Friday, February 27, 2015

Heaven Hill

I'm sorry Cathy - I think you were dreaming.  I looked at the Climate Prediction Center and it looks like March will have a good chance of being cooler then normal. They say summer will have a good chance of being warmer then normal which will please Columbus Water and Light (and me - the hotter the better).

Looking at all of their predictions, which is like reading tea leaves, March will be the last "cooler the average" period for over a year!! 

We have a good chance of a pretty sizable storm hitting us Tuesday - looks like the biggest of the season at the moment at 5-8 inches but we will be near freezing so the height of the snow is up for grabs.  This is your typical springtime storm and depends on when it hits and what the temperature is. We could have thunderstorms of rain OR snow and 8 inches might actually be conservative.  It all depends on the track the LOW takes.  It could get exciting. 

After the storm it will cool down for a couple days but then at LEAST 3 days in a row in the 30s for NEXT weekend.  


Who put pillow shams in my car.   Seriously.  I looked in my back seat and there are two pillow shams. I had no idea what they were and DJ has never seen them before.  They just appeared.  Fess up! 


A friend and fellow photographer from Madison will have one of his photographs featured in Criminal Minds on CBS March 11th.  The photo of the capitol will be used as decoration in a police station.  COOL!!


Want to test your retina?  Google  "portland Japanese" and click on images (office safe).  HOLY CRAP!!!   

Speaking of color - that whole dress thing sweeping the country.  Do you see black and blue?  Do you see white and brown?  I'm so confused - I see white-ish and brown while many people see black and blue.

I put this in photoshop and it's just about what I see.  I can not understand how anybody can see black and blue. The white has a bluesh tint to it but not BLUE!!  Like royal blue which is what many people see.  And black?  Not seeing it. 

Here is what photoshop says 


But here is a question - which way is the woman twirling!  Clockwise or counter clockwise. 


Time for Ibuprofen.  Had homebrew club last night and a new member is from Kentucky.  We started talking about bourbon because bourbon is taking sales away from craft beer.  Craft beer is taking sales away from macro beer and bourbon is robbing craft beer (notice how many craft beers are bourbon barrel aged).   I'm glad I'm not in a homebourbon club.  

Ever hear about a bourbon called Heaven Hill?  In 1996 they had a fire when lightning hit an aging warehouse with 20,000 barrels of bourbon. It spread to other warehouses when a 2 mile long river of flaming bourbon flowed down hill.  At one point 100,000 barrels were on fire in 7 warehouses. 

6% of the worlds bourbon were in flames

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Best Cinnamon Toast EVER

I'm not going to talk about the coming Iraq War III which will happen and I suspect before the next election.  ISIS wants a war and because Saddam is no longer in power they now control Iraq! Who's fault is it? Well, who started the last war and then left a void.

Mosul, Iraq's second largest city is under ISIS control and SOMEONE has to take it back. The preparations have already started in the press with daily depictions of beheading's and so forth.  Just be prepared - it's coming and probably sooner then you think.

Then there is this whole "Right to Work" thing.   First of all there is absolutely zero credence it helps bring jobs to RtW States. You can post numbers but there is no way to really tell one way or the other.  

All it is is a way to defund the Democratic Party.  So if you are a Republican and say why should I join a union that gives money to the Democrats. True true.  But then why should I go to stores that are in the Chamber of Commerce who in 2010 gave 32 million dollars to Republican candidates.

What really gets me is that before the election Walker said over and over and over he had no plans to pass Right to Work. Yet now - after he was elected, he is all for it!  It's almost like you can't believe him at his word.

Oh the projected budget short fall is now 1.8 BILLION dollars for Wisconsin. I thought before the election we had a surplus?


OH - I'm full of happy talk today :-)  Maybe because I finally got caught up to the 1st half of the current season of The Walking Dead and one of my favorite characters was killed off.  Good Bye Beth!


I'm tired of Winter - I think that is it. Tired of being 20 degrees below normal. The next time we get to normal will be Tuesday when we get a little more snow. Not a lot going on snow wise.  Everything once again is going south getting pushed down my cold.

We will keep getting cold air punches for the foreseeable future. Picture a Marry Go Round spinning counter clockwise fast with a bunch of kids hanging on to the railings for dear life. Every 3 spins another kid fly's off.

That kid is cold air and he is smacking into Wisconsin.  (no actual children were hurt in this blog).


OH OH - Cinnamon Toast. I have been doing it all wrong all my life.   OMG - with a little prep work you can make some amazing cinnamon toast.

Put 1 stick of butter in a bowl
add 1/2 cup of sugar
add 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
add 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Mix all together and then smother a piece of bread.

Place in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes on a pan.
Then broil for about a minute until the sugar caramelizes - it's awesome!!!


Nothing to say about Columbus. Might be some garbage news in the future (good news) but I'll hold off and keep you on the edge of your seats.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


My biggest worry today (which was yesterday) is finding cushions for my Grado Labs SR 80 headphones.  During my poker days I geeked out over headphones and purchased some open ear Grado Labs SR 80 and a set of Sennheiser HD580 cans.  Gotta have two sets for different music right?  Well, I thought that at the time . . . and I was right but I certainly would not do that today (they are expensive).

If you are looking for a GREAT pair of headphones for cheap?  Something to wear working out with great base check out the Sony MDRZX110AP ZX on Amazon.  Sweet deal for $20.  Stay away from Beats headphones.  Like Bose you are paying for the name and coolness factor.  Good sound but overpriced because they are hot. You can do much better at a lower price the Beats (and Bose for that matter).

Something a lot of people forget with headphones is that they need to have a wear in period. Just like stereo speakers.  Even ear buds need 100 hours to get to their max sound.  The cones are stiff and need to be massaged and gently used. Play them overnight quietly.

Oscars were a bomb on TV.  Down 16% and Tweets were down 47%.


Cottage Grove was all freaking out over a sex offender moving in. Good Grief. That is a known person, worry about the unknown ones!  WAIT!!!  WHO knew that a sex offender would move next door to . . . . an ARSONIST.  What a lovely neighborhood!  The kettle calling the pot black!! (or whatever that saying is).


