Thursday, August 31, 2006

Be Careful What You Write

Hi All!

I try, oh Lord I try.

A couple of dozen lousy hits a day and one of them gets me in trouble.

I try to be careful when I am writing about relatives, friends and well-met acquaintences. I'm not so reserved about public figures whom I take issue with.

Even so, I am crestfallen after an incident today which really shook me up. I guess I hit a few nerves and although I would defend my right to write what I want, it hurts to lose friends have most likely become defacto 86'ed at one of my favorite Buzztime venues.

At least I am true to the disclaimer at the top of this blog in the blue type. Not much consolation in that.

Ah well.

Now I have to decide whether to search through thousands of words and redact offensive items. As I doubt that will get me back in the good graces of those involved, I will have to think about it for awhile.

OK, I guess I'll start with the following post. I'll consider the advice I got to be constructive criticism and I think I will make the post better anyway by revisiting it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why is Wog Against Jobs?

Hi All!

A powerful alliance of Union and Business interests are putting on a full court press to get us to "Vote Yes." If the issue in question, the "Minnesota Transportation Amendment" passes, it is hoped that construction firms and their workers will gain from more funding for roads, bridges and transit.

My first reaction was, "Count me in!" However, on closer inspection, there is a devil in the details.

Here it is, read it and weep if you can decipher it:

An amendment to the Minnesota Constitution is proposed to the people. If the amendment is adopted, two sections will be added to article XIV to read:

"Sec. 12. Beginning with the fiscal year starting July 1, 2007, 63.75 percent of the revenue from a tax imposed by the state on the sale of a new or used motro vehicle must be apportioned for transportation purposes described in section 13, then the revenue apportioned for transportation purposes must be increased by ten percent for each subsequent fiscal year through June 30, 2011, and then the revenue must be apportioned 100 percent for transportation purposes after June 30, 2011.

Sec. 13. The revenue apportioned in section 12 must be allocated for the following transportation purposes: not more than 60 percent must be deposited in the highway user tax distribution fund, and not less than 40 percent must be deposited in a fund dedicated solely to public transit assistance as defined by law."

So, what's the problem? Forget about the tortured, hastily scribbled and 11th hour passed proposal (even has a typo if you look closely enough -- "motro"?). Just "Vote Yes!"

There is just one tiny problem. It might take a third grade math education, but "not more than 60%" can be 0%. "Not less than 40%" could be 100%.

If this pile of crap passes I hope the Supreme Court will make short work of it, if they can. Maybe they can't. I guess I don't know as much about Law as I should.

Hopefully, most voters will be so befuddled by the ballot question that they will leave it blank, which of course is the same as a No Vote. I dunno. The unions and the chambers of commerce are pouring a lot of dough into conning typical uninformed sheep voters into thinking that they are voting for better roads and bridges.

Oh, and just one other minor thing. It has been suggested that this is a no brainer tax neutral law. Um, how will the hole blown in the General Fund be filled? By cost cutting? Hah!

Of course, I am a really nasty wascally wepublican and my good friend tells me that if I am against the amendment I am against jobs. Well, that ain't exactly so. I'm for employing folks doing needed and productive work infrastructure work, not laying choo choo train tracks.


Judging Tim

Hi All!

On the occasion of the rollout of first Pawlenty campaign ad, I may as well get this over with. I really need to tell everyone in general and no one in particular what I think about our Governor, for what little it is worth.

This might get me in trouble with some people but has that ever stopped me?

Let me begin with this disclaimer: I have no way of knowing what Tim goes through on a daily basis, and don't pretend to be able to get inside his head. For all I know, my criticism might be totally off-base and unfair and unwarranted.

But here goes, anyway.

I was blessed/cursed with very strong political passion from the age of 4, when I swear to God I remember sitting on Dad's shoulders somewhere along University Avenue and candidate JFK looked and waved right at me as he drove by sitting on the back of a black Lincoln convertible. I suppose I could research whether that parade ever happened in 1960, but that's the vision that is etched in my mind. Besides, I don't want to find out that it is just imagined!

I shall expand on this in a future post in order to get to the point, but what I mean to impart is that I deeply care about political leadership and tend to get very cynical and disappointed to see one hero after another sell out.

I'm not saying that Tim Pawlenty has sold out, but he is definitely not the young, personable, self-effacing, witty, intelligent, principled bedrock conservative that I perceived him to be as the House Republican leader.

He needs to be re-elected, of course, and I doubt that he will have any trouble being so, considering the competition.

Pragmatically, I guess I prefer a RINO to a conniving, venal, vindictive, egomaniacal and just plain nasty booby Hatch. I've probably said this before, but when I first met him around 1980 he made my skin crawl. At the time, he had just become DFL Chair and was looking to get a computer on the cheap. I was honest in my assessment that they needed much more hardware than Wang was pushing, and of course got in trouble with Wang when Hatch told them that their independent software consultant was contradicting the ex-shoe salesman representing Wang.

Sue Jeffers is simply not ready for prime time and has no chance as a GOP primary challenger even if she were. I like her positions and I will certainly vote for her, but she ain't gonna happen this time.

So why am I so down on Tim as are so many other of my political/philosophical soulmates?

