Sunday, December 30, 2007

Champagne Dreams

I have seen that some of my readership may suffer from what Jeff Foxworthy calls, "A glorious lack of sophistication." This may lead to some confusion when confronted with the choice of a fine wine with which to celebrate the New Year.

I offer these tips.

All Champagnes are sparkling wines, but sparkling wines are never
Champagne unless they are produced in the french region of Champagne.
If your Mogen David has started to show bubbles you have left it on the cellar steps too long. Buy another gallon.

Born in the most northern appellation in France, the region of Champagne
makes wines that are the product of a chalky soil and an austere climate.
The other grapes refer to these as "thug grapes," because of the neighborhood from which they come.

While Champagne’s early wines occasionally developed a momentary bubble,
they were essentially still wines until the 17th century when the cork was
introduced, a contribution usually credited to a Benedictine monk named Dom
Perignon. Only then was it possible to keep the magical bubble in the
Due to a worldwide natural cork shortage some bottlers now use a plastic stopper. Truly fine sparkling wines never have screw tops and a straw for you to "Bubble it yourself."
The grapes that make this glorious wine are the white Chardonnay and two
black grapes – Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, with the later used primarily in
Much like Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Black and white combine to make a product that is predominantly white.
After the new cuvée is completed, it is bottled with a very small amount of
sugar and yeast dissolved in wine and called the liqueur de tirage. This
solution is responsible for starting the next major step in Champagne making –
the second (secondary) fermentation.
Secondary fermentation will also occur in your cousin, Ray-Ray about 10:30 Monday night. Someone should be assigned to keep him away from the crab dip, the liquor cabinet and your wife's friend Wanda.
Still a wine, the bottles are stored in the cellars for at least one year
and often longer. At the end of that time, the wine has undergone its secondary
fermentation. The bubbles are in the bottles, but so is the sediment, which the
fermentation has deposited. To remove the French have developed a slick way to
remove it. The bottles are placed in a pupitre, or also known as riddling rack,
with their necks slightly downward. Each day skilled workmen twist the bottles
and tilt it farther down to force the sediment into the neck next to the cork.
This process is called the remuage. When all the sediment has been worked into
the neck, the wine is ready for its dégorgement. In modern facilities this
delicate operation is made with robots. (riddling machines),
computer-controlled, reproduce the meticulous work of the riddler.
Heath Ledger has been chosen to do the job of The Joker and Dick Cheney has taken on the role of The Penguin.

Sweetness of Champagne

The amount of sugar to be added to each type of Champagne is determined by the individual Champagne maker. Generally, however, the standards are not so very different and the designation on Champagne’s label will help you to know how sweet or dry it is.

1. Brut is usually the best choice for an apéritif; it contains almost no sugar.

2. Extra Sec or Extra Dry, despite the name, is very slightly sweet.

3. Sec, which means dry in French, actually refers to a fairly sweet wine in Champagne terminology.

4. Demi-sec and Doux are both very sweet and excellent choices for a dessert wine. They are rarely shipped to North America.

To recap:
"Brut" on the label is okay. "Bluto" on your label is generally bad.
"Extra Dry" Means "Not Dry"
"Sec" is sweet. Sex is Sweeeeeet!
Demi-sec is reserved for Ashton Kutcher.
All Champagne should be served chilled in a tulip-shaped or all-purpose
glass rather than a wide, shallow saucer-shaped one, which dissipates the
bubbles too quickly.
The old movies were wrong. Get over it and use those glasses for an appletini or something.
To open, wrap a towel or napkin around the bottle to keep the cork from
flying out and causing injury. Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, remove the
wire, grasp the cork firmly and turn the bottle working the cork out slowly,
with a whisper, not a bang. You lose fewer bubbles that way. And bubbles, after
all, is what Champagne is all about. Once the cork is removed, take off the
towel. No wine or Champagne should be served wrapped in a towel.
Never give the bottles to someone who is likely to holler, "Hey! Watch this!" before pulling the cork. Ray-Ray should not be allowed to toast the crowd wrapped in a towel, either.

