Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Undead Story

In 2012, my brother Tom and I and a couple boatloads of cousins, including my kids went up to the Boundary Waters. We went up for a 3 night trip and stopped at Piragis Outfitter to get canoes and a couple of packs. It turned out the outfitters has a bookstore hooked onto their business. While Tom and I negotiated the canoe rentals, our kids wandered through the bookstore.

Ben found a book The Zombie Survival Guide on one of the racks and asked if he could buy it. I said sure, knowing that the whole "Zombie  thing" was big among kids his age - and society in general, for that matter. I figured it would be a good campfire filler or might make for some decent entertainment in case the kids got bored at some point. Furthermore, I have a hard time denying any kid a book. Reading is so important in my life that we want to encourage any reading we can.

It turns out my suspicions were correct. Ben spent much of the first night reading factoids around the fire about how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Things like being quiet, as they are attracted to noise, and how many rounds of ammunition you should have on hand. You know, important facts like that. Things you shouldn't leave the house without knowing about.

I mentioned to my nephew Nick that I was beginning to try my hand at fiction writing. I've always been a nonfiction/poetry guy, so was telling him how I was struggling to think of ideas on what to write. When I mentioned that Zombies were all the rage in fiction, he mentioned maybe a story about a Zombie Bigfoot. (Or I mentioned it and he agreed with it, I forget which.)

And so with that seed planted, I started thinking about the plot line, setting, etc. I knew it had to be set in the BWCA, because it is so remote and would make a great setting.

Eventually I got the story roughed out. I read it to my writing workshop folks and they shot the ending down. So I rewrote a couple of endings and picked what I thought was the best. I submitted it to a few places and got the usual rejections. Then, yesterday, I got it accepted by the Free Zombie Fiction Blog. It's funny because I had kind of given up on the story. I've been focusing a lot of attention on the details of promotion and release of Dirty Shirt, so I almost forget that these other things are out there.

In any case, it was my first piece of fiction that I've been able to get published. This is exciting for me, as now I've successfully published in three different writing niches. Good stuff.

Now, I've written a fiction story that I think is much better than the zombie one that has yet to gain a sniff. That, I've determined, is the nature of the business, unfortunately. You have to hit the right editor on the right day and hope they're in a good mood. If you know of any magazines that would be a good fit for a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) murder mystery, you know who to call.

I've also got a couple of flash fiction pieces that I'm trying to market as well. Flash is loosely interpreted, but ranges from anything between 100 (microfiction) to 1000 words in length. It's harder than it sounds to develop a story in that short space. Or, perhaps more accurately, it's hard to END a story in that short of space. You can get the beginning and middle done, but wrapping it up - and making it a good ending to boot - is the hard part.

By far the majority of the people I write with when I'm at AllWriters' are fiction writers. They write about a ton of wild, far-out, fascinating, dreamy, creepy, spacey things. I admire their talents, in many ways more than my own. I won't say that recalling events and writing about them doesn't require imagination and creativity, but I will say, it requires a different kind. When I hear some of the things they write about I think to myself, I can't even THINK in that dimension. It is a gift, one that I can trigger if I force myself, but to these people it seems to come naturally. That's what makes reading them so cool. They respect what I do, and I respect what they do.

The thing to remember is the world needs us both. It needs a description of the bonding and adventure of four brothers going camping in the BWCA as much as it needs a zombie Sasquatch coming and raiding their camp.

This is what makes the writing process beautiful.

Blogging off...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Warm Thoughts This Winter Day

I swore I wouldn't do it this winter. It's too easy to do. Everyone's doing it. I wanted to be different.

But I have to.

I can't resist.

I'm a broken man.

I'm angry. And cold. And fed up.

Here is my winter rant.

Oh how do I hate thee Wisconsin Winter of 2014? Let me count the ways.

