Monday, March 31, 2008

A Word To The Wet

959 AM CDT MON MAR 31 2008






Memories Are Made Of This

Faboolous Frank has fallen away from his blogging habit but I stumbled across this gem from the past where Frank predicted that the only way gas prices could go was down.

Enjoy the prognosticating skills of Frank Lasee, ladies and gentlemen.
This is great news for our economy and consumers who have been pinched by
the climbing prices at the pump. It is also good news for incumbent legislators
who have seen their numbers drop because of this.

On The Start of Another Season

A couple of thoughts came to me last night as I watched the outgoing President waiting in the dugout of Nationals' Field for his chance to throw out the first pitch.

1) Damn, I really like my new Nat's t-shirt. Can I still wear it in good conscience after seeing GW in his National's gear?

2) I suppose I can make do.

3) I have never seen 43 look more like 41 than he did in profile last night.

4) No matter what else I have said or will say about the Current Occupant he doesn't embarrass the nation when he throws a baseball.

5) Thank God that this man has too little gumption to take the job of Commissioner of Baseball after Bud Selig retires. I've said that I'm not going to another pro game until they get a real commish and I do want to see another Opening Day before I die.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

About Last Night

What can you say about a 31-5 basketball team who lost? The Sweet Sixteen means never having to say, "I'm sorry." These kids were overachievers who won the conference and the tournament. My thanks to the Badgers for a fun season to watch.

We went to The Comedy Club on State St to see Heywood Banks last night. He's there again tonight and I recommend that you go if you can. It's been a long time since I laughed that hard. We get to see a dozen or so working comedians live every year and most are amusing without being knockouts. Heywood is right up there with Drew Hastings in my rankings. It's all about timing and irony and the unexpected. Go. See a show tonight.

Unfortunately I can't recommend a good restaurant across the street from the Comedy Club. We went to State Bar and Grill. The management hadn't thought that a Friday night with a Badger tourney game on TV and four shows within a block would be busy. There was one cook and four waitstaff who acted as if they'd never seen food before. An hour and ten minutes after we gave our order they brought out three of the four sandwiches which had been sitting on the counter waiting for someone to find them.
We wound up going across the street to Ian's for a slice of Macaroni and Cheese Pizza and a mad dash to the show.

Life is good. Today? It's Move A Fridgerator Day here at the ranch.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Your Administration At Work

Feel safer now?
"The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary. The last time that I checked
a nipple was not a dangerous weapon."

First Twelve? Maybe not

There's a meme floating around right now where bloggers list their Top Twelve or First Twelve daily blogs. I, being a creature of routine, tend to hit the same blogs first every day.

folkbum's rambles and rants
Boots And Sabers
Wigderson Library and Pub
The Evansville Observer
From Where I Sit

After that it's a dog's breakfast. I go where the linky-love takes me running thither and yon through the Cheddarsphere. During the day I'll check in once each to:

Huffington Post

But I'm a stalker of Josh Marshall. I bet I check in there 6 or 8 times a day.

On the whole, if you're on my blogroll, I'm reading your stuff. I just don't get everywhere every day. Keep posting. It's all good

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Find A Need And Fill It

Greeting cards for inmates are a growth industry, unfortunately.

Cheathem said she came up with the cards when her brother-in-law served 11
months in prison. She said she went searching for the appropriate greeting card,
but couldn't find what she was looking for.

"There weren't any cards on the shelf that said anything like, 'Hey, you must make better choices,'" she said.

Cheathem? Huh.

In All Things, Moderation

Scholastic Clays Program Meeting

From the Review:

On Tuesday April 8 at 7 PM, at the Hagen Insurance Building, 15 N. Madison St, Evansville there will be a meeting for recruiting and organizing Scholastic Clays teams for 2008.

Students Grade 6-12 are eligible to participate. Interested youth need to attend the meeting with a parent or guardian. There is a $50 membership fee.

This is the third year in SCTP competition under the name of Brooklyn Sportsmen's Club of Brooklyn WI.

