Monday, June 27, 2016

a disturbing and prevalent issue ???

NEW FLASH - one of my first friends in Columbus was John Pratt - former VP of the F&M Bank.

When he retired he up and moved his family to Florida and ever since he has been taunting us on Facebook about how glorious it is down there with constant photos of sunsets in his awesome location on the shores with swimming pools and so forth and he was leading the good life.

WELL - seems his wife got a teaching job at the Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Cincinnati Ohio so they are loading up the truck and moving to Cincinnati.

Not passing judgement on Cincinnati vs, Cape Coral FL


in other interesting news - my brother has FINALLY announced he is retiring from Melotte Morse Leonatti Parker, Ltd. in Springfield ILL and they made an offer on a house in Kewaunee WI which they called "up north".  The average home price is $95K and if there was one guy that I would want to have look at a 1935 house it's an architect who specializes in historical buildings.  So in a few years Welcome back to Wisconsin the land that actually has a BETTER, more stable government then Illinois.


We all know my fascination with "muradosmann: on Instagram who have >100 photos of their travels around the world like the ones below.


OK - we got the hands wrong!


I've made steps to not post redundant photos.   This is at the peak (also known as most terrifying part) of the road through Rocky Mountain National Park.  If your car goes off the road grab those long poles.

This is one of my favorite shots so far.  We were coming back from a hike and I saw this in my rear view mirror and stopped.

Another train shot at a railroad museum 
I took this of my best friend in Grand Lake where I decided to NOT have YET ANOTHER blah 1/2 pound burger.  I've never seen a land with so many average tasting 1/2 pound burgers with American cheese.  If you are going to force a half pound at least make it tasty. BUT NO!!!!   


It seems George Will the conservative columnist /pundit for FOX News has had enough and has quit the GOP.  Pretty big deal.  He says VOTE FOR CLINTON.  It will only be 4 years and MAYBE by that time the GOP will not be full of buffoons backing Trump.

Theie are actually smart Republicans and I feel sorry for them. I know a few that are pro Obama Care and the total collapse of the Republican Party has to be a pain in the butt.

then there is BREXIT and that little bit of stupidness.  Seems MANY who voted to leave are now like what?  we won? Can we take back our vote? We wanted to just be heard not REALLY change things THAT much.

Yea - older, white lower class voters voted to leave while 75% of the younger people saw the REAL problems and wanted to stay.  The world just became a slightly more dangerous place.

At least Trump is taking his victory laps as a vote for BREXIT was a vote for him . . .he thinks.  No - not really.  England is a very very white country and you can not compare England to the US.


Barnes & Noble are testing selling booze in their stores . . . really?

Mac and Cheetos hit's Burger King today - who will stand in line with me.  $2.49 and only 310 calories. Marconi covered with Cheeto dust and THEN deep fried and then seasoned with irrevocable loss of self-respect.  I'M IN!

And from the REALLY? files.  New Hampshire signed H.B. 1547 which makes it illegal to have sex with animals.  Oddly there are 9 states that STILL say it's OK.  A press release said  "sex with animals “disturbing and prevalent issue” in New Hampshire".  WHAT??   Is this something I need to watch out for if on vacation in New Hampshire?

Have a great Monday

Friday, June 24, 2016

Columbus "such an awesome little town"

We had Home Brew Club last night and a few new people showed up. The thing that interested me was that one person had moved from Denver to Columbus because of a job in Sun Prairie.  I asked "why Columbus" and the answer was it was a LOT cheaper then moving to Sun Prairie and the town seemed more liberal and friendly.

That was so awesome to hear.  A common complaint is that Columbus is expensive. Yet REAL facts don't substantiate this. The Columbus tax rate is lower then many surrounding communities IF you could compare (which you can't because each town has different services) 

Our tax rate is lower then Rio, Sun Prairie, Portage, Madison, Lodi, Randolph, Beaver Dam, Poynette, Wisconsin Dells, and Cambria (to name a few).

