Monday, August 31, 2015

The Hop Garden Farm

Interesting forecast today - the thing that is not accounted for is the forest fire smoke which will make it hazy today and maybe keep temps down a bit!

Should be getting to 89 by Wednesday. Tuesday through Saturday will all be upper 80s and then the transition starts Sunday and by NEXT Wednesday we might not hit 70.  No rain this week with chances starting again Sunday. 
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Yesterday DJ and I took a trip to the Hop Garden Farm to get some hops.  On the way we stopped in Belleville and saw a buddy Otis who was serving his famous Jambalaya at The Lake Fest in that little tiny town. 

Then off to the farm for hops!  

   
After filling our car with hops  we had to make a delivery to the gallery in Paoli and since we were there why not go to the Hop Garden for a beer.

Got a couple wonderful beers and sat down to listen to Helen Avakian who recently won a huge International Finger Style Championship and she was awesome.






So we are sitting there with the Mayor of Fitchburg and who do we see again?  Otis, and he is talking to someone . . . . wait . . . is that Balderdash's daughter!!  YES!  
    
Well, we spent a few hours at the Hop Garden but we have chores to do, a car full of hops that we need to process.

It was about this time when I'm complaining that the sun never really came out and DJ says . . there are no clouds in the sky . . .wait a minute...... then she says "I bet it's smoke from the forest fires".  YUP

So we get home and well . . . . . what do you do when you are harvesting hops!!!

Sitting on the deck listening to music and harvesting a boat load of hops under the smoky sun.

Once we were all finished and our fingers were sticky with Cascade hops I got my hop scale and and we had just under 40 ounces.


But now I need to dry them to about 8% moisture.
This DIY hop dryer is available for $199.95

The garage smells wonderful!

These will go for my West Coast Blaster and for a Brown I'm going to enter in a competition with a lot left over for winter.

The Hop Garden


That's all.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Best sweet corn ever

A few things you learn - 1. people really could not care less about your fantasy football team.  2. No one cares about your golf game. 

With that said - here is a photo of a bird I took last night while looking for my ball in a bunch of high weeds. 

hmmmm - that water looks mighty healthy for a salad. 

And in the last 3 weeks I have learned the difference between a 9 degree loft driver and a 10.5 degree loft.  I like 10.5 MUCH more.

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I've been in touch with a "old" Columbus resident, Dr. John Heidke in Livingstone Montana.  He is doing well.  You have probably seen photos of his Double H Ranch if you are a John Meyer fan as Meyer has used his range for some photo shoots for album covers. 

His station is KMTLIVIN10 

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Also a shout out to my buddy John Pratt who is preparing for Tropical Storm Erika. The next 12 hours are critical for Erika and Florida as she attempts to get through some shear that is trying to blow her apart.  But FLA is on your cone of influence.  

It's been 10 years (almost exactly) since Katrina and there has been a LOT of advances in technology in those 10 years.  The cone of influence is 40% smaller.  In fact in the last 2 years there has been significant advancements but with the lack of real hurricanes they have not been through a test yet. 

Wind speeds for Erika picked up over night to 53 MPH and at the moment 75-80 MPH winds are forecast for FLA . . . .if it makes it. 

Erika middle right

Summer returns next week as we might get our last 90 for the season.  Should hit 80 Sunday and it's only UP from there. Upper 80s all next week starting Tuesday.  Looks like rain Friday into Saturday morning. 

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The perfect Corn on the cob.  If you ever want corn on the cob without the silk - it's easy.

 
Corn

 
Cut about 1 inch off the "bottom"




Micro wave for 3 minutes
 

With your favorite Ove Glove squeeze out the corn.


BINGO

And it really really works. 

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I think that's something we should, yeah, absolutely, going forward

Whatever you do - don't sell.  If you are investing you are doing it for a reason which is long term.  Weeks like this are meaningless in the long run. There have been many many drops like this and the rebounds, when they come are come fast and furious.

The US economy is fine and this is healthy for the market. Period.

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I am totally geeking out.

As many know I'm a member of the Weather Underground a group of over 100,000 weather geeks that have their own weather station. My station is KWICOLUM2 and sends data to the internet every 2 minutes (see link).

WELL - The Weather Underground now has a daily 2 hour show from 5PM to 7PM on The Weather Channel which can be compared to a sports talk show but for weather and it's GREAT if you are a weather geek.  A ton of fascinating knowledge. Just 3 guys and a girl sitting around talking weather!

They talked about hurricanes a lot last night because there are a freakish amount of them and depressions at the moment.

Hawaii - most rain ever in August dating back to 1887 is happening this year.   Check it out.

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The Donald - seems Hispanics are not fond of him with a net favorability of -51%.  Second mosh hated politician, Ted Cruz -8%

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Chipotle wants to hire 4000 workers on September 9th because they are going to open 205 new stores in the next year.

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10.1 million people watched Fear The Walking Dead the most ever in the history of cable to watch a new cable show.

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The over/under for Packer wins is 11.

UMMM - who feels a LITTLE unsafe!!  They did herd people slowly to cover but . . . . . .


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Walker  LOL  - NBC's Kasie Hunt asked Walker whether he supported ending birthright citizenship - his answer? "I think that's something we should, yeah, absolutely, going forward."

What?

Then later John Harwood asked him to clarify and he said "I'm not taking a position on it one way or the other" until the border is secured.

Then Sunday he said "without qualification" he would not seek to repeal the 14th amendment.  I guess he had to call the Koch Brothers to ask what the correct answer was.

Back to Trump - Stephen Colbert said he is praying that Trump is still active when his show airs in September.  He has been dry Trumping.

Monday, August 24, 2015

YIKES WALL STREET! HANG ON

WOW - where did fall come from - We should be back in the 80s by NEXT Monday as a long slow climb in temps start tomorrow and by next Monday we should be back near 86 but even then the dew points will be in the low 60s so it would be sweltering. 

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YIKES  WALL STREET!   HANG ON.  Damn you China. 

Here is the problem.  Even though the US is doing just fine economically China has thrown us a loop. Their economy has been blah so their government decided to lower the yuan to make things much cheaper for their people to buy things.  HOWEVER - what this did was make everything the WORLD sells to them much more expensive.  Add a few shakes of Greece and global investors are rather, skittish.   

Right now the DOW is down another 1000 points.  Hang tight - this is a panic sell off.  Nothing fundamentally wrong.

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Speaking of finance.  I was in a conversation with Wisconsin Economic Development talking about Revolving Loans and failures.  For start-up restaurants expect a default 60% of the time which is why banks don't loan out money for start up restaurants.  Expect normal retailers to default 47% of the time. 

Expansions or relocation of existing business expect a 4% failure.

