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.


Monday, August 25, 2014

City Council does ALS Challenge, Brewer game, Lewis House

Working backwards in the weekend 

DJ is home today and as we are dozing peacefully listing to the rumble of thunder in the distance and the cats are playing  . . TICK    BAM   HOLY CRAP !!  it's like we were electrocuted with sound, that cats were not seen for a while and we decided it was time to get up to see if the house was on fire.  

Sunday DJ and I attended balderdash's Brewers Twins Birthday Bash (BTBB) and we stopped the Brewers losing streak. 

Of course we had to have a couple jello shots and here is DJ (in yellow) making sure that her permanent record will show she is unsuited for another job if she ever looks for one (once every 33 years she looks for a new job).

But then the jello shots must have helped her brain power as she correctly picked the order of  ALL FIVE SAUSAGES in the sausage race and won $30.    

Saturday many Columbus government people were invited for an event at the James Taylor Lewis House (9th Governor of Wisconsin)  for drinks and so forth and three of the City Council were there, Patrick the City Admin, Dave the new Econ Director and none of the Planning Commission and of course Alice Schmidt the unofficial town historian. What an amazing place that is.  Mark and Kathy Garwick own it and while they do not live in it that have really done a lot of work on the home and have some big plans that will REALLY help Columbus economically, if the Planning Commission and City Council can figure out a solution.  

At the moment ordinances do you allow this 160 year old historic house full of Columbus memorabilia to be a business but their vision is to make the house a vibrant part of Columbus by offering this as a wedding destination.  Sounds odd but they are getting many many inquiries for this. This would not be a small operation but a real business / tourist attraction.  There would be security humans and security cameras and the real deal. 

The one problem is ordinances do not allow parking for this (even though American Packaging has parked there).  They had one wedding that they bused people in and it was a huge success.  


Then Friday the City Council was challenged to the Ice Bucket test thingy.  The original plan was to have  buckets of ice dropped on us from about 15 feet from the pavilion balcony  . . . . but then since we would need to call LifeStar how about this!!

For some reason the audio did not come across and I'll work on that - plus I'm finding it hard to email the entire clip - but here is the good part  :-)

Have a great Monday!  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ice Buckets

It's so much easier sometimes to talk about the negatives and I am as guilty as the next guy!  More on this in a second.

But first - UNCLE KELLY NEEDS YOU!!!   There are a number of committees that need to be filled in Columbus. Where are concerned citizens when you really want them.  First of all the Columbus Aquatic Center Committee and I'm sure you all saw the big ad in the Columbus Journal asking for people to fill this committee.  What?  you didn't?  Yea - it was hidden in all the other public notices that no one ever reads.  BUT - they do need volunteers.  

The next committee is the Mayors new Columbus Tourism Committee - this should be a fun one where you get to divvy out about $20,000 to groups asking for help in marketing and you get to help in forming this new group.

And third is the CDA who need two new members. I'm on the CDA and it's purpose is to help create a vibrant business atmosphere.  My personal belief is that we need to focus not on what is happening NOW in downtown Columbus but what can we do that will create a new vibrant downtown after the 16/60 reconstruction and how can we help businesses during this reconstruction.

Personally I believe our empty buildings are a bonus, an opportunity to grow. If we put all of our efforts into filling the buildings NOW what happens when new shops, less the 2 years old are hit with 50%+ less business during the summer of 2017!  We need to position ourselves for AFTER the downtown horror.  Hit the ground running, be ready for Columbus version 2.

Just my thoughts!

The city council was challenged to take the ice bucket challenge and  my problem is that from what I see it's more personal publicity then actual caring for ALS.  I bet most people who take the challenge only vaguely know what ALS is.  That has been my beef with this.  Let's pour cold water over our head, mention ALS and feel good about ourselves.

ALS is Amyotrophic lteral Sclerosis a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. You get it, you die. 100%  There is no known cure and before this challenge not a lot of money was being spent on finding one.

What happens is that the  motor neurons in your body degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Symptoms of ALS include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing and then you die.  Period.

There is ONE drug that slows the progress and that is all.

This ice bucket challenge that started about two weeks ago has raised donations from 1 million to 4 million so while I whine about people doing it for the wrong purpose . . . . . it has helped bring awareness to this horrible condition.

So - I will take this challenge but I'm not going to challenge others, that I feel is almost bully-like. You are forcing people to so something they might not want to do.  Isn't that bullying?   HOWEVER - it should be fun.

I've been in contact with 2 other alderpersons and we are all down for this if we can get the logistics going. But along with getting ice bucketed - I will also donate.