Where shall I begin? Here's a good place: He tied his hands by signing an ill-considered "no new taxes" pledge (sorry, Strommy). So encumbered, he vetoed a sorely needed gas tax increase that somehow got sweated out of the GOP-controlled House at great risk to many incumbents who subsequently lost their seats in the next election, not necessarily for that reason, but it was a bone-headed veto that has given rise to a really bad, vague, potentially ruinious constitutional amendment proposal that surely must go down to defeat this November.

Wanna drive on good roads? Pay for it and be assured that your "user fee" as Tim Pawlenty might have called the tax increase will go into road construction. Not transit (ok, maybe a bit for that) and certainly not for the general fund.

You just don't legislate by mucking with the Constitution.

Next, within mere days, he puts a "Health Impact Fee" on cigarettes. Wha??? Who did he think he was fooling?

Just made the gas tax veto look more hypocritical.

When Tim got in the race I was a solid Brian Sullivan guy. Frankly, the last really great governor Minnesota has had was Elmer Andersen, who was also the last businessman to serve (and also lost his post in a manner of counting votes that libs rue about Bush, although much more fishy). But that was in the bad old days when politics were REALLY nasty.

Brian was perfect for what Minnesota needed. Pragmatic, tough fiscal policy supported by bedrock conservative principals.

I ran into Tim at Mancini's on my birthday in May of '2002. He was dining with Steve Swiggum and other legislators during a break in a house session.

It was my birthday but at the time I really didn't need an excuse to get besotted. Sadly, I was, and after exchanging pleasantries I blurted out to Tim that it wasn't his time, and that he should get out of the race and support Brian. I still can't believe I said that to his face, but I do recall the shocked and icy expressions of Tim and Steve. Gosh what an ass I was and still can be. I just can't blame my foot-in-mouth disease on booze anymore.

But I really did believe what I told him and I feel somewhat vindicated, thinking about how much Tim has screwed up and bent over and vacillated and compromised and started obviously looking higher than his lowly station as the governor of a small state.

Could Sullivan have done worse? I think he would have done far better. I hope he runs again.

I could cite many other examples of how power has corrupted the likeable mullet-head from South Saint Paul but suffice it to say that it depresses me ever so much that strong, honest, principled civic-minded people who are devoid of political ambition except to serve and make the world a better place are discouraged from running, and facing long odds it they do and don't last long if they happen to "get in."

Although I always get people jumping down my throat when I say this, I still maintain that Steve Swiggum is about the best politician in Minnesota. He is the real deal and has had to herd cats in his caucus and bend a little (or a lot, perhaps) on some issues, but his intentions are pure and his ambition is under control.

Believe it or not, I might even count Lieberman as a real deal, but I really don't know that much about him other than being proud of him for doing the right thing, even though it meant that he would get chewed up and spit out by his wacked-out single issue political party -- and he is gonna kick ass this November. Good for him.

You see, it matters what a politician stands for. It matters to me very much. However, if one is diametrically opposed to my philosophies, I still respect that person more than the "typical" politician.

Tim Pawlenty has become a typical politician. How sad.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Strib Gone Wilde

Hi All!

The editorialists at the Red Star newspaper offered up a double shot of Oscar Wilde today.

In a piece about how we will come to appreciate the new Twins stadium, they pulled out a pretty good one -- one of my favorites, actually.

They skewed the intent of the quote just a bit by paraphrasing it to suit their need to make a point:

"On this issue we hold to a version of Oscar Wilde's observation that people know the price of everything and the value of nothing until the gates open. Then they'll deny ever being against it."

I actually agree. I have always gone against the conservative tide as far as public funding for pro sports teams go. If you want the game, you gotta pay for the ticket. Bad on principal, acceptable as pragmatic.

The real quote is thus:

"A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing."

What a great quote.

On the other page, a cartoon drags the old Victorian dandy to make a point about education.

"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught."

How true -- how very, very true.

Sequeway to the delivery of the last urchin to the first day at CDH. My Scorpio's gas gauge doesn't work, nor does the tach or speedometer or odometer or trip computer, but knowing the car so intimately, I do
n't need to know such things that are measured by such instruments.

When I fill the tank I know I have about 300 miles until the next fill, but I play it safe when I estimate I have gone 200. I make a mental note of how much I have driven at the end of every errand. Thus, the last thing I expected was to run out of gas when we were running late for the first day of High School with a nervous 13-year-old girl. But that is just what happened.

Fortunately, we were only a few blocks from home and a quick call to Laura got us a backup vehicle to complete the trip without further stress.

I had neglected to account for the fact that my middle child made frequent use of the car during the past few days. Ah well. He didn't appreciate being roused with an edgy phone call recounting his sins and demanding he bring the lawn mower gas to the Scorpio in order to get it to the nearby "most expensive SuperAmerica in the Twin Cities."

The call ended rather, er, shall I say, abruptly?

Thankfully, my return home found the Scorp in the driveway, so middle child came through. He is back abed now and I am assuming he didn't return home via SA, but that's cool. We have been having a running confrontation over his "messing wif my stuff" but I must keep reminding myself not to act like a 16-year-old when dealing with a 16-year-old.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Look Out Cretin-Derham Hall, Here She Comes!

Hi All!