  1. I hate the fact that the 40 mph wind blowing my back screen door open last night made me get out from under sixty seven pounds of comforters to go and close it properly.
  2. I hate the fact that I was looking forward to the promise of temps in the 20's yesterday, only to have them squashed by hurricane winds and blinding sideways snow on my ride home last night.
  3. I hate, beyond reasonable, rational, healthy levels of emotion, those cursed inch-and-a-half snowfalls that have to be cleared every other day. What is with that anyways? It's like the clouds have prostate issues or something. If you're going to snow, snow already. These little snow sneezes are pissing me off.
  4. I hate that I can't even walk my dog around the block without him coming up limping at the 3/4 mark to the point where I have to carry his 20 lb carcass home. On some of the colder nights when we let him out back to go potty, he looks at us like "No thanks, I'm good."
  5. I hate the fact that I have to park my vehicles nose to nose "just in case" one of them gets an attitude and doesn't start.
  6. I hate the fact that I had to buy a new battery for my van. More than that, I hate the fact that when I bought a battery in 1981, it was $50 and came with a 5 year warranty and today when I bought one it was $120 and comes with a 3 year warranty. What, did the battery guys lose the secret formula?
  7. I hate my molting epidermis. Even my gums are dry. My skin flakes off like the dirt from Pigpen. 
  8. I hate that the salt from my car somehow always finds its way to my winter coat, mittens, shoes and pants.
  9. I hate the sound of snowplows rattling my fillings while I lay blowing frost clouds in my room underneath my sixty seven pounds of comforters. Oh yes, I hate that.
  10. I hate waiting for the furnace to come on. Then, when it does, I hate that it's a dry heat. I've resorted to hissing at my cats when they sit in front of it, robbing me of my share. This is not healthy, well adjusted behavior for a man in his fifties.
  11. I hate that I have to wear long johns indoors.
  12. I hate that I enjoy going to work because at least it's not drafty.
  13. I hate my parka, my  hat, my gloves, my boots, my Yak Traks, ice melt, ice scrapers, shovels, snow blowers and, yes, I even hate snowmen a little.
  14. I hate clouds because they mean either: A. I won't see the sun, or, B. Snow is imminent.
  15. I hate the sun because it means: A. A cold front is upon us...or coming, or, B. Snow is imminent.
  16. I hate having to manhandle my way into my van because the doors are frozen with a glaze of ice.
  17. I hate that my walks to work are not only dictated by the air temperature, but I have to figure in the godforsaken windchill. (i.e. How many minutes before my skin turns to beef jerky?)
  18. I hate that it's only January 25th and sometimes that means the worst is yet to come. Lord, have mercy.
  19. I hate that without wearing gloves, I cannot A. Put air in my tires. B. Change the song on my iPod. or C. Hold my dog's leash  - without fear of frostbite.
  20. I hate the thought that in 10 months it all starts again
Now I know there's some of you out there who are thinking "Hate is a strong word, Jim," and others who say, "Why don't you make the best of it? Ski, skate, make snow angels."

To you I say, I will as soon as it hits 30 degrees again. I will dance, frolic, skip, skate and rejoice. 

Until then, I'm going to be a hater.

Blogging off...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Undercover Poet

One of my writing loves is poetry. As a writer it stretches me. It is a bit of a running joke with my brothers and my fishing buddies who chide me regularly about bongos, a beret and a soul patch. It takes a man comfortable in his masculinity to cross that line between metaphor and muskie fishing. I am that man.

I once said during a poetry reading that I was reading at that it was my goal to be Wisconsin's tallest poet. It was an attempt to lather up the audience, and it got a good laugh. Of course a tad-more-pretentious poet sitting in the audience came up and told me I was too late that he knew of a poet that was taller.

Well, shucks. Nothing to live for now.

But as I said, I enjoy it. When my first poem was published by Verse Wisconsin about 4 years ago, it started to fuel my desire for publication. It was a short little poem, but seeing it in print was about the coolest thing going at the time.

Now, the publisher that picked my book does publish poetry chapbooks (that's hip-talk for a small book of poems.) It is my hope that on the heels of Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, they would be interested in publishing my poetry. I've developed quite a catalog of them and it would be cool to see them all together in a book. Something I need to talk to them about.