If you decide to take the challenge - do it on grass.  America is dumping millions of gallons of clean water down the drains and using energy to make ice cubes for this.  At least do it on grass.

OH - on that note of unintended consequences.

We have all heard that more and more cars in the future will be so much safer when they drive themselves.  Here is a problem. Donated organs that save people lives normally come from car accidents! There will be a serious lack of gently used organs in the future!  

In other news - Hell On Wheels - that magnificent western on AMC is one of the best shows on TV and available on Netflix.

THIS JUST IN - My wife in DOC is in lockdown

RAIN this month

24 hours ending
8/02/14  0.10
8/05/14 0.95
8/12/14 0.88
8/17/14 0.38
8/19/14 0.64
8/22/14 0.37

Iggy always helps me write my blog -he has quadrupled in size in 3 months

We had our AC on once this year - looks like we might have to crank it up later today once the sun comes out!   People are so afraid of sweating which is very good for you!  I like fresh air. Not stale AC air.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Room Tax Purgatory

A couple things - first of all is knowitalls comment yesterday about me not 'listening" to his comment a year ago about LastPass.  He is correct - I did not "listen" to his comments.  Perhaps I need to install that software into blogger.  However - I do "read" his comments and typically it's just blah blah blah so perhaps I missed it.  I don't remember him saying anything about LastPass, perhaps he can go back and look for that comment.

Second - It's our City Administrators birthday and we have a special treat for him today.  At some point when he least suspects it Kelly will sneak up behind him and do the ice-bucket challenge on him.  It'll be a riot.  DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU PATRICK.

. . . . . . . .

Room Tax Purgatory

Hotels and motels in Wisconsin have a room tax.  In Columbus it's 3% (can be up to 8%) and it's purpose is to "generate a separate source of revenue from overnight travelers to help offset the costs of marketing, service and development to continually attract overnight travelers to the area. This “perpetual funding” model, when used properly, continually attracts overnight visitors to spend money in Columbus, generating more room tax revenue".

In Columbus it's about $20,000 and most of this money is used to help fund events in Columbus which in turn, theoretically, brings people to Columbus or at least makes people spend more money IN Columbus.

State law says that at least 70% must be used in advertising of the events with the other 30% used at the city's desecration.

Here is the problem which has reared it's head. Before last night a few people on a tiny committee would get together before council and decide on requests and Council would rubber stamp their request.   Quick, easy and not a problem and I knew of know one except the Mayor who had issues with this. Seemed to work great.

However the Mayor wanted to create a Commission of citizens who would have total 100% control over the funds and Council would not have to even touch or worry about where the money was spent, out of our hands completely. The idea was to stop giving ANY money to events and all in marketing (or 70% at least).  The problem some of us felt was that we were giving away $20,000 of Columbus money and losing all control of where it was going.  If the Commission wanted to spend $20,000 on a big sign that said "Come to Columbus, We're Old and Historic, We Never Change", so be it.

WELL, I personally thought we were trying to fix something that was not a problem to begin with and for the last 2+ months every session this was on the agenda and we would have to talk about it and debate it and it would take up our time.

I assumed the Mayor has six people lined up for this already and finally we got to a point where the City Attorney, in his 3rd of 4th iteration to an ordinance had something workable even though I believe most on the Council liked the old way but this assumed "problem" was just not going away.

So to make the Mayor happy we first had to demolish the old committee so we could form a new committee (which no one really wanted a new committee in the first place).  So we voted and now there is NO committee and Council is the new Committee (like we had all this extra time).

SO - hopefully Kelly can call in his people who wanted to be on the committee.  I think the only difference is that instead of a commission which had total control, this is a committee who will need to get their plans rubber stamped by council.

I believe the problem is that the Mayor did not want ANY origination to get room tax money and all would to towards marketing.

The problem is that if we do not help events like The Carriage Festival, OddFellows Oddtoberfest, Arts & Ales, The Xplosion,  The 175th City of Columbus Birthday Party,  The Renegades Rumble what is the reason for people to come to Columbus?  What are we marketing??

Our vibrant downtown?  The strip malls? ShopKo?

I hear a lot of people saying Columbus has so much going for us!  YEA, we do, in theory,  but we don't have a lake for tourists, we have a underutilized river, we have a fantastic looking downtown with closed antique stores so people can look in the windows for nothing better to do.

Columbus has to manufacture our tourism, we can not ignore what brings people to our community.

SO with that said - if you want to help spend $20,000 and meet once a month the Columbus Tourism Committee needs you!  Contact the City Clerk (920-623-5900) for a form.
And while you are at it the CDA needs a body or two also.