For more info call, T Kerkenbush 882-4791 or Jerry Harer 608-774-3420

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In Other News: Wile E Coyote Crushed Under Rock

From Reuters:
A war on gophers waged by two Canadian men went awry this weekend when a
device used to blast the rodents in their holes sparked a massive grass fire in
a rural area near Calgary, Alberta, causing more than C$200,000 ($197,000) in

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Stands Behind The Remedy?" Oh, I Hope Not

Al Arnold reminds us that "It's not all water."
Peabody officials agree that the 25 foot-high pile of sludge in a lagoon
next to the Coolidge Avenue water treatment plant must be removed. When the
sludge will be taken away and how to pay for its removal is still an issue,

Planning saves money. Honest. It does.

Don't Just Take My Word For It

I am troubled that a candidate for our highest court would belittle our
constitutional right to counsel which enhances the accuracy of the criminal
justice system. I am equally troubled by Gableman’s cavalier disregard for
accuracy in his representations to the public through this ad. The integrity of
the criminal justice system should not be allowed to be tarnished by one man’s
ambitious desire for higher office. Judge Gableman will not be receiving my vote
for Supreme Court justice in April.

Dekerivers says it, too.

Follow The Laws

Witht the passing of Arthur C Clarke last week there was a lot of discussion about Clarke's Law.
Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic.

An exploration of that brought me back to Niven's Laws in all their permutations. I'll skip numbers 1a and 1b in the interest of keeping this site fairly family friendly but I commend them to you as, perhaps, the most useful advice you'll get all day.

Here are a couple of the others.

4) Giving up freedom for security has begun to look naive.

11) There is a time and place for tact.

16) There is no cause so right that one cannot find a fool following it.

20) Never let a waiter escape.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gableman Wants Wisconsin Kids To Eat Lead.

I don't believe that but that's what it says in the comments at TCT about an article which shows how the Gableman candidacy came to be.

What does the Sheboygan Press have to say about the smarmy candidacy?
If this ad had been produced and aired by a group outside of Gableman's
campaign committee, it would be bad enough. But for Gableman, a judge himself,
to authorize and approve the spot calls into question his ethical standards.

This is not the way to win election to a
judicial position.

Attack ads such as
this appeal to the fear that criminals are not being dealt with harshly enough
by the courts. While there may be a basis for this feeling, to deliberately use
misleading statements and implications to play on this fear is inappropriate.

We agree with Robert Craig of Citizen
Action of Wisconsin, who said, "If Mike Gableman is willing to mislead the
public and violate the judicial ethics code merely for political gain, think about what he would do on the bench

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Who Is Going To Pay For This?

And why do we think it's a good idea to create two levels of citizens when it comes to air travel?
Unless holdout states send a letter by the end of March seeking an
extension, their residents no longer can use driver's licenses as valid
identification to board airplanes or enter federal buildings beginning in May,
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has warned. They would have to
present a passport or be subjected to secondary screening.

Why is DHS so intent on fighting the last battle instead of preventing the next one?

—After Social Security and immigration status checks become national
practice, officials plan to move on to more expansive security checks. State
motor vehicle offices would be required to verify birth certificates; check
with other states to ensure an applicant does not have more than one
license; and check with the State Department to verify applicants who use
passports to get a driver's license.

You Can Believe It. The Man Has Died.

Rest in Peace John Soeth. You did good things for your community and you made the rest of us laugh while you did them.

Thank you for your service.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Okay. Let's All Be Silly

Jo started it. She came up with a list of things that she says can be cut from the budget. She calls it Getting Serious. Some of us think she's being silly.

4-year-old kindergarten. Yup, some folks don’t like it. This is not easy

Nevertheless… more ideas:
How about summer school? Non-essential summer school, that is. Offer classes only to seniors serious about getting their diploma, but missing critical credits.

As long as we’re talking about schools and being controversial, how about the SAGE program that provides for classes with no more than 15 students? Or simply allow a district not to have to offer SAGE everywhere – wouldn’t that make sense?

