Friday, November 30, 2007

Woe unto Wisconsin

A large portion of the state of Wisconsin is grieving today. Yes, we'll all miss Evel Knievel. And we have to face the fact of The Mighty Pack's loss to the despised Dallas Cowboys. While the Packers represent everything there is to like about football, the Cowboys are the exact opposite. Owned by an ultra rich jerk, all glitz, stupid mascots and artificial turf - it's hard to swallow. Not only did the Packers lose, but Brett Favre was forced to leave the game with an injury. He didn't play very well before he got hurt, either. Interestingly, backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers (I like to call him Mister Rodgers) came in and, after a shaky start, almost managed to save the game. Alas and alack, it was not to be. Oh well, it's only football, after all. There's always next week. Or next year.

An interesting note about this particular game was that it was broadcast by the NFL Network. As a result, it wasn't possible to watch it unless you got your opiate via satellite - no cable or regular networks had it. People across the state were outraged. Come on, folks! It's only television. If people spent as much energy on important issues as they do on whether or not they can watch a stupid football game.... but I digress. So, if you wanted to watch this game and didn't have satellite, you had to go somewhere to do so. Every bar in the state with a satellite dish was packed (sorry about the pun) to capacity. I had a rehearsal that kept me from getting an early seat in one of my neighborhood watering holes, but thanks to our rock-star status and all (hard to get that written down without choking), our keyboardist and I were able to get in midway through the first quarter even though they were turning people away. Feeling rather important, I went up to the bar to procure a refreshing fermented malt beverage and found myself standing next to (drum roll ..........) Chad Vader (the body, not the voice - if you haven't seen these videos, check them out). Confused, not knowing if I should feel humbled or special to be in such lofty company, I couldn't think of anything to say (like, maybe "I believe in you Chad. I also believe in elves" or "Do you have any live goats?") and opted for silence rather than risking stupidity. It made the ignominious defeat just a little bit easier to bear, knowing that the body of Chad shared my pain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Motor Primitives in Waukesha, WI, 12/01/2007

The Motor Primitives will be playing at The Main Stage in Waukesha, Wisconsin on December 1, 2007, 9 pm.
That's this coming Saturday, for the calendarly challenged.
The show is in celebration of the release of Dad The Plow's first CD. Also playing is Subatomic. Cover charge is only $5.00! For those of you who don't know Waukesha, it's about 65 miles east of Madison and 20 miles west of Milwaukee just off I-94. Let all your Milwaukee and Waukesha friends know! It should be a good time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thank you, Tammy

Lest I gave the wrong impression in my previous post, I would like to make it clear that I believe Congresswoman Baldwin is one of the best representatives in the house. I have voted for her every time she has been on the ballot and I don't expect that to change. I don't always agree with her, but I feel that she is on the correct side of most issues. Sometimes it seems that she plays things a little too safe. Sometimes I get the feeling that she may be a little out of touch with the reality that most of us are faced with on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder if she has gotten too involved in the game of politics. Sometimes I ask myself why she voted a certain way on a particular issue. However, more often than not, I'm proud to have her as our representative. I think she really does want to know what her constituents have to say. I think she really does listen. I fear my last post was a bit negative and, while I meant what I wrote, I have to say she is one of a small handful of politicians with intelligence, integrity and compassion. Thank you, Tammy, and thank you for listening.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tammy listens?

Well, Ms. Ether, Crayons, friends Donna and Beth, and I all showed up at one of Rep. Tammy Baldwin's listening sessions tonight. I'm glad she hosts these things, as it feels more effective to speak to her face-to-face than to send emails, write letters or sign petitions. I'm not so sure how much actual listening takes place, or what good it does. Oh, well.

Anyway, I was not prepared to speak, as we didn't decide if we were really going or not until practically the last minute, but I signed up to speak anyway. Over the next few minutes, I mentally composed some points upon which to touch. I decided against writing them down, partly bcause I didn't have any paper, but also because I wanted to look at her while I was speaking. The first few people who spoke were all quite organized. Most, but not all, were there to speak about impeachment or things related. One gentleman in particular expressed many of the things I was going to mention, and a few more as well. He spoke very calmly and was really very effective. A few more people came next, including our friend Beth who was very, very good in her presentation and hit upon a number of issues that others had neglected.