For the first time in over a year I'm excited about the direction the CDA is going (we actually have the beginnings of a direction).  If you want to help Columbus become a vibrant community WE NEED YOU!  Get off your butt and meet once a month.  Hey - I spent years whining about how everyone complains but no one does anything.  I stepped up, how bout' some more people doing that!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tony LaRussa and Cod Pieces,

WELL - I see I need to say more controversial things to get my readership up!  ;-)  I've become a boring politically correct politician (I loath politicians).  I knew this would happen.  I'm more dangerous (to myself) outside of office.

Agora Art Fair was excellent.  I knew the one problem was that with booths literally going over the horizon that when some one said they would come back to purchase I knew they would never make it back . . . unless they circled the globe.  

I could have sold my State Street 16x48 twice but I only had one. The image below is from a lull and once again I heard a number of times that the talent was better then Art Fair on the Square (which I am applying for next year, we shall see if I make the cut).

Nest stop - The Workshop in Columbus for a month.


Did I mention that our last July was like the 11th or 13th coldest July on record (I can't remember which one it was).  I mention this because HERE COMES THE HEAT!  Should be in the lower 90's this coming weekend.  WHOO HOO!!!


BEER - I tried by Bavarian Dunkleweiss for the first time and OH MY!!   It's a thirst quencher for sure.  I was a little worried at first as it did not put a BURST of flavor into my mouth but a 22oz bomber with 6% alcohol hiding near the bottom of the bottle was gone before I knew it.  Yummo!!


Brewers light blue, Cards red Pirates dark blue

Where are all of those Brewer naysayers now.  "OH, we will see where they are at the All Star Break"

Yea - sweep the Dodgers In LA BABY!   The Brewer starting pitching in the last 25 games have an ERA of 2.50 and the bullpen is getting much needed rest.

The Dodgers are a team that brings me this weird feeling.  Some people have the Yankees and pinstripes but for me the Dodgers.  

Speaking of bullpens.  Jonah Keri had a good article on bullpen usage and how it's been changing over the years thanks to Tony LaRussa.  The interesting thing is that in the last 30 years the number of innings has risen about 1/2 inning per game but the actual number of pitchers used has gone up dramatically from 2.58 per game to 3.92 per game.  At the same time bullpen effectiveness has seen a dramatic rise.  Bullpens are no longer where poor starters go like in the past.


OH - my football Confidence League is looking more players.  It's where you have a set of NFL and College games and rank each game 1 to 25 (or whatever) .  Contact James at 
if you want to play, $50 for the year (payable later) with weekly $20 winners and I believe top 2 pay. This will be my 8th year so it's been around for a while.


47 years ago yesterday Woodstock came to an end.  I did not know that Santana was basically an unheard of band when they played.  Their first album was not out yet.

Jethro Tull's, Ian Andersaon did not want to attend because " he did not like hippies and other concerns including inappropriate nudity and the money being right." 

Well, for a guy that wore a cod piece in concert I find that odd.

A side note - there was absolutely zero violence at Woodstock. Not one reported fight or incident and one police officer in attendance said he believe this could be attributed to one thing.  Marijuana.      

BTW - my very first concert was Jetho Tull, the Aqualung tour.  I found out that a friend of mine from Public Enemy days, the Wood Fairy, was also attending his very first concert at that show.


After I hang up here I'm going to look into some new software called LastPass which is an automatic password manager.  GUILTY!!  Yea - I have the same password for a number of things and it is really quite stupid.  

I believe CHANGING a password every few weeks is stupid and a time waster. I mean if you are a car thief and find keys are you going to wait and use them a few weeks from now?  No, you will use them right away.  Same with passwords.  They are either safe or not!  Changing does nothing at all to make it more secure.

HOWEVER - if you have one password for multiple accounts the first thing I would do if I was a hacker was to see if that password works on other things.

THUS - LastPass will give you a different 256 bit encrypted random password for every account BUT, you only have to remember ONE password.  Don't ask questions, not a clue how it really works but magazines that I trust are rating it fantastic and it's free.  Perhaps they are all in on this and we are all screwed but . . . . if you are that worried perhaps you should not be on the internet.


On Amazon

Just your average tin of radioactive Uranium ore ...



Thursday, August 14, 2014

I've been doing it wrong all my life

First there was sweet corn.  I'll never have those filaments in my teeth again.

Take your sweet corn, don't de-husk it,  cut about an inch off the thick end and opo it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Take it out and with an Ufglove or pot holder squeeze the the skinny end and the sweet corn will squeeze out fresh and clean!  no filaments.

