Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Where is summer!

Somehow THIS location totally missed the 100% chance of rain last night.  Beaver Dam had 0.85 inches. I'll be interested to see what the guys at Waste Water had as they submit their total to NOAA also.

For us!  High in the low 70s today and tomorrow and getting to barely low 80s on Saturday and Sunday and hovering around 80 after that.  Next rain MAYBE Monday but only a small chance at the moment.


Work has begun in earnest on the water tower. In case you are interested in how much a new tower would cost if you wanted one in your back yard for the coming apocalypse the new one in Beaver Dam is a mere $1.1 million.  

"We" decided to slightly rotate the "Discover Columbus" logo on the tower so it will be visible from Firemans Park and from 151 as you drive past.  The inside of the tower will be sand blasted and the outside power washed before the paint job. 


Ruins near Spring Green.

This bird blows my mind!!! Seriously! The Lyre Bird


But wait!!

This will freak you out!!!


I saw some graphs about how many news articles there are compared to how many Google searches there have been for each GOP candidate.  Frankly, no one cares about Walker compared to how many news articles there have been in America.  It's all about Jeb.   It's going to be Bush vs. Clinton next year!

OK - a certain DPW guy took all my time - gotta run!    I have a great idea for a 4th of July photo that I'm negotiating access to a secret undisclosed location with.

See ya!   

Monday, June 29, 2015

Spring Green, Ruins

WOW - that week is over.  I spent most of last week preparing for the 2 day Spring Green Art Fair that had 260 artists and 100,000 people attending.  I also had the Thursday 18 holes followed by an afternoon game in Milwaukee to contend with and a number of other things that used up any free time I had. NOW - I can relax for a few days.  WHEW

The art fair, my biggest one yet was . . .not really a disappointment but I didn't make 50 times what I normally do even though there were 50 times the amount of people attending. I made more then normal but it was two days and it's really hard to tell.  My stuff normally needs people to look at it 3 or 4 times, think about it, justify it and come back in a month to see me at the NEXT art fair. So - I will see in a month how it went.

I wear them down! 

We shall see. Heck I still get sales from Arts and Ales in Columbus from last year. I never know if I should include future sales on past fairs or what!  

The GOOD news is that THIS did not happen. 

A friend of mine in Michigan had a 3 day fair in which Saturday they closed the fair do to weather and destruction.

20 canopies were completely destroyed.  Even a number of Trimline canopies were destroyed and those (like what I have) are pretty darn solid. 

That is my friend Karl's canopy still standing. The trimline next to him, brand new and $3000 will need some work.  Karl had 400 pounds of weights attached.

The interesting news was right across from me was an organization called Wisconsin Urban Wood. They take trees that are cut down when roads are being build (like James Street coming up) and reuses that wood.  

The street I was on that I THOUGHT would have wonderful shade had many trees cut and reused. Sadly Saturday I was on brand new black top with zero wind and zero clouds.  HOT!!!  

One thing I learned was that the DOT will cut the trees, HOWEVER - the city is responsible for disposing the trees at the city's cost. Not sure how that will work in Columbus. BUT - Urban Wood is looking for more wood and they said contact them when the time comes. 

On a side note I made a contact to get into EAA before it opens for aircraft shots so I have some early mornings coming up. 

Another interesting thing was a new item I tested was a complete success  5x15 matted prints went like hot cakes.

What sold blew my mind.  More males purchased then females.  Typically females of a household make art purchases, but not this time. 

Could have had something like this in the back of the booth drew the males in.  I put these in the back to get them all the way in.  (tee hee). Then when they could not afford the price they purchased the 5x15 prints.

Another interesting thing was this image=, even though I have never printed it but had it on the back of a post card had interest. 

Sunday was rain and storms but we spent 3 days with no cell phone service or internet.  Spring Green is a black hole for AT&T and being a weather geek, spending 2 full days outside with approaching storms and my iPhone being pretty much nothing but a paper weight was driving me nuts. 

I had to use my inherent Indian knowledge to tell when it was raining. 

On the way home we stopped at some ruins and I snapped about 30 photos of something. Not a clue to the story behind this but . . . but you will see more of this this week. It's the only image I have really looked at so far. 

So - I put in orders and clean things up. Wet canopy needs drying. 


Watertower - notice they have begun work on the tower which SHOULD effectively kill all the plants Elwood and I have planted with a tarp that will cover the rocks and allow zero sunlight to reach our babies.  sigh! I hope it kills weeds also.  

see ya! 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Death's and forums

Death #1 - It was sad to hear Darryl Hamilton died in a murder suicide.  I liked him in the 7 years he played as a Milwaukee Brewer and the 29 games he broadcast last year for the Brew Crew.  Easy access to a guns . . . . . I'm not anti gun but in 2010 there were 19,392 gun related suicides and I have to think that when someone purchased a gun that was not the reason.  It just happened and easy to get at when angry.     

Death #2 was the one that made our household sad.  A bird!  We have a really nice bird house on our front porch and a family of swallows were renting it from us this year (free).  While mama was sitting on eggs the father stood guard on my rain gauge(pooping in it) and he was such a good father.  He tended to his family all day and when the babies were hatched he worked diligently bringing food.

Yesterday I went out to the rain gauge to see how much rain storm #1 gave us (0.74 inches)  and he was dead inside the gauge.   OMG!!!  Somehow he fell in and since he could not spread his wings he was trapped and died.  I felt horrible. It was so sad.  I had lots of photos of him and we were used to each other.  I feel so bad.


Action by the water tower.  They are mobilizing to start work on the water tower paint job. Inside and outside.  Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday and it will be a 7 day a week job until finished.  Maybe they can water the Russian Stonecrop sedum.  Now that we have identified the sedum we can see what we did wrong - which was . . . . making it too hard for ourselves. 

The instructions from the pro - snip off a clipping and stick it in the ground!  We tried to take the root ball and replant.  Our clippings are doing great - root balls not so much.  So the plan is every few weeks add 5-10 more clippings.

I found the answer on a sedum forum.  There are forums for pretty much everything.   I got an email notification last week from a forum I had forgotten about which was talking about Japanese Beetles.  Has anyone come across and grubs this year?  I have not seen one.  But all of a sudden people in Arizona are pleading for help.  My forum posts on these hateful bugs was from 2010.    


