Monday, November 25, 2013

What did that actually Vote for!

Many of you will be traveling this week so I thought I would have something that would help you in case your stuck and are in survival mode.

Moss will always grow on the NORTH side of a tree, that is the side you should lick.

You can actually drink your own urine if you did not bring a bottle of urine with you.

Mushrooms can be poisonous, so give the first one to a friend.

Small animals can be your allies.  Train a small bunny, you will have afriend that will be very sad when you are eaten by a bear.

WAIT - you didn't think I was going to said EAT the bunny did you?  What kind of person do you think I am!!

it is CRAZY how many times I have done this!!

I found out it's against State policy for me to bring in an electric frying pan to cook Jones Sausage Links.  Pretty oppressive place now a days! 

Hey WEATHER PEOPLE.  I have a new app for my iPad.  Wonderground as a great app that gives you some pretty nice maps!    I had been searching for a simple US map with the fronts.  All I could find were complicated maps with all sorts of great features but nothing with just Highs Lows and fronts.     It's now my go to weather app.

For radar I have Weatherscope which costs $$ but I did predict a tornado and left Door Creek Golf early because of it.    Living Earth is pretty awesome and keeps getting better  and of course The Weather Channel.

I'm dumping Weather Live.

Did you see 60 Minutes last night?  There was a guy talking about a book which looks at underdogs and how they win (in life and sports and so forth).

He got the idea from watching at 8th grade girls basketball program. The coach, an Indian had never even touched a basketball and new nothing about the sport.  His girls could not shoot, dribble and were all poor players.

SO, he said, why bother practicing shooting the basketball.   Being a scientist he wrote down all the parameters for everything and created a winning formula.

How cares about offense.  The key was turnovers.  Play minding numbing in your face 100% full court press for the entire game.  Try to steal the ball ALL GAME,  and get layups under the basket.

His team went to the State Championship.  Thinking outside the box worked.    
What did that actually Vote for!  

That is the question a few members on the city council are asking.

Things got a little out of hand and it seems if you know parliamentary procedure you can get more things passed easier or at least faster.  If you are a rookie things will get out of hand fast.  

At the meeting I wanted to stand up and say WAIT - SLOW DOWN - WHAT ARE YOU VOTING ON!  As certain members of the council were really pushing things trying to get a fast vote. 

The newspaper made sure Aaron Adams and Micheal Thom, the new members were singled out for voting against the grain and made a big deal about the council voting on an ADDITIONAL $49,000 to go towards roads.

Aldermen Davidson (up for reelection this year) felt if we were going to put money in roads it should come out of less critical budgets such as Aquatic Center and other less important departments (such as the Senior Center I presume).  He stated that we have a five year street plan.

Aldermen Thom said "Yes, we have a five year street plan but we do not follow it at all".

On average Columbus spends $510,146 a year on roads, most of it borrowed money as the budget calls for $50,000 a year.  $50,000 a year is maintenance, not FIXING roads but maintaining what we have now.

The headlines in the paper tout Council OK's budget - puts extra $49,000 toward street repair.   

Well, $49,000 comes out to 286 feet.  The headline should read

Council votes to fix 286 feet of street!!

We now have two more police officers then last year.  This is never a bad thing, it's a catch 22.  More police safer community but poorer roads which will lead to higher taxes.  Less officers, better roads which would lead to lower taxes (higher city assessment) but more crime.  With more officers we will have less thefts I presume and less drug trafficking I HOPE! 

But there has to be at least an effort for street repair. 

There was good news sort of in the budget. The property tax levy, what the city asks you to pay for goods and services dropped almost $100,000.   BUT the mill rate went up because Columbus, according to the State is worth $20 million less then last year.

You ask, how can we lose so much money.  Well, look at the roads!  Just like a house that is run down and gets a lower assessment because of disrepair . . . . so do cities!  Make your house more beautiful, it's worth more, make your city more people friendly, beautiful with good streets . . . we get a better assessment we will be worth more.  (in very very simple terms).  Better assessments and we then can  actually afford a larger police department.