My youngest and my onliest girl sets off to High School tomorrow.

Sigh.... (as in sadness + relief)

After St. Agnes Mass and a typically awesome breakfast at the Backstreet Grille, I subjected the poor soul to Dad's Magical History Tour.

From the river flats up the hill, over the crappy new High Bridge (vs. the rickety scary "real" high bridge that terrified me in my bicycling youth), up another hill to Summit and on to Merriam Park, returning via Prior to PBR and back to Falcon Heights, I bored her to tears with my ticking off of the homes of my grandparents and parents and all my lawn job places and a story to go with each:

"Did I tell you about the time that went to collect my dollar for a mowing and found old Mrs. Burns on the lying at the bottom of the basement stairs?"

"Yeah, Dad. About a hundred times."

"OK, did I ever tell you about the time Mrs. Burns paid me an extra 50 cents to pull weeds and I wrapped my hand around a bee and got my first ever sting and when I opened my palm it flew out of my hand right past my left ear?"

BINGO! That was a new one for her. You never forget your first bee sting or stingray sting. I remembered my two and the young lady matched my stories tit for tat.

Pain. You never forget pain.

Snuck up the stairs to the choir loft at St. Mark's where I spent most of my formative years learning the Catholic Faith. As an altar boy I explored every nook and cranny of the scary, dusty old barn. Was disappointed that they walled in the spooky bellows and pipes of the scary old organ, which was right out of Phantom of the Opera but is now some wimpy electronic keyboard thingy. She finally got to see the Jesus statue that I swear nodded and moved His hands toward me while deep in prayer during lunch hour in the darkened church around about 4th grade. (stare at something long enough, but what if....?)

I'd been fascinated by the talking statues that were pretty much the province of the Virgin Mary, and I was sure I would be as famous as the little girls who Our Lady of Fatima took into confidence.

If you are ever in the vicinity of Dayton and Prior, check the place out, if it's open. The impressive wood work is amazing.

And if you kneel in the front right pew in front of the wood carving of Jesus and stare real hard, he might give you a wink.

In the end, my girl was quite patient with me and I can't wait to deliver her to the hallowed halls of old Raider Tech tomorrow. I think she's heard all my "Cretin Stories" at least twice so I guess it will be a quiet trip.

I think she will do well. Heck, if the HS gig falls through perhaps she could join Fleetwood Mac as the next Stevie Nicks!


About the Labyrinth

Hi All!

This post will go away soon, but I have had some inquiries as to where it is and what it is, etc. and I'm not sure if I should tell, lest the place be despoiled by a herd of tourists.

My flippancy aside, I must say that the first time I went back to find it, having learned of it, was by flashlight and moonlight on a fairly long path through the deep woods.

My aim was to frighten the kiddies, well Alex and Deddie, his girlfriend, both 18. Turns out not too be too awfully spooky and actually is a well-maintained site that is pretty amazing if you are into spirituality or even impressed by the work that went into making it and maintaining it.

Me, I fall somewhere in between. I am spiritual in my own way but I don't think World Peach (check the sign in the background when you click on the enlargement) can be achieved by mastering a tricky maze and meditating on a big old rock.

But who am I to judge, having kept attending Mass and really getting something from the rituals.

For all I know, the keepers have a website -- they DID have business cards but they were all soggy as was the visitor book.

I dunno. Guess I'll research it myself and tell all if anyone is really interested.

Oh. That's my '72 Bug that I learned to drive when I was 15 and held on to ever since. The boys are son Alex, 16 and his buddy Harry. To the left is the entrance to the path.


Spotted at the Gopher Bar in Downtown St Paul

When a few Kuettels were catt'n around Ghost Town look''n for a decent coney dog, one of my wanton pups, Ollie, got busted.

I think the Gopher Bar got cited for this under the Neo-NSDAP anti-smoking strictures.

Clic the Pic to see that he is wearing proper identification.

Reminds me of the old hag in the '60s ad campaign with the caption to the effect of "Isn't Smoking Glamorous?"

Hippies Meditating in Middle of Labyrinth in NW WI Woods

Hi All!

It was Blur. Upset my youngest who was trying to get to sleep after a hard day at the Fair.

How can a teen not be able to fall asleep after a hard hot day at the Fair?

Ah well.

Off to bed, but first, a picture I took this summer in a secret place in a clearing in the NW Wisconsin woods, where one can stumble across a stone labyrinth and catch a couple of meditators if one is lucky.

I tried to negotiate the damned maze myself, but ended up just walking over the stones to the magic rock. Suppose I'll go to Hell for that...

PS. Just a reminder. If you click on the pics you get a better look, usually.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Day in the Life of Wog

Hi All!

It's midnight. Home... Two hours of rock left at the Turf.... Perhaps a concert DVD on the poor man's home theater. Blur or Skynard? Decisions, decisions.

Had a pretty eventful day and I wish to share it with you.

Rousted myself not too early, devoured the two newspapers, checked email and wrote a fine whine of a blog entry which was really meant as a back-handed compliment.

Fixed some issues with the Toshiba laptop that Alex will take to the U.

Microwaved some lil' smokies and thus sated, headed up to Dad an Mom's vacant abode (as they spend most of the year at the cabin up north) and worked on the ongoing detailing project on my dad's Benz.