BUT NOW I find out I have been using aluminum foil and cling wrap wrong!  

How many times have you done this with cling wrap.

You grab it and the roll comes out and and it's all a mess.    BUT WAIT.

Look on the sides of the box.

Push those little things in on each side and BAM!  the roll stays in the box and it is so easy!  WHO KNEW.  I've never actually looked at the sides of the box!

Same thing with foil!   IT'S A MIRACLE!!


Did you know that Warren Buffett made 37 MILLION dollars a day in 2013?  He made 99% of his wealth AFTER he turned 50.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ziggy? Really? sigh!

So I go to the CDA meeting and the Mayor says "That was a controversial blog today" and I say "yea, that was perhaps a 14 inch pizza and not an 16 inch pizza that kid was holding".

Not sure what part was controversial actually. Just saying what was on my mind - I have no filters . . . . wait . . . actually I do have filters and THAT was actually the filtered version. I AM on City Council so I had to make it tame.  Someday I will not be on city council and I can take the gloves off.

I'm not anti business, the Sentry store will make some people happy and the other stores that might eventuality be built will make people happy and that is the key to a successful city.   I was just going off on the fact that "I" was getting the blame for Anytime Fitness being 6 months late on opening.


We met the new Columbus Economic Development & Marketing Assistant Dave Carleson and he seems nice and has energy which is what Columbus needs. I'm looking forward to his influence in city matters.

We (the CDA) are getting a map of downtown with things to do and places to see which will include ALL businesses.  We are also looking at a new website for the city and a hand out we received had a surprising revelation - "What are people NOT looking for on a city website"

1. Welcome videos
2. Water Towers
3 Cat photos

WHAT????   You show me a website with funny cat photos and I will show you an active website.

Actually 60% of people looking at a city website are looking for a calender of events which Columbus desperately needs.


Happy birthday Alfred Hitchcock (1899).  I watched an old Alfred Hitchcock  . . . . . wait . . .that was Twilight Zone . . . .nevermind.  Anyway I watched an old Twilight Zone and it was so lame. Very slow moving and disappointing. Not how I remembered them at all.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High debuted today in 1982 and American males fell in love with Phoebe Cates. The movie also had Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Forest Whitaker, Judge Reinhold and Anthony Edwards to name a few.
The Battle of Britain ramped up in 1940 on this day called "the Day of Eagles". This is when the Luftwaffe decided to attack British airfields.

Soon after German General Goering decided it was more trouble then it was worth and switched to bombing London. It was a massive blunder on his part.
In the Economy - July Retail Sales comes out soon and it is expected to be 0.2% higher then a year ago. We shall see.

Just looked - SWING AND A MISS!

0.0%    hmmmmm - have to look into this and see what the talking heads are saying.  Looks like Autos were the big lag in the economy.
Rush Limbaugh is blaming the death of Robin Williams on the "leftist worldview of things".  We're never happy and leftists are filled with pessimism, darkness and sadness.

WHAT? - I'm the happiest damn person I know and I'll kick your ass if you say otherwise.

He rambles on about low expectations and so forth.

ACTUALLY - I read an article about how to become more happy and it is to lower expectations. It is so much easier to exceed expectations if you have low ones!  Makes sense. I know my parents were very happy with me because they did not expect a whole lot.  . . . I'm just making crap up now, I could never beat my straight "A" brother so . . . I didn't try!

Sadly the July Retail Sales had really low expectations and we came in lower . . . hmmmmmm perhaps if you have low expectations and STILL miss the mark that is not a good thing.

That is right - if you have a frozen steak - do NOT thaw it before you cook it. A frozen steak not only losses less moisture and cooks more evenly, but it also tastes better than the thawed one. The frozen steak has a much thinner band of overcooked meat (known as a “gray band”) surrounding the pink interior than the thawed beef.

I can not believe I did not know Ziggy Marley was in Madison this past weekend - AAAAGH!!  Really?   COME ON!   DJ and I would have been there in a heart beat. That really bumbs me out!  When we had our adventure in the US Virgin Islands Ziggy was the Go To music.  

Brewers - 79% chance to make the playoffs .

"Do you think God gets stoned? I think so ... look at the platypus." - Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Columbus - Full Employment?

Seventy seven years ago today The Wizard of Oz had it's global premier  - IN Oconomowoc!!

That's right, Oconomowoc.  It seems MGM was so down on this movie and pretty sure it would fail at the box office that they decided Oconomowoc was their best choice. A soft opening.


Just me personal opinion.  At least y'all know where I stand.

I received a phone call yesterday on my voice mail (I was in the basement) and I agree and I don't agree but I truly do appreciate the phone call.   