Many or our community leaders had war games last night with a train/oil car spillage.  I'm not sure who won, the oil or Columbus but at least they went through scenarios and hopefully, unlike my "use of force" training no one was shot.  I saw the Chief in some photos but he was not wearing the "use of force" gear so I think things were calmer . . . UNLESS Officer Schultz was covered in oil and we had to put him down for some reason. The Mayor was there so . . . . . .


Did you know there is an ordinance in New York that says you can not parachute off a building?  I think we need to discuss this in Columbus.

Did you see the guy on FOX almost kill a guy on live TV when he threw an ax at a target, missed it by a LOT and hit a drummer.  HOLY CRAP!!




The $10 bill is one of the least used bills people use and is only behind the $50 bill.  The $100 is used MUCH more.  Right now can you tell me who is on the $10 bill?

Alexander Hamilton, the creator of the American financial system.  WHY would they take his image off when they could take off Andre Jackson the guy that passed the Indian Removal Act. The guy that invented The Trail of Tears.  Good Lord!

Nuff said.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Storm Kings

First a correction - we don't have a choice for a 35 gallon garbage container.  Or even a choice  for a 65 at the moment.  AT THE MOMENT - 95 or nothing.  I would vote for nothing over two 95 gallon bins!  I say it's OUR call or we can look elsewhere!   Thanks for the phone calls and emails about this.  I agree, we don't need two 95s.

Did you know that 15% of recycling material is cardboard boxes?  I have so much I can't get rid of it.  I have crap sitting beside my house with nowhere to put it.  I think the city is reaching a crisis in large garbage pickup items.  No where to go with it.


STORMS!  As I said yesterday on Facebook the storms are coming and the bow echo is forming - as predicted. 

Nice bow echo forming
This will become a DERECHO -  a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can cause hurricane force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods.  No tornadoes in round one this morning.

The only real question is this afternoon.  Where will the redevelopment take place and this afternoon is when the tornadoes could happen with a crap load of spinning going on.  Once the Derecho blows by how fast does the atmosphere recover and start to heat up the earth again. If we get sunshine hold on for later BIG twirly storms forming between 4 and 7 . . . somewhere.  There is a ton of moisture in the air with dew points raising all day into the low 70s.  It's going to get REALLY sticky.  A butterfly might flap his wings and BAM!!!!

I have my weather station updating every minute today  KWICOLUM2


Here is a car you don't see everyday in Columbus!

I wonder if it can pull a trailer . . .FAST


Saturday night I took Elwood home and got back to Columbus about 11:30PM.  Took a shower and with wet hair did not want to go to bed so I cruised my computer files looking for a photo to work on with some new knowledge I wanted to play with.

Found some files from Door County and a late night creation.


We looked at the water tower and think it will do fine.  Lesson learned.  When replanting sedum - DON'T take the roots.  Just cut off some sprigs, take a few leaves off and plant. The area where the leaves are ripped off become roots.  So we are watering and nursing the rooted plants as the cuttings are doing fine.  All is well.  A small set back but confidence is high.

Back patio seems to be doing well except some cone flowers that the rabbits liked!


I took this shot on State Street a few weeks ago right across from Noodles.


I was thinking this weekend about why it's taking me so long to finished a few books I'm reading.  Then I realize I have four books going all at once and plans to start "1776" when the library gets it.  No wonder I'm so slow.

The one fascinating book is called Storm Kings and it's about the early tornado chasers.

In the 1750s Ben Franklin predicted there would be a HUGE settler vs. American Indian war but then the Revolutionary War happened.  After that ended people started moving west across the mountains and into the heavy heavy forests - but wait.  There were no Indians.  They had already had their war and lost to smallpox, measles, yellow fever and it wiped out 90% of the American Indians with entire nations  . . .GONE.  White Man Wins!

What they found was untouched wilderness but there was something very very odd and unexplained.

Settlers would come across wide paths of twisted trees with canopies completely gone.  They were called windroads in the 1790s and there was no explanation.  There are no tornadoes in Europe and the east coast does not have them.

There were no witnesses on what made these giant swaths of devastation.

Then - on June 5th 1805 one of the largest tornadoes, the first one ever witnessed, happened in Southern Illinois.   It was 2 miles wide and was on the ground for over 100 miles leaving devastation in it's path.  In fact it blocked passage through southern Illinois for over 50 years with two miles of twisted rotting trees 30 yards high.

For lack of any other word it was called a hurricane.

Storm King, Americas First Storm Chasers - Lee Sandlin.    


I took this after a severe storm on Rock Lake in Lake Mills. It's the back side of the storm.

Want to figure out your BMI to see if you are over or under weight?

Weight yourself.  They take your height.   Multiple your height in inches by itself.  Then divide that number by your weight.  You will have a number like .03874838367  

Multiple THAT number by 703.

The result is

below 18.05 you are under weight
18.05 to 24.9 is healthy
25 to 29.9 is over weight
30 or more is obsess

Be careful out there today.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Trump and the Zombies!

In other news that passed the first round of voting but have not been finalized.

There was talk in the Council of the Whole about allowing a new ordinance to allow chickens in Columbus.  Four chickens, no roosters, no slaughtering of said chickens and all sorts of regulations to go along with chickens.  They would not be counted as pets and could not be used as a service chicken.  

This passed the first muster and details are being tweaked.  

I have friends in Madison with chickens and the eggs are wonderful.  Very colorful and tasty.


There is also talk about garbage bins. The current plan is to have each household have TWO 95 gallon bins. One for a bi-weekly pickup of recycle materials and one for a weekly pick-up of garbage. 

From my personal experience in Madison a 95 gallon bin for weekly garbage is ridiculous and I do not know of one community in the area that has two 95s.  Windsor balked at this and once they had two 95's there was so much complaining they were forced to have a one time switch out to a smaller 65 gallon bin which takes up less space.  In Madison we had a choice. 

These will be free to each household.  IS that dude standing on the cement things? 


The Police Station might be installing a prescription drug drop in their station where you can toss your old prescription drugs away.  There was some talk of a illegal drug drop box but . . . . . for some reason I can't see this getting a lot of use.  