It's all checks and balances when it comes to running a city. Fix one thing and the other goes bad, fix that and something else needs repair.  At some point we NEED to look at roads

Columbus is not in dire straits, we are moving forward at a snails pace but at least it's forward.  I am optimistic about Columbus but at some point we do need to address the road situation since it was not addressed THIS year.

I was surprised that Aldermen Davidson did not agree with the two surveys that have gone out the last few years saying roads were the #1 concern with citizens of Columbus.  He said His opinion was it was not.  Well, his opinion does not count does it?  His constituents opinion is what counts.   

Friday, November 22, 2013

They Will Steal Your Soul and Exciting News Downtown

In 1880 the Danish Royal family had a portrait painted of themselves and I have to say it turned out rather awesome!!!

So this year Queen Margrethe decided to pay homage to the painting and hired Thomas Kluge to paint a portrait of the current Royal Family.

OMG - please don't move next door to me!!


The portrait is on the Royal Website.

50 years ago today I was 9 and in kindergarten, yea - I was one of the bigger kids.  I was center of the 4K basketball team.  I pretty much ruled the class, it was awesome.

ANYWAY - I remember I was "doing time" in Ms. Richards room cleaning chalk boards at lunch when Robbie Gates came in saying the President had been shot.  Ms. Richards, who I believe all the males had a crush on, for unknown reasons, did not believe him.

And that is my story.  I don't remember the rest. I blame the 70's.

Yea - Chia seed.  I've started using them as a super food but then on the news they said NUTS were the newest super food. DAMN IT, I can't keep up.   Seems a 30 year study by three Universities was published with 120,000 test subjects and the people that ate nuts were 20% less likely to die of multiple disease's.  Nut eaters had a  reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Plus the eating nut people actually had LESS weight gain.

They are still trying to figure out WHY this happens.

But back to Chia. What bothers me is that since I brought up Chia  seeds I'm getting all sorts of people GIVING me their Chia seeds.   hmmmmm.  Something is not right here.  "YEA, they are GREAT, here take mine".

I think it's the texture.  Little hard seeds.  Plus the fact that I have little green leaves growing out of every pore of my body!  Shaving is totally different now.


Sharrows Downtown has reinvented itself and this weekend is having a soft opening of their new, full service coffee shop. Complete with a barista and the big machine that makes latte's, capuchinos and the like.  This weeked you can go there and have a free samples and vote for the "house coffee".  They have three kinds and need opinions.

All coffee is from Steep & Brew and the barista is being trained by Steep & Brew (or something like that).

In other news the Columbus Historical Society has made porcelain Christmas ornaments from one of my images.  The cost is a mare $8.50 and signed by Rod Melotte.  Proceeds go to the Historical Society.  

They can be purchased at West James Gallery or a few doors down at Carousel Antiques at 132 West James St. The good antique store, not the overpriced one that is never open and run by mean people.

This will hopefully be the first of a yearly tradition so you better get in on the ground floor. Start your collection this year.

The City Council meeting - If you missed it the good stuff starts around the 10 minute mark. It's entertaining even if you and everyone else gets lost in the Parliamentary Procedures (which was used to take advantage of the new members of the council).  And you tell me if you believe Davidson was  arrogant.  Cut swimming pool funds for road repair?  sigh  

Council November 19th 2013 from Columbus Wisconsin on Vimeo.

 Have a GREAT weekend and GO PACK!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


One LAST word on the subject and only because I thought of it a few days ago.

A root canal is really a dental colonoscopy if you think about it. Instruments are entering the body where they shouldn't and the prep or run up is MUCH worse then the actual procedure. 


A friend of mine who I had not seen for a few months showed up at work and had lost about 75 pounds.  I asked how how he did it and he said Chia Seed. After the obligatory jokes he said he would put them on his food and would not get hungry.  Less food/snacks = loss of weight.

So I looked them up and found that one tablespoon of Chia Seeds has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than Salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries.

