Black Friday. We hear about that so much. Reports are that consumer spending was up a few percent over last year. That's good news, but for who? Do Mom and Pop downtown report their sales to the keeper of the statistics? I doubt it. The unfortunate fact is that the winners during most of Christmas shopping are the retailers of clothing, toys and electronics. Few if any, are made in America. Much goes to China who in turn lends it back to some government bureaucrat so we can have such a high standard of living and think that we are a wealthy country to boot.
How to spend like a patriot? Take most electronics off the list. I think the last American television was Zenith. If you want to buy something practical, buy that furnace and air conditioner that you need from your hometown heating contractor. Most of that equipment is still made in the USA but some air conditioning components are being made in Mexican factories. If your furnace is good yet, consider a humidifier, high efficiency air cleaner or HRV (heat recovery ventilator). Many of those are made in Madison. Ask your dealer where his brands are made.
A friend from work has the habit of reading the day's death notices. Today he pointed out that a real Santa and an imitation Santa had died.
Henry Kraus Jr. was also known as "Santa" for the joy he brought to children while playing Santa at the Boston Store and throughout Ozaukee County. He died Nov. 30th at 91 years old. Two sisters preceding him in death were sisters. He was survived by fourteen grandchildren.
If you get downtown today for the Art Angel Art Crawl, the Global Christmas Traditions, the live music, New Clarke Hotel and Black Trumpet Restaurant... be sure to stop in at Ryan Peters' new Clinton Street Gallery. Opening just last month, the gallery is found at the corner of South and Clinton Streets across from Mia's Restaurant.
My work van is a leased vehicle and Firestone on Silvernail is one of the approved repair shops for it. I had dropped it off for an oil change and a set of tires. I decided to walk home but as I was walking across the street, my son happened to be driving by and gave me a ride home. As I was on a week of vacation, I wasn't in any rush to have it done. When it was done, my wife wasn't around at the time to drive me there so I decided to do something bold and new. I took the bus.
I've never been on a local bus, but when in Milwaukee, I regularly rode them until I got my first car. So, even though it's been forty years since I've been on one, it was pretty easy to figure out what to do. A Google search found the local bus's website and a few clicks more found the schedule for route 9 that I'd be taking. I found the times that the bus would leave the downtown station and could estimate about when it would be coming by the closest bus stop on Moreland. I figured that exact change would be necessary so I got some quarters from my stash on the bedroom dresser for the $2.00 fare. A check of the time and I decided to start walking the short distance to the bus stop. As expected, I soon saw a bus appear down the street and was aboard. The friendly driver confirmed that there was stop near Firestone.
This time of year we notice a few things more than during the warmer months - one thing being that pet hair and dander can be bothersome even to those who don't have allergies. Our windows are closed tight so no air can leak out, but that also means no breeze is chasing irritatants out of the house, either, to be replaced with fresh air.
So, what to do? Before you pack up Fido or Fluffy and send them HAWS' way, there are a few things to keep in mind - things that apply even in warmer, more tolerable weather!
My confirmation group and I helped out with a Special Olympics Bowling Tournament at AMF Lanes on Northview Rd. in Waukesha Saturday. I'd never helped with this annual event before but people in our group had. They said what a great time it is and how much fun we'd have. But I really didn't expect it to be as much fun as it was.
I don't know much about bowling and nothing about tournaments. Lots of questions, spectators and participants and a little confusion. There were eight young men bowling the two lanes we were watching, and each bowler switched lanes with each frame.
Our youngest got his temps Thursday. Consider yourselves warned.
The real reason I mention it is because of our brief visit to the DMV. The one day of the week they're open late they must be busy. Only open until 6:45 and I don't arrive home till 6:00, so by then the lines are long and there's plenty of waiting. Right?
We've been told not to act on things while angry or go to bed angry. I admit to being rather angry at the moment. A drunk driver, convicted eight times previously for drunken driving, weaved a path of destruction through Waukesha. By some good grace a student was spared death and severe injury after being hit and flung airborne by this drunken menace to society. Worse than sadly, this is just another episode of drunken driving events happening nearly every day.
Change! Things need to change. One of those changes is this. I call upon the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and ALL news media to find out and report where the drunks are getting drunk. It is time that purveyors of alcohol be held accountable for the drunken patrons that they profit from.
On September 5th, 3008, I was diagnosed with stage 4 Squamous Cell tongue cancer. Our lives changed forever on that day...