Eventually it was my turn. I was a bit nervous, so I don't remember exactly what I told her, but I think it was something like this:

"Thank you for being here with us tonight. What he said (pointing to the gentleman I mentioned earlier)! Furthermore, I'd like to hrhrhghelllbbbelmphg jkerosptew hgkdlkdhgkdlkdhgkdlkd mukmukmuk brblbrblbr, grbl floogn bikit! Sorry. I'm done." (wipes drool from chin).

Then Ms. Ether spoke. She is always impressive at these things. I was too busy wondering what I had just said to remember what she said in any detail. I'm sure she will have a good post about it, though.

All in all, the sentiments of those who came were overwhelmingly in favor of impeachment. There was a great deal of frustration with the Democrats in congress. A few other issues were presented before we had to leave, but that was definitely the theme of the session.

Tammy, who is one of the more progressive representatives in the house, was sympathetic, but she also made a number of excuses about why that won't work, why it takes so long blah blah blah.

I was particularly disturbed by her response to a man who asked her for an explanation of her votes on bills relating to Israel and Palestine. She really did a great political-weasel-dance on that question. I thought he raised some very valid points (of course I did, since he agreed with me), and she evaded giving him a straight answer quite skillfully. A number of people said things to the effect of "this is Madison, Wisconsin. Do the right thing. We've got your back." I don't think she really got that bit.

Excuse me while I go put on a dry shirt. This one is still a bit damp. From the drooling, that is.

11/27/07: Update Alert! After musing a bit on what I had written above, I have this to add.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Mighty Pack emerged victorious over the Detroit Lions. It looked grim for Packer fans early in the game, but they pulled through, giving them a four game lead over the aforementioned division rivals with five games left to play. Donald Driver, shown above, had a great game: ten catches for 147 yards, yet no touchdowns. Other teams are so scared of him that it makes it possible for other players to make big plays. The guy works harder than any other football player I've seen, yet gets little credit for his efforts. Pulling in passes when he knows a big hit is coming, getting extra yards through sheer stubborness. He'd make a great bass player.

Next, the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas - the victors of that game having the inside track to homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. A big game for both teams. The Pack has not had much succcess in Dallas in the past and I dislike the Cowboys more than any other team in the league. Hopefully, I'll have good news to post next week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


After reading this post on Monkey Muck, I followed his link, which took me to Conservapedia, the conservative answer to the "liberally-biased Wikipedia." At first, I couldn't tell if it was serious or a joke, but it soon became apparent that it was for real. I was even blocked from viewing one page because my ISP is located in Madison. I still can't believe it. Pretty creepy, if you ask me.

Motor Primitives, Harmony Bar, 11/23/2007

Hey, you know that by Friday night you'll be needing to get out and have some fun, so why not head down to the Harmony Bar and check out The Motor Primitives? There will be no cover charge (we'll be playing for tips), so it's a perfect opportunity for anyone who has never heard us. It's an experiment, of sorts. Show time is 10:00 and we'll be playing two sets. Be there, or be, umm, somewhere else, I guess.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Packers 31, Panthers 17

With six games left, the Mighty Pack is now three games ahead of second place Detroit. A NFC North division title looks like a real possibility. Too soon to get one's hopes up, though. Next game - Packers at Detroit!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Concert review: Enter The Haggis

Okay. So I’ve just joined the ranks of the unemployed. Money is tight. What do I do? Go out and spend money so Sparkly Seacow and I can hear some live music!

