quiet he seemed. Johnny almost had to prod him to get more than a single sentence response to his questions. Tony Randall and Truman Capote I found were both just very strange men. Randall was the most  frequent guest for Carson and Capote had a nice run as a writer. Gregory Peck seemed almost dull but a genuine nice guy. The show ended with one of my personal favorites, Miss Lauren Bacall. Classy, elegant, legendary and actually still the only guest still alive from this segment.

Rick Santelli from CNBC made it clear today that he doesn't think much of alternative fuel cars or Tesla specifically. He believes the 1920 technology for cars is still the most reliable and shouldn't change. I imagine he still has a pager clipped on his fat leather belt with a rock and roll belt buckle. Hopefully it will tell him the future has arrived.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jersey Bans Tesla

Cuba had another 4.7 magnitude earthquake on sunday and a few people felt it in Key West. For an island that usually only feels drinking tremors, it's been like Frisco this year with 4 aftershocks.

Famed author Joe McGinnis passed away yesterday. He wrote best sellers such as "Fatal Vision" and "The Selling of the President."

There is an important special congressional election today in Florida's 13th Congressional District. It's been held by republicans for over 40 years before Representative Bill Young passed away in the fall. Polls have it to be a very tight race at the moment.

Michael Bennett ended up resigning with the Seattle Seahawks. His brother, Chicago Bear tight end Martellus Bennett apparently couldn't sell the Windy City as an alternative to the rainy city. Too bad.

Instead, the Bears signed free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston to a 5 year contract. Many scouts had Houston rated ahead of Bennett anyway. They also resigned middle linebacker D.J. Williams who was having a great season before tearing a pectoral muscle. General Manager Phil Emery isn't finished yet. Last year he did an amazing job rebuilding a terrible offensive line.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission banned direct sales of automobiles. In other words, manufacturers must use dealerships or they can't sell cars in New Jersey. Make no mistake about it, this is a ban that was aimed at Tesla directly and no one else. Tesla will have to close 2 New Jersey dealerships and layoff 27 employees. So much for job creation.

New Jersey follows in the footsteps of Arizona and Texas with this silly ban that enables middleman to add even more cost to a product. Note that all 3 states have republican governor's who preach "free market capitalism" at all costs. Unless of course it regards a product they do not like then the mantra becomes total lip service paid for by energy and trade lobbyists.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Jack Bauer Is Back

It's a balmy 52 degrees outside with plenty of sunshine. The snow has been melting at a pretty decent pace the last 5 days. No more treacherous ice daggers hanging from the gutters makes me feel safer already. One more week to St. Patrick's Day and if it can duplicate today's sunshine it will be a bang up tribute to the Irish. Heck, even if it's cloudy it will be a bang up tribute to the Irish.

Duval Street has been very peaceful whenever I've been there but another Baltimore Raven managed to find a fight this past weekend. Offensive Tackle Jah Reid was arrested at the Red Garter for fighting and thrown into the Stock Island lockup. He's the third Raven to be arrested in the last 3 weeks. The liquor must have been flowing pretty good as I can't imagine anyone wanting to start a fight with a 355 pound NFL lineman.

A major well know mutual fund manager was on a talking head investment show today telling people to lessen their risk by just putting money into a fund. Indeed, he doesn't make any money if you do some research and think for yourself. Computers and the internet, what a beautiful research tool.

Still no sign of the missing Malaysia airliner. In this age of GPS, I really don't know how this is possible. We have a robotic camera on Mars searching for water sources yet we can't find a missing Boeing 777. There doesn't even appear to be any clues at the moment let alone an oil slick or some floating suitcases. It's not like it was a tiny Cessna or a weather balloon.

Jack Bauer is making a summer comeback with 12 episodes instead of 24. Kiefer Sutherland will be reprising his famous role for an exceptionally popular series last seen in 2010. The show will premiere on May5th. No confirmation yet that Jack Bauer finds the missing Malaysia airliner but stay tuned!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The New Ukraine is ......

