Thursday, July 14, 2011

April 1st thru the 11th

April 1st

B4 school we sat the kids down & told them plans for Lu to get her own room were scrapped because, vasectomy doc be damned, we found out we were going to have another baby. It was an April Fool's joke and they totally bought it. Still, their reactions were a surprise. YaYa was happy (!?), LuLu was upset, and the two little ones didn't know how to react but seemed pleased. It's a shame it was just a joke.

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April 2nd

I just finished reading Felix Gilman's "The Half-Made World". It is a beautiful, lyrical novel that will never get its due because its part of the 'steampunk' genre. But know this: rarely did three pages go by before I was again awed by his ability to capture a moment or a thought with the perfect, economical use of words. Easily the best written book I've read this year.

Lisa, to a Lump dressed in a velvet skirt, mismatched oversized boots she borrowed from her siblings, no shirt, and a large multi-colored bow tie she swiped from a clown costume: "Lump, LuLu's friend is almost here to pick her up. Go upstairs and stay out of sight until they're gone. We need to hide your . . . odd ways."

Lump has dark, beautiful long eye lashes. You're welcome kid.

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April 3rd my friend Erv's 37th bday

Maupassant used to advise, “Get black on white.”

James Thurber: “Don't get it right, just get it written."

Lisa bought the two oldest tiny cross stitch kits to entertain them while introducing them to the craft. Sadly, they worked on it for a day before misplacing bits of it.


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April 4th

Gotta love the honesty from CBS during halftime of the NCAA Championship game: Worst half of championship basketball ever. Awful. Sad. A competition to see who can play worse. A horrible showcase for the NCAA, etc.

Not the greatest start to the MLB season, finishing today with a record of only 3 -1. Ah well, we'll do better. I speak of course, of my beloved Yankees. My hometown Brewers, OTOH, stand at 0-4. I do count myself as a Brewers fan, but 37 years of dissapointment has tempered my confidence. I'm not a Cubs fan - every half century or so I'd like to see a championship.

Arod, Greatest of the Great, sits at .357 with 2 doubles, 2 homers, 3 walks, and 4 RBI's in four games. I bow to thee!

Oooo! There might be a revival of the late great Goldman's store here in town

April 5th - my Mom's 64th birthday/voting day

00:12: Ok, bedtime folks. If you're in WI, please go out and vote tomorrow (unless you plan to vote for someone other than Stone and Prosser, in which case take a siesta from voting and relax at home with a beer. Go ahead, I won't mind - and future Milwaukee County residents will thank you!)


If you want my predictions for the local election: I think Prosser takes the W, Abele grabs the County Exec, and the Bay View hating Terry Falk keeps his school board seat.

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[I was right on all counts, but what a rocky road it would be to get there]

Here are some nature shots I took on the walk home from the polling place

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From Lisa: I love you hunny....


April 6th

"We've done really well with teenage death songs"
- Eddie Vedder, on "Lost Dogs" liner notes for 'Last Kiss'



April 7th

Justice David Prosser picked up more than 7,000 votes and took the lead in the Supreme Court case after a reporting flub in Waukesha County. Yowsas - great news, but cue the conspiracy stories.

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” - Edmund Burke

"I like my beasts fast and my bass down low, put it on my headstone yo!" - Lisa

We just finished watching Christina Aguliera in "Burlesque". I'm not sure why the reviews I read last year were bad. Sure, the plot was predictable, but what, you rented it expecting The French Connection? The music was good, the women were hot, and the romance was sweet. I liked it.

April 8th

Manny Ramirez has chosen to retire from baseball rather than face a ban for testing postive for banned substances. Wow.

off of work and straight to doc w/ Lump for an earache/drainage

[this was a bad infection. She'd complained her 'tooth' hurt for days, and we were waiting for her dentist to return from vacation to schedule an appt, but once her ear drained the way it did - ickily, it ran down her cheek - it was obvious her ear and not her tooth was the problem. She took antibiotics for ten days and on a follow up had a clean bill of health]

April 9th

"Unless you're ashamed of yourself now and then, you're not honest." - William Faulkner

You needed to contain a story like a disease, before it spread. - Edward Conlon

Superstition brings bad luck. —Raymond Smullyan


April 10th


"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras"

A beautiful warm day, a fresh column off to the paper, a short day of work ahead of me, and then a day off w/out any (known) obligations Monday. Sounds good to me.


April 11th

"The Winklevosses are not the first parties bested by a competitor who then seek to gain through litigation what they were unable to achieve in the marketplace," Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. "At some point, litigation must come to an end. That point has now been reached." - judge rules Facebook settlement stands

Sunday, July 10, 2011

FB: April 11th - 14th

April 11th

Tonight LuLu and I hit the road for our 1st ever bike trip together. We went to Howard Ave & back (about 2 miles), w/ a few added detours through the park, around the block etc. Tip: if you need to clean rust off your bike, take a ball of wet aluminum foil to it. Not only will it remove the rust, it doesn't scratch the paint.