Athletes use them because they absorb many times their size/weight in liquid so they are are great for preventing dehydration during exercise.

Bulking up a meal with Chia gel helps lessen the amount of food consumed, since Chia gel is primarily made up of water.

AND - you can make your own chia pets!!

I'm going to try them, see if I can lose 7 vanity pounds. I seem to be on a health food kick . . . .sort of, almost, well . . .in my mind at least.

OH - from by bucket list concert and for all of you symphonic goth metal metal rockers who want to be blown away by Floor Janson and her amazing vocals!


OK - better get some work done.

Big City Council meeting tonight!  Roads or Police Force. What's it going to be! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Quickie Look at the Columbus 2014 Budget

Some people may think I'm anti Police Department when I'm actually not.  I do get frustrated at the hard line Winter Parking rules and believe that there should be warnings given in the early part of winter instead of tickets.  We are all in this together.  I hope the police department becomes a part of the community as opposed to a department people resent. 

But all in all the officers do a fine job.

Looking at the budget for ALL departments I thought it would be good to compare with previous years.  Just seeing numbers for one year is really useless information if you have nothing to compare too.  These numbers are not 100% accurate but the best I can come up with.  They are in the ballpark though.

2011 2012 2013 2014
Total $3,581,056 $3,685,446 $3,563,409 $3,568,735
Gen Gov $863,698 $856,738 $908,745 $809,327
Police Dept $1,174,903 $1,191,551 $1,124,509 $1,165,230
Fire Dept $195,187 $194,920 $201,789 $211,667
Public Safety $185,560 $286,228 $290,795 $308,443
Public Works $913,321 $911,363 $829,658 $823,902
Senior Center $106,710 $105,956 $95,545 $88,895
Recreation  $80,936 $68,741 $69,177 $70,220

 Looks like a lot of numbers but let's go a little deeper.

This is the percent of the Columbus budget each Department has been given or asked for since 2011 with the last column the percent increase/decrease from 2013 to 2014

2011 2012 2013 2014 Pct +/- 2013

Gen Gov 24.1% 23.2% 25.5% 22.7% -10.9%
Police Dept 32.8% 32.3% 31.6% 32.7% 3.6%
Fire Dept 5.5% 5.3% 5.7% 5.9% 4.9%
Public Safety 5.2% 7.8% 8.2% 8.6% 6.1%
Public Works 25.5% 24.7% 23.3% 23.1% -0.7%
Senior Center 3.0% 2.9% 2.7% 2.5% -7.0%
Recreation  2.3% 1.9% 1.9% 2.0% 1.5%

What stands out to me is that the Senior Center, which I believe is an important function of any town and it is really taking a yearly hit.  It's like we do not value our Seniors.

The Fire Department has been slowing increasing and I feel this is a good thing.  They have a LOT of old equipment.  They are the one department where being proactive instead of reactive is a valid argument. 

Public Safety is Emergency Government, Ambulance and Street Lighting.  They had a big jump from 2011 to 2012 because the Ambulance service cost $100,000 more (for some reason - I have not had a chance to ask anybody yet).  I believe this years increase is because of additional lighting going towards Enerpac. Otherwise unknown.

General Government looks to be salaries of all our people.

The Police Department is asking for 3.9% more but they took a 2% cut last year. So if people complain that they are asking for more what they are really doing is penalizing them for not spending all their money in 2013. 

Another chart - this one takes an average of the last three year budgets and looks to see if this years budget is more or less then that departments three year average.

above/below average

Gen Gov -7.7%
Police Dept 0.1%
Fire Dept 7.3%
Public Safty 6.9%
Public Works -6.9%
Senior Center -13.5%
Recreation  -3.7%

What this tells me is that once again The Senior Center is the one that is taking the most cuts along with Public Works while the under budgeted Fire Department has been gaining ground but still lower then most towns.  The Police Department has not really gone overboard with requests as some would say.  Although most do feel they are over budgeted.