A few more tips from the old grumps.

Beware of cheap imitations. If the words "Reconstituted," "From Concentrate," or "Now With Extra Pulp," appear on the label you should probably take a pass.

No truly great Champagne costs less than $25 a case, even if it says "Premium" on the carton.

Box wine may be okay for that Chardonnay your sister-in-law Darlene has been swilling all night but Champagne in a box is just vinegar waiting to happen.

Cheap Champagne or fine; kiss someone you love at Midnight and make a wish. Designate a driver. Have the happiest of New Years. I'll see you on the other side.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pants On Fire, Indeed

Congratulations to Greg Peck for telling the best whopper of the year. Well, anyway, the best intentional, publicly-acknowledged, for publication, accompanied by a dollar whopper of the year.
A man with a stellar name, Greg Peck of Janesville, is this year’s
contest winner, which will bring him a grand prize of notoriety and a parchment

Peck’s one-liner involved theWisconsin River, which he said “was so low
this year that the local government started taxing us for more property on our
riverfront lot.”

There were six honorable mention runners-up, including two Racine
County residents.

Also, congratulations to Racine County for two honorable mentions. We always knew that there were some almost-as-good liars over there.

Just for the record, I did not submit an entry this year. That deadline sneaks up on me sometimes.

Saw The Line. Touched The Line. Crossed The Line

Oconomowoc Town Chair Robert Hultquist was doing okay when he sent his annual newsletter pggybacked on the yearly tax bill. He was probably on safe ground to praise his fellow Town Board members for the work they had done in the past year.

However, there is a bright line that says you cannot solicit or endorse on the taxpayers' dime. Once Hultquist started to tell folks for whom to vote he crossed that line.
In the last paragraph of the letter, Hultquist wrote:
"I will therefore not only be endorsing and supporting Jan and John in their efforts for re-election, but I also ask that you do the same and cast your vote for both of
them in our April 2008 election. Our present Board of Supervisors is truly a
good one!"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Protecting Us From Bad Sermons

Gun permit? Check

Religious service? Check

Safety on? "I thought so"

Holster secure? Not so much

Three shot. Mistaken identity hilarity ensues.

Reckless youth. Heh!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Passing Along An Invitation For Tonight

You're Invited!
Friends of the Evansville Community/Senior Center
extend an invitation to all to come for an informal
Meet and Greet
December 27, 2007
5-7 PM
Evansville Country Club
View proposed plans for the Community/Senior Center
Meet and Greet
  • Architect Dean Schulz of Excel Architects
  • Consultants Boris Frank and Brad and Ginny Gilbert
  • Donor Liaison Kent Knutson of Edwards Jones
  • Contractor Steve Knudson of Magill Construction

Bring your questions for our experts to answer.

Free hors d'oeuvres, Cash Bar

Contact Janis Ringhand; Interim Executive Director


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thank You

Thank you, Sylvia and Steve. You've made a lot of people happy again this year.

A Platform For Confrontation, Controversies And A Channel Of Insults And Misinformation

Strangely enough, not WTMJ.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (MIBS) has banned
Radio Lyambai in Mongu from broadcasting call-in programmes.

In a letter sent to the station dated 30 November 2007, Juliana Mwila,
the ministry's director of press and planning, said the programmes had to stop
while the station was under investigation. According to Mwila, the station was
under investigation for allegedly having failed to handle calls professionally, which resulted in the station "becoming a platform for confrontation,
controversies and a channel of insults and misinformation."

Mwila called on the station to disseminate information in a balanced
manner and to behave ethically.

How Dry Is It?

Passed along by Richard Russell

It's so dry in Georgia that:

The Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling;

The Methodists are using wet-wipes,

The Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks, and

The Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Good Grief!

Re-Rate Doesn't Rate In Janesville

Big truck demand is dropping and they are re-rating the line again. If I'm remembering right that should have them down around 45 per hour.