The dispute is my claim that City Council did our job and Mr. Eisenga did not do his. Perhaps I was a little harsh but I was frustrated at the problems Anytime Fitness is having with communication with the developer and the caller said "we" the City Council dragged our feet and we, are to blame for the debacle.  

Let's look at the facts. The first problem comes from the planning commission because his plans are a total wreak and there are 35 questions that need to be answered.  Then he builds a non-conforming building against city regulations and expects the city council to just OK it when what he has done really screws the city by making ALL zones conform to his zone.  We can't very well tear down ShopKo and build it right so the "new" council has to hit the ground running.

So I will freely admit that before the "new" council came to order the "old" council said "wait, lets not just rubber stamp this and screw the city for the future".   Plus, his plans were NOT OK in the first place by the planning commission.  The exact words are "Prior to conditional use approval being issues, the following comments will need to be addressed or additional information needs to be provided per the following letter".

So since the paperwork was incomplete we needed to wait for this correction which is 2 more weeks.

Then, knowing that there were 3 brand new council members he feels he needs to rush rush us into a quick decision. This ALL could have been taken care of 6 months earlier when there was zero rush at all and the old city council could have just done what they do and rubber stamp this without ever reading the ordinances or thinking about the future of Columbus.  Unless you want to have more beautiful strip malls with low paying jobs anywhere in Columbus.

He KNOWS this takes time and city government is freakishly slow (he was Mayor wasn't he? he knows how longs things take - good grief) we could have looked at things without any pressure or faux deadlines at all and he could have had his Sentry built way way earlier.  But for some reason he stalled and then had the gall to not only come after the new city council through three newspaper articles saying WE are inept but through attacks in our personal email.

REALLY?  Is that how you work with a new city council? email attacks? Is that really wise?  And you wonder why I'm not a big fan? How about working together for the common good of all. He created a huge problem for us and then gives us the finger because we are slow?

He promised Anytime Fitness an August 1st opening and assures Council that if we pass our vote everything will be up and running on time.

To be honest he is freakishly lucky he got my vote in the first place. I had many more calls saying vote NO, in fact I had more NO then YES calls. And because I need to be politically correct here, the NO votes were not against having a store. 

I know there are hold ups but I would think a developer knows this and factors that into his equation on how long things take.  Yet then he blames everyone except himself.  That is fine, that is how some developers seem to like to work and we all knew this might happen and I have to think there is more blame coming down the road.

But lets talk about that area.

Growth for the sake of growth is not good growth financially for the city.  Oh, it makes politicians look good because Columbus is growing and it LOOKS like a good thing because we are gaining more poor paying jobs and developers make a lot of money, but bottom line it hurts Columbus. This TIF is a boondoggle that will bite Columbus in the butt in 20-30 years when the infrastructure needs repairing and the property tax that NORMALLY accrues for 20 years and is used to fix aging infrastructure are now being used instead, to BUILD the infrastructure, not to keep it running.  A classic example of a poor way to have a TIF. Growth for the sake of Growth.

BUT - he will be long gone, I will be long gone and my children will end up paying for the infrastructure for empty buildings in empty strip-malls.  I HOPE I am wrong but I'm not a fan of urban sprawl that take away jobs from the city and moves them into country.

Corn fields and weeds are actually more cost efficient then business unless that business has high paying jobs and brings outside money IN. That is the key. Columbus will not make any money in that area at all because typical property tax does not offset the cost of infrastructure maintenance, police protection, snow plowing and so forth over the lifetime of that infrastructure. A corn field has no inherent cost BUT, we still get property tax.  What you say?  Business is bad?  No - bad business is bad.

Why is this theory all of a sudden coming out?

Because America did not start urban sprawl until the 50s when the automobile started to change cities. Now we are having our 3rd generation of infrastructure failures that city's need to pay for and we are seeing that city's cannot PAY for sprawl unless that area is bringing in money with real property tax. The only way a city can pay for sprawl is with more sprawl. It's like a ponzi scheme.  As long as we can keep sprawling to pay for the last sprawl we are fine.

What are good companies?  Enerpac - they bring outside money INTO the town. They make stuff, sell it to other places and we keep the change.  Sentry will take OUR money and then send that money OUT of town after paying employees slightly above minimum wage.     

We get no sales tax, and that building will not help create that many jobs from Columbus residents. Our unemployment in Columbus is 5.8% which is really close to "full employment" (which is 3 to 4%**, economist William T. Dickens says that full employment is 5.5%) so it's not like Columbus is begging for more low paying jobs!