We all know what is on tonight right?  Survivor Season 30.  I've applied a few times - sent my app and video in - didn't make the cut.  This year it's White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar and I have heard its one of the best premiers ever in Survivor as we see how each "tribe" deals with adversity. I still love that show as a social experiment.     


Not much to say - sort of brain dead today, I must have slept to well last night! I hate that!

Badgers - the excitement about last night was not the game but what happened AFTER the game.  Emergency landings with an engine out, firetrucks rescue vehicles, doors not shutting, GREAT night for Bucky.    

Milwaukee Bucks (most of you can check out now) - In baseball you have PECOTA  where a players career is matched up with other players at the same point and same stats to see who they most match.

I'm not sure if that have that in the NBA but the Bucks new point guard Michael Carter-Williams that they got in a big trade was Rookie Of The Year last year in the NBA but having a hard year this year.  One of the reason the Bucks were high on him is that his career is almost exactly matching his coach, Jason Kidd who went on to be pretty darn good.  And Kidd is really getting some exceptional play out of his super young team.

The Bucks were recently ranked as the 6th most exciting team in the NBA.  Michael Carter-Williams makes his Milwaukee debut tonight.

Nuff said     

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weather blobs and Waste water blobs

I got all excited last night when looking at long range models of weather but this morning I see we are only in the "keep an eye on" stage.  Next Sunday we have a chance of significant show,  In fact last night it was looking like one of the bigger storms in the last 2 years but now it looks like as with everything else as it will go south.

Still we are getting slammed with at least 2 more body blows of cold from the north.  The one we are in today, a body blow Wednesday and I would expect another one early next week (maybe not AS cold). But the main event will be watching Sunday. A large blob of  moisture will be entering the country in California about Thursday or Friday and redeveloping after dumping a lot of rain on CA.  By late Sunday this blob will be near WI. 

Then the latest pin wheel blob of super cold will glance NORTH of Wisconsin. So instead of the cold pushing the moistur south it COULD let it leak north.  This is something to watch as the week goes on.     


I had the opportunity to tour the Columbus Waste Water Treatment Plant Friday and it was actually pretty interesting. AND - I took my camera. 

The three dudes were excited to have someone visit as I believe they are locked into that place and do not get to see outside humans very often (notice the fence around the plant. It's not to keep people out, it's to keep them IN).

The first thing I noticed was THE BIG BOARD.

Three Mile Island was on my mind.  But then I find out that this is actually old and the plant is now run on a state of the art science computer run on Window XP, the trailing edge of technology. 

I would have taken some photos but the tubes were not warmed up yet. 

The first room we visited was the chem lab where they measure all the crap they collect (I had to get the "crap" joke out of the way early so I could get serious). 

The place was full of beakers and pipettes and fluids that I could not imagine what it all was (actually I could, that was urine  and next to it is the rare blue urine).

The next stop was into the bowels of the plant (sorry, I can't help it).    

The back story is that right now the primary problem at the Columbus plant is that we have a 1/4 screen that is the first sifter of  . . stuff that comes into the plant.  It is collected, put into garbage bags BY HAND. Then a lowly paid highly trained technician manually carry's the heavy effluent debris up a very long and slippery set of stairs and put it into a garbage can.  

The plan, if council agrees, is to get a 1/8 inch screen (as opposed to a 1/4) and automate this process.  This was the smelliest room in the plant and if there is any need to torture a terrorist or anything I think this would be the place to do it (every town need a room like this).

And then we started to get into the meat of the plant. Lots and lots of pumps. These guys are pump experts. I should have been counting how many pumps there are. The amazing thing is that along with carrying crap, the makers of the clean water do all of their own repair work.  Broken pump? they will lift it through a ceiling 30 feet in the air air and repair it.    

Circuit board blows up? They repair it.  Yard needs mowing they do it. 

 Pumps, lots and lots of pumps. If there was a model pump show these guys would be camping out to get in first.  I bet there are 25 LARGE pumps at the plant. 

But along with pumps were some pretty interesting equipment.

 This one takes out grit!  Looks like dirty sand-ish. Sort of a centrifuge thing going on. Seems there is all sorts of different kinds of  . . . . stuff that all needs special treatment. 

  This is a press that presses water out of the waste (and could be used to print the Columbus Journal also).  The results looks something like beef jerky. It's pretty old but was new technology when it was installed. (they do all their own constant repairing).

We then went out to the other buildings and along the way I saw a miracle. It was crazy.  The cold weather created something I think Columbus could charge money to help our budget. 


Call the waste department and ask to see Taylor Swift! it's uncanny!

The domes were rather awesome.  This is what they are when empty.

This is typically filled with influent up to the alligator things. Pumps on the bottom to get rid of sludge, I THINK.

Then there are a few of these things we all have seen.  They are aerating like we do with beer to get the yeast active.  Those tiny critters need air to chomp all the bad smelly critters (not scientific terms).

I have a really cool photo in my head on this and want to go back when it's not freaking 50 below to take it.   You have seen those photos with swirls on a pond with leaves  . . well . . . .

But then they were saving the highlight for last!  THE SLUDGE SHED!!!

This is the 6 wheel drive truck used to haul sludge. How old is this??

And this is the sludge.  Pretty stack-able at the moment but in summer when it's warmer there is a problem with the sludge being too wet and spreading. Of note is the height of the walls.  How much sludge were they thinking years ago, would go into this room.  And look at the ceilings!!  This looks more like the Kalahari in the Dells then the roof of a sludge barn.

I think we could clean this up and have some concerts in here.

But all kidding aside. What I took away from the tour of our waste water plant was the 3 guys that take care of us are proud of the plant and it's a labor of love.  They might not make the money that other communities our size pay and there is always a danger of losing skill and knowledge to other towns but they love it here.

Columbus has a great capacity so there is no worries for what I believe is coming.  They are a self contained unit and I was impressed.


BTW - here is a tip for anyone who ever writs a blog to makes a application for a job or whatever.  You can read everything over 20 times and miss something obvious because you brain fills in mistakes.

The TRICK - is to read whatever you wrote bottom to top!  That way you will find mistakes.


NOTE - check out this Executive Penthouse Apartment for rent for rent above the Garage Barbershop.  "You won't believe it. 2830 Sq. Ft. of finished living space. 2-3 Bedrooms and 2 baths".  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Space Walks and if beer could drink beer.