Of course restaurants that refuse to serve comfort food such as cheese curds to travelers to Wisconsin or other deep fried delicacies I bet it's 95%  :-) 

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YUP - if you are in a fantasy football league I hope you did not draft Jordy Nelson the #7 wide receiver on your lists and #19 over all.  GONE!!!  

BTW - fantasy people.  Eddie Lacy is #2 overall. Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck are battling it out for #17 and #18 overall. Rodgers might take a hit with no Jordy.

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GET TO MULLINS - it's their last week of the summer.  THEY have good greasy hamburgers and dare I say the best hot ham and cheese in the tri-county area.

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As for politics.  The first thing to realize is Clinton's email problems is completely media driven.  No one cares except the die hard republicans. It's not hurting her numbers a tiny bit. Polling a little but with votes - nope.  

The Endorsement Primary continues. One of the time tested predictors is how other politicians see things because it seems people listen to politicians who tell them how to vote - so weird.  I guess we don't trust them until they tell us who to vote for!  Makes perfect sense. 

Bush increased his lead over Christie and Walker has dropped to a distant 8th.  Hillary has a commanding lead 310 to 11 over Biden. Bernie is only liked by white democrat's and while I love the guy he has zero chance of winning.  Even Martin O'Malley is beating him.  Bernie gets the buzz but not the votes.     

John Kasich is moving up. 

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May I interest you in this fine tote bag?   The Northbound Empire Builder tote comes in 3 sizes  13x13, 16x16, 18x18  $21 to $26.

 
Have a great day!  

Rod

 



  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

brrrrr another cold day

This weather totally blows, but it will get better . . .soon.  80's tomorrow and 80s Saturday (windy).

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Shirley Mansion of Garbage
Garbage - no no not the rock group (photo taken a few years ago) but the junk we throw away.  We all know the garbage situation in Columbus has changed and Council has been discussing this for a while now.  The one thing tweaking people is the lack of curbside pick up for large items.  If you have large items called DPW (920) 623-5908) and for a fee they will come pick stuff up.  I'll be doing that today in fact.

HOWEVER -  there might be a longer term solution on the long term horizon. Our contract with Advanced Disposal goes until  . . . well . . . for another year or so but there is another player now in the game, the County. Their numbers seem very very competitive.  Competition is good.  Stay tuned but it's a ways off yet.

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This image received the largest reaction of on piece that I have ever seen.  I added what I had on my price tag because it seemed to tripped a trigger.

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The Church.

Seems a lot of hub bub about "churches" lately and the IRS turning its head on what a "church" actually is. All of these televangelists saying give us money and we will heel you.

HEY - isn't this what happened in the late 1400s with Martin Luther? The dude who sparked a hundred hears of war in Europe?

Martin Luther was a friar who's job was to raise money for The Church to rebuild Rome.  Basically The Church was saying - give us $20 and we shall forgive you a few sins, OR, you can go to hell, your choice.  AND for $20 more your deceased kin can be forgiven and be move from hell to heaven, sweet deal what?

Luther was pretty annoyed at this as he believed the Word of God was NOT some rules from The Church but from The Bible and he was going to let people know his thoughts publicly.   He wrote up a theses and posted them all over for discussion.  Basically he said if the pope redeems a number of souls for the sake of money to buy stuff for The Church, why not just empty hell for the sake of holy love?

WELL - The Pope was not pleased at this at all and was not interested in a debate.

Excommunication!  

WELL!! - Luther basically said F*ck You to The Pope which was not always the wisest thing to do back then.  Long story short.  Luther becomes a criminal and German princes who see a chance to grab power hide him and Luther's ideas spread like a fire in California.   Peasants feel power at how Luther stuck it to the man and Europe splits into two tribes.

The Catholic (meaning "universal") and the Protestants (meaning profess) and the Reformation Age begins.

Which brings me to time travel, one of my favorite subjects.

I've been watching the first 8 episodes of Outlander (DVD from our super great library) about a WWII nurse that travels back to Scotland in the 1700s.  The good ol' days.

I would NOT want to go back to the 1500's, the bad ol' days.  I would be back there for like 2 days and be burned at the stake.  Probably would not take long for me to say something weird.

OUTLANDER - awesome show - here is the trailer if you are interested.  Sex, violence, romance, mystical stuff, time travel and adventure.  Has everything.

https://youtu.be/KAS01FFj1fQ



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See ya 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rain

Crazy amount of rain last night in a short period.  I missed it being in City Council but it's all recorded.    For a 6 minute period Columbus was in a 5.38 inch per hour rain deluge.  That is pretty significant and hurricane-like . . .except hurricane's go on and on and on.

Total last night was was about 1.3 inches.   Madison got 1.5 inches.  Ellsworth in Pierce County received 7.26 inches.  Temperatures should be dropping all day and VERY windy - HELLO NEW AIR MASS!   A very strong unusual LOW is pushing our way creating all sorts of wind.

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Windows 10 - Everything I have is Windows 7 which is running just fine.  Not sure what Win10 does unless I have a touch screen and problems are starting to pop up.  Think I'll pass.

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Trick or Treat will be ON Halloween (a Saturday) AND  at night 5 to 8.  Seems to be getting positive reactions.    I know I did trick or treat as a kid in the 60s when society was much MUCH more dangerous and it was one of the best, most remembered holidays in my past!  

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Little League Softball World Series - a team was accused of throwing a game to prevent another team from advancing. Those little tykes are growing up so fast.

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Idaho has joined Colorado and are removing all mile markers with 420 on them because they are being stolen. Those crazy stoners love that number.  It's a odd story on why 420 is important and you have to be stoned to understand it . . . or even care.  

Mile markers are now 419.9

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$11.9 BILLION is forecast to be spend on advertising for the 2016 election.  $1 BILLION of that will be on digital advertisements! 

gotta work  - cheerio!

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN.

Short and quick as I'm baby sitting for a while this morning - PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN.

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I'm trying to eat slightly better so I can live a long-er life.  So I tried this stuff last night to go with spaghetti.  Yea - I was lazy and did not make my own (which always tastes better).

Here is the review of THIS garlic toast. 

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I'm a member of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation forum who's goal is to fix downtown's.  We have a group from around the State all bouncing ideas around trying to heal each other and what works and what does not to bring life to our downtown's which, we all know is the heart of any small town.

There was a new study that quantified what makes a small town's downtown more walkable.   In every single image of a good downtown, there were trees.

One of the main takeaways besides " street furniture such as benches and bike racks"  was "imageability".    Meaning something to make people want to walk down the street to see something.

