Friday, August 29, 2014

Land of Lincoln and Gunslingers.

Heading to the Land of Lincoln today - Springfield ILL.  If you ever get that way make sure you check out the Lincoln Museum which is unlike any museum I have ever been too. It's awesome and was designed by the same people that created Disney World (or whatever).

It is also, sadly,  the home of a Statehouse that is more colorful and beautiful then Wisconsin, although Wisconsin has more grandeur.


If you ever have a chance to watch "Gunslingers" on the American Hero Channel (formally called the Military Channel) it's a very very good historical docudrama on six of the old west gunslingers, Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok (played by Walt Willey of "All My Children") ,Tom Horn (the hit man of the old west) and John Wesley Hardin.

You see why they did what they did and how it is not all black and white on why they killed so many people.  Fascinating - probably on Netflix sooner or later.

Wild Bill was the real deal.  If you take all the cliche' westerns and put them together THAT is the real Wild Bill Hickok. He invented the shootout on main street.  


Sorry about yesterdays rant on roads.  YES - we need to make sure Columbus roads are in the best shape we can make them, there is no argument on that from me.

And does Sun Prairie have fiber optic cable already?  A friend of mine signed up for fiber optic a few days ago dumping Charter.  It's actually a little more expensive and slower then Charter but they have 5 different plans.


Trying something new.  What if I put that on a BIG canvas.  hmmmmmmm

Since I'm pretty sure this blog gets read 90% of the time from work no blog until Tuesday.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Are Columbus roads really that bad? Aaron Rogers, Evil Roy Slade

September 5th 1967 - I was a kid watching a movie on TV and it was the funniest movie I had ever seen.  Pee my pants funny!  The movie was called "Sheriff Who" starring John Astin as Evil Roy Slade, although I never knew the name of the flick.  I have been looking for that movie for literally decades  It has stuck in my brain.

Last night after my great round of golf (I won low net yet again) I was channel surfing and came across a movie called "A Man Called Sledge" and my heart jumped.  Nope that was not it.  So I went to IMDB and looked for John Astin and found it.     

Here is the weird thing.  In the reviews it says 

"The thing is, those fortunate few who saw Sheriff Who? in its only airing on September 5, 1967 claim it is one of the funniest half-hours of all time."

"The lead actors were great and it was amazingly funny to my younger self "

"It was hilarious."

"I was 11 years old when I saw this show and I remember that it was very very funny."
YEA YEA - I'm with you guys.  All I remember was that for five decades it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my life!   At least I know what it was now.

Roads Roads Roads

I have not completed my number crunching but being a sabr mathematician kind of guy that really hates anecdotal facts, I wanted to see just how bad  the roads were in Columbus since it seems EVERYBODY hates roads.

And knowing that if we fixed all the roads people would STILL complain about the roads and if you go to almost any town in America the main complaint would be roads roads roads.  I wanted to know   HOW BAD OUR ROADS REALLY ARE compared to other towns.

So I contacted our city engineer to see if he could rustle up some more WISLR numbers from the State. You see every street in every town is rated on a 1-10 scale so cities have an idea of where they are.

I had the Columbus numbers but what about other towns.

Columbus WISLR Ratings 1= poor  10=awesome
1-2 = 11%
3-4 = 17%
5-6 = 13%
7-8 = 45%
9-10 = 14%

Well, all I could get were the RAW numbers for every street from a few communities so I went to work compiling on a spread sheet.  Looking at every street and it's length and it's rating.  It's been mind numbing to say the least.

I only have five other towns done but the results are as expected.  Columbus is not as bad as people think.  In fact our roads are much better then Lake Mills (39% 1 to 4) and way better then Edgerton (41% 1 to 4).  We have more bad roads (rated 1-4) then Wisconsin Dells but more GOOD roads (7-10).

Cottage Grove I just wanted to shoot myself with how amazing their roads are but then they are a pretty young town. It would by like comparing a teenagers skin to an 80 year old's.  Fall River is pretty good but seriously, how many roads to they actually have.