And so, to switch things up a bit, here's a few of my past works. Some good, some not. One poem I saw in The Sun magazine talked of a poet who in his lifetime probably writes 4000+ poems with maybe 100 or so published. That leaves 3900 that get thrown away when he dies. Yet, here he is starting another poem. That's about how it works.

So here's a few that will at least get read by someone before they're thrown away. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

Great Love                                                                             by Jim Landwehr
They swam in Lake Ontario
When they met in Rochester
Fell in love long-distance style
And nurtured it by mail

They swam in Lake Michigan
After they married two years later
On a beach in Milwaukee
Before it was toxic

They swam in Lake Superior
In their forties with their two kids
The lake was pure and deep
Like their love

They’ve yet to swim in Huron
And Erie still awaits too
Perhaps with grandchildren in one

Each other’s ashes in the other

Fat Cat                                                                                                           by Jim Landwehr

Fat Cat was a stray we welcomed
Who never really got a name
Other than Fat Cat
Creativity gave way to appearance
He was a shade of roly poly grey
With a kangaroo sack stomach
That waddled when he ran
Which wasn’t often
He did run at the sound
Of the kitchen can opener
It meant a disgusting wet meal
A Fancy Feast for a Fatty Beast
A beast named Fat Cat
He had a thing for the ladies
Tommed all night
Slept all day
One day he went missing
Never came back
When we found him in the gutter
We changed his name

From Fat Cat to Flat Cat

Morning Home-icide                                                                         by Jim Landwehr

The Pop-Tart Strudel
Loaded into the mouth
Of the half-cocked
Middle schooler
Shot out of the car
Rifling into the heart
Of his day

Late for school

Got the Time?                                                   by Jim Landwehr

The change between yesterday and today
is minute in some ways, grandiose in others
A new wrinkle
A bit more rust
A flower withers
But at the same time
In another part of this world
A mother loses a daughter
A car hurtles off a cliff
An earthquake levels a city
Which causes free thinkers
To ask themselves some questions
Why am I here?
What’s it all about?
When is my number up?
After some thought
Conclusions are reached
I'm here for a reason
My time is short

I'd better get going

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Summit Fever

Needless to say, it has been kind of a crazy week for me. A week ago yesterday was one of the best days in a long, long time, and it kind of threw this week on its head. After talking to the publisher on Friday, I received my publishing book contract last Sunday night and returned it on Wednesday. The rest of this week involved a lot of cloud-walking and inability to focus. I've got a million things I'm thinking about with regards to what a book release involves, and am trying to work out what precedes what. I've got a great set of friends, peers, and mentors around me to help, which is nice, but it's still overwhelming.

Now, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir doesn't come out for another five months, but my immediate reaction is to get everything setup and ready in the first week.

It goes without saying that this is not a healthy approach.

It leads to sleep deprivation, as my mind refuses to shut off when I go to bed. On the couple of nights I was able to go to sleep right away, I woke up at 3:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. Ugh. I'm sure it will taper off as I get further along, but for the moment I need a cranial mute button.

There's business cards, and bookmark design/setup/printing, promotional posters and flyers, bookstore contacts for signings, website updates, cover art considerations, acknowledgements, dedication notes, back cover blurbs and Author recommendations, library contacts for book filings, scheduling considerations, editing, Library of Congress registration consideration, etc. 

I am acutely aware that I need a plan. Luckily I am married to a planner and she helped me to start one today. No fine details yet, but a rough list of what comes first. We determined that business cards are first. I need to be able to point people to my website, blog and to the publisher's site. Next comes the website updates, including maybe some analytic tools. Then some preliminary contacts with some of the bigger bookstores that may book way in advance. Let them know when it's coming out and try and schedule some signings. 

You see? No mute button.

Part of the issue is the relatively quick turnaround of the book. Five months may seem a long time, but when you have as much legwork to do as I do, it's really not. 

And I have to be careful not to over think things either. My thought today was I need to re-do my website altogether, make it flashier, more mobile friendly, etc. After giving it some thought, I'd rather make what is there work better. Clean it up, maybe simplify it a bit, etc. 