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Miami Heat by 7 in overtime. No handshakes after the game as the Heat truly despise the Bulls who play a tough as nails defense against them unlike most NBA teams. LeBron James totally disappeared in overtime which is why he'll always be a poor man's Michael Jordan. Joakim Noah was brilliant once again with huge plays and will garnish enough MVP points to finish in the top 5 this year.

I watched the game by myself as Krissy is in Sussex for a music festival with her posse. Sussex won't know what hit them after that fun bunch gets done with them!

We took it easy last night and ended up watching some lame 10 year old comedy called Soul Plane. Snoop Dog was one of the stars and this comedy managed to breach every racial, religious and political stereotype known to man. I laughed a few times but it certainly wasn't in the league of a Caddy Shack.

The Green Bay Packers retained free agent Sam Shields with a $39 million contract over 4 years. I'm not sure who they were bidding against but he gets top 3 cornerback money for being middle of the road. Run to the bank Mr. Shields in case they forgot a decimal point.

Former Senator and war hero Bob Dole got trashed by current Texas Senator Ted Cruz for not running on principle in the 1996 presidential election. Cruz basically insinuated that Dole is a RINO which is hilarious. Cruz is a very poor politician but he's still hanging a small notch above Palin. Kudos to Dole for rising above the insults with class and dignity.

The Wisconsin legislature looks ready to pass a new bill shortening early voter registration and voting itself. Apparently, it's only works if voters vote the way the majority wants one to. Wisconsin, more similar to Ukraine than just the weather lately.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Set Those Clocks Straight

We started our happy hour last night at the Roman Coin. A photo of their marvelous happy hour sign is below. After the Coin, we hung out at Hosed on Brady which is a firehouse themed bar right next to the Brady Street Firehouse. Then to Jack's for a late night dinner.

The Tosa Thunder came up with a huge 8-5 victory at their 8am game. Excellent passing against perhaps the division's top team was the key today.

Free agency starts in the NFL today. Many a young millionaire will sign even bigger contracts to become mega millionaires while giving fans throughout the country hope for a Super Bowl run.

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead tonight. Daylight savings time is almost 100 years old now. Originally it wasn't very popular as many jobs required people to work for almost all daylight hours. Labor unions got rid of that nonsense. Most people seem to like it in Wisconsin. People get more daylight hours in summer and bars get an extra hour of business in the fall.


Friday, March 7, 2014

President's Love The Keys

The 2nd annual Humphrey Bogart Film Festival returns to Key Largo May 1-4. The fully restored African Queen is also available for cruises during the festival. Bogie is my all time favorite actor and I'm going to ride the African Queen someday.

The February jobs report came in slightly higher than anticipated this morning as did the jobs participation rate. January numbers were revised upwards which proved the investor panic that day was idiotic as I speculated at that time.

A speedy get well to Ted Turner who has been hospitalized in South America. He took a billboard company and turned it into a mega empire. This man truly is "cable television."

World famous surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe passed away yesterday. No, he didn't cure polio or the plague, but he sure fixed a ton of baseball pitchers. In my humble opinion, he deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame for his contribution to baseball. With a revolutionary surgical procedure for both the elbow and the shoulder, he literally saved the careers of scores of players including greats such as Orel Hershiser and Tommy John.

President Obama is visiting Key largo today. He isn't the first president to visit the keys. President's Taft, Eisenhower, Truman and Kennedy have all visited Key West. Harry Truman actually spent 175 days of his presidency in Key West and his quarters at the Naval Station were dubbed The Little White House. We haven't toured the Truman Annex yet but we plan to on our next visit.

Gotta run, it's five o'clock somewhere and we have a happy hour to attend!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

He Sank A Tugboat

I ventured out to Glorioso's Italian market this morning to pick up a few things. Even though it's only 21 degrees the bright sun is melting the snow pretty good. It will be interesting to see what the terrain looks like on St. Patrick's Day. We do a lot of walking to various places with friends starting early and getting a cab in this town on any holiday type day is damn near impossible.

Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears will not be returning for a 9th season. The man was purely electrifying anytime he touched a ball on a kick or punt return. Eventually teams quit kicking to him in crucial situations. He's a casualty of a tight salary cap but he will be playing for somebody next year.

