Friday, November 23, 2007

Friday 11-23

Today is the day that proves how out of control Christmas has become. People who struggle to get out of bed to make it to work at 8:00 were lined up outside of some stores at 4:00 this morning--talking about how they "love" Black Friday and getting their Christmas shopping done "early". Some dumped the family altogether on Thanksgiving day to take advantage of "Super Early Bird" savings.

I made the mistake of gift shopping on this Friday just once in my life. Never have I seen so many rude people doing their best to make everyone else around them miserable. The big doorbuster deal is already sold out? Berating the store clerk should make more of those items appear out of thin air. Complaining to everyone else walking down the aisle will probably lower their price as well.

It baffles me why people get so stressed out about the Holidays. If I don't get little Jimmy that mp3 player he wants this year he will be so disappointed and will likely grow up to hate me the rest of his life. Somewhere along the line, we've replaced spending time with our kids as a sign of a parent's love with buying them all the stuff they want as the ultimate act of love. Which do you think a child will remember more through their life: the years you volunteered to help coach their sports team--or all of the twenty presents they got for Christmas when they were eight. (Alright, I got a basketball hoop).

You can't really blame the stores. They need this day to guarantee a successful holiday season--which has become the be all and end all of retail nowadays. And if people really wanted to tone down the holiday overkill they would reject all of this Black Friday madness and vote with their wallets. Based on the continuous flow of vehicles and people pulling into the evil empire next door to our studios--that isn't happening this year.

So for the umpteenth year I'll encourage everyone to cut back on the crass commercialism this holiday season and remember what's really important in our lives.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday 11-21

On this day before Thanksgiving, I would like to list the things that I am most thankful for. Let's not forget that's actually what tomorrow is all about--not football, food or sale flyers.

I am thankful for a beautiful and understanding wife. She has to put up with a lot being married to me. Early hours, late nights, me hardly being home, my total ineptitude when it comes to using power tools or assembling items. Thank goodness I can cook--or she wouldn't be getting much from my half of the marriage.

I am thankful for the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. The freedom to come here on the radio and tell you what idiots are political leaders are--or how the Cowboys are going to beat down the Packers next Thursday--without fear of retribution from the government or overzealous fans.

I am thankful for the abundance of staples available in our society. We take for granted how easy it is to get food or gasoline here. Not everybody can get in the car--drive two minutes and get those necessities. Plus, America's poor are the richest "poor" in the world.

I am thankful for the cheap beer in this state. I was in Minnesota over the weekend and it reminded me how good we have it here. Plus their beer is that three-point-two junk.

I am thankful for the people serving everywhere to keep me safe and free. There are a lot of troops that won't be spending Thanksgiving with their families--while I will. There will be plenty of police officers and firemen missing dinner with their families as well. Thanks guys and gals.

And finally i would like to thank you the listerners of WOSH. It is your support that keeps me employed--and able to enjoy many of the benefits I mentioned before. Enjoy your Thanksgiving day--and give some thought to what you are thankful for this year.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday 11-20

High school basketball tips off tonight. Two time defending state champion Oshkosh West takes on a strong Milwaukee Bay View tonight--in a game you can hear right here on WOSH.

It's a new era at West, as coach Lance Randall is now at Loyola in Chicago after capturing those two titles. The core players from the Wildcats championship teams are also gone--with Tim Jarmusz heading to Madison. So many don't know what to expect this season.

I wish new Coach Brad Clark the best of luck. In sports they always say you never want to be the guy who replaces the legend--you want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend. While Lance Randall was in Oshkosh just three seasons--he delivered on the legacy established by his father for many seasons before.

I hope West fans are patient with the new guy. Keep in mind the Wildcats are less talented than they were the last few seasons. And Coach Clark will likely make some changes in playing style to make the program his own. What I wonder is how patient will Wildcat boosters be if the team struggles early? What if an improving Oshkosh North beats them in one of the cross-town matchups?

High school sports isn't supposed to be all about winning. It's supposed to be about competition, learning opportunities and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, some of the parents and other adults attending games seem to lose sight of that and become wrapped up in wins and losses.

Wildcat fans, you have enjoyed some of the best the last few years. If it doesn't continue the next few years stick with the kids and the coach. You owe that to everyone involved.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday 11-14

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will take on the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. The Panthers will start 43-year old Vinny Testaverde at quarterback. To give you some idea as to how old that is in football terms, Testaverde threw his first NFL pass during the Ronald Reagan administration. The fact that Vinny can be starting for an NFL team at his age--and just a few weeks after signing a contract with the team--leads me to wonder: what happened to the quarterback position?