Yea - that  advertisement is ugly - I'll have to figure out a better place - there is a story behind that on the bottom. 

I've been asked a number of times by friends that live in Madison how I like Columbus. I will admit that I miss Madison.  I loved city life, the many restaurants, walks by the lake, the sounds of life at night. We lived on Anniversary Lane and our backyard was Sandberg Woods with deer and other wild animals you would hear at night so I had the best of both worlds. 

But in Columbus you have this. 

click to enlarge

10mm lens F5.6 25 seconds ISO 2000 -16.9 windchill 61% humidity
And on many occasions I can see the Milky Way.  You can't beat that. 

The brightness on the right is from the Sun of the Prairie. The bright star in the middle about halfway up is Sirius where music comes from. You can see the three stars of Orion's Belt up to the right a little, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.


So the Mayor of Sun Prairie who was bitten by Jimmy the Ground Hog will not be Mayor next year. This worries me as I was hoping Mayor Crombie would hold Jimmy the Stick for a photo op nest year (hoping he would not get poked in the eye).  Stay tuned.  BTW - Jimmy the Stick was mentioned on the WISC Ch3000 Facebook page (the comment area). I'm always trying to get Columbus out there!!  


Remember Mark Jansen?  The former School Superintendent? His son is the head brewer for the PonySaurus Brewing Company in Durham North Carolina (If Beer Could Drink Beer this is the Beer Beer would Drink).


I must share this. The  Newmarket Health Center, located north of Toronto looks pretty ordinary from space.

But if you zoom down a bunch . . . . . . .



On Wednesdays I work for the State as an analyst for Family Services. Me and another retired dude are the last people standing who know anything about a $300 million a year computer system. Once Walker became governor everybody retired. Low pay and horrible working conditions with the trailing edge of technology. No one in their right mind would want to work for the government unless they are looking 40 years down the road (then its a sweet deal). A whole lotta brain power left state employment.  So as a safety measure we come in and make sure things are still running.

In my unit I'd say 40% are now Indian contractors (not that that is a bad thing). The bonus is that instead of donuts for birthdays we get all sorts of awesome Indian food.

Yesterday I was introduced to Samosa, a fried pastry with fillings such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils.  What a treat!! I love Indian food. I would die of starvation in France but India I would be fine (except for the stench and crowds).


The Siberian Express has it's hold on us. This crude image shows what is happening.

Siberia is up near the top left of the earth and a Low and a High are working in conjunction spinning all that cold air our way.  You can see Columbus as a little blue dot near the bottom  We still have a ways to go and nor foreseeable let up in site.  

Saturday and Tuesday we MIGHT get to 30 but otherwise nothing even close to average (32).  No real snow, maybe an inch total in the next 10 days.   I think it's pay back time for a mild winter.


WOW - I was doing some reading about Chevy Chase. What a disliked dude that guy is. People really hate him!  Basically an arrogant SOB.  There is a reason he is not on Community anymore.


Wal-Mart is giving everybody a raise to at least $9 an hour and department managers will make at least $13 an hour.  Seem odd that the word "manager" and "$13 an hour" go together.


The Milwaukee Bucks are ranked as the 6th most exciting team in the NBA.

Ok - I'm hitting the wall.

OH OH - I'm touring the Columbus waste Water Plant tomorrow at 10:00AM.  If you want to take the tour with me show up. Bring a camera.

STORY - for a few years every few months I get a spam email saying Google needs my bank account number - YEA RIGHT  GOOD ONE!! CLICK DELETE

I got it again yesterday - well this time there was no link so I decided to search around for my Googel AdSense account and after a while I found it.  Changed the password and logged in.  What?  I have a BUNCH of money sitting in an account from 2006.  WHO KNEW!!    


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Influent Screen Replacement mmmm yummy

Happy National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day! If you had my calendar you would know that  . . . or maybe not, I might have missed that one!

Wednesdays are the days I try to keep out of trouble after council meetings. I just get so excited I can't control myself.  Probably good I don't work for NSA.

One thing I have to figure out is that on some Tuesdays I have library board before council and after 5 straight hours of meeting I get home about 10:15 and am famished.  So after stuffing my face I go to bed right away  (I have to get up at 5:45) and then have a stomach ache all night!

It was an interesting night to say the least.  At library board we had to deal with a citizen complaint about pornography in the library. Well . . . . . it was a book called "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health".  Pretty much says it all right there!  Looking on Amazon there is one review that says

 "Yes, sure, kids are curious and explore themselves and each other as kids... and they'll learn to do that on their own like they have been for thousands of years. They don't need pornographic images to guide them along the way. " 
sigh!  It's #12 on the ALA most challenged books but has won 10 prestigious awards. Perhaps parents, if they have issues, should not let their children look at the book in the first place.  At what point should a bastion of science and knowledge start to censor what is allowed into a library.

And while I'm on the subject.  Our amazing library in Columbus has gotten so small there is talk about renting another building. We just can not have events in such a small space.  The first LEGO event drew 25 children and was a huge success but the only room in the library for this event is way too small. In fact many of the events for kids are over running the small space. 

I will admit that I did not understand how important our library is to the community.  When I played a computer simulation called "Civilization" The Library was one of the wonders of the world and it still is.
The Library increases the science output of the city, speeding up a civilization's acquisition of new technology. It is the first science building, so it's a must (all other buildings from the science chain require it), and its effect is greater the greater the population of the cities it's built in.   
And the Columbus Library is getting some pretty good street cred these days and was one of 10 library's in the country to be awarded a special grant.  Check out the Transforming Libraries on the ALA website (photos be yours truly - the ALA pays good :-).

Better not hear anyone whine about streets - HA! - like that will happen.  In all the books and SIM City simulations on City Management and all the notes on how the world works in reality the one thing that is repeated over and over is that you will never ever win the road battle. Citizens will always always complain about roads no matter what you do.

WITH THAT SAID - the next 6-7 years Columbus will be road construction central. With six DOT projects plus a few million maybe going to road construction (this is where I can get in trouble as I cannot say it WILL go to roads because no votes have been taken yet on what to do with the $$).