OK - Donald Trump is running for President.  Here is something weird.  His Facebook page has 1.6 million followers, yet only 42% of those followers are American.  The other 48% come from countries that are the hub of "like farms".  You can BUY friends for as little as $120 a year.  These zombies have accounts and are paid to "like" you. 

I know this because I have 329 "friends" and they are costing me a fortune.  


The US Open is this week and Never has there been a course like this!  It's like playing on a professional Yogi Bear putting green where you can hit a perfect putt and it will end up 120 feet past the hole.  Sort of a Whistling Straits on steroids. 

Each day a hole can be completely different from day to day. Should be exciting.

Nine Springs Golf course in Fitchburg is the first course to have disc golf at the same time.  You can rent a cart and so forth.  $5 a round. 

OJK - gotta run.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I didn't shoot the sheriff - only an officer

The good news is that "we" will only get some clouds from Hurricane Bill and even those will be small - probably Friday. Weather should be great until the dew points start to get pretty sticky on Saturday. good chance of rain Saturday night Sunday morning but for the most part should be excellent weather.


The other good news is that FINALLY a candidate for the Republican party has emerged that will unify the party. Donald Trump has emerged as the bottom leader of the candidates.  In fact since the poll started in 1980 Trump has become the most hated candidate for his own party since Pat Robertson in 1987.   57% of Republicans have a unfavorable view of Trump.

The most loved?  G.W. Bush in 1999.

AAAAARG - WORK - I'm so frustrated.  A section is having a problem with a report (since January 1st it seems) and the person who is in charge of the report has no clue how to fix it and does not know how to debug software (even though she was hired as a programmer).  So since "we" are the IT people we must have the magic answer.  So here I am with a hard copy print-out on a program I know nothing about on a system I only have a vague clue what it does AND I do not have access to the computer it is stored on so I can not "hands on" debug.   ON BELIEVABLE!


NOTE - whatever I say below I am in noway and expert or even up to novice - I'm just spouting off what comes into my head and I will apologize in advance just out of habit. 

Last night (Monday) was something different.  I was invited to take part in a Use of Force training.  Alderman Royan, Mayor Crombie and I attended and while it really did not enlighten me a LOT there were some things I took away that filled in some knowledge holes/questions about lethal use of force by police departments.

It's really to bad more citizens do not take a course  like this as it would for sure answer a lot of questions.  "Why not shoot someone in the leg", "why did you shoot someone who only had a knife", "why shoot someone 6 times" and many other things you would LOVE to ask a police officer after the fact.

The problem is almost like the fog of war in a situation. You really do not know what will happen next and you ALWAYS have to be one step ahead of a problem which you only have split second to digest.

People seem to think that this is the movies, when someone is shot they die when in reality when someone is shot, not much happens immediately.  This is why people get shot multiple times - NOTHING happens, immediately.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The fact that you are forced to shoot someone is a tricky choice. What people do not hear about are all the times when an officer shoots and people are saved.  That news is never really mentioned.

The Police Departments across the nation have been taking it on the chin lately, some deserved and some not.  The untrained eye see's one thing and the officer, right there, making a decision see's something totally different.

For instance, knife is more dangerous then a gun.  Seems weird but after our demonstration I would MUCH rather face a guy with a gun then a knife and I'm glad I did not have too**.  Of course that is only if I had a gun and I was a police officer.  I was held up once and had a gun pointed at my head, I would much rather have had a knife pointed at my head if I'm being held up.

ANYWAY - we strapped on a specialty made Glock 22 loaded with this practice rounds that were like paint balls on steroids. Oh, they had gunpowder and as we found out they leave a pretty BIG welt on skin.  I mean BIG.

We had three practice scenarios we went through all against Officer Matt Schultz who must have picked the short straw as he was going to look like someone who stepped on a Jurassic Park bee hive when we were finished.

The first one was Rick and Kelly had to confront a drunk who was making trouble. All was going well until the drunk pulled a gun out of a bag.

WELL - call me old fashioned but my parents taught me that it is rude to point a gun at someone and downright insulting to actually fire the gun.  But after 3 seconds Rick blasts him.  BAM!

Matt goes down.

We talked it out about what was good, what was bad.   On a side note -  the Columbus Police Department spends more time then most city's in year round training and it reminded me of a show I'm watching called "The Fighting Season" where they follow a platoon in Afghanistan.  Once you are in a combat zone you STILL practice every day.  Same with our department. Just because you went through training once does not mean you stop training.

ANYWAY - the next scenario was Kelly and I had to go to a bar where a despondent drunk would not leave.  WELL - I thought I could talk the guy down  . . . until he pulled a gun.  Kelly, like Cool Hand Luke blasted him saving my life as I was having an issue with my holster release.

I'm not sure this is great training as there are a number of steps and other tools a police officer has at his disposal but the rule is always be one step more aggressive (wrong term but you know what I mean) then the perp and since WE only have one tool, a gun, our options are somewhat limited as this guy could break me like a twig if I tried to take him down (probably not a great idea of an officer anyway).

It was at this point where Officer Schultz pulled up his sweatshirt and showed the marks - HOLY CRAP!!  Seriously?   Those marks will be around for a while!

And we talked it out!

The last scenario Rick and I were investigating a break-in or something and Matt (Officer Schultz) was carrying box.  We spread out and were asking questions when Matt decided it was time to pull his gun like he had a death wish or something.   I saw the gun coming out and like Quick Draw McGraw saved Ricks life with FOUR quick rounds (Officer Schultz just would not go down).

One round hit his wrist which swelled up like an egg.

The thing is that while it is easy to sit in our chairs and talk about what police SHOULD do in that 1/4 second they have to decide "is it worth my life", it's a little harder in reality when dealing with multiple unknowns.  An officer never REALLY knows how things will go down in EVERY contact with a civilian.

I've been critical of our Police Department at times but not any more then I'm critical about pretty much everything but we have to remember that even though police are highly trained you never ever really know how you will react in a situation until it actually happens. We are all human.            


** knife vs. gun - sort of like having Ace King in poker. Some players hate AK because they always lose. For me AK is a great hand.  After the flop you either have a great hand or a bad one.  There is no choice.

If a guy is pointing a gun at you - well, you really have no choice.  If he is waving a knife . . well, then it becomes pretty tricky.  Thus in terms of decision making a gun is an easier choice.

hmmmmmm - that did not really explain it but . . . . of well.