For instance. When Hydro Street was open they had chairs and tables (which I never saw ANYBODY sit in) on the sidewalks.  This made people at the other end of the block be curious and walk down to see what it was. We have 1000 people from outside the city visit the Antique mall and we are doing nothing to grab them.  Or when we get to the details of Dickason Blvd next to City Hall have some sort of statue, garden or some reason for people to walk down and see what it is.  SADLY, Columbus needs a place where people will take . . . .selfies. Yes yes - that is totally abhorrent but it's a fact of life.

Mullins BIG RED CHAIR for instance. Many many photos have been taken of families on the BIG RED CHAIR (I know I have).  People drive by and stop because of the BIG RED CHAIR.

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Something we should REALLY think about in every empty business downtown is purchasing photo clings.  IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES . . . .



These are in Springfield ILL and many open store fronts have these photo clings.  Relatively inexpensive and great advertising.  They show which buildings are actively looking for business and tweaks the mind just a tiny bit and makes a prospective person think!

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In other news - The Milwaukee Bucks will have 12 games on National TV this year!  They are ranked as one of the top 6 teams in the NBA.

Speaking of THE.

There is a really good series called The Seventies.  An episode was talking about the music of the 70's. My god did the music suck in the 70s, early 70s was OK, late . . OMG.  ANYWAY - they were showing newscasts and one was "a  music group has finally dethroned The Beatles, they are called The Led Zeppelin.

THE? Led Zeppelin?  At what point do you start adding "the" to things.

We watched The Nixon episode. WOW - such a bizarre times.  I guess I was not paying close attention to details.

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Watching Outlander - great great story.  I got the DVDs from the library (finally).  There is a reason I was 135th in line.  I totally love this tale and feel I need to read all 10 or so books now.  

I have more serious things I'm reading besides "Taking Chances - Winning with Probability" which is
a little dry "Wolverine - Old Man Logan" which is a story of a dystopian future where Wolverine stopped being a hero 50 years in the past and is taking a road trip.

Cardinal Comics in Columbus (111 S Ludington) has a fantastic variety of adult graphic novels.  And a lot of great things for kids. Stop in and check them out sometimes.  ANY reading is good reading.

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Speaking of making our downtown more friendly - I bet we could get something like this for cheap.  Donated paint and have high school art students do the work.  Get them involved with Columbus and be proud of something.

I bet the owner of this building would love to have his building be something special and this would cover up the stars of blight. It would be win win.

Make the mural a historic piece that augments our historical downtown.

Well - it's a vision at least.
 



Nuff Said.
  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Excitement in Fitchburg

Well - here is some good news for Columbus.  Our ISO rating has dropped dramatically from a 5 to a 3.   ISO stands for Insurance Service Office and it is a Public Protection Classification.  In a nutshell it's a combination of Water and Light and Fire protection and may or may not be used my insurance companies to give home owners a rating on fire protection.

According to ISO Columbus has very good fire protection and the ratings went down (which is good) because of Water and Light and the amount of water it can provide.  There is not much the Fire Department can do to help the rating with it's cracker box fire station (according to Randy Koehn)

While insurance companies may or may not use this,  prospective industry lookign to relocate uses this as a measure to know how safe a community is.  So going from a 5 to a 3 is a very good thing.

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Elwood and I were going to work on The Wall Sunday to fill in some cracks with better dirt.  But it was just to dang hot.  NEXT Saturday we will put in an effort.  The Sedium in the wall is doing fine. It's drought tolerant and can catch water out of thin air.  The leaves were designed by mother nature in a way to grab floating moister.

Does not look so great this year but the roots are growing as I type.

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Here is a huge freaking shocker that has rocked my world after I had my DNA tested.  I'm not who I thought I was.  Neither is my brother. TOTALLY different in fact.

I'm yet another common immigrant like everybody else.  My entire life I have been told I was 1/4 blooded American Indian. My grandfather was 100% American Indian, that is certain.  YET - seems my father was adopted and had . . ZERO percent American Indian.

After finding this out last week I have lost the ability to tell time by the sun and trees no longer talk to me.

I'm 57% Great Britain, 18% Irish, 7% Iberian Peninsula and a whopatooli or other places.  What concerns me is the 3% poodle.

SOMEONE in my family has been hiding my heritage.  My brother and I both are happy that NEITHER of us has Indian blood.  It would be bad if one of us did and one didn't . . . if you know what I mean.  

If you are curious - ancestry.com will test it for $79.  Takes a few weeks.

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DJ and I had tears in our eyes laughing - BEFORE coffee yesterday.  

23 songs that would be REALLY hard to strip too. 


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I had my last art fair of the season and If all goes well in the next 2 weeks it should turn out to be the best fair ever for me.  I always have a 2 week lag on large purchases as people measure wall space and so forth.

Here is the odd thing.  I have this image of the Columbus AmTrak Station that I put up the last 2 shows that really got some overwhelming attention.

  I'm always amazed at what moves people and this one certainly did.  Not just compliments but the people like liked it REALLY liked it.

Another one that just baffles my brain because I don't see it but and I have not put it in fairs for 5 years BUT, the two fairs I have displayed it it has sold IMMEDIATELY is this one.
 
It just blows my mind.

Another oddity are my B17 images.  Men look at these, woman buy these.
I ask is this a present?  And the answer is almost always, "no, it's for me, I love planes".

So art fair season is over and I had my best year yet IF you don't count the Hilldale outdoor show which was it's first (and final?) year and taking a hit with not attending the Lake Mills Show which everybody in Fitchburg said was a good move (open only 3 hours).

The EXCITING thing Saturday was that we got HAMMERED by a storm.  There was broken art all over and several canopy's were destroyed.

I saw dark clouds and being a weather geek looked at my radar and said it's all zipping past use,  Just a small shower if anything.  No fear.

DJ starts to cover my boxes and I say it will pass.  DROP DROP DROPs start hitting us and I look at the radar and this thing is just exploding right over us.

I go to the front as a wind gust hits and the pottery next to me starts dropping on the blacktop.  I grab her canopy to hold it and then REAL wind hits. I have both hands on your tent leaning into the wind trying to hold.  But it's only wind.  

I look behind me and yell out, you should see what is going on a block away and laugh!  As I could not see a block away.  Then THAT hits and I see the end canopy sort of fly away.

I don't know where DJ is but I hope she is safe.  My canopy is like a tank (Trimline and unlike EX-ups which cost $150 this costs $3000 and only gently wiggles).

After 10 exciting minutes it passes.  DJ appears SOAKING WET.  Lesson to be learned.  When holding on to two canopies to keep them from blowing away, go INSIDE instead of standing OUTSIDE.

OTHERWISE - fantastic show in Fitchburg - this is what it looks like 15 minutes after opening.  Pointed tops, EZups, Rounded tops Trimlines.