Being an alderman for the last 3 years all I ever hear are people complaining. No matter what an alderman does all he will hear is complaints about EVERYTHING. Even when roads are being fixed, it's people complaining.  Even when our debt limits and financial standing is in the best it's been in a long long time, people complain. We make a GREAT deal to get land cheap for a new fire station in a perfect location , people complain.  So when I hear someone making an informed decision to move to Columbus because it's "such an awesome little town" . . . . it's like a breath of fresh air. 


Tried fixed this for blogger, yesterdays shot seemed weird. 

We were going up to the summit in Rocky Mountain Natl Park and I took this shot.  What struck me were all the dead trees. Literally >60% dead due to the Pine Beetle.

 And the pine beetle is due to a drought that weakens the trees.  On the bright side, all the dead trees reduce fire danger because of the lack of needles so there is no crowning of the fire.  Plus with trees laying on the ground they are farther apart so less fire spreading.

Something interesting happens with the fallen trees. Seems this wild flowers love dead trees.

But DJ loves the live ones.  This beautiful 10 story tall spruce called to her.


Oh - my buddy and fellow founder of the Sun Prairie Worthogs (wort is what beer is before it has alcohol) that is building a brewery in Sun Prairie and will have his day in front of the SP planning commission.

Here is what the brewery will look like and will be next to Market Street Diner in SP.  It's getting close!!

Cool stats I just found!

Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history
have a great weekend 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

More photos from Colorado

I have not seen what Andy Traxler calls the World Series of TV - BIG BROTHER which I 100% agree (golf night last night in the rain).  But I'll have a running commentary of this outstanding show.  I'm sure that I will hate all the characters this year until I get to know them.   That is the greatness of that show.  Take a number of human caricature's, put them in a house and watch them vote people out through out the summer.

If you have ever played strategy games in your life you will LOVE this show.


Driving through Nebraska we stopped at a rest stop that had an 116 foot tall wind turbine blade.  Pretty impressive.  Well a woman had a few kids and they thought it was pretty neat also and finally we heard her say "OK OK stand next to that stupid windmill thing".   WELL - I could not let that opportunity go to waste.

Weird how a 10mm lens compacts everything.


You won't see him at first but there is a marmot laying on that second rock on the left

When Elwood and I camped out a few decades ago in the Rockies we were on a trail about 10 miles from base camp.  We were in our tent when something started to scratch at the tent walls.  We were freaking BEAR BEAR?    WWhat we found out from fellow back packers was that there were a couple marmots jumping on the tent and sliding down.

Yea - THEY were having fun.    this was the same trip we had a mule eat our food and also the same trip when we could not get a omelette to turn hard on our little camp stove so Elwood just drank it.


A shot that seemed to lose a little color in blogger and looks better bigger but the train was chugging along in the canyon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Trains but no birds

Venezuela - talk about a country in a world of hurt. 

We watched States of Undress on the Viceland Network where our favorite model Hailey Gates goes to weird countries to look at fashion like Venezuela and could not believe what a mess that country
is.  For instance - you cannot buy toilet paper and there are no longer feminine hygiene products.  In fact you can not really buy ANYTHING - except beauty products. 

Anyway - I was just seeing stuff on the news - I don't think I'll vacation there.


The photo I think I posted yesterday needed to be corrected.  Experts now say this are ELK droppings, not moose.


One of the things I was looking at when in Winter Park were the trains.  I knew the people we got the condo from were big train fans so my goal as to try to get some mountain train shots.  DJ and I now have a running joke.

We were always on the lookout for trains and every time we heard a whistle or spotted a train I would blurt out  "WHAT TIME IS IT!"  Thinking if I knew when the trains were running I could time things.

Last night with the windows open DJ said - "I hear a train" and I responded "WHAT TIME IS IT!".


Sadly the one shot I really like I don't have at the moment but here are a few.

Nope - not Amtrak

This one is but since it was not so wonderful I did a thing to it.

OK - the original looks slightly different but there is a story.

There is this sports complex near Fraser (the town that was there before Winter Park) that had a big open field next to train tracks.  We thought that we would just take a look, figure out the best spot, what lens and what background and so forth.  Photographers call this "making your own luck".   

I have thousands of locations in my brain and are just waiting for the right light and so forth and MAYBE I will get "lucky".