A new project slated for 2021 is a complete reconstruction of Farnham (Hwy 89) from Park street all the way to the country.  Add 2015 the 151/73 Hospital intersection, and the area by the travel center including stop lights towards ShopKo and two more set of stop lights to get onto 151.  We will be a 5 stop light town. There will be sidewalks all the way to ShopKo.  Are we becoming pedestrian friendly?         

There are new plans for 4 more bump outs going down the hill on James street to slow traffic a little (psychology). Along with the major projects Folsam, Fuller, W Prairie, Mill and Church Streets are being looked at and ranked on when these MIGHT be on the schedule in the next few years. 

Coordination with Water & Light and sewer are on going. If you tear up a street you might as well fix what is underneath at the same time.  Bang for buck you know.

But the most entertaining part of council was  listening to the Influent Screen Replacement plan for Columbus at the waste water treatment facility.  mmmmmmm boy the visions that was putting in my brain. How they have to manually carry all of the things being caught on the screen and bag them.  mmmmmmm

Well, there is much more including kid drop off and pick up changes coming. Garbage developments to make life easier. New flags for downtown and bunting for the Pavilion.

But I must share this - the worlds most dangerous toy.

 The Gilbert Atomic Energy Lab that contained four different types of uranium and three different radiation sources. And for FUN, a Geiger counter which could tell parents exactly how contaminated their child had become while playing with it.

This was produced in 1950 and was a whopping $500 in today's money.   See that tiny white tag on the bottom right of the top of the box?  It says  $10,000 Reward from the Government of the United States if you find Uranium Ore. SWEET!! 


BUT I have a new fun game for Christmas this year.  A Fifty Shades of Gray play along kit for children of all ages.  Includes plastic handcuffs, "find me" blindfolds. Adult supervision is recommended.

Wiener down Wiener down! 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fifty Shades and Public Enemies

Here come da cold!  Coldest air of the season is descending on us and will be around for a while. Today is the first day our average high reaches 32 and we will not see that temperature in the foreseeable future (maybe in March we might see it?).

After about 3:00 this afternoon we should have 40 straight hours of dropping temperature with the stinky armpit of weather happening about 8:00AM Thursday when we hit -15 with wind chills near -34. That's something to look forward too!  Saturday should be the warmest day in the next 2 weeks reaching 26ish but then we turn colder again.  Gotta love high's being 30 degrees below average.  



I know I know a lot of people love Governor Walker but the National media is now starting to look at our Governor and Rueters News had a national article with the headlines "Scott Walker will have a hard time explaining his economic record if he runs for president".

That's all I'm going to say

Fifty Shades - The reason I'm so obsessed with this movie isn't because I read the book (which I didn't) or will see the movie (which I might not) but the whole marketing campaign. I love watching marketing and what works and what does not. That Charter singing ad - brilliant and I loath it so deeply.  But Fifty Shades opening on Valentines weekend - brilliant. What other day in the year can you being a male who does not want to see a movie to the movie.  Let's see what happens around November 14th.  The Fifty Shade baby boom.

Oh - it's a one and done. People won't see it twice but that is fine. 94 million on opening weekend doubled what the movie cost already. 68% attending were woman and 42% were under 25 years old.

Which brings me to Public Enemies, the highest grossing R rated gangster movie of all time. There are some that say it sucked and Columbus never should have allowed it to film here.  I say anything that puts Columbus on the map is not a bad thing and it did gross 214 million world wide. The sad part is Columbus totally dropped the ball in marketing itself. Lost opportunity.  Anyone that says Public Enemies was a waste is clueless on how the world actually works.


Gas prices. Seems all that money we are saving by low gas prices is going into buying more gas or into the bank. Personal savings is up 4.9% and gas sales has jumped 4.3%.


Looks like the DOT is starting to make plans to completely resurface Farnham (Highway 89) in town. This is in the DOT pipeline for 2021. Of course with Wisconsin's budget in shambles and road projects being canceled with lack of money . . who knows.


I think I mentioned this site before Graph TV.  It takes IMDb ratings and puts every episode on a chart.

Justified one of my favorite shows staring Timothy Olyphant is in it's last season is a fantastic show.

Person of Interest on Network keeps getting better.

for giggles I tried All My Children . . . . I froze it up!

Have a great day.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Model Horse Show and the real Lord Carnarvon (Downton Abby)

Went to the Columbus Sleigh Rally Saturday (which was mentioned on CH27 this morning) and was pleasantly surprised to see more then 1 person in the -15 wind chill. Actually about 40 braving the cold for sleigh rides. Columbus is a hardy bunch . . .or just crazy.

But then I went into the pavilion and wow - lots of people were attending and participating the Model Horse Show and to be honest I had never known there was such a thing as a model horse show.  

The pavilion was looking great and the new heaters were pumping out tons of warm air. Well done HLPC. 

But model horses?  Tens of thousands of dollars of model horses.  WHO KNEW!  If each horse was worth about $100 and each table had 30 to 40 for a competition.  YIKES

Not unlike model train shows I suppose and all the other "model" shows. They were all judged on different things with judges looking at every detail of every horse.  From correct color to correct saddles and riding technique and all sort of things I have no clue of.  Sort of surreal.

As I said earlier the pavilion is becoming the jewel of Columbus and was looking great. Nice to see that it's being taken care of and someday will be ADA accessible.

Brew Day - Brewing an English IPA today for a competition.  Many people do not know that the entire set of beer styles has changed.  There is no longer a style called Octoberfest.  Octoberfest is a celebration that features two kinds of beer, a Marzen and a Festbier.  There are 6 more IPAs. No Scottish 60 or Scottish 70 (Scottish Light). No more Brown Porters. The whole beer world has been turned upside down.  

I read this morning that the company I decorated their offices with my art happens to be the most successful company in the world. I think I didn't charge enough!  If I would have invested $1 in 1968 it would be worth $6,638 today!  And annual return of 20.6% for 46 years and actually gaining momentum. What do they produce? Cigarettes. Even though cigarette smoking has been on the decline since 1981 Altera stock is up 268% in the last 6 years.