Nuff said on the subject.  I really have no idea if the above made any sense but want to thank the Columbus Police Department for allowing us this opportunity.


The NHL and NBA both have new champions this week.  I think the NHL starts preseason next week and the NBA the week after.

Have a great Wednesday.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weather Forecast - FAIL

Please put some prayers out there for the Columbus Economic Director as he as in a pretty serious car accident this weekend. Broken hand, sternum and a couple of broken ribs but it sounds like it could have been worse.

The City Admin sent a letter to people who sometimes listen and sometimes don't about the problem between Walker and the Republican controlled government.  Seems there is a chance the James Street reconstruction MIGHT be canceled with those two not seeing eye to eye.  Walker wants to bond a few billion dollars for road work while the Republicans say NO, raise taxes and fees. Walker says NO raising taxes EVER. So at the moment all DOT projects are in limbo which totally blows for towns like Columbus that have already spent a lot of time and $$ planning.  GET YOUR FREAKING ACT TOGETHER!!!

If you have seen all the trucks with TERRA on the side, they have been performing the sewer system improvement project to seal and line sewer mains to keep them in good shape.  They were on Avalon last week.  

The new tourism committee met for the first time last week and I'm jumping for joy. From what I heard from several sources it was a very good meeting.

Tonight Departments heads are conducting a mock train/oil accident in Columbus. I will dress up as an oil drenched pelican.  

BTW - have you seen all the pelicans on Breeze Lake outside of Sun Prairie off 151?  must be at least 100.  That lake has a pretty interesting history. It used to be an Indian stopping point on their travels. A whole community like a Yogi Bear campground for traveling American Indians. 


WELL - I knew I was walking a thin line all last week with the weather forecast.   For 10 days I had been watching the weather for Saturday since I had an outdoor art fair and for 10 days Saturday was the island between rain.

It was all looking good and until Friday night when things start to go downhill a little. Once the day came . . . . pretty much an all day drizzle.  Not sure what Columbus was like but it was a little sucky in Madison.

However - with the sparse crowd I actually did pretty well, 12th best out of 31 shows but 22 when you look at the percent of money made compared to how much it cost to get in. And almost last when you count the headache of trying to get out of the place.  Chaos!  Sort of like when you are on a busy street and an ambulance goes past and all the cars are trying to get back in line.  The end of an art fair is always a freaking nightmare.  It seems people that run art fairs don't care once the fair is over but for vendors it's a pretty important time, ESPECIALLY when it's wet.  

While re-ording things last night I came across this shot. It's rather bright and I have never printed it but I don't want to delete it either. 

Had some images of Columbus purchased by some travelers Saturday.  The Columbus Train Station was a nice seller.  People are always asking for trains so I have a large image of this on one wall and some a couple 12x16s of the below image. 

In fact a lot of odd things were purchased.

The good thing about the Hilldale show was that that, is a "classy" part of Madison. YIKES.  Some serious micro mini skirts, $300 jeans and it seems Coach Bags were yesterdays bags?   

Next year I will skip this one and do the Taste of the Arts in Sun Prairie for only $75 and not $150 as Hilldale was.  

Next up - Spring Green, a rare two day show which will be my biggest REAL art fair yet (not the drunken Pumpkin Patch Fest in Egg Harbor).  I have a fantastic location for that one in a shady area - booth 11A. 

Spring Green June 27th & 28th
Lake Mills July 19th
Paoli August 8th
Fitchburg August 15th


Jurassic World eclipsed the GDP of seven countries in the world this weekend.  Came in 2nd for most domestic $$ ever in a weekend almost beating Marvel's Avengers.  Worldwide it made $500+ million which is the best ever.  OH - the professional estimate was $82 million so $204 million was a pleasant surprise.  And from what I have been seeing on Facebook people were nuts over it.  

Another surprise is Melissa McCarthy's SPY which made another 16 million in it's second week and people are saying one of the funniest movies in a long time.  

One movie I was reading about that many people are saying is really good is a " stylish and cerebral thriller".  Ex Machina

I'll wait until it's at RedBox. 


Took this from my patio yesterday - the clematis was blooming.

OH - the water tower sedum is looking pretty poor but it will come back. I've been following it pretty closely and while 80% of the original big plantings look . . . dead there is life coming back.  I don't THINK they were poisoned, just stressed from no water after we planted them.  Who knew succulents needed so much water when newly planted!

NEXT year at this time they will look like this

 have a great Monday! 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Water & Light, Gas and Technology

It seems people believe that new technology will make things cheaper. Well, tell that to my phone bill or my TV bill. Even people that do not have cable are paying more with DVR's and so forth.

Look at your car. Our roads and bridges in America are decaying not because the government does not care but because the car you are driving gets much much better gas mileage then 15 years ago and you are using less gas, plus there are more and more electric cars that use only a tiny amount of gas.

What happens when there are no gas cars, how do roads get paid for then!  At the moment the only way to fund infrastructure is gas tax and people are using less and less gas. The gas tax is the single largest revenue for the DOT and has not been raised since 2006.    

Less gas being used, less roads can be fixed. Yet everybody thinks that raising the gas tax is horrible and then they complain about the roads. 

If you want a smooth road, you have to pay for it. 

Then there is the hub bub across the country with utility companies needing to charge more because more and more people are using solar energy.  People seem to think utilities are lashing back to squash all this tree hugging liberal OH SAVE THE EARTH crap.


Think about this a second. Let's put this is real basic terms.  

You have farm land and you're going to make a city.  First thing you need is energy to run homes right? 

You take out a 30 year bond for 10 million dollars and run electricity to all the homes being built. You charge enough for the electric to pay for the 30 year loan AND you charge a little extra to pay for when people run into power poles and build new factories that need electricity and all the other stuff needed to run the power plant daily and everybody is happy.  You bring in 6% profit and everything is being paid for for what is needed now and what is needed for the future. Like a good business.

BUT - all of a sudden new technology happens. Solar becomes cheap. A family can be off the grid on sunny days. They don't need to buy electricity.  Good for the families as they can save a ton of money and on cloudy days and at night they just click the switch and have electricity.  Add to the fact that LED lights use only a fraction of electricity and the Tesla battery and other money saving things.