A Southern California man is suing a Las Vegas casino because he lost $500,000 when he was obviously drunk. Not just drunk, but blackout drunk. He admits he was blackout drunk yet he is also suing the casino for sullying his name. The man owns a car dealership so I think perhaps his name was sullied a bit before he set a foot in Vegas.

An 81 foot tugboat from Key West sank about 2 miles away from the island in 35 foot waters. Yes, there is a lot of shallow water in the Keys which is why ship salvage wrecker's were very profitable back in the 1800's.

Apparently, the new owner took it out and somehow it sank. The man had just purchased the tug and had never operated a boat of any sort before. I find it's usually good to learn on a smaller boat closer to shore but that's just me. Unfortunately, Monroe County taxpayers are going to spend about $200,000 to raise and dispose of the vessel. They would go after the boat owner to recoup these costs but this knucklehead spent everything he had on the tugboat.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Johnny Carson On TMC

A second Bitcoin exchange called Flexcoin went under yesterday. The high tech cyber security for the exchange apparently faltered and it was robbed blind. Granted, this was a much smaller exchange but it doesn't bode well for the Bitcoin industry.

Wisconsin State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald wants to change the campaign finance laws to allow lobbyists to pass along campaign checks in the middle of lawmaker sessions. Really? That doesn't reek of potential impropriety during a tough vote? Why not just allow a lobbyist to come down to the Capitol Building with a wheel barrow full of cash? Maybe the lawmakers could wear campaign style buttons that read "I Take Bribes." Better yet, maybe we should just replace lawmakers with lobbyists. In my humble opinion, any lawmaker who votes yes for this change is just a common street whore.

 I watched the Johnny Carson interviews last night on TMC hosted by Conan O'Brien. It was brilliantly done and long overdue. A lot of the younger generation have no idea how legendary Johnny Carson was. Paraphrasing his style in  his own words, Carson just wanted to talk to his guests like he would if they were having dinner together. At one time, The Tonight Show was 90 minutes long and relied on long interviews. It wasn't nearly as choreographed as talk shows these days.

In case you missed it, there is a total of 50 interviews and the program is on Tuesday nights. Last night I watched interviews with Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Diane Keating, Angie Dickinson, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sally Field. Sammy Davis Jr. was the epitome of cool back in those days. Stylish, funny, respectful and a first class all around entertainer.

In many ways, The Tonight Show is still Carson's show. You know when somebody is the best ever when everyone else in their genre wants to be that person. Not bad for a kid from Nebraska.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

King Cakes On Fat Tuesday

Woke up to a couple more inches of snow this morning. I started shoveling early but I'm running out of places to put it. At least it warmed up to the lower 20's. Krissy is heading north next weekend to see the ice caves on Lake Superior with some of her family. You actually have to walk across the lake to get to them and it's only possible during a real frigid winter like this year's. It could be years again before people can make the trek.

It's Paczki Day in Milwaukee. A paczki is basically a delicious pastry of Polish cuisine that fly out of the National Bakery on Fat Tuesday. They've been around Poland since the middle ages. Traditionally, it's purpose was to use up all of the sugar, flour and lard in one's household before the start of lent. It leads off the morning news in Milwaukee with customers lining up outside the bakery to buy them.

Radio Shack (RSH) is closing 1100 stores and revamping their remaining stores. It's been reported that the store closings are due to dismal holiday sales when it's actually been a dismal century for this retailer so far. Their stock is barely over 2 bucks and they even made fun of themselves with a Super Bowl commercial this year. Their stores are like a time warp from the 80's but they were just plain annoying asking for your zip code every time you bought batteries.

It is Fat Tuesday today. In the French language the word is Mardi Gras and derives from the last night of eating fatty rich food before the fasting of the Lenten season which begins tomorrow as Ash Wednesday.