Why does this stock keep going up?  Because people hate it which is great for stock holders. The less people owning the stock the more a stockholder gets in dividends. Unlike Apple which everyone loves.  Apple has to keep spending money to invent new things  - what has actually changed in cigarettes in the last 40 years. Pure profits and it's not too late to jump in.

Note - my dad died of lung cancer from smoking - it's a truly truly horrific way to die.

Things I learned over the weekend.

In order to order postcards I need to convert my RGB images into a CMYK image and I need the GRACoL 2006 profile and have to use the Convert to Profile with absolute Colormetric as the Intent using dither.  YEA - made no sense to me either.

BUT - it looks great once I figured it out.

Watched Season #1 Episode #1 of Saturday Night Live (Called NBC Saturday Night at the time).  It was pretty horrible for the most part. I'm sure 40 years ago it was hilarious.


Of course we all watched the NBA All Star game right?   I didn't either, but there were 133 3-point shots taken.   

On this day in 1923 archaeologist opened the tomb of King Tut and those archaeologist included the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon who's home was Highclair castle from Downton Abby. Lord Carnarvon  died 5 months later from a mosquito bite infection. The lights went out in Cairo in honor of his death and there is a story that Earl’s pet terrier howled and dropped dead at that very moment.


Friday, February 13, 2015

drug testing welfare recipients has negative expectations

HA!   Funny how "news" changes.  That whole wristband thing. Nate Silvers website quoting from Mother Jones website quoting from Journal of the American Medical Association.

I suppose I will need to take a 6 month hiatus now!

The take on the article is basically your smartphone does a better job then a wrist band (from an article in Eureka Alert - The Global Source for Science News). Smart Phones had a range of 6.2% to 6.7% difference while wristbands were 1.5% to 22.7% difference.  HOWEVER - who has their smartphone permanently attached to their body 24 hours a day.

There was a question on Facebook asking where people could sled in Columbus.  Well, if you are in the Boston area you could use your own house. But might as well wait for better conditions as they are expecting another 12-15 inches of snow this weekend in a new blizzard.

Did you know there has not been one homicide in NYC since February 1st?  Weird.  Have to rework all the cop shows to tracking down parking ticket offenders.


Our Governor has been looking at drug testing welfare recipients.  This has been done in 3 States with terrible results and a waste of time and money.  Tennessee just had there go at it.  Of the 16,000 people tested it was found that 0.23% were flagged, 37 people.  HOWEVER, many opted NOT to be tested because . . well . . .they knew.  So the total number zooms to 0.73%.

In Florida 2.6% were flagged, mostly for marijuana (a legal substance in some states). For Florida the whole test, not including payroll and time lost from other duties but including not having to pay the flagged people , cost the state $45,000.

One last thing - Seems Walker is getting laughed at by the European Press for having a question and answer session and then not actually answering anything.  They are wondering "Why did he come here to talk about cheese?".  And at the moment he and Jeb Bush are the front runners!  sigh.


I tell ya - the marketing for Fifty Shades has been science.  This will gross more then the predicted $60 mil in the 1st 4 days! I have no plans to see the movie in the theater, but if any of you want to see a movie on sort of the same subject check out a flik staring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal called "Secretary".
Before FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, there was SECRETARY. James Spader leads this sexy and daring comedy as the original Mr. Grey, a seemingly normal lawyer whose relationship with his new secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal) descends into a kinky affair that would give nightmares to any human resource director.
Speaking of $60 mil but $58 mil less. There has been concerns about the Columbus tax rate with the proposed $2 million bonding. Actually our tax rate  which is attributed to THIS bonding will go up by one penny in 2016  and then decrease 2 cents in 2017 and 6 more cents in 2018.


I've been working on the coming art fair season and getting things in order (raising prices).  If you want to subscribe to my newsletter below is a link . . . just sayin'.

Monthly Newsletter


Iggy is concerning me - he is starting to imitate me.

And a couple days ago. . . . . . . I think I need to unplug him.

have a great weekend

Thursday, February 12, 2015


brrrrrrrrr - Just a word of warning if you are out and about Saturday!  The high temperature Saturday will be midnight Friday. The temp at noon will be 5 degrees with a steady 25 MPH wind with wind chills in the -17 area and then going down.

just sayin

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a report that FitBits, FueldBands, and other wearable fitness trackers are pretty inaccurate and on average are 22% off on the number of steps you take.  In fact they report that smartphones are much more accurate.  Wristbands are 22% inaccurate smartphones were 6% inaccurate.

BUT, smartphones are harder to carry.  Seems the benefits of wrist bands are more of a placebo effect which is not a bad thing. anything you can do to be healthier is always a bonus. As JAMA contends you know how how much exercise you are doing anyway.

Fritz Cline as Lincoln

Which reminds me of a new device I believe a company in Japan has invented.  A happiness meter. This devise using all sorts of data gives you a number to tell you how happy you are.  This is useful for people that are so out of touch with their emotions they need a number so they know when they are happy.


Seems our School Supt came in second in his bid to move to Ferguson. They picked the other Davis.


Happy Birthday Abe.

If you remember your schoolin Abe was the 16th President of the United States.

if you want a real treat for your family visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield ILL.  It is really an amazing place - not like any museum you have ever been to before.

Worth every penny.


OK - I'm bored!  Movin on!



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hide your children.

Welcome Mr. and Mrs. Arctic Blast 

Starting about 2AM Saturday the wind chill will drop below zero and won't return to 0 until Sunday evening.  Saturday should be in the -15 to -20+ all day and be in the -30s Sunday morning!  WOW!!  Welcome winter.   say good by the 30 degrees for the next 10 days at LEAST as we have two artic blasts coming our way!


WHO KNEW - well obviously I didn't.  Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades) is the daughter of Melanie Griffith who is the daughter of Tippy Hedren (The Birds).  Tippy's film debut was in The Birds and she went on to be in over 80 films and TV roles.

She also founded the Shambala Preserve an animal sanctuary for endangered exotic big cats such as African lions, Siberian tigers and Bengal tigers, leopards, servals, mountain lions, bobcats, plus a lynx, a Florida panther, and a liger that have been abandoned by circuses.

I have abslolutly zero love for the animal cruelty that circuses create. When I went to the circus in Columbus and saw the chained elephant in obvious distress I was horrified and sad and their explanation was total BS. Don't get me started!