I've been around computing long enough to know that if you want to re-vamp a website, be prepared for a long road and a lot of angst. Furthermore, I also know the time you DON'T want to mess with your site is when the most people might be trying to access it. Right now, it isn't real glamorous, but you know what? It works. With my luck, I'd try changing templates and having it look worse.

It has also been a week of great celebration for me. On Wednesday I surprised the AllWriters' Workshop gang by bringing in champagne and cookies to celebrate my deal. It was really good to be able to thank Kathie, Michael and all the students for their help in getting me to this point. It really is a dream come true, and I'll be honest, an answer to prayer, as well. These folks were critical when I needed it, and encouraging when I needed that.

Then, last night Donna arranged a very small gathering of our close friends from Bayview and Waukesha. Some of these are friends from 15-20 years ago. We got together and laughed about things like who we would cast as each of the brothers in the movie if my book were ever to get turned into a screenplay. (Ha!) These friends are my world outside of my writing circle and I was grateful they made it a point to come and congratulate me. I love them, and would do the same for them. 

They say that mountaineers that climb Mt. Everest start to lose their rational thought near the summit and start making mistakes. That's kind of where I'm at. The air's a little thin up here, and I'm in danger of suffering from publication-hypoxia. So, I aim to start putting one foot in front of the other and start picking tasks off one at a time. Step, breathe, step. That's the healthy approach. A sniper rifle, not a shotgun. A marathon, not a sprint.

And finally, I keep reminding myself that these are all good problems to have. Problems that others would kill for. I need you all to remind me of that anytime I'm griping about any of it. Deal? Deal.

Blogging off...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dancing Defined

I spent last weekend in Hudson, Wisconsin with my family. We went to watch my niece and her fiance' get married. They have been engaged for over two years and have been planning the wedding ever since the engagement. It was a beautiful wedding, carefully attended to by many family members working in advance and "in the wings" during. My niece, bless her heart, threw her all into the preparations. By the time she got to the wedding she had every detail mapped out, and it paid off. She was able to relax the day of the wedding and enjoy the attention she and her husband deserved.

It was really cool to be part of their day. My role up front was to put together a photo montage of the two of them. Then on the day before, I helped with the decorating and some other minor details. The whole family worked hard to make sure it was a special day for the couple, and it was.

By the time the reception rolled around, everyone was ready to let down their hair. After dinner and the video, the DJ started the music and the dancing started. With the exception of the "special dances," the dance floor was packed most of the night. I think a good analogy is that the human body is like a rug, and sometimes it just needs to be shaken out really, really good. That's what happened on the dance floor.

Now, I've mentioned this before, that dancing is not always an elegant, glamorous, or sexy thing. In fact, for roughly 80% of the population, it's not. While people think they are "in the groove," often times they're not even on the record. They're behind a beat, their moves are 20 years out of date, or they're DWW (Dancing While White).

I know this for a fact, because I am them.

For starters if God had meant dancing to be glamorous or sexy, he'd put a height limitation on the dancers. Certainly no one over 6'2" would make the cut. I'm sorry, too many gangly limbs flying too many directions. Someone's going to get hurt. Furthermore the tall guy, whether he realizes it or not, becomes impossible not to see. He is the dance floor lighthouse. People sitting down use him as a reference while watching everyone else dance. If they see someone cutting it up with zeal, often times they'll say things like, "Look at that couple to the left of the tall guy."

Tall people are a moving, shaking, and, in my case, apparently epileptic, point of focus.

But God didn't intend for dancing to always be sexy or glamorous. In my opinion, we are to dance with whatever reckless abandon we feel led. If it's a guy doing the pogo next to you, let him bounce. If it's your niece doing the sprinkler, let her sprinkle. If you find yourself dancing hip hop style and you're a middle aged Caucasian in the 98th percentile for height, well, hop on, bro.

I think there's something freeing about giving it all up and leaving it on the dance floor. It probably has curative qualities about it. It's complete release. It's probably endorphin inducing as well. If I hear a good song, it takes everything in me not to dance. If I do, I always feel better when I'm done. So you can laugh all you want, because I sure enough don't care. From the looks of it, neither does anyone else on the floor.