One thing to note.  While reading the Columbus Police Department budget report in the summery it says they are asking for a $47,000 increase over last year.  

Looking at numbers, LAST year was $67,000 less then the year before.  I know this goes against the grain of many people but the CPD is only asking 0.1% MORE then the average of 2011-2013.

I strongly disagree with the need for personal cameras and fleet cameras so there could be a savign there of $20,000.

Aldermen Adams had a proposal - he stated "these cuts to the proposed budget will allow the PD and personnel to operate as they have previously. Overall PD operations would be expected to provide the same level of service and public safety as the current budget year."

I got out my abacus and started crunching numbers as if I was the Chief. How many 8 hour shifts do I believe the police department needs in a week.  Quick - off the top of your head   

Factoring in vacation and sick times I came up with about 45 shifts a week.  We need 9.34 officers if you do not want to have overtime.  Now for most of last year, I'm told, "we" operated with six officers with plenty of over time.  If this is true well done team. (Again - the CC needs to know about overtime hours).  Did I hear they want 11? 13? officers?  That is ludicrous!

Therefore I agree with Adams (truth in advertising - he is a good friend) in theory about the need for cutbacks but this is not one area I believe we can do it.

I believe the Chief reached a little too far with the cameras.  

The question is - where does money to fix our crumbling infrastructure??   Excellent question.  The answer is not an easy one, if it was there would be a fix.

There are things we can do but none are quick fixes.  Quick fixes are the reason we are in this situation to begin with. Short term profits to make quick fixes while gaining long term liability.

I'm very optimistic about Columbus and it's growth IF we have smart growth. Growth that does not create long term liability (loans from new roads and incentives to business to come here which do not pay off in the long run).

We need to make Columbus a place people WANT to come to, a friendly, clean town.

Thanks M for the link - this is a very very good article about a city that revitalized it's downtown

Wal-Mart (insert any big box store): An economic cancer on our cities

Stay tuned to the CDA meeting - a group of us travel to Madison for a presentation by strong . an eye opener on what is happening to our small towns.

and EXCELLENT pod cast  and part of what me and members of the CDA attended is below 0 fascinating

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Root Canals have a bad Rep, plus Flash Orgasm's

I found out something yesterday at the endodontist.  It seems they don't mind that root canals have a bad reputation.  "It makes us look better" my guy said.

I had to have a re-due on a root canal that I had about 25 years ago.  Seems there was a tiny part of the root that was not taken out.  If anyone has ever had a pain from an abscessed tooth  so bad that they could not breath this is one of those.  I suppose a migraine would be in that same class, never had one so I cannot compare but on a pain scale this is nearing a 10.  When your tooth seems to have it's own heart beat . . . it's time for special treatment.

ANYWAY - I was actually interested to see how technology had progressed in the last 20+ years when it came to canals.

So here is what they do and seriously - it is not anything to be worried about.

They give you some shots in the mouth after swabbing the area with a local numb'r.  no big deal.  The one shot near the tooth is interesting.  My guy said "I'm playing with your lip to keep you distracted".   Actually it worked in a weird way.

After about 5 minutes of having your entire side of your face go numb (the juice they inject is so much better then 20 years ago, it contains adrenaline).

They put what is like a tiny car jack in your mouth.  This is to keep your mouth open WITHOUT you getting tired.  It's awesome!!  GREAT INVENTION!

Then one of the most psychologically awesome things is they put this rubber or latex? sheet, about the size of your hand around your tooth. This separates you so all the doc see's is that one tooth and while the procedure is happening your tongue is free to do whatever it wants.  Your mouth does not get all nasty.  It's like your tooth is on the other side of the wall and you are free to relax.

I honestly was day dreaming and  thinking of what I would do the rest of the day.  There is tugging and pushing and so forth but there is absolutely zero pain at all.

Once done your mouth feels like your legs feel after being in one position for too long but that's it. Ex-rays andyou are on your way.  2 hours later numbing is gone.