Then to Brooklyn Center for the annual Merkur enthusiast car show (which I initiated 'round '94, thank you very much). It got out of my hands and is now the "Midwest Turbo Fords Gathering" but there were no domestics like T-Birds and Stangs, just Merkur XR4ti in various stages of outrageousness.

Once the dogs and burgers were gone and the guys started fabricating parts and hooking up laptops to their engines for fine tuning, I was gone.

Took in a few rounds of Buzztime (trivia) at my favorite haunt and had their kiddie cheeseburger platter. ot much competition.

Back to detailing whilst listening to the NARN broadcast from the Fair.

Headed back to the barn to check mail and track family members and let dogs out.

Good news in the mail. My latest Chemical Dependency report card was pretty good, so maybe I might get back in the good graces of the liver transplant guys. This observation by Len, who is an old hand going back to the St. Mary's program days and has been doing chem deps for years and is not easily fooled if at all, made my day:

"At the time of the evaluation, he was oriented times three. His thought patterns were logical and his psychomotor activities were normal."


Being "high on life" can be misconstrued by the layman. I really am an improved specimen since the darker days as archived on this blog.

Also got an estimate from the insurance adjuster which will take care of Laura's fender bender and then some.

Headed out to get some cash at Affinity and what should follow me into the lot was a really vintage Porsche from the '50s. It was basically a souped up VW at the time, but gosh she were pretty.

Since I had left my wallet at home, I had a chance to come back for the cash and get some pictures of this rare and beautiful thing.

Flush with cash, I headed to the Rosetown Legion Hall for the big Luau. Not much happening, but the band who were warming up sounded promising for a return trip once things started rocking-- which given the average age of the members is closer to "chair" than music.

Back off up to the Northern Suburbs for a bit more detailing and a visit to Jimmy's for a triple feature of Buzztime, NASCAR and Twinkies. I put up a couple of nice scores considering the multitasking I was performing. My NASCAR guy, Carl Edwards (his crew chief is a Kuettel, thus my loyalty to number 22 or 99, depending on the race.

Edwards finished 7th, and I think that helped his chances to make the NASCAR equivalent of the World Series. Heck with that...


Cheez Whiz those fellers are finding every which way to win -- and I thought LAST night's game, ending with a fan interference on a foul ball was too good to be true.

Tonight our vaunted bullpen tried to throw the game away but the baseball gods once again blessed our Twins in an 11 inning thrilla.

Happily back to the Legion where things really HAD picked up. The band was pretty darned good and there were more people there than I had ever seen in the place short of a hall rental wedding reception.

Hung out with Cowboy, Bobby, The Commander and their assorted hangers-on and got "Lei-ed" a few times by some comely young ladies.

Home at last. Catie and Drew are already in the barn and Alex is enjoying has last few days of teenage life as he prepares to move into a crowded, stinky dorm at the U.

I typed up the Sunday chore list, including Mass and breakfast and homemade beer cheese soup from a recipe I got from Frank the Chef .

Trust me, this soup is more than beer and cheese. If I can even somewhat approach the nirvana of Frank's $5.25 bowl of this remarkably complex and difficult to make concoction, I will attain a higher plane of happiness... and I am a a pretty nice plane as it is.

OK, Blur Live at Leeds it is.


Wog the BlogFlower

Hi All!

I am pretty fearless about plunging into strange crowds. No agoraphobia for me! Dark music clubs, biker bars, wedding receptions, private parties, AA meetings and courtrooms hold no fear or trepidation for me.

Last night, however, I felt conflicted about going in, but screwed up my courage and entered Keegan's Irish Pub to observe and perhaps participate in a big-time charity trivia tournament.

The room was thick with the crème' de la crop of bigshot bloggers who had amassed to play and to rub elbows with national talk show star Hugh Hewitt.

My initial thrust into the huddled mass brought a couple of encouraging “Hi Wog”s and I was in a lucky spot to encounter Hewitt when he entered the building. Got introduced to him by Mitch (Shot In The Dark) Berg and tried to grab a photo op but my crappy-futzy cell-phone camera failed to capture the moment.

Was available with $25 entry fee in my pocket, in case some team needed a fourth, but all the pre-registrants apparently showed up.

I found a barstool at the waitress station which was in a very good viewing location. When a waitress gave me a disdainful look whilst reaching around me to pick up an order, I assumed I shouldn't be sitting there. Of course, as soon as I got up some chick dove for the seat and set up camp.

I wandered around forlornly, checking out some SRO spots, but as the competition began the intimidating intellectual atmosphere forced me out the door, gasping for air.

When 40 hits to this site is a big day, it is humbling to be in the august presence of a few dozen uber-bloggers with daily counts in the thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousand of rapt readers.

Felt pretty small, but I shall keep trying to be the little train that could.

Maybe I ought to shift back to a more political thrust. Nah. I'll just keep throwing letting whatever excrement flies of the top of my head and some day something might actually stick to the wall.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Incredible Ironies of Life

Hi All!

This one is about #2685.

Last spring, on the recommendation of a trusted tradesman, I had an outfit come over and unclog the shower and sink drains. The guy spent about 10 minutes augering out the clogs and 30 minutes bs'n with me.