I'm not saying that we don't have a road problem but all older towns have this problem.  We get very very few funds from the State who uses the gas tax to fund roads and the gas tax has not changed since 1993.  We are getting 50% LESS money for roads then we did in 1993.

And don't give me this BS about how roads are to blame for Columbus not growing.  Columbus is not growing because we have no reason to grow.  We don't have a natural draw. No lakes, no real attraction except history which we do not do anything with (totally dropped the ball with Public Enemies, did you know we still have people coming to Columbus because of that movie?)

That is why Columbus has to work harder then most places. What we do have is an underutilized downtown with a good number of hobby retail stores that don't really want to work THAT hard to stay in business and then complain that there are no customers. They would rather survive then thrive.

We need to start controlling what happens downtown, how we want to present ourselves to the rest of the world. Unless everybody is happy with the current state of our downtown district.  I keep hearing things like we need to do something . . . but let's not change.

Well, pick a side.


I read an interesting article about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers from the Nate Silvers team.  The talk about how good Rodgers is but then they show that quarterbacks that play for good teams are naturally good. And since Rodgers took over from Favre the Packers are the 2nd best team in the NFL.

Then they look at Rodgers QBR rating for quarterbacks and how in the last 6 years Rodgers is second to only Peyton Manning.

HOWEVER - the problem with Rodgers is that he does not throw enough interceptions.

Weird right? Most interceptions come when a team is behind. Calculated risks.  The closer the game the more INTs you throw and when you are down in the 4th quarter you throw more as you assume more and more risk. Rational risk-taking.

Aaron Rodgers is an overly conservative quarterback to a fault.  For instance, he has only six 4th quarter comebacks in his career.  I always assumed this was just that the Packers were not behind enough (Russell Wilson already has 8).  Tom Brady who plays for a pretty good team averages one every 6.2 games,  Rodgers every 14.5 games.  Favre every 9.9 games.

But they say at the end that Rodgers has some low-hanging fruit for improvement and looking how good the Packers are with an ultra conservative QB, if he comes out of his shell just a little the Packers can be even MORE dangerous.

++++++  Side Note ++++

People complain about our downtown's empty buildings and lack of pedestrian traffic. Like Rodgers and the Packers, Columbus has some pretty low-hanging fruit for improvement.  Empty buildings mean we can fill them up.  Unlike Cottage Grove that not only have no downtown business, they have no downtown at all.  We have the buildings, we just need to start filling them up and we need to start showing outside interest that the City Government of Columbus cares.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mike Marquart, Civil War, James Taylor Lewis and the Planning Commision

James Taylor Lewis was the 9th Governor of Wisconsin and took office after the famous and well known Edward Salomon was Gov who took office after Louis P. Harvey accidentally drowned in the Tennessee River near Shiloh in 1862.  His body was found 14 days and 65 miles downstream.

Louis's wife established the veterans hospitals in Wisconsin . . . but . . . I digress.

James moved to Columbus in 1845 from New York and frankly there is not a lot of fascinating information about James on the internet.  He was the last Wisconsin Gov to hold office in the Civil War.  It looks like his claim to fame was that he like to visit the troops.

ANYWAY - he had a cool house.

NOTE - I must make one correction in yesterdays blog.  Seems some or all of the Planning Commission were not invited to the  Lewis house soiree so if they would have shown up I would have had to label them as party crashers (just to keep up my trend of insulting everybody).  Sorry guys and gals. I was misinformed.

ANYWAY - I'm sure the planning commission will get the full story of what is going on with the former Govs house.

Anybody have any problems with Columbus becoming a wedding destination?
Speaking of the Civil War - today in 1862 the Second Battle of Bull Run began and our side lost. But the big news happened in 1939 with the very first televised baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds.  Red Barber called the game which used two cameras.  It was actually a double header and was broadcast from the Empire State building and could be seen for 50 miles.

The ball was basically invisible from the two stationary cameras.


Mike Marquart
My buddy from my old rock band has put out his latest album video - former backup drummer of A Flock of Seagulls, Mike played drums for Wonderhouse many moons ago.

On and On from A Bad Think on Vimeo.