I will say that the next day or two it's a little sore but compared to WHY you were there it's an easy Ibuprofen style pain.

We have all seen  When Harry Met Sally right??   How about a Flash Orgasm.


There two big storms that my mom seems to have been involved with and both took place around this time many years ago.

First was the Armistice Day Blizzard of November 12 194. She would have been about 14 I think.

Her parents had a friend with a barometer and he told moms parents that something really bad was coming.  But the Chicago weather forecasters said maybe some snow only.  I INSISTED that something was terribly wrong as he had never seen his barometer act like this before. It was falling and falling very very fast.  It went to deaf ears.  After all the temperature was in the upper 50s.  

Mom went to school and many males across the midwest decided it was a perfect day off because for some odd reason there were millions and millions of ducks flocking to the Mississippi river basin.  Unending flocks of birds.  "Many would later comment that they had never seen so many birds".

As my mom recalls about noon a man knocked on the school house door and said "Send the children home" and the teacher said it no but the man in a VERY loud and authoritative voice said  "SEND THE CHILDREN HOME NOW AND MAKE THEM RUN".

My mom started to run home and it was getting colder. She only had a couple miles to go but the wind was getting stronger and stronger (top wind speeds were in the 80 mph range) and she stopped as snow started to fly to hide from the wind.  Her brother rescued her a little while later. None of the school children had brought coats to school.

The temperatures dropped from the middle 50s to middle teens in just a few hours. 

Hunters froze to death and some actually had to be cut out of trees where they were hanging onto.  
There were 20 foot drifts of snow as 16-20 inches fell overnight.

In the aftermath the US Weather bureau changed from an 8 hour day to around the clock and more and more weather stations were formed. 

And that is story #1. 



Monday, November 11, 2013

Help Columbus save themselves.

Columbus and towns across American can not sustain their current way of spending money constantly depending on higher governments to borrow funds to fix infrastructure.

The City Council is debating whether they should agree to the Columbus Police Department wish's and spend money on

Fleet $15,000

Fleet cameras $10,000
Computers $4,000
Personal cameras $10,000
Supervisor (estimate) $87,000
Patrol (estimate) $70,000
Patrol uniform $1,000
Total $197,000

All of which there is be zero documentation on whether all this is actually needed.  $197,000 for the Police Department when this COULD go towards roads.  OR, we can borrow yet again (1.1 million in 2011 and $500,000 in 2012) for infrastructure.  This is not a financially viable way to run a city.

As of last year the CPD budget was one of the highest in the area at 29.9%.   Lake Mills 24%, Milton 25%, Edgerton 32%, Prairie du Chen 19%.   That was a year ago and while the Columbus budget as a whole has dropped the CPD budget is increasing as a percentage of the whole budget.  

All departments need to cut back and all have except for one.  Personal digital body cameras for each police officer??  Come on man!!

The argument from the Chief is that he wants to be proactive and not reactive.  This is like saying "we want to spend money to fix a problem that is not a problem".  This is wasting money.  There is no problem that will be catastrophic and can't be fixed if it arises. When there is a problem, THEN come forward with a solution.   There are ways to be proactive without all the latest bells and whistles.

Aldermen Adams proposal  keeps the Police Department  exactly as it was in 2013.  No changes in personal as we did not have a Supervisor or Patrol officer in those positions last year and we survived.  The argument is that they are needed to cover overtime but overtime has never been mentioned in any of the monthly police reports, which, I assume if it WAS a problem would have been mentioned.

Let's make Columbus financially viable and start being smart about our budget.

Contact your alderman - email are below the graphic


Tell them we do not believe the city will run into chaos this year with the same number of police officers but we do need to become financially smart and fix our infrastructure.   The Police Department is doing fine while are roads are deteriorating.

Come to the CC meeting and voice your opinion  Tuesday the 19th 6:30.  City Hall in Columbus! 


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Newest blog is over at

Newest blog is over at

News From Columbus

It's not that I have not been writing - just not HERE!  I'm working on a couple writing projects.