Ok, we’re on a roll. A reader suggested lowering the QEO – the maximum wage and benefit increases for school districts. Oh my. Heads will roll and the seas will part. But it’s a darn good suggestion and would have a significant impact on state and local budgets moving forward. (**See below.)

How about this? The Tomah Journal Sunday detailed the phasing out of retiree health benefits – for teachers hired for the 2007-08 year and beyond. (Most) any
savings at the district level is a savings at the state level. Yeh!

Another reader suggestion: Eliminate the ethanol subsidy of $.20/gallon and the farm tax exemption. I don’t know anything about these programs, but am glad to throw them in.

Nevermind that most of her education proposals are not within the control of the Legislature anyway. Or try to ignore the long-term effects of these short-term savings. If we're going to just offer up things to be axed without regard to monetary or human impacts let's Get Serious.

1) The State Patrol duplicates services of hundreds of local and County departments. 100% off the table.

2) Snow plowing. People need to get to their jobs to be productive so we have to plow the roads to their place of employment. After that it's up to them to make arrangements. Only plow the side of the highway that takes people to work. 50% savings the first year.

3) Department of Commerce. It's time to privatize privatization. Let WMC take over the costs of the DoC and start building their own support system. We've had all the coddling of those whiners we can stand. 100% cut.

4) Benefits for legislators. 100% off the table. It's a part-time job. Let 'em file for Badger Care.

5) BEST? Out with the rest. CLTF? Train your own technicians. Industrial Revenue Bonds? Businesses can do business with their banks. Call it a win-win. Transportation Assistance for Development Plans? If your factory needs a road you'll have to build it. We're making cuts here. 100%+100%+100%+100%=400% savings right off the bat.

See? Jo is right. It's hard work figuring out who to stick it to when you're wielding the Vorpal Shiv Of Righteous Budget Cutting but once you get started the cuts come faster.

Jo has a list of how some other states are looking at cutting services.

7,000 mentally ill and elderly in Maine could be dropped from Medicaid

Florida slashed $512M from public schools and juvenile justice programs
in March.

Arizona is considering eliminating child-care subsidies for 3,200
children in low income families

All of these are cuts in the short term that will only bring more expense to the states year after year. The myth of large swathes of "government fat" is attractive to those who only look at one side of the tax/spend equation. The fact is that no such huge pockets of money exist.

My list of cuts is facetious, of course. The economic development programs keep Wisconsin competitive despite the efforts of WMC to drive business away. Education is an investment in our future that we would ignore at our peril. Even the bennies for leggies programs may help attract some qualified people. (Quit laughing. It could happen. They can't all be Marlin and Frank.)

A state budget is a list of priorities. If something means nothing to you then you should stand up and say so. Don't cloak your disdain in language that makes it look like something else.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reflecting On The Newest Occasion Of The White Death

Thinking back to the pristine expanse of my driveway yesterday and comparing it to the affront of today I can almost hear my Mother's voice saying, "You kids! I just had his room picked up."

I'm sorry, Mom

Just Checking

Who else is having fish sticks for lunch?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Waste and Foolishness

As I went by the demonstration marking Year Five of our great slog through Mesopotamia down by the tank last night it occurred to me that governments (people) having been willing, even eager, to wage war. Some of them have given lip service to waging peace. I have a hard time pointing to a recent example of a government waging "smart."

In honor of 60 months of pissing America's Best down the rathole that is Iraq I offer the words of Mark Twain:

The War Prayer

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Other News

Apparently, there's a Republican running for President, too.

Who knew?

The Best Defense Is To Be Offensive (?)

Now that a complaint has been filed against the lying Gableman ad (C'mon Charlie and the AP both called it misleading. Let's split the difference here.) Darrin Schmitz is trying to defend the actions of his client.