So get up everybody and dance.

Blogging off...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

In the writing world, much of our time is spent waiting. Waiting on inspiration, waiting on clarity, waiting on edits, waiting on submission responses. When I took my first adult education writing course called Writing from your life, I was thrilled to be writing and getting feedback. So, what did I do right after that? Waited almost two years to take my second class - the AllWriters' Wednesday Night Workshop. Sometimes waiting is put on us, other times we put it on ourselves.

These past couple of months I was waiting to find out if my latest article submission on muskie fishing was accepted to MidWest Outdoors Magazine. They don't really reply if you are accepted or not, a check just shows up in your mailbox one day. When my article wasn't in the December issue, I assumed if I waited another month, it would be in January issue. Of course, it wasn't, so now I wait again to see if it will be placed in February or maybe even later in the year, where it fits the open water fishing season perhaps a little better.

I've been waiting on an even bigger prospect since about September. I started marketing my Boundary Waters book Dirty Shirt: A BWCA Memoir to various publishers and agents in September. I sent it to about twenty publishers and as many New York City agents, and I waited.

Well, the wait is over.

I received an email last Monday from eLectio Publishing saying they were interested in talking with me about my manuscript. We set up a phone call for Friday afternoon. As you might imagine, I was elated! Many authors end up waiting many, many months or even years before their work is accepted. This was about four months into it for me. I wasn't getting impatient or discouraged, because I was told many times by many people that it is a long, hard road. I had developed that "thick skin" that people told me would develop, so took my lumps in stride.

Along with that though, I had my writing peers and my family alongside me all along, cheering me on, encouraging me and telling me to stay the course and good things will happen eventually. They kept telling me my writing was really good and it was only a matter of time, but there's always this fear that they're just saying those things because they're my friends and family. Welcome to the head of a writer. We slay dragons like these daily.

When they called we talked for over an hour on the ins-and-outs of the publishing house. We also got to know each other a bit, which is important when dealing with a small press. They tend to view their authors as part of their "family," so establishing a rapport is key. This gentleman, the COO of the house, said that he only read about 30 pages of my manuscript, but loved it and couldn't get enough of it. He said he's not an outdoors guy, but that didn't matter when he read it. He then told me the manuscript was passed on to him by one of the review editors who said "You've gotta look at this." Evidently my fears about what my friends had said were unfounded.

He said they deal in both e-book and paperback and that they push heavily using social media. Luckily, a few weeks ago I set up a Twitter account (@jimlandwehr61) and was able to follow eLectioPubs and some of their authors. Their book distributor is Untreed Reads who will make the book available on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble (web only) and other outlets. We discussed royalty percentages and the importance of author and house commitment to making the book a success.

And so, the process is underway and, within six to nine months, I'll have a book. I am an author and I can hardly believe it.

Life is good!

Blogging off...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Letter From The Vortex

Evidently there is a phenomenon known as a Polar Vortex. The official explanation of it has something to do with polar cyclones that are ongoing all the time at both of the poles. Every once in a while some of this polar air gets shifted and ends up migrating south. It is better explained in a picture from Wikipedia.
 The goiter or turkey beard like thing you see in (c) would be the anomaly that is sitting in my backyard at the moment. It's a wicked goiter to be sure. A heartless, gripping, relentless turkey beard. And I don't like it. No one does. A friend of mine said, "Is it just me, or is maybe the Earth trying to get rid of us?" With temps in the negative teens and windchills in the negative fifties, one has to wonder. I know it's trying to get rid of my fingers and toes. As Greg Laden, a bioanthropologist said:

“We are not seeing an expansion of cold, an ice age, or an anti-global warming phenomenon. We are seeing the usual cold polar air taking an excursion."

Well, it can go back home anytime. We've got enough to deal with these next few months of winter without some sort of arctic road trip.

I woke up this morning to my wife saying "What if the car won't start? What will we do?" I replied that there is no car that can't be started without a good jump. 

"Wow, that sounds like something a former Minnesotan would say," was her retort.