Not to sound like one of those curmudgeons who thinks everything new stinks and that the "good old days will always be better"--but when I was a kid every NFL had a decent quarterback. Even the lowly Saints had Archie Manning or Dan Pastorini. When he was healthy, Lynn Dickey looked like a Hall of Famer compared to some of the bums running offenses today.

If you break down the current NFL QB's, you would be hard pressed to find more than seven or eight guys who would have been starters in the league back in the 1980's. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Brett Favre are obviously the cream of the crop and future hall of famers. The second level guys would include Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh, Tony Romo in Dallas, and Carson Palmer in Cincinnati. But after that--is there anyone that impresses you at all with their quarterback play? Guys who used to be pretty good--Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair--are so beaten up they can barely throw the ball anymore.

Look at the Chicago Bears. They've had about 50 different quarterbacks play for them in the 14-years that Brett Favre has started every game for the Packers.

So what has happened to all of the good quarterbacks? I've got two theories on this. The first is over-controlling coaches. From the very first day a kid plays quarterback the coach is calling all of the plays and limiting the qb's ability to audible. That creates mindless robots on the field who go through their progressive reads and don't know what to do if nothing's open right away. It also doesn't help that so many high school programs still run outdated offenses like the wing "T" or the double wing--where the quarterback just hands off the ball or is a running option first.

The second problem is the spread offense--which is becoming more and more popular in the college ranks. While you would think an offense with five wide receivers on every play would make for great quarterbacks, it actually teaches bad habits for the quarterback. In the spread, you never learn the proper five or seven step drop and usually you are making just one read and throwing quick routes to receivers. But more colleges are going to it because its easier to find quick little guys to play receiver than it is to find quick little guys to play defensive back.

I don't see the quarterback situation getting better any time soon. So maybe we'll see Brett Favre running out there yet when he is 43 and can still run an offense better than the last two Heisman Trophy winning QB's. If this keeps up, we may have to go back to the single wing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday 11-12

Today's Two Cents honors all of the veterans in our area. A big heartfelt "thank you" for making the sacrifices necessary to have a free and democratic society in a world where threats come from every direction.

To the World War II veterans, thank you for never losing the will to battle the worst evil we faced in the 20th century. Thanks for free European nations that seem to have forgotten your sacrifices and now turn their back when we ask for their help. Thanks for fighting an enemy driven by religious fervor and a lack of respect for human life that led them to blow themselves up to take as many of their enemies as possible.

To the vets of the "Forgotten War"--Korea--a hearty thank you for your unfortunately anonymous service. You had your hands tied by the United Nations and a President unwilling to use all means necessary to achieve total victory. You endured tortuous weather conditions and outside interference from both the Chinese communists and the White House to achieve a spectacular "tie". Hopefully we can bring our troops home from that conflict sometime this century.

To those who served in Vietnam--a thank you and an apology. We sent you to fight a war for group of people who didn't want you there and for an ideal the natives did not believe in. We sold you out at home, calling your mission a lost cause and even calling you killers of innocents. Has the country really learned its lesson from this war?

To those who served during the cold war--congratulations on a job well done. You acheived a spectacular victory without firing many shots. There are more people living in democracies now than at any time in history. All because you were there "on the wall" projecting America's strength around the world and serving as a beacon of freedom to the world.

And for those serving now in the War on Terror--a big thank you and please hang in there. Ignore the naysayers who say you have lost...ignore the interference from Washington trying to undermine your efforts and hang in there for the long haul. There are a lot more of them than us out there--but we have freedom on our side--and with that we cannot fail.

To everyone who put on the uniform--from those of us who never did--thank you for all of the liberties you have guaranteed for us.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday 11-09

The community discussion about the form of goverment we have here in Oshkosh is apparently over. Later today, the Oshkosh Common Council will vote to do away with the search for an "interim" City Manager and move right into hiring a permanent replacement for Richard Wollangk.

You may recall, the council decided to hire an interim manager to give residents a chance to circulate petitions for a government change--or to at least talk about what format they might want to consider. That came after the council rejected a referendum on government format out of hand--saying there needed to be more "discussion" on the topic.