He can't say that the ad doesn't misrepresent Louis Butler's role in the trial of Rueben Mitchell. Schmitz can't say that the ad doesn't lie about Mitchell's term being served or about the role of Public Defenders under the Constitution. Schmitz can't say that the ad doesn't use racial images to cause discomfort and to imply causation. So how can Schmitz defend the actions of his lying ad?
He disparaged Citizen Action as a "left-leaning organization tied to liberal

So, what? If your best defense against being called a low-life, bald-faced, stinking liar is to call your accuser a poo-poo-butt, pimple-head perhaps you are standing on shaky ground.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

100% Of The Judges Who Read The Happy Circumstance Support Louis Butler

This is pulled from the comments. Thank you for your input and thank you all for reading.

I have known Justice Butler for almost all of the 18 years I've been on the
bench here in Evansville, and I am proud to be one of his supporters for
re-election. He has the knowledge and temperment to continue being the fine
justice that he is.

The fact that his opponent continues to allow an attack ad,
that he knows is false, to remain on the air is indicative of THAT person's
character--which is the type we do NOT need on our state's high court.

Again, I am proud to support the re-election of Justice Louis Butler to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Judge Tom, Evanvsville.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Time to Test Your Basketball Jones

For those of you who can't resist one more bracket I've created a group on Yahoo. No prizes beyond 12 months of bragging rights.

Whether you pick by team record, school mascot or uniform colors you're welcome to join the Flying Circus. Go to The Group ID is 60293 and the password is happy.

Good luck. And I mean that in the "good luck, I hope you have fun coming in second or lower" kind of way.

Golf Tip

The season is fast approaching and it's time to brush up on the basics. offers this fundamental tip.

h/t Crazy Politico

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Heinäsirkka, Heinäsirkka, Mene Täältä Hiiteen

Happy Saint Urho's Day, everyone. Celebrate the legend of the man who saved the Finnish vineyards from the grasshoppers. Sort of.

Ode to Saint Urho

by Gene McCavic and Richard Mattson
Virginia, Minnesota

Ooksi kooksi coolama vee
Santia Urho is ta poy for me!
He sase out ta hoppers as pig as pirds.
Neffer peefor haff I hurd tose words!

He reely tolt tose pugs of kreen
Braffest Finn I effer seen
Some celebrate for St. Pat unt hiss nakes
Putt Urho poyka kot what it takes.

He kot tall and trong from feelia sour
Unt ate kala moyakka effery hour.
Tat's why tat kuy could sase toes peetles
What krew as thick as chack bine neetles.

So let's give a cheer in hower pest vay
On Sixteenth of March, St. Urho's Tay.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hey, Look! An Acorn

The Gazette finds the nut of truth behind so much of the advertising for Supreme Court candidates. The job isn't about putting criminals behind bars.

Let me repeat that. The Supreme Court of the State of Wisconsin is not tasked with putting criminals behind bars.

We are being lied to, folks. We are being lied to by groups who want to make us believe that "being tough on crime" is somehow a duty of a Supreme Court justice. It is a duty of a justice to understand the law and to show some modicum of integrity. That's why I'll be voting for Louis Butler on April 1.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hard To Get Organized. You'll Have To Settle For This.

A quick look around

Tom Barrett and Scott Walker and a Circus parade? Oh, my! It looks like I'll have to spend some money in Milwaukee next year.

The top prizes went to Europe but some local cheeses were Class winners as well. The World Champions of Cheese were crowned in Madison this week. All that cheese and Charlie gets bupkus. It's kind of like the Pulitzers in that way.

How does a city balance municipal needs with commercial desires? How much is too much to renovate space a city already owns? How does a city build density downtown? Where do displaced programs go? What do we do with a problem like Maria? Baraboo is struggling with most of these questions now.

A spoonful of sugar doesn't help everything go down. MMSD? Are you listening?

Judge Tom and Union Township score a hit for open government.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Welcome To It

This Winter has gotten to me. It's moved way out beyond cabin fever to a low-grade persecution complex. Every drift and pot hole feels like it's mocking me.