The sink still didn't drain too well, but I was told that there must be an "air lock" in the sewer vent and that sort of problem was not the sort that his outfit dealt with.

So for the clogs he raked me over the coals for $179.

That stuck in my craw all summer as the drains got back to draining slower and slower until the sink drain ceased to. Drain.

Long story short, after plunging and even using a wet-dry vac to try to clear the drain (resulting in water all over me and the bathroom as the buildup blew out of the overfill slot in the sink, I went to Menards and got a bottle of lye. Clog all gone. $5.89, including tax.

Determined that I would call the drain opening scam artist on Monday to give them a piece of my mind, but a nice Sunday had me all calmed down.

This morning Laura called from her car reporting that she had been hit.

Some jerkwad pulled out of a parking space without looking and clipped the front left fender area pretty good. Easily over $1K of damage, but at least the old Buick is drivable.

(An a car buff who is mortified at having a 2000 Buick Century old person car in the driveway, I wish the darned thing was totaled. But it was a gift to Laura from a benevolent relative and its land-yacht feel suits her. On the rare occasion that I need it, I must have a care when hitting a clover leaf exit ramp. Where my Scorpio can take them at 40-45mph on rails, the Buick yaws and the tires complain at half that speed. What a piece of .....)

Sooooo, Laura dutifully left the car as was, blocking the jerk in, lest he make a break for it. Called the cops yada yada.

When she got home I used the awesome power of the internet to look up the owner of the offending car.

Next thing I remember was falling out of my chair and lying on the floor in the fetal position laughing hysterically.

The car was a company car. The company is Midway Sewer and Drain.

To quote the great modern poet, philosopher and former teenage entertainment phenom Allanis, "Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?"


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Changing Quotations and a Lyrical Interlude

Hi All!

Have you noticed that the quotes on the banner change from time to time?

It's a good thing that Blogspot allows only 500 characters for quotes, else I'd use up a couple of pages.

As I was driving home yesterday after a typically trying day, having vented all the bile out of my system, I was blown away by a song on The Current by of all people, Neil Diamond!

I had thought that the tear ducts were all dried up, but this song, "Hell Yeah," put it's fist through my chest and ripped my heart out. The tune makes it all the more poignant and moving but the lyrics stand on their own. This is as close to "me" as any song I have ever heard.

If you're thinking that my life
Is a hoot and a holler
From the start of the day
To the dark of the night
And that its ringin' like a bell
That you only want to follow
Gotta trust me when I say
I'm just trying to get it right

Still I think about myself
As a lucky old dreamer
If you're askin' me to tell
Is it worth what I paid
You gonna hear me say

Hell yeah it is
And I say it loud
I loved it all
And I'm not too proud
I freed my soul...just let it fly
Hell yeah this crazy life around me
It confuses and confounds me
But it's all the life I've got until I die
Hell yeah it is

If you're asking for my time
Isn't much left to give you
Been around a good long while
So I gotta say it fast
Time is all we'll ever need
But it's gotta have a meaning
You be careful how it's spent
Cause it isn't going to last

I hear you wondering out loud
Are you ever gonna make it?
Will you ever work it out?
Will you ever take a chance
And just believe you can?

Hell yeah you will
You're gonna be okay
And you might get lost
But then you'll find a way
Don't go alone
Can't be afraid
Hell yeah
This life is here and it's made for livin'
And love's a gift that's made for givin'
You give it all away and have it still
And Hell yeah you will

I've been living in a bowl
With a lot of people staring
With my feet on shaky ground
And my head up in the sky
But it's where I want to be
It's a life that's made for caring
Got a song to pass the day
And a girl to share the night

So if they ask you when I'm gone
Was it everything he wanted?
When he had to travel on
Did he know he'd be missed?
You can tell them this

Hell yeah he did!
He saw it all
He walked the line
Never had to crawl
He cried a bit
But not for long
Hell yeah
He found the life that he was after
Filled it up with love and laughter
Finally got it right
And made it fit
Hell yeah he did!
Hell yeah he did!
Hell yeah he did!

enCompassing Church and State?

Hi All!

I love to cruise along Vadnais Boulevard between Rice and Edgerton on a lovely day. Lake Vadnais is part of the St. Paul Water System and thus the lake and surrounding land is similar to something as unspoiled as a remote BWCA lake with the added bonus of no canoes, let alone any floating conveyance.

What once was a crystal clear spring fed lake, Vadnais is now connected to the Mississippi. It looks pretty except for the milfoil patches, but the water is pretty icky. Nevertheless, shore-bound fisherpeople collect quite a bounty of freshwater fish, Sunnies, Crappies and Bass particularly.

Legend has it that Water Department and tresspassing divers have observed monster fish in the deep part of the lake. I believe it, being as the lake can't be fished from a boat and is aerated in the winter might lead to some very old and big swimming creatures.

What is the point of this post? Oh yeah. Got lost in the mini-rapture of a history lesson.

Our hopelessly underfunded Government School System managed to construct dandy new Urban Agricultural Science Charter School on a primo piece of land next to the lake.

The school's supporters approached Falcon Heights when I was on the planning commission and we chased them off, as they wanted to take our biggest property tax donor, Harvest States Co-op, off the rolls. (Ended up in non-profit, non-taxable hands anyway with TIES, which gets its funding from the Government Schools).