BUT, people are still running into power poles, the 30 year loan still has to be paid for and all the other stuff that runs the plant still needs to happen. Your customers still need electricity on demand. The city is still growing and new stuff needs to be purchased but instead of 6% it's only 1% profit because homes are getting "free" electricity.

Yet, if you talk about raising prices to cover your infrastructure costs you are called evil. 

Just like roads, technology is creating a problem because people are finding ways to do things cheaper which is messing with the unseen and unthought about infrastructure.  

Just sayin'. 

That is why I thought it was a good idea for the Columbus Water and Light to look into a solar farm. Have the utility company sell the cheap electricity to the home owner. The home owner would not have to spend the $10,000 for their own infrastructure. Have the utility company have that headache. 

But that is a different though process.


Columbus received 1.52 inches of needed rain in the last 24 hours!  Portage had about 2.5 inches.  The drizzle and showers will diminish through the morning and will stay cloudy.  A protective ridge of high pressure will keep rain to the south of us tomorrow and temps will SLOWLY rise throughout the day with the high happening about 5:00 at 75.  There is still a lot of moisture around for Sunday and another inch of rain is likely. 


Congrats to Hydro Street Brewing for the large piece in the Isthmus this week. 


It's get'r done day for the Art Fair at Hilldale tomorrow.  Load'm up and move'm out!       

Have a great weekend.  


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Significant Rain - Petrichor

Here we go. Dew points have been climbing since 3 this morning as a huge surge of moist air enters Wisconsin.  So far there is no real instability in the atmosphere so no thunder . . .yet.  That will change.

There is a strengthening LOW that is sucking warm moist air for tonight which will be the real rain maker but we can expect 1.5 inches today and another 1.5 inches tonight and we are not the heavy area which is more north of Columbus. 

The motion of the storms do not look like there will be training with storm after storm hitting the same spot which males flash flooding not that likely. Add to the fact that the earth is ripe for water less will run off. 

There is strong directional shear which is wind moving at different directions low to high so hail and damaging winds could happen ad the warm front approaches later tonight.   While this is a crap load of rain it will be a very beneficial rain.  Anybody that golfs knows how hard the ground has been getting needing moisture. 

Rain will likely finish tomorrow morning as the LOW moves quickly out of the area.  It seems to be speeding up it's west east movement. 

Saturday, my art fair day at Hilldale will have a HIGH briefly over Wisconsin. Originally cloudy now there could be dapples of sun. 

SUNDAY - here we go again with another 1.8 to 2 inches of rain. 

Since the rain will be heavy there is less of a chance of petrichor. 


Petrichor is that fresh smell after a rain.  That smell is actually an oil and Actinobacteria which plants give off.  The oil protects seeds from germinating to early in times of stress and the bacteria is what the clay in the ground gives off.  MIT scientists say when a rain drop hits porous clay small bubbles appear and give off the aerosols.  Rain that is light give off more aerosols.

In an odd note - it seems when I have a Water and Light meeting it always seems to rain.  It's getting creepy!

OH - Water tower. Seems our sedum is stressing out but from a sedum expert forum they say no fear.  The plants with roots are looking rather horrible but that is because they are putting all their energy into the roots.

The cuttings are doing MUCH better - not sure why.   Seems to be a "you gotta kill it to make it grow" things.

I have a lot of family that lives in McKinny Texas, where that cop had the "problems" with that teenage pool party.

WELL - not that I condone what he did but let's get his whole day in perspective.  Just before that incident he was called to a house where a father shot himself in the head in front of his family.  The officer was there to talk to the family and take photos and calm the scene.

Then his next call was to talk a teenager out of committing suicide which he successfully did.

Then came that call which he told headquarters he was not prepared to do but when it was told there was violence happening and he was the closest . . . . . . . as he said, he "just lost it" and that is why he quit the department soon after the incident.    


Very good night of golf last night but I was hitting everything strong. I think my approach shot ended up the back of the green on almost every hole. Maybe my working our is finally having results.


No time for random drivel today. Have to make a delivery to Madison and then start loading the trailer.  OH - gotta design an order sheet also!

Have a great Thursday - NO HYDROPLANING.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Brins Fire

19 years ago yesterday DJ and I flew to Las Vegas and got married.  Best gamble ever.  We were married at The Little Church of The West in a very spiritual wedding with Eddie the (broken) Limo Driver overlooking.  It was 108 degrees and it felt GREAT!

If you recall, 1996 was a hideous spring and people were REALLY getting cranky.  May had 23 of the 30 days well below average with 22 days of precipitation.  In June in rained the first 8 days with over 3.75 inches of rain.  As the plane was taking off in Milwaukee it was a driving rainstorm and 58 degrees.

We landed in Las Vegas and it was 108 degrees and FELT GREAT.  People looked at us with our pasty white skin as we almost kissed the ground and were saying THIS IS AWESOME, soaking up the heat.

A week later The Little Chapel of the West was moved as they imploded the Haciendia Hotel.

As luck would have it 10 years later we had a road trip to Sedona to renew our vows and the location  we were remarried burned down in the famous Brins Fire.  So both places we have been married either had the building next door imploded, or it burned down.

Of course it was all blagged about. The image below was a place I wish we could have spent more time at.  Yes - the dirt is REALLY that red.

hmmmmmmm - where should we go next year.

We were at the Grand Canyon on the trip and it will literally take your breath away.  So many people told us how awesome the Grand Canyon was and I felt that with expectations so so high we were going to be let down.

No matter what ANYBODY says - it is unbelievable, you can not be let down.  That tiny speck of brown is the Colorado River. 


Speaking of rain.  We have a "vigorous shortwave" which has a "considerable amount of moisture" associated with it heading our way Thursday into Friday.  We're looking at perhaps more then 2 inches of rain.  All models are in agreement on this one.   Saturday should be fine as the associated cold front drives the rain east later Friday.  Enjoy the sun today as you will not see it again until maybe next Wednesday.


Finished the Root for Columbus bench that Bonnie McDainel and I  have been working on with the 6th grade art classes of the Columbus Middle School.  Should be on display at the Library on Friday 4 to 6.


I have an Art  Fair at Hilldale Saturday!  just sayin.


Rick Santorum's bus made a campaign stop in Iowa for a 2pm meet and greet.  Only 1 person showed up. . . .and she was undecided!