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April 12th

I took Lisa & Lump to El Beso, the new Mex restaurant in Greenfield (site of the old Champs). The prices were on the high end of avg & there were few items (and little change in price) on the lunch menu. Service was great, food was average, but they had a grease trap truck parked outside the entrance, greeting you w/ sewer odor as you entered and exited. Stick to El Fuego.

A) My left knee is killing me. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to sit on my a** for four months then abruptly bike 2+ miles B) I'ts the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. RIP Union soldiers. C) I'm in the paper today. Pick up a copy


April 13th

Erin Gray circa 1979 = Yum

The virulent (e)mails generated by my voter ID column [in the paper] don't bother me, but the fact that they CONTINUE to come in (3 today alone) is surprising. And I do mean angry, sometimes vulgar emails, not legit disagreements. One of the letters is as long as the original column. Geesh.

* * * *

This is the editorial the Sentinel printed the day after the Civil War began.

The vociferous cry of "The Union, the Constitution and Enforcement of the Laws" kept up in 1860 by those who opposed the election of Mr. Lincoln, has since been changed by those who then used it, for that of "No Coercion," which, being interpreted according to the rules of common sense, means "No Union, no Constitution, no Enforcement of the Laws."

In 1860, the prime object of the cry was the prompt capture and return of fugitive slaves; but in 1861, it is taken up by the very men against whom it was directed as a lying insinuation less than a year ago and there is both reason and force in their use of it; for since then, many of the very men who made such loud professions of their fidelity to the Union, the Constitution and the Laws, have broken up the Union, trampled the Constitution under their feet, and are this day arrayed in open defiance of the laws. If a Negro was rescued by men whose natural sympathies revolted against the execution of a statute which required the poor trembling wretch to be carried back to bondage and the lash, these men who are now steeped to the lips in treason, together with their Northern sympathizers and allies, held up their hands in holy horror at such a terrible infraction of law, and such treason to the Union.

Now, however, when every conceivable form of hostility to the government and the laws are openly and boldly practiced - courts abolished, custom houses seized, forts, arsenals and navy yards taken possession of and turned against the government; when treason of the boldest and rankest kind has banished all law from a large portion of the country, we must bear it all meekly - there must be no coercion - it will never do to talk about enforcing the laws - it would offend our "Southern brethren" - it may drive Virginia out of the Union - it may lead to bloodshed!

We have had too much of that kind of talk; and it was high time that a determined stand were taken by every man, who is not a traitor at heart, to stand up for the Union, the Constitution and the enforcement of the Laws, and we rejoice to believe that we have a man at the head of the nation who will be faithful to the great duties imposed upon him.


* * * *
I watched the Eastwood/Damon film "Hereafter" tonight. I don't know quite what to make of it. I guess it was like a lazy river ride at a theme park. It was nice, and well done, and you don't regret paying your admission, but it takes damn near forever and it does nothing to speed up your pulse.

My column from Tues. generated a fair share of hate mail. I was called mindless, a cracker, racist, a hater of "colored folk", and told I should leave Wisconsin. Apparently the far left interprets any mention of criminal behavior to = African American, which says a hell of a lot more about them than it does me.



April 14th

Yikes, these nightmares are getting out of hand. Some of it was the typical "makes no sense in the light of day" variety, but part of the 'plot' was my hunt for a killer who then got the jump on me. In order for him to spare my family I had to cut off the fingers on my right hand with a pen knife. I woke up with my hand hurting, which was either the cause or effect of the dream. I am, apparently, going nuts.

Friday, July 1, 2011

FB: April 14th thru the 24th

April 14th

ABC has announced they are cancelling the long running soap operas "One Life to Live" and "All My Children"

April 15th

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment." - Lady Dorothy Nevill

April 18th

Dance reherasal today. In the rush to get them out the door, it's "Breakfast for Dinner" (maple sausage and pancakes). In the words of the Lump: "Deeee- licious!"

Wait a minute - the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won a Pulitizer in 2008, 2010 AND now 2011???? Say what - am I missing something here? Then again, they began publishing me in '08. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

April 19th

We finally got around to watching 'The King's Speech'. It was very good, but by no means the "Best Picture" of the year, an honor I still think belonged to "The Social Network". BTW, kudos to Helen Bonham Carter, who stole the show in every scene in which she appeared.

Smiley, showing off some Easter bread he made in school:

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April 20th

One thing I will miss when the kids are grown and off on their own: opening the freezer and finding random, ridiculous concoctions. Today's contribution: a fig newton stuck on the end of a skewer.