OH - the board members include Loni Anderson, Antonio Banderas, Ed Begley, Jr., Bo Derek, Melanie Griffith, Ken Howard and Linda Howard, and Betty White. Why can't we get those guys on the Columbus Room Tax committee!!!


I'm kicking around the idea of putting these four images on my canopy walls this summer for art fairs as a quadtych (an image containing four pictures or a series of four pictures that are bound together in some way).  It would take up one entire top row of one wall for one display.  hmmmmmm

I sort of had everything all planned out but now . . . . the colors would draw people into the canopy.

Sadly I ordered a large 16x48 pano of the same image Friday  grrrrrrrr   hmmmmmm  I like this so much better as four separate images.  Well, food for thought. Sorry, thinking out loud.

OK - I just saw the SI Swimsuit cover and I can see a WHOLE LOT of people getting upset!!  Holy mackerel hide your children. yikes!  I can't even look at that at work without getting into trouble. I have to calm down . . . Madonna Madonna Madonna - OK whew!  


Credit cards are changing and you will no longer be swiping your card across a magnetic reader but dipping your card instead.  Europe has been dipping for a while now as they have an EMV chip, a small silver- or gold-colored square on the front of  newly issued cards. Those will have all the information you need and are much safer.

OH - Anthem the insurance company that 80 million people were "hacked"?  Well, is it hacking if the info was never encrypted in the first place? Yea - seems the fed does not force insurance companies to encrypt a lot of information because it would be too expensive.  sigh!!!


Speaking of borrowing 2 million dollars!  I would not be surprised if interest rates for bonds went even lower!  Look at this chart

WOW - does anybody remember when mortgage rates for a house were 16%?  Who could buy a house at 16%!!!   I'm looking into refinancing at 3.6% (currently 4.63%).

As one source said  "The prevailing low yield situation allows very affordable financing of long-term public sector investments, such as infrastructure projects."    NOTE - "infrastructure".

And it the article goes on  "Unfortunately very few governments appear willing to borrow to invest even with interest rates falling into negative territory." Well, the Columbus government is!   


New comedy on TV called "Fresh Off the Boat" - actually has some funny moments!  We like it and will record it.  Based in 1995 about an Taiwanese family as they make their way from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida to open up a steak restaurant.  Funny things like when a cousin boots up his internet computer and they stand there for 5 minutes listening to dial-up.


One last photo - IGGY has been watching me way way too much.

nuff said.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The ruins were ruined

It all worked out as planned.  Sunday morning the forecast was for clearing around sunset on Monday so I took off to Lake Mills about 4:30 to take some photos of Icehenge.

When I got there I could see no lines of traffic like I had on Saturday and then . . . .there it was . . .WHAT?  it was just a pile of broken ice.  But as I looked from above there was something laying on the ground.

I got my equipment and took a step onto the now hard packed snow.  Lesson number one, need better soles on my boots . . .or just different boots as every step I took was an adventure.

As I got closer was the thing laying on the ground someone mourning?  Was the thing trapped under fallen ice?   Was it a walrus?

Kristen Westlake
  NO - it was Kristen Westlake who has 1,037 followers on Facebook (how does she do that, I am so totally jealous)  who after talking to her was there to shoot star trails with Icehenge in the foreground.

We talked a bit and then the creator spoke to us in a low booming voice.

Wait - who did you think I was talking about?  NO NO NO it was Kevin Lehner who with his friends created Icehenge.

Seems this was the 2nd year they had done this but this year because of the power of one photograph it went world wide.  As I said Saturday there were a hundred people scampering around it and Kevin and friends did not want this to end badly with 4 hundred plus pounds of ice balanced on ice falling. So Sunday they knocked it down.

So here we were looking for SOMETHING to take photos of.  Got all my equipment, got a sunset, got ice, mix it all together and you get

Have a great day! 


Monday, February 9, 2015

Fifty Shades

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Jim Ballweg. I did not know him but being on the Water and Light Commission I know he was loved and will be missed.

A Mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at ST. JEROME CATHOLIC CHURCH, Columbus. Rev. Ronald Rank will officiate. Inurnment will be in St. Jerome Cemetery, Columbus. Visitation will be from 5:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. on Monday at the Jensen funeral home and from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. at the church on Tuesday. Memorials may be directed to the Columbus High School Athletic Boosters. In lieu of sending flowers please make a donation.

I am unsure what "Inurnment" actually means. 


Peripheral #1

Watched the Grammy's last night and I swear there has been a change in the last 5 years.  For a while I hated the award show because it seemed it was 90% Hip Hop.  NOT that there is anything wrong with Hip Hop but . . . . you know!  

The music was pretty darn good until Kanye got on stage with his over modulated computer voice and then Madonna.  A women on facebook commented "well, she is 56 years old" which to me was a slap in the face to 56 year old's and obviously the person who said that was NOT 56 . . . but it was rough seeing an elderly woman on shaky legs "prance" around stage.  Taken by herself she would have been fine but after seeing the 20 and 30 year old's prance around stage  . . .well . . .. you know.

And Sam Smith?? . . . Honestly, the first time I heard his hit song I thought it was a rehash of an oldie, not NEW!!! That is a new song?

And of course there was Kanye trying to get attention by saying Beck should give his Grammy to Beyonce because Beck is not an actual artist.  As one commenter said "I don't understand how a society that puts down rabid dogs for the safety and well being of others manages to let this guy roam around in public, speak, and have babies."

Speaking to the choir!!!

Then there is a movie coming out this week "Fifty Shade Of Gray" an entry level soft porn BDSM book made into a movie.  Not that I'm against the book or anything.

I call "Fifty Shade Of Gray" the Spotted Cow of BDSM. If harlequin romance novels are the Miller Lite and Budweiser of "sexy" romance then "Fifty Shades" is a Spotted Cow, sort of a gateway book to real craft beer such as "The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy" by A.N. Roquelaure (also known as Anne Rice).

The "The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy" (can also be found in Target with The Story of "O" which totally blows my mind) is full bore BDSM, the high alcohol high hops beer Ale Asylum* puts out.

ANYWAY - the movie is coming out and you can by tickets in advance.  Many many theaters have already sold out the first showing but what I'm getting at is this. . .