Want cotton?  Be ready for a glut as China will import a crap load this year.  They have been stock piling it since 2011 and now they want to pare down and ship it to the U.S.

That truck with the 2,200 piglets that over turned?  1,500 were captured but 700 are still free to go about the land. 

Every year because of a bad key stroke 12,000 Americans are "killed" by the IRS.

$750,000 in donations were sent to FIFA for earthquake relief for Haiti.  None of it ever got there.  I wonder where it went.



Monday, June 8, 2015


I hope everyone is finding there way south from Columbus.  The detour is rather nice actually and goes past the site of one of my better sellers in art fairs.  

Perhaps you don't recognize the place but it's that hill just before Steidman Road.  The three splotches in the green are . . .or were cows.       

On a side note I think we all need to give our City Administrator a manly smack on the butt for the good job he did convincing the DOT to NOT close the south ramps on 73/151 over the Fourth of July which would have been chaos.  The DOT can be pretty unforgiving but they caved in it seems. 

Speaking of cows I have a piece in Portage for their Art That Blooms show and I have to laugh at the poems associated with my image. 

Basically they show a piece of art and then Middle Schoolers write poems about it and a florist creates a unique piece that goes with my work. 

This is what is showing and a few poems below.

Curious, Yet Guarded

Black, White
Mooing, Eating, Sleeping
Cows taste really good.

- Nick Kruschke

dirty, loud
eating, mooing, standing
always eating some grass

-Kayleb Alston


And then there is Hunter Stenson

The cows healed in the field
then they took a deuce while looking for a goose
they shook their bells while the turtles took off their shells
that's when I decided to go to the Shell
I went and got a snack
and saw my cow eating a cat
then I went back to the farm to shut off the alarm
when I saw my bull beating a troll

- Hunter Stenson

We had a small but nice disc golf event last night in Columbus.  Intro to Disc Golf which was attended by about 11 people and at one point there were a total of 13 people actually golfing in Firemans Park last night. 

We really need to get one more sign up at the 1st basket showing people where #2 tee is.  Saw a group from Marshal wandering around aimlessly looking for #2.  OH - and those guys were REALLY good! 

Speaking of recreation - someone once told me there was a plan to link all the parks (5) in Columbus together with a bike path.  As I was in Waupon, which is about twice the size of Columbus, on their disc golf course  I saw so many joggers go past their course it got me thinking.  Bike path = jogging path.  SO - if  know one comes up with that plan I'll be forced to make my own path that links all the parks.  

Not sure how to do that yet or where donations would come from but it's on my to do list. 

Almost hit a kid Friday who was learning to ride a bike on a busy street because there are no side walks.  Why would any family move to a place with no sidewalks.  Jenny's kids just got bikes and the only place to ride them is a street!  What could possibly go wrong. Not blaming Jenny because it's an apartment but I would  never buy a house without a side walk?   

I've had two people contact me about wanting sidewalks. 

Columbus is print.! 

The Amtrak Station is finally having their parking lot resurfaced . . .or surfaced for the 1st time.  Amtrak, the DOT and  Vita Plus are working together on this project that will begin soon.


Put the last pieces in place in the water tower project . . .we thought . . . but there seems to be some stress in the sedum we planted.  However a few experts that are not us have commented that the sedum with roots are the only problems and the cuttings are doing fine.  So time will tell. 

Since the sedum is a succulent there should be no real long term problems but man, those boulders get warm. 

Columbus received 0.12 inches of rain in 2 storms yesterday

And speaking of warm - this week will be a warm one.   Interesting day today though.  With warm temps on the surface and cold air aloft mixing there is a good chance for pop up thunderstorms this afternoon between 3 and 5.  Even though the dew points will be lowering all day there is enough moisture to generate some quick, big storms.  Some hail and some damaging wind COULD occur on these fast moving storms. 

With that said it should be pretty nice out today as dew points will continue to drop. 

Tomorrow will be the warmest day of the year but the lake breeze COULD cool off Milwaukee.  

All models are in agreement on Thursday and Friday with a strong LOW entering the state with a good amount of rainfall.   

My art fair at Hilldale Saturday should be fine weather-wize.    


OK OK - I had to laugh at the news today.  There was a big Hip Hop concert somewhere and police were tear gassing concert goers and the scene of all the hip hop attendees running AND trying to hold up their pants was funny.


Wayward Pines - what a great show that is!   


If you have not tried Choboni Greek Yogurt do it.  It's really good. In fact I have been eating the one with oats in it and it's GREAT!!  DJ turned me on to it.  I hated Greek yogurt (which is not Greek at all it seems) but this stuff is good. 


On this day in history in 1944 American and British forces finally linked up on the beaches of Normandy to begin winning WWII.  Sadly while the WORLD beat Germany the REAL villain was Russia.  Stalin killed way way way more people then Nazi Germany. While Hitler gets the credit for being evil Stalin was actually more evil, but to his own people.  

I tell ya - America might do well winning wars but we totally suck at occupying.  


Saw my first Baltimore Oriole in Columbus Saturday.  Anyone want some Grackle families? They make so much noise!  

Have a great Monday! 

Friday, June 5, 2015


Weather for the weekend.  East side of Wisconsin will be pretty cool today in the middle 60s but those off shore breezes will warm up before they get to Columbus, BUT we will be breathing Lake Michigan air today.

Saturday - we should wake up cloudy but as a HIGH slides WEST sky's will clear. Still cool on the east side of Wisconsin. Columbus should be pretty average temp-wise in the mid 70s and sunny in the afternoon.

Saturday night we see warm advection happening (when heat from the earth warms the moist air aloft) mixing with a little eddy of turbulence coming our way which could lead to some showers.  Remember the atmosphere is like a giant ripple of water, fluid dynamics.

Sunday is still tricky.  A LOW just north of Wisconsin is dragging a cold front behind it. The temperature is not too bad aloft but because of clouds the earth might not warm up much. Could be thunderstorms in the morning.  If the sun does come out that will warm things up nicely but . . . . .  

Next week - above average highs, the warmest weather of the year approaching middle 80s but dew points only near 60 so it will not be too uncomfortable.