True story: ~ Two years ago I walked past a retail display and was sincerely outraged that they offered a gag gift called "The rapist In a Box". Then I got my head out of my butt and realized it read "Therapist in a Box".

[WI Supreme Court Candidate] Kloppenburg has the legal right to ask for a recount and so on we go - but if you're cocky enough to declare victory with a 200 vote lead, then turn around and ask for a recount when you're down by 7,000, excuse me if I think you're a hypocrite happy to waste taxpaper money to keep your dream alive a few more weeks.

I watched the sci-fi film Skyline. It is not merely a turd of a movie, it is a 'dog turd generously sprinkled with cholera' of a movie.

April 21st

YaYa gets new glasses:

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April 23rd

Twice in recent weeks I've been asked how "you" - meaning a conservative - could be a fan of lefty music, up to & inc. being a member of Pearl Jam's fan club. Easy. I simply alter the lyrics in my head to reflect a more appropriate social message. "Screamed and bit the recess lady's breast"" - I think not. "Dreamed of always doing his very best" - there ya go Mr. Vedder, Danny made it all better.

"The inability to forget is infinitely more devastating than the inability to remember," - Mark Twain

April 24th

Arod's stats on Saturday: 2 for 5 with a homer and SIX RBI.

‎600 [converts to the Catholic Church] today in the Milwaukee area, tens of thousands across the country. Welcome to the Church, and Happy Easter!

Some great TV, courtesy of Netflix

One of the great things about being able to stream Netflix directly to my TV is that I'm free to experiment with new shows that I would never have rented on DVD. One of the happiest of these discoveries is Heroes, the NBC series about a world in which mutants (aka superheroes without the masks) are drawn together to act against a prophesied destruction of New York City.

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I finished the first season in a little less than a year, polishing off an episode every few weeks. Now? Count me as a fan. Aside from the Nikki/Jessica subplot, I found the characters well developed and the storyline impressive. I think the season finale was a fitting denouement to the overall story arc, one so impressive I'm loathed to push on into further seasons - all of which, according to scuttlebutt, pale in comparison.

On the other hand, I was no so fortunate in Kolchak: The Night Stalker, starring Darren McGavin in a series billed as a spooky ancestor of the X-Files.

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Uh, no.

It was cartoonish, poorly written, and about as scary as the crowd at a harpist concert. C-

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To break the tie, let me introduce Parks and Recreation, a sitcom done in the pseudo-documentary style of The Office. Lisa and I finished the first two seasons in the blink of an eye and were left hungry for more.

I think this show succeeds for a simple reason. Well, two. One, it's funny. Two, it refuses to settle for taking the easy road and making the characters one dimensional. Grumpy libertarian boss Ron would normally be written as a straight jerk; instead he's given depth and feeling. Amy Poehler's character, who by rights should be pigeonholed as a dorky, ineffective bureaucrat, is instead a multi-faceted human being. A

I have fond memories of watching Buck Rodgers as a kid, and I wasn't let down by rewatching it on Netflix. Oh, sure it's cheese, but you know that going in. All in all its a pretty darn good show for what it is, and having the super hot Erin Gray around doesn't hurt.

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Roseanne, alas, lacks a resident beauty, unless you wait around for Becky #2 to pop up in later seasons. I saw nearly every episode during the series run, but harbor a bit of a resentment towards the show. No, it's not about the star' I grew up in a home not dissimilar to the Connors' and it's too close for comfort. Yet I have to admit, the writing holds up well after a quarter century, and the love between Roseanne and Dan is palpatable.

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The biggest suprise to come via Netflix? Babylon 5.

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I'd never seen a single episode, and had the show sitting unwatched in my queue for ages. When I began watching it last week I found the special effects appalling, hardly top of the line for a video game of the era much less a television show. Still, the writing of J. Michael Straczynski (whose screenwriting book I read and owned as a kid) hooked me. By the time I began season two I was mesmerized.

Naturally, it was then I discovered Netflix was losing the streaming rights begining today. Great timing. I've completed season two, and for now that's where I'll have to leave off.

It is a remarkably well crafted show. Not a single episode is a 'throw away'. Each show provides some nugget, however small, that adds to the overall story arc. It is a single story, carried out in multiple acts over a five year run. The twists and turns, the development of characters - how the Narn and Centauri defy the intial impressions we have of them, for instance - wow. Wow.

I can't wait to see more of the series. Three notes:

One, I much prefer Capt. Sheridan to Commander Sinclair. Sinclair, played by Michael O'Hare, always seemed to be in contention for Overactor of the Year.

Two, Bruce Boxleitner has excellent hair.

Three, I should make a drinking game. Every time Security Chief Garibaldi puts his hands in his pockets, take a shot. You'll be drunk in half an hour.