Guess what states are selling the most advance tickets.  Arkansas and Mississippi with Tennessee right behind.  In fact "Fifty" is the fasted selling R-Rated movie of all time.

The book has sold over 100 million copies and has been translated in 50 languages!  Sex sells and in sexually backward America where actual sex has been demonized and frowned upon,  this is a surprising development.  (I have not actually read the above book).

 Ale Asylum* - tried their two new brews this weekend.  Velveteen Habit is a Citra/Cascade hopped IPa and I believe it is the best beer they have ever made.  HuMMMane is a India Brown and is delicious, not as robust as Dogfish Head's India Brown, a little tamer but wonderful.

I just have to show you this - a new penthouse opened in New York.  The bedroom has a nice view.

So does the living room


You think America has it bad for getting interest on money? The European Central Bank just cut it's rates to -0.20.  MINUS!!


WOW - has Wisconsin been lucky.  All of these snow storms have zoomed by north or zoomed by south all on their way to Boston who in the last 3 weeks has had 5 FEET of snow.  For the 3rd straight Monday they are getting hammered with about 12-18 inches of snow.  Sucks to be them.


Last Fridays job report was once again great. But what set this one apart was the revised estimates from previous months. November went from being a GREAT month to near historic with 423,000 jobs in one month.  But the real nice thing has been how steady the job climb as been.

But then there is wages which have been lagging.  Easy answer.  With so many people getting hired there is no need to raise wages. Wage growth always lags behind.  Unemployment ticked up but that is actually not a bad thing because it's because more people have begun to look for work.

Wisconsin ranks 34 in job growth and last in the Midwest even behind ILL.

In the 8 years under Jim Doyle Wisconsin averaged 29.5 in the country for job growth.  In the 4 years of Walker, Wisconsin averages 37.0.

If looking only at the Midwest, under 8 years of Doyle, Wisconsin's average rank was 2.75 out of 7. The four years of Walker 6.75 out of 7.   just sayin'


I'm still trying to get good photos of the Icehenge in Lake Mills but it's a tough one. There is no contrast between the snow and ice and lots of people.  My plan is a sunset shot and I'll put on a special black glass lens on my camera.  This will eliminate the humans in the photo because it will be an extreme long exposure.  Humans reflect light and with a long exposure if that human moves the light can blend in with the landscape and anything that moves vanishes.  BUT - I need to have the sun in my eyes which is always a problem.

Fire Tree
 But not one I have not dealt with before.   This was actually 12 images on a tripod between Waterloo and Columbus.

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 5, 2015


So before yesterdays blog turned into an embarrassing pissing match with passive insults that somehow digressed into a one sided conversation of the evils of Enerpac (and I say all that with a smile). I was trying to explain that while many people have a passion for infrastructure in the name of roads,  I have a passion for infrastructure in the name of services such as Fire Department and Libraries.

And while I 100% agree that roads need to be an important part of infrastructure fixing I, personally, would have preferred to have a greater emphasis on positioning ourselves for future bonding for a Fire Station.  I want to stop talking and start doing. It always seems to be in the future. While some say we have ignored the roads, I say we have ignored the Fire Department much longer.  

I FEAR I came across aggressive and for that I apologize to anyone that took it that way (come on you know how I get)  but it was only my passion showing through.  All I MEANT to say was that I would have been more conservative on borrowing knowing that we have another round of borrowing coming up with James Street Reconstruction and knowing that we need major borrowing for a Fire Station and a Library. 

I was NOT saying we need to ignore streets. 

You see when we talk about a new Fire Station it's not just a box that holds trucks. It's the people that put their lives on the line for us and must work in a tinker toy size department.  Volunteers Firefighters make an embarrassingly small amount of money for what they do. They love Columbus so much they risk their lives for us and they deserve a much bigger and safer department.  

In the last few days volunteers have responded to things no human should have to see that has left a few of them vomiting in front yards.  We can't reward them with pay but they deserve a better place to work. 

That is why I let my passion take control of my keyboard.  I feel it's time to stop talking about it and we need to start planning on ways for major bonding in the future.  My PERSONAL opinion was that just because we COULD borrow a lot of money cheap does not mean we SHOULD borrow a lot of money cheap.  

Fix the roads, keep moving forward but I feel there are too many eggs in one basket. That's all. No big deal. Just my opinion.  The difference in opinion was only $400,000 anyway.


With that out of the way

I took this standing on the newly shoveled F&M Bank sidewalk. Not sure who the people that were shoveling were but high five to the F&M Bank.

Click to enlarge
    And this was a little down the block.


One more thing - it seems Columbus has an image problem and people like to talk about how we are an empty dying town with business closing left and right.  True, the Cardinal Ale House closed (the city has absolutely zero money in that property) but there are so many good things happening.

Motoclassico will open soon on James Street, the Governor Lewis Mansion which has been mostly empty for years will soon become a bonafide business/tourist attraction bringing more people to town, Napolis opened again, The Firemans Tap I believe was purchased, the pavilion, thanks to Mike Thom and HLPC will become ADA accessible, the current Columbus water tower will have a beautiful new look for the first time since 45 years, James Street and the downtown will have a new beautiful streetscape, I guess I have to mention a new grocery store and Anytime Fitness is opening in spring and  need I mention 151/73 hospital interchange being fixed this year plus a few million in road work in the next few years. The Hospital is adding a huge huge addition and throw in homes are being built all over the place.

It's not like Columbus is stagnant.  This train s starting to roll let's not take our foot off the peddle.
OK - I'm worn out trying to be politically correct. Have a great Thursday.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I deleted todays blog as the thought police did not like it!

I'm not going to sit here and bicker all day. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cardinal Ale House closed

The biggest news is The Cardinal Ale House closing yesterday until further notice. Didn't pay their bills it sounds like and lots of wedding receptions and party's are in limbo and I doubt they will get their money back.

Well, they only had two ales anyway.  Should have been Cardinal Lager House.  But nevertheless it's a sad state of affairs. Maybe Doc will open up the bowling alley above The Capri like the good ol' days.   


More snow today - a long slow little storm.  Maybe starting about 1:00 and lasting to tomorrow mid morning - 1-3 inches. 


