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Ghosts Of The Auto Industry

Politics-National

Today, I drove to Janesville to do some work at, of all places, the Rock County Job Services building on Hwy 51. It is in a former Kmart building and the parking lot had more customer cars in it than I have ever seen at a Kmart.  On the way, I passed the GM plant as I have done several times through the years as a company that I had worked for also had an office on that same road. Previously it was bustling. Today it looked like a place that Sci Fi's Ghost Hunters should investigate. There was NOTHING going on. Not so much as a maintenance vehicle or a Chevy Suburban that remained unsold. Many of the cars in the Job Service lot were cars made at the factory. Very sad.

On the way home, I saw it was time to have the oil changed on the van. I stopped at my favorite quick change place near my office. They told me that I should rotate the tires and have the fuel filter changed, but they don't do that on foreign vehicles. I said it's made in Evansville Indiana, around the corner from another shop of ours. No matter. It's a Toyota, my work vehicle. I felt a bit awkward when I gave in the last of the series of Dodge Caravans who's lease was up and saw the Toyota Sienna sitting there for me. Later I found that it was made near our store and the people that put it together were likely customers of ours. How can you feel bad about that?

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HAWS Walk In The Park

Dog Parks, Various Topics

To kickoff the blog, I just got a phone call from my daughter-in-law saying that her mother lost her job and is moving in with a sister. A casualty of that unfortunate situation is that her Beagle needs to go elsewhere. I was asked if I'd be interested in accepting the dog. That's not a question that can be answered on an initial phone call! I did offer to learn more about the dog as from time to time we have another Beagle and Cattle Dog over for a few days. Kanook tolerates them well but is reluctant to not be the sole recipient of affection.

But back to HAWS. If ever Minooka Park was going to the dogs, Saturday removed any doubt. Hundreds of like-minded people were exploring the trails from the entrance of the park back to the furthest popular areas. The gathering spot was by the vendors and activity areas. Food was grilled up, including "hot dogs: by members of the Waukesha Old Car Club. An activity area was fenced off for demonstrations and competitions including the best tricks and the best kisser.

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who is Goo?

This weekend has been as nice as last weekend was rainy.

Last Saturday drove through pouring rain to Mukwonago for my son's first track meet. The meet was cancelled.  

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daddy's hands

Dad, St. William, 6) when I'm feeling sad, , 7) I simply remember, , Les is more

Rosella Metzger died Friday, aged 93 years. Outward appearances would indicate she was just a regular church-going grandma. She used to attend St. William's, and that's where I came to know her. I learned shortly before she moved to Ohio that she had recently been honored by the mayor for working 59 years. 

In today's paper there's an article about an elderly gentleman still actively playing music at 101. Les Paul is still playing a couple nights a week, as far as I know, and he's just nine days older than Rosella was. But working for 59 years? Still incredible. 

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I need a "printed" newspaper!

Community, County News, Observations

Tonight, a news story highlighted the challenges facing traditional newspapers across the Country. The Boston Globe, an old-line almost historical newspaper is in a bitter fight with its' ownership and unions, and it is ugly...

Declining ad revenue and on-line competition are usually listed as major contributors to the demise of local newspapers. Given the already declining ads prior to our current economic "challenges", the newspapers were already locked in a survivorship struggle. The problem compounds and accelerates when the economy nose-dives. And, suddenly, you can advertise free of charge your personal items and services via Craigslist. 

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pigging out at the dump

Just how bad is an economy where I can seriously consider dump dining? What kind of food is wasted yet still edible? Quite a lot, I'd expect, but I really wouldn't know.

How desperate am I for a meal when food at a dump tastes fresher and better than that I'd make for myself at home? Yesterday I had brats for breakfast and the annual Town of Merton Lunch at the Dump. For once, the best part wasn't that they were free, but that they were fresh. Hot off the grill and placed with kraut in buns made fresh that morning. Mmmmmmm, make mine a double.

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New Blog Updates

Again, I apologize for the recent hiatus from the blog. 

The Journal Sentinel is always striving to improve the way we blog, so new updates and new blog tools are implemented quite frequently.

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a floral emergency

Prom weekend is always a little spendy, especially when combined with Mother's Day. . .  but she's worth it. 

Both sons are attending North's prom tonight. Nick looked great in a black tux with black shirt, white vest and white tie. Men's Wearhouse took great care of him, even though he waited til last weekend to order it.

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"Culvers Cares" - On Tuesday May 12'th...And Waukesha Students Win!

Community, Community Happenings, County News, Schools

The Culvers Custard Chain has historically selected a National Day of Giving and a percentage of the days' sales were donated to a National Charity.

This year, the local Culvers franchisees have been offered the opportunity to select their own charities.  Jill and Gary Beres, owners of Culver’s on Hwy 164 as well as Sunset, and Greg Howe, owner of Culver's-Silvernail, have selected the Waukesha Education Foundation (WEF) as the recipient of the "Culvers Cares" day of giving on Tuesday, May 12th.