Well.  We are in the middle of the field and all of a sudden we hear a train whistle.  F*CK I scream and I am literally sprinted 100 yards to the car.   I grab my camera and am sprinting back and DJ is yelling  HURRY HURRY!  

I get close close and snap maybe 4 shots before it passes.  I'll show the original soon.  But I got carried away on this one.

In reality there are a lot of trains going through the Moffat Tunnel. I just have to find the best places (still looking) and wait.  

 Something of interest at Winter Park is that this is where Eisenhower came to relax when he was President and his favorite fishing hole is near the Safeway (home of the best sandwiches EVER).

The tiny lake is now a children only fishing spot (adults are not allowed to fish there - thank you professor Obvious) and there is a statue of Ike.


An interesting note is that we got 4 mpg more driving at high altitudes then on the plains.  I was asking about this on a Subaru forum and it is do to the lack of oxygen. They had all sorts of calculations and so forth but I thought it was interesting.

I tell ya - at 9000 feet the air is thin and took some getting use to. We lugged our luggage up to the 3rd floor that first night and HOLY CRAP we were gasping for air!   By the end of the vacation no problem but those first few days  GASP GASP - we felt like fish out of water.

And where are the birds! - All we saw were Magpie, Robins, Hummingbirds (a LOT) and crows.  Very few birds at 9000.

More tomorrow!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016


We're back from our Winter Park adventure.  This was not really a back country vacation more of a Rocky Mountain resort vacation in the high country.  We were at 9000 feet for a week and it did take a little to get used to. The air is pretty thin those first few days and the air is pretty thick on the way home. 

Winter Park is a ski area in a valley between mountains and is the mountain biking capitol of the US. 

The saying is, you go to Vail to see, go to Breckenridge to be seen and go to Winter Park to ski. 

Won't do a trip report in one sitting but here are the cliff notes (if anybody remembers cliff notes). 

The photos are all iPhone shots at the moment as I'm still getting back into the swing of things at home. 

Sunday - Nebraska is NOT that ugly at all - seriously.  It was very beautiful in a flat Wisconsin style. . . but it's like that for a long long time.

Monday - Colorado without the Rockies would be a shit hole state.  BUTT UGLY.  

Monday - Denver and west - WOW - We did not get photos because I was driving and DJ was saying OMG but we drove into the most beautiful storm ever.  In fact the Denver news was all about other peoples photos.  

Picture this - leaving Denver with the Rockies looming in front of us.  A huge storm is just hitting this side with cloud to ground lightning and rivers of rain dropping from the sky through dabbled orange sunlight.  Golf ball size hail 20 miles away and traffic was crawling at 30mph.  It was during this when we hit the first switchbacks. 

Tuesday - explore Winter Park resort and look for the Moffat Tunnel which we eventually found.  

Wednesday - The Rocky National Park terror ride. Hey - driving was OK but if you are someone who has never been to the Rockies or have ever seen REAL mountains that road is terrorizing as a passenger with no control.  

Here is the only camera shot I have so far,  Notice the lack of guard rails. What you don't see is this literally drops 1000 feet. They do not use guard rails because they want people to GO SLOW. This is at the top where it was relatively "flat".  When you are in a car you can not see ANYTHING but blacktop and sky!  

Thursday - Drove around getting to know the area and trying to take train photos. 

Dead trees everywhere - maybe 60% are dead. So sad

Friday - Hike in the quasi wilderness.

Saturday - Explore Grand Lake

Sunday - the drive of Woe

Monday - home 

Nuff for today - just a heads up saying we are ALIVE. 


Thursday, June 9, 2016

He's OK

Happy 20th Anniversary to US!!   20 years ago today DJ and I were married in Las Vegas - the biggest and best gamble of my life and I'm a huge winner (not sure if DJ believes she won but . . . ) .

I can remember sitting in the Rio after Eddie the Limo Driver let us off in his old Limo with a broken AC and thinking it was so surreal. Best 20 years of my life.

This COULD be a headline

Columbus Mayor Electrocuted Putting Out Fire With Snow Shovel.  

In other news . . . . . .During City Council sessions there are always moments between the action where we can have a quick conversation and Tuesday I mentioned the storm that ended electricity to a number of blocks but I was unprepared to hear this story.