Realizing that the pressure was on because of my bold statement, I went out expecting our 2004 Santa Fe to crack right over like it did on Monday when the temps were almost as bitter. I turned the key and got nothing but complaining and griping from under the hood. Even that was short lived as it eventually flat lined to where I barely had an engine light.

I had been Polar Vortexed! 

Never fear, I thought, this was why I parked the vehicles nose-to-nose. That's an old winter-beating trick I learned the hard way many years ago. If you don't have 20 feet of cables, you'd better plan ahead. I got out, hooked up the jumper cables Red dead, red live, black live, black dead (ground). I waited impatiently for all of 1 minute and tried the car again. 

No dice.

Wait for 3 minutes and repeat.

No dice.

Re-check the connections until I see sparks from the cable and let sit for 10 minutes, with an occasional engine rev for good measure.

Turn the key and Booyah! That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! (My grammar has gone numb!)

The interesting thing was, at one point I had my glove off for about a minute. After I put it back on, it never got warm again. It got increasing colder, even inside the car, until I went in the house. Now, that's when you know its seventeen below zero.

After I get to work, I get a text from Donna that the furnace is "leaking" something, and could I check it at lunch? Figuring it would be a good chance to charge the battery of my Frankencar, I made the trek at lunch.

Lo and behold the furnace was indeed leaking a bit of water. I give the humidifier hoses lines a good blow out to make sure they're clear. Next I took the cover off the furnace and gave the maze of wires and fires a good stare down. They looked a lot like the last time I gave them a stare down. I gave it a quick Dave Lennox blessing and shut it again. 

When I came home from work, the leaking had stopped. 


The moral of the story is I continue to not be a fan of winter. The other night I took the dog for a walk and it was snowing lightly and completely windless and quiet. It was so beautiful it was moving.

But I know better. That's the nice uncle winter, not the drunken, wife-beatin', car killin', furnace taxing, will-to-live sucking polar vortex abomination that showed up on Sunday night. No, that uncle is more what winter is like than nice uncle winter.

The problem is, I think we're stuck with drunk uncle winter for a few more months. 

Hang tough, people. And remember, Red dead, red live, black live, black dead (ground)

Blogging off...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Why We Watch

It's playoff sunday. The Packers play the Forty Niners in the Wild Card game at 3:40. I will be watching. I love this time of year. I am a professional football fan, have been since I was a kid. I grew up watching the Vikings play on TV or listening to them on the radio when it was blacked out. This carried through to my adult years, only my allegiances have shifted to the local team, Green Bay. I still pull for Minnesota, but not when they're playing the Packers.

Following football has always been a conflicting thing for me. I love the game, I love the competition, I love the hard hitting action and I love the drama that some games create. At the same time, I always struggle with the time-suck that it can be, especially on a nice fall afternoon. That's part of what I struggle with, but the other part is the disappointment factor. Let me explain.

In my forty years of watching football, I have exactly two Super Bowl victories to my credit. The teams I have followed, counting Minnesota, Buffalo and Green Bay, have appeared in eleven of them. So we have the statistic 2 for 11 (in Super Bowls). Or, if you want to get picky, 2 for 40 (in years). The odds are not really in one's favor as a fan in the National Football League, regardless of where you live. Even the Dynasty teams only have a handfull of super bowls in their many years in the league.

From week to week, when your team loses, it sucks a little bit. When they lose in the playoffs, it stings even more. When they lose in the Super Bowl, well, it makes for a very long winter.

On the other hand, when they win on Sunday it makes the week a little lighter. When they win in the playoffs, it's creates a mini-holiday, festive spirit at work and in our cities. When they win a Super Bowl, well, that's bragging rights.

I know everyone is not a fan. Some people hate football, others just have no interest. I have no problem with these people. When it comes down to it these athletes are coddled millionaires playing a boys game. I get that and it angers me when one of them complains about his contract of is disloyal to his team. It's a cancer in all of sports.

So why do I watch?

I watch because meltdowns like the Kansas City Chiefs had yesterday versus Indianapolis is like a soap opera to me. It's the second biggest playoff meltdown in history. I couldn't look away.