We always have a good laugh this time of year about how, when it gets cold, many of our fellow dog walkers seem to disappear. I'm not the heartiest of souls, but my spouse and I usually play a guilt trip on each other if one is going to chicken out on the walk because of the weather. We're Wisconsinites! We can handle it! (We're nuts!)
I have just come in from shoveling the snow for the third time today. And from the looks of things, in about an hour I will be back out again.
When Kanook was a puppy, I began working with him at Mitchell Park. One day I decided to cut up some salami and put it in a baggie to use for training treats. Well, picky Kanook wasn't interested in the treats but every dog at the park could smell it through the plastic. I never made that mistake again!
One of the rules posted at Minooka Park's dog exercise area is no treats are allowed. A questionable rule for many people but you never know when you will become the most popular person in the dog park because of it. A feeding frenzy possibly. Perhaps a new rule needs to be posted. "No Burger King Cologne!"
About three weeks ago I found the perfect pair of boots at Farm & Fleet, but they were out of my size.
Were there any in back? Were they getting more in?
Oh boy, am I going to step in it now. As having been associated with a pet store and being president of a dog park organization, it should go without saying that I love dogs.
You will see on the opening page of WaukeshaNow.com that there is a forum discussion about if Pit Bulls should be banned. Even if you aren't interested, I recommend that the answers be read. There are many of them. I'm with the group that believes and have witnessed that the personality of a dog is more dependent upon it's upbringing than genetics. As an example, turn on the NatGeo channel 69 on a Friday night and watch The Dog Whisperer. One of Caesar's dogs is a rescued Pit Bull, Daddy, who was once a fighter but is now a gently dog. Kanook's (my Husky) favorite playmate is a Pit Bull. Their two personalities just compliment each other and they have a great time playing. Too bad they don't get together more often. Another dog with a bad reputation is the Rottweiler. I've met many and to date each one has been a wonderful dog around strangers. The same with Doberman Pincers. They used to have a bad name but again the one's I've met have been good dogs.
On the back page of Sunday's Journal Sentinel's Waukesha section, page 4W, is the volunteers needed section. I quote; "SNOW REMOVAL: The three homeless shelters in Waukesha are in need of volunteers to help keep their sidewalks clear."
Lets see, if I donate a shovel, don't they, by definition of homeless shelter, have the people power to use it?
"How can you work there, isn't it just too hard?"
I know St. Nicholas Day was the sixth, but many people, like us, do "stockings" at Christmas. We often tease about putting coal in the socks of naughty children, but have you even given or received coal? Real coal?
These days one can buy black-colored fake coal candy or gum. This year we bought chocolate wrapped in black celophane that was supposed to represent coal. But not counting charcoal, where would one purchase real coal in Wisconsin? In an antique store?
Diana C. has been our Journal Sentinel carrier for half a year give or take. In that time there's not been a single instance when I've failed to find the paper outside the door in the morning. No matter the weather, the road conditions or time of day, it's always there. This morning the paper was there when I checked at 5:15 a.m., and it was double-bagged!
In all our years of subscribing we've never had better service from our carrier. I asked a friend of mine, who's a longtime JS carrier, if he's experienced earlier truck times. He said they usually run just as late as they've always been.
Sir Fido took me for a walk to burn off some Christmas calories during yesterday's mild temps. A large dog, off leash, a German Shepherd, ran up behind us clearly wanting to cause panic and mayhem. Because I've never showed this particular dog fear, or maybe she got a good look at the boots I was wearing, she left just as fast as she arrived, no owner in sight.
One problem is it's against the law to have a dog running loose in Waukesha. The other problem is they're neighbors we're trying to remain friendly with. When the dog relieved herself on our driveway the other day with no one cleaning it up, I didn't go over there and demand action. But if the dog ever tries taking a bite out of Sir Fido all bets are off.
Most dogs like to splash around in the water. With that interest in mind, the County Parks Department enlarged a seasonal pond at the Minooka County Park dog exercise area. What was a huge wading pool during the spring run-off and rain, was scooped out to make a pond that is around four feet deep. This last weekend's rain and thaw filled it up. The land surrounding it was tapered to drain towards the pond, seeded and plastic mesh snow-fence was placed around the larger area. The day after the fence was put up, dogs figured out how to get around it, under it and one dog was seen jumping over it twice. Since then the plastic has sagged and torn and is no longer doing the job of keeping people or dogs away from the pond.
After Saturday's thaw and rain, the temperature dove below freezing and a layer of ice formed over the pond. I could see where three dogs fell through the ice immediately and turned back to safety. One made it about ten feet into the deeper water and broke through. I have not heard one way or the other if the dog is well.