First generation of the school was on Rice and B2 sharing space with a school for hard cases.

The new school is state of the art. I admit it is quite comely and fits it's foresty environs fairly well.

Lately on my Sunday drives I have noticed signs for a new church, called "enCompass."

They hold their 10:00 service at the Ag School.

I approve, but I wonder how this fits in with Government School System that goes to great lengths to keep any sort of religiousity out of it's indoctrination camps.

Hope I didn't blow a whistle.


MS - An Irradicable Disease

Hi All!

MS. MicroSoft, aka "MacroSuck." Close behind my family on my list of people who drive me to distraction are the ugly trolls of Microsoft.

I try not to think about the hundreds of hours I have wasted over the years trying to make Bill Gate's crappy software to behave.

Lately I have become hopeful. I even pledged my allegiance by purchasing a $49 one-year membership in the new "Windows Live OneCare" which seemed to be keeping my system up to date and relatively virus-free, although there are some that simply can't be killed.

Today I can honestly say that the worst virus I've ever caught has possessed my PC. It's commonly known as the "XP" virus and it is quite malicious.

After months of relative system stability I dutifully ran OneCare on Saturday and got a big update from the malevolent folks at Microsoft.

When I rebooted, a large, "friendly" icon appeared informing me that I am running a "counterfeit" copy of XP.

Since it has been on the computer for a few years and kept current, my installed copy of XP has never been tagged as counterfeit.

Came with the computer, which was bought used, so perhaps my XP really isn't kosher but why did it run and accept updates and allow me to sign up for OneCare?

Went to Microsoft for help. Once I navigated all the "help" options I settled on "free" email support. My XP is running half-decently with only a few weird glitches so there was no real urgency for paid support.

Needed to provide my product ID which I obtained from the System/General tab on the Control Panel.

MS responds that since I have a counterfeit product, I could pay $35 to ask what is going on with my XP. Or I can get "legal" for $79 which sounds like a bargain compared to the iffyness of getting a straight $35 answer which would probably ask me for another $35 to get closer to a solution.

So I am over a barrel.

I'll be damned if I'm gonna throw $79 to these greedy bastards. So I will stubbornly build on the two or three hours invested yesterday, googling the web for "real" help.

And to think that Multiple Sclerosis was once the most feared "MS"!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Scandal Upon Scandal in the DFL

Hi All!

Not too long ago, it seemed as though the DFL was poised to retake Minnesota.

Then came the Entenza scandals.

Now come more Keith Ellison scandals.

Keith is a person who has played fast and loose with the rules, perhaps, just perhaps, because promising young black men are given exceptional chances to succeed in a guilt-ridden white society that wants so very badly to bring black americans into the mainstream. Perhaps, just perhaps, that makes a promising young black man think he can skirt whitey's silly strictures.

Ah, we wascally wepublicans are laying low, hoping against hope that the incredible arm-twisting Ellison is enduring to convince him to withdraw will continue to bring out his hubris. If he runs and he wins, the libs still get to keep their fiefdom in the fifth, but certain of us are eager to watch the DFL further destroy itself from within.

Don't get me started on Hatch. It's "Our Choirboy Timmy' against "Snidely Whiplash."

Hatch has more baggage than the cargo hold of a 747 and if only a few suitcases fall out he will join his partners Matt and Keith on the garbage pile of Minnesota political history.

Entenza, strike one. Ellison, strike two. Hatch behind 0-2 in the count.

Once Fair is over, things should get really fun.


PS. Yes, our hometown of Falcon Heights hosts the Fair and no, you cannot park in front of my spacious rambler.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Big Water" Poised to Drain Lake Superior

Hi All!

The environmental wacko Star Tribune really told a whopper today.

Apparently, bottled water makers are poised to drain The Greatest Lake unless drastic action is taken.

Here is the link -- read it and suspend disbelief.

Yes, we puny little creatures are once again taking on the vastness and plentifulness of Mother Nature's resources and scoring a bigger victory than David v. Goliath.

I was particularly humoured by this passage:

"The water-export issue heated up in 1998, when an Ontario company called the Nova Group somehow managed to obtain a permit from the province to suck up and ship for sale to Asia the equivalent of 50 tankers per year of Lake Superior water. Citizens of the Great Lakes didn't buy it."

Of course, I'm no expert but I am imbued with basic common sense. And I surmise that a single decent rainstorm on Lake Superior would dump more than 50 tankers of water.

If one were to actually buy into this crap, one would fear that, once having drained the Great Lakes for the greedy bottled water drinkers that "Big Water" would go after the oceans!

Let me interject here that I think buying and drinking bottled water is quite a stupid and vain way of wasting money. There have been many tests proving that it is no cleaner than what we can get from the tap in most US cities. With a decent water filter, one can even beat the bottled water as far as contaminents go.

This is just one more "The Sky is Falling" screed by negative wacked-out alarmists who have never been proven right in matters of Ecology.

We are not causing Global Warming.

We have plenty of oil.

We have plenty of water.

We have plenty of land.

We have plenty of trees.

We have plenty of food.

We have plenty of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

We even have plenty of meerkats and other creatures.