I suppose I should back up a little bit. I discovered Enter The Haggis in August of 2006 when I somehow found myself stranded at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. I am of Irish descent, but I’m not a big lover of celtic music. It can be interesting, but for the most part, if you’ve heard one, you’ve heard ‘em all. So, there I was, surrounded by celtic music and wondering if I could find a quiet spot to sit and read until my kids were done listening to Garlic Storm (alright, they’re really called Gaelic Storm, but allow me my small pleasures, okay?) I checked the schedule and saw that a band called Enter The Haggis, from Toronto, was playing on the celtic rock stage. “Great name!” I thought and decided to check them out. Surprise! Not only did they have a cool name, but they were a truly exciting group of musicians. I went home, ordered some CDs from B-Side, my favorite local independent music store and, lo and behold, my daughters, Cinderbelle and Sparkly Seacow, found that they, too, liked ETH as much as I did. It probably doesn't hurt their appeal to teenaged girls that the band is young, good-looking and, oh, yes, talented, too.

Fast forward to November, 14, 2007. ETH is at the High Noon Saloon in Madison. I had endeavored to convince as many people as I could to attend, but the show was on a Wednesday night. Convincing people to go out on a weekday evening isn’t easy. Selling people on celtic rock wasn’t easy, either. When you say celtic rock, people tend to think of The Pogues. Enter The Haggis sounds nothing like The Pogues. They should really be described as a rock group with celtic and other flavors. You can hear jazz, latin and eastern-european influences but, when it comes right down to it, they are first and foremost a rock group. There are a lot of bad or generic rock groups out there, but ETH reminded me how exciting an original and skilled group of rock musicians can be. Right before they took the stage I counted around 35 people. Sparkly Seacow and I were there along with two friends of ours, PoodleDoc, Jr. and his mother. The rest of the audience looked like they could have come from out of town. Not a good showing from Madison, I’m sorry to say. Hopefully, we'll do something about that next time.

The show opened with the DeWayn Brothers, a contemporary bluegrass group out of Emporia, Kansas. They played very well, had great energy and I would recommend them to anyone who likes bluegrass, but, unfortunately for them, I would have to say it was a stylistic mismatch. They were entirely acoustic while ETH was most definitely not.

When ETH came on, they didn’t seem at all phased by the light turnout. They appeared to enjoy themselves and put on a great show for the lucky few in attendance. Their sound is huge and full of energy. I don't see how anyone could hear them live and not be energized by the experience. I am a bass player, so I have a bit of a bias, but I believe that any group can be made or broken by its rhythm section, the bass and drums. While ETH is brilliant on many levels, their rhythm section alone sets them apart from so many other groups. James Campbell (drums) laid down a tight and driving groove, yet was never repetitious. He embellished and played against and around the beat in the way that a good jazz drummer would, but the feel of the song was never compromised. He is an intelligent player who never settles for the obvious, doesn't overplay, but finds a way to make even the simplest of beats interesting. Mark Abraham (bass, vocals) is one of, if not the most, exciting bassists I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a few. I’ve seen bassists who play faster and more complicated bass lines, but Abraham was always musical in his playing. His parts had great movement, fluidity and energy in them and he made it seem effortless. Campbell and Abraham are the "oomph" in the sound, and they have a lot of "oomph."

On top of this rhythm section are founder Craig Downie (bagpipes, whistle, harmonica, guitar, vocals), Trevor Lewington (guitars, vocals) and Brian Buchanan (vocals, fiddle, guitar, keyboards). Downie is probably the most stylistically traditional member of the group. He is an animated performer and plays a mean bagpipe and tin whistle. In a number of songs, his bagpipes, whistle or harmonica were a main part of the melody or harmony, while at other times he filled the space that, in a more conventional ensemble, would have been the territory of a keyboard. This approach is a big part of the overall sound. Lewington is another high point. While skilled in many different styles, he has an ear for interesting effects, riffs, textures and tones. At one moment he would sound like a folk guitarist, the next hard rock, then avant garde. I was particularly taken with his use of effects and feedback. Also, it really must be said that Lewington is often a part of the rhythm section, locking in with the bass and drums with guitar riffs or chords, creating a truly massive sound. Then there is Buchanan, an impressive musician regardless of the instrument he happens to be playing. He, like Lewington, was also liberal in his use of effects. More or less the front man, he interacted with the audience more than the rest of the group and gave the impression that we were all his friends, and you got the feeling that he meant it.