I truly hope he builds lots of cool little shops in his strip-mall area and I hope he proves me wrong.I will be the first to say I was wrong and apologize, it's not like I've never done THAT before.

Sorry - I got on a rant but I have to believe that Mr Eisenga who is a seasoned developer and a one time mayor knows how things work, knows that things take time and has planned in unforeseen problems.

And too the caller - I do appreciate the call, honestly. I'm glad people are paying attention to what is going on in the city. I wish more people would.  Thank you. 

**   You really do not want full employment because that would cause inflation because workers would have more disposable income which would drive up prices.  Right now there is a good amount of frictional unemployment, workers who are in between jobs, but are still in the labor force. So you need to take into account frictional unemployment because not all unemployment is involuntary.

In fact looking at numbers that just came out today 42% of respondents in small business are saying there are "few or no qualified applicants" for jobs.  21% of small business are raising compensation to get more applicants.  This is suggesting that our economy is shifting from weak demand to tight supply.  WHICH - will raise wages WHICH will lead to higher inflation WHICH will start to raise interest rates.   


In other news.

Paul Scharf is leaving The Columbus Journal and while I did not always agree with the news he decided to print I ALWAYS appreciated his work ethic and I liked the guy. Thank You Paul for your years of service.
Disc Golf is coming to Columbus . . . still. I heard through the grapevine that they are ready to install the baskets. . . . . sometime.

Watching the Brewers last night.  DUDE - is that a whole 16 inch pizza?


I don't know why that caught my eye.  With HD you see a lot of weird things happening behind batters.

OH - the PGA Championship  -  Rory Mcllroy is in Nicklaus/Woods territory as he has won 4 majors before age 25. Only Woods and Nicklaus have done that.  Plus he has won four majors in a span of 15 tournaments.  Not saying Rory is the next Tiger but it IS a WOW thing.  

New sun screen research is interesting.  I had a malignant melanoma about 25 years ago so I'm not a sun worshiper for sure. But now it seems sunscreen is causing harm by blocking essential vitamins from entering your body which is causing problems in the elderly.  At least that is what I found in an article that I skimmed a majority of at least half of it. 

All right - I'm outta here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A weekend was had

Got my check from Jones Dairy Farm. I feel RICH!!!  ($11 large).

The Paoli Art Far was a success. Beautiful setting and it was my 12th best out of 39 Art Fairs but you have to account for the size and how much a fair costs to get into.  Still #12 was good enough for me to return next year.  This was one was on the bubble.  In fact DeForest was on the bubble this year also but it past the test.  Hopefully next year I will have less fairs but bigger fairs.  It all depends if I'm excepted or not.

OH - setting up was a little stressful.  Bees.  Where my canopy was going to go, or more specifically where DJ was going to be all day there was an underground hive of wasps!  NOT the most relaxing thing to have.

They nuked the hive but it didn't work.  We moved another 5 feet away and did not disturb them and they did nit disturb us! We played nicely with each other.   

In October I'll be the featured artist at The Workshop so I'm making plans for that. There will be a school trip day where I'll give demonstrations.  I wish I had a real laptop as it would really come in handy.  Might have to used my desk top computer instead.

Otherwise my weekend was pretty filled with the art fair and then chillaxing on Sunday with Elwood who broke my science drinking glass.  sigh.  I guess they are NOT impervious to breakage. 

BUT - what can ya do. 


Doing some tree trimming today with our birch trees. The "problem" with birch is that branches do not grow - UP.  So if you have a branch that is hanging too low it will always hang low, it will just grow thicker and thicker.  But then the good thing is Heritage River Birch have such outstanding bark that cutting the lower branches expose's the beautiful bark.  

Our neighbor across the street is a Permaculture expert and are doing some creative lawn  . . . growing. They have clumps of Oxalis stricta which is also called Yellow Woodsorrel and normally is called a weed but . . .what IS a weed.  All parts are edible and I have eaten in a little and it's very tasty,  just grab some leaves and pop them into your mouth. Kind of tangy but full of awesome nutrients with HUGE amounts of Vitamin C.  In fact they might find me on their lawn munching a little for a snack.

They are used as thirst quenchers and can be added to salads an can be made into something like lemonade.  Some people love it and some believe it's a weed.  I like it and think it's darn pretty . . . . but I still pick it out of my gardens.

The thing is that it does block out other bad looking weeds and is known as a nitrogen fixer which is great for lawns.

Did I hear that the Minnesota Vikings are going to retire Favre's jersey THIS year to beat Green Bay?

Did you know that Bangladesh has more people living there then all of Russia?