OH!  the one thing I found out was that the posters for the  Agora  Art Fair and the TV ad's all had one of my pieces front and center!  WHO KNEW!

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Side note - Columbus water.  Sooner or later it's going to be asked - do you want softened water? Or would you rather have a water softener.  PERSONALLY - I would rather have hard water adn soften it myself.

Brewing with softwater is a bitch - too much salt.

Here is what our water has in it and I'll give a copy to the Water Czar but for public consumption
PH 7.7

the below are all ppm
Sodium  Na 106  (high)
Potassium  K <1 p="">Calcium  Ca 19
Magnesium Mg 11
Totall Hardness (CaCO3) 93
Nitrate NO3-N 0.2 (safe)
Sulfate SO4-S 4
Chloride Cl 4
Carbonate CO3 <1 p=""> Bicarbonate HCO3 303 (high)
Total Alkalinity CaCO3 248
Total Phosphorus P 0.54
Total Iron Fe 0.53

Pretty much like Ireland water and outstanding for making dark beer and not so good for light beer.  This is why Wisconsin and Michigan make so many fantastic dark beers.   

Thursday, August 13, 2015

My revisionist view on life.

I really don't know what happened to yesterdays blog that has all this hate coming my way about Hydro Street and how I'm sad they are gone.  It truly boggles my mind. Something about how some people liked it more them me and I have no right to feel sad because I only went there once a week. My feelings don't count. 

All I know is that every time there is a disagreement in the comment section my hits ZOOM and I make more money from adsense so thank you all, soon I can pay for our new basement. (every click is $$, well ¢¢ actually, they should call it ad¢ents) 

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ANYWAY - Who saw the meteor shower last night!!  DJ and I did. We got up about 1:30, whet outside, looked up in the sky for 5 minutes, saw 5 meteors, said "awesome" and went back to bed. 

It was magnificent, can't wait for next year. 

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My latest piece that I put up on the site is called Peripheral and may I suggest it can be put on a pillow.  Peripheral Throw Pillow 18x18 - only $27   Collect a set of all four different pillows (you can move the image to create your own pillow design.  

 

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I totally sucked at golf last night.  Horrible. I felt like I had odd sticks in my hand and no clue what to do with them.  The new regular shaft on my new driver had a different feel the my normally stiff shaft and it threw off my timing (which is an issue ANYWAY. And the new irons that are a little heavier didn't help.  Then throw in two golfers that were REALLY slow,  it was a nightmare.

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HOT HOT weekend coming up, LOVE IT!  I have my last art fair of the season Saturday in the Agora Art Fair (as seen on TV) in Fitchburg.  It's a very very good fair and one of my best.  Even though Paoli was my 5th best ever last weekend. I'm on a roll.

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Nuff said - gotta run.  

Have a chipper day. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The death of Cheers

First of all the BIG news - For the first time in MLB history the home teams won all 15 games Tuesday!  The previous best was 11-0 which occurred Sept 16 1989. I'm sure you remember that day as the day Debbye Turner was crowned Miss America (seriously, that was the big news on that day).

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I read a piece about what would happen if the sun BLINK disappeared. Just vanished.

Well . . . nothing would happen FOR EIGHT MINUTES!  Then we would be cast into total darkness and the planets would go spinning off into space.  We would still have electricity and would be a functioning society for a while but getting a little colder. In six months the average temperature of the world would be 32ish. But really - it would be all about the Kardashians and how they are holding up.

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What the REAL polls are saying on the debate.

Instead of picking and choosing what poll to look at what if you looked at  ALL the polls since The Debate.

The winners?
Fiorina
Rubio
Carson's brain
Cruz (not Tom)

The biggest losers
Walker (the only candidate to loss  in every single poll)
Trump (no matter what he tells you)
Bush

Then there is Bernie!  Bernie has lost his edge. He gets big crowds but is not getting more people to like him and is losing ground to Hillary.

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I want to make a heart felt condolences to Nancy Osterhaus who sadly had to say goodbye to her beloved Clydesdale, Hank.  Hank ate a mayfly that was carrying Potomac Horse Fever and one week later Hank crossed the BIG rainbow bridge.  I am so so sorry Nancy.

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Then there is Hydro Street.  Sad sad news.  When Public Enemies hit Columbus there was a huge group of people that all of a sudden found a reason to love Columbus.  A vast group of citizens that never went out for a drink to talk to others.  There was nowhere in Columbus for adults to mingle in relative safety and The Kurth seemed like a great meeting place.  Many long term friendships were formed but the Kurth is not open that often.

That faded until Hydro Street opened and all of a sudden there was once again a reason for this group of people to go out.  Many many of those very same people found that Hydro Street was a place where you could go to get a drink with "like" neighbors for GOOD beer.

A quick sideways paragraph.  I know Dan who owns Eddies in Sun Prairie (200 craft beers).  It was a normal cheap beer bar like Columbus has.  I asked him how he turned a cheep beer bar into a huge successful packed craft beer bar.

Dan said he went to every bar in the area and asked about their price.  Then he want back and raised his price above those.  Patrons complained "how am I suppose to get drunk with those prices"  EXACTLY!!!  And in comes the craft beer crowd who want the flavor, not just the alcohol.


AND he said he needed to get great burgers!  They have awesome food.   


Hydro was like CHEERS. A social meeting place.  I always called it more like an Island Bar.  There was no atmosphere like Hydro in a 50 mile radius that I know of.   Sadly an amazing atmosphere does not pay the bills and once again hundreds of families and individuals will once again not go out and spend money downtown.

People at their closing told me "we have no reason to come to Columbus now" and "we are not losing a bar, we are losing a family".

The good news is social media will help as literally hundreds of people from Columbus and surrounding communities have signed up to stay involved until a new place to frequent comes along. And it will I believe, at some point.  There is a pent up demand for a laid back, safe bar where a single woman, family with children, tourists and people who want craft beer can go and hang out.

And FUN is not dead.  The Urban Ninja's have no place to meet but they are certainly not dead.        

As Hydro street fades there are still good things happening.  Cardinal Comics who have had a soft opening is doing well and will have a grand opening soon. The Badger Motor Car Company continues to renovate their large building next to Julies Java and will be pretty cool as Darvin's vision is outstanding. We have a new AAA Insurance(???) downtown.  The Governor Lewis Mansion continues to renovate and weddings and receptions for next year are starting to be booked.

In the near future more business by the highway will start to be built next to the Travel Center.  There were 3 new homes built behind the new beautiful water tower and 10 more lots were sold. Columbus is far far from stagnant but we did lose two people that had a vision of what Columbus COULD be.

But we STILL need a place for a good burger and beer that is not made of corn or rice.