One thing I really like in a group is when they have more than just one good vocalist, and good backing vocals and harmonies. ETH often had up to four singers and their harmonies were spot on. Buchanan and Lewington sang almost all of the lead vocals, but all of them sang except Campbell. Never was there a moment where I thought to myself “missed that one, guys.” After the show, Brian credited their in-ear monitor system for their ability to hit harmonies so well. The equipment probably is something of a factor, but you have to be able to sing well to begin with. Their vocals were superb, and I didn’t see or hear any evidence of the pitch correction equipment that is everywhere in music these days. They’ve been touring incessantly for quite a while now, and it shows. The group is amazingly tight, they look relaxed on stage and it all looks easy. Their material is strong, the arrangements sophisticated and they appear to enjoy playing together. They are at that level where they don’t need to think about what they’re doing, which gives them the freedom to play loose and have fun.

Nothing can ruin your enjoyment of a group like discovering that they aren't very nice people. I was pleased to find that they are all, well, really nice guys. After their set, the whole group mingled with the audience for a while. Craig spent a few minutes giving Sparkly Seacow some advice on how to go about learning to play bagpipes. Mark and James chatted and signed autographs. Trevor and Brian took a moment away from packing up their gear so I could take their picture with SS (see top of page.) Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but their lack of attitude was refreshing.

Why, you might ask, am I going to such lengths to tell you about this group? Well. I have enjoyed them immensely and want to share that experience with others. I can see two possibilities in their future. They could become hugely successful, and then the only way to see them will be in huge venues at huge prices. Or, if that doesn’t happen, they could tour and tour until they burn out. So, I’m telling you, if you love music, go see them now. I guess I’ve run out of ways to say how good these guys are, but they are the real deal. It isn’t often one gets to witness artists at this level of enthusiasm, creativity and skill. It may not last. I hope it does, but go see them while you can.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I am F**cked!

Well, I had a feeling it was going to come to this. After two and a half months of being, technically, Temporarily Laid Off, I found out today that my status is now Unemployed. Period. There just hasn’t been enough work at my job two keep a three-person shop busy and, as the employee with the least seniority, I was first in line for the axe. What makes matters worse is I can’t even be mad at my employer. He has been doing his best to drum up enough work to avoid having to do this and I’m certain it distressed him quite a bit to give me the news. Almost as much as it distressed me to hear it. I blame it all on the Bush administration. Our economy is in the toilet and Bush and his cronies are getting filthy rich (or filthy richer. Filthier rich? Filthier richier?) as a result. All that money gushing out of the US Treasury to fight an illegal war (or two or three) is somehow (yeah, somehow) finding its way in to the pockets of the Bush family and their pals. Why not just take our money and skip the killing part? That would be more honest. “Hi, I have more money than I can actually spend and I want yours, too.” Of course, no one has ever accused them of being honest. I don’t see it getting better any time soon, either. (Pygalgia, whose blog is well worth reading, posted this article and this article about how BushCo has negatively effected the US economy and the global repercussions.) It could be turned around. We could invest in taking care of people at home rather than in killing people overseas, but that would be anti-American. We could have an equitable tax structure so the wealthy paid their fair share of the tax burden, but if the rich have to pay taxes, then the terrorists have already won. I’d better be careful or people might think I’m a (gasp!) .... Socialist! We have to kill people so we can bring them democracy!

I'm sure things will work out, for me, anyway. There are people in the world who have much larger problems. No one is bombing my city. I'm not going to starve any time soon. There are people that care about me. I will find some kind of job, but right now the coefficient of despair is pretty high.

Did we learn a little lesson?

Did we learn a little lesson today? (Read that in the condescending tone of voice used by an adult with no understanding of children speaking to a child who is too old to be spoken to that way.) I posted a bit on the Motor Primitives blog about our recent performance in a benefit for the Madison Area Peace Coalition. I suppose I was ranting a little. Of course, I managed to offend one reader. The lesson learned is .... ummm .... I guess I'm not sure, but there must be one somewhere. I must ponder on that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Packers 34, Vikings 0

For the first time in 94 games, the Packers shut out the Vikings. The Mighty Pack is now 8-1. Enjoy it while you can.

Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists

Last Saturday I went to hear Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists at the Majestic Theater here in Madison, Wisconsin. The Majestic Theater has been in operation since 1906.

There have been several ownership changes recently, but, thankfully, it is still standing. I have spent a great deal of time in this theater over the years and it pleases me that it hasn't been torn down to make room for something stupid - luxury condos, a parking ramp, etc. It was great to be able to go to the Majestic and hear one of my all-time favorite guitarists, Robert Fripp.

The concert consisted of a mix of Robert Fripp's Soundscapes and the full ensemble of ten acoustic guitarists plus Fripp on electric guitar, all of them playing in Fripp's New Standard Tuning. Ten or eleven guitars playing together can make a very big sound and it was impressive. They have a broad repertoire, from a few familiar songs to more obscure and/or original material. Playing through his array of electronics, Mr.Fripp can make his guitar sound like anything from bells and flutes to, well, a guitar. There were times when Fripp played some of his trademarked intense leads, and I would have liked to have heard more of them. For a guy who doesn't appear to be very emotional, either while playing or speaking, he can get an awful lot of feeling out of that guitar of his.

Madison's own multi-talented Biff Blumfumgagnge (follow Biff and his exploits here) has been doing sound for Mr. Fripp and crew for a year or two. One would think it would be a nightmare trying to mix ten guitars, but it didn't seem to give him any difficulties. Good sound is often overlooked, but bad sound can ruin a good performance. Great job, Biff!

Most of the pieces didn't seem to leave much room for improvisation on the part of anyone with the exception of Fripp, and the visibility in the theater was not particularly good for many members of the audience. It looked as if all the acoustic guitars were Ovations, one of my least favorite brands, from a sound point of view. The body of an Ovation is made of plastic and, to me, it sounds like it. Those were really the only negatives of the evening. All in all, I'd say it was a very satisfying musical experience.

This was the last show of their tour, but if you ever have an opportunity to hear them, I recommend it.

Rocking for peace, the sequel

Well, the Madison Area Peace Coalition benefit concert was yesterday. I have one question: why is it that progressives can suck the life out of anything? I wrote more about it here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Rocking for peace

On Sunday, November 11th, 2007, the High Noon Saloon will be hosting a benefit concert for the Madison Area Peace Coalition, featuring The Motor Primitives, among others. There will be food from Ground Zero, Glass Nickle and the Dardanelles. This is an early show (but not so early that you'll miss the Packer game).

Check out the time slots:

3 pm: Caravan Gyspsy Swing Ensemble
4 pm: Yid Vicious
5 pm: The Motor Primitives
6 pm: The Ragin' Grannies
6:30 pm: Thistle (acoustic folk singer)
(Except for the Grannies, each band has a 45min time slot.)

We do declare...We shall be the loudest band there! Heh!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Luminiferous Ether had a post on her blog showing its monetary worth as calculated by Technorati, and I thought, if that's what her blog is worth, then I must owe somebody money for mine. I put in the address for Enriched Geranium and they came up with the figure in the graphic up above, dere. Ya, hey. Uff da. Maybe my formula for world domination was correct after all. I will share it with you.

W = k/[(3tc)squared]raised to the negative one.

W = the worth of your blog.
k = the number of kittens you ate for breakfast yesterday.
t = the temperature in Helsinki, in degrees fahrenheit, when you ate your last Egg McMuffin.
c = the quantity, in grams, of cocaine snorted by George Bush on your birthday in 1969.

The Murder Primates

Here are some pictures of the Motor Primitives at Wonder's Pub on Halloween weekend. We were supposed to look like Kraftwerk on the Man Machine cover. By the time these pictures were taken, the makeup was starting to melt and I think we just looked like well-dressed ghouls. Photos courtesy of Ms. Freakspot. They look better bigger. Click on 'em if'n you wanna see 'em that way.