Last night I was chipping away at the glacial drift at the end of the driveway. (Each night when I get home from work I've attempted to widen the passage a little bit.) I found a part of a Christmas tree. Not a big part, but a branch, still dragging tinsel through the sandy snow. How depressing.

My beloved has bought a new length of hose to run the sump pump outlets to somewhere near the rock garden and that's given me the idea that might make a redemption of this snowy season.

Waukesha can have the water from my sump pump. I'm sure that I have the mineral rights to the water from inside my foundation. All Waukesha has to do is bring a truck and hook the pipe up to it. For no more than the price of Dasani they're welcome to haul it away. Ninety nine cents a pint plus transportation.

Drop me an email. If I haven't heard from Waukesha by Monday I'm calling New Berlin.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Support For Mental Health

From Tammy Baldwin's newsletter.

Mental Health Parity - I'm delighted to report that I voted for, and
the House passed, H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction
Equity Act. This bipartisan bill, which I co-sponsored and strongly supported,
is designed to end discrimination against patients seeking treatment for mental

The legislation ensures that group health plans do not charge
higher co-payments, coinsurance, deductibles, or impose maximum out-of-pocket
limits and lower day and visit limits on mental health and addiction care than
for medical and surgical benefits.Passing this legislation was a high priority
of mine and the House leadership.

The Senate mental health parity bill (S.558) passed that body by
unanimous consent on September 18, 2007. There are differences between the
Senate-passed bill and the bill that the House passed this week. So we’ll move
to a conference committee stage where the differences between the two bills will
be reconciled. Then both the House and Senate will have to pass the agreement
that comes out of the conference committee.

There's been a lot of chatter in opposition to providing mental health services across the board. Our friend Capper has spent some time parsing those arguments and I hope you'll go see what he has to say.

I just wonder why the "more guns in more places" crowd isn't burning up the phone lines to support this. If it would make it easier and more efficient to identify and get help for those who have been misusing guns in a flare-up of their illness it should be a desirable result for them.

A Line From The Play

We went to see Sourcecode: Candide at TapIT New Works Theater Saturday night and one line has stuck with me.

Don't you love your country?

Like my Mother. But I wouldn't want her telling the world what to
do, either.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Why Is It?

Crikey, I sound like Andy Rooney without the thatched eyebrows.

Some people sneeze when they walk out into bright light. My beloved sneezes when she takes the first sip from a glass of Bailey's. Just the very first one, then she's okay.

But what is it about the house lights going down at the theater that makes people have to cough? Lights down. Music up. Actors on. Cue the sanitarium sound effects. Yeesh.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Trainers and Advisors

Nathan posts two news stories and asks you to draw the lines.


WASHINGTON, May 4 [1961] --
Senator J.W. Fulbright strongly indicated tonight that the Kennedy
Administration was considering the possibility of direct military intervention
to counteract Communist threats in South Vietnam and Thailand...

go see the rest.

Seniors and Rebate Checks

You have to file a return by April 15 to receive a rebate. This is from Tammy Baldwin's newsletter.

You can read more about my activities below, but I want to make you aware of
an important issue involving seniors and the economic stimulus rebate checks
that will be distributed in the next several months. Many seniors and
others on limited incomes who receive Social Security and/or some VA benefits
don't generally file income tax returns. Nevertheless, they may
be eligible to receive a rebate check as part of the recently passed economic
stimulus package.

To receive a rebate check, though, you must file a tax return by April 15 if your income in 2007 from Social Security benefits, certain VA benefits, and other earned income was at least $3,000. Please help inform your friends, neighbors, and family members about this requirement.

To learn more, click here or call my office in Madison (608-258-9800) or Beloit
(608-362-2800). The information is also available on my website,


Friday, March 07, 2008

Thank You

To Karen Aikman and Heather Heinzer, thank you for your hard work.

To the candidates, Kathi Swanson, Joyce Parizo, Michael Pierick and Dennis Hatfield, thank you for running.