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This was the latest photo I put on Fine Art America today. Wouldn't this look awesome on a shower curtain? 

Have a great day


Monday, August 10, 2015

Cumuloform portion of the clouds! AHH HAA

So I watched the GOP debate until I cried UNCLE and could not take it anymore.  But what I didn't hear were the real questions for the candidates.  Only the foo foo questions.

Here are some questions "I" wanted answered.  

Since big game hunts control overpopulation do you support shooting zoo animals? 

If you could be any animal, who would you choose to hunt and kill you?

As President, how would you protect Texas from being invaded by the federal government?

You can get a gun easier than allergy medicines, how will you make it easier to get guns?

As President, what will you do to make sure Obama is blamed for the failures of your term?

We all know that gay marriage causes Global Warming. What will you do to protect Israel from that?
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I see in the latest polls 24 hours after the debate Trump is STILL in the lead by a wide margin. But our hero Mr. Generic Never Convicted is now in 7th place.  

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As you know I sent this photo to my NOAA buddies and oddly they were all befuddled!  Every forwarded email seemed to have big question mark and people thanking me for passing this on as it was a real rarity.

FINALLY I got an answer that I'm still trying to extrapolate. I added my comments in black.

"This is a classic example of clouds forming in a conditionally unstable atmosphere where the cumuloform portion of the clouds (castellatus) (the pretty white puffy parts) are generated from the latent heat released in the smooth bases that formed as a result of waves in a stable layer nearer to the ground.  That latent heat makes the cumulus towers rise. These castellatus clouds are most frequently seen in the morning hours before the sun has heated the ground sufficiently to produce the normal ground based cumulus "bubbles".  As a pilot I always paid attention to the castellatus because they were early indicators of instability in the mid layers of the atmosphere, which frequently allow thunderstorm development later in the day.

Thanks for sharing your photo as well."


Basically there is unstable air at the base of growing clouds that create a smooth bottom as opposed to an overall puffy cumulus cloud.

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Took part in the ever growing Paoli Art Fair also called Art in Mill Park which for me is the nicest setting of all art fairs I do.

All day I had this 100% copper giant was staring at me.


Only a little over $190,000.  Made my work seem cheap.  I was not sure if this was going to hurt or help my sales but when it was all over it was my 5th best show ever.

Peripheral was a big hit in all sizes and iterations.

Oddly what was NOT a big hit but WAS a big hit in Spring Green didn't even get glances!

Knowing what people like at each individual fair blows my mind.

THEN - I have a couple come up to my canopy frantic. They said THANK GOD YOU ARE HERE!
One of my biggest pet peeves are websites that have zero contact information.  It seems MY website is one of those.  I THOUGHT I had contact info, I did at one time . . . I think.  They have been thinking of a piece for 51 weeks after seeing it in Fitchburg.

That problem has been corrected.  

Nearing the end of the show when crowds are dwindling I took this portrait of a family frolicking in the Sugar River. I was just hoping no alligator would get them like in Florida.


One last thing - I've expanded my products to include, framed prints, acrylic prints, metal prints, greeting cards, iPhone cases, Galaxy cases, pillows, bed spreads, tote bags and shower curtains AND t-shirts!   any print you want on any one of those!  BOOM!!!

I'll be slowly populating  (one image each day)  another website rod-melotte.artistwebsites.com/   Working on my Man Cave photos at the moment.  Very good quality products!!

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There are 3000 bear in Florida of which 320 may be killed each year for fun. 1,430 people signed up. Pretty big hunter to bear ratio.

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LOL - The global word for laughing, at least for 51% of facebook people is "haha".  LOL is only used by 1.3%  (my brother who lives in Springfield ILL thought it mean "Land Of Lincoln").  HAHA!
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A HUGE monolith was found 120 feet underwater in the Mediterranean Sea near Malta that seems to have been carved 9350 years ago (give or take 50 years).  They believe it weights 15 tons and has odd holes bored in the base.  Can you say "Atlantes"   just sayin'.

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Honey bee population continues to grow.  There are 2.6 million colonies which is more then in 2006. There is still colony collapse disorder but at least we are starting to control.  Still at war with Monsanto. Good lord I talked to a friend that was one of two to almost get hired by Monsanto  for very very good money.  She turned them down because they were "just evil" and THEN when she said "no thank you" things REALLY got scary weird.  I guess they don't like being turned down.

Nuff said!

Cheerio!  


 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Not my take on the GOP "debate:

Anson Mount is the star of one of my favorite shows "Hell On Wheels".  He is an awesome human being and a very good actor.

On facebook he gave his opinion on the debate and while he seems to lean left he has the ability to look at all sides.  I read his post and agreed so much I'm reprinting it here. 