New song, someday

I started work on a new song today. I'm not going to say too much about it right now other than, if it ends up sounding as good in the real world as it does in my head, it should be fun. They never do, though. Or, they never end up sounding the same when they're done as they did in concept. They tend to take on a life of their own once I start to work on them. I don't have too much control over the finished product. At the rate things are going, it should be done by 2011, give or take. Hopefully, I will have solved the hosting problem by then. Unfortunately, I'm using new software (Logic,) due to the fact that the version of the software (ProTools) I had been using is now obsolete. Fortunately, it should be easier to learn this time around, but it is a more complicated program which should, ultimately, even though the learning curve is rather high, allow me to do more stuff more easily and with less expense. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I go and write this bit about one of the songs I put up, and now they both seem to have vanished. Blogger doesn't seem to provide space for music files, so I've been using Google's Pages to host them. It appears that there is some issue regarding bandwidth and Google Pages that makes it so that they can only be accessed a finite number of times within a given time period. I guess I'll have to find some other site to host them if I want them to play on reliably. Any ideas?

Impeach the Moron

In the event that anyone cares, I thought it might be interesting to give some background information about the music I put up here. If this is painfully dull, someone please tell me and I won't do it anymore.

I'll start with Impeach the Moron. This was the first real attempt I ever made at multitrack recording at home using a computer based system. It was a painfully long process since I could only work on it when I wasn't at work, a band rehearsal, gig, kid's school event, etc. Furthermore, there were four people in the family competing for the one computer we had at the time and I had to learn how to use some fairly complicated software and was constantly forgetting how make certain things work.

I wanted to do something to illustrate what a total imbecile we have in the White House and decided that The Moron, himself, could make the point much more eloquently than I could. That meant hours searching for audio clips. Some were easy to find (the White House website was one of the best sources) and some not so easy. For instance, the "I'm a war president" line was one that came from his Meet the Press interview. I knew it was out there somewhere, I knew the date it was broadcast, but I just could not find an audio clip anywhere. I got the feeling that someone, somewhere, didn't want me, or anyone else for that matter, to have access to it. I did find it eventually (thanks to On Lisa Reins Radar.) Then more hours sifting through them, cutting out the parts I wanted to use, arranging them so they sounded like a song (at least to me) and trying to match volume levels for each clip.

I started the whole business with a little piece I had written on acoustic guitar, but accidentally played it much slower than I had originally planned, but I ended up liking it that way. Then I added some percussion sounds. I used a large mixing bowl for the bass drum sound, hand claps, a little lizard-shaped percussion thing that Ms. Ether had given me, a doumbek, and wood blocks I had made for my kids from scraps I scavenged at work. A bass guitar track followed, then two more guitar tracks. Somewhere during this whole process I started dropping in all the Bushisms, continually adding, deleting and rearranging. When I though I had finished, or at least decided that it was time to call it finished, I enlisted Michael Massey, an immensely talented professional musician friend of mine and extremely nice guy, to help me mix it all together and show me a few tricks and short-cuts. Of course, it sounded fine in his studio, but after further scrutiny on other sound systems, I realized something was not right in the bass frequencies. There was a constant low-end rumbling that no one else seemed to notice, but once I heard it, it drove me crazy. I didn't really want to impose on Mike's time any further, and I think he may have thought I was having audio hallucinations, so I went ahead and tried to figure out where it was coming from. It ended up being on the original guitar track upon which the whole piece was built. The A-string was vibrating any time it wasn't being fingered. So I wiped out the track and recorded it over again differently, remixed it and that's pretty much it. I've sent the song around to places like Air America, but not many people have responded, so I don't know if they even bothered to listen to it. A member of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace asked me if they could use it at a rally and Greg at In Your Face Radio, an internet station, asked for permission to play it, but that seems to be all the interest it has generated to date. All that work! But it was fun, so what the heck. On to the next.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Mighty Pack