Jimmy the Ground Hog bit the Mayor of Sun Prairies ear.  Don't blame Jimmy.  I'm pretty sure the ear looked pretty tasty. I think the person holding the rodent NEXT to his ear needs a background check. 

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed on this day in 1959. Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit "American Pie,".  I remember that song VERY well because I was on the tennis team in high school and ran the hallways after school and our coach played that song 12 FREAKING times in a row.


The Wisconsin gas tax is 30.9 cents a gallon more then some states less then many and has not changed since 2006. In 2002 it was 28.1 cents.   It is the single largest revenue for the DOT which will have a  $6.8 billion  funding shortfall over the next 10 years.

The problem is America is using much less gas then 10 years ago as car get better and better gas mileage. Combined with inflation and so forth the tax money we WERE getting is not enough for the Wisconsin infrastructure.  Look at the 151/73 exit by the hospital. That is state road, not Columbus.

So our governor decided that instead of taxing the people that actually USE the roads he will cut funding to other things like health care and schools.  OH - don't get me wrong, I don't WANT to pay more at the pump but I would like bridges to not collapse and roads to be fixed. I kicked up a piece of cement on 151 last summer, blew my back left tire.  GREAT ROAD YOU GOT THERE!!

It's a common problem. People want things but, they don't want to PAY for them. We want smooth roads but we don't want to pay for them.


OH - the woman who wrote me that kind email. Well, I have not gotten an apology but it sounds that email was AFTER she had calmed down a little,  WHEW!!!

Have a wonderful day.    

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jimmy the Stick Day, Anger

WOW - first of all where did all that snow come from! 7.1 total inches although it was hard to measure with the blowing.  During the peak we had a constant 18mph wind with gusts to 33.  At least we are not Chicago which had 16 inches.

I think the backlash from the "fail in NYC" had forecasters gun shy about raising their forecast.  More snow coming tomorrow, somewhere between 1 and 8 inches (playing it safe)!

And of course it's Jimmy the Stick Day Year 19.

Can you believe I have had this stick for 19 years now?


2009 - could not find him

He has been to Las Vegas (I forgot he was in the trunk) and almost held by the Air National Guard in 2003 (National Security problems stopped that one).

BUT - here we are 2015 and it's Jimmy the Stick Day  - The story behind Jimmy started 19 years ago when a colleague of mine and I were talking about just how aware a Ground Hog actually was when it came to shadows. We thought perhaps we should test this on a stick and what we found was a stick was as aware IF NOT MORE of it's shadow then a large rodent.

So - a tradition started. Unlike the large rodent this is the same stick for 19 straight years, although he has gotten a little brittle and has a few missing limbs.

This year Jimmy saw it's shadow which is good because a Canadian research team looked at 40 years of 13 cities and Jimmy was 37% accurate.  According to Stormfax Weather Almanac Punxsutawney Phil is 39% accurate dating to 1887. The National Climatic Data Center says "the groundhog has shown no talent for predicting the arrival of spring, especially in recent years."


For more on the Ground Hog and it's roots in the The Roman Legions visit your local library.


Talk about a karma Playoff system in the NFL. Every game in the NFC was  karma. The Lions were karmatized by the Cowboys.  The Cowboys were karmatized by the Packers,  The Packers were karmatized by Seattle and Seattle was karmatized by the Patriots.  Therefore the Lions should have been in the Superbowl (Sorry - lack of coffee made me say that).

Then there is anger.  Seems a few players on Seattle lost control at the end of the game.  I don't condone the fisticuffs but totally understand.

I was fuming after the Packer loss and had to lash out. When a Facebook friend waved his virtual finger in my face laughing I lashed out at his disregard to my feelings.  Yet when the game ended tragically for Seattle, I was elated even though I wanted the Seahawks to win.  I really wanted one of those teams to lose tragically, to feel my pain.  

I know how I felt but can you imagine how a player feels when he has been literally beating up the players on the other team for 3 hours and then have your heart ripped out at the very end.  No, you can not imagine, not even close.

So when they lash out - I totally get it.  Plus , what can they actually do to each other anyway.

But speaking of lashing out I received a personal message yesterday and while I don't condone it I understand.  This is why I get paid $1 a hour as a public servant.

 Hope you're happy, you fucking piece of shit. I learned my lesson when my car got towed this morning and I had to walk in the snow from my apartment on James Street down to Frank Porth Towing to get my car. I learned my lesson all right. I'M LEAVING YOUR PIECE OF FUCK CITY. AND I'M NOT SPENDING ONE MORE DIME HERE BEFORE I DO, EITHER. NICE ACCOUNTABILITY, BY THE WAY, "PUBLIC SERVANT," HAVING A FACEBOOK PAGE NO ONE CAN WRITE ON. HAVE FUN WITH YOUR DYING TOWN AND YOUR SHITTY, OVERLY-PROCESSED PICTURES. CHILL WITH THE HDR ALL RIGHT ALL READY.


I won't go into the parking on the street part but there are a few other things -  In order to post on my personal facebook page you have to ask to be a "friend". I have never turned a "friend" request down so if she wanted to vent she should have ask to be a friend first.

I don't have a Aldermen Melotte page because then I have to pretend to be politically correct and change my personality which would make me a politician. If I ever see myself becoming a politician I will quit being a politician.

As for "dying town" - I think it is quite the opposite actually, not that I want to argue.

Shitty overly-processed pictures?  hmmmm  Some could be but that is a matter of opinion.

Shitty overly processed snow image
    But again - I would like to believe she was lashing out (maybe not, I don't know).


There is a mini series on The History Channel called Sons of Liberty. A historical fictional account of the American Revolution. I am really geeking out lately on the American Revolution and find it fascinating.  I forgot about John Hancock and his . . . .oddness as a business man.  Definitely a so called 1%er of their time.

BTW - this whole anti-1%ers is so stupid. 1% is $340,000 a year.  I think it's 0.1% that you want to be pissed at.  I know a few 1%ers and they buy things and spend money and trickle down all the time.

AND - I watched FURY.  Well, entertaining up to a point a platoon of German SS were played by The Keystone Cops.  Totally unbelievable ending.  Good lord.

OK - I gotta get more gas for my blower.   Have a great day.