Now, some on the council believe that discussion has taken place. The only talks I was privy to were my own "Two Cents" features. The first weighed the pros and cons of an elected mayor. The other decried the rejection of the referendum. A show of hands please from everyone else who attended a forum on this topic....that's what I thought. I seem to remember that Mayor Frank Tower saying he also wanted to wait for the next Presidential election to hold the referendum to ensure the best turnout possible. He must figure with Hillary and Rudy guaranteed to drive people away from the polls in droves--turnout may not be as great as expected.

By hiring a permanent manager, the council will be saying "Don't worry Mr New Hire, your position is safe here because we are basically putting the kibosh on any talk about voting your job out of existance."

My other beef with this proposal is that its unfair to those who might have applied for a permanent position--but not an interim one. At least one interim candidate is unsure if he wants to be in the running for a full-time job. If this is going to be a permanent hire--then the position should be re-posted so all of the best candidates have a shot.

Hopefully the council will stick with its original plan--interim first, referendum on the form of government--and the hire of a permanent manager if the position still exists. Otherwise the cities of Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Green Bay, Madison, and Milwaukee will have to continue to fail on their own with their out-dated elected mayor-council forms of governments.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thursday 11-08

I'm disappointed to hear that the Running of the Goats Pub Crawl has been cancelled. The Goat Pack claims they were going to be on the wrong end of "disciplinary actions" by UW-Oshkosh if they went ahead with plans to visit a dozen downtown Oshkosh bars.

A lot of people will be missing out because this event has been squashed. The downtown bars will miss out on extra money in the till. Apparently supporting downtown businesses is important only if they don't sell alcohol. Some charities will miss out on extra revenue--as proceeds from the crawl were to go to the university--before they made a big deal in the media about how they didn't want that beer-soaked cash. Organizers then planned to help the families of sick kids to pay medical bills--but that is now scratched.

The students lose out as well. They are learning about the hypocrisy of the educational elite who tell kids all the time about how they need to do more to help others--just do what we believe to be socially acceptable to do it. Counseling young mothers to not have abortions--or lecturing kids on abstinence--probably rank just as low as drinking beer to raise money for your school.

My biggest problem is with the university's threat to discipline those who take part in the pub crawl. How can a school punish students for taking part in legal activities off-campus? I'm going on the assumption that all of the Pub Crawlers will be over 21--and none of the bars are on UWO property--so what legal grounds do administrators have to take action against participants? Just another strong-armed tactic from those who always claim to be supporters of freedom of choice and self-determination.

I would encourage those planning to take part in the pub crawl to still hit the taverns this Saturday "un-officially". Tell stories with your friends and create those special college memories that everyone older than you look back upon with such melancholy happiness--knowing our lives will never be that simple again. Just don't drive if you've had too much college spirit.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tuesday 11-06

The Hollywood screenwriters on are strike, and there is great concern over what the television networks are going to put on the air if the walkout goes several months. As a public service, I have come up with a few suggestions.

ABC: Simulcast your sister station ESPN. You already confuse everyone using the cross-promotion "you're watching ESPN on ABC". Well, are we watching ABC or ESPN? Plus I'm guessing Tuesday Night Poker will be a ratings giant.

NBC: One hour of "The Biggest Loser" followed by two hours of "Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator." Biggest Loser is the only "reality" show I watch--because it's the only one that encourages contestants to take part in beneficial activities--rather than self-destructive. As for "To Catch a Predator", this is the most un-intentionally funny show on tv. What possesses these pedophiles to sit down and try to explain their being at the house? South Park had a classic episode where Chris Hansen was trying to do some other topic but predators kept showing up on the set.

CBS: Just go off the air. I know you like to call yourself "America's most watched network"--but outside of sports and 60 Minutes--I can't think of a single show I watch on that network. So they may as well go off the air when they don't have football or college hoops to put on the air. On the plus side, Katie Couric's ratings would actually go up.

Fox: 15 hours of "American Idol". I don't suggest this because I actually want nothing but this unwatchable crud on the air. My hope is that people would finally get sick of the show and it would be cancelled. Plus, with no one to write his witty "bon mots", Ryan Seacrest would have nothing to say.

MTV: You could actually play music videos.

Comedy Central: This one hurts, no Daily Show or Colbert Report. We'll just have to soothe the pain with South Park marathons and endless reruns of Chappelle's Show.

My best writers strike suggestion is for viewers: Turn off the boob tube and actually talk to your spouse and your kids.