In 1958 an Air Force jet collide with a B-47 over Georgia. The B-47 was carrying a hydrogen bomb (not cocked I guess) and the pilot was so scared he dropped the bomb.  It's never been found.

Cleopatra, lived, years-wise closer to Pizza Hut then the pyramids.

Finland is North Korea are separated by one country.

Bayer commercialized heroin in the 1890s as a cough remedy, it was banned in 1924 by the FDA. Yet another time when government stepped into our affairs to save ourselves.  


This is what your brain looks like after a 20 minute walk.

Once again proving that exercise is bad for you!


I made 5 fun wagers. One was against the Packers.  There are 5 teams who's coach hates winning in preseason.  So I said I BET none of those teams will go 4-0 and will chase each team to lose.  I figure I can make 5 easy units.

3-2 so far.  Atlanta and New Orleans both won (which means I lost) but New England, Green Bay and Cincinnati all lost (so I won).  

OK - gotta run and do some quicky ordering of prints - Next Saturday is the Agora Art fair - my superbowl of art fairs.  If you have not been down to Fitchburg it's a wonderful fair with a ton of talent.  I've heard many say it's better then Art Fair on the Square.   E.Cheryl Parkway  10:00 to 5:00.

See Ya!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Anytime Fitness, well, Sometime Fitness

I've been asked a few times about Anytime Fitness and what is up with those guys and why is their building not up an functional. I think all should redirect those questions to the developer who makes promises he can not keep. Remember when the City Council was put under the gun in late April because the developer NEEDED to get councils OK to get "shovels in the ground" because they had a drop dead date of November 5 to have Sentry up an running.

They had also promised to have Anytime Fitness up and running by August 1st.

The city did everything WE promised, we did our job. Now it sounds like Anytime Fitness will open MAYBE in January? It's almost like you can not trust this developer at his word. Just my personal opinion. I expect to be buying groceries November 5th as he promised. LOL 


Yesterday we had our annual golf/brewer game with friends and a great time was had by all.

My hot streak in golf came to a crashing end as I had on of my 5 worst 9s in the last 103 rounds and I had to deal with adversity for more the a couple holes.  BUT - what does not kill you will only cripple you and I hope this does not carry over to league, one week to go. 105 was disappointing but I was freakishly tired, probably under hydrated and my swing got lazy. Lost a good number of balls in those 4 holes.

Luckily Balderdash (the small character in front of me in the photo) added some comic relief on the very last hole as he was taking a "short cut" to the green and Network (blue dude on the right who is responsible for putting election results on Ch3 news) said "He's going to hit that truck". and I look up and there is this shiny red pickup driving up the driveway and Balderdash's ball traveling on an intersecting path.

BAM - ball hits truck who does not slow and ball caroms back towards the green.  Of course Network and I are in stitches.

Oddly the 3-some behind us in our party also added some comic relief  as Adubya (the man back from the dead and moving back to WI) is also taking the "short cut" and  eyeing up a tough shot over a tree and I say "He will never make that shot".  A mighty swing and TAUK!! Hits the tree.  Now he is in a worse spot and is eyeing the 160 yard shot and I say "He will never make it over the sand".

His next shot was from the sand. I felt good because he is a very very good golfer (his driver costs more then my entire bag) and I can't laugh at him too often.

Anyway - the Brewers won and a great time was had by all.


Where were you 40 years ago today. I know exactly where I was.  I was working at a furniture manufacturer in Jefferson and putting a cambric on a couch when Nixon came on the radio and resigned.


Tony Plush - I was wearing my Tony Plush t-shirt yesterday who in real life is Nyjer Morgan and a few people asked about where he is now.

I was actually playing for Cleveland in the beginning for the year as their starting CF and was hitting .341 and people loved him.  BUT, he hurt his knee and went on the 60-day disable list. He came off last week and they released him.


Enough banter - I have to prepare for an Art Fair in Paoli and run to Madison to have my new receiver installed. I'm so tired of Z104 I now drive in silence.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Council Chambers - the WORST place for ideas.

We had our extra super secret City Council meeting last night.  Not only was it not televised but we had it on a Monday instead of a Tuesday just to throw people off and there was a different vibe to it.   More relaxed and a little more candid.

I've brought this up before but something a former alderperson Paula said at the highly successful Council Listening session struck a nerve.   She said that James Street reconstruction was given to the CDA several years ago and nothing was accomplished.   Here is the problem.

The Council Chambers is an idea killer.  There will never ever be any truly inventive idea/task accomplished in the Council Chambers.  The TSS Taskforce that DID accomplish our task sat around a table facing each other, looking each other in the eyes, seeing body language and bouncing ideas and concepts off each other.  