Naturally, people in the U.S. associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans because of their enduring French culture. When I worked for a major insurance company all of our Louisiana vendors would send us King Cakes from the Randazzo bakery. Some other bakeries also but the Randazzo King Cakes were the best ever!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Michael Jordan And The Good Life

We woke up to -1 and snow in the forecast today. St. Patrick's Day is exactly 2 weeks away and the Milwaukee Brewers home opener is exactly 4 weeks away. Good thing they have a dome to play in. We'll have to brave the elements to chase the shamrocks!

Congrats to all the Oscar winners last night. Ellen DeGeneres did a bang up job once again. She's been an astounding Oscar host every time they've handed her the reigns.

Jimmy Buffett announced a June 28th concert stop in Chicago. He's also playing in Paris, France at the end of September. No information yet on an Alpine Valley date. Stay tuned for updates.

Buffett is also opening a new resort this summer. It's called Margaritaville Island Hotel located in the majestic Smoky Mountains. That's sounding intriguing at the moment. Well, at this very moment anything further south sounds tempting but I'm going to gather some more information on this resort.

The DOW was down over 250 points today before making a modest recovery. Investors are a bit cautious with the Ukraine situation. Some select tech stocks finished in the green today. There's always a few winners even on a bad day.

Most athletes take a significant income drop once they retire. Not Michael Jordan though as it's been reported that he made $90 million in 2013. No wonder he can afford to sit on an empty $30 million mansion in Highland Park, Il.

Besides owning the Charlotte Bobcats he has a large vested interest with his shoe line in conjunction with Nike. He's a top notch golfer with a model wife and can still play competitive basketball with anybody on his team. If only we could all retire like that. Heck, I'd just take the golf part. I've already got the best girlfriend in the world!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oscar Night

The Tosa Thunder started the second half of their indoor season with an 8-3 victory. Staunch defense and stellar passing were major highpoints of the game.

After the game we all headed to Krissy's mom's house for a birthday dinner for her nephew Dom and myself. A wonderful meal with a fantastic homemade key lime pie. Thank you to everyone for a wonderful night.

This morning we headed out to the grocery store after Meet the Press. If our grocery bill gets any higher we might have to finance it. Good thing Krissy is the Houdini of coupons or it would be even higher.

The Chicago Bulls beat the New York Knicks by 29 points this afternoon. At one point in history this would be a big fun sunday afternoon game to watch with friends at a local watering hole but the Knickerbockers haven't been any good in ages.

Tonight is the 86th Academy Awards or Oscar Night as we common folk say. It started in 1929 as a private dinner at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Less than 300 people attended and tickets were five bucks. The actual ceremony itself was less than 20 minutes. No windy acceptance speeches at the very beginning.

Today over 40 million people watch the live telecast. Several years ago I attended an Oscar party at the Rosebud Theater in Tosa. The awards were shown on the big screen with an open bar and buffet dinner. It was a quite nice event at my second favorite movie theater.

A lot of people go out and make sure they see every movie that's up for nomination. I suspect that's the underlying real reason why they raised the number of movies nominated. I've never had that desire but I did see two of the nominated movies. "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "American Hustle" which I really enjoyed. I'm not sure who will win any of the major categories but I'm sure studio politics has a part in the process. Regardless, I think it's an extreme honor for any artist that is nominated. Good luck to all and thanks for a great year of entertainment.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

King Solomon

We ventured out to the Up and Under bar last night to catch King Solomon, a top notch local reggae band. We've seen them quite a few times throughout the years and always see them at the state fair. The bar is less than a minute from our house so we didn't bother with coats. Naturally, it was snowing as we left. We had a nightcap at the Standard Tavern on our block.

The local paper is reporting that this is the coldest winter since 1979 and the tenth coldest ever in Milwaukee. March is starting out like the rest of the winter months. Slushy and about 16 degrees. It won't stop the St. Patrick Day festivities but I hope it gets a little better than this.

The second indoor soccer season starts today for the Tosa Thunder at 2pm. Hopefully, we'll regroup the defense and get a win today.

It will be interesting to see how the stock market reacts to the Ukraine situation this week. I'm thinking it will trade sideways until the Friday jobs report. I'm sure we'll end up seeing some sanctions or trade embargos so now is a good time to research how heavy any U.S. companies are business wise with Russia.

Gotta run to soccer.