I played WARP, the disc golf course in Waupon with 6 of the guys that "run" the place. Very fun and technical course and they gave lots of ideas for Columbus.  The group has designed a few golf courses and had ideas for our course.  We could have 8 holes but would need to move one of our baskets.  They are thinking of upgrading a few of their baskets and Columbus could get 2 more baskets cheaply.  Just thinking out loud.

They have a deeply wooded County Park that they used and like all places are trying to get rid of this weird stigma that disc golf has with people thinking it's all about weed smoking hippies.

They said that before they installed their course there was a LOT of vandalism in the area but now with people playing and more people in the park it's dropped to zero.


Bananas - the banana that people ate before the 1950s was completely, 100% eradicated from earth because of the banana fungus!

The banana we eat today is completely different from what people ate before the 50s. The problem is that we have all of our banana in one basket.  If another fungus hits this banana we will be forced to have a banana alternative.  So the next time you eat a banana be thankful you HAVE a banana because you could be eating plantains instead.

Is this like having all of our chickens in one basket?


Economy - Whoa - the jobs report came out and America added 280,000 jobs, unemployment rose from 5.4 to 5.5% but wage growth was higher then expected which shows a tightening of the number of jobs available.

It's a mixed bag but the bottom line is people are still gaining work and the missing element that the Fed have been waiting for, wage growth, has yet another good month.  The economy is still clicking in the right direction.

On a side note - I believe Columbus is adding 11(?) new homes with more coming in the pipeline. There is more talk about adding new business's near the two 151 intersections but nothing firm.  That is some pretty prime property in that Enerpac area for the right business.  Shovel ready which is a big big thing for companies.  Enerpac created the infrastructure to get out there.

Love'm or hate'm that was a very good by-product of them moving out to that area and if a business wants to build, the water and light and sewer are there already!   PLUS - for sewer, it's all downhill from that area, something you don't think about often.

Have a great weekend.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

CSS Plan gets approval.

Well - I GUESS I have to prepare for art fairs.  Sort of why I have been absent lately.

I spent a few hours at the middle school helping the 6th graders with a bench project which was fun and depressing at the same time. Was I ever that age?  Did you know that every kid will get a lap top next year in Columbus schools?  Hell, I used a abacus when I was in high school . . .ok ok, a slide ruler.

Monday I ran up to the Portage Center for the Arts as there is a pretty cool thing I'm involved with called 

  Art That Blooms   

"Art that blooms is a wonderful event that features art submitted by local artists, and poems by local adult and student poets which are inspired by the artwork that has been submitted. Fresh floral arrangements are then created by amateur and professional floral artists. All this comes together for a two day event in June that is pleasing to all your senses!"

Although it lasts from June 5th to June 13th so I'm not sure which 2 days they are talking about.  All I know is my submission is needed on June 13th.  Maybe it's two days total hours?  48 non consecutive hours?
Because on June 13th I have my first art fair of the season at the new and improved Hilldale outdoor mall and I sort of need this for the top right side of the right side of my canopy.

Then on June 27th and 28th I have a weekend fair in Spring Green.


RABBITS!  I have a rabbit "problem".  They are chewing on a few plants.  When Milo was alive he controlled the outdoor critters but he is no longer among us and we have Critters Gone Wild.

Today I need to make a concoction of water, dish soup and hot sauce and spray in on my yummy plants.

Saturday, Elwood and I will complete the Water Tower project (and when I say "complete" I really mean the dirt part) with more dirt and more sedum.  Stop by and say hi!! We should be there about noon and the weather will be beautiful . . . .Saturday.

Sunday not so much.   Friday a dry "cold" front will zoom across Wisconsin around noon bringing scatter clouds and cooler air from the lake.  East winds will continue Saturday so it will be a LITTLE warmer but still air from Lake Michigan will reach us keeping things a little cooler then normal.

A surface LOW will track over Wisconsin late Saturday into Sunday and thunderstorms are a good bet. More chance the closer you are the the WI/ILL border.

NEXT WEEK  SUMMER - Mid 80's all week and after Monday sunny.  Monday is just the end of the Sunday problems.


Council passed the the CSS Plan for the James Street Project which is a pretty big deal for beautifying a major portion of Columbus.  Trying to make a good thing out of a bad situation.

If you drive down James Street from Charles Street on the top of the hill all the trees that are close to the road will be gone. They should not be there anyway. The road will be cement and slightly wider with a bike lane (we need more bike paths in Columbus but . . .). Don't worry, trees will be replaced with prettier but smaller trees.

HOWEVER - with a smooth road, lack of BIG trees and zero overhead wires and cables it will look rather  . . . stark.  So we will put in new decorative, black light poles . . . many of them, all the way from the top of the hill, through town where they will be a little more decorative to about River Road. In the downtown area the lights will have flag hangers and each will have electric outlets for new none discussed Christmas ornaments (will we need a Christmas Light Committee?  just sayin').  It will look GREAT as the lights will follow the contour of the land and lead people into town.

And all trees will be replaced - DOT is giving us a lot of $$ for each tree "in danger" as they call it.

There will be colored crosswalks all the way.  A dark onyx (not that icky reddish stuff that turns yucky pink with age) with white outlines which will look striking.

On Dickason two parking spaces will be taken away for a formal garden thing which will also have electricity for events on Dickason so there will be no need to run cables from businesses. The idea is to make that part of downtown more of the epic center for events.

We talked a LOT about colored sidewalks on the corners but the con's beat out the pro's because the National Parks Service would not let us have any color next the the F&M bank and the City Hall and a few other logistic problems.

In the works but for a later date we want to have urban trees downtown as they will block the sound of traffic and make the downtown area softer with more color and more pedestrian friendly.  Benches and bike racks are planned, hopefully from local manufacturers.

OF COURSE - MY vision (not a formal plan in anyway, just a vision) is to make Dickason into a community park with a combined Senior Center, Youth Center AND Library where the current Senior Center is and former Anchor Bank building is. The Library NEEDS a bigger place. So we should build a retro style building that compliments the current historic buildings that houses all three centers.    


Sunday June  7th at 5:00ish there will be a very informal Intro the Disc Golf meeting at Firemans Park.  For anyone interested in the sport you will have a chance to throw a disc and learn the sport.

More and more people from other towns are playing and giving suggestions on how the course SHOULD have been set up. But, gotta play the hand that you are dealt.