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Einstein Visits The Dog Park

Dog Parks

Enough dog owners still visit Brookfield's Mitchell Park dog park that I believe it is fitting to keep interested people informed. Lots of things happen on Friday nights.  Usually as a result of indiscretions due to the influence of alcohol, peer pressure or mind altering substances. In this case motivation might have been the call of "All Wheel Drive" versus the challenge of a wet trail. An interview with the unverified driver of the vehicle said it is his parent's SUV and they are out of town this weekend.

Frequenters of Mitchell's dog park will recognize this as the far southeastern portion of the trail. The bench can be seen on the left side of the picture and the green sign marks the boundary of the dog park. Not visible are signs prohibiting motorized vehicles in the park.

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Government Driving Automakers The Wrong Way?

Obama, Politics-National, Hot Topics

I've been in business enough to know that when times are tough, it is tempting to cut back advertising. However, that is the last expense that should be cut. After all, sales equals income.

I've wondered why the Obama administration has coerced GM and Chrysler to cut back the number of dealers that it has. A guest column in todays Journal Sentinel by the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association verifies my belief that dealers operate at close to no expense to the brand. Without these dealers, there is no outlet to sell cars!

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My next career?

On Tuesday May 12th, 2009, I gave my best in trying to duplicate the incredible work done on a minute-by-minute basis at your local Culver's location.

It was "Culvers Cares" day of giving and the Waukesha Education Foundation is the fortunate recipient of 10% of the days' proceeds from Gary and Jill Beres's Culvers on Hwy 164 as well as Sunset, and Greg Howes' store on Grandview.

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Frog Symphony At Minooka Park

Dog Parks

Being that the "Seasonal Pond" at the Minooka Dog Park is....seasonal, I'm amazed at how the frogs find their way there. Last year after it pretty much dried up, I found a pool of some kind of minnows. Somebody had to have planted those!  Here's a video of the pond and audio of the massive amount of frogs one evening. The dog in the beginning is none other than Kanook.

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bloggy tweet

Jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. It's perfect for when I don't have anything to say or time to say it. Its 3 sentence blog in 140 characters

too much blood? nothing to do? want to lose weight?

dripping blood, St. William

If you haven't given blood lately, it's possible you have too much. Your next opportunity to help others while helping yourself is Monday the 18th from 3:30 to 7:30 at St. William's, 440 N. Moreland.

You'll feel so much better afterwards... and one pound lighter!

a bird in the hand . . .

8) my favorite things

I love shopping at Char's Hallmark. There's a fair selection of cards, though in a different economy it has been better. It's extremely rare if I'm not pleasantly greeted at the door. (On occasion, I'll try to sneak in without the greeting just to see if I can.)  

If I have time, I'll put a lot of thought into card shopping. I try to find the card that matches the gift or recipient's interests. Saturday I didn't have a lot of time, and didn't think my one year old niece would care which card I got her. I was on my way to Pick N Save for groceries, could have picked up a nice card there, but stopped at Hallmark anyway.

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Hwy TT Bypass Best Be "Bypassed"?

"The state is expected to cover $37.5 million of the cost, with another $2.6 million set aside for purchasing real estate. Waukesha County would contribute $8.6 million, and the City of Waukesha would contribute $2 million. Officials could not say how much property would still need to be acquired."

Even though the proposed bypass has been on the books for fifty years, in this time of economic shortfalls and political desires to replace cars with bicycles, busses, trains and rickshaws, isn't it best to keep the bypass on the books for some future time when it makes economic sense? The city of Waukesha doesn't have $2 million dollars to contribute toward this! Neither does the county and all we've heard from the state is whining over economic shortfalls. In this time of 10% unemployment, unnecessary spending MUST be halted and property tax relief efforts must be the priority. Oh, and please don't fall for the story that the money has been budgeted for it. Budgeted money can ALWAYS be reallocated to something more important.

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How Best To Remember On Memorial Day?

Politics-National, Various Topics

At church, we are told that our faith isn't checked out at the door of the church, it is to practiced every day. To me, remembering and appreciating those past and present who served in the military is also something to be done regularly and not just on this Monday.

How do I do that? Television can be something beyond creating mind-mush as Hulu advertises. The Military channel, History and sometimes Discovery, among others, have shows about wars past and present and about the men and women in them. Understanding what these events were about and appreciating the hardships and heroics makes me remember much more than once a year.

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a colonel of mystery

Was able to visit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition before it closed. I was handed the boarding pass of 60 year old, 1st class passenger Colonel John Weir, who was travelling alone. My sister, the pass of a 3rd class 14 year old girl travelling with just her younger brother. The mystery wasn't why the children weren't with an adult, their father wasn't allowed to board due to an infection, but whether our people were saved. We'd find out at exhibit's end. 

The exhibit was fairly spread out so crowds weren't a problem and, since we didn't get the audio tour, we could procede at our own pace. Many of the artifacts were those one wouldn't think would survive at the bottom of the Atlantic for 97 years: a white steward's jacket with name on it in marker, paper money and playing cards, leather articles. . .

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down by the river to pray

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