Seems a tree came down on a power pole (trees are a danger, we must eliminate all trees in Columbus - God is trying to give us a message) the same pole that had issues in the BIG storm last July.  But all I could get out of it was at some point, the Mayor was trying to put out a pole fire with a snow shovel and was being told to stop. At least that was what I got out of it.

Yes - images in your brain like that are what aneurysms are made of.  I'm not sure if I heard it right or what the rest of the story is but then we had to get back to work and I missed the rest of the story.  

More on this as the facts become clearer.


Did I mention that the Deforest Art Fair was weird? I have never seen so many pregnant people at an art fair.  It was unreal. Seriously.  I always see one here and there but it was like a preggers convention,

Speaking of art - I had this image printed on metal and it looks outstanding. I'm not sure what I'll do about printing on metal - it ain't cheap and not all images are metal-worthy but hmmmmmm!

BTW - an 11x14 metal, ready for hanging is $95 and it REALLY POPS!


The water tower sedum is starting to bloom

The goal is to fill in all the crack so weeds will not grow - don't look at those ground weeds. 

We still have a lot of work to do but seeing that last years work is working and we continue to plant more and more every few weeks we are confident. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Sort of a lack of energy last night in Council.

Something I learned last night - a culvert that carries water is a navigable waterway.  OK! well . . .  you won't catch me going through it.

It was a odd City Council last night -  a lack of energy.  I can partially blame myself as I was trying to get back into the swing of things after missing the last session and a workshop.  I found myself a little hesitant as I felt I had missed so much.  I watched the videos but it was not the same.

Add to the fact that Rick Royan had resigned which was the first official word I had heard of it and Thom was absent. Those to are the construction guru's on council and both were missed. OH - I feel we were good to go but I always appreciated Ricks questions (most of the time) and Mike always has great in sites on all things construction.

It just felt odd and a little out of sorts.  Clark was in the crowd, we should have enlisted him as an alternate.


The Cubs - STILL - after 1/3 of the season is over, are playing like one of the best teams in MLB history as they continue to totally dominate the league.  Only four teams accrued a higher run differential than this year’s Cubs in MLB history.  Yea yea - still a long season to play but even after 53ish games - it's remarkable.  Only the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1912 New York Giants, 1929 Philadelphia Athletics and the 1939 Yankees have dominated teams as much as the Cubs. 


The REAL poles were off a little as they predicted a 9 point victory for Clinton last night. Of course the poles the networks were touting had it much closer because they needed a close race to get viewers.  

Bernie will relax a bit after tomorrow's meeting with Obama. Bernie asked for an audience and I feel he wants to make a deal where he will stop going after Clinton if Obama/Clinton agree to work on increasing minimum pay (I will gladly pay more for my french fries if I know a full time worker does not need another job to pay his bills) and a few other things that both parties want anyway.

I'm still not convinced Trump will be the GOP nominee  -  remember - the GOP have a rule that they can change the rules on a whim.


Washington DC just vote to up their min wage to $15.


Got a cat?  Have problems with in the kitchen with wandering paws?  Check this out

The Quirky Mocubo Cutting Board only $17ish

And BTW - The Ove Glove is an awesome tool - seriously. We have had one for years and they are worth every penny


If you are out and about drive past the water tower.  The sedum Elwood and I planted is starting to bloom.  We took all the weeds out of the rock cracks and added about 3 cubic yards of bad soil (on a very hot day last year).  Then added some good soil and planted sedum.

If you like, feel free to take some sprigs and replant them.  Just pinch one off at the bottom, take off a few bottom leaves, lay it on the ground and cover the bottom with dirt. Don't plant upright.  All of those in the rock wall came from just a few sprigs we have been growing for 3 or 4 years.  I'll have some photos tomorrow. It was too shady this morning.

Once we have control of all the crevices we're going to put in some veins of color.  It's a 5 year project and this is year 2.

This is my patio from last week. We were going to do some more landscaping Saturday but - - - could be a tad hot.    Actually this could be from 2 weeks ago as the clematis is near the bottom of the deck and the salvia is blooming now!    Pretty neat as this was completely bare soil 6 years ago.