Personally I think Marco Rubio was the winner and I said years ago when I saw him give a speech he was someone we would see again. Walker was like a default generic fill in candidate.
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First of all, let's give credit where credit is due (and this is the last thing I ever thought I would be leading with): hats off to FoxNews and the moderators. This was no softball game. The questions came fast, they came hard, and they skewered. If anything can be taken from this debate, it has more to do with broader Republican sensibilities at this moment than it does with any particular candidate's platform; namely, the establishment is eager to separate the wheat from the chafe.
So let's start where this desired landed most squarely: Trump. Make no mistake about it. Trump's first step onto the stage was a trap door. Asking who was not willing to support another GOP candidate was tailor-made to single out the man who (perhaps stupidly) already signaled his intentions to consider independence.
But Trump's difficult evening is not, even remotely, the fault of it's host. If it was not brilliantly clear before, now there is no mistaking that he lacks experienced, if not effective, if not EXISTENT, consultation. Despite the prior opinions of most,Trump had an opportunity here to solidify his lead in the polls by further distancing himself from the pack. Case in point, both of the first two questions directed specifically at him had to do with previous slights he had made to women and to Hispanics. While the cultural significance of the resultant uproar (of Trump's previous statements) cannot be denied, he could easily have used the moment to point out the absurdity of being asked about hurting people's feelings instead of policy at a time when everyone on the stage (not to mention the moderators' booth) agrees is a dire one for America. And instead of doubling down (the classic Trump intransigence) on his opinion that all politicians are charlatans who have created and maintained their rather lucrative profession out of whole cloth, he seems to have heeded the calls for "decency" from the GOP establishment, his primary enemy in this realm if there ever was one. In short, Trump was out politicked by (surprise, surprise) the politicians.
Perhaps the only true moment of debate happened between Chris Christie and Rand Paul, two fringe candidates who are clearly vying for the same libertarian/centrist pedestal (if there is one to be had). The result? While, for a moment, it looked like mutual assassination, it succeeded in re-branding both of them tough firebrands, and it was a moment important to both campaigns which have struggled to be heard (Christie's camp clearly spending a significant amount of money for ad space during the debate itself).
The biggest failure (besides Trump) was undoubtedly Bush. While he took no major bumps, a man who enters the debate this far ahead of the others - in terms of fundraising and raw political connection - cannot merely swim with the Sharks. He must feed or he must rise above the fray. Bush clearly lost stature in what I can only assume was an attempt to appear statesmanlike and measured, re-reminding us of his accomplishments in Florida ad nauseam; a mistake that belies the consultation to which he must have privilege. I am literally scratching my head at this performance.
The candidate who appears as though he had the best advisors, the best media training, and the best overall preparation was, without a doubt, Marco Rubio. Here is where the (thus far) under-the-radar campaign approach makes tremendous sense. This is the candidate no one prepared for. This is the candidate who dressed as the tortoise knowing he was a hare. The momentum he will take from this debate's expected shake-up far exceeds any he could have gleaned had he placed a stronger foothold earlier. This is a campaign that has intelligent leadership and understands the importance of letting a candidate be "discovered". Further, Rubio side-stepped any and every invitation to attack his fellow Republicans. Instead, he deftly drove the subject straight to the 500 pound gorilla in the stadium: Hillary. And he took these opportunities to explain to us how he would be the best candidate to face her down.
But after having watched the post debate coverage on FOX, it became clear to me that, for all the political analysis I can bring to bear, nothing accounts for the vagaries of modern populism which can now operate on the order of the second (or the tweet). It is clear that the two big surprises of the night (at least to the Republican base which was selected and polled by the host network) were Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. It's clear that both whipped out some well written sound bites. And both handled them with the poise and timing of experienced debaters. They will certainly show gains in the polls, but I doubt that either of these bumps will prove solidifying, because neither of them really got into the fray or stepped clear of their rehearsal. Huckabee, however, raised eyebrows by successfully eschewing his regular position as the "Mister Rogers" of the GOP (a stance that worked well for him in the war-laden past but does not serve him at all in the current field) by landing the hawkish statement that our military is for "killing people and breaking things". While unpalatable to some, by risking an alienation of the center, Huckabee played a card that is likely to get him into the game.
Cruise shared a similar quality with Scott Walker: both appeared as if they were already being portrayed by members of the SNL cast. While such easily mimicked postures of the overly groomed have never seemed to hurt GOP candidates in the past, it certainly didn't help to set them apart from such a revelation as Rubio, or from the clear belle of the ball (until she drank the spiked punch and fell into the band's drum kit) Trump.
Another standout (according to post debate polls) was Ben Carson. But I predict this will be short lived, particularly given the fact that he seems to think that reminding us of his big brain is a policy platform (not to mention his rocket science tax plan that seems to consist - at least according to his statements tonight - of nothing but a flat rate). Ben Carson is interesting and I'm glad he's in the race. But his lack of experience is blaring and, for this reason, I think he will be one of the first of the major ten to fall by the wayside.
Much like Bush, Walker is going to have to find a message beyond his Hulk-a-Mania declaration that he took on the Wisconsin unions and won. Backward glancing is fine to a degree, but placing this much emphasis on your own record can quickly become an anchor. As a good friend noted, the man we elect President will always be an optimist. Optimism requires a greater emphasis on the future than on the past, no matter how studly you think yours might be.
And then we have John Kasich, the local crowd favorite who barely squeaked into the top 10, who set himself apart of the pack by proving that he is the best Democrat in the 2016 field of Republicans. Like Carson, I am also interested in the diversity of thought that Kasich brings to the race. But this campaign, too, will be short lived.
But if there was one BIG winner of the night, it was undoubtedly Carly Fiorina. Much was made of FOX's decision making process when it came to determining who got into the prime-time debate and who did not. In a recent NPR interview, Fiorina was asked if she was upset with FOX over this process and the fact that she was not likely to make the cut. She deftly answered that she would not presume to tell FOX how to run their business and that she would (essentially) make lemonade out of lemons. And what a batch of lemonade she made. When I last checked, Fiorina was controlling 83% of the post poll votes from a field of SEVEN. This is unheard of and will clearly put her on the stage in California. Not only that, but she will be coming in with the head of steam afforded someone who has already set themselves apart when, perhaps, they had been underestimated. She also holds the Trump-like maverick-ness of someone who has never sought office but wants to change things from the outside, an attractive option for a party currently struggling for identity. My prediction? Watch for Fiorina to come out on the Reagan Library stage looking to dismantle Rubio, or Huckabee or Cruz. None of them is likely to rankle their slowly growing margins by picking a fight, but she has to if she wants to remain viable and moving in the right direction. My gut is that she'll go for the easiest target: Cruz.
Then again, it might make more sense for her to go ahead and further set herself apart by further attacking the establishment that is, by proxy, Bush; and, thereby, hopefully knock off a potential threat at the same time.
Anyway. That's my take. What do y'all think? And be civil please. I'm not looking to host a debate on social justice, just a sounding board for other politicos.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Harley Quinn looks tight

I was going to mention yesterday that in my last 12 rounds at Door Creek I have hit "51", eight times.

Make that 13 rounds and nine, 51's after last night.  I was expecting better after last years great year and it's all because I'm having trouble driving.   The Postman looked at my driver and said "how long have you had a stiff shaft" and I said "ever since I purchased the driver, but as long as a round does not take over 4 hours I'm OK" . . . . . . . . . . . bada boom.  

I probably thought the "s" on the shaft meant "slow", not "stiff" when I bought it.  But my new irons I purchased from Adubya are like butter and I have been crushing my irons shots. I hit my 6 iron 170 last night  (a little too long).

BUT - who cares.

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Sorry for long winded TIF words yesterday. TIFs are something that have fascinated me ever since I went to an anti-TIF seminar. It was one of those eye opening things where you KNOW they are not telling ALL the truth. I became a member of the "Strong Towns"  organization who's vision is "We seek an America where our cities, towns and neighborhoods are financially strong and resilient. There is no shortcut to that kind of enduring prosperity. It must be built, block by block, day after day, by people who care about the places they live in." 

But I don't always agree with EVERYTHING because some of what they say are a little idealist which make sense in theory but real life sometimes needs to be addressed when in a small town like Columbus.

However - some ideas are gold.  For instance, does Columbus really care about it's children?  We have 7 year old's practicing to ride bikes on busy roads with no sidewalks.  We have very very few bike paths and we even have a high school with a neighborhood right next to it with no sidewalks.   

But that is my personal windmill to chase.  Until someone gets hurt no one will do anything . . .wait that sounds like a gun thing and no one does anything there either.   
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Here is a fun and useless fact - It was once illegal in Wisconsin to not serve apple pie with cheese.  Who makes these laws.