To The Review, The Observer and to the Gazette, thank you for spreading the word.

To the School District and the staff of JC McKenna Middle School, thank you for the room.

And, to those of you who came out to the candidates' forum last night, you have my gratitude.

Thank you


Oh, yeah. Is he still running? Really?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Please Join Us Thursday Evening

New posts are below

The press release

The election on April 1st will include three open seats on the Evansville District School Board, each for a three year term. A forum, showcasing the School Board candidates will be held on Thursday, March 6, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Commons area of the J.C. McKenna Middle School, 307 South First Street. The 90-minute event is planned to allow each candidate time to present their vision for the district to the public.

“Jim Brooks and I organized a similar event last year when we realized we had 6 great candidates vying to fill 2 seats,” said Karen Aikman, one of the event organizers. “Since we had such positive feedback, and we again find we have more candidates than seats available, we felt it appropriate to organize another forum. Like last year, the candidates will each be provided with the list of the questions to be asked so that their responses will be well thought out and exactly what they want them to be. It is our feeling that these issues are important enough to warrant a considered response.”

Each candidate will be given three minutes to respond to each of five questions. The questions are:

1) You have each chosen to take on the difficult and rewarding task of running for the Evansville School Board. Please introduce yourself and tell us why you are seeking a seat on the School Board.

2) The position of School District Administrator often acts as lightning rod for the district. Please describe the perfect relationship between a School Board and its Administrator.

3) Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, or equivalent issues, have concerned parents for generations. What role or responsibility, if any, do you believe the School Board can play in shaping student culture?

4) In times of tight budgets athletic and other extra-curricular programs often compete against academic programs for support. Please share your thoughts on maintaining balance when making funding decisions.

5) Kindergarten programs of many varieties have drawn much attention in the past few years. What is your vision for the correct mix of half-day, full-day and 4K programs in the Evansville School District?

“We hope that this forum will be a starting point for the district rather than a stand-alone event. The voters seldom get a chance to meet the candidates in a venue like this and the candidates will have a unique opportunity to frame their own platform for the voters,” said Jim Brooks, the event’s other organizer. “Karen and I hope that the public will stay after the forum to meet with the candidates.”

Each of the four candidates has been invited to participate. The candidates are:
Michael Pierick, 126 Grove St., Evansville,
Dennis Hatfield, 14202 Golf Air Drive, Evansville,
Joyce Parizo, 492 Badger Drive, Evansville, and
Kathi Swanson, 4322 N. Cornfield Drive, Evansville,

"Clue" Accusations 2012

BY DAVID HART via McSweeney's. Have you had your McSweeney's today?

Colonel Mustard,
identity theft,
Ukrainian server room

Miss Scarlet,
catastrophic hurricane damage,
Manhattan shoreline

Professor Plum,
character assassination by trolling,

Mr. Green,
water-rationing-card devaluation,

"Mrs." White,
sexual-reassignment surgery,
San Francisco

Mrs. Peacock,
Mayan-calendar expiration,
fourth dimension

This'll Pull Your Pucker-String Tight

For what it's worth, this is the YouTube tag for this video.

Airbus A320-200 Lufthansa nearly crashed during a crosswind approach on the
runway 23 at the airport Hamburg International (EDDH) on 1st march 2008 in
Germany. Extreme landing or approach. Crash. Left wing touched the runway.
Crazy. Hard and dangerous. Funny landing. Storm Emma 2008 in Germany (Hamburg EDDH). After the landing the left wing was destroyed. This first landing was a wingstrike. Travel & Events.
I saw it first, in a slightly different edit, over by jib

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Look At the Bright Side

Warren Sapp retired yesterday, too. He's getting all the attention he deserves, I trust.

Sometimes The Posts Write Themselves

McCain Clinches

But then, we knew that from before.

Okay. I Can Understand That

When I came home last night the neighbors' Green Bay flag was at half-staff. Not a lot more needs to be said.