True, life on Earth might succumb to natural weather cycles, asteroids or aliens, but we aren't nearly powerful enough to destroy ourselves.

Cheers (if you are not a depressing scolding lefty)!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Emily Litella Heard From

Hi All!

What's all this hullabaloo about the slaughter of innocent meek rats?

If some spoiled snot were to shove her chubby fingers into my cage I'd probably bite too! And you wouldn't kill me and my family without a fair trial!

What's that?

"Beer Taps?"

"Mere Rats?"

Oh. well I certainly don't object to killing mere rats. They spread germs and disease.

So, what's that?

"Mere Cats"?



Another Magnum Opus Trashed

Hi All!

As promised, I called up the draft of my wacked-out short story entitled "Paul, the Swedish Casanova of Nytt Beddinge Strand" and printed it out to proofread at Ol' Mexico.

Once again, my gross laziness in trusting Blogspot's editor to preserve my precious keystrokes did me in.

Note to self: Compose drafts in a word processing program and paste into Blogspot when honed and polished into a perfect gem.

Just by calling up the draft and printing it, half the piece got garbled and/or lost. I didn't panic, simply closed the window without clicking anything resembling a "save" in vain hope of seeing the "old" version today. No luck. I'm not sure I'll try to recreate as it was a pretty bizzare parody of a local egomaniacal local writer that wasn't all that good, judging from the fragments that survive.

But I think I'll give it a try and publish it anyway, 'cos I hate to let all that work go to waste. Never hurts to throw poop and see if anything sticks to the wall.

I was pleasantly surprised to run into Fox, one of my favorite trivia competitors from another haunt who happened to be in Roseville on other business and got the itch to leave his mark on Ol' Mex's monthly Top Ten Scorers. Unfortunately, the field was weak last night so Fox was not impressed with the level of play I have always bragged to him about. I guess the regulars took a night off.

It transpired that we both were off of our game and we quit after a couple of sets and went to our respective homes early. The refried beans with extra cheese and lostsa salsa were excellent, however, so the trip was a qualified success.

Returning home at the ungodly early hour of midnight, found both boys actually home and preparing for a decent night's sleep. I celebrated by viewing my new Alice Cooper DVD at max volume. Sometimes I wonder if the neighbors get curious about the late night rumblings in their home's foundations.

We used to get alot of insects in our basement, especially ants. They've been as sparse as mosquitos this year and I like to think that the 1200 or so watts I have hooked up have acted as a repellent.

Wish I had seen the DVD before I saw Alice at the Taste of Minnesota. I would have better figured out what was going on on the distant and tough to see stage, as the set was pretty identical, what with the huge live snake, the beheading and mutilated bloody baby dolls, ad nauseum. Music was great though. A friend of Alex got Vincent Furnier's autograph a few years ago when the Dr. Jekyll side of "Alice" played golf at a local course. The guy is quite good on the links and I guess he even tried a pro-am tour at one time. 'Course he's 58 now, which is even getting too old for the Senior Tour.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If Anything Can Go Wrong....

Hi All!

If I were to share with you every one, or even some of my daily travails you would soon become inured to my misfortunes, not to mention, bored to tears.

Just for fun, I'll pick today to show you what I mean.

What with my current economic crisis, the Trooper, which finally got a nibble from three months on Car Soup suffered a catastophic alternator failure. The technical detail is that that voltage regulator part started supercharging the battery until it quickly died. Put in a new battery -- fried in 1 minute. Alternator is supposed to put out 13 or so volts. The Trooper's was pegging the meter at 17+, which, sparing the details, is really really bad for the car's electrical system in general and the battery specifically.

After a day wasted mucking about with half-dead batteries trying to get the beast running long enough to make the 10 block voyage to the mechanic, I spared what was left of God's daily portion of sanity and slept on it. Not on the car -- on the bed. Figure of speech for those in Quad Cities Michigan.

My really nice daily driver Scorp has a "Rigid Hitch" towing attachment. So I strapped her up to the Trooper, put a kid in the latter and started slowly pulling it to my friends Perry, Randy and Digger at Roseville Auto Repair.

Three blocks, down, seven to go, a sickening sound akin to the collapse of the WTC emanated from the rear of the Scorp. The bumper had been pulled nearly off the effing car. After sitting on the curb and having a sad cry, I bit the bullet and called for a tow.

The tow guy, Dave of Dave's '66, is kitty corner from the mechanic. He came right over, took a look at the Trooper and informed me that he would not tow it with his old "hook up truck" as it is 4WD and must be transported on a flatbed to save the drivetrain mechanicals.

At this point, I could possibly have pushed the sucker to the shop myself, such was my mood. But Dave came up with a solution. He had a portable jump starter which is pretty much a portable battery. Hooked it up and despite frightening electrical buzzes, beeps and the alarm going off, got it started and I was able to finish the last 7 blocks of the trek.

I thanked him profusely and reached for my wallet, which had about $30 cash in it. Considering his 10 minutes of time and 14 blocks of travel without needing to hook up his hook, I almost thought he would call it a favor. Dream on, Wog.

"What do I owe ya?" I asked noddingly and winkingly.

"$45.00" Dave said, quite seriously.

I pocketed the wallet and stumbledly mumbledly allowed as how I hadn't the funds on hand and would need to return with my check book.