I watch to see Adrian Peterson run like a madman over, through and around people, including my beloved Packers. There is nothing better to me than watching a good running game. My first exposure to how dominating a running game could be was when Larry Csonka ran OVER my Vikings in the super bowl.

I watch to see comebacks like Aaron Rodgers pulled off over the Bears last week to propel the Packers into the playoffs. Before him the master at this was Brett Favre. Elway, Montana, and many others were perfectionists at it too.

I watch to see a single man take over a game like Reggie White did on Monday Night Football against Denver one year, and against New England in Super Bowl XXX. Randy Moss did it, Barry Sanders did it, Lawrence Taylor, Bruce Smith and Junior Seau all could do it.

I watch to see the Purple People Eaters, the Steel Curtain, the No Name Defense, the Cardiac Pack, the New Orleans 'Aints, the Orange Crush.

I watch to see if the Lions are ever "for real" (they never are), if the Browns, a team I've always pulled for, can finally get to the playoffs and win, (they never do), to watch my two least favorite teams lose (Steelers and Cowboys) and to see if the Chiefs, Chargers and Bengals will ever get back to the Super Bowl (not this year, is my guess.)

So my question today is, can Green Bay finally knock off their recent nemesis, the San Francisco Forty Niners? Can they win with their substandard defense, all of the injuries they're fighting and despite sub-zero temperatures that are forecast?

I don't know, but I sure intend to find out.

Go Pack!

Blogging off...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Year Of What Could Be

Instead of posting my New Years Resolutions, which is really between me and myself, I thought it would be more interesting to post a list of 10 things I would like to see in 2014. The list will be idealistic because if we're not striving for an ideal, we're probably heading the wrong way. These ideas can range from easily achievable to so far out they'll never happen. In fact the latter of the two is where most of them will probably land, because, if one doesn't aim high, you'll usually achieve the less-than-you-hoped-for anyway. Keep in mind this is strictly my opinion and if you're with me great, if not, no hard feelings.

  1. An end to talking heads like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and the rest. It doesn't matter their leanings, left or right, they're all smug, snarky, mean spirited people. I feel if you listen to or watch them enough, you might become like them. 
  2. The development of a wildly popular 3rd political party. They could call it the Smart Party, or the "Get it Done" Party. I realize we have independent and libertarian parties, but we need people to get behind something new enough and popular enough, to get the partisan-backing foot-draggers out of government.
  3. A mandate that bans the use of guns in any movie trailer. We are obsessed with the glorification of guns in this country and we wonder why we have weekly mass shootings. When I go to a nonviolent movie, I shouldn't be subjected to seeing someone get shot, but hey, that's just me.
  4. A Federal ban on High Fructose Corn Syrup. The stuff is killing us and it's being pushed on us by the likes of Monsanto and the other food giants.
  5. A monthly Give Back To Your Community day where everyone is given a day off of work if they spend it helping a neighbor, agency or business. This would require an agency to coordinate all the volunteers, but imagine the good it could do for a city.
  6. For every $10 Million we spend on military, the government matches it with 10 million toward job stimulus, solar panels, food for the hungry, or improving our schools.
  7. The death of all reality shows. Haven't we had enough? How insulted do we have to be before we turn it off and read a book? 
  8. No free soda refills, and no sodas over 12 oz. served anywhere. Additionally, no burger served will be more than 1/4 lb. We need this to save us from ourselves. We obviously are incapable of controlling our gluttony.
  9.  Tougher drunk driving laws, especially in WI. There should be no chance for a 3rd offense, let alone a fifth. The person should be in prison at this point. Seriously, c'mon.
  10. No mention of a "winter storm" unless it brings 6" or more, and no more stupid weathermen standing on a sidewalk telling us about how it's starting to accumulate. Snow does that. Furthermore, no interviewing someone scraping their windshield, shovelling snow, pumping gas or hoarding groceries because we're slated to get 8". I mean, really.
There it is. Idealistic for sure, but I can hope. 

Here's hoping you all have a blessed 2014 and that we all do our part in making our city, town, school and workplace a better place to be.

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