You Can Score A Man's Life By the Lives He Touched

I shouldn't have been surprised to find out how many of us bloggers were also players of Gygax' games. They were a gateway drug for geekdom.

In his memory I offer this tribute.

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator dies at 69
Associated Press Writer

Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy
game Dungeons & Dragons and is widely seen as the father of the role-playing
games, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69. He had been
suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal
aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974
using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly
shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was
turned into video games, books and movies.

Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted
fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55
miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he
hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she

"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the
years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he
gave them," Gail Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and
carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The
quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later
inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in
Born Ernest Gary Gygax, he grew up in Chicago and moved to Lake
Geneva at the age of 8. Gygax's father, a Swiss immigrant who played violin in
the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, read fantasy books to his only son and hooked
him on the genre, Gail Gygax said.

Gygax dropped out of high school but took anthropology classes at
the University of Chicago for a while, she said. He was working as an insurance
underwriter in the 1960s, when he began playing war-themed board

But Gygax wanted to create a game that involved more fantasy. To
free up time to work on that, he left the insurance business and became a shoe
repairman, she said.

Gygax also was a prolific writer and wrote dozens of fantasy books,
including the Greyhawk series of adventure novels.

Gary Sandelin, 32, a Manhattan attorney, said his weekly Dungeons
& Dragons game will be a bit sadder on Wednesday night because of Gygax's
passing. The beauty of the game is that it's never quite the same, he

Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is
survived by six children.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

But, It's Too Early

Daylight Savings Time starts Sunday morning at 2. Man, that feels early to me.

Because You Made Me Do It

Clinton wins in Ohio by the skin of her teeth.

Texas goes Obama by about the same.

VT and RI both go Obama.

Aaron Rogers will be better remembered than David Whitehurst but not by a lot.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Now, This Is Cool

Follow the Iditarod in real time with this interactive map.


Apparently, the penalty for ignoring the Keep Off The Grass" signs is now something up to and including death.

These people are nuts. Plain language. Nuts

The Party Ends Early

Milwaukee's new Police Chief Ed Flynn has been the darling of the right wing squawkers for his early "get tough" attitude. I predict that the love-fest will soon be over.

Last week an internal MPD Special Investigations Unit report was released directly to those most likely to misinterperet it. The Police Department itself was quick to disavow the conclusions drawn by the report as well as distancing itself from the remediation recommended by the investigators. The DA's Office and the US Attorney's Office also were quick to shun the report of 4 year-old errors.

Chief Flynn is now looking for those in his department who don't understand how "working through channels" works. I like to think of it as a "get tough" attitude.

Now, after his widely praised raid on local gang activity, Flynn is going after the scourge on his streets and I predict that the fallout will be ugly. Notice that Flynn is not going after Uncle Bob's hunting guns or your Sister's bedside gun. That doesn't mean that he'll get a pass for this initiative. I'm betting that the "guns in classrooms" crowd will be in high dudgeon by this afternoon.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


BY SUZANNE KLEID via McSweeney's, of course.

Thanks for making it out on a rainy Saturday, kids. Slippery out there, huh? Let's get started. We're gonna have some fun today!

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for teenagers. The school board and your elected representatives want to make sure that you and your families are spared from such a tragedy, which is why the money for driver's ed was eliminated from the budget. Whereas last year I was teaching your older siblings how to shift and brake and three-point-turn during a six-week course, it has since been decreed that I actually need just one afternoon to tell you the only piece of safety information I'm permitted by law to share:
The ONLY 100 percent effective method for avoiding car accidents is to ABSTAIN from driving until marriage.

Yes, yes, I know you've been bombarded with messages from popular culture about how much fun it would be to get behind the wheel of a red convertible, find an unbroken stretch of country road, and, with the wind in your hair, see what she can do. I know that up until now you had the mistaken belief that getting a driver's license was a cherished milestone of your young, sweet, innocent lives. It isn't. It's a milestone, all right: a milestone indicating terrible pain, degradation, and certain death.

Follow the link to read the rest.