The Packers won again today. That puts them at 7-1 for the season. Unfortunately, I forgot (yes, forgot!) to watch the game. Instead, I raked leaves, cleaned the gutters and did some other stuff around the house. There was a time when forgetting to watch the Packers would have meant some crisis had occurred, but I just don't have the energy for it that I once had. I find it difficult to take much of an interest in sports these days. For one thing, I hate television. I hate the way the game has become a multimedia spectacle. The players earn (earn?) ridiculous amounts of money while people who do important or valuable work (teachers, woodworkers and temp secretaries, for example) are either underpaid or losing their jobs. Meanwhile, the team owners are raking in the cash and the working class can no longer afford to attend a game without spending their children's inheritance, assuming they have one to spend. Nonetheless, I still follow the Packers. I like to say that they're the only socialist team in major league sports, although I might get hurt if I were to say that in Green Bay. The reason I like to say that is because the Packers are not owned by some wealthy cretin or small group of wealthy cretins. They are owned by the people of Green Bay. That could not happen in the NFL today; it's against the rules. But, as a result, the Packers will never leave Green Bay for greener pastures. And then there is Brett Favre. You can't help but like Brett Favre. His name is hard to pronounce, for one thing. He comes off as kind of a redneck, and maybe he is (he was once quoted as saying something to the effect that he didn't like Wisconsin winters because it was awfully cold when you needed to go out in the yard to take a leak,) but he is one of the most exciting players to watch, and he clearly is emotionally invested in the game. He does things that shouldn't be possible (like today's touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Favre was falling backward and still threw the ball something like 50 yards and dropped it perfectly in to the hands of Jennings. A 38-year old quarterback shouldn't be able to do that. Yes, yes, I know, I didn't watch the game, but thanks to the magic of the internets I was able to see the highlights.) Super Bowl? Probably not. But who cares? There are leaves that need raking!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An experiment with ABBA

I was looking at Luniniferous Ether's Site Meter statistics yesterday and I was amazed how many people had navigated to her site because they were searching for images of ABBA. There were hits from Japan, Peru, The Netherlands, all over the world. So, I just have to see what happens if I post an ABBA photo here. If anything interesting comes of it, I'll report back at a later date.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Cherokee Marsh

As I mentioned in my profile, I'm a wood-worker for a remodeling company by day. Thanks to our "president" and his policies, our economy is in the toilet. As a result, I've been laid off for the last two months. Hopefully, I still have a job to go back to, since I like my employer and the people with whom I work. However, looking for the silver lining, I've had a little extra spare time recently. I'm learning how to blug, for instance. I also have tried to get out and enjoy some of the wonderful things this area has to offer. One of those is Cherokee Marsh. It's an incredible piece of land set aside as a wetland restoration project right on the outskirts of Madison. Prime real estate for those money-grubbing developers. It's past the peak of fall colors right now, but beautiful, nonetheless. As I was walking along one of the trails, I looked to my left and saw, maybe fifteen feet away, something staring at me. It was close enough that I started thinking about how deadly those hooves can be. Anyway, it stayed still while I got out my camera (well, actually, it's my daughter's camera. I still don't own a digital camera so I borrow hers when I think I might need one. Can you say "loser"?) and got a quick shot of it before it hightailed it out of there. It's not a great shot, thanks to the auto-focus, but you can see it a little to the right of center. If you wish, you can enbiggen it by clicking on it.

Whenever I get out of the city, I'm always struck by what a beautiful state Wisconsin is. Yes, other states are beautiful, as well, and, while we don't have some of the spectacular elements here that you find elsewhere, there is a subtle beauty to Wisconsin that I find very satisfying. You don't often find Wisconsin featured in the Sierra Club calendars, but that's probably just as well. We already have too many people moving here to escape from whatever. They're usually people with too much money, they displace people who have lived here a long time and they generally bring the whatever they're escaping from with them, destroying what attracted them to Wisconsin in the process. Check out the photo at the top of this post. If you click on it and make it bigger, you'll see a McMansion on the other side of the river. It's huge, believe me. I envision maybe two adults and one child living in that monstrosity. Probably a six car garage with at least two SUVs (a Lexus and a BMW), a sports car or two and a big honkin' truck, minimum. Oh, yes, let's not forget the big ol' boat! I've worked on a house or two like that and it's nothing short of obscene. And it's getting worse. Beautiful "unimproved" land gobbled up by rich people while poverty, homelessness and the prison population go through the roof. But I ramble. Time to stop. Just one more photo of Cherokee Marsh, though.