Not good news.

And now Navistar is in the mix somehow for the medium-duty line. And the Isuzu line is laying off.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Glad It Ain't Me

Boy, I'm glad I didn't just sink a bundle into a business that's moving into a tough time.

Oh, and isn't Outback a competitor?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gotta Wonder

Will she accuse Brad of runnning a Liberal Hate Site next?

Coexist. For Four Minutes It Won't Hurt You

My Take, Take Two

If Mike Huckabee wants to spend his campaign money to wish voters a Merry Christmas there is nothing to stop him.

If he wants to appeal, subliminally or overtly, to Christian voters there is no reason he shouldn't.

Unless and until he says that he's the best qualified simply because of his faith or that it should be the single deciding factor there is no good compelling reason to tell him to knock it off.

Find something else to be upset about. There's plenty out there.

My Take

You can be for or against the Bible, or a single religion or multiples thereof. You do not have the right to be a disruptive ass.

The sooner you learn that, kid, the better off you'll be.

Freedom of Speech is not the same as license to be a putz.

Our Deepest Sympathies

The Stateline has lost a great friend.

From the Gazette: Billionaire Hendricks dies after fall.

The ABC statement.
"This is an enormous tragedy and a great loss to the family,
associates, and the community. Right now, we are focused on working through the initial impact of this tragedy with primary focus on the Hendricks family, as we keep them in our hearts, thoughts and prayers."

Okay, Now That's Funny

Dad29 shows us what it's like when Caroling With the Disturbed.

You Gotta Hate That

Tancredo does the hard work of dropping out of the race, swallows his pride to endorse Willard and still doesn't get the picture on the story.

G'bye Tom. We hardly knew ye. No. Really. We hardly knew ye.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It looks like four one-candidate alder races in April and a one candidate mayoral race as well.

According to city clerk Judy Walton, the election looks like this so
far based on papers that have been filed:

--Mayor Sandy Decker, 143 W. Main St., will seek a second two-year term.

--First district alderman and council president Mason Braunschweig, 590 W. Main St., will seek a second two-year term.

--Fourth district alderman John Sornson, 249 Franklin St., will seek reelection for a two-year term.

--Former mayor and alderwoman Janis Ringhand, 412 Fowler Circle, will run for the second district seat. Current second district alderman Fred Juergens, 401 Badger Drive, has not filed papers yet, but he said he won't seek reelection.

--Third district alderman Tony Wyse, 112 Grove St., has not filed papers yet, but said he plans to seek office again.

--Judge Thomas Alisankus will seek reelection for a four-year term.

Candidates must file papers with Walton by 5 p.m. on Jan. 2 at city
hall, 31 S. Madison St.

I talked with Heidi Carvin last week and we may have only one candidate for the three open seats on the School Board as well. Not so very auspicious is it?

Add to that the fact that Steve Eager isn't running for re-election to District 1 Supervisor and there may not be a need for any candidate forums in the Spring.

Update: It looks as if Karen Aikman will be making a run for her former seat in the 3rd District against Tony Wyse.

Update 2: Janis Ringhand will be busy this Spring running for the Supervisor seat vacated by Steve Eager as well as for 2nd District Alder.

Supervisor Needed

From The Gazette comes a release from the County Board Chair:

Evansville area resident needed on county board

If you want to be a supervisor on the Rock County Board, here's your chance.
A press release from the county:

Richard K. Ott, Chair of the Rock County Board of Supervisors, is seeking persons interested in filling the vacancy in Supervisory District 1, formerly represented by Steve Eager.

District 1 includes the City of Evansville and Ward 1 in the Town of Union. Town of Union Ward 1 covers the area to the south and west of Highway 14, as well as an area between Highway 14 and Cemetery Road, south of Bullard Road. In addition, Ward 1 includes an area to the east of Highway 14 bounded by the Dane County line, Highway 59, and Franklin Road.