Council Chambers you are lined up against a wall looking out, never seeing the person you are TRYING to bounce ideas off of. It's an idea killer.  I pray to God when times comes for budget talks we are not in the idea killer mode but I'm afraid we will be.  I will BEG to have us sit around a table and get feedback from each other.   If you want to really work on something, don't line us up against a wall speaking to air. We need to see each other.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Ale & Arts, Going Commando, Dr. Who

Need a quick charge for your iPhone? Put it in Airplane mode and then charge - MUCH faster.

There is a reason iPad sales are plummeting. In fact iPads are now only 27% of market sales. The problem is they are too good.  People are using their iPads a long time and are not replacing them.  The average life of an iPad is over two years now while the average live of an Android is 11 months. Its not that they break but it seems they just become inactive and not used. 


Ale and Arts was a complete success in Columbus.  The image on the right shows pretty much what it was like for all 12 hours.  

I talked to a few couples that had just moved to Columbus and I asked them why Columbus.  The answer was they wanted to get out of the big cities and loved the small town feel. 

They loved fairs like this and when they were looking for schools Columbus was rated very high according to

The Columbus Middle School is rated an 8 out of 10, Elementary School a 7 out of 10 and the High School 6 out of 10.  Fall River are all 5s.  Waterloo are 4s and 6s.

Congrats to Aaron and Sandye for a great event.  

I've added Pittsburgh on my chart. Brewers light blue, Cards red and Pirates black-ish

Baseball Prospectus has the Brewers with a 67.7% chance to make the Playoffs, Pirates 58% Cards 57.7%


I've started to read The Charm School by Nelson DeMille - a cold war novel that really explores real Russia in the 80s.  Excellent book so far.   

AND THEN - Here I have been married for what, like 18 years and I find out that DJ has actually met a
Dr. Who.  I didn't even know she was a Dr. Who fan!!!!!  

Until this past weekend I have watched maybe 5 minutes of a Dr. Who but now I started Season "1" on Netflix (the 2005 version where they start all over).  Not bad - sort of scary actually - NOT meant for children it seems. 

Thursday is our annual 18 holes of golf and Brewer game in Milwaukee.  Looking forward to it.  This year it is called the Andy Winn Memorial Tournament: Back from the Dead version. 

Of course nothing will ever compare with the Going Commando in Miller Park version when we golfed in 98 degrees, were soaking wet and changed in the parking lot.

Of course having four sets of soaking wet with sweat clothes in a black car for 3 hours in the sun meant Andy would sell his car a few months later - there was no way to bring back that new car smell. It was like a Seinfeld episode. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Council Listening Session

My receiver on my car died  . . sort of.  I had my car stereo installed by AMS like 10 years ago and all of a sudden none of the buttons work except for the volume and the CD player.  After spending a week trying to get a hold of Customer Service at Pioneer I finally got through and they said I should try unplugging it and plugging it back in - sigh!  

Well, I did that and not only did I lose all of my settings on the equalizer so I have no use for my subwoofer anymore but now I seem to be stuck on Z104.  After driving to Sun Prairie and back with Z104 I want to put a nail gun in each ear as I can not unhear that music.  All I have is Charli XCX in my brain and I believe it is eating or perhaps rotting it from the inside. She is nothing like KORN at all! 

HOWEVER - I ordered a new receiver and it cannot get here soon enough.  Does anybody know a good installer?  I have American cash. 


I attended the highly successful City Council Listening Session last night and it was well attended, in fact almost a packed house.  I talked about something like this a year ago and maybe we can expand on this a little. Overall it seems "we" are doing a good job and there were few complaints . . .about US! 

Not only were 5 of the 6 active Council members in attendance but a few city officials were there along with perhaps 10-12 interested citizens and it was a great time just talking about STUFF.  If we can somehow parlay this into a bigger event next time with more that wold be great.

We talked about the deer park, the Police Department, Ambulance Service, Roads, Water and Light and Sewer charges, Solar Farms, trucks, business development and there was a ton of information gathered for all concerned.  Having a meeting like this in an informal setting was great and I believe it helped the city tremendously. 

Many times meeting are so formal that ideas do not flow.  I hope we have more of these.    
PLEASE - if you are at all interested in Solar power for Columbus download and fill out the survey (which I have yet to do and will immediately)  - it's important. 

This is just to see if anybody is interested. There are many questions but should the city move forward??? 


Ale and Arts Sunday and I am hoping my B17 image arrives today - it's huge, 4 feet long. 

Have a great weekend.