That is creeping thyme on the rocks which will bloom in millions of tiny purple flowers in a few days.  Sweet Woodruf with the white flowers which smell great, The taller plant is red chokeberries which Robins and Cedar Waxwings LOVe in the spring and my favorite plant with color in all seasons.  I think we have 9 now around the house. Freaking awesome in the fall.  These have been eaten back by rabbits a little but they come back stronger.   

Blogger makes this look a little too green for some reason. maybe my computer here?


Teleprompter Trump is funny 

As one journalist tweeted

Teleprompter trump is funny because he reads a couple lines then he ad libs to emphasize what he just read, but this time in his own voice.

I remember when Trump said (I will) “"outlaw teleprompters for anybody running for president."

He has a small problem with his campaign. He can't hire people because no one wants to work for him.  I guess the last 3 or 4 people he as tried to hired as a communication director have said "NO".


I'm thinking of moving my back teeth to the front so I can chew steaks faster. I think God messed up with teeth. Why have the back teeth wait for their meat when they can start chewing seconds earlier. - just thinking out loud.  


20 years ago Thursday I married the most wonderful person in the world . . . or at least the only one that would agree to marry me. 20 years ago TODAY we were flying to Las Vegas.  Las Vegas was a cool 108 degrees, a record for that date

10 years ago tomorrow we redid our vows in Sedona AZ at a vortex.  As we drove through Las Vegas they were breaking another record for that day at 110.  Tomorrow it will be 108 degrees - NOT a record.

So this year we are taking a vacation to the mountains where it will be cooler. Stay tuned.

Saturday - looking at 95 real temp with heat index 100+ (after 100 who cares).  High of 82 on Sunday.  Rain Thursday and Friday morning just to get more humidity in the air for Saturday!

see ya

Monday, June 6, 2016

Here comes REAL summer

Seems while I was at a sunny art fair Saturday, Columbus was in the news with funnel clouds being filmed.

Yea - NOAA had a big FAIL on their Saturday forecast as Deforest had a few drops of rain and then pretty sunny most of the day . . . NOT that I'm complaining.

Columbus dodged a bullet Saturday night as a pretty big storm zoomed past and missed us by 10 miles and Beaver Dam received 0.60 inches of rain in a quick storm.

And last night a very fast moving storm hit us with 0.09 but took down a tree which like the game Mouse Trap took down power poles and lit them on fire.

Seems that storm produced a HUGE amount of double rainbow images in the internet from Baileys Harbor to Miller Park.  It's actually amazing how many rainbow images were on Facebook last night.
Took this from my back yard.

With weather on my mind - HERE COMES SUMMER!!

Look for heat indices nearing or topping 100 this next weekend.  I know I'm excited as I'll be in the middle of Nebraska and you know they love heat there (neighborhood watch has been notified) and will be in Denver by this time (in 7 hours) a week from today and then Winter Park an hour later.

I need train/tunnel shots so this is a business trip.   ANYWAY

The heat will start Friday with Saturday being the hottest at 93ish (the forecast temp has been rising)  with a VERY HIGH dew point (low 70s) so it's going to be REALLY muggy!


We have all seen this you tube video right? The "Laughing Chewbacca Mask Lady"

Well - she has made $450,000 dollars from YouTube for this.  I guess 5.5 million views makes you some money.


According to Bloomberg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” was the biggest movie this weekend and with the success of “The Angry Birds Movie,” as Bloomberg says - It appears to indicate that Hell is empty and all the devils are here.

 Donald Trump - I have nothing to add.  I seriously believe he is unstable!


In case you missed it Friday - DO NOT RINSE OFF YOU DISH'S before you put them into the dishwasher.

Rinsing will make you dishes dirtier.  The soap you use will not activate it's enzymes if it does not find sufficient amount of dirt  and your dish washer sensor will see no dirt and not use enough water.

They work in tandem.  We loaded our washer last night with really mucky dried on stuff on the dishes and they came out spotless.  Even dried on cheese was gone.    Let science do it's work.