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I sent new photos into ONLYINYOURSTATE and our rating immediately dropped from #2 to #10.  My bad.  You can blame me.  Do we get rated daily?  

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Today was the last day I have to wake up at 5:45, well . . . at least until Saturday for the Paoli Art Fair.  This is DJs last day of work as she retires. 36 years, ALWAYS working, never a time in her life when she did not have a job working for the man.  1 BILLION hours of sick leave accumulated (which is the key to retiring slightly early). 

What irritates me a TINY bit (irritate is way way too strong of a word) are jokes about having to be home with my wife all the time.  

Why would you NOT want to be home with your best friend.  We have discussed the ramifications  and changes. We're good. We communicate pretty well with each other.  As you can probably guess I put my emotions out there for all to see.  We don't play games and know where each other stand on most things. 
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Hurricane Soudelor - wow - this will cause a little damage. It should make landfall as a cat 4 hurricane. Think of the winds we had in Columbus  95-110mph.  This will be in a sustained 180mph range and add 24 inches of rain to the pot.

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I will not have any Super Bowl ad's this year as they raised the price to $5 million for a 30 second spot.  I believe Mullins and Cardinal Comics (111 S Ludington Columbus) will maybe fork out $5,000,000 but I might be wrong on that.
****** Speaking of comics.  The new movie being filmed "Suicide Squad" looks awesome.  I would put this in the "adult" comic category.  But fear not - Cardinal Comics has graphic novels (books with pictures) for all ages and will have a mega grand opening in September.  They have had a soft opening as they slowly stock up (and seem to be doing well).  Lot's of cool things for kids of all ages. 

The character Harley Quinn looks tight!





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Nuff said - goad trip to Nevada Bobs for a club.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

We're having a TIF

This is so awesome.

1000 musicians are performing one song to get the Foo Fighters to have a concert.  19 million views as of last night.  For some reason I get sort of emotional when I watched this. Put on your headphones and watch.

https://youtu.be/JozAmXo2bDE



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Then there is Meryl Streep the Nickleback of actors.  "Rickie and the Flash"?  Really?  She had to learn to play a guitar for her role.  She is so brave,  she should be nominated for an Oscar.

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I captured these clouds over Madison (well, I didn't actually capture them but . .) and forwarded the photos to who I thought would be a cloud expert.  I received an email back saying they were forwarded to not only Dr. Steve Ackerman but famous cloud photographer expert Grant Goodge for an explanation.

My gut feeling it's some secret government cloud seeding to control our brains.  I know mine is.

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Celebrity Apprentice 15: GOP,  is on tomorrow night.  The funny thing is the 10 GOP hopefuls that didn't make the cut get to sit at the children's table and have their own debate.

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If you are out at 8:51 tonight be watching for the International Space Station as it fly's by.  Rumor has it they will be throwing candy so get your kids ready. Be careful though as that candy will be reaching terminal velocity so if any make it through the atmosphere let it bounce first.

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The Columbus Area Historical Society has come out with a new holiday ornament.  HEY - I've seen that photo before.  :-)



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In case you missed the ultra exciting news.  On the website ONLYINYOURSTATE  Columbus was ranked #2 as the "Most Beautiful, Charming Small Town In Wisconsin".  And to show off our beauty this is one of the two photos shown.


this is from the new Water and Light infinity pool somewhere around the water tower.

But the kicker, the image that will have people flocking to Columbus is this one


I contacted the people responsible and have sent better photos.


Of course there are some questions about being ranked #2 in the first place.  NOT that I do not believe Columbus is awesome but . . . . .

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Why does this remind me of Columbus


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OH - Lets not forget what is happening on the other side of the world.  Super Typhoon Soudelor



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In other news - Council voted to create a "pay as you go" TIF near the travel center. Which is a good thing . . . I guess.

I'm not a fan of TIF districts at all for a number of reason. There are a lot of anti-TIF articles out there that all miss fundamental facts and a lot of pro TIF articles that also seem to only see one side.  There are bad TIF's and not so bad TIFs.

The the one problem with a normal TIF as I see it  (besides making a towns government put out a lot money on risk) is this.

Property taxes are collected to pay for infrastructure.  Property taxes don't even come close to the REAL cost of said infrastructure but that is how american rolls.  If a household really wanted to pay for the roads and plumbing I suspect we would pay twice the amount in taxes.

ANYWAY - With a "normal" TIF the government helps developers by paying for the new infrastructure and in 20+ years get paid back when said property is worth a LOT more (in theory) IF the developer actually created business (that is the risk part).  We don't really reap the rewards of bigger and bigger taxes for 20+ years but the argument is once that TIF time is up we get a boat load of cash to pay for the infrastructure.

Here is the problem - we are now collecting and paying for a lot of 20 year old infrastructure that will need to fixed in the near future.  Normally taxes are collected on the theory that it accrue's for 20 or 30 years in a bucket and once a road needs fixing you have collected cash for 20+ years to pay for it. . . . . . in theory.  But the problem is all those roads will need to be fixed but you you missed 20 years of collecting taxes and have only a decade to collect the money.

Plus we have maintenance for all the new roads and infrastructure NOT collecting taxes and it seems we can not afford the roads we have now.  TIF's make politicians look good because we gain business and who cares what happens in 20 years.  As long as we keep expanding the money rolls in.  Sort of a ponzi scheme if you think about it.

In reality, a corn field is much more financially sound. It costs nothing to maintain, there are no market down turns to and we get a small amount of taxes every year.  If your ONLY growth is through a TIF, no growth is better.

BUT - reality sets in. How many businesses has Columbus lost to other towns in the last 10 years. We are in a very very competitive world and business brings more business.  Everytime we lose a non TIF business to another town we lost taxes.

HOWEVER - we voted on a "pay as you go" TIF. This means that the developers pay for infrastructure and we pay them back a little at a time so there is no risk to the city if nothing ever gets built. it's up to them to bring in business and build infrastructure but we pay them back over time but not all at once.

It's a gentler, kinder TIF (but certainly not perfect).

The industries in this vision, I believe, fit perfectly and take nothing away from downtown where they would not fit at all.  At least the ones currently on tap.

For instance, if it was for a restaurant I would not be happy as we need places downtown. I do not want to make it even easier for people to skip the downtown area.

Yet another thing anti TIF articles never ever talk about are profits from water and light usage.  When May Steel (I know I got that name wrong ) got a better deal in Fall River, Columbus Water and Light took a BIG hit and lost a lot of profits as they were big water users.  No profits mean rates go up. We WANT industry that use a lot of water and electricity.