"No problem." said Dave, as he drove across the street to his service station.

When I recovered from the mild sticker shock, I realized that I hadn't thought to ask for a ride home, so this officially and truly disabled tub of goo had to limp 10 very long blocks home.

Then, as a moth to the flame, I decided to finally get around to a three-year-old idea, which was, to see if I could fix the ice maker. Homemade ice is a pain in the posterior and of course no one in the household does it save Laura and me, and our family is quite demanding of the compacted H2O molecules.

Did my Google homework. Piece of cake -- like every simple home project I have ever botched horribly.

Found the petcock on the water supply line down in the basement, turned it fully clockwise, went back upstairs, pulled out the old Whirlpool and set to the water valve connection with my trusty pliers.

Soon I had the experience of the comedian and the exploding water fountain bit. Blinded by the eruption of water it took me way too long to get the damned pliers back on the nut and staunch the flow, but not before having at least two gallons drenching me and the floor and a dog--not so much Stan, as dogs are pretty quick to escape trouble.

I wish I could say it got better after that, and for awhile it did, as, using my newfound expertise in late model modular crescent cube Whirlpool ice makers, I was able to trouble shoot the problem to a bad solenoid on the inlet valve. Found that I could just poor water into the machine up in the freezer compartment and the apparatus would produce crescents.

Picked up a new valve at Dey Appliance Parts -- didn't even need any part or model numbers, my description of the problem was apparently quite a common complaint and they knew just what I needed.

As the petcock, which taps into a cold water line to supply the ice maker, was obviously not shutting off the supply of water, I had to turn off the water to the whole house.

Abrupt ending, as this is way too long:

Hooked back up to new part, leaks like a sieve, still doesn't send water upstream so apparently the switch in the "brain" upstairs is not telling the solenoid to let water into the ice maker.

And Dey don't allow returns on electrical items.

This post is the most productive thing I've accomplished today and it makes me rueful.

Ten-Thirty almost. Time for refried beans and Buzztime Trivia at Ol' Mexico, which I continue to haunt, albeit with altered drinking patterns, to spite perhaps the worst memory of my life which started there way back in May of 2004. If you are a veteran reader, you know what I'm talking about. You newbies should check the archives for my tales of woe.

I always promise to write down the whole test of my Kuettel mettle and some will be amazed that I am still here acting like a responsible adult...mostly.

I saw an art film, "The Libertine" with Malkovitch and Depp. Got it out of the RedBox vending machine at McDonalds. The kiddies who beg their parents to rent a Johnny Depp movie will be in for a big surprise. I guess there isn't an X rating anymore.

For me the protaganist, a real historical person named John Wilmot, reminded me so much of me (well, the destructive creative-drinking cycle at least, not the hedonistic sex) that I saw much of the movie with misty eyes and Laura and me hugged hard and long for a couple of minutes when it was over.

Remind me to post that goofy story that I drafted a few months ago but have been too chicken to risk publishing here. I think it's good, Laura think it sucks. Laura is usually right in these matters, but it wouldn't of stopped the Earl of Rochester from putting it out for all to criticize.

Think I'll run off a copy and scribble on it at Ol'Mex in between the beans and the games.

PS. Didn't return to Dave's with a check--yet. Make 'im sweat, I sez in smuck, sick satisfaction.


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sorry, but Sometimes Ya Gotta Brag

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Back in the Saddle...Again?

Hi All!

As is my bad habit in many things, I tend to work in frenetic spurts and am horrible at consistency.

Dad always admonished, "You have no stick-to-itiveness." Such is the curse of my "genius" that too many things grab my interest and pull me in feet first until the next "interest" comes along.

When I was a kid, I built models, collected rocks, bugs, coins, stamps, baseball cards and bottle caps. I played all peewee sports, I mowed a dozen lawns a week I went on biking adventures that ranged all over the Twin Cities. I collected and listened to hundreds of record albums and madly accumulated stereo gear. In school I was Mr. Extracurricular to the point where I worked through a bout of what was then called "mono" but in retrospect was probably sheer exhaustion.

Oh, and I collected cars and girls and beer cans too.

Blogging is yet another "hobby" that I embraced with gusto. And as with all the aforementioned pursuits, I have had the tendency to lose interest, sometimes quickly, usually over time and move on to some other addiction, although I'll never let go of cars and hi-fi.

As fun as writing a blog is, it is sometimes a bit demoralizing to work one's rear off with little resulting increase in readership. Every few months I go on a blogging jag, only to see traffic increase from a few dozen souls a day to several dozen. But stop posting or even slow down and the several goes down to a few and soon to a couple and this week, one dozen in one day.

On the other hand, blogs are for many, me included, as a sort of vanity fair. Blogging is a great way to stroke one's own ego with the sheer brilliance of writing and thought that The World needs so very badly -- if only The World would find you.

For me particularly, I have always been told that I can write and that I should. Never had the discipline to try to get published by writing a book or magazine article, etc. Blogging lets me pretend. It's quick, dirty and easy. I can shoot all sorts of crap out my ass (figuratively, of course) and if something sticks, so much the bonus prize.

As it is, I will at least be leaving something to posterity, for however much or little it's worth.

Thanks for your support.