Later today I'm driving to Waupon to play their course and meet the members of their group that played Columbus the other night.  Rremember there is a Facebook page dedicated to the Columbus Course.

Friends of Columbus Disc Golf.        

I will not speak of my ball golf last night.


random stuff

Amazon will now ship anything less then 8 oz for free!!!

So long Hubble - in the works is a new Giant Magellan Telescope which will produce images 10x more clear then Hubble.

BUY EGGS - they are getting much more expensive and will impact many many things because over 45 MILLION chickens and turkeys  have been killed from the bird flu so far.

In a new poll 84% of Republicans AND Democrats say money has way too much influence in politics.  SO - we are all in agreement and that problem is solved!  Isn't it?

OH - there is a new thumb drive you can buy, the size of a dime that holds 128 GIGS!!    

Seems the world is extremely happy with America when it comes to Football (or soccer as we call it). America did in 7 days what Europe has been trying to do for 20 years, get those clowns that ran FIFA out.    

Worried about water and the lack of it?   It takes 14 gallons of water to make a pint of beer.  But get this , it takes 1.85 gallons to make a bottle OF WATER!!!  WTF?

It takes 1,800 gallons to make a pair of jeans. That t-shirt you are wearing 400 gallons.

And finally - since I have been working out a lot lately I was wondering how long it takes to get OUT of shape.  Seems 7 days of rest and you start to lose what you gained.  I think I mentioned I was in a weight loss contest. Dietbet with 300 other people.  Lose 7% of your body weight in 4 weeks.  I lost, took me 6 weeks.  I could have won $54 but I missed it by 1 pound.  Took me an extra 2 weeks but I'm down 7% and going strong!!  

At this rate I'll get down to my high school weight in  . . . . . another year. 120 here I come  LOL  ALTHOUGH my hair back then had more weight so . . . . .

have a great day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tailgate Survivor

Slightly disappointed this morning Friday actually) as my One Putt Twelve IPA did not fair well in the Double IPA competition.  Of course since it was a single IPA that had a few points taken off (did not have time to make a double) but, it was one of my lowest rated beers to day.

Overbalanced Malt
Low Hop
slight diacytle
strong piney mono-hop note
over sweet
Good carbonation
under attenuated
Slight butter
tight hoppeness

Well - I tasted it a week later and it's WORSE.  blah

I asked a question on Facebook

Any car people out there? I have a 2003 Subaru Outback Limited with 223,000 miles on it - runs like a charm, body is almost perfect, Major tune up 3 years ago runs perfect - No AC.
The question is - can I get 20 bucks on a trade in? What could I ask on the open market? Any idea at all?
WELL - I was not expecting to be inundated with requests to buy the car.  Did they see the "223,000 miles"?    We were just thinking of upgrading to a 2014 Outback but they are still in the $28,000 range and a little pricey!    blah


Went to the brewer game with balderdash Saturday and the weather there was MUCH worse then Columbus.   47 degrees and a driving sideways rain with 20mph winds.  Seriously, you could not get much worse conditions to tailgate for 3 hours.

In our row in the Molitor parking lot, the big tailgate parking lot there were 4 groups IN OUR ROW that set up or attempted set up and FAIL.  We Outlasted them.  We did it and all huddled under a 10x10 foot roof.  This is us.

 We actually took turns as there was not enough room for 18 people under one canopy.  WHAT FUN!

HOWEVER - I decided to take a photo of EVERY tailgate party in the parking lot and I plan on putting this on facebook to see if I can find ANYONE of these people.  I THINK if you click on the image it will enlarge.

Last full row on the bottom - middle group - THAT was the party group! I'm not even sure if they knew it was raining.

4th Row - far left - they were in their own hell and I believe I was dead to them. The rest were all extremely proud when I screamed TAILGATE SURVIVORS!.

BTW - 15 years ago last night was the very first episode of Survivor, Season 1 Episode 1.  I have never missed an episode in 30 season.


I'm going to be in the Waunakee Parade of Homes again this year and one of the displays will be this one.

The combined images are going on a wall at the new UW Hospital somewhere,  3x8 feet approximately from what I was told.

But I've been wanting to do a quadtych but never had a buyer so this is an opportunity. A few months ago I decided to advertise this by making double sided postcards that people could have with info on the back and the images on the front.

Friday I received another set of them

hmmmmmmm - something does not seem exactly right!  what could it be . . .hmmmmmmm

WAIT - that's not an owl sitting in a tree that I missed for the past year is it?  NO - It's AN OWL!

So I get nothing on the back of these cards . . . and an owl that is not mine.   FAIL!!

Another project I'm working on is for a business on the Square in Madison

   I have a cool program where if you send me a photo of your wall with something measured near the wall I can put the images in correct ratio on that wall so you can see what it would look like.

BTW - I am ALWAYS looking for cool empty wall rooms for images that I can put up. If you have a room I would love to take a photo of it (or you can so I can use it).

For instance - a larger pano seems to large

and going smaller seems odd.


73/151 south side ramps will be closed starting Thursday for ABOUT 3 weeks.  Thanks to the City Admin they will NOT be closed over the 4th of July as they were planning.

Room Tax laws be a changing.  From Patrick

The Legislative Joint Finance Committee is rolling through their work on the 2015-17 State Budget and yesterday they approved an insertion into the budget that would change the rules for the use of Room Tax dollars.  By my review of the analysis of the changes by the League, I don’t think the new rules will be too significant in terms of how to use room tax dollars – it calls for communities to dedicate 70% of room tax collected on tourism (which we all know we try to do).  Some communities have over the years grabbed the room tax and put it into general fund expenses (Madison uses it for plowing streets in winter) BAD MADISON! The bigger issue for Columbus is the requirement that a separate Tourism Commission be created to decide how to spend the funds.  What a “commission” means is up in the air at this point.  Of course, none of this will become law until the budget is passed with this provision contained within it.  The JFC vote was close (9-7) and party lines weren’t a huge issue.

Speaking of the budget - you understand why Gov Walker keeps saying he will not declare to run until AFTER the budget is passed.  It's because all these trips to Israel and the country are being paid for by Wisconsin citizens.  Once the budget is passed it's all on him then.  Not you and me.

  OK - NOW I have to get going!!

Have a day.