State statutes provide that the county board chair, with the confirmation of the county board, is to appoint a person who is a qualified elector and resident of the supervisory district to fill the vacancy. The person appointed will serve the unexpired term until the April 2008 election.

Chair Ott asks that individuals interested in being considered for appointment send him a letter listing their qualifications and expressing why they want to be a County Board Supervisor.

Letters should be sent to:
Richard K. Ott, Chair County Board of Supervisors Rock County Courthouse 51 S. Main Street Janesville, WI 53545

Deadline for submittal of letters is 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2008.

Don't Hide Your Light Under A Bushel

It's time to cut loose! Time to rock out! Time for HANDBELL HERO!

C'mon, Charlie! Hire A Ghost Who Can Spell.

Sometimes even those Pulitzer Prize nominees need to be reminded. The rule for words ending in "Y" is to drop the "y" and add "ies" when making a plural.

By Charlie Sykes
Story Created: Dec 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Even Google Has Its Limits

Some poor soul has wound up on my site twice today because they were searching for "fat lady in hot tub." I'd feel sorry for them but this ain't that kind of blog.

However, if you follow the link that comes up you wind up here. All of that leads me to wonder* if it's Scooter himself doing this search or if it's JBvH. The question remains. Why didn't Scooter plead? He was never that bad a judge of his chances before.

(*Hey, if Frau Bucher can wonder if sundry and various local bloggers are Leo Burt, I can do a little wondering, too.)

Seasonal Disturbance

Campus Police were called to the Memorial Union yesterday to break up a scuffle in the lobby following a Chess Club meeting. Several of the students were bragging about their respective proficiency and a shoving match broke out in the entryway by the news stand.

The police report that it was just another case of Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.

I apologize. I really do.

The Things You Never Expect To Read

Brittney's little sister is preggers. That? I expected, sort of.

She's keeping the baby. That? I expected

Mom's Christian Parenting book is delayed? That's to be expected.

Not with the boyfriend anymore? I expected that.

"Jamie Lynn plans to raise the baby in her home state of Louisiana "so it can have a normal family life."" Man, I never saw that coming.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hot New Tech Site

Just in time for Christmas giving. Etch-A-Sketch Technical Support

The Hall of Fame

The Worst Terror Plot Ever! No. Really. C'mon, No Kidding.

Remember when this was a big story? We were supposed to run in circles and genuflect toward Dick Cheney's man-sized safe, for he is the only one to keep us safe.

How did that all turn out? Oh, yeah. One acquittal, six mistrials. Nevermind.

Life Is Fragile

Hold it gently in your hand. Burnish it to a warm glow. Cherish any moment you can share with another.

Cincture of Protection
I weave the cinture of protection
from the nine threads of life:
Peace of mind
Truth of speech,
Timeliness of action
Success of deed,
Prosperity of work.
Health of body,
Courage of spirit,
Compassion of heart,
Wisdom of soul.
These nine threads be my belt wherever I walk

From Celtic Devotional,
Caitlin Matthews

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Naughty List

Nobody is surprised that Jose Canseco is on Mitchell's List. No one is surprised that Ozzie Canseco isn't.

Slammer weighs in on Gagne on another post.

Eleven past and present Brewers? And yet Selig continues his denials. Frankly, I'm speptical.

I think the biggest surpise is Turnbow. I thought these were called performance enhancing drugs.

Now they've announced that Madonna is headed for the Hall of Fame but she's not on the list. I'd have bet money on that one.

Distressing News

Fans of Terry Pratchett know him as a pointedly funny writer who is truly prolific. Now he's facing a challenge that few will face, a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's. His message to fans shows that his humor is still intact. It ends:
PS I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that
this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead
at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further
off than you think - it's too soon to tell.I know it's a very human thing to say
"Is there anything I can do", but in this case I would only entertain offers from
very high-end experts in brain chemistry.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Take A Minute. Take A Walk.