So  a TIF that has industry is much much better then a TIF for apartments because 1. Water and Light make more profits which can be passed along to you and me and 2, much higher property taxes.

The very BEST thing is to not have TIFs at all and have industry populate naturally as it has done for millenia!  But again. if you don't give a business a deal they go elsewhere unless you have a REALLY REALLY good piece of land.

NOW - tear the above apart. It's just how I think of things and there is a lot I left out but that is how I feel.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

mmmmmmm American Cheese

Fist pounding, yelling and insults - and that was just deciding how best to micro manage staff on deciding what copier they should select (that first part could be slightly over the top I suppose).  Either the majority of council  1.  have nothing better to do then take 10 minutes AGAIN to decide and debate on the correct copier or 2. believe staff does not have the ability to choose a copier on their own.  I thought Council was for governing a city and not for debating the purchase office equipment.  But maybe I'm wrong.     

BUT, you should see closed session when, hate, anger, arrogance, disrespect, ludicrous acquisitions and total uncontrolled buffoonish chaos reign, AND IT'S NOT EVEN ON TOPIC (at least it should be on topic).

It would be funny if it was not so sad and embarrassing.  I kept out of the frey last night - I was in it last meeting so I'm not innocent.  When cornered I have this bad tendency to fight back (I got beat up in junior high once by a bully LOL).   

OH wait - am I being too transparent again?  I'll drop the subject.

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Then there is our buffoon Governor who is so smart economically that he has a net wort of -$71,000. Which includes a $15,000, 27% credit card bill.  27%?

Wait - have you noticed that the blog after council I'm always a little irritable?  I really loath politics when politicians act like politicians and not like regular people that just have more facts at hand then most people. 

STOP STOP - get on another subject, don't let others silly anger rule me.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Kraft Foods recalled 36,000 cases of individually packaged American Cheese because of a choaking hazard because the plastic might not come off.

This means that people are eating American Cheese with so rapaciously they never notice the plastic or the plastic and cheese flavor are totally indistinguishable.    mmmmmmm American Cheese the Miller Lite of cheese product.

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University of Wisconsin was ranked as the #3 party school!!!  Well done!   U of Illinois was #1 and U of Iowa was #2 - GO BIG TEN!!   

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Seems 33% of the medal winners in the last three Olympics were doping.  Can't trust any sport.  At least the NFL has that problem licked - no one ever gets caught for doping so it must not be happening.  Same with professional golf. Weird how some players got REALLY big REALLY fast . . . . . Tiger?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Clyman-tized

European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent.  As a courtesy, we have added a notice on your blog to help meet these regulations.

WELL - I hope it works.  I guess if you are in the EU you see a new warning about cookies. If it doesn't work please send bail money as I might be extradited to somewhere in Europe for "processing".

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A good friend of mine contracted me last week. We became friends in the Public Enemies era of Columbus and her village was in desperate need for a photographer and I was the very last choice for help.

I agreed and DJ and I spent time in Clyman, population 422.  Did you know the post office in Clyman has been operating since 1849?   Clyman is a young town with a medium age of 36 (Columbus is 38).

ANYWAY - for the first time in 50 years the 118 year old Firefighters Tournament was being held in Clyman and they wanted me to sort of document the event. There was a week long softball tournament of which I see Columbus did not have a team and there was a big celebration Sunday ending with a firefighter barrel water tournament thingy (for lack of a better word).

Of course when I agreed to take photos I completely forgot about Ale and Arts in Columbus. ARG!!
Clyman Fire Department
They had a fantastic Fish Fry Friday night and an amazing Chicken Dinner Sunday. I'm still trudging through the 299 photos I took. This was a pretty big deal for a pretty small town.

The photo on the right is of a foreign exchange kid from Tokyo.  Talk about a culture shock being 12 years old coming from Tokyo (populating 13 million) and ending up in Reeseville Wisconsin (population 708).

I was told he has a good command of the English language but is very quiet. In Japan children are seen not heard.  And in the States strangers talk to strangers which is unheard of in Japan.  There was a thing on travel tips for Japanese tourists on what to expect of Americans.  One was that we tend to talk to cashiers in grocery stores and will strike up conversations with a common stranger for no reason at all.

These guys won a goldfish.  WHAT LUCK!

One of the tournaments was the firefighter water squirting barrel thing which on a 90 degree day felt pretty darn good at times.

Here is the Clyman Firefighters who I hear were ROBBED from victory.


That was pretty fun to watch.

I think there were about 10 fire departments in the tournament.   Kids loved getting wet.

The Clyman parade was really excellent. Every fire department marched through town, very professional.


I'm kind of laughing at that photo bomb on the bottom.


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SO - seems people were wondering where I was at Arts and Ales. Frankly, A&A is a poor fit for me on a number of levels and I'll give it to you straight.  For one thing I'm not sure how many people attending A&A want to spend $385 on a piece of at work which is my average price.

It's problematic getting my canopy up and down and I really really loath art fairs that have other things going on besides art.  It's not conducive to sales and taking a canopy down (normally 1.5 hours) becomes more like 3 hours when people are still around and I have to drive a trailer in and out of partiers.

When I was in Spring Green for their art fair they actually had a starting time and a ending time and announced it. It was GREAT. Vendors loved it.  There is nothing worse then trying to pack up and people are still looking and talking and milling about getting in the way.  You have put in a 12 hour day with no breaks and are normally hot, cranky, tired and hungry even if you have had a GREAT day.

A&A is a fantastic event for crafts, not so much for large cumbersome art and large trailers.  Have it in Firemans Park would be a different story but A&A is meant to get people downtown (that place with the buildings if you are unfamiliar with that term) of which Hydro Street and the Ninja's do a fantastic job.  Those two groups have done more for the downtown then people realize.

From what I saw yesterday Arts and Ales is sort of out growing their spot and need to add another street.

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On this day in 1492 Columbus set sail with three ships to find a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.  Of course Columbus never ever set foot on what we call America! EVER! Never really got close actually.

Giovanni Caboto was actually closer. The US was fighting England and not Spain and no one wanted to give credit top Giovanni Caboto who started England's colonization of most of North America. So we gave credit to Columbus.  Our little town COULD be called Caboto.

Columbus "discovered" the Bahamas and that was the closest he ever got.

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I don't have many things on my bucket list.

A REAL Roller Coaster is one.
A Nightwish concert is another and attending Burning Man in Black Rock Desert in Nevada is another


The event is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.  This years theme is "Carnival of Mirrors".   I think it's the closest thing to Mad Max in the States.

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Have a great Monday!  Beautiful week coming out!!  I have an Art Fair in Paoli Saturday and Fitchburg the next Saturday.