Friday, June 3, 2016

Secret Lives

remember Danica McKeller?  Also known as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years. Well - it seems she dropped acting and became one of the smartest math geniuses in the world. In fact she actually co-authored a new theorem in math.

Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin-Teller models on Z2  (not a CLUE what that does) and she has written four math books.  WHO KNEW

Then there is Hedwig Kiesler in the 1930s. A young star known for her sexy beauty and a racy movie called Ecstasy.  Her claim to fame was looking gorgeous and stupid at the same time.

She was married to one of the richest people in the world who happened to be Austria's leading arms maker and a key to the Nazi's.  Being a showpiece she attended all the dinners with Hitler and his gang of Trump wanna be's. She would sit there looking stupid and gorgeous but listening.

WELL - In 1937 she drugged her maid.  Took her clothes and sold her jewelry and escaped to London.  Very long story short was that she was the key in creating anti-jamming software in WWII torpedoes for the Americans and now every cell phone in the world uses the same technology.

OH - her name became Hedy Lamarr, one of the great pioneers of wireless communications and a few movies to boot!


Art fair in Deforest Saturday!  if you are looking for something to do I'll be in front (literally) of the Library.


STOP RINSING YOUR DISHES BEFORE THE DISHWASHER - if you rinse you are making your dishes dirtier.  Your soap does not activate it's enzymes because there is no dirt.  Scrap the big parts off and put them in the washer.

Modern dishwashers have a sensor that spots how much dirt and then uses the appropriate amount of water.  Then your soap  sees the dried on food and releases enzymes.   In reality the more dirt the cleaner your dishes will get because more water is used and your soap can do what it's suppose too!

If you rinse your washer will think everything is clean, use less water and your soap will be stagnant and not clean anything.  Technology at work.  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Melottes Melody Mix Ups

There was a huge fire in Madison yesterday and one of the problems MFD was having was water pressure because the water mains were not looped and were a dead end.

In Columbus we have been closing as many opening as many dead ends as we can for just that situation. If you remember last year Water and Light closed Tower Drive for a day to open a loop that goes to the hospital.  Just some of the little things people don't hear about.  I hear a lot of complaints about how much it costs for water but Columbus is a very safe community.  Many places with cheaper water do not have as good of an infrastructure as we do.  

We can handle 3 pretty good size fires at once - unlike MANY towns with cheaper water.    


 Melotte's Melody Mix-ups!  OH YEA BABY!

The story goes that when dad lost his job (before he worked at Parker Pen) we had no money BUT, a huge house.  Seems a music man came to Fort Atkinson selling accordions.  He opened a store and sold many many accordions and once the market was full he left town . . . . like The Music Man.

Someone had to teach all these new players how to play so dad decided to start teaching accordion to pay the mortgage.   

Yup - that is me - the little guy on the right with my brother and dad.  I still have that accordion. 

WELL - he gets a lot of students as there were a lot of accordions and they paid the bills and my mom acted as hostess.   

Next thing you know we are in parades and performing in concert halls. I remember once I played "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley" in front of a crap load of people.  What a depressing song THAT is. 

You just don't see many accordion bands anymore. We kept getting bigger and bigger as time went on performing in larger and larger parades.  

I'm not sure what brought us down and am waiting for a "Behind the Music" special/expose' so I can find out.  

Someone in the family was the slide guitarists on The Lawrence Welk Show but I'm not sure who that was as I was never a real fan of Lawrence. Since our family was not really close I have no idea who anyone is.  I'm not sure I ever met my grandfather.     


Had my best round at Door Creek since June 17th 2015 last night.  It was actually FUN to golf as opposed to frustrating. 


A new documentary is coming out soon called USS Indianapolis: The Legacy Project.  This one was
a work in progress for many years and FINALLY Mel was interviewed by National Geographic and some of it was used in the documentary.

This is DJ with Sarah Vladec the producer as they were scheming on ways to get Mel to interview.

We saw the first cut last year and it was pretty amazing the stories and combat footage and films of the rescue.  Not sure how this will be presented to the public but I can't wait.

Have not heard how the National Geo group is doing with looking for the Indy.  The same group that found the Titanic is searching.  Plus HBO is still working on their Band of Brothers style show about the Indy.