Go ahead. Put on your boots and take a quick walk to the other side of the street. Turn back to look at your house.

See the fond memories wafting up from its roof? Feel the warmth of all you've done there, all you've saved there, all you've shared there?

Now remember that it would take a fire fewer than ten minutes to take it all away and that a fire can double in size every minute. That means that in the five minutes it might take your local VFD to dig out the hydrant the fire will have grown by 32 times the size it might have been if you'd taken the time to help a neighbor do the job now.

For yourself and for your community...dig out the hydrants now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Whadda'ya Think?

43 saves for the year or 60 Day DL by May 10th?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Unfortunate URLs

You should have someone else look at that before you send your check to the hosting company.

h/t The Chief (New on the blogroll)

It's Possible To Be Absolutely Correct and Still Not Have It Taken Well

Paul's use of an idiom is taking away from his message. A bike rider on an uncleared road is a hazard, to themselves and to others. Quite possibly they are well-intentioned but they are still a hazard.

To the bike riders in this week's storm and to Paul I offer the axiom.

No matter how good your cause nor how pure your heart, some days the dragon is going to win.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's Not...

It's not how much a man makes that his worth is measured against. It's not how much he hoards or spends. You measure the worth of someone to society by how much they give back.

Thank you, Brett.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I Can't Believe We Missed It

Some of you already know that a commenter, James Buss, on Owen Robinson's blog, Boots and Sabers, was arrested after making immoderate comments that were perceived as viable threats against teachers.

I'm still torn over whether Owen did the right thing or not. It would be easy to make a case on either side and a lot of folks have been. I'm not sure how I feel about his actions although I'm fairly certain that I'd roll over just as easily as he did. It just feels a little icky to give someone else up that smoothly, though. I mean, Peter is quoting Rev Niemoller in defense of tater chips and Owen is giving the "Ole" swoosh of his cape for free, political speech.

That Buss was wandering around out on the fringe of rational thought seems to be a safe conclusion. Even Frank Lasee only wants the teachers to be able to do the shooting in our schools. There are those making a lot out of Buss' service as a Union officer and trying to make him out to be some sort of mole for the Left (whoever they are.) They even point out that Buss tried to make his post look as if it came from a conservative by inserting misspellings and bad grammar. (We knew it wasn't true because he hadn't capitalized enough words to be a true righty-nutbar.)

In all of this no one pointed out that he may have been a true self-loathing conservative. Goodness knows there are enough of those running around right now. (Don't anybody read that to say that all conservatives hate themselves. That's not what I said and you know it.) You've got family values types out having gay sex. You have Evangelicals swallowing hard to endorse a pro-abortion, anti-gun serial adulterer. And, locally, you have our own easiest target, a journalist who hates what reporters do, a small-government, anti-teacher government-paid teacher who rails against the excesses of the trial lawyers while sharing a household with one who (some say) is one of the state's most powerful trial lawyers. There's the textbook definition of "internally conflicted."

So, that's a lot more words on top of a bunch already written. Most of mine don't add a whole lot but they did help me work through my thoughts and that's what this blog started out to be. But there is one thing that I think I can add that everyone seems to have missed. These things always endure longest when they have a catchy title or handle. We remember Teapot Dome and Watergate and Whitewater while a thousand smaller scandals have fallen by the wayside. So that the object lessons of this little escapade are not forgotten I propose that we christen it with a snappy moniker all its own:

"The Tale of Buss and Boots"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

And A Child Shall Lead Them

The NYT tells us why a candidate shouldn't rush to tell someone what he thinks they want to hear.

“Who is your favorite author?” Aleya Deatsch, 7, of West Des Moines
asked Mr. Huckabee in one of those posing-like-a-shopping-mall-Santa

Mr. Huckabee paused, then said his favorite author was Dr.

In an interview afterward with the news media, Aleya said she was
somewhat surprised. She thought the candidate would be reading at a higher

“My favorite author is C. S. Lewis,” she said.